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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Kanto Region

Japanese Episode 080
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode 080: "The Pokemon League! The Final Battle!"
American Episode 226:  "Friends To the End"
Pokemon Dare Da?  Onisuzume (Japanese), Fearow (English)
Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Course:  Pokemon League Special
Japanese Air Date:  January 21st, 1999
American Air Date:  November 27th, 1999
Important Characters:  Sayuri (Assunta)

Satoshi spends the day after his loss to Hiroshi sulking in his bed. Kasumi tries to snap him out of his depression but he doesn’t budge until Dr. Orchid points out that his lack of experience is what cost him the victory. With this, Satoshi finally decides to start looking forward and returns to the Sekiei Stadium to cheer Hiroshi on in his sixth match. Hiroshi gives the battles his all but he unfortunately ends up losing when his opponent's Fushigisou uses a powerful Solar Beam to take out his Pikachu. After the match, Hiroshi is surprisingly calm as he humbly accepts his loss and starts to think about how to become even better. Satoshi and Hiroshi are promising each other to never give up on their dreams when they suddenly find themselves caught in one of the Rocket-Dan’s traps! The two young boys combine their Pikachu’s powers to overload the special cage the trio had made to confine the Electric-Types until it explodes, sending the trio blasting off again. Some time later, the Sekiei Pokemon League's closing ceremony begins. Each Trainer is welcomed onstage to receive a commemorative memorial plate before the Top 3 of the Pokemon League are announced. The next morning, Satoshi looks back at all the difficult battles he's faced in this tournament and feels like he's ready to go back home. He says his farewells to Hiroshi and then returns to his family and friends to set off on the road back to Masara Town.

The Pokemon League Sekiei Conference is arguably the League that featured the worst Satoshi loss (though Best Wishes! certainly fought for that crown!) but it also does something that the other Leagues keep refusing to do, for some reason; show that the League continues even after Satoshi’s been disqualified.

In pretty much every non-Kanto era Pokemon League, the episode where Satoshi loses becomes the final episode of the League. These days the show is in such a hurry to get Satoshi out of the stadium so they can start writing off his traveling companions and get ready for the start of the next series that they don't ever give themselves the time to reflect on the tournament they just spent the last few years building up to. Even when the Pokemon League is followed by a “filler arc” (I'm thinking Houen to Battle Frontier and Isshu to Episode N) they decide that they just can't spend the extra episode to look back. It's all go go go, let's get everyone the hell out of this stadium.

But the Sekiei Conference is different. Here, we get to see Satoshi reacting (rather realistically!) to his first major loss and then we're allowed to see how that compares to Hiroshi’s. We're also given that great scene of Kasumi trying to cheer her friend up, getting increasingly irritated as he brushes aside her genuine attempts at making him feel better. The Rocket trio have all these great episodes over the years showing them fighting and then making up but we rarely ever get the same sort of thing with our heroes so it was refreshing to see a nice, honest-to-goodness argument here. This Pokemon League also has a proper closing ceremony and a great flashback montage of all the battles that Satoshi's been through the last seven episodes. The Sekiei Conference did many, many, many things wrong but something I'll remember about it more than any other Pokemon League is how it had an ending that actually didn't feel incredibly rushed.

If the closing ceremony's missing anything it's how it doesn't show any of the League participants other than Satoshi, Hiroshi, and Sayuri. We saw Shigeru leave as soon as he lost so we can assume he probably didn't attend but what about the others? Did Kohmu, unnamed Rock Field guy, Seiji, Yoshiki, and Kaoruko attend? And did they get their commemorative plaque from Chairman Tamaranze at the end like Satoshi? It's not that big a deal but I would have really liked it if they had at least made cameos in one of the crowd shots we see during the beginning there.

The Japanese version understands that you don't need to have music droning on in the background 24/7 and that sometimes not having background music playing is the best musical choice you can make. This episode, in particular, uses the lack of background music in certain scenes (Kasumi's trying to cheer Satoshi up, Satoshi and Hiroshi talking to each other about their losses) to make sure that our attention is 100% focused on what the characters are saying and the messages the show is trying to give us. 4Kids, on the other hand, never learned this lesson. Their filler music is loud, it changes every five seconds, and none of it actually fits with what's happening on-screen. People like to complain about how short kids' attention spans these days compared to generations past and while it's a complex issue with many contributing factors I would say that children's entertainment overwhelming its viewers with non-stop noise isn't helping. As the late Mr. Fred Rogers once said in a 1994 interview:

...it seems to me that some of us value information over wonder, and noise over silence. And I feel that we need a lot more wonder and a lot more silence in our lives.

Onisuzume keeps its Japanese voice.

Dialogue Edit
Ash reflects on his loss:

Ash:  "Why did I have to lose?"

The Japanese dialogue isn't too different (Satoshi basically says he hates to have lost the way he did) but oh my god does Veronica Taylor's delivery here annoy the crap out of me. Rika Matsumoto's performance isn't nearly as whiny.

The others are worried about Ash:

Professor Oak:  "So he's just been lying in there by himself since he lost the match?"

