Pokemon (Banned) Episode 35 Analysis – The Legend of Miniryu/Dratini

Pokemon episode 35 title

CotD(s): Kaiser – Owner (?) of the Safari Zone, Kaiser has a very quick temper and is even quicker on the draw of his gun. He is ready to protect the Safari Zone from any and all potential threats at all costs. 30 years ago, he was inadvertently nearly the cause of the destruction of the Safari Zone, and now he vows to protect it and the Miniryu that seemingly live within its walls.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Nothing officially, but Miniryu/Hakuryu might have been in his possession at one point.

Pre-Analysis Notes: Here we are at what is actually the first real banned episode of Pokemon. Technically, it’s the third episode to be banned in the US, with Tentacool and Tentacruel and Beauty and the Beach getting the first two spots, the second to be banned and taken out of rotation to this day (Tentacool and Tentacruel is back in rotation and on official releases) and the first to be completely banned IE never even dubbed (Beauty and the Beach was dubbed and aired eventually, even if the episode is still lost).

4Kids received the episode when they got the licensing rights, but they never dubbed it. They did use clips in the PokeRap, but that’s it. Dogasu wrote a very detailed and eloquent explanation as to why this episode was banned and why it’ll never be officially released. Since I don’t believe I could tackle this issue anywhere near as well as they did, I will direct you to their website. http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/kanto/ep035.html

Short answer – way too much gun use, even if it’s less than what many people would lead you to believe. The closeups, the fact that they were fired and the way they were being used were also major factors.

This episode was the source of some continuity trouble because it’s the episode where Ash catches his 30 Tauros. Since the episode never aired, every Pokemon fan in the world, including me, collectively scratched their heads when Ash revealed that not only did he own a Tauros, but he had a whole damn herd of them at Oak’s lab. You just sat there trying to wrap your head around where, when and, quite frankly, why he could’ve done such a thing.

Since The Kangaskhan Kid is the last we see and hear of the Safari Zone, even though they weren’t in the Safari Zone, you’re also left to believe that the group went to the Safari Zone and did absolutely nothing there in regards to catching Pokemon.

Shame, really. Dratini, Dragonair, the Safari Zone, Ash actually doing some catching for a change – it’s all lost to us in the west.

Japanese Key – Satoshi/Ash, Kasumi/Misty, Takeshi/Brock, Okido/Oak, Miniryu/Dratini, Kentauros/Tauros, Saihorn/Rhyhorn, Arbo/Arbok, Musashi/Jessie, Kojirou/James, Nyasu/Meowth, Hakuryu/Dragonair, Shigeru/Gary

Plot: Finally actually in the Safari Zone now, Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi meet Kaiser, who greets them with a revolver to the face at the sounds of their happy singing. Kaiser is very gun-happy, and he whips it out and threatens the three at the drop of a hat.

As Satoshi gets his Safari Balls and rod, Kasumi notices a picture of Kaiser and a Miniryu on the wall. They all get excited at the prospect of a Miniryu in the Safari Zone, but Kaiser nabs the picture from them and claims there are no Miniryu in the park.

Satoshi and the others contact Okido to see if he knows anything about it. Okido states that 30 years ago, Kaiser found a Miniryu in the park. Word traveled fast, and Trainers from all over stormed the Safari Zone looking for the Miniryu. As they searched, they caught tons of Pokemon and nearly wiped the place out. Because of this, a new policy was put in place to only allow captures in the Safari Zone with the park’s official Pokeballs – Safari Balls. No one ever saw the Miniryu, though some people still search for it.

Satoshi, Takeshi and Kasumi gather their Safari Balls and fishing rods and prepare to leave when they’re suddenly stopped by Team Rocket. They attempt to start their motto, only to be met with a hail of gunfire from Kaiser.

Team Rocket settles down and asks Satoshi for a friendly competition. Whoever catches the most Pokemon in the Safari Zone wins. If they win, they get all of the group’s Pokemon. If they lose, they’ll leave the group alone forever. Satoshi agrees and they head into the park.

Satoshi and Takeshi each catch a Kentauros, and Satoshi sets his sights on a Saihorn next. However, the same herd of Kentauros block his Safari Ball throw and net him another Kentauros instead as the Saihorn gets away.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket hold Kaiser at gunpoint and demand he tell them where the Miniryu is. After some mild torture, he agrees to give up the location.

Back with Satoshi and the others, Kasumi reveals her special Pokemon lures, including one modeled after herself called the Kasumi Special. Almost immediately after Kasumi casts her line, she hooks a Gyarados. The line snaps, and the catching attempts are interrupted by Kaiser who warns the group that Team Rocket is planning on capturing Miniryu in Dragon Valley.

