An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 14: (The Time Has Come) (2006)

As they rounded the corner into 2006, 4Kids started wrapping up production on their eighth and final Pokemon season, Advanced Battle, as well their eighth and final Pokemon movie, Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: Mew and the Wave Hero Lucario, retitled Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.

As I mentioned in my own review/comparison of the movie, I really feel like 4Kids wanted to go out strong in their last Pokemon excursion (even though, technically, the show still hadn’t finished being dubbed when the movie came out…..I’m still calling it as their last big hurrah) because their dubbing job on Movie 08 was one of if not their absolute best dubbing job. While there are some minor changes here and there, and some very typical 4Kidsisms, they weren’t that drastic or that bad, and the voice actors brought their A-game. It greatly helps that the original movie is also heralded as the best Pokemon movie to date.

While none of the Pokemon movies ever really seem to be big hits with critics, Movie 08 was about as close as they had gotten. The movie was praised for its action, comedy and excitement while also having a good story and great animation, but others criticized the dub’s more pop-ish music and the fact that the good story took a back seat to Ash and Lucario in the second half of the movie.

The Pokemon movies were also finally out of the hands of Miramax and into the more capable hands of Viz Video…..However, the movie was still released in 4:3 and would never get an American 16:9 release. It would be released in English in widescreen in Australia, but it’s disappointing that it’s never been released State-side in widescreen format. As far as I can tell, Movie 08 is the only Pokemon movie that was never re-released in 16:9 or given a Blu-Ray release in the US as Pokemon Movie 09 would be the first Pokemon movie to ever be released in the US as 16:9 from the start.

The DVD included some bonus features such as a letter from the director, a behind-the-scenes featurette and a slideshow. The original DVD release didn’t come with anything else. However, the Collector’s Edition, which was released at the same time, included two special bonuses – a limited edition Mew card and The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon 10th anniversary special (re-dubbed version).

This is actually really awkward, when you think about it. The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon, which was made specifically for American audiences to have something unique of their own to premiere during the 10th anniversary, which I think is pretty darn cool, was not dubbed by 4Kids. PUSA had already made their presence known and had dubbed the anniversary themselves, which, if you ask me, is one of the biggest passive-aggressive bitchslaps I’ve ever seen.

4Kids – at LEAST the cast and crew of the show – earned the right to dub the 10th anniversary special. Ripping it from them was bad enough, but oh no….They also aired it on Kids WB, which was basically 4Kids first domain, before the DVD release, and bundled it (redubbed, however, in order to improve the script and voice work) with the eighth movie in the Collector’s Edition, subsequently strong-arming 4Kids out of the limelight in what was supposed to be their final goodbye to the franchise. Just…wow.

I can say with certainty that PUSA made one of the worst first impressions as a dubbing company I’ve ever seen. Say what you will about 4Kids, but this whole situation with PUSA was just embarrassing.

As for 4Kids and their talented and caring cast and numerous hard-working crew members (Okay, mostly just the cast and crew.) who made the original dubbed Pokemon what it was – for better or worse – I don’t think we should forget that they introduced that awesome show and, to a degree, game to our lives as kids and helped make it the beloved franchise that it continues to be today for an entirely new generation and even the adults out there who still enjoy it, myself included…..I know 4Kids likes to pat themselves on the back and it’s usually unwarranted, but I think they deserve some credit here, and I think they deserve a proper send off as we move on from this historical moment in English dubbed anime history.

The time has come.

It’s for the best, I know it.

Who could have guessed that you and I,

Somehow, someway…..we’d have to say….Goodbye.

Next – Part 15: The Chaotic Nature of Rumors

Previous – Part 13: Pikachu’s Goodbye


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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:

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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.

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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. Damn, I want that, 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 Beginnings 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.

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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, but if they’re super hot or something it’d be too dangerous.

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.

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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 past 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.

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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 Yu-Gi-Oh 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 these 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 Yu-Gi-Oh 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 Yu-Gi-Oh’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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