Pokemon Episode 46 Analysis: Attack of the Prehistoric Pokemon

Pokemon Ep 46 Title

CoTD(s): None

Evolutions: Ash’s Charmeleon → Charizard

Plot: Our heroes are wandering through Grampa Canyon (No map gif can help me now) when they run into a bunch of people with picks and shovels. Gary appears and explains that it’s the great fossil rush. Everyone’s gathering to dig up Pokemon fossils, including himself.

As everyone digs, Team Rocket sets up their latest plan – blowing the canyon up with dynamite and taking all of the fossils for themselves. Ash and the others hear their plans, and while Ash tries to stop the fuse, Misty and Brock go off to warn everyone.

It’s a huge race between Ash, Squirtle and Pikachu against Team Rocket as they try to extinguish the fuse and Team Rocket tries desperately to keep it lit. They fall down the cliffside, and in an effort to stop the fuse, Pikachu shocks the stockpile of dynamite, accidentally igniting it and blowing the place to ruins.

The ground opens up and swallows up everyone except Squirtle. The opening of the crevice quickly becomes sealed with nearby falling rocks. Squirtle manages to stay above ground and reunite with Brock and Misty, who immediately try to dig Ash and the others out.

Meanwhile, Ash and Team Rocket awake in a huge cave deep underground, and they soon realize that they’re not alone. The fossil Pokemon, believed to be extinct, Kabuto, Kabutops, Omanyte and Omastar angrily confront the group.

Ash calls on his Charmeleon to keep them at bay, but he refuses to listen to Ash and instead takes a nap.

They all get attacked by the fossil Pokemon, but they suddenly flee when they hear the call of the fearsome Aerodactyl. Charmeleon gets smacked by Aerodactyl, triggering its rage and desire to battle.

It nabs up Ash in its claws and flies out of the cave with Pikachu and Charmeleon hanging on its tail.

Aerodactyl continues to smack Charmeleon around, and they start taunting each other. Angered by Aerodactyl’s taunts, Charmeleon evolves into Charizard and they start a confrontation in the sky. Ash is ecstatic, believing Charmeleon evolved to save him, but when Charizard starts recklessly shooting off Flamethrowers in his direction, he realizes he evolved to fight Aerodactyl.

Jigglypuff arrives and Misty tells it to sing its song for everyone. It gladly agrees, and the lullaby soon makes everyone sleepy. Charizard is able to fight the effects by plugging his ears. Aerodactyl falls asleep, dropping Ash in the process. Charizard catches him and sets him down on the ground safely before also falling asleep.

Meanwhile, Aerodactyl falls back into the cave, which seals itself back up again with the aftershock of Aerodactyl’s landing.

After everyone awakens, Jenny assures everyone that there was no prehistoric Pokemon, and any sightings of them was just a dream caused by Jigglypuff. Furthermore, with the instability caused by Team Rocket’s bombs, digging will no longer be permitted in Grampa Canyon.

Ash and the others are happy that Aerodactyl and the other ancient Pokemon will be able to rest now, but they didn’t leave the great fossil rush empty handed. Ash reveals that he stumbled upon a Pokemon egg after he woke up and decided to take it. The three then argue over who gets to care for the egg.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket are trembling in fear, still trapped in the cave with the now sleeping fossil Pokemon.

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– Yeah, I’m so sure you direct archaeologists to their dig sites with signs that have pictures of shovels and picks with an arrow.

– Hi Gary!

– Gary: *In reference to Ash* “Even a nerd like you shoulda heard about the great fossil rush.” ‘Nerd’ implies a great deal of intelligence, so this line makes no sense. Come on 4Kids, this isn’t difficult.

– Ash: “Loser?! That know-it-all!” That line implies that Gary knows Ash is, in fact, a loser.

– Brock: “I don’t feel right about digging up old Pokemon fossils, especially after they’ve been resting in the earth for such a long time.” As opposed to those Pokemon fossils that have been resting in the earth for a few minutes? Also, I get where Brock is coming from, respect for the dead and all, but is he making an anti-archaeology/paleontology argument?

Misty: “If they’ve been lying underground for thousands of years, maybe they’d like a little fresh air.”

Ash: “I think it’s your brain that needs some fresh air.” Wow, Ash. Uncalled for.

– STILL using the Pokemon logo in the title screen when saying ‘Pokemon’? Wow, I was off by light years.

– I tend to give some shows leeway when it comes to topics like this, and for all I know the laws in the Pokemon world are somehow different, but actively digging up and collecting fossils is a heavily regulated practice, not to mention that extracting a fossil, intact and without damage, is very difficult even for trained experts. This massive group of ten to twenty year olds should not be able to just crowd a single area like this and smack away at it.

– I’m no archaeologist, but I don’t think this looks right in any way. The fossil is perfectly cut out of the ground by Gary merely picking at it, there’s no rubble on top of it despite Gary seeing this exact image immediately after hitting the area with a pick, and the rock with the fossil is a drastically different color than the rock surrounding it. If the footage didn’t suggest otherwise, and I didn’t know Gary was too good for cheating, I’d say someone dug a small hole and plopped a fossil in it.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen1

– I know Gary’s disappointed that he found a poop fossil, but isn’t that still valuable? Don’t scientists learn a lot about diets and prehistoric vegetation and whatnot from poop fossils?

– Brock: “All these people digging and no one’s found any fossils yet.” Uh, Gary just found one. It’s poop, but it’s fossilized poop – it counts. Also, you’re greatly underestimating how long this process typically takes.

– James: “Once we blast Grampa Canyon to smithereens, we’ll be able to scoop up all those Pokemon fossils.” Yeah, because they’re impervious to dynamite.

– Misty: “Did you hear that? They’re going to blow up this whole canyon!” Yeah, we all heard, Misty. Team Rocket was literally yelling out their plans for no other reason than to alert nearby main characters about their plans.

– Oh hey a Team Rocket plot that involves explosives and mass murder. Every now and then, I feel like calling them Terrorist Rocket.

– James: “Oh it’s that pest again!”

Jessie: “Always messing up our plans!” Technically, you screwed yourself here with your yelling, Jessie. If you just kept your trap shut, Ash and the others would be dead along with the 50+ people you’re about to try and murder by now.

– I’d also like to point out that Meowth is perfectly allowed to use a zippo lighter here, but in Snow Way Out that same lighter will be painted into a candle for no reason.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen2

– Again, if they just didn’t alert Ash to the fact that the fuse was already lit, their plans would’ve gone through. Team Rocket, I implore you to get more intelligent, because there’s only so much you can wring out of idiot vs. idiot(s) storylines.

– Squirtle should be a good enough shot to have gotten that fuse before it even left the cliff, but I guess this might show contrast and development in how awesome Squirtle’s accuracy gets later on, especially in the Orange League.

– I know Team Rocket is trying to stop Ash from extinguishing the fuse, but….*sigh* do I even need to ask if they realize that they’re running towards a massive bomb, and, should they succeed, they’ll have front row seats to a massive murder explosion of death?

– Pikachu, there is no reason whatsoever, even in a panic, that you should’ve believed electrocuting dynamite was a good idea in any capacity.

– The reactions are priceless, though.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen3Pokemon Ep 46 Screen4

– I call bullshit on them living through that. I get the cartoon logic, but, come on. That thing looked like a nuke when it went off and cracked the ground in two. No way did they get off without a scratch.

– How did Squirtle get separated from the others? He was in the same cluster that Ash, Team Rocket, Arbok and Weezing were in when the bomb went off. If anyone should be separated, it should be Pikachu because he escaped from the cluster beforehand to go off and be an idiot.

Even if he did somehow separate, how did he not fall into the crevice? It was massive. If it took Pikachu, surely it would take Squirtle.

– How is Weezing falling if it can float?

– Our friends fell into a massive hole that is being covered by rocks! Quick! Walk on top of it and chuck the rocks away!

Best case scenario, they don’t know how deep this chasm is and believe Ash and the others are just covered by rocks, which, hate to break it to you, but corpses.

Even if they lived through that and this hole wasn’t deep, they have no clue where they would be. They could be chucking stones ONTO to Ash or Pikachu.

Worst case scenario, they shift the rocks so much they collapse the stones that are plugging it up, causing them to fall into the hole and inevitably crush the people below before they also die. Not exactly sure about the best way to approach this, but certainly it isn’t that.

– Jigglypuff thinks a mound of rocks is a stage with lights and everything….So…what has Jiggy really been puffin’?

– It seems like one of the most pointless scenes of fanservice/filler or whatever to have Jigglypuff all entranced by a rock stage, see the pile of rocks fall down, then get pissed that they fell.

– I think I’ll give a generous pass to (almost) every time characters survive huge falls because otherwise I’d have to call out whenever Team Rocket survives getting blasted off.

– Jessie: “Looks like we got blown all the way to the moon.” Jessie…*sigh* I’ll be nice and chalk this one up to head trauma.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen5

– Ash is not the slightest bit concerned about where his Squirtle is. For all he knows, it’s dead.

– That rock formation doesn’t look like it follows the laws of physics…or gravity….or anything.

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– Realistically, the only fossil Pokemon I can believe has glow-in-the-dark red eyes is Kabuto. Everyone else just had it done for dramatic effect.

– I am so baffled by how ungodly pissed Omastar looks here.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen7
The best part of waking up is–MURDERING YOU!

– Uhm, gonna call bullshit on them sleeping for thousands of years. 1) Why would they do that? 2) How could they do that? 3) How did they survive all that time? 4) You’re telling me that in thousands of years, they’ve never been woken up or decided to go outside?

– Jessie: “Argh, nevermind! Let’s just capture them! Pokeball, go!” They’re being far too stupid in this episode for me to take them forgetting that Pokemon need to be weakened before capture as being note-worthy….except for the fact that I noted that I wouldn’t note it…..urr…Uhm….

– Those Pokeballs hit Meowth and didn’t even open. This just brings up the question of whether Meowth truly does have an owner.

– Ash: “We have to battle! Charmeleon! I choose you!”

Here we go.

Ash Being a Charmoron Count:

2 (I’m giving him a pass for the first time in The Problem with Paras, but not for the second time.)

In case this isn’t clear, this is a count for every time Ash calls out Charmeleon/izard and just expects it to obey him + bonus points if he uses him in incredibly stupid situations or if Charmeleon/izard creates a hazard by being out.

I will, however, give a pass for the incredibly obvious x4 disadvantage he’s not seeing. While he could’ve just looked up the typing quickly before selecting a Pokemon, he did have his Pokedex out a few seconds ago afterall, it’s incredibly hard to tell what types the fossil Pokemon are, even if blue snails are a little obvious.

– Geodude gets to do stuff! Whoo!

….It’s just moving rocks…..but whoo!

– Blah blah, the anime forgets that Rock Pokemon are not immune to Electricity, blah blah. Actually, scratch that, not only do they mistake Rock for Ground yet again, but Kabutops are part Water, so that should be very effective.

– I’m going to give Ash another pass for calling on Charmeleon again, considering he’s in a tense situation and Charmeleon is already out, but I will mark him off for not trying any of his other Pokemon. Squirtle may be out of the picture, but he still has Bulbasaur (who would be awesome right now) and Pidgeotto.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen8
Pictured above: Everyone’s expression when Ash let’s out Charmeleon/Izard.

– I kinda wish Charmeleon/izard had kept that cool ‘scar’ on its forehead. Would’ve been some neat although minor characterization.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen9
And he could be a stand-in for Harry Potter.

– I love how they yell to Ash to ‘watch out!’ when Aerodactyl has his entire body clutched in its talons/feet. Yeah, he can totally avoid that.

– Here we are. The point of ranting about Charmeleon’s cheap as hell evolution. You can definitely make the case that Charmander was at the right time to evolve into Charmeleon. You can also make the argument that it deserved to become a Charizard at least before Cinnabar Island or the Indigo League conference. But I cannot accept this evolution as being anything other than bullshit. It’s been all of, what, three episodes since it evolved? And it hasn’t even won any battles since then (except kinda against Paras) because it wouldn’t listen to Ash, and it wasn’t even in Jigglypuff’s debut episode.

The only way I can really justify it a little is that Charmander was overleveled when it evolved into Charmeleon, so it only need a small nudge to make its way into Charizard. However, if he was stopping himself from evolving, like Squirtle and Bulbasaur seem to do, why? Why would he choose, of all times, The Exeggutor Squad episode to jump into Charmeleon?

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen10
He looks like an eight year old who just got told he couldn’t get ice cream for lunch.

I saw someone mention the hordes of Exeggutor that it beat as being the source of an ungodly amount of experience, but 1) we’re meant to believe Melvin beat like half of those and 2) I don’t believe even beating all of those Exeggutor (who were god knows what level) would be enough to jack his level that high.

Even if he was overleveled, you need to level again before you can evolve, and bullshit he got experience from being smacked by Aerodactyl a couple of times to evolve when he’s around level 36.

Even that explanation seems illogical because he didn’t get experience here.

He was just pissed.

Here’s Charmeleon’s evolution scene entirely.

Charmeleon mocks Aerodactyl by…swiping his fingers against his forehead?

Aerodactyl responds with a ‘bii-daa’, which, I don’t even understand how it knows that considering it’s supposed to have been underground for thousands of years, thus would have no way of knowing Japanese schoolyard taunts.

Charmeleon stamps its feet and has a tantrum.

Evolve.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen11

That’s it. That’s everything. Some people justify this by saying he evolved in order to beat Aerodactyl, but I just keep feeling like that’s more bullshit. Whether numeric levels and quantitative experience exist or not, there’s no denying that you need these things in order to evolve. Otherwise, most Pokemon would do it a lot more often. It’s a permanent change that requires thought, sure, and their paws may always be on their internal B button, but imagine if it really is supposed to work that way.

You could catch yourself a bunch of base evos, beg your Pokemon to evolve so you don’t have to grind exp, because that’s boring, and rare candies are like….rare, and poof, let’s mow down the gyms before the weekend.

If we revisit The Problem with Paras for a bit, it’s suggested that experience and evolution is based on perception, so cocky twats like Charmeleon evolve with no problem (Charmander was looking a bit proud in the Exeggutor episode) However, I’m having a harder and harder time believing that too, because that would mean pretty much all arrogant Pokemon would evolve in a snap and no self-depreciating Pokemon would ever evolve.

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Chalk up yet another instance of Ash crying that I can remind myself about when he’s stone-faced during actual emotional moments.

Can we just be honest here and admit that the writers desperately wanted Charizard to come on the scene because everyone loves that overrated orange dragon? I like Charizard (as a Pokemon) too, it was my first ever fully-evolved starter in Pokemon Red, but could we have at least a little bit of time with Charmeleon before you chuck it aside for Charizard? Mid-evos, particularly starter mid-evos, get shafted enough as it is.

From a less skeevy viewpoint, maybe they realized that Ash was already nearing the end of his Kanto journey and had zero fully evolved powerhouse Pokemon? Outside of Muk, but, remember everyone, he can’t have Muk around because it stinks even in its Pokeball. So he never, ever uses it, ever. Despite having the omnipotent Messiahchu, he needed a Pokemon that also looked like a powerhouse. Gary was going to get Blastoise so his Squirtle wasn’t much of an option, and Bulbasaur……Pbt. Dragons>leavy frog dinosaur.

And don’t even mention Pidgeotto.

– Uhm, Misty, I understand this is a crucial moment and everything, time is of the essence and whatnot, but uh….don’t you think it might be a bad idea to play Jigglypuff’s song right now? Doesn’t that seem just a smidge dangerous? Charizard will fall asleep in midair, crash, and die. Aerodactyl, the Pokemon carrying your friend through the air, will fall asleep, crash, and Ash will die….And so will Aerodactyl.

– Props to Charizard for being smart enough to plug his ears.

– I’ll also give him props for showing that, despite everything, including nearly frying Ash to death several times while trying to beat Aerodactyl, Charizard caught Ash and safely put him on land.

– Rrrgh…..

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Frickin’

Egg.

– Where did hell did that egg come from anyway? Where are Togepi’s parents?

– See? Jigglypuff inexplicably has a microphone marker out of nowhere.

– Jenny: “Some of you are claiming that you saw a prehistoric Pokemon here in the canyon. That is ridiculous. Let me assure you it was only a dream caused by Jigglypuff’s song.”

Wha–…What? The song that they didn’t even hear until they had already been watching an Aerodactyl nearly eat Ash for over two minutes? Also, what are you saying? That 50+ people all had the exact same dream? That’s even weirder than seeing a previously-thought-to-be-extinct Pokemon.

This is very much cover-up-ish, but if so, why? It might be to protect the fossil Pokemon, but there’s nothing to protect them from, besides Team Rocket and they died in the second cave-in. I get the good intentions behind these ‘we have to keep pretending they’re not here so they won’t be bothered’ motivations, but I doubt the government, of all things, would see previously-thought-to-be-extinct Pokemon and just ignore them for the sake of maintaining their peace and quiet.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen14
Now just wait a moment and my associate, Will Smith, will make you all look into at a pen for a second.

We have no clue how many of these Pokemon are even living underground. They could be a thriving species and studying them might do no more harm than studying anything else.

Prohibiting mass excavation of the land I can definitely buy in this situation both for the safety of the people and the Pokemon, but I still don’t see why such a big coverup is needed. Especially seeing as how, later, we’ll see a certain someone caught Aerodactyl on film.

– Gary, you believing this dream stuff is just out of character for you, even if you are quietly questioning it to yourself.

– Brock: “But I think Aerodactyl and the others would be happy just going back to sleep.” They’ve been asleep for thousands of years. Why do you believe they’d find happiness in perpetually being asleep? Not much of a life, if you ask me.

– First Brock is asking if Ash should even take the egg from the area, then he and Misty are all gung-ho about straight-up stealing it from him. What a confused ending. Suck it, Togepi’s parents!

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Outside of the evolution and the weird coverup, I’m pretty alright with this episode. There’s not too much wrong with it outside of the evolution, but there’s not a lot going for it in regards to fun or interesting things, in my opinion. I think they could’ve done a lot more with the fossil Pokemon, and jam-packing all of them in one episode is a bit too much, but I guess I can see why they went down that road. Also, for an episode about the fossil Pokemon and starting with a ‘great fossil rush’ we see all of one fossil and it’s of crap. What prompted the great fossil rush anyway?

The evolution really is the biggest mar on this otherwise alright episode. I never got over how insanely cheap it was. They want to make a big to-do about Charizard finally appearing, but they chose such a random moment to debut him in. I always constantly forgot what episode Charmeleon evolved in, and he’s a Charmeleon for such a short amount of time that you barely remember him.

Looking back on it, it would’ve been so much better to have him evolve into Charizard in the Volcano Badge episodes. It’s a two-parter, which means it’s already a big deal to begin with, it’s centered on Fire Pokemon, it contains a notable rival to Charizard (Magmar), Charmeleon could eek out more experience between now and then, and there’s a much better motivation lying there.

Instead of Pikachu getting his ass handed to him by Magmar, have Charmeleon, cocky and hot-headed, get whupped. Have him contemplate his standing as a fighter, because Charmeleon just do that, then evolve right before the rematch or during the volcano disaster or something. Have him evolve not in a fit of immature rage triggered by insults but in a pure desire to defeat a worthy opponent.

Next episode, we play doctor…~~ Actually, considering the next CotD, that joke is incredibly creepy.

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Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 05: Pokemon Heroes (Dub) Review

Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are in the beautiful town of Alto Mare partaking in the local traditions, competitions and culture. One of their most beloved legends is that of Latios (with special guest Latias, who wasn’t even in the legend) who is known to be the guardian of the town after saving it centuries ago…..or less than 50 years ago depending on if Lorenzo’s a vampire or not. Ash is lucky enough to meet a pair of Latias and Latios, but soon discovers that they’re in danger from the thieving Team Rocket pair of Annie and Oakley.

Breakdown: I watched this movie quite a few times On Demand back when it was released, and I remember enjoying it perfectly fine. Annie and Oakley were fairly interesting, and I like Latias and Latios….

I guess this movie, like 04, just never felt that big to me. Latias and Latios, while I do really like them, don’t seem like actual legendaries to me for some reason. I was expecting some movie about Kyogre and Groudon and maybe Rayquaza and yet we got these two. Instead, two of them are made into a special arc in the TV series and the other gets a role in the Destiny Deoxys movie.

I was pretty okay with doing the review until I remembered this excerpt from the Bulbagarden comparison.

“The problem with the Pokémon Heroes dub is that the script is really off. For whatever reason, 4Kids decided to completely throw out the movie’s backstory and create their own, which is strange considering how they haven’t had any script changes this major since Mewtwo Strikes Back.”

….I’m in for first movie level changes? Ouch.

Enough jabber. Let’s get into Pokemon movie 05: Enter Super Generic Title Here—I mean, Pokemon Heroes.

