Pokemon Episode Analysis – Episode 4: Challenge of the Samurai

Go ahead, giggle. Get it out of your system. You know you want to.

Character of the Day:

Samurai: Not given any other handle besides ‘Samurai’, Samurai is a boy who dresses in traditional samurai gear and lives in Viridian Forest. He is the first ever CotD, with nothing else really notable about him beyond that.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Pinsir and Metapod.

Plot: Misty and Ash are still traveling through Viridian Forest when they spot a Weedle. Ash rears up to capture it when he’s approached by an odd kid dressed in Samurai clothes named, oddly enough, Samurai. Well, if your parents name you that, I guess you’re damned to dressing like that. He’s searching for a trainer from Pallet Town, Ash identifies himself as such and Samurai challenges him to a battle. The Weedle gets away while he’s talking to Samurai and in his frustration of losing his catch, he fires up for his first non-Team Rocket Pokemon battle against another trainer.

Ash starts with Pidgeotto, who is tired from battling Weedle, while Samurai starts with the fearsome Pinsir. The tired Pidgeotto is unable to defeat Pinsir, however, and is recalled.

Ash tries his new Metapod instead and manages to beat Pinsir with Harden.

Samurai calls out a Metapod as well and Ash and Samurai get locked into a stalemate of constant Hardens.

After a long while stuck in battle, the group hears a swarm of Beedrill approaching so Samurai recalls his Metapod and calls off the match. Ash tries to do the same, but Metapod is taken away by a Beedrill before he’s able to. He’s forced to run away, and sees that Metapod is being taken in as a Kakuna among a whole hive of sleeping Kakuna. Ash is unable to free his Metapod before the Kakuna evolve into Beedrill and attack them yet again.

They take refuge at Samurai’s cabin, and Samurai chews Ash out for being an incompetent Pokemon trainer much less skilled than the other three trainers from Pallet that Samurai battled. He also berates Ash for ‘abandoning’ Metapod.

The next morning, Ash heads out to retrieve Metapod only to be ambushed by Team Rocket. They wake the sleeping Beedrill and Ash uses them as a distraction to take Metapod and run. Metapod is upset with Ash, but he voices his guilt over his mistake and Metapod saves him from a Beedrill, causing him to evolve into Butterfree.

With Ash’s new Butterfree by his side, he commands him to use Sleep Powder to knock out all of the Beedrill and Team Rocket allowing them to finally leave Viridian Forest and head to Ash’s first gym match in Pewter City.

==========================================

– Ash’s mouth doesn’t move during the ‘Maybe it’s a’ part of the line ‘Maybe it’s a Cowterpie’ which makes sense given that the original line there was only one word, ‘Ushi’ (meaning cow) to make a pun on the fact that she was originally yelling ‘Mushi’ (meaning bug. Also, kudos to Dogasu’s Pokemon comparison for this additional information.)

– Why are there bar codes on the Pokedex screen when Ash’s checks Weedle’s data? That’s never happened before and I don’t believe it ever happens again.

– Dexter: “Weedle – The stinger on this Pokemon’s head guarantees that any attacker will ‘get the point’ right where it hurts.” Dexter really was a cheeky little machine back in the day.

– Ash: “Oh yeah I almost forgot, you have to weaken a Pokemon before you can capture it!” Ah now see here. A rare example of Ash learning. Scientists take the time to document this event and study it carefully since they never know when another opportunity to witness this event will come around.

– Also, I love how Ash is looking into the camera when he says this. Like he’s trying to teach US something he couldn’t learn with only one lesson.

– It still amazes me how amped up he gets for catching Pokemon here. Enjoy it while it lasts.

– More bar codes with Pinsir, what is going on?

– What the hell? 4Kids left in the fantasy shot of Metapod literally getting crushed in half by Pinsir? Times really have changed.

– Ash: “Maximum hardness, Metapod!” Must….resist….joke.

– Both of them are really too stupid to see that a Harden vs. Harden battle is a never ending stalemate? And Samurai has the nerve to call Ash a novice. Why doesn’t Ash make Metapod use Tackle? Shouldn’t it still know that from being Caterpie?

– More bar codes with Beedrill.

– Metapod’s voice, at least in the Who’s That Pokemon, is horrendous. It’s like someone’s holding their nose and saying ‘Metapod.’

– Again, barcodes with Kakuna’s entry. Hm.

– How does a ten year old own a cabin? Moreso why does he own this cabin if he’s on a Pokemon journey?

– Samurai: “I do take it back because not even a novice would abandon his own Pokemon as you did!” If this is in regards to when it got captured, there’s nothing Ash could’ve done there. He tried to recall it and it was taken too far away.

If this is in regards to when he saw Metapod moments ago then yes he totally should’ve gotten stung by hundreds of Beedrill (and maybe died?) to save a Pokemon that wasn’t in immediate danger, if anything was being protected by the Beedrill, instead of regrouping and developing a plan. He actually seemed like he was going to rush over and grab Metapod before Misty grabbed him and covered his mouth. Not his fault the Kakuna decided to evolve at that time. I’m usually all for pointing out Ash’s dumb mistakes, but this one’s unwarranted because there’s absolutely nothing he could’ve done.

– Another mention of all three of the first trainers from Pallet on their journeys. And from what Samurai said they’re all awesome at battling and training, not just Gary. Dammit, I really just want to see what they look like. A silhouette. Anything!?

– Hehe, they left Satoshi’s name tag on the sleeping bag. Makes it seem like Ash stole his sleeping bag from someone named Satoshi.

– Even if the Weedle hadn’t eaten the tank, what makes Team Rocket think a paper tank would’ve protected them from Beedrill stingers? Let me point out that they we easily breaking through the wood in Samurai’s log cabin a while ago.

– Yay, Butterfree’s debut! Caterpie’s dream came true!

– I kinda think the ending was dumb. Samurai really backtracks and says he’s the real novice just by Ash commanding his Butterfree to use Sleep Powder on the Beedrill? That’s not really impressive. I just think it was a bit of a cop out since they probably didn’t have enough runtime to continue their battle.

– Ah with the first CotD comes the first time Ash promises to see them again and never ever doing it. Good times.

All in all….this episode….was…eh. Samurai’s not a very compelling or interesting CotD, and his VA is so awkward. The Metapod vs. Metapod match is obviously the most memorable and funny part of this episode, with the rest being kinda weak. I still stand by my belief that Ash had no real choice but to ‘abandon’ Metapod, so the conflict here just doesn’t work to me. But who cares? Butterfree!

Next episode, Ash arrives in Pewter City to get his first badge from the gym leader, Brock.

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2 thoughts on “Pokemon Episode Analysis – Episode 4: Challenge of the Samurai

    • I imagine they were initially worried about waking the whole swarm (are a collective of Kakuna still called a swarm? Hm) if they attempted such a thing. Even though catching a Pokemon while sleeping should be an easy task, just the sound of the capture or subsequent battle might be enough to wake the others and cause a huge problem, which happened either way. Besides, Ash was more concerned over Metapod’s well-being to think about catching one.

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