|| Pocket Monsters
The Arceus Who is Known
As a God Episode 1
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Pocket Monsters: The Arceus Who is Known as a God" Episode 1: "Satoshi and Gou! Let's Go to the Sinnoh Fes!!"
Pokémon TV Special: "Pokémon: The Arceus Chronicles" (The 00:00 - 15:12 mark)
Japanese Air Date: January 21st, 2022
American Air Date: September 23rd, 2022
Satoshi and Gou have come to the Sinnoh Region to attend in the Sinnoh Fes, a festival designed to give participants a look at what life was like back in the old days. They soon meet up with Hikari, who's also come to enjoy the festival, and Shirona, the Sinnoh Region Champion who also happens to be there helping out. Meanwhile, a Ginga-Dan team led by executive Saturn goes into a volcano to get the legendary Pokémon Headran. Back at the festival, Satoshi, Gou, and Hikari are invited to participate in a friendly competition to see who can get one of the three starter Pokémon of the Sinnoh Region -- Mokuroh, Mijumaru, or Hinoarashi -- the fastest using replicas of the wooden Monster Balls they used to use in the region. The children race around an indoor park, encountering lots of other Pokémon before finally coming face-to-face with their targets. The race ends in a three-way tie and so all three Trainers receive a book Shirona wrote about the Sinnoh Space-Time Legends for their troubles. Elsewhere, the remaining members of the Ginga-Dan gather together at their headquarters to begin an experiment to see if they can open a door into another dimension. Using energy output from their newly caught Headran, Executives Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter watch as their tests all come back with favorable results. Now that they've made it this far, the executives realize, they're one step closer to being reunited with their former boss Akagi. To be continued!
Late in December 2021 we got, seemingly out of nowhere, an announcement regarding a special set of four Pocket Monsters (2019) episodes, all being released exclusively on Amazon Prime, in order to promote the then-upcoming video game Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Those early announcements made it seem like these episodes would feature all sorts of exciting aspects from the upcoming game (which was to come out January 28th, 2022) but, as we'll see later on, that didn't really come to pass, did it?
Of the four Pocket Monsters: The Arceus Who is Known as a God episodes, this one is the only that feels like it's even trying to get us hyped up for Pokémon Legends: Arceus. Our heroes' costumes being actual in-game items you can get for pre-ordering the game, the brief glimpse of Hisui Region Pokémon, the old-timey Monster Balls, getting the three starter Pokémon; they actually pack quite a bit in! But it still seems like barely even scratched the surface. The obvious thing, to me, would've been to have Dialga or someone send Satoshi and his friends back in time and just have these four episodes take place in the world of the Pokémon Legends: Arceus game. But then if they did that they'd have to come up with new character and item designs, cast a bunch of new actors to come in, etc., and maybe they just didn't have the resources needed for something that ambitious...? It's weird to think that one of the largest media franchises in the world would have resource management issues but, as the Masters Eight Tournament would make painfully clear later on in the year, even a series as prestigious as Pocket Monsters can't do everything it wants.
Another example of this; the "Sinnoh Fes" in this episode is a festival that takes place in the Pokémon world equivalent of Japan, to celebrate ancient Japan, and yet animators of this show are still not allowed to use Japanese writing outside of title screens and easily removable subtitles. Seeing that fake "Tajirian" or whatever you want to call it in a regular episode is bad enough, but seeing it here? It stings a little more than usual.
In any case, what we do end up getting is pretty decent. The fact that this whole set of episodes is animated by Masaaki Iwane helps make this one of the better looking episodes in recent memory (though that one shot of Satoshi and Gou getting off that boat in the beginning of the episode looks rough), and that combined with the show using Shinji Miyazaki's music from the original Diamond & Pearl TV series for the first time in more than a decade really helps make these episodes stand out.