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Brock murders the narrator again and gives us ‘The World of Pokemon’ intro that I still don’t understand why they do in these movies. I guess it makes for a good intro, but every single movie? Also, it should be noted that this entire sequence is the exact same scene as it was in movie 04. They don’t even fix the pajama mistake I mentioned last time. Lazy little movie makers.

I find it funny that, in this intro, Brock calls Ash ‘the pride of Pallet Town’. Gary’s a better trainer, capturer and battler and I will believe until my dying day that Ash ever winning against Gary is a complete fluke.

Technically Ash is an awful ‘pride of Pallet Town’ seeing as how Red, the character Ash is based off of, is so much better as well. He won the Indigo League while two other Pallet Alum, Blue (Gary’s inspiration) and Green (who never gets an anime counterpart, which sucks…) were second and third place respectively.

Why do Misty and Brock get no explanation whatsoever? It’s just ‘and joining them is Misty and yours truly, Brock.’ Sadly, this is the last time they can use this opener. This is the last movie that Misty ever appears in. 😦

Getting to the actual movie, we see a few pages from an old book and two thieves, Annie and Oakley, talking about it. They discuss how the book explores Latias and Latios as well as a jewel but that the book doesn’t get into the really good stuff until the end. I don’t know why they’re spending time talking about it while they’re still in the process of stealing it. Seems like a needless waste of time when you’re pressed for it.

A security guard at the library they’re in nearly spots them, but they get away on cables. The guard finds a single rose in the spot where the book was as well a picture with two lip icons on it, one red and one blue.

They zipline their way back to their car with spy-like music playing and Annie asks what the ending is about. Oakley says it explains how to control a machine called the Defense Mechanism of Alto Mare. It’s pronounced ‘Mar’ here, but it’s spelled ‘M-air’ so I dunno.

They drive off a cliff, perhaps a nod to Thelma and Louise, but then we see the car instantly transform into a jet and fly away. You guys are really taking the spy thing all the way, huh?

As they fly, Oakley explains that the Defense Mechanism of Alto Mare, really original name by the way, is supposedly the most powerful weapon in the world. Annie says she doesn’t care about the weapon and all she wants is the jewel from the story – the soul dew.

However, Oakley states that the jewel is needed to operate the machine and then goes on to explain the origins of the name ‘soul dew’ – it contains the soul of a Latios and looks like a dew drop.

Annie says that they have to remember to capture Pokemon for Giovanni and then they head to Alto Mare. Ooh, Team Rocket’s actually doing stuff for a change? I’m surprised 4Kids even believes viewers will remember Giovanni’s name at this point. He’s such a non-existent character. When he is brought up he’s usually just called ‘the boss’.

We get our title screen with the Pokemon logo over water, and they go to the trouble of putting the logo’s reflection in the water. Fancy~

Then we get the word ‘Heroes’ in 2 ½D. It looks like it’s unfinished. It’s flat, obviously, but it’s designed in such a way that makes it seem like it was meant to be entirely in 3D CGI.

That being said, the animation and colors for the title are pretty good, so I can’t fault them too much.

In Alto Mare, Ash and Misty are partaking in a water race where trainers stand on small boat things while their Water Pokemon pull them. Ash is using Totodile while Misty is usin – Corsola? Really? Out of all of her Water Pokemon, she chose the one based on an organism that is basically immobile and the Pokemon itself is known for being so sedentary that people build houses on them? Politoed, Staryu, hell this would’ve been great for Goldeen, but no – she chose Corsola. Okaaaay.

The race starts and we get our theme song, Master Quest. Unlike the other movie songs, this is just the TV version only extended with more instrumental parts and repeating the chorus a couple times. Booooooooo! You guys have been doing so well with the movie themes, yet you don’t even try on this one? Shame!

Pikachu ends up getting knocked off the bridge he’s on and lands conveniently on Ash’s shoulder. Oh yeah, sorry Pikachu. We didn’t realize you weren’t getting attention for more than five seconds.

The race is neck and neck….and neck with Ash, Misty and some dude named Ross with a Wailmer. Nothing much else is going on for a good chunk of this segment. Brock chats up a girl, there’s a joke about Team Rocket getting splashed by water from the racers and we see translucent Latias and Latios flying around. Several of them, it seems.

Ash ends up wiping out on a corner but is saved by one of the translucent Latias or Latios. If the rest of the movie is any indication, it’s probably the Latias we see later. He gets back on his float thing, gets back into the race and is propelled by Latias who suddenly grabs the rope and drags him.

Surprisingly, the race doesn’t end when the song does, and it’s a race to the finish with Misty and Ross.

Latias is allowing Ash to catch up to Misty and Ross, making me worry that he’s going to end up unwittingly cheating to get the win, but Latios grabs the tether as well and sends Ash down the wrong path, eventually throwing them back onto land and then they fall into the water.

Back with Misty and Ross, they’re still neck and neck and they cross the finish line at the same time. However, video evidence shows that Misty won by the horns on Corsola. Wow, Misty actually won? Holy crap. I would say this is a nice movie sendoff for her, but she is basically non-existent for the rest of the movie.

Ross congratulates her on her win and offers to show her around Alto Mare. Damn, you’re a really good sport…..or he’s hitting on her and didn’t expect that she’d take her guy friends with her. Either way.

And that medallion looks freakin’ awesome.

If there was ever one piece of Pokemon merchandise that I needed in my life, it’s this. Someone make my dreams come true and tell me this is a thing.

Ross explains that the symbols on the medallion tell the story of Alto Mare. Misty points out the that symbols look like Pokemon, but he doesn’t bother actually telling the story yet. They see statues of Latias and Latios, and Ross explains that they’re Pokemon that protect the town. No one sees them, but most people believe they’re real.

Cut to a flock of Pidgey followed by a little flying gadget that flies by a drill on its head recording everything on the island, including the painfully CGI people down below.

When we get a closer shot, it’s even more obvious how ech it is. It’s that weird cel-shaded CGI we’ve seen before. These same people were traditionally animated and drawn a minute ago, so I dunno what they’re doing.

We cut to Annie and Oakley watching the video feed with a thermal imager. Annie asks why they haven’t seen either Latias or Latios yet if they’re the guardians of the town. Oakley claims it’s difficult because they can take on different shapes, even disguising themselves as humans. The reason they’re using the thermal imaging software is because either Pokemon in general or Latias and Latios specifically have lower body temperatures than humans. They find one of them and leave on their boat.

Team Rocket are about to eat ice cream by the waterway. You’d think they’d eat indoors or further away from the water after last time, but then we wouldn’t have this running gag.

After Annie and Oakley splash them with water as they drive by in their boat, Jessie points out that it was Team Rocket. James worries that they saw them and Meowth states that they’re spies for Giovanni. They decide to follow them to somehow make a big break for themselves.

Back with Ash and friends, they bid farewell to Ross and he tells them where to get great food and ice cream. They head off for the ice cream place first, but despite the fact that they’re going to get cold desserts and drinks, Pikachu decides to make a pit stop at a rusty fountain to get a drink instead. Pikachu can’t turn the tap on, but a mysterious silent girl turns it on for him.

Ash arrives to come get Pikachu for ice cream, and the girl gets all up in his grill and stares at him while circling him. He just stares in response before she walks away.

She wanders by the river and Annie and Oakley catch up. They confirm that she’s Latias and attack her with their Espeon and Ariados. They have custom designed Pokeballs, black with a red lipstick mark for Annie and blue lips for Oakley. Fun how custom Pokeballs mostly just pop up in movies.

Latias runs, and Pikachu, still bathing in the fountain, hears the commotion and runs off. Ash follows after him, and I love how he takes the time out to turn off the tap before running after Pikachu. Ash is such an advocate for water conservation.

Latias is cornered and captured in String Shot before Ash catches up and saves her, but Annie and Oakley aren’t going to stand for that.

Oakley: “Whatever would we do if he attacked us, Annie?”

Annie: “Espeon, show Oakley what we’d do.”

Ash: “That was a dirty trick!” What trick? That was the most obvious sarcastic set up to an attack I’ve ever seen. Even if there was no sarcasm, she clearly pointed out that Espeon was going to do something bad. You’re just dumb.

Ash decides to fight back and has Pikachu Thunderbolt them. I’m now realizing that Espeon has an awful English voice. Ick.

Ash and Latias run away, and Espeon and Ariados chase after them. During the chase we cut to their view, I suppose, but the shot is too smooth so it’s like they’re flying through the CGI town. This is made even worse by the fact that, though you can hear Ash panting as he’s running, you can’t hear his footsteps.

Latias takes the lead when Ash realizes he’s lost and she leads him right back to his friends before vanishing.

As Ash reunites with his friends, Annie and Oakley watch over them with their little drill camera gadget thing from earlier. They note that Latias isn’t with Ash anymore and will be ensuring that it stays that way……Really? You’re that intimidated by a ten year old boy with a yellow rat? You really are from Team Rocket.

The gang heads to a museum and Ash gives us this line:

Ash: “Is this a fossil of a Pokemon?”

Ash, sweetie, remember that thing you were captured by a long time ago? That thing that spurred your old Charmeleon’s evolution? Looked like a pterodactyl? Similar to that fossil? Come on. You can do it. I believe in younotreally.

Some old guy named Lorenzo who I think is a curator explains that the fossils are more than just fossils – they’re the remnants of Pokemon who used to terrorize Alto Mare.

Lorenzo: “One was an Aerodactyl, the other was…”

Misty: “Kabutops?”

Lorenzo: “That’s right!”

Wait, Misty remembers Kabutops, but Ash doesn’t remember Aerodactyl?

Lorenzo introduces the kids to the DMA, the Defense Mechanism of Alto….Mare….It’s two words, so doesn’t that mean it should be DMAM?—oh whatever.

Brock sees light coming through the stained glass windows and proclaims it’s a sign that he’ll meet a girl in Alto Mare…….kinda random there.

Lorenzo tells a story about how the people of Alto Mare were terrorized by an Aerodactyl and a Kabutops and their evil master. When this happened, Latios arrived and flooded the town, drowning the evil Pokemon and turning the streets into canals…..

That’s real neat and all….but…uh, if Latios flooded the town….wouldn’t that kill all the innocent people and Pokemon there too? And how did flooding a town kill an Aerodactyl? They can fly….For that matter, how’d it kill a Kabutops? They’re part Water type. They just chose two Pokemon who have no real reason to ever drown to be the victims of a drowning. I’m surprised 4Kids even opted to say that they drowned. That’s a bit dark.

I thought there was some preachiness at some point in time that said no Pokemon is evil, they just have evil trainers. I didn’t hear him say the evil trainer was killed by Latios.

He explains that the story and the canals are the reason the town’s called Alto Mare as it means ‘high seas’. It’s also how the DMA(M) got built.

As he’s telling us more about the weapon, Ash notices a girl who looks suspiciously like the girl he met earlier, only with a hat, drawing up in the balcony.

Ash pursues the girl all over town, but when he finally catches up with her and asks why she disappeared, she says she doesn’t know him. Also her voice sounds way too old for her body. She’s ten like Ash, right? She sounds like she’s 30.

The girl leaves, but Ash still decides to follow her through town. We see some Murkrow, who also have have awful voices, and Ash gives up on his chase right as he sees her again. It’s clear this time that it’s Latias since she’s now sans hat and art supplies and isn’t speaking. She runs off prompting Ash to follow her. We get more ‘flying’ through the CGI town some more and it’s even more distracting because now because I can’t hear Ash panting to imply that he’s running.

He’s brought to a cool little part of town with a garden lattice and a fountain for the bird Pokemon. Latias suddenly disappears through a portal in a wall, so Ash and Pikachu follow.

They’re lead into a beautiful park and continue to follow Latias. When they catch up, Latios springs from a nearby pool and starts attacking Ash while invisible, but Latias steps in to protect him.

The girl from before who looks just like Latias walks up and starts bitching out Ash for attacking Latios. They try to explain, but the girl, Bianca, will have none of it and orders Latios to attack. They’re stopped, however, by Lorenzo. He explains that the other girl is Latias and she just wants to play with her new friends. As we learned earlier, they have the power to change their form, but the reason she chooses to look like Bianca much of the time is because they’re best friends.

Ash starts swinging on the swing with Latias who spooks him by turning into her actual form. Latios also apologizes to Pikachu for attacking it by licking its cheek. Pikachu plays with Latias and Latios while they fly around.

Latias plays around with Ash by stealing his hat and playing keepaway. After he retrieves it, Latios uses the ability of Sight Sharing while he dives underwater. It allows Latias to not only see what Latios sees but also allows her to project the images to other people. We get a neat rail-shooter-esque ride through Latios’ sight. Even though it’d be more effective for the audience if they kept Ash and the others out of the shot, it’s still neat either way.

After that, we hear the story of how Lorenzo and Bianca came to know and care for Latias and Latios. Lorenzo has not only known them since they were babies, but also knew their father, Latios, who was the one from the legend who brought water to the town, stopped the ancient Pokemon and created Alto Mare.

Wait, wait, wait, back up the truck. He was there when Alto Mare was formed? The whole event with the….evil….ancient Pokemon? I guess it’s not impossible for ancient Pokemon to live back then because, well, Ash and the others have awakened ancient Pokemon before, but that theory gets squashed when you remember that the Aerodactyl and Kabutops fossils they saw at the museum earlier were the actual fossils. There’s no way in hell those Pokemon fossilized in 50 or so years. Maybe if they were killed by lava, but they were drowned.

All of this, the museum, the ancient machine, the legend book, all of it points to stuff that happened an incredibly long time ago. This is made even more apparent by the fact that the story is laid out for us in what seem like ancient tomes carved into stone. Unless Lorenzo is immortal, I think this whole story is complete BS.

Their father died back then (and despite the fact that they say it ‘vanished’ Ash does actually say ‘die’. Guess the movies have different rules now or something) because he expended all of his power to bring the water to Alto Mare……Really? It’s a legendary Pokemon and it didn’t have the strength to take out two Pokemon without making a martyr of itself? Just because they’re ancient Pokemon doesn’t mean they’re anymore powerful.

In Latios’ place, a gem was left behind said to contain its spirit and was named the soul dew. The gem was then used to power the DMA(M). While the soul dew contains the soul of Alto Mare’s guardian, it also contains the power to destroy their town if it gets into the wrong hands, thus its location must be kept secret.

Ash agrees to keep the secret when Latias comes up from behind him and tries to give him a ride, but he’s too heavy for Latias and she drops him. However, he’s saved by Latios. Bianca points out that Latias is trying to play with him some more, but he says he can’t because he needs to find his friends.

He bids them farewell and Bianca decides to take him back. As we cut out of the park, we see Annie and Oakley’s drill camera thinger. Dun Dun Dunnnn.

Later that night, in front of a glowing sapphire moon (this movie is so friggin’ blue) Annie and Oakley head off over the rooftops to Latias and Latios’ location while Team Rocket tries to follow. We see Lorenzo working in his workshop making a gondola when Espeon enters and knocks him out with its psychic powers.

They enter the park through the secret entrance in Lorenzo’s workshop. As Latios and Latias sleep, Latios senses them and goes in to attack. Annie and Oakley start a counteroffensive, but Latios and Latias choose to go invisible. That won’t work, however, as ♫ they wear their sunglasses at night, so they can, so they can, see Latios and Latiiiiiaaaaaassssss .

They attack Latios and Latias, and in an effort to save Latias, Latios takes the hit and they capture him in some sort of awful CGI electro-slime net.

Despite Latios’ efforts, Latias is shot down soon after. As they’re about to capture her, Latios steps in to save her and tells her to run. She manages to get away, but now Annie and Oakley have Latios as well as the soul dew.

So wait, the soul dew and the DMA(M) are the two things needed to easily destroy the town? Yet, one’s in an easily accessible museum and the other’s in a park with the access to this place being either an unguarded portal in an easily accessible wall or a door in an old man’s workshop. And the tablet which explains, step by freakin’ step, how to use the soul dew with the machine is embedded in the floor mere feet away from the dew. You guys suck at security. It’s almost like you want your town to be destroyed.

The tablet not only explains how to use the soul dew and the machine but also explains that operating the machine must be kept as merely a last resort as using it will destroy the soul dew and cause the waters in the city to recede. Annie doesn’t want to sacrifice her gem, but Oakley says it’s probably a bunch of bull.

Annie and Oakley head to the museum and follow the instructions from the tablet. They lay Latios on a platform—wait, I thought all you needed to make the machine work was a soul dew and the machine. Now you need a live Latios too?

Lorenzo and Bianca, having discovered that the soul dew was missing, arrive at the museum to stop Annie and Oakley but get knocked out by Espeon again. You guys could’ve called the cops ya know…..oh right….cops…in Pokemon. Yeah, you’re better off on your own.

Oakley uses the soul dew and they marvel in the machine powering up.

Back with Latias, she finds Ash and the others sleeping at the local Pokemon Center. She transforms to her Bianca form, wakes Ash and hugs him in fright.

Ash explains the situation to Misty and Brock and says that the girl before them is actually Latias. They strangely believe him without question, but get instant proof when Latias returns to her Pokemon form. You could’ve saved several precious minutes by just doing that in the first place…or never transforming to the begin with.

Latios awakens and uses sight sharing with Latias to show Ash and the others what’s going on. Oakley enters the machine, and I’m just now realizing that they never say exactly what the machine is supposed to do. It’s a weapon of course, but what powers does it have?

Power 1 – The power to bring fossils back to life as pseudo-zombie Pokemon.

I don’t see how that helps defend the town….

Oakley uses the machine to bring Aerodactyl and Kabutops back to life through their fossils to make them fight on their side. It still bothers me that we never learn who this evil trainer was that owned these two. You’d think the legend of the evil person who trained these Pokemon to attack the town would be more prominent than the Pokemon themselves.

Oakley commands the two to capture Latias, and Latios ends the sight sharing.

Power 2 – Close off all of the streets, pathways and all exits in town with giant grates.

Uh….Okay, I guess that’s a defensive power. But if the danger is in the town, it’s just locking the enemy in with the townspeople and making it impossible for them to escape from the threat.

Oakley causes a city-wide lockdown, performing the same function I just mentioned, to trap the citizens within the city as she takes it over.

Ash manages to escape and heads to the museum while Misty and Brock are trapped in the Pokemon Center for the time being.

Ash rides in a gondola to the museum, but Aerodactyl attacks Latias. He manages to save Latias for a moment, but she flies off and turns invisible. Aerodactyl comes back with a Hyper Beam to destroy Ash’s gondola and nearly drowns him, but Latias saves him.

Latias pulls him through the water slowly since she’s shown not to have the strength to let him ride on her back, and Ash stops her as they pass some of those little boat things from the race so he can use that instead. Yay reincorporation!

Misty and Brock somehow managed to find a way out of the Pokemon center, but are still trapped by the grates all over town. They’re trying to deliver Ash’s other Pokemon to him in case he gets into trouble. Since they can’t pass the gate, they open their Pokeballs outside of the gate to let Crobat, Politoed and Corsola deliver them instead.

Oh wait, scratch that, that would’ve been intelligent. Instead they keep Ash’s Pokeballs and just let their Pokemon go off as support for Ash while they try to find a way out. Brock starts climbing the grate which really does highlight a big problem with that power.

Some of the grates are inescapable because of what they’re covering such as doors and windows, but the ones blocking the streets and alleyways have no tops and are designed in such a way that is easily climbable. So…this power’s a little dumb. Don’t even get me started on the fact that in this town where most people travel by the city’s waterways the power doesn’t block off the waterways at all….

Back with Ash and Latias, they’re still being pursued by Aerodactyl but now are also being attacked by Kabutops. They crash the little boat thing and nearly get attacked by Kabutops, but Brock and Misty’s Pokemon save them. Behold, the only thing Misty and Brock do all movie! No, I’m not kidding. Also, the only thing they do all movie is something they’re not even present for. Hooray!

By the way, Latios the legendary Pokemon, had to flood the city and sacrifice its life to beat these Pokemon before. Three fairly unimpressive (power-wise) Pokemon from trainers who hardly ever get chances to battle beat them easily. Yay for making sense!

Power 3 – Can see all over town like it’s covered in hidden cameras.

That’s a better defensive power. Leaves few places for the enemy to hide.

Oakley sees Latias coming towards the museum as well as Ash. Bianca and Lorenzo try to change her mind about using the machine, but Oakley’s gone a little mad with power.

She uses the machine’s next power–

Power 4 – ….Basically Water Bending.

I’m becoming increasingly baffled by this machine. Latios can’t do any of these things, yet the machine uses its power and the power of the soul dew, which is just a Latios as well, to achieve these things. What magic is going into this thing? Who actually built it? Just the citizens of Alto Mare? Are they graduates from Hogwarts? Every other weird machine or monster that has appeared in these movies has had a reason behind their powers yet this is completely unexplained.

