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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | TV Specials
Japanese TV Special: "The Terrifying Mirage Pokemon"
American Tenth Anniversary Special: "The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon"
Japanese Air Date: October 13th, 2006
American Release Date: April 29th, 2006
Important Characters: Dr. Yung (Dr. Yung), Mr. Mirage (Mirage Master)
After receiving an invitation to go visit Dr. Yung, the inventor of a new type of battle system, Satoshi and his friends head to his laboratory to check out his "Mirage System." When they arrive they find that both the Hanada City Gym Leader Kasumi and Orchid-Hakase have been invited as well! They soon learn that Dr. Yung's Mirage System enables the professor to create life-like holographs of pokemon without any of the weaknesses that their real life counterparts have. During a trial battle with Satoshi a man in a mask named Mr. Mirage appears and kidnaps both Dr. Yung and Orchid-Hakase! Mr. Mirage wants the password to Orchid-Hakase's computer network but is refused and so he sends his Mirage Pokemon to kidnap Pikachu. After seeing Satoshi's pokemon being tortured by Mr. Mirage, Orchid-Hakase finally agrees to hand over the password. Now that he has access to the computer network Mr. Mirage is able to gather the data needed to create the ultimate mirage pokemon - Mirage Mewtwo! After a long and difficult battle in which Mirage Mewtwo easily defeats everything thrown its way, a Mirage Mew appears and sacrifices itself to hold Mr. Mirage's creation at bay long enough to allow Satoshi's Pikachu to finish it off. Mr. Mirage, whose true identity ends up being Dr. Yung, returns to the burning wreckage of his laboratory, never to be seen again. With the professor rescued and everyone out of the lab safe and sound, our heroes return to their journey.
kidding, this is probably one of the most hated Pokémon specials ever.
I'm going to
ignore the whole voice acting side of things for a moment - I'll come
back to it, though, I promise! - to focus on the content of the special
itself. Because with all the focus on the voice acting it's hard
to see the fact that this is actually a really interesting special with
a ton of stuff jam packed into its 40 minute runtime.
I am totally on
board with the idea that there's someone in this canon who would look
at the way certain pokemon have weaknesses against others and want to
eliminate them. Dr. Yung / Mr. Mirage is played up a bit more
cartoony than I would have liked (is there any good reason he even has his "Mr. Mirage" persona in the
first place?) but I totally understand where he's coming from
motivation-wise. Some of his conversations with Orchid-Hakase
about how pokemon are "imperfect" and "flawed" are really fascinating
and I think the villain of this special is a nice break from the
ambiguous antagonists we usually get in the movies.
Oh, and Kasumi's
here, by the way! Which is kind of bullshit because the idea that
she would be chosen as a "good Trainer" over, say, dozens of other
Trainers is not plausible at all. But hey, they've got the
original trio back together! ...Until Takeshi decides to leave
minutes into the special and then not show up again until after
everything's already been resolved, that is. So, yeah, there's
that. What I kind of love about
Takeshi's disappearing act is how he missed out on all the insanity
that took place in this special. "Hey guys, what'd I miss?"
"Oh nothing, Takeshi. Just an uber-powerful Mewtwo and a Mew and
Entei and two of the three legendary Kanto birds." "Oh."
And isn't it
weird that Dr. Yung only summons two of the three legendary
birds? Where's Fire? I can't think of any reason for its
absence on the Japanese side of things - it couldn't have been a voice
actor thing because Fire is voiced by Aikawa
Rikako and she's one of the show's regulars - and
so its absence here is
really, really weird. And why Entei but not Suicune or
Raikou? And Mr. Mirage scans Pikachu's memories and finds out
about Lugia, Celebi, Latios and Latias, and yet he doesn't summon them,
either? Is there some obvious reason that I'm missing?
I usually spend the final paragraph of the "Thoughts" section talking about the English dub but for this special I'm going to give the dub its own heading because of how unusual this one is.
The English Dub
While we fans of the Japanese version are confident that we'll be able to continue hearing the characters in this show being voiced by our favorite voice actors for the entire duration of the series, fans of the English dub aren't as lucky. The show's English dubbing went from 4Kids to Pokémon USA (which would later rebrand itself as The Pokémon Company International) after Season 8 and with that change went all the voice actors that people had gotten attached to over the past eight years. A brand new cast of sound-alikes was hired and "The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon" was our introduction to them.
