My Poke-Pinion: 004-006 – The Charmander Line

Charmander

Name: Charmander’s name is a combination of ‘char’ as in something burned and ‘salamander.’ Charmander’s name, in my opinion, is really nice. It rolls of the tongue quite well while also being kinda cute.

Originally, in Japan, it was known as Hitokage, which is ‘hi’ for fire and ‘tokage’ for lizard. Hitokage’s name is cool on paper, but saying it out loud is just the slightest bit awkward to me for some reason.

Fun fact: It’s French name is Salameche….I don’t have anything to note about that besides the fact that it’s an oddly sexy word.

Design: Arguably even more simplistic than Bulbasaur’s, just being a lizard with fire on its tail, Charmander’s design is adorable. Like Bulbasaur, it has big expressive eyes and a cute smile. The orange color is great on it, and the fire on its tail is so simple yet such a solid trademark of the Charmander line.

Sprite-wise, Red and Blue are classic and Yellow is adorable.

Green looks weird because it makes it look like its nose is bigger than it is.

Silver is derpy, but cute.

Crystal’s is adorable the way it claps its paws together and calls out to you.

Other than the animations for everything beyond Gen IV looking like Charmander’s trying out for Dancing with the Stars, they’re all good.

Shiny:

Charmander’s shiny version never appealed to me. The gold-ish yellow color could be worse, and it does fit somewhat into a fire theme, but it just doesn’t look good to me.

Cry/Voice: Charmander’s cry brings up all sorts of nostalgic feelings for me because Charmander was the first Pokemon I ever used in the games. I remember hearing that cry all the time when I first started playing the games, and it’s dear to my heart.

On a more objective level, it’s a great cry. It sounds slightly cute, but also definitely sounds like a growl.

(Ash’s) Charmander’s anime voice has grown sour to me ever since I read on Dogasu’s comparison that Pokemon’s voice director, Michael Haigney, didn’t put any thought or effort into the voice. He just jumped into the recording booth, thinking Charmander was a one-off character, and tacked on a high-pitched voice to make him make a sound.

It’s hard to love a voice rooted in laziness, even if I still find it a little cute.

The fact that they were too lazy to look ahead is one thing, but they were also dumb. Ash caught Charmander in that episode – of course he was going to stick around. (I know there are some exceptions to that rule, but this is a starter we’re talking about.)

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Charmander’s Dex entries speak of its tail flame – and the specifics of the tail flame stay true throughout its evolutions. When it’s in good health and happy, the flame burns brightly. When it is in poor health, the flame weakens. When it’s angry, the flame grows and burns intensely. It is said that, when healthy, the flame can withstand getting a bit wet. Most notably, Charmander will die if its flame is snuffed out.

While many people associate Charmander, name wise, with a regular salamander, its origins may be based on mythical salamanders, which is a lizard-like being closely associated with fire.

I like Charmander’s story. It’s not very intricate, but it’s fairly unique. The fact that the flame dying means Charmander dies is interesting and kinda dark. It also makes you think the Charmander line has a really difficult life. Yeah, the flame can survive getting a ‘bit’ wet, like in rain, but how do you go your whole life avoiding getting it submerged or even just moderately wet?

Charmeleon

Name: The same char logic applies, but the ‘Meleon’ part is derivative from chameleons. I love Charmeleon’s name. It’s fitting and a lot of fun to say.

In Japanese, it has the much more boring name of Lizardo, which is literally just the Japanese way of saying the English word, lizard. I don’t much care for Lizardo as a name. It sounds like an annoying neighbor in a sitcom from the 80s.

Fun Fact: In French, its called Reptincel – A combination of ‘reptile’ and ‘etincelle,’ which is French for ‘spark.’ That sounds like a fairy tale character. Not really sure how much I like this one.

In other news, it’s called Glutexo in Germany, which is something.

Design: I’ve always felt that Charmeleon’s design suffers from ‘Middleman-ism’ Basically, mid-evos sometimes have the problem of looking like they’re merely filling the role of a middleman instead of establishing their own identity. There’s plenty done to Ivysaur to make it stand out on its own, and the same goes for Wartortle, but Charmeleon just seems like a middleman.

