Pocket Monsters – 038 (Gotta catch a seizure, Pokemon!)

ポケットモンスター Ep. 38
Pocket Monsters – 038

Note: Japanese character names will be used rather than the American ones.

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis:

Pocket Monsters - 038 (Gotta catch a seizure, Pokemon!)Satoshi, Kasumi, and Takeshi arrive at Matcha City where they discover the nurse Joy-san and Professor Akihabara not having a good day as the Pokemon transfer system appears broken. Sending the trio to his research lab, it is learned that Rocket-dan has infiltrated the system and taken a CG pokemon, known as Porygon. Sending the group into the system where Rocket-dan have put up road blocks to prevent Monster Balls from reaching their destination. Saotoshi and company defeat Rocket-dan but Joy-san innocently has a programmer introduce an anti-virus program which puts Satoshi’s group in danger. The group has to battle the manifestation of the program and save Rocket-dan before making their escape, courtesy of Professor Akihabara. However, their actions results in the complete destruction of his lab and transfer system.


Pocket Monsters - 038 (Gotta catch a seizure, Pokemon!)Hold on a moment…I think I’m having a seizure. ^_^;

All kidding aside, I’m always amused when I watch any Pokemon episode. Well, the shows are for kids, but to be honest, I just love HAYASHIBARA Megumi as Musashi from Rocket-dan. For me, she is what makes the show worth watching because she is such a talented seiyuu. (Lina Inverse!)  Otherwise, the story is the typical, mindless dribble that one would expect from a show geared toward younger children in Japan.  I did note the apparent Star Wars nod with the X-Wing fighter that was shown and one might argue that the whole concept of a virtual world is a nod to Tron.  Indeed, there were times that this felt Tron-ish.  I also think there might have been a nod to Space Battleship Yamato and the Wave-Motion Gun. ^_^

Pocket Monsters - 038 (Gotta catch a seizure, Pokemon!)The real deal with this episode, of course, is the whole element of the seizures. The part where this occurs in the story is while they are in the virtual world after Joy has the anti-virus program loaded. The program manifests itself as an X-Wing fighter with missiles to deliver the anti-viral agent. So, as Pikachu destroys these or as they hit something and explode, this causes the background colors in the scene to rapidly change colors, often from blue and red, but other colors are often inserted as well.  It was these moments of flashing blue and red that supposedly triggered the seizures of Japanese children and started an hysteria that still has residue today.  I can see how this could have happened, but that’s why your friendly anime companies sometimes have warnings at the beginning of anime shows telling viewers to watch in a well-lit room away from the TV.

Pocket Monsters - 038 (Gotta catch a seizure, Pokemon!)Even though there is no danger in watching the VHS-taped RIP I saw, one still can’t help but think about “what if”.  *lol*  Well, I guess that is what helped fuel the hysteria about the episode and the seizures.  Reportedly, of the 618 (or so) seizure cases that were claimed to be as a result of this episode, only a very small percentage of them were actually a direct result of the episode.  What the others were (or even if they were actual seizures or just panicked parents), I don’t know.  However, the result is that this episode will never be aired in the U.S. nor will it be viewed on DVD.  The episode will never again be aired in Japan and won’t be viewed on DVD either. All that remains are a fansubbed version that a Japanese fan recorded on VHS, proving that in the age of the Internet, nothing is truly scrubbed clean.

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4 Responses to “Pocket Monsters – 038 (Gotta catch a seizure, Pokemon!)”

  1. Anonymous says:

    i hear you can use it to “unstick” pixels on a lcd display.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    *lol* Well, there’s a reason to sell it then, eh? ^_~

  3. […] those who may not be in the know, episode 38 of Pocket Monsters (aka: Pokemon), entitled Dennou Senshi Porygon, contained scenes where there […]

  4. […] in front of anime shows to prevent seizures. The infamous, banned, Pocket Monsters episode “Dennou Senshi Porigon” that caused so many problems in Japan (and which The Simpsons parodied in the episode […]

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