Pokemon Episode 61 Analysis: The Misty Mermaid

POKEMON EP 61 SCREEN1

CotD(s): None

Character Returns: Misty’s Sisters/The Sensational Sisters/Daisy, Violet and Lily

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have arrived on the edge of Viridian City, hopeful to soon acquire Ash’s eighth and final badge – the Earth Badge. However, Misty is troubled. Horsea is depressed, seemingly because it’s been unable to get out and swim in a wide open area. Misty tries to get it to swim in fountains and small bodies of water, but it’s not good enough.

Misty suggests taking a detour to Cerulean City to allow Horsea to get some exercise in the big pool in her Gym, and Brock and Ash think it’s a great idea. She calls ahead to her sisters to give them a heads up and they head out.

When they arrive, her sisters reveal that their shows aren’t doing so hot, but they have a plan. They’re going to put on a new underwater ballet called The Magical Mermaid. They also reveal that Misty is the headliner, much to her shock and annoyance because the show is the following day and she hasn’t agreed or prepared in any way. Her sisters successfully guilt-trip/trick her into doing it, however.

The next day, she skillfully plays her part as the titular mermaid, impressing the audience with her and the Water Pokemon’s underwater dancing. The show is going off spectacularly, but Team Rocket bursts in to ruin their fun. They tie up Lily and Violet, who were set to play the villains of the story, and take their places in the show but for real. They intend on stealing all of the Gym’s Water Pokemon during the performance.

Luckily, Misty won’t take that lying down, and eventually Ash and Brock also rush in to help her. Jessie’s Arbok is the only one able to fight underwater, but Misty and Ash have all of the Cerulean Water Pokemon, Misty’s own team and Ash’s Squirtle to combat him. Horsea is sidelined rather quickly because it simply doesn’t have the power to fight very well. Misty uses Seaking in its place, along with her own Starmie.

Even with everything in their favor, Arbok still seems to have their backs against the wall. Suddenly, Seel, a seldom-used Pokemon of the Gym, steps in to protect its friends. Teaming with Misty, it manages to get Arbok on the ropes with some Headbutts and an Aurora Beam.

Its efforts are paid off when Seel starts evolving into Dewgong! No longer the little ‘baby Seel’ everyone underestimated, Dewgong Ice Beams the trio into a block of ice.

Once they’ve evacuated the pool of all Pokemon and people (not Team Rocket) Ash commands Pikachu to Thundershock the water in order to finish off Team Rocket. A final thwack from Dewgong’s powerful tail sends all of them blasting off.

Even with Team Rocket’s intrusion (or maybe because of it?) the show was a huge success, and now Misty’s sisters can enjoy massive crowds in their shows once more. Despite Misty leaving again, they explain that they can just take turns playing the role of the mermaid.

Before she leaves, Misty’s sisters suggest borrowing some of Misty’s Pokemon in order to help out with the shows. Misty is upset at this request, but Brock justifies at least leaving Horsea since it obviously needs regular exercise in big bodies of water that it can’t get while traveling with Misty. She agrees with this logic and hands over Horsea, but is appalled to hear they also want her Starmie. She agrees to this request too, albeit more begrudgingly, and the group heads off before they try to siphon off Misty’s blood for profit or something.

Biding her sisters goodbye, Misty, Ash and Brock head back to Viridian City.

———————————-

– I love how they’re all “We’re not near the ocean” when they realize Horsea needs a big body of water to get some exercise…..they literally just pointed out that they came from Cinnabar ISLAND.

Also, considering you’re all supposed to be on the outskirts of Viridian City, it looks like you’re pretty close to the ocean from where I technically stand.

See, this is why you guys need a better map.

Actually, while we’re on the subjects of maps, note how far away Viridian City is from Cerulean City (It’s two squares away from Viridian heading northeast). They’d have to go through the Viridian Forest, to Pewter City and then walk about a quarter the length of the entire region east to get there. It’s quite the detour just to get a seahorse to a pool.

I was going to mention how this is kinda 4Kids fault, because, as Dogasu’s comparison states, the original just has them in some random town stopping off at a park as they’re on their way to Viridian City – they’re not right there at the city limits or anything…..but then I thought about it….The original actually makes this WORSE. They came from Cinnabar and were traveling to Viridian, who knows how far away they actually were from it, and still decided to traverse nearly halfway across the region on a whim. Wow.

– I get why Water Pokemon, especially ones without legs, need to exercise in water, but why is it just Horsea? Why not Goldeen?

– Misty: *on the phone with her sisters* “How are you? We’re coming to visit!” Maybe give them a second to respond to your question before blurting out your news, Misty.

– Wait, wait, wait….So….they’ve been planning this underwater ballet for weeks, seemingly always intending that Misty be the star, if that poster is any indication, yet they had to wait until the huge coincidence that is Misty suddenly visiting out of the blue, a day before the event no less, for them to actually secure her for their act.

What?

The only way I can see this really working is if Misty took several weeks to get back home, which actually isn’t that unrealistic considering the distance, but if that’s true, holy shit…..just…holy shit, they traveled for days, maybe weeks just to get a seahorse in some water when they literally just left the ocean an episode ago.

But if they really started pulling all of this together after she called, why are they pissed that she seemingly didn’t rush right over?

Also, why are none of her other sisters taking the role? They mention how their water shows aren’t raking in the crowds anymore, but that doesn’t imply that they as performers are stale. And, skipping ahead a bit, the girls do play roles in the ballet, so they’re not concerned about people disliking them. Couldn’t they have just hired another actress who can swim? Just seems like a big stretch for this whole setup.

– Lily and Violet cheer that they managed to trick Misty into agreeing….right in front of her…meaning, she could just choose to decline right now out of spite. Good on her for not doing that, she’s a woman of her word, but screw her sisters….barring Daisy because she at least looks ashamed of them.

POKEMON EP 61 SCREEN2

– Another near-death experience for unsupervised Togepi. Mother of the year, Misty.

– Horsea SWAM AWAY while Togepi was about to fall in the pool. Guess the seahorse doesn’t fall far from the Misty.

– I love Misty’s glare and pout at the start of rehearsal.

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– Pbbbbttsahsahshahhahahahahaha that awkward ‘I have to hug my sister because my mom is forcing me for a Christmas photo op’-esque hug Misty and Daisy are doing during rehearsal.

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– That is even more awkward in context considering they’re hugging because their characters fall in love. Tell me again why they didn’t at least hire someone to play the prince. Or, hey, and this isn’t for the sake of shipping, why not get Ash to do it?

(Awkward note: Violet wrote this entire play….with Misty in mind for being the star and Daisy being the prince…..meaning she purposefully designed a story in which two of her sisters fall in love……..Eeeeggghhhhh.)

– Rehearsal’s kinda pointless if you can run through the entire play in less than a minute. Also, this story kinda sucks, but I guess it was a fairy tale for kids written in either 15 minutes or several weeks ago.

– Brock: “I like that charming prince!”

Ash: “I like the Seel!” *chortle* I dunno why that got me.

– Ugh, this episode reeks of filler budget if you know what I mean. It’s weird. There are some great shots and expressions but just as many awful shots and animations.

– Jessie: “It looks like there will be a lot of Water Pokemon in that show.” Jessie….there’s a lot of Water Pokemon there all the time….it’s the Cerulean City Gym…Remember? The place where you tried to steal all of the many Water Pokemon they had?

– Daisy: “I am, like, so happy we tricked Misty into this!” Oh….here I thought you were actually ashamed of tricking her. Nevermind, they’re all bitches.

– It’s adorable that Brock’s feeding popcorn to Togepi….but babies shouldn’t have popcorn.

POKEMON EP 61 Screen5

– Some dude in the audience: “Yeah the effects are totally cool!” What effects? All you’ve seen so far is the pool being lifted up so everyone can see in the water.

– Misty looks really cool as the magical mermaid.

– Shellder! I usually don’t get to express how much I love that little bivalve.

– I like how they show little instances of hidden places where they’ve planned for Misty to get a breath. It’s a small detail, but it’s pretty cool. Adds to the realism.

– Lily: “Hm, maybe I should’ve played the magical mermaid. She has a much nicer costume!”

Violet: “That is, like, totally selfish. Besides, that costume would look better on me!” Are you just now realizing that the role you’ve all described as being beautiful and magnificent has a more appealing costume than one of the thugs trying to kidnap her? Also, this just opens the door back up for that question of why they insisted Misty be the mermaid at all.

– I’ll keep saying this until the day I die – James always looks amazing in women’s clothing. Look at him pulling off that swan lake-ish outfit like it was made for him. Work it, James!

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– Aw yawning Shellder!

– Jessie: “Nobody’s better at stealing Water Pokemon than we are!” Says the person who failed to steal any Water Pokemon the last time they targeted this exact Gym…..

– James: “And next time we steal men’s clothes!” 4Kids, don’t play this that way. Jessie is wearing men’s clothing right now. If he really didn’t want to wear the ballerina outfit, he’d just wear the prince outfit and Jessie would wear the ballerina outfit. But he chose the ballerina outfit because he looks fabulous in it. Let him be fabulous.

– Eh, I’ll just chalk up the talking underwater stuff to cartoon logic.

– I will ding them for being able to hear Meowth without any distortion whatsoever when he’s hovering above the water and they’re standing at the bottom of the pool.

– So Team Rocket basically nearly got away with a school of Goldeen? I mean, yeah that’s still terrible, but I doubt Giovanni would ever be impressed with a bunch of Goldeen.

– How is Arbok breathing underwater right now?

– This is Horsea’s final episode, and it’s proven more than ever to be useless. Actually, considering how useless it is in battle and the fact that it can’t function without constant access to big pools of water, it’s actually to Misty’s benefit that it stay behind in the Cerulean Gym.

– Misty: “I know. You haven’t been feeling well.” Horsea’s not sick. It just got depressed because it hasn’t been able to swim in a big body of water for maybe two days. Again, they literally just came from the ocean after spending days on an island.

– I love that Misty can easily command Seaking too. Reminds you of the fact that she is, in fact, the Cerulean City Gym Leader.

– Ash: “Good job, Misty!”

Misty: “Thank my sisters. They trained it.” Love Misty for giving her sisters props when she honestly doesn’t have to, especially considering they’ve been so shitty to her since she got there.

– Violet: “Only Water Pokemon can battle in water.” Factually incorrect on so many levels. Arbok’s battling just fine and it’s not a Water Pokemon. Also, Dratini/Dragonair excels underwater and it’s not part Water. Technically, as long as a Pokemon isn’t weak to water and can hold their breath, or has a rebreather, then it can probably battle underwater just fine. Weezing is a unique case because of course it would float to the surface, being loaded with light gas and everything.

– Violet: “Go Psyduck!” For real, Violet? For actual real? Granted, I’m not sure she knows what a dunderhead Psyduck is (or the fact that it, ironically, can’t swim) but Misty has to have told her sisters some things about it since Violet knows Misty has one and was even able to locate his Pokeball with ease. If Misty did talk to Violet about it, then I can’t imagine she didn’t share her anger at its ineptitude. That’s pretty much all she talks about when Psyduck is brought up.

Also, maybe I’m being a hypocrite, but despite liking Misty battling with the Gym’s Pokemon, I’m not sure how I feel about her sisters commanding her own personal team.

– Violet: “Misty’s Psyduck is, like, totally embarrassing.” I feel like you did that on purpose.

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– Ash: “Underwater Tackle!” Ash…..even if you just said “Tackle”….it’d still be….an underwater Tackle….Squirtle wouldn’t be confused and go “Oh, a regular Tackle. But we’re underwater. Guess Ash wants me to move this battle to dry land.”

– Why does Arbok start lunging after everyone with its fangs when Jessie called for a Poison Sting attack? Isn’t that a Bite? I would say maybe it’s using a venomous bite, but as we’ve gone over before, venom and poison are two different things. Plus Arbok’s Poison Sting has always been a bunch of shining needles shooting from its mouth.

– It’s also quite weird that three well-trained water Pokemon, two of which being Misty’s Starmie and Ash’s Squirtle are so scared to death of Arbok’s Poison Sting – an attack they’ve faced many times.

– Violet: “It’s over!” A three on one against Jessie’s Arbok…underwater, which is Misty’s home field….with the three in question being high-ish level Water Pokemon…..is considered easily won by Arbok because he has ‘cornered’ them (underwater, meaning they have many avenues of escape) and intends on using Poison Sting? Careful, you’ll dirty the water with all that bullshit.

– How is this Seel considered a ‘baby’ when it not only knows Aurora Beam, which requires level 35, but is also on the tipping point of evolution, which occurs at level 34?

– What the hell? Look at how tiny Seel is compared to Arbok during the whirlpool sequence. Arbok’s like a titan.

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– Lily: “I never knew Seel was, like, this strong.” …….Wait…..you never trained the thing? What, did you just happen to catch Seel at a high level by default?

Daisy: “We never let it, like, be itself.” Where did that come from?

– How does Misty know how strong Seel is when she’s been gone for so long? She even knows it knows Aurora Beam….Maybe SHE trained it before she left and her sisters didn’t notice or care.

– *Seel starts evolving*

Brock: “Look what’s happening to Seel!”

Violet: “What’s that?”

Lily:”What’s Seel doing?” Have you experienced Pokemon Trainers and GYM LEADERS never seen a Pokemon evolve before?

– I wonder if it’s weird for a Pokemon to be addressed differently after it evolves. You spend your whole life being called one name but then you evolve and suddenly people call you a completely different name. This is one of the reasons why it’s kinda stupid that Pokemon nicknames aren’t more common. It’d just so obviously be a thing most people would do. Imagine getting a puppy and calling it Puppy until it’s about a year old and then you start calling it Dog.

Why Use the Pokedex?: Ash declares that he knows this is a Dewgong before Dex’ing it.

– Am I the only one who thinks using Ice Beam underwater would freeze the water surrounding it too? It’s like a laser will heat up an entire container of water instead of just shooting through to its target.

– What the hell!? Team Rocket is frozen solid, and instead of calling the cops or something Ash and the others opt to drag all of the Water Pokemon out of the pool so Pikachu can shock the everloving crap out of them? You’re a cold-blooded sadist, Ash.

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Although, I get that this whole spiel is just to give Pikachu the spotlight again….

– Alright, they’re shocked now and clearly defeated. Time to–

*Dewgong tail-slaps them all out of the Gym, blasting them off*

Is the legal system in Pokemon just royally screwed? Is that why no one ever seems to want these people arrested?

– Why are Misty’s sisters all taking a bow and waving? They did absolutely nothing this whole time.

– Violet: “And if you decide to leave, Lily and I can take turns playing the mermaid.”

So you acknowledge that Misty didn’t have to play the mermaid and either of you could have done the job just fine? You three continue to be a cluster of canker sores.

– Daisy: “If they decide to leave, we totally won’t have enough Pokemon.”

No, really, why? This is the Cerulean City Gym. Don’t they have tons of Water Pokemon there? This Magical Mermaid show doesn’t call for more Pokemon than their other shows. They’re largely aesthetic.

Also, they’re kinda screwed either way, aren’t they? Because people will be clamoring about the explosions and the ‘air show’ and the big Pokemon battle and the funny Psyduck and the Arbok and the evolution and all the other cool stuff that they won’t be able to pull off without Misty, Ash and even Team Rocket playing a part.

– Violet: “Bummer. Maybe we can borrow some of Misty’s Pokemon.” Yes, why go out and capture some new and interesting Pokemon when you can just mooch off of your sister?

Also, bitch move to ask that after she’s already done so much for you, considering you forced her into doing something she didn’t have to do in the first place all because you’re manipulative harpies.

– Lily: “You better give us your Starmie, too.” Fuck you! Not only is it really greedy to ask for more when she’s already agreed to give up one Pokemon after all of this, but the one that is essentially her strongest? Come on! Granted, it is a little redundant to have a Staryu and a Starmie, but still. I’d think it’d be more logical to give up Staryu. It made perfect sense to leave Horsea here, it was the weakest link in Misty’s team and needed to be in water, but taking Starmie as well is a bit much. Now Misty’s team is really barren.

– Misty: “Oh, how can I say no?” Like this.

Seriously, though? How can you say no? You’re acting like they’re sweet-talking you when they’re pretty much demanding your Starmie.

– Oh but she draws the line at Togepi. Every single one of them is dripping with favoritism.

– *pushes Psyduck their way* Misty: “But you can keep this if you want it!”

Lily and Violet: “We’re not THAT desperate!” First of all, Misty, keep “this”? Stop referring to Psyduck like he’s a thing. Second, stop shitting on poor Psyduck, all of you.

– Oh hey a mention of Misty’s destroyed bike. Looking back, that’s actually kinda depressing foreshadowing because I believe the next time Misty will contact her sisters will be when Misty is written out of the show – which is when her bike will also conveniently be fixed.

– Fitting that the Pikachu’s Jukebox for this episode is the song “Viridian City” where the lyrics are “We’re on the road to Viridian City.” Because they are….even though they were right next to it at the start of the episode and will have to travel god knows how long to get back there.

———————————-

As much as this episode is heavy with story and art/animation problems, I can’t deny that I fondly remember it and still enjoyed it on this rewatch. It was nice to return to Cerulean Gym, and Misty is an absolute delight in this episode. She’s badass and cool, elegant and fun, and even though her sisters are screwing her over she’s still being shockingly accommodating to their wishes – even to the point where she pretty much sacrificed half her team to them.

I also love the concept of the underwater ballet, even if the underwater battle was a bit of a missed opportunity. You can tell they really care about water physics, how sound would be affected or really anything else. Some things can be hand-waved by budgetary constraints, but others can’t. Bad time to be hit with a bad art and animation two-fer. Outside of them using their rebreathers, you’d only barely notice they were underwater. Also, a Poison Type snake nearly singlehandedly defeated three moderately high level Water Pokemon UNDERWATER is bafflingly bad writing. Arbok can hardly ever get the upperhand on land. There’s no reason whatsoever that Arbok didn’t drown that whole time, let alone that he would be dominating this match until Seel comes in.

Misty’s sisters did irritate me, as usual, but I was able to mostly tune them out. They honestly could have just politely asked Misty over the phone if she’d do it instead of springing it on her when she arrived and acting as if she should know she’s the star of their show. Misty is being incredibly kind this whole time. Surely she’d agree if they were nice about it and gave her a heads up. But nope. Instead they guilt-tripped and tricked her. Granted, that is totally a sister thing to do.

I really believe she should have been given Dewgong, though. They even pointed out how much it made sense by Daisy saying they never let it be itself. Misty helped bring out Seel’s strength, and it’d be a fine trade for Starmie. But nope. They just took and took and gave nothing back to her. Makes me glad she eventually takes the Gym back over down the line. She deserves it more than they do.

Next episode, I get a feeling of dread because I really don’t think I liked this one. Jigglypuff returns and has a beef with a Clefairy.


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Pokemon Episode 60 Analysis: Beach Blank-Out Blastoise

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen1

CotD(s): None

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock try to catch the last ferry off of Cinnabar Island, Ash runs into a panicked Wartortle. Pikachu lets Squirtle out to figure out what it’s trying to tell them. After some discussion, Squirtle and Wartortle rush off into the ocean. Ash and the others grab a boat and make haste in their direction. Their destination? A small island not marked on any map that has a mountain in the shape of a Squirtle shell.

When they arrive, they see a multitude of Squirtle and Wartortle shells scattered across the beach, and one massive Blastoise shell sits on a stone platform up ahead. Excited at seeing a Blastoise, Ash rushes over to get a better look, but when he and Squirtle put their ears up to the shell, they quickly fall asleep.

Pikachu awakens them all with a shock, and Ash explains that the last thing he heard before he konked out was weird familiar music.

They learn from the Wartortle and Squirtle that this is the island of Turtle Pokemon, and their king is Blastoise. One day, Blastoise went for a swim, but didn’t return. When they found him, he was in the middle of the ocean and withdrawn into his shell, fast asleep. Almost as soon as they got Blastoise situated on his platform, all of the other Wartortle and Squirtle fell asleep – all except one; the Wartortle that ran into Ash and the others. It had ran to the shore in a panic to retrieve help.

