Pokemon Episode 59 Analysis – Volcanic Panic

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen11

Badge Episode: Cinnabar Island – Volcano Badge (Attempt 2 – Success)

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Plot: Ash’s Gym battle with Blaine continues with Pikachu cornered between the fearsome Magmar and the molten hot pit of magma below as he stands inches away from the edge of the arena. He barely misses getting hit by a Fire Blast, earning him a burn mark on his back and nearly forcing him into the magma below. Pikachu is okay, but Ash can’t stand to risk Pikachu’s life any further so he surrenders.

As Ash takes Pikachu to the hot spring to recover, Team Rocket devises a plan to steal Magmar – trick it into dropping its guard and then hit it with freeze blasts. The frozen Pokemon will then be transported to their boss. Their plan fails miserably as Magmar effortlessly melts the ice almost as quickly as it encases it.

Panicking, Team Rocket unleashes a barrage of freeze blasts to the surrounding rock, causing it to crack and break apart. Blaine is alerted to the situation and Ash and Co. go with him to help. The Gym is falling apart at a fast rate and, even worse, the magma is going out of control. Soon, the rocks will burst and the entire island will be flooded with magma, killing all of its inhabitants.

Team Rocket blasts off and Blaine commands Magmar to stop the magma flow with a wall of rocks. Only Fire Pokemon can withstand the heat enough to help, so Ash calls on Charizard…..who promptly naps.

Magmar is left to make the dam alone, but every time a decent amount of rocks is stacked, the magma pushes them away. Magmar simply can’t make a dam fast enough on its own. Respecting Magmar’s power and determination, Charizard agrees to help out. The two of them together make the dam more effective more quickly.

Brock decides to send out Geodude and Onix to help, since Rock Types don’t mind the heat, and Misty sends out Staryu (and Ash, Squirtle) to help keep the Pokemon cool with Water Gun. After a lot of work and a lot of rocks, the dam is successfully made and the island is saved.

Ash initially thinks this act has earned him a Volcano Badge, but Blaine offers a rematch for the badge instead. Using an arena made on the top of the volcano, over another lava pit, they start their one-on-one match. Blaine sends out Magmar. Ash is about to send out Pikachu, but Charizard insists on battling, wanting to test his strength against an opponent as tough as Magmar.

Ash is excited that Charizard will finally battle for him, even if he shows that he still doesn’t respect him. The battle heats up quickly, no pun intended, as Magmar and Charizard maintain a pretty even playing field throughout the match. However, the tides soon turn when Magmar grapples Charizard and dives into the magma with him.

This move, despite being lethally devastating, is considered legal by Blaine since the lava pit itself counts as a part of the arena, thus Magmar is violating no rules dragging Charizard down there, despite the horrible implications.

Ash starts mourning Charizard, but there’s bubbling in the lava.

Sure enough, Charizard flies out of the lava, Magmar still latched to his back, and starts shooting up into the sky. With a Submission and a powerful Seismic Toss attack, Magmar is soundly defeated and Ash earns his Volcano Badge. Charizard, however, goes back to his old tricks immediately and Flamethrower’s Ash in the face before having his own victory celebration in the middle of the arena.

With his seventh badge in hand, Ash wonders where he’ll earn his eighth and final badge before gaining entry into the Indigo League. Brock tells him that he never beat the Gym back in Viridian City. Ash wonders why Misty never told him of a Gym in Viridian City and she explains that they were fighting back then, though she doesn’t remember why. Brock nearly reminds her of the bike Ash busted when they first met, and Ash does his best to change the subject and walk off. Misty remembers, however, and reminds him that he still needs to pay her back for her bike.

It’s off to Viridian City and the battle for the Earth Badge!

——————————–

– Alright, alright, alright, this is completely unimportant and kind of silly but I swear this has been driving me nuts for years and now I finally have a platform to point it out.

In the flashback to the previous episode, when Ash is talking to Pikachu right as Pikachu is stuck between Magmar and a fall into a pit of magma, surely ending his life, Ash says ‘You’ll feel 100% soon, Pikachu.’

