My Poke-Pinions #037-038 Vulpix and Ninetales

Vulpix

Name: I absolutely love Vulpix’s name. It’s adorable, but also striking and somewhat intimidating. It’s meant to be a mixture of the word vulpes, which is Latin for fox, and six, due to its six tails.

Alolan Vulpix is known by the nickname Keokeo, which is based on the Hawaiian word for white, ke’oke’o. I really like this nickname. It’s very fitting, snappy and cute.

Its original Japanese name is Rokon, which is a mixture of roku, the Japanese word for six, and one of several theories for the second syllable – kon for grudge, due to the curse involved in its evolution, kon kon, which is the Japanese onomatopoeia for the sound foxes make, konro, which means gas stove (I think that one’s stretching too far.) and ko, which is a variant reading of the word kitsune, the Japanese word for fox.

Truth be told, I never much cared for the name Rokon. It’s fine. It’s kinda cute and rolls off the tongue, but it just doesn’t fit this Pokemon.

Fun Fact: Vulpix’s French name is Goupix, and that word is way too fun to say.

Design:

Foxes are one of my absolute favorite animals, and Vulpix is one of my absolute favorite Pokemon. It is one of the most adorable designs to this day, and it doesn’t try too hard to make it cutesy. It has such a sweet wittle face, pwetty eyes, curly tails and hair, wittle paws, and just the perfect shades of brown and burnt orange. How can you not love this adorable ball of everything good in life?

Alolan Vulpix

Alolan designs tend to be hit and miss, and Alolan Vulpix is a home run. I adore the shift to white and ice blue, it’s extremely adorable still, the slight change to its hair isn’t overboard, and they changed it just enough to be a true change to form and not just a recolor.

I don’t like Alolan Vulpix more than regular Vulpix, but it’s a close call.

Sprite-Wise, Gen I looks a teeny bit weird just because Vulpix’s eyes are so tiny. I think they were trying for a more realistic fox look, and while it’s cute and works alright, it’s so much better with bigger eyes.

Gen II looks nice. I love the little blink and tail wag animation they added in Crystal.

Gen II’s cute, although the animation for Emerald is slight spastic.

Gen IV…..can fuck off, quite frankly. Look, I love Vulpix. Truly. With every little bit of my heart. But I do not….ever….want to see Vulpix presenting its ass to me. I just don’t.

HG/SS is a more proper pose, but the animation is just a very simple growl.

Gen V is fine, but, like others, its constant animation makes it look like it’s hyperventilating.

Gen VI and VII are cute.

Shiny:

I…..want the name….of the evil person who decided it would be a good idea to turn my beautiful Vulpix….into…..into THIS.

This is an affront to poor Vulpix. Bright neon slightly green yellow?! Washed out orange?! Some sort of weird washed out pea soup green for the brown areas and the eyes?! What did Vulpix ever do to you?!

It’s weird. Usually Gen I shinies are nothing to write home about. They’re typically either the worst in the set or they’re just blah, but Vulpix’s Gen I shiny version is actually the best one, in my opinion. It’s like a mixture of gold and bronze. It’s quite beautiful.

In Gens VI and VII, it’s like they realized how fugly the previous shinies have been, so they changed it up. Now it looks like someone put a dull lime green filter very lightly over Vulpix. While it technically looks better, it’s still ugly. Vulpix deserves better.

As for Shiny Alolan Vulpix, well, what’s there to say about that?

…..I’m serious, what’s there to say? Because I honestly, legitimately cannot tell the difference between the two. Maybe….the inside of the ears….are darker?

This is probably in the top ten worst offenders of ‘Wait, that’s shiny?’

Dex Entries and Backstory: Vulpix is born with only one (white, for some reason) tail which then splits off into six after some time. Also look at a baby Vulpix!

You can’t tell the white tail color differentiation, but it’s so cute!

Also, there’s this weird note, “The tails grow hot as it approaches evolution.” How can it be close to evolution if it requires a stone to evolve?

Vulpix can not only produce flames – it also has an eternal flame burning within its body – like the Char line’s flame only less sucky. When it’s too hot outside, they will expel some of the flames in order to cool off. They can manipulate these flames to mimic will-o’-the-wisps, which trick its prey and local humans.

Most of the Dex entries just point out the tail splitting thing and mention that it’s beautiful, cute and cuddly – can’t argue with facts. Some of them also mention that it will fake injury in order to escape from powerful enemies and that, without brushing, its fur will tangle….because….that last one was useful information. I mean, it technically is useful information because tangled hair can be a huge issues for animals, but it’s not typically something you’d think you’d see in a PokeDex.

In terms of design, Vulpix and Ninetales are very obviously based off of foxes, but more specifically the well-known Japanese legend of the kyubi no kitsune or the nine-tailed fox. According to legend, the kitsune grow many tails over the course of their lives and develop supernatural powers the older they get. When they reach an advanced age, they can start to take on spirit forms

The Alolan Vulpix became as such due to living in the snowy mountain areas of the Alola region. They move in small packs called skulks, which is the actual name for a group of foxes, and they’re typically lead by a Ninetales. Alolan Vulpix exhales air as cold as -58°F and typically freezes its prey and threats with its breath. Shield mentions that, if you look at some of its hair through a microscope, you can actually watch ice particles form, which is really cool.

Ninetales

Name: I love Ninetales’ name. It’s elegant, fitting and a clever play on words by using the word ‘tales’ instead of the obvious ‘tails’ to reference the more mysterious mythical background of the Pokemon. The Wiki page also surmises that it could be based on the cat o’ nine tails whip, but I don’t buy that, really.

Its Japanese name is Kyukon, which I think fits a bit better than Rokon purely in regards to sound. Kyu is the Japanese word for nine, and the kon part is explained in Vulpix’s name section.

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Feunard, which sounds really funny to me. It is mixing the French words feu (fire), renard (fox) and neuf (nine) so it makes perfect sense, but the word itself seems silly.

In German, it’s Vulnona, which makes me think Ninetales owns a classy bar downtown for some reason. Again, it makes perfect sense as it’s vulpes mixed with nona, meaning nine, but I can’t help but think that.

Design:

I stand firm in my opinion that Ninetales is a contender for most beautiful Pokemon. I can’t find a single flaw with this Pokemon’s design. Cute face, beautiful colors, striking eyes, pretty flowy tails – it’s just amazing. ♥

Alolan Ninetales

Much in the same vein as Alolan Vulpix, I absolutely love Alolan Ninetales, but not more than the original design. I like Alolan Ninetales more than Alolan Vulpix just because I think it’s more elegant than it is poofy. It comes off like the spirit of a glacier or a snowstorm more than just a different version of an existing Pokemon.

Sprite-Wise, R/B looks a little weird in much the same way Vulpix looked off. Its eyes are too small, but it’s also holding its paw in a weird way.

Green is better, and I love that pose, but the tails are way too short and the hair on the top of its head is shaped upwards Vegeta-style, which is strange.

Crystal is a bit overly yellow, like it’s more lemon than cream, but I do enjoy the subtle animations on the tails and the mouth.

I like the static pose for Gen III, but the shaky animation for Emerald is no bueno.

The head position for the sprite on D/P seems really weird, something they appear to have noticed and fixed for Platinum.

The static pose for HG/SS is okay, but the animation is overly simplistic. Why is it ‘barking’?

I like the animation and pose for Gen V, but the mouth is a little bit too wide, like it’s grinning too hard.

Gen VI and onward look really good, though. The first of the sprites to really come off as powerful and elegant.

Shiny:

Shiny Ninetales is 100000000000x better than Shiny Vulpix. It’s baffling how polar opposite these two shinies are. Whereas Shiny Vulpix is gross yellows and greens, Shiny Ninetales is beautiful silver and blue. I don’t think this color scheme would have worked well for Vulpix, but it would’ve been so much better than the puke they gave us.

Even Shiny Alolan Ninetales looks much better. Granted, it kinda loses some of its ice motif by heading more for a purplish gray than glacial blue and white, but I like to think more along the lines of a cloudy sky on a snowy day. And, hey, at least I can tell the difference between regular Alolan Ninetales and the Shiny version.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Ninetales is an extremely interesting and simultaneously confusing Pokemon. It is intelligent enough to understand human speech, which….I dunno, is neat, but also a weird thing to note because it seems like most Pokemon can understand human speech just not speak it themselves. The point is that Ninetales are extremely intelligent and vengeful.

Supposedly, this intelligence and mystical power was created when nine saints merged into one, but that’s…..huh? Were they vengeful saints? Why did they merge together? How did they merge together? How did they form an evolved Pokemon? Why take the form of a fox? Another Dex entry says the spirits of nine saints were reincarnated as Ninetales, but since when do numerous spirits combine when reincarnating? It’s really interesting, I just wish there was more information available to help clear up the hows and whys.

They can hypnotize others with their beautiful flames and can even control minds if someone looks into its red eyes. Depending on the source, or I guess your own interpretation, Ninetales either curses you if you mistreat it and/or you get instantly cursed if you grab one of its tails – the curse in question could also last for 1000 years, but considering most living beings don’t live nearly that long it seems strange to make that assumption (how would you even know?).

Ninetales can live upwards of 1000 years using the power stored in each of its nine tails. Each tail is supposed to have a unique power, but no source lists suggestions on what each individual power might be nor if it varies from Pokemon to Pokemon.

Alolan Ninetales was originally mistaken for a mountain/snow deity before they distinguished it as a variant of normal Ninetales. Locals now believe a deity lives in the mountains with Ninetales and they choose to not enter that territory out of fear. Ninetales itself seems to be a force to be reckoned with because they not only have zero tolerance for people damaging nature, but they will freeze their enemies stiff in an instant.

They guide lost travelers back down the mountain, and here’s something funny from Shield “The reason it guides people all the way down to the mountain’s base is that it wants them to hurry up and leave.” Pbbbtttt. “I’m not actually rescuing you. I just want you to leave faster.”

Ya know, I adore Ninetales, I truly do, but reading up on its lore really shines a light on the fact that it’s a bit of a dick. They can be really friendly and sweet Pokemon, but it does not come off as nice in any of its listed information…..Would definitely still get one if they existed, though. No doubt.

Alolan Ninetales was based on the arctic fox, which sports white fur to blend in with the snowy terrain. Its lore indicates it might be loosely based on Poli’ahu, a Hawaiian goddess of snow which resides in Mauna Kea – the tallest mountain (and dormant volcano) in the world if measured from the seafloor. While Poli’ahu is not a fox of any kind, she is noted as being the most beautiful of the already beautiful four goddesses, which definitely relates back to Ninetales, and it seems extremely fitting that she resides on a snowcapped dormant volcano considering Ninetales can either be Ice or Fire.

It’s also theorized that Alolan Ninetales could be based on tulikettu, a mythical ‘firefox’ of Finnish legend that creates or is made of the Northern Lights but also, obviously, controls fires.

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And that was our beloved Vulpix and Ninetales. Love to love them to bits and pieces, and they are extremely interesting Pokemon, but there are some details here and there that are not exempt from criticism. I’m still salty about Vulpix’s shiny. Poor Vulpix. Ninetales fares a lot better, but there’s no denying that its Dex entries and backstory don’t paint it in a particularly pleasant light. I need a real life version of both of them, though. Right now.

Next up, get puffed, get tuff and get buff – we’re going after the ‘iggy’uff line…….I might need to workshop that name….


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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 10 (Sub) Dialga Vs. Palkia: The Rise of Darkrai Review

Plot: Satoshi, Hikari and Takeshi arrive in Alamos Town – the location of Hikari’s next contest. Along the way, they meet the balloonist/musician, Alice, and her childhood friend, Tonio, who studies energy abnormalities. As they get a tour of the local gardens, they meet Darkrai, a powerful Pokemon who induces nightmares. He seems to be terrorizing the area, but they don’t know what he wants.

Little do they know that a fierce battle between two deity Pokemon, the master of space, Palkia, and the master of time, Dialga, has started in a dimensional rift. When these two massive powers clash, it’s only a matter of time before reality as they know it starts to fall apart.

Breakdown: Gauging from Dogasu’s Backpack entry for this movie, it seems it got away mostly unscathed, so I might not have much to talk about today, but, nevertheless, let’s see how the original Japanese version of Rise of Darkrai hits with me.

20 Minute Mark

The opening is less epic than I’d expect from a tenth anniversary movie opener, but it’s pretty good.

And, get this, they actually decided to use most of the animation for the opener in the dub opening. While they didn’t maintain the cracking animation for the initial title, opting instead to use a flash and jumping transition, the pink and blue time/space stream is kept intact. The final title card is obviously changed too, though.

Oddly, I prefer the title card that the dub created over what the original movie had because not only is the title itself better (The ‘Dialga vs. Palkia’ part makes this seem like a wrestling match) but that was a kick-ass font, color and animation they had for that title card. This one’s alright, but it seems cheesy, especially that gigantic VS.

Also, I’d like to support Dogasu’s claim that there’s a black screen after the title card instead of showing Pikachu’s shadow as it’s also on my copy. I checked some clips of it online just to make sure and it’s still in those versions too. I assume that was an error caused by the edited opening sequence and they just never bothered to fix it.

Brock’s ‘Little Blue Book of Babes’ is originally his ‘Lover Ranking Book’ That’s creepier, but less demeaning than the dub’s.

The ‘ten times ten’ thing is, strangely, in the original…..It’s not a good line, guys. I don’t know if you guys think it’s a joke or a clever nod to the tenth anniversary or whatever, but it’s not a good line. Satoshi is not the type of person to hear a number and instantly start wondering about mathematical equations to achieve said number.

One of the things that is always changed between versions is the theme song. In this version, we get Together 2007. It’s a fine song but it’s terribly generic in terms of nearly everything. Not to mention that, while the song is really Pokemon-ified, it fluctuates back and forth between making sense and being gibberish.

The leaf whistle sounds the same in the original. I was hoping it’d sound better….Seriously, why would you have a part of the movie be a song so beautiful and calming that it can instantly quell fighting between Pokemon, yet have it sound like a song you’d hear coming out of a Otamatone?

40 Minute Mark

Hey, what do you want to see more than anything over a beautiful shot of fireworks over the Space-Time Towers at night?…..Bunyatto/Purugly’s butt!? You got it!

I gotta say, while I wasn’t a fan of Darkrai’s dub voice….his Japanese voice isn’t much better.

Oh dear. I have to apologize to TPCI now because they were just mirroring the same lame cover name system the original had. Musashi calls herself Musashina, Kojiro calls himself Jikoro and Nyasu calls himself Nyasugo….

Man, I want a Crescent Feather necklace….

Hour Mark

This might just be the subs, but the scene with the illusion Beadaru/Bibarel makes more sense now. Musashi says ‘A super rare Pokemon!?’ Kojiro says ‘I’m not sure about that!’ and Baron says ‘It’s an illusion!’ Goes to show how much even minor line changes can make an entire exchange seem goofy.

Nice to know that in addition to Mojumbo/Tangrowth being the worst Pokemon ever that its Japanese voice is equally horrible.

While we’re on the subject, Lucky/Chansey’s Japanese voice is also doofy.

End

No notes until the credits where the only change is the predictable replacement of the credits music. The original has a fully English song called Going Where the Lost Ones Go. I believe this is the first time that they’ve replaced a fully English song, but, as the comparison states, I imagine it was for licensing rights issues or something.

Shockingly, I prefer the dub’s I Will Remember You to this song. This song just sounds like a million other duets. It’s very bland.

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This movie fared very well, and most of my notes are superfluous. The dub only really hiccuped in some lines that made some things either confusing or make no sense, but they weren’t really important things. And that’s kinda made up for with the songs since the lyrical songs in the original movie are incredibly weak in my opinion. Great score, bad lyrical songs. Only mar in that area for the dub is the intrusive rap song they had for no reason.

Recommended Audience: Let’s parrot the drab ‘cartoon violence’. 5+


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My Poke-Pinions: (175) 35 and 36 – The Clef Line

Note: From now on, I’ll be omitting the section on the cries/voices. It’s just a hassle for something that doesn’t really matter or affect my opinion on the Pokemon that much. Plus, in the anime, the voices change so it’s even more pointless. Thank you for understanding.

Cleffa

Name: Cleffa’s name is cute, but kinda lazy. It’s just a shortening of Clefairy/Clefable. Cleffa is meant to be the word ‘clef’ as in the musical note, and a shortening of the word ‘fairy.’

Its original Japanese name is Py, which is also cute but just a little bit weird since I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be pronounced “pee.”…..

Fun Fact: In French, it’s called Melo, as a shortened version of melodie (melody), and I think that it’s a really cute name.

Design: Cleffa’s pretty cute, but I think its ears come off a bit too much like weird thick horns. Admittedly, out of the entire Clef line, Cleffa’s my least favorite.

Sprite-wise, I don’t really have much to say on any Gen. Given the very limited range of motion and the teeny-tiny face of Cleffa, nearly every sprite looks exactly the same. The one exception being Silver, with bigger eyes and one of its ‘hands’ going up to its mouth. It’s almost criminal how cute that looks.

The animation in Emerald is very erratic.

The one for HG/SS is adorable.

And the one for Gen V looks too robotic, like I’d see it in a Pokemon amusement park.

Shiny:

Keeping in tradition with the entire Clef line, Cleffa’s shiny sports a lighter pink on the pink parts and lime green where the brown used to be.

This color scheme works just as well with Cleffa as it does the rest of the line. The lighter pink gives off a bubblegum-like vibe, and the green feels like a nod to its supposed alien origins.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Cleffa absolutely adore stars, are star-shaped and commonly hang around sites of craters made by meteors, leading people to believe that they originally came to earth on a shooting star. They love to dance on nights with meteor showers, and they’re more frequently found during these times. It’s said that those who witness a Cleffa dancing under shooting stars will have good fortune. Once they’re done dancing, when the shower stops and the sun rises, they quench their thirst with the morning dew.

They’re also noted as loving Minior because they resemble meteors.

In terms of their design, Cleffa, and basically the entire Clef line, are based on fairies and pixies. Cleffa in particular is based on star shapes. While I think this fits more with Clefairy and, most of all, Clefable, Cleffa’s design is also said to be based on the legend of the Moon Rabbit since they have long ears and evolve to their final forms with the Moon Stone. Not….entirely sure how much stock I put into that idea, but I guess it fits.

Clefairy

Name: Clefairy’s (Clef and fairy) name has the same origins as Cleffa’s. It’s a very cute and fitting name.

In the original Japanese version, its name is Pippi. I never much cared for that name, and I care for it even less now because my grandma has an evil psycho cat named Pippi, so no thank you.

Fun Fact: The prototype name for Clefairy was Aria, which is beautiful.

Also, in France, it’s known as Melofee, which is adorable and equally as fitting as Clefairy if you ask me.

I think they were going a bit hard with the music theme even though music is a very minor aspect of these Pokemon.

Design: Clefairy is, unsurprisingly, very cute. I can never decide if I like the wings or not. I like that it has wings, because it’s a fairy, but they’re a little too fleshy to be cute. In my opinion, though, overall….it’s a little…too cute. Ya know? All the curls and the pink and the fairy wings. I like it, don’t get me wrong, and I’d take a plushie of it no problem, but it’s just a little overkill to me. My girly side only goes so far.

