Pokemon Episode 29 Analysis: The Punchy Pokemon

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen1

Cotd (s): Anthony – A Fighting Pokemon trainer who aims to train Pokemon for the Fighting Pokemon tournament the P-1 Grand Prix. Anthony’s got tunnel vision for the tournament and neglects spending time with his family because of it, but he’s still a kind person with a good heart.

Reappear?: No

Pokemon: Anthony has a Hitmonchan as his main Pokemon. He spends much of his time training it, and Hitmonchan has become a very formidable fighter because of it.

Technically, after this episode, Anthony also becomes the owner of Ash’s Primeape. According to the original dialogue, this is not a ‘see you some other time’ situation. He legit handed Primeape over to him.

Rebecca – Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca is devastated that her father spends all of his time training for the P1 Grand Prix instead of spending time at home with his family. She is so set on getting him home that she asks Ash, Misty and Brock to defeat her father in order to get him to give up his dream.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Departures: Ash’s Primeape.

Final Farewell: I might as well vent here to spare the rest of the analysis some ranting. You might be going ‘wha? Primeape’s leaving already? Wasn’t he just captured like three episodes ago?’ Yes, yes he was. According to my unconfirmed sources (IE word of mouth I heard years ago), supposedly the writers of the show realized that Ash was in a bit of a capture slump, having not captured any Pokemon since Krabby way back when. They also realized that Ash had a free space in his party that had yet to be filled since Butterfree’s departure. So they decided to have him capture a Primeape.

However, the writers allegedly didn’t know what to do with it after that, even though giving Ash a Pokemon he cannot control is a good standing plot point. I guess they wanted that honor to go to Chameleon/izard, though. Since they didn’t know what else to do with Primeape, they cut their losses and booted him soon after capture, which means A) they failed in their goal to get Ash more Pokemon, B) he’s now back to his confusing five Pokemon party despite having a Pokemon back with Oak that he could have with him and C) my intense hatred for giving Ash good Pokemon then chucking them away or giving them to Oak to rot until a tournament comes up starts here.

Primeape had tons of raw power and he even had personality, which makes this even worse. Did it have any goals in life? From what I saw in his only episode outside of this one, no. Perhaps just to screw around and have fun, which is fine. Primeape had potential but they just swept him under the rug never to be brought up again for reasons that I’ll bring up later as being nonsensical.

Farewell, Primeape. You deserved better.

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock travel to their next destination, they find what they believe is a wild Hitmonchan in the path. Ash decides that he wants to capture it, so he starts teaching Pikachu some boxing moves.

Pikachu fails miserably but manages to get one punch in on Hitmonchan. Hitmonchan’s trainer, a man named Anthony, appears and chastises Hitmonchan for letting its guard down. He tells him to return to the match, and Hitmonchan easily defeats Pikachu in a hail of punches.

Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca appears and begs her father to come back home. However, he states he won’t come back home until he’s become the champion of the local Fighting Pokemon tournament, the P1 Grand Prix. Rebecca enlists the help of Brock and his Geodude as well as Ash and his uncontrollable Primeape to enter the tournament and defeat his father in order to get him to ‘come to his senses’ give up his dream and come home.

Team Rocket also decides to enter the tournament in hopes of getting the championship belt, selling it and using the money for themselves. Since they don’t have a Fighting Pokemon, they tie up a man named Giant and steal his Hitmonlee.

Everything goes well in the tournament, for the most part. Brock is forced to forfeit on his first match out, but Primeape is doing well in his matches, especially once Ash earns his trust by diving for him when he is thrown from the ring.

In their match against Anthony and his Hitmonchan, Team Rocket cheats by gluing Hitmonchan’s foot to the floor of the ring, leaving it mostly defenseless against Hitmonlee’s barrage of kicks. Rebecca tries to protect Hitmonchan by jumping into the ring, but before she is also hit by a kick, Anthony steps in and takes the blow. Realizing the importance of his family and the futility of the match, Anthony forfeits.

The final match is Ash and Primeape against a revealed Team Rocket and Hitmonlee. They, again, try to cheat with an electro-shock device and bomb to take out Primeape, but Pikachu secretly thwarts their plans and Primeape wins legitimately. Pikachu gives Team Rocket the bomb back and sends them blasting off.

