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 Shorties: Pikachu’s Summer Vacation Review

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Rating: 7/10

Plot: Pikachu and all of Ash, Misty and Brock’s Pokemon are on vacation in a local park designed for Pokemon only. Pikachu is tasked with watching Togepi, but while he tries to keep Togepi from crying, a group of rowdy and rude Pokemon start making trouble with him, Squirtle and Bulbasaur.

Breakdown: The movies had a tradition of putting a short film, starring Pikachu and usually not including the human characters for the most part, before each theatrical movie. This tradition has since stopped, and seems to have stopped around Movie 06, but there are many Pokemon shorts out there still being made to this day either for no reason or special occasions.

I’ve always been kinda blasé about the shorts. They’re usually cute and harmless, but they’re not particularly interesting. Sometimes, the shorts are used to introduce new Pokemon from the next gen as teasers. For example, Marill and Snubbull being in this short, Elekid and Bellossom being in the second etc. Once you’re introduced to that generation, though, there’s really no hook anymore. These shorts are usually enjoyable, I just can’t say I’m particularly in love with any of them.

I won’t do a Sub/Dub Comparison of the short because the one on Dogasu’s Backpack is already pretty thorough. That being said, the two main changes between the dubbed version and the subbed seems to be the change in narrator and the lack of end credits, which were removed because 4Kids didn’t want people walking out of the theater thinking the movie was over. Though that may seem dumb, apparently it actually was an issue with parents even without the credits, and their children had to tell them that the movie was just coming up after the short…wow.

Another reason I won’t compare these shorts is mostly because, well, I can’t. Many of them aren’t readily available in both subbed (or just raw Japanese) and dubbed versions. Heck, on a good handful I had to deal with them being in Spanish and I think one’s in Russian.

Also, there’s not entirely much point. These shorts consist of 99% Pokemon antics while the humans are away for nearly all of the short. Unless you’re noting music changes, which I tend not to bother with, there’s usually not much there to compare anyway. You can pretty much guess what they’re saying in the scenes with the humans if the short isn’t in English.

Dogasu’s comparison can be found here http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/movies/mini_vacation.html

Without further ado, the short that accompanied Pokemon Movie 01, Pikachu’s (Summer) Vacation! As a note; I am working off of the English dubbed version of this short.

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Ash, Misty and Brock are dropping off their Pokemon at some Pokemon park for the day to have a short break while they go off and do whatever.

We quickly get the title screen and our opening song “I Need a Vacation,” which is a fairly lame song, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that, despite going years between viewings of this short, I still get this song stuck in my head randomly.

The whole opening is just them letting out their Pokemon and the Pokemon walking into the park. Charizard is looking creepily happy through the whole thing, too. It’s just so odd to see him smiling so much.

We hear our narrator and, no, it’s not our regular TV series narrator….It’s Dexter.

 

 

 

I wish. I mean Dexter, the Pokedex….How is this even working? Ash LEFT. How is the Pokedex recording and studying Pikachu and the others if it’s not there?

According to the comparison, the original had a nice motherly lady narrator. Quite the drastic change.

The Pokemon rush off to have fun while Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Togepi stay behind…..because no one….likes…Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto does appear in this short, in the opening and later when they’re trying to help Charizard. That’s it. It does nothing besides that. What do the writers have against poor Pidgeotto?

Togepi’s hungry so it starts crying. Pikachu cheers it up a bit by making funny faces. Squirtle pushes Pikachu out of the way and tries to help by making faces too, but it just upsets Togepi. Pikachu goes back to making more faces, but to no avail this time.

Squirtle, defeated, goes off and spots an apple in a tree. They get Bulbasaur to cut it down using its Razor Leaf, but before they can grab it, Psyduck grabs it and eats it in one bite……Holy crap. Psyduck doesn’t even have teeth!

Togepi continues to cry and Bulbasaur decides to cheer it up by grabbing it with its Vine Whip and singing to Togepi as it rocks it back and forth. It quickly cheers Togepi up. This is an absolutely adorable scene. Togepi kinda annoys me, but this is still a cute scene.

