The Call of Dagomon (JP)
His Master’s Voice (EN)
Original Writer: Chiaki J. Konaka
Dub Writers: Craig Doyle and Jeff Nimoy & Bob Buchholz
June 25, 2000 (JP)
October 21, 2000 (EN)
Gear’s Notes: A little backstory is necessary here, because I’m sure like me, many people thought the dub screwed up something that was already screwed up in the original. Credit where it’s due, I always say. The info I’m providing is cobbled together from various sources, and I can’t say with 100% certainty that it is completely accurate, but it’s the best picture we’ve got.
This episode hints at a story that never comes to fruition: The Dark Ocean story. It’s a surprisingly dark episode, even for some of what we’ve seen to this point. The head writers for Zero-Two, Genki Yoshimura and Atsushi Maekawa, were butting heads over how to handle the season. Yoshimura was in favor of darker storylines and more serious plots, along with certain writers like Chiaki Konaka [he was responsible for Digimon Tamers and its much darker storyline]. Meanwhile, Maekawa wanted more lighthearted stories like the first season had. Because they were butting heads so much, a lot of Zero-Two’s story gets disjointed and has odd, unfulfilling resolutions.
The Dark Ocean story was introduced by Konaka but never got a great resolution in either version. Between all the infighting and some people even resigning from the show in protest, the story gets inconsistent going forward. Now that isn’t to say the dub doesn’t make it worse, because dear sweet Gennai it does, but the problem was already there.
Kari’s not feeling great, and it’s worse than a cold. She starts phazing out of existence randomly, leading to TK being worried for her. The teacher sends her to the school nurse, but she doesn’t make it all the way there, as shadowy figures start following her and trying to pull her into another world against her will.
TK finds her and tries to figure out what’s wrong with her, but Kari’s words are confusing and nonsensical. Soon after, once TK’s gone, she vanishes from existence right in front of Gatomon’s eyes.
Gatomon tells the others, and they’re all confused on what to do, since she can’t be detected in the Digital World, and yet that’s the only alternate world they know. TK, convinced she’s elsewhere, goes out looking for her, with his only clue being that she kept mentioning a beach. Meanwhile, in a monochromatic world, Kari runs into a group of Scubamon who have Dark Spirals on their arms, draining their power and making them weak. She tries to remove them, but an Airdramon attacks. At her cry for help, TK finds a portal to that world, bringing Patamon and Gatomon with him. Pegasusmon tries to hold off Airdramon, but the battle isn’t going well. Gatomon instructs them to destroy the lighthouse, which turns out to be a Control Spire. A beam of pink light erupts through the clouds, allowing Gatomon to Digivolve to Angewomon. She defeats Airdramon and removes the Dark Spirals.
But the Scubamon turn out to be something other than Digimon with the intent of taking Kari with them. Angewomon chases them off and they retreat, and the four of them return to the Real World with no real answers.
Granted, it’s not promising when an episode opens with a cut. We lose a striking visual in a seemingly Lovecraftian silhouette rising from the water near a lighthouse that emits a beam of darkness.
The scene opens with narration in the Japanese, and jokes in the dub.
Narrator: Is the Digimon Kaiser, Ichijouchi Ken, trying to take over the Digital World at any cost? The Chosen Children have returned to their daily lives, but have plenty to think over regarding the Digital World and their own destinies.
Principal over PA system: Students late for first period will be responsible for cleaning the bubblegum from under the desks after school. C’mon kids! Chop chop!
Yolei: Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed!
Cody: No kidding.
Kari: <Get yourself together, it was just a dream!>
TK: <There’s Kari! I wonder what she got on question three!>
The music is extremely lighthearted in the dub compared the more foreboding tone the original sets with its lack of music and grave voiceover.
Teacher: Now ladies and gentlemen, as you can see: X = Y; Y = 14; and lickity-split Q = 6. Now… isn’t that… exciting?