Anthony offers to take Primeape in and train him to be a true P1 champion and Ash agrees. He wishes the best in Primeape’s future training and bids him farewell.

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– Misty: “This must be one of those Fighting Pokemon I’ve heard about!” You’ve…heard about? First of all, Misty, you’re a former Gym Leader. I find it hard to believe that you never once came across a Fighting Pokemon while holding that title, especially since there are Water Pokemon, Poliwrath in Gen 1 anyway, that double as Fighting types.

Second….Mankey and Primeape are both Fighting Pokemon and you’ve seen them. That line would be better suited for Ash, but even then are Fighting types so rare that even Ash would say something like that?

– Why exactly is Ash trying to convince Pikachu to duke it out with Hitmonchan? Any idiot can see what a terrible idea that is. He has no training in hand to hand combat, Hitmonchan is obviously way more trained in it and is its friggin’ type for crying out loud, he has the power of electricity to allow him to more easily take him down and, oh yeah, Pikachu’s arms and paws are so small I’m surprised those gloves are staying on him.

If you really wanted to see a boxing match between two Pokemon maybe…oh I dunno, use your FIGHTING POKEMON. I know Ash can’t control him, but nothing else about this scene makes sense so why not?

– Narrator: “Well, everything’s been going pretty well. Misty caught Psyduck” “Caught” is being a bit generous.

“and Brock got Vulpix.” “Borrowed” would also be more fitting here.

“But Ash hasn’t captured any new Pokemon recently.” He literally caught Primeape one episode before Misty caught Psyduck and Brock got Vulpix. Being the main trainer of the group, he should be more focused on capturing, but he’s gone much longer without captures without anyone batting an eye and now the narrator’s getting on his case?

“He might be getting a little worried. But now he’ll try his luck with Hitmonchan.” Another case of the oddities starting off an episode with determination to catch a Pokemon and increase his capture rate only to not capture any Pokemon this episode and end up releasing one he has.

– “The Punchy Pokemon” is such a lazy title I could cry. It’s not even purely lazy. It’s silly too, especially for a departure episode. Why not call it “We’re too lazy to properly integrate you into the plot so, bye Primeape!” or simply “Fuck off, Primeape!”

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo in the title when it has the word in it? I’m going to keep bringing this up just because now I’m pathetically curious as to when this ends.

– I’ll actually forgive the stupid setup for Boxer!Pikachu because the actual fight is one of the funniest and most adorable scenes in Pokemon.

– I don’t understand anything about the Rocket Punch Ash taught Pikachu. He launches the boxing gloves off of his paws but then, somehow, only one of them is flying, Pikachu has the other glove back on his other paw and he’s still got the right flying glove on his paw, propelling him through the air with it.

And what about the Pikachu left behind? He wasn’t shrouded in smoke to make the illusion like he vanished. He was still there when the gloves were sent flying. I’m just imagining that, after the gloves are launched, it’s like a Benny Hill sketch with Pikachu scampering around trying to catch the left glove, getting it, then quickly running to catch up to the other glove while the smoke is still trailing to conceal him getting it back on. They really couldn’t have animated it to seem like Pikachu’s launching himself from the getgo?

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen2

……Wait….why did Ash have Pikachu-sized boxing gloves anyway?…..Ones with rockets in them…..Ash, I think Team Rocket’s stalking is getting to you more than we think.

– I always wonder about Pokemon that ‘wear clothes’ so to speak. Is Hitmonchan wearing gloves or are those its actual hands?….Is it wearing a dress or is its torso just really weird?

– Rebecca’s plan kinda sucks. Shouldn’t she be more bent on getting him the championship than defeating him? He says straight out mere lines before she asks this favor of the group that he won’t come home until he’s a P1 Grand Prix champion. Enlisting people solely for the purpose of defeating him is just going to make him want to train even harder for another year.

He’ll ‘come to his senses’ after defeat? Sure some people take losses so hard that they give up entirely, but with a guy like that the alternative is much more likely. Plus, she finds it much better that he fail in one of his main life goals instead of being there with him to help him succeed. I get that she’s lonely, but she’s being just as selfish as he is.

