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Review S25 EP44: A Fated Face-Off!

I haven't listened to Misty's current voice in ages and oof... I don't like it.
 
I did think that Michele's Misty was a mixed bag in this episode. It was oddly nasally a fair amount of the time, but that said: there were points where I enjoyed her performance; such as her tone of voice upon seeing the Cilan lure, haha.

Ash's "you wrote the book on noisy..." line was also pretty amusing!
 
Can we talk about how nobody comes close to Michael Haigney’s Psyduck? I’m getting my own headache listening to the fake.
Honestly I actually think Psyduck sounded really good, impressively so. I think Michele Knotz did a really good job sounding pretty close to the original.
 
-- DUB OPINIONS, AT A GLANCE --

The opening theme is just a copy/throwback to 4Kids' old one, but it beats "With You," mixed on it- not impressive with anything standing out about it at all, but I don't hate it unlike how I did with most of TPCI's dub OPs. It's just "there" for me, it doesn't leave a good or bad impression on me (really hate TPCI restricting the dub OP lengths to 30 seconds, 4Kids would at least have their own running from 45 seconds to 1 full minute when they dubbed the Series from 1998-2006).

Michele Knotz as Misty is still...quite frankly, really bad, after all these years, yikes. She sounds like she did in the SM dub, just a very nasally woman's voice and it's got nothing on Rachael Lillis' take after all this time, IMO. I much preferred the voice she did in late Gen 3 in the Mastermind Special, the Lillis' imitation seemed like a pretty good performance in comparison to the ones from SM onward to me. The clear worst voice-over performance in this episode, easily.

Sarah Natochenny's Ash has grown on me somewhat (especially compared to TPCI's selections for both Misty and soon to come Brock), but I have to say, whenever he has to emote or laugh she still loses the voice entirely-- and it turns into a gruff young woman's instead. She still can't laugh very well "eh-ha-ha-ha-ha," either, but I think she was okay/decent here overall performance-wise, surprisingly.

Oddly, Ash got hit hardest at the time of the initial change with the infamous "chain-smoker" voice for the first 2 years she had the role post-MoMP Redub, but now is the least bad out of the original trio...though Sarah Natochenny sadly still isn't quite as good as Veronica Taylor's Ash, despite doing so for far longer. I think this may have to do with Taylor receiving better vocal direction in the original English dub, than Natochenny did in the current English dub.

Bill Rogers' Corphish still sounds rather forced compared to Maddie Blaustein's (you can't top perfection there to be fair, RIP), in fact I think it's worse here than in BF, he sounded less strained back then I feel: still better than his Brock became from DP onward, but still a bit throaty and unnatural. He sounded better in the first half of the episode in the role, as Ash's Corphish started sounding really gruff and scratchy in the second half.

Clauncher sounds AWFUL, oh my god...no comment: just a deep, gruff, strained voice.

On the Team Rocket side of things, James' VA was actually worse in this one than the last episode, but Meowth's was better?

Edward Bosco has potential to be much better than JCC ever was as Meowth, his first episode was pretty rough but over here he seems to be channeling Blaustein's more than JCC's and his pitch has gone notably higher: I'm liking this direction, keep it up, not quite as good as either 4Kids' era dub Meowth but a lot more serviceable than JCC's Meowth was for most of his run to me in this episode despite trying to imitate him (prior episode, he was REALLY deep & bad at it).

Not sure what happened to Callagy's James, he sounded a bit TOO nasally and goofy at times, and I think his performance was better in the prior episode on the flip side so far: he's still leaving a better impression than JCC's did on me but "Which is why it's number one on our menu!" slips into the DP dub voice for him & that was the worst of English dub James overall...save XY-present for JCC so I hope he drops that tone altogether- he sounds way better when just throwing out JCC's interpretation of the window, and doing his own thing, IMO.

Michele Knotz as Jessie is a LOT better than her Misty, at least, but she has moments of getting way too shrill and high-pitched whenever the character gets angry or upset here. This was one of her better performances in a while, but Rachael Lillis, she still quite isn't here sadly.

Ed Goldfarb and Akhil Gopal did a much better job than usual with the music, the Pokémon English dub has been at its very worst over its 25-year long run musically objectively from XY onward into JN but keeping 6 pieces (while normally nothing to be excited over) in this JN episode is the best things have been in about 4 years in that department.

It's pretty sad that's a "ceiling" for the current dub these days, considering even 4Kids had a higher ceiling in their last season than TPCI does nowadays & Loeffler even did in Season 16 of BW before his successor took over, but still...take what you can get, considering the rather dismal state of the dub these days.

