Pokemon Episode 39 Analysis: Pikachu’s Goodbye

Pokemon Ep 39 title

CotD(s): None.

Pre-analysis Notes: Yup. There’s more behind-the-scenes stuff to go through. And this episode isn’t even a little banned. Last time for a while, I promise.

Like I mentioned in the previous episode, the airing of Pokemon was put on hold for four months after the Pokemon Shock incident. Since the show started re-broadcasting in April, they opted to skip the winter-themed episodes, Holiday Hi-Jynx and Snow Way Out, for the time being. Because of this, they had to move on to the episodes that followed.

The Battling Eevee Brothers is about—No wait, that’s not right. Wake Up, Snor—nope. That’s not it either. Showdown at D—…Still no. Where the hell did this episode come from?

Turns out, there was still damage control to do after the Pokemon Shock incident. We all know that the Electric Soldier Porygon episode got super-banned and Porygon and its evos were shoved into a closet marked “Don’t Porygon. Open inside.” But there is still one obvious loose end that needed to be tied up. A yellow rat shaped loose end.

Despite the fact that the public at large associated the Pokemon Shock incident with Porygon, many people were still very aware that Pikachu was the cause of it. And even though I said that the showrunners would never sacrifice their precious Pikachu shaped ATM, they realized what had to happen in order to properly respect the children who were affected. They had to take the proper steps, story-wise, to say goodbye to Ash’s best pal. So they dedicated an entire episode to Pikachu finding other wild Pikachu and forming a familial bond with them. Ash, realizing that his Pikachu was happy there, tearfully bid him farewell and continued on his journey.

While he felt the weight of the missing Pikachu on his shoulders every day, he knew it was for the best. Hopefully, he’d come back and visit his old friend someday, having grown, learned, matured and—PBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *snort*Ahahahaha, I knew I couldn’t make it through that! Ahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa! *sigh* No.

What really happened, in speculation because they’d never admit to this of course, is that they realized that Pikachu had been slightly vilified by the events of the previous episode, so they knew they had to do something major to put Seizurechu back in the good graces of their audience.

During the four month hiatus, they seemingly brewed up this episode on the fly since it had not appeared in any broadcast or production schedule before the incident occurred. And if there was ever an episode cherry-picked to make you love Pikachu, it’s this one.

Step right up! Hurry hurry! We’ve got so many Pikachu, you’ll think you just fell into a bargain bin of clearance Pikachu plushies at that outlet mall that never doesn’t smell like mildew! Check it out! We’ve got Pikachu with slightly ruffled tails, Pikachu with slightly bent ears, Pikachu with slightly bent and ruffled ears! Not enough?! What are you? A black-hearted Porygon?! What do we have to show you? A baby Pikachu?! Well, that’s physically imposs—OH BOOYA! BABY FREAKIN’ PIKACHU!

Look, they’re doing cute things like throwing Satoshi’s Pikachu into the air with their tails, doing a handshake with tails, rubbing their faces together and making sparks, and chanting to the moon like a Clefairy cult!

But wait, we offer more than just diabetes-inducing cuteness! We also have heartwrenching sadness! Get a bittersweet smile as Satoshi’s Pikachu has a bunch of fun with the other Pikachu. Tear up as Satoshi comes to the realization that Pikachu’s better off in the wild. Cry your eyeballs out of their sockets when that damn clipshow with that godforsaken song comes up. Then forget all about any connections Pikachu had with the—Hhmm? What’s that? Already forgotten because Pikachu’s slow-mo jumping into Satoshi’s arms? Nevermind then!

That is basically the entire gist of this episode.

As I read the episode’s Wiki page before starting the rewatch, I came across an interesting section. When this episode aired in Japan, they had a woman named Miyuki Yadama introduce the show. She explained the reasons behind the hiatus, the whole Pokemon Shock incident and even the specific reason behind the seizures. The interesting part is what’s in the frame with Ms. Yadama as she’s giving this intro. She’s surrounded by Pokemon dolls. There are several species in the frame, but one Pokemon is noticeably much more prevalent.

Guess who?

EP038_incident_explanation

There are, at least, 12 Pikachu in this shot. Maybe 13, but I can’t tell if the first one to the right is an Electabuzz. If you had any question about the validity of my suspicions, just look at this picture. This intro preceding this episode makes me wonder if there’s such a thing as overdosing on Pikachu.

They so very desperately want you to fall back in love with Pikachu again, it’s almost creepy.

Without any further adieu, Pikachu’s Goodbye.