It’s quite possible that Clefairy was made to be so ridiculously cute because, another fun fact, Clefairy was originally meant to be the mascot for Pokemon. In fact, Ash was meant to get a Clefairy as his first Pokemon in the anime, but they changed it to Pikachu in the last minute to better mirror the manga.

Imagine how different the Pokemon franchise and fandom would be if he started with a Clefairy. Would it have even lasted as long as it has? I joke about the almighty power and influence of Messiahchu, but his relationship with Ash is such a memorable staple in pop culture, even outside of anime fans, that it’s hard to imagine if Pokemon would have enjoyed nearly as much success as it has without them.

Sprite-Wise, I don’t really have much to note in any Gen. They’re all varying degrees of cute. If I had to pick out any as my favorite, I’d say Gen V has the best version because the animation is the arm movements for Metronome, and I thought that was really clever and cute.

Shiny:

Pretty much have the same opinion of shiny Clefairy as I did of shiny Cleffa.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Clefairy tends to be very peaceful and friendly, yet very shy. They are extremely adorable and highly sought after as pets, but they’re very rare and commonly targeted by thieves. Like with Cleffa being more common on nights of meteor showers, Clefairy are more commonly found on nights with full moons. Actually, it seems like Cleffa and Clefairy share a lot of Dex info – only replace ‘shooting stars’ and ‘meteor showers’ with ‘full moons.’ The only real difference is that Clefairy also has wings that collect moonlight and allow them to float when enough moonlight has been stored.

The design notes are also the same as Cleffa.

Clefable

Name: Clefable (Clef and fable) has a rather nice name. In fact, out of all of them, I’d say this one’s my favorite. A bit more mature and dignified than the more cutesy Cleffa and Clefairy. Still fits in with the fairy theme and actually adds a bit to their mysterious nature.

In the original Japanese, it’s called, simply enough, “Pixy” which actually reminds me more of Pixy Stix than pixies…..and now I want Pixy Stix.

Fun Fact: Its prototype name was Ariala, which is supposed to be building upon Aria, but kinda doesn’t work because Ariala doesn’t have anything to do with music. In fact, the best I can deduce about Ariala (that being a real name) is that, apparently, in Germany, it means “A beautiful, funny and gorgeous yet strong and independent person.” I guess that can apply to Clefable, but I doubt that’s what they were going for.

….Maybe they were adding a ‘la’ like singing to Aria?

Design: Clefable is cute enough. It’s not that much different than Clefairy. It’s bigger, has longer arms/legs and has bigger/spikier wings.

….Basically, if you want Clefairy, but smaller and not as cute, get a Cleffa. If you want a Clefairy, but bigger and not as cute, get a Clefable. That is really all there is to say about the designs in this line when you get down to it. I never thought Cleffa added much to the line, and I feel like Clefable was mostly pointless too, but I didn’t really care that it existed.

Sprite-Wise, it’s also keeping in line with the others. Lots of sprites that are cute, but mostly not noteworthy. The only one I think merits even a little mention is Crystal and that’s just because its animation makes it look like it’s in some sort of cutesy army.

Shiny:

Third verse, same as the first.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Somehow, they made the final evo of this line have the most boring entries of the bunch. Almost all of them are either echoing information from Clefairy or talking about how it has really big ears with really sensitive hearing and loves quiet.

The only other interesting fact listed is, if a couple sees a pair of Clefable skipping it’s said that they’ll have a happy marriage, which is neat and in line with the Clefairy and Cleffa facts about them being good luck, but….what are the odds of not only seeing a pair of Clefable, noted as being insanely rare, skipping along but also that two people sees them at the same time and those two people are a couple?

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And that was the Clef line. A fine set of Pokemon, but disappointingly kinda boring to talk about. The most interesting topic was behind the scenes stuff involving Clefairy near-missing being the Pokemon mascot. It’s strange, considering that Clefairy are made out to be alien Pokemon but they just don’t have a lot of information on what they might actually entail.

……………………………BUT WHO CARES?!

GUESS WHO’S NEXT!

IT’S VULPIX AND NINETALES!

Prepare to endure me being obnoxious about how incredibly adorable they are.


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My Poke-Pinions #029-034 The Nido Line

Nidoran ♀ and Nidoran ♂

Name: I’m gonna let the Wiki take a walk for a second.

“Nidoran♀ may be derived from needle. It may also come from cnidocyte, a type of venomous cell responsible for the stings delivered by stinging animals, most notably jellyfish. Alternatively, it may be based on ni (two) or 二度 nido (two times/two degrees) referring to the two distinct evolutionary lines with similar names and traits. Also, the Japanese word ran is translated as orchid in English. Orchids are flowers that can be purple or blue, these being the same colors as the male and female evolutionary forms of Nidoran, respectively.” That’s uh…a lot to process.

Personally, I was never really able to gauge any origins of Nidoran’s name before, but these theories are interesting, particularly the note about cnidocytes. ‘Nido’ meaning ‘two times/degrees’ also makes sense, but it seems weird to point this out considering that they’re two different evolutionary lines that are separated by gender when nearly any line could technically do that. It’s just that the Nido line happens to look more different based on gender than most lines, and they’re named differently based on those gender differences.

For instance, Nidorina ends with an A, which is typical of feminine names, and Nidorino ends with an O which is more typical of masculine names. Then there’s the obvious with Nidoking and Nidoqueen. What I’m trying to say is, technically, they didn’t have to make these lines entirely separate. They could have just given them a gender neutral name scheme and kept up the gender icons like with Nidoran at the start. It’s like they really wanted them to be separate lines because they look quite a bit different and have some small differences as a result, so they might have incorporated that into the name.

I mean, technically, we do that with regular animals too. We say bulls and cows, stallions and mares, roosters and hens, goose and gander etc. But they’re still the same species. Bucks and does are still deer. Lionesses are still lions. Drakes are still ducks. Separating the line like that just makes it seem like they are legitimately different species, which they aren’t, as far as I can tell. They are treated as different lines, but, when bred with a Pokemon that is not a Nidoran male, the egg of a female Nidoran still has a chance of hatching into a male Nidoran. In my opinion, in a real world context, they wouldn’t be treated as a separate species entirely.

Anyhoo, the orchid thing….I mean, I guess that works? But that’s really flimsy if you ask me. That would fit better if Nidoran were a Grass type or had anything to do with flowers.

After looking up more information on orchids, they are prominent symbols of love and fertility, which is an explanation that I think works better than ‘orchids can be the same colors as the Pokemon.’

I never really much liked or disliked the name Nidoran. It’s a perfectly fine name and it’s memorable enough. However, I was always slightly annoyed at how you had to specify the gender whenever you were talking about it, so their names typically come out as literally ‘Nidoran female’ and ‘Nidoran male.’ And whenever typing it out, you had to copy the gender symbol from somewhere. If you’re going to give different names to the rest of the line, why not do the same for the base evos? Also, for this sake, I’m going to refer to them as NF and NM throughout this post.

Designs: I’ve always thought both Nidorans had a very cute and unique design. NF gives off a lot of hamster vibes, which is very cute, and I love her little single front tooth. I also absolutely adore the color choices too.

NM is also very cute. I love that he has bigger rabbit-like ears and a more….kinda baby-dinosaur-esque style to it. I also think it’s interesting how they basically swapped the traditional gender colors. NF is blue while NM is pink. It’s also a very nice shade of pink. A bit of a light fuchsia-ish kinda color.

NF Sprites

R/B’s sprite looks a little off because the head is too smooth. They didn’t add the head horn until later, it seems.

Everything about average until Crystal where it gets an adorable little animation like its whiskers are twitching after sniffing the air.

Gen III’s really cute, but the animation for Emerald is a bit too twitchy.

Gen IV is also good, but, again, the animation for HG/SS is just twitchy and strange.

I REALLY don’t like the sprite for Gen V based purely on the fact that the animation makes it look like it’s hyperventilating.

Everything else is okay.

NM Sprites

What the hell is up with NM in R/B/G? Its eyes look way too big.

And what highlighter did they color in Yellow’s sprite with?

Gold is basically what R/B/G should have looked like.

Silver is incredibly adorable. Very bunny-esque

I hate Crystal’s animation, though, because it just looks like the animation was poorly done. It just doesn’t look right.

Gen III’s looking good. I like that cool pouncing animation they gave it in Emerald.

Gen IV is also good, but, again, the animation for HG/SS is just twitchy and weird.

Gen V’s animation is cute, but just bordering on moving its ears so much that it might be trying to emulate Dumbo.

Everything else is fine.

Shinies: Nidoran’s shinies are interesting because they’re palette swapped between the two subsets. NF’s shiny is pinkish purple while NM’s is blue. It’s a simple idea, but it works very well because both Pokemon look great in their counterpart’s colors.

Cries/Voices: Both of the Nidos have very similar voices. It’s basically just cute mumbling. NM’s voice might be a tiny bit deeper, but that’s about it. I think their voices work relatively well for them. They’re pretty cute.

NF’s game cry is pretty cute, but generic, and NM’s is a little more annoying because, for some reason, they gave it a higher-pitched screech-ish cry. I don’t think it fits as well.

Dex Entries and Backstories:

NF

A lot of the discussion on both Nidos is about their horns and their poisonous properties. In fact, that’s really all there is to say about the female version. NF is more docile than the male version, but they will attack with their poisonous barbs if threatened. Their horns are smaller than the male’s, and their horns are more rounded, but they do have a better sense of smell than the males.

In terms of design, Nidoran (Both male and female) takes a lot of inspiration from various rodents such as hamsters and porcupines, with some obvious inspirations from venomous mammals like shrews and platypuses, but the Wiki notes that they seem most similar to hyraxes, which I’ve never heard of before. Despite looking like they belong to the rodent family, they’re apparently more closely related to elephants and manatees, due to their features such as “toenails, excellent hearing, sensitive pads on their feet, small tusks, good memory, higher brain functions compared with other similar mammals, and the shape of some of their bones.” as well as other anatomical similarities.

NM

Like the female Nidoran, much of the focus in the Dex entries is on NM’s horns and poison. Its horns are larger than the female’s, and it tends to be more aggressive. While I thought that the aspect of having a better sense of smell made up for its smaller horns in comparison to the male’s, apparently NM has more benefits anyway because it’s heavily implied that it has much better hearing than the female…

Nidorina and Nidorino

Names: Nidorina and Nidorino both have fine names, and they’re suitable off-shoots of Nidoran. Like I mentioned before, their names are derived from simply indicating genders via the A for female and O for male rule that some languages use.

Designs: Nidorina has a cute design. She’s obviously bigger and tougher than NF, but there’s still a feminine quality to it. The shade of blue that they chose is pretty nice as well.

I’ve always really liked Nidorino’s design. It’s big and burly while still being a little cute. Definitely looks like he could impale the hell out of anything he sets his sights on. Really like the fuchsia-esque purple/pink color they have going on.

Nidorina Sprites

What…the hell….is up with Gen I? Why does Nidorina look like a pig? Why does R/B make it look like she’s presenting her ass to someone? What is this?

Gen II looks pretty good, although the animation on Crystal is questionable because it just looks like she’s saying “Shoo! Shoo! Go on, git!”

Gen III is good, but DEAR GOD the animation in Emerald is ridiculously doofy. It literally looks like she’s going “Durrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”

Gen IV is an improvement as it’s a little more dynamic, but HG/SS’s animation is a very typical bounce.

Gen V is fine, but, again, I can’t get into the animation. It looks like she’s either clapping slowly or trying to grab something.

Everything else is okay.

Nidorino Sprites

Nidorino definitely made off well when it came to the Gen I sprites. He looks pretty damn nice and accurate to how we know of him today. I especially like Yellow’s sprite because it has such an attitude.

Gen II’s pretty good and intimidating, but Crystal’s animation looks odd. It kinda looks like he’s patting the spot next to him to call someone over to sit.

Gen III’s alright. The animation on Emerald is nice since it makes it look like it’s both approaching you and jumping.

Gen IV is a little weird just because I don’t know why his leg is sticking out like that.

The animation for HG/SS makes it look like he’s barking.

Gen V is….okay, but he’s bouncing so much that looks like he’s hyperventilating.

Usually I find Gens VI and VII to be alright, but this time they fumbled and made Nidorino look doofy. His eyes are too small and the saturation of his coloring is low, making him look sickly.

Shinies: Like with Nidoran, the shinies of Nidorina and Nidorino are just palette swapped versions of each other. Although, I should note that Nidorina is clearly more pink than Nidorino (he’s more of a pinkish-purple) and Nidorino is clearly a deeper more stark blue, almost bordering into a light purple shade in some versions.

For some reason, Gens VI and VII for Nidorino come out looking gray to me, though.

Both shinies are REALLY nice. I especially love Nidorino’s. Besides the gray-ish hues of the new Gens, every other version looks really cool.

Cry/Voice: Nirorina’s voice is a bit too high-pitched and close to NF’s. Nidorino’s voice is excellent, though I feel like it’s probably a stock roaring sound from some animal.

The exact opposite problem occurs in the games. Nidorina’s cry is made more low-pitched and suitable for her evolved state, but Nidorino’s is made high-pitched and not very intimidating at all.

Dex Entries and Backstories:

Nirorina

Nidorina is very gentle and motherly. Her horns obviously aren’t as developed and large as her male counterpart’s. When in battle, she will either present her barbs more prominently or choose to bite and scratch. For some weird reason, the Dex entries are very focused on the fact that Nidorina will chew up her food and spit it out for her young. She also uses ultrasonic waves emitted from her mouth as a means of defense if she feels she or her young are being threatened, though, oddly enough, while many Dex entries state that, Nidorina cannot learn Supersonic or any type of sonic attack in any Gen.

Sword mentions that it’s hypothesized that Nidorina’s horn is smaller than Nidorino’s in order to prevent her young from being poked…..is it just me or is that silly? There are many Pokemon with dangerous designs and they’re not altered for the sake of protecting their children from being hurt.

In terms of design, Nidorina is reportedly based on porcupines, rabbits, mice and/or hamsters, which….yeah okay, but are we still going to ignore the clear dinosaur vibe?

Nidorino

Unlike the more docile Nidorina, Nidorino is notoriously aggressive and will attack perceived enemies almost immediately with the venomous horn on his head. The venom’s potency will change depending on his adrenaline level at the time of attack. The horn in question is harder than diamonds, and it uses the horn to ram into boulders in search of a Moon Stone. Nidorino also use their large ears to listen for hostile presences and will react immediately if it hears anything.

Nidorino has the same design lineup as Nidorina, but the rhino has also been added as inspiration due to his aggressive and independent nature. Not sure why rhinos wouldn’t also fit with Nidorina, considering the rhinoceros was also listed as being inspiration for the name.

Nidoqueen and Nidoking

Names: Very fitting for the end of this evo line to be named King and Queen. I like the names Nidoking and Nidoqueen. They’re my favorite names of the bunch.

Designs: Nidoking has been and will always be one of the most notable powerhouse designs of Gen I. It’s an awesome final stage for the line, and it’s incredibly intimidating and cool. No Pokemon can make pink look as kickass as Nidoking.

Nidoqueen is also pretty cool, and I love that shade of blue, it’s perfect for her, but, admittedly, she doesn’t really have as cool of a design as Nidoking. It retains its femininity and gains a very motherly appearance (somewhat akin to Kangaskhan) while still being tough and intimidating.

……….Nidoqueen has boobs. I couldn’t not point that out. Oh they’re “Plates” uh huh, sure yeah, Wiki. They’re boobs. They’re very clearly boobs. Armored boobs are still boobs.

Nidoqueen Sprites

Gen I looks really good……except Green.

What the hell even is that? It looks like a knockoff plushie of a Nidoqueen.

Gen II, I’m not too fond of Gold because the teeth make it look a little doofy.

Not too fond of Silver either because she looks like she’s calling me over to flirt.

Or maybe flipping me off?

I do like Crystal because, for some reason, the animation reminds me of musical theater.

Gen III is pretty good. I like the roaring animation in Emerald. It’s very fierce.

Gen IV is okay. The animation for HG/SS is also roaring, but I don’t like it as much as Emerald’s.

I really love the animation on Gen V because it looks so natural and real.

The other gens are just okay.

Nidoking Sprites

Gen I’s looks pretty good. LOVE the angle on Yellow.

WHAT THE FUCK IS UP WITH GREEN!? I was going to make the same plushie joke as I did with Nidoqueen, but that doesn’t fit here. What is that monstrosity!? It’s like a sleep paralysis demon.

Gen II is really good, too. The poses are great, and so is the animation for Crystal even if it’s less intimidating than Nidoqueen’s. I do have to ask why his coloring is so dark in this gen. He’s just straight-up purple.

Gen III is good. The animation for Emerald is quite frightening.

Gen IV is good. Love the dynamic posing. Simple but effective animation on HG/SS.

Gen V, in a static sense, is good, but the animation just makes it look like its out of breath. I think the design was changed just ever so slightly to be a tiny bit slimmer, and I think it works out very well.

Gens VI and VII are fine, but I feel like the color’s a bit washed out and Nidoking’s face looks a tiny bit derpy.

Shinies:

Nidoking has one of the most awesome shinies in the game. Again, it’s a palette swap with the female counterpart, but I love the shade of blue they chose this time. It is a little bright, but it looks great on him. Reminds me of blue raspberry.

…….On the OPPOSITE end of the spectrum, you have whatever this used barf bag is supposed to be.

What happened? Why did they break the tradition of having the shiny version be a palette swap with the counterpart? Why choose, of all colors, that disgusting baby poop green color?

Cry/Voice: I was suspicious about Nidorino having a stock animal sound effect, but I am almost certain Nidoqueen is using one, and I’ve always been definitely sure Nidoking is using one because his roar is one of those roars you hear everywhere for dinosaurs and bears. It fits, but it’s hard to not make that connection.

In terms of the games, Nidoqueen has an extremely suitable cry. It’s lower pitched and gentle – very motherly.

Nidoking’s is like a screech, and while it is better than Nidorino’s, it’s still too high pitched to be truly suitable in my opinion.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Not in a Dex entry, but I had to mention this first.

“Although its female counterpart, Nidoqueen, cannot be bred, Nidoking [and Nidorino] can.”

Look….it’s already insanely stupid and creepy that this species that is basically designed from the ground up to complement each other from a breeding standpoint can’t breed with each other unless they’re the equivalent of children, but what is the sense behind making Nidoqueen unable to breed at all, even with Ditto? This isn’t some gender inequality tangent I’m going on – though that aspect is BS too – I mean the main focus of Nidoqueen…..IS BEING A MOM.

They have developed smaller horns and thicker skin for the sake of protecting their children. The venom in their horns will not excrete when their young is being carried on their backs. They will basically turn themselves into a makeshift wall for the entrance to their den if they’re trying to keep threats away from their children. The Dex literally says they’re at their strongest when they’re protecting their young. What young?! They can’t have young if they can’t breed!

The same thing applies to Nidorina, so unless she evolved while her babies were still young, a good chunk of her Dex entries make as little sense as Nidoqueen’s!

Oh, yeah and, fun fact – The NF line is literally the only evolutionary line that loses the ability to breed upon evolution.

Who the hell was in charge of managing the breeding system in the games, and why hasn’t this glaring issue with this line ever been fixed?

