Pokemon Episode 37 Analysis – Ditto’s Mysterious Mansion

Pokemon Ep 37 title

CotD(s): Duplica – A Ditto Trainer, Duplica loves to put on shows for people. She wants to make a name for herself as a great impersonator and Ditto Master. Duplica is very intelligent in regards to Pokemon since Ditto can transform into any Pokemon.

Reappears?: Yes. She appears later on in Johto.

Pokemon: She has one Ditto now, but later she’ll get another one.

Plot: In an effort to get out of a sudden storm, Ash, Misty and Brock wander into a nearby mansion. They see Pikachu playing with another Pikachu and are surprised to find the other Pikachu has a weird face. Ash decides to capture it, but is blocked in his capture attempt by a guy who looks suspiciously like Ash.

He reveals himself to be a she – Duplica of the Imite House. Likewise, the weird Pikachu turns out to not be a Pikachu at all. It’s actually a transformed Ditto.

The group initially marvels at the unique transforming capabilities of Ditto, but quickly get less impressed when they realize that it can’t transform its face and that transforming is all it can do. Ash is especially unimpressed since he believes being unable to teach a Pokemon new moves is boring. In order to prove Ash wrong, Duplica challenges him to a match.

Ash chooses Bulbasaur and Duplica chooses Ditto, who transforms into Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf, but the leaves are all smacked away by a Vine Whip from Dittosaur. Everyone’s baffled that Ditto can also mimic the attacks of whatever it transforms into. Dittosaur wraps up Bulbasaur in Vine Whip and Ash surrenders.

Duplica shows off her impersonations in the costume room where she mimics Nurse Joy, Officer Jenny and Misty. However, Ash is still sulking after his loss because he believes the real versions shouldn’t lose to copycats.

Misty says Ditto technically was a real Bulbasaur, and Brock adds that Duplica has to be very knowledgeable to use her Ditto so well. Since she’s only used a Ditto but it can copy any Pokemon and its attacks, Duplica must know every Pokemon and all of their attacks.

Duplica states that she wants to be the greatest Ditto Master and a star of the stage, but her Ditto can’t break through its problem of leaving its face the same way. Her audiences get annoyed by her Ditto’s lack of face transformation and leave her shows, making Duplica pessimistic about her chances of stardom.

Suddenly, Team Rocket breaks in and snatches Ditto. They manage to get away and try to get Ditto to Transform into a Dratini for Giovanni, but it keeps messing up the transformation. After some threats and intimidation, Ditto is finally able to perfect a facial transformation.

Ash, Misty, Brock and Duplica figure out Team Rocket’s location with Pidgeotto and Zubat, so they head out. When they arrive, they mimic Team Rocket’s motto and demand to have Ditto back. They realize that its taken the form of Meowth perfectly and they cant tell the difference.

Duplica tearfully thanks Team Rocket for helping Ditto fix its Transformation problem. At Duplica’s gratitude, Team Rocket decides to give Ditto back and leave.

However, Duplica instantly realizes that this is a trick – they gave her the real Meowth and took Ditto. She throws Meowth to the balloon and Ditto bites Jessie, jumping back down into Duplica’s arms.

Jessie unveils a cannon under the balloon and prepares to fire. Duplica tells Ditto to Transform into the cannon, and Ash uses Pikachu as a makeshift cannonball. Jessie and Ditto shoot at the same time. A net is launched from Team Rocket’s cannon while Pikachu jets off from the Ditto-cannon. Pikachu Thundershock’s the net, which shocks the balloon and Meowth, causing his claws to puncture the balloon and send them blasting off.

Duplica fixes up the Imite House and prepares for many shows with her newly perfected Ditto, and Ash, Misty and Brock head off to their next adventure.

————————–

– Narrator: “As our heroes continue their journey, the future looks sunny and bright. *storm clouds come in* Uh ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh!” He says that with such snark, I almost want to believe the narrator is omnipotent and made the storm to mess with them.

– Things Ash and co. don’t seem to ever carry with them.

