Pokemon I Choose YouEdit
"Enjoy your last few moments of freedom."
Did I Recall This Episode Through Nostalgia?: I only remembered the part where Ash begs Pikachu to get in the ball
The show starts off with a faux Gameboy representation of the show before revealing that a Gengar versus Nidorino match warrants a massive televised stadium with hundreds of people watching. I mean... really? I hate to tell you this, Pokemon world, but I'm pretty sure a Gengar would ruin a Nidorino without trying. Doesn't even get an actual Nidoking. And indeed that is exactly what happens, and the trainer throws out an Onix. Really? An Onix? Your enemy is using top tier pokemon and you're throwing out things this weak?
See this guy in the first row? He knows what I'm talking about. He was dragged here by his girlfriend there and has no idea why this match needs hundreds of spectators.
Holy crap Ash is obsessed to an unhealthy degree. Look at the amount of Pokemon merchandise he has. I mean, Jesus Christ. His alarm clock falls off of his headboard and breaks, I guess that's what you get for buying a novelty Voltorb-shaped alarm clock.
Gary shows up, apparently he's famous enough to get cheerleaders even though he's ten, he jerks around Ash for a while before moving on.
Dammit Ash, he chooses pokemon in this order: Squirtle -> Bulbasaur -> Charmander. Squirtle over Charmander I can understand, but Bulbasaur over Charmander? Oak responds to Ash's bad opinions by giving him a Pikachu, ensuring he'll have no chance against Brock.
Oh my God, how many electricity puns are there going to be. The amount is... shocking.
Ash attempts to enslave a Pidgey with the above quote, who responds by running away, hoping to avoid a life of misery and slavery to human overlords.
Ash angers every Spearow in the universe, who attempt to murder him as they run for miles. He steals Misty's bike as it suddenly turns thunderous even though the skies were blue one second ago. Eventually Pikachu gains some respect for Ash and saves his life.
Overall, a good opening episode. It fails to explain what a pokemon is or why people like watching them fight, but it's got some decent drama if you ignore the gaping holes in logic.
"The procedure went well, and it should be fine."
Did I Recall This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Nope, not at all
A pretty poor episode. The lapses in logic begin to pile upon each other.
Ash gets to Viridian City, but Officer Jenny won't let him pass because she's worried he stole Pikachu. She needlessly endangers the nearly dead pokemon until she finally takes him to a pokemon center. All in all a net gain for Ash, because she takes him on a motorcycle, but she still wasted a lot of time looking at his pokedex. Apparently Officer Jenny doubles as a stunt driver, given what she pulls off in the first five minutes of the episode.
Ash gives Nurse Joy his Pikachu, and looks at an engraving on the wall. Despite the pokemon clearly being Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, and Arcanine, you know, the three legendary birds who all have legends about themselves, and Ash being obsessed with pokemon to the point of endangering his own life, he somehow mistakes Articuno for Ho-Oh, and although Oak tells him he's wrong, the show treats Ash like he's right.
Misty shows up, wait, what? Isn't she supposed to be Japanese, but she has red hair and green eyes and a clearly lighter skin tone than anyone else on the show? Misty is Irish fanon GO
So Jessie and James are flying around in a huge balloon shaped like a Meowth's head, and the Viridian City radar (?!?!) only just now detects them? But they've been flying around for hours!
Earlier Nurse Joy says "Looks like a Pikachu," but Jessie identifies Ash's pokemon as a Pikachu on sight, meaning Jessie knows more about pokemon than Nurse Joy. Okay...
Oh Jesus Christ, more puns. " The boy's bugged." "Then let's squash him!"
Wait a second, the pokemon center is equipped with teleportation technology? And yet they send trainers to walk through dangerous roads and forests?
Misty buys Ash time to run away with Pikachu by battling Jessie and James... but they already said they aren't interested in Ash's pikachu, meaning there's no reason to run away. Furthermore, Jessie and James show up in the next scene anyway, meaning Misty's pokemon accomplished nothing. Good going, Misty.
Wait, why is no one questioning the talking Meowth? They established pokemon can only say their own names, this should be considered to be a huge deal.
Holy hell the animation in this show is awful.
Despite being a low level Koffing, his Self Destruct destroys the entire pokemon center.
Finally, as the show ends, Ash and Misty leave Viridian City despite there being a gym, and encounter a Caterpie. Although Ash couldn't identify a Spearow earlier even though they live next to Pallet Town, he knows a Caterpie on sight, even though it's further away from Pallet Town than Spearows are. Wut. Then, despite it being a plot point in the previous episode that you need to weaken a pokemon before catching it, Ash throws a pokeball immediately. Hate to break it to you, Ash, but Butterfrees? Not really that useful in the metagame, there, pal.
Too many lapses in logic for my taste, and not enough action.
Ash Catches A PokemonEdit
"It'll be a long time before you're a pokemon master! Like a million years!"
Did I Recall This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
Soooo many bug puns after Ash catches the Caterpie.
Ash bludgeons the Caterpie with the pokeball, who's unwillingly forced into the Sphere of Eternal Slavery. Unable to break free, Ash celebrates his first proper enslavement of another being, Pikachu being given to him by another.
Misty is unimpressed. Ash's first use of his new cockfighter? Torture Misty, who specifically told him that she hates bugs. Through in fairness, Caterpie seems to like rubbing up against Misty.
Misty insists Ash pays for her bike. Normally I'd be on Ash's side, since Misty is clearly obsessed with him, but that thing did cost one million dollars, so I really have to agree with her that Ash should pay for it.
They decide to camp in the forest even though you can get through it about two minutes. "Don't let the bed bugs bite," really, Ash? Even by awful pun standards that's weak. That's really weak.
Caterpie and Pikachu talk to each other, and the implication is that Caterpie wants to be a Butterfree someday and get Misty to like him, but I know the truth. Caterpie wants to be free, and Pikachu is consoling him. "Don't worry, slavery's not as bad as you think, you'll survive. I'm sorry, I know."
Misty keeps hating on Caterpie, which obviously hurts its feelings, eventually putting itself in the ball to escape her hatred.
Ash throws a pokeball at a Pidgeotto, who's so condescending of him that he doesn't even bother to escape the ball, he just bats it off with his wing. Ash then demonstrates why he's such a pokemon master by sending a bug type to fight a flying type, a move even Pikachu recognizes as idiotic. Eventually, with Misty's help in the strategy department, he succeeds in adding another slave to his already vast arsenal of murderously-inclined monsters.
Jessie and James show up again, and Ash, who met them yesterday, says he recognizes their voices... Really? You fought them yesterday. I didn't realize it earlier, but holy crap, Jessie is dressed with something a prostitute would find revealing... though it's still more concealing than what Misty has on.
Team Rocket challenges Ash to a double battle. Rather than offering to help Ash, Misty stands at the side and does nothing, on the grounds that double battles haven't been invented yet. Confusingly, Misty suggests Ash breaks the rules despite refusing to get involved in a pokemon battle because it's supposed to be one-on-one.
Somehow Ekans' dig attack outspeeds Pidgeotto's Quick Attack. Don't ask me how. Jessie and James somehow fail to recognize a Caterpie, despite knowing the comparatively rarer Pikachu.
String Shot turns out to be the ultimate move, defeating Ekans and Koffing at the same time with an apparent paralysis effect.
Defeating three pokemon is enough for Caterpie to evolve and it becomes a Metapod, though the pokedex does mention this is unusually fast.
A completely average episode, though Ash does succeed in proving that he's at least less incompetent than Team Rocket, if nothing else.
Challenge of the SamuraiEdit
"Your pokemon handling is dimwitted and clumsy."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The two Metapods hardening at each other and the part where a Beedrill kidnaps Ash's Metapod
Misty panics when she sees a weedle, and I'm supposed to believe she's a gym leader? "Maybe it's a cow-derpee." What? There are no cows around. How is this pun clever or logical? If Misty had a tauros or something, maybe, but come on. There needs to be logic to puns, dammit.
Misty gets threatened by a crazy samurai kid. If you're only after a pokemon match, why are you waving a sword around?
Ash sends his Pidgeotto into his ball, and the immediately sends him out. He's somehow asleep even though he was in it for possibly twenty seconds.
Pidgeotto goes down in one tackle to the samurai's Pincer. Pincer's claws are clearly broken when they attempt to crush Metapod, but are fine in the next scene. Who knows why?
The samurai sends out his own phallic-shaped Metapod to counter Ash's Metapod, and they get into a Hardness battle, in which Ash faces off against a male and yells things like "Maximum hardness! What power!" and the samurai responds with "You're the stronger! Harder! Full power!" Only Misty recognizes this for the stupidity that it is, and interrupts with "You two are more hard... than your Metapods!"
A Beedrill, pissed that Ash tried to capture a Weedle earlier, kidnaps his Metapod. And seriously, in four episodes, they've used the "Ash is run down by a horde of angry flying pokemon twice." That's pretty damn lazy.
They find Metapod by some Kakuna, which makes little sense, but okay. Apparently the eighty-something Kakuna around timed themselves to evolve at the exact same second, and they start chasing Ash, too. Everyone takes refuge in the samurai's cabin. The samurai guilts Ash about leaving Metapod behind, which Ash can't counter with "No you!" like he normally does. The samurai insults Ash, comparing him to Gary and the other Pallet Town trainers. If we're supposed to feel Ash's anger about being the weakest Pallet Town trainer, writers, perhaps you should show the other damn Pallet Town trainers? We've only seen Ash and Gary.
Ash sneaks to find Metapod, but Jessie and James show up somehow. Ash interrupts their motto recital, but they insist on finishing it despite the dozens of nearby sleeping Beedrills, who are kind enough to ignore them until they start with literal explosions. Ash slow-mo dodges through the Beedrills, who proceed to attack Team Rocket.
Ash is about to put Metapod in a pokeball, but he's rightly pissed at Ash for abandoning him. Ash admits he screwed up, and Metapod gets teary-eyed and saves Ash from a Beedrill. The Beedrill pierces Metapod's shell, and out comes Butterfree, which even Misty likes.
Inexplicably, despite not knowing something like flying types being strong against bug types, Ash immediately orders Butterfree to hit the horde of Beedrills with sleep powder, a move that impresses even the samurai. Ash celebrates this uncharacteristic display of competence. Samurai declines another match, and they depart, promising to have another match in the future. I doubt they will, but I'm not really sure.
Some good stuff in this episode about Ash having to take responsiblity for his actions, surprising stuff, and very appropriate for would-be slavemaster.
Showdown in Pewter CityEdit
"We've hit rock bottom!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The gym battle and Flint revealing himself as Brock's father and Brock forcing Flint to write down all of his siblings' quirks.
The episode begins with Jesse and James giving their motto to no one, which annoys even Meowth. They set a trap for Ash and the others. They somehow lose track of their own trap immediately after finishing it, so Ash and Misty reach Pewter City with no problems.
A weird bum named Flint greets them, who sells rocks as souveniers... despite it being extremely difficult to reach different cities in this world, so tourism must be very rare.
Ash reaches a pokemon center, where Nurse Joy explains she has a sister.
Misty explains that you need ten different badges to challenge the Elite Four. What? Isn't it eight badges?
Both Misty and Flint tell Ash he'll lose to Brock, and Ash brushes off Misty's offer of help, who storms off.
Despite being equipped with an electric type, a flying type, and a bug type, Ash somehow thinks it's a good idea to challenge rock/ground user.
Brock greets Ash harshely, telling him he can only use two pokemon. Brock nearly murders Ash with a novelty rock prop before finally beginning the match. Brock sends out his Onix, which freaks out Pikachu, who tries to hand the battle off to Pidgeotto. Brock uses the amazing strategy of "Tackle attack!"
Pikachu's thundershock fails to hurt Onix not because it's a ground type, but because it's too low level. Well, okay, I guess. Brock has his Onix torture Pikachu until Ash surrenders. Pretty intense there, Brock. Jesus Christ. After the battle, Flint tells Ash you can't always win, and takes Ash to his secret "Watch Brock dress as a maid while he takes care of his prepubescent siblings" spot.
This show is all kinds of messed up. Cockfighting, slavery, torture, and voyeurism, all from the heroes in the first five episodes. The villains are so far only guilty of vandalism and thievery.
Flint tells Ash to power Pikachu up by hooking him up to a power plant. The lesson for today: rather than hard work, try to find a quick fix to your problems. Ash refuses Misty's help, insisting that he can do it all by himself, even though he's using Flint's help. Admittedly, Misty's help involves borrowing her pokemon for the fight, but Ash's goal is still undermined by actions.
Now with a powered-up Pikachu, Ash shows up at the gym. Does Brock do nothing except sit in a dark gym all day and take care of his family at night?
For no reason, Pidgeotto stays at a low altitude and allows Geodude to hit it without having to levitate. The creators of the show apparently did only some research: flying types are accurately weak to rock types, but Pikachu easily defeats Geodude. Ash somehow taught Pikachu Thunderbolt during the events of this episode despite not having a TM, and confused as to how Ash cheated, Brock calls off Onix, who's still winning.