It’s especially weird when we get to the other side of the coin and see that Nidoking’s entries are mostly just talking about how out of control, violent and powerful Nidoking is.

“It uses its powerful tail in battle to smash, constrict, then break the prey’s bones.”

“Its steel-like hide adds to its powerful tackle. Its horns are so hard, they can pierce a diamond.”

“If it binds an enemy, it can snap the victim’s spine quite easily.”

“Once it goes on a rampage, there is no stopping it.”

“One swing of its mighty tail can snap a telephone pole as if it were a matchstick.”

Hardly one getting a tie for Father’s Day.

The one and only Dex entry that has anything to say about it being anything other than a destructive Pokemon who loves to fly off the handle at anything he perceives to be a threat is in Gen VIII when Sword says “When it goes on a rampage, it’s impossible to control. But in the presence of a Nidoqueen it’s lived with for a long time, Nidoking calms down.” Nothing about them being protective of their young or family.

So this one is allowed to breed, with a Ditto anyway, and mother of the year recipient, Nidoqueen, cannot have children at all.

……..Hm…..Wait a second….what if she adopts the kids that Nidoking has with Ditto? Is their line just meant to screw over Nidoqueen/rina so Nidoking/rino can stick his diamond hard horn into sentient flubber? Is Ditto a deadbeat mom? Are they a threesome? Why are you letting my train of thought keep going down this road? Please stop me.

In terms of designs, Nidoqueen and Nidoking have the same inspirations as their pre-evos, but gorillas have been added to the mix this time around – I suppose for the big arms.

Also, don’t buy my ‘Nidoqueen has boobs’ thing? Even the Wiki says her armor plates resemble a two-piece bikini.

…..I honestly wouldn’t agree with that because, what, is it a bikini that doesn’t connect up front and has giant granny panties as a bottom? But, yes….Nido-Boobs.

Next time, we’ll shoot for the moon and tackle the Cle line!


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Pokemon Episode 61 Analysis: The Misty Mermaid

POKEMON EP 61 SCREEN1

CotD(s): None

Character Returns: Misty’s Sisters/The Sensational Sisters/Daisy, Violet and Lily

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have arrived on the edge of Viridian City, hopeful to soon acquire Ash’s eighth and final badge – the Earth Badge. However, Misty is troubled. Horsea is depressed, seemingly because it’s been unable to get out and swim in a wide open area. Misty tries to get it to swim in fountains and small bodies of water, but it’s not good enough.

Misty suggests taking a detour to Cerulean City to allow Horsea to get some exercise in the big pool in her Gym, and Brock and Ash think it’s a great idea. She calls ahead to her sisters to give them a heads up and they head out.

When they arrive, her sisters reveal that their shows aren’t doing so hot, but they have a plan. They’re going to put on a new underwater ballet called The Magical Mermaid. They also reveal that Misty is the headliner, much to her shock and annoyance because the show is the following day and she hasn’t agreed or prepared in any way. Her sisters successfully guilt-trip/trick her into doing it, however.

The next day, she skillfully plays her part as the titular mermaid, impressing the audience with her and the Water Pokemon’s underwater dancing. The show is going off spectacularly, but Team Rocket bursts in to ruin their fun. They tie up Lily and Violet, who were set to play the villains of the story, and take their places in the show but for real. They intend on stealing all of the Gym’s Water Pokemon during the performance.

Luckily, Misty won’t take that lying down, and eventually Ash and Brock also rush in to help her. Jessie’s Arbok is the only one able to fight underwater, but Misty and Ash have all of the Cerulean Water Pokemon, Misty’s own team and Ash’s Squirtle to combat him. Horsea is sidelined rather quickly because it simply doesn’t have the power to fight very well. Misty uses Seaking in its place, along with her own Starmie.

Even with everything in their favor, Arbok still seems to have their backs against the wall. Suddenly, Seel, a seldom-used Pokemon of the Gym, steps in to protect its friends. Teaming with Misty, it manages to get Arbok on the ropes with some Headbutts and an Aurora Beam.

Its efforts are paid off when Seel starts evolving into Dewgong! No longer the little ‘baby Seel’ everyone underestimated, Dewgong Ice Beams the trio into a block of ice.

Once they’ve evacuated the pool of all Pokemon and people (not Team Rocket) Ash commands Pikachu to Thundershock the water in order to finish off Team Rocket. A final thwack from Dewgong’s powerful tail sends all of them blasting off.

Even with Team Rocket’s intrusion (or maybe because of it?) the show was a huge success, and now Misty’s sisters can enjoy massive crowds in their shows once more. Despite Misty leaving again, they explain that they can just take turns playing the role of the mermaid.

Before she leaves, Misty’s sisters suggest borrowing some of Misty’s Pokemon in order to help out with the shows. Misty is upset at this request, but Brock justifies at least leaving Horsea since it obviously needs regular exercise in big bodies of water that it can’t get while traveling with Misty. She agrees with this logic and hands over Horsea, but is appalled to hear they also want her Starmie. She agrees to this request too, albeit more begrudgingly, and the group heads off before they try to siphon off Misty’s blood for profit or something.

Biding her sisters goodbye, Misty, Ash and Brock head back to Viridian City.

———————————-

– I love how they’re all “We’re not near the ocean” when they realize Horsea needs a big body of water to get some exercise…..they literally just pointed out that they came from Cinnabar ISLAND.

Also, considering you’re all supposed to be on the outskirts of Viridian City, it looks like you’re pretty close to the ocean from where I technically stand.

See, this is why you guys need a better map.

Actually, while we’re on the subjects of maps, note how far away Viridian City is from Cerulean City (It’s two squares away from Viridian heading northeast). They’d have to go through the Viridian Forest, to Pewter City and then walk about a quarter the length of the entire region east to get there. It’s quite the detour just to get a seahorse to a pool.

I was going to mention how this is kinda 4Kids fault, because, as Dogasu’s comparison states, the original just has them in some random town stopping off at a park as they’re on their way to Viridian City – they’re not right there at the city limits or anything…..but then I thought about it….The original actually makes this WORSE. They came from Cinnabar and were traveling to Viridian, who knows how far away they actually were from it, and still decided to traverse nearly halfway across the region on a whim. Wow.

– I get why Water Pokemon, especially ones without legs, need to exercise in water, but why is it just Horsea? Why not Goldeen?

– Misty: *on the phone with her sisters* “How are you? We’re coming to visit!” Maybe give them a second to respond to your question before blurting out your news, Misty.

– Wait, wait, wait….So….they’ve been planning this underwater ballet for weeks, seemingly always intending that Misty be the star, if that poster is any indication, yet they had to wait until the huge coincidence that is Misty suddenly visiting out of the blue, a day before the event no less, for them to actually secure her for their act.

What?

The only way I can see this really working is if Misty took several weeks to get back home, which actually isn’t that unrealistic considering the distance, but if that’s true, holy shit…..just…holy shit, they traveled for days, maybe weeks just to get a seahorse in some water when they literally just left the ocean an episode ago.

But if they really started pulling all of this together after she called, why are they pissed that she seemingly didn’t rush right over?

Also, why are none of her other sisters taking the role? They mention how their water shows aren’t raking in the crowds anymore, but that doesn’t imply that they as performers are stale. And, skipping ahead a bit, the girls do play roles in the ballet, so they’re not concerned about people disliking them. Couldn’t they have just hired another actress who can swim? Just seems like a big stretch for this whole setup.

– Lily and Violet cheer that they managed to trick Misty into agreeing….right in front of her…meaning, she could just choose to decline right now out of spite. Good on her for not doing that, she’s a woman of her word, but screw her sisters….barring Daisy because she at least looks ashamed of them.

POKEMON EP 61 SCREEN2

– Another near-death experience for unsupervised Togepi. Mother of the year, Misty.

– Horsea SWAM AWAY while Togepi was about to fall in the pool. Guess the seahorse doesn’t fall far from the Misty.

– I love Misty’s glare and pout at the start of rehearsal.

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– Pbbbbttsahsahshahhahahahahaha that awkward ‘I have to hug my sister because my mom is forcing me for a Christmas photo op’-esque hug Misty and Daisy are doing during rehearsal.

POKEMON EP 61 SCREEN4

– That is even more awkward in context considering they’re hugging because their characters fall in love. Tell me again why they didn’t at least hire someone to play the prince. Or, hey, and this isn’t for the sake of shipping, why not get Ash to do it?

(Awkward note: Violet wrote this entire play….with Misty in mind for being the star and Daisy being the prince…..meaning she purposefully designed a story in which two of her sisters fall in love……..Eeeeggghhhhh.)

– Rehearsal’s kinda pointless if you can run through the entire play in less than a minute. Also, this story kinda sucks, but I guess it was a fairy tale for kids written in either 15 minutes or several weeks ago.

– Brock: “I like that charming prince!”

Ash: “I like the Seel!” *chortle* I dunno why that got me.

– Ugh, this episode reeks of filler budget if you know what I mean. It’s weird. There are some great shots and expressions but just as many awful shots and animations.

– Jessie: “It looks like there will be a lot of Water Pokemon in that show.” Jessie….there’s a lot of Water Pokemon there all the time….it’s the Cerulean City Gym…Remember? The place where you tried to steal all of the many Water Pokemon they had?

– Daisy: “I am, like, so happy we tricked Misty into this!” Oh….here I thought you were actually ashamed of tricking her. Nevermind, they’re all bitches.

– It’s adorable that Brock’s feeding popcorn to Togepi….but babies shouldn’t have popcorn.

POKEMON EP 61 Screen5

– Some dude in the audience: “Yeah the effects are totally cool!” What effects? All you’ve seen so far is the pool being lifted up so everyone can see in the water.

– Misty looks really cool as the magical mermaid.

– Shellder! I usually don’t get to express how much I love that little bivalve.

– I like how they show little instances of hidden places where they’ve planned for Misty to get a breath. It’s a small detail, but it’s pretty cool. Adds to the realism.

– Lily: “Hm, maybe I should’ve played the magical mermaid. She has a much nicer costume!”

Violet: “That is, like, totally selfish. Besides, that costume would look better on me!” Are you just now realizing that the role you’ve all described as being beautiful and magnificent has a more appealing costume than one of the thugs trying to kidnap her? Also, this just opens the door back up for that question of why they insisted Misty be the mermaid at all.

– I’ll keep saying this until the day I die – James always looks amazing in women’s clothing. Look at him pulling off that swan lake-ish outfit like it was made for him. Work it, James!

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– Aw yawning Shellder!

– Jessie: “Nobody’s better at stealing Water Pokemon than we are!” Says the person who failed to steal any Water Pokemon the last time they targeted this exact Gym…..

– James: “And next time we steal men’s clothes!” 4Kids, don’t play this that way. Jessie is wearing men’s clothing right now. If he really didn’t want to wear the ballerina outfit, he’d just wear the prince outfit and Jessie would wear the ballerina outfit. But he chose the ballerina outfit because he looks fabulous in it. Let him be fabulous.

– Eh, I’ll just chalk up the talking underwater stuff to cartoon logic.

– I will ding them for being able to hear Meowth without any distortion whatsoever when he’s hovering above the water and they’re standing at the bottom of the pool.

– So Team Rocket basically nearly got away with a school of Goldeen? I mean, yeah that’s still terrible, but I doubt Giovanni would ever be impressed with a bunch of Goldeen.

– How is Arbok breathing underwater right now?

– This is Horsea’s final episode, and it’s proven more than ever to be useless. Actually, considering how useless it is in battle and the fact that it can’t function without constant access to big pools of water, it’s actually to Misty’s benefit that it stay behind in the Cerulean Gym.

– Misty: “I know. You haven’t been feeling well.” Horsea’s not sick. It just got depressed because it hasn’t been able to swim in a big body of water for maybe two days. Again, they literally just came from the ocean after spending days on an island.

– I love that Misty can easily command Seaking too. Reminds you of the fact that she is, in fact, the Cerulean City Gym Leader.

– Ash: “Good job, Misty!”

Misty: “Thank my sisters. They trained it.” Love Misty for giving her sisters props when she honestly doesn’t have to, especially considering they’ve been so shitty to her since she got there.

– Violet: “Only Water Pokemon can battle in water.” Factually incorrect on so many levels. Arbok’s battling just fine and it’s not a Water Pokemon. Also, Dratini/Dragonair excels underwater and it’s not part Water. Technically, as long as a Pokemon isn’t weak to water and can hold their breath, or has a rebreather, then it can probably battle underwater just fine. Weezing is a unique case because of course it would float to the surface, being loaded with light gas and everything.

– Violet: “Go Psyduck!” For real, Violet? For actual real? Granted, I’m not sure she knows what a dunderhead Psyduck is (or the fact that it, ironically, can’t swim) but Misty has to have told her sisters some things about it since Violet knows Misty has one and was even able to locate his Pokeball with ease. If Misty did talk to Violet about it, then I can’t imagine she didn’t share her anger at its ineptitude. That’s pretty much all she talks about when Psyduck is brought up.

Also, maybe I’m being a hypocrite, but despite liking Misty battling with the Gym’s Pokemon, I’m not sure how I feel about her sisters commanding her own personal team.

– Violet: “Misty’s Psyduck is, like, totally embarrassing.” I feel like you did that on purpose.

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– Ash: “Underwater Tackle!” Ash…..even if you just said “Tackle”….it’d still be….an underwater Tackle….Squirtle wouldn’t be confused and go “Oh, a regular Tackle. But we’re underwater. Guess Ash wants me to move this battle to dry land.”

– Why does Arbok start lunging after everyone with its fangs when Jessie called for a Poison Sting attack? Isn’t that a Bite? I would say maybe it’s using a venomous bite, but as we’ve gone over before, venom and poison are two different things. Plus Arbok’s Poison Sting has always been a bunch of shining needles shooting from its mouth.

– It’s also quite weird that three well-trained water Pokemon, two of which being Misty’s Starmie and Ash’s Squirtle are so scared to death of Arbok’s Poison Sting – an attack they’ve faced many times.

– Violet: “It’s over!” A three on one against Jessie’s Arbok…underwater, which is Misty’s home field….with the three in question being high-ish level Water Pokemon…..is considered easily won by Arbok because he has ‘cornered’ them (underwater, meaning they have many avenues of escape) and intends on using Poison Sting? Careful, you’ll dirty the water with all that bullshit.

– How is this Seel considered a ‘baby’ when it not only knows Aurora Beam, which requires level 35, but is also on the tipping point of evolution, which occurs at level 34?

– What the hell? Look at how tiny Seel is compared to Arbok during the whirlpool sequence. Arbok’s like a titan.

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– Lily: “I never knew Seel was, like, this strong.” …….Wait…..you never trained the thing? What, did you just happen to catch Seel at a high level by default?

Daisy: “We never let it, like, be itself.” Where did that come from?

– How does Misty know how strong Seel is when she’s been gone for so long? She even knows it knows Aurora Beam….Maybe SHE trained it before she left and her sisters didn’t notice or care.

– *Seel starts evolving*

Brock: “Look what’s happening to Seel!”

Violet: “What’s that?”

Lily:”What’s Seel doing?” Have you experienced Pokemon Trainers and GYM LEADERS never seen a Pokemon evolve before?

– I wonder if it’s weird for a Pokemon to be addressed differently after it evolves. You spend your whole life being called one name but then you evolve and suddenly people call you a completely different name. This is one of the reasons why it’s kinda stupid that Pokemon nicknames aren’t more common. It’d just so obviously be a thing most people would do. Imagine getting a puppy and calling it Puppy until it’s about a year old and then you start calling it Dog.

Why Use the Pokedex?: Ash declares that he knows this is a Dewgong before Dex’ing it.

– Am I the only one who thinks using Ice Beam underwater would freeze the water surrounding it too? It’s like a laser will heat up an entire container of water instead of just shooting through to its target.

– What the hell!? Team Rocket is frozen solid, and instead of calling the cops or something Ash and the others opt to drag all of the Water Pokemon out of the pool so Pikachu can shock the everloving crap out of them? You’re a cold-blooded sadist, Ash.

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Although, I get that this whole spiel is just to give Pikachu the spotlight again….

– Alright, they’re shocked now and clearly defeated. Time to–

*Dewgong tail-slaps them all out of the Gym, blasting them off*

Is the legal system in Pokemon just royally screwed? Is that why no one ever seems to want these people arrested?

– Why are Misty’s sisters all taking a bow and waving? They did absolutely nothing this whole time.

– Violet: “And if you decide to leave, Lily and I can take turns playing the mermaid.”

So you acknowledge that Misty didn’t have to play the mermaid and either of you could have done the job just fine? You three continue to be a cluster of canker sores.

– Daisy: “If they decide to leave, we totally won’t have enough Pokemon.”

No, really, why? This is the Cerulean City Gym. Don’t they have tons of Water Pokemon there? This Magical Mermaid show doesn’t call for more Pokemon than their other shows. They’re largely aesthetic.

Also, they’re kinda screwed either way, aren’t they? Because people will be clamoring about the explosions and the ‘air show’ and the big Pokemon battle and the funny Psyduck and the Arbok and the evolution and all the other cool stuff that they won’t be able to pull off without Misty, Ash and even Team Rocket playing a part.

– Violet: “Bummer. Maybe we can borrow some of Misty’s Pokemon.” Yes, why go out and capture some new and interesting Pokemon when you can just mooch off of your sister?

Also, bitch move to ask that after she’s already done so much for you, considering you forced her into doing something she didn’t have to do in the first place all because you’re manipulative harpies.

– Lily: “You better give us your Starmie, too.” Fuck you! Not only is it really greedy to ask for more when she’s already agreed to give up one Pokemon after all of this, but the one that is essentially her strongest? Come on! Granted, it is a little redundant to have a Staryu and a Starmie, but still. I’d think it’d be more logical to give up Staryu. It made perfect sense to leave Horsea here, it was the weakest link in Misty’s team and needed to be in water, but taking Starmie as well is a bit much. Now Misty’s team is really barren.

– Misty: “Oh, how can I say no?” Like this.

Seriously, though? How can you say no? You’re acting like they’re sweet-talking you when they’re pretty much demanding your Starmie.

– Oh but she draws the line at Togepi. Every single one of them is dripping with favoritism.

– *pushes Psyduck their way* Misty: “But you can keep this if you want it!”

Lily and Violet: “We’re not THAT desperate!” First of all, Misty, keep “this”? Stop referring to Psyduck like he’s a thing. Second, stop shitting on poor Psyduck, all of you.

– Oh hey a mention of Misty’s destroyed bike. Looking back, that’s actually kinda depressing foreshadowing because I believe the next time Misty will contact her sisters will be when Misty is written out of the show – which is when her bike will also conveniently be fixed.

– Fitting that the Pikachu’s Jukebox for this episode is the song “Viridian City” where the lyrics are “We’re on the road to Viridian City.” Because they are….even though they were right next to it at the start of the episode and will have to travel god knows how long to get back there.

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As much as this episode is heavy with story and art/animation problems, I can’t deny that I fondly remember it and still enjoyed it on this rewatch. It was nice to return to Cerulean Gym, and Misty is an absolute delight in this episode. She’s badass and cool, elegant and fun, and even though her sisters are screwing her over she’s still being shockingly accommodating to their wishes – even to the point where she pretty much sacrificed half her team to them.

