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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Orange Islands
086: "The Mystery of the Missing Pokémon!"
Satoshi and his friends have arrived on Kinkan Island, home to a bustling metropolis currently having problems with Pokémon suddenly going under a trance, attacking their Trainers, and then running away! And Satoshi and Kasumi’s Pikachu and Togepy are no exception! Elsewhere, Musashi and Kojirou follow Nyarth, who seems to be brainwashed itself, over to a radio tower only to discover that fellow Rocket-Dan members Yamato and Kosaburou are behind the Pokémon’s strange behavior! Apparently they’ve been using their Psychic-Type Pokémon, Sleep, to lure all the Pokémon in the area to their lair! Later, Musashi and Kojirou decide to join forces with Satoshi and his friends to help put a stop to the other Rocket duo. Our heroes (and villains) talk their way into the tower and then confront the other Rocket duo head-on. Eventually, Satoshi tricks his Pikachu into using its Thunderbolt attack to blow up the machine that was being used to amplify Sleep's hypnosis waves, snapping the Kinkan Island Pokémon out of their trances! Yamato, Kosaburou, and Sleep, however, are still eager to fight and so Sleep is ordered to use Metronome to finish our heroes off. Without anyone noticing, Kasumi's curious little Togepy mimics the Rocket Pokémon's actions and appears to launch a Metronome attack of its own! The resulting explosion defeats the Rocket duo and enables the local Junsar to step in and arrest them. Later, Satoshi and his friends leave Kinkan Island behind, unaware that Togepy’s added a powerful new attack to its arsenal.
By my count, "The Mystery of the Missing Pokémon!" marks the fourteenth non-filler episode of Pocket Monsters in a row. Fourteen! Is this the longest such streak in this series? It's sad that we're about to enter filler town soon but if we had to leave these important episodes behind then I couldn't think of a better episode to end the streak on. And the big reason for that, in my opinion, is Mr. Atsuhiro Tomioka's script. Mr. Tomioka's kind of well-known among us fans as being the screenplay writer least afraid of making references to past episodes and this episode is a perfect example.
For example, he brought back Yamato and Kosaburou who, at this point in the series, had only ever appeared one other time. Yamato and Kosaburou hadn't quite become the comic relief villains they would turn into later, and while there are still some goofy things in here -- the four-way motto, the Kosanji running gag, their over-the-top rivalry with Musashi and Kojirou -- they're still, at least for now, being treated as the "more competent" version of our favorite comic relief villains. In the second half of the episode Yamato sums up the difference between their approach and that of their rivals pretty well; work smarter, not harder. Yamato and Kosaburou operate by making Pokémon come to them -- first with the Pokémon daycare in Kanto, and now with Sleep there on the Orange Islands -- while Musashi and Kojirou are just endlessly chasing after their prey, always playing catch up.
Mr. Tomioka also remembers that hey, the Rocket-Dan's Beroringa and Utsubot exist! Can you believe that this episode is only the second appearance ever of Musashi's Beroringa!? Or that this is only Kojirou's Utsubot's third time on the show? From this episode onwards the series will have the Rocket trio use these neglected Pokémon much more often, and I can't help but wonder how much of that is because of what Mr. Tomioka does in this episode.
The other major callback in this episode involves Togepy learning Metronome! Well, allegedly. The show was smart to bring up Togepy's lack of attacks in that episode where Musashi and Kojirou deliver the Pokémon to their Boss but they haven't really done anything with that plot point in the 20-some episodes since. And on top of that, Togepy learning Metronome by playfully copying the Rocket-Dan's Sleep is actually kind of genius! Togepy's still very much a baby, and babies learn things by imitating those around them and so having Togepy learn its first attack in this way is actually kind of brilliant. I also thought it was a nice touch to have nobody realize that it was Togepy who saved the day; it'll make for some interesting scenarios moving forward!
But this episode isn't just one reference after the other, you know! We get to see the Rocket trio (well, Musashi and Kojirou) team up with the twerps, something that never, ever disappoints. We get a ton of iconic artwork from animation director Akihiro Tamagawa. We get to see Junsar use a Pokémon other than Gardie for a change. We get to see Musashi and Kojirou actually be kind of dramatic. We get that amazing Metronome sequence at the end of the episode. We get...well, we get a lot of things in this episode, don't we! This episode is just one stand out moment after the other and I love, love, LOVE it for that.
