Pokemon Episode 28 Analysis: Pokemon Fashion Flash

Pokemon Episode 28 title

CotD: Suzy – One of the brightest rising stars in the breeding world, Suzy believes in nurturing a Pokemon’s inner beauty above all else. Brock is her biggest fan and aspires to be her pupil. Suzy loaned Brock her beloved Vulpix, which, in turn, became his most precious Pokemon.

Reappear?: Yes. After over 100 episodes and well into the Johto saga, Brock finally comes across Suzy again.

Pokemon: Suzy’s not a Pokemon trainer, but she has a seemingly high level Vulpix that is her best friend. Vulpix does not take kindly to strangers picking it up, but is a very kinda, well-behaved and gentle Pokemon.

Captures?: Not technically a capture, but went on for so long that it may as well have been, Suzy loans Vulpix to Brock for a while. Vulpix becomes Brock’s trademark Pokemon for several years until he finally returns it in Johto.

Plot: Brock has taken Misty and Ash down a street in Celadon City called Scissor Street or Breeder’s Lane. It is an area chock-full with everything a breeder could ever want or need. It’s saturated in breeder salons and supply stores and breeders from all over go there to stay up to date on the latest trends and fashions.

One of the newest hot spots for Pokemon fashion is Salon Roquet. While many people are flocking to their doors, including Misty, their fashions are less than well-received by Ash, Brock and many of the Pokemon getting the makeovers since they’re being overloaded with baubles, bows, weird hair designs, clothes and gaudy add-ons.

Turns out, Team Rocket is behind the business, looking to make themselves rich off of this venture.

Brock finds the shop he’s been looking for – a rather modest salon run by a beautiful woman named Suzy, who is a very talented and acclaimed breeder. While Misty gazes in awe at Suzy’s Vulpix, Brock fumbles over himself trying to introduce himself to her. He shocks everyone when he suddenly asks Suzy if she’ll take him on as her pupil.

Suzy is forced to decline his request since she’s far too busy with breeding to take on pupils, but commends him greatly for developing Pokemon food that her Vulpis will eat since it usually won’t eat any food not prepared by her.

They start discussing the newest fashion trends and Suzy states that she doesn’t like how the focus is now on improving a Pokemon’s outer beauty more than their inner beauty. She believes a Pokemon’s true strength comes from inside and that a breeder is meant to bring out that inner beauty, not focus on superfluous fashions. Misty disagrees and states that some Pokemon would probably like to get dressed up, but Ash argues with her stating that those fashions are stupid and it’s what’s inside that matters most.

Misty becomes enraged and decides to go to salon to makeover her Psyduck.

In order to combat the more vain views of Salon Roquet, Brock comes up with the idea of Suzy doing a public lecture on the benefits and techniques of Pokemon care, specifically massage. It’s a huge hit and people flock to her salon, even draining the customers at Salon Roquet.

Misty stands as their lone customer and Team Rocket takes this opportunity to kidnap her and grill her for info on how to steal Pikachu. She believes Psyduck has abandoned her, but it’s actually gone to Suzy’s salon in a panic to get Ash’s help.

When Ash and the others arrive, Team Rocket reveals that they were using the salon as a cover for a plan where they’d steal any rare Pokemon that came into the shop, though they never actually did that. They offer Misty in exchange for Pikachu, but he won’t hand him over. Team Rocket starts the battle by sending out their dressed up Ekans and Koffing. Ash sends out Pikachu, fully charged from being massaged at Suzy’s salon, and Brock sends out Geodude.

Geodude uses Seismic Toss on Ekans, but it saves itself by coiling up and rolling into Pikachu. Pikachu is able to also save itself and Thundershocks Ekans and Koffing. However, the attack is ineffective as they spin around in circles to avoid the electricity.

Koffing uses Sludge on both Geodude and Pikachu, blinding them. As they’re about to finish them off, Koffing and Ekans both fall over due to the clunkiness of their costumes.

As Meowth joins up, they try once again to finish it, but Suzy and Vulpix intervene. In an effort to teach them the true beauty within a Pokemon instead of focusing on their appearance, she commands Vulpix to use Fire Spin and blasts them off.

Brock explains to the audience that outer beauty masks a Pokemon’s inner strength, which is what truly needs to be nurtured, causing them to shed the various clothes, accessories and makeup of their Pokemon.

