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Japanese Episode 066: "When Yadon Becomes Yadoran"
American Episode 212: "The Evolution Solution"
Pokemon Dare Da? Yadoran (Japanese), Raichu (English)
Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Lecture: Houdin
Japanese Air Date: October 15th, 1998
American Air Date: October 2nd, 1999
Important Characters: Nishinomori the 5th (Westwood the 5th)
Important Places: Binnes (Seafoam Island)
Satoshi doesn't really know where to start training for the Pokemon League so he wanders over to Dr. Orchid's laboratory. There, he finds the pokemon professor struggling with a problem; how exactly does Yadon evolve into Yadoran, anyway? In order to find out, Dr. Orchid sends Satoshi to nearby Binnes where Professor Nishinomori, one of the authors of the Pokemon Bestiary, is said to be studying that very subject. Our heroes make the trip to the professor's laboratory and learn that while researchers have already figured out that the pokemon evolves after being bit on the tail by a Shellder, nobody knows exactly why the Shellder changes from a bivalve shell to a spiral shell in the process. Meanwhile, the Rocket trio is ordered to go to Professor Nishinomori's lab to steal his research. They break into the laboratory and cause a huge commotion during which a Shellder the Rocket-Dan had caught earlier clamps onto Yadon's tail! Professor Nishinomori's Yadon evolves into Yadoran and is soon able to make quick work of the Rocket trio with a powerful Megaton Punch. Later, Professor Nishinomori explains that the Shellder and the Yadon form a symbiotic relationship; Shellder helps free up Yadon's arms by fixing its balance and enabling it to stand on two legs while Yadon helps Shellder by increasing its mobility. While Satoshi's training for the day didn't go exactly as planned, the young Trainer is able to walk away regardless with some valuable new insight into the world of pokemon.
Among the various storylines this series uses over and over, "take some unusual quirk about a pokemon and expand on it" is probably both one of the easiest ones to pitch as well as one of the hardest ones to actually write. In "When Yadon Becomes Yadoran," for example, the show takes a look at how two completely different pokemon - a Shellder and a Yadon - merge together to become a Yadoran. While this is something that never actually happens in the video games, the Pokemon Bestiary mentions a symbiotic relationship between the two and so the TV show decides to expand on it. The episode should practically write itself, right?
The thing is, while this episode is able to come up with a fairly convincing answer as to why Shellder would even bother clamping onto Yadon in the first place, it doesn't really answer the other question it raises about why Shellder, a bivalve shell, suddenly turns into a spiral shell once the evolution into Yadoran is complete. If the TV show just pulls an explanation out of its own ass then they run the risk of being contradicted later on down the road. But if they ask a question but then don't answer it then what's the point of even bringing it up to begin with?
On the other hand, the episode manages to answer a question it doesn't even bother to acknowledge in the first place: What happens when you have a Shellder belonging to one Trainer (say, Musashi) clamp onto the tail of a Yadon that belongs to another, different Trainer (say, Professor Nishinomori)? Who gets to keep the Yadoran? In this episode it seems like Professor Nishinomori just kind of steals Musashi's pokemon but is that only just because she's a villain and can therefore never catch a break? Or is this what happens every single time?
As for the rest of the episode, the shonen anime "training arc" of the series is now offiically underway and while Satoshi is rarely seen doing any actual training it's kind of fun to see him try to be a serious Trainer for all of five seconds before finding some really flimsy excuse to just take the whole day off to go goof off somewhere. It's a very ten-year-old boy thing to do, right? Satoshi being really bad at staying focused on training will be a running theme throughout this arc and even though he does eventually lose because of some B.S. disqualification the arc still manages to do a good job of making it clear that Satoshi is simply not ready to win the Pokemon League, sleeping Lizardon or not.
On the Rocket side of things, I really enjoy seeing Sakaki lounging around on the beach and giving exactly zero fucks about the fact that his organization was completely destroyed only one episode ago. Literally the last time we saw him he was crawling into a helicopter, fleeing for his life, and yet here we see him in an ugly pine tree shirt with sunglasses and sandals! The whole thing is actually quite hilarious.
The English dub just can't stop changing things for the sake of change, can they? Like, why even bother to change the setting of this episode or what it is exactly that Professor Nishinomori did for the Pokemon Bestiary? What was the problem with the originals, and what is gained by changing it? While certain alterations in the name of localization are of course inevitable, changing a TV-only location to a game location, especially one that's so completely different from what we see in Red & Blue, with literally no gain whatsoever is just flat-out dumb.
Where does this episode take place?
Ash: "Hey Mom, what's going on? Where's everybody going?"
Delia: "Ash, I thought I told you. A bunch of us from the neighborhood are taking a little trip to Seafoam Island."
