Pokemon Episode 51 Analysis – Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden

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CotD(s): None.

Plot: Ash is in the middle of a battle with a man and his Rhyhorn with Bulbasaur at the helm. Bulbasaur takes a Take Down attack full on, and Ash tries to recall him, but Bulbasaur refuses. He wants to prove he can defeat his opponent. He manages to hit a Razor Leaf and Vine Whip, and Bulbasaur wins the match. However, he appears to be in great pain and his bulb is glowing.

Ash rushes Bulbasaur to the Pokemon Center and begs Joy to save him. Once treatment has been completed, Joy reveals that Bulbasaur’s not badly wounded, he’s just preparing to evolve.

Every year, Bulbasaur from all over the world gather in a mysterious garden to evolve into Ivysaur. The garden is nearby, and they’re just in time for the festivities. Bulbasaur, however, is less than pleased with this turn of events.

That night, he has a heart to heart with Pikachu about his views on his evolution when he’s suddenly dragged away by a slue of Bulbasaur who forcibly take him to the garden to partake in the festival.

Pikachu wakes up Ash and the others, and they run into the forest to find Bulbasaur. The forest is going crazy and they make it just in time before the entire area is blocked off with a wall of vines.

They arrive at the meeting area to find a massive group of Bulbasaur gathering around a large dead tree. They chant, and the sparkling pollen in the air revives the tree. Out from the tree emerges a massive Venusaur, who starts the festival.

They all chant together, and the Bulbasaur start glowing. Soon, they all evolve into Ivysaur. They cheer in celebration until they realize one Bulbasaur has yet to evolve – Ash’s. In fact, he’s doing everything in his power to not evolve.

Venusaur and the Ivysaur all call him out for denying his evolution, and Bulbasaur fiercely argues back. Venusaur attacks Bulbasaur with a Vine Whip, but Ash jumps in the way and takes the hit. He protects his Bulbasaur stating they have no right to force Bulbasaur to evolve. It’s up to him to make that decision.

Suddenly, Team Rocket flies overhead in their balloon and start sucking up all of the Ivysaur with a giant vacuum. Venusaur makes a valiant effort to save them, but an increase in power to the vacuum makes it start to lose its footing.

Team Rocket seems like they might get away this time as only Bulbasaur is left standing. They mock Bulbasaur and refuse to steal him, seeing him as a runt and a wimp. Bulbasaur gets incredibly angry and gives a deafening yell.

The sun rises, and Bulbasaur’s bulb starts collecting energy from the sun, revealing that Bulbasaur has learned Solar Beam. He launches the beam at the balloon, destroys the vacuum and frees the Ivysaur. Team Rocket crashes down and looks in horror as all of the Ivysaur as well as the Venusaur and Bulbasaur glare at them angrily. Venusaur sends them blasting off with a swift hit from its Vine Whip.

Venusaur walks up to Bulbasaur and extends a vine to him. They shake vines, showing that Venusaur respects Bulbasaur and his decision to stay as he is.

Later, the festival ends and the vine walls fall. They bid farewell to the Venusaur and Ivysaur as the mysterious garden disappears as quickly as it appeared.

Bulbasaur looks on with a smile, knowing he’s great just the way he is. No matter if or when Bulbasaur evolves, that will never change.


– I want to preface this episode by saying Ivysaur is my favorite Pokemon, so seeing a bunch of them gathered like this is really cool.

However, we never really explore what makes Ivysaur cool and interesting (and, really, most starter mid-evos have this problem) and we are robbed of Ash getting an Ivysaur on his team, which disappointed me immensely.

– Misty: “That Rhyhorn must be at a high level!”….Tsk……We’ll come back to this.

– Heheh, now Bulbasaur won’t obey him. Get your shit together, Ash.

Being fair, out of all of Ash’s Pokemon, Bulbasaur is the one you’d think would’ve had behavior problems from the get-go. Squirtle being a close second. Not. Charmander…..

– Also, Rhyhorn’s Take Down is like getting hit by a tank, according to Brock. Bulbasaur gets hits head-on, literally, and only has a bump on his head.

– Opponent: “You must be a lousy Trainer, kid. It won’t even listen to you.” I know, right?

– Bulbasaur did Vine Whip without being commanded to do so too.

– Lumberjack-Themed Opponent: “You sure chopped me down to size, kid.” Hehehe, I’m a lumberjack. I chop wood. Get it?

– Even though we’ll never see it again in the series, I love the added touch of flowers blooming around soon-to-evolve Bulbasaur and later with Venusaur just willing it to happen.

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– I have a bunch of questions about this festival.