As they investigate Blastoise a little more, Blastoise suddenly starts waking up. It releases its cannons, but something seems to be jammed in there – something pink and blobby with a pointy little ear.

Misty and Brock realize what’s really going on – Jigglypuff is stuck in Blastoise’s cannon and is continuously singing, putting everyone to sleep. But before they can run away, they hear Jigglypuff singing once more and everyone is knocked out.

In an effort to get Blastoise while everyone is sleeping, Team Rocket sends Meowth over, but he falls asleep as well. Going to Plan B, they grab Blastoise with a line shot from their sub and nab him up. They’re happy as clams on the sub until they hear the music coming from Blastoise and fall asleep, causing the sub to sink.

On shore, Ash and co. as well as the other turtle Pokemon wake up and realize Blastoise was taken by Team Rocket. Squirtle leads the other turtles into the water to retrieve the sub and their king. They’re successful in their mission, but Team Rocket’s not done yet. They return to their sub and change it into its tank mode. They charge after the Wartortle and Squirtle, aiming to capture them all.

Ash commands Pikachu and Squirtle to wake up Blastoise with a combination Water Gun and Thundershock. It works in not only waking Blastoise up, but also ejecting poor Jigglypuff from the cannon.

Blastoise grabs the tank and stops it dead in its tracks. With a massive collective Water Gun from the Squirtle and Wartortle and one good Hydro Pump from Blastoise, Team Rocket blasts off….with Jigglypuff inside! Jigglypuff sings yet again, causing the trio to fall asleep as their sub falls back into the ocean.

Squirtle pulls off a brave rescue on Jigglypuff as the sub explodes underwater, but Jigglypuff sings yet again on shore, causing all of the turtle Pokemon and Ash and co. to fall asleep once more.

Later, the group wakes up, with marker on their faces, as always, and they bid farewell to Blastoise, the Wartortle and the Squirtle of the island, setting off to leave Cinnabar Island and head to Viridian City for Ash’s eighth and final badge.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket, also covered in marker, sits on the remains of their sub out in the middle of the sea…

———————–

– It took me way too long to figure out what that title was meant to be playing off of, but, in all fairness, what kid would get that either? Beach Blanket Bingo a very VERY dated reference. And even if it wasn’t, that’s a really sloppy title either way. Blank-out? Who says that?

– Ash: “A War-what-tle!?” Ash, if there’s any group of Pokemon you should know about quite well, it’s the starter line. They are actually Pokemon you’ve canonically studied. Unless you just stopped learning about them at their base stages, which is ridiculous. Selecting a starter has a lot to do with knowing what they’ll (likely) become in late game, too.

– Dexter: “Its long furry tail is a symbol of its age and wisdom.”

Ash: “It doesn’t look smart.”

WOW, ASH!

WOW.

FUCK OFF.

WOW.

Also, you’re the last person on earth who should be criticizing the intelligence of others.

– Why is the one person here who’s not in the slightest bit interested in Wartortle, Misty? Brock identifies it right away and is impressed by seeing such a rare Pokemon, and Ash leaps up to use Dexter on it, but Misty just doesn’t say a word.

– How does Pikachu not understand Wartortle? It’s been established that Pokemon language is universal amongst Pokemon. And Pikachu can understand Squirtle just fine. Just seems like a lazy reason to bring Squirtle out when they easily could’ve justified it anyway.

– The return of the sunglasses!!

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– Ash: “Hey it’s a pair of Squirtle Squad sunglasses!”….Err…you mean “It’s Squirtle’s sunglasses!” Or “It’s the sunglasses Squirtle wore when he was in the Squirtle Squad!” It’s not like they’re Squirtle Squad brand sunglasses or anything. Ash, you’ve had your Squirtle for a long, long time now and you’re just now realizing it kept its sunglasses?

– I love how Misty let out Horsea for this little boat trip, but it’s not in the water. (Skipping ahead, she gives up Horsea in the next episode because it doesn’t get to swim enough. Yet she’s in the ocean right now and Horsea’s not in the water. Maybe it wouldn’t be able to keep up, but what’s the point of having it sit on her shoulder?)

– I was going to ask how the island isn’t on their map, but then I remembered that their maps are all useless collections of random shapes and various shades of green.

– They notice the Squirtle and Wartortle shells littering the beach before they notice the massive Blastoise shell sitting 50 feet in front of them on a stone platform?

– Really bothers me that when Ash ‘dexes Wartortle, all he has to say is ‘It doesn’t look smart.’ But when he ‘dexes Blastoise, he’s all jazzed and rushes over to see it.

Speaking of that, it’s also a little irritating that this is the second time a mid-evo starter has been introduced in the same episode a final evo starter has debuted. It diminishes the mid-evos entirely. Charmeleon got off a little better, but not by much because Ash’s Charmander only got a couple of episodes as a Charmeleon before they got tired of it and just upgraded it to Charizard.

The mid-evos have enough problems getting any sort of recognition without their debut episodes turning out this way. And it’s a real shame, too, because Ivysaur’s my favorite Pokemon and Wartortle is one of my favorite Pokemon. I’d say Ivysaur was treated a little better than Wartortle here, but it’s still a sucky situation for both sets.

– Brock: “It’s either asleep or practicing its Withdraw attack.” Withdraw is not an attack. Also, as a turtle, does it really need to practice that move?

– Ash is really so excited to see a Blastoise that he runs up and HUGS the shell? And he says “I’ve waited so long to meet you!” I guess a Squirtle was his starter of choice, before he realized all of the starters were gone and he ended up with Pikachu (and Gary likely got the Squirtle he coveted) so maybe he’s a fan of Blastoise….but that also indicates that he’d have to know about Wartortle, which means you’d think he’d be a fan of that too, but I guess he just thinks it’s an idiot. 😐

– So they’re right by the ocean, and waking people up is commonly done by splashing people in the face with water, so it’s obvious they’re going to try that–

Misty: “Pikachu, try an electro-shock alarm clock!”

………*sigh*

– Ash says he heard music that sounded familiar….and put him to sleep. Anyone want to connect those dots? It’ll be easy. They’re so close together that you’d need a microscope to see any space between them.

– Misty: “Well, I guess we better get going.” Eghasdkasoepah—wha? You haven’t helped the Pokemon yet. Blastoise is still asleep and there’s still…’some weird music’ that is completely unknown making everyone who hears it fall asleep.

Ash: “We’re not going anywhere until we wake up that Blastoise!”

That’s more like it!

Misty: “I was afraid you were going to say that.” What is wrong with you today, Misty? These are Water Pokemon in distress, but you seem to give less than a shit about them.

– Also, I know the reason for the weird faces Brock and Misty keep making in the Japanese version (Satoshi originally mentioned the sound was like something out of hell) but faces in the dub combined with the deduction skills of anyone with enough brain power to complete a two-piece puzzle really makes it seem like Brock and Misty know what the super mysterious source of the unknown sleepy music is, but they just want to leave to avoid having to deal with it, and that’s just crappy of them.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen3

– Why did Brock sit down and draw an entire slideshow presentation about what happened to the Blastoise, Wartortle and Squirtle? And why are they wasting time watching it when they could be helping the Blastoise?

– Wartortle ran (on water) from the island to the mainland? Either this Wartortle has insane levels of stamina and speed or this island is very close to the mainland and should be on a map. Technically, it should be on a map either way because it looks like it’s high noon, if the sun is any indication, yet they got to the island that same day on a boat pulled by Pokemon. And considering they were trying to catch the ‘last ferry’ off of Cinnabar, I’d imagine it wasn’t first thing in the morning when they left either.

– Misty: “Gee, people have been looking for the Turtle Pokemon breeding grounds for years. Could this really be it?” Again, there’s no way this island is too far away from mainland Cinnabar nor is it in some remote closed off area, so it seems ridiculous that no Pokemon researchers have found this place by now. But, of course, Ash and pals manage to access it easily because of course they do. With them finding so many inaccessible/lost locations with ease and meeting legendary Pokemon once a year, Pokemon Researchers should really just shadow Ash and his friends at all times.

– I probably took too long to ask this, but why didn’t they just shock Blastoise awake and ask him what happened?

– Ash: “Looks like Blastoise was asleep too.”

Ash…..does your brain cell ever get lonely?

– *A pink blob with a pointed ear pops out of Blastoise’s cannon*

Misty: “It can’t be!”

Brock: “I hope that’s not what I think it is!”

Ash: “Uhh, what is it Brock?”

Ash: *Hears the music* “That’s it! That’s the sound I heard!”

Brock: “Jigglypuff!”

This still isn’t over. Jigglypuff is still mostly in the cannon. Keep this in mind for a little later.

– Jigglypuff is JAMMED in that cannon, and it was pretty far down the pipe too. How is it breathing, let alone singing?

– Speaking of that, HOW did it get jammed in there? Was Jigglypuff just chilling out randomly in the middle of the ocean and somehow got sucked into Blastoise’s cannon and couldn’t get out? The cannons expel things, not suck them in.

– I really don’t understand any part of sending Meowth over to get the Blastoise. It’s clear either it or something around it is causing everything in its radius to fall asleep, yet they send him over without any investigation or attempt at protection. And when he falls asleep, they slap him around, chuck him like a ragdoll and say he was a coward who fainted….right before acknowledging that they don’t want to get near Blastoise out of fear of the same happening to them.

– They had a mechanism in their sub that could latch onto Blastoise from their spot in the water, drag it over and secure it instantly….That makes the plan with Meowth even more nonsensical.

– Gotta love Squirtle taking charge as leader and getting the Wartortle and Squirtle back to their senses.

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– Misty: “Ash, your Squirtle’s a real leader!”

Ash: “Well, that’s what happens when you have a great trainer.” Squirtle was a great leader before it ever became your Pokemon, Ash. Also, it remained a great leader IN SPITE of your incompetence.

Brock: “Hm. Or maybe they’re just impressed by the sunglasses.” I get that this is a joke, but please just leave it at Squirtle being awesome because Squirtle’s awesome.

– I feel the need to bring up a note the Bulbagarden comparison had on this episode, and that was why they never discussed the possibility of Ash’s Squirtle evolving in it.

While I did herald back to Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden in this review, I gotta say, until I saw the comparison, I never really thought too much about Squirtle’s stunted evolution when watching this episode in particular. I don’t know why, especially since I went on about how much I like Wartortle, and I have talked a few times already about Squirtle being stunted

Logically, it doesn’t make much sense. Bulbasaur just seems to be happy as a Bulbasaur and doesn’t want the physical change – as much as I gathered anyway. Pikachu also seems to be happy and proud as a Pikachu, though this will later become a bit of a contradiction once Johto rolls around and we learn Pikachu is actually a mid-evo. Pidgeotto will evolve later, so there’s no reason needed to be given there (even if it took way too long for it to happen.)

However, we never get an explanation as to why Squirtle doesn’t evolve or even if he wants to.

….Maybe he doesn’t want to evolve because his sunglasses won’t fit anymore if he does….

– Ash, Misty and Brock: “IT’S A TRAIL!” A trail that just magically appeared out of nowhere. It’s not like this is a trail of footprints or drops or anything – it’s a massive four foot wide drag mark left behind from Blastoise’s shell – and it was right in front of them. It’s not that they didn’t notice, either – it did not exist in the artwork. It’s like the stream behind Snorlax in Wake Up Snorlax!

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– It is really cool how Squirtle commands these Squirtle and Wartortle like well-trained soldiers. They have formations and everything.

– Team Rocket is acting as if one Blastoise will give them the power to steal any Pokemon they want. Even if Blastoise was strong enough to do that, they acknowledge that they have to give Blastoise to Giovanni, so what gives? Or….are they talking about their little suction-cup grabber thing? Because that’s a very limited use item, guys.

– Team Rocket is being extra shitty to Meowth today. I actually feel bad for him.

– Aw, Pikachu giving CPR to Meowth.

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Misty…..where is your other arm?

– Jessie: “I don’t recall asking you to save our lives.”

James: “Well, I’m grateful.” Pft, can’t help but love James sometimes.

– Ash: “I kinda feel sorry for that guy.” Me too.

…Also, his name is James, sweetie. It’s episode 60 – you should know the name of your weekly adversary by now, especially considering that, nearly every time you see him, he gives a lengthy introduction including his name.

– Aw, Ash’s Squirtle tries to stand his ground against the tank. What a brave little sweetheart.

– I was going to give the combo Water Gun/Thundershock a pass because it’s just another silly Pokemonism, and I was really just thinking they were combining the awakening effects of the water with the electricity to make it more powerful, but they had to practically make me bring it up with Brock saying this.

Brock: “Squirtle’s Water Gun is carrying the electricity of Pikachu’s Thundershock!” This isn’t so much a problem with the science, even though, going by that logic, Pikachu would be shocking Squirtle too, but it’s moreso a question of…why? Why would Pikachu need Squirtle’s Water Gun to carry his electricity? If Squirtle is close enough to reach with his Water Gun, which should have much lower range than Thundershock, Pikachu is more than close enough to land a hit.

– Ash: “Ah, it’s Jigglypuff!”

infinity iq

Seriously, Ash, how…..just….how…is it 18 minutes into the episode and you’re just NOW getting that it was Jigglypuff all along? Especially since, right before you all fell asleep the last time, Brock yelled out ‘Jigglypuff!’? You had so many clues, it’s almost comical that you never got it until Jigglypuff finally popped out of the cannon.

Again, he has the nerve to say he doesn’t think Wartortle seems smart.

Truth be told, I’m still baffled he didn’t figure it out the first time he got knocked out. You hear a mysterious song that sounded familiar and made you fall asleep. A song where the lyrics are literally, as I will now transcribe for you all, ahem;

“Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.

Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.

Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.”

And you’re completely clueless.

The point is, Ash,

– I was going to maybe give the writers a pass on the grounds of they thought we had forgotten about Jigglypuff since it does take long breaks between appearances sometimes…but nope. It appeared in the last episode and one the before that. I even noted in the last episode how it seemed like they put a blink-and-you-miss-it Jigglypuff cameo in for no reason other than to remind us it exists.

– Blastoise didn’t get to do a lot this episode, which is kinda surprising, but if the one thing it actually does is stop a tank with its bare hands and then blast it off with a Hydro Pump, I got no complaints.

– Brock: “Blastoise is da bomb!” Don’t ruin it….

– Uhm….why did the sub explode when it splashed down back into the water?

– Misty: “Are Squirtle and Jigglypuff okay?”

Why does no one care that Team Rocket is surely dead now? Either the explosion killed them or being sunk underwater while being knocked out by Jigglypuff did.

– Also, Jigglypuff is a balloon. Wouldn’t it just instantly float up to the surface and be fine?

– Oh well, it gave us another badass Squirtle moment, so it’s all good.

….Well…I guess except for the dead Team Rocket thing.

– So is Jigglypuff an idiot too? Because it’s literally done nothing this entire episode except sing over and over. It’s not even reacting to what’s happening to it. Got sucked into a Blastoise cannon? Sing. Stuck there for hours? Keep singing the entire time. Land in Team Rocket’s sub? Sing. Get saved from drowning and an explosion? Sing.

Or maybe it’s stuck in plot device mode today….

– Jigglypuff’s shtick does get very old, but drawing eyes on Brock was hilarious.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen8

– Misty: “I don’t think this is funny! I look like a cartoon character!”

Ash: “A cartoon character?! Like THAT could ever happen!” That little meta joke might have actually worked if they didn’t make Ash go too far with it. It’s not just what he says, but how he’s gesturing as he says it and the way Veronica Taylor delivers the line. We’re not as dumb as Ash, guys. We get what you did there….

Ash’s line is so awkward either way. Misty said she looked like a cartoon character. She didn’t say she was turning into one or anything.

And they hold on the shot for several seconds after he says this, like they’re waiting for the audience to get done laughing at that zinger. What a weird moment…

– And don’t worry, Team Rocket’s alive…They won’t die because of that. They’re so durable. It’s like….they’re cartoon characters.

Pftt, like THAT could ever happen! 😀

———————————–

All in all, despite not remembering this episode too well, I ended up liking it. Sure, it didn’t highlight Wartortle very well at all, and I’m still a bit salty at that ‘It doesn’t look smart’ crack, but it was pretty entertaining in its own right, even if the “mystery” was almost insultingly easy. I get that it’s a kid’s show, but I imagine even the demo for Pokemon would be rolling their eyes that they’re not figuring out that it’s Jigglypuff.

At least Misty and Brock seemed to figure it out within a reasonable time frame, but the fact that Ash didn’t figure it out until he saw Jigglypuff full out, even with Brock exclaiming what it was earlier, even with nearly every clue in existence shoved in his face, was just a masterclass of stupidity.

You never cease to remind me why I don’t feel bad about nicknaming you ‘DumbAsh,’ DumbAsh….

It was also pretty repetitive to just have Jigglypuff constantly singing and knocking everyone out over and over. I just don’t like when Jigglypuff is given so much focus because it’s a shining example of a one-note character. It’s tired old shtick gets irritating when it just randomly pops up in any episode, but giving it essentially an entire episode is too much.

And why, if Misty and Brock knew what was going on quite early, did they not think to plug their ears or something? Why were they practically keeping it a secret between the two of them and almost didn’t want to believe it was Jigglypuff? If I were them, I’d have noise-canceling headphones or earplugs on me at all times.

Even though the episode didn’t specifically focus on him, Ash’s Squirtle was a delight in this episode. We got a return of the legendary sunglasses, and he lead the Squirtle and Wartortle of the island like he was born to be a leader – and we know he was. The things he was pulling off with them, especially when he’s barely known them for an hour or two, was very impressive. I’m just a bit disappointed we never got an actual scene between Squirtle and Blastoise – like one where Blastoise would either thank Squirtle or show a mutual respect among leaders.

And while the shtick was really tired, there is a certain charm to this episode for some reason. I don’t know what it is because around every corner is another ‘Doh!’ moment. Maybe it was just how they got through it together and all the little moments that made it much more tolerable than it otherwise would be.

Next time, one of my favorite episodes, but also a slightly bittersweet one, The Misty Mermaid!


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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.

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– 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.

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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.

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen8

– 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.

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen10

– 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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Pokemon Episode 58 Analysis: Riddle Me This

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen1

Badge Episode Attempt 1: Cinnabar Island – Volcano Badge

Gym Leader: Blaine – A very eccentric man who likes to speak in riddles, Blaine is a very serious Fire Pokemon Trainer who detests that Cinnabar Island has become littered in tourists with real Pokemon Trainers becoming rarer every year.

Reappears?: After the next episode, which is a continuation of this one, no. 😦

Pokemon: Blaine likely has many more Fire Pokemon, but he’s shown to have a Ninetales, Rhydon and his signature Pokemon, Magmar.

50px-Volcano_Badge xd

Ash has a failed Gym match attempt and does not get the Volcano badge. (Technically, this episode leaves the match in a cliffhanger, but he loses at the beginning of the next episode, so I’m counting it here.)

Plot: Ash FINALLY arrives in Cinnabar Island to get his seventh badge – the Volcano Badge. As he journeys by boat to the island, he bumps into Gary who is having a nice time on vacation since he’s got plenty of badges to enter the Pokemon League now. Ash butts heads with him, but Gary pays him no mind. He even mocks Ash because he believes everyone on the boat is a Pokemon Trainer.

Gary reveals that everyone traveling to the island, but himself, Ash, Misty and Brock, of course, are tourists. Cinnabar Island is merely a resort and there hasn’t been an active Gym on the island since his grandfather was young.

When they come ashore, the group discovers that Cinnabar Island does seem like a tourist trap and they can’t find a Gym anywhere. When Brock wonders why, of all the islands in the area, this one is so special, a strange man pops up to answer their question through riddle – What do tourists think is hot and cool?

