Pokemon Episode 56 Analysis – The Ultimate Test

CotD(s): None. (I’m not counting the exam instructor. He’s doesn’t even get a name.)

Plot: Misty prods Ash about his lack of Gym matches lately, further expounding the topic by saying he could hope to get a pity badge next time. Ash becomes very angry at this, and Snap suggests proving his worth as a Trainer and bypassing the next two Gym battles by taking the Pokemon League Admissions Exam – a one-time test you can take to earn a special badge that allows you to gain immediate admittance into the Pokemon League.

Ash signs up, as do Jessie and James, who both seemingly have secret aspirations of being Pokemon Masters. The Nurse Joy from Fuchsia City has also signed up, being unable to travel for badges due to her job.

The first exam starts and it’s a trivia test about various Pokemon. Ash does fairly well for a bit, but the questions soon start tripping him up.

The second exam begins, and it’s centered around identifying Pokemon by parts of their body or silhouettes. The hints are incredibly vague, and Ash, Jessie and James get each answer wrong due to the questions being either tricks or just flatout stupid.

Jessie gets so frustrated that she leaves the test and is expelled.

With Jessie out, James and Ash discover that they’re the other two bottom scorers in the group. Joy scored near the top, however.

The final test is a practical exam where all of the applicants participate in a Pokemon battle with the test proctors. The hitch is that the participants must use premade Pokemon teams made of specially trained Pokemon from the organizers. They’ll have no idea which Pokemon are in the Pokeballs until they throw them out in battle.

James is ecstatic to get a Pikachu, but fails in taking down the instructor’s Graveller with it. He throws out his other two Pokeballs, which contain an Ivysaur and a Charizard, when he gets frustrated. However, he’s instantly thrown out due to using multiple Pokemon at once.

Ash is up next, and his first Pokeball contains a Weezing, which he’s not too thrilled about, but at least he knows Weezing’s moves thanks to James always using one when they battle. The instructor throws out a Flareon. Ash manages to pull out a win with Weezing, but the battle’s not over yet.

The instructor throws out a Jolteon. Ash’s next Pokemon is an Arbok, which he basically has the same reaction as he did to Weezing, but, again, he knows relatively how to use one since it’s Jessie’s main Pokemon.

He forgets about Jolteon’s spikes, however, and damages Arbok while attempting to use Wrap. One more attack by Jolteon, and it’s down for the count.

The instructor’s final Pokemon is Vaporeon. Ash’s last Pokemon is, to complete the irony trifecta, a Meowth. However, it’s barely out of its Pokeball before the enemy Vaporeon freezes it with an Ice Beam.

Team Rocket’s Meowth is furious at the abuse of a fellow Meowth, so he runs out onto the battlefield, scratches up Ash’s face and frees the Meowth from the ice.

The instructor, intrigued by a talking Meowth, tries to capture him, but Jessie and James stop him with the Pokemon James used in his test. They want revenge, and they try to attack the instructor. They fail to realize that the instructor is the one who originally trained all of the test Pokemon, so he merely commands them to obey him now and sics them all on Team Rocket.

Ash follows suit and commands his test Pokemon to attack as well. He commands Weezing to use Explosion, and Team Rocket blasts off.

With Team Rocket’s intrusion, they’re forced to call off the exam and nullify everyone’s progress so far. Ash decides to forego taking the exam again and goes off to Cinnabar Island to get his next Gym badge.

Meanwhile, Snap is trying to tend to Meowth, who was injured in the explosion, only to find his ‘friends’ left without him. The instructor takes Meowth, happy to have ‘captured’ the talking Meowth he wanted. Team Rocket, however, is confounded to discover their Meowth is the test Meowth.

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– Simply moving the mouths up and down while the voice actors go ‘Om nom nom’ and hold small bits of food to their mouths – animation perfection.

– Why is Misty confused by Snap bringing up the Pokemon League Admissions Exam? As a Gym Leader (formerly) shouldn’t she know what that is?

– There’s something really weird with the animation as the frame pans while Ash says ‘Yeah, nobody I’m not better than…’ The kid with the weirdly colored Caterpie hat and the girl behind the couch jut around a lot like the shot was poorly digitally painted. But since I can’t find any other evidence of 4Kids meddling here, I’m left to assume it’s just an odd animation error.

