Pokemon Episode 65 Analysis: Showdown at the Po-Ke Corral

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CotD(s): None

Plot: Ash is back in Pallet to prepare for the Indigo League conference. He, Misty and Brock visit Professor Oak to get more information on the tournament. When they arrive, they’re met with Gary, who is visiting his grandpa. Oak explains that the Indigo League tournament will be taking place in two months at the Indigo Plateau, and over 200 Trainers are set to partake in the event.

Ash and Gary learn that the other two Pallet Trainers who started their journeys at the same time as them quit some time ago. The two of them are now Pallet Town’s best Trainers. Ash and Gary both butt heads about their progress with Gary gloating that he’s captured many more Pokemon and has much better training regimens and battle strategies than Ash.

As Oak shows them around his research facility, which houses every single Pokemon, Ash, Gary and any other Pallet Trainer has caught and isn’t currently in their party, and tells them all about Pokemon, Gary and Ash come to a slightly better understanding of each other. They’re about to have a friendly practice battle when Team Rocket shows up, demanding Pikachu and all of the other Pokemon on the premises. As Ash and Gary prepare to battle them, Ash’s herd of Tauros bursts through the fence and plows through Team Rocket, sending them blasting off.

Gary takes his leave, promising Ash that they’ll have their match in the Pokemon League tournament. Meanwhile, Oak hands Ash, Misty and Brock some wood and tools to fix the fence Ash’s Tauros destroyed.

Ash has two months of prep time until he will partake in the Indigo League tournament. Will that be enough?

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– There’s more confusion with the ownership of Mr. Mime as this episode proves that Mimey only listens to Delia not Ash.

– They misspell “Corral” as “Corrall.” in the title card.

– Mewtwo escapes from Giovanni in this episode, which helps establish a timeline a little bit with the movie, but not entirely.

That being said, having that scene in this episode was pointless. They show Mewtwo flying off, Jessie, James and Meowth meet with Giovanni who tells them nothing else but to do their jobs, and then they all leave the site of the destroyed HQ. Even taking the movie into consideration, what does this scene add to either?

– The rudeness to Ash from the previous episode continues in this episode when Mr. Mime wakes Ash up by vacuuming his face, Misty just tells him now he can go another week without taking a bath, then Professor Oak is shown being happier to see a Togepi than seeing Ash again.

– The fact that the other two Pallet Trainers quit before even getting to the Pokemon League just makes me even more curious about them. They were keeping pace with Gary throughout like half of Kanto and seemingly were nearly as skilled as he was. What happened to make them both quit? Saying “They just didn’t have the skill.” doesn’t explain much or make much sense. How can you start your journey demolishing Gym Leader after Gym Leader and then skew off into “I guess I suck now.”?

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– I do appreciate Ash saying maybe the Pokemon deserve more credit for his Gym Badge accomplishments than he does.

– Okay, pause for a second. Mewtwo just escaped. Oak says it’s two months until the Indigo League conference. Let’s say the tournament goes on for….a week? And then Ash gets on a new journey like a couple weeks later? So around three months from now is when it will seem to make sense that the movie takes place? Am I close? Sorry, it’s just bugging me.

– How the hell is Gary’s Krabby that buff and seemingly high level without Gary evolving it?

– Ya know, I really hate how much of a point Gary has. And I apologize for jumping ahead a bit in this tangent, but I feel this is an appropriate time to go over this. Ash doesn’t switch out his roster pretty much ever (hell, he barely switches it up from just Pikachu and the starters. RIP Pidgeotto), and it does cause his Pokemon to stagnate. It also causes him to stagnate because, if you never train with anything besides one roster, an incomplete one even, it makes adapting so much more difficult when you do decide to switch it up.

Gary constantly switching out his roster to level up all of his Pokemon evenly, catching a lot of Pokemon and constantly training allows him to be incredibly versatile and greatly increases his knowledge and skills in battle. If anything, this should have been one of the bigger hiccups in Ash’s performance in the Pokemon League. It would have proven Gary right and showed Ash the error of his ways in his lackadaisical training style. But no. Instead, Muk will perform perfectly well in its bout, and Krabby will do so well it somehow ends up evolving.

“But Twix” says the strawman I’m making up again, “Ash probably trained those Pokemon a little bit in the two months he had until the Pokemon League.” That would be smart, wouldn’t it? Eating some crow and deciding that he should train Muk, at least one of his Tauros and Krabby in case he needs them for the Pokemon League….

That would be very smart.

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So of course Ash doesn’t do it.

There are several episodes between now and the Indigo League competition – eight to be precise – and not a one of them includes Ash training any of his B-squad. Hardly any of it includes Ash training at all. He spends much of this downtime dicking around in random filler episodes. He’s gonna find out how Slowpoke evolve. He’s going to be in a movie. He’s going to go surfing. There’s going to be a really weird episode involving giant ancient Pokemon. Only one of them is even kinda centered on training, and most of that episode is just Ash and Brock simping after Bruno while he makes them do random exercises. Then the episode ends with a lesson that they’ve learned about fifty times over by now.

Just to prove that Ash didn’t train them off-screen, when Ash uses Krabby during the tournament, Misty points out that Ash has never used Krabby before. If Krabby was trained, then that would imply that Ash has been using Krabby in practice battles.

The fact that Ash makes it further in the tournament than Gary does kinda throw a negative moral in kids’ faces that you can screw off, ignore valuable advice and hope for the best, and somehow you’ll beat out people who have worked harder, studied more and have more experience. I know that the Charizard incident conveys the exact opposite message, and trust me we will cross that bridge with a goddamn tank when we get to it, but the fact that he skates by like this without putting in the work is one of the many reasons Ash annoys me so.

Gary may be somewhat irritating with how he treats Ash, but it’s very clear that he works hard, cares about all of his Pokemon deeply and studies a lot. He’s also proven he can be a fully respectable guy as long as he’s not stroking his ego. I actually believe Gary should’ve been the one to beat Ash in the Pokemon League. Not only would that have scratched the itch to see these two battle after teasing it for so long, but it would definitely knock Ash down even more of a peg than it did when losing to Richie. You can still have Gary lose immediately after so it humbles him a bit more too and makes him realize he needs to do some soul searching and reevaluation, but having him come in lower than Ash in the tournament just comes off so badly, if you ask me.

Oh, and Ash doesn’t even bring Krabby or Muk with him to the tournament, despite having an open spot on his team. He has to have Oak send them to him when he’s already at the Plateau. It’s no wonder it takes him 25 years to finally fully win a league tournament.

– Admittedly, though, it is kinda weird that Gary starts schooling Ash on Pokemon Type matchups for Gym Leader matches. It was totally out of the blue since no mention of Types or Gyms, outside of collecting Badges, was brought up. Ash definitely does have an issue with typing his matchups effectively, but Gary has no way of knowing this.

– When Brock asks what Gary would use against his Rock Type Gym, he says he’d use a Water Type with a Grass Type for backup. I find it weird that this exchange is even happening. Gary having a Boulder Badge implies that he battled and defeated Brock (and bear in mind that Gary made it to the Pewter City Gym before Ash, so Flint wasn’t manning the Gym as he is now) Brock should be saying something like “Yeah, when he battled me, he completely wiped me out with his Water and Grass Types.” or something.

Gary asks what Ash would use, and Misty says he’d use Pikachu. I want to half-defend and half-condemn Ash here. Misty is referencing the match Ash had with Brock in which he did use Pikachu as his main attacker, but he didn’t really have much of a choice. His roster at that point was a Bug/Flying Type, a Normal/Flying Type and an Electric Type – none of which having an advantage on Rock/Ground Types. Granted, out of all of these, Electric is the worst Type because it should be completely ineffective against most Rock Types since they’re usually dual-type Ground as well, as Geodude and Onix are, but they hardly ever remember that little caveat when Messiahchu’s in the mix.

If Ash were to battle Brock now, I’m……75% certain he’d choose a Pokemon besides Pikachu now that he has more variety. A good chunk of that 25% that was lost was because the “(Aim for) the horn!” incident is still fresh in my mind.

– Gary: “Hah! Everybody knows you shouldn’t use an Electric Pokemon against a Rock Type.” Hah! Everybody knows that’s only good advice if the Rock Type is also dual-type Ground. Rock Type on its own is neither strong nor weak against Electric.

Also, pot, meet kettle. In Battle for the Badge, Gary purposefully used an Arcanine, a Fire Type, against a Kingler, a Water Type.

– Hahah, when did Oak pickpocket Gary and Ash for their Pokedexes? He just suddenly scans them out of nowhere.

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– I’m gonna disagree with Gary on his “capture first, ask questions later” policy in regards to the Pokedex. I actually think Ash’s approach is better. You may think you know everything about a Pokemon, but the information the Pokedex offers could be invaluable to both capturing and raising it. Considering Oak made the damn thing, it’s almost like Gary is so arrogant that he’s saying he knows more than Oak half the time. Even if he doesn’t whip out his Pokedex whenever he sees a Pokemon, why wouldn’t he use it after the fact to research it more after capture?

Also, this more or less proves that the anime doesn’t keep the game’s goal of filling out the Pokedex.

– Oak: “Let’s Poke-round in my laboratory!” Never say that again.

– Well, womp womp, let’s talk about Ash’s Tauros…..or not. The dub doesn’t bother explaining how and why Ash caught 30 Tauros at the Safari Zone so………*shrug* I guess I already said my piece about it in the episode analysis for the Legend of Miniryu/Dratini, so no point going over it again here. Would’ve been nice if 4Kids even made the effort to cover up the big gaping hole here, though.

– I find it weird that they make off like Gary doesn’t make friends with his Pokemon. He loves his Pokemon and is obviously friends with them. We’ll see in a second that he’s very affectionate towards his Doduo.

– While Oak’s views on Pokemon and how much he cares for them has always been really heartwarming and sweet…..I don’t really buy that he cares for all of those Pokemon by himself. As they said, he seems to have thousands of Pokemon in his care, even if Ash and Gary combined have about 232-ish. I assume some of these Pokemon belong to the other two Pallet Trainers and any other Trainers Pallet has had in the recent past. Still, I really think he has to have employees helping him. I know them staying in Pokeballs a good chunk of the time helps, but he lets them out every day.

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– I think it’s insanely interesting that Oak was talking about variations among Pokemon of the same species. This was quite a ways off from any variant, even shinies, but it’s cool to think he may have been foreshadowing that.

– Ash, for god’s sake. Put the Pokedex away. You’ve seen a Dodu–…..Wait, has Ash seen a Doduo? He’s seen Dodrio like three times, and it’s been in the background a lot. *Googles* Wow, he actually hasn’t! This is the debut of Doduo in the anime……Huh…….My apologies. Carry on.

– That Geodude blushing when Jessie grabbed its hand was adorable.

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– Alright, so, in the end, you kinda can’t ignore the Tauros issue because the one conflict of this episode is resolved by Ash’s Tauros. Having Oak be like “Oh but you did save my research center, Ash. All of those Tauros are yours.” has absolutely no meaning whatsoever if we don’t even know where these things came from or why he has them. To a viewer who has never seen The Legend of Miniryu/Dratini, it’s going to come off like Oak is giving credit for the efforts of some completely random Pokemon to Ash.

Even if we did know…the ending message in that exchange is kinda weird. Ash is trying to give credit to the Pokemon for saving them from Team Rocket, and Oak is trying to give Ash the credit because, if he didn’t catch the Tauros and leave them all there with him, they wouldn’t have been there to save them. But also….they didn’t need the Tauros to save them. Ash beats Team Rocket by himself all the time, and he had Gary about to help him here, so victory was a certainty. The Tauros plowing through and blasting Team Rocket off, seemingly on total accident (they didn’t run to Ash or anything. They ran off immediately afterward.) really only served to beat them a little faster.

Also, it’s pretty sad that Ash didn’t recognize any of his Tauros until Oak pointed it out. And none of the Tauros recognized Ash either. I guess that means he’s never seen them since he caught them. At least Krabby and Muk show up on video calls with Oak sometimes.

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This episode was necessary in regards to being a buffer between all of the Badge episodes and getting ready for the Pokemon League, and it was nice seeing Gary again and getting caught up on their statuses at the end of their Kanto journey, but there’s really not much to talk about in this episode. Most of what I did discuss here was regarding future events in the Indigo League with some parts involving the movie.

