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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 050
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 050:  "Who Gets to Keep Togepi!?"
American Episode 147:  "Who gets to keep Togepi!?"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Ptera
Japanese Air Date:  June 25th, 1998
American Air Date:  March 27th, 1999
Important Places:  Guren Island (Cinnabar Island)

While stopping by a Pokemon Center one day, Satoshi and his friends receive a message from Dr. Orchid telling them about a Pokemon Bestiary upgrade.  Satoshi gets data on new pokemon added to his device and then notices that the egg they picked up at Gramdpa Canyon is about to hatch soon.  The Rocket-Dan steal the egg and return with it to a cabin out in the forest where Nyarth watches over it as if he was its mother.  The next morning, Satoshi and the others catch up to the Rocket trio and, after a short battle, manage to take it back.  As soon as the egg is back in Satoshi's hands, it hatches into Togepi!  Satoshi, Takeshi, Kasumi, and Nyarth all present reasons why they should be the ones who get to keep Togepi and eventually decide to hold a tournament to settle the matter.  In the first round, Nyarth defeats Takeshi's Iwark by using buckets of water to weaken the Rock-Type pokemon.  In the second round Satoshi defeats Kasumi's Koduck by having his Fushigidane tickle it until it can no longer battle. In the final round, Satoshi's Pikachu easily defeats Nyarth with a Thundershock attack. Satoshi wins the tournament but Togepi seems to want to go with Kasumi regardless, so the Pokemon Bestiary explains that Togepi views Kasumi as its mother since Kasumi was the first thing it saw when it hatched. Kasumi gets a new friend as our heroes head toward Guren Island, the home of the next Gym Battle.

So my first impression of this after not watching it for so long is "wow, this episode feels really, really long." It's not any longer than any of the other episodes in the series and it doesn't drag on or get boring or anything, but for some reason it seems to be a bit longer than a half hour. I guess there's just so much more crammed into this 22 minute of television than I'm used to? Am I the only one who feels this way?

The big thing going on in this episode is Togepi, an annoying pokemon who a lot of people see as being the reason Kasumi kind of chills the fuck down from this point onward. Her violent outbursts will start to occur less frequently now that she has a child to take care of but then again the same thing happens to everyone else in this show so I guess Togepi doesn't get all the credit. At least Togepi provides us with a nice, in-universe reason for why Kasumi calms down; things like Japanese writing disappearing from the show or everyone trading in their onigiri for hamburgers and fries don't ever get anything more than "because AMURIKA."

The scenes in the cottage with the Rocket-Dan were a nice glimpse at the trio when they're off-duty, so to speak. We almost never see Musashi and Kojirou sans gloves and boots or doing domestic-y things like cooking so I thought that was a nice change of pace. I question why Nyarth is suddenly obsessed with Togepi seeing as how he never showed any signs of affection toward it before (and never will again), but the whole thing is played for laughs anyway so it's easy enough to dismiss, I suppose.

I feel like we've had a lot of tournaments lately so I wasn't super thrilled about Satoshi suggesting they decide who gets to keep Togepi with a mini tournament but all the battles in this one were great so I guess I shouldn't complain. And kudos to episode writer Hideki Sonoda for remembering that Satoshi and Kasumi haven't battled since the Hanada Gym! It's a shame he went to the overused Koduck gag again but other than that the tournament part of this episode was a lot more fun than it could have been.

I also think it's fun to think what would have happened if Nyarth had won the tournament and Togepi had ended up with the Rocket-Dan instead. It most certainly would have existed purely as a joke pokemon, popping up during the motto the way Sonansu does and Metronome-ing the trio away at just the wrong moment (so kind of like what it already does in Jouto, but more often?), and also maybe it wouldn't have been as annoying? Of course this show would never have given the villains of the show a pokemon used to promote Gold & Silver but it's still fun to think about.

This episode helped me realize what it is about Veronica Taylor's performance as Ash that I don't like, other than the fact that she's not Rika Matsumoto, of course. It's that Ms. Taylor has all these voices for Ash - angry Ash, happy Ash, sad Ash, etc. - and yet we rarely ever see any variations among any of them. Like, what if Ash is angry but is also a little bit annoyed? Use the
standard angry Ash voice. What if Ash is only a little bit angry? Whip out that same "standard angry Ash" voice and call it a day. What if Ash is very, very angry? Standard angry Ash voice. The whole performance is very broad, and while I know this lack of subtlety is standard in a lot of American cartoons, it's still sad to see what little nuance Satoshi has to him get lost in translation due to the "one voice fits all" acting that this dub employs.

Togepi keeps its Japanese voice, which really makes 4Kids' job that much easier considering how it'll be in pretty much every single episode for the next few years.