– Let’s go over my opinion of the admissions exam here to save some time. A lot of what I’m going to say was already covered by Dogasu, but just to cover my own bases:

I really like the idea of a difficult in-depth test that you can take for the sake of getting immediate admittance into the Pokemon League. Like Pokemon Tech, it’s cool to see that there are alternative options in place for people who simply don’t have the time or capability to travel the world and get badges from various gyms – and this one doesn’t seem to require a ton of money and god knows how many years of commitment to complete like Pokemon Tech. You can just arrive, prove your meddle and gain admittance.

As we see throughout the series, plenty of people become amazing Pokemon Trainers without ever leaving home, so this is a great option.

Problem is both the written and practical exams are bullshit. Granted, the practical exam is less so, but the written exam is some of the biggest bullshit ever. In Pokemon Tech, the knowledge you had to have on Pokemon was insane. You had to know some things by memory that a lot of hardcore Pokemon fans wouldn’t be able to tell you without Googling it. Even the kids at a mere four badge level were prattling on with Pokemon facts like they were old Pokemon Researchers, and even they would call out this test for being stupid.

Why do you need to know Pokemon silhouettes, especially when they’re manipulated to look like several other things? Why do you need to be able to identify a Pokemon by a small part of them, especially when they’re ridiculously vague? Why are some of the questions mind-bogglingly simple while others are outright unfair?

Even the characters are pointing out how insane this part of the test is. Rarely do I ever side with anything Jessie does, but the fact that she called foul and walked out was perfectly reasonable in this instance.

I have no qualms about having a practical exam because that’s completely understandable when testing entrants for the Pokemon League. It’s how they go about it that makes it ineffective in what it’s supposed to be testing. I’ll go into more detail later.

I’m just really disappointed in how this test is set up. This is a fully solid idea for bypassing badges and it’s wasted on this unfair pointless silliness. I felt bad hearing Joy say this test is a great idea for anyone whose age, health or life keeps them from going to get badges knowing what I know now. I can’t imagine anyone actually passes this test without cheating.

Other than money and time, the only ridiculous part of Pokemon Tech was somehow believing that you could become a Trainer of high enough skill to enter the Pokemon League….without seemingly ever having non-sterilized robotic simulation battles or catching your own Pokemon and gaining real world experience.

– Still on the subject of the test as a whole, I’m a little surprised Ash wants to take this exam anyway. Is it just to prove his skills as a Trainer to Misty before continuing on his actual journey? Because it doesn’t seem like he enjoys the idea of using shortcuts to get into the Pokemon League.

Jessie and James entering is similarly odd. I thought for sure this was a scheme to steal Pokemon, but they both honestly wanted to take the test to see if they were good enough Trainers to pass.

– It’s only been a minute or two since Ash entered and he got number seven. Jessie was signing up at the same time and got number 634. Despite James appearing later than both of them, his number is 546. What is the weird numbering system here? (I am aware that the numbers are Japanese puns on Jessie and James’ original names – still doesn’t make sense.)

– Surprised 4Kids left in a mention and visible presence of wine.

– I really like Meowth teasing Jessie and James about lying to take the admissions exam. It’s adorable.

– And they follow that up with distracting Meowth with a ball of yarn. So cute!

– Hey, just for fun, let’s take the test with Ash and others. Whatdya say!?

Q1 – Lickitung’s tongue is twice the length of its body – True or false?

A1 – Here’s a snag right off the bat. In the anime, Ash’s Pokedex says Lickitung’s tongue is more than twice the length of its body. Ash actually remembers this, oh my god, so he marks his answer as false.

Lickitung’s height is listed as 3’11, which means in order for it to be twice the length of its body, the tongue would have to be 7’10. The Pokedex entries in the games are fairly inconsistent because one says the tongue is over 6’6, another says it’s almost seven feet, and several others just claim it is exactly twice the length of its body.

So either Ash’s Pokedex is wrong, the conversion to feet from meters was muddled somehow, no one really knows how long a Lickitung’s tongue truly is, it differs based on some variables or D) all of the above, meaning any answer is correct, but also incorrect in some way.

