Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 09 – Pokemon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy (Sub) Review

Plot: Satoshi, Haruka, Masato and Takeshi stumble upon a water-based circus troupe while traveling and join them for a bit while they perform their shows. However, they’re soon caught up in a web of trouble. The troupe is actually a family of descendants of an ancient race called the water folk. They’re being escorted by the Pokemon Ranger, Jackie, to deliver the egg of the legendary Pokemon, Manaphy, the prince of the sea, to the mysterious sea temple. He’s meant to protect them since they’re being pursued by Phantom – a sea captain who wants Manaphy for himself so it can show him the way to the sea temple, which houses the legendary sea crown that he’s been pursuing for many years.

Things get even more complicated when Manaphy imprints on Haruka as its mother, making his inevitable departure increasingly difficult as they grow closer.

Breakdown: Despite the movie itself being goofy, there apparently aren’t many significant differences between the English and Japanese versions. For the sake of brevity, we’ll be slicing the movie cake into 20 minute pieces.

20 Minute Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 1

Interestingly, Jack Walker’s name is the same in the original. He even has the same nickname, Jackie.

I really don’t understand the title animation for the Japanese version. First we get a crystal for some reason, a kaleidoscope effect, then we get god awful looking lava, a storm, the storm clearing, then we dive into the ocean, some…DNA….or cells? Or something….making up little lightning balls which go to water and then the title jumps out of the water?

I watched this opening three times just to see if I could make sense of it but I’m lost. The only connection to the movie that I’m getting is the water. Other than that, the best I can speculate is that they’re trying to depict the elements (the crystals are ice, the lava is for fire, the storm is water and lightning, the storm clearing is air.) but what does that have to do with this movie?

It didn’t click before, but the big water orbs that Masato just drank from are made from a Nyoromo/Poliwag or a Nyorobon/Poliwrath’s Water Gun. So my logic about never really being out of water because they always have at least a couple of Water Pokemon on hand holds true.

Lizabeth’s original name is Hiromi. Meredith, Lizabeth’s mother, is originally named Minamo and Kyle, Lizabeth’s dad, is originally named Kai. Ship keeps his name. Interestingly, this shows that Hiromi’s family originally had a water theme to their names. Ship is obviously referencing ships. Hiromi means ‘wide sea’, Minamo means ‘water’s surface’ and Kai means ‘sea’.

This theme might translate a little because Meredith’s ‘mer’ prefix is theorized to be ‘sea’ in French, but Lizabeth doesn’t mean anything related to water (from what I can gather, it means something along the lines of ‘God is my oath’) and Kyle was just given that name because it sounds like Kai. Most of the meanings of Kyle have nothing to do with water, but in Scottish and some other languages, it can be translated as a strait. I’m not sure if I want to give that to them.

Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s a little rude to suddenly pick up Ash and the others with those water orbs. Hope that PokeGear is waterproof and that they have nothing that can be damaged by water in their pockets.

As much as I don’t understand several aspects of this water show, I can’t deny that I would love to see that kind of thing if it was real. I’d love to be a part of it, too. It looks like a lot of fun.

40 Minute Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 2

Minor quibble, but Jessie’s hair, as seen from above, looks 1000x more ridiculous than it normally does.

In the original, they downright confirm that Haruka and, by extension, probably Masato, are people of the water. Takeshi even states that the memory of the temple must be encoded in their DNA. It’s not a ‘chosen one’ cliché, but it is still insanely convenient and hard to swallow – especially considering it’s never mentioned or explored outside of this movie. Again, this type of storyline would be more suited to Kasumi.

I really want to believe Manaphy just put the dream in her head, but they’re fighting that theory quite a bit.

Nyasu as Musashi is much more entertaining in this version for some reason. Just her mannerisms and expressions coming through Nyasu’s body are so goofy.

Musashi should’ve figured it out that, being a cat, she’s be faster running on all fours.

Nyasu being damn near giddy to skip along in Kojirou’s body is also much funnier than the dub for some reason.

Why didn’t Satoshi use his Ohsubame/Swellow when they were flying away? Seems like Jackie only did that to reveal that 1) He’s Jackie and 2) He’s a Pokemon Ranger.

They’re told that the item in that canister is important and absolutely cannot be damaged, so Pikachu, instead of waiting for Onidrill to land and safely handing it off, jumps from Onidrill’s back around 40 feet in the air and hopes Satoshi catches him.

Even in the original, Manaphy is still only described as being notable for living underwater and being rare.

The fact that Phantom can jump down from huge heights and not die is explained away later by his mechanical exo-skeleton. However, unless he also gave one to his grunt, that guy should at least be dead.

Even explained away by the mechanical exo-skeleton, the CGI in the rock-throwing scene is still appalling.

The joke about the vitamins is an untranslatable….’pun’? I don’t even get it with the subtitles, to be honest. Jackie says ‘What is this? Wanriki? No – Kairiki!’ The notes say that he’s talking about wanryoku, which means physical or brute strength, but he meant to say kairiki, which is superhuman strength. Even reading the Dogasu explanation for this joke doesn’t make much sense to me, except mentioning that kairiki is also Machoke’s Japanese name, and I still don’t get why that’d be funny. If someone can explain why this is a joke, please tell me because I don’t get it.

It didn’t occur to me before, but is this another movie/event in which Satoshi and the others forget they have Pokemon outside of Pikachu? Or at least forget them in situations where they’d be, ya know, useful?

Manaphy is much less annoying crying in its original Japanese voice, but it’s still bloody annoying.

Since I brought up Kasumi earlier and her relationship with Togepi briefly in the dub review, this whole imprinting thing does bring something important to light. This is completely unrelated to the movie, more or less, so feel free to skip if you want.

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 3

Kasumi had Togepi for a couple hundred episodes or so and yet it never really matured or became independent. It was entirely reliant on Kasumi and Pikachu, and the other Pokemon acting as babysitters whenever needed. Here, Manaphy is very baby-like, but within the time frame of, say, a week or so, it’s leading an army on its own and taking its place as prince of the sea.

This isn’t the only instance of a much faster maturing baby Pokemon either. Didn’t the baby Larvitar Ash had for a bit mature much faster too?

I almost want to say Togepi would’ve matured a lot quicker if Kasumi and Pikachu didn’t coddle it like a baby all the time. Kasumi has even acknowledged that Togepi could battle once, but until Kasumi returns way down the line in Advanced Generation, it does damn near nothing besides be a walking Metronome Deus ex Togepi. Look at its bio for each generation. Half of them amount to ‘it does nothing’ and the other is ‘he does Metronome a billion times then finally evolves into Togetic’.

……..Ramble over. Movie continue.

Thank God they can sacrifice that plainly drawn trailer and not the bus they clearly spent ages designing.

Why does Haruka get pissed when Masato says ‘it’s hard to be a mother’? She didn’t seem to be bothered by that title a moment ago.

I still find it way too convenient, even by Team Rocket standards, for them to have crash landed on that temple.

I don’t get Team Rocket’s original plan. They were going to get in good with Phantom AND take Manaphy? If he ever found out they took Manaphy, he’d hate their guts.

There’s very obviously a door in that wall. You can clearly see the lines. If this was meant to be hidden, they sucked at it. Also, a very conspicuous red button right next to the door outline just further shows that it’s a door.

Still bothers me that they never explain how Phantom knew the lock’s ‘combination’.

Phantom should’ve realized that they were water folk merely from the fact that they knew their way around and knew how to open the door.

The underwater shots of Manaphy annoy me a bit because it doesn’t seem like it ever displaces water. It looks like it’s just flying through the air.

Small detail, but I like that Ship, Minamo and Kai thank their Pokemon for giving them a ride before recalling them. However, I don’t like that no one else does.

Another instance of a foreign-sounding word being replaced with a foreign-sounding word, Samaya, the sea temple, was originally called Acquscia. I honestly can’t remember if they ever said Samaya out loud either.

Hour Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 4

They needed Water Pokemon to get to the shrine but now they suddenly have boats from nowhere.

I know I said this before, but much of the CGI really looks bad. It ruins some scenes with how clunky and poorly integrated it is. We’re supposed to be marveling at these Whaloh/Wailord as they pop up around the boat and all I’m thinking is ‘I wish the ocean would finish rendering. Someone should tell Nintendo that the Wailoh escaped from the Nintendo DS.’

And then they follow it up with a scene on a reef that looks very beautiful. It’s weird.

Uhhh…..who hired the barbershop quartet to do the music for the emotional ‘Jackie nearly died as a kid’ scene?

I’m gonna sound like a total buzzkill right now, but, Satoshi, hopping on that railing and jumping off into the water is very dangerous. You’re setting a bad example for the kids at home.

Seriously, someone please stop the ‘dooododeedododo’ a capella music. Even outside of that flashback, it does not mesh with Pokemon or this scene.

I love the way Buoysel swims.

Oh yeah, keep that music going in the also-supposed-to-be-emotional scene where Haruka tells Manaphy that she loves it.

Thank God the Lapras are traditional animation. Though, what’s the logic on the decisions on what’s CGI and what’s not?

Hour and Twenty Minute Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 6

The diamonds and pearls stuff is in both versions, so both versions can bite me.

May’s bandanna comes out of the water bone dry. Not really a note, but I just noticed that.

Manaphy’s voice doesn’t change at all between when it’s underwater and when it surfaces….I’m low on material in this section.

Even the second line about diamonds and pearls is in the original? Double bite me.

Seeing it in action a couple of times, is anyone else a little bothered by stylus ‘capturing’? While traditional capture is very similar, stylus capturing seems like it mind controls the Pokemon being captured.

If Lizabeth’s family wants to keep the traditions and culture of the water folk alive, why has she never been taught their language?

End

Upon second viewing, the climax is actually better than I gave it credit for the first time around.

The original obviously doesn’t have the dumb vitamin joke. Jackie just points out that the mech suit was the trick behind Phantom’s great strength.

The music during the finale where everyone’s super saiyan is also fantastic.

The original ending theme is very beautiful as well.

———————————————–

While this movie still shares about 95% of the problems that enraged me in the dub, I can’t deny that, upon second viewing in the original Japanese, this version resonates with me better….at least in the end.

The first hour and ten-ish minutes is basically the same experience to me, but the climax just feels…better. Maybe I had a better appreciation for the action and visuals the second time around, maybe it was because I wasn’t as angry this time, but the climax seemed more epic, at least in style, than I felt it was in the dub. Even the goodbye with Haruka and Manaphy was much more emotionally impacting than it was in the dub, though that might be because Manaphy just says ‘Goodbye Haruka’ instead of saying May’s name and then calling her Mama.

……And I’ll admit that at least 2% of that problem solving comes from the lack of that vitamin “joke”. I don’t know why that makes me so angry, but…..just…urgh.

Rating: 4.5/10


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My Poke-Pinions: (172,) 025 and 026 – The ‘Chu Line

Preface: I struggled a bit with how to do this. Since I’m giving my opinions on entire lines, but I’m also going in numerical order, it presents a bit of a problem when I confront Pokemon in early gens that got evos or pre-evos in later gens. Ultimately, I decided I would still go down a numerical line, but when circumstances like these pop up, I will be including any future gen pre-evos and evos just to get the entire line out of the way. If future gens add more evos or pre-evos to any line, I’ll try to update them.

Pichu

Name: Wiki: “Pichu is a combination of ピカピカ pikapika (onomatopoeia for sparkle) and チューチュー chūchū (the sound of squeaking).” …..Mmhmm….

“It may also be a play on プチ puchi (petit).” Sure….

“Pichu is ultimately a diminutive of Pikachu.” There it is.

I like Pichu fine as a name, it’s pretty snappy and cutesy, but I can’t get away from the vibe that this is just them further banking off of ‘Hey look, guys, a chibi Pikachu!’

Design: Pichu’s pretty cute. I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite of the mini-Pikachu clone Pokemon, but it’s cute. It always kinda bothered me that it looks like its head is too big for its body, though. I’m always afraid it will tip over and break its neck. I like how they added more black to the design to help break up the yellow more.

Sprite-Wise, Gen II’s is pretty…..chubby. I think Pichu was designed when we were still in Pikachu’s chubby phase, so this makes sense, but it still looks a little off.

Gold looks worse than Silver, which also looks happier, and the animation on Crystal is adorable.

Gen III looks better, though the animation on Emerald is a bit too erratic for me.

Gen IV is very cute, and the animation for HG/SS is adorable.

All of the other Gens get really cute constant animations.

Spike-Eared Pichu:

It’s a Pichu with a spiky ear……Wheee.

I don’t dislike the spikes. I guess I kinda wish the base Pichu design had spiky ears to make it a little cooler, but it’s just fine.

Also, in the Portuguese version, it’s called SLICED-EAR Pichu! OW.

Ukulele Pichu:

It’s a Pichu with a ukulele…..Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. Actually, considering how tiny Pichu is, how do we tell the difference between it having a ukulele and a regular guitar?

Shiny:

It’s just a darker color yellow. In fact, they’ve taken to calling Shiny Pichu “Pikachu-Colored Pichu,” which is a little irritating, all things considered. I guess it tracks with Shiny Pikachu, which is also just a darker colored yellow, but still. The ones that are just darker colored versions of their original palettes are usually really lame to me. Oddly, the first shiny is the best to me because it looks more orange, channeling Raichu more than Pikachu.

Cry/Voice: Pichu’s anime voice is almost too cute. It’s not too high-pitched and it’s really sweet….when you hear it once or twice. But it’s one of those voices that gets annoying REAL fast.

Its game cry is similarly cute. It’s basically a midi-version of the Pillsbury Doughboy’s giggle.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Unsurprisingly, its Dex entries focus heavily on how much it sucks from a practicality standpoint. Pichu can only hold a small amount of electricity and they are unable to control it. As a result, they constantly let off bursts of electricity when they laugh, get upset or become startled. It will also commonly shock humans without meaning to. They might short out when playing with other Pichu, causing them both to cry.

What’s even worse is that they can’t help but shock themselves when they accidentally or purposefully let off their electricity either.

In short, their shocks are very weak, but they shock their trainers all the time without warning because they can’t control their electricity, they can’t play with other Pichu without creating sparks and hurting each other, and they are useless in battle because purposefully using Electric attacks will just backfire on the Pichu while also barely causing any damage to the enemy. Yay.

The only other real note is that they’ll touch tails to purposely create sparks as a sign of courage. Is that like me punching myself in the face as a sign of courage?

In terms of design, Pichu’s supposed based on squirrels, but I don’t see that. I just see a chibi more circular Pikachu. I get that the cheek thing comes from squirrels, but that’s about it.

Pikachu

Name: First off, dear god the Wiki page for Pikachu is ridonkulously long. I should have opted to do Pikachu on its own page. Yikes.

That being said, I think I need to take a minute to remove myself from this topic since, with all the reviews and stuff I’ve done with Pokemon over the years, Pikachu kinda brings on a lot of knee-jerk reactions. I’m going to try to keep my opinion from being skewed based on the oversaturation of Pikachu’s usage and his utmost favoritism and Messiahchu-isms in the anime.

Pikachu’s name is very cute, snappy and sticks with you for a long time. Every syllable is cute, really. When he says ‘Pika’ it’s cute. When he says ‘Chu!’ it’s even cuter. And if you get him to say ‘CHAAA!’ some of your brain cells explode with cute. It’s a very cute name.

Like I mentioned in Pichu’s section, Pikachu is a combination of the Japanese sound for sparkle and the sound a mouse makes, which is very fitting. However, the Wiki also felt like adding that it could be an offshoot of ‘Peekaboo.’ I can only guess they got that from the short Pikachu’s Peekaboo, because other than sounding similar they have no connection whatsoever.

Design: Pikachu’s frickin’ adorable. It has a very simple design, but it’s also extremely memorable. Most people, even those who aren’t Pokemon fans, can easily discern Pikachu from its silhouette, and I don’t mean to reference Who’s That Pokemon? there. It has an adorable face, cute little chubby cheeks that add some more color to it to break up all the yellow, it has perfect ears and adorable paws – it’s just adorable.

Female Version

It’s just Pikachu with a heart shape on its tail. Quite frankly, I roll my eyes a lot at the fact that so many Pokemon have their gender discerned through little heart designs….

Base Cosplay Pikachu

It’s just Pikachu with a heart shape on its tail….shaded in black. I actually kinda wish this was the female version because it stands out more.

Pikachu Rock Star

It’s too much, in my opinion. I get that that’s the point, but it’s just too much.

Pikachu Belle

It’s alright….Nothing much else to say….It’s very alright.

Pikachu Pop Star

Well, if you’re going to have a rock star version, you might as well have a pop star costume too. This one is at least better than the rock star one, but I still think it’s a bit much.

Pikachu, Ph. D.

I adore this one. It’s hilarious.

Pikachu Libre

I think that costume is extremely well-designed. It’s very cool. Kinda makes me wish there was a Pikachu superhero.

Cap Pikachu

Pikachu wearing one of any version of Ash’s hat….It’s Pikachu wearing hats….It’s adorable. Also, to get this out of the way, I won’t really be addressing Pikachu’s Pokemon Go costumes, same as I didn’t with Pichu. Most of them are just hats anyway. I do love the straw hat one because it makes me think he’s cosplaying as Luffy.

Gigantamax Pikachu

I’m only barely warming up to Mega forms, so don’t expect me to be singing many praises here, especially since I find the Gigantamax idea to be really lazy. Take Pokemon and make them bigger….and change their designs a little, I guess. At least with the Mega forms they changed their designs quite a lot, to the point where they tend to look very busy, but they do the bare minimum with most of the Gigantamaxs I’ve seen. Gigantamax Pikachu, for example, seems to have gone back to his chubbier form, which I like, and they made his tail an actual lightning bolt, which is a little cool, but other than that….it’s just Pikachu.

In terms of sprites, R/B is simply classic.

Yellow is like it was ripped straight from the anime, which is pretty much the point. They, oddly, didn’t change its back design for this game, though. Weird.

Green doesn’t look like a real animal. It looks like an inanimate toy.

Gen II is really cute with one of the most adorable animations for Crystal.

Gen III is also cute, but they’re starting the annoying flashing animations for it in this Gen and, not lying, it makes me physically ill. I think I’m more prone to flicker vertigo than I first thought….

Gen IV has even more flashing, and a weird stretchy animation on HG/SS.

Gen V is really cute, especially with that little finger wag and tail twitch.

All of the rest are just okay.

Shiny:

Like I mentioned, Pikachu’s shiny is just a darker yellow color – like a yellow-orange. It’s a bit lame, and I wish they had just gone all out and made it Raichu orange or something, but it’s fine.

Cry/Voice: Pikachu’s anime voice is basically perfect. It’s really cute and fitting with some great emotion put into it without being overly high pitched and irritating. Thank god he maintains his Japanese voice actress (And has for over 20 years!)

Pikachu’s game cry is pretty good. The starting note is cute and it ends with a burst that sounds just slightly intimidating.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Pikachu stores its electricity in its cheeks, which is the send-up to squirrels, but I don’t really see the design based off of them here either. It uses its tail to check its surroundings, which sometimes causes it to act as a lightning rod. As a result, Pikachu nests tend to be dangerous spots because lightning hits the area a lot.

They tend to shock new things that they see, which I honestly didn’t know. What a weird and destructive trait for little Pikachu to have. It also notes that they’ll commonly roast hard berries with their electricity.

