Digimon Adventure S02E03

21 min read

Digimental Up (JP)
A New Digitude (EN)

Original Writer: Genki Yoshimura
Dub Writers: Jeff Nimoy & Bob Buchholz

Original Airdates:
April 16, 2000 (JP)
August 26, 2000 (EN)


Gear’s Notes: The Japanese theme song is really growing on me. The American theme… well, it’s had 20 years to grow on me and it still hasn’t so…

They changed so much dialogue in this episode. Bad jokes. Breaking the silence. Making Davis into an ass. It just doesn’t end.

Summary

The kids return to the Digital World, only to be confronted by the Digimon Emperor himself, who claims to be the only Chosen Child/DigiDestined due to the fact that he’s perfect. He engages them with several Tyrannomon, and the combined efforts of Flamedramon, Halsemon, and Digmon aren’t enough to fight them off. Gatomon and Patamon find themselves holding the rest of the group back since they still can’t Digivolve. Cody escorts TK and Kari into a cave to escape the attacking army where they discover the Digimentals of Hope and Light. Patamon and Gatomon Armor Digivolve to Pegasusmon and Nefertimon respectively, free the Tyrannomon from the Digimon Emperor’s control, and return to the human world to discuss their situation.

Every episode of both versions opens with a recap of the previous episode. In the Japanese, it happens after the theme song and is narrated by an unnamed narrator. The images do most of the talking, while the narrator offers occasional commentary. In the dub, a character (this time Yolei) talks over it continuously with the stock music in the background and puts in a lot of random opinions that often don’t jive with the character’s personality. Examples follow:

“Hawkmon’s pretty cute for a stuffy old bird!”

I’m starting to see why Sora says kids these days have no gratitude.


“But how did they turn into Halsemon and Digmon? I’m not complaining through, because if they didn’t Armor Digivolve…”

Wait, if you don’t know how they Armor Digivolved, then how do you know they Armor Digivolved at all?

Cut, Added, or Shifted Scenes

Yolei’s dramatic “Let’s Goooooo!” flourish for entering the Digital World was moved into the recap, even though it didn’t happen in the last episode.

[Ken is working on his computer, his Emperor/Kaiser goggles on the screen]
silence
Ken: Let’s see, just a few simple modifications… purrrrrfect. Fufufu.

I’ve been trying to be more fair to the dub because I know it can’t be easy to move a story from one language to another, but I really don’t get why the dubbing process involves so much extra dialogue. The scene in the original had ominous music and no dialogue. The dub uses the general stock stuff and just… adds words for no reason. Honestly, it would have been better to use no music at first, and then use a musical sting when his face is revealed or something… but all the exposition that serves no purpose completely dictates the scene.

It’s an ongoing problem in every season, so maybe that rant is old news, but I needed to bring it up at least once. Silence is good for tension. /irony


silence, then approaching footsteps as the Digimon prepare to pounce.
Patamon: The classroom is empty! Do you think it’s safe to come out now?
Gatomon: Hold on, I’m still taking a spelling test!

They then proceed to grunt as they prepare to pounce. But rather than it sounding like preparing for battle, it sounds like they’re trying to move a bookcase. Then the In-Training Digimon start giggling only to be shushed by Patamon.


Chibimon: Daisuke?
Daisuke: You there?
DemiVeemon: Smells like Davis!
Davis: Are you saying I smell?

As you can tell V-Mon’s In-Training form Chibimon becomes DemiVeemon in the dub.

In the original Miyako says that despite getting free food from her family’s convenience store, she still has to work hard. In the dub, she says she still has to pay for anything she eats, but at least the store offers a good pension plan. And honestly, Davis’ dumbfounded look works better in the dub as he tries to process that bad joke.


Upamon: This is really really great!
Upamon: This is the best thing I’ve eaten in my entire life, all two days of it!


In a rare case of “We actually needed this extra dialogue,” Poromon is more explicit that the food he’s eating is really spicy, and that’s why he’s flying around in a panic. I assume that’s more clear in the original for audiences who could read the packaging.


Tailmon: I’m worried just thinking about our future.
Gatomon: I really hope my first litter doesn’t act like this.

Yes, we get it, she’s a cat.


Daisuke: By the way, is the gate open?
Miyako: Hold on [I’ll check].
Davis: Let’s check to see if the gate’s open.
Yolei: It’s open! [runs to computer]

Yolei, you literally were the last one to show up, you’ve been nowhere near the computer since you walked in, and the monitor is turned off. How could you possibly know that?

Miyako: It’s open!
Yolei: PERRRRRfecto!

Lord, she really is supposed to be Izzy, isn’t she?


