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.

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– 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.

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– 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.

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– 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.

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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.

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– 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!

—————————

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

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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.

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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

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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.

Pokemon Episode 19 Analysis: Tentacool and Tentacruel

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CotD(s): Nastina – Basically Brutella, just with a gaggle of scantily clad bishies around her at all times. And if they’re a legit harem, then I’ll need to run to the store for some brain bleach.

Pokemon: None

Reappear?: No.

Captures: Misty’s Horsea – Cute little Horsea….is cute. Other than that, it does mostly nothing and is later kept at the Cerulean Gym and never really seen again once the writers realized how much nothing it does.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock find themselves stranded for three hours in Porta Vista after missing their ferry. Misty spots an injured Horsea who draws an odd drawing of squid-like creatures with its ink in the water. As Misty’s about to capture it to help treat its wounds, a nearby ship is suddenly smashed in half. The group manages to save the sailors, who have all been mysteriously paralyzed, but wonders what caused such a disaster.

They bring one of the sailors to his boss, a woman named Nastina who seems to be Brutella’s doub—Oh I mean, who seems like a really brash character who doesn’t seem related to anyone since I’m watching the dub…..*cough* She’s extremely grateful to the group for saving her sailors, and invites them to check out the new resort she’s building.

However, she reveals that the construction is being plagued by a swarm of Tentacool, which were responsible for the paralyzation of the sailors. She contracts Ash, Misty and Brock to exterminate the Tentacool with promises of food, money and hotel vouchers. They’re about to agree, but Misty vehemently refuses, disgusted with the thought of exterminating Pokemon, especially a Water Pokemon she adores, such as Tentacool.

They return to the pool that they left Pikachu and Horsea in to see that Horsea is recovering well after Brock gave it a Super Potion. However, it’s still worried about something. They believe that the picture it drew earlier was of a Tentacool and that it was trying to warn them about it.

Nastina announces over a town-wide intercom that she is recruiting the townsfolk for the job instead, and everyone, including Team Rocket, agrees to help out.

As Misty looks on in worry, Team Rocket makes their way to the construction site with a barrel of stun sauce, guaranteed to paralyze the Tentacool and make them easy to catch. However, before they can even get to the site, they’re surrounded and halted by thousands of Tentacool. Faced with far more Tentacool than they anticipated, Team Rocket panics as their boat is rocked, causing the barrel of stun sauce to fly out of the boat and onto a nearby Tentacool’s head.

This causes the Tentacool to not only evolve into the fierce Tentacruel, but also to make it gigantic.

The huge Tentacruel overtakes the construction site and efforts to shoot it down are completely in vain. The remaining Tentacool take over the town, and the resulting tidal wave from Tentacruel moving towards the town floods the area. The Tentacool and Tentacruel commence the destruction of the entire town, and when one takes control of Meowth and communicates through him, they find out that the reason behind this attack is the destruction of their home due to the resort construction.

Ash, Misty and Brock try to shoo the Tentacool out of the area with their Pokemon, but Tentacruel easily smacks them away. Pikachu manages to talk some sense into Tentacruel with a desperate plea from Misty being the crux of its decision to leave as long as no more destruction comes to their home. As they’re leaving, Nastina commences her attack with everything’s she’s got, but she’s also smacked away by Tentacruel before it goes back home.

With Porta Vista now safe from the gigantic Tentacruel and the swarm of Tentacool, and with their homes safe, Ash, Misty and Brock finally catch a ferry out of Porta Vista and resume their journey.

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– Why exactly didn’t Ash and the others hitch a ride with Delia and Oak on their way out? They didn’t really have a reason to stay after that. If anything, it looked like they left before Delia and Oak did at the end of the last episode.

– Horsea really made those huge drawings with one spurt of ink? Also, wouldn’t the ink just dissipate really quickly instead of stay on top of the water like oil?

– Misty: *lets out her Water Pokemon to help the people from the ship*

Ash: “I didn’t know that you could do that!”

Durr I didn’t know that Water Pokemon could swim or help people out in water. I thought they were bicycles made of ice cream. Durrr.

– Misty: “Don’t just stand around! Go get a boat to help those people!” Guys, for crying out loud, you just stole a boat in the last episode. I know it’s for better reasons this time, but you may end up developing boat kleptomania or something.

– Who the hell is driving the boat in this shot?

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– A moment of silence for the dignity of these men.

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– Misty: “Doesn’t that Nastina make you sick!?”

Ash: “Well, she’s not really my type but….”

What exactly made you think she was implying anything about her attractiveness, Ash?

– Why aren’t Ash and Brock more offended by Nastina’s offer anyway? I mean, yeah, the reward is really appealing, but they’re being sent out to kill Pokemon. She specifically said ‘exterminate’. Even if they are seen as ugly and a nuisance to the project, they can’t really be okay with mass murdering Pokemon, can they?

– Alright, fine. Pikachu drinking a drink in an inner tube is adorable. But where did they get that kiddie pool and why put it smack dab in the middle of the road?

– Why is Misty surprised that Nastina’s asking the citizens to exterminate the Tentacool. That is exactly what she was just trying to get Ash and co. to do.

– Nastina seems to pronounce Tentacool as ‘tentacle’ a lot.

– Also, I’m starting to connect tentacles and Nastina’s bishie harem. Please help…

– Seems Nastina has lowered her generosity, though, since she took the food and hotel vouchers off the table as a prize.

– I do like seeing Misty when she’s all excited about the sea and Water Pokemon.

– That shot of the Tentacool under the water glowing red like that has always seemed awesome to me.

– Getting hit by a barrel of ‘stun sauce’ causes a Tentacool to evolve?…..and makes it giant? What was in that stuff? Radioactive goo courtesy of comic books?

– That shot of the bishie harem guys getting run over by the Tentacool……Nope, nope. Stop making those connections. Stop.

– I’m sorry, since when are Tentacool Psychic Pokemon? I know the eye beam thing is a real trait, according to the Pokedex, but they can’t control the minds of other beings.

– Misty, you’re kinda beating yourself up too much for not connecting a rough drawing of a Tentacool and Tentacruel to ‘The Tentacool and Tentacruel are mad because their home’s being destroyed by the resort construction, that’s why these attacks are happening.’

Meowthtacruel: “So you say we’re the spineless ones?!” Well….you are jellyfish….

– Wha, Ash actually refrained from using Charmander in his full-team attack against Tentacruel? Ash made a smart move, everyone! Rejoice!

– 4Kids kept in the several guns being used here and even kept in the gun noises. Wow.

– Hey, who’s that woman who looks so similar to Nastina and is building something on the beach? Her cousin? Hm, I wonder why that’s a joke. The world of dubs may never know~~~

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Here’s an interesting tidbit about this episode; it was also banned. Yup, fresh off of the heels of the first ever banned episode comes another banned episode. This one was temporarily banned after the events of 9/11 due to Tentacruel destroying buildings. Though, as the wiki states, there’s a huge bit of irony in the fact that that shot of Tentacruel destroying buildings remains in the opener of the Indigo League episodes and said opener is shown in every single episode, including this one, sooooo….pretty pointless.