Paint Edit
The professor's name on the message he sends to our heroes is erased for the dub.


Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
Professor Oak tells Ash about the new Pokédex upgrade:
Professor Oak:  "Well, now you can get details on all the latest Pokémon discoveries."
 Ash:  "Wow! How can I get it?"
 Professor Oak:  "Just put your Pokédex into that slot and I'll do it."
The "and I'll do it" part at the end there isn't in the Japanese version; originally Dr. Orchid just tells Satoshi to put his Pokemon Bestiary in the machine to get the upgrade.

A bit later:
Professor Oak:  "Once upgraded, your Pokédex will have an updated database and even a new voice." 
Apparently, as of this episode, Eric Stuart takes over the role of the Pok
édex from Nicholas James Tate. I'm not sure what went on behind the scenes to cause this change but this Pokédex upgrade here gives 4Kids the perfect opportunity to make the switch over.
This line about the machine's new voice doesn't exist in the Japanese version since the voice there doesn't change; Miki Shinichirou will continue providing the Pokemon Bestiary's voice all the way up to the end of Jouto.

Professor Oak signs off:
Professor Oak:  "OK, no time to lose. Go capture more Pokémon and collect some new badges too."
Ash:  "Professor, we're on our way right now." 
There's an untranslatable Japanese pun here originally that the dub is able to ignore pretty easily. Dr. Orchid tells Satoshi to Anmari fura-fura shinai de, bajji no hou mo bacchiri atsumerun ja zo (あんまりフラフラしないで、バッジのほうもバッチリ集めるんじゃぞ), which means "Don't waste any more time and make sure you collect some more badges too!" The take-away from this is that the word for "badge" (bajji) and "make sure" (bacchiri) sound very similar to each other. Ishizuka Unshou, Dr. Orchid's voice actor, even makes sure to place emphasis on the word bacchiri to make the pun even more obvious.

Satoshi responds to the professor's request with Bajjiri makasete oite yo (バッジリ任せておいてよ), or "Leave it up to me (to make sure I get them)!" In this sentence, Satoshi combines the words bajji and bacchiri to make up the non-word bajjiri. Satoshi, proud with himself, holds up a peace sign.

Luckily for 4Kids there's no visual component to this pun so they were able to just ignore it and call it a day.

Paint Edit
The sign on the restaurant our heroes are at gets its text erased. Originally it said Family Restaurant Koiking (ファミリーレストランコイキング).

It's already been established that Koiking aren't very meaty, so what is this restaurant serving then? The worst fish steaks known to man?

Click on each image to view a larger version.
Dialogue Edit
The Rocket trio set their sights on the egg:
Meowth:  "Ya hear that? They're hatching a new Pokémon!"
James:  "I think he said a DragonAIR."
Jessie:  "No no, he said an AERodactyl."
Meowth:  "Whatever it is we gotta get our hands on that egg."
In the Japanese version Nyarth wonders if the pokemon that's about to hatch from the egg will be a legendary pokemon (伝説のポケモン). Remember, this is still Generation I; their definition of what makes a pokemon "legendary" was wildly different from what we think of when we hear the word today. Kojirou wonders if it'll be something like a Hakuryu (which I guess is a legendary, sorta-kinda?) and Musashi says that no, it'll be a Ptera.

4Kids really got lucky, what with the two pokemon being shown having similar names and all. What would they had done if Nintendo of America had decided to go with Ptera and Dragyn, like they had apparently planned to do in the beginning? What kind of pun would they have had to come up with then?

I also wonder how the non-English dubs handled this scene.

Side Note
The Rocket trio dresses up like egg saleswomen:
Team Rocket:  "We kick up our legs...so you will buy our eggs."
If you're thinking that this is weird and doesn't make any sense and therefore must be some obscure Japanese reference, then I've got good news for you: you're right!

In the Japanese version the Rocket trio introduce themselves as the Misennota Egg Sellers (ミソネタ卵売り), which is a parody of an old song from 1951 called The Minnesota Egg Seller (ミネソタの卵売り) by singer Teruko Akatsuki (暁テル子). It's a reference so obscure that I'm sure most Japanese people, much less the rest of us, would have no idea what the hell is going on. There must have been a lot of old people working on this show at the time or something.

You can watch a video of the song here in which Ms. Akatsuki is wearing an outfit kind of similar to what Musashi and Kojirou are wearing in this episode. And here's a much more recent, better quality version of the song. I challenge you to listen to this song all the way through and then not have it stuck in your head for the rest of the day; as far as I'm concerned it can't be done.

The dub has Eric Stuart and Rachel Lillis do the best...I dunno, non-descript East European?...accent they could muster.

