Pokemon Episode 21 Analysis: Bye Bye Butterfree

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

Departures: Ash’s Butterfree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misty: “Dexter’s never been in love.”

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

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

What the fuck?

Brock: “You mean it?”

Misty: “Sure do! That’s love!”

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

What. The. Fuck.

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

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

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

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

You’re following them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bye bye, Butterfree.

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

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Pokemon Episode 17 Analysis: Island of the Giant Pokemon

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CotD(s): None

Plot: Following the events of the previous episode, Ash, Misty, Brock and Team Rocket are hurdled through the sky following Gyarados’ Dragon Rage attack. Ash, Misty and Brock manage to survive the fall and find themselves on a beach in the middle of nowhere. Worse yet, Pikachu is missing and so are Ash’s Pokeballs. Team Rocket also managed to survive the attack, not surprising considering they get blasted off every week, but find that Meowth is missing as well as Jessie’s Ekans and James’ Koffing.

Pikachu finds the Pokeballs of Squirtle, Charmander and Bulbasaur and the group tries to find their way back to Ash and the others. Meowth, Ekans and Koffing later join them, avoiding the conflict of their trainers by claiming that Pokemon are only bad when their masters are.

Later, they discuss their situation by a campfire, but are interrupted when a giant Rhydon starts attacking. Meanwhile, Ash and others also find themselves on the receiving end of an attack by a giant Zapdos while Jessie and James find themselves at the mercy of a giant Moltres.

The Pokemon all gather at a local Slowbro’s food stand to lament in the loss of their trainers over dinner. The next morning, everyone, Pokemon and human alike, prepare to set out to find each other. Jessie and James use the telephone booth that they found earlier to contact Giovanni and ask him for assistance. However, since Jessie and James screw off and do their motto first, he quickly hangs up on them. They decide to pull themselves along by the phone cord in hopes of reaching the phone company.

Meanwhile, the Pokemon try to get some help by the local giant Pokemon by approaching the evolved forms of Squirtle and Bulbasaur, Blastoise and Venusaur, hoping to establish a familial connection. However, their efforts are in vain.

Team Rocket escapes from a giant Kabutops and Pikachu in a railcar, but panic when the railcar ends up traveling back the way they came. Luckily, the phone cord James has been carrying wraps itself around the giant Kabutops’ leg and drags it with the car. Ash, Misty and Brock end up falling into the railcar when it crashes into the bridge they were standing on, and the resulting carnage grabs the giant Pikachu along for the ride as well.

As their paths converge, Ash catches sight of his Pokemon being chased by the remaining giant Pokemon. They manage to jump into the cart, but there’s a problem. They’re out of control and will inevitably crash soon. The cable snaps, and the cart is hurdled through the air, causing it to crash into the Zapdos, which is revealed to be a giant robot, same with the other giant Pokemon on the island.

The group finally plunges into the water, and passing ferry reveals that the island is actually a theme park called Pokemon Land, which Giovanni actually runs. And he’s none too happy about his park being destroyed.

Later, Ash and the others get back on their journey and arrive at the beautiful beach town, Porta Vista, ready to take a well-deserved vacation after everything that has happened to them lately.

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– I find it weird that Ash, Misty and Brock stayed together after that, especially since they made a big to-do in the beginning of the episode about them losing their grips on each others’ hands, same for Jessie and James, yet Ash’s Pokeballs and Pikachu got flung however many miles away. Also, we saw Staryu, Starmie and Goldeen get taken up in the cyclone as well yet they’re never seen being recovered in the start of the episode. Guess they died and Misty caught new ones while they were looking for the other Pokemon. Convenient as they’re right by the water.

– We’re STILL using the Pokemon logo to say ‘Pokemon’ in the title screen?

– I love how that Krabby finds two dead bodies in the sand and his first reaction is ‘Sweet! I get to pinch dead bodies!’

– So Jessie got her Ekans for her birthday and James got his Koffing for Christmas…..I guess that begs the question of who gave them those Pokemon?

– Irrelevant but the random phone booth on the beach reminds me a lot of Digimon. This probably preceded Digimon, but still.

– While this episode does have the charm of finally understanding what the Pokemon are saying, I’m disappointed in several aspects.

1) They never do an episode like this again. I can’t imagine the chore of reading subtitles would be that big of an issue, and this provides so many opportunities for new stories. Plus, actually being able to understand the Pokemon sometimes allows us to better understand their personality traits. Like, gee, it sure would be nice to get to know Pidgeotto’s true personality.

2) Pidgeotto and Butterfree, as well as all of Brock’s Pokemon, are missing from this episode. It’s a little more understandable that Goldeen, Staryu and Starmie are missing, considering they’re corpses in the sand now, plus Goldeen wouldn’t have been able to travel on the land and hearing Staryu’s ‘Hiya!’s and Starmie’s ‘*sighs*’ would’ve been grating.

3) Come on, give Pidgeotto some love.

4) I really would’ve liked to have heard how Butterfree felt after being traded. I mean, I’m sure he’s somehow aware he was traded and that must be emotionally trying to be suddenly taken away from your trainer and given to some stranger. It was only for a short time, but it’s an emotional and psychological aspect of the show that I would’ve liked some insight into. Come on, imagine if you were best friends with someone and suddenly they decided to trade you to some weird man for a giant rat that you were beating up earlier.

– Slowpoke will never not be entertaining to me.

– This episode also further highlights Charmander’s kind personality before he suddenly shift gears as Charmeleon and Charizard. Now I really want an episode where we get subtitles in the scenes where Charmeleon and Charizard are being dicks for the sake of comparison.

Squirtle and Bulbasaur’s personalities are also further explored here. Squirtle is playful and a bit mischievous while also being laid back. He also has plenty of faith in Ash as he refuses to believe that he would forget about them.

Bulbasaur shows that he may still have a bit of a bitter after taste in the thought of trusting humans as he’s the one who suggests that Ash forgot them in the first place. Even after the others try to convince him otherwise, he only says that ‘maybe’ Ash isn’t that way. I really really really want to know what Bulbasaur’s backstory is after hearing him speak, since he seems to have a very interesting past. Too bad they’ll never explain….

