Theatrical Pikachu
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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Movies

Episode Stats:

Japanese Mini-Movie 5:  "Pika Pika Hoshi Zora KYANPU"

    ("The Glittering Starlit Camp")
American Mini-Movie 2:  "Camp Pikachu"
Japanese Air Date:  July 13th, 2002
American Air Date:  July 20th, 2004

The Pichu Brothers are riding on a train when they are knocked off by a mail sack.  They land in a camp where Pikachu-tachi and a Sonano are hanging out.  The Pichu tell the others how they need to get back on their train, so everyone agrees to help out.  In the meantime, everyone enjoys themselves by splashing around in a lake, making shadows on the side of a cliff, and playing pranks with a Yomawaru.  After the sun sets, it starts to rain, so all the pokemon are lead to a nearby mill by a Volbeat.  There, the pokemon take shelter from the storm.  Meanwhile, Nyasu and Sonansu happen upon the mill and accidentally start up the machine, causing the gears to wake all the pokemon up!  After stopping the machine, the pokemon resume their sleep until morning, when they set off to find the Pichu's train.  The train station is found, and the pokemon hop on a mine cart in an effort to catch it.  Using teamwork and a bit of inginuity, both the Pichu Brothers find their way to the train and head off to their next destination. 

Best. Pokemon. Dub. Ever.

That's pretty much my feeling about this mini-movie.  When Miramax didn't include the short in the theatrical run of Pokémon Heroes, everyone correctly assumed that it would be included on the DVD.  What nobody predicted was how well the short would turn out.

For starters, the mini-movie's presented in widescreen.  That's certainly a very big step up for Pokémon in the U.S., and I only wish that Miramax had thought to do that for the main feature as well.  Maybe Miramax is just testing people's response to the widescreen thing, and, if enough people liked it, they or whoever else manages to get the rights to the upcoming movies will release those films in widescreen.  After all, the third mini-movie was the first to keep its Japanese music, and all subsequent movie releases kept their Japanese music.  Maybe history will repeat itself here.

However, there are problems with the video.  While the movie is presented in widescreen, the image is still cropped a tiny bit.  While it's nowhere near as bad as the 40-some percent that would have been lost had they converted the short to fullscreen, the fact remains that there is a part of the picture that you're not getting in the American release.  In addition, the mini-movie (as well as the main feature) suffers from having a dark tint to the picture.  I don't know if the DVD authors accidentally fudged up the brightness level on purpose or not, but the result is a video that's really really dark. 

Music-wise, all of the music is the same as the Japanese version.  The opening theme, Pokémon Hoedown, uses the same music as the Japanese song Ana Oka o Mezashite, but the lyrics are completely different and aren't sung to the same tune as the Japanese song.  And the ending theme in the dub is an instrumental version of the Japanese ending theme, Pokettaari Monsutaari, with the same animation and everything (though the fanart was understandably cut out).  Honestly, you couldn't ask for a better job if the short was in Japanese with English subtitles.  Great job, 4Kids. 

So what about the short itself?  I thought it was pretty interesting, even if the short had a few plotholes.  Where were all of Takeshi's pokemon?  And half of Kasumi's?  Why were any of the pokemon there by themselves anyway?  Despite all that, though, the short was fun.  It was funny seeing Nyasu in hiker's clothes for no apparent reason, and the exchange between Sonansu and Sonano is hilarious in both languages. 

If only the main movie had turned out this well...

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