Pokemon (Banned) Episode 18 Analysis – Beauty and the Beach/Holiday at Aupulco

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CotD(s): Brutella/Obaba – A kinda creepy witchy character, Brutella is a big sack of horrible who has a debt over Moe, one that he will lose his boat over if he doesn’t pay her back in time. She ‘hires’ Team Rocket to help with messing with his business to destroy him and get his boat. She somehow treats them worse than Giovanni does.

Reappear?: Surprisingly, yes. She has a minor appearance in the episode that her sister is in.

Moe/Ryu – Also a little creepy, Moe is a restauranteur who is basically being put out of business by Brutella. He recruits Ash and the others to help him save his business and his boat when they accidentally stole his boat and crashed it into his pier.

Reappear?: No.

Pre-Episode Notes: Ah, our first banned episode….though one could say this isn’t technically entirely banned. 4Kids got this episode among the rest of the batch for the Indigo League, but decided against dubbing it since there was questionable content. Namely, this is the infamous ‘James has boobs’ episode. Yup. The big issue with this episode is James crossdressing again, but this time he’s in a bikini and somehow has inflatable prosthetic boobs that he squeezes and shows off. I imagine 4Kids didn’t think it to be reasonable to edit out these scenes since it would bring down the runtime quite a bit. So, instead, they opted to remove it entirely.

There’s also some controversy over some of the scenes James is in, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

The reason this isn’t really a banned episode anymore is because, unlike every other banned episode, it was eventually dubbed. It was finally edited, dubbed and shown in the US……three years later….

Why they waited so long to finally release this episode is beyond me. If they did indeed feel comfortable releasing the butchered edited version, then why wait three years to do it? For the controversy to die down? They released this as a Lost Episode and to my recollection it was airing right as the Orange League was going down, so it felt kinda weird to watch it. I can only surmise that they didn’t feel comfortable airing the edited version when the Indigo League was first airing because they felt that to be too big of a gap for the sponsor support they had back then? The episode is a mere 18 minutes long as opposed to the near 22 minutes it’s supposed to have. Maybe they decided to make it into a special “Lost episode” much later on where they could jam in more commercials and get more money? I dunno.

It’s also interesting to note that the two times this aired on Kids’ WB were the only times this episode saw TV time outside of Japan. It was never put back in its rightful place in the Pokemon DVDs or VHSs, to my knowledge, it was never released in other formats like Netflix or Hulu and it was never on any other channel where Pokemon was syndicated like Cartoon Network. Hell, the official US Pokemon website didn’t even make a listing for this episode. It’s like they wanted its release to be a secret. It is a legit Lost Episode now.

The only way you can watch it is by hunting it down on the Internet. Many sources have horrible quality thanks to the old VHS recording on Kids’ WB, but someone synced up the English Audio to a DVD version of the Japanese airing and edited it themselves, so there is now a much better quality version out there. Mazel tov.

With all that out of the way, let’s tackle Beauty and the Beach; both the Japanese and English versions. Stuff that is purely in the Japanese version IE banned will be put in red. Stuff that is purely in the English dubbed version will be in blue. Anything that carries between versions will be in regular black.

Plot: At the beautiful island paradise of Porta Vista, Ash, Misty and Brock decide to take a much needed vacation after the harrowing journey they took after the sinking of the St. Anne. As they enjoy some swimming and time in the sun, they decide to take a leisurely boat ride. However, a terrible mix up leads them to accidentally stealing the boat. After a run in with Team Rocket’s Gyarados sub, they lose control of the boat and crash it into a dock.

As bad luck would have it, the owner of both the boat and the dock, Moe, shows up on the scene. Since he’s perving on Kasumi in her bikini, he decides to be lenient with them and let them work off the damages. Since Misty reminds Moe of his granddaughter, he decides to be lenient with them and let them work off the damages.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket is hired as waiters at a woman named Brutella’s restaurant. And it just so happens that Ash and the others were also hired as employees at Moe’s restaurant, which is experiencing a lull in business while Brutella’s is booming.

Team Rocket mocks Ash and Co. for working at Moe’s crappy dive while they’re working at a nice swanky place. Angered at this taunts, Ash lets out all of his Pokemon to help them out with promotions, cooking and waiting tables.

