Pokemon Episode 51 Analysis – Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden

Pokemon ep 51 Screen6

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, it appears to be in great pain and its 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 off.

They all chant together and the Bulbasaur start glowing. Soon, they all evolve into Ivysaur. They cheer in celebration until they realize one Bulbsaur 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 him to have 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 it 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.

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– 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.

Plus:

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.

– IVYSAUR! YAY!

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. Shame 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 have 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 Bulbsaur’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.

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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….

Pokemon Episode 31 Analysis – Dig Those Diglett!

POKEMON EP31 TITLE
That sound was your heart bursting with too much cuteness.

CotD(s): The Foreman – Known only as The Foreman, he is obsessed with ridding his construction site of Diglett since they’re impeding his progress in building a huge dam.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Evolutions: Jessie’s Ekans evolves into Arbok.

Likewise, James’ Koffing evolves into Weezing. Sadly, nothing really changes about the two besides their physical appearance.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are lost again (Shock beyond shocks) as they try to make their way to Fuchsia City to get Ash another badge. As they walk through the mountains, they hear several explosions. Upon following the sounds, they spot a road where a huge convoy of trucks are carrying supplies to a construction site on the mountain.

The convoy suddenly crashes due to a rock slide caused by some local Diglett. The construction foreman angrily explains to Ash and the others that the Diglett have been ruining his efforts to get supplies to the dam project time and time again. They’re driving him up a wall and damaging his business.

Because of the Diglett problem, he states that he has set up a bounty on Diglett and is calling upon all skilled Pokemon Trainers in the area to handle the Diglett problem. If they do, they get a free week at a fancy resort.

Ash, Misty and Brock agree to help out, but they’re not the only ones who have been sent on this mission. Gary and a slue of other Pokemon Trainers arrive at the site to also help take care of the Diglett problem.

Ash is annoyed by Gary’s presence and his typical sleights, and Gary is more than glad to take the first shot at the nuisance Diglett. However, he’s shocked when his Pokemon recall themselves back into their Pokeballs before they’re even fully released. No matter who’s being let out or what Trainer is sending it out, everyone’s Pokemon refuse to come out of their Pokeballs and merely get returned to their respective Trainers by the Diglett.

Seeing their efforts are futile, Gary decides his time is better spent returning to his Pokemon journey and takes his leave.

Later that night, as Ash, Misty and Brock are following some of the Diglett, Team Rocket considers the consequences and benefits to making Koffing and Ekans evolve. While they desperately want stronger Pokemon, they are very worried about what changing their bodies might do to their personalities.

As they hug and cry on their Pokemon, both Ekans and Koffing suddenly evolve into Arbok and Weezing.

Ash and the others are lead to a beautiful area where the Diglett are planting many trees with Dugtrio, their evolved form, plowing the ground for them. They realize that it’s likely the Diglett and Dugtrio are responsible for planting a wide range of foliage not just in these mountains, but across the world. The Pokemon realized that earlier, which is why the refused to exit their Pokeballs and fight the Diglett.

The Foreman points out that building the dam here will wipe all of the plants out and many Pokemon will be swept away in the water.

He decides to call off the project, but the group is interrupted by Team Rocket, who unveil their newly evolved Pokemon. Unfazed by their evolution, Ash starts the battle with Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Arbok and Weezing tunnel underground, but are met with the very angry group of Diglett and Dugtrio who promptly beat them up and blast them off into the dam, destroying it.

With the dam project canceled and the Diglett and Dugtrio free to beautify their mountains, Ash, Misty and Brock head off to the Fuchsia City Gym.

——————————–

– That blank map is sure helpful. According to Dogasu, this isn’t even a case of text removal, either. It’s just a really useless map.

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– Jessie: *her food bowl fell on her head* “I didn’t *num num* get a taste” You literally just took a taste as you were talking about not getting a taste.

– I will never tire of the haunting chant of the Diglett. I can’t resist those cute little guys.

