How Pokémon’s Famous “Smell Ya Later” Phrase Works in Japanese


Buster asked a question about Pokemon X/Y that connects all the way back to the original Pokemon games. That sounds pretty cool, so let’s check it out!

While playing my X version, I came across this NPC in Lumiose City who talks about Professor Oak’s grandson, Gary (Your rival in the very first Pokemon games). Her dialogue is basically a joke referring to multiple parts of the original games, namely Gary’s line “Bonjour!” on the S.S. Anne and, of course, his well-known catchphrase, “Smell ya later” (The bonjour part is a play on the fact that the Kalos region is based heavily upon France).

Here’s the line:

The famous Professor Oak’s grandson came here to the Kalos region the study abroad. He got “Bonjour” down just fine, but he still always said “Smell ya later!” when he left!

At this point I feel they're running out of Pokemon creature ideas much like how Mega Man games started having a hard time with new boss robots

After seeing this, I thought, “I wonder what he said in the Japanese version?” After all, that’s a pretty distinct line right there. It could be completely different in the Japanese version! So, I decided to do a little research on the subject. I’m too lazy to play all the way to the “Bonjour!” scene in both versions (Not to mention I don’t have the time), but I did get screenshots from both the English and Japanese versions of the line in question.

You know, I oughta pick up an original Game Boy again sometime. Or see if my family's got my old one in a closet somewhere. There's something about not being able to see the screen that's nostalgically amusingYou know, I oughta pick up an original Game Boy again sometime. Or see if my family's got my old one in a closet somewhere. There's something about not being able to see the screen that's nostalgically amusing

I have to wonder what the Japanese version of X/Y has this NPC saying too, but I’m obviously very limited as to how I could obtain a picture of that. Even though both games actually come in every language it was released in in every region… Too bad I can’t switch back and fourth. Once you choose your language, it can’t be changed later.

So yeah, a pretty simple question, I think. Hope to see an answer soon! 😀

Wow, a million zillion thanks for getting the screenshots for me! That saves me so much time!

This is actually pretty simple – the Japanese phrase is a sort of casual, flippant way of saying goodbye. So, side-by-side, it’d look something like this:

Japanese lineBasic translationOfficial translation
そんじゃ あばよ!Welp, be seein’ ya!Smell you later!

There’s probably dozens of different ways you could translate or localize this line, and it looks like the original localization team went with the phrase, “Smell you later.” I’ve actually only heard that used in The Simpsons though – how common of a phrase was it before then? I assume it was a legit thing 90s kids said, but I never knew if it was because of Nelson saying it all the time or if he was just being a 90s kid himself. In that sense, it kind of reminds me of EarthBound’s “fuzzy pickles” lines.

Anyway, the Japanese line in Pokemon is also unique enough that it could easily be used as a special catchphrase across the series, so I assume it’s used in all the later games too. If anyone can get a screenshot of this line in the Japanese version of Pokemon X/Y, post it in the comments or contact me some other way!

If you liked this article and know any other fans of Pokemon, I hope you'll share it online. It'd be a great help!
  1. I see that hidden text there, Mato. While I wouldn’t say they’re running out of ideas like Mega Man did (Pokemon Black and White had 156 brand new Pokemon, none of which were related to any past Pokemon), they DID only introduce 69 new Pokemon this time around. I like it that way, though, as most of the new Pokemon on both 5th and 6th Generation looked pretty cool and I don’t want Game Freak to suffer idea fatigue 😛

    1. Well, when I wrote that I was mostly thinking of things like sideways hearts, ice cream cones, and other stuff that I assume might be old now 😛 It definitely doesn’t feel as bad as Mega Man yet.

      1. “Sideways heart Pokémon?” Are you referring to Luvdisc by any chance? That little fishy might be simple in design, but a lot of thought goes into each and every Pokémon when they make ’em. Including things such as their habitat, diet, what they look like from every angle, the mythology surrounding them etc. Luvdisc is supposed to be a symbol of romance in the Pokémon world. If a couple finds a Luvdisc while swimming, it is said that they will eventually become lovers. Luvdisc is also the primary source of the often-desired Heart Scales that the in-game NPCs will trade you for.

