Pokemon Episode 58 Analysis: Riddle Me This

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen1

Badge Episode Attempt 1: Cinnabar Island – Volcano Badge

Gym Leader: Blaine – A very eccentric man who likes to speak in riddles, Blaine is a very serious Fire Pokemon Trainer who detests that Cinnabar Island has become littered in tourists with real Pokemon Trainers becoming rarer every year.

Reappears?: After the next episode, which is a continuation of this one, no. 😦

Pokemon: Blaine likely has many more Fire Pokemon, but he’s shown to have a Ninetales, Rhydon and his signature Pokemon, Magmar.

50px-Volcano_Badge xd

Ash has a failed Gym match attempt and does not get the Volcano badge. (Technically, this episode leaves the match in a cliffhanger, but he loses at the beginning of the next episode, so I’m counting it here.)

Plot: Ash FINALLY arrives in Cinnabar Island to get his seventh badge – the Volcano Badge. As he journeys by boat to the island, he bumps into Gary who is having a nice time on vacation since he’s got plenty of badges to enter the Pokemon League now. Ash butts heads with him, but Gary pays him no mind. He even mocks Ash because he believes everyone on the boat is a Pokemon Trainer.

Gary reveals that everyone traveling to the island, but himself, Ash, Misty and Brock, of course, are tourists. Cinnabar Island is merely a resort and there hasn’t been an active Gym on the island since his grandfather was young.

When they come ashore, the group discovers that Cinnabar Island does seem like a tourist trap and they can’t find a Gym anywhere. When Brock wonders why, of all the islands in the area, this one is so special, a strange man pops up to answer their question through riddle – What do tourists think is hot and cool?

While Ash answers incorrectly, Misty correctly deduces that the answer is a hot spring. The man explains that, due to the active volcano on Cinnabar, there are many hot springs around, and tourists love to visit the island to enjoy the relaxation of the springs. Over the years, the place has been decimated by vacationers enjoying the hot springs. Pokemon Trainers simply don’t come around anymore.

They ask if he knows anything about the Cinnabar Island Gym and the Gym Leader, Blaine. He gives his answer is another riddle – The Gym is right where you put your glasses.

Again, Misty correctly guesses – right in front of your eyes. And the Gym IS right in front of their eyes….in a big pile of rubble.

The man explains that Blaine abandoned the Gym when tourists started flooding the area. He was sick of battling tourists who weren’t serious Pokemon Trainers, so he left the Gym to rot, much to Ash’s dismay and anger. The man leaves him with his card, which reveals that he owns a big hotel called the Big Riddle Inn.

They try to go to their other destination, which was a prestigious Pokemon research laboratory, but find that it’s also a bunch of tourist attractions.

Resigned, the group tries to find a place to stay, but everywhere, including the Pokemon Center, is filled with people. Ash can’t help himself but try to sneak into a hotel room where they’re having a banquet, and it just so happens to be Gary’s room. He ribs him for a while, even offering to give Ash some leftovers if he makes a fool of himself for Gary’s entertainment, but Ash refuses.

Suddenly, Jigglypuff shows up, prompting Ash and the others to bolt out of there before it starts singing. Gary and his cheerleaders, however, unwittingly fall into the deep slumber caused by Jigglypuff’s song…and the facial drawings that come with it.

The kids suddenly remember that the man from before gave them a card for the Inn, but the directions are another riddle – If you look near the swings, you’ll see my hands or at least my face.

They spot some swings and Misty figures out the rest when she sees a clock since a clock has hands and a face. The clock is atop the Big Riddle Inn.

The man congratulates them on figuring out the riddle and offers them free room and board as a prize.

That night, Team Rocket attacks the island’s Pokemon research laboratory, nabbing up all of the Pokemon inside. The man is contacted about this attack, sending him and Ash, Misty and Brock to investigate.

When they arrive, Ash uses Pikachu and Pidgeotto to save the Pokemon and blast Team Rocket off.

Impressed by his skills, the man offers Ash some information. He happens to know that Blaine has a secret Gym set up somewhere on the island, but he will only give a riddle as a clue to its location – it’s in a place where firefighters could never win.

Back at the inn, Ash, Misty and Brock relax in the hot springs to try and figure out the riddle. Togepi hops on one of the stone Gyarados statues feeding water into the spring, which suddenly opened the door to a secret passage. The passageway lead to Blaine’s secret Gym deep in the heart of a volcano – the arena is even suspended over a lava pit.

The man is waiting on the other side of the arena, offering Ash another riddle – It’s not a hat, but it keeps your head dry. If you wear it, it’s only because you already lost it.

Misty, again, correctly deduces the answer – a wig. The man has been wearing a disguise this whole time. He’s actually Blaine, the Cinnabar Island Gym Leader!

Blaine challenges whomever wishes to battle him, in this case Ash, and starts the match with a Ninetales. Feeling cocky with a type advantage, Ash chooses Squirtle, but he soon realizes that type only accounts for so much. Blaine commands Ninetales to use Fire Spin, and it makes quick work of poor Squirtle.

Blaine chastises Ash for thinking purely about type in his battles, so Ash decides to fight fire with fire, literally, and sends out Charizard. However, predictably, Charizard refuses to battle and goes off to nap instead. Having left the arena, Blaine gets his second victory.

Ash sends out his last hope, Pikachu, to battle Rhydon. He does a good job evading Rhydon’s attacks, but finds that his Electric attacks do nothing against the Ground Type. Using its horn as a lightning rod, Pikachu manages to knock Rhydon out with a Thunderbolt.

Realizing the heat has been turned up in this battle, Blaine uses his most power Fire Pokemon – out from the depths of the lava comes Magmar, a Pokemon who might as well be the living embodiment of magma.

Pikachu gets slightly burned from one of Magmar’s Fire Punches, but gets up to try a Thunderbolt. Ash and Pikachu are shocked to find that Pikachu’s electricity will not work against Magmar. The air around it is so hot that it is able to create an air lens that refracts the electricity.

Stuck between the edge of the arena with a pool full of lava at his feet and the fierce Magmar before him, Pikachu faces Magmar’s most powerful move – Fire Blast. With nowhere to go, will Pikachu be fried or will he find some way to beat the heat?

——————-

– Gary doesn’t mention how many badges he has right now, but considering he later has ten, I’ll say he has between eight and ten if he feels he can take a vacation before the Indigo League Conference – and he definitely has more than Ash right now. Also, this basically confirms that Gary definitely didn’t get a Volcano Badge yet, even if one of the badges in his case later on looks VERY similar to it (It just looks longer for some reason. I believe it is the right badge.) If he only has eight or nine as of now, I suppose it’s possible that, after Ash discovered the Gym, that Gary found out about the real Gym, went to Blaine and got one himself after Ash left just so Ash wouldn’t best him anywhere.

– I find it somewhat odd that Gary wasn’t able to determine that there actually was a Gym on Cinnabar. Ash found out and Gary’s much smarter than he is. Gary should have checked to see if the badge or Gym was still valid under the Pokemon League’s certification. If it was, then there has to be a Gym or at least some place to obtain the badge. Unless Gary’s so full of himself and has such a lack of caring about badges at this point, considering he later has so many, that he just didn’t bother really looking into it and just accepted the vacation opportunity.

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– Ash: “A real Trainer never takes a break!” Excuse me, need to laugh raucously for a minute.

Ash, your life IS taking a break from training. I can probably count the amount of times you have actually trained so far on one hand. MAYBE two, if I’m generous. And lest we forget Charizard who has been wading in the lack of training pool for quite some time now.

– The Pokemon League doesn’t have any problem with Blaine having such inactivity in his Gym that nearly everyone thinks it simply doesn’t exist anymore?

– I’m just imagining how pissed I’d be if the Cinnabar Island Gym really didn’t exist and we’d have to spend god knows how long getting to one of Gary’s non-canon Gyms where he got one of the six mystery badges (if that other one is a Volcano Badge) And, remember, it’s confirmed that Gary never got an Earth Badge either – he lost his match there and the Gym shut down before he could get a rematch.

– Oh hey, Jigglypuff. Come back to remind me that you exist again, eh?

– I find it weird that they seem very willing to accept that ALL of Cinnabar is nothing but a big tourist trap just because they see a lot of festivities and stuff right off of the boat. Of course they’d put that stuff right by the harbor and get as many people hooked in as quickly as possible. At least have a look around before you start giving up. Places like Celadon City and Saffron City have much more than just their Gyms right out the gate, and you kinda have to walk around a while before you find the Gyms.

– I’m really not gonna rag on Ash’s silly riddle solution. It may be silly, but sometimes people just throw out weird ideas when they’re trying to figure out riddles.

– Misty: “I heard that the Gym Leader was someone called Blaine.” It really bothers me that it’s never made clear whether or not Gym Leaders know each other in the anime. You’d think at least the ones in the same region would have met a few times before. Also, who did you hear this info from if everyone believes Cinnabar Island is a Gym-less tourist trap and has been for decades?