– Uhm…..Gary’s fangirls think Brock is an old man?……..They’re clearly older than him. They can even drive, so they have to be at least 16 whereas Brock is slated as 15, I believe. Does Brock just look old?

– Even though I know the reasons behind it now (translation issues), Jessie randomly shouting out ‘MY NAME’S JESSIE!’ before shifting back to normal dialogue will never not be hilarious to me.

– I love that the Diglett are actually kind enough to return the Pokeballs to their respective Trainers when their releases fail.

– I find it very strange that the show kinda tricks you into thinking Ash, Misty and Brock are all naked together in that hot spring. Ash is up to his chin in water, Brock is up to his waist and they make it a point to show Misty from the back, leaning on some rocks, with no visible bathing suit. It does seem like it’s a bit of a joke when Ash stands up and reveals they’re all wearing swimsuits. Am I looking too much into this? Because that really was the vibe I was getting.

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– Meowth may brush off their evolution as being their time to evolve, but they were clearly triggered by Jessie and James’ tears.

Also, just to get this slight rant out of the way, I do have to call this whole evo bunk. I, as much as anyone else, also wanted Koffing and Ekans to evolve. It was about time that Team Rocket had something new to work with, even if it is just slightly stronger versions of the Pokemon they already had.

The way they went about it and the subsequent results, however, are unsatisfactory to say the least. Yes, Koffing and Ekans, at this point, should have enough exp to evolve, if winning doesn’t mean anything anyway. And it is sweet that the tears of Jessie and James seemingly triggered the evolution. But this doesn’t make entirely much sense.

First off, Jessie and James were crying because they realized they might not want their Pokemon to evolve. That fear of what they will be afterward was what was causing them to cry, not the failure of making them evolve.

Second, I have a hard time believing a Pokemon can evolve just because their Trainer really really wants it. If they have been refraining from evolving after reaching their proper levels and decided to let go after witnessing this, I guess that’s fine, but why would they be doing that?

I wouldn’t really be that upset about this if Arbok and Weezing got any limelight in their debut. They get defeated just as easily as they did when they were Ekans and Koffing. I’m not saying let Team Rocket win, but at least make it a substantially more difficult battle than usual.

– Dexter: “Dugtrio – the evolved form of Diglett. No specific information found.”

…..Wait, so Gary has a damn near encyclopedic knowledge base of Diglett, but even Dexter can’t think of a damn thing to say about Dugtrio, even if they’re nearly as dirt common as Diglett?….The hell?

– The Foreman: “The project’s canceled – I won’t build the dam” You’re just the construction foreman. I’m pretty sure the city or some private backer is the person who is really making this project happen. You have no authority to call it off. Even if you did just leave with your crew, the actual people calling for the building of the dam would just hire another crew.

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– Ash: “Aw, we can handle this, right, Pikachu? Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur! Everyone, go!” Everyone, eh? Sure that’s….EVERYone?….ALL of your Pokemon…..There’s not like…..a bird or something you’d like to call out? Begins with a P…rhymes with ‘Smidgeotto’? Not ringing any bells? I can beat you in the head with a baseball bat until you remember, if that’ll help.

By the way, I’m completely convinced that these three were just let out to create the illusion that this battle is tougher. This is reflected when Ash doesn’t even call on them to do anything. He just relies on Messiahchu as usual.

Also, if they were really even trying to give this battle even a slight illusion of weight, they shouldn’t have started it with Ash basically rolling his eyes and brushing off Team Rocket like they were pointless obstacles. He doesn’t even give a quick “Whoa, what are they!?” at Weezing and Arbok. He doesn’t give the smallest of shits. He doesn’t even give them a quick scan with Dexter. They unveil their new forms and he just acts annoyed that he has to battle them again.

What makes this battle even more annoying and almost insulting to both Arbok and Weezing and the audience is that Arbok and Weezing, in their grand debut, aren’t even beaten by Ash. They dive underground and get beaten up OFF-SCREEN by the Diglett and Dugtrio. The only thing they do beforehand are a Smokescreen where the effects aren’t even shown or felt and Arbok dodging one attack by Pikachu. That. Is. It. That. Is. All.