In this short, we get these somewhat odd transitions that showcase certain Pokemon going across the screen. The first is this trippy Bellsprout one where we get mirror images of a Bellsprout and odd earthy music as it slowly comes into frame and says its name over and over…..It’s….weird.

Cut to Togepi sleeping on a…rock-chair? The others are breathing a sigh of relief that Togepi’s fine now, but it’s still hungry. You’re never going to find a way to feed it? What piss poor Pokemon park where Pokemon are meant to be by themselves the entire time doesn’t have any food source around?

However, the silence is disturbed by four unfamiliar Pokemon; a Cubone, a Marill, a Snubbull and a Raichu, also known as “far superior Pikachu.”

The laughter and whatnot is causing Togepi to stir in its sleep, so Pikachu tries to tell them to please keep it down. But this upsets the unruly Pokemon. As they get louder, Togepi wakes up, which draws Squirtle and Bulbasaur to face off against the group.

Pikachu doesn’t want to fight, and Dexter says that Pikachu’s saying “We should set a good example for the baby!”…..Wait, what!? Dexter knows how to translate Pokemon speech?! How!? And doesn’t that create a big plothole for that stupid Sunflora episode where they needed Meowth to translate what was wrong with the Sunflora? Doesn’t that create a big plothole period?

Whatever. Togepi starts to wander off. It’s about to crawl across a log bridge and Pikachu takes chase.

We get another weird transition where we see all of the Water Pokemon underwater, not moving, as they just pan upwards. Magikarp then blows bubbles in our faces and it’s the next scene.

Well, technically it’s the same scene because we just cut back to Pikachu chasing Togepi on the log.

 

 

While chasing down Togepi on the log, the log starts to roll. Pikachu starts freaking out, but Togepi just finds it fun. Pikachu falls into the river below and watches the log roll and fall into the water too. No worries, though, Togepi…magically jumped off the log and made it safely to the other side of the river off-camera.

We then get the awesome Slowpoke transition. It’s just Slowpoke saying its name while drawing out the ‘Slow’ part, but it’s my favorite transition of the short. There’s just something about it that’s entertaining to me.

Meanwhile, Squirtle and Snubbull have a ‘see how far we can puff our chests out for no reason’ contest, but Squirtle loses and the other Pokemon laugh at him.

Bulbasaur then squares off against Snubbull by instigating a staring contest. He wins by making Snubbull dizzy by spinning its eyes round and round…..it’s a little freaky now that I think about it.

Things start getting out of hand again, and Marill and Squirtle face off as Pikachu and Togepi return.

We get a Primeape transition, which is pretty okay. It’s just a bunch of grunting to rhythmic music, but it’s catchy.

Cut to a big pool where Marill and Squirtle are prepping to have a race. It’s here where Dexter starts getting irritating. I can tell what’s going on from watching. It’s not complicated, and I don’t need to know these insipid tidbits about Pokemon that are also obvious. Shut up!

The race is about to start, using an Electrode’s explosion as the starting gun. Love how happy Electrode seems afterward. Like ‘Heheh, guys did you see that? Awesome.’

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Accompanying the race is a pop song ‘Catch Me if You Can.’ Again, lame pop-ish song, but it’s still a bit of an earworm.

I find this race to be the best part of this short. There are all sorts of funny moments.

Marill and Squirtle are neck and neck at first, but Marill gets a bit of a lead by diving underwater. However, this leads him to bump into a Starmie who Water Guns him back into a wall. Squirtle gains the lead as his friends cheer behind him.

I love this shot.

 

From Raichu’s expression to the fact that they somehow have a Squirtle flag, this shot is just awesome.

Squirtle gains the lead, but is suddenly sent backwards as a Goldeen swims under him….I’m not sure if this is Misty’s Goldeen, but I like to think so. “This is what you get for eating up all the Water-Pokemon screentime, you ass!”