Now that I really think about it….this whole plan is entirely unnecessary. Either way, he’s coming home, right? At least by Rebecca’s logic. Today’s the day of the tournament. He’ll either win, prompting him to go home, or lose to someone else, prompting him to supposedly give up and go home. There is no third option. Why are Ash and Brock even needed?

– Brock: “Ash, don’t you have a Fighting Pokemon we could use?”

Ash: “Errr, what are you talkin’ about?” Ash forgot he has Primeape….Has he even been let out of the Pokeball since his capture? Is he dying in there?

– Brock, just because Geodude has fists and biceps it doesn’t mean it’s a Fighting type.

– Also, yeah, Ash has a Primeape that he can’t control and has never once bothered trying to train to the point where he’s forgotten he even has it. Brock’s Pokemon is one that is actually weak to Fighting types. Neither has had any formal training in Pokemon Boxing. These are the absolute best people to recruit to defeat Rebecca’s father, the guy who has been doing nothing but training for years for this very tournament with one of the best Fighting Pokemon you can get.

– Behold! One of the rare occasions Team Rocket actually succeeds in stealing a Pokemon!

– Why do so many people in the audience look horribly concerned as the tournament starts? They’re barely making introductions and everyone’s all mortified.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen3

Also, props to the kid holding up the blank banner. I’m sure someone will feel like they’re being cheered on….or heckled….or something.

– Why are they seemingly acting like Brock and Ash are a team in this tournament? The introduce them together when “Giant” and Anthony were introduced on their own is all….

– Team Rocket has a crapton of disguises on hand and they can’t add anything to Giant’s clothes to cover themselves up more? For crying out loud, Jessie’s uniform is still very visible under the collar and they didn’t even make an effort to cover up her hair.

– Continuing the amazingly cliché tradition of fixing any and all trust issues/behavioral problems by having him self-sacrifice himself, even just a little, to save the Pokemon in question.

– Misty: “It seems like everything changed when Ash dove to save Primeape. That’s when Primeape started to trust Ash.” Now channeling Captain Obvious-Brock is Misty. And, really guys, the audience is well aware of how lazy this flash in the pan character development is, no need to point it out by giving a detailed account of it.

– Why is Hitmonlee listening to Team Rocket? Surely it knows they’re not Giant, his actual owner.

– It’s a little bit on the ironic side that Anthony is telling Brock that real men know when to admit defeat. Remember way back in Pewter City? Brock is the one who both knew when to quit in order to stop himself from severely hurting Pikachu AND he basically gave Ash the gym badge on the factor of him stopping himself from hurting Brock’s Onix.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen4
There’s nothing to dislike about this screenshot.

– Anthony: “Time to face facts; you could lose today and win tomorrow!” Another testament as to why Rebecca’s plan is doomed to….I guess succeed….In a completely unnecessary way.

– The audience just keeps looking like they’re either saddened by what they’re watching or they don’t want to be there. What is the art department thinking?

– Anthony never realized that in order to get Hitmonchan out of the ring he’d have to unglue its foot from the floor?….And…ya know….call for the officials to come and investigate? Then have a rematch or disqualify Team Rocket?….No?….Just give up and ignore that that is the exact sequence of events that would happen in any realistic scenario? Okay.

– Also, three times in one episode, forced character/relationship development brought on through self-sacrifice.

– Oh look, Team Rocket’s revealing themselves to Ash and Co. Now Ash will alert the officials and get them disqualified for not being the contestant in question, they’ll get arrested for kidnapping and Pokemon theft and Ash will win by default. Realistic scenario.~~~~

I do love the failed motto due to James’ giving out from carrying Jessie.

– Oh look, they’ve revealed it to everyone….and not a single person seems to give a shit or point it out.

– Shocking Primeape I can understand, because you can mask that without anyone noticing what’s actually going on, but why trigger an explosion too? They’ll just call off the match or declare it a draw if Primeape ends up getting KO’d due to a random explosion that Hitmonlee obviously didn’t cause.

– Primeape suddenly learned Seismic Toss? I guess that’s alright, but how did Ash know it knew that out of the blue?