Dr. Orchid also mentions that the match took place "last night" (夕べ試合に負けたから), implicitly stating that the beginning of this episode takes place the day after the end of the last one. Dub viewers can reach the same conclusion on their own but they don't get it stated directly like the Japanese viewers do.

Misty tries to snap Ash out of it:

Misty:  "Hey, let's go down to the Pokémon Village and buy some souvenirs. Maybe they'll have some-"
Ash:  "Leave me alone!"

In the Japanese version Kasumi tells Satoshi that this isn't like him (こんなところでじっとしてる何て、サトシらしくないよ). Misty, on the other hand, suggests they go shopping because I guess Ash really likes shopping now or something?

Ash and Misty's argument attracts the others to the room:

Brock:  "Alright now, that's enough."
Delia:  "You mustn't be angry with Misty, dear. She thinks you should be very happy."

Originally Hanako scolds Satoshi for getting upset with Kasumi, arguing that she's only worrying about him (気を遣ってくれてるカスミちゃんに何を言うの!?).

In fact, the rest of the argument is pretty different depending on which version you're watching. So let's just look at the two of them side by side.

Japanese Version
English Dub
Kasumi:  "Isn't the fact that you even made it this far more than enough to satisfy you?"
Misty:  "With the way you were training you're lucky you even made it through the first round."
Satoshi:  "Shut up! My true power is even greater than this!"
Ash:  "Oh yeah!? Well I didn't see you out there winning any of those matches!"
Kasumi:  "Are you still that full of yourself right now?!"
Misty:  "When are you gonna get over yourself, Ash!?"
Satoshi:  "What did you say!?"
Ash:  "Why don't you!?"
Kasumi:  "What do you think?"
Misty:  "Why don't I what?!"

Ash turns his anger into direct attacks against Misty while Satoshi, with the exception of that "shut up" there, spends his time trying to convince Kasumi that he still has more to show everyone instead.

Ash and his friends wish Ritchie good luck:

Misty:  "And make sure you don't choke like Ash did."
Ash:  "Well you don't have to put it that way."

Kasumi is much more supportive of her friend here; she asks Hiroshi to make sure to win this match on Satoshi's behalf as well (サトシの分まで頑張ってね). Satoshi shoots back that that's supposed to be his line (おいおい、それはオレのセリフだぞ).

The Trainer that Hiroshi loses to is named Sayuri in the original. The dub changes her name to "Assunta" because apparently Italian names are somehow less foreign than Japanese one (see also: Takuya). But please, keep trying to convince me that 4Kids doesn't have this strange xenophobia toward Japan at all.

Ash approaches Ritchie after his loss:

Ash:  "Ritchie, I'm...so..."
Ritchie:  "Well, Ash, now we have one more thing in common."
Ash:  "Common? Oh, yeah..."

Originally Hiroshi apologizes to Satoshi for losing despite how much he and his friends were cheering him on (ごめんよ…せっかく応援してくれたのに). Satoshi sheepishly replies that that's not what he meant... (え?そんな…).

Ritchie looks back:

Japanese Version
English Dub
Hiroshi:  "I had confidence in myself since I had battled with a lot of other Pokemon Trainers before. But I guess there's always someone out there better, isn't there? I'm still an amateur..but I was able to learn a lot from this experience!"
Ritchie:  "I was so sure I could win. Too sure, I guess. If I knew how tough the Pokémon League was gonna be, I would have trained twice as hard as I did. Hey, losing isn't really so bad."
Satoshi:  "Hmm?"
Ash:  "Huh?"
Hiroshi:  "I learned that I have to try much, much harder if I want to become a respectable Pokemon Master."
Ritchie:  "Now I know what mistakes not to make next time, and I'm a better Trainer because of that."
Satoshi:  "Hiroshi lost, is looking back on what he did, and is already thinking about what to do next. Compared to that, I..."
Ash (thinking):  "Ritchie doesn't feel sorry for himself 'cause he lost. He just wants to do better. I've been acting like a big baby."
Hiroshi:  "Satoshi." Ritchie:  "Hey Ash."
Satoshi:  "Huh?" Ash:  "Huh?"
Hiroshi:  "Let's both become stronger. And then let's battle each other again someday."
Ritchie:  "Let's make a promise...to become Pokémon Masters no matter what."
Satoshi:  "I'd like that. Let's make a fresh start. Alright, let's do it! Good luck, Hiroshi and Satoshi!!"
Ash:  "OK, promise. Pokémon Masters no matter what. Pokémon Masters!! That's us!!"

The changes here are small. Hiroshi isn't as boastful as Ritchie. Hiroshi blames his loss on his own inexperience while Ritchie places the blame on how tough his competition was. Satoshi and Hiroshi vow to battle each other again while Ash and Ritchie vow to become Pokémon Masters. Small stuff, mostly, but still worth mentioning I think.

It's time for another installment of "Dogasu makes more snarky comments about one of the most insignificant changes 4Kids could possibly make!" Today's entry is...


