Pokemon Episode 26 Analysis: Pokemon Scent-Sation

Pokemon ep 26 title

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

Reappears? No.

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

Badge:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misty: “Perfume!”

Brock: “Right!”

Pikachu: “Pika!”

Your move, Erika.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Ash(ley): “Oh, yes!”

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

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

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Trainer: “Uhm, not really, I guess.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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– This line always pissed me off.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Also, more ego.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 02 (Dub) Pokemon the Movie 2000/The Power of One

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Rating: 4.5/10

Plot: Set sometime during the Orange League, Ash and the others are traveling when they get caught up in a storm. The storm lands their boat on a nearby island called Shamuti Island where the locals are holding their annual legend festival. The legend states that the harmony caused by the three legendary birds, Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, will be disturbed and cause all of nature to fall out of whack. Only the chosen one can bring together the three spheres of fire, ice and lightning to restore harmony back to the world with the help of the legendary Lugia.

If you didn’t catch that, don’t worry, you’ll be reminded about it a lot. Ash is selected as the chosen one this year because he’s a Pokemon trainer, but as he’s going off to find the spheres for the sake of the festival, he finds that the legend is actually coming true.

Breakdown: Ah, Pokemon the Movie 2000. Even you couldn’t resist the allure of naming yourself ‘2000’ in the year 2000. One of the most annoying things ever. Luckily, that was doomed to die within a year, so yay.

I don’t have as much nostalgic love for this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I do hold nostalgia for it. I saw it in theaters with my friends when it first came out, I got excited for the release and I enjoyed the movie fine.

My problem with this movie is that it is just so damn cliché. Ash being ‘the chosen one’ is one of the most cliché plot threads ever. The whole aspect of collecting element themed jewels might as well have ‘property of Final Fantasy and a crapton of other video games’ labeled on it. Tampering with the gentle balance of nature by the will of an eeeevil human is also not very original (someone call Captain Planet). The legendary Pokemon here don’t really do much besides Lugia and even it’s kinda moot. I do love Lugia and the legendary birds. Articuno is my favorite followed by Moltres then Zapdos. I just wish they had done more in the movie.

Our main baddie is also completely forgettable in my opinion. Hell, I don’t even remember his name, which, for the record is Lawrence III. To be fair, though, I don’t think the dub movie ever gives his name. He suffers the same fate as the three trainers from movie 01. But it’s much more forgivable for them to be nameless. They were forgettable side characters; even though it would’ve been crazy easy to just add in an introduction line for each of them. This is the main villain of the movie.

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I remember he likes collecting legendary things and had an ancient Mew card that he started his collection with (I remember getting one when I saw this movie. Still have it. 🙂 ) other than that, he’s just boring. Notice how I wrote an entire synopsis for this movie without even mentioning this guy once? And you know what? That was in no way intentional. I completely forgot about him until I had already started writing the actual review. I wish I was lying.

On the Japanese release of this movie, the audience members were given a booklet which contained background information on the character…..Which I find a tiny bit dumb. I mean, it’s nice to have your own little booklet of information, but shouldn’t that information be…ya know….in the movie?

The plot is way too obvious giving us really no room for surprises. This is made even worse with the recited legend which literally lays out the entire story nearly beat for beat (and made increasingly worse since the legend is the first thing stated in the movie and is frequently being repeated). Apparently the original doesn’t explain as much, but the dub’s version explains the entire movie. How the hell can you have any tension when the entire movie’s story is laid out on a plate for you right when the movie begins and it’s constantly being relayed to you throughout?

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It’s definitely not all bad, and I can at least be thankful that this movie’s not ungodly preachy like the first movie, but it has its flaws.

For the Bulbagarden comparison of this movie, see here. http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/movies/mov02.html

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Our movie starts out with a shot of the three islands, the islands of Fire, Ice and Lightning, and a sneak peak at Slowking. I’ll get him out of the way right now, I do not understand Slowking. We have two really entertaining Pokemon in Slowpoke and Slowbro then we get….a talking sage-like unfunny Slowking…..for no reason. What does this thing do during the movie besides stand there and tell us things we already know? I have nothing really against the Pokemon, but why does his character exist?

We see Lawrence III in his flying base thing while his computer explains that the three titans of the elements fire, ice and lightning are Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos respectively. His computer then says that the islands containing said Pokemon are on islands adjacent to Shamuti Island and goes to capture them for his collection with Moltres being first on his list.

I would question the mechanics of that entire ship, but this is a world where a small ball can shrink and capture huge monsters.

Wait, was he already at the island? Because it’s like he didn’t travel far at all. If he was, why was that information about the birds even given? Wouldn’t he have known all that before now?

At Fire Island (considering Moltres’ Japanese name is Fire, this island doesn’t seem like such a secret location of Moltres…) Lawrence starts attacking the island with ice bombs, which prompts Moltres to come out. When Moltres emerges, Lawrence uses his super rings of technology to trap Moltres and capture it in his ship…..And that was Moltres ladies and gentlemen! Give it a round of applause!

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He says he’s going to go after Zapdos next, then Articuno and finally draw out Lugia before we get our title card. Man, 4Kids was really feeling the electric guitar in this opening sting. Kudos on matching the drum beats with the lights on the word ‘One’. That reminds me; seeing as how this movie was not in any way advertised as ‘Pokemon: The Power of One’ (at least no where around where I lived, and my VHS copy says “Pokemon the Movie 2000”) I was confused as hell by this title when I first saw it. It doesn’t even say “Pokemon the Movie 2000: The Power of One” it’s just “Pokemon: The Power of One.”

We fade in to Ash, Misty and Not-Brock on a boat heading to their next Orange Island destination that is never given. Not-Brock suggests that they should let their Pokemon out for some fresh air and that prompts our movie theme which is okay. Just seems like a more pop-ish sounding version of the Orange League theme.

Unlike movie 01, 4Kids actually doesn’t give a crap that there’s no background audio from the Pokeballs, Pokemon or humans during the song despite the fact that you can see that the video prompts sound.

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Surprisingly, all of the Pokemon in the current group make an appearance. Charizard isn’t left out because it’s still out of control, I suppose, and Snorlax doesn’t stay out because he’s too heavy for the boat.

We also see that Team Rocket’s following them in their signature Magikarp sub.

Pikachu’s acting oddly like it senses something, but none of the other Pokemon are being disturbed. Is it just because Zapdos is the next target or is Pikachu secretly a Psychic type? Or is this this an hidden power of the almighty Messiahchu?

A storm comes about because I guess the Pokemon movies love storms. We just had one in the short!

The captain, Maron, says they’re at Shamuti Island, which is very far from their intended course. Luckily, she used to live on that island. What a coinkydink.

Team Rocket, in their wake, makes a bunch of puns and crashes into a cliff.

Cut to Pallet Town where we see Delia Ketchum tending to her garden and her Mr. Mime sweeping the grass.…….Why is he sweeping the grass?

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Professor Oak comes up to chat and we get this line:

Professor Oak: “Well this is the time of year when the sun shines every day!”……..What time of year is that? I assume summer, but the sun shines in every season. There are rainy/cloudy days in summer too. Is this an actual saying?

The weather takes its cue and starts to get really crappy. It rains heavily for about five seconds, stops then starts snowing and we see that an aurora has appeared in the sky. All sorts of Pokemon start going nuts alongside the weird weather.

Professor Oak says that since Pokemon, like animals in real life, are more in tune with nature than humans, they can sense when something’s wrong. Since the Pokemon are acting so weird it must mean something’s very wrong. Yeah, this would’ve had more weight if not for the random five second downpour, snow storm and sudden aurora lights that came and went in ten seconds preceding said Pokemon freakouts. Pretty sure we could gauge from that that something was horribly wrong.

