Pokemon Episode 55 Analysis – Pokemon Paparazzi

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 7

Character Debuts: Snap/Todd/Todd Snap – Since he sticks around for a few episodes and is the ‘star’ of the video game Pokemon Snap, I’ll say this is a debut more than a CotD.

Snap, and that’s what I’m calling him, I’ll explain in a minute, was never all that great of a character to me. He was a little annoying in his arrogance and giving jabs to Ash for no reason. The fact that he’s voiced by Jimmy Zoppi, Gary’s VA, does not help.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like his philosophy in taking pictures of Pokemon without disturbing them…..even though that’s pretty much what all wildlife photographers do because it’s mostly impossible to pose animals unless they’re pets. And, admittedly, he loses his attitude later on. In subsequent episodes, he’s actually fairly boring.

Also, being fair, according to the comparison, Toru, the Japanese version of Snap, is much less of a jerk. He still has an ego, but he doesn’t take potshots at Ash.

He’s also really unique in that he’s a rare CotD who has no Pokemon of his own.

Snap’s character design would later be used for a spin-off Pokemon game called Pokemon Snap, where you take pictures of Pokemon while basically riding in a rail car. Contrary to what you might think, though, this episode was not made as a tie-in. According to Dogasu, Snap’s character design was most likely simply lifted and adapted for the game since the original version of Pokemon Snap had nothing to do with Pokemon at all – it was just a regular photography game. Plus, the airing of this episode and the release of Pokemon Snap don’t match up well enough to really be promotion.

Nabbing up Snap’s character design probably saved them some money on creating an entirely new character for the game, too.

As for Snap’s name, that’s a point that drove me bonkers for years. I caught this episode way, way back in the day when I would get up at like 5:30 AM to watch it and the episodes were airing fresh out the oven. I forget what channel, but I’m 95% sure it wasn’t Kids WB! In that episode, he was called Snap.

I catch the episode some time later down the road, probably on Kids WB! this time, and he’s called Todd. I was incredibly confused by this. Every other instance when I caught the episode, he was called Todd. It drove me veritably insane because every time I’d ask one of my friends about it, they’d have no clue what I was talking about. He’s named Todd, silly.

It wouldn’t be until several more years down the road when I would look up info on this episode and finally figured out what the snap went on here.

The big conspiracy at the time, and kinda still now, is that Kellogg’s threatened legal action against 4Kids for the name since Snap is one of the trademark character names. They changed it to Todd in their TV airings as a result, but there’s no evidence to suggest this at all. Plus, it’s a flimsy argument to start with, though maybe not without merit fully. I remember Detective Conan had to change their English dub name to Case Closed supposedly because of either Conan from DC or Conan the Barbarian.

Still, it’s not like this is a trio of characters named Snap, Crackle and Pop.

But just to make an unrelated tin foil hat moment, there is a character originally named Pop in another 4Kids show, Magical Doremi, and her name got changed too.

This makes even less sense because the DVD and VHS releases go back to Snap, and every English version that played on TV outside of the US also calls him Snap. In fact, the copy I’m using for this analysis calls him Snap.

Not that any of this really matters, because shortly thereafter they just decided to officially name him Todd Snap. *shrug*

Thus ends my completely unnecessary overly long anecdote. Thank you.

For the record, Snap is an awesome name.

Reappear?: Yes. Snap stays on board the team…for some reason, until the end of episode 57. They are really strange about the characters that they bring back, but why Snap just tags along with these guys for three episodes is beyond me.

Pokemon: None

Plot: As Ash, Misty, Pikachu and Togepi enjoy some riceballs courtesy of Brock, Ash notices a glint in the bushes. He assumes it’s a sniper prepping to shoot them all, so he knocks everyone to the ground. When he shoots the bushes with Squirtle’s Water Gun, he reveals a kid with a camera, who seems more concerned about his camera than himself.

He introduces himself as Snap, the world famous Pokemon photographer with aspirations of being a Pokemon Photo Master. However, Ash and the others have never heard of him. When he brings them to his house, he shows them his photo of the ancient Pokemon Aerodactyl that won him a spot in the magazine, Pokemon Times.