Obviously, this is not only the wrong line, but this line was taken from after the title card when Ash is bathing Pikachu and trying to soothe his battle wounds. I don’t know if this was a mistake in the editing room or this was something 4Kids consciously did (Wouldn’t put it past them) but still, how did such a mistake even happen? It’s a clip mashup recap. That’s one of the easiest things in the world to edit. Just take clips from the episode and put them to new music with a voiceover. It would make more sense if they accidentally put this audio clip over the audio for that scene, but nope. It’s purely the ‘100%’ audio.

This drove me nuts as a kid because it’s just so hard to miss and so awkward. It’s a very inappropriate thing to say at that scene. It’s like it’s implying that Ash is okay with Pikachu getting hurt because he’ll be treated soon after.

– Narrator: “As Ninetales won the first round with its Ember attack!” Nope. That was a Fire Spin.

You can tell because the clip you’re playing shows the fire…spinning……Also, it literally takes two seconds to check the last episode.

– Narrator: *In regards to the battle against Rhydon* “It was Pikachu to the rescue with another electrifying effort!” Don’t remind me…

– Flashback!Blaine: “Come out, Magmar!” That’s not what he said – he said “I choose Magmar!”

Flashback!Ash: “What’s that?” That’s not what he said during that shot. He said, “Mag….mar?” Dogasu from Dogasu’s backpack/Bulbagarden stated that they suspect this episode was made when Riddle Me This was likely still in production or at least not solidified, as that’s the only way they can explain how screwed up the dialogue in the flashback is. However, not having the right lines is different from taking a line later in this same episode, one that’s completely nonsensical in this context, and using it in the previous shot. 4Kids really doesn’t have an excuse with that one.

Plus, technically, 4Kids does this all the time. When they make cuts to insert commercial breaks in their shows and then replay the last scene when they come back as a mini-recap, they very commonly change the dialogue for whatever reason. Their theory is still sound, but I can’t help but think this is just more 4Kids sloppiness.

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen1

– Narrator: “Pikachu is in real Pika-peril!” Narrator, Pikachu is about to be burned alive or melted in molten magma. Maybe now’s not the best time for cute wordplay.

– Ash: “Pikachu! Duck for cover!” That’s actually pretty smart seeing as how Fire Blast’s shape leaves a big gap in the bottom. If you duck, you should be able to avoid it, especially at Pikachu’s size.

– High five to Ash for stopping the match. It definitely shows his growth, particularly when you remember his first Gym match with Brock. However, maybe I should dock that to a high four or something because I think he waited a bit long to call it off. When Pikachu was cornered between an insanely powerful Fire Pokemon who wasn’t affected by electricity and a pit of magma, that would’ve been the time to raise the white flag.

– Blaine: “The hots springs will help it recover from its injuries.” I know people say hot springs have medicinal or therapeutic properties, but are hot springs really wise for treating….burns?

– Ash: “Hey, Blaine, where ya goin’?! You have to give me another chance!” Why are you stopping him from leaving? He never said he wouldn’t give you another chance in the future, and you obviously can’t have one immediately.

– It is pretty cute to see Ash bathing Pikachu. Although, that has to HURT on a burn wound.

– Ash: “If Charizard would battle, I know I’d win!” Why? It’s Fire v. Fire and Magmar is an incredibly experienced Pokemon who is basically magma incarnate. Charizard is his most powerful Pokemon, but the matchup is so iffy to act like it’d be a sure thing.

Ash: “But it still won’t listen to me…” Yeah, I don’t get it. Charizard still won’t listen after all the nothings you’ve tried to get it to obey. It’s so weird.

– There’s a very interesting and somewhat irritating comparison note/rant on this scene with Team Rocket found here.

– Team Rocket’s going to battle Magmar with an ice gun…..Uh….Huh…

– James: “A frozen Magmarita!” Did you just reference a margarita? As in, you made an alcohol reference in Pokemon? Keep making sense, 4Kids.

– They plan on tricking Magmar into thinking he won something so they can get a chance to take it off-guard and freeze-blast it….but they also decided to carry their freeze blaster rocket launchers into the room with them….Yeah, that doesn’t seem suspicious. Keep in mind, this show frequently incorporates cartoon logic – as in you always see Team Rocket pulling various items out of nowhere like the space behind them is an endless void of props. There’s no reason they can’t walk in seemingly carrying nothing.