The shock wasn't
as big for me as it was for a lot of others for a number of reasons.
One, I'm only a fan of the Japanese version and so these voice changes
affect me, and two because I had seen this whole scenario play out
years before with Dragon Ball Z
(and, to a lesser extent, Sailor Moon).
Everything that was happening with Pokémon back in 2006 had
already happened with Dragon Ball Z
back in 1999 and so I knew what the outcome was
going to be. A bunch of amateur voice "actors" (to use the term
generously) were hired to do poor imitations of the other guys and
everyone would freak
the hell out. The dub is doomed, it's going to get
canceled because of how horrible it is, new fans will hate it, the sky
is falling and we're all going to die.
One thing that
PUSA fixes, at least for now, is not replacing the Japanese music with
their own crap. All of the background music in this special was
Japanese, with most of it being from the Jirachi and Deoxys movies but
there was some older stuff thrown in there as well. It's cool, it
fits, and it's one of the few good things I can say about the dub of
The theme song, Pokémon Go!, on the other hand...holy shit. The press release that announced this special touted it as being "sure to be the ultimate nostalgic tune for Pokemon fans everywhere" and yet it ended up being a forgettable footnote that everyone hated at the time? The Windows Movie Maker like video editing also makes the whole thing feel cheap, though apparently PUSA only had three weeks to dub this special so I guess they can get a pass on that.Anyway, both Mew and Mewtwo (who's voiced by Konishi Katsuyuki, apparently) keep their Japanese voices.
How is PUSA's first script? Not too great, unfortunately.
Our heroes walk to Dr. Yung's laboratory:
Max: "Wow, I can't wait to see what kind of battle system he made up..."
Brock: "...Before Ash reads that letter again."
In the Japanese version Takeshi states that he's interested in the professor's new battle system as well.
Side Note - Dr. Yung
Dr. Yung's name is pronounced "Dr. Yoong" in the Japanese version. This points to the name being based on Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology. I can't find any reason why his name would be used as the basis for the name of a Pocket Monsters character, but sometimes they just pick random names and assign them to people. Carl Jung's name is written in Japanese as ユング, as is Dr. Yung's.
The English version keeps the same spelling but pronounces the name "Young" instead.
There's also Mr. Mirage, whose name, when combined with the "Dr." title in "Dr. Yung," points to this maybe being a reference to Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde. Mr. Mirage is renamed "Mirage Master" for the English dub though there is a line in the redub included in the Lucario and the Mystery of Mew DVD that has Ash refer to him as "Mr. Mirage."
Side Note - The Opening
So when they made this special in Japan it seems like they didn't bother to make an opening theme to go with it and so PUSA had no choice but to end up making their own. That opening was then exported back to Japan where it was used in the Japanese version of the special. A few changes were made, however.
First, the text "A 10th Anniversary Special" is removed from the Japanese title screen.
The second time the special's title comes up it gets replaced with the Japanese translated title.
Finally, credits are added to the opening scenes that aren't there in the Japanese version.
Click here to see more altered scenes from the opening.
Team Rocket's first PUSA exchange:
So the English version leaves out quite a bit of information so they can replace it with rambly nonsense. OK.
Also, Jessie's "Bigger, boys" line is as hilarious as it is out-of-place.
The Mirage Master kidnaps Oak:
Mirage Master: "I want you to give me the access password for your laboratory database immediately."
Professor Oak: "Password? What in the world would you want with my research data?"
Mirage Master: "Oh, I can put that data to very good use. Better than you could ever hope to."
Professor Oak: "Forget it. I refuse to give any information to the likes of you, kidnapper."
Orchid-Hakase states that the reason he refuses to cooperate is because he doesn't know anything about who Mr. Mirage is or what his goals are. Oak refuses because he's upset at being kidnapped, I guess?
Brock decides to leave the special:
Brock: "Leave everything to me. At times like this...I'm the only one who can handle such things."
Misty: "Whatever. Pu-leeze. You just want a little face time with Jenny."