There are script changes/rewrites in this episode, supposedly, will have to compare them side by side but TPCI has always done them just like 4Kids did (I wish conventional wisdom wasn't so incredibly wrong about this, people's anti-4Kids bias prevented them from conceding this back in the day but they didn't want to so...?), and most pertain to Misty with the dubisms here (besides TRio, you know their dialogue is rewritten, TPCI is infamous for that):

  • Dub Misty does appear to specify that the red thread of fate means using her fishing rod to pull it out, for some reason?
  • Instead of simply saying Misty is noisy, Ash says Misty wrote the book on noise, prompting Misty to shout his full name.
  • When Ash asks why Misty is following him, to emphasize that Misty wasn't prepared, she asks "Uh? Me??"
  • When Ash asks about the red thread of fate, Misty says its because she caught it with the Misty lure.

Overall: The voice acting is a mixed bag with Misty, Ash's Corphish, & James probably being the worst in this one, with Ash & Jessie the best but both still aren't as good as their old 4Kids VAs after all this time as a caveat despite doing the roles for longer.

Meowth is somewhere in the middle, shockingly, last episode you could flip around James & Meowth though vs this one in what I'm hearing, getting better while James got a little worse here. The music situation is still bad, but not godawful like it usually is. The intro is still forgettable/bland, but not cheesy, there's that. Lastly, the script rewrites seemed to hit Misty most in this episode, for some reason, and Team Rocket was expected as a TPCI dubbed episode.

-- END REVIEW --
Since you're sharing your thoughts I might share my own which I think overall are more positive:
I actually didn't mind how Misty sounded here, obviously it's nothing like Rachael Lillis but I think she did a decent job especially with the different emotions she had to portray in this one, she was especially good with the annoyed tone. And I think she sounded particularly good during her and Ash's battle itself - way better than how she sounded during the Alola visit with her and Brock, where it was kinda hard to listen to which surprised me as I didn't mind her voice for the Alola, Kanto episodes, not sure what happened there.

As for Ash, yeah I'm of the opinion that currently Sarah's Ash sounds the best she ever has, of course early on it was rough because Sarah was told to imitate Veronica's voice though over time she was allowed to give her own voice to the character and I think that's where she started to come into her own and she made the character her own and has become an absolute legend. Both her and Veronica deserve the utmost respect honestly, I'm not into the whole Veronica vs Sarah thing as I think they both have done a wonderful job with this character and should both be very proud of what they've accomplished and have entertained whole generations of people! It's incredible!

Bill Rogers' Corphish did sound a little different than how he did in the past, though not bad but definitely less like Maddie Blaustein's version. And I'll be honest when it comes to Bill Rogers' Brock I think he sounds the best he ever has. I really liked how he sounded in SM and in Arceus Chronicles his voice was perfect imo! Though I've never disliked Bill Rogers' Brock, even back in DP I think he sounded good!

Clauncher's voice was fine tbh imo? I can't remember how it sounded back in XY though.

I have mixed opinions on the new voices of James and Meowth, sometimes they sound good but other times... not so much? I'll be honest I've always loved JCC's Meowth and I've been fine with his James too though he started to sound a bit off towards the end of Journeys - which could have something to do with the cancer sadly. And sadly it all comes to down that, it's an unfortunate situation and a recasting no one really wanted to do and clearly the VAs ARE trying so I do have huge respect for them for that but JCC has a very particular way of sounding which can be hard to capture so it's difficult really. They're making the best of a bad situation. I pray for a speedy recovery for JCC.

I think Jessie has sounded a bit higher pitched in Journeys in general, it's something I have noticed though I still like her voice! But it is weird hearing Jessie sound normal while James and Meowth sound noticeably different

And yeah, I was really surprised by the result musically! And it's cool they kept some of the older pieces, even a piece that hasn't been kept since Season 14 (Unova Pokemon League) so like the jp original there's still some of that nostalgia which is great!

"There are script changes/rewrites in this episode, supposedly, will have to compare them side by side but TPCI has always done them just like 4Kids did (I wish conventional wisdom wasn't so incredibly wrong about this, people's anti-4Kids bias prevented them from conceding this back in the day but they didn't want to so...?" I don't think it's that 4kids made changes and TPCi don't (they obviously do) but moreso 4kids would often change a lot more and take more liberties with the script whereas generally TPCi keeps the scripts more faithful overall but that's not to say there aren't changes, of course there are, there's just less of them overall and they don't take as many liberties. For example ever since Sun and Moon, Misty keeps her japanese catchphrase "My Steady" (which she also says in this episode) which 4kids removed entirely and of course it's well known that 4kids would often change japanese food to more american-sounding food, whereas TPCi doesn't do that - if japanese food is mentioned it stays japanese, a more recent example of that would be in Memories of a Warming Kindness! when Ash and Goh go to get ramen, they call it Ramen (Soy Sauce is even mentioned) which is great! I never liked the practice of changing japanese food to more american-sounding food, I always thought it was pointless.

