Pokemon Episode 28 Analysis – Pokemon Fashion Flash

Pokemon Episode 28 title

CotD(s): Suzy – One of the brightest rising stars in the breeding world, Suzy believes in nurturing a Pokemon’s inner beauty above all else. Brock is her biggest fan and aspires to be her pupil. Suzy loaned Brock her beloved Vulpix, which, in turn, became his most precious Pokemon.

Reappears?: Yes. After over 100 episodes and well into the Johto saga, Brock finally comes across Suzy again.

Pokemon: Suzy’s not a Pokemon trainer, but she has a seemingly high level Vulpix that is her best friend. Vulpix does not take kindly to strangers picking it up, but is a very kinda, well-behaved and gentle Pokemon.

Captures: Not technically a capture, but went on for so long that it may as well have been, Suzy loans Vulpix to Brock for a while. Vulpix becomes Brock’s trademark Pokemon for several years until he finally returns it to Suzy in Johto.

Plot: Brock has taken Misty and Ash down a road in Celadon City called Scissor Street or Breeder’s Lane. It is an area chock-full with everything a Breeder could ever want or need. It’s saturated in Breeder salons and supply stores, and Breeders from all over go there to stay up to date on the latest trends and fashions.

One of the newest hot spots for Pokemon fashion is Salon Roquet. While many people are flocking to their doors, including Misty, their fashions are less than well-received by Ash, Brock and many of the Pokemon getting the makeovers since they’re being overloaded with baubles, bows, weird hair designs, clothes and gaudy add-ons.

Turns out, Team Rocket is behind the business, looking to make themselves rich off of this venture.

Brock finds the shop he’s been looking for – a rather modest salon run by a beautiful woman named Suzy – a very talented and acclaimed Breeder. While Misty gazes in awe at Suzy’s Vulpix, Brock fumbles over himself trying to introduce himself to her. He shocks everyone when he suddenly asks Suzy if she’ll take him on as her pupil.

Suzy is forced to decline his request since she’s far too busy with Breeding to take on pupils, but commends him greatly for developing Pokemon food that her Vulpix will eat since it usually won’t eat any food not prepared by her.

They start discussing the newest fashion trends, and Suzy states that she doesn’t like how the focus is now on improving a Pokemon’s outer beauty more than their inner beauty. She believes a Pokemon’s true strength comes from inside and that a Breeder is meant to bring out that inner beauty, not focus on superfluous fashions. Misty disagrees and states that some Pokemon would probably like to get dressed up. Ash argues that those fashions are stupid and it’s what’s inside that matters most.

Misty becomes enraged and decides to go to salon to makeover her Psyduck.

In order to combat the more vain views of Salon Roquet, Brock comes up with the idea of Suzy doing a public lecture on the benefits and techniques of Pokemon care, specifically massage. It’s a huge hit and people flock to her salon, even draining the customers at Salon Roquet.

Misty stands as their lone customer, and Team Rocket takes this opportunity to kidnap her and grill her for info on how to steal Pikachu. She believes Psyduck has abandoned her, but it’s actually gone to Suzy’s salon in a panic to get Ash’s help.

When Ash and the others arrive, Team Rocket reveals that they were using the salon as a cover for a plan where they’d steal any rare Pokemon that came into the shop, though they never actually did that. They offer Misty in exchange for Pikachu, but he won’t hand him over.

Team Rocket starts the battle by sending out their dressed up Ekans and Koffing. Ash sends out Pikachu, fully charged from being massaged at Suzy’s salon, and Brock sends out Geodude.

Geodude uses Seismic Toss on Ekans, but it saves itself by coiling up and rolling into Pikachu. Pikachu is able to also save itself and Thundershocks Ekans and Koffing. However, the attack is ineffective as they spin around in circles to avoid the electricity.

Koffing uses Sludge on both Geodude and Pikachu, blinding them. As they’re about to finish them off, Koffing and Ekans both fall over due to the clunkiness of their costumes.

As Meowth joins up, they try once again to finish it, but Suzy and Vulpix intervene. In an effort to teach them the true beauty within a Pokemon, she commands Vulpix to use Fire Spin and blasts them off.

Brock explains to the audience that outer beauty masks a Pokemon’s inner strength, which is what truly needs to be nurtured, causing them to shed the various clothes, accessories and makeup of their Pokemon.

Later, Suzy explains that she realized she still has much to learn in the world of Breeding, no matter how many awards she’s gotten for it. She decides to close down her shop and go on a journey to learn more. Impressed by Brock’s attitude and skills, she decides to let Brock raise Vulpix for a while. Brock happily accepts and they part ways.