Miyako: When I saw [Iori] in the classroom, he said he wouldn’t leave until he finished his lunch.
Silence
Teacher: You don’t have to eat everything.
Iori: No, we shouldn’t waste food. That’s what my late father always said.
Yolei: He’s still in the lunchroom. Last time I checked, he was still chewing the same carrot fifty times!
Cody: I’m so stuffed! I only have one more tomato to eat.
Teacher: You don’t have to eat every bite, Cody.
Cody: “You should never throw away any food unless it smells bad.” My father used to say that before he passed away.

In the original, it’s clear Iori doesn’t like tomatoes, so he’s holding it to his face trying to work up the willpower to eat it. He even makes some gagging noises. In the dub, he’s just too full to finish his plate and sniffs the tomato hoping it smells bad.

Honestly, I’m just glad they kept in the part about his father being dead.

Ken Ichijouji is retained, though the dub’s pronunciation is weird. The emphasis is all wrong and it sounds like he’s an itchy Joe cheese. It gets better in later episodes. Honestly, I’m surprised they felt the need to change “Miyako” to “Yolei,” but kept “Ichijouji.”

Anchor: Also, we spoke to one of the Judges, Professor Shotsuki of Jyonan University.
Professor Shotsuki: I’m very impressed. I can’t believe that program was made by an elementary student. He’s certainly a genius, no doubt!
Jackie: We go live to the site of the contest with our field reporter Jerry Rivera! Jerry?
Jerry: Thanks Yakky! Young Ken wowed the judges by creating a program that can actually brush your teeth for you. Rumor is, next year he’s planning something with floss! Back to you!

And the bad jokes just keep on coming. Even as a kid I didn’t find this stuff funny.


Anchor: The other day he played chess against twenty adults. Not only is he good with computers and schoolwork, he’s also good at sports as well.
Soccer stadium audience: [cheering]
Jackie: Ken’s talents include being able to play one game of chess while everyone watches. Just last week, he balanced the world’s biggest checkbook! And that’s not all: he’s a champion in Judo, and a star on the all-state soccer team! And girls: he’s single!
Random girls narrating from afar: OOOOOHHHHHH!

I’m disturbed at how often I have to use this image.


Daisuke: Hey, that was a good shot!
Davis: Wow, he’s almost as good as I am!

Davis’ re-characterization continues to slide downhill.


Reporter: Surely there must be a special way to raise a boy like your son!
Ken’s Mother: No, we didn’t do anything special.
Ken’s Father: It’s like the ugly duck laying the golden egg!
Jackie: What are the advantages of being the mother of one of the most brilliant children in the world?
Ken’s Mother: Oh, it’s great! In the kitchen, he invented dishes that clean themselves?
Ken’s Father: Like father, like son! I once guessed how many jellybeans were in a pickle jar!

Was that before or after the two skunks fought over it?


Iori: It’s hard to believe that people like Ichijouji Ken-san exist.
Cody: I heard that this kid is so smart, that one time he gave his teachers homework.

The dub is taking nothing seriously.


Takeru: But it’s amazing. He really is a genius.
TK: Hey, maybe Ken knows how to defeat the Digimon Emperor!

Where the hell did you get that idea, TK?


Miyako: Hmph! I can write some programs, too!
Daisuke: But he’s good at sports, too.
Yolei: Hmph! I know more about the Digital World than that stupid kid!
Davis: He may be stupid, but he’s still a genius!

Cut, Added, or Shifted Scenes

In the original, to show how truly evil Ken is, he kicks a puppy, causing it to flee.

In the dub, the scene was cut, and the puppy runs off because Ken threatens to call the pound. And the dog understood that. Somehow.

In a weird way, based on the dialogue, they had to cut this scene. As Ken is walking down the street, everyone is apparently staring at him and murmuring that he’s there. No such dialogue is in the original. If they’d kept the scene, you’d have to wonder why no one saw him kicking the dog when he was being stared at by like 20 people.

Ken’s Mother: I’m leaving you something to eat.
Ken’s Mother: I got a new label maker today! I just can’t stop playing with it. I even labeled the toilet!

That’s the face of a man who can’t find an unlabeled toilet.

I wonder why, even in the original version, the toilet is labeled. And it’s labeled in English. Weird.

Side Note
How the hell does he whistle like that?

Ken: Give me a ride and follow him!
Ken: Let’s go, we have a little errand to run.

Why does everything Dub Ken says sound like a double entendre?

Cut, Added, or Shifted Scenes

The moment Ken strikes Elecmon is removed from the dub. They add a screen flash, but also cut some of Elecmon’s crawling in the next shot.


