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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region
Japanese Episode 064
Episode Stats:   

Japanese Episode 064: "The Barrierd of the Pokemon Circus"
English Episode 209: "It's Mr. Mimie Time"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Barrierd (Japanese), Jynx (English)
Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Lecture: Betobeton
Japanese Air Date: September 24th, 1998
American Air Date: September 27th, 1999
Important Characters: Atsuko (Stella), Mimie (Bari-chan)

Satoshi and his friends are on the road back to Masara Town when they run into an invisible wall created by a Barrierd...!? Satoshi is about to capture the Psychic-Type pokemon when a woman named Atsuko shows up and begs him to let her catch it instead. She explains that she runs a Pokemon Circus nearby and that the Barrierd she uses for the show has become lazy lately. Her plan is to capture a second Barrierd so it can act as a rival to her first Barrierd, eventually motivating it to get back to work. Takeshi, however, thinks he has a better plan - let's just dress Satoshi up as a Barrierd instead! Satoshi puts on a Barrierd costume and is walking onto the stage when the Rocket-Dan appear, mistake him for a real Barrierd, and capture him in a net! He escapes a short time later and returns to his house to find that the wild Barrierd he had encountered earlier has somehow become friends with his mother! Later, the Rocket-Dan return to the circus, this time intent on stealing all its pokemon. The wild Barrierd, who Satoshi's mother has nicknamed "Bari-chan," creates a number of invisible walls that stop the Rocket-Dan in their tracks. Atsuko's Barrierd steps in to help and before long the Rocket-Dan is sent blasting off again. Now that Atsuko's Barrierd has gotten out of its slump our heroes return to Satoshi's house where they welcome Bari-chan as the newest member of the family.

Eight badges have been gathered so you know what that means, right? Wait...we don't, actually? This is our first time doing this and so we're just making things up along as we go? Well, let's just kind of do random shit for a few months until we're ready to start the Pokemon League because sure why not?

Kanto has its fair share of problems but one of the things I really liked about this part of the series was how the period between the final badge and the Pokemon League played out. We get a bunch of episodes of our heroes just hanging out, training every now and then but mostly just taking some time off from walking around the Kanto region on foot all these months to stay at home. If you look at a modern-day Pocket Monsters series it seems like Satoshi can't spend five minutes in his mom's presence without rushing out to his next adventure so seeing him not treat his mom like complete shit for a change is a real treat.

This episode's main story about a lazy Barrierd that has to be motivated off its butt by a rival Barrierd is alright, I guess, but the highlight of this episode for me is watching watching Satoshi's ditzy mom fawn over a mime pokemon for who knows what reason. I'm not sure why a Barrierd of all pokemon was chosen to be the family servant but I think we can all be thankful that at least they didn't pick a Rougela to fill that role instead.

Lizardon is interesting to me in this episode. The pokemon still doesn't obey Satoshi and so a lot of fans interpret that as the TV series' way of tackling the "pokemon over level X won't obey you" game mechanic. But the way it works in the games is that all pokemon obey you if you collect eight Gym Badges, no matter what. But that's obviously not the case here. Having Lizardon suddenly become obedient now that Satoshi has eight pieces of metal pinned to his jacket instead of seven would have been clunky as hell to implement and so we get about another year or so of disobedient Lizardon to look forward to instead. I think the problem could have been solved if the final gym was handled differently - have Lizardon watch Satoshi do something courageous during the Gym Battle to finally make it respect its Trainer - but the all-for-naught Mewtwo hype ate up screentime that could have been used for that instead. Oh well.

Speaking of Mewtwo, it continues to exist, I guess? ...Hooray? This episode was probably going to air in late June if it weren't for Pokemon Shock and the four-month hiatus it caused and so I guess the idea was to just cram Mewtwo in anywhere they could. Unfortunately, the show never bothers to wrap up any of this Mewtwo stuff in the series itself so anyone who watches this show without having also watched Mewtwo Strikes Back (I'm sure these people exist, somewhere!) would probably see this whole Mewtwo thing as an awkwardly introduced nothing plot that was dropped as soon as it was brought up.

Barrierd is renamed "Mr. Mime" for the English version of the games which probably seemed like innocent enough name change at the time but is something that ended up causing trouble once gendered pokemon actually became a thing in Generation 2. "How can there be a female Mr. Mime?" fans ask, unaware that the character's original name didn't have any gender identifiers in it at all and that the whole mess was caused by Nintendo of America's short-sighted (and completely pointless) name change. While 4Kids can't be blamed for that particular screw-up, they can be held accountable for misspelling the Pokémon's name in the episode's title screen.