When you actually take inventory of all the differences between Charmeleon and Charmander, this seems like an unfair assessment. It’s bigger, the lines are a lot sharper, its face got fiercer, it gained bigger claws and got a horn-ish protrusion on its head.

Oh and its red.

For whatever reason, Charmeleon gained a stark red color, which is very odd. The coloring between most evos usually stays unchanged, or, if it does change, it’s usually a transition color on its way to the final evo’s color.

With the Char line, we get bright orange, bright red then back to the same bright orange.

It’s almost like they knew Charmeleon’s design was so middleman-ish that they made it red in order to allow it to stand out more.

That’s not to say I hate Charmeleon’s design, nor can I really suggest any ways they could’ve improved upon it outside of, maybe, giving him a singular dragon wing, which I can’t decide whether it would be awesome or dumb.

Sprite-wise, he looks fairly bad, especially from the back, in Gen I.

He gets good sprites in Gen II, but looks like a complete idiot in Crystal.

(“What do you mean my Thumper impression is bad!?”)

He looks like a caricature of a playground bully.

Lookin’ good through Gen III, looking even better in Gen IV. I particularly Diamond, Pearl and Platinum, because that pose is badass.

Gen V onward look great.

Shiny:

Charmeleon has the same shiny problem that Shiny Charmander has. I am just not a fan of the yellow, and somehow it seems even worse on Charmeleon. In recent generations, it looks toned down, but I’m still not a fan.

Cry/Voice: I love Charmeleon’s cry. It’s a deeper tone, but keeps the same growl effect as Charmander, which I think is more fitting for Charmeleon given its fiercer design and attitude.

Charmeleon’s anime voice is a little awkward, but I blame most of that on the name. Due to the long name, whenever Charmeleon states its full name out, it sounds really forced. Luckily, they usually keep to just having it say ‘Char’ over and over.

Charmeleon’s actual voice is fine. Its voice actor (Ash’s Charmeleon) has changed from Michael Haigney to Eric Stuart – a change I believe was definitely for the better. He adds a gruffness to the voice that is very fitting while also keeping a high enough pitch to suit its attitude. Sadly, we don’t hear much of it because Charmeleon is in all of three episodes before getting kicked to the curb for Charizard.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Charmeleon’s dex entries have more information than we’ve been given so far down the line. They focus on its fierceness and desire to battle as well as its sharp claws and powerful tail. Swings of its tail increase the surrounding area’s temperature sharply, and it will constantly shoot out flames when it is agitated or hyped up. It is always looking for new opponents and, when it finds one, it will not stop brutally attacking them with its razor sharp claws until it is defeated.

It only finds serenity after it has won a battle, and, when excited, particularly for a battle, its tail flame will turn bluish-white, something we never see in the anime, but would’ve been awesome.

Charmeleon usually reside in mountain regions where they are said to resemble stars at night due to their tail flames.

Charmeleon’s design origins are based loosely on a combination of a dinosaur and its namesake, a chameleon. However, it doesn’t share much with chameleons outside of its snout and head crest. The fact that it uses its tail as a powerful weapon may be poking at the fact that chameleons also use their tails for a variety of purposes.

I really like Charmeleon’s backstory, and it may give a bit more support as to why Ash, in the anime, can’t control Charmeleon after it evolves from Charmander. It seems some Pokemon just might gain a personality or behavior change upon evolving. How fitting that this happens in the mid-evo stage, like a petulant teenager. However, this does not dismiss the fact that Ash’s Charmeleon seems to get amnesia upon evolving, and the fact that the dumbass never trains it. And lest we forget that Better-Ash….Err, I mean Richie also has a Charmeleon that has absolutely no behavioral issues.

Charizard

Name: Again, keeping in with the theme, the ‘char’ part is retained and the ‘izard’ part is derivative of ‘lizard.’ Charizard’s name gives off a very powerful and dragon-esque vibe while also fitting into the Char line’s theme perfectly. It rolls off the tongue and is very memorable.

In Japan, it is known as Lizardon, which sounds about as lazy as ‘Lizardo,’ but it works a little better because it’s a combination of ‘lizard’ and ‘dragon’ or ‘don,’ which is Greek for ‘tooth,’ commonly used in conjunction with dinosaurs. Personally, I believe the dragon explanation more, but the latter is possible. Lizardon is also more imposing and is catchier than Lizardo.