Charmander visibly gets worried at the prospect of Ash abandoning them. This doesn’t really show that Charmander distrusts Ash, but that he’s still worried about being abandoned given his past with Damian. He also comforts Ekans and Koffing by assuring them that Jessie and James are looking for them, even though, by all intents and purposes, he has every reason to believe that they’re mean enough to abandon their Pokemon.

However, I do have to point out the depressing fact that Jessie and James really aren’t concerned about Ekans and Koffing or even Meowth for that matter. They acknowledge that they’re missing, but after the initial scene, they never bring them up again. Their whole focus after that point is getting off the island, not looking for their Pokemon.

– I like how Charmander’s using his tail flame as a lantern again.

– Meowth: “That means I can finally get my revenge!” Revenge…for….what? Saving your ass from drowning in the hallways of the St. Anne? Helping you find a way out of the sinking St. Anne? Saving your ass from drowning in the ocean? Letting you share a raft with them? Sure Pikachu was disappointed that Meowth didn’t die in the ocean (Which, by the way, is still messed up, Pikachu) but Meowth didn’t see that little snap of his fingers.

– You really gotta love Koffing’s perpetually doofy grinning face.

– I kinda call BS on the whole ‘no Pokemon is bad, they only have bad trainers’ thing. Considering Pokemon seem to all have their own personalities, temperaments and most of them seem pretty intelligent, it’s unrealistic to assume that there’s not at least a few jackasses in the bunch.

I guess Meowth’s self-analysis also combats this, but Meowth’s shown time and again that he’s not all that bad.

– It’s nice that we also get a look into the personalities of Ekans and Koffing because, let’s face it, they don’t get really any focus, character wise, at all, really. Until much much much later anyway. All we know about them is that they’re Team Rocket’s Pokemon. Although, I do find it weird that Ekans and Koffing have such an odd manner of speech. They’re not dumb, they just talk like cavemen.

The fact that Koffing and Ekans are actually quite kind Pokemon is both surprising and a welcome twist. It would’ve just been every other Pokemon episode just with the Pokemon acting out the human parts if Koffing and Ekans ended up actually being evil.

– I believe the whole ‘My master’s not around’ thing that Meowth says is dub-exclusive, but I do have to consider the theory that he was once Giovanni’s Pokemon, considering he’s always saying how he wants to be ‘top cat’ again.

– That cutaway to Ekans and Koffing drinking tea is hilarious.

– Squirtle incorrectly says ‘our masters are gone, too.’ Since the only Pokemon there are Ash’s, it should just be ‘Our master is gone too.’ Yay grammar!

– I love Bulbasaur’s face in this shot.

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Looks like he’s doing a Ricky Ricardo impression.

– These giant Pokemon are robots. So why are they not only on but also actively traversing the island in the middle of the night?

– Okay, letting the giant Pokemon robots wander the theme park on off-hours….I can stomach that, even though it would be a huge safety risk, liability and drain on power. But why the hell would you give these robots working attacks? Zapdos has lightning shooting from it, Blastoise can use Hydro Pump, and Moltres and Charizard can use Flamethrower. What’s even worse is that they’re actively seeking people out to attack.

I would say this is just a Team Rocket scheme, but they’re trying to make legitimate money off the place. Having a bunch of patrons killed in your theme park by giant flame-wielding, water shooting, lightning spouting Pokemon is a good way to lose money on all sorts of lawsuits, get time in prison and possibly get the organization investigated.

– I love how 4Kids doesn’t cut out the scene where Bulbasaur and Meowth are very obviously drunk.

– Also, it’s very trippy to see a scene with a bunch of Pokemon wallowing in depression while also getting drunk. It’s even worse considering that 4Kids doesn’t add any subtitles here. The Bulbagarden comparison noted that it’s all mostly incoherent stuff in the Japanese version, but seeing it without any subtitles is just weird, especially considering how long they linger on the final shot.

– I like how the music for the Team Rocket theme is coming from the phone.

– It’s nice that Squirtle and Charmander are courteous enough to call for Misty and Brock too instead of focusing their attention on Ash.

– I love Bulbasaur trying to play the stoic tortured hero in an effort to avoid talking to Venusaur.

– There’s no way that dinky railcar has enough power to pull a giant robot Kabutops…

– Notice how the Pikachu robot is the only one not chasing or attacking anyone? Wouldn’t want to besmirch Messiahchu’s good name.

– Why the hell would there be a random loop-de-loop in an otherwise normal set of train tracks?

– Despite not actively looking for them, James’ face when he gets Koffing back is pretty heartwarming. Too bad Jessie’s too out of it in panic to care about Ekans. It’s made up for when you see them both crying happy tears later on. Ekans’ smiling and content face as Jessie pats him just makes it all the better.

– I love how Team Rocket is obviously disappointed that Meowth came back. It’s a bit mean, but it’s played up for laughs and you know they really care about him.

– The scene where James, Jessie and Meowth predict what will happen as they go out of control is just great. They’ve become so good at being failures that they can accurately predict every single thing that will happen during the crash.

All in all, this was a really great episode. Disappointed and confused on some levels, but it’s a great break from the norm, explores territory we haven’t explored before (and never will again….) and has plenty of heartwarming and funny moments. It’s actually a lot better than I remembered as I thought the St. Anne trilogy petered off at this episode.

Next episode is the infamous first banned, yet not really entirely banned, Beauty and the Beach episode. Will FiddleTwix go the extra mile and review the original version to get all that James boobage the audience wants so much? Find out next time on Pokemon Ball Z!

Pokemon Episode 11 Analysis – Charmander The Stray Pokemon

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CotD: Damian – A pile of dog crap that calls itself a Pokemon trainer, Damian uses and abuses his Pokemon like tools. He doesn’t even care of one of his most loyal Pokemon dies if they’re seen as weak and useless in his eyes. He’s one of the few examples of a bad person in the Pokemon world who really doesn’t get much in terms of comeuppance outside of getting a quick burn by Charmander. Also, for some reason, he’s Australian in the dub.

Pokemon: He has lots of Pokemon according to his Pokeball count. He used to own Charmander, but he’s not seen using anyone else.

