A Very Pokemon Holiday Special Analysis: Snow Way Out!

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 1

CotD(s): None

Pre-Analysis Notes: This set of notes will be very brief since, unlike Holiday Hi-Jynx, this episode was treated like any other once it was finally released.

Snow Way Out was an episode that also got bumped back in air date due seemingly to focusing on snow and winter (it’s not really winter, they’re just on a snowy mountain) when the episodes, due to being reordered after the Pokemon Shock incident hiatus, would not air in wintertime. Instead, the episode aired alongside Holiday Hi-Jynx (Rougela’s Christmas) on October 5th 1998, and one week after Holiday Hi-Jynx in the English dub in America on December 18th 1999.

Like in Holiday Hi-Jynx, this airing spawned some confusion because, again, Charizard was back to being a Charmander and actually showcasing his care and devotion to Ash.

Unlike Holiday Hi-Jynx, which left me feeling mostly confused and weirded out, this episode turned out to be one of my personal favorites. It’s not perfect by any means, but I’ve always really loved it.

You may be wondering why I’m lumping this in with my holiday special series…….Well………Snow…..Errr…..LOOK OVER THERE! *runs away*

Plot: On his way to his next Gym match, Ash and the others come to a fork in the road. They don’t know which way to go, but the path Ash wants to traverse surely goes through a mountain range. Misty and Brock try to talk him out of going that way, but he won’t listen – welcoming the challenge of the mountain like a ‘true Pokemon Master.’

They quickly realize the mountains are vast and frigid, and it doesn’t take them long to get lost. When a blizzard hits, they try to set up camp, but Pikachu suddenly gets blown away. Ash pursues him, but Brock stops Misty from following out of fear of them all getting even more lost, leaving Ash and his Pokemon out in the snowy wilderness alone.

Ash finds Pikachu through the snow by the echoing sounds of his voice. He’s hanging from the edge of a cliff side. Ash nearly loses Pikachu, but uses Bulbasaur to save him. Realizing Misty and Brock are nowhere to be found, Ash decides to make a snow cave with Charmander’s fire. Once him and his other Pokemon seal the cave off with snow, they warm up by Charmander’s tail flame.

Meanwhile, Jessie enjoys herself in the snow with fond memories of her mother feeding her foods made out of snow – what she called a ‘snowgasbord,’ much to the disgust of James and Meowth. However, later, they find themselves wrapped up in the same blizzard and try to keep themselves warm in an igloo with a candle and some burned out matches, to no avail.

Back with Ash and the other Pokemon, Charmander’s tail flame is weakening. He’s expelling too much energy, but doesn’t want to go back in his Pokeball because he both wants to stay by Ash and he knows he’s a great source of heat for him, being his only Fire Pokemon. Ash forces him to go anyway – same for Squirtle and Bulbasaur, who are equally resistant. He can’t force Pikachu, however, who is desperate to help keep Ash warm no matter what.

Ash further keeps his Pokemon warm by wrapping up his Pokeballs in his vest. However, his situation soon becomes worse when a large hole develops in the snow wall that is sealing up the cave. He uses his back to plug the hole and retain the warmth in the cave, but his back being exposed to the wind is causing him to become much colder.

He once again demands that Pikachu go into his Pokeball to keep warm, but Pikachu is adamant against it. Ash’s Pokemon all release themselves from their Pokeballs and cuddle around Ash to keep him warm.

Touched by their sacrifice, Ash relents and tearfully allows them to stay out, holding them close as they try to bear the cold of the storm.

The following morning, the storm lets up. Ash is found by Brock and Misty who relay that they had a remarkably comfortable night near a hot spring that Onix dug out for them when they were making a snow cave of their own. Furthermore, they reveal that they found Team Rocket’s balloon. It’s out of fuel, but Brock utilizes Vulpix’s flame to get them airborne and head to the nearest town for some much needed warmth and food.

Team Rocket, seeing their balloon, tries to give chase, but they fall into a hot spring. The delightful warmth is most welcome after the chilly night, but they soon find themselves in a pickle. It’s too cold to get out of the spring, but it’s also too hot to stay in. Don’t worry, though – they’ll eventually find their way back.

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– I love how Ash calls Pikachu ‘Pik’ here. Apparently I’m in the minority, though, because most people seem to hate it.

– It should be noted that they did pack blankets – Brock and Misty are draped in a couple – but Ash didn’t? I guess Brock might be carrying all of the important items – afterall, he does carry the camping stuff, the cooking tools, the map, the compass, the medicine etc. but do they not realize how misguided and, quite frankly, unfair it is to have one person carrying all of this important stuff? I mean, golly, it’d sure be unfortunate if Misty or, say, Ash got separated from Brock in a dangerous area, leaving them without any survival gear or even the bare necessities….But that’d never happen! 😀

– Wow, Ash using Pidgeotto in a clever manner. Consider this moment cherished.

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– I understand that it’s still snowy and cold, but it seems weird that James, who is the most dressed person in the main cast (Wearing a long-sleeve shirt with an undershirt as well as gloves and boots) is shivering. Meanwhile, hothead Ash is walking along in his regular clothes with no blanket and is not bothered in the slightest.

– I actually find it kinda funny that Meowth is also taken aback by Jessie’s childhood story of eating a bunch of ‘foods’ made of snow. Yes, it’s weird, but Meowth, being a former street cat, most likely had to eat out of the garbage for a good chunk of his life.

– Since we’ll probably never get a chance to discuss this here, let me take some time out to explore more of Jessie’s backstory – more specifically, her mother. (Courtesy of Dogasu at Bulbagarden who gave a great synopsis of the radio/CD drama in which this story unfolds, which I highly suggest you read if you’d like to learn more about this story or the backstory of Pokemon the First Movie)

Prepare yourself, because I’m about to make a super depressing episode of Pokemon about a million times sadder.

Our story starts 20 years ago (which kinda adds more confusion to Jessie’s age…) Jessie’s mom, who is never given an English name, but whose Japanese name is Miyamoto, was a Team Rocket agent who was hard up for money because she wanted to give her daughter a good life. One day, Miyamoto recorded the sounds of a Mew in the Andes Mountains in South America. If they could capture Mew, her boss, who was Giovanni’s mother, would be extremely pleased and Miyamoto would be able to give Musashi (Jessie) a great life.

Spurred by this information, Miyamoto is sent on a mission with two other Team Rocket agents to explore the area in which the footage was recorded, find Mew and capture it.

Sadly, she would never return.

And even sadder, this story would take a turn that, probably very unintentionally, is somewhat reminiscent of both Jessie’s story and the current story unfolding.

Miyamoto and her team got lost in the snowy mountains. Her two teammates were separated from her some time ago, and she’s been lost for years, constantly keeping hold of a lone photograph of her and her daughter. Despite the horrible situation she’s in, she continues the pursuit of Mew in hopes of capturing it, returning home and giving Musashi that great life she always planned to give her.

As she’s caught in a blizzard, the snow suddenly stops and Mew appears close to her. She’s ecstatic. She actually ASKS Mew if it will let itself be captured because she wants to use the money to pay for pre-school and daycare, but Mew runs off. Miyamoto takes chase, but ends up getting wrapped up in an avalanche that propels her even further into the tundra.

They seem to imply that Miyamoto dies, but the other episodes show brief glimpses of Miyamoto – she’s still alive. She’s been lost in the snowy mountains ever since then, waiting for Mew, each time skip giving her a new reason to want money for her daughter (elementary school, entrance exams, a wedding etc.) Eventually, she develops mental problems or memory issues because she seemingly forgets Musashi and why she needed to capture Mew in the first place, but she knows she’s determined to capture Mew no matter what.

According to Team Rocket’s logs, her whereabouts remain unknown and she’s considered dead.

I’ve known for quite some time that Jessie’s mom was a fellow Team Rocket member, but I never read the drama’s full story before. And all I can say is…..wow. Miyamoto was so concerned over giving her daughter a good life that she basically sacrificed hers to have that chance. (Also, the other Team Rocket members who were with her supposedly died, considering the narration states none of them were ever heard from again.)

Now she’s a mentally-diminished old lady waiting on a frigid mountaintop for a Mew who might not even be there at all (It’s quite possible the first sighting was a hallucination – but I’ll concede that the audio recording was real) all for…something she can’t even remember anymore.

That hits the top of the list of saddest stories told in the Pokemon anime. Sure, she was still a criminal, but she was a criminal for the sake of her daughter – a daughter who probably doesn’t remember her at all since she was likely just a baby when Miyamoto left.

And let’s not overlook the fact that I guess Musashi never had a father either.

It’s especially sad considering how Jessie turned out. She’s incredibly vain, selfish and mean. I won’t go far as to say she’s evil, but she aspires to be. And she lives a rather terrible existence otherwise. She spends her days starving to death in a hot air balloon following around a ten year old potato and his Pikachu in the hopes of maybe catching some Pokemon to make her boss happy.

She did need Miyamoto. She did need that money. Who knows how Jessie’s life would have turned out had Miyamoto caught Mew or even if she simply returned and waited for another big score while caring for her daughter.

I doubt Musashi even knows this story. Her mother is seldom brought up in the first place, this episode being pretty much the only allusion to her, and she doesn’t bring up how brave her mom was or how much she misses her or a desire to get money so she can go to South America to find her mother.

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It’s questionable whether the woman in the episode is Miyamoto given the timelines. It’s quite possible it’s a foster mother/adoptive mother or guardian, but I like to believe it is Miyamoto just because it’s even more depressing to believe Miyamoto did all of that for a daughter who doesn’t even remember her while simultaneously suffering for a daughter she doesn’t remember. Maybe just have it so Musashi never knew her mother was a Team Rocket member or something, or that she was so low-ranked that no one else bothered to tell her about her.

……….Merry Christmas!

– Wait, so all of their food and supplies are in the balloon. Jessie, with a brilliant idea to keep them from starving, offers to make snow rolls. However, she can’t make snow rolls without soy sauce, which is in the balloon, so she decides to continue pursuing the balloon, but James and Meowth don’t seem to want to do that, which is weird because if they find the balloon….they’ll get back their food and supplies and really won’t need to eat Jessie’s weird soy sauce’d snow rolls.

– So either no one offered Ash a blanket even when the blizzard started rolling in, he was too stubborn to take one, he doesn’t have his own and/or Brock didn’t pack one for him. All of these options are equally stupid.

– It was really a good idea to get Ash to relent on making camp by explaining that a real Pokemon Master would never wander around in a snowstorm in the dark. However, a real Pokemon Master probably wouldn’t choose to traverse a snowy mountain range for no reason simply as a ‘challenge’ when there is a perfectly safe and warm trail available.

– The wind is strong enough to blow Pikachu out of Ash’s arms and hurdle him like a quarter mile away, but Ash’s hat stays firmly on his head.

– The entire sequence in the blizzard is very powerful. I remember being legitimately shocked when Ash couldn’t grab Pikachu’s paw and he fell.

– Hey he’s using Bulbasaur’s abilities cleverly too. Yay!

However, in any other circumstance, like the one that follows, Bulbasaur would just grab Pikachu by wrapping him in the vines, not have Pikachu try to hold onto the vine in all this wind and snow.

– Lol Pikachu’s Brock impression.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 4

– Brock never said anything about making a snow cave. He just said ‘It’s best to dig in and let it (the storm) blow over.’

– Using Charmander in a clever way! I like Ash so much in this episode….I mean….not in the minutes leading up to them getting lost because he’s being a stubborn idiot, but now I do!

– Another good use of Charmander, but if Charmander is shivering too, how will his own tail flame heat him up? Does that make sense or no?

– You want to know what else I was thinking about during this particular part of the episode? It sure reminds me of the Orange League episode where Charizard finally behaves.

In that episode, Charizard was frozen in a block of ice by an enemy Poliwrath. His life was in danger because of it. In a desperate effort to warm Charizard up and keep his tail flame from going out, Ash spent all night rubbing Charizard with blankets and his bare hands, resulting in his hands getting roughed up and him becoming exhausted. It was through this display of caring and devotion that Charizard finally broke free of his dumbass-with-amnesia-I-guess syndrome and finally stopped being a jerk.

I have to wonder if either of them remembered this moment in that Orange League episode, because it’s rather poignant. When Charizard was a Charmander, he suffered to save Ash’s life by warming him up, then much later down the line Ash does the same for him.

It’s something sweet to ponder anyway.

– Team Rocket has no emergency supplies, blankets, nothing….but one of them, for some reason, had a birthday candle on them.

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(I’m aware it’s a digitally painted match)

Being fair, though, warming up by a candle is much more efficient than using a match.

– Wait, what? When it’s lit, they have to paint the match to look like a candle. But when it’s not lit/burned out, they can show the matches no problem. Again, 4Kids, you’re kinda screwing up your message. I assume you don’t want kids to play with matches, which is why you censored the lit one, but showing a lit match shows kids that matches start fires, which is important information for them to know and acts as a warning to not play with them

Also, for the sake of transparency, 24 seconds of footage was removed from this episode purely because of shots with Team Rocket holding lit matches. Time well spent…

– It’s really sweet how none of the Pokemon want to leave Ash to go into their Pokeballs…..but why is Pikachu the only one he allows to stay out?

– I refuse to believe Ash doesn’t have anything useful in his backpack. Surely he at least has 30 changes of underwear his mother packed for him that he can huddle under.

– I love how Ash is freezing to death but he’s more concerned about his Pokemon, who are even now in their Pokeballs.

– Ash sacrificing his vest to help keep his Pokeballs warm is really, no pun intended, heart-warming.

– I really do love this episode, but Ash is a major idiot for jumping at the hole in the snow wall and plugging it….with his back. The snow wall is meant to help keep the warmth contained and him from freezing to death. Kinda doesn’t work if you’re using your back to plug it up. Use your useless backpack or get more snow – anything instead of using your body.

– This whole climactic sequence still brings tears to my eyes. From Pikachu vehemently refusing to go in its Pokeball to the point where he’s refusing it as an order, to the music, to the other Pokemon letting themselves out of their Pokeballs to all of the Pokemon cuddling Ash to keep him warm to “You win….guess we’ll all be cold together.” – it is by far one of the best and most touching moments of the series. (I especially love Bulbasaur on Ash’s lap. That is too adorable for words.)

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– I love how Ash is gone all night, him and his Pokemon nearly freeze to death, and the first thing Misty tells him is that Onix dug into a hot spring (poor Onix – it hates water.) and they were super comfy in their snow cave. Tact it up, Misty.

(By the way, in case you were wondering as to what the hell the Japanese title of this episode means – Iwark the Bivouac – Iwark is Onix’s Japanese name and bivouac is a term for a temporary camp. Of course, Iwark MADE a bivouac, it didn’t become one, so the weird title doesn’t even make sense in context.)

Bonus points for creative use of Onix, though.

– Bonus points for creative use of Vulpix!

– Ash and friends just stole Team Rocket’s property. Good job.

Also, Ash and co. show absolutely no concern over Team Rocket when they find their crashed balloon in the snowy mountains. They could be dead for all you know. Double good job.

– Team Rocket’s predicament is actually rather serious because, if they get out of the hot spring, it’s not just that they’ll have to deal with the cold. They’ll have to deal with the cold while being soaked to the bone, which basically guarantees they’ll suffer severe frostbite.

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And that was Snow Way Out! an episode I remember loving a lot when I was a kid and I’m happy to report I still love with all my heart. It has its flaws, of course, but it’s such an emotional and surprisingly serious episode. The moments between Ash and his Pokemon were absolutely beautiful, their situation was realistically dire, even if Ash being a dunderhead was the reason they were in that mess to begin with, and so many Pokemon got utilized creatively and appreciated properly.

About the only person who did jack squat in this episode was Misty, but considering she only has Water Pokemon, she can’t be of much help anyway.

I also like how Team Rocket’s plot was completely separate from Ash and co.’s (A Team Rocket run-in would’ve somewhat ruined this episode.) and I like how, in the end, they weren’t really pointless. In fact, they facilitated the group’s escape to civilization…..even if Team Rocket had to die a horrible death to do it.

This episode is made substantially sadder when you put Jessie’s mom into the equation. I know the backstory of Miyamoto hadn’t been written back then, but it’s still extremely sad that, in canon, Jessie’s mom has been lost on a snowy mountain for 20 years, losing her memory and endlessly searching for Mew in the hopes of getting money for the daughter she doesn’t even remember anymore.

Even if she found and captured Mew, what then? She doesn’t remember her daughter, so she can’t track her down. She might not even remember she’s in Team Rocket anymore. She might not be able to get out of the mountain range either. It’s a really dark story, especially for Pokemon.

At least Jessie probably still has fond memories of her mother. I choose to believe that, anyway.

I would say I hope they reunite some day, but, to be blunt, I don’t really trust the anime writers to handle this story well enough to be a decent payoff. Hopefully, maybe, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up, especially when the story is so old.

Stay warm, everyone. ~♥


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A Very (Somewhat Banned) Pokemon Holiday Special Analysis: Holiday Hi-Jynx

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 1

CotD(s): None, unless you count Santa and…is it really necessary to talk about him?

Pre-Analysis Notes: Hah! Gotcha! You thought I had reviewed all of the Christmas specials for Pokemon? Nope! There’s still one, technically two-ish more, but there’s a reason why I haven’t reviewed them yet.

You guys remember how I talked about the Pokemon Shock incident and how it screwed up the episode order? Well, Holiday Hi-Jynx, their first foray into Christmas, and Snow Way Out were both booted from the planned lineup entirely, which is the main reason why they were subsequently thrown off my analysis lineup for the moment as well since I’m strictly going in numerical order as listed on Bulbapedia. Technically, these episodes have no official numbers. They were originally set to air right around Christmastime in 1997, but since the producers didn’t want to air a Christmas special and a winter-themed episode in April/May, they opted to air the two episodes as specials much later.

I don’t why they bothered, really, because they ended up actually releasing the episodes both on October 5, 1998. Yeah, airing Christmas/winter themed episodes is so much more fitting in the dead of fall, a month before Halloween. Good job.

At least the US had their ducks in a more uniform row, because they aired the dub on December 11, 1999. (Snow Way Out airing a week later on December 18th.)

