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Japanese Episode AG 148: "Manene Enters! The Relaxation Guesthouse!"
American Episode 418: "Sweet Baby James"
Japanese Air Date: October 13th, 2005
American Air Date: September 9th, 2006
Important Characters: Jiiya (Pop-Pop), Baaya (Nanny)
On the journey to the Battle Arena, Haruka's Gonbe falls ill! There are no Pokemon Centers in the area, so our heroes take the pokemon to a nearby mansion. There, an elderly couple known simply as Jiiya ("old man") and Baaya ("old housekeeper") work to nurse the pokemon back to health. Meanwhile, Kojirou's Chiriin falls ill, so he takes his pokemon to the same mansion. When he arrives, Kojirou reveals that the elderly couple are the same people he spent his summers with as a child! Jiiya's and Baaya's mansion was a sort of refuge for Kojirou during his childhood, so he makes Musashi and Nyasu swear not to do anything bad during their visit. Later that night, Musashi and Nyasu sneak into the couple's Pokemon House while everyone sleeps. Satoshi and the others see the duo's flashlights from their room in the mansion, so they rush over to the Pokemon House to thwart them. Surprisingly, Kojirou joins the kids in their battle against the thieves and helps Satoshi send them blasting off again. The next day, Gonbe is fully healed, so Haruka and the others head back on the road. The Rocket-Dan have to leave as well, but Kojirou's Chiriin hasn't fully recovered yet! Kojirou is forced to leave his pokemon behind, but before he leaves, Jiiya's and Baaya's Manene decides to join him on his journey! Leaving an old friend behind and bringing a new friend with him, Kojirou and the rest of the Rocket-Dan continue their journey to capture Satoshi's Pikachu.
So we lose a Chiriin and gain a Manene instead. It's kind of a weird trade-off, but it'll be worth it because Kojirou's Manene is a lot more interesting than his Chiriin. Don't get me wrong; the little wind chime pokemon is great, and I am sorry that we couldn't have more episodes with the little guy. But Manene is, in my opinion, a much better character. It sucks that it has to be one or the other, but them's the breaks.
I also like how this episode keeps continuity by reminding us that Kojirou was rich, still has living relatives, and used to have an Utsudon. The anti-Rocketshipping bit where Kojirou imagines (in horror) his life if he was married to Musashi is also really nice because I think fans' obsession with this whole shipping crap is beyond ridiculous. I'm glad something like this came up to finally put an end to all this nonsense...one ship down, approximately 8,302.870 more to go.
The dubbed version introduces us to James' new voice actor trying his hand at the "acting" part of "voice acting." I mean, there are a few shaky spots, to be sure, but there's nothing here as horrid as Eric Stuart was in "A Poached Ego!" or "Training Daze." He has a terrible laugh, though, but it's only his second episode, so I'll cut him some slack. I also have to give PUSA credit for leaving the flashback as-is instead of rearranging the clips the way 4Kids would have.
On the down side, however, Ash's and Meowth's voices aren't that great. I mean, the delivery of Ash's "Excuse me, I need water for my pokémon" when he first enters the mansion made him sound like a real prick...surely, Natochenny can do better than that. The nanny's voice isn't too hot either...I mean, I can appreciate the fact that it's refreshingly different from the typical "old woman" voice 4Kids gave to every woman over the age of 30, but there are a few times when she sounds like she's been sucking on the helium a little too much. The little hillbilly music cues PUSA kept adding whenever Nanny and Pop-Pop were on-screen didn't help, either.
Finally, I wish CN would stop filling up the bottom 1/3 of the screen with their ads every five minutes. Yes, Cartoon Network, I realize I'm watching Pokemon Battle Frontier. You don't have to remind me with your obtrusive text boxes.
Aipom and the Upah kept their Japanese voices.
Team Rocket gives us this..."gem"
Jessie: "There's nothing worse than getting your head handed to you by a homie!"
Meowth: "No duh!"
Only two episodes in and we've already been reduced to using outdated slang from the mid-90's? Shameful.
First of all, PUSA only keeps four pieces of Japanese music in the entire episode: the title screen music, the music right before the main commercial break, the Rocket-Dan motto, and the battle music at the end of the episode. It's not really that much of an improvement over 4Kids, is it?
Anyway, the vocal song at the end of the episode is also different, depending on what version you're watching. In the Japanese, it's Smile, a song that certainly does its job in this scene. In the English version, however, there's a brand new song that, truth be told, isn't half bad. I actually had it stuck in my head the other day at work, which is eerie because I've never had that happen with a dub insert song before. I realize that Japanese vocal songs can be problematic, so I'm happy with them replacing these songs if they're all going to be this good.
Added Footage--3 seconds
The TO BE CONTINUED screen is frozen so that it's three seconds longer in the English version than it is in the Japanese version. Is PUSA trying to make up for all those seconds 4Kids trimmed from each episode by making each episode longer?
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