Pokemon Episode 39 Analysis: Pikachu’s Goodbye

Pokemon Ep 39 title

CotD(s): None.

Pre-analysis Notes: Yup. There’s more behind-the-scenes stuff to go through. And this episode isn’t even a little banned. Last time for a while, I promise.

Like I mentioned in the previous episode, the airing of Pokemon was put on hold for four months after the Pokemon Shock incident. Since the show started re-broadcasting in April, they opted to skip the winter-themed episodes, Holiday Hi-Jynx and Snow Way Out, for the time being. Because of this, they had to move on to the episodes that followed.

The Battling Eevee Brothers is about—No wait, that’s not right. Wake Up, Snor—nope. That’s not it either. Showdown at D—…Still no. Where the hell did this episode come from?

Turns out, there was still damage control to do after the Pokemon Shock incident. We all know that the Electric Soldier Porygon episode got super-banned and Porygon and its evos were shoved into a closet marked “Don’t Porygon. Open inside.” But there is still one obvious loose end that needed to be tied up. A yellow rat shaped loose end.

Despite the fact that the public at large associated the Pokemon Shock incident with Porygon, many people were still very aware that Pikachu was the cause of it. And even though I said that the showrunners would never sacrifice their precious Pikachu shaped ATM, they realized what had to happen in order to properly respect the children who were affected. They had to take the proper steps, story-wise, to say goodbye to Ash’s best pal. So they dedicated an entire episode to Pikachu finding other wild Pikachu and forming a familial bond with them. Ash, realizing that his Pikachu was happy there, tearfully bid him farewell and continued on his journey.

While he felt the weight of the missing Pikachu on his shoulders every day, he knew it was for the best. Hopefully, he’d come back and visit his old friend someday, having grown, learned, matured and—PBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! *snort*Ahahahaha, I knew I couldn’t make it through that! Ahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaa! *sigh* No.

What really happened, in speculation because they’d never admit to this of course, is that they realized that Pikachu had been slightly vilified by the events of the previous episode, so they knew they had to do something major to put Seizurechu back in the good graces of their audience.

During the four month hiatus, they seemingly brewed up this episode on the fly since it had not appeared in any broadcast or production schedule before the incident occurred. And if there was ever an episode cherry-picked to make you love Pikachu, it’s this one.

Step right up! Hurry hurry! We’ve got so many Pikachu, you’ll think you just fell into a bargain bin of clearance Pikachu plushies at that outlet mall that never doesn’t smell like mildew! Check it out! We’ve got Pikachu with slightly ruffled tails, Pikachu with slightly bent ears, Pikachu with slightly bent and ruffled ears! Not enough?! What are you? A black-hearted Porygon?! What do we have to show you? A baby Pikachu?! Well, that’s physically imposs—OH BOOYA! BABY FREAKIN’ PIKACHU!

Look, they’re doing cute things like throwing Satoshi’s Pikachu into the air with their tails, doing a handshake with tails, rubbing their faces together and making sparks, and chanting to the moon like a Clefairy cult!

But wait, we offer more than just diabetes-inducing cuteness! We also have heartwrenching sadness! Get a bittersweet smile as Satoshi’s Pikachu has a bunch of fun with the other Pikachu. Tear up as Satoshi comes to the realization that Pikachu’s better off in the wild. Cry your eyeballs out of their sockets when that damn clipshow with that godforsaken song comes up. Then forget all about any connections Pikachu had with the—Hhmm? What’s that? Already forgotten because Pikachu’s slow-mo jumping into Satoshi’s arms? Nevermind then!

That is basically the entire gist of this episode.

As I read the episode’s Wiki page before starting the rewatch, I came across an interesting section. When this episode aired in Japan, they had a woman named Miyuki Yadama introduce the show. She explained the reasons behind the hiatus, the whole Pokemon Shock incident and even the specific reason behind the seizures. The interesting part is what’s in the frame with Ms. Yadama as she’s giving this intro. She’s surrounded by Pokemon dolls. There are several species in the frame, but one Pokemon is noticeably much more prevalent.

Guess who?

EP038_incident_explanation

There are, at least, 12 Pikachu in this shot. Maybe 13, but I can’t tell if the first one to the right is an Electabuzz. If you had any question about the validity of my suspicions, just look at this picture. This intro preceding this episode makes me wonder if there’s such a thing as overdosing on Pikachu.

They so very desperately want you to fall back in love with Pikachu again, it’s almost creepy.

Without any further adieu, Pikachu’s Goodbye.

Plot: Taking a rest in the forest, Pikachu spots a Baby Pikachu in the bushes and runs to greet it. The Baby Pikachu runs off to its group and Pikachu tries to make friends with them. The group is leery, but welcome Pikachu into the group when the Baby Pikachu properly greets him with a tail shake.

Ash decides that he wants to make friends with them too so he bursts from his hiding spot and yells out that he wants to play with them. However, they’re quickly scared off by him, leaving Pikachu disappointed.

Later, Brock explains that the Pikachu are likely scared of humans due to a lack of contact with them. They’re currently so far into the woods that people likely don’t wander around there very often. This area is like a paradise to them and they agree that they should do everything in their power to avoid disturbing them.

Suddenly, the Baby Pikachu from earlier falls into the nearby river. It’s not strong enough to fight the current, so Pikachu jumps in to save it. The other Pikachu form a Pikachain to grab onto the two of them and pull them to safety. Pikachu’s now even more accepted into their group, and Ash comes to the realization that Pikachu may be better off living with the wild Pikachu than traveling with him.

He struggles with the thought through the night when the Pikachu cry out in panic. Team Rocket has wrangled up all of the Pikachu in an insulated net and plans to take them all. They start to fly away, but Pikachu bites through the net and climbs up onto the balloon’s basket to distract Team Rocket while Ash and the others catch the Pikachu in a net as they jump from the balloon.

Pikachu bites the balloon and sends Team Rocket blasting off. Everyone’s greatly impressed with Ash and Pikachu. As the Pikachu cheer, Ash becomes adamant that Pikachu really would be better off in the wild with the other Pikachu and tries to silently leave. However, Pikachu tries to follow him. Ash tries to get Pikachu to understand that the other Pikachu need him there and that he shouldn’t follow him anymore.

Trying his best not to cry in front of Pikachu, he quickly bids him goodbye and runs off. Misty and Brock catch up to him and try to understand why he feels the need to do this. They’re unable to argue when Ash explains the situation.

Suddenly, Pikachu shows up again, much to Ash’s surprise. The Pikachu cheer on the both of them and Ash realizes that Pikachu has chosen to stay by his best friend. They tearfully reunite with a hug, knowing they’ll always continue their journeys together.

————————

– Narrator: “Our hero, Ash, along with his friends, Misty and Brock….” Oh, we’ve gone from ‘our heroes’ to ‘Ash, the hero and friends.’ Nice.

– Ash: *swinging from vine* “KANGA-KANGASKHAN!” It’s less than 30 seconds into the episode and so far it’s given me two prompts to punch Ash in the face. Good job.

– Eeeeeee! Baby Pika…….I mean *cough* in hindsight, baby Pikachu is impossible because it’s an evolved form from the yet to be revealed Pichu. Hahaha, what adorable continuity—HORRIBLE! What HORRIBLE continuity.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen1

– Awwww the Pikachu rubbing their faces together to get sparks. That’s so cu—Uh….Shouldn’t they be stuck together like Pikachu and Raichu did in Pikachu’s Vacation? Pbbtt, you guys sure are messy with the yet-to-happen continuity today. Hahaha…..ha.

– AW THEY’RE NIBBLING APPLES AND WRESTL—Ahem….errr…..where the hell are they going? Pikachu are only indigenous to the Viridian Forest, The Power Plant and the Rocket Game Corner (in Green) in Kanto.

So, given the last few episodes and considering they’re in a forest, they went from the Safari Zone to Cycling Road (it’s definitively called that in the original version) to two anime-exclusive towns along the way to Viridian Forest.…..when their next destination is Cinnabar Island here which takes them nine episodes because apparently between Viridian Forest and Cinnabar Island there are at least seven different towns and cities when it would’ve taken an episode or two from where they started, especially considering the Seafoam Islands don’t seem to be the same hurdle that needs jumping to get there from there and they just take a boat anyway.

Basically, they did this

Map confusion

When they just needed to do this. map6

 

I really need to stop applying game logic to this show or else I’ll have to buy one of those blood pressure cuffs.

– Aw, the Baby Pikachu is ‘shaking tails’ with Ash’s Pikachu. Awww—fully easy to earn your trust, eh Baby Pikachu? Yeah….*sniff*

Pokemon Ep 39 screen2

– Ash, after seeing how wary they were of his Pikachu, thinks nothing of bursting from a nearby bush, running towards the group of Pikachu, waving his arms and yelling to them. *sigh*

– Not for nothing, but couldn’t any of Ash and Misty’s Water Pokemon help save the Baby Pikachu?

– I get that it’s hard to grab anywhere else in a Pikachain, but pulling on their tails has to be really painful.

– Uh, why is the Baby Pikachu, the one who was originally drowning, fine, but Ash’s Pikachu is unconscious?

– Cheek to cheek resuscitation would be a cuter term for this if not for the giggles it would receive….heheh, butts.

– Awwwwww, they’re lifting him up and throwing him through the air with their tails to cheer for Pikac—No!….No…*cough*

– Is that one Pikachu rubbing the other’s ass?

Pokemon Ep 39 screen3

– I love that it seems like Team Rocket feels justified to put much more value on an otherwise very common and easy to capture Pokemon just because they believe one Pikachu is more powerful than it should be when they have no proof of that. I really just think, at this point, it’s been burned into their minds.

– Awww, they’re sing/chanting at the moon that’s….cute and creepy? Are we back to the theory that Pokemon are aliens? What is this exactly?

– I will fully admit that it’s cool that their chanting matches the BG music.

– The Who’s That Pokemon shot of Pikachu just reminds me of how much weight little chubby Pikachu has lost since he met Ash.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen4

– I do like how they create this dilemma with Ash. Pikachu is Ash’s best friend and first Pokemon. He obviously loves all of his Pokemon, but Pikachu is still very special to him. (blatant favoritism aside) Hearing that Pikachu might be happier without him while seeing the evidence in front of his face has to be incredibly difficult.

I’d compare it to Bye Bye Butterfree to a major extent. Butterfree was the second Pokemon Ash ever had and he realized that its future and happiness was not with him but with his new mate and children out in the wild. Even though Butterfree meant a lot to him, he knew he had to let him go. One of the purest forms of showing true love is pushing your happiness and feelings aside in order to make the other happy.

He’s doing the same thing here, which could nudge this episode slightly into rip-off territory (even the title is similar: Bye Bye Butterfree → Pikachu’s Goodbye) but I think does enough to skew it away from that.

The thing that kinda snags this is that Ash isn’t really taking into consideration what Pikachu wants. I know that seems counter to what I’ve been saying, but he never really asks Pikachu if he wants to stay there. He’s just doing what he believes is right for Pikachu, when, in reality, wouldn’t every Pokemon who is captured be better off with their own kind back in the wild?

Ash knew Butterfree had made his decision to stay with the other Butterfree and his mate to start a new life in the wild again. He knew that was what he wanted. Here, Ash just sees Pikachu enjoying itself and making new friends then assumes he’d be happier there without him.

It also messes up the departure scene. Whereas in Bye Bye Butterfree where the entire departure is sad and heartbreaking, though bittersweet because you know it’s for the best, here you get like an Old Yeller impression, like Pikachu’s confused as to what Ash is doing and seems like he’s being abandoned, to a degree. Before Pikachu goes to see where he went, Ash seems like he’s going to leave Pikachu without even saying goodbye. The sadness is mostly triggered by the clipshow and accompanying song.

– I think I understand now why Brock’s eyes are the way they are. He sleeps facing fires.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen5
Thank God, a Pika-free screencap…..are they sleeping on top of their sleeping bags?

– Ash: *facing a net filled with the Pikachu* “Pikachu! PIKACHU!”

This is one of those times where calling a Pokemon by its species name seems stupid. This would be like me naming my dog Dog, losing him in a pack of dogs and yelling ‘Dog! DOG!’

– Hey, you know what’s a good idea to include in your first post-seizure episode? A shot where the characters are blinded by bright lights!

– Misty: “You’re not swiping anything!” Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping!

Misty: “Pikachu! Break through the ropes with an electric attack!” Why did Misty get these lines? Pikachu is not her Pokemon.

– Hey, you know what’s a good idea to include in the dubbing of the post-seizure episode? This line;

James: “They’re no match for our Pikachu insulated SEIZURE net!” Good job, 4Kids.

– *sigh* Yet another time where Ash and the others forget they have non-Pika Pokemon.

Misty’s Staryu and Starmie have been known to cut through things. Brock’s Vulpix could burn the ropes. Geodude could just rip them up. Ash’s Bulbasaur could Razor Leaf them out. Charmander could burn the ropes. Pidgeotto might be able to cut through them.

Even after they get captured in the net, they could still easily use a Pokeball.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen6

– Pikachu, the mouse Pokemon, just now decided to start chewing the ropes.

– The animation for the chewing, when seen from afar, seems so erratic.

– Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s a hell of a lot more Pikachu than we’ve ever seen on screen before this point. We’ve been seeing like 20-30, but there have to be hundreds in there.

– Ash: “Alright! We’re free!” We won’t explain how, but we’re free!

– Ya know, I know this episode wasn’t even a thought back then, but I feel like this episode should’ve preceded Sparks Fly for Magnemite. At least this would explain why Pikachu has a fear of being abandoned by Ash, to a slight degree.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen7

– It’s actually a little funny. The episode’s called Pikachu’s Goodbye, but Ash is the only one who says it.

– Ash: “All of these Pikachu in the forest need you.” That’s highly debatable. He could help them out, sure, but need? That’s going a bit far. Honestly, Pikachu wouldn’t have even been successful in saving the other Pikachu from Team Rocket if Ash and the others didn’t catch them with the net.

This is another reason why the departure is a bit screwed. He should’ve just sat down with Pikachu and explained that he believed he’d be happier there with the wild Pikachu.

– “I close my eyes….and I can see….the day we m–” NOPE!

You’re not getting me this time! You can’t make me feel feelings!

feelz

NO! LEAVE ME ALONE!

drowning

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

feelings

– Must….include….cynicism….Urgh….Oh I know. Way to save two minutes of animation by having a somewhat sloppy clipshow. Our second one this episode, I might add, but the first was much shorter.

– Oh look, honored Messiahchu literally summoned the sun. That’s the only way to explain away going from dead of night to sunrise in three seconds.

Pokemon Ep 39 screen8
Pikachu: “You’re my bitch now, Ra!”

– Aw, the Baby Pikachu saying goodbye to Pikachu—I mean, it’s really stupid how—Awwww, Pikachu jumping into Ash’s arms. Rrrghh…resist…. Aw, the look on Ash’s face before he does it…..I’m slipping….Aw, he’s crying! Not gonna make it….not…gonna…Aww the other Pikachu are cheering for them–Feels-Explosion

————————–

Fine! I like this episode, okay? It’s not a masterpiece, but I like it. I don’t care if it has minimal story, I don’t care if they’re obviously cutting corners with the animation to get it out within four months, I don’t care if the art sometimes looks really weird like making them seem too tall or too old (Ash looks about five years older when he’s watching the fire.) I don’t care if this plot is a little recycled from Bye Bye Butterfree. I don’t care if the departure’s botched a little, I don’t care if my feelings are being manipulated for the sake of ‘love Pikachu again, we promise he won’t make you foam at the mouth anymore.’ They succeeded in their mission.

Hell, I’ll even forgive a minor issue with this episode – the Baby Pikachu might just be a chibi Pikachu. *shrug*

As we’ve all learned by now, sometimes we just like things without needing a good reason. It’s cute and sad. That’s my justification. As much as I hate the favoritism sometimes, Ash and Pikachu can be legitimately heartwarming as a friendship. I grew up with these two. I can’t untug the heartstrings.

Next episode, Eevee! The Eeveelutions! More continuity problems with later generations! Annoying as hell CotDs! And hair.

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Pokemon (Banned) Episode 38 Analysis: Electric Soldier Porygon

Pokemon ep 38 screen8
I’m certain most of Japan agrees with you, Kasumi.

CotD(s): Akihabara-Hakase – Creator of the Monster Ball transfer system, Akihabara is very intelligent but also eccentric and somewhat dangerous.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Akihabara has two Porygon, and the species as a whole is also his creation.

Pre-Analysis Notes: Look, you know what this is. I know what this is. Nearly everyone who knows even a little about classic Pokemon or anime knows what this is. But, just in case, let’s be frank about it anyway.

It’s the seizure episode.

It’s arguably the most well-known singular episode of Pokemon and, arguably, the most well-known banned episode of any animated series outside of that one episode of Tiny Toons where they drink beer.

The cause of the famous Pokemon Shock incident, Electric Soldier Porygon is the episode that caused seizures in 600+ kids in Japan when it first aired. The effects of this episode airing are still being felt to this day. In fact, this episode caused the creators of Pokemon to go back and edit some of their episodes to help prevent possible seizure-inducing shots.