Yes, I am nitpicking the fact that they’re NOT using cartoon logic here, but only because their real logic makes their plan completely pointless.

(Another alternative – they could have been carrying briefcases or something that turn into the rocket launchers.)

– Would Magmar really care that he won a trip to Mount Vesuvius if he already lives in a volcano?

– I love how Magmar gives zero shits about the rockets being shot towards it. Like ‘Yeah, whatever.’

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– I don’t know why Blaine is suddenly all about puns instead of riddles.

– If I’m going to go off about lack of cartoon logic, I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut about the fact that Jessie and James seemingly have an endless supply of ice rockets.

– Ash literally just told Blaine to stop the jokes, and when Blaine asks what will happen when the volcano fills with ice, he responds that it will become a snow cone…..

– So, Team Rocket’s plan was not only stupid, but their plan B was 100x more stupid and didn’t even have an end goal besides ‘freeze gym.’ Okie dokie.

– That being said, a volcano breaking apart and threatening to spew lava all over the island, killing all of its residents in a short time frame, is certainly a high-tension moment for this series.

– It’s really cute that Pikachu wants to help too. Kinda reminds me of him using a watering can to help put out the fire in Pokemon Scent-Sation.

– Blaine: “WAIT! Only a Fire Type Pokemon can withstand the heat from that lava!” I don’t think the lava at its current level is any lower or higher than it was to the Gym platform. This is either not true or Blaine knows his Gym setup is ridiculously unsafe for non-Fire Types (and people for that matter) but keeps it that way because screw you.

– I am even more annoyed than usual about Ash’s typical ‘expecting Charizard to obey out of nowhere’ shtick this time. I think it’s because his body language and voice acting make him seem more cocky about it in this episode.

– Ash: “Argh, Charizard never listens to me…” At this point, I wouldn’t listen either. Yes, Charizard is a big brat who had a personality change out of nowhere just because of evolution. However, after all this time, look at it from Charizard’s perspective.

This little shit knows you’re a powerhouse and keeps commanding you like an army general. He makes no efforts to understand you or train you. Time and again, he keeps throwing you out because you’re his trump card, expecting you to obey simply because he’s the Trainer and you’re the Pokemon. Each time you get let out is another reminder that he’s an entitled asshat who just wants to use your power to win without working with you to earn it. Wouldn’t you just continue to lose any desire whatsoever to obey him whenever he calls on you?

That coupled with Charizard’s pride makes this relationship a recipe for disaster.

I really, truly think Charizard would be more cooperative if Ash showed more maturity and respect for Charizard, even if Charizard himself doesn’t deserve it either. One of them has to be the bigger man/Pokemon and put the cards on the table.

It’s been shown time and again, including here, that Charizard can put aside his pride and his attitude if the other person/Pokemon shows some sort of strength in character to earn it. Here, Magmar is trying valiantly to save lives by stopping the volcano from erupting. Charizard recognizes its noble feats and decides to get off his ass and help. In contrast, Ash demands that Charizard help out, which leads to the predictable outcome of Charizard taking a nap.

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I love Pikachu’s expression here. He’s not even surprised anymore.

– Seems really dumb to segue from such a topic to something as silly as this, but I don’t think Magmar have the ability to sweat.

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen4

I mean, not only would the sweat certainly evaporate immediately, but a Pokemon like Magmar wouldn’t need a biological function designed to cool off the body.

– Also, uhh, Rock Pokemon can also easily withstand the heat from the magma…..*lip smack*…Sure would be nice if we had some of those, huh, Brock?

Big strong Rock Pokemon…sorta like, eh, Rhydon or something….huh, Blaine? (You can argue that Rhydon was KO’d earlier, but Squirtle was barbecued and he’s perfectly fine to help out now.)

– It is pretty awesome when Charizard starts helping out. That little look Magmar and Charizard give each other is cool. They don’t need to say anything, they’re just fiery badasses saving the day.

– Brock: “Right! Okay Onix and Geodude – Rock Pokemon can take heat! GO!” Oh NOW your brain starts working! Good thing you weren’t in a horribly perilous situation that could end the lives of thousa—oh wait.