Plot: Taking a rest in the forest, Pikachu spots a Baby Pikachu in the bushes and runs to greet it. The Baby Pikachu runs off to its group and Pikachu tries to make friends with them. The group is leery, but welcome Pikachu into the group when the Baby Pikachu properly greets him with a tail shake.

Ash decides that he wants to make friends with them too so he bursts from his hiding spot and yells out that he wants to play with them. However, they’re quickly scared off by him, leaving Pikachu disappointed.

Later, Brock explains that the Pikachu are likely scared of humans due to a lack of contact with them. They’re currently so far into the woods that people likely don’t wander around there very often. This area is like a paradise to them and they agree that they should do everything in their power to avoid disturbing them.

Suddenly, the Baby Pikachu from earlier falls into the nearby river. It’s not strong enough to fight the current, so Pikachu jumps in to save it. The other Pikachu form a Pikachain to grab onto the two of them and pull them to safety. Pikachu’s now even more accepted into their group, and Ash comes to the realization that Pikachu may be better off living with the wild Pikachu than traveling with him.

He struggles with the thought through the night when the Pikachu cry out in panic. Team Rocket has wrangled up all of the Pikachu in an insulated net and plans to take them all. They start to fly away, but Pikachu bites through the net and climbs up onto the balloon’s basket to distract Team Rocket while Ash and the others catch the Pikachu in a net as they jump from the balloon.

Pikachu bites the balloon and sends Team Rocket blasting off. Everyone’s greatly impressed with Ash and Pikachu. As the Pikachu cheer, Ash becomes adamant that Pikachu really would be better off in the wild with the other Pikachu and tries to silently leave. However, Pikachu tries to follow him. Ash tries to get Pikachu to understand that the other Pikachu need him there and that he shouldn’t follow him anymore.

Trying his best not to cry in front of Pikachu, he quickly bids him goodbye and runs off. Misty and Brock catch up to him and try to understand why he feels the need to do this. They’re unable to argue when Ash explains the situation.

Suddenly, Pikachu shows up again, much to Ash’s surprise. The Pikachu cheer on the both of them and Ash realizes that Pikachu has chosen to stay by his best friend. They tearfully reunite with a hug, knowing they’ll always continue their journeys together.

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– Narrator: “Our hero, Ash, along with his friends, Misty and Brock….” Oh, we’ve gone from ‘our heroes’ to ‘Ash, the hero and friends.’ Nice.

– Ash: *swinging from vine* “KANGA-KANGASKHAN!” It’s less than 30 seconds into the episode and so far it’s given me two prompts to punch Ash in the face. Good job.

– Eeeeeee! Baby Pika…….I mean *cough* in hindsight, baby Pikachu is impossible because it’s an evolved form from the yet to be revealed Pichu. Hahaha, what adorable continuity—HORRIBLE! What HORRIBLE continuity.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen1

– Awwww the Pikachu rubbing their faces together to get sparks. That’s so cu—Uh….Shouldn’t they be stuck together like Pikachu and Raichu did in Pikachu’s Vacation? Pbbtt, you guys sure are messy with the yet-to-happen continuity today. Hahaha…..ha.

– AW THEY’RE NIBBLING APPLES AND WRESTL—Ahem….errr…..where the hell are they going? Pikachu are only indigenous to the Viridian Forest, The Power Plant and the Rocket Game Corner (in Green) in Kanto.

So, given the last few episodes and considering they’re in a forest, they went from the Safari Zone to Cycling Road (it’s definitively called that in the original version) to two anime-exclusive towns along the way to Viridian Forest.…..when their next destination is Cinnabar Island here which takes them nine episodes because apparently between Viridian Forest and Cinnabar Island there are at least seven different towns and cities when it would’ve taken an episode or two from where they started, especially considering the Seafoam Islands don’t seem to be the same hurdle that needs jumping to get there from there and they just take a boat anyway.

Basically, they did this

Map confusion

When they just needed to do this. map6

 

I really need to stop applying game logic to this show or else I’ll have to buy one of those blood pressure cuffs.

– Aw, the Baby Pikachu is ‘shaking tails’ with Ash’s Pikachu. Awww—fully easy to earn your trust, eh Baby Pikachu? Yeah….*sniff*

Pokemon Ep 39 screen2

– Ash, after seeing how wary they were of his Pikachu, thinks nothing of bursting from a nearby bush, running towards the group of Pikachu, waving his arms and yelling to them. *sigh*

– Not for nothing, but couldn’t any of Ash and Misty’s Water Pokemon help save the Baby Pikachu?