1) It seems to completely ignore the concept of levels entirely, which is weird given that Misty just brought up levels again out of the blue literally a minute ago. Maybe they are taking levels into consideration and only those who have reached a certain level can participate in the festival, but it’s still odd. Why do they need a special festival to evolve if they’re already at the proper level to do so? No other Pokemon does that, to my knowledge.

How annoying would it be if you trained really hard to have your Bulbasaur evolve but you couldn’t just because, ahp, ya missed the festival. Try again next year.

It’s not like you get a formal invitation or anything, either. Ash and the others just happened to be in the exact area of the mysterious garden on the night of the festival.


Joy: “No one knows why they choose that time. It’s different every year.” Great.

“But it seems to have something to do with the alignment of the planets and the phases of the moon.”

Just say ‘They gather in spring because it’s the blossoming of plant life’ or whatnot. No need to all this astronomy in there.

2) If there’s a festival for Bulbasaur to evolve into Ivysaur, is there another festival for Ivysaur to evolve into Venusaur?

3) Why exactly is it so vital to the other Bulbasaur to literally drag Ash’s Bulbasaur to the festival? I imagine some of it is tradition or something, but does that mean they can’t leave any Bulbasaur as a Bulbasaur?

4) I would ask a lot of questions about this specific location and why merely being there and yelling ‘SAUR!’ triggers the evolution, but the title of the episode says it’s mysterious so I guess it’s not meant to be questioned.

5) I do have to ask how it is no human being has ever set foot in it. That seems ridiculously unlikely. If this event calls Bulbasaur from all over the world, trained or not, surely some of their trainers or some researchers have followed them. The walls do pose a problem, but Ash and the others will later make it through without much issue, and you can fly right over it like Team Rocket does.

I do like the area, though. A beautiful garden just for the ‘saur line, locked by a wall of vines and meant purely for this event. Pretty cool.

5) Bulbasaur gather from all over the world to partake in this event. Is this mostly wild Bulbasaur or do Trainers have to take a considerable amount of time out of their lives to travel the world to get to this event?

I assume this can’t be the only mysterious garden or evolution festival in the entire world….right?

– I am a little peeved that Bulbasaur has such a sullen expression when Ash mentions Ivysaur. I get that he just…for some reason, doesn’t want to evolve, but Ivysaur’s great. You shut up.

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– As much as I like the subtitle-free conversation with Bulbasaur and Pikachu about his troubles, much in the same realm as Pikachu’s conversation with Caterpie many moons ago…..Uh…this is actually one conversation I’d like to hear considering we never get a good reason why Bulbasaur has such an issue with evolving.

This episode is pretty similar to the one where Pikachu is given the option to evolve. In a way, Pikachu was also kinda being cornered into evolving. While Ash was very respectful of whatever option Pikachu chose, he felt like he kinda had to because, otherwise, Ash might not get his Badge.

However, evolving for Pikachu was both a point of not wanting to change his appearance (and possibly personality?) and a point of pride as a Pikachu, if you will. He didn’t want to evolve into a Raichu to beat Surge’s Raichu because it would proving Surge right – Pokemon need to evolve in order to be at their best. He didn’t want to bow to his views and say ‘Yeah, you’re right. Raichu’s just better because it’s a Raichu and I’m a lowly Pikachu.’

Pikachu gave a speech to Ash about this, which Ash seemingly understood, but was mostly translated to the audience through Meowth. It allowed us to fully understand why Pikachu was refusing, even though the viewer could get most of the message through the story.

….Not that any of that really matters because, as we’ll later see, Pikachu IS an evolved Pokemon.

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Here, there is no real ‘story’ so far. Bulbasaur’s just being faced with possible forced evolution and he straight up doesn’t want to. He’s telling Pikachu why he’s so conflicted, but the ‘story’ so far and body language aren’t nearly enough for us to understand why he’s so troubled beyond ‘eh, I dun wanna.’

In the aforementioned Caterpie moment, while that also didn’t have subtitles, the very end showed us Caterpie’s daydream of being a Butterfree, and that was more than enough for us to understand. I don’t know what they would’ve shown here, but something is better than nothing.

– Also, the music in this scene is very unfitting. It’s goofy lazy BGM that doesn’t belong in a scene where Bulbasaur’s having a heartfelt conversation with Pikachu about an important issue.

– The next scene with Bulbasaur yelling to Pikachu is a bit better because we can kinda infer what he’s saying due to the tone, desperation in Bulbasaur’s voice and Pikachu’s clear understanding….but it’s still difficult to get down pat. Pikachu stopped because of what he said, and I think he’s begging Pikachu to get Ash, but it also sounds like he might be begging Pikachu himself to help.

– Haha, Pikachu’s Bulbasaur impression is adorable.

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– Team Rocket showed up and got blasted off within thirty seconds. It was entirely unnecessary to have them there to begin with.