Like everyone else who watched the dub, I also never saw the episode until much later down the line in reruns, though I believe my first viewing of it was on a VHS. However, I still watched this episode before the ‘Lost Episode’ so the connection at the end to Brutella would still be lost on me until I watched the edited Beauty and the Beach. And also I was merely under the assumption that Misty had a Horsea all along and that she just never let it out for whatever reason. Not that it matters; like I said, it’s one of the most useless Pokemon in the series. She barely ever lets it out since it needs water to be out and she rarely battles with it because, well, it’s not that that good of a fighter. Plus, Misty rarely battles anyway.

We basically jump straight from St. Anne’s trilogy to The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak and since that episode also takes place in an island environment, it doesn’t transition too badly.

I like this episode a fair deal despite the just weird writing choices like the inexplicable giant Tentacruel, Tentacool gaining psychic mind control abilities and the oddity herself that is Nastina. Anyone else think they really wanted to get extra mileage out of Brutella without just making her Brutella?

Misty got a pretty good part here, and her deep love of Water Pokemon is always nice to see. I like how she thinks every Water Pokemon is beautiful no matter how weird they may look to others. It’s a nice little character trait.

I also appreciate that the problem of the week is actually a legit town-destroying threat and not just some mild problem that will go away eventually. Porta Vista is essentially entirely destroyed by the end. Tentacruel also had a legitimate reason for attacking like it did, and it did show that it was a reasonable being with mercy.

Next episode, one of my absolute favorites, The Ghost of Maiden’s Peak. Ash and the others encounter a ghost who is seducing Brock and James at a local festival.

Pokemon (Banned) Episode 18 Analysis – Beauty and the Beach/Holiday at Aupulco

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CotD(s): Brutella/Obaba – A kinda creepy witchy character, Brutella is a big sack of horrible who has a debt over Moe, one that he will lose his boat over if he doesn’t pay her back in time. She ‘hires’ Team Rocket to help with messing with his business to destroy him and get his boat. She somehow treats them worse than Giovanni does.

Reappear?: Surprisingly, yes. She has a minor appearance in the episode that her sister is in.

Moe/Ryu – Also a little creepy, Moe is a restauranteur who is basically being put out of business by Brutella. He recruits Ash and the others to help him save his business and his boat when they accidentally stole his boat and crashed it into his pier.

Reappear?: No.

Pre-Episode Notes: Ah, our first banned episode….though one could say this isn’t technically entirely banned. 4Kids got this episode among the rest of the batch for the Indigo League, but decided against dubbing it since there was questionable content. Namely, this is the infamous ‘James has boobs’ episode. Yup. The big issue with this episode is James crossdressing again, but this time he’s in a bikini and somehow has inflatable prosthetic boobs that he squeezes and shows off. I imagine 4Kids didn’t think it to be reasonable to edit out these scenes since it would bring down the runtime quite a bit. So, instead, they opted to remove it entirely.

There’s also some controversy over some of the scenes James is in, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

The reason this isn’t really a banned episode anymore is because, unlike every other banned episode, it was eventually dubbed. It was finally edited, dubbed and shown in the US……three years later….

Why they waited so long to finally release this episode is beyond me. If they did indeed feel comfortable releasing the butchered edited version, then why wait three years to do it? For the controversy to die down? They released this as a Lost Episode and to my recollection it was airing right as the Orange League was going down, so it felt kinda weird to watch it. I can only surmise that they didn’t feel comfortable airing the edited version when the Indigo League was first airing because they felt that to be too big of a gap for the sponsor support they had back then? The episode is a mere 18 minutes long as opposed to the near 22 minutes it’s supposed to have. Maybe they decided to make it into a special “Lost episode” much later on where they could jam in more commercials and get more money? I dunno.

It’s also interesting to note that the two times this aired on Kids’ WB were the only times this episode saw TV time outside of Japan. It was never put back in its rightful place in the Pokemon DVDs or VHSs, to my knowledge, it was never released in other formats like Netflix or Hulu and it was never on any other channel where Pokemon was syndicated like Cartoon Network. Hell, the official US Pokemon website didn’t even make a listing for this episode. It’s like they wanted its release to be a secret. It is a legit Lost Episode now.

The only way you can watch it is by hunting it down on the Internet. Many sources have horrible quality thanks to the old VHS recording on Kids’ WB, but someone synced up the English Audio to a DVD version of the Japanese airing and edited it themselves, so there is now a much better quality version out there. Mazel tov.

With all that out of the way, let’s tackle Beauty and the Beach; both the Japanese and English versions. Stuff that is purely in the Japanese version IE banned will be put in red. Stuff that is purely in the English dubbed version will be in blue. Anything that carries between versions will be in regular black.

Plot: At the beautiful island paradise of Porta Vista, Ash, Misty and Brock decide to take a much needed vacation after the harrowing journey they took after the sinking of the St. Anne. As they enjoy some swimming and time in the sun, they decide to take a leisurely boat ride. However, a terrible mix up leads them to accidentally stealing the boat. After a run in with Team Rocket’s Gyarados sub, they lose control of the boat and crash it into a dock.

As bad luck would have it, the owner of both the boat and the dock, Moe, shows up on the scene. Since he’s perving on Kasumi in her bikini, he decides to be lenient with them and let them work off the damages. Since Misty reminds Moe of his granddaughter, he decides to be lenient with them and let them work off the damages.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket is hired as waiters at a woman named Brutella’s restaurant. And it just so happens that Ash and the others were also hired as employees at Moe’s restaurant, which is experiencing a lull in business while Brutella’s is booming.

Team Rocket mocks Ash and Co. for working at Moe’s crappy dive while they’re working at a nice swanky place. Angered at this taunts, Ash lets out all of his Pokemon to help them out with promotions, cooking and waiting tables.

As Moe’s restaurant has an explosion of popularity, Team Rocket decides to rain on their parade by sabotaging all of their efforts such as using a fan to blow away Squirtle and Pikachu’s fliers, putting gasoline on the coals in the stove to make it flare up in Moe’s face and tripping Bulbasaur and Misty with banana peels to make them dump food all over some of the customers.

Just as quickly as the place filled up, Moe’s restaurant empties completely. Brutella and Team Rocket show up to not only gloat but to remind Moe that he owes her money and if she doesn’t get it she’ll take his boat.

Moe has always dreamed of sailing the world on that boat, so Ash and the other encourage him to not to give up. However, the problem with the money remains and they have no ideas to come up with the extra cash.

