My Poke-Pinions #66-68 The Superpower Line


Name: Machop is a combination of “macho” and “chop.” Machop is a good name. It’s snappy and fitting while also being kind cute.

In Japan, it’s known as Wanriki, which is a combination of “wan” for “arm” and “riki” for “strength.” This name doesn’t really appeal to me all that much. It’s fine and fitting, but I prefer Machop.

Fun Fact: Machop’s beta name was Kara-tee for karate. I actually think that would’ve been cute.

Design: I’ll admit, I used to find Machop kinda creepy looking, but now I find it pretty cute. Sure, humanoid Pokemon are always a bit weird either way, and Machop’s half-human half-dinosaur/Gumby body is something alright, but it’s got its own cute charm to it…..Not sure why it has a tail, but okay.

Sprite-wise, Gen I is pretty funny. Look at R/G’s doofy-ass face.

R/B looks a lot cuter, but it still looks like someone glued googly eyes to it.

Yellow is better, but those arms…..

Gen II is colored a bit oddly with Machop being more of a dirty bronze color than bluish-gray.

Most of the sprites beyond this point are pretty cute, except when we get to Gen VII where the default sprite looks smushed and weird.


Ah yet another shiny that looks like it’s spent a few hours swimming in pee. Shiny Machop isn’t too terrible compared to the other pee shinies, but I still wish they had chosen a different color.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Machop is strong, and a master of many martial arts. It loves using Graveler as a barbell for some reason. Its muscles never get sore or cramp no matter how much it trains, and it can throw 100 adults. It likes particularly nutritious foods in order to help build more muscle, and it strives to challenge a Makuhita to a fight.

Design-wise, Machop is obviously based on body-builders, but it also has some reptilian features incorporated into it. Why? I have no idea. But it works fine enough.


Name: Out of the three, I like Machoke’s name the least. I get that it’s making secondary theming by having each second word also begin with a ‘ch’ word, but “choke” just sounds a bit too much like this Pokemon’s a serial killer not a master martial artist or body builder. I get that chokeholds exist, but it’s not what my mind immediately jumps to when hearing the word “choke.”

In Japan, it’s known as Goriki, which means “herculean strength.” I like it better than Wanriki, but I still don’t care for it all that much.

Fun Fact: Like Machop was going to be known as Kara-tee in the beta version of the English games, Machoke was going to be known as Kung-Foo.

Design: Machoke looks even more human-like than Machop to the point where it now has spawned wrestling trunks. It also now has a championship belt, which is actually a power regulator.

Machoke is purple, so it’s already earning a few points with me. Otherwise, it’s a pretty okay design. Despite losing the tail, it retained some of its reptilian features, and I like that the stripes on its arms look muscle details.

Sprite-wise, R/G is just as doofy as Machop’s R/G sprite.

R/B is hilarious because Machoke looks cross-eyed there. The fact that it looks like its making armpit farts doesn’t help.

What the shit, Yellow? Ew.

Gen II looks alright…..barring the pec wiggle.

Gen III is alright too, but what’s up with the animation for Emerald? It looks like he suddenly decided to take a violent crap on the floor.

Everything else is alright. He’s just posing and flexing his muscles in various ways.

I will ask why Gen VI onward looks so gray. It’s like he now has Machamp’s colors instead of his own purple coloring.


If Machop was swimming in pee to make its shiny, Machoke was swimming in baby poo. The blue on the stripes is a nice touch, but otherwise, ew.

Luckily, they realized how barfy this looked and changed the shade as time went on. Gens IV and V look more like pine green, and it’s a lot nicer.

So of course they made it worse later by having every Gen beyond that point look like Machoke is sick.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Machoke is really strong. It is typically used to help with jobs involving heavy materials, like clearing land and construction. It never gets tired, and needs the aforementioned belt to regulate its power, which is weird because several Dex entries note that it always goes at full power.

Design-wise, Machoke has the same inspiration as Machop, except maybe with slightly more pro wrestler influence.


Name: I think Machamp is a perfect name for the final evo of this line. It’s the CHAMPION!

In Japan, it’s known as Kairiki, which translates to “superhuman strength”….not sure if that’s better or worse than “herculean strength” but okay.

Fun Fact: Beta!Machamp was going to be known as Ju-Doh.

Design: Out of the entire trio, Machamp weirds me out the most. I think it’s the four arms combined with the weird huge lips. Something about that combo is just weird. It doesn’t look terrible, but it kinda weirds me out, is all.

Sprite-wise, pbbbbbttttthahahahaha R/G again.

R/B just looks weird. It’s almost like it has three arms on its right side.

Yellow, for some reason, gives off 1920s cartoon vibes.

Gen II is very golden for some reason. I love the animation for Crystal.

What is up with the back sprite, though? It’s like it’s asking for a high five.

Everything else, which is mostly just flexing poses, is fine.

Gigantamax Machamp:

Mmmm….I don’t care for it. The face looks weird, I don’t much care for the charcoal gray color, and it’s just a weird shape. What is up with the Popeye-esque muscular structure of the arms? And why do the hands look too small/short? I do like the lava-esque cracks on the forearms, but that’s about it.

Shiny: More green, but I guess they got the memo with Machoke and decided to make most of Machamp’s shinies a pine or lime green….

….Barring Gen II of course, which looks more like overcooked asparagus green….

and Gen III, which looks more like the baby poop shade Machoke had.

Shiny Gigantamax Machamp is also green, but a darker shade.

I think it looks… The green doesn’t go well with the orange and yellow ‘lava’ cracks anymore. It makes me think Machamp’s turning into a citrus fruit.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Machamp is really, REALLY strong. It can throw punches from all four arms insanely fast, over 1000 in two seconds, and throw its victims over the horizon. One arm alone has the strength to move mountains. However, it has an issue with dexterity due to its four arms. It needs to really think about it before trying to do anything involving careful precision otherwise it may tangle its arms.

Gigantamax Machamp has punches so powerful that they sound like bomb blasts when they hit. It’s so strong that it once lifted a large ship back to port when it experienced trouble at sea.

Design-wise, the only difference between Machamp and the others in the line is that the blue skin and additional arms may be in reference to Hindu gods, Shiva or Vishnu.

And that was the Superhuman line. Honestly, not a whole lot to say, but it’s a pretty cool Fighting Type line, and it’s definitely a classic. Fun fact one last time – Machamp was the first ever holographic card I ever got, and I still have it.

Next time, the Bell Plant line!

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Pokemon Episode 66 Analysis: The Evolution Solution


CotD: Professor Westwood the Fifth – A renowned Pokemon professor who helped program the Pokedex, Professor Westwood is very proud of his lineage, which is made up entirely of fellow Pokemon researchers on his father’s side. Westwood is a bit eccentric, but he truly loves Pokemon.

Pokemon: A Slowpoke that eventually evolves into a Slowbro. Since he kinda stole Jessie’s Shellder, he might also have that too, technically?

Reappears?: No.

Plot: Ash’s mother, Misty and Brock head off to a beach resort for a vacation while Ash is left behind to train for the Pokemon League. He visits Professor Oak who explains that he’s currently struggling with one of the biggest mysteries of Pokemon – Why Slowpoke evolves when its tail is bitten by a Shellder.

Oak tells Ash that the only person who might be able to figure it out is Professor Westwood, a Pokemon researcher who helped program the Pokedex. He just so happens to reside in Seafoam Island where Ash’s mother and his friends just departed to. Ash happily offers to visit Westwood to help get the answer for Oak.

When he arrives, he recruits Misty and Brock and they head to Westwood’s lab. While Westwood is a bit of a nut, he is clearly dedicated to his work. Sadly, however, he does not have the answers Oak is searching for. He’s been trying to unlock this mystery for a long time in order to impress his peers at the Pokemon Symposium. While Slowpoke is quite the derpy Pokemon, Psyduck finds it to be a kindred spirit, and the two make good friends.

Team Rocket shows up to steal his Pokemon, even though he only has the Slowpoke he’s currently researching. Jessie has a surprise, though – a Shellder to turn it into a Slowbro. As Team Rocket tries to force Slowpoke to evolve, Psyduck comes out to protect its new friend.

While the battle is clumsy at best, Psyduck gets a massive headache when Shellder latches onto his head. The headache allows him to use his Psychic abilities and defeat Team Rocket. However, his victory is short lived because Shellder just latches onto Slowpoke’s tail afterward anyway, evolving it into Slowbro.

Team Rocket tries to take Slowbro, but with its new abilities upon evolution, it is able to easily Mega Punch them away.

Having witnessed Slowpoke’s evolution, Westwood finally understands why Shellder latches onto Slowpoke. With Shellder’s weight on Slowpoke’s tail, it is able to balance on its hind legs and frees up its front legs for use in order to use skills like Mega Punch. Shellder is also able to move on land while hitching a ride on Slowpoke.

The mystery now solved, Ash and the others head back, but not before Psyduck and Slowbro say their goodbyes….their long….very simple goodbyes.


– I get that Ash OBVIOUSLY needs to train for the Pokemon League, and I’m not at all saying he should go, but it’s pretty rude of his friends to head off with his mom and her friends to an island/beach getaway for a while and not even bother telling him.

– Speaking of this island getaway, Delia explains that it’s taking place on Seafoam Island, which is a pretty long way away from Pallet Town, but it seems that this is the dub’s weird change. This anime-exclusive resort is originally called Binnes, and is supposedly quite close to Pallet. I’ll assume it’s just on the beaches nearby Pallet that you take to get to Cinnabar. 4Kids changed it to Seafoam Island because I dunno. This is another instance of 4Kids thinking kids don’t pay attention to the stuff they’re consuming, I suppose.

– Why is Mr. Mine sweeping the dirt?


He keeps doing that.

– Ash: *In response to Oak being frustrated at not being able to figure out the mystery of Slowpoke’s evolution* “Why don’t you just use the Pokedex to look it up?” Ash….Oak MADE the Pokedex. What makes you think it has answers he doesn’t?

– If this Professor Westwood did know the secret to Slowpoke evolution, would those findings not be public and thus something Oak wouldn’t need to lookup? This is especially weird because Oak says Westwood helped him program the Pokedex, so wouldn’t he also put everything he knows into it?

– Why does Ash need to visit him? Why can’t they call? This technologically advanced yet somehow still technology starved world continues to confuse me.

– Brock: “He’s the guy who programmed the Pokedex!” Okay….if he’s the guy who programmed the Pokedex, wouldn’t his area of expertise be more on the side of computers and coding than Pokemon? (Originally, he wrote the Pokedex. I don’t really know what that means. Okido provided the data but Nishinomori wrote the blurbs or something? You’d think Okido could do that himself.) Also, Oak just said he HELPED program the Pokedex, not that he was the one who programmed the Pokedex. That’s a fairly significant discrepancy.

– What exactly is it with Pokemon and having family lines that all look identical? First the Jennys, then the Joys and now this guy’s family line.

– Admittedly, though, it is pretty funny that he clearly had his painting made to make him look so much more handsome when he looks the same as his ancestors.


– Misty: “You mean like Togepi?”

Westwood: “I’ve never seen another Pokemon quite like that one.” But….you helped program the Pokedex/wrote it. Togepi’s in the Pokedex….Huh?

– I definitely remember the running gag of Westwood freaking out and apologizing to each of his ancestors before realizing the last one is himself. Wasn’t funny back in the day, and it’s still not.

– Look, I get that this is a neat little tidbit about Slowpoke’s evolution, but you cannot convince me that Pokemon researchers have never witnessed a Slowpoke evolving before. They’re way too common for me to believe that.

– Misty: *In reference to Slowpoke’s category of the Dopey Pokemon* “It’s not very nice to call it dopey.” I agree, but I also think the part where it says, after ‘no one can ever tell what it’s thinking,’ “if it ever does think” is more rude.

– Misty: “Hey, it’s the same clueless expression Psyduck has!” ‘Boy, it’s mean to call Slowpoke dopey……Hey look at its clueless expression! I’ll also now insult my Psyduck at the same time!’

– If there’s one thing I definitely remember about this episode, it’s the ‘conversation’ between Psyduck and Slowpoke. It’s pretty funny.

– Wow, that Krabby is such a dick. It literally just hopped out of the water to pinch both of them on the tail and then left.

– Ash: “Look, it’s got a bite!”

Misty: “Well, at least it’s good at something. Unlike Psyduck.” Misty, don’t you have to go be a bitch somewhere else?

– Giovanni: “Ah, a nice relaxing day at the beach is just what I needed after Team Rocket’s headquarters was destroyed.” Pbbbbbbbbbbbbbbttttttttttthahahahahahahah! What a weird thing to say and do. “Dammit, my evil organization has been dealt a severe blow. One of the strongest Pokemon in existence escaped from my grasp, my headquarters was destroyed, my Gym was blown up by that group of nimrods I won’t fire for some reason……Ah well. Time to break out the Hawaiian shirts, order a pina colada and sunbathe my troubles away. Ahhh.”


– YAY SHELLDER! I love Shellder. We don’t see it enough in the series.


– James trying to emulate Ash is hilarious and adorable.

– Also, look, Ash, even James knows to battle a Pokemon before trying to catch it.

– I don’t really know any logical way they’d set this up, but there really should be some failsafe put in place to prevent other people from capturing Pokemon you weaken in battle. Jessie just straight-up steals Shellder from James after he and Weezing did so well in that battle.

– Why did Giovanni only instruct Jessie, James and Meowth to break into Westwood’s laboratory? He didn’t tell them to steal his research or his Pokemon – he just said to break into the laboratory because it might prove useful to him.

– Jessie and James doing their motto muffled underneath their parasail had me laughing out loud.

– Westwood is a Pokemon researcher with only one Pokemon? Oak observes and cares for hundreds. Why exactly did Oak think Westwood would be helpful with this mystery?

– Technically, the mystery has changed, hasn’t it? Oak was wondering WHY Shellder clamps onto Slowpoke’s tail, and Westwood is wondering why it turns into a spiral shape when Slowpoke evolves into a Slowbro.

– I find it quite concerning that the one time Slowpoke is thinking and moving quickly is to get away from Shellder, knowing it will bite its tail. That has very weird implications for the supposedly symbiotic relationship the two have upon evolution.

– Misty: “Wait a minute, Ash! We’re at the ocean, and Water Pokemon are my specialty!” I’m all for Brock and Misty being more active, but why does Misty frequently need the excuse of being near water or involving Water Pokemon to take the reins so often? Imagine if Brock was like “Hold on, Ash! We’re by rocks, and Rock Pokemon are my specialty!”

– Westwood: “Fascinating! I can present this to the symposium!” You want to present a Psyduck and a Slowpoke staring at each other to what is supposedly the most prestigious collection of scientists in the Pokemon researching world? Okie dokie.

– *Shellder bites Psyduck’s tail*

Ash: “It’s gonna be a Psybro! :D” That line was pretty funny because it’s clear Ash is being sarcastic while Misty seriously replies “I’ve never heard of a Psybro….”