Someone tell the principal that the math teacher’s on drugs.
TK: <What’s more boring, paint drying or math? I wonder why Kari’s being so distant today.>
Kari: <What’s wrong with me? Am I just over-tired from not sleeping? I can’t get these dreams out of my head! What’s happening?! I know my math scores have been a little bit foggy lately, but this is ridiculous!>
The water appearing on Kari’s face and in her eyes is accompanied with the sound of trickling water in the original. In the dub, it’s a whooshing sound.
[silence as Hikari looks down in horror to see her legs partially submerged in gray water]
Kari: <What’s going on? Did someone flood the boys’ bathroom again?! Wait, where am I? TK? Gatomon? Yolei! TAAAAAIIIIIIIIII!>
EW. Also, you’re thinking, not speaking aloud, Kari. How are they supposed to hear you thinking?
To sum it up, Hikari and Kari are having hallucinations about a dark ocean shrouded in fog. Hikari’s response is pretty much catatonia, while Kari just babbles and panics.
After the commercial break, the dub adds the shot of Kari in the ocean after her fizzling out of existence, but before TK’s reaction to it.
Hikari, what the hell is wrong with your head?
Every contributor to this website has complained at least once about the dub preferring to fill silence with babbling dialogue. This episode has it in spades though, largely because the original uses silence to increase dramatic tension and fear. In the dub, Kari is either incessantly monologuing, or expressing fear out loud in empty hallways.
The shadowy figure in the original has a deep, gutteral growl that makes it sound monstrous. In the dub, it grumbles with the voice of a 70 year-old chainsmoker who was born with a Virginia Slim in his hand.
Principal over PA: May I have your attention? Will the student who put the jelly donuts in the swimming pool please come to the office?
Takeru: Excuse me! Um, how is Yagami-san?
Nurse: Eh? There’s no one here!
TK: Excuse me, Nurse, may I see Kari?
Nurse: I’m so sorry, but Kari’s not here, sweetie! How about a lollipop!
Ugh, that line read made me want to jump into a pool full of lye. Don’t take the lollipop, TK, RUN!
Nurse: Do you want to lie down, TK?
DON’T DO IT.
TK’s montage of searching for Kari is narrated with filler blather. It’s largely silent in the original save for musical stings and sound effects.
Hikari: I was… at the ocean…?
Takeru: The ocean?
Hikari: I might be going away… I felt… someone calling me.
Takeru: Someone? Who?
Hikari: I don’t know. But… the next time they call me, I might end up there.
Kari: It’s weird. I was at the beach.
TK: You ditched school?!
Kari: No, silly! A beach in another dimension! You saw me in class! One moment I was just sitting there, the next thing I knew I was in the ocean!
TK: Now you’ve totally lost me.
Kari: And on my way to the Nurse’s office, it happened again! I was surrounded by water, and I saw one of them!
TK: What do you mean, “one of them”?
Kari: Digimon! They keep trying to take me to their world! I don’t know if I can resist anymore!
I swear, it’s like I’m watching two completely different shows.
Hikari: My brother always protected me during times like these…
Takeru: Taichi-san. Always Taichi-san, Taichi-san! You’re always depending on him! You can’t do that!
Kari: I can’t [fight them], TK. I’m sorry, I’m just not strong like my brother Tai!
TK: You’re gonna give up? Quit? Just like that? Look Kari, I care too much about you to let anyone take you without a fight! […] Uh… sorry, I-I better go now, I’ll talk to you later?
I don’t have the words.
Okay, maybe I do. Takeru’s outburst was about Hikari relying on Taichi for everything, with the underlying implication that he wants her to rely on him instead. TK’s outburst is that she’s giving up without a fight against going to the Digital World (which is not what’s happening) with it snuck in that he cares about her. And instead of leaving quietly, he makes a bunch of stammering excuses and makes the entire scene even dumber.