Oakley attacks Ash and Latias with a bunch of tidal waves and traps them in a floating whirlpool in an effort to actually kill them. Holy crap, someone actually tried to murder another person on this show. Though I have noticed that whenever that happens, it’s usually through drowning. Actually….it’s that way in several other shows too, like Avatar the Last Airbender…..Drowning gets a murder pass in kids shows? Weird.

Latias saves the day by blasting the water away with its psychic powers. Because of the broken attack, the DMA(M) starts going haywire.

Ash arrives and saves Bianca and Lorenzo while Latias tries to free Latios from its prison that looks oddly like the prisons from movie 02. Also, this machine was supposedly made with the intentions of trapping a Latios in it and torturing it to uses its powers. Nice, citizens of Alto Mare. Real nice.

Pikachu Thunderbolts the cage, but the lightning gets redirected back at them. Strangely, this does cause the cage to be lowered to ground level though….Wait….it’s in Ash’s range now…..Could it be?!

YAY! THE EXTREMELY WEIRD MOVIE TROPE OF ASH RAMMING HEADFIRST INTO SOMETHING THAT OBVIOUSLY WON’T BE AFFECTED BY HIS PUNY HUMAN BODY AND THEN BEING THROWN FROM IT AND HURT IS BACK! Whoopee!

I think I’m actually enjoying this trope since I am increasingly amused by Ash getting hurt when he’s being dumb. It’s even better because he does it twice in this scene.

Latias manages to break the barrier with its own psychic powers and Ash and the others pull Latios out of the cage, which causes the machine to breakdown. Misty and Brock arrive just in time to be useless and Annie reunites with Oakley. They’re about to leave, and Annie tries to recover the soul dew, but she finds that it’s black. As she touches the soul dew, she is thrown back by an expulsion of energy from the jewel.

The machine starts back up again and traps Annie and Oakley within it. Lorenzo explains that the soul dew’s been out of the pool of water for too long and now all the water in the town will dry up. Well, thanks for telling us that could happen. The only thing I heard of like that was the machine using too much of the soul dew’s power, which is what I thought was going on.

The water in the town does indeed start receding, but we learn that the real issue isn’t the water going away – it’s the fact that, once it does, the water returns in a giant city-destroying tidal wave—okay, now you’re just making shit up! This is truly the dumbest defense machine and mystical gem I’ve ever seen. Protect the town by using a machine that is powered by a gem that can’t be out of water for more than ten minutes and its use results in the city being destroyed.

The tidal wave comes, does some awful CGI damage to the ruins and Latias and Latios go to combat it. They combine their psychic powers to split the wave and allow the water to gently return to the city.

Because he expelled so much power while being so weak, Latios dies. Wow….he does….he dies! And he doesn’t get brought back to life…..Hm, I think that’s the first ever legit death Pokemon has ever had on screen.

The water returns to the city, Aerodactyl and Kabutops return to their fossils, the citizens are none the wiser, and Annie and Oakley remain trapped in the machine until cops one day decide to get off their asses and find them.

Back with Ash and the gang, they grab a boat and start looking for Latias and Latios. They manage to find Latias who is saved by some passing Water Pokemon. They mourn when she tells them that Latios died to protect the city. Latias’ sight sharing activates and they see what Latios is seeing, which is a view of the clouds and the earth from space. It’s actually a very sad and well-handled scene.

Latios turns into a new soul dew and lands in Bianca’s hands. They bring the new soul dew to the pool in the park and welcome a new guardian to Alto Mare.

Ash and the others bid goodbye to Lorenzo. He tries to call Bianca down to say goodbye as well, but state that she must’ve left for the market. In her room, we see her hat on the easel and someone grabbing a drawing she had made.

As Ash and the others drive away on a boat, they see ‘Bianca’ waving them down. They stop at a dock, and Ash gets out to see what’s up. She hands the picture to Ash and we get the big to-do about this movie, Ash’s kiss.

The big mystery is if the girl was Latias or Bianca. Given that Bianca left her hat at home, it’s completely possible that it’s Bianca and most fans would probably want it that way, because ew. But Bianca’s a big mouth. She’s always talking when she’s on screen. Yet she’s not making a peep here and suddenly runs off like Latias would do, so I’m inclined to believe it’s Latias.

I’m not even sure why this was thrown in there anyway. If it was Latias, then, well, it’s kinda cute but definitely weird. If it’s Bianca, then why should we care?

She was bitchy for half of her scenes, and it’s not like we ever saw any sort of connection, romantic or otherwise, between her and Ash. The picture is of Ash and Pikachu so I suppose Bianca could’ve had a thing for Ash, but we don’t see any chemistry or decent scenes with them on screen. She wasn’t memorable in the least, so this just seems forced. If you want to go the extra mile, the argument can be made that her character was entirely pointless besides to purposely make this confusion.

Ash has had two kisses in the course of the show to this point, both of which he got in movies and both of which were on the cheek, which is why I didn’t say this was Ash’s first kiss like a lot of people seem to call it.

She clearly kissed him on the cheek. With the bright background and closeup on the kiss, they’re making off like this is his legit first kiss, in spite of the fact that he got a kiss on the cheek by Melody in movie 02. The only reason I can think of for this seeming like his first kiss is that it kinda looks like Ash is kissing her on the cheek a little, but he’s really just surprised at the kiss.

As of now, Ash has actually gotten his first legit kiss, even if it was off-screen, by Serena in Pokemon XY.

In summary, ooOOOoooohhhh kissy! Mwah mwa mwah!

They drive away from Alto Mare and we start getting our ending songs, which are just two snippets of songs found on Totally Pokemon, a CD I actually have. Yay me! And two from 2BA Master, a CD I don’t have and never will own on principle because of that insanely stupid title. Just write it out, guys. Stop trying to be ‘hip’.

The first is a slower remake of the song ‘You and Me and Pokemon’, which I enjoy better than the original. Next is ‘Pikachu (I Choose You!)’ which is more catchy than anything. It’s also not remixed for the movie. Next, we get ‘The Time Has Come (Pikachu’s Goodbye)’ a song they’re going to keep milking apparently. Finally, we get ‘My Best Friends’ even though it would’ve been better to end on ‘The Time Has Come (Pikachu’s Goodbye)’ considering the death and all, but ending on a lighter note’s fine.

In terms of the scenes behind the credits, we have Ash and the others leaving on the boat (They never mention why they were even there, It looks really far out of their way to be a stop on his Johto journey) and seeing a few Latias and Latios flying through the air, confirming what I thought earlier in seeing numerous Latias and Latios flying around during the race instead of just two, which just begs the question of where the hell were you lazy sumbitches when Latios was dying and the town was nearly destroyed? Some guardians you are.

Annie and Oakley get captured by the cops in a picture that looks like brown comic book inking and then we see Annie and Oakley in prison reading a book about ancient treasures. However, on the right page we see Lawrence the Third and his ship thing. What a weird cameo. A villain who was only there to get a plot going and was ignored most of the time gets a random spot in a book they’re reading. What’s he even in there for? Why isn’t IMM in there? He was a better criminal.

Other than that, we see the usual shots of Ash and the others camping and traveling, Team Rocket following them, Bianca drawing and that’s pretty much it. The End.

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How did this movie fare for me?….It was a lot worse than I remember it being. Annie and Oakley aren’t as good villains as I remember them being. Annie’s a non-villain as she more preoccupied with pretty stuff than power, and Oakley’s your average ‘gets drunk on power and nearly gets destroyed by it’ bad guy. While it was one of her more tolerable performances, Oakley being voiced by Lisa Ortiz didn’t help. And I find it a bit weird that they basically murdered a Pokemon and are treated like comic relief villains.

The story is stupid and makes no sense most of the time. The big machine is given no adequate explanation beyond it’s a big mysterious machine with magic powers that regular people made. Don’t even get me started on the tidal wave thing.

I really like Latias and Latios. They’re pretty weak for legendaries, especially if they couldn’t beat two measly Pokemon without self-sacrifice, but I always liked their designs and their personalities were likable.

One of my biggest disappointments was the lack of Misty, Brock and even Team Rocket. The only thing Misty did the entire movie was win a race that didn’t even matter. I thought they’d do something with her awesome medallion, but nope. It was in one shot then forgotten. Brock did absolutely nothing during the whole movie except get a couple jokes. Sure, they let their Pokemon out to help Ash with Aerodactyl and Kabutops, but they do one attack and are gone from the rest of the movie.

Brock and Misty’s little mission to get Ash his Pokeballs wasn’t even needed. He never used any other Pokemon besides Pikachu and Totodile this entire movie, and I don’t even think they showed them returning the Pokeballs to Ash.

Team Rocket was even worse. They did 100% pure nothing. They didn’t even talk to Ash and co. or Annie and Oakley. They got splashed with water, failed at following Annie and Oakley on the rooftops and that was it. They basically vanished from the movie after that only appearing in reaction shots to what the machine was doing with little dialogue, and we don’t see them again until the end credits where we see them following Ash and the others like normal.

The visuals of Alto Mare were the best things to say about this movie because the city is incredibly designed and well-detailed. The whole city is a big rip off of Venice, and they even throw in some Italian words to push this further, but it’s still really amazing. The overall art and animation was back and forth. Some of the CGI was a huge step up from what they’ve been doing, especially in regards to the CGI shots of the city, but some shots almost seemed unfinished they were so bad.

Not to mention that the colors are just wrong during most of the movie. It feels way too dark a lot of the time, and like the comparison said, it’s almost like some scenes have a blue filter over them. It really tarnishes a good visual experience.

The animation and art of the characters is bumped up as it usually is, though.

Music-wise, they kept the original soundtrack besides the ending and beginning theme, and the original soundtrack is quite nice and builds a good atmosphere for the town. It was really disappointing that the beginning theme wasn’t remixed in any way since I’ve truly been enjoying most of the remixes. I find it especially weird that this wasn’t remixed when ‘You and Me and Pokemon’ was remixed for the ending.

Extending the TV version like they did just seems lazy. The ending songs, while I enjoy them, just seem like a big plug for their other CDs instead of trying to make legit ending songs for an actual movie soundtrack. Like why is ‘Pikachu (I Choose You)’ mixed in there? It’s a jarring contrast on ‘Polkamon’ levels. They were also a little bit too short for my taste. It’s like they wanted to compact as many songs as humanly possible in there, though admittedly the first movie had a fairly similar problem.

Bottomline: I really don’t understand how Dogasu can say this is their favorite movie of the five so far. Everyone has their own views, which I respect, and they may have been talking about the supposedly drastically different subbed version. It’s an okay movie at its core for me.

The stakes, like I mentioned, aren’t that high, even though a Poke-death does take place. I’m not denying that the death scene wasn’t sad or impacting. It was. However, it just didn’t hook me in very well.

There are too many characters doing nothing, side characters getting more impact than they deserve, story issues etc. This also works on that whole trope of repeating a legend over and over and then have the legend either come true or be repeated. Nothing’s that surprising or interesting when everything is laid out for you that much. I can’t even remember why I watched it so often when I was younger. Maybe I enjoyed Latias too much back then. My rating is mostly for Latios and Latias, the art of the town and the death scene.

Recommended Audience: Several mentions of death and one on-screen death, though not graphic. 5+

 

 

One Piece (4Kids) Episode 2 Sub/Dub Comparison

OPEP2TITLE

Plot: Luffy and Coby are on their way to see the deadly pirate hunter, Zoro, so that Luffy can recruit him for his crew and bring Coby to the marines’ base at the same time. However, Zoro is currently being held prisoner by Captain Morgan and is set for death. Can Luffy and Coby save Zoro before it’s too late?

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Pretty minor, but 4Kids cuts out a quick shot of a silhouette falling down after Zoro slashes as Cobys making his explanation before the title card.

Title Change: OPEP2TITLE2

Since the marines are changed to the navy in the dub, the big sign on the side of the marine base that says Marines is changed to Navy.

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN2

The same Marines logo on the gate is changed to Navy. For the sake of simplicity, just assume that any and all instances of visible and audible mentions of the Marines are changed to the Navy.

After Luffy climbs on the wall to see Zoro, he spots him and then jumps off of the wall to a different spot to get a better look. Then we see a closeup of Zoro. 4Kids edited this out and jumped straight from him climbing on the wall to begin with to Coby joining him. I guess….jumping off walls is bad?

Here’s something interesting, yet expected. Zoro was originally tied to a cross. Not a religious cross, mind you, just two poles connected together. In the dub, the top is hacked off so it loses its cross shape.

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN4

4Kids adds a closeup shot of Zoro’s upper body when Coby says he recognizes his black bandana. Because we just wouldn’t have known what they were talking about by seeing it from slightly further away.

In the original, there’s this kickass guitar lick when Zoro finally speaks. Sounds a little like the commercial break sound bite from Trigun. This is missing from the dub. 😦

In the original, the little girl brings Zoro some onigiri (riceballs) that she made for him. In the dub, this is changed to cookies both dialogue-wise and visually. The digital paint here, like many of their paint edits, is awful. The cookies jump when they’re first uncovered and they obviously don’t belong in this scene. It’s not nearly as bad as that Pokemon episode where the sub sandwich bounced down the hill, but still.

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN6

In the original, the problem with the onigiri was that the little girl used sugar instead of salt when making them. In the dub, no explanation as to why the cookies tasted bad, if they truly did, is given. He asks her if he put rotten fish heads in the cookies and she says she added some sugar and trails off. This could’ve actually worked by simply reversing the original dialogue. Say she put a lot of salt in the cookies instead of sugar. Problem solved.

Also, 4Kids got pretty lazy. They simply colored the mushed up riceball into a brown color instead of putting in some broken cookie pieces. Makes the cookies look like they were made of mush.

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN8

Helmeppo (Captain Morgan’s Son) (Dub): “(At the mushy brown mess) There! Now it looks like it tastes!” 4Kids….did….you just make a poop joke?….Seriously?…..Go to the corner. Now.

They edit out a shot of the proclamation that anyone who helps Zoro gets executed because I guess they were too lazy to erase all of the (EVIL) Japanese text and leave a blank page like they I know they would because they make no sense. Also, in the original, helping Zoro gets you executed. In the dub, they just say that it’s a criminal offense.

Visuals:

Dub Mari—Navy….Sailor dude: (As he’s about to throw the girl over the fence) “I’m real sorry about this. Cover your head with your arms.” Right, that’ll save her neck from getting broken as she’s flung over 30 feet through the air. Moron.

In the original, the first conversation between Luffy and Zoro is relatively kept the same, but they omit Luffy saying that he’s not sure Zoro is strong because he’d have escaped in less than three days. They also omit Zoro saying that he’s staying there to basically prove to them that he can survive.

4KIDS IS MAGIC! They changed the smushed pile of slop into a cookie again. Amazing!…..Really, was it easier to draw the cookie and animate it than just color the damn slop like you did before?

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN11.png

Slight nitpick, but Zoro sounds….like a psychopath….in this episode anyway. In the original, he seems intimidating and imposing, in a sane way. In the dub he’s all “IMMA EAT IT! WANNA KNOW WHY!? CUZ IMMA SURVIVOR!! OMNOMNOMNOM!!”

They edit out a shot of Zoro punching Helmeppo.

Visuals:

In the original, Zoro’s sword is a lot closer to Helmeppo’s face than it is in the dub. I guess they sprinkled some digital paint on it to make it….less threatening? …..What? How is that less threatening? Oh forget it…

Subbed:

Dubbed:

SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN14
They cleaned up his face, too. How nice.

The last part of the flashback is sped up or something. In the original, his decision to go to prison in place of the little girl and her mother is much slower than it is in the dub. In the dub, Helmetto (he hasn’t been named in the dub yet for some reason) basically says “I won’t make them go to prison if you go there for a month!” and Zolo’s “Onemonth?Pieceofcake! *drops sword*” He’s a pro wrestler. What is wrong with him?

In the original, Helmeppo asks for alcohol. In the dub, this is changed dialogue-wise and visually to juice…because villains are bad-ass muthas who drink JUICE! FULL OF VITAMIN A FOR AWESOME, B FOR BITCHIN’ AND C FOR CUT THE CRAP AND BRING ME MORE JUICE!

That edited juice looks almost radioactive it’s so friggin’ bright. The glass is also changed slightly to be wider….

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN16

The impact shot of Luffy punching Helmeppo is edited….I can’t make heads or tails of it. You have a look.

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN18

Hmm….I guess this is ‘important’. A little while ago, the Marines logo on the back of the sailors’ shirts was simply erased instead of changed to Navy like it has been. However, now it’s actually changed instead.

In the original, Captain Morgan is always smoking a cigar. Das a no-no. Edited out.

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN20

I should also mention that in frontal shots in the dub he looks like he’s always got his mouth open slightly because that’s where the cigar is supposed to be. Makes him look like he has lockjaw…

As Zoro has a flashback, 4Kids edits out a scanning shot of Zoro’s childhood friend and the flower petals flowing past her.

They edit out a shot of Luffy’s shadow before Zoro notices him.

They edit out a shot of Helmeppo yelling that he’ll tell Luffy what he wants to know as long as he stops dragging him on the floor. Even dragging a guy on the floor is too violent to show.…

Visuals:

The guns in this shot, even though it’s a little hard to tell, are edited into what look like maroon super soakers. What’s odd is that they still say “Stop or we’ll shoot ya!” 1) Shooting’s a no-no 4Kids. Couldn’t have changed that to “hurt ya!”? 2) Shoot him with what? Water? Cranberry juice? A gentle red wine? Oh wait, alcohol’s no good. Guess it’s juice.

Subbed:

Dubbed: SUBDUBCOMPAREOPEP2SCREEN22

They edit out the zoom in on Zoro’s swords…However, they don’t edit out the “My Room” text on the flower wreath on Helmeppo’s door.

I really don’t get this. They can say ‘execute’ ‘shoot you’ and ‘firing squad’ but they can’t just show the damn guns?

In the original, Morgan accuses Zoro of siding with the pirates and starting a revolution. Zoro denies this and says he works alone but Morgan is a coward who always hides behind his sailors. In the dub, Morgan says that they’ve always fought on the same side to rid the world of pirate scum and thus he’ll grant Zoro one wish. Zoro says he’s never fought on his side, but if he gets one wish, he wishes that he’d use that oversized ass on the end of his arm to—what?…..He said ass. I heard it…..Axe? I guess that makes more sense, but I know I heard ‘ass’….oh whatever. Oversized axe to cut off that giant barnacle growing out of his neck. (His head. Haha)

I’m still not getting it. We can hear gunshots, see the bullets, see the firing, see the smoke coming from the barrels, see Luffy getting hit by bullets, but NO THEY’RE NOT GUNS! HONEST!

This episode was pretty damn good. It was an awesome intro to Zoro, and Helmeppo and Captain Morgan are way better enemies than Alvida. Dub-wise, it’s a bit laughable given the changes, but I guess it could be a lot worse…..yeah, it can definitely be worse, right, episode three?

Next episode, it’s a race to stop Zoro from getting executed. Can Luffy get his swords back and get to Zoro in time?

Pokemon Episode 45 Analysis: The Song of Jigglypuff

Pokemon Ep 45 title

CoTD(s): None

Character Debuts: Jigglypuff – Wanting nothing more than to be an adored singer, Jigglypuff is constantly annoyed when its attempts at singing result in everyone falling asleep. Its singing translates into the Pokemon move, Sing, which lulls humans and Pokemon alike into a slumber. When its audience falls asleep, Jigglypuff scribbles on their faces in anger.

Jigglypuff, for some reason, follows around Ash and co. throughout their journey doing this same schtick over and over. It’s rarely ever funny, almost always annoying. It was a fairly regular character in Indigo, but faded in and out throughout the seasons until Advanced Generation where it appeared a few times before disappearing entirely. I only just learned that, for no other reason I can think of besides nostalgia, Jigglypuff was brought back in the newest anime series, Sun and Moon.

Plot: After getting lost in the desert, Ash, Misty and Brock make it to Las Veg—Neon Town. The city that never sleeps….literally. Everyone in town is incredibly rude and short tempered because no one ever gets any sleep.

They leave the city the next morning and find a Jigglypuff. Misty tries to capture it, but is surprised to find it starting to cry after attacking it. After learning one of it’s main talents is singing, Misty asks it to sing a song, but it refuses. They believe it can’t sing, so they start trying to teach it to sing. Brock gets the idea to feed it a fruit which is said to soothe sore throats and revitalize tired vocal chords. The fruit works, and Jigglypuff sings, but they all soon find out that Sing puts people to sleep.

Jigglypuff is extremely angry when they fall asleep at its song and draws on their faces in revenge. They try everything to see if someone can listen to the song all the way through, but to no avail.