– Misty: “Wah! Psyduck used its Tail Wag attack!” Tail Wag isn’t an attack, Misty.

Ash: “I made up that Psybro thing….” But Misty didn’t call Psyduck Psybro. I actually think this is a flub. I think the script was supposed to say or did say that Misty was supposed to call out for Psybro here, but either someone accidentally put “Psyduck” in the script or Rachel Lillis just said “Psyduck” without realizing the script said “Psybro.”

Veronica Taylor’s delivery of this line is funny enough for me to excuse this flub, though.


– Why would they purposefully attack Psyduck’s head? They’ve been on the receiving end of Psyduck’s headaches before.

– This whole battle on both sides is very funny. No one’s doing anything right.

– Psyduck suddenly cutting off his power from out of nowhere was funny too.

– Westwood: *after Slowpoke* “I’m the first researcher to witness this!” No, you’re not.

…..I’m not debating this. He’s not. I refuse to believe that no Pokemon researcher has ever seen a Shellder latch onto a Slowpoke tail. They fish with their tails, Shellder seem to be jonesin’ for that tail, and you can literally just apparently put a Shellder next to a Slowpoke and they’ll do it…..No…..No, he’s not the first researcher to witness this. Unless every other researcher in the Pokemon world is the most inept scientist in existence, no.

– Alright, so the given reason for why Shellder attaches to Slowpoke’s tail is because it’s mutually beneficial. Shellder is able to now move on land while Slowbro has use of its arms and can stand on two legs.

And that’s it. That’s your explanation.

Even as a kid, I thought that was kinda lame and unsatisfying as an answer. Shellder gains the ability to move on land. Okay….why does it need to do that? It seems like it does fine on the beach and in the sand. Also, it was chasing Slowpoke on the beach and was keeping pace with it even when it was running. I’m pretty sure it’s fairly mobile on land.

Slowpoke is able to walk on its hind legs now and can use its front legs. Okay….I get that it can use Mega Punch and stuff now, but walking on two legs seems like it would be even slower than walking on four. Also, now it looks to be much heavier, so that would be a hindrance as well.

I guess not everything in nature needs to make sense, but when you’re writing something, especially a story centered on an explanation of such a phenomena, you expect the answer to be a bit better and make more sense than that.

I usually save these bits for My Poke-Pinions, but let’s see what the Pokedex entries have to say about this.

Bear in mind that most of these explanations were written years later.

According to the Pokedex, Shellder really latches onto Slowpoke’s tail because it likes the taste. Pokemon Stadium says the tail is crunchy….eugh, while Crystal…..”An attached Shellder won’t let go because of the tasty flavor that oozes out of its tail.”

Who wrote that? That’s so gross.

R/S explains that Slowpoke loses the ability to fish with its tail when it evolves, forcing it to swim and fish that way. Hm, let’s see, be able to stand on their hind legs and punch people or more easily and conveniently catch the food it needs to survive? Hmmm.

Then we have Ultra Moon with this helpful tidbit.

“Shellder, in its greed to suck out more and more sweetness from Slowbro’s tail, has metamorphosed into a spiral-shaped shell.” Excuse me—what?! How does that make sense?! Why does greed for more…..eugh…..tail sweetness equate to becoming a spiral shape?

These entries have to get better, right?

Sword: “Sweet flavors seeping from the tail make the Shellder feel as if its life is a dream.”

EUGHDSJ…….Galarian Slowbro Pokedex entries have to be less gross, right?

Shield: “If this Pokémon squeezes the tongue of the Shellder biting it, the Shellder will launch a toxic liquid from the tip of its shell.”

Speaking of which, they never do explain why Shellder becomes a spiral shape when Slowpoke evolves nor why Slowpoke full on evolves when a Shellder clamps on to a Slowpoke’s tail as opposed to it just, ya know….living with a Shellder on its tail. What is it about Shellder’s presence that prompts evolution?

Interestingly, the Dex entries also explain that Slowbro is a rare example of a Pokemon being able to devolve. If the Shellder comes off, or its tail breaks off, it reverts back to being a Slowpoke. Natural devolution is so rare that only one other Pokemon, Exeggcutor, has been recorded doing this as well. In the case of Exeggcutor, when one of their heads fall off, it becomes an Exeggcute again. Even unnatural devolution is extremely rare and complicated, usually involving powerful beings or very specific conditions and devices.

I would say trying to record a Slowbro devolving by taking the Shellder off its tail is much more interesting and unique than trying to understand its evolution. In fact, numerous Pokemon are shown to evolve by combining more than one creature, like with Magneton or Dugtrio, so outside of wondering why Shellder gains a spiral shell, which is never answered really, it’s not uncharted territory.

– Slowbro and Psyduck taking forever to say goodbye to each other was also very funny.


Dogasu had something to add about this episode that I kinda wanted to respond to.

As for the rest of the episode, the shonen anime “training arc” of the series is now officially underway and while Satoshi is rarely seen doing any actual training it’s kind of fun to see him try to be a serious Trainer for all of five seconds before finding some really flimsy excuse to just take the whole day off to go goof off somewhere. It’s a very ten-year-old boy thing to do, right? Satoshi being really bad at staying focused on training will be a running theme throughout this arc and even though he does eventually lose because of some B.S. disqualification the arc still manages to do a good job of making it clear that Satoshi is simply not ready to win the Pokemon League, sleeping Lizardon or not.

I think comparing this to a shounen training arc is both pretty apt and pretty funny purely because of the sheer lack of training that actually goes on.

From now until the Indigo League actually starts, I’m going to rate how well these episodes fare as training episodes.

This one? A flat zero. Even Misty points out that Ash missed a day of training to help Westwood. I don’t care if Ash brushes it off like learning about Pokemon is training. Studying? Yes. That counts as training. Learning about Slowpoke evolution? No. When would that ever prove useful in a League match? Study that some other time.

As for Dogasu’s point about it being very much a ten-year-old boy thing to do to brush off work to go play, well, yes, but also not really. I can totally get kids flaking on doing schoolwork or chores to go goof off. I definitely did that as a kid. But flaking on stuff you’re passionate about? I get that to some degree as well because many kids, at heart, just want to play around and have fun, especially if they know their friends are doing it too.

However, if you’re the one pushing for this goal – literally no one but Ash is pushing him to be a future Pokemon Master – you’d think they wouldn’t have as much problem actually putting effort into it. Goofing around for one episode or two? Yeah, sure, fine, understandable. However, goofing off even when you have stuff to do that’s important to you usually comes after you’ve already done some work. Ya know, as a bit of a break. This seems to be Ash’s first day of official training, yet he can’t muster the motivation to train for more than *checks watch* zero minutes?

I agree that this whole arc perfectly encompasses why Ash just isn’t ready to win the Indigo League anyway, despite his specific issues with Charizard, but I still get irked at the fact that Gary lost before Ash, and he clearly had a much better work and study ethic than Ash did. Not to mention that the lesson at the end of the Indigo League is that Ash screwed up with Charizard specifically and doesn’t get an earful of “Well, what do you expect when you barely do any training on your journey and then spend only about 5% of your time in between earning your final badge and the start of the League actually training?”

So, yeah, as a ‘training’ episode, this one falls really flat.

As an episode as a whole, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. It was definitely more geared towards just being pure entertainment because there’s nothing they really learned in this episode, and there’s not much of a story so much as just things happening. The entire story can be summed up in a sentence. It made up for it a lot with how genuinely funny it was. Slowpoke and Psyduck are always funny on their own, but the two of them together is fantastic, and there were plenty of other funny moments from other characters throughout the episode.

Next time, surfing Pikachu!

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Pokemon Shorties! (13) Pikachu’s Ice Adventure Review


Plot: Cute Pokemon being cute in snow.

Breakdown: The Writers of this short: “Hello everyone! Welcome to the “Make Twix Want to Turn Off the Short” speedrun challenge. Twix just turned on the short, and boy do we have a surprise for her. Now, we obviously couldn’t tip our hand immediately, that’d be way too easy, so we kinda had to spring this out of nowhere……Okay, so far just typical antics and being flung around – I love it. Now, my timer’s reading 2:53 in, which means she should be spotting–”

Twix: “Oh god, no way.”

“Oooh she saw Marill! We’re at the three minute mark.”

“Oh god, no. There is no way they’d do this to me again.”

“3:04! It’s time to shine!”


*Jigglypuff music starts*


“Ah! She paused it! 3:08 was our time! Speedrun complete! Wow, that was a nailbiter. Thanks for joining us! Make sure to like and subscribe to irritate Twix even more in the future.”

No, I am not kidding. For some reason, they decided to bring back Marillypuff for this short, and I did indeed immediately stop the short when it started singing. It took a lot of my patience to withstand that running joke in the previous short, and they have the gall to bring it back and do the same shtick again? It was almost insulting.

Thankfully, they at least thought better to make this a recurring joke throughout the entire short again, I guess even they have their limits on repetitiveness, so Marillypuff is only in the beginning of this short.

As for the rest of this short, though…’s bad. Harmless, but bad. I really don’t think they had a plan for this short at all. Like even a little. Which is impressive because most Pokemon shorts already are just simply “Cute Pokemon do *spin a wheel of activities*!”

The short starts out with the Pokemon playing at the beach, but then they’re flung off, because Pokemon short. They’re then frozen by a rogue gust of snowy wind from nowhere and wind up floating to some icy location. When they break free, the groups are separated. I really have to write up a Pokemon shorts bingo card someday.

Group one is Pikachu, Turtwig, Chimchar, Sudowoodo and Buizel. Group two is Piplup, Happiny, Buneary, Ambipom and Swinub. Group three is Meowth, Carnivine, Yanmega, Wobbuffet, Mime Jr. and Seviper. Then you have Pichirisu who ends up with Staravia, and Croagunk, who winds up by himself for a bit.

Group one, whom I nicknamed the Pika Squad, finds a Spheal and a Snorunt who have been separated from their mentor, a Snover. They’re also looking for a Solrock to help them melt some ice. It’s literally one sentence in which they mention that, by the way. I had no idea what they meant. What ice? Is some ice blocking a path or something?


Group two bitches, moans and is generally annoying. I nicknamed them Team Brat. While I still think May’s Squirtle and that Bonsly from Pikachu’s Ghost Carnival win the gold medal in annoyingness, this group takes a solid silver. Swinub is a baby, I guess, because all it does is cry and demand food. Happiny is also a baby who also cries, but less so than Swinub. Ambipom complains a lot, as does Buneary, but she comes with the added bonus of also whining that her beloved Pikachu isn’t there. She also complains that Piplup isn’t reliable when it’s literally the only one actually trying to accomplish anything.

Piplup’s not being annoying at all. He’s doing his best and winds up getting treated like crap. I felt bad for him.

Team Rocket’s Pokemon find Snover, who wants to find his pupils, Spheal and Snorunt. He tells them that the king of the Country of Ice will gladly feed them a feast if they assist him in finding them, so they agree.

When the Pika Squad finds the Solrock, the Spheal and Snorunt say this.

“Please use your power, and recover the country into her normal face. The continual unknown snowstorm will keep troubling us all.”

……..What continual snowstorm? It’s been clear the entire time they’ve been here. The only snow, in the air, that I’ve seen to this point was in the very beginning when that rogue gust of icy wind froze the Pokemon. They are in an icy tundra, but I just kinda figured it was a region that is currently experiencing winter right now, or it’s a climate that’s always snowy.


When they said this, I thought maybe this place wasn’t meant to be snowy. Like it’s summer or very nearby to the warm beach they were just enjoying at the start of the short.

But no.

Just as the name suggests, it’s literally a Country of Ice. Everything is meant to be frozen and covered in snow. There are also structures, such as a castle, made entirely of ice. As far as we’ve seen, the place is littered with nearly every Ice Type you can think of. It seems like a paradise for them. Why would snow storms, especially ones that don’t seem to exist, be a problem here?…….Why is a SOLROCK here? It’s a random Solrock behind a massive door on a literal pedestal. Is it there just to melt snow where there’s too much buildup around? How does it control the heat enough to not melt important ice structures? Because it completely melts away every speck of snow from the castle and other structures without damaging them at all – not even the tiny details.

Solrock’s snow-melting powers reveal the castle in the distance. All the groups head there and reunite only to be met with the angry king and queen of the Country of Ice – an Abomasnow and a Froslass.

They have been locked in a battle of snow and ice for however long. I guess this implies that the Pokemon were frozen by one of their ice blasts……How much range do those things have? They were on a warm beach before this.

They were fighting over some ice sculptures of theirs getting broken. It’s weird, too. The instant they point out the statues were the reason they were fighting, both of them realize they didn’t break them (they believed the other did, hence the fighting) but there was no reason to. It was literally; “Why are they fighting?” “Those statues got broke.” Both of them: “Wait, you mean you didn’t break my statues?!” What lead them to that conclusion, and why did they both instantly assume the other did it? Did they not talk at all about this before they started fighting each other? You two need couples counseling.

Also, you’re friggin’ ICE POKEMON. Just use Ice Beam on the statues and fix them! It would take thirty seconds! What is wrong with you two!?


Spheal and Snorunt admit to breaking the statues when they were playing. They say they would have admitted what happened immediately but…….but nothing. They never say why they didn’t do that. They also don’t explain why they were way the hell out there in the middle of nowhere so long after this happened, especially if they intended on confessing.

The sequence of events had to have been, they broke the statues, they all left for some reason, got split up somehow, their parents, or whoever they are to them, found out about the statues while they were gone, instantly assumed the other broke the statues, which is especially weird because they’re statues of themselves, never spoke a word in trying to logically figure out how this happened or do the most obvious thing in the world to fix the statues, started an Ice Type move fight over it, allowed the fight to get so intense that the land got covered in enough snow to hide the castle somehow, which implies they were buried alive before Solrock melted everything and then (enter events of short here).

So the gang fixes the damn statues by having, of all the Ice Pokemon here….the non-Ice Type, Buneary, Ice Beaming the statues to seal them up and having Turtwig slice up the rough spots with Razor Leaf to clean them up. Good as new. Just so we’re clear on this easy fix, even the aspect of smoothing out the surface would have been just as easily done without interference by Pikachu and the others because Abomasnow is part Grass Type and would know Razor Leaf….

Anyway, none of this matters because Croagunk snowboards in through the window and smashes the statues to tiny bits………

They head outside to carve new statues. When did these Pokemon become realist sculptors? I don’t know. Shut up. I say they’re new statues, but it’s moreso a Mount Rushmore type deal because they carve the likenesses of the entire royal family (?) into the side of an icy cliff. I do appreciate that literally every single Pokemon came together to help with this….except Croagunk because I guess he’s too much of an idiot.


They say that now that they have such nice statues, Abomasnow and Froslass will go back to loving each other. I’d say if you resort to subzero warfare and nearly kill each other and destroy your kingdom after getting upset over easily fixed ice statues when you had no reason to even believe the other broke them, you probably have deeper problems than that and, like I said, desperately need couples counseling.