Squirtle tries its hardest to regain his lead, but when he reaches the wall, Marill has not only already won, he got up on top of the wall to celebrate with the others. This is weird, because, like half a second before he hits the wall, you can see Bulbasaur and the others still cheering and smiling. Why would they be doing that if it lost so badly that Marill actually had time to climb up onto the wall and start celebrating?

And HEY LOOK A TANGELA! I love Tangela! Too bad it gets featured in the show about as much as Porygon.

You’ll also notice, on the balloon is Jigglypuff and its signature microphone. it’s not announcing anything, but he’s there as an unnoticeable cameo.

We then get an Exeggutor and Oddish transition that is boring.

Cut back to the two groups still harboring extremely harsh tensions. Raichu tries intimidation by making sparks come out of his cheeks, but this scares Togepi and makes it cry.

Pikachu tries to pacify Togepi, but Raichu shocks him and Togepi while they all laugh….Why is Raichu always made out to be a prick? First Lt. Surge’s Raichu now this. Raichu doesn’t show up much in the show, yet it seems like he’s consistently made out to be an ass in every appearance.

This pisses Pikachu off, so he challenges Raichu. They stick their cheeks together while making sparks and….somehow get stuck-ish or something, I don’t know, magnetism? And they start running together at high speeds while not caring about who or what they’re plowing into in the process.

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We get a Diglett/Dugtrio transition that’s less boring than the last one, but still not entertaining.

Cut to somewhere else in the park where Meowth, Arbok and Weezing are also on vacation….Wow, how convenient. I’d say they were taking a note from Ash and the others, but if they knew Ash and the others just let out their Pokemon in some open area and left for hours, you’d think they’d see this as a huge opportunity to steal Pikachu as well as the rest of their Pokemon. Hell, this park as a whole seems unmonitored by humans. Team Rocket may actually have a shot of stealing stuff here.

Also, where are Lickitung and Victreebel? Do they get no vacation?

Raichu and Pikachu plow through them and continue running when we get a Farfetch’d transition. They plow through a Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan who are training before we get a Chansey transition.

Cut to Charizard who is napping. Raichu and Pikachu run over its tail, which causes it to chase after the two. When they start taking the lead, Charizard starts treating it like a race. Charizard runs out in front, cheers and flaps his wings, which causes Raichu and Pikachu to be knocked off the cliff. They fall into the belly of a Snorlax and land on the ground, only to have Snorlax roll over and crush them. They get out, but quickly fall over, too exhausted to go on.

However, Charizard’s hopped up and starts causing chaos. He flies a few inches above the group to pick on them, but doesn’t watch where he’s going and crashes into some of the nearby play…things and gets his head stuck in a pipe.

Charizard’s roaring in panic, and Meowth, who has moved with Arbok and Weezing to a cliff directly above the pipe, tells Charizard to be quiet. But he’s rewarded by Charizard Flamethrowering in the pipe, which is redirected upwards through another pipe, burning Meowth’s face.

We then get a weird Magnemite transition that is constantly fading to black while adding more Magnemite to the picture.

We finally see the rest of Ash, Misty’s and Brock’s Pokemon show up with a rope to try to pull Charizard free. They try their hardest, but Charizard stomps his foot down and causes the other to fall down.

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Aww, look at Vulpix helping! ❤

The other group laughs at them and Charizard starts crying…Not magical tears, mind you. Just regular ones.

Pikachu pleads with the other group for help, and, hey, this might actually be one situation where a translation would’ve been somewhat helpful, but Dexter’s been asleep at the wheel since the swimming race. Maybe I hurt its feelings.

Raichu, Snubbull and Marill discuss if they should help them, and they say yes, but Cubone refuses.

They give it another shot while Cubone watches. They try in vain to get Charizard out, and Dexter decides to chime in again saying “Cubone has earned its classification as the ‘Lonely Pokemon’ by caring only about itself.”

…..Uhh….Noooooooooooo. Every Pokedex entry for Cubone states that it’s called the ‘Lonely Pokemon’ because its mother was killed by Team Rocket or simply died shortly after it was born.