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Back on Shamuti Island, Ash and the others have arrived at the shore and are met with natives wearing traditional garb and odd masks. They scare Ash and the others for a bit until they realize that one of the villagers actually knows their boat captain, Maron. The villager woman, named Carol, explains that they’re preparing for their annual legend festival. Carol explains that since she’s too old to be the maiden of the festival her snarky brat of a little sister named Melody will be taking her place.

Maron introduces Ash to the group and explains that he’s a Pokemon trainer. Before she can introduce the others, the villagers go nuts because he’s a Pokemon trainer and apparently that means he’s the chosen one from the legend. Well, wait, Misty’s a Pokemon trainer too. A Gym Leader at that. Why can she not do it? Was it just because Ash was introduced first?

Melody says he’ll do as the chosen one for the festival and gives him a welcome kiss on the cheek, which makes Misty visibly perturbed. This is our first indication that this movie will have a pro-AAML (Ash and Misty Love) slant. Don’t get me wrong, I fully support AAML. My problem with this part of the movie, as with any AAML I see now, is the fact that now I know this pairing will likely never ever happen, especially since the show essentially got rebooted and Misty hardly ever makes appearances anymore. And there’s the frustration that is the weird TraceyxMisty BS they apparently have in later seasons. Made even worse by the fact that I think Tracey’s supposed to be around 15 and Misty’s 10……Now watching AAML just makes me sad.…

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Melody asks if Misty’s his little sister, Misty says no. Then Melody asks if she’s his girlfriend, which she is appalled at and says is gross, but Melody says she doesn’t think so. She invites them to the legend banquet and tells Misty not to get jealous, which just pisses her off even further. You know what’s annoying me? I can’t find Melody’s age anywhere. She looks like she’s at least a couple years older than Ash and Misty, though she may be the same age as Tracey which may or may not make this situation slightly icky.

The festival starts and we cut to the banquet where we hear this…

Maron: “So she said ‘No, but I have Krabbies!’ Ahahahaha!”…..What the hell was the start of that joke?! That seriously sounds like a play on words to implicate someone having crabs. Am I looking too much into this? Because I never noticed that until now.

Misty’s still stewing over Melody’s comment about being Ash’s girlfriend and we see Melody come out in her purty festival garb playing the legendary song, AKA the theme of this movie, on her little seashell ocarina thing.

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Tracey and Ash are enamored by her, but Misty calls her a show off…..well…considering she’s putting on a show….yeah. Also, she’s just dancing a little bit while playing the song, it’s not like she’s got a pyrotechnic display set up.

We hear applause afterward but no one in the audience is visibly clapping so I dunno.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pokemon Episode 25 Analysis: Primeape Goes Bananas

Pokemon EP 25 title

CotD(s): None

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Primeape sufficiently beaten, Ash manages to capture it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– I love Mankey mocking Ash’s capture style.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon EP 25 screen3

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Episode 21 Analysis: Bye Bye Butterfree

pokemon-ep21-title

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

Departures: Ash’s Butterfree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misty: “Dexter’s never been in love.”

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

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

What the fuck?

Brock: “You mean it?”

Misty: “Sure do! That’s love!”

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

What. The. Fuck.

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

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

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

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

You’re following them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye bye, Butterfree.

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

Pokemon Episode Analysis Episode 8: The Path to the Pokemon League

This should just be Ash’s default character design.

Character (s) of the Day:

AJ – A promising young Pokemon trainer with a strict yet extremely effective method of training, AJ creates an unofficial Pokemon gym in the middle of the woods to train his Pokemon and beat passing trainers. He manages to get 98 wins on a perfect record and aims to get 100 wins before going for badges and entering the Pokemon League. AJ is a tough, but a very smart and skilled Pokemon trainer who definitely earns a spot in the Pokemon league if he ever made it there.

Pokemon: He has numerous, but Sandshrew is his main.

Reappears?: No. 😦

Plot: With two gym badges under his belt…..well, on his vest, Ash starts to get pretty cocky. When the group stumbles upon an unofficial Pokemon gym in the woods, Ash is ready and raring to chalk up another victory. However, the owner of the gym, an equally confident boy named AJ, easily wipes the floor with Ash by using his Sandshrew, giving him victory 99 in an undefeated streak with his ultimate goal being 100.

After the battle, Ash hears commotion from inside the gym and peaks in to see that AJ’s training regimen for his Pokemon is extremely tough. He views it as being overly tough and worries for the well-being of the Pokemon. In a mix-up, Team Rocket accidentally captures Sandshrew instead of Pikachu, leading Ash to believe that he was right in his assumptions. He condescendingly assumes that Sandshrew ran away because he views AJ as a jerk and saw how good of a relationship he and Pikachu had so he went off to find a better trainer.

AJ vehemently denies this, but Ash hops up on his high horse again. In an effort to ‘save’ the Pokemon from the strict AJ’s training, Ash offers to take all of the Pokemon away from the gym and train under him instead. The Pokemon won’t give Ash the time of day, however, because they don’t feel abused. They love AJ, and he loves them. They deal with the strict training regimen because of that love and caring; they want to see AJ succeed and they know he’d never do anything to hurt them.

Sandshrew quickly escapes Team Rocket’s clutches and immediately returns to AJ’s gym with an unconscious Meowth attached to his tail. AJ and Sandshrew are reunited, and Ash sees that AJ really does love his Pokemon and vice versa.

Team Rocket show up to take Pikachu, and after they sling insults at AJ’s Pokemon, he challenges them to his 100th match. AJ blows Team Rocket away easily with Sandshrew, finishing them off in a powerful Fissure attack. With 100 wins under his belt, he heads off on his journey to get eight badges and enter the Pokemon League. Ash has gained a newfound respect for AJ and vows to find his own path to achieving his dream of becoming a Pokemon master.

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– Gotta love how cocky Ash is with his two pity badges….

– Wait, why are we going back to using the logo to say ‘Pokemon’ again?

– Ya know as much as I like AJ, his voice actor blows. Sounds like a cowboy who got hit in the face with a brick.

– I do admire AJ’s work ethic and his plan. 100 wins, undefeated mind you, under his belt before going to get badges is a great plan. Gary and the others didn’t even have that advantage.

– Geez Ash is being obnoxious in this episode. Between him being so full of himself it’s like ego-ception and him snapping at Misty for giving him legit advice on a topic that he’s shown time and again to have problems in (Pokemon Type matchups) he’s pretty insufferable.

– Ash: “You can do it! Flying versus Ground should be no problem!” He said after his Flying type, Pidgeotto, just got thrashed by the Sandshrew.

– Hey they did the thing where you can see Ash’s skeleton when he’s getting electrocuted….when they removed that from Tokyo Mew Mew. You continue to confuse me, 4Kids.

– You also get to really see the stark contrast between Ash’s work ethic and that of…you know…a good Pokemon trainer’s. Yes, AJ is strict with his Pokemon, yes he uses a whip, though he never seems to actually hit his Pokemon with it, he just hits the ground near them and uses the sound as a cue, but it’s like Ash doesn’t understand intense training regimens……or work.

All he says in defense of his own work ethic is you have to make friends with your Pokemon….and that’s it. Does he really not think it’s important to keep Pokemon trained on a regular regimen outside of the one or two battles every now and then? Does he also not realize that you can be strict and a Pokemon’s friend at the same time?

– I love that scene where Pikachu goes into a ball due to the Yousei Gips thing (the ‘strength enhancer’ that Sandshrew wears) and then Sandshrew laughs and goes into a ball too.

– Team Rocket’s getting some good lines too.

– Meowth: “Just ‘biting’ my time. *munch* AHHHH THE MOMENT OF TOOTH!”

…….I said SOME.