– They got blasted off, but they landed closeby enough to land immediately behind Ash and the others as they trailed Bulbasaur. That scene is even more unnecessary now.

– Misty: “There’s only one way to go now – into the garden.” You’re technically already in it.

Also, is Venusaur’s consciousness manipulating the vines or is this an actual magical forest?

– Out of curiosity, why is it so important to keep everyone out of the garden when the festival is happening? Is their evolution such a secret? I think when Bulbasaur go in and Ivysaur come out, they’ll make the connection.

– The Bulbasaur all singing is adorable.

– The whole sequence before Venusaur arrives is wonderfully done. It’s beautiful in color, tone and even audio.

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– I don’t think that tree is big enough to have Venusaur walk that far within it without exiting it.

– Fantastic entrance for Venusaur. He even got a commercial break cliffhanger reveal.

Why Use the Pokedex? He knows what a Venusaur is,

– I feel like there was a miscommunication with the animators and writers. Misty reminds Ash that Bulbasaur has a bandage on his head, allowing them to know which Bulbasaur is his. The bandage in question is a little band-aid. Pikachu points out Ash’s Bulbasaur, but they’re seeing him from behind, meaning we can’t see the band-aid. I think Bulbasaur was probably meant to have a bandage wrap on his head rather than a band-aid so we could actually tell from the back who it was, but the animators didn’t get the memo.

Either that or they originally set Bulbasaur to have the wrap but the higher ups thought it made it look like Bulbasaur was too injured and kids might get concerned? I dunno.

– Brock: “Hey! Don’t forget, human beings aren’t supposed to be here!” I get why the other Bulbasaur might not see them standing in plain view because their backs are facing them, but Venusaur is facing the Bulbasaur, meaning it should be able to see Ash and co.

– The chanting to start the evolution process is pretty cool. And I really like the way the Bulbasaur all glow blue before their evolution starts.

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– And the entire flow of the scene is ruined by Team Rocket. Hooray.

– I like how they show the leaves on Bulbasaur’s bulb opening when it evolves.


Why Use the Pokedex? He explained earlier that he knew what an Ivysaur was.

– I like that they also have a celebratory chant after the evolution is over.

– Ash: “This must be their evolution festival.”….Ash….sweetie….go back to the Pokemon Center and get a CAT scan. For me. I am deeply concerned about you.

– I’ll ignore how Brock seems to be able to tell that Bulbasaur is actively trying not to evolve, but what is forcing its evolution? We can surmise that Squirtle and Pidgeotto are also long since overdue for evolution, yet you don’t see them slamming their internal B buttons regularly when they ‘level up.’

My best guess is this magical glittery pollen is somehow triggering the evolution, but that just raises a multitude of questions.

Kinda have to wonder how one resists evolution in the first place. I imagine it’s like trying desperately not to have a muscle spasm. It’s something your body is just kinda doing, you can’t really stop it.

– The scene with Bulbasaur arguing with the Ivysaur and Venusaur doesn’t really need subtitles. We can infer most of what’s going on through the story at this point and body language. Bulbasaur doesn’t want to evolve, this makes the others salty (Venusaur looks incredibly offended, to be honest), they try to force him, Venusaur even tries to convince him that evolving is great by making the dead tree bloom with thousands of beautiful flowers, but he won’t budge. Problem is, like before, we don’t know why Bulbasaur doesn’t want to evolve, so the emotional impact is significantly lower than what it could be.

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If you wanted to be really cynical, Bulbasaur could come off as a petulant child who doesn’t want to ‘grow up’ per se. Afterall, the one consistent theme throughout this episode is ‘wow, Bulbasaur is stubborn.’

– I really like how Ash jumped in the way of the Venusaur’s Vine Whip. That was pretty cool. I like when we get scenes that show how much Ash cares for his Non-Pika Pokemon.

– In the end, no matter Bulbasaur’s reasons, Ash is right – no one has the right to force a Pokemon to evolve. They evolve or ‘grow up’ when they’re ready. It’s just that we’ve already gone over this moral several times in the series.

– I love how even Ash and the others are annoyed by Team Rocket’s intrusion. This would be a really great episode if these buffoons didn’t keep barging in.

– Misty: *As all of the Ivysaur are being sucked into Team Rocket’s vacuum* “It’s a vacuum!”

Ash: “No kidding!”

Hahahaha! They really should just let Ash be snarky more often. It suits him, when it’s not in a dickish way.

– I love how Venusaur’s all badass and grabs them all at once. However, it let numerous Ivysaur get sucked up beforehand…

Still, it shows how awesome Venusaur is while simultaneously showing how much Venusaur cares about its brethren.