Professor Oak and Delia surprise the group with a visit, though they don’t explain why they’re at Porta Vista in the first place. Oak shows them a flier about a local Pokemon beauty and costume contest that will draw in plenty of customers to generate the money needed to pay back Brutella.

The plan works as the place is packed when the contest starts. Misty decides to partake in the contest for the extra prize money and makes up a UFO and alien outfit for Squirtle and Starmie for the costume portion. As Kasumi finishes up her set, Team Rocket pushes her away. They’re partaking in the contest, complete with Kojirou crossdressing yet again in a bikini and inflatable prosthetic boobs. Since they’ve suddenly barged into the contest, Takeshi wonders if they should be barred from the contest. But after Kojirou super inflates his boobs, the crowd cheers and welcomes them to the contest with open arms.

Team Rocket butts into the contest uninvited with Ekans and Koffing dressed up as an Omastar. However, they’re quickly booted from the stage by Gary. Surprising Ash immensely, Gary has shown up to blow the contest away with six girls from his fan club. Brock obviously could not be happier and neither could the crowd as they all gush over the girls in their bikinis.

As the crowd cheers for Shigeru’s ‘girlfriends’ Team Rocket stews over the loss of attention. Obaba, however, drags them away with a better idea.

Brutella says she’s fixed Team Rocket’s Gyarados sub/tank and as payment for the repairs, she wants them to use it to bust up the contest and ruin Moe’s business, to which they happily agree.

As Ash stews over being rejected for a Pokemon battle with Gary, Team Rocket show up and start causing a panic on the beach. Ash manages to calm everyone down, but Team Rocket fires back with a heat-seeking missile. Ash combats this by having Pidgeotto carry Charmander up in the air to fire a Flamethrower at the missile, sending it flying back at Team Rocket. They try to outrun the missile but end up crashing into Brutella’s restaurant, along with the missile, and Team Rocket and Brutella blast off.

Moe gathers the money necessary to pay Brutella back, and sets off on his world cruise after bidding Ash, Misty and Brock farewell. They also say goodbye to Delia, who is now in possession of the contest trophy, and Oak as they continue on their Pokemon journey.

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– I guess this is technically our first pun title.

– Ash: “Surf’s up, dude!” Dated dialogue out of the way, 1) the surf’s not up, it’s actually pretty damn calm water and 2) you’re not surfing.

– I find it odd in both versions how Ash/Satoshi think it’s weird to see Misty/Kasumi ‘looking like a girl’. Uh, Ash, her regular ensemble is a yellow bare mid-drift tank top with short-shorts that need to be held up with suspenders. If that’s not girly, I dare you to wear it. Also, Brock/Takeshi, why are you gawking at her with Ash? You’re several years older; it’s bordering on creepy.

– How the hell do you accidentally steal a boat? More importantly, even if they did legitimately borrow or rent the boat they’re on, they’re all way too young to be driving the damn thing. Why aren’t any of them asking about that? It looks like Ash might be driving, but why is he driving? I’m pretty sure he’s the youngest of the group even if Misty is the same age.

Also, Satoshi, you think you’re on the wrong boat? No; there is no right boat. You never rented a boat.

– So that boat was Moe’s/Ryu’s? And the dock they crashed into is his too? How convenient yet also horribly inconvenient that they bring the boat back to the dock they took it from after losing control of it.

– I know the dub always changes food when it’s brought up, but it’s usually to AMERICAN things like cheeseburgers, donuts, hamburgers, burgers and sometimes burgers, but clam juice snow cones? Eughghg.

Is it really a surprise Moe’s restaurant isn’t doing any better with Ash and the others’ help? Would you feel anymore compelled to visit a restaurant if they had a 10 and 15 year old outside in swimsuits trying to call you to it with a Pikachu?

– Brock: “Jessie looks pretty good in that uniform too!” Since when does Brock notice Jessie in a romantic way? I can only remember this as the singular incident in which he does.

– Letting Pokemon help out in your restaurant seems like it would be breaking all kinds of health codes….For instance, birds are disgusting and carry tons of diseases. Ash lets his Pidgeotto use the wind from its wing flaps to cool down corn on the cob….but I guess this is Pokemon where Pokemon are welcome everywhere and can do no wrong

– SDC stuff, but Satoshi says Pidgeotto is using the wind from its flapping wings to cool down the hot corn on the cob. Ash says Pidgeotto is keeping the charcoal toked. I guess both are viable results of that, but why the change?

– So Charmander’s job is to give Moe third-degree burns on his legs?

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I honestly don’t get why all those people up and left Moe’s place. Most of the stuff that Meowth was sabotaging had little impact on the guests. He blew away the fliers. Big whup. Who the hell really pays attention to fliers that get handed to them? To quote the great Mitch Hedberg;

“Whenever I walk, people try to hand me out fliers, and when someone tries to hand me out a flier, it’s kinda like they’re saying, ‘Here, you throw this away.’ “

People were paying attention to the place either way. It has heavy foot traffic, people just think it’s a dive.

He flared up the stove, which probably burned a little food, as well as Moe’s face, but he could’ve easily made up a new batch. Meowth wasn’t standing there with the gasoline can ready to continuously ruin the food.

The only thing that affected the guests was Bulbasaur and Misty tripping, but come on. Shit happens. Probably 80+ people left because of slight delays in one or two food orders, lack of fliers and a little food being spilled on them after two of the wait staff obviously tripped? And, again, it’s not like Meowth was there continuously tripping them time and again getting food on everyone. They spilled one drink order and another food order on two people. Those minute things made them go from 80+ customers to zero. These people are pretty damn uptight for beach goers.

Hold the phone…..Ash didn’t let out all of his Pokemon like he said. Why wasn’t Butterfree given anything to do? You’d think after the crap Ash put him through on the St. Anne that he’d want to spend some time with him.

– Also, so that means Ash, Misty and Brock crashed the boat that meant the world to Moe? I know it seemingly suffered no damage, but I’d be way more pissed if my dream heavily relied on a nice boat and three kids steal and crash it….into my own pier.

Considering this episode was aired three years out from its intended slot, it’s not surprising this note isn’t seen as more of an issue by people, myself included up until this point. However, since I’m doing these analyses in order…..uh….Professor Oak….Delia…..why are you not shocked beyond belief to see Ash….ya know….alive?

Remember, this episode is coming straight off the St. Anne arc. Last the public heard of Ash, Misty and Brock, they were three of the casualties of the sinking. Unless the cops were such complete assholes that they didn’t bother telling their families what happened, which, considering the confusing funeral scene, is a scary possibility, Delia and Oak should be under the impression that Ash and the others are dead.

You might be able to argue that Ash called Delia when he got to the island to tell her that they were all okay, which may explain away Misty’s sisters and Brock’s dad and siblings absence, but that doesn’t make any sense for Ash. If he did, why wouldn’t Delia tell him that she and Oak intended to go out and visit him in Porta Vista? Why wouldn’t she be giving him crushing hugs and sobbing when she saw him again?

