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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Best Wishes!
Japanese Episode BW 045: "Ohbem, Doubran, and the Dream Thief!"
American Episode 1445: "Beheeyem, Duosion and the Dream Thief!"
Pokemon Live Caster: Dangoro
Japanese Air Date: September 1st, 2011
American Air Date: December 10th, 2011
Important Characters: Leon (Leon), Nobori (Ingo), Kudari (Emmet)
While gathering firewood one night, Nyasu comes across the Brain Pokemon Ohbem. He brings it back to the group and tells them that it is able to use its psychic powers to bring them anything they want. Dent mentions wanting to sleep in a luxurious hotel, so Ohbem conjures one up out of thin air! The pokemon guides the trainers to their room where they quickly fall asleep. Suddenly, the pokemon trainers are woken up by a Junsa and her Doubran bursting into the room! She tells them that she's a police officer specializing in psychic crimes and that they''ve all been lured into a dream world by Leon the Dream Thief! Just then, they discover that Leon and Ohbem have taken all their pokemon! Satoshi and his friends are able to track down and eventually free Pikachu, Kibago, and Nyasu, leaving Leon with only their Monster Balls. With the help of Junsa, our heroes hop from dream to dream in pursuit of the Dream Thief. Eventually, they discover that they're not able to escape the dream world because Nyasu keeps falling asleep, so they feed him a bunch of Fira Berries to wake him up. The sleep deprived Nyasu angrily attacks Leon, defeating him and retrieving the Monster Balls. Junsa calls for backup and has Leon arrested before driving off to catch more dream thieves. Meanwhile, Nobori and Kudari, the heads of the Raimon City subway system, notice that one of their trains is acting strangely...
Yay, I finally get to talk about one of my favorite episodes of Best Wishes!
There's just so much to love about this one, y'know? The trippy dream hopping stuff, Leon having more personality than all the other character-of-the-days from this series put together, the completely arbitrary "rules" for leaving the dream world, Nyasu being cute and endearing...really, what is there to hate about this episode? It's always seemed like the writers were trying their damnedest to have Best Wishes recapture the magic that Kanto had, and I'm happy to see that when it comes to wacky, off-the-wall batshit insane episodes, the writing team's still got it.
Another thing I love about this episode is how it goes back to doing parodies of Japanese things. Compared to the other series, at least, the number of Japan-only parodies in the Best Wishes series has really been quite low. After all, you can't really expect the inhabitants of pseudo-New York to know enough about some obscure-in-the-West Japanese comedian to do a parody of him, right? And the Rocket-Dan's all boring now, so having them dress up like some old cartoon characters from the '70s like they did in the past would be "out of character" (rolleyes.jpg). But this Dream Thief episode is probably the first really "Japanese-y" episodes of Best Wishes. There are a lot of references in this episode that fans in the West would never pick up on, and I think that adds more to the episode than it takes away.
I'm pretty happy that this is the only episode in this "Nyagotiator Nyasu" arc not to feature the "Nyasu almost gets captured" gag. I hated how the Don Battle arc ran the same three jokes into the ground over and over and over again, so seeing the writers showing some restraint with this gag, especially one with a shelf life as short as this, is a relief. A part of me wonders what Musashi and Kojirou would have done if Nyasu had actually been captured, but I guess the writers were already juggling enough as it is without adding the capture of one of the series' mascots to complicate things.
Speaking of the Rocket-Dan, I'm wondering where Seger-Hakase is supposed to be in this episode. His arrival in the city is what they ended the previous episode on, yet he doesn't get so much as a mention in this episode? Just what is he doing now that he's in Raimon City? Is he just chilling out in a hotel somewhere? Is he at a theme park, riding a roller coaster with his arms crossed and a scowl on his face? Or maybe he's watching a Pokemon Musical with his hands clasped together and his eyes welling up with tears? This is what I want to see, not some boring late-night train run!
The English version of this episode is a great example of how awful the dub is at translating Nyasu's cuteness. Inuyama Inuko's sleepy head Nyasu is really adorable and endearing, but Jimmy Zoppi's drowsy Meowth manages to be both loud and annoying, all while vomiting out awful slang that nobody would ever use in real life. This episode also has Leon, a character who speaks a lot of French in the Japanese version yet doesn't utter a word of the language in the English dub, walking around with a Pokémon who sounds like the love child of Fat Albert and Yoda. And people still wonder why I prefer the Japanese version to the English dub?
So let's talk about Leon and what he's based on.