        This one guy on Bulbanews did several articles going into depth behind the origin and backstory behind a lot of Pokémon. I find them to be a fascinating read, and a lot of Pokémon are based on Japanese mythology too. Link here:
        Give it a read if you’d like.

        1. I always found those articles rather ridiculous, considering they’re literally nothing more than a cobbled-together mishmash of material from the Wikipedia articles linked to in their “Origin” section of each individual Pokemon’s article (which themselves are mostly just written by looking at what a couple select, major Japanese Pokemon websites write about a Pokemon’s origins and tossing up wikipedia links to every concept they mention that has an article there), usually with some errors thrown into the mix.

          *shrug* I don’t know, they’re “informative” I guess, but you’d be better informed by reading the wikipedia article themselves, and I always find it silly when people call them “well-researched” when they’re just rewordings of relevant Wiki articles someone else had already assembled a list of for him.

          1. I’d still love to hear anyone try to explain Klefki as anything but self-parody.

            1. You probably won’t reply because of this being a bit late, but I don’t think Nintendo has become self-aware of themselves enough yet for it to be a self-parody, lol. Though I’m surprised people are so thrown for a loop by Kelfki because the inspiration for it is pretty simple? It’s likely based off of Tsukumogami, a type of Japanese yokai that is basically an ordinary object that turns into a living being after a certain amount of time. But even if you aren’t aware of the cultural context, we have similar things ourselves with the story of the Velveteen Rabbit, for example. And it’s Fairy typing is probably why it’s a thief. Some fairies are known to be mischievous and steal items away from humans, or the like.

            2. A bit old, but according to an interview, Klefki is based on the huge doors the crew saw when touring French castles, and wondering what sorts of keys could open them.

      2. The last games had a Pokemon that’s just a couple gears. I’m totally with you. They’re not all bad, though.

        1. Dangit, I always disliked claims of “this Pokémon is based on *such and such* so therefore they’re running out of ideas”. This is annoying considering that there have always been silly designs ever since the beginning.
          Imagine if the 150 or so designs from Gen 1 andthe 150 or so designs of Gen 5 were swapped around. People will be going “Lol at the new ‘pile of eggs’ Pokémon. And wow, there’s now a whack-a-mole Pokémon! they’re getting ridiculous”… and things like this. It just drives me crazy. Pokémon has always had silly designs It’s kinda the whole point.

          1. Hear hear. In particular I like to point to the two-tone ball then turns into an upside-down two-tone ball.

          2. True enough. Not to mention that stupid is clearly in the eye of the beholder here; I’m personally a big fan of Vanillite, Klefki, and Klink. The ones I find dull and uninspired are the ones meant to seem big and impressive — usually I’m bored to tears with the legendaries, for example.

          3. Like an overlapping half of the first gen is:
            – Purple
            – Dinosaurs
            – Has literally the EXACT SAME FACE
            – A bigger version of itself
            – Just a generic animal exactly taken as-is with an element attached to it. If even.

            “running out of ideas” is just backwards nonsense

        2. I liked the gear Pokemon at first because I thought he’d evolve into a cool robot or something. But he just evolved into… more gears. Lame.

      3. I’m perfectly okay with stuff like that, partly because G1 Pokemon didn’t have the most creative of design. Magneton was simply three Magnemites glued together. Same dealio with Dugtrio compared to Diglett. Grimer and Muk are nearly indistinguishable. Seel and Dewgong… why, even the *names* tell you how uninspired the Pokemon designers were.

        Not sure what you mean about Mega Man. The ones from Mega Man 10 look pretty cool.

      4. Pokemon’s always had some weird stuff. I mean, Voltorb/Electrode, Grimer/Muk, and the laziness of Magnaton and Dugtrio?

        You make a couple hundred monsters and there’re gonna be a few stinkers.