Reappear? No, thank god. However, it should be noted that he does appear, in a more polished fashion, later on in Best Wishes! In a flashback.

Pokemon debuts – Ash’s Charmander: Charmander has a rough backstory in that he was previously owned by a trainer who only cared about power in a Pokemon. He didn’t care about befriending them or respecting their feelings at all. His trainer, Damian, left him to die on a rock by tricking him into thinking he’d return, but Charmander refused to leave. After realizing how much of an ass Damian was, Charmander decided to be Ash’s Pokemon since he and his friends made the effort to rescue him. Despite being a fiercely loyal and powerful Pokemon in Ash’s roster, he eventually developed severe behavior problems when he evolved into Charmeleon and eventually Charizard.

Plot: Still lost in the woods on the way to Vermillion City, Ash and the others come across a Charmander laying on a rock. Ash is excited to capture one, but Misty and Brock point out that it’s in rough shape and will need to go to a Pokemon Center immediately after Ash captures it. Ash attempts the capture, but Charmander swats the Pokeball away. He tries again, and is able to get it into the ball, but the capture is unsuccessful.

In an effort to figure out what Charmander’s deal is, Pikachu speaks with it. Through charades, Pikachu tells Ash that Charmander actually has an owner and he’s waiting on the rock for him to return. Under the realization that the Charmander has an owner, the group finds it best to leave it be while hoping the trainer returns soon.

Later, Ash, Misty and Brock reach the Pokemon Center just in time to dodge a storm. Meanwhile, Charmander tries its best to keep its tail flame lit since extinguishing it results in the death of any of the Char evolution line.

Brock continues to worry about the Charmander, and his worries are soon realized when a nearby Pokemon trainer, named Damian, starts openly bragging about how he abandoned his Charmander for being too weak and laughs about how he tricked him into thinking he’d come back for him.

Brock, enraged by Damian’s cruelty, walks up to him and demands that he go back and get Charmander. Damian vehemently refuses, and a huge battle between Ash, Misty, Brock as well as Damian and his friends nearly starts before Nurse Joy shows up and reminds them that Pokemon battles are not to be used to settle personal disputes.

Damian and his friends leave and Brock and the others rush off to save Charmander before his tail flame goes out.

Charmander is suddenly attacked by a flock of Spearow until he is saved by Ash, Misty and Brock. They barely make it to the Pokemon center in time and Joy gets to work on treating Charmander.

After several hours of tense waiting, Joy emerges to share the good news that Charmander will be fine after a night of rest. The next morning, the group realizes that Charmander escaped from the Pokemon center in the middle of the night to go back to the rock to wait for Damian. Ash and Brock want to go get him back, but Misty and Joy explain that they can’t force Charmander to go with them or forget Damian. Brock and Ash resign and the group leaves the Pokemon center hoping that Charmander will soon realize that Damian’s not coming back and eventually return to the wild.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket uses their super duper new hole-digging machine to create another pitfall trap for the group in order to capture Pikachu. They capture Ash and the others in the hole while Team Rocket captures Pikachu in a rubber balloon.

As they’re about to leave, Charmander shows up and demands that they release Pikachu. When they refuse, Charmander Flamethrowers them and they run away.

Damian suddenly returns for Charmander after seeing it defeat Team Rocket. He claims that his abandoning it was for the better since it toughened it up and made it a worthwhile Pokemon without him even needing to bother raising it. Brock and the others try to convince Charmander that it’s not worth going with Damian since he only cares about winning matches and doesn’t care about Charmander. Damian tries to force Charmander back into his Pokeball, but Charmander swats it away with his tail causing it to smack into Damian’s face. Damian attempts to throw out numerous Pokemon to force Charmander to go back with him, but Charmander and Pikachu deliver a nice dose of Flamethrower and Thunderbolt to Damian causing him to run away.

Once Damian is defeated, Charmander turns to Ash and Brock. Brock decides to step aside and let Ash capture Charmander since he knows he’ll raise it well and have plenty of great matches with it (Well, half of that statement was true anyway). Ash captures Charmander, and they all continue on their journey to Vermillion City with their new fiery friend along for the ride.

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– We’re still using the Pokemon logo when we say ‘Pokemon’ in the title screen? I really thought that was a one or two-shot deal, yet it continues…

– Seems really weird to me that Ash and Misty are considering battling Charmander to capture it when they are already well aware that it’s weak and/or sick/injured. That’s like seeing a weak deer in the forest, wondering how to get it to a vet and then thinking it’d be a good idea to sic a coyote on it to make it easier.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to try and get the local Nurse Joy out to treat it? Or maybe try to find an Officer Jenny to help get to a Pokemon Center considering these types of things seem to be somewhat under her job description? They have several options available to them but they just decide that since Charmander’s being so difficult that they’ll just leave it there.

– Misty: “I think this Charmander has an attitude problem.” Wha….no way. There is no way that they actually foreshadowed Charmeleon and Charizard’s behavior problems this early….No way….right? Hm.

– Brock: “Hey Ash, why don’t you try to figure out what Pikachu’s trying to say?” Hey Brock, he was totally already doing that, pay attention.

– While I love Maddie Blaustein’s portrayal of Meowth, she is just so awkward as Damian. And I really don’t know why he was made to be Australian either.

– I know that Damian is a totally over-exaggerated antagonist, but I really do hate this guy. If you really want to piss me off as quickly as possible, animal (or in this case, Pokemon) abuse will do the trick. Laughing about animal abuse will make a few veins in my face pop up to say ‘hi’. Laughing about the possibility that the animal is dead (which they actually do here, holy crap) is white hot flash of rage.

– Not only all that, but he pronounces Charmander as ‘Charminder’, and that bugs me a lot more than it should.

– I know its still early in 4Kids’ career so hearing ‘die’ over and over in this episode shouldn’t be that noteworthy, but it really does seem like Charmander is the exception to the rule when it comes to talking about death.

– Ah, the 90’s, when ‘nerd’ was a valid random insult. Nowadays you have to go on the Internet and find a poorly prepared troll to get that insult thrown at you.