I also love the concept of the underwater ballet, even if the underwater battle was a bit of a missed opportunity. You can tell they really care about water physics, how sound would be affected or really anything else. Some things can be hand-waved by budgetary constraints, but others can’t. Bad time to be hit with a bad art and animation two-fer. Outside of them using their rebreathers, you’d only barely notice they were underwater. Also, a Poison Type snake nearly singlehandedly defeated three moderately high level Water Pokemon UNDERWATER is bafflingly bad writing. Arbok can hardly ever get the upperhand on land. There’s no reason whatsoever that Arbok didn’t drown that whole time, let alone that he would be dominating this match until Seel comes in.

Misty’s sisters did irritate me, as usual, but I was able to mostly tune them out. They honestly could have just politely asked Misty over the phone if she’d do it instead of springing it on her when she arrived and acting as if she should know she’s the star of their show. Misty is being incredibly kind this whole time. Surely she’d agree if they were nice about it and gave her a heads up. But nope. Instead they guilt-tripped and tricked her. Granted, that is totally a sister thing to do.

I really believe she should have been given Dewgong, though. They even pointed out how much it made sense by Daisy saying they never let it be itself. Misty helped bring out Seel’s strength, and it’d be a fine trade for Starmie. But nope. They just took and took and gave nothing back to her. Makes me glad she eventually takes the Gym back over down the line. She deserves it more than they do.

Next episode, I get a feeling of dread because I really don’t think I liked this one. Jigglypuff returns and has a beef with a Clefairy.


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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 10 (Dub) The Rise of Darkrai Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Ash, Dawn and Brock arrive in Alamos Town – the location of Dawn’s next contest. Along the way, they meet the balloonist/musician, Alice, and her childhood friend, Tonio, who studies energy abnormalities. As they get a tour of the local gardens, they meet Darkrai, a powerful Pokemon who induces nightmares. He seems to be terrorizing the area, but they don’t know what he wants.

Little do they know that a fierce battle between two deity Pokemon, the master of space, Palkia, and the master of time, Dialga, has started in a dimensional rift. When these two massive powers clash, it’s only a matter of time before reality as they know it starts to fall apart.

Breakdown: Now we’re at an interesting point, because I have no clue what this movie is about – and I’ve read the synopsis several times. I definitely never got into the Diamond/Pearl era of Pokemon. I watched an episode or two here and there, but I never followed along. Thing is, I also wasn’t into watching the tail end of Advanced Generation, but I feel like I knew much more about that movie going in than I knew about this one. Maybe it was the Super Saiyan Ash thing.

It’s so odd. I always remember people mentioning little things here and there, either very good or very bad, about each movie that I hadn’t seen yet, maybe even seen an AMV or two about it, but this one I’m drawing a blank on, which is weird because this is the tenth anniversary movie.

From what I read on Dogasu’s comparison, this movie comes out as a cluster of bits and pieces of each movie so far.

Dogasu: “With this particular movie, we get an epic battle between two Pokemon (Deoxys vs. Rayquaza) in an alternate universe ruled by the Unown (Entei) who can only be stopped by a song (Lugia), a fact relayed to us by a number of flashbacks dispersed throughout the movie (Lucario). Oh, and I can’t forget about the three trainers who only exist to show off the starters’ evolved forms (Myuutwo), a forced romance that really doesn’t play out until the end (Jirachi), Pokemon-to-human transformation (Latios and Latias), and an ending that requires Satoshi to solve some puzzle in order to save the day (Manaphy).

I’m sure some of that is meant to be a sort of “homage” to the franchise’s ten-year history, but at the same time it just feels really lazy.”

I’d have to agree that it sounds lazy, particularly the ‘quelling the fighting with a song’ thing. Even before I read the comparison, I was getting flashbacks to movie 02.

Maybe the reason I’ve never seen or heard much about this movie is based in its perceived laziness. Perhaps it’s just uninspired. It can’t be because Darkrai is unpopular, because, despite my thinking that it’s a blah designed forgettable legendary, apparently it’s a surprisingly popular legendary to others. As of 2016, in a Pokemon popularity poll held by The Pokemon Company in Japan, it held the 14th rank – a rank above Lu-freakin’cario! Are you kidding me? Am I not getting something?

Maybe I’ll get it after watching the movie.

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We start out the movie with a game changer – The World of Pokemon opener! This is a new one, showcasing every legendary and main focus movie Pokemon we’ve ever seen interacting with each other in succession, which is really cool.

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When we get to Ash and the others, they even show a mashup of the previous nine movies behind them as they walk, which is also a cool nod to the anniversary.

Then we’re suddenly thrust into a space/time rift where we see Palkia and Dialga facing off. I never much cared for Palkia, but I really like Dialga. Something about Palkia’s design always put me off. That being said, Palkia’s cry sounds kickass. It’s robotic yet whale-like. It’s hard to describe, but it’s awesome.

Narration tells us that these powers who were never meant to meet suddenly met in the space/time rift, and they have to fight because….I dunno. The plot said so? At least with the Rayquaza/Deoxys match we could justify it for a bit with Deoxys muscling through Rayquaza’s territory. Here it’s basically ‘We were never meant to meet, so come at me, bro!’

You’d think the powers of time and space would work together in harmony.

Actually, this is more like the battle between the legendary birds in movie 02. They had a reason to fight too, but it was more petty than Rayquaza protecting its territory – they all wanted to rule over the elemental islands for some reason. Out of harmony, destruction would be imminent and a third-party Pokemon would damn near die trying to stop them…..Geez, this movie really has a thing for movie 02.

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The narrator is a scientist named Tonio reading out of a diary owned by someone named ‘Godey’. It’s talking about how the battle between Palkia and Dialga is enveloping the world and will drag it into chaos.

They have a cool battle for a while, scattering around randomly placed Unown for some reason. Unown, sweeties, I know you’re meant to be part of this tenth movie homage thing they have going but….go home. No one likes you. You have an unappealing design, no one wants you on their team, no one wants to hunt your whole collection, your completionist shiny hunt is a nightmare and you make me crave Alphabits.

Palkia’s shoulder….gem…thing gets cracked and the awesome battle continues. Symbolic breaking of an hourglass, ahoy!

We get our pretty nice, but kinda underwhelming, title sequence, which means–!

*drumroll*

Ash and friends!

For once in a very long time, we actually get a timeline confirmation…I think. The narrator explains that they’re traveling to Alamos town for Dawn’s next Pokemon contest, which is a nice breath of fresh air from constantly hearing ‘Ash’s next Gym battle’

They seemingly arrive at Alamos town only to find that it’s on a plateau with no other access besides a bridge that is on an entirely different path much higher up.

I really can’t get used to Brock’s new voice. It’s so deep. I’m gonna just pretend he went through late-onset ultra puberty.

A young lady named Alice, whose hair makes me think of if Pikachu’s ears and Bunneary’s ears had a baby and it somehow was made entirely out of hair, offers them a ride in her hot air balloon.

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Also, apparently Brock now has a ‘little blue book of babes.’ He’s officially a complete sleezeball now. Before, his girl-lust quirk was annoying but kinda funny sometimes. Now, he’s just creepy. He’s disappointed that he doesn’t have Alice written down in it but…how could he? He just met her.

Ah, yes, I heard about Croagunk taking the role of Brock’s new ‘ear-puller’ by…poisoning him? Okay. RIP Brock.

Alice states that she’s a hot air balloon tour guide and a music teacher. She plays a leaf whistle for a bit, and it draws all sorts of bird Pokemon their way, including a random Pidgeotto. Be still my broken heart….

Also, this Pidgeotto sounds weird….But that doesn’t matter because it’s Pidgeotto.

This ability even has a role in her ballooning because she can use the flute to ask the bird Pokemon which way the wind is blowing. Neat……Isn’t that kinda obvious in a hot air balloon, though?

Team Rocket’s following them….in a Carnivine balloon? Is this just for this movie, or did they ditch the Meowth balloon? If so, aw. 😦

They don’t stick around long, though, because they’re quickly blasted off after pissing off some nearby Drifloom and Driflim. Don’t worry, Team Rocket, I’m sure you’ll be movie-relevant again someday.

As they fly over the city, they notice two intricately designed towers called the Space-Time towers. Using his trusty Field Guide of Everything I Guess, Brock explains that the Space-Time towers were designed by the architect, Godey, over 100 years ago. That’s also where the Pokemon Contests are held.

Ash: “A hundred years!? That’s like ten years times….”

Dawn: “Times ten.”

Ash: “Right.”

We interrupt our broadcast to clumsily shoehorn in a mention of the words ‘ten years’ so we can kinda poke at the fact that this is our tenth anniversary movie. Sources claim they don’t care whether this line seems stilted and out of place. Back to our program.

Also, watch it when drawing attention to how long this show’s been going. People will start to ask why Ash isn’t 20 years old by this point (Aw, hell, that means he should be thirty now. This is just depressing me.)

Brock continues to explain that the tower on the right represents time while the left represents space….even though they just barely look a little different.

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Ash: “Hey, I coulda told ya that!” ….How?

They suddenly feel a surge of distortion, which is caused by Palkia and Dialga’s fighting. As quickly as it started, it suddenly stops.

As Alice gives Ash and co. the tour of the town, we get our opening credits and theme song. The song is not the typical extended TV theme we usually get, but is instead a song called “We Will be Heroes – The Rise of Darkrai” which has to be one of the clunkiest song names I’ve heard in a while. You might as well call it “We’re Protagonists So We’ll Save the Day – Pokemon the Tenth Movie: Buy the DVD”

The song itself is just alright, but it is fully destroyed by the background vocals. For some reason, they found it to be a good idea to have this relatively low-key song be interrupted every five seconds by a group of people yelling “POKEMON” (Pronounced “Pokeymon” here) and “DARKRAI” The Pokemon part I’ve just accepted by now because they jam that word into everything, but the Darkrai part could not feel more forced if you tried.

To emulate the same level of awkwardness, try imagining any song in your head and, in five second intervals, yell out a random name like ‘KEVIN!’

They wander around for a bit when Ash suddenly bumps into three trainers who challenge him to a match. Another Pokemon movie trope successfully checkmark’d.

This isn’t the usual trope, however, because, get this, Brock and Dawn are also being challenged. The writers remembered they exist! Yay!

Of course, Ash uses Pikachu against a Torterra. I’m not sure this was meant to be part of the homage, but the battle seriously reminds me of the Pikachu vs. Quagsire match in the opening battle of movie 03. The way it’s choreographed is strikingly similar.

Dawn’s Piplup goes up against an Empoleon by…holding its breath?….Okie dokie.

Finally, Brock’s Croagunk battles an Infernape.

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Thus we have the three trainers who exist solely to show off the evo’d starters for the region.

Dawn’s battle is actually pretty good. I love that spinning water move Piplup used (the first one), and there’s quite a bit of action for an opener battle. Sadly, however, the song soon ends and the battles end off-screen. The most we got to see was 2/3 of Dawn’s match, which seemed stalemated.

After the song ends, we just cut to them continuing their tour. Alice brings them all to a garden, also designed by Godey, which, according to Brock’s Field Guide of Wow, Really? It Has Info on This Too?, was modeled to symbolize the harmony between humans and Pokemon. Alice grew up here and knows all of the Pokemon, and this prompts Ash, Dawn and Brock to let out all of their Pokemon for some fresh air. Whatever gives you screentime, guys.

Time for pointless dicking around! Is this the real homage to the Manaphy movie?

I sure am being mean to Pokemon today.

The Pokemon all start fighting after some accidental shenanigans.

A face-off between two groups of pissed off Pokemon, two of whom are smashing their faces into each other? Are we homaging the shorts now too? Because that’s very similar to Pikachu’s Summer Vacation.

Alice plays her leaf flute to calm the Pokemon, and I really wish they just had a regular flute because the leaf flute kinda sounds like crap. Sounds like someone’s playing a Casio through a garbage bag.

And everyone got along again, hooray!

Side-note: I love Ash’s backpack for DP. I wish I had that backpack.

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A Gallade directs Alice and the others to some pillars in the garden that have been toppled and warped. A man named Baron Alberto, whose name, voice, characteristics and character design are all ridiculous, claims it was the work of Darkrai. He must’ve been Beetlejuice-summoned thanks to the theme song.

Brock explains that Darkrai is a Pokemon who supposedly gives you nightmares.

They believe they hear Darkrai in some bushes, so Alberto sics his….Lickylicky on it….Dear God, even his tastes in Pokemon are ridiculous. No one can not sound like an idiot when commanding a Lickylicky. Even its voice is stupid.

He blindly Hyper Beams the bush only to reveal it was actually Tonio and his Driflim. Tonio was investigating a space/time fluctuation in the area that lead him to the warped pillars.

Warning – Warning: Insanely clearly defined pointless love triangle detected.

Targets – Tonio, Alberto and Alice.

Prediction: Tonio and Alice get together while Alberto is consistently an idiot throughout the movie.

Suggested Action – Ignore it. It probably doesn’t impact the plot.

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Meanwhile, back in Badass Battle Land, Palkia and Dialga cause another rift, which triggers darkness to fall in the garden and Darkrai to appear.

Tonio: “It’s Darkrai.”

Alberto: *smirk* “I’d say so.”

What?….Also, I hate your face.

*sigh* Am I seriously the only one who thinks Darkrai just looks like an uninspired shadowy ghost with an emo kid haircut?

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Alberto tries to attack Darkrai with Lickylicky, but he turns into a shadow and dodges. Darkrai uses a Dark Void orb, which hits Ash. Pikachu friggin’ screams when this happens, which surprised me because he didn’t even do that when Ash got petrified in the first movie.

Ash is transported to some dream version of the garden. We get some kinda neat visuals with Darkrai’s shadow until he shows us an icky CGI rendition of Palkia. Ash tries to battle Darkrai and throws out Turtwig’s Pokeball only to have it disintegrate when it’s thrown. Darkrai starts to vanish underground. Ash spots Pikachu in the foreground and calls o—Uh, dude? Your Turtwig was straight up vaporized. Have an emotional response to this, please.

Dreamachu gets sucked into a hole that Darkrai’s creating, and Ash rushes to save him only to get swept up in the hole as well. Oh yeah, Turtwig reduced to atoms, barely notice. Pikachu’s about to fall in a hole—OH GOD, I’LL SAVE YOU!

Pikachu wakes him up from the nightmare with a shock and he finds himself in the local…Pokemon center? Take him to a human doctor, dammit! Why are there more Pokemon centers in this world than doctor’s offices? How freaked out would you be if you passed out and woke up in a vet’s office?

Ew, Joy’s new voice. Ew….She sounds like Jynx.

Tonio does some investigating and we learn the story of Alice’s grandmother, Alicia, who looks nearly identical to Alice except her hair is in one puff while Alice’s is in two.

In a nice sepia-toned flashback, we learn that Darkrai was in the garden many years ago. It was sending the nearby Pokemon into nightmares as a form of self-defense because it was very weak. It was about to do the same to Alicia, but she placed her hand on Darkrai and started playing a song on her leaf flute. Darkrai opened its heart to Alicia and lived peacefully in the garden after that.

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Reading further into the diary of Godey, he learns that Godey learned all he needed to know about a future event from a nightmare. In order to save the world, he needed to leave oracion.

Meanwhile, Alberto’s meeting with Team Rocket, who are disguised as TV reporters. Nothing happens, but in the past ten years Team Rocket has somehow gotten even worse at coming up with cover names. Jessalina, Jameson and….Meowt? I can’t understand Meowth very well when he’s saying his, but that’s what it sounds like.

Ash and the others go into the tower to check out the contest hall and, geez, that place is way too nice to just be held for a contest hall. There’s also a huge, intricately detailed, carved Pokemon mural on the wall. The space tower holds a cool looking mobile while the time tower has pendulums like a clock.

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As they continue the tour, Alice explains that Godey is actually Tonio’s great-grandfather. Tonio’s lab, which I assume also used to be Godey’s, is in the level below the towers.

They go down to the lab, and Tonio explains what he’s found so far, including a picture of Godey and Alicia that has sheet music written on the back. Ash and the others spot some music discs, which the tower uses to play music. Dawn really wants to try some, so they walk to the top of the tower to play them.

When they reach the top, we learn more tidbits about the tower. Godey built the tower as a beacon of hope to humans and Pokemon alike, and the towers are technically the world’s largest musical instrument given their massive integrated music disc playing device. It reads divots in the discs and plays the bells in the tower according to the patterns.

This whole sequence in the tower is quite nice. The towers are beautifully designed, even if the CGI’s a little distracting, and the fact that they’re a giant musical instrument is really cool.

After they exit the towers, the three trainers from before suddenly reappear and challenge Ash and the others to a rematch. Just when you think someone’s slammed the brakes on the plot, another rift occurs. Dialga’s kicking Palkia’s ass, and Palkia is running to the Space-Time Tower to get away.

Darkrai appears again, and Alberto, believing himself to be filmed by Team Rocket, ‘heroically’ calls out his Lickylicky (See? You can’t not sound stupid saying anything with that name) and attacks. Darkrai sends out many Dark Void orbs, hitting several nearby Pokemon….and none of them being Licklicky. Booooo!!

Also, I get that Darkrai’s seen as this horrifying Pokemon, but all it does is put you to sleep and give you a nightmare. You’re not hurt or anything. You wake up just fine afterwards. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have a nightmare, but there are much worse things.

Ash faces off with Darkrai, but is interrupted by Baron Alberto. It’s a short-lived battle resulting in Lickylicky getting Dark Voided.

There’s a weird image of a Bibarel, one of the Pokemon who got Dark Voided before, floating around them after Darkrai leaves.

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Jessie: “An ultra rare Pokemon!?”

James: “That flies through walls?”

Alberto: “It can’t be real.”

Yeah…it’s not like there are…..Ghost Pokemon….or anything……..

Suddenly, Lickylicky starts to glow, then Alberto glows….and then….he morphs…..into a weird Lickylicky/Alberto hybrid…..

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Well, good job, Darkrai. That will certainly give me nightmares for the rest of my life.

Back at the Pokemon Center, which is now overflowing with Pokemon who are trapped in nightmares, Tonio concludes that the real world and the dream world are merging, causing images of the Pokemon to appear in the real world as they’re having their nightmares. Alberto asked what happened to him and Tonio states that Lickylicky probably dreamed of being him, so he turned into Lickylicky….

Uhhh….Few things.

1) Why are just the images of the Pokemon and not the nightmares themselves merging with the real world?

2) Why does Lickylicky have nightmares about being Alberto?

3) Why is Lickylicky the only Pokemon with a nightmare that isn’t being chased by something?

4) If Lickylicky’s nightmare is about being Alberto, why did Alberto turn into a Lickylicky instead of an image of Lickylicky as Alberto appear?

Also, Pikachu woke Ash up from his nightmare with a shock – why doesn’t he just Thundershock the whole building?

The three nameless trainers arrive again and break the news that they’re trapped in the town by some sort of weird fog. It can’t be lifted with Pokemon abilities such as Defog, and running into the fog just returns you back to town.

Alberto blames these oddities on Darkrai (and licks Jessie…..I couldn’t not point that out) and rallies the Pokemon Trainers together to destroy him.

