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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Movies

Movie Stats:

Japanese Movie AG 1: "Nana-Yo no Negai Boshi Jiraachi"

    ("The Seven Nights' Star of Wishing, Jiraachi")
American Movie 6:  "Pokémon Jirachi Wish Maker"
Japanese Air Date:  July 19th, 2003
American Air Date:  June 1st, 2004
Important Characters:  Butler (Butler), Diane (Diane), Bogii (unknown)
Important Places:  Faunsu (Forina)

Every 1,000 years, a comet appears in the sky for seven days.  During those seven days, the wish-granting pokemon Jiraachi is said to awaken.  Satoshi and his friends happen to be around for a festival celebrating the comet, and while there they witness a magic show starring the Great Butler.  During the show, Masato hears a voice coming from a cocoon present on stage.  After the show, Butler gives the cocoon to Masato, telling him that the cocoon contains the wishing pokemon, Jiraachi!  Since Masato was the only person able to hear its voice, the pokemon has chosen Masato as its partner, so the young boy eagerly awaits the pokemon's hatching.  On the first night of the comet, the pokemon awakens and instantly befriends the young Masato.  As the children enjoy their new pokemon, Butler plots to kidnap the pokemon and use it to resurrect a Groudon to get revenge against the Magma-Dan.  Butler successfully gets his hands on Jiraachi, but it is soon retrieved by Satoshi-tachi.  The Pokemon Trainers, along with Butler's assistant, Diane, start driving away to Jiraachi's home, Faunsu.  On the seventh day, everyone arrives at Faunsu, and it's time for Jiraachi to leave!  As the pokemon ascends, it is kidnapped yet again by Butler.  After hooking the pokemon up to his machine, Butler successfully revives the legendary pokemon Groudon!  However, the pokemon isn't real and is seen as a creature of pure evil!  Everyone works together to defeat the massive pokemon, but it is Jiraachi who ends up taking it out.  Afterwards, Jiraachi returns to its cocoon state, saying that it will always remember Masato. 

So close, yet so far...

That pretty much sums up this movie for me.  The dubbed version of the movie had a lot of good things going for it, and at first glance it would appear that it is 4Kids' best dub yet.  The cover art for the DVD is more or less the same as the Japanese cover art.  The original music was kept, as predicted.  The ending theme was kind of kept intact, though it is weird that they would only dub half the song.  Jirachi had a good voice, as did Diane.  They kept the Japanese title screen music, which 4Kids has never done before.  And, thankfully, the DVD doesn't have the same color problems that the last movie did.

However, there were also a few minor things that just kept the dub from being absolutely perfect.  I didn't care for Butler's English voice at all.  It just didn't sound anything like Yamadera Kou'ichi's sinister performance, and at times it was hard to believe that this guy in the dub was supposed to be any sort of threat.  Absol was another voice that just irked me.  Its Japanese cry consists of a bunch of growls, but the dubbed version just says its name over and over.  In the first scene Absol appeared in, I honestly laughed because its cry sounded more like a narrator identifying the pokemon for us than something that came out of that pokemon's mouth. 

The movie also contains one of the dumbest edits in the history of the franchise (see the Paint Edit below).  And Miramax still refuses to release the movies in widescreen.  It's just frustrating, because the DVD shows us that they otherwise have no problem releasing the thing in widescreen.  Look at "Gotta Dance."  It's in widescreen.  So are the clips used in the Chiisaki Mono music video.  So are the clips used in the trivia game on the DVD.  So are the ending credits.  In fact, the only part of the DVD that isn't presented in widescreen is the FEATURE MOVIE ITSELF.  Honestly, Miramax, why do you tease us so much?

Guranea, Chirutto, Chirutalis, Tropius, and Flygon all keep their Japanese voice. 

Dialogue Edit
Here's how they made the script for the movie.

1)  Take the translated Japanese script.

2)  Rip it up and and throw the pieces into a blender.

3)  Take what's left, clean up the English, and your script's complete.

That's pretty much how I felt about this movie's script.  It's about as bad as the fifth movie's script; while there are parts that are accurate, but then there are other parts that are just completely rewritten for no reason whatsoever.  Just about everything the Rocket-Dan said was different from the Japanese version, as were about half of Masato's lines. 

Another problem I found with the dialogue was the excessive amount of gasping and grunting in this movie.  It seemed like every time a character was on-screen, they were making some sort of unnecessary "uhn!  ooh!  hmm!  gasp!" noise.  The opening scene, when Butler and Diane are setting up the festival, is a perfect example of this.  The two are just grunting away throughout the entire thing, while you don't hear a peep out of them in the Japanese version.  I can guess why 4Kids might have done that (they have a phobia about a character being on-screen without making a sound), but that doesn't sound the fact that it sounds really idiotic half the time.

My final problem is the fact that the dub consistently mispronounces Jiraachi's name.  It's not "Jeer-ratch-ee," it's "Ji-rah-chee." 