Ash: "You are?"
Nope! Sorry, Ash, but your Mom is lying to you.
In the Japanese version, the name of the islands with the icy caves where you can eventually get the legendary pokemon Freezer is called Futago Jima (ふたごじま), or "Twin Islands." When Nintendo of America got their hands on the game back in 1998 they decided to localize it as the "Seafoam Islands."
In the Japanese version of this TV episode, however, the name of the place everyone's going isn't Futago Jima but is instead a TV-exclusive placed called Binnes (ビンヌ). Binnes' name seems to be based on Cannes (カンヌ), as in the French city that holds those international film festivals every year, and my best guess is that the name is meant to be a dumb play on words based on how the Japanese pronunciation of Cannes sounds like the word "can" and so they decided to name the Pokemon version of it to a name that sounds like "bin," the Japanese word for "(glass) bottle."
Regardless of what Japan actually going for, the fact remains that 4Kids changed the setting of this episode (and the next one) to Seafoam Island despite the fact that one is a tropical beach resort within walking distance of our hero's hometown while the other is an icy cave out in the middle of the ocean. As usual, I have no idea why they would even do this.
Also, 4Kids calls it Seafoam Island, singular, instead of the Seafoam Islands like in the games and so it seems like they can't even mistranslate something without fucking that up as well!
Misty and Brock reveal they're going too:
Ash: "You're going to the beach too?"
Misty: "Your mom and her friends invited us to hit the beach with them."
Brock: "Misty and I are gonna try windsurfing."
In the original Kasumi doesn't mention Satoshi's mother having any friends; she just mentions that they're tagging along as well. Takeshi then adds that they're going because they heard that Binnes is close enough for them to walk to. Because, you know, they're not going all the way to the Seafoam Islands like they are in the dub.
After the title screen:
Ash: "What's wrong, Professor? Do ya have a headache?"
Professor Oak: "No, Ash. I've been racking my brain for days trying to solve a great mystery of Pokémon evolution."
In the Japanese version Dr. Orchid doesn't mention working on this problem "for days"; he simply says he has no idea what the answer to this mystery is.
Professor Oak finds an answer:
Professor Oak: "Wait! Professor Westwood! If there's anyone who knows the answer, Westwood does."
Ash: "Professor Westwood?"
Professor Oak: "He's one of the Pokéologists who programmed the Pokédex. Ah, Professor Westwood lives on Seafoam Island."
In the original, Professor Nishinomori V was one of the people who wrote the Pokemon Bestiary (ずかんを書いた1人なんじゃ); it doesn't say anything about him programming the thing. Programming and writing are two very different skills, you know! The dub will continue with this rewrite throughout the rest of the episode.
The dub also makes up a word "Pokéologists" to cover Pokemon-gaku no ken'i de (ポケモン学の権威 で), which would literally be translated to "as an authority on the study of pokemon."
And also, Seafoam Island.
The character-of-the-day this week is Professor Nishinomori and he seems to be a combination of a number of people. He looks kind of like Dr. Ochanomizu from the Mighty Atom ("Astro Boy") series while his name, Nishinomori, is very similar to Shotaro Ishinomori, the man responsible for the Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Cyborg 009 series.
This is also a good time to go over NIshinomori's title, which I've chosen to translate as "professor." In the Japanese version, Orchid and Nishinomori both have different titles; Orchid is referred to as Orchid-Hakase while Nishinomori is referred to as Nishinomori-Kyouju. The difference between the two is that hakase is used to describe someone who has a PhD or doctorate degree while kyouju is used for a professor in a more academic setting.
Other kyoujus in this franchise include Shinbara-Kyouju ("Professor Hastings") from the Pokemon Ranger games and Umezu-Kyouju ("Professor Alden") from the second Advanced Generations episode "Ancient Pokemon and the Mysterious Army!" Almost every other researcher-type person in this franchise goes by hakase. The English dub uses "professor" for both men.
Speaking of the English version, I'm not really sure what "Westwood" comes from (the best I could find is that there's a Westwood in the state of California) or if the super out-of-place Jewish accent Nathan Price gives him is meant to somehow tie everything together. *shrugs*
Ash and his friends meet Westwood the 5th:
Ash: "He's a little...eccentric."
Brock: "I think it's probably hereditary. He must have gotten it from Westwoods one through four."
That's a mighty bold claim for Brock to make considering he's never met any of Westwood's relatives!.
In the Japanese version, Takeshi guesses that the reason Nishinomori is the way he is is because "they say that a lot of the people who focus their research on only one thing end up being kind of strange" (まあ1つのことを研究してる人は変わった人が多いっていうから).
