Old Updates Archive
Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Decisive Battle! The Guren Gym!"
Daimonji attack hits its target before disappearing in a brilliant
flash! When the smoke clears, Satoshi sees that his Pikachu was able to
grab onto the edge of the platform at the last minute and save itself
from falling into the magma! Satoshi realizes that it's pointless to
continue the match so he swallows his pride and throws in the towel.
Later that night, the Rocket trio sneaks into the Guren Gym armed with
ice rocket launchers in hopes of stealing Katsura's Boober for
themselves. When the Fire-Type pokemon does appear, however, the trio
panics and begins haphazardly firing ice rockets all over the place.
heroes are woken up by the noise this causes and rush downstairs to
find that the sudden temperature drop caused by the ice rockets is
cracks to open up in the volcano walls. Magma begins pouring into the
arena so Satoshi and his friends come together to plug up the holes and
stop the magma from filling the arena. Later, Katsura suggests they
hold a rematch
outside near the mouth of the volcano. Satoshi agrees and
before long a battle between Satoshi's Lizardon and Katsura's Boober
begins. Lizardon, motivated by a respect for Katsura's pokemon earned
during the incident in the volcano, gives the battle everything it's
got and eventually defeats Boober with a powerful Seismic Toss attack.
receives the Crimson Badge for Lizardon's efforts and soon sets his
sights back on Tokiwa City, the site of his final gym challenge.
At one point in this week's episode, Katsura thanks Satoshi for helping save his gym. He's about to tell the young Trainer what he'll do to reward him for all his hard work when Satoshi interrupts him with the assumption that Katsura is just going to give him a Crimson Badge like so many of the other Gym Leaders have before him. Katsura kind of does a double take and then informs the young Trainer that no, that's not what he's going to do at all. It's one of my favorite gags in the entire series because it shows the writers owning up to the fact that, yeah, we've kind of been letting Satoshi just cruise through Kanto without actually knowing how to battle, haven't we?
That's not to say that Satoshi emerges from this episode as some great Trainer who suddenly understands how to plan for a battle or how to use his pokemon effectively, either. Satoshi's still kind of a shit Trainer, and Lizardon's actions in this one have almost nothing to do with it respecting Satoshi. Still, it's nice to see the writers acknowledge their shortcomings and take steps, no matter how small they are, to change course and attempt to make up for mistakes made in the past. We get a great battle between Boober and Lizardon in this one and at the end of the day isn't that what draws so many of us to this show?
Unfortunately, the rest of the episode is kind of dragged down by how much time is spent showing everyone carrying rocks around to plug up that big hole in the volcano. Like, I get that they want to show Boober proving itself to Lizardon and set up Satoshi's pokemon getting ready for the battle ahead of it. But did those scenes really have to take up so much of the episode? Wouldn't it have been better if the volcano stuff was all wrapped up before the commercial break so that the entire second half of the episode could be devoted to the rematch?
Luckily, it's easy to ignore the episode's flaws thanks to how gorgeous the whole thing looks. This is the first episode to all its key animation done by Mr. Masaaki Iwane, the animation director that many feel is the best this series has, and in a 2015 issue of the magazine Animage he tells us how he landed this particular gig:
Mr. Iwane will go on to animate some of the franchise's most beautiful looking episodes and I'm so happy he was given this one (and "When Yadon Becomes Yadoran," the other episode he mentions in the above quote) to prove himself. If you don't know who Mr. Iwane is I implore you to look him up because his episodes are some of the best-looking in the franchise. This one is no exception.
For a show that produces 52 episodes a year, having multiple people working on multiple episodes at the same time is the only way you're ever going to meet any of your deadlines. I assume work on "Riddle Me This" wasn't finished when "Volcanic Panic" entered production because there are so many weird rewrites / inconsistencies between the two (the quotes during the flashback to last episode all got rewritten, Blaine's love of riddles gets turned into a love of Dad jokes, etc.) that a lack of access to a finished version of "Riddle Me This" is the only explanation that makes sense.
The narrator in the English version talks waaaay more during the last episode recap than he does in the original. There are also a few weird rewrites:
water was no match for fire, as Ninetails won the first round with its
It won with Fire
Spin, narrator, not Ember.
Japanese narrator simply says that Kyukon defeated Zenigame without
specifying the attack used to do so)
There are also a
number of lines in the recap that were changed from the actual episode:
In the previous
episode this line was "I choose...Magmar!", not "Come out...Magmar!"
And then, a bit
feel 100% soon, Pikachu."
In "Riddle Me
This" the line was "No...we can't give up now."
Neither one of
these rewrites occurred in the Japanese version.