Musashi spots a Miniryu but it’s scared away when the scuba diving Nyasu and Kojirou surface for air. No matter, it seems, since Nyasu reveals an electric bomb that will knock out all of the Pokemon in the water.

Satoshi and the others arrive, but it’s too late. Musashi throws the bomb into the water and Kaiser immediately dives in after it. Satoshi follows with Kasumi’s Hitodeman helping him swim faster. Satoshi sends Hitodeman off to help Kaiser resurface and catch his breath while he handles the bomb himself.

Satoshi gets the bomb and Kaiser resurfaces, but Satoshi can no longer hold his breath and sinks to the floor of the lake. Suddenly, the weather turns dark and stormy, and a whirlpool emerges within the lake. With a fantastic light, a Hakuryu darts from the lake and into the sky with Satoshi on its back. Satoshi tosses the bomb to Team Rocket and blasts them off.

Kaiser recognizes the Hakuryu as the Miniryu from 30 years ago and reunites with his lost friend. He’s ecstatic to see that not only has Hakuryu been thriving in Dragon Valley, but it also has a child – the Miniryu from earlier.

Later, Satoshi and the others catch up with Okido, promising to never talk about the Miniryu and Hakuryu in the Safari Zone to ensure they stay protected. Okido asks if Satoshi caught anything and he says he filled up all 30 Safari Balls – but they’re all of Kentauros.

Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi bid farewell to Kaiser as they continue their journey. Hakuryu and Miniryu bid a quiet farewell to their heroes from the sky, safe once again within the walls of the Safari Zone.

———————

– Pokemon Center music playing in the Safari Zone? Couldn’t use the Safari Zone mus—?….actually, no, no, leave it be. Forget I said anything. We don’t need that ‘song’ in here. I’m sorry I even brought it up. Move along!

– Aw the Nidorino and Nidorina cuddling.

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– See, look here. Safari Zone – giant friggin’ gate, huge goddamn fence, clear sign indicating they’re approaching the entrance to the Safari Zone. Is that so hard, other three areas they thought were the Safari Zone?

– I like that Kasumi doesn’t agree to stop Satoshi from singing because she’s so excited about capturing Pokemon in the Safari Zone that she starts singing too.

– Kaiser actually points a gun at Satoshi and the others for SINGING. No wonder this psychopath got banned.

– Kaiser points a gun at Satoshi for trying to take the rod and Safari Balls he was just trying to give him! The hell is wrong with this guy?

– He named his gun…..Wow.

– Also, apparently bait and rocks are not offered in this Safari Zone. I get that the rock thing is a bit hard to justify for the anime (for the game too, honestly) but why no bait? Or at least some other way of distracting them or something.

– I know the cops in the Pokemon universe are useless, but Satoshi and the others should totally be calling the cops on this guy for constantly pointing a gun at their faces. Even if you argue that it’s for protecting the Safari Zone, 1) That’s understandable for the reasons behind why he has the gun, not why he keeps whipping it out and pointing it at people. 2) These kids are not posing any threat. They were singing and trying to receive things being given to them by the aforementioned gunslinger. 3) They’re unarmed. 4) Oh yeah, they’re friggin’ children.

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I love how Takeshi seems to give zero shits.

– If Kaiser wants to keep the existence of Miniryu in the Safari Zone a secret, why put up a picture of him and a Miniryu clearly in the Safari Zone in the lobby of the Safari Zone in plain view? He didn’t even just have it there temporarily on accident – even Okido said he’s seen that picture.

– Hey look, it’s convenient exposition-dump Okido.

– What a massive coincidence that Okido knows Kaiser and knows him well enough to know this backstory that Kaiser seems to want to keep a secret. I guess it’s understandable that a Pokemon researcher knows the owner/keeper of the Safari Zone, but this still seems extremely unlikely. Also, how lucky was it that Satoshi and the others thought to call Okido and ask him even though they had no reason to believe he’d know anything about this?

– I don’t really understand parts of this backstory very well. Kaiser found a Miniryu in the Safari Zone, word got out and everyone rushed to the Safari Zone to see if they could catch one too. In the process, they caught a ton of other Pokemon, nearly wiping the place out. Ever since that incident, the Safari Zone has banned the use of traditional Pokeballs and required the use of Safari Balls.

Safari Balls seem to have a 100% capture rate here, or these Pokemon are, by default, much easier to catch than normal, since Satoshi easily captures all of those Kentauros without a single one bursting out and he doesn’t weaken any of them, use bait or use a rock.