They get the idea to bring Jigglypuff to Neon Town. Since the people in Neon Town seemingly never have to sleep, they should be able to hear the whole song. They bring Jigglypuff to Neon Town and Team Rocket, in disguise, offers them a fancy outdoor stage for Jigglypuff to perform on. They want Jigglypuff to put everyone in town to sleep so they can swipe all of the Pokemon and money.

Jigglypuff sings, and the entire town falls asleep, including Ash and co. and Team Rocket. Angry again, Jigglypuff draws on everyone’s faces before running off.

Ash and Co. wake up to find everyone has fallen asleep. Not only that, but they’re suddenly much nicer, and everyone’s apologizing for their past rudeness left and right.

Misty laments over Jigglypuff running away, but she has nothing to worry about. Jigglypuff is never too far behind.

————————–

– We’re literally not even a second into the episode and I have to stop. Why…and how….are Ash and Co. lost….in a damn desert? Where the hell is there even a desert in Kanto? Hang on, let me check that map gif from Pikachu’s Goodbye.

labeled_map_of_kanto_by_rythos-d3c4hsg

 

Hm. Can’t argue with that. I hope they rescue that castle that’s yelling for help, though.

I know that their schtick is getting lost, but there’s a difference between ‘Well, damn, there’s a lot of forests and they all look the same’ and ‘Hey, there’s a desert. There’s no desert on the map, but there is on this globe, so I guess we’re going the right way. Remember, just follow the sun at all times, except when the sun sets, then we follow the moon. If the moon isn’t out, we follow our nose. We’ll find Fruit Loops eventually.’

– Ah I get it. They’re trying to emulate Las Vegas….with the desert surrounding it…..Ya know, you can have an episode with a Las Vegas-esque town and not require that it be surrounded by a bunch of desert that doesn’t make any sense.

…Hey, wait. Does the real Las Vegas not exist in this world or is Neon Town trying to pretend it’s Las Vegas? If it does exist for real, as hinted at in March of the Exeggcutor Squad, then the fact that they put in a desert to give a nod to the real Las Vegas makes no sense. I would ask why they don’t just say this is Las Vegas since they established that it’s a real place, canonically, especially since 4Kids usually has no qualms about pretending this show is set in America, but…..No, I’m actually going to ask that question. Why?

– Might I also bring up that it seems odd to set an episode of Pokemon in a place that is very clearly Las Vegas anyway? Let’s see, a city known for prostitution, gambling, drinking and mafia ties, with the nickname Sin City. Perfect place to set a kids show in.

Let me remind everyone that Pokemon got flak for years for having the Game Corner because it promoted gambling. Let me also point out that, while children don’t seem to be doing it, they clearly show slot machines and gambling in this episode.

– How did Jenny hear these two having an argument when she was probably a hundred yards away and in the middle of an insanely loud city?

For that matter, why does she feel the need to rush over on her motorcycle and stop this argument? It’s an argument, and it’s not loud enough or going on long enough to warrant police action.

Pokemon Ep 45 screen1

– Now for the major gripe about Neon Town….They’re making a play off of the moniker ‘the city that never sleeps’ by having the citizens….literally never sleep. They stay out all night and never go to sleep, so everyone’s bitchy all the time.

That is so stupid…Yes, most people in Las Vegas are night owls, because Las Vegas is basically known for its night life, but that doesn’t mean the people there never sleep. The place is loaded with hotels, and a lot of people probably sleep in the daytime over there.

I’ve never been, but shouldn’t people in Las Vegas be very laid back? There are a ton of fun things to do there, and the place is a den of getting laid, getting drunk, watching shows, partying and gambling. Most people who take trips to Las Vegas do so to relax and have fun.

Even so, I understand that lack of sleep makes people snippy, but it also makes them….ya know….tired. No one in this town is acting tired in the least. They’re all just acting like assholes. If no one here really did get an ounce of sleep, people would be more apt to toppling over in the sidewalk than they would be to blow up at someone over bumping into them.

– Sooooo…Jenny hears a little argument and rushes over to yell at them to break it up, but that same guy is punching James in the head and….a large woman is spanking Jessie, and Jenny is nowhere to be found. Pokemon Police: We All Suck.

Pokemon Ep 45 screen2
Ah, fond memories of my childhood.

– Wait, first the city was surrounded by desert, and now it’s directly parallel to a forest? Where the hell is this place?!

– This is another instance of Pokemon capture just seeming mean. ‘Hey look! A super cute Jigglypuff smiling and minding its own business! I’m going to attack it without provocation and slam it into a tree!’

– *Misty attacks Jigglypuff out of nowhere with Staryu*

*Jigglypuff starts crying*

Misty: “What’s wrong?”

Ash: “It looks like it’s crying.”

Brock: “There’s something strange about it.”

Ash: “I wonder what its problem is.”

What the hell is wrong with you people

Durrr, why’s this pink little puffball Pokemon crying? I only slammed a giant starfish into its face and smashed it into a tree. Durrrrr how weird.

– Seems really rude to request a song from Jigglypuff after you just viciously attacked it like that.

– Ash: “I see. A Jigglypuff that can’t Sing. So that’s why it didn’t attack.” Yeah, because Sing is its only attack…..Also, I thought you were questioning why Jigglypuff was crying after being attacked, not why it wasn’t fighting back. Given how Pokemon are portrayed as do-no-wrong angels, I’m certain some are just pacifists.

– Misty: “I still think it’s cute, but who wants a Jigglypuff that can’t Sing?” I dunno, Misty. That sounds like it would almost be as useless as a main character who is ultimately given nothing to do and is relegated to being a part of background 80% of the time.

ohsnap

– Team Rocket actually has a fairly solid plan this week. Put Neon Town to sleep with Jigglypuff’s song and steal all of their stuff.

– I’ve always loved Team Rocket’s motto-song. I wish they did more song versions of it.

– Considering that Rachel Lillis voices Jigglypuff and Misty, it’s surreal to see Misty teaching Jigglypuff how to sing.

– Awww, Pikachu trying to Sing.

– Jigglypuff kicking Pikachu behind its back is incredibly dickish. See, one of the main reasons I don’t like Jigglypuff much isn’t because they milk the Sing→face scribble joke so hard, though that is a big part of it – it’s because Jigglypuff’s also an annoying petty little puffball. It’s nice sometimes, but it’s almost on the same level as Chikorita in terms of vindictiveness.

– I appreciate what they’re trying to do…..but uh…do you guys see anything weird about them trying to teach Jigglypuff to improve its lung capacity by blowing up a balloon?…Jigglypuff?….the BALLOON Pokemon?

Pokemon Ep 45 screen3

– Why would you just shove a full balloon into its mouth like that? If that were me, I’d punch her in the throat.

– Okay, kicking Pikachu before was a dick move, but slightly understandable from a motivational standpoint because Ash was praising his singing while Jigglypuff couldn’t sing, making it jealous. But Pikachu cheers that Jigglypuff can sing now and it friggin’ does it again. And laughs! Go to hell, Jigglypuff.

– That same dumb cliché of the other characters not noticing when something is happening. How can no one be seeing Jigglypuff kicking Pikachu? Especially considering that, given the editing, it looks like Misty is basically watching this happen.

I think it’s even dumber that Pikachu isn’t realizing that Jigglypuff’s kicking it, particularly after that last time. Gee, something kicked me from directly behind me and Jigglypuff jumped into Misty’s arms from directly behind me….I wonder who kicked me.

– It’s smart of Team Rocket to use a recording of Jigglypuff’s song instead of going to the trouble of catching it, but 1) I’m not sure that would work on a technical level and 2) They didn’t think that recording the song would put themselves to sleep.

– Aw Ash and Misty sleeping next to each other. And since Misty has returned kinda in the new series, I can watch these scenes without feeling too bad! Yay!

Pokemon Ep 45 screen4

– How does Jigglypuff not know that Sing puts people to sleep?

For that matter, if this is one of Jigglypuff’s main abilities, why did Dexter not share this information?

For another matter, why did Misty care whether or not the Jigglypuff could sing if she didn’t know Sing was a move that put others to sleep?

– Brock: “I got it! Maybe there are some Pokemon who wouldn’t fall asleep!” The Pokemon move meant to put Pokemon to sleep….better see if it works on our Pokemon.

– Awwww, the sleeping Pokemon. Though, I still have to nitpick.

Where are Vulpix, Starmie, Zubat or Geodude? I understand why Horsea and Goldeen aren’t out, because they’re not near water, and, wow, good on ya Ash, for not letting Charmeleon out, but why not the others?

Also, where are Onix’s ears? Or Staryu’s?

– Why didn’t Jigglypuff draw on the faces of the Pokemon?

– I guess there’s some reasonable yet insulting logic behind trying Psyduck, but why was he excluded in the first place?

– Psyduck falling over in a daze is hilarious.

Pokemon Ep 45 screen5
I caught this frame by accident. What the unholy hell?

– The amount of time Jigglypuff’s ‘victims’ for lack of a better term, stay asleep seems really inconsistent. Before, Ash and co. were asleep for…eh, ten minutes or so? Then they were only asleep until Jigglypuff finished its song. But Team Rocket is only just now getting up. Later, it takes hours for the town to wake up.

– Why didn’t they get Jigglypuff’s song on tape? They used a boom mic and recorded right at the tail end of the song. Even if they did record a good deal of snoring, surely the very start of the tape has some of the song. Not sure if that’s enough, but still. This would be more understandable if they caught the snoring of Ash and co, considering the boom mic was very close to them. Maybe make them snore so loud it drowned out the song. However, Team Rocket’s snoring is all they recorded, despite the mic not being anywhere near them.

– The animation on Brock when he says ‘They’ll be able to listen to Jigglypuff sing!’ is extremely shaky.

– This plan is stupid. It’s not a literal city that never sleeps. These people don’t have a super power of Mega Insomnia. Given that they’re not toppling over each other in exhaustion, they have to sleep sometimes.

How the hell are Team Rocket the smart ones in this episode? They don’t believe for a second that the people of Neon Town will stay awake through this.

– I feel weird saying this, but James looks really good in his punk rocker disguise.

Pokemon Ep 45 screen6

– I am not in the least bit surprised that Team Rocket has quick access to a portable outdoor stage.

– I can understand the song reaching the town square and maybe even a little beyond that, but Neon Town is incredibly loud. I doubt it would cover the whole city, even with loud speakers and amps. I especially don’t believe it would be audible in the buildings, particularly the casinos and bars…..Oh yeah, by the way, there’s a place here called 7 Diamond Bar in this town and 4Kids didn’t censor or paint it. I guess because it just looks like a slot machine, but it’s very obviously the sign for the casino/bar.

Pokemon Ep 45 screen7

– Bullshit those people are not only sleeping standing up, but also holding things and not dropping them. This town is filled with people that don’t make sense.

– While Team Rocket somehow failed in their attempt to not hear the song, why didn’t Ash and Co. think to do anything?

– I realize now that Jigglypuff’s schtick would be funnier if it actually drew things half the time instead of just making mindless scribbles. He makes some actual drawings, like drawing open eyes on Pikachu and a twirly mustache on Brock, but it’s mostly just scribbles.

– Jigglypuff has to have massive petty vengeance to go all around the city and draw on every single person….except Ash and co. for some reason.

– Ash: “Uh oh, everybody in town fell asleep.” Yeah, because they’re human.

– Getting a few hours of sleep does not reverse rampant dickishness.

– Brock: “Jigglypuff’s song not only puts people to sleep, but maybe it has the power to make people nicer, too.” Oh pft. Fuck off.

Gonna keep that line in my back pocket because I am almost positive it will be needed in the future.

– Also, this solves nothing for Neon Town. I don’t believe Brock’s theory for a second, so I’m left to believe these people just lost their grumpiness because they got some sleep, even if that’s incredibly stupid too. Be that as it may, won’t they all be back to being jerks in another couple of days or so without Jigglypuff to forcibly thrust them into slumberland?

Pokemon Ep 45 screen8

I really think the original ending of this episode was Jigglypuff staying in Neon Town to help visitors and citizens sleep when they had to either combat insomnia or to get sleep when the lights and sounds of the city were too much to sleep through, but then the writers thought Jigglypuff’s schtick was so gosh darn hilarious that they kept it as a recurring character.

– They really try to hammer Brock’s theory in by having Team Rocket ridiculously giddy as they leave the city, but 1) Nope, still bullshit. 2) If it really does make you nicer, and Ash and Co, have fallen asleep from it three times at this point, shouldn’t they be joining a convent by now? 3) Team Rocket was not any nicer after they fell victim to the song the first time. 4) If they’re nicer now, shouldn’t they stop being criminals, or is the nice thing just temporary? Because that makes this ending even more pointless. And 5) This little extra power stuff is never seen or mentioned after this episode, so bullshit.

– And just to get this out of the way, we know Jigglypuff got the marker from Ash’s backpack, but where did it later get a microphone that also doubles as a marker?

————————————-

I’m alright with this episode. Jigglypuff can be pretty entertaining in small doses, and it is cute, but knowing what I know will become of it now, and taking into consideration how jealous, petty and mean it can be sometimes, I have mixed feelings.

There is definitely a good deal of humor in this episode that works, but the plot with Neon Town is so terrible and poorly written it’s insane.

The animation in this episode was also weird. Half the time, the animation seemed better than normal and the other half it seemed worse.

Next episode, we meet the fossil Pokemon, and Charmeleon suddenl–…..*sigh* This is going to be a ranty episode, isn’t it?

Previous Episode….

Pokemon Shorties! (5) Camp Pikachu

Rating: 3/10

Plot: It’s the return of the Pichu Bros, and they need help from Pikachu and the gang. They got knocked off of a train that was supposed to be taking them back to their home town, and they have to find their way back.

Breakdown: Well, now we’re treading into completely unfamiliar territory. Despite the fact that I’ve seen Pokemon Heroes a few times, I’ve never seen the accompanying short, Camp Pikachu.

I’ve only ever seen Pokemon Heroes On Demand, and for some reason the short that went with the movie was never included or offered separately. I never bought the movie on DVD, so Camp Pikachu became an unknown feature to me.

Should be interesting to tackle something I have no knowledge about thusfar so let’s dive right in!

We start off with the Pichu Bros., apparently they’re becoming a recurring thing in the shorts now, riding on top of a train. The narrator tells us that they’re taking the train back to their hometown, but they hit some…hanging bag or something and end up flying back into the forest. This is why you should’ve purchased a ticket. Damn rail-riding hobos.

They fly into a tree branch that has a Wynaut on it and they all get flung into another direction—again with the flinging Pokemon. Why is this a weird running gag in Pokemon shorts?

We cut to Pikachu, Togepi, Psyduck, Corsola, Cyndaquil, Totodile and Phanpy playing by themselves in the forest. No idea where Ash, Misty and Brock are. Again. I also have no clue where all of the other Pokemon are, nor why none of Brock’s Pokemon are present here. Again. They just seem to pick and choose who gets to be in the shorts sometimes.

The Pichu Bros and Wynaut land on Psyduck’s head, have a quick reunion with their old pal Pikachu and explain what happened. They need to get to the train station to find another train back to their hometown and we get our disgusting CGI wood title screen.

Be glad you didn’t get an animated gif version.

The gang starts their journey and if you ever wanted Pokemon to have a hoedown song, your dream’s about to come true!

I seriously can’t make heads to tails of this choice….Why a hoedown song? Did they immediately think ‘redneck’ when they thought of camping? I haven’t even seen any camping so far – they’re just walking through the woods. I would almost say this song sequence is trippy. It’s just…it doesn’t seem like something Pokemon would have….ever…The singer saying the word ‘Pikachu’ in itself is so odd to me. Plus the banjo….I just…I feel weird.

Cut to Meowth and Wobbuffet who seem to be legit camping and are currently on a nature walk. I find it funny that the times when Team Rocket chooses to go on vacation or just not be around are during times when it would be insanely easy to catch Pikachu. They roll down a steep hill together, end scene.

Back with the Pokemon, they play around in a river for a bit with Totodile’s Water Gun, we cut to sunset when the Pokemon play with their shadows and then we cut to night time when they have a nice campfire courtesy of Cyndaquil.

One of the Pichu Bros. spots something behind them and goes to investigate with Wynaut to find that it’s a Duskull. It scares Pichu for a minute until Wynaut reveals that it’s friends with Duskull.

Back at camp, a stick pokes the scruffy-haired Pichu Bro and he goes off to investigate only to be spooked and chased by Duskull. He chases Pichu into the camp and the other Pichu and Wynaut pop up laughing to reveal it was all a joke. Those silly little rapscallions. Everyone else laughs along with them and we cut to later that night.

It starts downpouring and they’re soon approached by a Volbeat who tells them how to stay out of the rain – by using big leaves as umbrellas.

Volbeat leads them to a water mill for a dry place to spend the night.

Meowth and Wobbuffet are also stuck in the rain, and they’re soon spooked by Duskull as well, causing them to tumble down a hill and into the water wheel. They take shelter in the water mill, which they believe is empty, but the other Pokemon are sleeping upstairs.

Meowth and Wobbuffet accidentally activate the water mill causing all sorts of hijinks and slapstick. During the chaos, Meowth and Wobbuffet get flung out of the water mill, into the water and flung off into the woods.

After more hijinks, Pikachu and Volbeat find the lever and shut off the mill.

The next morning, everyone wakes up and bids farewell to Volbeat and heads off for the train station.

Back with Meowth and Wobbuffet, they take out one cookie as their final food for the trip (Team Rocket is just friggin’ awful at managing their damn food supply.) and a Skarmory that appeared earlier grabs the cookie from them. However, Wobbuffet and Meowth grab onto it to get the cookie back and end up flying away on it.

The group finds their way to the train station, but the train is already heading out. They toboggan down the hill on giant leaves and grab a handcar. Wynaut calls a bunch of its Wynaut friends out of nowhere to help them push the car.

Scruffy-haired Pichu makes it onto the train, but the handcar starts losing speed and the other Pichu can’t make it on. They try to go faster and Cyndaquil decides to use his Flamethrower off the back of the hand car to make them go faster. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t work that way. If it did, Cyndaquil would fly off whenever it would use that attack.

They start catching up but Psyduck gets flung off the car and into the track switcher, which causes the handcar to go up a mountainside that still seems to roughly follow the train’s original tracks. While they’re on a bridge overlooking the train, Phanpy throws Pichu off towards the train, but all of the Pokemon end up flying off it as well. Totodile realizes that Pichu won’t quite make it so he Water Guns him further towards the train.

Pichu reaches the train and reunites with his brother, the other Pokemon fall into a conveniently placed pile of hay, Meowth and Wobbuffet also land on the train, which I guess they needed to do and the Pichi Bros wave goodbye to the gang.

Bottomline: Well, that….certainly was….boring. It’s not awful or even particularly stupid….it’s just boring. I kinda regret writing out the whole synopsis because I barely had a note to say about it the entire time. The Pichu Bros need to get on a train, so they go to the train and get on….that’s about it. It seems like these shorts are just increasingly becoming more and more of ‘watch cute Pokemon be cute, but do nothing.’

Is anyone else a little pissed that this short is called ‘Camp Pikachu’ and yet all of a minute and a half involve anything camping related? They had a campfire that they didn’t even really do anything at because the Pichu Bros were too busy with Duskull. And….that’s it.

Even Pikachu didn’t do much in the short, which baffled me. He turned off the water mill with Volbeat, and that’s about it. Wynaut knew the way to the train station, Cyndaquil made them a fire, Volbeat gave them Leaf-brellas and shelter, Wynaut got its friends to help move the handcar, Cyndaquil made it go faster, Totodile launched Pichu at the end and Pikachu amounted to nothing for a change. Don’t get me wrong, that’s actually a breath of fresh air, but it’s weird. Camp Pikachu has a severe lack of CAMP and PIKACHU.

We still never found out where Ash and the others are. Pikachu and the others have to be fairly far away from where they were left at this point since it took them over a day to get to the station, and they stayed overnight during the journey. Ash and the others are probably basket cases by now.

There wasn’t even a big conflict in this one. The first one had Charizard stuck in a pipe, the second one had the storm, the third had the tire fort thing, the fourth had the psychopathic lawnmower from hell and this one has….nothing. There are mini-conflicts but ultimately nothing.

There wasn’t even any funny parts except maybe Wynaut and Wobbuffet going back and forth like Psyduck and Slowpoke did back in the day.

The art and animation, at least for the Pokemon, was a step up, as it usually is, but the backgrounds and CGI suffer for it. The backgrounds look scratchy as hell, like a kid made them most of the time, and the CGI is just ick. Either it looks fake as hell or it looks overly realistic.

The music was weird, too. The concept of a Pokemon Hoedown still baffles me and the execution is awkward. The BG music and end credit music are forgettable.