Fun Fact: In France, it’s known as Dracaufeu. Not sure how I feel about that. I can barely pronounce it.

Design: As much as I, like many people, find Charizard to be an overrated orange dragon, I can’t deny that it has one of the most memorable and cool dragon designs in recent years. In essence, it’s just a very simplistic western-style dragon with fire on its tail, but it has it’s own personality, style and sleekness to it that can’t be compared to most fancy dragon designs of today.

The orange and blue color scheme really works for it, and it has a fantastic head and facial structure.

In the realm of sprites, Red and Blue seem really awkward. Why the hell is Charizard scrunched up like that? Can he not fit into frame?

His posture is eons better in Yellow, but it retains a major flaw.

The back for Red, Blue, Green and Yellow are the same, and dear god almighty, why the hell does Charizard look like Zombizard? He looks like someone threw skin onto a poorly made Charizard skeleton replica. Who greenlit that monstrosity!?

Green seems like it’s more serpentine. I can’t tell if I like it all that much. There’s nothing wrong with it, and it’s kinda cute, but it doesn’t give off a very strong feeling of Charizard.

Gold and Silver are much better designs, and thank the designers for fixing his back sprite.

His Crystal animation is also kinda cute. He just twitches his wings at you.

Ruby and Sapphire go for an even more intimidating pose, and the Emerald sprite goes further by having him roar at you, which is cool.

FireRed and LeafGreen are good.

There’s no way around this, but Diamond, Pearl and Platinum make it seem like Charizard is trying to go to the bathroom.

HeartGold and SoulSilver look like they’re trying to emulate Ash’s Charizard quite a bit with that pose, and I can appreciate that.

Looks like Black/2 and White/2 tried their hand at remaking the DPP sprites so it doesn’t look quite so much like you have to break out a shovel soon, but it’s still weird because now the animation makes it look like it’s out of breath.

Gens VI and VII now have Charizard flying, which I find really cool. Wish it was a bit more dynamic, though.

Shiny: Gen II’s shiny is a bit odd. It’s less ‘shiny’ and more ‘stained by rolling around in mud for 12 hours.’

We get better in Gen III when the colors get changed to a darker color palette that is closer to its beloved black and red, but it’s more of a very deep olive green than a true black.

Gen IV is where we finally get its kickass true black and red pattern. It is not one of the absolute best shinies, in my opinion, but it’s still awesome.

Mega: Charizard is speshul and gets TWO mega forms. Oohlala.

First is Mega Charizard X, which is the best thing to ever exist. Fight me.

I may be over-exaggerating, but I fell in love with this design. It’s like everything I ever wanted out of a Shiny Charizard design only not as much of a pain in the ass to obtain. Look at that thing! The black color with the beautiful shade of blue flames, the added blue spikes and the flames billowing from its mouth. It’s amazing.

Mega Charizard Y is what I was expecting of a Mega Charizard.

It’s basically Charizard with more points. I don’t know why so many people find Y to be so great, even favoring it over X (though I agree that X might seem more busy.) I don’t find it bad, in fact it’s pretty sleek and cool looking, but I greatly prefer X.

Well, there is one area where Y shines more – the shiny versions. Considering Y keeps the color palette of regular Charizard, it also has the same shiny colors as shiny Charizard.

Since shiny X has an entirely new color palette, they have to give X a new shiny version….and it’s poo.

It’s a widely held opinion that the worst shinies are the green shinies. Personally, the yellow ones are my least favorite and green is one of my favorite colors. That being said, shiny Mega Charizard X is a hot green mess.

Why green? Why? What part of Charizard screams ‘yeah, I’m thinking green.’? I know Charizard is named for a lizard, but come on.

They maintain the blue color for the fire and change the spike and wing colors to red. Green and blue go together, but mixing red and green will always give whatever you’re coloring a ‘Christmas’ vibe about it. Not to mention that the three colors mixed together just look like garbage.

Unlike a lot of green shinies, at least this one’s not a highlighter lime green, it’s more of a forest green, but it’s still ugly.

Voice/Cry: Charizard’s cry is a beloved classic in the games (Mostly because it’s the cry you hear in the title screen of Pokemon Red) as is Charizard’s roaring in the anime. I love Charizard’s cry, not just for nostalgia, but because it’s an intimidating growl-like tone that works well with its previous evolutions.

