Pokemon Episode 17 Analysis: Island of the Giant Pokemon

pokemon-ep-17-title

CotD(s): None

Plot: Following the events of the previous episode, Ash, Misty, Brock and Team Rocket are hurdled through the sky following Gyarados’ Dragon Rage attack. Ash, Misty and Brock manage to survive the fall and find themselves on a beach in the middle of nowhere. Worse yet, Pikachu is missing and so are Ash’s Pokeballs. Team Rocket also managed to survive the attack, not surprising considering they get blasted off every week, but find that Meowth is missing as well as Jessie’s Ekans and James’ Koffing.

Pikachu finds the Pokeballs of Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur and the group tries to find their way back to Ash and the others. Meowth, Ekans and Koffing later join them, avoiding the conflict of their trainers by claiming that Pokemon are only bad when their masters are.

Later, they discuss their situation by a campfire, but are interrupted when a giant Rhydon starts attacking. Meanwhile, Ash and others also find themselves on the receiving end of an attack by a giant Zapdos while Jessie and James find themselves at the mercy of a giant Moltres.

The Pokemon all gather at a local Slowbro’s food stand to lament in the loss of their trainers over dinner. The next morning, everyone, Pokemon and human alike, prepare to set out to find each other. Jessie and James use the telephone booth that they found earlier to contact Giovanni and ask him for assistance. However, since Jessie and James screw off and do their motto first, he quickly hangs up on them. They decide to pull themselves along by the phone cord in hopes of reaching the phone company.

Meanwhile, the Pokemon try to get some help by the local giant Pokemon by approaching the evolved forms of Squirtle and Bulbasaur, Blastoise and Venusaur, hoping to establish a familial connection. However, their efforts are in vain.

Team Rocket escapes from a giant Kabutops and Pikachu in a railcar, but panic when the railcar ends up traveling back the way they came. Luckily, the phone cord James has been carrying wraps itself around the giant Kabutops’ leg and drags it with the car. Ash, Misty and Brock end up falling into the railcar when it crashes into the bridge they were standing on, and the resulting carnage grabs the giant Pikachu along for the ride as well.

As their paths converge, Ash catches sight of his Pokemon being chased by the remaining giant Pokemon. They manage to jump into the cart, but there’s a problem. They’re out of control and will inevitably crash soon. The cable snaps, and the cart is hurdled through the air, causing it to crash into the Zapdos, which is revealed to be a giant robot, same with the other giant Pokemon on the island.

The group finally plunges into the water, and passing ferry reveals that the island is actually a theme park called Pokemon Land, which Giovanni actually runs. And he’s none too happy about his park being destroyed.

Later, Ash and the others get back on their journey and arrive at the beautiful beach town, Porta Vista, ready to take a well-deserved vacation after everything that has happened to them lately.

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

– I find it weird that Ash, Misty and Brock stayed together after that, especially since they made a big to-do in the beginning of the episode about them losing their grips on each others’ hands, same for Jessie and James, yet Ash’s Pokeballs and Pikachu got flung however many miles away. Also, we saw Staryu, Starmie and Goldeen get taken up in the cyclone as well yet they’re never seen being recovered in the start of the episode. Guess they died and Misty caught new ones while they were looking for the other Pokemon. Convenient as they’re right by the water.

– We’re STILL using the Pokemon logo to say ‘Pokemon’ in the title screen?

– I love how that Krabby finds two dead bodies in the sand and his first reaction is ‘Sweet! I get to pinch dead bodies!’

– So Jessie got her Ekans for her birthday and James got his Koffing for Christmas…..I guess that begs the question of who gave them those Pokemon?

– Irrelevant but the random phone booth on the beach reminds me a lot of Digimon. This probably preceded Digimon, but still.

– While this episode does have the charm of finally understanding what the Pokemon are saying, I’m disappointed in several aspects.

1) They never do an episode like this again. I can’t imagine the chore of reading subtitles would be that big of an issue, and this provides so many opportunities for new stories. Plus, actually being able to understand the Pokemon sometimes allows us to better understand their personality traits. Like, gee, it sure would be nice to get to know Pidgeotto’s true personality.

2) Pidgeotto and Butterfree, as well as all of Brock’s Pokemon, are missing from this episode. It’s a little more understandable that Goldeen, Staryu and Starmie are missing, considering they’re corpses in the sand now, plus Goldeen wouldn’t have been able to travel on the land and hearing Staryu’s ‘Hiya!’s and Starmie’s ‘*sighs*’ would’ve been grating.

3) Come on, give Pidgeotto some love.

4) I really would’ve liked to have heard how Butterfree felt after being traded. I mean, I’m sure he’s somehow aware he was traded and that must be emotionally trying to be suddenly taken away from your trainer and given to some stranger. It was only for a short time, but it’s an emotional and psychological aspect of the show that I would’ve liked some insight into. Come on, imagine if you were best friends with someone and suddenly they decided to trade you to some weird man for a giant rat that you were beating up earlier.

– Slowpoke will never not be entertaining to me.

– This episode also further highlights Charmander’s kind personality before he suddenly shift gears as Charmeleon and Charizard. Now I really want an episode where we get subtitles in the scenes where Charmeleon and Charizard are being dicks for the sake of comparison.

Squirtle and Bulbasaur’s personalities are also further explored here. Squirtle is playful and a bit mischievous while also being laid back. He also has plenty of faith in Ash as he refuses to believe that he would forget about them.

Bulbasaur shows that he may still have a bit of a bitter after taste in the thought of trusting humans as he’s the one who suggests that Ash forgot them in the first place. Even after the others try to convince him otherwise, he only says that ‘maybe’ Ash isn’t that way. I really really really want to know what Bulbasaur’s backstory is after hearing him speak, since he seems to have a very interesting past. Too bad they’ll never explain….