In its sorrow, it wears the skull of its mother on its head. There’s also several depressing notes such as the skull having stains on it due to Cubone’s tears and crying as it sees the likeness of its mother in the moon. Don’t BS a different explanation as to why he’s the ‘Lonely Pokemon’ just because….because…I actually have no idea why. 4Kids is just a prick.

Cubone eventually decides to help, and they manage to get Charizard unstuck….I still don’t get this. Cubone hasn’t done anything but laugh and cheer this entire short but suddenly the fate of Charizard rests on its shoulders? Also, I love how a Cubone makes the difference here. Cubone barely has hands. An Onix…..AN ONIX is helping them, yet a Cubone makes all the difference in getting Charizard free.

Getting Charizard unstuck causes Pikachu and the others to fly backwards while Charizard and Psyduck (who keeps making everything more funny) go off in an entirely different direction for some reason….How would that work?

Meowth gets angry at the noise again, and this time he wants to shut them up with a bomb or I guess it would be a ‘blaster ball’. However, Charizard and Psyduck land on Meowth, causing the bomb to blow up on Meowth instead.

The other Pokemon cheer that they got Charizard unstuck and decided to fix what’s left of the park together.

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Dexter says his analysis concludes that Pokemon are kind creatures by nature and prefer cooperation to confrontation….Okay, look, you can’t say ALL Pokemon are kind by nature. That’s just not true. And they learned that cooperation is better after working together towards a common goal and putting their differences aside. Plenty of Pokemon love to fight and compete and some are actually assholes.

Also, Charizard is again happily helping the others with a big smile….Is he only a little brat when Ash is around? I mean, the only time he’s been mean here is when Pikachu and Raichu stepped on his tail and that’s understandable. Does Charizard just choose to be an ass when Ash is around because he dislikes him for one of the many reasons Ash is awful?

We get a pretty cute Jigglypuff transition before cutting back to the Pokemon having fun in the park. We see Charizard again happily playing with the others by letting them try to seesaw with him by jumping on one end of the board while he smiles and lays there. That’s pretty cute.

Dexter’s final note is that “Despite former uncertainties, Pokemon vacations are highly recommended.” What uncertainties? Just the fact that they ran into some douchey Pokemon? Welcome to life, Dexter.

Dexter deactivates, and we cut to all of the Pokemon watching the sunset. Ash calls out for Pikachu (and only Pikachu, of course) to come back because it’s time to leave. Misty calls out Goldeen, Staryu and Psyduck….and oddly enough she doesn’t call for Togepi….what the hell? Brock calls out for all of his Pokemon because I guess he’s the only one who cares.

As the others leave, Pikachu stops and turns back to say farewell to the other group. He shakes Snubbull’s paw, which is weird. Shouldn’t he have shaken Raichu’s paw? Raichu was Pikachu’s main rival here, and he’s seemingly the leader of this group. Snubbull was Bulbasaur’s rival and Marill was Squirtle’s.

Pikachu reunites with Ash and the short ends.

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Bottomline: Despite Dexter being somewhat intrusive, this is a really good start to the Pokemon shorts. I wish we had gotten to see more of the Pokemon we just don’t get to see very often like Goldeen, Zubat, Geodude and Pidgeotto, but they have to make the main ones the frontrunners….

Recommended Audience: It’s Pokemon. The most offensive we get here……I can’t even make a comparison joke, it’s that tame. The shorts always seem to be aimed at an even younger audience than usual anyway.

Pokemon Episode 14 Analysis – The Electric Shock Showdown

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Badge Episode – Thunder Badge: Vermilion City

Gym Leader: Lt. Surge – An American army lieutenant, Lt. Surge is as full of energy and passion as his electric Pokemon. He tends to look down on Pokemon that are not evolved as it seems like a weakness.

Reappear? No 😦

Pokemon: Raichu, though it can be assumed that he has many Electric types.

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Plot: After two weeks of being lost in the woods, Ash and the others finally reach Vermilion City. They stop at the Pokemon Center to get Pikachu something to eat and to make sure Ash’s other Pokemon are in tip top shape for his upcoming Gym match when a boy comes in with a wounded Rattata. The poor Pokemon is the latest in a string of many who have been thrashed by the Vermilion City Gym leader – Lt. Surge.