Despite this being a more fitting airing spot, this did cause some major confusion. Back when I was a kid, these episodes premiered with no fanfare or explanation of what happened. And the reason this was necessary was because, out of nowhere, Ash’s troublesome Charizard was back to being a lovable Charmander, and Misty no longer had Togepi yet still had her Starmie and Horsea, which she had left at the Cerulean Gym at that point. I chalked it up to being an old episode I must’ve missed, but it still nagged me, especially considering that, at the time of this airing in the States, Ash was prepping for the Indigo League tournament.

The trouble doesn’t end there.

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Say hello to Jynx! She is the reason this episode is kinda, sorta, somewhat, ehhh maybe, but not really, depending on how you look at it, banned.

Jynx was heavily criticized as being a racist depiction of a black woman shortly after this episode aired in the US. As a result, the episode was taken out of rotation after a handful of airings and has never reappeared in syndication.

Unlike most banned episodes, however, you can still find this episode fairly easily. It’s on the VHS and the original volume 3 of the Indigo League DVD set, it’s on Cartoon Network Video and Cartoon Network’s On Demand service, it’s available on Boomerang and you can find it on the Japanese versions of Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu.

Subsequent airings have been edited to change Jynx’s skin color to purple to avoid controversy (Kinda like how Mr. Popo’s skin was changed to bright Genie-from-Aladdin blue during his appearances in DBZKai.) but several sources and countries show the original version.

Despite this, the episode is still quietly banned in certain regions. It’s not listed on Pokemon.com, it’s not available on Netflix, it wasn’t included in the re-release of volume 3 of the Indigo League DVD set, and it’s not included in the Indigo League complete collection DVD set. Additionally, the episode is fully banned in South Korea, and India only aired it once before taking it out of rotation entirely.

The edited version has not been applied to the English Dub, so that makes up for a decent amount of the trouble in obtaining this episode.

This initial backlash caused a ripple effect. While Jynx is not a forbidden Pokemon in the anime like Porygon basically is, 4Kids opted to skip over another episode – Ep250: The Ice Cave – because Jynx was so prevalent in it to the point where removing her scenes would destroy the footage and reduce the runtime too much. Episode 287 – All Things Bright and Beautifly – was also edited in the English dub to remove a sequence with Jynx.

Even the Gen II games and the manga were retroactively edited in the west to change Jynx’s skin to purple. Eventually, Game Freak would choose to officially change the character’s skin color to purple to allow it to be featured in the anime and games without additional edits in other areas.

As for why Jynx was designed this way, well, I can’t bring myself to say outright that the designers gunned for a clear black woman stereotype for the sake of being bigots. I don’t like slinging accusations of that caliber around so flippantly without firm evidence. However, it’s hard not to see it.

There’s a theory that she is based on ganguro style, which was popular in the 90s. Ganguro involves dying your hair blond, heavy tanning and wearing a lot of makeup. The actual style, while being rather gaudy, shows the person’s skin as being very orange. You might remember Jessie and James sported ganguro style during the first part of the St. Anne arc.

With that in mind, it’s hard to say that it was taking inspiration from that. By logic, Jynx’s skin would be orange or burnt orange, not black.

However….

There are even more extreme versions of ganguro – Yamanba and Manba, where the tanning is much darker (being dark brown, not orange) and the makeup, accessories and hairstyles are even more outlandish. However, considering this gained popularity long after this episode was created, around 2004, I doubt either of these were the inspiration.

Plus, it’s really hard to seek justification in something where the name, ganguro, can literally translate to ‘black face’………

I’m having trouble getting that anyway because what relation would ganguro have with either psychic powers or ice? You’d think with the requirement of getting so much tanning you might as well jettison yourself into the sun that such a thing couldn’t be further from ice.

Despite having no connection to Santa in the games, it’s also been theorized that, considering Jynx’s role as Santa’s helper in this episode, it might be based on Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, who is a companion of Santa in Dutch folklore……………and…..it’s still racist because, even though the character himself is black, most portrayals of him are done by white people in blackface…

Also, I doubt that theory too because Jynx is clearly designed as a female.

Finally, there’s the theory that it was based on Hel, the Nordic goddess of the underworld who ruled Niflheim, a land of ice and snow. This theory seems to have the best logic to it, but Hel’s face is either meant to be half-blue and half-flesh colored or half-black and half-flesh colored; not fully black. So either they screwed up the facial design or this theory is wrong too.

I never much cared for Jynx either way. I find her to be very creepy on all fronts (Creepy design, creepy voice, creepy movement, creepy blushing, creepy kissing attack – creepycreepycreepy) but I think it’s a good thing that she was changed to purple over the years.

Even if her entire existence is a big question mark in regards to intentions, there’s really no getting around the implications, especially considering only one of the three viable theories I read didn’t include mentions of flatout blackface (It’s also theorized that Jynx are based on opera singers, given their overweight appearance and musical ability, but this confuses me just as much as the others, quite frankly.) Changing her to purple was a much better course of action than trying to justify her offensive appearance – if they even have a justification.

Keep in mind, everything I just discussed were fan theories on her origins – people coming up with less offensive possibilities for Jynx’s existence. I don’t think an official explanation was ever given, which is fairly suspect. Even if it is meant to be a racist depiction of a black woman, which is, of course, insanely messed up, what does that have to do with ice or psychic powers? What were they going for? I just don’t understand Jynx at all.

I don’t really want to press this matter into even worse implications, but I can’t help but ask this question. If people find that Santa’s elves are basically slaves…and taking Jynx as being a depiction of a stereotypical black woman…..Does that mean I’m technically watching a Christmas special with depictions of black people as Santa’s slaves? I really wish I had turned my brain off before it went down that route, because if you lock onto that idea, this episode just gets so much worse. It’s bad enough that Jynx technically are indeed ‘owned’ by their Trainers in the first place……

To be honest, other than having ice powers and being human-like, I don’t know why Jynx was the Pokemon chosen to be stand-ins for Santa’s elves to begin with. I know Delibird doesn’t exist yet, but certainly there’s a better option.

M…merry…Christmas…..I’m really uncomfortable now.

Plot: On Christmas Eve, Team Rocket plans on trapping Santa and taking all of the presents for themselves. Jessie has a vendetta against Santa, believing him to be a thief who stole her doll when he visited on Christmas ten years ago….Only ‘he’ was actually a Jynx working for Santa that she believes was actually Santa.

Meanwhile, Ash tries to capture what he thinks is a wild Jynx waiting on a beach. After a failed attempt, they surmise that it has a Trainer after seeing it holding a boot belonging to none other than Santa Claus! Jynx Psychically transmits her story to Ash and the others – some time ago, she was shining Santa’s boot when the ice she was standing on broke away. She drifted to shore and is desperate to reach Santa.

Ash, Misty and Brock agree to help her out, worried that Santa won’t be able to deliver gifts without his Jynx or his other boot. They grab a raft and head off in the direction of the North Pole, using their Water Pokemon to help pull them along. After a long, long while and exhausting their Pokemon, Ash finds one of Santa’s telepathic Lapras who has been following them for a while. Realizing their intentions are good, it decides to pull them along for the rest of the ride.

When they arrive, however, Team Rocket springs up. They trap Ash and the others in a net and capture Jynx, whom Jessie still mistakenly believes is Santa. They then head to the workshop to steal all of the toys. Jessie spots the real Santa and they hold him hostage so all of the Jynx will hand over the presents. Ash and the others try to intervene, but hold themselves back to protect Santa.

Jessie chats with Santa who asks why she’s doing this. After explaining her story, Jynx perks up and runs off to retrieve Jessie’s doll – now fixed. Santa explains that his Jynx had gone to deliver presents to her and noticed her broken dolly on the floor. She took it to get fixed, but they couldn’t return it since Jessie no longer believed in him and he’s not allowed to tread in the homes of hearts that don’t believe in him.

While she tearfully reunited with her doll, Jessie continues her plan anyway. However, they’re all stopped by Lapras, who freezes their sub with Ice Beam. Ash uses Charmander to free them all from the ropes and commands him to use Fire Spin on the sub. The ice melts and Team Rocket escapes.

Santa commands his legion of Jynx to use Psywave to pick up their sub, shake out all of the presents, destroy the sub and blast off Team Rocket.

With Santa and the presents safe, Santa heads off on his sleigh to bring Christmas to people all over the world. Jynx and Lapras deliver presents to Ash, Misty, Brock and Pikachu, bringing them all Christmas cheer.

Meanwhile, a beaten up Team Rocket lies in bed, waiting for Santa to hopefully deliver gifts to them despite their actions. He does show up, but all that happens is Jynx uses Lovely Kiss on them all to make them sleep. It may not be the best Christmas for them, but they certainly didn’t do anything to get on the nice list this year.

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– Whose castle is Team Rocket staying in?

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– I kinda understand why Jessie’s doing the title card read today, but it’s also a little weird.

– Jessie has a really nice house for a kid who supposedly grew up so poor that her mother fed her snow….

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– If Santa sends out his Jynx to deliver presents….what…exactly…does HE do?

– Why is Ash so gung-ho about catching a Jynx?

– I love how Misty and Ash are claiming it’s very weird to leave a Pokemon alone outside, but they’ve left Pokemon in the middle of a street sitting in a kiddie pool before….

– Why is Jynx blushing when it looks at the boot? Is she in love with him?

– If Jynx could transmit messages telepathically, why did she even need to waste time with the boot?

– Couldn’t Jynx have just used Ice Beam to create a bridge to get back to shore?

– Is Brock seriously asking how Santa’s going to deliver presents without his Jynx? You don’t even know what she does as Santa’s Pokemon.

– Look, I’m trying to give this episode some modicum of leeway in the logic department, because it’s a kid’s show trying to talk about Santa, but Ash and the others are really planning to head to the North Pole on a wooden raft they either found or somehow made in about ten seconds. Unless the North Pole is much closer to Kanto in the Pokemon world than it is in our world, they’re either going to die, their Pokemon are going to die from exhaustion, both or they’ll all be lost adrift at sea for a long, long time.

– Huh, Misty’s actually being accommodating to Psyduck. It’s a Christmas miracle.

– Hey, the Gyarados sub! Yay!

– I sincerely doubt Ash has the strength to pull that raft at any reasonable speed. Also, did none of them think to just bring oars?

– So a non-Psychic Lapras can telepathically speak, but Psychic Jynx can only project images and only through touch……….Kay.

Also, why is Lapras glowing so brightly when it first meets Ash?

– I feel I should call BS on Misty not knowing what a Lapras is, but I’ll refrain from making a ‘Why Use the Pokedex?’ note since I have no way of knowing if she does. Would be weird of someone who is currently trying to be a Water Pokemon Master is all.

– Lapras has been watching them for ‘some time’ but didn’t think to offer them a ride or a tow? Jerk.

– Okay, so Lapras’ logic with not appearing sooner was not knowing their intentions….but she can speak telepathically, which means she must be able to read minds and thus easily know their intentions immediately. Or it could’ve just asked the Jynx telepathically if she trusted these kids. Also, Lapras, it’s a bunch of kids on a wooden raft in the middle of the ocean trying to get to the North Pole to deliver Santa’s Jynx back to him. You can’t get much more wholesome that that. You’re just a jerk, Lapras; which sucks because I adore Lapras.

– It’s really nice and cool of Jynx to use her hair as an umbrella for Misty…….That sure is a unique sentence.

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 5

– I just realized that they were heading to the North Pole without any winter clothes….now that I think about it, in the next episode they head into snowy mountains without winter clothes. Delia constantly asks Ash if he has clean underwear on but never thinks to ask if he has weather-appropriate attire for his journeys?

– Santa Claus lives on a spiky ice island of death?……COOL!

– Hah, I like how the motto music sped up when Jessie and James realized how cold it was.

– Neither Jynx nor Lapras did anything to the missile or net when it was being so slowly deployed.

– How does Santa not have a second pair of boots? Also, Jynx has been gone for some time, supposedly, so how has Santa not made or otherwise obtained another pair in the meantime? Has he been walking around outside with one shoe?

– This version of Santa’s pretty lame. Not only does he have a bunch of Jynx do most of his work, but he also apparently is not all-seeing because he doesn’t realize Jessie and James are bad guys and probably naughty list recipients.

– What is up with how fast Meowth’s lips are moving when he’s telling the Jynx to load up the gifts? That’s not typical Japanese to English lip flap syncing trouble, that’s almost like they sped up the footage.

– I’m realizing now that, even accepting the silliness of Jessie believing a Jynx is Santa, why is she still insisting SantaJynx is male? She keeps using male pronouns, but not only is Jynx clearly female-based, but her species is 100% female.

– I’m surprised Jessie was so emotionally impacted by Jynx stealing her doll…the one she broke in a fit of unjustified rage and didn’t react much when it happened.

– Okay, wait, wait, time out. Jessie broke her doll, Jynx came to deliver presents….didn’t do that, grabbed her doll off the floor and took it, ran off to get it fixed, but couldn’t return it for ten years because Jessie didn’t believe in Santa anymore after that?

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 6

First of all;

Santa: “There, you see? I knew my Jynx would never steal anything.” She took someone’s property from their house and didn’t return it. That’s stealing.

Second of all;

Santa: “I repaired it in my sleigh….” Wait, that means you repaired it right then and there….Why wouldn’t you just instantly give it back then?

Third;

Santa: “We tried to go back, but you didn’t believe in me anymore, and I’m powerless to go where hearts are closed.” Powerless to go where hearts are closed….that’s a new one. And a stupid one.

If you repaired it in the sleigh, that means Jessie instantly stopped believing in you when Jynx went up the chimney. That’s a bit extreme.

She never stopped believing in Santa Claus anyway. If she did, she wouldn’t be in the North Pole right now. She just mistakenly believed Jynx was Santa.

Does this mean Santa can’t enter most houses? Because most parents don’t believe in Santa, and many older kids don’t either. If he can’t enter the home of non-believers entirely, his trip must be much shorter than we think.

Even if all of that was true, why take the doll with you? Why not put it on her windowsill or, oh I dunno, send your non-Santa-and-thus-not-restricted-by-the-belief-thing back down the chimney to return what she stole?

– Oh my God, Ash, why would you have Charmander burn the ropes and give you all third degree burns when you could have just had him untie you? Come to think of it, you must have a decent amount of movement capability if you could find, grab and send out Charmander’s Pokeball….

– Yes, Charmander, Fire Spin the thing that currently holds all of the presents for all of the little girls and boys of the world. I hope they asked Santa for asbestos….

– I get that Team Rocket’s Pokemon are perfectly fine following the orders of either Jessie or James, but why does Jessie have Weezing’s Pokeball?

– Also, Team Rocket has a point – Ash just helped by thawing them out after Lapras froze them. Why would he even consider doing that?

– If these Jynx all know Psywave, then they’ve all been given the TM to learn it. I’d think another good TM to give them would be Teleport so it would make deliveries essentially instantaneous. You wouldn’t even need the sleigh and none of your Jynx would ever get lost.

– I should question the flying Rapidash, but I moreso want to comment on Santa saying ‘No reindeer.’ Oh, Santa, just wait a gen.

– That snow effect is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even look like snow. It looks like fully white ladybugs crawling on the screen in four intersecting lines. I make better snow animations than that, and that’s just sad.

– Aw it’s nice that they got presents. I hope it’s winter clothes because some of you have to be losing some appendages at this point.

– Pikachu getting a gift is really cute and nice, but I really hope Santa has gifts for all of their Pokemon, otherwise this little note is actually quite unfair and more blatant favoritism – and this time not even from Ash!

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 7

————————————

I’ve always remembered this episode as being really weird, really confusing and just strange, but I guess it’s not a particularly terrible Christmas special. There are so many other better holiday Pokemon specials out there that I certainly wouldn’t place this at the top tier of your Christmas must-watch list, but it’s alright.

Amid all of the controversy and other messes this episode was wrapped up in, you’d hope this episode would be one worth waiting for, but it’s really not. I still think it’s really weird, really confusing and just strange. There are so many questionable writing choices made in this episode, both Japanese and English, that it’s actually somewhat impressive what a massive tangle of nonsensical weird they made out of a Christmas special.

Jynx’s mere existence may be enough to put some people off of this episode, especially if your brain runs a little wild with the implications like mine did. I really hope I’m just reading too far into things again. Otherwise, it’s an okay-ish watch around the holidays. Nearly any other entry in the ‘Pikachu’s Winter Vacation’ series would be a better alternative, though.


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One Piece Episode 4 Sub/Dub Comparison: Luffy’s Past – Enter Red-Haired Shanks

One Piece Ep 4 SDC Screen 36

Plot: After Luffy almost loses his precious straw hat, we’re told the story of how he obtained it. As a child, Luffy befriended a great band of pirates lead by the legendary Shanks. After being saved from a sea monster by Shanks, causing Shanks to lose his arm in the process, Shanks gives Luffy his straw hat with the promise that he’ll return the hat to him on the day that he indeed becomes a great pirate.

——————————-

In the original, you hear the pirates who were sunk by Nami yelling at her that they’ll get her for what she did to them before the title screen. In the dub, it’s silence and the title screen immediately comes up…..If they didn’t return later in the episode, I’d think 4Kids killed them off right there.

Title Card Change:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Also, I shouldn’t have to tell you that all that pirate talk (Especially about swag and….whatever swigger means) plus the pirate puns when they get into her boat are dub-only.

They edit out some shots of the pirates drinking.

A bottle on the bar is painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They erased the word “Anchor” from Luffy’s shirt…..*sigh* 4Kids, that is a word that you would literally find in a book aimed at toddlers learning how to read. In addition, there’s a picture of an anchor right behind the word.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They edit out a shot of Benn Beckman after Luffy asks Shanks to take him with him next time he goes on a journey. This is likely because he’s smoking.

They edit out the word ‘Yassopp’ (No idea why it’s misspelled) on Yasopp’s headband and later erase a bottle from his table.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They edit out a shot of Makino, the woman who owns the bar, watching the pirates talk to Luffy as she dries a glass.

Also, in the original the pirates are laughing at Luffy after taking the glass of juice because a real adult/pirate wouldn’t drink juice, he’d drink alcohol like the rest of them. In the dub, they make it out like the real reason that this proves he isn’t an adult/pirate is because it’s APPLE juice and a real pirate/adult wouldn’t drink APPLE juice. Yeah! Real adults drink grape juice!

Bottle:

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Another shot of Benn is edited out probably due to his cigar (Is that a cigar, technically?)