For instance, you may have noticed by now in certain episodes where Pikachu is doing electric attacks (most notably in these instances, I might add, but let’s address this later) that the animation starts jutting or slowing down and the brightness gets significantly lower. I also mentioned that I believe this incident is the reason for the nightmare fuel animation Hypno and Drowzee shots in Hypno’s Naptime.

It’s not just contained to Pokemon either. Other anime and western animated shows also tone down the brightness and tweak the animation in flashy action shots, such as in shounen fighting anime, to prevent this same thing from happening.

That’s not all. Many anime also started putting those all too familiar ‘don’t sit too close to the TV and turn up the lights in the room’ warnings at the start of certain shows to also help prevent this.

And that’s still not all. Because of this incident, the creators of Pokemon felt they had to do damage control in the future and prevent people from remembering this event. Thus, Porygon had to be sacrificed.

In addition to it never getting an anime release outside of Japan, Porygon and all of its evos have been silently banned from ever getting their own episodes or being used by trainers in the entirety of the anime. They don’t even get mentioned. The best they get are incredibly minor cameos in the background, almost always just being an obligated feature in a huge collab screen during those The World of Pokemon openers for the movies.

And it was wrongfully damned because…..*huff* Nope. Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it.

This is our second completely banned episode in regards to it obviously being taken out of rotation (In Japan too, which probably makes it ultra-banned) and never being dubbed by 4Kids. In fact, unlike The Legend of Miniryu, it’s highly unlikely 4Kids ever got a copy of this episode to dub considering that they wanted to basically remove this episode from existence.

You can find more information on the event, the banning and why it likely wasn’t ever dubbed and will probably will never be released, even edited, here http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/kanto/ep038.html And I know Dogasu links to this page in the article, but just because I believe it deserves a look for the sake of learning more about the event itself https://www.csicop.org/si/show/pokemon_panic_of_1997

Without any further adieu. The seizure ep—Er, The Electric Soldier Porygon.

Japanese Key: Satoshi/Ash, Takeshi/Brock, Kasumi/Misty, Hakase/Professor, Monster Balls/Pokeballs, Fushigidane/Bulbasaur, Arbo/Arbok, Metadogas/Weezing, Masaki/Bill

Plot: Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi have arrived in Matcha City, and Pikachu seems really tired, so they visit the local Pokemon Center to get him some rest. When they arrive, they find the Pokemon Center in chaos as they try to field phone call after phone call with complaints about the Monster Ball Transfer System not functioning.

Whenever a rare Pokemon is being transferred, the Pokemon is switched with a much more common Pokemon and the original Pokemon never arrives. Joy and the tech specialist who created the system, Akihabara-hakase, are working to fix it, but so far have been unable to find the bug.

Takeshi suggests that it’s a virus, but Akihabara vehemently refuses the suggestions. He runs out of the building stating that the system is far too advanced to get a virus.

Satoshi and the others go to Akihabara’s laboratory to see what’s wrong when they’re stopped by a strange polygonal Akihabara head that turns out to be a hologram. Akihabara lures the group into a giant Monster ball transfer machine where he tells them that the source of the problems for the system is Team Rocket.

They somehow managed to sneak in, steal a prototype CG Pokemon, Porygon Zero, and transfer themselves into the network. Whenever a rare Pokemon is sent through, Team Rocket snatches it and replaces it with a common Pokemon.

He knows he could fix the problems with a vaccine program. The problem is, if he activates the program now, Team Rocket will be killed. In order to avoid this, he sends Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi into the digital world to take down and retrieve Team Rocket so he can execute the program and fix the system.

Riding on an enlarged Porygon, the group assesses their situation and follows the Network Highway to Team Rocket, who are stopping all transfers in the middle of the highway with a literal road block and taking all of the rare Pokemon for themselves.

Satoshi and the others arrive, demanding they release the Pokemon. Team Rocket refuses and sends out Arbo and Metadogas. Metadogas uses Smokescreen, but Porygon uses its Conversion technique to match Metadogas’ appearance and knock it away. (Actually it adopts the Pokemon’s type, but this is fun too)

Team Rocket uses Porygon Zero to fight the other Porygon, but it’s mostly a stalemate of Porygon transforming into a shield and Porygon Zero transforming into various weapons. Akihabara tells the group to take this opportunity to take down the barriers on the Network Highway and restore the Monster Ball transfers.

Team Rocket tries to stop them, but they get electrocuted by Pikachu and blasted off with Porygon Zero.

Akihabara and the others believe the problem is about to be solved, but the Pokemon Center suddenly accesses the system. Akihabara learns that the main Center sent down a computer specialist who is using a strong vaccine to take care of the problem, which panics Akihabara since Satoshi and the others are still in the system. If the vaccine hits them, they’ll be unable to escape back to the real world.

Akihabara warns Satoshi and the others to get out of there. They call Porygon and start to make their escape. Team Rocket also starts to escape via their Porygon Zero as the vaccine starts its assault.

They race to the exit, dodging blast after blast of bright assaults from the vaccine. Team Rocket gets wrapped up in one of the attacks, which causes a hole in the system’s coding. Team Rocket, now with a knocked out Porygon Zero, is trapped within the hole, and the computer specialist in the Pokemon Center starts to closeit. Satoshi and the others near the transfer point, but Satoshi wants to go save Team Rocket.

Just when it seems like Team Rocket is done for, Satoshi, Fushigidane and Porygon swoop in to save them. But they’re not out of the woods yet. The vaccine is still pursuing them, and now Porygon is faltering due to exhaustion and too much weight. The vaccine launches four missiles and Pikachu manages to blow two of them away with an electric attack, but the other two smash into the transfer point, causing the entire laboratory to explode.

Luckily, they all managed to get out just in time. The Pokemon transfer system is now working perfectly, but Akihabara’s human transfer system is destroyed. With the group keeping their digital heroics a secret, they continue on their journey.

————————–

– Akihabara-Hakase made the transfer system?…..Considering Masaki made the storage system, I always thought he made the transfer system too. Hm. Anyone want to throw in their two cents about whether this is BS to game canon?

– For some reason, I think it’s adorable that Satoshi thinks computer viruses are little demons who poke at computers in hospital beds.

It also just dates the hell out of this show. Ten year old kid is clueless about everything computers. You just wait a decade or two, Satoshi. You’ll be catching Pokemon with your smartphone and annoying the shit out of everyone around you soon enough.

– What the hell is up with this map? Why is it taking a ridiculous route around the backside of the Pokemon Center when you could just hang a left at the entrance and then head north? Is there an annoying ‘you can jump down but not up because I said so’ ledge over to the left?

Pokemon ep 38 screen1

– They follow that map with no problems whatsoever, but get lost every damn episode even with a professionally made–…

POKEMON EP31 screen1

Er….nevermind. Pokemon really needs a better educational system because they are in desperate need of competent cartographers.

– I love how Kasumi is concerned about walking around some other person’s house. I think you’ve long since passed that worry, Kasumi. Hell, you were breaking and entering without issue last episode.

– Some strange man in the dark is telling us to follow him into a strange dark room? Well, we really shouldn’t, but we have no sense of self-preservation so why not?

– He trapped them in a giant Monster Ball transfer machine? That is straight up kidnap—……that is a really cool concept that might answer numerous questions I’ve had about that thing…..But he is kidnapping them……..Hm…..Promise me they’ll be un-kidnapped and I’ll turn a blind eye.

– Unless Akihabara works for Silph Co., which I doubt because it doesn’t seem to exist in the anime, he did not canonically create Porygon.

– Bullshit Team Rocket was smart enough to not only steal a CG Pokemon but also somehow have been stealing Pokemon in cyberspace on purpose. They can barely steal a scene.

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– So instead of recruiting people qualified to enter a digital world and fight monsters to take down evil forces, Akihabara decides to just kidnap whatever children just happen to be nearby and make them do it–……Holy crap, this is Digimon Adventure 01!

– Porygon may be far from my favorite Pokemon, but it’s still pretty cute in this episode.

– Well, we finally know what the inside of the digital world looks like…..a bunch of non-detailed tubes…….I like Digimon’s interpretation better. Also, this is a missed opportunity for some nightmare inducing polygonal CGI scenes.

– I don’t really understand Team Rocket’s plan. Sure, they’re stealing the most amount of rare Pokemon they’ve ever managed to get their hands on…..but how do they expect to leave? They can’t even contact Giovanni or anyone from within the system. They could steal every rare Pokemon in the world in there and it wouldn’t matter. Unless they plan to accumulate a ton of digital monsters and create a new world order within the system—Oh my God, it’s a prequel to Digimon Adventure 01!

Pokemon ep 38 screen3

– Porygon’s an interesting Digim—Pokemon purely for Conversion and the way it transforms in the digital world. In a lot of ways, it’s like Ditto, which is weird to follow up with immediately after the Ditto episode.

– Takeshi: “Just what you’d expect from a pair of Porygon.” Dude, you just learned what a Porygon was five minutes ago, and you still weren’t properly given a rundown on what it was outside of being a CG Pokemon. Stop being a not-knowing know it all.

– Where did Team Rocket get the road blocks in the mostly vacant digital world? Why are these pitifully undersized roadblocks stopping this massive pile of Monster Balls from transferring?

– I know Akihabara’s a crazy weirdo, but they seriously sent down someone else to fix a problem in the system he created without even telling him? What asses at the….main Center…..what main Center? Where is this?

– He could’ve avoided this whole mess if he told Joy the problem in the first place instead of just being incredibly vague and running out of the Pokemon Center without a word.

– I don’t know why, but I find it really cute that the vaccine program is a little ambulance.

Pokemon ep 38 screen4

– Rocket-propelled needles….not so much.

– Alright, so we’re at the seizure moment basically. The action escape scene involves a lot, and I mean a lot, of bright blue and red beams and flashes of red and blue light. And it’s not anime-ish drawn light, it’s full-on neon colors legit light-light. Most of the scene is not too much of a problem because the characters are usually taking up much of the shot, the light is simply beams or the light is contained to maybe 50% of the screen. I imagine kids might have been getting flicker vertigo at this point.

The part of the episode that was the tipping point into massive seizures, however, was the finale where the entire group are about to be hit with a barrage of vaccine missiles before they leave the system. In order to help save them, Pikachu shocks two of the missiles into blowing up before they reach them, which briefly causes the entire screen to flicker blue and red for about two seconds, followed by a shot of the flashing taking about 70% of the screen for another couple of seconds. And that’s all it takes, really.

That’s also why this incident is coined the Pokemon Shock incident. All of the other scenes were mostly okay, but the finale with Pikachu’s shock was the crux.

Pokemon ep 38 screen5
Whoo yeah, you did it Pikachu! Now let’s wait for the audience to get back from the hospital to talk about how proud we are of you.

What’s that, you ask? What did Porygon do to contribute to this event? You say it must’ve done something horrible because it’s anime-banned? Oh it just bravely fought through exhaustion and encumbering weight to help everyone, including Seizurechu, escape. Porygon was not, in any way shape or form, responsible for the flashes. The only two things that caused the seizures were the vaccine program and Pikachu.

Surely, this must mean Pikachu is the one who deserves to be banned then, right? What say ye, Nintendo?

Nintendo: “Pikachu’s face is already plastered on a fuckin’ jet, and we are not going to risk our newest, cutest money whore. Ban the polygoned duck thing and shut up.”

……

sad okay

You know….I really have to tamp down my anger both at the injustice towards Porygon and the secret-service-esque maneuvers to save honored Messiahchu……because I get it. I really do. Logically, it makes sense.

As much as we, the viewers and fans of the show, know how much of a raw deal Porygon’s getting here, let’s be honest, other people, those who don’t watch the show regularly and the parents of these kids, are never going to associate this event with Pikachu because the scene was literally seconds long. When people have talked and currently do talk about this episode, they usually refer to it as the Porygon episode or, at most, Electric Soldier Porygon. What matters most to fans is not what’s put in play here. It’s what matters to the public at large. Porygon is the face of this episode and, sadly, that means he’s damned to being the face of this incident.

Banning Pikachu would seem logical to us, but I can bet damn near anything that parents would petition to have Porygon removed from the franchise for the sake of avoiding trauma anyway, and the franchise as a whole would suffer do to lack of ‘chu.

Pokemon ep 38 screen6
Yeah, you got banned for Pikachu’s sins! Thanks, Porygon!

It’s just more painful when you actually watch the episode. Porygon is still far from my favorite Pokemon, but this episode gives you a new appreciation for it. It has cool abilities, at least within the system, it’s very nice, brave and even kinda cute.

This whole incident is really just a shame all around. Truthfully, if it wasn’t Porygon and this episode, I can bet anything it would’ve been some other episode or even another show triggering the necessary changes for preventing seizures. Best case scenario is finding out about these risks beforehand and changing things before incidents such as Pokemon Shock occur, but we can’t always be so lucky.

I should mention that, while I am not epileptic or prone to seizures, I still very easily get motion sickness. I am extremely prone to carsickness, seasickness, lightheadedness, dizziness and I am prone to being digitally motion sick (getting motion sick while playing video games). It’s only with certain games and lighting, but it does happen. For instance, I can’t play many classic Star Wars games, such as Dark Forces and Mysteries of the Sith (classic FPS’s in general mostly due to the art and way you move) and Dead Island (really bright first person environments) for longer than about five minutes without getting a splitting headache and feeling like I’m going to barf.

While I was watching ‘the scene’ I did feel slightly ill and off-kilter, but only a little. That was my experience anyway. I can certainly see how that scene would trigger seizures. I do have to wonder how many people who have watched the bootlegs of the episode have gotten seizures or illness.

– Bullshit they all survived the laboratory blowing up. Then again, this is, worryingly, not the first or last time Satoshi and co. will survive being inside of a building as it’s blown to smithereens (See: Pokemon Emergency!)

– I do like Team Rocket being appreciative of the group saving their lives, though.

Pokemon ep 38 screen7

– So Akihabara made the human transfer system for the sake of making people’s lives easier? But you still need to actually travel within it. Without a Porygon, it would’ve been ridiculous. And the slightest errors or viruses could kill you or make you unable to return to the real world.

– Why is this whole thing being kept a secret anyway? If Akihabara had just told Joy about what was going on, none of this vaccine stuff would’ve happened. Actually, none of this episode would’ve happened. Oh, right, nevermind.

– Despite the fact that Fushigidane also did work today, why is Satoshi only telling Joy to care for Pikachu? Well, I guess sending 600+ kids to the hospital IS tiring.

archer-burn

————————–

I did enjoy this episode. We really needed a change of pace from forest, city, forest, city, forest, forest, city, forest. The digital world in Pokemon is…..a little boring, but has some cute and interesting aspects. Team Rocket’s plan made absolutely no sense, but at least they netted a crapton of Pokemon for a change. Honestly, I could spend pages just asking questions about the transfer system and the digital world, but I think we had enough to go over today.

Akihabara had more personality than the average CotD, but he was also a bit of an ass for kidnapping Satoshi, Takeshi and Kasumi and risking their lives when it was totally avoidable. At least he got a bittersweet ending.

I’ve said my piece about Porygon. Fare thee well, little angled duck. We’ll always have Paris the games.

Next episode, Jynx’s deb—Oh right, crap. Okay, there’s also one more consequence of this episode. Due to the Pokemon Shock incident, Pokemon was put on hiatus for four months, throwing its whole schedule out of whack. The next episode preview is for what we in the west know as Holiday Hi-Jynx (Rougela’s Christmas)……which is, oddly enough, ANOTHER banned episode (to a degree).

It was also meant to be followed by Snow Way Out (Iwark the Bivouac). As you can guess, these episodes were meant to be aired in winter, with Holiday Hi-Jynx being planned for the day before Christmas Eve. However, due to the hiatus, both episodes were ripped from their respective spots and saved until the following October, where they were aired as special episodes, kinda.

There’s a lot more to go over here, but I think that’s enough for now. Let’s talk about this whole mess when we get to the actual episodes. Since I’m following the wiki’s episode list and Dogasu’s listings, I’ll be moving on to Pikachu’s Goodbye next…..which is also a source of some anger for me, to be honest, as it comes hot on the heels of this episode, but again, let’s save that for later.

Next episode, Pikachu’s Goodbye.

Pokemon Episode 37 Analysis: Ditto’s Mysterious Mansion

Pokemon Ep 37 title

CotD(s): Duplica – A Ditto trainer, Duplica loves to put on shows for people. She wants to make a name for herself as a great impersonator and Ditto Master. Duplica is very intelligent in regards to Pokemon since Ditto can transform into any Pokemon.

Reappear?: Yes. She appears later on in Johto.

Pokemon: She has one Ditto now, but later she’ll get another one.

Plot: In an effort to get out of a sudden storm, Ash, Misty and Brock wander into a nearby mansion. They see Pikachu playing with another Pikachu and are surprised to find the other Pikachu has a weird face. Ash decides to capture it, but is blocked in his capture attempt by a guy who looks suspiciously like Ash.

He reveals himself to be a she – Duplica of the Imite House. Likewise, the weird Pikachu turns out to not be a Pikachu at all. It’s actually a transformed Ditto.

