My Poke-Pinions: 010 – 012 – The Caterpie Line

Caterpie

Name: Caterpie is obviously an off-shoot of ‘caterpillar,’ and damn the Wiki writers for calling it a ‘corruption’ of the word. It’s a ‘cute….uption.’ I really like Caterpie’s name. It’s snappy and adorable.

It’s also its original Japanese name as well, so my work’s done here.

Design: Let me preface all Bug Type analyses in the future by saying I hate bugs in real life. I shouldn’t say I hate them so much as….am afraid of most of them. I like ladybugs, butterflies, dragonflies, daddy long legs and, yes, even caterpillars, but I get freaked out over even things like moths or ants. I don’t like them touching me. I am very interested in studying them from afar, because insects can be quite amazing. but don’t friggin’ touch me.

It’s also difficult to say any bugs are really ‘cute.’ They can be kinda pretty, but I’m not sure ‘cute’ is the word for any of them. Pokemon has a great talent of changing this opinion, however, because Bug Types tend to either be cute or badass in design.

That being said, I love Caterpie’s design. It’s adorable. It has large expressive eyes, cute little feet and cuddly little body. I also like the choice of colors. It’s nothing very creative, but it’s pleasing to the eye and fitting for the Pokemon. The design of its antennae was also cute and added a nice splash of contrasting color.

In terms of sprites, Caterpie hasn’t changed much at all over the years. It only tends to change angle slightly.

Emerald’s sprite is kinda cute with its animation because it’s curled up like a baby.

I don’t have any other notes for any other generation, except maybe that B/W looks weird with how it bobs up and down. It kinda looks drunk.

Shiny: I really like Caterpie’s shiny version. I love the golden hue, though some versions are a little too yellow for my tastes. Since caterpillars commonly have yellow on them, this shiny suits it very well.

Cry/Voice: The initial note of Caterpie’s game cry is a bit too high pitched. It’s slightly irritating. Other than that, it’s cute and fitting.

The anime’s voice is awkward. It can be cute, but it very obviously sounds like a person trying to do garbly animal noises.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Being such a ‘beginner Pokemon,’ Caterpie’s Dex entries are kinda boring. It has suction cups on its feet to climb up surfaces, emits a terrible odor from its antennae to repel predators and eats a lot.

Its design origins are equally uninteresting. It’s based on the Asian Swallowtail caterpillar, and the end of its tail might be based on the horns of hawk moth larvae.

Metapod

Name: Metapod sounds like a transformer. And I’m just fine with that. It’s a combination of the words ‘metamorphosis,’ since it’s currently in a transformative state within its cocoon, and ‘pod,’ because…it’s…a pod…

It’s Japanese name is Transel and I hate it. Transel is a combination of ‘transform’ and ‘cell’ or ‘shell.’ It sounds weird, it doesn’t fit the Pokemon, in my opinion, and it is not catchy at all.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s call Crysacier, which is a billion times more awesome.

Design: Uhm….it’s a cocoon with eyes…It’s hard to either like or dislike it. It never seems like it has an expression besides Eeyore and super pissed. I will say that, despite how it looks, I actually found it incredibly difficult to draw when I was doing my series of Pokemon drawings. The shape is just awkward.

It has an okay shade of green to it, and that’s about it.

For sprites, again, there’s not much to say considering it’s a mostly inanimate cocoon. It’s not like it can have interesting animations or dynamic poses.

The only note I have here is, holy crap, the back sprite for RBG is HORRIFYING. It’s like something out of a horror movie.

Shiny: I really love Metapod’s shiny. It’s such a unique and pretty shade of orange. Combined with its original form, it’s like an autumn version of Metapod.

Cry/Voice: Metapod’s cry is alright. It’s nothing special, but I don’t really expect it to be.

I honestly forgot if Metapod even had an anime voice. It’s mostly quiet, but when I looked back, it does indeed have a voice and it sounds kinda awful. It sounds like someone pinching their nose and saying ‘Metapod’ with no inflection whatsoever.

Dex Entries and Backstory: As you can probably guess, Metapod’s Dex entries and backstory are fairly bland. It’s just an intermediary stage for Caterpie to reach Butterfree. It has a shell as hard as steel, and its only move is Harden. And millions of small children and 30-somethings everywhere giggled.

It also has the fastest evolution rate of any Pokemon known in Gen I, which isn’t true because Weedle evolves into Kakuna at the same level.

Metapod as a Pokemon is based on the chrysalis of the caterpillar that Caterpie is based on, the Black Swallowtail, with protrusions that mimic either the Polydamas or Pipevine Swallowtail chrysalis.