Ash is shocked when he realizes that it’s a picture of the Aerodactyl who grabbed him a while back. He’s even in the picture, even though it’s simply a silhouette so you can’t see him well. When Snap zooms in on the picture, he sees that it is indeed Ash.

He apologizes for scaring the group and offers them some pancakes while he preps to get a shot of Pikachu. However, Pikachu is camera shy and becomes very nervous when he notices Snap trying to get a picture, even if he tells him just to pretend he’s not there. He’s spooked by the camera shutter and shocks Snap.

He tries again, but becomes frustrated because he desperately wants natural pictures of Pokemon, the way they were meant to be seen. His gallery of photographs amazes the trio, showing them how beautiful Pokemon are when they’re undisturbed and happy. Posing just seems fake and makes them scared and uncomfortable.

Since Pikachu’s too scared, the group offers the rest of their Pokemon to have their picture taken, but Snap politely declines saying he wants to only take Pikachu’s picture. He won’t disclose his reasons, however.

Ash begrudgingly tells him to do whatever he wants, but Pikachu won’t be so accommodating. Snap declares that he’ll certainly capture Pikachu perfectly.

Later, as he preps for an attempt to take a picture of Pikachu, he remembers an old couple who desperately asked him to ‘capture’ Pikachu for them. It was the old woman’s final wish to have Pikachu, specifically Ash’s, ‘captured’ before she died. Snap, believing they raised a Pikachu similar to that one and want a really good photo (as compared to their terrible ones) to remember it by, agrees.

In present time, Team Rocket decides to help Snap by digging a pitfall trap for the group. As predicted, they fall into it and Snap tries to help them out, confusing Team Rocket. Meowth checks the magazine and finds that he didn’t finish reading – Snap’s great at capturing Pokemon on film, not simply capturing them.

As Team Rocket realize their mistake, Ash and Pikachu agree to get their picture taken, but Snap realizes that the bottom of the pit is caving in. Suddenly, it breaks, sending Ash and Pikachu into a man-made river. Snap jumps down to give chase. He warns them of an impending waterfall and saves them in the nick of time by sacrificing his camera to use as a rope for Ash to grab onto.

Team Rocket arrives and nabs Pikachu up in a rubber bag. They start tossing bombs at the pair until Ash distracts them by pretending to take their picture, which causes them to ignore the lit bomb in their hands until it blows up in their faces.

With the distraction, Ash is able to climb all the way up to dry land again. He unleashes Bulbasaur and Razor Leafs the lot, freeing Pikachu. Bulbasaur Vine Whips the trio away, into the river and off a different waterfall.

Misty and Brock reunite with Ash and Snap, and they’re surprised to see that they’ve become friends. Snap takes a group photo of all of them to commemorate their newfound friendship before they continue on their journey.


– Ash: “These Riceballs are pretty good!”

They said the R word! :0

– Ash sees a glint in the bushes and his immediate thoughts are ‘It’s a sniper! Brock and the others are going to get shot to death! Must knock them all away and attack the threat!’ I know I joke about the guns in Pokemon….but does Ash have PTSD? I mean, with all the encounters with Team Rocket and their bombs and guns and other antagonists with their guns and bombs, it’d be fully understandable. I kinda feel bad for him.

While we’re on the topic, though, what the hell, 4Kids? Why would you keep in a semi-graphic, for you anyway, daydream sequence where Brock and the others are shot by a sniper?!

– Why did Ash punch Pikachu away? You can just grab the little dude, no need to be a jerk.

I like that Pikachu chews him out for it, though.

– Still using the Pokemon logo in the title, eh? Wait…

Wiki: “In the dub, this is the last episode to use the Pokémon logo as the title uses the franchise’s name.”

Aw. I mean, this went on a lot longer than I thought it did, but it feels like the end of an era now. RIP Pokemon logo in title.

– By the way, referring to Snap as a paparazzi only makes me dislike him more.

– I find it fitting that Ash uses Squirtle’s Water Gun to reveal a supposed sniper in the bushes, but now that I’m thinking about it, holy crap, Ash, that is a horrible idea. You think an actual sniper is in the bushes so you squirt some water on him? Are you daft? Now I’m just imagining some kid taking on a guy with a gun with a super soaker.