Likewise, Charizard’s roar is an imposing ‘I’m a dragon and I’m gonna kick your ass’ roar that really highlights how awesome the Char line’s final form is. Compare Charizard’s roar to Venusaur’s or Blastoise’s yell and it’s no contest which would make you soil yourself if you ever heard them out in the wild.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Charizard’s Dex entries talk about its intense flames. They can melt almost anything and can blast through a 10,000 ton glacier quickly. Like Charmeleon, they claim that the flame turns bluish-white when its extremely angry or amped up, but no one ever sees it.

There are some odd things about its Dex entries too.

“Breathing intense, hot flames, it can melt almost anything. Its breath inflicts terrible pain on enemies.” The intense, hot flames inflict terrible pain? You don’t say.

“Charizard flies around the sky in search of powerful opponents. It breathes fire of such great heat that it melts anything. However, it never turns its fiery breath on any opponent weaker than itself.

UHM.

By the way, apparently Charizard Flamethrowering Ash in the face is now written as a form of affection?…..Right. That’s like saying your dog mauling you is their way of licking your face.

If that’s true, it sounds like damage control for making Charizard a dick for so long.

Next up, the Squirtle line.

Previous – The Bulbasaur Line

 

Pokemon Episode 46 Analysis – Attack of the Prehistoric Pokemon

Pokemon Ep 46 Title

CotD(s): None

Evolutions: Ash’s Charmeleon evolves into Charizard. It does get much more powerful, but it remains being a dangerous little brat.

Plot: Our heroes are wandering through Grampa Canyon (No map gif can help me now) when they run into a bunch of people with picks and shovels. Gary appears and explains that it’s the great fossil rush. Everyone, including himself, are gathering to dig up Pokemon fossils.

As everyone digs, Team Rocket sets up their latest plan – blowing the canyon up with dynamite and taking all of the fossils for themselves. Ash and the others hear their plans, and while Ash tries to stop the fuse, Misty and Brock go off to warn everyone.

It’s a huge race between Ash, Squirtle and Pikachu against Team Rocket as they try to extinguish the fuse and Team Rocket tries desperately to keep it lit. They fall down the cliffside, and in an effort to stop the fuse, Pikachu shocks the stockpile of dynamite, accidentally igniting it and blowing the place to ruins.

The ground opens up and swallows up everyone except Squirtle. The opening of the crevice quickly becomes sealed with nearby falling rocks. Squirtle manages to stay above ground and reunite with Brock and Misty, who immediately try to dig Ash and the others out.

Meanwhile, Ash and Team Rocket awake in a huge cave deep underground, and they soon realize that they’re not alone. The fossil Pokemon, believed to be extinct, Kabuto, Kabutops, Omanyte and Omastar, angrily confront the group.

Ash calls on his Charmeleon to keep them at bay, but he refuses to listen to Ash and instead takes a nap.

They all get attacked by the fossil Pokemon, but they suddenly flee when they hear the call of the fearsome Aerodactyl. Charmeleon gets smacked by Aerodactyl, triggering its rage and desire to battle.

It nabs up Ash in its claws and flies out of the cave with Pikachu and Charmeleon hanging on its tail.

Aerodactyl continues to smack Charmeleon around, and they start taunting each other. Angered by Aerodactyl’s taunts, Charmeleon evolves into Charizard and they start a confrontation in the sky. Ash is ecstatic, believing Charmeleon evolved to save him, but when Charizard starts recklessly shooting off Flamethrowers in his direction, he realizes he evolved to fight Aerodactyl.

Jigglypuff arrives and Misty tells it to sing its song for everyone. It gladly agrees, and the lullaby soon makes everyone sleepy. Charizard is able to fight the effects by plugging his ears. Aerodactyl falls asleep, dropping Ash in the process. Charizard catches him and sets him down on the ground safely before also falling asleep.

Meanwhile, Aerodactyl falls back into the cave, which seals itself back up again with the aftershock of Aerodactyl’s landing.

After everyone awakens, Jenny assures everyone that there was no prehistoric Pokemon, and any sightings of them was just a dream caused by Jigglypuff. Furthermore, with the instability caused by Team Rocket’s bombs, digging will no longer be permitted in Grampa Canyon.