The group initially marvels at the unique transforming capabilities of Ditto, but quickly get less impressed when they realize that it can’t transform its face and that transforming is all it can do. Ash is especially unimpressed since he believes being unable to teach a Pokemon new moves is boring. In order to prove Ash wrong, Duplica challenges Ash to a match.

Ash chooses Bulbasaur and Duplica chooses Ditto, who transforms into Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf, but the leaves are all smacked away by a Vine Whip from Dittosaur. Everyone’s baffled that Ditto can also mimic the attacks of whatever it transforms into. Dittosaur wraps up Bulbasaur in Vine Whip and Ash surrenders.

Duplica shows off her impersonations in the costume room where she mimics Nurse Joy, Officer Jenny and Misty. However, Ash is still sulking after his loss because he believes the real versions shouldn’t lose to copycats.

Misty says Ditto technically was a real Bulbasaur and Brock adds that Duplica has to be very knowledgeable to use her Ditto so well. Since she’s only used a Ditto but it can copy any Pokemon and its attacks, Duplica must know every Pokemon and all of their attacks.

Duplica states that she wants to be the greatest Ditto Master and a star of the stage, but her Ditto can’t break through its problem of leaving its face the same way. Her audiences get annoyed by her Ditto’s lack of face transformation and leave her shows, making Duplica pessimistic about her chances of stardom.

Suddenly, Team Rocket breaks in and snatches Ditto. They manage to get away and try to get it to Transform into a Dratini for Giovanni, but it keeps messing up the transformation. After some threats and intimidation, Ditto is finally able to perfect a facial transformation.

Ash, Misty, Brock and Duplica figure out Team Rocket’s location with Pidgeotto and Zubat, so they head out. When they arrive, they mimic Team Rocket’s motto and demand to have Ditto back. They realize that its taken the form of Meowth perfectly and they cant tell the difference.

Duplica tearfully thanks Team Rocket for helping Ditto fix its Transformation problem. At Duplica’s gratitude, Team Rocket decides to give Ditto back and leave.

However, Duplica quickly realizes that this is a trick – they gave her the real Meowth and took Ditto. She throws Meowth to the balloon and Ditto bites Jessie, jumping back down into Duplica’s arms. Jessie unveils a cannon under the balloon and prepares to fire. Duplica tells Ditto to transform into the cannon, and Ash uses Pikachu as a makeshift cannonball. Jessie and Ditto shoot at the same time. A net is launched from Team Rocket’s cannon while Pikachu jets off from Ditto-cannon. Pikachu Thundershock’s the net, which shocks the balloon and Meowth, causing his claws to puncture the balloon and send them blasting off.

Duplica fixes up the Imite House and prepares for many shows with her newly perfected Ditto, and Ash, Misty and Brock head off to their next adventure.

————————–

– Narrator: “As our heroes continue their journey, the future looks sunny and bright. *storm clouds come in* Uh ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhh!” He says that with such snark, I almost want to believe the narrator is omnipotent and made the storm to mess with them.

– Things Ash and co. don’t seem to ever carry with them.

  • Flashlights.
  • Umbrellas.
  • Coats.
  • Basic survival gear despite being children on a global backpacking journey.

– Getting this out of the way right now – there’s nothing mysterious about this mansion. It’s not even Ditto’s. In fact, it’s questionable whether this place even belongs to Duplica.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen1
How is the sign falling down but the ribbons and flag look like new?

– Ash: “Hello! Sorry for barging in!” You better apologize. You didn’t even knock or open the door like a normal person. You literally barged in.

– Ash: “Hey, since nobody’s here, we might as well stay here until the rain stops.” Ash seems to work on video game protagonist logic sometimes. You watch. Eventually we’ll hear him say stuff like ‘I wonder if there are potions in this vase. I should break it and find out. Afterall, no one’s around.’ and ‘No one’s home. Wonder if they’ll care if I pick this locked chest in their basement and take everything in it?’

– Wow, Misty. You see a Pikachu with a slightly goofy face and your first instinct is to drop it and then yell out at the top of your lungs “WHAT IS THIS?! WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT!?”? Way to be an ass, Misty. Ditto’s face is cute, too, so you’re an ultra ass.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen2

– I love how Ash is all gung-ho about catching this ‘weird Pikachu’ Does he intend on it replacing his Pikachu or does he just want it for a trophy? Either way, it’s messed up.

– Also, one of the few times he’s gung-ho about catching a Pokemon and it’s one he already has. *huff*

– Okay, Ash, good. You’ve learned that you need to battle with Pokemon to weaken them before using a Pokeball on them. You’re learning….but….first off, you used Pikachu on it, which, considering you think it’s a Pikachu…..duh.

Second, Pikachu have been known to absorb electricity (though this seems to turn off and on), so your attack would barely do anything even if the Electric vs. Electric wasn’t already weak. (I will give him some leeway because, technically, he has no Pokemon strong against Electric types. His best bet would be Bulbasaur, and he just doesn’t take as much damage from electricity – his attacks aren’t 2x effective against them.)

And finally, Dittochu used some form of Electric attack to counterbalance the Thundershock, so the attack wasn’t even damaging him anyway.

All in all, I give this capture attempt a C+. Needs improvement.

– Duplica had Ash’s exact outfit, down to his supposedly unique Pokemon League hat, on hand to trick the group despite never meeting them before just now, but she didn’t have a wig to mimic Ash’s hair?

Pokemon Ep 37 screen3

– Misty: “Ash, that guy is dressed just like you.” See? They didn’t say anything like ‘There are two Ashes!’ or ‘That guy looks just like Ash!’ they said that guy is dressed like Ash. B- Try harder.

Brock: “Except it’s a girl.”

Misty: “How can you tell?”

Brock: “Men’s intuition.” I feel weird for analyzing this, but is he saying….he’s turned on and thus this has to be a girl? Because Duplica’s around Misty’s age…in which case, ew.

Or is he just saying that men have the innate ability to tell who’s a girl and who’s a guy from a distance? Do penises double as divining rods? I don’t get it.

– Is Megan Hollingstead actually doing an Ash impression, or is Veronica Taylor dubbing her over here? Because she’s actually very good at it if she is doing an impersonation.

– Why do they have no problem saying the term ‘Imite’ but they changed her named to Duplica? I usually don’t complain about name changes much, but Imite is such a cool name. So is Duplica, but I much prefer Imite.

– Misty: “You were right, Brock. She is a girl.”

Brock: “But she may be a little young for me.” Brock, stop, please.

– I like that Duplica also mimics Ash’s mannerisms in battle.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen4

– Just because Ditto is shown to be able to mimic attacks too….that’s what impresses Ash enough to say it’s not boring? But…the reason he said they were boring was because you don’t get to have the fun of teaching it new attacks. She’s still not doing that – She’s just mimicking the moveset of the Pokemon in question.

– That Razor Leaf being smacked away by a Vine Whip scene gives me deja vu for the Venusaur vs. Cloneasaur battle in the first movie.

– Ash: “But…how could the real thing lose?” Because you surrendered just because Bulbasaur was caught up in vines, moron. Bulbasaur could still use Razor Leaf (which would actually hit this time because its vines are being used to wrap up Bulbasaur) and its own Vine Whip, but you just gave up instead.

– Oh but she has a Misty wig.

– Brock: “That Ditto’s moves are unbeatable.”

Misty: “Better than the real Pokemon.”

Pbbbtttttttttttttt nooooooooooooo. Okay. Ditto is a not a crappy Pokemon. It can be very useful and fun….but also kinda bad. Ditto has horrible base stats out the door, which isn’t a bad thing in itself because it transforms and copies the stats of whatever it’s transforming into, but a Pokemon can easily get the first attack before Ditto can transform and just knock it out, which is easy anyway because its speed is terrible (coincidentally or on purpose, all of its base stats are the same.)

Ditto also cannot copy the HP of its opponent, meaning if you have crappy HP on your Ditto, which is likely no matter the level, it doesn’t matter if you’ve copied a powerhouse or a weak Pokemon, because it can still be knocked out with not too much issue.

Plus, you rarely have the type advantage with Ditto since it can’t do Transform twice in one battle. If you start with a Goldeen, it transforms, and then you switch to a Jolteon, you’re golden. If the Ditto is not wild, you can switch it out and back in to initiate Transform again, but there is still no type advantage and you leave yourself vulnerable for two turns.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen5
Dittosaur: “What the hell just happened?”

It’s been my experience that most people just tend to use Ditto for breeding purposes since it’s a Poke-whore that can make babies with nearly anything breedable. Hardly anyone uses Ditto for competitive purposes because there are so many workarounds to beat it.

The thing of it is, the anime’s Ditto bypasses all of these problems through suspension of disbelief. Ditto seems to get first move no matter what, meaning it can transform right away and not leave it susceptible to attack. Ditto can still use Transform even if the opponent has switched Pokemon (I’m getting this from the fact that it Transforms from a Machoke form into a Voltorb when a new Pokemon gets on stage in the flashback) Anime!Ditto can also turn into anything it wants to as well.

Game!Ditto is a good Pokemon with several flaws, but these flaws are understandable for the sake of balance. Plus, having an OP copycat Pokemon just seems lazy and annoying. Anime!Ditto, as long as you have the patience to study Pokemon attacks, seems OP no matter how you look at it.

– Brock: “Duplica must know all of Bulbasaur’s potential attacks. She can order Ditto to use the strongest attack possible, according to whatever form it takes.”

Misty: “That’s right. I guess Duplica must know every attack of every Pokemon there is.”

Pokemon Ep 37 screen6

There’s a bunch of things wrong with that. First of all, Ditto copies the moveset of the Pokemon it’s copying too. Bulbasaur’s strongest move, at the moment, is Razor Leaf.

Second, if she wanted to use Bulbasaur’s strongest move, she’d tell it to use Solar Beam. She doesn’t know Ash’s Bulbasaur doesn’t know it and since she has no game-esque HUD, she’d have to guess. But since that would make her look a little dumb, they didn’t.

Third, I can buy that she knows Bulbasaur’s moves, but the moves of every Pokemon in existence? Even taking into consideration TM’s and HM’s, should they exist here? No. I doubt even Gary can do that. Hell, I doubt even Professor Oak can do that. Why would she study that much anyway when she wants to be a great impersonator/comedian and not a trainer? I guess maybe to better impress audiences?

– Duplica should really stick to human character impersonations because her Pokemon imitations kinda suck.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen7
Nothing more entertaining than someone imitating a Pokemon that is known for not moving.

– Duplica: “This place is so flat and boring, but people pass by here all the time. I figured when people stop by to rest, I could entertain them.” You mean people break into your house all the time? Buy a lock, woman.

– Duplica has Ash and Charmeleon/izard syndrome. She knows Ditto has a problem but instead of trying to fix it, she just keeps expecting it to stop this ‘habit’. She even says flatout that Ditto has yet to fix his problem.

– Audience member: “It can’t transform at all!” Uh…obviously it can transform a little or else it would still be a pink blob.

– I really love how blasé Ash has gotten about Team Rocket’s appearances. I’d gladly take one of his goofy expressions and an exasperated brush off over him saying ‘It’s Team Rocket again!” for the billionth time.

– Duplica: “Ditto’s gone!”

Ash: “Team Rocket….What are they up to this time?” Don’t quote me on this, but I think, I THINK,…They might be trying to capture Ditto. Just maybe. I’ll have to post this on r/FanTheories and see what other people think.

– James: “Transform into Dratini, the Pokemon we’ve never been able to capture.” When did you try to catch a Dratini, James? My poor little American brain doesn’t understand when this may have happened.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen8

Joking aside, why are they asking it to transform into Dratini when they know of and have ‘seen’ a Dragonair, which is more impressive?

– Why not just give Giovanni the Ditto? It’s a rare-ish Pokemon with a unique and fairly powerful ability. Having it Transform into Dratini won’t work for long. Eventually, it would just change back and then Giovanni would get pissed at them for tricking him.

– Actually, it wouldn’t transform into a Dratini at all considering they don’t have the real thing there.

– Does Jessie not understand how Ditto works? You can’t show it a picture of someone, ask it to predict how the depicted person will look like older and then expect it to transform into anything but the exact same picture. Ditto’s a copying Pokemon not age progression software.

– I really don’t understand how the Transform ability works when it comes to transforming into things. When it Transforms for Jessie, Ditto actually agrees to show her a picture of the boy as an adult, but since we don’t see the source picture, we don’t know if he succeeded. Meowth calls him a ‘little boy’ and Jessie describes him as her first love, which commonly occurs in childhood (loosely using the term ‘love’ since that can stretch to ‘crush’) He doesn’t describe Ash and Misty as little boys or little girls (Jessie and James do mockingly on occasion) so I’m to assume he has to be younger than Ash and co.

However, the depicted boy looks to be about Brock’s age at least. Did Ditto actually succeed in age progressing this kid? If so, screw Pokemon training. Ditto could be invaluable in searching for missing children.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen9

– It’s also a major shame that we never learn anything about this kid besides this one photo, and we don’t even see his face due to it being Ditto-fied. It’s obvious he’s still very important to Jessie, considering she still carries a framed photo of him around, but we don’t even get his name. Was he a fellow orphan? Did they go to Pokemon Tech together? I’d assume not because James would know of him. Did he like her too? What circumstances separated them?

Why the hell would you make up such an interesting plot thread and then do absolutely nothing to explore it later?

– The scene with it transforming into the book would be more humorous if it copied the book exactly, but the Dratini’s face was Ditto-fied. Showing a blank book with a Ditto face makes the joke fall flat.

– Brock: “We’ve already sent Pidgeotto and Zubat out for surveillance.” Pidgeotto’s allowed to be useful! Praise the pigeon gods!

Pokemon Ep 37 screen10
Pikachu: “Whoa whoa whoa! Who let this peasant share a frame with me, Messiahchu!? Just for that, I’m taking your balloon popping scene later in the episode. BEGONE!”

– Props for Zubat being able to do something once every 15 episodes too.

– Ash: “It’s not the Pokemon but the trainer who decides what attacks to use in battle, right? So that means, if you raise a Ditto, its progress and power are connected directly to your own.”

Brock: “Yeah, I think you’re definitely right about that, Ash.”

Misty: “Sounds like you’ve been studying, Ash.” Studying what? I’ll give him credit for actually using that sloshy pile of goo in his head for a change and it is nice to see Ash thinking, but all he’s saying is something that is incredibly obvious and really not unique to Ditto trainers.

All Pokemon grow and increase in true power based on how their trainers grow and change. Having a powerful Pokemon does not, by default, make you win. Just as a crappy Pokemon can become great in the right hands, a good Pokemon can be useless if in unskilled hands.

For instance, Bulbasaur is a very intelligent and fairly powerful Pokemon. But it just lost a match against itself in one move because its trainer was a doofus.

– Why is it that Ash can seemingly understand what Pikachu’s ‘saying’ but not Pidgeotto? Result of not spending enough time with it?

– Well, of course they found Team Rocket’s hideout when they’re in a house with a huge Meowth head on the roof.

– It’s always bugged me a bit that Ditto needed to be threatened and intimidated to finally Transform correctly.

But, hey, at least Team Rocket was useful for a change.

– Again, I absolutely love Ash and co. doing Team Rocket’s motto, and the fact that they’re in Team Rocket costumes this time makes it all the better….but Duplica ruins it. Not only are there way too many people doing the motto, but Duplica says the ‘That’s right!’ line way too early.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen11
We need an AU where Ash and Co are Team Rocket and Jessie and James are aspiring Pokemon trainers.

– Where did Duplica get four properly sized Team Rocket uniforms anyway? Let’s say, at best, she knows of Team Rocket as an organization. She’d have the black uniforms, not the white ones. The black ones are the standard issue designs – Jessie and James altered them because they thought they looked better that way.

– Can I get a consensus? Would the mock-motto be funnier if they were also wearing James and Jessie wigs? Or would that be teetering into creepy?

– Why is Ditto going along with Team Rocket’s plan? I might say it’s to show that it can transform faces now to Duplica, but it can do that without seemingly siding with Team Rocket.

– I can buy that Ditto is mimicking Meowth’s voice, but I don’t think I’d suspend my disbelief enough to say he’s learned human language, too.

– I’ll give major credit to Team Rocket for coming up with a great on-the-fly ruse….but…did they really think they could get away in a hot air balloon quickly enough without Duplica noticing that Meowth wasn’t her Ditto?

– Likewise, it took until Ditto was being carried away in the balloon and Duplica noticing that Meowth wasn’t Ditto for Ditto to finally go ‘Oh wait, you’re kidnapping me. Fuck off’ and bite Team Rocket before going back to Duplica? Your motivations confuse me, little Ditto.

Pokemon Ep 37 screen12
Take that, three-minute Stockholm Syndrome!

– Again, Ditto’s object Transformation doesn’t make sense. It transformed into a cannon, yes, and Team Rocket has a cannon, yes, but the cannon they’re using is attached to the balloon. It doesn’t sit on the ground with big wheels.

– Ash, you just shot your Pokemon out of a damn cannon. What is wrong with you?

– Minor thing, but Duplica is nowhere near hitting any nails when she’s hammering on the sign. It bugged me is all.

——————————-

All in all, I like this episode, but the only thing mysterious here is what the hell is up with Ditto’s ability to transform into objects?