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Even though they give you a maximum of 30 Safari Balls, there’s no limit on how many times you can visit the Safari Zone. You could load up on 30 Pokemon, leave, then come back.

There also seems to be no fee for this Safari Zone, unlike the games where it’s 500 Pokedollars per visit. So, if you wanted to keep leaving and returning in the anime, you could do so with absolutely no problem on your end.

You’re also forced to adhere to a “time limit.” In the original games, you were only allowed 500 steps before you were booted from the place. There is no such time limit here. Kaiser just says to come back when they’ve used all 30 Safari Balls.

In essence, they added a backstory that explains why the Safari Zone restricts visitors to only using Safari Balls, explaining that it’s meant to help preserve the Pokemon there, but completely remove several other policies in the Safari Zone that would help attain that goal much better. In fact, some of the choices made for the anime, such as coming back when all 30 Safari Balls are used, seems like more Pokemon would be caught because of it.

– I do kinda like the backstory of the Safari Zone, though. Even if it is more ‘humans suck’ messages.

– Kaiser’s gun happy to protect the Miniryu from being harassed….In a place where people are encouraged to capture Pokemon. That seems even more dangerous than it already seemed. What if someone just happens upon a Miniryu? Not like he has eyes everywhere. The Safari Zone is huge. Even if he did manage to spot all of these people, is he really going to murder anyone who stumbles upon Miniryu’s home and captures one?

The Dragon Valley isn’t even hidden, it seems, nor is it difficult to access, from all we see.

– Wait, Satoshi whips his Pokedex out for damn near everything but seems to easily recognize a Miniryu? Maybe I need a ‘Why not use the Pokedex?’ segment alongside the ‘Why use the Pokedex?’ segment.

– The fact that both Takeshi and Kasumi went to the Safari Zone with intentions of capturing Pokemon yet neither caught a thing (Takeshi caught a Tauros, but it was with Satoshi’s Safari Ball so it wasn’t his) is also a massive wasted opportunity. It’s also sad considering how excited Kasumi was.

– Kaiser is shooting way too many bullets at Team Rocket for merely two revolvers.

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– He instantly draws on Satoshi and the others for singing and going to grab their Safari Balls, but someone stands on the sign for the Safari Zone and he waits until they’re half done with their motto to pull the guns.

– This whole bet is completely ridiculous. First, Satoshi should just tell Kaiser they’re criminals and refuse them entrance into the Safari Zone. They’d probably sneak in anyway, but letting them in is just stupid.

Second, Satoshi actually believes that they’ll uphold their end of the bargain if they lose, and never hassle him, Kasumi and Takeshi ever again. Even Kasumi calls bullshit on this, but Satoshi agrees because, as a future Pokemon Master, he can’t turn down challenges. Uh, maybe for battles. Not for catching contests. And there is a thing called intelligent judgment. A good Pokemon Master would never risk the welfare of wild Pokemon or his own Pokemon for the sake of a petty competition.

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Seems legit.

Three, either this bet is Team Rocket against Satoshi or Team Rocket against Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi. Either way, it’s unbalanced and not fair. In addition to the help of an extra person, they collectively have 90 Safari Balls while Team Rocket will only get 60. Alternatively, Satoshi would only have 30 while Team Rocket would have 60.

– I do like how Pikachu’s being used for the dramatic lightning effects when he accepts the challenge, though.

– Now to address the other half of the bet, which Satoshi agreed to before even hearing it – Team Rocket gets all of their Pokemon if they lose.

First, Satoshi is agreeing for all of them. Who made him leader?

Second, he is way too unconcerned that he will lose all of his Pokemon. He even agrees to the terms a second time with a smile on his face.

Third, Takeshi tells Satoshi ‘That means Pikachu too.’ Because he wouldn’t care about the rest of his team, but Pikachu!? Oh God no! Sacrifice your left nut before you dare risk honored Messiahchu!

Finally, he has no worries about losing because ‘Good always wins.’ Nice unrealistic message and all, but you’re a moron. Also, notice how he didn’t agree to the terms of capture. Team Rocket could ‘capture’ a ton of Pokemon in a net or something.

Why Use the Pokedex? – Satoshi saw and Dex’d a Kentauros merely two episodes ago. Does he really need a refresher? Also, tiny nitpick, but the picture of Kentauros in the Pokedex here is different from the one shown in The Flame Pokemon-athon. Even the background changed.

– Satoshi: “This is too easy. It’s no fun at all.” Basically confirming the Safari Balls have a 100% success rate in the anime. If that’s true, that is indeed really boring. Catching Pokemon in the Safari Zone in the games is almost entirely luck, trial and error.

