Pokemon Episode 31 Analysis: Dig Those Diglett!

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That sound was your heart bursting with too much cuteness.

CotD(s): The Foreman – Known only as The Foreman, he is obsessed with ridding his construction site of Diglett since they’re impeding his progress in building a huge dam.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Evolutions: Jessie’s Ekans -> Arbok

James’ Koffing -> Weezing

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are lost again (Shock beyond shocks) as they try to make their way to Fuchsia City to get Ash another badge. As they walk through the mountains, they hear several explosions and follow the sounds to a road where a huge convoy of trucks are carrying supplies to a spot on the mountain.

The convoy suddenly crashes due to a rock slide caused by some local Diglett. The construction foreman angrily explains to Ash and the others that the Diglett have been ruining his efforts to get supplies to the dam project time and time again. They’re driving him up a wall and damaging his business. Because of the Diglett problem, he states that he has basically set up a bounty on Diglett and is calling upon all skilled Pokemon trainers in the area to handle the Diglett problem. If they do, they get a free week at a fancy resort.

Ash, Misty and Brock agree to help out and are shocked to find that they’re not the only ones who have been sent on this mission. Gary and a slue of other Pokemon trainers arrive at the site to also help take care of the Diglett problem.

Ash is irked by Gary’s appearance and his typical sleights, and Gary is more than glad to take the first shot at the nuisance Diglett. However, he’s shocked when his Pokemon recall themselves back into their Pokeballs before they’re even fully released. No matter who’s being let out or what trainer is sending it out, everyone’s Pokemon refuse to come out of their Pokeballs and merely get returned to their respective trainers by the Diglett.

Seeing their efforts are futile, Gary decides his time is better spent returning to his Pokemon journey and takes his leave.

Later that night, as Ash, Misty and Brock are following some of the Diglett, Team Rocket considers the consequences and benefits to making Koffing and Ekans evolve. While they desperately want stronger Pokemon, they are very worried about what changing their bodies might do to their personalities.

As they hug and cry on their Pokemon, both Ekans and Koffing suddenly evolve into Arbok and Weezing.

Ash and the others are lead to a beautiful area where the Diglett are planting many trees with Dugtrio, their evolved form, plowing the ground for them. They realize that it’s likely that the Diglett and Dugtrio are probably responsible for planting a wide range of foliage not just in these mountains, but across the world. The Pokemon realized that earlier, which is why the refused to exit their Pokeballs and fight the Diglett. The Foreman points out that building the dam here will wipe all of the plants out and many Pokemon will be swept away in the water.

He decides to call off the project, but the group is interrupted by Team Rocket, who unveil their newly evolved Pokemon. Unfazed by their evolution, Ash starts the battle with Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Arbok and Weezing tunnel underground, but are met with the very angry group of Diglett and Dugtrio who prompted beat them up and blast them off into the dam, destroying it.

With the dam project canceled and the Diglett and Dugtrio free to beautify their mountains, Ash, Misty and Brock head off to the Fuchsia City Gym.

——————————–

– That blank map is sure helpful. According to Dogasu, this isn’t even a case of text removal, either. It’s just a really useless map.

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– Jessie: *her food bowl fell on her head* “I didn’t *num num* get a taste” You literally just took a taste as you were talking about not getting a taste.

– I will never tire of the haunting chant of the Diglett. I can’t resist those cute little guys.

– Uhm…..Gary’s fangirls think Brock is an old man?……..They’re clearly older than him. They can even drive, so they have to be at least 16 whereas Brock is slated as 15, I believe. Does Brock just look old?

– Even though I know the reasons behind it now (translation issues), Jessie randomly shouting out ‘MY NAME’S JESSIE!’ before shifting back to normal dialogue will never not be hilarious to me.

– I love that the Diglett are actually kind enough to return the Pokeballs to their respective trainers when their releases fail.

– I find it…..very strange that the show kinda tricks you into thinking Ash, Misty and Brock are all naked together in that hot spring. Ash is up to his chin in water, Brock is up to his waist and they make it a point to show Misty from the back, leaning on some rocks, with no visible bathing suit. It does seem like it’s a bit of a joke when Ash stands up and reveals they’re all wearing swimsuits. Am I looking too much into this? Because that really was the vibe I was getting.

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– Meowth may brush off their evolution as being their time to evolve, but they were clearly triggered by Jessie and James’ tears.

Also, just to get this slight rant out of the way, I do have to call this whole evo bunk. I, as much as anyone else, also wanted Koffing and Ekans to evolve. It was about time that Team Rocket had something new to work with, even if it is just slightly stronger versions of the Pokemon they already had.

The way they went about it and the subsequent results, however, are unsatisfactory to say the least. Yes, Koffing and Ekans, at this point, should have enough exp to evolve, if winning doesn’t mean anything anyway. And it is sweet that the tears of Jessie and James seemingly triggered the evolution. But this doesn’t make entirely much sense.

First off, Jessie and James were crying because they realized they might not want their Pokemon to evolve. That fear of what they will be afterward was what was causing them to cry, not the failure of making them evolve.

Second, I have a hard time believing a Pokemon can evolve just because their trainer really really wants it. If they have been refraining from evolving after reaching their proper levels and decided to let go after witnessing this, I guess that’s fine, but why would they be doing that?

I wouldn’t really be that upset about this if Arbok and Weezing got any limelight in their debut. They get defeated just as easily as they did when they were Ekans and Koffing. I’m not saying let Team Rocket win, but at least make it a substantially more difficult battle than usual.

– Dexter: “Dugtrio – the evolved form of Diglett. No specific information found.”

…..Wait, so Gary has a damn near encyclopedic knowledge base of Diglett, but even Dexter can’t think of a damn thing to say about Dugtrio, even if they’re nearly as dirt common as Diglett?….The hell?

– The Foreman: “The project’s canceled – I won’t build the dam” You’re just the construction foreman. I’m pretty sure the city or some private backer is the person who is really making this project happen. You have no authority to call it off. Even if you did just leave with your crew, the actual people calling for the building of the dam would just hire another crew.

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– Ash: “Aw, we can handle this, right, Pikachu? Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur! Everyone, go!” Everyone, eh? Sure that’s….EVERYone?….ALL of your Pokemon…..There’s not like…..a bird or something you’d like to call out? Begins with a P…rhymes with ‘Smidgeotto’? Not ringing any bells? I can beat you in the head with a baseball bat until you remember, if that’ll help.

By the way, I’m completely convinced that these three were just let out to create the illusion that this battle is tougher. This is reflected when Ash doesn’t even call on them to do anything. He just relies on Messiahchu as usual.

Also, if they were really even trying to give this battle even a slight illusion of weight, they shouldn’t have started it with Ash basically rolling his eyes and brushing off Team Rocket like they were pointless obstacles. He doesn’t even give a quick “Whoa, what are they!?” at Weezing and Arbok. He doesn’t give the smallest of shits. He doesn’t even give them a quick scan with Dexter. They unveil their new forms and he just acts annoyed that he has to battle them again.

What makes this battle even more annoying and almost insulting to both Arbok and Weezing and the audience is that Arbok and Weezing, in their grand debut, aren’t even beaten by Ash. They dive underground and get beaten up OFF-SCREEN by the Diglett and Dugtrio. The only thing they do beforehand are a Smokescreen where the effects aren’t even shown or felt and Arbok dodging one attack by Pikachu. That. Is. It. That. Is. All.

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God Bless Team Rocket for actually giving their Pokemon their proper celebratory entrance, though.

– How the hell is it possible that a sign that says ‘Construction of Giva Dam – Canceled’ falls on James’ head as a result of plowing through the dam if the foreman canceled it mere minutes before Team Rocket showed up and crashed into the dam?

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All in all, I like half of this episode. Each plot element seemed to be half good and half bad.

I like that Gary made another appearance and, despite the fact that he was taking many potshots at Ash, I wasn’t annoyed by his taunts as much as I normally am. Maybe because he takes the time out to show a bit more of his technical knowledge with Pokemon and maybe because I’m at a point in the show where I am also shamelessly pointing out Ash’s flaws and failures. I mean, seriously guys, can we be honest here? None of what Gary was saying was false. He is way behind everyone else from Pallet. His capture rate is atrocious. It is in poor taste to show off your Pokemon like trophies. He really hasn’t been studying.

However, Gary’s time was, as usual, very brief and disappointing. We don’t get to see Gary battle and we don’t get to see Gary battle Ash. He mostly stood around, mocked Ash and said some smart things. Again, his appearance was just another reminder that we could be watching someone far more interesting and competent than Ash. But we’re not.

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The plotline with the Diglett was also good. I absolutely love Diglett. They are very adorable, funny and kind. I also liked how the Pokemon all refused to leave their Pokeballs to fight them even if them ALL figuring that out before they were even released isn’t very believable to me (Pokemon telepathy or something I guess?)

However, of course it amounted to another semi-environmentalist message to stop the construction, and of course this is another case of the construction foreman, for some reason, having all of the power to stop the project and having a drastic, almost out of character, change of heart. He was trying to smash them with a hammer earlier but aww they plant trees!

The biggest issue I have with this episode is obviously Ekans and Koffing evolving. This was just a terrible and almost insulting way to do it. A Pokemon’s evolution episode is supposed to be their time to shine either for the entirety of the plot or to have one kick-ass hurrah after the evolution takes place. You’re supposed to celebrate the occasion, even it is an enemy. Because, keep in mind, we know that Ekans and Koffing are good Pokemon (See: Island of the Giant Pokemon) – They just have bad people as trainers. They deserve to have their evolutions be a big deal.

Like I said, this doesn’t have to mean letting Team Rocket win. You could have the episode focus more on their efforts on making them evolve or their reasons for wanting them to evolve. Maybe Ekans and Koffing could’ve been depressed that they keep ‘failing’ their trainers and Jessie and James could’ve thought inducing evolution would make them feel stronger and more useful, but then they realized that they love them just as they are and their failures are just as much theirs as Ekans and Koffing’s. Maybe not shove this plot into a completely unrelated episode as a nearly glazed over subplot. Hell, even Ignoredeotto gets an episode all to himself on his evo episode.

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You could also just have more focus on the battle between them, have the reveal to Ash and co. actually have some impact and make the battle significantly more difficult than usual. They still lose, but they lose as a team and they think nothing worse of the others for it. They just keep plugging on.

But no. They evolve for unclear reasons, prompted by Jessie and James merely going, “Boy I wish our Pokemon didn’t suck. *gasp* We should try to force evolution so they don’t suck! It didn’t work. That sucks. But wait, they might be different after they evolve. I don’t want that. *cries and hugs*”

Then they get a slight hurrah in Jessie and James making a big deal out of their reveal, but it’s ruined by Ash not giving a shit and no one else reacting at all. They try to force the illusion of weight by having Ash call out (almost) all of his Pokemon for the battle, but they never even move a muscle in the battle outside of Pikachu, and their battle is horrendously short with no moves (all two of them) even hitting. Then Arbok and Weezing are beaten up off-screen by the adorable little eight-inch mole Pokemon and their slightly bigger brethren.

It’s like this whole evolution plot was a contractual obligation by the writers. ‘Dammit, we’re over 30 episodes in and Team Rocket’s still got the same Pokemon they’ve always had. They’re getting stale and boring. How can we freshen this up but not alter the status quo in the slightest? Oh if only we could just re-skin the Pokemon they have now…..Oh right, evolution! Do that. The Diglett plot for this episode isn’t strong enough for 22 minutes anyway.’

Arbok and Weezing are more than welcome, but I always hated the way they were shafted in the execution of it all.

Fun Depressing fact: For years I wracked my brain trying to figure out what episode Ekans and Koffing evolved in. I felt like I missed an episode or something. But then, years into syndication, I stumbled upon the familiar Diglett episode, gave it a re-watch and the light bulb went off. This plot is so shoved to the corner, I legit forgot about it for years.

Next episode, the Fuchsia City Gym battle for the Soul Badge.

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Pokemon Episode 30 Analysis: Sparks Fly for Magnemite

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CotD(s): None, really.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive in a gross, desolate factory town called Gringy City. This area used to be a great and bustling factory town, but became nearly abandoned and loaded with pollution after the town became too saturated with factories.

Pikachu suddenly falls very ill, so Ash rushes him to the nearby Pokemon Center. The odd and seemingly uncaring Nurse Joy claims Pikachu has a cold and takes him in, but the power quickly goes out. The Pokemon in the ICU will be in grave danger if they don’t get the power back on, so Ash and the others go to the police station to get some answers.

Jenny tells them that she’s been trying to contact the people at the power plant to see what’s going on, but there’s no answer. Ash and the others are about to make their way towards the plant to investigate when Pikachu suddenly emerges from the bushes, still incredibly weak and unsteady on its feet. Misty tells Ash that Pikachu is probably scared that Ash will abandon him there, so he agrees to take Pikachu with them.

When they arrive, they find the place seemingly deserted, but Misty gets the sneaking suspicion that they’re being followed. Her suspicions are realized when they see Pikachu being accosted by the sudden appearance of a Magnemite.

Misty surmises that the mysterious Electric Pokemon caused the power outage so Ash decides to capture it until he realizes that Magnemite is acting strangely around Pikachu, like it’s in love. However, Brock questions how an inorganic Pokemon can be in love with an organic animal Pokemon.

Ash manages to shoo the Magnemite away when they’re met with yet another problem – a legion of Grimer invading the hallways. They are easily angered when called stinky or smelly, and a Muk emerges when Misty yells out that they smell bad.

They run from the Grimer and Muk, and they soon bump into two of the power plant’s employees. They hole themselves up in a room and the employees tell them that the water intake for the generator is plugged with Grimer. Without water, the generator cannot run, but they can’t take on so many Grimer without Pokemon of their own. They suggest Ash, Misty and Brock take care of the Grimer problem for them so they can get the power back up and running, but Ash doesn’t believe Pikachu is well enough for the job.

Finding no other option, Pikachu goes out into battle and Ash reluctantly agrees to let him battle. However, his efforts make little headway. A swarm of Magnemite and Magneton emerge from the ducts and shock the Grimer away from the halls and from the water intake, allowing the generator to turn back on.

While the Grimer flee, the Muk remains and challenges Ash. Pikachu steps up, but its Thunderbolt isn’t quite strong enough to take down the huge pile of sludge. Its friend, the ‘Stalker’ Magnemite from before, comes back and helps take it down with a Thunderbolt of its own.

Ash captured Muk, but is quickly disgusted when he realizes that the stench of Muk comes through the Pokeball.

Later, Pikachu is fully recovered, and one of the power plant employees states that Pikachu sometimes enter states of seeming illness when they have too much electrical energy built up. When Pikachu battled, it had discharged enough to make it feel better. The Magnemite ‘stalker’ starts to ignore Pikachu, and it’s revealed that it was only attracted to Pikachu because it was magnetized when it was sick. Now that it’s better, it has no desire to follow him.

Ash, Misty and Brock chastise Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny for the state of their waterways and tell them to clean up the pollution to help stop the Grimer from returning. Ash and the others continue on their journey, but not before sending the smelly Pokeball of Muk to Professor Oak so they won’t have to deal with the stench.

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– With a name like Gringy City, you’re basically damning the place to eventually earn the monikers of ‘depressing’ and ‘desolate’, Mr. Narrator.

– It’s no shock (puns!) that there’s an environmentalist message in this episode, even if there’s something odd that I’ll have to address about it near the end. However, this is one of those times where it might be justified for two reasons. 1) It fits well with the capture and Pokemon featured in this episode. 2) The inspiration of this episode very loosely stems from the novel ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, which focuses on a post-apocalyptic world ruined by radioactive nuclear fallout. Obviously, it’s toned way down just to show a, well, gringy, city ruined by pollution, but still.