Many Western fans have picked up on this "dream within a dream" episode being an homage to the movie Inception, with Leon being named after Leonardo DiCaprio. You can probably find other references to the movie in here as well: for example, the Fira Berries look kind of like the spinning top DiCaprio's character uses as his totem.
Another inspiration, one that most fans in the West would never get, comes from a Japan-only series called Osomatsu-kun. One of the series' most famous characters, Iyami (イヤミ), is a con-artist who claims to be from France. He mixes French words into his dialogue, refers to himself in the first person as Mii (ミー), or "Me," and ends his sentences with the somewhat meaningless zansu (ざんす). Whenever one of his get rich schemes blows up in his face, he strikes a unique pose and cries out Sheh~! (シェー). This pose has become such a well known thing that its Wikipedia article (yes, there's a Wikipedia article on Sheh~!) has a section entitled "Craze and Impact."
In the Japanese version, at least, Leon does all of these same things. The only real difference is the catchphrase: Leon says Sho-eh~! (ショエー) instead of Sheh~! His appearance seems to be based more on Tony Tani (トニー 谷), the comedian on whom Osomatsu-kun artist Akatsuka Fujio modeled Iyami after, rather than Iyami himself, though there are still some similarities. Lupin III may have also been an inspiration, appearance-wise.
I'm sure the fact that Leon has the same name as Hiroshi's Pikachu is just a coincidence.
I'm not surprised the dub didn't pick up on this, though I do wish it would have at least kept Leon's mixing French into his conversation intact. Why does this dub give Burgundy all these extra French lines in the dub but then go and take away all of Leon's? Is there some kind of arbitrary French quota that they're afraid to go over or something?
Oh my God there's like eight million of these in this episode.
This first one's pretty understandable, though:
Leon: "Alright, I have a delightfully dastardly job for you. (worst laugh ever)"
OK, so Leon doesn't actually say "worst laugh ever." HE JUST DOES IT.
Anyway, Japanese Leon has some untranslatable fun with words here. Originally, he says hisashiburi-buri-buririanto na ohshigoto ni naru zansu yo (久しぶりぶりブリリアントな大仕事になるざんすよ). Hisashiburi is basically "it's been a while," and buririanto is the katakana-ized version of "brilliant." As you can see, both those words have buri in them somewhere. What Leon does here is add an extra buri between hisashiburi and buririanto, for no real reason. Maybe it's another one of Iyami's speech quirks?
The dub, obviously, had no way to translate this and opted to have him use alliteration instead.
The very next line!
Meowth: "No good firewood branches anywhere. Folks musta made a lot of fires."
Nyasu doesn't make any guesses about how frequently people make campfires in the Japanese version.
When Meowth first brings Beheeyem to the group, the dub manages to show us an example of just about every pet peeve I've been having about it lately:
Meowth: "Hey twerps~!"
Meowth: "Check out my new Pokémon pal!"
Ash: "Woah Meowth, who's that Pokémon?"
Meowth calling his traveling companions "twerps" when he's supposed to be convincing them that he's on their side now? Check. Ash repeating the eyecatch phrase, again, for no reason at all? Check. Meowth unnecessarily reminding us that he's a Pokémon, and that the other creatures he interacts with are Pokémon as well, all while mispronouncing the word? You'd better believe that's a check.
None of this terrible stuff happens in the Japanese version.
Ash and Iris talk about how spicy Cilan's food is:
Ash: "Woah! Man that's hot."
Iris: "Spoken just like a little kid. Only mature taste buds like mine can appreciate the deliciously spicy flavor."
The translation here is spot-on, but the delivery is not. Iris' Japanese voice actor seems to have had her tongue sticking out in the recording booth to make her sound like she had actually just burnt her tongue, making her harder to understand. Iris' American voice actor, in contrast, just speaks normally.
I also love how Cilan looks so pleased to see his friends suffering so much. He's just smiling while his friends burn themselves on the food that he made for them? What a sadistic SOB.
Later, Officer Jenny bursts into the room and scares our heroes awake:
Cilan: "Are you...going to arrest all of us for sleeping in a hotel without a permit?"
I don't think I've ever been to a hotel that gives out "permits" for staying there. Should I cut Cilan some slack here and just assume that his ridiculous ramblings are caused by him just waking up? Or is "sleeping in a hotel without a permit" actually something that's supposed to make sense?
Now onto the second half! Ash wakes up Pikachu and orders him to use Thunderbolt. As it tries to get free:
Leon: "Stop struggling!"