While Ash answers incorrectly, Misty correctly deduces that the answer is a hot spring. The man explains that, due to the active volcano on Cinnabar, there are many hot springs around, and tourists love to visit the island to enjoy the relaxation of the springs. Over the years, the place has been decimated by vacationers enjoying the hot springs. Pokemon Trainers simply don’t come around anymore.

They ask if he knows anything about the Cinnabar Island Gym and the Gym Leader, Blaine. He gives his answer is another riddle – The Gym is right where you put your glasses.

Again, Misty correctly guesses – right in front of your eyes. And the Gym IS right in front of their eyes….in a big pile of rubble.

The man explains that Blaine abandoned the Gym when tourists started flooding the area. He was sick of battling tourists who weren’t serious Pokemon Trainers, so he left the Gym to rot, much to Ash’s dismay and anger. The man leaves him with his card, which reveals that he owns a big hotel called the Big Riddle Inn.

They try to go to their other destination, which was a prestigious Pokemon research laboratory, but find that it’s also a bunch of tourist attractions.

Resigned, the group tries to find a place to stay, but everywhere, including the Pokemon Center, is filled with people. Ash can’t help himself but try to sneak into a hotel room where they’re having a banquet, and it just so happens to be Gary’s room. He ribs him for a while, even offering to give Ash some leftovers if he makes a fool of himself for Gary’s entertainment, but Ash refuses.

Suddenly, Jigglypuff shows up, prompting Ash and the others to bolt out of there before it starts singing. Gary and his cheerleaders, however, unwittingly fall into the deep slumber caused by Jigglypuff’s song…and the facial drawings that come with it.

The kids suddenly remember that the man from before gave them a card for the Inn, but the directions are another riddle – If you look near the swings, you’ll see my hands or at least my face.

They spot some swings and Misty figures out the rest when she sees a clock since a clock has hands and a face. The clock is atop the Big Riddle Inn.

The man congratulates them on figuring out the riddle and offers them free room and board as a prize.

That night, Team Rocket attacks the island’s Pokemon research laboratory, nabbing up all of the Pokemon inside. The man is contacted about this attack, sending him and Ash, Misty and Brock to investigate.

When they arrive, Ash uses Pikachu and Pidgeotto to save the Pokemon and blast Team Rocket off.

Impressed by his skills, the man offers Ash some information. He happens to know that Blaine has a secret Gym set up somewhere on the island, but he will only give a riddle as a clue to its location – it’s in a place where firefighters could never win.

Back at the inn, Ash, Misty and Brock relax in the hot springs to try and figure out the riddle. Togepi hops on one of the stone Gyarados statues feeding water into the spring, which suddenly opened the door to a secret passage. The passageway lead to Blaine’s secret Gym deep in the heart of a volcano – the arena is even suspended over a lava pit.

The man is waiting on the other side of the arena, offering Ash another riddle – It’s not a hat, but it keeps your head dry. If you wear it, it’s only because you already lost it.

Misty, again, correctly deduces the answer – a wig. The man has been wearing a disguise this whole time. He’s actually Blaine, the Cinnabar Island Gym Leader!

Blaine challenges whomever wishes to battle him, in this case Ash, and starts the match with a Ninetales. Feeling cocky with a type advantage, Ash chooses Squirtle, but he soon realizes that type only accounts for so much. Blaine commands Ninetales to use Fire Spin, and it makes quick work of poor Squirtle.

Blaine chastises Ash for thinking purely about type in his battles, so Ash decides to fight fire with fire, literally, and sends out Charizard. However, predictably, Charizard refuses to battle and goes off to nap instead. Having left the arena, Blaine gets his second victory.

Ash sends out his last hope, Pikachu, to battle Rhydon. He does a good job evading Rhydon’s attacks, but finds that his Electric attacks do nothing against the Ground Type. Using its horn as a lightning rod, Pikachu manages to knock Rhydon out with a Thunderbolt.

Realizing the heat has been turned up in this battle, Blaine uses his most power Fire Pokemon – out from the depths of the lava comes Magmar, a Pokemon who might as well be the living embodiment of magma.

Pikachu gets slightly burned from one of Magmar’s Fire Punches, but gets up to try a Thunderbolt. Ash and Pikachu are shocked to find that Pikachu’s electricity will not work against Magmar. The air around it is so hot that it is able to create an air lens that refracts the electricity.

Stuck between the edge of the arena with a pool full of lava at his feet and the fierce Magmar before him, Pikachu faces Magmar’s most powerful move – Fire Blast. With nowhere to go, will Pikachu be fried or will he find some way to beat the heat?

——————-

– Gary doesn’t mention how many badges he has right now, but considering he later has ten, I’ll say he has between eight and ten if he feels he can take a vacation before the Indigo League Conference – and he definitely has more than Ash right now. Also, this basically confirms that Gary definitely didn’t get a Volcano Badge yet, even if one of the badges in his case later on looks VERY similar to it (It just looks longer for some reason. I believe it is the right badge.) If he only has eight or nine as of now, I suppose it’s possible that, after Ash discovered the Gym, that Gary found out about the real Gym, went to Blaine and got one himself after Ash left just so Ash wouldn’t best him anywhere.

– I find it somewhat odd that Gary wasn’t able to determine that there actually was a Gym on Cinnabar. Ash found out and Gary’s much smarter than he is. Gary should have checked to see if the badge or Gym was still valid under the Pokemon League’s certification. If it was, then there has to be a Gym or at least some place to obtain the badge. Unless Gary’s so full of himself and has such a lack of caring about badges at this point, considering he later has so many, that he just didn’t bother really looking into it and just accepted the vacation opportunity.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen2

– Ash: “A real Trainer never takes a break!” Excuse me, need to laugh raucously for a minute.

Ash, your life IS taking a break from training. I can probably count the amount of times you have actually trained so far on one hand. MAYBE two, if I’m generous. And lest we forget Charizard who has been wading in the lack of training pool for quite some time now.

– The Pokemon League doesn’t have any problem with Blaine having such inactivity in his Gym that nearly everyone thinks it simply doesn’t exist anymore?

– I’m just imagining how pissed I’d be if the Cinnabar Island Gym really didn’t exist and we’d have to spend god knows how long getting to one of Gary’s non-canon Gyms where he got one of the six mystery badges (if that other one is a Volcano Badge) And, remember, it’s confirmed that Gary never got an Earth Badge either – he lost his match there and the Gym shut down before he could get a rematch.

– Oh hey, Jigglypuff. Come back to remind me that you exist again, eh?

– I find it weird that they seem very willing to accept that ALL of Cinnabar is nothing but a big tourist trap just because they see a lot of festivities and stuff right off of the boat. Of course they’d put that stuff right by the harbor and get as many people hooked in as quickly as possible. At least have a look around before you start giving up. Places like Celadon City and Saffron City have much more than just their Gyms right out the gate, and you kinda have to walk around a while before you find the Gyms.

– I’m really not gonna rag on Ash’s silly riddle solution. It may be silly, but sometimes people just throw out weird ideas when they’re trying to figure out riddles.

– Misty: “I heard that the Gym Leader was someone called Blaine.” It really bothers me that it’s never made clear whether or not Gym Leaders know each other in the anime. You’d think at least the ones in the same region would have met a few times before. Also, who did you hear this info from if everyone believes Cinnabar Island is a Gym-less tourist trap and has been for decades?

– The man laments that more and more tourists come to the island and hardly any Trainers come anymore, but how do you expect Trainers to come if you have at least had the rumor going around for decades that the island’s Gym doesn’t exist anymore?

– Doesn’t help the tourist or Trainer situation if, when led to the Gym, they basically get confirmation that it doesn’t have one by showing them a collapsed building and explaining that Blaine essentially quit.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen3

– Misty: “An inn? How can you run a hotel and then blame tourists for ruining the island?” Uh, it’s called making a living, Misty. If your island has nothing but tourists and you still want to live on the island, sucking up a bit of pride and taking advantage of the deep pockets of vacationers is the best course of action. Plus, him running an inn doesn’t mean the tourists still didn’t ruin the island. They come for the hot springs, which are natural. Everything else is just taking advantage of the tourists.

– Without actually going INTO the Pokemon research lab, the kids determine that it’s just another tourist trap because of all the stands outside of it. They really aren’t good at actually looking into things, are they?

– I guess it’s nice that they do let everyone in, but it’s really weird that the Pokemon Center is full up for the night with people who don’t have Pokemon. Also, if this place is purely for tourists, why are so many of them so ill-prepared that they didn’t book a hotel?

– Come to think of it, if no Pokemon Trainers ever come to Cinnabar anymore, why is there even a Pokemon Center there? Just for the research lab and wild Pokemon?

– I would say Gary heard Misty and Brock yelling or Ash talking, but they clearly imply that Gary somehow heard Ash’s stomach growling from outside, which is what caused him to go to the porch. I sincerely doubt that is louder than either of the aforementioned noises.

– I feel very uncomfortable asking this, but here goes: Are Gary’s cheerleaders……sleeping in the same room as him? Their situation is creepy enough without this, thank you.

– Ash: “I’d die of hunger first!” 4KIDS! The D word! Have you no shame?

– Gary’s, again, being unreasonably dumb to not think twice when seeing that a Jigglypuff is about to sing to them….

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen4

– Jigglypuff is really out of sync with the music. This isn’t just an audio syncing issue, it happens very frequently when Jigglypuff sings. It’s like the voice track for Jigglypuff is sped up for some reason or Rachel Lillis doesn’t have the audio track playing when singing.

– Brock: “Ash, what about that card that old guy gave you?” I love how they try literally every. single. other hotel on the island before they remember that they had a card for an inn on them.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen5

Ash: *pulls out card* “Hmm…must be directions to his hotel.” No. It must be little illegible squiggles.

Also, it seems like a bad business practice to have a riddle be the directions to your hotel. It’s even worse that it’s a terrible riddle. Either Blaine had to make sure his inn could be seen from every swing on the island or guests have to stumble upon the exact swing set that Blaine is referring to in the riddle.

– The prize for figuring out his riddle is free room and board? That’s a REALLY bad business practice….

– Ash: “Your riddles may be dumb, but your prizes are terrific!” Your riddles are dumb, says the boy who thought the answer to his first riddle was wrapping yourself in an electric blanket while laying in front of an open refrigerator.

I know I said I wouldn’t rag on Ash much for making silly guesses, but he’s open to ridicule when he starts putting down others.

– I love this exchange.

Blaine: “Well………guess you want dinner too.”

Ash: “Right.”

It’s the timing and delivery – it’s golden.

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– See? The research laboratory isn’t just a tourist trap. The power of actually seeing what’s in a building to know…what’s in the building.

– I love that they contact Blaine when the research lab is attacked. Not only does this give them a realistic excuse to have Ash and the others go to the research lab to help, but it also hints at Blaine’s real identity.

– I would get excited over Pidgeotto being let out, but it’s literally just a vehicle for Pikachu to get close enough to attack the balloon.

– Why is Team Rocket so shocked (oh god, the puns are infecting me) that Ash and Pikachu are on the scene. The only reason they’re on Cinnabar is because Ash and co. are.

– Nice that Ash had no plan to actually catch the Pokemon – instead he let them all fall to the ground and break their necks.

– Blaine only gives Trainers a hint to the location of his actual secret Gym once they prove themselves to him in some way. So Trainers not only have to ignore rumors that the Gym doesn’t exist and come to Cinnabar anyway, ignore that the original Gym is a pile of rubble and meet Blaine while he’s in disguise so they can get on the trail of the real Gym, not even realizing there even is a real Gym, but they also have to have the opportunity to prove themselves to him somehow and solve his riddles that lead to the real gym before they can find the real Gym and challenge him.

Not that it would help if they figured it out anyway. The answer is simply ‘a volcano.’ How the hell were they supposed to find the Gym in a volcano unless they stumbled upon the secret entrance to the place – which they did.

Blaine, I love you, buddy, but this is a lot of convoluted and, quite frankly, unfair bullshit just to try and avoid tourists challenging you – especially considering this requires you to be in disguise 24/7. You could literally clear this up with a pre-requisite test or something before you’re allowed admittance into the Gym. “Are you a tourist?” “Do you have at least a few other Pokemon League Badges?” “How many Pokemon do you own?” Stuff like that.

– Always kinda bugged me that Ash and the others never really figured out Blaine’s riddle until the answer was literally in their faces. Togepi just activated his plot convenience powers and found the switch that opened the door to the place.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen7

– It’s kinda funny how Misty freaks out when Ash and Brock see her in a towel. She’s technically at least as covered up as she usually is in her street clothes.

– Why would Blaine have it set up so that opening the door destroys the hot spring divider?

– Was Blaine alerted to the fact that the door to the secret entrance had been opened or was he just waiting down there for Ash and the others to randomly stumble upon the switch?

– Forget Blaine’s really odd practices as a Gym Leader – how does the Pokemon League not have safety rules against this place? Holding a battle over a LAVA PIT is insane! The arena doesn’t even have any safety rails or anything. It would just take one false move and Pokemon or people could die in there easily.

The walkways to the arena aren’t even walkways, they’re narrow pillars you have to balance on one at a time. In fact, given the heat, you wouldn’t even need to die from falling in the pit, you could just die from heat stroke.

The fact that any unlucky person who happens to lean on a Gyarados statue in his hot spring could get to this death trap without issue is even more alarming. Sure, there’s a red-hot secondary door, but if you manage to open that, you might be as good as dead.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen8

– Ninetales! Whoo!

– Either Dexter didn’t have much useful information to share on Ninetales, which I find hard to believe, or Ash cut Dexter off before it said anything other than its type and what it evolved from.

– Brock: “Fire Spin is Ninetales’ most powerful attack!” No, no it’s not. Even with DOT, it’s not as powerful as Flamethrower. Fire Spin has 15 power and can last for up to five turns. Flamethrower has 95 power. Even though it can’t learn it with a TM, in Gen I anyway, there’s also Fire Blast with 120 power.

– That Ninetales’ Fire Spin is much less the massive fire tornado that Brock’s Vulpix makes. Its eyes didn’t glow or anything. It’s almost like the move was ridiculously overblown in that episode.

– Look….I get that Ash, again, doesn’t have many options, even though this would be a GREAT time to have gotten out Krabby or Muk or even one of his Tauros, but using Charizard just seems misguided. I know that Charizard is his powerhouse, but he’s banking on having a stronger Fire Pokemon than this Fire Pokemon Gym Leader….This Fire Pokemon Gym Leader who loves fire so much he put his Gym OVER A LAVA PIT DEEP INSIDE A VOLCANO.

– What else did I have to say about this?

…..Uhmmm…..Oh, oh yeah, yeah, CHARIZARD STILL ISN’T TRAINED, YOU IGNORAMUS!

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen9

– I get that a Rhydon would be able to withstand the intense temperatures of the lava pit Gym, but Blaine, you’re a Fire Pokemon Gym Leader who put his Gym OVER A LAVA PIT. Why are you using a Rock/Ground type? I guess it could just be because Ash sent out Charizard, but come on – you can’t take a Fire v. Fire match? Especially after you literally just said matches aren’t purely about type?

You can’t even justify this by saying this is something they took from the games, because he never has a Rhydon in the games. He has a Golem in the manga, but that’s about as close as you get. As a Fire fan, I am disappointed.

And I’ll be even more disappointed in a few minutes…..

– Oh look, Charizard refuses to battle and goes off to nap.

Imagine the look of pure shock on my face.

– Ash: “Awh, gimme a break, Charizard!” You don’t deserve one!

– I know what happens, I do. People who have never seen Pokemon know what happens next. But Ash is a full-blown airheaded shit-for-brains idiot for sending out a PIKACHU against a Rhydon. We’ve already been over the type debate, but there’s a difference between using a Pokemon who does or does not have the advantage and using a Pokemon whose attacks DO NOT AFFECT your opponent. Even physical moves would do little to nothing.

Pidgeotto’s also not a good choice, but if Bulbasaur could survive in the hot arena, he’d be a decent selection. However, the lack of sunlight would mean no Solar Beam. Ash, your roster blows. Please do better.

– I’m going to ding Ash for this just because he needs extra punishment for the stupidity that will happen in a minute – Ash should know Rhyhorn is Ground type, which means he must know RhyDON is Ground type too. Yet he still launches an Electric attack.

– Ya know, I’m not even going to bother analyzing the scene. It’s been done to death. So, I’ll just go ahead and say it.

Pikachu…

(Aim for)….The horn.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen10

Gonna give you a minute to soak that in, maybe find some appropriate memes to enjoy. I’ll just take a sec to curl up into a ball and weep.

– Blaine: “This Pokemon is too hot to handle. And it has a power that should interest you, because it turns all of its opponents into ash.”

Ash: “No fair, it’s too hot to solve riddles!” That was in no way a riddle. He’s just saying he has a super powerful Fire Pokemon.

– It’s pretty badass that Magmar lives in the lava pit.

Likewise, its reveal is sick.

– I never liked Magmar as a kid, but now I love it quite a bit.

– This battle has always been one of my favorites because it’s so intense. Pikachu gets burned and the cliffhanger has him between Magmar and nearly falling into the lava pit.

– Brock explains that Magmar is immune to Electric attacks because it’s so superheated that it creates an air lens around it that refracts electricity. This, as far as I can see, is completely false.

I wanted to go in depth about the air lens itself, really I did, but my research on air lenses is pathetically sparse. I just can’t find much on anything that doesn’t correlate to cameras. The best I got was a Wiki page which mentioned them in passing when talking about explosive lenses, and that wasn’t very applicable to what was happening here.

So enough about air lenses, I don’t even know how 4Kids knew that term (Dogasu’s comparison doesn’t even mention that this is a change, so maybe the original writers are to blame for this?) what of heat’s affect on electricity?

As far as I can tell, nothing. Remember, lightning itself is INSANELY hot. It causes fires all the time, but it’s much hotter than you might think. In fact, according to National Geographic, a flash of lightning can heat the air around the bolt to temperatures up to five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

Lava, at best, reaches a little over 2,200 degrees F, while the sun can reach 10,000 degrees F (Source). So, obviously, being five times hotter than that makes lava look like an ice cream sundae. By all means, making the air around Magmar even hotter than lava levels would have no effect at all on Pikachu’s electricity.

In conclusion, I have no clue what they were thinking.

I actually find it funny that they did this, because that means they did BS science to Rhydon to make it vulnerable to electricity and then did BS science to Magmar to make it immune to electricity.

– So….Is Blaine trying to straight up murder Pikachu? It’s at the very edge of the arena and it’s commanding Magmar to use FIRE BLAST of all things, which, considering it’s cornered, would surely mean its demise.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen11

– And Ash refuses to stop the battle. Best Trainer ever.

– I always thought Fire Blast was trying to take the shape of a stick figure. It wasn’t until I was much older that I found out that it’s actually the kanji for “large” or “great.”

——————————–

Cinnabar Island, Blaine and Fire Types are some of my favorites in Pokemon (Really bummed that Cinnabar Island was basically completely decimated beyond Gen I), and I do love this match even with the bullshittery that goes on. Having Squirtle be instantly KO’d out the gate was a massive blow that I didn’t expect, but it doesn’t get really awesome until it’s just Pikachu v. Magmar. It’s intense and ends on one of the best cliffhangers of the series. Of course we know little Messiahchu won’t die or anything, but it did get actually wounded, and that kinda surprised me as a kid. Still does, to be honest.

I also enjoyed Gary and his dickishness, even if he was a tad badly written this time around. He’s earned a vacation, I suppose, but he had one too many moments where he was too stupid to the point where it was almost OOC. He has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Pokemon and the league, but he seemingly doesn’t do any actual serious research into whether or not the Cinnabar Gym exists?

I guess if Blaine’s so ridiculously overly secret about the Gym that it might be beyond researching, but I still found it odd for him.