As you can tell from my incredibly short synopsis, nothing much actually happened. It wasn’t even really building up to anything in the future with Gary because, as we’ll see later, Gary and Ash never get to have their match in the Pokemon League. They wind up having a battle back in Pallet after the tournament is over.

That’s not to say it’s a bad episode, it’s not, and it’s kinda quaint to have a slow and comfortable episode back home before we get into the nitty gritty of the Pokemon League tournament, but it’s just kinda void of much to actually talk about.

Speaking of the nitty gritty of the Pokemon League tournament, get ready! Because next time we’re going to start……wading through several episodes of filler before we actually get to the tournament.

It’s such a shame that they didn’t bother actually making a cool little mini-training arc for Ash. If you weren’t going to dedicate these next EIGHT EPISODES to actually showing Ash buckling down and training for the Indigo League, why even bother having this gap here? Either skip ahead the two months and use these episodes to make the main tournament longer, which, as we’ll see, was desperately needed, or use the episodes for something worthwhile to his training….Anyway, next time we learn how a Slowpoke evolves into a Slowbro using a Shellder – something that honestly doesn’t make much sense even when explained.


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My Poke-Pinions #58 and 59 – The Guard Dog Line

Growlithe

Name: Growlithe and Arcanine are two of my absolute favorite Pokemon ever. I love dogs, Fire Pokemon are my favorite Type – they’re the perfect combination.

Growlithe’s name is a combination of “growl” and…..”lithe” Wow, thanks a bunch, Bulbapedia. That was really helpful. I didn’t know what “lithe” meant, so I googled it, and it means “thin, supple and graceful.” Uhm….I mean….I….guess? Those aren’t really traits that immediately jump out at me when I think of Growlithe, but okay? The “growl” part of the name obviously works very well, but I have no idea what the thought process was with the “lithe” part. It’s still a good name in regards to being memorable and snappy, but I just don’t quite get it.

In Japan, it’s originally known as Gardie, which seems to be indicative of “guard” or “guardian” I think like guard dogs. I prefer Growlithe, but Gardie is a bit more of a fitting name. It kinda just sounds like a name someone would give a Growlithe, if that makes any sense.

Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was going to be named Flamie, which is……very not creative, but cute.

Design: Growlithe is one of the most perfect Pokemon designs. Fight me. It does indeed just look like a dog, but the absolute perfect shade of orange for the short fur with stark black stripes all over the body really help it stand out, and it definitely portrays the Fire Type quite well.

On its longer fur, it has shaping and spiky features that resemble flames, making the fire connection even stronger. I think Growlithe is absolutely adorable. I love its face, it ears, the little hair tuft on top of its head, its paws, its tail – just everything about Growlithe. I especially think the eyes are the perfect shape. They’re adorable and friendly while still having enough angle to them to convey a truly threatening expression if need be.

Sprite-wise, Gen I…pbbbtthhhahahaha…Sorry. R/B is really cute, but it comes off a bit too much like a real puppy/animal than it should. Also, I don’t much care for the tail being so tiny.

Yellow looks pretty normal, and R/G looks—PBBBTTAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s looks so doofy. It’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so doofy. It almost doesn’t even look like a real Pokemon. It’s kinda more like a plushie.

Gen II is quite the tonal shift, making all of the sprites for the Gen look really friggin’ angry.

Gen III is a bit better, but I have no clue what the animation for Emerald is doing.

Gen IV is pretty cute, but the animations for DPP are a bit too hyper for my tastes.

HG/SS is very adorable, though.

Absolutely adore the animations for Gen V. It’s such a playful pup in those sprites.

Everything else looks pretty good.

Shiny:

I hate you, Pokemon. First you spit in my face with Vulpix’s shiny, and now poor Growlithe? How dare you?

Granted, Growlithe’s situation isn’t quite as bad as Vulpix’s. Growlithe’s shiny is more stark yellow than anything, but still this is just insulting. It looks like it did a fusion dance with a mustard bottle.

In Gen II, its shiny looks…lame, but better. The orange parts were simply turned to a brown color, which kinda just makes it look like a regular dog.

Hisuian Growlithe

Oooooohhhhhhhhhhwwoooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww……Okay, uhm…I’ve never seen this version of Growlithe until this very moment, and it’s…..a lot to take in.

First of all, I’m not against the idea of having like a half-shaggy dog and half-short haired dog – I actually find that very cute – my issue is with the way they styled the hair. The fur on its head looks ridiculous. It looks kinda like a helmet, which is a neat idea, but it’s giving off seriously strong “I was desperately trying to look cool in 1967” vibes.

The fur on its chest is just confusing. Are those balls? Why are they balls? I don’t understand. The tail is fine. It kinda reminds me too much of Wartortle’s tail, though.

The other noticeable detail is that they changed the orange color to being a much deeper orange-red, heavy on the red. I don’t think it looks that bad, but it kinda looks unnatural.

The shiny version is shit, because they just did the exact same color scheme as shiny normal Growlithe.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Growlithe is noted as being extremely loyal, brave, friendly and territorial. It will bite enemies, and it will remain motionless unless commanded by its owner/Trainer. BW also mentions that it’s so protective of its Trainer that it will bark at enemies and run them out of town. It has such a good sense of smell that it never forgets the scents of those it smells, and it can use scents to determine the emotions of others.

Gen VII explains that Growlithe’s natural enemy is Rockruff, and Growlithe are said to have been living and working alongside humans since the stone age.

The only Dex entry for Hisuian Growlithe explains that they patrol their territory in pairs, and it’s believed their typing changed to be dual Fire/Rock Type because of nearby volcanic activity, which is kinda cool. This design doesn’t give off Rock Type or volcano vibes, though.

Growlithe’s design is based off of shisa, which are Japanese statues meant to resemble a mix between a dog and a lion. I can definitely see it. Shisa are guardians meant to protect people from evil spirits, which is very much like Growlithe.

It’s theorized that its striped pattern is either based on tigers, which I don’t buy because it doesn’t have anything to do with tigers, a thylacine, otherwise known as a Tasmanian wolf, which I believe a bit more, or a Kai Ken, also known as a Tora Inu/Tiger Dog, which is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

Hisuian Growlithe’s Rock typing is seemingly based off of komainu statues, which, as far as I’ve researched, are pretty damn similar to shisa legends. The only difference I can see is that shisa are from Okinawan mythology while komainu are more generally used all over Japan and are primarily guardians for Shinto shrines? Correct me if I’m wrong there.

I don’t really understand this Type change if this is accurate. If Growlithe are already based off of statues, then it doesn’t make much sense for Hisuian Growlithe to be part Rock just because it’s based off of a statue and legend that is almost identical to the one its original form was based from. Why didn’t they just say it was because of volcanoes like the Dex entry stated?

Additionally, while the Wiki doesn’t note this, the fact that Hisuian Growlithe work in pairs is also taken from both shisa and komainu legends since they’re always put out in pairs – one with its mouth open and the other with its mouth closed. The shisa legends states that one pair is always male while the other is female. The male will have its mouth closed to keep evil out of the home while the female keeps hers open to share goodness.

In the komainu legend, the one with its mouth open is pronouncing “A” the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet while the one with the closed mouth is saying “Um,” which is the last letter. This is meant to symbolize the beginning and end of all things. Both combined create “aum” which is a sacred syllable in Sanskrit that has many meanings – far too many for me to go over here – but check out that link. It’s fascinating.

Arcanine

Name: As much love as I have for Growlithe, and it’s an awful lot, I have a tiny bit more for Arcanine. It’s a beautiful, adorable, powerful giant fire dog, and I love it to bits.

Arcanine’s name is a mixture of “Arcane” and “Canine” which kinda surprised me because I always thought the first part was meant to be based off of “Arf” like the dog noise, but “Arcane” is a much better origin for that part. So fitting, and such a cool word. I love Arcanine’s name. It has such a majestic and cool flair to it that it could easily be a Legendary name.

Speaking of legendary, while I usually don’t discuss category names, Arcanine is called the Legendary Pokemon, and this has lead to a lot of confusion. Arcanine is obviously not a Legendary Pokemon, but it is classified as THE Legendary Pokemon because it is a Pokemon of many legends and tales….Do you get it? Yeah, I don’t either. Maybe because it’s so relatively common given that Growlithe is so common it can be called a Pokemon of legend, but it’s not rare enough to be considered a Pokemon so few people have seen it’s considered simply a legend, making it Legendary?

Also doesn’t help that in episode two of the anime, Arcanine was included on a depiction of an ancient tablet with Legendary Pokemon including the Legendary Birds.

Back on topic, its Japanese name is Windie, which I was never really a fan of. It sounds overly simple and like something you’d expect them to use as a name for a Flying Type. It’s meant to be in reference to the fact that Arcanine supposedly runs faster than the wind, which I also think is flimsy. You have this awesome majestic Pokemon and your only thought is it runs faster than the wind?

Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was called Blaze, which is cool, but also a bit too overly simplistic. I much prefer Arcanine.

Design: Arcanine’s design is amazing. It still has the cute characteristics of a dog, but it’s big and intimidating without looking scary. The lion attributes, though still subtle, come through much more with Arcanine than Growlithe, and it’s just the right balance here. I love that it’s big enough to ride on. When I was a kid, I always wanted to ride on an Arcanine, and I still do, to be honest. I want to give one a hug too. It’s such a cuddly-looking Pokemon.

Sprite-wise, RB looks pretty cool, actually. They made the longer parts of the fur more flowy instead of spiky and I actually think it looks awesome.

Yellow also has this really cool attitude to it. I love it.

RG looks doofy, though.

Gen II looks really cool except for Crystal where he looks like he’s about to sneeze and stops himself by gently putting his paw down.

Gen III looks really good. The animation for Emerald makes it look like it’s barking before growling really intensely, which is cool.

I don’t really have much else to say about the rest of the sprites. They’re all varying amounts of cool and cute.

Shiny:

They committed the same shiny sin to Arcanine as they did to Growlithe. He now comes in lemon flavor. The least I can say is that some versions, specifically Gen IV and V, make him look golden instead of yellow, but it’s not much consolation.

Gen II’s shiny is also brown, but it’s a bad shade of brown. Like Arcanine hasn’t taken a bath in three years and spends his days running in dirt.

Hisuian Arcanine

Aaaaggggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…..pbfft.

Where do I start with this thing? I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it that much. I think the tail is the best part. I like how it looks like a smoke plume, especially with the shade of dark gray they chose for the longer fur areas. I don’t dislike how the mane looks.

My opinion on it seems to vary by the minute. I never really like it that much, but I can’t bring myself to really hate it. However, if I do hate one aspect, it’s the way they changed the head design. It looks awful. I also don’t care for the shade of red they chose for the rest of the body. Unlike Hisuian Growlithe, this shade is a bit too red to the point where it’s basically fire truck red. I think having more orange in it is necessary, especially if they’re trying to pull off a lava/magma vibe. Lava/magma is not pure red.

Its shiny is, again, bright yellow. However, it works a tiny bit better with this version, because it comes off more like Arcanine changed to an Electric Type. Then I realized that this shiny looks a bit too much like a Raikou. I was going to make an Entei comparison with the main version, but I didn’t think it looked quite similar enough. But then I saw the shiny and couldn’t get Raikou out of my head.

Why yellow for ALL of the shiny versions of this line? It’s so bad. Please, if another version of this line ever comes out, choose a color besides yellow for their shiny.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Arcanine, like Growlithe, are known for their intense loyalty and bravery. They are incredibly fast and graceful runners. When running, they are considered captivating by many. They can run around 6,200 miles in 24 hours, which is insane. The fire within their bodies is said to help power it to run so far and fast. They are world-renowned for their beauty, and they are said to look like they have wings and are running on air.

In a bit of surprise, the early Dexes note that it is a legendary Pokemon in China specifically (this is later changed to “the east.”) There are legends of Arcanine working alongside military generals and conquering an entire country.

It has a bark so powerful and majestic that people actually grovel when they hear it.

Hisuian Arcanine has a fierce look, especially with fangs that they can cloak in fire, but it mostly feints and avoids fighting fairly often, choosing to playfully chase after and dance around its opponents instead…..Wait, that’s it? That’s all they have to say about Hisuian Arcanine? That’s kinda lame, actually. No notes about volcanoes or lava or rocks or what have you? Why even bother then?

