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Why the Safari Zone Dratini episode was banned in the US?

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I know this was an episode that supposedly aired in Japan more than 10 years ago, but I don't understand why it was banned in the US. It aired just fine in my country.

Was it because they featured guns and stuff? Heck, a lot of other cartoons and anime featured guns as well. Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam were shooting guns at other characters all the time, and they were on TV just fine for more than 50 years.

If there had been other reasons why that episode was banned, could you let me know?
 
Because then the viewers would question why Team Rocket doesn't just shoot Ash, Misty and Brock with their guns.
 
It aired just fine in my country.
Which one's that? The vast majority of non-Japanese dubs of Pokemon are dubs of the US dub - so any edits made and any episodes dropped in the US are carried over to most of the rest of the world. I think the only exceptions are China/Taiwan and Korea which actually directly dub the Japanese version and therefore wouldn't have skipped it along with the US. The Bulbapedia article mentions South Korea skip far more episodes than even the US version does - though doesn't mention the nature of the episodes skipped there to make a comparison.

As for the actual episode, it's far more violent in its usage of guns than both other episodes of Pokemon and other US cartoons aimed at kids with guns in them - Team Rocket take the Warden hostage and put a gun to his head, to get him to talk, which certainly takes it out of the more slapstick usage of guns in other cartoons. There's also a bit of a perception difference between the 'old west' style of shotgun and the handguns that are used in the episode. I'm sure that particular scene could have been edited out, but then there's still a lot of guns in the rest of the episode that couldn't be which all would add to it, including the whole start of the episode where Ash is threatened with the gun.

Beyond the guns, Team Rocket also start to use a bomb against Pokemon - which goes against how they are usually portrayed as being villains but not seriously harming Pokemon in trying to capture them. Team Rocket are pretty much outright evil in this episode, compared to the tone of the rest of their appearances.

The only real reason to dub the episode is the Tauros captures, which take up a very small part of the episode anyway. The good storyline with Dratini is too marred by what Team Rocket did to get at it to justify keeping the episode in the Dub.
 
@Moe;

I live in S. Korea, and yes we got direct dubs of the anime. Guns were not a problem, and they aired the Safari Zone episode just fine. However, episodes that strongly reflect Japanese cultures had been skipped - and since Pokemon is from Japan, a lot of episodes would've been banned.

But that aside, I was just wondering why they'd ban that specific Safari Zone episode because of a gun directly aimed at Ash and the Warden when they feature gun shoots from cartoons and more disastrous/disturbing ways to die, like dropping anvils on top of characters.

It just doesn't seem like a justified reason to ban a whole episode when they have other cartoons that are worse than that.
 
@Moe;

I live in S. Korea, and yes we got direct dubs of the anime. Guns were not a problem, and they aired the Safari Zone episode just fine. However, episodes that strongly reflect Japanese cultures had been skipped - and since Pokemon is from Japan, a lot of episodes would've been banned.

But that aside, I was just wondering why they'd ban that specific Safari Zone episode because of a gun directly aimed at Ash and the Warden when they feature gun shoots from cartoons and more disastrous/disturbing ways to die, like dropping anvils on top of characters.

It just doesn't seem like a justified reason to ban a whole episode when they have other cartoons that are worse than that.

This is quoted from that video: "This wanted to be the gun episode, not laser guns, not rocket launchers, not anything over the top and kid friendly like that, just regular straight up pistols."

Things like dropping an anvil are a pretty unrealistic and over the top form of violence. It's pretty much slapstick comedy which is not believable in any way and intended to be humorous. In opposition to this a plain pistol being pointed at someone is different. It's not humorous and it's not meant to be humorous, it's completely believable and confronting.
 
I'll just link to the page I have up on my website that explains why this episode was skipped and why it'll never see the light of day in most parts of the world.
 
@Moe;

I live in S. Korea, and yes we got direct dubs of the anime. Guns were not a problem, and they aired the Safari Zone episode just fine. However, episodes that strongly reflect Japanese cultures had been skipped - and since Pokemon is from Japan, a lot of episodes would've been banned.

But that aside, I was just wondering why they'd ban that specific Safari Zone episode because of a gun directly aimed at Ash and the Warden when they feature gun shoots from cartoons and more disastrous/disturbing ways to die, like dropping anvils on top of characters.

It just doesn't seem like a justified reason to ban a whole episode when they have other cartoons that are worse than that.

I read on TV Tropes that it's mainly because of the rocky relationships between Japan and Korea that have been going on since during after the second World War (namely the Japanese occupation of Korea), hence why many of the episodes that had Japanese culture (such as Showdown of the Samurai) were skipped, but unfortunately, some of the episodes that were skipped lead to some plotholes, such as how Ash got his Butterfree for instance.

Interestingly, I always wondered how they handled Pokemon that are based on Japanese mythology, such as Ninetales for instance.