Q2 – Ninetales evolves from Vulpix only by use of the Fire Stone – True or false?

A2 – While this question is insanely easy, I guess it’s meant to trip up people who might think it evolves through leveling?

Also, taking the time out now to say it’s really obvious that Ash has never gone to an actual school before. He won’t shut the hell up or even whisper as he’s talking to himself through the test. He’s literally yelling out his answers to each question, particularly this one. “Aw, that’s too easy. True, TRUE!”

He’d be getting thrown out of there almost immediately. At the very least, he’d get dirty looks from his neighbors, but not a single person is paying him any mind. Must because they’re all painted into the background and aren’t animat—I mean, they must be really focused.

Q3 – Hitmonlee is also known as ‘The Punching Demon.’ – True or false?

A3 – Ash: “Let’s see….it’s either Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan that’s the puncher.” Gee, which one is known as the ‘The Punching Demon’? The one with hands so weird I question whether it can make a fist and clearly has long, strong legs….or the Pokemon who has literal boxing gloves for hands?……..Hmmmmm…..

Ash: “Aaaahhhhhhhhhh I THINK IT’S TRUE!”….Wha….what the….Huh? You managed to remember some minor fact about a Pokemon I only barely remember you using the Pokedex on…….but you can’t remember whether Hitmonlee or Hitmonchan is the punching Pokemon.

Wanna know what’s even worse? His Pikachu had a literal BOXING MATCH with a Hitmonchan! You remember the one. It was owned by the guy who’s currently caring for the Primeape Ash has clearly already forgotten about.

I was going to be nice and say maybe he was experiencing test anxiety here and he just blanked on the answer, but this is a little too obvious for him to not get it even then. I’d be hard-pressed to go that route anyway since he’s so confident in his answers up until this point that he’s been yelling them out. (He’s still doing it, by the way.)

I was even going to throw him a bone and say maybe he’s just mixing up their names, but there’s a picture of the damn Hitmonlee on the screen, so it’s veritably impossible for him to do that.

Q4 – The only attack Magikarp originally knows is Splash – True or false?

A4 – What does ‘originally know’ mean? Like the only move it knows once it’s hatched? I only ask because I feel like it’s a bit of a myth that Magikarp only knows Splash considering that’s the move it’s most famous for using, and most of what Magikarp does is, well, splash around. Magikarp can also learn Tackle at level 15, so the answer is technically false, but since the wording is vague, we can’t know for certain.

I do love the throwback to James’ Magikarp woes, though.

Q5 – Caterpie is the world’s smallest Pokemon – True or false?

A5 – I don’t think Caterpie’s size has ever been a particularly notable trait of this Pokemon. Back in Gen I, this one could easily be considered true (It’s not. Diglett’s smaller….Though how do any of us really know how big Diglett is considering no one ever sees its lower half?….Hm.) Nowadays, it doesn’t even make the top 25.

Also, the image 4Kids uses for Caterpie here was overly cropped because they cut a part out of its neck so you can see the purple background through it.

Ya know, if anyone should be doing well on this test, it’s Jessie. This is Johto hindsight talking, but now we know that she trained to be a Pokemon nurse (Kinda…she trained in a school for Chansey) and she was good at it.

Not to mention that most of the Pokemon they’ve been asking about are Pokemon that she’s either owned or used. She owns a Lickitung, she used a Hitmonlee, James has a Koffing, and she obviously has experience with Magikarp.

Q6 – Koffing was first discovered in a public bathhouse – True or false?

A6 – I can’t find any information on this outside of Koffing’s Wiki stating one of the Koffing cards in the TCG explains that it was discovered in a weapons factory. Considering Koffing utilizes poison gas, not steam, I’m more apt to believe the weapons factory theory. However, Koffing is meant to be heavily connected to air pollution, right? And its beta name was Ny, a poke at New York City, referencing the air pollution there.

All in all, the answer is probably false, and even the TCG’s explanation is….likely wrong. It’s more plausible than a bathhouse anyway.

I can’t really take Exam #2 with them due to the way it’s designed, but let’s address every question anyway. Every question is about identifying a Pokemon by a small part of its body or a silhouette.