– The man laments that more and more tourists come to the island and hardly any Trainers come anymore, but how do you expect Trainers to come if you have at least had the rumor going around for decades that the island’s Gym doesn’t exist anymore?

– Doesn’t help the tourist or Trainer situation if, when led to the Gym, they basically get confirmation that it doesn’t have one by showing them a collapsed building and explaining that Blaine essentially quit.

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– Misty: “An inn? How can you run a hotel and then blame tourists for ruining the island?” Uh, it’s called making a living, Misty. If your island has nothing but tourists and you still want to live on the island, sucking up a bit of pride and taking advantage of the deep pockets of vacationers is the best course of action. Plus, him running an inn doesn’t mean the tourists still didn’t ruin the island. They come for the hot springs, which are natural. Everything else is just taking advantage of the tourists.

– Without actually going INTO the Pokemon research lab, the kids determine that it’s just another tourist trap because of all the stands outside of it. They really aren’t good at actually looking into things, are they?

– I guess it’s nice that they do let everyone in, but it’s really weird that the Pokemon Center is full up for the night with people who don’t have Pokemon. Also, if this place is purely for tourists, why are so many of them so ill-prepared that they didn’t book a hotel?

– Come to think of it, if no Pokemon Trainers ever come to Cinnabar anymore, why is there even a Pokemon Center there? Just for the research lab and wild Pokemon?

– I would say Gary heard Misty and Brock yelling or Ash talking, but they clearly imply that Gary somehow heard Ash’s stomach growling from outside, which is what caused him to go to the porch. I sincerely doubt that is louder than either of the aforementioned noises.

– I feel very uncomfortable asking this, but here goes: Are Gary’s cheerleaders……sleeping in the same room as him? Their situation is creepy enough without this, thank you.

– Ash: “I’d die of hunger first!” 4KIDS! The D word! Have you no shame?

– Gary’s, again, being unreasonably dumb to not think twice when seeing that a Jigglypuff is about to sing to them….

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– Jigglypuff is really out of sync with the music. This isn’t just an audio syncing issue, it happens very frequently when Jigglypuff sings. It’s like the voice track for Jigglypuff is sped up for some reason or Rachel Lillis doesn’t have the audio track playing when singing.

– Brock: “Ash, what about that card that old guy gave you?” I love how they try literally every. single. other hotel on the island before they remember that they had a card for an inn on them.

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Ash: *pulls out card* “Hmm…must be directions to his hotel.” No. It must be little illegible squiggles.

Also, it seems like a bad business practice to have a riddle be the directions to your hotel. It’s even worse that it’s a terrible riddle. Either Blaine had to make sure his inn could be seen from every swing on the island or guests have to stumble upon the exact swing set that Blaine is referring to in the riddle.

– The prize for figuring out his riddle is free room and board? That’s a REALLY bad business practice….

– Ash: “Your riddles may be dumb, but your prizes are terrific!” Your riddles are dumb, says the boy who thought the answer to his first riddle was wrapping yourself in an electric blanket while laying in front of an open refrigerator.

I know I said I wouldn’t rag on Ash much for making silly guesses, but he’s open to ridicule when he starts putting down others.

– I love this exchange.

Blaine: “Well………guess you want dinner too.”

Ash: “Right.”

It’s the timing and delivery – it’s golden.

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– See? The research laboratory isn’t just a tourist trap. The power of actually seeing what’s in a building to know…what’s in the building.

– I love that they contact Blaine when the research lab is attacked. Not only does this give them a realistic excuse to have Ash and the others go to the research lab to help, but it also hints at Blaine’s real identity.

– I would get excited over Pidgeotto being let out, but it’s literally just a vehicle for Pikachu to get close enough to attack the balloon.

– Why is Team Rocket so shocked (oh god, the puns are infecting me) that Ash and Pikachu are on the scene. The only reason they’re on Cinnabar is because Ash and co. are.

– Nice that Ash had no plan to actually catch the Pokemon – instead he let them all fall to the ground and break their necks.

– Blaine only gives Trainers a hint to the location of his actual secret Gym once they prove themselves to him in some way. So Trainers not only have to ignore rumors that the Gym doesn’t exist and come to Cinnabar anyway, ignore that the original Gym is a pile of rubble and meet Blaine while he’s in disguise so they can get on the trail of the real Gym, not even realizing there even is a real Gym, but they also have to have the opportunity to prove themselves to him somehow and solve his riddles that lead to the real gym before they can find the real Gym and challenge him.

Not that it would help if they figured it out anyway. The answer is simply ‘a volcano.’ How the hell were they supposed to find the Gym in a volcano unless they stumbled upon the secret entrance to the place – which they did.

Blaine, I love you, buddy, but this is a lot of convoluted and, quite frankly, unfair bullshit just to try and avoid tourists challenging you – especially considering this requires you to be in disguise 24/7. You could literally clear this up with a pre-requisite test or something before you’re allowed admittance into the Gym. “Are you a tourist?” “Do you have at least a few other Pokemon League Badges?” “How many Pokemon do you own?” Stuff like that.

– Always kinda bugged me that Ash and the others never really figured out Blaine’s riddle until the answer was literally in their faces. Togepi just activated his plot convenience powers and found the switch that opened the door to the place.

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– It’s kinda funny how Misty freaks out when Ash and Brock see her in a towel. She’s technically at least as covered up as she usually is in her street clothes.

– Why would Blaine have it set up so that opening the door destroys the hot spring divider?

– Was Blaine alerted to the fact that the door to the secret entrance had been opened or was he just waiting down there for Ash and the others to randomly stumble upon the switch?

– Forget Blaine’s really odd practices as a Gym Leader – how does the Pokemon League not have safety rules against this place? Holding a battle over a LAVA PIT is insane! The arena doesn’t even have any safety rails or anything. It would just take one false move and Pokemon or people could die in there easily.

The walkways to the arena aren’t even walkways, they’re narrow pillars you have to balance on one at a time. In fact, given the heat, you wouldn’t even need to die from falling in the pit, you could just die from heat stroke.

The fact that any unlucky person who happens to lean on a Gyarados statue in his hot spring could get to this death trap without issue is even more alarming. Sure, there’s a red-hot secondary door, but if you manage to open that, you might be as good as dead.

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– Ninetales! Whoo!

– Either Dexter didn’t have much useful information to share on Ninetales, which I find hard to believe, or Ash cut Dexter off before it said anything other than its type and what it evolved from.

– Brock: “Fire Spin is Ninetales’ most powerful attack!” No, no it’s not. Even with DOT, it’s not as powerful as Flamethrower. Fire Spin has 15 power and can last for up to five turns. Flamethrower has 95 power. Even though it can’t learn it with a TM, in Gen I anyway, there’s also Fire Blast with 120 power.

– That Ninetales’ Fire Spin is much less the massive fire tornado that Brock’s Vulpix makes. Its eyes didn’t glow or anything. It’s almost like the move was ridiculously overblown in that episode.

– Look….I get that Ash, again, doesn’t have many options, even though this would be a GREAT time to have gotten out Krabby or Muk or even one of his Tauros, but using Charizard just seems misguided. I know that Charizard is his powerhouse, but he’s banking on having a stronger Fire Pokemon than this Fire Pokemon Gym Leader….This Fire Pokemon Gym Leader who loves fire so much he put his Gym OVER A LAVA PIT DEEP INSIDE A VOLCANO.

– What else did I have to say about this?

…..Uhmmm…..Oh, oh yeah, yeah, CHARIZARD STILL ISN’T TRAINED, YOU IGNORAMUS!

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– I get that a Rhydon would be able to withstand the intense temperatures of the lava pit Gym, but Blaine, you’re a Fire Pokemon Gym Leader who put his Gym OVER A LAVA PIT. Why are you using a Rock/Ground type? I guess it could just be because Ash sent out Charizard, but come on – you can’t take a Fire v. Fire match? Especially after you literally just said matches aren’t purely about type?

You can’t even justify this by saying this is something they took from the games, because he never has a Rhydon in the games. He has a Golem in the manga, but that’s about as close as you get. As a Fire fan, I am disappointed.

And I’ll be even more disappointed in a few minutes…..

– Oh look, Charizard refuses to battle and goes off to nap.

Imagine the look of pure shock on my face.

– Ash: “Awh, gimme a break, Charizard!” You don’t deserve one!

– I know what happens, I do. People who have never seen Pokemon know what happens next. But Ash is a full-blown airheaded shit-for-brains idiot for sending out a PIKACHU against a Rhydon. We’ve already been over the type debate, but there’s a difference between using a Pokemon who does or does not have the advantage and using a Pokemon whose attacks DO NOT AFFECT your opponent. Even physical moves would do little to nothing.

Pidgeotto’s also not a good choice, but if Bulbasaur could survive in the hot arena, he’d be a decent selection. However, the lack of sunlight would mean no Solar Beam. Ash, your roster blows. Please do better.