– So yeah it’s apparent that I really love this episode outside of the obnoxious Ash we have to put up with. It’s made more tolerable because it’s brought up time and again that he’s making an ass out himself. I especially like it because, if this were made today, I guarantee it would end in a lesson for the CotD instead of a lesson for Ash.

That is what I like most about it, how they didn’t decide to go the predictable route of making AJ a legit asshole who does basically abuses his Pokemon then have Sandshrew run away and have AJ learn the error of his ways. AJ stays true to form, Sandshrew stays loyal and Ash is the one who has to learn that just because you’re strict, tough and hard working doesn’t mean you’re abusive or an asshole to your Pokemon.

I also very much appreciate that they didn’t end this episode with Ash beating AJ. Not only would that have tarnished AJ’s dream, but it would’ve been another BS win.

Plus the ending battle with Team Rocket was just awesome. Fissure is freakin’ amazing.

This could’ve been a great time to have Ash actually LEARN a lesson for a change, but sadly this is another drop in the ‘One-shot lessons’ bucket. He’ll never reach even a decent work ethic in his training. He only ever gets close to such a thing near gym matches and leagues and even that’s short lived.

I especially hate the complete missed opportunity for actually making AJ another rival. Sure he already has Gary, but he rarely ever shows up and never battles Ash when he does. AJ could’ve actually been a friendly rival that would definitely give Ash a run for his money. But nope, just another forgotten CotD who doesn’t even reappear in the Pokemon League episodes. *pfft*

And while I would find it interesting for AJ to have taken Ash’s offer to join him on his journey…..I don’t think I’d handle that voice very well for the rest of the series.

Here’s to AJ. We hardly knew ye.

Next episode, The School of Hard Knocks where the gang finds a Pokemon academy where, if you pass, you’re automatically qualified to enter the Pokemon League without traveling to get badges.

Pokemon Episode Analysis: Episode 6 – Clefairy and the Moon Stone

Knowledge….Research….I’m Seymour the Scientist!

CotD: Seymour (The Scientist®) Seymour’s actually one of the most memorable CotD’s to me. He was really animated, passionate and quirky and I had a lot of fun watching him. He works at the Pewter City Museum and is really interested in learning about the Clefairy and Moon Stone at Mt. Moon.

Reappears?: No 😦

Captures: Brock’s Zubat

Plot: Ash, Brock and Misty arrive at the beautiful Mt. Moon only to find an eccentric man named Seymour (the scientist ®) being attacked by Zubat. They save Seymour and wonder why the normally nocturnal Zubat are active in broad daylight.

Seymour shows the group that Mt. Moon has been covered in string lights, confusing the dark-loving Zubat, the local Paras and drying out the Sandshrew. They find out that Team Rocket is behind the whole thing, digging for the legendary Moon Stone to power up their Pokemon.

They manage to save a rare Clefairy that happens to have a moon stone from the clutches of Team Rocket, and the Pokemon is nice enough to lead Ash and the others to the larger Moon Stone and its Clefairy friends who are shown to pray to the stone as a deity.

Team Rocket shows back up and steals the Moon Stone from the Clefairy, but Brock quickly stops them in their tracks with his Onix. After another battle, the Clefairy show back up to take out Team Rocket themselves with the mysterious deus ex machina, Metronome.

The resulting explosion from the attack not only makes Team Rocket blast off, but it also blows some of the moon stones to shards, making some of the Clefairy evolve into Clefable.

Later, Seymour claims he wishes to live with Clefairy in Mt. Moon to study them and hopefully discover if Pokemon really do originate from space. He bids the group goodbye, and they set off on their next destination.

Ash spots a sign showing that the nearest town is Cerulean City, which marks it as their next destination, and he’s fired up when he spots that Gary scribbled that Ash was a loser on the sign, which makes him run off in anger towards Cerulean City.

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

– Seymour: “And these hot lights are drying up these Sandshrew.” I get that it’s just that they’re really hot, but why phrase it like ‘drying up’? Makes it sound like they’re Spongebob and Patrick in that scene in the Gift Shop in the Spongebob movie…..

Also, they’re Ground Pokemon, particularly ones who thrive in sand; is dryness really a problem for them?

– While I find the theory of Pokemon being aliens…interesting, does he really believe they came to earth….in a rock?

Okay, that’s two Spongebob references in a row. I need to chill out.

– Ash: (In regards to Team Rocket’s Motto) “Don’t you ever get tired of saying the same things over and over?” Oh, honey….no…..

…….no…….

no.

– This is one of those storylines that could’ve been over in five minutes if the Pokemon world had decent law enforcement. Someone strung lights up at Mt. Moon and it’s damaging the ecosystem there? That’s illegal. Call the cops. Hell, it’s obvious this isn’t anything official from the getgo so why not just take the lights down yourself?

– Should someone tell Team Rocket that the Moon Stone won’t make their Pokemon more powerful….at all? In fact, isn’t it the least used evolutionary stone in existence seeing as how there’s so few Pokemon that can use it?

– I really like Zubat and all, and bravo to Brock for being so proactive in not only capturing a Pokemon but jumping right into battle too, but the fact that it was caught completely offscreen never ceases to bug me. It’s not even like they have the excuse of ‘oh they showed it, but the episode got banned’ like with Ash’s Tauros. They just threw a Zubat to Brock.

– Brock: “I caught one just before we entered the cave.”

Ash: “Aw, I shoulda caught one.” Yeah, you should’ve considering you were the one who weakened them all. Then again, you were probably distracted by Seymour’s awesomeness.

Speaking of Zubat, why would he use that immediately when it was weakened for capture? He has a couple of other Pokemon on hand, why not use those?

– Ash: (While Brock is feeding his Zubat) “What’s that?”

Brock: “Pokemon food.”

…..Ash…..please tell me you’ve fed your Pokemon since you’ve caught them.

– I love how Seymour and Ash are both completely flippant about eating what is essentially pet food.

– This episode kinda confuses me. How do evolutionary stones really work? Clefairy has been carrying around a Moon Stone this entire episode and they worship a giant Moon Stone yet evolution is not instantaneous. Something similar pops up later during the Thunder Badge episode where Pikachu is not only near a Thunder Stone but also touches it with his tail yet doesn’t evolve. What exactly is the trigger for stone evolution in the anime?

– Ash: (Trying to translate what Pikachu’s saying) “These Clefairy collect all these rocks and……do the macarena!” Ah the macarena. That won’t ever get dated.

– Misty: “What rhymes with hair?”

Brock: “Hey, how about ‘prayer’?” Yes, everyone, there was a time when 4Kids would actually mention religion. Twas long long ago, back when we as children used to try to keep these things called ‘Gigapets’ alive. They were needy little bastards who never left you alone, but dammit you loved them.

– I gave you guys a pass when you had Misty say ‘Have a nice drip’ when she Water Gunned Meowth away, but having Meowth tell Seymour ‘Hope you had a nice trip.’ in the same episode after tripping Seymour just forces me to point out that you’re both lame and lazy.

– God just look at how much Misty and Brock are doing. Battling right off the bat, catching Pokemon, proactively initiating plans. It really makes me feel bad that they so rarely get to do much of anything in future episodes.

– Wow, really? A Tackle attack by Koffing instantly KO’d Onix? That’s….highly unlikely.

– Misty: (Watching Clefairy wave their fingers back and forth to perform Metronome) “I’m getting dizzy.” Do people really get dizzy from watching something go back and forth?

– I do love the scene where the group of Clefairy perform Metronome, though. That’s a definite highlight in the cuteness factor for me.

– So wait, the Moon Stone had to explode into a million pieces before it would let the Clefairy evolve? I really don’t get this.

– In…let’s say a couple weeks or so, Ash has caught a glimpse of a legendary Pokemon and seen two of ‘the rarest Pokemon in the world’ in Clefairy and Clefable. I guess it is completely plausible that he runs into one or two legendaries per year.