Q1

A1 – The ridiculousness of this question is two-fold. If you can’t see the size of the Pokemon, it’s basically impossible to determine if this is one of two known perfectly round Pokemon – Voltorb or Electrode.

But the real stupidity comes in it being a Jigglypuff……seen from above…..Kiss my ass, instructor.

On a side note, in the Japanese version, the ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment also used this same trick, but it was after this scene had already played so it was more of a joke than it was an unfair question….like this is.

Why does the Voltorb in Ash’s selection screen look so depressed?

Why does James think it’s a Pokeball when the exam instructor specifically said it’s a picture of a Pokemon?

Q2

A2 – It’s a Poliwag, not Poliwhirl or Poliwrath because the direction of the spiral changes when it evolves.

Before I get to the meat and potatoes of why this question is bunk too, I’d like to point out that 4Kids used the wrong image on the screen when they explain why the answer is Poliwag. They use a picture of Poliwrath instead of the Poliwhirl they’re referencing. 4Kids, you keep making this mistake and it drives me bonkers. I gave you a pass the first couple of times (which is future-watching hindsight, but still) but now it’s just getting annoying.

Here’s a very subtle hint to discern Poliwhirl and Poliwrath. The angry looking one….or the WRATHFUL looking one is probably PoliWRATH.

Instructor: “As any Master would know….” Shut your face. And put your condescending finger down.

This question is entirely bullshit for several reasons. A decent-ish chunk of fans know about the swirl reversing directions upon evolving thing, but I can bet almost everyone who knows that much don’t know 1) Which evolution the swirl changes on, Poliwhirl or Poliwrath, and 2) What direction the swirl starts at.

BUT even if you somehow know that off the top of your head, this is still unfair and a trick question because, according to its Dex entries, Poliwag’s swirl direction changes depending on the area it originates from, and would switch direction when it evolves. Meaning that swirl pattern could literally belong to ANY of the Pokemon in the Poli line (Except Politoed, but he doesn’t exist yet)…..As any Master would know.

Ash, in this situation, would technically be correct with Poliwhirl.

Also, while Jessie’s answer of ‘An Arbok all coiled up’ employs the same stupid logic this whole test has, I’d think an Ekans all coiled up would make a better spiral pattern. Arbok’s hood would mess it up.

Q3

Again, such an insanely vague image. It’s a fire. Seven Pokemon in Gen I have flames on them – Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Ponyta, Rapidash, Magmar and Moltres. You’d have to have a psychotic level of attention to detail to discern between them all properly.

Instructor: “For your information, young lady, a Pokemon Master must understand all aspects of their Pokemon’s life in order to achieve oneness with their Pokemon!” Oh shut. up.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but we’ve never actually seen a person who is proven to be a Pokemon Master, right? Even when you win any of the Pokemon League conferences, you’re far from a Master. Even if you beat the Elite Four and the Champion, you’re still not a Master. Even if you catch all of the Pokemon in existence, even somehow the legendaries, you’re still technically not done because there are always more Pokemon to discover, more challenges to beat etc.

I can bet if you asked anyone who did do all of those things, however, if these questions are in any way vital to being a Pokemon Master, they’d laugh in your face. They’d tell you it’s more about learning about them through experiences, connections, friendships, battles, victories, losses, care-taking, hardships and, yes, textbook research, but not this crap. They wouldn’t be stripped of their eligibility to be a Pokemon Master just because they didn’t know which FIRE Pokemon had a specific FLAME on it.

This test isn’t even a Pokemon Master certification exam – it’s a test for entrance into the Indigo League tournament. All of this is such a joke.

I feel like this test is designed by people who want to feel like super smart Pokemon Masters because they know all the answers by default and can giggle at the people having trouble and getting frustrated.

Also, ‘must understand all aspects of their Pokemon’s life’? Uh, what if the people taking the test don’t own the Pokemon you’re listing? Why would they have ridiculous levels of ‘knowledge’ about Pokemon they don’t own?

If you still wanted to keep this portion of the test, maybe ask each Trainer what their first Pokemon was or which Pokemon have they had the longest and grab a test specifically about that Pokemon? Or maybe a test designed around their current Pokemon team? (You can have tests set up for each Pokemon and mix the questions randomly to fit the Trainer’s team.) That would make more sense here. It’d still be kinda dumb because I don’t see why you need to know this stuff simply to gain entry into the Pokemon League, but it’d be better.