Charmander visibly gets worried at the prospect of Ash abandoning them. This doesn’t really show that Charmander distrusts Ash, but that he’s still worried about being abandoned given his past with Damian. He also comforts Ekans and Koffing by assuring them that Jessie and James are looking for them, even though, by all intents and purposes, he has every reason to believe that they’re mean enough to abandon their Pokemon.

However, I do have to point out the depressing fact that Jessie and James really aren’t concerned about Ekans and Koffing or even Meowth for that matter. They acknowledge that they’re missing, but after the initial scene, they never bring them up again. Their whole focus after that point is getting off the island, not looking for their Pokemon.

– I like how Charmander’s using his tail flame as a lantern again.

– Meowth: “That means I can finally get my revenge!” Revenge…for….what? Saving your ass from drowning in the hallways of the St. Anne? Helping you find a way out of the sinking St. Anne? Saving your ass from drowning in the ocean? Letting you share a raft with them? Sure Pikachu was disappointed that Meowth didn’t die in the ocean (Which, by the way, is still messed up, Pikachu) but Meowth didn’t see that little snap of his fingers.

– You really gotta love Koffing’s perpetually doofy grinning face.

– I kinda call BS on the whole ‘no Pokemon is bad, they only have bad trainers’ thing. Considering Pokemon seem to all have their own personalities, temperaments and most of them seem pretty intelligent, it’s unrealistic to assume that there’s not at least a few jackasses in the bunch.

I guess Meowth’s self-analysis also combats this, but Meowth’s shown time and again that he’s not all that bad.

– It’s nice that we also get a look into the personalities of Ekans and Koffing because, let’s face it, they don’t get really any focus, character wise, at all, really. Until much much much later anyway. All we know about them is that they’re Team Rocket’s Pokemon. Although, I do find it weird that Ekans and Koffing have such an odd manner of speech. They’re not dumb, they just talk like cavemen.

The fact that Koffing and Ekans are actually quite kind Pokemon is both surprising and a welcome twist. It would’ve just been every other Pokemon episode just with the Pokemon acting out the human parts if Koffing and Ekans ended up actually being evil.

– I believe the whole ‘My master’s not around’ thing that Meowth says is dub-exclusive, but I do have to consider the theory that he was once Giovanni’s Pokemon, considering he’s always saying how he wants to be ‘top cat’ again.

– That cutaway to Ekans and Koffing drinking tea is hilarious.

– Squirtle incorrectly says ‘our masters are gone, too.’ Since the only Pokemon there are Ash’s, it should just be ‘Our master is gone too.’ Yay grammar!

– I love Bulbasaur’s face in this shot.

pokemon-episode-17-bulbasaur-screen

Looks like he’s doing a Ricky Ricardo impression.

– These giant Pokemon are robots. So why are they not only on but also actively traversing the island in the middle of the night?

– Okay, letting the giant Pokemon robots wander the theme park on off-hours….I can stomach that, even though it would be a huge safety risk, liability and drain on power. But why the hell would you give these robots working attacks? Zapdos has lightning shooting from it, Blastoise can use Hydro Pump, and Moltres and Charizard can use Flamethrower. What’s even worse is that they’re actively seeking people out to attack.

I would say this is just a Team Rocket scheme, but they’re trying to make legitimate money off the place. Having a bunch of patrons killed in your theme park by giant flame-wielding, water shooting, lightning spouting Pokemon is a good way to lose money on all sorts of lawsuits, get time in prison and possibly get the organization investigated.

– I love how 4Kids doesn’t cut out the scene where Bulbasaur and Meowth are very obviously drunk.

– Also, it’s very trippy to see a scene with a bunch of Pokemon wallowing in depression while also getting drunk. It’s even worse considering that 4Kids doesn’t add any subtitles here. The Bulbagarden comparison noted that it’s all mostly incoherent stuff in the Japanese version, but seeing it without any subtitles is just weird, especially considering how long they linger on the final shot.

– I like how the music for the Team Rocket theme is coming from the phone.

– It’s nice that Squirtle and Charmander are courteous enough to call for Misty and Brock too instead of focusing their attention on Ash.

– I love Bulbasaur trying to play the stoic tortured hero in an effort to avoid talking to Venusaur.

– There’s no way that dinky railcar has enough power to pull a giant robot Kabutops…

– Notice how the Pikachu robot is the only one not chasing or attacking anyone? Wouldn’t want to besmirch Messiahchu’s good name.

– Why the hell would there be a random loop-de-loop in an otherwise normal set of train tracks?

– Despite not actively looking for them, James’ face when he gets Koffing back is pretty heartwarming. Too bad Jessie’s too out of it in panic to care about Ekans. It’s made up for when you see them both crying happy tears later on. Ekans’ smiling and content face as Jessie pats him just makes it all the better.

– I love how Team Rocket is obviously disappointed that Meowth came back. It’s a bit mean, but it’s played up for laughs and you know they really care about him.

– The scene where James, Jessie and Meowth predict what will happen as they go out of control is just great. They’ve become so good at being failures that they can accurately predict every single thing that will happen during the crash.

All in all, this was a really great episode. Disappointed and confused on some levels, but it’s a great break from the norm, explores territory we haven’t explored before (and never will again….) and has plenty of heartwarming and funny moments. It’s actually a lot better than I remembered as I thought the St. Anne trilogy petered off at this episode.

Next episode is the infamous first banned, yet not really entirely banned, Beauty and the Beach episode. Will FiddleTwix go the extra mile and review the original version to get all that James boobage the audience wants so much? Find out next time on Pokemon Ball Z!

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