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– How are Bulbasaur and Pikachu not flying away? They’re significantly lighter than the Ivysaur and even Venusaur is being lifted up a bit now. Even Ash and the others should be grabbing onto trees or something, yet they’re not even really having trouble standing. Hell, even Ash’s hat is still glued to his head.

– I get that Team Rocket’s just laughing at the idea of taking a Bulbasaur when they now have a bag full of Ivysaur, but it’s still a starter Pokemon. They’re very rare and valuable.

– I don’t like how Meowth’s mouth moves up and down but his chin stays still when he says ‘What a wimp!’

– Also, Bulbasaur’s a wimp? How?

– Bulbasaur yelling out loud to Team Rocket has always been a really impacting moment in the series to me. Not only does it lead to his learning Solar Beam (which means Bulbasaur’s at least level 48, meaning he should long since be a Venusaur by now. Hey, they brought up levels this episode, so I can bring this up.) but, man, his voice actor is just having at it. It’s great.

– This is also a perfect time for Bulbasaur to learn Solar Beam. Ash is getting closer to the Indigo League and he needs some more power to back him up.

– Ash: “Smokin’” If that was a reference to The Mask, I will hurt you.

– Apparently, all Ivysaur are cats and always land on their feet.

– N’aw Venusaur and Bulbasaur shaking vines.

– Narrator: “No one knows if or when Bulbasaur will finally decide to evolve – no one, that is, except Bulbasaur.” Aw that’s sweet. Also, in hindsight, that line’s very fitting just because it decided to include ‘if’ in there. Bulbasaur, to this day, has never evolved and probably never will.


Overall, I really love this episode. Not sure I’d place it as a favorite, but it’s still really good. We get Ivysaur, a cool look into the ‘saur line’s (weird, in regards to Pokemon as a whole and possibly non-canon in the future) evolutionary behaviors, and Bulbasaur learns Solar Beam.

It has a good, but already overused at this point, message about not forcing people to be something they’re not, especially if they’re not ready for whatever change you’re imposing on them, and has a lot of awesome moments.

The only two things that really damage it are Bulbasaur’s unclear motives behind resisting evolution (All I want is an Ivysaur to be a regular character, dammit!) and Team Rocket’s annoying intrusions.

This is definitely one of the most memorable episodes simply because of how unique it is and how beautiful the visuals are, but I can’t help thinking it could’ve been a little better.

Next episode, it’s Princess Day! Misty vs. Jessie!

Previous Episode….

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My Poke-Pinions: 001-003 – The Bulbasaur Line


Name: According to Bulbapedia, Bulbasaur’s name is pretty self-explanatory. The ‘bulb’ part is indicative of plant bulbs, and the ‘saur’ part is Latin for ‘lizard.’ I’ve always loved the name Bulbasaur. It rolls off the tongue nicely, is very fun to say and suits it very well.

In the original Japanese, its name is Fushigidane, which can either be translated as ‘Isn’t it strange?’ or ‘Mysterious bulb’, the latter of which is what I believe the writers were going for. I’ve always liked Fushigidane too, even if it is more of a mouthful than Bulbasaur.

Fun fact: In the French version, its name is Bulbizarre, which I thought was really cool.

In the Mandarin version, its name is Miàowāzhǒngzǐ, which translates to ‘Wonderful frog seed’, which is just amazing. Here’s to you, Bulbasaur! You’re a wonderful frog seed!

Design: Bulbasaur’s design is very simple, but incredibly cute. I love its large and expressive eyes and the overall shape of its body. It looks perfect for a pet. I also really like its color scheme. Oddly, I believe the spots were just the right add-on for Bulbasaur because I think it would look really weird and too simplistic without them.

Going over the sprites real quick, the one for Red and Blue is cute.

It’s in a dynamic pose, and I like that. The back view makes it look derpy, though.

Yellow’s version makes it look possessed.

Green’s version makes him look derpy from the front.

Pretty normal and nice until we get to Crystal, which is also fine, but I could do without that animation. That makes me uncomfortable for some reason.

All of the other sprites look fine except for the backs of the Black and White versions. They’re fine, but the animation makes it look like it’s humping something….


The shiny version kinda ruins the color scheme, if you ask me. Yeah, it’s a Grass type, so green should suit it just fine, but it’s a little…too green.

Cry/Voice: Bulbasaur’s cry is cute, but sounds too much like an old Atari crash sound near the end. Bulbasaur’s anime voice has always been a favorite of mine. Whenever I feel like imitating a Pokemon, my first choice is usually Bulbasaur.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Bulbasaur’s story is pretty straightforward in all of its Dex entries. It’s a creature that had a seed planted in its back from birth. The seed slowly sprouts and grows with the Bulbasaur over time. Bulbasaur absorbs and stores nutrients from photosynthesis in the bulb, and can go days without a proper food source thanks to this storage system. The bulb itself is full of seeds.