– I get that it’s hard to grab anywhere else in a Pikachain, but pulling on their tails has to be really painful.

– Uh, why is the Baby Pikachu, the one who was originally drowning, fine, but Ash’s Pikachu is unconscious?

– Cheek to cheek resuscitation would be a cuter term for this if not for the giggles it would receive….heheh, butts.

– Awwwwww, they’re lifting him up and throwing him through the air with their tails to cheer for Pikac—No!….No…*cough*

– Is that one Pikachu rubbing the other’s ass?

Pokemon Ep 39 screen3

– I love that it seems like Team Rocket feels justified to put much more value on an otherwise very common and easy to capture Pokemon just because they believe one Pikachu is more powerful than it should be when they have no proof of that. I really just think, at this point, it’s been burned into their minds.

– Awww, they’re sing/chanting at the moon that’s….cute and creepy? Are we back to the theory that Pokemon are aliens? What is this exactly?

– I will fully admit that it’s cool that their chanting matches the BG music.

– The Who’s That Pokemon shot of Pikachu just reminds me of how much weight little chubby Pikachu has lost since he met Ash.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen4

– I do like how they create this dilemma with Ash. Pikachu is Ash’s best friend and first Pokemon. He obviously loves all of his Pokemon, but Pikachu is still very special to him. (blatant favoritism aside) Hearing that Pikachu might be happier without him while seeing the evidence in front of his face has to be incredibly difficult.

I’d compare it to Bye Bye Butterfree to a major extent. Butterfree was the second Pokemon Ash ever had and he realized that its future and happiness was not with him but with his new mate and children out in the wild. Even though Butterfree meant a lot to him, he knew he had to let him go. One of the purest forms of showing true love is pushing your happiness and feelings aside in order to make the other happy.

He’s doing the same thing here, which could nudge this episode slightly into rip-off territory (even the title is similar: Bye Bye Butterfree → Pikachu’s Goodbye) but I think does enough to skew it away from that.

The thing that kinda snags this is that Ash isn’t really taking into consideration what Pikachu wants. I know that seems counter to what I’ve been saying, but he never really asks Pikachu if he wants to stay there. He’s just doing what he believes is right for Pikachu, when, in reality, wouldn’t every Pokemon who is captured be better off with their own kind back in the wild?

Ash knew Butterfree had made his decision to stay with the other Butterfree and his mate to start a new life in the wild again. He knew that was what he wanted. Here, Ash just sees Pikachu enjoying itself and making new friends then assumes he’d be happier there without him.

It also messes up the departure scene. Whereas in Bye Bye Butterfree where the entire departure is sad and heartbreaking, though bittersweet because you know it’s for the best, here you get like an Old Yeller impression, like Pikachu’s confused as to what Ash is doing and seems like he’s being abandoned, to a degree. Before Pikachu goes to see where he went, Ash seems like he’s going to leave Pikachu without even saying goodbye. The sadness is mostly triggered by the clipshow and accompanying song.

– I think I understand now why Brock’s eyes are the way they are. He sleeps facing fires.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen5
Thank God, a Pika-free screencap…..are they sleeping on top of their sleeping bags?

– Ash: *facing a net filled with the Pikachu* “Pikachu! PIKACHU!”

This is one of those times where calling a Pokemon by its species name seems stupid. This would be like me naming my dog Dog, losing him in a pack of dogs and yelling ‘Dog! DOG!’

– Hey, you know what’s a good idea to include in your first post-seizure episode? A shot where the characters are blinded by bright lights!

– Misty: “You’re not swiping anything!” Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping!

Misty: “Pikachu! Break through the ropes with an electric attack!” Why did Misty get these lines? Pikachu is not her Pokemon.

– Hey, you know what’s a good idea to include in the dubbing of the post-seizure episode? This line;

James: “They’re no match for our Pikachu insulated SEIZURE net!” Good job, 4Kids.

– *sigh* Yet another time where Ash and the others forget they have non-Pika Pokemon.

Misty’s Staryu and Starmie have been known to cut through things. Brock’s Vulpix could burn the ropes. Geodude could just rip them up. Ash’s Bulbasaur could Razor Leaf them out. Charmander could burn the ropes. Pidgeotto might be able to cut through them.

Even after they get captured in the net, they could still easily use a Pokeball.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen6

– Pikachu, the mouse Pokemon, just now decided to start chewing the ropes.

– The animation for the chewing, when seen from afar, seems so erratic.

– Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s a hell of a lot more Pikachu than we’ve ever seen on screen before this point. We’ve been seeing like 20-30, but there have to be hundreds in there.

– Ash: “Alright! We’re free!” We won’t explain how, but we’re free!

– Ya know, I know this episode wasn’t even a thought back then, but I feel like this episode should’ve preceded Sparks Fly for Magnemite. At least this would explain why Pikachu has a fear of being abandoned by Ash, to a slight degree.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen7

– It’s actually a little funny. The episode’s called Pikachu’s Goodbye, but Ash is the only one who says it.

– Ash: “All of these Pikachu in the forest need you.” That’s highly debatable. He could help them out, sure, but need? That’s going a bit far. Honestly, Pikachu wouldn’t have even been successful in saving the other Pikachu from Team Rocket if Ash and the others didn’t catch them with the net.

This is another reason why the departure is a bit screwed. He should’ve just sat down with Pikachu and explained that he believed he’d be happier there with the wild Pikachu.

– “I close my eyes….and I can see….the day we m–” NOPE!

You’re not getting me this time! You can’t make me feel feelings!

feelz

NO! LEAVE ME ALONE!

drowning

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

feelings

– Must….include….cynicism….Urgh….Oh I know. Way to save two minutes of animation by having a somewhat sloppy clipshow. Our second one this episode, I might add, but the first was much shorter.

– Oh look, honored Messiahchu literally summoned the sun. That’s the only way to explain away going from dead of night to sunrise in three seconds.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen8
Pikachu: “You’re my bitch now, Ra!”

– Aw, the Baby Pikachu saying goodbye to Pikachu—I mean, it’s really stupid how—Awwww, Pikachu jumping into Ash’s arms. Rrrghh…resist…. Aw, the look on Ash’s face before he does it…..I’m slipping….Aw, he’s crying! Not gonna make it….not…gonna…Aww the other Pikachu are cheering for them–Feels-Explosion

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Fine! I like this episode, okay? It’s not a masterpiece, but I like it. I don’t care if it has minimal story, I don’t care if they’re obviously cutting corners with the animation to get it out within four months, I don’t care if the art sometimes looks really weird like making them seem too tall or too old (Ash looks about five years older when he’s watching the fire.) I don’t care if this plot is a little recycled from Bye Bye Butterfree. I don’t care if the departure’s botched a little, I don’t care if my feelings are being manipulated for the sake of ‘love Pikachu again, we promise he won’t make you foam at the mouth anymore.’ They succeeded in their mission.

Hell, I’ll even forgive a minor issue with this episode – the Baby Pikachu might just be a chibi Pikachu. *shrug*

As we’ve all learned by now, sometimes we just like things without needing a good reason. It’s cute and sad. That’s my justification. As much as I hate the favoritism sometimes, Ash and Pikachu can be legitimately heartwarming as a friendship. I grew up with these two. I can’t untug the heartstrings.

Next episode, Eevee! The Eeveelutions! More continuity problems with later generations! Annoying as hell CotDs! And hair.

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Pokemon Episode 33 Analysis: The Flame Pokemon-athon

Pokemon Episode 33 Title

CotD(s): Lara Laramie – Part of the prestigious Laramie family, owners of a massive Pokemon reserve called the Big P Ranch, Lara is a kindhearted girl with a love of Pokemon and racing. She is one of few people that her Ponyta trusts to touch its flames without burning them.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Being a part of the Big P Ranch, it could be said that Lara technically has hundreds of Pokemon, but her main and only confirmed Pokemon are Ponyta (later Rapidash) and Growlithe.

Dario – A Dodrio trainer, Dario is a jerk who mocks Lara and claims he’ll be the one to win the Big P race. He’s also a cheater and will do whatever he has to to win.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Dodrio.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock make it to what they believe is the Safari Zone where they spot a herd of Tauros stampeding through the valley. Ash tries to send out Pikachu to battle one for capture, but Pikachu is too scared and pretends to sleep to avoid battle. Instead, Ash sends out Charmander, but before he can do anything, a Growlithe comes out of nowhere and pounces on Charmander’s back. Ash commands Charmander to use Flamethrower and Growlithe counters with the same. Realizing it’s a Fire type, Ash recalls Charmander. He prepares to let Squirtle out, but he’s stopped by the sudden appearance of a Ponyta and its rider, Lara Laramie.

Lara explains that capturing Pokemon is strictly forbidden in this area as it’s a recognized Pokemon reserve. She states that she’s part of the well-known Laramie family, who owns the Big P Pokemon Ranch that covers the region.