Ash has no worries about his upcoming match in spite of this, but Misty reminds him that he’s had many difficulties battling and his only two badges were given to him out of pity by her and Brock. Ash remains excited and confident that he can beat Surge, but when yet another trainer comes in with a badly wounded Pidgey, Pikachu panics.

Ash tries to force Pikachu to go with him and battle, confident that he’ll win and not end up like all the wounded Pokemon. Eventually, Ash succeeds in bringing Pikachu to the Gym and faces off against the gargantuan Lt. Surge.

Surge is far from impressed by his challenger and laughs at the fact that he uses a Pikachu. He reveals that his Pokemon of choice is actually the evolved form of Pikachu, Raichu. Lt. Surge believes that good Pokemon Trainers should waste no time in getting their Pokemon to evolve after capturing them, and Ash using a Pikachu is sign of weakness. Ash and Pikachu are both insulted at this claim, and Ash says he doesn’t want to force Pikachu to evolve since he likes him just the way he is.

Lt. Surge continues to show his edge by also stating that his Raichu knows all of the Electric type attacks, something Pikachu hasn’t accomplished yet. After having his ego bruised, Pikachu gears up for battle and the Gym match begins.

Pikachu starts the match with a Thundershock, but it has no effect on Raichu. In retaliation, Raichu performs its own Thundershock, which heavily damages Pikachu. Brock urges Ash to recall Pikachu because Raichu is simply too powerful for him to handle. Ash agrees and tries to call Pikachu back, but he wants to continue battling.

Pikachu heads back into battle only to be knocked back time and again by a Thunderpunch and a Mega Kick. Surge finishes Pikachu off with one final Thundershock, and the battle concludes.

Later, at the Pokemon Center, Pikachu rests to recover from its wounds, and the others point out that Pikachu’s biggest wound was to its pride. It tried its hardest to prove that it was just as good as Raichu and failed miserably.

Ash wants to try again, but realizes that there’s no point unless they find some other way to take down Raichu. Nurse Joy overhears their conversation and offers Ash a Thunder Stone, which would grant Pikachu the ability to instantly evolve into a Raichu.

Ash is conflicted because, on one hand, evolving Pikachu to Raichu would give him a better chance of beating Surge. On the other hand, evolving Pikachu purely for battle purposes would make him no better than Surge. He sets the stone down next to Pikachu and leaves the decision up to him.

Pikachu considers it for a second before smacking the stone out of Ash’s hands. He says he doesn’t want to change and that he’ll fight Raichu in a rematch for the name of all Pikachu.

While they all express concern over the next Gym match, Brock says he has an idea that might give Pikachu the edge over Raichu.

After watching Pikachu’s story from the windows of the Gym and Pokemon Center, Team Rocket decides to shed their villain clothes for the day and actually cheer on Pikachu while disguised. The gang appreciates Team Rocket’s support, even after recognizing them.

At the Gym rematch, Ash touts a new strategy which seems to instantly fail as Pikachu takes a Tail Whip to the face and then repeated Tail Whips as he lies on the floor.

Pikachu continues to get pummeled, and it only gets worse when Raichu Body Slams him. Surge is about to finish him off with another Body Slam, but Pikachu manages to slip away before getting hit again.

Ash puts his new strategy into play and commands Pikachu to use Agility, allowing him to dodge all of Raichu’s Body Slams. Brock reveals that the logic behind this strategy is that Raichu was instantly evolved when Surge caught him as a Pikachu, meaning he never got the opportunity to learn the speed moves that it can only learn as a Pikachu.

Raichu is baffled by Pikachu’s speed, and it seems like Ash and Pikachu have finally gained the upperhand when Surge decides to stop messing around and blasts the entire arena with a Thunderbolt.

As the smoke clears, they see that Pikachu has managed to escape the blast unharmed, using his tail as a ground to avoid the shock. Surge calls for another Thunderbolt, only to realize that Raichu has used up all of its power and cannot perform Electric attacks anymore.