– Misty: “And Starmie you can help them all to keep cool while they’re working!” The sentiment is nice, Misty, but no. No. Don’t do that. No.

First of all, we just saw the kind of cataclysmic effects that occur when you quickly cool hot rocks. I don’t know the temperature of water from within a Water Pokemon, and quite frankly I don’t want to research that, nor do I know if quickly cooling a hot Rock Pokemon has the same effects, but it’s too risky to try that.

Secondly, they’re all Fire and Rock Type Pokemon, Misty. They’re WEAK to water. Spraying them the whole time would just hurt and weaken them while they’re doing intense manual labor. (Being fair, they obviously don’t spray the Fire Pokemon, but my point still stands)

The only one this would be beneficial for is Pikachu, who shouldn’t be helping even with the Water Pokemon’s help.

– Misty, you called out StarYU not StarMIE. (I also think I mistakenly claimed Misty had already left Horsea and Starmie at the Cerulean Gym an episode or so back when that won’t happen for another two episodes. She uses them so infrequently now I legitimately just thought she already left them…..)

– It’s so sweet that Psyduck lets itself out to try and help.

– I know Jigglypuff was in the previous episode, but why the hell did it suddenly appear down here? It just randomly appears for one comedy shot running in front of the group of Pokemon as Ash chases it and then disappears for the rest of the episode. What the hell?

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– Why are Squirtle, Onix, Geodude and Staryu just standing there posing until Pikachu tells them to go? Misty and Brock already gave them commands. Now’s not the time for this comedy skit. Thousands of people are about to die a horrible, horrible death.

– Togepi is super cute trying to help the others make a barrier.

– I want everyone to think about the previous note and consider why this is actually a massive problem.

The answer is ‘Togepi nearly falls to its death and becomes a fried egg all because Misty, for some godforsaken reason, thought now was a good time to put down the baby Pokemon and stop watching it. Here. In this volcano. That is breaking apart. And filling with magma. And the only reason I can see for her putting down Togepi in the first place is because she threw a Pokeball, but she’s thrown plenty of Pokeballs with Togepi in her arms, and you don’t even need to throw Pokeballs to let Pokemon out…’ The parents from Rugrats wish they could see your level of negligence from where they stand, Misty.

– Blaine: “I don’t know how to thank you, Ash.”

Well….technically, he didn’t do anything. Charizard and Pikachu did stuff, and Charizard didn’t even do it because of him – he did it because of Magmar.

Brock would actually deserve way more credit if we’re going by Pokemon because Onix was the only one throwing several rocks in at once.

As for Misty, between sending a Water Pokemon out to hurt the helpful Pokemon and nearly letting Togepi burn to death, she should probably get arrested or something.

Ash: “Are you gonna give me my Volcano Badge now?!”

Blaine: “Uh!? NO! I was going to say I’ll give you another chance to battle me for your Volcano Badge!”

I’ve mentioned before that I love this exchange, and I do for several reasons. First, it acknowledges the clear issue of Ash constantly getting pity badges and somewhat makes up for it, especially with Blaine’s dumbfounded response to Ash’s request.

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Second, it truly shows Blaine’s professionalism as a Gym Leader (regardless of his questionable Gym location) that he is downright insulted to hear Ash expecting him to just hand over a badge for helping him.

Finally, it knocks Ash’s entitled attitude down a peg, if only for a second. Seriously, I was embarrassed for him when he asked Blaine if he was going to give him his Volcano Badge. The fact that he asked at all was bad enough, but the way he asked was just childish. (Yes, I recognize that he’s a person of child nature.)

You know how I pointed out how Ash has gotten increasingly obnoxious about how he handles his pity badges over time? At first, he didn’t even want to take it. Then, he was very uneasy but accepted anyway. Then he was just ‘WHOO FREE BADGE!’ Now he’s expecting free badges when he does anything for a Gym Leader.

And, again, I feel the need to bring up that Ash didn’t even do anything this time. He let Charizard out of its Pokeball and it didn’t obey him…again. That’s all he did. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he let Squirtle out to spray the Rock Pokemon, which is the same issue as Staryu doing it) At least in the Rainbow Badge episode he braved a burning building to save a Pokemon and nearly died.