It's Mr. Mimie Time

This is also the first episode of the dub to feature music from the Japanese version of Mewtwo Strikes Back. 4Kids, if you remember, bragged that they "...rescored the entire movie with all new music that would better reflect what American kids would respond to." And yet that same music, that music that American kids apparently wouldn't respond to, is allowed to enter children's' ears when it's played in the TV series.

No, it doesn't make any sense to me either.

Dialogue Edit
After the title screen:
Narrator: "Ash, Misty, and Brock are heading back to Pallet Town to find out more about the Pokémon League from the hometown expert, Professor Oak."
Dr. Orchid isn't mentioned at all in the Japanese version. The narrator just mentions that our heroes are going back to Masara Town.

I'm not saying the change is a bad one or anything. And the line's not wrong, of course, since going to go see Professor Oak about the Pok
émon League is indeed what they're doing. But the fact that his name's not in the Japanese script for this episode at all means that 4Kids had to have been thinking about either the previous episode or the next episode in order to know to even put that in there in the first place. Which is actually really interesting considering how 4Kids usually had a bad case of tunnel vision.

Stella: "My name is Stella, and I'm the ringmaster of this circus."
Ash: "Cool!"
Brock: "You must really love Pokémon so we have a lot in common."
Originally Takeshi says how amazing it is that Atsuko doesn't just work for the circus but that she's actually the one in charge of the whole operation. Brock, on the other hand, delivers this weird non-sequitor about her really loving Pokémon.

What's up with that Mr. Mime?
Brock: "Seems kinda lazy."
Misty: "Looks like a total slob."
Pikachu: "Pika!"
Stella: "I'm afraid that's my fault.
Brock: "Huh?"
Stella: "I wanted it to be perfect so I trained it hard night and day. Yesterday it quit right in the middle of a show and now it won't listen to me at all."
Ash: "You were too tough so it just gave up."
Stella: "Yeah..."
The dub pretty much has Stella say the exact opposite of what Atsuko said originally.

In the Japanese version Atsuko states that she was too easy on her Barrierd and that it became selfish and self-entitled as a result. Before long it lost interest in the practice and stopped listening to what she had to say. Satoshi sums up what Atsuko says by bluntly saying that the way she raised it is to blame.

The Japanese version sets up this idea that Atsuko's a big softie so it's more shocking / funny when she goes all crazy later on the episode. "If she thinks this is 'too soft' then I'd hate to see what she considers strict," we're meant to ask ourselves. Later on in the episode Atsuko actually comes to realize that she was too strict after all and finally gets where she went wrong.


This nuance is completely lost in the dub. We know she's a strict perfectionist right off the bat and so the joke about her being too lenient is completely destroyed. She also never has any revelation about herself like she does in the Japanese version since she already knows what her problem is before the episode even begins.

Brock hatches a plan:
Brock: "Stella I'm gonna get you a new Mr. Mime today."
Stella: "Do you think you really can, Brock?"
Brock: "I guarantee it."
Stella: "Can I count on you?"
Brock: "They don't call me 'Brock the Rock' for nothing. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!"
Misty: "They must be talking about the rocks in his head."
The Japanese version of the "Brock the Rock" line is "I'm as reliable as a big ship" (大船に乗ったつもりでいて下さい!). It's a Japanese expression that means that you can leave everything to me the way you could with a large ship (versus, say, a smaller one). Kasumi responds by asking if Takeshi's OK.

Meanwhile, at Team Rocket headquarters:
Jessie: "Sir, please forgive us for what happened at the Viridian Gym."
James: "It was a terrible mistake."
Meowth: "It won't affect my year-end bonus, will it?"
Giovanni: "How dare you waste my time!? I want rare Pokémon, not your pathetic excuses!"
Nyarth doesn't (rather rudely) ask his boss about his bonus the way Meowth does. Sakaki's complaint is different as well: in the original he berates the trio for wasting his time with updates about every little thing. If they're going to bother calling him, he implies, at least only do so when they have something important to say.

After the phone call ends:
Giovanni: "They can search the entire universe but they'll never find a Pokémon as rare as you."
Sakaki's original line is "You are the ultimate pokemon. With you around..."

(Also, Giovanni, there are plenty of Pokémon rarer than Mewtwo, but whatever)

Side Note

So let's talk about the Rocket-Dan's Ii kanji catchphrase.

