Pokemon Extravaganza – Movie 03 (Dub): The Spell of the Unown

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A little girl named Molly has mysteriously lost both of her parents. In her grief, she starts writing their names together with tiles that her father collected that are somehow connected to the mysterious Pokemon, Unown. As her tears fall on the tiles, they magically summon a group of Unown into her house (Because tears are magic, haven’t you learned anything from these movies?!) and grant her any wish that she desires.

Her first wish? To have her father back.

An Entei appears as a creation of the Unown since Molly and her father previously joked about him being like Entei and he tasks himself with doing everything in his power to make her happy including kidnapping Ash’s mom to complete their family. As Ash and the others go to save his mom, Molly becomes more comfortable with her newfound abilities and gives them a run for their money. Can anything truly beat the power of the Unown?

Breakdown: Pokemon movie 03; my favorite Pokemon movie ever.

I love this movie. Not just as a Pokemon movie, but just as a movie period. It has a touching story, a great legendary, exciting moments, great music, Charizard returns to be a badass, and practically everything has a point! Also, the fate of the world isn’t on the line for a change. Not to say it’s perfect, it’s not obviously, but I still believe it’s the best out of all of the Pokemon movies I’ve ever seen by far. Well, let’s get started so I can eventually have nothing really to look forward to in terms of the Pokemon movies….except maybe Heroes and possibly the Lucario movie but meh.

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Our movie starts out overlooking a mansion where a little girl named Molly Hale is being read to by her father Spencer Hale. Her father as well as Entei are voiced by Dan Green. Mandatory cheering session everyone!

And damn I want that Ponyta rocking horse. I don’t care if I’d look like an idiot riding it, I want that.

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He’s explaining legendary Pokemon through a book filled with pictures of said Pokemon. They talk about Unown and it’s gently hinted at that Molly’s mom was taken by the Unown. According to sources online, that is the canon explanation in the dub.

However, they don’t really explain what happened to her mother very well in the dub. In fact, they don’t explain at all, making the whole situation confusing.

They eventually start talking about Entei, one of the legendary beasts. Molly really likes Entei and believes her father is like him because he’s big and strong while also being really nice. They play make-believe Entei for a bit and have a bunch of fun even riding the Ponyta rocking horse. Lucky bastards.

However, their fun is interrupted by a video call by Spencer’s associate, Schuyler. Look, I hate to be an ass, but naming your kid Skylar is already pretentious enough without spelling it like that.

He says they’ve found a temple with signs of Unown in it and he should come to the site right away. Spencer agrees, tucks Molly into bed and bids her goodbye while telling her that he loves her and to keep him close in her dreams.

Well, he’s a goner.

Seriously, even if I hadn’t seen the movie before, a picture-perfect scene of family togetherness like that can only result in his instant disappearance or death. It’s just a given.

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As the scene pans out, we see a picture of Spencer and Molly with Delia and a younger Ash implying that they are pretty good friends with the two….I have no clue why this picture is in Molly’s room. Keeping that picture on her desk next to a picture of her family must mean that it means a lot to her, but she doesn’t recognize Ash or Delia at all later. Spencer was pretty good friends with Delia, but I doubt Ash and Molly were good enough friends to do that.

Also, there’s only a two year gap between Molly and Ash according to the wiki. Must be quite the growth spurt between 8 and 10 in the Pokemon world because I assumed she was like 6. In addition, if they’re so close why do we never see these characters again ever? Alright, I’m just confusing myself. Let’s move on.

Spencer arrives at the dig site and it is indeed a pristine Unown temple. Spencer finds some tiles with Unown markings on them, which triggers the presence of the Unown who promptly kidnap him.

This is another thing that bothers me. In the dub, the explanation for Molly’s mom’s disappearance and supposedly Spencer’s fixation on the Unown is that she went missing while investigating the Unown too (Again, this is based on outside sources and largely assumptions as the movie doesn’t explain practically anything of her mother). Why do the Unown keep taking people? And if they do just randomly take people who touch their tiles, why did Molly get fairy godmother treatment instead? Sure, they were basically holding her in their dream world, but she wished to be there.

Schuyler and their butler or whoever that is tell Molly the bad news and Molly actually tries to investigate what happened to her dad by looking through his laptop….shouldn’t the police have that? Oh right, cops in the Pokemon world. They’re sure helpful. They’re probably collaborating with the Gotham Police department on the case of how to continue to get other people to do their jobs for them. How long has it been since he disappeared? Because it seems like they just up and stopped looking for him the night after it happened.

She spots pictures of the Unown on his computer and drops the priceless ancient artifact on the floor to play blocks with the also priceless Unown tiles. She spells out ‘Papa’ ‘Mama’ and ‘Me’ with the tiles in Scrabble fashion and this prompts the floating Alphabits to appear.

It’s at this point where I really feel compelled to mention that the CGI for the Unown is just blech. Every other instance of CGI is pretty damn nice looking, but it’s like they didn’t put as much effort into the Unown. They look like Gamecube graphics….which might make sense considering when this was made and what company owns the system….

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“Come play Pokemon Colosseum with us, Molly.”

They start turning everything to crystal because…I really don’t understand what the Unown do at all. I guess they’re allowed to be confusing because that’s their namesake and whatnot, but if there’s one general problem about this whole movie it’s that the Unown don’t make much sense in what they’re doing or why.

Remembering her father’s words on the legendary Pokemon and looking at the picture book on the page with Entei, she strongly wishes that her father would return. A dream Entei appears to grant her wish. I really love Entei. It’s one of my favorite legendaries. Just seems like a really cool and majestic lion.

The entire mansion is soon covered in crystal and we get our title screen. It’s really nicely done, but I should note something. 4Kids decided to add a little plate at the bottom of Spell of the Unown that says ‘Entei’ in Unown letters. That’s fine and dandy and it is kinda neat that they spelled it in Unown letters, but…I guess…Why? I know I said Entei seems like the more prominent legendary (Unown aren’t even legendary, technically) in the movie, but he’s still not part of the given English title.

Hey, including the short, it’s been nearly a half hour. Isn’t it about time we got Dumbash and friends? Yes! We see Ash, Misty and Brock continuing on to Theyreallyneverspecifiywherethey’regoinginanyofthemoviesland.

Narrator: “As they travel into unknown territory.” HAHA! I get it! Unknown and Unown! It’s funny!

Ash and the others run into another trainer, Lisa voiced by Lisa Ortiz. I’m actually more bothered by the fact that they specifically named this chick Lisa when she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz than I am by the fact that she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz.

I do like her hat, though.

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She challenges Ash to a battle, he accepts and we get our movie theme song version of Pokemon Johto. I really like this theme and the battle is set very well to the music.

Ash calls out Totodile while Lisa calls out a Granbull, but Granbull gets beaten by one Water Gun. Also, Ash and Totodile do an almost cheesy high-five in sunlight shot.

Next up, Ash calls on, *sigh*, Chikorita, who obviously snuggles Ash before battling while Lisa calls out a Girafarig. After a bit of battling, Girafarig defeats it with a Psybeam.

Ash calls out his Noctowl while Lisa uses her own little partner Pokemon, Aipom, but it seems like Aipom doesn’t have those almighty partner Pokemon deus ex machina powers like Pikachu because he gets beaten with one tackle.

Lisa calls out Butterfree while Ash calls out Bulbasaur and he easily gets beaten with a Sleep Powder and Gust combo. Wow, it’s not a good day to be a Grass type apparently.

Cyndaquil’s up next and he’s up against a Mankey. Hehe, hey Mankey, steal Ash’s hat!

The match goes to Cyndaquil with a shot of Flamethrower. If there’s one thing that kinda bothers me about these theme song battles it’s that, because they have to fit in the time frame of 2-3 minutes, all of the matches are incredibly short and almost unrealistically won. Doesn’t help that they’re commonly 6v6 battles either.

Uh oh. It’s a tie. I wonder if Messiahchu can win! Messiahchu is matched up fairly badly as Lisa’s final Pokemon is the doofy Quagsire. Pfft. Considering Pikachu’s beaten Onix, Golem, Rhydon, Nosepass and all sorts of other Ground types with irritatingly little issue, I can’t see this–

*one failed Thundershock later*

Alright, I’m confused on so many levels.

Pikachu tries to physically battle instead, to no real avail, until it launches itself off of a nearby swingset and headbutts Quagsire in really funny shot. Here’s the deal. The Wiki says this match ended in a draw (which, if that’s true, is a rarity.) but this last shot is set up like Pikachu won because it stood standing, albeit wobbly, longer than Quagsire did. Ash is cheering in the end, so it just seems like they’re implying that he won.

They have lunch together and Misty states that their match was the fifth battle Ash has had this week. Wow, five battles in a week!? That’s almost like training and work!

Misty asks where the nearest Pokemon center is and Lisa replies that there’s one in a nearby town called Greenfield. Misty’s super excited to go to Greenfield since it’s supposed to be incredibly beautiful, but when they arrive they find that the entire town is covered in the Unown’s crystal. Also, there’s a sloppy zoom-in during this scene…and Team Rocket’s here.

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Cut to a news crew who is talking about the phenomenon and they also mention that Spencer’s wife did indeed disappear, but we move away from the TV before we can hear how or where. It was supposedly two years ago, though. We see Delia watching the news and when she hears that Spencer’s house is in the midst of it, she rushes to the fridge and peels off a bunch of papers to reveal the same picture that Molly has in her room.

Hm. Molly keeps that picture framed in her room on her desk, Delia keeps the picture pinned on the fridge under Chinese restaurant menus, grocery lists and likely a big sign that says ‘REMIND ASH TO WEAR CLEAN UNDERWEAR EVERYDAY’. That’s a contrast right there.

We cut to Professor Oak who is also watching the news with Blandy and he talks about how Spencer was his best student. Supposedly Delia was also his student according to some online sources, which is how Spencer and Delia were friends, but seeing as how her knowledge on the Pokemon world is extremely limited and she seems like an airhead, I can’t imagine she was a good student. I don’t know what she was studying for. Did she want to be a researcher?

Also, we get this screenshot littered with Engrish which I’m not sure I can blame 4Kids for.

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…Dammit, I have to peak at the subbed version.

Nope it’s the original’s fault. You win this round, 4Kids. But, trust me, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to mock you in the future. Still, what happened there, TPC? There’s really no reason to put that text into English. I know they’re wary of using Japanese at this point and people can’t read Poke-ese, but if you felt the need to make that snippet English, at least pay for a proofreader.

Delia arrives and asks Oak if he’s seen the news. He says yes and that he’s planning to go to the scene to investigate. Delia says she’s going too because she’s worried about Molly. Here’s hoping Oak actually does investigate some stuff and be useful instead of just spouting science babble that makes no impact to the plot.

They arrive at the scene and meet up with Ash and the others. I love how blasé Delia is about first seeing Ash. I think the ten-year-old kid that you only see like once or twice a year warrants more than an ‘oh hi honey’ when you randomly bump into him.

Molly sees Ash and Delia hugging on the news because that’s really vital to put on the air right? Town turning to crystal? Bo-ring. Turn the camera to the people who have nothing to do with this occurrence hugging! The ratings will go through the roof!

Molly looks at her pictures and tells Entei that she wants a Mama too. Entei says he’ll grant her wish and we cut back to Ash and the others who are…eating lunch? How many lunches do you people need?

Delia and Ash talk about how Spencer used to live in Pallet Town before he went off to be a Pokemon researcher and moved to Greenfield. They visited once two years ago which is where the picture of them came from. I find it hilarious that Oak taught Spencer yet he lives in a small research facility in Pallet Town and Spencer goes off to live in a huge mansion in the most beautiful town in Johto shortly after he becomes a researcher.

Ash says he somewhat remembers them, which I actually think contradicts a later line where he tells Molly that they used to play together all the time when they were little. That’s also in contradiction to saying they only visited once.

Entei comes down from the mansion and hypnotizes Delia into being Molly’s Mama.

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“I do not have a son named Ash…Huh, suddenly I feel like all my dreams have come true.”

He kidnaps her and Pikachu tries to stop him, but to no avail. Wow, Pikachu’s sucking today.

Ash also tries to pursue Entei, but Brock stops him because he thinks it’s too dangerous.

I’m a little confused again. The Unown had no trouble making Molly an Entei Papa, why did he need to kidnap Delia to make her a mother? All she asked for was a mother – and in both of the pictures her real mother is there, so why not make a fake version of her real mother…In Pokemon form, I guess? He also could’ve made a fake Delia.

Explnation: Unown – we don’t need a reason to do stuff.

I’m also a little confused as to Molly’s delusions. It’s somewhat understandable that she believes that her dad came back to her in the form of an Entei, but she believes her mom is Delia? Is this part of the Unown’s powers or is she just going  ?

A hypnotized Delia has accepted Molly as her child and now they’re all a big happy family. After a quick scene explaining things we already know back at the lab, we cut to the Charicific Valley where we see Liza watching the news report of Delia’s abduction with Charla (Huh, I’m just now realizing that’s another character voiced by Lisa Ortiz that has basically the exact same name.). Outside the window, Ash’s Charizard watches the report and looks up into the sky.

Cut back to Greenfield where it’s now nighttime, and someone with a bulldozer is trying to plow through the crystal fields. However, Molly won’t stand for that and demands that they leave them alone. Her declaration causes the Unown to become more powerful and they knock the bulldozer away and cover it with even stronger crystals.

Back at the lab, we get more stuff we already know until Oak gets an Email from Molly which contains a video file warning them to stay away from the mansion and leave them alone.

Cut back to the mansion where we see Molly riding around her room on Entei who actually looks like he’s smiling. I have to say this is a really adorable yet also very sad scene. It’s cute because of what they’re doing, but it’s also sad because she’s trying to mirror what she did with her actual father and seeing it from a third-person perspective just showcases the sad state of the delusion she’s in.

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Ash is fed up with waiting and decides to run off to the mansion on his own, but Misty and Brock soon follow behind. Lisa also stops them to give them her Pokegear so that he can communicate with Professor Oak while he’s there. And now Lisa can leave because she’s served her only functions of battling Ash for the opener and giving him the Pokegear. Is this our first sighting of Pokegear in the series? Since Ash doesn’t know what it is, I’ll guess it is.

They go through the unaffected stream to get to the mansion….since no one ever thought to do that before now. I have no clue why this crystal stuff doesn’t affect water.

Explanation: Unown – We don’t like water. We’re part cat I guess.

And we cut to Team Rocket following them in their balloon. They believe since Ash and the others are going into the mansion, there must be valuable Pokemon in there….Well, okay. I’m not going to expect Team Rocket to think of anything beyond food, digging holes, building insane contraptions and valuable Pokemon. They also have some fairly humorous banter involving how Meowth hears the word ‘wading’.

Entei spots them and blasts them out of the sky, but they surprisingly don’t really blast off, they just sorta fall and crash into the crystal and end up in some weird part of the mansion.

Entei doesn’t notice when people are just walking up the least protected part of the mansion?

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Molly and Delia are watching the news as Entei returns and we see that Ash is using Bulbasaur and Chikorita’s vine whip to climb up the stream into the mansion. Delia watches but isn’t really reacting since she’s under the Unown’s power until Ash suddenly slips. Delia suddenly snaps out of her trace state and freaks out that Ash is doing something so dangerous. Molly asks why she’s upset but Delia just decides to pretend that everything’s alright.

Ash and the others make their way through the mansion when Oak calls on the Pokegear. He’s upset that he left suddenly and without telling him, but decides to help him find his mother either way. He relays more information about the Unown and how apparently they can read the thoughts and dreams of people and create their own realities, which they seem to have been doing for Molly…..Still doesn’t explain why they kidnapped Spencer and his wife, but whatever. Maybe they dreamed to be kidnapped.

Ash tries to break through a crystal structure with Cyndaquil’s Flamethrower, but they soon realize that it just closes up instantly. One of them, surprisingly, decides to be smart and they come up with the plan of using Cyndaquil and Vulpix to burn a big hole in the crystal then using Staryu and Totodile’s Water Gun to keep it open. It works and they make it through.

That’s another reason I really like this movie. Many of the Pokemon, even ones from Misty and Brock, are actually getting plenty of stuff to do instead of just making slight cameos in the opening or just being let out for no reason like in the first movie. And what they’re doing is actually needed and makes sense.

As they make their way upstairs, the Unown change the reality again and make the staircase into a bunch of floating panels that lead into a room that looks like a beautiful meadow.

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Cut back to Team Rocket where they discover the room with the Unown but nothing really happens.

James: “I haven’t seen this many strange letters since the last time I placed a personal ad.” Haha! Team Rocket’s actually getting some good lines today.

Molly’s still watching the news (yeah kid you have a pet Entei and an entire alternate reality that you have complete control over all to yourself, but watch the news for five hours. That’s much more interesting.) and she believes that Ash and the others are in the mansion. Entei asks if she wants him to send them away, but Molly, knowing that Ash is a Pokemon trainer, decides that she wants to battle them instead.

She dreams of being a trainer and Entei disappears with a fake version-ish-maybe-her-consciousness-I-dunno of Molly who says that maybe she’s not old enough for Pokemon. Entei tells her to believe that she is and she magically transforms into a teenager. The minimum for being a Pokemon trainer is supposed to be ten years old, but sure why not?

Teenage Molly confronts Ash and the others for a battle, but Ash just wants to know where his mom is. They realize that the teenager is actually Molly and Ash decides to accept her challenge, but Brock decides to battle in his place so they can find Ash’s mom while he staves her off.

Molly dreams up a battle field and they begin their battle. Brock uses Zubat while Molly uses a dream Flaafy. Brock gets the upperhand with Confusion, but Zubat gets felled by a Thundershock.

Next up, Brock uses his Vulpix and Molly calls out a dream Teddiursa.

Brock: “Figures a cute Pokemon trainer would have a cute Pokemon.” GAH! Brock! She’s still eight years old, you sick bastard!