Pikachu's inaccurate attacks hit a fire extinguisher, and the water hits Onix, defeating it. This cannot possibly be a legal move. Brock counters with "Little Sibling Attack," an equally legal attack that stops Ash from finishing off Onix. Finally, Ash admits the sprinklers going off wasn't fair, and walks off despite Brock obviously being fine with it.
Brock shows up as Ash leaves and gives Ash the Boulder Badge even though Ash admitted the sprinklers were an illegal move. Brock admits he'd rather raise pokemon, but he has to raise his siblings instead. Flint shows up and reveals himself as Brock's father. He offers to take care of his children so Brock can run off and be irresponsible. But... Flint is the guy who abandoned his family and wouldn't return out of embarrassment, and Brock instantly believes he's responsible enough to take care of the siblings he feels so much for that he'll devote his life to taking care of them?
All in all, a meh episode. Brock is introduced as the "responsible" member of the group (what the hell race is Brock?), and Ash is further defined as wanting to be the best by his own merits, ignoring everyone telling him that he has none.
Clefairy and the Moon StoneEdit
"Gary was here! Ash is a loser!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The part where the Clefairy do the metronome
The narrator begins by promising us that all of the rumors about Mt. Moon are true, even though I happen to know that if you go forward seven steps and face right, you won't find a Pikablu.
Ash rescues Seymour the Scientist from some Zubat. Don't worry, Seymour. I hate Zubats, too. Seymour explains that the Zubat are being jerks because someone set up lights in the mountain, and this is a problem because the pokemon inside the cave require darkness. Inexplicably, he walks by the lights without turning them off as he talks to Ash about how they need to be turned off. He also suspects the people who set up the lights are after the moon stone in the cave, and that pokemon are from space. It's treated as a jokey explanation for the origin of pokemon, but given that Deoxys actually is from space, I don't know.
Ash wants to catch a Clefairy (I'm told Clefairy was originally supposed to be the mascot pokemon instead of Pikachu), but Seymour has him let it go. Team Rocket reveals itself as the origin of the lights, and that they want the moon stone because it can power up their pokemon.
Ash and Brock agree to Jessie and James' double battle, and Brock reveals that he captured a Zubat off-screen, to which Ash responds by wishing that he too could enslave beings off screen, and is annoyed that he can only do it on screen. Sorry Ash, but that's the price you pay for being the protagonist; all of your actions are monitored.
Zubat confuses Ekans and Koffing, which lets Ash defeat Team Rocket.
Wait, with only three people, how did Team Rocket set up such an elaborate lightning system? It's strung up all throughout the cave system, man.
Meowth wants a Clefairy's moon stone, and corners Seymour, the Clefairy, and Misty in a river. Finally put in a position where she can be useful (not unlike Aquaman), Misty finally gets to do something.
Brock explains that he's created pokemon food that's specifically created for specific pokemon, but somehow already has some for Butterfree and Zubat. Don't ask me how.
It's now nighttime, and Clefary leads he heroes (and Ash the slavemaster) to another cave, this one with the largest moon stone of all. Clefairy adds its tiny moon stone to the large one, thanks the heroes (and Ash), and begins to dance around the rock, apparently very excited.
Pikachu talks to Clefairy, and Ash insists he can understand Pikachu, which is of coures a lie. Eventually the heroes (and Ash) figure out the Clefairy are praying to the moon stone, so the show can add "paganism" to its list of things it exposes children to. Seymour claims the Clefairy want to use the moon stone as a spaceship.
Team Rocket shows up to steal the moon stone, and Seymour gets his ass kicked by Meowth. Ash says that's not fair, though Jessie insists everything is fair in a pokemon match... even though Seymour wasn't in a pokemon match, and can't be, because he's not a pokemon. Well, whatever.
After some really bad animation in a fight scene, Team Rocket steals the moon stone, and the heroes follow, leaving Seymour behind.
The heries catch up the villains, and Koffing defeats Onix with one attack. So... doesn't this mean James is a far more highly leveled trainer than Ash, and could easily take Pikachu?
The Clefairy show up and use Metronome, summoning a pillar of lava (dammit, writers, Lava Plume hasn't been invented yet) which defeats Team Rocket. Bits of the moon stone turn some of the Clefairy into Clefables. If just touching a moon stone is enough to evolve a Clefairy, how did they assemble all of those shards earlier?
The reach a sign for Cerulean City, on which Gary has written the above quote. Classy guy, that Gary. Misty looks worried that they're almost at Cerulean City, could this be FORESHADOWING?
Overall, this episode is just lacking. Nothing is particularly wrong, but nothing is particularly right, either.
The Water Flowers of Cerulean CityEdit
"It's times like these that make me want to go straight."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Sort of... it's hard to say, sorry
Dammit, James. Even in context, that quote still implies what it implies.
The episode immediately makes the mistake of showing Gary's writing in the previous episode spoken aloud by the samurai, who wasn't there when they found it. Ugh.
Ash and Brock try to dump Misty early on, but Misty shows up again and tells them not to go, trying to scare them with stories of ghost pokemon, then tells them go to Vermillion City instead.
At night, Team Rocket breaks into a... giant water tank? Ash and Brock get to Cerulean City and notice Misty's left them. Ah okay, they reach a police line around a machine shop, okay, that's what Team Rocket was doing.
Ash meets Officer Jenny, who very specifically says the other Officer Jenny is her sister-in-law. What? Sister, fine, but sister-in-law?
Officer Jenny tells Ash and Brock that a water hose and a vacuum were stolen. Nice giving away of major information to unknown weirdos, I'm sure that's normal police procedure.
Brock leaves and Ash eventually finds the Cerulean Gym, and unlike the Pewter Gym, it's a big pool surrounded by onlookers, in which synchronized swimmers swim in really unimpressive ways. The swimmers have Valley Girl accents, and reveal themselves as gym trainers. Predictably, there are now a ton of water puns, and they refuse a challenge to fight even though Brock explicitly said earlier that a gym leader has to accept any challenge all the time. They offer him a badge for free, but Ash is hesitant to take one without winning a real battle, but agrees to anyway.
Misty shows up and demands to battle Ash for the badge. If Misty grew up around these girls, why doesn't she have a Valley Girl accent, too? Also, even though the girls said they only had a Goldeen left, they apparently also have a Seel now. Good work, animators.
Pikachu refuses to fight Misty on the grounds of "Pikachu! Chu chu! Ka-chu," so Ash takes out Butterfree, and Misty counters with Staryu. The pokedex mentions the core of a Staryu can be used as jewelry, so add "corpse mangling" to the list of things the show exposes children to.
Ash brilliantly has Butterfree use Tackle, which somehow fails to work, so Butterfree uses Stun Spore. Apparently washing yourself off gets rid of Paralysis, which is not true, but okay. Eventually Misty manages to put Butterfree in the water, which somehow immediately means he must be withdrawn. Ash throws out Pidgeotto, Misty throws out Starmie, and Pidgeotto wins even though that Starmie is one of the toughest battles in the early game.
Team Rocket shows up just before Ash wins and steals the water in the pool. Ash brilliantly figures out Team Rocket are the burglars from earlier, and they use the water to wash away the heroes and gym leaders. Seel and Pikachu get caught in Team Rocket's trap. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, and Team Rocket counters with more water puns.
Even though Ash didn't win, and Misty specifically points this out, the gym leaders give him the badge on the grounds that if Pikachu hadn't been unwilling to fight, he'd have won easily.
Brock shows up again as the episode ends (the explanation for he was doing is literally "Stuff"), and they walk off into the sunset.
Overall, some good action in this episode, and we get Misty's backstory, but there's no real character development, and the gym leaders point out the episode's pointlessness: if Pikachu hadn't been a little jerk the gym battle would have ended in twenty seconds.
The Path to the Pokemon LeagueEdit
"As you know, I'm no gentleman."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: AJ's unlicensed gym
I love James. It's just so easy to find quotes of his to take out of context.
Everyone is heading to Vermillion City, and Ash proclaims himself to be awesome for beating a six year old's Ratatta, and then shows off his badges to the impressed small child, who tells him to fight AJ, the "gym leader" who isn't licensed by the Pokemon League.
AJ pulls out a whip, and starts off with Sandshrew. Misty and Brock remind Ash not to send out Pikachu, which probably saves him even though he proclaims that he doesn't need any help. Ash proves how good he is by having his Pidgeotto lose to a Sandshrew, and sends out Butterfree.
Sandshrew uses Dig, which somehow hits the bug/flying pokemon.
Team Rocket is apparently watching all of this and mentions that they want to steal the Sandshrew.
Ash thinks AJ cheated, and AJ leaves, annoyed. Ash sneaks into AJ's gym where he trains his pokemon, and holy crap, AJ is torturing these things to train them as well as he does, forcing them to wear harnesses and dive underwater when they're weak to water.
Ash tells AJ he's training too hard, and AJ says Sandshrew and he want to be the best ever. Brock doesn't care about the whole "torture" thing, and starts talking about pokemon food.
Team Rocket shows up again, mentioning that they're considering a new motto. Nooo, Team Rocket, don't do it, or at least wait until a later season. They also say they're after Pikachu, even though they said earlier they want a Sandshrew.
Wait, AJ is that good, but he uses a Sandshrew, Butterfree, Beedrill, and three Ratattas? Anyway, Team Rocket accidentally kidnaps Sandshrew when they meant to steal Pikachu, and run off. AJ realizes Sandshrew is gone but didn't see Team Rocket, and Ash takes the opportunity to tell AJ Sandshrew may have run off because he's such a little piece of crap. AJ sends his other pokemon to find Sandshrew. Anyway, Sandshrew comes back, and apparently Sandshrew and the others all love AJ despite his harsh training regimen.
Meowth is dragged along by Sandshrew, and everyone figures out it was Team Rocket. Jessie and James show up and use the correct motto, the one that should never change. They insult Sandshrew, saying they only wanted Pikachu, and AJ challenges them to a fight. Team Rocket send out Ekans and Koffing to counter AJ's Sandshrew, but Sandshrew obliterates them easily. Meowth gets involved, but is also useless and holy crap-- this Sandshrew knows Fissure?! Jesus Christ, what level is it and why hasn't it evolved yet?
Ash is happy for AJ, and AJ leaves to become a pokemon master of his own. Not with a Sandslash, pal, but good luck.
I'm a little surprised, to be honest, especially considering this episode a step above filler. This episode's moral is basically "Dicks can still be good people," which is deeper than I was expecting from Pokemon.
The School of Hard KnocksEdit
"I think she's even more conceited than we are."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Most of it, to my suprirse
The episode starts with Misty complaining about the bike again. I have to side with her, Ash, sorry. That bike cost a million freaking dollars, come on, don't act like you accidentally broke a glass or something.
On the way to Vermillion City, Brock sets up a lunch for everyone and sends Ash to find some firewood. Ash meets some small kids who are training another small kid, who specifically mentions "levels" and "leaning moves," pretty meta for a kid's show. They eventually train him so hard that he falls over, and they start insulting him. Ash shows up and wants to know what's happening. They have a school called "Pokemon Tech," and Misty shows up to support Ash even though she specifically mentioned that she didn't want to go into the forest. Somehow Brock is also here even he sent Ash away from himself.
The school's gimmick is that it can train you for the league without having to go to different gyms, and Misty summarizes it as a "snobby private school that only millionaires can send their kids to," which for some reason annoys Ash.
The kid Ash rescued mentions that he's also learning here, and that it's extremely hard, and we're supposed to sympathize with him, but come on, I have none for him. This is a private school that costs a lot of money to send kids to, and from we later see, it gets results.
Ash decides to talk to the head student instead of an adult because Japan. Because it's a girl who's in charge, Misty decides to go instead.
Jessie and James mention to each other that they failed their tests at this school because they "frolicked that night." Did that really pass the censors? Really?
The kid takes the heroes into the school to talk to Jezel, the girl who's in charge. The kid reveals that they use computerized simulations, and Misty challenges the kid to a real fight, sending out Starmie, and the kid sends out Weepinbell. We're supposed to root for Misty, but she acts like an idiot and insists she's better when she opens with a water gun attack on a plant pokemon. Nevertheless, she wins because she's so much higher leveled. Jezel shows up and berates the kid for losing and slow-mo walks away. Misty gets angry at Jezel, and Jezel throws out a pokemon. This is an exact quote.
"Against your water pokemon, I choose Graveler!" Dammit, girl. Brock points out the idiocy of this, but the Graveler is at such a high level it defeats Starmie effortlessly, and they go out to a pool. Ash gets annoyed at the girl implying calculations are only the only thing important in a fight, and she starts quoting statistics from the Pokedex and immediately becomes the most annoying character so far on the show. She sends out a Cubone in slow-mo, and Ash stupidly shocks it. Cubone starts things off with Leer, and I will now show you how they chose to draw a "Leer attack."
