Digimon Adventure S02E17

21 min read

Odaiba Memorial (JP)
Ghost of a Chance (EN)

Original Writer: Genki Yoshimura
Dub Writer: Craig Doyle

Original Airdates:
July 30, 2000 (JP)
November 11, 2000 (EN)


Gear’s Notes: An interview with Jeff Nimoy indicates that he and Bob Buchholz left the series around the time Digimon: The Movie came out. Rumors swirl around, and though Nimoy dances around the topic quite a bit in the interview, it seems pretty clear that executive meddling had a lot to do with it. Fox’ insistence on toning down difficult concepts and adding in more and more jokes to the point that the show lost all its meaning potentially led to their departure, which is probably why we’re seeing new names writing for the series now. It’s interesting to go through all this information because it helps explain why Zero-Two’s dub is… this.

On the anniversary of… something, depending on which version you’re watching, strange occurrences start to happen around the TV studio where Matt and TK’s dad works. While they try to figure it out, the kids celebrate the anniversary. The next day, Izzy figures out that the D-3s can access the DigiPort from any computer, not just the one in the computer lab. On the next day, they visit the television station and run into the ghost of Wizardmon, who warns them that Ken isn’t their true enemy, and that to win, they must allow “Kindness” to “release the golden radiance.” He and Gatomon share a tearful farewell as his spirit vanishes.

The dub has always made a habit of avoiding specific dates for whatever reason. This episode opens with the date in the original, but the dub removes it and runs the normal opening credits information, like the episode title and the writer’s name.

The director in the opening scene is given a really high-pitched voice in the dub. Also, his project changed; originally, he’s working on a show called Strange World: Believe it or Not. In the dub, it’s called When Parakeets Attack.


The strange figures that appear on the screen are handled in different ways. In the Japanese version, it’s believed that it might be some kind of curse, and the director should have blessed himself because mystery-type shows tend to invite occult mysteries. In the dub, he’s instead asked if he cleaned and checked the equipment first.

Cut: 11 seconds – The director and the video editor (if that’s what they are, I have honestly no idea) continue their superstitious conversation as the former pulls out a pack of cigarettes. Luckily for the dub, he drops the cigarette from his mouth before the next scene.

Another date cut.

It’s clear this is done through freeze-frame, since the clouds move in the original, but there’s no motion at all in the dub.

Miyako suggests they all head back to her place to play a game. In the dub, Yolei says there’s a new pizza place on the beach, and Davis says he wants his pizza to be half anchovies, half mustard.

What, no jellybeans?


Not sure what the significance is, but Iori expresses general concern that they don’t know the Kaiser’s plan. Takeru agrees, saying, “He’s taking over new areas, but hasn’t done anything else.” Daisuke shoots back that they have the advantage, though he doesn’t expound on that thought.

Cody expresses a similar concern, but adds that maybe it’s too soon to celebrate. TK agrees, saying they should probably hold off on the pizza until they have a new plan. Davis counters that they can’t fight Ken on an empty stomach.


Iori: But starting tomorrow, we won’t be able to use this room, right?
Miyako: Huh? Why?
Takeru: Ah, that’s right! It’s going to be used for a summer computer class for the lower grades!
Daisuke: Ehh?! I never heard that!
Cody: But starting tomorrow, we won’t be able to use this classroom.
Yolei: What? Why not?
TK: Oh YEAH, that’s RIGHT! The detention room has been moved HERE so all the BAD kids will be put in the comPUter lab!
Davis: Hey, we’re not all bad!


Daisuke reads the date 8/1 as “one-eighth” because despite how badly it seems the dub dumbs him down… he was already kinda dumb. In the dub, he just asks, “You have a date to do fractions?!”

Takeru corrects Daisuke’s backwards reading of the fraction. TK just tells him it’s a date, not a fraction.


Daisuke: What! I’m bad at fractions!
Davis: Well how was I supposed to know they started putting math in calendars?!


Because Takeru took the time to explain how fractions work, he didn’t explain what the date meant. TK did, however, explain that it was the anniversary of Myotismon’s defeat. In both versions, Daisuke/Davis is perplexed when TK invites the group along, asking why they would want to go on TK and Kari’s date. It makes even less sense in the dub that way, since TK already told him what it was.