I like Blaine when he’s this weird riddle hippy dude. He’s pretty amusing. I find his methods of getting ‘real’ Trainers to his real Gym and masking the fact that his Gym still exists to be massively overcomplicated and dumb, and I find the Gym itself to be dumb just based on the safety hazard aspect (though I find it really cool as a concept.) but at least it adds some flavor to the story, I suppose.

Oddly, one thing I really remember a lot about this arc it’s an audio flub that happens in the recap in the next episode. It’s almost laughably bad, and it was seemingly done on purpose for whatever reason.

As for the rematch, I actually didn’t like it as much as this match, but we’ll tackle that when we get to it.

Next episode, spoiler alert – Ash loses his bout with Blaine and has to figure out a way to beat him to earn his Volcano Badge.

.Previous Episode.


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A Very Pokemon Holiday Special Analysis: Snow Way Out!

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 1

CotD(s): None

Pre-Analysis Notes: This set of notes will be very brief since, unlike Holiday Hi-Jynx, this episode was treated like any other once it was finally released.

Snow Way Out was an episode that also got bumped back in air date due seemingly to focusing on snow and winter (it’s not really winter, they’re just on a snowy mountain) when the episodes, due to being reordered after the Pokemon Shock incident hiatus, would not air in wintertime. Instead, the episode aired alongside Holiday Hi-Jynx (Rougela’s Christmas) on October 5th 1998, and one week after Holiday Hi-Jynx in the English dub in America on December 18th 1999.

Like in Holiday Hi-Jynx, this airing spawned some confusion because, again, Charizard was back to being a Charmander and actually showcasing his care and devotion to Ash.

Unlike Holiday Hi-Jynx, which left me feeling mostly confused and weirded out, this episode turned out to be one of my personal favorites. It’s not perfect by any means, but I’ve always really loved it.

You may be wondering why I’m lumping this in with my holiday special series…….Well………Snow…..Errr…..LOOK OVER THERE! *runs away*

Plot: On his way to his next Gym match, Ash and the others come to a fork in the road. They don’t know which way to go, but the path Ash wants to traverse surely goes through a mountain range. Misty and Brock try to talk him out of going that way, but he won’t listen – welcoming the challenge of the mountain like a ‘true Pokemon Master.’

They quickly realize the mountains are vast and frigid, and it doesn’t take them long to get lost. When a blizzard hits, they try to set up camp, but Pikachu suddenly gets blown away. Ash pursues him, but Brock stops Misty from following out of fear of them all getting even more lost, leaving Ash and his Pokemon out in the snowy wilderness alone.

Ash finds Pikachu through the snow by the echoing sounds of his voice. He’s hanging from the edge of a cliff side. Ash nearly loses Pikachu, but uses Bulbasaur to save him. Realizing Misty and Brock are nowhere to be found, Ash decides to make a snow cave with Charmander’s fire. Once him and his other Pokemon seal the cave off with snow, they warm up by Charmander’s tail flame.

Meanwhile, Jessie enjoys herself in the snow with fond memories of her mother feeding her foods made out of snow – what she called a ‘snowgasbord,’ much to the disgust of James and Meowth. However, later, they find themselves wrapped up in the same blizzard and try to keep themselves warm in an igloo with a candle and some burned out matches, to no avail.

Back with Ash and the other Pokemon, Charmander’s tail flame is weakening. He’s expelling too much energy, but doesn’t want to go back in his Pokeball because he both wants to stay by Ash and he knows he’s a great source of heat for him, being his only Fire Pokemon. Ash forces him to go anyway – same for Squirtle and Bulbasaur, who are equally resistant. He can’t force Pikachu, however, who is desperate to help keep Ash warm no matter what.

Ash further keeps his Pokemon warm by wrapping up his Pokeballs in his vest. However, his situation soon becomes worse when a large hole develops in the snow wall that is sealing up the cave. He uses his back to plug the hole and retain the warmth in the cave, but his back being exposed to the wind is causing him to become much colder.

He once again demands that Pikachu go into his Pokeball to keep warm, but Pikachu is adamant against it. Ash’s Pokemon all release themselves from their Pokeballs and cuddle around Ash to keep him warm.

Touched by their sacrifice, Ash relents and tearfully allows them to stay out, holding them close as they try to bear the cold of the storm.

The following morning, the storm lets up. Ash is found by Brock and Misty who relay that they had a remarkably comfortable night near a hot spring that Onix dug out for them when they were making a snow cave of their own. Furthermore, they reveal that they found Team Rocket’s balloon. It’s out of fuel, but Brock utilizes Vulpix’s flame to get them airborne and head to the nearest town for some much needed warmth and food.

Team Rocket, seeing their balloon, tries to give chase, but they fall into a hot spring. The delightful warmth is most welcome after the chilly night, but they soon find themselves in a pickle. It’s too cold to get out of the spring, but it’s also too hot to stay in. Don’t worry, though – they’ll eventually find their way back.

————————-

– I love how Ash calls Pikachu ‘Pik’ here. Apparently I’m in the minority, though, because most people seem to hate it.

– It should be noted that they did pack blankets – Brock and Misty are draped in a couple – but Ash didn’t? I guess Brock might be carrying all of the important items – afterall, he does carry the camping stuff, the cooking tools, the map, the compass, the medicine etc. but do they not realize how misguided and, quite frankly, unfair it is to have one person carrying all of this important stuff? I mean, golly, it’d sure be unfortunate if Misty or, say, Ash got separated from Brock in a dangerous area, leaving them without any survival gear or even the bare necessities….But that’d never happen! 😀

– Wow, Ash using Pidgeotto in a clever manner. Consider this moment cherished.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 2

– I understand that it’s still snowy and cold, but it seems weird that James, who is the most dressed person in the main cast (Wearing a long-sleeve shirt with an undershirt as well as gloves and boots) is shivering. Meanwhile, hothead Ash is walking along in his regular clothes with no blanket and is not bothered in the slightest.

– I actually find it kinda funny that Meowth is also taken aback by Jessie’s childhood story of eating a bunch of ‘foods’ made of snow. Yes, it’s weird, but Meowth, being a former street cat, most likely had to eat out of the garbage for a good chunk of his life.

– Since we’ll probably never get a chance to discuss this here, let me take some time out to explore more of Jessie’s backstory – more specifically, her mother. (Courtesy of Dogasu at Bulbagarden who gave a great synopsis of the radio/CD drama in which this story unfolds, which I highly suggest you read if you’d like to learn more about this story or the backstory of Pokemon the First Movie)

Prepare yourself, because I’m about to make a super depressing episode of Pokemon about a million times sadder.

Our story starts 20 years ago (which kinda adds more confusion to Jessie’s age…) Jessie’s mom, who is never given an English name, but whose Japanese name is Miyamoto, was a Team Rocket agent who was hard up for money because she wanted to give her daughter a good life. One day, Miyamoto recorded the sounds of a Mew in the Andes Mountains in South America. If they could capture Mew, her boss, who was Giovanni’s mother, would be extremely pleased and Miyamoto would be able to give Musashi (Jessie) a great life.

Spurred by this information, Miyamoto is sent on a mission with two other Team Rocket agents to explore the area in which the footage was recorded, find Mew and capture it.

Sadly, she would never return.

And even sadder, this story would take a turn that, probably very unintentionally, is somewhat reminiscent of both Jessie’s story and the current story unfolding.

Miyamoto and her team got lost in the snowy mountains. Her two teammates were separated from her some time ago, and she’s been lost for years, constantly keeping hold of a lone photograph of her and her daughter. Despite the horrible situation she’s in, she continues the pursuit of Mew in hopes of capturing it, returning home and giving Musashi that great life she always planned to give her.

As she’s caught in a blizzard, the snow suddenly stops and Mew appears close to her. She’s ecstatic. She actually ASKS Mew if it will let itself be captured because she wants to use the money to pay for pre-school and daycare, but Mew runs off. Miyamoto takes chase, but ends up getting wrapped up in an avalanche that propels her even further into the tundra.

They seem to imply that Miyamoto dies, but the other episodes show brief glimpses of Miyamoto – she’s still alive. She’s been lost in the snowy mountains ever since then, waiting for Mew, each time skip giving her a new reason to want money for her daughter (elementary school, entrance exams, a wedding etc.) Eventually, she develops mental problems or memory issues because she seemingly forgets Musashi and why she needed to capture Mew in the first place, but she knows she’s determined to capture Mew no matter what.

According to Team Rocket’s logs, her whereabouts remain unknown and she’s considered dead.

I’ve known for quite some time that Jessie’s mom was a fellow Team Rocket member, but I never read the drama’s full story before. And all I can say is…..wow. Miyamoto was so concerned over giving her daughter a good life that she basically sacrificed hers to have that chance. (Also, the other Team Rocket members who were with her supposedly died, considering the narration states none of them were ever heard from again.)

Now she’s a mentally-diminished old lady waiting on a frigid mountaintop for a Mew who might not even be there at all (It’s quite possible the first sighting was a hallucination – but I’ll concede that the audio recording was real) all for…something she can’t even remember anymore.

That hits the top of the list of saddest stories told in the Pokemon anime. Sure, she was still a criminal, but she was a criminal for the sake of her daughter – a daughter who probably doesn’t remember her at all since she was likely just a baby when Miyamoto left.

And let’s not overlook the fact that I guess Musashi never had a father either.

It’s especially sad considering how Jessie turned out. She’s incredibly vain, selfish and mean. I won’t go far as to say she’s evil, but she aspires to be. And she lives a rather terrible existence otherwise. She spends her days starving to death in a hot air balloon following around a ten year old potato and his Pikachu in the hopes of maybe catching some Pokemon to make her boss happy.

She did need Miyamoto. She did need that money. Who knows how Jessie’s life would have turned out had Miyamoto caught Mew or even if she simply returned and waited for another big score while caring for her daughter.

I doubt Musashi even knows this story. Her mother is seldom brought up in the first place, this episode being pretty much the only allusion to her, and she doesn’t bring up how brave her mom was or how much she misses her or a desire to get money so she can go to South America to find her mother.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 3

It’s questionable whether the woman in the episode is Miyamoto given the timelines. It’s quite possible it’s a foster mother/adoptive mother or guardian, but I like to believe it is Miyamoto just because it’s even more depressing to believe Miyamoto did all of that for a daughter who doesn’t even remember her while simultaneously suffering for a daughter she doesn’t remember. Maybe just have it so Musashi never knew her mother was a Team Rocket member or something, or that she was so low-ranked that no one else bothered to tell her about her.

……….Merry Christmas!

– Wait, so all of their food and supplies are in the balloon. Jessie, with a brilliant idea to keep them from starving, offers to make snow rolls. However, she can’t make snow rolls without soy sauce, which is in the balloon, so she decides to continue pursuing the balloon, but James and Meowth don’t seem to want to do that, which is weird because if they find the balloon….they’ll get back their food and supplies and really won’t need to eat Jessie’s weird soy sauce’d snow rolls.

– So either no one offered Ash a blanket even when the blizzard started rolling in, he was too stubborn to take one, he doesn’t have his own and/or Brock didn’t pack one for him. All of these options are equally stupid.

– It was really a good idea to get Ash to relent on making camp by explaining that a real Pokemon Master would never wander around in a snowstorm in the dark. However, a real Pokemon Master probably wouldn’t choose to traverse a snowy mountain range for no reason simply as a ‘challenge’ when there is a perfectly safe and warm trail available.

– The wind is strong enough to blow Pikachu out of Ash’s arms and hurdle him like a quarter mile away, but Ash’s hat stays firmly on his head.

– The entire sequence in the blizzard is very powerful. I remember being legitimately shocked when Ash couldn’t grab Pikachu’s paw and he fell.

– Hey he’s using Bulbasaur’s abilities cleverly too. Yay!

However, in any other circumstance, like the one that follows, Bulbasaur would just grab Pikachu by wrapping him in the vines, not have Pikachu try to hold onto the vine in all this wind and snow.

– Lol Pikachu’s Brock impression.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 4

– Brock never said anything about making a snow cave. He just said ‘It’s best to dig in and let it (the storm) blow over.’

– Using Charmander in a clever way! I like Ash so much in this episode….I mean….not in the minutes leading up to them getting lost because he’s being a stubborn idiot, but now I do!

– Another good use of Charmander, but if Charmander is shivering too, how will his own tail flame heat him up? Does that make sense or no?

– You want to know what else I was thinking about during this particular part of the episode? It sure reminds me of the Orange League episode where Charizard finally behaves.

In that episode, Charizard was frozen in a block of ice by an enemy Poliwrath. His life was in danger because of it. In a desperate effort to warm Charizard up and keep his tail flame from going out, Ash spent all night rubbing Charizard with blankets and his bare hands, resulting in his hands getting roughed up and him becoming exhausted. It was through this display of caring and devotion that Charizard finally broke free of his dumbass-with-amnesia-I-guess syndrome and finally stopped being a jerk.

I have to wonder if either of them remembered this moment in that Orange League episode, because it’s rather poignant. When Charizard was a Charmander, he suffered to save Ash’s life by warming him up, then much later down the line Ash does the same for him.

It’s something sweet to ponder anyway.

– Team Rocket has no emergency supplies, blankets, nothing….but one of them, for some reason, had a birthday candle on them.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 5

(I’m aware it’s a digitally painted match)

Being fair, though, warming up by a candle is much more efficient than using a match.

– Wait, what? When it’s lit, they have to paint the match to look like a candle. But when it’s not lit/burned out, they can show the matches no problem. Again, 4Kids, you’re kinda screwing up your message. I assume you don’t want kids to play with matches, which is why you censored the lit one, but showing a lit match shows kids that matches start fires, which is important information for them to know and acts as a warning to not play with them

Also, for the sake of transparency, 24 seconds of footage was removed from this episode purely because of shots with Team Rocket holding lit matches. Time well spent…

– It’s really sweet how none of the Pokemon want to leave Ash to go into their Pokeballs…..but why is Pikachu the only one he allows to stay out?

– I refuse to believe Ash doesn’t have anything useful in his backpack. Surely he at least has 30 changes of underwear his mother packed for him that he can huddle under.

– I love how Ash is freezing to death but he’s more concerned about his Pokemon, who are even now in their Pokeballs.

– Ash sacrificing his vest to help keep his Pokeballs warm is really, no pun intended, heart-warming.

– I really do love this episode, but Ash is a major idiot for jumping at the hole in the snow wall and plugging it….with his back. The snow wall is meant to help keep the warmth contained and him from freezing to death. Kinda doesn’t work if you’re using your back to plug it up. Use your useless backpack or get more snow – anything instead of using your body.

– This whole climactic sequence still brings tears to my eyes. From Pikachu vehemently refusing to go in its Pokeball to the point where he’s refusing it as an order, to the music, to the other Pokemon letting themselves out of their Pokeballs to all of the Pokemon cuddling Ash to keep him warm to “You win….guess we’ll all be cold together.” – it is by far one of the best and most touching moments of the series. (I especially love Bulbasaur on Ash’s lap. That is too adorable for words.)

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 6

– I love how Ash is gone all night, him and his Pokemon nearly freeze to death, and the first thing Misty tells him is that Onix dug into a hot spring (poor Onix – it hates water.) and they were super comfy in their snow cave. Tact it up, Misty.

(By the way, in case you were wondering as to what the hell the Japanese title of this episode means – Iwark the Bivouac – Iwark is Onix’s Japanese name and bivouac is a term for a temporary camp. Of course, Iwark MADE a bivouac, it didn’t become one, so the weird title doesn’t even make sense in context.)

Bonus points for creative use of Onix, though.

– Bonus points for creative use of Vulpix!

– Ash and friends just stole Team Rocket’s property. Good job.

Also, Ash and co. show absolutely no concern over Team Rocket when they find their crashed balloon in the snowy mountains. They could be dead for all you know. Double good job.

– Team Rocket’s predicament is actually rather serious because, if they get out of the hot spring, it’s not just that they’ll have to deal with the cold. They’ll have to deal with the cold while being soaked to the bone, which basically guarantees they’ll suffer severe frostbite.

—————————-

And that was Snow Way Out! an episode I remember loving a lot when I was a kid and I’m happy to report I still love with all my heart. It has its flaws, of course, but it’s such an emotional and surprisingly serious episode. The moments between Ash and his Pokemon were absolutely beautiful, their situation was realistically dire, even if Ash being a dunderhead was the reason they were in that mess to begin with, and so many Pokemon got utilized creatively and appreciated properly.

About the only person who did jack squat in this episode was Misty, but considering she only has Water Pokemon, she can’t be of much help anyway.

I also like how Team Rocket’s plot was completely separate from Ash and co.’s (A Team Rocket run-in would’ve somewhat ruined this episode.) and I like how, in the end, they weren’t really pointless. In fact, they facilitated the group’s escape to civilization…..even if Team Rocket had to die a horrible death to do it.

This episode is made substantially sadder when you put Jessie’s mom into the equation. I know the backstory of Miyamoto hadn’t been written back then, but it’s still extremely sad that, in canon, Jessie’s mom has been lost on a snowy mountain for 20 years, losing her memory and endlessly searching for Mew in the hopes of getting money for the daughter she doesn’t even remember anymore.

Even if she found and captured Mew, what then? She doesn’t remember her daughter, so she can’t track her down. She might not even remember she’s in Team Rocket anymore. She might not be able to get out of the mountain range either. It’s a really dark story, especially for Pokemon.

At least Jessie probably still has fond memories of her mother. I choose to believe that, anyway.

I would say I hope they reunite some day, but, to be blunt, I don’t really trust the anime writers to handle this story well enough to be a decent payoff. Hopefully, maybe, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up, especially when the story is so old.

Stay warm, everyone. ~♥


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A Very (Somewhat Banned) Pokemon Holiday Special Analysis: Holiday Hi-Jynx

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 1

CotD(s): None, unless you count Santa and…is it really necessary to talk about him?

Pre-Analysis Notes: Hah! Gotcha! You thought I had reviewed all of the Christmas specials for Pokemon? Nope! There’s still one, technically two-ish more, but there’s a reason why I haven’t reviewed them yet.

You guys remember how I talked about the Pokemon Shock incident and how it screwed up the episode order? Well, Holiday Hi-Jynx, their first foray into Christmas, and Snow Way Out were both booted from the planned lineup entirely, which is the main reason why they were subsequently thrown off my analysis lineup for the moment as well since I’m strictly going in numerical order as listed on Bulbapedia. Technically, these episodes have no official numbers. They were originally set to air right around Christmastime in 1997, but since the producers didn’t want to air a Christmas special and a winter-themed episode in April/May, they opted to air the two episodes as specials much later.

I don’t why they bothered, really, because they ended up actually releasing the episodes both on October 5, 1998. Yeah, airing Christmas/winter themed episodes is so much more fitting in the dead of fall, a month before Halloween. Good job.

At least the US had their ducks in a more uniform row, because they aired the dub on December 11, 1999. (Snow Way Out airing a week later on December 18th.)

Despite this being a more fitting airing spot, this did cause some major confusion. Back when I was a kid, these episodes premiered with no fanfare or explanation of what happened. And the reason this was necessary was because, out of nowhere, Ash’s troublesome Charizard was back to being a lovable Charmander, and Misty no longer had Togepi yet still had her Starmie and Horsea, which she had left at the Cerulean Gym at that point. I chalked it up to being an old episode I must’ve missed, but it still nagged me, especially considering that, at the time of this airing in the States, Ash was prepping for the Indigo League tournament.

The trouble doesn’t end there.

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 2

Say hello to Jynx! She is the reason this episode is kinda, sorta, somewhat, ehhh maybe, but not really, depending on how you look at it, banned.

Jynx was heavily criticized as being a racist depiction of a black woman shortly after this episode aired in the US. As a result, the episode was taken out of rotation after a handful of airings and has never reappeared in syndication.

Unlike most banned episodes, however, you can still find this episode fairly easily. It’s on the VHS and the original volume 3 of the Indigo League DVD set, it’s on Cartoon Network Video and Cartoon Network’s On Demand service, it’s available on Boomerang and you can find it on the Japanese versions of Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu.