After Alberto and the Trainers leave, Alice pipes up and says she doesn’t believe Darkrai is behind this. Tonio even offers an explanation as to why he believes Darkrai is innocent……..so….you just let those Pokemon Trainers go off on a witch hunt, intent on ‘destroying’ Darkrai, before you decide to try and clear its name? Nice.

A flashback shows us that, when Tonio and Alice were children, Alice fell off of a cliff while she was playing. (Let me rephrase that. She stupidly ran around a cliffside with her eyes closed, running backwards at a point, too, and stupidly fell off the cliff like a stupid person.) Tonio tried in vain to catch her, but Darkrai appeared and caught her. He set her gently on the ground and quickly vanished. Alice always believed Tonio was the one who saved her, but now Tonio believes it was Darkrai who did it. That evidence coupled with the story of Darkrai opening its heart to Alicia leads them to believe that Darkrai isn’t evil and isn’t the one behind all of these strange occurrences.

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Or you could go the obvious route and point out that Darkrai only has the ability to create nightmares and can’t alter reality, but whatever.

Alberto licks Jessie again. It’s not in a perverted manner or anything, he does it whenever she calls him Baron Lickylicky, but it’s still insanely weird.

Pbbbbt Darkrai looks a thousand times more ridiculous when you give him long dancer’s legs.

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Tonio looks back through video footage captured by his Driflims over the past few days and discovers that Palkia entered the real world through the rift that occurred while they were playing music at the top of the tower.

Meanwhile, Darkrai’s getting piled on by the Trainers of the town, but it soon Dark Voids them all. I love this shot of Ledian sleeping. It can’t close its eyes, so it just looks dead.

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Alberto even tries to take advantage of his Lickylickiness to battle, but Darkrai just sends him and Team Rocket blasting off. I love how much of a point these four have in this movie.

Tonio shows Ash and the others the footage, and they realize that the Pokemon in the video is Palkia and that Darkrai has been trying to warn them of what was about to happen this whole time, since he’s the only one who could see them.

Darkrai has been telling Palkia to not come to their dimension and to go away, but the others thought Darkrai was talking to them.

Ash points out that Darkrai was trying to warn him of Palkia inside of his dream by simply…showing him an image of Palkia. Darkrai, you can communicate verbally. If you wanted to warn Ash about an impending doom, don’t be vague. Just tell him. So many plots in movies would be solved in minutes if people learned to communicate.

Palkia has been hovering about the Space-Time Towers, invisibly, trying to heal from its wounds, but Darkrai finds it and starts attacking it. Palkia does some kickass effects to the sky and suddenly the Dark Void effects are all ending on the Pokemon and Alberto.

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Tonio reveals that the sky has changed due to Palkia transporting the entire town into another dimension, meaning the nightmare effects wore off. The battle between Darkrai and Palkia rages on, and, again, the battle’s pretty intense. Dialga suddenly interrupts and lays down the smackdown on Palkia to the point where parts of the town are literally disintegrating.

As Dialga and Palkia beat the crap out of each other, Tonio points out that Godey had a nightmare about this battle, which he wrote about in his diary.

Alice is a dumb idiot of stupid and runs out to yell to Dialga and Palkia to stop fighting, only to put her in the line of fire. Darkrai saves her, though.

After unsuccessfully trying to Dark Void Palkia and Dialga, Darkrai gets the full force of both of them and falls out of the sky.

Darkrai has a slight moment with Alice and the others in the garden before it vanishes into shadow form again.

Tonio does some scanning of the town and discovers that the fight between Dialga and Palkia is causing the town to literally break into pieces and be lost to alternate dimensions. If they don’t act soon, the town and everyone in it will disappear into another dimension.

He remembers an entry in Godey’s diary which explains that the nightmare prompted him to leave oracion for the future. Alice recognizes the word and explains that it’s the title of a song written on the back of the photo of Godey and Alicia. However, doing it on a little leaf whistle isn’t going to cut it. They need to use a sound disk of the song and play it through the Space-Time Tower.

Tonio knows for a fact that the song ‘Oracion’ is not in the collection of sound disks in the lab, so they go to a much larger collection stored on the walls in the lobby. However, there are so many that they don’t know where it could be.

She has a flashback to her grandmother teaching her the song. Alicia tells her that oracion means ‘prayer’ and to always remember it. From this, she’s able to deduce which disk it is, but, really, she just matched the symbol on the photo to the one on the sound disk. I don’t get how she correlated the prayer thing into it.

By the way, this is a horrible way of storing these disks. They’re not organized at all and you need two people to spin the massive wheels they’re on to get the right one.

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The Trainers of the town try to stop the attacks of Dialga and Palkia, and Croagunk straight up punches one of their attacks away like a boss.

As Ash and the others ascend the tower in the hot air balloon (She really needs Chimchar to heat the balloon? Even Team Rocket has an actual burner…) a bunch of slightly unnecessary stuff happens like Piplup nearly falls to its death (it’s saved by Staravia) and Dawn nearly falls to her death (she’s saved by convenient ledges and a misunderstanding of physics.) and Ash falls off (saved by the same logic as Dawn’s, but less so because he was able to slow his descent).

As Tonio and Alice struggle to get by the attacks in their damaged balloon, Tonio falls to his death, and Alice is saved from an attack by Darkrai sacrificing itself. Alice manages to land safely, being saved from falling off the bridge by Lickylicky of all things (ew, by the way), but it can’t hold her. Tonio, having dodged death on his Driflim…..that he should’ve been utilizing this whole time, saves her instead.

Ash, smartly, utilizes Aipom and Turtwig to divert attacks from Dialga and Palkia while he and Dawn climb the tower. As they climb, they reach a dead end because part of the towers is vanishing. Dawn releases Bunneary and Buisel to make a bridge with Water Gun and Ice Beam (Wouldn’t Ice Beam make the bridge by itself? Eh whatever.)

I have to say, it’s not a whole lot, but I love how everyone’s Pokemon are getting to do things in this movie. They are terrible at being consistent with utilizing the Pokemon they have on them, but when they actually remember them it’s really great.

Also, I forgot Buneary has a crush on Pikachu. N’awww.

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The town Trainers use their Pokemon to attack the withering edges of the town and it actually slows down the disintegration process…..I have no clue why they’d think that’d work nor the logic behind this, but good job!

It’s nice that the nameless side character Pokemon get stuff to do too.

It’s all for naught, however, because Tonio’s readings indicate that their dimension will be destroyed if Dialga and Palkia collide one more time. Darkrai won’t stand for this and, while I’ve been ignoring the pink v. blue titan battle a la Mewtwo v. Mew, it’s hard to not notice that Darkrai obviously does a sendup to the first movie by jumping in the middle of two energy blasts yelling ‘STOP!’, seemingly sacrificing himself. It doesn’t immediately die, in fact it uses its power to stop the forces from colliding, but it’s only a matter of time.

Back with Ash and Dawn, the tower is still vanishing, and Ash and Dawn nearly fall, only to be saved by Buizel’s Water Gun. It was just a tiny moment, but for some reason I was really happy when that happened.

Darkrai’s power starts to wane.

Dawn: “Ash, come back!”

No! Ash, keep running! Why would you tell him to turn around to watch Darkrai’s powers fail and then see him get blasted out of the sky? He’s doing this to buy you time. You have no time to spare to just watch something happen – RUN!

Darkrai gets disintegrated, and Dialga and Palkia return their attentions to each other.

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Ash and Dawn reach the top of the tower, but the sound disk won’t fit in the system. Dawn, connecting the symbols on the disk and the system, tells Ash to try the slot in the middle….Wow…..that was an ungodly pointless ‘puzzle’. Not to mention, we’ve already done the ‘match the symbols’ “puzzle” like ten minutes ago. It’s not that difficult. And, really, Ash sees that there are numerous slots in the machine for disks and instead of checking to see if it will fit in any other slot he just analyzes the front side of the disk like an idiot.

They insert the disk and pull the lever, but are shocked to discover that the power is out. Really? With the black sky outside they didn’t notice a power outage in a building? Where is the light coming from?

Being fair, it makes sense that the power is out considering the whole place is disintegrating.

Dawn calls out her Pachirisu and Ash uses Pikachu to power the machine. Wow, Pikachu sharing the electric limelight with another? It’s a Christmas miracle.

The song plays and it instantly culls the fighting. It even stops the disintegration. The song really is quite lovely when played on bells.

Pikachu and Pachirisu are unable to hold their attacks any longer, but the tower seems to have gained it’s own magical power and doesn’t stop the song. Far from it, in fact. It glows a golden color and the tower starts to transform into a beautiful design that encapsulates the symbolism of space and time respectively.

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The tower then grows massive golden wings of light….which I think is a bit excessive, but alright. Palkia’s jewel gets healed, and Dialga and Palkia share a small glance before Dialga leaves.

However, all is still not well. Ash and Dawn beg for Palkia to return the town back to normal.

Ash: “Palkia, can’t you see what you’ve done!? You’ve destroyed the whole town….All the….Pokemon….”

Uh….First of all, while Palkia’s not blameless here, Dialga’s the one who forced Palkia here and started this whole thing.

Second, the whole town is destroyed, to a degree, and your one thought is of the Pokemon? Not the people who probably vanished too?

Third, wait, we didn’t see a damn thing happen to any Pokemon outside of Darkrai. Why not just say Darkrai?

Also, Dogasu was right, Sarah Natochenny cannot emote through Ash worth a damn.

Palkia decides to clean up the mess, so he restores the town and returns it to it’s rightful space.

Hehe, get it? I said space.

Everything’s okay now…..but of course we have to have the overly dramatic death fakeout.

Oh no.

Darkrai disappeared from the effects of Palkia’s power. But Palkia reversed everything.

Oh no.

Oh dear.

Oh my.

Certainly the Dark of Rai is dead. Let us have a clipshow to sad, dramatic music (not kidding – they put this in the movie) to remember his valiant sacrifice…..

This whole scene is ridiculous and hard to sit through if you have a few brain cells. It’s not just the typical ‘ahhh, we know he’s still alive’ death fakeout. This death fakeout makes zero sense before they even start the damn clipshow. We have to sit through the clipshow, the music, the crying, the overly dramatic declarations from Ash, the solemn walk away – all of it – when every bit of logic is screaming ‘HE’S NOT DEAD. HE CAN’T BE DEAD. UNLESS PALKIA’S A MASSIVE DOUCHE AND LOCKED HIM IN ANOTHER DIMENSION, HE’S OKAY.’

Admittedly, revealing him as a giant shadow on a mountainside was pretty cool, though.

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His overly dramatic whooshy physical reveal ruined it a little, though.

Then we get a closeup of Darkrai and it just ends….No reunion, no wrap up, just Darkrai’s glowing eye.

Credits time!

It’s mostly random shots of places we went in the movie, then we get a series of stillframes showcasing Dawn’s contest….Anyone wanna put in their two cents if this is canon? Because Dawn loses.

Also, two of the three nameless trainers were participating in the contest – the guy with the Empoleon and the girl with the Infernape. The girl won.

Team Rocket appears and I completely forgot they were even here to begin with again.

Ash, Brock and Dawn say their farewells to Tonio and Alice….I just realized that Brock let off on Alice when Tonio came into the picture. Is that character development?

Some more random shots, then Dialga heading off to his…dimension? And Palkia doing the same. Ash and the others continue their journey….

The credits songs are ‘I Will Remember You’ sung by Kirsten Price, a song I actually like quite a bit. It’s definitely one of the better movie songs they’ve had in recent years…..and then we get “Living in the Shadows” by Chris “Breeze” Barczynski – an intrusive rap song. Guys, it’s 2007 by this point. Stop it.

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The end.

————————————-

I liked this movie a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. It gave me a better appreciation for Palkia and Darkrai, and while I can definitely feel the throwbacks to the previous movies, the references only seemed a little on the lazy side. Probably the laziest was the Unown. They are literally just thrown into the movie because….alternate dimensions is something Unown do…And we couldn’t think of another movie 03 reference, so…….here we are.

The song aspect wasn’t as rip-offy in the end as I feared. Alice didn’t save the day with her leaf and the music playing through the bells of the towers was cool. I’d definitely say the references ended up feeling more like an homage rather then just lazily cobbling together a plot from old plots.

The excuse to have Dialga and Palkia fight was practically non-existent, but I don’t care because their fight was awesome.

Alice was….a somewhat boring CotM. Tonio was much more interesting.

Dawn and Brock kinda got stuff to do, and everyone’s Pokemon got to do a little something. Not to mention that hug Brock gives Happiny near the end was adorable.

I enjoyed the aspect of the dimension breaking apart, and I also loved how they handled the visuals of the dimension crumbling. The video distortion whenever a rift was occurring was a great touch – it really made you feel like reality was coming apart.

Darkrai’s plot is very understandable. It must be difficult for a Pokemon whose main power is creating nightmares to not be outcast. I would’ve liked to have seen him and Alice have a moment after his reappearance, however. It felt like it resolved on a somewhat hollow note.

Ash was not the main forefront in this movie, which was more than welcome. It was very much a team effort, even if Ash was the one who orchestrated the resolution to the conflict. However, I can’t stress enough how much Baron Alberto didn’t need to be here. He was an annoying waste of space. He wasn’t a threat to Alice and Tonio’s budding relationship (Hey, wait, they didn’t even resolve that part of the plot), he wasn’t an antagonist and he wasn’t interesting. He seemed like he was there for terrible comic relief and to give Team Rocket an excuse for being there, which was, in itself, extremely flimsy.

The visuals were very well done this time around. The CGI was not that great, but it wasn’t nearly as bad or distracting as it was in movie 09.

The music was quite good barring the stupid rap song. If you want to keep giving homages to past movies, that was a great flashback to the tonal whiplash of the first movie’s ending songs.

There were some moments that bothered me, but maybe I was overreacting on some of those because I just didn’t have much to talk about for this movie.

Recommended Audience: I can’t really think of anything worth noting beyond the typical ‘cartoon violence’. 5+


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Pokemon Episode 60 Analysis: Beach Blank-Out Blastoise

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen1

CotD(s): None

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock try to catch the last ferry off of Cinnabar Island, Ash runs into a panicked Wartortle. Pikachu lets Squirtle out to figure out what it’s trying to tell them. After some discussion, Squirtle and Wartortle rush off into the ocean. Ash and the others grab a boat and make haste in their direction. Their destination? A small island not marked on any map that has a mountain in the shape of a Squirtle shell.

When they arrive, they see a multitude of Squirtle and Wartortle shells scattered across the beach, and one massive Blastoise shell sits on a stone platform up ahead. Excited at seeing a Blastoise, Ash rushes over to get a better look, but when he and Squirtle put their ears up to the shell, they quickly fall asleep.

Pikachu awakens them all with a shock, and Ash explains that the last thing he heard before he konked out was weird familiar music.

They learn from the Wartortle and Squirtle that this is the island of Turtle Pokemon, and their king is Blastoise. One day, Blastoise went for a swim, but didn’t return. When they found him, he was in the middle of the ocean and withdrawn into his shell, fast asleep. Almost as soon as they got Blastoise situated on his platform, all of the other Wartortle and Squirtle fell asleep – all except one; the Wartortle that ran into Ash and the others. It had ran to the shore in a panic to retrieve help.

As they investigate Blastoise a little more, Blastoise suddenly starts waking up. It releases its cannons, but something seems to be jammed in there – something pink and blobby with a pointy little ear.

Misty and Brock realize what’s really going on – Jigglypuff is stuck in Blastoise’s cannon and is continuously singing, putting everyone to sleep. But before they can run away, they hear Jigglypuff singing once more and everyone is knocked out.

In an effort to get Blastoise while everyone is sleeping, Team Rocket sends Meowth over, but he falls asleep as well. Going to Plan B, they grab Blastoise with a line shot from their sub and nab him up. They’re happy as clams on the sub until they hear the music coming from Blastoise and fall asleep, causing the sub to sink.

On shore, Ash and co. as well as the other turtle Pokemon wake up and realize Blastoise was taken by Team Rocket. Squirtle leads the other turtles into the water to retrieve the sub and their king. They’re successful in their mission, but Team Rocket’s not done yet. They return to their sub and change it into its tank mode. They charge after the Wartortle and Squirtle, aiming to capture them all.

Ash commands Pikachu and Squirtle to wake up Blastoise with a combination Water Gun and Thundershock. It works in not only waking Blastoise up, but also ejecting poor Jigglypuff from the cannon.

Blastoise grabs the tank and stops it dead in its tracks. With a massive collective Water Gun from the Squirtle and Wartortle and one good Hydro Pump from Blastoise, Team Rocket blasts off….with Jigglypuff inside! Jigglypuff sings yet again, causing the trio to fall asleep as their sub falls back into the ocean.

Squirtle pulls off a brave rescue on Jigglypuff as the sub explodes underwater, but Jigglypuff sings yet again on shore, causing all of the turtle Pokemon and Ash and co. to fall asleep once more.

Later, the group wakes up, with marker on their faces, as always, and they bid farewell to Blastoise, the Wartortle and the Squirtle of the island, setting off to leave Cinnabar Island and head to Viridian City for Ash’s eighth and final badge.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket, also covered in marker, sits on the remains of their sub out in the middle of the sea…

———————–

– It took me way too long to figure out what that title was meant to be playing off of, but, in all fairness, what kid would get that either? Beach Blanket Bingo a very VERY dated reference. And even if it wasn’t, that’s a really sloppy title either way. Blank-out? Who says that?

– Ash: “A War-what-tle!?” Ash, if there’s any group of Pokemon you should know about quite well, it’s the starter line. They are actually Pokemon you’ve canonically studied. Unless you just stopped learning about them at their base stages, which is ridiculous. Selecting a starter has a lot to do with knowing what they’ll (likely) become in late game, too.

– Dexter: “Its long furry tail is a symbol of its age and wisdom.”

Ash: “It doesn’t look smart.”

WOW, ASH!

WOW.

FUCK OFF.

WOW.

Also, you’re the last person on earth who should be criticizing the intelligence of others.

– Why is the one person here who’s not in the slightest bit interested in Wartortle, Misty? Brock identifies it right away and is impressed by seeing such a rare Pokemon, and Ash leaps up to use Dexter on it, but Misty just doesn’t say a word.

– How does Pikachu not understand Wartortle? It’s been established that Pokemon language is universal amongst Pokemon. And Pikachu can understand Squirtle just fine. Just seems like a lazy reason to bring Squirtle out when they easily could’ve justified it anyway.

– The return of the sunglasses!!

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– Ash: “Hey it’s a pair of Squirtle Squad sunglasses!”….Err…you mean “It’s Squirtle’s sunglasses!” Or “It’s the sunglasses Squirtle wore when he was in the Squirtle Squad!” It’s not like they’re Squirtle Squad brand sunglasses or anything. Ash, you’ve had your Squirtle for a long, long time now and you’re just now realizing it kept its sunglasses?

– I love how Misty let out Horsea for this little boat trip, but it’s not in the water. (Skipping ahead, she gives up Horsea in the next episode because it doesn’t get to swim enough. Yet she’s in the ocean right now and Horsea’s not in the water. Maybe it wouldn’t be able to keep up, but what’s the point of having it sit on her shoulder?)