Ash and the others are impressed by Lara’s ability to ride a Ponyta without getting burned by its flames, but she explains that Ponyta never burns anyone that it truly trusts. Ash tries to pet Ponyta and subsequently gets burned since Ponyta doesn’t trust Ash.

Brock explains that the Laramie family and the Big P Ranch have a great reputation with breeders. They take very good care of the Pokemon there and train them well. Since they’re raised in the wild, they are supposedly even stronger than most trainers’ Pokemon. To help the group learn more about their ranch, Lara invites them to a party they’re holding later that day and the Pokemon race they’re holding the following day where the winner will get bragging rights and an honorary place among the Laramie clan.

Another stampede seems to be coming their way, but this time it’s a speedy flock of Dodrio being lead by a boy named Dario. He stops by Lara and the others to mock her, stating that he’ll be the winner of the Big P race.

Later, Lara, Ash, Misty and Brock hang out at the party when Dario suddenly rushes in to tell Lara that her Tauros herd is going nuts. She calls out Ponyta and races over to the ranch to find her Tauros are running around in a panic. Growlithe manages to calm them down, but a shadowy creature jumps out, startling Ponyta and sending Lara careening down to the ground, injuring her arm.

Ash manages to calm Ponyta while Misty and Brock tend to Lara. Turns out, Team Rocket, most specifically Meowth, were the ones riling up the Tauros. They were hired by Dario to do so in order to hurt Lara and keep her out of the Big P race. If they help Dario win, they’ll have an in with the Laramie family and supposedly get rich.

Lara is unable to race due to her injury, so she suggests Ash takes over as rider. He initially doesn’t want to participate due to fear of being burned by Ponyta, but accepts when everyone supports him and encourages him to try.

Ponyta initially burns him again, but after a pep talk from Lara, Ponyta allows him to ride without issue. Ash is so excited that he accidentally bumps Ponyta, sending it running out of control.

After some more practice through the night, they head to the Big P race. Ash sidles up to the starting line with Ponyta, Misty rides up on Starmie, Brock comes up with Onix and Pikachu steps up with Squirtle.

The race begins, and Dario and Dodrio take an early lead. Several of the Pokemon are taken out almost right out of the gate when a ball bearing is shot from the tall grass into a Tauros’ face, causing a huge battle between some of the Pokemon.

A boy and his Electrode take the lead on a downhill slope, but a hole in the path stops them in their tracks. As the other riders make their way around the hole, Electrode suddenly uses Explosion, knocking several riders, including Ash and Ponyta, off the track. With a quick shock from Pikachu, however, they’re back up and racing.

The next neck of the race involves crossing a lake by jumping on a path of stones. Afraid of the water, Onix shies away from the obstacle and exits the race with Brock’s understanding. Squirtle and Starmie are making off easy on this hazard, however, and even Ponyta is flying through the jumps with ease.

The next hazard involves the Pokemon eating a whole bowl of food before continuing the race. Dario starts to have trouble when the three Dodrio heads start arguing over who gets to eat first. As everyone else prepares to eat, Dario calls out to Team Rocket, who have been sabotaging the race this whole time.

Ash sends Squirtle and Pikachu out, but are promptly halted by Arbok’s Glare. Misty sends out Starmie, but it’s disabled by Weezing’s Sludge. Ponyta starts to freak out again, so Dario takes this as his opportunity to head back off into the race.

Misty tries to convince Ash to continue the race while she and the other Pokemon take care of Team Rocket since Ash is racing for Lara, but as Ash tries to make his decision whether or not to leave, Arbok tries to attack Ponyta with Poison Sting. It protects itself with an aura of flame. Weezing tries to use its Poison Gas on Ponyta as the flames continue to burn. The mistake is realized too late as the gas ignites, sending Team Rocket blasting off.

The race continues and Ash and Ponyta are blazing (hehe, puns. Also, literally blazing) towards the lead. They’re neck and neck so Dario commands Dodrio to Peck at Ponyta, causing it to fall behind. Ponyta, fired up (heheh, more puns) to win, suddenly evolves into Rapidash and closes the gap between them and Dario. They reach the finish line and Rapidash wins by a literal nose. Dario won’t take that lying down and tries to attack Ash and Rapidash, but Rapidash easily kicks them away.

Ash, Lara and Rapidash celebrate their victory and later bid their goodbyes as Ash continues on his journey to the Safari Zone.

