Pokemon Episode 57 Analysis: The Breeding Center Secret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snap takes his leave in this episode.

And I’m all broken up about it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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– Snap is very obviously taking posed pictures of Togepi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Togepi’s face, though. lol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pokemon Episode 55 Analysis: Pokemon Paparazzi

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 7

Character Debuts: Snap/Todd/Todd Snap – Since he sticks around for a few episodes and is the ‘star’ of the video game Pokemon Snap, I’ll say this is a debut more than a CotD.

Snap, and that’s what I’m calling him, I’ll explain in a minute, was never all that great of a character to me. He was a little annoying in his arrogance and giving jabs to Ash for no reason. The fact that he’s voiced by Jimmy Zoppi, Gary’s VA, does not help.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like his philosophy in taking pictures of Pokemon without disturbing them…..even though that’s pretty much what all wildlife photographers do because it’s mostly impossible to pose animals unless they’re pets. And, admittedly, he loses his attitude later on. In subsequent episodes, he’s actually fairly boring.

Also, being fair, according to the comparison, Toru, the Japanese version of Snap, is much less of a jerk. He still has an ego, but he doesn’t take potshots at Ash.

He’s also really unique in that he’s a rare CotD who has no Pokemon of his own.

Snap’s character design would later be used for a spin-off Pokemon game called Pokemon Snap, where you take pictures of Pokemon while basically riding in a rail car. Contrary to what you might think, though, this episode was not made as a tie-in. According to Dogasu, Snap’s character design was most likely simply lifted and adapted for the game since the original version of Pokemon Snap had nothing to do with Pokemon at all – it was just a regular photography game. Plus, the airing of this episode and the release of Pokemon Snap don’t match up well enough to really be promotion.

Nabbing up Snap’s character design probably saved them some money on creating an entirely new character for the game, too.

As for Snap’s name, that’s a point that drove me bonkers for years. I caught this episode way, way back in the day when I would get up at like 5:30 AM to watch it and the episodes were airing fresh out the oven. I forget what channel, but I’m 95% sure it wasn’t Kids WB! In that episode, was called Snap.

I catch the episode some time later down the road, probably on Kids WB! this time, and he’s called Todd. I am incredibly confused by this. Every other instance I caught the episode, he was called Todd. It drove me veritably insane because every time I’d ask one of my friends about it, they’d have no clue what I was talking about. He’s named Todd, silly.

It wouldn’t be until several more years down the road when I would look up info on this episode and finally figured out what the snap went on here.

The big conspiracy at the time, and kinda still now, is that Kellogg’s threatened legal action against 4Kids for the name since Snap is one of the trademark character names. They changed it to Todd in their TV airings as a result, but there’s no evidence to suggest this at all. Plus, it’s a flimsy argument to start with, though maybe not without merit fully. I remember Detective Conan had to change their English dub name to Case Closed supposedly because of either Conan from DC or Conan the Barbarian.

Still, it’s not like this is a trio of characters named Snap, Crackle and Pop.

But just to make an unrelated tin foil hat moment, there is a character originally named Pop in another 4Kids show, Magical Doremi, and her name got changed too.

This makes even less sense because the DVD and VHS releases go back to Snap, and every English version that played on TV outside of the US also calls him Snap. In fact, the copy I’m using for this analysis calls him Snap.

Not that any of this really matters, because shortly thereafter they just decided to officially name him Todd Snap. *shrug*

Thus ends my completely unnecessary overly long anecdote. Thank you.

For the record, Snap is an awesome name.

Pokemon: None

Reappear?: Yes. Snap stays on board the team…for some reason, until the end of episode 57. They are really strange about the characters that they bring back, but why Snap just tags along with these guys for three episodes is beyond me.

Plot: As Ash, Misty, Pikachu and Togepi enjoy some riceballs courtesy of Brock, Ash notices a glint in the bushes. He assumes it’s a sniper prepping to shoot them all, so he knocks everyone to the ground. When he shoots the bushes with Squirtle’s Water Gun, he reveals a kid with a camera, who seems more concerned about his camera than himself.

He introduces himself as Snap, the world famous Pokemon photographer with aspirations of being a Pokemon Photo Master. However, Ash and the others have never heard of him. When he brings them to his house, he shows them his photo of the ancient Pokemon Aerodactyl that won him a spot in the magazine, Pokemon Times.