Ken kicking Elecmon is replaced in the dub by a shot of some shocked Gotsumon.

Gotsumon: Everyone, when he catches a Digimon and puts a ring on him, he changes completely.
Gotsumon1: If he thinks he’s gonna catch us, he’s got rocks in his head!
Gotsumon2: Then again, so do we!


Hikari: Anyway, let’s look for [the Digimentals].
Daisuke: Alright, let’s do it!
Kari: We’ll never know if we don’t look for them.
Davis: I’ll do anything you want, Kari!

Cut, Added, or Shifted Scenes

A scene from earlier of the Gotsumon headbutting each other is repeated in the original, but removed from the dub for reasons I can’t begin to speculate on.

Davis: Hey, it’s getting pretty dark in these woods. Here, Kari, I’ll hold your hand so you don’t get scared.
Kari: I’m not scared.
TK: And it’s not her hand, it’s mine.
Davis: Oh, sorry TJ.
Kari: And that’s not his name! It’s TK!
Davis: Whatever.

None of this was a thing in the original. Davis is a nasty jerk, and Kari and TK sound legitimately angry at him, an exchange that has no further consequences, even though it should. Also…

Davis is separated from TK by Veemon and Cody. How was he holding his hand? And how did he expect to hold Kari’s when he’s further separated by TK and Yolei?

The scene was done by pushing the dialogue about who the Digimentals/DigiEggs are for to the scene prior, as that’s the discussion happening in the original.


Ken: Based on the laws of physics, I have determined that only perfect human beings can be DigiDestined.

Ah yes, Newton’s rarely cited fourth law: only absolutely perfect people can get sucked into a computer. The man was truly ahead of his time.


Ken: …and of course, I am the only perfect human being.
Davis: Oh yeah, Big Shot?! Well, what about Kari?!

If Kari is perfect, then humanity’s worse off than I could have ever imagined.


Ken: A Chosen Child should be a perfect human like me! Not like you!
Daisuke: A perfect human?!
Takeru: Who do you think you are?!
Ken: The Digital World belongs to me!
Ken: You are intruders in a place you do not belong. You are hereby ordered to evacuate the premises without further notice.
Davis: The landlord told my uncle the same thing.
TK: We have just as much right to be here as you!
Ken: This world and everything in it belongs to me! Now all of you, get out!

Ken, your property taxes are due. Davis, don’t talk about your family. You’re all the Motomiya anyone could ever tolerate. TK, did you just affirm that the Digimon Emperor has a right to be here?

Side Note

Oh god, I’m only halfway done with the episode…

Ken: If you interrupt my game, I’ll have to punish you.
Ken: Why must everyone question my authority? Does it always have to turn into a great big production?

Ken’s line in the original is foreshadowing for events later in the series. The dub line is just a dumb joke, though I give the delivery credit. He sounds very exasperated.

Narrator: Tyranomon! His arms are well-developed and powerful! His attack is Fire Breath!
Ken: He’s one of the most powerful Digimon. His Blaze Blast attack incinerates his enemies!

…one of the most powerful? He’s still got 2-3 more evolutions to go! Ken’s reading the wrong strategy guide.

And while Tyrannomon’s name is retained, it’s romanization is actually different between the two versions.

Side Note

The Digimon Emperor lets out a long-suffering groan when Davis talks, and it feels so relatable.

Daisuke: You really piss me off!
Davis: I’ve had enough of your babbling, let’s get to it.

Is the dub becoming self-aware?!

Halsemon’s attack which should be Eagle Eye gets called Tempest Wing again.

Patamon: We’re just a burden like this!
Tailmon: It’s so frustrating!
Patamon: I thought that cats were always supposed to land on their feet.
Gatomon: Oh shut up.

Not that the delivery was bad, but they just got slashed by a Tyrannomon. The dialogue does not fit at all.


Digmon: Fight me now!
Digmon: Hello, boys! Looks like you’ve got some cavities that need filling!

I need Toei to immediately cease creating Digimon without visible mouths.


Ken: Fair? It doesn’t matter as long as you win.
Ken: Remember the old saying: It’s not how you play the game, it’s whether you win or lose.

Big Crack, Digmon’s other attack, is localized as Gold Rush in this episode, though that won’t always be the case.

Flamedramon: Going somewhere? You’ll have to go through me first to get to them!

Flamedramon in the dub is saying this as the Tyrannomon actually chasing the others gets away. You can see it chasing them.

From left to right: The Tyrannomon he’s talking to; the Tyrannomon actually chasing the others; the very confused Armor Digimon who doesn’t know who he’s talking to.

Flamedramon makes this weird gurgling noise for no apparent reason.