– FFS, even when the tournament is done and they’ve declared a winner, the audience is still stuck on ‘Wtf am I even watching?’ mode. Is there a gas leak in here?….and is the gas leak a fast-acting depressant?

– Why is Misty screaming ‘We did it!’? You didn’t do a damn thing outside of watch and cheer.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen5

While we’re on the topic, Brock, why are you up there cheering too? Primeape’s not your Pokemon and you didn’t do anything to help. Are you seriously (unfairly) teamed up with Ash here like the intros implied?

– This is the line that always kinda irked me about the reasons behind Primeape staying behind.

Anthony: “I promise to turn it into a true P1 champion!” It already IS a true P1 champion. An amazing one, considering it’s had no formal training in either regular battles or boxing-type fighting and yet won every match fairly easily. How much more of a P1 champion can it become? They should’ve said that they’d try to win more tournaments like this and make it the best Fighting Pokemon out there or something. This reason just seems poorly handled.

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This episode was….kinda boring and stupid. The setup didn’t make any sense. It was resolved at breakneck speed. There’s not enough given to either the Primeape or the Anthony story. You don’t even sympathize much with Rebecca because we barely know anything about her besides her father is hardly ever home and she misses him. Also, she sucks at making plans. There are a bunch of logistic problems that shouldn’t fly even in Pokemon. The action wasn’t that impressive. The departure of Primeape is frustrating and poorly written, especially if my intel on the reasons behind his leaving are true.

About the most interesting thing here is the Pokemon Boxing, but really they don’t do anything with the concept. They should be more about actual boxing or martial arts moves or something, but they’re no different from Pokemon battles, just exclusively with Fighting Pokemon. Ash was doing more actual boxing when he was teaching Pikachu than anyone else was over the course of this episode.

I’m still a little irked at the loss of one of Ash’s few evolved and powerful Pokemon. But hey at least I can relax now. It’s not like he’ll be getting another evolved and powerful Pokemon that he’ll shove under the rug for stupid reasons any time soon, right?

So, uh, what’s next on the docket?

Pokemon ep 29 preview

……..….….…..Pbbbbbttttt…..I give up.

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Pokemon Episode 25 Analysis: Primeape Goes Bananas

Pokemon EP 25 title

CotD(s): None

Captures: Ash’s Primeape – A rowdy Pokemon that Ash first met as a Mankey. Primeape is too uncontrollable for Ash to handle most of the time, so on the few times he considers using him, he usually opts against it. Don’t get attached to him.

Plot: Ash contacts Professor Oak to show off his four badges, but is furious when Professor Oak is completely unimpressed by the news since Gary and the other Pallet trainers who started at the same time as Ash all have five badges and already went through Celadon City. Not only that but Oak also claims that Gary has caught 30 Pokemon so far, while Ash only has a grand total of six.

Oak lectures him on making more progress as a trainer before ending the call, subsequently taking Ash down from his new badge high and making him very depressed. He’s determined to go to Celadon City and get his fifth badge and to catch more Pokemon, despite Misty and Brock saying it’s not how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got.

Suddenly, a Mankey appears and wants one of Brock’s rice ba—donuts. He gives him one, and Ash tries to capture it without weakening it first. Mankey easily avoids capture by throwing the ‘donut’ at the Pokeball, capturing it instead.

Infuriated at the attempted capture, Mankey starts chasing the three – and once a Mankey starts to thrash, there is no stopping it. Brock attempts to calm it by throwing a donutty donut to it, but it just bashes it away and continues its pursuit.

It finally catches up to Ash and beats him up, taking his hat as a prize. Ash is enraged since that is his treasured hat. He won it at the official Pokemon League Expo. Ash climbs up the tree that the Mankey is on, but gets beaten down when he reaches the top.

Team Rocket takes advantage of Ash’s condition and distraction to walk up and demand Pikachu. But when they start assaulting Mankey, it seeks them out as its new target. Enraged even further, Mankey evolves into the fierce Primeape.

Team Rocket brushes off the appearance of Primeape and goes back to trying to get Pikachu, but Primeape won’t be ignored and punches Jessie so hard that it sends her flying face first into a boulder. Enraged at the attack on her beauty, Team Rocket launches a full-out attack on Primeape, but Primeape wins out easily.

