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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 072
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 072:  "Collision! The Giant Ancient Pokemon"
American Episode 218:  "The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Houdin (Japanese), Jigglypuff (English)
Orchid-Hakase's Pokemon Course:  Gallop
Japanese Air Date:  November 26th, 1998
American Air Date:  October 14th, 1999
Important Characters:  Dr. Hokuto (Eve)
Important Places:  Pokemonia (Pokémopolis)

Satoshi and Takeshi are sparring one day when they accidentally blow away the side of a cliff and uncover what appear to be the ancient ruins of the lost civilization of Pokemonia! A group of archaeologists who just happen to be in the area rush to the scene. Its leader, a young woman named Dr. Hokuto, believes that the “Golden Eye” treasure our heroes find is one of the keys to figuring out what caused the calamity that wiped out the civilization. That night, as our heroes sleep, the Rocket-Dan sneak into the ruins and happen upon a second treasure, the “Black Darkness.” Suddenly, the device begins to levitate and sucks the Rocket trio into another dimension! The newly activated Black Darkness causes a chain reaction that ends with a giant Gangar and Houdin being summoned into our world from another world! The two pokemon immediately begin a battle that threatens to tear the world apart so Satoshi and his friends rush to stop them. Their pokemon's attacks have no effect, however, so they turn to the Purin that's always following them around to sing its song. Purin's song isn't strong enough to put the two giants to sleep but it does summon a second, giant Purin whose song -is- able to stop Gangar's and Houdin's battle once and for all. When everyone wakes up the three giant pokemon are gone and so, with the threat to their world over, our heroes turn their sights back on the Pokemon League.

When I think about this episode the first thing that pops into my brain is how it's basically a less good version of 1999's Pocket Monsters the Movie "Revelation Lugia." Ancient artifacts trigger a battle between god-like pokemon and the only way to stop them is calm them down down with a unique song. I usually give a movie a hard time when its plot is this derivative of the TV series but that's usually only because the original is almost always better. But in this case the opposite is true; the second Pocket Monsters movie is the clear winner here in pretty much every way imaginable. Better characters, better sense of scale, much better animation... "Collision! The Giant Ancient Pokemon" doesn't even come close.

About the only thing this episode really has going for it, in my mind anyway, is the various characterizations. Now Dr. Hokuto I don't really care about (her personality is "smart young girl"...and that's about it?) but Satoshi being a carefree dope is a real treat. Like, he doesn't even pretend to understand the intentionally vague prophecy and I kind of love that about him. But as fun as Satoshi is in this episode the real star for me is, believe it or not, his Pigeon. In the list of "pokemon I actually give a shit about" Satoshi's bird ranks right near the bottom and yet there was something really cute about seeing it clap its little wings when Purin gets up to sing its song. The fact that Musashi gets in a fight with it the way she would with Kojirou or Nyarth is also strangely charming. They're admittedly tiny little parts of an episode and I'm sure most people don't even remember them but thanks to these moments I kind of like the little balloon popper a little bit more.

Speaking of Purin, I'm starting to get worried over the writers' over-reliance on the pink pokemon and its deus ex machina singing powers. Have you set up this incredible conflict but don't have a way out of it? Do you only have a few minutes left in your episode but have way too many plot points to wrap up? Why, just bring Purin out and have it sing your writers' block away! By this point in the series it's become clear that Purin is only in the show to bail the writers out of whatever jams they get themselves into and while I do generally like the singing pokemon I'm starting to get a little tired (no pun intended) of how it's become such a crutch for this show's writing staff.

But at least we finally get to see some on-screen training in this "training arc," right? I mean sure, it's only a 30 second battle right before the title screen and it doesn't really amount to much but it's at least something, right? Bonus points for having Takeshi choose his underused Rokon as his pokemon choice instead of someone more obvious.

Ancient prophecies are a pain in the ass to translate because they're these intentionally archaic sounding collections of obtuse statements that are also central to a story and so getting even one word wrong can make or break an entire story. Luckily, 4Kids managed to produce a version of the Pokemonia prophecy that, while not very good from a translation point of view, at least gets enough of the original intention across to help make the episode make sense. That's worth pointing out, I'd say! The only other thing that stands out to me about the dub of this episode is how Eve is given a "French" accent for absolutely no reason whatsoever. 4Kids makes it sound like Eve is a foreigner, an implication not made in the original at all, but I think it's pretty obvious they don't care about in-universe justifications or anything like that.