– And here’s one of the things about this aspect of the episode that does piss me off a tad, Nurse Joy. Since we have to shove the green message down our throats, obviously they have to come across someone who is a lazy, inconsiderate ass wipe. The Nurse Joy they come across is constantly yawning, doesn’t even give the clearly sickly Pikachu a second look and brushes it all off as a cold. Even if she does provide evidence towards her claims (that electric mouse Pokemon discharge sparks from their cheeks when they’re getting a cold) the damn thing is still barely able to walk and needs treatment.

To be fair, she mostly drops this behavior after the power outage occurs, but still.

– Another goddamn Pokemon Center without it’s own generator? As someone who is also much further ahead, technically, on an unrelated viewing of the series, this is practically a trope at this point.

– Oh good, Joy’s also an incompetent boob who let Pikachu escape. Also, to get this out of the way, we see later that she neither seems to notice nor care. Good job.

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– Uh, Jenny, why are you not going to the power plant? I mean, what the hell are you planning on doing about this problem while they go there? It’s nice to know you give a crap, but sending a bunch of children off to do something that seems to be your job seems ill-advised……are you….are you the only cop on duty? I know this place is basically a ghost town, but it seems like plenty of people still need power around there. Several factories seem to still be functional when they get there, hence why the pollution in the air is still an issue……wait a damn minute…..they have power at the police station! They have power or a generator there but not at the Pokemon Center? The hell?

– How does Misty know Pikachu is worried Ash and the others will leave and never come back? They’ve been separated several times at this point and this never came up. In fact, when Pikachu and the other Pokemon were stranded on the Island of Giant Pokemon, he had complete confidence Ash and the others didn’t abandon them and that they’d find them. He leaves for all of 30 seconds, telling Pikachu he’ll come right back after he gets the power to come back on and Pikachu has a panic attack and runs after him. I don’t get it.

– Oh yeah, Ash. Your extremely ill Pikachu is suddenly screaming out in discomfort so just tell it to shut up over and over without even looking back to see if it’s okay. Best. Pokemon. Trainer. Ever.

– Dexter: “This very mysterious Pokemon is of the electric type.”

Ash: “What’s a Pokemon like that doing here?”

……………………..…..…..…..…..…..……………………………………………………………

.……..…..………………………………..

What’s an Electric Pokemon…..doing…..at…..….……..a………….Power plant…….…

Mystery of the goddamn century.

– Misty: “It caused the blackout! Magnemite shut down the power plant!”

Brock: “This one? By itself? No way!”

Misty: “Well….Dexter said it’s mysterious.”

Well, gosh, since when did being mysterious mean you’re instantly guilty? I hope our court system doesn’t work that way.

“Well, the evidence presented here is mostly melted Skittles from the prosecutor’s pocket, and some of the documents are written in crayon and finger paints, but I don’t know what makes you tick. Why you are who you are. Where you came from and what your goals are. Your eyes are dark and seem to see right through me, whilst I cannot do the same…..GUILTY.”

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Ash’s expression is priceless.

– Ash: “These things really stink!”

*Grimer get agitated*

Brock: “Ash! Don’t say anything that might insult their Pokemon pride, or make them mad!”

You’d think Pokemon that are literally living piles of sludge would be prideful of their stink. Erika’s Gloom never seemed to have esteem issues about it.

– I’m actually impressed that Ash knew immediately that Muk was a different Pokemon and not just a huge Grimer, considering the fact that it’s dark in that hallway and Muk really does just look like a huge, slightly darker colored Grimer.

– Ash, stop yelling at the poor power plant employees about the power outage. Isn’t it obvious that the place is being overrun by tons of Pokemon and that the blackouts are out of their control?

– *explanation as to why the plant’s not working – lots of Grimer mucking (more puns!) up the water intake and causing the generator to fail*

Ash – “SO DO SOMETHING!”

Oh sure, they look like experienced Pokemon trainers and it’s not like they’re not obviously trapped in the place by legions of Grimer and you’re being an asshole, stop it.

– Misty: “I hate to say it, but if we don’t act fast, we’ll be on the menu!”

….What makes you think the Grimer are going to eat you?

– Oh boy, let’s rage me up!

Dick: (their canon, non-spoken names are Dick and Philip, based on the author of the novel, but I don’t know who is who so pbbt.) You guys are all Pokemon Trainers aren’t you? You’ve got to use your Pokemon to help us out!

Philip: “That’s right! If you can get rid of the Grimer, the generator will work!”

Why, what a logical and completely smart suggestion, Dick and Philip. I’m certain this will be responded to with the same amount of logi–

Ash: “What do you expect us to do!? Pikachu is sick! It won’t be able to take out all of those Grimer at once!”

Are you kidding me

.….….…..…..……..………….*DEEP*

.….….………………………………….….….….*SIGH*

Ash…..are you fucking kidding me!? I know you’re notorious for derping out on the fact that you have more than Messiahchu in your party, but this is like epic levels of ‘what are these things on my belt for again?’ dumb. Is the pollution killing off one of the two brain cells you have left?

And, what, ladeeda, the few people in this place that actually have the means and abilities to take care of the Grimer can’t do a damn thing. You better feel like an asshole for yelling at Dick and Philip now.

What’s even worse is, obviously, Ash isn’t the only one derping on the ‘I have Pokeemanz?!’ front for a change. Misty, Brock, you’re forgetting that you also have at least half teams of Pokemon with you? Brock, let out Onix for God’s sake. It may wreck some stuff, but it would plow through those Grimer like they were silly putty on a driveway in July. Vulpix would reduce them to smelly puddles.

Why do characters always have to be turned into idiots for plot convenience?

– And let’s just go further with this, because there’s a bigger issue here.

Ash: “Pikachu, you’re the only one who can help!…You…you’re our last chance!”

Yes, my clearly sickly Pokemon who can barely stand! I am forcing you out into battle, possibly killing you right now! I have no choice but to do this, ya know. You’re our last chance….out a totally honest one chances. Not twelve, the amount of Pokemon we have collectively! I am absolutely abysmal at Pokemon training. But hey, at least we get a LITERAL MARTYR SCENE FOR MESSIAHCHU.

– Ash: “An adult Muk, and its child!”

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This shot always confused the hell out of me, even as a kid. There’s so much wrong with this one sentence it’s actually intriguing. First, there is clearly only one Muk in the room. I guess 4Kids thought that since the front shot of the Muk didn’t mesh up well with the side view that immediately follows, they assumed there were two Muk there?

Second, saying a Muk is an ‘adult’ is both incorrect and correct. An evolved Pokemon is typically considered ‘adult’ by default considering how much time usually has to go by for evolution to happen and just going by stages, but there can be no ‘child’ Muk because an offspring of a Muk would be a Grimer. They are born at base evo stage. Unless they’re saying that the shot looks like a Grimer, which is possible, even though it’s obviously the same Muk. I guess you really have to give 4Kids slack when it comes to evos that look so similar to their pre-evos. Afterall, it’s not like paying an iota of attention to what’s happening on screen or, oh I dunno, reading the original script, would help them at all.

Finally, Ash captures Muk, but the supposed ‘child’ vanishes. We’re left to assume Ash just technically orphaned a young Grimer. Nice.

– You wanna talk captures that weren’t really earned? Muk was only captured because Magnemite lent Pikachu a hand….err….magnet. Also, I thought you were firmly against matches in which the sides aren’t even, Ashy boy?

– Ash: “I did it! I captured Muk! Ash Ketchum saves the day once again!”

You unfairly captured Muk with the assistance of a wild Pokemon and using a two-on-one approach. You didn’t save anything. You needlessly put your Pokemon in insane amounts of danger, letting it head off into a one-on-possibly hundreds match when it’s sick as hell and you all have plenty of Pokemon who could’ve handled it easily. The lone Muk posed no threat to the power plant, either. The only reason anything was saved was because the Magnemite and Magneton burst in to help Pikachu because one of them was attracted to it (PUNNZZZZ).

You are an egotistical dumbass of a person who is more disgustingly slimy in this episode than the Grimer and Muk combined.

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– Dick: “Ah, when an Electric Mouse Pokemon builds up too much electrical energy, it becomes magnetized and seems like it has a cold.”

.Why a random power plant worker seems to know Pikachu physiology like the back of his hand, even moreso than a Nurse Joy, aside……..how little training is Ash doing that Pikachu is actually getting sick because he hasn’t discharged enough electricity?

Also, if Pikachu was magnetized, so strong to the point of basically making a Magnemite fall in love with it, why was the magnetic pull not affecting anything else? Ash and co. don’t have anything metal with them? Dexter wasn’t screwing up?

– Yes, Ash, Misty and Brock. It’s totally Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny’s responsibility and/or fault that the pollution in the water is so bad. I’m so sure they’ll get right on cleaning up the entirety of the fucking ocean. Especially considering they seem to have such a vast and helpful community to give them a hand for all that. Maybe their mayor is an avocado and hasn’t noticed the massive pollution problem. Maybe they have hundreds of millions of dollars to convert their factories over to greener solutions. I’m also certain that cleaning the place up and making it as bustling as it was won’t start the whole vicious cycle all over again. A bunch of ten year old kids surely opened the eyes of seemingly two of four confirmed residents of this giant PSA town.

– Nurse Joy: “Thank you Ash” Don’t thank him. “You worked so hard to make sure all of these Pokemon survived” No he didn’t “that you’ve inspired me to be a better nurse.” You better become a better nurse because, as of now, Dick and Philip seem far more qualified for your job than you are. Pikachu could’ve blown up under your care for all we know.

Jenny: “We salute your fine work!” Stop feeding his stupid ego.

– Well, whatever. At least now Ash has a pretty powerful Pokemon taking up his sixth party seat. I can’t wait to see how much Muk will help him…………Ah, how nice. A random check-in with Professor Oak. Wonder what he’s up to.

Oh look…..he’s getting a Pokemon from…Ash…..

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Alright, look, I will tell you a secret. The main reason I’m upset about this minor twist is because the whole crap about Muk’s Pokeball being smelly, and, hell, him being unbearably smelly at all, isn’t a thing after this episode. Meaning the reason Ash had for sending Oak Muk is just a pointless plot device so Ash won’t have a Pokemon that’s even marginally high-powered (besides Messiahchu of course) on his team. I just don’t get why they don’t want him to have strong Pokemon. Having stronger Pokemon on your team and facing greater challenges based on how powerful your Pokemon are is part of the growth of this journey…..it’s kinda….the point of the game it’s based on too. I always feel like they’re stunting his growth as a trainer when they take away these strong Pokemon.

I wasn’t that upset back when I first watched this because I thought the reasoning was good enough, even if the fact of Pokeballs being unable to contain smell when they do all sorts of unrealistic stuff for the sake of convenience (Ex.: weight, temperature, other powers etc. don’t matter when contained in a Pokeball) was a bit dumb. Now that I know Muk can be carried around without issue, it pisses me off a little.

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This episode was stupid. I don’t even really feel like elaborating all that much. It was stupid. I will admit, it was an interesting and rare instance of having four Pokemon debut in the same episode (Magnemite, Magneton, Grimer and Muk) but, outside of that, hardly any part of this episode makes sense.

You’re either being force-fed environmentalist messages that don’t work too well in context (or out, for that matter. They’re literally just suggesting ‘hey kids, clean up the air and water! We won’t give suggestions on how to do that, but just do it.’) or you’re following a non-sensical pile of stupid, irrational decisions and plot conveniences for the sake of ‘we don’t like to put effort in writing’.

And some of these decisions are worthy of your anger because Ash is being an arrogant hypocritical jack-off, 10x stupider than he normally is, putting his Pokemon in life-threatening danger for absolutely no reason followed by him ditching a newly captured powerhouse for the sake of avoiding an issue that isn’t even an issue in the future.

It just seems like an incredibly sloppy way of getting Ash another Pokemon while also patting themselves on the back for eeking out an environmentalist message of some sort at the same time. (Pollution is bad. Stop it, okay?)

Next episode, Gary makes a surprise appearance when there’s a huge rush to capture some trouble-making Diglett. And there’s a surprising development with Team Rocket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…Oh right! Yeah! Team Rocket was in this episode….they just didn’t interact with the group, didn’t do anything important and didn’t say or do anything interesting or funny so I just omitted them from the plot synopsis…..yep.

Pokemon Episode 29 Analysis: The Punchy Pokemon

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen1

Cotd (s): Anthony – A Fighting Pokemon trainer who aims to train Pokemon for the Fighting Pokemon tournament the P-1 Grand Prix. Anthony’s got tunnel vision for the tournament and neglects spending time with his family because of it, but he’s still a kind person with a good heart.

Reappear?: No

Pokemon: Anthony has a Hitmonchan as his main Pokemon. He spends much of his time training it, and Hitmonchan has become a very formidable fighter because of it.

Technically, after this episode, Anthony also becomes the owner of Ash’s Primeape. According to the original dialogue, this is not a ‘see you some other time’ situation. He legit handed Primeape over to him.

Rebecca – Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca is devastated that her father spends all of his time training for the P1 Grand Prix instead of spending time at home with his family. She is so set on getting him home that she asks Ash, Misty and Brock to defeat her father in order to get him to give up his dream.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Departures: Ash’s Primeape.

Final Farewell: I might as well vent here to spare the rest of the analysis some ranting. You might be going ‘wha? Primeape’s leaving already? Wasn’t he just captured like three episodes ago?’ Yes, yes he was. According to my unconfirmed sources (IE word of mouth I heard years ago), supposedly the writers of the show realized that Ash was in a bit of a capture slump, having not captured any Pokemon since Krabby way back when. They also realized that Ash had a free space in his party that had yet to be filled since Butterfree’s departure. So they decided to have him capture a Primeape.

However, the writers allegedly didn’t know what to do with it after that, even though giving Ash a Pokemon he cannot control is a good standing plot point. I guess they wanted that honor to go to Chameleon/izard, though. Since they didn’t know what else to do with Primeape, they cut their losses and booted him soon after capture, which means A) they failed in their goal to get Ash more Pokemon, B) he’s now back to his confusing five Pokemon party despite having a Pokemon back with Oak that he could have with him and C) my intense hatred for giving Ash good Pokemon then chucking them away or giving them to Oak to rot until a tournament comes up starts here.

Primeape had tons of raw power and he even had personality, which makes this even worse. Did it have any goals in life? From what I saw in his only episode outside of this one, no. Perhaps just to screw around and have fun, which is fine. Primeape had potential but they just swept him under the rug never to be brought up again for reasons that I’ll bring up later as being nonsensical.

Farewell, Primeape. You deserved better.

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock travel to their next destination, they find what they believe is a wild Hitmonchan in the path. Ash decides that he wants to capture it, so he starts teaching Pikachu some boxing moves.

Pikachu fails miserably but manages to get one punch in on Hitmonchan. Hitmonchan’s trainer, a man named Anthony, appears and chastises Hitmonchan for letting its guard down. He tells him to return to the match, and Hitmonchan easily defeats Pikachu in a hail of punches.

Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca appears and begs her father to come back home. However, he states he won’t come back home until he’s become the champion of the local Fighting Pokemon tournament, the P1 Grand Prix. Rebecca enlists the help of Brock and his Geodude as well as Ash and his uncontrollable Primeape to enter the tournament and defeat his father in order to get him to ‘come to his senses’ give up his dream and come home.

Team Rocket also decides to enter the tournament in hopes of getting the championship belt, selling it and using the money for themselves. Since they don’t have a Fighting Pokemon, they tie up a man named Giant and steal his Hitmonlee.

Everything goes well in the tournament, for the most part. Brock is forced to forfeit on his first match out, but Primeape is doing well in his matches, especially once Ash earns his trust by diving for him when he is thrown from the ring.