Ash checks out Slowpoke:
Pokédex: "Slowpoke, the Dopey Pokémon. No one can tell what a Slowpoke is thinking, if it ever does think. Its specialty is fishing with its tail."
Misty: "It's not very nice to call Slowpoke 'dopey'. Is that what you called it, Westwood the Fifth?"
Westwood the Fifth: "Eh, maybe one of my assistants wrote that particular entry. But 'dopey' does sound like an accurate technical description of Slowpoke's mental capacity."
The "one of my assistants wrote that particular entry" part is dub-only.
Originally, Professor Nishinomori states that he tried to take a purely scientific approach when writing the Pokemon Bestiary entries and that for Yadon, "dopey" was the most accurate description he could come up with at the time. It might be a little mean but you can't say it's not scientifically accurate!
Time to eat:
Westwood the Fifth: "All this fishing's made me hungry. Let's go have some lunch."
Brock: "I want pizza!"
Misty: "Let's try that taco stand!"
Ash: "Those hot dogs sure looked good!"
Do you believe that we're real, red-blooded Americans yet? Huh? Do you?
There wasn't even any Japanese food mentioned in the original; all we hear is everyone talking about how hungry they are.
It's time for another Team Rocket rewrite scene:
So to summarize: 1) There's no mention of the Boss having a yacht in the Japanese version, 2) There's no mention of "digging to China" in the Japanese version, probably because it's an idiom that most people outside the U.S. are not familiar with, 3) Nyarth doesn't worry about them getting fired the way Meowth does, and 4) Jessie wants to violently shut her teammate up while Musashi is worried about not getting dinner. Phew!
During the battle with Shellder:
James: "Weezing, use your Haze attack!"
Originally, Kojirou just commands his Matadogas to counterattack.
This week's eyecatch is...
The eyecatch pokemon for next week's episode in Japan is Michael, Jan's surfing Pikachu, and if we look at the pattern that 4Kids has been following for most of the season then the eyecatch Pokémon for this episode should have been Pikachu, right? Why'd they change it?
Let's talk about Slowpoke:
Westwood the Fifth: "It's one of the most perplexing mysteries in the Pokémon World. If I could solve the Shellder puzzle I'd go down as the most renowned researcher in the history of the Pokémon symposium!"
The English line is more or less the same as the Japanese one, with the only real difference being that Professor Nishinomori adds that the Yadoran puzzle is one of the "seven wonders of the Pokemon World" (そこがポケモンの七不思議の1つなんだ).
Next up is the (ugh) Team Rocke-dex.
It's kind of interesting to see what parts of the Japanese descriptions they keep and which parts they felt the need to change.
Westwood the Fifth starts to freak out:
Meowth: "We don't want a professor! We wanna steal all the Pokémon we can get our paws on!"
Westwood the Fifth: "Please, not professor! Call me Westwood the Fifth!"
Jessie: "I'll call you Henry the Eighth. Just give us the Pokémon!"
The 16th century British monarch isn't name dropped in the Japanese version; originally Musashi just tells the professor to stop his blubbering and hand over the pokemon (グズグズ言わずにさっさと渡す！).
Meowth explains Team Rocket's plan:
Meowth: "Our Shellder chomps down on Slowpoke's tail, we get a Slowbro to bring back to the Boss and I get my saucer of milk!"
Originally the Rocket trio give their plan a (purposefully awful) name: Operation: Use a Shellder to catch a Yadon just like you'd use a shrimp to catch a red snapper (エビでタイを釣るようにシェルダーでヤドンを釣る作戦). The shrimp and red snapper part is a Japanese proverb about using sacrificing something small in order to get a big reward later; "throw a spat to catch a whale" would be an English language equivalent of this proverb.
Finally, Westwood the Fifth witnesses Slowpoke evolve into Slowbro:
Westwood the Fifth: "I'm the first researcher to witness this. Slowpoke evolved into Slowbro and Shellder changed into a spiral shape."
In the original he says "Oh, I see...Shellder goes from a bivalve shell to a spiral shell the instant it clamps down on Yadon's tail. This is a huge discovery!" (そうか シェルダーはヤドンのしっぽにかみついた瞬間、二枚貝から巻き貝へと変化するのか。大発見じゃ！).
In the English dub, everything the professor says is information that was already established earlier in the episode, making it seem like the professor didn't actually learn anything new at all. The truly new bit of information that Professor Nishonomori V finds - that it changes from a bivalve shell to a spiral shell the instant it clamps down on Yadon's tail - is removed from the professor's findings altogether.
Professor Nishinomori also doesn't claim to be the first to see a Yadon evolve into Yadoran the way Westwood does because how would he even know something like that anyway?
This page was last updated on September 21st, 2017
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