– I honestly don’t know why Brock and the others are trying to demand that Damian take Charmander back. I mean, it’s quite obvious that this guy is a complete asshole who likely abuses what Pokemon he actually keeps, if his laughter at abandonment and possible death by neglect are any indication. Why would they want Charmander to go back with him? He abandoned him. Just go back and get him. I know Charmander’s super loyal and wants to stay on that rock no matter what, but if it’s a matter of life and death, just go and grab him.

– Speaking of which, how do wild Charmander deal with nearly dying at every rain shower?

– Nice faces in this shot.

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>^<

– Okay, is there ever an instance where Spearow aren’t a bunch of complete jerks? I am legitimately curious.

– I don’t know why, but it’s bothering me that Team Rocket’s voices aren’t muffled in those anti-Pikachu suits.

– I get the science behind the rubber balloon capturing Pikachu, to a degree, but how is it following him? Static?

– Ah, it’s so nice to see that it’s never too early in the series for Ash and the others to completely forget that they have other Pokemon besides Pikachu. Bulbasaur could Vine Whip them out of the hole. Pidgeotto could pop the balloon and tear holes in Team Rocket’s suits, which they aren’t even wearing after they capture Pikachu so that makes it even easier. Onix could make a staircase/ladder out of the hole. Staryu or Starmie could fill the hole up with water with their Water Guns and they could swim out. That would take a long time, but I needed another viable example.

– Another instance of the skeleton showing up when someone’s electrocuted.

– What the….did Damian’s other Pokemon just disintegrate after the Flamethrower and Thunderbolt? One second he’s holding like 100 Pokeballs over his head, defying the laws of physics I think, then after the attack the Pokeballs are just gone.

– Ash’s first capture not involving a battle. Definitely won’t be the last.

Two down and one to go in the Kanto starter trilogy, and this episode, despite being the most memorable, does have a few big problems with it. It does seem really weird that they set up the entire episode like Brock will get Charmander in the end, yet Ash gets it. Why? Because he kept his tail flame from going out. Yeah, he deserves Charmander for holding a jacket over its tail and watching it. I’m not saying it wasn’t kind, I’m just a little confused.

Brock was the one who carried it away. Brock was the one worrying like crazy over it even when Ash and Misty had mostly gotten over it. Brock was the one who nearly beat up Damian and demanded he return to Charmander. He was the one we kept cutting away to with worrying thoughts of Charmander. Misty had about as much to do here as Ash did, so why does Ash get him?

One reason; because Brock is or will eventually become such an inert character that Charmander would rarely come out and we’d never get Charizard. Giving him to Ash is the only way that we’d see Charmander on a regular basis and eventually get Charizard.

Even so, why couldn’t they have had Charmander and Brock have a little bit of a friendship? A special connection? Something? Brock and Charmander don’t act any more friendly to each other than Brock and any other of Ash or Misty’s Pokemon.

Also, this episode just really brings to light the confusion behind Charmeleon and eventually Charizard’s later behavior issues. Ash and the others were Charmander’s supposedly first actual loving connections with humans, and it was one of Ash’s most loyal Pokemon. Then it evolves into Charmeleon and suddenly its entire personality changes. It becomes an insufferable ass who constantly reminds us that Ash is an idiot trainer.

I mean, neglect, possible abuse and abandonment would probably do a number on you, emotionally and mentally, but it was just so jarring. No other Pokemon I can think of had such a drastic change of personality merely because of evolution, but then again I haven’t remained current on the series in years.

It is a thing in the games that training a Pokemon with a level higher than your training abilities, indicated by your badge numbers, will mean they will disobey you. Though that’s something I never had happen since I don’t think I ever entered into that situation. However, Ash gets all of his badges, goes through some of the Indigo League tournament and even most of the Orange League before Charizard finally listens, but that’s a mini-rant for another day.

Finally, while I can believe full heartedly that people this asshole-ish exist, Damian is a really bad character. He’s so hammy, they’d probably serve him for Christmas dinner. His dialogue, the way he looks, the way he acts, especially his voice, just everything. Also, early Kanto seems to have a real issue with horrible accents.

I do like this episode, though. I love Charmander, the story is believable, sad and memorable, and it was a darker episode than normal dealing with possible death, Pokemon abandonment/neglect/abuse and even a near fist fight. It’s just not a great episode as a whole, though.

Next episode, the end of our Kanto starter trilogy; the Squirtle Squad! Prepare for a really silly threat, a weird hostage situation, darker themes yet again and the first appearance of unedited guns on Pokemon!

Pokemon Episode 10 Analysis: Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village

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

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

Reappears?: No

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

Plot: Lost in the forest yet again, Ash and the others take a break only to stumble upon an Oddish. Ash and Misty both want to capture the Oddish, and Misty shoves Ash aside to capture it herself. She pits her Starmie against it and manages to weaken it but as she’s about to capture it in a Pokeball, the ball is suddenly batted away. A Bulbasaur has suddenly appeared to protect the Oddish from the capture and it quickly does away with Starmie. Ash, excited about a new prospect of capturing a Bulbasaur, sends out Butterfree to attack.

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

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

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

They spring yet another trap which lands them in a net stuck in a tree. They see the same Bulbasaur down below who gives them a glance before walking away. Later, Brock returns safe and sound to save Misty and Ash from the trap. Brock explains that he was saved from the river by a beautiful girl and brings Ash and Misty to her Pokemon village where she nurses sick and injured Pokemon back to health in the hopes of returning them to the wild some day.

Ash, Misty and Brock decide to help out at the village for a while, and Misty makes amends with the Oddish she attacked earlier. While Misty is talking to Oddish, Ash pops up to tease her, causing Misty to yell at him. Bulbasaur suddenly Tackles Misty and knocks her to the ground. Ash, fed up with Bulbasaur, decides to finish their battle from earlier, but Melanie stops him. She explains that Bulbasaur has offered to be the guardian of the entire village, and he only acts so aggressively when he thinks someone is a threat to the Pokemon there. When Misty yelled at Ash, Bulbasaur took that as a threat to Oddish and started defending it.