The date is scrubbed again, and while the scene remains animated, it’s slower and slightly shorter as a result.

So the dub got it very wrong.

As I mentioned earlier, August 1st was said to be the date the kids defeated Myotismon. Given the events of the episode, I think they mean Myotismon himself, not VenoMyotismon, which is a weird thing to celebrate in that case.

In the original, they’re celebrating the date they first traveled to the Digital World, with Patamon mentioning that August 1st was the date he met Takeru.

In the original, the narrator states that the kids shared stories with each other. In the dub, Tai is talking, telling a story about how not all the Digimon they fought were inherently evil. Seems like a strange story to tell, since none of the Zero-Two kids’ enemies have been inherently evil so far, whereas Myotismon, Devimon, etc. were.


Daisuke: So that’s what happened?! I can’t believe it!
Davis: Jeez, those Dark Masters sound like my math teacher!

Is it the one who looks like Ogremon?


Miyako: Mimi-oneesama! I knew you were something else!
Yolei: They should make a movie out of this story!

It’s called Digimon: The Catastrophe. Trust me, you don’t want to see it.


Iori: I see. That’s why Takeru-san and Hikari-san are here now.
Cody: I hope these grass stains will come out of these clothes or else my mom will ground me.

All your clothes are the color of dirt, so I’d think she’d be glad if you got a little color.

Side Note

Even though the scene turns out the same, the dub adds a screen wipe transition between the current scene and the next for no apparent reason other than to add that windshield wiper noise they’re so fond of. In the original, it just moves on to the TV station without any transition.

I’m going to be here all day, aren’t I?

In the original, the Zero-Two team (specifically the new three) say that they’ve learned so much, but can’t process it all. Taichi tells them it’s their turn (either to tell stories, or to make new stories, not sure). In the dub, Cody says he’s not sure they can live up to the accomplishments of the first team, and some teasing ensues.


Takeru mentions that Yamato’s place is messy, and offers to help with the laundry, but Yamato refuses. He goes on to say that Takeru made the same offer three years prior, before they went to summer camp, and reminisces about how Takeru never had to do anything like clean or cook because he had their mother to do those things. As we’ve seen so far, Yamato tends to do most of the cooking and cleaning.

In the dub, TK makes fun of him for the place being dirty, and Matt tells him to quit nitpicking, and it can’t be helped because their dad has been putting in a lot of hours at the TV station, and Matt’s been busy with the band.


It gets worse, as Yamato says he should find someone to clean the place, and Takeru suggests their mother. He looks sullen when Yamato dismisses the idea with amusement, having not taken it seriously, indicating that Takeru still wishes their family was whole, and still holds out hope that it could happen again.

In the dub, he looks sullen because Matt offers to cook, but says they haven’t gone grocery shopping in a really long time which is not even that funny, and it overrides some really gripping character development for TK.

Side Note

That whole scene was backgrounded with harmonica music since… well, it’s Yamato. The dub used the standard recycled Masked Rider music.

Yamato made the dish extra spicy because Takeru came over to eat. Takeru says he didn’t need to do anything special, but Yamato disagrees, since Takeru only comes over to eat with him once a year. He compares it to the Tanabata Festival, an annual celebration in Japan that takes place in July or August each year.

Matt’s dish was spicy too, but rather that taking the route of character development between the two brothers, Matt says the dish was made from hot sauce, wasabi, and mystery meat he found in the fridge covered in green fuzz.

God I hate this dub.


The kids’ father apologizes for forgetting that today was the special day. In the dub, he just apologizes for getting home late again, removing any reference to August 1st being special at all.


Yamato: What’s with that eerie sigh?
Matt: Don’t tell me – Myotismon destroyed the TV station again.

Enjoy this kids – this is the closest the dub gets to continuity nods.


Matt suggests the shadow they’re seeing might just be dirty equipment. His father says he thought of that too… and then TK says it’s weird. Dad offers no clarification. Did they try to clean the equipment and it didn’t work? Did the employees swear they’d already cleaned it? Does the equipment only work when it’s dirty?


Yamato and Takeru’s dad is a bit frenetic in this scene, jumping topics and making vague statements, indicating his confusion and stress. In the dub, he just makes bland jokes, like not having taken a vacation in 15 years, so he might plan a trip to the Arctic Circle.