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– I think this is the first time the word ‘Pokemon’ has been used in the title without them using the logo. Not sure if the fact that it’s being used in a hyphenated word has anything to do with it, though. Stay tuned for updates on this ongoing expose.

– You may have noticed several things odd about the Safari Zone in this episode. First, Ash and the others are able to enter without even realizing where they are. In the games, you can’t access the Safari Zone without going through a guarded gate where they charge you for your ‘time’ (steps taken), give you some Safari Balls and Pokemon bait. Once your time is up, you are forcibly booted from the place. Other than that, the area is entirely inaccessible (you can’t even ‘see’ the area on a wide shot of Fuchsia City.) In the games, the entire area is blocked by impassable trees, hedges and rocks, though one should assume that in ‘real life’ this area would be securely surrounded by fencing.

Second, and most confusingly, Lara specifically says that it’s a Pokemon reserve and capturing Pokemon is against the law there. Anyone who knows even a little about the game’s Safari Zone knows that statement is entirely backwards. In fact, they promote capturing Pokemon in the Safari Zone.

Like I mentioned, when you pass through the gate, you have to pay 500 Pokedollars. When you do, you’re given 30 Safari Balls and supposedly some bait and rocks (Unless you just find the rocks on the ground and use your own bait.) You have 500 steps to try and catch any Pokemon that comes your way using just the bait, rocks and the Safari Balls. Bait is meant to distract, rocks piss them off and the Safari Balls are so you don’t waste all of your regular Pokeballs in the park trying to capture Pokemon.

The only thing against the law/rules in the Safari Zone is battling Pokemon (because throwing rocks at them is so much better).

The reason for these screwups is because Ash and the others actually aren’t in the Safari Zone in the original episode. They’re really in Safari Land, which is an area outlying the Safari Zone that is an anime-exclusive region. It’s understandable that 4Kids would make this goof because the Safari Land is not in the games and the name is so similar, but the dubbing implies later on that they’re aware of the fact that they’re not yet in the Safari Zone. So either 4Kids just had a derp moment while translating this part and didn’t go back to correct their mistake or they believe there are two Safari Zones each with incredibly different functions yet named the same thing, which, holy crap, that would be unnerving. ‘I’d like to try and catch this Pokemon, but which Safari Zone am I in? I really don’t want to get arrested, but it’s a Chansey!’

I joke, but that last line is seriously foreshadowing.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen1
I endlessly love this screencap for some reason.

– Someone named their child Lara when their last name is Laramie.

– I know Brock is trying to…..impress (?) Lara by putting on a southern accent, but he just comes off as mocking of her own accent. Who does that anyway?

– Adding even more confusion as to where the hell Ash and the others are, Lara states that they’re at the Big P Pokemon Ranch (Pbbbbttt….the Big P…..heeeeheheeheheh), which her family owns. And, again, if this is a ranch and Pokemon reserve, why isn’t it protected by fencing?

– Also, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE PONYTAAAAA YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!…..Excuse me, Ponyta’s one of my favorite Pokemon.

– Ash hears that Ponyta will never burn anyone it truly trusts, so of course, the guy who just nearly tried to battle and capture Pokemon in this Pokemon reserve tries to pet it and, of course, gets instantly burned.

– Dexter: “Dodrio – a three-headed bird Pokemon that can run faster than it can fly.” I want to make a joke about this, but just checking the facts to make sure I don’t look like a moron has lead me to a rather lengthy debate on whether or not Doduo and Dodrio can actually fly. Both are based on flightless birds – most obviously the extinct dodo bird, but also the emu and ostrich. Given this and the fact that they don’t appear to have wings, it’s easy to assume that they simply can’t fly.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen2

The general consensus seems to be that Doduo and Dodrio can merely jump extremely high and very far, like it can fly, since it still is part Flying Type and can learn the move ‘Fly’. However, neither bird is ever shown to really ‘fly’ in the anime. The closest we get is Falkner, much further along the line in Johto. Ash says this, which kinda debunks everything right out the gate – “I’m not scared. Everyone knows Dodrio can’t fly.” but Falkner claims his can. However, like everyone has been speculating, all it does is jump really high – it doesn’t fly.

The only other ‘proof’ is this ridiculousness which is Doduo performing ‘Fly’ in Pokemon Stadium.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttlPgh6Oirg

As you can see, it’s just floating in the air with a walk cycle animation going. Unless we’re meant to assume Doduo and Dodrio are filled with helium, this Pokemon cannot logically fly.

