Loneliness of the Digimon Kaiser (JP)
Ken’s Secret (EN)
Original Writer: Satoru Nishizono
Dub Writers: charlotte and Jeff Nimoy & Bob Buchholz
May 21, 2000 (JP)
September 16, 2000 (EN)
Gear’s Notes: That’s not a typo, the dub episode is credited just like that.
I dunno who charlotte is, or why their name isn’t capitalized.
Davis is pumped because his next big soccer match is against the championship-winning team led by the famous genius Ken Ichijouji. As he prepares for the match, Yolei is incredibly smitten and desperately wants to meet (and marry) him. In the first half of the match, Ken doesn’t show up. Davis scores a lead goal, causing his team to be ahead in the first half. Ken shows up at halftime and enters the battle, scoring six goals all on his own. His attempt at a seventh goal was thwarted by Davis, who tackled the ball, leaving a cut across Ken’s leg. The two thank each other for a great match and head their separate ways.
Back in the computer lab, Cody notices a Control Spire set up in a remote, largely uninhabited region. Thinking it’s a springboard to conquer more areas, the team investigates, but everyone is separated from Davis and Veemon, who watch helplessly as the Emperor sics his Deltamon on the others, who are tied up and hanging from an overhang. After compelling Davis to beg and plead for his friends’ lives, The Digimon Emperor allows him to select one of his friends who will be spared, and the others will be killed. Unable to choose, Davis opts to sacrifice himself on their behalf. But before Deltamon can finish the job, the other Armor Digimon arrive, showing that the kids and Digimon tied up were only Bakemon in disguise.
Angry and out for vengeance, Davis tackles the Emperor off a cliff, and the two land, ready to square off. But Davis notices the blood on the Emperor’s leg in the same spot where he’d tackled Ken. The Emperor reveals to Davis that he was Ken all along, and that he would be stepping up his game before leaping atop and Airdramon and flying away.
It’s funny that in both versions, Daisuke/Davis is the main focus for the recap. Even though it was Hikari/Kari who was trapped in the dome, Daisuke is the one mentioned in the Japanese recap, and Davis narrates the recap in the dub. And the dub continues the trend of not mentioning that Andromon is an Ultimate-level Digimon, even though that’s a critical plot point.
English opening theme is missing the SFX track again.
Daisuke/Davis… okay, I’m not doing this anymore. I’m going to use the English names for general mentions of characters in both versions, and only use the Japanese name if it’s solely applicable.
Anyway, Davis pulls off what’s called a slide tackle in the opening scene soccer game. It’s when you use one leg to kick the ball from the side to get it away from an opposing player. This is a legitimate move and it takes some skill to pull off.
In the original, Taichi congratulates him for a good play. In the dub, Tai yells, “Walk much, Davis?” and Davis just kind of chuckles with embarrassment. So in the dub, this was an accidental move?
It was an unnecessary change that makes Davis look bad. One of the few positive qualities this character’s had since the start was that he’s a good soccer player, not unlike Tai himself. So for Tai to call him out for a skilled move and for it to be treated like it was clumsiness is not a good look for the character.
Davis: That’s the team with that brainiac kid! […]
Coach: Hey, hey, watch the name calling! He’s Ken Itchy Joe Chi!
I don’t think Davis is the one doing the name calling here, Coach.
Translation’s on the nose, at least.
And then Yolei calls him Ken Itchy Jew Gee. I’m seriously not making this up. His name is pronounced “ˈi-jē-jō-jē” all in one swoop. The dub keeps breaking it into pieces and mispronouncing random syllables.
Daisuke: He’ll be a great opponent! We didn’t face off in the last tournament.
Davis: He’s not so tough! I never even got a chance to beat him ‘cuz we never got to play his team last season!
So Daisuke is highly skilled and humble. Davis is clumsy and boastful.
I’ll be the first one to commend the dub when it does something well. You can look at my comparisons on Data Squad if you’re not aware of that. But I’m calling it like I see it, and Zero-Two’s dub does a massive disservice to these characters, and to Davis in particular.