Ash is shocked when he realizes that it’s a picture of the Aerodactyl who grabbed him a while back. He’s even in the picture, even though it’s simply a silhouette so you can’t see him well. When Snap zooms in on the picture, he sees that it is indeed Ash.

He apologizes for scaring the group and offers them some pancakes while he preps to get a shot of Pikachu. However, Pikachu is camera shy and becomes very nervous when he notices Snap trying to get a picture, even if he tells him just to pretend he’s not there. He’s spooked by the camera shutter and shocks Snap.

He tries again, but becomes frustrated because he desperately wants a natural picture of Pokemon, the way they were meant to be seen. His gallery of photographs amazes the trio, showing them how beautiful Pokemon are when they’re undisturbed and happy. Posing just seems fake and makes them scared and uncomfortable.

Since Pikachu’s too scared, the group offers the rest of their Pokemon to have their picture taken, but Snap politely declines saying he wants to only take Pikachu’s picture. He won’t disclose his reasons, however.

Ash begrudgingly tells him to do whatever he wants, but Pikachu won’t be so accommodating. Snap declares that he’ll certainly capture Pikachu perfectly.

Later, as he preps for an attempt to take a picture of Pikachu, he remember an old couple who desperately asked him to ‘capture’ Pikachu for them. It was the old woman’s final wish to have Pikachu, specifically Ash’s, ‘captured’ before she died. Snap, believing they raised a Pikachu similar to that one and want a really good photo (as compared to their terrible ones) to remember it by, agrees.

In present time, Team Rocket decides to help Snap by digging a pitfall trap for the group. As predicted, they fall into it and Snap tries to help them out, confusing Team Rocket. Meowth checks the magazine and finds that he didn’t finish reading – He’s great at capturing Pokemon on film, not simply capturing them.

As Team Rocket realize their mistake, Ash and Pikachu agree to get their picture taken, but Snap realizes that the bottom of the pit is caving in. Suddenly, it breaks, sending Ash and Pikachu into a man-made river. Snap jumps down to give chase. He warns them of an impending waterfall and saves them in the nick of time by sacrificing his camera to use as a rope for Ash to grab onto.

Team Rocket arrives and nabs Pikachu up in a rubber bag. They start tossing bombs at the pair until Ash distracts them by pretending to take their picture, which causes them to ignore the lit bomb in their hands until it blows up in their faces.

With the distraction, Ash is able to climb all the way up to dry land again. He unleashes Bulbasaur and Razor Leafs the lot, freeing Pikachu. Bulbasaur Vine Whips the trio away, into the river and off a different waterfall.

Misty and Brock reunite with Ash and Snap, and they’re surprised to see that they’ve become friends. Snap takes a group photo of them all to commemorate their newfound friendship before they continue on their journey.

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– Ash: “These Riceballs are pretty good!”

They said the R word! :0

– Ash sees a glint in the bushes and his immediate thoughts are ‘It’s a sniper! Brock and the others are going to get shot to death! Must knock them all away and attack the threat!’ I know I joke about the guns in Pokemon….but does Ash have PTSD? I mean, with all the encounters with Team Rocket and their bombs and guns and other antagonists with their guns and bombs, it’d be fully understandable. I kinda feel bad for him.

While we’re on the topic, though, what the hell, 4Kids? Why would you keep in a semi-graphic, for you anyway, daydream sequence where Brock and the others are shot by a sniper?!

– Why did Ash punch Pikachu away? You can just grab the little dude, no need to be a jerk.

I like that Pikachu chews him out for it, though.

– Still using the Pokemon logo in the title, eh? Wait…

Wiki: “In the dub, this is the last episode to use the Pokémon logo as the title uses the franchise’s name.”

Aw. I mean, this went on a lot longer than I thought it did, but it feels like the end of an era now. RIP Pokemon Logo in title.

– By the way, referring to Snap as a Paparazzi only makes me dislike him more.

– I find it fitting that Ash uses Squirtle’s Water Gun to reveal a supposed sniper in the bushes, but now that I’m thinking about it, holy crap, Ash, that is a horrible idea. You think an actual sniper is in the bushes so you squirt some water on him? Are you daft? Now I’m just imagining some kid taking on a guy with a gun with a super soaker.