Duplica’s okay, but I never thought she was interesting enough to warrant her getting a revisit. The writers seem to suck at choosing good characters for that.

Ditto is an interesting Pokemon to highlight, and I believe they hit all the high notes, but added a few too many because anime!Ditto seems slightly OP.

Team Rocket was useful for a change, we got some extremely minor backstory on Jessie that becomes irritating when you realize it’s another interesting factoid they’ll never speak of again, and their plan this time around nearly succeeded. They really have to work on running very far away when they succeed….and hiding in places that doesn’t make it glaringly apparently that they’re hiding in there. Even their plan B was fairly good barring the slow as hell balloon making the getaway impossible. If they can get Giovanni to invest in flying stadiums and giant robots, they can surely get him to pay for a car or a plane or something.

Even if it’s never in my game roster, I still think Ditto’s an adorable Pokemon and Rachel Lillis does a great job voicing it.

Next episode, Porygon and the Seizures that Shook the Anime World. Alternative title – Porygon Was Wrongfully Martyred for Messiahchu.  #JusticeforPorygon

Dissecting the Disquels: Stitch! The Movie

* “Meet two other experiments, see previews of about ten others and watch the TV series and other sequels to get at least glimpses of the rest. Also, 625 is not their friend, I don’t know why he’s in the dune buggy or hanging out with Lilo and Stitch.”…What? Not a catchy tagline?

Rating: 7/10

Plot: Dr. Hamsterviel, former evil assistant of Jumba, is after the other 625 experiments that came before Stitch. In an effort to retrieve them, he enlists the help of Gantu, who kidnaps Jumba and obtains the pod for experiment 625. Lilo and Stitch have to protect Stitch’s cousins and rescue Jumba or else the universe will be threatened by the powers of the failed experiments.

Breakdown: We’re kinda nudging what might be considered a real Disquel here, but it fits the criteria well enough. It’s a sequel of what many would call a recent Disney classic. It was a direct-to-DVD movie. And, best of all, it’s obviously masquerading as a sequel when it’s really the pilot to a TV series.

However, unlike many other Disquels, I think this works quite well as both a sequel and a TV pilot.

Exploring what the other 625 experiments are like is a valid question left behind from the original movie. One can assume that a good chunk of them are just duds, but many of them have to have amazing powers and abilities as well as interesting character designs.

Finding and reforming each experiment by finding where they truly belong is actually a great idea for a long-running series, even if we don’t ever get to formerly meet all 625 experiments (Damn the Disney 65 episode rule), and this movie sets up this plot in such a way that doesn’t seem incredibly forced or like it’s a bunch of episodes stitched (puns!) together. It’s also interesting to note, though it’s not mentioned in the movie, that each experiment had a different purpose in addition to power set. While Stitch was designed purely for chaos and destruction, other experiments were designed with different purposes such as psychological warfare and elemental manipulation.

Even the art and animation don’t take a huge hit. It’s obviously nowhere near the original movie’s, but it’s still some of the best animation we’ve gotten for a Disquel. It’s somewhere between the original movie’s and the TV show’s quality. Some of the CGI is noticeable, but it’s alright.

The writing is still pretty good, though what the hell is up with David? Was he always such an apathetic asswad? ‘Gee, a little girl and her alien pet as well as her two alien babysitters are missing, the spaceship is missing, the door is broken down and there’s a big hole in the roof?….Eh I’m sure she’s fine. I’ll fall asleep watching TV while her older sister, my sorta girlfriend, searches over the island for her in a panic.’

There are still many jokes and funny scenes that work well and I was never rolling my eyes at anything. However, unlike in the original movie, there is a distinct lack of heartwarming scenes. Lilo and Stitch share one while imprisoned, but that’s about it.

The fact that Stitch can’t fit in with people also doesn’t mesh very well with the end of the first movie. I thought he was going out in public and being around people just fine, but here he is making almost as much of a mess as he was when he was evil. They didn’t need to make Stitch feel like an outsider to make the connections to his ‘cousins’ worthwhile. How about him wanting to give his cousins what he’s found? A true home, family and happiness.

At the end of the day, this is still one of the better Disquels and it actually spawned a TV series that was pretty good. I followed it somewhat closely when I was younger, and I enjoyed it a lot. It was interesting to see the various experiments and their varying powers and personalities. I may even do a Cartoon Step-by-Step for it.

It’s certainly not as grand as the first movie, and the tension is basically non-existent due to everything about Hamsterviel being a joke (and the whole ‘I’m a hamster not a gerbil/rat/whathaveyou’ schtick is already really old) and the fact that the only experiment he has in his possession is also an annoying joke.

Experiment 625, later named Reuben, is obviously the last experiment to be made before Stitch. He has all of the powers and abilities of Stitch, but the catch is that he’s incredibly lazy and never follows orders. His one schtick, that never was or is funny, is that he does nothing but make and eat tons of sandwiches, hence his name. That’s it. How funny. Bust a gut.

Still, it’s a fun movie that doesn’t lose the style or appeal of the original movie. It’s probably the shortest of the Disquels, clocking it at a flat hour including credits, but it has more quality than several Disquels combined.

As a final note, there’s no real memorable soundtrack this time around. The original Lilo and Stitch had several Elvis songs as well as numerous Hawaiian songs made specifically for the movie. However, here, all we have is one Elvis song and one custom Hawaiian song that isn’t even really all that Hawaiian. Plus, I think that song was made specifically for the TV series not necessarily the movie because that song, Aloha e Komo Mai, will later be the Lilo and Stitch The Series theme song.

Oh well, at least there’s no song about friendship or makeovers.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone!

Final Notes: I have a Stitch Doll from the Disney Store. It’s one of my favorite things that my dad ever got me.

Also, I’m aware of the Stitch anime and the Chinese cartoon. I haven’t seen either and I’m not entirely sure I will.

Pokemon Episode 36 Analysis: The Bridge Bike Gang

Pokemon Episode 36 Title

CotD(s): The Bridge Bike Gang – A group of thugs on bicycles that frequent the new bridge to Sunny Town, the most notable members of the Bridge Bike Gang are the leader, Chopper, a man with spikey red and yellow hair that rides a Zapdos themed bike, and a girl with green hair, Tyra. Jessie and James used to be very notable members of their gang, and the entire gang idolizes them.

Reappear?: No. 😦

Pokemon: Chopper has a Golem while Tyra has a Cloyster.

Plot: After spending eons in the woods looking for the Safari Zone, the group gives up on finding it and head to the nearest city (that’s my take on it in the dub, anyway). They spot a huge ten mile bridge that is almost fully completed construction. If they can cross the bridge, they’ll have a straight path to their next destination. Only cars and bikes can cross the bridge, and since they have no financial means of getting a bike, the group is unable to cross.

Later, at the Pokemon Center, Joy recruits the group for an important mission. The Pokemon in the Sunny Town Pokemon Center, just across the bridge, are very sick and need a delivery of medicine. She’d usually do it, but she’s too busy at the Center to make the journey, so she asks Ash, Misty and Brock if they’ll do her this favor. With the promise of lending them the Pokemon Center’s bikes, they agree to do it, killing two birds with one stone.

They head down the bike path, making great time, until they’re cornered by a bicycle gang and forced into a Pokemon battle.

The leader, Chopper, sends out his Golem while Ash sends out his Bulbasaur. He tries Vine Whip first, but it doesn’t make a dent. Golem uses Tackle and instantly KO’s Bulbasaur.

Ash sends out Charmander next. He starts with an Ember, but it’s not very effective. Golem tries to Tackle, but he misses. Charmander uses Flamethrower, which seems to do a little more, and then follows up with Fire Spin, which sets Golem on fire and makes him red hot. Golem tries to Tackle again, but Charmander dodges and Golem rolls out of control towards the other gang members, setting them on fire.

With Chopper defeated, the lone girl of the group, Tyra steps up next. She sends out Cloyster while Misty tries to send out Starmie, only to get Psyduck instead. The gang all laugh at the goofy duck, especially when it hurts itself trying to Tail Whip and Scratch Cloyster’s spiky shell. Misty realizes that Psyduck can’t use its Psychic powers without a severe headache so she tries to get them to trigger it by attacking its head, but they don’t fall for it. She’s about to beat the headache into Psyduck herself when Team Rocket arrives, saying their motto on unicycles.

Jessie and James reveal that they were actually extremely respected and beloved members of the bike gang once upon a time, and they recruit the help of the gang to get revenge on Ash and co. for continuously ruining their plans. Chopper, Tyra and the others are about to gladly help out their old pals, but a slue of cops rush to the scene, scaring them all away.

Ash and the others continue down the path when a storm suddenly surges. The bike gang and Team Rocket watch from a building on the other side of the bridge, and Chopper and Tyra convince them to ride through the storm too to show the other gang members how to really ride.

Team Rocket reluctantly agrees and both sides are faced with a huge challenge- the draw bridge is opening. Ash and the others feel they can’t wait for it to come back down because they need to get to the sick Pokemon. Team Rocket is pressured into making the jump for the gang.

As they reach the gap, neither side seems like it will make it, but Ash and the others bounce off of Team Rocket’s heads, allowing them to make it to the other side. Seeing their dedication to pull off such a stunt for a sick Pokemon, the gang decides to escort Ash, Misty and Brock across the rest of the bridge.

They’re able to deliver the medicine in time, saving a sick Shellder in the process. The gang celebrates Ash, Misty and Brock as heroes, and as Team Rocket sadly unicycles their way back onto land, Ash and the others continue on their Pokemon journey.

—————————-

– Narrator: “With fond memories of the Safari Zone fresh in their minds….” Actually, if we really never made it to the Safari Zone in the dub, they have fond memories of a land they never visited. Unless you mean the area where the Kangaskhan were in. In which case, bite me. There were no fond memories in that episode.

– Norman: “Even if it were finished, this bridge is only for cars anyway.”

-Literally two lines later.-

“Of course you could always cross if you had bicycles.”

Why wait to divulge that information to these kids? Why not just say “This bridge is only open for cars and people on bicycles.”?

– Norman: “The road isn’t finished but the bicycle path is.” That’s so dumb. Why would you finish the bike path first when the vehicle road would obviously be the most important thing? And if the road isn’t finished but the bike path is, that makes even less sense for you to wait to tell them that they can cross with bikes.

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen1
Hi, My name’s Norman. Can I interest you in some double-talk and pointless run-arounds?

– Misty: “Well…If a certain someone here hadn’t completely destroyed my bike, we could just be zipping right across this bridge right now, couldn’t we?”

No. One of you could. Last I checked, your bike wasn’t a three-person tandem bicycle.

– Even though I know bikes in general are expensive and Ash and the others have never been known to have money, I like to think that their complete resignation on getting one, to the point where they won’t even enter the store, is a throwback to the games where bikes are ridonkuously expensive.

– Call me crazy, but certainly there are faster ways of getting that medicine to those Pokemon in Sunny Town than three kids on bicycles. A boat? A flying Pokemon? Hey, a car would be really helpful. Boy howdy, if only that ROAD was given priority over that bike path.

– On paper, Misty and Ash’s plan makes sense, but there’s a fatal flaw in it. They plan on using the bikes the Pokemon Center is loaning them to cross the bridge and get to Sunny Town….but that’s just the problem. They’re borrowing them. They have to return them. And when they ride back to return the bikes, they’ll be back to square one. I guess they could just leave them at the other Pokemon center and they can send them back somehow, but that would leave the other town’s Pokemon Center without bikes that they may need.

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen2

– I adore that they’re using the game’s bike music, though.

– Ash: *biking* “See, we got to cross the bike path afterall!”

Misty: “Right, Ash! We sure are lucky!” Those sure are things we’ve already established both in dialogue and something being shown to us on screen right now!

See? I got to type out that complaint afterall! I sure am lucky!

– Okay, so let’s leave the tangled web of Jessie and James’ backstory alone for the moment, especially since the bike gang is my favorite backstory for them. However….how are they treating this bridge like it’s their old home when it’s only recently even gotten a little completed? I guess it’s possible that they still hung out on the incomplete bridge, but…what? Did they just bike to the cutoff then turn around? Or did they hang out in one area and….do nothing because no one would be trying to pass on bicycles since the path wasn’t done? Actually, they probably wouldn’t be let on at all if it wasn’t done. I don’t get it.

– I like how they make sure to show them throwing away their cans and bottles into the garbage to prove they’re not littering out there.

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen3
Give a hoot. Don’t throw your trash on the ground like an asshole….oot.

– I love how Misty nearly breaks out laughing when she hears they’re a bicycle gang. She has a point, though. At that age, they should be a full-on motorcycle gang.

– You’d think a Zapdos bike would be awesome, but I just find it really dorky for some reason.

– Also, as an adult, this whole ‘circle them with bikes and act like badasses’ thing is hilarious. Don’t piss them off, Ash, or you might make them ring their little bells.

– The ‘proper introduction’ scene is priceless. The timing, the voice work, it’s all great.

– Pbbbbtttttttttttt They’re even wearing knee pads. Hahahahah!

– Ash’s face a millisecond before Brock asks Tyra out.

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen4

– Tyra: “Give me a break, loser. I only care about my bike and my gang.” Soooo…do your Pokemon count as a part of your gang or do you not care about them?

– Ash: “Alright, let’s get started. Then we’ll see who’s the master!” Master? Wha? Who said anything about a master of anything?

– Jesus, the choking sounds Bulbasaur makes after getting hit by that Tackle. God.

– *Bulbasaur get’s KO’d by Golem* Well, if a Grass type couldn’t hack it, time to see what Squirtle can d–

Ash: “Charmander, I choose you!”

Ash, goddammit.

– Ash: “Use Ember!”

Not only are you going to use a base-evo Fire type against a fully evolved Rock/Ground type, but you’re going to use the weakest Fire Type move in Gen 1 on it (Not counting Fire Spin because it’s DOT and for some reason the anime keeps portraying it as like the second strongest Fire move.) Strategist of the year.

– Ash: “Charmander, use Flamethrower!” That’s better, but still won’t work…..why is Golem glowing?

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen5

Ash: “Fire Spin, now!” Seriously, Ash? What did I just say? In summary, Ash did noth–

*several confusing moments later*

What the hell did I just watch? There are so many scientific and fictional logistic reasons why everything that just happened there was bullshit.

Golem, this giant rock, caught fire? What?

The only way the fire would ever even affect him in such a way would be if the Flamethrower was so hot it made the rock in its body red hot, like a coal. But even that’s stretching it a mile because it would probably die if it ever got that hot.

Plus, we’d have to believe Charmander has flames powerful enough to pull that off, which is more bullshit. Even if it did, it would need to Flamethrower Golem for hours probably to get it that hot.

Even rolling around for a few seconds should be enough to put out those flames and cool off Golem a bit. If its trainer would tell it to follow his voice or something or stop and un-withdraw, this match wouldn’t have ended so soon.

None of what just happened should’ve happened. That is a legit Messiahmander moment. You’ve got me making that a word, Ash! That’s shouldn’t be a thing!

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen6

– While we’re on the topic of this scene, yes, just recall the Pokemon that is currently ON FIRE. Don’t put it out or anything. Let it burn to death.

– Ash and Charmander are laughing at people being set on fire. Good job.

– Why would his Pokeball heat up from that? There are Pokemon who are literally living fire and lava and they don’t heat up their Pokeballs. Given this and the thing with Muk, they really pick and choose the rules of Pokemon based on how they’re feeling that day, it seems.

– Did that Golem only know Tackle?

– Misty: “It’s a Water Pokemon. Leave it to me!” Yes, I do love matches where I have a .5x effectiveness rate, too.

Ash wouldn’t be able to help anyway. Not like he has any Electric Pokemon.

– Misty: “Which one would be best against Cloyster’s hard shell? I know! Starmie, go!” What logic went into that decision? What better Pokemon to throw against a Pokemon with a shell so hard that it can withstand a bomb than a starfish!?!

– Poor little Psyduck. Being laughed at and hurt. 😦

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen7

– Misty: *sigh* “You were supposed to be attacking….” Well then, Misty, maybe command it to do an attack instead of the de-buff, Tail Whip.

Misty: “Psyduck, use your Disable attack!” Disable – another not-attack.

– The reason I like Jessie and James when they’re part of this gang is because, despite the fact that they’re still basically thugs, they’re much more harmless in this group than they are with Team Rocket…..and I use that term loosely. It’s nice to see them be happy in their organization instead of being miserable all the time in Team Rocket. They’re extremely proud to be Team Rocket members, but it brings them nothing but problems. We never really know anything that they did to earn the respect they get in this gang, but they have fun. They get respect. They seem generally happy.

I know Team Rocket can be extremely annoying, but I want them to be happy….in a legal non-harmful way. That’s one of the reasons why I like it so much when they open shops and stuff. They have a passion for those things and seem happy making an honest buck.

– I get why Jessie may have been a badass with her chain and everything, but how did James get any sort of badass rep with a name like ‘Little Jim’ and ‘Trainer James’, a name he got because he was the only gang member who still used training wheels?

– Tyra: “I guess your cycle gang must save a ton of money on handlebars.” Are handlebars a huge frequent expense for bicyclists?