Cubone uses Bone Club and Bonemerang, easily hitting Pikachu. Ash calls the move "a cheap way to win," this coming from a guy who uses attacks like "Water Sprinklers." Pikachu then turns Cubone's helmet around and starts using scratch attacks, eventually defeating it. Jezel's personality immediately takes a 180 degree turn and suddenly seems extremely kind toward Cubone.
Team Rocket shows up again, and apparently they've brought a smoke machine specifically for their motto. The schoolkids throw like two dozen pokeballs at them and they immediately run away, meaning the entire Team Rocket subplot was incredibly pointless and had no payoff whatsoever.
The kid tells Jezel he's going to leave the school and focus on training, and Ash leaves.
This episode is supposed to be about experience and heart defeating cold math, but honestly, I'm not feeling it, and Team Rocket shows up only to lose in seriously, possibly thirty seconds.
Bulbasaur and the Hidden VillageEdit
"Will it strike us out?"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
They're walking through a forest, trying to find the path back to the road. They eventually take a break and see an Oddish. Ash decides to catch it, and Misty decides to catch it instead on the grounds that it was near the water and since she's a water trainer this doesn't even begin to make sense. Starmie beats up the Oddish, and a Bulbasaur shows up to save the Oddish, beating up Misty's Starmie. Ash throws out Butterfree and has him use Sleep Powder.
Bulbasaur redirects it at him (don't ask how), and defeats him, and both pokemon escape.
The bridge they're on breaks, and Brock falls off. We get off screen climbing up a broken bridge by Ash (seriously? You can't spring the extra money to animate climbing?), and eventually Ash and Misty are trapped in a net. Bulbasaur shows up, taunts them, and leaves. Team Rocket shows up and mentions they have plans for a hidden village. Brock eventually saves the others, saying that a beautiful girl saved his life, and takes them to her, her name is Melony.
She takes care of injured pokemon who come to her in her cabin, like a pokemon health spa. I won't write it up, but the way the dialogue is set up implies Ash doesn't care about how pokemon are treated, which I find kind of funny. Melony apologizes for setting up the traps from earlier, saying that she doesn't want trainers to find the village. Jesus Christ, woman, you trapped the bridge from earlier, someone could have died! Misty makes a joke, and Brock freaking punches her in the goddamn head. That's intense, man. Beating up Ash is one thing, but beating up a fourteen year-old girl?
Team Rocket slowly makes their way toward the village. Misty apologizes to Oddish, who seems kind of annoyed at her. Somehow she starts crying, and Oddish comforts her. What? Bulbasaur shows up and tackles Misty for being near Oddish. This is not a good episode for her. Bulbasaur is mentioned as the village's protector, and dislikes Ash and the others.
Somehow, even though they walked through the forest earlier, Team Rocket now has a massive balloon and lands at the village, using a massive vacuum to kidnap the free pokemon. Everyone runs into the cabin. Ash helps Bulbasaur save Oddish, which clearly impresses him.
Bulbasaur and Pidgeotto beat up Team Rocket's vacuum, and when Pidgeotto uses a gust attack, James expresses excitement at being blown, but Jessie and Meowth are somewhat less excited at the idea.
Bulbasaur agrees to go with Ash, and when Brock and Misty point out the village now has no one to protect it, Melony brushes it off as pokemon refusing to leave after they're healed because Bulbasaur is too great of a protector. Bulbasaur wants a proper match, however, and goes up Pikachu. Somehow, even though Pikachu is half Bulbasaur's size, his tackle successfully knocks Bulbasaur away, and Thunderbolt knocks him out for Ash to catch. Brock hits on Melony, of course, and strikes out, of course.
Overall, a decent episode. Bulbasaur is established as a proud warrior type even though he gets no dialogue (being a pokemon and all) to contrast Pikachu's energy and Pidgeotto's... being there.
Charmander - the Stray PokemonEdit
"It's a Joy-full world."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Yes, unsurprisingly
Ash sees a ton of Spearow, and uncharacteristically, makes the wise decision to not screw with a flock of them a second time. They meet a Charmander, and Ash mentions that he wanted one from Oak earlier. Come on, Ash, we both know you wanted a Charmander last, you liar. Ash tries to catch it, but fails, only to realize it's weak because the flame on its tail is now tiny. Ash tries to catch it again, and that angers it. Apparently it dislikes the idea of being forcefully enslaved. Who knew? Pikachu talks to it, and then speaks to Ash; Charmander is waiting for someone, and everyone leaves Charmander to wait for its trainer.
They find a pokemon center, and we flash to Charmander sitting in the rain at night, still waiting. Even though this pokemon center is in middle of nowhere, there are a ton of people in it for some reason, whereas the one in Vermillion City was empty we saw it.
Some of the people in the center are talking, and an Australian guy mentions leaving his Charmander behind and being a jackass. Come on, bro, a Charmander can fetch you a pretty good price on the GTS.
Angry at the fact his lack of knowledge of GTS trading protocol, Brock goes over to guilt the guy into picking it up, only to fail. Stupid Brock; you should have known Australians have no conscience. The heroes rescue Charmander from some Spearows, who have apparently become the go-to villainous pokemon, and bring it to the pokemon center, and Joy agrees to help it because, y'know, it's her job. You ever wonder if there's a Joy sister who decided not to become a nurse? To be unique?
Anyway, after some fake medical drama that I would call a parody except for being in a kid's show, Nurse Joy pronounces Charmander to be okay. When everyone wakes up the next day, they find Charmander is gone. The heroes decide that if Charmander wants to wait for the Australian guy, they should let it, and leave it behind.
Team Rocket shows up and gives their motto to no one as they wait for the heroes to fall in their trap. It's a big drill that creates a big hole. Everyone except Pikachu falls into the trap, and Team Rocket shows up in electricity-proof suits this time, finally displaying a modicum of intelligence. Eventually James uses a big rubber ball to trap Pikachu, who is promptly rendered helpless. For some reason Ash doesn't remember that he has two pokemon who can fly, and Charmander shows up to rescue the heroes.
Predictably, Charmander easily defeats Team Rocket. The Australian guy shows up and demands Charmander come with him even though Charmander knows he's a lying piece of crap. After the Australian guy brags about he likes to abandon pokemon, Charmander and Pikachu burn and fry him until he runs back to do Australian things like... be in a prison for British criminals? I guess? Ash catches Charmander, and that's about that.
Boring episode, nothing of interest happens, we already knew all about having to train and respect your pokemon, we don't need Australians to remind us.
Here Comes the Squirtle SquadEdit
"You're not gonna squirtle out of this one!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
Come on, a third episode where Ash catches a starter pokemon in a row? Can't this wait until after Vermillion City? Fortunately, this is by far the best of them.
The group falls into yet another hole in the ground (Jesus Christ, are there seventeen foot Digletts in the anime?). Some Squirtles show up and taunt the heroes, all wearing sunglasses, and one wearing Kamina sunglasses. Pikachu shocks one of the Squirtles, and it turns into a western showdown duel thing as Ash wants to catch one-- Wait, in a previous episode, Misty insisted she gets dibs on water pokemon ah screw it. When Officer Jenny shows up, the Squirtles run off. She explains that the Squirtles were all abandoned by their trainers and pass the time by harassing humans.
Team Rocket talks about wanting to kidnap Pikachu, and the Squirtle Squad shows up, demanding their food on the grounds of their exceptionally shiny sunglasses. The Squirtles then trap Team Rocket in another hole (how could turtles even dig a hole?) and eat their food. Meowth convinces the Squirtles to let them go because he's the trainer and the humans are being trained. This is kind of clever if you remember that old joke about cats training humans, but I kind of doubt that was intentional. Team Rocket wants the Squirtles to kidnap Pikachu, of course, and after a short while they do. Pikachu is injured, so the Squirtles agreed to let Ash go to the town and buy a potion if he leaves behind Misty and Brock. Ash to cross another rope bridge (seriously? We had a dangerous rope bridge two episodes ago!), and it of course breaks. It's all meaningless filler in the end, of course, because Ash reaches the town off screen, and Gary gets a cameo. With half of a second of screen time, Gary immediately proves himself cooler than Ash. Jessie and James are holding up a store, so Ash of course doesn't stop them even though he's two feet away from them at one point. Jenny somehow knows exactly where a secret entrance to the cave the Squirtle Squad is in is and takes Ash to it. Team Rocket shows up in their balloon and kidnaps Pikachu as they betray the Squirtles... even though the Squirtles had agreed to help them earlier. Even though Team Rocket clearly throws two bombs at Ash, Squirtle rescues Ash from five explosions. Anyway, the main Squirtle defeats Team Rocket and saves Pikachu, but the explosion they cause causes a fire. Faced with the choice of letting the fire burn the town down and helping to put it out, the Squirtles predictably choose the option that will ensure they'll have people to torture in the future, and the town falls in love with the Squirtles, making them the town's official firefighters and giving them robes for some reason.
The main Squirtle agrees to come with Ash, but horribly, gives up his amazing sunglasses as he does. Dammit, Squirtle, those were amazing sunglasses.
Overall, the best episode so far. Everything fits together except Team Rocket acting like morons, but since they are morons, it still makes sense.
Mystery at the LighthouseEdit
"We built our fame on shame."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The part where Misty explains you can only have six pokemon at a time
The episode inexplicably starts by pointing out how Ash has only caught two pokemon, and all of the others joined him by choice or because of Oak. Annoyed at the truth, Ash runs off and declares that he'll catch another. He sees a Krabby at a beach, and for some reason allows it to destroy a stick he pokes it with before catching it. Don't ask me. The pokeball teleports away in a conspicuous CGI sequence, and Ash is for some reason surprised at this. For some reason, only Ash is worried that Oak, a guy who does things like telepathically stop people from using bicycles in buildings, is now responsible for a pokemon's safety, and Brock suggests they call Oak, and since this show was made in the 90s, no one has a cell phone.
Everyone runs to a nearby lighthouse engraven with pokemon images on the door (can you imagine if there was something in the world that was pokemon-themed?), and somehow there's a Mewtwo image on the door even though the door is clearly older than the period of time Mewtwo has been alive. Oak tells Ash that Gary is doing better than him, and the pokemon he catches are of a higher quality because he feels like terrorizing a ten year-old, and tells the heroes they're at Bill's lighthouse, a pokemon researcher. Team Rocket is outside of the lighthouse, talking about how much they like stealing things just in case the viewers somehow don't know they're villains yet.
The heroes meet Bill, who's apparently stuck in a Kabuto costume. Why do have a Kabuto costume, anyway? Well, whatever.
Bill, a great pokemon researcher who explicitly knows more than Oak, tells us that there are over one hundred fifty one! In the entire world! But don't worry, Bill mentions that there might be more undiscovered pokeon somewhere in the world. Meanwhile, Lance sits at Indigo Plateau, thinking back to his days in Johto where you can't go five steps without seeing a Hoothoot.
Bill talks about how much he wants to see a specific, one-of-a-kind pokemon he once heard across the ocean, and has a recording of it. We see a silhouette of a Dragonite, and meanwhile, Lance wonders how Clair's Dragonite is doing while he's training his Dragonite. Bill reveals he set up a complicated lighting system in the lighthouse to attract its attention when the time comes, and sets it off. "So size does matter" -- James. Dammit, James, stop making this so easy for me.
Team Rocket attacks the Dragonite, which pisses it off and it destroys the lighthouse before throwing Team Rocket off and leaving. Bill is predictably angry as it departs, but is still hopeful and happy that it'll show up again despite the fact that it thinks he just launches multiple bazooka shells at it.
Overall, a meh episode. Bill wasn't as heartbroken as you might expect, and the episode just kind of ends.
Electric Shock ShowdownEdit
"And now you've both been pun-ished."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Of course I do, everyone does
We're at the plot already? No, c'mon, we've only six filler episodes, please, let's have another!
Somehow, the heroes are surprised by a Nurse Joy in Vermillion City's pokemon center, and Nurse Joy talks about Lieutenant Surge as injured pokemon rush into the center with scorch marks.
Pikachu doesn't want to fight Surge on the grounds that it likes not dying, but Ash brushes it off as "Ehhhhhhh."
Although they don't have the Cut HM, they reach the gym, and Surge shows up and is apparently seven feet tall. I'm serious, the way he's drawn, even if you consider Ash is a kid, he's still ridiculously tall. I'm not really sure what, but something is also up with Surge's face, and he just looks like a generic extra. Here, allow me to show you.
I would have given him a rougher, military accent, but instead he sounds like some weirdo jerkoff. The pokedex mentions Dragonites in Raichu's description, meaning Bill should probably know better than to think that Dragonite he saw is one-of-a-kind, but whatever, I guess.
Surge throws out his Raichu, and Ash of course sends out Pikachu even though Bulbasaur is resistant to electric attacks. Everyone agrees Pikachu is going to get his ass kicked, and oddly enough, everyone is right except for Ash, and Pikachu is hospitalized. Nurse Joy offers to give Ash a thunder stone to evolve Pikachu. Ash considers it, but Pikachu decides against it because it wouldn't be as cute, and thus there'd be less profit from merchandising. Brock points out that he can use other pokemon, but Ash and Pikachu both decide it would be more dramatic to not use the show's mascot. Team Rocket shows up and is disguised, wanting Pikachu to win.
