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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Pokémon Horizons
Japanese Episode 001: "The Pendant of Origins - Part One"
English Episode 2601: "The Pendant That Starts It All: Part One"
Japanese Air Date: April 14th, 2023
American Air Date: March 7th, 2024
Important Characters: Liko (Liko), Gurumin (Nidothing), Ann (Ann), Hiro (Hiro), Aya (Aya), Murdock (Murdock), Orio (Orla), Mollie (Mollie), Landau (Ludlow), Amegeo (Amethio), Conia (Onia), Zir (Zirc), Friede (Friede)
Important Places: Kanto Region (Kanto Region), Paldea Region (Paldea Region), Tokiwa City (Viridian City), Sekiei Academy (Indigo Academy)
a girl from the Paldea Region, has come to the Sekiei Academy in the
Kanto Region to search for what it is she wants to do. One of the first
tasks is getting her very own Partner Pokémon, a capricious
Grass-Type named Nyahoja. The two get off to a rocky start but Liko is
determined to make it work somehow, opening up and sharing her feelings
with Nyahoja until her Pokémon starts to realize she has a good
heart. One night, a mysterious man named Amegeo appears at Liko's dorm,
claiming to have been sent to take her to some undisclosed location. He
adds that she should make sure to bring the mysterious pendant her
grandmother gave to her as well. Liko finds the whole thing way too
suspicious and so she takes the pendant, climbs out the window, and
makes a run for it. After a quick scuffle with one of Amegeo's
henchmen, Zir, Liko comes face-to-face again with Amegeo and his
partner Pokémon Soublades. It seems like Liko has nowhere to run
when, all of a sudden, a man named Friede rides in on his Lizardon to
save the day...? Friede and Amegeo start to battle it out while Liko
attempts to use the commotion to sneak off. A poorly timed jump puts
Liko right in the crosshairs of a stray Psycho Cut attack but the young
girl is saved when her pendant produces an orb of light that shields
her from the attack!? To be continued!
The first episode of any new series has the task of setting the tone for what's to come, and that has never been more important than it was for this one. Pocket Monsters (2023) is the first new series to come out after Satoshi's retirement and so expectations were, understandably, quite high. On the one hand, you can't make the show too similar to its predecessors because if you do that then what was even the point of having a fresh start in the first place? But on the other hand, if you make the show too different from what's come before you risk making the show not feel like Pokémon anymore.
I think this episode does a pretty decent job of getting that balance right. The show doesn't just gender swap Satoshi and call it a day, it actually make Liko her own character with her own quirks and her own hang-ups. And the fact that we get so much of this personality in the first episode is actually kind of remarkable. "The Pendant of Origins - Part One" is a bit slow and exposition heavy, sure, but if we're being very honest here Satoshi's first episode wasn't the most fast paced either. We get a lot of character introductions in a very short amount of time (eleven reoccurring named characters in one episode!) and yet it somehow never feels overwhelming or rushed.
On top of that the animation's top notch, the new musical score by Conisch is absolutely breathtaking, the voice acting is on point as always (with Minori Suzuki and Shun Horie being the standouts here), and the overall tone and world building are all expertly done. This is a very, very solid first episode.
For the first time since TPCi started doing this show themselves there isn't a single character in the new Pokémon season leftover from when 4Kids still called the shots. Which means that hey, TPCi can finally free themselves from the shackles of that old 90s made-for-TV anime dub and join the rest of us in the 21st century. Did they take advantage of this opportunity? Well...kind of. The character names are (mostly) the same between versions, the script is mostly very faithful (the odd changes below notwithstanding), the voice acting has improved greatly (Nidothing's the only one I'm not feeling right now), and the episode titles are actually translations of the Japanese originals instead of forced puns. There's a lot of good stuff here! Unfortunately there's still one major issue with the dub TPCi could have (very easily) fixed but didn't, and that one major issue ends up dragging the whole production down.