– I was going to ask how the island isn’t on their map, but then I remembered that their maps are all useless collections of random shapes and various shades of green.

– They notice the Squirtle and Wartortle shells littering the beach before they notice the massive Blastoise shell sitting 50 feet in front of them on a stone platform?

– Really bothers me that when Ash ‘dexes Wartortle, all he has to say is ‘It doesn’t look smart.’ But when he ‘dexes Blastoise, he’s all jazzed and rushes over to see it.

Speaking of that, it’s also a little irritating that this is the second time a mid-evo starter has been introduced in the same episode a final evo starter has debuted. It diminishes the mid-evos entirely. Charmeleon got off a little better, but not by much because Ash’s Charmander only got a couple of episodes as a Charmeleon before they got tired of it and just upgraded it to Charizard.

The mid-evos have enough problems getting any sort of recognition without their debut episodes turning out this way. And it’s a real shame, too, because Ivysaur’s my favorite Pokemon and Wartortle is one of my favorite Pokemon. I’d say Ivysaur was treated a little better than Wartortle here, but it’s still a sucky situation for both sets.

– Brock: “It’s either asleep or practicing its Withdraw attack.” Withdraw is not an attack. Also, as a turtle, does it really need to practice that move?

– Ash is really so excited to see a Blastoise that he runs up and HUGS the shell? And he says “I’ve waited so long to meet you!” I guess a Squirtle was his starter of choice, before he realized all of the starters were gone and he ended up with Pikachu (and Gary likely got the Squirtle he coveted) so maybe he’s a fan of Blastoise….but that also indicates that he’d have to know about Wartortle, which means you’d think he’d be a fan of that too, but I guess he just thinks it’s an idiot. 😐

– So they’re right by the ocean, and waking people up is commonly done by splashing people in the face with water, so it’s obvious they’re going to try that–

Misty: “Pikachu, try an electro-shock alarm clock!”

………*sigh*

– Ash says he heard music that sounded familiar….and put him to sleep. Anyone want to connect those dots? It’ll be easy. They’re so close together that you’d need a microscope to see any space between them.

– Misty: “Well, I guess we better get going.” Eghasdkasoepah—wha? You haven’t helped the Pokemon yet. Blastoise is still asleep and there’s still…’some weird music’ that is completely unknown making everyone who hears it fall asleep.

Ash: “We’re not going anywhere until we wake up that Blastoise!”

That’s more like it!

Misty: “I was afraid you were going to say that.” What is wrong with you today, Misty? These are Water Pokemon in distress, but you seem to give less than a shit about them.

– Also, I know the reason for the weird faces Brock and Misty keep making in the Japanese version (Satoshi originally mentioned the sound was like something out of hell) but faces in the dub combined with the deduction skills of anyone with enough brain power to complete a two-piece puzzle really makes it seem like Brock and Misty know what the super mysterious source of the unknown sleepy music is, but they just want to leave to avoid having to deal with it, and that’s just crappy of them.

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– Why did Brock sit down and draw an entire slideshow presentation about what happened to the Blastoise, Wartortle and Squirtle? And why are they wasting time watching it when they could be helping the Blastoise?

– Wartortle ran (on water) from the island to the mainland? Either this Wartortle has insane levels of stamina and speed or this island is very close to the mainland and should be on a map. Technically, it should be on a map either way because it looks like it’s high noon, if the sun is any indication, yet they got to the island that same day on a boat pulled by Pokemon. And considering they were trying to catch the ‘last ferry’ off of Cinnabar, I’d imagine it wasn’t first thing in the morning when they left either.

– Misty: “Gee, people have been looking for the Turtle Pokemon breeding grounds for years. Could this really be it?” Again, there’s no way this island is too far away from mainland Cinnabar nor is it in some remote closed off area, so it seems ridiculous that no Pokemon researchers have found this place by now. But, of course, Ash and pals manage to access it easily because of course they do. With them finding so many inaccessible/lost locations with ease and meeting legendary Pokemon once a year, Pokemon Researchers should really just shadow Ash and his friends at all times.

– I probably took too long to ask this, but why didn’t they just shock Blastoise awake and ask him what happened?

– Ash: “Looks like Blastoise was asleep too.”

Ash…..does your brain cell ever get lonely?

– *A pink blob with a pointed ear pops out of Blastoise’s cannon*

Misty: “It can’t be!”

Brock: “I hope that’s not what I think it is!”

Ash: “Uhh, what is it Brock?”

Ash: *Hears the music* “That’s it! That’s the sound I heard!”

Brock: “Jigglypuff!”

This still isn’t over. Jigglypuff is still mostly in the cannon. Keep this in mind for a little later.

– Jigglypuff is JAMMED in that cannon, and it was pretty far down the pipe too. How is it breathing, let alone singing?

– Speaking of that, HOW did it get jammed in there? Was Jigglypuff just chilling out randomly in the middle of the ocean and somehow got sucked into Blastoise’s cannon and couldn’t get out? The cannons expel things, not suck them in.

– I really don’t understand any part of sending Meowth over to get the Blastoise. It’s clear either it or something around it is causing everything in its radius to fall asleep, yet they send him over without any investigation or attempt at protection. And when he falls asleep, they slap him around, chuck him like a ragdoll and say he was a coward who fainted….right before acknowledging that they don’t want to get near Blastoise out of fear of the same happening to them.

– They had a mechanism in their sub that could latch onto Blastoise from their spot in the water, drag it over and secure it instantly….That makes the plan with Meowth even more nonsensical.

– Gotta love Squirtle taking charge as leader and getting the Wartortle and Squirtle back to their senses.

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– Misty: “Ash, your Squirtle’s a real leader!”

Ash: “Well, that’s what happens when you have a great trainer.” Squirtle was a great leader before it ever became your Pokemon, Ash. Also, it remained a great leader IN SPITE of your incompetence.

Brock: “Hm. Or maybe they’re just impressed by the sunglasses.” I get that this is a joke, but please just leave it at Squirtle being awesome because Squirtle’s awesome.

– I feel the need to bring up a note the Bulbagarden comparison had on this episode, and that was why they never discussed the possibility of Ash’s Squirtle evolving in it.

While I did herald back to Bulbasaur’s Mysterious Garden in this review, I gotta say, until I saw the comparison, I never really thought too much about Squirtle’s stunted evolution when watching this episode in particular. I don’t know why, especially since I went on about how much I like Wartortle, and I have talked a few times already about Squirtle being stunted

Logically, it doesn’t make much sense. Bulbasaur just seems to be happy as a Bulbasaur and doesn’t want the physical change – as much as I gathered anyway. Pikachu also seems to be happy and proud as a Pikachu, though this will later become a bit of a contradiction once Johto rolls around and we learn Pikachu is actually a mid-evo. Pidgeotto will evolve later, so there’s no reason needed to be given there (even if it took way too long for it to happen.)

However, we never get an explanation as to why Squirtle doesn’t evolve or even if he wants to.

….Maybe he doesn’t want to evolve because his sunglasses won’t fit anymore if he does….

– Ash, Misty and Brock: “IT’S A TRAIL!” A trail that just magically appeared out of nowhere. It’s not like this is a trail of footprints or drops or anything – it’s a massive four foot wide drag mark left behind from Blastoise’s shell – and it was right in front of them. It’s not that they didn’t notice, either – it did not exist in the artwork. It’s like the stream behind Snorlax in Wake Up Snorlax!

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– It is really cool how Squirtle commands these Squirtle and Wartortle like well-trained soldiers. They have formations and everything.

– Team Rocket is acting as if one Blastoise will give them the power to steal any Pokemon they want. Even if Blastoise was strong enough to do that, they acknowledge that they have to give Blastoise to Giovanni, so what gives? Or….are they talking about their little suction-cup grabber thing? Because that’s a very limited use item, guys.

– Team Rocket is being extra shitty to Meowth today. I actually feel bad for him.

– Aw, Pikachu giving CPR to Meowth.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen7
Misty…..where is your other arm?

– Jessie: “I don’t recall asking you to save our lives.”

James: “Well, I’m grateful.” Pft, can’t help but love James sometimes.

– Ash: “I kinda feel sorry for that guy.” Me too.

…Also, his name is James, sweetie. It’s episode 60 – you should know the name of your weekly adversary by now, especially considering that, nearly every time you see him, he gives a lengthy introduction including his name.

– Aw, Ash’s Squirtle tries to stand his ground against the tank. What a brave little sweetheart.

– I was going to give the combo Water Gun/Thundershock a pass because it’s just another silly Pokemonism, and I was really just thinking they were combining the awakening effects of the water with the electricity to make it more powerful, but they had to practically make me bring it up with Brock saying this.

Brock: “Squirtle’s Water Gun is carrying the electricity of Pikachu’s Thundershock!” This isn’t so much a problem with the science, even though, going by that logic, Pikachu would be shocking Squirtle too, but it’s moreso a question of…why? Why would Pikachu need Squirtle’s Water Gun to carry his electricity? If Squirtle is close enough to reach with his Water Gun, which should have much lower range than Thundershock, Pikachu is more than close enough to land a hit.

– Ash: “Ah, it’s Jigglypuff!”

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Seriously, Ash, how…..just….how…is it 18 minutes into the episode and you’re just NOW getting that it was Jigglypuff all along? Especially since, right before you all fell asleep the last time, Brock yelled out ‘Jigglypuff!’? You had so many clues, it’s almost comical that you never got it until Jigglypuff finally popped out of the cannon.

Again, he has the nerve to say he doesn’t think Wartortle seems smart.

Truth be told, I’m still baffled he didn’t figure it out the first time he got knocked out. You hear a mysterious song that sounded familiar and made you fall asleep. A song where the lyrics are literally, as I will now transcribe for you all, ahem;

“Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.

Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.

Jigglypuff, Jigglypuff.

Jigglypuff, Jiggly.”

And you’re completely clueless.

The point is, Ash,

– I was going to maybe give the writers a pass on the grounds of they thought we had forgotten about Jigglypuff since it does take long breaks between appearances sometimes…but nope. It appeared in the last episode and one the before that. I even noted in the last episode how it seemed like they put a blink-and-you-miss-it Jigglypuff cameo in for no reason other than to remind us it exists.

– Blastoise didn’t get to do a lot this episode, which is kinda surprising, but if the one thing it actually does is stop a tank with its bare hands and then blast it off with a Hydro Pump, I got no complaints.

– Brock: “Blastoise is da bomb!” Don’t ruin it….

– Uhm….why did the sub explode when it splashed down back into the water?

– Misty: “Are Squirtle and Jigglypuff okay?”

Why does no one care that Team Rocket is surely dead now? Either the explosion killed them or being sunk underwater while being knocked out by Jigglypuff did.

– Also, Jigglypuff is a balloon. Wouldn’t it just instantly float up to the surface and be fine?

– Oh well, it gave us another badass Squirtle moment, so it’s all good.

….Well…I guess except for the dead Team Rocket thing.

– So is Jigglypuff an idiot too? Because it’s literally done nothing this entire episode except sing over and over. It’s not even reacting to what’s happening to it. Got sucked into a Blastoise cannon? Sing. Stuck there for hours? Keep singing the entire time. Land in Team Rocket’s sub? Sing. Get saved from drowning and an explosion? Sing.

Or maybe it’s stuck in plot device mode today….

– Jigglypuff’s shtick does get very old, but drawing eyes on Brock was hilarious.

Pokemon Episode 60 Screen8

– Misty: “I don’t think this is funny! I look like a cartoon character!”

Ash: “A cartoon character?! Like THAT could ever happen!” That little meta joke might have actually worked if they didn’t make Ash go too far with it. It’s not just what he says, but how he’s gesturing as he says it and the way Veronica Taylor delivers the line. We’re not as dumb as Ash, guys. We get what you did there….

Ash’s line is so awkward either way. Misty said she looked like a cartoon character. She didn’t say she was turning into one or anything.

And they hold on the shot for several seconds after he says this, like they’re waiting for the audience to get done laughing at that zinger. What a weird moment…

– And don’t worry, Team Rocket’s alive…They won’t die because of that. They’re so durable. It’s like….they’re cartoon characters.

Pftt, like THAT could ever happen! 😀

———————————–

All in all, despite not remembering this episode too well, I ended up liking it. Sure, it didn’t highlight Wartortle very well at all, and I’m still a bit salty at that ‘It doesn’t look smart’ crack, but it was pretty entertaining in its own right, even if the “mystery” was almost insultingly easy. I get that it’s a kid’s show, but I imagine even the demo for Pokemon would be rolling their eyes that they’re not figuring out that it’s Jigglypuff.

At least Misty and Brock seemed to figure it out within a reasonable time frame, but the fact that Ash didn’t figure it out until he saw Jigglypuff full out, even with Brock exclaiming what it was earlier, even with nearly every clue in existence shoved in his face, was just a masterclass of stupidity.

You never cease to remind me why I don’t feel bad about nicknaming you ‘DumbAsh,’ DumbAsh….

It was also pretty repetitive to just have Jigglypuff constantly singing and knocking everyone out over and over. I just don’t like when Jigglypuff is given so much focus because it’s a shining example of a one-note character. It’s tired old shtick gets irritating when it just randomly pops up in any episode, but giving it essentially an entire episode is too much.

And why, if Misty and Brock knew what was going on quite early, did they not think to plug their ears or something? Why were they practically keeping it a secret between the two of them and almost didn’t want to believe it was Jigglypuff? If I were them, I’d have noise-canceling headphones or earplugs on me at all times.

Even though the episode didn’t specifically focus on him, Ash’s Squirtle was a delight in this episode. We got a return of the legendary sunglasses, and he lead the Squirtle and Wartortle of the island like he was born to be a leader – and we know he was. The things he was pulling off with them, especially when he’s barely known them for an hour or two, was very impressive. I’m just a bit disappointed we never got an actual scene between Squirtle and Blastoise – like one where Blastoise would either thank Squirtle or show a mutual respect among leaders.

And while the shtick was really tired, there is a certain charm to this episode for some reason. I don’t know what it is because around every corner is another ‘Doh!’ moment. Maybe it was just how they got through it together and all the little moments that made it much more tolerable than it otherwise would be.

Next time, one of my favorite episodes, but also a slightly bittersweet one, The Misty Mermaid!


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Pokemon Shorties! (9) Pikachu’s Island Adventure Review

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Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Pikachu and the other Pokemon head to a fun island designated specifically as a Pokemon getaway. Before they arrive, they meet a group of Pokemon who have been bullied out of the island by Meowth and his gang of Pokemon thugs. Pikachu and the others train the island Pokemon to fight off Meowth and reclaim the island!

Breakdown: Dear god above…..this is ridiculously frustrating.

I’m not really talking about the short itself right now. We’ll talk about the short in a minute.

What I’m talking about is the narrator.

This is one of those shorts where the narrator is acting as a translator for the Pokemon, but this is the first time it’s been done so much in an English dubbed short…and I really hate it.

Maybe I’m more tolerant of the Japanese version doing this because I’m reading the subtitles anyway, but even then they really only tended to translate the important bits, and they usually changed up their voices quite a bit to act as the Pokemon. But oh no, not here.

Here, not only is the narrator translating each and every word the Pokemon are saying, even when it’s entirely unnecessary, but he also doesn’t change his voice at all, making it seem like I’m watching a crazy person talk to himself for 20 minutes. I swear to god, they’ll have whole conversations as a group and I’ll need to actively search for which Pokemon is talking when because the narrator doesn’t change his voice at all. You can tell he’s trying just ever so slightly to kinda change his voice a little bit, but it really doesn’t work in the slightest.

That’s not even the worst part. He’s also doing regular narration in between him voicing the Pokemon, and he does this both while the Pokemon are talking/making noises and when they’re not. There’s one scene where Hariyama is chasing a few of the other Pokemon and he says “Uh oh, this could be serious trouble!” and I’m like “Wait, they’re making noise. Who’s saying that? And if the narrator’s just saying that, why is he saying that? It’s a completely unnecessary statement.”

Then there’s another scene where the Pichu brothers (not THE Pichu brothers…somehow) get Wobbuffet tangled in the jungle gym and he says “Sorry Wobbuffet, looks like you’re stuck there.” He’s addressing Wobbuffet, and the Pichu were making noise (they stopped) but it seems more like it’s narration again.

Another scene right after Eevee, Wynaut and Squirtle defeat Exploud has them cheering while the narrator says “Nice move! That worked perfectly!” while kinda sounding like he’s doing his little high-pitched Eevee voice, and Eevee is in the center of the shot, but then he follows it up by saying “When everyone works together, anything is possible!” which doesn’t seem like something any of them could be saying right now, so I’m forced to believe it’s narration, but I honestly can’t be sure.

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There’s one where Combusken is running from Hariyama and the narrator goes “Come on! This Way! This Way!” Which clearly sounds like it’s meant to be dialogue, but Combusken isn’t making ANY noise, and the narrator was addressing Wobbuffet earlier, so it’s possible he’s directly talking to Hariyama????????????????????

Sometimes his audio is so loud you can only barely notice the Pokemon talking, and there are some instances where the audio on the Pokemon is too loud so it sounds like the narrator and the Pokemon are talking over each other.

Other times he’s just summing up what a Pokemon is saying instead of doing their voice, so it’s really hard to discern when someone is talking in dialogue or when he’s narrating. It’s very confusing and frustrating trying to watch this. He does have a line or two here and there that is a little funny, but overall the experience is tainted because of it.

It’s like, you know how your parents would read a story to you when you were little and do goofy voices for each character? Hardly anyone’s parents are actually good at doing these voices, but they at least try to drastically change their voice. I wish he had done something like that instead of him just making his voice the teensiest tiniest bit higher when he voices cuter/smaller Pokemon and not change it at all when he’s doing the voice of literally every other Pokemon.

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I have absolutely nothing against Rodger Parsons. He’s been the narrator since day one, barring a stretch in which he was replaced temporarily, and I love his sometimes cheesy style and notable voice. Plus, you can tell he always cares about the work he’s doing, even here, and I appreciate that, I really do. He is a cornerstone of Pokemon….But it was an awful idea to make him do this.

He’s an awesome narrator – Look at his filmography, he’s almost always ‘the narrator’ – but when it comes to his regular voice acting skills, he’s just not very good, especially when it comes to him voicing characters in Pokemon itself. It doesn’t have much to do with his acting skills, those are basically fine (Except when he voiced Flint that one time. He was really phoning it in there), he just doesn’t have much range at all, so it just sounds like the narrator voicing a character.

I checked up on the few episodes in which he has voiced an actual human character, and, yeah, he just sounds like the narrator with the slightest inflection in his voice. When he was doing the voice of the Mayor in Diamond and Pearl, he sounded exactly like the narrator. When he was voicing Pop-Pop in Battle Frontier, he sounded like the narrator only with a sore throat sometimes. And when he voiced Flint in Battle Frontier, he sounded like the narrator half-doing a Meowth impression for some reason.

That’s probably the reason why they don’t give him character roles very often even though all of the other voice actors get reused so many times I’m surprised the entire cast for both dubs doesn’t have a ‘recycle’ logo tattooed on their foreheads. It’s just too confusing with him being the narrator in every single episode.