Subsequent airings have been edited to change Jynx’s skin color to purple to avoid controversy (Kinda like how Mr. Popo’s skin was changed to bright Genie-from-Aladdin blue during his appearances in DBZKai.) but several sources and countries show the original version.

Despite this, the episode is still quietly banned in certain regions. It’s not listed on Pokemon.com, it’s not available on Netflix, it wasn’t included in the re-release of volume 3 of the Indigo League DVD set, and it’s not included in the Indigo League complete collection DVD set. Additionally, the episode is fully banned in South Korea, and India only aired it once before taking it out of rotation entirely.

The edited version has not been applied to the English Dub, so that makes up for a decent amount of the trouble in obtaining this episode.

This initial backlash caused a ripple effect. While Jynx is not a forbidden Pokemon in the anime like Porygon basically is, 4Kids opted to skip over another episode – Ep250: The Ice Cave – because Jynx was so prevalent in it to the point where removing her scenes would destroy the footage and reduce the runtime too much. Episode 287 – All Things Bright and Beautifly – was also edited in the English dub to remove a sequence with Jynx.

Even the Gen II games and the manga were retroactively edited in the west to change Jynx’s skin to purple. Eventually, Game Freak would choose to officially change the character’s skin color to purple to allow it to be featured in the anime and games without additional edits in other areas.

As for why Jynx was designed this way, well, I can’t bring myself to say outright that the designers gunned for a clear black woman stereotype for the sake of being bigots. I don’t like slinging accusations of that caliber around so flippantly without firm evidence. However, it’s hard not to see it.

There’s a theory that she is based on ganguro style, which was popular in the 90s. Ganguro involves dying your hair blond, heavy tanning and wearing a lot of makeup. The actual style, while being rather gaudy, shows the person’s skin as being very orange. You might remember Jessie and James sported ganguro style during the first part of the St. Anne arc.

With that in mind, it’s hard to say that it was taking inspiration from that. By logic, Jynx’s skin would be orange or burnt orange, not black.

However….

There are even more extreme versions of ganguro – Yamanba and Manba, where the tanning is much darker (being dark brown, not orange) and the makeup, accessories and hairstyles are even more outlandish. However, considering this gained popularity long after this episode was created, around 2004, I doubt either of these were the inspiration.

Plus, it’s really hard to seek justification in something where the name, ganguro, can literally translate to ‘black face’………

I’m having trouble getting that anyway because what relation would ganguro have with either psychic powers or ice? You’d think with the requirement of getting so much tanning you might as well jettison yourself into the sun that such a thing couldn’t be further from ice.

Despite having no connection to Santa in the games, it’s also been theorized that, considering Jynx’s role as Santa’s helper in this episode, it might be based on Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, who is a companion of Santa in Dutch folklore……………and…..it’s still racist because, even though the character himself is black, most portrayals of him are done by white people in blackface…

Also, I doubt that theory too because Jynx is clearly designed as a female.

Finally, there’s the theory that it was based on Hel, the Nordic goddess of the underworld who ruled Niflheim, a land of ice and snow. This theory seems to have the best logic to it, but Hel’s face is either meant to be half-blue and half-flesh colored or half-black and half-flesh colored; not fully black. So either they screwed up the facial design or this theory is wrong too.

I never much cared for Jynx either way. I find her to be very creepy on all fronts (Creepy design, creepy voice, creepy movement, creepy blushing, creepy kissing attack – creepycreepycreepy) but I think it’s a good thing that she was changed to purple over the years.

Even if her entire existence is a big question mark in regards to intentions, there’s really no getting around the implications, especially considering only one of the three viable theories I read didn’t include mentions of flatout blackface (It’s also theorized that Jynx are based on opera singers, given their overweight appearance and musical ability, but this confuses me just as much as the others, quite frankly.) Changing her to purple was a much better course of action than trying to justify her offensive appearance – if they even have a justification.

Keep in mind, everything I just discussed were fan theories on her origins – people coming up with less offensive possibilities for Jynx’s existence. I don’t think an official explanation was ever given, which is fairly suspect. Even if it is meant to be a racist depiction of a black woman, which is, of course, insanely messed up, what does that have to do with ice or psychic powers? What were they going for? I just don’t understand Jynx at all.

I don’t really want to press this matter into even worse implications, but I can’t help but ask this question. If people find that Santa’s elves are basically slaves…and taking Jynx as being a depiction of a stereotypical black woman…..Does that mean I’m technically watching a Christmas special with depictions of black people as Santa’s slaves? I really wish I had turned my brain off before it went down that route, because if you lock onto that idea, this episode just gets so much worse. It’s bad enough that Jynx technically are indeed ‘owned’ by their Trainers in the first place……

To be honest, other than having ice powers and being human-like, I don’t know why Jynx was the Pokemon chosen to be stand-ins for Santa’s elves to begin with. I know Delibird doesn’t exist yet, but certainly there’s a better option.

M…merry…Christmas…..I’m really uncomfortable now.

Plot: On Christmas Eve, Team Rocket plans on trapping Santa and taking all of the presents for themselves. Jessie has a vendetta against Santa, believing him to be a thief who stole her doll when he visited on Christmas ten years ago….Only ‘he’ was actually a Jynx working for Santa that she believes was actually Santa.

Meanwhile, Ash tries to capture what he thinks is a wild Jynx waiting on a beach. After a failed attempt, they surmise that it has a Trainer after seeing it holding a boot belonging to none other than Santa Claus! Jynx Psychically transmits her story to Ash and the others – some time ago, she was shining Santa’s boot when the ice she was standing on broke away. She drifted to shore and is desperate to reach Santa.

Ash, Misty and Brock agree to help her out, worried that Santa won’t be able to deliver gifts without his Jynx or his other boot. They grab a raft and head off in the direction of the North Pole, using their Water Pokemon to help pull them along. After a long, long while and exhausting their Pokemon, Ash finds one of Santa’s telepathic Lapras who has been following them for a while. Realizing their intentions are good, it decides to pull them along for the rest of the ride.

When they arrive, however, Team Rocket springs up. They trap Ash and the others in a net and capture Jynx, whom Jessie still mistakenly believes is Santa. They then head to the workshop to steal all of the toys. Jessie spots the real Santa and they hold him hostage so all of the Jynx will hand over the presents. Ash and the others try to intervene, but hold themselves back to protect Santa.

Jessie chats with Santa who asks why she’s doing this. After explaining her story, Jynx perks up and runs off to retrieve Jessie’s doll – now fixed. Santa explains that his Jynx had gone to deliver presents to her and noticed her broken dolly on the floor. She took it to get fixed, but they couldn’t return it since Jessie no longer believed in him and he’s not allowed to tread in the homes of hearts that don’t believe in him.

While she tearfully reunited with her doll, Jessie continues her plan anyway. However, they’re all stopped by Lapras, who freezes their sub with Ice Beam. Ash uses Charmander to free them all from the ropes and commands him to use Fire Spin on the sub. The ice melts and Team Rocket escapes.

Santa commands his legion of Jynx to use Psywave to pick up their sub, shake out all of the presents, destroy the sub and blast off Team Rocket.

With Santa and the presents safe, Santa heads off on his sleigh to bring Christmas to people all over the world. Jynx and Lapras deliver presents to Ash, Misty, Brock and Pikachu, bringing them all Christmas cheer.

Meanwhile, a beaten up Team Rocket lies in bed, waiting for Santa to hopefully deliver gifts to them despite their actions. He does show up, but all that happens is Jynx uses Lovely Kiss on them all to make them sleep. It may not be the best Christmas for them, but they certainly didn’t do anything to get on the nice list this year.

——————–

– Whose castle is Team Rocket staying in?

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– I kinda understand why Jessie’s doing the title card read today, but it’s also a little weird.

– Jessie has a really nice house for a kid who supposedly grew up so poor that her mother fed her snow….

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– If Santa sends out his Jynx to deliver presents….what…exactly…does HE do?

– Why is Ash so gung-ho about catching a Jynx?

– I love how Misty and Ash are claiming it’s very weird to leave a Pokemon alone outside, but they’ve left Pokemon in the middle of a street sitting in a kiddie pool before….

– Why is Jynx blushing when it looks at the boot? Is she in love with him?

– If Jynx could transmit messages telepathically, why did she even need to waste time with the boot?

– Couldn’t Jynx have just used Ice Beam to create a bridge to get back to shore?

– Is Brock seriously asking how Santa’s going to deliver presents without his Jynx? You don’t even know what she does as Santa’s Pokemon.

– Look, I’m trying to give this episode some modicum of leeway in the logic department, because it’s a kid’s show trying to talk about Santa, but Ash and the others are really planning to head to the North Pole on a wooden raft they either found or somehow made in about ten seconds. Unless the North Pole is much closer to Kanto in the Pokemon world than it is in our world, they’re either going to die, their Pokemon are going to die from exhaustion, both or they’ll all be lost adrift at sea for a long, long time.

– Huh, Misty’s actually being accommodating to Psyduck. It’s a Christmas miracle.

– Hey, the Gyarados sub! Yay!

– I sincerely doubt Ash has the strength to pull that raft at any reasonable speed. Also, did none of them think to just bring oars?

– So a non-Psychic Lapras can telepathically speak, but Psychic Jynx can only project images and only through touch……….Kay.

Also, why is Lapras glowing so brightly when it first meets Ash?

– I feel I should call BS on Misty not knowing what a Lapras is, but I’ll refrain from making a ‘Why Use the Pokedex?’ note since I have no way of knowing if she does. Would be weird of someone who is currently trying to be a Water Pokemon Master is all.

– Lapras has been watching them for ‘some time’ but didn’t think to offer them a ride or a tow? Jerk.

– Okay, so Lapras’ logic with not appearing sooner was not knowing their intentions….but she can speak telepathically, which means she must be able to read minds and thus easily know their intentions immediately. Or it could’ve just asked the Jynx telepathically if she trusted these kids. Also, Lapras, it’s a bunch of kids on a wooden raft in the middle of the ocean trying to get to the North Pole to deliver Santa’s Jynx back to him. You can’t get much more wholesome that that. You’re just a jerk, Lapras; which sucks because I adore Lapras.

– It’s really nice and cool of Jynx to use her hair as an umbrella for Misty…….That sure is a unique sentence.

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– I just realized that they were heading to the North Pole without any winter clothes….now that I think about it, in the next episode they head into snowy mountains without winter clothes. Delia constantly asks Ash if he has clean underwear on but never thinks to ask if he has weather-appropriate attire for his journeys?

– Santa Claus lives on a spiky ice island of death?……COOL!

– Hah, I like how the motto music sped up when Jessie and James realized how cold it was.

– Neither Jynx nor Lapras did anything to the missile or net when it was being so slowly deployed.

– How does Santa not have a second pair of boots? Also, Jynx has been gone for some time, supposedly, so how has Santa not made or otherwise obtained another pair in the meantime? Has he been walking around outside with one shoe?

– This version of Santa’s pretty lame. Not only does he have a bunch of Jynx do most of his work, but he also apparently is not all-seeing because he doesn’t realize Jessie and James are bad guys and probably naughty list recipients.

– What is up with how fast Meowth’s lips are moving when he’s telling the Jynx to load up the gifts? That’s not typical Japanese to English lip flap syncing trouble, that’s almost like they sped up the footage.

– I’m realizing now that, even accepting the silliness of Jessie believing a Jynx is Santa, why is she still insisting SantaJynx is male? She keeps using male pronouns, but not only is Jynx clearly female-based, but her species is 100% female.

– I’m surprised Jessie was so emotionally impacted by Jynx stealing her doll…the one she broke in a fit of unjustified rage and didn’t react much when it happened.

– Okay, wait, wait, time out. Jessie broke her doll, Jynx came to deliver presents….didn’t do that, grabbed her doll off the floor and took it, ran off to get it fixed, but couldn’t return it for ten years because Jessie didn’t believe in Santa anymore after that?

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First of all;

Santa: “There, you see? I knew my Jynx would never steal anything.” She took someone’s property from their house and didn’t return it. That’s stealing.

Second of all;

Santa: “I repaired it in my sleigh….” Wait, that means you repaired it right then and there….Why wouldn’t you just instantly give it back then?

Third;

Santa: “We tried to go back, but you didn’t believe in me anymore, and I’m powerless to go where hearts are closed.” Powerless to go where hearts are closed….that’s a new one. And a stupid one.

If you repaired it in the sleigh, that means Jessie instantly stopped believing in you when Jynx went up the chimney. That’s a bit extreme.

She never stopped believing in Santa Claus anyway. If she did, she wouldn’t be in the North Pole right now. She just mistakenly believed Jynx was Santa.

Does this mean Santa can’t enter most houses? Because most parents don’t believe in Santa, and many older kids don’t either. If he can’t enter the home of non-believers entirely, his trip must be much shorter than we think.

Even if all of that was true, why take the doll with you? Why not put it on her windowsill or, oh I dunno, send your non-Santa-and-thus-not-restricted-by-the-belief-thing back down the chimney to return what she stole?

– Oh my God, Ash, why would you have Charmander burn the ropes and give you all third degree burns when you could have just had him untie you? Come to think of it, you must have a decent amount of movement capability if you could find, grab and send out Charmander’s Pokeball….

– Yes, Charmander, Fire Spin the thing that currently holds all of the presents for all of the little girls and boys of the world. I hope they asked Santa for asbestos….

– I get that Team Rocket’s Pokemon are perfectly fine following the orders of either Jessie or James, but why does Jessie have Weezing’s Pokeball?

– Also, Team Rocket has a point – Ash just helped by thawing them out after Lapras froze them. Why would he even consider doing that?

– If these Jynx all know Psywave, then they’ve all been given the TM to learn it. I’d think another good TM to give them would be Teleport so it would make deliveries essentially instantaneous. You wouldn’t even need the sleigh and none of your Jynx would ever get lost.

– I should question the flying Rapidash, but I moreso want to comment on Santa saying ‘No reindeer.’ Oh, Santa, just wait a gen.

– That snow effect is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even look like snow. It looks like fully white ladybugs crawling on the screen in four intersecting lines. I make better snow animations than that, and that’s just sad.

– Aw it’s nice that they got presents. I hope it’s winter clothes because some of you have to be losing some appendages at this point.

– Pikachu getting a gift is really cute and nice, but I really hope Santa has gifts for all of their Pokemon, otherwise this little note is actually quite unfair and more blatant favoritism – and this time not even from Ash!

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————————————

I’ve always remembered this episode as being really weird, really confusing and just strange, but I guess it’s not a particularly terrible Christmas special. There are so many other better holiday Pokemon specials out there that I certainly wouldn’t place this at the top tier of your Christmas must-watch list, but it’s alright.

Amid all of the controversy and other messes this episode was wrapped up in, you’d hope this episode would be one worth waiting for, but it’s really not. I still think it’s really weird, really confusing and just strange. There are so many questionable writing choices made in this episode, both Japanese and English, that it’s actually somewhat impressive what a massive tangle of nonsensical weird they made out of a Christmas special.

Jynx’s mere existence may be enough to put some people off of this episode, especially if your brain runs a little wild with the implications like mine did. I really hope I’m just reading too far into things again. Otherwise, it’s an okay-ish watch around the holidays. Nearly any other entry in the ‘Pikachu’s Winter Vacation’ series would be a better alternative, though.


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Pokemon Episode 57 Analysis: The Breeding Center Secret

Pokemon Ep57 Analysis Screen1

Character Debuts: Butch and Cassidy – Butch and Cassidy are basically Jessie and James if they were about….40% more competent. I always like when they pop up because they are legitimate threats, but they tend to get taken down almost as easily as Jessie and James either way. Also, I hate the running gag of getting Butch’s name wrong. It got old so fast it’s ridiculous. However, it hasn’t even started in this episode so I’m good for now.

Butch and Cassidy are named after the legendary old west outlaw, Butch Cassidy, which is another mirrored attribute of Jessie and James, who are named after Jessie James.

Pokemon: Butch – As of this episode, he’s not known to have any Pokemon, but later down the line he’ll be shown to have a Primeape, a Hitmontop, a Mightyena, a Cloyster and a Shuckle.

Cassidy – Cassidy’s Ratticate is basically their version of Meowth only it doesn’t talk and stays in its Pokeball. She’s later shown to also have a Houndour, a Sableye, a Tentacruel and a Granbull.

Cap…tures?: James has a Victreebel. Don’t ask questions. He just does, okay?

Its only character trait is trying to eat James every time it’s let out, which gets super annoying over time.

Character Departures: First time I’ve ever had to use this, but Snap did stick around for several episodes so I guess it’s fitting to do this here.

Snap takes his leave in this episode.

And I’m all broken up about it.

I really have nothing against Snap, even though, I’m just going to say it, he’s even more one-dimensional and boring than Tracey. Give Tracey credit – he doesn’t just draw Pokemon. He’s basically a Pokemon Researcher that draws. And he has his own Pokemon to add to the mix. Snap’s only gimmick is taking pictures. That’s it. The end. He is a walking camera. He doesn’t have any Pokemon to make him even a little more interesting – he’s just the guy taking pictures.

I will never understand why he stuck around in the first place. It is one of Pokemon’s greatest mysteries to me.

EDIT – I pre-maturely said goodbye to our camera toting pal. He reappears way down the line in Johto in three episodes where he’s trying to capture a picture of an Articuno. Again, he stays for three episodes in Johto and I have no clue why. I already have difficulty understanding the criteria for making any characters of the day reappear, but why Snap has two three episodes bursts where he’s traveling with the group in the series is an even bigger mystery to me. Is he that much of a fan favorite, or what’s happening here?

Plot: Ash, Misty, Brock and Snap stumble upon a new Breeding Center where the owners promise to improve any Pokemon and even get some to evolve in mere days. Misty jumps at the chance to leave her Psyduck there.

Later, the group finds a restaurant that promises free food, which ignites Misty’s interest. However, there’s a catch – you have to show the chef his favorite Pokemon, which is, ironically, Psyduck. Misty is irritated that Psyduck isn’t there the one time she actually needs him, but when she heads to the Breeding Center to retrieve him, they find the shop is closed.

Impatient and hungry, Misty decides to break in. They overhear the shop owners talking in the back room – they’re secretly top Team Rocket agents, Butch and Cassidy! The Breeding Center is really a front to get rare and powerful Pokemon to send back to Giovanni. All of the Pokemon they’ve acquired are kept in small cages and treated poorly – including Psyduck.

The group hatches a plan to take pictures of everything in the room so they can show it to police and get Team Rocket shut down for good. They take their pictures, nearly getting caught in the process, but as they’re about to grab Psyduck and head out, someone else breaks into the Breeding Center.

It’s Team Rocket – the regular one – looking to nab all of the Pokemon in the center, unaware that it’s being run by other Team Rocket members. The group catches them and tries to stop them from stealing the Pokemon and getting them caught. Their efforts are in vain, however, because Butch and Cassidy catch them.

They try to escape, but not before James stops to retrieve his Weepinbell that he left at the center a few days prior. To his delight, it has evolved into a Victreebel.

The escape continues, but they’re all nabbed up in cages. Misty, Togepi and Pikachu are the only ones able to evade capture. Butch and Cassidy take Snap’s camera and call the police to get them all arrested, leaving Misty as the one who must get the evidence back and clear Ash, Brock and Snap’s good names.

She covertly uses Pikachu to snatch the camera while she disguises herself and enters the center as a customer trying to retrieve her Psyduck. Misty brings the photos back to Officer Jenny, proving the criminal nature of the Breeding Center, and the group rushes to arrest them.

Butch and Cassidy fight them with their Raticate, but Pikachu easily defeats it. They make a run for it, but are Vine Whipped into submission by Ash’s Bulbasaur.

With Butch and Cassidy behind bars and the Pokemon safely set to be returned to their owners, Misty finally takes her Psyduck to the restaurant to get as much ice cream as she can eat.