The opening credits of this episode claim that its music was provided by Conisch, whose work you might remember hearing in other Pokémon projects like Pokémon: Twilight Wings and Pokémon: Hisuian Snow. And yet despite this claim, and despite the fact that TPCi kept Conisch's soundtrack untouched in all those other projects, this episode of Pokémon Horizons (and most of the others as well) replaces 100% of the Japanese score with a wall-to-wall score made just for the English dub.
This is nothing new, of course. 4Kids and TPCi replaced Shinji Miyazaki's and Yuki Hayashi's music all the time. But if there was ever a series where it makes sense for the dub to finally, finally rid themselves of this outdated practice of replacing a show's instrumental background music then this would be the one. TPCi had the opportunity to finally get the show's fans to shut up about the music for a change but instead they decided that nope, we actually love having our social media posts hijacked by people talking about how bad the background music in this show is.
The replacement background music is absolutely the biggest problem with the English dub right now. The voice acting is finally up to modern standards, and the writing is phenomenal is well. So it really is just the music that's a problem at this point. All TPCi would have to do to make their version a hundred times more watchable is to just not replace the music for a change, and yet their refusal to do this one extremely simple thing is both extremely disappointing and also, sadly, very predictable.
Whenever I do episode comparisons for the site I like to play the two videos side by side -- the Japanese version on the left, the English version on the right -- to make it easier for me to spot any cut footage or visual edits that might pop up. Naturally I tried doing the same thing for Pokémon Horizons but when I did I could never seem to get the two versions to sync up properly. The English dub must be running at like 1.01 times speed or something because whenever I would sync up the two videos the dub would quickly jump ahead about a half a second ahead or so, and after around a minute of that the two videos would be so out of sync with each other I'd have to pause them and start over. This happened with all six of the Pokémon Horizons episodes released so far (as of this writing).
I don't know if I would count this as a "change," per se, but it is something I thought I should bring up anyway.
The Pocket Monsters: Liko's and Roy Set Off logo gets replaced with the English Pokémon Horizons logo.
Click on each image to view a larger version.
Of the first six episodes of Pokémon Horizons this episode probably has the most number of rewrites, though in the grand scheme of things even that isn't all that much. Anyway, the narrator gets us started:
Starting a brand new chapter with a rewrite right out the gate is a bit concerning, but while the actual words spoken in both versions are quite different the overall feeling of the speech is at least somewhat intact...?
Liko's encounter with two other students sparks an inner monologue:
In the original version Liko has been told in the past that she's hard to read, prompting her to assert that this is because she herself doesn't know what she's trying to say. The English dub includes the latter part about her not knowing what she wants to say but omits the former part about being criticized by other people.
Liko in the Japanese version also tells us she came all the way to the Kanto Region to find out about herself, something Liko in the English version doesn't make as clear.
Liko's bus comes out of the tunnel:
Liko tells us this is her very first time in the Kanto Region, something she neglects to bring up in the dubbed version of this scene. We'll eventually get this information later in the episode when Liko's talking to Ann so it's not that big a deal, I guess, but why remove it here? With this being an inner monologue and all it's not like TPCi had mouth flaps to worry about or anything so what gives?
Cut? (2 minutes 22 seconds)
In the version of the English dub episode I have, all the scenes featuring Liko actually setting foot on the school's campus and meeting her roommate Ann all get the chop. The nearly two and a half minute cut begins from the time Liko's bus pulls out of the tunnel (the world "all" in Liko's "I miss my chance to do anything at all" gets cut off) and lasts all the way up to the close-up of a Trainer brushing their Ootachi.
My guess is that either there's a glitch in the copy of the English dub I have or this was a long cut for time. This first episode of Pocket Monsters (2023) is about two minutes longer than your average episode of the show (23 minutes 45 seconds vs. the usual 21 minutes 45 seconds) so it's entirely possible this cut was made on purpose. At the same time this footage is all left intact for the sneak peek TPCi uploaded on YouTube a few months before so we know TPCi dubbed it.