They reach the gym again, and Raichu uses far more than four diferent moves as it fights. Pikachu reveals that it knows Agility, and Raichu causes hundreds of dollars in property damage as it tries to hit Pikachu, somehow running out of electricity and allowing Pikachu to win. Even though Surge has been an enormous dick the entire episode, he's happy for Ash.
Overall, a great episode. Everything works together and it's the first episode that's really about Pikachu instead of Ash, and they even avoid the common "You can beat impossible odds by trying" by having the heroes win with an actual strategy.
Battle Aboard the St. AnneEdit
"Suck them up! Suck them all up!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
And now James is in drag. There's really nothing I can add to this. The heroes see the St. Anne, a big cruise ship, and talk about how it takes you to Johto, where you can see a hundred different pokemon that aren't in Kan-- nevermind. Team Rocket shows up in disguises, and to their credit, James' disguise is at least decent because he's now pretending to be a girl. By the way, I would cross out "pretending" if GameFAQs allowed it. James does nothing except "Coooool" the entire time.
The currently nameless Giovanni talks to thea team about how much he doesn't want them to fail, and talks about how he gave Team Rocket all the tickets to give to the trainers on the boat so they can steal their pokemon.
A magician trainer with a Southern accent beats a small child's pokemon, and unlike most trainers so far, he doesn't act like it's a huge deal. Ash sends out Butterfree to fight him and uses Stun Spore, and the magician calls the match before he loses.
A slightly racist Mexican caricature sells James a Magikarp, which he proceeds to molest. You think I'm joking?
Add bestiality to the list of things the show exposes children to, I guess.
Brock falls in love with the magician's wife?girlfriend? despite her being right next to him. The magician offers to trade his Raticate for Ash's Butterfree, and Ash agrees for some reason. I thought he liked Buterfree!
James of course now regrets buying the Magikarp, and admits he used Jessie's money on it.
Meanwhile, Ash has realized that trading might not have been a good idea, and Pikachu is clearly worried he'll end up at the bottom of a pile of pokeballs in Youngster Joey's basement so that Ash can have a Ratatta in the top percentage.
Team Rocket then reveals that they have a bunch of grunts with vacuums that somehow only target pokeballs, only to fail to grab all of the pokeballs in the first attack, and then immediately finds out that trying to fight a hundred trainers at once is--
Isn't this exciting stuff unexciting? Let's have a flashback of Butterfree instead, so even though it's been established that Ash regrets trading Butterfree we get to find that out a second time.
The magician agrees to trade Butterfree back, but the ship starts to sink and the (inexplicably Irish) captain runs off with some tasteless Titanic references. Everyone gets off of the ship safely except for Team Rocket and the heroes. The narrator pretends there's tension here, and the episode ends on a cliffhanger.
Overall, a moderately good episode. Nothing special, but the sequence where the trainers band together to fight Team Rocket is good, if littered with reused footage. Then again, the episode is largely set up for the next episode, so I can accept that not everything will be perfect.
"Whoever said 'beauty doesn't last' must have been thinking of us."
Did I Remember The Episode Through Nostalgia?: Parts of it
More tasteless Titanic references as the ship sinks. Can you imagine if the Titanic hadn't sunk? What would kid shows reference then?!
Somehow, even though the ship just sank, Officer Jenny gives a eulogy over the broken wooden boards of the shipwreck even though the ship is made of metal, and also, didn't break up, it just sank. Also, dammit Pokemon, stop writing the jokes for me. You make it too easy.
The heroes realize the ship sank and they're still aboard, and yet somehow it hasn't flooded. How hasn't it filled with water yet? I'm not even going to guess. Team Rocket also finds out the ship's sunk. Jessie idiotically has her Ekans create a hole in the bottom of the ship, which nearly kills everyone.
The heroes are trying to find a way out of the sunk ship, and Misty, finally useful, sends Goldeen to find a path out of the ship, and as it does so, it rescues Team Rocket, who attack on sight, and the extra weight caused by the summoned pokemon nearly kills everyone. Eventually, it's agreed to help each other escape.
They need to get up to a staircase in the ceiling, so Onix summons Onix to stand on, but Onix is clearly heavier than all of the pokemon summoned earlier-- ah screw it. Charmander functions as a flashlight as they walk. Ash has Pikachu shock him to jump start his brain, which kind of implies Ash is braindead, which-- is pretty accurate, actually. Between Onix, Charmander, Pikachu, and Bulbasaur, they all cross a massive inferno. Ash at this point has an opportunity to draw Bulbasaur back to him and leave Team Rocket to die horribly and never bother them again, but decides he might need them later and angrily decides to keep them alive... for now.
Charmander opens a hole in the deck, allowing water to flood in, and Misty summons water pokemon for them to grab and escape on, and they-- they actually do abandon Team Rocket. That's-- that's pretty intense, there, Ash. I was joking earlier.
James laughs maniacally as he reveals that he still has his Magikarp. Unfortunately, Magikarp turns out to be unable to swim (okay, I admit, that's kind of funny), and the ship sinks. Ash pretends he doesn't know why Team Rocket hasn't surfaced after a few minutes despite not knowing James has a water pokemon and thus being well aware that he left them to their horrible deaths. Of course Magikarp did save their lives, but still. Ash and the others think they're dead, and try to push their bodies into the ocean to sink, only for them to rise as zombies-- okay, fine. They just didn't die.
After a day on the raft they're all on, everyone starts talking about how hungry they are, and then discuss how much they want to eat Magikarp. When they find out they can't, James kicks it into the ocean and it turns into Gyarados, who's now righteously pissed off at James. The drama of the moment is ruined by Ash pulling out his pokedex. Misty pulls out her own pokemon, and the water pokemon are now able to tow the raft away from Gyarados... which means they could have escaped on the raft at any time, but okay. Oddly, Ash doesn't add Squirtle to the mix. Gyarados summons a bunch of other Gyarados to perform the "ultimate attack," Dragon Rage. They deal 40 HP of damage to the raft, which destroy it, and everyone is sucked into a hurricane.
Oh? To be continued? Okay, then.
Overall, a suprisingly good episode. The sequence on the sinking ship is well done, the sequence on the raft is well done, and everyone acts logically and in-character.
Island of the Giant PokemonEdit
"The break's broken."
"Gimme a break."
Did I Remember the Episode Through Nostalgia?: I remembered the title and the huge pokemon
They wash up on an island. I wonder if it will be full of giant pokemon. Anyway, Meowth and Pikachu are missing, Team Rocket and the heroes are separated, and only Ash has any pokemon left, and even then, only two pokeballs.
Pikachu finds Ash's pokeballs while wandering around, and we get unnecessary subtitles even though their meanings are extremely obvious.
Slowpoke! Yes! Pikachu, Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur find a Slowpoke who's sitting around doing nothing. They eventually wander off and it turns night and oh! Now the subtitles are necessary! Okay, I understand now.
Meowth, Koffing, and Ekans show up, and Pikachu and the others are just like "meh." Ekans and Koffing don't move at all, just sit there and insist they'll only do what Jessie and James say on the grounds of "Master is master." Genius stuff, there.
The pokemon all agree to a truce, and start eating by a campfire, which attracts a giant Rhyhorn. What, no Rhyperior? And Zapdos starts harassing the heroes because he decided to take a break from the power plant for some reason. Meanwhile, Moltres messes with Team Rocket, who crash into a sign that says "Keep Out." Eventually it's morning. Jessie and James find a phonebox and call Giovanni, and then do their motto for no reason, which annoys even Giovanni, who promptly hangs up. They decide to follow the telephone cable to the phone company.
Jessie and James are nearly crushed by a giant Pikachu as the heroes nearly murdered by a giant Charizard, and the pokemon see a giant Blastoise. Squirtle decides to ask for directions, but the giant Blastoise simply attacks, and they run into a giant Venusaur while running, and Bulbasaur proves himself smarter than Squirtle as he refuses to talk to it. Team Rocket is meanwhile attacked by a giant Kabutops, and run into the heroes. The pokemon are running from the giant pokemon, and eventually run into the heroes and Team Rocket, and eventually reach them.
The group smashes into the Zapdos, which is apparently mechanical. We then pan to a group of tourists at Pokemon Land, a theme park, annoyed at the attractions being destroyed by the heroes.
We then see Giovanni angry that he spent millions of dollars on the tourist attraction that accomplished nothing. I'm... not really sure what you thought a theme park would add to your evil plans, there, Giovanni.
To be continued? Isn't this arc over yet?
Oddly, the strongest part of the episode is Pikachu, Meowth, and the other pokemon trying to survive in the forest by themselves and discussing their masters and the ethics of villainy. The rest is just Team Rocket and the heroes running for their lives.
Beauty and the BeachEdit
"We work with Jessie, so we know all about 'brutal!'"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: I'm not sure. If it was banned, I wouldn't remember it, but there are certain parts that I would swear trigger a memory
Gah, this episode was part of a series of episodes? Guh.
The heroes all go to the beach, and Team Rocket is underwater in a submarine. Not even going to ask how they got a novelty Gyarados submarine since the previous episode in which they had nothing. James reveals that their plan is to use the sub to scare the beachgoers and steal their stuff, which as far as supervillainy goes, is about equivalent to a superhero who decides he's only going to stop criminals who commit crimes in movie theaters; it's something, I guess, but can't you aim higher than that?
Through a series of complicated events, the heroes accidentally steal a boat and crash into Team Rocket, sinking their sub and destroying a dock with the stolen boat. An old crazy guy is angry at them for stealing his boat when they get onto land again, but he stops yelling so he can leer at Misty while aying that she reminds him of his granddaughter. Think I'm in any way misrepresenting the episode?
Anyway, Misty volunteers Ash and Brock to work to pay for the boat while Team Rocket curses to themselves about breaking their sub. The evil old lady's cousin from the next episode offers Team Rocket jobs as waiters. The old man with the boat owns a restaurant as well, so it turns into Team Rocket versus the heroes for who can attract more people to their restaurant. Ultimately, Ash succeeds in getting his restaurant to be the more popular, which angers Team Rocket. They decide to sabotage the heroes by doing things like using banana peels to knock over the waiters, and the restaurant loses dozens of customers in about eight seconds. Of the four of them (including the old man), Misty is the only one to realize that Team Rocket's attacks weren't random accidents, but before she can go further with the idea, the evil old lady shows up again with Team Rocket, threatening to take the old man's boat if he can't pay her the money he apparently owes her by tomorrow. The old man laments that it's impossible, saying that he wanted to take a cruise around the world in his tiny-ass boat. Not to ruin your dream, man, but that's never going to happen. The heroes agree to help the old man find the money, of course, but before they have to think of a way, Professor Oak and Ash's mom show up. Oh Jesus, I don't like where this is heading.
Fortunately, Oak changes the subject to a beach beauty contest that's being held soon, and tells them to advertise for the restaurant at the contest. But, uh... wouldn't the restaurant owner already know about it? It seems too obvious.
Regardless, Misty decides to enter the beauty contest. As the old man gets the money to pay the evil old lady, she is somehow angry at this turn of events, because she apparently wanted to take his boat because... uh...
Nevermind logic, Ash's mom and Oak explain that they're there because they're on a tour with the rest of Pallet Town, and Ash lies to his mother's face about not getting into trouble even though he gets into trouble almost every single episode and this is the first time he's seen her in months.
Misty is the first contestant, and again, isn't she like ten-to-fourteen? There's a huge audience leering at her. Next is Gary Oak, who enters his cheerleaders, and specifically calls Ash out in the audience and tells him of how awesome he is.
At the same time, Team Rocket agrees to destroy the old man's restaurant in their now-repaired Gyarados sub as well as the beauty contest. It's times like these that show why Gary is the best rival. He pretty much just jerks Ash around and pushes all of his buttons, simply because he can.
Team Rocket surfaces their sub, making people think it's a real Gyarados and scattering the crowd. Ash realizes it's a fake, so he tells everyone the truth and uses Charmander and Pidgeotto to knock a missile Team Rocket fires back at them, which also accidentally destroys the old lady's restaurant in one of the rare displays of collateral damage at a hero's hand.
The old man sails off, we get no closure about the beauty contest that created the tension for half of the episode, and we never see Gary's reaction to being completely upstaged by Ash. The episode just kind of ends.
Overall, an okay episode with no proper ending, a significant flaw that brings the entire thing down.
Tentacool and TentacruelEdit
"[Team Rocket] has a lot of spunk."
Did I Remember It Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
The heroes are stranded on the island, but at least they're in a town this time. They're waiting for a boat, and as they wait, they sea a Horsea, one of the worst named pokemon. It's injured, but before Misty can mercifully enslave it forever, it creates a design of ink on the water in the shape of a Tenatool and Tenacruel.