Ii Kanji

Ya na kanji can be translated as "This feels bad!" or "I've got a bad feeling about this" or any number of similar phrases. It's usually rendered in the dub as "Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!" or something similar.

Ii kanji
can be translated as "This feels good" or "I've got a good feeling about this" or any number of similar phrases. Unlike its cousin, however, it isn't seen as a catchphrase in the dub at all and is therefore treated differently every single time it's used. In Mewtwo Strikes Back, for example, it was rewritten as "Team Rocket's signing off aga~in!" In "Snow Way Out," it became "Team Rocket is warming up again~" But in this episode, it becomes this instead:
Meowth:  "(laughs) See you clowns later!" James: "(laughs) clowns, that was a good one!" Meowth: "Thanks."
4Kids never does settle on any one translation for Ii kanji and so the whole thing sort of gets lost in translation. I like the original catchphrase because it helps demonstrate the trio's unshakable sense of optimism and drive to keep going despite their numerous failures and manages to do all of that in a mere three syllables and so seeing that not get brought over to the dub is kind of a bummer.

Of course it's easy to sit here and criticize the dub for not coming up with an English equivalent but at the same time I have to admit that I can't think of an English equivalent that doesn't sound awkward and Engrish-y. Still, a clown joke? Really?!


The eyecatch pokemon for this week is...

Interestingly, while episodes with Jynx in them have been removed from rotation little snippets like the "Who's That Pokémon?" segment in this episode still remain.

Dialogue Edit

Ash takes off his head:
Japanese Version
English Version
Kojirou: "W-what!?"
James: "His head came off!"
Rocket-Dan motto music starts
Satoshi: "If we're asked about this or that / It's up to the world whether or not we answer"
Ash: "Sorry to disappoint you. I'm no Mr. Mime, but I was good enough to fool you."
Rocket-Dan motto music ends 
Satoshi: "...waitaminute, this isn't the time for that."
Ash: "Though...I guess that's not saying very much."
Musashi: "The twerp!"
Jessie: "Huh? That thing is half twerp..."
Nyarth: "What in the world nya??"
Meowth: "Half mime."
Musashi: "Hey you, does that mean you were a Barrierd this whole time?"
Jessie: "I wonder how it learned to talk."
Kojirou: "You gave up on being a human?"
James: "Act like you're trapped in a bubble."
Satoshi: "Of course not! But it's a long story. See ya."
Ash: "I'm not a Mr. Mime. I just play one on TV. I'm outta here."

When 4Kids replaces nearly half the background music in an episode of Pokémon, you'd think the music that they do bother to bring over from the Japanese version would be kept for a specific reason, you know? So when they keep this short clip of the Rocket-Dan motto music, for example, it's only natural to conclude that 4Kids would do the same thing that the Japanese version did and have Ash do a parody of the Team Rocket motto.

Well, of course that's not what happens, because 4Kids. Instead, they just have Ash just talk normally without making any connection whatsoever between the music being used and the words coming out of his mouth even though it would have been the easiest thing in the world for Ash to say the English equivalent of what Satoshi's saying. Do the script writers not have any contact with the music editors or something? Who looked at the finished version of this scene and went "yeah, that's fine, nothing more to do here"?

The rest of the exchange is pretty different too, but to be honest it's more of the same "punch up the script for more laffs" thing 4Kids loves to do with this dub. 4Kids does deserve crap for Ash's schticky-as-hell "I just play one on TV" line, though, because come on now.

Delia pleads with Mr. Mime:

Delia: "Please help my son, Mr. Mime. I'll make you a big dessert if you do."
Mr. Mime: "Mime!"
Delia: "Thanks Mr. Mime!"
Mr. Mime: "Mr. Mime~"
Ash: "I'm supposed to be the Pokémon Trainer."

Hanako doesn't have to bribe Bari-chan with dessert in the Japanese version; she merely asks him to listen to what her son says and it agrees. Satoshi responds by calling Barrierd a suck up (なんか調子いいヤツー).

Team Rocket's tank makes its appearance:
James: "Now that that kid stole our balloon, we'll have to use our heavy artillery."
Originally Kojirou says (deep breath) "And here's this week's somewhat very awesome mecha, coming your way!!" (今週の、なんだかとってもイケテル、やってくれそなメカ登場ー!!). Shinichirou Miki has to speed through the line because it's way too long for the four-second scene it's written for and is absolutely hilarious as a result.

Also, Kojirou doesn't make any reference to the fact that Satoshi stole their balloon earlier in the Japanese version the way James does in the dub.
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