Pikachu tries to retrieve Ash’s hat, which has fallen on the ground, but Primeape stops him. As Primeape happily puts the hat back on his head, Ash commands Pikachu to Thundershock him. It hits, but only proves to make Primeape even angrier.

Brock decides to take another approach. He believes that Primeape is not actually angry and that he’s just scared and lonely since Ash tried to capture it and James kicked it. He tries to calm him down and hug him, but is met with a brutal beating.

Primeape continues its relentless pursuit of Ash and the others. Ash and Misty split up and Primeape doesn’t even think twice before continuing to follow Ash since he was his main target from the start.

Team Rocket tries again to capture Pikachu by digging a hole in the middle of the road to catch Ash and Pikachu as they run from Primeape. It works, but Ash just commands Pikachu to Thundershock them to get them out of his hair. Now cornered by Primeape, Ash, determined to catch more Pokemon and achieve his dream of being a Pokemon master, decides that enough is enough.

He sends out Squirtle and douses it with a Water Gun, but the attack seems ultimately ineffective.

He recalls Squirtle and sends out Bulbasaur to attack with its Razor Leaf, which is also completely ineffective.

Charmander’s up next with a few Flamethrowers, but Primeape easily dodges them and punches Charmander square in the face. It starts brutally beating up Charmander when suddenly the flame on its tail starts growing exponentially. Charmander has learned Rage – a powerful ability that gets stronger with each attack. Like Primeape, a Pokemon using Rage won’t stop until its opponent is defeated.

Charmander continues to get beaten up, but is able to hold its own. With one powered up Flamethrower, Primeape is defeated, but not before Pikachu shows the forethought to grab Ash’s hat before it becomes a casualty of Charmander’s fire.

With Primeape sufficiently beaten, Ash manages to capture it.

Team Rocket re-emerges and Ash decides it’s a good time to introduce his new Pokemon to their faces. Primeape sends them blasting off, and while Ash thinks he’s got Primeape on his side now, he’s quick to punch him right in the face.

After running so far from Primeape, Ash and others find Celadon City is incredibly close. With a new Pokemon by his side, Ash goes off to get his fifth badge.

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– Instead of getting off of his lazy ass to pick up the phone, he waits until Ash’s Krabby picks it up and brings it to him. Bear in mind, I’m talking about the whole phone, not just the receiver. And also bear in mind that the phones in this era are basically the size of old Macintosh computers.

Pokemon EP 25 screen1

– The thing about Ash’s Pokemon capture update with Oak being stagnant is actually made a lot funnier when you realize that Ash not only hasn’t captured any new Pokemon since Mystery at the Lighthouse (Holy crap, it was really that long ago) but he actually has fewer Pokemon now than he did then. Remember, that episode was where he captured Krabby and talked to Oak about his capture rate, leaving him with a grand total of seven Pokemon at his last check-in. He recently released Butterfree so he went from seven Pokemon to six.

Being fair, though, Gary’s Pokemon number has also decreased. In Mystery at the Lighthouse, Oak said Gary’s captured 45 Pokemon, but here he says that Gary’s caught 30. He could mean he’s caught 30 more since the last update, but it’s not worded like that. Also, I can’t fault 4Kids for the flub here since this error is also in the original Japanese version.

– Oak: “Pokemon training is a lot like writing poetry. I can’t write a good poem without rhymes…” Actually, while he may just be talking about his own poetry skills, lots of good poems don’t rhyme nor is it a rule that poetry has to rhyme. I know. I struggled like hell when I had to write poetry in school, both rhyming and not.

“And you can’t be a good trainer without catching more Pokemon!” That’s also technically not true. Your skills as a trainer are reflected in how well you battle, how well your Pokemon obey your commands and how good of a relationship you have with your Pokemon. You can have all of the Pokemon in the world and still be a shitty trainer. Having numerous Pokemon just gives you more options. I guess it also does give you a wider range of experience with various types of Pokemon, but still.

Also, this is another taste of irony. Remember, many Gym Leaders and even Elite Four members in the games rarely have a full party of Pokemon. Many of them only have three or less.