And I will say I do wish openings could be more than 30 seconds but I think what they made of the 30 seconds for this final opening is really good, the clips chosen are perfect and I love the slower more emotional version of the original Pokemon theme! It's well done and really well edited!
 
Since you're sharing your thoughts I might share my own which I think overall are more positive:
I actually didn't mind how Misty sounded here, obviously it's nothing like Rachael Lillis but I think she did a decent job especially with the different emotions she had to portray in this one, she was especially good with the annoyed tone. And I think she sounded particularly good during her and Ash's battle itself - way better than how she sounded during the Alola visit with her and Brock, where it was kinda hard to listen to which surprised me as I didn't mind her voice for the Alola, Kanto episodes, not sure what happened there.

As for Ash, yeah I'm of the opinion that currently Sarah's Ash sounds the best she ever has, of course early on it was rough because Sarah was told to imitate Veronica's voice though over time she was allowed to give her own voice to the character and I think that's where she started to come into her own and she made the character her own and has become an absolute legend. Both her and Veronica deserve the utmost respect honestly, I'm not into the whole Veronica vs Sarah thing as I think they both have done a wonderful job with this character and should both be very proud of what they've accomplished and have entertained whole generations of people! It's incredible!

Bill Rogers' Corphish did sound a little different than how he did in the past, though not bad but definitely less like Maddie Blaustein's version. And I'll be honest when it comes to Bill Rogers' Brock I think he sounds the best he ever has. I really liked how he sounded in SM and in Arceus Chronicles his voice was perfect imo! Though I've never disliked Bill Rogers' Brock, even back in DP I think he sounded good!

Clauncher's voice was fine tbh imo? I can't remember how it sounded back in XY though.

I have mixed opinions on the new voices of James and Meowth, sometimes they sound good but other times... not so much? I'll be honest I've always loved JCC's Meowth and I've been fine with his James too though he started to sound a bit off towards the end of Journeys - which could have something to do with the cancer sadly. And sadly it all comes to down that, it's an unfortunate situation and a recasting no one really wanted to do and clearly the VAs ARE trying so I do have huge respect for them for that but JCC has a very particular way of sounding which can be hard to capture so it's difficult really. They're making the best of a bad situation. I pray for a speedy recovery for JCC.

I think Jessie has sounded a bit higher pitched in Journeys in general, it's something I have noticed though I still like her voice! But it is weird hearing Jessie sound normal while James and Meowth sound noticeably different

And yeah, I was really surprised by the result musically! And it's cool they kept some of the older pieces, even a piece that hasn't been kept since Season 14 (Unova Pokemon League) so like the jp original there's still some of that nostalgia which is great!

"There are script changes/rewrites in this episode, supposedly, will have to compare them side by side but TPCI has always done them just like 4Kids did (I wish conventional wisdom wasn't so incredibly wrong about this, people's anti-4Kids bias prevented them from conceding this back in the day but they didn't want to so...?" I don't think it's that 4kids made changes and TPCi don't (they obviously do) but moreso 4kids would often change a lot more and take more liberties with the script whereas generally TPCi keeps the scripts more faithful overall but that's not to say there aren't changes, of course there are, there's just less of them overall and they don't take as many liberties. For example ever since Sun and Moon, Misty keeps her japanese catchphrase "My Steady" (which she also says in this episode) which 4kids removed entirely and of course it's well known that 4kids would often change japanese food to more american-sounding food, whereas TPCi doesn't do that - if japanese food is mentioned it stays japanese, a more recent example of that would be in Memories of a Warming Kindness! when Ash and Goh go to get ramen, they call it Ramen (Soy Sauce is even mentioned) which is great! I never liked the practice of changing japanese food to more american-sounding food, I always thought it was pointless.

And I will say I do wish openings could be more than 30 seconds but I think what they made of the 30 seconds for this final opening is really good, the clips chosen are perfect and I love the slower more emotional version of the original Pokemon theme! It's well done and really well edited!
Thanks for all those opinions, I’ve never cared much for Rogers’ Brock or JCC’s Meowth post early DP ish personally (I think these two ended up the biggest downgrades from the 4Kids dub overall, but I will say, their prior dub VAs were fantastic imo as well as no one topping either for me so it’s hard to impress me with that duo) and still tbh don’t, but I respect your opinions.

I agree with you on Jessie, I hear that too.