Later, Suzy explains that she realized she still has much to learn in the world of breeding, no matter how many awards she’s gotten for it. She decides to close down her shop and go on a journey to learn more. Impressed by Brock’s attitude and skills, she decides to let Brock raise Vulpix for a while. Brock happily accepts and they part ways.

————————-

– As you can guess, this was another episode I had on VHS and it was probably the episode that got the most mileage because 1) Brock’s being hilariously adork-able in this episode and 2) FREAKIN’ VULPIX, PEOPLE! WHOO! Vulpix was and still remains as one of my favorite Pokemon of all time. Fire types are my favorite Pokemon type, foxes are my favorite animal, and it’s Vulpix! It’s so cute my brain short circuits when it’s on screen.

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they say ‘Pokemon’ in the titles? Geez how long does this go on for? It’s way surpassing my original estimation.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen1
A healthy dose of brief AAML for the nostalgic old people like me.

– There are some weird disconnects in this episode, in my opinion. First, it’s always been weird to me in the first place that raising and caring for Pokemon has been known as Pokemon breeding. I mean….supposedly having a pure lineage is important in judging real-life animals such as dogs and horses, even if there’s evidence to suggest that pure-breeds actually have more physical problems than mutts, but that has nothing to do with Pokemon breeding.

The one thing that never seems to be brought up when talking about breeding is…well…breeding. It’s mostly developing Pokemon diets and health programs to keep them in the best condition that they can possibly be while also sometimes learning and giving medical care and grooming. I just feel like they should’ve given it a much more fitting name like….Pokemon…Health…Person….Okay, that’s awful. But still, there has to be a more fitting name for this practice than ‘breeder’.

Second, grooming seems to be a very small aspect of Pokemon breeding, and fashion seems to be no real part of it. It’s all about focusing on a Pokemon’s physical, mental and emotional health as well as their happiness. I know that this is the point of this episode, but there’s nothing technically wrong with what Team Rocket is doing here. If people like to dress up their Pokemon, as long as it’s not harming them or making them unhappy, then have at it.

Their biggest mistake here is putting their business under the cloak of breeding superiority. If they had just staked a claim as being Pokemon fashionistas or something, Team Rocket would actually have a legitimately successful business that Ash and the others wouldn’t have to take down in a ‘breeding’s not about goofy fashions’ debate.

– I don’t understand how James even performed any ‘hairstyling’ on a Dodrio….it’s a bird….it has feathers

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen2

– I do like the visual gag about James and Jessie having roses taped to their back.

– I will never tire of that scene where Brock slams his head on the table trying to thank Vulpix for eating his food.

– Ash: “I don’t like it either. It’s pretty stupid to waste your time showing off.” Because you never show off, right, Ash? You humble bumblebee, you.

– Also is anyone else getting deja vu? This whole ‘inside vs. outside’ debate seems an awful lot like the ‘perfume vs. anti-perfume’ argument they had merely two episodes prior. In fact, given Gloom’s mini-lesson, it is the exact same moral.

– This whole debate loses a bit of its spark when you consider that Suzy’s business is not in danger at all. She said herself that she’s incredibly busy with breeding, so this new trend can’t be affecting her customer base very much. Why would it anyway? Team Rocket is just putting makeup and baubles on Pokemon. They still need somewhere to go for Pokemon nutrition, massage, etc.

– Substance with style is just giving a lecture on Pokemon care and a demonstration of a Pokemon massage? And it’s so popular that Team Rocket’s shop is empty because of it. Certainly if Breeder’s Lane is filled with breeders, they probably know all this stuff, right?

– It was very important for Ash to learn this lesson on Pokemon massage. I’m sure he’ll utilize it in the imaginary future where Ash retains things he’s learned.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen3
A ticklish Pikachu is an adorable Pikachu.

– I actually like it when Team Rocket gets excited and passionate about jobs that aren’t criminal. Sure, these designs and fashions are gaudy and ridiculous, but they have their moments where they’re legitimately happy making an honest buck. I kinda wish they’d just quit Team Rocket and do that.

– On first glance, before she gets that crap on her face, Misty actually doesn’t look that bad in Team Rocket’s makeover. I’d lose the clips in her bangs and some of the added baubles, but she actually looks fairly decent.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen4

Also, another note of deja vu, Team Rocket making over a member of Ash and Co. seeing as how they did that same thing two episodes ago.

– Team Rocket was wearing their uniforms under their clothes?….why?