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

Team Rocket shows up, and using a giant flying baseball stadium with a giant vacuum hose, they start sucking up all of the Pokemon. Brock, Melanie and Misty take all of the Pokemon into the cabin, but Oddish nearly gets captured. Its saved by Bulbasaur, and Ash assists it in carrying Oddish back to the cabin. Bulbasaur and Ash team up to take Team Rocket down with Bulbasaur swatting away the vacuum hose and Ash using Pidgeotto’s Gust to combat the vacuum winds and create a tornado to whisk Team Rocket away.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mean, the pit in the ground and the net, I guess those aren’t that bad because as long as she checks them very regularly then there’s no terrible harm done to the people wandering around. But the bridge being rigged? That’s really dangerous! What if a handicapped person or a person who can’t swim was going across that bridge? Hell, even someone who can swim would likely have trouble staying afloat in that current.

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

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

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

– Why is Ash mocking Misty for falling into the pit trap earlier? 1) He and Misty both got snared in a trap after that and 2) he falls into Team Rocket’s pit traps all the time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ah, the Kanto starter arc. I think most people agree that, in order, the best episodes are Charmander, Squirtle then Bulbasaur, with most of the debacle going on between Charmander and Squirtle’s episode positions, but we’ll jump that hurdle when we get to it. Bulbasaur’s episode, to me, is perfectly fine. I can’t really think of anything seriously wrong with it, but it’s just not horribly interesting is all. It doesn’t have the excitement or fun or Squirtle’s episode and it doesn’t have the emotional impact of Charmander’s, which is a shame because, like I said, out of all of Ash’s original team, Bulbasaur stuck around the longest with him being a regular member through even half of Johto. He also has a great English voice even if it’s a little rough here.

I would’ve liked less time to be spent with the traps and more time to be spent on exactly why Bulbasaur dislikes Pokemon trainers. He doesn’t have to have the same abusive trainer backstory of Charmander, but maybe explain like a bunch of troublemaker trainers frequent the woods or something and they tend to harass the Pokemon. That would both explain why Bulbasaur dislikes trainers and why the traps are so necessary. It’s a shame because Bulbasaur is such an interesting Pokemon in terms of its personality and you really have to wonder what happened to him to make him that way, but we never get told.

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

Pokemon Episode Analysis -Episode 9: The School of Hard Knocks

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C(s)otD – Joe: A student of Pokemon Tech, Joe’s skills are graded as being on par with someone who has two badges. Despite this, he frequently makes himself seem less skilled than he is, somewhat embarrassingly so, in order to prevent being forced to work even harder than he already is by his fellow students. Joe has a big crush on one of Pokemon Tech’s beginner class’s best students, Giselle.

Reappear? No.

Pokemon – He is only shown using a Weepinbell, but it’s unclear whether it’s actually his or the school’s.

Giselle – An egotistical (and bitchy) girl that all the guys pine after, Giselle is the top student of the beginner class of Pokemon Tech. She looks down on Joe and even the three Ashketeers believing herself to be much more knowledgeable and skilled than they are due to her high scores and impressive knowledge of Pokemon.

Reappear? No.

Pokemon – Giselle is seen using both a Graveller and a Cubone, but again it’s unclear whether these Pokemon belong to her or the school.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock wander through the forest (well, get used to that sight) through a dense veil of fog. As they stop for a rest, Ash goes off to find some firewood and stumbles upon a group of kids ‘testing’ another kid, named Joe, on Pokemon trivia while he runs on a treadmill.

Joe falters throughout the test and ends up failing in the end. Ash and Misty run to his defense, but the other kids snub them and go back to school at Pokemon Tech.

Brock and Misty explain that Pokemon Tech is a prestigious school for aspiring Pokemon trainers. If they graduate, they are allowed immediate admittance into the Pokemon League without traveling to get the eight badges necessary.

Ash, enraged at a school that is basically a shortcut for rich kids to get into the Pokemon league without doing the real work of traveling and learning by doing, demands to go to the school only to have the fog clear revealing that they’ve been feet from the school the entire time and that the school was the one emitting the fog.

Joe explains to the group how difficult the school is and the hierarchy of their classes. Beginner class students are equal to someone with two badges, intermediate is equal to four and advanced is equal to six while graduates are equal to eight. While Ash again tries to defend his method of training and boasts that he has two badges, Joe says even he at his moderate level in the beginner group is better than someone with two legit badges and even believes Misty is a pushover because she specializes in Water Types and has beaten them in simulations several times.

Misty gets up to plate at this statement and demands to have a real Pokemon battle for Cerulean City Gym’s honor. Joe uses a Weepinbell, banking on the type advantage, while Misty uses Starmie. Despite the type advantage and confidence, Weepinbell is defeated easily to Joe’s confusion.

The top student of the beginner class, equal to someone with three badges, and creator of the harsh training techniques that go on at the school, Giselle, shows up to explain that even with a type advantage Misty’s a gym leader thus her Pokemon are stronger and have more battle experience, which made the battle one-sided even with the type advantage.

She further proves this by knocking Starmie out, literally, with a Graveller. Hearing of Ash’s exploits as a trainer, he tries to prove himself only to be mocked for his lack of progress over two months and seeming lack of skill and knowledge of Pokemon.

Angered at her insults, Ash challenges Giselle to a match. Pikachu vs. Cubone. The match is pretty one-sided with Cubone easily coming out on top each time. However, Ash basically tells Pikachu to go ballistic since he believes the use of Cubone’s bone to be underhanded. Pikachu, with some trickery and a hearty can of whupass manages to beat Cubone and proves Giselle wrong.

Team Rocket show up to cause trouble, but are easily taken care of by the students of Pokemon Tech with a barrage of Pokeballs.

Giselle has learned her lesson and so has Joe. They agree to start their own journeys and finally become friends. With hopes of battling each other again in the future, the group leaves the school and continues on their journey to Vermillion City.

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– Nice paint job on the cup, 4Kids. How many highlighters did it take for you guys to do that?

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– Student 1: “We don’t fight.”

Student 2: “Fighting is for cavemen. We’re not in the stone age, ya know?”

You guys are aware that you’re in a school dedicated to teaching kids on the art of Pokemon Battling IE fighting, right? Or is fighting only sophisticated when you’re making animals do it?