– Seymour’s really going to live in Mt Moon in hopes of seeing the Clefairy and Clefable return to the stars one day? You truly are an odd duck, Seymour. But you got a good heart, champ.

– Brock: (In regards to Ash) “He’ll never learn.”

All in all, I always really liked this episode and I still do. I really like Clefairy and the story of them worshiping a Moon Stone that fell to earth is kinda interesting. Seymour is also a great CotD. He’s just kooky enough to be funny without being annoying and he has a true love of Pokemon. Team Rocket’s scheme was okay, and everyone got to do plenty of stuff.

The animation actually seems worse in this episode for some reason. The lipsyncing also has several really rough spots in the first half. Nothing too major, but I’m really starting to see what Dogasu meant about not getting why the early seasons are praised for their animation over the later seasons in their digital animation. Sure, I’m not a big fan of the CGI they shove in there later on down the road, but the early seasons had a lot of really rough episodes in terms of art and animation.

Next episode, we make it to Cerulean City and Ash gets a surprise when he finds that Misty is the Cerulean City Gym Leader. Can he beat her Water Pokemon and obtain a Cascade Badge?

Pokemon Episode Analysis: Episode 5 – The Pewter City Showdown!

Stop being a baby, Pikachu. It’s just a hug.

Character Debuts:

Brock: The Pewter City Gym leader, Brock is a very responsible and caring teenager. His father left him, his mother and various brothers and sisters to go on a Pokemon journey. His mother left—oops I mean died then became a zombie I guess much later, thus he was left as the sole caretaker of his siblings. Brock is a pretty level headed and knowledgeable individual, unless a pretty girl is around, and he really aspires to be a Pokemon breeder. Once his father, Flint, returned and decided to take the reigns on caring for the family, Brock decided to join Ash on his journey so he can develop his skills a Pokemon Breeder. He typically offers plenty of knowledge and advice to Ash while serving as the group’s cook. He’s known for being a great chef both for human and Pokemon food. Though not aspiring to be a Rock Type Master, Brock still does seem to favor Rock types in his roster.

Badge Episode – Pewter Gym

Leader: Brock

 

Plot: Ash has arrived in Pewter City and notices a poster about the upcoming Pokemon League Championships on the Pokemon Center wall. In order to enter, you need to travel to various Pokemon Gyms throughout Kanto and defeat the leaders of the Gyms in order to obtain at least eight badges that will later be presented to the league as qualification. Ash gears up to join the tournament, and he’s directed to a Gym right there in Pewter City lead by someone named Brock.

Ash arrives and meets the stone-faced (hehe puns) Brock who accepts his challenge. He starts with the giant Onix while Ash starts with Pikachu. The little yellow mouse is intimidated by the huge snake made of rocks, but agrees to battle anyway. Pikachu’s electric attacks are not powerful enough to harm Onix, so he easily gains the upperhand.

Onix binds Pikachu and Ash finds he’s unable to recall him so he’s forced to forfeit before Pikachu gets hurt.

Defeated in more ways than one, Ash laments on his loss as he talks with the mysterious rock salesman, Flint who explains to him that Brock has an unfortunate situation. His mother ‘died’ and his father left on a Pokemon Journey never to return. Thus Brock is left as the sole caretaker of his ten brothers and sisters.

Despite seeing Brock in a different light, Ash still wishes he could find some way to defeat Brock. Flint offers a suggestion of powering up Pikachu with the local water wheel. It’s dried up, so Ash will have to power through operating it manually like an external hamster wheel. Pikachu bears the pain while being infused with the electricity and they get ready once again to take Brock on.

The next day, Ash asks for a rematch against Brock and with Misty as well as all of Brock’s sisters and brothers watching, they battle once again.

Brock starts out this time with Geodude while Ash starts off with Pidgeotto. However, Pidgeotto’s almost completely ineffective against Geodude, so Ash is forced to recall him and sends out Pikachu. Powered up Pikachu is able to take out Geodude with a single blow, but Onix proves he won’t make things that easy.

While Pikachu’s putting up a better fight, even damaging the Gym with its power, Onix still is too powerful for him and ends up trapping him in a Bind once more. Brock calls off the attack this time for fear of hurting Pikachu, but Ash won’t stop the match.

Suddenly the small flames caused by Pikachu’s earlier attacks cause the sprinkler systems to go off, inflicting pain to Onix. Misty points out that Rock Types are weak to water, giving Ash an opportunity to take Onix down. He attacks with Pikachu once, causing Onix to fall. As Ash is about to make the final blow, he’s held back by Brock’s brothers and sisters who don’t want Brock to continue to watch Onix get hurt any further. Ash agrees and says it wouldn’t be fair to continue since Onix was unfairly damaged by the sprinklers so he leaves.

Brock later catches up with him and offers him the Boulder Badge for his kindness towards his Pokemon. Ash accepts and Brock reveals that he’d rather be a great Pokemon Breeder than a Gym Leader or a trainer, but since he has his brothers and sisters to care for, he can’t follow that dream so he tells Ash to do it for him.

Just then, Flint arrives and reveals himself to be Brock’s estranged father who offers to finally return home and take care of his family while Brock goes off on his own journey. They all depart for the next city and the next Gym with Ash’s shiny new Boulder Badge proudly pinned to his vest.

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– $1,150 is quite a bit for a bowl of rice and a drink. That’s not even counting tips. How did they go from doing such a fantastic job repainting the Pokemon League poster to neglecting to add a decimal point after removing the yen symbol for a dollar sign? If such a tiny detail as the yen symbol was enough to bring out the digital painters, you’d think they’d catch such a thing. Hell, I caught that when I first watched this as a kid.

– With how busy Brock must be, I find it weird that he sometimes sits alone in the dark in his gym. Also, who turned on the spotlight when he first spoke?

– I really, really don’t want to complain about this, but it’s just bugging me. Why did Ash previously have such detailed knowledge of Pokemon League rules before but now he’s completely oblivious as to what gyms are and how they work? Did he just pick and choose specific details about training to learn by heart?

– The wiki notes that there’s a graphical error before the battle begins where we see Ash’s eyes turn red, but they just look brown to me. It’s technically still a graphical hiccup as, despite the fact that Ash’s eyes are indeed brown, they’re usually colored black unless it’s a particularly detailed closeup. However, I find it weird saying that coloring his eyes their canon color for a change is a ‘mistake’.

– Brock: “As Gym Leader, I have to accept every challenge.” Odd that Dogasu’s comparison doesn’t note this, so it’s possible that the original has him say the same thing, but I’m noting this in conjunction with the Rainbow Badge episode where it’s noted that Erika in the dub says she’s obligated under league rules to accept all challenges. In the original, she says no such thing and had actually been rejecting Ash’s challenges all day, so the rule seems like bull if it does exist in the original.

– Brock definitely had a bit of a personality change over time, eh? He went from really serious and blunt, almost mocking, to being a pretty goofy skirt chaser. Granted, he’s still very knowledgeable and responsible, but you can really tell the difference in this episode.

– Also, Brock, why are you not shirtless? You’re shaming your game counterpart with your shirt.

– Eric Stuart doesn’t really sound like he has……acting down. I would say Brock’s voice, but he’s just acting pretty poorly in this episode for some reason. He gets better with time but ech.

– Brock: “Such a weak electric attack can’t hurt Onix.” No; no electric attacks period can hurt Onix because it’s part Ground type….

But as we’ll later see, screw that logic. Messiahchu to the rescue!

– It’s understandable to feel like crap when you lose, especially as badly as Ash just did, but come on. He’s had one other trainer match in his entire life yet he’s acting like his career is over after one loss.

