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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Orange Islands

Japanese Episode 098

Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 098:  "It's the Southern Islands! Everyone Gather Around!!"
American Episode 243:  "A Way Off Day Off"
Pokémon Dare Da?  Kamonegi (Japan), Porygon (English)
Dr. Ookido's Pokémon Course:  Metamon
Japanese Air Date:  May 27th, 1999
American Air Date:  April 8th, 2000

Our heroes are sailing around aimlessly one day when they decide to stop at a nearby island for a little R&R. Satoshi, Kasumi, and Kenji all let their Pokémon out to play, giving Kenji's Strike a chance to introduce itself to the rest of the group. The scary-looking Bug-Type intimidates the rest of the team at first, but Kasumi's Togepy steps up and helps prove to the others that Strike is actually quite friendly. Satoshi's Lizardon, meanwhile, is still reserving judgment on this newest addition to the team. Our heroes' day off continues as they gather fruit, fall asleep thanks to Purin's lullaby, and struggle to deal with Kabigon's insatiable appetite. That night, Satoshi has trouble sleeping and so he wanders over to a nearby coast where he thinks back on his adventures in the Orange Islands so far. Meanwhile, the Rocket trio shows up at our heroes' camp and uses Kojirou's Utsubot to cast Sleep Powder on the unsuspecting group, hoping to nab our heroes' Pokémon while they're knocked unconscious. Lizardon and Strike happened to be out of Sleep Powder's range at that time, however, and so they work together to wake everyone else up and then send the Rocket trio blasting off. After the battle, Lizardon and Strike appear to have gained a mutual respect for one another, though they're not the best of friends just yet. The next morning, Satoshi and his friends leave the island fully recharged, ready to continue their journey through the Orange Islands.

The whole Orange Islands arc is set up like a "vacation" series, a laid back reprieve from all the high stakes (for the time, anyway) action and adventure on the land-locked region we were on before (Kanto) and the action and adventure on the one we'll be going to soon (Johto). It's a "break" region, for all intents and purposes. And so it's interesting that we're now at "It's the Southern Islands! Everyone Gather Around!", an episode positioned exactly at the saga's halfway point that feels like a vacation in the middle of a vacation.

I can appreciate this episode for what it's trying to do, but I've gotta be honest; I found this one to be a bit of a chore to sit through. The parts with Strike meeting the rest of the team were great, and seeing the show attempt to explain away Kabigon's massive appetite provides us with some neat little character beats. And the Rocket trio's plan to use Utsubot's Sleep Powder to knock everyone out and then drag them away while they're still unconscious was legitimately good, so good in fact that it's hard to believe the show rarely ever revisits this strategy.

But other than that this episode is just plain dull. The parts where our heroes were picking fruit were not interesting. The part where Purin puts everyone asleep for the millionth time was not interesting. The part where Kabigon eats everyone's food was not interesting. The flashback to the last two Gym Battle episodes was not interesting. 
"It's the Southern Islands! Everyone Gather Around!" is just one tedious scene after another and is, to me, probably the worst episode out of the whole Orange Islands arc.

A part of me wonders if this episode was, in a weird sort of way, meant to serve as a vacation for the show's production team as much as it was for Satoshi and his friends. The animation team would have been waist deep in
Pocket Monsters The Movie "Revelation Lugia" by this point and so that would certainly explain why everything about this episode just felt so phoned in. The almost full minute montage of older footage, especially, reeks of "we just don't have the manpower needed to finish this episode," doesn't it? It feels like the show just kind of went hey, let's just fart out this completely inconsequential episode so we can go back to working on the big exciting movie we actually care about?

When it came time for 4Kids to make the end credits for their version of the show they opted to only make one set generic credits for an entire batch of episodes instead of writing up personalized credits for each and every episode. So instead of listing out the writer for this episode, for example, we get a list of every single writer who could have possibly worked on any of the episodes in the batch that use this version of the end credits. So if it's a Season 2 episode, for example, it would have been written by one of these seven men:

I can understand why 4Kids would want to do this (making personalized credits for each and every episode is more time consuming, especially when you think about how they'd be unreadable anyway thanks to the way Kids' WB! distorted their shows' credit sequences) but an unfortunate downside to this is that we don't ever know who actually wrote any one specific episode of Pokémon. Who wrote the script for "A Way Off Day Off," an episode that is actually, by 4Kids standards, quite faithful to the Japanese original? And who wrote the script for the following episode "The Mandarin Island Miss-Match," where almost every single line of dialogue is a complete rewrite? We have no way of knowing, and that's a real shame because it makes it harder to know whose work to praise whenever we get to an episode like this.