– Snap: “I wasn’t spying on you! My name’s Snap, and I love taking pictures!” You were hiding in the bushes taking pictures of them….That is the textbook definition of spying.

That’s like saying, “No, your honor, I wasn’t stalking. I just followed her home, sneaked into her house and watched her sleep for eight months!”

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 1

Snap: “You didn’t need to sic your Squirtle on me and flip out like that!” The instant Ash looked your way and knocked everyone to the ground, you should’ve made yourself known because he obviously saw you as a threat. That coupled with the spying equals this fault is yours.

Snap: “You should consider it an honor that I want to take a picture of your Pikachu.” His nose is literally in the air as he says this.

– Even as a kid, I thought the ‘master→masker’ joke was doofy. I get that it’s an untranslatable joke, but Ash, of all people, should never have trouble hearing the word ‘Master.’

– Snap: “You may not know my name, but certainly you’ve heard of the photographer who took the only picture in the world of the legendary Pokemon, Aerodactyl. (…) Argh! How is it possible that they’ve never heard of me?!” I’m probably arguing semantics, but Aerodactyl is obviously not Legendary. Maybe in an unofficial sense.

Also, the average person, especially kids, don’t typically know big names in photography.

– Zooming in on a picture doesn’t return the color and details to a photo of a figure in shadow. Also, if he did have a picture capable of showing color and detail, why did he not send that in to Pokemon Times? Any reputable news/photography source would probably throw that shadowy picture out, in all honesty. That could easily be a hoax.

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 2

And wouldn’t he be in the slightest bit curious as to who that clearly human shaped figure is being held by Aerodactyl? He doesn’t even seem to have analyzed it enough to tell that there’s a human in that figure. You’re kind of a crap photographer, when you think about it, Snap.

– I do appreciate them linking back to an older episode, though. Kudos.

– Awwww, the Eevee kiss picture. Awwww the Kangaskhan with her baby picture.

– Although, for some of those pics, they’re clearly looking at the camera so they had to be somewhat posed?

– Snap: “That’s why I never want to shoot a Pokemon when they’re posed and look sad and scared.” Maybe this is just cynical me peeking out, but if you never take a picture of a sad or scared Pokemon, you’re not really getting the true scope of their natural state of being, are you? You have a very good point in not wanting your subjects to look posed, especially wildlife, but if you only capture the happy-go-lucky, you only get part of the, incoming pun, picture.

And, no, I’m definitely not saying he should intentionally scare Pokemon or make them sad, but avoiding it kinda limits his scope as a photographer.

– Ash: “Well, Pikachu might not like being photographed, but Pikachu’s not my only Pokemon, ya know? I’ve got others in these Pokeballs. How about a shot of Pidgeotto?”

He not only remembered he had Pidgeotto, but it was the first Pokemon he suggested? I think I might cry.

– Misty: “I have Pokemon you can shoot, too!”

How is it possible this line never became a meme?

– Yes, Snap, Pikachu’s super uncomfortable and scared of your camera, so give a fired up declaration that you’ll do whatever it takes to get Pikachu’s picture right to his face. Good job, Mr. Natural.

– I will most certainly save my complaining about Team Rocket’s plan this episode for later. Since the main problem with it is the reason they came up with the plan in the first place, which won’t be revealed until the end of the episode, complaining about anything else they’re doing would be moot.

– I love how Team Rocket waits until they’re done eating to make a big to-do about ditching their costumes. There’s no one around to fool, guys. Unless you’re trying to fool the restaurant (or hotel?…Hotel restaurant?…..Either way, how can they afford that?) employees, in which case why do it while you’re still in the restaurant?

Jessie and James: *After they reveal themselves* “Surprise, surprise!”

Meowth: “Yeah, right!” Haha. At least they own up to it – Points for that.

– Why the hell would Snap burst out at Pikachu, knocking over cans to make a big noise in addition to him yelling, if he wants a natural picture of Pikachu?

– I absolutely adore Ash photobombing on Snap, though. He’s not only protecting Pikachu, he’s just having a blast teasing Snap.