As Moe’s restaurant has an explosion of popularity, Team Rocket decides to rain on their parade by sabotaging all of their efforts such as using a fan to blow away Squirtle and Pikachu’s fliers, putting gasoline on the coals in the stove to make it flare up in Moe’s face and tripping Bulbasaur and Misty with banana peels to make them dump food all over some of the customers.

Just as quickly as the place filled up, Moe’s restaurant empties completely. Brutella and Team Rocket show up to not only gloat but to remind Moe that he owes her money and if she doesn’t get it she’ll take his boat.

Moe has always dreamed of sailing the world on that boat, so Ash and the other encourage him to not to give up. However, the problem with the money remains and they have no ideas to come up with the extra cash.

Professor Oak and Delia surprise the group with a visit, though they don’t explain why they’re at Porta Vista in the first place. Oak shows them a flier about a local Pokemon beauty and costume contest that will draw in plenty of customers to generate the money needed to pay back Brutella.

The plan works as the place is packed when the contest starts. Misty decides to partake in the contest for the extra prize money and makes up a UFO and alien outfit for Squirtle and Starmie for the costume portion. As Kasumi finishes up her set, Team Rocket pushes her away. They’re partaking in the contest, complete with Kojirou crossdressing yet again in a bikini and inflatable prosthetic boobs. Since they’ve suddenly barged into the contest, Takeshi wonders if they should be barred from the contest. But after Kojirou super inflates his boobs, the crowd cheers and welcomes them to the contest with open arms.

Team Rocket butts into the contest uninvited with Ekans and Koffing dressed up as an Omastar. However, they’re quickly booted from the stage by Gary. Surprising Ash immensely, Gary has shown up to blow the contest away with six girls from his fan club. Brock obviously could not be happier and neither could the crowd as they all gush over the girls in their bikinis.

As the crowd cheers for Shigeru’s ‘girlfriends’ Team Rocket stews over the loss of attention. Obaba, however, drags them away with a better idea.

Brutella says she’s fixed Team Rocket’s Gyarados sub/tank and as payment for the repairs, she wants them to use it to bust up the contest and ruin Moe’s business, to which they happily agree.

As Ash stews over being rejected for a Pokemon battle with Gary, Team Rocket show up and start causing a panic on the beach. Ash manages to calm everyone down, but Team Rocket fires back with a heat-seeking missile. Ash combats this by having Pidgeotto carry Charmander up in the air to fire a Flamethrower at the missile, sending it flying back at Team Rocket. They try to outrun the missile but end up crashing into Brutella’s restaurant, along with the missile, and Team Rocket and Brutella blast off.

Moe gathers the money necessary to pay Brutella back, and sets off on his world cruise after bidding Ash, Misty and Brock farewell. They also say goodbye to Delia, who is now in possession of the contest trophy, and Oak as they continue on their Pokemon journey.

=========================

– I guess this is technically our first pun title.

– Ash: “Surf’s up, dude!” Dated dialogue out of the way, 1) the surf’s not up, it’s actually pretty damn calm water and 2) you’re not surfing.

– I find it odd in both versions how Ash/Satoshi think it’s weird to see Misty/Kasumi ‘looking like a girl’. Uh, Ash, her regular ensemble is a yellow bare mid-drift tank top with short-shorts that need to be held up with suspenders. If that’s not girly, I dare you to wear it. Also, Brock/Takeshi, why are you gawking at her with Ash? You’re several years older; it’s bordering on creepy.

– How the hell do you accidentally steal a boat? More importantly, even if they did legitimately borrow or rent the boat they’re on, they’re all way too young to be driving the damn thing. Why aren’t any of them asking about that? It looks like Ash might be driving, but why is he driving? I’m pretty sure he’s the youngest of the group even if Misty is the same age.

Also, Satoshi, you think you’re on the wrong boat? No; there is no right boat. You never rented a boat.

– So that boat was Moe’s/Ryu’s? And the dock they crashed into is his too? How convenient yet also horribly inconvenient that they bring the boat back to the dock they took it from after losing control of it.