The English dub goes back to the "let's use the eyecatch as a makeshift Next Episode Preview," which is fine, I guess, while the Japanese version goes with...Onisuzume. A pokemon who gets a grand total of four seconds of screentime in the episode.

(Hiroshi's?) Onisuzume

After watching the montage that this Onisuzume scene is a part of it's still not exactly clear which Trainer is using which pokemon. In what appears to be a battle between Onisuzume and Menokurage, who has who? We can't really say 100% but I would assume that the fact that Onisuzume was used as the eyecatch pokemon here means it probably belongs to a main character. In other words, that Onisuzume is Hiroshi's and that Menokurage is Sayuri's...probably.

Either way, I think the fact that two Trainers who came to the competition with a fucking Onisuzume and Menokurage and yet still managed to make it to the Top 8 tells you exactly what kind of tournament the Pokemon League Sekiei Conference really is.

Dialogue Edit
Team Rocket captures the twerps:

James:  "The pit is it. Those crazy contraptions can't create the kind of classic catastrophe one can cause by cleverly concealing a calamitous crater."

TPCI isn't the only company in love with rhyming and alliteration!

Originally Kojirou tells our heroes "simple is best" (in katakana English) before saying that out of all the schemes they've had their pitfall traps are the ones with the highest success rate (我がロケット団のあらゆる作戦のうち、この落とし穴作戦がもっとも成功率が高いことが判明したのです).

Brock and Misty catch up to the others:

Brock:  "Hey, we're gonna go have a humongous dinner and then head over to the closing ceremonies."
Ash:  "Oh yeah! The Trainers get to march into the stadium and they give you this really cool Pokémon League badge."

Notice how sheepish Ash looks when he's talking about the badge? The animation kind of doesn't match the dialogue at all, does it?

That's because originally Satoshi's talking about how hungry he is when he makes the face seen above. Takeshi tells Satoshi that Dr. Orchid has made a huge meal for all of them, without saying a word about any closing ceremonies (オ―キド博士がみんなにおいしい夕食をごちそうしてくれてるってさ).  Satoshi, upon hearing his friend mention food, remembers that oh yeah, I haven't eaten anything all day (夕食?あぁ、そういえばオレずっと何も食べてなかったんだ) before slumping down and saying that he's starving (腹減った~).

By the way, this episode refers to the participation trophy Tamaranze gives out as a "Pokémon League Badge" when in the original it's instead referred to as a memoriaru pureeto (メモリアルプレート), or "commemorative plaque."

Memorial Plate

The size and shape of the plaque don't really match any of the other badges we've seen up to this point so I don't really know why 4Kids decided to misname it like this. They also have the announcer tell its recipients to "wear it with pride" which seems kind of insane when you see the size of the thing.

Side Note
So let's talk about the firework ball that the Rocket trio encounters.


I imagine there are a lot of Western viewers who didn't recognize that big brown ball with a fuse on the end as a firework ball right away. As of this writing, the Bulbapedia page for this episode, for example, misidentifies it as a bomb, and I can absolutely see how someone unfamiliar with this particular type of firework would make the same assumption.

This is the part of the comparison where I would share with you the results of hours and hours worth of Google searches but the website Fireworks Japan - Hokuriku Kako gives such a great overview (in English!) of these special fireworks that I'll just link to them instead. Definitely check it out if you get a chance.

Music Edit
The montage at the end of the episode uses Mezase Pokemon Master as its backing track. The dub replaces this with Pokémon Theme.

Side Note
For this week's "Dr. Orchid's Pokemon Course" segment the pokemon professor is joined by Tamaranze, the chairman of the Pokemon League.

Their conversation goes like this:

Dr. Orchid:  "We've finally reached the closing ceremonies of the moving and exciting Pokemon League Sekiei Conference. This time I've asked Chairman Tamaranze of the executive committee to join us. Mr. Chairman, thank you for being here."

Tamaranze:  "I absolutely love it."

Dr. Orchid:  "In total 256 people fought with everything they've got in the Pokemon League Sekiei Conference. Satoshi was able to get in the Best 16. And in honor of their hard work every participant received a memorial plate."

Tamaranze:  "I absolutely love it."

Dr. Orchid:  "Mr. Chairman, what do you think of the conference looking back on it now?"

Tamaranze:  "I absolutely love it."

Dr. Orchid:  "Well, um...Chairman Tamaranze, ladies and gentlemen!"

Tamaranze:  "And now for a verse. "Battles among the strong / have come to an end / I absolutely love it." OK everyone, go out there and get pokemon!"

And here are the clips they decided to use:

I like how Tamaranze gets his own little stamp there in that last image.

Something I haven't bothered to point out before is how the new Dr. Orchid segments are colored digitally, something the actual show itself wouldn't get around to doing until late Jouto. Was one of the things these segments were meant to do was help train the animators on using this new technology?

Anyway, that's a wrap on Kanto! The first region of the show wasn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it was a fun period that will live on in the heart of fans long after the franchise comes to an end. I hope you enjoyed these comparisons and look forward to checking out Satoshi's journey through the Orange Islands!

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This page was last updated on December 31st 2017




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