…..Also, as I’ve been alluding to, what is the dynamic here? Snover, Snorunt and Spheal become part of the statue collection, implying they’re their kids or something, but only Snover would logically be one of their kids……….But…they can’t even have kids because they don’t share any egg groups. Are they all adopted? Are they even viewed as their kids? They don’t say Mom and Dad – they call them my king/queen. Who are they if they’re not their kids? It’s very confusing.

They thank Pikachu only, despite the fact that he didn’t do much. He did contribute to the final sculpture, but so did everyone. He also did the least, outside of Croagunk, in fixing the other statues. All he did was command Buneary and Turtwig when they knew what to do while everyone else held the pieces in place…..

The Pokemon all set off on an ice boat back to their beach to enjoy the rest of their vacation or whatever they’re doing during these shorts to be unsupervised for long periods of time. They surf, they sunbathe, they swim, they have fun. The end.


This has to be, without a doubt, the most poorly written nothing Pokemon short ever. I expect so little from these shorts, and somehow this one still managed to deeply disappoint me. Being fair, this was a short exclusive to flights on the Pokemon-themed ANA jumbo jets that they’ve had since basically the start of Pokemon. You can tell because they randomly and pointlessly add in a scene where one of these jets fly by and we’re forced to watch.


The previous short was also an ANA exclusive short that also included a shot of the plane, I just didn’t think to include that in my review for whatever reason. I was probably too preoccupied with everything else trying to bother me.

That being said, that doesn’t mean this short or the previous one (or the next one…) get passes just because they’re something for people to watch on a plane. Actually, I’d kinda expect a short exclusively made to be shown on a Pokemon-themed jumbo jet would be higher quality than normal. Think about it – you pay extra to go on these airplanes to say you flew on the Pokemon plane. You’d expect some high-quality extras like that. I know it costs a lot to animate shorts, but if you’re just going to spit out something without thought, why even bother spending the animation money?

The other Pokemon shorts, no matter their quality, tended to still make a good degree of sense. This one was just stupid from start to finish. It wasn’t enough to make me mad—okay, the Marillypuff thing made me briefly mad—nothing else made me mad, however. I was just confused and baffled by the writing choices that they seemed to make up as they went on. Hardly any writing decision made sense at all.

Why even start at the beach if you wanted to do an ice story? Them starting out in an icy location makes about as much sense as anywhere else they start out in during these shorts because we rarely ever get context as to why they’re in (location) completely alone for hours or even days.

Overall, I can’t say I recommend this short at all because it’s just not entertaining. Above all else, it was just confusing. It wasn’t even a ‘cute Pokemon being cute’ type of short. There’s really nothing here. Moving on.

…..I swear to god if Marillypuff is in the next short…

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My Poke-Pinions #63-65: Abracadabra, Alakazam!


Name: I absolutely love this line’s name scheme of Abracadabra Alakazam. While Abra on its own is nothing to really write home about, it’s really clever and cute when connected with at least Kadabra’s name.

In Japan, it’s known as Casey, which is just too normal of a name to English ears for me to think it fits at all. It’s just awkward to call a Pokemon “Casey.” Being fair, it’s based on the famous ‘psychic’, Edgar Cayce, but it doesn’t change how it sounds to me.

Fun Fact: In the English beta, it was known as Hocus, as in Hocus Pocus.

Design: I’ve always found Abra oddly adorable. Sure, it’s a little weird with its big brown shoulder pads and rat tail, but there’s something about Abra’s face and mannerisms are really cute to me. Probably helps that it’s always napping.

Sprite-wise, R/G looks a bit demonic.

Gold looks really cute the way it’s got one eye peeking open.

Crystal’s animation is SUPER adorable the way it’s swaying its feet and twitching its tail.

What is Emerald doing?

What is D/P doing?

What is platinum doing?

What is HG/SS doing?

Love Gen V because it’s constantly floating in midair.

Everything else is fine.


Abra’s shiny is one of many ‘Let’s just turn down the saturation of the Pokemon’s colors and call it a day’ shinies. As expected, it’s blech.

Oddly, the one exception here is FR/LG where the shiny is, for some reason, darker than the base sprite.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Abra sleeps 18 hours a day to store enough energy to recover from the strain of using its psychic powers. If it fails to get 18 hours of sleep, its psychic powers will start to fail.

It usually responds to sensing any form of danger by teleporting. You must clear your mind and not be perceived as a threat if you want to catch one. Sometimes, it will create illusion copies of itself to further distract threats. It hypnotizes itself to allow it to teleport from danger even when it’s asleep and will teleport to another location once every hour to avoid danger.

When it awakens, it is not aware of where it was sent via its teleportation powers while asleep, usually causing it to panic when it wakes up.

Design-wise, Abra is a mixture of foxes, possums and cats with the idea behind its abilities and moveset being inspired by psychics and mediums.


Name: Continuing on with the cool naming scheme, we have Kadabra. I actually like Kadabra’s name the best out of the trio.

That being said, it also has my least favorite Japanese name of the trio – Yungerer. It’s based off of Uri Geller, the illusionist who popularized spoon-bending as a ‘psychic’ ability. Yungerer is very awkward to say. It’s like someone was trying to make up a name on the spot and just kinda mumbled near the end.

Fun Fact: Also following beta!Abra, Kadabra would have been named “Pocus.”

Design: Kadabra looks pretty cool. I like the star they added on its forehead. I do not, however, care for the bulbous tail. It’s just a bit too weird for my tastes.

Sprite-wise, Gen I and most of II are perfectly fine with nothing of note, but Crystal is hilarious. The perspective makes it look like Kadabra is trying to feed the viewer. “Open up the tunnel, here comes the train! Choo-choo! Num nums!”

I really don’t have much to say about anything until Gen V where the animation looks really funny again. It’s like it’s trying to wash a window with the spoon.

Kadabra is another Pokemon where the gender difference is only barely noticeable. I honestly wouldn’t have noticed unless I looked it up. The females have slightly shorter mustaches than the males. Why wouldn’t they just get rid of the mustache entirely? Did they think it would look too weird?


Basically same situation as Abra and just as boring.

However, instead of being darker in FR/LG, the sprite in that game has a muted purple where the brown should be, which I like.

Dex Entries and Backstory: There are a lot of weird details about Kadabra.

Kadabra possesses strong spiritual powers via the alpha waves it emits. It becomes even more powerful when it closes its eyes, when it’s in danger or when it gets a headache, which is very Psyduck-esque. Only those with powerful psyches can effectively train this Pokemon. When its getting ready to evolve, it stores psychic energy in the star on its forehead.

People close to Kadabra when its using is psychic powers tend to develop headaches. Likewise, electronic devices malfunction and clocks run backwards in its presence when using powerful psychic moves. Weird shadows also appear on TV screens when Kadabra are nearby. These shadows are said to bring bad luck.

The spoon that it somehow gains upon evolution actually has a purpose – it amplifies its alpha waves by about twice as much. If it happens to lose the spoon, it will lose half of its power. The spoon has to be silver, it cannot be gold, which is a weird thing to note. Who even gave a Kadabra a gold spoon to test that theory? Also, does that mean it doesn’t get a spoon upon evolution – it needs to be given one?

It will levitate in its sleep and uses its tail as a pillow, which is pretty cute.

The weirdest note about Kadabra, however, is that it’s rumored to actually be a psychic boy who couldn’t control his powers, fell asleep and woke up as a Kadabra. But then, what’s an Abra?

In regards to design, the only animal trait it seems to retain from Abra are some fox-like features. But what we really need to discuss is the Uri Geller controversy. I had vaguely remembered reading something about Uri Geller being upset about Kadabra being basically an unauthorized parody of him many years ago, but I never really read much on it. Now that I have, holy shit, I had no idea this situation actually caused Kadabra to be basically banned from Pokemon for nearly 20 years!

Alright, so I mentioned that Kadabra’s Japanese name, Yungerger was based off of Uri Geller. It doesn’t really look that way in English (Romaji) but in katakana it does. Yungerer’s name is written like this ユンゲラー (Yu-n-gu-raa) while Uri Geller’s is written like this ユリゲラー (Yu-ri-gu-raa). Additionally, there’s the fact that Kadabra holds a spoon – spoon-bending being what Uri Geller was most famous for.

It wasn’t just that Kadabra was based off of him that set Geller off. He also claimed that the star and squiggly lines on Kadabra’s body were offensive symbols that were tarnishing his likeness – the star being an ‘occult’ symbol and the squiggly lines being ‘similar’ to the nazi SS lightning bolt symbol.

First of all, that’s a very simple star. Even if Kadabra is a psychic Pokemon, you can’t just say every single star shape is an occult symbol. If so, a lot of drawings and doodles I made as a kid must’ve been subconsciously supporting the occult.

Second, I can see how those lines look kinda similar to the nazi lightning bolt SS, but only if you ignore that there are three lines. With the third line, it looks much more like the universal symbol for steam, as in something hot. I literally have that exact same symbol on top of my microwave.

Apparently no one else was in agreement with Geller about the symbols because if they were indeed considered occult-ish or nazi imagery, they’d censor it just like they’ve censored other cards and Pokemon with similar issues.

Even if you don’t buy those explanations, these symbols do have practical reasoning. They’re based on symbols shown in Zener cards, which are cards that were used to experiment with ESP.

He was also angry that the Pokemon was “aggressive” and “in one case, evil.”

Thing is, Uri Geller seems to have been pretty lawsuit-happy back in the day. He has a long and storied track record of suing or threatening to sue people who piss him off. For instance, he sued a watch company, Timex, for showing someone psychically bending forks and other items, but failing to stop a Timex watch. In that instance, he was fined $149,000 for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

He also considered suing IKEA for having a furniture line with bent legs called “Uri,” and filed a complaint (that was rejected) with the Broadcasting Standards Commission of the UK against a show called Secrets of the Super Psychics. The show explained and showed how tricks such as those performed by Geller were done practically. His argument was that it was “unfair treatment” to show how these tricks are done when certain people, such as Geller himself, assert that they’re real powers.

Then there are the other lawsuits that his Wiki page didn’t even mention.

His lawsuit coup de gras was certainly his push against Nintendo for Kadabra’s existence. According to Geller, he was Christmas shopping one day when he discovered an Alakazam card….Yeah, I think there was some mixed signals here at first. He does describe an Alakazam card (Stating the Pokemon used two spoons, not one) but he uses Kadabra’s Japanese name to make the strong connection to himself. He also claimed there were two versions of the Pokemon – one good and one “evil,” which isn’t true for either Kabadra or Alakazam. There IS a “bad” Alakazam card – known as Dark Alakazam in the west – as well as a “bad”/Dark Kadabra card that did exist back then, but the thing is those are Team Rocket cards. Those Alakazam and Kadabra are only “bad” because Team Rocket made them bad.

While it’s certainly understandable to be a little miffed that someone based a character on you without asking your permission, I don’t see how Kadabra is in any way insulting to his image or even really stealing it. Kadabra is a pretty damn good Pokemon. It’s a legitimately Psychic Pokemon, possibly born of a real (game lore-wise anyway) psychic boy, and it doesn’t look anything like Geller. It’s not particularly aggressive as far as I read in the Dex entries. It’s powerful, yes, but not inherently aggressive.

Geller wound up attempting to sue not just Nintendo in Japan, but also in the US, and he was considering suing in other regions across Europe, Latin America and Australasia. The lawsuit for the Japanese office was set for £60m and the lawsuit for the US was going to be $100m. The lawsuit was put forth in 2000, but it was dismissed in 2003. From what reports indicate, while the lawsuit was dismissed, there was a caveat in which Geller only agreed to stop pursuing legal action if they stopped producing Kadabra cards. It’s unclear if Geller demanded this as well, (Doesn’t seem to be the case) but they also stopped showing Kadabra in the anime in 2006 to stave off any possible further litigation from Geller, although they kept Kadabra in the games.

And, yeah, after 2003, there was never another Kadabra card produced, and Kadabra was basically quietly banned from ever appearing in the show or movies either. This kinda screwed up the TCG because Abra no longer had a means of evolving into Alakazam. A special version of Abra had to be printed with the ability “Ultra Evolution” that allowed Abra to skip the Kadabra phase and instantly become an Alakazam.

What I find especially silly about this lawsuit is that Geller took the reference as such an insult, but as far as I know he didn’t get a single lick of negative press or public reaction from Kadabra’s existence. He stated himself that reactions were incredibly positive. A store manager came out bowing to him, and “hundreds of children” begged him to sign their Kababra/Yungerer cards while chanting his name. The only reason he ever got any negative reaction from anything involving Kadabra as far as I saw was because he sued Nintendo over it and banned Kadabra from being a part of 2/3 of the main Pokemon media outlets for nearly 20 years.

Seventeen years later in 2020, Uri Geller had a change of heart. A recent outcry from fans as well as discussions with his granddaughters prompted Geller to realize how silly the whole situation was and see Kadabra as a tribute to him – not an insult. He sent a letter to Nintendo giving the green light to finally start reintroducing Kadabra back into the TCG. Kadabra was confirmed to be getting its first TCG release in 20 years in the Pokemon Card 151 set being released this June. This public and private go ahead also lead Kadabra into being formally reintroduced, albeit briefly, in the anime in 2021’s Pokemon Evolutions.

Good for Kadabra, and good for Mr. Geller. I hope Kadabra gets some cool cards and anime appearances in the future.


Name: In keeping with the theme, I like Alakazam’s name a lot. It’s also great in that it’s truly been built up to as a final evo name because the magic words are just like that. Abracadabra is the buildup, then ALAKAZAM!

In Japan, it’s called Foodin, which is meant to be “Houdin” I imagine since Harry Houdini was used as an inspiration for this one. There’s just no “Hu” sound in Japanese because that hiragana is pronounced “fu.” The name really falls flat for me. Even if I am more understanding and call it Houdin, it still just sounds weird to me.

Design: Alakazam does look cool, but I feel like I’m bordering on labeling it a lazy evolution. It’s pretty much just a bigger Kadabra without the symbols and tail and now with *drum roll* TWO SPOONS!

As with Kadabra, the female version of the line just has a slightly shorter mustache.

Also, I feel the need to point out that if any Pokemon in this line legitimately has an occult symbol on it, it’s Alakazam because it’s head is meant to be in the shape of a pentagram. (You can argue that Kadabra’s head is too, but I don’t think the sides are prominent enough to say that.)

Sprite-wise, R/G looks thoroughly unimpressed with the spoons it’s holding.

Crystal looks pretty funny because it looks like it’s taunting the player with the spoons. “Oooh look at yoooouuu. You don’t have spoons like meeee.”

R/S looks confused by his spoons.

Emerald also looks confused, but then the animation makes it clear that he’s figured out the spoons.