Not many additional design notes for Arcanine except that it might have also been based off of Xiezhi, which…..maybe, but I doubt it? Bulbapedia says it’s a fire-breathing dog with similarities to lions and tigers, but the Wiki page for that legend specifically says it’s an ox, sheep or a goat, and there’s no mention of fire anywhere.

According to legend, the Xiezhi was called upon as a figure of justice. It could accurately detect who was guilty and who was innocent with a glance. They would signify who was guilty and innocent by ramming whomever was guilty and sparing whomever was innocent. That doesn’t sound like anything Arcanine does so….*shrug*

Hisuian Arcanine also doesn’t have any additional notes besides the very obvious fact that the tail and ankle fur look like smoke, which is very disappointing.

And that was the – eh, what should I call this one?….The Guard Dog line. I would’ve said “Legendary Dogs” but then people would probably get confused with the three Legendary cats/dogs/beasts…ya know. I still love Growlithe and Arcanine to bits and pieces, even if their only alternate versions are underwhelming. They’re just such awesome Pokemon, and they’re always high on my favorites list. I wish they existed in real life. Or at least I wish they were a bigger part of the anime. I still have trouble accepting that they wouldn’t let James keep Growly with him. Gary had an Arcanine, but we barely see him.

Next up, the Poli line!


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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 11 (Sub) Giratina and the Sky’s Bouquet, Shaymin Review

Plot: Dialga and Palkia may have reversed most of their damage from when they fought before, but residual effects are still being felt. In the Reverse World, a topsy-turvy version of our world, toxic clouds have begun to appear in response to the disturbances in space and time caused by Dialga and Palkia.

To get its revenge, the ruler of the Reverse World, Giratina, attacks Dialga and drags it and an unsuspecting Shaymin through to the Reverse World. Using Seed Flare, Shaymin makes another portal and escapes to the real world where it finds itself in the care of Satoshi, Hikari and Takeshi. While its attitude is certainly abrasive, they agree to take it to the flower garden so it can partake in the annual Flower Bearing.

However, Giratina is following closeby, and so is Zero – a man who wants to capture Giratina for malicious purposes.

Breakdown: This is another one that doesn’t seem to have a whole lot in regards to changes, so I’ll be going in 20 minute chunks.

20 Minute Mark

I would say that Shaymin’s voice in the original is less annoying than the dub…..but then I’d be lying.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I do believe this is the first time that the dub’s title animation is the exact same as the original’s. The only, obvious, difference is that the text is changed to their English counterparts and the Japanese credits are removed.

What exactly was Satoshi doing to get his hands that dirty? And doesn’t he normally wear gloves?

40 Minute Mark

Mugen Graceland was changed to Newton Graceland.

I’m just realizing how much personality Pochama has. I mean, it’s mostly a kooky klutz, but it’s still cute.

Jibacoil literally sounds like someone doing that flappy thing with your lips. Bbbbbbbbb

Wait, all of the ‘coil line basically sound like that?…..Why?

Hikari’s still getting on my nerves coddling the little brat.

It’s kinda weird to hear that woman ask Hikari if she can hold Shaymin. For most other Pokemon, this would be understandable, but Shaymin can talk. It’s like someone asking a mother if they can hold their three year old child. The kid can answer for themselves.

Yup, Shaymin’s voice doesn’t change at all when it switches to sky form. *shrug*

They’re breaking a lot of windows on that train. Who’s paying for those damages?

Hour Mark

Just to be fair to the dub, Satoshi and Hikari both point out the obvious in the scene where Brock’s explaining the glacier.

I’m just now realizing that it makes even less sense for Satoshi to suddenly become sad when he realizes Shaymin will be leaving them once they reach the garden considering that’s literally only a couple shots beyond Shaymin yanking on Satoshi’s ear to get him to fly then telling him he’s too heavy.

Shaymin says the reason it always rides on Ash when they’re running away from Giratina is so he’ll get eaten with him….Yes, such a likable Pokemon.

Hour and 20 Minute Mark

I love how, throughout this whole action scene, Takeshi is relegated to being nothing but reaction-shot-man. They could’ve designed the glider to be big enough to hold one more person. Stop giving Takeshi nothing to do in these movies.

Holy crap, Regigigas sounds so terrible in the original. Sounds like a crazy person on a rampage.

End

This is a weird thing to note, but Satoshi’s lips don’t match his words at all when goes ‘YAHOO!!’ Also, he sounds really strange saying that line. It’s just a strange moment, really.

The CGI for the flowers still looks ech.

My experience with Japanese Team Rocket isn’t vast, but even just watching 11 movies with them I can say I’m pretty sick of hearing them say “This feels bad.” They say it nearly every time they’re on screen. Granted, “Looks like Team Rocket’s blasting off again” gets old too, but for some reason “This feels bad” gets old faster.

The ending song, ‘You Are the One,’ is pretty good. It’s pretty much a tossup as to whether I like this or the dub’s ending theme better.

———————————

All in all, the dub holds up very well. Really nothing was changed outside of the obvious things like the title screen and the credits song, and any changes that did occur didn’t alter my opinion on the movie at all. Shaymin’s still annoying, Zero’s still an idiot, and I still didn’t really have fun. Again, there’s nothing terribly wrong with it, but there’s nothing really special about it either.

Recommended Audience: Same as the dub, except they actually say ‘die’ once or twice. So jack it up about ten or twenty years.


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My Poke-Pinions | #56 and 57: The Monkey Line

Mankey

Name: Mankey’s name is either a mix of “Man” and “Monkey” or “Mad” and “Cranky.” I think they’re kinda reaching for the latter theory, and, honestly, the former doesn’t sit right with me either. I always just thought they were lazy and changed one letter of “Monkey” to make it seem new.

Mankey’s name is fine. The word “Monkey” is already pretty funny, and changing it up a bit allows it to retain the snappiness and most of the humor in the word. I just think it’s kinda lazy, is all. Mankey’s name is kept from the Japanese version. No real fun facts today either.

Design: Mankey’s design is a bit unique in that I both find it very bland and overly weird. At face value, it’s just a brown and beige monkey, which is the boring part, but then you look closer at it and it’s weird.

First of all, I wasn’t rooting for Mankey to have realistic hands, but there’s something so weird about a monkey having paws for hands. Monkeys are supposed to be all about climbing and hanging from things, and paws just don’t work very well for that. The way it looks in the main artwork, it’s like the paws don’t come off as normal paws immediately. It looks like his ‘paws’ got broken and they’re bending in the wrong direction. They’re not, but that’s how it always came off to me.

Second, its face. I’m fine with the angry eyes, He’s supposed to be an angry little shit, and he is able to easily have cute expressions. It’s his nose that weirds me out. Apparently, his pig snout is supposed to be similar to baboons, of which Mankey’s design is partially based from, and uh…..I don’t see it. I’ve never seen any monkey-like animal with a pig nose. They have pronounced and long snouts, but they don’t come off like pig noses. Then there’s Mankey’s mouth….of which it has none. It does have a mouth since it can eat, but it has no visible mouth, and that just compounds the weirdness.

Finally, we have Mankey’s feet, which are also not hands, but they’re a tiny bit better in being Y shaped grabby feet. While being more practical, they also just seem very weird. It’s like someone fused bird feet with monkey feet.

In hindsight, it’s very strange that the main theory around Mankey’s name is that it’s a combination of “Man” and “Monkey” when they took pretty much anything human-like away from any monkey’s features in order to make this design. No hands, no opposable thumbs, no human-like body shape, no human-esque facial features (they even gave it tiny pointy cat-like ears) absolutely nothing. They went out of their way to remove those typical features, and I’m not saying it’s all bad, it just creates a bit of a mish-mash of confusing feelings.

Sprite-wise, RB is…..*sigh* My feelings are confused again. Mankey obviously looked a bit different back in the day. It gives off way more ‘pig’ vibes given the weird shadow around its face, but it’s still clearly monkey-like. And that back sprite is so weird. I keep thinking Mankey’s standing on its hands.

Yellow is a bit more normal, but RG is back to being more pig-like.

Everything’s about average until Gen III, where Emerald has a pretty cool animation. Makes it look like it just won a fight or something.

Other than that, I don’t have any other notes, good or bad.

Shiny:

I’m confident in saying Mankey’s shiny is one of the worst in all of Pokemon. It’s either a muted baby poop green or it’s a muted pea soup green. Either way, it looks more like Mankey is horrifically sick than shiny. At its best, it can come off looking lime green, which is a little better, but still not by much.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Biology section of its Wiki explains that it’s similar to New World Monkeys, and look at these horrifying motherfuckers.

They are the stuff of nightmares.

Mankey are incredibly angry all the time, and they’re very quick to attack and become uncontrollably violent. They breathe heavily when getting enraged enough to attack. It will attack until it’s exhausted and then go to sleep only to become enraged in its dreams and wake up angry again. It can’t distinguish from friend or foe when it’s on a rampage, and they travel in such tight packs that, when they lose sight of their pack members, they become enraged by loneliness.

An interesting and, I would think, incorrect statement they make in the Dex entries is that, because it is constantly releasing stress by being violent, it lives a long life……I don’t think that’s right……or a healthy message to send kids. No, you shouldn’t bottle up your emotions, even anger, but I can think of few Pokemon who are worse poster children for that message than Mankey. Yes, kids, go and lash out at anyone you see whenever you want. Hit people, break things, it’s the health way of dealing with stress.

Ash’s Pokedex also says it packs a powerful punch, which I don’t doubt because it’s a Fighting Pokemon, but can a Pokemon with those paws really “punch” anything?

Mankey’s design is seemingly based on baboons and Japanese macaques.

Primeape

Name: Primeape’s name is okay. It’s basically as one-note as Mankey, again being one letter (or….I guess two) off from the word, but Primeape is a bit more unique. It’s obviously a combination of “Primate” and “Ape.”

Its Japanese name is Okorizaku, which translates to “Angry monkey.” Really went all out on the imagination there, eh? It’s also kinda a clunky word, to be honest.

Design: I like Primeape’s design a little better than Mankey’s, but, when you get down to it, there’s not much of a difference between Primeape and Mankey. It loses the tail, gains some semblance of hands and actual feet, which I appreciate. It also, somehow, gets metal wrist and ankle shackles. But otherwise it looks pretty much the same as Mankey.

Sprite-wise, RB actually looks decent. It just looks a tiny bit less detailed than Yellow’s. RG looks…..weird. Like it’s a bootleg Primeape.

Otherwise, I don’t have a whole lot to say. HG/SS definitely has the best animation. They’re all trying to do the same kind of tantrum animation, but they’re not pulling it off. Emerald looks like it’s dancing, DPP looks like it slipped on butter. HG/SS actually pulls it off well.

Shiny:

Primeape’s shiny is arguably even worse than Mankey’s. However, the awfulness fluctuates depending on the Gen. Like Mankey, it has a very baby poop green look to it overall, but he looks horrible – absolutely horrible – in Gen III where he’s now Graham cracker brown and a deep baby poop green. That is definitely of the worst shiny sprite sets in all of Pokemon.

It looks a tiny bit better in Gen IV because it looks more lime green, and Gen V pretty much keeps the same shade, but after that it’s just back to grossness.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Almost all of the notes and Dex entries are pretty much just Mankey’s only more angry. Like in the anime episode with Ash’s Primeape, if you lock eyes with it, it will never stop chasing you in an effort to beat the crap out of you.

I was about to write off all of Primeape’s Dex entries and notes as being more or the less the same as Mankey’s until I got to its Dex entry in Sun where it says, “It has been known to become so angry that it dies as a result. Its face looks peaceful in death, however.”

…..First of all, holy shit, Pokemon. That was dark.

Second of all, that’s in direct contradiction to what they said in Mankey’s Dex entries where it said it has a long lifespan because it’s constantly letting off stress and anger.

This entry only made me more confused when we got to Ultra Moon where it says, “The blood vessels in its brain are sturdier than those of other Pokémon, so it can stay healthy despite its constant raging.”

Which is it!? Is it a heart attack waiting to happen or is it super healthy? I don’t get this at all.