I don't know about you, but I consider the English dub adding music to scenes that didn't have any background music in them originally to count as music replacement just as much as when they swap out one piece of music for another. To me, statements like "well, they kept 100% of the Japanese music but just added in some filler music" (for example) contradicts itself because if you're adding music over silence then you're still changing the show's soundtrack! It makes a huge difference! Other than that, there are a lot of moments in this episode where 4Kids just kind of throws out the Japanese script and make up their own dialogue so there are plenty of Dialogue EditsTM for me to go through this time around.
After the opening narration:
Islands in the Orange Archipelago getting their names changed is a regular occurrence in the English dub, of course, but this particular case stands out. In the Japanese version, the island in this episode is called Kinkan Island (キンカン島) while the one in Episode 099, "Kanna of the Four Heavenly Kings! The Icy Battle!!", is called Mandarin Island (マンダリン島). So you would expect the two islands to also have two different names in the English dub, right? Apparently not! 4Kids uses the name "Mandarin Island" for the locations of both these episodes despite the fact that the two have nothing in common.
To further complicate things, the word "Kinkan" in "Kinkan Island" is Japanese for "kumquat," which is a name 4Kids will use for the island where Satoshi earns his final Orange League badge! The whole thing's needlessly complicated!
Eric Stuart's Harvey Fierstein impersonation makes its Orange Islands debut:
The English dub makes it seem like the Butch / Cassidy duo have some long-standing vendetta against Ash and his friends while that same implication's not there in the original.
After Voltorb blows itself up:
I don't really understand Tracey's line here. My best guess is that maybe he's afraid the police will think they had something to do with the stolen Pokémon, but then if that was the case then why did they instantly go running toward Officer Jenny the second she arrives on the scene?
Speaking of Officer Jenny:
Ash refers to his Pikachu as a "him" in the English dub, something that, as you can see, doesn't happen in the Japanese version.
Misty's upset about
The two versions have almost nothing in common! This is just one of many rewrites we'll see throughout the episode.
The Rocket trio gets reunited with the Rocket duo:
Kosaburou is an unusual name, even in Japan; it's super old (it's been in use since at least the 1800s, though it's probably older than that) and hasn't been a popular baby name for decades. So the fact that the others characters in this show can't remember it is not all too surprising! And in case you're wondering, "Kosanji" is actually a real name, with the most famous example being a famous rakugo poet named Kosanji Yanagiya (柳家小三治). Japanese fans can't seem to be able to figure out why "Kosanji" is the name everyone mistakes Kosaburou for and so most of them just assume it's because they're both old-timey names that begin with "Kosa--."
The English dub goes with "Botch," which is a letter off from "Butch" and has the added bonus of meaning "to mess up" ("The characters keep botching up his name") so their localization works well enough, I suppose. "Botch" isn't a real name the way "Kosanji" is but I guess you can't win them all!
After the double Team
As you can see, Musashi's continuing to insist (as Nyarth did the first time around) that their motto is the original one.
The two groups continue to snipe at each other:
There are lots of little differences here, but the big takeaway here is that Musashi doesn't necessarily think her colleague is lying the way Jessie obviously does.
How did the other duo get out of jail, anyway?
No, 4Kids, the boss of the Pokémon yakuza did not just waltz into a police station and pay to spring a duo arrested for multiple fraud and kidnapping charges.
The Japanese version makes no reference to Sakaki doing anything in person.
After Butch explains how they're using Drowzee to control all the Pokémon:
Kosaburou's playful teasing gets turned into Butch threatening to kill his teammates! How fun!
This makes me wonder; can Pokémon like Kangaskhan even be found in the Orange Islands in the first place? Has anyone ever made a list of Pokémon who never showed up in the Orange Islands?
Jenny confronts Jessie at the police box:
As you can see, Junsar tells the Rocket duo that she knows who they work for, something Officer Jenny doesn't bother to do.
The Rocket trio duo reveals that they're victims, too!
A lot of Japanese find Musashi's line amusing because she's name dropping one of Kojirou's Pokémon (Mata-chan = Matadogas, of course) rather than the snake Pokémon she just kind of doesn't bother mentioning here.
Everyone tries to
convince Team Rocket to
There are lots of rewrites here, but the main one that sticks out to me is Ash's decidedly more tough guy act in the final line there. The English dub basically does what Nintendo does to the Kirby box art; it takes something sweet and sincere from Japan and changes it into anger because this is America goddammit we want our heroes to be strong assertive MEN!