And then, a few minutes
So. The audio commentary for the original DVD release of Pokémon 3 The Movie has these parts where Michael Haigney, the voice director and also one of the head writers for the 4Kids dub, talks about the differences between Western and Japanese storytelling techniques. And, surprise surprise, it's condescending as fuuuuuck.
If you look at the
Team Rocket scenes from this episode I just highlighted above after
reading what Mr.
Haigney said, the rewrite almost sorta-kinda makes sense.
Because for the middle-aged white men who worked on this dub, things
like Jessie and James hanging out underwater and the later scene where
Meowth is dressed up like a TV announcer out of nowhere are these
and illogical things that absolutely require some sort of explanation.
(and, they assume, their audience) don't realize that Jessie and James
are actually just spying on the twerps and that the whole "hiding
underwater with bamboo snorkels sticking out" thing is
common trope in Japanese media, so they decided to "fix" it by making
the scene about
Jessie and James training to be able to withstand the heat of the
Meowth showing up as a TV announcer is just too random, I mean what the hell is that even supposed
be!?, so they attempt to
explain that away by fabricating this whole story about Meowth thinking
creature who lives
inside an active volcano would be really
really excited about winning a "Pokémon
sweepstakes grand prize" from some dumb TV game show. Because that makes way more sense.
I know I'm being overly
hard on a bunch of rewrites that, in the big scheme of things, has
impact on the franchise as a whole. Believe me, I can already hear some
of you typing out your wall of text rebuttals as I write this. But I
think entire scene rewrites like this one are a great illustration of
how 4Kids views their role in the English language production. If
something doesn't make sense to them,
they have no problem saying "fuck it" and just throwing away the
Japanese script in favor of their own version. Unfortunately, their
version rarely ever makes any more sense.
So what you will about The
Pokémon Company International's dub (and believe me, I do), but
at least, to my knowledge, they never rewrite entire scenes wholesale
By the way, Musashi's "Pavlovic
reaction" line from this episode seems to be a fairly famous one among
the Japanese fandom. Meanwhile, the English dub drops a reference to Mt. Vesuvius,
a real-world volcano located in Italy, for some reason.
After Team Rocket's assault
Blaine: "I was on my way to
the lavatory when I heard all the noise. Of course, in a volcano, every
room is a lava-tory. Get it?"
That wasn't really a riddle
as much as it was a lame Dad joke, Misty.
Originally, Katsura goes "I
go rumble-rumble up top but blub-blub down below. What am I? I'm
something that's going on in the underground Gym? Ding ding ding ding
ding that's right!" (上でグラグラ下でボーボーな～に？それは地下
のジムで何かが起こっているピンポーン♪) Kasumi then wonders why Katsura's answering his
own riddles like that.
Blaine gets frozen by Team
Rocket's Freeze Blaster:
Blaine: "Ice in a volcano!?
That's freezer burn!"
Ash is right! Blaine tells
riddles, not jokes!
In the Japanese version
Katsura asks "Who is an old man whose hair suddenly turns white?"
(いきなり白髪おじいさんな～に？) Satoshi then tells Katsura that no, actually he was
only just frozen.
The third riddle!
Blaine: "What's going to
happen to this Gym if it's filled with ice?"
While the riddle itself is
more or less the same in both versions ("What happens when you fire off
cold missiles inside a hot cave?" (あつあつ洞窟に冷え冷えミサイルな～に？)), Satoshi's
answer is quite different; originally he responds "tempura ice
cream " (アイスの天ぷら！).
After Team Rocket blasts
Blaine: "Oh no! Lava's
starting to burst through the cracks! I'm afraid it's only a matter of
minutes till the volcano blows."
Blaine gives a time limit
of "a matter of minutes" while Katsura doesn't say anything about how
soon the volcano will erupt in the original.
(*most nerd voice ever*
Also, Blaine, you should
be using the word "magma" instead since the molten rock you're
referring to is still inside the volcano *pushes glasses further up
A Paras would
probably burst into flames if it went anywhere near the volcano! Whoops!
"And Starmie, you can help them all to keep cool while they're working
Go~!." (calls Staryu)
The Starmie / Staryu
mix-up doesn't happen in the Japanese version
Later, right after
the great fake-out with Ash asking Blaine to just hand him a Volcano
"I'm gonna win this time! And pretty soon I'll be able to join the
Satoshi doesn't make
a reference to the region's end-game in the original here; instead, he
tells himself that he'll definitely win the badge this time
Up at the mouth of the volcano:
"Since my Gym has been wrecked, would you object if we held our match
right here on the volcano? It's over the lava pit where I first
This isn't a rewrite
or a mistranslation or anything, but the choice to have Blaine say
"discovered" instead of, say, "found" (which is what he says in the
Japanese version) could lead to some people misinterpreting his line to
mean that Blaine's saying he discovered the Magmar species as a whole.