Later, Snap departs from the group to head to the mountains to take some pictures of wild Pokemon. Ash and the others bid their photographer friend farewell as they set off for Cinnabar Island and Ash’s seventh Gym match.

—————————

– Snap is very obviously taking posed pictures of Togepi.

– Weathergirl: “Now, a Pokemon weather update!” What the hell is Pokemon weather? I know you people like putting ‘Pokemon’ in front of everything, but it needs to make some sense. Like, am I writing this blog post on my Pokemon computer? Sitting in my Pokemon chair? As the Pokemon computer sits on the Pokemon desk? Am I Pokemon typing? Please stop!

(Also, don’t think you can get away with mentioning Castform here. That little dude is a long way away from being created.)

– What is up with Brock and Misty’s face here? I didn’t realize that a weather report could make ten year olds sport an expression you’d usually only see if you bought them a pony.

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– I find it very weird that they opted to call this place a Breeding Center when we’ve already seen Breeding Centers before and they don’t increase Pokemon levels there. (Being fair, that same episode also included a Team Rocket putting up a front as a fake Breeding Center just to steal Pokemon, so points off for kinda recycling plots) Brock’s a Pokemon Breeder too, there’s no reason he’s not suspicious of this place.

In the original, as you can guess, it was a Pokemon Daycare. Like in the games, they promise that simply leaving the Pokemon with them will level them quickly. The reason it feels quick in the games is because 1) You’re so busy grinding and doing busywork or catching Pokemon that ‘time’ (steps) kinda flies and 2) …..You probably forgot you had a Pokemon in the Daycare. In the anime, it makes less sense because you’re left wondering how they’re leveling them in a literal quick manner (Cassidy states they had a Charmander evolve all the way into Charizard in three days.)

Also, the games didn’t have the Pokemon evolve in their care, even if they far exceeded level requirements.

Also also, when you think about it, it kinda DOES make more sense for this place to be called a Breeding Center if they went all the way with the Daycare motif because, in the games, when you leave two compatible opposite sex Pokemon (or any (non-legend) Pokemon and Ditto, because Ditto’s the real bicycle of Pokemon.) you will eventually get a Pokemon egg. Meaning, for a change, actual BREEDING would occur in a BREEDING Center if they did this right, but I can understand why they didn’t. They don’t want to have to explain the Pidgeys and the Beedrills to kids….even though, in the games, they still claim they don’t know for sure how Pokemon eggs are made….

Admittedly, this is a good plan if they only stick around for a few days, but…we’ll get to the rest of the plan later.

– Butch’s voice is terrible.. It doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people, but I can see why it might.

Dogasu brought up a very….interesting note about Butch as a character though.

“I read a theory from the Internet from waaaay back when this episode first premiered that might explain what 4Kids and / or Eric Stuart was thinking. This is in no way confirmed but here goes anyway: James represents effeminate gay men while Butch is a stand-in for their more masculine counterparts. Hear me out. The idea goes that since James is often seen cross-dressing, is given all these high-pitched squeals and giggles, hates the idea of marrying the woman his parents set him up with, and spends nearly 24/7 with a sexy female colleague but isn’t trying to get into her pants then that means that of course he’s a friend of Dorothy. It is 1998 after all; what other explanation could there be! This may not have been the intention for the character when 4Kids first started but the whole “James is a flamboyant gay man” idea is one that they would definitely end up embracing as the years go on.

And then, when it came time to dub this episode, 4Kids looked at what they had already done with James and decided hey, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense if we gave this other guy a name that means “masculine” and then also gave him this super deep man voice? You know, as a kind of yin and yang thing? So they get Eric Stuart to come in and do his Harvey Fierstein impersonation and BAM! we’ve got someone the exact opposite of James. When all is said and done, Eric Stuart plays James to be effeminate while he plays Butch to be, well, butch.

This is all just a theory and there’s no proof whatsoever that this is what 4Kids was going for at the time. Still, it all kind of adds up. I don’t think this was done out of any sort of malice or anything (from what I’ve gathered both 4Kids and TPCI seem to be very LGBTQ-safe environments) but instead was intended just to be a funny little in-joke among the staff at 4Kids. It’s still a terrible, terrible voice though.”

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Sooooo…..yeah, I’ve NEVER heard of this until I read the comparison and I never thought this until now, and I gotta say…..I think it’s a bunch of bull. I think it makes a lot more sense for his name to just be a play on Butch Cassidy from the get-go and not anywhere inspired from being a ‘butch’ gay guy. I also don’t think Eric Stuart was thinking that going in because I think, if he had, he would’ve put more of a deep tone to the voice instead of making it higher pitched just really raspy, like his throat had just been ripped out by rabid weasels.

I also don’t think the original writers intended for anything like that with this character. Butch and Cassidy definitely seem like they’re meant to be more offshoots of Jessie and James with a more serious/competent slant to them than having them be in any way opposites. For example, Cassidy is really just Jessie only slightly less vain, shrill and overbearing. It is possible that 4Kids was trying to force that kind of subtext onto him, but I can’t imagine they would. The reason it works with James is because the animation lends itself so well to their interpretation. The same cannot be said of Butch.

Also, if anything, James is probably bisexual because he has shown attraction to several women over the series. That’s my two cents in that bucket.

– I’m really getting sick of Misty being mean to her Psyduck for no reason. I’m also disappointed reading that her relationship with Psyduck only gets, at best, slightly better as far up as Sun and Moon. Psyduck deserves a lot more than Misty’s abuse….

– Misty can say whatever she wants, you can say she loves Psyduck more than she lets on all you want, I still believe there’s a significant chance she would indeed leave Psyduck there for good.

– Before they just started chucking out Pokeballs, they should’ve just…ya know…asked the guy what his favorite Pokemon is.

– Snap: “Hey! That looks like a picture I took!” It does? Because it could not be more posed if you tried.

Also, this picture is yours, Snap? This one?

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You uh….mind sharing why you had this Psyduck do a ‘draw me like one of your French girls’ pose?

– Misty: “That’s typical! It figures Psyduck isn’t around the one time I really need it!” Yeah, it’s totally Psyduck’s fault you left it at a Breeding Center to be better because you’re too lazy or impatient to actually train him yourself…..Bitch.

Ash: “You’re the one who left it at that center…” I know right?…..Hey! Stop pointing out my notes for me!

– Misty is so worried that she won’t be able to get ice cream tomorrow if she waits until the center opens that she’s willing to break into the Breeding Center…….But…the chef explicitly stated he was waiting for a delivery of 50 gallons of ice cream….Does she think they’ll go through 50 gallons of ice cream overnight?

– Butch and Cassidy are indeed more competent than Jessie and James…..but they’re still too incompetent to lock their back door. Or the room where they keep their Pokemon for that matter.

– Was….Snap really thinking of taking pictures of these Pokemon just for the sake of taking pictures? He had his camera in his hand and then said ‘These Pokemon don’t look like they want to smile for the camera….’ That’s kinda messed up, Snap.

– It’s horrible that they taped Psyduck’s eyes open, especially considering, realistically, he’d have gone blind by now, but I have to analyze this in three possibilities – 1) They thought taping his eyelids like that long enough would actually alter his face and make him look more intelligent. That’s really dark and messed up. 2) They were planning on giving Psyduck back to Misty like this, which is dumb because surely she’d notice the tape at least before she left the building. And 3) if they were just planning on stealing all of these Pokemon anyway, why tape his eyelids?

– So they’re only planning on giving Giovanni the cream of the crop?…..Why not give them all to him? Surely they’d all be useful in some capacity and the more Pokemon you have, the more powerful you are as an organization. Jessie and James are rarely ever picky about the Pokemon they try to get for Giovanni, but maybe that’s part of their problem.

….Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, isn’t this kinda a dumb plan for the sake of getting powerful or rare Pokemon for Giovanni? These trainers are sending their Pokemon to this Breeding Center for the sake of leveling up faster and improving them, so wouldn’t Butch and Cassidy only get mostly low level poorly trained Pokemon?

– I’d call the cops in addition to taking pictures of the place, but anything to give Snap some point to his existence, I suppose.

– I love how Cassidy brings up how it’s weird that Giovanni puts up with Jessie and James even though they always fail and they’re completely incompetent, but even though Giovanni agrees…..he doesn’t really answer them. He’s just like ‘Yeah, it’s a good thing those fools weren’t here to mess everything up. Those fools I still have on my payroll. Complete idiots that I still employ.’

– I get that it makes for commercial break cliffhanger tension, but why aren’t any of them trying to run or hide when they hear Butch coming in the room? They’re literally just standing there for several moments going ‘Uuuahhhhhh!!’ You lot would never survive a horror movie.

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Togepi’s face, though. lol

– They were still frozen in fear, shaking and going ‘Uahhhhhh’ when Butch had his hand on the door knob. How did they have time to come to their senses, come up with this plan to have Pikachu use its electricity to light up the room in a cage, implement said plan and hide before he actually opened the door?

– I’m kinda pissed it’s taken them this long to try to get Psyduck out of the cage. Also, Misty, use your Pokeball to recall Psyduck through the bars. You don’t need to fuss with a lock.

– Why are Jessie and James holding their hands over the eyes like there’s a bright light when they’re in a completely dark room?

– I don’t why, but the way that James says ‘I knew all along we couldn’t trust you!’ has stuck with me through the years. He says it at such a weird pitch for one and for another he’s almost sing-talking the line.

– I am unreasonably bothered by the fact that Butch and Cassidy don’t say their names in the proper order when they do their motto. Granted, if you’re just doing a beat-by-beat remake of Jessie and James’ motto then Cassidy saying her line when she does makes sense, but in order to poke at the fact that their name makes out ‘Butch Cassidy’ you need to have Butch say his name first.

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– Butch and Cassidy’s motto makes so much more sense than Jessie and James’ version, but it also brings up a lot of questions.

Jessie and James accuse them of stealing their motto, but they claim it’s the Team Rocket motto, so I always assumed it was an actual motto that Jessie and James probably weren’t reciting properly given the words. However, in this instance they’re acting like they made it up from scratch. James has never met Butch or Cassidy, so if Butch and Cassidy did steal their motto and rework it, how did they ever hear it?

Why would they steal it, honestly? If there is no Team Rocket motto or even if Jessie and James’ version is different, wouldn’t they just find it to be something silly Jessie and James needlessly say and brush it off?

Is there an actual Team Rocket motto that both teams are getting wrong? Since Butch and Cassidy’s version is so different, why are Jessie and James acting like they stole the whole thing? Is one of them right? I’m so confused….

– Uh….do you guys want to actually use your Pokemon and….battle? You guys fight Jessie and James all the time when they’re stealing Pokemon, why are you not even trying here?

– We’ve reached a point of confusion that far surpasses the previous note, though – James’ Weepinbell/Victreebel. Ever since I was a kid, I wondered where the hell James suddenly got a Victreebel that was supposedly a Weepinbell before this episode. He never hints at having a Weepinbell, not once.

Over the years, I thought this was another instance of a character having a Pokemon that they caught in a banned episode so it kinda just appeared on western airings, but nope. James just inexplicably had a Weepinbell for an undisclosed amount of time and never used it for no reason.

I would say maybe it’s been in the Breeding Center for the entire series, but James specifically says he left it there ‘the other day’ and I’d assume this place is very new.

To make matters even more confusing, it evolved into Victreebel. James acts like this is super impressive, but Weepinbell only evolves through a Leaf Stone, so Butch and Cassidy had to have used one on it. I can only assume this was one of the Pokemon they didn’t intend on giving back because why would they buy and use a valuable Leaf Stone on a customer’s Weepinbell without keeping it?

I would say maybe it would be to improve word of mouth – like proof that they can evolve Pokemon super quick – but obviously the main problem there is the stone evolution.

Also, how does James know this Victreebel is his Weepinbell anyway? It could just be another customer’s Victreebel.

Oh well……..it’s the start of a very, very annoying trend either way….Prepare for god knows how many instances of James being eaten by Victreebel….yay.

Pokemon Ep57 Analysis Screen7

– Ya know, Misty has a fairly solid plan, but if I were Butch and Cassidy, I would’ve destroyed the camera and the film immediately after getting my hands on it. There’s no point in keeping it. I mean…maybe they’d like a cool expensive camera, but at least destroy the film.

– Considering Cassidy does give Psyduck back, I assume this Breeding Center is meant to be up for a while and they are, for some reason, giving Pokemon back?….But what about the people who are trying to get back the Pokemon they plan on giving Giovanni? I’m really trying to make full sense of this plan.

– I would think they’d take all of their Pokemon away in jail given that oh so many Pokemon abilities could probably break them out easily, but….cops in the Pokemon World….*sigh*

– Jenny really shouldn’t be calling the group Pokemon snatchers, because they never opened any of the cages and they never stole any of the Pokemon. James did technically get Victreebel out, but he can prove it’s his because he has its Pokeball. You have them on breaking and entering and trespassing, but that’s it.

– Boy, those are some awfully posed pictures on your film roll, Snap. Ya know, Snap, you have one character trait – you like to take pictures – and your once specificity in that regard is you hate taking pictures of Pokemon posed. Yet nearly every picture is posed like you work at a K-Mart photo studio in the 90s, you…you…poser.

Pokemon Ep57 Analysis Screen8

– Those photos are damning, but Misty has no proof Snap took the photos from inside the Breeding Center.

– Even though Butch and Cassidy are more competent than Jessie and James, their Raticate gets taken out in one shot, they just leave it behind and don’t seem to have other Pokemon to battle with or don’t bother trying, so they run…

– Wait, where did Team Rocket get shovels in jail? How did they dig through concrete?….I’m just gonna chalk this up to more pisspoor Pokemon World cops…

– And just as randomly as he joined their journey, Snap departs to just…go take pictures on a mountain. Have fun.

————————————

It’s not one of my favorite episodes, but I still really like this one. Butch and Cassidy are formidable foes, though I wish they could’ve battled a little more and a little better. Trying to covertly take them down, while most of the group is imprisoned, was a nice change from the norm from just battling off the bat, though I don’t understand why they never battled in their first encounter. Heck, why didn’t they let out some of their Pokemon when they got nabbed in the cage at least?

Misty got to take the reigns in this episode, and Snap was finally useful for something even though, honestly, any of them could have had a camera and used it in that instance. Even though I’m almost insulted at how they introduced it, at least James has another Pokemon now so we can have some more variety in Team Rocket’s roster, even if it does introduce the first Pokemon who starts the ‘attacks James at every opportunity’ shtick.

Psyduck was pretty abused in this episode both by Misty and by Butch and Cassidy. Misty just chucking him into a Breeding Center to make him better is kinda insulting, the tape was blatant abuse and the fact that Misty blamed Psyduck for not being there to score her free food was very irritating. This is only compounded by the fact that she barely made any effort to get Psyduck out and LEFT HIM THERE after they got discovered. Let me remind you that James stopped and retrieved his Victreebel as they were trying to escape. You’re not as caring as James, Misty. Come on.

I would say he at least got some appreciation through that Psyduck fanboy chef at the end, but Psyduck honestly just had to put up with the chef being creepy while Misty stuffed her ice cream hole.

I have to stop going on angry tangents on episodes I like.

Speaking of episodes I like, NEXT EPISODE IS THE FIRST CINNABAR ISLAND EPISODE!

Cinnabar Island is my favorite Kanto Gym and one of my favorite Gyms ever, and I really love this two-parter for a variety of reasons, so I can’t wait to dive into it.

.Previous Episode


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Pokemon Episode 56 Analysis – The Ultimate Test

CotD(s): None. (I’m not counting the exam instructor. He’s doesn’t even get a name.)

Plot: Misty prods Ash about his lack of Gym matches lately, further expounding the topic by saying he could hope to get a pity badge next time. Ash becomes very angry at this, and Snap suggests proving his worth as a Trainer and bypassing the next two Gym battles by taking the Pokemon League Admissions Exam – a one-time test you can take to earn a special badge that allows you to gain immediate admittance into the Pokemon League.

Ash signs up, as do Jessie and James, who both seemingly have secret aspirations of being Pokemon Masters. The Nurse Joy from Fuchsia City has also signed up, being unable to travel for badges due to her job.

The first exam starts and it’s a trivia test about various Pokemon. Ash does fairly well for a bit, but the questions soon start tripping him up.

The second exam begins, and it’s centered around identifying Pokemon by parts of their body or silhouettes. The hints are incredibly vague, and Ash, Jessie and James get each answer wrong due to the questions being either tricks or just flatout stupid.

Jessie gets so frustrated that she leaves the test and is expelled.

With Jessie out, James and Ash discover that they’re the other two bottom scorers in the group. Joy scored near the top, however.

The final test is a practical exam where all of the applicants participate in a Pokemon battle with the test proctors. The hitch is that the participants must use premade Pokemon teams made of specially trained Pokemon from the organizers. They’ll have no idea which Pokemon are in the Pokeballs until they throw them out in battle.

James is ecstatic to get a Pikachu, but fails in taking down the instructor’s Graveller with it. He throws out his other two Pokeballs, which contain an Ivysaur and a Charizard, when he gets frustrated. However, he’s instantly thrown out due to using multiple Pokemon at once.

Ash is up next, and his first Pokeball contains a Weezing, which he’s not too thrilled about, but at least he knows Weezing’s moves thanks to James always using one when they battle. The instructor throws out a Flareon. Ash manages to pull out a win with Weezing, but the battle’s not over yet.

The instructor throws out a Jolteon. Ash’s next Pokemon is an Arbok, which he basically has the same reaction as he did to Weezing, but, again, he knows relatively how to use one since it’s Jessie’s main Pokemon.

He forgets about Jolteon’s spikes, however, and damages Arbok while attempting to use Wrap. One more attack by Jolteon, and it’s down for the count.

The instructor’s final Pokemon is Vaporeon. Ash’s last Pokemon is, to complete the irony trifecta, a Meowth. However, it’s barely out of its Pokeball before the enemy Vaporeon freezes it with an Ice Beam.

Team Rocket’s Meowth is furious at the abuse of a fellow Meowth, so he runs out onto the battlefield, scratches up Ash’s face and frees the Meowth from the ice.

The instructor, intrigued by a talking Meowth, tries to capture him, but Jessie and James stop him with the Pokemon James used in his test. They want revenge, and they try to attack the instructor. They fail to realize that the instructor is the one who originally trained all of the test Pokemon, so he merely commands them to obey him now and sics them all on Team Rocket.

Ash follows suit and commands his test Pokemon to attack as well. He commands Weezing to use Explosion, and Team Rocket blasts off.

With Team Rocket’s intrusion, they’re forced to call off the exam and nullify everyone’s progress so far. Ash decides to forego taking the exam again and goes off to Cinnabar Island to get his next Gym badge.

Meanwhile, Snap is trying to tend to Meowth, who was injured in the explosion, only to find his ‘friends’ left without him. The instructor takes Meowth, happy to have ‘captured’ the talking Meowth he wanted. Team Rocket, however, is confounded to discover their Meowth is the test Meowth.

———————————-

– Simply moving the mouths up and down while the voice actors go ‘Om nom nom’ and hold small bits of food to their mouths – animation perfection.

– Why is Misty confused by Snap bringing up the Pokemon League Admissions Exam? As a Gym Leader (formerly) shouldn’t she know what that is?

– There’s something really weird with the animation as the frame pans while Ash says ‘Yeah, nobody I’m not better than…’ The kid with the weirdly colored Caterpie hat and the girl behind the couch jut around a lot like the shot was poorly digitally painted. But since I can’t find any other evidence of 4Kids meddling here, I’m left to assume it’s just an odd animation error.

– Let’s go over my opinion of the admissions exam here to save some time. A lot of what I’m going to say was already covered by Dogasu, but just to cover my own bases:

I really like the idea of a difficult in-depth test that you can take for the sake of getting immediate admittance into the Pokemon League. Like Pokemon Tech, it’s cool to see that there are alternative options in place for people who simply don’t have the time or capability to travel the world and get badges from various gyms – and this one doesn’t seem to require a ton of money and god knows how many years of commitment to complete like Pokemon Tech. You can just arrive, prove your meddle and gain admittance.