Side Note
This episode's title,
"It's the Southern Islands! Everyone Gather Around!" (みなみのしまだよぜんいんしゅうご う!) seems to be an homage to a long-running Japanese variety show called "It's 8:00! Everyone Gather Around!" (8時だョ!全員集合).

The show was produced by the Japanese rock and roll band slash comedy group The Drifters. Content-wise this episode of Pocket Monsters doesn't have much in common with the show it borrowed its title from; I think it's literally just a case of someone liking this show and throwing in an homage, just because.

This isn't the first time Pocket Monsters has referenced this show, by the way; Episode 053, "It's Children's Day! Everyone Gather Around!" (こどものひだよぜんいんしゅうごう), also takes after The Drifters' comedy show.

Dialogue Edit
Ash defends his hunger to Misty:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
サトシ 「うう…腹減った~」
Satoshi:  "I'm so hungry~"
Ash:  "I'm hungry."
カスミ 「えっ…あ~。何にもしてないのにどうしておなかが減るの?」
Kasumi:  "Eh...(sighs) How can you be hungry when you haven't done anything?"
Misty:  "Ah~Oh~. How can you work up an appetite sitting there all day?"
サトシ 「暇だろうと何だろうと減るもんは減るんだよ」
Satoshi:  "It doesn't matter if you're doing anything or not. If you're hungry, you're hungry."
Ash:  "Oh, it's easy. I've been sitting here thinking about eating all day."

As you can see, the English dub makes Ash a little more of a daydreamer than Satoshi was originally.

After the episode's title screen we get a flock of Kamonegi which prompts Kenji to utter his catchphrase kansatsu sasete moraimasu for the first time this episode. This gets changed to "Cool. I gotta make a sketch of this!" in the English dub.

Side Note
In this scene where Satoshi's and Kasumi's Pokémon go up to greet Strike, we hear Zenigame, Fushidane, and Koduck each greet Kenji's newest Pokémon.

In the English version, however, we only hear Squirtle and Psyduck; it seems like 4Kids forgot to add Bulbasaur's voice! This goof up doesn't occur in the Japanese version.

Dialogue Edit
Most of the dialogue changes in this episode are similar to what we'll see in this exchange Ash has here with his Charizard, where the overall message is the same in both versions and yet there are tons of tiny, odd little changes sprinkled throughout:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
サトシ 「リザードンもストライクに挨拶しなよ」
Satoshi:  "Hey Lizardon, come over and say hello to Strike."
Ash:  "Hey Charizard. Come on over and say hello."
(リ ザードンがサトシを無視する) (Lizardon ignores Satoshi)
(Charizard ignores Ash)
サトシ 「あっコラ、リザードン!挨拶ぐらいちゃんとしろよ。一緒に旅する仲間 なんだぞ」 Satoshi:  "Hey, Lizardon! The least you can do is say hi! We're going to be traveling together and everything!"
Ash:  "Now what kind of an attitude is that? I asked you to come over and say hello. Would it kill you to be polite for once?"
(リ ザードンがサトシを無視する)
(Lizardon continues to ignore Satoshi)
(Charizard continues to ignore Ash)
サトシ 「おい!リザードン!リザードンってば!」 Satoshi:  "Hey! Lizardon! Come on Lizardon!"
Ash:  "I'm sick of your attitude. You really burn me up!"
(リ ザードンのかえんほうしゃ)
(Lizardon uses Flamethrower on Satoshi)
(Charizard uses Flamethrower on Ash)

Again, the overall message of this scene is the same (this little boy's trying to get his giant dragon to listen to him) and yet if you look at this dialogue, line by line, almost nothing actually matches up.

It is interesting to see the English dub sneak in the word "kill," though!

Team Rocket scopes out its potential targets:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ムサシ 「ピカチュウ、フシギダネ、コンパン、ストライク。ポケモンの大バーゲ ンよ」
Musashi:  "Pikachu, Fushigidane, Kongpang, Strike...it's a big Pokémon bargain!"
Jessie:  "Pikachu, Charizard, Scyther, Venonat, Snorlax, Squirtle, Bulbasaur."
ニャース 「これチャンスだニャ」
Nyarth:  "This is our chance Nya!"
Meowth:  "A Pokémonster rally."
ムサシ 「やっぱ暇って長くは続かないもんね」
Musashi:  "Seems like our time off wasn't going to last long after all."
Jessie:  "This is an opportunity we can't pass up."

Is...is this the closet the dub's ever gotten to saying "Pocket Monsters?" Is this the "opportunity" Jessie's talking about?