Side Note
The plot of "Collision! The Giant Ancient Pokemon" is more or less lifted from an episode of the original 1966 Ultraman TV series called "Demons Rise Again" (悪魔のふたたび).

Title Screen
Two Monsters

In the Ultraman episode, an ancient capsule containing the blue-green monster Aboras is unearthed from a construction site. The Science Patrol takes this capsule back to their lab to study it and discover an ancient text hidden inside by a civilization that was lost over 3.5 million years ago. Meanwhile, a second capsule housing the red monster Banila shows up at a different site. The two monsters are eventually released from their prisons after being struck by electricity (one of them is struck by, and I kid you not, "10,000 volts") and instinctively begin to fight one another. After a tough battle, Banila is defeated by Aboras' acidic foam-like attacks. Now that the number of rampaging monsters has been brought down to one, the Science Patrol call in Ultraman to finish off the remaining creature.

Ultraman is one of those evergreen properties that everyone in Japan knows and is something that has already been referenced several times in this series so it's not too surprising to see it showing up here again. There are some things with the Pocket Monsters version that don't make sense to me (why not feature a pokemon exclusive to Pocket Monsters Red battle against a pokemon exclusive to Pocket Monsters Green instead of the Gangar vs. Houdin battle we got instead?) but all in all I'd say it's a fairly accurate retelling.

The original Ultraman series has been translated into English and is available on DVD in many territories so if you have a chance I recommend checking this episode out.

Dialogue Edit
We can't even get two seconds into the episode, can we?

Ash:  "Pikachu, Agility attack!"
Brock:  "Then we'll use an Agility attack, too. Vulpix, go!"

Originally the attacks both Trainers order their pokemon to use is Quick Attack (でんこうせっか), not Agility.

The battle continues:

Ash:  "Pikachu, Electric attack!"

Oddly enough this one isn't a dub rewrite; Satoshi calls out equally not-a-real-Pokemon-move Dengeki (電撃) in the Japanese version as well. Huh.

After the title screen:

Ash:  "Wow, Pikachu. Your attacks are gettin' pretty strong."
Pikachu:  "Pika."
Misty:  "Looks like we accidentally uncovered something."

Kasumi's response is more sarcastic in the Japanese version; there, she reacts to Satoshi's admiration of Pikachu by saying that isn't what they should be focusing on right now (そういう問題じゃないでしょ).

Our heroes look at the Psyduck-looking artifact:

Japanese Version
English Dub
Satoshi:  "This clay doll...is it supposed to be a Koduck?"
Ash:  "Y'know, this statue looks like a Psyduck."
Kasumi:  "It's pretty amazing to think of an ancient civilization worshipping Koduck."
Misty:  "I remember reading about a hidden city where the people built temples to honor Pokémon."
Takeshi:  "I read about the Pokemonia civilization in a book when I was younger."
Brock:  "If they built a temple to honor Psyduck, they weren't hidden; they were lost."

The dub switches Kasumi's and Takeshi's lines and then kind of makes Brock's comments toward his friend's pokemon a bit harsher than it was in the original.

Let's learn more about

Ash:  "What was the name of the city?"
Misty:  "I think it was called Pokémopolis, and it got destroyed in a giant storm and then totally disappeared."

Kasumi adds that the storm wiped out the ancient civilization in only one night (確か天変地異が起こって一晩で消滅したっていう古代都市のこと…だっけ?).

After the lead archaeologist runs into the tent:

Misty:  "How come you called Eve "doctor?" She's way too young to be a real doctor."
Professor:  "By age six, Eve was already an expert in ancient Pokémopolitan civilization. Her research revolutionized the field. She got her PHD at eight."
All:  "She must be a super brain!"
Pikachu:  "Pika~!"
Professor:  "When she was nine, Eve wrote a best-selling book on her new theories about Pokémopo~oh!"

That's quite an accomplishment, Eve! By contrast, Hokuto was able to decipher the ancient Pokemonia alphabet by age six and earned her doctorate some unspecified time later (彼女は6歳でポケモニア文字を解読 学会に新風を巻き起こし博士号を取った超天才美少女なのだ). The whole "she wrote a book when she was nine" bit was added by 4Kids.

So what do we call you, Hokuto?

Misty:  "When I was eight, I was still afraid of doctors."
Eve:  "Please, it's no big deal. And it's not like I had perfect grades or anything. I got an A minus once, heh heh."