I thought the food editing in the previous dub was indeed pointless, but I still don’t like how they made the berries fruits thing in the BW dub, either. And I think TPCi has made plenty of script rewrites like 4Kids did, they can be even more derivative when they want to be like in several DP episodes and MoMP as well: sure, they don’t deviate in meaning as often, but they have always had a very slangy and alliterative style of dialogue that I think 4Kids shockingly didn’t have and was a lot better about as well as making jokes generally speaking but that’s just me.
 
Thanks for all those opinions, I’ve never cared much for Rogers’ Brock or JCC’s Meowth post early DP ish personally (I think these two ended up the biggest downgrades from the 4Kids dub overall, but I will say, their prior dub VAs were fantastic imo as well as no one topping either for me so it’s hard to impress me with that duo) and still tbh don’t, but I respect your opinions.

I agree with you on Jessie, I hear that too.

I thought the food editing in the previous dub was indeed pointless, but I still don’t like how they made the berries fruits thing in the BW dub, either. And I think TPCi has made plenty of script rewrites like 4Kids did, they can be even more derivative when they want to be like in several DP episodes and MoMP as well: sure, they don’t deviate in meaning as often, but they have always had a very slangy and alliterative style of dialogue that I think 4Kids shockingly didn’t have and was a lot better about as well as making jokes generally speaking but that’s just me.
yeah I remember a time when they for some reason they had characters call what are clearly apples "Berries", that was really weird and I don't know why they did that - I think that did happen around BW maybe XY too, thankfully they don't do that kind of thing anymore but it was really weird. We've seen what berries look like in the anime, they don't look like apples. And in terms of rewrites generally it seems for the most part it's usually Team Rocket that receive the most rewrites, which doesn't surprise me because JCC REALLY likes them and so he likes to make them alliterate (tbh I don't mind this but I know some people aren't a fan of them alliterating so much) though outside of them the dub does use some slang sometimes, some of it can be a bit cringey though some can be quite charming, like I do like when Ash says stuff like "I'm fired up!" that's very in character for him so it's quite charming, also dunno if it counts as "slang" but I do like how Ash calls Pikachu "Buddy", I can't remember if Ash under 4kids called Pikachu that - maybe he did, but I think it's really sweet, their friendship is adorable!
 
yeah I remember a time when they for some reason they had characters call what are clearly apples "Berries", that was really weird and I don't know why they did that - I think that did happen around BW maybe XY too, thankfully they don't do that kind of thing anymore but it was really weird. We've seen what berries look like in the anime, they don't look like apples. And in terms of rewrites generally it seems for the most part it's usually Team Rocket that receive the most rewrites, which doesn't surprise me because JCC REALLY likes them and so he likes to make them alliterate (tbh I don't mind this but I know some people aren't a fan of them alliterating so much) though outside of them the dub does use some slang sometimes, some of it can be a bit cringey though some can be quite charming, like I do like when Ash says stuff like "I'm fired up!" that's very in character for him so it's quite charming, also dunno if it counts as "slang" but I do like how Ash calls Pikachu "Buddy", I can't remember if Ash under 4kids called Pikachu that - maybe he did, but I think it's really sweet, their friendship is adorable!
Yeah, Team Rocket suffered the most dialogue wise from the company switch IMO, especially Meowth with all the “Dig it,” “lugs,” “mugs,” etc.

He said buddy in the 4Kids dub, too, TPCi just kept that one consistent. Not so much that as stuff like “Raise the roof,” “I’m not a noob,” “I’m so psyched, I’m shaking so hard I think I’m gonna burst,” “That’s the way we roll,” “Step on the gas” etc. I miss when he just spoke like a normal boy, I think what helped Taylor’s performance was just more boyish language and not so much trying to be cool/hip dialogue back then for the most part: Natochenny’s I feel was hindered by this.
 
They literally removed so much of the OS music from this. The theme that played when they were fishing then fell asleep.

Then they muted Kanto Trainer Battle to the point you couldn’t even hear it.

but hey, they call them rice balls right? /S.
 

Just here to say that dub! James still sounds like he's got a cold to me with the "new" VA, but at least he doesn't sound like a 50-60 year old man in English anymore as he had from XY to JN136, baby steps?

It looks like it's confirmed it's Edward Bosco: it only took me a million tries, but I figured it out on the last one before it was revealed, I suppose!

I'd rank dub James overall this way, given all the VAs highs & low so far: Eric Stuart > Ted Lewis > Edward Bosco > James Cathcart.

Bosco isn't as bad as Cathcart was for most of his run (Cathcart began better than him, but ended worse than any of the others to me here), but he's not as good as Stuart was (even at his worst) or Lewis' bland take. He's somewhere in between Lewis and Cathcart IMO-- for me-- so far.
 
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