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They’re pretty even for a bit, but Teddiursa wins by I guess a Fury Swipes or Tackle, it’s hard to tell. Technically this match should be over since they’re only dealing in one-on-one matches with no previous Pokemon continuing on into the next matches, meaning Brock already lost, but they keep going anyway.

Brock: “Guess if I want any chance at beating you, I better really start to rock and roll. *releases Onix*” Hehehe, get it? Because Onix is made of rocks? Hahaha! LAUGH!

Brock: “And using Onix is just how I like to rock and roll.” YES. We understood your pun. Thank. You. Brock.

Molly calls out her dream Phanpy who Rollouts towards Onix and flings it across the battle field. I’ll just take these physics books and burn them.

Misty and Ash make it up into Molly’s next reality, a beach covered in red flowers.

Dream Molly appears, indicating that Brock lost. Molly asks which one of them wants to challenge her next and Misty steps up to the challenge declaring that she used to be the gym leader of Cerulean City. Molly then realizes that you don’t have to be an adult to be a gym leader so she turns herself into a ten year old for some reason. I guess there really is a growth spurt between eight and ten because now she’s just as tall as Misty, basically.

Misty tells Ash to go on ahead to find his mom. He agrees and runs off while Misty stays to battle. She says she’ll only use Water Pokemon since she’s a Water Pokemon trainer and Molly agrees that she’ll do the same. She then takes the water from the dream ocean and floods the whole floor for the battle, but since it’s a dream world they can breathe and even talk under the water. This is a really cool part of the movie. I’d love to see more themed battle arenas like this outside of gyms, but this whole ‘breathing underwater’ thing is obviously a one-shot.

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Molly calls out a dream Kingdra while Misty calls out GOLDEEN!? GOLDEEN’S IN A BATTLE! QUICK, SOMEONE TAKE A PICTURE!

Despite its efforts, Goldeen loses from a Headbutt. Because why would anything good happen to Goldeen?

Team Rocket pops up again, breaking the fourth wall by Meowth asking if they’re going to get a bigger part in the next movie. Your part in the last movie was bigger than most of the regular side characters – quit whining.

Misty calls out Staryu while Molly calls out a dream Mantine. It catches Staryu in a Whirlpool, but Misty cancels it out by having Staryu use Rapid Spin. They then have a battle of Take Downs vs. Tackles and we cut back to Ash who finally finds his mom in Molly’s room.

Delia: “I’d like to know where you got such a reckless streak.”

Ash: “Well, I guess I got it from you.”

Considering we have no clue who Ash’s dad is, that probably is the only explanation. Also, considering Delia went off in a helicopter though a natural disaster on the off-chance Ash was in the midst of it all, yeah, that’s probably likely.

Ash gets Delia up to speed on what’s going on and Delia wakes Molly up. She tells her the truth about how she’s not really Molly’s mother and that she’s really Ash’s mother. She’s shocked at this, which still is confusing to me. Maybe it’s possible that she confused Delia with her real mom since they’re in the pictures together, but that would indicate that she doesn’t remember what her real mom looks like. She’s only been gone for two years, so I’m not sure how plausible that is.

Anyway, Delia and Ash try to get Molly to leave with them, but Molly doesn’t want to go. She freaks out, which causes the Unown to go crazy as well. They create huge spikes of crystal all around Molly’s room and separate Ash and Delia. Entei returns to see what’s going on, and Molly alerts him to the fact that Ash is taking Delia away.

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“You can’t possibly be my mother’s child. You don’t have random lightning bolt shaped lines on your face.”

While trying to get his mom out, another huge spike separates Ash and Delia completely while Entei confronts Ash.

Sooooo….I’m guessing Misty lost? That was all we got for her battle? One and a half matches? We never even saw the outcome of Mantine vs. Staryu. I mean, since Molly’s dream Pokemon are so unreasonably strong, she was probably doomed to lose anyway, but I still would’ve liked to have seen the full battle. Especially when you’re in such a cool battle environment as that. How disappointing. 😦

That actually means that Poliwhirl and Psyduck, Misty’s most-seen Pokemon outside of Togepi, don’t get seen in this movie. Weird.

Ash challenges Entei to a battle and uses Totodile, but it’s quickly defeated by Entei’s weird purple energy ball attack things.

Next up, Ash uses Cyndaquil. Yes, use a base evo Fire starter to beat a Fire legendary. That won’t fail miserably or anything.

After that fails miserably, Ash makes Molly upset by vehemently stating that Entei is just an illusion. Due to her outburst, the Unown create even more spikes and Entei charges at Ash. Pikachu tries to fight off Entei, but ultimately doesn’t do more than just just stave off its attacks and run. Entei gets in one good shot and blasts Ash and Pikachu out through the wall, sending them to a fifty story fall.

Well, they’re dead.

Except.

Could it be?!

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Yes! It’s Charizard to save them in the completely unrealistic and insanely convenient nick of time. Awh but we forgive him mostly because that was awesome and everyone loves Charizard. Plus this means Entei vs. Charizard. Hell yes.

Charizard and Entei fight for a bit and nearly knock Ash out of the gaping hole in the wall again.

Well, he’s dead.

Except.

Could it be!?

Yes! It’s Misty, Brock and Team Rocket making a human chain to save the day. Congratulations Team Rocket, that is the only thing you’ve done this entire movie. Seriously, all they’ve done is walk around.

They also mention that the reason that they saved Ash was because if anything ever happened to him they’d be out of show business. While this is yet another instance of breaking the fourth wall, I can’t say they don’t have a point. If the creators of Pokemon ever decided to ditch Ash in lieu of someone else, I can bet you anything Team Rocket wouldn’t be there. Their whole schtick relies on Ash and Pikachu. Unless Ash handed off Pikachu to someone else, they’d be out of a job TV-wise.

Through all the examples of friends and family, Ash tries to convince Molly to come with them, even offering the chance to have real Pokemon. However, Molly still won’t believe them and freaks out again, prompting Entei to go on the offensive.

They have a really awesome battle, probably one of if not the coolest and best choreographed ones I’ve seen in Pokemon to date. That coupled with the really good cinematography makes this look amazing.

Entei eventually knocks Ash and Charizard out of this sky and pins Charizard’s neck with intent to kill him with an energy blast…..Damn. Things just got real….or imaginary. I’m not sure anymore!

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Molly steps forward and tells him to stop, which he immediately does. Molly runs up and hugs Entei while pleading for him to stop the fighting. Entei looks gently at Molly and removes his foot from Charizard’s neck.

Brock and the others then praise Molly for her wise choice.

Brock: “A big part of battling, is knowing when to stop.” We interrupt this movie for deja vu from the first movie.

And now back to our feature presentation.

Misty tells Molly that she could easily be a gym leader in the future if she truly wanted to, and they try to convince her to go with them including one more cheesy line from Brock about friendship being real.

She’s still not sure, but Delia extends her hand to Molly and says that her papa would want her to go with them. Molly slowly walks towards Delia, grabs her hand and quietly wishes for everything to be real once more.

The crystals start to go away in response to Molly’s wish, and Entei starts to walk away as well. Molly asks where he’s going and Entei responds that he was created to be her father and make her happy in the reality made by the Unown. If she’d rather be in the outside world, he can’t stay with her.

Suddenly, the crystal starts reappearing in droves and surrounds them with spikes. Entei makes them a path to the exit with his energy blasts and the group tries to make their escape.

Back at the Pokemon center lab thing, Oak tells Ash and the others that the Unown have generated so much psychic energy in granting all of Molly’s wishes that they can no longer control it. If Ash and the others don’t get away from the crystal soon, they’ll be trapped in the Unown’s reality forever.

They continue to escape, but we see that all of Greenfield is being covered in the crystal as well. The only way to stop it is by stopping the Unown.

They find the Unown and you will never, ever guess what Ash decides to do when he gets there. Multiple choice time!

Does he:

A) Develop a sophisticated plan of draining the Unown of their power.

B) Want to have a Pokemon battle with them to see if he can defeat them and stop them from getting out of control.

C) Create a way to contain the Unown’s psychic powers through the use of thoughtful ingenuity

or

D) Charge headfirst into the cluster of Unown like a braindead antelope.

If you answered D, you obviously know our little Dumbash very well.

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I mean, what the hell? Is this becoming a movie staple or something? First he does this to Mewtwo in the first movie, then he does it to a cage that can restrain a legendary in the second and now this. Ash, sweetie, you are not a Pokemon. And even if you were, your Tackle attack sucks!

He hits a psychic barrier because he’s a dimwit, and then he calls on Charizard to try to blast through it. He seems to succeed, but ends up getting blown back by the psychic energy. Pikachu, in an effort to not suck for once in this entire movie, tries to do the same. He also enjoys a degree of success for a bit but gets blown back. What’s wrong with you today, Messiahchu? Did they nerf you in the movie patch? He and Charizard then try to blast the barrier together, but still fail.

Entei returns with roar (awesome) and starts blasting the crystal away. He jumps down and tells Molly that he was happy to be her father for the time that he was able to be, and the last thing that he can do for her is help her get out of the Unown’s reality. Molly asks how he can do it and Entei responds that he was created from her dreams and if she believes in him there’s nothing he can’t do.

This may sound corny, and it is, but this is actually a rare occasion where “you just gotta belieeeeevvvveee” actually makes a lot of sense. Entei’s right. He was created from the Unown’s power to grant Molly wishes. This entire reality was made to sate Molly’s wishes. If Molly believes in Entei, wishes he had the power to beat the Unown, then it’s perfectly logical that the wish would be granted and he’d actually be able to overpower them.

Molly gives Entei some encouragement, acknowledging him as Entei and not as her father. After some struggling, he shoots off a different blue and might I add pretty energy blast into the cluster of Unown, stopping them immediately.

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The secret’s in the flavor crystals.

Entei bids his farewell to Molly and damn, this movie still tugs at my heartstrings. I’m gonna miss you too, Entei. 😦

As he disappears, so do the Unown and all of the crystal that has covered the mansion and Greenfield. We also see Spencer being returned to the temple. Still don’t know why they took him to begin with. Guess the explanation will always be. *sunglasses* Unknown.

 

The group gazes in awe at the beauty of Greenfield and Professor Oak and the others arrive to meet them. As they greet each other, Molly sees a cloud in the shape of Entei in the sky and dammit movie, stop it! I’m going to cry!

Our last scene is Team Rocket basically stating that they’re stuck in the mansion because there’s too many police outside and after some blah blah, they bid everyone goodbye by saying Team Rocket’s fading out again…..Which, they shouldn’t be doing directly out that window because the cops will see them.

And we start our credits, but unlike the other movies, the end credits actually continue the story a little bit. We see Molly and her father reuniting at the mansion, Ash and the others bidding goodbye to Charizard (for now anyway.) and then the group saying goodbye to Lisa. We do get our regular miscellaneous shots of fields and the group traveling. We also see Oak and Tracey at the lab, Delia and Mr. Mime at home…Wait, it was more vital to see them saying goodbye to Lisa than his mom? That’s just rude.

We cut back to the mansion where Molly is playing around with a real Teddiursa that I guess she might own when Spencer comes out to meet her and he’s not alone. He brings out Molly’s mother and it stands that this whole mother thing is the most confusing thing about this movie.

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I’ve read that the dub explanation, as I stated, was her disappearing from the powers of the Unown since she was also researching them, but they couldn’t have been the same Unown from that temple or else she would’ve been released where Spencer was. Is she emotionally scarred from being in Unown purgatory for over two years?

Keep in mind, I didn’t get any of this from watching the movie even for this review. All they ever stated was her mother went missing and it was extremely slightly hinted upon that Unown may have had something to do with it. If I never looked it up, I never would’ve guessed that was the reason. In fact, when I first saw this movie, the best I could assume was that her mother was either on a long trip or randomly missing and suddenly found. Her mother could’ve been completely omitted from the movie and I never would’ve cared or questioned it.

In terms of ending themes, this is the first time that we only get one lyrical song for our ending, Innosense’s To Know the Unknown and I really love this song. I have it on my iPod, I sing along to it. It’s really nice. The only other song is gentle piano music that I think is Molly’s theme or something, and that is really nice as well. It’s very calming.

Bottomline: I do have my problems with this movie, but they’re not really important, and I stand by my statement in saying that this is my favorite Pokemon movie ever. It may be one of my favorite movies period. The art is crisper, the animation is better while some shots may still be shaky, the CGI is actually really great barring the Unown, the cinematography and battle choreography was great, the backgrounds are lovely and Ash is really tolerable in this movie too. He actually thinks for a change, has good ideas and all he really wants is his mother back. Okay, he’s insanely stupid once, but he’s Ash, he has a stupid quota to fill.

Misty and Brock actually not only get stuff to do but they get to friggin’ battle. I think that’s the first time in any movie that they’ve actually battled. Granted, you only saw half of Misty’s cool underwater battle, which is kinda a ripoff, but still. Hell, Delia even gets plenty to do, though I do find it weird that we never saw a scene with her and Spencer considering they were supposed to be such good friends.

The only ones who really did nothing this entire movie was Team Rocket. You could bring up that scene with the human chain rescue, but come on, they weren’t all needed to pull Ash back up. He’s a spindly ten year old boy not the Blob. Misty and Brock probably would’ve sufficed on their own.

Molly is also a very likable character. She’s a believable little kid without being whiny or bratty and you really feel bad about her situation even if she’s inadvertently causing chaos. I wish we had gotten to see more of her and Spencer in the series, but I guess they’re doomed to the fate of 99.8% of CotD’s.

Entei is one of my favorite legendaries and Dan Green just did a fantastic job voicing him. The relationship between Entei and Molly is also very believable, cute and sad at the same time. You can really tell that Entei truly loved Molly and Molly truly loved him even if he wasn’t her real father.

I’ll be a grouch here and doubt that they ever made another movie as good as this one. Granted, I’ve only seen movies 1-7, but they’d be really hard pressed to impress me anymore than they did with this movie.

Recommended Audience: It’s Pokemon. It’s 4Kids. It’s not Scarface.

Pokemon Episode 28 Analysis: Pokemon Fashion Flash

Pokemon Episode 28 title

CotD: Suzy – One of the brightest rising stars in the breeding world, Suzy believes in nurturing a Pokemon’s inner beauty above all else. Brock is her biggest fan and aspires to be her pupil. Suzy loaned Brock her beloved Vulpix, which, in turn, became his most precious Pokemon.

Reappear?: Yes. After over 100 episodes and well into the Johto saga, Brock finally comes across Suzy again.

Pokemon: Suzy’s not a Pokemon trainer, but she has a seemingly high level Vulpix that is her best friend. Vulpix does not take kindly to strangers picking it up, but is a very kinda, well-behaved and gentle Pokemon.

Captures?: Not technically a capture, but went on for so long that it may as well have been, Suzy loans Vulpix to Brock for a while. Vulpix becomes Brock’s trademark Pokemon for several years until he finally returns it in Johto.

Plot: Brock has taken Misty and Ash down a street in Celadon City called Scissor Street or Breeder’s Lane. It is an area chock-full with everything a breeder could ever want or need. It’s saturated in breeder salons and supply stores and breeders from all over go there to stay up to date on the latest trends and fashions.

One of the newest hot spots for Pokemon fashion is Salon Roquet. While many people are flocking to their doors, including Misty, their fashions are less than well-received by Ash, Brock and many of the Pokemon getting the makeovers since they’re being overloaded with baubles, bows, weird hair designs, clothes and gaudy add-ons.

Turns out, Team Rocket is behind the business, looking to make themselves rich off of this venture.

Brock finds the shop he’s been looking for – a rather modest salon run by a beautiful woman named Suzy, who is a very talented and acclaimed breeder. While Misty gazes in awe at Suzy’s Vulpix, Brock fumbles over himself trying to introduce himself to her. He shocks everyone when he suddenly asks Suzy if she’ll take him on as her pupil.

Suzy is forced to decline his request since she’s far too busy with breeding to take on pupils, but commends him greatly for developing Pokemon food that her Vulpis will eat since it usually won’t eat any food not prepared by her.

They start discussing the newest fashion trends and Suzy states that she doesn’t like how the focus is now on improving a Pokemon’s outer beauty more than their inner beauty. She believes a Pokemon’s true strength comes from inside and that a breeder is meant to bring out that inner beauty, not focus on superfluous fashions. Misty disagrees and states that some Pokemon would probably like to get dressed up, but Ash argues with her stating that those fashions are stupid and it’s what’s inside that matters most.

Misty becomes enraged and decides to go to salon to makeover her Psyduck.

In order to combat the more vain views of Salon Roquet, Brock comes up with the idea of Suzy doing a public lecture on the benefits and techniques of Pokemon care, specifically massage. It’s a huge hit and people flock to her salon, even draining the customers at Salon Roquet.

Misty stands as their lone customer and Team Rocket takes this opportunity to kidnap her and grill her for info on how to steal Pikachu. She believes Psyduck has abandoned her, but it’s actually gone to Suzy’s salon in a panic to get Ash’s help.

When Ash and the others arrive, Team Rocket reveals that they were using the salon as a cover for a plan where they’d steal any rare Pokemon that came into the shop, though they never actually did that. They offer Misty in exchange for Pikachu, but he won’t hand him over. Team Rocket starts the battle by sending out their dressed up Ekans and Koffing. Ash sends out Pikachu, fully charged from being massaged at Suzy’s salon, and Brock sends out Geodude.

Geodude uses Seismic Toss on Ekans, but it saves itself by coiling up and rolling into Pikachu. Pikachu is able to also save itself and Thundershocks Ekans and Koffing. However, the attack is ineffective as they spin around in circles to avoid the electricity.

Koffing uses Sludge on both Geodude and Pikachu, blinding them. As they’re about to finish them off, Koffing and Ekans both fall over due to the clunkiness of their costumes.

As Meowth joins up, they try once again to finish it, but Suzy and Vulpix intervene. In an effort to teach them the true beauty within a Pokemon instead of focusing on their appearance, she commands Vulpix to use Fire Spin and blasts them off.

Brock explains to the audience that outer beauty masks a Pokemon’s inner strength, which is what truly needs to be nurtured, causing them to shed the various clothes, accessories and makeup of their Pokemon.