– Who alerted the cops?….Why are the cops here? It was just a Pokemon battle. No one else tried to get through here, so it’s not like they were bothering anyone. Wait, I thought the road wasn’t done yet. How and why are Jenny and her backup driving through here?…..This Jenny has backup!? In circumstances where backup of any kind would be necessary, there’s none to be found. Legal Pokemon battle on a bridge that’s no bother to anyone? CALLING ALL CARS! SOME MINOR EVENT HAPPENING! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

I wasn’t kidding on the ‘calling all cars’ thing, either. There’s a grand total of five friggin’ police cars shown, not counting Jenny’s motorcycle. What….the hell.

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen8

– Jenny: “You need to get there, so I’ll give you an escort. *radio crackles* This is 303. Roger. Over and out. There’s been an accident – I’ll have to go.” Oh, no worries, Jenny. They’ll just hitch a ride with one of the other officers in one of the other five—where the unholy shit did they all go!? Either you Pokemon world cops are overreacting and being useless or you’re not there and being useless! Bloody hell.

– Wait, she was offering them an escort….that means the bridge must be fully done for cars. At least before I could maybe justify that they were only driving on one side of the bridge, but now they go and create a conundrum.

– Misty: “We should go, Ash. A sick Pokemon needs us.” Where was that when you were stopping for a nice soda? Or when you were battling? I know they challenged you and everything, but they didn’t really threaten you and you were eager to accept the challenge. You never even tried to say ‘sorry, but we have to get this medicine to a sick Pokemon. Can’t you please let us pass?’

– The question here is, did Jessie and James agree to go out in the storm because they wanted to prove themselves or because they didn’t want to let their old friends down? Hm.

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen9

– I love how they’re coaxing Meowth into doing it too even though they know nothing about him. Plus, he has tiny legs.

– Ash: “We can’t wait. They need that medicine!” Again, where was that earlier? And you can stop for soda and Pokemon battles but not for a draw bridge opening? You’re on bicycles….in the rain….you’re small children. That bridge looks like it opens and closes fairly fast. Just wait a minute or two. If the Pokemon can’t wait that long, Joy should’ve sent a more fitting emergency crew out for this mission…..Like….a cop.

– I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Jessie and James actually have more justification for doing this than Ash and co.

– Why are Misty and Brock trying to make the jump? I assume Ash is carrying the medicine so why can’t they wait for the bridge to close? Let me remind you, they’re on a tandem bike. If this is a bullshit jump for Ash, it’s a double-scoop of bullshit with sprinkles for Misty and Brock.

– Just all of the no to bouncing off of Team Rocket’s heads in mid-air.

– Also, Ash and the others condemned Team Rocket to death just there. Brock yelled out ‘we’ll drown!’ before they bounced. So either Team Rocket will drown or–

*boat comes by immediately after*

–they’ll be crushed by a boat. Good job.

Pokemon Episode 36 Screen10
Whoo! Manslaughter!

– ObliviAsh and the others smiling as they land after that might be understandable, but why are Tyra and Chopper? Their idols were just murdered.

– Chopper: “Alright, now you’ll have to battle us.”

Ash: “I’m delivering medicine for a sick Pokemon. Outta my way!”

Tyra: “You mean that’s why you’re out in this storm?”

Misty: “That’s right!”

Chopper: “Unbelievable. That’s a real biker for ya. Listen up guys, we’re gonna take ‘em there in style!”

See? Everyone in the Pokemon world loves Pokemon. If you had just said that at the beginning, none of this would’ve happened. Is this one of those ‘if we did that, we wouldn’t have an episode’ things?

– Chopper: “Don’t worry, Ash, we’ll clear the way for ya!” Clear the way of what?

– Mmm….thinking about it, I guess I can just assume that, given their new hero status with the gang, they might have offered to bring the bikes back to the other town. Yeah, I’ll take that.

——————————

This episode is still a ton of fun, even if there are many, many, many logic flaws. I like this part of Team Rocket’s backstory, even if they seemingly get thrown away by the gang in the worst way in the end. (They just got brutally murdered? Eh. Sick Pokemon!? LET’S GO!) The bike gang, whom I wish got a name, were also very entertaining. The fact that they ride bikes and try to act badass is just hilarious, and something about Chopper just entertains me a lot.

This episode was also a nice sendup to the game’s Cycling Road, even if they never call it that.

Next episode….*sigh* Duplica’s debut…..Mmm.

Pokemon (Banned) Episode 35 Analysis: The Legend of Miniryu/Dratini

Pokemon episode 35 title

CotD(s): Kaiser – Owner (?) of the Safari Zone, Kaiser has a very quick temper and is even quicker on the draw of his gun. He is ready to protect the Safari Zone from any and all potential threats at all costs. 30 years ago, he was inadvertently nearly the cause of the destruction of the Safari Zone, and now he vows to protect it and the Miniryu that seemingly live within its walls.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Nothing officially, but Miniryu/Hakuryu might have been in his possession at one point.

Pre-Analysis Notes: Here we are at what is actually the first real banned episode of Pokemon. Technically, it’s the third episode to be banned in the US period, with Tentacool and Tentacruel and Beauty and the Beach getting the first two spots, the second to be banned and taken out of rotation to this day (Tentacool and Tentacruel is back in rotation and on official releases) and the first to be completely banned IE never even dubbed (Beauty and the Beach was dubbed and aired eventually, even if the episode is still lost).

4Kids received the episode when they got the licensing rights, but they never dubbed the episode. They did use clips in the PokeRap, but that’s it. Dogasu wrote a very detailed and eloquent explanation as to why this episode was banned and why it’ll never be officially released. Since I don’t believe I could tackle this issue anywhere near as well as they did, I will direct you to their website. http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/kanto/ep035.html

Short answer – way too much gun use, even if it’s less than what many people would lead you to believe. The closeups, the fact that they were fired and the way they were being used were also major factors.

This episode was the source of some continuity trouble because it’s the episode where Ash catches his 30 Tauros. Since the episode never aired, every Pokemon fan in the world, including me, collectively scratched their heads when Ash revealed that not only did he own a Tauros, but he had a whole damn herd of them at Oak’s lab. You just sat there trying to wrap your head around where, when and, quite frankly, why he could’ve done such a thing.

Since The Kangaskhan Kid is the last we see and hear of the Safari Zone, you’re also left to believe that the group went to the Safari Zone and did absolutely nothing there in regards to catching Pokemon.

Shame, really. Dratini, Dragonair, the Safari Zone, Ash actually doing some catching for a change – it’s all lost to us in the west.

Japanese Key – Satoshi/Ash, Kasumi/Misty, Takeshi/Brock, Okido/Oak, Miniryu/Dratini, Kentauros/Tauros, Saihorn/Rhyhorn, Arbo/Arbok, Musashi/Jessie, Kojirou/James, Nyasu/Meowth, Hakuryu/Dragonair, Shigeru/Gary

Plot: Finally actually in the Safari Zone now, Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi meet Kaiser, who greets them with a revolver to the face at the sounds of their happy singing. Kaiser is soon shown to be very gun-happy as he whips it out and threatens the three at the drop of a hat. As Satoshi gets his Safari Balls and rod, Kasumi notices a picture of Kaiser and a Miniryu on the wall. They all get excited at the prospect of a Miniryu in the Safari Zone, but Kaiser nabs the picture from them and claims there are no Miniryu in the park.

Satoshi and the others contact Okido to see if he knows anything about it. Okido states that 30 years ago, Kaiser found a Miniryu in the park. Word traveled fast, and trainers from all over stormed the Safari Zone looking for the Miniryu. As they searched, they caught tons of Pokemon and nearly wiped the place out. Because of this, a new policy was put in place to only allow captures in the Safari Zone with the park’s official Pokeballs – Safari Balls. No one ever saw the Miniryu, though some people still search for it.

Satoshi, Takeshi and Kasumi gather their Safari Balls and fishing rods and prepare to leave when they’re suddenly stopped by Team Rocket. They attempt to start their motto, only to be met with a hail of gunfire from Kaiser.

Team Rocket settles down and asks Satoshi for a friendly competition. Whoever catches the most Pokemon in the Safari Zone wins. If they win, they get all of the group’s Pokemon. If they lose, they’ll leave the group alone forever. Satoshi agrees and they head into the park.

Satoshi and Takeshi each catch a Kentauros, and Satoshi sets his sights on a Saihorn next. However, the same herd of Kentauros block his Safari Ball throw and net him another Kentauros instead as the Saihorn gets away.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket hold Kaiser at gunpoint and demand he tell them where the Miniryu is. After some mild torture, he agrees to give up the location.

Back with Satoshi and the others, Kasumi reveals her special Pokemon lures, including one modeled after herself called the Kasumi Special. Almost immediately after Kasumi casts her line, she hooks a Gyarados. The line snaps, and the catching attempts are interrupted by Kaiser who warns the group that Team Rocket is planning on capturing Miniryu in Dragon Valley.

Musashi spots a Miniryu but it’s scared away when the scuba diving Nyasu and Kojirou surface for air. No matter, it seems, since Nyasu reveals an electric bomb that will knock out all of the Pokemon in the water.

Satoshi and the others arrive, but it’s too late. Musashi throws the bomb into the water and Kaiser immediately dives in after it. Satoshi follows with Kasumi’s Hitodeman helping him swim faster. Satoshi sends Hitodeman off to help Kaiser resurface and catch his breath while he handles the bomb himself.

Satoshi gets the bomb and Kaiser resurfaces, but Satoshi can no longer hold his breath, and sinks to the floor of the lake. Suddenly, the weather turns dark and stormy and a whirlpool emerges within the lake. With a fantastic light, a Hakuryu darts from the lake and into the sky with Satoshi on its back. Satoshi tosses the bomb to Team Rocket and blasts them off.

Kaiser recognizes the Hakuryu as the Miniryu from 30 years ago and reunites with his lost friend. He’s ecstatic to see that not only has Hakuryu been thriving in Dragon Valley, but it also has a child – the Miniryu from earlier.

Later, Satoshi and the others catch up with Okido, promising to never talk about the Miniryu and Hakuryu in the Safari Zone to ensure they stay protected. Okido asks if Satoshi caught anything and he says he filled up all 30 Safari Balls – but they’re all of Kentauros.

Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi bid farewell to Kaiser as they continue their journey. Hakuryu and Miniryu bid a quiet farewell to their heroes from the sky, safe once again within the walls of the Safari Zone.

———————

– Pokemon Center music playing in the Safari Zone? Couldn’t use the Safari Zone mus—?….actually, no, no, leave it be. Forget I said anything. We don’t need that ‘song’ in here. I’m sorry I even brought it up. Move along!

– Aw the Nidorino and Nidorina cuddling.

Pokemon episode 35 screen1

– See, look here. Safari Zone – giant friggin’ gate, huge goddamn fence, clear sign indicating they’re approaching the entrance to the Safari Zone. Is that so hard, other three areas they thought were the Safari Zone?

– I like that Kasumi doesn’t agree to stop Satoshi from singing because she’s so excited about capturing Pokemon in the Safari Zone that she starts singing too.

– Kaiser actually points a gun at Satoshi and the others for SINGING. No wonder this psychopath got banned.

– Kaiser points a gun at Satoshi for trying to take the rod and Safari Balls he was just trying to give him! The hell is wrong with this guy?

– He named his gun…..Wow.

– Also, apparently bait and rocks are not offered in this Safari Zone. I get that the rock thing is a bit hard to justify for the anime (for the game too, honestly) but why no bait? Or at least some other way of distracting them or something.

– I know the cops in the Pokemon universe are useless, but Satoshi and the others should totally be calling the cops on this guy for constantly pointing a gun at their faces. Even if you argue that it’s for protecting the Safari Zone, 1) That’s understandable for the reasons behind why he has the gun, not why he keeps whipping it out and pointing it at people. 2) These kids are not posing any threat. They were singing and trying to receive things being given to them by the aforementioned gunslinger. 3) They’re unarmed. 4) Oh yeah, they’re friggin’ children.

Pokemon episode 35 screen2
I love how Takeshi seems to give zero shits.

– If Kaiser wants to keep the existence of Miniryu in the Safari Zone a secret, why put up a picture of him and a Miniryu clearly in the Safari Zone up in the lobby of the Safari Zone in plain view? He didn’t even just have it there temporarily on accident – even Okido said he’s seen that picture.

– Hey look, it’s convenient exposition-dump Okido.

– What a massive coincidence that Okido knows Kaiser and knows him well enough to know this backstory that Kaiser seems to want to keep a secret. I guess it’s understandable that a Pokemon researcher knows the owner/keeper of the Safari Zone, but this still seems extremely unlikely. Also, how lucky was it that Satoshi and the others thought to call Okido and ask him even though they had no reason to believe he’d know anything about this.

– I don’t really understand parts of this backstory very well. Kaiser found a Miniryu in the Safari Zone, word got out and everyone rushed to the Safari Zone to see if they could catch one too. In the process, they caught a ton of other Pokemon, nearly wiping the place out. Ever since that incident, the Safari Zone has banned the use of traditional Pokeballs and required the use of Safari Balls.

Safari Balls seem to have a 100% capture rate here, or these Pokemon are, by default, much easier to catch than normal, since Satoshi easily captures all of those Kentauros without a single one bursting out and he doesn’t weaken any of them, use bait or use a rock.

Pokemon episode 35 screen3

Even though they give you a maximum of 30 Safari Balls, there’s no limit on how many times you can visit the Safari Zone. You could load up on 30 Pokemon, leave, then come back.

There also seems to be no fee for this Safari Zone, unlike the games where it’s 500 Pokedollars per visit. So, if you wanted to keep leaving and returning in the anime, you could do so with absolutely no problem on your end.

You’re also forced to adhere to a “time limit.” In the original games, you were only allowed 500 steps before you were booted from the place. There is no such time limit here. Kaiser just says to come back when they’ve used all 30 Safari Balls.

In essence, they added a backstory that explains why the Safari Zone restricts visitors to only using Safari Balls, explaining that it’s meant to help preserve the Pokemon there, but completely remove several other policies in the Safari Zone that would help attain that goal much better. In fact, some of the choices made for the anime, such as coming back when all 30 Safari Balls are used, seems like more Pokemon would be caught because of it.

– I do kinda like the backstory of the Safari Zone, though. Even if it is more ‘human suck’ messages.

– So Kaiser’s gun happy to protect the Miniryu from being harassed….In a place where people are encouraged to capture Pokemon. That seems even more dangerous than it’s already seemed. What if someone just happens upon a Miniryu? Not like he has eyes everywhere. The Safari Zone is huge. Even if he did manage to spot all of these people, is he really going to murder anyone who stumbles upon Miniryu’s home and captures one?

The Dragon Valley isn’t even hidden, it seems, nor is it difficult to access, from all we see.

– Wait, so Satoshi whips his Pokedex out for damn near everything but seems to easily recognize a Miniryu? Maybe I need a ‘Why not use the Pokedex?’ segment alongside the ‘Why use the Pokedex?’ segment.

– The fact that both Takeshi and Kasumi went to the Safari Zone with intentions of capturing Pokemon yet neither caught a damn thing is also a massive wasted opportunity. It’s also sad considering how excited Kasumi was.

– Kaiser is shooting way too many bullets at Team Rocket for merely two revolvers.

Pokemon episode 35 screen4

– Also, he instantly draws on Satoshi and the others for singing and going to grab their Safari Balls but someone stands on the sign for the Safari Zone and he waits until they’re half done with their motto to pull the guns.

– This whole bet is completely ridiculous. First, Satoshi should just tell Kaiser they’re criminals and refuse them entrance into the Safari Zone. They’d probably sneak in anyway, but letting them in is just stupid.

Second, Satoshi actually believes that they’ll uphold their end of the bargain if they lose, and never hassle him, Kasumi and Takeshi ever again. Even Kasumi calls bullshit on this, but Satoshi agrees because, as a future Pokemon Master, he can’t turn down challenges. Uh, maybe for battles. Not for catching contests. And there is a thing called intelligent judgment. A good Pokemon Master would never risk the welfare of wild Pokemon or his own Pokemon for the sake of a petty competition.

Pokemon episode 35 screen5
Seems legit.

Three, either this bet is Team Rocket against Satoshi or Team Rocket against Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi. Either way, it’s unbalanced and not fair. In addition to the help of an extra person, they collectively have 90 Safari Balls while Team Rocket will only get 60. Alternatively, Satoshi would only have 30 while Team Rocket would have 60.

– I do like how Pikachu’s being used for the dramatic lightning effects when he accepts the challenge, though.

– Now to address the other half of the bet, which Satoshi agreed to before even hearing it – Team Rocket gets all of their Pokemon if they lose.

First, Satoshi is agreeing for all of them. Who made him leader?

Second, he is way too unconcerned that he will lose all of his Pokemon. He even agrees to the terms a second time with a smile on his face.

Third, Takeshi tells Satoshi ‘That means Pikachu too.’ Because he wouldn’t care about the rest of his team, but Pikachu!? Oh God no! Sacrifice your left nut before you dare risk honored Messiahchu!

Finally, he has no worries about losing because ‘Good always wins.’ Nice unrealistic message and all, but you’re a moron. Also, notice how he didn’t agree to the terms of capture. Team Rocket could ‘capture’ a ton of Pokemon in a net or something.