Dialogue Edit
The opening narration ("The Pokémon Lore") was a LOT more talky in the dub.  The narrator just kept talking on and on and on, making bad puns for each of the legendaries as they appeared on the screen.  The Japanese version, in contrast, let the visuals do the talking and didn't overexplain everything the way the dub did.  The two versions said pretty much the same thing, but the Japanese version was just so much more concise.

Paint Edit
Ladies and gentlemen, I present the first paint edit in a Pocket Monsters movie!!

For some asinine reason, 4Kids painted away the Japanese text on Butler's poster.  Originally, under the English text, there was a black stripe with the words Gureeto Batoraa no Majikku Shoo ("The Great Butler's Magic Show") written on it in white text.  In the dub, the stripe (and the text on it) is erased off the poster.  If you play the American DVD in slow motion during the first close-up of the poster (after Meowth's manure line), you can see a frame that didn't get painted.  This is why the scene jerks when you play the movie normally.

The text is also painted away later in the movie, when Diane's looking at the poster on the bus.

Ordinarily, I'd just cite this as just one more example of 4Kids editing out anything Japanese from their properties.  The problem I have with this particular edit is how nonsensical it is in the context of the DVD.  Half of the ending theme is in Japanese.  The music video to the Japanese version of the ending theme (complete with Japanese title card) is available on the DVD as an extra.  Yet they choose to edit a little bit of text in the actual movie itself!? 

Honestly, what makes written Japanese so much more harmful than spoken Japanese?

Side Note
Whenever May sings in the English version, you may notice that her voice sounds a little different.  That's because 4Kids uses the Japanese vocal track of Kaori (Haruka's Japanese voice actor) whenever May sings.  Maybe 4Kids didn't think that Veronica Taylor could sing well or something.  Or maybe it was just easier to use the Japanese vocal track for that one non-vocal song.  Whatever the reason, it was certainly an unexpected little easter egg for all of us.

Another side note:  notice how we never actually SEE Butler abduct Jiraachi?  Haruka looks down, sees Butler going toward the bus (where Jiraachi is sleeping in Masato's arms), and then in the next scene he has Jiraachi back at his tent.  How in the world did he manage to sneak into the bus, grab Jiraachi without waking Masato or anyone else up, and then get out of the bus, all while Jiraachi sleeps? 

And finally, notice how short Diane's shorts are in this movie?  She's walking around the entire movie in these teeny little short shorts, yet 4Kids doesn't do anything to censor them.  Yet they still think Musashi's skirt is too_short!?  Can someone explain the logic to me?

Dialogue Edit
I'll just list these out here:

  • Team Rocket's speech about what to wish for is completely different in the dub.  In the American version, they talk about how they don't want the pokemon to teleport away before they can get their wish in.  However, in the Japanese version they talk about wishing for a promotion.
  • During Absol's attack in Butler's tent, Ash identifies Absol.  In the Japanese version, it's Takeshi, not Satoshi, who identifies the pokemon.  It makes a lot more sense that Takeshi (who is a lot more studious that Satoshi) would be able to identify the pokemon right off the bat.
  • Throughout the dub, Jirachi is constantly referred to as a "he."  Usually the dub doesn't identify the pokemon's gender, but I suppose they felt that the fact that the Japanese Jiraachi referring to itself by the masculine pronoun "boku" was enough to make that call. 
  • Ash's telling Max about a female friend who left him and who he misses everyday (Misty) is a dub-only speech.  The Japanese version just talks about how Masato will always remember the week he spent with Jiraachi. 
  • I usually don't do the Dragon Ball Z Uncensored "Stupid Dialogue Alert" things for Pokémon due to it being such a kiddie show and all, but this line in the movie just begged for one:
      Diane:  "You're mad!"
      Butler:  "Not mad...just a little angry and maybe a wee bit impatient to get on with the show."
    Hahaha...ha...ha......ha.  Wow, 4Kids.  That was hilarious.  Ha.
However, despite all my complaining about dub-only lines, there is one changed line that I did enjoy:

Meowth:  "See that?"
Jessie:  "Do you think I'm blind?"
James:  "That would explain the hair."

That line made me smile.  I know I'm not being overly positive about this movie, but that one exchange made everything seem better somehow.

Final Thoughts
Well, that was interesting.  There were a lot of good things about this movie, but there were also a number of bad things as well.  Hopefully, the next movie will fare better (there's no Japanese text to erase), but I'm worried that some of the violence and a certain scene with Musashi will get cut out.  

However, this year promises to be a big year for 4Kids, so the fate of the Deoxys movie can probably be dictated by the decisions the company makes with the properties they've acquired for this year.  Who knows?  By this time next year, the idea of 4Kids releasing the Deoxys movie on DVD in widescreen with the uncut Japanese version included may not be as unfeasible as it is now. 

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