When weakened, a Pikachu can and commonly is brought back to health by a jolt of electricity by a fellow Pikachu. They will also touch tails a form of greeting, which I don’t get. How do you go from touching tails as a show of courage as Pichu to a greeting as Pikachu? When many Pikachu gather together, they can cause lightning storms, and Pokemon Sun notes that there are plans to make a power plant with Pikachu as the generators, which you’d think would be a thing by now.

The Wiki also mentions that Pikachu will get stressed if they don’t discharge their electricity regularly, which I think they got from the anime, but Pikachu got sick in that instance. They also need plenty of sleep or else their electricity doesn’t build up as well…..Oh haha. When you don’t sleep, you don’t have as much….energy….haha.

In terms of design, Pikachu was obviously based on a mouse, but its cheeks were inspired from squirrels storing food in their cheeks, as previously mentioned. Pikachu’s designer directly said that Pikachu was based on a design she made from a daifuku with ears, which…I guess I can see. Supposedly, only the black parts of the ear were kept from that original design.

Raichu

Name: Raichu’s name is perfect, because it is perfect. (Should I mention that Raichu’s my second favorite Pokemon? Nearly tied for first.) Anyway, Raichu breaks down into ‘Rai’ for ‘Thunder’ and ‘Chu/chuchu’ was already explained. In all honesty, I DO find this name to be perfect. It’s a great alteration from Pikachu, it sounds tougher and more intimidating without losing its adorable vibe or snappiness, and it is technically tougher with Rai’s meaning being more threatening (Thunder>sparkling)

Alolan Raichu is also known as Hodad, which I find really weird and not at all fitting of Raichu or any of the ‘Chu line for that matter. However, it does have a purpose to it. Alolan Raichu looks like a surfer, uses its tail like a surfboard, but cannot learn Surf (unless evolved from an event Pikachu). Hodad is actual surfer lingo for someone who dresses like a surfer, comes to the beach with a surfboard but never actually surfs. So, basically, a surf poser.

I don’t much care for that name as it’s basically an insult to an otherwise rather cute Raichu form, and there’s nothing really stopping Alolan Raichu from surfing. Surf basically just summons a tidal wave, it’s not the actual skill of surfing. But hey, any opportunity to jab at Raichu, right? *eye roll*

Design: Raichu is such an adorable cuddly-wuddly pumpkin pie–….Err…Uh…*cough* I really love Raichu’s design. It didn’t sacrifice any cuteness upon evolution – in fact, I think it really gained cuteness. Those ears are more mouse-like while also being unique. I love the little swirl at the bottom. I also like how its tail is now a more mouse-like long tail with a lightning bolt at the end.

It’s body shape is really cool. It’s sweet and pudgy while also having adorable stubby arms and strong legs that look like it could kick you pretty hard. It has the perfect shade of orange, and it’s got just the right amount of yellow, white and brown on it to break it up.

Alolan Raichu

I prefer regular Raichu, but I think they did a really good job with Alolan Raichu. They made its eyes blue, which is nice, and made its orange fur a more burnt-orange color to signify tanned skin, which is pretty cool. Not a big fan of the ears. The shape and design make me think of fairies, and they stand out too much. I love its feet, though. They made the feet shorter and thicker and it reminds me of a bunny.

I like its tail. It’s basically the same as before, but with more of a rounded shape to look like a surfboard. I also find it really adorable that it stands on it. I think a Flying type could easily be made of that with the tail being a cloud with lightning coming out of it.

Female Raichu

I almost thought this was a mistake because I honestly could not see the difference between male and female Raichu. I had to bring my face right up to the screen to realize female Raichu’s tail doesn’t have a pointing end. It’s blunt. Like someone cut it off. That is probably the laziest way to make a female version. Why not just make the lightning bolt a heart or make the cheek marks hearts or make the stripes on the back hearts? Heartheartsheartsgurrlllssluvhartz

In terms of sprites, Gen I needs some work. R/B looks too oval-shaped and has a derpy expression.

Green has a similar problem, just a different derpy expression.

Yellow is adorable, but way too yellow on the coloring, almost like they thought Raichu had Pikachu’s colors.

Gen II is good, but what the hell is up with Crystal’s animation? It either looks like it’s cat-calling or heckling the player.

Is that more effort to make Raichu look like a jerk?

I absolutely love the pose in Gen III, but I can’t help but think the animation in Emerald is Raichu doing the Spongebob laugh.

In Gen IV, D/P is cute, but Platinum’s expression is back to derpy and HG/SS is adopting the annoying flashing animation Pikachu had.

Gen V is adorable because it has a constant bouncing animation, and everything else is alright.

Shiny:

Following the trend of Pichu and Pikachu, Raichu’s shiny is also just a darker version of its base color, but I actually really like it. That deep shade of orange looks great with the darker hues of yellow.

Gen II’s version looks strange because it looks more like a sickly gold color, but it’s corrected in every Gen onward.

As for shiny Alolan Raichu….it’s…..uhm….it’s…Well, I guess it still fits the beach theme because it looks like a very, very dark tan. And it’s a rarity in being a brown shiny. But otherwise it kinda looks terrible. At best, it looks like someone made an Alolan Raichu out of chocolate.

Cry/Voice: Raichu’s anime voice is adorable. It’s lower pitched to give off a more serious and mature tone while also being high enough to be cute. I also love the specific way it pronounces ‘Rai’ usually. Like it’s halfway between ‘Rai’ and ‘Wai.’

It’s game cry is perfect with a ‘shocking’ kind of noise to it while also adding in a cute little high pitched sound.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Raichu’s tail serves as a ground to protect itself from its own electricity, which might be a window into another reason why Pichu always hurts itself when it uses its electricity – its tail is too short to act as ground. When Raichu does discharge electricity this way, it leaves scorch marks on the ground. It can also stick its tail into the ground to search for sources of electricity.

Unlike Pikachu who gets weakened and sick when it stores too much electric energy, Raichu actually gets very aggressive. Raichu is also proactive in avoiding this issue by using its tail to discharge its own electricity into the ground when this starts happening.

In the opposite extreme, if it is running low on electricity, it can recharge by gathering electricity from the atmosphere, which is awesome.

When it is fully charged, its ears will stand up, which is a cute detail.

Raichu has electric power of over 100,000 volts (Gen I and Stadium mistakenly lists this as 10,000. The Wiki states this is a translation error based on how the Japanese language writes numbers (In this case, 100,000 or juu-man would read literally like ‘ten ten-thousands’ since ‘man’ is 10,000 and ‘juu’ is 10. They must have just dropped the first 10 on accident.) which is powerful enough to down an elephant.

Raichu can glow in the dark by constantly emitting a weak electrical charge throughout its body…..I want a glow in the dark Raichu doll now.

Also, Ultra Moon can kiss my ass because it is the only game that omits all of this and instead notes: “Because so many Trainers like the way Pikachu looks, you don’t see this Pokémon very often.” Couldn’t resist kissing Pikachu’s ass, eh?

And, really, Pikachu’s just so adorable and wonderful that Raichu are actually considered rare because no one wants to sacrifice their Perfectchu for, ew, Raichu? That’s like saying “Eevee can evolve into a wide spectrum of other Pokemon, but you never see them usually because Eevee is just so gosh darn adorable that no one wants to evolve it.” I was having such a nice time writing this entry until I read that. Thanks, Ultra Moon.

As for Alolan Raichu, it uses psychic abilities to control electricity (it’s also noted that Alolan Raichu is the only Pokemon with a Psychic/Electric combo) as well as for levitating on its tail. It attacks with star-shaped thunderbolts, which is honestly a little random.

It emits a sweet aroma if you rub its cheek sacs, and it loves PANCAKES! That has got to be one of the most adorable notes I’ve ever seen in a Dex entry. Granted, it’s explaining this because it loves pancakes prepared with a special secret Alolan recipe that some believe might be the key to this Pokemon’s evolution…..Actually, upon second thought, that’s even cooler. Alolan Raichu might have evolved this way because of PANCAKES! How can you not love everything Raichu related?

As for the design origins, Raichu’s cheeks are still based on squirrels, but its long tail and thicker, longer hind legs (and possibly wider bunny-like ears) seem to come from Jerboas which are hopping desert rodents that are somehow adorable and somewhat frightening looking at the same time, and kangaroo rats.

Alolan Raichu was obviously inspired by surfing, and given the area they’re in it makes a lot of sense. However, it’s also very possible that it was based on the novelty Pokemon, Surfing Pikachu from Pokemon Yellow, Gold, Silver and Crystal (I didn’t talk about that one because it’s literally just Pikachu with a surfboard and it doesn’t even have much of a sprite) and even Puka, the surfing Pikachu from the anime who also had blue eyes.

Interestingly, Raichu in Pokemon Stadium can learn Surf, and the animation for performing this move had it using its tail as a surfboard, which might have been additional inspiration.

Absolutely none of those things clicked with me when I first saw this Pokemon, and I think it’s really cool that so many old cogs might have been put into play to make Alolan Raichu’s design.

Next up, the Sandshrew line!


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Pokemon Episode 58 Analysis: Riddle Me This

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen1

Badge Episode Attempt 1: Cinnabar Island – Volcano Badge

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

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

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

50px-Volcano_Badge xd

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

——————-

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

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen4

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

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen5

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

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

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

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

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

– I love this exchange.

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

Ash: “Right.”

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen8

– Ninetales! Whoo!

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

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

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

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

– What else did I have to say about this?

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen9

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

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

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

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

Imagine the look of pure shock on my face.

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

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

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

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

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

Pikachu…

(Aim for)….The horn.

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen10

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

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

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

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

Likewise, its reveal is sick.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pokemon Ep 58 Screen11

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

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

——————————–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.Previous Episode.


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Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 09 (Dub) Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea Review

Rating: 3.5/10

Plot: Ash, May, Max and Brock meet a girl named Lizabeth and her family who are all performers who put on aquatic shows in floating spheres of water. The group learns that the performers are secretly protecting and transporting a Manaphy egg to a legendary sea temple with the help of Pokemon Ranger Jackie. May accidentally hatches the egg, and the legendary prince of the sea assumes May is its mother. As May and Manaphy bond on their way to the sea temple, a greedy pirate named Phantom stays hot on their tail, ready to follow them to the sea temple and steal the priceless sea crown.

Breakdown: Ah, our first venture into TPCI dubbing territory (Known as PUSA back when this was dubbed), as well as a movie I know really nothing about outside of it having a Pokemon Ranger and Manaphy.

I’ll admit, I’m kinda worried about what this has in store. I do like the concept of Pokemon Rangers (I’ve played a couple of the games and enjoyed them fine) but I don’t like Manaphy really…..at all. Hopefully this movie will change my mind, though from what I’ve heard of this movie from Dogasu’s comparison, it’s a laughably stupid movie at several points. So much so that they suggested this movie be up for the LittleKuriboh treatment.

Well, I guess the only way I’ll know is if I try.

———————————-

We start off with the typical ‘World of Pokemon’ spiel with a new narrator who doesn’t sound too far off from the old one. It’s all much of the same, but I will mention we see Ruby again (Yay!) battling Rebecca from movie 07….so that’s kinda random.

And, of course, when we get to Ash, we sing his praises and then follow up by him just ‘being joined by his friends.’

After that’s said and done, we get to the movie where we see a Manaphy egg being poorly animated through a whirlpool. It continues to flow through the ocean, but I really can’t get over how awkward this egg looks. It looks more like a CGI balloon somehow flying around underwater than an egg floating around through the water.

The Water Pokemon festival we’re treated to is suddenly halted by the intrusion of a Playstation 1 cutscene as planes fly overhead, focusing their searchlights on the egg. Back underwater, all of the Pokemon are again spooked by a giant underwater tank thing that I could swear was designed by a Final Fantasy villain.

The Playstation 1 cutscene continues as they grab the egg with an extendable arm on the tank. The tank/sub thing surfaces and—okay, just please stop with the bad CGI. Outside of the human characters, everything in these shots so far has been either regular CGI or cel-shaded CGI. The cel-shaded shots don’t look bad, but the regular CGI is just awful. Please stop.

And to be completely honest, CGI of this caliber after they’ve been showing increasingly better work over the course of the movies is just unacceptable. Did their budget get slashed or something?

The team of pirates and their Pirate-Captain-y leader marvel at the egg with the captain stating that it will fulfill his desire of a sea crown. One of his crew reveals himself to be a spy named Jack (Nicknamed Jackie) Walker and takes the egg away from him.

He has belts on his beard because reasons.

Already, the voices aren’t that good. The pirate captain’s okay, but he can’t sound angry at all and Jackie is going the opposite direction by hamming it up. Oh and he can also run on walls and bend steel bars with a single kick like they were made of play-doh. I just thought I’d mention that.

Jackie continues to get away because bumbling goons were never good at chase scenes. They seemingly corner him with the captain releasing his Pinsir and Parasect to attack. Wow, guys. We’ve found the second character to ever use a Pokemon from the Paras line. Give him a round of mild applause.

Jackie uses his capture stylus to wrangle up a nearby Mantine and uses it to escape.

We then get our title screen, which is animated better than the previous sequence, but it’s hard to tell because it’s so dark, so little is going on and I still have to mark it down for being flooded with a dark urine color motif.

Now to our heroes who….I wish would stop talking. To everyone open to watching anime dubbed in other languages besides Japanese, do you know that feeling when you watch a show and like it in one version but then you watch it in another and, despite being fine, it just sounds really wrong? Those times where you’re so used to it being in Japanese or English or some other language that hearing it in a completely different language, no matter how well it’s done, you just can’t get into it? I hope that’s what’s going on with me right now as I transfer from 4Kids to TPCI.

This seriously is, outside of a few scenes here and there of Diamond and Pearl, the first time I’m really sitting down and listening to these new voices. I have never followed Pokemon beyond about mid Hoenn. I never thought the day would come where I would be yearning for 4Kids, but dammit I’m so much more used to their dub. I’ve been watching that dub since I was nine. It’s really difficult to work around.

And I’m going to be completely biased here and give my breakdown on the voices of each character.

Ash – Veronica Taylor → Sarah Natochenny. Sounds, surprisingly, more realistically boy-like than Veronica Taylor’s portrayal, but she also sounds a hell of a lot raspier. It’s a toss-up.

Brock – Eric Stuart → Bill Rogers. Why is he so nasally, and why does he sound like he’s doing a bad Butch impression?

May – Veronica Taylor → Michele Knotz. Fine voice, but not fitting for May. It belongs more with some ultra-big-eyed moe character – not quick-tempered May.

Max – Amy Birnbaum → Kayzie Rogers. Now that I’m listening to it fully instead of the snippet I listened to after dub Movie 08, I guess it’s fine for him to have such a dorky voice, but it really is higher pitched, nasally and mostly unpleasant. Plus, half the time he loses the dorky sound and sounds more like an energetic old lady.

These voices may grow on me. I may just be experiencing the jarring shock everyone else went through when this first happened back when TPCI first took over, but I never did since I mostly stopped watching around that time. Hopefully I’ll adapt just fine.

We’ll move on to Team Rocket later. For now, onto the movie.

Ash and the others are, SURPRISE, lost again. How…new…They’re all baking out in the harsh sun and now they’re out of water. Ash and the others spot some weird floating orbs of water and find a trainer and her Politoed training Pokemon within the orbs.

So, instead of asking what the hell is going on, Max immediately asks the girl if they can have some water. She agrees and the others run up to introduce themselves when we see that the reason the orbs of water are floating is because of her Medicham and Meditite psychically maintaining them.

Brock magically deduces that this girl’s name is Lizabeth (because she’s too good to put that E at the beginning) and that she’s the star of the Marina Underwater Pokemon Show, because he creepily knows everything about even semi-famous women. This seems like they’re directly ripping off from the last movie when Brock gushed and prattled on about Kidd. Unless this is just something Brock does overall now.

Lizabeth introduces them to her family – her grandpa, Ship, her father, Kyle, who sounds like he’s doing his damnedest to make his voice as low and emotionless as possible, and her mother, Meredith.

They load up on water, which I still don’t quite understand. I don’t remember where I brought this up, but I have mentioned in the past that it doesn’t seem possible for the group to ever be out of water as long as they have Pokemon who know Water Gun. Yeah, it’s a little gross, but it’s better than dying.

Lizabeth’s Buizel runs up to a loft and turns on the light for a small container, revealing the Manaphy egg from before. May gives it a quick glance and Kyle quickly closes the curtain and walks away. Great place to hide things you don’t want others to see – In plain sight in a small area where you’re inviting strangers.

Ash asks what they do in their show, and Ship says it’s better to show them, which triggers our opening credits. No theme song again. 😦

They show the….show, which is kinda like a mix between a circus and a water ballet. Also, we see a guy in a Sharpedo costume ‘swallow’ a bunch of Remoraid in floating water orbs and then ‘poop’ them out as Wooper. Stay classy, Pokemon.

By the way, it’s obvious that the Psychic Pokemon aren’t helping the humans move here yet they can somehow jump out of the water like they’re dolphins.

They bring Ash and the others into the water orbs to be part of the show (How are they all breathing in there?) and with one Psychic burst of the orbs, the show ends.

At least I can say this is a more original opening credits sequence than the usual battles or doing practically nothing.

Buizel steals the egg and hands it to May who again wonders what it is before a clown grabs it and gives it back to Lizabeth.

Now for Team Rocket’s voice analysis.

James: Eric Stuart → James Carter Cathcart; known better as Jimmy Zoppi, voice of Weevil (YGO) Tarb (Mew Mew Power) and yes, Gary. James is now voiced….by Gary.

I will be fair here and say Mr. Cathcart has plenty of range as I never would’ve guessed James was using a voice anywhere near Gary’s or any other role of his……but, my God, James sounds horrible. Eric Stuart was not the absolute original English voice of James. That honor goes to Ted Lewis, who used a more suave and serious take on the character. Fitting because that’s basically what he was in the first handful of episodes, the only ones he dubbed.

Eric Stuart brought a great mixture of sounding suave when the time called for it but also having a fairly good ‘goofy idiot’ voice.

This version is full blast ‘I’m a complete moron.’ I listened to his voice in this scene several times wracking my brain because I knew he reminded me of something so much but I couldn’t place it. Then it suddenly hit me.

Holy crap, he sounds like a slightly more energetic Droopy Dog.

Listen to him in this scene and watch a Droopy Dog clip. Tell me I’m hearing things.

Jessie: Rachel Lillis → Michele Knotz. Because I guess they’re keeping up the tradition of multiple roles per one voice actor, Michele Knotz is voicing both May and Jessie. I have to say, she does a much better job voicing Jessie instead of May, but, like May, she still makes Jessie sound a bit too nice.

Meowth: Maddie Blaustein → James Carter Cathcart, whom I’m just going to refer to as Jimmy Zoppi since that’s what I know him best as. Again with the dual role tradition, James and Meowth are voiced by the same person. I have to say Jimmy Zoppi does a much better job voicing Meowth than he does voicing James. He does a pretty good job here overall, but no one will be able to replace Maddie Blaustein as the true Meowth voice to me. Being fair, I feel like, had she not passed away, Maddie would have gone through whatever hoops she needed to in order to keep voicing Meowth.

After spying on May and the egg, James shows Jessie and Meowth a Team Rocket Gazette, which I guess is a magazine that updates all of the Team Rocket grunts on special items and Pokemon that are wanted at the time…..Criminal mastermind Giovanni is. He explains that a man named Phantom, the pirate captain from before, and by the way what a beautifully cliché name you have, is pursuing the egg, and Team Rocket wants to call Phantom with the tip in hopes of getting a reward. Yeah, because Giovanni wouldn’t want that egg. Oh no sirree.