Overall, like other shorts, this is probably good for a little kid to watch just to enjoy the cute Pokemon flying everywhere and doing cute things, but everyone else can pass.

Recommended Audience: If you’re not conceived yet, you can probably still watch this.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons): Winx Club

Plot: A teenage girl named Bloom finds a fairy named Stella being attacked by an ogre out in the woods. In an effort to save her, Bloom discovers that she has fairy magic too. This is just the start of something much bigger for Bloom.

Breakdown: Alright, I need to prepare myself for this one. Just gonna jump into my subconscious for a tad.

*poof*

Girly part of me! Where are you?! I need you for 20 minutes and 14 seconds! I know you’re in here! I felt your presence when I was looking at puppy pictures earlier! Ah there you are. I don’t know why I don’t always look in the nook with my Beanie Baby collection first.

Away!

*poof*

So, yeah, as you can probably guess, despite having the girl parts, I’ve never been that girly. I’ve always been more into things that were more traditionally boy-like. I had some regular girly stuff like Barbies and bead sets and a fake plastic kitchen (I make the best plastic omelets), I’ve even had the tea parties and dressed like a fairy princess once. But if you ever asked me to choose between something like Power Rangers and My Little Pony, I’d be imagining piloting the Megazord before you’d finish your sentence. I never really disliked girly things, I was just more interested in boy-ish stuff…..It was cooler….No My Little Pony dolls shoot lasers or explode, okay?

With that in mind, it goes without saying that I never really watched Winx Club. I caught a few minutes of it here and there but—OOH BEYBLADE’S ON!

*cough* Something else would usually come on.

But I’m not without my girliness. My femininity. My female…itude…..I have a purse.

Let’s see if I can get into Winx Club.

*one episode later*

Mmmmmmmm…..Nrrghhh……Unf.

Alright, let me level with you. This show is not terrible on the basis of rampant girliness. The girliness levels are high, damn near ridiculous (The main character’s animal sidekick is a damn bunny for crying out loud), but I was able to get through that relatively fine…

This episode is just poorly written.

Right off the bat, the pacing for the first half is breakneck. In the first three minutes, we’re briefly introduced to our main character, Bloom, who is a normal average teenage girl, she sees a fairy girl with a valley girl accent fighting an ogre, she starts to be defeated, Bloom goes to help her, reveals she suddenly has powers, knocks the ogre away, the fairy girl, named Stella, gets back up, defeats the ogre with ease and then faints.

The pacing slows down a bit then ramps right back up after the ten minute mark. For example, in the time span of a minute, Stella brings Bloom to Alfea, an all-girls boarding college for fairies, pixies and something called…gowylians? Gowillians?….Uh those – Most of whom are princesses because of course they are. They learn to be magic users, protectors of their realms and queens.

This place is right down the road from the boy’s school – The Red Fountain School for Heroics and Bravery (A place ‘full of hunks’ according to Stella), where young men learn to become military heroes utilizing such things as hand to hand combat, weapon use, basic survival, magic swords and DRAGONS. Look! Look! The boys get magic swords and dragons! They get the cool stuff!

They’re also closeby to the Clow Tower School for Witches, which could not be more designed to be a villain factory if you tried.

Then, in the same minute mind you, she informs Bloom that she already invited some of the boys from the Red Fountain school to her house. When did she do this? She never had the opportunity as far as I saw.

If the pacing doesn’t get you, the story won’t do you any favors. It is extremely cut and dry ‘normal person discovers she has magic powers and is tasked to save the world’ schtick. The good guys are obvious, the bad guys are even more obvious and they practically go out of their way to separate everyone into their respective groups. For God’s sake, if sectioning off good from evil wasn’t enough, they have to cordon off the boys into their own school too. So we can wrangle the love interests? What’s that about?

Wait a minute.

*One Wiki Later*

Yup, that’s literally it’s purpose. All of the future members of the Winx club will have either fiances or boyfriends and, you guessed it, they all, barring one, come from the Red Fountain school. Wow.

Bloom’s parents are unreasonably stupid. Not believing your daughter brought home a fairy is one thing, being one room away from a door that is being brutally pounded on by someone, seeing a pet freaking out about it and constantly wondering why the animal is freaking out and pointing to the aforementioned door is another. They have to shake the whole house and actually enter before they realize, holy crap, someone’s at the door.

Anyone familiar with Tuxedo Mask Syndrome in magical girl shows can rest assured that the girls do indeed get rescued in the end by the hero boys she mentioned. At the very least, they barely know what they’re doing too.

The dialogue is okay at best and cringe-worthy at worst. There’s a lot of lame slang, valley girl speak and just horribly written lines delivered in lackluster ways. Par for the course for 4Kids.

The art and animation are horrid. It’s not the absolute worst I’ve seen, but it is quite a ways down there. Italy, I hate to keep giving you crap, but….you kinda keep giving me crap. It’s weird. There isn’t really a tidal wave of animation errors – it’s moreso like an unfinished animation or just sloppily done. The action actually isn’t the worst part of it. The bad animation is most highlighted in the speaking scenes. I laughed out loud when we saw Brendan speaking in that extreme closeup. If there was ever a shot where bobble-head physics applied, it’s that one.

The music is about what you’d expect from a girl-targeted show from 4Kids. Girly earworms. I will wag my finger in 4Kids face for one moment of music faux pas. They very clearly use a piece of BG music from Pokemon when Bloom wakes up. Tsk tsk.

As a first episode, it does the job just fine. Mostly because they’re mowing down the plot of the episode to shove every bit of exposition down our throats as quickly as possible. It introduces us to the characters and their universe just fine. They don’t really explain too well what fairies are in terms of what they do, nor do they explain how their magic works. They also never explain why or how Bloom is a fairy. She just shows she has powers and Stella spends half the episode gushing about how awesome she is.

They show the big bads, but we have no clue what they want beside power and I can only assume world domination.

Final Verdict—wait a minute.

While this first episode, in my opinion, is a hot mess that doesn’t make me want to want to watch anymore, I will concede for a bit. Winx Club is a huge franchise spanning over several seasons, movies and even comics.

I’ve read some stuff from future storylines and it seems somewhat interesting. I don’t want to write off the entire franchise for you all here, so let’s leave this as an;

ebzss3e

I, personally, won’t be continuing because it’s just not my cup of tea. However, if you can find yourself getting into shows of this vein, I recommend giving it a go for a few episodes. If anything, the art and animation seem to improve over time.

Ojamajo Doremi Episode 2 Sub/Dub Comparison

Plot: Hazuki is depressed with her life and wishes to be Doremi. Doremi doesn’t mind the idea of being Hazuki since she’s rich, so she uses magic to change them into each other to live each others lives. However, is the grass really greener on the other side?

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

The episode starts off with Hazuki leaving for the day and wondering to herself what would happen if she ran away before the theme song starts. After the theme song ends, we get Doremi giving a short recap as to who she is and why she has powers, the regular magic girl show schtick. Both of these scenes are removed.

Pop tells Doremi that the bath is ready for her whereas Caitlyn asks if Dorie’s having conversations with herself again.

The witch exams are just called ninth through first exams. In the dub, the first exam is called the Fairy Exam whereas, originally, it’s the ninth. Technically this is still descriptive of the exam since it’s an exam that, if passed, allows Doremi to get her own fairy like Majorika has in Lala.

Doremi originally accidentally tells Hazuki that she’s a witch for a second, and imagines herself as a frog alongside Majorika. Hazuki asks what she means by that, she freaks out and says she has a witch’s way of thinking. In the dub, the daydream and the freaking out are removed and it’s changed to Dorie telling Reanne that she forgot to do her homework. I have no clue why this was cut.

Visuals:

Doremi’s actually more rude than Dorie is in the next part. It’s clear that Hazuki is upset and depressed about her life right now. When she’s trying to explain it, Doremi says, literally, that it doesn’t matter and that she’s the world’s unhappiest pretty girl, but if she were Hazuki she’d be lucky and happy. In the dub, Reanne says she might have a point that her life seems good, but sometimes she wishes she were someone else. Dorie then goes off saying she’d want to be like that shampoo commercial where she smells the shampoo and then rides off into the rainforest on a unicorn….call that stupid, but that actually sounds like an awesome commercial.

Text is replaced again to make the books say…oddly enough ‘reading.’…”Kids, these are your reading books.” “…..As opposed to non-reading books?” “DO YOU WANT DETENTION!?”

Subbed:

Dubbed:

Name Change: Yuki-Sensei is changed to Ms. Shannon

Originally, Doremi apologizes for what she said earlier and Hazuki says she wishes Doremi hadn’t found out about her problems that way and also apologizes. In the dub, Dorie tells Reanne that her friendship is important to her and that she wants her to know that she can always tell her anything. Reanne says that no one’s never said such a nice thing to her before and says Dorie’s a great friend.

I thank God above that 4Kids only dubbed two magical girl anime in their existence because between Mew Mew Power in my face and Faladeiladongding now I am a witchling, I’m already resisting the urge to be a serial killer.

The spell to turn Reanne into Dorie is “This will make a real great story, turn Reanne into Dorie.” The original’s has yet to change.

Hazuki is happy she’s finally Doremi whereas Reanne is happy she’s ‘someone else’, which is a lot sadder when you think about it. Being envious of someone and despising your life so much that you’d just wish to be anyone else are two very different things.

Aw, 4Kids, you were doing so well. There’s a sign on the trash bins that says ‘Trash’ in Japanese. Instead of changing it like they’ve been doing, they painted away not only the word but also all of the little designs on the sign and the bins. They replace them with typical recycling symbols.

Subbed:

Dubbed:

The spell for changing Dorie into Reanne is “Now for part two of this plan, turn Dorie into Reanne!” Still the same in the original.

The dub doesn’t include the parts about saying that witches really exist and also adds that Dorie jokes with Reanne about calling her sister ‘bratface’. In addition, while they keep in the part about asking how to address their parents, Dorie doesn’t ask Reanne for the same information whereas Doremi does.

Again, they change her being excited about being Doremi into her being excited to be quite literally anyone but herself.

The eyecatches are removed.

Visuals:

Pop isn’t singing a girly pop (hehe) song when Hazuki comes in like Caitlyn is. Also, Pop kindly greets Hazuki (Doremi) while Catilyn says snotily “What are YOU staring at?”

There’s no way to keep this in here besides being uncharacteristically loyal to the source material, but Hazuki keeps calling Pop, Pop-chan, which she seems to despise. It causes her to continuously freak out, and she refers to her prior conversation with the actual Doremi by saying ‘If you don’t want one of my boyfriends, that’s fine. But don’t refer to me by that suffix!” In the dub, she’s freaking out about how nice Reanne is being to her. She then says the complete opposite of the last line by saying this means Dorie actually wants one of her boyfriends now, but it will cost her.

They edit out a shot of Hazuki freaking out when Pop says she’s acting weird.

Visuals:

Also, they cut the next shot of Pop down to just show her with big round eyes.

Doremi’s mom is nicer and just asks Pop what she wants whereas Dorie’s mom yells that she’s busy.

In the original, Doremi’s mom asks for the sauce. The dub asks for the flour. She then asks to check the bathroom where as the dub asks for vacuuming. Asking if the gate is locked is changed to answering the phone and Doremi’s mom is consistently nicer than Dorie’s seemingly attitude-ish one.

Doremi clamors over calling Hazuki’s mom ‘mama’ whereas Dorie’s clamoring over saying ‘ma’am’ because god knows she never could’ve said that when she was Dorie.

The one thing I always find weird about these ‘switching bodies’ episodes of anything is when the characters change clothes or are the other person for extended periods of time. Technically, in this case, the girls are just magically transformed to look exactly like each other, but it’s still an exact replica of Doremi’s and Hazuki’s bodies. You’d have to change clothes, take showers, do….other things, in someone else’s body. That’s just creepy.

In the original, Hazuki’s mom only says they’re having dinner at a hotel. In the dub, there’s no mention of a hotel, they just call the place The Winchesters. Which can only mean one thing. They’re having dinner with Sam and Dean.

Hazuki’s mom asks if she’d like Italian or French for dinner. Reanne’s mom asks if she’d like pasta or salad.

Hazuki’s mom replies to Doremi’s request of steak by mentioning that she had it yesterday. Doremi responds by saying that today’s another day and that’s just what she wants. In the dub, they keep the mention of steak there but they change her mom’s line to saying Reanne’s a vegetarian. Dorie responds by saying she’s not one anymore and she needs protein. Hazuki’s mom responds by saying she can have whatever she wants, and Doremi replies in thanks. Reanne’s mom asks her about her argument about soy protein, and Dorie just says to forget about it.

Hazuki’s mom goes off to make the reservations. In the dub, she goes off to pick more dresses.

Hazuki’s teacher doesn’t tell her what song to play, and Doremi asks when she gets steak. Hazuki’s mom laughs at the fact that she thought she’d get dinner right then. In the dub, Reanne’s teacher tells her to play Paco Bell. Dorie asks what Paco Bell is Reanne’s mom says she’s been practicing it all week and to kindly play it for them. To be fair, I don’t know what Paco Bell is either. Yo quiero Paco Bell!

Doremi’s dad shows Hazuki a catalog about lures when Doremi’s mom bursts in to tell them to stop what they’re doing and come eat dinner. Doremi’s dad yells about how he’s a serious fly fisher and Doremi’s mom strikes back by saying it’s awful because she’s the one who has to gut and clean them. This eventually leads to a comedic, note COMEDIC, physical fight. Exactly like the ones you’d see in Western cartoons with the doofy sound effects and cloud of smoke.

In the dub, Dorie’s mom tells him to stop talking to Reanne about that stuff and Dorie’s dad interrupts her by saying he’s a very serious fly fishing writer. Dorie’ mom strikes back by saying he’s barely sold anything and the entire scene with the extended comedic fight and the arguing is removed as we cut straight to Hazuki’s reaction shot, which is also edited to be rid of the dust clouds. I get it, ya know, domestic violence and whatnot, but come on, they couldn’t have made it anymore comically unserious if they put a giant banner on screen that said ‘THIS IS A JOKE! ONLY A COMPLETE BRAINDEAD IDIOT WOULD THINK DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS OKAY!”

Visuals:

Hazuki wonders how they can be so civil and friendly to one another at dinner after having such a bad fight. Due to the previous completely unneeded line change, this is changed to Reanne not being able to eat the steak dinner since she’s a vegetarian. I’m really just hoping sometime in the future Hazuki will eat meat and 4Kids will either completely miss it or edit it out because they’re idiots.

This line is changed, but what they did do was funny. Doremi’s mom says she knew Doremi was acting weird so she bought the steak to help cheer her up. In the dub, this line is omitted and instead we get this.

Mom: “She doesn’t have a fever.”

Dad: “Did you check her tongue?”

Mom: “For WHAT?!”

Dad: “I dunno! Spots?!”

I nearly spit out my drink this was so funny. Kudos, 4Kids. Also, you can tell Dan Green has a lot of fun as the dad. The parents have a good back and forth in both versions. Usually anyway.

Hazuki says her parents will be really worried about her whereabouts if they find Doremi in her bed instead of her. In the dub, Reanne says if they find Dorie there, they’ll be confused and send her to the hospital.

Hazuki talks about how bad she feels for deceiving Doremi’s parents and how she made them worry about her since she wasn’t acting like Doremi would act. In the dub, Reanne talks about how much she missed her family while she was with Dorie’s family.

The next scene is the same only the dub adds in the mention of her not eating it because she’s a vegetarian. It’s really important that we drill this into your head for no reason.

They cut the final scene out, which is Doremi learning that the steak that was kept from dinner last night was eaten sometime, somehow between Hazuki going to bed and Doremi returning late at night. Her family rejoices in her being back to normal, but Doremi laments at her bad luck.

Next episode we’re introduced to Aiko who seems to be the last girl in their magical girl group who will get powers – at least during this series.

Pokemon Episode 44 Analysis: The Problem with Paras

Pokemon Ep 44 Title

CotD(s): Cassandra – An herbalist like her grandmother, Cassandra’s greatest dream is to evolve her Paras and use Parasect’s mushroom spores to make a miracle potion to help all Pokemon across the world.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Paras and later Parasect, along with a Persian.

Evolutions: Ash’s Charmander -> Charmeleon

Plot: The group comes across a small village and decide to stop there to load up on potions and antidotes. When they approach an herbalist’s shop, they’re challenged by the owner’s granddaughter, Cassandra, to a Pokemon battle.

She sends out her Pokemon, Paras, to battle Ash, but he’s perplexed to find that Paras seemed extremely scared and unwilling to battle. Cassandra says she wants her Paras to evolve into a Parasect as soon as possible so she can harvest the spores from its mushroom to use in a miracle potion that will restore defensive power, attack power, concentration, determination and even make it smarter.

Ash realizes that Paras cannot withstand the full force of his team, so he tells Pikachu and Squirtle to go easy on it, essentially letting it win, in order to gain easy experience and evolve.

Despite a dinky spark from Pikachu and a little squirt of water from Squirtle, Paras is still easily toppled each time. Ash decides to try Charmeleon, but is shocked to find that it refuses to obey his orders, blasting Paras with a powerful Flamethrower and Tail Whip before burning Ash.

He’s able to get Charmeleon under control with the help of Pikachu, but Paras has run off in a panic.

Meanwhile, Meowth is obsessed with helping Cassandra achieve her dream since she cared for him earlier. He was suffering from a fever, and she was kind enough to stop and make him some medicine. After the fever was relieved, he found himself smitten and swore to help Cassandra.

As Paras runs away, Meowth takes the opportunity to nab up Paras and help him evolve by ‘training’ him with Arbok and Weezing. He knocks them both out himself and pretends Paras did it, then pretends to be knocked out by one measly attack, which instantly boosts Paras’ confidence.

They’re successful in their plans, but leave Ash to finish the job when they reunite Cassandra with Paras. Pikachu willingly falls to Paras, but Ash tries Charmeleon again afterwards.

It doesn’t go well.

Cassandra’s grandmother reveals that Ash is too inexperienced, making Charmeleon no longer respect him. Charmeleon won’t obey Ash at all now and starts rampaging. Paras tries to run, but Team Rocket arrives and cheers him on, revealing to Cassandra that they’ve been secretly training Paras. Suddenly, Paras manages to instantly knock Charmeleon out with a poke to the stomach. This last bit of experience allows Paras to evolve into Parasect.

Charmeleon gets up, blasts off Team Rocket and attacks again, but is put to sleep by Parasect’s Spore attack, allowing Ash to finally recall him.

Cassandra bids farewell to Ash and the others. Soon after, Team Rocket lands in front of her shop so she decides to patch them up. Meowth happily believes she’ll make him the company mascot now, but she refuses, stating she can’t take him away from their job as ‘superheroes’, the cover story they gave her before. Her grandma finds a Persian outside that she claims she’ll use as a surrogate for him before sending him on his way.

————————–

– It’s the return of the completely useless maps.

Pokemon Ep 44 Screen 1
Are they in a golf course?

– Narrator: “It’s a quaint, cute place. But it’s so small, it doesn’t even have its own Pokemon Gym.”

They very rarely ever visit a place that does have its own Pokemon Gym. Just ask literally every region they’ll visit in the future. About 95% of the places they visit are Gym free. Size doesn’t have anything to do with it, either. They’ve been to massive cities that don’t have Gyms, and some Gyms are in small rural towns.

Ash: “There’s no use stoppin’ here if they don’t have a Gym.” Again, you guys stop at many places that don’t have Gyms. If you didn’t, this series would be much shorter.

– Ash: “I’m dyin’ for a cheeseburger.” 4Kids and their hard-on for cheeseburgers again.

Misty: “No way! I want to go to a nice restaurant!” This place is described as being a very dinky little backwoods village. What makes her think they have a nice restaurant?

– I am finding the sudden shifts in quality for Team Rocket’s disguises to be off-putting. One episode, they’ll have great outfits and tons of props, the next they’ll be crawling on the ground in plain view while holding up small branches pretending to be bushes.

Pokemon Ep 44 Screen 2

– If Meowth’s head is so hot that it burns Jessie’s hand, through a glove no less, he should be dead.

– James: “Wait a second, Jessie. If we leave Meowth here, he could collapse from that fever.”

Jessie: “Don’t worry. He’s still got eight more lives left.” I know you guys are meant to be villains, but holy shit, you’re legit saying you don’t care if Meowth dies.

– And thus begins Meowth’s very uncomfortable crush on the human girl, Cassandra.

I get that Meowth is just not used to people being nice to him, but why does his appreciation need to be in the form of a crush? At least Cassandra doesn’t return his feelings or anything, but it’s still awkward. Between this and the crush Chikorita will have on Ash, it’s getting really weird in Pokemon. Oh well, at least I don’t believe there’s anything else like this in the further future—Oh hey, I didn’t read up on the Bulbagarden comparison for this episode.