And that was the monkey line. Had more to say than I thought I would, but I still didn’t wind up saying a lot. They’re fine Pokemon. They definitely wouldn’t be my first choice of Fighting Pokemon, not even in Gen I….Actually……They’d probably be my last choices in Gen I of Fighting Pokemon. Literally every other Fighting Pokemon seems more appealing than these two. My favorite Gen I Fighting Type was always Hitmonchan, but I also really like Machoke and Machamp, and Hitmonlee has definitely grown on me. Machop’s probably closest to the bottom in Gen I, but I still prefer it over Mankey and Primeape.

I will admit that they can be entertaining when they’re goofing around, but that’s about it.

I don’t even have any nostalgic connection with Primeape considering Ash had one because he only used it literally once and then just left it with some guy he barely knew for no real reason forever.

Next up, it’s GROWLITHE AND ARCANINE! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 24: Everything Changes (Conclusion)

So, class, what have we learned over the past 24 blog posts and 100 pages besides the fact that I desperately need a life?

All joking aside, this wasn’t really a passion project or anything, more of a long-standing curiosity that I wanted to explore, thought would just take a few days to research and write, not two months (even as all the parts were sitting in my scheduled posts queue for weeks after finishing the entire thing, I still went back and edited them many times), and wound up finding so many rabbit holes that I think I literally am a rabbit now.

However, I am very glad that I decided to write this up because it helped me understand a lot about why 4Kids was the way it was, a lot of their business practices, what was happening behind the scenes, why they truly died, and I even got to do some sleuthing and maybe clear up some rumors. Maybe you even learned something and had some fun. I hope so.

I think a big takeaway here, though, is that 4Kids, at the end of the day, wasn’t this big boogeyman of anime, when you get down to it. They were mostly just….grossly incompetent. I know it seems weird to say that of such a big name as 4Kids, but, they pretty much were. They propped up their business on a few big titles with no plan as to what they would do should those titles be taken away, they lucked out with a few huge licenses, especially Pokemon at the start, they greatly overestimated their skills and knowledge in the industry, and then whined that Japan didn’t consistently come up with more merchandisable cash cows for them to license on a regular basis as if that was in their control.

They disrespected their audience, which earned them ire, they disrespected anime and manga as a whole, which earned them ire, they disrespected their peers in the anime (and manga) industry, which earned them ire, they didn’t bother to do proper research on their own licenses before obtaining them or research into Japan and how their economy and content works despite working with their properties for years, which earned them ire, and they constantly wanted a pat on the back for doing so much for anime while also desperately not wanting their audience to know what they were consuming was anime….which earned them ire.

Even their production of merchandise and marketing, two things you’d think a licensing company that has existed for over four decades and has had several massive properties under its belt would be able to do quite well consistently, wasn’t all that good at times. From not properly advertising certain shows to supposedly not getting a toy deal for Mew Mew Power to their ridiculously spotty and frustrating release schedule for DVD and VHS releases, especially in regards to ‘uncut’ releases, to making a deal with Miramax and Harvey Weinstein for the Pokemon movies to the disaster that was Toonzaki. It’s amazing how they were both very good at marketing and advertising while also making some incredibly baffling and poor business decisions.

Some things were out of their control, of course, especially the financial crisis and the overall death of Saturday morning cartoon blocks, but many aspects of their downfall were their own doing. If you want to look at the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit from a different perspective, the fact that they said they’d do anything to keep the Yu-Gi-Oh! license, including go bankrupt, was a little on the insane side. I get that Yu-Gi-Oh! was their top earner and losing the license would have been the death of them anyway, but it seems very immature and backwards to basically stamp their feet and say they’d rather kill themselves than let someone else do it. Even if they did rightfully win the lawsuit in the end, they didn’t get anything substantial from it, and they had to have known that.

I won’t really hold Chaotic’s situation against 4Kids because that was also largely out of their hands. It was just a financial gamble that failed in a time of economic turmoil. Again, even without the financial crisis at the time, Chaotic likely would have just been a fairly beneficial property to them through the rest of their years. I sincerely doubt revenue from it would have saved them from their eventual fate. They probably would have just sold it back to CUSA or someone else in the bankruptcy auction. Looking back, maybe one of the reasons 4Kids didn’t want to give up the license to CUSA was because they had injected so much of their own money into it that any offer CUSA gave probably didn’t seem like it was worth it, even though, ya know, it doesn’t make them ANY money by latching onto it forever.

I do think they also had a big issue with their all-or-nothing attitude. They were constantly dead set on finding the next huge thing – the things that would rake in insane profits and make them the top of their field – but they were very bad at long-term strategies. Let me be completely fair and clear – I don’t have a mind for business, much of it goes over my head, but even I can tell that they had a big problem with this. Even when they did say this property or another would be a big earner for years, they either dropped them early because they weren’t being massively successful immediately or they would keep the property but give up on it in spirit, so to speak, by just letting the license rot in their hands.

This reflected very well in their aforementioned attitudes towards Japan in which Al Kahn said anime and manga in Japan were dying because they hadn’t had any generation-defining merchandisable hits in over a decade, which was objectively wrong in a lot of ways. If he thinks an entire country is “over” just because their anime and manga sales were down for a bit, even to the point where he gave up on licensing anime for three years as a result, then it’s not surprising that he views his company in the same way.

This was even reflected when they tried to branch out a bit into female-oriented shows. Winx Club did well, but they had it taken from them because the creator didn’t like what they were doing with it. They gave it another go with Mew Mew Power, which also did well, but dropped it halfway through because they couldn’t get a toy deal for it. Magical DoReMi was good, but it wasn’t good enough so they dropped it. And they didn’t even dub Precure because they likely thought ‘Why bother? If there’s one thing we’ve learned here it’s that there’s no money with girl stuff.’ And then there was whatever the hell they were trying to achieve with Capsule Monsters, which comes off like they gave up on that idea almost immediately while also having no real direction on what they wanted it to be in the first place.

I do concede that a large amount of 4Kids’ edits, as with other child-demographic anime dubs at the time, were a result of FCC constraints and regulations, but I’ll only concede so far with that assessment. Yes, certain edits were necessary to meet broadcast standards, but many of their edits, such as their localization efforts, changing entire soundtracks and removal of all things text, were squarely on 4Kids. As far as I know, the FCC has no regulations about changing foreign content to better suit young American audiences. The only entity that really benefits is 4Kids. In their eyes, it made them more marketable and appealing, and the only people getting offended were the pre-existing fans who knew better, and most of those people weren’t in 4Kids’ target demo, so they didn’t care. Also, let’s not overlook the fact that some of their edits were just entirely nonsensical, and many of their content edits were still commonly present in their movies, which are not controlled by the FCC.

Let’s also not forget that many of their practices were a result of just being terribly condescending to their audience. From making things way too obvious through dialogue changes/additions, editing scenes around or even having new animation created to drive certain points home to thinking every single second of a show needed to have music or talking in it to keep kids’ attention to making mistakes in their dubs and not fixing them on purpose just because they didn’t care and then later claiming it was on purpose as a little weird Easter egg thing.

4Kids, as much as it sucks to say, weren’t entirely wrong when it came to those views, either. Looking back as fully grown anime fans, yeah, we see how bungled the dubs were for a variety of reasons, and we feel rightfully disrespected as fans, but, back when we were kids, most of us didn’t care. The fact that 4Kids, by design, made their shows to trick viewers into not thinking they were watching anime (which failed after a while) definitely had a hand there, but I can’t honestly say that my experiences looking back at enjoying these shows is in any way tarnished knowing what I know now because 4Kids, despite their backwards best efforts, helped make me an anime fan, and they wound up being a significant part of the anime boom in the late 90s and early 2000s.

I don’t attribute my being an anime fan to 4Kids because other shows dubbed by other companies, such as Sailor Moon (DiC), Digimon (Saban) and Dragon Ball and DBZ (Ocean/Funimation) and a slue of others certainly helped push me there too, but they were a big part of it. Plus, many of the shows that they dubbed are now available in high definition subbed versions (not all of them, admittedly), the ones that aren’t weren’t made unavailable or obscure because of 4Kids (It’s likely some people only know of a few obscure shows because 4Kids dubbed them once upon a time) and they also helped pioneer anime streaming options with 4Kids.tv, Toonzaki and even their Youtube channel.

4Kids isn’t even really special when it comes to them mangling their properties. As I’ve already covered in my Sub/Dub Comparison series, companies like DiC, Saban and Nelvana were awful in their own rights with similarly awful and confusing changes, but what makes 4Kids special was that they were the best damn manglers who left a trail of shows and movies in their wake. All of those other dubbing companies had rather limited libraries of anime compared to 4Kids. They wanted that kid anime market cornered, and they cornered it as much as they could. They were the kings of mangling, and I say that with legit praise because they were so much better at digital paint and editing magic than any of the aforementioned dubbing companies.

Even on Cartoon Network where they were more lax on that stuff because their anime was geared towards older kids and teens, and adults with Adult Swim, they had to make edits to suit airing. Some famous examples include Naruto and Yu Yu Hakusho. I specifically remember sloppy paint edits on Yu Yu Hakusho where you’d see the digital paint very obviously shaking as it was covering up wounds and middle fingers. And obviously there were awkward edits to replace Yusuke’s swearing. Even on Adult Swim there was some instances of editing for content. I remember Blue Gender had a sex scene hinted at in the next episode preview with a few clips between Marlene and Yuji, and it just wasn’t there in the episode on Adult Swim where it is there in the Japanese version.

This stuff happens. Sometimes, their dubs were just legitimately entertaining because the cast and writers were having a ball with the show. Their music could even be legitimately good. It was a crap shoot with them sometimes.

Speaking of the cast and crew of their shows, I really do want to emphasize that, in my opinion, they were the best parts of 4Kids. I poke fun at some 4Kids actors’ acting abilities and even just their voices sometimes, and I make fun of a lot of writing choices, but as far as I’ve seen the regular 4Kids cast and crews typically had a blast doing what they did and were proud of their work. For many of them, 4Kids productions were their first foray into mainstream voice acting work, and for some of them it was their first venture into voice acting period. They also seem to be good with the fans, happy to talk about their experiences and were understandably upset whenever a project they were working on fell through, especially in the situation with Pokemon where the rug was pulled out from under them from all angles. The main problem in 4Kids’ wheelhouse were almost always the executives, especially, yes, Al Kahn.

That being said…..there’s a reason 4Kids died when many other dubbing or licensing companies went through similar hardships and came out on the other side with their feet on the ground. As I just mentioned, 4Kids was terribly pigeon-holed. They were exclusively, well, for kids. Older kids and even teens and adults may have had a place in their audience, but their demographic was kids.

When you’re dealing with a kid demographic, you have to work in a landscape that is probably the fastest changing landscape in media. Kids grow up super fast. They outgrow Kids WB and move on to Toonami. They outgrow Toonami and move on to Adult Swim. They may not move on to other anime at all. Within a few years you have an entirely new audience of kids you have to impress with things that are new and exciting, and in the world of licensing, especially when you’re primarily licensing imported shows, you’re chained to whatever is being offered/is available in other countries.

It’s true that trying to make certain properties more fitting for newer audiences helps keep properties alive for years, just look at some of the American kids’ properties that have existed for decades without changing a whole lot, but when you’re dealing with licensing other properties that you don’t have a whole lot of creative control over, you need to find different avenues to evolve.

The thing is that they recognized this. Their problems with having few big properties holding them up and focusing on a demographic that practically demands constant change was in nearly every single financial document as concerns about their company, but they very rarely presented anything that would help solve that issue.

They did create 4Sight, which would’ve been a fantastic move to branch out into older audiences and get a more stable income stream, but, as all-or-nothing attitudes go, they pretty much went the ‘nothing’ route with 4Sight. They didn’t make any big moves with it. They barely made any small moves with it. It pretty much just sat in a corner collecting cobwebs for half a decade.

Toonzaki was a weird outlier in this regard because it’s almost like they went too far in the other direction by having a streaming site where a lot of graphic titles were offered alongside uncut 4Kids properties with no parental controls or age confirmation that I could see. This would have been the perfect project for 4Sight, but they didn’t give it to them. It was entirely a 4Kids website.

Localization is an issue too, but not fully. Yes, some references and jokes need to be changed because they just don’t translate well in English, but that usually not the problem. They were worried their audience would be put off by foreign things. Or, for some reason, an American audience would never be able to connect with Japanese characters and settings. But then again, you’ll never know if the localization is what killed it in the States either. It was largely a matter of gambling with pretty much any property 4Kids acquired.