– I know the dub always changes food when it’s brought up, but it’s usually to AMERICAN things like cheeseburgers, donuts, hamburgers, burgers and sometimes burgers, but clam juice snow cones? Eughghg.

Is it really a surprise Moe’s restaurant isn’t doing any better with Ash and the others’ help? Would you feel anymore compelled to visit a restaurant if they had a 10 and 15 year old outside in swimsuits trying to call you to it with a Pikachu?

– Brock: “Jessie looks pretty good in that uniform too!” Since when does Brock notice Jessie in a romantic way? I can only remember this as the singular incident in which he does.

– Letting Pokemon help out in your restaurant seems like it would be breaking all kinds of health codes….For instance, birds are disgusting and carry tons of diseases. Ash lets his Pidgeotto use the wind from its wing flaps to cool down corn on the cob….but I guess this is Pokemon where Pokemon are welcome everywhere and can do no wrong

– SDC stuff, but Satoshi says Pidgeotto is using the wind from its flapping wings to cool down the hot corn on the cob. Ash says Pidgeotto is keeping the charcoal toked. I guess both are viable results of that, but why the change?

– So Charmander’s job is to give Moe third-degree burns on his legs?

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I honestly don’t get why all those people up and left Moe’s place. Most of the stuff that Meowth was sabotaging had little impact on the guests. He blew away the fliers. Big whup. Who the hell really pays attention to fliers that get handed to them? To quote the great Mitch Hedberg;

“Whenever I walk, people try to hand me out fliers, and when someone tries to hand me out a flier, it’s kinda like they’re saying, ‘Here, you throw this away.’ “

People were paying attention to the place either way. It has heavy foot traffic, people just think it’s a dive.

He flared up the stove, which probably burned a little food, as well as Moe’s face, but he could’ve easily made up a new batch. Meowth wasn’t standing there with the gasoline can ready to continuously ruin the food.

The only thing that affected the guests was Bulbasaur and Misty tripping, but come on. Shit happens. Probably 80+ people left because of slight delays in one or two food orders, lack of fliers and a little food being spilled on them after two of the wait staff obviously tripped? And, again, it’s not like Meowth was there continuously tripping them time and again getting food on everyone. They spilled one drink order and another food order on two people. Those minute things made them go from 80+ customers to zero. These people are pretty damn uptight for beach goers.

Hold the phone…..Ash didn’t let out all of his Pokemon like he said. Why wasn’t Butterfree given anything to do? You’d think after the crap Ash put him through on the St. Anne that he’d want to spend some time with him.

– Also, so that means Ash, Misty and Brock crashed the boat that meant the world to Moe? I know it seemingly suffered no damage, but I’d be way more pissed if my dream heavily relied on a nice boat and three kids steal and crash it….into my own pier.

Considering this episode was aired three years out from its intended slot, it’s not surprising this note isn’t seen as more of an issue by people, myself included up until this point. However, since I’m doing these analyses in order…..uh….Professor Oak….Delia…..why are you not shocked beyond belief to see Ash….ya know….alive?

Remember, this episode is coming straight off the St. Anne arc. Last the public heard of Ash, Misty and Brock, they were three of the casualties of the sinking. Unless the cops were such complete assholes that they didn’t bother telling their families what happened, which, considering the confusing funeral scene, is a scary possibility, Delia and Oak should be under the impression that Ash and the others are dead.

You might be able to argue that Ash called Delia when he got to the island to tell her that they were all okay, which may explain away Misty’s sisters and Brock’s dad and siblings absence, but that doesn’t make any sense for Ash. If he did, why wouldn’t Delia tell him that she and Oak intended to go out and visit him in Porta Vista? Why wouldn’t she be giving him crushing hugs and sobbing when she saw him again?

Remember the second movie? How she only believed that Ash was in the general area where a bunch of terrible weather events were happening so she hopped on a helicopter to search for him and make sure he was okay? And then when she found him she yelled at him for making her worry so much? Where is that Delia here?

The only way this whole situation would make any sense, if she was told about the situation, is if she and Oak gave zero shits about Ash and the others dying and went to Porta Vista for a nice vacation and/or to celebrate that he was gone.

Or….ya know………the writers forgot about that whole three episode arc. Whoopsee.