– Snap: “I wasn’t spying on you! My name’s Snap, and I love taking pictures!” You were hiding in the bushes taking pictures of them….That is the textbook definition of spying.

That’s like saying, “No, your honor, I wasn’t stalking. I just followed her home, sneaked into her house and watched her sleep for eight months!”

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 1

Snap: “You didn’t need to sic your Squirtle on me and flip out like that!” The instant Ash looked your way and knocked everyone to the ground, you should’ve made yourself known because he obviously saw you as a threat. That coupled with the spying equals this fault is yours.

Snap: “You should consider it an honor that I want to take a picture of your Pikachu.” His nose is literally in the air as he says this.

– Even as a kid, I thought the ‘master→masker’ joke was doofy. I get that it’s an untranslatable joke, but Ash, of all people should never have trouble hearing the word ‘Master.’

– Snap: “You may not know my name, but certainly you’ve heard of the photographer who took the only picture in the world of the legendary Pokemon, Aerodactyl. (…) Argh! How is it possible that they’ve never heard of me?!” I’m probably arguing semantics, but Aerodactyl is obviously not legendary. Maybe in an unofficial sense.

Also, the average person, especially kids, don’t typically know big names in photography.

– Zooming in on a picture doesn’t return the color and details to a photo of a figure in shadow. Also, if he did have a picture capable of showing color and detail, why did he not send that in to Pokemon Times? Any reputable news/photography source would probably throw that shadowy picture out, in all honesty. That could easily be a hoax.

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 2

And wouldn’t he be in the slightest bit curious as to who that clearly human shaped figure is being held by Aerodactyl? He doesn’t even seem to have analyzed it enough to tell that there’s a human in that figure. You’re kind of a crap photographer, when you think about it, Snap.

– I do appreciate them linking back to an older episode, though. Kudos.

– Awwww, the Eevee kiss picture. Awwww the Kangaskhan with her baby picture.

– Although, for some of those pics, they’re clearly looking at the camera so they had to be somewhat posed?

– Snap: “That’s why I never want to shoot a Pokemon when they’re posed and look sad and scared.” Maybe this is just cynical me peeking out, but if you never take a picture of a sad or scared Pokemon, you’re not really getting the true scope of their natural state of being, are you? You have a very good point in not wanting your subjects to look posed, especially wildlife, but if you only capture the happy-go-lucky, you only get part of the, incoming pun, picture.

And, no, I’m definitely not saying he should intentionally scare Pokemon or make them sad, but avoiding it kinda limits his scope as a photographer.

– Ash: “Well, Pikachu might not like being photographed, but Pikachu’s not my only Pokemon, ya know? I’ve got others in these Pokeballs. How about a shot of Pidgeotto?”

He not only remembered he had Pidgeotto, but it was the first Pokemon he suggested? I think I might cry.

– Misty: “I have Pokemon you can shoot, too!”

How is it possible this line never became a meme?

– Yes, Snap, Pikachu’s super uncomfortable and scared of your camera, so give a fired up declaration that you’ll do whatever it takes to get Pikachu’s picture right to his face. Good job, Mr. Natural.

– I will most certainly save my complaining about Team Rocket’s plan this episode for later. Since the main problem with it is the reason they came up with the plan in the first place, which won’t be revealed until the end of the episode, complaining about anything else they’re doing would be moot.

– I love how Team Rocket waits until they’re done eating to make a big to-do about ditching their costumes. There’s no one around to fool, guys. Unless you’re trying to fool the restaurant (or hotel?…Hotel restaurant?…..Either way, how can they afford that?) employees, in which case why do it while you’re still in the restaurant?

Jessie and James: *After they reveal themselves* “Surprise, surprise!”

Meowth: “Yeah, right!” Haha. At least they own up to it – Points for that.

– Why the hell would Snap burst out at Pikachu, knocking over cans to make a big noise in addition to him yelling, if he wants a natural picture of Pikachu?

– I absolutely adore Ash photobombing on Snap, though. He’s not only protecting Pikachu, he’s just having a blast teasing Snap.