And it didn’t need to be done, either. Most of the shorts are almost completely void of any dialogue. We just follow along based on what we’re seeing, which usually isn’t that difficult considering it’s a Pokemon short, meaning it’s aimed towards an even younger audience than usual anyway. You can have the narrator chime in to fill us in on important points we may not have gotten through visuals, but otherwise it’s fine to just have the narrator do the bookends.

Hypothetically, let’s say this story absolutely needed to have dialogue – why not just have some of your in-house voice actors, even just a couple of them, do voices? That way you not only get more fitting voices for each Pokemon but you also more easily tell the dialogue apart from both the various characters and the narrator.

It’s not like they’re not already there – Rodger Parsons isn’t the only voice actor partaking in this short. Five others are – since they need to do the regular voices for some of the Pokemon, and then there’s Meowth and Chatot. Why is there a Chatot here? I don’t know. The audio wasn’t already annoying enough?

Granted, yeah, they might have just been following what the original version did, I’m not sure, I don’t have the Japanese copy, but even then it’s not like 4Kids is, in any way, averse to just doing their own thing and flipping off the original version. Remember, in the first Pokemon short the Japanese version had a nice lady narrating, but then 4Kids was like ‘Lol let’s have Dexter narrate instead because reasons.’

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Speaking of audio assaults on my ears, I was trying to get information on the voice cast as quickly as possible while watching the short, so I jumped to the credits, which meant I had to listen to the end credits song…..so…Who let 4Kids write ANOTHER rap song? The Hoenn Pokerap is their third Pokerap, and, somehow, this one is probably their worst. It absolutely reeks of late 90s cheesy rap, but it was made in 2007. How is it possible that this Pokerap actually sounds cheesier and more dated than the first one?

There are so many instances where it’s clear they’re sloppily jamming Pokemon names into places where they don’t fit in the line because there are too many syllables. They’ll still be rapping a line while the music for that section has clearly stopped/changed because they simply didn’t accommodate for the syllables. The chorus, honestly, is pretty catchy, but otherwise it’s very clear they didn’t give much of a crap about this song. According to the Wiki, the full version even leaves out two Pokemon, Zigzagoon and Relicanth, but they included Mew, who is Gen I and Celebi, who is Gen II, seemingly because they were left out of their Gens Pokeraps.

In summary….They fixed a mistake that they had made on their previous two Pokeraps…by repeating the same mistake twice on their last Pokerap.

So uhm…..how awkward is it to segue from all that ranting I just did to explaining that I actually really liked this short?

I’m not kidding. If you manage to work your way through the confusing as hell dialogue situation, this is a really good short. Sure, the plot is pretty much taken from Pikachu’s Summer Vacation, to an extent (Pretty much the Pokemon-exclusive park and the bullies, but nothing else), but there are quite a few funny moments, the pacing is good, the characters are fun, the conflict is realistic and it was resolved in a satisfying manner that didn’t really pull any BS. It even got me to enjoy Corphish, which is impressive because that thing usually annoys the hell out of me.

The art and animation were spot-on, though the backgrounds still have that weird chalk/white lineart thing that the shorts have going on, but that’s just a stylistic aspect.

It’s not a ‘cute Pokemon being cute’ short, barring the very ending where we just get to enjoy watching the Pokemon have fun in the playground, and that was a fitting part of the story and very adorable.

I do have some logistic questions. They understand that Wynaut is a purely defensive Pokemon, yet they’re teaching them how to attack? Why is it that Pichu can suddenly use Electric moves without shocking themselves anymore? Why is the only transportation option to this island a completely unsafe set of boats on a pulley system suspended in mid-air that needs to be manually propelled? Where did these other Pokemon on Meowth’s side come from? Why are Pokemon as powerful as a Hariyama and an Exploud following Meowth’s orders?

Those questions aren’t really that important, though, and I still had a lot of fun watching the short….when the aforementioned dialogue issue wasn’t driving me up a wall. The first half is much worse than the second half in that regard, but I can’t ignore how frustrating it is. If you can track down the Japanese version and it’s easier to watch, bump this up another .5 points.

My Poke-Pinions #027-28 The Sand Line

Sandshrew

Name: Sandshrew is a combination of—I’m gonna just assume you know what it’s a combination of. It’s not really difficult. As for whether I like it or not – I do. It’s a bit overly simple, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s still memorable and cute.

And hey, at least they didn’t simplify it to a hilarious level like just calling it ‘Sand’ or something, hahah! Isn’t that right Japa–(image of name plate in Wiki)

………*lip smack*…….Moving on.

Design: I’ve always thought Sandshrew had such a simple yet incredibly cute design. It’s a shade of yellow that’s not too loud, it has an adorable face, cute little paws and I love that brick-like design on the yellow parts.

In regards to the sprites, I can say with certainty that practically every Gen is varying levels of adorable. Even right out the gate in Red/Blue, Sandshrew is sitting there look so adorable. I just wanna cuddle it.

The back sprite for Gen I is kinda weird, but that’s all I really have to say in that department.

Crystal is where it gets really cute. Look at that little itching animation and tail wag. N’aw!

Gen III is adorable, but Emerald is a little silly because I don’t know why it’s just flailing its arms like that. It’s still adorable even with the animation, but it’s a little goofy.

It’s in Gen IV where things get strange. The animations are just erratic. DPP makes it look like it’s trying to be a rabbit,

and HGSS makes it looks it had too much coffee.

Gen V is really adorable with its subtle little head shake.

As usual, Gen VI is just okay.

Alolan Sandshrew

I love that there’s an Ice (and Steel) version of Sandshrew, and I adore the igloo theme they got going on here, but there’s no getting around the fact that it’s, ultimately, pretty much just a recolor of original Sandshrew. It has a band on its face and its ears are designed to look more like igloo entrances, but it’s still just a recolored Sandshrew. Nothing wrong with the recolor, I really love it, but I can’t ignore that.

Shiny:

I’ve mentioned before that a lot of people tend to hate green shinies, but I actually really love Shiny Sandshrew. I think it’s a very vibrant and cute shade of green – and for some reason it makes me think it’s a gummi bear, which just makes it even cuter.

Shiny Alolan Sandshrew is pretty cool (no pun intended) too.

The yellow underbelly is replaced with a dark glacier blue, and it fits extremely well with the ice motif.

Cry/Voice: Sandshrew’s anime voice is actually quite….horrible. It’s a very unfitting and screechy voice. The good thing is Sandshrew doesn’t tend to make noise very often.

Sandshrew’s game cry is equally screechy though not as horrifying. It’s not that memorable, but it’s a tiny bit fitting I guess.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Most of Sandshrew’s Dex entries say the same thing – they dislike water and mostly enjoy burrowing in dry sandy areas such as deserts. If they are threatened, they protect themselves by curling into a ball. The plates on their backs are extremely strong and act as armor.

Some other entries note that dew will form on it overnight if it gets particularly cold, and one entry mentions that, should it get too wrinkled from moisture, it will seek out the heat of a volcano and dry off there.

The Dex entry for Alolan Sandshrew is actually a little ironic because, completely contrary to regular Sandshrew, Alolan Sandshrew supposedly cannot curl up into a ball because of their armor-like back plates that are hard as steel. Alolan Sandshrew were said to come about after Sandshrew fled a volcanic eruption and decided to live in the nearby snowy mountains. Given the physiology of regular Sandshrew, I’m not sure how it lived for so long that it adapted into this polar opposite form, but I guess it’s not completely unbelievable.

It’s also a tradition to play a curling-like game with them by sliding them across the ice and seeing how far they can go. They use this super-sliding nature to assist themselves in the wild by sliding full-force into their enemies.

In terms of design, Sandshrew was based heavily on armadillos. The inspiration for its supposedly poisonous claws may be derived from shrews, of which they also share their name (at least in English) and it may also be inspired by pangolins.

Alolan Sandshrew was obviously based heavily on igloos, and the Wiki also mentions it was inspired by a curling stone because of the aforementioned game people play with them. Why they decided to do that with a Pokemon who, in no way, reminds anyone of a curling stone, I have no clue.

Sandslash

Name: I like Sandslash’s name, and, again, I’m going to assume I don’t have to explain this one. It’s different enough from Sandshrew, it has a more intimidating vibe to it, to reflect its increase in power, and it’s really cool.

In Japanese, it was originally…..Sandpan?…..That’s a little better than just Sand, but not by much because…what the hell does the ‘pan’ part mean?

According to the Wiki, they’re just guessing that the ‘pan’ part is for ‘pangolin’ which….I suppose maybe, but that’s kinda weird the way it’s arranged. Wouldn’t Sandgolin or something make more sense in regards to composition? No lie, when I first saw ‘Sandpan’ I thought they were referencing bread, because the Japanese word for bread is ‘pan.’

Honestly, I think Sandpan is a pretty goofy name, Sandslash is much better.

Fun fact: In the beta for R/B, Sandslash was originally named Sandstorm, which I think was an equally cool alternative name. Also, in China, its name is Chyūnsāanwòhng, which literally translates to ‘King of going through mountains.’ Okay. China wins here.

Design: Sandslash is just the right combination of intimidating and adorable. It’s just so cute with its big eyes and little nose, but also you know it could cause you some major pain with its quills and claws. I love the hedgehog/porcupine motif it has going for it, and it makes total sense as an upgrade from Sandshrew. The yellow and brown combo is nice, and the contrast makes the quills stand out a lot more. I also like that the quills/spikes themselves are thick and bulky to make it seem bigger and tougher.

As for sprites, R/B looks a little weird, but maybe it’s the perspective.

The back sprite is equally odd because it looks like Sandslash’s face is in the wrong spot.

Yellow looks quite normal, barring the same back sprite, and Green’s looks like someone tries to stuff it into a backpack and smushed it.

Gen II is pretty cute. I love the animation for Crystal. It can either be that it’s slashing its claws to intimidate you or it’s making a gangster-like gesture. Yes, the former makes more sense, but the latter is a lot funnier.

In Gen III, I feel like it’s about to present its butt to me. The weird animation for Emerald doesn’t help at all.

FR/LG is almost boringly normal, though.

Gen IV is pretty cute. Its animation makes it look like it’s cheering.

Meanwhile, HG/SS just looks like it’s spasming out of control.

Gen V is pretty darn cool. Not only is it slashing its claws, but it also has a neat animation for all of its back spikes and its tail.

Gen VI is very okay and boring.

Alolan Sandslash

I absolutely love the glacier/icicle motif they have going on with Alolan Sandslash. That was an awesome direction to go with this alt version. There’s not a lot in terms of color contrast in Alolan Sandslash, but that’s alright because the shades of blue that they chose for it are perfect.

It’s subtle, but I also like the way they changed the style of the claws. There’s a very sharp downward angle that makes the claws almost seem icicle-like too.

Shiny:

Sandslash has one of the best shinies, in my opinion. It has an awesome blood-red color on the spikes and the shade of yellow used on the body made for a more tan look that was great in contrast to the red and really gave off more of a sand vibe.

Shiny Alolan Sandslash, however, is just lazy.

It’s a darker Alolan Sandslash. That’s all. They took Alolan Sandslash’s sprite, turned down the brightness and called it a day. It’s not bad as in ugly or anything, but it’s boring.

Cry/Voice: This is probably going to sound weird, but, in the anime, it always sounds like Sandslash says ‘Slash’ while sneezing whenever it’s attacking. It’s cute, but it’s also a little funny hearing it that way.

Normally, Sandslash sounds…okay. It’s cute, but it kinda loses intimidation points on how high pitched it sounds. It’s even higher than Sandshrew, which is odd. I don’t know why the voice is so nasally, either. Like whoever voices it pinches their nose while recording.

Sandslash’s game cry is alright. It’s low and more intimidating, but not too low for it to sound off-putting or unfitting. It’s a bit too static-y, though – like it was meant for an Electric type or something.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Not too much that is all that interesting to note for several Gens worth of Dex Entries. It can blind enemies with sand, it protects itself by curling into a ball and using its incredibly hard quills as armor, it can climb trees and use its powerful claws for slashing. If or when its quills break off, they grow back in a day. They can use their quills to make enemies flinch then strike with their claws.

We do learn in Gen VII that people will use shed Sandslash claws and quills to make tools to till their farms and fields, so that’s pretty neat. However, the Dex entries for this Gen are also worded oddly. Ultra Sun claims Sandslash’s claws and horns break off….I have never heard anyone refer to Sandslash’s quills as horns. Spikes, yeah, but not horns. That’s just not accurate.

Also, in Ultra Moon, they say they ‘Park themselves in trees and go right to sleep.’ That is correct, but it’s weird that they said ‘park themselves’ like they’re a car. (I am aware that people sometimes say ‘park it’ when telling someone to sit, but in this situation it just sounds weird. I’m being very nitpicky here, admittedly, though.)

In Gen VIII, the Dex mentions that Sandslash’s spikes will feel smoother and harder if it’s in drier climates, which makes sense, and when they’re in trees they will drop berries for Sandshrew waiting down below, which I thought was sweet.

In regards to design, it has obviously drawn inspiration from hedgehogs, echidnas, and porcupines, and pangolins have been mentioned already, which I can definitely see in the face. Like Sandshrew, it is also based on shrews and supposedly have poisonous claws as a result. I keep saying ‘supposedly’ because I can’t find anything that says Sandshrew or Sandslash has poisonous claws. Only their Wiki and Bulbapedia pages say that, but I can’t find anything in canon.

The only poison ability it has naturally is Poison Sting, and I always thought that was utilizing their spikes, not their claws. In Gen IV and onward, it can use Poison Jab, but only through a TM so that can’t possibly count.

Alolan Sandslash’s Dex entries explain the same origin as Alolan Sandshrew, but also include that its icy spikes are actually steel spikes covered in ice. These spikes don’t only cause deep wounds, but they can also quickly cause frostbite, which is pretty scary. As opposed to trees, it has adapted its claws to climb icebergs. Utilizing its claws to plow through the snow, it has become the fastest Pokemon to travel within snowy mountain regions.

There’s nothing mentioning the design inspiration for Alolan Sandslash, but it’s safe to assume icicles and glaciers were a big part of it. Not sure where the steel came into play, though, because steel has nothing to do with ice, igloos, glaciers etc. Even taking its origins into play, Sandslash didn’t originally have steel spikes, so I’m kinda confused on that front.

Next up, the entire Nido-line: Both male and female!


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Pokemon Episode 59 Analysis – Volcanic Panic

Pokemon Ep 59 Screen11

Badge Episode: Cinnabar Island – Volcano Badge (Attempt 2 – Success)

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Plot: Ash’s Gym battle with Blaine continues with Pikachu cornered between the fearsome Magmar and the molten hot pit of magma below as he stands inches away from the edge of the arena. He barely misses getting hit by a Fire Blast, earning him a burn mark on his back and nearly forcing him into the magma below. Pikachu is okay, but Ash can’t stand to risk Pikachu’s life any further so he surrenders.

As Ash takes Pikachu to the hot spring to recover, Team Rocket devises a plan to steal Magmar – trick it into dropping its guard and then hit it with freeze blasts. The frozen Pokemon will then be transported to their boss. Their plan fails miserably as Magmar effortlessly melts the ice almost as quickly as it encases it.

Panicking, Team Rocket unleashes a barrage of freeze blasts to the surrounding rock, causing it to crack and break apart. Blaine is alerted to the situation and Ash and Co. go with him to help. The Gym is falling apart at a fast rate and, even worse, the magma is going out of control. Soon, the rocks will burst and the entire island will be flooded with magma, killing all of its inhabitants.

Team Rocket blasts off and Blaine commands Magmar to stop the magma flow with a wall of rocks. Only Fire Pokemon can withstand the heat enough to help, so Ash calls on Charizard…..who promptly naps.

Magmar is left to make the dam alone, but every time a decent amount of rocks is stacked, the magma pushes them away. Magmar simply can’t make a dam fast enough on its own. Respecting Magmar’s power and determination, Charizard agrees to help out. The two of them together make the dam more effective more quickly.

Brock decides to send out Geodude and Onix to help, since Rock Types don’t mind the heat, and Misty sends out Staryu (and Ash, Squirtle) to help keep the Pokemon cool with Water Gun. After a lot of work and a lot of rocks, the dam is successfully made and the island is saved.

Ash initially thinks this act has earned him a Volcano Badge, but Blaine offers a rematch for the badge instead. Using an arena made on the top of the volcano, over another lava pit, they start their one-on-one match. Blaine sends out Magmar. Ash is about to send out Pikachu, but Charizard insists on battling, wanting to test his strength against an opponent as tough as Magmar.

Ash is excited that Charizard will finally battle for him, even if he shows that he still doesn’t respect him. The battle heats up quickly, no pun intended, as Magmar and Charizard maintain a pretty even playing field throughout the match. However, the tides soon turn when Magmar grapples Charizard and dives into the magma with him.

This move, despite being lethally devastating, is considered legal by Blaine since the lava pit itself counts as a part of the arena, thus Magmar is violating no rules dragging Charizard down there, despite the horrible implications.

Ash starts mourning Charizard, but there’s bubbling in the lava.

Sure enough, Charizard flies out of the lava, Magmar still latched to his back, and starts shooting up into the sky. With a Submission and a powerful Seismic Toss attack, Magmar is soundly defeated and Ash earns his Volcano Badge. Charizard, however, goes back to his old tricks immediately and Flamethrower’s Ash in the face before having his own victory celebration in the middle of the arena.

With his seventh badge in hand, Ash wonders where he’ll earn his eighth and final badge before gaining entry into the Indigo League. Brock tells him that he never beat the Gym back in Viridian City. Ash wonders why Misty never told him of a Gym in Viridian City and she explains that they were fighting back then, though she doesn’t remember why. Brock nearly reminds her of the bike Ash busted when they first met, and Ash does his best to change the subject and walk off. Misty remembers, however, and reminds him that he still needs to pay her back for her bike.

It’s off to Viridian City and the battle for the Earth Badge!

——————————–

– Alright, alright, alright, this is completely unimportant and kind of silly but I swear this has been driving me nuts for years and now I finally have a platform to point it out.

In the flashback to the previous episode, when Ash is talking to Pikachu right as Pikachu is stuck between Magmar and a fall into a pit of magma, surely ending his life, Ash says ‘You’ll feel 100% soon, Pikachu.’

Obviously, this is not only the wrong line, but this line was taken from after the title card when Ash is bathing Pikachu and trying to soothe his battle wounds. I don’t know if this was a mistake in the editing room or this was something 4Kids consciously did (Wouldn’t put it past them) but still, how did such a mistake even happen? It’s a clip mashup recap. That’s one of the easiest things in the world to edit. Just take clips from the episode and put them to new music with a voiceover. It would make more sense if they accidentally put this audio clip over the audio for that scene, but nope. It’s purely the ‘100%’ audio.

This drove me nuts as a kid because it’s just so hard to miss and so awkward. It’s a very inappropriate thing to say at that scene. It’s like it’s implying that Ash is okay with Pikachu getting hurt because he’ll be treated soon after.

– Narrator: “As Ninetales won the first round with its Ember attack!” Nope. That was a Fire Spin.

You can tell because the clip you’re playing shows the fire…spinning……Also, it literally takes two seconds to check the last episode.

– Narrator: *In regards to the battle against Rhydon* “It was Pikachu to the rescue with another electrifying effort!” Don’t remind me…

– Flashback!Blaine: “Come out, Magmar!” That’s not what he said – he said “I choose Magmar!”