Wait…..Why are Jessie and James and their Meowth balloon in this magazine? Why are they not in the least bit focusing on the fact that they’re being given a spot in this magazine? Why is there a small child in this magazine? What is this thing!?

They call him and drop the tip as the convoy moves on.

Lizabeth, really wanting to keep the egg safe and secret, puts it on a table behind a curtain….again. Guys, curtains are not the pinnacle of security or secrecy. Try a safe, a lockbox, a cookie jar, a cardboard box; anything but an easily movable somewhat translucent curtain.

Later that night, Buizel gets the egg again because curtains.

He presses the little button on the canister which makes it glow again, but this time it glows much brighter, throwing May into a vision. I’m going to guess that this movie is skewing main characterness to May like Max was kinda the protagonist of Jirachi: Wish Maker, right?

In her vision, May floats around under (pink) water with a bunch of Water Pokemon when she sees a huge underwater tower that is later revealed to be the titular sea temple. Manaphy shows up and swims all around her before going to the temple. She tries to call it back to her, but May suddenly wakes up.

Later, at lunch, May tells everyone about her dream. Lizabeth and her mother explain that Lizabeth has had that same dream before since they’re from a nearly wiped out civilization called ‘the people of the water’. The group clamors and says that’s amazing even though they haven’t been told what the people of the water even are yet.

Meanwhile, back with Team Rocket, they break into the RV and try to steal the egg.

Meowth: “Not anudda egg!” Am I missing something? A) This is the egg they were looking for. B) What first egg is he talking about and why is he upset over it?

They all touch the canister, causing it to glow and when the light dies down they find they’ve all switched bodies. Because we haven’t done that trope in Pokemon yet, so why not? And of course make their own voices come out of each others bodies too because that never made sense.

Meowth is in James’ body, Jessie’s in Meowth’s body and James is in Jessie’s body.

Back with the group, they explain that the people of the water were basically aquatic nomads who lived alongside Water Pokemon. As a show of gratitude to the Water Pokemon, they built the sea temple that their people see in these mysterious dreams. They assume that May, and by extension Max, might be descendants of the people of the water because she had the same dream, but I think we can all conclude that she had the dream because Manaphy put it into her mind.

The gang spots Team Rocket as they return from lunch and they do their (different?) motto. They then fly away with the egg on their pedal-powered balloon thing. Ash tries to shoot it down with Pikachu, but the clown from before, who reveals himself to be Jackie, tells him not to due to the egg. Instead he ‘captures’ a nearby Fearow to follow them. Ash sends up Pikachu with Fearow, and he successfully grabs the canister while Fearow does what all Flying Pokemon are meant to do – pop Team Rocket’s balloon.

I know I’m out of the Poke-loop, but why do Ash, Max, May and Brock know what a Pokemon Ranger is? It’s a bit understandable that Team Rocket knows, but how do Ash and Co. know?

Jackie explains that the canister is holding a Manaphy egg, a Pokemon that is only described as being very rare and living underwater (hoo boy, we’re really getting creative with these Legendaries). He’s been protecting the egg until it hatches with the help of the Marina group so he can bring it to the sea temple. Suddenly, Phantom and his Playstation helicopters show up to take the egg. They run off and a Beedrill very nearly gouges Ship in the face, holy shit, and Phantom jumps down from his helicopter and dies….Oh excuse me. I was reading the realistic version of the script. He’s fine and chases after them on foot.

Tell me how Ship doesn’t have a new hole in his head right now.

Jackie and Ash pull a switch right in front of Phantom’s face (gee, why did Jackie suddenly take the time out to cover the egg with a cloth? Why did they both go behind that huge rock? And where did that other boy go? Oh well, get back here with that egg you totally have, Jackie!) and we get some slapstick a la Phantom. Because nothing says ‘tension’ like a pirate villain who partakes in slapstick.

Phantom can somehow lift a giant (horrible) CGI boulder above his head and throw it 50 feet through the air with Jackie on it. It doesn’t do anything to him, but he does that.

Back with Ash, who has met back up with May and Max, they are confronted by another grunt and his Beedrill. Ash has the egg knocked out of his hands by the Beedrill’s Sludge Bomb, but May catches it, making it her responsibility now.

Phantom confronts May because I guess Jackie lost sight of him somehow (he was still right in front of Phantom even after he threw the boulder) and after a struggle, the lid pops off of the container, sending the egg flying. May catches it again and Manaphy hatches.

I like this shot of May because the way her mouth is drawn reminds me of Sapphire (May’s Manga counterpart) since she has a single fang.

Manaphy starts bawling because babies. Congrats everyone – we now have a replacement Togepi. Whoohoo.

By the way, I’m not really a fan of how Manaphy looks. Not only is it yet another small and cutesy legendary, but the ‘eyelashes’ and shape are just weird to me. And of course the high-pitched voice and crying….

They manage to escape Phantom and his cronies, and May is able to calm Manaphy as they ride in the trailer. Manaphy starts to sleep so Merideth asks if she can relieve May for a bit. She agrees, but uh oh. Not the mama!………Did I seriously make a Dinosaurs reference? One that works? Do I get a badge of honor now or something?

After all of 1.5 seconds of trying to quell Manaphy’s cries, and by that I mean saying “No, not again! Stop! Please?”, Merideth passes Manaphy back to May. Boy, you must’ve been one hell of a mother to baby Lizabeth.

Back for more Togepi-ism, it’s revealed that, since May was the first person Manaphy saw when it hatched, it’s taken May to be its mother.

Phantom shows back up and tries to stop the convoy with cables attached to the helicopters. They jump to the truck and release the trailer, sending the trailer careening over the edge of a cliff and losing Phantom.

It’s at this point where you seriously realize that, yeah, this pretty much is the arrangement of Jirachi: Wish Maker – just replace Jirachi with Manaphy, Max with May and the brother/best friend bond with that of a parent-child and it’s the same thing.

Back with Team Rocket who somehow landed right on the building that the group was headed to, they wake to find they’re back to normal again. Why did they do that switch and what caused them to turn back? Being too far away from Manaphy?

Also, I guess I never really got to this part in the series. I remember James getting a Mime Jr., but now he’s a comic relief Pokemon who bursts out of his ball without warning to…..just mimic people? And holy crap, he does not need to be imitating another comic relief Pokemon (Wobbuffet). This is further compounded when James and Jessie put Wobbuffet and Mime Jr. away at the same time. It’s like it’s a subtle acknowledgment that this shtick is incredibly old.

I never thought about this before either, but if Mr. Mime and Mime Jr. are supposed to be mimes, why do they talk?

I’m just now noticing that even the 2D art and animation for this movie is lower than it usually is. Certainly not even touching what they accomplished in movie 08. I’d even go so far as to say, at times, it’s worse than the TV show. Especially when they focus on Team Rocket.

The group makes it into the ancient building, somehow not noticing that the helicopter and Phantom are hot on their tails. Using his magic ‘people of the water’ bracelet, Ship activates a glowy combination lock for a hidden door in the wall. Following soon after, Phantom uses a broken bracelet he somehow has and also activates the lock. However, they don’t show him actually putting in the combination and there’s no way for him to have known one, so how he really got in is beyond me.

Using their Water Pokemon, the group travels through a waterway to another part of the building. After some crazy flat voice acting by Ship and Merideth as they recall their Pokemon, the group enters a beautiful cathedral-like area. Lizabeth and her family explain that the sea temple is called Samaya, and that it is perfectly hidden from those not a part of the people of the water due to the fact that it blends in perfectly with the water.

And dear God, I swear Kyle is getting worse and worse with his voice acting by the minute.

The sea temple holds an item called the sea crown that many people have tried and failed to steal. Many years ago, the temple broke away from it’s original resting spot and started traveling with the tides, making it even more difficult to find. However, the temple is said to be made visible during a full eclipse.

In order to actually find it, you need a Manaphy. The Manaphy of the world have taken the sea temple as their home, and every Manaphy is born with the innate ability to find it. That’s why Phantom is after Manaphy. He doesn’t really want Manaphy – he wants to find the temple and steal the crown.

Ash: “So who is that guy?”

Jackie: “Phantom the pirate. He’s one mean dude.” TPCI: they’re one bad writing staff.

After Team Rocket pathetically grovels to do the lowest of grunt work for Phantom, we see that Phantom has utilized high-tech scanning equipment to analyze the building. They reveal that there are many water routes underneath the building that they may have used to escape and it’ll be very difficult to find which way they went. Phantom doesn’t care because he’s already set a trap for them wherever they’ll end up and claims it’s just a waiting game now.

We actually get one kinda funny scene when Team Rocket, having overheard the conversation, starts clamoring over the sea crown. One of Phantom’s cronies and his Chatot (because he’s a pirate and needs a parrot) glare back at Team Rocket as they laugh and they awkwardly go back to work. It’s not the most hilarious scene in the world, but I have frequently questioned why no one ever seems to hear Team Rocket when they say suspicious things like that, and it was nice to have a scene where they joke about it.

Back with the group, Jackie thanks Ash and co. for their help so far, but says once they get off the boat they’ll be leaving them behind because bringing Manaphy back to the sea temple is a Pokemon Ranger’s job and he doesn’t want them getting any more involved than they already are. Even though you’d think leaving would be ill-advised given that Manaphy is greatly attached to May. But I guess it doesn’t matter too much since Manaphy will part ways with May soon enough anyway.

Sure enough, when they get out of the tunnels, Ship gets his boat out of dock and Lizabeth and her family as well as Jackie take Manaphy and proceed to set sail. I should mention that three older guys take care of Ship’s ship while he’s traveling and they seem like complete fanboys of his for some reason. *shrug*

As predicted, Manaphy starts wailing as soon as they leave port and May feels an odd feeling in her heart as she watches the boat leave. Are they seriously playing her up as being one of the people of the water or are they establishing some mystic motherly link between her and Manaphy?

The three nameless fanboys encourage May and the others to follow them anyway, and they agree. Thanks for serving some purpose that kinda wasn’t needed because this whole scene seems like padding, nameless fanboys!

As they run towards the boat, Manaphy starts flipping out and glows. It touches one of its weird head tentacle things to Jackie’s head and the other shoots red lightning through the water and onto the dock where Ash steps on it. After it dies down, we see Jackie and Ash have switched bodies.

I’m sorry, is there some point to this power? Like, at all? Because it just seems like an excuse to stop the plot, pad the movie some more and try to make weird jokes that don’t work.

Jackie explains that this power is called Heart Swap and that it uses it to escape danger…..How…does switching people’s bodies….make it escape danger?

Case and point – the very first example of this happening was Team Rocket switching bodies. That didn’t prevent it from getting kidnapped because the three people switching bodies were all people that wanted to steal it.

In this example, sure, I guess it prevented it from getting separated from May, but that’s really only because A) Lizabeth and her family were polite enough to decide to get Ash and Jackie back to normal by bringing everyone on board and waiting out the effects and B) They don’t know what happens when two switched people are extremely far apart. Though, if my guess on what happened with Team Rocket was right, they’d just switch back. If they wanted to, they could just say ‘sucks to be you, Ash and Jackie. We’ll run to the temple and back and you’ll probably be back to normal after some time.’

I guess Ash could try jumping off the boat with Manaphy so they have no choice but to turn back, but without his Corphish, I don’t think he’d be able to get away very well. He doesn’t know how to use a Ranger Stylus to capture a Pokemon to help him either. Plus, that might put Manaphy in danger for literally no other reason than ‘we wanna go have an adventure.’

Also, Lizabeth suddenly blurts out that Manaphy are known as the Prince(s) of the Sea. Thanks for that clunky dialogue/exposition, Lizabeth.

After cuddling with Manaphy, it suddenly reveals that it can mimic some words with its first word being ‘Happy,’ and it quickly mimics even more words from Ash, Brock and Max. So, its two main impressive abilities are causing people and Pokemon to switch bodies temporarily and…..talking.

I’ve already pointed out how disappointed I am in the former, but the latter…I know it’s not a legit ‘power’ but so far that’s one of the only things this Pokemon can do that most others can’t. But it’s not impressive in the least given that, despite not being the norm, many other Pokemon can talk.

Getting the obvious example of Meowth off the table, and that’s more impressive given that he’s a regular Pokemon who struggled through hell to learn how to do that, most legendaries can talk or otherwise speak through telepathy (Mewtwo, Lugia, Entei, and Jirachi) and there are other Pokemon, mostly featured in movies, that aren’t legendary and can talk in this same manner, such as Slowking and Lucario. Hell, this very movie features a Chatot – a parrot Pokemon who has been mimicking human speech this whole time.

I was disappointed enough with Jirachi and his ‘I steal shit’ “wish-granting” ability. Please tell me Manaphy has more impressive abilities than this.

Kyle walks out and—dude, seriously, someone fire his voice actor. I couldn’t sound as bored as this guy if this movie was about watching rocks erode in real time.

He stops the boat and explains that it’s time for Manaphy to be released into the ocean so it can choose its own path. May agrees and releases Manaphy into the water. Manaphy happily jumps through the water and the group continues…..their….

Pokemon movie 09 screen 1

….jour……

Pokemon movie 09 screen 2

……………Ash….buddy…..

Pokemon movie 09 screen 3

……you okay? You look….kinda spacey……do you need to sit down?…..Ash?

Pokemon movie 09 screen 4

……….Okay then, you probably just need a minute. A quick segue into the next scene should make you feel better.

Lizabeth and her family take Ash and the others down to the hull where they reveal a glass viewing port to watch the Water Pokemon and Manaphy.

We cut through dusk, night then the next day without any plot advancement, but I do have something to say during Jackie’s para-sailing scene – Ms. Natochenny, please tone down the deep raspiness of Ash’s voice. I feel like you’re going to blow out a vocal cord.

Really, the past three minutes or so is nothing but dicking around in the water with Water Pokemon. If this was any other movie I’d say it’s to show off the CGI, but oh god why?

Ash: “Hey, so why’d you become a Pokemon Ranger in the first place, Jackie?”

Jackie: “I was a kid.” ….Most people were, Jackie. Maybe start off this story with the less awkward “When I was a kid….”

Jackie explains that he got caught in a terrible snow storm up in the mountains as a child. He managed to find a cave to take shelter in, but was still so cold that he feared it was the end of him. Suddenly, a bunch of migrating forest Pokemon such as Swablu and Furret gathered around him to keep him warm. He wanted to be a Pokemon Ranger ever since.

Wait, that doesn’t really explain why he specifically wanted to be a Pokemon Ranger. Also, Jackie pronounces Pokemon ‘Pokeymon’…..That has nothing to do with anything either, but it’s irking me.

More dicking around in the water.

The next night it becomes painfully obvious (no pun intended?) that we’re getting to the peak of May and Manaphy’s friendship when she teaches it to say ‘I love you.’ Seriously, it’s a little annoying how blatantly this is trying to rip-off the Max/Jirachi friendship from movie 06 (And it’s also a little paranoia-ly funny that this movie, 9 is 6 upside down.) Gee, I wonder if May is soon going to come to the realization that she’s going to need to part ways with Manaphy and someone will give her a pep talk about it.

LAPRAS! ❤

…..*cough* Sorry….I love Lapras.

Another scene that is basically just dicking around. I know they’re really meant to show how attached May and Manaphy are becoming, but you can do that without constant *Manaphy being cute* *May/Manaphy cuddles* wash, rinse, repeat stuff.

Not like there’s any tension anyway. We know Phantom isn’t following them because Jackie’s been on constant lookout for helicopters. It’s not like Phantom stated he had a trap laid for them already, nor has it been established that Phantom has easy access to an underwater tank thing. Not like Jackie was on it when he was undercover or anything. Not like they have sonar that, while following Manaphy, should also easily detect the sub. No sirree.

May overhears Jackie asking Ash to help separate May and Manaphy because he worries Manaphy won’t go home if he gets too attached to May. May comes into the room and says not to worry about that, but Jackie asserts that the separation must happen. Manaphy is the prince of the sea, and it’s his responsibility to lead all of the Water Pokemon at the sea temple – What? Since when?

From the way you guys were talking earlier, it sounded like there were a bunch of Manaphy at the sea temple. Why is this one specifically destined to be leader? Where are Manaphy’s real parents? Did it just spawn from nothing? Why wasn’t the egg anywhere near the sea temple to start out with? Where did this thing come from?

It now makes perfect sense that they gave Manaphy the ability to talk. What better way to juice some more emotion from this forced separation than having Manaphy keeping parroting ‘Happy’ and ‘Love you’ over and over?

May runs off crying at Jackie’s words and Manaphy swimming around outside of the glass. Lizabeth tries to console her by saying in a totally not caring voice ‘I know it’s hard.’ Then May completely breaks down sobbing in her arms.

Hey, what do ya know? They are being followed Phantom in his underwater tank thing. Who woulda thunk?

That night, they stop for a while and Manaphy starts singing on a rock, calling the Water Pokemon of the sea to gather around him…..It’s not a terrible song, but it’s definitely not giving off the striking beauty I imagine they wanted from this scene. Manaphy’s voice just sounds a bit too whiny for that. I know during the singing parts that they’re using Manaphy’s Japanese voice, but that doesn’t change my opinion.

Lizabeth then gives May her bracelet, which is actually a mark of the people of the water. I feel like this movie would’ve fit better if Misty were still around. Who better to be a pseudo person of the water than someone who strives to be a Water Pokemon master? Then again, her having two baby Pokemon who grew attached to her as a mother through imprinting might be incredibly redundant.

The next day, Manaphy comes up from dicking around in the water to eat lunch and it starts looking for May. As a way to keep them separated, Ash lets out all of his Pokemon so they can dick around in the water with Manaphy. *sigh*

May tries to put her bandana on, but it flies off with the wind. Manaphy, seeing this, goes after her bandana, even though it keeps getting carried away by various Water Pokemon. And because the most intelligent thing you can do with a baby Pokemon who is leading you to a legendary sea temple that hardly anyone ever gets to see while you’re being pursued by a bunch of criminals who want both Manaphy and the sea crown that is at said sea temple is lose sight of him for hours on end……..they lose Manaphy for hours on end. They decide that they have to find him with a submarine.

May blames herself for Manaphy’s disappearance, claiming it probably ran away because of how she was treating it….Uh….huh? Treating it how? Last time she saw Manaphy, she ran off crying. Last time Manaphy looked for May, Ash distracted it. She never once yelled at him or pushed him away or anything.

Phantom begins to make his move, and Manaphy manages to finally retrieve May’s bandana. Ya know, May doesn’t seem too attached to that bandanna. She loses it, doesn’t say anything about it and walks around like nothing happened.

After some nauseating CGI Pokemon shots and May crazily talking to a window, Manaphy somehow manages to find them. However, they quickly get caught in a riptide. Lizabeth loses control of the submarine and radio contact with Ship, Kyle and Merideth. Manaphy, who has no problem in the current, directs them away. Not like that matters because Lizabeth clearly said she lost control of the submarine, meaning she can’t direct it anywhere and they can’t follow Manaphy.

So they follow Manaphy and make it safely out of the riptide. *cough*

Because they managed to time this right as a lunar eclipse was occurring, Ash and the others vanish underwater. As the eclipse starts, the moon turns red, which somehow turns the water purple…..oh I get it….red plus blue equals purple…..

The sea temple is revealed to all, and they finally notice that Phantom is following them.

I don’t know why, but everyone’s VA is being just terrible in these past ten minutes or so. They’ve actually been pretty decent (major exclusion being Kyle’s VA) up until now. I don’t know what happened.

They arrive at the pretty-but-not-that-unique-or-fantastical sea temple where they realize that they can both exit the water within it and breathe the air, despite still being extremely deep underwater.