Yamato and Takeru’s dad has an “MD Player,” a piece of equipment so archaic I had to consult Google to even be sure it was a real thing. MD stands for “MiniDisc,” and it uses a small CD in a plastic cartridge (think like the Universal Media Discs the PlayStation Portable used) as its media. (Not so coincidentally, both were developed by Sony.) As you’ve probably guessed, it wasn’t terribly popular.

In the dub, it’s just called a CD player, though the image isn’t altered in any way. It makes sense – as a kid I would have had no idea what the hell an MD player was.

Of course, it all falls apart with the rest of the dialogue. In the original, the MD player contains a sutra, which is supposed to help against the ghost. The dub censors this (sound familiar?) to be “a soothing recording of buffaloes migrating.” Interestingly, he starts chanting, “I’m a happy little buffalo” repeatedly. You know, like you might do with a sutra.

I’ll give them this, though. Yamato/Matt’s walking away in annoyance after hearing that fits better in the dub, but only because the buffalo thing is legitimately stupid.

Side Note

It’s a minor thing, but the dub adds weird sound effects sometimes that have nothing to do with anything. At the start of the next scene, you hear what sounds like an automatic door opening or something else mechanized. This is absent in the original, and there’s no context for what the sound is or why it’s there.

In the original, the show is supposed to air the day after tomorrow. In the dub, it’s tomorrow. Pointless change, but no one can say I’m not thorough in my nitpicking.


In the original, a man (with lips!) approaches with what appears to be a boombox (the Director says it’s an MD player so I guess they come in a lot of sizes), asking if he should play the sutra to ward off the ghost(s).

In the dub, the man approaches and says that the soundtrack is back, but it’s weird. I imagine any audio track for a TV show would sound weird when played on a powder blue battery-powered boombox, though.

Side Note

I can’t get past this guy’s lips.

In the original, the MD player is silent for a few seconds, until the group starts to hear this low-pitch moaning sound. One of the techs gets freaked out, until the lips guy points out that the moaning isn’t coming from the MD player, but from somewhere inside the building.

In the dub, the player emits a scrambled voice of sorts that sounds very different, and it’s never implied that it’s coming from anywhere other than the device. Mr. Lips also states that the ghost doesn’t sound happy, though if you listen to the audio, it just sounds like the standard kind of interference and scrambling you get if you’re a Sprint customer.

Fun fact: I started this comparison six months before this point, but am only now finishing it because of hardware problems. Yay!

The next shot after the break is angled from outside Mr. Ishida’s window at work, so when the assistant walks up and talks to him, there’s no audio. In the dub, you can hear her clearly.

Ishida: What? It’s a voice now?
Assistant: Sir, we need you right away!
Ishida: The shadow?! Oh no, not again!

Where did he get that from? She just wanted him to stop by the break room for coffee and donuts.


Hey, another continuity nod! The dub kept the reference to Mimi and Sora’s battle with SkullMeramon at Tokyo Tower. The only difference is Yolei knew it was a Digimon in the dub (she wasn’t aware that was the cause of the incident in the original) and her wondering why he had to level Tokyo Tower instead of her dentist’s office.

Though honestly, Tokyo Tower is a terrible place to be in just about any anime, so I recommend avoiding it altogether.


sounds of chalk tapping a chalkboard
Teacher: And that, students, is how we determine how fast the pie was moving when it hit the clown in the face.
Joe (thinking): Pleeease let the bell ring. Pleeaaase get me out of here.

Guiding our students to a better tomorrow, one key lime at a time. But given this was Jou’s class, I have to wonder if the pie was moving fast enough to cause facial fractures or something. Since, you know, he’s in medical school. Allegedly.


Yamato: Shibuya’s as acrowded as always, huh?
TK: This mall is crowded as always!
Matt: This anniversary’s making me think about all the Digimon we lost.

The kids then picture Pumpkinmon and Gotsumon in a store window. Does this mean they’re no longer in the dungeon and are finally dead in the dub?


Tai: My mom won’t be home for a while. She’s at a “Cooking With Fungus” class.
Izzy: Since she’s gone, I thought we could do an experiment.

O_o


Izzy: …I thought we could program our D-3 Digivices to open the DigiPort from our home computers, too.

You don’t have a D-3, Izzy, and you’re not going to program anything.