  • Flashlights.
  • Umbrellas.
  • Coats.
  • Basic survival gear despite being children on a global backpacking journey.

– Getting this out of the way right now – there’s nothing mysterious about this mansion. It’s not even Ditto’s. In fact, it’s questionable whether this place even belongs to Duplica.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen1
How is the sign falling down but the ribbons and flag look like new?

– Ash: “Hello! Sorry for barging in!” You better apologize. You didn’t even knock or open the door like a normal person. You literally barged in.

– Ash: “Hey, since nobody’s here, we might as well stay here until the rain stops.” Ash seems to work on video game protagonist logic sometimes. You watch. Eventually we’ll hear him say stuff like ‘I wonder if there are potions in this vase. I should break it and find out. After all, no one’s around.’ and ‘No one’s home. Wonder if they’ll care if I pick this locked chest in their basement and take everything in it?’

– Wow, Misty. You see a Pikachu with a slightly goofy face and your first instinct is to drop it and then yell out at the top of your lungs “WHAT IS THIS?! WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT!?”? Way to be an ass, Misty. Ditto’s face is cute, too, so you’re an ultra ass.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen2

– I love how Ash is all gung-ho about catching this ‘weird Pikachu’ Does he intend on it replacing his Pikachu or does he just want it for a trophy? Either way, it’s messed up.

– Also, one of the few times he’s gung-ho about catching a Pokemon and it’s one he already has. *huff*

– Okay, Ash, good. You’ve learned that you need to battle with Pokemon to weaken them before using a Pokeball on them. You’re learning….but….first off, you used Pikachu on it, which, considering you think it’s a Pikachu…..duh.

Second, Pikachu have been known to absorb electricity (though this seems to turn off and on), so your attack would barely do anything even if the Electric vs. Electric wasn’t already weak. (I will give him some leeway because, technically, he has no Pokemon strong against Electric types. His best bet would be Bulbasaur, and he just doesn’t take as much damage from electricity – his attacks aren’t 2x effective against them.)

And finally, Dittochu used some form of Electric attack to counterbalance the Thundershock, so the attack wasn’t even damaging him anyway.

All in all, I give this capture attempt a C+. Needs improvement.

– Duplica had Ash’s exact outfit, down to his supposedly unique Pokemon League hat, on hand to trick the group despite never meeting them before just now, but she didn’t have a wig to mimic Ash’s hair?

Pokemon Ep 37 screen3

– Misty: “Ash, that guy is dressed just like you.” See? They didn’t say anything like ‘There are two Ashes!’ or ‘That guy looks just like Ash!’ they said that guy is dressed like Ash. B- Try harder.

Brock: “Except it’s a girl.”

Misty: “How can you tell?”

Brock: “Men’s intuition.” I feel weird for analyzing this, but is he saying….he’s turned on, and thus this has to be a girl? Because Duplica’s around Misty’s age…in which case, ew.

Or is he just saying that men have the innate ability to tell who’s a girl and who’s a guy from a distance? Do penises double as divining rods? I don’t get it.

– Is Megan Hollingstead actually doing an Ash impression, or is Veronica Taylor dubbing her over here? Because she’s actually very good at it if she is doing an impersonation.

– Why do they have no problem saying the term ‘Imite’ but they changed her named to Duplica? I usually don’t complain about name changes much, but Imite is such a cool name. So is Duplica, but I much prefer Imite.

– Misty: “You were right, Brock. She is a girl.”

Brock: “But she may be a little young for me.” Brock, stop, please.

– I like that Duplica also mimics Ash’s mannerisms in battle.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen4

– Just because Ditto is shown to be able to mimic attacks too….that’s what impresses Ash enough to say it’s not boring? But…the reason he said they were boring was because you don’t get to have the fun of teaching it new attacks. She’s still not doing that – She’s just mimicking the moveset of the Pokemon in question.

– That Razor Leaf being smacked away by a Vine Whip scene gives me deja vu for the Venusaur vs. Cloneasaur battle in the first movie.