Paint Edit
One of the eggs Kasumi picks up has Suka (スカ), or "Sorry, Try Again" written on it. 4Kids erases this and replaces it with a frowny face.


Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
Meowth chows down on a bowl of rice while holding Togepi's egg:
James:  "Still holding that egg?"
 Meowth:  "Of course I am. If I put down my beautiful egg it'll cool off and it won't hatch."
Originally Kojirou scolds Nyarth for holding onto the egg during meal time. James doesn't seem to be as much of a stickler for table manners as Kojirou is.

In the bath:
Meowth:  "While you and I share a nice hot soak, I'm going to tell you a bathtime story. Hmm...once upon a time..."
Originally Nyarth says Kata made tsukatte 100 kazoeru nyaa! Hitotsu, futatsu, mittsu...(肩まで浸 かって100数えるニャー!ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ...), or "Let's soak shoulder-deep in the water and count to 100 nya~! One, two, three..." It's a phrase that's often said to children to teach them the proper way to take a bath.

This page on Wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining it, but for those of you who don't want to take the time to click on the link, in Japan you take a shower using soap and shampoo first and then you enter a hot bath. The idea is that the shower gets rid of all the dirt and grime you've accumulated over the day so that when you enter the 108 degree Fahrenheit / 42 degree Celsius bathwater you're already clean. Once in the water, you can enjoy soaking in a hot, relaxing bath.

A lot of people tend to just skip the whole soaking in the hot bath part altogether, but most people in Japan, it seems, tend to follow this routine when they're children.

So anyway, you're meant to soak in the bathtub for at least 100 seconds which is where this phrase comes from.

Right before going to sleep:
Meowth:  "Good night, little egg. Time for us to go sleepy."
James:  "I never realized Meowth could be so..."
Jessie:  "Revolting!"
Here, Kojirou says Nyaasu ni an'na shumi ga atta to wa... (ニャースにあんな趣味があったとは...), or "Who knew Nyarth had that kind of hobby?" Musashi responds by saying Shumi ka~!? (趣味か~!?), or "Hobby!?"

After the commercial break, our heroes argue about who should keep Togepi:
Misty: "It's obvious Togepi has made the right choice."
Ash: "No fair. I found it, so it's mine."
Misty: "Well, maybe you should have taken better care of it."
Ash: "But you never took care of it!"
The first half of this exchange is more or less what's said in the Japanese version but the second half is quite different. Originally Kasumi tells Satoshi that while he is the one who picked up the egg he didn't do the responsible thing and take it to the police box like he should have (でも交番に届けてないじゃない?). Satoshi fires back by saying that Togepi isn't something that just gets turned in to a lost and found (落し物じゃないだろう).

I guess this got changed because most Americans are unfamiliar with police boxes? And also because 4Kids felt like it?

Side Note

During Nyarth's battles, he only ever uses human speech when he's acting as Nyarth the Pokemon Trainer; when he's acting as Nyarth the Pokemon he only ever says "Nyaa." The English dub, on the other hand, has Meowth speaking human language the whole time.

Paint Edit
The sign over the water buckets that say Shoukayou (消火用), or "In Case of Fire," gets erased.
Click on each image to view a larger version.

Side Note
I'm kind of surprised 4Kids had Meowth say "Meowth never says die!" since the d-word is supposedly taboo in this series.

Meowth's "The Absolute-Victory-Drench-With-Water-Attack" was originally called the Nyaasu Hissatsu Mizu Bukkake Kougeki (ニャース必殺水ぶかっけ攻撃), which pretty much means the exact same thing as what 4Kids translated it to.

Also, bukkake is a real Japanese word that actually has legitimate uses outside of the porn industry, FYI.

Dialogue Edit
Brock complains about Meowth's victory:
Brock: "Hey, throwing water is cheating!"
Meowth: "I am merely a parent fighting for its child. And I'm gonna to win this tournament."
Another play on words!

Nyarth says Ko o omou oya no omoi wa mizu-mizushii no nyaa (子を思う親の想いは水々しいのニャー), or "The memories of a parent who thinks about its children are fresh." The pun here is that the word I translated rather awkwardly as "fresh" (mizu-mizushii (瑞々しい)) has the word mizu, or "water," in it. Y'know, because Nyarth just threw water on Iwaku to win the battle?

Hey, I never said it was a particularly good pun.

Finally, Meowth gets defeated by Pikachu:
Meowth: "I lost so fast I'm a little shocked."
Nyarth says Koban goshi wa denki no nagare ga ii nyaa~ (小判ごしは電気の流れがいいニャ~), or "The well-polished coin on my head really conducts electricity well nyaa~," alluding to the fact that Pikachu aimed directly for his koban. 4Kids doesn't refer to Meowth's coin at all.
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