Takeru asks if Daisuke would have been able to play against Ken if their team had made it to the finals. Daisuke just says, “Don’t remind me.” In the dub, TK says their team got knocked out early and didn’t even make the playoffs, and Davis says, “Very funny, T.E.!”
What’s with the dub turning characters into jerks?
Hikari: Can you win?
Daisuke: It’s not about winning or losing. Right now, all the boys who play soccer in this country want to be like him. Just thinking about playing against him makes me excited!
Kari: You think you can beat him?
Davis: Well, I don’t have to flat-out beat him. If I can just make it a close game against a guy like that, then I’ll be a living legend! And everyone knows how chicks dig living legends!
I have spent all these years hating Davis. Hated his character. His personality. Mannerisms. Hating this season. And it’s all the dub’s fault.
[Yolei asks Davis to get Ken’s autograph]
Iori: I thought you said you didn’t like younger boys.
Miyako: What’s one year? My mother is three years older than my father anyway!
Cody: Yolei and Ken sitting in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!
Yolei: Hey, Cody, watch it! Besides, I didn’t say I wanted to kiss him, duh! I just wanna marry him!
Minister: You may now kiss the bride.
Yolei: No thanks.
The team agrees to go to Daisuke’s game to support him. They go to Davis’ game to help Yolei get Ken’s autograph. While both Miyako and Yolei want the autograph, the dub makes no mention of supporting Davis at the game at all.
Miyako: Get ’em!
Taichi: Good luck, Daisuke!
Yolei: Don’t forget to hug ken!
Tai: Give him a kiss, too!
Yolei’s reaction to Ken is weird in both versions. In a previous episode, she basically said he was overblown, and that he wasn’t that smart. Now she’s fawning over him like he’s the second coming of David Hasselhoff.
Kari: Where is he?
TK: Izzy? No, we’re waiting for Ken!
Shut up, TB.
Ken’s soccer team in the original says he’s really busy, but that he should know about the match. In the dub, he’s shooting a soft drink commercial and having a meeting about having a soccer ball named after him.
And ironically it’s the dub that points out that Yolei should be there to support Davis, not just for Ken.
I was going to wait a bit to do this, but might as well do it here. This scene debuts a new dub song Run Around. On one hand, the fact that the dub is doing more original music for the series is a good thing, as the stock music last season hurt a lot of the scenes, and some of these songs do good work in elevating action scenes a lot. Others… not so much.
All the songs are on the soundtrack for the season, which was released with the first Digimon Movie (Digimon: The Catastrophe) which we have reviews for under the Adventure banner above.
Of them, Strange is probably the best, with lyrics that aren’t completely out there and a beat that’s good for a fight scene. Let’s Kick it Up! is my least favorite of the bunch because of the vocals primarily, but your mileage may vary. Change Into Power is odd to me because… well, it sounds like a Pokémon song. (That last one was used in Season 1 as well.)
Special thanks to the video uploaders. Anyway, back to the comparison.
The soccer montage in English has no sound effects outside of the referee’s whistle, while the original included effects for the ball being kicked and whatnot.
Daisuke: You captured the moment perfectly!
Kari: It’s rewinding.
It’s a digital camera.
In the original, Miyako shouts out to Ken, and it gets his attention, causing him to notice the DigiDestined are standing there. In the dub, Ken notices all on his own, as Yolei is busy telling someone to pinch her (and Cody complies).
Ken scowling, then grinning was a silent moment in the original, which made it feel very… serial killer-esque, if that makes sense. The dub uses the standard BGMs and a mental voiceover from Davis, so there’s no mood set. Then they add in jokes, including the classic 90s “That’s so funny I forgot to laugh,” line.
The scene continues with very dramatic musical stings, but a minimum of continuous music in the original, making it sound like a suspense movie.
Dub Ken is flirting with his coach. That’s the only explanation for the way he’s speaking.