– Ash: “But…how could the real thing lose?” Because you surrendered just because Bulbasaur was caught up in vines, moron. Bulbasaur could still use Razor Leaf (which would actually hit this time because its vines are being used to wrap up Bulbasaur) and its own Vine Whip, but you just gave up instead.

– Oh but she has a Misty wig.

– Brock: “That Ditto’s moves are unbeatable.”

Misty: “Better than the real Pokemon.”

Pbbbtttttttttttttt nooooooooooooo. Okay. Ditto is a not a crappy Pokemon. It can be very useful and fun….but also kinda bad. Ditto has horrible base stats out the door, which isn’t a bad thing in itself because it transforms and copies the stats of whatever it’s transforming into, but a Pokemon can easily get the first attack before Ditto can transform and just knock it out, which is easy anyway because its speed is terrible (coincidentally or on purpose, all of its base stats are the same.)

Ditto also cannot copy the HP of its opponent, meaning if you have crappy HP on your Ditto, which is likely no matter the level, it doesn’t matter if you’ve copied a powerhouse or a weak Pokemon, because it can still be knocked out with not too much issue.

Plus, you rarely have the type advantage with Ditto since it can’t do Transform twice in one battle. If you start with a Goldeen, it Transforms, and then you switch to a Jolteon, you’re golden. If the Ditto is not wild, you can switch it out and back in to initiate Transform again, but there is still no type advantage and you leave yourself vulnerable for two turns.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen5
Dittosaur: “What the hell just happened?”

It’s been my experience that most people just tend to use Ditto for breeding purposes since it’s a Poke-whore that can make babies with nearly anything breedable. Hardly anyone uses Ditto for competitive purposes because there are so many workarounds to beat it.

The thing of it is, the anime’s Ditto bypasses all of these problems through suspension of disbelief. Ditto seems to get the first move no matter what, meaning it can Transform right away and not leave it susceptible to attack. Ditto can still use Transform even if the opponent has switched Pokemon (I’m getting this from the fact that it Transforms from a Machoke form into a Voltorb when a new Pokemon gets on stage in the flashback) Anime!Ditto can also turn into anything as well.

Game!Ditto is a good Pokemon with several flaws, but these flaws are understandable for the sake of balance. Plus, having an OP copycat Pokemon just seems lazy and annoying. Anime!Ditto, as long as you have the patience to study Pokemon attacks, seems OP no matter how you look at it.

– Brock: “Duplica must know all of Bulbasaur’s potential attacks. She can order Ditto to use the strongest attack possible, according to whatever form it takes.”

Misty: “That’s right. I guess Duplica must know every attack of every Pokemon there is.”

Pokemon Ep 37 screen6

There’s a bunch of things wrong with that. First of all, Ditto copies the moveset of the Pokemon it’s copying too. Bulbasaur’s strongest move, at the moment, is Razor Leaf.

Second, if she wanted to use Bulbasaur’s strongest move, she’d tell it to use Solar Beam. She doesn’t know Ash’s Bulbasaur doesn’t know it, and since she has no game-esque HUD, she’d have to guess. But since that would make her look a little dumb, they didn’t.

Third, I can buy that she knows Bulbasaur’s moves, but the moves of every Pokemon in existence? Even taking into consideration TMs and HMs, should they exist here? No. I doubt even Gary can do that. Hell, I doubt even Professor Oak can do that. Why would she study that much anyway when she wants to be a great impersonator/comedian and not a Trainer? I guess maybe to better impress audiences?

– Duplica should really stick to human character impersonations because her Pokemon imitations kinda suck.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen7
Nothing more entertaining than someone imitating a Pokemon that is known for not moving.

– Duplica: “This place is so flat and boring, but people pass by here all the time. I figured when people stop by to rest, I could entertain them.” You mean people break into your house all the time? Buy a lock, woman.

– Duplica has Ash and Charmeleon/izard syndrome. She knows Ditto has a problem but instead of trying to fix it, she just keeps expecting it to stop this ‘habit’. She even says flatout that Ditto has yet to fix its problem.

– Audience member: “It can’t transform at all!” Uh…obviously it can transform a little or else it would still be a pink blob.