– Ash: “Yeah but why has he never been in a regional championship himself?” Who said he hasn’t? Also, I’m really unclear as to how Gym Leaders are chosen. The wiki says it varies greatly either from region to region or Gym to Gym but you’d think there would be some solid rules considering they’re all under official league contracts. How did Brock prove himself to be good enough to be a Gym Leader? How did Misty? They’re not really particularly strong when you view them against other Gym leaders in the region or even the whole Pokemon world, so it’s just confusing to me.

– Behold! 4Kids purposely adding in character death for no reason! Join us in about seven years during Pokemon Chronicles where Zombie-Brock’s Mom makes an appearance.

– I would ask why doesn’t Flint tell Ash that Electric vs. part Ground is pointless, but in this episode it doesn’t seem to matter much anyway. Weird how they pay such attention to the type advantages and disadvantages from the game that it actually made them goof a couple times yet they get this completely obvious fact wrong just to give Pikachu more limelight. Granted, neither Butterfree nor Pidgeotto would have a good shot either, they’re both weak to Rock types, but still better than a Pokemon who, by all logic, should have no effect on any of Brock’s Pokemon.

– That’s right, kids. If you want to get a badge; don’t go out there and train. That’s for morons! Instead, torture your Pokemon by hooking them up to generators and pumping raw electricity through their bodies! And don’t try to tell me that this isn’t hurting Pikachu. They make a point to show that it’s really painful. I especially find it stupid that Ash is like ‘I can bear moving a waterwheel with my feet as long as you bear having electricity forcibly fed into your body.’

– And do I even need to bring up how cheat-y this seems? I mean, I know there are items in the games that can improve your Pokemon’s attributes, but this is just a big fat shortcut to, as Flint puts it ‘Superpowering’ Pikachu. The power wasn’t earned, it was taken.

– Flying types pointed out as being weak against Rock → Rock (Geodude) easily wins.

Electric types have no effect on Ground types → Beats Geodude (Part Ground type) easily with one electric attack.

😐

– Brock: “It looks like you’ve trained it better.” Last I checked, training did not involve booster cables. Also, does he really believe he trained Pikachu that much better in one night?

– His electric attacks are hurting Onix too. Pfft.

– Misty, why are you telling him to cheat?…even more than he already was? I know he realizes this is wrong later, but A) he still attacked anyway, B) He was going to finish it off before Brock’s brothers and sisters intervened and C) Misty’s still encouraging him to do this. Onix getting hurt by the sprinkler system is an accident; taking advantage of an accident during a match is just as bad as cheating. To put it into perspective, imagine you’re battling a Grass type and someone threw a lit cigarette on it, causing it to burst into flames. Or imagine if a Water type accidentally stepped on a live electrical wire. Would you take advantage of that and overtake them in battle or stop the match immediately? That should be common sense not an after-after-thought.

– Onix is also basically ‘finished’ before Ash tries to attack again, so this just seems cruel.

– Misty: “*sighs* Just when he finally gets a lucky break, he decides to be a nice guy too.” Wha, did you want him to be an asshole? What’s wrong with you?

– Brock: “No, you beat me both in battle and in being kind to Pokemon.” No, he didn’t beat you in either. If he beat you in battle, it would’ve been because he cheated; twice. And he wasn’t particularly kind considering he was going to attack your already beaten Onix. In competition there, you released Pikachu from the Bind earlier and gave him an out to surrender before Pikachu got hurt. He didn’t beat you in any way, shape or form.

– And thus starts the line of Indigo League pity badges. Hooray.

– How is Ash supposed to fulfill Brock’s dream of being the greatest Pokemon breeder for him if Ash is a Pokemon trainer? Also, why can’t Brock become a great breeder at home if he can still be a gym leader?

– Why did Flint need to wear a fake beard as a disguise? Couldn’t he just grow one?

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

I……pretty much hate this episode. Okay ‘hate’ may be a strong word, but I don’t really like it. I like the introduction to Brock and Flint is one of the funnier minor characters, but Ash essentially cheats, twice, even if he decided to finally stop at the end, with interference mind you, and Misty encourages him to essentially cheat. Team Rocket’s role, while being the first pitfall trap they’ve made, is completely minor and not funny. They don’t even come face to face with Ash and Co. all episode, they just get stepped on by them at the end and appear for a couple minutes at the beginning, which I don’t really mind but still. If they played such a small role, why include them at all? Note how I didn’t include them at all in the synopsis; they’re that minor here.

It’s not just the cheating that bothers me either, it’s just uncomfortable that Ash was that okay with pumping Pikachu full of electricity instead of just saying ‘well, guess I need to train more.’ Ya know…like anyone else would. Or hell ‘Maybe I need to train more and catch more than three Pokemon.’ that would work too. He doesn’t even second guess this. He’s excited about doing it. Was it a big emergency that Ash had to beat Brock as soon as possible? Pikachu agreed to do it, but it still just doesn’t sit right with me.

Plus, like I said, this is the first of many ‘pity badges’ that Ash gets in the Indigo League. In fact, let’s crack out his legit badge earnings right here. X is pity, O is earned.

Pewter City (Boulder Badge) – X

Cerulean City (Cascade Badge) – X (Though, I do agree that Ash would’ve won easily had Pikachu agreed to fight. However, the mere fact that Pikachu refused to fight is sorta a testament to his skill as a trainer, isn’t it?)

Vermillion City (Thunder Badge) – O

Celadon City (Rainbow Badge) – X

Fuchsia City (Soul Badge) – O

Saffron City (Marsh Badge) – X

Cinnabar Island (Volcano Badge) – O (In fact, I adore that Blaine was like ‘Hell no! You still have to battle me, idiot!’ when Ash asks if he earned a badge by helping Blaine with his Gym. It was a slap to the entire concept of pity badges.)

Viridian City (Earth Badge) – X (To a degree. He did beat Team Rocket, but he didn’t technically earn the badge properly. He never faced Giovanni, who is the actual Gym leader, leading to more confusion about how gym leaders are chosen, plus he definitely would’ve lost if he was faced against Mewtwo. Just because Team Rocket had stronger Pokemon doesn’t make them more of a challenge. They’re still the same idiots Ash beats all the time. So, this one’s on the line, but it still counts)

I’m so glad this stops after the Indigo League.

Next episode, Clefairy and the Moon Stone. Ash and the others go through Mt. Moon on their way to Cerulean City for Ash’s next Gym Match. They meet the stranger Seymour (The Scientist) who is researching the Clefairy found on the mountain as well as the mysterious Moon Stone.

Pokemon Episode Analysis – Episode 4: Challenge of the Samurai

Go ahead, giggle. Get it out of your system. You know you want to.

Character of the Day:

Samurai: Not given any other handle besides ‘Samurai’, Samurai is a boy who dresses in traditional samurai gear and lives in Viridian Forest. He is the first ever CotD, with nothing else really notable about him beyond that.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Pinsir and Metapod.

Plot: Misty and Ash are still traveling through Viridian Forest when they spot a Weedle. Ash rears up to capture it when he’s approached by an odd kid dressed in Samurai clothes named, oddly enough, Samurai. Well, if your parents name you that, I guess you’re damned to dressing like that. He’s searching for a trainer from Pallet Town, Ash identifies himself as such and Samurai challenges him to a battle. The Weedle gets away while he’s talking to Samurai and in his frustration of losing his catch, he fires up for his first non-Team Rocket Pokemon battle against another trainer.

Ash starts with Pidgeotto, who is tired from battling Weedle, while Samurai starts with the fearsome Pinsir. The tired Pidgeotto is unable to defeat Pinsir, however, and is recalled.

Ash tries his new Metapod instead and manages to beat Pinsir with Harden.

Samurai calls out a Metapod as well and Ash and Samurai get locked into a stalemate of constant Hardens.