They were also largely stuck on broadcast TV. They had trouble with releasing movies after a point, and their DVD production and sales were incredibly inconsistent and lacking, something that got exponentially worse when they attempted to release uncut DVDs. Other companies also took to TV a lot, but they tended to be better about releasing uncut DVDs. For example, people complained a lot about Naruto’s censored airing on Cartoon Network, but the uncut version was made readily available as the series aired, starting when the series premiered and completing the DVD releases when Naruto ended its run on TV.

By the time 4Kids broke out into streaming, they just handled it badly. Streaming their edited shows on 4Kids.tv? That’s great. Streaming those and some uncut stuff on their Youtube channel? Awesome. Toonzaki, however, was a great idea that was also somehow a massive mess in practice. As I mentioned, it’s just weird to have a 4Kids streaming service that had so many graphic titles with seemingly no parental blocks or age confirmations. If they were comfortable streaming uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! titles on their Youtube channel, why did they feel the need to use that as a tentpole for Toonzaki? Why not just release the episodes on 4Kids.tv, maybe with a warning or something, and keep all non-4Kids stuff on Toonzaki?

Their official promotions, few of them as there were, didn’t push it as the place to get uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes, just anime in general, but literally everywhere online that’s what it was being hyped as because the little information available, again, mostly from Mark Kirk’s interview, was that it was a 4Kids website for their uncut shows for general audiences. When you don’t have any other frame of reference, that’s what people are going to run with.

They also didn’t seem to realize that just being an aggregate site for anime sourced from other websites with only Yu-Gi-Oh! titles being unique wasn’t a good long-term plan. They acted as if they’d host more stuff directly on their website in the future, but they never did. Everything was hosted from Hulu, Crunchyroll, Funimation, Viz or other places for the entirety of its life.

That’s not entirely on them since the landscape for streaming was in its infancy back then, especially when it came to licensed properties, but still. It was a decent idea sitting on a bad execution. And while it came during a time when 4Kids really needed that opportunity to grow, it also came at the worst time because this was just a year before the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit. If they had a longer lifespan, maybe they could have ironed out the kinks with Toonzaki, but I really doubt it.

A part of their downfall was also the death of Saturday morning cartoons. Animated shows were no longer something only available on Saturday mornings, making their inconvenience a bother. Why would I wake up early on a weekend to catch an anime that I can watch anytime streaming? Or get on DVD later? Or catch on syndication on another network? Or why watch those shows when cartoons are constantly on Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon? Or why watch those cherry-picked kidified anime when I can watch a big variety of less edited shows on Toonami or Adult Swim, or, hell, even blocks like Anime Unleashed on G4 Tech TV?

They were also prisoners of their merchandise. They treated every property as a merchandise machine. Al Kahn and Mark Kirk said it straight out – if they can’t merchandise it, they’re not interested in it. A large portion of their money came from toys and other kids merchandise, which was also evolving at a breakneck speed as Al Kahn pointed out several times. The problem there was evaluating it improperly a good chunk of the time. I don’t really think they allowed a lot of these shows to have enough time to secure an audience before they decided the merchandise wasn’t worth it. They dropped so many shows because of merchandise when they barely had a few episodes to a full season under their belts.

Honestly, the lawsuit really was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. 4Kids was already on the ropes, they were teetering on the edge, and that lawsuit pushed them over and they couldn’t recover. If it wasn’t the lawsuit, it would have been something else very shortly, I guarantee it. It may seem overly pessimistic, but I just didn’t see 4Kids having a significant future anymore. They were consistently going down for years and could barely even glance up a few times. Either they would have died shortly on their own anyway or they would have stumbled into some miracle property that would save them from the Shadow Realm (and Tai Chi Chasers was not going to be it), and even then I can imagine that would only eek out a few more years for them. They just didn’t have the steam to go on.

At the end of the day, when everything is said and done, 4Kids was and still is an icon….an icon of what, is up to you, but it’s still an icon. Let’s be honest, we still have a blast with 4Kids shows just in poking fun at their ridiculousness, and some still enjoy them legitimately. I won’t deny for a second that, even though doing my SDCs of 4Kids shows chips away at my soul sometimes, the shows still commonly wind up being fun either because I’m legitimately enjoying it or I’m just laughing at the 4Kidsisms.

I’m not going to dance on 4Kids’ grave, but I’m also not going to mourn it. 4Kids was, somewhat fittingly, a product of its time. There’s just no way a company like 4Kids could survive today. There are too many sources of good, loyal dubbed anime, and there are plenty of kids anime that are dubbed just fine and made readily available to children because many dubbing companies today will dub a wide range of anime for a nearly endless demographic from kids to adults to every gender and across every genre. And if you don’t like dubs, subtitled anime, official or fansubs, are readily available at thousands of sources.

Maybe we could have seen an entirely different 4Kids over time, but I doubt it. Also, there was a certain charm with shows being on Saturday morning lineups that you really can’t get anymore, and I think 4Kids thrived on that one very specific area that we can’t replicate now. 4Kids cut out a niche for itself and dominated in that one area, and there just wasn’t a place for it once that niche was gone.

It’s an entirely new world for kids, and it’s not a world for 4Kids.

4Kids will always have a special place in my heart for helping me discover some of my favorite shows and helping spark my love of anime. I won’t excuse what they’re guilty of, and I won’t overexaggerate any good they did. I’ll just say “Thank you, 4Kids. As much for dying as for living.”

Part 23: Where in the World is Kahnmen Sandiego?


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My Poke-Pinions | #54 and 55: The Duck Line

Psyduck

Name: A combination of the words ‘Psychic’ and ‘Duck’ Psyduck has a very simple but effective, funny, snappy and cute name. Few names in the Pokemon franchise are as iconic as little ol’ Psyduck.

Originally, it was named Koduck, which was ‘Duck’ in combination with ‘Ko’ for ‘small’ or ‘child’ which is fitting. Koduck’s a cute name too, but I love Psyduck much more.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Psykokwak, which is one of the best words I’ve ever heard in my life. It sounds like a metal band name. In Korea, it’s called Gorapaduck, which is also really cute and funny. It’s a combination of ‘Duck’ with ‘Gol’ for ‘brain’ or ‘head’ and ‘Apueda’ for ‘Sick’ or ‘Hurt’ in reference to its constant headache.

….Oh and in German, it’s called Enton, which I found hilarious. It comes from ‘Ente’ for ‘Duck’ but it just sounds like some dude’s name.

Design: Like its name, Psyduck’s design is quite simple, being just a pudgy, doofy yellow duck, but I do think Psyduck is pretty darn cute. I absolutely love ducks. They’re one of my favorite animals of all time. You can bet I’ll love pretty much anything if it has a duck on it. I just want to give Psyduck a hug. It’s like a big rubber ducky. Granted, it is kinda weirdly shaped for a duck. It doesn’t really have wings, and it doesn’t look like it’d swim very well at all (Misty’s Psyduck can’t swim…) but I still think it’s really cute.

Sprite-wise, I think Silver is really cute because it looks like its booping its own bill.

Look at Emerald’s little dance!

I don’t get DP at all….is it on a swing or what’s happening there?

HG/SS is hilarious. It looks like it’s being scared shitless.

Gen V is adorable. It’s just tilting its head quizzically, like a puppy.

Everything else is fine.

Shiny:

I love Psyduck’s shiny version. Not sure it’s one of my absolute favorites, but I do love it. It’s a great shade of blue for the body with a suitable shade of blue for the bill, and blue works very well as a shiny form for a non-blue Water Pokemon.

In Gen II, its coloring is a little different. It has a darker shade of blue, almost a purple, and I think it looks really cool.

Dex Entries and Backstory: As you probably guessed, a good chunk of Psyduck’s lore has to do with its intense and constant headache. It’s always seen holding its head because of the headache, and it’s mostly vacant and static demeanor are also attributed to trying to calm the pain, which is actually quite sad. When the headache gets particularly bad, it will unleash powerful psychic abilities. However, people are uncertain whether most Psyduck intend to do this.

Crystal mentions that the psychic abilities only manifest when the sleeping cells in Psyduck’s brain wake up….whatever that means. It never remembers these psychic episodes, which is why it constantly looks confused. Additionally, the more painful the headache, the more powerful the psychic powers that accompany these episodes.

Apparently in Legends: Arceus, the Pokedex notes that someone is trying to find a way to ease Psyduck’s headache pain, which is nice to hear after over a decade of people abusing the poor thing’s condition to use its psychic powers, COUGHCOUGHMISTYCOUGHCOUGH.

In regards to design, Psyduck is obviously based on a duck, but particularly it is inspired by the looks of rubber ducks, and it also seems to have physical traits of platypuses.

Golduck

Name: A mixture of ‘Gold’ and ‘Duck’ Golduck’s name is alright. It’s not as snappy as Psyduck, and I never quite got the ‘Gol’ part. I literally just learned right this moment that it’s for ‘Gold’ but I still didn’t understand why. Apparently, it’s because gold symbolizes psychic powers….and…sure. Okay? It’s a fine name, I just wish it were a little cooler and made more sense. Its original Japanese name is retained here.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Akwakwak, for ‘Aquatique’ (aquatic) and ‘Couac’ (quack) which is amazing, one of my new favorite things ever, and the fact that that’s not the English name is a crime.

Design: I’ve always loved Golduck’s design. It’s one of my favorite Pokemon. It has a cool looking face, I like the jewel on its forehead, it’s a great shade of blue, and it does manage to look intimidating from its humble roots as a Psyduck.

My only real issue with it is that it doesn’t look like Psyduck in the slightest besides the fact that they’re both ducks. This isn’t inherently a deal breaker as many evolutions don’t look like their predecessors, but it does bug me when evolved Pokemon don’t look like their pre-evos at all because part of the fun of evos is taking something that looks small or childish and altering it in various manners to make it look like a tougher and more powerful Pokemon. Anyone can take two completely dissimilar Pokemon and claim they’re evolutions. Part of the challenge of Pokemon design is building upon base evos and making them look stronger.

Sprite-Wise, Gen I is hilarious. RB looks like it was hastily drawn by a second grader, and RG looks like its doing its damnedest to give a kawaii expression.

Yellow looks much better, but I must point out its back spite in that it’s not a back sprite at all. It’s a side profile. And it is awful. Its tail is pointing straight up, its shoulder is crammed into its head, its eye is pure white and makes it look dead. It’s one of the weirder back sprites I’ve seen.

Gen II’s alright with the highlight being the cool slashing animation on Crystal.

Gen III is alright. The animation on Emerald looks like it’s dodging something for whatever reason.

In Gen IV, DP looks insanely goofy because it looks like it accidentally set foot on very hot sand at the beach.

Platinum isn’t any better as it looks like it just barely avoided accidentally walking off a cliff.

HG/SS is a simply yell animation, and that’s fine.

The loop animation for Gen V is alright, and every other Gen is fine.

Shiny:

Golduck’s shiny is really nice. It’s what I like to refer to as a blue raspberry shade of blue with some pink in the bill.

Gen II’s version is quite weird, though, as the shiny pretty much looks like normal Golduck while the normal version looks purple in GS and navy blue in Crystal.

Dex Entries and Backstory: One of the weirdest things about Golduck is that it differentiates itself even further from Psyduck by most of the Dex entries not mentioning anything about psychic powers. Most of them just mention that it’s an incredibly fast swimmer and even claims it’s the fastest swimming Pokemon. It’s also such a powerful swimmer that even swimming in harsh seas doesn’t affect it at all, and its powerful swimming abilities have been used to help rescue sailors from shipwrecks.

It’s commonly mistaken for a kappa, which is a design aspect added to the evolution (IE the webbed hands).

Its psychic powers do get mentioned here and there, but nowhere near to the extent of focus that its given with Psyduck. It also seems like Golduck’s psychic power is at its peak when its swimming particularly fast for some reason.

Speaking of the jewel, Sun states that people believe the jewel grants the owner supernatural powers. As a result, Golduck were over-hunted for their jewels in the past, which is awful.

It will also fish along the banks of rivers, which is a quaint little note to cover before we get to Shield where apparently the newest legend around Golduck is that those who defiled its river were dragged underwater and “taken away” which I think is implying ancient Golduck drowned them, which…Uh…holy shit.