The dub announcer calls out a substitution, as the team has added in “Ken ‘The Rocket‘ Itchy Joe Chi.”
Yolei: …I could just hug him all day!
Cody: He’s not an accordion, Yolei.
Takeru: Fight for it!
Taichi: Daisuke, he’s just another elementary student! You can’t lose!
Ken: Nice to meet you, too.
TK: You gotta outrun him!
Tai: You can do it! And even if you can’t, we won’t think any less of you, man!
Ken: Some nice friends you’ve got there, Davis.
You know you’re a jerk if the villain of the series thinks you’re rude to your friends.
Gotta love that smooth animation.
The titular secret Ken’s hiding in this episode is that he’s playing soccer in Wheelies.
Cody: Would you like me to pinch you again?
Yolei: Yolei Itchy Joo Chi! Ken and Yolei Itchy Joo Chi!
During the montage, Taichi exposits that Ken is on a completely different level from Daisuke, or even other elementary school students. In the dub, it’s mostly just various “Wow!”s and other interjections at random intervals, followed by various notes about how much better Ken is than Davis.
Davis uses the same slide tackle maneuver from earlier in the episode on Ken at the end of the soccer match. This time, Tai yells, “Nice tackle, Davis!” as if he knew anything about soccer at all. Ugh.
The dub just scrambled that conversation between Davis and Ken. In the original, Daisuke says he couldn’t compare to Ken at all, and Ken says that the tackle maneuver in the end was brilliant, as he was expecting Davis to attack from the opposite side, and that was the first time the formation they were using failed to end in a goal. In the dub, Davis brags about how great he was before Ken showed up for the second half, and Ken says one of his teammates might have mentioned something about him, but he wasn’t really paying attention.
So to recap: Daisuke is a good sport, a hard worker, and humble.
Davis is a braggard, delusional, and dumber than a wheel of cheese.
Additionally, Ken is way better at maintaining his cover in the original. In the dub, he’s as big of a jerk as the Digimon Emperor is.
Miyako: I can’t believe I didn’t get Ken-kun’s autograph…
Yolei: I can’t believe you didn’t get me his autograph!
Cody: Need a pinch?
Aw, Cody discovered his first fetish.
Oi, I need a break. And a drink.
The dub adds an establishing shot of the classroom door, through which you can see Davis’ leg.
In the original, Miyako thinks that holding Daisuke’s hand will be like holding Ken’s hand since they were so close to each other on the field. In the dub, she wants to shake Davis’ hand because he and Ken shook hands. Either way, she doesn’t go through with it, though in the original, it’s because her “aesthetic sense” won’t let her.
Why is everyone a DICK in this show?
Takeru: [to Miyako] What are you doing?
TK: Just what are you doing, Cody?
You know, if you actually looked at him, you wouldn’t have to ask.
Cody: I don’t believe it!
Upamon: You’re dreaming! Let me pinch you!
Ugh, it’s spreading.
The Digital World area known as Death Valley (probably a reference to the real-life location in the Mojave Desert) is renamed The Forbidden Valley of No Return. I can’t for the life of me figure out–
Kari: Why do bad guys always name things like that?
Took the words right out of my mouth. I mean, Death Valley is a location in the United States! It’s not like–
TK: It’s in the job description, it’s right after “really stinky breath.”
–shut up, TP.
Cody: Even if this place was called “The Valleys of Duckies and Bunnies,” if there’s a Control Spire there, there’s trouble.
OH MY GOD EVERYONE SHUT UP.
Takeru: But we have to be careful. We don’t know if there are enemies hiding somewhere.
Davis: This place could use some duckies and bunnies to spruce things up!
TK: Come ON, quit kidding aROUND, the DIgimon EMperor could be around here ANywhere, so stAY shARP!
The quicksand trap bit was more surprising in the original, as the kids were walking in silence. In the dub, they’re making quips and shushing each other right before it happens.