In their match against Anthony and his Hitmonchan, Team Rocket cheats by gluing Hitmonchan’s foot to the floor of the ring, leaving it mostly defenseless against Hitmonlee’s barrage of kicks. Rebecca tries to protect Hitmonchan by jumping into the ring, but before she is also hit by a kick, Anthony steps in and takes the blow. Realizing the importance of his family and the futility of the match, Anthony forfeits.

The final match is Ash and Primeape against a revealed Team Rocket and Hitmonlee. They, again, try to cheat with an electro-shock device and bomb to take out Primeape, but Pikachu secretly thwarts their plans and Primeape wins legitimately. Pikachu gives Team Rocket the bomb back and sends them blasting off.

Anthony offers to take Primeape in and train him to be a true P1 champion and Ash agrees. He wishes the best in Primeape’s future training and bids him farewell.

=============================

– Misty: “This must be one of those Fighting Pokemon I’ve heard about!” You’ve…heard about? First of all, Misty, you’re a former Gym Leader. I find it hard to believe that you never once came across a Fighting Pokemon while holding that title, especially since there are Water Pokemon, Poliwrath in Gen 1 anyway, that double as Fighting types.

Second….Mankey and Primeape are both Fighting Pokemon and you’ve seen them. That line would be better suited for Ash, but even then are Fighting types so rare that even Ash would say something like that?

– Why exactly is Ash trying to convince Pikachu to duke it out with Hitmonchan? Any idiot can see what a terrible idea that is. He has no training in hand to hand combat, Hitmonchan is obviously way more trained in it and is its friggin’ type for crying out loud, he has the power of electricity to allow him to more easily take him down and, oh yeah, Pikachu’s arms and paws are so small I’m surprised those gloves are staying on him.

If you really wanted to see a boxing match between two Pokemon maybe…oh I dunno, use your FIGHTING POKEMON. I know Ash can’t control him, but nothing else about this scene makes sense so why not?

– Narrator: “Well, everything’s been going pretty well. Misty caught Psyduck” “Caught” is being a bit generous.

“and Brock got Vulpix.” “Borrowed” would also be more fitting here.

“But Ash hasn’t captured any new Pokemon recently.” He literally caught Primeape one episode before Misty caught Psyduck and Brock got Vulpix. Being the main trainer of the group, he should be more focused on capturing, but he’s gone much longer without captures without anyone batting an eye and now the narrator’s getting on his case?

“He might be getting a little worried. But now he’ll try his luck with Hitmonchan.” Another case of the oddities starting off an episode with determination to catch a Pokemon and increase his capture rate only to not capture any Pokemon this episode and end up releasing one he has.

– “The Punchy Pokemon” is such a lazy title I could cry. It’s not even purely lazy. It’s silly too, especially for a departure episode. Why not call it “We’re too lazy to properly integrate you into the plot so, bye Primeape!” or simply “Fuck off, Primeape!”

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo in the title when it has the word in it? I’m going to keep bringing this up just because now I’m pathetically curious as to when this ends.

– I’ll actually forgive the stupid setup for Boxer!Pikachu because the actual fight is one of the funniest and most adorable scenes in Pokemon.

– I don’t understand anything about the Rocket Punch Ash taught Pikachu. He launches the boxing gloves off of his paws but then, somehow, only one of them is flying, Pikachu has the other glove back on his other paw and he’s still got the right flying glove on his paw, propelling him through the air with it.

And what about the Pikachu left behind? He wasn’t shrouded in smoke to make the illusion like he vanished. He was still there when the gloves were sent flying. I’m just imagining that, after the gloves are launched, it’s like a Benny Hill sketch with Pikachu scampering around trying to catch the left glove, getting it, then quickly running to catch up to the other glove while the smoke is still trailing to conceal him getting it back on. They really couldn’t have animated it to seem like Pikachu’s launching himself from the getgo?

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen2

……Wait….why did Ash have Pikachu-sized boxing gloves anyway?…..Ones with rockets in them…..Ash, I think Team Rocket’s stalking is getting to you more than we think.

– I always wonder about Pokemon that ‘wear clothes’ so to speak. Is Hitmonchan wearing gloves or are those its actual hands?….Is it wearing a dress or is its torso just really weird?

– Rebecca’s plan kinda sucks. Shouldn’t she be more bent on getting him the championship than defeating him? He says straight out mere lines before she asks this favor of the group that he won’t come home until he’s a P1 Grand Prix champion. Enlisting people solely for the purpose of defeating him is just going to make him want to train even harder for another year.

He’ll ‘come to his senses’ after defeat? Sure some people take losses so hard that they give up entirely, but with a guy like that the alternative is much more likely. Plus, she finds it much better that he fail in one of his main life goals instead of being there with him to help him succeed. I get that she’s lonely, but she’s being just as selfish as he is.

Now that I really think about it….this whole plan is entirely unnecessary. Either way, he’s coming home, right? At least by Rebecca’s logic. Today’s the day of the tournament. He’ll either win, prompting him to go home, or lose to someone else, prompting him to supposedly give up and go home. There is no third option. Why are Ash and Brock even needed?

– Brock: “Ash, don’t you have a Fighting Pokemon we could use?”

Ash: “Errr, what are you talkin’ about?” Ash forgot he has Primeape….Has he even been let out of the Pokeball since his capture? Is he dying in there?

– Brock, just because Geodude has fists and biceps it doesn’t mean it’s a Fighting type.

– Also, yeah, Ash has a Primeape that he can’t control and has never once bothered trying to train to the point where he’s forgotten he even has it. Brock’s Pokemon is one that is actually weak to Fighting types. Neither has had any formal training in Pokemon Boxing. These are the absolute best people to recruit to defeat Rebecca’s father, the guy who has been doing nothing but training for years for this very tournament with one of the best Fighting Pokemon you can get.

– Behold! One of the rare occasions Team Rocket actually succeeds in stealing a Pokemon!

– Why do so many people in the audience look horribly concerned as the tournament starts? They’re barely making introductions and everyone’s all mortified.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen3

Also, props to the kid holding up the blank banner. I’m sure someone will feel like they’re being cheered on….or heckled….or something.

– Why are they seemingly acting like Brock and Ash are a team in this tournament? The introduce them together when “Giant” and Anthony were introduced on their own is all….

– Team Rocket has a crapton of disguises on hand and they can’t add anything to Giant’s clothes to cover themselves up more? For crying out loud, Jessie’s uniform is still very visible under the collar and they didn’t even make an effort to cover up her hair.

– Continuing the amazingly cliché tradition of fixing any and all trust issues/behavioral problems by having him self-sacrifice himself, even just a little, to save the Pokemon in question.

– Misty: “It seems like everything changed when Ash dove to save Primeape. That’s when Primeape started to trust Ash.” Now channeling Captain Obvious-Brock is Misty. And, really guys, the audience is well aware of how lazy this flash in the pan character development is, no need to point it out by giving a detailed account of it.

– Why is Hitmonlee listening to Team Rocket? Surely it knows they’re not Giant, his actual owner.

– It’s a little bit on the ironic side that Anthony is telling Brock that real men know when to admit defeat. Remember way back in Pewter City? Brock is the one who both knew when to quit in order to stop himself from severely hurting Pikachu AND he basically gave Ash the gym badge on the factor of him stopping himself from hurting Brock’s Onix.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen4
There’s nothing to dislike about this screenshot.

– Anthony: “Time to face facts; you could lose today and win tomorrow!” Another testament as to why Rebecca’s plan is doomed to….I guess succeed….In a completely unnecessary way.

– The audience just keeps looking like they’re either saddened by what they’re watching or they don’t want to be there. What is the art department thinking?

– Anthony never realized that in order to get Hitmonchan out of the ring he’d have to unglue its foot from the floor?….And…ya know….call for the officials to come and investigate? Then have a rematch or disqualify Team Rocket?….No?….Just give up and ignore that that is the exact sequence of events that would happen in any realistic scenario? Okay.

– Also, three times in one episode, forced character/relationship development brought on through self-sacrifice.

– Oh look, Team Rocket’s revealing themselves to Ash and Co. Now Ash will alert the officials and get them disqualified for not being the contestant in question, they’ll get arrested for kidnapping and Pokemon theft and Ash will win by default. Realistic scenario.~~~~

I do love the failed motto due to James’ giving out from carrying Jessie.

– Oh look, they’ve revealed it to everyone….and not a single person seems to give a shit or point it out.

– Shocking Primeape I can understand, because you can mask that without anyone noticing what’s actually going on, but why trigger an explosion too? They’ll just call off the match or declare it a draw if Primeape ends up getting KO’d due to a random explosion that Hitmonlee obviously didn’t cause.

– Primeape suddenly learned Seismic Toss? I guess that’s alright, but how did Ash know it knew that out of the blue?

– FFS, even when the tournament is done and they’ve declared a winner, the audience is still stuck on ‘Wtf am I even watching?’ mode. Is there a gas leak in here?….and is the gas leak a fast-acting depressant?

– Why is Misty screaming ‘We did it!’? You didn’t do a damn thing outside of watch and cheer.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen5

While we’re on the topic, Brock, why are you up there cheering too? Primeape’s not your Pokemon and you didn’t do anything to help. Are you seriously (unfairly) teamed up with Ash here like the intros implied?

– This is the line that always kinda irked me about the reasons behind Primeape staying behind.

Anthony: “I promise to turn it into a true P1 champion!” It already IS a true P1 champion. An amazing one, considering it’s had no formal training in either regular battles or boxing-type fighting and yet won every match fairly easily. How much more of a P1 champion can it become? They should’ve said that they’d try to win more tournaments like this and make it the best Fighting Pokemon out there or something. This reason just seems poorly handled.

—————————————

This episode was….kinda boring and stupid. The setup didn’t make any sense. It was resolved at breakneck speed. There’s not enough given to either the Primeape or the Anthony story. You don’t even sympathize much with Rebecca because we barely know anything about her besides her father is hardly ever home and she misses him. Also, she sucks at making plans. There are a bunch of logistic problems that shouldn’t fly even in Pokemon. The action wasn’t that impressive. The departure of Primeape is frustrating and poorly written, especially if my intel on the reasons behind his leaving are true.

About the most interesting thing here is the Pokemon Boxing, but really they don’t do anything with the concept. They should be more about actual boxing or martial arts moves or something, but they’re no different from Pokemon battles, just exclusively with Fighting Pokemon. Ash was doing more actual boxing when he was teaching Pikachu than anyone else was over the course of this episode.

I’m still a little irked at the loss of one of Ash’s few evolved and powerful Pokemon. But hey at least I can relax now. It’s not like he’ll be getting another evolved and powerful Pokemon that he’ll shove under the rug for stupid reasons any time soon, right?

So, uh, what’s next on the docket?

Pokemon ep 29 preview

……..….….…..Pbbbbbttttt…..I give up.

Pokemon Episode 28 Analysis: Pokemon Fashion Flash

Pokemon Episode 28 title

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen4

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

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

– This episode really does have some great comedic moments.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 6

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

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

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

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

———————————-

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

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

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

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

Next episode

..Dammit!

Pokemon Episode 27 Analysis: Hypno’s Naptime

Pokemon Ep 27 title

CotD (s): None, really.

Captures (technically): Misty’s Psyduck – Not really a legit capture since Psyduck trapped himself in Misty’s Pokeball, Psyduck is one of Misty’s most notable Pokemon next to the yet-to-debut Togepi. He is one of the funnier comic relief Pokemon with his dopey behavior, but the fact that he starts the teeth-gnashingly annoying trend of Pokemon who let themselves out of their Pokeball just to appear, say their name and that’s somehow deemed funny is something I will never forgive him for.

Plot: Ash and his friends arrive in a large city called Hophophop Town, lost yet again. Suddenly, a woman runs up to Ash and hugs him tightly, proclaiming that he’s her lost son, Arnold. They clear up the mistake, and Arnold’s mother explains that Arnold suddenly disappeared three days ago with no communication in the meantime and no logical explanation for his sudden disappearance.

Arnold’s mother explains that her son is just one of many children who have disappeared in the town recently, so she has little hope of seeing her son again. Brock, always earnest to help Officer Jenny and Ash, reminded of his own mother through Arnold’s mother, along with Misty get involved in the missing child investigations.

Officer Jenny relays to the kids that all of the missing children disappeared exactly three days ago. Since Jenny has no other leads, she’s decided to ask the children hanging out at the Pokemon Center if they know anything or if they’ve seen the missing children. They don’t get many answers from the children, but Nurse Joy brings up a curious development.

Exactly three days ago, all of the Pokemon in the Pokemon Center and several local Pokemon suddenly lost all of their energy. Jenny surmises that the problems with the Pokemon and missing children might be connected. Suddenly, her sleep wave detector goes off, indicating a source of waves that induce sleep. Joy says no Pokemon at the Center should be emitting such waves, and Pikachu succumbs to the energy draining effects.

At this turn of events, they deduce that the sleep waves might have something to do with the odd changes in the health of the Pokemon. They follow the intensity of the sleep waves and find themselves at a mansion that that’s been built on top of a skyscraper. It turns out that the sleep waves were being emitted by a Drowzee and a Hypno. One of their Drowzee evolved into this Hypno three days ago, creating another link in the oddities around the city.

The club members explain that they’ve been using Hypno and Drowzee to help with their insomnia. Brock deduces that Hypno’s Hypnosis must be having an adverse affect on the Pokemon and certain sensitive children since the wavelength must’ve been changed to put humans asleep as opposed to Pokemon.

Misty tries it out, and after Hypno uses his Hypnosis on her, she suddenly starts acting like a Seel. She bursts from the mansion and runs towards a large park. As she enters a clearing, the group sees all of the missing children have gathered here. They’re all acting like Pokemon and vehemently refuse to snap out of it.

One of the club members suggests to use Drowzee’s dream waves to counter Hypno’s sleep waves, and they bring Misty back to the mansion to try it. It works, and Misty snaps out of her Seel state. Encouraged by the results in Misty, Ash and the others decide to bring Drowzee to the park to snap the other children out of their trances.

Suddenly, Team Rocket drops from the sky on gliders, intent on stealing Drowzee and Hypno. They trick Hypno into hypnotizing itself by putting him in front of a mirror, but Ash stops it before it completes by smashing the mirror with a potted plant.

As plan B, Jessie and James nab Drowzee and Hypno with whips, but Misty uses Staryu to slice through both of the whips and free them. Ash uses Pidgeotto’s best Gust attack to blast them off, and they head back off to save the children.

Drowzee works his dream magic on the children, and they’re all back to normal. Pikachu also snaps out of his drained state. As the children clear out of the park, Arnold’s mother appears and reunites with her son.

They head to the Pokemon Center and cure the Pokemon too. Everything’s back to normal, but Joy remains concerned over the Psyduck that keeps holding its head. In an attempt to impress Joy, Brock agrees to take Psyduck and try to help it. However, he’s completely clueless as to what to do with it. He tries to pawn it off on Misty, but Misty isn’t interested in a ‘boring’ Pokemon.

Ash attempts to research Psyduck again through Dexter and it’s revealed that there’s nothing wrong with Psyduck – it’s a part of its nature to always suffer from a perpetual headache. As Misty bursts in anger at this revelation, she topples over and one of her Pokeballs falls out of her bag. Psyduck bops the button on the ball and captures itself, leaving Misty with ownership over it.

————————–

– Like the Rainbow Badge episode, this was another episode I had on VHS, which means I watched it fairly frequently.

And, even back then, this episode raised all sorts of questions with me that left me more confused and weirded out the more I watched it. I can’t really think of any episode like it. It’s such an odd duck. But don’t just take my plot synopsis’ word for it. Let me take you on a journey of confusion.

– Even in cities, these three cannot help themselves but get lost.

– Why is it never explained why this city is called Hophophop Town? Nothing about this name makes sense. There’s never anything hopping related going on ever (this episode might be better suited for a much later Hoppip themed episode or something) and it’s not a town – it’s a huge city rivaling Celadon in its sheer size and skyscrapers.