They make their way into the temple and Manaphy starts singing. The temple seemingly sings back and May’s bracelet and Lizabeth’s necklace start to glow in response. The cascading waterfalls which were blocking a pathway then open, allowing them to pass.

Phantom arrives and follows closely after the group, taking the time to laugh maniacally. Team Rocket, having stowed away in an empty tank, emerge to follow him.

Jessie: “Treasure….”

James: “Diamonds and pearls….”

Meowth: “Let’s get through this season first.”

Ya know, I let the earlier utterance of ‘diamonds and pearls’ go because, despite being blatant plugging for the next generation, it still fit the lines of treasure and whatnot. So you decide to not just push the plug button again, but this time you’re so unabashedly blatant about it that you’re breaking the fourth wall to drill it into our heads that Pokemon Diamond and Pearl is what you’re really talking about.

Bite me.

Not only is this stupid and unnecessary, but how terrible of an idea is this from a writing perspective? “This movie/season/generation in general is such a chore to get through that we feel compelled to remind the audience that this will be ending soon and the totally much better Diamond and Pearl will be starting up in the near future.”

Back with Ash and the others, they make their way to some room with a big plaque in it but can’t decipher what it says. Suddenly, Phantom appears behind them, stating that he can read it just fine, and that it’s pointless to stop him because, even combined, they have no chance….Uh, why? I mean, this isn’t an advisable place to have a Pokemon battle, but, together, they have a hell of a lot of Pokemon and Phantom has like three.

He reads the plaque, which says that the door can only be opened by someone with the mark of the people of the water. Behind the door lies the sea crown, and anyone who wears the sea crown is the king of the sea.

He reveals his mark of the people of the water and all he says on how he obtained it was that he went to a lot of trouble to get it. Okie dokie.

He uses the mark to reveal the lock and somehow knows the combination to get in.

Back on the surface, the eclipse is ending so Jackie and the others lose sight of the temple.

Phantom and the others reach the sea crown, which is a big cluster of crystals about 15 feet high encased in suspended water….How do you wear that?

Manaphy happily jumps from May’s arms and into the water to swim around. However, when Phantom tries to pull some of the crystal out of the sea crown, he sends Manaphy, now trying to protect it, flying out of the water and onto the floor, causing it to start crying.

Gee, I sure hope that screwing around with this ancient mystical treasure doesn’t trigger some massive terrible event.

So the massive terrible event starts with the water that was encasing the sea crown suddenly bursting. Most water juts from the walls, nearly knocking everyone over the edge of the platform they’re on. From the outside, Jackie, having captured a Mantyke, observes the temple comimg back into view with odd beams of light shooting around it.

After Max nearly falls to his death, Lizabeth convinces Ash and the others to leave the temple, essentially leaving Phantom to destroy the crown and the temple, much to the dismay of Lizabeth.

Insatiable greed leading to the certain doom of our enemy? You spoil me with cliches, movie.

Ash and the others make it back to the submarine where they meet up with Jackie who proceeds to go take down Phantom while they escape. Jackie starts taking crystals from Phantom and putting them back into the sea crown, but Phantom manages to corner him as they fight over one of the crystals. More water bursts from the walls, causing Jackie and Phantom to lose their balance and fall into the water. Phantom goes down one underwater tunnel while Jackie has no choice but to be sucked into another. Phantom loses the crystal down a water chute and cannot follow after it.

As they’re about to leave, Manaphy decides to make one final effort to save the sea temple. It bursts from May’s arms, swims up the waterways and attempts to return the crystals back to the crown, though he can barely lift any of them. Ash and May jump in to help only to find that, once all of the crystals in the room were replaced, one is still missing.

Phantom and Team Rocket wrestle for the sub, but end up getting waterlogged, blasting Team Rocket off and showing that their role in this movie was more pointless than usual. Jackie, who has amazing balance to be standing on the edge of a dome like that, jumps onto Phantom’s sub and takes it, along with his Chatot.

Ash and May get lost trying to find a way out of the somewhat ironically sinking sea temple and end up conveniently stumbling across the final crystal. Ash grabs it before the place floods some more, and they also conveniently stumble upon the tank Team Rocket was in earlier. He puts Manaphy, May and Pikachu inside of it, claiming he has to return the crystal and save the sea temple.

Uh….Ash….I applaud you for your bravery and selflessness. Really, I do….even if this is just you forcing yourself to take the reigns as hero during a movie where another character is technically the main protagonist again. However, I have to ask….you’re really going to seemingly sacrifice your life…for….this? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful building that is important to a near extinct culture who doesn’t get explored much, and a bunch of Water Pokemon, I guess. Still, we don’t know why it’s such a literal life or death situation to save this place outside of it being something important to a handful of people.

Yeah, Manaphy can’t take his rightful place as king of the sea without the sea crown, for some reason, but we never know why that’s so necessary anyway. Really, the only consequence is one Jackie explained earlier.

Jackie: “Remember that Manaphy is the prince of the sea and destined to become leader of all the sea temple Pokemon.”

Got news for you, buddy. There are no sea temple Pokemon. In this whole huge temple, there are no Pokemon at all. The only Pokemon we see here outside of ones owned by the characters are ones outside of the temple, and there aren’t even that many of them. If those are the Pokemon he’s talking about, they seem to do fine without Manaphy.

Ash: “Alright, time to go die for the sake of ancient architecture that almost no one can find, see or visit.”

I also feel compelled to ask the obvious….What does it matter….if an UNDERWATER SEA TEMPLE sinks? The sea temple is encased in an air bubble, but are you seriously telling me that the people of the water made an underwater sea temple that couldn’t handle being flooded?

It might mess up some of the décor, but I don’t see why it’d be so damaging. People don’t even go there anymore, and the Water Pokemon who are supposedly so reliant on it would be able to access it with no problem even if it was entirely flooded because they’re Water Pokemon. In fact, Ash and the others could just give one of their Water Pokemon the crystal and tell them to put it back after they got back to the sub or boat, fixing the problem and keeping everyone safe.

There is no logical reason whatsoever that Ash feels the need to basically die for this.

Just to get on another stupid rant, that tank doesn’t look like it can be controlled, is motorized or even looks like it would float. May and Pikachu might be as good as dead in that thing anyway. To prove my point….it doesn’t. Yeah, the next few times we see them, the tank is just sitting underwater. I guess it could be that he put them there to keep them safe until he got back but;

1) He has no plan for getting them back to the boat even if he does survive and get back to the tank,

2) Does he think this thing won’t move?

For all he knew, he just put his friends in a tank that may have rolled off of the temple and sank to the bottom of the ocean where it would be crushed by the pressure.

Ash makes his way to the sea crown, and here’s something 4Kids would never keep – the shot of Lizabeth obviously praying. Though I have to wonder what deity the people of the water worship.

Ash wastes all of his air and energy trying to get the crystal freed after it gets stuck in a little nook. He falls unconscious and starts drowning while the crystal falls even deeper into the depths of the temple. May keeps hoping for Ash to be alright, and suddenly Manaphy demonstrates another power – makeshift telepathy. It places one tentacle on May’s head and another on the tank to somehow transmit May’s thoughts through the tank and the vast amounts of water between them to Ash, somehow waking him up and prompting him to swim to the surface and get a breath.

Manaphy a deus ex machina? Holy crap, you totally are a new temporary Togepi.

Ash gets a breath, the last one he’ll be able to get considering the space available above his head, and he rushes down to the crystal, back up to the sea crown and replaces it all in one go. Geez, Ash. Screw being a Pokemon Master. Go into professional swimming. You’ll clean up at the summer Olympics.

With the sea crown whole again, the temple glows and starts correcting itself – draining the water and floating back up. A bunch of golden tentacles grab the tank that May, Manaphy and Pikachu are in.

The temple, for some reason, surfaces even though it wasn’t on the surface before the crystals were removed. I will admit, in this one shot, despite the still incredibly questionable CGI, the temple looks pretty awesome.

The golden tentacle was nice enough to put the tank on a flat spot on the temple. May states that Ash must’ve saved the temple, but then they all start getting upset under the belief that Ash died in the process. Uh, if you know that Ash succeeded in replacing the crystal, why assume that he’s dead? I mean, sure, he could’ve drowned anyway, but the temple was draining water pretty quickly and surfaced even more quickly. If Ash has Olympic swimming chops, I’m pretty sure he’s fine.

Phantom pops back up (literally) and takes Manaphy away again, claiming that as long as he has Manaphy he can always find the temple again and get the crown…..which is stupid because he knows screwing with it causes it to sink. I suppose he could prep up in scuba gear and get it, I don’t know.

And here we are at what is supposedly the big scene of the movie. What the fans have coined as ‘Super Saiyan Ash.’

Let me back up. When the sea crown’s final crystal was replaced, it imbued Ash with the title of King of the Sea….because….doing that is equal to wearing it? As a result, he was cloaked in a golden aura, given the ability to breathe underwater, to swim incredibly fast and even, to a degree, fly. Which is another pseudo-theme in these movies.

Think about it – Ash is usually flying either through magic or riding on a Legendary Pokemon through many of the movies. Mewtwo’s Psychic abilities in 01, Lugia in 02, (Charizard might count a little in 03), Celebi’s Psychic abilities in 04, Latios in 05, half-counting Flygon in 06, Deoxys’ Psychic abilities in 07. The only movie I really can’t count is 08.

Ash and Phantom have an….’epic battle’ which is really just Ash chasing Phantom through the water as Phantom goes around in circles on his little metal jetski thinger that can also go underwater. Dude, just move away from the temple. You’re outrunning him pretty well. Just make your way to shore where he can’t touch you with these powers.

Phantom is suddenly faced with a ton of Water Pokemon when Kyogre pops up and pushes him back above water. Oh shi – did I mention Kyorge’s in this movie?! He’s appeared totally randomly in two shots and now he’s trying to be a part of the plot. Isn’t that cute?

Ash snatches Manaphy away from Phantom and he crashes into the water. It seems like they’re home free, but somehow Phantom managed to land directly on top of his big underwater tank sub thing. It’s now gunning for the sea temple, and the Water Pokemon are all trying to stop it. The tank uses its synthetic Supersonic, which confuses the Water Pokemon and shoos them away.

Manaphy breaks free of Ash and starts singing and glowing again….somehow calming all of the Water Pokemon down….I know I said I wanted Manaphy to have better powers, but it’s really just pulling stuff out of its ass at this point.

Manaphy sends the Water Pokemon off to charge the tank, slowing it down, nearly knocking Phantom off and cutting off their power supply.

Kyogre, under command of the riding Manaphy, uses Hyper Beam to blow apart the tank. Just when you think Phantom might finally be done, he reveals that he is strong enough to hold up a falling part of the tank with his mecha exo-skeleton they just decided to reveal under his clothes.

Okay, I guess that explains why he was strong enough to lift up a boulder with a person standing on it and throw it through the air….but….why have something as cool as a super strong mecha exo-skeleton and not only not visually put any focus on it but also not imply much with it? Yeah, he threw a big rock with a person on it, yeah he stopped falling steel from crushing him…..But that’s not doing nearly enough with that fairly unique-to-the-series dev—Oh nevermind, it broke and the steel ended up crushing him comically anyway. Whatever, movie.

Oh and upon the reveal of the mecha suit, that they can fully see and acknowledge by the way;

Jackie: “Wow, I didn’t think a guy like that took vitamins.”

…..I paused the video at this line because…it’s obviously meant to be a joke, they even pause afterward to give the audience time to laugh but….I don’t get it. He has a mecha exo-skeleton….vitamins….guy like that would….not take vitamins…but…he’s clearly using a mechanical device to lift these things….not…..why would….

If I had to make some weak correlation here, Phantom is a pirate and traditional pirates were known for getting scurvy due to lack of sources of vitamin C….But…he’s a modern day pirate. He obviously gets vitamin C….and even with that weak connection that I doubt they’re really making anyway, why the hell is that line proceeding a shot of Phantom lifting steel with the help of a mecha exo-skeleton!?

Wouldn’t this line have made just slightly more sense when Jackie was first facing Phantom? He….Oh wait….*rewind*

Jackie: *he and the boulder get thrown by Phantom* “Man, you’re strong Phantom. You take vitamins?”

……That was deemed funny enough for an end-of-movie throwback quip? One that doesn’t even make sense with the reveal of the exo-skeleton? Hell, even if he didn’t have that exo-skeleton, that line still wouldn’t make sense because why would he say he didn’t think Phantom was the type of guy who took vitamins if his first theory as to why Phantom was so strong before was that he took vitamins? You lazy unfunny non-sense-making bastards.

Later, everyone gets to go Super Saiyan and dick around in the water again because I suppose Ash can transfer the power to others or at least let them borrow it. Zooming out, we see that the many tentacles of the temple have webbed around the building to make a crown shape, what is truly the sea crown.

…..So you have to wear a building? I really am thinking about this way too much.

After the purty light show is over, the sea temple decides it’s time to go back underwater. That means that it’s also time to say goodbye to Manaphy. It jumps into May’s arms one last time and May tearfully makes her goodbye. Manaphy sends her off by saying ‘Love you’ again but this time adding ‘May.’ She tells her she loves him and then he says it again, this time adding ‘Mama,’ which kinda lessens the whole impact if you ask me. You already did the ‘May,’ you don’t need to add the ‘Mama.’

Manaphy hops out of May’s arms and back into the water, swimming towards the temple as May looks on with a bittersweet smile saying she’s not fine now, but she will be.

Our end credits song is replaying the song we got in the middle of the movie, just with lyrics now, “Together We Make a Promise” and I still like the song just fine. As for our end credits shots, of which most are painted, which is a nice change up, we get those completely pointless Ship fanboys greeting his return, Jackie and Officer Jenny hauling in the wrecked underwater tank thing along with a shot of Phantom and his first mate in chains, the group departing from Lizabeth and her family, then as we transition back to the animation we get….

Jackie capturing a random Zapdos and riding on it?

….Huh? Why did he capture a Zapdos? How did he capture a Zapdos so easily? How did he know a Zapdos was here? Do we just have easy access to legendaries now? I guess that would make sense considering Ash sees at least one a year. This is even more random than the Kyogre. At least that was a Water Pokemon who kinda belonged, even if it was unannounced and came from nowhere.

We then see Team Rocket cloaked in darkness with just their eyes visible (oh you silly cartoon tropes) when they suddenly get expelled with water upwards and we see that they were really inside a Wailord the whole time and it just shot them out of its blow hole….ewww.

Random Kyogre shot, then we see the sea temple littered with the Water Pokemon who were no where near it earlier, lead by the happy Manaphy. We get Ash and the others camping because that’s new, and an animation error that leaves the line for May’s closed smiling mouth on her face even though she’s now drinking, and then we see them walk off into the mountains.

The end.

———————————————-

First and foremost, this is not the worst Pokemon movie ever, but it’s up there because it’s just so incredibly sloppy.

Let’s address that title: Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea. Jackie’s not a huge part of this movie, nor is any other Ranger seen but him. He does talk to some unnamed woman at the Ranger station a few times, and there is a shot of a blue haired female Ranger during the ‘The World of Pokemon’ section, but that doesn’t really count.

We don’t learn much about Pokemon Rangers in this entire movie. We only learn that they protect wild Pokemon. We don’t learn about their practices, their training, why they use styluses to ‘capture’ Pokemon instead of using Pokeballs or anything. Don’t put something in the title of your movie if it doesn’t have that much bearing on anything in the movie. If you wanted, you could remove Jackie from this whole movie and it would only cause a few easily corrected problems.

Next, Manaphy, while it did grow on me, was still very annoying with its super high-pitched voice, wailing and repetitive talking. It was also incredibly inconsistent with its powers, going from a weird and seemingly useless ability to cause people and Pokemon to switch bodies to underwater makeshift telepathy and a widespread Pokemon calming ability, all of which seem to be emitted by the same light that comes from his head tentacles.

Manaphy didn’t seem to do much in the big finale. The Water Pokemon were already attacking the underwater tank thing – did they really need Manaphy almost comically yelling out ‘Manaaaa!’ with his arm pointing ahead for them to continue doing it once they weren’t caught in confusion anymore? Usually the featured legendary Pokemon gets the final big hurrah, but this time it just seemed like it was orchestrating it.

It’s really so necessary that Manaphy become king of the sea? Really? Because when the temple goes down, no one brings up that Manaphy can no longer do this. You’d think, as the temple was sinking, Jackie would yell something like ‘Oh no! If the temple sinks then Manaphy can’t become king and (more terrible thing) will happen!’ They don’t explain what his real role is anyway, just that he is meant to be a leader to a bunch of Pokemon who, by all means, have no reason for a leader.

Phantom was a joke as an enemy. I can say he’s the worst conceived Pokemon movie villain to date. Lawrence the Third may have been omitted from most of his movie, and the Iron-Masked Marauder may have had little backstory, but at least they seemed like threats and at least they seemed interesting.

They purposely made Phantom comical so the tension was almost entirely drained, leaving him almost as minor of a threat as Team Rocket. Despite giving him something cool that could’ve been pretty great in his super strong exo-skeleton, they waste it entirely. It’s almost like that was an afterthought to give him more of a threat when it was only used twice, both for completely pointless purposes.

They don’t even explain why he’s so dead-set on becoming king of the sea, or how he got that mark of the people of the water or how he knew the combinations to get into the locks throughout the temple or how he can read the language of the people of the water. I thought they’d reveal that he was a rogue descendant of theirs, but nope. If he is, they don’t mention a damn thing about it.

No backstory, no decent motivations and no threat = Terrible villain. That doesn’t have to really be a dealbreaker either, if the guy is funny enough, but he’s not. He’s not funny at all.

Lizabeth and her family were…fine. They’re supposed to represent the connections to the people of the water and how much the sea temple means to them, but their role was pretty weak. None of them made strong connections with the main characters. They tried to have May and Lizabeth bond a little when May started crying and when she gave her the mark of the people of the water, but it was really just one-note “Yeah, I know. That sucks” and “Here, have this bracelet.”

They also note on the Wiki that Lizabeth is one of the few girls that Brock lusts after that actually likes him back. Uh, where was that? I mean, yeah she talked about cooking with Brock once or twice, but that was about it. Lots of girls that Brock has lusted after have ‘liked’ him. Lizabeth never showed any inkling of liking him romantically.

Back to the family as a whole, they never talk about stuff from the culture of the people of the water, just that they were nomads who traveled the seas, lived alongside Water Pokemon and built a temple in their honor that works from some magic powers they somehow have but are never explained. They’re excited about seeing the sea temple, but don’t say or do much when they actually see it. Lizabeth does get a somber look on her face when she realizes they need to abandon the sea temple as it’s about to flood, but that’s it.

These people of the water just seem like madlibs entries no one built on. “And the (building) was built by the ancient (culture/race). And it’s totally important to them for (reasons).”

Brock and Max were more useless than usual this time around. They did 100% pure nothing. Just to drive that point home, I ctrl+f’d Brock’s name on this document, and the only times he’s notable enough to mention are when he explains who Lizabeth and her family are and me being confused as to why Ash and the others know what a Pokemon Ranger is already. Max nearly falls to his death and that sums up his role.

Team Rocket….I don’t even know why they’re in this movie, moreso than usual. It’s like they shoehorned them in under contractual obligation. They alert Phantom to Manaphy’s location, pointlessly swap bodies just to pointlessly display Manaphy’s pointless power, become the janitorial service for Phantom and spend about three scenes giggling about how they’ll get treasure only to be easily pushed out of the movie by the flood waters never to be seen again until the end credits.