Anime-exclusive, the bulb will glow blue when it’s close to evolving, which I believe is a fine add-on.

Another thing they only mention in the anime is that researchers aren’t sure whether to classify Bulbasaur as a plant or animal, but that’s always seemed silly to me. The entries clearly state it’s an animal that had a seed planted in its back upon birth. In fact, no matter the physiology of the Pokemon, don’t all Pokemon have to be technically classified as animals or animal-like since they’re living, breathing creatures?


Name: Ivysaur’s name is on par with Bulbasaur’s, even if it has slightly less bounce to it. Like before, the ‘saur’ part is Latin for ‘lizard’ while the ‘ivy’ part is alluding to the plant, ivy.

In Japanese, its name is Fushigisou, which is also not quite was bouncy as Fushigidane, but still nice. It translates to ‘It seems strange’ or ‘strange grass,’ again, the latter of which is what I believe they were going for.

Fun Fact: In French, Ivysaur’s name is Herbizarre, poking at herbs. I think Herbizarre sounds cooler than Bulbizarre and Fushigisou.

The Mandarin version of Ivysaur’s name is Mìaowācăo, which means ‘wonderful frog grass’ Somehow, not as funny as ‘Wonderful frog seed.’

Design: I adore Ivysaur’s design. They add enough to it to make it very distinct among its line without seeming like it’s purely a middleman. The flower bud is pretty, the leaves make it look much grassier, the sharpness to its face is just enough to keep it adorable while also giving it a clear tough look. The slight change to its color scheme is nice. I like the darker blue-ish green hue and the black pupils they added, plus it’s cute little ears.

Sprite-wise, what the hell is up with Red and Blue?

Green’s look like it got run over.

And all of the early back sprites look very odd, like they pushed the flower up way too high.

Silver makes him look like a super villain, which is awesome.

And Crystal makes it seem like he just ate a part of my face, which is…awesome?

Every other sprite looks pretty okay, except what is up with Black and White? Why does it look like its waving its leaves at me?


I like Shiny Ivysaur much better than Shiny Bulbasaur. It’s not my favorite shiny by a long shot, but the yellow flower looks nice, and that melded with the lighter green skin gives off a calm spring meadow vibe.

Cry/Voice: Ivysaur’s cry is rid of the Atari crash sound from Bulbasaur’s cry, which is nice. It also sounds a little higher pitched while ending on a deeper note, which makes it sound pretty cool, in my opinion.

Ivysaur isn’t in the anime enough for me to even remember what it sounded like (Mid-evo starters get no love in the anime. They even had the perfect opportunity to give a main character an Ivysaur, twice (Ash’s Bulbasaur refused to evolve – May’s evolved into Venusaur from Bulbasaur OFF-SCREEN, but nope. Pbt.), so I had to go check. Ivysaur’s voice is mostly just a slightly deeper and more gravelly sounding voice, which is fine, but not as nice to listen to as Bulbasaur.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Personally, Ivysaur is my favorite Pokemon – really only sharing that spot back and forth with Raichu. I can’t really explain when or how Ivysaur became my favorite, but I’ve always been a huge fan of it.

Ivysaur’s Dex entries are usually off-shoots of Bulbasaur’s, explaining that the bulb on its back has now turned into a flower bud. The bud absorbs nutrients from sunlight much in the same way the bulb on Bulbasaur’s back did, and it will start to bloom when it’s fully grown, IE ready to evolve. It’s also said to be close to blooming/evolving if Ivysaur starts spending much of its time laying in the sun.

Due to the large flower bud on its back, it can no longer stand on its hind legs (so it can’t look weird in Red and Blue….well, weirder.) and now its legs and trunk have started to become much stronger in response.

Finally, Ivysaur’s flower bud emits a very pleasant and sweet aroma, which is more just a note than anything else as it doesn’t appear to have a function.


Name: Venusaur’s name keeps the saur=lizard theme, and the ‘venus’ part is referencing the Venus Fly Trap, which I find odd because Venusaur’s flower in no way looks like a Venus Fly Trap. If anything, it always reminded me, oddly, of the Corpse Flower.

At least with Ivysaur, its leaves looks somewhat reminiscent of ivy leaves.

Venusaur’s name is alright, but I never really took to it very much.

In the original Japanese, it’s called Fushigibana, but which is a pun on the phrase ‘Fushigi no hana’ – or ‘Strange flower.’ I like Fushigibana. It brings back the bounce that Fushigidane had – in fact, I’d say it’s even bouncier.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Florizarre, which I find difficult to pronounce for some reason, and in Mandarin, it’s Miàowāhuā or ‘Wonderful frog flower.’