I think I'll wait until the episode starts appearing in other countries to see if this is a permanent cut (doubtful) or just a one-time glitch.
The episode's title "The Pendant of Origins - Part One" is removed from the dub.
In fact, the only reason we even know the English dub's title in the first place is because of various TV guides listing this episode as "The Pendant That Starts It All: Part One."
Click on each image to view a larger version.
Liko approaches the front gate of the school:
Japanese Liko continues from that inner monologue she was having on the bus by bringing up the "something" she's searching for here while English Liko has a more generic way of pepping herself up.
Later, Liko meets her roommate Ann. TPCi has Ann say she's looking for her hairbrush instead of her toothbrush but other than that their conversation in the dub is pretty faithful to what was in the original. The next real change happens when Liko tells Ann about her entrance interview(s):
I'm not really sure why TPCi is removing the "other people said this about me" part of Liko's backstory. Is there some reason why depicting a young girl being affected by what others have to say about her is apparently not OK? This has to be a deliberate change, right?
In any case, the English dub will eventually get around to talking about other people not really "getting" her a bit later in this very episode when she's talking to Ann about her Sprigatito not doing what she says. But for some reason this build up to that realization doesn't make the cut.
Also, Liko in the Japanese version had to sit through multiple interviews (a standard practice in Japan) while Liko in the English version apparently was able to knock everything out all out in one go.
The principal of the school welcomes students to the academy:
The English dub apparently isn't allowed to say the words "Pocket Monsters" and so the principal's opening line gets removed and replaced with her welcoming her students to the academy instead. Because of this, the line at the end of the speech also gets tweaked to remove what would now be a redundant mention of the academy's name.
Nidothing begins their first full broadcast of the series:
The middle part of Gurumin's intro (guru~bin shiteru?) is a pun on how Gurumin's name sounds sorta-kinda like the word guruubii (グルービー), or "groovy." The same play on words doesn't work with Gurumin's dub name so TPCi just has Nidothing go "what's up?" instead.
In a later video, Nidothing's talking about Type match-ups:
Nidothing's examples are a bit different from Gurumin's. The former doesn't mention how many Pokémon Types there are either.
Ann and Liko talk about getting to understand Sprigatito:
The dialogue here is mostly the same but TPCi squirms its way out of having Ann point out Liko's tendency to care too much about what other people think, for some reason.
The show's logo during the scenes that serve as the episode's eyecatches gets removed for the dub.
Click on each image to view a larger version.
Cut -- 3 seconds
This shot of Liko jumping off the roof toward the end of the episode gets removed from the dub. In the original we see Liko and Nyahoja gearing up to jump, make the actual leap, and then we go back to the battle between Lizardon and Soublades. In the English dub the actual jump itself gets cut.
At first I just assumed the show's Western editors didn't want to show their show's young pre-teen main character throwing herself off a roof (and everything that implies), but then when we get flashbacks to this scenes in both Episodes 2 and 3 the close-up portion of this sequence is actually left intact. So I'm not really sure why at least that part couldn't have been left in.
The text "To Be Continued" gets removed from the dub:
Click on each image to view a larger version.
For this first episode the Japanese version features an abbreviated end credit sequence, most likely due to this first episode being longer than usual. Instead of playing RVR ~ Rising Volteccers Rap, the song that will eventually be used as this show's ending theme, the Japanese version plays a quick instrumental of the video games' title screen music while they cram as many credits onto a single screen as humanly possible. The entire sequence lasts only fifteen seconds.
For the English dub, TPCi plays its regular ending theme, an instrumental of the season's yet-to-be-used opening theme Becoming Me. The company uses a version of the footage from RVR ~Rising Volteccers Rap (Friede Version) that has all its text removed and then re-edits that to fit the song's shorter runtime.
The Rising Volteccers Rap ending is 90 seconds long while the Becoming Me ending is only 30 seconds.
This page was last updated on December 13th, 2023
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