In the original, the bandits want ten gallons of beer. In the dub, 4Kids actually decides to play around mentioning beer instead of saying it’s juice or something. They say they want “strong stuff.”

I give 4Kids semi-points for that, but in typical 4Kids fashion, they lose it immediately in the next scene. The color of the bottle that Shanks gives the bandit leader is changed from purple to orange…Why? I have no….friggin….clue. If anything it just makes it look like the beer they were so careful to avoid mentioning instead of whatever it was supposed to be. (Maybe wine? I can’t think of any other bottled drink that would be in a purple bottle and the label’s blank in both versions.)

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, the leader of the bandits destroys the bar top with his sword and says that since they love cleaning up so much that they’ll enjoy what he did. He then says that, since there’s no beer there, that they’re wasting their time and they leave while calling them cowards. In the dub, well, if that bandit had stats like a trading card, he’d be listing them off. I’d say he’s bragging, but he really just seems like he’s listing off all of the stuff he’s done like he’s reading it from an info card.

They edit out another shot of Makino after Luffy eats the Gum Gum fruit.

They edit out a shot of the outside of the bar after Luffy eats the Gum Gum Fruit.

More Bottles removed.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

After we see Makino getting the mayor, there’s a series of still screens explaining what had happened with Luffy and the bandits. (Flashback within a flashback) It basically shows the bandits making fun of Shanks and his crew for not fighting back earlier in the bar. In the dub, they cut out the stills and go straight to Luffy yelling at them to stop making fun of Shanks.

In the original, the mayor gets on his hands and knees and begs for Luffy’s life. In the dub, while the dialogue is kept mostly the same, they don’t show the mayor getting on his hands and knees.

Okay, this is just sad. We have another instance of a gun, this time being pointed at Shanks’ head. So what do they do? Erase it? Make it some water gun?

Nope.

Even better.

They make it a CORK GUN! Yeah, you know, one of those old toy guns that has a cork in the end of the barrel and when you pull the trigger or push the stick thing the cork pops out and makes a POP noise? And the cork has a string on it to ensure that you don’t lose it when you use it? How could that possibly hurt him, 4Kids? HOW? It’d be slightly annoying to be hit by that. The end. It’s almost comical that 4Kids actually believes this is intimidating.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

In the original, the cork gun thing is made even funnier because Shanks says that pistols aren’t toys before one of his crew shoots the bandit in the head. Speaking of which, OH MY! Shooting someone in the head?! How will 4Kids tackle this?!

Well, Shanks tells the bandit that the weapon, whatever it’s supposed to be, misfires at such close range….uhh, how? Weapons don’t really misfire because they’re close, they misfire due to mechanical issues or stuff plugging up the barrel. Considering the edit makes it out to be a cork gun, I guess he’s not wrong. If you press a cork gun to something and try to pull the trigger, the cork might still come out due to the pressure, but it wouldn’t do as much because it doesn’t have the room to eject with full force.

Now about that head shooting. Well, first off, the gun that Shanks’ crew member had is changed to a bright orange color to indicate that it’s not real, I suppose. But the bandit still falls over. How to tackle that? Well, Shanks says that when he wakes up (from his mortal head wound) to tell him that it was a cap gun……..

A….cap gun….

A.

Cap.

Gun.

ALL CAP GUNS DO IS MAKE NOISE AND SMOKE! They don’t even produce any reasonable burst of air! The cork gun is a more legitimate weapon than a cap gun because at least it has a projectile! I can’t even say maybe they’re making off like the smoke is knock-out gas or something because the gun doesn’t really produce any smoke. Just BLAM and the bandit falls over.

Maybe, considering Shanks said that those weapons deliver quite a scare, we’re meant to believe that the bandit was so scared from the noise that he passed out? That’s quite the pill to swallow, 4Kids.

Also, 4Kids, are you friggin’ high!? You just told kids that it’s okay to shoot each other in the head because they’ll just get knocked out! If anything, yes, I’m gonna say it, the original version is actually more kid-friendly than what 4Kids just showed. At least it says that guns aren’t toys and they can result in death. 4Kids basically said that all guns are toys and they just knock you out. What the hell is wrong with you people?! 4Kids makes some pretty stupid moves, but this one actually pisses me off.

Subbed:

Dubbed: 

Oh and, cherry on top, in the dub, after the guy gets ‘knocked out’ one of the bandits says that he was their ride home. Hurr hurr.

After one of Shanks’ crew beats the bandits with his rifle, he points it at the leader. In the dub, despite the fact that the rifle is left unedited in the previous scenes, the rifle is painted away when he points it at the leader which results in his left arm being mysteriously missing.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

So….guns….bad.…

Alcohol….bad…

Cleavage lines….bad.…

Japan in any way, shape or form……bad……

Shot of Shanks after he just got his arm bitten off: A-OKAY!

Granted it’s not like it’s pouring blood, which it honestly should be, and you can’t see the stump, but they still acknowledged and showed that he did indeed get his arm ripped off by a sea monster and didn’t change the shot at all. They didn’t even paint away the blood-ish tint on the ripped sleeve. I’m so confused.

Also, can I just point out that dub Luffy’s crying is nowhere near the emotional impact of original Luffy crying? Original Luffy is bawling and I mean bawling after he sees Shanks in the water. Dub Luffy’s crying like he dropped his ice cream.

Dub Buggy Pirate: “Or you’ll be getting’ a knock-knock on the head you won’t soon forget!”

Hey 4Kids, knock-knock!

4Kids – Who’s there?

Bad dialogue!

4Kids – Bad dialogue who?

Go to hell! 😀

In the dub, the episode cuts off before the smoke from Luffy’s landing clears…like it’s some cliffhanger. We know who it is…Heck, if the previous scenes weren’t a big enough clue, the episode shows closeups of him falling from the sky.

What, are we wondering if Luffy’s still alive after that? He’s a rubber man! I’m pretty sure he can survive any fall. In the original, we see Luffy in the clearing dust, see him standing up and saying “Where’d that cannonball come from? Well, you don’t see that every day!” and we close in on Nami’s face before we see the TO BE CONTINUED screen which is also edited away.

————————–

This episode was great. I loved the backstory on Luffy, Shanks is a fantastic character that I really love, there was plenty of action and emotional moments to keep things interesting, and I actually like the fact that Luffy eating the Gum Gum fruit isn’t a bigger event. He just mistook it for regular food and ate it. That’s definitely a ‘Luffy’ thing to do.

Dub-wise, holy crap, this is a nightmare. I will give them props for leaving in Shanks’ de-arming, but that’s about it. Everything else is either ruined at best and demolished at most.

Next episode, it’s the debut of Buggy. Luffy tries to get Nami to be the navigator for his ship, but Nami’s got enough on her plate trying to trick Buggy into letting her be part of his crew for the sake of getting a map to the Grand Line.


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Ojamajo Doremi/Magical DoReMi: Episode 5 Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: As the girls start selling a bunch of stuff in the store, they run into Kotake. When Doremi tries to find out why he’d shop in their store at all, she finds he’s keeping a secret and wishes to help him with it.

—————————

The quick clip before the opening theme is removed.

Oddly, this time 4Kids REMOVED the white fuzzy border for the flashback.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Aiko says they’ll get a lot of spheres if they sell a lot of stuff. Mirabelle says it’ll be no problem selling stuff at the shop because she could sell corn to a scarecrow on the fourth of July.

In the original, the theme song comes after the removed opening clip. In the dub, it’s after this flashback.

In the original, the title comes after the flashback. The dub never places a title.

A very long scene is cut. After the title screen, we see Doremi waking up early, her mother chewing out her father for wanting to go fishing instead of fixing the gutters. Pop comes out, commenting on the fight, then Doremi bursts through the house, rushing out the door to get to the shop. Her parents and Pop stand bewildered by the door wondering what got her up and going so early. Pop stands there in horror at the idea that she might have a boyfriend.

Hazuki says she hopes everything sells well. Reanne calculates that, should they sell everything they have, they’ll be able to buy 94 spell drops.

They digitally painted the store’s signs again, but I’m mostly making this note because this time not only did they leave in the fuzzy flashback border, but they also added in a white flash before the flashback

Since they brought this up in the dub, the original town in which the girls live is Misora. In the dub, it’s the aptly named Port Mystic. For comparison purposes, Misora translates to ‘Beautiful sky.’

When the little bubbles with the girls’ faces pop up, Hazuki says ‘We made these magic goods with all of our hearts.’ Reanne says ‘We have a gift and a spell card for every problem people might have.’

Doremi says ‘It’d be nice to sell a lot of them!’ Dorie says ‘And every one of ‘em’s on sale!’

Aiko says ‘If they make everyone happy, that’d be the best!’ Mirabelle says ‘We guarantee each item to be 100% magical!’ Basically skewed from a largely heartfelt message about making people happy with things they made with their hearts and souls to mostly just a marketing message.

Aiko says ‘It’s already one o’clock.’ In the dub, she says ‘I could go for a game of checkers. Got any?’

A little Japanese text is erased on the sign behind Hazuki.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They added another flash before and after the shots of the old store.

Obviously, all of Dela’s songs are changed. Since she practically does nothing but sing, they vary in terms of how much. I’ll note when there are big changes.

Name Change: Dela is changed to Conya.

They got rid of a little writing on the cash register. (It’s hard to make out with the quality of the dub files, but it’s on the big button in the lower right.)

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Dela denies the girls a discount. In the dub, she says the given price includes a discount.

Dela says she’ll add the register to the bill for the magic clay the girls used to make the items. In the dub, she says she’ll get them started on a three-year payment plan.

They cut out Majo Rika sighing and yelling at the girls.

Hazuki says they have charms to bring happiness to people. Aiko then says they can just look around if they’re not interested in one specific thing. Reanne says they have items that can do your homework for you and Mirabelle says they have magic socks that never get dirty.

A sign with ‘Maho’ on it is removed when Doremi is walking that couple to the shop. The paint job is so sloppy too. They don’t bother matching colors, and the painted parts are painfully obvious.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The woman in the couple says that charm is really cute and her boyfriend agrees. In the dub, she says it gives you good dreams and the guy says ‘Neato.’

Aiko says the item they’re looking at will make them love each other even more and she’ll sell it for 50 yen, which is roughly 50 cents. Mirabelle says the plate they’re looking at will make all the food they eat off of it taste like candy and she’ll sell it to them for five bucks.

Originally, the couple only takes one of the charms, but in the dub they take four of the plates.

Originally the boy wanted to buy the heart item anyway. In the dub, he asks how much it costs.

In the original, the item is 300 yen, or a little less than three dollars. In the dub, this is changed to eight dollars. Also, this is mirrored on the cash register.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The boy doesn’t say anything as he’s being rang up. In the dub, he says he’ll use that item to make the bullies stop picking on him.….Yeah, I’m so sure that when the bullies see your pink heart with angel wings toy, they’ll stop picking on you. Foolproof plan.

The receipt is changed and they added a ‘protection spell’…I’d ding 4Kids more for that if I didn’t find it to be a kinda clever play on a ‘protection plan.’

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The word ‘Maho’ is removed from the little placard.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Doremi is hilarious when she says that blob has the power to bring world peace. Dorie says the same thing, but in a not as funny manner.

Another flashback….flash added before and after the shot of the flier. I guess the fliers were mislabeled in the dub to say they were opening tomorrow. Not sure how they screwed that up. Also, who puts up fliers saying something’s happening ‘tomorrow’? If someone just picked up one of those fliers the next day they’d think the opening was the day after….

Doremi mentions that Hazuki and Aiko sold nearly everything they made. Dorie only mentions Mirabelle.

Another mention of the ‘world’s most unluckiest pretty girl’ is removed.

Name Change: Kotake is changed to Todd.

Doremi tauntingly asks Kotake if he’s interested in magic too. Kotake nervously says he’s not, he was just lost. In the dub, Dorie’s a bit meaner and asks if he’s looking for some magic that might give him a life. Todd nervously says he thought this place was a gym.

This might be a mistranslation, but Kotake calls the girls ‘retards’ for liking magic stuff. In the dub, he just laughs at them.

Doremi tells him they may be ‘retards’ but his stupid kind isn’t welcome here either. Kotake then asks her ‘What did you say?’ while Doremi replies with ‘What?’ In the dub, she says ‘Well, Todd, did you hear the one about the loser who said ‘Whatdyasay?’ and he replies with ‘What’d you say?’ and she says ‘Loser!’ Would’ve worked better if he actually said ‘Whatdya say?’

Hazuki doesn’t mention what the pin does. Reanne says it gives you courage.

Doremi says she made the pin out of clay. In the dub, she says the pattern is supposed to be a dog. Truth be told, the dub works a little better.

In the original, the pin is 200 yen or a little less than two dollars. In the dub, it’s ten bucks, which is insanely overpriced for Doremi’s stuff, if you ask me.

They remove a kanji from a bus that is on screen for about three frames….

Subbed:

Dubbed:

They’re completely illegible scribbles, but they remove ‘TEXT’ from a sign.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

And again.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

And AGAIN.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

I swear….to god……4Kids…..erased….texture marks……(Window behind Kotake after Doremi denies following him)

Subbed:

Dubbed:

….I’m speechless…..That is a new level of pointlessness. Are they really so used to erasing scribbles that they thought those texture marks were garbled text of some kind and couldn’t help themselves but remove it? Good lord….

Doremi says she wants to buy some juice. Kotake asks why she didn’t buy juice at the convenience store they just passed, and she says she likes the juice at the store up ahead better. In the dub, she says she was heading to a store and Todd says they already passed the Loser Store. Dorie then asks why he’s not there because she heard they were having a half-price sale.

Two more signs.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Another sign, though this time replaced.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The milk carton’s painted.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: The Puppy is originally named ‘Pal.’ In the dub, she’s called Cookie.

Also……Pal is a boy dog…..Cookie is a girl dog……I….Don’t….Know….

Doremi just talks to herself saying she has to go get help when, suddenly, dirt starts pouring into the hole. In the dub, Dorie tries to save Todd by pressing a button, which causes the dirt to pour into the hole. At least the dub explains why dirt is suddenly pouring into the hole, but it makes Dorie kinda look like an idiot (what life-saving button did she think existed to get Todd out of that hole?)

This goes without saying, but Doremi doesn’t mention anything about this ‘buried alive’ situation as being similar to ‘that ice age guys (she) saw on TV.’

The spell this time is changed to: “(I honestly can’t understand the first couple of words) like a feather and light as a breeze, make that sand freeze!”

They basically kept in the word play, but Doremi originally tells the sand to harden, which makes it freeze. In the dub, she tells it to freeze, but she meant ‘stop.’ The dub makes more sense, actually. It makes Dorie out to be a little stupid (I mean, come on, which use of the word ‘freeze’ is more common – cold or stop?) but it’s fine.

Doremi says Kotake and Pal will die at this rate. In the dub, Dorie mentions the ice age guy again and says they’ll end up like them.

Ya know, recycling animation for things like transformations, item summoning etc. is very common in magical girl anime and is something I typically let pass, but this show causes a unique problem. Doremi’s spell drops are always full during the summoning of her wand, but she clearly has four when the new animation starts.

The next spell is changed to ‘Must be quiet, mustn’t shout. Come down, rope. Help me out!’

After that, the next spell becomes ‘I don’t really know what spell I should do, just make Todd safe and me too!’

A lyrical song is replaced when Doremi does her final spell.

It’s weird – her spell to save Todd works, but, in the dub, she specifically asks the spell to save her too yet it does nothing to help her out.

Another omission of the ‘World’s unluckiest pretty girl’

——————————————-

Overall, I liked this episode. It was a nice story with some good character development for both Kotake and Doremi. I like how they make Kotake a believable level of brat. He’s at his brattiest when facing off against Doremi, but seems pretty civil towards Aiko and Hazuki and also seems like he’s a nice enough kid deep down.

Even though some of her screwups are little farfetched, it was nice to see Doremi help Kotake…..even though, in the dub, she’s the reason they’re in danger, mostly, in the first place.

SDC-wise, there’s quite a bit of digital paint and I am still flabbergasted that they erased those texture marks, but it’s not that bad. I may have taken 50 screencaps for this comparison, but a large bulk was just signs. Dorie’s made out to be a little brattier, but that’s it in regards to story changes.


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Pokemon Episode 57 Analysis: The Breeding Center Secret

Pokemon Ep57 Analysis Screen1

Character Debuts: Butch and Cassidy – Butch and Cassidy are basically Jessie and James if they were about….40% more competent. I always like when they pop up because they are legitimate threats, but they tend to get taken down almost as easily as Jessie and James either way. Also, I hate the running gag of getting Butch’s name wrong. It got old so fast it’s ridiculous. However, it hasn’t even started in this episode so I’m good for now.

Butch and Cassidy are named after the legendary old west outlaw, Butch Cassidy, which is another mirrored attribute of Jessie and James, who are named after Jessie James.

Pokemon: Butch – As of this episode, he’s not known to have any Pokemon, but later down the line he’ll be shown to have a Primeape, a Hitmontop, a Mightyena, a Cloyster and a Shuckle.

Cassidy – Cassidy’s Ratticate is basically their version of Meowth only it doesn’t talk and stays in its Pokeball. She’s later shown to also have a Houndour, a Sableye, a Tentacruel and a Granbull.

Cap…tures?: James has a Victreebel. Don’t ask questions. He just does, okay?

Its only character trait is trying to eat James every time it’s let out, which gets super annoying over time.

Character Departures: First time I’ve ever had to use this, but Snap did stick around for several episodes so I guess it’s fitting to do this here.

Snap takes his leave in this episode.

And I’m all broken up about it.

I really have nothing against Snap, even though, I’m just going to say it, he’s even more one-dimensional and boring than Tracey. Give Tracey credit – he doesn’t just draw Pokemon. He’s basically a Pokemon Researcher that draws. And he has his own Pokemon to add to the mix. Snap’s only gimmick is taking pictures. That’s it. The end. He is a walking camera. He doesn’t have any Pokemon to make him even a little more interesting – he’s just the guy taking pictures.

I will never understand why he stuck around in the first place. It is one of Pokemon’s greatest mysteries to me.