– Satoshi has an empty spot in his party – why did he not keep one of the Kentauros?

– How did Team Rocket get the jump on Mr. Itchytriggerfinger? More importantly, the guns they’re threatening him with are HIS. How did they manage that?

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– Musashi’s making me uncomfortable when she’s flirting with Kaiser.

– I like how they play Nyasu no Uta (Meowth’s Song) on the stereo when they’re trying to remind Kaiser of his mother.

– I know Team Rocket likes stupid robots, but they needed a robot to tickle Kaiser?

– And that works?!

– Love the introduction to Kasumi’s special lures, but I do have some questions.

She thinks Water Pokemon will want to eat a tiny version of herself?

Won’t the Water Pokemon think that a Charmander underwater is a tad odd? Shouldn’t that be dead? There being a Charmander in that lure box is even weirder considering every single other Pokemon lure is Water Pokemon based. Were they just unable to think of another Water Pokemon?

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Notice how they set up the shot so you can’t see the flame on Charmander’s tail. Don’t want people to ask questions.

– Hmmm….should I call foul on Kasumi hooking a Gyarados since those aren’t native to the Safari Zone or let it pass since Magikarp are?

– Wait, so this whole bet was a distraction?……Why was that even necessary? They were already going into the Safari Zone and were already going to be preoccupied with trying to capture Pokemon. They could’ve done this whole plan without alerting their presence to Satoshi and co.

And why didn’t they keep Kaiser tied up or at least wrapped with Arbo like it was before so he couldn’t escape and warn someone of what they were doing? Damn Team Rocket is so stupid sometimes.

– They didn’t even need to torture him if Miniryu’s home is in a place as obvious as ‘Dragon Valley’.

– If they had a bomb that could knock out all of the Pokemon in the water, why did they bother scuba diving for Miniryu in the first place?

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– Satoshi filled up all of his Safari Balls?….between when he tried to capture Saihorn and when Kasumi went fishing, or did he make 28 pit stops before he went to Dragon Valley?

– Shouldn’t Satoshi be using Zenigame to help him go faster? Or shouldn’t Kasumi send out another Water Pokemon to help him? Satoshi, you’re losing your breath. Zenigame is right on your belt….right there…You don’t even have to throw it – just tap the button twi—or drown. Whatever you want.

– If it’s now super cloudy and raining when it was clear and sunny when Satoshi went under, he should be dead and that bomb should be very well detonated by now.

– The Pokedex is activating by itself again? It hasn’t done that since way back in episode one.

– Even if Hakuryu made the storm 1) why did it do that and 2) I still doubt it could make the storm quickly enough to not let Satoshi die and the bomb detonate.

– He waited until there was literally one second left on the bomb to throw it? Do you have a death wish today, Satoshi?

– I know he didn’t want anyone to know where Miniryu was, but he seriously never visited it in 30 years?

– Also, bullshit that all of his capture attempts were blocked by Kentauros. Bull. Shit. Pun intended. Either he did that on purpose to win the bet, which is stupid, or this is a back-handed insult to viewers who were sick of Satoshi never catching any Pokemon. ‘How can you say he’s not catching Pokemon? He just caught 30! HURRDURR!’

– Anger immediately dissipated by Miniryu riding Hakuryu. D’awwww.

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I have always liked this episode since I watched it years ago. Despite the baffling gun use and Team Rocket’s stupidity, I do love Miniryu and Hakuryu, and this was a nice story between Kaiser and Miniryu, even if many aspects of it make no sense.

My qualms aren’t with the story, it’s the wasted Safari Zone. They ‘teased’ the Safari Zone for three episodes, and when we finally get there, what happens? Satoshi captures a herd of Kentauros and hardly ever uses one of them. Takeshi ‘captures’ one Kentauros but it’s like he never caught it, if it’s even his. The general consensus, even on his Wiki, seems to be that he was using Satoshi’s Safari Ball, so it wasn’t his. And Kasumi captures nothing.

That’s basically why the banning and non-dubbing of this episode wasn’t entirely a big deal. You wonder where Satoshi got a herd of Kentauros, but he so rarely uses them that it’s not a major issue throughout the series. It’s basically a passing thought whenever you see them.

We finally have an episode in a location where you’re supposed to go capture crazy but after this episode you’ll barely even notice he caught a damn thing. He’ll never use Kentauros until the friggin’ Indigo League tournament, for God’s sake.

Next episode, we get more of a look into Team Rocket’s continuously confusing backstory.

Previous Episode…..


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