Saturday, July 13, 2013

Recap: Beauty and the Beach

Hello again. By the time you read this, I will have returned from my father's. I had intended to write this recap during the time I was there, but I ended up spending more timewith my father at his request. Apart from that, it is now summertime. Just as well, it's time tohit the beach and cover another episode of Pok mon, but this episode is a little bit different.

One of the things I wanted to do when I started this blog was to cover the banned episodes of Pok mon. Ones that were blacklisted from viewing in the US and subsequentlynever got a proper home video or DVD release. I will be discussing the reasons why theywere banned, as well as the reasons why they will not be getting official releases in our lifetime.

The first of these episodes is "Beauty and the Beach". While it was just another episodein Japan, in the US, it was deemed offensive enough that its intended initial airing was skipped.It later aired in 2000 as a "lost episode" with the offending material trimmed out. To this day,it has only been rerun once and most of the official materials in the US try to pretend it neverhappened.

When it first was going to be aired on Kids' WB, the second movie was in theaters. Myparents gave me a choice of staying home to watch the episode or to go see the movie. I chosethe movie. Given how I found the episode circulated on YouTube and other video-sharing sitesat age 16; maybe it's for the best that I didn't see it when it first aired. So, as the first officialrecap of the summer, let's head for the sun and surf as we open up the very first banned episodeof Pok mon, "Beauty and the Beach!"

We open on a flashback of the previous chronological episode, "Island of the GiantPok mon;" which ended the 3-episode St. Anne arc. It shows how Ash, Misty, Brock, Jessie,and James got reunited with their missing Pok mon.

They then happened upon the resort town of Porta Vista, and we get our title card.About why it's like this: the copy I'm using to write this recap is from a fan-made uncutversion with the English audio over the Japanese video. You're going to find out why later.

Misty comes over in a very slick bikini. She asks how the water is.

Ash says "it's weird to see her looking like a girl." Misty, not amused, throws a beachball at Ash. Typical, as Misty is a tomboy; only really wanting to be a lady when she deems itproper.

We cut to Team Rocket in the very first appearance of the Gyarados submarine. They'reout to pickpocket the beachgoersThe next thing we see is that Ash has taken a boat. Everyone wonders who borrowed it.Insert a School Days or Lonely Island joke here.

The boat and Gyarados submarine clip each other and go out of control. The boat even crashes into a dock.

Well, there's another fine mess I've gotten us into.

An old man comes up, angry about the dock and the boat, both of which belong to him.He notices Misty and says she reminds him of his granddaughter. Ew. Anyway, they decideto work for the old man to pay off their debt.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket is on another part of the beach. They wonder how they're going to fix their sub when an old woman comes up.

I tell you, Angelica Pickles did not age well.

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The woman says she doesn't want squatters on her beach. James asks if they can work as waiters in her restaurant. Jessie objects, but Meowth says they need money to repair their sub. They reluctantly agree to work at the woman's restaurant.

Ash and Brock are trying to attract customers to the restaurant where they're working, to no avail. Jessie, on the other hand, is much more successful.

Ash is surprised to see Jessie there. Brock remarks that Jessie looks good in the uniform of the restaurant as well as her Team Rocket uniform. That's weird, you never expressed attraction to her before, Brock. Then again, her skirt and midriff-baring top are pretty revealing; though the skirts were a lot shorter on Star Trek.

Team Rocket even dismisses the restaurant Ash and crew are working at as a "no-quality dive". No, I don't think it starts getting into that area until droid detectors are put up, a

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000167 EndHTML:0000001887 StartFragment:0000000457 EndFragment:0000001871 Nevertheless, this angers them and Ash decides to send out his Pok mon to help at the restaurant. Pikachu and Squirtle pass out flyers, Pidgeotto helps keep the charcoal lit with Gust, Charmander helps flame broil food, and Bulbasaur and Misty wait tables. Within moments, the place is packed.

Team Rocket is not happy with the attention that their competition is getting. Meowth then sets out to sabotage their rivals. Meowth uses a giant fan, an oil pump, and the old clich of banana peels to wreck up their competition. The customers are gone, quick as they came. Everyone is down about what happened.

Ash apologizes to the old man, named Moe, about what happened. Moe says they at least tried, despite all the accidents. Misty says it doesn't feel right, and those couldn't have been accidents! The woman, named Brutella, comes in demanding the money Moe owes her by tomorrow; or she'll take his boat. Moe says that boat means everything to him, but Brutella merely says she'll see him tomorrow. Team Rocket then taunts them all.

Moe feels horrible, as he may have to give Brutella the boat because of the money issues. Ash asks how important the boat is to Moe. Moe says he was planning on taking it on a cruise around the world. Ash encourages Moe not to give up on his dreams, as Ash will not give up on his own. Ash is certain they will find some way to get the money.