As we see throughout the series, plenty of people become amazing Pokemon Trainers without ever leaving home, so this is a great option.

Problem is both the written and practical exams are bullshit. Granted, the practical exam is less so, but the written exam is some of the biggest bullshit ever. In Pokemon Tech, the knowledge you had to have on Pokemon was insane. You had to know some things by memory that a lot of hardcore Pokemon fans wouldn’t be able to tell you without Googling it. Even the kids at a mere four badge level were prattling on with Pokemon facts like they were old Pokemon Researchers, and even they would call out this test for being stupid.

Why do you need to know Pokemon silhouettes, especially when they’re manipulated to look like several other things? Why do you need to be able to identify a Pokemon by a small part of them, especially when they’re ridiculously vague? Why are some of the questions mind-bogglingly simple while others are outright unfair?

Even the characters are pointing out how insane this part of the test is. Rarely do I ever side with anything Jessie does, but the fact that she called foul and walked out was perfectly reasonable in this instance.

I have no qualms about having a practical exam because that’s completely understandable when testing entrants for the Pokemon League. It’s how they go about it that makes it ineffective in what it’s supposed to be testing. I’ll go into more detail later.

I’m just really disappointed in how this test is set up. This is a fully solid idea for bypassing badges and it’s wasted on this unfair pointless silliness. I felt bad hearing Joy say this test is a great idea for anyone whose age, health or life keeps them from going to get badges knowing what I know now. I can’t imagine anyone actually passes this test without cheating.

Other than money and time, the only ridiculous part of Pokemon Tech was somehow believing that you could become a Trainer of high enough skill to enter the Pokemon League….without seemingly ever having non-sterilized robotic simulation battles or catching your own Pokemon and gaining real world experience.

– Still on the subject of the test as a whole, I’m a little surprised Ash wants to take this exam anyway. Is it just to prove his skills as a Trainer to Misty before continuing on his actual journey? Because it doesn’t seem like he enjoys the idea of using shortcuts to get into the Pokemon League.

Jessie and James entering is similarly odd. I thought for sure this was a scheme to steal Pokemon, but they both honestly wanted to take the test to see if they were good enough Trainers to pass.

– It’s only been a minute or two since Ash entered and he got number seven. Jessie was signing up at the same time and got number 634. Despite James appearing later than both of them, his number is 546. What is the weird numbering system here? (I am aware that the numbers are Japanese puns on Jessie and James’ original names – still doesn’t make sense.)

– Surprised 4Kids left in a mention and visible presence of wine.

– I really like Meowth teasing Jessie and James about lying to take the admissions exam. It’s adorable.

– And they follow that up with distracting Meowth with a ball of yarn. So cute!

– Hey, just for fun, let’s take the test with Ash and others. Whatdya say!?

Q1 – Lickitung’s tongue is twice the length of its body – True or false?

A1 – Here’s a snag right off the bat. In the anime, Ash’s Pokedex says Lickitung’s tongue is more than twice the length of its body. Ash actually remembers this, oh my god, so he marks his answer as false.

Lickitung’s height is listed as 3’11, which means in order for it to be twice the length of its body, the tongue would have to be 7’10. The Pokedex entries in the games are fairly inconsistent because one says the tongue is over 6’6, another says it’s almost seven feet, and several others just claim it is exactly twice the length of its body.

So either Ash’s Pokedex is wrong, the conversion to feet from meters was muddled somehow, no one really knows how long a Lickitung’s tongue truly is, it differs based on some variables or D) all of the above, meaning any answer is correct, but also incorrect in some way.

Q2 – Ninetales evolves from Vulpix only by use of the Fire Stone – True or false?

A2 – While this question is insanely easy, I guess it’s meant to trip up people who might think it evolves through leveling?

Also, taking the time out now to say it’s really obvious that Ash has never gone to an actual school before. He won’t shut the hell up or even whisper as he’s talking to himself through the test. He’s literally yelling out his answers to each question, particularly this one. “Aw, that’s too easy. True, TRUE!”

He’d be getting thrown out of there almost immediately. At the very least, he’d get dirty looks from his neighbors, but not a single person is paying him any mind. Must because they’re all painted into the background and aren’t animat—I mean, they must be really focused.

Q3 – Hitmonlee is also known as ‘The Punching Demon.’ – True or false?

A3 – Ash: “Let’s see….it’s either Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan that’s the puncher.” Gee, which one is known as the ‘The Punching Demon’? The one with hands so weird I question whether it can make a fist and clearly has long, strong legs….or the Pokemon who has literal boxing gloves for hands?……..Hmmmmm…..

Ash: “Aaaahhhhhhhhhh I THINK IT’S TRUE!”….Wha….what the….Huh? You managed to remember some minor fact about a Pokemon I only barely remember you using the Pokedex on…….but you can’t remember whether Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan is the punching Pokemon.

Wanna know what’s even worse? His Pikachu had a literal BOXING MATCH with a Hitmonchan! You remember the one. It was owned by the guy who’s currently caring for the Primeape Ash has clearly already forgotten about.

I was going to be nice and say maybe he was experiencing test anxiety here and he just blanked on the answer, but this is a little too obvious for him to not get it even then. I’d be hard-pressed to go that route anyway since he’s so confident in his answers up until this point that he’s been yelling them out. (He’s still doing it, by the way.)

I was even going to throw him a bone and say maybe he’s just mixing up their names, but there’s a picture of the damn Hitmonlee on the screen, so it’s veritably impossible for him to do that.

Q4 – The only attack Magikarp originally knows is Splash – True or false?

A4 – What does ‘originally know’ mean? Like the only move it knows once it’s hatched? I only ask because I feel like it’s a bit of a myth that Magikarp only knows Splash considering that’s the move it’s most famous for using, and most of what Magikarp does is, well, splash around. Magikarp can also learn Tackle at level 15, so the answer is technically false, but since the wording is vague, we can’t know for certain.

I do love the throwback to James’ Magikarp woes, though.

Q5 – Caterpie is the world’s smallest Pokemon – True or false?

A5 – I don’t think Caterpie’s size has ever been a particularly notable trait of this Pokemon. Back in Gen I, this one could easily be considered true (It’s not. Diglett’s smaller….Though how do any of us really know how big Diglett is considering no one ever sees its lower half?….Hm.) Nowadays, it doesn’t even make the top 25.

Also, the image 4Kids uses for Caterpie here was overly cropped because they cut a part out of its neck so you can see the purple background through it.

Ya know, if anyone should be doing well on this test, it’s Jessie. This is Johto hindsight talking, but now we know that she trained to be a Pokemon nurse (Kinda…she trained in a school for Chansey) and she was good at it.

Not to mention that most of the Pokemon they’ve been asking about are Pokemon that she’s either owned or used. She owns a Lickitung, she used a Hitmonlee, James has a Koffing, and she obviously has experience with Magikarp.

Q6 – Koffing was first discovered in a public bathhouse – True or false?

A6 – I can’t find any information on this outside of Koffing’s Wiki stating one of the Koffing cards in the TCG explains that it was discovered in a weapons factory. Considering Koffing utilizes poison gas, not steam, I’m more apt to believe the weapons factory theory. However, Koffing is meant to be heavily connected to air pollution, right? And its beta name was Ny, a poke at New York City, referencing the air pollution there.

All in all, the answer is probably false, and even the TCG’s explanation is….likely wrong. It’s more plausible than a bathhouse anyway.

I can’t really take Exam #2 with them due to the way it’s designed, but let’s address every question anyway. Every question is about identifying a Pokemon by a small part of its body or a silhouette.

Q1

A1 – The ridiculousness of this question is two-fold. If you can’t see the size of the Pokemon, it’s basically impossible to determine if this is one of two known perfectly round Pokemon – Voltorb or Electrode.

But the real stupidity comes in it being a Jigglypuff……seen from above…..Kiss my ass, instructor.

On a side note, in the Japanese version, the ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment also used this same trick, but it was after this scene had already played so it was more of a joke than it was an unfair question….like this is.

Why does the Voltorb in Ash’s selection screen look so depressed?

Why does James think it’s a Pokeball when the exam instructor specifically said it’s a picture of a Pokemon?

Q2

A2 – It’s a Poliwag, not Poliwhirl or Poliwrath because the direction of the spiral changes when it evolves.

Before I get to the meat and potatoes of why this question is bunk too, I’d like to point out that 4Kids used the wrong image on the screen when they explain why the answer is Poliwag. They use a picture of Poliwrath instead of the Poliwhirl they’re referencing. 4Kids, you keep making this mistake and it drives me bonkers. I gave you a pass the first couple of times (which is future-watching hindsight, but still) but now it’s just getting annoying.

Here’s a very subtle hint to discern Poliwhirl and Poliwrath. The angry looking one….or the WRATHFUL looking one is probably PoliWRATH.

Instructor: “As any Master would know….” Shut your face. And put your condescending finger down.

This question is entirely bullshit for several reasons. A decent-ish chunk of fans know about the swirl reversing directions upon evolving thing, but I can bet almost everyone who knows that much don’t know 1) Which evolution the swirl changes on, Poliwhirl or Poliwrath, and 2) What direction the swirl starts at.

BUT even if you somehow know that off the top of your head, this is still unfair and a trick question because, according to its Dex entries, Poliwag’s swirl direction changes depending on the area it originates from, and would switch direction when it evolves. Meaning that swirl pattern could literally belong to ANY of the Pokemon in the Poli line (Except Politoed, but he doesn’t exist yet)…..As any Master would know.

Ash, in this situation, would technically be correct with Poliwhirl.

Also, while Jessie’s answer of ‘An Arbok all coiled up’ employs the same stupid logic this whole test has, I’d think an Ekans all coiled up would make a better spiral pattern. Arbok’s hood would mess it up.

Q3

Again, such an insanely vague image. It’s a fire. Seven Pokemon in Gen I have flames on them – Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Ponyta, Rapidash, Magmar and Moltres. You’d have to have a psychotic level of attention to detail to discern between them all properly.

Instructor: “For your information, young lady, a Pokemon Master must understand all aspects of their Pokemon’s life in order to achieve oneness with their Pokemon!” Oh shut. up.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but we’ve never actually seen a person who is proven to be a Pokemon Master, right? Even when you win any of the Pokemon League conferences, you’re far from a Master. Even if you beat the Elite Four and the Champion, you’re still not a Master. Even if you catch all of the Pokemon in existence, even somehow the legendaries, you’re still technically not done because there are always more Pokemon to discover, more challenges to beat etc.

I can bet if you asked anyone who did do all of those things, however, if these questions are in any way vital to being a Pokemon Master, they’d laugh in your face. They’d tell you it’s more about learning about them through experiences, connections, friendships, battles, victories, losses, care-taking, hardships and, yes, textbook research, but not this crap. They wouldn’t be stripped of their eligibility to be a Pokemon Master just because they didn’t know which FIRE Pokemon had a specific FLAME on it.

This test isn’t even a Pokemon Master certification exam – it’s a test for entrance into the Indigo League tournament. All of this is such a joke.

I feel like this test is designed by people who want to feel like super smart Pokemon Masters because they know all the answers by default and can giggle at the people having trouble and getting frustrated.

Also, ‘must understand all aspects of their Pokemon’s life’? Uh, what if the people taking the test don’t own the Pokemon you’re listing? Why would they have ridiculous levels of ‘knowledge’ about Pokemon they don’t own?

If you still wanted to keep this portion of the test, maybe ask each Trainer what their first Pokemon was or which Pokemon have they had the longest and grab a test specifically about that Pokemon? Or maybe a test designed around their current Pokemon team? (You can have tests set up for each Pokemon and mix the questions randomly to fit the Trainer’s team.) That would make more sense here. It’d still be kinda dumb because I don’t see why you need to know this stuff simply to gain entry into the Pokemon League, but it’d be better.

…….The answer was Ponyta, by the way. Not that it matters.

For the sake of somewhat fairness, Ash should’ve at least taken Ponyta (and Rapidash) into consideration since he’s had experience with both. He’s at least yet to see a Magmar or Moltres. All he listed off as possibilities were Charmander, Charmeleon and Charizard, though.

– Aw, Meowth sleeping on a ball of yarn.

– Seems kinda mean to have a TV set up specifically to shame the lowest scoring participants. Also, I don’t believe anyone actually got a high score. Either everyone got similarly bad scores and those are just the least bad or ya’ll cheated.

– I like that James feels a stronger desire to succeed to sort of avenge Jessie now.

– You know how I mentioned the Japanese version’s ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment used the ‘Jigglypuff as seen from above’ thing? 4Kids could’ve done the same here easily, but they opted to using a Vulpix because why would they even attempt to be fun?

Now for the least bullshit but still pretty bullshit part – the practical exam.

If there’s anything you’d expect to be a part of this exam, it’s Pokemon battles. However, they somehow manage to even make that unfair.

Each participant is given a set of Pokeballs with an undisclosed set of Pokemon in them. The Pokemon are all fully trained and are told to obey the commands of the Trainers who are using them during the test.

The concept of this is fairly understandable. A really good Pokemon Trainer will be able to adapt to whatever Pokemon they receive, will know enough about Pokemon to use their abilities properly and come out on top no matter what team they get.

I say ‘fairly’ because most Pokemon Trainers learn about a Pokemon’s battle style and abilities by training them and battling with them over time. You can research their moves, but that also might be pointless here because you don’t know what moves these Pokemon know or what level they’re at.

Also, these teams are very unbalanced. Having a Pokemon battle while the participants are using Pokemon they probably have no experience with and might be a load of crap vs. what might be/probably is a powerhouse lineup is a bit janky.

I’d be pretty pissed if I got Ash’s given garbage team (Two Poison Types and a Normal – and I’m aware this is on purpose as irony) Meanwhile, even though he lost, James got a very balanced and awesome team of a Charizard, an Ivysaur (yeee, Ivysaur! <3) and a Pikachu.

Problem is, it feels like the instructors aren’t choosing blindly. The only evidence I have to the contrary is Nurse Joy’s proctor using a Charmander when she was using a Squirtle, but the instructor just happened to get a Graveler when James threw out a Pikachu? Then, in Ash’s match, he just happened to get a full set of all the Eeveelutions?

As we’ll later hear, the instructor trained all of these Pokemon, so he has an additional advantage. We’ve seen before that part of a Pokemon’s true strength and capabilities in battle are due to its strong bond with its Trainer. Everything they’ve gone through, everything they’ve learned together etc. That creates a power and synchronicity that you can’t get with randomly selected Pokemon someone else trained.

Wouldn’t a better arrangement be having a bunch of practical exams with the applicant using their own Pokemon first? Like seeing how they react to certain battle situations, what they’d do in applying the Pokemon’s skills in a real-life emergency, properly caring for the Pokemon, etc. then have the final hurdle being seeing if you can win matches in a mini-tournament and each round you get a random selection of Pokemon in balanced teams? Perhaps you could not let the instructor who trained them act as a proctor for this test?

Actually, now that I’m really thinking about it, if this exam is meant to bypass the eight Gym matches, why not just hold eight very difficult battles that the applicants have to win? You could have different stipulations for each battle, make the teams themed, etc. maybe make the test last a few days so you won’t get people and Pokemon too fatigued. Am I making too much sense?

– I get that, in a way, they, for some reason, want this test to look ridiculous to be funny for the audience, but all it’s doing is making the test look unfair and goofy. You can just make the questions insanely hard but fair. Or are the writers too lazy to do that much?

– I love Jessie’s reaction when James explains how much he knows of Pikachu’s moveset because they’ve been attacked by Pikachu so many times he knows all of his attacks by heart.

– But that pales in comparison to James gushing over being able to command a Pikachu to do Thunderbolt. He is adorable.

– Graveler attacked without commands. Either my notes about having a strong bond with your Pokemon are a little too correct and he didn’t need to command it for it to know what he wanted it to do, or these Pokemon aren’t as well-trained as he’d want us to believe.

– Instructor: “You should’ve known that Electricity doesn’t work on Rock Pokemon.”

…..Are….Are you serious right now?…..Is this a prank?……This instructor, who was acting like knowing random superfluous facts about Pokemon and identifying them via vague parts of their body is something all Pokemon Masters should know and like he knows all of this stuff off the top of his head…….Is claiming that Rock types that are immune to Electric types…..when….it’s….Ground.

That’s the kind of mistake I’d expect from Ash, and even he’d probably know better given his past and the fact that his trademark Pokemon is a Pikachu (though I won’t say he certainly would know because…it’s Ash). You just lost any and all validity as an instructor for this test. Pack up your aerial shots Jigglypuffs and go home.

– Also, if the instructor is choosing randomly, James just got forked out the gate by sheer chance because what is a Pikachu supposed to do against a Graveler?

Just to be thorough, I looked up Pikachu’s Gen I moveset, and it only has Electric and Normal Type moves (and two Psychic, but they’re abilities, not attacks).

It can learn two Fighting moves via TMs but I’m going to assume they’re not going teach these Pokemon TM moves and not tell the participants because that’s also unfair.

Switching out is not allowed in these matches either as it defeats the point of adapting to battle conditions, so…yeah, even more unfair.

– It’s a bit insulting that James also says ‘That’s bad’ when Ash shows he got a Weezing. Have some respect for your Pokemon, James.

– I love Ash’s face when Snap takes those pictures of him, though.

– Despite the bullshittery of this test, I will give Ash all the credit he deserves for at least winning one of these matches, and with a Weezing no less.

– Team Rocket taking notes on Ash’s battle techniques is hilarious.

– Arbok’s face when Ash is trying to remember Arbok’s attacks is also really funny.

But, Ash, you fight Arbok all the time. You should know its attacks as well as Team Rocket knows Pikachu’s.

– Instructor: “Too bad you overloaded Jolteon’s spikes!” Lots of places have pointed out this error, but because this statement bugged the hell out of me as a kid, he meant to say ‘overlooked.’

Instructor: “Sizing up your opponent before an attack is a fundamental rule!” Stop acting like you know everything, you putz.

– Weird how Ash was devastated when he got Arbok and Weezing, but he seems downright amused and happily surprised at getting a Meowth.

– I’ll give Ash a bit more of a pass for not knowing Meowth’s attacks off the bat because Meowth doesn’t battle nearly as often.

– Meowth: “USE THE FURY SWIPES!” Thanks for the cheering/assistance, Meowth, but maybe wait until his opponent has sent out his Pokemon.

– Instructor: “Looks like another victory for me.” Again. Shut. Up.

– Why did Meowth scratch up Ash? All he did was exactly what Meowth told him to do – commanding the test Meowth to use Fury Swipes. The instructor/Vaporeon froze it.

– Ohhohohohoh….So not only is the instructor an idiot when it comes to knowing type advantages, but he’s also an Ash-level ignoramus because he tries to catch Meowth without battling it first. How utterly unprofessional of him to try to catch a Pokemon in the middle of the testing grounds during an examination anyway. Someone fire this guy.

– Excuse me, why was James allowed to keep those Pokemon after he was kicked out?

– Ash: “Don’t interfere with my test!” Despite my comment, your test is over, Ash. You lost the match. Considering you also got one of the bottom three lowest written exam scores too, I’d say you’ve sufficiently flunked.

– Holy crap, Ash! Overkill much? You put a twenty foot crater in the arena floor.

– Instructor: “I am terribly sorry, everyone. Team Rocket’s intrusion has interfered with the entire examination. We have to start over from the very beginning.” What!? Ash’s test was over, and Team Rocket’s intrusion lasted all of a minute. You can say you can’t continue the practical exams because the arena was destroyed but 1) That was Ash’s fault, he could’ve defeated them without blowing the place up 2) You can just battle somewhere else, people do it all the time, and 3) Ash’s test was over, and, considering they were doing them one at a time, no one else’s test was affected by the intrusion.