The boat explodes, so Misty sends her pokemon to help them. There's really no way to describe the next scene, so I'll just show you a screenshot of it.
Anyway, the boss of the sailors wants to build a giant hotel, and it becomes clear where the episode is going. She mentions there are a ton of Tentacool who keep hurting her hotel's construction, so she wants the heroes to exterminate them. Ash is for it, but Misty is against it because they'd have to kill the Tentacool. She calls Tentacools "cute," but-- uh. She's scared of bugs, but likes Tentacools?
Apparently, they healed the Horsea off screen, and they figure out the Horsea knows something about the Tentacools.
The boss puts out a general call for anyone who wants the reward, and although a bunch of nameless townsfolk show up, Team Rocket does as well, and their plan is to stun the Tentacool, catch them, and sell them in a fish market. The tentacools use their laser beams (because of course they have laser beams) to knock Team Rocket away, but the stun sauce, instead of stunning them, turns one of them into a supersized Tenacruel because... um...
It starts destroying the hotel, and the boss tries to use a tank to murder the Tentacruel, which does nothing. Tentacruel responds by flooding the city, and Team Rocket barely survives. Tentacruel destroys a nearby theme park and-- the boss pulls out a machine gun? Okay. Well, the Tenacools go around using their laser beams, of course, and Tentacruel mind controls Meowth to speak for it (...) as it pronounces it will destroy the humans' homes. Tentacruel then tries to kill Horsea, but Ash's Pidgeotto saves it. You know, I think Pidgetto has been consistently Ash's most competent pokemon.
Ash sends out all of his pokemon except Charmander, and Misty and Brock add Starmie, Staryu, Goldeen, and Zubat to fight the Tentacools. Tentacruel easily defeats the heroes' pokemon, of course, and declares them its enemy. A heartfelt speech by Pikachu that we don't get subtitles for apparently stops Tentacruel, and Misty follows it up with another speech, asking Tentacruel to go away and apologizing for destroying its home with the hotel. The boss shows up again and tries to kill Tentacruel anyway, which only angers it. It murders her-- well, okay, it knocks her into the sky, but an old lady like that, yeah, she's dead.
Well, Tentacruel dealt millions of dollars of property damage, properly murdered several hundred humans, and the town will never be the same, but is still considered by Ash and Brock to be heroic, and Misty takes Horsea as her new pokemon.
Overall, there are no major flaws, but nothing really comes together to make it a good episode. It's just... an episode. That's it.
The Ghost of MaidensEdit
"I don't care if she's made of stone, I'm still in love with her!"
Did I Remember The Episode Through Nostalgia?: To my surprise, yes
Brock regrets wasting another summer with no hanging around girls in bikinis. I'm really not sure what you're complaining about, Brock, isn't this the first time in years you've been away from your family? He immediately falls in love with a girl on a pier he sees, who turns in a Gastly before disappearing, but only Pikachu sees it.
Everyone is at a festival now, and James immediately falls in love with the same girl as Brock. Given that it's James, I assume he's actually in love with her dress. Brock continues to lament not approaching the girl on the pier. Brock accidentally insults an old lady, who tells him he needs to meet an elegant young woman, which annoys Misty because she's specified as not her. The woman will lead him to "a cruel fate." The old lady also tells the same thing to James.
The festival is about showing people a two thousand year-old painting, which is pretty much superior to actual real life fifteen century Japanese artwork, not even talking about ancient artwork, but whatever, I guess. Brock and James both recognize her as the girl on the pier. Apparently she waited for a guy who sailed off years ago until she turned into a rock on a cliff for reason. Brock and James see the girl on the cliff, and James is of course in love with someone who's rock hard all the time. It does surprise me that Brock is, too.
Brock waits overnight with the statue as Team Rocket determines to steal the ancient painting. We also see that pokemon centers close at night, thus meaning that if your Electabuzz breaks an arm at 2:00 AM, you're out of luck.
The ghost shows up and tells James that she's waiting for him. She does the same with Brock. Jessie, Meowth, Misty, and Ash all meet each other, Jessie attempts to do the motto by herself, but screws it up, and they all find James and Brock in an abandoned shack. The old lady shows up again and tells them that they saw the ghost of the maiden.
By the way, I love this picture.
Ash and Misty are surprised at Brock, but upon seeing James in another man's embrace, her expression is simply "Ugh, again?" I mean, look at this picture and tell me I'm in any way incorrect.
Eventually James and Brock get their bearings, and the old lady explains that all men who pass by fall in love with the maiden's ghost and end up acting like zombies for a while. Nevermind how Ash didn't fall in love with her, and the old lady offers to sell them anti-ghost stickers. Wind blows the stickers off, and the ghost shows up and kidnaps Brock and James. Jessie shoots a bazooka at her armed with terrible puns, but it fails, and the ghost summons evil zombie skulls that I guarantee would freak out small children.
Ash accidentally figures out the ghost and the old lady are a Gastly. Who can apparently speaks perfect English except with a Romanian accent. And turn into things like mousetraps and mongooses. Gastly easily defeats everyone. Eventually Misty brings out a cross, which, I'll be honest, surprises me. Like an actual Christian cross.
In the end, it's revealed that Gastly is doing this because he wants to keep the real girl's ghost remembered so that her true love will know to come back for her.
Overall, a meh episode. This could have been about Brock, but instead it was about a ghost and had an obvious twist.
Bye Bye ButterfreeEdit
"Those Butterfree are free no more."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
Wow. I wonder what this episode could be about with a name like that.
As the group heads toward Saffron City, they encounter a ton of Butterfree. Brock mentions that if Ash doesn't send out Butterfree, it'll never get to have children with other Butterfre-- wait, if Professor Elm only discovers how pokemon reproduce later, how can Brock know ah screw it.
Ash sends out Butterfree, but it gets snubbed by all of the others. Other trainers send out their Butterfree as well with the same purpose, including a cute girl. Brock tells Butterfree to talk to her Butterfree, and Butterfree falls in love with a pink Butterfree, and it attempts to invoke a courtship dance. He gets slapped in the face and snubbed, clearly considered unworthy by a shiny pokemon, and even though Brock gets shot down by every girl he hits on, this is for some reason a huge deal. Butterfree runs off into a forest, sad, because being rejected by someone you met thirty seconds before is a huge deal. The humans tell it it has to be assertive and cool to get others to like it. Brock contributes a Butterfree-sized scarf for no reason, though the obvious reason is that they needed to differentiate Ash's Butterfree from the others.
The shiny Butterfree is unimpressed by Butterfree's whirlwind and tackle attacks, mentioning that she'd rather do a Ditto, but before more can go on, Team Rocket shows up in a helicopter with a giant bug net that captures all of the Butterfree except Ash's Butterfree. Ash decides not to send out Pidgeotto to finish Team Rocket easily because it would hurt Butterfree's feelings... seriously? You're going to risk all of those Butterfree for the sake of your pokemon's feelings? If this wasn't the evil, enslaving Ash, I might be surprised. Meowth mentions that they have one hundred Butterfree even though they clearly have way more than that.
The heroes find Team Rocket, and for some reason Team Rocket doesn't send out their pokemon, instead electing to use a hammer against the monsters that can destroy buildings and stuff. Butterfree continually tackles the net even though that's the dumbest possible way to free his friends, so for reason the shiny Butterfree falls in love with him.
Team Rocket chases down the now-free Butterfree, and Pikachu rides Butterfree and shocks the helicopter. Even though this exact thing was done a few episodes ago with Pidgeotto. Godammit, writers. Team Rocket falls hundreds of feet to their deaths-- well, the first part is true.
Even though she was a complete piece of crap to him earlier, Butterfree accepts the shiny Butterfree's advances and they fall for each other.
As the episode ends, Ash formally releases Butterfree so he can go with the shiny pokemon, and since this is pre-gen 3, there's a decent chance his kids will be shiny. They fly off, and we get some sad music and a flashback sequence to all of the times Butterfree did stuff.
I'm not really sure what this episode's point was. Was it about having to let go of things? Because Ash undergoes absolutely no angst about it until the end, during which he's happy things worked out so well. It was okay, I guess, but nothing worth mentioning except that it sets the precedent of what Ash does to his pokemon once they're too useful: he lets them go.
Abra and the Psychic ShowdownEdit
"That was fun!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Yes, almost all of it
The heroes are wandering through a forest, and see a creepy girl. Ash chases after her even though everyone knows not follow a girl through the forest who can only run in slow motion. Shortly after, they find the city and-- wait, why is the psychic badge the "Marsh Badge," what do marshes have to do with psychics?
Screw it, they reach the city, and they win a contest when they enter. The girls who show up are clearly Jessie and James, but whatever, they kidnap Pikachu and force the heroes onto a warp tile so that they're trapped in a small room. They taunt them on a TV, which breaks down. The creepy slow-mo girl shows up in their room and psychically freezes them before rescuing Pikachu and teleporting to Ash. She then teleports the heroes outside onto a street. Guys, seriously, stop trusting people who move in slow-mo. I can't imagine what you're thinking.
A weird guy tells Ash not to fight Sabrina, but Ash decides to anyway because you need eight badges to reach the Pokemon League, and although he could bop over to Johto and fight Falkner-- nah, I'm just screwing around.
They find a room full of psychics in the gym. Another guy tells Ash not to fight Sabrina, and bends a spoon with his mind to emphasize his point because... I don't know. Ash proves psychic powers are useless because he's able to bend a spoon with his hands.
The heroes find Sabrina, who is the little slow-mo girl, and she kicks out the spoon guy. She says that if Ash loses, they have to be her friends. Sabrina then reveals herself to be an adult and not the small child. The little girl, despite being little girl sized, is now doll-sized. Don't ask me. Sabrina sends out Abra.
I actually remembered this part almost perfectly; Abra uses Teleport to screw around with Pikachu and evolves into Kadabra. So... did Sabrina keep Abra from evolving, waiting for a kid to show up so she could mess with him? She would only get one shot at that, wouldn't she? Screw it, Kadabra turns Pikachu's electricity into a dragon and screws with Pikachu before defeating him because that's how Sabrina rolls. Eventually Ash surrenders. Sabrina then shrinks the heroes and puts them into a doll house.
So... we actually know the Pokemon League can refuse gym authorization, so do they just let Sabrina kidnap people and play with them as dolls? Is that something they consciously gym leaders do? If like Lt. Surge wanted to shoot anyone who loses to him, would they be fine with that? Or is this the first time Sabrina's done this, and she just took a shine to turning Ash and two other gym leaders into toys for the hell of it?
The little girl (who's now little girl-sized, and not doll-sized) shows up and tries to crush the heroes with a massive ball before the first guy who told them not to fight Sabrina teleports and rescues them. He takes them to the real world this time. Not to mention that if no one is able to beat Sabrina, then no one is getting into the Pokemon League, so wouldn't they have to force her to retire.
The weird teleporting guy messes with Ash by forcing the ten year-old boy to remove his pants to show that he's too weak. More intense stuff from the kid's show. Ash eventually convinces the guy to help him by pure stubbornness. He tells him to go to Lavender Town and capture a ghost pokemon, even though the only ghost-type move is Lick and the only ghost pokemon in gen 1 are part poison, and completely useless against psychic types. Once again, Ash is put in a position where the wise move would be to go to Johto (and grab a dark type), but no, no, let's go to Lavender Town and pick up a useless ghost type. Okay.
Overall, this episode is 100% set up, so it's hard to judge.
The Tower of TerrorEdit
"Wherever you're taking us, we don't want to go!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Only the part where Haunter joins Ash at the end
The heroes go to Lavender Town. As they go, our sociopathic hero tortures Misty and Brock by pretending to be ghost, knowing they would hate it, and this time even Pikachu thinks it's a dick move. Wait, how did Gary get the Marsh Badge if Sabrina ah screw it.
The reach the Pokemon Tower, and Brock and Misty run away. Jessie and James are in the tower, waiting for Ash, when a Gastly shows up and screws with them for the lulz. Brock and Misty come back to Ash and agree to help in the tower after they hear Team Rocket yelling (they don't realize it's Team Rocket, or no doubt they'd leave them to their fate).
A haunter and a gengar are watching a TV show, and the sound attracts the heroes. Gastly shows up and tells them about how it screwed around with Team Rocket.
The heroes find a room of haunted furniture and food, and Ash runs out without rescuing Pikachu, Charmander, and Brock, apparently fine with leaving his friends and allies to be torturing by ghosts. Luckily, they escape anyway, and it's revealed the ghosts are just messing with them for the hell of it. Everyone tells Ash they don't want to go back into the tower after they escape it. Ash eventually convinces the people enslaved to him to go in, but Misty and Brock decide against it on the grounds that they both hated The Shining. Ash succeeds only in smashing Jessie in the face with a pokeball by accident.
The ghosts show up and start screwing with Ash by way of slapstick comedy, but although Ash isn't impressed by their jokes, he also can't capture either of them. Their tricks eventually kill Ash and Pikachu, and Haunter turns them into ghosts. What the crap, man, that's some serious intense stuff, you can't just go around killing people.