    2. Speaking of that hidden text, it should be worth mentioning that the robot designs in several of the Mega Man games were fan-submitted, so unless you’re counting a few fans and whoever judged the contests, there’s pretty much nobody to criticize over those.

  2. I don’t know who or what made it popular but “Smell you later” was very legit and quite common, at least I heard it all the time.

  3. I quickly checked on X in Japanese. The “Bonjour” thing is there but the “Smell you later!” thing is “Baibii!” instead. I think that’s also a Green line, dunno where does he say it however!

    1. Huh, interesting. I wonder if it’s like the comfy and easy to wear shorts kid, who seems to be more of a recurring funny throwback in the localizations than the original Japanese scripts.

      I think I remember the Magypsies in MOTHER 3 said “Baibii” sometimes too. I’ve always been curious about that phrase, so I’ll have to look into it more sometime.

      1. I’m familiar with Bye-beeee~ from the Lucky Star anime. The Lucky Channel segments had the extremely cynical girl with an extremely cute persona often saying that when signing off, followed by her snarling at her cohost after the curtain dropped. Of course, considering how referential that show is, it’s probably a popular “cute idol” type phrase in Japan or something.
        It’s pretty weird for Blue/Green to say it, though…

        1. Rusty Shackleford the Biscuit Giraffe

          In the Japanese version of Pokemon Origins, Green says this, too.

          1. Well yeah, Pokemon Origins quotes a LOT of game dialogue verbatim.

        2. No, it was just a regular “cute farewell” phrase for a while, I believe.

        3. I figure Green’s just doing it to mess with people.

  4. The rival says “Bonjour” on St. Anne in the original too.

    The full original text is:

    グリーン『ボン ジュール! レッド! おやおや! こんな ところで あう とは……! レッド…… しょうたい されてたっけ? それで ポケモン ずかんの データは あつまったか! おれ なんか もう 40しゅるい つかまえたぜ! みち いっぽん ちがう だけで とれる ポケモンも ちがうぜ! ちゃんと くさむら はいって さがして みろ!

    ふん……! とにかく…… ポケモンは そこそこ そだててる ようだな!

    レッド……! ふなよい してるのか! もっと からだ きたえた ほうが いいぜ!

    グリーン『いあいぎりの めいじんが ふねに のってるって いう からよ あって みたら これが ただの ふなよい おやじ! でも この わざが また つかえるんだよなー! おまえも あって みると いいぜ! じゃー あばよ! ズゴジ

    And the English translation:

    BLUE: Bonjour! RED! Imagine seeing you here! RED, were you really invited? So how’s your POKéDEX coming? I already caught 40 kinds, pal! Different kinds are everywhere! Crawl around in grassy areas!
    Humph! At least you’re raising your POKéMON!

    RED! What are you, seasick? You should shape up, pal!

    BLUE: I heard there was a CUT master on board. But, he was just a seasick, old man! But, CUT itself is really useful! You should go see him! Smell ya!

    1. Oops, some garbage data accidentally got left in there. Ignore that “ズゴジ”.

      The English translation is pretty spot on, though.

      But yeah, that entire “He always says Smell ya” thing is something the translators invented, the equivalent Japanese lines use various different phrases, including じゃーな! and, as Zettai Ryouiki mentioned, バイビー! (which he says when you meet him in Silph Co.)

  5. To my knowledge, “smell you later” entered the popular lexicon through the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song:

    1. Oh man, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that! I am unfit to be American

  6. I don’t think i saw anyone mention this, but it kinda bugged me that the guy who wrote the letter referred to the character as Gary. While you could name him anything you wanted in the original games, because he is called Blue in Gold/Silver, their remakes, and Black2/White2, I always prefer that name (and nobody give me shit about “but it’s Green in Japanese”, because i don’t care). Same with Red. I’ll admit, like so many other people, i named them Ash and Gary after the anime when i first played the games long ago, but after finding out the official names via the later games, i just generally prefer those now.

