'Pokémon's Subliminal Message Revealed A Behind-The-Scenes Bummer
Eric Stuart is probably not a name you recognize, but he's a voice you might! You've heard him as Brock, Seto Kaiba, and probably, most famously, as James from Team Rocket. You know about Team Rocket because you're a person who exists. If you have as much as an internet connection, you know what this demon's weakness/strength/name/owner is:
You know he and his owner are under constant siege from Team Rocket, the Pokémon stealing group that is largely incompetent, fronted by Jessie, James, and Meowth, a veritable Three Stooges of anime villains, who end up blowing themselves up, trapping themselves, occasionally teaming up with the heroes, and are most often saved by the very Pokémon they're trying to steal.
The group is almost as recognizable as Ash Ketchum with his backward hat, repressed sexuality, and Pikachu. Team Rocket Blasting Off Again is a catchphrase so recognizable it might as well be the show's theme song.
However, despite the fact that Team Rocket is almost as important a part of the show as Ash, Pikachu, or the theme song, 4Kids (the company that used to bring the show to America) seemed to super not care about them (or most of the other voice actors). Which led Stuart to record this:
Yeah, the voice of Seto Kaiba backmasked himself, calling 4kids the devil. Why? Well ...
Yeah, see, turns out that 4Kids, despite having one of the most popular animes in the world, paid its talents peanuts. Stuart was being paid more for commercials than the show itself, but eventually, 4Kids hired a firm to make commercials that reused old lines instead of having the VAs record new dialogue. The thing is, that's how Stuart was keeping himself healthy, and once the commercials went away, he lost his health insurance.
It's not the only time 4Kids allegedly tried to screw people out of money; they even got sued by the Japanese productions for hiding profits. None of which went to the voice actors. Don't worry, it gets worse: It turns out 4Kids found out about the dubbed diss and forced the director to make a new version of the scene with their own money.
Eventually, the company went bankrupt (twice) and now no longer exists. Meaning Team Rocket finally won one.
Tara Marie writes words at places like here, Panel X Panel, and the Hard Times. She also writes words for the Trailer Park Boys in Trailer Park Boys: Bagged and Boarded. Tell her when you told your boss to F-off @TaraMarieWords or by doing it in such a dramatic fashion it makes the national news.
Top Image: The Pokémon Company