Later, Suzy explains that she realized she still has much to learn in the world of breeding, no matter how many awards she’s gotten for it. She decides to close down her shop and go on a journey to learn more. Impressed by Brock’s attitude and skills, she decides to let Brock raise Vulpix for a while. Brock happily accepts and they part ways.

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– As you can guess, this was another episode I had on VHS and it was probably the episode that got the most mileage because 1) Brock’s being hilariously adork-able in this episode and 2) FREAKIN’ VULPIX, PEOPLE! WHOO! Vulpix was and still remains as one of my favorite Pokemon of all time. Fire types are my favorite Pokemon type, foxes are my favorite animal, and it’s Vulpix! It’s so cute my brain short circuits when it’s on screen.

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they say ‘Pokemon’ in the titles? Geez how long does this go on for? It’s way surpassing my original estimation.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen1
A healthy dose of brief AAML for the nostalgic old people like me.

– There are some weird disconnects in this episode, in my opinion. First, it’s always been weird to me in the first place that raising and caring for Pokemon has been known as Pokemon breeding. I mean….supposedly having a pure lineage is important in judging real-life animals such as dogs and horses, even if there’s evidence to suggest that pure-breeds actually have more physical problems than mutts, but that has nothing to do with Pokemon breeding.

The one thing that never seems to be brought up when talking about breeding is…well…breeding. It’s mostly developing Pokemon diets and health programs to keep them in the best condition that they can possibly be while also sometimes learning and giving medical care and grooming. I just feel like they should’ve given it a much more fitting name like….Pokemon…Health…Person….Okay, that’s awful. But still, there has to be a more fitting name for this practice than ‘breeder’.

Second, grooming seems to be a very small aspect of Pokemon breeding, and fashion seems to be no real part of it. It’s all about focusing on a Pokemon’s physical, mental and emotional health as well as their happiness. I know that this is the point of this episode, but there’s nothing technically wrong with what Team Rocket is doing here. If people like to dress up their Pokemon, as long as it’s not harming them or making them unhappy, then have at it.

Their biggest mistake here is putting their business under the cloak of breeding superiority. If they had just staked a claim as being Pokemon fashionistas or something, Team Rocket would actually have a legitimately successful business that Ash and the others wouldn’t have to take down in a ‘breeding’s not about goofy fashions’ debate.

– I don’t understand how James even performed any ‘hairstyling’ on a Dodrio….it’s a bird….it has feathers

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen2

– I do like the visual gag about James and Jessie having roses taped to their back.

– I will never tire of that scene where Brock slams his head on the table trying to thank Vulpix for eating his food.

– Ash: “I don’t like it either. It’s pretty stupid to waste your time showing off.” Because you never show off, right, Ash? You humble bumblebee, you.

– Also is anyone else getting deja vu? This whole ‘inside vs. outside’ debate seems an awful lot like the ‘perfume vs. anti-perfume’ argument they had merely two episodes prior. In fact, given Gloom’s mini-lesson, it is the exact same moral.

– This whole debate loses a bit of its spark when you consider that Suzy’s business is not in danger at all. She said herself that she’s incredibly busy with breeding, so this new trend can’t be affecting her customer base very much. Why would it anyway? Team Rocket is just putting makeup and baubles on Pokemon. They still need somewhere to go for Pokemon nutrition, massage, etc.

– Substance with style is just giving a lecture on Pokemon care and a demonstration of a Pokemon massage? And it’s so popular that Team Rocket’s shop is empty because of it. Certainly if Breeder’s Lane is filled with breeders, they probably know all this stuff, right?

– It was very important for Ash to learn this lesson on Pokemon massage. I’m sure he’ll utilize it in the imaginary future where Ash retains things he’s learned.

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A ticklish Pikachu is an adorable Pikachu.

– I actually like it when Team Rocket gets excited and passionate about jobs that aren’t criminal. Sure, these designs and fashions are gaudy and ridiculous, but they have their moments where they’re legitimately happy making an honest buck. I kinda wish they’d just quit Team Rocket and do that.

– On first glance, before she gets that crap on her face, Misty actually doesn’t look that bad in Team Rocket’s makeover. I’d lose the clips in her bangs and some of the added baubles, but she actually looks fairly decent.

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Also, another note of deja vu, Team Rocket making over a member of Ash and Co. seeing as how they did that same thing two episodes ago.

– Team Rocket was wearing their uniforms under their clothes?….why?

– This episode really does have some great comedic moments.

– Suzy: “Beauty research? Can’t you understand that it’s the beauty inside that counts? Each Pokemon is beautiful, we just have to help the Pokemon discover it.”

First of all….they were talking about Misty, not Pokemon.

Second, they never said what’s inside doesn’t count or that it wasn’t most important, even if that is what they think.

Third, beauty research is a thing, even if what they’re doing here is just flatout g-rated ‘torture’.

Fourth, the fashion and beauty industry is also still a thing. I also don’t put much stock in fancy hairstyles, clothes, jewelry and baubles, I’m more of a wash, dry and go type of girl, but I can see the allure in wanting to spiffy yourself up. There’s nothing wrong with it, unless it’s causing some form of harm to you or others.

Again, Team Rocket would’ve been much better off if they stayed away from the breeding label, but they kinda backed themselves into a corner anyway with tying a ten year old girl to a chair and ‘torturing’ her for info…in the lobby of their shop….with their glass doors and giant window….and the door wide open.

– Okay, so Team Rocket wasn’t really being completely legitimate here. Their salon was a front for criminal activities….but their plan was insanely stupid. They were basically planning on luring trainers to the salon, being legit for the most part, and, if or when a person with a rare Pokemon showed up, they would distract the trainer and steal it…..that’s it…..Uh, I do believe the trainer would wonder where the hell their Pokemon was after a while. Would you just steal one Pokemon and then close up shop and book it to avoid the trainer calling the cops?

And there were plenty of good Pokemon ripe for the stealing coming into this place. Two Squirtle, a Bulbasaur (starters are technically rare), Dodrio and even a Raichu, the evolved form of the Pokemon they keep drooling after, yet not a one stolen. This has to be the first time Team Rocket’s plans have failed because they were seemingly too lazy to go through with the main step of it.

– Ekans and Koffing are doing surprisingly well in this match…..Are they really claiming this is because of the costumes? Because that’s kinda dumb. I just don’t see any other reason for this sudden surge in skill.

Also, if they had the ability to dodge/refract electricity by spinning in circles why have they never done it before or done it since?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen5
Aww, Geodude’s hugging Ekans.

– Remember what I said about Team Rocket sometimes going surprisingly dark?

Jessie: “We’ll give Vulpix a makeover when we get rid of its tails!” Team Rocket wants to amputate Vulpix’s tails…..Holy. Shit.

– I agree with Misty, why the hell are you allowing her to get caught up in the Fire Spin, Suzy?….Is…it because she was interested in the Pokemon makeover and found merit in outer beauty, so the writers decided to punish her? Seriously? Geez, guys, there’s no gray area with you is there?

– Brock: “Did you see that? A cute exterior hides inner strength. That’s the Pokemon’s true personality!”

Okay, Brock, let’s play another game of ‘overanalyze a stupid thing said to overemphasize the incredibly obvious moral of the episode, which, ironically, screws up the whole moral.’

First of all, “A cute exterior hides inner strength”? What? Are you saying cute people and Pokemon are, by default, hiding their inner strength and beauty just because they happen to match society’s views on physical beauty? Like anyone who is attractive doesn’t show or have a real personality? What kind of stupid idea is that? Beautiful people and Pokemon can be assholes just as much as they can have wonderful personalities and the same goes for traditionally ugly or unappealing people and Pokemon.

Or is he saying that trying to change outer appearances with fashion and makeup is wrong because you’re hiding your ‘true’ self from the world? I guess that one might make a bit more sense, but just because you put on something physical does not hide what’s inside, at least not as long as you don’t change your personality when you dress up.

Second, Brock, did your opinions drastically change since Pokemon Scent-Sation? If you want to get technical, perfume is also something people use to make themselves seem more appealing. It’s not something visible, but it is a physical item people use to cover up their natural smell in lieu of something ‘prettier’. Hell, in Erika’s little ‘P-E-R-F-U-M-E’ rant, she specifically says the P is for pretty.

Third, now that I’m thinking about it, how ironic is it that Brock of all people is saying focusing on outer beauty isn’t important when he drools after every pretty girl he sees? Has he ever gone after a girl who was traditionally unattractive?

Fourth, he’s referring to Vulpix taking down Team Rocket with Fire Spin as he says this…..which basically makes the whole moral extremely confused. Yes, outer beauty is unimportant and cuteness masks a Pokemon’s true inner strength…..he says referring to one of the cutest Pokemon in existence that is world-renowned for its beauty, including Pokedex entries that specifically refer to its tails as beautiful and gorgeous, and evolves into something that is arguably even more beautiful and elegant?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 6

Finally, what the hell does focusing on personality have to do with using Fire Spin? Your Pokemon can have the best personality in the world and still have crappy attacks. Just like you can dress up your Pokemon and they can still do well in battle, like Ekans and Koffing just demonstrated, despite the fall. That has to do with training. Unless you’re saying Suzy massaged her Vulpix into level 42. In which case, screw the dangerous battles. Just prepare for the Pokemon league with a massage marathon.

If you wanted this message to fly at all, you should’ve used a Pokemon that is not usually noted for its cuteness or beauty. Try this episode with a Muk or a Paras or a…Gloom maybe. And make the ‘inner strength’ point of note a triumph of self-confidence instead of a Pokemon attack.

– While I disagree with Misty getting Fire Spun, she deserved it after the fact for yelling at Psyduck for seemingly running away and not helping her when he immediately and, without command, went for help. She’s known Psyduck all of a day and has only insulted the poor thing the whole time, yet it still rushed to her rescue without question. What a bitch.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 7

– Suzy: “and Brock I was very impressed with how you handled your Pokemon in a crisis like that.”

Like….what? He called out Geodude, commanded a Seismic Toss, it technically failed and then Geodude was disabled with Sludge blinding it for the rest of the match.

– Suzy: “I want you to continue your journey too, Brock. From now on, we’re rivals.” There are rivals in Pokemon breeding? Is that like being a competitive veterinarian?

– I don’t really see why Suzy has seen enough of Brock’s skills as a breeder to believe he’s competent enough to care for her beloved Vulpix, especially, as she stated, better than she could. Also, she’s known Brock all of a few hours, if that, yet she trusts him enough to give over her Vulpix?

– How did Brock capture Vulpix in his empty Pokeball when it’s still technically owned by Suzy? Couldn’t Suzy have just handed over Vulpix’s Pokeball to Brock?

– So now Suzy has no Pokemon to practice her breeding skills on. I’m sure that will be real helpful to your quest to improve your skills, Suzy. Actually, this wouldn’t be a huge issue if she was staying at her salon, but she’s closing up shop and going on a journey, so pbt.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 8
I couldn’t not include this shot.

– James: “Now we need a total makeover – so no one we ripped off will recognize us!” Uh, who’d you rip-off? You offered a service, you provided what was expected, they paid the price you advertised….They’re not entitled to refunds just because ‘doy we realized it’s what’s inside that counts!’

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I still love this episode, but I will admit I noticed quite a few more glaring flaws in the plot and lesson than I did when I was younger. I’m surprised I actually got ranty near the end. I feel like, given Pokemon Scent-Sation, they should’ve went a different route with this whole episode in regards to the moral because 1) it just does not fit well with Vulpix being the focal point, 2) they seem to demonize outer beauty, natural or otherwise, in their efforts to emphasize inner strength, and 3) they go even further with the ‘outer beauty is bad’ stuff by making the fashion trends as gaudy and ugly as humanly possible.

Gloom, on the other hand, was a Pokemon who, by all intents and purposes, was as unappealing as possible. It’s not really physically cute, it even drools, and it’s noted for its horrible stench. It’s evo is smack between a Pokemon that is pretty cute and a Pokemon who is a little cute and a little beautiful. Yet it’s noted for its great personality in saving Erika and keeping its stench in check around those it trusts. There’s also something poetic about a notably perpetually stinky Pokemon creating wonderful perfumes from its own extract.

I do like Suzy as a character quite a bit, and the comedy in this episode is spot-on, but I can’t help but say the quality is very tarnished by how poorly conceived this episode was as a whole.

Well, maybe next episode will be more relaxing and fun. What is next anyway?

Next episode

..Dammit!

Pokemon Shorties (3)! Pikachu and Pichu

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have arrived at nonspecific oddly American looking big city. Pikachu and all of the other Pokemon are let out of their Pokeballs to have some fun on the roof of some building while Ash and the others plan a big surprise. However, when Pikachu gets made fun of by a Pichu in a building across the street, he ends up falling from the roof and landing on the other building with the Pichu Bros. Can Pikachu make it back in time before Ash returns?

Breakdown: And now for the short that accompanied Movie 03, Pikachu and Pichu, otherwise known as “That one with the Pichu Bros.” and…..I really don’t remember jack about this short. I remember it taking place in a city and the Pichu bros., of course, I remember there being a Smeargle….that’s about it.

Oh and I remember the ending being the cause of much discussion seeing as how many people take this as proof that at least one year has gone by since the start of the series, which I don’t really believe given how much has gone on between then and now. Also, it’s hard to take that as canon when the series keeps insisting that Ash is and always will be 10 years old.

As for Pichu….I don’t particularly care for it. Its existence makes me think they wanted a ‘chibi’ Pikachu that they could market even harder than Pikachu. Lest we forget the pointless novelty of spike-eared Pichu and even Ukelele Pichu (proudly following in the footsteps of surfing Pikachu….Where are the damn novelty Raichu? What a rip off. Raichu>>>>>>>>everything) Pichu’s existence never made full sense to me, either. That means Ash got an evolved Pokemon as his starter Pokemon, and Pikachu was a huge brat when we first met it which makes it hard for me to believe that Pikachu evolved from a full happiness Pichu.

I do remember the music being a snappy new change, so there’s that. Well, let’s start, shall we?

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Ash and the others are in some unspecified city. They let out all of their Pokemon on the top of some random building/hotel(?) because they have stuff to do. However, even this doesn’t make much sense to me. It makes sense that Ash wouldn’t want Pikachu around to keep from spoiling the surprise, but why let out all of the other Pokemon, which they hardly ever do? Just to keep Pikachu company? It is a nice thing to do, but it’s also rare. They say they’ll be back at six o’clock and leave.

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A smiling Vulpix with sparkles around it. Enjoy your free warmfuzzies.

The copy I’m using for screenshots is the Japanese video spliced in with the English audio track (Since my copy is VHS and I have no way to transfer that to my computer). The Japanese version has an entire theme song here, but they completely amputate it from the short in the dub. They skip the entire theme song animations just to splice in their own opening which is just the title card translated to English, Pikachu meeting with the Pichu bros. and having the city background appear for a second before a dual page transition goes back to the short.

The English theme is a jazzy track that was made for this short. The Japanese theme is okay, but pretty forgettable.

As the Pokemon are playing, Pikachu comes across two Pichu, one of which starts mocking Pikachu from a building across the street. Pikachu makes faces back and Pichu climbs out on a ledge. Pichu’s brother, let’s call him Tuffed-Hair Pichu, tries to keep him from going out on the ledge and getting hurt while Pikachu climbs out onto a flag pole to warn him as well, which just furthers the question of why the hell did they let out all of their Pokemon to play ON THE TOP OF A BUILDING!?

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I get it, it’s all fancified meaning that people can hang out on the roof without issue, but there are no guardrails and it can’t be all that safe if Pikachu can perch itself on a nearby flagpole on the side of the building with no problem. Imagine what would happen if dopey Psyduck got turned around up there.

Pikachu looks down to realize where he is and wow, cars! Lots of ’em! I keep feeling like they’re in some American city from the way they keep portraying it. The buildings, atmosphere, music etc. just give the feeling like they’re in America somewhere. It definitely doesn’t give the same vibe as other cities seen earlier in Pokemon. Even Celadon city felt a lot different than this.

Not only does Pikachu freak out because of this, but a few Murkrow also come out and peck at him since he’s on their perch. He falls, but grabs onto the always handy rope that is always below in these situations.

The Murkrow aren’t deterred, however, as they also peck at the rope to make Pikachu fall. So, in conclusion, Murkrow are murderers….which makes sense because a flock of crows is called a murder. Next time on Law and Order: Johto Unit.

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We pan down to Meowth who is washing windows sans Jessie and James, but this time they actually give a reason for this that makes a lot of sense. They tricked him into a window washing job so they could get extra money. Since it has been shown several times in the series that Jessie, James and Meowth do get jobs sometimes and many of those jobs tend to be separate from each other, this makes perfect sense.

Murkrow starts untying the rope when a breeze carries a bunch of Hoppip into the Murkrow’s face, making him drop the rope and Pikachu. The rope somehow swings up which allows Pikachu to fly up and bounce on all of the Hoppip. However, when he gets to the last of them, he falls onto Meowth’s washing platform, which causes a see-saw effect and sends Meowth flying into a nearby billboard.

Pikachu climbs up to meet the Pichu bros. but is upset when he finds out that none of the other Pokemon can hear him and help him get back to the other building. So that means that, unlike the other shorts where we got small groups of the Pokemon mostly made up of Ash’s with some of Misty’s, Tracey’s and Brock’s…..this short just releases them for a few seconds and puts the entire focus on Pikachu and Pichu until the very end where they all reunite. I get it, it’s the title of the short, but come on. The other Pokemon get such little screen time. It’s almost mocking to let them all out to hang out and play but give them absolutely nothing to do.

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The Pichu Bros. offer to take Pikachu back to the other building. They make their way out, but land on a bus, which only leads them further away. The Pichu Bros don’t seem to care (jerks) and the bus takes a sudden turn which causes the three to fly off of the bus and into a nearby river.