After a long while stuck in battle, the group hears a swarm of Beedrill approaching so Samurai recalls his Metapod and calls off the match. Ash tries to do the same, but Metapod is taken away by a Beedrill before he’s able to. He’s forced to run away, and sees that Metapod is being taken in as a Kakuna among a whole hive of sleeping Kakuna. Ash is unable to free his Metapod before the Kakuna evolve into Beedrill and attack them yet again.

They take refuge at Samurai’s cabin, and Samurai chews Ash out for being an incompetent Pokemon trainer much less skilled than the other three trainers from Pallet that Samurai battled. He also berates Ash for ‘abandoning’ Metapod.

The next morning, Ash heads out to retrieve Metapod only to be ambushed by Team Rocket. They wake the sleeping Beedrill and Ash uses them as a distraction to take Metapod and run. Metapod is upset with Ash, but he voices his guilt over his mistake and Metapod saves him from a Beedrill, causing him to evolve into Butterfree.

With Ash’s new Butterfree by his side, he commands him to use Sleep Powder to knock out all of the Beedrill and Team Rocket allowing them to finally leave Viridian Forest and head to Ash’s first gym match in Pewter City.

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

– Ash’s mouth doesn’t move during the ‘Maybe it’s a’ part of the line ‘Maybe it’s a Cowterpie’ which makes sense given that the original line there was only one word, ‘Ushi’ (meaning cow) to make a pun on the fact that she was originally yelling ‘Mushi’ (meaning bug. Also, kudos to Dogasu’s Pokemon comparison for this additional information.)

– Why are there bar codes on the Pokedex screen when Ash’s checks Weedle’s data? That’s never happened before and I don’t believe it ever happens again.

– Dexter: “Weedle – The stinger on this Pokemon’s head guarantees that any attacker will ‘get the point’ right where it hurts.” Dexter really was a cheeky little machine back in the day.

– Ash: “Oh yeah I almost forgot, you have to weaken a Pokemon before you can capture it!” Ah now see here. A rare example of Ash learning. Scientists take the time to document this event and study it carefully since they never know when another opportunity to witness this event will come around.

– Also, I love how Ash is looking into the camera when he says this. Like he’s trying to teach US something he couldn’t learn with only one lesson.

– It still amazes me how amped up he gets for catching Pokemon here. Enjoy it while it lasts.

– More bar codes with Pinsir, what is going on?

– What the hell? 4Kids left in the fantasy shot of Metapod literally getting crushed in half by Pinsir? Times really have changed.

– Ash: “Maximum hardness, Metapod!” Must….resist….joke.

– Both of them are really too stupid to see that a Harden vs. Harden battle is a never ending stalemate? And Samurai has the nerve to call Ash a novice. Why doesn’t Ash make Metapod use Tackle? Shouldn’t it still know that from being Caterpie?

– More bar codes with Beedrill.

– Metapod’s voice, at least in the Who’s That Pokemon, is horrendous. It’s like someone’s holding their nose and saying ‘Metapod.’

– Again, barcodes with Kakuna’s entry. Hm.

– How does a ten year old own a cabin? Moreso why does he own this cabin if he’s on a Pokemon journey?

– Samurai: “I do take it back because not even a novice would abandon his own Pokemon as you did!” If this is in regards to when it got captured, there’s nothing Ash could’ve done there. He tried to recall it and it was taken too far away.

If this is in regards to when he saw Metapod moments ago then yes he totally should’ve gotten stung by hundreds of Beedrill (and maybe died?) to save a Pokemon that wasn’t in immediate danger, if anything was being protected by the Beedrill, instead of regrouping and developing a plan. He actually seemed like he was going to rush over and grab Metapod before Misty grabbed him and covered his mouth. Not his fault the Kakuna decided to evolve at that time. I’m usually all for pointing out Ash’s dumb mistakes, but this one’s unwarranted because there’s absolutely nothing he could’ve done.

– Another mention of all three of the first trainers from Pallet on their journeys. And from what Samurai said they’re all awesome at battling and training, not just Gary. Dammit, I really just want to see what they look like. A silhouette. Anything!?

– Hehe, they left Satoshi’s name tag on the sleeping bag. Makes it seem like Ash stole his sleeping bag from someone named Satoshi.

– Even if the Weedle hadn’t eaten the tank, what makes Team Rocket think a paper tank would’ve protected them from Beedrill stingers? Let me point out that they we easily breaking through the wood in Samurai’s log cabin a while ago.

– Yay, Butterfree’s debut! Caterpie’s dream came true!

– I kinda think the ending was dumb. Samurai really backtracks and says he’s the real novice just by Ash commanding his Butterfree to use Sleep Powder on the Beedrill? That’s not really impressive. I just think it was a bit of a cop out since they probably didn’t have enough runtime to continue their battle.

– Ah with the first CotD comes the first time Ash promises to see them again and never ever doing it. Good times.

All in all….this episode….was…eh. Samurai’s not a very compelling or interesting CotD, and his VA is so awkward. The Metapod vs. Metapod match is obviously the most memorable and funny part of this episode, with the rest being kinda weak. I still stand by my belief that Ash had no real choice but to ‘abandon’ Metapod, so the conflict here just doesn’t work to me. But who cares? Butterfree!

Next episode, Ash arrives in Pewter City to get his first badge from the gym leader, Brock.

Pokemon Episode Analysis: Episode 3 – Ash Catches a Pokemon!

Pokeballshipping – The one true canon

Character Debuts:

Ash’s Caterpie/Metapod: The first Pokemon Ash ever caught (Pikachu not counted because it was given to him), Caterpie wishes for nothing more than to be a Butterfree and fly around in the sky. He also has a great deal of affection for Misty, who despises bugs. Poor guy. He’s also, I believe, the first and only Pokemon to be caught and evolved in the same episode.

Ash’s Pidgeotto: The second of Ash’s captures, Pidgeotto usually has the lame job of merely popping Team Rocket’s balloon when they show up, but he stands as a very loyal and fierce ally of Ash.

Plot: Continuing from the last shot of episode 2, Ash throws a Pokeball at a nearby Caterpie in Viridian forest and manages to capture it! Ash couldn’t be more excited to catch his first Pokemon, but Misty couldn’t be more grossed out that it’s a Bug type. This is an even bigger problem as Caterpie takes quite the liking to Misty.

Tensions are high for the group as they travel, and they’re only made worse when Ash shows poor judgment while trying to capture a Pidgeotto. He does manage to capture it, but not before nearly getting Caterpie badly hurt.

As Misty chews him out for it, Team Rocket shows up again to capture Pikachu. They Sludge Pikachu in the eyes, leaving him out for the battle, and Ash is forced to go on without him. He uses his newly captured Pidgeotto, but to no avail. His only other option is the weak Caterpie, who actually manages to beat all of Team Rocket with some String Shot.

This is enough to trigger Caterpie’s evolution into Metapod, making him well on his way to his dream of being a Butterfree.

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

– The word ‘Pokemon’ is still replaced by the Pokemon logo. Also, in this episode, Misty says the title instead of Ash, who usually does it.

– Misty’s pretty much at her worst here. I hate bugs too, but Caterpie’s adorable, and it just wanted to be her friend, yet she treats it like garbage.

– Despite really liking Caterpie….the sound it makes is friggin’ awful. It sounds like a cat mimicking a monkey.

– I love Caterpie and Pikachu’s little conversation, even if you can’t understand what they’re saying.

– Apparently, because 4Kids edited out Japanese text behind Caterpie in this shot, they left a very noticeable black bar off to the left.

– Ash chasing after Caterpie while still in his sleeping bag is also funny. However, the linework on his eyes in that shot is so heavy it looks like he’s wearing eyeliner.