In conclusion to this unnecessarily lengthy and geeky analysis, I return to my initial joke which isn’t even that funny in hindsight….ahem.

“Considering it can’t fly at all, that’s about as impressive as saying my toaster can make toast faster than it can perform calculus.”

– If Dario’s voice sounds familiar, this is Maddie Blaustein doing her AJ voice. Absolutely no difference.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen3

– Why is Lara so impressed with Ash calming Ponyta down? All he did was yank on Ponyta’s reigns and yell out ‘CALM DOWN, PONYTA!’ He’s far from the Ponyta whisperer.

– It could be argued that Dario is one of the worse one-off antagonists in Pokemon because this plan was specifically set up to get Lara physically injured.

– Why is it so important for Ponyta to be in the race? Just to represent the Laramie clan? Because the main prize is being an honorary part of the Laramie clan, so it seems a little pointless.

– Okay, so we get some reasons why Ponyta should race….but they’re…..egocentric? Lara says Ponyta has to race to show everyone how great it is and to show everyone that its the best. And ‘that will be the best praise for me (Lara)’…..All I’m getting here is ‘You have to race because, if you win, everyone will know you’re the best and then I’ll be the best by proxy because you’re my Pokemon.’ If not taken that way, then it’s just putting a lot of pressure on Ponyta for no reason.

– I’m a little confused as to how Ponyta’s flames work here. They’re obviously actual flames yet Ash can grab onto Ponyta’s tail like it was made of hair.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen4
That has to hurt like hell.

– At this point, I’m kinda wondering why this episode is called The Flame Pokemon-athon. Ponyta’s a Fire Type, sure, but other than Growlithe, it’s the only other Fire Type here and it’s the only Fire Type in the race. Ponyta and Rapidash aren’t called The Flame Pokemon, and it’s not like Lara or the Laramie clan specializes in Fire Types or anything. They’ve already been getting into the puns, so why not call it My Little Ponyta or The Ponyta Express or Fire Horsing Around?

– Mad props to the guy partaking in the race while balancing on an Electrode, though.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen5

– How is Pikachu a contestant? That has to be against the rules. And if you’re going to have Pikachu ride any Pokemon, why, of all things, Squirtle? Not only is it far from the most coordinated of Ash’s Pokemon, it’s also a damn turtle. Tortoise and the Hare be damned, that would never work.

Let’s see, which of Ash’s Pokemon is the best in terms of speed? Squirtle’s base speed is 43, Bulbasaur’s is 45, so Squirtle’s already lost. Charmander’s is 65. Pidgeotto’s is 71. And Pikachu’s is

*drumroll*

90. His base speed is 90.

So, in short, the slowest of Ash’s Pokemon is being ridden by the fastest of Ash’s Pokemon in a race….Logic…is….fun.

– How is Misty standing on Starmie? Starmie aren’t known for their speed either. I mean, it has to be slower than Squirt—115?!….Starmie’s faster than Pikachu? ….The hell? It’s faster than Ponyta too. (90) and Rapidash (105) Okay fine, floating is power. I stand corrected. Have at it, Starmie. Sure am glad I’m being ultra snoopy today.

– If the main thing about this race is to help Lara and Ponyta win, why are Brock, Misty and Pikachu risking its chances by partaking in the race too?

Why am I complaining? Misty and Brock actually get to to do stuff today. GO MISTY AND BROCK!

– Announcer: “Rock Pokemon can’t deal with water so Onix is out of here!” Seems a little unfair to have such an obstacle when you know certain Pokemon can’t cross.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen6
Forever this screenshot.

Come to think of it, it’s also unfair if some people *coughMisty and Pikachucough* are riding Water Pokemon.

– Lara: “That’s right. You can do it, Ash!” You can do it, Ponyta* Does she have a crush on Ash or something? I thought she was amped up for Ponyta to race, but all she’s focusing on is Ash. And, truth be told, all Ash is doing is going ‘FASTER FASTER FASTER FASTER FASTER!’ She must be very easily impressed.

– I was actually hoping that food hazard would show us how Starmie eats.

– This whole obstacle is dumb anyway. Do you want to give these Pokemon a bunch of cramps in the second part of the race?

– Yes, Dario, yell out to Team Rocket to help you. Not like the people around you or the cameras following the race can’t hear that.

– Heh, I love that Pikachu and Squirtle are happily eating away while Team Rocket does their motto.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen7
Despite the horrid art and animation issues this episode, there are some great screencaps here.