Everything seems okay for a bit until a ferry in the shape of a Lapras shows up and is about to run them over. Pikachu and Pichu try to get away, but they succumb to Prometheus syndrome with not realizing that there are directions beyond straight. Luckily, a Gyarados suddenly shows up and sends the three flying again….Pokemon shorts really do involve a lot of Pokemon being flung around like ragdolls. Also, this is a manmade river, why the hell is a Gyarados in there? Do you love scaring the crap out of the people on the ferry boat and putting them in danger for no reason?

The three fall into some alleyway onto a Houndour who starts chasing them around. He corners them, but the wonder twins use their electric powers to shock Houndour. However, “Too bad Pichu can’t use electric attacks without shocking themselves!” Pichu sucks.

The Pichu Bros end up knocking themselves out due to the electricity, and to make matters worse, Houndour’s not affected that badly and starts chasing them again, this time with Pikachu carrying the Pichu Bros. Pikachu bounces off of a random Snorlax’s belly yet again. For the love of God, he’s not a trampoline or an air bag! Stop making this a theme in the shorts!

Houndour tries to follow, but Snorlax moves when he tries to jump on him, causing Houndour to land on the ground instead and get squashed when Snorlax moves back. Well, he’s dead. A moment of silence for Houndour.

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They arrive at some fort made of tires and pipes and we discover that this is actually a little hideout for the Pichu Bros and their friends, a whole bunch of other Pokemon with many of them being new pre-evos. Oh and we get another Pokemon misidentification. This time a Voltorb says ‘Electrode’. I’m going to give 4Kids a slight pass here since, like Poliwhirl/Wrath, they look very similar, but 4Kids should really know better by now or at least know to double check this crap.

They screw around with all of the Pokemon to eat up two minutes of screentime. When they’re done, the other Pokemon leave and they realize that it’s getting awfully late. Pikachu has to be back before Ash returns so he asks the Pichu Bros to lead him there. They start to leave but AH ZOMBIE!!

Oh, I guess Houndour lived through that. Houndour arrives and starts chasing them around again, causing the big tire fort to fall over, burying Houndour in huge heavy tires. Well, I guess he’s dead again. A moment of silence for twice dead Houndour.

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Also, why is Pikachu not attacking Houndour? It’s shocked people and Pokemon for lesser reasons.

Anyway, Houndour’s not dead again, instead he’s mildly stuck I think maybe. Pikachu and the Pichu Bros help him out and they’re instant friends I guess. Another part of the fort starts falling over and Houndour and Pikachu try to save it, but they’re slipping fast. The Pichu Bros then call their friends back to help out…where were they going anyway? Do they have owners? Where else would they be living besides that fort?

The Pokemon band together to save the fort, even Cubone, the Pokemon who cares only about itself. Sorry – some leftover bitterness.

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Pictured: A selfish fuck.

And, really, guys, hire a licensed contractor next time. The design of that thing? No wonder it fell so easily.

So the fort is saved, hip hip hooray! That’s also a recurring theme in these shorts – a bunch of random Pokemon coming together to solve a problem and fix stuff.

Pikachu realizes what time it is and he and the Pichu Bros help him get back to the building by rolling in a tire. And on the way they run over Meowth….I would complain about his completely pointless part in this short, but this short is already basically Togepi-free, so there’s a bonus. However, the Pichu Bros kinda act like Togepi a few times.

Pikachu returns, the Pichu Bros leave and Ash and the others return to show their big surprise to the Pokemon (mostly Pikachu).

The owner of this place has no qualms with a giant snake made of rocks being in what looks like a very nice dining room? Okay.

Ash reveals his surprise is a big party in honor of it being the anniversary of the first day he became friends with Pikachu. Geez, look at that setup.

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So much food and decorations and reserving a beautiful room too? For god’s sake, I’ve never had a birthday anywhere near this nice. And this is a friendship anniversary for a mouse! Where the hell did Ash and the others get the money for this? They can usually just barely afford to feed themselves. Did they plan the fireworks too? Because I can’t see any other reason for that.

This I find to be even more blatant favoritism considering he never does the same thing for any of his other Pokemon. Then again, he’d actually have to have his Pokemon for over a year to do that…But Squirtle and Bulbasaur are still around at this point, which means it shouldn’t be far off from their one year anniversary, but nope, no party for them. They should’ve just said they wanted to make a sort of annual Pokemon appreciation party instead. But why do that and have Pikachu share the attention, which is, of course, blasphemous?

And thus our short ends….in the English version anyway. The Japanese version stays true to their ending credits sequences with fan art a and song behind it. While the fan art is nice…did the kids who sent in the pictures get like a template to color in? Because all of the pictures in the start have the exact same pose and drawing quality. Unless this is just crudely drawn official art.

Whoever made the picture with Pidgeotto despite the fact that it was long gone before this short, my hat’s off to you good sir or madam.

Art and Animation: The art is crisp and the animation was actually quite a bit better than normal. Some scenes were shaky, particularly the last shot you see of Pineco, but nothing that bad.

Music: I really enjoyed the jazzy soundtrack. It’s a welcome change from the average Pokemon music we’re used to.

Bottomline: I can’t bring myself to say I’m crazy about this short. By all intents and purposes, it’s completely harmless fun, but then again it is just a lot of hijinks with not a lot of story, and any message is one we’ve already heard before in previous shorts; teamwork basically.

Also, the stuff with Houndour was resolved so quickly and easily it’s almost like it was a non-plot point. That being said, it does have the best art and animation quality of any of the shorts so far. The city looks very nice, many shots look great, the Pichu Bros didn’t get annoying and there were never lulls in the fun like the second short. It’s a pretty good short, but it is disappointing that none of the other Pokemon get to do anything.

Recommended Audience: E for eggplants! And everyone. Eggplants are people too!

Yugioh Episode 8 Sub/Dub Comparison

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Plot: Mokuba has been kidnapped by Pegasus in order to take over Kaiba’s company. Desperate to save the company and his brother’s reputation, he escapes and steals a duelist’s deck and star chips to challenge Yugi so that Pegasus can’t duel him and win control over the company. Yugi and the others have a thirty minute time limit to help the theft victim or he will leave on the boat.

=================================
The words “Funny Rabbit” were edited off of the comic Pegasus has. Because English is evil too. Oddly, though, they also add a picture of Funny Bunny to the cover.

Subbed:

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Dubbed:

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Pegasus’s wine was dialogue changed to fruit juice. Because alcohol doesn’t exist…I can understand editing out smoking and alcohol if a good character is doing it (prevent kids from imitating their favorite characters) but doesn’t a villain doing those things insinuate that they’re bad?
Subbed version says it’s been nine hours since the tournament began. The dub says six.

 

Both versions clearly state that those without star chips must leave the island…Again, why is no one bothering to take away T’ea/Anzu, Honda/Tristan and Bakura?
I love how Pegasus obviously has cameras all over the island yet he can’t/won’t catch cheaters. Anyone could steal star chips this way as Bandit Keith and Mokuba show…Then again, Pegasus is a cheater too…
I also love how they arrange a luxury cruise liner to bring them to the island, but only have a rowboat to get them off.

 

They edit out Jounouchi telling the kid that if he finds his chips that he has to give him half. Makes the entire scene where it transitions from heroic to exasperated groans incredibly awkward.

 

Yugi needs Yami….to beat a kid half his age at a game he’s supposedly awesome at….I just….geez.
Jounouchi doesn’t insinuate anything about Yugi’s Millennium puzzle in the original. It’s like 4Kids is constantly dropping hints at the fact that there’s a different spirit in there. As if the transformation sequences every episode weren’t a freakin’ clue.

 

They impose a Millennium symbol on Yugi’s head right after Mokuba puts his chips down and T’ea follows it up by saying it’s like Yugi is looking into his soul….We get it, 4Kids, the damn necklace is magic. We’re picking up what you’re slamming down. In the subbed version, T’ea just says that Mokuba doesn’t have a duel glove, thus he must be the criminal.

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In the flashback, subbed version, Kaiba says he needs to learn of the heart of the cards in order to be as good as Yugi. Then he gives Mokuba a secret key card that allows access to numerous company files and secrets that he’s meant to protect while he’s away. (Yeah, leave a little kid in charge of a multi-billion dollar company. That’s smart. Hope he doesn’t get kidnap—oh wait.)

 

In the dub, they strangely omit this. Kaiba just says he’s not himself and needs time away to think. He gives Mokuba a card claiming it was his favorite and then leaves. I also don’t like how Kaiba’s constantly calling his brother “kid” here. They’re closer than that.
 

This is kind of a big deal because that card is the whole focal point behind Mokuba’s kidnapping. They kidnapped him to find out where the key card was. In the dub, he’s kidnapped because they want to control him because only a Kaiba can give orders in his company. The subbed version makes more sense, but I guess they didn’t want to associate cards with kidnapping…No wait, cards are associated with all sorts of bad crap in this show, so I guess it’s just pointless.
 

I find it hard to believe that a kid who was brought up in a company that focuses on Duel Monsters and is the brother of the world champion of Duel Monsters doesn’t know the main basics of Duel Monsters. If a monster’s attack points are lower than your opponent’s monster’s, you lose. You had to have picked up at least that much just by watching Kaiba duel once or twice.
 

Again, they impose a Millennium symbol on Yugi’s head to insinuate that he’s using his powers in the dub, when in the original, he’s not. Because Yugi’s so stupid he needed magic to figure out that was Mokuba. What with his clever disguise of wearing the exact same clothes he was wearing the last time Yugi saw him, pulling his scarf over his mouth and wearing a hat, he should be in the CIA.

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Dubbed: YGOSDCEP8SCREEN6

 

In the sub, the Big Five, as they’ll later be called, says they’ll talk with Kaiba about the arrangement with Pegasus. In the dub, they want Kaiba out of the picture, AKA killed.

 

Dub Mokuba: “If I can’t beat you *grabs two of Yugi’s star chips* I’ll have you disqualified!”

..Because Yugi losing two of his five star chips means he’ll be disqualified? What?

 

I dunno why but they edited in a scene of Mokuba looking down and sad just to say “Let’s do it” right before they transition back to the boat.
 

Kaiba’s scene at his hideaway is edited in to before when Yugi and the others arrive at the docks.
 

4Kids edited in the goons knocking at Kaiba’s door by basically cutting out the door and quickly animating a zoom-in and out a few times. Because it’s rude not to knock dammit! They do this twice, by the way. Once after Kaiba glances at the door and another before he places the duel disks in the briefcase.
 

The infamous guns changed to pointing fingers scene. And yes, it still looks ridiculous. They also edited out the scene where he fires the gun at Kaiba, and they edited out the shot of Kaiba falling. I do have to say Kaiba saying “You’ll never take me alive” still tickles my funny bone. I will admit, their cut of Kaiba blocking the bullet is impressively done. You’d never notice there’s a (literal) shot missing from that.
Subbed + Extras: YGOSDCEP8screen7YGOSDCEP8screen9YGOSDCEP8screen10YGOSDCEP8screen12YGOSDCEP8screen14YGOSDCEP8screen15YGOSDCEP8screen17YGOSDCEP8screen18YGOSDCEP8screen19YGOSDCEP8screen20

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Dubbed: YGOSDCEP8screen8YGOSDCEP8screen11YGOSDCEP8screen13YGOSDCEP8screen16YGOSDCEP8screen21

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They splice in a closeup shot of the ocean after the initial shot of the window.

I don’t think I have to tell you that fake-Kaiba doesn’t make puns in the subbed version. In the original, he just says “I have to have revenge” over and over.
This episode was okay. I think it was a little bit of an excuse to get rid of some of Yugi’s star chips to give him more duels to compete in. However, it does show how dedicated Mokuba is to his brother and introduces us to one of the weirder duels of the show.

 

Next episode, Yugi duels ‘ghost’ Kaiba or Kaiba’s evil shadow realm counterpart as he’s known in the dub.

Pokemon Episode 27 Analysis: Hypno’s Naptime

Pokemon Ep 27 title

CotD (s): None, really.

Captures (technically): Misty’s Psyduck – Not really a legit capture since Psyduck trapped himself in Misty’s Pokeball, Psyduck is one of Misty’s most notable Pokemon next to the yet-to-debut Togepi. He is one of the funnier comic relief Pokemon with his dopey behavior, but the fact that he starts the teeth-gnashingly annoying trend of Pokemon who let themselves out of their Pokeball just to appear, say their name and that’s somehow deemed funny is something I will never forgive him for.

Plot: Ash and his friends arrive in a large city called Hophophop Town, lost yet again. Suddenly, a woman runs up to Ash and hugs him tightly, proclaiming that he’s her lost son, Arnold. They clear up the mistake, and Arnold’s mother explains that Arnold suddenly disappeared three days ago with no communication in the meantime and no logical explanation for his sudden disappearance.

Arnold’s mother explains that her son is just one of many children who have disappeared in the town recently, so she has little hope of seeing her son again. Brock, always earnest to help Officer Jenny and Ash, reminded of his own mother through Arnold’s mother, along with Misty get involved in the missing child investigations.

Officer Jenny relays to the kids that all of the missing children disappeared exactly three days ago. Since Jenny has no other leads, she’s decided to ask the children hanging out at the Pokemon Center if they know anything or if they’ve seen the missing children. They don’t get many answers from the children, but Nurse Joy brings up a curious development.

Exactly three days ago, all of the Pokemon in the Pokemon Center and several local Pokemon suddenly lost all of their energy. Jenny surmises that the problems with the Pokemon and missing children might be connected. Suddenly, her sleep wave detector goes off, indicating a source of waves that induce sleep. Joy says no Pokemon at the Center should be emitting such waves, and Pikachu succumbs to the energy draining effects.

At this turn of events, they deduce that the sleep waves might have something to do with the odd changes in the health of the Pokemon. They follow the intensity of the sleep waves and find themselves at a mansion that that’s been built on top of a skyscraper. It turns out that the sleep waves were being emitted by a Drowzee and a Hypno. One of their Drowzee evolved into this Hypno three days ago, creating another link in the oddities around the city.

The club members explain that they’ve been using Hypno and Drowzee to help with their insomnia. Brock deduces that Hypno’s Hypnosis must be having an adverse affect on the Pokemon and certain sensitive children since the wavelength must’ve been changed to put humans asleep as opposed to Pokemon.

Misty tries it out, and after Hypno uses his Hypnosis on her, she suddenly starts acting like a Seel. She bursts from the mansion and runs towards a large park. As she enters a clearing, the group sees all of the missing children have gathered here. They’re all acting like Pokemon and vehemently refuse to snap out of it.

One of the club members suggests to use Drowzee’s dream waves to counter Hypno’s sleep waves, and they bring Misty back to the mansion to try it. It works, and Misty snaps out of her Seel state. Encouraged by the results in Misty, Ash and the others decide to bring Drowzee to the park to snap the other children out of their trances.

Suddenly, Team Rocket drops from the sky on gliders, intent on stealing Drowzee and Hypno. They trick Hypno into hypnotizing itself by putting him in front of a mirror, but Ash stops it before it completes by smashing the mirror with a potted plant.

As plan B, Jessie and James nab Drowzee and Hypno with whips, but Misty uses Staryu to slice through both of the whips and free them. Ash uses Pidgeotto’s best Gust attack to blast them off, and they head back off to save the children.

Drowzee works his dream magic on the children, and they’re all back to normal. Pikachu also snaps out of his drained state. As the children clear out of the park, Arnold’s mother appears and reunites with her son.

They head to the Pokemon Center and cure the Pokemon too. Everything’s back to normal, but Joy remains concerned over the Psyduck that keeps holding its head. In an attempt to impress Joy, Brock agrees to take Psyduck and try to help it. However, he’s completely clueless as to what to do with it. He tries to pawn it off on Misty, but Misty isn’t interested in a ‘boring’ Pokemon.

Ash attempts to research Psyduck again through Dexter and it’s revealed that there’s nothing wrong with Psyduck – it’s a part of its nature to always suffer from a perpetual headache. As Misty bursts in anger at this revelation, she topples over and one of her Pokeballs falls out of her bag. Psyduck bops the button on the ball and captures itself, leaving Misty with ownership over it.

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– Like the Rainbow Badge episode, this was another episode I had on VHS, which means I watched it fairly frequently.

And, even back then, this episode raised all sorts of questions with me that left me more confused and weirded out the more I watched it. I can’t really think of any episode like it. It’s such an odd duck. But don’t just take my plot synopsis’ word for it. Let me take you on a journey of confusion.

– Even in cities, these three cannot help themselves but get lost.

– Why is it never explained why this city is called Hophophop Town? Nothing about this name makes sense. There’s never anything hopping related going on ever (this episode might be better suited for a much later Hoppip themed episode or something) and it’s not a town – it’s a huge city rivaling Celadon in its sheer size and skyscrapers.

You might think this is just 4Kids having their stupid jollies, but it’s not really. In the Japanese version, this town is called Yoyoyo Town……which makes about as much if not less sense. Actually, it sounds like they got the names backwards. If either set of writers would stake a claim on Yoyoyo Town, it would be the masters of rap, 4Kids.

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– Misty: *after seeing the wall of posters* “My picture’s going to be on posters when I’m a big famous star!” Reacting to a wall of posters with pictures of missing children with ‘~~~*sigh* I’m going to be famous!~~~’ is about as vain, self-absorbed and terrifyingly uncaring as you can get, Misty. Please hit yourself repeatedly with a rock for 45 minutes and think about how awful your last line was.

Though, if I can delve into the Bulbagarden comparison for a moment, this actually isn’t nearly as bad as her original lines.

“Originally, Kasumi’s first line has her saying that she’d better watch out for kidnappers because she’s so cute. Satoshi and Takeshi kind of give her a look, prompting her to go “What!?” Satoshi then pats Pikachu’s head and tells Kasumi that, fine, she is cute and that she had better watch out.

I guess the dub changed this because they didn’t want parents walking into the room and hearing one of the main characters act so nonchalant about a subject like child abduction.”

Yeah, 4Kids didn’t do a great job changing this line, but the Japanese writers definitely eek out a WTF at this.