As for why most countries skipped the Dratini episode, it's mainly because of 4Kids's infamous dubbing methods of "protecting the young" (it's one of the weirder customs of American culture, one which 4Kids took to an extreme), and because FCC standards were more strict in the 90's, this unfortunately, caused their infamous dub of One Piece, but that's another topic...
 
You guys act like the episode was only banned because 4Kids were the ones producing the dub and that if FUNimation or Viz or anyone else was handling the show then the episode would have been aired without any problems. This is absolutely not the case.
 
Only thing I can think of is that guns are far more accessible than the rockets / bombs / everything else featured in other episodes. For example, guns are quite common (in America anyway). If a kids parents were irresponsible and did not keep the guns in a safe place or teach their kids not to touch them, potentially a kid could take a gun and have an accident white imitating the show. This is not a problem for grenade launchers because people typically don't have them lying around their house.

It might also be the fact that the guns were pointed directly at people. You can't really compare this to other anime or cartoons in general. Most anime with such content is specifically made for older viewers. As for Bugs Bunny, that's completely different because it's "funny" and in those cartoons it's not deadly or dangerous. No one ever dies from being shot or having an anvil dropped on theoir heads or anything... they just get flattened or charred for a few seconds and then next thing you know they are completely unharmed. But Pokémon is a lot more realistic than something like Bugs Bunny (even though it's not all that "realistic" top begin with)
 
Beyond the guns, Team Rocket also start to use a bomb against Pokemon - which goes against how they are usually portrayed as being villains but not seriously harming Pokemon in trying to capture them. Team Rocket are pretty much outright evil in this episode, compared to the tone of the rest of their appearances.

You almost say that like it's a bad thing or something

And yeah, it's banned because 4Kids is ran by some the biggest idiots ever who want to act like guns don't exist (see their dub of One Piece and maybe the Saturday morning airings of DBZ Kai for more info) :-|
 
As much as I dislike 4Kids, for once, this wasn't there fault.

America is extremely gun sensitive when it comes to children's entertainment. They are an absolute no-no on television. The only way it could be aired on TV is if they had changed them to blasters or something silly like that like other anime have had to do.

So, no, don't blame 4Kids for this. Blame America for thinking that kids seeing guns=the next Columbine.
 
It probably didn't help that Pokemon, I believe, was airing on a broadcast channel at the time and they can have some pretty strict rules regarding what is and is not allowed, especially for children's programing. They probably could have edited the Dratini pisode with laser guns or something to get it on the air, but it was probably too much for one episode and the FCC probably wasn't too comfortable with guns and bombs being used so often in one episode of Pokemon. It was confusing when Ash had a bunch of Tauros out of nowhere, but considering how America tends to react to guns in children's programming, it's not too surprising that it was banned.
 
I'll just link to the page I have up on my website that explains why this episode was skipped and why it'll never see the light of day in most parts of the world.

What he said. Although about this part.

The difference between the guns in this episode and the guns in other episodes is that in this episode, the guns were actually fired. In this episode, the guns were held right up to people's heads. In this episode, the guns were onscreen longer than all those other instances combined. In this episode, there were no other adults around to stop the would-be shooter(s). In this episode, the guns in question were the same type of handguns a kid can find in his dad's sock drawer.

If you meant those things individually, Nastina fired at the giant Tentacruel in "Tentacool and Tentacruel." To be fair, of course, that was a really giant Pokemon that wasn't affected anyway. The warden fired at humans in the Dratini episode, more realistic than a giant creature. (And a talking cat.)

In any case, the gun usage for this episode did go to a further extreme than other dubbed episodes with guns. Nintendo/Pokemon companies, etc./ workers in the US wanted Pokemon to be a hit enough that someone/people decided to release the first anime around the same time as the first games and also air episodes daily at first, rather than airing the anime a year or more later with weekly episodes to imitate Japan. They wouldn't want to air an episode with much controversy. (The part on the link above about a "banned episodes" DVD sort of relates to the same idea.)
 
It probably didn't help that Pokemon, I believe, was airing on a broadcast channel at the time and they can have some pretty strict rules regarding what is and is not allowed, especially for children's programing. They probably could have edited the Dratini pisode with laser guns or something to get it on the air, but it was probably too much for one episode and the FCC probably wasn't too comfortable with guns and bombs being used so often in one episode of Pokemon. It was confusing when Ash had a bunch of Tauros out of nowhere, but considering how America tends to react to guns in children's programming, it's not too surprising that it was banned.

Yep and kids brodcasting channels like Kids WB or whatever kids block aired on UPN around the 1998/1999 time period would have never allowed it, heck there were edits that were KidsWB only but the scene appears in VHS or DVD's of the show.

And Editing a episode without it sticking out in the early cell animated would be impossible. If the episode existed in best wishes era type animation instead the japanese animators would probably be able to replace the gun before the show makes it outside japan.
 
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