…….The answer was Ponyta, by the way. Not that it matters.

For the sake of somewhat fairness, Ash should’ve at least taken Ponyta (and Rapidash) into consideration since he’s had experience with both. He’s at least yet to see a Magmar or Moltres. All he listed off as possibilities were Charmander, Charmeleon and Charizard, though.

– Aw, Meowth sleeping on a ball of yarn.

– Seems kinda mean to have a TV set up specifically to shame the lowest scoring participants. Also, I don’t believe anyone actually got a high score. Either everyone got similarly bad scores and those are just the least bad or ya’ll cheated.

– I like that James feels a stronger desire to succeed to sort of avenge Jessie now.

– You know how I mentioned the Japanese version’s ‘Who’s That Pokemon?’ segment used the ‘Jigglypuff as seen from above’ thing? 4Kids could’ve done the same here easily, but they opted to using a Vulpix because why would they even attempt to be fun?

Now for the least bullshit but still pretty bullshit part – the practical exam.

If there’s anything you’d expect to be a part of this exam, it’s Pokemon battles. However, they somehow manage to even make that unfair.

Each participant is given a set of Pokeballs with an undisclosed set of Pokemon in them. The Pokemon are all fully trained and are told to obey the commands of the Trainers who are using them during the test.

The concept of this is fairly understandable. A really good Pokemon Trainer will be able to adapt to whatever Pokemon they receive, will know enough about Pokemon to use their abilities properly and come out on top no matter what team they get.

I say ‘fairly’ because most Pokemon Trainers learn about a Pokemon’s battle style and abilities by training them and battling with them over time. You can research their moves, but that also might be pointless here because you don’t know what moves these Pokemon know or what level they’re at.

Also, these teams are very unbalanced. Having a Pokemon battle while the participants are using Pokemon they probably have no experience with and might be a load of crap vs. what might be/probably is a powerhouse lineup is a bit janky.

I’d be pretty pissed if I got Ash’s given garbage team (Two Poison Types and a Normal – and I’m aware this is on purpose as irony) Meanwhile, even though he lost, James got a very balanced and awesome team of a Charizard, an Ivysaur (yeee, Ivysaur! <3) and a Pikachu.

Problem is, it feels like the instructors aren’t choosing blindly. The only evidence I have to the contrary is Nurse Joy’s proctor using a Charmander when she was using a Squirtle, but the instructor just happened to get a Graveler when James threw out a Pikachu? Then, in Ash’s match, he just happened to get a full set of all the Eeveelutions?

As we’ll later hear, the instructor trained all of these Pokemon, so he has an additional advantage. We’ve seen before that part of a Pokemon’s true strength and capabilities in battle are due to its strong bond with its Trainer. Everything they’ve gone through, everything they’ve learned together etc. That creates a power and synchronicity that you can’t get with randomly selected Pokemon someone else trained.

Wouldn’t a better arrangement be having a bunch of practical exams with the applicant using their own Pokemon first? Like seeing how they react to certain battle situations, what they’d do in applying the Pokemon’s skills in a real-life emergency, properly caring for the Pokemon, etc. then have the final hurdle being seeing if you can win matches in a mini-tournament and each round you get a random selection of Pokemon in balanced teams? Perhaps you could not let the instructor who trained them act as a proctor for this test?

Actually, now that I’m really thinking about it, if this exam is meant to bypass the eight Gym matches, why not just hold eight very difficult battles that the applicants have to win? You could have different stipulations for each battle, make the teams themed, etc. maybe make the test last a few days so you won’t get people and Pokemon too fatigued. Am I making too much sense?

– I get that, in a way, they, for some reason, want this test to look ridiculous to be funny for the audience, but all it’s doing is making the test look unfair and goofy. You can just make the questions insanely hard but fair. Or are the writers too lazy to do that much?

– I love Jessie’s reaction when James explains how much he knows of Pikachu’s moveset because they’ve been attacked by Pikachu so many times he knows all of his attacks by heart.