In all honesty, this would be one occasion where I’d be fine just cutting the whole exchange, animation and all, but Kasumi, my God, what the fuck is wrong with you? Your elated smile and pose lead me to believe you find child abduction to be flattering. Not to mention that kidnapping usually has little to nothing to do with how ‘cute’ you are. Hate to go dark here, but if a child abductor is really nabbing you on the grounds of your physical appearance, the outcome would likely not be in the least bit happy for you, Kasumi. Please seek help.

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– It was in this episode where Ash has the flashback to the lost episode, which spurred my multi-year-long annoyance as to where that scene came from.

You want to know what else? Even this little tidbit induces additional confusion!

Another dip into Bulbagarden’s comparison shows that this isn’t even the clip that was originally used for Ash’s flashback to his mom. In the Japanese version, they used a clip of her from the pilot.

Since I’d just be parroting their reaction, here’s another excerpt.

“Like…what was the logic behind that decision!? Maybe they thought it would be better for Ash to think about the most recent time he had seen his mother instead of the first time? But when that “most recent time” comes from an episode that, as far as dub viewers know, doesn’t exist, you run into problems. I wonder how many fans watched this episode and wondered “wait a minute…when did that happen!?” I’m sure there were more than a few.

Even today, this edit is weird because the majority of Pokémon fans in the U.S. have never seen “Beauty and The Beach” and would therefore have no reason to know where those clips came from.”

I believe 4Kids wanted a more sentimental memory of Delia for Ash to be thinking of at this moment since the original was a comedic scene where Delia’s handing him a bunch of stuff to take with him on his journey. Though, this is still a little sentimental because it shows how much Delia dotes on him and cares about his well-being.

While the shot from Beauty and the Beach appears more sentimental and is nice in context with the trophy, the actual scene when shown here and with no prior knowledge of the lost episode is just empty. He smiles at her, she smiles at him while holding a trophy (‘for some reason’, thinks the oblivious viewer) and he leaves.

I have enough to develop a headache about in this episode, so let’s just leave that there.

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– Ash is incredibly annoying saying ‘Brilliant deduction!’ every few minutes. Mostly because he doesn’t seem to know what that really means.

– Brock’s also being obnoxious by scaring the crap out of a couple of little kids just for the sake of impressing Jenny.

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– Ash: *in reference to a sick Magikarp* “Looks like it’s ready for the deli counter.” Why the hell would you say something that crass? You might as well tell Oddish it’s ready to be in a salad and Cubone that he’s about to be reunited with his mom. Not only is it crass, but it’s also stupid. Ash knows quite well that Magikarp are inedible. They’re nothing but scales and bones. He learned this on Pokemon Shipwreck.

– Nice to see Nurse Joy’s also joining in on the idiocy. She should know that Psyduck suffers from an endless headache, thus there’s nothing really wrong with it.

– Here’s one of the biggest questions of the episode – Why the hell does Jenny have a sleep wave detector? Nonono – why does she have a sleep wave detector on her? Nonoononononono – Are sleep wave detectors standard issue for cops in the Pokemon world? Nnononononononononononononononono – why are sleep wave detectors a thing? How could they possibly be useful outside of this insanely specific circumstance?

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Was there a rash of criminals taking naps in their crime scenes? Are you worried Freddy Krueger’s going to pop up somewhere? Are you a cop who usually patrols parks and you use it to detect sleeping homeless people so you can ask them to please sleep somewhere else, sir? Do you scan pieces of evidence to see if anyone’s napped on it recently? Did a hypnotist on a cheap cruise line traumatize you because he made you quack like a duck every time someone says ‘potato salad’? I am legitimately curious as to the history of this thing.

The whole concept of the sleep wave detector just seems silly and incredibly lazy. They could’ve made up something like the sleep waves were interfering with some of the equipment in the Pokemon Center or something of Jenny’s and the malfunctions got worse the closer they got to the source. Or they could’ve had a Pokemon be somehow attracted to the sleep waves and follow it to the source.

Nope – fucking sleep wave detector.

In the first draft, this thing was called ‘the convenient plot device generator’

– Alright, with all of that sleep wave detector nonsense behind us, we can move o—why the hell does Team Rocket have a sleep wave detector?! I mean….I guess if anyone had such a stupid device, it would be Team Rocket, but, seriously, where did they get a sleep wave detector and how did they know such a device would be useful here?

– Their plan this week is also pathetic and stupid. They plan on finding the source of the waves and knocking out Giovanni with it so they can take a vacation. Yeah, I’m so sure no one will notice he’s MIA and wake him up incredibly quickly. I’m sure he doesn’t have any subordinates who can take over his job temporarily if he’s indisposed. I’m sure he won’t realize what you did to him when he wakes up and he won’t put your collective asses in a sling.

Plus, they’re completely ignoring the obvious criminal use for a source of sleep waves – putting Pokemon to sleep. Their main objective is stealing Pokemon. Imagine if you could put any Pokemon to sleep. A whole Pokemon Center, forest, lake etc. of Pokemon out like a light. All you’d have to do is nab them and put them in a container then gift wrap them and send them to Giovanni. I’m sure he’d rather have loads of Pokemon delivered to him than be pseudo-roofied by you nimrods.

– Why is there a huge mansion/estate on top of a skyscraper? The characters also express surprise and confusion at this, but not a single person gives a reason as to why this is happening. It seems so inefficient, illogical, not cost-effective and just stupid. Surely if you have the money to get a mansion built on top of a skyscraper, you have the money to buy a huge plot of real estate in the city or just beyond it.

 

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By the way, skipping ahead a bit, maybe if you rich idiots want to help your insomnia, you might not want to live and socialize in a huge loud city by purposely building your house/meeting area on top of a skyscraper.

– Yes, Officer Jenny, just let these small children break into what could be a building filled with dangerous people.

– I have a bunch of questions about the Pokemon Lovers Club.

1 – So this mansion isn’t even a place where someone lives – it’s just a clubhouse? You went through all that trouble and spent so much money for a clubhouse on top of a skyscraper? Talk about disposable income.

2 – This is a Pokemon Lovers Club, so I assume there are frequently lots of Pokemon up in this clubhouse at any given time…..On top of this skyscraper…..with no protective barriers to stop them from falling off the roof. More like Pokemon Negligence Club.

3 – For a Pokemon Lovers Club, this place is sure devoid of….well, Pokemon. The only Pokemon in the area are Hypno and Drowzee, and those are the only Pokemon they talk about.

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This is a far cry from what is supposed to be the inspiration of this club, which is the game’s Pokemon Fan Club. (It’s never explicitly stated that it is, but given that the original Japanese name for the fan club is Pokemon Lovers Club, it’s hard to say it’s not)

You’d think they might make up for it with Pokemon décor or activities or something, but there’s nothing even Pokemon related in the entire vicinity besides the Hypno and Drowzee sitting on that table. Everyone’s just standing around drinking wine….err, I mean, what I assume is fruit juice. It’s like that pseudo-sitcom trope where the mom has a book club but it’s really an excuse for her and her friends to sit around and gossip while drinking wine.

4 – So if the point of this club isn’t celebrating all Pokemon, I guess I can assume it’s for a Hypno or Drowzee fandom….if that’s true, why is no one paying it any mind before Ash and the others talk about it?

5 – From what they say, it’s almost like the point of this club is an insomniacs club. All of these rich tycoons are so stressed out from living in the city (pbbbttttmove awaypbbbttttput your clubhouse in a place that isn’t the top of a skyscraperpbbbbtttyou’re hobnobbing and drinking in the middle of the day – you can’t be too stressedpbbbbttt) that all of them suffer from insomnia, a condition I’m surprised 4Kids didn’t try to explain to the audience. So they all get together and have Hypno and Drowzee use Hypnosis on them to help them get to sleep at night.

6 – To help them get to sleep AT NIGHT. Why are they making Hypno put them to sleep now?

– Why is the closeup shot of Hypno using Hypnosis a still-screen? It is insanely creepy because of that.

Pokemon Ep 27 screen8

– Okay, I can understand Hypno’s changed wavelength having an energy-draining effect on Pokemon. If it’s altered from the regular version, it’s just making the Pokemon in the area incredibly tired as opposed to being entirely asleep. That doesn’t really explain Charmander’s dying tail flame, but still.

I can even believe it’s affecting only certain children in the area who might be sensitive to such waves, putting them in a trance state.

What I DON’T understand is why the children all start believing they’re Pokemon. The only reason I can come up with is that, when people get hypnotized in shows in real life, they’re commonly given something goofy to do, and it usually involves acting like an animal – like acting like a dog at the sound of a bell or acting like a chicken at the sound of a clap……but that just doesn’t make much sense at all.

Apparently they originally based this off atavistic regression, which is a hypnosis technique in which the therapist helps psychologically regress a person to previous evolutionary states, eliminating internal stressors, activities and barriers that usually cloud a person’s mind and make them stressed and anxious. This therapeutic technique is used to help people sleep better, be more relaxed and be more open to hypnotic suggestion.

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Problem is, humans did not evolve from Pokemon in this world. (Did they? I’m not current on Pokemon lore. I know Arceus is treated as Pokemon God, and that’s about it in that regard.) Even if they did, atavistic regression doesn’t cause you to start acting like you’re devolved. It just attempts to switch off certain higher functions of the brain that have only been utilized in recent stages of evolution. You’ll have a clearer head, not communicate through grunts and attempt to spear down a city bus.

I also don’t understand how these waves can be so friggin’ powerful that it’s affecting children and Pokemon for miles around. By that logic, any other Hypnosis should zonk out any Pokemon in a five mile radius, like when Jigglypuff uses Sing only much worse.

– Ash, you stuffed a comatose Pikachu in your zipped backpack instead of leaving it at the Pokemon Center where it could be treated? What is wrong with you?

– Thank God Seel!Misty knows how to use an elevator or else there’d be a big stain on the sidewalk out front.

– If the aspect of the children all suddenly believing they’re Pokemon is hard to swallow, even given the backstory of the idea, it’s impossible to believe that they’d all be drawn to the exact same spot in the park. Misty was gunning for that place, she knew exactly where she was going – like it was innate. What’s so special about this section of the park?

– Let’s hope none of the kids believed they were Water Pokemon based on fish or else you might want to call a dive team.

– That one kid should not have been able to crawl down that tree on his belly like that.

Pokemon Ep 27 screen10

– These kids are surprisingly clean and well-groomed for living in the woods acting like Pokemon for three days.

Gentleman Guy – “I know! Why don’t we use Drowzee to cure the children?”

Ash: “Drowzee?”

Gentleman Guy – “Sleep emits dream wavelengths, which, in this case, might counteract Hypno’s wavelengths.”

I don’t….understand that sentence…..Sleep….emits dream wavelengths…yes. That might counteract Hypno’s wavelengths…..no….Hypno made those wavelengths….Why would Drowzee….he might have a different wavelength but….dream wavelengths… Dream Eater? How would that help?…..How is this…working?……Forget it. Let’s just say they’re reversing the polarity and move on with our lives.

Ah, according to the Wiki, this is just a dub error. Sleep is Drowzee’s original name and 4Kids accidentally used it here……Still doesn’t clear up what the hell is going on, but that clears up the sentence structure anyway.

– They’re having Drowzee emit his dream waves toward Misty?….How is that not Hypnosis?….Why does Hypno not have an ability of his pre-evo? Nope, I’m not going down that slippery slope again.

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– Drowzee’s Hypnosis shot isn’t nearly as creepy as Hypno’s because he’s actually animated here, but it’s obvious the animation is just keyframes. Is this a post-edit because of the Porygon episode? Even Misty, when she’s being subjected to the dream waves, is clearly animated in an extremely shaky way (IE, you can see the frames jutting up and down) Neither the Bulbagarden comparison nor the Wiki page even mentions this odd animation.

– I’ve always thought Eric Stuart’s delivery when he says ‘Just don’t hypnotize me. Okay, do it.’ was hilarious for some reason.

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– Hypno’s incredibly stupid for attempting to hypnotize a mirror. Who is its trainer/owner? Why did no one command it to stop?

– Oh now Hypno’s animated when doing Hypnosis. No clue what’s different now. Also, it has that same keyframe animation issue.

– Nice throwing that flower pot to destroy that mirror, Ash. Considering Hypno was standing a foot away from it and you threw it through the back, Hypno should be cut up like a Christmas ham right now, but good job.

– Hey, Pidgeotto nice to see you actually being used for a change. Though, this is still technically using it for blasting Team Rocket off.

– All, and I mean all of the voices of these children are horrible. Awful. Just….awful.

– Why did they all spontaneously blurt out what they wanted to be when grow up?

– Ash really doesn’t look much like Arnold at all. You only see him for a few frames, but he’s much shorter, has completely different clothes and his hair is blue not black. Guess his mom could’ve just been hysterical, but still.

– Misty is known for adoring even the ugliest of Water Pokemon, but she has absolutely no respect for Psyduck out of the gate and even calls it boring despite hearing that it has mysterious powers.

– Why does Misty have such a burst of anger over hearing Psyduck always has a headache? She doesn’t even own it at this point.

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– That last bit is just all sorts of giant convenient coincidence. She just happens to fall. She just happens to have a Pokeball fall out of her pocket/bag. It just happens to stop rolling right in front of Psyduck. Psyduck just happens to bop the button over and over to enlarge the ball and capture itself.

– Not to be cruel, but why doesn’t Misty just instantly release Psyduck if she’s so intent on hating it from the get-go? It didn’t even do anything wrong. She just hates it for no reason.

– Mystery of what the inside of a Pokeball looks like solved – it’s a blue abyss of nothingness.

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Like I said, this episode is just an endless stream of confusion and peculiarity for me. It only got even worse the more I analyzed it. Some questions were answered, but I just raised other questions I never even thought of before, and if this weren’t the episode where Misty gets Psyduck, I’d almost say it’d be better off if we all just believed it was a weird collective dream.

Now that I think about it, this is the perfect episode for Psyduck to debut in. What better Pokemon to have be caught in this massive web of weirdness and disarray than the Pokemon who, like all of us at this point, has a massive headache?

Next episode, one of my favorites, Brock meets his idol in breeding, Suzie, and gets Vupix.

Pokemon Episode 26 Analysis: Pokemon Scent-Sation

Pokemon ep 26 title

Gym Leader: Erika – Erika is a very polite and kind individual (er, well, she’s meant to be) who values empathy with her Pokemon above all else. She specializes in Grass Pokemon and has a particular connection with her Gloom, a Pokemon most people cannot stand due to its terrible smell. Erika also owns a perfume shop and treasures the beautiful scents and feelings that perfume provides. While she is a very gentle and loving person, she cannot stand ignorant people who badmouth perfume.

Reappears? No.

Pokemon – She has numerous Grass Pokemon kicking around her Gym, but in this battle she uses a Weepinbell, a Tangela and a Gloom, who is her most prized Pokemon and is in fact the source of her secret ingredient for her perfumes.

Badge:

50px-Rainbow_Badge

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive in the massive Celadon City. As they gaze in awe at the skyscrapers, Misty and Brock are suddenly captivated by the aroma of perfume. The scent leads Brock to a perfume shop where he gawks at the girls at the counter. Ash wants to get going to the Gym when he notices that Misty and Pikachu are actually in the store trying out various types of perfume.

She’s about to buy some when Ash bursts in and tells her not to buy it because ‘Perfume is a waste of money, and it stinks!’ The store manager comes in and states that she resents Ash’s remark. She asks if Ash is insinuating that she overcharges her customers for poor-quality perfume. Ash tries to save face by saying that all perfume is a waste of money, because ‘all it does is turn guys into zombies.’ like Brock.

She gets increasingly angry as Ash continues to speak badly of perfume and she kicks him out of the store. Ash doesn’t really care, though, since he’s off to the Gym.

When he arrives at the Gym, he’s shocked to find that the girls at the door won’t let him in since they don’t let anyone in who badmouths perfume given that they manufacture the perfume in that very Gym. Ash begs and pleads to challenge the Gym Leader, but they still refuse.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket breaks into the Gym to steal the secret perfume formula. While they’re searching for it, they stumble upon a sleeping Gloom. After James accidentally wakes it up, he attacks it with Koffing’s Poison Gas. Shockingly, not only is Gloom unaffected, it actually sucks up the gas with no problem.

In retaliation, Gloom sets off a cloud of its terrible stench, causing Team Rocket to nearlyfaint and giving the guards at the Gym the opportunity to knock them out and kick them out. They tie Team Rocket up in a tree, and Ash comes upon them.

They decide to coerce him into cutting them down from the tree by saying they can get him into the Gym. Desperate for another badge, Ash accepts. Their big plan? To dress Ash up as a girl, pretend to be named Ashley and pretend he likes perfume so he can get through the door and challenge Erika.

Posing as Ash(ley)’s parents, Team Rocket enrolls Ash in the Gym’s Pokemon training classes. As Ash gets ready to infiltrate the Gym to challenge Erika, Team Rocket excuses themselves so they can steal the formula. In retaliation for stamping a big X on her face, Jessie also has Meowth plant a bomb in the building.

The class starts, showing the Gym’s Pokemon getting exercised and cleaned up while Erika reads them all a sad story about an Omanyte. Ash(ley) is introduced to the group and he’s shocked when he notices that Erika is also the manager of the perfume store. Misty, Brock and Pikachu are also at the class, which makes him increasingly concerned that he’ll be found out.

Misty asks Erika why the seemingly always stinky Gloom smells perfectly fine while hanging out with them in the Gym. Erika explains that Gloom does indeed have a terrible smell, but only when it feels threatened or scared. If you show Gloom that its safe and that you want to be its friend, it will smell fine. Misty asks how she knows this and Erika explains how she and gloom met.

When Erika was a small child, she went off on her own and was suddenly cornered by a Grimer. Gloom was passing by, and she asked it for help. Gloom somehow sensed how scared Erika was and used its terrible smell to send the Grimer away and save Erika. Ever since that day, she and Gloom have been close friends. Her relationship with Gloom even inspired her to become a Grass Pokemon trainer and open her Gym.