Brock: "How dare you! You honestly think that at a time like this I would actually call Jenny on the phone and invite her out for a romantic candlelight dinner date followed up with some private time? Are you nuts?"
What I love, love about Brock's little monologue here is how what he's saying doesn't match up with the animation in any way whatsoever. It's pretty hilarious:
Takeshi: "I would enjoy dinner together with Junsa"
Brock: "I would actually call Jenny on the phone"
In the Japanese version he's stirring a pot of soup while in the English version he's using a rotary phone, I guess? Were there any ten year olds in the year 2006 who would recognize what Brock's doing here as "dialing a phone"? Is Brock such a hipster that he only uses telecommunications technology from decades before he was born?
Takeshi: "Have a private love chat with just the two of us."
Brock: "Invite her out for a romantic candlelight dinner date"
Haha, it's funny because PUSA doesn't even bother to edit out the sound of Brock tapping away at a keyboard!
Takeshi: "Do you think I'd want to do something like that!?"
Brock: "followed up with some private time"
Team Rocket bump into Ash and Misty:
Team Rocket: "Holy perps! Double twerps!"
The Rocket-Dan doesn't acknowledge Kasumi's presence the way Team Rocket does.
Also, isn't it weird that, outside of this one dub-only line, Team Rocket has absolutely no reaction to seeing Misty again after all this time?
The Mirage Master knows there are intruders in the building:
Jessie: "Hey! Time out! It's obvious from your vicious growls that we're on the same side!"
James: "Lighten up! We just want your Mirage System design plans!"
Meowth: "So can't we all just play nice?"
Musashi tries to get the growling pokemon away from them by saying that "You've got it all wrong! We're the only ones here who aren't suspicious!" (違うの！違うの！あたしたちだけは、怪しいものじゃありませんよ). Which is actually kind of funny.
After the Mirage Pokémon growl at Team Rocket in response:
Meowth: "Hey! Hold on! You curb your tongue!"
Jessie: "How rude!"
James: "I get enough of that from these two!"
Team Rocket: "We are so out of here!"
Oh look, James insulted his teammates! Hilarious.
In the Japanese version Nyasu says that it looks like they won't be able to talk their way out of this and so Musashi and Kojirou suggest they just rush the pokemon all at once.
Ash and the others get carried away:
Ash: "Pikachu, you got to break free and get a message to May quick."
Pikachu: "Pika! Pika-pi!"
Ash: "Again. Knock his block off."
Holy shit this special just took a grim turn. "Again. Knock his block off! I won't be happy until I see that stupid bear head rolling around on the floor, blood spurting out from its now vacant neck hole!"
In the Japanese version Satoshi tells Pikachu to give the attack all it's got.
Misty hangs on for her life:
Misty: "I'm the Cerulean City Gym Leader! Who do they think they are, anyway? As soon as I get out of this mess...Aah!"
Kasumi adds that she's "Kasumi, the World's Most Beautiful Girl" (世界の美少女カスミ), something Kasumi says quite often that the 4Kids dub would sometimes translate as "Water Pokémon Master" though there were plenty of other times where they would also just ignore it. Looks like PUSA's opting to do the latter!
May catches Misty:
May: "There. You see? Sometimes I can do the right thing."
Haruka: "There are times like this when I do whatever I can."
I'm only mentioning this because it's a line that set soooo many people off and was apparently the worst thing ever.
So the password for Orchid-Hakase's computer network is the same in both versions: REDGREEN. So this, combined with the fact that the Red and Green remakes were released in the U.S. as FireRed and LeafGreen, means that we're finally past the whole "let's have the same games known by different titles in different regions" nonsense? That Pokémon, like Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest before it, can retcon the original titles back into the franchise so that everyone knows what everyone else is talking about?
Haha, of course not.
Mewtwo is born:
Mirage Master: "Not quite. This is not the same Mewtwo that you're all familiar with. Because Mewtwo is a Mirage Pokémon, all attacks are available."
Mr. Mirage gives this Mewtwo the title "Mirage Mewtwo," something the Mirage Master doesn't do.
Our heroes make a run for it:
Professor Oak: "We've got to get out of here."
Ash: "Huh? What about Dr. Yung?"
Professor Oak: "There's nothing we can do. Get going."
Professor Oak: "Quick Mew. You too."