PM09SCREEN33

Now for the biggest issue – Ash completely hijacked this movie from May.

I was actually going to praise this movie for a while because, while being a complete rip-off of movie 06, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I liked movie 06 and how they handled Jirachi and Max’s relationship. Sure, May and Manaphy’s scenes were mostly just dicking around in the water and super gushy cutesy scenes, but they were fine. It’s understandable for May to get so attached to Manaphy and vice versa, much in the same vein as Misty and Togepi. Even though it seems like they unnecessarily crammed days worth of bonding in when, in movie 06, the days of bonding and travel had a purpose in that they were waiting for the comet…

…..Wait, in this movie they’re waiting for an eclipse. Do you have no shame, movie 09?

It seems all fine until we get to that climax when Ash wrestles the limelight away from her and suddenly decides to risk/sacrifice his life for the sake of the temple. Sure, Ash is self-sacrificing, but he has no emotional connection to this place nor is it really that big of a deal if he lets it sink.

If this wasn’t a life sacrificing/largely risky task, it would be more understandable, but from the way it’s presented, it seems like Ash is really going off to die in order to just possibly save the temple – and, he does nearly end up dying. The only reason he didn’t was because of Manaphy’s grab bag of powers.

Why did the focus suddenly shift to Ash to the point where we got a superhero-esque confrontation out of it? Why did it shift to him at all?

In movie 06, Ash stayed away from the limelight because it was Max’s movie. He did do one heroic thing because main character, but he never stole the show from Max. The climax was more of a team effort with Ash, Max and Butler if anything. Contrast that to movie 04, where one of the main negatives there was Ash stealing the show from Sam and, to a lesser extent, his relationship to Celebi. We’re moving backwards in character and storytelling progression as we move forward in movies.

There’s no reason whatsoever why May couldn’t have been the one to go down there and fix the sea crown. Absolutely none. Given everything that has been built up until this point, it’s almost like they intended to have that happen in the first few drafts then changed it to Ash at the last second because main character.

Think about it. May has that dream about Manaphy, which Lizabeth says indicates that she may somehow be a descendant of the people of the water. It’s unfounded and unexplored, but there you go. Lizabeth also gives May one of her marks of the people of the water.

These facts seem to nudge that May would be the one to save the sea crown and become king queen of the sea.

Not to mention that she has way more motivation than Ash does. Let me rewrite this entire ending for you.

May, realizing that her beloved Manaphy will never become king of the sea without the sea crown intact and the temple back to its former glory, decides she must sacrifice herself to restore the crown. When they find the tank, she shoves Manaphy into Ash’s arms and explains what she must do. He tries to talk her out of it, but she stands firm in her resolve. Ash begrudgingly accepts this and wishes her luck before they enter the tank and lock the door.

May makes her way through the temple, reaches the crown and drops the crystal. As she attempts to retrieve it, she runs out of air and loses consciousness. Manaphy, sensing May is in danger, transfers its own thoughts to May, saying ‘Love you’ a couple of times before saying ‘Love you, May!’, which triggers her mark of the people of the water and wakes her up. She gets one more breath, grabs the crystal and puts it back in the crown. The sea crown, recognizing May’s mark of the people of the water and maybe her possible people of the water bloodline, gives her the powers of the queen of the sea.

After the crown is restored and the temple surfaces, Phantom steals Manaphy yet again. Sensing Manaphy’s in danger, due to her queen of the sea-ness, May bursts from the water with her new Super Saiyan powers and takes on Phantom, retrieving her beloved Manaphy and earning a touching reunion.

Later, after the climax, she and Manaphy say their goodbyes and she transfers her queen of the sea powers to Manaphy before he jumps back into the ocean and leaves.

That was a tiny bit fanfic-y, but it makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? The whole flow of the movie gets derailed because Ash couldn’t help himself but be hero when it clearly wasn’t his movie. Meanwhile, our supposed heroine gets to sit still in a tin can literally just hoping the hero can save the day. I’m glad they didn’t have her tears or something transfer to Ash too because my eyeballs practically escaped my skull from how hard I was rolling them during the finale of the temple scene.

I’m trying really hard to not put a sexist slant on this, but it’s very difficult. All May does the entire movie is react to stuff, cry and be a mama to a baby. She’s not even the one who saves Max from nearly falling pointlessly to his death – Lizabeth was. In fact, Lizabeth does way more in this movie than May does, and even she does less than Ash.

Admittedly, May does help put the crystals back in the sea crown, but that was only because she was stupidly running after Manaphy. Yeah, sure wouldn’t want Manaphy to get trapped in this sinking building….the one falling underwater…..where he’s strongest….can swim against all currents….and can easily breathe. Oh no.

Plus, as you already know, she didn’t even do that alone – Ash helped there too.

Not that this movie’s story is all that much to get excited over anyway. It could’ve been worse, but we’ve seen this same exact story several times in this movie series already. It’s like a mish-mash of several Pokemon movies with a new coat of paint, and the paint is smelly and pea colored. If you’re going to rip-off other movies, especially in your own damn universe, you have to bring new things to the table that make it unique and interesting to allow it to stand on its own.

But no. We get an annoying mix of Togepi with a cutesy legendary, a bunch of dicking around in the water, a villain who is completely forgettable and non-threatening, side characters who are completely forgettable, a Pokemon Ranger whose character is mostly wasted, random appearances from other legendaries to, I guess, make it more interesting, and the only things standing out being hilariously awful CGI and Super Saiyan Ash. Even the names in this movie were forgettable placeholders; Phantom, the people of the water, the sea temple, the sea crown, the prince of the sea and the king of the sea.

It’s not a huge chore to sit through, I wouldn’t even say it’s unpleasant, but if you asked me if I’d be interested in watching this movie again I’d probably say no. There’s no reason for me to ever watch this again…..even though I have to when I do the subbed version review.

I will say that the soundtrack for this movie is fantastic and that the climax was fun and impacting, but otherwise this movie is bland, boring, sloppy and disappointing. Seriously, guys, this is what you follow up Lucario and the Mystery of Mew with? I guess you were serious when you said this is something to ‘get through’ until we get to Diamond and Pearl.

Recommended Audience: Nothing happens. E for everyone.


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My Poke-Pinions: 023-024 The Ekans Line

Ekans

Name: Ekans is merely ‘snake’ spelled backwards, which seems kinda lazy, but I actually really like it. Not only is it snappy and memorable, but the ‘s’ at the end makes it sound really snake-like when Ekans says its. Ekanssssssss.

Its Japanese name is Arbo, which is mean to be an anagram of ‘boa’….but I can’t figure out where the r is coming from. And, yes, it is also strange that Arbo is so very close to Arbok but seemingly has no connection. *shrug*

No real fun name facts this time.

Design: Ekan’s design is very simple, it’s pretty much just an average snake design, but they do plenty with it to make it stand out and be pretty cool. First of all, major points for the purple. Considering purple is my favorite color, you’ll probably hear me say that for any Poison type Pokemon, but this shade is particularly nice. I also love how they break it up with bright stripes of yellow. That is very much in keeping with snakes having bright color patterns a lot of the time, and it makes it unique.

I also really like its eyes, and I think it’s kinda adorable that it doesn’t have teeth.

In the realm of sprites, Gen 1 is okay. R/B is awkward because they made Ekans really thin and made its head a bit too big.

Yellow’s is more on-point.

Green’s is—

PBBBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTTHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!…HAHAHAHAH! Ow, my ribs hurt! What did they do to you, Ekans? You look like a derpy duck! AHAHAHAHAHA! Who looked at that and thought it was okay for the final product? *sigh* Oh man. I needed that.

*clears throat*

Gen II is fine, but I can’t help but think Crystal’s animation is making him vomit.

Gen III is also fine, but the animation for Emerald is way too goofy. Why are they making him stretch so much?

Gen IV is, again, fine, but they still keep making goofy animations for it. These are the best ones so far, but it’s still just weird. I get that they’re probably going for a biting/lunging motion, but it just looks off.

Gen V is really good. This one is constantly animated and, even though it’s just swaying back and forth, it’s the best animation for it yet.

The rest of the Gens are average looking.

Shiny:

Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Ekans shiny has always been and continues to be one of my absolute least favorite shinies. It’s some disgusting combo of urine yellow, puke green and just a hint of brown. I don’t know who approved this shiny design, but ew.

I think Ekans is one of those Pokemon that could’ve made off with a pallet swap shiny. Bright yellow with purple stripes would’ve worked. I don’t much care for most yellow shinies, but it would’ve been a better idea than whatever this is.

Cry/Voice: I love Ekans’ voice, even though, if you hear it for long enough IE, if it has a main role in an episode, like the Island of Giant Pokemon, it gets grating fast. Like I mentioned, though, the ‘s’ at the end makes for a good snake-ish sound when held.

Ekans’ game cry is great. It’s low-pitched and foreboding yet has a rumble to it like a rattle (Rattlesnake!)

Dex Entries and Backstory: We never get an anime Dex entry for Ekans and that rustles my jimmies.

Other than that, its Dex entries are rather basic. It’s literally nothing that doesn’t describe most snakes. It eats bird eggs, it can unhinge its jaw and it doesn’t have any poison (Venom…) when it is first born, so its bites are painful, but harmless.

One entry that did tickle my funny bone was X’s and Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee that explains…..Ekans grows longer as it ages…..

Whoa.

Are you telling me that living beings get bigger as they grow up!? You are the most useful Pokedex in Pokemon history.

In terms of design, Ekans is based off of a boa and a rattlesnake with some ring-necked snake and Indian cobra mixed in. It’s also noted that, due to the signature move of Ekans and Arbok being Glare, that it was also partially based on a basilisk, a mythological serpent that could kill people with its glare.

Arbok

Name: Keeping in the same backwards word theme as Ekans, Arbok is Kobra spelled backwards….What?…..K is cooler than C, alright?

I really like Arbok as a name. It’s even snappier than Ekans, and I love how, in the anime, the inflection on the name when said by the Pokemon sounds just as snake-like as Ekans does on the ‘s.’ They even add a ‘cha’ sound to the start sometimes to make it more audibly snake-like (Akin to the sound of it striking, and in the case of some cobras, spitting!)

Interestingly enough, in the Japanese version, it’s still Arbok….Yup….from Arbo….to Arbok….Top tier name work, Japanese staff.

Also, I still have no interesting name facts here because almost every instance of Arbok outside of English just calls it Arbok…..except Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese….which, for some reason, add the character for ‘freak’ at the end of it….Rude.

Design: I absolutely adore the design of Arbok. It’s simple, yes, and just as basic as Ekans at it’s core, but the added cobra hood, the cool designs on the inside of the hood, the much larger size and really well-designed head make this a fantastic design. And, of course, major points for the purple with the colors on the hood breaking it up.

In terms of sprites, the only note I have about Gen I is the weird addition of stripes to the hood when seen from the back. I have no clue why those were deemed necessary, and I’m glad they got rid of them in subsequent games.

In Gen II, Crystal has a really awesome animation.

Nothing really of note in Gen III onward.

Shiny:

I feel really weird saying this after so many instances of me ragging on similarly colored shinies, but I actually really like Arbok’s shiny. I think this shade of yellow brings about more of a gold/bronze vibe than it does….puke or urine. Plus, I really love the tiny bits of blue in there. It breaks it up just as much as the yellow and red do on the original design, and I adore that shade of blue.

If I had a major criticism there, it’d be that Gen II’s shiny is way off the mark. It’s like a moldy green color mixed with purple.

Cry/Voice: I love Arbok’s voice, and unlike Ekans’ it doesn’t get grating after a while. Like I mentioned in the name section, when spoken, the voice actor makes a sound kinda like a spitting cobra going ‘CHAAABOK!’ It sounds close enough to the actual name to sound Pokemon-ish without just sounding like a dude doing a Pokemon voice.

Its game cry is good and threatening, but there’s no snake-like vibe to it and it sounds a bit too much like a spaceship crashing on an Atari 2600.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Like Ekans, Arbok has never had an in-anime Dex entry, which is bunk (I’m still angry Ash never bothered Dexing Arbok and Weezing when they debuted…) but, at the very least, it got one in the manga, Pokemon Adventures.

Many of Arbok’s Dex entries talk about the markings on its belly, which vary from region to region, and supposedly there are only six confirmed patterns in Gen I, however, this has been updated in Gen VI to 20 patterns……BUT then it goes and contradicts itself. In Ultra Sun, they say they updated the amount to 20, but in Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, it reverts back to six.

Believe it or not, they actually make good on this claim – Arbok does indeed have slightly different markings based on the region in which it’s found. That’s pretty cool.

Arbok uses the patterns on its chest/belly to intimidate foes before trying to poison or crush them. Arbok’s crushing ability is so powerful that it can easily crush steel drums, and it’s said you will never get away if it has you in its grasp.

While this isn’t mentioned in the Dex entries, the Wiki page notes that it’s possible for Arbok to regrow any part of its body if its cut off. Noted from the anime, it can detect vibrations and spend a lot of time underwater.

In terms of design, Arbok is based on an Indian Cobra, and the note about the possible connection to a basilisk that Ekans had is included in Arbok’s.

Next up, the prodigal Pokemon itself, Pikachu gets covered as I go over the entire ‘chu line (Pichu included, despite going in numerical order.)


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A Very Pokemon Holiday Special Analysis: Snow Way Out!

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 1

CotD(s): None

Pre-Analysis Notes: This set of notes will be very brief since, unlike Holiday Hi-Jynx, this episode was treated like any other once it was finally released.

Snow Way Out was an episode that also got bumped back in air date due seemingly to focusing on snow and winter (it’s not really winter, they’re just on a snowy mountain) when the episodes, due to being reordered after the Pokemon Shock incident hiatus, would not air in wintertime. Instead, the episode aired alongside Holiday Hi-Jynx (Rougela’s Christmas) on October 5th 1998, and one week after Holiday Hi-Jynx in the English dub in America on December 18th 1999.

Like in Holiday Hi-Jynx, this airing spawned some confusion because, again, Charizard was back to being a Charmander and actually showcasing his care and devotion to Ash.

Unlike Holiday Hi-Jynx, which left me feeling mostly confused and weirded out, this episode turned out to be one of my personal favorites. It’s not perfect by any means, but I’ve always really loved it.

You may be wondering why I’m lumping this in with my holiday special series…….Well………Snow…..Errr…..LOOK OVER THERE! *runs away*

Plot: On his way to his next Gym match, Ash and the others come to a fork in the road. They don’t know which way to go, but the path Ash wants to traverse surely goes through a mountain range. Misty and Brock try to talk him out of going that way, but he won’t listen – welcoming the challenge of the mountain like a ‘true Pokemon Master.’

They quickly realize the mountains are vast and frigid, and it doesn’t take them long to get lost. When a blizzard hits, they try to set up camp, but Pikachu suddenly gets blown away. Ash pursues him, but Brock stops Misty from following out of fear of them all getting even more lost, leaving Ash and his Pokemon out in the snowy wilderness alone.

Ash finds Pikachu through the snow by the echoing sounds of his voice. He’s hanging from the edge of a cliff side. Ash nearly loses Pikachu, but uses Bulbasaur to save him. Realizing Misty and Brock are nowhere to be found, Ash decides to make a snow cave with Charmander’s fire. Once him and his other Pokemon seal the cave off with snow, they warm up by Charmander’s tail flame.

Meanwhile, Jessie enjoys herself in the snow with fond memories of her mother feeding her foods made out of snow – what she called a ‘snowgasbord,’ much to the disgust of James and Meowth. However, later, they find themselves wrapped up in the same blizzard and try to keep themselves warm in an igloo with a candle and some burned out matches, to no avail.

Back with Ash and the other Pokemon, Charmander’s tail flame is weakening. He’s expelling too much energy, but doesn’t want to go back in his Pokeball because he both wants to stay by Ash and he knows he’s a great source of heat for him, being his only Fire Pokemon. Ash forces him to go anyway – same for Squirtle and Bulbasaur, who are equally resistant. He can’t force Pikachu, however, who is desperate to help keep Ash warm no matter what.

Ash further keeps his Pokemon warm by wrapping up his Pokeballs in his vest. However, his situation soon becomes worse when a large hole develops in the snow wall that is sealing up the cave. He uses his back to plug the hole and retain the warmth in the cave, but his back being exposed to the wind is causing him to become much colder.

He once again demands that Pikachu go into his Pokeball to keep warm, but Pikachu is adamant against it. Ash’s Pokemon all release themselves from their Pokeballs and cuddle around Ash to keep him warm.

Touched by their sacrifice, Ash relents and tearfully allows them to stay out, holding them close as they try to bear the cold of the storm.

The following morning, the storm lets up. Ash is found by Brock and Misty who relay that they had a remarkably comfortable night near a hot spring that Onix dug out for them when they were making a snow cave of their own. Furthermore, they reveal that they found Team Rocket’s balloon. It’s out of fuel, but Brock utilizes Vulpix’s flame to get them airborne and head to the nearest town for some much needed warmth and food.

Team Rocket, seeing their balloon, tries to give chase, but they fall into a hot spring. The delightful warmth is most welcome after the chilly night, but they soon find themselves in a pickle. It’s too cold to get out of the spring, but it’s also too hot to stay in. Don’t worry, though – they’ll eventually find their way back.

————————-

– I love how Ash calls Pikachu ‘Pik’ here. Apparently I’m in the minority, though, because most people seem to hate it.

– It should be noted that they did pack blankets – Brock and Misty are draped in a couple – but Ash didn’t? I guess Brock might be carrying all of the important items – afterall, he does carry the camping stuff, the cooking tools, the map, the compass, the medicine etc. but do they not realize how misguided and, quite frankly, unfair it is to have one person carrying all of this important stuff? I mean, golly, it’d sure be unfortunate if Misty or, say, Ash got separated from Brock in a dangerous area, leaving them without any survival gear or even the bare necessities….But that’d never happen! 😀

– Wow, Ash using Pidgeotto in a clever manner. Consider this moment cherished.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 2

– I understand that it’s still snowy and cold, but it seems weird that James, who is the most dressed person in the main cast (Wearing a long-sleeve shirt with an undershirt as well as gloves and boots) is shivering. Meanwhile, hothead Ash is walking along in his regular clothes with no blanket and is not bothered in the slightest.

– I actually find it kinda funny that Meowth is also taken aback by Jessie’s childhood story of eating a bunch of ‘foods’ made of snow. Yes, it’s weird, but Meowth, being a former street cat, most likely had to eat out of the garbage for a good chunk of his life.

– Since we’ll probably never get a chance to discuss this here, let me take some time out to explore more of Jessie’s backstory – more specifically, her mother. (Courtesy of Dogasu at Bulbagarden who gave a great synopsis of the radio/CD drama in which this story unfolds, which I highly suggest you read if you’d like to learn more about this story or the backstory of Pokemon the First Movie)

Prepare yourself, because I’m about to make a super depressing episode of Pokemon about a million times sadder.

Our story starts 20 years ago (which kinda adds more confusion to Jessie’s age…) Jessie’s mom, who is never given an English name, but whose Japanese name is Miyamoto, was a Team Rocket agent who was hard up for money because she wanted to give her daughter a good life. One day, Miyamoto recorded the sounds of a Mew in the Andes Mountains in South America. If they could capture Mew, her boss, who was Giovanni’s mother, would be extremely pleased and Miyamoto would be able to give Musashi (Jessie) a great life.

Spurred by this information, Miyamoto is sent on a mission with two other Team Rocket agents to explore the area in which the footage was recorded, find Mew and capture it.

