Pokemon Shorties: Pikachu’s Summer Vacation Review

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Rating: 7/10

Plot: Pikachu and all of Ash, Misty and Brock’s Pokemon are on vacation in a local park designed for Pokemon only. Pikachu is tasked with watching Togepi, but while he tries to keep Togepi from crying, a group of rowdy and rude Pokemon start making trouble with him Squirtle and Bulbasaur.

Breakdown: The movies had a tradition of putting a short film, starring Pikachu and usually not including the human characters for the most part, before each theatrical movie. This tradition doesn’t exist today and seems to have stopped around movie 06, but there are many Pokemon shorts out there still being made to this day either for no reason or special occasions.

I’ve always been kinda blasé about the shorts. They’re usually cute and harmless, but they’re not particularly interesting. Sometimes, the shorts are used to introduce new Pokemon from the next gen as teasers. For example, Marill and Snubbull being in this short, Elekid and Bellossom being in the second etc. Once you’re introduced to that generation, though, there’s really no hook anymore. These shorts are usually enjoyable, I just can’t say I’m particularly in love with any of them.

I won’t do a sub/dub comparison of the short because the one on Dogasu’s Backpack is already pretty thorough. That being said, the two main changes between the dubbed version and the subbed seem to be the change in narrator and the lack of end credits, which were removed because 4Kids didn’t want people walking out of the theater thinking the movie was over. Though that may seem dumb, apparently it actually was an issue with parents even without the credits, and their children had to tell them that the movie was just coming up after the short…wow.

Another reason I won’t compare these shorts is mostly because, well, I can’t. Many of them aren’t readily available in both subbed (or just raw Japanese) and dubbed versions. Heck, on a good handful I had to deal with them being in Spanish and I think one’s in Russian. Also, there’s not entirely much point. These shorts consist of 99% Pokemon antics while the humans are away for nearly all of the short. Unless you’re noting music changes, which I tend not to bother with, there’s usually not much there to compare anyway. You can pretty much guess what they’re saying in the scenes with the humans if the short isn’t in English.

Bulbagarden’s comparison can be found here http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/movies/mini_vacation.html

Without further ado, the short that accompanied Pokemon Movie 01, Pikachu’s (Summer) Vacation! As a note; I am working off of the English dubbed version of this short.

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Ash, Misty and Brock are dropping off their Pokemon at some Pokemon park for the day to have a short break while they go off and do whatever.

We quickly get the title screen and our opening song “I Need a Vacation,” which is a fairly lame song, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that, despite going years between viewings of this short, I still get this song stuck in my head randomly.

The whole opening is just them letting out their Pokemon and the Pokemon walking into the park. Charizard is looking creepily happy through the whole thing, too. It’s just so odd to see him smiling so much.

We hear our narrator and, no, it’s not our regular TV series narrator….It’s Dexter.

I wish. I mean Dexter, the Pokedex….How is this even working? Ash LEFT. How is the Pokedex recording and studying Pikachu and the others if it’s not there?

According to the comparison, the original had a nice motherly lady narrator. Quite the drastic change.

The Pokemon rush off to have fun while Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Togepi stay behind…..because no one….likes…Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto does appear in this short, in the opening and later when they’re trying to help Charizard. That’s it. It does nothing besides that. What do the writers have against poor Pidgeotto?

Anyway, Togepi’s hungry so it starts crying. Pikachu cheers it up a bit by making funny faces. Squirtle pushes Pikachu out of the way and tries to help by making faces too, but it just upsets Togepi. Pikachu goes back to making more faces, but to no avail this time.

Squirtle, defeated, goes off and spots an apple in a tree. They get Bulbasaur to cut it down using its Razor Leaf, but before they can grab it, Psyduck grabs it and eats it in one bite……Holy crap. Psyduck doesn’t even have teeth!