Mirage Master: "You think running will somehow save you? I think not."
Mr. Mirage's line here is "You think you'll be safe if you leave this building? How naive."
I'm not sure why the English dub removed the "this building" part especially since there are no mouth flaps here for them to worry about.
Orchid-Hakase also tells Satoshi and the others to "forget about Dr. Yung," which I think seems a little bit more harsh than what Professor Oak says.
The Mirage Master's secret identity is revealed:
Dr. Yung: "I must know how you figured that out."
Professor Oak: "Back when Mew first appeared, remember your words?"
(begin flashback)Mirage Master: "This is none of your concern, professor. That Pokémon's nothing but a flawed specimen. Now you get out of my sight, Mew, at once!"
(end flashback)Professor Oak: "A true scientist would have never said such a thing. And when you referred to all your long years of difficult work, could you possibly be seeking revenge on the Pokémon Institute by deplorable actions?"
In the Japanese version Orchid-Hakase says that Mr. Mirage getting so upset at Mew's appearance and referring to it as a "flawed specimen" is the kind of thing only its developer would say. He also points out that Mr. Mirage made a reference to "all your long years of difficult work," something that wouldn't have made sense for him to do unless he was the man who created the Mirage System.
In the English dub Oak's explanation doesn't make any sense. "I must know how you figured it out." "Well, you said something mean to Mew, and a true scientist would have never said such a thing." "OK...what? 'A true scientist would never say such a thing,' and so therefore I must be the only other scientist you've seen today?" The way that Professor Oak fails to pause between his other reason and his question about seeking revenge on the Pokémon Institute makes it seem like those two are related statements when they are in fact not.
I know it's tricky to fit the same amount of information in the English version that's present in the Japanese version due to the mouth flaps and all but there must have been a way to make Professor Oak's explanation make sense?
Cut (Addition?) - 2 seconds
The ground POV shot of Entei charging toward our heroes is played twice in the English version; once before the commercial break and again after the show comes back. In the Japanese version it only plays once.
This type of edit from the Japanese version to the English version was very common back in the Advanced Generation days but to see it happen the other way around? Weeeeeird.
After Mewtwo knocks out Professor Oak's Dragonite:
Jessie: "That professor doesn't know the meaning of quit."
Meowth: "He should stop hanging out with twerps."
Nyasu looks at how well Dr. Yung is doing and says that they'd better sit there and wait a little longer before rushing into a battle they have no chance of winning.
After Mew protects Pikachu:
Misty: "Mew actually survived Mewtwo's Hyper Beam."
Max: "That Mew's incredible."
Kasumi doesn't express surprise that Mew survived; all she does is state that Mew protected Satoshi from Mewtwo's Hyper Beam.
After Mew "dies":
Ash: "Well that's it. No one talks like that and gets away with it."
Dr. Yung: "Please. I guess you're just going to have to learn the hard way. Let's teach them, Mewtwo. Class is in session."
In the Japanese version Dr. Yung is surprised that Satoshi is still willing to put up a fight after all the damage he's taken and says that he'll show him Mewtwo's "true form" (ならば見せてやろう、ミュウツーの真の姿を).
Team Rocket blasts off:
Jessie: "No Pokémon! No design plans! No promotion!"
James: "Oh, count your blessings! At least we're consistent!"
Meowth: "Remind me if I ever call you for business advice to hang up the phone!"
In the Japanese version Musashi is upset because they didn't get the design plans to the Mirage System and Kojirou's upset that they didn't even catch any Mirage Pokemon either. Nyasu then adds that they should have just gone after Pikachu like they always do.
The English dub, meanwhile, has Meowth insult his teammates, which is something I'm sure is just going to be a one-off thing and is definitely not going to be a recurring theme for the rest of PUSA's tenure with the series.
Professor Oak: "That little Mew possessed a true soul. And you can't turn a soul into data."
In Japanese the word "soul" would be tamashii (魂) or rei (霊) or reikon (霊魂). That's not what they use here, though; Orchid-Hakase instead uses the word kokoro (心), which usually means "heart" or "mind." I can see what PUSA was going for here - "soul" is a quick and easy way to convey the meaning that's apparent in the original script - but I did want to point out the difference regardless.
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