– Oh come on, guys. I know text is evil and everything, but you can at least make an effort at making the blurred out replacement text look A LITTLE like the words Brock is supposedly reading.

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Let’s see if I can decipher any of that. Ahem….Po limo ice…..gurdooh cul. Outside of Po from Kung Fu Panda wanting a limo made of ice, it’s complete gibberish.

– So wait, Pokemon Tech can control the weather? Slow your roll, Kanto, Castform won’t be around for a few more years.

– I really do like the idea of a Pokemon school that allows you to bypass all the traveling. It appears to be really difficult so while it’s technically a shortcut, it’s by no means easy. The fact that only rich kids can attend kinda rubs me the wrong way, though. My main problem with this is, how do the students get the Pokemon? You need to actually have legit experience TRAINING a Pokemon and catching them to be a good Pokemon TRAINER. Do they just get Pokemon handed to them by the school or are there times when the students are sent off to catch and train their own Pokemon? Because it really seems like it’s 99% books and simulations and 1% actually dealing with live Pokemon.

– Joe’s logic, all of it, is just stupid.

He fakes being less intelligent than he is to keep the other kids from working him even harder, which makes a little sense. But then he turns around and says they’re still his friends even in spite of how they treat him because it was only through their help that he learned as much as he did. So if he’s thankful to these guys for helping him learn so much through their harsh teaching methods, why is he pretending to be less intelligent to prevent them from giving him even harsher training methods? It makes it sound like pure laziness not avoidance of kinda bullying.

He then says that he doesn’t leave Pokemon Tech because his parents work hard and scrape together the tuition to let him go to Pokemon Tech. Yeah, hi genius. If you work harder, get smarter and improve your grades or moreso your badge ranking, you can graduate earlier and make it so your parents won’t have to scrape together this cash anymore. Geez I thought you were pretending to be dumb.

– Ladies and gentlemen, one of the only times that Ash ever shows romantic interest in a girl and probably the absolute only time it’s ever been so blatant.

– Ah and also our first ever glimpse into Team Rocket’s continuously fuddled backstory. Good times. How did Jessie even get into Pokemon Tech if she was poor? Continuity! Get it? Poor continuity? Yeah, you get it.

– While I really like the simulation looking like the actual game, I kinda wish they had added more detail to the screen to make it feel more genuine.

– Okay, let’s react to the crushes on Giselle here, assuming she’s ten.

Joe – Fine.

Ash – Fine

Brock – Ehhhhh

James – EUGH.

– Ya know, I don’t think I’ve really hated a character in Pokemon, outside of Pokemon abusers, more than I’ve hated Giselle. I mean, yeah Casey pisses me off, but she’s just really really really annoying. Ash makes me rage sometimes, but he has his moments. Every time she’s on screen I feel like slapping her in the face and what’s worse is the fact that she beats Misty so badly and Ash is the one who has prove her wrong. Are we really at the point where we’re saying Ash is better than Misty? Nine episodes in? Really?

And is she really justified in thinking Ash to be pathetic for having two badges and three Pokemon two months into his journey? I mean….yes it is pathetic, but considering they’re in a school where I assume at least of year of work needs to go into moving up a rank, judging mostly by the guy who was held back a lot, doesn’t that mean they work for over a year just to merely meet the criteria for four badges? And another year for six? And yet another for eight? The more I think about this school, the more it seems less like a shortcut and more like a longcut.

It really seems like this school would be more suited for making Pokemon researchers instead of Pokemon trainers.

– No, Ash, just because a Pokemon has moves that are fairly unique to itself, like Cubone’s bone abilities that are fully legal under the authorization of the Pokemon league, does not mean you can make up crap as moves and call them legal. Even if they do look like legit moves such as Bite, Hi-Jump Kick and Fury Swipes, Pikachu doesn’t ‘know’ those moves legally so it’s technically not fair. That’s like something Team Rocket would do.

– And I know Giselle had to change her tune by the very end, but I just find it ridiculous that she pulled a complete 180 just because of one loss. You do not spend 10 minutes basically doing nothing but gloating, mocking other people’s abilities, showing off, being a complete bitch and being so high up on a pedestal that you’re leaving the atmosphere and then become a nice girl after one match that was really won on sketchy terms anyway.

– And in spite of wanting to continue going to Pokemon Tech to make his parents proud and prevent them from wasting their hard earned money, Joe decides to drop out and start his Pokemon journey. Well, hopefully they’ll save enough money from not needing to take care of him anymore that they’ll claw themselves up out of debt. Yay!

All in all, this episode is really not as good as I remember it, which is a shame. Yes, I really do like the idea of a Pokemon School where you can bypass the traveling and gym matches if you graduate. It’s a very realistic idea that I can see being implemented in this world. Despite the fact that it’s so damn expensive and may actually take much longer than a regular Pokemon journey would, I can imagine that most parents wouldn’t be comfortable with the idea of their ten year old child going traveling on his own to fight super powered monsters and a school that achieves the same thing is a good alternative.

While I was watching this episode, I even mused about a spinoff show which would take place in a school. Like a slice of life with Pokemon. Think about it. New environment, new story structures, new characters, consistent side characters, few to no CotDs, and we could implement cool new aspects like fun challenges and tests, festivals, tournaments etc. Hey, Yugioh transitioned to a similar concept just fine and you can’t tell me a nice change of pace from the stale formula we’ve had for over 15 years wouldn’t be welcome.

I also liked the rare exploration of Pokemon levels, something that is still debated to this day in regards to the anime, and the poke at the actual games with the simulator.

However, I don’t like Joe. He’s really bland and a bit dim. I hate Giselle with all my heart and soul, the battle between Cubone and Pikachu seemed a bit screwed and the ending both in terms of message and Giselle’s big revelation seemed really predictable and corny to me.

In addition, Team Rocket’s appearance was even more pointless than usual. We only learned that they went to the school, got the worst grades and then they pop up at the very end, do their motto and get hit with a bunch of Pokeballs before running off.

This episode even had worse animation that usual. I did like a few shots that actually seemed odd in terms of Pokemon’s usual style like the shot of the broken window and Misty holding Starmie, but the shots of the boys walking away in the fog and Team Rocket’s final scene were horribly animated. It’s almost like they weren’t done animating them to be honest. It just seems like a bunch of keyframes made into a slideshow.