Let’s see…Hmmmhmhmhm.

“This was years and years before the Diamond & Pearl games dropped that bombshell about humans marrying pokemon, by the way!” The….what?

Original Japanese Text in Diamond and Pearl: ““Sinnoh Folk Story 3” There once were Pokémon that married people. There once were people who married Pokémon. This was a normal thing because long ago people and Pokémon were the same.”

…..My God….so many people on DeviantArt must have had a field day with this.

– It was nice that Cassandra helped Meowth, but she is leaving him, happily, in the hands of people who denied being his trainers and nearly left for him dead, verbally expressing that they didn’t care if he died.

– I’m just going to condense some of the biggest problems with this episode so I don’t clutter up the post with pages of material.

Major problem A – who gives a crap about the Paras line?

Pokemon Ep 44 Screen 3
Oh my god, a handshake! Don’t kill me!

Personally, I don’t find it ugly or anything (Well, Parasect is a little) but you’d be hardpressed to find anyone who would either put them on their favorites list or use one on their team in the games at any point in time.

They’re not the worst Pokemon in the world, but they are a major liability being both Grass and Bug (Not one but two x4 weaknesses? Oh boy!) their stats are far from impressive and they’re really only even a little useful if you focus on status effects.

Major problem B – Pokemon specific episodes are meant to celebrate the focused Pokemon.

Pokemon Ep 44 Screen 4
Yay Paras!

Like the Paras line or not – this episode makes a Pokemon with a terrible rep look even worse. An incredibly weak Paras, even moreso than you’d think, is such a pathetic sack of crap that even minor non-attacks knock it flat on its ass.

Put it this way – if you encountered this thing in the wild in the games and wanted to capture it for some reason, all you had were off-brand Pokeballs and you knew every attack of any Pokemon you owned was too powerful for it and the game included a ‘breathe gently on it’ option – if you used that option, it would probably die.

When Paras is finally fake winning battles, the thing gets an ego the size of Kanto and starts picking fights with other Pokemon. So either Paras is a drama queen little wimp or an ego-centric asshole. Why would I want to root for this fungus covered dick?

Not only that, but Cassandra purely wants Parasect to use as an ingredient in potions. She doesn’t even have anything interesting to say about Paras. She’s laser focused on Parasect.

This has nothing to do with what Paras wants or highlights anything special about Paras or even Parasect, and it’s all about what the spores from Parasect’s mushroom MIGHT be able to do. Not what it’s been proven to do. What it could possibly maybe do – which is highly unlikely anyway because, bloody hell, she basically wants this ‘miracle potion’ to do everything short of solving the debt crisis and curing death. And, as we can see in the series, that potion never happened so, in hindsight, this whole episode is a waste of time and a complete waste of an attempt at cleaning up the Paras line’s horrible rep.

Major problem C – The clusterfuck that is experience, levels and how they’re applied in regards to battles in the anime. Notably the biggest and most discussed problem of this episode is how experience is being portrayed here.

Pokemon Ep 44 Screen 5

The plot goes that Cassandra is trying to get her Paras to evolve, but can’t since it doesn’t have much experience and its level is low. She tries to get it to win battles, but it’s so embarrassingly weak that she can’t win.

Ash decides to let Cassandra win by making her Pokemon do such lame attacks that, logically, no Pokemon should be able to be knocked out by. Ash is unsuccessful at this, but Team Rocket has better luck by knocking out their Pokemon behind Paras’ back and pretending it did it. It can be argued that the one battle it legit won was against Charmeleon, but let’s save that little nugget for later.

The point is, experience was fabricated and ‘levels’ were gained through fake battles, which ultimately let Paras evolve into Parasect. After The School of Hard Knocks, it seemed like they were dropping the idea of an experience system that was close to what the games had, especially since Ash’s Pokemon should be well into evolution by now if we estimate their levels.

However, now it seems like it’s back, at least in a sense. They’re not talking about levels, but they are clearly talking about experience as if it’s a quantifiable concept that can be measured and gained explicitly through battle.

That’s all well and dandy, but the idea of faking battles for the sake of evolution is just unreal. Experience, in a more subjective view, is much like how you’d gain experience in anything in real life. You learn, you build muscle, you get a little faster, you get a little stronger, you get better at developing strategies etc. Somehow, that translates to a Pokemon’s body or spirit or whatnot affirming that they’ve reached whatever point is deemed necessary for it to evolve, and it does so, if the Pokemon wishes (They use their internal B button if they don’t)

If it is as such, experience should not be able to be gained in such deceptive manners, unless, somehow, the concept of experience is all in the Pokemon’s head, which just creates more confusion. No timid Pokemon in existence would ever evolve, and egotistical Pokemon could evolve without barely a battle under their belt.

In a less realistic but, given the games, understandable viewpoint, experience is something quantitative that we can measure in numeric units. Which means this plan still shouldn’t work. Experience points, whatever they are, should only be able to be gained when legit battles are won. I’m not sure how the body or whatever is distributing these points would be able to tell the difference, but, logically, that’s the way it would go.

The only game canon thing I can think of that skirts around this rule is the item Exp. Share, which grants a Pokemon experience whenever another Pokemon on your team wins a battle. I have never been able to come up with a logical explanation behind how that device works and it’s not anime canon as far as I can see so it’s hard to work that into this discussion.

It just doesn’t seem right in any way that Paras is able to fabricate experience by faking battles – Which leads us into the next issue.

Major problem D – The ethical ramifications of faking experience.

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I’m certain that Ash and the others don’t see much harm in throwing these battles because it’s not like Cassandra is trying to win a contest or do anything official – she just wants a Parasect to make medicine. However, ethically, this practice would be ludicrous.

If it were that easy to gain experience, surely becoming a Pokemon trainer would be a gigantic pain in the ass. If you wanted to be legit, you’d have to face trainer after trainer of cheaters who have massive teams of level 100s that they got by playing ‘Pokemon Battle Theater’ for a few days.

And just forget about getting into the Pokemon League. Afterall, I doubt they’d have any method of determining if a Pokemon got their experience through legitimate battles or fake ones. Imagine how easy it would be if you wanted to be a professional baseball player and you reached pro level in skill by playing against two year olds in strollers while you play teeball with a bat the size of a pizza peel.

Let’s not leave out Team Rocket, who would’ve easily taken over the world by now with an army of level 100 powerhouses that they obtained in a few weeks.

(Admittedly Less) Major Problem E – Why can’t Cassandra just find a wild Parasect?

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They’re not exactly the rarest Pokemon ever. Or maybe find a Paras that is not a complete spineless wuss and train that to evolve. Paras definitely aren’t too rare, and I assume she lives in an area where they are indigenous because she has one.

For that matter, if Parasect’s spores are so well-known for their medicinal properties, surely it’s sold commercially. Given the commonality of the Paras line, I can’t imagine it’s that expensive either.

(Admittedly Less) Major Problem F – The unsettling connotations of this evolution.

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The unsettling aspect of this situation comes in Paras’ evolution. It’s not being forced to evolve or anything, but there is a question of whether Paras might be afraid to evolve, which is why it seems like such a wimpy drama queen in battle.

Why might this be? Have you ever read the games’ Pokedex entries for Parasect? Most of them explain that, after evolution, the mushroom on its back grows so large that the bug ‘host’ is drained of energy, loses consciousness and its control over its thoughts and body while the mushroom controls the ‘host’ for the rest of its life.

Yup. The mushroom is basically a parasite (name makes more sense now) and once Paras evolves, it becomes a mushroom zombie. That is one of the most horrifying ramifications of evolution I’ve ever heard.

– Cassandra: “Good luck, Paras! All the Pokemon on earth are counting on you!” All the Pokemon on earth? You’re being about as dramatic as Paras is about to be.

Also, this thing is so skiddish that it ran away from Pikachu for saying ‘hello’. You really want to pile on the pressure by saying that all of the Pokemon on earth are counting on him?

– Paras is certainly a good Pokemon to have. Look at it roll over and faint after receiving an electric shock so weak that I probably get more amperage flowing through my body when I rub my stocking feet on the carpet. It’s understandable, given that Electric types are ½ as effective on Paras.

– I would applaud Ash for actually researching Paras and deciding to go down the route of a weak type matchup to make it easier to let Paras win…..but…..let’s not waste it. In about two minutes, it will not matter.

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– If you ever had any doubt that Paras was faking – just look at his match with Squirtle. Not only are Water moves not very effective against Grass types, but it was a piddly Water Gun. Give the Electric type some credit – even static shocks hurt a little bit. In the case of Squirtle, his attack was so weak, there’s more pressure and water coming out of the water fountain in a middle school hallway. Either Paras is more fragile than an egg made out of a teenager’s feelings or he’s faking it.

– Ash: “I choose you, Charmeleon!” You….dumb….ass…mother…fucker.

This is why I chose not to praise him for looking up type disadvantages with Paras, ‘Hurr durr, if I can’t lose with a Pokemon who’s got type disadvantage, let’s go for my newly evolved soon-to-be dragon who has a quadruple type advantage! HURADURRDURR!’ Granted, Pidgeotto wouldn’t be any better (well, maybe, considering he at least listens to Ash) but why not give Bulbasaur a go before trying this stupidity? Or maybe letting Misty and Brock try? Outside of Vulpix and Zubat, all of their Pokemon have type disadvantages with Paras.

– Some people apparently believe that Charmeleon’s personality shift happens here due to Ash telling Charmeleon to go easy on Paras, making Charmeleon lose respect for Ash, but I call bunk.

First of all, he was misbehaving the instant he evolved. This is the first we see of Charmeleon straight out disobeying Ash, but blowing fire in his face isn’t something a well-behaved and trained Pokemon would do.

Second, this one incident is definitely not enough to warrant a year or so of misbehaving and assholery.

Third, the old lady later says that Ash simply doesn’t have the experience to handle Charmeleon, but that’s another thing I’m calling out. If we’re still bringing experience and levels into the equation, Ash has more than enough experience as a trainer to handle a Pokemon who is either level 16 or nudging level 36. Game-wise, even getting the Cascade badge (Up to level 30) should be enough to handle Charmeleon, and, if not, the Rainbow Badge (up to level 50) would definitely allow it. Just to make this scenario more realistic, let’s assume it’s the experience level of the trainer to get the badge and not the badge itself that allows for this.

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Charmeleon is acting as if evolving gave him amnesia. He either doesn’t remember or doesn’t care about his past with Ash anymore and that pisses me off to no end. Evolution should not be an excuse to change Charmander’s personality this much.

If winning over the misbehaving Charizard was end-game, they should’ve had Charmander be a difficult brat from the start, which would’ve been believable given his past with Damien. Maybe have him have a bad attitude, but still obey Ash, then when he evolved he started disobeying? They could have had a perfect foundation for this plot, but it’s like they were making it up as they went. This whole extended plotline just seems like it was built on poor writing and planning. The fact that we’ll have to deal with this misbehaving crap until late Orange League is ridiculous.

– Paras is still in the match after getting a full-blast Flamethrower to the face. He was faking before.

– Ash: “I was so happy when Charmander evolved, but now I’m not so sure I was ready for it.”

I give him props for owning up to his shortcomings and inexperience, but I immediately take them away in hindsight because Ash will never learn from this. He will just continue to use Charmeleon and Charizard and expect that each time he does so he will behave and listen even when he does jack to train him.

– There are many reasons to call foul on Paras evolving, but there’s another reason I just realized. Charmander evolves into Charmeleon at level 16. Paras evolves into Parasect at level 24. No way do I believe Paras’ level at the start was even in the double digits, so I’m left to believe all these fake battles gave it ridiculous amounts of experience, surpassing nearly 40 episodes of legitimate experience with Charmander. That’s a load of crap.

– Meowth: “I can’t do that unless you lend me Arbok and Weezing.”

James: “What do you need those two for?”

Meowth: “Because losing battles is their specialty.”

Jessie: “He’s got a point.”

James: “They’re bigger losers than the guy who invented homework. How did we get stuck with such rejects?”

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First of all, nice line about homework, 4Kids. You’re really connecting with the youth.

Second, damn, you two are being really mean today. Arbok and Weezing are two Pokemon that I would actually understand not obeying orders. They live in poverty, probably starve all the time considering the main three can barely keep themselves fed, (Come to think of it, outside of Island of the Giant Pokemon, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Arbok or Weezing eat.) and have to listen to their trainers constantly call them worthless.

– Paras is not only a drama queen wimp and soon to be egotistical jackhole, but it’s also an idiot. How can it really be falling for these fake battles when it’s literally just standing there covering its eyes?

Meowth’s not being subtle in the fact that he’s the one knocking Arbok and Weezing out. The only reason he’s getting away with it, even a little, is because Paras keeps covering its eyes. But even that shouldn’t work entirely because Meowth practically shouts what he’s doing as he does it.

– Meowth pretends to be knocked out by Paras. Why couldn’t they have commanded Arbok and Weezing to fake it too? They just hurt their Pokemon for no reason.

– Ash: “It’s Paras!”

Misty: “How’d it get up in that tree?”

Gee, I dunno, Misty. I’ll have to contact an etymologist about this, but I have certainly never heard of a bug climbing a tree.

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– Ash: “Remember, Pikachu, go easy on it!”

Better yell that right as the battle begins with Paras five feet away so Paras will never hear you say that and catch onto what you’re doing.

– Paras is a douche for stabbing Pikachu’s tail when it had its back turned. Not cool.

– Ash: “Charmeleon! One more time!”

You.

Dumb.

Ass.

Mother.

Fucker.

Take this in, ladies and gentlemen, because this is but the first of many, many, many times this complete braindead imbecile will just up and expect Charmeleon/izard to obey him when fuck all has changed between now and the last time he tried.

Can we get a flashback, by the way?

Ash: “I was so happy when Charmander evolved, but now I’m not so sure I was ready for it.”

Boy howdy, I sure am ready after, hm let’s clock it….five minutes and ten seconds of doing absolutely nothing.

This occasion is ten times as stupid as it is normally because Charmeleon was the one who made Paras run off in the first place, AND there’s still that glaring x4 weakness thing he’s not paying attention to.

What was so wrong with re-selecting Squirtle or letting Bulbasaur have a try or giving Misty and Brock a try? Logic in this episode does not exist.

– Ash: “Hey, what’s the matter? Charmander was always totally obedient.”

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…..Do…you have amnesia? Is amnesia contagious? If telling Charmeleon to let Paras win before did have anything to do with it misbehaving at all, doing it again is just going to make it worse. Even if it didn’t, he still has amnesia for obvious reasons.

– Misty: “Charmeleon won’t obey Ash.”

You sure are a quick study, Misty.

– *Paras one-hit KO’s Charmeleon by poking it in the stomach*

Hmmmm *dials phone*….Yeah, hi, is this every manure company in the world?….Ah, yes, I’d like to order all the bullshit…..What’s that? This episode gained sentience and already ordered it all? Okay.

– Charmeleon immediately gets up and smacks Team Rocket away with its tail. Either it was faking, which is unlikely, or this episode is forgetting that being knocked out takes a lot out of you.

– Why are Ash and Brock so impressed by the Spore attack? How many times have they seen a Pokemon be instantly paralyzed or fall asleep due to one spray of a powder or spore attack? In fact, you almost never see them needing more than one spray. Either the move is avoided, blown away or it hits, and if it does the effect is immediate and strong. I have yet to see a ‘weak’ powder or spore attack. I’ve seen one instance of a ‘more powerful’ Sleep Powder in the Soul Badge episode, but that was in regards to its…force? And ability to blast through a Gust attack.

– Misty: “Looks like you need to evolve into a better trainer, Ash.”

Ash: “Next time, I’ll be fine.”

Pokemon Ep 44 Screen 15
Wipe that smirk off your face and go train your Pokemon, you ninny.

I have no qualms about not giving him those props for owning up to his shortcomings because he doesn’t even go the rest of the episode before basically saying ‘Yeah, I don’t need to train anything. He’ll obey me next time.’

Also, minor note, but Misty’s entire role this whole episode has been to either fight with Ash or insult him. Seriously, nearly every line directed at him has been super bitchy. I didn’t bring it up because, being honest, I feel he deserves it today, but wow.

– Ash: “Well, losing on purpose is the toughest thing we’ve ever done.” He says, again, five feet away from Parasect. Though, being a mushroom zombie, he probably doesn’t care.

– I should really keep a tally of instances where people who should be questioning a talking Meowth aren’t.

– Meowth: “I guess it’s only natural to make me your company mascot–”

Cassandra: “NEVER! I’D NEVER TEAR YOU AWAY FROM TEAM ROCKET!” Why does she seem so pissed at this comment? She is practically screaming this line.

– If Cassandra’s shop needs a company mascot, why would it not be the obvious choice of Parasect? And why is she so willing to adopt this Persian as the mascot? Paras just…’went through all that trouble’ to evolve for Cassandra and she’s going to be using its spores for her miracle potion. Persian have nothing to do with medicine yet she’s instantly into this Persian.

——————————-

The Problem with Paras? More like The Problem with Everything in this Episode!

Pbbtbbtttthahahahaha….ha….that was funnier when I thought of it before writing this.

While March of the Exeggcutor Squad may be infuriating and filled to the brim with terrible, at least it has a few good or funny moments. This is the first episode I remember watching where I can barely think of even one slightly positive thing to say about it.

The faces that Jessie and James make, as well as their tones of voice, at the start of the scene where Meowth is trying to convince them to help him are a little humorous. It’s a teensy bit funny when Squirtle and Pikachu do their pathetic attacks.

The end.

Everything else is just awful.

Ash is being a major league hall of fame idiot. Misty’s being a bitch. Misty and Brock were basically talking backgrounds. Charmeleon officially starts his assholery here. Paras is boring. This Paras is terrible in regards to every facet of its personality. Parasect is creepy and tragic. Cassandra’s nice, I guess, but has a hair trigger temper. The grandma, despite rightfully blasting Ash a couple times, seems out of place and unnecessary in this episode. The plot and story are nonsensical garbage. The experience and levels and everything related to it are nonsensical here and continue to muddle the concept in the anime universe. Meowth’s crush is creepy. Team Rocket’s being assholes. Even the animation was notably much worse than it normally is.

Paras and Parasect may be far from impressive Pokemon, but I think they deserved more than an episode that makes them look like ultra weak chickens who are only useful for the mushroom that inevitably takes over their brains and turns them into zombies.

Next episode…..Jigglypuff’s debut. I don’t have much against the episode, that I recall, but this begins the start of an annoying unfunny running gag that, not lying, is STILL going on to this day. Yup, they brought him back for several episodes of Sun and Moon. Just…wow.

Previous Episode…..

Pokemon Episode 43 Analysis: The March of the Exeggutor Squad

Pokemon ep 43 title

CotD(s): Melvin – A creepy jackass who sucks at magic.

Reappear?: No, thank god.

Pokemon: He initially only has one Exeggcute, but he eventually gets many Exeggutor though less than legit means. His original Exeggcute also evolves into Exeggutor.

Evolutions: Ash’s Charmander -> Charmeleon

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at a town where there’s a carnival currently going on. They enjoy the festivities until Misty stumbles upon a down-on-his-luck magician named Melvin, who just had his assistant quit on him. He begs Misty to take her place and she reluctantly agrees.

At the magic show, Melvin is shown to be an incredibly inept magician and showman, and even gets himself fired when he goes overboard with his fire-shooting cane.

Ash, Misty and Brock won’t let him give up his dream, so they help him learn some new tricks to spice up his act. However, even that goes terribly.

Ash tries to show him what real magic is all about by putting on a magic show of his own. He presents Melvin, Misty and Brock with a box that has three holes in it and claims he can summon fire, water or whatever from it. He does as he promises, though it’s revealed that Ash’s Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander are really the ones making the water and fire. They fight inside the box and ruin the show.

They try a different approach by analyzing Melvin’s only Pokemon, Exeggcute. They use Hypnosis on Ash, which causes him to be open to suggestion. Melvin realizes this power and enslaves Ash to do his bidding.

He uses Ash to cart him through the forest and commands him to weaken the numerous Exeggutor in the area so he can capture them all. Melvin captures hundreds with the intention of hypnotizing everyone at the carnival into going to his show, which should quickly skyrocket him to Las Vegas. Team Rocket interrupts and tries to steal the Exeggutor, but are stopped by his Exeggcute, which evolves into Exeggutor. The newly evolved Pokemon tries to hypnotize Team Rocket, but the herd of Exeggutor hypnotize each other along with them and get confused, sending them on a rampage.