– I’m going to ding Ash for this just because he needs extra punishment for the stupidity that will happen in a minute – Ash should know Rhyhorn is Ground type, which means he must know RhyDON is Ground type too. Yet he still launches an Electric attack.

– Ya know, I’m not even going to bother analyzing the scene. It’s been done to death. So, I’ll just go ahead and say it.

Pikachu…

(Aim for)….The horn.

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Gonna give you a minute to soak that in, maybe find some appropriate memes to enjoy. I’ll just take a sec to curl up into a ball and weep.

– Blaine: “This Pokemon is too hot to handle. And it has a power that should interest you, because it turns all of its opponents into ash.”

Ash: “No fair, it’s too hot to solve riddles!” That was in no way a riddle. He’s just saying he has a super powerful Fire Pokemon.

– It’s pretty badass that Magmar lives in the lava pit.

Likewise, its reveal is sick.

– I never liked Magmar as a kid, but now I love it quite a bit.

– This battle has always been one of my favorites because it’s so intense. Pikachu gets burned and the cliffhanger has him between Magmar and nearly falling into the lava pit.

– Brock explains that Magmar is immune to Electric attacks because it’s so superheated that it creates an air lens around it that refracts electricity. This, as far as I can see, is completely false.

I wanted to go in depth about the air lens itself, really I did, but my research on air lenses is pathetically sparse. I just can’t find much on anything that doesn’t correlate to cameras. The best I got was a Wiki page which mentioned them in passing when talking about explosive lenses, and that wasn’t very applicable to what was happening here.

So enough about air lenses, I don’t even know how 4Kids knew that term (Dogasu’s comparison doesn’t even mention that this is a change, so maybe the original writers are to blame for this?) what of heat’s affect on electricity?

As far as I can tell, nothing. Remember, lightning itself is INSANELY hot. It causes fires all the time, but it’s much hotter than you might think. In fact, according to National Geographic, a flash of lightning can heat the air around the bolt to temperatures up to five times hotter than the surface of the sun.

Lava, at best, reaches a little over 2,200 degrees F, while the sun can reach 10,000 degrees F (Source). So, obviously, being five times hotter than that makes lava look like an ice cream sundae. By all means, making the air around Magmar even hotter than lava levels would have no effect at all on Pikachu’s electricity.

In conclusion, I have no clue what they were thinking.

I actually find it funny that they did this, because that means they did BS science to Rhydon to make it vulnerable to electricity and then did BS science to Magmar to make it immune to electricity.

– So….Is Blaine trying to straight up murder Pikachu? It’s at the very edge of the arena and it’s commanding Magmar to use FIRE BLAST of all things, which, considering it’s cornered, would surely mean its demise.

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– And Ash refuses to stop the battle. Best Trainer ever.

– I always thought Fire Blast was trying to take the shape of a stick figure. It wasn’t until I was much older that I found out that it’s actually the kanji for “large” or “great.”

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Cinnabar Island, Blaine and Fire Types are some of my favorites in Pokemon (Really bummed that Cinnabar Island was basically completely decimated beyond Gen I), and I do love this match even with the bullshittery that goes on. Having Squirtle be instantly KO’d out the gate was a massive blow that I didn’t expect, but it doesn’t get really awesome until it’s just Pikachu v. Magmar. It’s intense and ends on one of the best cliffhangers of the series. Of course we know little Messiahchu won’t die or anything, but it did get actually wounded, and that kinda surprised me as a kid. Still does, to be honest.

I also enjoyed Gary and his dickishness, even if he was a tad badly written this time around. He’s earned a vacation, I suppose, but he had one too many moments where he was too stupid to the point where it was almost OOC. He has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Pokemon and the league, but he seemingly doesn’t do any actual serious research into whether or not the Cinnabar Gym exists?

I guess if Blaine’s so ridiculously overly secret about the Gym that it might be beyond researching, but I still found it odd for him.

I like Blaine when he’s this weird riddle hippy dude. He’s pretty amusing. I find his methods of getting ‘real’ Trainers to his real Gym and masking the fact that his Gym still exists to be massively overcomplicated and dumb, and I find the Gym itself to be dumb just based on the safety hazard aspect (though I find it really cool as a concept.) but at least it adds some flavor to the story, I suppose.

Oddly, one thing I really remember a lot about this arc it’s an audio flub that happens in the recap in the next episode. It’s almost laughably bad, and it was seemingly done on purpose for whatever reason.

As for the rematch, I actually didn’t like it as much as this match, but we’ll tackle that when we get to it.

Next episode, spoiler alert – Ash loses his bout with Blaine and has to figure out a way to beat him to earn his Volcano Badge.

.Previous Episode.


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Pokemon Episode 32 Analysis – The Ninja Poke-Showdown

POKEMON EP 32 TITLE

Badge Episode: Fuchsia City – Soul Badge

Gym Leader: Koga – An extremely skilled and serious ninja and Pokemon trainer, Koga specializes in Poison types. Though this doesn’t seem to happen in the anime due to lack of basically anything related to the Elite Four, Koga does eventually become an Elite Four member.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Koga keeps tons of Voltorb as a trap in his dojo, but the Pokemon he uses in battle are a Venomoth and a Golbat.

50px-Soul_Badge

CotD(s): Aya – Younger sister of Koga, Aya is Koga’s ninja student. Aya has a lot of determination and skill as a ninja, but is ultimately felled by inexperience and overconfidence. Her dream is to be a great Pokemon Ninja.

Reappears?: Yes, actually. She reappears way down the line in Johto once in another Pokemon Dojo where she is learning Pokemon Jujitsu. It’s never explained why she is no longer learning under Koga, however.

Pokemon: Aya’s main Pokemon is a Venonat. She keeps it through the Johto episode as well.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock are lost yet again (They were right – Apple Maps sucks) as they search for the Fuchsia City Gym. They take a break near a stream and Misty takes this time to let out Psyduck for a drink while Brock lets out Vulpix for a brushing. After Misty expresses her displeasure over her ownership of Psyduck for the umpteenth time, they depart to search for the Gym some more.

They stumble upon an old mansion and decide to stop there for directions, but it seems like no one’s home. As they investigate, they discover that the house is full of traps such as trick doors, electric shocks from hidden Voltorb and invisible glass walls. They spot a Venonat who appears to be leading them somewhere, but they continuously run into trap after trap.

They get caught between two invisible walls. With seemingly no way out, Ash jumps on the nearest wall to take a look out the window. The wall suddenly collapses, sending Ash with it. Misty, Brock and Pikachu rush to his aid, but see nothing but a steep cliff down to the rocky riverside below. Fearing the worst, Misty and Brock start to mourn for their friend only to hear him screaming for help as he hangs on the fallen door.

After they pick him back up, Ash pursues the reappearing Venonat again only to find himself being stuck to a wall with ninja stars. Misty and Brock run into the room when a strange girl appears introducing herself as Aya, a ninja warrior.

Aya reveals that this place is a training dojo and challenges Ash to a battle. Aya uses her Venonat while Ash chooses Bulbasaur. He starts off with a Tackle, but Venonat dodges. Venonat responds with Stun Spore, but Bulbasaur blows it away with Whirlwind. He tries for Vine Whips next, but Venonat is able to avoid them. Venonat attacks with a Psybeam, which hits, but Bulbasaur remains standing. Bulbasaur uses a Leech Seed on Venonat, which disables it and sucks away its energy. Unable to battle, Aya recalls Venonat and the victory goes to Ash.

Suddenly, they’re interrupted by a stray Voltorb that Self-Destructs in the middle of the room. As the smoke clears, Aya’s brother and teacher, Koga, appears to berate her on her failure. Koga tells the group that they can’t leave unless they defeat him in a Pokemon battle, which works out for Ash because Koga also happens to be the Fuchsia City Gym leader.

The Gym match starts, and Ash sends out Pidgeotto while Koga starts off with Venonat. Ash instantly believes this Venonat will be just as easy as Aya’s, but Koga points out the major experience difference between the two, which is mirrored when Venonat suddenly evolves into Venomoth.

The newly evolved Venomoth uses Stun Spore, and Ash commands Pidgeotto to blow it away with Whirlwind. However, the force of the Stun Spore makes its way through the wind and paralyzes Pidgeotto. To finish it off, Venomoth uses Sleep Powder. Pidgeotto succumbs to the powder and falls asleep, making it unable to battle.

Ash chooses Charmander next, and Venomoth reprises its Stun Spore. However, Charmander blows through it with its Flamethrower.

The match is suddenly interrupted by a kabuki production put on by Team Rocket. They’re aiming to steal the Poison Pokemon of the Gym, but Koga, Aya and Ash quickly set up to battle them. Venomoth, Venonat and Charmander are caught in some sort of weird spiderweb that Team Rocket throws out, so Ash sends out Pikachu. However, he’s also caught in the same webbing.

