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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 029
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 029:  "Fighting Pokemon!  The Big Battle!"
American Episode 128:  "The Punchy Pokémon"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Ebiwara
Japanese Air Date:  October 14th, 1997
American Air Date:  October 15th, 1998
Important Characters:  Anoki (Anthony), Manami (Rebecca), Giant Takada (Giant)

Satoshi sees an Ebiwara running down the road and decides to capture it.  Satoshi's Pikachu isn't able to defeat the fighting-type, but his attempt still manages to impress a girl named Manami.  The young girl approaches Satoshi and asks him to enter the Pokemon Number One Grand Prix (the P-1, for short), a competition that pits fighting-type pokemon against each other.  She hopes that Satoshi can use his battle skills to take on her father, Anoki, hoping that a defeat would bring him back to earth and force him to focus on his family once again.  Satoshi and Takeshi decide to help out, entering their Okorizaru and Ishitsubute respectively.  The Rocket-Dan, who had heard about the competition elsewhere, also decide to enter in order to win the championship belt.  They steal a Sawamura from one of the other participants and enter under as "Giant."  The grand prix begins with a battle between Satoshi's Okorizaru and a Wanriki.  During the battle, Satoshi dives out to save his pokemon, finally earning his pokemon's respect.  As Satoshi continues to plow through the competition with his newly obedient friend, Takeshi and Anoki get knocked out of the competition.  Eventually, Giant is pitted against Satoshi in the finals.  The young trainer is able to thwart Giant's attempt to cheat and comes out on top, winning the championship belt.  After the competition, Anoki asks Satoshi if he'll let him train his Okorizaru for him so he can make him a champion.  Satoshi agrees, confident that his pokemon will continue to train and become stronger.

After the strong run of episodes that we just got through, it's a bit disappointing to hit this...less than stellar offering.  I mean...this episode is good.  It just isn't amazing.

Don't get me wrong - there's a lot to like here.  Like Pikachu's humorous fight with Ebiwara.  Or the Rocket-Dan dressing up as a giant man.  Or the whole boxing motif of this episode.  And Okorizaru finally obeying its trainer.  And Okorizaru leaving. 

Yet at the end of the day, it all boils down to a big fighting tournament.  Now I know I'm in the extreme minority here, but to me, watching pokemon battle each other in a tournament-like setting is really, really boring.  I actually don't watch this show for the battles, so seeing an episode with such a heavy focus on them just makes me anxious for the whole thing to be over so that we can get to an episode with more of a plot.

This episode was pretty hard hit by the new lighting restrictions caused by the Porygon incident.  Like...the people in Japan actually go through and replace all the impact stars in this episode (and there are quite a lot of them) to make them dimmer.

Something else that I think is worth mentioning is that the characters-of-the-day are based on real live fighters.  Anoki is a portmanteau of Antonio Inoki, a Japanese wrestler and mixed martial artist.  Now I'm not sure if the character's dub name is trying to be a reference to anything, but "Anthony" was probably chosen just because it sounded pretty close to his Japanese name. Giant Takada, on the other hand, is based on Shohei Baba (also known as Giant Baba), another famous wrestler in Japan.  The Takada part, which is never actually said in the episode itself but is written out in the Kids Pocket Books Pocket Monsters (check it out here and here), is probably just there so that the lawyers can claim that it's a totally different character in case Mr. Baba decides to get all sue-happy all of a sudden.

The dubbed version has a lot of inconsistent editing going on, especially in the second half of the episode.  They leave in far more Japanese text than they edit out, making it seem like this episode was just rushed out the door or something.  As far as the rest of the episode goes?  Well...I just wanted to say that I had forgotten how much Anthony's voice grated on me.  It's such a put-on, "cartoon voice" that's really disappointing and really kind of brings the rest of the episode down.  Too bad.

Dialogue Edit
Ash starts us off with a random mistranslation:

Ash:  "That's it Pikachu, now jab!  Jab!  Now give it the big uppercut!"

Originally, Satoshi orders Pikachu to give Ebiwara a right straight, not an uppercut.

Music Edit
This one's a bit weird.

When Ebiwara knocks Pikachu out, the lighthearted music that had been playing up until that point continues playing up until the part where Anoki and his pokemon do their victory pose. 

The dub, on the other hand, abruptly cuts the music after Pikachu's knocked out and has the rest of the scene play out without any music whatsoever.  Which actually makes the situation seem a lot more serious and tense than it's supposed to be.