The English dub decided to combine all four episodes into a single movie, kind of like what 4Kids did with Mewtwo Lives back in the day. It's not even the least bit surprising they'd go this route, I guess, though it is going to be annoying having to explain to people that no, this is not a movie the same way that "Secrets of the Jungle" or "Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution" are movies. The other thing I immediately think about when it comes to the dub of these episodes is just how late its release is. The original version of this episode came out in Japan on January 21st in order to promote the Pokémon Legends: Arceus video game set to come out January 28th. That's pretty timely, right? But the English version? If you didn't see the special sneak peek they had at Worlds then the earliest you could've seen this was on September 23rd. That is a full nine months later! It is the year 2022, people; you should not be able to go through an entire human pregnancy in the same amount of time it takes TPCi to dub an hour long special. We are less than 60 days away from the release of Pocket Monsters Scarlet & Violet and TPCi's only just now releasing a special for a game that came out before the Generation 9 games were even announced! Why didn't the English dub for this come out way, way, way sooner!?
Headran, Arceus, and a random Nosepass affected by Headran's waves all keep their Japanese voices.
A whopping 100% of the background music in this first episode gets replaced for the English dub. The only TPCi dubs I even bother glancing at these days are the ones where the Japanese music is kept intact (the theatrical films, the web specials) so it's been a while since I've heard a TPCi replacement soundtrack and yup, it's about as bad as I remembered. Non-descript tunes just kind of droning on in the background, odd editing choices (at one point the close captions helpfully tells us that the dub is playing "whimsical music" during a scene that's actually supposed to be quite serious), the bizarre need to play music 24/7...it's like I went back in time to watching a dub from the 1990s.
The Japanese version, meanwhile, actually dusts off a lot of the music it used in the Diamond & Pearl TV series to really help bring us back to the Sinnoh Region. The English dub has used all those old Miyazaki tracks in their dub of the original Diamond & Pearl TV series at one point or another so it's all music Western fans would be familiar with. And yet most of it gets replaced anyway.
Something else a bit odd is how the opening credits try to tell us that the Japanese music is, indeed, left intact. Like here, it claims that Shinji Miyazaki composed the music you hear during this scene.
In the Japanese version yes, the music used for the opening is an instrumental theme provided by Shinji Miyazaki. But in the English dub? It's a replacement track by (I'm guessing) Ed Goldfarb. Shouldn't Mr. Goldfarb's name be there instead? I know why it's not -- the people in charge of translating / typing up the credits probably just translated the Japanese credits as-is without realizing what was going to be replaced -- but it still feels like the dub shouldn't be able to just flat-out lie like this.
Thankfully, the script for all four episodes of this special is actually really, really good. There are two points I want to bring up, however. First up is the opening narration:
We get the standard "We still can't utter the words "Pocket Monsters" in an official Pokémon product in the West" rewrite (though that didn't stop the franchise's official Twitter from using the phrase in that weird "companies tweet out their own names" meme earlier in the month!) so this one's not surprising at all.
The narrator closes out the opening sequence:
The English dub isn't going to dare suggest that Arceus is some kind of creator deity and so they picked one of the other Pokédex entries (Pearl, Y, Alpha Sapphire) and used that to describe Arceus instead.
The title screen for the special is changed.
Immediately after, we get our first of many edits to make these four episodes seem like one long movie; the episode's Japanese title, "Satoshi and Gou! Let's Go to the Sinnoh Fes!!" (サトシとゴウ！シンオウフェスにゴー！！), is removed from the English dub.
We get a few more text edits later on in the episode. The on-screen text that identifies Saturn as "Ginga-Dan Executive Saturn" (ギンガ 団幹部サターン) is removed.
After the scene where we see Ash and his friends catching the three Hisui starter Pokémon we return to the Team Galactic headquarters where similar text for "Ginga-Dan Executive Mars" (ギンガ団幹部マーズ)...
...and "Ginga-Dan Executive Jupiter" (ギンガ団幹部ジュピター).
It would have taken TPCi what...all of thirty seconds to type up these three names and throw them into a subtitle?
I will never understand TPCi's allergy to having readable text on-screen.
Cut -- 60 seconds
The ending credit sequence is removed from the dub to make these four episodes seem like they're all part of the same "movie." The ending theme starts right after the shot of Mt. Coronet that follows Mars' "Now we can open the door to Master Cyrus!"
You can see a full translation of those credits here.
The Next Episode Preview tease is also removed.
This page was last updated on October 17th, 2022
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