Misty tries to call out Starmie, but Psyduck lets itself out instead. Consistently interrupted by it, Misty begrudgingly agrees to let it battle, but Psyduck just hugs Misty instead. Misty wonders what Psyduck can even do in battle and Ash helps out by lending her his Pokedex. Dexter explains that Psyduck’s first move is Tail Whip, but it gives a feeble butt wag in response.

Its next attack is Scratch, which it actually tries to do, but it ends up failing and Arbok merely pinches Psyduck’s head in a Bite. All Psyduck succeeds in doing is giving it (and Misty) an even bigger headache.

Koga triggers a trap in the room, dropping dozens of Voltorb from the ceiling. They Self-Destruct, creating a smokescreen and allowing everyone to escape into a slanted room. They try to use this time to remove the webbing from their Pokemon, but no matter what they do, even Pokemon attacks, the gunk won’t come off.

Team Rocket returns with the Voltorb collected in a sack. They continue their attack on the group, but keep getting interrupted by Psyduck, who is running around in a panic due to its intense headache. Meowth knocks it around, rejecting it from even being a possible score on their thieving spree. As Misty tries to get him back to safety, Psyduck immediately calms and suddenly triggers its Psychic abilities.

It freezes Team Rocket with Disable and blasts them off with Confusion. Psyduck’s Psychic abilities also allow it to melt the web gunk off of the other Pokemon. Koga and Aya, impressed with Psyduck’s abilities, offer to trade for Psyduck, but Misty has had a change of heart about him and refuses to ever trade him for anything.

Koga and Ash restart their Gym match by agreeing to a one-on-one fight. Ash chooses Charmander while Koga chooses Golbat. Golbat heads in with a Wing Attack while Charmander retaliates with Ember.

Golbat uses its Screech ability, which debilitates Charmander, but Charmander fights back with several blasts of a mostly blind Flamethrower assault. It manages to hit Golbat and Charmander finishes it off with a Fire Spin.

The battle and Soul Badge go to Ash. With his sixth badge proudly pinned to his jacket, Ash departs the Fuchsia City Gym and heads for the next Gym destination.

———————-

– Misty, Brock wouldn’t be able to trade you Vulpix anyway seeing as how it’s not technically his.

– Also, why are you guys not letting out any of your other Pokemon for some water or grooming? Minor favoritism irk.

– Brock: “I hope they’re not trapping us so they can steal our Pokemon.” That would be sad to have all of your Pokemon sto–

Brock: “Because I don’t want them to steal my Vulpix!”

……*sigh* Major favoritism irk. Have fun on the black market, Geodude, Onix and Zubat.

– I’m going to lay out my cards on the table right now – If there’s one Gym I always upon always forget about it’s Koga and the Fuchsia City Gym. He’s not a very interesting character (I believe Dogasu put it best when they said something along the lines of ‘His house has more personality than he does’) his Pokemon aren’t that interesting either. Aya seems to be more interesting than he is, even her Venonat has more personality than Koga’s Pokemon, and Poison types are far from my favorite types of Pokemon.

Truth be told, I almost always confuse the badge design too. For some reason, I always think the Marsh Badge design is the Soul Badge’s design. I just never correlate Poison Pokemon or ninjas with little pink hearts. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have a skull and crossbones or a ninja star or something?

POKEMON EP 32 Screen1

The reason I choose to bring this up so early is because this episode is also one I completely forget about. The only thing I remember about it off-hand is the fake-out death of Ash when he leans on that wall and supposedly falls hundreds of feet to the river below. And when I do start remembering more, I only tend to remember Aya and her bright pink ninja outfit and the trick house, plus the tons of Voltorb. I even remember the upcoming scene with Team Rocket in their kabuki outfits more than Koga.

– Venonat is eternally adorable, though.

– Misty: “But isn’t that color a bit bright for a ninja?”

Aya: “I don’t need your fashion report!” Girl, trust me. You do. Even Naruto is shaking his head right now.

– I don’t think I need to tell you this, but Bulbasaur cannot learn Whirlwind. This is a translation error, Satoshi was really just telling Fushigidane to blow the spores away……but even that’s stupid. Like he has the lung capacity for that.

That move would be totally pointless to keep if everyone Pokemon could just blow it away like they were blowing out the candles on their birthday cakes. It would’ve been more believable if Bulbasaur used his Vine Whips and spun them like a fan or something….or, hey, how about using the Pokemon that’s strong against Bug types and CAN use Whirlwind?….Begins with a P….rhymes with—oh I’ve done this joke before. Use Pidgeotto, DumbAsh.

– I never realized this until I read about the episode, but despite this being the Fuchsia City Gym, Fuchsia City is never seen or visited in the series until 400 episodes later. I guess I never cared or noticed because…..well….Fuchsia City’s boring in the game’s too. Really, they might as well call it ‘Another Gym and we chucked the Safari Zone here.’

The only other notable aspects of Fuchsia in the games are the move deleter, which I have never once used because I never saw a point in it. (I usually think my HM decisions through quite thoroughly and hardly ever regret it.) and the Pokemon Zoo, which is simultaneously boring and pointless depending on how much you’ve done at this point.

– Everyone say ‘Hi!’ to Maddie Blaustein’s debut as Meowth. And you can tell she hasn’t found her footing in the role yet (she’s putting a lot of emphasis on the drawling for lack of a better term) but she will come to be one of the most beloved roles in the dub. I miss Maddie’s Meowth so much nowadays.

– He’s using Pidgeotto in a battle! WHOO!

POKEMON EP 32 Screen2
Ash: “What’s your name again? Err…Go Bird! Use Bird Attack!”

– This isn’t the first time a Pokemon’s evolved during a battle, but why and how did Koga’s Venonat evolve right out of its Pokeball?

Story-wise, is there a point? We see his Venonat for all of 10 seconds before it evolves. Why not just have him use a Venomoth from the getgo?

Logic-wise, how? It’s more than possible that it has enough exp to evolve, but why choose this very moment to evolve?

– Brock: “A metamorphosis attack!?”

Misty: “No, it just evolved!”

Brock, you should be smart enough to know what that was. Plus, when is transformation an ‘attack’? I swear, you get dumber with each episode.

– So, Pidgeotto finally gets to battle for a change and what happens? Its Whirlwind is apparently not strong enough to deter Venomoth’s Stun Spore or Sleep Powder when Bulbasaur literally blowing air out of its mouth was enough to do it to Aya’s Venonat. Level differences be damned, it’s still powder and Pidgeotto is far better at creating winds than Bulbasaur. He’s even created wind so powerful it’s caused Team Rocket to blast off.

And that’s it. It falls asleep, making it unable to battle. I would start a ‘Pidgeotto gets shafted’ tally right now, but at this point I’ve already lost track.

POKEMON EP 32 Screen3
Writers used UNREALISTIC CIRCUMSTANCES TO SCREW OVER PIDGEOTTO. It’s SUPER EFFECTIVE.

– Okay, back up. You’re telling me that a powerful Whirlwind from a bird Pokemon isn’t powerful enough to blow away the Stun Spore from Venomoth, but what looks like one of the weakest Flamethrowers Charmander’s ever done (it barely opens its mouth. It looks like it’s whistling) can knock through it easily? Blow me.

– I do love Psyduck’s pose when he comes out, though. Like, ‘Here I am to save the day!’

POKEMON EP 32 Screen4

– And Psyduck’s ‘Tail Wag’ is hilarious and adorable.

– It’s a little weird that James can identify a Pokemon faster than Meowth for seemingly no reason. Meowth, being a Pokemon I guess, usually can identify Pokemon much faster than Jessie or James. Sometimes, he identifies them faster than Ash and Co. with Dexter.

– Why did Voltorb Self-Destruct when it was at the feet of Koga and everyone else? Being a part of the mansion, Voltorb’s trainer should be either Koga or Aya. It should know better than that.

– Poor Psyduck. Hated by its owner for no reason and rejected by Team Rocket.

– Psyduck’s great and all, but the thing that irks me about Misty’s sudden change of heart is that she only did it because she realized Psyduck has value as a Pokemon – not because she found it within her heart to actually, I dunno, care for an innocent Pokemon who has done nothing to her. She was about ready to chuck that duck out the window before she realized ‘cool, it can use Psychic powers!’

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Misty: “Oh, PSYduck! I get it now!”

I can relate to be annoyed to hell by an animal you own. I have a very crazy, misbehaved elderly border collie who drives me up a wall. But no matter how much she annoys me or makes messes in the house, I still cuddle her and love her to death. And, truth be told, I would be scared shitless if this dog suddenly got psychic powers. Seriously, with all the badmouthing Misty gives to Psyduck, you should be worried we’d have a duck!Carrie on our hands.

– And I am still aware that trading is a real thing in the anime, I’ve already expressed my unease about this concept outside of the games, but uh, Koga, Aya, Venomoth and Venonat are right there… four feet away from you. I’m sure they don’t much appreciate you discussing trading them away for a goofy psychic duck. Especially you, Aya, who actually says ‘I’d gladly trade my Venonat!’