Just then, Professor Oak comes in, and wearing a Hawaiian shirt no less. He also has an idea of what to do. Way to go, professor.

What do you know, Ash's mother even shows up! The professor hands Ash a newspaper with an advertisement for the Porta Vista Beach Beauty and Pok mon Costume Contest later that day. The professor encourages them to advertise the restaurant; as there are many people drawn to the area to see the contest. With all the extra patrons, they will easily get the money they need in time. Misty also decides to enter the beauty contest, as there are cash prizes for the beauty and costume contests. With this, Ash declares that this is the end of their money troubles.

So, word is spread of the contest as Pok mon World plays (the dub was in the process of airing the Orange Islands episodes at the time this episode aired). Sure enough, Moe's is packed; much to Brutella's chagrin.

Delia (Ash's mom) explains that she and Professor Oak are touring with a volunteer patrol from Pallet Town. Professor Oak adds that she worries about Ash. She hopes he's staying out of trouble. Ash says not too much, but Moe interjects that Ash helped at his restaurant; and that Ash encouraged him. Ash thanks Moe for the kind words.

The contest has begun as Misty takes the stage. Get ready folks. The reason I decided to recap this episode and the reason it was initially banned, and still is to this day.

The Pok mon costume is Squirtle and Starmie (which Brock mistakenly refers to as a Staryu) as aliens in a UFO. That's a pretty good costume.

So, now the subtitled part of this episode is here, and the reason why this episode was banned. James is in a rubber suit with enormous fake knockers. Misty calls him out for this, but James simply replies by inflating his chest at will. It's referred to as the most common superpower.

Naturally, this is because the standards of what's acceptable for kids in Japan is quite a bit looser. Let me demonstrate: Death Note? Kid's show in Japan. Gurren Lagann? Kid's show in Japan. One Piece? Naruto? Bleach? All the anime I just mentioned are a TV-14 at minimum in the US. So, as you can imagine, while this wouldn't be that big a deal to the Japanese; when the episode aired in the US, all the scenes with James in the suit were cut.

It's your one-way ticket to midnight! Call it-Heavy Metal!

Next, we have Ekans and Koffing as Omanyte, but then, guess who kicks them right off the stage! Gary Oak. The swaggering rival of Kanto. You know he's going to ruin your whole day when he shows up. He is an egotistical and arrogant rival,

Professor Oak sheepishly says he forgot to mention Gary was there. Ash is not amused. Sure enough, Gary begins talking down to Ash like he always does.

Brock is really selling Gary's fan club. It does not make Misty happy; Jessie and James even less so. Brutella has repaired their Gyarados sub, and gives Team Rocket a job to do for them to get it back: wreck up the beauty contest and destroy Moe's restaurant.

Back at the contest, Ash, per usual, is not happy with Gary's condescending attitude. He challenges Gary to a match, but Gary replies that he only brought his fangirls with him. Ash calls him chicken, but Gary fires back by calling Ash an amateur. Ash should be more careful of who he picks fights with. Didn't he ever see the Back to the Future movies?

What do I have to fear? In 8 more seasons, I'll be the only one of the original cast to keep my voice actor!

Just then, the Gyarados sub comes on land and starts terrorizing the beachgoers. Ash isn't fooled at all, and calls the sub out for what it is: a phony.

Team Rocket then fires a missile, and what do you know, it has a face on it like a Bullet Bill.

Gary asks Ash if he's going to freak out. Yeah, he just took control of the situation, and is continuing to do so as he sends out Charmander and Pidgeotto to take care of the missile. Charmander uses Flamethrower to throw off the missile and send it on Team Rocket.

Team Rocket's reaction is priceless. Jessie and James have the standard issue wide mouths and sweat drops, and Meowth even derps a bit when they find out their plans have once again gone up in smoke.

The missile goes all the way to Brutella's restaurant, destroys it, and sends them all blasting off.

Moe heads off on his boat trip around the world; and thanks Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu for believing in him.

Ash, Misty, and Brock head out; with Delia and the professor remarking what a fine young man Ash has become. I love this episode, and I love Pok mon still.

"Beauty and the Beach" is a lush seaside adventure. It is a very strange episode, and not just because of the mammaries on James getting it banned. Apart from some nice animation; you can decide for yourself if it's worthy of its infamous status. As for what I'm going to do next: I'm not sure. My town is facing a record heat wave, which has made it harder for me to work on this recap. I think I might do some more recaps of mecha series with Pacific Rim coming out, as a sort of alternative to that film. Sword Art Online is coming to Toonami this month, but it's not a series I'm interested in. I'm working on more of my backlog. I finished Cromartie High School, watched a little bit more Claymore, and I'm in the process of re- watching Trigun. So far, Pok mon and One Piece are the series I'm most actively following; and I haven't been particularly impressed with most of the new series in 2013. Anyway, that's all for now.
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