Why Use the Pokedex? – Satoshi saw and Dex’d a Kentauros merely two episodes ago. Does he really need a refresher? Also, tiny nitpick, but the picture of Kentauros in the Pokedex here is different from the one shown in The Flame Pokemon-athon. Even the background changed.

– Takeshi’s throwing Safari Balls at the Kentauros too. Is he illegally using Satoshi’s Safari Balls to help him win or is he capturing Kentauros for the contest and we just never ever see them ever? Do the Safari Balls know who’s throwing them? I don’t get the mechanics of this series sometimes.

– Satoshi: “This is too easy. It’s no fun at all.” Basically confirming the Safari Balls have a 100% success rate in the anime. If that’s true, that is indeed hella boring. Catching Pokemon in the Safari Zone in the games is almost entirely luck, trial and error.

– Satoshi has an empty spot in his party – why did he not keep one of the Kentauros?

– How did Team Rocket get the jump on Mr. Itchytriggerfinger? More importantly, the guns they’re threatening him with are HIS. How did they manage that?

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– Musashi’s making me uncomfortable when she’s flirting with Kaiser.

– I like how they play Nyasu no Uta (Meowth’s Song) on the stereo when they’re trying to remind Kaiser of his mother.

– I know Team Rocket likes stupid robots, but they needed a robot to tickle Kaiser?

– And that works?!

– Love the introduction to Kasumi’s special lures, but I do have some questions.

She thinks Water Pokemon will want to eat a tiny version of herself?

Won’t the Water Pokemon think that a Charmander underwater is a tad odd? Shouldn’t that be dead? There being a Charmander in that lure box is even weirder considering every single other Pokemon lure is Water Pokemon based. Were they just unable to think of another Water Pokemon?

Pokemon episode 35 screen9
Notice how they set up the shot so you can’t see the flame on Charmander’s tail. Don’t want people to ask questions.

– Hmmm….should I call foul on Kasumi hooking a Gyarados since those aren’t native to the Safari Zone or let it pass since Magikarp are?

– Wait, so this whole bet was a distraction?……Why was that even necessary? They were already going into the Safari Zone and were already going to be preoccupied with trying to capture Pokemon. They could’ve done this whole plan without alerting their presence to Satoshi and co.

And why didn’t they keep Kaiser tied up or at least wrapped with Arbo like it was before so he couldn’t escape and warn someone of what they were doing? Damn Team Rocket is so stupid sometimes.

– They didn’t even need to torture him if Miniryu’s home is in a place as obvious as ‘Dragon Valley’.

– If they had a bomb that could knock out all of the Pokemon in the water….why did they bother scuba diving for Miniryu in the first place?

Pokemon episode 35 screen10

– Satoshi filled up all of his Safari Balls?….between when he tried to capture Saihorn and when Kasumi went fishing or did he make 28 pit stops before he went to Dragon Valley?

– Shouldn’t Satoshi be using Zenigame to help him go faster? Or shouldn’t Kasumi send out another Water Pokemon to help him? Satoshi, you’re losing your breath. Zenigame is right on your belt….right there…You don’t even have to throw it – just tap the button twi—or drown. Whatever you want. Now the series can follow Shigeru. Fine with me.

– If it’s now super cloudy and raining when it was clear and sunny when Satoshi went under, he should be dead and that bomb should be very well detonated by now.

– The Pokedex is activating by itself again? It hasn’t done that since way back in episode one.

– Even if Hakuryu made the storm 1) why did it do that and 2) I still doubt it could make the storm quickly enough to not let Satoshi die and the bomb detonate.

– He waited until there was literally one second left on the bomb to throw it? Do you have a death wish today, Satoshi?

– I know he didn’t want anyone to know where Miniryu was, but he seriously never visited it in 30 years?

– Also, bullshit that all of his capture attempts were blocked by Kentauros. Bull. Shit. Pun intended I guess. Either he did that on purpose to win the bet, which is stupid, or this is a back-handed insult to viewers who were sick of Satoshi never catching any friggin’ Pokemon. ‘How can you say he’s not catching Pokemon? He just caught 30! HURRDURR!’

– Anger immediately dissipated by Miniryu riding Hakuryu. D’awwww.

Pokemon episode 35 screen11

—————————

I have always liked this episode since I watched it years ago. Despite the baffling gun use and Team Rocket’s stupidity, I do love Miniryu and Hakuryu, and this was a nice story between Kaiser and Miniryu, even if many aspects of it make no sense.

My qualms aren’t with the story, it’s the wasted Safari Zone. They basically ‘teased’ the Safari Zone for three episodes, and when we finally get there, what happens? Satoshi captures a herd of Kentauros and hardly ever uses one of them. Takeshi ‘captures’ one Kentauros but it’s like he never caught it. And Kasumi captures nothing.

That’s basically why the banning and non-dubbing of this episode wasn’t entirely a big deal. You wonder where Satoshi got a herd of Kentauros, but he so rarely uses them that it’s not a major issue throughout the series. It’s basically a passing thought whenever you see them. We finally have an episode in a location where you’re supposed to go capture crazy but after this episode you’ll barely even notice he caught a damn thing. He’ll never use Kentauros until the friggin’ Indigo League tournament, for God’s sake.

Next episode, we get more of a look into Team Rocket’s continuously confusing backstory.

Yami Shibai 5 Review

Plot: The fifth collection of short horror stories told in kamishibai format.

Breakdown: The initial hate I had come to expect from the fanbase seemingly died a little when this season got its footing. A few episodes out the door and, while there were still those familiar naysayers who believe basically all series start sucking once they exit season one, the comments were mixed at first for season five and then they got gradually better. Yami Shibai finally seemed to have shrugged off the blah-ness that haunts them throughout each season, only finding a ray of redemption in a finale twist or a particularly good episode.

I’m pleased to say that, despite some hiccups, this held true through the end. I’d even hazard to say this season was even better than Yami Shibai 1. Let’s recap the episode list real quick.

Episode 1: Wrong Number – 8/10: Starting off strong, this story takes a familiar set up with the mysterious creepy phone call and adds a twist that makes the ending very satisfying. A rare example of a horror story with an unlikable lead that really works.

Episode 2: Give it to Me – 8/10: Another good entry, this one mostly just suffers because, really, if a kid is being that greedy and annoying, you don’t just keep giving them stuff…..That doesn’t have much to do with the story, but if she never gave the kid anything, she might still be alive. Teach kids good manners = not dying.

Episode 3: The Crow Children – 7/10: Marked off mostly for not really being scary at all, this is an interesting and enjoyable story with some pretty nice visuals.

Episode 4: Copycat – 8.5/10: This one was very cleverly written. While it is predictable to a point, the absolute ending throws you for a loop. This story is also creepy on the basis of being a very realistic scenario and not relying on supernatural circumstances to get a scare across.

Episode 5: Shadows of Women – 7.5/10: Clever, but not creepy or scary. Love the artwork.

Episode 6: Giveback-Sama – 7/10 Predictable and not all that scary, plus the structure of the myth is confusing, but there was one jaw-dropping twist I’ll give it credit for.

Episode 7: Hide and Seek – 9.5/10 WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT THING!? AAHHHHHHHH POINTS OFF FOR SADNESS IN THE ENDING, WHICH IS PETTY, BUT BLEH, AAHHHHHHHH!

Episode 8: The Neighbors – 8.5/10 Not that creepy, but put a nice spin on a tired setup and did legitimately surprise me. Love the artwork.

Episode 9: If You Want to See Ghosts – 6/10 Weakest entry of the lot. Interesting setup, but doesn’t go anywhere you don’t expect it to go. Plus the more anime-ish artwork makes for less scares.

Episode 10: Flower Reading – 10/10: First ever perfect score. I would mark it off for not being scary or creepy at all, but no. This story is touching and beautifully written enough to earn a gold star with no scares. The artwork here is also fantastic.

Episode 11: I’m the Only One – 8/10: Points off for cathartic horror ending instead of scary. Points given for friggin’ scissors. Dammit. Eugh. Also, the twist was clever.

Episode 12: The Last Bus – 7/10: Creepy, but not that much. Mostly gets points off for being so confusing on why this is happening to this woman.

Episode 13: Seductress – 7/10: Intentionally scratchy artwork….film noir….Mmm….AH! What the hell is happening!?….Oh….Pbbbbtttt ahahahahahah! Also, the series ender was very confusing. I like that they actually attempted to do something this time around *coughYamiShibai4cough* but what is it trying to say? What happened? Who is that guy?

Rating: (Rounded up) 7.5/10 8/10 I’m giving half a point for changeup in opening shot and the nice ending theme.

Recommended Audience: No worse than usual. 10+

Pokemon Episode 34 Analysis: The Kangaskhan Kid

Pokemon episode 34 title

CotD(s): Tommy – A young kid who was accidentally dropped into the Safari Zone by his father and left to be raised by Kangaskhan, Tommy is a very excitable and wild child, though he’s also very brave and sweet.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: None, though it could be argued that since he can command the Kangaskhan that they’re kinda-ish sorta his. At least on his side.

Mama – A doting mother, she, like Papa, can be a bit on the weird, spoiled and eccentric side, but not nearly as bad as Papa. Mama was furious when Papa lost Tommy and is willing to do anything to be reunited with him.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Papa – An irresponsible, weird, creepy asshole, he, like an asshole, is an asshole.

Reappear?: No. Thank God.

Pokemon: None. Thank God.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock have supposedly now made it to the Safari Zone. In awe of the number of Pokemon nearby, Ash gears up to catch some of them. He spots a Chansey in a bush and tries to capture it, only to find that it’s a Jenny, a Safari Ranger, in disguise trying to catch Pokemon poachers.

She arrest them and brings them to her basecamp where she explains that this area is not the Safari Zone, but a National Pokemon Preservation Area where catching Pokemon is strictly forbidden. She lets off Ash with a warning since she believes he really didn’t know where he was, and they’re interrupted by a poaching alert that Jenny must respond to.

When they arrive, they spot a herd of Kangaskhan and Team Rocket, who are trying to capture them. As they spook them with rockets, Jenny and the others try to outrun the resulting stampede in her Jeep.

The Kangaskhan run into a net trap set by Team Rocket, and they prepare to capture them in Pokeballs. Ash, Jenny and the others are left to watch helplessly since Jenny’s Jeep has overheated.

Suddenly, a wild child emerges from the brush, throwing a boomerang at Jessie’s Pokeball and knocking it in her face. He runs towards the net, cuts through the ropes with his boomerang and lets the Kangaskhan out.

The boy sics the Kangaskhan on Team Rocket, who smack them around a bit before blasting them off. The boy hops in one of the Kangaskhan’s pouches and walks away. As Ash and the others try to process what they saw, a helicopter suddenly lands in front of them. Two people walk out, introducing themselves only as Tommy’s parents.

A three year old boy named Tommy accidentally got lost in the Safari Zone after a terrible accident, and they’ve been looking for him for five years. A recent photo lead them to this spot where they believe he’s living with the Kangaskhan. Jenny recognizes him as Tomo and has a full file of information on him, including his address. They ask for all of the group’s help in finding him and they agree.

As Ash, Misty and Brock carry Mama and Papa through the forest, they come across a wounded baby Kangaskhan. Brock tries to treat it with a super potion, but the baby cries in pain due to the sting of the spray. Tommy quickly emerges from the bushes, ready to defend the baby Kangaskhan from the people seemingly hurting it. Ash, Misty and Brock explain the situation, and it soon becomes clear that Tommy’s very confused after spending five years in the Safari Zone.

He doesn’t appear to be able to differentiate much between people or Pokemon and he doesn’t remember his parents. When Misty coaxes him to try and remember, all he remembers is being cared for and raised by his Mama Kangaskhan. Papa smacks him in the head with a log, knocking him unconscious. He dreams about his time as a baby being cared for by Mama and awakens with his memories intact. However, he’s terribly confused over which family he belongs with.

Ranger Jenny shows up with reports of Pokemon poaching and asks for Ash and co.’s help. Back at the Kangaskhan herd, Team Rocket has built a giant Kangaskhan robot and lure the Kangaskhan to it with fake cries. When they approach, they’re shot with tranquilizers.

Tommy tries to save them, but his little boomerang is no match for the robot. Team Rocket retaliates by launching their robot’s fists at Tommy, but he dodges. Ash and the others arrive and try to battle the robot, but to no avail. Tommy manages to knock off the cover to the gas tank and Ash’s Charmander ignites the fuel. However, the robot keeps charging towards them.

Suddenly, Mama and Papa arrive in their helicopter and crash it into the robot to blast off Team Rocket and save Tommy.

Tommy mourns the loss of his human parents, but they emerge from the rubble unharmed, explaining that they realize forcing Tommy to depart with his Kangaskhan family isn’t fair, so they’ve decided to live with Tommy and the Kangaskhan. Tommy happily reunites with his family, human and Kangaskhan alike, as they bid Ash and the others farewell.

——————————

– Someone should really tell Ash and the others that you can’t just wander into the Safari Zone so they and the Narrator will stop thinking they’re in the Safari Zone.

– Also, for crying out loud, how far away is the Safari Zone in the anime? They’ve already been to the Fuchsia City Gym and have stumbled upon a Pokemon reserve as well as a Pokemon Ranch and now a Pokemon Preservation Area (which is basically what a reserve is) and yet they still won’t reach the Safari Zone until the following episode. Let me remind you that the entrance to the Safari Zone is merely the northern most point of Fuchsia City in the games. Then again, Fuchsia City has a really frustrating layout to the point where I almost want to let this slide.

– Hey look, more guns! Funny how an episode with guns is preceding an episode that was banned for rampant gun use.

Pokemon episode 34 screen1

– The Jenny here is a Safari Ranger….then why is her uniform no different from a traditional Officer Jenny? Also, Jenny really thinks these ten-year-old children are poachers? Also also, she calls herself a Safari Ranger but, as stated, they’re not in the Safari Zone. I’m almost certain they’re no longer in Safari Land either. It’s hard as balls to get your bearings in this show sometimes.

– How do these three keep accidentally wandering into Pokemon reserves? If you’re not going to border the place with fences or walls, at least plaster signs everywhere so innocent people will stay out.

– Since I didn’t hear Ash about to call out any Pokemon (he only said ‘I’m gonna catch it!’ with a Pokeball in his hand, ready to throw) and it didn’t seem like he grabbed the ball from his belt, I’m left to assume two things about the scene before Jenny reveals herself.

1) Ash, 34 goddamn episodes in, was about to try and catch a Pokemon without battling it first.

2) Ash was trying to catch a CHANSEY, of all things, without battling it first.

(I realize you don’t battle Pokemon in the Safari Zone, but if he’s unaware of the Safari Ball restriction, I assume he’s unaware of the no battling restriction.)

– I now understand why Ash hardly ever catches Pokemon. This is the second time in a row that his capture attempts have been turned into a crime – and this time he actually got arrested for it.

– Why is the Safari Zone, of all things, basically surrounded by Pokemon Reserves? I know I brought this up last episode, but there are now two of these places on their outskirts – three if the Big P Pokemon Ranch counts as a separate Pokemon reserve.

– How does that map Jenny has know where Pokemon poaching is taking place? Is it really just detecting humans and Jenny instantly assumes they’re poachers?

Pokemon episode 34 screen2

– Ash: “Let us help, Jenny. We want to make up for what happened before.”

Jenny: “Thanks! Get in!”

Yes, ten year old children. Hop in the Jeep as I confront potentially dangerous Pokemon poachers. Remember, we’re in an episode with guns, so try not to get shot.

– Dexter: “Kangaskhan – a Parent Pokemon. Once approaching extinction, they are now protected by law and inhabit the Safari Zone.” We’ve already established that they’re not in the Safari Zone. Also, how are they really being protected if they inhabit an area where trainers are encouraged to throw rocks at them and try to capture them?

– Ash: “Team Rocket! *to Jenny* We have to stop them!” Stop the poachers from poaching? That thing we came here to do? Naaaaah.

Pokemon episode 34 screen3
I stumbled into this frame by accident. Ash’s face is priceless.

– How did Team Rocket know that the Kangaskhan would run right in the direction of their net trap? It was a very wide open area – they could’ve gone anywhere. And it’s not like they directed them that way with the blast because it was straight above their heads.

– Ash: “We have to do something to stop them!”

Jenny: “It’s no use. I overheated the engine on the last stunt.”

Since when do you need your Jeep to stop poachers? You didn’t even have it when you caught Ash and the others. If you’re close enough to see how scared the baby Kangaskhan are, you’re well within walking distance. Take out your gun, walk over and stop them. You’re just as useless as the other Jennys.

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Does this seem Looney Tunes-ish to anyone else?

– Jessie was trying to capture a Pokemon without batting it first. I don’t give a damn if they’re in a net – that wouldn’t work.

– Jessie was trying to capture a Kangaskhan without batting it first. That’s almost as laughable as Chansey.

– A small boy with a dull wooden boomerang was enough to cut through the net, but oh god there’s nothing this forest ranger and three Pokemon trainers could do to help.