EDIT – I pre-maturely said goodbye to our camera toting pal. He reappears way down the line in Johto in three episodes where he’s trying to capture a picture of an Articuno. Again, he stays for three episodes in Johto and I have no clue why. I already have difficulty understanding the criteria for making any characters of the day reappear, but why Snap has two three episodes bursts where he’s traveling with the group in the series is an even bigger mystery to me. Is he that much of a fan favorite, or what’s happening here?

Plot: Ash, Misty, Brock and Snap stumble upon a new Breeding Center where the owners promise to improve any Pokemon and even get some to evolve in mere days. Misty jumps at the chance to leave her Psyduck there.

Later, the group finds a restaurant that promises free food, which ignites Misty’s interest. However, there’s a catch – you have to show the chef his favorite Pokemon, which is, ironically, Psyduck. Misty is irritated that Psyduck isn’t there the one time she actually needs him, but when she heads to the Breeding Center to retrieve him, they find the shop is closed.

Impatient and hungry, Misty decides to break in. They overhear the shop owners talking in the back room – they’re secretly top Team Rocket agents, Butch and Cassidy! The Breeding Center is really a front to get rare and powerful Pokemon to send back to Giovanni. All of the Pokemon they’ve acquired are kept in small cages and treated poorly – including Psyduck.

The group hatches a plan to take pictures of everything in the room so they can show it to police and get Team Rocket shut down for good. They take their pictures, nearly getting caught in the process, but as they’re about to grab Psyduck and head out, someone else breaks into the Breeding Center.

It’s Team Rocket – the regular one – looking to nab all of the Pokemon in the center, unaware that it’s being run by other Team Rocket members. The group catches them and tries to stop them from stealing the Pokemon and getting them caught. Their efforts are in vain, however, because Butch and Cassidy catch them.

They try to escape, but not before James stops to retrieve his Weepinbell that he left at the center a few days prior. To his delight, it has evolved into a Victreebel.

The escape continues, but they’re all nabbed up in cages. Misty, Togepi and Pikachu are the only ones able to evade capture. Butch and Cassidy take Snap’s camera and call the police to get them all arrested, leaving Misty as the one who must get the evidence back and clear Ash, Brock and Snap’s good names.

She covertly uses Pikachu to snatch the camera while she disguises herself and enters the center as a customer trying to retrieve her Psyduck. Misty brings the photos back to Officer Jenny, proving the criminal nature of the Breeding Center, and the group rushes to arrest them.

Butch and Cassidy fight them with their Raticate, but Pikachu easily defeats it. They make a run for it, but are Vine Whipped into submission by Ash’s Bulbasaur.

With Butch and Cassidy behind bars and the Pokemon safely set to be returned to their owners, Misty finally takes her Psyduck to the restaurant to get as much ice cream as she can eat.

Later, Snap departs from the group to head to the mountains to take some pictures of wild Pokemon. Ash and the others bid their photographer friend farewell as they set off for Cinnabar Island and Ash’s seventh Gym match.

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– Snap is very obviously taking posed pictures of Togepi.

– Weathergirl: “Now, a Pokemon weather update!” What the hell is Pokemon weather? I know you people like putting ‘Pokemon’ in front of everything, but it needs to make some sense. Like, am I writing this blog post on my Pokemon computer? Sitting in my Pokemon chair? As the Pokemon computer sits on the Pokemon desk? Am I Pokemon typing? Please stop!

(Also, don’t think you can get away with mentioning Castform here. That little dude is a long way away from being created.)

– What is up with Brock and Misty’s face here? I didn’t realize that a weather report could make ten year olds sport an expression you’d usually only see if you bought them a pony.

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– I find it very weird that they opted to call this place a Breeding Center when we’ve already seen Breeding Centers before and they don’t increase Pokemon levels there. (Being fair, that same episode also included a Team Rocket putting up a front as a fake Breeding Center just to steal Pokemon, so points off for kinda recycling plots) Brock’s a Pokemon Breeder too, there’s no reason he’s not suspicious of this place.

In the original, as you can guess, it was a Pokemon Daycare. Like in the games, they promise that simply leaving the Pokemon with them will level them quickly. The reason it feels quick in the games is because 1) You’re so busy grinding and doing busywork or catching Pokemon that ‘time’ (steps) kinda flies and 2) …..You probably forgot you had a Pokemon in the Daycare. In the anime, it makes less sense because you’re left wondering how they’re leveling them in a literal quick manner (Cassidy states they had a Charmander evolve all the way into Charizard in three days.)

Also, the games didn’t have the Pokemon evolve in their care, even if they far exceeded level requirements.

Also also, when you think about it, it kinda DOES make more sense for this place to be called a Breeding Center if they went all the way with the Daycare motif because, in the games, when you leave two compatible opposite sex Pokemon (or any (non-legend) Pokemon and Ditto, because Ditto’s the real bicycle of Pokemon.) you will eventually get a Pokemon egg. Meaning, for a change, actual BREEDING would occur in a BREEDING Center if they did this right, but I can understand why they didn’t. They don’t want to have to explain the Pidgeys and the Beedrills to kids….even though, in the games, they still claim they don’t know for sure how Pokemon eggs are made….

Admittedly, this is a good plan if they only stick around for a few days, but…we’ll get to the rest of the plan later.

– Butch’s voice is terrible.. It doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people, but I can see why it might.

Dogasu brought up a very….interesting note about Butch as a character though.

“I read a theory from the Internet from waaaay back when this episode first premiered that might explain what 4Kids and / or Eric Stuart was thinking. This is in no way confirmed but here goes anyway: James represents effeminate gay men while Butch is a stand-in for their more masculine counterparts. Hear me out. The idea goes that since James is often seen cross-dressing, is given all these high-pitched squeals and giggles, hates the idea of marrying the woman his parents set him up with, and spends nearly 24/7 with a sexy female colleague but isn’t trying to get into her pants then that means that of course he’s a friend of Dorothy. It is 1998 after all; what other explanation could there be! This may not have been the intention for the character when 4Kids first started but the whole “James is a flamboyant gay man” idea is one that they would definitely end up embracing as the years go on.

And then, when it came time to dub this episode, 4Kids looked at what they had already done with James and decided hey, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense if we gave this other guy a name that means “masculine” and then also gave him this super deep man voice? You know, as a kind of yin and yang thing? So they get Eric Stuart to come in and do his Harvey Fierstein impersonation and BAM! we’ve got someone the exact opposite of James. When all is said and done, Eric Stuart plays James to be effeminate while he plays Butch to be, well, butch.

This is all just a theory and there’s no proof whatsoever that this is what 4Kids was going for at the time. Still, it all kind of adds up. I don’t think this was done out of any sort of malice or anything (from what I’ve gathered both 4Kids and TPCI seem to be very LGBTQ-safe environments) but instead was intended just to be a funny little in-joke among the staff at 4Kids. It’s still a terrible, terrible voice though.”

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Sooooo…..yeah, I’ve NEVER heard of this until I read the comparison and I never thought this until now, and I gotta say…..I think it’s a bunch of bull. I think it makes a lot more sense for his name to just be a play on Butch Cassidy from the get-go and not anywhere inspired from being a ‘butch’ gay guy. I also don’t think Eric Stuart was thinking that going in because I think, if he had, he would’ve put more of a deep tone to the voice instead of making it higher pitched just really raspy, like his throat had just been ripped out by rabid weasels.

I also don’t think the original writers intended for anything like that with this character. Butch and Cassidy definitely seem like they’re meant to be more offshoots of Jessie and James with a more serious/competent slant to them than having them be in any way opposites. For example, Cassidy is really just Jessie only slightly less vain, shrill and overbearing. It is possible that 4Kids was trying to force that kind of subtext onto him, but I can’t imagine they would. The reason it works with James is because the animation lends itself so well to their interpretation. The same cannot be said of Butch.

Also, if anything, James is probably bisexual because he has shown attraction to several women over the series. That’s my two cents in that bucket.

– I’m really getting sick of Misty being mean to her Psyduck for no reason. I’m also disappointed reading that her relationship with Psyduck only gets, at best, slightly better as far up as Sun and Moon. Psyduck deserves a lot more than Misty’s abuse….

– Misty can say whatever she wants, you can say she loves Psyduck more than she lets on all you want, I still believe there’s a significant chance she would indeed leave Psyduck there for good.

– Before they just started chucking out Pokeballs, they should’ve just…ya know…asked the guy what his favorite Pokemon is.

– Snap: “Hey! That looks like a picture I took!” It does? Because it could not be more posed if you tried.

Also, this picture is yours, Snap? This one?

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You uh….mind sharing why you had this Psyduck do a ‘draw me like one of your French girls’ pose?

– Misty: “That’s typical! It figures Psyduck isn’t around the one time I really need it!” Yeah, it’s totally Psyduck’s fault you left it at a Breeding Center to be better because you’re too lazy or impatient to actually train him yourself…..Bitch.

Ash: “You’re the one who left it at that center…” I know right?…..Hey! Stop pointing out my notes for me!

– Misty is so worried that she won’t be able to get ice cream tomorrow if she waits until the center opens that she’s willing to break into the Breeding Center…….But…the chef explicitly stated he was waiting for a delivery of 50 gallons of ice cream….Does she think they’ll go through 50 gallons of ice cream overnight?

– Butch and Cassidy are indeed more competent than Jessie and James…..but they’re still too incompetent to lock their back door. Or the room where they keep their Pokemon for that matter.

– Was….Snap really thinking of taking pictures of these Pokemon just for the sake of taking pictures? He had his camera in his hand and then said ‘These Pokemon don’t look like they want to smile for the camera….’ That’s kinda messed up, Snap.

– It’s horrible that they taped Psyduck’s eyes open, especially considering, realistically, he’d have gone blind by now, but I have to analyze this in three possibilities – 1) They thought taping his eyelids like that long enough would actually alter his face and make him look more intelligent. That’s really dark and messed up. 2) They were planning on giving Psyduck back to Misty like this, which is dumb because surely she’d notice the tape at least before she left the building. And 3) if they were just planning on stealing all of these Pokemon anyway, why tape his eyelids?

– So they’re only planning on giving Giovanni the cream of the crop?…..Why not give them all to him? Surely they’d all be useful in some capacity and the more Pokemon you have, the more powerful you are as an organization. Jessie and James are rarely ever picky about the Pokemon they try to get for Giovanni, but maybe that’s part of their problem.

….Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, isn’t this kinda a dumb plan for the sake of getting powerful or rare Pokemon for Giovanni? These trainers are sending their Pokemon to this Breeding Center for the sake of leveling up faster and improving them, so wouldn’t Butch and Cassidy only get mostly low level poorly trained Pokemon?

– I’d call the cops in addition to taking pictures of the place, but anything to give Snap some point to his existence, I suppose.

– I love how Cassidy brings up how it’s weird that Giovanni puts up with Jessie and James even though they always fail and they’re completely incompetent, but even though Giovanni agrees…..he doesn’t really answer them. He’s just like ‘Yeah, it’s a good thing those fools weren’t here to mess everything up. Those fools I still have on my payroll. Complete idiots that I still employ.’

– I get that it makes for commercial break cliffhanger tension, but why aren’t any of them trying to run or hide when they hear Butch coming in the room? They’re literally just standing there for several moments going ‘Uuuahhhhhh!!’ You lot would never survive a horror movie.

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Togepi’s face, though. lol

– They were still frozen in fear, shaking and going ‘Uahhhhhh’ when Butch had his hand on the door knob. How did they have time to come to their senses, come up with this plan to have Pikachu use its electricity to light up the room in a cage, implement said plan and hide before he actually opened the door?

– I’m kinda pissed it’s taken them this long to try to get Psyduck out of the cage. Also, Misty, use your Pokeball to recall Psyduck through the bars. You don’t need to fuss with a lock.

– Why are Jessie and James holding their hands over the eyes like there’s a bright light when they’re in a completely dark room?

– I don’t why, but the way that James says ‘I knew all along we couldn’t trust you!’ has stuck with me through the years. He says it at such a weird pitch for one and for another he’s almost sing-talking the line.

– I am unreasonably bothered by the fact that Butch and Cassidy don’t say their names in the proper order when they do their motto. Granted, if you’re just doing a beat-by-beat remake of Jessie and James’ motto then Cassidy saying her line when she does makes sense, but in order to poke at the fact that their name makes out ‘Butch Cassidy’ you need to have Butch say his name first.

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– Butch and Cassidy’s motto makes so much more sense than Jessie and James’ version, but it also brings up a lot of questions.

Jessie and James accuse them of stealing their motto, but they claim it’s the Team Rocket motto, so I always assumed it was an actual motto that Jessie and James probably weren’t reciting properly given the words. However, in this instance they’re acting like they made it up from scratch. James has never met Butch or Cassidy, so if Butch and Cassidy did steal their motto and rework it, how did they ever hear it?

Why would they steal it, honestly? If there is no Team Rocket motto or even if Jessie and James’ version is different, wouldn’t they just find it to be something silly Jessie and James needlessly say and brush it off?

Is there an actual Team Rocket motto that both teams are getting wrong? Since Butch and Cassidy’s version is so different, why are Jessie and James acting like they stole the whole thing? Is one of them right? I’m so confused….

– Uh….do you guys want to actually use your Pokemon and….battle? You guys fight Jessie and James all the time when they’re stealing Pokemon, why are you not even trying here?

– We’ve reached a point of confusion that far surpasses the previous note, though – James’ Weepinbell/Victreebel. Ever since I was a kid, I wondered where the hell James suddenly got a Victreebel that was supposedly a Weepinbell before this episode. He never hints at having a Weepinbell, not once.

Over the years, I thought this was another instance of a character having a Pokemon that they caught in a banned episode so it kinda just appeared on western airings, but nope. James just inexplicably had a Weepinbell for an undisclosed amount of time and never used it for no reason.

I would say maybe it’s been in the Breeding Center for the entire series, but James specifically says he left it there ‘the other day’ and I’d assume this place is very new.

To make matters even more confusing, it evolved into Victreebel. James acts like this is super impressive, but Weepinbell only evolves through a Leaf Stone, so Butch and Cassidy had to have used one on it. I can only assume this was one of the Pokemon they didn’t intend on giving back because why would they buy and use a valuable Leaf Stone on a customer’s Weepinbell without keeping it?

I would say maybe it would be to improve word of mouth – like proof that they can evolve Pokemon super quick – but obviously the main problem there is the stone evolution.

Also, how does James know this Victreebel is his Weepinbell anyway? It could just be another customer’s Victreebel.

Oh well……..it’s the start of a very, very annoying trend either way….Prepare for god knows how many instances of James being eaten by Victreebel….yay.

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– Ya know, Misty has a fairly solid plan, but if I were Butch and Cassidy, I would’ve destroyed the camera and the film immediately after getting my hands on it. There’s no point in keeping it. I mean…maybe they’d like a cool expensive camera, but at least destroy the film.

– Considering Cassidy does give Psyduck back, I assume this Breeding Center is meant to be up for a while and they are, for some reason, giving Pokemon back?….But what about the people who are trying to get back the Pokemon they plan on giving Giovanni? I’m really trying to make full sense of this plan.

– I would think they’d take all of their Pokemon away in jail given that oh so many Pokemon abilities could probably break them out easily, but….cops in the Pokemon World….*sigh*

– Jenny really shouldn’t be calling the group Pokemon snatchers, because they never opened any of the cages and they never stole any of the Pokemon. James did technically get Victreebel out, but he can prove it’s his because he has its Pokeball. You have them on breaking and entering and trespassing, but that’s it.

– Boy, those are some awfully posed pictures on your film roll, Snap. Ya know, Snap, you have one character trait – you like to take pictures – and your once specificity in that regard is you hate taking pictures of Pokemon posed. Yet nearly every picture is posed like you work at a K-Mart photo studio in the 90s, you…you…poser.

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– Those photos are damning, but Misty has no proof Snap took the photos from inside the Breeding Center.

– Even though Butch and Cassidy are more competent than Jessie and James, their Raticate gets taken out in one shot, they just leave it behind and don’t seem to have other Pokemon to battle with or don’t bother trying, so they run…

– Wait, where did Team Rocket get shovels in jail? How did they dig through concrete?….I’m just gonna chalk this up to more pisspoor Pokemon World cops…

– And just as randomly as he joined their journey, Snap departs to just…go take pictures on a mountain. Have fun.

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It’s not one of my favorite episodes, but I still really like this one. Butch and Cassidy are formidable foes, though I wish they could’ve battled a little more and a little better. Trying to covertly take them down, while most of the group is imprisoned, was a nice change from the norm from just battling off the bat, though I don’t understand why they never battled in their first encounter. Heck, why didn’t they let out some of their Pokemon when they got nabbed in the cage at least?

Misty got to take the reigns in this episode, and Snap was finally useful for something even though, honestly, any of them could have had a camera and used it in that instance. Even though I’m almost insulted at how they introduced it, at least James has another Pokemon now so we can have some more variety in Team Rocket’s roster, even if it does introduce the first Pokemon who starts the ‘attacks James at every opportunity’ shtick.

Psyduck was pretty abused in this episode both by Misty and by Butch and Cassidy. Misty just chucking him into a Breeding Center to make him better is kinda insulting, the tape was blatant abuse and the fact that Misty blamed Psyduck for not being there to score her free food was very irritating. This is only compounded by the fact that she barely made any effort to get Psyduck out and LEFT HIM THERE after they got discovered. Let me remind you that James stopped and retrieved his Victreebel as they were trying to escape. You’re not as caring as James, Misty. Come on.

I would say he at least got some appreciation through that Psyduck fanboy chef at the end, but Psyduck honestly just had to put up with the chef being creepy while Misty stuffed her ice cream hole.

I have to stop going on angry tangents on episodes I like.

Speaking of episodes I like, NEXT EPISODE IS THE FIRST CINNABAR ISLAND EPISODE!

Cinnabar Island is my favorite Kanto Gym and one of my favorite Gyms ever, and I really love this two-parter for a variety of reasons, so I can’t wait to dive into it.

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Pokemon Episode 56 Analysis – The Ultimate Test

CotD(s): None. (I’m not counting the exam instructor. He’s doesn’t even get a name.)

Plot: Misty prods Ash about his lack of Gym matches lately, further expounding the topic by saying he could hope to get a pity badge next time. Ash becomes very angry at this, and Snap suggests proving his worth as a Trainer and bypassing the next two Gym battles by taking the Pokemon League Admissions Exam – a one-time test you can take to earn a special badge that allows you to gain immediate admittance into the Pokemon League.