– You know, I am going to make a real effort not to bitch too much about Ash’s mistakes in season 1 because he’s a rookie….even though he should know the bare basics if he’s such a Pokemon nut, but I can turn a blind eye for the sake of story. However, I am going to call out this scene where he tries to capture Pidgeotto the first time.

Why? Because in the first episode, he did the same exactly thing with a Pidgey and, surprise, it didn’t work. Sarcastic-Dexter even practically reprimanded him for making such a rookie mistake of not battling and weakening the Pokemon first. Here, he’s trying to capture an evolved form of Pidgey, IE stronger and even harder to catch than Pidgey, without battling it or weakening it first.

And what’s worse is, at least with Pidgey he had some form of an excuse. Pikachu wouldn’t fight for him anyway, so he kinda had to at least try on his own. Here, he has Pikachu on his side and a huge advantage with Pikachu being Electric and Pidgeotto being Flying, yet nope. He still does it anyway.

– Ah here’s a sneak peak to the Ash I’ll grow to hate. Acting like a hotshot and claiming he knows what he’s doing even though he just made one of the rookiest mistakes in Pokemon….again.

– I’m also not really going to complain about Ash being ignorant of type advantages and disadvantages at this point, even if that is another bare basic….I will, however, agree with Misty’s reasoning. He should at least be smart enough to know that birds eat worms, especially considering that Pidgeotto is eating a worm in his first scene.

– In the early days, it seems the Pokeballs couldn’t recall the Pokemon unless the Pokeball opened, which isn’t true later. I guess this was to cut corners in order to save on the animation budget.

– Ash: “I am the greatest!” There you go opening that window to Dumbash. You really want me to make that transition awful fast, huh? Especially considering that I could not agree more with Misty’s tangent after he says this. It would’ve been different if he was just excited about his capture, but he completely ignores that he nearly got Caterpie severely injured, much in the same realm as Pikachu did and episode ago, also because of his ignorance.

– I’m still not sure if Pikachu is as powerful as Meowth states. Sure Messiahchu seems like it somehow cheats a lot in battles just because, being the mascot, it has to win nearly all the time, but saying its power far exceeds its level is a bit…iffy to me, especially considering he’s using the fact that the Pokemon Center blew up as proof, given that it was Koffing’s gas igniting that caused the explosion.

– So he seems to know Pokemon league rules fairly well, (stating that, by league rules, only one Pokemon can be on each side) yet still doesn’t know the basics….Must resist bitching….But man he is just a giant contradiction in a hat.

– How is it that Caterpie’s too weak to battle but Pidgeotto isn’t? It’s a Flying Type that just took a Thundershock to the back minutes ago.

– The battle with Caterpie at the end kinda bugs me….hehe puns. *cough* I mean, I guess it’s possible that Pidgeotto weakened them enough to have Caterpie easily take them out, but it didn’t really land any hits.

Overall, this was a really good episode. I love Caterpie and Pidgeotto and the major thing that irks me here is Misty continuously being annoying still. But you can see how they’re slowly switching places because Misty gets a little more tolerable towards the end, emphasis on ‘a little’, and Ash starts showing his more annoying colors here and there.

While the first half was a bit slow, the second had all sorts of action in it, and I really enjoyed it.

Next episode, our first Character of the Day with Samurai…..Yeah, he’s just Samurai. Ash has his first non-Team Rocket Pokemon battle with a trainer in Viridian Forest who dresses and acts like a Samurai. They have a never-ending Metapod battle since they only keep doing Harden back and forth, but they’re soon in danger of a nearby group of Beedrill.

Pokemon Episode Analysis: Episode 2 – Pokemon Emergency!

Poses for picture; still can’t get a clear shot of their faces.

Character Debuts:

Officer Jenny: Despite the seeming lack of police assistance in actual emergencies most of the time, there are cops in the world of Pokemon. Most of them, the prominent ones anyway, are Jennys. In practically every town ever, there is an Officer Jenny. They all look exactly the same and are somehow all related to each other. Officer Jenny is sometimes accompanied by a Growlithe.

Nurse Joy: Just like the Jennys, there are also identical Joys who are all related to each other in every Pokemon Center in every town. Nurse Joys are usually assisted by Chansey. I honestly don’t know why none of these Nurse Joys ever wanted to go the extra mile and become a Pokemon doctor, but whatever.

Team Rocket: While Team Rocket as a whole is a large organization, it usually merely refers to the trio of Jessie, James and Meowth. Jessie is a vain and greedy woman who rarely has a moment of kindness. She also seems to hold the most power in the group and kinda acts as the main leader since James and Meowth are regularly frightened by her. Jessie used to be a very poor and kind child, but the rest of her backstory is a big web of mess.

James is slightly nicer when the situation calls for it, but he is also pretty vain and greedy. Unlike Jessie, he was actually born into an incredibly rich family, but ran away from home because he didn’t want to be married to the obnoxious Jessibelle.

Meowth is one of the few Pokemon in the world who can talk, and this is made even more impressive since he’s also one of the few who can talk without the assistance of psychic powers. He taught himself how to speak human language and walk on two feet in order to impress a female Meowth named Meowsy, but his efforts ultimately made him even less appealing in her eyes and he eventually went on to join Team Rocket.

Plot: Ash takes an injured Pikachu into the local Pokemon Center for treatment, but the place is soon attacked by the malicious Pokemon thieves, Team Rocket. Ash as well as the girl he met in the previous episode, Misty, try to battle them, but to no avail.

Instead, the center’s backup electrical supply, a team of Pikachu, shock the trio and their electric power brings Pikachu back to peak health somehow. In order to take them out fully, Ash uses Misty’s broken bike to generate power through the headlight and power up Pikachu enough to deliver one final Thunderbolt, causing the entire Pokemon Center to explode by igniting the gas from one of Team Rocket’s Pokemon, Koffing.

Team Rocket take note of Pikachu’s incredible power and vow to capture it no matter what. Meanwhile, Ash continues on his journey by heading through Viridian Forest, which leads directly to Pewter City, the site of his first Gym match. Misty follows him, determined to get Ash to pay for her ruined bike, but as they travel through the Viridian Forest, Ash spots a Caterpie and readies a Pokeball for its capture.

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– The title card is looking a bit more normal, but they still use the Pokemon logo to say ‘Pokemon’.

– Oh….so I guess, from what Dexter says anyway, that the function of the Pokedex in the anime is really more for the trainer’s benefit in providing information and advice and not keeping a log while trying to see and capture all of the Pokemon, IE Completing the Pokedex. Hmph.

– James in episodes 2 – 8 isn’t voiced by his most notable voice actor, Eric Stuart, here. He’s instead voiced by Ted Lewis who does quite a few roles otherwise such as Tracey, Giovanni, Bakura and Bandit Keith from YGO. He does have really good range, and he fits the role pretty well here, but I can see why they’d replace him with Eric Stuart if his role was going to become more comical later.

– Likewise, Meowth also has a different voice actor in the earlier episodes, episode 2 – 31, Nathan Price, who does the role more low-key than Maddie Blaustein will later on. I honestly can’t decide which voice I like better, but Maddie’s is also more fitting for the more comical parts while Nathan is better at being more sly. Plus, Maddie says ‘Meeeowth’ a little better.

– I really will just take a minute to enjoy the more serious Team Rocket for this episode. I do love them as comic relief sometimes, but it would be nice if they were an actual threat.

– Why did Jenny feel the need to jump her motorcycle into the Pokemon Center? Yeah, risk more injury to the already injured Pokemon. And it really took them until nightfall to get there? How big is this city?

– It’s weird to me that Pikachu is so injured after just taking a few Pecks by a couple Spearow, especially given that he’s strong against Flying types.