– Wow, Ash has had three battles today (counting the Gym match as two since one got interrupted and not counting the Team Rocket run-in since they couldn’t do anything there) and never called on Pikachu once.

– Brock getting hit by Charmander’s Flamethrower and responding with a mere ‘ouch’ is hilarious.

– When the hell did Charmander learn Fire Spin?

And, if we’re assuming he learned this by level, that means Charmander should be at least level 46 right now. Meaning, he should be well into his Charizard stage at this point.

– I don’t know why Koga added on that Psyduck helped save Koga’s Voltorb from being stolen as a reason why Ash deserves this badge (in addition to beating him – no pity badge today) Psyduck is Misty’s Pokemon – why does that matter?

– Misty, did someone punch you in the mouth?

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—————————

As you can tell by my synopsis, holy crap there’s a lot to go over here. Like I’ve already mentioned, the Gym is one I’ve always found to be mostly forgettable. In the games, Koga’s not that memorable, the battle’s nothing to write home about (I’ve never seen anyone have trouble with him) and the anime reflects this in spades.

Aya really has no point here. She is a complete time waster. I almost feel like this dynamic of student and teacher as well as brother and sister was originally written to be something much more, but so many other things got crammed in here that it took the focus away entirely. It’s even more baffling to me now that she’s one of those rare characters who actually comes back further down the line.

Half of the episode goes by with the story focusing on the trick house and Ash’s battle with Aya, which, like I said, is entirely unnecessary. If Aya wasn’t in this episode, would anyone miss her? What did she contribute? Koga could’ve easily been the one who ambushed Ash and the others, starting their match in an interesting way.

Team Rocket took up more time than they usually do, and this is compounded by the intrusion of Psyduck. I love Psyduck (usually), and I’m glad it finally got to prove to Misty that it’s not a useless sack of feathers, but why couldn’t they have used a different episode to do this in?

This isn’t supposed to be Psyduck’s episode – it’s supposed to be a Gym match. It’s meant to focus on the Gym Leader for this area and their Pokemon. This show is infamous for its filler, we even have our biggest amount of filler, 26 episodes worth, coming up after this, why couldn’t this happen in one of those?

There’s also the minor ‘issue’ of having so many Pokemon debut in this episode. Venonat, Venomoth, Voltorb and Golbat all make their debuts here.

Every Gym match so far has given focus entirely to the Gym match and Gym Leader, but here there’s so much stuff being crammed into the episode that you almost have to struggle to pay attention to the fact that this is a badge episode. Given that we’re already dealing with the most forgettable and boring Gym in Kanto, that’s a huge problem.

This is a very entertaining episode both with the trick house and with some of the shenanigans that go on, but I shouldn’t be much more impressed by nearly everything outside of the Gym match.

Next episode, Ponyta’s debut and Pokemon racing.

Previous Episode….

Pokemon Episode 26 Analysis – Pokemon Scent-Sation

Pokemon ep 26 title

Badge Episode – Rainbow Badge: Celadon City

Gym Leader: Erika – Erika is a very polite and kind individual (er, well, she’s meant to be) who values empathy with her Pokemon above all else. She specializes in Grass Pokemon and has a particular connection with her Gloom, a Pokemon most people cannot stand due to its terrible smell. Erika also owns a perfume shop and treasures the beautiful scents and feelings that perfume provides. While she is a very gentle and loving person, she cannot stand ignorant people who badmouth perfume.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon – She has numerous Grass Pokemon kicking around her Gym, but in this battle she uses a Weepinbell, a Tangela and a Gloom, who is her most prized Pokemon and is, in fact, the source of her secret ingredient for her perfumes.

50px-Rainbow_Badge

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock arrive in the massive Celadon City. As they gaze in awe at the skyscrapers, Misty and Brock are suddenly captivated by the aroma of perfume. The scent leads Brock to a perfume shop where he gawks at the girls at the counter. Ash wants to get going to the Gym when he notices that Misty and Pikachu are in the store trying out various types of perfume.

She’s about to buy some when Ash bursts in and tells her not to buy it because ‘Perfume is a waste of money, and it stinks!’ The store manager comes in and states that she resents Ash’s remark. She asks if Ash is insinuating that she overcharges her customers for poor-quality perfume. Ash tries to save face by saying that all perfume is a waste of money, because ‘all it does is turn guys into zombies,’ like Brock.

She gets increasingly angry as Ash continues to speak badly of perfume and she kicks him out of the store. Ash doesn’t really care, though, since he’s off to the Gym.

When he arrives at the Gym, he’s shocked to find that the girls at the door won’t let him in since they don’t let anyone in who badmouths perfume given that they manufacture the perfume in that very Gym. Ash begs and pleads to challenge the Gym leader, but they still refuse.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket breaks into the Gym to steal the secret perfume formula. While they’re searching for it, they stumble upon a sleeping Gloom. After James accidentally wakes it up, he attacks it with Koffing’s Poison Gas. Shockingly, not only is Gloom unaffected, it actually sucks up the gas with no problem.

In retaliation, Gloom sets off a cloud of its terrible stench, causing Team Rocket to nearly faint and giving the guards at the Gym the opportunity to knock them out and kick them out. They tie Team Rocket up in a tree, and Ash comes upon them.

They decide to coerce him into cutting them down from the tree by saying they can get him into the Gym. Desperate for another badge, Ash accepts. Their big plan? To dress Ash up as a girl, pretend to be named Ashley and claim he likes perfume so he can get through the door and challenge Erika.

Posing as Ash(ley)’s parents, Team Rocket enrolls Ash in the Gym’s Pokemon training classes. As Ash gets ready to infiltrate the Gym to challenge Erika, Team Rocket excuses themselves so they can steal the formula. In retaliation for stamping a big X on her face, Jessie also has Meowth plant a bomb in the building.

The class starts, showing the Gym’s Pokemon getting exercised and cleaned while Erika reads them all a sad story about an Omanyte. Ash(ley) is introduced to the group, and he’s shocked when he notices that Erika is the manager of the perfume store. Misty, Brock and Pikachu are also at the class, which makes him increasingly concerned that he’ll be found out.

Misty asks Erika why the seemingly always stinky Gloom smells perfectly fine while hanging out with them in the Gym. Erika explains that Gloom does indeed have a terrible smell, but only when it feels threatened or scared. If you show Gloom that its safe and that you want to be its friend, it will smell fine. Misty asks how she knows this, and Erika explains how she and gloom met.

When Erika was a small child, she went off on her own and was suddenly cornered by a Grimer. Gloom was passing by, and she asked it for help. Gloom somehow sensed how scared Erika was and used its terrible smell to send the Grimer away and save Erika. Ever since that day, she and Gloom have been close friends. Her relationship with Gloom even inspired her to become a Grass Pokemon Trainer and open her Gym.

Misty wishes that Ash was around to hear the story and Ash accidentally outs himself by saying he did hear it. He tries to save face, but Pikachu attempts to cuddle him, realizing who he is. Ash tells him to back off, which prompts Pikachu to shock him, revealing his true identity. Ash admits what he did and challenges Erika to a Pokemon battle, which Erika accepts.

Ash chooses Bulbasaur at first while Erika uses a Tangela. Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip to wrap up Tangela, but Erika commands it to use Constrict to coil up Bulbasaur’s vines and reel him in. She then commands Tangela to use Stun Spore, which paralyzes Bulbasaur and leaves him unable to battle.

Ash considers using Primeape, but decides against it when he remembers how crazy and violent it was. Instead, Ash uses Charmander. In response, Erika sends out Weepinbell.

Weepinbell uses Razor Leaf, but Charmander burns all of the leaves with a Flamethrower and KOs Weepinbell with a Skull Bash.

Erika uses her trump card, Gloom, and it easily knocks out Charmander with its stench. Ash struggles to figure out what Pokemon to use next since he doesn’t believe any of his Pokemon can withstand that smell. However, Pikachu steps up to the plate and volunteers to go.

Their battle is interrupted by Team Rocket who now have the secret formula in their possession and have come to gloat. Their visit is cut short when they accidentally set the bomb too close to where they are and blast themselves off.

A massive fire breaks out in the Gym and everyone tries to gather the Pokemon and evacuate. Outside, everyone tries to put out the flames with hoses, Water Pokemon and Brock’s Geodude.

Erika runs by in a panic, worried that Gloom never made it out of the building. Ash goes into the Gym to retrieve Gloom, but is deterred by the frightened Pokemon’s horrible smell. Ash has no choice but to hold his breath and brave the stench to get Gloom out. Unable to hold his breath any longer, he takes a deep breath. The room smells fine. He remembers Erika’s words about the smell vanishing if Gloom feels safe and friendly towards you. With a smile, Ash grabs Gloom and runs out the door.

Later, when the fire is extinguished, Erika gives Ash a Rainbow Badge in gratitude of him saving her Gloom. Ash admires his new badge, but asks what Erika will do now that Team Rocket has her secret perfume formula. Erika laughs and said they didn’t steal the formula; they only stole an ingredient of her perfume – essence of Gloom.