Ash instantly forgets about his death, and uses his time as a ghost to screw with Misty and Brock by grabbing her hips and dropping her dozens of feet, loving the feeling of flying and not being alive. The ghosts reveal that they just wanted someone to play with, and take Ash and Pikachu to their playroom. Ash apologizes for not being able to stay, and at the same time, Brock and Misty find Ash's dead body. He dives back into it and comes back to life, sparing Brock the duty of having to go to Pallet Town and tell his mother how he was crushed by a lighting fixture.
Ash declares it's impossible to catch a ghost pokemon and leaves, but as he does so, Haunter shows up (even though it's day and we've established in multiple episodes that ghosts only come out at night) and agrees to come with him.
Overall, a decent episode. The ghosts have a decent twist, but there's no real point. It's just an episode that explains how Ash gets a pokemon to fight Sabrina.
Haunter vs. KadabraEdit
"It's the greatest discovery since Einstein invented the lightbulb!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Bizarrely, the only part I remembered is that Haunter doesn't go back to Lavender Town
This episode doesn't pretend it's anything other than what it is. It tells you from the start that it's about Haunter versus Kadabra, and you just know Haunter will leave Ash in the end because they've established ghosts as invulnerable. Ash tells Haunter to help him fight Sabrina because he's strong against psychics (which he's not, and I guarantee you that at least one kid lost to Sabrina because of this episode, luckily, I wasn't one such kid). Wait, if ghosts are that strong, why was that Gengar in the first episode in threat from that Nidorino ah screw it.
Ash brings out his pokemon to root for him, including Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle, but for some reason doesn't bring out Pidgeotto. Haunter disappears for no reason, but none of Ash's pokemon out at the time will agree to fight Kadabra, so Ash brings out Pidgeotto-- oh wait no, no he does not. Instead they try to run away. Sabrina turns Brock and Misty into dolls again, but the weird teleporting guy is only able to save Ash and his pokemon, and has to leave Brock and Misty behind. He gives Ash Sabrina's backstory: she was a great psychic as a little kid, so good that her personality split: one is a little girl who's happy and nice and one is a cruel piece of crap.
Ash goes to find Haunter, wandering through the city. Team Rocket tries to kidnap Pikachu, but Haunter screws with them to make them stop and nearly kills them by dropping them off of a building. They fall off anyway, and survive anyway. Ash asks Haunter to help him fight Sabrina again, and eventually he agrees. For some reason Ash decides to trust him.
We switch to Sabrina messing with Brock and Misty, and Ash shows up with Haunter. For some reason Haunter is suddenly reliable even though he betrayed Ash earlier. Except Haunter has disappeared again. At least he's consistent. Pikachu agrees to fight Kadabra in Haunter's place. For no reason, Pikachu is suddenly able to hit Kadabra this time, but Sabrina trolls Pikachu by having Kadabra use Recover.
Haunter shows up again, this time trying to make Sabrina laugh, and eventually succeeds with the least funny bomb joke I've ever seen. As Sabrina laughs, so does her pokemon because they're joined telepathically, and Sabrina releases Misty and Brock. The teleporting weirdo (Sabrina's father) declares Ash the winner of the match despite having no authority to do so, and the episode ends.
Overall, a meh episode, and yet another badge which Ash didn't really win. So far he's only beaten Surge legitimately, though he would have defeated Misty if the match had continued.
Primeape Goes BananasEdit
"Team Rocket always puts beauty before duty!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The part where Ash speaks to Oak, I think
We start with Ash calling Oak, the only professor worth anything, and Ash brags about how badges he's earned. Oak reveals that Gary's won five badges. Even though they couldn't beaten Sabrina. Well, whatever.
Anyway, Oak mentions that Ash hasn't sent him any pokemon recently, which inspires Ash to, well, catch some damn pokemon. But the best part of this episode is where Misty, Pikachu, and Brock are eating rice balls and they call them "donuts" like twelve times, trying to convince American children that donuts are made out of rice. Dammit, Brock, stop calling them donuts, that's really annoying me. Mankey not only avoids the pokeball Ash throws at it, he counters by throwing the rice ball into the pokeball to mess with Ash. Mankey then beats up Ash and steals his hat. Ash insists that's the an irreplacable hat, too valuable and rare and perfect to ever consider giving up. Yep, I'm sure Ash will never get rid of that hat. It just means too much to him. To ever give up that hat would be to betray himself, to betray a part of himself. If nothing else, we can be certain that Ash will never give up that hat.
Team Rocket shows up and kicks Mankey. This causes it to evolve into Primeape and somehow grow metal bracers on its wrists and ankles. Primeape then beats up Team Rocket, rather predictably. Ash has a chance to escape, but sends Pikachu back for his hat, the one thing he'll never abandon.
Pikachu shocks Primeape, which only angers it. Brock decides Primeape just wants attention, so it beats him up. It starts chasing the heroes, or rather specifically Ash. Rather than having a pokemon fight Primape, Ash just runs away. Primeape keeps messing with Ash, so Ash decides to catch it, angrily declaring that Professor Oak is right even though no one else knows what Oak said and thus the declaration makes no sense except to him. Ash sends out all of his pokemon except Pidgeotto to fight Primape, even though flying types are strong against fighting types. I'm not even trying to understand Ash at this point, but the effort of fighting Primape teaches Charmander Rage, which everyone acts like this is a big deal, but Ash just has Charmander use Flamethrower anyway. Eventually Ash catches it. A new slave, this time a proper gladiatorial one, is added to Ash's collection.
Overall, don't forget that Ash's hat is established as a character of its own, and to abandon it would be like abandoning Brock and his own pokemon to ghosts in a creepy tower, something our hero would of course never do.
"My nose, what happened! The stink dissolved it off my face!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The parts where Brock is attracted to perfume
Brock immediately finds some girls wearing perfume because he's a creepy weirdo. Misty goes to meet them (they sell perfume). Ash tells her not to buy perfume, which angers a perfume saleswoman, who kicks him out.
The gym won't let him in on the grounds that they manufacture perfume and that even though it's a rule that gym leaders must accept all challenges they're going to do whatever they feel like.
Team Rocket breaks into the gym to find the secret of the perfume, and encounters a Gloom. They of course attempt to murder it, but Gloom easily destroys them, and they're kicked out. Team Rocket makes a deal with Ash to break him into the gym to talk to the gym leader directly by dressing him as a girl, and thus a thousand Rule 63 pictures were born. Ash acts as Team Rocket's distraction while they steal the perfume formula (he doesn't know, of course).
Brock and Misty are also in the gym, talking to Erika. She explains her backstory even though we really don't need every gym leader's backstory (I mean, we never got Lt. Surge's, though I admit, at least that opened an opportunity for the ridiculously awesome Nuzlocke version of Lt. Surge), and Pikachu reveals Ash's disguise.
Ash throws out Bulbasaur first even though he could send out Pidgeotto or Charmander, and Erika throws out Tangela, one of the very few subpar RBY pokemon. He finally remembers he can send out Charmander, and Erika counters with Weepinbell. Unsurprisingly, Charmander effortlessly defeats it. Everyone acts like a fire type beating a grass type is a huge deal and it makes Ash a master trainer for some reason.
Gloom easily defeats Charmander, and Erike chews him out for having no empathy with his pokemon. She's probably right, considering he's an ensla-- eh, I've made that joke too many times already.
Team Rocket shows up again and destroys part of the gym with a bomb before escaping with the perfume formula. The explosion sets the gym on fire, and Ash berates himself for trusting Team Rocket, and it takes Misty to convince Ash to use their water pokemon to save Erika's gym. After all, he can't get the badge if Erika is burned to death by accident. Gloom is trapped inside, so when Erika can't go into the burning gym, the ten year-old boy goes in because that's much better than the grown woman. It's hard to feel bad about Ash being a horrible person when everyone him is even worse.
Erika gives Ash the Rainbow Badge even though he didn't defeat her, and in fact the battle ended with Ash thinking he had no one who could defeat Gloom. Erika then reveals the perfume Team Rocket stole is useless.
Overall, an average episode with nothing of note except Ash dressing as a girl.
"This [Officer Jenny] is the prettiest one yet."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Yes, actually, where the woman mistakes Ash for her son and the part where Psyduck is in a pokeball
The heroes are wandering through Hophophop Town (don't ask) when a woman shows up and declares that Ash looks exactly like her son Arnold, and he's been gone for three days. The heroes try to convince her that his son will come back even though he's a missing ten year-old and there are a ton of missing children in the town. Officer Jenny shows up and Ash is somehow surprised at yet another identical Jenny. Ash declares that Arnold's mom reminds him of his mom even though they look at all alike. Ash decides they'll solve the mystery, and Officer Jenny agrees to let a teenager and two children help her in the case because she needs to give out more parking tickets. Brock starts messing with kids who aren't being helpful with Jenny's questioning.
Nurse Joy also mentions that the pokemon at the center are all screwed up and confused and lazy all the time now, and that it started when the kids all disappeared. Somehow Officer Jenny didn't know this already because she's the worst cop in the world.
For some incomprehensible reason, Jenny has a sleep wave detector (it detects "wavelengths that emit sleep," no, don't ask) even though there's no possible situation in which it would ever be useful except in this one particular scenario. Jenny's detector leads them to the top of a building, and they find a mansion on top of the building. Even though building such a thing would require dozens of licenses and permits, Jenny apparently didn't know about it, and inside are a ton of well-dressed noblemen-looking dudes and ladies. And a Hypno and Drowzee. Drowzee is actually one of my least favorite RBY pokemon, though I'd still rate it as better than most post-RBY pokemon. The head nobleman mentions that their Hypno evolved just when the kids disappeared.
They admit that they're all insomniacs, so they use a Hypno to help to get to sleep. Really, bro? You all sleep in a mansion on top of a skyscraper? I'm not even going to ask. Oh wait, yes I am.
So you all go to the top of a skyscraper at night to have a Hypno knock you out, and then wake up in the morning, right? Wouldn't the time lost having to wake up early because you'll all need to use the same bathrooms and showers in the morning cost you as much time as you'd be cost by trying to get to sleep?
Anyway, Brock explains that the Hypno's hypnosis is affecting some children as well, and any nearby pokemon. The Hypno makes Misty think she's a Seel, and she leads them to the kids playing around a lake next to the mansion, thinking they're pokemon. Come on, seriously, you guys have several children next to your mansion and they've been there for days and you didn't see them? Children are loud and obnoxious, and you missed that many of them?
The head nobleman tells them to use Drowzee to counter Hypno's effects, and it puts her to sleep, and when she wakes, she's fine. As they take Drowzee to the kids, Team Rocket shows up on gliders. Everyone acts like it's a big deal even though Team Rocket has failed in their plans literally twenty-five times so far and succeeded zero times. They then trick Hypno into hypnotizing itself, but Ash breaks it, forcing Team Rocket to use Plan B, which also fails because they aren't the heroes. As all of this goes on, Officer Jenny radios for backup and pulls out her firearm-- wait, no. She stands there. But she stands there menacingly, I swear.
Drowzee fixes the kids, and everything of course turns out fine. We now meet Arnold, who looks absolutely nothing at all like Ash. He couldn't look less like Ash without being black.
Nurse Joy mentions that Psyduck is still acting weird, so Brock volunteers to keep it to impress her. Psyduck then makes Misty accidentally catch it, which pleases Brock, who didn't want it anyway.
Overall, skip this episode if you ever watch through the show for some reason. Nothing in the episode makes any sense at all
Pokemon Fashion FlashEdit
"Brock's always gotta see the latest breeder gear."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The part where Vulpix joins Brock
The show makes picking out these quotes too easy. James disguises himself as a fashion designer, something that in no way implies that he's-- "We'll make your pokemon a prettymon?" Dammit, James. It's too easy sometimes.
Anyway, Team Rocket's plan is to run a fashion salon and charge thousands for their fashions. I know they're the villains, but this seems like a legitimate business. I mean-- Jesus Christ, we now have yet another gay stereotype in a salon Brock wants to go into. Misty sees a Vulpix, and immediately falls in love with it, but when when she touches it, it torches her. Brock meets the fashion designer, Suzy, and of course, being Brock, he can only make double entendres as he begs her to take him as a pupil. But I do love this conversation, with quotes like "Breeding takes up all my time." It's also apparently a huge deal that she gets ten thousand hits a day on her website, I guess. Brock's pokemon food proves popular with the fancy Vulpix, and Misty mentions Team Rocket's salon opposing Suzy's salon (they don't know it's Team Rocket).
Suzy makes it clear that that new fashion is evil because it shows you off rather than emphasizing what's on the inside of a pokemon, but honestly, given that she's a fashion designer, what do I care about her hypocrisy, and if people want to take their pets and have them put make-up on, that seems like a legitimate choice, if an annoying one. Misty determines to take Psyduck to the salon, and Brock tells Suzy that she can prove herself to audiences, and Suzy talks to a group of people about how much you need to massage pokemon after they're injured in battle, something that will never be brought up again. The audience is very impressed by Suzy even though she was already a famous fashion designer and everyone loved her.