Ash signs up, as do Jessie and James, who both seemingly have secret aspirations of being Pokemon Masters. The Nurse Joy from Fuchsia City has also signed up, being unable to travel for badges due to her job.

The first exam starts and it’s a trivia test about various Pokemon. Ash does fairly well for a bit, but the questions soon start tripping him up.

The second exam begins, and it’s centered around identifying Pokemon by parts of their body or silhouettes. The hints are incredibly vague, and Ash, Jessie and James get each answer wrong due to the questions being either tricks or just flatout stupid.

Jessie gets so frustrated that she leaves the test and is expelled.

With Jessie out, James and Ash discover that they’re the other two bottom scorers in the group. Joy scored near the top, however.

The final test is a practical exam where all of the applicants participate in a Pokemon battle with the test proctors. The hitch is that the participants must use premade Pokemon teams made of specially trained Pokemon from the organizers. They’ll have no idea which Pokemon are in the Pokeballs until they throw them out in battle.

James is ecstatic to get a Pikachu, but fails in taking down the instructor’s Graveller with it. He throws out his other two Pokeballs, which contain an Ivysaur and a Charizard, when he gets frustrated. However, he’s instantly thrown out due to using multiple Pokemon at once.

Ash is up next, and his first Pokeball contains a Weezing, which he’s not too thrilled about, but at least he knows Weezing’s moves thanks to James always using one when they battle. The instructor throws out a Flareon. Ash manages to pull out a win with Weezing, but the battle’s not over yet.

The instructor throws out a Jolteon. Ash’s next Pokemon is an Arbok, which he basically has the same reaction as he did to Weezing, but, again, he knows relatively how to use one since it’s Jessie’s main Pokemon.

He forgets about Jolteon’s spikes, however, and damages Arbok while attempting to use Wrap. One more attack by Jolteon, and it’s down for the count.

The instructor’s final Pokemon is Vaporeon. Ash’s last Pokemon is, to complete the irony trifecta, a Meowth. However, it’s barely out of its Pokeball before the enemy Vaporeon freezes it with an Ice Beam.

Team Rocket’s Meowth is furious at the abuse of a fellow Meowth, so he runs out onto the battlefield, scratches up Ash’s face and frees the Meowth from the ice.

The instructor, intrigued by a talking Meowth, tries to capture him, but Jessie and James stop him with the Pokemon James used in his test. They want revenge, and they try to attack the instructor. They fail to realize that the instructor is the one who originally trained all of the test Pokemon, so he merely commands them to obey him now and sics them all on Team Rocket.

Ash follows suit and commands his test Pokemon to attack as well. He commands Weezing to use Explosion, and Team Rocket blasts off.

With Team Rocket’s intrusion, they’re forced to call off the exam and nullify everyone’s progress so far. Ash decides to forego taking the exam again and goes off to Cinnabar Island to get his next Gym badge.

Meanwhile, Snap is trying to tend to Meowth, who was injured in the explosion, only to find his ‘friends’ left without him. The instructor takes Meowth, happy to have ‘captured’ the talking Meowth he wanted. Team Rocket, however, is confounded to discover their Meowth is the test Meowth.

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– Simply moving the mouths up and down while the voice actors go ‘Om nom nom’ and hold small bits of food to their mouths – animation perfection.

– Why is Misty confused by Snap bringing up the Pokemon League Admissions Exam? As a Gym Leader (formerly) shouldn’t she know what that is?

– There’s something really weird with the animation as the frame pans while Ash says ‘Yeah, nobody I’m not better than…’ The kid with the weirdly colored Caterpie hat and the girl behind the couch jut around a lot like the shot was poorly digitally painted. But since I can’t find any other evidence of 4Kids meddling here, I’m left to assume it’s just an odd animation error.

– Let’s go over my opinion of the admissions exam here to save some time. A lot of what I’m going to say was already covered by Dogasu, but just to cover my own bases:

I really like the idea of a difficult in-depth test that you can take for the sake of getting immediate admittance into the Pokemon League. Like Pokemon Tech, it’s cool to see that there are alternative options in place for people who simply don’t have the time or capability to travel the world and get badges from various gyms – and this one doesn’t seem to require a ton of money and god knows how many years of commitment to complete like Pokemon Tech. You can just arrive, prove your meddle and gain admittance.

As we see throughout the series, plenty of people become amazing Pokemon Trainers without ever leaving home, so this is a great option.

Problem is both the written and practical exams are bullshit. Granted, the practical exam is less so, but the written exam is some of the biggest bullshit ever. In Pokemon Tech, the knowledge you had to have on Pokemon was insane. You had to know some things by memory that a lot of hardcore Pokemon fans wouldn’t be able to tell you without Googling it. Even the kids at a mere four badge level were prattling on with Pokemon facts like they were old Pokemon Researchers, and even they would call out this test for being stupid.

Why do you need to know Pokemon silhouettes, especially when they’re manipulated to look like several other things? Why do you need to be able to identify a Pokemon by a small part of them, especially when they’re ridiculously vague? Why are some of the questions mind-bogglingly simple while others are outright unfair?

Even the characters are pointing out how insane this part of the test is. Rarely do I ever side with anything Jessie does, but the fact that she called foul and walked out was perfectly reasonable in this instance.

I have no qualms about having a practical exam because that’s completely understandable when testing entrants for the Pokemon League. It’s how they go about it that makes it ineffective in what it’s supposed to be testing. I’ll go into more detail later.

I’m just really disappointed in how this test is set up. This is a fully solid idea for bypassing badges and it’s wasted on this unfair pointless silliness. I felt bad hearing Joy say this test is a great idea for anyone whose age, health or life keeps them from going to get badges knowing what I know now. I can’t imagine anyone actually passes this test without cheating.

Other than money and time, the only ridiculous part of Pokemon Tech was somehow believing that you could become a Trainer of high enough skill to enter the Pokemon League….without seemingly ever having non-sterilized robotic simulation battles or catching your own Pokemon and gaining real world experience.

– Still on the subject of the test as a whole, I’m a little surprised Ash wants to take this exam anyway. Is it just to prove his skills as a Trainer to Misty before continuing on his actual journey? Because it doesn’t seem like he enjoys the idea of using shortcuts to get into the Pokemon League.

Jessie and James entering is similarly odd. I thought for sure this was a scheme to steal Pokemon, but they both honestly wanted to take the test to see if they were good enough Trainers to pass.

– It’s only been a minute or two since Ash entered and he got number seven. Jessie was signing up at the same time and got number 634. Despite James appearing later than both of them, his number is 546. What is the weird numbering system here? (I am aware that the numbers are Japanese puns on Jessie and James’ original names – still doesn’t make sense.)

– Surprised 4Kids left in a mention and visible presence of wine.

– I really like Meowth teasing Jessie and James about lying to take the admissions exam. It’s adorable.

– And they follow that up with distracting Meowth with a ball of yarn. So cute!

– Hey, just for fun, let’s take the test with Ash and others. Whatdya say!?

Q1 – Lickitung’s tongue is twice the length of its body – True or false?

A1 – Here’s a snag right off the bat. In the anime, Ash’s Pokedex says Lickitung’s tongue is more than twice the length of its body. Ash actually remembers this, oh my god, so he marks his answer as false.

Lickitung’s height is listed as 3’11, which means in order for it to be twice the length of its body, the tongue would have to be 7’10. The Pokedex entries in the games are fairly inconsistent because one says the tongue is over 6’6, another says it’s almost seven feet, and several others just claim it is exactly twice the length of its body.

So either Ash’s Pokedex is wrong, the conversion to feet from meters was muddled somehow, no one really knows how long a Lickitung’s tongue truly is, it differs based on some variables or D) all of the above, meaning any answer is correct, but also incorrect in some way.

Q2 – Ninetales evolves from Vulpix only by use of the Fire Stone – True or false?

A2 – While this question is insanely easy, I guess it’s meant to trip up people who might think it evolves through leveling?

Also, taking the time out now to say it’s really obvious that Ash has never gone to an actual school before. He won’t shut the hell up or even whisper as he’s talking to himself through the test. He’s literally yelling out his answers to each question, particularly this one. “Aw, that’s too easy. True, TRUE!”

He’d be getting thrown out of there almost immediately. At the very least, he’d get dirty looks from his neighbors, but not a single person is paying him any mind. Must because they’re all painted into the background and aren’t animat—I mean, they must be really focused.

Q3 – Hitmonlee is also known as ‘The Punching Demon.’ – True or false?

A3 – Ash: “Let’s see….it’s either Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan that’s the puncher.” Gee, which one is known as the ‘The Punching Demon’? The one with hands so weird I question whether it can make a fist and clearly has long, strong legs….or the Pokemon who has literal boxing gloves for hands?……..Hmmmmm…..

Ash: “Aaaahhhhhhhhhh I THINK IT’S TRUE!”….Wha….what the….Huh? You managed to remember some minor fact about a Pokemon I only barely remember you using the Pokedex on…….but you can’t remember whether Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan is the punching Pokemon.

Wanna know what’s even worse? His Pikachu had a literal BOXING MATCH with a Hitmonchan! You remember the one. It was owned by the guy who’s currently caring for the Primeape Ash has clearly already forgotten about.

I was going to be nice and say maybe he was experiencing test anxiety here and he just blanked on the answer, but this is a little too obvious for him to not get it even then. I’d be hard-pressed to go that route anyway since he’s so confident in his answers up until this point that he’s been yelling them out. (He’s still doing it, by the way.)

I was even going to throw him a bone and say maybe he’s just mixing up their names, but there’s a picture of the damn Hitmonlee on the screen, so it’s veritably impossible for him to do that.

Q4 – The only attack Magikarp originally knows is Splash – True or false?

A4 – What does ‘originally know’ mean? Like the only move it knows once it’s hatched? I only ask because I feel like it’s a bit of a myth that Magikarp only knows Splash considering that’s the move it’s most famous for using, and most of what Magikarp does is, well, splash around. Magikarp can also learn Tackle at level 15, so the answer is technically false, but since the wording is vague, we can’t know for certain.

I do love the throwback to James’ Magikarp woes, though.

Q5 – Caterpie is the world’s smallest Pokemon – True or false?

A5 – I don’t think Caterpie’s size has ever been a particularly notable trait of this Pokemon. Back in Gen I, this one could easily be considered true (It’s not. Diglett’s smaller….Though how do any of us really know how big Diglett is considering no one ever sees its lower half?….Hm.) Nowadays, it doesn’t even make the top 25.

Also, the image 4Kids uses for Caterpie here was overly cropped because they cut a part out of its neck so you can see the purple background through it.

Ya know, if anyone should be doing well on this test, it’s Jessie. This is Johto hindsight talking, but now we know that she trained to be a Pokemon nurse (Kinda…she trained in a school for Chansey) and she was good at it.

Not to mention that most of the Pokemon they’ve been asking about are Pokemon that she’s either owned or used. She owns a Lickitung, she used a Hitmonlee, James has a Koffing, and she obviously has experience with Magikarp.

Q6 – Koffing was first discovered in a public bathhouse – True or false?

A6 – I can’t find any information on this outside of Koffing’s Wiki stating one of the Koffing cards in the TCG explains that it was discovered in a weapons factory. Considering Koffing utilizes poison gas, not steam, I’m more apt to believe the weapons factory theory. However, Koffing is meant to be heavily connected to air pollution, right? And its beta name was Ny, a poke at New York City, referencing the air pollution there.

All in all, the answer is probably false, and even the TCG’s explanation is….likely wrong. It’s more plausible than a bathhouse anyway.

I can’t really take Exam #2 with them due to the way it’s designed, but let’s address every question anyway. Every question is about identifying a Pokemon by a small part of its body or a silhouette.

Q1

A1 – The ridiculousness of this question is two-fold. If you can’t see the size of the Pokemon, it’s basically impossible to determine if this is one of two known perfectly round Pokemon – Voltorb or Electrode.

But the real stupidity comes in it being a Jigglypuff……seen from above…..Kiss my ass, instructor.

On a side note, in the Japanese version, the ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment also used this same trick, but it was after this scene had already played so it was more of a joke than it was an unfair question….like this is.

Why does the Voltorb in Ash’s selection screen look so depressed?

Why does James think it’s a Pokeball when the exam instructor specifically said it’s a picture of a Pokemon?

Q2

A2 – It’s a Poliwag, not Poliwhirl or Poliwrath because the direction of the spiral changes when it evolves.

Before I get to the meat and potatoes of why this question is bunk too, I’d like to point out that 4Kids used the wrong image on the screen when they explain why the answer is Poliwag. They use a picture of Poliwrath instead of the Poliwhirl they’re referencing. 4Kids, you keep making this mistake and it drives me bonkers. I gave you a pass the first couple of times (which is future-watching hindsight, but still) but now it’s just getting annoying.

Here’s a very subtle hint to discern Poliwhirl and Poliwrath. The angry looking one….or the WRATHFUL looking one is probably PoliWRATH.

Instructor: “As any Master would know….” Shut your face. And put your condescending finger down.

This question is entirely bullshit for several reasons. A decent-ish chunk of fans know about the swirl reversing directions upon evolving thing, but I can bet almost everyone who knows that much don’t know 1) Which evolution the swirl changes on, Poliwhirl or Poliwrath, and 2) What direction the swirl starts at.

BUT even if you somehow know that off the top of your head, this is still unfair and a trick question because, according to its Dex entries, Poliwag’s swirl direction changes depending on the area it originates from, and would switch direction when it evolves. Meaning that swirl pattern could literally belong to ANY of the Pokemon in the Poli line (Except Politoed, but he doesn’t exist yet)…..As any Master would know.

Ash, in this situation, would technically be correct with Poliwhirl.

Also, while Jessie’s answer of ‘An Arbok all coiled up’ employs the same stupid logic this whole test has, I’d think an Ekans all coiled up would make a better spiral pattern. Arbok’s hood would mess it up.

Q3

Again, such an insanely vague image. It’s a fire. Seven Pokemon in Gen I have flames on them – Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Ponyta, Rapidash, Magmar and Moltres. You’d have to have a psychotic level of attention to detail to discern between them all properly.

Instructor: “For your information, young lady, a Pokemon Master must understand all aspects of their Pokemon’s life in order to achieve oneness with their Pokemon!” Oh shut. up.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but we’ve never actually seen a person who is proven to be a Pokemon Master, right? Even when you win any of the Pokemon League conferences, you’re far from a Master. Even if you beat the Elite Four and the Champion, you’re still not a Master. Even if you catch all of the Pokemon in existence, even somehow the legendaries, you’re still technically not done because there are always more Pokemon to discover, more challenges to beat etc.

I can bet if you asked anyone who did do all of those things, however, if these questions are in any way vital to being a Pokemon Master, they’d laugh in your face. They’d tell you it’s more about learning about them through experiences, connections, friendships, battles, victories, losses, care-taking, hardships and, yes, textbook research, but not this crap. They wouldn’t be stripped of their eligibility to be a Pokemon Master just because they didn’t know which FIRE Pokemon had a specific FLAME on it.

This test isn’t even a Pokemon Master certification exam – it’s a test for entrance into the Indigo League tournament. All of this is such a joke.

I feel like this test is designed by people who want to feel like super smart Pokemon Masters because they know all the answers by default and can giggle at the people having trouble and getting frustrated.

Also, ‘must understand all aspects of their Pokemon’s life’? Uh, what if the people taking the test don’t own the Pokemon you’re listing? Why would they have ridiculous levels of ‘knowledge’ about Pokemon they don’t own?

If you still wanted to keep this portion of the test, maybe ask each Trainer what their first Pokemon was or which Pokemon have they had the longest and grab a test specifically about that Pokemon? Or maybe a test designed around their current Pokemon team? (You can have tests set up for each Pokemon and mix the questions randomly to fit the Trainer’s team.) That would make more sense here. It’d still be kinda dumb because I don’t see why you need to know this stuff simply to gain entry into the Pokemon League, but it’d be better.

…….The answer was Ponyta, by the way. Not that it matters.

For the sake of somewhat fairness, Ash should’ve at least taken Ponyta (and Rapidash) into consideration since he’s had experience with both. He’s at least yet to see a Magmar or Moltres. All he listed off as possibilities were Charmander, Charmeleon and Charizard, though.

– Aw, Meowth sleeping on a ball of yarn.

– Seems kinda mean to have a TV set up specifically to shame the lowest scoring participants. Also, I don’t believe anyone actually got a high score. Either everyone got similarly bad scores and those are just the least bad or ya’ll cheated.

– I like that James feels a stronger desire to succeed to sort of avenge Jessie now.

– You know how I mentioned the Japanese version’s ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment used the ‘Jigglypuff as seen from above’ thing? 4Kids could’ve done the same here easily, but they opted to using a Vulpix because why would they even attempt to be fun?

Now for the least bullshit but still pretty bullshit part – the practical exam.

If there’s anything you’d expect to be a part of this exam, it’s Pokemon battles. However, they somehow manage to even make that unfair.

Each participant is given a set of Pokeballs with an undisclosed set of Pokemon in them. The Pokemon are all fully trained and are told to obey the commands of the Trainers who are using them during the test.

The concept of this is fairly understandable. A really good Pokemon Trainer will be able to adapt to whatever Pokemon they receive, will know enough about Pokemon to use their abilities properly and come out on top no matter what team they get.

I say ‘fairly’ because most Pokemon Trainers learn about a Pokemon’s battle style and abilities by training them and battling with them over time. You can research their moves, but that also might be pointless here because you don’t know what moves these Pokemon know or what level they’re at.

Also, these teams are very unbalanced. Having a Pokemon battle while the participants are using Pokemon they probably have no experience with and might be a load of crap vs. what might be/probably is a powerhouse lineup is a bit janky.

I’d be pretty pissed if I got Ash’s given garbage team (Two Poison Types and a Normal – and I’m aware this is on purpose as irony) Meanwhile, even though he lost, James got a very balanced and awesome team of a Charizard, an Ivysaur (yeee, Ivysaur! <3) and a Pikachu.

Problem is, it feels like the instructors aren’t choosing blindly. The only evidence I have to the contrary is Nurse Joy’s proctor using a Charmander when she was using a Squirtle, but the instructor just happened to get a Graveler when James threw out a Pikachu? Then, in Ash’s match, he just happened to get a full set of all the Eeveelutions?