– Ash: “Missed again, Snapper!” Is he making a nickname off of Snap or is he making a photo-based nickname….either way, I don’t like it.

– James: “~Paddy cake, paddy cake, it’s our trap. *hums*” I find that line really adorable, and I can’t help but think Eric Stuart probably ad-libbed that considering James’ mouth isn’t moving there.

– James didn’t play the woman in this episode, but he actually looks better shawl when he messes up the costumes than Jessie did. I just feel like they almost always work better when Jessie plays the guy and James is the girl. They have such good crossdressing game.

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 3

– Why did they stop James from saying they dug a trap to Snap if they believe they contracted him out to capture Pikachu?

– It’s cute that Pikachu’s hiding in Ash’s backpack, though simultaneously a little sad because he’s so scared.

– I should take the time point out that Pikachu HAS had its picture taken before, the most prominent example I can think of being in The Battling Eevee Brothers when they had their picture taken as a group at the end. It’s probably that Snap’s so intent on Pikachu and him alone, but I wanted to note that.

– Where is Togepi? I thought it was in Misty’s bag, hidden away like it is sometimes, but if it is, it got smushed when they fell into that pitfall trap.

– I know I said I wouldn’t really comment on Team Rocket’s plan yet, but why are they so mystified by what an ‘expert’ would do to capture Pikachu when they already have them trapped in a hole? Most of the work has been done.

– Snap: “Ahhh, that’s the Pikachu I want to capture!” Right after it’s fallen into a pitfall trap? Thus would be at least a little scared or upset?

– Now I can complain about Team Rocket’s plan! They tracked down Snap because Meowth read in the Pokemon Times that Snap was the best at capturing Pokemon….

Meowth: “The magazine says he’s…uh…Ah! ‘The best at capturing Pokemon…on FILM!’” This is too dumb for words. Meowth actively reads this magazine, apparently, but couldn’t be bothered to finish this sentence!?

How did he go the entire article, barring that one sentence, without him being a photographer ever coming up? Did the article start with, “This is Todd Snap, he’s great at capturing Pokemon….” and he just didn’t go on?

The article had to be mostly about Aerodactyl with a tagline being about the photographer who got the image because, being real, 1) The Aerodactyl thing is way more interesting than ‘ten-year-old knows how to operate camera and had good timing’ and 2) It’s a crappy picture anyway – why would it be singing his praises that much?

How did they even have a full conversation with Snap without his photos or camera or his dream to be the best Pokemon Photo Master coming up?

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 4

I get that Team Rocket has their moments of dumb, but the fact that they constructed this whole ruse for Snap and even bothered to dot their I’s by helping him out with a pitfall trap yet didn’t finish reading the sentence that informed them about Snap is too dumb even for them.

– Meowth: “Ah, now I get it! The article said he was good at capturing them on film! I thought he actually captures them! An amusing mistake!” No, it’s not, and even if it was, it’s now not amusing because you explained the joke.

– And, in the end, he takes the picture with them clearly posed. It’s a happy picture, but he’s still posed.

– Also, if Ash and Pikachu finally agreed to the photo…..why not get them out of the pit first?

– Uh…So Snap climbed down into the pit and into the hole in the pit before Misty and Brock, who were already in the pit, went down the hole?

– I praised Ash for remembering he has Pokemon besides Pikachu earlier, and then he forgets he has Bulbasaur, who can Vine Whip him out of the water and Squirtle, who can probably swim him to the edge.

– The message or lesson for Snap in this episode is muddy. First he goes on saying how much he wants to convey Pokemon naturally, not disturbing them or making them sad. I know why he wants the picture of Pikachu, but then he becomes deadset on getting Pikachu’s picture no matter what, even though Pikachu’s scared.

Then Ash says Snap doesn’t understand Pokemon’s feelings, which I get given the way he’s behaving and how he’s not telling Ash why he wants Pikachu’s picture, but how is that really a problem for him when he’s doing this out of sympathy for a person?

The way he’s going about it is problematic (Can’t he just tell them that some people want the photo but not give away the client’s identity? Or maybe even lie and say there’s a Pikachu photo contest or something?) but he’s doing it for an empathetic reason.