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– This was yet another episode I had on VHS, and it was probably the episode that got the most mileage because 1) Brock’s being hilariously adorkable in this episode and 2) FREAKIN’ VULPIX, PEOPLE! WHOO!

Vulpix was and still remains as one of my favorite Pokemon of all time. Fire types are my favorite Pokemon type, foxes are my favorite animal, and it’s Vulpix! It’s so cute my brain short circuits when it’s on screen.

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they say ‘Pokemon’ in the titles? Geez how long does this go on for? It’s far surpassing my original estimation.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen1
A healthy dose of brief AAML for the nostalgic old people like me.

– There are some weird disconnects in this episode, in my opinion. First, it’s always been weird to me in the first place that raising and caring for Pokemon has been known as Pokemon Breeding. I mean….supposedly having a pure lineage is important in judging real-life animals such as dogs and horses, even if there’s evidence to suggest that pure-breeds actually have much more physical problems than mutts, but that has nothing to do with Pokemon Breeding.

The one thing that never seems to be brought up when talking about Breeding is…well…breeding. It’s mostly developing Pokemon diets and health programs to keep them in the best condition that they can possibly be while also sometimes learning and giving medical care and grooming. I just feel like they should’ve given it a much more fitting name like….Pokemon…Health…Person….Okay, that’s awful. But still, there has to be a more fitting name for this practice than ‘Breeder’.

Second, grooming seems to be a very small aspect of Pokemon Breeding, and fashion seems to be no real part of it. It’s all about focusing on a Pokemon’s physical, mental and emotional health as well as their happiness. I know that this is the point of this episode, but there’s nothing technically wrong with what Team Rocket is doing here. If people like to dress up their Pokemon, as long as it’s not harming them or making them unhappy, then have at it.

Their biggest mistake here is putting their business under the cloak of Breeding superiority. If they had just staked a claim as being Pokemon fashionistas or something, Team Rocket would actually have a legitimately successful business that Ash and the others wouldn’t have to take down in a ‘Breeding’s not about goofy fashions’ debate.

– I don’t understand how James even performed any ‘hairstyling’ on a Dodrio….it’s a bird….it has feathers

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen2

– I do like the visual gag about James and Jessie having roses taped to their back.

– I will never tire of that scene where Brock slams his head on the table trying to thank Vulpix for eating his food.

– Ash: “I don’t like it either. It’s pretty stupid to waste your time showing off.” Because you never show off, right, Ash? You humble bumblebee, you.

– Also is anyone else getting deja vu? This whole ‘inside vs. outside’ debate seems an awful lot like the ‘perfume vs. anti-perfume’ argument they had merely two episodes prior. In fact, given Gloom’s mini-lesson, it is the exact same moral.

– This whole debate loses a bit of its spark when you consider that Suzy’s business is not in danger at all. She said herself that she’s incredibly busy with Breeding, so this new trend can’t be affecting her customer base very much. Why would it anyway? Team Rocket is just putting makeup and baubles on Pokemon. They still need somewhere to go for Pokemon nutrition, massage, etc.

– Substance with style is just giving a lecture on Pokemon care and a demonstration of a Pokemon massage? And it’s so popular that Team Rocket’s shop is empty because of it. Certainly if Breeder’s Lane is filled with Breeders, they probably know all this stuff, right?

– It was very important for Ash to learn this lesson on Pokemon massage. I’m sure he’ll utilize it in the imaginary future where Ash retains things he’s learned.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen3
A ticklish Pikachu is an adorable Pikachu.

– I actually like it when Team Rocket gets excited and passionate about jobs that aren’t criminal. Sure, these designs and fashions are gaudy and ridiculous, but they have their moments where they’re legitimately happy making an honest buck. I kinda wish they’d just quit Team Rocket and do that.

– On first glance, before she gets that crap on her face, Misty actually doesn’t look that bad in Team Rocket’s makeover. I’d lose the clips in her bangs and some of the added baubles, but she actually looks fairly decent.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen4

Also, another note of deja vu, Team Rocket making over a member of Ash and Co. seeing as how they did that same thing two episodes ago.

– Team Rocket was wearing their uniforms under their clothes?….why?

– This episode really does have some great comedic moments.

– Suzy: “Beauty research? Can’t you understand that it’s the beauty inside that counts? Each Pokemon is beautiful, we just have to help the Pokemon discover it.”

First of all….they were talking about Misty, not Pokemon.

Second, they never said what’s inside doesn’t count or that it wasn’t most important, even if that is what they think.

Third, beauty research is a thing, even if what they’re doing here is just flatout g-rated ‘torture.’