As we’ll later hear, the instructor trained all of these Pokemon, so he has an additional advantage. We’ve seen before that part of a Pokemon’s true strength and capabilities in battle are due to its strong bond with its Trainer. Everything they’ve gone through, everything they’ve learned together etc. That creates a power and synchronicity that you can’t get with randomly selected Pokemon someone else trained.

Wouldn’t a better arrangement be having a bunch of practical exams with the applicant using their own Pokemon first? Like seeing how they react to certain battle situations, what they’d do in applying the Pokemon’s skills in a real-life emergency, properly caring for the Pokemon, etc. then have the final hurdle being seeing if you can win matches in a mini-tournament and each round you get a random selection of Pokemon in balanced teams? Perhaps you could not let the instructor who trained them act as a proctor for this test?

Actually, now that I’m really thinking about it, if this exam is meant to bypass the eight Gym matches, why not just hold eight very difficult battles that the applicants have to win? You could have different stipulations for each battle, make the teams themed, etc. maybe make the test last a few days so you won’t get people and Pokemon too fatigued. Am I making too much sense?

– I get that, in a way, they, for some reason, want this test to look ridiculous to be funny for the audience, but all it’s doing is making the test look unfair and goofy. You can just make the questions insanely hard but fair. Or are the writers too lazy to do that much?

– I love Jessie’s reaction when James explains how much he knows of Pikachu’s moveset because they’ve been attacked by Pikachu so many times he knows all of his attacks by heart.

– But that pales in comparison to James gushing over being able to command a Pikachu to do Thunderbolt. He is adorable.

– Graveler attacked without commands. Either my notes about having a strong bond with your Pokemon are a little too correct and he didn’t need to command it for it to know what he wanted it to do, or these Pokemon aren’t as well-trained as he’d want us to believe.

– Instructor: “You should’ve known that Electricity doesn’t work on Rock Pokemon.”

…..Are….Are you serious right now?…..Is this a prank?……This instructor, who was acting like knowing random superfluous facts about Pokemon and identifying them via vague parts of their body is something all Pokemon Masters should know and like he knows all of this stuff off the top of his head…….Is claiming that Rock types that are immune to Electric types…..when….it’s….Ground.

That’s the kind of mistake I’d expect from Ash, and even he’d probably know better given his past and the fact that his trademark Pokemon is a Pikachu (though I won’t say he certainly would know because…it’s Ash). You just lost any and all validity as an instructor for this test. Pack up your aerial shots Jigglypuffs and go home.

– Also, if the instructor is choosing randomly, James just got forked out the gate by sheer chance because what is a Pikachu supposed to do against a Graveler?

Just to be thorough, I looked up Pikachu’s Gen I moveset, and it only has Electric and Normal Type moves (and two Psychic, but they’re abilities, not attacks).

It can learn two Fighting moves via TMs but I’m going to assume they’re not going teach these Pokemon TM moves and not tell the participants because that’s also unfair.

Switching out is not allowed in these matches either as it defeats the point of adapting to battle conditions, so…yeah, even more unfair.

– It’s a bit insulting that James also says ‘That’s bad’ when Ash shows he got a Weezing. Have some respect for your Pokemon, James.

– I love Ash’s face when Snap takes those pictures of him, though.

– Despite the bullshittery of this test, I will give Ash all the credit he deserves for at least winning one of these matches, and with a Weezing no less.

– Team Rocket taking notes on Ash’s battle techniques is hilarious.

– Arbok’s face when Ash is trying to remember Arbok’s attacks is also really funny.

But, Ash, you fight Arbok all the time. You should know its attacks as well as Team Rocket knows Pikachu’s.

– Instructor: “Too bad you overloaded Jolteon’s spikes!” Lots of places have pointed out this error, but because this statement bugged the hell out of me as a kid, he meant to say ‘overlooked.’

Instructor: “Sizing up your opponent before an attack is a fundamental rule!” Stop acting like you know everything, you putz.

– Weird how Ash was devastated when he got Arbok and Weezing, but he seems downright amused and happily surprised at getting a Meowth.

– I’ll give Ash a bit more of a pass for not knowing Meowth’s attacks off the bat because Meowth doesn’t battle nearly as often.

– Meowth: “USE THE FURY SWIPES!” Thanks for the cheering/assistance, Meowth, but maybe wait until his opponent has sent out his Pokemon.

– Instructor: “Looks like another victory for me.” Again. Shut. Up.

– Why did Meowth scratch up Ash? All he did was exactly what Meowth told him to do – commanding the test Meowth to use Fury Swipes. The instructor/Vaporeon froze it.

– Ohhohohohoh….So not only is the instructor an idiot when it comes to knowing type advantages, but he’s also an Ash-level ignoramus because he tries to catch Meowth without battling it first. How utterly unprofessional of him to try to catch a Pokemon in the middle of the testing grounds during an examination anyway. Someone fire this guy.

– Excuse me, why was James allowed to keep those Pokemon after he was kicked out?

– Ash: “Don’t interfere with my test!” Despite my comment, your test is over, Ash. You lost the match. Considering you also got one of the bottom three lowest written exam scores too, I’d say you’ve sufficiently flunked.

– Holy crap, Ash! Overkill much? You put a twenty foot crater in the arena floor.

– Instructor: “I am terribly sorry, everyone. Team Rocket’s intrusion has interfered with the entire examination. We have to start over from the very beginning.” What!? Ash’s test was over, and Team Rocket’s intrusion lasted all of a minute. You can say you can’t continue the practical exams because the arena was destroyed but 1) That was Ash’s fault, he could’ve defeated them without blowing the place up 2) You can just battle somewhere else, people do it all the time, and 3) Ash’s test was over, and, considering they were doing them one at a time, no one else’s test was affected by the intrusion.

But even if you, for some reason, can’t continue the test, can’t you just say ‘Hey, guys, we gotta make repairs. Anyone who didn’t complete their practical exam, come back in the morning of whenever the repairs are done and we’ll continue. Everyone else, here are your results, we’ll do the rest of the exam, whatever it is/if there is more in the afternoon after everyone has completed the practical portion.’?

More importantly, why are the results of their previous two exams void? I can understand maybe if Ash won and did well, and it seemed like he might pass, so the writers did this to force him to go back on his journey and retain the status quo, but he didn’t. He lost in his practical exam, he did terrible on the written portions – outside of the off-chance of the instructor being a pity badger for him helping defeat Team Rocket, he had no hope of passing.

Just seems like you’re being a, sorry for the overuse of this word but, unfair jerk to all of these people just because a couple of criminals bothered you for a minute.

– Why is Misty holding Togepi like that?

– Instructor: “I’m sure you’ll pass this time.” Uh, what makes you say that? Defeating Team Rocket is hardly a mark of skill, and you were about to do it effortlessly without Ash’s help. He went way overboard and destroyed your arena. He did poorly on all three exams. He nearly killed two people and numerous Pokemon a minute ago by blowing them up. What are you seeing that is indicating increased intelligence or skill since five minutes ago?

Unless that line is indicating that he’d rig the test for him. Wouldn’t be surprised at this point.

– It wasn’t just that one frame – Misty’s holding Togepi really awkwardly for no reason. Also Togepi’s drawn weird now too (Why is it so skinny and where are its arms?)

– Nice of Ash and the others to completely forget and leave Snap behind.

– Also nice that Meowth got badly wounded in the explosion and Snap was the only one to notice or care.

– Instructor: “I finally caught my talking Meowth!” 1) It was handed to you badly wounded, you didn’t catch anything. 2) You don’t know if this Meowth has a trainer or not. 3) You’re not more concerned over the fact that it’s badly wounded? 4) Shut up.

– If you want proof of Ash’s overly destructive behavior, not only do you have the destroyed arena and the injured Meowth, but you also have the innocent test Meowth who was injured and blasted off with Team Rocket. Way to go.

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This episode could’ve been really interesting if taken seriously, and it could’ve been hilarious if it were just Ash and Team Rocket, three very incompetent people, being taken aback by difficult or even average tests. If the Pokemon Tech episode was about the importance of real world experience, maybe this episode could’ve been about the importance of actually studying, researching, learning about the field you’ve decided to develop a….I guess we’ll call it a ‘career’ in.

Maybe have Ash realize that being a Pokemon Master is a much bigger goal than he realized and he needs to really buckle down and get serious with his studying and training if he’s ever going to reach that dream.

….Nope. Just Ash is a really good Trainer as is, despite completely flunking every test, all because he beat Team Rocket. Nothing wrong with what he’s doing. Move on to the next Gym and forget this ever happened.

Not to mention, Joy’s role was really weird. Why was she even here? Just to show someone actually doing well in this circus they call a test? She shows up, we see her scores, but not her taking the exam (we see her briefly when Jessie leaves, that’s it.) We see her beat a proctor’s Charmander with a Squirtle, then we see her bummed that her test has been invalidated before she just says bye to everyone.

I can get angry about a lot of aspects of this episode, and I kinda did at points, but ultimately I feel like this episode is a waste of time and a waste of a good concept. Granted, I wouldn’t want Ash to pass the test and skip the final two Gyms (Especially Cinnabar because Blaine’s my favorite) but maybe have a CotD try to go through it and fail or succeed and Ash learns through him/her while trying to help them prepare?

I think I have more suggestions on how this episode could’ve been better than I have ragey complaints. Despite several intentionally funny shots, the art and animation for this episode was wonkier than usual, but that’s kinda offset by the fairly funny moments that were actually intentional. That’s about all I got left for complaints.

……..That instructor definitely needs to be fired, though.

Next time, competent Team Rocket members?! The debut of Butch and Cassidy!

…..Previous Episode


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Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 08 (Sub) Advanced Generation The Movie: Mew and the Wave Hero, Lucario Review

Plot: Many years ago, the land was rife with war. Two opposing factions threatened the kingdom’s safety, and a hero named Sir Aaron and his faithful partner, Lucario, were the only ones with any hope of saving it. As Lucario asked his master for guidance, Sir Aaron claimed he had forsaken the crown and abandoned the kingdom.

Baffled at this supposedly betrayal, Lucario finds himself sealed within Sir Aaron’s staff as he seems to run away when the kingdom needs him most. After Sir Aaron left, the kingdom miraculously found peace and Sir Aaron was proclaimed as a hero for whatever he might have done to save the land.

Back in the present, in the mystical and beautiful town of Rota, lies Celeran Castle where the current Queen of the land is holding the annual festival in honor of Sir Aaron. Satoshi, Haruka, Takeshi and Masato arrive to partake in the festivities. Satoshi wins a Pokemon battle tournament for the festival and is given the title of Hero of the Wave.

He’s given Sir Aaron’s real staff to hold during the festival, but suddenly starts hearing voices from within the staff. Suddenly, the staff shines brightly and unleashes Lucario who is blindsided by the new era he finds himself in. However, he quickly remembers the betrayal of his master and is consumed with confusion and bitterness, especially in the face of Satoshi with his strong bond with Pikachu.

When Pikachu is accidentally taken away by the local Mew to the Tree of World’s Beginning, Lucario is tasked by Queen Ilene to help him find his friend. Is the truth behind Sir Aaron’s ‘betrayal’ going to be uncovered along the way?

Breakdown:

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN1

20 Minute Mark

The original also has that ‘Before Monster Balls existed’ “error.” Though, coincidentally, this is explained through text on the screen instead of narration because, say it with me now, kids can’t read.

Sir Aaron is actually Arlon…..though, considering r and l are interchangeable in Japanese, it’s not too much of a stretch. Also, according to the Wiki, it’s surmised that Arlon’s name is derivative from the prophet, Aaron; Moses’ brother in the bible. 4Kids probably wasn’t going for that for obvious reasons, but considering the possible origin, it’s a totally understandable change.

It still really bothers me that Aaron doesn’t seem to give a crap about his crash-landed and injured Pidgeot.

Ya know, you’d think more people would gun for a Hero of the Wave costume in this festival, especially since the prize for winning the tournament is to be named Hero of the Wave for the year, but it seems like only Satoshi wants to.

New theme song this time around. It’s alright. A little catchy and pretty easy on the ears, but nothing too great to me.

Ilene says Satoshi is allowed to merely hold the staff, she doesn’t imply that it’s his. Nitpicky still, but eh.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN2

40 Minute Mark

The thing I find ironic about the whole ‘The Hero cannot leave his seat’ thing is that if that were the real Sir Aaron, he’d probably be allowed to get up and join the party.

If both Haruka and Musashi fall for the same guy and both seemingly have a chance, something’s creepy.

I didn’t even notice the Celebi toy box and legendary birds merry-go-round. Damn, I want those too.

I still can’t get over how stupid Kidd’s plan is. She is seemingly such a smart and damn near perfect person yet she’s so sloppy with this.

Kojirou correctly surmises that Lucario’s been locked away for hundreds of years, not thousands.

Why does Masato instantly know what a Mew looks like but not a Lucario?

Kidd says she went there to go to the Tree of World’s origins and unlock its secrets. If that’s true, why start at the castle and why try to get the tracker on Mew?……Did….she not know where it was?…..Give you a hint. It’s that gigantic tree that’s actually a mountain. I know it’s so terribly hard to see, but use your binoculars and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN3

Hour Mark

Aura was originally called the wave.

I’m going to revise something I said in the dub review for a minute. I didn’t realize the group was actually halted by the geysers and just decided to bathe in a nearby hot spring while they waited. Chalk it up to completely derping during watching or some dialogue change I didn’t catch, I dunno. I’m still gonna call foul here a little because I really think the car could make it around those geysers with no problem.

It’s so cute when Lucario purrs.

The whole ‘Satoshi and Aaron have the exact same wave’ thing is present in both versions. Irritating and nonsensical either way.

While Satoshi does claim that Lucario’s story is a bunch of bull, he doesn’t accuse Lucario of being the one who betrayed Aaron like Ash does.

So, even in the original version Lucario says to never abandon Pikachu specifically and not ‘any of his Pokemon’. Seriously, sometimes you have to wonder how jealousy and Pokemon rivalry doesn’t come into play more often in this series considering playing favorites is so common.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN4

Hour and 20 Minute Mark

It’s kinda cute when Haruka helps Masato climb up the crystals.

How the hell has no one discovered or studied this place yet? I know, the Regis and blah blah, but if a bunch of kids could get passed them I don’t see why adults couldn’t. Even if they had to call in skilled Pokemon trainers to help. It’s not like it’s in some inaccessible area. You can easily drive to it and walk into it. And it’s not like it’s hidden either, it’s a gigantic mountain in plain sight for miles with tons of legends surrounding it.

Hm….Listening closely to what Regice is saying, it really does sound like he’s saying Regi-Ice and not Redge-ice, despite how it’s spelled. Oddly, though, Satoshi still sounds like he’s saying ‘Redge-ice.’ I guess it’s the former, but it’s spelled like the latter? Please just add another I to make me feel better.

PokemonM8SUBSCREEN5

End

I’m starting to think that, while they don’t outright say it, these gloves somehow amplify the wave ability or somehow focus it better. Though, if so, why would a wave master such as Aaron need them and why would he take them off near the end?

Also, Aaron must’ve had small hands if Ash, a ten year old boy, can wear them without issue.

Satoshi merely says, as Sir Aaron and Lucario before him, that the wave is within him. Ash said that Lucario’s aura is with him. Nitpicky a little, but the original is basically honoring the sacrifices and lives of the wave users before him. The dub is basically ‘he lives in you’. Nothing wrong with the change, per se, but it is a change.

Here’s another weird thing; when Satoshi and the others are looking at the altered painting of Lucario and Sir Aaron, we get a closeup of Satoshi as he points out that they were finally reunited. In the dub, 4Kids chose to not include any dialogue here, so it’s a bit awkward to have a closeup of him talking with no sound. They really can’t make up their minds on how they feel about shots like that. Either that or they just put the song over all the credits and didn’t pay attention to the fact that there was voice work there.

Interestingly, there are shots of more talking later with Brock in the gondola, but there’s no audio from it in the original and the same is said of the dub. *shrug*

The original’s ED….is actually not as good as the dub’s in my opinion. The dub’s was similarly moderately high in tempo, but with an air of somberness in its lyrics. The original’s is a bit overly happy with no real somberness to the lyrics.

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Overall, yes, I would say, barring some minor changes and mistakes and the totally predictable ‘let’s skirt around death’ thing, this is definitely 4Kids best dubbing effort that I’ve ever seen from them. The music, most of the writing, a majority of the voice work, the relative lack of edits outside of those that are ‘necessary’, I’m damn near proud of those idiots.

Of course, it’s a bittersweet ending, just like the movie, because it’s yet another reminder that 4Kids had it in them all along to do solid dubbing work and they just chose to be….well, 4Kids.

It’s a shame because dubbing companies for anime aimed purely towards kids isn’t really common anymore. Nelvana’s still dabbling in a couple of shows, DiC hasn’t done an anime since Knights of the Zodiac in 2003; and that’s pretty much all the main ones that still exist to my knowledge. 4Kids could’ve been a great dubbing company for bringing anime to a younger audience in America, but they never cared about anything but money.

I’m not gonna say 4Kids didn’t at least help expose younger audiences to anime. Part of my doing these comparisons was because I used to love old 4Kids dubs like Yugioh and Pokemon. They obviously had a huge impact on many kids of the anime resurgence back in the early 00’s. 4Kids took up most of Kids WB on Saturday mornings, and they took up so much of it that it was eventually full out changed to 4KidsTV at a certain point.

Problem was, most kids didn’t realize that what they were watching was anime. It was so Americanized and filtered that most kids took it as cartoons with weird art. 4Kids never understood that these shows can have a widespread appeal without whitewashing every single thing out of it. I may never have known that what I was watching was anime without the help of a friend of mine who was actually into anime for real and pointed out Japanese versions of stuff like the Pokemon games and Sailor Moon to me.

Every time that I do a comparison with a 4Kids show, I know most of these edits are pointless and stupid, but when they actually do a great job dubbing something I get even more angry since they seem well in the knowledge that what they do to shows is mostly pointless and stupid. I know these shows need some tampering to coincide with American laws, such as the card paint edits in Yugioh because of advertisement laws in kids shows and some instances of violence, alcohol and whatnot, but to say 4Kids went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to edits is a huge understatement. They were just determined to be as kid-ified, paranoid, xenophobic and MURICA’d as humanly possible.