Sadly, she would never return.

And even sadder, this story would take a turn that, probably very unintentionally, is somewhat reminiscent of both Jessie’s story and the current story unfolding.

Miyamoto and her team got lost in the snowy mountains. Her two teammates were separated from her some time ago, and she’s been lost for years, constantly keeping hold of a lone photograph of her and her daughter. Despite the horrible situation she’s in, she continues the pursuit of Mew in hopes of capturing it, returning home and giving Musashi that great life she always planned to give her.

As she’s caught in a blizzard, the snow suddenly stops and Mew appears close to her. She’s ecstatic. She actually ASKS Mew if it will let itself be captured because she wants to use the money to pay for pre-school and daycare, but Mew runs off. Miyamoto takes chase, but ends up getting wrapped up in an avalanche that propels her even further into the tundra.

They seem to imply that Miyamoto dies, but the other episodes show brief glimpses of Miyamoto – she’s still alive. She’s been lost in the snowy mountains ever since then, waiting for Mew, each time skip giving her a new reason to want money for her daughter (elementary school, entrance exams, a wedding etc.) Eventually, she develops mental problems or memory issues because she seemingly forgets Musashi and why she needed to capture Mew in the first place, but she knows she’s determined to capture Mew no matter what.

According to Team Rocket’s logs, her whereabouts remain unknown and she’s considered dead.

I’ve known for quite some time that Jessie’s mom was a fellow Team Rocket member, but I never read the drama’s full story before. And all I can say is…..wow. Miyamoto was so concerned over giving her daughter a good life that she basically sacrificed hers to have that chance. (Also, the other Team Rocket members who were with her supposedly died, considering the narration states none of them were ever heard from again.)

Now she’s a mentally-diminished old lady waiting on a frigid mountaintop for a Mew who might not even be there at all (It’s quite possible the first sighting was a hallucination – but I’ll concede that the audio recording was real) all for…something she can’t even remember anymore.

That hits the top of the list of saddest stories told in the Pokemon anime. Sure, she was still a criminal, but she was a criminal for the sake of her daughter – a daughter who probably doesn’t remember her at all since she was likely just a baby when Miyamoto left.

And let’s not overlook the fact that I guess Musashi never had a father either.

It’s especially sad considering how Jessie turned out. She’s incredibly vain, selfish and mean. I won’t go far as to say she’s evil, but she aspires to be. And she lives a rather terrible existence otherwise. She spends her days starving to death in a hot air balloon following around a ten year old potato and his Pikachu in the hopes of maybe catching some Pokemon to make her boss happy.

She did need Miyamoto. She did need that money. Who knows how Jessie’s life would have turned out had Miyamoto caught Mew or even if she simply returned and waited for another big score while caring for her daughter.

I doubt Musashi even knows this story. Her mother is seldom brought up in the first place, this episode being pretty much the only allusion to her, and she doesn’t bring up how brave her mom was or how much she misses her or a desire to get money so she can go to South America to find her mother.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 3

It’s questionable whether the woman in the episode is Miyamoto given the timelines. It’s quite possible it’s a foster mother/adoptive mother or guardian, but I like to believe it is Miyamoto just because it’s even more depressing to believe Miyamoto did all of that for a daughter who doesn’t even remember her while simultaneously suffering for a daughter she doesn’t remember. Maybe just have it so Musashi never knew her mother was a Team Rocket member or something, or that she was so low-ranked that no one else bothered to tell her about her.

……….Merry Christmas!

– Wait, so all of their food and supplies are in the balloon. Jessie, with a brilliant idea to keep them from starving, offers to make snow rolls. However, she can’t make snow rolls without soy sauce, which is in the balloon, so she decides to continue pursuing the balloon, but James and Meowth don’t seem to want to do that, which is weird because if they find the balloon….they’ll get back their food and supplies and really won’t need to eat Jessie’s weird soy sauce’d snow rolls.

– So either no one offered Ash a blanket even when the blizzard started rolling in, he was too stubborn to take one, he doesn’t have his own and/or Brock didn’t pack one for him. All of these options are equally stupid.

– It was really a good idea to get Ash to relent on making camp by explaining that a real Pokemon Master would never wander around in a snowstorm in the dark. However, a real Pokemon Master probably wouldn’t choose to traverse a snowy mountain range for no reason simply as a ‘challenge’ when there is a perfectly safe and warm trail available.

– The wind is strong enough to blow Pikachu out of Ash’s arms and hurdle him like a quarter mile away, but Ash’s hat stays firmly on his head.

– The entire sequence in the blizzard is very powerful. I remember being legitimately shocked when Ash couldn’t grab Pikachu’s paw and he fell.

– Hey he’s using Bulbasaur’s abilities cleverly too. Yay!

However, in any other circumstance, like the one that follows, Bulbasaur would just grab Pikachu by wrapping him in the vines, not have Pikachu try to hold onto the vine in all this wind and snow.

– Lol Pikachu’s Brock impression.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 4

– Brock never said anything about making a snow cave. He just said ‘It’s best to dig in and let it (the storm) blow over.’

– Using Charmander in a clever way! I like Ash so much in this episode….I mean….not in the minutes leading up to them getting lost because he’s being a stubborn idiot, but now I do!

– Another good use of Charmander, but if Charmander is shivering too, how will his own tail flame heat him up? Does that make sense or no?

– You want to know what else I was thinking about during this particular part of the episode? It sure reminds me of the Orange League episode where Charizard finally behaves.

In that episode, Charizard was frozen in a block of ice by an enemy Poliwrath. His life was in danger because of it. In a desperate effort to warm Charizard up and keep his tail flame from going out, Ash spent all night rubbing Charizard with blankets and his bare hands, resulting in his hands getting roughed up and him becoming exhausted. It was through this display of caring and devotion that Charizard finally broke free of his dumbass-with-amnesia-I-guess syndrome and finally stopped being a jerk.

I have to wonder if either of them remembered this moment in that Orange League episode, because it’s rather poignant. When Charizard was a Charmander, he suffered to save Ash’s life by warming him up, then much later down the line Ash does the same for him.

It’s something sweet to ponder anyway.

– Team Rocket has no emergency supplies, blankets, nothing….but one of them, for some reason, had a birthday candle on them.

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 5

(I’m aware it’s a digitally painted match)

Being fair, though, warming up by a candle is much more efficient than using a match.

– Wait, what? When it’s lit, they have to paint the match to look like a candle. But when it’s not lit/burned out, they can show the matches no problem. Again, 4Kids, you’re kinda screwing up your message. I assume you don’t want kids to play with matches, which is why you censored the lit one, but showing a lit match shows kids that matches start fires, which is important information for them to know and acts as a warning to not play with them

Also, for the sake of transparency, 24 seconds of footage was removed from this episode purely because of shots with Team Rocket holding lit matches. Time well spent…

– It’s really sweet how none of the Pokemon want to leave Ash to go into their Pokeballs…..but why is Pikachu the only one he allows to stay out?

– I refuse to believe Ash doesn’t have anything useful in his backpack. Surely he at least has 30 changes of underwear his mother packed for him that he can huddle under.

– I love how Ash is freezing to death but he’s more concerned about his Pokemon, who are even now in their Pokeballs.

– Ash sacrificing his vest to help keep his Pokeballs warm is really, no pun intended, heart-warming.

– I really do love this episode, but Ash is a major idiot for jumping at the hole in the snow wall and plugging it….with his back. The snow wall is meant to help keep the warmth contained and him from freezing to death. Kinda doesn’t work if you’re using your back to plug it up. Use your useless backpack or get more snow – anything instead of using your body.

– This whole climactic sequence still brings tears to my eyes. From Pikachu vehemently refusing to go in its Pokeball to the point where he’s refusing it as an order, to the music, to the other Pokemon letting themselves out of their Pokeballs to all of the Pokemon cuddling Ash to keep him warm to “You win….guess we’ll all be cold together.” – it is by far one of the best and most touching moments of the series. (I especially love Bulbasaur on Ash’s lap. That is too adorable for words.)

Pokemon Snow Way Out Review 6

– I love how Ash is gone all night, him and his Pokemon nearly freeze to death, and the first thing Misty tells him is that Onix dug into a hot spring (poor Onix – it hates water.) and they were super comfy in their snow cave. Tact it up, Misty.

(By the way, in case you were wondering as to what the hell the Japanese title of this episode means – Iwark the Bivouac – Iwark is Onix’s Japanese name and bivouac is a term for a temporary camp. Of course, Iwark MADE a bivouac, it didn’t become one, so the weird title doesn’t even make sense in context.)

Bonus points for creative use of Onix, though.

– Bonus points for creative use of Vulpix!

– Ash and friends just stole Team Rocket’s property. Good job.

Also, Ash and co. show absolutely no concern over Team Rocket when they find their crashed balloon in the snowy mountains. They could be dead for all you know. Double good job.

– Team Rocket’s predicament is actually rather serious because, if they get out of the hot spring, it’s not just that they’ll have to deal with the cold. They’ll have to deal with the cold while being soaked to the bone, which basically guarantees they’ll suffer severe frostbite.

—————————-

And that was Snow Way Out! an episode I remember loving a lot when I was a kid and I’m happy to report I still love with all my heart. It has its flaws, of course, but it’s such an emotional and surprisingly serious episode. The moments between Ash and his Pokemon were absolutely beautiful, their situation was realistically dire, even if Ash being a dunderhead was the reason they were in that mess to begin with, and so many Pokemon got utilized creatively and appreciated properly.

About the only person who did jack squat in this episode was Misty, but considering she only has Water Pokemon, she can’t be of much help anyway.

I also like how Team Rocket’s plot was completely separate from Ash and co.’s (A Team Rocket run-in would’ve somewhat ruined this episode.) and I like how, in the end, they weren’t really pointless. In fact, they facilitated the group’s escape to civilization…..even if Team Rocket had to die a horrible death to do it.

This episode is made substantially sadder when you put Jessie’s mom into the equation. I know the backstory of Miyamoto hadn’t been written back then, but it’s still extremely sad that, in canon, Jessie’s mom has been lost on a snowy mountain for 20 years, losing her memory and endlessly searching for Mew in the hopes of getting money for the daughter she doesn’t even remember anymore.

Even if she found and captured Mew, what then? She doesn’t remember her daughter, so she can’t track her down. She might not even remember she’s in Team Rocket anymore. She might not be able to get out of the mountain range either. It’s a really dark story, especially for Pokemon.

At least Jessie probably still has fond memories of her mother. I choose to believe that, anyway.

I would say I hope they reunite some day, but, to be blunt, I don’t really trust the anime writers to handle this story well enough to be a decent payoff. Hopefully, maybe, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up, especially when the story is so old.

Stay warm, everyone. ~♥


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A Very (Somewhat Banned) Pokemon Holiday Special Analysis: Holiday Hi-Jynx

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 1

CotD(s): None, unless you count Santa and…is it really necessary to talk about him?

Pre-Analysis Notes: Hah! Gotcha! You thought I had reviewed all of the Christmas specials for Pokemon? Nope! There’s still one, technically two-ish more, but there’s a reason why I haven’t reviewed them yet.

You guys remember how I talked about the Pokemon Shock incident and how it screwed up the episode order? Well, Holiday Hi-Jynx, their first foray into Christmas, and Snow Way Out were both booted from the planned lineup entirely, which is the main reason why they were subsequently thrown off my analysis lineup for the moment as well since I’m strictly going in numerical order as listed on Bulbapedia. Technically, these episodes have no official numbers. They were originally set to air right around Christmastime in 1997, but since the producers didn’t want to air a Christmas special and a winter-themed episode in April/May, they opted to air the two episodes as specials much later.

I don’t why they bothered, really, because they ended up actually releasing the episodes both on October 5, 1998. Yeah, airing Christmas/winter themed episodes is so much more fitting in the dead of fall, a month before Halloween. Good job.

At least the US had their ducks in a more uniform row, because they aired the dub on December 11, 1999. (Snow Way Out airing a week later on December 18th.)

Despite this being a more fitting airing spot, this did cause some major confusion. Back when I was a kid, these episodes premiered with no fanfare or explanation of what happened. And the reason this was necessary was because, out of nowhere, Ash’s troublesome Charizard was back to being a lovable Charmander, and Misty no longer had Togepi yet still had her Starmie and Horsea, which she had left at the Cerulean Gym at that point. I chalked it up to being an old episode I must’ve missed, but it still nagged me, especially considering that, at the time of this airing in the States, Ash was prepping for the Indigo League tournament.

The trouble doesn’t end there.

AVAHS - Holiday Hi-Jynx 2

Say hello to Jynx! She is the reason this episode is kinda, sorta, somewhat, ehhh maybe, but not really, depending on how you look at it, banned.

Jynx was heavily criticized as being a racist depiction of a black woman shortly after this episode aired in the US. As a result, the episode was taken out of rotation after a handful of airings and has never reappeared in syndication.

Unlike most banned episodes, however, you can still find this episode fairly easily. It’s on the VHS and the original volume 3 of the Indigo League DVD set, it’s on Cartoon Network Video and Cartoon Network’s On Demand service, it’s available on Boomerang and you can find it on the Japanese versions of Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and Hulu.

Subsequent airings have been edited to change Jynx’s skin color to purple to avoid controversy (Kinda like how Mr. Popo’s skin was changed to bright Genie-from-Aladdin blue during his appearances in DBZKai.) but several sources and countries show the original version.

Despite this, the episode is still quietly banned in certain regions. It’s not listed on Pokemon.com, it’s not available on Netflix, it wasn’t included in the re-release of volume 3 of the Indigo League DVD set, and it’s not included in the Indigo League complete collection DVD set. Additionally, the episode is fully banned in South Korea, and India only aired it once before taking it out of rotation entirely.

The edited version has not been applied to the English Dub, so that makes up for a decent amount of the trouble in obtaining this episode.

This initial backlash caused a ripple effect. While Jynx is not a forbidden Pokemon in the anime like Porygon basically is, 4Kids opted to skip over another episode – Ep250: The Ice Cave – because Jynx was so prevalent in it to the point where removing her scenes would destroy the footage and reduce the runtime too much. Episode 287 – All Things Bright and Beautifly – was also edited in the English dub to remove a sequence with Jynx.

Even the Gen II games and the manga were retroactively edited in the west to change Jynx’s skin to purple. Eventually, Game Freak would choose to officially change the character’s skin color to purple to allow it to be featured in the anime and games without additional edits in other areas.

As for why Jynx was designed this way, well, I can’t bring myself to say outright that the designers gunned for a clear black woman stereotype for the sake of being bigots. I don’t like slinging accusations of that caliber around so flippantly without firm evidence. However, it’s hard not to see it.

There’s a theory that she is based on ganguro style, which was popular in the 90s. Ganguro involves dying your hair blond, heavy tanning and wearing a lot of makeup. The actual style, while being rather gaudy, shows the person’s skin as being very orange. You might remember Jessie and James sported ganguro style during the first part of the St. Anne arc.

With that in mind, it’s hard to say that it was taking inspiration from that. By logic, Jynx’s skin would be orange or burnt orange, not black.

However….

There are even more extreme versions of ganguro – Yamanba and Manba, where the tanning is much darker (being dark brown, not orange) and the makeup, accessories and hairstyles are even more outlandish. However, considering this gained popularity long after this episode was created, around 2004, I doubt either of these were the inspiration.

Plus, it’s really hard to seek justification in something where the name, ganguro, can literally translate to ‘black face’………

I’m having trouble getting that anyway because what relation would ganguro have with either psychic powers or ice? You’d think with the requirement of getting so much tanning you might as well jettison yourself into the sun that such a thing couldn’t be further from ice.

Despite having no connection to Santa in the games, it’s also been theorized that, considering Jynx’s role as Santa’s helper in this episode, it might be based on Zwarte Piet or Black Pete, who is a companion of Santa in Dutch folklore……………and…..it’s still racist because, even though the character himself is black, most portrayals of him are done by white people in blackface…

Also, I doubt that theory too because Jynx is clearly designed as a female.

Finally, there’s the theory that it was based on Hel, the Nordic goddess of the underworld who ruled Niflheim, a land of ice and snow. This theory seems to have the best logic to it, but Hel’s face is either meant to be half-blue and half-flesh colored or half-black and half-flesh colored; not fully black. So either they screwed up the facial design or this theory is wrong too.

I never much cared for Jynx either way. I find her to be very creepy on all fronts (Creepy design, creepy voice, creepy movement, creepy blushing, creepy kissing attack – creepycreepycreepy) but I think it’s a good thing that she was changed to purple over the years.

Even if her entire existence is a big question mark in regards to intentions, there’s really no getting around the implications, especially considering only one of the three viable theories I read didn’t include mentions of flatout blackface (It’s also theorized that Jynx are based on opera singers, given their overweight appearance and musical ability, but this confuses me just as much as the others, quite frankly.) Changing her to purple was a much better course of action than trying to justify her offensive appearance – if they even have a justification.

Keep in mind, everything I just discussed were fan theories on her origins – people coming up with less offensive possibilities for Jynx’s existence. I don’t think an official explanation was ever given, which is fairly suspect. Even if it is meant to be a racist depiction of a black woman, which is, of course, insanely messed up, what does that have to do with ice or psychic powers? What were they going for? I just don’t understand Jynx at all.

I don’t really want to press this matter into even worse implications, but I can’t help but ask this question. If people find that Santa’s elves are basically slaves…and taking Jynx as being a depiction of a stereotypical black woman…..Does that mean I’m technically watching a Christmas special with depictions of black people as Santa’s slaves? I really wish I had turned my brain off before it went down that route, because if you lock onto that idea, this episode just gets so much worse. It’s bad enough that Jynx technically are indeed ‘owned’ by their Trainers in the first place……

To be honest, other than having ice powers and being human-like, I don’t know why Jynx was the Pokemon chosen to be stand-ins for Santa’s elves to begin with. I know Delibird doesn’t exist yet, but certainly there’s a better option.

M…merry…Christmas…..I’m really uncomfortable now.

Plot: On Christmas Eve, Team Rocket plans on trapping Santa and taking all of the presents for themselves. Jessie has a vendetta against Santa, believing him to be a thief who stole her doll when he visited on Christmas ten years ago….Only ‘he’ was actually a Jynx working for Santa that she believes was actually Santa.

Meanwhile, Ash tries to capture what he thinks is a wild Jynx waiting on a beach. After a failed attempt, they surmise that it has a Trainer after seeing it holding a boot belonging to none other than Santa Claus! Jynx Psychically transmits her story to Ash and the others – some time ago, she was shining Santa’s boot when the ice she was standing on broke away. She drifted to shore and is desperate to reach Santa.

Ash, Misty and Brock agree to help her out, worried that Santa won’t be able to deliver gifts without his Jynx or his other boot. They grab a raft and head off in the direction of the North Pole, using their Water Pokemon to help pull them along. After a long, long while and exhausting their Pokemon, Ash finds one of Santa’s telepathic Lapras who has been following them for a while. Realizing their intentions are good, it decides to pull them along for the rest of the ride.

When they arrive, however, Team Rocket springs up. They trap Ash and the others in a net and capture Jynx, whom Jessie still mistakenly believes is Santa. They then head to the workshop to steal all of the toys. Jessie spots the real Santa and they hold him hostage so all of the Jynx will hand over the presents. Ash and the others try to intervene, but hold themselves back to protect Santa.

