Pokemon Episode 20 Analysis – The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak

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CotD(s): Technically no one, though one could say that Gastly and the Ghost are Characters of the Day. Yeah, let’s just give them quick run through for thoroughness.

Gastly: A Ghost Pokemon, this particular Gastly is a unique one in that it can talk without telepathy and transform into anything it wishes. This Gastly also makes a habit out of coming to the Summer Festival for the sake of keeping the Ghost of Maiden’s Peak’s story alive by pretending to be her and whisking men away. For some reason, this Gastly is also deathly afraid of sunlight.

The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak: Name unknown, she is a spirit of a maiden whose lover was supposedly lost in a war. She waited for him day after day on the cliffside waiting to see her lover’s ship come in, but it never did and she died there, leaving her spirit and the strange rock formation bearing her image behind. Her story follows several other well-known similar tales across the globe.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at Maiden’s Peak after their adventures in Porta Vista. While Misty and Ash are excited to arrive at a new location, Brock is sullen that he wasted a whole summer not enjoying the ‘finer sights’ of the season, such as girls in bathing suits, and didn’t find love.

They arrive on shore to find that there’s a Summer’s End Festival going on, but Brock continues to mope until he spots a beautiful woman on a dock. While he’s instantly head over heels for her, she mysteriously turns into a Gastly and vanishes before Brock can go see her.

Team Rocket schemes to take the money that is dropped on the ground throughout the festival and James catches a glimpse of the same beautiful woman Brock saw, but she also vanishes while James is looking away.

As the group enjoys the festivities, Brock continues to mope but now he’s saddened by being unable to meet the woman from before. He bumps into an old woman who warns him of a beautiful young woman who will lead him to a cruel fate.

As Team Rocket tries in vain to get some coins, James also meets the old woman who gives him the same warning. Later, a painting that is usually kept within the Maiden’s Shrine is unveiled to the public and James and Brock are shocked to see that it depicts the woman they both saw earlier. The old priest presenting the painting explains that it’s impossible that they saw that woman since she died 2000 years ago. Legend states that the Maiden’s lover went off to fight in a war and she pledged to wait at that cliff overlooking the waters until he returned to her. Sadly, he never came back (and imagery would imply he died), but she continued to wait and wait until her body turned to stone, leaving behind the statue-esque rock formation. Even today, the Maiden continues to wait until she reunites with her love.

James and Brock visit Maiden’s rock and instantly start gushing over her again. In the midst of James’ ramblings, Jessie and Meowth scheme to steal the painting and sell it.

Later that night, Ash and Misty prod Brock to leave Maiden’s Rock, but he tells them to go on ahead to the Pokemon Center, intent on watching the rock formation at least until curfew. However, when curfew rolls around, Brock is nowhere to be seen.

Meanwhile, as Team Rocket is about to awaken to steal the painting, the ghost emerges and puts everyone but James to sleep, luring him away from Jessie and Meowth. As Brock continues his rock-watching marathon, the ghost appears before him as well and takes him away.

The next morning, Team Rocket and Ash and Misty find that James and Brock are missing. They all bump into one another, prompting Jessie to the Team Rocket motto, albeit by herself since James is gone. In the middle of the motto, James pipes up to do his part, leading the group to discover him and Brock acting all giddy and weird in the shrine. With a swift jolt from Pikachu, the two come to their senses.

The old woman from before explains what happened to the guys full out. During the festival, the ghost of the maiden whisks away all of the men in the area and the next morning they’re found in the shrine with the life sucked out of them acting like zombies while babbling like idiots.

The group pays for some ‘anti-ghost stickers’ to help James and Brock, but as the night draws on, they find that the ghost is unaffected. She tries floating James and Brock away, but Brock is grabbed by Ash and Misty and James is broken from his telekinetic hold by Jessie who blasts the ghost through the stomach.

The Maiden fights back with some ghouls and Ash tries to identify them as Pokemon with his Pokedex to no avail. However, Dexter does detect a Pokemon nearby and Ash discovers that the Maiden herself is actually the Ghost Pokemon Ghastly in disguise.

The group prepare for battle, but Gastly’s transformation and hypnotic abilities prove to be formidable. Against Pikachu, it turns into a giant mouse trap. Against Meowth, it turns into a giant ball. Against Ekans it turns into a mongoose. Against Koffing it merely protects itself with a gas mask. It combats Charmander with a fire extinguisher. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Ash calls out two Pokemon at a time with Squirtle and Bulbasaur, but Gastly also easily combats them by transforming into their evolved forms, and even decided to mess with them by fusing the illusionary Venusaur and Blastoise together into the fake Pokemon Venustoise.

Ash is just about ready to give up, but Misty throws her hat into the ring by defending them with a cross, garlic and a wooden stake. While Gastly groans at the vampiric defense, he cringes when the sun rises as that is one of his weaknesses. He vanishes before their eyes and the groups return to the festival. As the festival goers send out lanterns on the water to guide the way for lost spirits, we see Gastly also departing, bidding farewell to the real Maiden.