Originally, Leon didn't have a line here in the Japanese version.
Whenever Japanese people want to imitate aliens, they move their hands up and down their throats to make their voices all wobbly as they say Ware-ware wa uchuujin da (我々は宇宙人だ), or "We are aliens." In this episode, Leon does the same thing, only he replaces ware-ware with "Me."
This comes from 1957's Chikyuu Boueigun (地球防衛軍), released in the U.S. as The Mysterians. The aliens in this movie did the ware-ware thing and, because they were the first aliens to show up in modern Japanese cinema, became their image of what an extraterrestrial is supposed to be. This ware-ware thing is done all the time and can be seen in everything from Softbank commercials to variety comedy shows.
And here's a little six degrees of separation for ya: Tsuchiya Yoshio (土屋嘉男) played the leader of the aliens in Chikyuu Boueigun. He also played the leader of the aliens in Kaijuu Dai Sensou (怪獣大戦争), released in the U.S. as Invasion of Astro-Monster. I'm bringing this up because Kaijuu Dai Sensou is the movie where Godzilla can be seen doing the Sheh~! pose.
Dub Leon only changes his delivery of the line slightly, so much so that I wouldn't be surprised if most people didn't pick up on it. And since we English speakers don't really have a stock alien saying that could be used ("We come in peace" is close, I guess, but not as widespread in the U.S. as Ware-ware wa uchuujin da is in Japan), the dub just kind of made up its own thing.
This next change occurs after our heroes have entered the final dream. As Leon looks down on his opponents from the top of his giant Beheeyem:
Leon: "(laughs) Beheeyem! Smash them like teeny Bug-Types!"
Leon doesn't make a reference to any pokemon types in the Japanese version. He just tells Ohbem to smash Satoshi and his friends.
Leon tries to strike a deal with Meowth:
Leon: "We will be rolling in dough! And now, you will sign this small contract."
Meowth: "After everything you did to me, I wouldn't sign your report card!"
Originally, Nyasu tells Leon that he's got to be joking and then blames him for all the attacks he's had to endure that day. No lame report card references here!
Meowth attacks, and:
Leon: "If that's what you wish...don't be a stranger. Have...fun."
Meowth: "Fun? I'm having a ball."
Leon's lack of French in the English dub really stings during this exchange. In the Japanese version, Leon's final line of the episode is "Au revoir. This is the end." After he collapses, Nyasu responds by saying "Adieu nya." This really could have been translated without any problems, but TPCI's refusal to have Leon speak French in this episode means we got a rather odd "have fun" line instead.
Officer Jenny bids Ash and his friends adieu:
Officer Jenny: "Until we meet again...thanks."
Junsa simply excuses herself from the group in the Japanese version. She doesn't imply that she'll ever see them again like she does in the English version.
Our heroes' story ends with the rare suggestion that these children actually hitch a ride somewhere for a change:
Meowth: "Phooey! I should've asked Officer Jenny to take me back to the Pokémon Center. I'm sure the've got gobs of grub there!"
Nyasu is less selfish here, saying that they should have asked Junsa to take nya-tachi, or "us," back to the Pokemon Center instead of just "me." The part about the Pokemon Center having lots of food isn't in the Japanese version either.
Over in Nimbasa City:
James: "Preparing to hide our train before the number one. Re-routing to terminate experiment."
The way the dub phrases this is a bit unclear, so I thought I'd clarify here. When James says "the number one," he means the first train of the morning. I guess the Unova region's subway is more like Tokyo's in that trains don't run all night?
One more cultural thing to talk about before the end!
Ingo: "Always follow safe driving rules. Point your finger to signal OK."
This whole pointing thing is a reference to pointing and calling, this safety measure that pretty much only people in Japan do. It involves them combining hand gestures with verbal cues to remain alert and decrease the chances of human error. I won't repeat what's said in the Wikipedia article I've linked to, so I'll just add that I actually have seen real world bus drivers and train conductors doing this before. It's kind of neat to see something like this shown in Pocket Monsters even though it doesn't really make sense story-wise.
Final lines of the episode!
Emmet: "I'm well aware of the danger, Ingo. But who would tamper with the subway?"
Ingo: "Whoever it is must be stopped."
So the dub only tells us Ingo's name this one time and doesn't bother to identify Emmet at all. In the Japanese version, both Nobori and Kudari use each other's names several times when talking to each other.
Also, Nobori speaks very formally - masu-form and all that - while Kudari speaks very informally. This little quirk is lost in the dub.
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