You might think this is just 4Kids having their stupid jollies, but it’s not really. In the Japanese version, this town is called Yoyoyo Town……which makes about as much if not less sense. Actually, it sounds like they got the names backwards. If either set of writers would stake a claim on Yoyoyo Town, it would be the masters of rap, 4Kids.

Pokemon Ep 27 screen1

– Misty: *after seeing the wall of posters* “My picture’s going to be on posters when I’m a big famous star!” Reacting to a wall of posters with pictures of missing children with ‘~~~*sigh* I’m going to be famous!~~~’ is about as vain, self-absorbed and terrifyingly uncaring as you can get, Misty. Please hit yourself repeatedly with a rock for 45 minutes and think about how awful your last line was.

Though, if I can delve into the Bulbagarden comparison for a moment, this actually isn’t nearly as bad as her original lines.

“Originally, Kasumi’s first line has her saying that she’d better watch out for kidnappers because she’s so cute. Satoshi and Takeshi kind of give her a look, prompting her to go “What!?” Satoshi then pats Pikachu’s head and tells Kasumi that, fine, she is cute and that she had better watch out.

I guess the dub changed this because they didn’t want parents walking into the room and hearing one of the main characters act so nonchalant about a subject like child abduction.”

Yeah, 4Kids didn’t do a great job changing this line, but the Japanese writers definitely eek out a WTF at this.

In all honesty, this would be one occasion where I’d be fine just cutting the whole exchange, animation and all, but Kasumi, my God, what the fuck is wrong with you? Your elated smile and pose lead me to believe you find child abduction to be flattering. Not to mention that kidnapping usually has little to nothing to do with how ‘cute’ you are. Hate to go dark here, but if a child abductor is really nabbing you on the grounds of your physical appearance, the outcome would likely not be in the least bit happy for you, Kasumi. Please seek help.

Pokemon Ep 27 screen2

– It was in this episode where Ash has the flashback to the lost episode, which spurred my multi-year-long annoyance as to where that scene came from.

You want to know what else? Even this little tidbit induces additional confusion!

Another dip into Bulbagarden’s comparison shows that this isn’t even the clip that was originally used for Ash’s flashback to his mom. In the Japanese version, they used a clip of her from the pilot.

Since I’d just be parroting their reaction, here’s another excerpt.

“Like…what was the logic behind that decision!? Maybe they thought it would be better for Ash to think about the most recent time he had seen his mother instead of the first time? But when that “most recent time” comes from an episode that, as far as dub viewers know, doesn’t exist, you run into problems. I wonder how many fans watched this episode and wondered “wait a minute…when did that happen!?” I’m sure there were more than a few.

Even today, this edit is weird because the majority of Pokémon fans in the U.S. have never seen “Beauty and The Beach” and would therefore have no reason to know where those clips came from.”

I believe 4Kids wanted a more sentimental memory of Delia for Ash to be thinking of at this moment since the original was a comedic scene where Delia’s handing him a bunch of stuff to take with him on his journey. Though, this is still a little sentimental because it shows how much Delia dotes on him and cares about his well-being.

While the shot from Beauty and the Beach appears more sentimental and is nice in context with the trophy, the actual scene when shown here and with no prior knowledge of the lost episode is just empty. He smiles at her, she smiles at him while holding a trophy (‘for some reason’, thinks the oblivious viewer) and he leaves.

I have enough to develop a headache about in this episode, so let’s just leave that there.

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– Ash is incredibly annoying saying ‘Brilliant deduction!’ every few minutes. Mostly because he doesn’t seem to know what that really means.

– Brock’s also being obnoxious by scaring the crap out of a couple of little kids just for the sake of impressing Jenny.

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– Ash: *in reference to a sick Magikarp* “Looks like it’s ready for the deli counter.” Why the hell would you say something that crass? You might as well tell Oddish it’s ready to be in a salad and Cubone that he’s about to be reunited with his mom. Not only is it crass, but it’s also stupid. Ash knows quite well that Magikarp are inedible. They’re nothing but scales and bones. He learned this on Pokemon Shipwreck.

– Nice to see Nurse Joy’s also joining in on the idiocy. She should know that Psyduck suffers from an endless headache, thus there’s nothing really wrong with it.

– Here’s one of the biggest questions of the episode – Why the hell does Jenny have a sleep wave detector? Nonono – why does she have a sleep wave detector on her? Nonoononononono – Are sleep wave detectors standard issue for cops in the Pokemon world? Nnononononononononononononononono – why are sleep wave detectors a thing? How could they possibly be useful outside of this insanely specific circumstance?

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Was there a rash of criminals taking naps in their crime scenes? Are you worried Freddy Krueger’s going to pop up somewhere? Are you a cop who usually patrols parks and you use it to detect sleeping homeless people so you can ask them to please sleep somewhere else, sir? Do you scan pieces of evidence to see if anyone’s napped on it recently? Did a hypnotist on a cheap cruise line traumatize you because he made you quack like a duck every time someone says ‘potato salad’? I am legitimately curious as to the history of this thing.

The whole concept of the sleep wave detector just seems silly and incredibly lazy. They could’ve made up something like the sleep waves were interfering with some of the equipment in the Pokemon Center or something of Jenny’s and the malfunctions got worse the closer they got to the source. Or they could’ve had a Pokemon be somehow attracted to the sleep waves and follow it to the source.

Nope – fucking sleep wave detector.

In the first draft, this thing was called ‘the convenient plot device generator’

– Alright, with all of that sleep wave detector nonsense behind us, we can move o—why the hell does Team Rocket have a sleep wave detector?! I mean….I guess if anyone had such a stupid device, it would be Team Rocket, but, seriously, where did they get a sleep wave detector and how did they know such a device would be useful here?

– Their plan this week is also pathetic and stupid. They plan on finding the source of the waves and knocking out Giovanni with it so they can take a vacation. Yeah, I’m so sure no one will notice he’s MIA and wake him up incredibly quickly. I’m sure he doesn’t have any subordinates who can take over his job temporarily if he’s indisposed. I’m sure he won’t realize what you did to him when he wakes up and he won’t put your collective asses in a sling.

Plus, they’re completely ignoring the obvious criminal use for a source of sleep waves – putting Pokemon to sleep. Their main objective is stealing Pokemon. Imagine if you could put any Pokemon to sleep. A whole Pokemon Center, forest, lake etc. of Pokemon out like a light. All you’d have to do is nab them and put them in a container then gift wrap them and send them to Giovanni. I’m sure he’d rather have loads of Pokemon delivered to him than be pseudo-roofied by you nimrods.

– Why is there a huge mansion/estate on top of a skyscraper? The characters also express surprise and confusion at this, but not a single person gives a reason as to why this is happening. It seems so inefficient, illogical, not cost-effective and just stupid. Surely if you have the money to get a mansion built on top of a skyscraper, you have the money to buy a huge plot of real estate in the city or just beyond it.

 

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By the way, skipping ahead a bit, maybe if you rich idiots want to help your insomnia, you might not want to live and socialize in a huge loud city by purposely building your house/meeting area on top of a skyscraper.

– Yes, Officer Jenny, just let these small children break into what could be a building filled with dangerous people.

– I have a bunch of questions about the Pokemon Lovers Club.

1 – So this mansion isn’t even a place where someone lives – it’s just a clubhouse? You went through all that trouble and spent so much money for a clubhouse on top of a skyscraper? Talk about disposable income.

2 – This is a Pokemon Lovers Club, so I assume there are frequently lots of Pokemon up in this clubhouse at any given time…..On top of this skyscraper…..with no protective barriers to stop them from falling off the roof. More like Pokemon Negligence Club.

3 – For a Pokemon Lovers Club, this place is sure devoid of….well, Pokemon. The only Pokemon in the area are Hypno and Drowzee, and those are the only Pokemon they talk about.

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This is a far cry from what is supposed to be the inspiration of this club, which is the game’s Pokemon Fan Club. (It’s never explicitly stated that it is, but given that the original Japanese name for the fan club is Pokemon Lovers Club, it’s hard to say it’s not)

You’d think they might make up for it with Pokemon décor or activities or something, but there’s nothing even Pokemon related in the entire vicinity besides the Hypno and Drowzee sitting on that table. Everyone’s just standing around drinking wine….err, I mean, what I assume is fruit juice. It’s like that pseudo-sitcom trope where the mom has a book club but it’s really an excuse for her and her friends to sit around and gossip while drinking wine.

4 – So if the point of this club isn’t celebrating all Pokemon, I guess I can assume it’s for a Hypno or Drowzee fandom….if that’s true, why is no one paying it any mind before Ash and the others talk about it?

5 – From what they say, it’s almost like the point of this club is an insomniacs club. All of these rich tycoons are so stressed out from living in the city (pbbbttttmove awaypbbbttttput your clubhouse in a place that isn’t the top of a skyscraperpbbbbtttyou’re hobnobbing and drinking in the middle of the day – you can’t be too stressedpbbbbttt) that all of them suffer from insomnia, a condition I’m surprised 4Kids didn’t try to explain to the audience. So they all get together and have Hypno and Drowzee use Hypnosis on them to help them get to sleep at night.

6 – To help them get to sleep AT NIGHT. Why are they making Hypno put them to sleep now?

– Why is the closeup shot of Hypno using Hypnosis a still-screen? It is insanely creepy because of that.

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– Okay, I can understand Hypno’s changed wavelength having an energy-draining effect on Pokemon. If it’s altered from the regular version, it’s just making the Pokemon in the area incredibly tired as opposed to being entirely asleep. That doesn’t really explain Charmander’s dying tail flame, but still.

I can even believe it’s affecting only certain children in the area who might be sensitive to such waves, putting them in a trance state.

What I DON’T understand is why the children all start believing they’re Pokemon. The only reason I can come up with is that, when people get hypnotized in shows in real life, they’re commonly given something goofy to do, and it usually involves acting like an animal – like acting like a dog at the sound of a bell or acting like a chicken at the sound of a clap……but that just doesn’t make much sense at all.

Apparently they originally based this off atavistic regression, which is a hypnosis technique in which the therapist helps psychologically regress a person to previous evolutionary states, eliminating internal stressors, activities and barriers that usually cloud a person’s mind and make them stressed and anxious. This therapeutic technique is used to help people sleep better, be more relaxed and be more open to hypnotic suggestion.

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Problem is, humans did not evolve from Pokemon in this world. (Did they? I’m not current on Pokemon lore. I know Arceus is treated as Pokemon God, and that’s about it in that regard.) Even if they did, atavistic regression doesn’t cause you to start acting like you’re devolved. It just attempts to switch off certain higher functions of the brain that have only been utilized in recent stages of evolution. You’ll have a clearer head, not communicate through grunts and attempt to spear down a city bus.

I also don’t understand how these waves can be so friggin’ powerful that it’s affecting children and Pokemon for miles around. By that logic, any other Hypnosis should zonk out any Pokemon in a five mile radius, like when Jigglypuff uses Sing only much worse.

– Ash, you stuffed a comatose Pikachu in your zipped backpack instead of leaving it at the Pokemon Center where it could be treated? What is wrong with you?

– Thank God Seel!Misty knows how to use an elevator or else there’d be a big stain on the sidewalk out front.

– If the aspect of the children all suddenly believing they’re Pokemon is hard to swallow, even given the backstory of the idea, it’s impossible to believe that they’d all be drawn to the exact same spot in the park. Misty was gunning for that place, she knew exactly where she was going – like it was innate. What’s so special about this section of the park?

– Let’s hope none of the kids believed they were Water Pokemon based on fish or else you might want to call a dive team.

– That one kid should not have been able to crawl down that tree on his belly like that.

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– These kids are surprisingly clean and well-groomed for living in the woods acting like Pokemon for three days.

Gentleman Guy – “I know! Why don’t we use Drowzee to cure the children?”

Ash: “Drowzee?”

Gentleman Guy – “Sleep emits dream wavelengths, which, in this case, might counteract Hypno’s wavelengths.”

I don’t….understand that sentence…..Sleep….emits dream wavelengths…yes. That might counteract Hypno’s wavelengths…..no….Hypno made those wavelengths….Why would Drowzee….he might have a different wavelength but….dream wavelengths… Dream Eater? How would that help?…..How is this…working?……Forget it. Let’s just say they’re reversing the polarity and move on with our lives.

Ah, according to the Wiki, this is just a dub error. Sleep is Drowzee’s original name and 4Kids accidentally used it here……Still doesn’t clear up what the hell is going on, but that clears up the sentence structure anyway.

– They’re having Drowzee emit his dream waves toward Misty?….How is that not Hypnosis?….Why does Hypno not have an ability of his pre-evo? Nope, I’m not going down that slippery slope again.

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– Drowzee’s Hypnosis shot isn’t nearly as creepy as Hypno’s because he’s actually animated here, but it’s obvious the animation is just keyframes. Is this a post-edit because of the Porygon episode? Even Misty, when she’s being subjected to the dream waves, is clearly animated in an extremely shaky way (IE, you can see the frames jutting up and down) Neither the Bulbagarden comparison nor the Wiki page even mentions this odd animation.

– I’ve always thought Eric Stuart’s delivery when he says ‘Just don’t hypnotize me. Okay, do it.’ was hilarious for some reason.

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– Hypno’s incredibly stupid for attempting to hypnotize a mirror. Who is its trainer/owner? Why did no one command it to stop?

– Oh now Hypno’s animated when doing Hypnosis. No clue what’s different now. Also, it has that same keyframe animation issue.

– Nice throwing that flower pot to destroy that mirror, Ash. Considering Hypno was standing a foot away from it and you threw it through the back, Hypno should be cut up like a Christmas ham right now, but good job.

– Hey, Pidgeotto nice to see you actually being used for a change. Though, this is still technically using it for blasting Team Rocket off.

– All, and I mean all of the voices of these children are horrible. Awful. Just….awful.

– Why did they all spontaneously blurt out what they wanted to be when grow up?

– Ash really doesn’t look much like Arnold at all. You only see him for a few frames, but he’s much shorter, has completely different clothes and his hair is blue not black. Guess his mom could’ve just been hysterical, but still.

– Misty is known for adoring even the ugliest of Water Pokemon, but she has absolutely no respect for Psyduck out of the gate and even calls it boring despite hearing that it has mysterious powers.

– Why does Misty have such a burst of anger over hearing Psyduck always has a headache? She doesn’t even own it at this point.

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– That last bit is just all sorts of giant convenient coincidence. She just happens to fall. She just happens to have a Pokeball fall out of her pocket/bag. It just happens to stop rolling right in front of Psyduck. Psyduck just happens to bop the button over and over to enlarge the ball and capture itself.

– Not to be cruel, but why doesn’t Misty just instantly release Psyduck if she’s so intent on hating it from the get-go? It didn’t even do anything wrong. She just hates it for no reason.

– Mystery of what the inside of a Pokeball looks like solved – it’s a blue abyss of nothingness.

——————————

Like I said, this episode is just an endless stream of confusion and peculiarity for me. It only got even worse the more I analyzed it. Some questions were answered, but I just raised other questions I never even thought of before, and if this weren’t the episode where Misty gets Psyduck, I’d almost say it’d be better off if we all just believed it was a weird collective dream.

Now that I think about it, this is the perfect episode for Psyduck to debut in. What better Pokemon to have be caught in this massive web of weirdness and disarray than the Pokemon who, like all of us at this point, has a massive headache?

Next episode, one of my favorites, Brock meets his idol in breeding, Suzie, and gets Vupix.

Pokemon Episode 26 Analysis: Pokemon Scent-Sation

Pokemon ep 26 title

Gym Leader: Erika – Erika is a very polite and kind individual (er, well, she’s meant to be) who values empathy with her Pokemon above all else. She specializes in Grass Pokemon and has a particular connection with her Gloom, a Pokemon most people cannot stand due to its terrible smell. Erika also owns a perfume shop and treasures the beautiful scents and feelings that perfume provides. While she is a very gentle and loving person, she cannot stand ignorant people who badmouth perfume.