A bathing suit contest for girls and…..Pokemon…..Errrrrr……uhhhh.

– Also, Misty really shouldn’t be able to enter such a contest. Aren’t there age restrictions on that stuff? She’s freakin’ ten.

How does Oak know how much money they need? Since the reason behind the money is never given in the dub, for all we know, it could be some ridiculous loan with interest or something.

– Where the hell are these fliers coming from?

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I mean, I can think of a place, but ew.

– Notice how most of the people in the shot afterward look surprised or annoyed at the sudden rain of fliers? No one likes fliers, and they especially don’t like when they’re poured on top of they’re heads. Also, isn’t that a crap ton of littering?

– Why is Brock announcing the contest? Surely they had an announcer in place when this whole event was planned.

So in the original Hanako/Delia and Okido/Oak are just there on vacation, which begs the question why they had to explain their presence later. Because it takes so much time to say ‘we’re on vacation’…..Also, why are Hanako and Okido on vacation….together? In the dub, they’re there because they’re with a tour group; the Pallet Town Volunteer Patrol…..patrol? Patrol what? Tour? Of what? Volunteer? For what? Your presence in neither version makes sense!

– Now that I’m thinking about it, it is really weird that they had Ash crash a boat after the St. Anne arc….

I knew Starmie could kinda float, but it can really fly in the air for extended periods of time? With a passenger?

– More SDC stuff, but Kasumi loves being in the contest while Misty says it’s completely degrading and embarrassing. I guess this line may have been put in here to give a message about beauty contests, but Misty was excited about entering and now she hates it but is putting up with it for the money.

The other kinda minor thing I was talking about with the bikini James thing is that he mentions that Misty partook in the contest ten years too early, poking fun at her small chest. This was probably also deemed as a controversial message to young girls what with body image and whatnot. I especially think this now considering the line change with Misty being embarrassed about being in the contest.

– Originally, Arbo and Dogas are dressed as a leviathan. In the dub, they’re supposedly an Omastar.

– Ya know, usually Gary’s a breath of fresh air in this series, but even though those were Team Rocket’s Pokemon, it was a complete dick move to kick them off the stage. Not only in regards to the contest, but he just kicked two seemingly innocent Pokemon for no reason.

– Also, considering Ash and the others have been lost at sea for like a week, it is a crazy coincidence that not only Delia and Oak but also Gary are at the exact place they happened upon after they finally reached civilization.

– Hey since we’re on the topic of creepy attractions to people way outside of your age range, let’s again talk about the weird fact that Gary has six girls in their 20s who follow him everywhere, seem to live with him on his journey and gush over everything he does. Everything this ten year old boy does. Also, in the original, he outright calls them his girlfriends.

So let me get this straight…..without Ash and the others getting interested in this contest….it would’ve had no entrants? Misty enters legitimately, but both Team Rocket and Gary’s fan club girls burst in uninvited. They’re the only participants that we see, so I guess no one else wanted to enter. In that case, Misty definitely would’ve won with no problem.

Technically more SDC stuff, but Obaba tends to add ‘baba’ to the end of her sentences and Brutella does not for obvious reasons. Musashi accidentally catches herself saying ‘baba’ as they leave in their sub, but since she doesn’t say this in the dub, Jessie puts on a slightly gruffer voice and says Brutella’s rubbing off on her. She seriously made very little effort to sound like Brutella. I don’t know if they knew what she’d sound like at this point, but you can barely even tell she’s altering her voice at all.

– Brutella randomly has a docked underground waterway to the ocean in her backyard…..why?

– *sigh* Please let Ash go, Brock. We hardly ever get to see Ash and Gary battle.

– How the hell does Brock know that’s a heat seeking missile? It gives no indication that it’s following heat. This isn’t a dub exclusive line either. He just magically knows that the missile launched right in front of their faces directly towards them is heat seeking.

– Why does blowing fire on the heat seeking missile redirect it towards a mostly cold Gyarados sub/tank?

That was some cheap as hell animation on Ash’s goodbye wave.

