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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Orange Islands
Japanese Episode 095: "The Ghost Ship and the Ghost Pokémon!"
American Episode 241: "A Shipful of Shivers"
Pokémon Dare Da? Ghos
Dr. Ookido's Pokémon Course: Shellder
Japanese Air Date: May 6th, 1999
American Air Date: March 25th, 2000
Important Places: Sudachi Island (Moro Island)
The sun is
about to set and so Satoshi and his friends head to Sudachi Island to
rest. A quick check in with Dr. Ookido reveals that a museum on the
island is currently displaying an Orange League championship trophy
300 years ago but then when they go see it the next morning they learn
been stolen...!? The trio soon discovers the Rocket-Dan were the ones
who took it and so they chase them off the island and into the sea.
Eventually the two groups stumble upon an old ghost ship and so, with
nowhere else to go, all decide to climb aboard. The trophy is
eventually retrieved by a Ghos and Ghost who, with the help of Nyarth's
(unwilling) interpretations, tell our heroes about how it belonged to
their former master and captain of the ship they're on. One day their
ship got caught in a storm and sank to the bottom of the sea where,
some time later, the trophy was plundered by humans wanting to put it
in their museums. It has therefore been the Ghost-Type Pokémon's
mission to retrieve this treasure; after all, that trophy
serves as proof that their former master was once an Orange League
Champion! Satoshi and his friends realize the significance of the
trophy and, after a quick battle with the Rocket-Dan, relinquish it
over to its rightful owners. The Ghost-Type Pokémon make their
exit as Satoshi dreams of one day getting an Orange Island championship
The script for the
English dub is
uncharacteristically good this time around! There are some odd choices to be sure
(why does the dub spoil the revelation that the captain was an Orange
League champion as early as it does?) but for a 4Kids-era episode this
one was actually fairly light on the rewrites. Unfortunately the
episode makes up for its decent-ish script by messing around with the
background music too much. The second half of the Japanese version of
the episode, in particular, has very little music playing in the
background and instead allows the silence to only be punctuated by the
rather loud, rather
ominous sound of the ghost ship creaking and moaning as it struggles to
stay afloat. But the English dub's always-on background music drowns
most of this out. The sounds of the ship can be heard in a few scenes, if
you really listen for them, for the most part the sound design of the
two versions are vastly different. I've said it
before but I'll say it again, adding in "filler" music to scenes
that didn't have any in the original is, to me, just as bad as swapping
out one piece of music with another.
As mentioned above, the script in this episode is uncharacteristically faithful to the source material. There are a lot of tiny little changes here and there (i.e. right before the title screen Ash says they should find a Pokémon Center on the island to stay at while Satoshi just says they should find a place to stay, without mentioning the details of where...y'know, small things like that) but most of it is fairly benign.
In the Japanese version the name of the island this episode takes place is Sudachi Island (スダチ島), named after the small green citrus fruit of the same name. It's changed to "Moro Island" for the dub even though, to me at least, "Moro" doesn't really sound any less "foreign" than "Sudachi" does *shrugs.*
Tracey reads from a newspaper:
As you can see, what Kenji is reading aloud sounds like a newspaper article headline while Tracey appears to be reading from the body of the article itself. There's also a very slight discrepancy between the numbers; Tracey says over 300 years while Kenji just says (exactly) 300 years.
Either way, I find it really charming that this show's depicting a child reading from a newspaper that an old man's holding up in front of a video camera for him. It's almost like this show predicted what it would be like to have a Zoom call with the elderly in the 2020s!
Professor Oak tells the kids where they can see this trophy:
The word Dr. Ookido uses here to describe the museum where the trophy is being put on display is hakubutsukan (博物館), or simply "museum." If he had wanted to say "Museum of Art" like what the dub says then he probably would've used the term bijutsukan (美術館) instead.
Team Rocket sneaks into the museum at night:
I guess 4Kids felt compelled to provide an explanation as to why Nyarth is reading from some random book with no title and no cover image and so they decided to have him refer to it as a museum guidebook.
Nyarth also moves his mouth a bunch more times after he finishes talking in the Japanese version and so 4Kids fills in those extra mouth flaps with him singing "Meow" a bunch of times to make the scene look a little less awkward.
James dreams about getting a trophy:
The TV show Kojirou mentions here, Takara Kantei-Dan (宝鑑定団), which I've translated here as "The Treasure Appraisal Team," is a parody of the real world Japanese TV series Kaiun! Nandemo Kantei-Dan (開運！なんでも鑑定団), an Antiques Roadshow-type show where people take family heirlooms to experts to have them appraised on-air.
