Plot: Satoshi and the others are heading to their next Orange Island destination when a sudden storm beaches them on a nearby island called Earthia Island. The villagers are holding a legend festival and Satoshi is chosen to be the ‘great controller’ from the legend. He’s tasked with retrieving three spheres from three neighboring islands and returning them to Earthia to stop the destruction of the world through an imbalance in nature. However, he soon discovers that the legend is coming true.
Breakdown: Okay, the good news is that they seem to have gotten better at making movie posters. The bad news is, it’s still a pretty bad poster. I mean, Lugia looks fantastic, which is the main thing, the three legendary birds don’t look too small, but Satoshi is oddly placed. I find it weird that he’s even making that pose. It just seems like everyone’s picture is clipart that they pasted onto the cool Lugia and legendary birds poster. What is Okido even doing there?
Just to solidify something without a doubt, I want you all to take notice of something. Who is oddly missing from this poster?…..That’s right, Kenji/Tracey. Proving just how useless he is in the movie and the series as a whole. Less than Okido, less than Slowking. That is just sad.
Now, since this movie doesn’t appear to be anywhere as drastically changed as movie 01, I won’t bother doing a complete run though of the entire movie. Instead, like I have done in the past with other review projects, I will break this movie up into chunks (of ten minute segments) and give my notes of each segment of the movie. Let’s begin!
Ten Minute Mark
As expected, Fire, Freezer and Lightning (Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos respectively) are called the gods of fire, ice and lightning as opposed to titans. Lugia is also called the ocean god.
Shamuti Island is actually called Earthia, and it wasn’t until they said this that I noticed his computer labels the island in green. Then it hit me. Earthia corresponds with Flame, Ice and Lightning as representing life and the balance of nature; earth as a whole. That also explains why the light at the end of the movie is green…I know 4Kids changes the names of practically everything, but Earthia actually seems to have a clear point in its name, so that’s disappointing. Plus, like the comparison says, it seems odd that 4Kids would purposely change its original name to something more foreign-sounding.
The title is, of course, different, but something I found odd is that the Japanese version only uses fire effects during its title whereas the dub utilizes fire, ice and lightning to represent the birds. Gotta give 4Kids props for actually being more thorough. I do miss the awesome electric guitar.
The original’s theme song is also still pretty good, being another rendition of Mezaze Pokemon Master. I don’t know why it still has a Charizard/Lizardon’s roar and Pikachu sounds on it though. Without visuals to match that, it just seems random.
I’m just now realizing how much I miss Scyther/Strike. It was the only one of Tracey’s/Kenji’s Pokemon that got both a backstory and a personality; and it was pretty interesting too. It was just the shot where it’s trying to protect Venonat/Kongpang for a minute, but that did spring to mind.
Twenty Minute Mark
Ohhh THAT’S why they specifically needed a Pokemon trainer. The original’s legend states that a ‘great controller’ will calm the anger of the gods. They’re equating a trainer to a controller to fit the legend. Also, that is what equates to ‘the chosen one’ in the original. In my opinion, it sounds better and doesn’t insinuate that Ash was destined at birth to do this. One could say that since the dub legend says the chosen one will ‘tame the beast of the sea’ that that may also be poking at that, but I think that’s more of a stretch.
The song is obviously different, but it’s surprisingly not all that different to my ears, really. The original one has higher pitches and some different tones, but it seems to follow roughly the same melody.
Again, applause with no moving hands. What the hell?
Furura (Melody) doesn’t seem to be quite as upfront with her flirting as the dub would insinuate.
Thirty Minute Mark
MistyxTracey fans may be sad to note that the one hint of that pairing (Tracey wondering if the girls are talking about him when they discuss Misty liking Ash) is not present in the original. He just says ‘I’m going too!’ If it makes you guys feel any better, the original line makes the scene much funnier.
Musashi actually asks why they’re bothering talking about Kasumi and Satoshi’s love-hate relationship since they’re ten years too young to be caught up in that stuff. Kojirou chimes in and says even they don’t talk about it much. Nyarth’s line is kept the same. I know I keep delving into sub dub comparison stuff, but the Bulbagarden comparison doesn’t cover much of what I’m talking about, probably because it’s not really important, but still noteworthy to me.
Forty Minute Mark
I love how Kasumi’s line to Jirarudan (Lawrence; who, by the way, hasn’t been named yet (if ever) in the original either.) makes it seem even worse. She yells at him to put the legendary birds in monster balls because trapping them this way is a waste. Yes, it’s awful that he’s forcing Pokemon into small technologically advanced cages to look at them when he could be forcing Pokemon into much smaller technologically advanced cages and making them fight. Shame!