– Why does Delia have the trophy? She didn’t enter the contest. I guess Misty could’ve won and given it to her….but why? There’s another theory that whichever of Gary’s fangirls might’ve won and gave it to her….but why? In the dub, the trophy’s plaque is changed to say ‘First place in our hearts: Ash Ketchum’……does that mean Ash won? Because usually people put the winner’s name on the trophy. And I can’t imagine Gary would purposely change the engraving to make it a nice gesture from Ash to his mom. This whole trophy thing makes no sense, and I don’t even know why they felt the need to add it in there without even a line of dialogue poking at it.

…………….Now I have to imagine Ash in a bikini. Thanks, 4Kids.

I will say that this last shot is one that I was very much happy to see when I first watched this episode. See, in some future episode, I forget which one, there’s a clip show that includes this very scene. Child me, being such a huge Pokemon fan, beat myself in the head for ages trying to remember where the hell that clip came from. I had no clue it came from a banned episode until the Lost Episode event where I was finally able to get this monkey off my back.

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All in all, this episode was….eh….blech. I didn’t really enjoy any of it. There are so many creepy or confusing aspects of this entire episode that it’s actually not that much of a bother that they never aired it when they were meant to. James with his fake boobs is really the only thing even slightly entertaining about it, and that’s just a quick one-off joke.

Plus, since that scene is gone from the dub, it makes the dub seem even more bland.

Ash and the others stealing a boat ‘accidentally’ really just seems like a huge plot device, and them subsequently crashing it to get the plot started was predictable the moment we realized it was stolen.

Them working off the damages is also nothing special, nor is the whole business vs. business with one business owner obviously being a complete ass while the other owes a debt thing. In addition, this is all topped off with a ‘have a contest to raise/win the money’ trope. I don’t really understand why Moe couldn’t have gone on this trip up until now. He owes money to Brutella, but we’re never told what it’s for. He owes her rent for the restaurant in the original, but even then it seems like it doesn’t make sense. He runs the restaurant for the boat and this trip, but he has the boat. Did he need to stock up on supplies and stuff? At the very least, Moe was a pretty decent character, albeit a bit of a pedo creeper.

It really seems like they had no idea what to do with this episode so they just threw a bunch of crappy tropes together to see what stuck. Then they realized it wasn’t that good so they threw in not one, not two, but three cameos from side characters whose presence there is one of the biggest coincidences ever. They didn’t let Gary battle Ash, and outside of some nice connections between Delia and Ash, there was really no reason for any of them to be there at all. Do I even need to mention the whole ‘we forgot we think you’re dead’ thing?

Plus, we can pretty much chalk this up as Pokemon’s first and probably only ‘hot-springs-esque’ fanservice episode, because that’s really all of the takeaway.

Next episode, Tentacool and Tentacruel wreak havoc in Porta Vista, a place they supposedly just left. Thanks sloppy dialogue edits for the sake of trying to fill continuity errors that no one cares about…..not even me……..For the record, this episode actually takes place in Aopulco, which is a separate yet nearby town to Porta Vista…..*cough*

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4 thoughts on “Pokemon (Banned) Episode 18 Analysis – Beauty and the Beach/Holiday at Aupulco

  1. You mentioned a color coding system to note what was in the Japanese version and what was in the English version, but I don’t see it included here?

    • The color coding system is relegated to just the plot synopsis. The font color is changed to red for anything purely in Japanese and blue for purely dub. Black for everything that translates between versions. If the font isn’t changing color on your end, I don’t know what could be causing it. It’s working fine on my end both in the editing screen and on the actual post.

      As a bit of a cheat, though, any paragraph or line in the plot synopsis that has the characters’ Japanese names (Satoshi, Kasumi, Takeshi, Musashi, Kojirou, Okido etc.) is stuff that is purely in the original. The one line about Misty reminding Moe of his granddaughter is pretty much the only important thing relegated purely to the dub.

      If you’d like a more complete Sub Dub Comparison deal, here is a link to Dogasu’s comparison on Bulbagarden. http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/kanto/ep018.html
      Sorry for any confusion. 🙂

      • No need to apologize. I apologize for not understanding the system. I think the review was absolutely fascinating though. I had no idea there was a ‘lost’ pokemon episode. I’ve been rewatching the series on Netflix lately, so I’m interested in looking up this episode now.

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