– Ash: “Missed again, Snapper!” Is he making a nickname off of Snap or is he making a photo-based nickname….either way, I don’t like it.

– James: “~Paddy cake, paddy cake, it’s our trap. *hums*” I find that line really adorable, and I can’t help but think Eric Stuart probably ad-libbed that considering James’ mouth isn’t moving there.

– James didn’t play the woman in this episode, but he actually looks better shawl when he messes up the costumes than Jessie did. I just feel like they almost always work better when Jessie plays the guy and James is the girl. They have such good crossdressing game.

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 3

– Why did they stop James from saying they dug a trap to Snap if they believe they contracted him out to capture Pikachu?

– It’s cute that Pikachu’s hiding in Ash’s backpack, though simultaneously a little sad because he’s so scared.

– I should take the time point out that Pikachu HAS had its picture taken before, the most prominent example I can think of being in The Battling Eevee Brothers when they had their picture taken as a group at the end. It’s probably that Snap’s so intent on Pikachu and him alone, but I wanted to note that.

– Where is Togepi? I thought he was in Misty’s bag, hidden away like it is sometimes, but if it is, he got smushed when they fell into that pitfall trap.

– I know I said I wouldn’t really comment on Team Rocket’s plan yet, but why are they so mystified by what an ‘expert’ would do to capture Pikachu when they already have them trapped in a hole? Most of the work has been done.

– Snap: “Ahhh, that’s the Pikachu I want to capture!” Right after it’s fallen into a pitfall trap? Thus would be at least a little scared or upset?

– Now I can complain about Team Rocket’s plan! They tracked down Snap because Meowth read in the Pokemon Times that Snap was the best at capturing Pokemon….

Meowth: “The magazine says he’s…uh…Ah! ‘The best at capturing Pokemon…on FILM!’” This is too dumb for words. Meowth actively reads this magazine, apparently, but couldn’t be bothered to finish this sentence!?

How did he go the entire article, barring that one sentence, without him being a photographer ever coming up? Did the article start with, “This is Todd Snap, he’s great at capturing Pokemon….” and he just didn’t go on?

The article had to be mostly about Aerodactyl with a tagline being about the photographer who got the image because, being real, 1) The Aerodactyl thing is way more interesting than ‘10 year old knows how to operate camera and had good timing’ and 2) It’s a crappy picture anyway, why would it be singing his praises that much?

How did they even have a full conversation with Snap without his photos or camera or his dream to be the best Pokemon Photo Master coming up?

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 4

I get that Team Rocket has their moments of dumb, but the fact that they constructed this whole ruse for Snap and even bothered to dot their I’s by helping him out with a pitfall trap yet didn’t finish reading the sentence that informed them about Snap is too dumb even for them.

– Meowth: “Ah, now I get it! The article said he was good at capturing them on film! I thought he actually captures them! An amusing mistake!” No it’s not, and even if it was, it’s now not amusing because you explained the joke.

– And, in the end, he takes the picture with them clearly posed. It’s a happy picture, but he’s still posed.

– Also, if Ash and Pikachu finally agreed to the photo…..why not get them out of the pit first?

– Uh…So Snap climbed down into the pit and into the hole in the pit before Misty and Brock, who were already in the pit, went down the hole?

– I praise Ash for remembering he has Pokemon besides Pikachu earlier and then he forgets he has Bulbasaur, who can Vine Whip him out of the water and Squirtle, who can probably swim him to the edge.

– The message or lesson for Snap in this episode is muddy. First he goes on saying how much he wants to convey Pokemon naturally, not disturbing them or making them sad. I know why he wants the picture of Pikachu, but then he becomes deadset on getting Pikachu’s picture no matter what, even though Pikachu’s scared.

Then Ash says Snap doesn’t understand Pokemon’s feelings, which I get given the way he’s behaving and how he’s not telling Ash why he wants Pikachu’s picture, but how is that really a problem for him when he’s doing this out of sympathy for a person?

The way he’s going about it is problematic (Can’t he just tell them that some people want the photo but not give away the client’s identity? Or maybe even lie and say there’s a Pikachu photo contest or something?) but he’s doing it for an empathetic reason.