Remember the second movie? How she only believed that Ash was in the general area where a bunch of terrible weather events were happening so she hopped on a helicopter to search for him and make sure he was okay? And then when she found him she yelled at him for making her worry so much? Where is that Delia here?

The only way this whole situation would make any sense, if she was told about the situation, is if she and Oak gave zero shits about Ash and the others dying and went to Porta Vista for a nice vacation and/or to celebrate that he was gone.

Or….ya know………the writers forgot about that whole three episode arc. Whoopsee.

A bathing suit contest for girls and…..Pokemon…..Errrrrr……uhhhh.

– Also, Misty really shouldn’t be able to enter such a contest. Aren’t there age restrictions on that stuff? She’s freakin’ ten.

How does Oak know how much money they need? Since the reason behind the money is never given in the dub, for all we know, it could be some ridiculous loan with interest or something.

– Where the hell are these fliers coming from?

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I mean, I can think of a place, but ew.

– Notice how most of the people in the shot afterward look surprised or annoyed at the sudden rain of fliers? No one likes fliers, and they especially don’t like when they’re poured on top of they’re heads. Also, isn’t that a crap ton of littering?

– Why is Brock announcing the contest? Surely they had an announcer in place when this whole event was planned.

So in the original Hanako/Delia and Okido/Oak are just there on vacation, which begs the question why they had to explain their presence later. Because it takes so much time to say ‘we’re on vacation’…..Also, why are Hanako and Okido on vacation….together? In the dub, they’re there because they’re with a tour group; the Pallet Town Volunteer Patrol…..patrol? Patrol what? Tour? Of what? Volunteer? For what? Your presence in neither version makes sense!

– Now that I’m thinking about it, it is really weird that they had Ash crash a boat after the St. Anne arc….

I knew Starmie could kinda float, but it can really fly in the air for extended periods of time? With a passenger?

– More SDC stuff, but Kasumi loves being in the contest while Misty says it’s completely degrading and embarrassing. I guess this line may have been put in here to give a message about beauty contests, but Misty was excited about entering and now she hates it but is putting up with it for the money.

The other kinda minor thing I was talking about with the bikini James thing is that he mentions that Misty partook in the contest ten years too early, poking fun at her small chest. This was probably also deemed as a controversial message to young girls what with body image and whatnot. I especially think this now considering the line change with Misty being embarrassed about being in the contest.

– Originally, Arbo and Dogas are dressed as a leviathan. In the dub, they’re supposedly an Omastar.

– Ya know, usually Gary’s a breath of fresh air in this series, but even though those were Team Rocket’s Pokemon, it was a complete dick move to kick them off the stage. Not only in regards to the contest, but he just kicked two seemingly innocent Pokemon for no reason.

– Also, considering Ash and the others have been lost at sea for like a week, it is a crazy coincidence that not only Delia and Oak but also Gary are at the exact place they happened upon after they finally reached civilization.

– Hey since we’re on the topic of creepy attractions to people way outside of your age range, let’s again talk about the weird fact that Gary has six girls in their 20s who follow him everywhere, seem to live with him on his journey and gush over everything he does. Everything this ten year old boy does. Also, in the original, he outright calls them his girlfriends.

So let me get this straight…..without Ash and the others getting interested in this contest….it would’ve had no entrants? Misty enters legitimately, but both Team Rocket and Gary’s fan club girls burst in uninvited. They’re the only participants that we see, so I guess no one else wanted to enter. In that case, Misty definitely would’ve won with no problem.

Technically more SDC stuff, but Obaba tends to add ‘baba’ to the end of her sentences and Brutella does not for obvious reasons. Musashi accidentally catches herself saying ‘baba’ as they leave in their sub, but since she doesn’t say this in the dub, Jessie puts on a slightly gruffer voice and says Brutella’s rubbing off on her. She seriously made very little effort to sound like Brutella. I don’t know if they knew what she’d sound like at this point, but you can barely even tell she’s altering her voice at all.

– Brutella randomly has a docked underground waterway to the ocean in her backyard…..why?

– *sigh* Please let Ash go, Brock. We hardly ever get to see Ash and Gary battle.

– How the hell does Brock know that’s a heat seeking missile? It gives no indication that it’s following heat. This isn’t a dub exclusive line either. He just magically knows that the missile launched right in front of their faces directly towards them is heat seeking.

– Why does blowing fire on the heat seeking missile redirect it towards a mostly cold Gyarados sub/tank?

That was some cheap as hell animation on Ash’s goodbye wave.

– Why does Delia have the trophy? She didn’t enter the contest. I guess Misty could’ve won and given it to her….but why? There’s another theory that whichever of Gary’s fangirls might’ve won and gave it to her….but why? In the dub, the trophy’s plaque is changed to say ‘First place in our hearts: Ash Ketchum’……does that mean Ash won? Because usually people put the winner’s name on the trophy. And I can’t imagine Gary would purposely change the engraving to make it a nice gesture from Ash to his mom. This whole trophy thing makes no sense, and I don’t even know why they felt the need to add it in there without even a line of dialogue poking at it.

…………….Now I have to imagine Ash in a bikini. Thanks, 4Kids.

I will say that this last shot is one that I was very much happy to see when I first watched this episode. See, in some future episode, I forget which one, there’s a clip show that includes this very scene. Child me, being such a huge Pokemon fan, beat myself in the head for ages trying to remember where the hell that clip came from. I had no clue it came from a banned episode until the Lost Episode event where I was finally able to get this monkey off my back.

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All in all, this episode was….eh….blech. I didn’t really enjoy any of it. There are so many creepy or confusing aspects of this entire episode that it’s actually not that much of a bother that they never aired it when they were meant to. James with his fake boobs is really the only thing even slightly entertaining about it, and that’s just a quick one-off joke.

Plus, since that scene is gone from the dub, it makes the dub seem even more bland.

Ash and the others stealing a boat ‘accidentally’ really just seems like a huge plot device, and them subsequently crashing it to get the plot started was predictable the moment we realized it was stolen.

Them working off the damages is also nothing special, nor is the whole business vs. business with one business owner obviously being a complete ass while the other owes a debt thing. In addition, this is all topped off with a ‘have a contest to raise/win the money’ trope. I don’t really understand why Moe couldn’t have gone on this trip up until now. He owes money to Brutella, but we’re never told what it’s for. He owes her rent for the restaurant in the original, but even then it seems like it doesn’t make sense. He runs the restaurant for the boat and this trip, but he has the boat. Did he need to stock up on supplies and stuff? At the very least, Moe was a pretty decent character, albeit a bit of a pedo creeper.

It really seems like they had no idea what to do with this episode so they just threw a bunch of crappy tropes together to see what stuck. Then they realized it wasn’t that good so they threw in not one, not two, but three cameos from side characters whose presence there is one of the biggest coincidences ever. They didn’t let Gary battle Ash, and outside of some nice connections between Delia and Ash, there was really no reason for any of them to be there at all. Do I even need to mention the whole ‘we forgot we think you’re dead’ thing?