Fourth, the fashion and beauty industry is also still a thing. I also don’t put much stock in fancy hairstyles, clothes, jewelry and baubles, I’m more of a wash, dry and go type of girl, but I can see the allure in wanting to spiffy yourself up. There’s nothing wrong with it, unless it’s causing some form of harm to you or others.

Again, Team Rocket would’ve been much better off if they stayed away from the Breeding label, but they kinda backed themselves into a corner anyway with tying a ten year old girl to a chair and ‘torturing’ her for info…in the lobby of their shop….with their glass doors and giant window….and the door wide open.

– Okay, so Team Rocket wasn’t really being completely legitimate here. Their salon was a front for criminal activities….but their plan was insanely stupid. They were basically planning on luring Trainers to the salon, being legit for the most part, and, if or when a person with a rare Pokemon showed up, they would distract the trainer and steal it…..that’s it…..Uh, I do believe the Trainer would wonder where the hell their Pokemon was after a while. Would you just steal one Pokemon and then close up shop and book it to avoid the Trainer calling the cops?

And there were plenty of good Pokemon ripe for the stealing coming into this place. Two Squirtle, a Bulbasaur (starters are technically rare), Dodrio and even a Raichu, the evolved form of the Pokemon they keep drooling after, yet not a one stolen. This has to be the first time Team Rocket’s plans have failed because they were seemingly too lazy to go through with the main step of it.

– Ekans and Koffing are doing surprisingly well in this match…..Are they really claiming this is because of the costumes? Because that’s kinda dumb. I just don’t see any other reason for this sudden surge in skill.

Also, if they had the ability to dodge/refract electricity by spinning in circles why have they never done it before or done it since?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen5
Aww, Geodude’s hugging Ekans.

– Remember what I said about Team Rocket sometimes going surprisingly dark?

Jessie: “We’ll give Vulpix a makeover when we get rid of its tails!” Team Rocket wants to amputate Vulpix’s tails…..Holy. Shit.

– I agree with Misty, why the hell are you allowing her to get caught up in the Fire Spin, Suzy?….Is…it because she was interested in the Pokemon makeover and found merit in outer beauty, so the writers decided to punish her? Seriously? Geez, guys, there’s no gray area with you is there?

– Brock: “Did you see that? A cute exterior hides inner strength. That’s the Pokemon’s true personality!”

Okay, Brock, let’s play another game of ‘overanalyze a stupid thing said to overemphasize the incredibly obvious moral of the episode, which, ironically, screws up the whole moral.’

First of all, “A cute exterior hides inner strength”? What? Are you saying cute people and Pokemon are, by default, hiding their inner strength and beauty just because they happen to match society’s views on physical beauty? Like anyone who is attractive doesn’t show or have a real personality? What kind of stupid idea is that? Beautiful people and Pokemon can be assholes just as much as they can have wonderful personalities and the same goes for traditionally ugly or unappealing people and Pokemon.

Or is he saying that trying to change outer appearances with fashion and makeup is wrong because you’re hiding your ‘true’ self from the world? I guess that one might make a bit more sense, but just because you put on something physical does not hide what’s inside, at least not as long as you don’t change your personality when you dress up.

Second, Brock, did your opinions drastically change since Pokemon Scent-Sation? If you want to get technical, perfume is also something people use to make themselves seem more appealing. It’s not something visible, but it is a physical item people use to cover up their natural smell in lieu of something ‘prettier.’ Hell, in Erika’s little ‘P-E-R-F-U-M-E’ rant, she specifically says the P is for “pretty.”

Third, now that I’m thinking about it, how ironic is it that Brock of all people is saying focusing on outer beauty isn’t important when he drools after every pretty girl he sees? Has he ever gone after a girl who was traditionally unattractive?

Fourth, he’s referring to Vulpix taking down Team Rocket with Fire Spin as he says this…..which basically makes the whole moral extremely confused.

Yes, outer beauty is unimportant and cuteness masks a Pokemon’s true inner strength…..he says referring to one of the cutest Pokemon in existence that is world-renowned for its beauty, including Pokedex entries that specifically refer to its tails as beautiful and gorgeous, and evolves into something that is arguably even more beautiful and elegant?

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 6

Finally, what the hell does focusing on personality have to do with using Fire Spin? Your Pokemon can have the best personality in the world and still have crappy attacks. Just like you can dress up your Pokemon and they can still do well in battle, like Ekans and Koffing just demonstrated, despite the fall.

That has to do with Training. Unless you’re saying Suzy massaged her Vulpix into level 42. In which case, screw the dangerous battles. Just prepare for the Pokemon League with a massage marathon.