They weren’t even good with money and covering their ass legally what with the several lawsuits from Pokemon and Yugioh’s creators. Their greed lead to their downfall, and it’s both a good thing and kind of a waste.

Sorry for the big tangent, but since this is 4Kids final excursion, I felt it fitting to get that off my chest here. Plus, I don’t have much else to add about the movie. It’s still a great movie that I would gladly watch again. The original Japanese version is only a tiny bit better, mostly in regards to voice acting and not including the very minor changes.

But now, we have to move on from 4Kids. It’s Pokemon USA’s turn up to bat.

Recommended Audience: There’s several mentions of death and some tense moments where you think several characters have died, and a couple of characters do die. However, it’s presented in such a way that’s not horribly traumatic or anything. Still, maybe, just maybe, a parent or guardian would be nice to have around with kids watching this. Just to be safe. 7+


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Yu-Gi-Oh GX Episode 2: Flame Wingman Sub/Dub Comparison

 

Plot: As everyone arrives to start their terms at Duel Academia, Judai and Shou learn about the various aspects of the school including meeting their new roommate, Hayato. However, Judai quickly gets challenged to a late-night duel with Jun Manjoume with their best cards on the line. Will Judai come out a hero or will he be dragged to duel hell?

———————————-

Originally we hear the narrator telling us that Duel Academia is located in the Pacific ocean and students start their semesters in the fall. In the dub, the pilot of the helicopter is telling the new students about how nice the island is.

Daichi’s not such a jerk about answering Judai about the dorm placement in the original. He just says politely that the color of your uniform indicates what dorm you’re placed in. In the dub, he’s all indignant and responds to them questioning if he’s in Slifer Red with “Hmm, yellow sleeves, yellow buttons. I don’t think so.”

Daichi wonders why Judai’s in Slifer/Osiris Red anyway since he beat Cronos, but maybe his tactical exam scores didn’t outweigh his bad written exam scores. Judai also wonders about that same thing with a scowl and Daichi wishes him luck. Judai wishes the same. In the dub, Bastion’s dialogue about the uniform colors is “Don’t tell me you’re just now figuring that out.” Jaden then scowls and rebuts asking if he thinks he’s colorblind. Bastion goes back with the colorblind thing and Jaden laughs it off which is odd. Why get mad with one insult but laugh at another?

Jaden: “This’ll make a sweet pad for out first week here!” GNARLY and GROOVY and dated slang joke!

Shou calls the ancient Seto a Priest as he actually is. In the dub, he calls him a guardian.

Shou asks Judai if he can call him ‘Pharaoh’ but Judai says that seems odd. Then Shou asks if he can call him ‘aniki’/’big bro’ instead. Judai also doesn’t want to agree to that since he doesn’t believe in social standing among duelists, just rivals. (Shou does end up calling him that anyway) In the dub, Jaden tells Syrus that his theory about them being the reincarnations of the Pharaoh and Seto is lame and Syrus sulks.

Originally, there was a picture of a koala bear imposed over Chumley’s/Hayato’s face when he’s first introduced. Judai and Shou freak out and call him a ‘death koala’ to which Hayato responds by yelling not to call him a koala and gives his actual name. In the dub, the picture of the koala bear is gone and Jaden and Syrus merely yell at the sight of him instead of calling him a koala. Chumley doesn’t introduce himself until later.

 

Does 4Kids think kids don’t know what a koala bear is? Do they think it’s a Japan thing? This is perfectly translatable, I just don’t get it. But that’s nothing new.

Name Change: Hayato Maeda is changed to Chumley Huffington.

While the explanation of the color schemes at the school is kept mostly the same, there are some differences between the two versions. Hayato initially calls Osiris Red “The Red Zone” basically to state that anyone in Red is at the highest risk of failing in the school. This isn’t brought up in the dub in lieu of a pointless joke about Parent’s Day. Hayato doesn’t insinuate that some students in Obelisk Blue got in through connections like Chumley states. Hayato also doesn’t call the Osiris Red students “The Red Wonders” to make a joke about how it’s a ‘wonder’ they ever got in to begin with.

I’m a little confused here. Those who start in Obelisk Blue are stated as being fresh out of middle school in the middle school exams with the highest grades. Those starting in Ra Yellow are the ones out of high school with the highest grades (Which I guess explains why Daichi’s in Yellow instead of Blue at the start if he’s so good.)

The positioning is a little weird, but I guess they’re saying it’s more impressive if younger students get higher grades than it is for older students? I suppose Osiris Red are those from either high school or middle school who got really low grades. But it seems unfair for high schoolers who get really high grades to be shafted to Ra Yellow. It’s really confusing.

Originally, Shou says he needs to quit being depressed and fight on to succeed in school. In the dub, Syrus lists off a bunch of hot things, because Jaden said red is awesome because it’s red hot, and ends by saying he’s a big bottle of salsa dip. As he sees Jaden running off he says “Oh wait, I’m not a dip!”

As Judai says he can smell a duel in the air, Shou wonders what he’s talking about. In the dub, Syrus says maybe he could smell the duel too if there weren’t so much pollen in the air.

…Wait…severe self-confidence issues, glasses, blue hair, complaining about health issues, overachieving big brother….Oh God, Syrus is Joe from Digimon!

Judai doesn’t mess up Jun’s name in the original, he just asks who he is. In the dub, Jaden calls Chazz ‘Chuzz.’

Jun’s friends mention that Jun’s a first year like them, but he got such high grades on the middle school exam that he got into Obelisk Blue.

In the flashback, they edit out Jaden talking to Crowler.

Judai tells Asuka, since she took the time to warn him about Jun and sent them away, that she must’ve fallen in love with him at first sight. In the dub, he gloats that he would’ve beaten Chazz in one turn. One turn, Jaden? Both versions are pretty egotistical, though the original’s just kinda lovable stupidity, but one turn? Come on.

Though they may be drinking from wine glasses, the drinks are supposedly juice in both versions since they’re all kids.

I do have to say, that school is insanely unfair. Yeah, they get bad grades, but compare Blue’s welcome dinner party to Red’s. I’d say they must’ve spent thousands of dollars on Blue’s dinner whereas Red gets bowls of rice and a few fish. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen this kind of thing. Baka no Test has the exact same setup with a different advancement system. Are the crappy abodes supposed to encourage the kids to get into better dorms or is it meant to break their spirits so they drop out? If it’s the latter, then why even allow them in anyway? At least YGOGX kinda has an excuse with Kaiba the elitist being the owner and everything…

In the original, the kids in Red believe their dorm master’s a cat. In the dub, they mistakenly say “headmaster.” Headmaster is the leader of the entire school. Dorm master is just the leader of a dorm.

Name Change: Daitokuji is changed to Lyman Banner or Professor Banner.

In his first appearance, Daitokuji adds ‘nya’ to the end of his sentences I guess because the students mistook him for a cat. This is omitted in the dub. He also mentions that he’s in charge of alchemy for the school (Wait what? Why would they need a class on alchemy in a Duel Academy? Is it like fusion or something? If so, why not just say fusion?) but this is replaced by asking the students something that gets interrupted by Jaden’s obnoxious eating sounds.

Shou calls Judai out for being rude with his loud eating while Daitokuji’s trying to speak. He says it’s “tasteless” to which Judai replies that it (the food) tastes pretty good to him. In the dub, Syrus says the Professor’s trying to ask them to say something about themselves to which Jaden replies “How about this? I’m starving!”…..I really have to ask why people think obnoxious main characters are charming. I mean, Judai’s not that bad, though he has his moments, but Jaden’s downright annoying almost all the time. Having the most annoying character in the group being the main character is incredibly common and I just wonder why.

As expected the instant I saw the teacup, the character on the teacup is painted away.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Jaden: “Wow I’m stuffed. Professor Banner sure can cook!” I seriously doubt your dorm master cooked the food for everyone. Slifer Red may bite, I’m sure they still have meals provided for them.

In the original, Judai and Shou talk about how much food Judai ate. In the dub, they talk about how nice Banner is.

Well this is a gross and mean change. In the original, Hayato tells Shou he doesn’t want any tea, which is perceived as rude. Hayato backtracks and says it’s not because Shou’s a bad cook or anything, he’s just been so upset about their situation in Red that he hasn’t even been able to eat. In the dub, Chumley harshly snaps at Syrus and gives the excuse of him not wanting tea as “tea makes you wet the bed.”…..Ewwww. Pointless changes are bad enough, why change it to something gross?

Judai says this duel will let him see if the dueling elites of Duel Academia are really as good as they say. Jaden says this duel will decide which of them will be the next King of Games.

As the first turn of the Duel ends, Jun thinks to himself that duels will always contain an element of luck as long as drawing cards is involved, but in the end it’s all about strategy. He then declares that their difference in school rank reflects a difference in intelligence which has already decided the duel. All of this is edited out.

The shot that they jump to after that scene has Judai responding that duels aren’t won by being stuck in your head and that his blazing heart will win the duel. In the dub, Jaden just acts like Chazz’s first move is somewhat lame and his move will be bigger.

4Kids adds a splitscreen of Chazz surprised at Jaden’s move when he uses Polymerization. You can tell it’s added in because instead of a clean split – the two screens are scrunched up. Jun does act with surprise at Judai’s move, but the scene is separate.

Subbed:

 

Dubbed:

To add more to the brains vs. heart thing, (more Kaiba flashbacks) Jun says he knew he would summon the Flame Wingman from thoroughly analyzing his duel with Cronos. In the dub, he doesn’t mention this and just goes on with his move.

Today’s eyecatches are Judai and Jun.

 

 

Again, nitpicky, but Judai yells out “Flame Wingman!” as he gets taken. In the dub, Jaden just says “Ugh, my monster!” The former sounds like he’s somewhat losing a friend. The latter sounds like he spilled his drink.

A closeup of Jun talking was edited out. Basically, he says that Judai’s a typical Osiris Red for walking right into a trap. I do have to say…this is the exact same problem I had with Pegasus. Yes, you can predict someone’s moves all you want, but you can’t guarantee that you’ll get the cards that you need on the right turns…

 

Chazz: *in thought* “Go on Jaden. Play another monster. I haven’t forgotten about Flame Wingman’s super power.” SPECIAL ABILITY…or effect. Just because it’s a ‘hero’ card doesn’t mean you need to call their abilities ‘super powers’.

Attack Name Change: Hell Soldier’s Hell Attack is changed to something I can’t hear because of bad sound mixing….Wind Scorp Slash?

Judai and Jaden both say roughly the same thing about loving the fun of dueling, but Jaden acts like the best part of dueling is trash talking and action.

A shot of Shou and Asuka watching Judai draw is edited out.

 

Attack Name Change: Sparkman’s Spark Flash is changed to Static Shock Wave.

Asuka says that Shou’s ‘big brother’ has a lot of heart, but he’s very reckless to just ignore a monster’s effect like that. Shou then says he’s not his real brother, but somewhat of a spiritual brother….Shou, you’re a sweetie, but you’ve known Judai all of a day. I don’t get how you can be so attached to him already.

I guess they edited this out because Syrus doesn’t call Jaden “big bro” though, in all honesty, he could. “Bro” is a common slang phrase in English too, though in this instance it’s more of a Japanese respect thing instead of “Hey bro, wassssssaaappppppp” I guess they didn’t want to be bothered by actually making some dialogue there, so they cut it out instead.

 

 

 

They add a shot of Chazz talking before Jaden makes his move.

You know what I said before about the dub being in love with the “scene shoving” transition? Well, they’re fans of a lot of transitions it seems. Transitions aren’t needed for changes between shots in the same scene…They’re meant to transition between scenes and, even then, they’re not really necessary.

Another scene with Shou and Asuka is edited out. Shou says as Judai turns the duel around “That’s my big bro for ya!” and Asuka says to herself that he’s really good.

 

 

Dub Mistake: Chythonian Soldier is mistakenly called “Infernal Warrior.” Maybe this was a name 4Kids was thinking up before they realized the card had an actual name and they forgot to change it.

Jun’s basically saying his win’s in the bag and he’ll get Judai’s best card thanks to the Ante Rule. The Ante Rule, by the way, is never named in the dub. They just agree to give each other their best cards upon their win.

Another brains and luck mention removed, Jun says duels are 99% intelligence 1% luck…..100% reason to remember the name!…Sorry. And Judai says he’ll be relying on that 1% for his next draw. Chazz gloats, and Jaden says a bunch of disjointed dialogue about having a bond with his monsters.

Asuka says the Ante Rule and using the duel arena this late at night are forbidden. Judai asks if there are really school regulations like that, and Asuka scolds him for not reading his school PDA for the rules and regulations. Jun then blushes and thinks in surprise that Asuka’s been watching him that whole time. Did you seriously not see her? It’s not like she was hiding, she was in plain view the whole time.

Alexis says roughly the same thing, but she doesn’t mention the Ante Rule being against school policy, and she blames Chazz for not telling Jaden about the after-hours rule, which makes him blush. Why does he have a responsibility to tell Jaden the rules of the school? I’m not defending Chazz or anything, but Jaden could’ve read the rules like a responsible student.

Judai refuses to leave where he’s standing out of stubbornness for wanting the duel to resume. Jaden just says that his duel being interrupted stinks.

——————————-

Barring the explanations of some school stuff, this episode was fairly blah. Also, apparently duels don’t last nearly as long as they did in the original series and there are many ‘random’ episodes. Those who got angry at the original series for being too involved in plot and having duels that ran too long may like this, but we’ll see how I fare in the future. I think I remember liking this format better. No duels thusfar have lasted more than half an episode. Both the duel with Cronos and Jun started halfway into the episode.

That will most certainly change, but hopefully it won’t be too dragged out.

Next up is our first duel with Asuka where Shou gets a ‘love letter’ from Asuka and goes off in the middle of the night to the Obelisk Blue Girl’s Dorm to meet her and Judai ends up dueling Asuka to save him from punishment.


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Yu-Gi-Oh Episode 11: Friendship Power! Barbarian #1 & #2 Sub/Dub Comparison

YGOSDCEP11

Plot: Mai has lost her passion for dueling after losing to Jounouchi, so she concocts a plan to have Ryuuzaki beat Jounouchi for her. The catch? Yugi isn’t allowed to give him any advice. Being entirely on his own in the tournament for the first time, can Jounouchi beat Ryuuzaki or will his dinosaurs make him extinct? …..Dammit, 4Kids, stop infiltrating my mind!

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They edit out Anzu’s inner monologue in the dub, which makes it awkward when you suddenly see her before Mai introduces the condition of the duel.

The punch sound is edited out of the dub and Tristan says he was shoved when it’s obvious he was punched in the face….Don’t worry. We’ll have even funnier punch/shove moments than this.

In the original, Mai tells Ryuuzaki that he’ll get his reward after he beats Jounouchi. Jounouchi doesn’t know what she means by that, so he cheekily asks what the reward is, very subtly implying that he thinks it’s something romantic or naughty. In the dub, this is omitted, obviously. They also edit the part where Jounouchi implies he wouldn’t mind being Mai’s slave. Jounouchi’s kinda a perv….

One of the aspects of this season that bugged me was the status of the Flame Swordsman, which changes a couple of times over the course of the first season.

First off, Flame Swordsman is a fusion monster, not a regular monster. However, apparently a regular version of the card was made later on. Jounouchi flip flops back and forth between using a regular version and fusion version yet he regularly summons both instead of performing a fusion.

Secondly, it has no effect; it’s a plain monster, even in this version as shown by the color of the card.

Third, since when is fire strong against dinosaurs and why? Eventually the card stays as a regular monster card, but for this episode 4Kids changes it to its purple fusion appearance when it’s regular yellow in the original. Since I believe the fusion version is the ‘right’ version, at least at this point in time, I’ll give 4Kids some props.

In the original, Jounouchi doesn’t announce that the card he’s placing in the trap field is a Time Wizard. Mai and Ryuuzaki guess that it is, but what idiot would declare what FACE DOWN card he just played? Even if it can’t be sprung as a trap, that’s just stupid.

Overall, I liked this episode. It’s nice to see Jounouchi dueling on his own two feet, and Ryuzaki’s a pretty interesting opponent.

Next episode, Jounouchi’s duel with Ryuzaki concludes. Can he face down the fearsome Red Eyes Black Dragon?


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Pokemon Episode 55 Analysis: Pokemon Paparazzi

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 7

Character Debuts: Snap/Todd/Todd Snap – Since he sticks around for a few episodes and is the ‘star’ of the video game Pokemon Snap, I’ll say this is a debut more than a CotD.

Snap, and that’s what I’m calling him, I’ll explain in a minute, was never all that great of a character to me. He was a little annoying in his arrogance and giving jabs to Ash for no reason. The fact that he’s voiced by Jimmy Zoppi, Gary’s VA, does not help.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like his philosophy in taking pictures of Pokemon without disturbing them…..even though that’s pretty much what all wildlife photographers do because it’s mostly impossible to pose animals unless they’re pets. And, admittedly, he loses his attitude later on. In subsequent episodes, he’s actually fairly boring.

Also, being fair, according to the comparison, Toru, the Japanese version of Snap, is much less of a jerk. He still has an ego, but he doesn’t take potshots at Ash.

He’s also really unique in that he’s a rare CotD who has no Pokemon of his own.

Snap’s character design would later be used for a spin-off Pokemon game called Pokemon Snap, where you take pictures of Pokemon while basically riding in a rail car. Contrary to what you might think, though, this episode was not made as a tie-in. According to Dogasu, Snap’s character design was most likely simply lifted and adapted for the game since the original version of Pokemon Snap had nothing to do with Pokemon at all – it was just a regular photography game. Plus, the airing of this episode and the release of Pokemon Snap don’t match up well enough to really be promotion.

Nabbing up Snap’s character design probably saved them some money on creating an entirely new character for the game, too.

As for Snap’s name, that’s a point that drove me bonkers for years. I caught this episode way, way back in the day when I would get up at like 5:30 AM to watch it and the episodes were airing fresh out the oven. I forget what channel, but I’m 95% sure it wasn’t Kids WB! In that episode, was called Snap.

