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I was watching this video of the Japanese-YouTuber Hikakin beatboxing the first English Pokemon song. It made me wonder: was the English dub theme song more well-known than the original Japanese opening?

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  • So you are talking about the first opening, right?
    – Ikaros
    Jan 18, 2016 at 16:46
  • @Ikaros yep, for both
    – giraffesyo
    Jan 18, 2016 at 16:46
  • Looking again, by comparing youtube views, it seems quite similar
    – Ikaros
    Jan 18, 2016 at 16:49
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    FWIW I remember seeing the Pokemon theme song in a Japanese compilation of piano arrangements of anime music (see めざせポケモンマスター), so it probably is reasonably famous in Japan. (This was in 2013, and the creators also released an album the year prior that included songs from Bakemonogatari and Madoka Magica.)
    – Maroon
    Jan 18, 2016 at 17:10

3 Answers 3

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The following answer is based on the results I got on Google [from my country (France)].


Keeping the following elements in mind, one can say that their popularity level is more or less the same.

The comparison is made between the first Japanse theme めざせポケモンマスター (Aim to be a Pokemon Master) and the first English theme "Gotta catch them all." I take into account only the official versions.

Google Trends

trends

In red : the English, in blue : the Japanese

Except for the year 2005, the search trends looks to be pretty similar.

Surprisingly enough, the countries which searched the English opening on google were the following ones :

en

For the Japanese opening, the searches come only from Japan.

jp


Youtube

The most viewed youtube video of the Japanese opening (in my country) views ~1 million views.

The most viewed youtube video of the English opening (in my country) views ~1 million views

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Using the same methodology that Ikaros did when they answered the question, I can definitively say that the North American version of the song wins by a country mile.

Changes from original approach

Instead of just searching on a few key parts of the katakana, I chose to use めざせポケモンマスター as the full search text, and "Pokemon Theme" as the other one. This way, we narrow it down to what people are more likely to search for when looking up Pokemon songs.

Graphed results

This data goes back all the way from 2004 to the present day. It's not even close.

enter image description here

On average, for every 1 person looking up the Japanese song title, 14 people look up the NA version.

The map doesn't change much; the majority of people looking at the JP version are based in Japan (also Taiwan, surprisingly enough), and the NA version is significantly more prominent world-wide.

enter image description here

Additional information

Growing up I recall hearing a Norwegian version of the song. On reflection, the lyrics of the song were different but the melody was preserved, which is also notably different from the JP version.

Bulbapedia maintains a list of these themes, and this particular theme was likely dubbed across all of these listed languages.

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In North America, the English Theme is more popular, but in Japan, the Japanese one is. This is because Japanese people hear the Japanese theme on TV and Americans hear the English one. In Germany, the German version of Gotta Catch Em All is most likely more popular.

Furthermore, people prefer the one they can understand. For English speakers, it is Gotta Catch Em All. For Japanese speakers, it is Mezase Pokemon Master or Aim to be a Pokemon master.

English is more widespread so more people will prefer English. I am a native English speaker and prefer the Japanese theme. This is because I got sick of the English one.

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