And uh…on that dark note we close out the Duck line.

Next time, we tackle the Monkey line!


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Pokemon Episode 64 Analysis: It’s Mr. Mime Time

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen1

CotD(s): Stella – The ringleader of a traveling circus, Stella’s main act is with her Mr. Mime. Despite her kind demeanor normally, she’s an extremely harsh Trainer, whipping her Pokemon into shape and working them into the ground.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Mr. Mime. It’s also implied that she owns all of the Pokemon in the circus such as various Ponyta, Rapidash, Machoke, Tangela, Exeggcute and Dodrio.

Returning Characters: Delia

Captures…?: Delia’s Mr. Mime, Mimey, debuts in this episode as a Pokemon that randomly came upon her house and bonded with her after she was so nice to it and fed it. She officially adopts it in this episode, but, strangely, it’s been kinda-ish confirmed that Ash actually caught this Mr. Mime offscreen at some point, because it’s frequently listed as one of the Pokemon Ash has caught. It’s very unclear whether Ash captured it to give to Delia so Mr. Mime could have a Pokeball to return to, even though it’s always out of a Pokeball, or if Ash caught the Mr. Mime and Delia just cares for it.

I was surprised to find this information on Mimey’s page. I always, always assumed Mr. Mime was just a Pokemon Delia adopted and never once thought it was a Pokemon Ash captured. Mr. Mime never even seemed to like Ash all that much. It’s possible that they just keep mistaking Mr. Mime for a Pokemon of his since it stays at his house.

Plot: After obtaining his eighth Badge, Ash heads back home to talk with Professor Oak about the upcoming Indigo League conference – most specifically where and when it even is.

Ash is so excited about finally going back home that he starts sprinting as he nears Pallet Town. He’s stopped dead in his tracks by an invisible wall, and the trio wonders what it is and who put it there. They glance upwards to see a Mr. Mime climbing the invisible structure, and, with a tip from Dexter, they realize it must have been the one to create it.

Excited to capture such a rare Pokemon, Ash readies his Pokeball, but he’s stopped by a girl in circus garb named Stella who asks if she can capture it herself. Ash doesn’t want to as he saw it first, but Brock forces him to step aside because he’s smitten with the girl.

Stella pathetically tries to capture Mr. Mime without attempting to battle it first, and the Mr. Mime gets away. She brings Ash, Misty and Brock to her circus where she works as ringmaster. She explains that she actually already has a Mr. Mime that she uses in her shows. The problem is that it refuses to perform anymore. It’s become a lazy slob after Stella worked it too hard to train it for circus shows.

However, Stella has a plan. She’s going to capture a new Mr. Mime, work with it instead of her own, and hopefully her Mr. Mime will get so jealous that it will start performing again. Brock, in an effort to win over Stella, tells her he’ll provide her with a Mr. Mime. However, he doesn’t plan on capturing one – he’s going to use Ash in a Mr. Mime costume instead.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket stops by a secret Team Rocket base in the forest to have a video call with Giovanni to apologize for the destruction of the Viridian Gym. He doesn’t want to hear anything from them besides capturing rare Pokemon, so he immediately sends them on their way. After the call ends, he states that it doesn’t matter how rare the Pokemon they might catch are – they’ll never be as rare as the Mewtwo before him.

As Jessie, James and Meowth figure out where to get some rare Pokemon to please their boss, a flier lands in their hot air balloon for the Pokemon Circus with the rare Mr. Mime front and center.

Back at the circus, Ash makes for a really convincing Mr. Mime in the costume Brock obtained, but he’s anything but happy about needing to humiliate himself in a Mr. Mime costume in front of everyone to go through with Brock’s little plan. He’s especially mortified when Stella starts training him and proves to be an absolutely hellish Trainer who literally whips him into shape.

At the circus, Stella and Mr. Mime!Ash enter the ring and prepare for their act, with Ash’s mother surprisingly in the audience watching them, but the lights suddenly cut out and Team Rocket enters the scene. They kidnap “Mr. Mime” and leave on their balloon.

Delia meets with Brock and Misty after Team Rocket makes their getaway knowing that Ash has been captured, but she’s not concerned because she knows Team Rocket will let Ash go once they realize he’s not a Mr. Mime. Misty, Brock and Stella agree, and Delia invites them all over to her house for a nice home-cooked meal while they wait for Ash to come back.

Meanwhile, Ash is tied up at Team Rocket’s little cabin hideout, but manages to wiggle out of his ropes and reveal himself to the trio. Annoyed above all else, Ash simply steals their hot air balloon and leaves, enraging Team Rocket.

A Mr. Mime shows up at Delia’s house as she bids Brock, Misty and Stella goodbye after their meal. She assumes this Mr. Mime is Ash, so she makes him up a nice lunch. When Ash returns to his house in his Mr. Mime outfit, Delia is thoroughly confused, but Ash clears everything up by taking off his mask and explaining the situation.

Delia is able to convince Mr. Mime of going down to the circus to take Ash’s place and help out Stella.

However, the circus is soon attacked by Team Rocket in a tank with missiles that shoot nets over all the Pokemon. The circus employees try to escape with the remaining Pokemon, but they’re all captured in nets. Stella makes off with Mr. Mime, who is touched at her display of caring.

Team Rocket chases after Stella and Mr. Mime but are suddenly stopped by the appearance of Ash, who has caught up to them in the Meowth balloon with his mother and the other Mr. Mime. Ash reunites with Pikachu and they launch a Thunderbolt on the tank. However, Team Rocket reveals that the tank is made of rubber – electricity won’t stop it.

Realizing he has no other option, Ash calls out Charizard to use his flames to melt the tank, but Charizard won’t listen. Delia calls upon the Mr. Mime that she befriended to help her son, and it does. It uses its Light Screen ability to make impenetrable invisible walls to stop Team Rocket in their tracks. Team Rocket opts to go around the wall, but Stella’s Mr. Mime, now jealous of the other Mr. Mime, rushes in to help, making another wall to stop Team Rocket’s tank.

Together with the other Mr. Mime, they create an unbreakable enclosed tower of invisible walls, trapping Team Rocket for good…..until, of course, they try to blast their way out anyway with a barrage of missiles that only results in blowing themselves up and blasting them off.

Mr. Mime returns to Delia, and she reveals that she’s nicknamed it Mimey.

Stella also reunites with her Mr. Mime and gives it some positive words of encouragement, making Mr. Mime once again motivated to perform.

Later, at Ash’s house, Mr. Mime is shown helping Delia out in the kitchen as she cooks. Delia has happily adopted the stray Psychic Pokemon as a new member of the family.

———————————————-

– The title of today’s episode is “Mr. Mimie Time” on the title card…..

Even if I wanted to be nice and say this was in reference to Delia’s Mr. Mime later being called Mimey….it’s spelled Mimey not Mimie.

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen 3

– Ash was about to try capturing Mr. Mime without battling it first……..

BMW Still be so stupid

– Okay, even Stella tried to capture it without battling first. Do you two need to go back to Pokemon 101?

– While Mr. Mime are not found anywhere in the wild in Gen I, you do obtain a Mr. Mime via trading with an NPC on Route 2. Applying a bit of continuity, you would indeed take Route 2 to get from Viridian City to Pallet Town, but Ash said he could see Pallet over the horizon, which he really shouldn’t because they’d arrive at Pewter City first. I don’t say this to be nitpicky, I just thought it was interesting.

– Intentional jealousy storylines are always kinda iffy. Yeah, bringing in a replacement and trying to make her Mr. Mime jealous could motivate him to show up the new Mr. Mime and perform….or it could just feel like it’s easily replaceable and give up even more. Or it could not care because, with a replacement, it wouldn’t be pestered so much to perform….

Also, Misty, dear, maybe not use Ash’s jealousy of Gary as evidence that this plan will work. I can think of zero times when Ash’s jealousy of Gary has actually made him better as a Trainer. He gets worked up, sure, and he strives to be better than Gary, but he doesn’t tend to do much to back it up. He gets upset that Gary is further along in his journey than him so he spends forever and a day getting to places that should be very closeby, taking numerous detours in the meantime, getting lost along the way and never improving his navigational or survival skills. He gets upset that Gary has more Pokemon than him, so he captures like one new Pokemon and sends it Oak, never to train it. He gets upset that Gary has more Badges than him, so he’s like ‘Okay I have eight Badges now…..let’s go home.’

– What is up with Stella’s hand in this shot?

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen2

– This episode also ties in with the first movie briefly by showing Giovanni after he speaks with Jessie, James and Meowth, explaining how they’ll never find a Pokemon as rare as Mewtwo. The shot then shows Mewtwo in his armor in front of him.

Also, something weird I just noticed….when does the movie really take place in the series? Because these last two episodes and the one following this buildup to the movie – it’s almost immediately after we see Mewtwo in the next episode that the movie seems to takes place. However, Ash and the others are still on their journey in the start of the movie, but they’re back in Pallet/going to the Indigo conference at this point. Did the movie technically start after the Indigo League ended?

– Also, yeah, they BLEW UP GIOVANNI’S GYM and he still won’t fire them.

– Brock’s plan is actually kinda dumb. That Mr. Mime costume is ridiculously good, admittedly (where the hell did he get that?) but Ash can’t use Mr. Mime’s abilities. How can he make Mr. Mime jealous when he can’t do the same things a Mr. Mime can do?

– Brock’s justification for not being the one in the suit makes sense (he’s too tall) but Misty’s is that she’s too cute to wear something covering her face? Come on, Misty….

– Ash: “I won’t do it. I’m not gonna dress like a clown.” You should say that BEFORE you put the costume on. Also, it is a little funny that Mr. Mime is based on a mime but looks more like a clown.

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen 4

– Okay, so he’s not actually making the invisible walls, he’s just miming for real…so why do you need the Mr. Mime costume? I’d think Mr. Mime would be jealous of any being taking its spot if it’s just doing his non-powered act better than him.

– I actually feel really bad for Ash here. He’s being forced into this dumb outfit for a dumb plan while also being screamed at and whipped at every two seconds by Stella while she tries to train him to do Mr. Mime’s act. She clearly acknowledges that her strict training method is what caused Mr. Mime to quit in the first place, even Ash points this out in inner monologue when he’s being trained, but she still decides that’s the best way to train Ash? He’s also a stranger, and a small boy, and someone who was kind enough to humiliate himself for her sake. Yet she’s still cool with treating him like this.

– This episode’s plot heralds back to AJ and his strict form of Pokemon training. However, whereas in that situation where it was just that AJ was hard and strict but he and his Pokemon understood each other and loved one another, so the harsh Training wasn’t cruel like Ash perceived, Stella……I guess doesn’t have that level of understanding with Mr. Mime or it’s simply a case of some Pokemon not taking well to that type of training. I totally get that. Pokemon and people work in similar ways. Some people and Pokemon take to strict methods of learning quite well while others learn through various means and methods and don’t respond well to such harsh tactics.

– Stella’s a ringmaster whose regular design is a ringmaster outfit, but when she’s first shown on stage she’s wearing a clown outfit……..okie dokie.

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen 5

– Team Rocket introducing themselves with a trapeze act and a human (or….cat) cannonball act was actually pretty cool. The amount of trust Jessie had in James to not drop her or miss is impressive, even if they did end up falling.

– Stella stops Ash from explaining that he’s not a Mr. Mime to Team Rocket because it would ruin her plan…..but….so would Ash getting kidnapped…

Brock also only grabbed Stella to get her out of the way of the net, even though Team Rocket clearly just wants “Mr. Mime” and would probably just let Stella go if they accidentally grabbed her. He could have easily grabbed both of them….

Everyone’s being awful to Ash today.

– Delia DOESN’T CARE THAT ASH GOT KIDNAPPED just because she assumes they’ll let him go when they realize he’s not a Mr. Mime? I mean, yeah, sure, they probably would, like I said about Stella, but they’d probably steal all of his Pokemon first. Or, since they have more of a vendetta against him, they might use him as a hostage to get Pikachu or something. In a darker show, they’d probably beat him up just for petty revenge. You’re his mother, dammit. These are actual criminals who have used guns and BOMBS in the past. Have some concern.