That's not what he's saying, though; in both versions, the Gym Leader
simply found a
Boober inside the volcano there
on Guren Island.
It's actually a
really well-done edit, especially considering how this shot, unlike
of the other ones 4Kids edits, isn't just a still sign in the
background but is instead an animated character that involves actual
There's also a little
sound effect that plays each time the attack changes shape in the
Japanese version. The dub doesn't bother to remove this effect,
however, so in
the English dub there's this weird little sound effect that plays twice
in this shot for apparently no reason.
I guess this is as
good a time as any to bring up how the Daimonji attack is based on the
Japanese Daimonji Gokuzan Okuribi, a
festival held in Kyoto every August in which a giant 大 symbol is lit up
to signal the end of summer. This gigantic bonfire is lit on the side
of the mountains located in the Kyoto basin and can be seen from all
over the former Japanese capital.
Back in the Red & Green days, basing the
game's "ultimate Fire-Type attack" on this real-world bonfire that's as
big as three Olympic swimming pools made a lot of sense! And for the
Japanese gamers to which these games were originally targeted, it's a
reference that was instantly recognizable.
audiences, however, "Fire Blast" is just a powerful Fire-Type attack
that looks like a weird star, sorta-kinda? Most English-speaking
don't know about its origins as a festival in Kyoto or that it's shaped
like the symbol for "big," and so while the fun the animators of this
episode have with the symbol going from "big" to "medium" to "small" is
something that instantly clicks with Japanese viewers, it's something
that doesn't make
sense for the rest of us. 4Kids therefore decided to get rid of it.
I'm usually against
edits to Japanese text because they rarely actually help make the show
easier to understand for Western audiences but I completely understand
did what they did this time.
"Charizard! Let's show Magmar your aerial submission attack!"
A lot of fans
probably heard this line and thought "Aerial Submission? Well that's not a Pokémon
attack!" And usually, I'd chalk this up as yet another example of 4Kids
not knowing enough about the video games this show's based on. But! In
the Japanese version of this scene, Satoshi actually does say "Alright!
Just like that use your aerial submission technique to make it
In other words, this
"commanding a non-attack" thing is present in the original as well.
Later, we get one
"And now I have one last riddle for you, Ash."
Unlike every other
one of Katsura's riddles, the Japanese version of this one is actually
a really tricky one to translate! In the original, the badge that
Satoshi's after's called the Crimson Badge, right? Well, Katsura asks Kureta no ni son so suru mono na~nda?
(くれたのに損をするものな～んだ), which I'm going to translate as "I'm something you can claim but also
abandon. What am I?" To arrive at the answer, Katsura breaks
it down for us: "kureta no ni
son...kureta no ni zon...kureta no mi zon...korezo! Kurimuzon Bajji!"
In other words, the answer to the riddle is "Crimson Badge" because Kurimuzon sounds sorta-kinda like kureta no ni son.
An English equivalent would
be something like "I'm
something you can claim but also abandon. What am I?", followed by
"Claim but also abandon...claim also abandon...clim so don...crim so
on...Crimson!" It's a riddle whose answer is forced as hell, which is
why Satoshi and the others react the way they do.
The English dub changes this terrible,
terrible riddle into something that makes a little more sense.
On the way off the island:
"Gee, what was I so mad at you about anyway?"
Not a big deal, but
originally Takeshi tells Kasumi "Kasumi you told us, remember?"
(カスミ、言ってたじゃないか？) instead of "don't you remember"?, indicating that
Takeshi heard about the events of the
first episode from Kasumi at some point off-screen. The English dub
makes it sound like he was there with them when it all went down which,
of course, is not true.
Narrator: "And so, Ash hurries
on to Viridian City, eager to compete for a green Earth Badge.
Meanwhile, Misty is seeing red, and that's sure to make Brock blue.
Orange you dying to find out what happens next?"
There's no color wordplay
in the Japanese narration; instead he talks about how it had seemed
like Lizardon had finally started to listen to Satoshi but that that's
not the case. He then tells us that Satoshi and his friends are on
their way to Tokiwa City.
This page was last updated on July 18th, 2017
| Dogasu's Backpack is a
fan-created website Pocket Monsters (Pokémon) is ©
1995-2017 Nintendo / Creatures Inc. /
GAME FREAK, Inc. / Pokémon USA / 4Kids Entertainment
infringement of copyrights is meant by the creation of the web site.
Found an error? Spot an omission? Please help me keep this page current and error-free by e-mailing me with a description of the error or omission.