FR/LG makes him look bored af.

Not gonna lie, Platinum gives off more ‘maracas’ than ‘spoons.’

Everything else looks fine.


Alakazam’s shiny has a leg up over its pre-evos in that it actually looks like a shiny and not just a bleached out Pokemon. That being said, the shiny for Alakazam is just okay. The dark brown parts are replaced by magenta, and that’s….fine, and the yellow parts are replaced with a goldish yellow that looks more bronze in Gen III.

Gen II’s shiny is a bit weird because they also change the yellow parts to a gross sewage green.


Mega Alakazam is pretty damn cool. It doesn’t try to do too much like a lot of Mega evos do. It has a wizardly beard, a cool jewel (even if it is called an ‘organ’ eugh) in the center of its forehead, and *even more drum roll* FIVE SPOONS!

I also, for some reason, like that it interlocks its toes instead of sitting cross-legged.

Even its shiny is a little better because it has purple in place of the dark brown parts instead of magenta.

(I don’t know why the main artwork for Mega Alakazam also has purple areas. It’s supposed to be brown.)

Dex Entries and Backstory: Alakazam is insanely powerful and smart. It is said to have an IQ of 5000, it can outperform a supercomputer and it never forgets anything that it learns. It closes its eyes to help it focus, and its brain never stops growing. Its brain eventually reaches a point where it’s so heavy that it uses its psychic energy to hold its head up instead of its muscles, which is insane. It is noted that it has extremely weak muscles, likely as a result of being too reliant on its psychic powers.

We actually have an origin of Alakazam’s spoons. They’re said to be created by Alazakam’s psychic powers, and both spoons are entirely unique.

A funny and sweet note about the spoons is that, if an Alakazam truly trusts you, it will give you one of its spoons. If you eat anything with it, it is guaranteed to be delicious.

Mega Alakazam has lost all of the strength in its muscles and transferred all of its energy into its psychic abilities, which explains why it is always floating and never stands or walks anymore. A mere glance from a Mega Alakazam gives it complete knowledge of your entire life, which is also insane.

Its psychic abilities have now reached precognition capabilities. It can predict every move an enemy plans, which makes me wonder how anything fights a Mega Alakazam…………Hm.

As for inspiration in design, the only things I haven’t mentioned yet are that its horns, long mustache and talons are said to be based on Chinese dragons, which is cool if true, and that it may be based on goats, which are also symbolic in the occult. I, personally, don’t see the goat thing. It does have horns, but they’re not shaped like a goat horns.

And that was the longer-than-I-expected-to-write Abracadabra Alakazam line! I’ve never been a massive fan of this line, but they’re pretty cool in their own right. Gen I was kinda lacking in the (purely) Psychic Type department, and Alakazam was my favorite non-Legendary purely Psychic Type back then (With Mew and Mewtwo taking the first and second Legendary spots, respectively). I liked Kadabra a lot too. While Abra is really cute, all it knows is Teleport, and catching one was a massive pain in the ass back then.

Next time, it’s everyone’s favorite slightly unnerving humanoid bodybuilder Pokemon evo line, Machop, Machoke and Machamp.

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My Poke-Pinions | #60-62 and 186 – The Poli Line


Name: I think Poliwag’s name is really fitting and cute. It’s a play on ‘poliwog’ which is an old (and/or southern?) term for tadpoles, with ‘wag’ as in wagging a tail.

In Japan, it’s known as Nyoromo, which is….okay. I don’t think it’s quite as memorable or cute as Poliwag. It’s a little clunky. It’s a combination of ‘nyoronyoro’ which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for ‘wriggling’ and ‘kodomo’ which means ‘child.’

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Quapsel, which I think is super doofy but also adorable. It’s derived from the word ‘kaulquappe’ which is German for ‘tadpole.’

Also, supposedly, Poliwag is Pokemon creator, Satoshi Tajiri’s, favorite Pokemon. (At least it was as of 2004.)

Design: Look…..I love Poliwag. I think it’s very cute, adorable even. I love its little tail and big eyes….


I don’t know why this bothers me or makes me feel bad for them. Lots of Pokemon don’t have arms or even legs, and tadpoles don’t have front legs yet, so it makes perfect sense, but for some reason it bothers me that Poliwag doesn’t have arms of any kind. I can’t explain it. It’s a very irrational uncomfortable feeling.

Sprite-wise…..ugh…..Oh R/B…..Poliwag looks dead here is all I can say.

Yellow looks better, but still kinda derpy.

R/G….is staring at me…..and I do not appreciate it. Make it stop.

Gold is pretty damn funny. It’s like it’s going “HuuuuUUUUhhhHHH?!”

Silver looks goddamn terrified.

Crystal has roughly the same base sprite as Gold, but the animation makes it look cuter and more natural and less perpetually confused.

Gen III is all cute. I like the little bouncing animation for Emerald.

Gen IV is really cute. My favorite is the jumping HG/SS sprite.

Gen V is pretty cute. I like the very small dancing-esque animation it has.

Gen VI looks sad af. Is that just me?

Every other Gen looks fine.


It’s just a lighter blue color. It’s fine, and I like the shade of blue, but it’s just a slightly different blue.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Because it has no arms and tiny legs, Poliwag doesn’t fare very well on land. However, it moves very swiftly in the water thanks to its strong and large tail.

Grossly, but understandably, the swirl on its stomach is not actually a design on its skin. The white part of its body is slightly translucent, and the swirl pattern is actually its internal organs showing through the thin skin…..I really wish I was kidding, but no. The reason I said this was understandable was because this aspect of Poliwag physiology was taken from tadpoles, who also have translucent skin and visible internal organs. For some reason, the Dex entries also note that the skin becomes even more translucent after Poliwag eats. Ew.

Don’t worry about the integrity of Poliwag’s tummy, however, because the skin, despite being thin, is also very durable and bouncy. Even Pokemon fangs bounce right off it.

The swirl direction changes depending on the region in which it’s found. There’s no concrete answer for what dictates which direction comes from which region, but it does say the equator might be a factor.

Additionally, Gen VII notes that white on the black swirl is indicative of illness within the Pokemon.

For some reason, Gen VI says it has black skin, which it obviously doesn’t. It’s blue. Admittedly, in Gen I it’s easy to mistake it for black, except in Yellow where it’s very blue, but it’s still just a dark blue. A note on the Wiki page says this, in combination with a note about Poliwhirl being oily, might be implying a connection to the bilberry, which is a berry very similar to a blueberry (it’s even known as the European blueberry) that has a waxy coating on that makes it look blue despite the skin actually being black….Okay….if this is true, why is Poliwag being given berry lore?

I’m pretty certain this is just someone trying to figure out a justification for that odd note when, in all likelihood, it was probably a mistake or something.

Finally, Gen VIII notes that, in extremely fast moving rivers, Poliwag will anchor itself to rocks by suctioning itself to them using its big lips….How do they eventually get out of the river?

In terms of design, Poliwag was simply based on a tadpole.

Poliwag did have a prototype released in 1997 that looked like this.

You’re welcome for the nightmares.


Name: Poliwhirl’s name is simple, but fitting and fairly cute. It’s a combination of ‘poliwog’ and ‘whirl’ or ‘whirlpool.’

Its Japanese name is Nyorozo, which breaks down to ‘nyoronyoro’ and ‘kozo’, meaning ‘youngster.’ I kinda don’t care for this name. It’s just a bit awkward to say, in my opinion. It’s technically meaningful enough, but it’s just kinda clunky.

Design: It’s weird, but I’ve always had a big soft spot for Poliwhirl. It’s very cute and cuddly in its own odd way. If you look at Poliwhirl for too long, you start asking questions about its weird appearance like where did its mouth go between evolutions? Why would it LOSE an important body part between evolutions? How does it eat without a mouth? Where did it get mittens? It is indeed weird, but I can’t help but love it. I just want to give a Poliwhirl a hug.

Sprite-wise, Gen I is a tiny bit weird, but it fares much better than many Pokemon of that era. R/B is probably the worst because the eye stalks pop up just a tab bit too much.

Yellow’s fine, even if it has an ‘old man yells at cloud’ motif.

R/G is definitely a little off-putting. It’s kinda cute in its shy pose but the weird fish-eye lens curve to its eyes here is just eugh.

Gold is okay, but Silver is really neat. It’s like it’s trying to reach out to the player.

Crystal gives off really strong Poliwrath vibes.

Gen III is fine, and Gen IV is a lot of fun. D/P/P looks like Poliwhirl is partaking in a martial arts competition while HG/SS cheers it on.

Every other Gen is fine.


It’s the same blue shade as Poliwag’s shiny and equally uninteresting.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Poliwhirl has gained an arm upgrade as well as slightly stronger legs to give it more mobility on land, even though it obviously prefers being in the water. In order to keep its skin moist when out of water, it sweats an oily substance all over its body. This oil actually helps it in battle by allowing it to easily slip out of the enemy’s clutches.

Gen VII gets a little dark by explaining that Poliwhirl will grab Bug Pokemon on land and drag them underwater (effectively drowning them) so it can eat them in a safer place. It also eats fish Pokemon……Although, again….where the hell is its mouth?

The Wiki page provides an image of Poliwhirl’s internal anatomy, and I still can’t see where its mouth would be.

Some post I found said it’s the little line up top, but I think that’s just detailing on the intestines because there would be a mouth visible in that location if that was it.

According to the Pokedex, Poliwhirl is capable of lulling enemies (or even children) to sleep by having them look at its stomach swirl as its belly undulates. And unlike many odd Pokemon abilities that don’t seem to match what they can canonically do in regards to moveset, Poliwhirl actually can use Hynopsis. It can also use Amnesia and Psywave, which I think is taking the concept a bit far because it’s still just using its belly swirl and hypnosis for this power. It shouldn’t actually have real Psychic powers.

Poliwhirl is based on the glass frog, which is a super adorable and really cool-looking frog, despite the whole ‘being able to see their organs through their skin’ thing.


Name: Poliwrath’s name is pretty good. It’s snappy and fairly intimidating. It’s a combination of ‘poliwog’ and ‘wrath.’

In Japan, it’s known as Nyorobon, which is probably the best of the three Japanese names so far. It’s a combination of ‘nyoronyoro’ and ‘bon’ for ‘boy’………So…..we went from….child to youngster to boy….Poliwrath, the big intimidating one of the line….is just a boy? Okie dokie….

Fun Fact: In Germany, it’s known as Quappo, which is pretty funny.

Design: Poliwrath is most certainly one of the laziest evolutions I’ve ever seen, especially for a final evo. A Poliwhirl goes to the gym three days a week and is also angry – that’s Poliwrath.

…..Oh and it also grew a few fingers.

Sprite-wise, what’s up with R/B? Its eyes are massive.

Yellow looks like he’s falling asleep while fighting.

R/G’s a bit better. Kinda puffing out its chest.

Gens II and III are good. All of the animations are fist fighting, which is neat.

Gen IV is……what is it doing in D/P/P? Is it pooping? Summoning Cthulu? I don’t understand.

HG/SS is a bit better as it’s flexing whatever tadpole muscles it has.

Gen V is fine.



Question – why is the Poli line just now getting a differently colored shiny?

Being based on a frog, having a green shiny makes a lot of sense, and this shade is perfect for it. It’s a bit of a shame that the previous evos weren’t also green or at least a different color is all.

Also, look at Beta Poliwrath and his little crown lol

Dex Entries and Backstory: If you thought my notes on the design were boring, the main features the Pokedex talks about are that it has a lot of muscles and can swim really, really well.

That’s pretty much it. Everything else is just tiny added details like it can easily beat champion human swimmers, human children learn to swim watching Poliwrath swim, it can swim across the Pacific Ocean easily, it has very low body fat, it can reduce rocks and chunks of ice to bits and pieces with a single punch….That’s all.

In terms of design, Poliwrath is still based on the glass frog, but the Wiki notes that it may also be based on amphibian neoteny as it stays in tadpole form and never completes its transformation. The entire Poli line, sans Politoed, are all classified as Tadpole Pokemon. That’d make sense, but it’s also really weird because neotenic frogs don’t seem to exist – or if they do, they’re insanely rare. At most, it’s been documented that some frogs keep their tails after they complete their transformation, but they don’t need to be aquatic, so they’re just basically frogs with tails.

Supposedly, the addition of the Fighting Typing is theorized to be because frogs gain bigger bodies and higher muscle mass compared to a tadpole……??? That’s a bit of a stretch. That would also apply to many other Pokemon based on real animals, especially if you take evolutionary lines as being more or less child → teen → adult.


Name: Politoed has the best name of the bunch. It’s a combination of ‘poliwog’ and ‘toad’ but spelled with an e. The Wiki says that, in this circumstance, the ‘poli’ part may actually be ‘poly’ as in ‘many’ and ‘toed’ indicating it has a lot of toes, but it, like,….doesn’t. It has toes, but it doesn’t particularly have many toes. It actually has rather few toes. I guess it has many toes compared to the other entries in the Poli line since they have no toes.

I really just think they were making a cute play on words because now it has little frog toes.

In Japan, it’s called Nyorotono – a mixture of ‘nyoronyoro’ and ‘tono’ for ‘lord’ which makes a lot of sense because Politoed is achieved by using a King’s Rock on a Poliwhirl. It’s also theorized that the ‘tono’ part is indicating ‘tonosama-gaeru’, a dark-spotted frog.

Honestly, I still find the Japanese name scheme to be kinda clunky, but who am I?

Design: Politoed is incredibly cute, and now it has a mouth again!. I really love frogs, and this one is a big ol’ cutie. I love the color choices, its eyes and face, its pudgy belly. It’s a great Pokemon. One of my favorites.

That being said…..they went in the exact opposite direction with Politoed’s design than they did with Poliwrath. Whereas Poliwrath looks way too similar to Poliwhirl, they made no effort whatsoever to make Politoed look like it belongs in the Poli line. It has a spiral on its belly, sure, but the spiral is barely a spiral, it’s more like a simple curled line, and it doesn’t look anything like the spiral on the rest of the line, which, barring directionality, has stayed incredibly consistent.

It’s almost like they designed a really great frog Pokemon but they didn’t want it to be a standalone Pokemon so they just stapled it onto the Poli line.

It does make sense for a tadpole line to wind up as a frog, but it simply looks too different to feel like a natural progression at all, especially since the only entry in the Poli line that actually looks like a tadpole is Poliwag. I realize how silly that seems because, when you compare a tadpole in real life to a real frog, they also look nothing alike. But when it comes to Pokemon evolutionary lines, you tend to expect some degree of consistent design so you can at least see how each step connects.

What’s especially interesting about the choice to make this Pokemon a Poli evo is that, if Poliwrath’s Wiki is any indication, the line was originally intended to NOT end up as a frog. If it’s a case of mimicking neoteny, then all three being classified as tadpoles makes sense. But branching off into a frog, thereby completing the transformation cycle, just confuses the theme of the line.