– I really love how blasé Ash has gotten about Team Rocket’s appearances. I’d gladly take one of his goofy expressions and an exasperated brush off over him saying ‘It’s Team Rocket again!” for the billionth time.

– Duplica: “Ditto’s gone!”

Ash: “Team Rocket….What are they up to this time?” Don’t quote me on this, but I think, I THINK…They might be trying to capture Ditto. Just maybe. I’ll have to post this on r/FanTheories and see what other people think.

– James: “Transform into Dratini, the Pokemon we’ve never been able to capture.” When did you try to catch a Dratini, James? My poor little American brain doesn’t understand when this may have happened.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen8

Joking aside, why are they asking it to Transform into Dratini when they know of and have ‘seen’ a Dragonair, which is more impressive?

– Why not just give Giovanni the Ditto? It’s a rare-ish Pokemon with a unique and fairly powerful ability. Having it Transform into Dratini won’t work for long. Eventually, it would just change back and then Giovanni would get pissed at them for tricking him.

– Actually, it wouldn’t Transform into a Dratini at all considering they don’t have the real thing there.

– Does Jessie not understand how Ditto works? You can’t show it a picture of someone, ask it to predict how the depicted person will look like older and then expect it to Transform into anything but the exact same picture. Ditto’s a copying Pokemon not age progression software.

– I really don’t understand how the Transform ability works when it comes to transforming into things. When it Transforms for Jessie, Ditto actually agrees to show her a picture of the boy as an adult, but since we don’t see the source picture, we don’t know if he succeeded.

Meowth calls him a ‘little boy’ and Jessie describes him as her first love, which commonly occurs in childhood (loosely using the term ‘love’ since that can stretch to ‘crush’) He doesn’t describe Ash and Misty as little boys or little girls (Jessie and James do mockingly on occasion) so I’m to assume he has to be younger than Ash and co.

However, the depicted boy looks to be about Brock’s age at least. Did Ditto actually succeed in age progressing this kid? If so, screw Pokemon training. Ditto could be invaluable in searching for missing children.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen9

– It’s also a major shame that we never learn anything about this kid besides this one photo, and we don’t even see his face due to it being Ditto-fied. It’s obvious he’s still very important to Jessie, considering she still carries a framed photo of him around, but we don’t even get his name. Was he a fellow orphan? Did they go to Pokemon Tech together? I’d assume not because James would know of him. Did he like her too? What circumstances separated them?

Why the hell would you make up such an interesting plot thread and then do absolutely nothing to explore it later?

– The scene with it transforming into the book would be more humorous if it copied the book exactly, but the Dratini’s face was Ditto-fied. Showing a blank book with a Ditto face makes the joke fall flat.

– Brock: “We’ve already sent Pidgeotto and Zubat out for surveillance.” Pidgeotto’s allowed to be useful! Praise the pigeon gods!

Pokemon Ep 37 screen10
Pikachu: “Whoa whoa whoa! Who let this peasant share a frame with me, Messiahchu!? Just for that, I’m taking your balloon popping scene later in the episode. BEGONE!”

– Props for Zubat being able to do something once every 15 episodes too.

– Ash: “It’s not the Pokemon but the Trainer who decides what attacks to use in battle, right? So that means, if you raise a Ditto, its progress and power are connected directly to your own.”

Brock: “Yeah, I think you’re definitely right about that, Ash.”

Misty: “Sounds like you’ve been studying, Ash.” Studying what? I’ll give him credit for actually using that sloshy pile of goo in his head for a change, and it is nice to see Ash thinking, but all he’s saying is something that is incredibly obvious and really not unique to Ditto Trainers.

All Pokemon grow and increase in true power based on how their Trainers grow and change. Having a powerful Pokemon does not, by default, make you win. Just as a crappy Pokemon can become great in the right hands, a good Pokemon can be useless if in unskilled hands.

For instance, Bulbasaur is a very intelligent and fairly powerful Pokemon. But it just lost a match against itself in one move because its Trainer was a doofus.

– Why is it that Ash can seemingly understand what Pikachu’s ‘saying’ but not Pidgeotto? Result of not spending enough time with it?