Jessie chats with Santa who asks why she’s doing this. After explaining her story, Jynx perks up and runs off to retrieve Jessie’s doll – now fixed. Santa explains that his Jynx had gone to deliver presents to her and noticed her broken dolly on the floor. She took it to get fixed, but they couldn’t return it since Jessie no longer believed in him and he’s not allowed to tread in the homes of hearts that don’t believe in him.

While she tearfully reunited with her doll, Jessie continues her plan anyway. However, they’re all stopped by Lapras, who freezes their sub with Ice Beam. Ash uses Charmander to free them all from the ropes and commands him to use Fire Spin on the sub. The ice melts and Team Rocket escapes.

Santa commands his legion of Jynx to use Psywave to pick up their sub, shake out all of the presents, destroy the sub and blast off Team Rocket.

With Santa and the presents safe, Santa heads off on his sleigh to bring Christmas to people all over the world. Jynx and Lapras deliver presents to Ash, Misty, Brock and Pikachu, bringing them all Christmas cheer.

Meanwhile, a beaten up Team Rocket lies in bed, waiting for Santa to hopefully deliver gifts to them despite their actions. He does show up, but all that happens is Jynx uses Lovely Kiss on them all to make them sleep. It may not be the best Christmas for them, but they certainly didn’t do anything to get on the nice list this year.

——————–

– Whose castle is Team Rocket staying in?

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– I kinda understand why Jessie’s doing the title card read today, but it’s also a little weird.

– Jessie has a really nice house for a kid who supposedly grew up so poor that her mother fed her snow….

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– If Santa sends out his Jynx to deliver presents….what…exactly…does HE do?

– Why is Ash so gung-ho about catching a Jynx?

– I love how Misty and Ash are claiming it’s very weird to leave a Pokemon alone outside, but they’ve left Pokemon in the middle of a street sitting in a kiddie pool before….

– Why is Jynx blushing when it looks at the boot? Is she in love with him?

– If Jynx could transmit messages telepathically, why did she even need to waste time with the boot?

– Couldn’t Jynx have just used Ice Beam to create a bridge to get back to shore?

– Is Brock seriously asking how Santa’s going to deliver presents without his Jynx? You don’t even know what she does as Santa’s Pokemon.

– Look, I’m trying to give this episode some modicum of leeway in the logic department, because it’s a kid’s show trying to talk about Santa, but Ash and the others are really planning to head to the North Pole on a wooden raft they either found or somehow made in about ten seconds. Unless the North Pole is much closer to Kanto in the Pokemon world than it is in our world, they’re either going to die, their Pokemon are going to die from exhaustion, both or they’ll all be lost adrift at sea for a long, long time.

– Huh, Misty’s actually being accommodating to Psyduck. It’s a Christmas miracle.

– Hey, the Gyarados sub! Yay!

– I sincerely doubt Ash has the strength to pull that raft at any reasonable speed. Also, did none of them think to just bring oars?

– So a non-Psychic Lapras can telepathically speak, but Psychic Jynx can only project images and only through touch……….Kay.

Also, why is Lapras glowing so brightly when it first meets Ash?

– I feel I should call BS on Misty not knowing what a Lapras is, but I’ll refrain from making a ‘Why Use the Pokedex?’ note since I have no way of knowing if she does. Would be weird of someone who is currently trying to be a Water Pokemon Master is all.

– Lapras has been watching them for ‘some time’ but didn’t think to offer them a ride or a tow? Jerk.

– Okay, so Lapras’ logic with not appearing sooner was not knowing their intentions….but she can speak telepathically, which means she must be able to read minds and thus easily know their intentions immediately. Or it could’ve just asked the Jynx telepathically if she trusted these kids. Also, Lapras, it’s a bunch of kids on a wooden raft in the middle of the ocean trying to get to the North Pole to deliver Santa’s Jynx back to him. You can’t get much more wholesome that that. You’re just a jerk, Lapras; which sucks because I adore Lapras.

– It’s really nice and cool of Jynx to use her hair as an umbrella for Misty…….That sure is a unique sentence.

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– I just realized that they were heading to the North Pole without any winter clothes….now that I think about it, in the next episode they head into snowy mountains without winter clothes. Delia constantly asks Ash if he has clean underwear on but never thinks to ask if he has weather-appropriate attire for his journeys?

– Santa Claus lives on a spiky ice island of death?……COOL!

– Hah, I like how the motto music sped up when Jessie and James realized how cold it was.

– Neither Jynx nor Lapras did anything to the missile or net when it was being so slowly deployed.

– How does Santa not have a second pair of boots? Also, Jynx has been gone for some time, supposedly, so how has Santa not made or otherwise obtained another pair in the meantime? Has he been walking around outside with one shoe?

– This version of Santa’s pretty lame. Not only does he have a bunch of Jynx do most of his work, but he also apparently is not all-seeing because he doesn’t realize Jessie and James are bad guys and probably naughty list recipients.

– What is up with how fast Meowth’s lips are moving when he’s telling the Jynx to load up the gifts? That’s not typical Japanese to English lip flap syncing trouble, that’s almost like they sped up the footage.

– I’m realizing now that, even accepting the silliness of Jessie believing a Jynx is Santa, why is she still insisting SantaJynx is male? She keeps using male pronouns, but not only is Jynx clearly female-based, but her species is 100% female.

– I’m surprised Jessie was so emotionally impacted by Jynx stealing her doll…the one she broke in a fit of unjustified rage and didn’t react much when it happened.

– Okay, wait, wait, time out. Jessie broke her doll, Jynx came to deliver presents….didn’t do that, grabbed her doll off the floor and took it, ran off to get it fixed, but couldn’t return it for ten years because Jessie didn’t believe in Santa anymore after that?

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First of all;

Santa: “There, you see? I knew my Jynx would never steal anything.” She took someone’s property from their house and didn’t return it. That’s stealing.

Second of all;

Santa: “I repaired it in my sleigh….” Wait, that means you repaired it right then and there….Why wouldn’t you just instantly give it back then?

Third;

Santa: “We tried to go back, but you didn’t believe in me anymore, and I’m powerless to go where hearts are closed.” Powerless to go where hearts are closed….that’s a new one. And a stupid one.

If you repaired it in the sleigh, that means Jessie instantly stopped believing in you when Jynx went up the chimney. That’s a bit extreme.

She never stopped believing in Santa Claus anyway. If she did, she wouldn’t be in the North Pole right now. She just mistakenly believed Jynx was Santa.

Does this mean Santa can’t enter most houses? Because most parents don’t believe in Santa, and many older kids don’t either. If he can’t enter the home of non-believers entirely, his trip must be much shorter than we think.

Even if all of that was true, why take the doll with you? Why not put it on her windowsill or, oh I dunno, send your non-Santa-and-thus-not-restricted-by-the-belief-thing back down the chimney to return what she stole?

– Oh my God, Ash, why would you have Charmander burn the ropes and give you all third degree burns when you could have just had him untie you? Come to think of it, you must have a decent amount of movement capability if you could find, grab and send out Charmander’s Pokeball….

– Yes, Charmander, Fire Spin the thing that currently holds all of the presents for all of the little girls and boys of the world. I hope they asked Santa for asbestos….

– I get that Team Rocket’s Pokemon are perfectly fine following the orders of either Jessie or James, but why does Jessie have Weezing’s Pokeball?

– Also, Team Rocket has a point – Ash just helped by thawing them out after Lapras froze them. Why would he even consider doing that?

– If these Jynx all know Psywave, then they’ve all been given the TM to learn it. I’d think another good TM to give them would be Teleport so it would make deliveries essentially instantaneous. You wouldn’t even need the sleigh and none of your Jynx would ever get lost.

– I should question the flying Rapidash, but I moreso want to comment on Santa saying ‘No reindeer.’ Oh, Santa, just wait a gen.

– That snow effect is one of the worst I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t even look like snow. It looks like fully white ladybugs crawling on the screen in four intersecting lines. I make better snow animations than that, and that’s just sad.

– Aw it’s nice that they got presents. I hope it’s winter clothes because some of you have to be losing some appendages at this point.

– Pikachu getting a gift is really cute and nice, but I really hope Santa has gifts for all of their Pokemon, otherwise this little note is actually quite unfair and more blatant favoritism – and this time not even from Ash!

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————————————

I’ve always remembered this episode as being really weird, really confusing and just strange, but I guess it’s not a particularly terrible Christmas special. There are so many other better holiday Pokemon specials out there that I certainly wouldn’t place this at the top tier of your Christmas must-watch list, but it’s alright.

Amid all of the controversy and other messes this episode was wrapped up in, you’d hope this episode would be one worth waiting for, but it’s really not. I still think it’s really weird, really confusing and just strange. There are so many questionable writing choices made in this episode, both Japanese and English, that it’s actually somewhat impressive what a massive tangle of nonsensical weird they made out of a Christmas special.

Jynx’s mere existence may be enough to put some people off of this episode, especially if your brain runs a little wild with the implications like mine did. I really hope I’m just reading too far into things again. Otherwise, it’s an okay-ish watch around the holidays. Nearly any other entry in the ‘Pikachu’s Winter Vacation’ series would be a better alternative, though.


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Pokemon Episode 57 Analysis: The Breeding Center Secret

Pokemon Ep57 Analysis Screen1

Character Debuts: Butch and Cassidy – Butch and Cassidy are basically Jessie and James if they were about….40% more competent. I always like when they pop up because they are legitimate threats, but they tend to get taken down almost as easily as Jessie and James either way. Also, I hate the running gag of getting Butch’s name wrong. It got old so fast it’s ridiculous. However, it hasn’t even started in this episode so I’m good for now.

Butch and Cassidy are named after the legendary old west outlaw, Butch Cassidy, which is another mirrored attribute of Jessie and James, who are named after Jessie James.

Pokemon: Butch – As of this episode, he’s not known to have any Pokemon, but later down the line he’ll be shown to have a Primeape, a Hitmontop, a Mightyena, a Cloyster and a Shuckle.

Cassidy – Cassidy’s Ratticate is basically their version of Meowth only it doesn’t talk and stays in its Pokeball. She’s later shown to also have a Houndour, a Sableye, a Tentacruel and a Granbull.

Cap…tures?: James has a Victreebel. Don’t ask questions. He just does, okay?

Its only character trait is trying to eat James every time it’s let out, which gets super annoying over time.

Character Departures: First time I’ve ever had to use this, but Snap did stick around for several episodes so I guess it’s fitting to do this here.

Snap takes his leave in this episode.

And I’m all broken up about it.

I really have nothing against Snap, even though, I’m just going to say it, he’s even more one-dimensional and boring than Tracey. Give Tracey credit – he doesn’t just draw Pokemon. He’s basically a Pokemon Researcher that draws. And he has his own Pokemon to add to the mix. Snap’s only gimmick is taking pictures. That’s it. The end. He is a walking camera. He doesn’t have any Pokemon to make him even a little more interesting – he’s just the guy taking pictures.

I will never understand why he stuck around in the first place. It is one of Pokemon’s greatest mysteries to me.

EDIT – I pre-maturely said goodbye to our camera toting pal. He reappears way down the line in Johto in three episodes where he’s trying to capture a picture of an Articuno. Again, he stays for three episodes in Johto and I have no clue why. I already have difficulty understanding the criteria for making any characters of the day reappear, but why Snap has two three episodes bursts where he’s traveling with the group in the series is an even bigger mystery to me. Is he that much of a fan favorite, or what’s happening here?

Plot: Ash, Misty, Brock and Snap stumble upon a new Breeding Center where the owners promise to improve any Pokemon and even get some to evolve in mere days. Misty jumps at the chance to leave her Psyduck there.

Later, the group finds a restaurant that promises free food, which ignites Misty’s interest. However, there’s a catch – you have to show the chef his favorite Pokemon, which is, ironically, Psyduck. Misty is irritated that Psyduck isn’t there the one time she actually needs him, but when she heads to the Breeding Center to retrieve him, they find the shop is closed.

Impatient and hungry, Misty decides to break in. They overhear the shop owners talking in the back room – they’re secretly top Team Rocket agents, Butch and Cassidy! The Breeding Center is really a front to get rare and powerful Pokemon to send back to Giovanni. All of the Pokemon they’ve acquired are kept in small cages and treated poorly – including Psyduck.

The group hatches a plan to take pictures of everything in the room so they can show it to police and get Team Rocket shut down for good. They take their pictures, nearly getting caught in the process, but as they’re about to grab Psyduck and head out, someone else breaks into the Breeding Center.

It’s Team Rocket – the regular one – looking to nab all of the Pokemon in the center, unaware that it’s being run by other Team Rocket members. The group catches them and tries to stop them from stealing the Pokemon and getting them caught. Their efforts are in vain, however, because Butch and Cassidy catch them.

They try to escape, but not before James stops to retrieve his Weepinbell that he left at the center a few days prior. To his delight, it has evolved into a Victreebel.

The escape continues, but they’re all nabbed up in cages. Misty, Togepi and Pikachu are the only ones able to evade capture. Butch and Cassidy take Snap’s camera and call the police to get them all arrested, leaving Misty as the one who must get the evidence back and clear Ash, Brock and Snap’s good names.

She covertly uses Pikachu to snatch the camera while she disguises herself and enters the center as a customer trying to retrieve her Psyduck. Misty brings the photos back to Officer Jenny, proving the criminal nature of the Breeding Center, and the group rushes to arrest them.

Butch and Cassidy fight them with their Raticate, but Pikachu easily defeats it. They make a run for it, but are Vine Whipped into submission by Ash’s Bulbasaur.

With Butch and Cassidy behind bars and the Pokemon safely set to be returned to their owners, Misty finally takes her Psyduck to the restaurant to get as much ice cream as she can eat.

Later, Snap departs from the group to head to the mountains to take some pictures of wild Pokemon. Ash and the others bid their photographer friend farewell as they set off for Cinnabar Island and Ash’s seventh Gym match.

—————————

– Snap is very obviously taking posed pictures of Togepi.

– Weathergirl: “Now, a Pokemon weather update!” What the hell is Pokemon weather? I know you people like putting ‘Pokemon’ in front of everything, but it needs to make some sense. Like, am I writing this blog post on my Pokemon computer? Sitting in my Pokemon chair? As the Pokemon computer sits on the Pokemon desk? Am I Pokemon typing? Please stop!

(Also, don’t think you can get away with mentioning Castform here. That little dude is a long way away from being created.)

– What is up with Brock and Misty’s face here? I didn’t realize that a weather report could make ten year olds sport an expression you’d usually only see if you bought them a pony.

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– I find it very weird that they opted to call this place a Breeding Center when we’ve already seen Breeding Centers before and they don’t increase Pokemon levels there. (Being fair, that same episode also included a Team Rocket putting up a front as a fake Breeding Center just to steal Pokemon, so points off for kinda recycling plots) Brock’s a Pokemon Breeder too, there’s no reason he’s not suspicious of this place.

In the original, as you can guess, it was a Pokemon Daycare. Like in the games, they promise that simply leaving the Pokemon with them will level them quickly. The reason it feels quick in the games is because 1) You’re so busy grinding and doing busywork or catching Pokemon that ‘time’ (steps) kinda flies and 2) …..You probably forgot you had a Pokemon in the Daycare. In the anime, it makes less sense because you’re left wondering how they’re leveling them in a literal quick manner (Cassidy states they had a Charmander evolve all the way into Charizard in three days.)

Also, the games didn’t have the Pokemon evolve in their care, even if they far exceeded level requirements.

Also also, when you think about it, it kinda DOES make more sense for this place to be called a Breeding Center if they went all the way with the Daycare motif because, in the games, when you leave two compatible opposite sex Pokemon (or any (non-legend) Pokemon and Ditto, because Ditto’s the real bicycle of Pokemon.) you will eventually get a Pokemon egg. Meaning, for a change, actual BREEDING would occur in a BREEDING Center if they did this right, but I can understand why they didn’t. They don’t want to have to explain the Pidgeys and the Beedrills to kids….even though, in the games, they still claim they don’t know for sure how Pokemon eggs are made….

Admittedly, this is a good plan if they only stick around for a few days, but…we’ll get to the rest of the plan later.

– Butch’s voice is terrible.. It doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people, but I can see why it might.

Dogasu brought up a very….interesting note about Butch as a character though.

“I read a theory from the Internet from waaaay back when this episode first premiered that might explain what 4Kids and / or Eric Stuart was thinking. This is in no way confirmed but here goes anyway: James represents effeminate gay men while Butch is a stand-in for their more masculine counterparts. Hear me out. The idea goes that since James is often seen cross-dressing, is given all these high-pitched squeals and giggles, hates the idea of marrying the woman his parents set him up with, and spends nearly 24/7 with a sexy female colleague but isn’t trying to get into her pants then that means that of course he’s a friend of Dorothy. It is 1998 after all; what other explanation could there be! This may not have been the intention for the character when 4Kids first started but the whole “James is a flamboyant gay man” idea is one that they would definitely end up embracing as the years go on.

And then, when it came time to dub this episode, 4Kids looked at what they had already done with James and decided hey, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense if we gave this other guy a name that means “masculine” and then also gave him this super deep man voice? You know, as a kind of yin and yang thing? So they get Eric Stuart to come in and do his Harvey Fierstein impersonation and BAM! we’ve got someone the exact opposite of James. When all is said and done, Eric Stuart plays James to be effeminate while he plays Butch to be, well, butch.

This is all just a theory and there’s no proof whatsoever that this is what 4Kids was going for at the time. Still, it all kind of adds up. I don’t think this was done out of any sort of malice or anything (from what I’ve gathered both 4Kids and TPCI seem to be very LGBTQ-safe environments) but instead was intended just to be a funny little in-joke among the staff at 4Kids. It’s still a terrible, terrible voice though.”

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Sooooo…..yeah, I’ve NEVER heard of this until I read the comparison and I never thought this until now, and I gotta say…..I think it’s a bunch of bull. I think it makes a lot more sense for his name to just be a play on Butch Cassidy from the get-go and not anywhere inspired from being a ‘butch’ gay guy. I also don’t think Eric Stuart was thinking that going in because I think, if he had, he would’ve put more of a deep tone to the voice instead of making it higher pitched just really raspy, like his throat had just been ripped out by rabid weasels.

I also don’t think the original writers intended for anything like that with this character. Butch and Cassidy definitely seem like they’re meant to be more offshoots of Jessie and James with a more serious/competent slant to them than having them be in any way opposites. For example, Cassidy is really just Jessie only slightly less vain, shrill and overbearing. It is possible that 4Kids was trying to force that kind of subtext onto him, but I can’t imagine they would. The reason it works with James is because the animation lends itself so well to their interpretation. The same cannot be said of Butch.

Also, if anything, James is probably bisexual because he has shown attraction to several women over the series. That’s my two cents in that bucket.

– I’m really getting sick of Misty being mean to her Psyduck for no reason. I’m also disappointed reading that her relationship with Psyduck only gets, at best, slightly better as far up as Sun and Moon. Psyduck deserves a lot more than Misty’s abuse….

– Misty can say whatever she wants, you can say she loves Psyduck more than she lets on all you want, I still believe there’s a significant chance she would indeed leave Psyduck there for good.

– Before they just started chucking out Pokeballs, they should’ve just…ya know…asked the guy what his favorite Pokemon is.

– Snap: “Hey! That looks like a picture I took!” It does? Because it could not be more posed if you tried.

Also, this picture is yours, Snap? This one?

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You uh….mind sharing why you had this Psyduck do a ‘draw me like one of your French girls’ pose?

– Misty: “That’s typical! It figures Psyduck isn’t around the one time I really need it!” Yeah, it’s totally Psyduck’s fault you left it at a Breeding Center to be better because you’re too lazy or impatient to actually train him yourself…..Bitch.