– I block out this episode for two reasons. 1) Tommy’s stupid ass parents (mostly Papa) and 2) Tommy’s horrific voice spouting ‘Kanga-kangaskhaaaaaannn!!’ every five friggin’ seconds. Thanks for that, Jimmy Zoppi.

– Tommy’s Wiki page says he’s a boy who lives in the Safari Zone, leaving me confused yet again. If this really is the Safari Zone then why does Jenny have jurisdiction here? Why is trying to capture the Kangaskhan poaching when capture is legal in the Safari Zone? I guess they’re not capturing them ‘correctly’ but that’s not what she’s citing them for. If the Safari Zone is like a couple of miles away from a Pokemon Preservation Area and there’s no signs or fences separating the two, it’s a wonder lost Pokemon trainers trying to capture Pokemon isn’t a more common occurrence for Jenny.

– Judging from how close the Kangaskhan are to the Jeep as they walk away after blasting off Team Rocket, holy friggin’ hell in August, you morons were plenty close enough to stop Team Rocket. You didn’t even need to leave the Jeep – you just needed to throw a Pokeball from where you were sitting. They only reason they were dense enough to sit there is so they could be introduced to Tommy and watch him demonstrate his relationship to the Kangaskhan.

Pokemon episode 34 screen5
We would get out and help, but Jenny just got these new heated car seats and they’re just heavenly.

– No matter if this is a Pokemon reserve or the Safari Zone, they shouldn’t be allowed to land their helicopter on the grounds.

– Papa and Mama have arrived……I would tune them out, but I kinda have to pay attention just so I can lay rest to why these idiots make my blood boil.

– Papa’s character design pisses me off for no good reason. He doesn’t look like a real character. He looks like a living creepy-ass muppet. Papa’s jacket pisses me off. It’s like someone blew their nose on a Rorschach test. Papa’s voice pisses me off. It sounds like some parent going overboard while trying to sound like a cross between a butler and a court jester.

He has no name. He literally introduces himself as Tommy’s father even though they have no clue who Tommy is at this point.

Mama looks like any other character for no reason. Is this a joke I’m just not getting?

Papa is way too happy for a person searching for his lost son in a dangerous area.

Pokemon episode 34 screen6
Look at him and feel the hatred enter your soul.

– Tommy’s eight years old? He doesn’t seem like it. Ages always worked oddly in this show. Why does eight look so drastically different from ten? He only barely looks a little bigger than his three year old version.

– Alright, let’s get to the meat here. I’m going to be swearing a bit more than usual so bear with me. Five years ago, a three year old Tommy and his parents were sight seeing in their helicopter over the Safari Zone. In order to get a better look at the Pokemon, Papa held Tommy out the window and FUCKING DROPPED HIM.

And immediately after this happens, Mama screams in horror, which is perfectly understandable,….and Papa looks on with his same doofy-ass smile like he almost meant to do that.

Pokemon episode 34 screen7
“Hahaha, anything that has spawned from me is an abomination upon God anyway. Let’s go have some tea!”

Not only that, he then says this, still with the same stupid smile.

Papa: “Don’t worry, Mama, he just wants to get a closer look. Smart boy our Tommy is.”

FUCK. YOU. MENTALLY. BARREN. OOMPA LOOMPA.

Luckily, he was wearing a parachute and somehow knew to pull the rip cord at the proper time. Indeed smart boy Tommy is.

But, despite the fact that they knew he was wearing a parachute (for what purpose, I don’t know) neither of them could’ve known he would know how to activate the damn thing. He is only three afterall. So, for all Papa knew, mere moments after he was smiling about Tommy going to get a closer look at the Pokemon, he’d be shopping for a child-size casket for whatever they could scrape off the ground…..and he’d still probably be smiling while doing that.

They go down to the ground and look for him, only to find an empty parachute caught in the trees. Again, for all they know, he’s been grabbed by a Pokemon and eaten.

Does Papa express concern? Does he mourn over his lost son?

Nope. He just says with a smile –

Papa: “Maybe if you had been holding him this wouldn’t have happened.”

renaldo-rageragerage hades

 

The unholy nerve of this little goofy hobbit. He has the balls to not only drop his near infant son out of a helicopter with a smile, not find him later on and seemingly not give a shit, but then pass on the blame to his wife who was in no way at fault and was the only one showing a modicum of concern here. I want Papa to die with a shovel in his hands so that when he reaches the lowest depths of hell, he can dig even further to make his own custom level.

Wanna know something even worse? His original Japanese dialogue (courtesy of Dogasu’s Backpack) is this –

“Originally, Papa figures that Tarou has turned into a star in the sky, which is obviously a euphemism for death. Mama replies by yelling that that’s not what happened.”

He originally thought his son was dead, and responded to it calmlywith a fucking smile on his face…and completely ignored the fact that he possibly murdered their son. 

I have no words.

– I do love Mama’s reaction to his accusations, though. Her voice actress even gasps before she says her line like she’s that enraged.

Pokemon episode 34 screen8

– No one listening to this story is the slightest bit angry at Papa for what he did, said or how he reacted to what he did. They all just start crying. I know it might be crass at this point, but Jenny should also be arresting him for child endangerment, negligence and damn near manslaughter.

– Someone took a picture of a wild boy living with Kangaskhan and didn’t think to report it to the authorities?

– Tommy’s been missing in the Safari Zone for over five years and he’s supposedly been, at most, only a few miles away from the Ranger Station. Jenny also seemed quite familiar with the Kangaskhan herd. How has Jenny never heard of or seen him before now? Did she never get a missing child report?….Did…..they never file one? I honestly wouldn’t put it passed them.

-…..The hell? Jenny not only knows there’s a kid living with the Kangaskhan, but she knows his name and even has an address for him and a full file with his information. Even if Jenny didn’t have a missing child report on Tommy, there is absolutely no reason why she should’ve left him there. You fling up a rifle at a ten year old for attempting to capture a Pokemon, but you do nothing but write a file on a three year old spending five years living in the wild, being raised by Pokemon who are so dangerous even Dexter warned them of how vicious they were?

No wonder she’s not arresting Papa for child endangerment – she’s basically committing the same thing. Maybe he is better off living with Pokemon – God knows humans don’t give a flying crap about his safety.

Pokemon episode 34 screen9
So what’s the qualifications for being a police officer in the Pokemon world? Be named Jenny and have a blatant disregard for the safety of children?

– After asking Jenny, Ash, Misty and Brock to help them find their son, they then ask them to carry them through the woods on a litter (It’s a very rough one with no cab, but calling it a gurney seems wrong and I can’t find any better word for it.) as they search. What the hell is wrong with these people?

Their justification for it? Papa doesn’t get outdoors much and isn’t in the best of shape.

Few things.

1) Who cares? Man up and walk, you lazy ass.

I want to put something into perspective. A long way down the line in Johto we get a character named Madame Muchmoney who is pretty overweight and hardly seems like she knows any other exercise beyond maybe fanning her face in summer. When her beloved Pokemon, Snubbull, goes missing, she walks, hikes, runs, climbs, swims and more all through the wilds of Johto for months, seemingly never using any vehicles.

This lazy bastard nearly kills his son, loses him for five years in the Safari Zone and just because he’s ‘out of shape’ (I see nothing indicating he’s anymore out of shape than the average person. He has a cane but he’s obviously not supporting himself on it) he refuses to walk even a little and asks to be carried like royalty.

Madame Muchmoney cared far more about her Pokemon, her dog, than this guy cares about his son.

2) Even if he can’t walk very much for whatever reason, that’s no reason to need to be carried on a litter. He’s so small, he could easily be carried on the back of one of the characters.

3) Why are they not using the Jeep if Papa can’t travel on foot?

4) Why is Mama riding on the litter? There’s no excuse given as to why she can’t walk.

5) He’s Mama’s horrible husband. If he needs to be carried, Mama should be doing it.

6) It’s cute that Pikachu’s holding part of the litter, but he’s way too small and physically weak to be supporting that. He’s also too short to be doing that at all. Why is Brock holding both back poles? I know he’s older and bigger, but that seems a little unfair and unnecessary considering a strong Pokemon like Geodude could help him out. Actually, why not just let Onix out and have them ride on it? Onix probably wouldn’t even notice.

Pokemon episode 34 screen10

7) Come to think of it, Jenny could be holding one of the other back—where the hell is Jenny? Did she agree to help them search then just decide not to go with them? As a Safari Ranger, she shouldn’t be letting this search with three children and two civilians go on without someone official escorting them. Is she the only Ranger in the area? Is she the only Ranger period? What is wrong with the authority figures and organizations in this show?

8) Wait – he doesn’t get outdoors often? How the hell is that possible if he’s been searching high and low for his son for five years?

– Props to Ash and co. for dropping them, though.

– Ash: *in regards to an injured baby Kangaskhan* “Can you treat it, Brock?”

Brock: “Don’t forget, Ash, I’m training to be the world’s best breeder.” *whips out a Super Potion*

Yes, Ash, as a super skilled Pokemon Breeder, I, of course, know the way to treat injured Pokemon. With this incredibly common literally-treats-damn-near-everything-besides-status-effects item that even the newbiest of trainers know to use.

Also, minor nitpick, but this is a baby Kangaskhan – is it really necessary to use a super potion? Surely a regular potion would suffice.

Pokemon episode 34 screen11

– Who beat up this baby Kangaskhan and where is its mother?

– The sound that baby Kangaskhan makes when it gets the super potion is horrifying. I haven’t heard anything on Pokemon nearing that bad since the Charmander/Squirtle fight in Origins.

– Also, Brock, when most people treat wounds with sprays, they typically don’t just give a wide shot right to the patient’s face. You go up close and quickly spray each spot. No wonder Kangaskhan responded like it did.

– Is Tommy a Kangaskhan whisperer or something? How is he constantly not only able to immediately detect when a Kangaskhan is in peril or pain, but he is also always close enough to immediately react.

– For the love of all things holy…So, Papa finds his son after he’s been lost in the woods for five years being cared for by Kangaskhan, all of which is purely his fault after dropping him from a goddamn helicopter. When Tommy has difficulty remembering him and Mama, what does he do? Cry? Get depressed? Feel resigned and leave?

……He knocks him unconscious by smacking him in the head with a log and then basically says they’ll forcibly take him back home and reboot him.

Ya know, sometimes people that would be offerings in a human sacrifice were also carried in a litter. Dunno why I thought of that.

Pokemon episode 34 screen12

– Tommy’s eight. He shouldn’t have memories of being a baby.

– Let me rephrase that – I mean, holy crap, giving him a concussion should not return his memories of his parents.

– I know the Japanese reason behind him doing this, but out of all the superfluous things cut from Pokemon how did Papa going *opens shirt* “Does this help you remember me, Tommy?” escape from the edit room of doom?

– Bless Misty for konking him on the head, though.

– Oh thank God, Offi—Ranger Jenny. I’d like to report more rampant child abuse and I’d also like to report you to your superiors for not arresting this man in the first place.

– Still, though, where the hell has she been? Who takes the only motor vehicle and no one else in the search party? At least take one of the parents. Preferably Papa.

– Jenny rushes to the children and useless Pokemon-less adults for help with Pokemon poachers. Is she seriously sans backup?

Pokemon episode 34 screen13
Good job, Misty! Now bury his body in the woods and the people of the world will be safe once more.

– Mama gives up surprisingly easily on retrieving her son. He didn’t rush to the Kangaskhan for fun – he did it because Jenny said they were in trouble. No matter which family he’d want to go with, he’d still want to protect both no matter what.

– James: “It’s jungle boy.”

Jessie: “Hr ruined our plans last time. This time we’ll show him who’s boss.” *rocket launches the giant robot Kangaskhan’s fists at Tommy*

Yes, we’ll teach this small boy with mental and social development issues who’s boss by trying to kill him with a giant robot. Rational responses all around.

– How long are Bulbasaur’s vines that it can wrap this massive robot several times over?

– Ash telling Squirtle to Skull Bash….a giant robot. I know Ash’s team isn’t very equip for a giant robot fight but anything would be better than that.

– Squirtle doing that instead of looking at Ash like he’s a lunatic. I respect that level of commitment to his trainer, but dude….

– Well, Squirtle’s dead. He died doing what he loved. Following a complete idiot into battle.

– If Tommy has little understanding of anything modern, how did he know what a gas tank was? How did he know to look for one? Unless he didn’t and just blindly threw his boomerang and got lucky, in which case, bullshit it did.

Pokemon episode 34 screen14
I was planning on writing a joke here, but got distracted by Bulbasaur’s face. Did he do the fusion dance with a Bratz doll?

– No gas tank I’ve ever seen has a cap that can be knocked off like that. They almost always have self-locking designs and twist caps. Unless it wasn’t secured at all in the first place, that shouldn’t have happened.

Also, it wouldn’t drain like that. Gas tanks are specifically designed to not have gas gush out of the filling hole. That’s why gas siphoning is a thing. You can really only get it out through suction. Imagine if you went to fill the tank, popped off the cap and suddenly gas gushed all over you.

– It either lost all or most of its gas by opening the tank like that or all of it burst into flames. Either way, the Jeep and the robot should not be working right now.

– Despite my bitching about them, I will give Mama and Papa the props they deserve for sacrificing their lives for the sake of saving Tommy. And that was a pretty good climax.

– Well, I WOULD give them those props…. If they died.

Few things (yes, again.)

1) The cockpit of the helicopter very obviously blew up. They showed the shine of the initial blast right in that spot.

Pokemon episode 34 screen15

2) The helicopter is so destroyed there’s hardly a trace of it in the rubble.

3) I’d say a few hours went by between the crash and the reflection seeing as how it’s sunset at that point. That means the wreckage had to have had enough time to burnt itself out. Are you telling me Papa and Mama sat in a smoldering helicopter/giant robot crash covered in gasoline and didn’t suffer any injuries? Blow me.

4) The odds of surviving that crash and fire were so low, Jenny didn’t lift a finger to search for them in it. She didn’t rush in or call for backup – nothing. Then again, this is Useless Jenny we’re talking about here.

5) If they were perfectly fine, not even any boo boos, why did it take them so long to emerge from the rubble? What were they doing down there?

6) Where the hell did they get those ‘Tarzan’ outfits?

7) When did they have the time to put them on? They were wearing their regular clothes in the helicopter before it crashed. Are you seriously telling me they were sitting in the wreckage and CHANGING THEIR CLOTHES?

– With any luck, Papa will die of exposure or a random Pokemon attack whilst living among the Kangaskhan.

– Jenny should still not be letting any of them live in the Safari Zone, however.

———————————–

I think after all that rambling, I’ve said my piece on this episode. I don’t like it…..At all. Everyone’s being incredibly stupid, Papa can suck a stripped power line and the only redeeming aspects are whenever Papa gets smacked. The voice acting’s annoying, the animation’s poor, the story is so ridiculous and filled with completely stupid decisions and consequences that it’s insane and the Kangaskhan were more set dressing than they were focused on. I would’ve loved to have seen more of a relationship between Tommy and his Mama Kangaskhan, but you just barely realize there’s one specific Kangaskhan that he’s taken to over three-quarters of the way into the episode.

How Dogasu called this a great episode is beyond me. Even as a kid I was, at best, ambivalent about this episode. To each his own I suppose.

……Hey wait. Mama has light brown hair and Papa has dark brown hair….But Tommy has turquoise hair….*gasp* Papa’s not his real father! Papa probably killed his real father and tattooed those swirls on his face to make him think he was his! I gotta call the cops!

*dials phone*….Hello? This is FiddleTwix. I’d like to report a suspected murder, child abuse, neglect, attempted murder, child endangerment – just a whole bunch of stuff!….Wha….what do you mean you can’t do anything about it?….Overheated Jeep?……Just get out of it, then!…..Stop laughing!…Hello? Hello?…*sigh*

Next time, our first ever for really realz completely never been dubbed ever banned episode. Oh yeah and we FINALLY LEGITIMATELY FOR REALREALREELZREALLYNOTKIDDING get to the Safari Zone at last.

Pokemon Episode 33 Analysis: The Flame Pokemon-athon

Pokemon Episode 33 Title

CotD(s): Lara Laramie – Part of the prestigious Laramie family, owners of a massive Pokemon reserve called the Big P Ranch, Lara is a kindhearted girl with a love of Pokemon and racing. She is one of few people that her Ponyta trusts to touch its flames without burning them.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Being a part of the Big P Ranch, it could be said that Lara technically has hundreds of Pokemon, but her main and only confirmed Pokemon are Ponyta (later Rapidash) and Growlithe.

Dario – A Dodrio trainer, Dario is a jerk who mocks Lara and claims he’ll be the one to win the Big P race. He’s also a cheater and will do whatever he has to to win.

Reappear?: No.

Pokemon: Dodrio.

Plot: Ash, Misty and Brock make it to what they believe is the Safari Zone where they spot a herd of Tauros stampeding through the valley. Ash tries to send out Pikachu to battle one for capture, but Pikachu is too scared and pretends to sleep to avoid battle. Instead, Ash sends out Charmander, but before he can do anything, a Growlithe comes out of nowhere and pounces on Charmander’s back. Ash commands Charmander to use Flamethrower and Growlithe counters with the same. Realizing it’s a Fire type, Ash recalls Charmander. He prepares to let Squirtle out, but he’s stopped by the sudden appearance of a Ponyta and its rider, Lara Laramie.