I didn’t really hate this episode, but I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as I remembered liking it.

Next episode is the beginning of the Starter Trilogy: Part 1 – Bulbasaur.

Pokemon Episode Analysis: Episode 2 – Pokemon Emergency!

Poses for picture; still can’t get a clear shot of their faces.

Character Debuts:

Officer Jenny: Despite the seeming lack of police assistance in actual emergencies most of the time, there are cops in the world of Pokemon. Most of them, the prominent ones anyway, are Jennys. In practically every town ever, there is an Officer Jenny. They all look exactly the same and are somehow all related to each other. Officer Jenny is sometimes accompanied by a Growlithe.

Nurse Joy: Just like the Jennys, there are also identical Joys who are all related to each other in every Pokemon Center in every town. Nurse Joys are usually assisted by Chansey. I honestly don’t know why none of these Nurse Joys ever wanted to go the extra mile and become a Pokemon doctor, but whatever.

Team Rocket: While Team Rocket as a whole is a large organization, it usually merely refers to the trio of Jessie, James and Meowth. Jessie is a vain and greedy woman who rarely has a moment of kindness. She also seems to hold the most power in the group and kinda acts as the main leader since James and Meowth are regularly frightened by her. Jessie used to be a very poor and kind child, but the rest of her backstory is a big web of mess.

James is slightly nicer when the situation calls for it, but he is also pretty vain and greedy. Unlike Jessie, he was actually born into an incredibly rich family, but ran away from home because he didn’t want to be married to the obnoxious Jessibelle.

Meowth is one of the few Pokemon in the world who can talk, and this is made even more impressive since he’s also one of the few who can talk without the assistance of psychic powers. He taught himself how to speak human language and walk on two feet in order to impress a female Meowth named Meowsy, but his efforts ultimately made him even less appealing in her eyes and he eventually went on to join Team Rocket.

Plot: Ash takes an injured Pikachu into the local Pokemon Center for treatment, but the place is soon attacked by the malicious Pokemon thieves, Team Rocket. Ash as well as the girl he met in the previous episode, Misty, try to battle them, but to no avail.

Instead, the center’s backup electrical supply, a team of Pikachu, shock the trio and their electric power brings Pikachu back to peak health somehow. In order to take them out fully, Ash uses Misty’s broken bike to generate power through the headlight and power up Pikachu enough to deliver one final Thunderbolt, causing the entire Pokemon Center to explode by igniting the gas from one of Team Rocket’s Pokemon, Koffing.

Team Rocket take note of Pikachu’s incredible power and vow to capture it no matter what. Meanwhile, Ash continues on his journey by heading through Viridian Forest, which leads directly to Pewter City, the site of his first Gym match. Misty follows him, determined to get Ash to pay for her ruined bike, but as they travel through the Viridian Forest, Ash spots a Caterpie and readies a Pokeball for its capture.

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– The title card is looking a bit more normal, but they still use the Pokemon logo to say ‘Pokemon’.

– Oh….so I guess, from what Dexter says anyway, that the function of the Pokedex in the anime is really more for the trainer’s benefit in providing information and advice and not keeping a log while trying to see and capture all of the Pokemon, IE Completing the Pokedex. Hmph.

– James in episodes 2 – 8 isn’t voiced by his most notable voice actor, Eric Stuart, here. He’s instead voiced by Ted Lewis who does quite a few roles otherwise such as Tracey, Giovanni, Bakura and Bandit Keith from YGO. He does have really good range, and he fits the role pretty well here, but I can see why they’d replace him with Eric Stuart if his role was going to become more comical later.

– Likewise, Meowth also has a different voice actor in the earlier episodes, episode 2 – 31, Nathan Price, who does the role more low-key than Maddie Blaustein will later on. I honestly can’t decide which voice I like better, but Maddie’s is also more fitting for the more comical parts while Nathan is better at being more sly. Plus, Maddie says ‘Meeeowth’ a little better.

– I really will just take a minute to enjoy the more serious Team Rocket for this episode. I do love them as comic relief sometimes, but it would be nice if they were an actual threat.

– Why did Jenny feel the need to jump her motorcycle into the Pokemon Center? Yeah, risk more injury to the already injured Pokemon. And it really took them until nightfall to get there? How big is this city?

– It’s weird to me that Pikachu is so injured after just taking a few Pecks by a couple Spearow, especially given that he’s strong against Flying types.

– Nurse Joy’s a bit of a bitch here. People must come there all the time with Pokemon at least in Pikachu’s condition, considering how many attacks there are in Pokemon and the fact that their lot in life is usually to fight, yet she chews Ash out for letting Pikachu get moderately hurt when she doesn’t even know how it happened. That’s like a doctor yelling a parent for letting their kid scrape their knee.

– Why is the Pidgey that comes out of the cuckoo clock green?

Must be all that awful hospital food.

– And here we get the only mention ever of Ash’s deadbeat not-caring-whatsoever-about-his-family dad. I would complain about this, but at this point does anyone really care who Ash’s dad is? Yes, it’s a mystery, but no answer will really be fulfilling now. Plus, he’ll just be a target for hatred considering he never seems to talk to or otherwise communicate with Ash or Delia. And I do not believe for a second that they always talk off-screen or never ever managed to bump into each other during their journeys.

– It took four days for Ash’s dad to get to Viridian City?…..Why? Jenny said all of the other Pallet trainers had already passed through. What was keeping him so long? Maybe I’m wrong about Ash’s dad. Maybe he’s like Flint and completely sucked at training and was too ashamed to show his face around his family again. There. That’s a suitable story for Ash’s dad. You’re welcome.

– Delia: “Spreading your wings and soaring like a Spearow!” Uhh, I’d change your wording, Delia, considering the main reason he’s feeling like crap right now is because of a flock of Spearow.

– Delia: “And are you changing your underwear everyday?” He hasn’t even been gone a full day yet. Are his underwear made of the same material as the notes in Inspector Gadget and they’ll blow up after a period of time?