They destroy the carnival, and the owner decides to stop them all with a time bomb, evacuating everyone from the area before it goes off. Realizing the danger this poses to the Exeggutor, Ash tries to stop them with his Pokemon but realizes only Charmander’s fire is effective in stopping even a few of them at a time. Charmander quickly gets too exhausted, however, but Misty has a plan.

She tells Melvin to use his fire trick with Charmander to stop all of the Exeggutor at once. Melvin is very uncertain and initially refuses to do it since he believes he can’t do anything without messing up, but Ash and the others encourage him. He finally agrees when he sees how hard Charmander is trying to help, and together they send a fire wave strong enough to stop the Exeggutor.

Suddenly, Charmander evolves into Charmeleon and while Ash is ecstatic at his friend’s new evolution, Charmeleon sends him a quick Flamethrower near his face.

Ash, Misty and Brock depart from the area and bid Melvin goodbye.

———————–

– Ash: “Alright, let’s show these people how to really party!”

Brock: “Yeah!”

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And then the episode was banned.

– I can kinda understand Brock partying in a weird pink samba outfit, but why does Ash instantly dress up in a weird orange suit with a ruffled undershirt and an orange bowler hat when he thinks ‘party’?

– Why did they have those outfits on hand? Actually, scratch that, the editing suggests they had those outfits on under the clothes they were wearing (unless they ran real quick to a changing room after getting naked in the street), so where’s the logic in that?

– Ash: “Let’s boogie!” Boogie? My God, Ash. Please at least try to act like you’re a ten year old in the late 90’s and not a 20 year old in the 60’s.

– Ash: “What’s the matter, Misty? Don’t you want to party with us?” I don’t have a clue why, but I am endlessly entertained by him saying those lines.

– Is there any particular reason the text on the title card this week got a boost in font size and bold face?

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I have never felt more yelled at by one of these titles.

– Cards on the table right now, this is the first episode of Pokemon that I remember actively disliking. As a kid, I loved all things Pokemon, even if they made no sense and even if they infuriated me. I usually had fun, even with the infuriating parts (just look at me now!) so it wasn’t hard to love even when we had stuff like The Kangaskhan Kid and even infuriating video game aspects like non-stop Zubat or Whitney and her friggin’ Rollouting cow and crying fit. Even if I now have differing views, past me was cool about most anything Pokemon. This, however, was the first episode I remember going….’Well….that was terrible. I didn’t like that….that was awful.’

It has nothing to do with Exeggcute or Exeggutor. It’s anything and everything involving Melvin. He is one of, if not the worst CotD I’ve seen in a while. Let me clarify, I mean this as a non-antagonist way, because he’s made off like a protagonist. He’s not worse than Damien or anything, but he’s still a terrible person. His face, his haircut, his voice, his possibly intentional egg-shaped head, his creepy eyes, his creepy laugh and just the fact that he’s not only terrible as a human being, but he also…just sucks. I don’t mean that to be a lazy descriptor – I mean that as in he sucks at everything.

But let’s get more into that as the episode goes on.

– I know it’s probably meant to be him nuzzling her thigh, but given the height, I’d say he’s nuzzling her….Nono zone…..actually, even if he was nuzzling her thigh, in that outfit no less, that’s damn near sexual assault.

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– Melvin: “You’re a kind person, aren’t you?”

Misty: “Well, no, not especially.” Misty has her dick-ish moments, but she is a nice person. The joke would work better if someone actually mean, like Jessie, said it. Also, considering her ego, why would she say she’s not kind?

Melvin: “Such a beautiful girl. You’d help me out, wouldn’t you? I need your help so badly, and you’d be so perfect!” Creepy man calling a 10 year old girl ‘beautiful’. This whole exchange is just wrong.

Melvin: “You’re the only one who can help me now.” Why? I saw the first scene of the episode – there were tons of scantily clad women you could ask to do this. Why, specifically, do you believe Misty is your only hope outside of you either don’t want to be arsed to find someone else, or you really want to see a ten year old girl in a skimpy outfit take orders from you?…..In which case, I’ll be dialing 911.

Melvin: *creepy music* “Just listen….”

Misty: “Uh huh…”

Melvin: “Keep an open mind….”

They are intentionally making this creepy. From the shadow on his face, to the creepy closeups to the ominous music to how clearly uncomfortable Misty is right now. How did this fly under 4Kids’ radar?

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– Kids, seriously, if you see a creepy guy in a backalley begging you to wear a skimpy outfit and do his bidding, even if he gives you a flower, don’t follow him. Especially not into a dark tent. There’s only one magic trick he’ll show you, and it results in him getting 25 years in prison.

– Pikachu in a tuxedo is adorable, though.

– Ash: “That’s a real cute outfit, Misty.” And thousands of AAML fans are mildly sated for another 20 episodes.

– They didn’t remove that guy’s cigarette?

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– As much as I hardly use Exeggcute, I will admit they’re adorable……what’s up with that one with the exposed brain matter, though? All I’ve found is Pokedex entries which state that finding cracks means they’re close to evolution, but that doesn’t answer my question nor does that make sense. They evolve from Leaf Stones – why does it matter if they have cracks or not?

– Melvin: *creepy shadowed closeup’d grinning face as he shoots fire randomly into the audience* “I can’t believe it! It never worked befo-hoho-re!” Creepy AND dangerous. Are we sure he’s not an antagonist?

– Melvin: “Wait! The best part’s coming up!” *gets hit in the head with a bottle* You’re right – that was the best part.

– Guys, seriously, I get the message is to not give up, but he’s dangerous and completely inept at his job. This is one of those times where you should maybe be helping him find something less…..fiery…something that involves fewer….sex offender registries.

– Who the hell would do anything, let alone sunbathe, on top of a hot air balloon? How is this even a thing that is happening? How are those chairs up there? How are they keeping balance? How did Jessie and James get on the chairs? How are they staying on the chairs? How is that ladder secured to the balloon? How did they get that ladder attached to the balloon?

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– The only reason I’d feel even a little bad for Melvin is because him being sad makes his Exeggcute sad.

– Melvin’s been working his whole life to be a magician and he still can’t pull off a simple cane to flowers trick without screwing it up. Either he hasn’t been working hard at all for, eh, 20+ years, which I’d believe in a heartbeat since Ash’s suggestion of learning new tricks seemed to be foreign to him, or he just sucks THAT bad at this.

– I do like Ash’s swami outfit. He looks kinda like Aladdin.

– Ash, who is doing magic for the first time in his life, is doing way better at it than Melvin, who has supposedly been doing it his whole life. Seriously, dude, go find a new career path. He doesn’t even explain why being a magician is his dream outside of him wanting tons of adoring fans at Las Vegas. He never says anything like it’s connected to some sweet story of his childhood or he’s always been amazed by prestidigitation – it’s all admiration and money. That’s it.

– Yay! Melvin was burned!

– Yay! Melvin might drown in a Water Gun because he’s too stupid to move out of the way!

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– Misty: *sarcastically* “How DOES he do it?…” I love that line delivery.

– I love the scene in the box with Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur. I just enjoy when Ash’s Pokemon have some time to interact with each other and show off their varying personalities.

Also, take note of Charmander’s very kind and apologetic attitude in the box. Enjoy it, because Charmander’s going away very soon.

– He’s only now just realizing that his Exeggcute knows Hypnosis? Jot down ‘sucks at Pokemon training’ on his resume too.

– Also, to point out the obvious, Hypnosis is not actual hypnotism. It just puts people and Pokemon to sleep. Hypno’s Naptime doesn’t count because that was…..*sigh* Pokemonitis.

– Just to recap what’s going on, Melvin has hypnotically enslaved Ash, kidnapped him, is making him cart him through the forest and is making him call him ‘Master’.

Bonus!: Melvin – “I hate doing this to you, but I hate exercise.” He says with a stupid grin.

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I hate his face more with each passing second.

– Brock: “Someone saw them head into the Leaf Forest”

Okay, let’s backup even more. Where the hell have you two been? How did you guys let Melvin enslave your friend and kidnap him? You were both there when he did it, yet now, over the span of a commercial break, you’ve lost him.

……What kind of name is ‘Leaf Forest’? You sure you didn’t see him near Water Lake? Ooh, maybe he’s heading to Rock Mountain!

– We now return to ‘Brock Says Stupid Shit’

Brock: “But why would Ash follow Melvin?” BECAUSE HE’S HYPNOTIZED, YOU GOOBER!

Did you not get a hint from him spinning in circles and acting like a Bulbasaur at Melvin’s suggestion?

– This creepy shit.

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– Even while hypnotized, Ash is biased towards his starters, sends them all out and completely forgets his Pidgeotto. Because why use a damn Flying Pokemon against these Grass Types when you can chuck out Squirtle?

– Melvin is catching the Pokemon Ash is weakening. In addition to this being another dick move, how exactly is this happening? Are you telling me there’s no way to stop someone from snaking a Pokemon you’re trying to capture? Imagine if you were playing the games and battling a legendary, doing your damnedest to get it to low HP without knocking it out. Then you get it to that sweet spot and you’re about to throw an Ultra Ball when a pop up comes up saying ‘SOME DOUCHE FROM THE BUSHES used ULTRA BALL!’ *wigglewigglewiggle* ‘SOME DOUCHE FROM THE BUSHES caught THAT LEGENDARY YOU WORKED YOUR ASS OFF TO WEAKEN’

– Not to mention, Melvin, in all his skeevy glory, looks and sounds so ridiculously content as he’s catching the Exeggutor.

– Squirtle is Water Gunning Exeggutor’s crotch.

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I didn’t meant to pause it right here, but appropriate expression is appropriate.

– How is he catching this many Pokemon without the excess Pokeballs being transported somewhere? If only people with Pokedexes have this ‘only six in a party’ rule, that seems really unfair.

While we’re on the subject, this should be called ‘Exeggutor Forest’ because, holy crap, that is a massive load of Exeggutor.

– Allow me to introduce our CotD who’s totally not an antagonist.

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– Melvin: “Look at all the Exeggutor I’ve caught.” Fuck you.

– I kinda have to wonder why Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander never thought that Ash was maybe acting weird or asking why they were assaulting a massive hoard of Exeggutor.

– Melvin: “Now that I’ve captured all of these Exeggutor, I can put everyone at the carnival under hypnosis and command all of them to come see my magic show.”

Oh boy, where do I begin? First of all, if he had no idea what an Exeggutor was, as shown by Melvin commanding Ash to use his Pokedex on them, why did he bring Ash out to that forest in the first place?

Second, is it really necessary to capture hundreds of Exeggutor for the sake of hypnotizing everyone at a carnival? Does he need one per person? Technically, he could’ve just used his Exeggcute. Would’ve taken a while, but who knows how many people Exeggcute can hypnotize at once.

Third, mass mind control! How is he not an antagonist?!

Pokemon ep 43 screen12
I am getting mad while getting screencaps, I hate his face that much.

Fourth, let’s just get this mini-moral out of the way – Melvin, if you’re hypnotizing people into going to your shows, you’re not really getting any legitimate adoration. You might as well be putting a gun to people’s heads and yelling ‘BE AMAZED AT MY MAGIC!’

Fifth, he states that he’ll get to Las Vegas in no time with this plan, which must mean he intends on having all of these hypnotized people pay for his shows. Mind controlling people into giving you money = theft. How is he not an antagonist!?

Finally, does this plan have no non-hypnotizing end game? Because, even if he made it to Las Vegas on his hypnotic theft money, what then? He’s still a totally horrible magician. Is he going to hypnotize the showrunners into letting him have a spot in their lineup? Is he going to hypnotize the people of Las Vegas to go to his shows? Is he going to hypnotize people through the TV to get them to watch his specials? Holy hell, is he going to just hypnotize anyone he comes across to give him adoration and money? HOW IS HE NOT AN ANTAGONIST?

– Melvin: *in regards to Team Rocket* “They look more like magicians than I do.” They do. And they’re much better at showmanship and magic tricks than you are. Team Rocket, as pointless as it is, actually puts a lot of effort into all these theatrics. That’s why they’re so good. You’re just a creepy imbecile.

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Just a suggestion, but Jessie, sweetie, you might want to have your spine looked at.

– Bullshit on Exeggcute evolving right then. They need a Leaf Stone to evolve. I saw the warning sign, but I still find this ridiculous. Unless the ground is loaded with Leaf Stones and they somehow haven’t all been used up by the many Exeggcute that seem to live here, that’s bull. Even if there were Leaf Stones deep underground, Pokemon need direct contact with evolution items in order to evolve. Just a thin coating of dirt would be enough to protect them. And why was that sign only warning people of the possibility of their Exeggcute evolving? It’s only Gen I but you also have Gloom and Weepinbell.

– Does owning all of these Exeggutor make Melvin exempt from their hypnosis? Because he’s looking right at them.

– Hahaha, they ran over Melvin! Good job, Exeggutor!

– Also, if they hypnotized each other, they wouldn’t spontaneously rampage. They’d either all fall asleep or they’d be open to hypnotic suggestion from their owner.

– Melvin: “I don’t get the respect I think I deserve.” No, but you do get the respect you legitimately deserve……until the end anyway.

Pokemon ep 43 screen14

– I thought Team Rocket fell asleep. Why are they rampaging with the Exeggutor? And why do they seem to be saying ‘Exeggutor’?

– Melvin: “Now they’re beyond my control.” You could use your Pokebal….Actually, you know what, I am really more annoyed at his voice right now. Does he ever even slightly emote? He sounds the same no matter if he’s happy, sad or concerned. His face almost mirrors this weird quirk. Is he a sociopath? What the hell is wrong with him? How can anyone even begin to connect or sympathize with this guy when his actions, mannerisms, expressions and voice all scream either ‘bad guy’ or ‘I couldn’t care less’?

– Carnival Runner: “I’ve planted a time bomb in this clearing. It’ll blow up right as they pass over this field.”…….Okay, fine. The Unabomber over here is making a play for true episode antagonist.

I get that the place was destroyed and all, but mass murdering a bunch of Pokemon with a BOMB is hardly the answer. Especially when you have the owner of said Pokemon right there. Also, you’d be arrested for illegally obtaining, using and planting a bomb, let alone using it to kill Pokemon, which would likely put you away for decades.

– Ash: “Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander…” *breathes deeply through nose*…..AND?…….PIDGE–”Attack!”

go fuck yourself

– How is it these Exeggutor were all getting weakened enough by these three before to be captured instantly with one shot of Pokeball, but now they’re damn near unaffected?

– Of all three Pokemon he currently let into battle, he used Squirtle first, then Bulbasaur, THEN Charmander. It’s 43 episodes in, kid. You’re either going to have to learn how types work or join Melvin in the ‘doing things we shouldn’t because we suck at it’ camp.

– Recalls Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Does not take this opportunity to let Pidgeotto out. And don’t think I’ll let up on this. Sit back and relax, because I’m prepared to ream him on this until the episode where Pidgeotto leaves.

– Ash: “Stop, Exeggutor!” *the weakened one stops* Uh….that Exeggutor doesn’t belong to Ash. Why did it obey?

– Misty: “Exeggutor are weak against fire!”

genius

– Misty: “Melvin! You can wake up all of the Exeggutor at once with your fire magic trick!” Oh boy! I can make another list of complaints and reasons this makes no sense!

First, I let this slide during the magic show because the whole ‘going crazy with fire’ thing was just a testament to how crazy, psychotic and stupid Melvin was. In a ‘real’ setting, I wouldn’t believe that cane would be more powerful than a Bic lighter and a hair spray can, let alone matching Charmander in power and distance.

Second, there’s the issue of fuel. How much gasoline or kerosene or whatever could possibly be stored in that cane? About 32 ounces, if that? Is that really enough to do much of anything?

Third, I was saving this, but uh, Misty, Brock, you both have Pokemon. I know, I know, Misty’s Pokemon wouldn’t do much to the Exeggutor and most of Brock’s Pokemon are weak against Grass, BUT he does have Onix who might make a wall that could block the Exeggutor, a Zubat which might know Wing Attack and….wait, there was another…..Let me do some research.

researchresearch 3research 2research 4research 5

Eureka.gif

 

After much study and experimentation, I have come to the striking conclus—BROCK HAS A GODDAMN VULPIX YOU STUPID BRAINDEAD SONS OF BITCHES!

You’re telling me that a Pokemon with a Fire Spin so massive and powerful that it creates a fire tornado several stories high is something you overlook when thinking of sources of fire? The only reason I can think of for forgetting Vulpix besides being unreasonably stupid is purposely forgetting so they can boost Melvin’s ego. In which case, please go to hell. His self-esteem is not worth risking your lives and the lives of the Exeggutor.

– And now he’s clinging onto this young girl again.

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– Melvin: “I did it…I did it! I REALLY DID IT!” Your part in those heroics were about 10% if we’re realistic, and I’m being very generous…..Oh wait, this whole thing is your fault anyway, so gimme that 10% and deduct another 100%.

– Ash: “Great job, Melvin!” Yeah, great job! You properly operated a trick cane that probably only required the pressing of one or two buttons max. You’re so talented.

– As much as I’ll grow to rage about this whole situation, Charmander evolving was actually pretty satisfying…..Until it Flamethrowers in Ash’s ear, giving us a slight hint at Charmander’s new personality that raises a bunch of questions as to why this happened. One second he’s obeying Ash fine and being kind, apologetic and self-sacrificing, the next he’s got a bitchy little ‘tude and Flamethrowering people whenever he can. I get that the topic of Pokemon changing personalities has been brought up over the series, but what warrants it? Most Pokemon don’t change personalities in the slightest when they evolve, but Charmander/eleon/izard seems like a big exception for no reason.

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Smug little bastard. He was giving you a hug, for god’s sake!

Also, slight nitpick, but why do we never get any implications at Squirtle possibly evolving? Chamander did evolve and Bulbasaur nearly evolves soon, but Squirtle never has a moment where it’s about to evolve.

————————————

I hate this episode even more, somehow.

Melvin is such a shitty character who really just needed to be taken care of like any other antagonist. But no. He’s given his undeserved ‘redemption’, despite being the cause of all of the problems, causing thousands of dollars in property damage, hypnotically enslaving and kidnapping a young boy, unethically capturing hundreds of Exeggutor and nearly getting hundreds of Pokemon killed, gains an Exeggutor and is encouraged to never give up on his dreams.

What did this episode even accomplish for him besides giving this creepy bastard hypnotic powers? He still sucks at magic in the end, even if he works his little fire stick. How is that even an improvement? He used it just fine earlier. It’s just that he went overboard with it. And I really have to be Little Miss Cynic again, but if you’ve been doing something for 20+ years and still massively suck at it, no, practice does not make perfect, Ash. Maybe some dreams should be given up on, Misty. And no, you’ll never see him in Las Vegas, Brock. Unless you see him on the news after molesting some showgirl.

I can see what will happen in mere days. He’ll practice his other tricks, still suck, decide to use Exeggutor’s hypnosis and enslave tons of people to a life damned watching his awful magic show.

He’s still out of a job, too, so what else can he do?

Even if you take all of the crappy things he did and his creepy behaviors out of the equation, there’s still nothing to root for or sympathize with. Who cares if he never becomes a great magician? He only wants to do it for unwarranted and undeserved praise, adoration and money.

Ash, Misty and Brock mean well, and Melvin does get some comeuppance, but not nearly enough. He didn’t deserve a happy ending after all the stuff he pulled. He deserved to have reality bitch slap him in the face until it squeezed some emotion out of it.

Not to mention that Melvin is such a massive focal point of the episode that there’s barely any side moments to make up for it. Ash’s dance at the start and his magic show were entertaining and Misty’s day at the carnival with Pikachu was nice, but that’s about it.

Next episode, hey, let’s follow up the first episode I remember actively disliking with the SECOND episode I remember actively disliking. How convenient! The Problem with Paras is coming up….

Previous Episode….

Pokemon Episode 42 Analysis: Showdown at Dark City

Pokemon ep 42 title

CotD(s): Yas – Leader of Dark City’s unofficial Yas gym, Yas is locked in a fierce battle with the Kaz gym for the right to shoot for official gym status from the Pokemon League. Like Kaz, he recruits passing trainers for his gang to help him beat the Kaz gym. His intentions for opening a gym are purely for the money.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Scyther.

Kaz – Leader of Dark City’s unofficial Kaz gym, Kaz is also locked in battle with the Yas gym’s gang. It’s unknown what his intentions are with the gym, but it can be assumed that he has the same motivation of money.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Electabuzz.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at Dark City – a dilapidated ghost town where people seem to be afraid of Pokemon trainers. Pikachu is suddenly pelted with rocks from a rooftop, and Ash commands him to stop the attackers with a Thundershock.

The three attackers fall from the roof, revealing themselves to be three children who are attacking them for being Pokemon trainers. They hit them with sticks and tell them to leave their town, but they’re suddenly stopped by a local business owner who invites them to his restaurant to make up for what the kids did and explain what’s going on.