I just realized, when we cut to the water Pokemon traveling by sea to get to Earthia Island, we see Arbo/Ekans in the water traveling this way too….I know some snakes can swim and some even slither on top of water, but I never knew they traveled by water too. Kinda makes you think maybe Team Rocket could’ve used Arbok in movie 01.
Hanako (Delia) actually solidifies that she has no clue where Satoshi is; just that he’s somewhere in the Orange Islands. Considering how vast and wide the Orange Islands seem to extend, that is an incredibly flimsy reason to be out there. Hey, I can fix this in one sentence. Watch. Ahem…. ”Satoshi/Ash just contacted me from Earthia/Shamuti Island earlier!” …..Boom! Was that so hard? You can send me money now, writers. I have a Paypal.
Fifty Minute Mark
We’re at that cut scene with Kenji talking about the explosion made to free Fire. He’s saying how the electricity affects the water separating the H2 and O. That coupled with flamethrower equals boom. I think it’s going a bit far to say that’s instructions for essentially making a bomb – it’s moreso just explaining the chemical reaction going on and the explosion that proceeds it, but I guess 4Kids has removed scenes for lesser reasons. They honestly just could’ve said “Water…plus electricity…and fire….?!” And really, that’s the only thing Kenji’s noted as doing in this movie? He truly is a boring worthless character.
Also, I guess Fushigidane really didn’t have any role in that. He was just there whippin’ away.
Nothing to note here, to be honest. However, the reason he’s stuck with being the one who has to do this is really that he was chosen by the villagers, started collecting the spheres and has to finish it, not that he’s destined to anyway.
Hour and Ten Minute Mark
Despite also making a pun or two (“Pikachu, we’re gonna get ‘chu.”?) Team Rocket has a funny line when they let go of Lugia.
Team Rocket – “You’re the main character!” See, that’s how you break the fourth wall, 4Kids.
Satoshi: “Amazing! Are those really Pokemon?”
Lugia: “Yes, every Pokemon living on the planet.”…….Yeah you won’t come to eat those words in another year or so.
You know, if anything, the original movie has the opposite message from the dub. It seems like the original has more of a message of ‘it’s not what one person does, it’s everyone doing their part towards a specific goal that is powerful.’ whereas the dub is very clearly ‘the power of one.’ Lugia cements this further by saying everyone’s doing their part to try to help; the Pokemon, Lugia and Satoshi.
While he doesn’t mention it, even Team Rocket and Furura have been helping along the way. In the dub, Lugia outright says that the one with the power to actually make a difference is just Ash. I’m not saying the dub’s message is a particularly bad one. Many people succumb to the belief that just one person alone can’t do anything to make significant change, but it’s worth mentioning.
While I still really like the original song…I dunno, the dubbed version of the final legend song seems more impacting and epic to me.
Hanako actually says she saw Satoshi do…something dangerous. I’m assuming she saw him riding Lugia or something. She also doesn’t say anything about her constantly missing him; just that if he were to die, she’d lose her whole world. Her final words are also asking Satoshi what he really wants in life. Satoshi says he wants to be a Pokemon Master. Hanako replies if that’s really his dream then he can’t overdo it. I like the original version better. It explains a little why she was so angry and it doesn’t give us the slightly cheesy stuff about him always being her hero.
Surprisingly we don’t get ANY extra bits from Jirarudan stating what he plans to do now. He just picks up his ancient Mew card and smiles. According to his Wiki page, it’s supposed to imply that he intends to restart his collection but in a much more modest way. Whatever that means, I don’t know.
Team Rocket and Yadoking/Slowking don’t break the fourth wall at the end. They also rarely bring up the stuff about them being temporary good guys.
The song for the credits in the original is okay, but the song starts out with really irritating sing-talking. It also gets a bit repetitive. But at least it doesn’t bludgeon you with a sudden polka.
And that was Pokemon movie 02 subbed….I see no real reason to rate it that much higher than the dub. While I prefer it to the original mostly because I like the original score, voices and dialogue better, 4Kids didn’t change all that much. It’s odd, while 4Kids seemed to get better and better at dubbing the movies (I find movie 03 to be their best work ever, though I’ve only gotten to movie 06 as of this writing) they got progressively worse, in my opinion, with the series. Not saying everything was perfect after this movie-wise (there are definitely some stinkers and major issues) but they seemed to make more of an effort in the movies. Maybe they never wanted to suffer another backlash from fans and critics as they did after movie 01.
Anyway, if anything, maybe a .5 point for not being all ‘chosen one’ crap, but even that is still hinted at. Better than shoving it in your face, but still. Plus I do like the dub’s legend song just a tiny bit more.
Recommended Audience: E for everyone….Unless your kid is smart enough to build a bomb by learning a bit of simple chemistry and has intentions of doing so once he/she acquires the knowledge, in which case SV for Super Villain.