Design: I’ve never been a huge fan of Venusaur’s design. The flower doesn’t look all that great, the angles of the face, particularly the eyes, don’t sit well with me, and the wart-like bumps put me off, but if there are few Grass Pokemon that give off a feeling of the pure power of nature, it’s Venusaur.

In Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden, a Venusaur is basically portrayed as the king of this forest. Its voice even causes a tree to immediately blossom. This thing is huge, looks like a reptilian or amphibian powerhouse and, as we see in the manga, it looks like a sneaky Bulbasaur when it has its flower closed.

It’s still my least favorite of the three final evo Gen I starters, but I’ve gained a better appreciation for it over time.

Sprite-wise, we’re going pretty good in Red, Blue and Yellow, but Green looks like it was, again, run over by a truck.

The back sprites of the early games were just sloppy. You can barely tell what that is.

Other than Crystal’s animation looking like it’s winking at me,

and Black and White’s randomly getting its groove on,

the rest of the sprites are very good.

However, the back sprites of the most recent games….let’s just say, I don’t think Venusaur is meant to show so much ass.


I feel about the same way towards Shiny Venusaur as I do Shiny Ivysaur mostly because the changes are identical. It gains a light/lime green skin color with a yellow flower. Though, the flower for Venusaur is slightly more golden looking, making it seem slightly a little better than Ivysaur’s to me.


Mega Venusaur was one of the first Megas I ever saw and….I was never a fan. They added more plumage, put a flower on its head, marked its face up a bit and put some vines in there. Sadly, I have not gained a better appreciation for Mega Venusaur over time. There are much better looking Megas out there, and, frankly, Venusaur’s somehow looks both cluttered and lazy at the same time. I prefer the regular version of Venusaur.

Cry/Voice: I’m okay with Venusaur’s cry, but it doesn’t have a deep enough tone or enough oomph for me to be impressed with it. Its anime voice is a huge step in the right direction. It’s deep toned, powerful and fitting. The only gripe I have is that it sounds a little goofy while saying ‘Venusaur’, particularly when yelling it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Venusaur’s Dex entries are kinda boring because they say almost nothing different from Ivysaur’s except that the little flower bud is now a huge flower. Venusaur is also noted as being more powerful in summertime due to the energy it absorbs from the sun, but why can’t that be said of Ivysaur and Bulbasaur?

Other than that, the sweet scent emitted from the flower, stated in Ivysaur’s Dex entry, is said to soothe people and Pokemon. I prefer that the anime adds that it has somewhat of a power of nature, because that makes it seem a lot cooler.

Next time: the Char line.

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Pokemon Episode 10 Analysis – Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village


CotD(s): Melanie – A sweet girl, but terribly boring, Melanie is the caretaker of a Pokemon village that consists of only one house. She nurses sick and injured wild Pokemon back to health with the hopes of releasing them back into the wild.

Reappears?: No

Pokemon: Technically none, though she is the caretaker of many.

Captures: Ash’s Bulbasaur – Quite the serious and protective Pokemon, Bulbasaur is one of Ash’s longest staying Pokemon in his team besides Pikachu.

Plot: Lost in the forest yet again, Ash and the others take a break when they stumble upon an Oddish. Ash and Misty both want to capture the Oddish, and Misty shoves Ash aside to capture it herself. She pits her Starmie against it and manages to weaken it. As she’s about to capture it in a Pokeball, the ball is suddenly batted away.

A Bulbasaur appears to protect the Oddish from the capture, and it quickly does away with Starmie. Ash, excited about a new prospect of capturing a Bulbasaur, sends out Butterfree to attack.

Butterfree uses Sleep Powder only to have it blown back in his face by Bulbasaur’s breath. Butterfree tries to continue battling, but a quick Tackle also takes care of Butterfree. Bulbasaur and Oddish take the opportunity to run off.

Ash is disappointed that he couldn’t capture Bulbasaur, but is excited under the belief that there are likely others in the forest to catch. As they continue on their path, Ash and the others cross a bridge that isn’t shown on their map. The bridge suddenly collapses under their feet. Ash and Misty manage to hang on, but Brock falls into the rushing waters below.

Ash and Misty pull themselves up and quickly rush to find Brock’s corpse—I mean totally alive body, but Misty is caught in a pitfall trap. Surprisingly, Team Rocket is not behind the trap, and Ash and Misty continue to look for Brock.

They spring yet another trap, which lands them in a net stuck in a tree. They see the same Bulbasaur down below who gives them a glance before walking away.