Misty wishes that Ash was around to hear the story and Ash accidentally outs himself by saying he did hear it. He tries to save face, but Pikachu tries to cuddle him, realizing who he is. Ash tells him to back off, which prompts Pikachu to shock him, revealing his true identity. Ash admits what he did and challenges Erika to a Pokemon battle, which Erika accepts.

Ash chooses Bulbasaur at first while Erika uses a Tangela. Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip to wrap up Tangela, but Erika commands it to use Constrict to coil up Bulbasaur’s vines and reel him in. She then commands Tangela to use Stun Spore, which paralyzes Bulbasaur and leaves him unable to battle.

Ash considers using Primeape, but decides against it when he remembers how crazy and violent it was. Instead, Ash uses Charmander. In response, Erika sends out Weepinbell.

Weepinbell uses Razor Leaf, but Charmander burns all of the leaves with a Flamethrower and KOs Weepinbell with a Skull Bash.

Erika uses her trump card, Gloom, and it easily knocks out Charmander with its stench. Ash struggles to figure out what Pokemon to use next since he doesn’t believe any of his Pokemon can withstand that smell. However, Pikachu steps up to the plate and volunteers to go.

Their battle is interrupted by Team Rocket who now have the secret formula in their possession and have come to gloat. Their visit is cut short when they accidentally set the bomb too close to where they are and blast themselves off.

A massive fire breaks out in the Gym and everyone tries to gather the Pokemon and evacuate. Outside, everyone tries to put out the flames with hoses, Water Pokemon and Brock’s Geodude.

Erika runs by in a panic, worried that Gloom never made it out of the building. Ash goes into the Gym to retrieve Gloom, but is deterred by the frightened Pokemon’s horrible smell. Ash has no choice but to hold his breath and brave the stench to get Gloom out, but is surprised to find the air to be clear of the smell when he gasps for a breath. He suddenly remembers Erika’s words about the smell vanishing if Gloom feels safe and friendly towards you. With a smile, Ash grabs Gloom and runs out the door.

Later, when the fire is extinguished, Erika gives Ash a Rainbow Badge in gratitude of him saving her Gloom. Ash admires his new badge, but asks what Erika will do now that Team Rocket has her secret perfume formula. Erika laughs and said they didn’t steal the formula; they only stole an ingredient of her perfume – essence of Gloom.

As we cut to Team Rocket, they open the bottle to enjoy their new perfume only to be disgusted at the odor within the bottle.

With his new badge in hand, Ash and his friends set off to the next Gym.

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– Oh great, our first actual official pun title. Whoopee.

– Just a side-note/backstory thing before I get started: This episode is one my most remembered since it was one of a handful of episodes that I got on VHS when I was a kid. I also had the episode with Primeape, but I guess I didn’t much care for that episode as a kid either because I don’t remember watching that episode much.

Since there was a good chunk of time in my childhood when I was obsessed with Pokemon, but it was only on either incredibly early in the morning (before it started airing on Kids WB. And by early I mean around 5:00/30 AM. I had to pester my dad to wake me up when he woke up to go to work so I could watch it) or only on weekends (when it finally aired on Kids WB) I basically watched my VHS episodes over and over to sate my Pokemon cravings. As such, this episode became ingrained in my memory. I could probably recite the entirety of the script in my sleep.

However, looking back on it, I can definitely feel a rant storm a brewin’

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they include the word “Pokemon” in the title? Wow, that is going on way longer than I thought it did.

– I understand that Erika’s ‘spell out perfume with positive words’ rant is a dub-only thing, but uh, 4Kids, U for Urbane? You really think any kid knows what urbane means? Also, Erika, I can do the same thing in reverse to make your pathetic ‘point’ moot. P for Putrid, E for Ew, R for Repulsive, F for Foolish, U for Ugly, M for Mundane and E for Egregious. That spells…!

Misty: “Perfume!”

Brock: “Right!”

Pikachu: “Pika!”

Your move, Erika.

– I know Ash is, for lack of a better term, a typical ten-year-old boy (Thinks perfume is stupid, doesn’t get romance, fashion is dumb, makeovers are pointless etc.) but where exactly is this rabid anti-perfume stuff coming from? Disliking that Misty is buying perfume is a different level from yelling at her to not purchase it then going on a rant about why it’s awful.

And he hates it because it turns guys into zombies? Brock’s always a skirt-chasing zombie, and that’s his only example. Besides, I’ve never seen any guy gush over a woman’s perfume. Most guys I know don’t really care for perfume. They might say it smells nice on a woman they’re interested in, but never have I ever seen a guy, besides girl-crazy Brock, go zombified because he smells perfume or value a woman higher due to her perfume. It really seems like this hatred was written in for the sake of getting Ash thrown out, banned and then starting up the plot.

It also seems out of character for a woman as gentle, kind and polite as Erika to go berserk about someone disliking perfume to the point where she’ll not only refuse to battle him, but she’ll ban him from her store and her Gym. This is especially weird since she’s all about empathy. A person such as Erika would try to see Ash’s side or at least respect his opinion, despite disagreeing with it. But no – she immaturely gets in his face about it, even pointing her finger in his face while she lectures him on the value of perfume, then tells him to leave while her employees literally kick him out.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 1

– So, instead of calling the cops and having Team Rocket arrested, the girls at the Gym stamp X’s on their faces, tie them up and hang them from a tree in the middle of nowhere…..I know the cops in the Pokemon world aren’t known for their effectiveness, but you’re basically damning Team Rocket to a slow death here.

– Retroactively, Ash doesn’t really need to crossdress and act like a girl/completely different person to get into this Gym if there are supposedly at least two additional Gyms in Kanto besides the typical eight, as seen in Gary’s badge collection. I know these Gyms are never given names or Gym Leaders and probably aren’t canon, but if there are more Gyms than the typical eight, he can just get another badge there to get his required eight badges instead of jumping through hoops for an unreasonable perfume fanatic.

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– While we’re on the subject, why is Ash pretending he’s enrolling in Pokemon Training classes? Enrolling in those classes won’t get him a challenge, it will just….enroll him in training classes. Why not say (s)he’s a trainer who’d like to challenge Erika for a badge? It’s like they made this whole class thing up so Ash would get to listen to Erika’s story about her Gloom and appreciate her more.

– What the hell? It’s actually a prerequisite to like perfume before you’re accepted into the classes?

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Ash(ley): “Oh, yes!”

Girl: “Well, then, I’m sure you’ll be accepted!”

Being mad at Ash for being an anti-perfume asshole to the point of banning him from the store and Gym is bad enough, but only allowing confirmed pro-perfume people into your Gym/classes is downright obsessive. How does this conversation sometimes go?

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Trainer: “Uhm, not really, I guess.”

Girl: “Well, you can go fuck yourself then. Have a nice day!”

– Team Rocket, especially in the early days, definitely have their moments of insane evil. Jessie basically wants to commit a terrorist act (planting a huge bomb in the Gym; Which not only proves to be enough to destroy the place but also puts the lives of many people and Pokemon, Grass types no less, at risk) because they stamped an X on her face.

– Girl: *while wiping droll off of Gloom’s mouth* “Remember, a pretty Pokemon is a strong Pokemon!” Wow, you guys really are shallow ditzes aren’t you?

– I need to address several issues with this ‘Pokemon training class.’ First of all, what the hell are they even doing? One of the staff members is exercising a group of Grass Pokemon, which is technically training, but there aren’t ‘students’ watching or partaking in it.

Another employee is cleaning Gloom’s face which might be a lesson on keeping your Pokemon neat and tidy, but she also makes the stupid statement above, which is a fairly bad lesson to be teaching Pokemon trainers. (How did my Pokemon lose? It’s so pretty!) And, again, no ‘students’ are watching or helping.

Erika is telling a story to a group of her employees, Misty, Brock and Pikachu and that’s it. There are absolutely no other students besides Brock and Misty. I assume Misty and Brock have enrolled as students but there’s no reason given as to why they did such a thing. Brock may have done it because he gets to be surrounded by pretty girls for a few hours, but why Misty?

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Furthermore, why the hell are they having irrelevant storytime with this one ten-year-old, another teenager and a group of her own employees who are all either in their mid-teens or twenties? What does this have to do with Pokemon training? Did they accidentally sign up for Pokemon daycare?

– Erika and Gloom’s backstory is all fine and dandy, but the logistics don’t really add up. Little girl Erika went into what looks like a dark, broken down abandoned house all by herself? Why? It’s understandable that there’s a Grimer there since that’s a typical area where Grimer might hang out, but why is it attacking her?

It’s much less understandable as to why Gloom’s there. It might be part Poison type, but it’s mainly a Grass type. There’s no reason for it to just be wandering aimlessly in this building.

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– This line always pissed me off.

Erika: “I accept your challenge! It’s my duty under the league rules!” IT IS, IS IT?! Hoo boy, it sure is a good thing you haven’t been denying his attempts to challenge you this whole episode! And if it’s true that you have to like perfume before you’re allowed entry into the Gym, it sounds like you deny quite a few challenges, Erika.

– It bothers me how arrogant Erika is when she lets out a new Pokemon. Every time, she says ‘This ought to be easy!’ Even when Ash lets out Charmander, which is a big threat just on the type advantage alone.

– Yay! Tangela! Whoo! Call your agent and get more use in the series, please. You’re almost as ignored as the Paras line.

– Uh, Erika….what is Tangela doing? I don’t know if you know this, but Constrict isn’t a move that makes you spin in circles. That doesn’t even make sense.

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– Ah, Ash thinking about using a powerful Pokemon (Primeape) only to decide against it because he can’t control it and never trained it. This is annoying, but remember everyone, this is totally the last time it happens.

– While we’re on the subject, remember what I mentioned in the last analysis about not getting used to Primeape?

Wiki – “This episode marks the only appearance of Ash’s Primeape between its capture and departure episodes, although merely in a flashback.” You may repeatedly bash your head against your desk now.

– What exactly leads Erika to believe that Ash has no empathy with his Pokemon? Except maybe that one line where he refuses to take her offer of a Paralyze Heal for Bulbasaur just because he wants to do things for himself.

– Also, more ego.

Erika: “Without it, you’ll never be a great Pokemon trainer like me!” I honestly don’t remember Erika being this obnoxious, but holy hell she’s an ego-driven, pretentious crazy person.

– Erika: “Now I’m going to give you a lesson in empathy! Gloom, go!” Yes, here’s a lesson in empathy. A putrid stench. I’m starting to wonder if you know what empathy means, Erika.

– Now she’s laughing at Ash for losing. She is a lot different from her game counterpart, isn’t she?

– Actually, Ash, Pidgeotto would be a fantastic choice to combat Gloom. Not only is Grass weak to Flying, but who better to air out a stinky Gym than a Flying Pokemon who can stay above the smell and blow it away with Gust? But oh yeah, keep giving Pikachu all the shots and completely forget Pidgeotto, you little welp.

– Girl: *during the fire and trying to round up the Pokemon* “We’ve gotta catch ‘em all!” No! No, 4Kids, no! Bad 4Kids. Bad!

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– Alright, fine; the shot of Pikachu trying to put out the fire with a watering can is adorable.

– So the fire department never showed up? What assholes! You’re about as useless as the police in the Pokemon world.

– Now, in typical pity badge fashion, let’s go over the reasons why him getting one for the Rainbow Badge is stupid.

1) Ash only got the pity badge because he braved a burning building to save Gloom and he managed to show Gloom that he was friendly and could keep it safe. It was very brave and nice of Ash to do that, but that shouldn’t earn him the badge. Partly because of principle and mostly because of reason two….

2) Ash is right; it’s kinda his fault that ever happened to begin with. He was stupid enough to free Team Rocket and fall for their little scheme when, logically, Team Rocket wouldn’t bother keeping up their side of the bargain if he cut them down any other time. The only reason they’d help him is if they had ulterior motives, which Ash should’ve been able to figure it out because the only reason they were up in that tree was because the girls at the Gym found them trying to steal something and kicked them out. Even if they didn’t tell him the reason, it’s not hard to deduce considering who they are and the fact that they had those trademark red Xs on their faces.

You could say they would’ve sneaked in anyway, but there’s no denying that Ash facilitated it here. If Ash were more intelligent and more mature, he’d suck up his pride and apologize to Erika and the girls about what he said and he’d probably be let in.

Instead, he freed a group of criminals who try to steal his Pikachu every week and believed their stupid plan that didn’t even need to involve them. There’s no reason why Ash couldn’t have gone into the Gym alone in his disguise. He didn’t think it odd that his character needed parents to walk her into the building? Which is all they did. They didn’t even sign him/her up like they said they would. He signed himself up.

3) Ash definitely would’ve lost that match, I don’t care what Pikachu ‘said’ to him. He might’ve had a good chance with Pidgeotto, but Ash’s mantra is always ‘Fuck Pidgeotto! Go pop Team Rocket’s balloon!’ Ash himself said Pikachu is trying to battle even though he knows he’ll probably lose. Pikachu just says he’s sure he’ll win without us ever finding out why Pikachu is so confident of that.

4) Pikachu is an especially stupid choice against Gloom because not only are Electric Types not very effective against Grass types, but we’re well aware that Pikachu has a super sensitive nose. He’d be out of the match just breathing in the leftover fumes.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 7

– Notice how Ash has gotten progressively less resistant to these pity badges? When Brock gave him one, he was really reluctant to get it. When Misty’s sisters did it, he was more easily swayed. When Sabrina did it, he only mildly questioned it as he was walking away from the Gym and admiring the new badge. With Erika, he just asks what he’s getting the badge for, Erika says he earned it and Ash is all “Look at my new badge!” I can’t wait until Cinnabar Island, I tell ya what.

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I still hold a nostalgic love of this episode, but giving another look for this review really showcases what a hot mess it is both in the grand scheme and in the little details. In addition to everything I already covered, they also never revisit the perfume angle. They have the whole first half be about appreciating perfume and having Ash being a rabid anti-perfume advocate and then nearly everything perfume related is dropped in the second half. I don’t even care much for the perfume plot because, in my opinion, both sides were being ridiculously immature and stupid, especially over perfume of all things, but if you’re going to spend that much time on it, why not continue it in the second half?

This plot might make a little more sense if the episode started out with Ash mocking or disliking Gloom based on its disgusting smell (perhaps it could’ve been the mascot for the perfume shop), and her relationship to her Gloom made her so insulted that she banned him from the shop and the Gym. Sure, it’s a bit OOC, but no more than he’s being here. That way, the moral at the end, which they outright say is not judging a Pokemon by its smell, would be more fitting. He was never judging Gloom for its smell – he was just understandably put off by the stink as a whole. Looking back, that Aesop might actually be trying to apply itself to Ash’s dislike of perfume, but since the perfume is never addressed in the second half, I sincerely doubt it.

I used to find Erika to be just fine as a character and a trainer, but looking closer at her just shows her to be egotistical, perfume-crazy and just as immature as Ash. I’m convinced that Brock liking her perfume (and her) is the only reason she doesn’t post a ‘No boys allowed’ sign outside.

The battle is fine, but mostly unimpressive for a Gym match. Tangela’s win was half because of a move that isn’t performed properly for the sake of plot convenience. Charmander’s win was predictable and a little boring, and, like I mentioned, with Ash not using Pidgeotto, there’s no way he would’ve legit won against Gloom’s stank. If there is, they never bother to tell anyone, and I can’t think of any way it would’ve been possible without pulling something out of Messiahchu’s ass.

It’s yet another pity badge, which is already major points off, and the only really good point standing is Ash’s heroics during the fire. However, that scene would’ve meant more if he had more interaction with Gloom in the first half.

Next episode, Hypno’s Naptime! It’s time to get….confusing and weird….

One Piece (4Kids) Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

OPEP1TITLE

Pre-comparison notes: Oh yes, people. We are going there. Unlike Sailor Moon and Tokyo Mew Mew, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode by episode comparison for One Piece, so yay. And if there is….well, I’ll do this for fun anyway. 😛

This is a complete and utter mess. If you like One Piece, you probably know this. I’ve been a moderate watcher through time, but I never got around to keeping up with it and even I am pissed off at some of the ridiculous edits they made to this series. Well, light your lollipops and load your hammer guns while we tackle 4Kids’ dub of One Piece.

Plot: Coby is young aspiring Marine being held against his will by the pirate captain Alvida. When they discover the odd boy named Luffy hiding in a barrel, he turns Coby’s and Alvida’s lives upside down with his determination and courage…..and his ability to stretch his body like a rubber band.

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Theme song: I don’t think I need to mention that the theme songs have been changed for this series. Especially considering how infamous this change is. But just for the sake of thoroughness, 4Kids replaced the traditional Japanese OP and graced us with a rap song. Which is a damn shame because the original song is awesome, and I love Vic Mignonga’s rendition of it in the Funimation version.

Shockingly, however, they kept the OP’s graphics almost completely intact. That might be the only time outside of Pokemon that they’ve ever done that.

Also, later on, when we get more characters, the theme song is changed to adjust to them instead of going through the trouble of making a new theme song. Which is weird. They had no qualms about making new theme songs for Pokemon every season – why just edit One Piece’s instead of changing it? Many fans are glad that 4Kids lost their license when they did because they were worried about how the song would sound with even more characters added seeing as how just adding Sanji and Chopper to the song made it incredibly sloppy.

Entire show edit: 4Kids being 4Kids, a lot of music is changed and added where there is silence.

They edit out where the guy who says “can’t a guy get some shut eye?” (He really says “You guys suck” in the sub) turns and looks above the mast. Why? I dunno. Also, for a guy who is pissed that people disturbed his nap, he sure does have a big grin on his face.

Titles: Most of the titles aren’t changed very much, but others are, so I’ll be noting them all. I’m Luffy! The Man Who’s Gonna be King of the Pirates! Is changed to I’m Gonna Be King of the Pirates!

This isn’t really important, but they edit out the freeze frame of the pirates running towards the camera before Coby’s about the swing across.