Lara explains that capturing Pokemon is strictly forbidden in this area as it’s a recognized Pokemon reserve. She states that she’s part of the well-known Laramie family, who owns the Big P Pokemon Ranch that covers the region.

Ash and the others are impressed by Lara’s ability to ride a Ponyta without getting burned by its flames, but she explains that Ponyta never burns anyone that it truly trusts. Ash tries to pet Ponyta and subsequently gets burned since Ponyta doesn’t trust Ash.

Brock explains that the Laramie family and the Big P Ranch have a great reputation with breeders. They take very good care of the Pokemon there and train them well. Since they’re raised in the wild, they are supposedly even stronger than most trainers’ Pokemon. To help the group learn more about their ranch, Lara invites them to a party they’re holding later that day and the Pokemon race they’re holding the following day where the winner will get bragging rights and an honorary place among the Laramie clan.

Another stampede seems to be coming their way, but this time it’s a speedy flock of Dodrio being lead by a boy named Dario. He stops by Lara and the others to mock her, stating that he’ll be the winner of the Big P race.

Later, Lara, Ash, Misty and Brock hang out at the party when Dario suddenly rushes in to tell Lara that her Tauros herd is going nuts. She calls out Ponyta and races over to the ranch to find her Tauros are running around in a panic. Growlithe manages to calm them down, but a shadowy creature jumps out, startling Ponyta and sending Lara careening down to the ground, injuring her arm.

Ash manages to calm Ponyta while Misty and Brock tend to Lara. Turns out, Team Rocket, most specifically Meowth, were the ones riling up the Tauros. They were hired by Dario to do so in order to hurt Lara and keep her out of the Big P race. If they help Dario win, they’ll have an in with the Laramie family and supposedly get rich.

Lara is unable to race due to her injury, so she suggests Ash takes over as rider. He initially doesn’t want to participate due to fear of being burned by Ponyta, but accepts when everyone supports him and encourages him to try.

Ponyta initially burns him again, but after a pep talk from Lara, Ponyta allows him to ride without issue. Ash is so excited that he accidentally bumps Ponyta, sending it running out of control.

After some more practice through the night, they head to the Big P race. Ash sidles up to the starting line with Ponyta, Misty rides up on Starmie, Brock comes up with Onix and Pikachu steps up with Squirtle.

The race begins, and Dario and Dodrio take an early lead. Several of the Pokemon are taken out almost right out of the gate when a ball bearing is shot from the tall grass into a Tauros’ face, causing a huge battle between some of the Pokemon.

A boy and his Electrode take the lead on a downhill slope, but a hole in the path stops them in their tracks. As the other riders make their way around the hole, Electrode suddenly uses Explosion, knocking several riders, including Ash and Ponyta, off the track. With a quick shock from Pikachu, however, they’re back up and racing.

The next neck of the race involves crossing a lake by jumping on a path of stones. Afraid of the water, Onix shies away from the obstacle and exits the race with Brock’s understanding. Squirtle and Starmie are making off easy on this hazard, however, and even Ponyta is flying through the jumps with ease.

The next hazard involves the Pokemon eating a whole bowl of food before continuing the race. Dario starts to have trouble when the three Dodrio heads start arguing over who gets to eat first. As everyone else prepares to eat, Dario calls out to Team Rocket, who have been sabotaging the race this whole time.

Ash sends Squirtle and Pikachu out, but are promptly halted by Arbok’s Glare. Misty sends out Starmie, but it’s disabled by Weezing’s Sludge. Ponyta starts to freak out again, so Dario takes this as his opportunity to head back off into the race.

Misty tries to convince Ash to continue the race while she and the other Pokemon take care of Team Rocket since Ash is racing for Lara, but as Ash tries to make his decision whether or not to leave, Arbok tries to attack Ponyta with Poison Sting. It protects itself with an aura of flame. Weezing tries to use its Poison Gas on Ponyta as the flames continue to burn. The mistake is realized too late as the gas ignites, sending Team Rocket blasting off.

The race continues and Ash and Ponyta are blazing (hehe, puns. Also, literally blazing) towards the lead. They’re neck and neck so Dario commands Dodrio to Peck at Ponyta, causing it to fall behind. Ponyta, fired up (heheh, more puns) to win, suddenly evolves into Rapidash and closes the gap between them and Dario. They reach the finish line and Rapidash wins by a literal nose. Dario won’t take that lying down and tries to attack Ash and Rapidash, but Rapidash easily kicks them away.

Ash, Lara and Rapidash celebrate their victory and later bid their goodbyes as Ash continues on his journey to the Safari Zone.

—————————–

– I think this is the first time the word ‘Pokemon’ has been used in the title without them using the logo. Not sure if the fact that it’s being used in a hyphenated word has anything to do with it, though. Stay tuned for updates on this ongoing expose.

– You may have noticed several things odd about the Safari Zone in this episode. First, Ash and the others are able to enter without even realizing where they are. In the games, you can’t access the Safari Zone without going through a guarded gate where they charge you for your ‘time’ (steps taken), give you some Safari Balls and Pokemon bait. Once your time is up, you are forcibly booted from the place. Other than that, the area is entirely inaccessible (you can’t even ‘see’ the area on a wide shot of Fuchsia City.) In the games, the entire area is blocked by impassable trees, hedges and rocks, though one should assume that in ‘real life’ this area would be securely surrounded by fencing.

Second, and most confusingly, Lara specifically says that it’s a Pokemon reserve and capturing Pokemon is against the law there. Anyone who knows even a little about the game’s Safari Zone knows that statement is entirely backwards. In fact, they promote capturing Pokemon in the Safari Zone.

Like I mentioned, when you pass through the gate, you have to pay 500 Pokedollars. When you do, you’re given 30 Safari Balls and supposedly some bait and rocks (Unless you just find the rocks on the ground and use your own bait.) You have 500 steps to try and catch any Pokemon that comes your way using just the bait, rocks and the Safari Balls. Bait is meant to distract, rocks piss them off and the Safari Balls are so you don’t waste all of your regular Pokeballs in the park trying to capture Pokemon.

The only thing against the law/rules in the Safari Zone is battling Pokemon (because throwing rocks at them is so much better).

The reason for these screwups is because Ash and the others actually aren’t in the Safari Zone in the original episode. They’re really in Safari Land, which is an area outlying the Safari Zone that is an anime-exclusive region. It’s understandable that 4Kids would make this goof because the Safari Land is not in the games and the name is so similar, but the dubbing implies later on that they’re aware of the fact that they’re not yet in the Safari Zone. So either 4Kids just had a derp moment while translating this part and didn’t go back to correct their mistake or they believe there are two Safari Zones each with incredibly different functions yet named the same thing, which, holy crap, that would be unnerving. ‘I’d like to try and catch this Pokemon, but which Safari Zone am I in? I really don’t want to get arrested, but it’s a Chansey!’

I joke, but that last line is seriously foreshadowing.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen1
I endlessly love this screencap for some reason.

– Someone named their child Lara when their last name is Laramie.

– I know Brock is trying to…..impress (?) Lara by putting on a southern accent, but he just comes off as mocking of her own accent. Who does that anyway?

– Adding even more confusion as to where the hell Ash and the others are, Lara states that they’re at the Big P Pokemon Ranch (Pbbbbttt….the Big P…..heeeeheheeheheh), which her family owns. And, again, if this is a ranch and Pokemon reserve, why isn’t it protected by fencing?

– Also, YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE PONYTAAAAA YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!…..Excuse me, Ponyta’s one of my favorite Pokemon.

– Ash hears that Ponyta will never burn anyone it truly trusts, so of course, the guy who just nearly tried to battle and capture Pokemon in this Pokemon reserve tries to pet it and, of course, gets instantly burned.

– Dexter: “Dodrio – a three-headed bird Pokemon that can run faster than it can fly.” I want to make a joke about this, but just checking the facts to make sure I don’t look like a moron has lead me to a rather lengthy debate on whether or not Doduo and Dodrio can actually fly. Both are based on flightless birds – most obviously the extinct dodo bird, but also the emu and ostrich. Given this and the fact that they don’t appear to have wings, it’s easy to assume that they simply can’t fly.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen2

The general consensus seems to be that Doduo and Dodrio can merely jump extremely high and very far, like it can fly, since it still is part Flying Type and can learn the move ‘Fly’. However, neither bird is ever shown to really ‘fly’ in the anime. The closest we get is Falkner, much further along the line in Johto. Ash says this, which kinda debunks everything right out the gate – “I’m not scared. Everyone knows Dodrio can’t fly.” but Falkner claims his can. However, like everyone has been speculating, all it does is jump really high – it doesn’t fly.

The only other ‘proof’ is this ridiculousness which is Doduo performing ‘Fly’ in Pokemon Stadium.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttlPgh6Oirg

As you can see, it’s just floating in the air with a walk cycle animation going. Unless we’re meant to assume Doduo and Dodrio are filled with helium, this Pokemon cannot logically fly.

In conclusion to this unnecessarily lengthy and geeky analysis, I return to my initial joke which isn’t even that funny in hindsight….ahem.

“Considering it can’t fly at all, that’s about as impressive as saying my toaster can make toast faster than it can perform calculus.”

– If Dario’s voice sounds familiar, this is Maddie Blaustein doing her AJ voice. Absolutely no difference.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen3

– Why is Lara so impressed with Ash calming Ponyta down? All he did was yank on Ponyta’s reigns and yell out ‘CALM DOWN, PONYTA!’ He’s far from the Ponyta whisperer.

– It could be argued that Dario is one of the worse one-off antagonists in Pokemon because this plan was specifically set up to get Lara physically injured.

– Why is it so important for Ponyta to be in the race? Just to represent the Laramie clan? Because the main prize is being an honorary part of the Laramie clan, so it seems a little pointless.

– Okay, so we get some reasons why Ponyta should race….but they’re…..egocentric? Lara says Ponyta has to race to show everyone how great it is and to show everyone that its the best. And ‘that will be the best praise for me (Lara)’…..All I’m getting here is ‘You have to race because, if you win, everyone will know you’re the best and then I’ll be the best by proxy because you’re my Pokemon.’ If not taken that way, then it’s just putting a lot of pressure on Ponyta for no reason.

– I’m a little confused as to how Ponyta’s flames work here. They’re obviously actual flames yet Ash can grab onto Ponyta’s tail like it was made of hair.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen4
That has to hurt like hell.

– At this point, I’m kinda wondering why this episode is called The Flame Pokemon-athon. Ponyta’s a Fire Type, sure, but other than Growlithe, it’s the only other Fire Type here and it’s the only Fire Type in the race. Ponyta and Rapidash aren’t called The Flame Pokemon, and it’s not like Lara or the Laramie clan specializes in Fire Types or anything. They’ve already been getting into the puns, so why not call it My Little Ponyta or The Ponyta Express or Fire Horsing Around?

– Mad props to the guy partaking in the race while balancing on an Electrode, though.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen5

– How is Pikachu a contestant? That has to be against the rules. And if you’re going to have Pikachu ride any Pokemon, why, of all things, Squirtle? Not only is it far from the most coordinated of Ash’s Pokemon, it’s also a damn turtle. Tortoise and the Hare be damned, that would never work.

Let’s see, which of Ash’s Pokemon is the best in terms of speed? Squirtle’s base speed is 43, Bulbasaur’s is 45, so Squirtle’s already lost. Charmander’s is 65. Pidgeotto’s is 71. And Pikachu’s is

*drumroll*

90. His base speed is 90.

So, in short, the slowest of Ash’s Pokemon is being ridden by the fastest of Ash’s Pokemon in a race….Logic…is….fun.

– How is Misty standing on Starmie? Starmie aren’t known for their speed either. I mean, it has to be slower than Squirt—115?!….Starmie’s faster than Pikachu? ….The hell? It’s faster than Ponyta too. (90) and Rapidash (105) Okay fine, floating is power. I stand corrected. Have at it, Starmie. Sure am glad I’m being ultra snoopy today.

– If the main thing about this race is to help Lara and Ponyta win, why are Brock, Misty and Pikachu risking its chances by partaking in the race too?

Why am I complaining? Misty and Brock actually get to to do stuff today. GO MISTY AND BROCK!

– Announcer: “Rock Pokemon can’t deal with water so Onix is out of here!” Seems a little unfair to have such an obstacle when you know certain Pokemon can’t cross.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen6
Forever this screenshot.

Come to think of it, it’s also unfair if some people *coughMisty and Pikachucough* are riding Water Pokemon.

– Lara: “That’s right. You can do it, Ash!” You can do it, Ponyta* Does she have a crush on Ash or something? I thought she was amped up for Ponyta to race, but all she’s focusing on is Ash. And, truth be told, all Ash is doing is going ‘FASTER FASTER FASTER FASTER FASTER!’ She must be very easily impressed.

– I was actually hoping that food hazard would show us how Starmie eats.

– This whole obstacle is dumb anyway. Do you want to give these Pokemon a bunch of cramps in the second part of the race?

– Yes, Dario, yell out to Team Rocket to help you. Not like the people around you or the cameras following the race can’t hear that.

– Heh, I love that Pikachu and Squirtle are happily eating away while Team Rocket does their motto.

Pokemon Episode 33 screen7
Despite the horrid art and animation issues this episode, there are some great screencaps here.

– Yes, Team Rocket, point out that you’re in cahoots with Dario. Again, not like there aren’t tons of witnesses around you and a camera pointed right at you while a huge audience watches the race.

– Okay, so the camera’s feed was off during that whole thing…..but it wasn’t. They lost the picture due to Team Rocket’s smoke screen. The feed never cut out or anything, the picture was just obstructed. When Team Rocket blasts off, the camera suddenly cuts back on, implying that the feed had been cut when it wasn’t.

Even so, there would be at least two witnesses (several if, for some reason, you count the Pokemon) who could claim Dario was cheating and sabotaging the race with Team Rocket.

– Is this announcer and the whole audience blind? How did no one see Dodrio Peck Ponyta?

– Just to be nerdily thorough, Dodrio has a base speed of 100, five less than Rapidash. However, in its Dex entries, Rapidash can run around 150 mph (listed as 100 in this episode) while Dodrio tops out at about 40.

I realize that the anime doesn’t mirror the games well enough for this to truly matter…..but research is fun for me. 😀

Pokemon Episode 33 screen8

– Even taking the complete hypocrisy of Dario’s claims out of the equation, how could Dario ever back up the statement that Ash ‘interfered’ with him? He did absolutely nothing, unless there’s a rule about evolving during the race.

– Also, they should both be disqualified for not eating the food at that last obstacle.

—————————-

This episode was fun, and I like the racing aspect, but it does have its problems. First of all, the art and animation are notably much worse than normal. I don’t know if the race caused budget cuts for the rest of the episode, but nearly every other part looks like garbage. There are unfinished lines, shine and highlights missing, shaky frames when minor movement such as talking is occurring, numerous missing frames and jutting movements.

I liked that Dario was a different antagonist for a change but his motivations seemed odd. He was already almost winning the whole time, even without Team Rocket’s help. Is he such an asshole that he feels the need to cheat just to cheat? Also, his motivations are never really clear. Team Rocket wants Dario to win so they’ll have an in with the Laramie family and somehow get rich off them, but Dario never explains why he wants to win outside of maybe bragging rights.

I don’t really like that Ash was the racer here. I don’t mind it too much, but it seems a bit unfair that Ash is the one riding and racing Ponyta when it evolves when Lara is the one who raised and trained it its whole life.

I don’t have much to say against this episode, but it still never reached the prestige of being a personal favorite, which is weird because Ponyta is one of my favorite Pokemon and Fire Types are my favorite type. There’s just nothing too special about it.

Maybe it’s because there’s nothing important on the line and no character development, not even for the CotD or the Pokemon? Lara’s already a part of the Laramie clan, it’s not like Ponyta or Lara has something to prove to the village because they all adore her, Ash is just in it for the fun and to help Lara and Ponyta. Really the only thing on the line is stopping a cheater from winning the race, which is fine and all, but not that interesting and something you can see a million times over on literally any other show.

Who cares if he wins anyway? What does being an honorary member of the Laramie clan do to benefit him? This isn’t even as interesting as those episodes where Team Rocket tries to cheat their way through competitions because at least they usually have malicious goals and Pokemon they want to steal.

Unrelated, but I would like to draw attention to the depiction of Dario in The Electric Tale of Pikachu manga.

Dario_EToP

Someone designing for the manga really liked Dario and fanarted him up because he is so bishie there.

Next episode, The Kangaskhan Kid! Sure to be very…interesting to say the least.

November Marathon Poll Results

Hey guys! It’s time to go over last month’s poll results!

November is going to have marathoned blog posts, meaning every two days or so, a new entry will be added to one specific series of mine instead of once every week and half-ish like I have been going. Other series will be updated along the way, but the main focus will be on one specific series.

At the beginning of October, I started a poll asking you guys which series you’d most like to see me focus on, and the results are in.

Poll results

And the winner is Pokemon Episode Analyses!

Thanks for voting, everyone! Here’s to Poke-vember!