Reappears? No.

Pokemon – She has numerous Grass Pokemon kicking around her Gym, but in this battle she uses a Weepinbell, a Tangela and a Gloom, who is her most prized Pokemon and is in fact the source of her secret ingredient for her perfumes.

Badge:

50px-Rainbow_Badge

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive in the massive Celadon City. As they gaze in awe at the skyscrapers, Misty and Brock are suddenly captivated by the aroma of perfume. The scent leads Brock to a perfume shop where he gawks at the girls at the counter. Ash wants to get going to the Gym when he notices that Misty and Pikachu are actually in the store trying out various types of perfume.

She’s about to buy some when Ash bursts in and tells her not to buy it because ‘Perfume is a waste of money, and it stinks!’ The store manager comes in and states that she resents Ash’s remark. She asks if Ash is insinuating that she overcharges her customers for poor-quality perfume. Ash tries to save face by saying that all perfume is a waste of money, because ‘all it does is turn guys into zombies.’ like Brock.

She gets increasingly angry as Ash continues to speak badly of perfume and she kicks him out of the store. Ash doesn’t really care, though, since he’s off to the Gym.

When he arrives at the Gym, he’s shocked to find that the girls at the door won’t let him in since they don’t let anyone in who badmouths perfume given that they manufacture the perfume in that very Gym. Ash begs and pleads to challenge the Gym Leader, but they still refuse.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket breaks into the Gym to steal the secret perfume formula. While they’re searching for it, they stumble upon a sleeping Gloom. After James accidentally wakes it up, he attacks it with Koffing’s Poison Gas. Shockingly, not only is Gloom unaffected, it actually sucks up the gas with no problem.

In retaliation, Gloom sets off a cloud of its terrible stench, causing Team Rocket to nearlyfaint and giving the guards at the Gym the opportunity to knock them out and kick them out. They tie Team Rocket up in a tree, and Ash comes upon them.

They decide to coerce him into cutting them down from the tree by saying they can get him into the Gym. Desperate for another badge, Ash accepts. Their big plan? To dress Ash up as a girl, pretend to be named Ashley and pretend he likes perfume so he can get through the door and challenge Erika.

Posing as Ash(ley)’s parents, Team Rocket enrolls Ash in the Gym’s Pokemon training classes. As Ash gets ready to infiltrate the Gym to challenge Erika, Team Rocket excuses themselves so they can steal the formula. In retaliation for stamping a big X on her face, Jessie also has Meowth plant a bomb in the building.

The class starts, showing the Gym’s Pokemon getting exercised and cleaned up while Erika reads them all a sad story about an Omanyte. Ash(ley) is introduced to the group and he’s shocked when he notices that Erika is also the manager of the perfume store. Misty, Brock and Pikachu are also at the class, which makes him increasingly concerned that he’ll be found out.

Misty asks Erika why the seemingly always stinky Gloom smells perfectly fine while hanging out with them in the Gym. Erika explains that Gloom does indeed have a terrible smell, but only when it feels threatened or scared. If you show Gloom that its safe and that you want to be its friend, it will smell fine. Misty asks how she knows this and Erika explains how she and gloom met.

When Erika was a small child, she went off on her own and was suddenly cornered by a Grimer. Gloom was passing by, and she asked it for help. Gloom somehow sensed how scared Erika was and used its terrible smell to send the Grimer away and save Erika. Ever since that day, she and Gloom have been close friends. Her relationship with Gloom even inspired her to become a Grass Pokemon trainer and open her Gym.

Misty wishes that Ash was around to hear the story and Ash accidentally outs himself by saying he did hear it. He tries to save face, but Pikachu tries to cuddle him, realizing who he is. Ash tells him to back off, which prompts Pikachu to shock him, revealing his true identity. Ash admits what he did and challenges Erika to a Pokemon battle, which Erika accepts.

Ash chooses Bulbasaur at first while Erika uses a Tangela. Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip to wrap up Tangela, but Erika commands it to use Constrict to coil up Bulbasaur’s vines and reel him in. She then commands Tangela to use Stun Spore, which paralyzes Bulbasaur and leaves him unable to battle.

Ash considers using Primeape, but decides against it when he remembers how crazy and violent it was. Instead, Ash uses Charmander. In response, Erika sends out Weepinbell.

Weepinbell uses Razor Leaf, but Charmander burns all of the leaves with a Flamethrower and KOs Weepinbell with a Skull Bash.

Erika uses her trump card, Gloom, and it easily knocks out Charmander with its stench. Ash struggles to figure out what Pokemon to use next since he doesn’t believe any of his Pokemon can withstand that smell. However, Pikachu steps up to the plate and volunteers to go.

Their battle is interrupted by Team Rocket who now have the secret formula in their possession and have come to gloat. Their visit is cut short when they accidentally set the bomb too close to where they are and blast themselves off.

A massive fire breaks out in the Gym and everyone tries to gather the Pokemon and evacuate. Outside, everyone tries to put out the flames with hoses, Water Pokemon and Brock’s Geodude.

Erika runs by in a panic, worried that Gloom never made it out of the building. Ash goes into the Gym to retrieve Gloom, but is deterred by the frightened Pokemon’s horrible smell. Ash has no choice but to hold his breath and brave the stench to get Gloom out, but is surprised to find the air to be clear of the smell when he gasps for a breath. He suddenly remembers Erika’s words about the smell vanishing if Gloom feels safe and friendly towards you. With a smile, Ash grabs Gloom and runs out the door.

Later, when the fire is extinguished, Erika gives Ash a Rainbow Badge in gratitude of him saving her Gloom. Ash admires his new badge, but asks what Erika will do now that Team Rocket has her secret perfume formula. Erika laughs and said they didn’t steal the formula; they only stole an ingredient of her perfume – essence of Gloom.

As we cut to Team Rocket, they open the bottle to enjoy their new perfume only to be disgusted at the odor within the bottle.

With his new badge in hand, Ash and his friends set off to the next Gym.

————————–

– Oh great, our first actual official pun title. Whoopee.

– Just a side-note/backstory thing before I get started: This episode is one my most remembered since it was one of a handful of episodes that I got on VHS when I was a kid. I also had the episode with Primeape, but I guess I didn’t much care for that episode as a kid either because I don’t remember watching that episode much.

Since there was a good chunk of time in my childhood when I was obsessed with Pokemon, but it was only on either incredibly early in the morning (before it started airing on Kids WB. And by early I mean around 5:00/30 AM. I had to pester my dad to wake me up when he woke up to go to work so I could watch it) or only on weekends (when it finally aired on Kids WB) I basically watched my VHS episodes over and over to sate my Pokemon cravings. As such, this episode became ingrained in my memory. I could probably recite the entirety of the script in my sleep.

However, looking back on it, I can definitely feel a rant storm a brewin’

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they include the word “Pokemon” in the title? Wow, that is going on way longer than I thought it did.

– I understand that Erika’s ‘spell out perfume with positive words’ rant is a dub-only thing, but uh, 4Kids, U for Urbane? You really think any kid knows what urbane means? Also, Erika, I can do the same thing in reverse to make your pathetic ‘point’ moot. P for Putrid, E for Ew, R for Repulsive, F for Foolish, U for Ugly, M for Mundane and E for Egregious. That spells…!

Misty: “Perfume!”

Brock: “Right!”

Pikachu: “Pika!”

Your move, Erika.

– I know Ash is, for lack of a better term, a typical ten-year-old boy (Thinks perfume is stupid, doesn’t get romance, fashion is dumb, makeovers are pointless etc.) but where exactly is this rabid anti-perfume stuff coming from? Disliking that Misty is buying perfume is a different level from yelling at her to not purchase it then going on a rant about why it’s awful.

And he hates it because it turns guys into zombies? Brock’s always a skirt-chasing zombie, and that’s his only example. Besides, I’ve never seen any guy gush over a woman’s perfume. Most guys I know don’t really care for perfume. They might say it smells nice on a woman they’re interested in, but never have I ever seen a guy, besides girl-crazy Brock, go zombified because he smells perfume or value a woman higher due to her perfume. It really seems like this hatred was written in for the sake of getting Ash thrown out, banned and then starting up the plot.

It also seems out of character for a woman as gentle, kind and polite as Erika to go berserk about someone disliking perfume to the point where she’ll not only refuse to battle him, but she’ll ban him from her store and her Gym. This is especially weird since she’s all about empathy. A person such as Erika would try to see Ash’s side or at least respect his opinion, despite disagreeing with it. But no – she immaturely gets in his face about it, even pointing her finger in his face while she lectures him on the value of perfume, then tells him to leave while her employees literally kick him out.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 1

– So, instead of calling the cops and having Team Rocket arrested, the girls at the Gym stamp X’s on their faces, tie them up and hang them from a tree in the middle of nowhere…..I know the cops in the Pokemon world aren’t known for their effectiveness, but you’re basically damning Team Rocket to a slow death here.

– Retroactively, Ash doesn’t really need to crossdress and act like a girl/completely different person to get into this Gym if there are supposedly at least two additional Gyms in Kanto besides the typical eight, as seen in Gary’s badge collection. I know these Gyms are never given names or Gym Leaders and probably aren’t canon, but if there are more Gyms than the typical eight, he can just get another badge there to get his required eight badges instead of jumping through hoops for an unreasonable perfume fanatic.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 2

– While we’re on the subject, why is Ash pretending he’s enrolling in Pokemon Training classes? Enrolling in those classes won’t get him a challenge, it will just….enroll him in training classes. Why not say (s)he’s a trainer who’d like to challenge Erika for a badge? It’s like they made this whole class thing up so Ash would get to listen to Erika’s story about her Gloom and appreciate her more.

– What the hell? It’s actually a prerequisite to like perfume before you’re accepted into the classes?

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Ash(ley): “Oh, yes!”

Girl: “Well, then, I’m sure you’ll be accepted!”

Being mad at Ash for being an anti-perfume asshole to the point of banning him from the store and Gym is bad enough, but only allowing confirmed pro-perfume people into your Gym/classes is downright obsessive. How does this conversation sometimes go?

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Trainer: “Uhm, not really, I guess.”

Girl: “Well, you can go fuck yourself then. Have a nice day!”

– Team Rocket, especially in the early days, definitely have their moments of insane evil. Jessie basically wants to commit a terrorist act (planting a huge bomb in the Gym; Which not only proves to be enough to destroy the place but also puts the lives of many people and Pokemon, Grass types no less, at risk) because they stamped an X on her face.

– Girl: *while wiping droll off of Gloom’s mouth* “Remember, a pretty Pokemon is a strong Pokemon!” Wow, you guys really are shallow ditzes aren’t you?

– I need to address several issues with this ‘Pokemon training class.’ First of all, what the hell are they even doing? One of the staff members is exercising a group of Grass Pokemon, which is technically training, but there aren’t ‘students’ watching or partaking in it.

Another employee is cleaning Gloom’s face which might be a lesson on keeping your Pokemon neat and tidy, but she also makes the stupid statement above, which is a fairly bad lesson to be teaching Pokemon trainers. (How did my Pokemon lose? It’s so pretty!) And, again, no ‘students’ are watching or helping.

Erika is telling a story to a group of her employees, Misty, Brock and Pikachu and that’s it. There are absolutely no other students besides Brock and Misty. I assume Misty and Brock have enrolled as students but there’s no reason given as to why they did such a thing. Brock may have done it because he gets to be surrounded by pretty girls for a few hours, but why Misty?

Pokemon ep 26 screen 3

 

Furthermore, why the hell are they having irrelevant storytime with this one ten-year-old, another teenager and a group of her own employees who are all either in their mid-teens or twenties? What does this have to do with Pokemon training? Did they accidentally sign up for Pokemon daycare?

– Erika and Gloom’s backstory is all fine and dandy, but the logistics don’t really add up. Little girl Erika went into what looks like a dark, broken down abandoned house all by herself? Why? It’s understandable that there’s a Grimer there since that’s a typical area where Grimer might hang out, but why is it attacking her?

It’s much less understandable as to why Gloom’s there. It might be part Poison type, but it’s mainly a Grass type. There’s no reason for it to just be wandering aimlessly in this building.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 4

– This line always pissed me off.

Erika: “I accept your challenge! It’s my duty under the league rules!” IT IS, IS IT?! Hoo boy, it sure is a good thing you haven’t been denying his attempts to challenge you this whole episode! And if it’s true that you have to like perfume before you’re allowed entry into the Gym, it sounds like you deny quite a few challenges, Erika.

– It bothers me how arrogant Erika is when she lets out a new Pokemon. Every time, she says ‘This ought to be easy!’ Even when Ash lets out Charmander, which is a big threat just on the type advantage alone.

– Yay! Tangela! Whoo! Call your agent and get more use in the series, please. You’re almost as ignored as the Paras line.

– Uh, Erika….what is Tangela doing? I don’t know if you know this, but Constrict isn’t a move that makes you spin in circles. That doesn’t even make sense.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 5

– Ah, Ash thinking about using a powerful Pokemon (Primeape) only to decide against it because he can’t control it and never trained it. This is annoying, but remember everyone, this is totally the last time it happens.

– While we’re on the subject, remember what I mentioned in the last analysis about not getting used to Primeape?

Wiki – “This episode marks the only appearance of Ash’s Primeape between its capture and departure episodes, although merely in a flashback.” You may repeatedly bash your head against your desk now.

– What exactly leads Erika to believe that Ash has no empathy with his Pokemon? Except maybe that one line where he refuses to take her offer of a Paralyze Heal for Bulbasaur just because he wants to do things for himself.

– Also, more ego.

Erika: “Without it, you’ll never be a great Pokemon trainer like me!” I honestly don’t remember Erika being this obnoxious, but holy hell she’s an ego-driven, pretentious crazy person.

– Erika: “Now I’m going to give you a lesson in empathy! Gloom, go!” Yes, here’s a lesson in empathy. A putrid stench. I’m starting to wonder if you know what empathy means, Erika.

– Now she’s laughing at Ash for losing. She is a lot different from her game counterpart, isn’t she?

– Actually, Ash, Pidgeotto would be a fantastic choice to combat Gloom. Not only is Grass weak to Flying, but who better to air out a stinky Gym than a Flying Pokemon who can stay above the smell and blow it away with Gust? But oh yeah, keep giving Pikachu all the shots and completely forget Pidgeotto, you little welp.

– Girl: *during the fire and trying to round up the Pokemon* “We’ve gotta catch ‘em all!” No! No, 4Kids, no! Bad 4Kids. Bad!

Pokemon ep 26 screen 6

– Alright, fine; the shot of Pikachu trying to put out the fire with a watering can is adorable.

– So the fire department never showed up? What assholes! You’re about as useless as the police in the Pokemon world.

– Now, in typical pity badge fashion, let’s go over the reasons why him getting one for the Rainbow Badge is stupid.

1) Ash only got the pity badge because he braved a burning building to save Gloom and he managed to show Gloom that he was friendly and could keep it safe. It was very brave and nice of Ash to do that, but that shouldn’t earn him the badge. Partly because of principle and mostly because of reason two….

2) Ash is right; it’s kinda his fault that ever happened to begin with. He was stupid enough to free Team Rocket and fall for their little scheme when, logically, Team Rocket wouldn’t bother keeping up their side of the bargain if he cut them down any other time. The only reason they’d help him is if they had ulterior motives, which Ash should’ve been able to figure it out because the only reason they were up in that tree was because the girls at the Gym found them trying to steal something and kicked them out. Even if they didn’t tell him the reason, it’s not hard to deduce considering who they are and the fact that they had those trademark red Xs on their faces.