– Nurse Joy’s a bit of a bitch here. People must come there all the time with Pokemon at least in Pikachu’s condition, considering how many attacks there are in Pokemon and the fact that their lot in life is usually to fight, yet she chews Ash out for letting Pikachu get moderately hurt when she doesn’t even know how it happened. That’s like a doctor yelling a parent for letting their kid scrape their knee.

– Why is the Pidgey that comes out of the cuckoo clock green?

Must be all that awful hospital food.

– And here we get the only mention ever of Ash’s deadbeat not-caring-whatsoever-about-his-family dad. I would complain about this, but at this point does anyone really care who Ash’s dad is? Yes, it’s a mystery, but no answer will really be fulfilling now. Plus, he’ll just be a target for hatred considering he never seems to talk to or otherwise communicate with Ash or Delia. And I do not believe for a second that they always talk off-screen or never ever managed to bump into each other during their journeys.

– It took four days for Ash’s dad to get to Viridian City?…..Why? Jenny said all of the other Pallet trainers had already passed through. What was keeping him so long? Maybe I’m wrong about Ash’s dad. Maybe he’s like Flint and completely sucked at training and was too ashamed to show his face around his family again. There. That’s a suitable story for Ash’s dad. You’re welcome.

– Delia: “Spreading your wings and soaring like a Spearow!” Uhh, I’d change your wording, Delia, considering the main reason he’s feeling like crap right now is because of a flock of Spearow.

– Delia: “And are you changing your underwear everyday?” He hasn’t even been gone a full day yet. Are his underwear made of the same material as the notes in Inspector Gadget and they’ll blow up after a period of time?

– The legendary Pokemon on the board at the Pokemon center are interesting. Ash believes the blue bird is the one he saw earlier, but it’s an Articuno not a Ho-Oh. Ho-Oh won’t be introduced until Johto. I’m not even sure what this really indicates. Did Ash just think it was the same because the outline is kinda similar or the anime creators screwed up? I would think he’d believe Moltres looks more similar given the coloring. Also, for some reason, Arcanine is up there. I know that he’s given the moniker of ‘legendary’, but why? Is there a legend about Arcanine somewhere? Because he’s just the evolved version of a fairly easy to find Pokemon.

– Oh my God, there’s text everywhere. I feel so unreasonably happy.

– I still find it funny that Oak’s all ‘There’s no way you saw a legendary Pokemon’ here and yet not a year goes by now where Ash DOESN’T see/battle with/spend time with a legendary Pokemon. It’s so common now that he’s basically become totally used to it.

– Misty: “You’re what happened to my bike, you little loser! This is what happened to my bike after you stole it to save your Pokemon!” Yeah, he sure is a loser because he cared more about his Pokemon’s well-being than a hunk of replaceable metal. Can you get less annoying soon so I can start hating Ash, please?

– Misty: “I don’t want any of your lame excuses, Kid! Just gimme a new bike right noooooooooowwwwwwww!!” First of all, kid? He’s the same age as you. Second, nice tantrum.

– What ‘procedure’ was Joy performing anyway? She put on rubber gloves and went in and came out with Pikachu having a lightbulb on its head while connected to some black box and some electrical box but no bandages or anything else on its body. He got Pecked a few times, he didn’t have his electricity sucked out him.

– Ash: “Listen, I’m sorry about your bike. But I’m going to need some time to make things right.”

Misty: “NO WAY! I FELL FOR THAT LAST TIME!”

Fell for what? He said he’d bring it back someday and accidentally got it destroyed. He hasn’t even been gone a full day, so he could’ve been intending on giving her a replacement bike SOMEDAY. Though, considering how crazy expensive bikes are in the Pokemon world, I can kinda understand her anger.

– They have radar that detects aircrafts in Viridian City? Ones that can specifically identify the craft as belonging to Pokemon thieves? Where are these in future episodes?

– I am weirded out beyond belief by those Pikachu in the Pokemon Center. They not only chant, but they hold out their paws like robots and have mouths that are way too big.

– Why do they need to be on a treadmill anyway if they produce power on their own?

– The hell is up with the eyes on that Pidgey?

Can Pidgey not look normal today?

– It’s amazing that Team Rocket is so intimidating during the early episodes that all of the Pokemon actually refuse to fight because they’re so scared just by seeing Ekans.

– I still don’t understand why Misty let Goldeen out. Either this was poking at the fact that all Pokeballs look identical and thus it must be hard to determine who’s in what without customizing them or she’s just an idiot.

– Misty: “You know as well as I do that a Water Pokemon can’t battle on land. I was just warmin’ up!” There are so many things wrong with that. Let’s start with, no, only SOME Water Types can’t battle on land. How were you ‘warming up’ by letting out a Pokemon that you knew couldn’t battle on land? Did you need to warm up your Pokeball throwin’ arm? Even if it was a distraction or something, what good would that do considering they’re standing in front of the only exit?

– Oh, I guess it wasn’t the only exit……There were no other visible doors to that room besides the one Team Rocket burst through and were standing in front of the whole time, but whatever. Still didn’t do much because after Ash and Pikachu escape, they’re immediately followed by Team Rocket.

– Why did Pikachu even need hours of ‘treatment’ if just being dogpiled and shocked by a group of Pikachu seemed to make him good as new?

– How did any of them survive that explosion? Pikachu’s in the ICU for being pecked by a few birds for a second or two yet is perfectly fine when in a building that just exploded and created a fire so big it looks like it took out a city block.

– How did Team Rocket get away?

– Now that I’m really thinking about it, Pikachu’s attack really isn’t a decent reason for them to be so insanely obsessed with catching Pikachu. It was essentially given a buff to begin with in regards to the bike and the only real reason anything substantial happened was because of the reaction with Koffing’s gas.

– I can’t believe it took me so long to question this, but isn’t it impossible for Team Rocket’s balloon to be ‘popped’ and send them flying all over the place? Wouldn’t it just gently float down? It’s not a helium balloon.

– How is the computer perfectly fine? They’re literally sitting amongst the rubble that once was the Viridian City Pokemon Center with a desktop computer that’s not even dirty.

I didn’t know Nokia made desktop computers.

– Narrator: “Will Ash capture the Caterpie?” Seeing as how the next episode is titled ‘Ash Catches a Pokemon’ I’ll go ahead and say no.

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This episode was….pretty okay. It was sillier than I remember it being, and I already remembered it to be a tad silly. Team Rocket pose a threat for a change, but they don’t even go the full episode without being downgraded to comic relief. Plus, I do have to say that the start of their obsessive mission was just not really worth it. I’m starting to think that after a certain point, catching Pikachu was no longer about catching it for its power or rarity but purely because of a personal vendetta.

Misty’s still annoying here, and Ash is still relatable and likable, even if he still has a lot to learn.

I also really like the linear set up of the first handful of episodes. I miss having an actual story instead of ‘Leave home on journey’ ‘Go to gym’ ‘filler’ ‘gym’ ‘filler’ ‘another gym’ ‘filler’ etc etc etc. The only times filler isn’t really filler in later episodes is usually just when Ash catches a Pokemon; those incredibly rare occasions. Plus, after he gets his party filled, he hardly ever gets more.

Certain aspects are still bugging me like mentions of Ash’s dad knowing they go nowhere, another mention of the other two Pallet trainers that also goes nowhere…..But it’s still pretty decent.

Next episode, Ash Catches a Pokemon. Caterpie joins the group (Oh sorry, spoilers!), one of the rare times Ash catches a Pokemon without needing to spend an entire episode bonding with it. We also get the rare treat of him catching TWO Pokemon in one episode, marking Pidgeotto’s debut. I really love Pidgeotto; hate the hell out of how he gets treated over the series. We also have a cute little episode just getting to know Caterpie and seeing it trying to bond with Bitchy—Err, Misty.