Plus, we can pretty much chalk this up as Pokemon’s first and probably only ‘hot-springs-esque’ fanservice episode, because that’s really all of the takeaway.

Next episode, Tentacool and Tentacruel wreak havoc in Porta Vista, a place they supposedly just left. Thanks sloppy dialogue edits for the sake of trying to fill continuity errors that no one cares about…..not even me……..For the record, this episode actually takes place in Aopulco, which is a separate yet nearby town to Porta Vista…..*cough*

Pokemon Episode 17 Analysis: Island of the Giant Pokemon

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CotD(s): None

Plot: Following the events of the previous episode, Ash, Misty, Brock and Team Rocket are hurdled through the sky following Gyarados’ Dragon Rage attack. Ash, Misty and Brock manage to survive the fall and find themselves on a beach in the middle of nowhere. Worse yet, Pikachu is missing and so are Ash’s Pokeballs. Team Rocket also managed to survive the attack, not surprising considering they get blasted off every week, but find that Meowth is missing as well as Jessie’s Ekans and James’ Koffing.

Pikachu finds the Pokeballs of Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur and the group tries to find their way back to Ash and the others. Meowth, Ekans and Koffing later join them, avoiding the conflict of their trainers by claiming that Pokemon are only bad when their masters are.

Later, they discuss their situation by a campfire, but are interrupted when a giant Rhydon starts attacking. Meanwhile, Ash and others also find themselves on the receiving end of an attack by a giant Zapdos while Jessie and James find themselves at the mercy of a giant Moltres.

The Pokemon all gather at a local Slowbro’s food stand to lament in the loss of their trainers over dinner. The next morning, everyone, Pokemon and human alike, prepare to set out to find each other. Jessie and James use the telephone booth that they found earlier to contact Giovanni and ask him for assistance. However, since Jessie and James screw off and do their motto first, he quickly hangs up on them. They decide to pull themselves along by the phone cord in hopes of reaching the phone company.

Meanwhile, the Pokemon try to get some help by the local giant Pokemon by approaching the evolved forms of Squirtle and Bulbasaur, Blastoise and Venusaur, hoping to establish a familial connection. However, their efforts are in vain.

Team Rocket escapes from a giant Kabutops and Pikachu in a railcar, but panic when the railcar ends up traveling back the way they came. Luckily, the phone cord James has been carrying wraps itself around the giant Kabutops’ leg and drags it with the car. Ash, Misty and Brock end up falling into the railcar when it crashes into the bridge they were standing on, and the resulting carnage grabs the giant Pikachu along for the ride as well.

As their paths converge, Ash catches sight of his Pokemon being chased by the remaining giant Pokemon. They manage to jump into the cart, but there’s a problem. They’re out of control and will inevitably crash soon. The cable snaps, and the cart is hurdled through the air, causing it to crash into the Zapdos, which is revealed to be a giant robot, same with the other giant Pokemon on the island.

The group finally plunges into the water, and passing ferry reveals that the island is actually a theme park called Pokemon Land, which Giovanni actually runs. And he’s none too happy about his park being destroyed.

Later, Ash and the others get back on their journey and arrive at the beautiful beach town, Porta Vista, ready to take a well-deserved vacation after everything that has happened to them lately.

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– I find it weird that Ash, Misty and Brock stayed together after that, especially since they made a big to-do in the beginning of the episode about them losing their grips on each others’ hands, same for Jessie and James, yet Ash’s Pokeballs and Pikachu got flung however many miles away. Also, we saw Staryu, Starmie and Goldeen get taken up in the cyclone as well yet they’re never seen being recovered in the start of the episode. Guess they died and Misty caught new ones while they were looking for the other Pokemon. Convenient as they’re right by the water.

– We’re STILL using the Pokemon logo to say ‘Pokemon’ in the title screen?

– I love how that Krabby finds two dead bodies in the sand and his first reaction is ‘Sweet! I get to pinch dead bodies!’

– So Jessie got her Ekans for her birthday and James got his Koffing for Christmas…..I guess that begs the question of who gave them those Pokemon?

– Irrelevant but the random phone booth on the beach reminds me a lot of Digimon. This probably preceded Digimon, but still.

– While this episode does have the charm of finally understanding what the Pokemon are saying, I’m disappointed in several aspects.

1) They never do an episode like this again. I can’t imagine the chore of reading subtitles would be that big of an issue, and this provides so many opportunities for new stories. Plus, actually being able to understand the Pokemon sometimes allows us to better understand their personality traits. Like, gee, it sure would be nice to get to know Pidgeotto’s true personality.

2) Pidgeotto and Butterfree, as well as all of Brock’s Pokemon, are missing from this episode. It’s a little more understandable that Goldeen, Staryu and Starmie are missing, considering they’re corpses in the sand now, plus Goldeen wouldn’t have been able to travel on the land and hearing Staryu’s ‘Hiya!’s and Starmie’s ‘*sighs*’ would’ve been grating.

3) Come on, give Pidgeotto some love.

4) I really would’ve liked to have heard how Butterfree felt after being traded. I mean, I’m sure he’s somehow aware he was traded and that must be emotionally trying to be suddenly taken away from your trainer and given to some stranger. It was only for a short time, but it’s an emotional and psychological aspect of the show that I would’ve liked some insight into. Come on, imagine if you were best friends with someone and suddenly they decided to trade you to some weird man for a giant rat that you were beating up earlier.

– Slowpoke will never not be entertaining to me.

– This episode also further highlights Charmander’s kind personality before he suddenly shift gears as Charmeleon and Charizard. Now I really want an episode where we get subtitles in the scenes where Charmeleon and Charizard are being dicks for the sake of comparison.

Squirtle and Bulbasaur’s personalities are also further explored here. Squirtle is playful and a bit mischievous while also being laid back. He also has plenty of faith in Ash as he refuses to believe that he would forget about them.

Bulbasaur shows that he may still have a bit of a bitter after taste in the thought of trusting humans as he’s the one who suggests that Ash forgot them in the first place. Even after the others try to convince him otherwise, he only says that ‘maybe’ Ash isn’t that way. I really really really want to know what Bulbasaur’s backstory is after hearing him speak, since he seems to have a very interesting past. Too bad they’ll never explain….

Charmander visibly gets worried at the prospect of Ash abandoning them. This doesn’t really show that Charmander distrusts Ash, but that he’s still worried about being abandoned given his past with Damian. He also comforts Ekans and Koffing by assuring them that Jessie and James are looking for them, even though, by all intents and purposes, he has every reason to believe that they’re mean enough to abandon their Pokemon.