Originally Kasumi says "Well I can't just call you "Hokuto-chan" now!" (”ホクトちゃん”なんて呼べないわね). Hokuto responds by saying "Please, just use -chan (instead of -hakase). After all, I'm just someone who loves ancient civilizations" (”ちゃん”でいいよ。あたしはただ古代文明が大好きなだけなんだから).

It's time to learn the legend of Pok

Eve:  "Beware the two great powers of destruction. The shadow of the Dark Device will grapple with the prisoner of the Unearthly Urn. The sacred city will be no more as day is swallowed up by night. Darker still for you when they return to lay waste the world. But no human knows the secret to soothe the powers and guide them back to the Shadow World."

The Japanese version:

Two powers that destroy the world
The Black Darkness that swallows the sky
The Golden Eye that confuses minds
A war splits the world in two
And no one knows what to do
A door to another world opens in the sky
It is here where the power to soothe all
Shall become a ball and doesn't return to the horizon.


As mentioned in the "Thoughts" section of this comparison, the English prophecy isn't really much of a translation of the Japanese version but it has enough of the same themes and ideas present that it works.

Jessie and James make some plans:

Japanese Version
English Dub
Musashi:  "Kojirou, what will you do after you get your hands on that treasure?" Jessie:  "What wastefully extravagant things will you do with your share?"
Kojirou:  "Well, I guess the first thing I'd do is pay back my loans..." James:  "Well first I'll pay the Boss all the money I owe him."
Musashi:  "What!? What kind of stingy nonsense is that!? At least say you're going to buy a small island or two in the south or something!" Jessie:  "WHAT!? That's the most ridiculous idea I've ever heard! Don't you know with all that money you won't have to do the decent thing?"
Kojirou:  "You're right! I don't have to limit myself to anything reasonable! I'll be the company president!" James:  "If the treasure's large enough I can make myself the Boss! The big enchilada!"
Musashi:  "You'll be a general!" Jessie:  "The top tamale!"
Kojirou:  "You'll be a king!" James:  "The king quesadilla."
Nyarth:  "Oh, the sad life of a salaryman." Meowth:  "It's such a shame they're so power hungry."
Musashi:  "You'll be an owner!" Jessie:  "The grand guacamole!"
Kojirou:  "You'll be a master!" James:  "The number one nacho!"

Can you imagine being the poor localizer who had to translate this episode from English into, say, one of the European languages and how he or she would have had to figure out what the hell to do with all these food references 4Kids throws in? I can only imagine the headaches 4Kids' rewrites must have caused!

Gengar continues its rampage:

Professor:  "Somehow we've been transported inside the Dark Device. Fascinating!"
James:  "I'd rather be in Miami Beach."

Originally the old professor is upset because he wants to see what's going on from the outside (しまった!何が起こるのか外から見たかったが). Kojirou responds by observing how easy-going this old man is (のんきなおっさんだなあ おい).

Eve puts two and two together:

Eve:  "This must be what the tablet meant. The shadow of the Dark Device."
Ash:  "Maybe so...and maybe we're right in the middle of a mystery that's too scary to solve!"

Originally Satoshi worries that the artifacts floating in there in the camper with them will suck them up just like the other one did to the researchers (まさか…こっちの石もオレたちを吸い込むんじゃ?).

4Kids momentarily abandons their "let's use the eyecatch as a makeshift Next Episode Preview" thing to feature Jigglypuff, a Pokémon who appears in this episode and not the next one.

Japanese English

Click on each image to view a larger version.

Dialogue Edit
After Pidgeotto gets absorbed by Gengar:

Jessie:  "Can't you battle better than that, you bumbling bird brain? I'm not getting stuck in this stomach forever!"

Originally Musashi yells at Pidgeotto for not using better attacks and then tells it that she oughta turn it into yakitori (skewered chicken) and eat it (あんたねえもっとマシな攻撃しなさいよ!焼き鳥にして食っちゃうわよこの!). I guess 4Kids had a problem with Musashi threatening to kill and then devour one of Satoshi's pokemon!

Also, the Japanese version doesn't imply that they're actually inside Gangar's body the way the English dub does.

Gengar and Alakazam freeze our heroes:

Brock:  "My...body's frozen."

Originally Takeshi identifies the attack the pokemon just used as kanashibari (かなしばり), or "Disable."

Finally, Pikachu jumps into the water:

Ash:  "Use your Thundershock and hurry!"

Satoshi orders Pikachu to use Thunderbolt (10万ボルト) in the original.

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