– This episode really does have some great comedic moments.

– Suzy: “Beauty research? Can’t you understand that it’s the beauty inside that counts? Each Pokemon is beautiful, we just have to help the Pokemon discover it.”

First of all….they were talking about Misty, not Pokemon.

Second, they never said what’s inside doesn’t count or that it wasn’t most important, even if that is what they think.

Third, beauty research is a thing, even if what they’re doing here is just flatout g-rated ‘torture’.

Fourth, the fashion and beauty industry is also still a thing. I also don’t put much stock in fancy hairstyles, clothes, jewelry and baubles, I’m more of a wash, dry and go type of girl, but I can see the allure in wanting to spiffy yourself up. There’s nothing wrong with it, unless it’s causing some form of harm to you or others.

Again, Team Rocket would’ve been much better off if they stayed away from the breeding label, but they kinda backed themselves into a corner anyway with tying a ten year old girl to a chair and ‘torturing’ her for info…in the lobby of their shop….with their glass doors and giant window….and the door wide open.

– Okay, so Team Rocket wasn’t really being completely legitimate here. Their salon was a front for criminal activities….but their plan was insanely stupid. They were basically planning on luring trainers to the salon, being legit for the most part, and, if or when a person with a rare Pokemon showed up, they would distract the trainer and steal it…..that’s it…..Uh, I do believe the trainer would wonder where the hell their Pokemon was after a while. Would you just steal one Pokemon and then close up shop and book it to avoid the trainer calling the cops?

And there were plenty of good Pokemon ripe for the stealing coming into this place. Two Squirtle, a Bulbasaur (starters are technically rare), Dodrio and even a Raichu, the evolved form of the Pokemon they keep drooling after, yet not a one stolen. This has to be the first time Team Rocket’s plans have failed because they were seemingly too lazy to go through with the main step of it.

– Ekans and Koffing are doing surprisingly well in this match…..Are they really claiming this is because of the costumes? Because that’s kinda dumb. I just don’t see any other reason for this sudden surge in skill.

Also, if they had the ability to dodge/refract electricity by spinning in circles why have they never done it before or done it since?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen5
Aww, Geodude’s hugging Ekans.

– Remember what I said about Team Rocket sometimes going surprisingly dark?

Jessie: “We’ll give Vulpix a makeover when we get rid of its tails!” Team Rocket wants to amputate Vulpix’s tails…..Holy. Shit.

– I agree with Misty, why the hell are you allowing her to get caught up in the Fire Spin, Suzy?….Is…it because she was interested in the Pokemon makeover and found merit in outer beauty, so the writers decided to punish her? Seriously? Geez, guys, there’s no gray area with you is there?

– Brock: “Did you see that? A cute exterior hides inner strength. That’s the Pokemon’s true personality!”

Okay, Brock, let’s play another game of ‘overanalyze a stupid thing said to overemphasize the incredibly obvious moral of the episode, which, ironically, screws up the whole moral.’

First of all, “A cute exterior hides inner strength”? What? Are you saying cute people and Pokemon are, by default, hiding their inner strength and beauty just because they happen to match society’s views on physical beauty? Like anyone who is attractive doesn’t show or have a real personality? What kind of stupid idea is that? Beautiful people and Pokemon can be assholes just as much as they can have wonderful personalities and the same goes for traditionally ugly or unappealing people and Pokemon.

Or is he saying that trying to change outer appearances with fashion and makeup is wrong because you’re hiding your ‘true’ self from the world? I guess that one might make a bit more sense, but just because you put on something physical does not hide what’s inside, at least not as long as you don’t change your personality when you dress up.

Second, Brock, did your opinions drastically change since Pokemon Scent-Sation? If you want to get technical, perfume is also something people use to make themselves seem more appealing. It’s not something visible, but it is a physical item people use to cover up their natural smell in lieu of something ‘prettier’. Hell, in Erika’s little ‘P-E-R-F-U-M-E’ rant, she specifically says the P is for pretty.

Third, now that I’m thinking about it, how ironic is it that Brock of all people is saying focusing on outer beauty isn’t important when he drools after every pretty girl he sees? Has he ever gone after a girl who was traditionally unattractive?