Togepi continues to cry and Bulbasaur decides to cheer it up by grabbing it with its Vine Whip and singing to Togepi as it rocks it back and forth. It quickly cheers Togepi up, and I do have to say this is an adorable scene. Togepi kinda annoys me (useless, annoying, deus ex machina) but this is still a cute scene.

Oh yeah, in this short anyway we get these somewhat odd transitions that showcase certain Pokemon going across the screen…..The first is this trippy Bellsprout one where we get mirror images of a Bellsprout and odd earthy music as it slowly comes into frame and says its name over and over…..It’s….weird.

Cut to Togepi sleeping on a…rock-chair? As we see the others are breathing a sigh of relief that Togepi’s fine now….It’s still hungry. You’re never going to find a way to feed it? What piss poor Pokemon park where Pokemon are meant to be by themselves the entire time doesn’t have any food source around?

However, the silence is disturbed by four unfamiliar Pokemon; a Cubone, a Marill, a Snubbull and a Raichu, also known as “far superior Pikachu.”

The laughter and whatnot is causing Togepi to stir in its sleep, so Pikachu tries to tell them to please keep it down. But this upsets the unruly Pokemon. As they get louder, Togepi wakes up, which draws Squirtle and Bulbasaur to face off against the group.

Pikachu doesn’t want to fight and Dexter says that Pikachu’s saying “We should set a good example for the baby!”…..Wait, what!? Dexter knows how to translate Pokemon speech?! How!? And doesn’t that create a big plothole for that stupid Sunflora episode where they needed Meowth to translate what was wrong with the Sunflora? Doesn’t that create a big plothole period?

Whatever. Togepi starts to wander off and we see it about to crawl across a log bridge and Pikachu takes chase.

We get another weird transition where we see all of the Water Pokemon underwater, not moving, as they just pan upwards. Magikarp then blows bubbles in our faces and it’s the next scene.

Well, technically it’s the same scene because we just cut back to Pikachu chasing Togepi on the log.

While chasing down Togepi on the log, the log starts to roll. Pikachu starts freaking out, but Togepi just finds it fun. Pikachu falls into the river below and watches the log roll and fall into the water also. No worries, though, Togepi…magically jumped off the log and made it safely to the other side of the river off-camera.

We then get the awesome Slowpoke transition. It’s just Slowpoke saying its name but drawing out the ‘Slow’ part but it’s my favorite transition of the short. There’s just something about it.

Meanwhile, Squirtle and Snubbull have a ‘see how far we can puff our chests out for no reason’ contest, but Squirtle loses and the other Pokemon laugh at him.

Bulbasaur then squares off against Snubbull by instigating a staring contest but wins by making Snubbull dizzy by spinning its eyes round and round…..it’s a little freaky now that I think about it.

Things start getting out of hand again, and Marill and Squirtle face off as Pikachu and Togepi return.

We get a Primeape transition, which is pretty okay. It’s just a bunch of grunting to rhythmic music, but it’s catchy.

Cut to a big pool where Marill and Squirtle are prepping to have a race. It’s here where Dexter starts getting irritating. I can tell what’s going on from watching. It’s not complicated, and I don’t need to know these insipid tidbits about Pokemon that are also obvious. Shut up!

The race is about to start, using an Electrode’s explosion as the starting gun. Love how happy Electrode seems afterward. Like ‘Heheh, guys did you see that? Awesome.’

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Accompanying the race is a pop song ‘Catch Me if You Can.’ Again, lame pop-ish song, but it’s still a bit of an earworm.

I find this race to be the best part of this short. There are all sorts of funny moments.

Marill and Squirtle are neck and neck at first, but Marill gets a bit of a lead by diving underwater. However, this leads him to bump into a Starmie who Water Guns him back into a wall. Squirtle gains the lead as his friends cheer behind him. I love this shot.

From Raichu’s expression to the fact that they somehow have a Squirtle flag, this shot is just awesome.