Pikachu, however, is perfectly fine and uses his Quick Attack (and a Tail Whip?) to take down Raichu, winning Ash the Thunder Badge.

Pikachu’s honor has been restored, Ash has earned the respect of Lt. Surge and they’ve both reached a new level of understanding in their friendship.

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– Was….Ash about to punch Misty in the face? He was going slow, so he was probably going to stop after his arm extended, but the way Nurse Joy stops his hand it’s almost like he was going to go through with it.

– Eeeee the Pokemon Center sound. ~Nostalgic game shivers.~

– To the trainer who came in with a Pidgey….Really dude, you used a Pidgey against Lt. Surge? Why not save the trouble and stick your Pidgey’s beak in an electrical outlet?

– It should be noted that the Lt. Surge of the anime is WAY bulkier and taller than his game counterpart. Lt. Surge of the games is definitely muscular but he has a much thinner physique and doesn’t seem particularly tall. Lt. Surge of the anime is like eight feet tall and is built like a body builder.

– Yay Raichu! Also known as Way-Better-Pikachu!

– Wait, Ash knows what a Raichu is?….And he’s still using his Pokedex on it? I’m not sure if I should make this a ‘Why Use the Pokedex’ moment since I don’t see why he does know about Raichu when he didn’t seem to know about Pikachu when he first met one.

– I’m surprised that Surge doesn’t point out that a Pokemon disobeying its master and continuing to battle after being recalled is a sign of poor training. Yes, it’s gutsy of Pikachu, but it also shows Ash’s lack of control over his Pokemon.

– Brock: (In regards to evolution) “Pikachu will never be the same.” Can someone tell me exactly what goes on in evolution in the show? Because it seems like sometimes evolving greatly impacts a Pokemon’s personality, like with Charmander, but other times they stay exactly the same and only have changed appearances and base stats, like Caterpie. No, Pikachu will never technically be the same, but it’s really just changing appearance and power, isn’t it?

– Also, considering we now know that Pikachu is actually an evolved form itself, this internal struggle seems kinda….confusing? Pichu aren’t ‘forced’ to evolve into Pikachu, but it’s still an evolved form. And taking Bulbasaur’s ability to deny itself evolution later on, it seems like Pikachu willingly evolved when he was a Pichu. You got something against Raichu? Because I have an exterminator who owes me a favor, you little yellow rat.

– Misty: “How can you see a star in the middle of the day?” Uh…it’s called the sun, Misty.

– While I give Ash and co. props for seeing through Team Rocket’s disguises for the first time…I can’t give them too much credit considering a big hint was probably the talking Meowth. Not that it means much in later seasons.

– Gotta love Surge’s VA’s line delivery when he says ‘What?’ after the Thunderbolt. If there was ever an audio version of the ‘wat?’ meme.

– Any reason why the Thunder Badge looks like a sunflower or the sun?

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So, another badge episode down, and I’m pleased to say that I really like this episode. Ash loses the first time around, making for a real question of concern over whether he can truly win. Surge is made out to be a major threat here. He’s definitely the most powerful and intimidating Trainer Ash has faced so far.

I love Raichu, even if he’s made out to be kinda a jerk in the majority of the episode like Surge is. Plus, his existence throughout the episode seems to be to signify being something that Pikachu doesn’t want to be, which makes Raichu look bad.

The fact that Team Rocket cheers Pikachu on instead of ruining the flow of the episode with stealing was very welcome, and I like how Ash didn’t use made up BS or cheating to win this match. In addition, it’s his first actually WON badge as the other two have been pity badges.

The only thing I kinda don’t like is how it was Brock who was the one who gave Ash the match-winning advice. I usually like when Brock and Misty actually impact the plot, but, if he hadn’t been there, Ash would’ve lost. He’d probably run back to Pewter City and try to juice up Pikachu with a water wheel again. I would’ve preferred if he had done research himself, figured it out on his own etc. Even if it was just a fluke. But it’s not like this is the first nor far from the last time this will ever happen. I take what I can get.

Next episode, we start off the St. Anne arc!

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