You could say they would’ve sneaked in anyway, but there’s no denying that Ash facilitated it here. If Ash were more intelligent and more mature, he’d suck up his pride and apologize to Erika and the girls about what he said and he’d probably be let in.

Instead, he freed a group of criminals who try to steal his Pikachu every week and believed their stupid plan that didn’t even need to involve them. There’s no reason why Ash couldn’t have gone into the Gym alone in his disguise. He didn’t think it odd that his character needed parents to walk her into the building? Which is all they did. They didn’t even sign him/her up like they said they would. He signed himself up.

3) Ash definitely would’ve lost that match, I don’t care what Pikachu ‘said’ to him. He might’ve had a good chance with Pidgeotto, but Ash’s mantra is always ‘Fuck Pidgeotto! Go pop Team Rocket’s balloon!’ Ash himself said Pikachu is trying to battle even though he knows he’ll probably lose. Pikachu just says he’s sure he’ll win without us ever finding out why Pikachu is so confident of that.

4) Pikachu is an especially stupid choice against Gloom because not only are Electric Types not very effective against Grass types, but we’re well aware that Pikachu has a super sensitive nose. He’d be out of the match just breathing in the leftover fumes.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 7

– Notice how Ash has gotten progressively less resistant to these pity badges? When Brock gave him one, he was really reluctant to get it. When Misty’s sisters did it, he was more easily swayed. When Sabrina did it, he only mildly questioned it as he was walking away from the Gym and admiring the new badge. With Erika, he just asks what he’s getting the badge for, Erika says he earned it and Ash is all “Look at my new badge!” I can’t wait until Cinnabar Island, I tell ya what.

—————————–

I still hold a nostalgic love of this episode, but giving another look for this review really showcases what a hot mess it is both in the grand scheme and in the little details. In addition to everything I already covered, they also never revisit the perfume angle. They have the whole first half be about appreciating perfume and having Ash being a rabid anti-perfume advocate and then nearly everything perfume related is dropped in the second half. I don’t even care much for the perfume plot because, in my opinion, both sides were being ridiculously immature and stupid, especially over perfume of all things, but if you’re going to spend that much time on it, why not continue it in the second half?

This plot might make a little more sense if the episode started out with Ash mocking or disliking Gloom based on its disgusting smell (perhaps it could’ve been the mascot for the perfume shop), and her relationship to her Gloom made her so insulted that she banned him from the shop and the Gym. Sure, it’s a bit OOC, but no more than he’s being here. That way, the moral at the end, which they outright say is not judging a Pokemon by its smell, would be more fitting. He was never judging Gloom for its smell – he was just understandably put off by the stink as a whole. Looking back, that Aesop might actually be trying to apply itself to Ash’s dislike of perfume, but since the perfume is never addressed in the second half, I sincerely doubt it.

I used to find Erika to be just fine as a character and a trainer, but looking closer at her just shows her to be egotistical, perfume-crazy and just as immature as Ash. I’m convinced that Brock liking her perfume (and her) is the only reason she doesn’t post a ‘No boys allowed’ sign outside.

The battle is fine, but mostly unimpressive for a Gym match. Tangela’s win was half because of a move that isn’t performed properly for the sake of plot convenience. Charmander’s win was predictable and a little boring, and, like I mentioned, with Ash not using Pidgeotto, there’s no way he would’ve legit won against Gloom’s stank. If there is, they never bother to tell anyone, and I can’t think of any way it would’ve been possible without pulling something out of Messiahchu’s ass.

It’s yet another pity badge, which is already major points off, and the only really good point standing is Ash’s heroics during the fire. However, that scene would’ve meant more if he had more interaction with Gloom in the first half.

Next episode, Hypno’s Naptime! It’s time to get….confusing and weird….

Pokemon Episode 25 Analysis: Primeape Goes Bananas

Pokemon EP 25 title

CotD(s): None

Captures: Ash’s Primeape – A rowdy Pokemon that Ash first met as a Mankey. Primeape is too uncontrollable for Ash to handle most of the time, so on the few times he considers using him, he usually opts against it. Don’t get attached to him.

Plot: Ash contacts Professor Oak to show off his four badges, but is furious when Professor Oak is completely unimpressed by the news since Gary and the other Pallet trainers who started at the same time as Ash all have five badges and already went through Celadon City. Not only that but Oak also claims that Gary has caught 30 Pokemon so far, while Ash only has a grand total of six.

Oak lectures him on making more progress as a trainer before ending the call, subsequently taking Ash down from his new badge high and making him very depressed. He’s determined to go to Celadon City and get his fifth badge and to catch more Pokemon, despite Misty and Brock saying it’s not how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got.

Suddenly, a Mankey appears and wants one of Brock’s rice ba—donuts. He gives him one, and Ash tries to capture it without weakening it first. Mankey easily avoids capture by throwing the ‘donut’ at the Pokeball, capturing it instead.

Infuriated at the attempted capture, Mankey starts chasing the three – and once a Mankey starts to thrash, there is no stopping it. Brock attempts to calm it by throwing a donutty donut to it, but it just bashes it away and continues its pursuit.

It finally catches up to Ash and beats him up, taking his hat as a prize. Ash is enraged since that is his treasured hat. He won it at the official Pokemon League Expo. Ash climbs up the tree that the Mankey is on, but gets beaten down when he reaches the top.

Team Rocket takes advantage of Ash’s condition and distraction to walk up and demand Pikachu. But when they start assaulting Mankey, it seeks them out as its new target. Enraged even further, Mankey evolves into the fierce Primeape.

Team Rocket brushes off the appearance of Primeape and goes back to trying to get Pikachu, but Primeape won’t be ignored and punches Jessie so hard that it sends her flying face first into a boulder. Enraged at the attack on her beauty, Team Rocket launches a full-out attack on Primeape, but Primeape wins out easily.

Pikachu tries to retrieve Ash’s hat, which has fallen on the ground, but Primeape stops him. As Primeape happily puts the hat back on his head, Ash commands Pikachu to Thundershock him. It hits, but only proves to make Primeape even angrier.

Brock decides to take another approach. He believes that Primeape is not actually angry and that he’s just scared and lonely since Ash tried to capture it and James kicked it. He tries to calm him down and hug him, but is met with a brutal beating.

Primeape continues its relentless pursuit of Ash and the others. Ash and Misty split up and Primeape doesn’t even think twice before continuing to follow Ash since he was his main target from the start.

Team Rocket tries again to capture Pikachu by digging a hole in the middle of the road to catch Ash and Pikachu as they run from Primeape. It works, but Ash just commands Pikachu to Thundershock them to get them out of his hair. Now cornered by Primeape, Ash, determined to catch more Pokemon and achieve his dream of being a Pokemon master, decides that enough is enough.

He sends out Squirtle and douses it with a Water Gun, but the attack seems ultimately ineffective.

He recalls Squirtle and sends out Bulbasaur to attack with its Razor Leaf, which is also completely ineffective.

Charmander’s up next with a few Flamethrowers, but Primeape easily dodges them and punches Charmander square in the face. It starts brutally beating up Charmander when suddenly the flame on its tail starts growing exponentially. Charmander has learned Rage – a powerful ability that gets stronger with each attack. Like Primeape, a Pokemon using Rage won’t stop until its opponent is defeated.

Charmander continues to get beaten up, but is able to hold its own. With one powered up Flamethrower, Primeape is defeated, but not before Pikachu shows the forethought to grab Ash’s hat before it becomes a casualty of Charmander’s fire.

With Primeape sufficiently beaten, Ash manages to capture it.

Team Rocket re-emerges and Ash decides it’s a good time to introduce his new Pokemon to their faces. Primeape sends them blasting off, and while Ash thinks he’s got Primeape on his side now, he’s quick to punch him right in the face.

After running so far from Primeape, Ash and others find Celadon City is incredibly close. With a new Pokemon by his side, Ash goes off to get his fifth badge.

——————————–

– Instead of getting off of his lazy ass to pick up the phone, he waits until Ash’s Krabby picks it up and brings it to him. Bear in mind, I’m talking about the whole phone, not just the receiver. And also bear in mind that the phones in this era are basically the size of old Macintosh computers.

Pokemon EP 25 screen1

– The thing about Ash’s Pokemon capture update with Oak being stagnant is actually made a lot funnier when you realize that Ash not only hasn’t captured any new Pokemon since Mystery at the Lighthouse (Holy crap, it was really that long ago) but he actually has fewer Pokemon now than he did then. Remember, that episode was where he captured Krabby and talked to Oak about his capture rate, leaving him with a grand total of seven Pokemon at his last check-in. He recently released Butterfree so he went from seven Pokemon to six.

Being fair, though, Gary’s Pokemon number has also decreased. In Mystery at the Lighthouse, Oak said Gary’s captured 45 Pokemon, but here he says that Gary’s caught 30. He could mean he’s caught 30 more since the last update, but it’s not worded like that. Also, I can’t fault 4Kids for the flub here since this error is also in the original Japanese version.

– Oak: “Pokemon training is a lot like writing poetry. I can’t write a good poem without rhymes…” Actually, while he may just be talking about his own poetry skills, lots of good poems don’t rhyme nor is it a rule that poetry has to rhyme. I know. I struggled like hell when I had to write poetry in school, both rhyming and not.

“And you can’t be a good trainer without catching more Pokemon!” That’s also technically not true. Your skills as a trainer are reflected in how well you battle, how well your Pokemon obey your commands and how good of a relationship you have with your Pokemon. You can have all of the Pokemon in the world and still be a shitty trainer. Having numerous Pokemon just gives you more options. I guess it also does give you a wider range of experience with various types of Pokemon, but still.

Also, this is another taste of irony. Remember, many Gym Leaders and even Elite Four members in the games rarely have a full party of Pokemon. Many of them only have three or less.

– Obligatory (Courtesy of Dogasu at Bulbagarden): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x81zbl_they-re-really-donuts-we-promise_news

Eric Stuart really does sound like he’s having a ball selling those ‘donuts’ as hard as he can. I can bet on one of the takes he says something along the lines of “Nothing beats a jelly-filled riceball—err, onigiri—I mean Ricenut—DONUT.”

– Speaking of Dogasu, the narrator butts in as Ash looks at the path to Celadon City just to ask a cliffhanger-ish question of whether he’ll catch up to his rivals or be left in their dust. I always thought this was out of place and just awkward considering the Narrator typically stays quiet outside of the very beginning and end.

According to the comparison, this line of dialogue was originally said by Oak and was an audio flashback to what he was saying on the phone. Since his Japanese VA is the same as the Japanese Narrator, 4Kids got confused and gave his line to the English Narrator, even though you’d think just the translated line itself being identical to Okido’s previous lines and not sounding like something the Narrator would say would be a big hint.

– So, Brock and Misty agree that being a good trainer isn’t about how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got. If you focus on that, then the Pokemon you’ve trained well can easily help you increase your capture rate. Of course Ash doesn’t get any of this and focuses purely on capturing more Pokemon, but it’s weird that Misty and Brock have a better understanding of what it means to be a good Pokemon Trainer than Oak does.

I know Oak’s not a Pokemon Trainer (actually, technically, he kinda was when he was a kid) and they’re Gym Leaders, but being an authority on Pokemon and a man who sends new trainers off on their journeys every year or so, you’d think he’d know better.

– 25 episodes in. 25. Goddamn. Episodes. In. And Ash is still too stupid to realize that you can almost never capture a Pokemon by just throwing a Pokeball at it without weakening it. He’s facing an energetic Fighting Pokemon, of all things, and just throws a Pokeball at it. I’m cutting off my ‘give him a break, he’s a rookie’ leniency right now. He’s done this several times at this point. He’s just being an idiot.

– I love Mankey mocking Ash’s capture style.

– It’s also a bit funny seeing Ash so sensitive about his hat here considering that, in a few years, he’ll replace that hat, replace it several more times and never ever put that hat back on.

– Holy crap, they left in James kicking the Mankey away? Early 4Kids really did let more violence slide……except that dumb slap in episode 2. I’m sorry I can’t get over that when watching these more violent episodes.

– This is the second time James has caused a Pokemon’s evolution by kicking it away (Magikarp being the first). I wonder if he has some mystic unknown evolution stone wedged in his foot.

– I know Brock fancies himself as a breeder, but he was pretty stupid to believe that Primeape was just scared and lonely when Dexter gave several full explanations as to why it was attacking everyone.

– I always liked Charmander’s proud little poses at the end, even if it might be a glimpse into his later cocky side.

Pokemon EP 25 screen2

– Oh god. I don’t think I can get a screenshot that would do it justice, but Pikachu’s derpy face from faraway as they see Celadon City on the horizon. Yikes.

Pokemon EP 25 screen3

———————–

This episode was alright. It’s got some funny moments, with the almighty donuts being one of them, and I like Primeape, but it’s really just one long schtick of running from Primeape and getting beaten up by him. It’s nice to see Ash get a fairly powerful Pokemon, but he never trains it and, because of that, his appearances are damn near non-existent until its departure, which will come depressingly soon enough.

Watching this in hindsight is almost a joke. Yay, Ash, you captured Primeape and are making some semblance of progress to catch up to your faceless and nameless Pallet Town rivals and Gary, but you’ll never train it, you’ll never use it and you’ll be back down to your pathetic six Pokemon count in a handful of episodes. Not to mention, you’re still far behind them because, by the time you’re done getting your fifth badge, they’ll all probably have their sixth or seventh in their hands. Plus another bunch of Pokemon captures. Good job.

Team Rocket was also being completely uncreative by just waltzing up to Ash and demanding Pikachu then following that up with the tired pitfall trap.

Next episode, Ash has to deal with a bunch of girly girls and their perfume and rainbows at the Celadon Gym. But how can he get a badge there if he’s banned for hating on perfume?

Pokemon Episode 24 Analysis: Haunter Versus Kadabra

Pokemon ep 24 title

Gym Leader – REMATCH: Sabrina

Reappear?: No

Pokemon: Still Kadabra, and befriends/maybe ‘captures’ Haunter.

Badge:

Marsh_Badge-3

Plot: Ash has finally returned to Saffron City with his new Ghost Pokemon friend, Haunter, ready and raring to help him beat Sabrina and get a Marsh Badge.

Ash faces Sabrina yet again, despite the bet that yet again he, Misty and Brock will have to ‘play’ with her if he loses. Sabrina sends out Kadabra and Ash calls for Haunter….

…..And finds Haunter has literally left the building. Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Pikachu refuse to battle out of fear of both Sabrina and Kadabra. Left with no Pokemon to use (Because Pidgeotto doesn’t exist), Ash is forced to forfeit.

He and the others try to run away only to find that the Gym is going on lockdown to keep them in. Since Ash technically lost again, he has to keep his end of the bargain and play with Sabrina. Little Sabrina turns Misty and Brock into dolls. Just as she’s about to do the same to Ash, the same mysterious man from before shows up and teleports them out of there.

The man explains that Sabrina wasn’t always such a frightening person. She used to be a nice little girl, but then she developed her psychic powers quickly at a very young age, and she became consumed with her training. She wouldn’t let anyone stand in the way of her practice and even ended up pushing her parents away and destroying their house with her psychic powers.

Presented with a picture of Sabrina as a child with her parents that is identical to one Sabrina had in her room, the audience is made aware that this man is Sabrina’s father, even thought Ash is too dense to connect the dots.

Sabrina’s Father explains that the only way to save Misty and Brock is by beating Sabrina in a Pokemon battle – Meaning he has no choice but to find Haunter and face her once more.

Haunter is having fun messing with Team Rocket as they attempt to take Pikachu again, and Ash finds it after it causes them to fall from their window washing platform.

Meanwhile, Brock and Misty, now dolls in Sabrina’s dollhouse, meet Sabrina’s mom, who has also been turned into a doll.