Ash and the others are happy that Aerodactyl and the other ancient Pokemon will be able to rest now, but they didn’t leave the great fossil rush empty handed. Ash reveals that he stumbled upon a Pokemon egg after he woke up and decided to take it. The three then argue over who gets to care for the egg.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket are trembling in fear, still trapped in the cave with the now sleeping fossil Pokemon.

————————-

– Yeah, I’m so sure you direct archaeologists to their dig sites with signs that have pictures of shovels and picks with an arrow.

– Hi Gary!

– Gary: *In reference to Ash* “Even a nerd like you shoulda heard about the great fossil rush.” ‘Nerd’ implies a great deal of intelligence, so this line makes no sense. Come on 4Kids, this isn’t difficult.

– Ash: “Loser?! That know-it-all!” That line implies that Gary knows Ash is, in fact, a loser.

– Brock: “I don’t feel right about digging up old Pokemon fossils, especially after they’ve been resting in the earth for such a long time.” As opposed to those Pokemon fossils that have been resting in the earth for a few minutes? Also, I get where Brock is coming from, respect for the dead and all, but is he making an anti-archaeology/paleontology argument?

Misty: “If they’ve been lying underground for thousands of years, maybe they’d like a little fresh air.”

Ash: “I think it’s your brain that needs some fresh air.” Wow, Ash. Uncalled for.

– STILL using the Pokemon logo in the title screen when saying ‘Pokemon’? Wow, I was off by light years.

– I tend to give some shows leeway when it comes to topics like this, and for all I know the laws in the Pokemon world are somehow different, but actively digging up and collecting fossils is a heavily regulated practice, not to mention that extracting a fossil, intact and without damage, is very difficult even for trained experts. This massive group of ten to twenty year olds should not be able to just crowd a single area like this and smack away at it.

– I’m no archaeologist, but I don’t think this looks right in any way. The fossil is perfectly cut out of the ground by Gary merely picking at it, there’s no rubble on top of it despite Gary seeing this exact image immediately after hitting the area with a pick, and the rock with the fossil is a drastically different color than the rock surrounding it. If the footage didn’t suggest otherwise, and I didn’t know Gary was too good for cheating, I’d say someone dug a small hole and plopped a fossil in it.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen1

– I know Gary’s disappointed that he found a poop fossil, but isn’t that still valuable? Don’t scientists learn a lot about diets and prehistoric vegetation and whatnot from poop fossils?

– Brock: “All these people digging and no one’s found any fossils yet.” Uh, Gary just found one. It’s poop, but it’s fossilized poop – it counts. Also, you’re greatly underestimating how long this process typically takes.

– James: “Once we blast Grampa Canyon to smithereens, we’ll be able to scoop up all those Pokemon fossils.” Yeah, because they’re impervious to dynamite.

– Misty: “Did you hear that? They’re going to blow up this whole canyon!” Yeah, we all heard, Misty. Team Rocket was literally yelling out their plans for no other reason than to alert nearby main characters about their plans.

– Oh hey a Team Rocket plot that involves explosives and mass murder. Every now and then, I feel like calling them Terrorist Rocket.

– James: “Oh it’s that pest again!”

Jessie: “Always messing up our plans!” Technically, you screwed yourself here with your yelling, Jessie. If you just kept your trap shut, Ash and the others would be dead along with the 50+ people you’re about to try and murder by now.

– I’d also like to point out that Meowth is perfectly allowed to use a zippo lighter here, but in Snow Way Out that same lighter will be painted into a candle for no reason.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen2

– Again, if they just didn’t alert Ash to the fact that the fuse was already lit, their plans would’ve gone through. Team Rocket, I implore you to get more intelligent, because there’s only so much you can wring out of idiot vs. idiot(s) storylines.

– Squirtle should be a good enough shot to have gotten that fuse before it even left the cliff, but I guess this might show contrast and development in how awesome Squirtle’s accuracy gets later on, especially in the Orange League.

– I know Team Rocket is trying to stop Ash from extinguishing the fuse, but….*sigh* do I even need to ask if they realize that they’re running towards a massive bomb, and, should they succeed, they’ll have front row seats to a massive murder explosion of death?

– Pikachu, there is no reason whatsoever, even in a panic, that you should’ve believed electrocuting dynamite was a good idea in any capacity.