TK: What are those symbols on the front of them?

Kari: How should I know? Those “eggs” have to be like 30 klicks away!

In the original, Hikari protests lifting the Digimentals because the other Gen I Chosen Children couldn’t, though Tailmon insists she try. In the dub, she points out that they already have Digimon, as the other DigiEggs produced new Digimon. Honestly, the dub dialogue makes more sense.

Pegasmon, Soaring Hope becomes Pegasusmon, Flying Hope.

Nefertimon keeps her name, but instead of Light of Smiles she’s called The Angel of Light. Even though she’s not an angel.

Hikari: They were ours! Those were our Digimentals, Nefertimon!
Nefertimon: Great, Hikari! Now we can fight, too!
Kari: Nefertimon, you’re beautiful. But the best part is, now that you can fly, we don’t have to walk anymore!
Nefertimon: Well, don’t get too excited. These wings aren’t broken in yet.

Ungrateful little…


Pegasmon: Takeru…
Takeru: Yeah, we’re not a burden anymore.
Pegasusmon: TK!
TK: Alright! My very own Armor Digimon!

The original line was a callback to earlier in the episode where Patamon lamented being a burden to the others. The dub line is vapid.

Side Note

The dub music leaves so much to be desired. The entire scene was dampened by the stock music.

Narrator: Pegasmon! A holy beast Digimon who is strong against evil! His attack is a holy beam, Silver Blaze!
Armadillomon: That’s Pegasusmon. That’s one wild horse! When he attacks with his Star Shower, his enemy will be blasted into outer space!


Narrator: Nefertimon! A holy beast Digimon who fights darkness with the power of light! Her attack, Curse of the Queen, fires red-hot beams from her crown!
Veemon: And that’s Nefertimon! She’s a flying, fighting machine with nine lives. And she’s quite a shock when she’s tossing those Rosetta Stones of hers!


Pegasmon and Nefertimon’s team attack Sanctuary Bind becomes Golden Noose in the dub.


Pegasmon’s Needle Rain becomes Star Shower in this episode. It won’t stay this way. The same goes for Nefertimon’s Nile Jewelry which is erroneously called Rosetta Stone in the dub.

Side Note

Music time! The evolution music in the Japanese version is called Break Up! which extends beyond the stock footage into the battle itself. In the Dub, the Digivolution sequences uses Digimon Are The Champions as usual, but the battle music is Going Digital. One guess which song is better.

Better yet, just listen for yourself:

That said, I can say I at least appreciate that they put some effort into making original music for Zero-Two rather than constantly relying on reused Masked Rider music.


I can’t explain it, but that noise the first [Dub] Tyrannomon makes when the Dark Ring is broken cracks me up.

Hikari: I can’t forgive that kid! Going after those who can’t evolve!
Kari: These photos turned out great! Except the Tyrannomon all have red eye. Oh, wait a minute, I forgot – they always have red eyes.

Sorry, Kari, but it’s time to upgrade your camera.

There’s a long string of dialogue that’s changed that I won’t transcribe but it comes down to this. In the original, Iori points out the oddity that the Hope and Light Digimentals didn’t produce new Digimon while the Digimentals of Courage, Love, and Knowledge did. In the dub, Cody doesn’t mention this at all, going on a long blathering rant that results in TK asking him what his point is (again, self aware). He finally comes to the conclusion that they need to find the Digimon Emperor’s real world identity and defeat him there where he has no power.

But the biggest change comes at the end in Iori/Cody’s internal monologue:

Iori: <But I can’t bring myself to hurt other people…>
Miyako: This is kinda like an adventure game!
Daisuke: Hey, I thought you were scared!
Cody: <I knew I shouldn’t have expressed my opinions. Now they’ll just all make fun of me.>
Yolei: Well… you’re a little young to be worrying about those things, Cody.
Davis: Yeah, just let us older kids come up with a plan!

…what?! At first I thought Cody’s bizarre fear of being teased was unfounded, but then Yolei dismisses him as being too young (roughly the age TK and Kari were in Adventure?) and Davis backs her up. In the original, Iori’s concern about hurting another person foreshadows the ethical dilemma that becomes central to his character later in the series. The dub conversation is just… pointless.

Final Verdict

Biggest Problem: Characterization

Daisuke is brave while Davis is a possessive jerk. Miyako is a realistic nerd who expresses normal human fear at dangerous situations while Yolei is condescending and neurotic. Iori was thoughtful and self-aware while Cody is an old man who can’t pronounce “Digivice” and goes on rambling speeches about nothing. Only TK and Kari seem marginally the same as their counterparts, albeit with dumb dialogue changes here and there.

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