He cares more about his camera than his own safety, which kinda indicates that he cares more about pictures than his own life, but nothing else indicates this. Then his big moment of character growth is sacrificing his camera to save Ash?

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 5

Not only is that dumb, but….he’s a world famous photographer. He supposedly has enough money to own his own house and fancy camera equipment. I find it hard to believe that this professional photographer (even if he’s ten years old) doesn’t have a backup camera. Or the money to buy one, anyway.

All professional photographers have backups. Even hobbyists usually have a backup camera. Maybe not a fancy one, but a backup one anyway just in case. Him sacrificing his camera as a professional world famous photographer, no matter how you look at it, is lame.

If they had said this was some precious camera that his photographer parent gave to him before they passed away or something, it’d be different. Heck, it’d even give him more of a reason to help Team Rocket since they were playing the death card, but it’s not and they didn’t. It’s just a camera.

I have to laugh a little, though, because how much would Snap be hated if he just let Ash die because he didn’t want to get his camera wet?

– He must have a crazy high-quality tripod if the connector between the camera and tripod is strong enough to both take the weight of Ash and Pikachu and take the brunt of the rushing water.

– Oh great, Team Rocket makes their grand entrance. Well, considering their initial plan was built on stupid and their follow-up was a pitfall trap, what are they going to do now? Use a net? Uhp, yup. Just grab Pikachu with a net. Okay, now what are they gonna do? Stand there and taunt—

*James throws a bomb at Ash and Snap* Holy crap! He’s trying to blow up Ash! This isn’t the first time they’ve done it, but wow! They already have Pikachu, too! This is just vindictive murder of two children! Wow, Team Rocket. Just…Wow.

Also, I hate to go this dark, but if this was their backup plan, why not go to the pit earlier, grab Pikachu and then lob the bombs into the pit? They definitely wouldn’t survive that if they’re on a murder binge today. They didn’t really need Snap at all.

– Snap: “Why did you trick me!?”

Jessie: “You tricked us first, Shutterbug.” Uh, no. You tricked yourselves because you’re all imbeciles who can’t finish reading a sentence.

Considering how vain Team Rocket is and how stupid they’ve been today, yeah, I’ll believe they’d stop their evil plan, which is actually succeeding for a change, because Ash is going to take a picture of them (with the clearly not working soaking wet camera.)

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 6

Though, now Ash just tried to murder Team Rocket by blowing them up. This isn’t Looney Tunes, guys.

Misty….Brock…Did you climb out of the pit and wander around until you found the opening to the river? One of you should’ve jumped down into the hole at least. Misty, sure would’ve been helpful to have some strong Water Pokemon to help Ash not drown and/or fall to his death over a waterfall…

– Misty: “I don’t get it, why are you guys acting like friends?” Did they not make up? It was really implied that they made up, otherwise Ash wouldn’t have done the picture.

Ash: “We are friends, Misty, because we have something in common. We both like Pokémon.” You knew he liked Pokemon way back at the house, and this ordeal had nothing to do with liking Pokemon.

– Wait…He’s taking a picture at the end….which means either that camera’s waterproof or he DID have a backup camera, which just makes his big ‘sacrifice’ all the more pointless.

– Oh well, at least Togepi’s back from Togepurgatory.


This episode is a lot of….okay. I don’t really hate Snap, I just dislike his bouts of egotism and ribbing Ash. His character ‘arc’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s presented one way (he cares more about pictures than Pokemon’s feelings) and ends up another (he cares more about human life than his camera?)

The concept of Pokemon photography is neat enough and something we haven’t yet explored. In addition, I enjoyed the callback to an older episode and actually connecting it here, even if it didn’t have much to do with anything.

Team Rocket’s plan, though, is built on dumb circumstances, even for them, and they really lucked out on Ash falling into that river for a shot at getting Pikachu in the end. I’m a little depressed that this mucked up non-plan actually almost worked.

I’m really…okay with Snap sticking around, even though, like I said, he doesn’t do anything. He just kinda hangs around and randomly leaves. I don’t understand the logic with not only making Snap a recurring character, but making him linearly recurring and a fellow companion. He stands out more than many CotDs but not enough for this.

Next episode, it’s the Pokemon Exam!

….Previous Episode

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