As we cut to Team Rocket, they open the bottle to enjoy their new perfume only to be disgusted at the odor within the bottle.

With his new badge in hand, Ash and his friends set off to the next Gym.

————————–

– Oh great, our first actual official pun title. Whoopee.

– Just a side-note/backstory thing before I get started: This episode is one my most remembered since it was one of a handful of episodes that I got on VHS when I was a kid. I also had the episode with Primeape, but I guess I didn’t much care for that episode as a kid either because I don’t remember watching that episode much.

Since there was a good chunk of time in my childhood when I was obsessed with Pokemon, but it was only on either incredibly early in the morning (before it started airing on Kids WB. And by early I mean around 5:00/30 AM. I had to pester my dad to wake me up when he woke up to go to work so I could watch it) or only on weekends (when it finally aired on Kids WB) I basically watched my VHS episodes over and over to sate my Pokemon cravings. As such, this episode became ingrained in my memory. I could probably recite the entirety of the script in my sleep.

However, looking back on it, I can definitely feel a rant storm a brewin’

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo when they include the word “Pokemon” in the title? Wow, that is going on way longer than I thought it did.

– I understand that Erika’s ‘spell out perfume with positive words’ rant is a dub-only thing, but uh, 4Kids, U for Urbane? You really think any kid knows what urbane means? Also, Erika, I can do the same thing in reverse to make your pathetic ‘point’ moot. P for Putrid, E for Ew, R for Repulsive, F for Foolish, U for Ugly, M for Mundane and E for Egregious. That spells…!

Misty: “Perfume!”

Brock: “Right!”

Pikachu: “Pika!”

Your move, Erika.

– I know Ash is, for lack of a better term, a typical ten-year-old boy (Thinks perfume is stupid, doesn’t get romance, fashion is dumb, makeovers are pointless etc.) but where exactly is this rabid anti-perfume stuff coming from? Disliking that Misty is buying perfume is a different level from yelling at her to not purchase it then going on a rant about why it’s awful.

And he hates it because it turns guys into zombies? Brock’s always a skirt-chasing zombie, and that’s his only example. Besides, I’ve never seen any guy gush over a woman’s perfume. Most guys I know don’t really care for perfume. They might say it smells nice on a woman they’re interested in, but never have I ever seen a guy, besides girl-crazy Brock, go zombified because he smells perfume or value a woman higher due to her perfume. It really seems like this hatred was written in for the sake of getting Ash thrown out, banned and then starting up the plot.

It also seems out of character for a woman as gentle, kind and polite as Erika to go berserk about someone disliking perfume to the point where she’ll not only refuse to battle him, but she’ll ban him from her store and her Gym. This is especially weird since she’s all about empathy. A person such as Erika would try to see Ash’s side or at least respect his opinion, despite disagreeing with it. But no – she immaturely gets in his face about it, even pointing her finger in his face while she lectures him on the value of perfume, then tells him to leave while her employees literally kick him out.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 1

– So, instead of calling the cops and having Team Rocket arrested, the girls at the Gym stamp X’s on their faces, tie them up and hang them from a tree in the middle of nowhere…..I know the cops in the Pokemon world aren’t known for their effectiveness, but you’re basically damning Team Rocket to a slow death here.

– Retroactively, Ash doesn’t really need to crossdress and act like a girl/completely different person to get into this Gym if there are supposedly at least two additional Gyms in Kanto besides the typical eight, as seen in Gary’s badge collection. I know these Gyms are never given names or Gym leaders and probably aren’t canon, but if there are more Gyms than the typical eight, he can just get another badge there to get his required eight badges instead of jumping through hoops for an unreasonable perfume fanatic.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 2

– While we’re on the subject, why is Ash pretending he’s enrolling in Pokemon Training classes? Enrolling in those classes won’t get him a challenge, it will just….enroll him in Training classes. Why not say (s)he’s a Trainer who’d like to challenge Erika for a badge? It’s like they made this whole class thing up so Ash would get to listen to Erika’s story about her Gloom and appreciate her more.

– What the hell? It’s actually a prerequisite to like perfume before you’re accepted into the classes?

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Ash(ley): “Oh, yes!”

Girl: “Well, then, I’m sure you’ll be accepted!”

Being mad at Ash for being an anti-perfume asshole to the point of banning him from the store and Gym is bad enough, but only allowing confirmed pro-perfume people into your Gym/classes is downright obsessive. How does this conversation sometimes go?

Girl: “Do you like perfume?”

Trainer: “Uhm, not really, I guess.”

Girl: “Well, you can go fuck yourself then. Have a nice day!”

– Team Rocket, especially in the early days, definitely have their moments of insane evil. Jessie basically wants to commit a terrorist act (planting a huge bomb in the Gym, which not only proves to be enough to destroy the place but also puts the lives of many people and Pokemon, Grass types no less, at risk) because they stamped an X on her face.

– Girl: *while wiping droll off of Gloom’s mouth* “Remember, a pretty Pokemon is a strong Pokemon!” Wow, you guys really are shallow ditzes aren’t you?

– I need to address several issues with this ‘Pokemon Training class.’ First of all, what the hell are they even doing? One of the staff members is exercising a group of Grass Pokemon, which is technically Training, but there aren’t ‘students’ watching or partaking in it.

Another employee is cleaning Gloom’s face which might be a lesson on keeping your Pokemon neat and tidy, but she also makes the stupid statement above, which is a fairly bad lesson to be teaching Pokemon Trainers. (How did my Pokemon lose? It’s so pretty!) And, again, no ‘students’ are watching or helping.

Erika is telling a story to a group of her employees, Misty, Brock and Pikachu and that’s it. There are absolutely no other students besides Brock and Misty. I assume Misty and Brock have enrolled as students but there’s no reason given as to why they did such a thing. Brock may have done it because he gets to be surrounded by pretty girls for a few hours, but why Misty?

Pokemon ep 26 screen 3

Furthermore, why the hell are they having irrelevant storytime with this one ten-year-old, another teenager and a group of her own employees who are all either in their mid-teens or twenties? What does this have to do with Pokemon training? Did they accidentally sign up for Pokemon daycare?

– Erika and Gloom’s backstory is all fine and dandy, but the logistics don’t really add up. Little girl Erika went into what looks like a dark, broken down abandoned house all by herself? Why? It’s understandable that there’s a Grimer there since that’s a typical area where Grimer might hang out, but why is it attacking her?

It’s much less understandable as to why Gloom’s there. It might be part Poison type, but it’s mainly a Grass type. There’s no reason for it to just be wandering aimlessly in this building.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 4

– This line always pissed me off.

Erika: “I accept your challenge! It’s my duty under the league rules!” IT IS, IS IT?! Hoo boy, it sure is a good thing you haven’t been denying his attempts to challenge you this whole episode! And if it’s true that you have to like perfume before you’re allowed entry into the Gym, it sounds like you deny quite a few challenges, Erika.

– It bothers me how arrogant Erika is when she lets out a new Pokemon. Every time, she says ‘This ought to be easy!’ Even when Ash lets out Charmander, which is a big threat just on the type advantage alone.

– Yay! Tangela! Whoo! Call your agent and get more use in the series, please. You’re almost as ignored as the Paras line.

– Uh, Erika….what is Tangela doing? I don’t know if you know this, but Constrict isn’t a move that makes you spin in circles. That doesn’t even make sense.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 5

– Ah, Ash thinking about using a powerful Pokemon (Primeape) only to decide against it because he can’t control it and never trained it. This is annoying, but remember everyone, this is totally the last time it happens.

– While we’re on the subject, remember what I mentioned in the last analysis about not getting used to Primeape?

Wiki – “This episode marks the only appearance of Ash’s Primeape between its capture and departure episodes, although merely in a flashback.” You may repeatedly bash your head against your desk now.

– What exactly leads Erika to believe that Ash has no empathy with his Pokemon? Except maybe that one line where he refuses to take her offer of a Paralyze Heal for Bulbasaur just because he wants to do things for himself.

– Also, more ego.

Erika: “Without it, you’ll never be a great Pokemon Trainer like me!” I honestly don’t remember Erika being this obnoxious, but holy hell she’s an ego-driven, pretentious crazy person.

– Erika: “Now I’m going to give you a lesson in empathy! Gloom, go!” Yes, here’s a lesson in empathy. A putrid stench. I’m starting to wonder if you know what empathy means, Erika.

– Now she’s laughing at Ash for losing. She is a lot different from her game counterpart, isn’t she?

– Actually, Ash, Pidgeotto would be a fantastic choice to combat Gloom. Not only is Grass weak to Flying, but who better to air out a stinky Gym than a Flying Pokemon who can stay above the smell and blow it away with Gust? But oh yeah, keep giving Pikachu all the shots and completely forget Pidgeotto, you little welp.

– Girl: *during the fire and trying to round up the Pokemon* “We’ve gotta catch ‘em all!” No! No, 4Kids, no! Bad 4Kids. Bad!