He states that there are two unofficial gyms in Dark City – the Yas Gym and the Kaz gym. They’re basically a couple of gangs who have been destroying the city on a regular basis through street fights involving their Pokemon – a Scyther for the Yas and an Electabuzz for the Kaz. Both gyms recruit passing Pokemon trainers to be a part of their gangs to help them gain victory over the other and become an official Pokemon gym. The destruction and pain has been going on for so long, some of the townsfolk are scared of Pokemon trainers and others hate them – if they’re not destroying the town and risking the safety of the citizens, they’re being set up to be recruited for the gangs, only making the problem worse.

Just then, a fight breaks out in the streets between the Yas and Kaz gyms, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake and causing a panic in the townsfolk.

Team Rocket, siding with the Kaz gym, shows up to the restaurant demanding food, but the restaurant owner denies them service since the Kaz gym hasn’t paid their tab in over two years. Angered, Team Rocket sets their Pokemon on the man, but Brock stops them with Vulpix and sends them packing.

A woman from the Yas gym shows up, very impressed with their training ability to send three of Kaz’s best bodyguards away and invites them to join Yas. Misty and Ash try to refuse, but Brock, unable to resist a pretty face, accepts.

The woman brings them to the Yas gym leader, Yas, and presents Ash as a great Pokemon trainer with Misty and Brock as his disciples. Yas suddenly attacks him with his Scyther as a test of his ability, but Scyther slashes a ketchup bottle Pikachu is holding and becomes furious when his vision turns red.

Scyther attacks Yas and Yas recalls him. He’s impressed enough by this ‘display’ to request that Ash and the others join the Yas gym and help him win his fight against Kaz. Ash asks why they want to be an official gym so badly, and Yas answers that it’s a quick way of getting money. Hearing this unethical and coldhearted reasoning, Ash refuses to join.

Yas doesn’t accept his refusal quietly and sics his followers’ Pokemon on him to ensure he doesn’t decide to join the opposition. He gets beat up fairly badly before being carried out by Misty and Brock, who regroup at the restaurant.

Ash uses his Pokedex to learn that both Electabuzz and Scyther are enraged by the color red, which was demonstrated back at the Yas gym when the ketchup got in Scyther’s eyes. They concoct a plan to use this weakness to their advantage and stop the fighting.

Later, Yas and Kaz’s gangs meet once again in the middle of town to finally have one big brawl before the Pokemon League inspector shows up. The brawl starts and Ash, Misty, Brock, the kids and the restaurant owner implement their plan, which involves pouring gallons of ketchup on Yas and Kaz.

Enraged by the color red, Scyther and Electabuzz both start attacking their trainers. When they believe they’ve had enough, Ash uses Bulbasaur to pour ketchup on Scyther and Electabuzz, which shifts their targets to each other. In a blind rage, the two slam into each other and knock each other out.

It seems Ash and the others have taught Yas and Kaz a lesson, but the tables are turned when they decide to join forces against Ash and co. Just as both gangs are about to attack the group, Ash sends Pikachu off to do a Thunder attack, which is sent through the lightning rods Ash and the others planted around town and into the ground where both gangs are standing, electrocuting them all.

Yas and Kaz still try to attack Ash and the others with sticks this time until they’re stopped by a mysterious woman in a trench coat, hat and mask. She reveals herself to be the Pokemon League inspector, Nurse Joy. She refuses to approve of any gym that uses Pokemon as tools for street fighting.

When Yas and Kaz beg for a second chance, she agrees to give it to them if they learn how to be true Pokemon trainers from Ash. He fumbles through his lessons, but demands that they repair all of the damage that they did to the town.

With that, the kids from before have gained a new appreciation for Pokemon and Pokemon Trainers. Ash and co. take their leave, knowing Dark City may not have gained a new Pokemon gym, but it’s certainly creating a more hopeful future.

———————-

– “Hey, guys, we did a good job getting Pikachu’s rep back up after the Pokemon Shock incident, so I want you all to clear Pikachu scenes with me for a while so we can maintain momentum with it.”

“Sure thing. Hey, there’s this scene we want to animate where Pikachu electrocutes a group of small children and makes them fall off a roof, is that cool?”

“For some reason, I see nothing wrong with that.”

“Cool!”

Pokemon ep 42 screen1

– Guys, you can introduce yourselves without explaining your goals in life.

– Misty: “And I’m going to be the world’s best everything!” Well, you’re certainly giving Ash a run for his money for best narcissist.

– And thus we begin this one episode long affair Pikachu has with ketchup. Is it cute? Sure. But it comes out of nowhere, is never brought up again (Alright, it’s brought up one more time 234 episodes from now…) and is borderline creepy.

– I still don’t understand how becoming an official gym even works. If you’re only allowed one gym per city, why don’t these guys just move their gym to one of the many, many, many towns with no gym? Maybe a less….crappy looking city?

What is the officiating process for a Pokemon gym? What entails an inspection beyond ‘don’t be a skeevy jerk and/or a gang leader’? (Which just raises all sorts of questions on how Giovanni became a gym leader.)

Is there a limit to how many gyms can inhabit a region? Because we know from Gary that, canonically, there are at least ten gyms in Kanto that are official under the Pokemon League, meaning they must allow more than the standard minimum of eight per region. This makes sense because traveling all that way is a pain in the ass. You’d think there’d be tons of the gyms, in the anime anyway, since the Kanto region seems to be massive and covered in cities, towns and villages. Does it specifically have to be a city? Because so many areas where there are gyms seem far more suited to be towns than cities. Dark City is a perfect example. What part of this run down old west-styled ghost town screams ‘city’?

Gyms get money?….Actually, I guess that makes sense. They probably get grant money or something from the Pokemon League for maintenance and gym leader salary. That would explain how Brock was able to care for his family as an unemployed 15 year old. Also, if they do get paid, they’re totally obligated to accept all challenges. Screw you again, Erika. (And….well, more confusion when we get to Blaine)

Pokemon ep 42 screen2

– I do find the concept of a gym v. gym gang war to be intriguing, but, I’m sorry, I cannot take these idiots seriously in those outfits – especially the Yas gym. I mean, at least the Kaz gym just looks like a bunch of Team Rocket ripoffs. The Yas gym looks like a weird combination of Luigi and Fred from Scooby Doo.

 

– Oh and, does Dark City have no…..oh what’s the word?….Uh….COPS! Right, them. Not that the Pokemon world cops are effective at their jobs, but they’re non-existent here.

– *Team Rocket shows up* Ash: “There’s something familiar about them.” Obvious aside for a second, they’re only covering their mouths with scarves. Obvious back, THERE’S A TALKING GODDAMN MEOWTH, YOU DINGUS.

– Wait, the Kaz gym, and supposedly this war, has been around for over two years? How long does it take to get a Pokemon League inspector out there?

– Why did Team Rocket hear the word ‘trouble’ several times before their ears finally perked up at the mention of it?

– Team Rocket’s gang affiliation at this point is a bit of a cluster. They were part of the bridge bike gang, and maybe still are, then they joined Team Rocket and now they’re part of the Kaz gym.

– Ash: “It’s Team Rocket. I knew it!” No you didn’t, you ninny.

– Why are Ash and Misty so surprised that Brock used Vulpix? It’s basically his signature Pokemon now. Are they just surprised he’d let his precious Vulpix out into battle?

– What the hell is up with this woman’s outfit?

Pokemon ep 42 screen5

She looks like a reject extra from a Chattanooga Choo Choo music video.

– Woman: “Those were some of the strongest bodyguards from Kaz gym.” Then neither of you deserve to be gyms considering Team Rocket was seen as competent enough to be hired as bodyguards by the Kaz and the Yas considers them to be some of the strongest trainers on the Kaz side. Ten year olds beat them on a regular basis. In fact, they beat them and blasted them off with one Gust attack just the previous episode.

– I thought that the making up the names from foods thing was kinda cute as a kid, but now….seriously guys, you can’t just think of some BS names? You just jump to ‘Ketchup’ because it’s a thing in the room? Then you purposely theme the rest of your names on foods? That sounds more difficult than just making up a real name. Try it. Think of a fake first and last name then try to come up with another where both names translate to a food. It’s pretty hard.

– Just because Brock accepted the invite to Yas doesn’t mean Misty and Ash had to go. In fact, they didn’t even show their trainer prowess considering Brock did the work to send Team Rocket away. I guess their reputations as trainers are important enough to create false identities but not to avoid joining a gang.

– Hey look, a gym where people are actually working out. We didn’t even get that in the Fighting Spirit gym.

– Woman: “Yas leader, let me introduce to a great trainer. This is Pokemon trainer, Tom Ato. He’s brought his two disciples to help us.” I do not understand this at all.

Pokemon ep 42 screen6

1) Like I said, Ash did nothing in the ‘demonstration’ against Team Rocket. He was going to, but Brock took the lead for some reason. 2) She was focusing on Brock before, why is she ignoring him now? 3) Why does she just assume Misty and Brock are Ash’s disciples? Why can they not be at least treated as equals, especially when, again, Ash did nothing to earn this praise?

At least Brock brings up how unfair this is, but it doesn’t make it any better. Can I just chalk it up to this woman being even stupider than they are?

– Even as a kid, this ketchup thing seemed like bunk to me. It’s ketchup, not red wine. It’s not even translucent. If you got a bunch of ketchup in your eyes, two things would happen 1) you’d probably see next to nothing since, again, you can’t see through ketchup and 2) you’d go OH GOD! THERE’S KETCHUP IN MY EYES! IT BURNS! THE ACIDITY! I AM WAY TOO FOCUSED ON THE PAIN RIGHT NOW TO BE ENRAGED BY ANYTHING! ARGH!

Pokemon ep 42 screen7
One of the best Pikachu screencaps, though.

– Getting infuriated literally causes steam to appear on Scyther. I know it’s a cartoon, but it’s not steam out the ears or cartoonish – it’s like they want you to believe there’s really steam on him.

– Yas: “That’s the first time my Scyther has been frightened so badly. You are a powerful trainer.” Oh for the love of….where do I begin? First, was this guy even watching the ‘battle’? He attacked a ketchup bottle, got ketchup in his eyes and then went on a rampage. How does that, in any way, translate to an impressive Pokemon battle?

Second, Scyther was obviously enraged, not frightened.

Third, Ash didn’t command Pikachu to do a damn thing. How does his Pikachu shielding himself with a ketchup bottle make Ash a good trainer?

Fourth, that splash of ketchup to the eyes does not physically make sense. I imagine, if you sliced open a ketchup bottle, you’d only have the ketchup spilling downwards, not backwards towards the attacker. At most, it would follow the direction of the slice.

Fifth, if he was paying attention at all, he should’ve called BS on Pikachu’s use of a ketchup bottle in battle to possibly blind his opponent.

Why are so many people in this episode so insanely stupid just to move the plot forward?…..Oh I guess I answered my own question.

– Yas: “You must work for me. I need your power.” No, you need their ketchup…..I am actually not kidding. That’s how they resolve this plotline for the most part…with ketchup.

– Ash: “Why is it so important that this should become an official Pokemon gym?”

Yas: “That answer should be obvious. What faster way is there to make money in today’s world than becoming an official Pokemon gym?”

Pokemon ep 42 screen8

Oh geez, this is going to be one of those episodes where I need to make a list of reasons why characters make no sense every line or two, isn’t it?

*sigh*

First, no…no that answer is not obvious. At all. I could think of many reasons to open a Pokemon gym without even thinking for a second about the money involved. In fact, I’m only now musing about the financial aspects of a Pokemon gym.

Second, ‘what faster way is there to make money than becoming an official Pokemon gym?’….Uhh…getting a job. Selling your crap on eBay. Selling your body to science. A laundry list of other methods of getting money which are faster than starting a Pokemon gym. Actually, if this whole gang war has been going on for years and becoming a gym is crazy difficult, then this seems like one of the absolute worst ways of getting money. Certainly not worth all the property damage, criminal mischief and reputation destruction.

Third, it’s not like these are real gangs fighting over drug dealing turf. How much money can there really be in being a gym leader? Not many gym leaders seem like they’re rolling in money. In fact, most seem to live a rather modest life.

Pokemon ep 42 screen9

Brock’s house looked average.

Misty seems better off, but considering she got hand-me-down doll sets, I can’t imagine her parents were rich either. Plus, they seem to have the side-business of the Sensational Sisters underwater shows.

Lt. Surge’s gym was like a hollowed out high school gym.

Erika seems rather well-dressed and elegant to a degree, plus her gym is fairly impressive. However, she also owns her own perfume business, which might generate a lot of money.

Koga had an old mansion, but I’m more apt to believe he inherited it through family ties instead of buying it with gym leader money.

Sabrina had a nice-ish psychic training facility, but nothing lavish. Plus, she might generate money from training those psychics.

Outside of Giovanni who obviously gets income from Team Rocket, Blaine seems like he might be the richest with his super secret in-volcano gym, but he also has supplemented income with a hotel. Plus, game canon-wise, he’s a scientist.

In fact, it seems like most gym leaders, even in Johto and beyond, have another form of income besides the gym, and even then they don’t seem particularly rich. If they did offer a lot of cash, Misty and Brock should never ever ever have a problem with money. It’s already a stretch that Ash keeps running out of whatever money we assume his mother sends him, but traveling with two gym leaders, by this guy’s logic, should result in no money problems whatsoever.

It would’ve been much more believable if these gym leaders were just petty dickheads who were all ‘we’re just better than the other guy! So there!’ Or maybe they just wanted the power and prestige that seems to come from being a gym leader, which is also a stretch because it rarely gets Brock and Misty more than a passing glance (Just look at this episode – they’re tossed to the side in favor of Ash and called his disciples.)

Pokemon ep 42 screen10

Fourth, if opening a gym were easy, quick cash in copious amounts, way more people would be doing it. There’d be gyms everywhere.

Finally, if money’s the reason, why is anyone following either of these idiots? No matter who wins, they won’t get any money from the Pokemon League – only the gym leaders would. Don’t tell me they intend on divvying the money up across the gang, because then you’d really be earning next to nothing.

I don’t understand how so many people are getting caught up in this. If money’s not the allure, then what? What do they intend on doing when whomever wins, wins? Are they going to stay at the gym and….Enter activity here?

Another tangent over. We now return to me stopping at the very next line to complain.

– Ash: “Pokemon are not just tools for fighting or making money. And I know…because I’m going to be a Pokemon master!” A being who, by definition, uses Pokemon as tools for fighting.

– Pikachu is spending way too much time mourning that ketchup bottle. They’re back at the restaurant now – just give him another one.

– This whole ‘enraged by red’ thing is considered canon by the Wiki, but is entirely a fabrication of the anime. I will even go so far as to say the Wiki’s wrong in confirming it’s anime canon, because they never do this again, and Scyther and Electabuzz are fairly common Pokemon throughout the series.

And what a friggin’ coincidence that the main Pokemon of each of these gyms just happens to be two Pokemon who are infuriated by the color red? Though they didn’t seem bothered by the ketchup bottle itself, Kaz’s gloves, Kaz’s scarf, most of Ash’s hat, the red in the logo for the Yas gym, Misty’s suspenders, Misty’s backpack, Jessie’s hair – Hell, Pokeballs are half red!

– Weird how that woman completely disappears during the big gang battles. I’m to assume she’s stupid AND useless.

– Why was Team Rocket climbing on that building anyway?

Pokemon ep 42 screen11

– It’s very interesting how nearly everyone in these gangs have a ‘bad guy’ Pokemon. Ya know, Pokemon who are usually used by villains, excluding poison types. We have a ton of fighting Pokemon, then we have Rhydon, Raticate, Kingler and Golem. Also, why did everyone just release one Pokemon? If this is really a ‘we don’t care about fair battling, we just wanna fight’ brawl, they’d release all of their Pokemon. Even Yas and Kaz only seem to have Scyther and Electabuzz. How do they expect to run a gym with only one Pokemon?

Disclaimer: I am aware of the minuscule teams gym leaders commonly have in early game, but according to Pokemon Origins, it’s not that they don’t have more Pokemon, it’s that they choose to use fewer Pokemon based on the experience of the challenger.

– How do the owners of a Scyther and Electabuzz not know of the red thing? Especially considering that it’s the first thing the Pokedex focuses on when their entries are brought up.

– Why did their big plan involve pouring ketchup on Scyther and Electabuzz? Wouldn’t a better option to be using Squirtle or something to wash the red off of Yas and Kaz and stop the rampage?

Pokemon ep 42 screen12

There’s no way they knew they’d be stupid enough to charge literally head first into each other and knock the other out.

Also, I’m aware that these barrels might be filled with red paint, not ketchup, but ketchup was the inspiration for this plan and I believe they’d have more readied access to big containers of ketchup given they’re being helped by the restaurant owner.

– While I do applaud Ash for having the foresight of setting up a plan B just in case the gangs turned on them, Thunder shouldn’t require lightning rods to strike multiple targets.

– I was always immensely confused as to why Nurse Joy was a Pokemon League inspector. Even her badge seems more fitting for a nurse than an inspector. I might be able to swallow this better if they made her look the part, but she’s a Nurse Joy to the bone. Her Chansey still has a nurse hat on, she still has a nurse uniform on, and when she reveals her identity she calls herself Nurse Joy. I really feel like they got insanely lazy with the character designs for this episode and when they got to the inspector, they panicked because they were short on time and just borrowed Joy’s.

Pokemon ep 42 screen13

– For that matter, why was she in disguise in the first place? I know she wanted to secretly monitor the gangs, but she’s a Nurse Joy. No one would suspect that she was the inspector.

– Why did Joy release Chansey? Besides to give a hint as to who she was literally three seconds before she revealed herself.

– Joy shouldn’t have given those two a second chance at becoming a legit Pokemon Gym. She doesn’t offer any resolution to their problem of ‘this town ain’t big enough for the two of us’, both of them are guilty of numerous accounts of assault and they’ve spent the last two years or better continuously destroying the town. But Joy seems to only see the crime of them using Pokemon for street fighting.

– I love how Ash really doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about when he’s trying to teach Yas and Kaz about being an ethical Pokemon Trainer. He means well, but he can’t get around the logistic problems of the Pokemon World. Don’t use Pokemon to fight, except when you use them to fight.

– I also believe this was the first episode where one of those ‘jokes that don’t translate’ really became apparent to me. I never once understood why there’s a picture of some food that flashes on Ash’s face when Yas and Kaz call him ‘Tom Ato’ It wasn’t until I read the comparison that I learned that Satoshi’s fake name was the food seen on screen, Omurice. For all the digital painting 4Kids is known to do, why the hell couldn’t they have drawn a tomato?

Pokemon ep 42 screen14

Also, it’s very awkward when they always say their full fake names. Who talks about themselves or other people in their full name?

– This is another infuriating instance of two assholes turning on their heads and completely changing their personalities when it doesn’t seem like enough happened to do so. They got beat up and their Pokemon knocked each other out, then they got chewed out by Nurse Joy. Remember, their incentive to becoming legit gyms was to make money. Why do they seem to act like it’s just something they really want to do now? Unless they’re faking it for the sake of getting another chance at the money, which is possible I guess, but Kaz definitely doesn’t seem smart enough for that….and we know Yas isn’t.

– Ash: “Oh well, Pikachu really is the star.” Don’t remind me….Seriously, it’s totally unnecessary. And as sad it is, he really is right. Even Ash is not as irreplaceable as Pikachu.

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I like some parts of this episode, but others just confuse me so much that I lose my enjoyment. The Pokemon League stuff I can mostly overlook – it’s the incredibly stupid red stuff and the Nurse Joy thing that miff me.

I do like the gang v. gang concept, though I think it could’ve been executed much better. I also like Ash’s plan for stopping the fighting, even if the second splash of ketchup didn’t make much sense to me. It seemed unnecessary to knock them out if their trainers agreed to stop fighting.

Ash was pretty well done in this episode. He stood by his principles in the faces of gang leaders, and even when he was beaten up he still wanted to help the town and stop the fighting. I also like how Ash was portrayed at the end. He may have a good heart, but he’s still a bit of an idiot even when he’s being noble. Him having his ego put in check several times throughout the episode through his clumsiness and by the kids being more interested in Pikachu is also more than welcome, even if it is more Pika-pandering.

Team Rocket is probably the most absent they’ve been in a very long time. Outside of that one battle in the restaurant, which was hardly a battle at all, they were completely superfluous to the plot and barely appeared.

Finally, I want to reiterate how awful the character designs are in this episode. Just awful. Outside of the clothes being eyesores, the actual designs of the faces are forgettable as hell. And just screw off with the Nurse Joy thing. I see through your laziness.

Next episode, one I actively hate and the debut of Exeggcute and Exeggcutor.

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