Squirtle gains the lead, but is suddenly sent backwards as a Goldeen swims under him….I’m not sure if this is Misty’s Goldeen, but I like to think so. “This is what you get for eating up all the Water-Pokemon screentime, you ass!”

Squirtle tries its hardest to regain his lead, but when he reaches the wall, Marill has not only already won, he got up on top of the wall to celebrate with the others. This is weird, because like half a second before he hits the wall, you can see Bulbasaur and the others still cheering and smiling. Why would they be doing that if it lost so badly that Marill actually had time to climb up onto the wall and start celebrating?

And HEY LOOK A TANGELA! I love Tangela! Too bad it gets featured in the show about as much as Porygon.

You’ll also notice, on the balloon is Jigglypuff and his signature microphone. He’s not announcing anything, but he’s there as an unnoticeable cameo.

We then get an Exeggutor and Oddish transition that is boring.

Cut back to the two groups still harboring extremely harsh tensions. Raichu tries intimidation by making sparks come out of his cheeks, but this scares Togepi and makes him start to cry. Pikachu tries to pacify Togepi, but Raichu shocks him and Togepi while they all laugh….Why is Raichu always made out to be a prick? First Lt. Surge’s Raichu now this. Raichu doesn’t show up much in the show, yet it seems like he’s consistently made out to be an ass in every appearance.

This pisses Pikachu off, so he challenges Raichu. They stick their cheeks together while making sparks and….somehow get stuck-ish or something, I don’t know, magnetism or something? And they start running together at high speeds while not caring about who or what they’re plowing into in the process.

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We get a Diglett/Dugtrio transition that’s less boring than the last one, but still not entertaining.

Cut to somewhere else in the park where Meowth, Arbok and Weezing are also on vacation….Wow, how convenient. I’d say they were taking a note from Ash and the others, but if they knew Ash and the others just let out their Pokemon in some open area and LEFT FOR HOURS, you’d think they’d see this as a huge opportunity to steal Pikachu as well as the rest of their Pokemon. Hell this park as a whole seems unmonitored by humans. Team Rocket may actually have a shot of stealing stuff here.

Also, where are Lickitung and Victreebel? Do they get no vacation?

Raichu and Pikachu plow through them and continue running when we get a Farfetch’d transition. They plow through a Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan who are training before we get a Chansey transition.

Cut to Charizard who is napping. Raichu and Pikachu run over its tail, which causes it to chase after the two. When they start taking the lead, Charizard starts treating it like a race. When it runs out in front, it cheers and flaps its wings, which causes Raichu and Pikachu to be knocked off the cliff. They fall into the belly of a Snorlax and land on the ground, only to have Snorlax roll over and crush them. They get out, but quickly fall over as they’re too exhausted to go on.

However, Charizard’s hopped up and starts causing chaos. He flies a few inches above the group to pick on them, but doesn’t watch where he’s going and crashes into some of the nearby play…things and gets his head stuck in a pipe.

Charizard’s roaring in panic, and Meowth, who has moved with Arbok and Weezing to a cliff directly above the pipe, tells Charizard to be quiet. But he’s rewarded by Charizard Flamethrowering in the pipe, which is redirect upwards through another pipe, burning Meowth’s face.

We then get a weird Magnemite transition that is constantly fading to black while adding more Magnemite to the picture.

We finally see the rest of Ash, Misty’s and Brock’s Pokemon show up with a rope to try to pull Charizard free. They try their hardest, but Charizard stomps his foot down and causes the other to fall down.

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Aww, look at Vulpix helping! ❤

The other group laughs at them and Charizard starts crying…Not magical tears, mind you. Just regular ones.

Pikachu pleads with the other group for help and hey this might actually be one situation where a translation would’ve been somewhat helpful, but Dexter’s been asleep at the wheel since the swimming race. Maybe I hurt its feelings.

Raichu, Snubbull and Marill discuss if they should help them and they say yes, but Cubone refuses.