Pokemon ep 26 screen 6

– Alright, fine – the shot of Pikachu trying to put out the fire with a watering can is adorable.

– So the fire department never showed up? What assholes! You’re about as useless as the police in the Pokemon world.

– Now, in typical pity badge fashion, let’s go over the reasons why him getting one for the Rainbow Badge is stupid.

1) Ash only got the pity badge because he braved a burning building to save Gloom and he managed to show Gloom that he was friendly and could keep it safe. It was very brave and nice of Ash to do that, but that shouldn’t earn him the badge. Partly because of principle and mostly because of reason two….

2) Ash is right – it’s kinda his fault that ever happened to begin with. He was stupid enough to free Team Rocket and fall for their little scheme when, logically, Team Rocket wouldn’t bother keeping up their side of the bargain if he cut them down any other time.

The only reason they’d help him is if they had ulterior motives, which Ash should’ve been able to figure out because the only reason they were up in that tree was because the girls at the Gym found them trying to steal something and kicked them out. Even if they didn’t tell him the reason, it’s not hard to deduce considering who they are and the fact that they had those trademark red Xs on their faces.

You could say they would’ve sneaked in anyway, but there’s no denying that Ash facilitated it here. If Ash were more intelligent and more mature, he’d suck up his pride and apologize to Erika and the girls about what he said and he’d probably be let in.

Instead, he freed a group of criminals who try to steal his Pikachu every week and believed their stupid plan that didn’t even need to involve them. There’s no reason why Ash couldn’t have gone into the Gym alone in his disguise. He didn’t think it odd that his character needed parents to walk her into the building? Which is all they did. They didn’t even sign him/her up like they said they would. He signed himself up.

3) Ash definitely would’ve lost that match, I don’t care what Pikachu ‘said’ to him. He might’ve had a good chance with Pidgeotto, but Ash’s mantra is always ‘Fuck Pidgeotto! Go pop Team Rocket’s balloon!’ Ash himself said Pikachu is trying to battle even though he knows he’ll probably lose. Pikachu just says he’s sure he’ll win without us ever finding out why Pikachu is so confident of that.

4) Pikachu is an especially stupid choice against Gloom because not only are Electric Types not very effective against Grass types, but we’re well aware that Pikachu has a super sensitive nose. He’d be out of the match just breathing in the leftover fumes.

Pokemon ep 26 screen 7

– Notice how Ash has gotten progressively less resistant to these pity badges? When Brock gave him one, he was really reluctant to get it. When Misty’s sisters did it, he was more easily swayed. When Sabrina did it, he only mildly questioned it as he was walking away from the Gym and admiring the new badge. With Erika, he just asks what he’s getting the badge for, Erika says he earned it and Ash is all “Look at my new badge!” I can’t wait until Cinnabar Island, I tell ya what.

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I still hold a nostalgic love of this episode, but giving another look for this review really showcases what a hot mess it is both in the grand scheme and in the little details.

In addition to everything I already covered, they also never revisit the perfume angle. They have the whole first half be about appreciating perfume and having Ash being a rabid anti-perfume advocate and then nearly everything perfume related is dropped in the second half. I don’t even care much for the perfume plot because, in my opinion, both sides were being ridiculously immature and stupid, especially over perfume of all things, but if you’re going to spend that much time on it, why not continue it in the second half?

This plot might make a little more sense if the episode started out with Ash mocking or disliking Gloom based on its disgusting smell (perhaps it could’ve been the mascot for the perfume shop), and her relationship to her Gloom made her so insulted that she banned him from the shop and the Gym. Sure, it’s a bit OOC, but no more than he’s being here.

That way, the moral at the end, which they outright say is not judging a Pokemon by its smell, would be more fitting. He was never judging Gloom for its smell – he was just understandably put off by the stink as a whole. Looking back, that Aesop might actually be trying to apply itself to Ash’s dislike of perfume, but since the perfume is never addressed in the second half, I sincerely doubt it.

I used to find Erika to be just fine as a character and a Trainer, but looking closer at her just shows her to be egotistical, perfume-crazy and just as immature as Ash. I’m convinced that Brock liking her perfume (and her) is the only reason she doesn’t post a ‘No boys allowed’ sign outside.

The battle is fine, but mostly unimpressive for a Gym match. Tangela’s win was half because of a move that isn’t performed properly for the sake of plot convenience. Charmander’s win was predictable and a little boring, and, like I mentioned, with Ash not using Pidgeotto, there’s no way he would’ve legit won against Gloom’s stank. If there is, they never bother to tell anyone, and I can’t think of any way it would’ve been possible without pulling something out of Messiahchu’s ass.

It’s yet another pity badge, which is already major points off, and the only really good point standing is Ash’s heroics during the fire. However, that scene would’ve meant more if he had more interaction with Gloom in the first half.

Next episode, Hypno’s Naptime! It’s time to get….confusing and weird….

Previous Episode…

Pokemon Episode 5 Analysis: The Pewter City Showdown!

Stop being a baby, Pikachu. It’s just a hug.

Character Debuts:

Brock: The Pewter City Gym leader, Brock is a very responsible and caring teenager. His father left him, his mother and various brothers and sisters to go on a Pokemon journey. His mother left—oops I mean died then became a zombie I guess much later, thus he was left as the sole caretaker of his siblings.

Brock is a pretty level headed and knowledgeable individual, unless a pretty girl is around, and he aspires to be a Pokemon breeder. Once his father, Flint, returned and decided to take the reigns on caring for the family, Brock decided to join Ash on his journey so he can develop his skills a Pokemon Breeder. He typically offers plenty of knowledge and advice to Ash while serving as the group’s cook. He’s known for being a great chef both for human and Pokemon food. Though not aspiring to be a Rock Type Master, Brock still does seem to favor Rock types in his roster.

Badge Episode – Boulder Badge: Pewter Gym

Leader: Brock

 

Plot: Ash has arrived in Pewter City and notices a poster about the upcoming Pokemon League Championships on the Pokemon Center wall. In order to enter, you need to travel to various Pokemon Gyms throughout Kanto and defeat the leaders of the Gyms in order to obtain at least eight badges that will later be presented to the league as qualification. Ash gears up to join the tournament, and he’s directed to a Gym right in Pewter City, lead by someone named Brock.

Ash arrives and meets the stone-faced (hehe puns) Brock who accepts his challenge. He starts with the giant Onix while Ash starts with Pikachu. The little yellow mouse is intimidated by the huge snake made of rocks, but agrees to battle anyway. Pikachu’s electric attacks are not powerful enough to harm Onix, so Onix easily gains the upperhand.

Onix binds Pikachu, and Ash finds that he’s unable to recall him, so he’s forced to forfeit before Pikachu gets hurt.

Defeated in more ways than one, Ash laments on his loss as he talks with the mysterious rock salesman, Flint, who explains to him that Brock has an unfortunate situation. His mother ‘died’ and his father left on a Pokemon journey never to return. Thus Brock is left as the sole caretaker of his ten brothers and sisters.

Despite seeing Brock in a different light, Ash still wishes he could find some way to defeat him. Flint offers a suggestion of powering up Pikachu with the local water wheel. It’s dried up, so Ash will have to power through operating it manually like an external hamster wheel. Pikachu bears the pain while being infused with the electricity, and they get ready once again to take Brock on.

The next day, Ash asks for a rematch against Brock. With Misty as well as all of Brock’s sisters and brothers watching, they battle once again.

Brock starts out this time with Geodude while Ash starts off with Pidgeotto. However, Pidgeotto’s almost completely ineffective against Geodude, so Ash is forced to recall it. Ash then sends out Pikachu. Powered up Pikachu is able to take out Geodude with a single blow, but Onix proves he won’t make things that easy.

While Pikachu’s putting up a better fight than before, even damaging the Gym with his power, Onix is still too powerful for him and ends up trapping him in a Bind once more. Brock calls off the attack, this time for fear of hurting Pikachu, but Ash won’t stop the match.

Suddenly the small flames caused by Pikachu’s earlier attacks cause the sprinkler systems to go off, inflicting pain to Onix. Misty points out that Rock Types are weak to water, giving Ash an opportunity to take Onix down.

He attacks with Pikachu once, causing Onix to fall. As Ash is about to make the final blow, he’s held back by Brock’s brothers and sisters who don’t want Brock to continue watching Onix get hurt any further. Ash agrees and says it wouldn’t be fair to continue since Onix was unfairly damaged by the sprinklers so he leaves.

Brock later catches up with him and offers him the Boulder Badge for his kindness towards his Pokemon. Ash accepts, and Brock reveals that he’d rather be a great Pokemon Breeder than a Gym Leader or a trainer, but since he has his brothers and sisters to care for, he can’t follow that dream. He tells Ash to do it for him.

Just then, Flint arrives and reveals himself to be Brock’s estranged father who offers to finally return home and take care of his family while Brock goes off on his own journey. They all depart for the next city and the next Gym with Ash’s shiny new Boulder Badge proudly pinned to his vest.