– Yes, Team Rocket, point out that you’re in cahoots with Dario. Again, not like there aren’t tons of witnesses around you and a camera pointed right at you while a huge audience watches the race.

– Okay, so the camera’s feed was off during that whole thing…..but it wasn’t. They lost the picture due to Team Rocket’s smoke screen. The feed never cut out or anything, the picture was just obstructed. When Team Rocket blasts off, the camera suddenly cuts back on, implying that the feed had been cut when it wasn’t.

Even so, there would be at least two witnesses (several if, for some reason, you count the Pokemon) who could claim Dario was cheating and sabotaging the race with Team Rocket.

– Is this announcer and the whole audience blind? How did no one see Dodrio Peck Ponyta?

– Just to be nerdily thorough, Dodrio has a base speed of 100, five less than Rapidash. However, in its Dex entries, Rapidash can run around 150 mph (listed as 100 in this episode) while Dodrio tops out at about 40.

I realize that the anime doesn’t mirror the games well enough for this to truly matter…..but research is fun for me. 😀

Pokemon Episode 33 screen8

– Even taking the complete hypocrisy of Dario’s claims out of the equation, how could Dario ever back up the statement that Ash ‘interfered’ with him? He did absolutely nothing, unless there’s a rule about evolving during the race.

– Also, they should both be disqualified for not eating the food at that last obstacle.

—————————-

This episode was fun, and I like the racing aspect, but it does have its problems. First of all, the art and animation are notably much worse than normal. I don’t know if the race caused budget cuts for the rest of the episode, but nearly every other part looks like garbage. There are unfinished lines, shine and highlights missing, shaky frames when minor movement such as talking is occurring, numerous missing frames and jutting movements.

I liked that Dario was a different antagonist for a change but his motivations seemed odd. He was already almost winning the whole time, even without Team Rocket’s help. Is he such an asshole that he feels the need to cheat just to cheat? Also, his motivations are never really clear. Team Rocket wants Dario to win so they’ll have an in with the Laramie family and somehow get rich off them, but Dario never explains why he wants to win outside of maybe bragging rights.

I don’t really like that Ash was the racer here. I don’t mind it too much, but it seems a bit unfair that Ash is the one riding and racing Ponyta when it evolves when Lara is the one who raised and trained it its whole life.

I don’t have much to say against this episode, but it still never reached the prestige of being a personal favorite, which is weird because Ponyta is one of my favorite Pokemon and Fire Types are my favorite type. There’s just nothing too special about it.

Maybe it’s because there’s nothing important on the line and no character development, not even for the CotD or the Pokemon? Lara’s already a part of the Laramie clan, it’s not like Ponyta or Lara has something to prove to the village because they all adore her, Ash is just in it for the fun and to help Lara and Ponyta. Really the only thing on the line is stopping a cheater from winning the race, which is fine and all, but not that interesting and something you can see a million times over on literally any other show.

Who cares if he wins anyway? What does being an honorary member of the Laramie clan do to benefit him? This isn’t even as interesting as those episodes where Team Rocket tries to cheat their way through competitions because at least they usually have malicious goals and Pokemon they want to steal.

Unrelated, but I would like to draw attention to the depiction of Dario in The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga.

Dario_EToP

Someone designing for the manga really liked Dario and fanarted him up because he is so bishie there.

Next episode, The Kangaskhan Kid! Sure to be very…interesting to say the least.

Pokemon Episode 26 Analysis: Pokemon Scent-Sation

Pokemon ep 26 title

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

Reappears? No.

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

Badge:

50px-Rainbow_Badge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misty: “Perfume!”

Brock: “Right!”

Pikachu: “Pika!”

Your move, Erika.

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

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

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

Pokemon ep 26 screen 1

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

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

Pokemon ep 26 screen 2

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

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

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Ash(ley): “Oh, yes!”

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

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

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Trainer: “Uhm, not really, I guess.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon ep 26 screen 3

 

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

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

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

Pokemon ep 26 screen 4

– This line always pissed me off.

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

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

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

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

Pokemon ep 26 screen 5

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

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

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

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

– Also, more ego.

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon ep 26 screen 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon ep 26 screen 7

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

—————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

smtkfgs

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.

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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

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

Departures: Ash’s Butterfree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misty: “Dexter’s never been in love.”

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

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

What the fuck?

Brock: “You mean it?”

Misty: “Sure do! That’s love!”

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

What. The. Fuck.

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

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

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

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

You’re following them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye bye, Butterfree.

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

Pokemon Episode 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.

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– 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?

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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.

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– 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.