However, I do have to point out the depressing fact that Jessie and James really aren’t concerned about Ekans and Koffing or even Meowth for that matter. They acknowledge that they’re missing, but after the initial scene, they never bring them up again. Their whole focus after that point is getting off the island, not looking for their Pokemon.

– I like how Charmander’s using his tail flame as a lantern again.

– Meowth: “That means I can finally get my revenge!” Revenge…for….what? Saving your ass from drowning in the hallways of the St. Anne? Helping you find a way out of the sinking St. Anne? Saving your ass from drowning in the ocean? Letting you share a raft with them? Sure Pikachu was disappointed that Meowth didn’t die in the ocean (Which, by the way, is still messed up, Pikachu) but Meowth didn’t see that little snap of his fingers.

– You really gotta love Koffing’s perpetually doofy grinning face.

– I kinda call BS on the whole ‘no Pokemon is bad, they only have bad trainers’ thing. Considering Pokemon seem to all have their own personalities, temperaments and most of them seem pretty intelligent, it’s unrealistic to assume that there’s not at least a few jackasses in the bunch.

I guess Meowth’s self-analysis also combats this, but Meowth’s shown time and again that he’s not all that bad.

– It’s nice that we also get a look into the personalities of Ekans and Koffing because, let’s face it, they don’t get really any focus, character wise, at all, really. Until much much much later anyway. All we know about them is that they’re Team Rocket’s Pokemon. Although, I do find it weird that Ekans and Koffing have such an odd manner of speech. They’re not dumb, they just talk like cavemen.

The fact that Koffing and Ekans are actually quite kind Pokemon is both surprising and a welcome twist. It would’ve just been every other Pokemon episode just with the Pokemon acting out the human parts if Koffing and Ekans ended up actually being evil.

– I believe the whole ‘My master’s not around’ thing that Meowth says is dub-exclusive, but I do have to consider the theory that he was once Giovanni’s Pokemon, considering he’s always saying how he wants to be ‘top cat’ again.

– That cutaway to Ekans and Koffing drinking tea is hilarious.

– Squirtle incorrectly says ‘our masters are gone, too.’ Since the only Pokemon there are Ash’s, it should just be ‘Our master is gone too.’ Yay grammar!

– I love Bulbasaur’s face in this shot.

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Looks like he’s doing a Ricky Ricardo impression.

– These giant Pokemon are robots. So why are they not only on but also actively traversing the island in the middle of the night?

– Okay, letting the giant Pokemon robots wander the theme park on off-hours….I can stomach that, even though it would be a huge safety risk, liability and drain on power. But why the hell would you give these robots working attacks? Zapdos has lightning shooting from it, Blastoise can use Hydro Pump, and Moltres and Charizard can use Flamethrower. What’s even worse is that they’re actively seeking people out to attack.

I would say this is just a Team Rocket scheme, but they’re trying to make legitimate money off the place. Having a bunch of patrons killed in your theme park by giant flame-wielding, water shooting, lightning spouting Pokemon is a good way to lose money on all sorts of lawsuits, get time in prison and possibly get the organization investigated.

– I love how 4Kids doesn’t cut out the scene where Bulbasaur and Meowth are very obviously drunk.

– Also, it’s very trippy to see a scene with a bunch of Pokemon wallowing in depression while also getting drunk. It’s even worse considering that 4Kids doesn’t add any subtitles here. The Bulbagarden comparison noted that it’s all mostly incoherent stuff in the Japanese version, but seeing it without any subtitles is just weird, especially considering how long they linger on the final shot.

– I like how the music for the Team Rocket theme is coming from the phone.

– It’s nice that Squirtle and Charmander are courteous enough to call for Misty and Brock too instead of focusing their attention on Ash.

– I love Bulbasaur trying to play the stoic tortured hero in an effort to avoid talking to Venusaur.

– There’s no way that dinky railcar has enough power to pull a giant robot Kabutops…

– Notice how the Pikachu robot is the only one not chasing or attacking anyone? Wouldn’t want to besmirch Messiahchu’s good name.

– Why the hell would there be a random loop-de-loop in an otherwise normal set of train tracks?

– Despite not actively looking for them, James’ face when he gets Koffing back is pretty heartwarming. Too bad Jessie’s too out of it in panic to care about Ekans. It’s made up for when you see them both crying happy tears later on. Ekans’ smiling and content face as Jessie pats him just makes it all the better.

– I love how Team Rocket is obviously disappointed that Meowth came back. It’s a bit mean, but it’s played up for laughs and you know they really care about him.

– The scene where James, Jessie and Meowth predict what will happen as they go out of control is just great. They’ve become so good at being failures that they can accurately predict every single thing that will happen during the crash.

All in all, this was a really great episode. Disappointed and confused on some levels, but it’s a great break from the norm, explores territory we haven’t explored before (and never will again….) and has plenty of heartwarming and funny moments. It’s actually a lot better than I remembered as I thought the St. Anne trilogy petered off at this episode.

Next episode is the infamous first banned, yet not really entirely banned, Beauty and the Beach episode. Will FiddleTwix go the extra mile and review the original version to get all that James boobage the audience wants so much? Find out next time on Pokemon Ball Z!

Pokemon Episode 16 Analysis: Pokemon Shipwreck

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And then they died

CotD(s) – None

Evolutions: James’s Magikarp evolves into a Gyarados, but he loses it just as soon as it does.

Plot Synopsis: As a funeral is given in their memory after the sinking of the St. Anne, Ash, Misty, Brock and Team Rocket are trapped aboard the ship as it plunges into the depths of the sea. While everyone is okay after the sinking, they must still find a way back to dry land through a ship that is quickly filling with water and is upside down, teetering on a rock in the middle of an abyss.

As Team Rocket awakens and learns of their situation, Jessie uses her Ekans’ Acid attack to burn a hole in the floor as an escape route. However, that obviously just floods the place even further.

Back with Ash and the others, they reach the staircase and the waters that are flooding into the ship. Ash wants to try to dive into the water to make it to the deck, but the dangers of encountering a dead end, no pun intended, are very real, so Misty sends out her Goldeen to search for a clear pathway.

Goldeen manages to find two things; a dead end, and the corpses of Team Rocket.

Of course, they aren’t really dead, and once they get their second wind….pun kinda intended?, they challenge Ash and the others to a match. However, once they let out their Pokemon, the ship starts to shift due to the extra weight. The group tries to direct the Pokemon to a good location to make the ship level again, but find themselves on edge after several attempts.

In order to keep the ship level and manage to find a way out, the groups call a truce and recall their Pokemon. Using knowledge that she attained while making a St. Anne replica in the past, Misty states that they should go upwards to the hull and cut a hole in the ship to escape since their path to the deck is blocked.

They make their way through the staircases above and the fires below utilizing Onix and Bulbasaur’s abilities, and finally make their way to the engine room where they plan to cut the hole since the hull is thinnest in that area. As Ash cuts the hole with Charmander and they all attach themselves to their Water Pokemon to escape. Left without a Water type, Team Rocket panics, but James laughs and reveals that he does have a Water type, the Magikarp he bought earlier.