Shifting over to sprite talk, Gen II is very green, man. Like real green.

Interestingly, the Japanese version had spots on its back for some reason.

Gen III is fun.

Gen IV is cute, but what exactly is up with HG/SS? Why does it look like someone told the animator to make Politoed look like an energetic baby?

Gen V is super cute, but I’m not sure how I feel about that brief belly wiggle.

Everything else is cute enough, but before I move on, can anyone tell me what the difference is between the male and female versions of this Pokemon?

I stared at these sprites for a long time trying to figure out what the difference was without needing to look at the biological information, and literally the only thing I could see is that the female has SLIGHTLY smaller cheeks.

….And yup that’s the difference.

Why even bother with stuff like this? I mean, at the very least, I guess I can say they didn’t do the stupid thing of making the cheeks heart shaped, but seriously. It’s such a tiny detail.


Politoed’s shiny is certainly….colorful. It reminds a LOT of cotton candy. I want to like this shiny so much more than I actually do. It’s a beautiful shade of blue. That shade of pink is also really nice….the combination is what’s putting me off a little. I also don’t like that the ‘hair’ on its head is now white for some reason. I can’t fully get on board with it, is all. Some of the shiny sprites look really good, especially the post-Gen II earlier Gens.

Others, Gen VI onward (the first image), have the colors being more off-putting. They’re darker and deeper, which makes the contrast more apparent. You’d think stronger contrast would be good, but here it just feels like it’s too much.

At the very least, they do get a lot of credit for trying to make a unique shiny. Among the plain Poli line, it’s a massive upgrade, and among other shinies out there it’s pretty damn unique in regards to color combos. Being fair, as a frog, it has a right to be insanely bright and colorful.

The first shiny version, however, is just ugly. It’s a gross shade of green mixed with an awful shade of pink. It makes Politoed look very ill, to be honest.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Politoed’s an audio nightmare.

The Dex entries note a lot about how they come together and make extremely loud bellowing noises to gather Poliwag and Poliwhirl. “Their cries sound angry and not at all pleasant, but they are certainly distinctive.”

These sounds also make the Poliwag and Poliwhirl cower in fear and asserts the Politoed’s role as leader and king.

I’m sorry. This whole thing is, again, making me think this arrangement with the Poli line was an afterthought.

Look at this Pokemon and tell me it instills fear or gives off “king” vibes.

Why, of the entire line, would PoliTOED be the one who makes the other evos cower in fear when another evo has WRATH in its name? Poliwrath can reduce boulders to rubble with one punch. Politoed doesn’t even have a secondary typing, which just makes the whole “Poliwrath is Fighting Type because frogs have strong muscles” thing seem even weirder because Politoed is the actual frog and its not a Fighting Type or muscular at all.

Moving on, the female of the species cannot make sounds as loud as the male, and it’s said that the deeper and more menacing cries from the males attract more females.

The curly ‘hair’ on its head acts as a crown, which is a nod to the King’s Rock that is used to achieve this evolution, and it’s proof of its status as the king of the Poli line. The longer and curlier the hair is, the more respect the Politoed commands.……Uh…yeah, sure. Because when I see a curly hair, I think “crown.”

Why not just do as they were going to do with Poliwrath and give it an actual crown? It wouldn’t come off as out of place, given the ol’ fairy tales of princes turning into frogs.

In terms of design, Politoed was based on the European tree frog. I don’t know how they sussed out the exact frog in this situation as Politoed looks like a very typical frog, but I accept this. I have no clue where the hair came from, though. If it really is just their weird version of a crown, I have no idea how they got from point A to point B on that one.

Again, the spiral on it’s stomach is said to represent internal organs appearing through the skin, like glass frogs….Wait “represent”? The other Poli line entries said that the spiral WAS the internal organs showing through.

Okay, hang on – Poliwrath’s Wiki page also says it’s meant to be a representation of the organs, but Poliwhirl and Poliwag’s biology sections says they’re actually showing through. “A black and white swirl covers its belly, which is actually its organs showing through its thin skin.” “There is a black and white swirl on its abdomen, which is actually its internal organs showing through its semitransparent skin.”

Even giving leeway because that’s the Wiki page, so anyone can edit it, the official Pokedex entries for Poliwag say this. “The swirl on its body is its internal organs seen through its skin.” This is repeated in every single Gen’s Pokedex entries all the way to Gen VIII.

I don’t know what to believe. I guess it makes more sense that the swirl is just a representation instead of the actual organs showing through, because 1) That’d be gross, 2) I doubt that’s something neither Nintendo/Game Freak nor the anime animators would feel comfortable showing and 3) It’s clearly a simple black line, not detailed organs. However, I can’t ignore what the Dex entries have been repeating to this very day.

I will say, without a doubt, that Politoed’s situation is clearly one of just being a representation because, again, it’s not so much a full, long swirl as it is just a line with a curl at the end. If that is Politoed’s organs, I think it needs to see a doctor immediately.

And that was the Poli line.

I do really like this entire line, even if I do have numerous questions about a variety of things concerning it. It’s cute, it’s doofy, it’s fun and it’s very unique, despite its simplicity.

Next up, Abra Kadabra Alakazam! *poof* *vanishes*

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Pokemon Episode 65 Analysis: Showdown at the Po-Ke Corral


CotD(s): None

Plot: Ash is back in Pallet to prepare for the Indigo League conference. He, Misty and Brock visit Professor Oak to get more information on the tournament. When they arrive, they’re met with Gary, who is visiting his grandpa. Oak explains that the Indigo League tournament will be taking place in two months at the Indigo Plateau, and over 200 Trainers are set to partake in the event.

Ash and Gary learn that the other two Pallet Trainers who started their journeys at the same time as them quit some time ago. The two of them are now Pallet Town’s best Trainers. Ash and Gary both butt heads about their progress with Gary gloating that he’s captured many more Pokemon and has much better training regimens and battle strategies than Ash.

As Oak shows them around his research facility, which houses every single Pokemon, Ash, Gary and any other Pallet Trainer has caught and isn’t currently in their party, and tells them all about Pokemon, Gary and Ash come to a slightly better understanding of each other. They’re about to have a friendly practice battle when Team Rocket shows up, demanding Pikachu and all of the other Pokemon on the premises. As Ash and Gary prepare to battle them, Ash’s herd of Tauros bursts through the fence and plows through Team Rocket, sending them blasting off.

Gary takes his leave, promising Ash that they’ll have their match in the Pokemon League tournament. Meanwhile, Oak hands Ash, Misty and Brock some wood and tools to fix the fence Ash’s Tauros destroyed.

Ash has two months of prep time until he will partake in the Indigo League tournament. Will that be enough?


– There’s more confusion with the ownership of Mr. Mime as this episode proves that Mimey only listens to Delia not Ash.

– They misspell “Corral” as “Corrall.” in the title card.

– Mewtwo escapes from Giovanni in this episode, which helps establish a timeline a little bit with the movie, but not entirely.

That being said, having that scene in this episode was pointless. They show Mewtwo flying off, Jessie, James and Meowth meet with Giovanni who tells them nothing else but to do their jobs, and then they all leave the site of the destroyed HQ. Even taking the movie into consideration, what does this scene add to either?

– The rudeness to Ash from the previous episode continues in this episode when Mr. Mime wakes Ash up by vacuuming his face, Misty just tells him now he can go another week without taking a bath, then Professor Oak is shown being happier to see a Togepi than seeing Ash again.

– The fact that the other two Pallet Trainers quit before even getting to the Pokemon League just makes me even more curious about them. They were keeping pace with Gary throughout like half of Kanto and seemingly were nearly as skilled as he was. What happened to make them both quit? Saying “They just didn’t have the skill.” doesn’t explain much or make much sense. How can you start your journey demolishing Gym Leader after Gym Leader and then skew off into “I guess I suck now.”?


– I do appreciate Ash saying maybe the Pokemon deserve more credit for his Gym Badge accomplishments than he does.

– Okay, pause for a second. Mewtwo just escaped. Oak says it’s two months until the Indigo League conference. Let’s say the tournament goes on for….a week? And then Ash gets on a new journey like a couple weeks later? So around three months from now is when it will seem to make sense that the movie takes place? Am I close? Sorry, it’s just bugging me.

– How the hell is Gary’s Krabby that buff and seemingly high level without Gary evolving it?

– Ya know, I really hate how much of a point Gary has. And I apologize for jumping ahead a bit in this tangent, but I feel this is an appropriate time to go over this. Ash doesn’t switch out his roster pretty much ever (hell, he barely switches it up from just Pikachu and the starters. RIP Pidgeotto), and it does cause his Pokemon to stagnate. It also causes him to stagnate because, if you never train with anything besides one roster, an incomplete one even, it makes adapting so much more difficult when you do decide to switch it up.

Gary constantly switching out his roster to level up all of his Pokemon evenly, catching a lot of Pokemon and constantly training allows him to be incredibly versatile and greatly increases his knowledge and skills in battle. If anything, this should have been one of the bigger hiccups in Ash’s performance in the Pokemon League. It would have proven Gary right and showed Ash the error of his ways in his lackadaisical training style. But no. Instead, Muk will perform perfectly well in its bout, and Krabby will do so well it somehow ends up evolving.

“But Twix” says the strawman I’m making up again, “Ash probably trained those Pokemon a little bit in the two months he had until the Pokemon League.” That would be smart, wouldn’t it? Eating some crow and deciding that he should train Muk, at least one of his Tauros and Krabby in case he needs them for the Pokemon League….

That would be very smart.


So of course Ash doesn’t do it.

There are several episodes between now and the Indigo League competition – eight to be precise – and not a one of them includes Ash training any of his B-squad. Hardly any of it includes Ash training at all. He spends much of this downtime dicking around in random filler episodes. He’s gonna find out how Slowpoke evolve. He’s going to be in a movie. He’s going to go surfing. There’s going to be a really weird episode involving giant ancient Pokemon. Only one of them is even kinda centered on training, and most of that episode is just Ash and Brock simping after Bruno while he makes them do random exercises. Then the episode ends with a lesson that they’ve learned about fifty times over by now.

Just to prove that Ash didn’t train them off-screen, when Ash uses Krabby during the tournament, Misty points out that Ash has never used Krabby before. If Krabby was trained, then that would imply that Ash has been using Krabby in practice battles.

The fact that Ash makes it further in the tournament than Gary does kinda throw a negative moral in kids’ faces that you can screw off, ignore valuable advice and hope for the best, and somehow you’ll beat out people who have worked harder, studied more and have more experience. I know that the Charizard incident conveys the exact opposite message, and trust me we will cross that bridge with a goddamn tank when we get to it, but the fact that he skates by like this without putting in the work is one of the many reasons Ash annoys me so.

Gary may be somewhat irritating with how he treats Ash, but it’s very clear that he works hard, cares about all of his Pokemon deeply and studies a lot. He’s also proven he can be a fully respectable guy as long as he’s not stroking his ego. I actually believe Gary should’ve been the one to beat Ash in the Pokemon League. Not only would that have scratched the itch to see these two battle after teasing it for so long, but it would definitely knock Ash down even more of a peg than it did when losing to Richie. You can still have Gary lose immediately after so it humbles him a bit more too and makes him realize he needs to do some soul searching and reevaluation, but having him come in lower than Ash in the tournament just comes off so badly, if you ask me.

Oh, and Ash doesn’t even bring Krabby or Muk with him to the tournament, despite having an open spot on his team. He has to have Oak send them to him when he’s already at the Plateau. It’s no wonder it takes him 25 years to finally fully win a league tournament.

– Admittedly, though, it is kinda weird that Gary starts schooling Ash on Pokemon Type matchups for Gym Leader matches. It was totally out of the blue since no mention of Types or Gyms, outside of collecting Badges, was brought up. Ash definitely does have an issue with typing his matchups effectively, but Gary has no way of knowing this.

– When Brock asks what Gary would use against his Rock Type Gym, he says he’d use a Water Type with a Grass Type for backup. I find it weird that this exchange is even happening. Gary having a Boulder Badge implies that he battled and defeated Brock (and bear in mind that Gary made it to the Pewter City Gym before Ash, so Flint wasn’t manning the Gym as he is now) Brock should be saying something like “Yeah, when he battled me, he completely wiped me out with his Water and Grass Types.” or something.

Gary asks what Ash would use, and Misty says he’d use Pikachu. I want to half-defend and half-condemn Ash here. Misty is referencing the match Ash had with Brock in which he did use Pikachu as his main attacker, but he didn’t really have much of a choice. His roster at that point was a Bug/Flying Type, a Normal/Flying Type and an Electric Type – none of which having an advantage on Rock/Ground Types. Granted, out of all of these, Electric is the worst Type because it should be completely ineffective against most Rock Types since they’re usually dual-type Ground as well, as Geodude and Onix are, but they hardly ever remember that little caveat when Messiahchu’s in the mix.

If Ash were to battle Brock now, I’m……75% certain he’d choose a Pokemon besides Pikachu now that he has more variety. A good chunk of that 25% that was lost was because the “(Aim for) the horn!” incident is still fresh in my mind.

– Gary: “Hah! Everybody knows you shouldn’t use an Electric Pokemon against a Rock Type.” Hah! Everybody knows that’s only good advice if the Rock Type is also dual-type Ground. Rock Type on its own is neither strong nor weak against Electric.

Also, pot, meet kettle. In Battle for the Badge, Gary purposefully used an Arcanine, a Fire Type, against a Kingler, a Water Type.

– Hahah, when did Oak pickpocket Gary and Ash for their Pokedexes? He just suddenly scans them out of nowhere.


– I’m gonna disagree with Gary on his “capture first, ask questions later” policy in regards to the Pokedex. I actually think Ash’s approach is better. You may think you know everything about a Pokemon, but the information the Pokedex offers could be invaluable to both capturing and raising it. Considering Oak made the damn thing, it’s almost like Gary is so arrogant that he’s saying he knows more than Oak half the time. Even if he doesn’t whip out his Pokedex whenever he sees a Pokemon, why wouldn’t he use it after the fact to research it more after capture?

Also, this more or less proves that the anime doesn’t keep the game’s goal of filling out the Pokedex.

– Oak: “Let’s Poke-round in my laboratory!” Never say that again.

– Well, womp womp, let’s talk about Ash’s Tauros…..or not. The dub doesn’t bother explaining how and why Ash caught 30 Tauros at the Safari Zone so………*shrug* I guess I already said my piece about it in the episode analysis for the Legend of Miniryu/Dratini, so no point going over it again here. Would’ve been nice if 4Kids even made the effort to cover up the big gaping hole here, though.

– I find it weird that they make off like Gary doesn’t make friends with his Pokemon. He loves his Pokemon and is obviously friends with them. We’ll see in a second that he’s very affectionate towards his Doduo.