That being said, this isn’t even really a prize or a thank-you kinda thing. Blaine said they’d have a rematch again sometime, and didn’t Erika say that it’s in the league rules to accept all challenges? Pretty sure that includes rematch challenges.

– Alright, so this makeshift ‘Gym’ has always greatly confused me.

1) How did the lava get way up there?

2) How is it being held so close to the brim? Is it a man-made pool of lava?

3) Where did those pillars come from? They’re all spaced apart basically evenly and are at the same height, indicating again that this arena is man-made.

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen7

4) If it is a man-made arena, what is it for? Training for Blaine’s Fire Pokemon?

5) How did they even get up there?

6) WHY are they even up there? Is it really necessary to have this match anywhere other than a perilous pit of molten rock?

When you think about it, this place is even more dangerous than the actual Gym. At least there you have a wide platform to walk on, even if there are similar pillars to get to the platform. Here, you just have a bunch of pillars as your arena. One false move and you’re the Terminator……ya know…at the end of The Terminator…..2…..Judgment Day.

– Blaine: “Since my Gym has been wrecked, would you object if we held our match right here on the volcano?” Uh….you already made the climb up there and took positions at opposite ends of the arena. Pretty sure you guys agreed upon this beforehand.

– Blaine: “Let’s make this a one-on-one!” ‘Because there’s not enough time left in the episode for anything more than that!’

– Ash’s sense of entitlement is totally rubbing off on Pikachu. Ash hasn’t announced his choice yet, but Pikachu still steps up like ‘Of course, it’s going to be me. Pftt who else?’

Why would Pikachu think Ash would choose him anyway? We already know Magmar is immune to electricity, leaving Pikachu with only physical attacks at his disposal. This wouldn’t be too bad in any other situation, but 1) He’d be fighting a Magmar, meaning I think any physical contact with him would equal deep, searing pain. And 2) the arena is now a bunch of pillars, meaning he’d have an incredibly difficult time attempting any physical attack.

– Ash: *After Charizard doesn’t pay any mind to Ash calling him out, focused too much on Magmar* “Oh….guess Charizard could still use a little training.” He could use ANY training period. Do you think that when Charizard does things that benefit you, not caring about the benefits to you at all, that counts as training? You’re a backwards little waffle.

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– As cool as that explosion looked, fire combining with fire should not make an explosion. To be honest, I’m not even sure how those two Flamethrowers collided like energy beams in Dragon Ball Z.

– Again, as cool as it was to see Charizard physically stop the Fire Blast with his bare hands and deflect it into the sky, it should not be possible to grab and throw fire. Then again, maybe Fire Blast is somewhat solid-ish considering it’s flying through the air while maintaining its shape.

– How is Magmar running towards Charizard during the Skull Bash? He should be hopping at least a little considering their battlefield is pillars.

– Also, Charizard can fly, he specifically extended his wings while watching Magmar come towards him and yet he still somehow failed to fly even a little and got hit.

– That bit was saved by Charizard slickly saving himself from falling into the lava.

– The shot where Charizard flies into the sun and then shoots straight down into Magmar was awesome. (However, Ash didn’t tell him to do that.)

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen9

– Ash: “Rrrgh, it’s against the rules for Magmar to pull Charizard into the volcano!” I don’t think there’s a specific rule about that. Probably because if you brought up that issue with the Pokemon League they’d go ‘Blaine has a Gym in a WHAT?!’ and shut the whole thing down.

However, Ash does have a point. I do believe it’s very much against the rules to MURDER YOUR OPPONENT’S POKEMON!

I don’t know if all Fire Pokemon have the ability to withstand being submerged in molten lava and maybe Blaine knows this, so he’s not worrying about Charizard very much – I feel like this has to be false, just because I’m trying to imagine something like Vulpix swimming in lava and my mind keeps drifting to dark scenarios that make my heart hurt.

Then again, the alternative is that Blaine just had a ten year old’s Pokemon murdered in one of the worst ways imaginable and he just doesn’t care. In which case, what a friggin’ psychopath.

Then again again, it’s also not a good look for Ash to be more concerned over Blaine breaking the rules than….ya know…the murder.