Flashback!Ash: “What’s that?” That’s not what he said during that shot. He said, “Mag….mar?” Dogasu from Dogasu’s backpack/Bulbagarden stated that they suspect this episode was made when Riddle Me This was likely still in production or at least not solidified, as that’s the only way they can explain how screwed up the dialogue in the flashback is. However, not having the right lines is different from taking a line later in this same episode, one that’s completely nonsensical in this context, and using it in the previous shot. 4Kids really doesn’t have an excuse with that one.

Plus, technically, 4Kids does this all the time. When they make cuts to insert commercial breaks in their shows and then replay the last scene when they come back as a mini-recap, they very commonly change the dialogue for whatever reason. Their theory is still sound, but I can’t help but think this is just more 4Kids sloppiness.

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– Narrator: “Pikachu is in real Pika-peril!” Narrator, Pikachu is about to be burned alive or melted in molten magma. Maybe now’s not the best time for cute wordplay.

– Ash: “Pikachu! Duck for cover!” That’s actually pretty smart seeing as how Fire Blast’s shape leaves a big gap in the bottom. If you duck, you should be able to avoid it, especially at Pikachu’s size.

– High five to Ash for stopping the match. It definitely shows his growth, particularly when you remember his first Gym match with Brock. However, maybe I should dock that to a high four or something because I think he waited a bit long to call it off. When Pikachu was cornered between an insanely powerful Fire Pokemon who wasn’t affected by electricity and a pit of magma, that would’ve been the time to raise the white flag.

– Blaine: “The hots springs will help it recover from its injuries.” I know people say hot springs have medicinal or therapeutic properties, but are hot springs really wise for treating….burns?

– Ash: “Hey, Blaine, where ya goin’?! You have to give me another chance!” Why are you stopping him from leaving? He never said he wouldn’t give you another chance in the future, and you obviously can’t have one immediately.

– It is pretty cute to see Ash bathing Pikachu. Although, that has to HURT on a burn wound.

– Ash: “If Charizard would battle, I know I’d win!” Why? It’s Fire v. Fire and Magmar is an incredibly experienced Pokemon who is basically magma incarnate. Charizard is his most powerful Pokemon, but the matchup is so iffy to act like it’d be a sure thing.

Ash: “But it still won’t listen to me…” Yeah, I don’t get it. Charizard still won’t listen after all the nothings you’ve tried to get it to obey. It’s so weird.

– There’s a very interesting and somewhat irritating comparison note/rant on this scene with Team Rocket found here.

– Team Rocket’s going to battle Magmar with an ice gun…..Uh….Huh…

– James: “A frozen Magmarita!” Did you just reference a margarita? As in, you made an alcohol reference in Pokemon? Keep making sense, 4Kids.

– They plan on tricking Magmar into thinking he won something so they can get a chance to take it off-guard and freeze-blast it….but they also decided to carry their freeze blaster rocket launchers into the room with them….Yeah, that doesn’t seem suspicious. Keep in mind, this show frequently incorporates cartoon logic – as in you always see Team Rocket pulling various items out of nowhere like the space behind them is an endless void of props. There’s no reason they can’t walk in seemingly carrying nothing.

Yes, I am nitpicking the fact that they’re NOT using cartoon logic here, but only because their real logic makes their plan completely pointless.

(Another alternative – they could have been carrying briefcases or something that turn into the rocket launchers.)

– Would Magmar really care that he won a trip to Mount Vesuvius if he already lives in a volcano?

– I love how Magmar gives zero shits about the rockets being shot towards it. Like ‘Yeah, whatever.’

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– I don’t know why Blaine is suddenly all about puns instead of riddles.

– If I’m going to go off about lack of cartoon logic, I guess I’ll keep my mouth shut about the fact that Jessie and James seemingly have an endless supply of ice rockets.

– Ash literally just told Blaine to stop the jokes, and when Blaine asks what will happen when the volcano fills with ice, he responds that it will become a snow cone…..

– So, Team Rocket’s plan was not only stupid, but their plan B was 100x more stupid and didn’t even have an end goal besides ‘freeze gym.’ Okie dokie.

– That being said, a volcano breaking apart and threatening to spew lava all over the island, killing all of its residents in a short time frame, is certainly a high-tension moment for this series.

– It’s really cute that Pikachu wants to help too. Kinda reminds me of him using a watering can to help put out the fire in Pokemon Scent-Sation.

– Blaine: “WAIT! Only a Fire Type Pokemon can withstand the heat from that lava!” I don’t think the lava at its current level is any lower or higher than it was to the Gym platform. This is either not true or Blaine knows his Gym setup is ridiculously unsafe for non-Fire Types (and people for that matter) but keeps it that way because screw you.

– I am even more annoyed than usual about Ash’s typical ‘expecting Charizard to obey out of nowhere’ shtick this time. I think it’s because his body language and voice acting make him seem more cocky about it in this episode.

– Ash: “Argh, Charizard never listens to me…” At this point, I wouldn’t listen either. Yes, Charizard is a big brat who had a personality change out of nowhere just because of evolution. However, after all this time, look at it from Charizard’s perspective.

This little shit knows you’re a powerhouse and keeps commanding you like an army general. He makes no efforts to understand you or train you. Time and again, he keeps throwing you out because you’re his trump card, expecting you to obey simply because he’s the Trainer and you’re the Pokemon. Each time you get let out is another reminder that he’s an entitled asshat who just wants to use your power to win without working with you to earn it. Wouldn’t you just continue to lose any desire whatsoever to obey him whenever he calls on you?

That coupled with Charizard’s pride makes this relationship a recipe for disaster.

I really, truly think Charizard would be more cooperative if Ash showed more maturity and respect for Charizard, even if Charizard himself doesn’t deserve it either. One of them has to be the bigger man/Pokemon and put the cards on the table.

It’s been shown time and again, including here, that Charizard can put aside his pride and his attitude if the other person/Pokemon shows some sort of strength in character to earn it. Here, Magmar is trying valiantly to save lives by stopping the volcano from erupting. Charizard recognizes its noble feats and decides to get off his ass and help. In contrast, Ash demands that Charizard help out, which leads to the predictable outcome of Charizard taking a nap.

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I love Pikachu’s expression here. He’s not even surprised anymore.

– Seems really dumb to segue from such a topic to something as silly as this, but I don’t think Magmar have the ability to sweat.

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I mean, not only would the sweat certainly evaporate immediately, but a Pokemon like Magmar wouldn’t need a biological function designed to cool off the body.

– Also, uhh, Rock Pokemon can also easily withstand the heat from the magma…..*lip smack*…Sure would be nice if we had some of those, huh, Brock?

Big strong Rock Pokemon…sorta like, eh, Rhydon or something….huh, Blaine? (You can argue that Rhydon was KO’d earlier, but Squirtle was barbecued and he’s perfectly fine to help out now.)

– It is pretty awesome when Charizard starts helping out. That little look Magmar and Charizard give each other is cool. They don’t need to say anything, they’re just fiery badasses saving the day.

– Brock: “Right! Okay Onix and Geodude – Rock Pokemon can take heat! GO!” Oh NOW your brain starts working! Good thing you weren’t in a horribly perilous situation that could end the lives of thousa—oh wait.

– Misty: “And Starmie you can help them all to keep cool while they’re working!” The sentiment is nice, Misty, but no. No. Don’t do that. No.

First of all, we just saw the kind of cataclysmic effects that occur when you quickly cool hot rocks. I don’t know the temperature of water from within a Water Pokemon, and quite frankly I don’t want to research that, nor do I know if quickly cooling a hot Rock Pokemon has the same effects, but it’s too risky to try that.

Secondly, they’re all Fire and Rock Type Pokemon, Misty. They’re WEAK to water. Spraying them the whole time would just hurt and weaken them while they’re doing intense manual labor. (Being fair, they obviously don’t spray the Fire Pokemon, but my point still stands)

The only one this would be beneficial for is Pikachu, who shouldn’t be helping even with the Water Pokemon’s help.

– Misty, you called out StarYU not StarMIE. (I also think I mistakenly claimed Misty had already left Horsea and Starmie at the Cerulean Gym an episode or so back when that won’t happen for another two episodes. She uses them so infrequently now I legitimately just thought she already left them…..)

– It’s so sweet that Psyduck lets itself out to try and help.

– I know Jigglypuff was in the previous episode, but why the hell did it suddenly appear down here? It just randomly appears for one comedy shot running in front of the group of Pokemon as Ash chases it and then disappears for the rest of the episode. What the hell?

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– Why are Squirtle, Onix, Geodude and Staryu just standing there posing until Pikachu tells them to go? Misty and Brock already gave them commands. Now’s not the time for this comedy skit. Thousands of people are about to die a horrible, horrible death.

– Togepi is super cute trying to help the others make a barrier.

– I want everyone to think about the previous note and consider why this is actually a massive problem.

The answer is ‘Togepi nearly falls to its death and becomes a fried egg all because Misty, for some godforsaken reason, thought now was a good time to put down the baby Pokemon and stop watching it. Here. In this volcano. That is breaking apart. And filling with magma. And the only reason I can see for her putting down Togepi in the first place is because she threw a Pokeball, but she’s thrown plenty of Pokeballs with Togepi in her arms, and you don’t even need to throw Pokeballs to let Pokemon out…’ The parents from Rugrats wish they could see your level of negligence from where they stand, Misty.

– Blaine: “I don’t know how to thank you, Ash.”

Well….technically, he didn’t do anything. Charizard and Pikachu did stuff, and Charizard didn’t even do it because of him – he did it because of Magmar.

Brock would actually deserve way more credit if we’re going by Pokemon because Onix was the only one throwing several rocks in at once.

As for Misty, between sending a Water Pokemon out to hurt the helpful Pokemon and nearly letting Togepi burn to death, she should probably get arrested or something.

Ash: “Are you gonna give me my Volcano Badge now?!”

Blaine: “Uh!? NO! I was going to say I’ll give you another chance to battle me for your Volcano Badge!”

I’ve mentioned before that I love this exchange, and I do for several reasons. First, it acknowledges the clear issue of Ash constantly getting pity badges and somewhat makes up for it, especially with Blaine’s dumbfounded response to Ash’s request.

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Second, it truly shows Blaine’s professionalism as a Gym Leader (regardless of his questionable Gym location) that he is downright insulted to hear Ash expecting him to just hand over a badge for helping him.

Finally, it knocks Ash’s entitled attitude down a peg, if only for a second. Seriously, I was embarrassed for him when he asked Blaine if he was going to give him his Volcano Badge. The fact that he asked at all was bad enough, but the way he asked was just childish. (Yes, I recognize that he’s a person of child nature.)

You know how I pointed out how Ash has gotten increasingly obnoxious about how he handles his pity badges over time? At first, he didn’t even want to take it. Then, he was very uneasy but accepted anyway. Then he was just ‘WHOO FREE BADGE!’ Now he’s expecting free badges when he does anything for a Gym Leader.

And, again, I feel the need to bring up that Ash didn’t even do anything this time. He let Charizard out of its Pokeball and it didn’t obey him…again. That’s all he did. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention he let Squirtle out to spray the Rock Pokemon, which is the same issue as Staryu doing it) At least in the Rainbow Badge episode he braved a burning building to save a Pokemon and nearly died.

That being said, this isn’t even really a prize or a thank-you kinda thing. Blaine said they’d have a rematch again sometime, and didn’t Erika say that it’s in the league rules to accept all challenges? Pretty sure that includes rematch challenges.

– Alright, so this makeshift ‘Gym’ has always greatly confused me.

1) How did the lava get way up there?

2) How is it being held so close to the brim? Is it a man-made pool of lava?

3) Where did those pillars come from? They’re all spaced apart basically evenly and are at the same height, indicating again that this arena is man-made.

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4) If it is a man-made arena, what is it for? Training for Blaine’s Fire Pokemon?

5) How did they even get up there?

6) WHY are they even up there? Is it really necessary to have this match anywhere other than a perilous pit of molten rock?

When you think about it, this place is even more dangerous than the actual Gym. At least there you have a wide platform to walk on, even if there are similar pillars to get to the platform. Here, you just have a bunch of pillars as your arena. One false move and you’re the Terminator……ya know…at the end of The Terminator…..2…..Judgment Day.

– Blaine: “Since my Gym has been wrecked, would you object if we held our match right here on the volcano?” Uh….you already made the climb up there and took positions at opposite ends of the arena. Pretty sure you guys agreed upon this beforehand.

– Blaine: “Let’s make this a one-on-one!” ‘Because there’s not enough time left in the episode for anything more than that!’

– Ash’s sense of entitlement is totally rubbing off on Pikachu. Ash hasn’t announced his choice yet, but Pikachu still steps up like ‘Of course, it’s going to be me. Pftt who else?’

Why would Pikachu think Ash would choose him anyway? We already know Magmar is immune to electricity, leaving Pikachu with only physical attacks at his disposal. This wouldn’t be too bad in any other situation, but 1) He’d be fighting a Magmar, meaning I think any physical contact with him would equal deep, searing pain. And 2) the arena is now a bunch of pillars, meaning he’d have an incredibly difficult time attempting any physical attack.

– Ash: *After Charizard doesn’t pay any mind to Ash calling him out, focused too much on Magmar* “Oh….guess Charizard could still use a little training.” He could use ANY training period. Do you think that when Charizard does things that benefit you, not caring about the benefits to you at all, that counts as training? You’re a backwards little waffle.

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– As cool as that explosion looked, fire combining with fire should not make an explosion. To be honest, I’m not even sure how those two Flamethrowers collided like energy beams in Dragon Ball Z.

– Again, as cool as it was to see Charizard physically stop the Fire Blast with his bare hands and deflect it into the sky, it should not be possible to grab and throw fire. Then again, maybe Fire Blast is somewhat solid-ish considering it’s flying through the air while maintaining its shape.

– How is Magmar running towards Charizard during the Skull Bash? He should be hopping at least a little considering their battlefield is pillars.

– Also, Charizard can fly, he specifically extended his wings while watching Magmar come towards him and yet he still somehow failed to fly even a little and got hit.

– That bit was saved by Charizard slickly saving himself from falling into the lava.

– The shot where Charizard flies into the sun and then shoots straight down into Magmar was awesome. (However, Ash didn’t tell him to do that.)

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– Ash: “Rrrgh, it’s against the rules for Magmar to pull Charizard into the volcano!” I don’t think there’s a specific rule about that. Probably because if you brought up that issue with the Pokemon League they’d go ‘Blaine has a Gym in a WHAT?!’ and shut the whole thing down.

However, Ash does have a point. I do believe it’s very much against the rules to MURDER YOUR OPPONENT’S POKEMON!

I don’t know if all Fire Pokemon have the ability to withstand being submerged in molten lava and maybe Blaine knows this, so he’s not worrying about Charizard very much – I feel like this has to be false, just because I’m trying to imagine something like Vulpix swimming in lava and my mind keeps drifting to dark scenarios that make my heart hurt.

Then again, the alternative is that Blaine just had a ten year old’s Pokemon murdered in one of the worst ways imaginable and he just doesn’t care. In which case, what a friggin’ psychopath.

Then again again, it’s also not a good look for Ash to be more concerned over Blaine breaking the rules than….ya know…the murder.

– Blaine: “Magmar didn’t cheat. You agreed to using the volcano for our Pokemon battle didn’t you?. Under the volcano is part of the volcano too.” First of all, they’re in the volcano, not under it – that would be underground and under all of the magma. Secondly, why do you think he’s talking more about being out of bounds than…ya know…the murder?

– It does break my heart when it finally hits Ash that Charizard might be dead.

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– Ash: “Charizard! Let’s show Magmar your aerial submission attack!” Lots of people seem to point out that this is probably a dub flub since ‘Aerial Submission Attack’ isn’t an attack, but I honestly just think Ash is describing the attack (It’s an attack, it’s aerial and it’s Submission….) Maybe that’s just me.

Still, Ash, this is the first time Charizard ever uses Submission (or Seismic Toss, for that matter) so how do you even know he knows these moves?

– Magmar should certainly be dead after being flown up to the clouds, thrown so hard it actually had a fiery aura around it when it was falling and landed face-down. I don’t care if it landed in the lava pool – it would not live through that.

– I usually get a little annoyed when Ash gets Flamethrowered by Charizard, but this time he kinda deserved it. After all that fuss, after getting Charizard to listen to his commands if only for a minute, after thinking Charizard died in a horrific fashion, after Charizard earned him the win and his seventh badge, all Ash has to say to him is ‘Yes! Charizard, return!’ No thank you, no nothing. Just ‘Get back in your Pokeball!’

– Ash: “I know that Charizard will learn to obey someday!” I don’t like the way this is worded, because, again, it just sounds like Ash is expecting this to be something Charizard will do on his own instead something he needs to be taught in training….

– I like how they bring up Misty’s bike again. They haven’t mentioned it in many moons, and it solidifies that Misty follows Ash at this point because she wants to, not because she’s pestering him for a bike.

——————————————–

All in all, this is still one of my favorite episodes. It has great action, animation, direction, music choices, tense moments and the final battle was simply awesome – one of the best battles in all of the Indigo League episodes.

Blaine, in my opinion, definitely proved to be the most brutal and difficult of all of the Kanto Gym Leaders here, edging out Sabrina, in my opinion. Yes, she’s very scary with her dolls and telekinesis, and yes, she’s incredibly powerful, but she was still defeated by the joy of laughter….Meanwhile, Blaine is holding his Pokemon battles over volcano pits, nearly murdered two Pokemon and used a Pokemon so powerful it was matching Charizard blow for blow.

Also, it’s not a secret that I really don’t care much for the Earth Badge match, but that’s a story for another day…

Magmar is an awesome Pokemon that I’m sorry to say we don’t really see that often. Even though it has a size disadvantage and can’t fly, it still gave Charizard more than a run for its money, and it’s cool to see them have a sort of respect between warriors type of relationship.

However, I am really getting worn out on Ash continuing to expect Charizard to just up and obey him at every turn when he does absolutely nothing to change the situation. His cocky attitude doesn’t help. I know I won’t get off this, but it does bother me a lot. Not to mention that it’s a bad message to send to kids. Have a problem with something? Don’t try to fix it. Just wait. Eventually, it will work itself out. This episode in particular is a shining example of that bad message because Ash doesn’t train Charizard at all and yet he still wins his Volcano Badge with him, even if Charizard goes back to disobeying afterward.

What if Charizard didn’t give a crap about respecting Magmar? Not only would Ash have certainly not won his Volcano Badge in a reasonable time frame, but they also might not have created the barrier in time and thousands of people could have died – all because Ash won’t train the damn thing.

Also, the plot device of the episode, Team Rocket, was just a bit too forced. Trying to capture Magmar, especially considering it beat Pikachu, is very understandable, but there was absolutely no reason for them to completely decimate the volcano with freeze blasts. How would that help them at all, and why did they not think it stupid to blow up a volcano that they’re currently inhabiting?

Still, love the episode, love the two-parter arc, love the Gym’s destruction and racing to stop the magma, love the final battle. It’s just a lot of fun from start to finish.

Next episode, we have some fun with another starter evo final form – Blastoise! With Wartortle! And Wartortle are awesome!


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