Misty reaches Team Rocket's salon, and even though she saw through their disguises in earlier episodes, she somehow fails to see through them this time. They whore Misty up, and while I would normally decry this, I have a fifteen year-old sister and I see her friends every so often when I see her, so yeah, I'm not argue about Misty liking her new look.
Oh dammit, I have to take back what I said earlier. The episode is just too full of good quotes. "Stop pumping me!" "You have to pump them!"
Misty finally figures out the truth, and calls for help from Psyduck, who's running back to Ash and the others for help. By the time they arrive, they've tied Misty up. Brock and Ash challenge Jesse and James to a battle and--
Oh dammit, see for yourself. An unedited pic. I know it's intentional this time, but still, James. Still.
Ekans and Koffing prove uncharacteristically competent this time, and Geodude and Pikachu are about to lose when the villains' costumes break. Vulpix and Suzy intervene, and Suzy starts to lecture the villains on proper pokemon beauty care when they've already established that the whole thing was a scam to steal rare pokemon and that they don't about fashion at all. Anyway, it won't surprise you to learn that Vulpix wins easily. After Brock lectures them, but not after Team Rocket admitted their evil plans, everyone gets rid of their Team Rocket fashions.
Suzy's decided to leave and perfect her abilities on the road, and Vulpix wants to join Brock, probably because he hasn't caught a pokemon in a while. I don't remember perfectly, but I don't recall Brock ever really using Vulpix in the show, and besides, it's a fire pokemon, not a rock one.
Overall, an entertaining enough episode, but there are definitely better ones out there. As always, Misty proves herself to be shallow and looks-obsessed.
The Punchy PokemonEdit
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
We start with a wild Hitmonchan that Ash decides he wants to catch. Pikachu wears little boxing gloves, challenging it, even though he could just shock Hitmonchan. It's got terrible speed and special defense, after all.
Woah, I'm actually impressed. Ash teaches a Pikachu a move where he launches the little boxing glove off of his hand, then uses agility to catch up to it and punch through it, and it works! That's actually pretty cool. Even the characters in the show are surprised it works.
Of course, Hitmonchan is just annoyed by it, and its stereotypically Joisey trainer shows up, and directs it to beat up Pikachu. The trainer's daughter shows up and asks him to come back home, but he refuses to do anything except train for a championship. Harsh, bro.
The girl asks the heroes to defeat Hitmonchan so he'll stop abandoning his family. Brock tells Ash to use Primeape to defeat Hitmonchan even though it's a murderous psychopath even by the standards of the show. They decide to enter the tournament with Primeape and Geodude, and Team Rocket discusses how much they want to win for the money. James then mentions that only fighting pokemon are allowed to enter the tournament, even though Brock just entered with his Geodude. They decide to steal a Hitmonlee to enter, and... actually succeed. Man, why don't you do that more often, guys? Even though Pikachu's constantly refused any orders from Team Rocket when they kidnap him, Hitmonlee is for some reason loyal to Jessie.
Primeape is now listening to Ash even though it used to hate him, maybe he's really just obeying the orders of The Hat. Eventually it wins its first match against a Machop. Brock has to quit in the first match after Jessie's Hitmonlee defeats his Geodude.
Unsurprisingly, the last three are Ash, Jessie, and the Hitmonchan's Joisey trainer. Chan starts off against Lee, and we learn that Chan is slightly Lee's equal. Jessie cheats to help Hitmonlee win, and it ultimately ends with Joisey giving up, leaving with Ash against Jessie.
Team Rocket reveals their true identities, and for some reason aren't thrown out of the competition immediately. I understand, it's not like this contest has rules, or else Geodude would have been denied entry. Team Rocket plans to cheat to win, and only Pikachu sees what's going on. He luckily stops the plan by himself, and Primeape wins the competition.
Unfortunately, even though Primeape is Ash's only fully evolved pokemon and is now either his strongest pokemon or his second strongest pokemon, Primape isn't cute enough to sell as many toys as the rest of Ash's pokemon, and Ash agrees to give to the Joisey trainer for basically no reason, promising to come for it one day. I've actually checked Bulbapedia just to see if Ash lied, and, surprise surprise, he did.
Overall, a good episode. It's mostly about action, and thus we get a lot of surprisingly decent fight scenes. Ultimately, I think this episode's goal was to remove Ash's least cute pokemon from his possession, however, which annoys me, because Primeape actually had a lot of personality and was legitimately one of Ash's best pokemon. It's also a little odd that this, at Hitmonchan's highlight episode, had very little of Hitmonchan.
Sparks Fly for MagnemiteEdit
"A power failure, is it? I can identify with failure."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Oddly, only Oak's annoyance that Ash sent him a Muk
The heroes are walking through Gringy City, a city of nothing but terrible factories that pollute everything constantly. They're discussing how much this place sucks when Pikachu collapses, and they run him to the pokemon center in the town. Can you imagine if they actually needed a real hospital? They'd all freaking die.
Team Rocket's in the sewers, planning to swim through a sewer and then get into the pokemon center.
Ash gives Pikachu to Nurse Joy, who proclaims it to be "a cold." She actually kind of brushes him off, and they realize she's the oddball Joy in her family, but she insists that only she is normal. Whatever, I guess. Ash stays in the center with Pikachu as he recovers.
A group of Grimers breaks down the power plant, and Jessie and James' air supply to their scuba gear is cut off. The power being cut off threatens to kill the pokemon in the intensive care unit, even though we saw that pokemon centers have backup Pikachu generators. Ash and the others leave to go to the power plant without Pikachu, and Officer Jenny, this time a normal one, directs them, only for Pikachu, still sick, to show up. Cut to Jessie and James barely surviving.
The heroes reach the power plant, but no one is there.
A magnemite starts screwing with Ash and the others, and rather than fight it, they decide to assume it's a monster or something. If only they all specialized in enslaving monsters. Magnemite then falls in love with Pikachu for no reason, and it takes Brock, the expert in pokemon breeding, to think this is weird. I don't think Magnemite even has an egg group.
Anyway, the Grimers show up, and Brock says "It's those things!" even though they've never seen a Grimer before, which means there's no reason for him to say that. Also, there's a Muk. The heroes all run away from the Grimers. If only there was someone in the group... someone who specialized in pokemon ground types, who could use earthquake or something... some way to capitalize on their weakness...
Anyway, they meet some power plant employees who take them to a room safe from the Grimers-- wait, why didn't Officer Jenny come with the kids?
The Grimers ram the door, and rather than have Onix brace the door, the teenagers and children brace it. Rather than take out Charmander or something, Ash sends out his weakened, sick Pikachu for no reason. Luckily, the Magnemites and Magnetons (yeah, there are a lot of them now, I don't know) show up and rescue everyone, meaning the heroes have done absolutely nothing and although Ash catches the Muk, it was weakened by a wild Magnemite, meaning Ash and the heroes have really done nothing the entire episode.
Suddenly, Pikachu is better, and Brock decides this is probably because Pikachu hasn't used any electrical attack in a while, his body became too magnetized and made them think he was sick, and that's why Magnemite was attracted to Pikachu earlier.
Team Rocket shows up again to fill up the half hour with a gigantic magnet. They intended to use it to capture Pikachu even though they have no way to know of its temporary magnetism, but only succeed in foiling themselves by attracting too many Magneton.
The episode ends with Oak cursing Ash for sending him a Muk. He wants physically powerful, obedient slaves, not smelly ones.
Overall, this episode is garbage. They never even explain why the Grimers attack the power plant, we're just meant to assume they did because they're dicks. Giant, purple dicks. And Ash has the biggest, purplest dick of all. And Ash doesn't even attempt to catch a Magnemite, simply because the show only has room for one electric pokemon (I've heard there are no other major electrical pokemon until Pachirisu, though I don't know if that's true).
Dig Those Diglett!Edit
"Dig, Diglett, Dig! Trio, Trio, Trio!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Most of it, I like Gary
They're going through a forest surrounded by mountains trying to find Fuschia City. An explosion rocks the forest, and the heroes find a ton of trucks on a dirt road being attacked by holes in the ground and huge boulders dropped down on them. Pikachu hears the words "Diglett dig" from underground, and meets a Diglett.
A dude reveals a group of Diglett are destroying their trucks, which is stopping them from finishing a dam. The guy mentions that he'll pay a reward to anyone who can deal with the Diglett, and on that note, Gary shows up in his car, though in fairness, one of the cheerleaders is driving it rather than the ten year-old. Also a bunch of buses full of other pokemon trainers. At the same time, Team Rocket makes a plan to steal all of the pokemon from everyone.
Gary tries to stop the Diglett with a pokemon, but it refuses to leave its pokeball, as do the rest of his pokemon. No one is able to throw out a pokemon, in fact. Ash also fails, and his trying annoys Pikachu. Gary leaves, annoyed at the inability for anyone to help with the Diglett.
Pikachu runs off with some Diglett, so the heroes do as well. At the same time, Jessie and James evolve their pokemon because it's the only way for them to get new ones because they suck at catching so much.
Eventually, they figure out that the Diglett are angry at the dam because it'll destroy their mountain and forest homes. The dam builders agree to give up, just when Team Rocket shows up. With their newly evolved pokemon, Team Rocket attacks, but the Diglett deal with Team Rocket for the heroes.
A, uh, really clear moral for this episode. Nothing I can really add. What really makes this episode is the Digletts.
"Beautiful things can be painful."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The parts with Psyduck
The heroes search for the Fuschia gym, which is in a forest and not in Fuschia City, okay. They eventually find a huge mansion, in which is a Venonat watching them. The mansion of course has secret doors, and the heroes find the Venonat.
The mansion is of course trapped, and the heroes try to follow the Venonat, but run into an invisible wall trap. A ninja dressed in pink shows up, and at least the show actually admits that a bright color for a ninja is strange. She challenges Ash to a fight because why not, and Ash wins, and Koga shows up and chews her out, and also challenges Ash to a fight.
As Koga and Ash fight, Team Rocket shows up. For some reason, Koga decides that they'll have to join forces to handle Team Rocket's two pokemon, but it turns out to be a good idea because Team Rocket is equipped with weird spiderweb stuff. Eventually Koga remembers he's built traps into the entire damn building and easily defeats Team Rocket, rendering the entire scene pointless, and is followed up with an attack from Psyduck.
Unlike every other gym leader we've seen except Lt. Surge, Koga won't give out a badge unless Ash actually finishes the fight, which makes him approximately eight hundred times the gym leader than the others we've seen. Ash wins, of course, this being the second time he's actually defeated a gym leader.
Overall, a good episode, Koga is pretty okay, and it's the first major Psyduck episode.
The Flame Pokemon-athonEdit
"Slow and steady may not be enough to win this race."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Yes, actually, I remembered this episode really well, especially the Electrode racer, for some reason
The heroes are almost at the Safari Zone, and see a ton of Tauros in a herd. Pikachu won't help Ash catch one, so Ash sends out Charmander. A Growlithe stops him.
Before Ash can fight the Growlithe, a girl on a Ponyta shows up and tells him he's on a pokemon reserve and can't catch them. It's basically a big ranch. The girl mentions that Ponyta won't burn anyone who touches it whom it trusts. I wonder if this will be a plot point.
She invites the heroes to a party at the ranch, and says there'll be a race the next day. A jerk on a Dodrio that you just know will lose boasts about how he'll win. Everyone hopes the girl's ponyta will win, however, so you just know she will, and a bunch of confusing animation later, the jerky guy tells the girl her tauros are going crazy as he smiles evilly. Growlithe settles them down, only for the girl to get hurt. She's impressed by Ash's handling of Ponyta, who now trusts him and has him ride in her stead for the race.
It's revealed the jerky guy hired Team Rocket to do it all and hurt the girl. Somehow, even though she broke her arm falling off of a house, she never even grimaced, and also, she lets the flaming horse inside of her wooden house. Brock enters on Onix, Misty on Starmie, and Pikachu on Squirtle. Some dude is on an Electrode, you know, the fastest RBY pokemon by a mile so he should easily win, but the Dodrio jerk still gets in first. Team Rocket starts messing with some of the racers to ensure the Dodrio guy wins. They reach a river section, and the rock pokemon fall out of the race, so the only ones left are Ash, Misty, Pikachu, and Dodrio guy. Eventually only Ash and Dodrio guy are left. Dodrio guy clearly attacks Ponyta on camera, but for some reason the race is still not called off. Dodrio is about win when Ponyta evolves from the stress and wins the race by an inch, of course.
Nothing really to say about this one. It has no real moral, not even something like "hard work pays off" because Ash doesn't work hard at all, and no point except to direct Ash to the Safari Zone for the next few episodes, and the constant redneck accents get really grating after a while.