The Rockets continue:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
コジロウ 「あの…仕事を忘れたロケット団ってのはどうなったの?」
Kojirou:  "Um...what happened to the Rocket-Dan forgetting all about work?"
James:  "Jessie, I thought we were going to forget all about Pokémon for a change."
ムサシ 「たとえ仕事は忘れても借金は忘れちゃなんないのよ!」
Musashi:  "Yeah? But even if we forget about work our debt won't forget about us!"
Jessie:  "We can forget about Pokémon when the boss forgets about our debts."
コジロウ 「はぁ?」
Kojirou:  "Huh?"

When you live in a world where literally every aspect of your life revolves around Pokémon -- work, play, family, friends, everything -- the idea of being able to "forget all about Pokémon for a change" doesn't really seem like a thing that can actually happen...? "Hey, we're on a tropical island...let's just forget about animals for a change, alright? Like, nobody talk to me about creatures, OK?" It's just such a weird word choice on the part of the English dub when "work" or "our job" would've made so much more sense.

Our heroes get ready to each fruit sandwiches:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
カスミ 「なによ!特別料理って普通のフルーツサンドじゃない」
Kasumi:  "I thought you said this was a special recipe. Aren't these just regular old fruit sandwiches?"
Misty:  "Fruit? Don't you have any bologna or Swiss cheese or peanut butter?"
ケンジ 「調理は簡単、栄養は満点。旅の料理はこれが一番なんだよ」
Kenji:  "Sure, but they're easy to make and are filled with vitamins so they're actually the perfect food for travelers like us."
Tracey:  "Well, bologna and cheese don't grow on trees, and Ash ate all the peanut butter last week."
サトシ 「文句があるなら自分が作れよ」
Satoshi:  "If you don't want 'em you can make yourself something else, y'know."
Ash:  "I'll eat yours if you don't want 'em, Misty."
カスミ 「あら。だって料理は男の仕事でしょ?」
Kasumi:  "Huh? But isn't making food supposed to be the boys' job?"
Misty:  "Oh, no. I just never had a fruit sandwich before."
サトシとケンジ 「えっ?」
Satoshi and Kenji:  "Huh?"
Ash and Tracey:  "Huh?"

The English dub changing Kasumi's final line isn't too surprising (can't have anyone upsetting the patriarchy on Kids' WB!) but the whole rest of this is just...change for the sake of change?

Kasumi's line about cooking, by the way, may be a reference to a character Mayumi Iizuka, Kasumi's voice actor, played in the 1998 Sorceress Stabber Orphen animated series. Her character, Claiomh Everlasting, has issues with cooking, something we'll also eventually find out is true about Kasumi as well.

And also, which Generation I Pokémon would you make bologna from? There weren't any pig Pokémon back then so...Tauros, maybe...? Does Misty want to eat Tauros flesh or something?

This episode's eyecatch Pokémon swaps out one duck for another.


4Kids never aired "Cyber Soldier Porygon," of course, and so if they were ever going to get around to featuring Porygon in "Who's That Pokémon?" then it'd have to be in a random episode like this one. Farfetch'd already got to be the eyecatch Pokémon once before so it can go ahead and sit this one out, 4Kids was probably thinking.

The only other thing I think that's really noteworthy about this is that Porygon is given brand a new voice for the English dub. It's unlikely 4Kids would have replaced Porygon's voice in a hypothetical dub of Episode 38 -- the Pokémon has the same name in both Japanese and English, after all -- so why'd it get a new voice here? Is it just a random change, a throwaway voice based on whoever happened to be in the studio that particular day? Or is this a sign that 4Kids was never actually sent a tape with "Cyber Soldier Porygon" on it in the first place, meaning they wouldn't have had any audio recordings of Porygon's original voice and therefore had no choice but to go with a replacement? Who knows!

Dialogue Edit
Ash looks up at the stars:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
サトシ 「マサラタウンで見る星空とはずいぶん違うよな」
Satoshi:  "The stars in the sky here are totally different from the ones we can see back in Masara Town."
Ash:  "You can see the stars clearer here than you can back home, huh?"
ピカチュウ 「ピカピカ」
Pikachu:  "Pika Pika."
Pikachu:  "Pika Pika."
サトシ 「やっぱり南の島なんだなあ」
Satoshi:  "Must be because we're in the southern islands."
Ash:  "The Orange Islands sure are different."

Throughout this entire arc the English dub consistently removes any and all mention of the Orange Islands being "southern islands," and I really have no idea why. Does 4Kids want to keep the location of the Orange Islands ambiguous, for some reason? What's the point?

Music Edit
Throughout the montage of the first two Gym Leader battles, we hear the show's current opening theme, The Rivals, played in the background of the Japanese version.