Ash returns to the Gym and challenges Sabrina to yet another rematch. This time, if he wins, he not only gets the Marsh Badge, but Sabrina also has to turn Misty and Brock back to normal. However, the bet if he loses remains – If he loses, he also has to be turned into a doll.

She accepts and sends out Kadabra yet again for a one-on-one match. Ash chooses Haunter again….

And Haunter has gone missing yet again. On the verge of forfeit and doll-dom, Ash collapses in defeat, but Pikachu enters the arena, ready to battle. Ash tries to convince him not to do it, but Pikachu is determined to try and save his friend.

The battle begins and Pikachu starts with a Thundershock, but Kadabra easily avoids it with Teleport. Kadabra counters with Psywave, confusing Pikachu. Pikachu is able to get back up and hit Kadabra with a good Thunderbolt, but Kadabra is able to restore its energy with Recover.

Just as they’re about to go at it again, Haunter returns and starts making goofy faces at Sabrina. After detonating a (mostly harmless) bomb, Sabrina smiles and starts laughing. Sabrina’s dad appears again and expresses his great joy at seeing Sabrina finally smile again.

Ash is not pleased, though, because he still believes this means he’ll be turned into a doll. However, Sabrina’s father points out that Kadabra is incapacitated since Sabrina is laughing uncontrollably, and due to their psychic bond, he is doing the same.

The doll Sabrina smiles and vanishes, and Misty and Brock are returned to normal. Since Kadabra is unable to battle, Sabrina’s dad calls the match in Ash’s favor, winning him the Marsh Badge.

Now it’s on to Celadon City for Ash’s next Gym match!

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Narrator: *recap* “Ash had a high-flying adventure…” Yeah, the adventure of borderline death.

– I think this is the first time in history someone’s said ‘You paralyzed her!’ immediately followed by ‘it’s not that big of a deal.’ And yes, those are in the same scene and context.

– Any reason why Ash let out all of his Pokemon (Besides Pidgeotto of course 😐 ) before he even got in the Gym?

– Did Kadabra get a voice change since the last Gym match? He sounds higher pitched and ridiculous.

– Ah, so Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle were let out so we could easily see that they’re too scared to fight. Still doesn’t justify him completely ignoring Pidgeotto.

– Forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the only time that Ash has lost against a Gym Leader twice?

– Whoa whoa, wait. Back up a minute….Sabrina turned Misty and Brock into dolls….She also turned her mother into a doll….It’s safe to assume that all of the dolls in her toybox were once people….so that means….the naked lady in the bathtub from the last Gym episode….was a legit naked lady?…..I don’t know what to feel right now.

– Aw, it’s so cute to see Charmander playing with Squirtle and Bulbasaur napping. The only thing that could make it cuter is if Ash wasn’t a Pidgeotto-forgetting asswad.

– Looking back, it’d be rather easy to claim that Sabrina has deep-seated mental problems. Becoming emotionless, uncaring of others and incredibly destructive at such a young age is indicative of sociopathic tendencies. Plus, the fact that she views other people as mere objects for her amusement. It’s interesting, yet at the same time makes the finale of this episode all the more annoying.

Also, Sabrina chose at an incredibly young age to do all of those things. I can’t see why her personality would split into two beings; one of which being a more innocent child who merely wants to make friends. I can’t even tell when that picture that her father has was even taken considering how young she was when she became obsessed.

It’s like they’re trying to make a claim that Sabrina was forced into being this emotionless shell while also saying she made the choice to be that way. This would’ve worked a bit better if someone taught her to be that way instead of just saying she is that way by choice but that’s not really the way she is.

Or, hell, maybe that is a psychological issue. She made the choice to do those things, but she wouldn’t have if she were more mentally sound. She’s essentially a prisoner of her own mind, which is a bit poetic for a psychic….

Why does this show continuously make me feel like writing psychological analyses?

– Gotta love Haunter trying to straight up murder Team Rocket.

– Even though it’s clearly a pop gun, I’m very surprised 4Kids left in Haunter’s gun.

– Meowth: “She’s gonna die laughin’” Wow, and a mention of death? Ah, young 4Kids.

– Why does Ash just assume Haunter saved Pikachu from getting captured by Team Rocket? The only thing he confirmed about their presence was that they just fell 100 stories into solid concrete and that Haunter was there.

– Isn’t it weird that Sabrina has dark green hair but her mom has brown hair and her dad’s is dark blue? It’s interesting to note, however, that the young girl Sabrina/the Sabrina doll has blue hair. I have no clue why this is. I guess it’s possible she dyed it, but considering Sabrina’s personality I don’t see why she’d bother.

– Also, why does Sabrina’s father not seem at all concerned about his dollified wife? I imagine she’s been like that for probably over a decade.

– It is still very much unfair that Brock and Misty are even a part of this, let alone the only ones who turn into dolls. Ash is the one who keeps making these bets and Ash is the one who keeps losing yet Misty and Brock keep having to suffer for it. Hell, he forced them into coming with him in the Gym this time.

– Oh so now Pikachu’s all brave and will try to battle Kadabra to save his friends. Where were you in the last rematch?

– Why did Sabrina allow Kadabra to get hit this time? Last time, Pikachu couldn’t land a thing because Sabrina was commanding Kadabra to psychically direct all attacks away from it. There was plenty of notice given to redirect that Thunderbolt away with its psychic abilities, yet she commanded nothing.

– Okay, I’ve been wanting to lay into this ending for a long time. So let’s dive into ‘A Bunch of Stupid Reasons Why The Ending of The Marsh Badge Match is Crap’

1 – They avoid the two on one rule breaking by saying Haunter is just playing around, not battling, so it’s not really a two on one. However, not only has Haunter been accepted as being technically Ash’s Pokemon, for this match anyway, since he was trying to use him in battle, but also Haunter is clearly doing something to benefit Ash. If this were something negatively affecting both sides, there wouldn’t be an issue. But when you declare a Pokemon’s on your side and then that Pokemon starts doing something inside of the match that directly benefits you, that’s pretty much having another Pokemon on your side.

2 – Even if this weren’t technically cheating, the match should still be delegitimized on the grounds of the results of the match being influenced by an outside source. No, Haunter is not technically Ash’s Pokemon. But Pikachu is already partaking in this no-switching one on one match. The interference of another Pokemon making the opponent distracted or otherwise incapacitated, causing the debilitation of the other trainer’s Pokemon no less, should not be considered a legitimate victory.

A legit Pokemon victory is called when one trainer’s Pokemon KO’s or otherwise debilitates the opponent’s Pokemon. If the other Pokemon is weakened, KO’d, injured or otherwise debilitated by outside means, that means, technically, you did not win the match with your Pokemon. You won because of uncontrollable outside sources.

Imagine if this wasn’t Haunter goofing around. Imagine if Pikachu decided to sneak over to a Gym Leader while he was battling Ash and tried to distract him or did something to him to make his skills in the battle much worse. This would be seen as cheating or at least unfair and the match would be called off for third-party BS, even if Ash didn’t command Pikachu to do such a thing.

Case and point; Ash’s match against Brock. He found it to be cheating if he used the sprinkler activating and weakening Onix because he wouldn’t have been able to beat him if that accident, a third-party event, didn’t happen. Even if powering up his Pikachu with a water wheel is already on questionable ethical grounds.

3 – Does Kadabra not have a will of his own? In these two episodes only, psychics are the only ones who can control Psychic type Pokemon, and they do share a psychic link. However, just because Sabrina’s laughing doesn’t mean Kadabra should be laughing uncontrollably too. As an Abra, it was sleeping when it was released but Sabrina wasn’t sleeping. When Kadabra takes damage, Sabrina doesn’t feel it. They shouldn’t be linked that strongly for this laughing crap to work.

4 – Yes, Sabrina laughing at physical comedy is what cures her of her decades long sociopathic personality and her psychic physically manifested dissociative identity disorder. That’s what finally makes her creepy doll version of herself go away and finally turn her ‘back’ into a kind-hearted individual. Maybe this is why you don’t see many psychiatrists on Pokemon. There’s no need when there’s laughter.

5 – You’re telling me that in over ten years, no one has been able to make Sabrina laugh? Even when stupid slapstick is her tipping point?

6 – Despite Ash’s reaction to all of this BS mirroring mine

Pokemon ep 24 1

he still accepts the win with no argument. He didn’t train Haunter. He didn’t command Haunter. He doesn’t even own Haunter. And he was definitely going to lose with Pikachu. Yet he has no qualms about winning because of Haunter. What? Is the justification “I lead Haunter here, so that has to be enough for me to earn this badge”?

7 – Being fair, Ash does ask his friends if he really earned the badge (while admiring it and walking away from the Gym, of course) and, oh wait, they totally do offer a justification. Misty says that making Haunter laugh her Kadabra into submission is a great strategy…..It wasn’t a strategy. Haunter came out of nowhere and started doing his schtick completely outside of Ash’s commands. Ash wouldn’t have been able to come up with such a strategy anyway. He was totally unaware that incapacitating Sabrina meant incapacitating Kadabra. He meant for Haunter to battle Kadabra legitimately.

Brock: “Keep it up and you’ll be known as the funniest Pokemon Master of all time!” Ash wasn’t even the one making the jokes! It’s like you’re taking the piss out of the fact that this resolution was BS.

– I get that it’s a joke, but those cement guys are seriously pouring cement down a hole made by Team Rocket (after their fall….because cartoons) and not only didn’t bother to check if anyone was down there, but repeatedly ignore cries for help and to stop pouring cement. Cries that even Ash heard? Negligent is a massive understatement.

———————————————

This whole Gym arc had a lot of potential. It’s one of the only Gym confrontations that technically spans three episodes. I believe it’s the only time Ash has needed two Gym rematches (though don’t quote me on that) It’s Ash’s first confrontation with a Psychic Pokemon. It’s with the most fleshed out, interesting and intimidating Gym Leader so far (She crushed her house with psychic abilities when she was like four. I don’t see how really any Gym Leader to date beats that). It has a good backstory for Sabrina, even if it’s a bit silly and doesn’t make full sense. It could’ve had a great climax yet we just end with a stupid fizzle instead of fireworks. They don’t even talk to Sabrina after it happens, at least on screen.

What’s worse, I can easily make the ending with Haunter work legitimately.

Ash calls out Haunter and he actually shows up. The battle between the two begins. Since Psychic moves don’t work on Ghosts in this Gen, the match is a joke. I mean, since Haunter’s strong against Psychic types, he’s easily countering Kadabra. Haunter’s not even taking the match seriously and is instead goofing off. He decides to start doing his schtick in the middle of battle, much to the annoyance of Ash. Getting fed up, Ash believes he’ll lose on technicality (Haunter basically refusing to battle) and end up as a doll, but he’s broken out of his worry when he hears Sabrina laughing. At the sound, Sabrina’s dad shows up and starts tearing up at the sights and sounds of her laughing, realizing his kind-hearted Sabrina is back.

Due to Sabrina losing focus or regaining her humanity or what have you, the doll version of herself disappears and Misty and Brock turn to normal. Ash inquires about the match and Sabrina’s dad points out that not only did Haunter get Sabrina laughing uncontrollably, but Kadabra also found his hijinks hilarious, rendering him unable to battle. Ash is completely baffled by the turn of events, but accepts the Marsh Badge anyway since Kadabra was technically incapacitated by a Pokemon Ash was using, there’s nothing in the rules about using comedy in battle and Ash likely would’ve won anyway with how easily Haunter was countering Kadabra (and the whole immune to Psychic damage stuff.)

Or as an alternative, Ash could’ve realized that Haunter was making Kadabra laugh a little with his schtick and since Haunter didn’t seem like he would battle seriously, he’d fight using laughter. Ash tells him to keep it up in order to distract Kadabra and make it so he’s not attempting to battle anymore. Then he comes to realization that the plan won’t work because Sabrina’s psychic link with Kadabra might pull him out of his laughter. Then Sabrina’s dad shows up and points out that that’s not a worry since Sabrina is also laughing uncontrollably, effectively incapacitating both of them.

And, really, what purpose did Pikachu have for battling anyway, storywise? Outside of giving it a modicum of redemption for the last time it faced Kadabra. There’s absolutely no reason why this couldn’t have worked out with Haunter actually legitimately fighting on Ash’s side. We just have to keep having Pikachu get some glory in practically every episode.

The whole thing seems like such a big waste. Two episodes of buildup for pbbtt.

Next episode, Ash catches a Primeape. Oh and there will donuts.

Pokemon Episode 23 Analysis – The Tower of Terror

Pokemon ep 23 title

CotD: None

Captures (Ehhhhh kinda maybe?): Ash’s (?) Haunter – Whether or not Ash truly ‘caught’ Haunter is up for debate. I’m on the side of him not catching Haunter because we never see the capture, Haunter is never in his Pokeball and it’s more heavily implied that Haunter is helping him with this one task and will then go back home.

Haunter is my favorite of the Gastly line, and the Haunter here is pretty funny. Sure his antics get a little tired, but he’s mostly funny.

Plot Synopsis: After making their way through a dense and scary fog, the group arrives in Lavender Town – Home of the Pokemon Tower that is famed for its Ghost Pokemon.

Team Rocket has arrived ahead of time, and they get a sneak peak at the ghosts around the tower as they try to lay a trap for Pikachu. A nearby Gastly has some fun with Team Rocket and sends them crashing through the floor.

Ash and the others make their way into the tower with only a candle to light their way. They are continuously freaked out by the sounds of the tower such as screaming (by Team Rocket) and strange laughter (Gastly, Haunter and Gengar watching TV). Suddenly, the lights turn on and reveal a nearby feast. They pull a string, which triggers an explosion of confetti and a welcome banner.

The food and furniture then float around and attack the group, forcing them out of the room and giving Gastly, Haunter and Gengar a good laugh.

Misty, Brock, Charmander and Pikachu want nothing more to do with the Pokemon Tower. Ash is only able to convince Charmander and Pikachu to go back with him. He believes he’s found a Ghost Pokemon in its vapor form and tries to capture it, but he unknowingly attacks Team Rocket instead.

They suddenly come face to face with Haunter and try to battle it, but to no avail. Charmander succumbs to a Lick attack by Haunter and Ash is forced to recall him.

Suddenly, Gengar shows up and the two try to make Ash laugh with some slapstick humor, but Ash is less than impressed. Depressed at their failure and Ash’s comments on their comedy act, they start to disappear under the floor. Ash tries to grab them before they leave, but just crashes into the floor.

The impact rattles an overhead chandelier, which crashes into Ash and Pikachu. As they lie unconscious, Haunter grabs their spirits from their bodies, wanting to fly around with them for a while. Ash has a bit of trouble believing he’s a ghost at first, but quickly decides to have some fun by flying around and picking up Misty.

After some more fun, the three ghosts lead Ash and Pikachu back to the tower where they show them their play room. Ash deducts that these ghosts are not really threats but simply want to play with the visitors of the tower since they’re bored and lonely being stuck in the tower all the time. Despite having a good time with them, he explains that he has to go back to his body and life his life, so the ghosts tearfully part with him.

Misty and Brock, having drug Ash and Pikachu’s bodies from out of the chandelier, try desperately to wake them up, fearing the worst. Ash and Pikachu quickly return to their bodies and reunite with their friends.

The next morning, Ash and the others leave Pokemon Tower empty-handed. Brock asks how Ash will beat Sabrina without a Ghost Pokemon when Haunter reappears and jokingly scares Brock and Misty away. It has decided to hang out with Ash for the time being and help him in his rematch with Sabrina.

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– Gotta love that trope where someone sees something scary, tells another character to look where they’re looking and by the time they look it’s gone. I’ll also say it’s a part of that trope to have the person who saw the scary thing shriek at the top of their lungs yet no one finds that odd.