However, the Magikarp can’t swim and Team Rocket gets washed away as the ship finally falls and sinks to the bottom of the sea.

Back on a raft on the surface, Ash and the others decide to find some dry land by sending Pidgeotto out to retrieve anything from land. Instead, Pidgeotto finds the seemingly lifeless bodies of Team Rocket.

Ash and Co. decide the only thing to do for them is to give them a burial at sea, but as they’re about to put them back into the water, Team Rocket wakes up and reveals that they’re fine.

As the group floats in the middle of the ocean for over a day, they start daydreaming about eating James’ Magikarp only to have Meowth try and fail, breaking his teeth since Magikarp is nothing but scales and bones.

In a rage that the expensive Pokemon is completely useless, James kicks the Magikarp overboard, causing it to evolve into Gyarados. The fearsome Pokemon chases them down, eventually stopping to call upon other Gyarados to perform its special attack; Dragon Rage.

Dragon Rage creates a huge cyclone that sucks up the group and sends them flying. Will Ash and the others survive the ride? Will they ever get back to land if they do?

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– So we’re still using the Pokemon logo in the title cards when they say ‘Pokemon’?

– I’m always amazed by the fact that 4Kids kept in the funeral scene at the start. They would never even consider doing such a thing not too far down the line. Not only is it a damn funeral (That somehow manages to avoid mentioning that they seemingly died) but it’s saying that all of our main characters drowned in a shipwreck. If 4Kids were a cooler company, and complete trolls, they’d put the end credits after the final shot of the flowers sinking. I’d laugh my ass off even as a kid.

However, while we’re still on the funeral scene, let’s address some things. First of all, it’s nice that they’re treating Team Rocket well instead of excluding them due to their criminal nature. They’re put on the same level as Ash, Misty and Brock and I appreciate that.

Next, where is everyone’s families? Have they not been notified yet? It seems really weird that they’d have a funeral without notifying any next of kin. Did they even perform a search? It looks like it’s merely the next morning. Don’t they usually have a search party out for a couple days at least before declaring people dead? At most, they’d just be marked as missing until enough time went by that they could legally be declared dead. I know they were in a sinking ship, and that looks really bad, but it’s not like the waters were glacial and the storm subsided very shortly after the sinking. Hell, even when the Titanic sunk in glacial waters they still sent out people to look for survivors despite the incredibly low chances of anyone staying alive in such conditions.

Finally, as much as I hate to admit it, the funeral scene is pretty moot because of the points mentioned above. Especially since, as we’ll later find out, their families really did never find out that they were in a shipwreck nor that they were declared dead. There’s no emotional reunion, they never even clear it up with the cops, and we already know that the group isn’t dead or else the series would end. This funeral scene serves no purpose other than to maybe make the weight of the event a little more apparent.

– If Ash spent all that time upside down, surely he’d be dead. Nitpicky in a cartoony universe, yes, but still.

– When you think about it, Acid is a really horrifying attack for a Pokemon to have in the anime. If it can burn through a metal floor/ceiling in seconds, imagine what it could do to a Pokemon.

+ 1 for one of the many times we’ll be seeing the gang utilize their Pokemon to solve their problems, though.

– Okay, I’m trying to follow Ash’s logic here. They agree that since the boat is sinking, going up is the best option. When Misty points out that the deck is below them and the hull is above, Ash thinks it’s a good idea to go down…..into the water…Brock does point out the obvious and dangerous aspect of this, but I just find it a little too dumb, even for Ash, to suggest that going down into the water, deck or no deck, is preferable to seeking higher ground in a sinking ship flooding with water. Yes, there are probably fewer escape routes near the hull, but taking the water pressure of that depth out of the equation, does he really think they can hold their breath long enough to navigate through even an open pathway to the deck and still have enough air to make it to the surface?

– +1 for using Goldeen to find a pathway under water, even if that plan is very dangerous.

– Misty tells Goldeen to bring something back from outside if she makes her way to the deck…which makes some sense, but what does she expect Goldeen to bring back? They’re in the middle of the ocean. Is she just meant to bring back something that’s on the deck? Like what? A deck chair? A lifering? Really anything that could be inside of the ship could be on the deck too.

– I don’t know why, but I like when characters on the opposite side command the other side’s Pokemon to do something….Okay, I really only like it when it’s Ash and co. commanding Team Rocket’s Pokemon.

– This sequence with the teetering ship always annoyed me. Can such minor weight differences, on a huge steel ship anyway, really cause such drastic shifts in angle? The heaviest Pokemon in that group is Geodude, and yes I was geeky enough to look up their weights just because this scene annoys me so much. Geodude weighs 44.1 lbs while all of the other Pokemon weigh between 2 and 20-ish lbs. Meaning, altogether, the Pokemon would weigh around 100 lbs if that. Guessing that Ash and Misty weigh about 60-70lbs each (give me some leeway, I’m not up to speed on the average weights of 10 year olds) and Brock maybe 90-100 (same for 15-ish year olds) and Jessie and James 100-110 each, the group weighs, at least, 410 lbs. Why were they waltzing around the ship with no problem whatsoever a minute ago but an extra 100 lbs being set right where all of them were standing suddenly causes near ship-tipping shifts?

Why is Geodude being called back over to Brock what equalizes everything? Putting 44 lbs on one side and 454 lbs on the other makes everything okay? Why is Geodude being portrayed as a super heavy Pokemon anyway? 44 lbs isn’t that much and Geodude, despite being a rock-like creature, is still small. Plus, doesn’t he have the ability to float? Why is he banging into the floor like he’s a pogo stick made of cement?

And after managing to make it somewhat even with Geodude on the human side, the final shot of the groups apart still has Geodude on the Pokemon’s side.

Why is Koffing even being commanded? He weighs the least at 2.2lbs, is made of gas, which is lighter than air, and he floats. Him moving would have no bearing whatsoever on the angle of the ship.

And finally, to end this nitpicky rant that might have holes in it, it took them way too long to think that recalling their Pokemon would fix the problem. Yes, recalling your Pokemon technically means conceding defeat to Team Rocket, but even if they did win, who cares?

Even if them winning somehow meant they got Pikachu, still who cares? I’m not saying that as a sleight against Messiahchu, I really mean who cares? Where the hell would they go with him? They’re stuck in the same predicament that Ash and the others are in. They could grab Pikachu and run but they would never get far without the help of Ash, Misty and Brock as well as their Pokemon.

Even if they did somehow escape the ship with Pikachu, still still who who cares cares? They’re in the middle of the ocean and the Ash group has a way better chance of making it out first. They could just sit at the surface and wait for them, attack their unable-to-fight-in-water asses and take Pikachu back.