Also, nice emotional manipulation to have Delia clearly worried before the commercial break but then just like “Oh then there’s nothing to worry about!” with a big smile after they return from the break….

She doesn’t even want to go after him. She just wants to make Brock and Misty some food back at her place. Even in the best of scenarios, like they’d let Ash go without issue and not even steal his Pokemon, he was still kidnapped. That’s still something terrible happening to him.

And Brock and Misty instantly stop caring after that too and go to eat at Delia’s without Ash. Even without being kidnapped, it’s rude as hell to eat a home-cooked meal at HIS HOUSE without him. Why is literally everyone so awful to Ash today?

Stella doesn’t even seem to care despite the fact that it was her fault this all happened in the first place (and Brock’s, but she was the main cause).

I’d say it’s even weird that the audience gives zero fucks. A Mr. Mime was kidnapped in front of their eyes, the circus was canceled for the day because of it and no one is expressing any concern.

– Stella apparently changed back into her ringmaster outfit during the commercial break and between Delia’s lines.

– Why did they gag Ash when they think he’s a Mr. Mime?

Also, I find it pretty ironic that Mr. Mime isn’t a silent Pokemon….

Also also, Ash could have easily started talking and revealed who he was immediately considering the gag is over his Mr. Mime head not his actual mouth….

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen 6

– They realize Mr. Mime is a Psychic Pokemon, right? As in, tying it up would do pretty much nothing?

– The Team Rocket theme plays when Ash reveals himself because the original version had him starting to recite Team Rocket’s motto, but he didn’t in the dub, which is disappointing.

– Oh my god, Team Rocket actually believes Ash is still a Mr. Mime even after he takes his head off…..There are no limits to the stupidity of these three.

– Ash: “I’m not a Mr. Mime! I just play one on TV.” I’m assuming this is a fourth wall break, because I don’t think the circus is televised.

– Ash stealing Team Rocket’s balloon is one of the funniest and kinda badass things he’s ever done. Leave it to an episode where Ash is actually being kinda cool and very tolerable for everyone to treat him like garbage.

– Delia: *sigh* “I’m getting worried about Ash. I hope he’s alright.” Oh I’m so worried several hours after witnessing my son’s kidnapping. After all that time enjoying a nice visit and meal with his friends, he hasn’t come home yet. Golly. I hope he’s just hit traffic or something.

– So Delia knows from like 150 feet away that a Mr. Mime at a circus was Ash in a costume for no reason besides, I guess, mother’s intuition, but she instantly believes this real Mr. Mime is Ash when it’s right in front of her face…..Even when it’s talking, like they bought a costume that has an animatronic mouth or something. Then she believes the mouth is able to eat? Just how stupid is….I guess everyone in this show?

– Also, just to be nitpicky, I’d assume any mother, especially one as overbearing as her, would demand he take off the mask and costume before eating anyway just to be polite.

– Ash is pretty good at piloting that hot air balloon.

– Delia: *upon seeing Mr. Mime and Ash in his Mr. Mime costume in the living room* “Does Ash have a twin brother?!”

YOU’RE. HIS. MOTHER. I don’t even think I need to explain the layers involved in the stupidity of that line. Holy shit, Delia. Grow a brain cell.

– Delia: *when she realizes the Mr. Mime she’s been talking to wasn’t Ash* “I thought it was strange that you ate so nicely.”

Everyone is being SO AWFUL to Ash today. What is happening?

– He can’t even catch a break with Mr. Mime. He asks very nicely if Mr. Mime will come with him to help his friends at the circus, and it refuses, but Delia easily coerces it to go.

– Where the hell were they storing that tank? They parked their balloon right next to their little cabin and there was nothing else around. I won’t bother asking how and why they have a frickin’ tank on hand in the first place because this is Team Rocket. I will ask why they didn’t use the tank the first time they showed up, though, and why didn’t they steal all of the circus Pokemon the first time as well?

– I refuse to believe a Machoke isn’t strong enough to pull up that net…..

– I refuse to believe that that net is strong enough to trap three huge trucks moving at high speeds….

– I do think the little periscope camera Team Rocket has is cute and funny, though.

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen 7

– Stella’s Mr. Mime instantly forgives her and turns around just because she gave it a piggyback ride to get away from Team Rocket? I guess that’s not the silliest “Trainer does something for the Pokemon so the Pokemon instantly changes their tune” story element we’ve seen…..

………Why wouldn’t she just return it to its Pokeball and carry it away?

– Stella: “Ash!”

Brock: “Hey Ash!”

Misty: “You’re just in time!” Screw you all! You didn’t even wonder where Ash was when Team Rocket returned. For all you knew, he was dead. You all suck.

– Jessie: “Your electric attacks won’t work! This tank is made of rubber!” It…..is? It clearly looks like it’s made of metal. Rubber doesn’t typically shine like that. How is it even functioning if it’s made entirely of rubber? You could have just said it was some vague electricity resistant armor or coating or something.

Pokemon Ep 64 Screen 8

– Ash choosing Charizard here actually is smart because, of all his Pokemon, he’s the only one who’d be able to destroy a tank made of rubber as the fire would melt it…..However, of course, he won’t obey. I won’t ream into him for this like I usually do, because he admitted it was a long shot and this was his most logical play, honestly. Plus, too many people have been giving Ash shit today, so I’ll give him a break.

– How does Mr. Mime stand on the walls or climb up them like Spider-Man?

– One thing that has always stood out to me about this episode is the massive Light Screen tower. I dunno why that’s stuck with me over the years.

– Stella: “See, Mr. Mime? You can do so much if you just try!” That was never the problem. The problem was you being too much of a hardass that nothing was ever good enough for you. It only became a lazy couch potato because it was tired of trying so hard for nothing but demands for perfection and yelling and screaming in return. She does apologize for being so rough in the next line, but this particular line rubbed me the wrong way a little.

It turns out that there’s likely a reason this line seems odd. In the original, Stella (Atsuko, in the Japanese version) believed she spoiled Mr. Mime too much and it made him lazy. 4Kids probably kept this line without realizing it didn’t make sense given how they altered the script. I don’t know why they changed the reason why Mr. Mime became lazy.

– How long do those walls stay up exactly? Like, is the wall from the start of the episode still in the road? Because that’s dangerous.

– Brock: “Heh, that Mr. Mime is getting to be like a member of the family.”

Misty: “Only this member of the family has manners and helps out in the kitchen.”

Seriously, why is everyone being so awful to Ash today?

———————————————

Overall, I didn’t dislike this episode, but it wasn’t all that great. It has a very basic plot, and Brock’s little plan to make Mr. Mime jealous was both cliché and shaky. We never did see what the plan was for Ash during the show. Stella just kept telling him to do pantomime, which, sure, fine, that’s something a person can do, but does she really have her Mr. Mime do nothing else in her shows besides stuff a normal person can do?

Ash was surprisingly quite tolerable in this episode, even if he did send out Charizard again. The only thing I really want to ding him for in this episode is trying to capture Mr. Mime without battling it first. We’re 64 episodes in, he has eight Badges, he knew this was a rare Pokemon, there’s just no excuse whatsoever.

However, he did get some good lines and was pretty alright for most of the episode. That’s why it’s such a damn shame that everyone was, for some reason, treating him so poorly today. It was a non-stop barrage of either insulting him, tormenting him or not giving a single shit about him. He was kidnapped by people who have tried to kill them before, and they just brush it off like it’s no big deal – even his own mother.

As for Mr. Mime…..eh. I bounce back and forth between liking Mr. Mime and finding it cute to thinking it’s super annoying. I’m glad Delia has some companionship at home now, and I think a Mr. Mime is, oddly, a great fit for her since it is able to do so much around the house. However, I’m also glad Ash didn’t technically catch it (or, at least, decide to keep it with him?) because I can’t imagine having much patience for it over time. It popping up every now and then when Delia appears is enough.

Next time, Ash finally sees Professor Oak in order to learn more about the Pokemon League. Gary shows up to visit his grandpa at the same time as he also prepares for the Indigo League conference.

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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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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 13: Pikachu’s Goodbye (2005 cont.)

2005 was a year that would be historical for 4Kids and Pokemon. It was definitely the first sign of dark clouds on the horizon for one and rocky roads eventually leading to greener pastures for the other. On October 10, 2005, 4Kids sold their 3% stake in The Pokemon Company back to them, meaning they would not get anymore revenue from Pokemon in Asian markets. While I can’t find any information on how much they bought it for, they sold the stake for $960,000.

TPC then announced that they would not be renewing their contract with 4Kids which was set to expire on December 31, 2005. Pokemon USA was instead tasked by TPC to be their own in-house North American dubbing and distribution company. Beginning in 2006, they would be creating and launching their own dub of Pokemon. Pokemon USA was created all the way back in 2001 to handle overseas licensing in the Americas, meaning they were probably planning for this day for a while. They no longer needed 4Kids, stripping them of one of their biggest titles and being one of the biggest hits 4Kids would ever take. (Some sources say 4Kids just dropped Pokemon, but I can’t fathom why they would. It was still one of their absolute top earners, and would continue being so for years even simply through residuals after they lost the license. Dropping the license would cause nothing but problems for them, so I don’t see what the logic is in the assumption that they dropped it.) 4Kids would be allowed to dub season eight, Advanced Battle, as well as the eighth Pokemon movie, Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, but that would be it.

While Al Kahn publicly wished PUSA all the best and celebrated eight years with the show, the company losing its main tentpole was far from good news. In addition, the voice actors were not at all pleased at being spontaneously fired from a series that they had put eight years of work into and had become beloved to many of them. Keep in mind, Pokemon was not just 4Kids’ big break – it was also the doorway to relative stardom for many of the voice actors. And throughout the years both the company and the voice actors (but mostly the voice actors) had been endeared to the fans and vice versa. To quote my recently edited-in entry on the ninth Pokemon movie review;

“None of the original voice actors were happy about being dumped by the new company, even though Maddie Blaustein took it in stride. Eric Stuart said they were driven by greed and even implied that this would be the death of the show, even though we now know that was an incorrect prediction, Veronica Taylor stated PUSA cares nothing about quality and that it’s ridiculous for them to claim it will be identical when they’re gutting everything 4Kids and the original VAs did to the show, and Rachel Lillis was pissed, she straight out said so, especially towards someone I’ll address in a second. In fact, they were all blindsided by both the fact that they were all being ‘fired’ AND the fact that 4Kids lost the rights in the first place. No one told them anything, there was no warning, they just told them they were being replaced and moved on.

So why were the original cast members shafted anyway? According to Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor and Rachel Lillis – it was all just to save money. It was cheaper to hire a cast of “sound-alikes” than it was to keep the new cast on board, and they thought the fans would be too stupid to notice or wouldn’t care because, again, voice actors are treated like shit. But, of course, the fans DID notice and DID care, but by that point it was too late.

None of them asked for more money. They all would have worked for the same amount 4Kids was already paying them, which, by implications, was already not that great, but PUSA never negotiated for their contracts or invited them back. They just showed them the door.

To make matters worse, one of the PUSA voice actors, Bill Rogers, the new voice of Brock, made a post on Serebii.net that Rachel Lillis did not take kindly to at all because he made off like the original voice actors’ old contracts had a clause that made it so they couldn’t come over to the new company and could never be involved in future Pokemon projects. According to Rachel Lillis, no such clause existed whatsoever and he had “no idea what (he) was talking about.” and said all of this was incredibly shady.

And she was right to think that way because some of the original cast were eventually invited back to play bit parts and reprise some of their roles (none of the main cast) briefly, barring, oddly enough, Veronica Taylor of all people, and Eric Stuart. TAJ Productions, which was originally 4Kids’ dubbing partner and was PUSA’s dubbing partner for a bit, went out of business in early 2008 and was replaced by DuArt Film and Video. They made the decision to bring in some of the old voice actors, although to what end I really don’t know. None of them reprised big parts, except Dan Green who got to reprise Mewtwo, and Ted Lewis, who got to reprise Giovanni, and the parts they got that weren’t reprisals were kinda insulting (the last two roles they gave to Rachel Lillis before she left were voices of Pokemon….) The biggest roles the old cast seemed to land were Erica Schroeder, who originally voiced Nurse Joy, voicing Bianca in Black and White, and Jason Griffith, who really only had CotD/CotM parts in the original series, eventually voicing Cilan in Black and White.”