The dub cuts a shot of the Dark Ocean.
After all, we wouldn’t want the kids to get addicted to water, would we?
Principal over PA: Will Mary Robinson please report to the office? Your locker is missing.
Will you PLEASE SHUT UP?!
Kari keeps saying “the beach” when Hikari says “the Ocean.”
A car keeps honking in the dub even though it’s not visible. It honks three times at the same pitch, which would make it seem like it’s stopped, but then a blue car drives by. An elderly woman inside shouts, “You’re speeding, Harold!”
As you’ve probably guessed, that scene was quiet in the original.
Daisuke wonders where the Digimon Kaiser is so they can go after him. Davis says he’s bored of whatever Izzy-esque tech nonsense Yolei has come up with and wants to play soccer.
Kari: It happened again! I’m at the beach. But something’s not right. What kind of lighthouse shines darkness?
Yes, of everything that’s happening at this moment, that’s the only thing wrong, Kari.
My brain hurts.
Daisuke rightfully points out that Hikari can’t be in the Digital World, because they can only open the gate from that computer. Davis suggests that she is in the Digital World.
Cody’s scream to get everyone’s attention would have sounded better if he could raise his voice above a rasp.
Hikari: Where… am I?
Kari: This place is creepy, but at least the beach is nice!
Oh sure. Go skip some rocks and have a monochromatic hotdog from the stall vendor. It’ll be great!
Kari: …and deserted. It must not be tourist season.
Tailmon: Are you sure Hikari’s not in the Digital World?
Gatomon: [to TK] You’re a lover, not a fighter!
Tell that to [spoilers] in a few episodes.
Takeru tells Patamon and Tailmon that Hikari’s not in the Digital World – at least not the one they normally go to. TK, on the other hand, whines that he didn’t do everything he could when he noticed something was wrong, not helped by the line delivery.
Kari: There’s not even a hotdog stand on this beach.
I WAS KIDDING.
Kari: *gasp!* It’s a doorway!
Takeru: I should be protecting her, but still…
Tailmon: Hikari isn’t weak. Hikari is strong. But that’s because she has friends who help her.
Takeru: But… what can I do for her right now?!
TK: The beach… she kept saying something about the beach. Oh, we’ll NEVER find her!
Gatomon: TK, don’t be such a scaredy cat!
Gatomon: Kari’s one tough kid. We have to believe she can take care of herself until we find her.
TK: You’re right, Gatomon, thanks! Now let’s go find her!
Wow, that was easy. He’s very receptive to pep talks, I guess.
[silence, then Hikari spots shadowy figures]
Hikari: Who’s that? Who’s there?
Voices: Help us… Help us…!
Kari: Get back! I play a lot of soccer so I know how to kick!
Lying doesn’t work for Izzy, it won’t work for you, either.
Voice: Help us!
Kari: What do you want from me?!
W-was that not clear?
[The gate doesn’t open]
Daisuke: Huh? Why isn’t it opening?
Davis: I just changed the stupid batteries!
If you opened up your Digivice Davis, even to change the batteries, then I’m not surprised it’s not working anymore. I wouldn’t expect you to know how to change your socks.
Narrator: Hangyomon. Aquatic Beast-type Digimon. Perfect level.
Scubamon: I don’t know if we’re Digimon, but I know we’re Scubamon! We have big flippers for swimming deep in the ocean!
That’s… a very selective memory you have there, Scubamon.
Hangyomon were previously localized as Divermon in the first season of Digimon.
The undersea god they served becomes their undersea master in the dub.
Scubamon: …and we feel terrible!
Because you’re smoking several packs a day, by the sound of your voice.
You can only barely hear it, but Airdamon calls out Spinning Needle in the dub when he attacks. He’ll continue doing so throughout the episode. But the attack he’s using is actually Fatal Tornado (God Tornado in the original), and Airdramon says nothing in the Japanese version.
