Plot: Things happen. Pokemon are involved.
Breakdown: I have watched nearly all of the Pokemon shorts so far. I am well aware of their intentions, how they work, their target demographic etc., so believe me when I say this with certainty – this is, by far, the worst Pokemon short I’ve ever seen.
Nothing. Happens. Which is to be expected of the shorts, really. I’ve mentioned a few times by now that a good chunk of the shorts don’t really care about having a good story or anything, they just want to show Pokemon being cute and funny. And that’s fine. Their target demographic with these shorts is even younger than with the normal show, and that’s also fine.
But my god, this short is just awful. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s actually pretty annoying. I can completely understand why this short never got an English release.
I’m pretty thankful for that, honestly, because the narrator is again providing the voices for the Pokemon, so they didn’t have to have Rodger Parsons do this. Like I said before, no bad blood with Rodger Parsons, but he made my experience with the last short incredibly frustrating because he made zero effort to have the voices sound different between the Pokemon. The Japanese narrator, Unsho Ishizuka, is making very distinct voices for each Pokemon, and it’s so much better and easier to follow, even if I’m using subtitles.
The reason it’s annoying isn’t because we have May’s Squirtle or anyone else who likes to joust my eardrums with their voice lances – it’s because the short is insanely repetitive.
Let’s take the Regis for instance. Meowth and the others accidentally run into a Registeel while wandering around in the woods. It attacks them. Haha.
Later, in a cave, they try to move a ‘giant rock’ which is so obviously Regirock that I can’t believe they even tried to pass off this trick. It’s not like mistaking a Geodude, Graveler or Golem for a rock or an Oddish for a radish or a Exeggcute for a pile of eggs. Regirock is very human-shaped, and it was standing up. If they could see there was a ‘giant rock’ from a fair distance away, they could see that it had a very human-like shape.
But whatever, Regirock attacks them. Haha. So this is already repetitive, but now that they’ve done this shtick with two Regis, what do you KNOW for a fact is going to happen soon? If you guessed, “they’ll run into a Regice and it will attack them, haha” then you have electrical impulses coursing through your skull meat.
Believe it or not, that’s not the only repetitive ‘joke’ they have running through this short. There’s an even MORE repetitive joke involving a Marill – or as I like to refer to it here as Marillypuff.
Why the nickname? Because, for reasons beyond my scope of human understanding, they decided to have this Marill act exactly like our old friend, Jigglypuff. And I mean EXACTLY like it.
Here’s the exact same Marill joke they use three times.
Meowth and the other Team Rocket Pokemon are hungry, so they get some fruit from a tree. Marill walks in out of nowhere and starts singing Jigglypuff’s song to the group for no reason. And I don’t mean it starts singing like Jigglypuff would. I mean, it’s the exact same melody as Jigglypuff’s song only with the lyrics being ‘Marill’ because it can’t say ‘Jigglypuff.’
Predictably, the group falls asleep, and they drop their fruit down a small hill. Marill gets upset and inflates itself like a balloon, like Jigglypuff always did, but since it doesn’t have the marker, it just bops the group with its ball-tail, which does nothing, they don’t even react or say their faces hurt when they wake up. Then the fruit is taken by one of the passing teams of other Pokemon, Meowth and the others wake up and then the exact same thing happens twice more in a row.
And I mean in a row.
At least with the Regi jokes they were spaced out a little, but nope. We get the exact same confusing Jigglypuff reference scene three times in a row. It’s torture. If you thought Jigglypuff randomly appearing in the show to do this shit once every few episodes was annoying, this will drive you up a wall.
I just don’t understand what they were trying to achieve with this. The Jigglypuff joke has been run into the ground so much I think it dug a hole to the other side of the globe. That’s why they stopped doing it. It’s so repetitive, and it leaves very little room for creativity. It’s like the running joke they have with the Pokemon who always pops out of their Pokeball when they’re not supposed to and their Trainer gets mad, or James having a Pokemon who shows affection through unintentionally hurting him, but at least those repetitive jokes are over with within five to ten seconds. The Jigglypuff shtick usually takes at least 20 seconds to over a full minute. Jigglypuff still pops up once in a blue moon, but even then it’s shtick is still old as hell and just something to boop the old nostalgia button.
If they really wanted to do this joke again, why not just bring back Jigglypuff? It would make about as much sense as a random singing Marill, who, like Azumarill in Pikachu’s Summer Festival, should really not know Sing naturally except on the off-chance it was bred by a Pokemon who knew Sing naturally – one of those breeding possibilities being, coincidentally enough, Jigglypuff.
Wait a second, I say they did this joke three times? Oh silly me. I meant to say they technically do this FOUR TIMES. Later, when they’re wandering around a cave, Meowth and the others find a block of ice with a bunch of fruit in it. I had become conditioned to the image of fruit, so the hairs on the back of neck instantly stood up. They quickly look around for Marill, but when they see it’s not around, Meowth Fury Swipes the fruit free.
Wonder what happens nex–
Marill pops up, Sings, sleep, inflate, tail bops, blah blah. I am in physical pain.
There’s no ‘Adventure Club’ here, by the way. You want to know everything that happens?
Pikachu and the other Pokemon, including Meowth and Team Rocket’s Pokemon, want to play in the river, but it’s dried up. So they go upriver to see what’s causing the stoppage. Meowth doesn’t want Pikachu and his group to solve the problem first…..for some reason….so he gets all competitive with them. They all hitch a ride on some Drifloom and Drifblim, but Meowth being an idiot makes them all fall, scattered in groups of two or more throughout the woods. They all encounter a bunch of random shenanigans, most of which I’ve already explained, and most of the shenanigans (and lines, quite frankly) are mirrored between the groups because it’s hard to write different things for each group (Ex: Buneary freaks out because she thinks someone’s tapping her shoulder, but Pikachu says it’s just a water drip and reassures her. Then we see Aipom getting nervous because he feels someone tapping him on his shoulder, but Piplup reveals that it’s just water dripping and reassures him. In another instance, they all get to four different caves and we have to hear them all explain to their groups that this is the proper way to go etc.), and then they reach the problem, it’s a dam built by Bidoof and Bibarel, they help them destroy the dam, and then they race in the river.
There’s no club, not even as a passing mention. There’s no story. There’s hardly any real instances of the Pokemon being particularly cute. There’s rarely a joke that works, and they repeat several of them to the point of frustration. There’s no real conflict either. It’s not like they’re concerned that the river being dry will have dire consequences for the area. They’re purely concerned with the fact that they can’t play in the river. And, in the end, they basically rip off the ending to the first short. It’s solved by the conflicting Pokemon groups working together and pulling on a rope to yank out something that’s stuck.
Even the animation seems subpar. Some parts look like the inbetweens are missing, and there’s this completely unnecessary bunch of CGI animated music notes that appear when Marill starts singing, which are so bad they reminded me of those music notes that they added to the DiC dub of Sailor Moon when Serena had the radio on.
The one thing I actually enjoyed about this short was Croagunk, who was being pretty funny just….existing, really. His unchanging expression as he floats around and inflates his cheeks was kinda funny, but even that wore thin and didn’t build up to anything.
Overall, you’re better off skipping this short. There’s really nothing worth your time here, even if you’re hard up for ‘Pokemon being cute.’
Pikachu’s Winter Vacation: Christmas Night
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