– The reactions are priceless, though.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen3Pokemon Ep 46 Screen4

– I call bullshit on them living through that. I get the cartoon logic, but, come on. That thing looked like a nuke when it went off and cracked the ground in two. No way did they get off without a scratch.

– How did Squirtle get separated from the others? He was in the same cluster that Ash, Team Rocket, Arbok and Weezing were in when the bomb went off. If anyone should be separated, it should be Pikachu because he escaped from the cluster beforehand to go off and be an idiot.

Even if he did somehow separate, how did he not fall into the crevice? It was massive. If it took Pikachu, surely it would take Squirtle.

– How is Weezing falling if it can float?

– Our friends fell into a massive hole that is being covered by rocks! Quick! Walk on top of it and chuck the rocks away!

Best case scenario, they don’t know how deep this chasm is and believe Ash and the others are just covered by rocks, which, hate to break it to you, but corpses.

Even if they lived through that and this hole wasn’t deep, they have no clue where they would be. They could be chucking stones ONTO to Ash or Pikachu.

Worst case scenario, they shift the rocks so much they collapse the stones that are plugging it up, causing them to fall into the hole and inevitably crush the people below before they also die. Not exactly sure about the best way to approach this, but certainly it isn’t that.

– Jigglypuff thinks a mound of rocks is a stage with lights and everything….So…what has Jiggly really been puffin’?

– It seems like one of the most pointless scenes of fanservice/filler or whatever to have Jigglypuff all entranced by a rock stage, see the pile of rocks fall down, then get pissed that they fell.

– I think I’ll give a generous pass to (almost) every time characters survive huge falls because otherwise I’d have to call out whenever Team Rocket survives getting blasted off.

– Jessie: “Looks like we got blown all the way to the moon.” Jessie…*sigh* I’ll be nice and chalk this one up to head trauma.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen5

– Ash is not the slightest bit concerned about where his Squirtle is. For all he knows, it’s dead.

– That rock formation doesn’t look like it follows the laws of physics…or gravity….or anything.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen6

– Realistically, the only fossil Pokemon I can believe has glow-in-the-dark red eyes is Kabuto. Everyone else just had it done for dramatic effect.

– I am so baffled by how ungodly pissed Omastar looks here.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen7
The best part of waking up is–MURDERING YOU!

– Uhm, gonna call bullshit on them sleeping for thousands of years. 1) Why would they do that? 2) How could they do that? 3) How did they survive all that time? 4) You’re telling me that in thousands of years, they’ve never been woken up or decided to go outside?

– Jessie: “Argh, nevermind! Let’s just capture them! Pokeball, go!” They’re being far too stupid in this episode for me to take them forgetting that Pokemon need to be weakened before capture as being note-worthy….except for the fact that I noted that I wouldn’t note it…..urr…Uhm….

– Those Pokeballs hit Meowth and didn’t even open. This just brings up the question of whether Meowth truly does have an owner.

– Ash: “We have to battle! Charmeleon! I choose you!”

Here we go.

Ash Being a Charmoron Count:

2 (I’m giving him a pass for the first time in The Problem with Paras, but not for the second time.)

In case this isn’t clear, this is a count for every time Ash calls out Charmeleon/izard and just expects it to obey him + bonus points if he uses him in incredibly stupid situations or if Charmeleon/izard creates a hazard by being out.

I will, however, give a pass for the incredibly obvious x4 disadvantage he’s not seeing. While he could’ve just looked up the typing quickly before selecting a Pokemon, he did have his Pokedex out a few seconds ago afterall, it’s incredibly hard to tell what types the fossil Pokemon are, even if blue snails are a little obvious.

– Geodude gets to do stuff! Whoo!

….It’s just moving rocks…..but whoo!

– Blah blah, the anime forgets that Rock Pokemon are not immune to Electricity, blah blah. Actually, scratch that, not only do they mistake Rock for Ground yet again, but Kabutops are part Water, so that should be very effective.

– I’m going to give Ash another pass for calling on Charmeleon again, considering he’s in a tense situation and Charmeleon is already out, but I will mark him off for not trying any of his other Pokemon. Squirtle may be out of the picture, but he still has Bulbasaur (who would be awesome right now) and Pidgeotto.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen8
Pictured above: Everyone’s expression when Ash let’s out Charmeleon/Izard.

