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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 009
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 009:  "The Pokemon Ensured-Victory Manual"
American Episode 109:
  "The School of Hard Knocks"

Pokemon Dare Da?  Karakara
Japanese Air Date:  May 27th, 1997
American Air Date:  September 18th, 1998
Important Places:  Pokemon Seminar (Pokémon Tech)
Important Characters:  Jun (Joe), Yuutou Seiyo (Giselle) <>Satoshi-tachi decide to stop for a tea break!  As

Satoshi is sent to gather fire wood, he encounters a young boy named Jun being bullied by the students of an elitist school known as the Pokemon Seminar.  The young trainer chases them away and then talks with Jun.  He learns that the school is a way for rich students to qualify for the Pokemon League without having to travel around to collect badges.  Our heroes are eventually brought to the Pokemon Seminar campus and are told about the head of the class, Seiyo.  Later, Jun makes some remarks about conventional pokemon trainers that upsets Kasumi, so she challenges Jun to a real battle.  The young student thinks that his Utsudon, being a grass-type, should have no problem against Kasumi's Starmie since it always wins in the simulators, but Kasumi emerges as the victor despite its type disadvantage.  At that time, Seiyo appears and defeats Kasumi's water-pokemon with Golone, a rock-type.  Seiyo then begins to mock Satoshi, laughing at the fact that he only has three pokemon and assumes that the Gym Badges he had gotten were mere flukes.  This angers both Satoshi and Pikachu, so the young trainer challenges her to a battle.  Seiyo's Karakara goes up against Satoshi's Pikachu, and Seiyo assumes that she has an advantage over the statistically weaker Pikachu.  However, she's defeated when the mouse pokemon resorts to non-electric modes of attack.  After watching the battle, Jun realizes that calculating stats and type advantages isn't everything there is to pokemon, so he decides to leave the school and start his own pokemon journey.

I really like this episode a lot.  The idea of an institution designed to bypass the whole "traveling around to get badges" thing is a plausible one, and the anime handles it in a way that's entertaining without being too preachy.  It's also a great episode to show how much the series has progressed...while it's only been nine episodes since the series started, the leaps and bounds the show has made in the way the characters interact and the the way episodes are structured is way ahead of anything we saw in those first episodes.  The show has finally found its groove, and I couldn't be happier.

This is also the one and only episode to actually mention numbered levels.  The "do levels exist in the anime?" question has been asked repeatedly ever since this episode aired in the US in 1998.  Just remember that this is a filler episode from early in the series and that whatever they say in this one episode doesn't undo the hundreds of episodes where levels are ignored altogether.

There's a lot of Japanese writing throughout this episode, so you know 4Kids put their paint editors to work.  Some of the edits stick out like a sore thumb because of how bright they are in comparison to everything else, but some of the others show a bit of creativity on 4Kids' part.

Cut-4 sec.
After the argument that begins the episode, we see Pikachu pop its head up, say Pikachu, and then the scene ends with the little Looney Tunes iris-out effect.  And then we see the episode's title screen.  That's it, right? 

Wrong.  4Kids takes out this four-second shot of Kasumi hitting Takeshi over the head with a log and makes up for the lost footage by having Takeshi's words before the iris-out effect last four seconds longer.  If you're watching the dub, you can tell 4kids starts repeating footage because the background sort of jumps at the point where the footage is repeated.

So why is Kasumi hitting Takeshi in the first place?  Well, in the Japanese version, Takeshi's lines before the iris-out is something along the lines of "The three travelers, having lost their way, are on the way to Kuchiba City.  Will they ever make it there?  To be continued!"  At that point, Kasumi hits him and tells him that the show only just started.

Since the dialogue was changed for the dub, it wouldn't have made sense for Misty to hit Brock over the head, so it was removed.

Paint Edit

We get quite a few paint edits in this episode.  First up is Takeshi's tea cup, which is changed into a (brightly colored) can of prune juice.  The text on the cup in the Japanese version has a bunch of pokemon names on it (Dodo, Hakuryuu, Lizardon, and Kentauros).

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

Then, Otsukimi Yama no Waki Mizu (Mt. Moon Spring Water) is replaced with a picture of Mt. Moon from a few episodes back.

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

The note that Kasumi just happens to have in her pocket about the Pokemon Seminar (doncha' just love plot conveniences?) has a lot of Japanese on it. 

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

So what 4Kids does is erase it all (of course), put a black-and-white picture of the school at the top of the paper, and put some blurred-out French on the bottom.

Interestingly enough, amidst all the Japanese text erasing that's going on in this episode, the text on the upperclassman's book is left as-is.

Jun's picture of Seiyo has a little note from her in the upper-right hand corner of the picture.  The kanji part on the right is 優藤聖代 (Yuutou Seiyo..."Yuutou" is her last name), and the katakana on the left is Jun's name.  Why Seiyo is one of the only people in the entire series who gets a last name and kanji is a mystery.  Anyway, that arrow-looking thing in the middle is actually something called an Ai-Ai-Gasa ("Love Love Umbrella").  Think of it as a Japanese version of a heart with an arrow through it, meaning the note Jun's scrawled on the photo is basically saying that he and Seiyo are an item.

(Thanks to Yamato-san and Sketch over at PokeAni for helping me with the kanji on that one)

The note was erased by 4Kids, shielding American kids from Jun's warped view of reality.

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
The Rocket-Dan's little dialogue before the commercial break talked a lot about sakura (cherry blossom petals), but they're talking too quickly for me to even begin to make sense of what they're saying.  But that's one reason you see cherry blossom petals fall in that one shot with Nyasu.

Paint Edit
Right after the commercial break, there's a sign at the top of the door that says Toreeningu Shitsu ("Training Room").  In the dub, they replaced the text with five PokeBalls, and they light up the way the lights on a hotel elevator light up.

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

Sound Effect Edit
For some reason, 4Kids adds this weird computer noise in the background during the scene before Jun battles on the simulation.  The sound's not there in the Japanese version.

Paint Edit
On the lower-left hand corner of the simulation (which I really like, because it looks like the Game Boy game), right below the Utsudon, there's a little bit of Japanese text that reads Happa Katta ("Razor Leaf").  4Kids got rid of this text by adding some hit point bar or something to cover it up...the thing is, there's already a hit point bar at the top-left of the screen.  I guess they just wanted to come up with something (I'll bet they were tired of reconstructing scenes by this point in the episodes) and that was the best they could do.

Japanese English

Click on each image for a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
Now this just sounds flat-out corny:

Giselle:  "There are some things you just can't learn in school...and thats a good lesson"

Man oh man, that line reeks.  And the delivery doesn't help, either.

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