This gets replaced in the English dub not by The Rivals! 4Kids' equivalent, Pokémon World, but by the song My Best Friend from 4Kids' Pokémon 2.B.A. Master CD instead.

Dialogue Edit
We get a second instance of Kenji using his catchphrase (kansatsu sasete moraimasu) when he's sleep talking. This time the dub has him say "Oh, boy. I better make a sketch of these before they..." instead.

James' Victreebel uses Sleep Powder to put our heroes to sleep:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ニャース 「ウツボットのねむりごな よく効くニャ」
Nyarth:  "Utsubot's Sleep Powder works really well Nya."
Meowth:  "Wow, your Victreebel's Sleep Powder really works."
コジロウ 「まあ、ボクの育て方がいいからねえ。よくやったぞ、ウツボット」
Kojirou:  "Well, it's all because of the way I raised it, y'know? Great job, Utsubot."
James:  "Yes, we're a knockout combination, aren't we, Vicky, old pal?"
ウツボット 「アーッ!」
Utsubot:  "Aaaah!"
Victreebel:  (screams)

Kojirou's line here (and the long nose, which can either be interpreted as a tengu nose, a visual cue indicating that he's being overly boastful, or a Pinnochio nose, indicating that he's actually lying) is a callback to what Satoshi said about his Kabigon earlier about how his supposed great training methods are what's keeping Kabigon from being so gluttonous. 4Kids actually did keep Satoshi's line intact, so why change the callback here?

Scyther and Charizard to the rescue:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ムサシ 「ストライクとリザードン!」
Musashi:  "Strike and Lizardon!"
Jessie:  "It's Scyther and Charizard!"
ニャース 「なんで起きてるニャー?」
Nyarth:  "What are they awake Nya?"
Meowth:  "How come they're awake?"
コジロウ 「ああっ…今日は長かったな おい」
Kojirou:  "Uwah! I was stuck in there a while this time around."
James:  "Uwah. I think it needs a touch more training."

So I think the line 4Kids gave James here is meant to be a response to Meowth's line, maybe? "Why are they awake?" "Because my Pokémon who used Sleep Powder needs more training" ...Something like that?

In the Japanese version, Kojirou's line here is not really connected to anything any of his other teammates said; he's simply commenting on how this time he was in Utsubot's mouth (about 50 seconds!) a lot longer than usual.

The narrator attempts to close out this light-on-rewrites episode:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ナレーション 「美しい島でポケモンたちと一緒に楽しい一日を過ごしたサトシた ちは朝日を浴びながら次の目的地へと向かうのだった」
Narrator:  "Satoshi and his friends, who had a fun day on a beautiful island with all their Pokémon, head to their next destination, bathed in the morning sun."
Narrator:  "And so our heroes head once more for adventure. Now their spirits are refreshed higher and more hopeful than ever before."

The Japanese version gives more of a general rundown of the episode we just watched while the English dub is a little more forward thinking.

The Rocket trio are stuck on an island:

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ニャース 「これからどうすればいいニャ」
Nyarth:  "What do we do Nya-ow?"
Meowth:  "We shouldn't have tried to snag that Snorlax."
ムサシ 「決まってるでしょう?仕事を忘れた優雅なロケット団になるのよ」
Musashi:  "Isn't it obvious? We become elegant, a Rocket-Dan who's forgotten all about work."
Jessie:  "Now what can we do? We're stuck out here in the middle of nowhere and we can't do a thing about it."
コジロウ 「そうそう、それでいこうぜ」
Kojirou:  "Yeah, let's do that!"
James:  "Hey, I know. Let's enjoy it."
ニャース  「優雅ニャ! 優雅ニャ!」
Nyarth:  "I like the sound of that! Nya! Elegant! Elegant!"
Meowth:  "No work, yeah!

A conversation that gets completely rewritten!? What, is 4Kids warming up for the next episode or something...?

The Rocket trio "blasts off":

Japanese (original)
Japanese (translated)
English Dub
ロケット団 「ダメだこりゃ~!」
Rocket-Dan:  "This is no good!"
Team Rocket:  "Help!"

So why isn't the Rocket trio saying their usual ya na kanji catchphrase here? It has to do with that "It's 8:00! Everyone Gather Around!" (8時だョ!全員集合) show I introduced earlier in this comparison. Dame da korya~! is Chosuke Ikariya's catchphrase from the show and so Pocket Monsters decided, as one last homage to the show, to have the Rocket trio say Ikariya's catchphrase here rather than their own.

None of this would make even the tiniest bit of sense to your average Westerner and so 4Kids had the trio simply yell out "Help!" instead.

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