Later, Brock returns safe and sound to save Misty and Ash from the trap. Brock explains that he was saved from the river by a beautiful girl named Melanie and brings Ash and Misty to her Pokemon village where she nurses sick and injured Pokemon back to health in the hopes of returning them to the wild some day.

Ash, Misty and Brock decide to help out at the village for a while, and Misty makes amends with the Oddish she attacked earlier. While Misty is talking to Oddish, Ash pops up to tease her, causing Misty to yell at him. Bulbasaur suddenly Tackles Misty and knocks her to the ground.

Ash, fed up with Bulbasaur, decides to finish their battle from earlier, but Melanie stops him. She explains that Bulbasaur has offered to be the guardian of the entire village, and he only acts so aggressively when he thinks someone is a threat to the Pokemon there. When Misty yelled at Ash, Bulbasaur took that as a threat to Oddish and started defending it.

Bulbasaur tries to push Ash away, and Melanie explains that Bulbasaur doesn’t like Pokemon Trainers and is trying to make them leave. Ash understands Bulbasaur’s feelings and admires its bravery and resolve.

Team Rocket shows up, using a giant flying baseball stadium with a giant vacuum hose, and they start sucking up all of the Pokemon in the village. Brock, Melanie and Misty take all of the Pokemon into the cabin, but Oddish nearly gets captured.

Its saved by Bulbasaur, and Ash assists it in carrying Oddish back to the cabin. Bulbasaur and Ash team up to take Team Rocket down with Bulbasaur swatting away the vacuum hose and Ash using Pidgeotto’s Gust to combat the vacuum winds and create a tornado to whisk Team Rocket away.

After Team Rocket has been taken care of, Melanie offers to have Bulbasaur go with Ash to be on his team. She states that, while Bulbasaur is a great and brave Pokemon who has done a lot for the village, he’s very much restricted there and has no real opportunity to grow. In addition, his fierce protection of the village Pokemon makes them feel so safe and relaxed that Melanie finds it difficult to return to them to the wild back where they belong.

Bulbasaur agrees with the arrangement on one condition – Ash has to beat Bulbasaur in a battle and capture him fairly. Ash excitedly agrees and the match begins.

Ash uses Pikachu against Bulbasaur, and after some failed Vine Whips, Bulbasaur gives Pikachu a head-on Tackle. Before he has a chance to recover, Pikachu is hit by another Tackle, but manages to regain his composure in mid-air, responding with a Tackle of his own.

Bulbasaur attempts Vine Whip again, succeeds in wrapping Pikachu up with the vines and slams him repeatedly into the ground. However, Ash strikes back by having Pikachu use Thunderbolt on the vines, sending the shock through them and into Bulbasaur. Ash uses this opportunity to use a Pokeball on Bulbasaur and manages to capture it.

Melanie thanks Bulbasaur for everything its done for her, the Pokemon and the village, and bids it farewell while Ash promises to take good care of Bulbasaur. The group departs from the village with their new friend back on their journey to Vermilion City.


– Why does Misty want to catch Oddish? It’s a Grass type – isn’t she all about Water types? This is made even more confusing when she tries to justify it by saying the Oddish was near water when they found it and Water is her specialty, thus she should have it. By that logic, any Pokemon that drinks water is one Misty has dibs on.

– This is the first of many instances of this happening, but why does Ash need to whip out his Pokedex to see what an Oddish is? Despite never encountering one in the series thusfar, he had an Oddish doll in his room. I assume having a toy of something means you know what it is.

– Also, this is one of those capture attempts that just seems cruel. Oddish was minding its own business drinking water when Misty’s Starmie Water Guns the hell out of it, then, as its trying to run away, Starmie Tackles it. 😦

– Huh, yet another instance of Ash seemingly showing interest in pretty girls, even though he doesn’t know what Melanie looks like.

– Okay, look, I really respect Melanie for what she does. Creating and maintaining a Pokemon sanctuary of sorts with absolutely no financial benefit on her part is really great and respectful. I can understand wanting to keep Trainers away from the Pokemon in her village so they don’t get attacked or captured, but is there really no better way to do that than setting dangerous traps?

The pit in the ground and the net, I guess those aren’t that bad because as long as she checks them very regularly they probably won’t result in serious injury or death. But the bridge being rigged? That’s really dangerous! What if a handicapped person or a person who can’t swim was going across that bridge? Even someone who can swim would likely have trouble staying afloat in that current.

Considering the bridge wasn’t even on Brock’s map, I can only assume that she built the bridge just to dump people into the river. And what if she forgot to check the traps, which is implied by Melanie’s dialogue where she acts surprised that the traps actually worked? People could end up in those traps for days or weeks and end up dying in them. What if random Pokemon stumbled across them? They’d get hurt or die.