Jessie and James ring the doorbell:
The actual content of what the Rocket duo is saying here is more or less the same in both versions but the delivery is completely different. Originally, Kojirou puts on an overly polite tone, using the same type of formal language a subordinate might use for his manager, or a service industry professional would use toward his customer. Musashi, meanwhile, goes for the cute little preschool girl route, and you can tell from her performance here that Megumi Hayashibara must have had a lot of fun recording this little bit.
Our Rocket duo gives up:
Musashi's line contains and untranslatable pun; she takes the word shaberu (喋 る), "to say something," removes the final -ru, and tacks on -roringa to make the non-word sha-beroringa. Beroringa is the name of Musashi's pink tongue Pokémon.
I suppose the English dub could have done something with the word "lick" ("You two may have licked us earlier but we're done biting our tungs") but I guess they decided it was too much trouble so they just didn't bother.
Our heroes get a look at
The English dub line is a perfectly fine translation of what's said in the Japanese version (ano pokemon wa...) but I'm bringing it up anyway because the wording (and cadence) that Tracey uses is the exact same thing that's said during the eyecatches in the dub. The same is not true for the Japanese version.
Ash scans Drowzee:
Well at least the first half of the second English dub sentence is similar...?
Butch notices how the other Rocket duo is there with the police:
The battle between our heroes and Yamato and Kosaburou goes pretty well, script-wise. A few of Yamato's and Kosaburou's taunts are a bit different in the original but otherwise it's pretty solid.
The next edit takes place once our heroes are outside.
Lots of little differences here! The one that stands out to me the most, though, is Jessie and Cassidy just kind of calmly going over the rules of the actual life-or-death battle they're about to have. Oh, you want two on two? Should there be a time limit? Can we switch out Pokémon? Do you wanna go first, or should...oh, you want to go? Y-yeah, sure. No, it's fine. Go ahead.
Drowzee dodges Arbok's attack:
I only bring this up because Satoshi refers to Musashi by her name here, something he very, very rarely does over the 20+ years this franchise has been going on. Usually he just refers to the individual members as simply "Rocket-Dan" and so the fact he's calling Musashi by her name here shows that he really does see her as a partner in this very moment. It's a small little nuance that's lost in the dub, unfortunately.
Drowzee uses Mega Punch:
Cassidy's claim that they're the ones to found the Rocket breeding center is an invention of the English dub.
4Kids really does a number on the whole Metronome sequence at the end.
In the original, there's no background music whatsover. We hear the swish of Sleep's fingers moving back and forth, Togepy's chirps, the rhythmic ticking of a clock in the background, and this sound of some kind of psychic power, swelling louder and louder. We hear Satoshi, Junsar, and Ghos scream out at the very beginning of the sequence but don't hear anything else until the giant explosion at the end.
The dub takes all that and then slaps on some background music. They increase the volume of the psychic power hum while decreasing the volume of Togepi's voice. The echo effect that was on Togepi in the original is all but gone. And they add a "Pika!" at the very end that wasn't there in the original.
To me, this kind of sound tinkering is very much on the same level as a script rewrite, or a visual edit, or cut footage. It's taking a cool scene that stood out in the Japanese version because of its sound design and then throws a bunch of crap on top of it to make it...well, just another battle scene.
Jessie and James bid farewell to the other Rocket duo:
Ash's non-chalant reaction to the rewritten dialogue 4Kids gave to Jessie and Misty is a bit off-putting to me. I mean, who cares if the Boss of Team Rocket, who I've never met before, helps release these dangerous criminals back onto the streets again? No biggee LOL!
Officer Jenny awards our
Satoshi and his friends are not made "honorary citizens" in the original.
Finally, the very last conversation of the episode:
The Japanese version makes it clear that Kenji and the others believe that the explosion that defeated the Rocket duo was caused by Sleep, unaware that it was actually Kasumi's Togepy who defeated the Rocket-Dan. The English version takes this perfectly translatable observation and decides to have Tracey, who's only encountered the Jessie / James Rocket duo two other times at this point in the series, by the way, decide that Team Rocket only wins when they're working with the good guys. That in and of itself is a pretty dumb rewrite, but then you add the camera zooming in on Pikachu and Togepi -- an action that makes absolutely no sense with the newly rewritten dialogue -- and you have one of the sloppier rewrites in recent memory.
This page was last updated on March 3rd, 2021
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