– While Oak’s views on Pokemon and how much he cares for them has always been really heartwarming and sweet…..I don’t really buy that he cares for all of those Pokemon by himself. As they said, he seems to have thousands of Pokemon in his care, even if Ash and Gary combined have about 232-ish. I assume some of these Pokemon belong to the other two Pallet Trainers and any other Trainers Pallet has had in the recent past. Still, I really think he has to have employees helping him. I know them staying in Pokeballs a good chunk of the time helps, but he lets them out every day.


– I think it’s insanely interesting that Oak was talking about variations among Pokemon of the same species. This was quite a ways off from any variant, even shinies, but it’s cool to think he may have been foreshadowing that.

– Ash, for god’s sake. Put the Pokedex away. You’ve seen a Dodu–…..Wait, has Ash seen a Doduo? He’s seen Dodrio like three times, and it’s been in the background a lot. *Googles* Wow, he actually hasn’t! This is the debut of Doduo in the anime……Huh…….My apologies. Carry on.

– That Geodude blushing when Jessie grabbed its hand was adorable.


– Alright, so, in the end, you kinda can’t ignore the Tauros issue because the one conflict of this episode is resolved by Ash’s Tauros. Having Oak be like “Oh but you did save my research center, Ash. All of those Tauros are yours.” has absolutely no meaning whatsoever if we don’t even know where these things came from or why he has them. To a viewer who has never seen The Legend of Miniryu/Dratini, it’s going to come off like Oak is giving credit for the efforts of some completely random Pokemon to Ash.

Even if we did know…the ending message in that exchange is kinda weird. Ash is trying to give credit to the Pokemon for saving them from Team Rocket, and Oak is trying to give Ash the credit because, if he didn’t catch the Tauros and leave them all there with him, they wouldn’t have been there to save them. But also….they didn’t need the Tauros to save them. Ash beats Team Rocket by himself all the time, and he had Gary about to help him here, so victory was a certainty. The Tauros plowing through and blasting Team Rocket off, seemingly on total accident (they didn’t run to Ash or anything. They ran off immediately afterward.) really only served to beat them a little faster.

Also, it’s pretty sad that Ash didn’t recognize any of his Tauros until Oak pointed it out. And none of the Tauros recognized Ash either. I guess that means he’s never seen them since he caught them. At least Krabby and Muk show up on video calls with Oak sometimes.


This episode was necessary in regards to being a buffer between all of the Badge episodes and getting ready for the Pokemon League, and it was nice seeing Gary again and getting caught up on their statuses at the end of their Kanto journey, but there’s really not much to talk about in this episode. Most of what I did discuss here was regarding future events in the Indigo League with some parts involving the movie.

As you can tell from my incredibly short synopsis, nothing much actually happened. It wasn’t even really building up to anything in the future with Gary because, as we’ll see later, Gary and Ash never get to have their match in the Pokemon League. They wind up having a battle back in Pallet after the tournament is over.

That’s not to say it’s a bad episode, it’s not, and it’s kinda quaint to have a slow and comfortable episode back home before we get into the nitty gritty of the Pokemon League tournament, but it’s just kinda void of much to actually talk about.

Speaking of the nitty gritty of the Pokemon League tournament, get ready! Because next time we’re going to start……wading through several episodes of filler before we actually get to the tournament.

It’s such a shame that they didn’t bother actually making a cool little mini-training arc for Ash. If you weren’t going to dedicate these next EIGHT EPISODES to actually showing Ash buckling down and training for the Indigo League, why even bother having this gap here? Either skip ahead the two months and use these episodes to make the main tournament longer, which, as we’ll see, was desperately needed, or use the episodes for something worthwhile to his training….Anyway, next time we learn how a Slowpoke evolves into a Slowbro using a Shellder – something that honestly doesn’t make much sense even when explained.

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My Poke-Pinions #58 and 59 – The Guard Dog Line


Name: Growlithe and Arcanine are two of my absolute favorite Pokemon ever. I love dogs, Fire Pokemon are my favorite Type – they’re the perfect combination.

Growlithe’s name is a combination of “growl” and…..”lithe” Wow, thanks a bunch, Bulbapedia. That was really helpful. I didn’t know what “lithe” meant, so I googled it, and it means “thin, supple and graceful.” Uhm….I mean….I….guess? Those aren’t really traits that immediately jump out at me when I think of Growlithe, but okay? The “growl” part of the name obviously works very well, but I have no idea what the thought process was with the “lithe” part. It’s still a good name in regards to being memorable and snappy, but I just don’t quite get it.

In Japan, it’s originally known as Gardie, which seems to be indicative of “guard” or “guardian” I think like guard dogs. I prefer Growlithe, but Gardie is a bit more of a fitting name. It kinda just sounds like a name someone would give a Growlithe, if that makes any sense.

Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was going to be named Flamie, which is……very not creative, but cute.

Design: Growlithe is one of the most perfect Pokemon designs. Fight me. It does indeed just look like a dog, but the absolute perfect shade of orange for the short fur with stark black stripes all over the body really help it stand out, and it definitely portrays the Fire Type quite well.

On its longer fur, it has shaping and spiky features that resemble flames, making the fire connection even stronger. I think Growlithe is absolutely adorable. I love its face, it ears, the little hair tuft on top of its head, its paws, its tail – just everything about Growlithe. I especially think the eyes are the perfect shape. They’re adorable and friendly while still having enough angle to them to convey a truly threatening expression if need be.

Sprite-wise, Gen I…pbbbtthhhahahaha…Sorry. R/B is really cute, but it comes off a bit too much like a real puppy/animal than it should. Also, I don’t much care for the tail being so tiny.

Yellow looks pretty normal, and R/G looks—PBBBTTAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s looks so doofy. It’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but it’s so doofy. It almost doesn’t even look like a real Pokemon. It’s kinda more like a plushie.

Gen II is quite the tonal shift, making all of the sprites for the Gen look really friggin’ angry.

Gen III is a bit better, but I have no clue what the animation for Emerald is doing.

Gen IV is pretty cute, but the animations for DPP are a bit too hyper for my tastes.

HG/SS is very adorable, though.

Absolutely adore the animations for Gen V. It’s such a playful pup in those sprites.

Everything else looks pretty good.


I hate you, Pokemon. First you spit in my face with Vulpix’s shiny, and now poor Growlithe? How dare you?

Granted, Growlithe’s situation isn’t quite as bad as Vulpix’s. Growlithe’s shiny is more stark yellow than anything, but still this is just insulting. It looks like it did a fusion dance with a mustard bottle.

In Gen II, its shiny looks…lame, but better. The orange parts were simply turned to a brown color, which kinda just makes it look like a regular dog.

Hisuian Growlithe

Oooooohhhhhhhhhhwwoooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww……Okay, uhm…I’ve never seen this version of Growlithe until this very moment, and it’s…..a lot to take in.

First of all, I’m not against the idea of having like a half-shaggy dog and half-short haired dog – I actually find that very cute – my issue is with the way they styled the hair. The fur on its head looks ridiculous. It looks kinda like a helmet, which is a neat idea, but it’s giving off seriously strong “I was desperately trying to look cool in 1967” vibes.

The fur on its chest is just confusing. Are those balls? Why are they balls? I don’t understand. The tail is fine. It kinda reminds me too much of Wartortle’s tail, though.

The other noticeable detail is that they changed the orange color to being a much deeper orange-red, heavy on the red. I don’t think it looks that bad, but it kinda looks unnatural.

The shiny version is shit, because they just did the exact same color scheme as shiny normal Growlithe.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Growlithe is noted as being extremely loyal, brave, friendly and territorial. It will bite enemies, and it will remain motionless unless commanded by its owner/Trainer. BW also mentions that it’s so protective of its Trainer that it will bark at enemies and run them out of town. It has such a good sense of smell that it never forgets the scents of those it smells, and it can use scents to determine the emotions of others.

Gen VII explains that Growlithe’s natural enemy is Rockruff, and Growlithe are said to have been living and working alongside humans since the stone age.

The only Dex entry for Hisuian Growlithe explains that they patrol their territory in pairs, and it’s believed their typing changed to be dual Fire/Rock Type because of nearby volcanic activity, which is kinda cool. This design doesn’t give off Rock Type or volcano vibes, though.

Growlithe’s design is based off of shisa, which are Japanese statues meant to resemble a mix between a dog and a lion. I can definitely see it. Shisa are guardians meant to protect people from evil spirits, which is very much like Growlithe.

It’s theorized that its striped pattern is either based on tigers, which I don’t buy because it doesn’t have anything to do with tigers, a thylacine, otherwise known as a Tasmanian wolf, which I believe a bit more, or a Kai Ken, also known as a Tora Inu/Tiger Dog, which is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen.

Hisuian Growlithe’s Rock typing is seemingly based off of komainu statues, which, as far as I’ve researched, are pretty damn similar to shisa legends. The only difference I can see is that shisa are from Okinawan mythology while komainu are more generally used all over Japan and are primarily guardians for Shinto shrines? Correct me if I’m wrong there.

I don’t really understand this Type change if this is accurate. If Growlithe are already based off of statues, then it doesn’t make much sense for Hisuian Growlithe to be part Rock just because it’s based off of a statue and legend that is almost identical to the one its original form was based from. Why didn’t they just say it was because of volcanoes like the Dex entry stated?

Additionally, while the Wiki doesn’t note this, the fact that Hisuian Growlithe work in pairs is also taken from both shisa and komainu legends since they’re always put out in pairs – one with its mouth open and the other with its mouth closed. The shisa legends states that one pair is always male while the other is female. The male will have its mouth closed to keep evil out of the home while the female keeps hers open to share goodness.

In the komainu legend, the one with its mouth open is pronouncing “A” the first letter of the Sanskrit alphabet while the one with the closed mouth is saying “Um,” which is the last letter. This is meant to symbolize the beginning and end of all things. Both combined create “aum” which is a sacred syllable in Sanskrit that has many meanings – far too many for me to go over here – but check out that link. It’s fascinating.


Name: As much love as I have for Growlithe, and it’s an awful lot, I have a tiny bit more for Arcanine. It’s a beautiful, adorable, powerful giant fire dog, and I love it to bits.

Arcanine’s name is a mixture of “Arcane” and “Canine” which kinda surprised me because I always thought the first part was meant to be based off of “Arf” like the dog noise, but “Arcane” is a much better origin for that part. So fitting, and such a cool word. I love Arcanine’s name. It has such a majestic and cool flair to it that it could easily be a Legendary name.

Speaking of legendary, while I usually don’t discuss category names, Arcanine is called the Legendary Pokemon, and this has lead to a lot of confusion. Arcanine is obviously not a Legendary Pokemon, but it is classified as THE Legendary Pokemon because it is a Pokemon of many legends and tales….Do you get it? Yeah, I don’t either. Maybe because it’s so relatively common given that Growlithe is so common it can be called a Pokemon of legend, but it’s not rare enough to be considered a Pokemon so few people have seen it’s considered simply a legend, making it Legendary?

Also doesn’t help that in episode two of the anime, Arcanine was included on a depiction of an ancient tablet with Legendary Pokemon including the Legendary Birds.

Back on topic, its Japanese name is Windie, which I was never really a fan of. It sounds overly simple and like something you’d expect them to use as a name for a Flying Type. It’s meant to be in reference to the fact that Arcanine supposedly runs faster than the wind, which I also think is flimsy. You have this awesome majestic Pokemon and your only thought is it runs faster than the wind?

Fun Fact: In the beta version of RB, it was called Blaze, which is cool, but also a bit too overly simplistic. I much prefer Arcanine.

Design: Arcanine’s design is amazing. It still has the cute characteristics of a dog, but it’s big and intimidating without looking scary. The lion attributes, though still subtle, come through much more with Arcanine than Growlithe, and it’s just the right balance here. I love that it’s big enough to ride on. When I was a kid, I always wanted to ride on an Arcanine, and I still do, to be honest. I want to give one a hug too. It’s such a cuddly-looking Pokemon.

Sprite-wise, RB looks pretty cool, actually. They made the longer parts of the fur more flowy instead of spiky and I actually think it looks awesome.

Yellow also has this really cool attitude to it. I love it.

RG looks doofy, though.

Gen II looks really cool except for Crystal where he looks like he’s about to sneeze and stops himself by gently putting his paw down.

Gen III looks really good. The animation for Emerald makes it look like it’s barking before growling really intensely, which is cool.

I don’t really have much else to say about the rest of the sprites. They’re all varying amounts of cool and cute.


They committed the same shiny sin to Arcanine as they did to Growlithe. He now comes in lemon flavor. The least I can say is that some versions, specifically Gen IV and V, make him look golden instead of yellow, but it’s not much consolation.

Gen II’s shiny is also brown, but it’s a bad shade of brown. Like Arcanine hasn’t taken a bath in three years and spends his days running in dirt.

Hisuian Arcanine


Where do I start with this thing? I don’t hate it, I just don’t like it that much. I think the tail is the best part. I like how it looks like a smoke plume, especially with the shade of dark gray they chose for the longer fur areas. I don’t dislike how the mane looks.

My opinion on it seems to vary by the minute. I never really like it that much, but I can’t bring myself to really hate it. However, if I do hate one aspect, it’s the way they changed the head design. It looks awful. I also don’t care for the shade of red they chose for the rest of the body. Unlike Hisuian Growlithe, this shade is a bit too red to the point where it’s basically fire truck red. I think having more orange in it is necessary, especially if they’re trying to pull off a lava/magma vibe. Lava/magma is not pure red.

Its shiny is, again, bright yellow. However, it works a tiny bit better with this version, because it comes off more like Arcanine changed to an Electric Type. Then I realized that this shiny looks a bit too much like a Raikou. I was going to make an Entei comparison with the main version, but I didn’t think it looked quite similar enough. But then I saw the shiny and couldn’t get Raikou out of my head.

Why yellow for ALL of the shiny versions of this line? It’s so bad. Please, if another version of this line ever comes out, choose a color besides yellow for their shiny.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Arcanine, like Growlithe, are known for their intense loyalty and bravery. They are incredibly fast and graceful runners. When running, they are considered captivating by many. They can run around 6,200 miles in 24 hours, which is insane. The fire within their bodies is said to help power it to run so far and fast. They are world-renowned for their beauty, and they are said to look like they have wings and are running on air.

In a bit of surprise, the early Dexes note that it is a legendary Pokemon in China specifically (this is later changed to “the east.”) There are legends of Arcanine working alongside military generals and conquering an entire country.

It has a bark so powerful and majestic that people actually grovel when they hear it.

Hisuian Arcanine has a fierce look, especially with fangs that they can cloak in fire, but it mostly feints and avoids fighting fairly often, choosing to playfully chase after and dance around its opponents instead…..Wait, that’s it? That’s all they have to say about Hisuian Arcanine? That’s kinda lame, actually. No notes about volcanoes or lava or rocks or what have you? Why even bother then?