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God Bless Team Rocket for actually giving their Pokemon their proper celebratory entrance, though.

– How the hell is it possible that a sign that says ‘Construction of Giva Dam – Canceled’ falls on James’ head as a result of plowing through the dam if the foreman canceled it mere minutes before Team Rocket showed up and crashed into the dam?

———————————

All in all, I like half of this episode. Each plot element seemed to be half good and half bad.

I like that Gary made another appearance and, despite the fact that he was taking many potshots at Ash, I wasn’t annoyed by his taunts as much as I normally am. Maybe because he takes the time out to show a bit more of his technical knowledge with Pokemon, and maybe because I’m at a point in the show where I am also shamelessly pointing out Ash’s flaws and failures.

I mean, seriously guys, can we be honest here? None of what Gary was saying was false. He is way behind everyone else from Pallet. His capture rate is atrocious. It is in poor taste to show off your Pokemon like trophies. He really hasn’t been studying.

However, Gary’s time was, as usual, very brief and disappointing. We don’t get to see Gary battle and we don’t get to see Gary battle Ash. He mostly stood around, mocked Ash and said some smart things. Again, his appearance was just another reminder that we could be watching someone far more interesting and competent than Ash. But we’re not.

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The plotline with the Diglett was also good. I absolutely love Diglett. They are very adorable, funny and kind. I also liked how the Pokemon all refused to leave their Pokeballs to fight them even if them ALL figuring that out before they were even released isn’t very believable to me (Pokemon telepathy or something I guess?)

However, of course it amounted to another semi-environmentalist message to stop the construction, and of course this is another case of the construction foreman, for some reason, having all of the power to stop the project and having a drastic, almost out of character, change of heart. He was trying to smash them with a hammer earlier but aww they plant trees!

The biggest issue I have with this episode is obviously Ekans and Koffing evolving. This was just a terrible and almost insulting way to do it. A Pokemon’s evolution episode is supposed to be their time to shine either for the entirety of the plot or to have one kick-ass hurrah after the evolution takes place. You’re supposed to celebrate the occasion, even it is an enemy. Because, keep in mind, we know that Ekans and Koffing are good Pokemon (See: Island of the Giant Pokemon) – They just have bad people as Trainers. They deserve to have their evolutions be a big deal.

Like I said, this doesn’t have to mean letting Team Rocket win. You could have the episode focus more on their efforts on making them evolve or their reasons for wanting them to evolve. Maybe Ekans and Koffing could’ve been depressed that they keep ‘failing’ their trainers, and Jessie and James could’ve thought inducing evolution would make them feel stronger and more useful, but then they realized that they love them just as they are and their failures are just as much theirs as Ekans and Koffing’s. Maybe not shove this plot into a completely unrelated episode as a nearly glazed over subplot. Hell, even Ignoredeotto gets an episode all to himself on his evo episode.

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You could also just have more focus on the battle between them, have the reveal to Ash and co. actually have some impact and make the battle significantly more difficult than usual. They still lose, but they lose as a team and they think nothing worse of the others for it – they just keep plugging on.

But no. They evolve for unclear reasons, prompted by Jessie and James merely going, “Boy I wish our Pokemon didn’t suck. *gasp* We should try to force evolution so they don’t suck! It didn’t work. That sucks. But wait, they might be different after they evolve. I don’t want that. *cries and hugs*”

Then they get a slight hurrah in Jessie and James making a big deal out of their reveal, but it’s ruined by Ash not giving a shit and no one else reacting at all. They try to force the illusion of weight by having Ash call out (almost) all of his Pokemon for the battle, but they never even move a muscle in the battle outside of Pikachu, and their battle is horrendously short with no moves (all two of them) even hitting. Then Arbok and Weezing are beaten up off-screen by the adorable little eight-inch mole Pokemon and their slightly bigger brethren.

