Pokemon Episode 10 Analysis: Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village

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CotD: Melanie – A sweet girl, but terribly boring, Melanie is the caretaker of a Pokemon village that consists of only one house. She nurses sick and injured wild Pokemon back to health with the hopes of releasing them back into the wild.

Pokemon: Technically none, though she is the caretaker of many.

Reappears?: No

Pokemon Debuts: Ash’s Bulbasaur – Quite the serious and protective Pokemon, Bulbasaur is one of Ash’s longest staying Pokemon in his team besides Pikachu.

Plot: Lost in the forest yet again, Ash and the others take a break only to stumble upon an Oddish. Ash and Misty both want to capture the Oddish, and Misty shoves Ash aside to capture it herself. She pits her Starmie against it and manages to weaken it but as she’s about to capture it in a Pokeball, the ball is suddenly batted away. A Bulbasaur has suddenly appeared to protect the Oddish from the capture and it quickly does away with Starmie. Ash, excited about a new prospect of capturing a Bulbasaur, sends out Butterfree to attack.

Butterfree uses Sleep Powder only to have it blown back in his face by Bulbasaur’s breath. Butterfree tries to continue battling, but a quick Tackle also takes care of Butterfree and Bulbasaur and Oddish take the opportunity to run off.

Ash is disappointed that he couldn’t capture Bulbasaur, but is excited under the belief that there are likely others in the forest to catch. As they continue on their path, Ash and the others cross an unmapped bridge that suddenly collapses under their feet. Ash and Misty manage to hang on, but Brock falls into the rushing waters below.

Ash and Misty pull themselves up and quickly rush to find Brock’s corpse—I mean totally alive body, but Misty is caught in a pitfall trap. Surprisingly, Team Rocket is not behind the trap, and Ash and Misty continue to look for Brock.

They spring yet another trap which lands them in a net stuck in a tree. They see the same Bulbasaur down below who gives them a glance before walking away. Later, Brock returns safe and sound to save Misty and Ash from the trap. Brock explains that he was saved from the river by a beautiful girl and brings Ash and Misty to her Pokemon village where she nurses sick and injured Pokemon back to health in the hopes of returning them to the wild some day.

Ash, Misty and Brock decide to help out at the village for a while, and Misty makes amends with the Oddish she attacked earlier. While Misty is talking to Oddish, Ash pops up to tease her, causing Misty to yell at him. Bulbasaur suddenly Tackles Misty and knocks her to the ground. Ash, fed up with Bulbasaur, decides to finish their battle from earlier, but Melanie stops him. She explains that Bulbasaur has offered to be the guardian of the entire village, and he only acts so aggressively when he thinks someone is a threat to the Pokemon there. When Misty yelled at Ash, Bulbasaur took that as a threat to Oddish and started defending it.

Bulbasaur tries to push Ash away, and Melanie explains that Bulbasaur doesn’t like Pokemon trainers and is trying to make them leave. Ash understands Bulbasaur’s feelings and admires its bravery and resolve.

Team Rocket shows up, and using a giant flying baseball stadium with a giant vacuum hose, they start sucking up all of the Pokemon. Brock, Melanie and Misty take all of the Pokemon into the cabin, but Oddish nearly gets captured. Its saved by Bulbasaur, and Ash assists it in carrying Oddish back to the cabin. Bulbasaur and Ash team up to take Team Rocket down with Bulbasaur swatting away the vacuum hose and Ash using Pidgeotto’s Gust to combat the vacuum winds and create a tornado to whisk Team Rocket away.

After Team Rocket has been taken care of, Melanie offers to have Bulbasaur go with Ash to be on his team. She states that, while Bulbasaur is a great and brave Pokemon who has done a lot for the village, he’s very much restricted there and has no real opportunity to grow. In addition, his fierce protection of the village Pokemon makes them feel so safe and relaxed that Melanie finds it difficult to return to them to the wild back where they belong.

Bulbasaur agrees to go with the arrangement on one condition; Ash has to beat Bulbasaur in a battle and capture him fairly. Ash excitedly agrees and the match begins.

Ash uses Pikachu against Bulbasaur, and after some failed Vine Whips, Bulbasaur decides to give Pikachu a head-on Tackle. Before he has a chance to recover, Pikachu is hit by another Tackle, but manages to regain his composure in mid-air, responding with a Tackle of his own.

Bulbasaur attempts Vine Whip again and succeeds in wrapping Pikachu up with the vines and slamming him repeatedly into the ground. However, Ash strikes back by having Pikachu use Thunderbolt on the vines, sending the shock through them and back to Bulbasaur. Ash uses this opportunity to use a Pokeball on Bulbasaur and manages to capture it.

Melanie thanks Bulbasaur for everything its done for the Pokemon, the village and her and bids it farewell while Ash promises to take good care of Bulbasaur. The group departs from the village with their new friend back on their journey to Vermillion City.

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– Why does Misty want to catch Oddish? It’s a Grass type; isn’t she all about Water types? This is made even more confusing when she tries to justify it by saying the Oddish was near water when they found it and Water is her specialty thus she should have it. By that logic, any Pokemon that drinks water is one Misty has dibs on.

– This is the first of many instances of this happening, but why does Ash need to whip out his Pokedex to see what an Oddish is? Despite never encountering one in the series thusfar he had an Oddish doll in his room. I assume having a toy of something means you know what it is.

– Also, this is one of those capture attempts that just seems cruel. Oddish was minding its own business drinking water when Misty’s Starmie Water Guns the crap out of it, then as its trying to run away Starmie tackles it. 😦

– Huh, yet another instance of Ash seemingly showing interest in pretty girls, even though he doesn’t know what Melanie looks like.