– Blaine: “Magmar didn’t cheat. You agreed to using the volcano for our Pokemon battle didn’t you?. Under the volcano is part of the volcano too.” First of all, they’re in the volcano, not under it – that would be underground and under all of the magma. Secondly, why do you think he’s talking more about being out of bounds than…ya know…the murder?

– It does break my heart when it finally hits Ash that Charizard might be dead.

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– Ash: “Charizard! Let’s show Magmar your aerial submission attack!” Lots of people seem to point out that this is probably a dub flub since ‘Aerial Submission Attack’ isn’t an attack, but I honestly just think Ash is describing the attack (It’s an attack, it’s aerial and it’s Submission….) Maybe that’s just me.

Still, Ash, this is the first time Charizard ever uses Submission (or Seismic Toss, for that matter) so how do you even know he knows these moves?

– Magmar should certainly be dead after being flown up to the clouds, thrown so hard it actually had a fiery aura around it when it was falling and landed face-down. I don’t care if it landed in the lava pool – it would not live through that.

– I usually get a little annoyed when Ash gets Flamethrowered by Charizard, but this time he kinda deserved it. After all that fuss, after getting Charizard to listen to his commands if only for a minute, after thinking Charizard died in a horrific fashion, after Charizard earned him the win and his seventh badge, all Ash has to say to him is ‘Yes! Charizard, return!’ No thank you, no nothing. Just ‘Get back in your Pokeball!’

– Ash: “I know that Charizard will learn to obey someday!” I don’t like the way this is worded, because, again, it just sounds like Ash is expecting this to be something Charizard will do on his own instead something he needs to be taught in training….

– I like how they bring up Misty’s bike again. They haven’t mentioned it in many moons, and it solidifies that Misty follows Ash at this point because she wants to, not because she’s pestering him for a bike.

——————————————–

All in all, this is still one of my favorite episodes. It has great action, animation, direction, music choices, tense moments and the final battle was simply awesome – one of the best battles in all of the Indigo League episodes.

Blaine, in my opinion, definitely proved to be the most brutal and difficult of all of the Kanto Gym Leaders here, edging out Sabrina, in my opinion. Yes, she’s very scary with her dolls and telekinesis, and yes, she’s incredibly powerful, but she was still defeated by the joy of laughter….Meanwhile, Blaine is holding his Pokemon battles over volcano pits, nearly murdered two Pokemon and used a Pokemon so powerful it was matching Charizard blow for blow.

Also, it’s not a secret that I really don’t care much for the Earth Badge match, but that’s a story for another day…

Magmar is an awesome Pokemon that I’m sorry to say we don’t really see that often. Even though it has a size disadvantage and can’t fly, it still gave Charizard more than a run for its money, and it’s cool to see them have a sort of respect between warriors type of relationship.

However, I am really getting worn out on Ash continuing to expect Charizard to just up and obey him at every turn when he does absolutely nothing to change the situation. His cocky attitude doesn’t help. I know I won’t get off this, but it does bother me a lot. Not to mention that it’s a bad message to send to kids. Have a problem with something? Don’t try to fix it. Just wait. Eventually, it will work itself out. This episode in particular is a shining example of that bad message because Ash doesn’t train Charizard at all and yet he still wins his Volcano Badge with him, even if Charizard goes back to disobeying afterward.

What if Charizard didn’t give a crap about respecting Magmar? Not only would Ash have certainly not won his Volcano Badge in a reasonable time frame, but they also might not have created the barrier in time and thousands of people could have died – all because Ash won’t train the damn thing.

Also, the plot device of the episode, Team Rocket, was just a bit too forced. Trying to capture Magmar, especially considering it beat Pikachu, is very understandable, but there was absolutely no reason for them to completely decimate the volcano with freeze blasts. How would that help them at all, and why did they not think it stupid to blow up a volcano that they’re currently inhabiting?

Still, love the episode, love the two-parter arc, love the Gym’s destruction and racing to stop the magma, love the final battle. It’s just a lot of fun from start to finish.

Next episode, we have some fun with another starter evo final form – Blastoise! With Wartortle! And Wartortle are awesome!


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One thought on “Pokemon Episode 59 Analysis – Volcanic Panic

  1. I definitely remember this episode. The fight between Magmar and Charizard was great. I didn’t even think about the fridge horror of the episode since I haven’t seen it that long.

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