They give it another shot while Cubone watches. They try in vain to get Charizard out and Dexter decides to chime in again saying “Cubone has earned its classification as the ‘Lonely Pokemon’ by caring only about itself.”

…..Uhh….Noooooooooooo. Every damn Pokedex entry for Cubone states that it’s called the ‘Lonely Pokemon’ because its mother was killed by Team Rocket or simply died shortly after it was born. In its sorrow, it wears the skull of its mother on its head. There’s also several depressing notes such as the skull having stains on it due to Cubone’s tears and crying as it sees the likeness of its mother in the moon. Don’t BS a different explanation as to why he’s the ‘Lonely Pokemon’ just because….because…I actually have no idea why. 4Kids is just a prick.

Cubone eventually decides to help and they manage to get Charizard unstuck….I still don’t get this. Cubone hasn’t done anything but laugh and cheer this entire short but suddenly the fate of Charizard rests on its shoulders? Also, I love how a Cubone makes the difference here. Cubone barely has hands. An Onix…..AN ONIX is helping them, yet a Cubone makes all the difference in getting Charizard free.

Getting Charizard unstuck causes Pikachu and the others to fly backwards while Charizard and Psyduck (who keeps making everything more funny) go off in an entirely different direction for some reason….How would that work?

Meowth gets angry at the noise again and this time he wants to shut them up with a bomb or I guess it would be a ‘blaster ball’. However, Charizard and Psyduck land on Meowth, causing the bomb to blow up on Meowth instead.

The other Pokemon cheer that they got Charizard unstuck and decided to fix what’s left of the park together.

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Dexter says his analysis concludes that Pokemon are kind creatures by nature and prefer cooperation to confrontation….Okay, look, you can’t say ALL Pokemon are kind by nature. That’s just not true. And they LEARNED that cooperation is better after working together towards a common goal and putting their differences aside. Plenty of Pokemon love to fight and compete and some are actually assholes.

Also, Charizard is again happily helping the others with a big smile….Is it only a little brat when Ash is around? I mean, the only time it’s been mean here is when Pikachu and Raichu stepped on his tail and that’s understandable. Does Charizard just choose to be an ass when Ash is around because he dislikes him for one of the many reasons Ash is awful?

We get a pretty cute Jigglypuff transition before cutting back to the Pokemon having fun in the park. We see Charizard again happily playing with the others by letting them try to seesaw with him by jumping on one end of the board while he smiles and lays there.

Dexter’s final note is that “despite former uncertainties, Pokemon vacations are highly recommended.” What uncertainties? Just the fact that they ran into some douchey Pokemon? Welcome to life, Dexter.

Dexter deactivates, and we cut to all of the Pokemon watching the sunset. Ash calls out for Pikachu (and only Pikachu, of course) to come back because it’s time to leave. Misty calls out Goldeen, Staryu and Psyduck….and oddly enough she doesn’t call for Togepi….what the hell? Brock calls out for ALL of his Pokemon because I guess he’s the only one who cares. As the others leave, Pikachu stops and turns back to say farewell to the other group. He shakes Snubbull’s paw, which is weird. Shouldn’t he have shaken Raichu’s paw? Raichu was Pikachu’s main rival here, and he’s seemingly the leader of this group. Snubbull was Bulbasaur’s rival and Marill was Squirtle’s.

Oh whatever, Pikachu reunites with Ash and the short ends.

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Bottomline: Despite Dexter being somewhat intrusive, this is a really good start to the Pokemon shorts. I wish we had gotten to see more of the Pokemon we just don’t get to see very often like Goldeen, Zubat, Geodude and Pidgeotto, but they have to make the main ones the frontrunners….

Recommended Audience: It’s Pokemon. The most offensive we get here……I can’t even make a comparison joke, it’s that tame. The shorts always seem to be aimed at an even younger audience than usual anyway.

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