Not many additional design notes for Arcanine except that it might have also been based off of Xiezhi, which…..maybe, but I doubt it? Bulbapedia says it’s a fire-breathing dog with similarities to lions and tigers, but the Wiki page for that legend specifically says it’s an ox, sheep or a goat, and there’s no mention of fire anywhere.

According to legend, the Xiezhi was called upon as a figure of justice. It could accurately detect who was guilty and who was innocent with a glance. They would signify who was guilty and innocent by ramming whomever was guilty and sparing whomever was innocent. That doesn’t sound like anything Arcanine does so….*shrug*

Hisuian Arcanine also doesn’t have any additional notes besides the very obvious fact that the tail and ankle fur look like smoke, which is very disappointing.

And that was the – eh, what should I call this one?….The Guard Dog line. I would’ve said “Legendary Dogs” but then people would probably get confused with the three Legendary cats/dogs/beasts…ya know. I still love Growlithe and Arcanine to bits and pieces, even if their only alternate versions are underwhelming. They’re just such awesome Pokemon, and they’re always high on my favorites list. I wish they existed in real life. Or at least I wish they were a bigger part of the anime. I still have trouble accepting that they wouldn’t let James keep Growly with him. Gary had an Arcanine, but we barely see him.

Next up, the Poli line!

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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 11 (Sub) Giratina and the Sky’s Bouquet, Shaymin Review

Plot: Dialga and Palkia may have reversed most of their damage from when they fought before, but residual effects are still being felt. In the Reverse World, a topsy-turvy version of our world, toxic clouds have begun to appear in response to the disturbances in space and time caused by Dialga and Palkia.

To get its revenge, the ruler of the Reverse World, Giratina, attacks Dialga and drags it and an unsuspecting Shaymin through to the Reverse World. Using Seed Flare, Shaymin makes another portal and escapes to the real world where it finds itself in the care of Satoshi, Hikari and Takeshi. While its attitude is certainly abrasive, they agree to take it to the flower garden so it can partake in the annual Flower Bearing.

However, Giratina is following closeby, and so is Zero – a man who wants to capture Giratina for malicious purposes.

Breakdown: This is another one that doesn’t seem to have a whole lot in regards to changes, so I’ll be going in 20 minute chunks.

20 Minute Mark

I would say that Shaymin’s voice in the original is less annoying than the dub…..but then I’d be lying.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I do believe this is the first time that the dub’s title animation is the exact same as the original’s. The only, obvious, difference is that the text is changed to their English counterparts and the Japanese credits are removed.

What exactly was Satoshi doing to get his hands that dirty? And doesn’t he normally wear gloves?

40 Minute Mark

Mugen Graceland was changed to Newton Graceland.

I’m just realizing how much personality Pochama has. I mean, it’s mostly a kooky klutz, but it’s still cute.

Jibacoil literally sounds like someone doing that flappy thing with your lips. Bbbbbbbbb

Wait, all of the ‘coil line basically sound like that?…..Why?

Hikari’s still getting on my nerves coddling the little brat.

It’s kinda weird to hear that woman ask Hikari if she can hold Shaymin. For most other Pokemon, this would be understandable, but Shaymin can talk. It’s like someone asking a mother if they can hold their three year old child. The kid can answer for themselves.

Yup, Shaymin’s voice doesn’t change at all when it switches to sky form. *shrug*

They’re breaking a lot of windows on that train. Who’s paying for those damages?

Hour Mark

Just to be fair to the dub, Satoshi and Hikari both point out the obvious in the scene where Brock’s explaining the glacier.

I’m just now realizing that it makes even less sense for Satoshi to suddenly become sad when he realizes Shaymin will be leaving them once they reach the garden considering that’s literally only a couple shots beyond Shaymin yanking on Satoshi’s ear to get him to fly then telling him he’s too heavy.

Shaymin says the reason it always rides on Ash when they’re running away from Giratina is so he’ll get eaten with him….Yes, such a likable Pokemon.

Hour and 20 Minute Mark

I love how, throughout this whole action scene, Takeshi is relegated to being nothing but reaction-shot-man. They could’ve designed the glider to be big enough to hold one more person. Stop giving Takeshi nothing to do in these movies.

Holy crap, Regigigas sounds so terrible in the original. Sounds like a crazy person on a rampage.


This is a weird thing to note, but Satoshi’s lips don’t match his words at all when goes ‘YAHOO!!’ Also, he sounds really strange saying that line. It’s just a strange moment, really.

The CGI for the flowers still looks ech.

My experience with Japanese Team Rocket isn’t vast, but even just watching 11 movies with them I can say I’m pretty sick of hearing them say “This feels bad.” They say it nearly every time they’re on screen. Granted, “Looks like Team Rocket’s blasting off again” gets old too, but for some reason “This feels bad” gets old faster.

The ending song, ‘You Are the One,’ is pretty good. It’s pretty much a tossup as to whether I like this or the dub’s ending theme better.


All in all, the dub holds up very well. Really nothing was changed outside of the obvious things like the title screen and the credits song, and any changes that did occur didn’t alter my opinion on the movie at all. Shaymin’s still annoying, Zero’s still an idiot, and I still didn’t really have fun. Again, there’s nothing terribly wrong with it, but there’s nothing really special about it either.

Recommended Audience: Same as the dub, except they actually say ‘die’ once or twice. So jack it up about ten or twenty years.

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My Poke-Pinions | #56 and 57: The Monkey Line


Name: Mankey’s name is either a mix of “Man” and “Monkey” or “Mad” and “Cranky.” I think they’re kinda reaching for the latter theory, and, honestly, the former doesn’t sit right with me either. I always just thought they were lazy and changed one letter of “Monkey” to make it seem new.

Mankey’s name is fine. The word “Monkey” is already pretty funny, and changing it up a bit allows it to retain the snappiness and most of the humor in the word. I just think it’s kinda lazy, is all. Mankey’s name is kept from the Japanese version. No real fun facts today either.

Design: Mankey’s design is a bit unique in that I both find it very bland and overly weird. At face value, it’s just a brown and beige monkey, which is the boring part, but then you look closer at it and it’s weird.

First of all, I wasn’t rooting for Mankey to have realistic hands, but there’s something so weird about a monkey having paws for hands. Monkeys are supposed to be all about climbing and hanging from things, and paws just don’t work very well for that. The way it looks in the main artwork, it’s like the paws don’t come off as normal paws immediately. It looks like his ‘paws’ got broken and they’re bending in the wrong direction. They’re not, but that’s how it always came off to me.

Second, its face. I’m fine with the angry eyes, He’s supposed to be an angry little shit, and he is able to easily have cute expressions. It’s his nose that weirds me out. Apparently, his pig snout is supposed to be similar to baboons, of which Mankey’s design is partially based from, and uh…..I don’t see it. I’ve never seen any monkey-like animal with a pig nose. They have pronounced and long snouts, but they don’t come off like pig noses. Then there’s Mankey’s mouth….of which it has none. It does have a mouth since it can eat, but it has no visible mouth, and that just compounds the weirdness.

Finally, we have Mankey’s feet, which are also not hands, but they’re a tiny bit better in being Y shaped grabby feet. While being more practical, they also just seem very weird. It’s like someone fused bird feet with monkey feet.

In hindsight, it’s very strange that the main theory around Mankey’s name is that it’s a combination of “Man” and “Monkey” when they took pretty much anything human-like away from any monkey’s features in order to make this design. No hands, no opposable thumbs, no human-like body shape, no human-esque facial features (they even gave it tiny pointy cat-like ears) absolutely nothing. They went out of their way to remove those typical features, and I’m not saying it’s all bad, it just creates a bit of a mish-mash of confusing feelings.

Sprite-wise, RB is…..*sigh* My feelings are confused again. Mankey obviously looked a bit different back in the day. It gives off way more ‘pig’ vibes given the weird shadow around its face, but it’s still clearly monkey-like. And that back sprite is so weird. I keep thinking Mankey’s standing on its hands.

Yellow is a bit more normal, but RG is back to being more pig-like.

Everything’s about average until Gen III, where Emerald has a pretty cool animation. Makes it look like it just won a fight or something.

Other than that, I don’t have any other notes, good or bad.


I’m confident in saying Mankey’s shiny is one of the worst in all of Pokemon. It’s either a muted baby poop green or it’s a muted pea soup green. Either way, it looks more like Mankey is horrifically sick than shiny. At its best, it can come off looking lime green, which is a little better, but still not by much.

Dex Entries and Backstory: The Biology section of its Wiki explains that it’s similar to New World Monkeys, and look at these horrifying motherfuckers.

They are the stuff of nightmares.

Mankey are incredibly angry all the time, and they’re very quick to attack and become uncontrollably violent. They breathe heavily when getting enraged enough to attack. It will attack until it’s exhausted and then go to sleep only to become enraged in its dreams and wake up angry again. It can’t distinguish from friend or foe when it’s on a rampage, and they travel in such tight packs that, when they lose sight of their pack members, they become enraged by loneliness.

An interesting and, I would think, incorrect statement they make in the Dex entries is that, because it is constantly releasing stress by being violent, it lives a long life……I don’t think that’s right……or a healthy message to send kids. No, you shouldn’t bottle up your emotions, even anger, but I can think of few Pokemon who are worse poster children for that message than Mankey. Yes, kids, go and lash out at anyone you see whenever you want. Hit people, break things, it’s the health way of dealing with stress.

Ash’s Pokedex also says it packs a powerful punch, which I don’t doubt because it’s a Fighting Pokemon, but can a Pokemon with those paws really “punch” anything?

Mankey’s design is seemingly based on baboons and Japanese macaques.


Name: Primeape’s name is okay. It’s basically as one-note as Mankey, again being one letter (or….I guess two) off from the word, but Primeape is a bit more unique. It’s obviously a combination of “Primate” and “Ape.”

Its Japanese name is Okorizaku, which translates to “Angry monkey.” Really went all out on the imagination there, eh? It’s also kinda a clunky word, to be honest.

Design: I like Primeape’s design a little better than Mankey’s, but, when you get down to it, there’s not much of a difference between Primeape and Mankey. It loses the tail, gains some semblance of hands and actual feet, which I appreciate. It also, somehow, gets metal wrist and ankle shackles. But otherwise it looks pretty much the same as Mankey.

Sprite-wise, RB actually looks decent. It just looks a tiny bit less detailed than Yellow’s. RG looks…..weird. Like it’s a bootleg Primeape.

Otherwise, I don’t have a whole lot to say. HG/SS definitely has the best animation. They’re all trying to do the same kind of tantrum animation, but they’re not pulling it off. Emerald looks like it’s dancing, DPP looks like it slipped on butter. HG/SS actually pulls it off well.


Primeape’s shiny is arguably even worse than Mankey’s. However, the awfulness fluctuates depending on the Gen. Like Mankey, it has a very baby poop green look to it overall, but he looks horrible – absolutely horrible – in Gen III where he’s now Graham cracker brown and a deep baby poop green. That is definitely of the worst shiny sprite sets in all of Pokemon.

It looks a tiny bit better in Gen IV because it looks more lime green, and Gen V pretty much keeps the same shade, but after that it’s just back to grossness.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Almost all of the notes and Dex entries are pretty much just Mankey’s only more angry. Like in the anime episode with Ash’s Primeape, if you lock eyes with it, it will never stop chasing you in an effort to beat the crap out of you.

I was about to write off all of Primeape’s Dex entries and notes as being more or the less the same as Mankey’s until I got to its Dex entry in Sun where it says, “It has been known to become so angry that it dies as a result. Its face looks peaceful in death, however.”

…..First of all, holy shit, Pokemon. That was dark.

Second of all, that’s in direct contradiction to what they said in Mankey’s Dex entries where it said it has a long lifespan because it’s constantly letting off stress and anger.

This entry only made me more confused when we got to Ultra Moon where it says, “The blood vessels in its brain are sturdier than those of other Pokémon, so it can stay healthy despite its constant raging.”

Which is it!? Is it a heart attack waiting to happen or is it super healthy? I don’t get this at all.

And that was the monkey line. Had more to say than I thought I would, but I still didn’t wind up saying a lot. They’re fine Pokemon. They definitely wouldn’t be my first choice of Fighting Pokemon, not even in Gen I….Actually……They’d probably be my last choices in Gen I of Fighting Pokemon. Literally every other Fighting Pokemon seems more appealing than these two. My favorite Gen I Fighting Type was always Hitmonchan, but I also really like Machoke and Machamp, and Hitmonlee has definitely grown on me. Machop’s probably closest to the bottom in Gen I, but I still prefer it over Mankey and Primeape.

I will admit that they can be entertaining when they’re goofing around, but that’s about it.

I don’t even have any nostalgic connection with Primeape considering Ash had one because he only used it literally once and then just left it with some guy he barely knew for no real reason forever.


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An Absurdly Deep Dive into the History of 4Kids | Part 24: Everything Changes (Conclusion)

So, class, what have we learned over the past 24 blog posts and 100 pages besides the fact that I desperately need a life?

All joking aside, this wasn’t really a passion project or anything, more of a long-standing curiosity that I wanted to explore, thought would just take a few days to research and write, not two months (even as all the parts were sitting in my scheduled posts queue for weeks after finishing the entire thing, I still went back and edited them many times), and wound up finding so many rabbit holes that I think I literally am a rabbit now.

However, I am very glad that I decided to write this up because it helped me understand a lot about why 4Kids was the way it was, a lot of their business practices, what was happening behind the scenes, why they truly died, and I even got to do some sleuthing and maybe clear up some rumors. Maybe you even learned something and had some fun. I hope so.

I think a big takeaway here, though, is that 4Kids, at the end of the day, wasn’t this big boogeyman of anime, when you get down to it. They were mostly just….grossly incompetent. I know it seems weird to say that of such a big name as 4Kids, but, they pretty much were. They propped up their business on a few big titles with no plan as to what they would do should those titles be taken away, they lucked out with a few huge licenses, especially Pokemon at the start, they greatly overestimated their skills and knowledge in the industry, and then whined that Japan didn’t consistently come up with more merchandisable cash cows for them to license on a regular basis as if that was in their control.

They disrespected their audience, which earned them ire, they disrespected anime and manga as a whole, which earned them ire, they disrespected their peers in the anime (and manga) industry, which earned them ire, they didn’t bother to do proper research on their own licenses before obtaining them or research into Japan and how their economy and content works despite working with their properties for years, which earned them ire, and they constantly wanted a pat on the back for doing so much for anime while also desperately not wanting their audience to know what they were consuming was anime….which earned them ire.

Even their production of merchandise and marketing, two things you’d think a licensing company that has existed for over four decades and has had several massive properties under its belt would be able to do quite well consistently, wasn’t all that good at times. From not properly advertising certain shows to supposedly not getting a toy deal for Mew Mew Power to their ridiculously spotty and frustrating release schedule for DVD and VHS releases, especially in regards to ‘uncut’ releases, to making a deal with Miramax and Harvey Weinstein for the Pokemon movies to the disaster that was Toonzaki. It’s amazing how they were both very good at marketing and advertising while also making some incredibly baffling and poor business decisions.