– But that pales in comparison to James gushing over being able to command a Pikachu to do Thunderbolt. He is adorable.

– Graveler attacked without commands. Either my notes about having a strong bond with your Pokemon are a little too correct and he didn’t need to command it for it to know what he wanted it to do, or these Pokemon aren’t as well-trained as he’d want us to believe.

– Instructor: “You should’ve known that Electricity doesn’t work on Rock Pokemon.”

…..Are….Are you serious right now?…..Is this a prank?……This instructor, who was acting like knowing random superfluous facts about Pokemon and identifying them via vague parts of their body is something all Pokemon Masters should know and like he knows all of this stuff off the top of his head…….Is claiming that Rock types that are immune to Electric types…..when….it’s….Ground.

That’s the kind of mistake I’d expect from Ash, and even he’d probably know better given his past and the fact that his trademark Pokemon is a Pikachu (though I won’t say he certainly would know because…it’s Ash). You just lost any and all validity as an instructor for this test. Pack up your aerial shots Jigglypuffs and go home.

– Also, if the instructor is choosing randomly, James just got forked out the gate by sheer chance because what is a Pikachu supposed to do against a Graveler?

Just to be thorough, I looked up Pikachu’s Gen I moveset, and it only has Electric and Normal Type moves (and two Psychic, but they’re abilities, not attacks).

It can learn two Fighting moves via TMs but I’m going to assume they’re not going teach these Pokemon TM moves and not tell the participants because that’s also unfair.

Switching out is not allowed in these matches either as it defeats the point of adapting to battle conditions, so…yeah, even more unfair.

– It’s a bit insulting that James also says ‘That’s bad’ when Ash shows he got a Weezing. Have some respect for your Pokemon, James.

– I love Ash’s face when Snap takes those pictures of him, though.

– Despite the bullshittery of this test, I will give Ash all the credit he deserves for at least winning one of these matches, and with a Weezing no less.

– Team Rocket taking notes on Ash’s battle techniques is hilarious.

– Arbok’s face when Ash is trying to remember Arbok’s attacks is also really funny.

But, Ash, you fight Arbok all the time. You should know its attacks as well as Team Rocket knows Pikachu’s.

– Instructor: “Too bad you overloaded Jolteon’s spikes!” Lots of places have pointed out this error, but because this statement bugged the hell out of me as a kid, he meant to say ‘overlooked.’

Instructor: “Sizing up your opponent before an attack is a fundamental rule!” Stop acting like you know everything, you putz.

– Weird how Ash was devastated when he got Arbok and Weezing, but he seems downright amused and happily surprised at getting a Meowth.

– I’ll give Ash a bit more of a pass for not knowing Meowth’s attacks off the bat because Meowth doesn’t battle nearly as often.

– Meowth: “USE THE FURY SWIPES!” Thanks for the cheering/assistance, Meowth, but maybe wait until his opponent has sent out his Pokemon.

– Instructor: “Looks like another victory for me.” Again. Shut. Up.

– Why did Meowth scratch up Ash? All he did was exactly what Meowth told him to do – commanding the test Meowth to use Fury Swipes. The instructor/Vaporeon froze it.

– Ohhohohohoh….So not only is the instructor an idiot when it comes to knowing type advantages, but he’s also an Ash-level ignoramus because he tries to catch Meowth without battling it first. How utterly unprofessional of him to try to catch a Pokemon in the middle of the testing grounds during an examination anyway. Someone fire this guy.

– Excuse me, why was James allowed to keep those Pokemon after he was kicked out?

– Ash: “Don’t interfere with my test!” Despite my comment, your test is over, Ash. You lost the match. Considering you also got one of the bottom three lowest written exam scores too, I’d say you’ve sufficiently flunked.

– Holy crap, Ash! Overkill much? You put a twenty foot crater in the arena floor.

– Instructor: “I am terribly sorry, everyone. Team Rocket’s intrusion has interfered with the entire examination. We have to start over from the very beginning.” What!? Ash’s test was over, and Team Rocket’s intrusion lasted all of a minute. You can say you can’t continue the practical exams because the arena was destroyed but 1) That was Ash’s fault, he could’ve defeated them without blowing the place up 2) You can just battle somewhere else, people do it all the time, and 3) Ash’s test was over, and, considering they were doing them one at a time, no one else’s test was affected by the intrusion.