4Kids very easily could have come up with a similar play on words here (I dunno, "Heirloom Streetshow" or something equally ridiculous) but they decided to just not bother.
James is lowered down toward the trophy:
I've chosen to translate Nyarth's hone kurai hirotteyaru (骨くらい拾ってやる) as "we'll at least bother to attend your funeral," though a more literal translation of the phrase would be something more like "we'll a least attend your funeral and then also help out with the traditional Japanese ceremony where your family members will use chopsticks to pick out the bones from your cremated ashes."
This kind of dark humor is all a bit much for a Saturday morning kids' cartoon in the US and so 4Kids changed Nyarth's line to him worrying about James breaking the trophy instead. Which, to be perfectly fair, is actually pretty close to the original's sentiment of "we don't actually care what happens to you one way or the other."
After Kenji uses his kansatsu catch phrase for the episode (jikkuri kansatsu shitakatta becomes "Yeah, and I wanted to make some sketches") Ash and his friends stumble upon the Rocket trio:
James, why would you "celebrate" the loss of your trust fund? Wouldn't that be a catastrophic, life-altering financial event that would make celebrating the last thing you'd want to do?
The Rocket trio makes their getaway:
This is never made clear in the episode itself but The Memorial Book of Orange Islands refers to the Seadra-shaped boat as the "Rocket-Dan's Pokémon-shaped handmade boat" (ロケット団のポケモン型手製ボートだ), implying that the boat they're using in this episode actually belonged to them in the first place. So I guess Meowth's assertion that they stole this boat is false? At the same time, though, the way Musashi and Kojirou act surprised to find out that this is the kind of boat you have to pedal makes it seem like this is the first time they're actually seeing it so it's hard to really know one way or the other.
Anyway, the point is 4Kids rewrote the line.
After the Rocket trio board the ship and James delivers a really cringy "S.S. Spookship" line, Ash and his friends hop aboard:
No one else in this episode ever even implies that human researchers "raised the ship" to get the trophy inside so I have no idea what Ash is talking about here.
What's this!? The two Pokémon are actually the same for a change!?
So according to Bulbapedia the Japanese version and the English dub having the same eyecatch Pokémon won't happen again until Best Wishes! comes out ten years later (!!!) so I guess I'll be talking about these different eyecatch Pokémon for quite a while yet!
Ash scans Gastly and Haunter again, for some reason.
The dub only translates the second half of Ghos' entry, for some reason.
Meowth is taken over by the two ghost Pokémon:
The Japanese version has Nyarth greet our heroes using the phrase "good evening" despite the fact that the chase that brought them to that ship was explicitly stated to take place in the morning. So either our heroes have been on this haunted ship an entire day (was Togepy missing for eight whole hours or something...!?) or Mr. Ohashi just made a mistake.
Either way, I think the dub deciding to use "greetings" here instead ends up working a lot better.
It's also worth mentioning that Nyarth loses his accent (replacing any na syllables with nya, adding "Nyas" throughout his speech) the entire time Ghost is controlling him. It makes sense; these are Ghost's words he's speaking, not his own. Maddie Blaustein's Meowth sorta-kinda reels in the accent she gave to Meowth but there are a few times she slips up, with "from one island to a'nudder" being the most obvious example.
Haunter tells everyone how the ship was raided:
The two main things to bring up here are 1) Haunter / Meowth is dropping the bomb that their captain was the one who won that trophy way too early (notice how none of the animation during this scene shows anyone reacting surprised at this revelation?) and 2) the dub tells us the trophy was taken "a few days ago" when the Japanese version doesn't tell us that. I don't know much about how museums acquire the artifacts they put on display but I would imagine it's not just a simple matter of pulling it out of the ocean, dusting it off a bit, and then just plopping it onto a pedestal.
Right before Ash and his friends are "transported" to the past:
Again, Satoshi isn't supposed to know that the captain is even a Pokémon Trainer at this point, much less the man who actually earned the trophy.
Gastly and Haunter use their powers to make the ship fly away:
Are Ghost-Type Pokémon like Ghos and Ghostly able to communicate with dead humans? Apparently Satoshi believes so!
The final line of the episode:
The dub could have very easily fit the mention of the Orange League in there (it's not like they had any mouth flaps to worry about or anything like that) but they decided to omit that whole part for whatever reason.
This page was last updated on May 22nd, 2022
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