– The legendary Pokemon on the board at the Pokemon center are interesting. Ash believes the blue bird is the one he saw earlier, but it’s an Articuno not a Ho-Oh. Ho-Oh won’t be introduced until Johto. I’m not even sure what this really indicates. Did Ash just think it was the same because the outline is kinda similar or the anime creators screwed up? I would think he’d believe Moltres looks more similar given the coloring. Also, for some reason, Arcanine is up there. I know that he’s given the moniker of ‘legendary’, but why? Is there a legend about Arcanine somewhere? Because he’s just the evolved version of a fairly easy to find Pokemon.

– Oh my God, there’s text everywhere. I feel so unreasonably happy.

– I still find it funny that Oak’s all ‘There’s no way you saw a legendary Pokemon’ here and yet not a year goes by now where Ash DOESN’T see/battle with/spend time with a legendary Pokemon. It’s so common now that he’s basically become totally used to it.

– Misty: “You’re what happened to my bike, you little loser! This is what happened to my bike after you stole it to save your Pokemon!” Yeah, he sure is a loser because he cared more about his Pokemon’s well-being than a hunk of replaceable metal. Can you get less annoying soon so I can start hating Ash, please?

– Misty: “I don’t want any of your lame excuses, Kid! Just gimme a new bike right noooooooooowwwwwwww!!” First of all, kid? He’s the same age as you. Second, nice tantrum.

– What ‘procedure’ was Joy performing anyway? She put on rubber gloves and went in and came out with Pikachu having a lightbulb on its head while connected to some black box and some electrical box but no bandages or anything else on its body. He got Pecked a few times, he didn’t have his electricity sucked out him.

– Ash: “Listen, I’m sorry about your bike. But I’m going to need some time to make things right.”

Misty: “NO WAY! I FELL FOR THAT LAST TIME!”

Fell for what? He said he’d bring it back someday and accidentally got it destroyed. He hasn’t even been gone a full day, so he could’ve been intending on giving her a replacement bike SOMEDAY. Though, considering how crazy expensive bikes are in the Pokemon world, I can kinda understand her anger.

– They have radar that detects aircrafts in Viridian City? Ones that can specifically identify the craft as belonging to Pokemon thieves? Where are these in future episodes?

– I am weirded out beyond belief by those Pikachu in the Pokemon Center. They not only chant, but they hold out their paws like robots and have mouths that are way too big.

– Why do they need to be on a treadmill anyway if they produce power on their own?

– The hell is up with the eyes on that Pidgey?

Can Pidgey not look normal today?

– It’s amazing that Team Rocket is so intimidating during the early episodes that all of the Pokemon actually refuse to fight because they’re so scared just by seeing Ekans.

– I still don’t understand why Misty let Goldeen out. Either this was poking at the fact that all Pokeballs look identical and thus it must be hard to determine who’s in what without customizing them or she’s just an idiot.

– Misty: “You know as well as I do that a Water Pokemon can’t battle on land. I was just warmin’ up!” There are so many things wrong with that. Let’s start with, no, only SOME Water Types can’t battle on land. How were you ‘warming up’ by letting out a Pokemon that you knew couldn’t battle on land? Did you need to warm up your Pokeball throwin’ arm? Even if it was a distraction or something, what good would that do considering they’re standing in front of the only exit?

– Oh, I guess it wasn’t the only exit……There were no other visible doors to that room besides the one Team Rocket burst through and were standing in front of the whole time, but whatever. Still didn’t do much because after Ash and Pikachu escape, they’re immediately followed by Team Rocket.

– Why did Pikachu even need hours of ‘treatment’ if just being dogpiled and shocked by a group of Pikachu seemed to make him good as new?

– How did any of them survive that explosion? Pikachu’s in the ICU for being pecked by a few birds for a second or two yet is perfectly fine when in a building that just exploded and created a fire so big it looks like it took out a city block.

– How did Team Rocket get away?

– Now that I’m really thinking about it, Pikachu’s attack really isn’t a decent reason for them to be so insanely obsessed with catching Pikachu. It was essentially given a buff to begin with in regards to the bike and the only real reason anything substantial happened was because of the reaction with Koffing’s gas.

– I can’t believe it took me so long to question this, but isn’t it impossible for Team Rocket’s balloon to be ‘popped’ and send them flying all over the place? Wouldn’t it just gently float down? It’s not a helium balloon.

– How is the computer perfectly fine? They’re literally sitting amongst the rubble that once was the Viridian City Pokemon Center with a desktop computer that’s not even dirty.

I didn’t know Nokia made desktop computers.

– Narrator: “Will Ash capture the Caterpie?” Seeing as how the next episode is titled ‘Ash Catches a Pokemon’ I’ll go ahead and say no.

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This episode was….pretty okay. It was sillier than I remember it being, and I already remembered it to be a tad silly. Team Rocket pose a threat for a change, but they don’t even go the full episode without being downgraded to comic relief. Plus, I do have to say that the start of their obsessive mission was just not really worth it. I’m starting to think that after a certain point, catching Pikachu was no longer about catching it for its power or rarity but purely because of a personal vendetta.

Misty’s still annoying here, and Ash is still relatable and likable, even if he still has a lot to learn.

I also really like the linear set up of the first handful of episodes. I miss having an actual story instead of ‘Leave home on journey’ ‘Go to gym’ ‘filler’ ‘gym’ ‘filler’ ‘another gym’ ‘filler’ etc etc etc. The only times filler isn’t really filler in later episodes is usually just when Ash catches a Pokemon; those incredibly rare occasions. Plus, after he gets his party filled, he hardly ever gets more.

Certain aspects are still bugging me like mentions of Ash’s dad knowing they go nowhere, another mention of the other two Pallet trainers that also goes nowhere…..But it’s still pretty decent.

Next episode, Ash Catches a Pokemon. Caterpie joins the group (Oh sorry, spoilers!), one of the rare times Ash catches a Pokemon without needing to spend an entire episode bonding with it. We also get the rare treat of him catching TWO Pokemon in one episode, marking Pidgeotto’s debut. I really love Pidgeotto; hate the hell out of how he gets treated over the series. We also have a cute little episode just getting to know Caterpie and seeing it trying to bond with Bitchy—Err, Misty.