Fourth, he’s referring to Vulpix taking down Team Rocket with Fire Spin as he says this…..which basically makes the whole moral extremely confused. Yes, outer beauty is unimportant and cuteness masks a Pokemon’s true inner strength…..he says referring to one of the cutest Pokemon in existence that is world-renowned for its beauty, including Pokedex entries that specifically refer to its tails as beautiful and gorgeous, and evolves into something that is arguably even more beautiful and elegant?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 6

Finally, what the hell does focusing on personality have to do with using Fire Spin? Your Pokemon can have the best personality in the world and still have crappy attacks. Just like you can dress up your Pokemon and they can still do well in battle, like Ekans and Koffing just demonstrated, despite the fall. That has to do with training. Unless you’re saying Suzy massaged her Vulpix into level 42. In which case, screw the dangerous battles. Just prepare for the Pokemon league with a massage marathon.

If you wanted this message to fly at all, you should’ve used a Pokemon that is not usually noted for its cuteness or beauty. Try this episode with a Muk or a Paras or a…Gloom maybe. And make the ‘inner strength’ point of note a triumph of self-confidence instead of a Pokemon attack.

– While I disagree with Misty getting Fire Spun, she deserved it after the fact for yelling at Psyduck for seemingly running away and not helping her when he immediately and, without command, went for help. She’s known Psyduck all of a day and has only insulted the poor thing the whole time, yet it still rushed to her rescue without question. What a bitch.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 7

– Suzy: “and Brock I was very impressed with how you handled your Pokemon in a crisis like that.”

Like….what? He called out Geodude, commanded a Seismic Toss, it technically failed and then Geodude was disabled with Sludge blinding it for the rest of the match.

– Suzy: “I want you to continue your journey too, Brock. From now on, we’re rivals.” There are rivals in Pokemon breeding? Is that like being a competitive veterinarian?

– I don’t really see why Suzy has seen enough of Brock’s skills as a breeder to believe he’s competent enough to care for her beloved Vulpix, especially, as she stated, better than she could. Also, she’s known Brock all of a few hours, if that, yet she trusts him enough to give over her Vulpix?

– How did Brock capture Vulpix in his empty Pokeball when it’s still technically owned by Suzy? Couldn’t Suzy have just handed over Vulpix’s Pokeball to Brock?

– So now Suzy has no Pokemon to practice her breeding skills on. I’m sure that will be real helpful to your quest to improve your skills, Suzy. Actually, this wouldn’t be a huge issue if she was staying at her salon, but she’s closing up shop and going on a journey, so pbt.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 8
I couldn’t not include this shot.

– James: “Now we need a total makeover – so no one we ripped off will recognize us!” Uh, who’d you rip-off? You offered a service, you provided what was expected, they paid the price you advertised….They’re not entitled to refunds just because ‘doy we realized it’s what’s inside that counts!’

———————————-

I still love this episode, but I will admit I noticed quite a few more glaring flaws in the plot and lesson than I did when I was younger. I’m surprised I actually got ranty near the end. I feel like, given Pokemon Scent-Sation, they should’ve went a different route with this whole episode in regards to the moral because 1) it just does not fit well with Vulpix being the focal point, 2) they seem to demonize outer beauty, natural or otherwise, in their efforts to emphasize inner strength, and 3) they go even further with the ‘outer beauty is bad’ stuff by making the fashion trends as gaudy and ugly as humanly possible.

Gloom, on the other hand, was a Pokemon who, by all intents and purposes, was as unappealing as possible. It’s not really physically cute, it even drools, and it’s noted for its horrible stench. It’s evo is smack between a Pokemon that is pretty cute and a Pokemon who is a little cute and a little beautiful. Yet it’s noted for its great personality in saving Erika and keeping its stench in check around those it trusts. There’s also something poetic about a notably perpetually stinky Pokemon creating wonderful perfumes from its own extract.

I do like Suzy as a character quite a bit, and the comedy in this episode is spot-on, but I can’t help but say the quality is very tarnished by how poorly conceived this episode was as a whole.

Well, maybe next episode will be more relaxing and fun. What is next anyway?

Next episode

..Dammit!

Advertisements

One thought on “Pokemon Episode 28 Analysis: Pokemon Fashion Flash

  1. You gotta admire how Pokemon always tries to have a nice moral….you just can’t admire the execution. This is one of the few Kanto episodes that I only saw once so it’s the opposite of your experience. I remember it being pretty fun, but that could be the nostalgia goggles kicking in. I definitely agree that Pokemon Breeders doesn’t sound quite right. Caretakers? I’d almost say that Trainers could work if that wasn’t taken.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s