It’s like this whole evolution plot was a contractual obligation by the writers. ‘Dammit, we’re over 30 episodes in and Team Rocket’s still got the same Pokemon they’ve always had. They’re getting stale and boring. How can we freshen this up but not alter the status quo in the slightest? Oh if only we could just re-skin the Pokemon they have now…..Oh right, evolution! Do that. The Diglett plot for this episode isn’t strong enough for 22 minutes anyway.’

Arbok and Weezing are more than welcome, but I always hated the way they were shafted in the execution of it all.

Fun Depressing fact: For years I wracked my brain trying to figure out what episode Ekans and Koffing evolved in. I felt like I missed an episode or something. But then, years into syndication, I stumbled upon the familiar Diglett episode, gave it a re-watch and the light bulb went off. This plot is so shoved to the corner, I legit forgot about it for years.

Next episode, the Fuchsia City Gym battle for the Soul Badge.

Previous Episode…

AVAHS – X-Men Evolution: On Angel’s Wings

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Rating: 5.5/10

Plot: Around Christmastime, a mysterious ‘angel’ goes around the city saving people.

Breakdown: X-Men: Evolution was one of the first comic-book-based animated series that I got into. I had watched a handful before, but never really got too into it until Evolution. It’s not fantastic, but it’s a good show.

This Christmas special is….nothing special. It’s a very cut and dry mutant introduction. Mutant trying to do good or fit in, ends up being vilified for something that was an accident or wasn’t his fault, Magneto tries to recruit him, fails, so he joins the good guys. This is bookended by Christmas stuff and stuff that it kinda weird or annoying like Jean being jealous of Rogue trying to get closer to Scott as she leaves for Christmas break or the fact that Angel only dons a mask after already saving two people that we know of.

There….really isn’t much to say about it. It’s a fine episode, but it’s not much of a Christmas special and not a very interesting action episode.

There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just pretty bland. I like Angel fine and Scott and Rogue are fine leads here. It’s fine. And that’s about it.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone!

Pokemon Episode 3 Analysis: Ash Catches a Pokemon!

Pokeballshipping – The one true canon

Captures: Ash’s Caterpie/Metapod: The first Pokemon Ash ever caught (Pikachu not counted because it was given to him), Caterpie wishes for nothing more than to be a Butterfree and fly around in the sky. He also has a great deal of affection for Misty, who despises bugs. Poor guy. He’s also, I believe, the first and only Pokemon to be caught and evolved in the same episode.

Ash’s Pidgeotto: The second of Ash’s captures, Pidgeotto usually has the job of merely popping Team Rocket’s balloon when they show up, but he stands as a very loyal and fierce ally of Ash.

Plot: Continuing from the last episode, Ash throws a Pokeball at a nearby Caterpie in Viridian forest and manages to capture it! Ash couldn’t be more excited to catch his first Pokemon, but Misty couldn’t be more grossed out that it’s a Bug type. This is an even bigger problem as Caterpie takes quite the liking to Misty.

Tensions are high for the group as they travel, and they’re only made worse when Ash shows poor judgment while trying to capture a Pidgeotto. He does manage to capture it, but not before nearly getting Caterpie badly hurt.

As Misty chews him out for it, Team Rocket shows up again to capture Pikachu. They Sludge Pikachu in the eyes, leaving him out for the battle, and Ash is forced to go on without him. He uses his newly captured Pidgeotto, but to no avail. His only other option is the weak Caterpie, who actually manages to beat all of Team Rocket with some String Shot.

This is enough to trigger Caterpie’s evolution into Metapod, making him well on his way to his dream of being a Butterfree.

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– The word ‘Pokemon’ is still replaced by the Pokemon logo. Also, in this episode, Misty says the title instead of Ash, who usually does it.

– Misty’s pretty much at her worst here. I hate bugs too, but Caterpie’s adorable, and it just wanted to be her friend, yet she treats it like garbage.