This whole thing is rooted in personal pride, and I’m confused as to why Brock of all people is one of the hotheaded ones here. If anything, Misty should be the hotheaded one battling alongside Ash, especially with her advantage in water, and Brock should be the voice of reason. Misty can be more levelheaded later when she’s devising the escape routes and showing off her mad St. Anne blueprint memorizing skills that still baffle me a little.

– Was everyone seriously thinking that Misty built a life-sized St. Anne? Poor girl had to deal with a hand-me-down doll set, but yeah she totally builds life-sized luxury cruise liner replicas of luxury cruise liners for funsies.

– Okay now we’re at the scene that makes the whole tipping ship scene really confuse the hell out of me as opposed to merely being a slight annoyance.

Since the ship is upside down, they can’t access the stairs easily so Brock uses Onix….Take that in, Onix…..to make a makeshift staircase in the stairwell above them.

While I will give them the proper dues for yet again using a Pokemon to solve a problem, +1, Onix….the giant snake made of boulders, weighs 463 lbs….How the hell did Brock release this thing without even having the ship shake a little bit if 100lbs of extra weight can turn the ship into a see-saw?

Also, I think his proportions are horribly misrepresented here. Onix seems a lot smaller in this shot than he actually is.

– Using Charmander to solve the problem of loss of light in the stairwell. +1

Although you’d think that a bunch of people who travel the world and always camp out would have flashlights and lanterns. You can’t argue that they may have gotten wet as none of them have been in the water yet outside of Team Rocket.

– Why would the hull be the thinnest in the engine room? That’s not a complaint, I’m just curious as to why that would be. Wouldn’t that be a really dangerous design flaw or does that hold some function?

– Ash asks Pikachu to shock him to help him think. This is the second instance of this happening that I’ve noted in the series (technically the first since the other one in way down the line in Johto) and I just don’t get it. Has anyone really ever felt like they got better ideas or concentrated better after getting electrocuted? It really just seems like they needed something for Pikachu to do since his abilities are zero help here.

– Using Bulbasaur’s vines to get across the gap is good, +1, but the manner in which they cross seems unnecessarily dangerous. Why go in a group and try to stand and balance on Bulbasaur’s vines, which has to be incredibly difficult especially considering they’re vines that a small Pokemon, who merely weighs 15lbs mind you, is holding and not strong cable connected to a heavy anchoring point, when you could hang from them and go one by one making it both easier on Bulbasaur and less difficult to cross?

You could make the argument that hanging from them, even with legs and arms attached, would be more dangerous considering the lake of fire below but if Bulbasaur’s vines can stand up just fine without any heat damage from where they are, I can’t imagine the kids would be in any danger of burns while trying to hang and cross.

– I really like the moment where James freaks out and Jessie convinces him to go across the fire together. That was legitimately sweet and a layer of characterization that is very much welcome for them.

– Mmm….Misty should really know by now that the only Pokemon Team Rocket has are Koffing and Ekans. At the very least, she should’ve checked to see if everyone had a Water Pokemon before they even started cutting the hole. She thought ahead enough to lend Starmie to Brock, there’s no excuse with Team Rocket.

To be fair, you’d think in the time it took to recall Charmander, call out Starmie, Goldeen and Squirtle, get rope and tie themselves on that Team Rocket would’ve said “We don’t have any Water Pokemon. Can we borrow some of yours, or at least share a rope if you don’t trust us??”

– +1 for using Charmander to burn the hole. Though it is incredibly dangerous for Charmander of all Pokemon…

– Hehe, I do love the scenes with James revealing he has Magikarp and then the long pause when they try to escape with it only to realize it can’t swim.

– What a convenient raft they found out in the middle of the ocean….

– Guys, there is totally something you can do to find out where Team Rocket is and if they made it; send out your Water Pokemon to search for them. I mean, they’re basically directly above the shipwreck, it wouldn’t be that hard to at least conclude that they didn’t make it. What is with people in this episode not wanting to search for survivors? They just go ‘Not here? Dead. Oh well, let’s move on.’

– Ah referencing the Bible in Pokemon. Yet another thing that would never happen in later episodes. Also, does that mean Christianity/Catholicism/Judaism exists in Pokemon?

– Great use of Pidgeotto, +1, even if they already did something very similar to this earlier with Goldeen.

And like Misty did with Goldeen, Ash should’ve been more clear with his instructions beyond ‘Bring us back whatever you find.’ There is tons of debris from the sinking floating around. He could just grab some crap from the water and come back without ever touching land.

The reason the branch in the Noah story is significant is because an olive branch would be a clear indication of land.

– How did Pidgeotto bring back Team Rocket? And considering James and Meowth were floating with their faces down in the water, both of them should be dead or in desperate need of CPR.

– These children are awful calm when faced with three supposedly dead bodies.

– While I do find it kinda cute and funny the way he snaps his fingers, Pikachu was disappointed that Meowth didn’t die. That’s messed up.

– For a show/franchise that really tries to make you connect emotionally with Pokemon and makes tons of them super cute and cuddly, plus taking into consideration 4Kids harsh censorship, that is some pretty messed up imagery of Magikarp. Fileted, fried, make into marinated slices. And keep in mind this isn’t just like they’re showing plates of food, they make it a point to put a little Magikarp severed head on each imagined plate….

– Being kicked makes Magikarp evolve? Dammit, if I had known that I wouldn’t have wasted my time using Exp. Share and putting it out front to switch out in one turn….

– I love the way James says ‘I’m James, your master, obey me.’……Not in that way….

– If James really is still its master, under the belief that kicking it and saying he didn’t want it anymore wasn’t a legit abandonment of it, however the hell that works, couldn’t this all be solved by James recalling it to its Pokeball? I mean, yeah, Pokemon break out of their Pokeballs all the time ala Psyduck and Wobbuffet, but surely you could maybe recall it then tape the ball up or something.

– I also find it funny when Misty just decides to book it instead of even attempting to fight Gyarados.

– Forgiving that they suddenly got five sticks of the same length and width out of nowhere, wouldn’t those be completely ineffective in moving a raft in the ocean? The don’t have paddles at the bottom, they’re just sticks. Those might help in shallow swamps and ponds, but not in the ocean.

– You don’t typically need numerous Pokemon to do one attack, especially in Gen 1. It wouldn’t bother me as much if the attack didn’t just look silly.

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Overall, this episode, despite its many flaws in logic, is still one of my favorite episodes. It has tons of Pokemon utilization, some of it pretty damn clever, neat and realistic obstacles, some character development, life-threatening situations and just a lot of action and fun. This kind of episode is really a rarity in the series now so it’s nice to get a taste of a more linear and less episodic Pokemon.

Next episode is the finale to this three-parter even if it could very easily be a stand-alone. Island of the Giant Pokemon. I’ve always been a bit iffy with this episode, so here’s hoping it’s better than I remember.