He cares more about his camera than his own safety, which kinda indicates that he cares more about pictures than his own life, but nothing else indicates this. Then his big moment of character growth is sacrificing his camera to save Ash?

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 5

Not only is that dumb, but….he’s a world famous photographer. He supposedly has enough money to own his own house and fancy camera equipment. I find it hard to believe that this professional photographer (even if he’s ten years old) doesn’t have a backup camera. Or the money to buy one, anyway.

All professional photographers have backups. Even hobbyists usually have a backup camera. Maybe not a fancy one, but a backup one anyway just in case. Him sacrificing his camera as a professional world famous photographer, no matter how you look at it, is lame.

If they had said this was some precious camera that his photographer parent gave to him before they passed away, it’d be different. Heck, it’d even give him more of a reason to help Team Rocket since they were playing the death card, but it’s not and they didn’t. It’s just a camera.

I have to laugh a little, though, because how much would Snap be hated if he just let Ash die because he didn’t want to get his camera wet?

– He must have a crazy high-quality tripod if the connector between the camera and tripod is strong enough to both take the weight of Ash and Pikachu and take the brunt of the rushing water.

– Oh great, Team Rocket makes their grand entrance. Well, considering their initial plan was built on stupid and their follow-up was a pitfall trap, what are they going to do now? Use a net? Uhp, yup. Just grab Pikachu with a net. Okay, now what are they gonna do? Stand there and taunt—

*James throws a bomb at Ash and Snap* Holy crap! He’s trying to blow up Ash! This isn’t the first time they’ve done it, but wow! They already have Pikachu, too! This is just vindictive murder of two children! Wow, Team Rocket. Just…Wow.

Also, I hate to go this dark, but if this was their backup plan, why not go to the pit earlier, grab Pikachu and then lob the bombs into the pit? They definitely wouldn’t survive that if they’re on a murder binge today. They didn’t really need Snap at all.

– Snap: “Why did you trick me!?”

Jessie: “You tricked us first, Shutterbug.” Uh, no. You tricked yourselves because you’re all imbeciles who can’t finish reading a sentence.

Considering how vain Team Rocket is and how stupid they’ve been today, yeah, I’ll believe they’d stop their evil plan, which is actually succeeding for a change, because Ash is going to take a picture of them (with the clearly not working soaking wet camera.)

Pokemon Ep 55 Screen 6

Though, now Ash just tried to murder Team Rocket by blowing them up. This isn’t Looney Tunes, guys.

Misty….Brock…Did you climb out of the pit and wander around until you found the opening to the river? One of you should’ve jumped down into the hole at least. Misty, sure would’ve been helpful to have some strong Water Pokemon to help Ash not drown and/or fall to his death over a waterfall…

– Misty: “I don’t get it, why are you guys acting like friends?” Did they not make up? It was really implied that they made up, otherwise Ash wouldn’t have done the picture.

Ash: “We are friends, Misty, because we have something in common. We both like Pokémon.” You knew he liked Pokemon way back at the house, and this ordeal had nothing to do with liking Pokemon.

– Wait…He’s taking a picture at the end….which means either that camera’s waterproof or he DID have a backup camera, which just makes his big ‘sacrifice’ all the more pointless.

– Oh well, at least Togepi’s back from Togepurgatory.

———————————-

This episode is a lot of….okay. I don’t really hate Snap, I just dislike his bouts of egotism and ribbing Ash. His character ‘arc’ doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s presented one way (he cares more about pictures than Pokemon’s feelings) and ends up another (he cares more about human life than his camera?)

The concept of Pokemon photography is neat enough and something we haven’t yet explored. In addition, I enjoyed the callback to an older episode and actually connecting it here, even if it didn’t have much to do with anything.

Team Rocket’s plan, though, is built on dumb circumstances, even for them, and they really lucked out on Ash falling into that river for a shot at getting Pikachu the end. I’m a little depressed that this mucked up non-plan actually almost worked.

I’m really…okay with Snap sticking around, even though, like I said, he doesn’t do anything. He just kinda hangs around and randomly leaves. I don’t understand the logic with not only making Snap a recurring character, but making him linearly recurring and a fellow companion. He stands out more than many CotDs but not enough for this.

Next episode, it’s the Pokemon Exam!

….Previous Episode


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