– Despite really liking Caterpie….the sound it makes is awful. It sounds like a cat mimicking a monkey.

– I love Caterpie and Pikachu’s little conversation, even if you can’t understand what they’re saying.

– Apparently, because 4Kids edited out Japanese text behind Caterpie in this shot, they left a very noticeable black bar off to the left.

– Ash chasing after Caterpie while still in his sleeping bag is also funny. However, the linework on his eyes in that shot is so heavy it looks like he’s wearing eyeliner.

– I am going to make a real effort not to bitch too much about Ash’s mistakes in season 1 because he’s a rookie….even though he should know the bare basics if he’s such a Pokemon nut, but I can turn a blind eye for the sake of story. However, I am going to call out this scene where he tries to capture Pidgeotto the first time.

Why? Because in the first episode, he did the same exactly thing with a Pidgey and, surprise, it didn’t work. Sarcastic-Dexter even practically reprimanded him for making such a rookie mistake of not battling and weakening the Pokemon first. Here, he’s trying to capture the evolved form of Pidgey, IE stronger and even harder to catch than Pidgey, without battling it or weakening it first.

And what’s worse is, at least with Pidgey he had some form of an excuse. Pikachu wouldn’t fight for him anyway, so he kinda had to at least try on his own. Here, he has Pikachu on his side and a huge advantage with Pikachu being Electric and Pidgeotto being Flying, yet he still does it anyway.

– Ah here’s a sneak peak to the Ash I’ll grow to hate. Acting like a hotshot and claiming he knows what he’s doing even though he just made one of the rookiest mistakes in Pokemon….again.

– I’m also not really going to complain about Ash being ignorant of type advantages and disadvantages at this point, even if that is another bare basic….I will, however, agree with Misty’s reasoning. He should at least be smart enough to know that birds eat worms, especially considering that Pidgeotto is eating a worm in his first scene.

– In the early days, it seems the Pokeballs couldn’t recall the Pokemon unless the Pokeball opened, which isn’t true later. I guess this was to cut corners in order to save on the animation budget.

– Ash: “I am the greatest!” There you go opening that window to Dumbash. You want me to make that transition awful fast, huh? Especially considering that I could not agree more with Misty’s tangent after he says this. It would’ve been different if he was just excited about his capture, but he completely ignores that he nearly got Caterpie severely injured, much in the same realm as Pikachu did and episode ago, also because of his ignorance.

– I’m still not sure if Pikachu is as powerful as Meowth states. Sure Messiahchu seems like it somehow cheats a lot in battles just because, being the mascot, it has to win nearly all the time, but saying its power far exceeds its level is a bit…iffy to me, especially considering he’s using the fact that the Pokemon Center blew up as proof, given that it was Koffing’s gas igniting that caused the explosion.

– He seems to know Pokemon league rules fairly well, (stating that, by league rules, only one Pokemon can be on each side) yet still doesn’t know the basics….Must resist bitching….But he is just a giant contradiction in a hat.

– How is it that Caterpie’s too weak to battle but Pidgeotto isn’t? It’s a Flying Type that just took a Thundershock to the back minutes ago.

– The battle with Caterpie at the end kinda bugs me….hehe puns. *cough* I guess it’s possible that Pidgeotto weakened them enough to have Caterpie easily take them out, but it didn’t really land any hits.

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Overall, this was a really good episode. I love Caterpie and Pidgeotto, and the major thing that irks me here is Misty is continuously being annoying. You can see how they’re slowly switching places because Misty gets a little more tolerable towards the end, emphasis on ‘a little,’ and Ash starts showing his more annoying colors here and there.

While the first half was a bit slow, the second had a lot of action in it, and I really enjoyed it.

Next episode, our first Character of the Day with Samurai. Ash has his first non-Team Rocket Pokemon battle with a trainer in Viridian Forest who dresses and acts like a Samurai. They have a never-ending Metapod battle since they only keep doing Harden back and forth, but they’re soon in danger of a nearby group of Beedrill.

Previous Episode….