He claims that he visits places like this frequently to keep old legends and spirits alive, and the Maiden thanks him for his efforts. As Gastly leaves, he tells her that he’ll be on the lookout for her love to hopefully reunite them and allow them both to rest in peace.

That night, Ash and Misty enjoy the final dance of the festival while Brock longs for love once more.

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– I really believe this episode would’ve been quite a bit better if they hadn’t spoiled that the ghost was actually Gastly the whole time at the very first scene. Granted, some shots of the Maiden, even before the very end, are supposedly her, but the one causing all the mischief was Gastly. The Pokedex reveal later is actually pretty clever and a good reveal. Why ruin it?

– Yes, Porta Vista that place we won’t know of for a few years. 😡

– Ladies and gentlemen, yet another prime example of how far 4Kids fell. They left that shot and scene with Brock talking about and imagining ‘bathing suits, and girls to wear them’ completely alone. Bikinis are fine, guys, but for the love of God, Jessie, have some shame with that skirt! *digital paints longer skirt*

– So, spoiling the Gastly thing again? We’re three minutes in counting the theme song, guys. At least pretend it’s a twist.

– Jessie: “People spend a lot of money at these festivals, but they never pay attention so they drop their change all over the place!” I’ve been to a lot of fairs and festivals in my life and hoo boy let me tell you how much change I’ve dropped. They give me the change, but I’m just so into everything else around me that I spill it like I’m in an infomercial. Unable to pay attention to the fact that I’ve dropped my change because of the aforementioned distractions, my change remains on the ground, amongst the other millions of coins that have been scattered by the other guests. I start to hear my footsteps turn to chinging noises. But I pay it no mind. For everything is so awesome that I cannot look down. Change does not exist in my world. My world of festivities.

Joking aside, can we all show some serious empathy for Team Rocket who have now apparently become so poor that they have to resort to crawling in the dirt at a festival hoping for some pocket change?

– Jenny is seriously going to take in a penny as lost currency? The amount of tax dollars she wasted just approaching Team Rocket and taking the penny was 100000% more than that penny’s worth. And she was really going to file a report? I don’t even think Mr. Krabs would be such a tightwad that he’d go to the police looking for a lost penny. How would you even prove it’s yours?

– I don’t know why, but James is kinda adorable when he’s in love.

– They said ‘Perished’. I’m going to put that in the ‘directly mentioning death’ jar.

– Eric Stuart seems to be having a lot of fun playing James and Brock in this episode.

– Megan Hollingstead is doing a terrible job as the Maiden, though.

– Brock: “If she were my girlfriend, I’d make sure she’d never leave my sight.” Maybe there’s a reason you don’t have a girlfriend, Brock.

Also, congrats, James’ declarations of even fighting Team Rocket to keep the Maiden safe are way more romantic and less creepy than what you just said, Brock.

– Aw, Jessie tries to save James from falling.

– Brock stares at a rock shaped like a woman for hours on end……Brock….you’re starting to scare me. You could argue that it’s the effects of the spell, but we haven’t really seen any proof of any spell going on. Brock is just obsessed with girls and vulnerable, and James is just a healthy adult male. They saw a gorgeous mysterious woman and started fawning over her; it’s not that hard to believe. And if it truly is the effects of the spell, why doesn’t James feel compelled to stare at the rock for hours?

– Jeez, with that nagging, you’d think Nurse Joy was Ash’s mother.

– Why is Team Rocket sleeping in a tree?……How are they sleeping like that?

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– I don’t really mind the Who’s that Pokemon? Being Gastly, since it would moreso be a clue to what’s going on and not a downright spoiler.

– Side note: I’ve seen this episode in Japanese, and the part where Musashi/Jessie does the motto by herself until Kojirou/James chimes in is hilarious in the original. It’s also funny in the dub, but the way the Japanese VA’s say the lines are just golden.

– Ya know, considering how utterly giddy Brock and James are when they get out of the shine and the fact that their hands are up in ‘groping position’ if you’ll forgive the term, I kinda have to wonder what the hell Gastly was doing to them all night.

– So she whisks away ALL the men, huh? Because there were quite a few men at the festival that didn’t succumb to this.

– It is a weird parallel how Brock is still entranced by the ghost and in love with her, but James is scared to death and wants nothing to do with her now. Did they just not give Brock enough juice in that electric jolt or is Brock so blue balled that he’s giving into this while James’ fear of ghosts is overcoming his desire for the Maiden?

– It’s also weird how they’re keeping so much of the Japanese stuff, even some text, in this episode, but they resort to calling the o-fuda ‘stickers’. Talismans or sutras work just fine, guys.

– James, I know Jessie and Meowth are indeed cheap, but it’s quite obvious that the ‘stickers’ don’t work anyway. The ghost blew them away like they were paper airplanes. In fact, considering that you still have several ‘stickers’ stuck to you while the others have blown away, I’d actually say, somehow, the ones Jessie and Meowth got for free bummed from Ash and Misty’s purchases are actually of higher quality. At least the adhesive is.