– Okay, look, I really respect Melanie for what she does. Creating and maintaining a Pokemon sanctuary of sorts with absolutely no financial benefit on her part is really great and respectful. I can understand wanting to keep trainers away from the Pokemon in her village so they don’t get attacked or captured, but is there really no better way to do that than setting dangerous traps?

I mean, the pit in the ground and the net, I guess those aren’t that bad because as long as she checks them very regularly then there’s no terrible harm done to the people wandering around. But the bridge being rigged? That’s really dangerous! What if a handicapped person or a person who can’t swim was going across that bridge? Hell, even someone who can swim would likely have trouble staying afloat in that current.

Considering the bridge wasn’t even on Brock’s map, I can only assume that she built the bridge just to dump people into the river. And what if she forgot to check the traps, which is implied by Melanie’s dialogue where she acts surprised that the traps actually worked? People could end up in those traps for days or weeks and end up dying in them. What if random Pokemon stumbled across them? They’d get hurt or die.

This is just such an overall terrible and dangerous idea, and it really could’ve been avoided by putting up a lot of signs that explain what this area is and telling trainers to please not catch Pokemon there. Or maybe marking Pokemon who are staying at the village with a little collar that explains where they are and requests not to capture them.

– Ya know, I’m actually kinda glad this is one of the only times Brock gets so embarrassed when talking about one of his crushes. The way he keeps smacking Misty for teasing him about it would probably get really old. Also, why are we able to see Misty get punched in the top of the head twice full out but Ash getting slapped by Misty in the first episode had to be censored?

– Why is Ash mocking Misty for falling into the pit trap earlier? 1) He and Misty both got snared in a trap after that and 2) he falls into Team Rocket’s pit traps all the time.

– Nice coloring error on Meowth’s ears when they get caught in the net.

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– Let’s address this line that I had to write earlier;

“Team Rocket shows up, and using a giant flying baseball stadium with a giant vacuum hose, they start sucking up all of the Pokemon.”

Team Rocket’s not exactly known for making sense most of the time, and they are infamous for creating huge outlandish contraptions out of nowhere, but I just have so many questions.

1 – This is pointless to ask but where did they get an enclosed baseball stadium?

2 – How is it flying using about four or five balloons?

3 – Why a baseball stadium? That has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the episode or anything related. It’s not like they stumbled upon a baseball stadium earlier or anything either. There’s nothing but woods as far as the eye can see. This would’ve been fine in a much later episode with…..She who shall not be named until Johto, but just why here?

4 – Why is the big threat of this baseball stadium two huge vacuums? What do vacuums have to do with baseball?

– Okay, I’m no scientist or meteorologist, but I’m gonna call BS on the ‘creating a tornado with a vacuum and high wind’ thing. From what I can gather, twisters are caused when two winds blowing at different speeds at two altitudes meet. This causes initial spinning effect. Other factors such as updrafts cause an increase in the spinning speed, and if the spinning gets fast enough, it will cause a funnel cloud which will touchdown on land.

Blowing air into a vacuum should logically just cause the air being blown into it to just get sucked up without any noticeable effects, right? Or if the gust is powerful enough I assume the vacuum effect would get nullified.

I will admit that if Ash meant to do that then that is a really cool use of Pidgeotto for a change instead of its later usual schtick of popping Team Rocket’s balloon.

– Wait, why does Misty want to battle Bulbasaur now? Not only does it tarnish Melanie’s speech about Ash being the best candidate to help Bulbasaur grow, but it also, again, makes no sense. Bulbasaur is also a Grass type not a Water type; why does she want it? In addition, Bulbasaur has been nothing but aggressive towards her this whole time with ruining her capture, glaring at her while she was in the trap and then Tackling her later. Why does she suddenly want it? Because the water is nearby?

– Huh, I wasn’t expecting a new and very clean capture attempt animation.

– Holy crap, that wild Staryu grew like five feet in 15 minutes!

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Granted, picture two is the closest to the size we know of Staryu taking from Misty’s Staryu, but it’s been consistently like a foot tall the whole episode. I assumed it was a baby, but apparently it’s a mutant super Staryu.

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Ah, the Kanto starter arc. I think most people agree that, in order, the best episodes are Charmander, Squirtle then Bulbasaur, with most of the debacle going on between Charmander and Squirtle’s episode positions, but we’ll jump that hurdle when we get to it. Bulbasaur’s episode, to me, is perfectly fine. I can’t really think of anything seriously wrong with it, but it’s just not horribly interesting is all. It doesn’t have the excitement or fun or Squirtle’s episode and it doesn’t have the emotional impact of Charmander’s, which is a shame because, like I said, out of all of Ash’s original team, Bulbasaur stuck around the longest with him being a regular member through even half of Johto. He also has a great English voice even if it’s a little rough here.

I would’ve liked less time to be spent with the traps and more time to be spent on exactly why Bulbasaur dislikes Pokemon trainers. He doesn’t have to have the same abusive trainer backstory of Charmander, but maybe explain like a bunch of troublemaker trainers frequent the woods or something and they tend to harass the Pokemon. That would both explain why Bulbasaur dislikes trainers and why the traps are so necessary. It’s a shame because Bulbasaur is such an interesting Pokemon in terms of its personality and you really have to wonder what happened to him to make him that way, but we never get told.

Next episode, Kanto Starter Arc Part 2 – Charmander’s Debut! When the group spots a weak Charmander on a rock, they soon come to realize that it belongs to an abusive trainer who left it there stating that it would return some day but really had no intentions on doing so. When a rainstorm threatens Charmander’s life, they have to move quickly to keep Charmander’s flame from dying out.

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