Ash: “You’re the one who left it at that center…” I know right?…..Hey! Stop pointing out my notes for me!

– Misty is so worried that she won’t be able to get ice cream tomorrow if she waits until the center opens that she’s willing to break into the Breeding Center…….But…the chef explicitly stated he was waiting for a delivery of 50 gallons of ice cream….Does she think they’ll go through 50 gallons of ice cream overnight?

– Butch and Cassidy are indeed more competent than Jessie and James…..but they’re still too incompetent to lock their back door. Or the room where they keep their Pokemon for that matter.

– Was….Snap really thinking of taking pictures of these Pokemon just for the sake of taking pictures? He had his camera in his hand and then said ‘These Pokemon don’t look like they want to smile for the camera….’ That’s kinda messed up, Snap.

– It’s horrible that they taped Psyduck’s eyes open, especially considering, realistically, he’d have gone blind by now, but I have to analyze this in three possibilities – 1) They thought taping his eyelids like that long enough would actually alter his face and make him look more intelligent. That’s really dark and messed up. 2) They were planning on giving Psyduck back to Misty like this, which is dumb because surely she’d notice the tape at least before she left the building. And 3) if they were just planning on stealing all of these Pokemon anyway, why tape his eyelids?

– So they’re only planning on giving Giovanni the cream of the crop?…..Why not give them all to him? Surely they’d all be useful in some capacity and the more Pokemon you have, the more powerful you are as an organization. Jessie and James are rarely ever picky about the Pokemon they try to get for Giovanni, but maybe that’s part of their problem.

….Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, isn’t this kinda a dumb plan for the sake of getting powerful or rare Pokemon for Giovanni? These trainers are sending their Pokemon to this Breeding Center for the sake of leveling up faster and improving them, so wouldn’t Butch and Cassidy only get mostly low level poorly trained Pokemon?

– I’d call the cops in addition to taking pictures of the place, but anything to give Snap some point to his existence, I suppose.

– I love how Cassidy brings up how it’s weird that Giovanni puts up with Jessie and James even though they always fail and they’re completely incompetent, but even though Giovanni agrees…..he doesn’t really answer them. He’s just like ‘Yeah, it’s a good thing those fools weren’t here to mess everything up. Those fools I still have on my payroll. Complete idiots that I still employ.’

– I get that it makes for commercial break cliffhanger tension, but why aren’t any of them trying to run or hide when they hear Butch coming in the room? They’re literally just standing there for several moments going ‘Uuuahhhhhh!!’ You lot would never survive a horror movie.

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Togepi’s face, though. lol

– They were still frozen in fear, shaking and going ‘Uahhhhhh’ when Butch had his hand on the door knob. How did they have time to come to their senses, come up with this plan to have Pikachu use its electricity to light up the room in a cage, implement said plan and hide before he actually opened the door?

– I’m kinda pissed it’s taken them this long to try to get Psyduck out of the cage. Also, Misty, use your Pokeball to recall Psyduck through the bars. You don’t need to fuss with a lock.

– Why are Jessie and James holding their hands over the eyes like there’s a bright light when they’re in a completely dark room?

– I don’t why, but the way that James says ‘I knew all along we couldn’t trust you!’ has stuck with me through the years. He says it at such a weird pitch for one and for another he’s almost sing-talking the line.

– I am unreasonably bothered by the fact that Butch and Cassidy don’t say their names in the proper order when they do their motto. Granted, if you’re just doing a beat-by-beat remake of Jessie and James’ motto then Cassidy saying her line when she does makes sense, but in order to poke at the fact that their name makes out ‘Butch Cassidy’ you need to have Butch say his name first.

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– Butch and Cassidy’s motto makes so much more sense than Jessie and James’ version, but it also brings up a lot of questions.

Jessie and James accuse them of stealing their motto, but they claim it’s the Team Rocket motto, so I always assumed it was an actual motto that Jessie and James probably weren’t reciting properly given the words. However, in this instance they’re acting like they made it up from scratch. James has never met Butch or Cassidy, so if Butch and Cassidy did steal their motto and rework it, how did they ever hear it?

Why would they steal it, honestly? If there is no Team Rocket motto or even if Jessie and James’ version is different, wouldn’t they just find it to be something silly Jessie and James needlessly say and brush it off?

Is there an actual Team Rocket motto that both teams are getting wrong? Since Butch and Cassidy’s version is so different, why are Jessie and James acting like they stole the whole thing? Is one of them right? I’m so confused….

– Uh….do you guys want to actually use your Pokemon and….battle? You guys fight Jessie and James all the time when they’re stealing Pokemon, why are you not even trying here?

– We’ve reached a point of confusion that far surpasses the previous note, though – James’ Weepinbell/Victreebel. Ever since I was a kid, I wondered where the hell James suddenly got a Victreebel that was supposedly a Weepinbell before this episode. He never hints at having a Weepinbell, not once.

Over the years, I thought this was another instance of a character having a Pokemon that they caught in a banned episode so it kinda just appeared on western airings, but nope. James just inexplicably had a Weepinbell for an undisclosed amount of time and never used it for no reason.

I would say maybe it’s been in the Breeding Center for the entire series, but James specifically says he left it there ‘the other day’ and I’d assume this place is very new.

To make matters even more confusing, it evolved into Victreebel. James acts like this is super impressive, but Weepinbell only evolves through a Leaf Stone, so Butch and Cassidy had to have used one on it. I can only assume this was one of the Pokemon they didn’t intend on giving back because why would they buy and use a valuable Leaf Stone on a customer’s Weepinbell without keeping it?

I would say maybe it would be to improve word of mouth – like proof that they can evolve Pokemon super quick – but obviously the main problem there is the stone evolution.

Also, how does James know this Victreebel is his Weepinbell anyway? It could just be another customer’s Victreebel.

Oh well……..it’s the start of a very, very annoying trend either way….Prepare for god knows how many instances of James being eaten by Victreebel….yay.

Pokemon Ep57 Analysis Screen7

– Ya know, Misty has a fairly solid plan, but if I were Butch and Cassidy, I would’ve destroyed the camera and the film immediately after getting my hands on it. There’s no point in keeping it. I mean…maybe they’d like a cool expensive camera, but at least destroy the film.

– Considering Cassidy does give Psyduck back, I assume this Breeding Center is meant to be up for a while and they are, for some reason, giving Pokemon back?….But what about the people who are trying to get back the Pokemon they plan on giving Giovanni? I’m really trying to make full sense of this plan.

– I would think they’d take all of their Pokemon away in jail given that oh so many Pokemon abilities could probably break them out easily, but….cops in the Pokemon World….*sigh*

– Jenny really shouldn’t be calling the group Pokemon snatchers, because they never opened any of the cages and they never stole any of the Pokemon. James did technically get Victreebel out, but he can prove it’s his because he has its Pokeball. You have them on breaking and entering and trespassing, but that’s it.

– Boy, those are some awfully posed pictures on your film roll, Snap. Ya know, Snap, you have one character trait – you like to take pictures – and your once specificity in that regard is you hate taking pictures of Pokemon posed. Yet nearly every picture is posed like you work at a K-Mart photo studio in the 90s, you…you…poser.

Pokemon Ep57 Analysis Screen8

– Those photos are damning, but Misty has no proof Snap took the photos from inside the Breeding Center.

– Even though Butch and Cassidy are more competent than Jessie and James, their Raticate gets taken out in one shot, they just leave it behind and don’t seem to have other Pokemon to battle with or don’t bother trying, so they run…

– Wait, where did Team Rocket get shovels in jail? How did they dig through concrete?….I’m just gonna chalk this up to more pisspoor Pokemon World cops…

– And just as randomly as he joined their journey, Snap departs to just…go take pictures on a mountain. Have fun.

————————————

It’s not one of my favorite episodes, but I still really like this one. Butch and Cassidy are formidable foes, though I wish they could’ve battled a little more and a little better. Trying to covertly take them down, while most of the group is imprisoned, was a nice change from the norm from just battling off the bat, though I don’t understand why they never battled in their first encounter. Heck, why didn’t they let out some of their Pokemon when they got nabbed in the cage at least?

Misty got to take the reigns in this episode, and Snap was finally useful for something even though, honestly, any of them could have had a camera and used it in that instance. Even though I’m almost insulted at how they introduced it, at least James has another Pokemon now so we can have some more variety in Team Rocket’s roster, even if it does introduce the first Pokemon who starts the ‘attacks James at every opportunity’ shtick.

Psyduck was pretty abused in this episode both by Misty and by Butch and Cassidy. Misty just chucking him into a Breeding Center to make him better is kinda insulting, the tape was blatant abuse and the fact that Misty blamed Psyduck for not being there to score her free food was very irritating. This is only compounded by the fact that she barely made any effort to get Psyduck out and LEFT HIM THERE after they got discovered. Let me remind you that James stopped and retrieved his Victreebel as they were trying to escape. You’re not as caring as James, Misty. Come on.

I would say he at least got some appreciation through that Psyduck fanboy chef at the end, but Psyduck honestly just had to put up with the chef being creepy while Misty stuffed her ice cream hole.

I have to stop going on angry tangents on episodes I like.

Speaking of episodes I like, NEXT EPISODE IS THE FIRST CINNABAR ISLAND EPISODE!

Cinnabar Island is my favorite Kanto Gym and one of my favorite Gyms ever, and I really love this two-parter for a variety of reasons, so I can’t wait to dive into it.

.Previous Episode


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Pokemon Shorties! (8) Pikachu’s Ghost Carnival Review

Pokemon Shorties Pikachu Ghost Carnival

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Pikachu and the other Pokemon are traveling to a lakeside to have a picnic, but their journey is detoured when some nearby Ghost Pokemon (and others) who live in a Ghost House intervene. It’s their Ghost Carnival day – a day when they select one of their group to be scared by the other Pokemon who create a spooky experience in the house. After that, they have a feast and other festivities. However, their shtick has become stale doing it on each other every year, so they lure Pikachu and his pals into the house to scare them instead.

Meanwhile, Meowth, Wobbuffet and Cacnea are on a job to demolish the Ghost House to make room for a new restaurant and Pikachu and the gang have to team up with the spooky group of the Ghost House to stop them from destroying their home.

Breakdown: I swear to God, I didn’t plan this. Check the list, this was next to be reviewed on the list of shorts, and I just happened to be lucky enough to have the Halloween-ish special fall in October.

Pikachu’s Ghost Carnival, which is an inaccurate name because it’s not his carnival, is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum for Pokemon Short quality. It doesn’t have Pokemon being flung all over with no plot (Look at that plot synopsis. I have TWO paragraphs. TWO.) It’s not just cute Pokemon being cute – it’s a funny and clever I-guess-I’ll-classify-it-as-Halloween-special-there’s-a-jack-o-lantern-in-the-title-card-it-counts short.

I liked how it was a collection of various Pokemon, not just Ghost Types, who inhabited the house and enjoyed making a scary haunted atmosphere. Plenty of people (and Pokemon) enjoy pranks and creating scares for other people in an innocent and fun-loving manner. We’ve had many episodes where Ghost Types are purely the troublemakers, but here we also have a Golbat, a Cubone, a Lickitung, a Koffing and a Ditto.

I’m glad I was able to find a subbed version of this short, because this was another that actually needed it at points. I think I would’ve been able to get through without it, and the subs I have might kinda be messed up anyway, but it added to the experience immensely because the narrator acts as a translator here.

I also really loved the art and animation for this short. Like many shorts, the landscape art is very much simplified, but they also stylized it to make it pop. The lineart for the landscapes is done in white instead of black and they choose to use a large amount of colors like purple to make it nicer to look at. I also really loved the shots when the Pokemon are scared and the outer shots of the windmill. They were nicely drawn without being overly detailed.

Even though it wasn’t the best song ever, I enjoyed the ending credits song quite a bit. It captured the tone of the short just fine, was pretty catchy and felt like a summer celebration song (Which is pretty much what the Ghost Carnival was. It’s pretty clear that, despite being based on Halloween, that the short is taking place in summer.)

I also enjoyed that Meowth and the other Team Rocket Pokemon actually had a role to play in this short, unlike nearly any other short where they pretty much remind you that they exist and nothing else. Although, I was confused as to why they had a crane with no wrecking ball…so they used Cacnea. That’s a new level of giving no shits about your friend.

That being said, I did have a couple of problems with the short. First and foremost, this is the most audibly annoying thing I’ve ever experienced in recent memory. Togepi, if I ever complained about your crying, I’m sorry. This short, for a good two minutes overall, was an audio assault on my ears all because of May’s Squirtle and random Pokemon encounter that served absolutely no point, Bonsly.

They cry…a lot. And their voices while doing so are unbearable. I almost muted the short several times.

But the pinnacle of audio homicide came in the middle of the scarefest when Pikachu and the others were being targeted. Squirtle gets so scared that it starts bawling, and all of the other Pokemon, every…single…one won’t shut the hell up as they attempt to get Squirtle to calm down.

Just when you think they’ll stop stabbing my ears with their voice forks, Bonsly starts crying and I nearly lost it. I swear.

Speaking of May’s Squirtle, I don’t remember watching enough to remember how obnoxious that thing was, but even though it’s noted as being younger than Ash’s Squirtle, it’s not like it’s a baby – why does it keep bawling and acting like a spoiled brat? It’s like someone decided to fuse Togepi and Chikorita together.

Also, this may be the subs, but this short is a teensy bit….sexist towards Squirtle? I couldn’t find anything about May’s Squirtle’s gender online, but this short clearly refers to it as a girl. The first instance of noting her gender was after she plopped down on the ground whining that she was tired and refused to go on. After Pikachu was coerced into carrying her, the narrator noted that Squirtle was a “willful girl.”

Later, when the Pokemon are getting scared at the Ghost House, Squirtle starts crying and one of the Ghost House Pokemon states that it’s bad to make a girl cry….So, if her age isn’t the reason she’s a crybaby and she’s not being babied because she’s a baby….is it because she’s a girl? That’s kinda the vibe I got during those brief spots.

Also, I’m aware that she eventually evolves into a Wartortle, and even though I love Wartortle, I find it bunk that this little Togepi wannabe evolved but Ash’s Squirtle never did. Maybe I’ll feel different when I revisit those episodes, but I doubt it. It’s a similar level of salty as when I found out May eventually got her Bulbasaur to evolve all the way into Venusaur. Like, seriously, does Ash feed his Pokemon anti-evolving juice in earlier Gens?

One other final negative note was that the shtick that the Ghost House Pokemon put their visitors through got pretty stale, and we only saw it three times. I can understand if they’re sick of it if they just keep doing the same tricks in succession over and over.

All in all, this was a very fun short that I’m glad I was able to review during Animating Halloween. It’s a perfect Pokemon short to watch on both Halloween and over the summer. You obviously won’t get any scares from it, even if you’re a little kid, but it’s still a good short.

Recommended Audience: Err….I guess if your child is extremely terrified of even the slightest thing related to ghosts or horror…..2+?


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My Poke-Pinions: 021-022 – The Spearow Line

Spearow

Name: Spearow is a mixture of ‘spear’ and ‘sparrow.’ I think it’s a pretty good name. Threatening, descriptive and rolls off the tongue.

In Japan, it’s called Onisuzume which is ‘oni’ for ‘demon’ and ‘suzume’ for ‘sparrow.’ The Japanese name is a bit more of a mouthful, but it’s equally imposing and fitting.

Design: Like Pidgey, Spearow’s design is fairly boring. They definitely do enough to it to differentiate it from Pidgey, particularly in making it seem more aggressive and intimidating, and it’s slightly more colorful with the pink wings, but that’s about it.

In terms of sprites, Gen I’s has always really bothered me. Spearow’s supposed to be intimidating and mean, but the sprite for Red and Blue…..There’s no way around this – it’s giving me bedroom eyes. It’s got its back kinda turned and it’s looking back with half-lidded eyes, it’s totally hitting on the player.

Green’s kinda looks like a chicken.

But Yellow’s is eons better.

Silver’s looks a bit odd, like it’s a plushie of a Spearow instead of an actual Spearow.

The animation for Crystal is actually pretty adorable.

I don’t have many notes for the other Gens until VI where….they did something to Spearow’s face to make it seem…off. I don’t know if the eyes are too small or the face has too many feathers, but it just weird to me.

Shiny:

Spearow’s shiny is okay. I really like Gen II’s version as it looks like it’s an orange-gold color.

But the parts where the brown are on original Spearow get increasingly puke-green over the Gens and I just don’t care for that.

Cry/Voice: Spearow’s voice is pretty good. It’s one of those voices where you can hear a person saying the word, but the inflection put on the word masks it enough to sound real. Plus, the alteration to the voice to make it sound like a crow-like bird is very well done.

It’s game cry is actually pretty cute – probably too cute for something that’s meant to be mean.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Its Dex entries are a bit boring. Nothing really too noteworthy. It uses its wing flaps to draw out bugs to eat, and its cry can be heard from half a mile away. It’s also very territorial and can’t fly very high due to its short wings.

In terms of design, Spearow is obviously based off of a sparrow. There’s a bit of Lanius shrike in there too, mostly in regards to the hooked beak.

Fearow

Name: Fearow’s name is a mixture of ‘fear’ and ‘sparrow’ but it’s also suggested that ‘feather’ and ‘arrow’ might be inspiration for it too.

I like Fearow’s name. It’s unique, imposing and rolls off the tongue.

In Japanese, it’s called Onidrill, which combines ‘oni’ for ‘demon’ and ‘drill.’ It might also be taken as ‘onidori’ which means ‘demon bird.’ Onidrill’s a bit more manageable than Onisuzume, but it somehow feels clunkier. I like it, but not a whole lot.

Design: Fearow’s pretty ugly. Sorry to be so blunt, but it is. I think somewhere along the lines of trying to make a big bird that both differentiates itself enough from Pidgeot to be unique while also being intimidating lead it to just being ugly. It’s like someone mixed a chicken with a pterodactyl.

I’m not even sure how much more I can elaborate. The beak looks too long and craggy, the red tuft looks weird, its neck looks bent too sharply, there’s not a lot of color to it, it’s just not my cup of tea.

I really don’t have much to say about the sprites except Yellow makes it look like a turkey.

And the backsprites give me more chicken vibes.

Shiny: Fearow’s shiny fluctuates from eugh to okay to eugh again, only worse. Gen II is basically just gray with a slight bit of olive green.

Every other Gen up to VI is green-ish/gold to off-gold, which is fine.

But then Gen VI comes around and….it’s back to disgusting gray and olive green, only this time there’s slightly more green, making it worse.

Cry/Voice: Fearow’s voice is….okay. It’s squawky, so it’s very bird-like, it follows up Spearow’s fairly well, but it doesn’t have any additional imposing….Oomph to it. It just sounds like a big Spearow.

Its game cry is also okay. It’s very musical. However, it also has no imposing air about it. It’s pretty bird-y, but that’s about it.

Dex Entries and Backstory: Fearow’s Dex entries are somehow even less interesting than Spearow’s. It’s a big bird with a sharp beak and it can fly for very long periods of time.

….That’s about it.

In terms of design, it was based off of many predatory birds. It’s an amalgamation of so many birds, it’s actually a little ridiculous. The Wiki lists hawks, vultures, storks, chickens, cormorants, anhingas, snipes and Goliath herons. I’m all for not just ripping off one or two real-world animals, but that’s quite the list to go through there, Chimeramon. Nice to know my chicken observation held water, though.

Next time, the Ekans line!


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