– Jessie: *blasts the ghost with a rocket* “Hey, girl! You can’t take him!” Whoo yeah!

“You haven’t got a GHOST of a chance!” *exasperated sigh*

– James: “You really do care!”

Jessie: “It’s not cuz of you. Girls like her disgust me. Always waiting around for her man as if she were his faithful pet. She can’t stand the thought of losing him. She cries. But I’d say ‘See ya later! There are plenty more fish in the sea.” Okay, first off, I’ve always really liked this whole scene from the blast to this rescue. I’ve always been a rocketshipper and this was basically the first episode where we got slight pokes at that. Plus, it’s just a pretty nice moment between them anyway.

While I do agree with Jessie to a degree in saying no one should be so hung up on someone they love that their whole lives are dedicated to just waiting around for them, especially to the point where your body becomes part of the cliff you’re waiting on (And, hey, taking into consideration fossilization, it could possibly happen.), is it really a wonder that Jessie doesn’t get many love interests considering her attitude in the second half of that tangent? Yeah there are many more fish in the sea, but some people are worth fighting for and waiting for.

– And as an AAML lover, I always thought Misty hiding behind Ash and grabbing his arm was adorable.

– No idea why this Gastly can talk without telepathy.

– Kinda SDC stuff, but the ball that Meowth plays with originally has the text “matatabi” in hiragana written on it. In the dub it’s removed. I only mention this because it’s kinda sloppy digital paint considering that it’s moving. The lineart and some of the coloring on Meowth’s paw keeps getting covered by white when it moves.

– So they go to the trouble of removing the hiragana from a rolling ball but not the kanji from a static fire extinguisher? Okie dokie. Paint budget kinda low back then, 4Kids?

– Well it’s been more than 15 years……where the hell is our Pokemon fusion? I really mean it. Pokemon fusion is an awesome concept and it’s been a part of the fanbase for many years. I even used to make Pokemon sprite fusions. Digimon had it, why not Pokemon? It can be temporary like it is with Mega evolution and Digivolving. Are they saving it for a rainy financial year?

– I like how Venusaur and Blastoise kinda do a little fusion dance when they combine.

– That sure is a close up shot of a big shiny cross that is. A lot bigger than Zakuro’s cross necklace from Tokyo Mew Mew, it is, it is. Uh huh. Then again, I guess holding up a big gold rectangle would just be retarded.

Misty – “How about this?”

Gastly – “What’s that!?”

Misty – “It’s a golden rectangle!”

Gastly – “Why are you holding it in my face?”

Misty – “I don’t know!”

– Also, a cross. Is that more proof that Christianity/Catholicism/Judaism is a thing in the Pokemon world?

– Gastly is not weak to sunlight. However, some interesting tidbits in the same vein;

It can be blown away in heavy winds due to the fact that it’s made up of toxic gas.

Ironically, per this episode anyway, it has the ability to learn Sunny Day through TM11.

– I like that Gastly wasn’t the ghost the whole time as the Maiden actually is around and was the being that Brock and James supposedly saw at the beginning of the episode. I also like how this Gastly has taken it upon himself to keep old legends like this alive, as well as keeping the memory of some otherwise forgotten souls fresh in the memories of others. It is depressing that the Maiden is still just waiting there, though.

– Brock: “If only you were 2000 years younger….*sigh* maybe next year.” Next year she’ll still be 2000 years too old for you…..with a lover…..and still dead….and a rock formation. Get help, Brock.

Now for one of my favorite scenes of the series; the festival dance. Granted, it’s not a big deal, but I still vividly remember this scene both because all of the imagery just seemed so awesome to me (Oh wait, I mean, it’s Japanese so it scared the hell out of kid-me, 4Kids. Honest. I still have nightmares) and, obviously, the AAML shipper in me loved that Ash seemed googoo eyed over Misty in her yukata. That yukata is awesome, too. I love the Goldeen and bubble designs and the whole thing just fits Misty perfectly.

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I still adore this episode, and it stands as one of if not my favorite episodes ever, even if it’s riddled with oddities and errors. I could just be biased, but so be it. In addition to all of the nostalgic stuff, I love the festival aspect, I love ghost stories and supernatural plot lines, Brock and James were quite a bit of fun here, and it never seemed like they were wasting any of the moments they had. There were several subtle character moments, developments and even some nice psuedo-romantic moments. Granted, knowing what I know now in that Jessie and James never happens and Misty and Ash will likely never happen, it just gets the die-hard old shipper in me down.

They also had the awesome aspect of Pokemon fusion, even if it’s never seen again and ultimately wasted. While the concept is cool, Venustoise was just Blastoise with a flower on its back. If you want some awesome Pokemon fusions, check this out. http://pokefusionman.deviantart.com/

Next episode…..*sigh* Well, we all saw this coming. Our first departure and one of the saddest. Three words everyone. Bye. Bye. Butterfree. Get out the tissues.

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