– Well, of course they found Team Rocket’s hideout when they’re in a house with a huge Meowth head on the roof.

– It’s always bugged me a bit that Ditto needed to be threatened and intimidated to finally Transform correctly.

But, hey, at least Team Rocket was useful for a change.

– Again, I absolutely love Ash and co. doing Team Rocket’s motto, and the fact that they’re in Team Rocket costumes this time makes it all the better….but Duplica ruins it. Not only are there too many people doing the motto, but Duplica says the ‘That’s right!’ line way too early.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen11
We need an AU where Ash and Co are Team Rocket and Jessie and James are aspiring Pokemon Trainers.

– Where did Duplica get four properly sized Team Rocket uniforms anyway? Let’s say, at best, she knows of Team Rocket as an organization. She’d have the black uniforms, not the white ones. The black ones are the standard issue designs – Jessie and James altered them because they thought they looked better that way.

– Can I get a consensus? Would the mock-motto be funnier if they were also wearing James and Jessie wigs? Or would that be teetering into creepy?

– Why is Ditto going along with Team Rocket’s plan? I might say it’s to show that it can Transform faces now to Duplica, but it can do that without seemingly siding with Team Rocket.

– I can buy that Ditto is mimicking Meowth’s voice, but I don’t think I’d suspend my disbelief enough to say it’s learned human language, too.

– I’ll give major credit to Team Rocket for coming up with a great on-the-fly ruse….but…did they really think they could get away in a hot air balloon quickly enough without Duplica noticing that Meowth wasn’t her Ditto?

– Likewise, it took until Ditto was being carried away in the balloon and Duplica noticing that Meowth wasn’t Ditto for Ditto to finally go ‘Oh wait, you’re kidnapping me. Fuck off’ and bite Team Rocket before going back to Duplica? Your motivations confuse me, little Ditto.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen12
Take that, three-minute Stockholm Syndrome!

– Again, Ditto’s object transformation doesn’t make sense. It transformed into a cannon, yes, and Team Rocket has a cannon, yes, but the cannon they’re using is attached to the balloon. It doesn’t sit on the ground with big wheels.

– Ash, you just shot your Pokemon out of a damn cannon. What is wrong with you?

– Minor thing, but Duplica is nowhere near hitting any nails when she’s hammering on the sign. It bugged me is all.

——————————-

All in all, I like this episode, but the only thing mysterious here is what the hell is up with Ditto’s ability to Transform into objects?

Duplica’s okay, but I never thought she was interesting enough to warrant her getting a revisit. The writers seem to suck at choosing good characters for that.

Ditto is an interesting Pokemon to highlight, and I believe they hit all the high notes, but added a few too many because anime!Ditto seems slightly OP.

Team Rocket was useful for a change, we got some extremely minor backstory on Jessie that becomes irritating when you realize it’s another interesting factoid they’ll never speak of again, and their plan this time around nearly succeeded.

They really have to work on running very far away when they succeed….and hiding in places that don’t make it glaringly apparent that they’re hiding in there. Even their plan B was fairly good barring the slow as hell balloon making the getaway impossible. If they can get Giovanni to invest in flying stadiums and giant robots, they can surely get him to pay for a car or a plane or something.

Even if it’s never in my game roster, I still think Ditto’s an adorable Pokemon and Rachel Lillis does a great job voicing it.

Next episode, Porygon and the Seizures that Shook the Anime World. Alternative title – Porygon Was Wrongfully Martyred for Messiahchu.  #JusticeforPorygon

Previous Episode….


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One thought on “Pokemon Episode 37 Analysis – Ditto’s Mysterious Mansion

  1. As a kid this episode was totally to blame for me thinking Ditto was one of the most OP Pokémon for a long time. He can transform into any Pokémon and his attacks are even better than the originals. I felt like he should theoretically never lose but of course at the time I didn’t notice the hyperbole or know that Ditto’s hp doesn’t change. Definitely a really fun classic episode though and I’ve seen this one several times

    Liked by 1 person

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