After Nami reveals her pirate clothes, Coby enters a room where the barrel we’ve been following is. After he mentions that he’s found a big barrel, that’s when Nami rides the zipline to Alvida’s ship. 4Kids changed this to having her do the zipline right after she shows her clothes and editing out the scene with Coby.

Visuals: OPEP1SCREEN1

OPEP1SCREEN2

They edit about a second of showing Nami’s foot when she kicked that pirate. But we all know where it was. Ouch.

Visuals: OPEP1SCREEN3

In the original, Coby believes he’s found a barrel of wine. The other pirates say they’ll help lighten his load by drinking it. Coby says Alvida will kill them if she finds out and one of the pirates tells him she won’t if he doesn’t blab and he agrees. In the dub, it essentially goes like this “I found some water, it’s really heavy” “We’ll help you out.” “Okay” Also, the wind up to break the barrel before Luffy shows up is more drawn out in the sub.

They do some freakin’ weird editing to Luffy’s mouth when he says he had a great nap. I guess this was because Luffy’s mouth wasn’t moving in that scene….????????? And instead of drawing out his yelling, they shorten the scene again. Notice the cheeks. Forgive the slightly iffy gif editing, I thought the end was cut off enough.

Visuals:

Luffy mouth fixed

They edit out a white flash before showing Coby quivering on the floor after Luffy breaks the pirates’ swords.

They edit out Luffy explaining that his ship was caught up in the whirlpool.

They edit out Alvida’s iron mace hitting the first pirate in the face and then falling on the remaining pirate’s heads after the other guy gets sent overboard.

Visuals:

 

The eyecatches for the commercial breaks are edited out, which is disappointing. This week we only get Luffy’s Wanted poster, but other characters will be added in future episodes.

Eyecatch: OPEP1SCREEN6

In the original, Coby explains why getting ‘One Piece’ is impossible. In the dub, he berates Luffy for wanting to be king of the pirates or even a pirate at all because they’re terrible.

They edit out Luffy’s punch and him holding his fist above Coby’s head afterwards. They change it to Coby freaking out because he thought Luffy was going to hit him, when he claims he wasn’t going to. This is a perfect example as to why 4Kids never should’ve gotten this show to begin with. If you’re even too afraid to show somebody getting a quick (comedic) smack to the head because they’re flipping out, you cannot dub this show properly. Period.

Subbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPSCREEN7OPEP1SCREEN7

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPSCREEN9

Instead of Luffy giving an inspirational speech about following your dreams, the original Luffy just said he does what he does because it’s what he wants to do. He wants to become a Pirate King and he’ll die for his dream.

Entire Series Edit: For reasons beyond my human understanding, they change any instance of “Marines” to “Navy.” It’s not just a simple dubbing error, either. The Marines have hats that clearly say “Marines” and 4Kids edits them to say “Navy” I can’t even say that maybe 4Kids is confusing Marines for Navy, because it’s obvious that they’re making a conscious effort to change it, even when it’s in English. I guess 4Kids hates the Marines…Or the Navy….I can’t figure out which this is offensive towards…

Name change: Zoro is now Zolo. I know this one is controversial, but I think we can give 4Kids a pass here. Many people believe Zoro’s name was changed due to copyright issues with the creators of Zorro. However, in Japan, L and R are interchangeable. Like how Rupan Sansei is known to us as Lupin the third. Or how Kirara from Inuyasha is spelled Kirara, but it’s okay to call her Kilala. But, for all I know, maybe they did do it because of Zorro. I’m just trying to cut 4Kids a break for a change.

In the original, Luffy calls Alvida a fat lady and they show the pirate crew and Alvida frozen in shock that he said that. In the dub, Luffy responds to Coby saying that she was the prettiest by asking when his last eye exam was and they edit out the frozen in shock scene to when the pirates start talking.

Visuals: OPEP1SCREEN8

Instead of actually showing the flashback, Coby just hears Luffy’s words from before repeat in his head as the shot switches back and forth between him and Luffy.

Attack Name Change: Gomu gomu no pistol is changed to Gum gum blast, because even mentioning guns is terrible…

Before the pistol hits Alvida, there’s a bunch of snapshots that show the pistol about to hit her, complete with shutter sound. In the dub, they jump straight to impact.

Visuals:

 

They edit out Luffy hitting Coby again, even though it’s completely offscreen.

This is a great introduction to Luffy and I pretty much like Coby. Alvida’s a bit too much of a joke for me to feel any sort of tension here, but the episode’s fun and a nice start to the series.

Next episode, Luffy and Coby team up to free the legendary pirate hunter, Zoro from the clutches of the spoiled twat Helmeppo and his father, a captain in the Navy, Captain Morgan.

Pokemon Episode 25 Analysis: Primeape Goes Bananas

Pokemon EP 25 title

CotD(s): None

Captures: Ash’s Primeape – A rowdy Pokemon that Ash first met as a Mankey. Primeape is too uncontrollable for Ash to handle most of the time, so on the few times he considers using him, he usually opts against it. Don’t get attached to him.

Plot: Ash contacts Professor Oak to show off his four badges, but is furious when Professor Oak is completely unimpressed by the news since Gary and the other Pallet trainers who started at the same time as Ash all have five badges and already went through Celadon City. Not only that but Oak also claims that Gary has caught 30 Pokemon so far, while Ash only has a grand total of six.

Oak lectures him on making more progress as a trainer before ending the call, subsequently taking Ash down from his new badge high and making him very depressed. He’s determined to go to Celadon City and get his fifth badge and to catch more Pokemon, despite Misty and Brock saying it’s not how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got.

Suddenly, a Mankey appears and wants one of Brock’s rice ba—donuts. He gives him one, and Ash tries to capture it without weakening it first. Mankey easily avoids capture by throwing the ‘donut’ at the Pokeball, capturing it instead.

Infuriated at the attempted capture, Mankey starts chasing the three – and once a Mankey starts to thrash, there is no stopping it. Brock attempts to calm it by throwing a donutty donut to it, but it just bashes it away and continues its pursuit.

It finally catches up to Ash and beats him up, taking his hat as a prize. Ash is enraged since that is his treasured hat. He won it at the official Pokemon League Expo. Ash climbs up the tree that the Mankey is on, but gets beaten down when he reaches the top.

Team Rocket takes advantage of Ash’s condition and distraction to walk up and demand Pikachu. But when they start assaulting Mankey, it seeks them out as its new target. Enraged even further, Mankey evolves into the fierce Primeape.

Team Rocket brushes off the appearance of Primeape and goes back to trying to get Pikachu, but Primeape won’t be ignored and punches Jessie so hard that it sends her flying face first into a boulder. Enraged at the attack on her beauty, Team Rocket launches a full-out attack on Primeape, but Primeape wins out easily.

Pikachu tries to retrieve Ash’s hat, which has fallen on the ground, but Primeape stops him. As Primeape happily puts the hat back on his head, Ash commands Pikachu to Thundershock him. It hits, but only proves to make Primeape even angrier.

Brock decides to take another approach. He believes that Primeape is not actually angry and that he’s just scared and lonely since Ash tried to capture it and James kicked it. He tries to calm him down and hug him, but is met with a brutal beating.

Primeape continues its relentless pursuit of Ash and the others. Ash and Misty split up and Primeape doesn’t even think twice before continuing to follow Ash since he was his main target from the start.

Team Rocket tries again to capture Pikachu by digging a hole in the middle of the road to catch Ash and Pikachu as they run from Primeape. It works, but Ash just commands Pikachu to Thundershock them to get them out of his hair. Now cornered by Primeape, Ash, determined to catch more Pokemon and achieve his dream of being a Pokemon master, decides that enough is enough.

He sends out Squirtle and douses it with a Water Gun, but the attack seems ultimately ineffective.

He recalls Squirtle and sends out Bulbasaur to attack with its Razor Leaf, which is also completely ineffective.

Charmander’s up next with a few Flamethrowers, but Primeape easily dodges them and punches Charmander square in the face. It starts brutally beating up Charmander when suddenly the flame on its tail starts growing exponentially. Charmander has learned Rage – a powerful ability that gets stronger with each attack. Like Primeape, a Pokemon using Rage won’t stop until its opponent is defeated.

Charmander continues to get beaten up, but is able to hold its own. With one powered up Flamethrower, Primeape is defeated, but not before Pikachu shows the forethought to grab Ash’s hat before it becomes a casualty of Charmander’s fire.

With Primeape sufficiently beaten, Ash manages to capture it.

Team Rocket re-emerges and Ash decides it’s a good time to introduce his new Pokemon to their faces. Primeape sends them blasting off, and while Ash thinks he’s got Primeape on his side now, he’s quick to punch him right in the face.

After running so far from Primeape, Ash and others find Celadon City is incredibly close. With a new Pokemon by his side, Ash goes off to get his fifth badge.

——————————–

– Instead of getting off of his lazy ass to pick up the phone, he waits until Ash’s Krabby picks it up and brings it to him. Bear in mind, I’m talking about the whole phone, not just the receiver. And also bear in mind that the phones in this era are basically the size of old Macintosh computers.

Pokemon EP 25 screen1

– The thing about Ash’s Pokemon capture update with Oak being stagnant is actually made a lot funnier when you realize that Ash not only hasn’t captured any new Pokemon since Mystery at the Lighthouse (Holy crap, it was really that long ago) but he actually has fewer Pokemon now than he did then. Remember, that episode was where he captured Krabby and talked to Oak about his capture rate, leaving him with a grand total of seven Pokemon at his last check-in. He recently released Butterfree so he went from seven Pokemon to six.

Being fair, though, Gary’s Pokemon number has also decreased. In Mystery at the Lighthouse, Oak said Gary’s captured 45 Pokemon, but here he says that Gary’s caught 30. He could mean he’s caught 30 more since the last update, but it’s not worded like that. Also, I can’t fault 4Kids for the flub here since this error is also in the original Japanese version.

– Oak: “Pokemon training is a lot like writing poetry. I can’t write a good poem without rhymes…” Actually, while he may just be talking about his own poetry skills, lots of good poems don’t rhyme nor is it a rule that poetry has to rhyme. I know. I struggled like hell when I had to write poetry in school, both rhyming and not.

“And you can’t be a good trainer without catching more Pokemon!” That’s also technically not true. Your skills as a trainer are reflected in how well you battle, how well your Pokemon obey your commands and how good of a relationship you have with your Pokemon. You can have all of the Pokemon in the world and still be a shitty trainer. Having numerous Pokemon just gives you more options. I guess it also does give you a wider range of experience with various types of Pokemon, but still.

Also, this is another taste of irony. Remember, many Gym Leaders and even Elite Four members in the games rarely have a full party of Pokemon. Many of them only have three or less.

– Obligatory (Courtesy of Dogasu at Bulbagarden): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x81zbl_they-re-really-donuts-we-promise_news

Eric Stuart really does sound like he’s having a ball selling those ‘donuts’ as hard as he can. I can bet on one of the takes he says something along the lines of “Nothing beats a jelly-filled riceball—err, onigiri—I mean Ricenut—DONUT.”

– Speaking of Dogasu, the narrator butts in as Ash looks at the path to Celadon City just to ask a cliffhanger-ish question of whether he’ll catch up to his rivals or be left in their dust. I always thought this was out of place and just awkward considering the Narrator typically stays quiet outside of the very beginning and end.

According to the comparison, this line of dialogue was originally said by Oak and was an audio flashback to what he was saying on the phone. Since his Japanese VA is the same as the Japanese Narrator, 4Kids got confused and gave his line to the English Narrator, even though you’d think just the translated line itself being identical to Okido’s previous lines and not sounding like something the Narrator would say would be a big hint.

– So, Brock and Misty agree that being a good trainer isn’t about how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got. If you focus on that, then the Pokemon you’ve trained well can easily help you increase your capture rate. Of course Ash doesn’t get any of this and focuses purely on capturing more Pokemon, but it’s weird that Misty and Brock have a better understanding of what it means to be a good Pokemon Trainer than Oak does.

I know Oak’s not a Pokemon Trainer (actually, technically, he kinda was when he was a kid) and they’re Gym Leaders, but being an authority on Pokemon and a man who sends new trainers off on their journeys every year or so, you’d think he’d know better.

– 25 episodes in. 25. Goddamn. Episodes. In. And Ash is still too stupid to realize that you can almost never capture a Pokemon by just throwing a Pokeball at it without weakening it. He’s facing an energetic Fighting Pokemon, of all things, and just throws a Pokeball at it. I’m cutting off my ‘give him a break, he’s a rookie’ leniency right now. He’s done this several times at this point. He’s just being an idiot.

– I love Mankey mocking Ash’s capture style.

– It’s also a bit funny seeing Ash so sensitive about his hat here considering that, in a few years, he’ll replace that hat, replace it several more times and never ever put that hat back on.

– Holy crap, they left in James kicking the Mankey away? Early 4Kids really did let more violence slide……except that dumb slap in episode 2. I’m sorry I can’t get over that when watching these more violent episodes.

– This is the second time James has caused a Pokemon’s evolution by kicking it away (Magikarp being the first). I wonder if he has some mystic unknown evolution stone wedged in his foot.

– I know Brock fancies himself as a breeder, but he was pretty stupid to believe that Primeape was just scared and lonely when Dexter gave several full explanations as to why it was attacking everyone.

– I always liked Charmander’s proud little poses at the end, even if it might be a glimpse into his later cocky side.

Pokemon EP 25 screen2

– Oh god. I don’t think I can get a screenshot that would do it justice, but Pikachu’s derpy face from faraway as they see Celadon City on the horizon. Yikes.

Pokemon EP 25 screen3

———————–

This episode was alright. It’s got some funny moments, with the almighty donuts being one of them, and I like Primeape, but it’s really just one long schtick of running from Primeape and getting beaten up by him. It’s nice to see Ash get a fairly powerful Pokemon, but he never trains it and, because of that, his appearances are damn near non-existent until its departure, which will come depressingly soon enough.

Watching this in hindsight is almost a joke. Yay, Ash, you captured Primeape and are making some semblance of progress to catch up to your faceless and nameless Pallet Town rivals and Gary, but you’ll never train it, you’ll never use it and you’ll be back down to your pathetic six Pokemon count in a handful of episodes. Not to mention, you’re still far behind them because, by the time you’re done getting your fifth badge, they’ll all probably have their sixth or seventh in their hands. Plus another bunch of Pokemon captures. Good job.

Team Rocket was also being completely uncreative by just waltzing up to Ash and demanding Pikachu then following that up with the tired pitfall trap.

Next episode, Ash has to deal with a bunch of girly girls and their perfume and rainbows at the Celadon Gym. But how can he get a badge there if he’s banned for hating on perfume?

Pokemon Shorties (2)! Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure

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Rating: 2.5/10

Plot: While napping in the woods one day, Togepi wanders off and falls down a tunnel. It’s up to Pikachu and the others to save Togepi while finding some new friends along the way.

Breakdown: Ah, Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure……..I remember like nothing about this short except the opening. I know there’s an Elekid and some other ‘new’ Pokemon and a storm…..and Togepi gets lost….That’s about it.

…….Well, let’s start, shall we?

————————————-

We start off with Ash, Misty and Not-Brock deciding to take a nap on a tree. They let out SOME of their Pokemon to nap too (Scyther, Staryu, Snorlax and Charizard are noticeably absent. It’s understandable that Lapras and Goldeen aren’t there since they’d need to be in water (even though there’s a suitable body of water mere feet away), but why not Staryu, Snorlax, Charizard and Scyther? Are they not ‘cute’ enough for the short? The short and movie do supposedly take place after Charizard starts behaving so there’s no real excuse for him.) Togepi wakes up and sees some Ledyba flying by and tries to follow them, but ends up tripping and rolling down a huge hill.

While falling, it knocks Meowth over who seems to be traveling by himself because Pokemon short law says he has to be alone and they both fall into a nearby hole that leads into an incredibly long and fairly clear tunnel that leads into a gigantic tree that is so huge it’s basically its own forest. Now that I’ve wrote that out it seems incredibly convoluted…

Pikachu and the others reach the hole and try to call for Togepi, but a crazed Psyduck crashes into them while trying to catch up and they all fall into the hole and through the tunnel.

Pokemon short 2 screen 5.png

It’s here where we get our short’s theme song “Comin’ to the Rescue” by O-town. Remember O-Town? Yeah, no one else does either. I actually really like this song and as with “I Need a Vacation” it’s an ear worm that sometimes gets stuck in my head randomly.

They tumble down the long tunnel and land on a passing swarm of Ledyba who bring them into their tree home. I think this is the first sighting of Ledyba in the series. The Pokemon then meet an Elekid, who was actually teased in one of the Orange League episodes through one of Not-Brock’s sketches. They fear that the Elekid wants to fight, but Pikachu makes nice with an Electric Pokemon ET finger touch.

Pokemon short 2 screen 1

After they become friends, the other Pokemon in the forest feel comfortable to come out and damn, if you really wanted to become a Pokemon Master, just go to this forest. It’s like there’s nearly every Pokemon in existence, Kanto-wise, in this forest.

We cut to Meowth who is stuck on a limb overhanging a waterfall…..which would indicate that Togepi died because that’s a nasty drop and Meowth and Togepi fell at the same time, but of course we know the little egg’s not scrambled.

Pikachu asks if Elekid knows where Togepi is and Elekid leads them someplace.

Dear God, the animation is horrible; and it’s in this scene with the Pokemon in the trees that you really start noticing. We just get like 15 seconds of seeing Pokemon in trees standing completely still while making Pokemon calls as we move through them…..and they’re all paper cutout ‘animations’. Not deliberately like how Kare Kano sometimes used crayon drawings and cutout animation to be funny; this is just really, really, really lazy animation. Most of what you see behind the trees is either pure black or more trees, which just adds to the laziness.

Elekid leads them across a vine bridge and we actually learn something about one of the Pokemon; Squirtle’s really afraid of heights. Not scared enough to not do it, but he’s holding onto the vine with his ‘hands’ and feet instead of just walking across like everyone else did.