– I kinda wish Charmeleon/izard had kept that cool ‘scar’ on its forehead. Would’ve been some neat although minor characterization.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen9
And he could be a stand-in for Harry Potter.

– I love how they yell to Ash to ‘watch out!’ when Aerodactyl has his entire body clutched in its talons/feet. Yeah, he can totally avoid that.

– Here we are. The point of ranting about Charmeleon’s cheap as hell evolution. You can definitely make the case that Charmander was at the right time to evolve into Charmeleon. You can also make the argument that it deserved to become a Charizard at least before Cinnabar Island or the Indigo League conference. But I cannot accept this evolution as being anything other than bullshit.

It’s been all of, what, three episodes since it evolved? And it hasn’t even won any battles since then (except kinda against Paras) because it wouldn’t listen to Ash, and it wasn’t even in Jigglypuff’s debut episode.

The only way I can really justify it a little is that Charmander was overleveled when it evolved into Charmeleon, so it only need a small nudge to make its way into Charizard. However, if he was stopping himself from evolving, like Squirtle and Bulbasaur seem to do, why? Why would he choose, of all times, The Exeggutor Squad episode to jump into Charmeleon?

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen10
He looks like an eight year old who just got told he couldn’t get ice cream for lunch.

I saw someone mention the hordes of Exeggutor that it beat as being the source of an ungodly amount of experience, but 1) we’re meant to believe Melvin beat like half of those and 2) I don’t believe even beating all of those Exeggutor (who were god knows what level) would be enough to jack his level that high.

Even if he was overleveled, you need to level again before you can evolve, and bullshit he got experience from being smacked by Aerodactyl a couple of times to evolve when he’s around level 36.

Even that explanation seems illogical because he didn’t get experience here.

He was just pissed.

Here’s Charmeleon’s evolution scene entirely.

Charmeleon mocks Aerodactyl by…swiping his fingers against his forehead?

Aerodactyl responds with a ‘bii-daa,’ which, I don’t even understand how it knows that considering it’s supposed to have been underground for thousands of years, thus would have no way of knowing Japanese schoolyard taunts.

Charmeleon stamps its feet and has a tantrum.

Evolve.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen11

That’s it. That’s everything. Some people justify this by saying he evolved in order to beat Aerodactyl, but I just keep feeling like that’s more bullshit. Whether numeric levels and quantitative experience exist or not, there’s no denying that you need these things in order to evolve. Otherwise, most Pokemon would do it a lot more often. It’s a permanent change that requires thought, sure, and their paws may always be on their internal B button, but imagine if it really is supposed to work that way.

You could catch yourself a bunch of base evos, beg your Pokemon to evolve so you don’t have to grind exp, because that’s boring, and rare candies are like….rare, and poof, let’s mow down the gyms before the weekend.

If we revisit The Problem with Paras for a bit, it’s suggested that experience and evolution is based on perception, so cocky twats like Charmeleon evolve with no problem (Charmander was looking a bit proud in the Exeggutor episode) However, I’m having a harder and harder time believing that too, because that would mean pretty much all arrogant Pokemon would evolve in a snap and no self-depreciating Pokemon would ever evolve.

Pokemon Ep 46 Screen12
Chalk up yet another instance of Ash crying that I can remind myself about when he’s stone-faced during actual emotional moments.

Can we just be honest here and admit that the writers desperately wanted Charizard to come on the scene because everyone loves that overrated orange dragon? I like Charizard (as a Pokemon) too, it was my first ever fully-evolved starter in Pokemon Red, but could we have at least a little bit of time with Charmeleon before you chuck it aside for Charizard? Mid-evos, particularly starter mid-evos, get shafted enough as it is.

From a less skeevy viewpoint, maybe they realized that Ash was already nearing the end of his Kanto journey and had zero fully evolved powerhouse Pokemon? Outside of Muk, but, remember everyone, he can’t have Muk around because it stinks even in its Pokeball. So he never, ever uses it, ever. Despite having the omnipotent Messiahchu, he needed a Pokemon that also looked like a powerhouse. Gary was going to get Blastoise so his Squirtle wasn’t much of an option, and Bulbasaur……Pbt. Dragons>leavy frog dinosaur.