But even if you, for some reason, can’t continue the test, can’t you just say ‘Hey, guys, we gotta make repairs. Anyone who didn’t complete their practical exam, come back in the morning of whenever the repairs are done and we’ll continue. Everyone else, here are your results, we’ll do the rest of the exam, whatever it is/if there is more in the afternoon after everyone has completed the practical portion.’?

More importantly, why are the results of their previous two exams void? I can understand maybe if Ash won and did well, and it seemed like he might pass, so the writers did this to force him to go back on his journey and retain the status quo, but he didn’t. He lost in his practical exam, he did terrible on the written portions – outside of the off-chance of the instructor being a pity badger for him helping defeat Team Rocket, he had no hope of passing.

Just seems like you’re being a, sorry for the overuse of this word but, unfair jerk to all of these people just because a couple of criminals bothered you for a minute.

– Why is Misty holding Togepi like that?

– Instructor: “I’m sure you’ll pass this time.” Uh, what makes you say that? Defeating Team Rocket is hardly a mark of skill, and you were about to do it effortlessly without Ash’s help. He went way overboard and destroyed your arena. He did poorly on all three exams. He nearly killed two people and numerous Pokemon a minute ago by blowing them up. What are you seeing that is indicating increased intelligence or skill since five minutes ago?

Unless that line is indicating that he’d rig the test for him. Wouldn’t be surprised at this point.

– It wasn’t just that one frame – Misty’s holding Togepi really awkwardly for no reason. Also Togepi’s drawn weird now too (Why is it so skinny and where are its arms?)

– Nice of Ash and the others to completely forget and leave Snap behind.

– Also nice that Meowth got badly wounded in the explosion and Snap was the only one to notice or care.

– Instructor: “I finally caught my talking Meowth!” 1) It was handed to you badly wounded, you didn’t catch anything. 2) You don’t know if this Meowth has a trainer or not. 3) You’re not more concerned over the fact that it’s badly wounded? 4) Shut up.

– If you want proof of Ash’s overly destructive behavior, not only do you have the destroyed arena and the injured Meowth, but you also have the innocent test Meowth who was injured and blasted off with Team Rocket. Way to go.

—————————–

This episode could’ve been really interesting if taken seriously, and it could’ve been hilarious if it were just Ash and Team Rocket, three very incompetent people, being taken aback by difficult or even average tests. If the Pokemon Tech episode was about the importance of real world experience, maybe this episode could’ve been about the importance of actually studying, researching, learning about the field you’ve decided to develop a….I guess we’ll call it a ‘career’ in.

Maybe have Ash realize that being a Pokemon Master is a much bigger goal than he realized and he needs to really buckle down and get serious with his studying and training if he’s ever going to reach that dream.

….Nope. Just Ash is a really good Trainer as is, despite completely flunking every test, all because he beat Team Rocket. Nothing wrong with what he’s doing. Move on to the next Gym and forget this ever happened.

Not to mention, Joy’s role was really weird. Why was she even here? Just to show someone actually doing well in this circus they call a test? She shows up, we see her scores, but not her taking the exam (we see her briefly when Jessie leaves, that’s it.) We see her beat a proctor’s Charmander with a Squirtle, then we see her bummed that her test has been invalidated before she just says bye to everyone.

I can get angry about a lot of aspects of this episode, and I kinda did at points, but ultimately I feel like this episode is a waste of time and a waste of a good concept. Granted, I wouldn’t want Ash to pass the test and skip the final two Gyms (Especially Cinnabar because Blaine’s my favorite) but maybe have a CotD try to go through it and fail or succeed and Ash learns through him/her while trying to help them prepare?

I think I have more suggestions on how this episode could’ve been better than I have ragey complaints. Despite several intentionally funny shots, the art and animation for this episode was wonkier than usual, but that’s kinda offset by the fairly funny moments that were actually intentional. That’s about all I got left for complaints.

……..That instructor definitely needs to be fired, though.

Next time, competent Team Rocket members?! The debut of Butch and Cassidy!

…..Previous Episode


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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, 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 am incredibly confused by this. Every other instance 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.

Pokemon: None

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.

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 a natural picture 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 remember 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 – He’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 them all 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 he was in Misty’s bag, hidden away like it is sometimes, but if it is, he 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 ‘10 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 praise 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, 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 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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Pokemon Episode 54 Analysis – The Case of the K-9 Caper

Pokemon Episode 54 Screen 1

CotD(s): None

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock continue on their journey to Cinnabar Island, they’re caught in the middle of a police pursuit. Jenny and several other officers are chasing a thief with a bag of stolen goods.

Pikachu doesn’t want to attack him because of the gun he’s holding, but Jenny’s Growlithe tackles him to the ground and disarms him. Seeing the gun out of the thief’s hands, Ash commands Pikachu to attack with a Thunderbolt. However, Jenny and the other officers scold Ash for attacking, revealing that this was a training exercise for the police squad’s Growlithe team, and the ‘thief’ is actually a fellow officer.

They clear up the misunderstanding, and Jenny formally introduces the Growlithe to their new friends.

Ash and the others are invited to eat a meal at the police training school. Ash is frustrated that Pikachu wasn’t brave enough to take on the thief when he had a gun. Jenny offers to have Pikachu train with the Growlithe the following day. Ash excitedly agrees, hoping Pikachu will become as brave and strong as Growlithe.

The next day, waking up before the crack of dawn, Ash and Pikachu are run through the obstacle course, racing Jenny and Growlithe. However, they soon find the course to be much harder than they first thought. They struggle through each obstacle while Jenny and Growlithe make it across relatively easily.

Even though they’re exhausted from the training, Ash is determined to toughen Pikachu up.

Just then, Team Rocket bursts in with a plan to capture the Growlithe. They first spray a gas around the Growlithe to make it so they can’t smell. Then they spray helium around the group to make their voices high-pitched and squeaky. The Growlithe can’t smell their Trainer nor can they recognize her voice.

Next, Team Rocket dresses up in police uniforms and uses voice modulation to change their voices into Jenny’s. The Growlithe now obey them instead of Jenny. They order the Growlithe to tie Jenny up and prepare to load them into the van. Ash and the others are helpless since they left their Pokemon back in the room.

Team Rocket tries the same trick with Pikachu, but to no avail. Pikachu knows his trainer and his best friend no matter what he sounds like.

Pikachu shocks the Growlithe, but expends all of his energy. The Growlithe aren’t down for the count, and Jessie commands the Growlithe to attack again. Jenny, now free, attempts to stop them, but the Growlithe she’s been training most closely with bites her on the hand. As it digs its teeth into her hand, it suddenly remembers being raised by her and all of the good times they had together.

Realizing its mistake, Growlithe releases Jenny and apologetically licks her hand. The other Growlithe follow suit and turn on Team Rocket. They turn tail and run away from the Growlithe as they bite and bark at them.

Ash tells Jenny that more training at the school isn’t necessary. He doesn’t need to try to make Pikachu into the perfect Pokemon. He’s great just the way he is. With that, Ash, Misty and Brock bid Jenny and her Growlithe farewell as they continue their journey to Cinnabar Island.

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– I will give 4Kids props for keeping the gun.

Brock: “Look! That must be him!”

Misty: “He looks like a thief to me!”

…..I know you’re children, but do you really need to even discuss whether this dude looks like a thief? He’s wielding a gun, carrying a big sack on his back and is running from a bunch of police officers yelling ‘Stop, thief!’ Does he need a lapel pin that says ‘Hello, I am Thief.’?

– How is it that Pikachu has a healthy fear of guns, but these kids don’t? Keep in mind, they’ve had guns in their face plenty of times, and they’ve seen people being shot at.

Not to mention, in the next episode, Ash will see a glint in the forest, instantly assume the glint is from a sniper rifle and make a big fuss panicking over it. Yet here he’s faced with a criminal who clearly has a pistol and he pays it no mind.

– Ash hears that one of the Jenny’s has sicced her Growlithe on this guy, the Growlithe has handily disarmed him and tackled him to the ground, certainly he’s going to be arrested soon, but yet Ash’s sends out Pikachu anyway. Why?

– In fairness to Ash and the others, why the hell would you need to give this guy a gun (They don’t mention if it’s fake, but even if it was, it looks insanely real.) to do a mock police chase through public woodlands? Moreover, why not have an ‘Abort test’ signal when innocent people are clearly in the way?

Why Use the Pokedex?: Ash, you’ve used your Pokedex on a Growlithe before. Remember? Episode 33? The Flame Pokemon-athon?

– Growlithe is one of my favorite Pokemon, by the way, and I’m a dog person so I’ve already got a bit of a soft spot for this episode.

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– Ash: “Did you see the way that Growlithe tackled that robber, Brock? It was braver than Pikachu!” Tact, Ash. Pikachu is right there.

Brock: “But the officer playing the thief was holding a gun. You can’t expect Pikachu to attack somebody like that.”

I could swear Pikachu has attacked at least Team Rocket while they were wielding guns before. Nevertheless, he’s certainly attacked people with BOMBS before and that’s much worse.

Misty: “Brock’s right! I bet you never even thought about how badly Pikachu could’ve been hurt.”

I can’t believe I didn’t note this when it happened, maybe because he sends Pikachu into all sorts of dangerous situations in the first place, but yeah, Ash was pretty dumb right there.

Ash: “Of course I did!” So you’re admitting you knew you were putting your Pokemon in lethal peril. And all for what? A petty thief?

Brock: “Wait a minute, I hope you’re not thinking of having Pikachu train with the police, like Growlithe.”

What’s wrong with that idea? It would give Ash a better idea of when it’s appropriate to attack opponents and how to approach them safely, if at all, if they have weapons like guns.

Ash: “What’s wrong with that idea? It’d make Pikachu even stronger.” Yes, because clearly the problem with this entire situation is Messiahchu isn’t strong enough…..

– I find it kinda funny that a Dodrio is acting like a rooster crowing. We’re a ways away from any chicken Pokemon, so it’s understandable, but still…..Odd how the Torchic line really wouldn’t seem like they would fit any better doing that.

– Do Ash and the others not have pajamas of any kind? I know it’s a joke in cartoons to have the characters always wearing the same outfit, makes it easier for animators and designers and whatnot, but they seriously can’t throw some pajamas their way? What do they carry in those bags if not at least one pair of PJs? I mean, Ash doesn’t even take off his jeans or belt, Misty doesn’t take off her suspenders, and Brock doesn’t take off his vest that is full of random stuff. That has to be really uncomfortable.

– I really like that Ash has to do this course too. It’s all too rare to see Ash actually training alongside his Pokemon. It’s rare enough to see him training period.

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– So Jenny’s running this course too, huh?….In…those clothes? I never really gave it much thought, but Jenny’s officer uniform is horrible for doing any sort of strenuous exercise. She’s wearing a pencil skirt and frickin’ HEELS. She shouldn’t be able to do a brisk jog, let alone a military-esque obstacle course.

There’s especially no way in hell she should be able to climb that wall, especially as easily as she did.

– Pikachu never tried to climb the wall, but he should’ve been able to do it much more easily than Growlithe, being a rat.

– Brock: “This police canine training stuff sure is tough. Are you sure you still want to go through with it?”

Ash: “Of course I’m still going through with it ‘cause I want Pikachu to be the best.” Again, wasn’t the problem. Even if Jenny and the other officers and the Growlithe weren’t pursuing that thief, even if the thief was real, Pikachu was perfectly in the right to not attack him. You’re a ten year old Pokemon Trainer, not a vigilante. Just because you beat Team Rocket every week doesn’t make you Batman.

Brock: “But don’t you think Pikachu’s a great Pokemon just the way it is?”

Ash: “Yeah, Pikachu’s great. But I want it to be just as tough as Growlithe.” This plotline is really not making sense to me. Ash pretty much acknowledges that he made a mistake sending Pikachu out against an armed criminal. But the issue is continuously that Pikachu wasn’t tough or brave enough, like the trained law enforcement Pokemon. Why is no one pointing this out to Ash? He’s making Pikachu feel like a weak coward all because he was an idiot.

And, hey, let’s jump back to Jenny’s line about not commanding your Pokemon to do anything you wouldn’t do. Even though that statement makes little sense (human limitations make it impossible to do 90% of the things Trainers command of their Pokemon) would Ash have been brave enough to tackle an armed man? I say ‘brave’ when that’s just stupid, but by Ash’s point of view, would he?

– I love that Growlithe van. Someone buy me one.

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– Okay, as much as I find this to be one of Team Rocket’s better thought out plans, I find it hard to believe that these Growlithe get this close to these officers yet it takes them until one of them bites Jenny to realize, oh shit, you’re my Trainer. My bad.

The fact that they’re confused because of their sense of smell being screwed up, I understand. Also, the fact that Jessie is using a voice modulator to sound like Jenny while Jenny’s own voice is screwed up, I also understand.

But they have eyes. They can clearly see that neither James nor Jessie looks like Jenny no matter if they’re wearing her clothes. The fact that they were confused to the point of assaulting Jenny yet Pikachu isn’t fooled for a second makes the Growlithe look like idiots.

Not to mention that, since Jenny seems to know more about what it takes to be a true Pokemon Trainer/Master than Ash does, it’s even more unrealistic that the Growlithe haven’t bonded with her enough to recognize her instantly, even without scent or hearing similar people.

Just for the sake of argument, I wanted to see what cues were most important when training or commanding a dog. I have had dogs my whole life, I’ve trained several of my dogs and I used to study dog training on my own time. My own skills with dog training aren’t the best, but I agree with these findings.

I found several articles and studies that show that body language is most important when it comes to having a dog follow your commands. Vocal commands are obviously followed and important, but body language/hand gestures comes out on top over it.

Realistically, Jenny should be able to call off the Growlithe through hand gestures.

Additionally, while I couldn’t find any information on this, I kinda doubt that the Growlithe would pay much attention to Jessie’s voice in the first place because it would sound so different not only being an artificially created voice in the first place, but also being further altered by going through a megaphone. To us, it may sound pretty much the same, but to a dog it’s vastly different. They can pick up on little discrepancies that would inevitably be caused by both Jessie’s natural manner of speech and the artificial filtering.

All in all, I give this plan a B-. They put a lot of thought and work into it, and it is pretty clever, but it makes these trained police dogs look way too easily fooled to the point of stupidity, and it makes Jenny kinda look like a poor trainer.

– Awwww the Growlithe with the little bandit masks awwww.

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– Expecting the Growlithe the rob banks, I can swallow, but that balloon art heist…What the hell was that even?

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And, what, are you going to somehow clog the Growlithe’s noses forever? Because unless Jenny has a perfume line with her exact essence, they won’t be fooled forever by voice modulation. Dogs rely more on scent.

Jessie: “Wait until they try Team Rocket’s….”

James: “Esopho-gas!” Pfft…..Alright, that one was pretty good, 4Kids.

– Jenny does have a point, though. Even if you make believe you’re Jenny through voice modulation, even if you somehow keep their noses clogged forever, they’re still trained to obey and uphold the law. They wouldn’t become criminals just because you say so. Again, this is kinda implying that they’re idiots who just blindly follow the orders of whomever sounds like their master.

You can make the argument that they’re animals, but they’re POKEMON. They have much higher cognitive reasoning than our world’s animals. The instant their Trainer OFFICER Jenny would order them to rob a bank, they’d probably go “What? That’s not what you taught us to do.”

– Forgive me if I’m wrong, but considering the properties of helium, isn’t impossible to get the high-pitched squeaky voice effect by just blowing it around people? They don’t specifically call this gas helium, but what other substance causes this effect?

– Just want to point out that Jessie and James are changing clothes behind the same changing curtain….

– If the effects of helium are lasting this long, they’d all be long since dead.

– Also, why does the helium not affect the Growlithe’s voices?

– Kinda random to specifically order the Growlithe to place Jenny under house arrest. Also, since when does house arrest involve tying someone up?

– Ash: “Uh oh! I know! We’ll use our Pokemon to battle them!” I have a great idea! Let’s do that thing we do to solve basically all of our problems! Ash must’ve caught a bit of Captain-Obvious-itis from Brock.

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– I find it VERY hard to believe that they ALL left ALL of their Pokemon back in the room. And if they did, uh, Team Rocket, that’s more ripe for the picking and easier to get than these trained police Pokemon.

– You know, it’s not every day that Ash forgets he has Pikachu….He realizes he left his Pokeballs behind and he’s just not remembering that Pikachu is right there.

– Pikachu jumped down from nowhere to land on Ash’s head. I feel like that was his punishment for dare forgetting Pikachu for even a second.

– Either Jessie does an insanely good Ash impression or the dubbers screwed up and make Ash’s voice come out of Jessie’s mouth before she used the voice modulator.

– Still find it creepy that they have an Ash costume….

– I will admit that Pikachu’s even higher than usual voice is really cute and funny.

– Uh, Pikachu, can you chill the hell out? One or two shocks was enough to deter the Growlithe. You’re just torturing them now. Stop! This is getting hard to watch. They’re not evil Pokemon, they’re innocent police dogs getting tricked. If I want to impose my own twisted views on this, it’s almost like Pikachu is taking out his frustrations with Ash this episode, dinging his ‘lack of bravery’ in comparison to the Growlithe, on the Growlithe….

– What? You’re telling me one shock was enough to put the first team of Growlithe on their backs, but relentlessly shocking them to the point where Pikachu is out of energy and they still are able to get up and fight with little issue? Uh….Huh.

– Oh hey, Jigglypuff. That’s actually a good thing! Jigglypuff can sing, put them all to sleep and the gas will wear off in the meantime, ruining Team Rocket’s plans!

…..What…the shit?….Jigglypuff suddenly got…embarrassed? Self-conscious? And then walked away after one line? One of the few times this pink balloon might actually save the day and it just…..leaves for no reason? This isn’t an untranslatable joke, by the way, this scene is just completely random and makes no sense.

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My sentiments exactly, Ash. Also, I love how Misty and Brock look pissed at Jigglypuff in this shot.

– It’s very heartwarming when Growlithe remembers the good times with Jenny and comes to its senses.

– LITTLE. BABY. PUPPY. GROWLITHE. *heart explodes*

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– I can understand them having voice modulation options for Jenny and Ash, but why each other?

– Uh, Jenny? You gonna make some noise as you cuddle the pups in your weird little jutting animation? Anything? Awkward silence then? Okay.

– Aw, Ash actually learned a lesson today. It’s not the right lesson, given the context, but it’s a lesson.

– Jenny: “You two recognize what’s in each other’s hearts, and that’s what matters. I’ll try to keep that in mind.” Why are they kinda acting like Jenny made a mistake here? And maybe that’s why the Growlithe were fooled but Pikachu wasn’t? She was practically telling Ash that exact lesson earlier.

– And following up Jigglypuff’s initial pointless confusing cameo is its equally pointless and confusing followup cameo where the Narrator says ‘Uh oh’ as Jigglypuff finds the voice modulator. Why ‘uh oh’ anyway? What trouble can it cause singing through a voice modulator?

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All in all, I like this episode, but it’s kinda dull and the conflicts, both with Ash and Team Rocket, don’t make a lot of sense.

If you push that aside, it’s a really average episode with a good Pokemon at the forefront, but it doesn’t really highlight anything that’s special about Growlithe. These particular Growlithe are well-trained and brave, but the conflict makes it seem like they’re not trained well enough because they’re too stupid to visually recognize their trainer.

Additionally, I would’ve liked more exploration on the police training of the Growlithe at the very least if we weren’t going to focus on what makes Growlithe special. Canine police training is actually very interesting, and I’m disappointed that they didn’t make much of an effort to explore it here outside of doing a mock police chase and running an obstacle course.

Much more effort and thought was put into Team Rocket’s plan this week, and, admittedly, liberties can easily be taken with what I researched, but it’s still far too stupid to think the Growlithe wouldn’t recognize their owner by sight, especially considering that they likely don’t have the visual limitations that real life dogs have.

Next time, it’s the debut of Snap—Todd….Todd Snap? I guess?

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