Side Note

Koushiro: What opens the gate is the D-3 that everyone has.
Hikari: *holds up D-3* This?
Izzy: My theory is that the computers are incidental, and the D-3s are the true power of the Digi-Port.
Kari: *holds up D-3* These things?

I’m somewhat willing to believe that we’re 17 episodes in and Hikari is just now learning the pink and white thing she carries around is her Digivice.

Koushiro: No, even without a computer, we may be able to go to the Digital World with the D-3 alone.
Izzy: According to my theory, the D-3 is all we need to open the portal. But if I’m wrong, it could be dangerous.


Koushiro: Daisuke-kun, please try it out.
Daisuke: M-me?!
Hikari: Yeah, Daisuke-kun, please try!
Daisuke: O-okay…
Izzy: Well, who’s the first guinea pig? Come on, Davis, give it a try.
Davis: What?! Who, me?!
Kari: No, silly, he means the other boy with goggles.
Davis: Oh! Where is he?

Side Note

When did the D-3 antenna get so long?


The entire premise of this scene is that they’ve been using the one computer in the school computer lab for the last 16 episodes because this is the first time anyone thought to try another computer.

Oi.

Mom: We sure have a lot of guests…
Gordan Ramsay’s worst nightmare: Visitors?! I should make fungus cookies.


Taichi mentions that if they’d known they could open the gate from anywhere, they could’ve visited the Digital World yesterday on the anniversary. In the dub, Tai says knowing would have saved them some close calls with their parents.


Hikari: If we suddenly disappeared from our room, Mom would be shocked and could call the police.
Kari: I can’t imagine if our mother came into our rooms at night and we weren’t there. She’d probably call the National Guard and the Army!

And they’d say, “How did you get this number? I don’t speak Japanese, who is this?!”

The ghost makes general moaning noises in the original. In the dub, you can hear a very familiar voice saying “Gatomon,” but very distorted. In both versions, Tailmon/Gatomon race inside, but it’s implied that Tailmon does so because she can sense the ghost’s presence, rather than just hearing her name like Gatomon does.

Side Note

Sorry, but Gatomon’s voice drains the tension from the scene.

In the original, Chibimon and the other In-Training Digimon clearly state that they can sense a Digimon in the area, and that’s what the ghost really is. This is removed in the dub, and the Digimon decide to face off against the ghost without knowing what it is.

Side Note

The evolution sequence continues the same suspense music in the original from the scene. The dub uses Digimon Are The Champions.

Also, the music dead-stops in the original when the ghost’s identity is revealed. The dub keeps it going and it loses a lot of impact.

Miyako: Kindness will release the golden light…?
Yolei: Kindness?! I hope he doesn’t mean we have to be nice to Ken!

And the tension is just sucked out of the room once more.

Additionally, the dub refers to it as the Golden Radiance.


During the flashback, the original says that this is the anniversary of Wizarmon’s death. In the dub, Sora leaves that part out, but narrates the flashback, saying that Wizardmon “paid the ultimate price” to protect Kari and Gatomon.

Final Result

The basic premise of the episode is kept, and all the important information largely remains intact. But in this case, it’s all the trappings. Anything that isn’t vital to the story is super toned down, replaced with jokes, or outright changed for no real reason. A huge amount of the emotion from Wizarmon’s death and subsequent message is lost from a combination of unnecessary jokes, poor music choices, and problematic voice direction. In what should have been a tearful homage to a powerful moment from Adventure, we got a mess. It’s a shame, because the episode could have been so good.

2 Comments

  • Michapfan says:

    I always wondered why Digimon 2 was so different from Digimon 1 even though it looks like the same team was involved. Digimon 1 has a lot of corny jokes too but you could at least follow the plot and most of the characters were adapted recognizably even if it wasn’t a perfect adaptation. Digimon 2 was so hard to follow because sometimes they would alter stuff and then forget they altered it. I wasn’t sure if maybe the show was produced with a lower budget or if there was some kind of executive meddling, since it seemed to go beyond toning stuff down or censorship and into the realm of just leaving stuff out randomly.

    • Gear says:

      From what I’ve read, the execs kept telling the writers “Make it funnier! Make it funnier! More jokes! More jokes!” And the result was more jokes that were less funny.

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