    Speaking of which, Mato, have you seen the Pokemon Origins specials yet? I highly recommend them for the massive nostalgia factor, let alone the amazing animation and voice acting.

    1. “because he is called Blue in Gold/Silver, their remakes, and Black2/White2, I always prefer that name ”
      THAT is some dirty Charmander-loving revisionist history and if you weren’t playing Blue, you weren’t playing RIGHT.

      That is all.

        1. I didn’t notice that I confused someone years ago.
          If you played Pokemon Blue, the default PLAYER name was Blue, and Red was the default RIVAL name. And Blue was objectively superior because it had cooler cover art instead of some boring, derivative, played-out dragon.

    2. Lol get over it. xD Gary is just as legit a name for him as Blue. Or, we could call him SONY. That’s his default name if you somehow manage to skip actually naming him for yourself. 😉

  7. Hey Mato, I just thought of another Pokemon translation question, though i feel a little bad asking it since i know pokemon’s not your forte. I don’t have any pics, though i’m hoping someone else might be able to help with that.

    Anyway, in the Gold and Silver versions (and their remakes), near the end there’s a lone Team Rocket member who shows up in Cerulean City. They try to imply that he’s from another country, and as such, he talks in a weird, goofy accent (personally, i think he sounds like Yoda). After you beat him, he says he’s going to return to his home country and start a new branch of Team Rocket there. Then, in the Black and White games, you actually meet this guy in a house in one of the towns there. It seems that the Unova region that the B/W games take place in is his original home country that he mentioned in G/S. However, now he speaks normally, without any kind of accent at all. I assume this is cuz if his original accent was from the Unova region, they didn’t want to have him talk all weird while everyone else in the game had no such accent. So anyway, my question is how did they handle this weird accent business in the Japanese games, in G/G, their remakes, and B/W?

  8. Yaaay, I was waiting to see this! I wasn’t expecting it this soon though, since you always say you have a huge backlog of emails to get through.

    So it turned out to be something like this, huh? Well, I’m glad to see that the localization team didn’t add a bunch of stuff out of nowhere like a lot of translations have (Looking at other LoL articles).

    I have never heard “Smell ya later” aside from in Pokemon, so I always saw it as Gary’s (OR Blue’s, or SONY’s, or whatever you wanna call him) catchphrase. It was fun to see the throwback line in X version. :3

    1. “Smell ya later” was a popular phrase in the 1990’s. I was used as a casual way of saying goodbye.

  9. To quote one of those “the future” episodes of the Simpsons: “I can’t believe “Smell ya later” replaced “goodbye”!”

  10. I know this article’s kinda old and no-one’s probably gonna read this, but his name is Blue (or Green in Japanese), not Gary. Gary is the name of a character based on him in the anime.


      Case closed. :p I’ll call him whatever I want either way, though.

  11. I have the American Black 2 and the Japanese White 2. At the Pokémon World Tournament, Blue will say “Smell ya later!” if he defeats the Player. In Japanese, he will say “Baibii!” I have the images.

    Just a tidbit of information… In Pokémon: The Origin (Japanese), Blue does not say “baibii” on File 1, despite some fan subs using “Smell ya later!”; he doesn’t say “baibii” until File 3. This is consistent with the games, as in Pocket Monsters RGBY, he also does not use “baibii” until at least the third battle with him (as shown in your post). I do not know what he says in Pocket Monters FRLG. However, in the English Pokémon Origins, Blue doesn’t say “Smell ya later” until File 3, despite that he says it throughout the game in Pokémon RBY and Pokémon FRLG.

  12. So Rival’s original line was nothing rude? The french translation of that line wasn’t rude but the rest of what he said was very rude!

    However, in Pokemon XY, the “smell ya later” reference was messed up, they translated it by “à boire”, because they assumed he just wasn’t good at talking foreign languages…

  13. “smell ya later” was also used in the theme song to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it was a legit piece of 1990s pop culture

  14. This was coined by Bart Simpson.