If you wanted this message to fly at all, you should’ve used a Pokemon that is not usually noted for its cuteness or beauty. Try this episode with a Muk or a Paras or a…Gloom maybe. And make the ‘inner strength’ point of note a triumph of self-confidence instead of a Pokemon attack.

– While I disagree with Misty getting Fire Spun, she deserved it after the fact for yelling at Psyduck for seemingly running away and not helping her when he immediately and, without command, went for help. She’s known Psyduck all of a day and has only insulted the poor thing the whole time, yet it still rushed to her rescue without question. What a bitch.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 7

– Suzy: “and Brock I was very impressed with how you handled your Pokemon in a crisis like that.”

Like….what? He called out Geodude, commanded a Seismic Toss, it technically failed and then Geodude was disabled with Sludge blinding it for the rest of the match.

– Suzy: “I want you to continue your journey too, Brock. From now on, we’re rivals.” There are rivals in Pokemon Breeding? Is that like being a competitive veterinarian?

– I don’t really see why Suzy has seen enough of Brock’s skills as a Breeder to believe he’s competent enough to care for her beloved Vulpix, especially, as she stated, better than she could. Also, she’s known Brock all of a few hours, if that, yet she trusts him enough to give over her Vulpix?

– How did Brock capture Vulpix in his empty Pokeball when it’s still technically owned by Suzy? Couldn’t Suzy have just handed over Vulpix’s Pokeball to Brock?

– So now Suzy has no Pokemon to practice her Breeding skills on. I’m sure that will be real helpful to your quest to improve your skills, Suzy. Actually, this wouldn’t be a huge issue if she was staying at her salon, but she’s closing up shop and going on a journey, so pbt.

Pokemon Episode 28 Screen 8
I couldn’t not include this shot.

– James: “Now we need a total makeover – so no one we ripped off will recognize us!” Uh, who’d you rip-off? You offered a service, you provided what was expected, they paid the price you advertised. They’re not entitled to refunds just because ‘doy we realized it’s what’s inside that counts!’

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I still love this episode, but I will admit I noticed quite a few more glaring flaws in the plot and lesson than I did when I was younger. I’m surprised I actually got ranty near the end.

I feel like, given Pokemon Scent-Sation, they should’ve went a different route with this whole episode in regards to the moral because 1) it just does not fit well with Vulpix being the focal point, 2) they seem to demonize outer beauty, natural or otherwise, in their efforts to emphasize inner strength, and 3) they go even further with the ‘outer beauty is bad’ stuff by making the fashion trends as gaudy and ugly as humanly possible.

Gloom, on the other hand, was a Pokemon who, by all intents and purposes, was as unappealing as possible. It’s not really physically cute, it even drools, and it’s noted for its horrible stench. It’s evo is smack between a Pokemon that is pretty cute and a Pokemon who is a little cute and a little beautiful. Yet it’s noted for its great personality in saving Erika and keeping its stench in check around those it trusts. There’s also something poetic about a notably perpetually stinky Pokemon creating wonderful perfumes from its own extract.

I do like Suzy as a character quite a bit, and the comedy in this episode is spot-on, but I can’t help but say the quality is very tarnished by how poorly conceived this episode was as a whole.

Well, maybe next episode will be more relaxing and fun. What is next anyway?

Next episode

..Dammit!

Previous Episode…

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. On the few occasions 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 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 makes 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.

Pokemon EP 25 screen1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– I love Mankey mocking Ash’s capture style.

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon EP 25 screen2

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

Pokemon EP 25 screen3

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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 shtick 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?

Previous Episode….

Pokemon Episode 6 Analysis: Clefairy and the Moon Stone

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

CotD: Seymour (The Scientist®) – Seymour’s 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 pray to the stone as a deity.

Team Rocket appear again and steal the Moon Stone from the Clefairy, but Brock quickly stops them in their tracks with his Onix. After another battle, the Clefairy 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 farewell to the group, and they set off on their next destination.

Ash spots a sign showing that the nearest town is Cerulean City and marks it as their next destination. He’s fired up when he sees that Gary scribbled “Gary was here. Ash is 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. 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 are 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 when it is weakened from the previous attack and 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 out the gate, 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 understanding why the early seasons are praised for their animation over the later seasons. 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?

Previous Episode…

Pokemon Episode 5 Analysis: 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 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 – Boulder Badge: 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 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 Onix easily gains the upperhand.

Onix binds Pikachu, and Ash finds that 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 him. 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. 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 it. Ash then 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 than before, even damaging the Gym with his power, Onix is still 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 watching 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. 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. 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 badg -; 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!

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.’

– 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 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.

Previous Episode…