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– $1,150 is quite a bit for a bowl of rice and a drink. That’s not even counting tips. How did they go from doing such a fantastic job repainting the Pokemon League poster to neglecting to add a decimal point after removing the yen symbol for a dollar sign? If such a tiny detail as the yen symbol was enough to bring out the digital painters, you’d think they’d catch such a thing. Hell, I caught that when I first watched this as a kid.

– With how busy Brock must be, I find it weird that he sometimes sits alone in the dark in his gym. Also, who turned on the spotlight when he first spoke?

– I really, really don’t want to complain about this, but it’s just bugging me. Why did Ash previously have such detailed knowledge of Pokemon League rules before but now he’s completely oblivious as to what Gyms are and how they work? Did he just pick and choose specific details about training to learn by heart?

– The wiki notes that there’s a graphical error before the battle begins where we see Ash’s eyes turn red, but they just look brown to me. It’s technically still a graphical hiccup as, despite the fact that Ash’s eyes are indeed brown, they’re usually colored black unless it’s a particularly detailed closeup. However, I find it weird saying that coloring his eyes their canon color for a change is a ‘mistake’.

– Brock: “As Gym Leader, I have to accept every challenge.” Odd that Dogasu’s comparison doesn’t note this. It’s possible that the original has him say the same thing, but I’m noting this in conjunction with the Rainbow Badge episode where it’s noted that Erika, in the dub, says she’s obligated under league rules to accept all challenges. In the original, she says no such thing and had actually been rejecting Ash’s challenges all day, so the rule seems like bull if it does exist in the original.

– Brock definitely had a bit of a personality change over time, eh? He went from really serious and blunt, almost mocking, to being a pretty goofy skirt chaser. Granted, he’s still very knowledgeable and responsible, but you can really tell the difference in this episode.

– Also, Brock, why are you not shirtless? You’re shaming your game counterpart with your shirt.

– Eric Stuart doesn’t really sound like he has……acting down. I would say Brock’s voice, but he’s just acting pretty poorly in this episode for some reason. He gets better with time but ech.

– Brock: “Such a weak electric attack can’t hurt Onix.” No – no electric attacks period can hurt Onix because it’s part Ground type….

But as we’ll later see, screw that logic. Messiahchu to the rescue!

– It’s understandable to feel like crap when you lose, especially as badly as Ash just did, but come on. He’s had one other trainer match in his entire life, yet he’s acting like his career is over after one loss.

– Ash: “Yeah but why has he never been in a regional championship himself?” Who said he hasn’t? Also, I’m really unclear as to how Gym Leaders are chosen. The wiki says it varies greatly either from region to region or Gym to Gym but you’d think there would be some solid rules considering they’re all under official League contracts. How did Brock prove himself to be good enough to be a Gym Leader? How did Misty? They’re not really particularly strong when you view them against other Gym leaders in the region or even the whole Pokemon world, so it’s just confusing to me.

– Behold! 4Kids purposely adding in character death for no reason! Join us in about seven years during Pokemon Chronicles where Zombie-Brock’s Mom makes an appearance.

– I would ask why doesn’t Flint tell Ash that Electric vs. part Ground is pointless, but in this episode it doesn’t seem to matter much anyway. Weird how they pay such attention to the type advantages and disadvantages from the game that it actually made them goof a couple times, yet they get this completely obvious fact wrong just to give Pikachu more limelight. Granted, neither Butterfree nor Pidgeotto would have a good shot either, they’re both weak to Rock types, but still better than a Pokemon who, by all logic, should have no effect on any of Brock’s Pokemon.

– That’s right, kids. If you want to get a badg -; don’t go out there and train. That’s for morons! Instead, torture your Pokemon by hooking them up to generators and pumping raw electricity through their bodies!

Don’t try to tell me that this isn’t hurting Pikachu. They make a point to show that it’s really painful. I especially find it stupid that Ash is like ‘I can bear moving a waterwheel with my feet as long as you bear having electricity forcibly fed into your body.’

– Do I even need to bring up how cheat-y this seems? I mean, I know there are items in the games that can improve your Pokemon’s attributes, but this is just a big fat shortcut to, as Flint puts it, ‘Superpowering’ Pikachu. The power wasn’t earned, it was taken.

– Flying types pointed out as being weak against Rock → Rock (Geodude) easily wins.

Electric types have no effect on Ground types → Beats Geodude (Part Ground type) easily with one electric attack.

😐

– Brock: “It looks like you’ve trained it better.” Last I checked, training did not involve booster cables. Also, does he really believe he trained Pikachu that much better in one night?

– His electric attacks are hurting Onix too. Pfft.

– Misty, why are you telling him to cheat?…even more than he already was? I know he realizes this is wrong later, but A) he still attacked anyway, B) He was going to finish it off before Brock’s brothers and sisters intervened and C) Misty’s still encouraging him to do this.

Onix getting hurt by the sprinkler system is an accident – taking advantage of an accident during a match is just as bad as cheating. To put it into perspective, imagine you’re battling a Grass type and someone threw a lit cigarette on it, causing it to burst into flames. Or imagine if a Water type accidentally stepped on a live electrical wire. Would you take advantage of that and overtake them in battle or stop the match immediately? That should be common sense not an after-after-thought.

– Onix is also basically ‘finished’ before Ash tries to attack again, so this just seems cruel.

– Misty: “*sighs* Just when he finally gets a lucky break, he decides to be a nice guy too.” Wha, did you want him to be an asshole? What’s wrong with you?

– Brock: “No, you beat me both in battle and in being kind to Pokemon.” No, he didn’t beat you in either. If he beat you in battle, it would’ve been because he cheated – twice. And he wasn’t particularly kind considering he was going to attack your already beaten Onix. In competition there, you released Pikachu from the Bind earlier and gave him an out to surrender before Pikachu got hurt. He didn’t beat you in any way, shape or form.

– And thus starts the line of Indigo League pity badges. Hooray.

– How is Ash supposed to fulfill Brock’s dream of being the greatest Pokemon breeder for him if Ash is a Pokemon trainer? Also, why can’t Brock become a great breeder at home if he can still be a gym leader?

– Why did Flint need to wear a fake beard as a disguise? Couldn’t he just grow one?

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I……pretty much hate this episode. Okay ‘hate’ may be a strong word, but I don’t really like it. I like the introduction to Brock, and Flint is one of the funnier minor characters, but Ash essentially cheats, twice, even if he decided to finally stop at the end, with interference mind you, and Misty encourages him to cheat.

Team Rocket’s role, while being the first pitfall trap they’ve made, is completely minor and not funny. They don’t even come face to face with Ash and Co. all episode, they just get stepped on by them at the end and appear for a couple minutes at the beginning, which I don’t really mind, but still. If they played such a small role, why include them at all? Note how I didn’t include them at all in the synopsis – they’re that minor here.

It’s not just the cheating that bothers me either – it’s just uncomfortable that Ash was that okay with pumping Pikachu full of electricity instead of just saying ‘well, guess I need to train more.’ Ya know…like anyone else would.

Or hell ‘Maybe I need to train more and catch more than three Pokemon.’ That would work too. He doesn’t even second guess this. He’s excited about doing it. Was it a big emergency that Ash had to beat Brock as soon as possible? Pikachu agreed to do it, but it still just doesn’t sit right with me.

Plus, like I said, this is the first of many ‘pity badges’ that Ash gets in the Indigo League. In fact, let’s crack out his legit badge earnings right here. X is pity, O is earned.

Pewter City (Boulder Badge) – X

Cerulean City (Cascade Badge) – X (Though, I do agree that Ash would’ve won easily had Pikachu agreed to fight. However, the mere fact that Pikachu refused to fight is sorta a testament to his skill as a trainer, isn’t it?)

Vermillion City (Thunder Badge) – O

Celadon City (Rainbow Badge) – X

Fuchsia City (Soul Badge) – O

Saffron City (Marsh Badge) – X

Cinnabar Island (Volcano Badge) – O (In fact, I adore that Blaine was like ‘Hell no! You still have to battle me, idiot!’ when Ash asks if he earned a badge by helping Blaine with his Gym. It was a slap to the entire concept of pity badges.)

Viridian City (Earth Badge) – X (To a degree. He did beat Team Rocket, but he didn’t technically earn the badge properly. He never faced Giovanni, who is the actual Gym leader, leading to more confusion about how Gym leaders are chosen, plus he definitely would’ve lost if he was faced against Mewtwo. Just because Team Rocket had stronger Pokemon doesn’t make them more of a challenge. They’re still the same idiots Ash beats all the time. So, this one’s on the line, but it still counts)

I’m so glad this stops after the Indigo League.

Next episode, Clefairy and the Moon Stone. Ash and the others go through Mt. Moon on their way to Cerulean City for Ash’s next Gym Match. They meet the stranger Seymour (The Scientist) who is researching the Clefairy found on the mountain as well as the mysterious Moon Stone.

Previous Episode…