But even if you, for some reason, can’t continue the test, can’t you just say ‘Hey, guys, we gotta make repairs. Anyone who didn’t complete their practical exam, come back in the morning of whenever the repairs are done and we’ll continue. Everyone else, here are your results, we’ll do the rest of the exam, whatever it is/if there is more in the afternoon after everyone has completed the practical portion.’?

More importantly, why are the results of their previous two exams void? I can understand maybe if Ash won and did well, and it seemed like he might pass, so the writers did this to force him to go back on his journey and retain the status quo, but he didn’t. He lost in his practical exam, he did terrible on the written portions – outside of the off-chance of the instructor being a pity badger for him helping defeat Team Rocket, he had no hope of passing.

Just seems like you’re being a, sorry for the overuse of this word but, unfair jerk to all of these people just because a couple of criminals bothered you for a minute.

– Why is Misty holding Togepi like that?

– Instructor: “I’m sure you’ll pass this time.” Uh, what makes you say that? Defeating Team Rocket is hardly a mark of skill, and you were about to do it effortlessly without Ash’s help. He went way overboard and destroyed your arena. He did poorly on all three exams. He nearly killed two people and numerous Pokemon a minute ago by blowing them up. What are you seeing that is indicating increased intelligence or skill since five minutes ago?

Unless that line is indicating that he’d rig the test for him. Wouldn’t be surprised at this point.

– It wasn’t just that one frame – Misty’s holding Togepi really awkwardly for no reason. Also Togepi’s drawn weird now too (Why is it so skinny and where are its arms?)

– Nice of Ash and the others to completely forget and leave Snap behind.

– Also nice that Meowth got badly wounded in the explosion and Snap was the only one to notice or care.

– Instructor: “I finally caught my talking Meowth!” 1) It was handed to you badly wounded, you didn’t catch anything. 2) You don’t know if this Meowth has a trainer or not. 3) You’re not more concerned over the fact that it’s badly wounded? 4) Shut up.

– If you want proof of Ash’s overly destructive behavior, not only do you have the destroyed arena and the injured Meowth, but you also have the innocent test Meowth who was injured and blasted off with Team Rocket. Way to go.

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This episode could’ve been really interesting if taken seriously, and it could’ve been hilarious if it were just Ash and Team Rocket, three very incompetent people, being taken aback by difficult or even average tests. If the Pokemon Tech episode was about the importance of real world experience, maybe this episode could’ve been about the importance of actually studying, researching, learning about the field you’ve decided to develop a….I guess we’ll call it a ‘career’ in.

Maybe have Ash realize that being a Pokemon Master is a much bigger goal than he realized and he needs to really buckle down and get serious with his studying and training if he’s ever going to reach that dream.

….Nope. Just Ash is a really good Trainer as is, despite completely flunking every test, all because he beat Team Rocket. Nothing wrong with what he’s doing. Move on to the next Gym and forget this ever happened.

Not to mention, Joy’s role was really weird. Why was she even here? Just to show someone actually doing well in this circus they call a test? She shows up, we see her scores, but not her taking the exam (we see her briefly when Jessie leaves, that’s it.) We see her beat a proctor’s Charmander with a Squirtle, then we see her bummed that her test has been invalidated before she just says bye to everyone.

I can get angry about a lot of aspects of this episode, and I kinda did at points, but ultimately I feel like this episode is a waste of time and a waste of a good concept. Granted, I wouldn’t want Ash to pass the test and skip the final two Gyms (Especially Cinnabar because Blaine’s my favorite) but maybe have a CotD try to go through it and fail or succeed and Ash learns through him/her while trying to help them prepare?

I think I have more suggestions on how this episode could’ve been better than I have ragey complaints. Despite several intentionally funny shots, the art and animation for this episode was wonkier than usual, but that’s kinda offset by the fairly funny moments that were actually intentional. That’s about all I got left for complaints.

……..That instructor definitely needs to be fired, though.

Next time, competent Team Rocket members?! The debut of Butch and Cassidy!

…..Previous Episode


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