This is just such an overall terrible and dangerous idea, and it really could’ve been avoided by putting up a lot of signs that explain what this area is and telling Trainers to please not catch Pokemon there. Or maybe marking Pokemon who are staying at the village with a little collar that explains where they are and requests not to capture them.

Actually, she could just ask all of these Pokemon to go into Pokeballs. That way, they’d be officially captured and no other Pokeball would be able to capture them, until they’re released anyway.

– I’m actually kinda glad this is one of the only times Brock gets so embarrassed when talking about one of his crushes. The way he keeps smacking Misty for teasing him about it would probably get really old, though. Also, why are we able to see Misty get punched in the top of the head twice full out. but Ash getting slapped by Misty in the first episode had to be censored.

– Nice coloring error on Meowth’s ears when they get caught in the net.


– Let’s address this line that I had to write earlier –

“Team Rocket shows up, using a giant flying baseball stadium with a giant vacuum hose, and they start sucking up all of the Pokemon in the village.”

Team Rocket’s not exactly known for making sense most of the time, and they are infamous for creating huge outlandish contraptions out of nowhere, but I just have so many questions.

1 – This is pointless to ask but where did they get an enclosed baseball stadium?

2 – How is it flying using about four or five balloons?

3 – Why a baseball stadium? That has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of the episode or anything related. It’s not like they stumbled upon a baseball stadium earlier or anything either. There’s nothing but woods as far as the eye can see. This would’ve been fine in a much later episode with…..She who shall not be named until Johto, but just why here?

4 – Why is the big threat of this baseball stadium two huge vacuums? What do vacuums have to do with baseball?

– Okay, I’m no scientist or meteorologist, but I’m gonna call BS on the ‘creating a tornado with a vacuum and high wind’ thing. From what I can gather, twisters are caused when two winds blowing at different speeds at two altitudes meet. This causes the initial spinning effect. Other factors such as updrafts cause an increase in the spinning speed, and if the spinning gets fast enough, it will cause a funnel cloud which will touchdown on land.

Blowing air into a vacuum should logically cause the air being blown into it to just get sucked up without any noticeable effects, right? Or if the gust is powerful enough I assume the vacuum effect would get nullified.

I will admit that, if Ash meant to do that, then that is a really cool use of Pidgeotto for a change instead of its later usual shtick of popping Team Rocket’s balloon.

– Wait, why does Misty want to battle Bulbasaur now? Not only does it tarnish Melanie’s speech about Ash being the best candidate to help Bulbasaur grow, but it also, again, makes no sense. Bulbasaur is a Grass type not a Water type – why does she want it? In addition, Bulbasaur has been nothing but aggressive towards her this whole time with ruining her capture, glaring at her while she was in the trap and then Tackling her later. Why does she suddenly want it? Because the water is nearby?

– Huh, I wasn’t expecting a new and very clean capture attempt animation.

– Holy crap, that wild Staryu grew like five feet in 15 minutes!




Granted, picture two is the closest to the size we know of Staryu, taking from Misty’s Staryu, but it’s been consistently like a foot tall the whole episode. I assumed it was a baby, but apparently it’s a mutant super Staryu.


Ah, the Kanto starter arc. I think most people agree that, in order, the best episodes are Charmander, Squirtle then Bulbasaur, with most of the debacle going on between Charmander and Squirtle’s episode positions, but we’ll jump that hurdle when we get to it.

Bulbasaur’s episode, to me, is perfectly fine. I can’t really think of anything seriously wrong with it – it’s just not horribly interesting is all. It doesn’t have the excitement or fun of Squirtle’s episode, and it doesn’t have the emotional impact of Charmander’s, which is a shame because, like I said, out of all of Ash’s original team, Bulbasaur stuck around the longest with him being a regular member through even half of Johto. He also has a great English voice even if it’s a little rough here.

I would’ve liked less time to be spent with the traps and more time to be spent on exactly why Bulbasaur dislikes Pokemon Trainers. He doesn’t have to have the same abusive Trainer backstory of Charmander, but maybe explain like a bunch of troublemaker Trainers frequent the woods or something and they tend to harass the Pokemon. That would both explain why Bulbasaur dislikes Trainers and why the traps are so necessary.

It’s a shame because Bulbasaur is such an interesting Pokemon in terms of its personality, and you really have to wonder what happened to him to make him that way, but we never get told.

Next episode, Kanto Starter Arc Part 2 – Charmander’s Debut! When the group spots a weak Charmander on a rock, they soon come to realize that it belongs to an abusive Trainer who left it there stating that it would return some day but really had no intentions on doing so. When a rainstorm threatens Charmander’s life, they have to move quickly to keep Charmander’s flame from dying out.

Previous Episode….

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