– Obligatory (Courtesy of Dogasu at Bulbagarden): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x81zbl_they-re-really-donuts-we-promise_news

Eric Stuart really does sound like he’s having a ball selling those ‘donuts’ as hard as he can. I can bet on one of the takes he says something along the lines of “Nothing beats a jelly-filled riceball—err, onigiri—I mean Ricenut—DONUT.”

– Speaking of Dogasu, the narrator butts in as Ash looks at the path to Celadon City just to ask a cliffhanger-ish question of whether he’ll catch up to his rivals or be left in their dust. I always thought this was out of place and just awkward considering the Narrator typically stays quiet outside of the very beginning and end.

According to the comparison, this line of dialogue was originally said by Oak and was an audio flashback to what he was saying on the phone. Since his Japanese VA is the same as the Japanese Narrator, 4Kids got confused and gave his line to the English Narrator, even though you’d think just the translated line itself being identical to Okido’s previous lines and not sounding like something the Narrator would say would be a big hint.

– So, Brock and Misty agree that being a good trainer isn’t about how many Pokemon you have, it’s how well you train the ones you’ve got. If you focus on that, then the Pokemon you’ve trained well can easily help you increase your capture rate. Of course Ash doesn’t get any of this and focuses purely on capturing more Pokemon, but it’s weird that Misty and Brock have a better understanding of what it means to be a good Pokemon Trainer than Oak does.

I know Oak’s not a Pokemon Trainer (actually, technically, he kinda was when he was a kid) and they’re Gym Leaders, but being an authority on Pokemon and a man who sends new trainers off on their journeys every year or so, you’d think he’d know better.

– 25 episodes in. 25. Goddamn. Episodes. In. And Ash is still too stupid to realize that you can almost never capture a Pokemon by just throwing a Pokeball at it without weakening it. He’s facing an energetic Fighting Pokemon, of all things, and just throws a Pokeball at it. I’m cutting off my ‘give him a break, he’s a rookie’ leniency right now. He’s done this several times at this point. He’s just being an idiot.

– I love Mankey mocking Ash’s capture style.

– It’s also a bit funny seeing Ash so sensitive about his hat here considering that, in a few years, he’ll replace that hat, replace it several more times and never ever put that hat back on.

– Holy crap, they left in James kicking the Mankey away? Early 4Kids really did let more violence slide……except that dumb slap in episode 2. I’m sorry I can’t get over that when watching these more violent episodes.

– This is the second time James has caused a Pokemon’s evolution by kicking it away (Magikarp being the first). I wonder if he has some mystic unknown evolution stone wedged in his foot.

– I know Brock fancies himself as a breeder, but he was pretty stupid to believe that Primeape was just scared and lonely when Dexter gave several full explanations as to why it was attacking everyone.

– I always liked Charmander’s proud little poses at the end, even if it might be a glimpse into his later cocky side.

Pokemon EP 25 screen2

– Oh god. I don’t think I can get a screenshot that would do it justice, but Pikachu’s derpy face from faraway as they see Celadon City on the horizon. Yikes.

Pokemon EP 25 screen3

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This episode was alright. It’s got some funny moments, with the almighty donuts being one of them, and I like Primeape, but it’s really just one long schtick of running from Primeape and getting beaten up by him. It’s nice to see Ash get a fairly powerful Pokemon, but he never trains it and, because of that, his appearances are damn near non-existent until its departure, which will come depressingly soon enough.

Watching this in hindsight is almost a joke. Yay, Ash, you captured Primeape and are making some semblance of progress to catch up to your faceless and nameless Pallet Town rivals and Gary, but you’ll never train it, you’ll never use it and you’ll be back down to your pathetic six Pokemon count in a handful of episodes. Not to mention, you’re still far behind them because, by the time you’re done getting your fifth badge, they’ll all probably have their sixth or seventh in their hands. Plus another bunch of Pokemon captures. Good job.

Team Rocket was also being completely uncreative by just waltzing up to Ash and demanding Pikachu then following that up with the tired pitfall trap.

Next episode, Ash has to deal with a bunch of girly girls and their perfume and rainbows at the Celadon Gym. But how can he get a badge there if he’s banned for hating on perfume?