– While I do like this episode just fine, I do find it to be a horrible waste in regards to what this town really is. As many fans of the games know, Lavender Town is a surprisingly depressing town and the Pokemon Tower is home to one of the saddest moments in any of the games. Lavender Town is filled with grieving people who share stories of their Pokemon who have passed away. The Pokemon Tower is essentially one giant Pokemon cemetery littered with Ghost Pokemon and the ghosts of Pokemon who cannot rest.

Within Lavender Town is Mr. Fuji’s House where he cares for abandoned or orphaned Pokemon. When the player arrives, he explains that he’s currently caring for a Cubone who recently lost its mother when it was killed by Team Rocket. Once the player obtains the Silph Scope and becomes able to identify the ghosts within the Pokemon Tower, he finds the ghost of Cubone’s mom and the player has to defeat her in order to allow her spirit to pass on. It’s also kinda implied that a good chunk of the Pokemon within Pokemon Tower were killed by Team Rocket.

In the anime, however, it’s just a tower where a bunch of Ghost Pokemon hang out and Lavender Town isn’t even explored. I get that Pokemon is far from a dark or deep show, but watering Lavender Town and Pokemon Tower down this much just seems really weak. At least they make up for it in Pokemon Origins.

– While I, again, like that Ash thought to use a Pokemon to solve a problem, yet again using Charmander as a lantern, there is seriously no excuse now for him to not be carrying a flashlight. At the very least Brock should have one. Ash really has a random skull mask in his backpack but not a flashlight?

– So wait, they never even tried to turn on the lights? Nullify my last half-compliment.

– I don’t know how Ash managed to coerce Pikachu and Charmander into going back into the tower by saying they can’t beat Sabrina without it. He asks them if they want to lose again, but Charmander never battled to begin with. Also, if you’re getting a Ghost Pokemon to beat Sabrina, it won’t help THEM beat her Pokemon, will it? That flashback Pikachu has about getting beat by Kadabra is also kinda sad. It acknowledges that it failed and feels very sad about it, but, again, getting a Ghost Pokemon won’t help it beat Kadabra.

– Ash clearly hears people talking down a hole in the floor so his first instinct is to shock it with Pikachu and set it on fire with Charmander? I know it was Team Rocket (so haha, they deserve it by default) and he thought they were Ghost Pokemon but he didn’t even try to see what was down there before attacking it. He could’ve been attacking an innocent person.

– Also, why is Dexter so mysterious about Ghost Pokemon’s forms now? Just a few episodes ago, we met a Ghost Pokemon – Gastly. And it was indeed in another form – The ghost of Maiden’s Peak. However, it had no difficulty finding the entry of the Pokemon when Ash was able to aim the Pokedex towards the main ghost form.

– They did the “Ah, something’s behind you!” *they look* “You’re seeing things” schtick again….

– Dexter: “Haunter – The Gaseous Pokemon. No further information found.” No furth—It’s Gastly’s evolved form. Ash even already has the Pokedex info for Gastly. You honestly don’t know that much? You’re being particularly useless today, Dexter.

Ash: “Ah?! Is that all?!” My sentiments exactly, Ash.

– Why did Charmander start making funny faces at Haunter when it was told to use Leer?

– Dexter: “Gengar – No information found.” Are you friggin’ kidding me? Gengar was the first ever Pokemon to be shown on this show. We know people own them, so there’s no excuse as to why there’s absolutely no information on them, not even a classification.

– Ash, king of terrible puns, is making fun of Gengar and Haunter’s slapstick. Pot, kettle, black.

– I guess if we accept that Ash and Pikachu died we also have to accept that Haunter was a big enough dick to laugh at someone dying.

– Alright; we can just say Ash and Pikachu got knocked out by the chandelier at this point. It does make a little bit of sense with the proceeding scenes. It’s widely accepted by many beliefs that we’re closer to the realm of spirits when we’re asleep, knocked out or nearly dead. It’s possible Ash and Pikachu are unconscious and, because they’re closer to the spirit world now, Haunter was able to pluck their spirits from their bodies and later return them.

Plus, if Ash really did die, you’d think his reaction would be more dramatic than ‘Oh no!….Oh well, let’s fly around and have fun! Wheeee!’

– Wow, Ash, you could’ve killed Misty by dropping her from that height. You don’t know if Brock would’ve been able to catch her. What an ass. It’s even worse considering that, before he grabbed her, she was talking about how worried she was of Ash and Ash even heard her say that. He doesn’t even feel bad that his friends are so worried.

– Okay, so if the Pokemon Tower in the anime is not a giant Pokemon cemetery, what exactly is it? I know it’s a place where Ghost Pokemon hang out, but it’s only these three and there are a bunch of things here that could not be around without people like toys and carnival rides and huge feasts. This stuff is fully functional and not covered in dust. Who built this place? Why is it abandoned? Who used to live here?

– Gastly, Haunter and Gengar only scare visitors to the tower because they’re trying to play with them. Okay.

They want to play with them because they’re incredibly bored being stuck in a tower all the time.

Why are they stuck there?

I know the lore of ghosts commonly has them being anchored to locations where they must haunt because it has a strong connection to their life or death. However, these are Pokemon – not people. And we’ve seen that they can come and go as they please. Hell, they just flew around town and the local woods with Ash just a few shots ago, and Haunter will make its way all the way to Saffron City in the next episode, even staying with Sabrina. Why are they staying at this tower if they’re so bored and lonely?

You can’t even say that they stay there for a majority of the day or something because, as was established in The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak, sun+ghosts=bad (except when it’s not), but Haunter goes into clear sunlight in the next scene and the next episode.

– Haunter needs to intervene to take their souls out of their bodies, but getting back in just requires laying down on the floor on top of them?

– Ash and Pikachu made it out of that without even a slight injury?

– Aw, Misty crying because she thought Ash was dead, aw.

– Brock: “Then how will you beat the Psychic Pokemon?”

Ash: “Hmm….Maybe I’ll just have to use my sense of humor!”

It’s kinda funny because that is exactly how he beats the Psychic Pokemon of Sabrina.

– The Ghosts are harmless, eh? They’ve tied up Team Rocket and are spinning them around endlessly on a merry-go-round. That’s not very harmless.

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I thought this episode was better than it ended up being upon the rewatch. The first half is kinda boring, especially since we already have a slight grasp on Ghost Pokemon at this point, despite them changing the rules. It’s not even so much of a story as it is a crap ton of padding to get to Haunter randomly deciding to follow Ash (and subsequently abandon his friends at the tower) to help him beat Sabrina, which is particularly weird on the episode most people remember as ‘the one where Ash and Pikachu die.’ Even that’s not a big plot point.

It wasn’t even necessary, nor was it even truly a legitimate ‘death’. They could’ve flown them around and had fun with them without them being ghosts.

Team Rocket’s role was entirely pointless. While I don’t like their intrusions a bulk of the time, they literally just show up to be pushed out of the way and are relegated to slapstick comic relief for the rest of the episode.

I could forgive them completely gutting Lavender Town and Pokemon Tower if they replaced it with something of far more substance, but they didn’t deliver at all. There’s absolutely no story attached to this place or these Pokemon – They just exist. This also seemed like a lazy way of introducing two new Pokemon (Haunter and technically Gengar) at once.

It’s not an awful episode, but it’s incredibly poorly handled and could’ve been so much better.

Next episode, Ash has his rematch with Sabrina. Will Haunter be enough to help him take her down, or will his new ghostly friend let him down?

Pokemon Episode 21 Analysis: Bye Bye Butterfree

pokemon-ep21-title

CotD(s): None, though I guess you could say that the pink Butterfree, Ash’s Butterfree’s mate, is one kinda.

Departures: Ash’s Butterfree.

Reappear?: No 😦 Though, to be fair, he does appear in some of the future Japanese OP’s and ED’s. He also appears in some flashbacks.

Final Farewell: I feel like Ash’s Butterfree had more room to grow, but definitely would’ve stagnated quickly. Plus, Butterfree’s main goal in life was to be a Butterfree. He already achieved that goal, so setting him free and letting him settle down with a mate instead of spending his whole life at Oak’s is the best option for him. We miss you, Butterfree.~

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are continuing their journey to Saffron City when they approach a large cliff overlooking a vast ocean. Nearby, they spot a huge swarm of Butterfree and Brock explains that they have gathered for the season of love, a time when Butterfree mate and lay their eggs across the sea. Ash asks if his Butterfree should go too, and Brock explains that if he doesn’t do it, Butterfree will never have babies.

The group rents a hot-air balloon and Ash sets Butterfree off to find a mate. As many other trainers join them in the air to release their Butterfree, Ash’s Butterfree is finding no luck in love in the swarm. He finds an attractive Pink Butterfree and falls head over heels, but his courtship dance is met with a swift smack to the face.

Embarrassed and dejected, Ash’s Butterfree flies down to land. Ash and the others follow and find Butterfree sulking under a tree. Ash, Misty and Brock proclaim that the best way to win over the lady Butterfree is by showing his awesome moves and abilities. With a spiffy new yellow ribbon around its neck and a new approach, Butterfree is off again to find love.

As he makes his attempts, he finds the Pink Butterfree giving him the cold shoulder again.

Suddenly, a helicopter appears, revealing Team Rocket pursuing their latest target; the Butterfree. They dispatch a huge net and start capturing the Butterfree and Ash and the others find that they’re not of much help in taking them down in their slow hot air balloon. Ash’s Butterfree makes a valiant effort to take out the helicopter, but to no avail.

Team Rocket leaves the area with their catch, but Ash’s Butterfree, now exhausted and roughed up, is hot on their tail. Ash and the others try to keep up as best they can. They lose sight of Butterfree, but he returns to ask them for their help. Team Rocket has holed up in a warehouse in the middle of the mountains and are enjoying their sizable Butterfree catch.

Ash, Misty, Brock and Butterfree burst into the warehouse and start battling Team Rocket. While they’re all distracted, Butterfree sneaks away and busts open the cage holding the Butterfree. The Butterfree manage to escape out the door, but Team Rocket gets back into their helicopter to catch them again.

Ash and the others try to pursue them in their balloon, but find they’re lagging way too far behind again. Pikachu and Butterfree team up to attack the helicopter and with a swift Thundershock, Team Rocket is sent blasting off.

The Pink Butterfree, enamored by his heroics and dedication to protecting her, reciprocates Ash’s Butterfree’s courtship dance and they become mates.

Later, at sunset, Ash tearfully bids his Butterfree farewell, knowing he has to set him free in order for Butterfree to mate and start his new family. With the sparkles of the sunlight on the Butterfree’s wings seeing them off, Butterfree also says his goodbyes to his trainer and friend and sets off to start a new life and a new family.

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– “Bye Bye Butterfree” For the love of God, put a spoiler tag up. Also, being fair to 4Kids, this is the exact same title as the Japanese version.

– Futurama kinda ruined this episode for me. I keep thinking back to Dr. Zoidberg dancing on a rock and battling Fry to the death for his potential mate.

– Wow, Rachel Lillis, you’re not even trying to hide the fact that you’re putting on a bad southern accent to play that Butterfree trainer that Brock liked, are you?

– Brock: *trying to prod Butterfree to mate with a pretty girl’s Butterfree* “Don’t you get it? If two Butterfree fall in love, their trainers can meet and they can fall in love too!” Soooo….you want that girl to fall in love with Ash?

– Holy crap, I didn’t remember that the Pink Butterfree straight up slapped Ash’s Butterfree. A simple ‘I’m not interested, thank you.’ would’ve sufficed, Bitch-erfree.

– Ash: “Do you think Dexter could tells us how to get that Pink Butterfree to be its mate?”

Misty: “Dexter’s never been in love.”

Yeah, but it might have valuable information on Butterfree mating habits.

– Misty: “You’ve got to be assertive! Love is all about attacking your opponent first. Get in a quick punch and surprise them, and when they’re still weak take the lead and you’ll beat them hands down! Trust me, I know!”

What the fuck?

Brock: “You mean it?”

Misty: “Sure do! That’s love!”

Brock: “ARGH I WISH I’D KNOWN THAT SOONER!”

What. The. Fuck.

– Ash: “Now remember, this time just have confidence in yourself!” But he didn’t seem to have confidence issues the first time. In fact, wasn’t it Butterfree’s persistence that got him slapped?

– It bothered me for years that Team Rocket was flying such a long blank banner from their helicopter that the shot focuses on for so long. It wasn’t until I read Dogasu’s comparison on this episode that I finally realized the original shot had text on it. For those curious, the banner just has a transcription of their motto in the original version. Kinda pointless since they’re announcing their motto over the helicopter’s PA system, but at least it’s something to READ.

– Ya know, in a real situation with a helicopter flying around a swarm of Butterfree….let’s just say there’d be a lot of dead Butterfree.

– James: “It’s those little twerps again. No matter where we go, those kids are always in our way.”

You’re following them.

– James: “Ahahaha, nothing but net!” Oh, 90’s.

– Ash, even if the Stun Spore coated the helicopter…..what then? You can’t paralyze a helicopter.

– And a helicopter wouldn’t be able to fly that close to all of those balloons without a bunch of corpses peppering the landscape below.

– So, is there some reason none of the other trainers in the other balloons are lifting a finger to help out their Pokemon/the Butterfree as a collective? Either none of them have Flying Pokemon that can help or they’re all assholes.

– Yes, Misty, Ash shouldn’t let out any other Pokemon to help Butterfree because he’s trying his best to take down the helicopter. Wouldn’t want to bruise Butterfree’s pride and, I dunno, save those Butterfree.

Granted, Pidgeotto probably wouldn’t be able to do much in the first place.

– Okay, now is there any particular reason none of the other trainers are trying to follow the helicopter? I’m just going to assume the asshole thing.

– I will never not love Ash, Misty and Brock doing Team Rocket’s motto.

– HOLY CRAP! They left in, untouched, Starmie getting smacked by a sledgehammer? Ow. They even left in the sound effect. Owww.

– So, is a spurt of water like a Hyper Potion to a Starmie? Also, where the hell did Misty randomly get a high-powered portable water hose?

– So it’s not okay to send Pidgeotto off to try and help because it would damage Butterfree’s pride, but Pikachu can save the day no problem? Is it because the Pink Butterfree is attracted to him now?

– Though I’ll forgive that last note because that scene of Pikachu about to shock Team Rocket is hilarious.

– And the episode just cuts off after that. Nothing else happens. Well that was a good episode. I really enjoyed it. Next episode–

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Dammit, NO. I don’t want this. You’re not gonna make me tear up again.

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Don’t play the song. Please, God, why?

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*sniff* I hate this show! Leave me alone!

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This really was a great episode. Outside of some wonky animation, it was a very fitting departure for little Butterfree. It mostly hit all of the right notes, had some pretty funny and touching writing, and the ending still gets to me. Maybe it’s just nostalgia gnawing on my heart, but I really can’t help but well up when Butterfree finally flies away.

And, as much as I rag on Ash, you do have to appreciate how brave Ash was to let him go. Caterpie was the very first Pokemon Ash ever caught. He has a status rivaling that of Pikachu at this point in the series. But he realized that Butterfree going off and having a family was more important that staying by his side. One of the harsher realities of life is knowing when it’s better to let go of someone you love if it’s for the betterment of their lives, no matter how much it hurts you in the process.

We may never see Butterfree again officially, and, oddly enough, I’m okay with that. He never does outright promise or say that he’ll see Butterfree again. He just says Butterfree may come back to visit them sometime maybe, which I think is a statement that he really doesn’t believe and moreso just hopes. Butterfree’s story ended and while it would be nice to see him again someday with little baby Caterpie (who would long since be Butterfree of their own by now), I’m fine with just leaving him on the horizon.

Bye bye, Butterfree.

Next episode, another of my favorites and definitely one of the weirder episodes of the series, the battle against Sabrina of Saffron City. Ash’s first failure to get a gym badge.