And don’t even mention Pidgeotto.

– Uhm, Misty, I understand this is a crucial moment and everything, time is of the essence and whatnot, but uh….don’t you think it might be a bad idea to play Jigglypuff’s song right now? Doesn’t that seem just a smidge dangerous? Charizard will fall asleep in midair, crash, and die. Aerodactyl, the Pokemon carrying your friend through the air, will fall asleep, crash, and Ash will die….And so will Aerodactyl.

– Props to Charizard for being smart enough to plug his ears.

– I’ll also give him props for showing that, despite everything, including nearly frying Ash to death several times while trying to beat Aerodactyl, Charizard caught Ash and safely put him on land.

– Rrrgh…..

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Frickin’

Egg.

– Where did hell did that egg come from anyway? Where are Togepi’s parents?

– See? Jigglypuff inexplicably has a microphone marker out of nowhere.

– Jenny: “Some of you are claiming that you saw a prehistoric Pokemon here in the canyon. That is ridiculous. Let me assure you it was only a dream caused by Jigglypuff’s song.”

Wha–…What? The song that they didn’t even hear until they had already been watching an Aerodactyl nearly eat Ash for over two minutes? Also, what are you saying? That 50+ people all had the exact same dream? That’s even weirder than seeing a previously-thought-to-be-extinct Pokemon.

This is very much cover-up-ish, but if so, why? It might be to protect the fossil Pokemon, but there’s nothing to protect them from, besides Team Rocket and they died in the second cave-in.

I get the good intentions behind these ‘we have to keep pretending they’re not here so they won’t be bothered’ motivations, but I doubt the government, of all things, would see previously-thought-to-be-extinct Pokemon and just ignore them for the sake of maintaining their peace and quiet.

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Now just wait a moment and my associate, Will Smith, will make you all look into at a pen for a second.

We have no clue how many of these Pokemon are even living underground. They could be a thriving species and studying them might do no more harm than studying anything else.

Prohibiting mass excavation of the land I can definitely buy in this situation both for the safety of the people and the Pokemon, but I still don’t see why such a big coverup is needed. Especially seeing as how, later, we’ll see a certain someone caught Aerodactyl on film.

– Gary, you believing this dream stuff is just out of character for you, even if you are quietly questioning it to yourself.

– Brock: “But I think Aerodactyl and the others would be happy just going back to sleep.” They’ve been asleep for thousands of years. Why do you believe they’d find happiness in perpetually being asleep? Not much of a life, if you ask me.

– First Brock is asking if Ash should even take the egg from the area, then he and Misty are all gung-ho about straight-up stealing it from him. What a confused ending. Suck it, Togepi’s parents!

—————————

Outside of the evolution and the weird coverup, I’m pretty alright with this episode. There’s not too much wrong with it outside of the evolution, but there’s not a lot going for it in regards to fun or interesting things, in my opinion.

I think they could’ve done a lot more with the fossil Pokemon, and jam-packing all of them in one episode is a bit too much, but I guess I can see why they went down that road. Also, for an episode about the fossil Pokemon and starting with a ‘great fossil rush’ we see all of one fossil and it’s of crap. What prompted the great fossil rush anyway?

The evolution really is the biggest mar on this otherwise alright episode. I never got over how insanely cheap it was. They want to make a big to-do about Charizard finally appearing, but they chose such a random moment to debut him in. I always constantly forgot what episode Charmeleon evolved in, and he’s a Charmeleon for such a short amount of time that you barely remember him.

Looking back on it, it would’ve been so much better to have him evolve into Charizard in the Volcano Badge episodes. It’s a two-parter, which means it’s already a big deal to begin with, it’s centered on Fire Pokemon, it contains a notable rival to Charizard (Magmar), Charmeleon could eek out more experience between now and then, and there’s a much better motivation lying there.

Instead of Pikachu getting his ass handed to him by Magmar, have Charmeleon, cocky and hot-headed, get whupped. Have him contemplate his standing as a fighter, because Charmeleon just do that, then evolve right before the rematch or during the volcano disaster or something. Have him evolve not in a fit of immature rage triggered by insults but in a pure desire to defeat a worthy opponent.

Next episode, we play doctor…~~ Actually, considering the next CotD, that joke is incredibly creepy.

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