I catch the episode some time later down the road, probably on Kids WB! this time, and he’s called Todd. I am incredibly confused by this. Every other instance I caught the episode, he was called Todd. It drove me veritably insane because every time I’d ask one of my friends about it, they’d have no clue what I was talking about. He’s named Todd, silly.

It wouldn’t be until several more years down the road when I would look up info on this episode and finally figured out what the snap went on here.

The big conspiracy at the time, and kinda still now, is that Kellogg’s threatened legal action against 4Kids for the name since Snap is one of the trademark character names. They changed it to Todd in their TV airings as a result, but there’s no evidence to suggest this at all. Plus, it’s a flimsy argument to start with, though maybe not without merit fully. I remember Detective Conan had to change their English dub name to Case Closed supposedly because of either Conan from DC or Conan the Barbarian.

Still, it’s not like this is a trio of characters named Snap, Crackle and Pop.

But just to make an unrelated tin foil hat moment, there is a character originally named Pop in another 4Kids show, Magical Doremi, and her name got changed too.

This makes even less sense because the DVD and VHS releases go back to Snap, and every English version that played on TV outside of the US also calls him Snap. In fact, the copy I’m using for this analysis calls him Snap.

Not that any of this really matters, because shortly thereafter they just decided to officially name him Todd Snap. *shrug*

Thus ends my completely unnecessary overly long anecdote. Thank you.

For the record, Snap is an awesome name.

Pokemon: None

Reappear?: Yes. Snap stays on board the team…for some reason, until the end of episode 57. They are really strange about the characters that they bring back, but why Snap just tags along with these guys for three episodes is beyond me.

Plot: As Ash, Misty, Pikachu and Togepi enjoy some riceballs courtesy of Brock, Ash notices a glint in the bushes. He assumes it’s a sniper prepping to shoot them all, so he knocks everyone to the ground. When he shoots the bushes with Squirtle’s Water Gun, he reveals a kid with a camera, who seems more concerned about his camera than himself.

He introduces himself as Snap, the world famous Pokemon photographer with aspirations of being a Pokemon Photo Master. However, Ash and the others have never heard of him. When he brings them to his house, he shows them his photo of the ancient Pokemon Aerodactyl that won him a spot in the magazine, Pokemon Times.

Ash is shocked when he realizes that it’s a picture of the Aerodactyl who grabbed him a while back. He’s even in the picture, even though it’s simply a silhouette so you can’t see him well. When Snap zooms in on the picture, he sees that it is indeed Ash.

He apologizes for scaring the group and offers them some pancakes while he preps to get a shot of Pikachu. However, Pikachu is camera shy and becomes very nervous when he notices Snap trying to get a picture, even if he tells him just to pretend he’s not there. He’s spooked by the camera shutter and shocks Snap.

He tries again, but becomes frustrated because he desperately wants a natural picture of Pokemon, the way they were meant to be seen. His gallery of photographs amazes the trio, showing them how beautiful Pokemon are when they’re undisturbed and happy. Posing just seems fake and makes them scared and uncomfortable.

Since Pikachu’s too scared, the group offers the rest of their Pokemon to have their picture taken, but Snap politely declines saying he wants to only take Pikachu’s picture. He won’t disclose his reasons, however.

Ash begrudgingly tells him to do whatever he wants, but Pikachu won’t be so accommodating. Snap declares that he’ll certainly capture Pikachu perfectly.

Later, as he preps for an attempt to take a picture of Pikachu, he remember an old couple who desperately asked him to ‘capture’ Pikachu for them. It was the old woman’s final wish to have Pikachu, specifically Ash’s, ‘captured’ before she died. Snap, believing they raised a Pikachu similar to that one and want a really good photo (as compared to their terrible ones) to remember it by, agrees.

In present time, Team Rocket decides to help Snap by digging a pitfall trap for the group. As predicted, they fall into it and Snap tries to help them out, confusing Team Rocket. Meowth checks the magazine and finds that he didn’t finish reading – He’s great at capturing Pokemon on film, not simply capturing them.

As Team Rocket realize their mistake, Ash and Pikachu agree to get their picture taken, but Snap realizes that the bottom of the pit is caving in. Suddenly, it breaks, sending Ash and Pikachu into a man-made river. Snap jumps down to give chase. He warns them of an impending waterfall and saves them in the nick of time by sacrificing his camera to use as a rope for Ash to grab onto.

Team Rocket arrives and nabs Pikachu up in a rubber bag. They start tossing bombs at the pair until Ash distracts them by pretending to take their picture, which causes them to ignore the lit bomb in their hands until it blows up in their faces.

With the distraction, Ash is able to climb all the way up to dry land again. He unleashes Bulbasaur and Razor Leafs the lot, freeing Pikachu. Bulbasaur Vine Whips the trio away, into the river and off a different waterfall.

Misty and Brock reunite with Ash and Snap, and they’re surprised to see that they’ve become friends. Snap takes a group photo of them all to commemorate their newfound friendship before they continue on their journey.

———————————-

– Ash: “These Riceballs are pretty good!”

They said the R word! :0

– Ash sees a glint in the bushes and his immediate thoughts are ‘It’s a sniper! Brock and the others are going to get shot to death! Must knock them all away and attack the threat!’ I know I joke about the guns in Pokemon….but does Ash have PTSD? I mean, with all the encounters with Team Rocket and their bombs and guns and other antagonists with their guns and bombs, it’d be fully understandable. I kinda feel bad for him.

While we’re on the topic, though, what the hell, 4Kids? Why would you keep in a semi-graphic, for you anyway, daydream sequence where Brock and the others are shot by a sniper?!

– Why did Ash punch Pikachu away? You can just grab the little dude, no need to be a jerk.

I like that Pikachu chews him out for it, though.

– Still using the Pokemon logo in the title, eh? Wait…

Wiki: “In the dub, this is the last episode to use the Pokémon logo as the title uses the franchise’s name.”

Aw. I mean, this went on a lot longer than I thought it did, but it feels like the end of an era now. RIP Pokemon Logo in title.

– By the way, referring to Snap as a Paparazzi only makes me dislike him more.

– I find it fitting that Ash uses Squirtle’s Water Gun to reveal a supposed sniper in the bushes, but now that I’m thinking about it, holy crap, Ash, that is a horrible idea. You think an actual sniper is in the bushes so you squirt some water on him? Are you daft? Now I’m just imagining some kid taking on a guy with a gun with a super soaker.

– Snap: “I wasn’t spying on you! My name’s Snap, and I love taking pictures!” You were hiding in the bushes taking pictures of them….That is the textbook definition of spying.

That’s like saying, “No, your honor, I wasn’t stalking. I just followed her home, sneaked into her house and watched her sleep for eight months!”

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 1

Snap: “You didn’t need to sic your Squirtle on me and flip out like that!” The instant Ash looked your way and knocked everyone to the ground, you should’ve made yourself known because he obviously saw you as a threat. That coupled with the spying equals this fault is yours.

Snap: “You should consider it an honor that I want to take a picture of your Pikachu.” His nose is literally in the air as he says this.

– Even as a kid, I thought the ‘master→masker’ joke was doofy. I get that it’s an untranslatable joke, but Ash, of all people should never have trouble hearing the word ‘Master.’

– Snap: “You may not know my name, but certainly you’ve heard of the photographer who took the only picture in the world of the legendary Pokemon, Aerodactyl. (…) Argh! How is it possible that they’ve never heard of me?!” I’m probably arguing semantics, but Aerodactyl is obviously not legendary. Maybe in an unofficial sense.

Also, the average person, especially kids, don’t typically know big names in photography.

– Zooming in on a picture doesn’t return the color and details to a photo of a figure in shadow. Also, if he did have a picture capable of showing color and detail, why did he not send that in to Pokemon Times? Any reputable news/photography source would probably throw that shadowy picture out, in all honesty. That could easily be a hoax.

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And wouldn’t he be in the slightest bit curious as to who that clearly human shaped figure is being held by Aerodactyl? He doesn’t even seem to have analyzed it enough to tell that there’s a human in that figure. You’re kind of a crap photographer, when you think about it, Snap.

– I do appreciate them linking back to an older episode, though. Kudos.

– Awwww, the Eevee kiss picture. Awwww the Kangaskhan with her baby picture.

– Although, for some of those pics, they’re clearly looking at the camera so they had to be somewhat posed?

– Snap: “That’s why I never want to shoot a Pokemon when they’re posed and look sad and scared.” Maybe this is just cynical me peeking out, but if you never take a picture of a sad or scared Pokemon, you’re not really getting the true scope of their natural state of being, are you? You have a very good point in not wanting your subjects to look posed, especially wildlife, but if you only capture the happy-go-lucky, you only get part of the, incoming pun, picture.

And, no, I’m definitely not saying he should intentionally scare Pokemon or make them sad, but avoiding it kinda limits his scope as a photographer.

– Ash: “Well, Pikachu might not like being photographed, but Pikachu’s not my only Pokemon, ya know? I’ve got others in these Pokeballs. How about a shot of Pidgeotto?”

He not only remembered he had Pidgeotto, but it was the first Pokemon he suggested? I think I might cry.

– Misty: “I have Pokemon you can shoot, too!”

How is it possible this line never became a meme?

– Yes, Snap, Pikachu’s super uncomfortable and scared of your camera, so give a fired up declaration that you’ll do whatever it takes to get Pikachu’s picture right to his face. Good job, Mr. Natural.

– I will most certainly save my complaining about Team Rocket’s plan this episode for later. Since the main problem with it is the reason they came up with the plan in the first place, which won’t be revealed until the end of the episode, complaining about anything else they’re doing would be moot.

– I love how Team Rocket waits until they’re done eating to make a big to-do about ditching their costumes. There’s no one around to fool, guys. Unless you’re trying to fool the restaurant (or hotel?…Hotel restaurant?…..Either way, how can they afford that?) employees, in which case why do it while you’re still in the restaurant?

Jessie and James: *After they reveal themselves* “Surprise, surprise!”

Meowth: “Yeah, right!” Haha. At least they own up to it – Points for that.

– Why the hell would Snap burst out at Pikachu, knocking over cans to make a big noise in addition to him yelling, if he wants a natural picture of Pikachu?

– I absolutely adore Ash photobombing on Snap, though. He’s not only protecting Pikachu, he’s just having a blast teasing Snap.

– Ash: “Missed again, Snapper!” Is he making a nickname off of Snap or is he making a photo-based nickname….either way, I don’t like it.

– James: “~Paddy cake, paddy cake, it’s our trap. *hums*” I find that line really adorable, and I can’t help but think Eric Stuart probably ad-libbed that considering James’ mouth isn’t moving there.

– James didn’t play the woman in this episode, but he actually looks better shawl when he messes up the costumes than Jessie did. I just feel like they almost always work better when Jessie plays the guy and James is the girl. They have such good crossdressing game.

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– Why did they stop James from saying they dug a trap to Snap if they believe they contracted him out to capture Pikachu?

– It’s cute that Pikachu’s hiding in Ash’s backpack, though simultaneously a little sad because he’s so scared.

– I should take the time point out that Pikachu HAS had its picture taken before, the most prominent example I can think of being in The Battling Eevee Brothers when they had their picture taken as a group at the end. It’s probably that Snap’s so intent on Pikachu and him alone, but I wanted to note that.

– Where is Togepi? I thought he was in Misty’s bag, hidden away like it is sometimes, but if it is, he got smushed when they fell into that pitfall trap.

– I know I said I wouldn’t really comment on Team Rocket’s plan yet, but why are they so mystified by what an ‘expert’ would do to capture Pikachu when they already have them trapped in a hole? Most of the work has been done.

– Snap: “Ahhh, that’s the Pikachu I want to capture!” Right after it’s fallen into a pitfall trap? Thus would be at least a little scared or upset?

– Now I can complain about Team Rocket’s plan! They tracked down Snap because Meowth read in the Pokemon Times that Snap was the best at capturing Pokemon….

Meowth: “The magazine says he’s…uh…Ah! ‘The best at capturing Pokemon…on FILM!’” This is too dumb for words. Meowth actively reads this magazine, apparently, but couldn’t be bothered to finish this sentence!?

How did he go the entire article, barring that one sentence, without him being a photographer ever coming up? Did the article start with, “This is Todd Snap, he’s great at capturing Pokemon….” and he just didn’t go on?

The article had to be mostly about Aerodactyl with a tagline being about the photographer who got the image because, being real, 1) The Aerodactyl thing is way more interesting than ‘10 year old knows how to operate camera and had good timing’ and 2) It’s a crappy picture anyway, why would it be singing his praises that much?

How did they even have a full conversation with Snap without his photos or camera or his dream to be the best Pokemon Photo Master coming up?

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I get that Team Rocket has their moments of dumb, but the fact that they constructed this whole ruse for Snap and even bothered to dot their I’s by helping him out with a pitfall trap yet didn’t finish reading the sentence that informed them about Snap is too dumb even for them.

– Meowth: “Ah, now I get it! The article said he was good at capturing them on film! I thought he actually captures them! An amusing mistake!” No it’s not, and even if it was, it’s now not amusing because you explained the joke.

– And, in the end, he takes the picture with them clearly posed. It’s a happy picture, but he’s still posed.

– Also, if Ash and Pikachu finally agreed to the photo…..why not get them out of the pit first?

– Uh…So Snap climbed down into the pit and into the hole in the pit before Misty and Brock, who were already in the pit, went down the hole?

– I praise Ash for remembering he has Pokemon besides Pikachu earlier and then he forgets he has Bulbasaur, who can Vine Whip him out of the water and Squirtle, who can probably swim him to the edge.

– The message or lesson for Snap in this episode is muddy. First he goes on saying how much he wants to convey Pokemon naturally, not disturbing them or making them sad. I know why he wants the picture of Pikachu, but then he becomes deadset on getting Pikachu’s picture no matter what, even though Pikachu’s scared.

Then Ash says Snap doesn’t understand Pokemon’s feelings, which I get given the way he’s behaving and how he’s not telling Ash why he wants Pikachu’s picture, but how is that really a problem for him when he’s doing this out of sympathy for a person?

The way he’s going about it is problematic (Can’t he just tell them that some people want the photo but not give away the client’s identity? Or maybe even lie and say there’s a Pikachu photo contest or something?) but he’s doing it for an empathetic reason.

He cares more about his camera than his own safety, which kinda indicates that he cares more about pictures than his own life, but nothing else indicates this. Then his big moment of character growth is sacrificing his camera to save Ash?

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Not only is that dumb, but….he’s a world famous photographer. He supposedly has enough money to own his own house and fancy camera equipment. I find it hard to believe that this professional photographer (even if he’s ten years old) doesn’t have a backup camera. Or the money to buy one, anyway.

All professional photographers have backups. Even hobbyists usually have a backup camera. Maybe not a fancy one, but a backup one anyway just in case. Him sacrificing his camera as a professional world famous photographer, no matter how you look at it, is lame.

If they had said this was some precious camera that his photographer parent gave to him before they passed away, it’d be different. Heck, it’d even give him more of a reason to help Team Rocket since they were playing the death card, but it’s not and they didn’t. It’s just a camera.

I have to laugh a little, though, because how much would Snap be hated if he just let Ash die because he didn’t want to get his camera wet?

– He must have a crazy high-quality tripod if the connector between the camera and tripod is strong enough to both take the weight of Ash and Pikachu and take the brunt of the rushing water.

– Oh great, Team Rocket makes their grand entrance. Well, considering their initial plan was built on stupid and their follow-up was a pitfall trap, what are they going to do now? Use a net? Uhp, yup. Just grab Pikachu with a net. Okay, now what are they gonna do? Stand there and taunt—

*James throws a bomb at Ash and Snap* Holy crap! He’s trying to blow up Ash! This isn’t the first time they’ve done it, but wow! They already have Pikachu, too! This is just vindictive murder of two children! Wow, Team Rocket. Just…Wow.

Also, I hate to go this dark, but if this was their backup plan, why not go to the pit earlier, grab Pikachu and then lob the bombs into the pit? They definitely wouldn’t survive that if they’re on a murder binge today. They didn’t really need Snap at all.

– Snap: “Why did you trick me!?”

Jessie: “You tricked us first, Shutterbug.” Uh, no. You tricked yourselves because you’re all imbeciles who can’t finish reading a sentence.

Considering how vain Team Rocket is and how stupid they’ve been today, yeah, I’ll believe they’d stop their evil plan, which is actually succeeding for a change, because Ash is going to take a picture of them (with the clearly not working soaking wet camera.)

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Though, now Ash just tried to murder Team Rocket by blowing them up. This isn’t Looney Tunes, guys.

Misty….Brock…Did you climb out of the pit and wander around until you found the opening to the river? One of you should’ve jumped down into the hole at least. Misty, sure would’ve been helpful to have some strong Water Pokemon to help Ash not drown and/or fall to his death over a waterfall…

– Misty: “I don’t get it, why are you guys acting like friends?” Did they not make up? It was really implied that they made up, otherwise Ash wouldn’t have done the picture.

Ash: “We are friends, Misty, because we have something in common. We both like Pokémon.” You knew he liked Pokemon way back at the house, and this ordeal had nothing to do with liking Pokemon.

– Wait…He’s taking a picture at the end….which means either that camera’s waterproof or he DID have a backup camera, which just makes his big ‘sacrifice’ all the more pointless.

– Oh well, at least Togepi’s back from Togepurgatory.

———————————-

This episode is a lot of….okay. I don’t really hate Snap, I just dislike his bouts of egotism and ribbing Ash. His character ‘arc’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s presented one way (he cares more about pictures than Pokemon’s feelings) and ends up another (he cares more about human life than his camera?)

The concept of Pokemon photography is neat enough and something we haven’t yet explored. In addition, I enjoyed the callback to an older episode and actually connecting it here, even if it didn’t have much to do with anything.

Team Rocket’s plan, though, is built on dumb circumstances, even for them, and they really lucked out on Ash falling into that river for a shot at getting Pikachu the end. I’m a little depressed that this mucked up non-plan actually almost worked.

I’m really…okay with Snap sticking around, even though, like I said, he doesn’t do anything. He just kinda hangs around and randomly leaves. I don’t understand the logic with not only making Snap a recurring character, but making him linearly recurring and a fellow companion. He stands out more than many CotDs but not enough for this.

Next episode, it’s the Pokemon Exam!

….Previous Episode


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