However, due to the way 4Kids’ contract was structured, they would reap some benefits from Pokemon. An article from Business Wire stated “4Kids will continue to receive commissions for the next several years on payments made under existing Pokemon license agreements whose term expires after December 31, 2005. It is expected that commissions earned by 4Kids from the Pokemon property will decline over the course of the next several years.”

As I stated, this money flow from old licensed work would continue to be substantial enough to be one of 4Kids’ bigger sources of income throughout a good chunk of the rest of their existence….However, that was a bit of a double-edged sword. It would be revealed in 2011, when they were filing for their first round of bankruptcy, that 4Kids still owed TPC quite a lot of money, $4.7mil in fact. According to an audit that TPC did in 2010 for the years between mid-2001 and 2008, 4Kids didn’t account for nearly $4,700,000 in “deficiencies” from undisclosed sources. The only specific thing brought up in the document is Pokemon Movie 04. 4Kids surrendered its right to receive any profits from the movie as a result of the dispute, so I assume it had something to do with that, at least (Although the movie didn’t make nearly enough to be worth all of that), but there are likely other areas that contributed to those deficiencies.

In 2012, they completed a settlement agreement in which TPC would receive $1,000,000 plus interest.

As this storm started, 4Kids would be in the middle of releasing Pokemon season seven, Advanced Challenge, and Pokemon Movie 07, Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: Deoxys the Sky-Splitting Visitor, which would be retitled, Pokemon: Destiny Deoxys.

Ironically, things would actually start looking a tiny bit brighter for 4Kids on the Pokemon front.

Despite Destiny Deoxys still not seeing a theatrical release, 4Kids had a better idea on how to give the movie more attention. They struck a deal with Warner Bros. to have the movie air on Kids WB on January 20, 2005 – three weeks before it would be released on DVD. This would turn out to be an incredibly smart move, giving Kids WB the best ratings they’ve had in their target demographic since 2003. The movie did need to be edited for TV – particularly 15 minutes of footage needed to be removed and some footage was sped up for it to properly fit the broadcast slot. However, the DVD version was left intact. You can find all of the cuts required for broadcast length on Bulbapedia.

On February 15, 2005, Destiny Deoxys would be released on VHS and DVD. For the final time, the movies would be released by Miramax, and for the first time, the movie would not be accompanied by a short – allowing the movie to be extra long.

To their credit, Miramax would actually do better with their cropping issues on this movie. Despite still being released in 4:3 as opposed to 16:9, they edited the cropped footage better and panned the shots instead of jutting the footage when characters needed to be in frame. In re-releases, the movie would be in 16:9.

The initial DVD release would include a promotional Deoxys card. However, unlike the other promotional cards, this one would be given out at various other events, making it not quite as exclusive as the others.

The DVD also came with special features such as a ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ game, a behind-the-scenes featurette with the director, a Pokemon quiz game and gallery art for the posters. However, as has been the norm with Miramax, their subsequent re-releases of the movie would not include these features despite recycling the box art that claims they’re on the disc. However, again, this issue would be fixed in the 2020 re-release.

For the edits that were attributed to 4Kids alone, the movie actually didn’t fare too badly. It’s noted as being one of their better dubs.

Critically, the movie earned a resounding ‘Meh’ from non-fan audiences – claiming it was decent, but not much better than the average Pokemon episode. Fans responded positively to the movie, praising its intense action, more mature feeling and fun characters – particularly Munchlax and Deoxys. It’s still not considered one of best Pokemon movies, but it is fondly remembered by many.

Overall, 2005 was a lower year for 4Kids, which isn’t really a surprise. They had net revenues of $86,662,000, down from $103,306,000 in 2004. Their net income was basically halved with $5,069,000 compared with $12,730,000 in 2004. Declines in returns from Yu-Gi-Oh!, Kirby, Pokemon and TMNT as well as One Piece and Mew Mew Power were blamed for some of the loss while Cabbage Patch Kids and Winx Club were credited as helping offset it.

Next – Part 14: (The Time Has Come)

Previous – Part 12: Out of the Box


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 9: Be Careful What You Wish For (2004)

2004 brought a lot of change to the Pokemon franchise. With the release of the games, Ruby and Sapphire, an entirely new generation was born yet again. In the anime, now branded Advanced Generation, Ash finally got a brand new outfit, an entirely new roster, and this season brought Misty’s departure. After several years of being Ash’s companion, close friend and pseudo-love interest, Misty was forced to say goodbye to Ash and, unlike Brock, not return for several years. The ‘girl spot’ in Ash’s team was taken up by May, who would help bring the new addition of Pokemon Coordinating to the spotlight in the anime. Her little brother, Max, would also come along and act as a rare fourth companion.

As per tradition, another year also brought another new Pokemon movie – Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie – Wishing Star of the Seven Nights: Jirachi (Seriously, is there some secret anime/movie title length competition going on?), coined by 4Kids as Jirachi: Wish Maker.

This would mark the first time a main Pokemon movie didn’t get a theatrical release and instead went direct-to-DVD. As a result, I have no clue how good the sales were as that information, as far as I can see, is not available anywhere. I found one article on Animation World Network that claimed that rental sales of Jirachi: Wish Maker in the US between June 1, 2004 and October 2004 were $1.16 million, which is okay, all things considered, but those are rental figures so I’m not sure how much of that sees Miramax’s or 4Kids’ pockets.

Yet again, the movie was released in 4:3, which resulted in the worst cropping jobs and errors that any of the Pokemon movies had ever seen. At several points, the shots very obviously start out in one orientation then jut to being in the center of the screen. Since Miramax forces the aspect ratio due to the original movies always being in widescreen, I’m to assume that 4Kids’ original version didn’t experience the same janky issues with the editing in regards to getting characters in frame and all of the problems were Miramax’s doing.

Critically, it seemed like Pokemon was starting to recover as reviews for the movie were significantly more favorable than either 4Ever or Heroes.

The dub fared okay in regards to edits. While there were some changes, nothing was really drastic. It was moreso a case of ‘the original did this better’ more than ‘the dub completely butchered this.’ It’s also the first (and only?) instance of 4Kids opting to take a lyrical Japanese song and translating the lyrics into English instead of just replacing the entire song (‘Pokemon Hoedown’ doesn’t count as it used the same music but made entirely different English lyrics that didn’t even follow the melody on top.) The song in question is Asuca Hayashi’s ‘A Small Thing’ or ‘Chiisaki Mono,’ which was retitled by 4Kids in their English rendition to ‘Make a Wish.’

Not only that, but in one of the most shocking things 4Kids ever did, they kept the original Japanese version in the song as well. They only translated and covered half the song in English. The other half is retained in its original Japanese. They even got an English singer who sounds almost exactly like the original Japanese singer so you can barely tell a changeover happened – that singer being Cindy Mizelle.

In addition, when May is humming the lullaby version of the song in the movie, Veronica Taylor isn’t doing her voice – KAORI, May’s Japanese VA, is.

The DVD was released with the short, Gotta Dance!, which would wind up being the last time a Pokemon movie was ever released with a short film. Gotta Dance! also escaped the dubbing process mostly unscathed. The only drastic change was replacing the original narrator, who was once again a soft spoken lady, with Meowth, who was treating the short as a flashback.

As per marketing tradition, the DVD also came with a promotional Jirachi card. It also touted several special features such as another trivia game, artwork, and a music video for the song ‘Make a Wish.’

Like with 4Ever and Heroes, Wish Maker’s re-releases also just re-used old boxart that promised all of the special features that weren’t included after the initial release. It also used a 4:3 aspect ratio in the first re-release when a widescreen format was advertised. This problem would be fixed in the 2020 re-release of the film, however, and like the other movies, it would eventually see a widescreen release.

Moving on to other notable debuts in 2004, while the Fox Box had largely been centered on a young boy audience, they knew they had to appeal to girls as well, or at least make an effort to see if they could capitalize on that demographic. In comes Winx Club – an Italian fantasy series created by Iginio Straffi and licensed by Rainbow S.r.l. 4Kids acquired the rights to dub the series in 2004, and it was just as badly edited as any anime that 4Kids bought.

All of the hallmarks of 4Kids shows are present in Winx Club, including removing any instances of Italian culture in order to be more American-friendly, drastically changing storylines, changing characters’ personalities, and editing out the tiniest of curves during a transformation sequence because it implied the existence of the character’s boob. Again, this is merely scratching the surface of the various changes 4Kids did to the show, to the point where it was basically an entirely new show. For a detailed account of the changes, visit the Winx Club Fandom page.

Despite the heavy edits, 4Kids found success with the series for several years, spanning three seasons and launching toy lines, dolls, books, its own magazine, a card game and even a couple video games after teaming up with Mattel and Konami. In regards to the card game, Al Kahn was cited as saying;

“Girls play differently than boys, and it is in understanding these play patterns and appeal that led us to work with Upper Deck and create a trading card game that is more about friendship, fun, fashion and magic.”

The card game then went on to be a huge success and totally didn’t flop and fade into obscurity quite quickly to the point where even the very detailed Fandom site for the franchise has absolutely no mention of it.

According to what I could find, both Straffi and Al Kahn were happy with the success of the show and the possibilities of expanding its reach worldwide right as Winx Club was getting ready to take off in America.

Well, Straffi was happy with the other companies they were partnering with and the eventual success of Winx Club. He, as well as most everyone else at Rainbow S.r.l., were not happy with the changes that 4Kids made to the show, most of which were not approved by Straffi or anyone on his crew before being made. In 2009, Viacom started showing interest in the show. Details are unclear regarding this situation, but from all of the information I could gather, Viacom made Straffi a very good deal to help produce and localize the show from season four onward. With a new and seemingly much better American deal on the table, Straffi and Rainbow S.r.l. told 4Kids to take a hike and permanently revoked their license for the show.

4Kids would claim that their season three finale was the series finale, which wasn’t true. However, it might as well have been because, as stated, the series was basically an entirely different show from what it originally was in Italy. Even though Nickelodeon handled the show from season four onward, technically continuing the show, it didn’t continue on with everything 4Kids was doing, making season four kinda look like a soft reboot that started in the middle of the story.

Finally, 4Kids acquired the rights to the anime, F-Zero Falcon Densetsu, which would be retitled to F-Zero GP Legend in America. The series was launched to coincide with the North American release of the game of the same name. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, GP Legend also suffered from the same editing wounds as nearly every other 4Kids series. Most notably, they completely replaced the soundtrack, which was incredibly disappointing considering the F-Zero series is practically more well known for their great songs than they are for the games themselves, completely rewrote scripts and changed the main character from Captain Falcon to Ryu Suzaku, known in the dub as Rick Wheeler because haha cars have wheels.

Despite a strong promotional effort, the show was a total bomb. After releasing only 15 episodes on the Fox Box, the show was dropped. The reason for this is unclear, but was very likely poor ratings. The Lost Media Wiki page says there were rumors that the vague plot was to blame, while others claim the dark and edgy tone put off younger viewers while simultaneously having characters and storylines that were too childish for older viewers. The failure of the show combined with the failure of the game resulted in the sequel game not getting a North American release, and the entire F-Zero franchise has been put on ice to this day. Nintendo also seemingly put an end to any anime adaptations of their franchises, beyond Pokemon of course, also to this day.

It’s rumored that at least two more episodes were dubbed and unaired, but it’s unclear. Episode 16 at least was slated to be run in its normal air spot before it was canceled, so it’s safe to say that the dub at least got to episode 16. Supposedly, 4Kids got the rights to dub the entire 51 episode show. According to Captain Falcon’s English voice actor, David Willis, the entirety of the 51 episode show was dubbed, but he only remembers as far as dubbing a scene that came from episode 36. Whatever dubbed episodes do exist beyond the 15 that aired are considered lost media considering that it’s highly unlikely that whoever owns the rights now would be willing to release the episodes on home video, especially since the show was seemingly dropped so quickly due to poor reception.

All of those troubles pale in comparison to what was on the horizon, though. Yes, it’s finally here. Rejoice villagers! Or weep. Whichever. Because we might not make it out of the next section….in one piece….:D

Hey, if I’m going to write a 100 page retrospective on 4Kids, I’m going to use all the puns I have and you can’t stop me.

Next – Part 10: One Piece in Pieces

Previous – Part 8: Miramax Killed the Movie Theater Star


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