The dub actors sound so bored while they’re screaming. XD
Davis demands what the Emperor has done with his friends, and frequently says he’s worried about his friends. I love that Ken says, in the dub only, “Your friends as you call them…” because he actually noticed how dickish everyone in the dub is toward him. XD
Kaiser: Awaken, Deltamon!
Emperor: Come out, Deltamon!
Veemon: Maybe it’s a ducky or a bunny!
Narrator: Deltamon! A dragon Digimon with a metal head on his right arm, and a skull head on his left arm. His special attack is Triplex Force!
Veemon: Deltamon is a Dragon-type Digimon with a metal head for one hand, and a skull head for the other! His attacks are Triplex Force and Serpent Bite!
Davis’ dilemma comes off as a lot less believable in the dub, as they’ve never taken the time before to give any indication that Davis cares about his friends outside of Kari. The fact that he’s suddenly so torn and distraught over having to choose one to live while the others die comes off as a bit contrived. Granted, I would agree that anyone in that position would have difficulty making such an awful decision, but narratively, there’s no build-up to this moment at all in the dub.
And as if to compound the issue, the dub adds Davis saying the characters’ names in their heads as the camera points at them, and he gets TK’s name correct for once. So either it’s very contrived that he finally knows his name, or he’s been a dick the whole time and has been getting his name wrong on purpose.
Dub Ken makes a Days of Our Lives reference.
When the three Armor Digimon fly overhead of Davis and Veemon, Veemon lists their names in both versions. But in the dub, he calls Halsemon “Pegasusmon,” Nefertimon gets called “Halsemon,” and Pegasusmon gets called “Nefertimon.”
Maybe all that Vee-Headbutting gave him a concussion.
Narrator: Bakemon! A ghost Digimon with a cloth over its head! Its identity is shrouded in mystery.
Veemon: Despite their obvious dental hygiene problems, Bakemon are able to accurately impersonate any other creature! Their attack is called The Dark Claw.
In the original, Ken blames Wormmon for not holding the other Chosen Children long enough for his plan to work, and Wormmon apologizes meekly. In the dub, he screams at the Bakemon (even though it wasn’t their fault at all) and Wormmon says it’s not his fault, which makes absolutely no sense.
Ken orders the Bakemon to attack, and while they’re clearly about to attack the DigiDestined, Ken suddenly shouts, “Not me, them!”
Did someone get drunk while dubbing this episode?
[Davis knocks Ken off the cliff]
Wormmon: I’ll stay and guard the hill!
Wait, how did Daisuke not hear that?
Davis: Flamedramon, aim for the Dark Ring!
Davis, Flamedramon was already on his trajectory toward the ring. It’s not like he could have changed mid-flight anyway.
When the Bakemon start freaking out, Pegasmon says that since the Kaiser isn’t giving orders, they’re starting to panic and lose focus. In the dub, TK says the Emperor’s power is weakening, which is a conclusion he could only reach by leaping off Pegasusmon into the Death Valley below.
The dub cut one scene of the Control Spire being attacked, but then kept this one.
Davis: I really looked up to you, Ken!
You lying sack of Sukamon, you did no such thing this entire episode!
Davis: I dreamed of being just like you someday!
You just wanted the chicks to dig you!
Davis: YOU CAN KEEP YOUR CRUMMY AUTOGRAPH!
YOU NEVER WANTED IT!
Total Footage Lost: 1 second (post-9/11)
We had a few good episodes for a while, but now we’re back to sliding right on downhill. The dub is committed to these re-characterizations, but then will randomly reverse them when the plot needs it. All the dramatic tension is lost because of bad jokes, subpar music, and references to events and emotions that only happened in the original, but treating them as if they happened and matter.
I’m not pulling punches on Zero-Two’s reviews, but don’t mistake my bluntness for blame. I’m not saying that Jeff Nimoy, Bob Buchholz, or even charlotte are to blame for any of this. In fact, the truth is a bit more complicated, but I’ll cover that in my recap at the end of the series. For now, keep an eye on our social media for the date of our next episode drop.