Pokemon short 2 screen 6

Elekid leads them to the section of the giant tree world with nests of Exeggcute eggs, and we see that Togepi is perfectly fine in one of the nests……..how he got there….or what the unholy hell Exeggcute are doing in tree branches like bird eggs is beyond me, but there it is.

Exeggcute don’t ‘hatch’ or evolve into birds….why are they in nests on tree branches? Why are they in nests period? They’re not Pokemon eggs. They’re egg Pokemon. There’s a difference. We already know at this point that Pokemon come from eggs anyway. Hence the Togepi. So why not just make up some random Pokemon eggs and put them in the nests? It would make more sense and it’s not that hard.

Pikachu and the others try to retrieve Togepi, but the Exeggcute in the nest won’t let him go. They’re missing one of the their eggs so they’ve adopted Togepi as one of their own. Pikachu and the others then embark on a journey to find the missing Exeggcute egg to get Togepi back.

Pokemon short 2 screen 2

They arrive at some oasis and some debuting Bellosom along with every other Pokemon in the oasis start doing a random dance number out of nowhere. Because….padding? I mean….I have no problem with this little number….except we get ANOTHER Pokemon misidentification since 4Kids makes a Poliwhirl repeatedly say ‘PoliWRATH’ and it’s just pointless.

They run into a cave because Pikachu senses a disturbance in the force and finds a bunch of Clefairy hopping around like fleas. He freaks out because he knows they’re doing Metronome and if Togepi’s taught us anything, that move nearly always results in Explosion.

Pokemon short 2 screen 7

So the cave explodes and sends the group + Elekid flying off, and they land on a bunch of insanely convenient leaf-springs….I’m not kidding, they’re leaves with huge springs on the bottom that I guess just grow that way. Huh, I had no idea Tigger had a green thumb.

Pikachu and Elekid hop all over the springs and – goddamn this short is so boring. I am well aware that these shorts are aimed at an even younger audience than the TV show – as in the kinds of fans who just want to see the Pokemon being cute instead of being interested in battles or plot, but damn this is some boring short. Nothing’s happening. Just a bunch of random nothing. Random dance numbers, random leaf springs, random Meowth appearance, random explosions, random random.

At least the last short was interesting due to the rivalry between the main group and the bullies. It made for some funny and memorable moments. This is just harmless boredom in a can. You know what I thought was the most boring and vapid part of the first short? Taking care of Togepi. So now we’ve based our main plot on that boring side plot. It’s already resolved too. Sure, Exeggcute are keeping it hostage, but Pikachu and the others have already found Togepi and have more than enough muscle to just take it away. The only reason this short is continuing is because Pikachu and the others are too nice to take Togepi away from the Exeggcute.

Cut back to Meowth who is still stuck in the tree. However, Pikachu and Elekid fly out of the trees and crash into Meowth, knocking him off the branch and into the waters way way way way below…..but don’t worry. It’s water. And we all learned in every movie ever, including Pokemon movie 01, that landing in any body of water from any height means the fall is survivable.

They also somehow grab onto a Gyarados who tries to climb up the waterfall. Meowth tries to kick Pikachu away for whatever reason and this prompts Pikachu to use Thundershock. Since Gyarados sucks due to it’s 4x weakness to electricity, the shock causes them all to fall/fly off, which makes them land in a Snorlax’s belly (did they just rip off the first short?) and Snorlax slingshots them out of his fat and makes Meowth ‘blast off’.

I’m just now realizing, there’s a crapton of the Pokemon just being flung around random places in this short.

Immediately afterward, a bunch of insanely dark storm clouds charge into the sky when no indication of bad weather has appeared in the slightest until now. I swear, it comes on so suddenly that it’s almost like Mewtwo was back to his old tricks again…In fact….I’d say this storm actually comes on faster than Mewtwo’s, which is just baffling.

The resulting wind causes the Exeggcute nests to start flying around, and the Pokemon try to save them. Geez, the bad animation is really highlighted during the storm. That tree is just awful. Fade animation and hastily painted stills? That’s the best we can do, huh?

Pokemon short 2 screen 3

More Pokemon come to help, and I find it funny that one of the Pokemon that arrives in the nick of time to help is a Slowpoke. I have nothing against Slowpoke, it’s one of the more entertaining Pokemon (though Slowking can bite me…Eh, I’ll save that for the feature presentation) but I just find it weird that one of the Pokemon who rushed to the scene to help in a clinch was a SLOWpoke.

I also find it funny that a Wigglytuff is helping Pikachu. Yes, I’m so sure the BALLOON POKEMON would be a great asset in a wind storm.

Snorlax tries to block the wind with his body, but the lightning becomes a problem as it strikes the tree and causes a branch to nearly fall on the Pokemon.

In an effort to repel the lightning, Elekid and Pikachu match the lightning bolt for bolt, but they miss a particularly powerful one that causes the tree to catch fire. Fear not, though, Marill and Squirtle are here to save the day.

Once the fire’s out, the wind picks up some more and the nest with Exeggcute and Togepi starts flying away. All of the group’s Pokemon plus a few others from the forest, including Snorlax who keeps getting the focus set to him for some reason even though he has no character (Cubone syndrome I guess. It’s not even like this is Ash’s Snorlax, it’s a wild one). He tries to hold on, but gets distracted by apples flying by and lets go of the Pokemon. Pikachu tries to hang on, but can’t. However, Snorlax comes back to save the day. Yay, the reason we were about to die in the first place has saved us, yay!

Snorlax reels them all in and, I’m just now realizing that considering the fact that this short has made a point of saying that you can be flung thousands of feet through the air and always land without harm, it seems kinda stupid to have this ‘keep Togepi and Exeggcute from being flung thousands of feet through the air’ plotline.

The instant that Togepi and the others are safe, the sky clears up. Because there’s nothing else to do with this storm plot. Geez, look at how quickly those clouds went away. Were they late for an appointment?

Pokemon short 2 screen 8

Pretty rainbow and sudden Dragonair flying by indicate that all is well. Pikachu and the others reunite with Togepi who still won’t get left alone by Exeggcute. A Chansey comes by and reveals that the egg it had in its pouch was the missing Exeggcute egg….Well, where’s Chansey’s egg? Why was it in there to begin with? Did it sneak in there without Chansey’s knowledge? Did Chansey steal it? What just happened?

The Exeggcute reunite and hop happily on a leaf stone, turning them into Exeggcutor. I would say this was completely random, but earlier there was a shot where Psyduck gets hit in the head with a rock and you can see for a second that it’s a leaf stone. Still fairly random, but they did foreshadow it, I suppose.

Pikachu and the others bid farewell to the other Pokemon and head back to Ash, Misty and Not-Brock. Cut back to Meowth who did nothing whatsoever during this entire short. He’s floating down a stream and he tells us that he never wants to go to camp again. Oh that’s why he was alone I guess. Wait, what camp? There was a camp in there? Or did he mean ‘camping’? Ah, who cares?

Cut back to Ash, Misty and Not-Brock who are waking up from their nap….It’s nearing night time now….they slept all day? Also, how far away were Pikachu and the others? They couldn’t have been that far considering they went there, did all of that stuff and then came back before Ash and Co. woke up, yet they didn’t seem to weather that huge friggin’ storm or even hear it off in the distance? They must be deaf in addition to blind.

They see the Pokemon playing in the water and assume they must’ve been playing the entire time. Pikachu hops up in the air with the group and they freeze frame like we’re in a cheesy 80’s movie. The End.

Pokemon short 2 screen 4

Bottomline: That….was boring. Even the stuff with the storm wasn’t all that exciting. I laughed several times in Pikachu’s Summer Vacation yet it seems like they weren’t even trying to be entertaining in this short. What a waste of time. No wonder I don’t remember it. I guess if you have really little kids this would hold their attention through a couple of playthroughs just because the Pokemon are doing cute things, but for anyone else it’s incredibly boring.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone! Or Exeggcute. Whatever.

Ojamajo Doremi Episode 1 Sub/Dub Comparison

oJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1TITLE.png

Plot: Doremi is a girl who loves magic. She can’t do any, but she tries. She studies witchcraft and tries to perform magic, but to no avail. Until, that is, she stumbles upon an rundown magic shop run by an old witch. When she outs the witch as a witch, she accidentally turns her into a frog and the only way to change her back to normal is to train Doremi to be a witch. Doremi couldn’t be happier at this, but finds that witchcraft is harder than it looks.

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

Show Name: Ojamajo Doremi is changed to Magical DoReMi.

They remove Doremi’s opening narration. It’s the same magical girl schtick of explaining that she’s an average girl but practicing magic, hijinks and whatnot.

Theme Song: Surprise! The opening theme is completely changed! A good chunk of the clips are kept, but many are changed and of course we have to include stupid effects and cut-outs and stuff. The original theme is okay. The dub is, like many of 4Kids dubbed themes, awful in terms of lyrics but a massive ear worm.

A shot of the flying flowers is removed.

The sign on the witch’s shop is actually painted over instead of erased. From what I can tell, it says “The Rusty Broom” The original says “Marika’s House of Magic” I’ll get a better screencap later on since only half of the sign is shown here.

In the original, Doremi is chanting ‘Puapu Arukuku’. What that means, I do not know. I looked it up and everything. In the dub, she’s chanting, not kidding, “Lovey duvey, duvey lovey.” This SDC is going to be more pain, isn’t it?

Name Change: Pop (Really, you named your daughter Pop?) is changed to Caitlyn. Or whatever one of the thousands of spelling variations of that name that exist for no reason.

Oh my god, Caitlyn’s voice….the pain….chipmunk…..oh lord….

After Pop mocks Doremi for her various crushes, she does that bii-daa thing where you pull down one eye lid and stick your tongue out. Then her dad shows up, getting yelled at by her mom who is berating him for wanting to go fishing instead of helping with the housework. Doremi then explains in inner monologue that her parents constantly fight and that her sister’s in kindergarten. All of this is removed for whatever reason. I figured they’d remove the tongue thing, but why the rest of the scene?

Visuals:

Name Change: Igarashi, the boy Doremi crushes on in this episode, is changed to Robby.

Holy crap! They replaced something instead of removing it again! What the hell!?

Subbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN9

Dubbed: OJAMAJDOREMISDCEP1SCREEN10

I just wonder why….I mean, not like this board adds a damn thing to the scene. 4Kids: We keep you guessing AND angry!

Also, guess they have absolutely nothing scheduled, so why are they even there? :X

And they remove the kanji from Doremi’s book cover and pages. (As well as every other students)

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The papers on the wall behind Hazuki are edited, but not blanked for some reason.

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Name change: Sugiyama is changed to….Bennigan……This…is a real name?

Doremi’s friend tells her they’re on the bottom of page five. In the dub it’s the top of page 15.

Name Change? Something was bugging me about Doremi’s name in the English version. They kept calling her “Dorie” but not saying her full name so I didn’t know if I could count it as a name change. It seems like all her name is in the dub is Dorie and it’s never mentioned if that’s short for Doremi. I could’ve sworn during an earlier tangent that she called herself ‘Doris’ but I couldn’t be sure.

In order to make the title ‘Doremi’ make sense, they changed the capitalization of the word to make DoReMi for Dorie, Reanne and Mirabelle. Being honest, I actually like this change because it includes all of the girls instead of focusing purely on the leader like magical girl shows annoyingly tend to do.

Doremi’s book cover is edited.

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Doremi is sent to the hall while Dorie is sent to the principal’s office (for reading a different book in class?)

The boy in Doremi’s class mocks her by calling her ‘clumsy Domiso’ and she says her name’s Doremi. He then says ‘Dojimi?” which means ‘Clumsy girl” and she yells her name in his ear. In the dub, he mocks her for making a mistake, but doesn’t say anything about her name. Also, instead of correcting him, she just threatens him by saying if he doesn’t stop she’ll turn him into a frog.

Hazuki says Doremi doesn’t want to go to the soccer game because she failed in her confession earlier. In the dub, she says people who get sent to the principal’s office don’t get to go to the soccer game.

Name change: Hazuki Fujiwara is changed to Reanne Griffith.

The bratty kid from before makes fun of Doremi again as she leaves while dropping all of her books from her upside down book bag by saying “Do-ji-mi-fa-so-la-mi-re” in the tone of the “Do re mi etc.” music scale. This apparently translates roughly as saying “Look at the clumsy girl!” In the dub, since this really can’t be mirrored, he just says ‘you dropped all your witch books, dummy.”

Upon seeing the witch’s gloves, Doremi flashes to her witch book that said witches always wear gloves. (This dialogue was changed to hats or something in the dub) In the dub, since that specific line was changed, they edit out the shot of the book and any mention of suspicion that she is a witch.

She also thinks back to the book saying that witches look at you with red eyes and we see the witch’s red eyes. In the dub, she just introduces herself.

Dorie finally thinks to herself that the lady looks like the witch on the cover of her book while Doremi recites the rest of the stuff about witches. They hate children and can smell them with their big noses as we see the lady at profile showing her big nose.

I typically don’t mention sound or music edits that much because it’s usually a given, but there’s a long pause after Doremi finds out that Majorika’s a witch. She’s about to say out loud that she’s a witch, but it’s obvious that Majorika doesn’t want her to. We pause for like five seconds while a drumroll goes on before she finally says it. In the dub, it’s just ‘suspenseful’ music, which takes away from the comedy of the scene.

In the original, Majorika introduces herself and Doremi does the same. Majorika then laughs at her name while Doremi says it’s still better than Majorika’s. Majorika then yells at Doremi. In the dub, the witch says the only way she can be changed back is by training Dorie to be a witch. Dorie says okay, but she has to be back home by seven. The witch then laughs at her for saying she needs to be home by seven and says she’s even dumber than she looks….yes, she’s dumb because she has a curfew…and is a child. Dorie then says at least she’s not a green blob thing and the witch yells at her.

Name Change: Majorika is changed to Patina.

In the original, Doremi’s just called a witch’s apprentice. In the dub, she’s called a witchling.

Name Change: The fairy, Lala, is changed to Laralie.

The magical girl transformer item for this series is called a Maho Tap. To its credit, it is rather unique amongst the magical girl transformers since it seems to be a small music box type thing with an activation button.

In the dub, they’re called ‘dream spinners’.

When Doremi transforms (in a rather lackluster transformation sequence for a magical girl anime, to be honest) she says “Pretty witch, Doremi-chi!” In the dub, she says….*sigh* “Faladeiladongding, now I am a witchling!”…….Yup….yup…I can see this tormenting me.

Doremi’s ‘wand’ is actually a musical instrument called a Peperuto Poron. In the dub, it’s called a ‘wandaler’

Oh god, they’re explaining another spell. I sense awfulness coming on.

Doremi’s original magic words are Pirikapiri Lala Poporila Peperuto. In the dub, I guess she just makes a lame rhyme out of whatever spell she wants to cast, which is basically the most cliché witch thing ever.

In the original, the little gumball things in Doremi’s wand are called ‘magical spheres’. In the dub, they’re called ‘spell drops.’ I actually prefer the dub’s name because at least it’s somewhat unique.

I guess in the dub, Patina has a thing about slang since she seems to make a joke or cringe whenever Dorie says slang in the dub where it’s not present in the original. I guess this is to make up for not mentioning that witches hate children in the dub.

Oh good, crappy pop music for no reason. I was indeed missing Mew Mew Power and Cardcaptors.

To be completely fair, there’s a vocal song in the original too, but it’s played at a very low volume. In the dub, their song is played at “BUY OUR SOUNDTRACK” levels.

In the original, Lala says if someone outed Doremi as a witch, she’d turn into a frog like Majorika. Doremi then imagines herself as a frog and starts pouting. In the dub, Laralie just says if anyone outed her as a witchling it’d be very difficult to complete her training. The scene with Doremi as a frog and her pouting are removed.

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The girl who also has a crush on Igarashi says she doesn’t care what happens to her, just as long as his wound gets healed. In the dub, she says she was going to use her wish to make him love her and then continues on the same.

Also, the girl doesn’t know that the wound will be transferred to her if she wishes him to be healed in the original. In the dub, that’s specifically what she wishes for.

After she makes the wish, there’s a fairly large blood stain that appears on her pant leg since the wound transferred to her….I honestly don’t know why there’s so much blood. Igarashi’s wound was barely bleeding, but the point is that 4Kids left this in….4Kids, eraser of all things blood, left this in. Now that I’m thinking about it, I think Doremi was one of 4Kids’ earlier works, and this is especially reflected in the fact that they’re leaving a lot of text alone or painting over it instead of removing it and even leaving in all of the many many many anger veins. Yet…..what 4Kids became….

They cut out a shot of Igarashi visiting the girl, Maki, in the nurse’s office. I guess because he wasn’t saying anything, but the nurse and Hazuki were both talking during that scene. Eh, maybe time or something.

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Name Change: Maki is changed to Jen.

Majorika laments over how troublesome Doremi is as a witch and names her ‘ojamajo’ or ‘troublesome witch’. She doesn’t say the same or even ‘troublesome witch’ in the dub.

In the original, Hazuki says it seems like Doremi’s giving up. Doremi agrees and says her premonitions were wrong again. She then restates her catchphrase that she truly is the unhappiest pretty girl in the world. In the dub, Reanne says she never even bothered to learn his name, Dorie says she’s right and that she’s a big coward. Despite the catchphrase being said several times by now in the original, this final line is the closest they ever get to saying it by making her say she’s the most misunderstood little girl in the world.

As expected, the next episode preview and ending theme are removed. Damn shame too because the ending theme is incredibly nice to listen to. So relaxing.

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First impressions? The dub could honestly be far worse, so far. They kept in mostly everything and the changes weren’t that awful, outside of some cheesy magical girl stuff. As for the original and the series as a whole, well it seems more casual than a lot of magical girl fare. I’m not even sure there’s a villain to fight. And the magical theme along with limited magic is a nice template, but I’m not that impressed by it. Hopefully I’ll get more into it as episodes go by.

Next episode, Hazuki wishes her life was more like Doremi’s and she gets her wish when the ojamajo decides to work her magic.