Butterfree

Name: I adore Butterfree’s name. It’s a mix of ‘butterfly’ and ‘free,’ Though, in Japanese, the tail end of the name includes the sound ‘furu,’ which can mean ‘to flap’ like Butterfree’s wings.

The name rolls off the tongue, is very cute and suits it beautifully.

Butterfree’s name is the same in Japanese.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Papilusion, which is beautiful.

And in German, it’s Smettbo…..Smettbo……That is the funniest word I’ve heard all week.

Design: Butterfree’s so adorable! Look at its cute widdle hands! Its big eyes! Its cute widdle mouth! Its pretty wings! Its cute widdle feet! Its adorable antennae!

Sprite-wise, they’ve done pretty well with Butterfree over the years.

Red’s the tiniest bit doofy, but Yellow’s is adorable.

Green’s is a little odd because it seems like they altered the shape of the wings before releasing overseas.

N’aw the animation for Crystal!

N’aw the animation for Emerald!

N’aw the animations for DPP and HG/SS!

IT’S CONSTANTLY ANIMATED IN BW/BW2!

Stop! My heart can’t take much more of this.

The female versions have a little black splotch on their lower wings. It’s a fine addition, I guess. Better than adding hearts to it.

Shiny: I’ll be honest, I don’t much care for Butterfree’s shiny. I really like the green eyes, and there are some nice versions of its pink wings, but the pink hands and feet just clash to me. It’s too much all together, and it makes it look unappealing.

Cry/Voice: Butterfree’s cry is cute, but, again, I think the first note it just a bit too high pitched, which makes it a little irritating.

Butterfree’s anime voice is really cute…in small doses. It can get majorly annoying very quickly.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Butterfree’s Dex entries surprised me a bit because almost all of them focus on its ability to collect honey from flowers….I don’t know if it’s the same in the Pokemon world, but you don’t collect honey from flowers.

Bees collect nectar from flowers and they store it in a special organ called a honey stomach. Then they regurgitate it and pass it to another bee, who chews on it. It gets passed back and forth like this for a half hour until it turns to honey due to an enzyme in the bee’s mouth. Then they store the honey in cells on a honeycomb, which is also made of gunk excreted from a bee’s pores. Num num num.

Only in Ultra Moon do they finally say ‘nectar.’

Other than that, Butterfree’s wings are also covered in poisonous spores that keep it dry in rain and help it evade predators, which sounds more fitted for Venomoth’s Dex entries.

It’s weird. I could’ve sworn I read something about Butterfree having some sort of mysterious psychic abilities, considering it can use some Psychic moves. Hm.

The origins of Butterfree as a Pokemon are based on the Black-Veined Butterfly, which is a bit of a boring-looking butterfly, but kinda cute.

Next up, the Weedle line.

Previous – The Squirtle Line

Pokemon Episode 21 Analysis – Bye Bye Butterfree

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

Departures: Ash’s Butterfree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misty: “Dexter’s never been in love.”

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

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

What the fuck?

Brock: “You mean it?”

Misty: “Sure do! That’s love!”

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

What. The. Fuck.

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

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

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

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

You’re following them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye bye, Butterfree.

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

Previous Episode….

Pokemon Episode 4 Analysis – Challenge of the Samurai

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

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

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Pinsir and Metapod.

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

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

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

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

After a long while stuck in ‘battle,’ the group hears a swarm of Beedrill approaching. Samurai recalls his Metapod and calls off the match. Ash tries to do the same, but Metapod is taken away by a Beedrill before he’s able to recall it.

He’s forced to run away, and sees that Metapod is being taken in as a Kakuna among a hive of sleeping Kakuna. Ash is unable to free his Metapod before the Kakuna evolve into Beedrill and attack them yet again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Ash: “Oh yeah I almost forgot, you have to weaken a Pokemon before you can capture it!” Ah now see here. A rare example of Ash learning. Scientists take the time to document this event and study it carefully since these instances are so rare.

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

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

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

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

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

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

– More bar codes with Beedrill.

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

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

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

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

If this is in regards to when he saw Metapod moments ago, then, yes he totally should’ve gotten stung by hundreds of Beedrill (and maybe died?) to save a Pokemon that wasn’t in immediate danger, if anything was being protected by the Beedrill, instead of regrouping and developing a plan. He actually seemed like he was going to rush over and grab Metapod before Misty grabbed him and covered his mouth.

Not his fault the Kakuna decided to evolve at that time. I’m usually all for pointing out Ash’s dumb mistakes, but this one’s unwarranted because there’s absolutely nothing he could’ve done.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Previous Episode….