Not sure what the reason for this would be - you'd think that 4Kids would jump at the chance lessen the impact of a violent scene of a main character getting punched - but it's interesting nonetheless.

Paint Edit
On the outside of the gym, 闘魂ジム (Toukon Jimu, or "Fighting Spirit Gym") is replaced by "Fighting Spirit." 

Japanese English

Also...don't you just love how Anoki's gym seems to be in the back of some shady looking gas station?  Poor guy.

Inside, toukon is replaced by "Fighting Spirit Gym."  The opposite should have happened (the sign outside should have said "Fighting Spirit Gym" while the sign on the inside should have simply said "Fighting Spirit"), but whatever.

Japanese English

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
The Rocket-Dan want to sell the prize belt for food.  In Japan, they want hamburg, curry, cake, ice cream, steak, spaghetti, omurice, and cola. 
In the dub, they want honey glazed ham, roast leg of lamb, strawberry jam, sirloin steaks, and chocolate cakes.

Musashi's fantasy, meanwhile, is to invite a bunch of bishounen ("pretty boys") over to have okonomiyaki.  In the dub, she calls those men her "close friends."

Side Note
I'd just like to point out that Giant's cigar didn't get edited out of the dub.

Granted, it's only on-screen for less than second.  But still.

Paint Edits
More of that pesky Japanese writing rears its ugly head.  First up is these banners, all of which say "P-1 Grand Prix" in Japanese.

Japanese English

Later, when Anoki makes his entrance, the words 必勝 ("victory") and ポケピタソP (???) get erased from their banners.

Japanese English

After the commercial break, we see Takeshi's Ishitsubute getting beaten up by Giant's Sawamura.  The banner in this reaction shot gets its text erased.

Japanese English

After Takeshi loses, the banners behind him get their text erased.  The one on the left probably says "victory" (優勝), while the one on the right says "good luck" (がんばれ).

Japanese English

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
After Anthony loses to Giant, he has this to say to his daughter:

Anthony:  "I'm sorry I worried you and your mother so much."
Rebecca:  "Oh daddy..."

In the Japanese version, Anoki simply apologizes for making Manami worry about him.  He doesn't mention her mother at all.

Paint Edit
When Nyasu is explaining his strategy for defeating Anoki, the word ガンバレ ("good luck") gets erased from one of the banners.

Japanese English

Finally, the banners behind Anoki as he's congratulating Satoshi get their text erased.  It says "do your best!" (ファイト).

Japanese English

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Side Note
One of the big complaints we've all heard about the Kanto saga is how Satoshi gives away his pokemon and then never sees them again.  And, to a point, I can understand that.  Fans get attached to certain characters, and when a character says he's coming back for one of them, it's only natural for them to get upset when that promise is broken.  Okorizaru is one of those pokemon that fans get upset over.

The thing with Okorizaru, though, is that Satoshi never said that he was coming back for it!  Really! 

I guess the first thing to look at is the scene toward the end of the episode, when Anoki is congratulating Satoshi for his victory.  In the dub, Anthony says:

Anthony:  "Why don't you let me train it for a while?  I promise to turn it into a real P-1 champion!"

That "for a while" part makes it seem like the whole thing will be temporary, right?  The thing is, the Japanese version doesn't have that part in there; Anoki simply asks Satoshi to "leave it with me" (koitsu o watashi ni azukete kurenai ka?) without any indication of how long he's planning to keep it.

Later, when everyone's outside, the following dialogue (which I translated from the original Japanese version) takes place:

Satoshi:  "Please take care of Okorizaru."
Anoki:  "I promise!  You can leave it to me!"

Manami:  "And I'll make sure father isn't too harsh on it."
Satoshi:  "You keep on winning, OK?  I'm proud to have gotten to know a P-1 champion."

Satoshi:  "Well..."
Manami:  "Goodbye!"

Narrator:  "Satoshi has expressed his feelings to Okorizaru.  While saying goodbye can be tough, cheer up, Satoshi; you'll certainly meet it again someday.  New pokemon are waiting to meet you!" ()

As you can see, the narrator is the only one who even suggests that Satoshi and Okorizaru will ever meet again.  Neither Satoshi nor Anoki make any sort of indication that this transfer is, in any way, temporary.

So if any fan ever goes up to you and tries to claim that Satoshi's a jerk because he broke a promise to come back for Okorizaru, bring up the fact that he never actually made said promise.

The dubbed version of the above dialogue, by the way, is more or less the same, by the way.  The only difference is Rebecca's first line, which makes an allusion to a mother that the Japanese version doesn't make.

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