Hikari calls out for Taichi, Tailmon, and Takeru in that order when lamenting being all alone. Kari calls out for Tai, Gatomon… and then the National Guard for some reason.
Last I checked, Japan doesn’t have anything called a National Guard, so…
But honestly that makes her appearance in the next shot calling out for TK completely senseless.
Tailmon comes to the conclusion that the feelings they all share for each other can bridge the gap between worlds, which is how they’re able to contact each other.
Gatomon calls TK crazy at first for calling out to Kari, then agrees to jump into the portal because she has nine lives anyway.
Tailmon: This isn’t the normal Digital World…
Gatomon: TK. Promise me we’ll never do that. Again.
The evolution song Break Up! starts playing earlier, fading into the scene when Takeru spots Airdramon in the distance. In the dub, the normal song starts playing right when the stock footage plays instead.
Hikari says she can’t Armor Evolve Tailmon because her D-3 (the Digivice) was in her backpack, which was left behind when she was teleported. In the dub, she says it’s her D-Terminal (the device they use for e-mail that also holds their Digi-Eggs) that’s missing.
Means the same thing either way, honestly. If she has one but not the other, Tailmon/Gatomon can’t (Digi/E)volve.
Tailmon tells Pegasmon to destroy the lighthouse, as it’s draining their power. Gatomon calls it a Control Spire, and says taking it out will let her Digivolve.
It’s not clear in either version where she’s getting her information.
And once again, so much is lost from having no equivalent to Brave Heart in the dub. It’s even worse at the end when the Scubamon start mutating, because Brave Heart stops abruptly, adding to the tension.
This one might be my bad memory, or maybe it’s because the dub left something out, but how did Gatomon become Angewomon without the Crest of Light?
Angewomon obliterates Airdramon itself, rather than trying to remove the Dark Ring. Remember that for a later, very confusing plot point.
Hikari: Is this your true form?
Dark figures: Now that’s what I call a red-eye reduction!
Kari: Wait a second, you guys asked for my help and I gave it to you now what do you want?
Commas, Kari. They want commas in your sentences. Commas they can hear.
The dark figures in the original version want Hikari to be their bride, so that her offspring could defeat the Digimon Kaiser.
In the dub, they’re trying to make her their queen so she could lead them in battle against their “Undersea Master.”
Six seconds of Kari struggling were cut since so much dialogue was lost. The speech about wanting Hikari to be their bride and produce offspring was much longer than what the dub did, so the scene was cut short, though there was nothing unique about the frames that were lost.
Hikari: I just want to go home.
Takeru: Let’s go. That’s why we came for you.
Kari: I’m ready to go home now.
TK: Could be worse! We could be scraping gum at school right now.
I’m with TK, I’d rather face unspeakable Lovecraftian horrors than scrape gum off desks.
[Pegasmon and Angewomon take Takeru and Hikari back to the Human World in a sweet scene accompanied by swelling violin music.]
TK: LAST ONE IN IS A ROTTEN DIGI-EGG!
Narrator: What the children saw may have been a world different from the Digital World they knew.
Kari: Hey, TK, remember this morning when you said you really cared for me? What did you mean by that?
TK: Huh? Well, you know. It was just… stuff.
Kari: Well, you know what? I care for you, too.
Despite having cut it before, this time the dub kept the scene with the dark figure rising from the water. The difference? There’s no lighthouse this time.
I guess the lighthouse was the real evil all along.
Narrator: WHO IS THIS EVIL, DARK UNDERSEA MASTER?! DON’T MISS THE UPCOMING DIGIMON: DIGITAL MONSTERS!
…WHERE WE WILL PROCEED NOT TO TELL YOU BECAUSE THE WRITERS COULDN’T GET THEIR SHIT TOGEHTER.
Total Footage Lost: 30 seconds
God the dub is so bad. All dramatic tension removed, terrible voice direction, constant jokes where they don’t belong, and snowballing errors.