Some things were out of their control, of course, especially the financial crisis and the overall death of Saturday morning cartoon blocks, but many aspects of their downfall were their own doing. If you want to look at the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit from a different perspective, the fact that they said they’d do anything to keep the Yu-Gi-Oh! license, including go bankrupt, was a little on the insane side. I get that Yu-Gi-Oh! was their top earner and losing the license would have been the death of them anyway, but it seems very immature and backwards to basically stamp their feet and say they’d rather kill themselves than let someone else do it. Even if they did rightfully win the lawsuit in the end, they didn’t get anything substantial from it, and they had to have known that.

I won’t really hold Chaotic’s situation against 4Kids because that was also largely out of their hands. It was just a financial gamble that failed in a time of economic turmoil. Again, even without the financial crisis at the time, Chaotic likely would have just been a fairly beneficial property to them through the rest of their years. I sincerely doubt revenue from it would have saved them from their eventual fate. They probably would have just sold it back to CUSA or someone else in the bankruptcy auction. Looking back, maybe one of the reasons 4Kids didn’t want to give up the license to CUSA was because they had injected so much of their own money into it that any offer CUSA gave probably didn’t seem like it was worth it, even though, ya know, it doesn’t make them ANY money by latching onto it forever.

I do think they also had a big issue with their all-or-nothing attitude. They were constantly dead set on finding the next huge thing – the things that would rake in insane profits and make them the top of their field – but they were very bad at long-term strategies. Let me be completely fair and clear – I don’t have a mind for business, much of it goes over my head, but even I can tell that they had a big problem with this. Even when they did say this property or another would be a big earner for years, they either dropped them early because they weren’t being massively successful immediately or they would keep the property but give up on it in spirit, so to speak, by just letting the license rot in their hands.

This reflected very well in their aforementioned attitudes towards Japan in which Al Kahn said anime and manga in Japan were dying because they hadn’t had any generation-defining merchandisable hits in over a decade, which was objectively wrong in a lot of ways. If he thinks an entire country is “over” just because their anime and manga sales were down for a bit, even to the point where he gave up on licensing anime for three years as a result, then it’s not surprising that he views his company in the same way.

This was even reflected when they tried to branch out a bit into female-oriented shows. Winx Club did well, but they had it taken from them because the creator didn’t like what they were doing with it. They gave it another go with Mew Mew Power, which also did well, but dropped it halfway through because they couldn’t get a toy deal for it. Magical DoReMi was good, but it wasn’t good enough so they dropped it. And they didn’t even dub Precure because they likely thought ‘Why bother? If there’s one thing we’ve learned here it’s that there’s no money with girl stuff.’ And then there was whatever the hell they were trying to achieve with Capsule Monsters, which comes off like they gave up on that idea almost immediately while also having no real direction on what they wanted it to be in the first place.

I do concede that a large amount of 4Kids’ edits, as with other child-demographic anime dubs at the time, were a result of FCC constraints and regulations, but I’ll only concede so far with that assessment. Yes, certain edits were necessary to meet broadcast standards, but many of their edits, such as their localization efforts, changing entire soundtracks and removal of all things text, were squarely on 4Kids. As far as I know, the FCC has no regulations about changing foreign content to better suit young American audiences. The only entity that really benefits is 4Kids. In their eyes, it made them more marketable and appealing, and the only people getting offended were the pre-existing fans who knew better, and most of those people weren’t in 4Kids’ target demo, so they didn’t care. Also, let’s not overlook the fact that some of their edits were just entirely nonsensical, and many of their content edits were still commonly present in their movies, which are not controlled by the FCC.

Let’s also not forget that many of their practices were a result of just being terribly condescending to their audience. From making things way too obvious through dialogue changes/additions, editing scenes around or even having new animation created to drive certain points home to thinking every single second of a show needed to have music or talking in it to keep kids’ attention to making mistakes in their dubs and not fixing them on purpose just because they didn’t care and then later claiming it was on purpose as a little weird Easter egg thing.

4Kids, as much as it sucks to say, weren’t entirely wrong when it came to those views, either. Looking back as fully grown anime fans, yeah, we see how bungled the dubs were for a variety of reasons, and we feel rightfully disrespected as fans, but, back when we were kids, most of us didn’t care. The fact that 4Kids, by design, made their shows to trick viewers into not thinking they were watching anime (which failed after a while) definitely had a hand there, but I can’t honestly say that my experiences looking back at enjoying these shows is in any way tarnished knowing what I know now because 4Kids, despite their backwards best efforts, helped make me an anime fan, and they wound up being a significant part of the anime boom in the late 90s and early 2000s.

I don’t attribute my being an anime fan to 4Kids because other shows dubbed by other companies, such as Sailor Moon (DiC), Digimon (Saban) and Dragon Ball and DBZ (Ocean/Funimation) and a slue of others certainly helped push me there too, but they were a big part of it. Plus, many of the shows that they dubbed are now available in high definition subbed versions (not all of them, admittedly), the ones that aren’t weren’t made unavailable or obscure because of 4Kids (It’s likely some people only know of a few obscure shows because 4Kids dubbed them once upon a time) and they also helped pioneer anime streaming options with, Toonzaki and even their Youtube channel.

4Kids isn’t even really special when it comes to them mangling their properties. As I’ve already covered in my Sub/Dub Comparison series, companies like DiC, Saban and Nelvana were awful in their own rights with similarly awful and confusing changes, but what makes 4Kids special was that they were the best damn manglers who left a trail of shows and movies in their wake. All of those other dubbing companies had rather limited libraries of anime compared to 4Kids. They wanted that kid anime market cornered, and they cornered it as much as they could. They were the kings of mangling, and I say that with legit praise because they were so much better at digital paint and editing magic than any of the aforementioned dubbing companies.

Even on Cartoon Network where they were more lax on that stuff because their anime was geared towards older kids and teens, and adults with Adult Swim, they had to make edits to suit airing. Some famous examples include Naruto and Yu Yu Hakusho. I specifically remember sloppy paint edits on Yu Yu Hakusho where you’d see the digital paint very obviously shaking as it was covering up wounds and middle fingers. And obviously there were awkward edits to replace Yusuke’s swearing. Even on Adult Swim there was some instances of editing for content. I remember Blue Gender had a sex scene hinted at in the next episode preview with a few clips between Marlene and Yuji, and it just wasn’t there in the episode on Adult Swim where it is there in the Japanese version.

This stuff happens. Sometimes, their dubs were just legitimately entertaining because the cast and writers were having a ball with the show. Their music could even be legitimately good. It was a crap shoot with them sometimes.

Speaking of the cast and crew of their shows, I really do want to emphasize that, in my opinion, they were the best parts of 4Kids. I poke fun at some 4Kids actors’ acting abilities and even just their voices sometimes, and I make fun of a lot of writing choices, but as far as I’ve seen the regular 4Kids cast and crews typically had a blast doing what they did and were proud of their work. For many of them, 4Kids productions were their first foray into mainstream voice acting work, and for some of them it was their first venture into voice acting period. They also seem to be good with the fans, happy to talk about their experiences and were understandably upset whenever a project they were working on fell through, especially in the situation with Pokemon where the rug was pulled out from under them from all angles. The main problem in 4Kids’ wheelhouse were almost always the executives, especially, yes, Al Kahn.

That being said…..there’s a reason 4Kids died when many other dubbing or licensing companies went through similar hardships and came out on the other side with their feet on the ground. As I just mentioned, 4Kids was terribly pigeon-holed. They were exclusively, well, for kids. Older kids and even teens and adults may have had a place in their audience, but their demographic was kids.

When you’re dealing with a kid demographic, you have to work in a landscape that is probably the fastest changing landscape in media. Kids grow up super fast. They outgrow Kids WB and move on to Toonami. They outgrow Toonami and move on to Adult Swim. They may not move on to other anime at all. Within a few years you have an entirely new audience of kids you have to impress with things that are new and exciting, and in the world of licensing, especially when you’re primarily licensing imported shows, you’re chained to whatever is being offered/is available in other countries.

It’s true that trying to make certain properties more fitting for newer audiences helps keep properties alive for years, just look at some of the American kids’ properties that have existed for decades without changing a whole lot, but when you’re dealing with licensing other properties that you don’t have a whole lot of creative control over, you need to find different avenues to evolve.

The thing is that they recognized this. Their problems with having few big properties holding them up and focusing on a demographic that practically demands constant change was in nearly every single financial document as concerns about their company, but they very rarely presented anything that would help solve that issue.

They did create 4Sight, which would’ve been a fantastic move to branch out into older audiences and get a more stable income stream, but, as all-or-nothing attitudes go, they pretty much went the ‘nothing’ route with 4Sight. They didn’t make any big moves with it. They barely made any small moves with it. It pretty much just sat in a corner collecting cobwebs for half a decade.

Toonzaki was a weird outlier in this regard because it’s almost like they went too far in the other direction by having a streaming site where a lot of graphic titles were offered alongside uncut 4Kids properties with no parental controls or age confirmation that I could see. This would have been the perfect project for 4Sight, but they didn’t give it to them. It was entirely a 4Kids website.

Localization is an issue too, but not fully. Yes, some references and jokes need to be changed because they just don’t translate well in English, but that usually not the problem. They were worried their audience would be put off by foreign things. Or, for some reason, an American audience would never be able to connect with Japanese characters and settings. But then again, you’ll never know if the localization is what killed it in the States either. It was largely a matter of gambling with pretty much any property 4Kids acquired.

They were also largely stuck on broadcast TV. They had trouble with releasing movies after a point, and their DVD production and sales were incredibly inconsistent and lacking, something that got exponentially worse when they attempted to release uncut DVDs. Other companies also took to TV a lot, but they tended to be better about releasing uncut DVDs. For example, people complained a lot about Naruto’s censored airing on Cartoon Network, but the uncut version was made readily available as the series aired, starting when the series premiered and completing the DVD releases when Naruto ended its run on TV.

By the time 4Kids broke out into streaming, they just handled it badly. Streaming their edited shows on That’s great. Streaming those and some uncut stuff on their Youtube channel? Awesome. Toonzaki, however, was a great idea that was also somehow a massive mess in practice. As I mentioned, it’s just weird to have a 4Kids streaming service that had so many graphic titles with seemingly no parental blocks or age confirmations. If they were comfortable streaming uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! titles on their Youtube channel, why did they feel the need to use that as a tentpole for Toonzaki? Why not just release the episodes on, maybe with a warning or something, and keep all non-4Kids stuff on Toonzaki?

Their official promotions, few of them as there were, didn’t push it as the place to get uncut Yu-Gi-Oh! episodes, just anime in general, but literally everywhere online that’s what it was being hyped as because the little information available, again, mostly from Mark Kirk’s interview, was that it was a 4Kids website for their uncut shows for general audiences. When you don’t have any other frame of reference, that’s what people are going to run with.

They also didn’t seem to realize that just being an aggregate site for anime sourced from other websites with only Yu-Gi-Oh! titles being unique wasn’t a good long-term plan. They acted as if they’d host more stuff directly on their website in the future, but they never did. Everything was hosted from Hulu, Crunchyroll, Funimation, Viz or other places for the entirety of its life.

That’s not entirely on them since the landscape for streaming was in its infancy back then, especially when it came to licensed properties, but still. It was a decent idea sitting on a bad execution. And while it came during a time when 4Kids really needed that opportunity to grow, it also came at the worst time because this was just a year before the Yu-Gi-Oh! lawsuit. If they had a longer lifespan, maybe they could have ironed out the kinks with Toonzaki, but I really doubt it.

A part of their downfall was also the death of Saturday morning cartoons. Animated shows were no longer something only available on Saturday mornings, making their inconvenience a bother. Why would I wake up early on a weekend to catch an anime that I can watch anytime streaming? Or get on DVD later? Or catch on syndication on another network? Or why watch those shows when cartoons are constantly on Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon? Or why watch those cherry-picked kidified anime when I can watch a big variety of less edited shows on Toonami or Adult Swim, or, hell, even blocks like Anime Unleashed on G4 Tech TV?

They were also prisoners of their merchandise. They treated every property as a merchandise machine. Al Kahn and Mark Kirk said it straight out – if they can’t merchandise it, they’re not interested in it. A large portion of their money came from toys and other kids merchandise, which was also evolving at a breakneck speed as Al Kahn pointed out several times. The problem there was evaluating it improperly a good chunk of the time. I don’t really think they allowed a lot of these shows to have enough time to secure an audience before they decided the merchandise wasn’t worth it. They dropped so many shows because of merchandise when they barely had a few episodes to a full season under their belts.

Honestly, the lawsuit really was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. 4Kids was already on the ropes, they were teetering on the edge, and that lawsuit pushed them over and they couldn’t recover. If it wasn’t the lawsuit, it would have been something else very shortly, I guarantee it. It may seem overly pessimistic, but I just didn’t see 4Kids having a significant future anymore. They were consistently going down for years and could barely even glance up a few times. Either they would have died shortly on their own anyway or they would have stumbled into some miracle property that would save them from the Shadow Realm (and Tai Chi Chasers was not going to be it), and even then I can imagine that would only eek out a few more years for them. They just didn’t have the steam to go on.

At the end of the day, when everything is said and done, 4Kids was and still is an icon….an icon of what, is up to you, but it’s still an icon. Let’s be honest, we still have a blast with 4Kids shows just in poking fun at their ridiculousness, and some still enjoy them legitimately. I won’t deny for a second that, even though doing my SDCs of 4Kids shows chips away at my soul sometimes, the shows still commonly wind up being fun either because I’m legitimately enjoying it or I’m just laughing at the 4Kidsisms.

I’m not going to dance on 4Kids’ grave, but I’m also not going to mourn it. 4Kids was, somewhat fittingly, a product of its time. There’s just no way a company like 4Kids could survive today. There are too many sources of good, loyal dubbed anime, and there are plenty of kids anime that are dubbed just fine and made readily available to children because many dubbing companies today will dub a wide range of anime for a nearly endless demographic from kids to adults to every gender and across every genre. And if you don’t like dubs, subtitled anime, official or fansubs, are readily available at thousands of sources.

Maybe we could have seen an entirely different 4Kids over time, but I doubt it. Also, there was a certain charm with shows being on Saturday morning lineups that you really can’t get anymore, and I think 4Kids thrived on that one very specific area that we can’t replicate now. 4Kids cut out a niche for itself and dominated in that one area, and there just wasn’t a place for it once that niche was gone.

It’s an entirely new world for kids, and it’s not a world for 4Kids.

4Kids will always have a special place in my heart for helping me discover some of my favorite shows and helping spark my love of anime. I won’t excuse what they’re guilty of, and I won’t overexaggerate any good they did. I’ll just say “Thank you, 4Kids. As much for dying as for living.”

Part 23: Where in the World is Kahnmen Sandiego?

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