The Kangaskhan KidEdit
"Ow! My lumbago!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
The heroes are in the Safari Zone, but Ranger Jenny arrests them for poaching. She lets them go with a warning, of course, because they're the heroes. The heroes agree to help her with another poacher after she tells them they're in a preserve, and the poachers are, unsurprisingly, Team Rocket, who are after some Kangaskhan... Really, guys? You can't aim higher than some Kangaskhan? Anyway, they of course capture them in a big net.
The heroes are about to lose to Team Rocket's plan when a a little kid Tarzan ripoff frees the Kangaskhan while screaming "Kangaskhan!" and wielding a boomerang. The pokemon of course defeat Team Rocket.
A helicopter with an old dude and his wife who are looking for his son show up, so you pretty much know the plot of this episode already. Apparently they dropped their son into the Safari Zone several years ago by accident, and somehow Ranger Jenny doesn't know this already. Luckily, Jenny literally has the kid's address written down (somehow), so the heroes offer to take the husband and wife to him. On the way, they find a baby Kangaskhan, and while helping it, the kid shows up. The parents show up and tell the kid they're his parents. In a flashback, it's revealed the kid only remembers back to being adopted by a Kangaskhan and has no memory of his real parents.
His father knocks him out, planning to take him with them, and while his mother holds him, he remembers his parents now. The kid is now confused about what to do, but Team Rocket starts causing trouble before he can make a decision. His mother gives up ever convincing the kid to come back with them because he's too into being a Kangaskhan.
Anyway, Team Rocket's plan is to use a giant mechanical Kangaskhan to pretend they're injured, and then capture the real ones using a tranquilizer gun. The kid is unable to stop Team Rocket, so Ash shows up and helps him defeat Team Rocket. They still aren't properly defeated, however, and the parents crash their helicopter into Team Rocket's fake Kangaskhan to finish them off. Unsurprisingly, the survive crashing a helicopter into a gigantic flaming Kangaskhan that is also leaking gasoline, and when they dig themselves out of the rubble they're both dressed as Kangaskhan, having decided to join their son in living among them.
Overall, uh, there's nothing to say here. I guess the point of the episode is that you can't forget your roots, because a lot of the episode is about the kid trying to decide between the Kangaskhan and his real parents, but I don't know. It's just another episode.
The Legend of DratiniEdit
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Of course not
Gah, I had to watch this episode in Japanese with subtitles. Let me tell you, America? We have the better opening song by a factor of about eight hundred trillion. Not just the song itself, but the lyrics.
Anyway, the episode. Yes. One of the legendary banned episodes.
We start with Ash singing about how he'll catch something. Oh man, oh Jesus, American Misty and Brock voicing > Japanese Misty and Brock voicing, but I could admit Japanese Ash is better, maybe. American Ash seems a little younger, though.
Two minutes into the episode including the opening song, and a guy points a revolver at Ash. Yes. I like where this episode is going. A cowboy sees a guy running around planning to force creatures to serve him in cockfighting and he responds with a gun. Yes.
The guy introduces himself as the caretaker of the Safari Zone and points a gun at Ash a second time as he tells him he can only use Safari Balls. Jesus Christ, did the owner of this zone hire the craziest guy in the world? Who aims a gun at a ten year-old? Ash, Brock, and Misty all fail to point out to this guy how obviously insane he is, but to be fair, he does have a gun. The heroes find a picture of a Dratini, but the caretaker freaks out and tells them there are no Dratini in the park. He looks at the picture forlornly and talks to himself, so the heroes call the only person they know more messed up than this guy: Professor Oak.
Oak explains that thirty years ago, people destroyed the park looking for a Dratini (meanwhile, Blackthorn City a hundred miles away was nearly drowning from having too many Dratini), so the caretaker now takes care of the place and dislikes people who are after Dratini. Ash declares that he wants to see Dratini, and Team Rocket (American James > Japanese James) overhears and wants to capture it, and all of the Safari Zone pokemon. They try to do their motto, but crazy Dratini guy pulls out his guns and tries to kill them for being too annoying. Okay, I understand.
Team Rocket challenges the heroes to catch Safari Zone pokemon fairly as they do the same, and for some reason Ash agrees to bet his pokemon on that he can catch more than Team Rocket even though he has no incentive to do so.
Ash sees some Tauros and he and Brock catch them. Team Rocket has meanwhile captured the caretaker and is demanding the Dratini's location with his guns!
Jessie and James, two full-grown adults in the prime of their lives equipped with revolvers, are unable to handle an unarmed old man, so they summon their pokemon to handle it for them. Jessie dresses in a schoolgirl outfit in an attempt to flirt with him, but he somehow resists faux-fifteen year-old girl antics. I've been trying not to make jokes about Japan, but come on, this would never happen in an American cartoon. Eventually they tickle him into telling them where the Dratini is.
Anyway, the caretaker tells the heroes to go to Dragon Valley in the Safari Zone to stop Team Rocket. Team Rocket plans to use a very slow ticking bomb to knock out all of the pokemon in a lake, including Dratini, at once, but the heroes show up. Ash tries to stop them, but is about to drown when a Dragonair saves him. A flashback reveals the caretaker placed the original Dratini in a lake and it evolved and had kids. He's apparently pleased with these events even though this essentially means he devoted his life to protecting a Dratini he's seen twice.
Overall, this isn't a bad episode, but nothing is lost from its removal except the origin of Ash's Tauros. That's annoying, but I can definitely see why this episode was cut.
The Bridge Bike GangEdit
"We'll call you 'Awesome Ash!'"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Psyduck's tail whip attack
The heroes are traveling in a city, and find that a bridge that is scheduled to still be under construction is already done. Even though they've used their water pokemon to swim large distances many times before, it's only because of this bridge (which zigzags for no reason instead of going in a straight line) that they can reach the opposite shore quickly.
Unfortunately, upon reaching the bridge, they learn that a) it's only for cars, and b) it's not quite finished. The bridge guy tells them that to cross, they'll need bicycles, as the bicycle path is finished but the road isn't. Misty gets annoyed at Ash for having destroyed her bike like months ago, even though it was a one-man bike and they would still need two others, and when they check out the prices, they're clearly too expensive.
By chance, Nurse Joy wants the heroes to deliver some medicine to the town on the opposite end of the bridge, so they lends them some bicycles.
Team Rocket is nearby, of course, and follows them on a boat. The heroes bump into an unrelated bike gang, who apparently have a flag and stupid accents, and of course challenge Ash to a fight, sending out a Golem.
Ash counters with Bulbasaur, and unlike, say, when water destroys Onix, Vine Whip fails to destroy Golem, shown as ineffectively whipping a gigantic rock sphere. Charmander accidentally tricks Golem into tackling the bike gang members, who withdraw it and send out a Cloyster. Inexplicably, although Ash can just use Pikachu, Misty insists on sending out her Starmie, but sends out Psyduck by accident. Psyduck only succeeds in embarrassing itself, but before the battle ends, Team Rocket shows up on unicycles, and reveals that they used to be members of the gang. The bike gang is happy to help them, so the heroes run away, fortunately, Officer Jenny shows up and chases them away before leaving for no reason.
It suddenly turns stormy, so riding becomes dramatic. The bike gang sends Team Rocket out into the storm anyway, and at the same time, the heroes jump a drawbridge as Team Rocket does, bounces off of the villains so they fall into the ocean, and tell the bike gang that they're delivering medicine to the pokemon center. This impresses the bike gang for some reason, and they agree to help Ash even though it's become sunny and Ash no longer needs any help. Also, it was established earlier that pokemon centers have teleportation facilities and thus this entire episode should be entirely unnecessary.
Overall, there's nothing interesting in this episode, it's entirely filler. It gives a little of Jessie and James' backstory, I guess, but that's all.
Ditto's Mysterious MansionEdit
"As our heroes continue their journey, the future looks sunny and bright. Uh-oooooooooooh!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Ditto's face thing and, for some reason, Ash laying his head on his arms as the episode ends (no explanation as to why)
A storm crops up as the heroes are on a walk, but they encounter a mansion in the middle of nowhere and run inside. Unfortunately, unlike the previous episode, this storm looks like it won't disappear immediately for no reason.
The heroes are screwing around in the mansion when they see another Pikachu, whom the main Pikachu starts playing with. However, it's got really tiny eyes, which freaks out Misty. Ash's first reaction to seeing something unexpected is of course to murder it, so he has Pikachu shock it. As Ash throws a pokeball, another pokeball impacts it, and the heroes look at another trainer who's appeared, dressed exactly like Ash. The trainer is also a girl, as Brock realizes. She reveals that she's Duplika of the House of Imitae, and Ash puts together that it's "House of Imitate," and that's why she's dressed like him.
Upon seeing a ten year-old girl dressed exactly like his best friend, Brock's immediate reaction is to curse that she's slightly too young for him. That's not an exaggeration.
Duplika reveals that the second Pikachu is actually a Ditto that can't get over its tiny eyes when transforming. Ash mentions that Ditto is the only pokemon that can use Transform, and while I would normally get on his case for the mistake, I suppose I can admit that it makes sense he wouldn't know about the handful of others. Ash says that he thinks Ditto is boring because you can't teach it new attacks. Duplika says that Ash just doesn't understand Ditto's real power, which is of course breeding. But in this episode, it's fighting.
Ash throws out Bulbasaur, and Ditto turns into it. Everyone is really surprised to learn that Ditto can imitate attacks as well, and Ash surrenders, annoyed at how the "real thing" lost.
Dublika reveals that she has an enormous room of clothing, and can imitate Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny, and Brock continues to curse the fact that even in Japan, where the age of consent is thirteen, that she's still too young for him. She then turns into Misty, but Ash is clearly unimpressed, musing over philosophical problems like how an imitation can outdo the real thing. Brock then talks about how smart Duplika must be, and she proclaims her intention to become the greatest Ditto master of all time, and how she wants to be famous.
A flashback reveals that she put on a Ditto show, where she and Ditto imitated various pokemon for an audience, but Ditto couldn't quite get the faces right, which always ruined it. When people complained, Ditto attempted to murder them (not a joke).
Team Rocket shows up, of course, and somehow snuck into the mansion without being seen. They kidnap Ditto and run off, and Ash gets the "Determined" face, one of his fourteen facial expressions.
Team Rocket believes that having this Ditto will make them hot stuff in the organization, and unsurprisingly, it's Jessie who blushes and tells Ditto to tranform into a guy she once knew. I would have thought it would be James who's more desperate, but what do you know.
Ditto does as Jessie commands, but it still has the face problem, and screws it up. It then screws up another transformation before the scene switches to the heroes. Ash is musing that the trainer is as important as the Ditto due its Transformation ability requiring special knowledge of all pokemon in general to use their moves properly.
The heroes find out where Team Rocket is, believe it or not hidden cleverly in an abandoned house on which they parked their giant Meowth balloon, and they're still angry with Ditto for having the face problem. Eventually, after enough threatening, Ditto succeeds in imitating Meowth, but before Team Rocket can imitate Dratini, the heroes show up.
For some reason, Duplika had four Team Rocket uniforms, and the heroes are now dressed as them, and do the Team Rocket motto.
As Ditto is currently imitating Meowth, the heroes can't tell it from the real one, and both say "No way." Team Rocket agrees to give the heroes Ditto, but of course gives them Meowth. Duplika can tell the difference, and Ditto comes back to her, so Jessie reveals her enormous cannon built into the balloon, so Ditto turns into a cannon as well. Pikachu gets into Ditto and is fired at Team Rocket, destroying the balloon and ending the episode, with Ash proclaiming that one day, he'd like to catch a Ditto, too.
Overall, a surprisingly good episode.
Electric Soldier PorygonEdit
"There's no time to be surprised!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: I knew of this episode as a kid, but never saw it, of course
Poor, poor Porygon, and poor me. Porygon was always one my favorite pokemon, and I consider its evolutions to be absolutely horrendous because they ditch its sharp look. Not only was this not aired, it ensured Porygon would never get another spotlight episode, and even its terrible evolutions never show up. Almost as bad, from my perspection, I had to watch this episode with subtitles that were in font that's really hard to read. By the way, the American opening song continues to be better than the Japanese opening song.
The episode starts with the narrator telling us that everyone is tired while the characters looking tired. Thanks for that, narrator. I never would have known. Satoshi (damn subtitled episode) agrees to take Pikachu to the pokemon center nearby.
Nurse Joy(-san) is having a problem: the teleportation device isn't receiving pokemon who are sent to her pokemon center, they're just disappearing. Well, I guess that's what you get for relying on teleportation devices in the 1990s, a time during which 56K was a good thing.
The dark times.
Anyway, the creator of the teleportation system complains that it's happening for no reason and that the computers themselves are fine. Brock mentions that a computer virus could have caused it, but Ash (screw you, Japan) doesn't know what a computer virus is. Really. In the late nineties, Ash doesn't know what a computer virus is.
The creator insists nothing is wrong because the machine uses "advanced circuits." Well, I guess that'll do it. He runs off after after everyone keeps insisting a virus or something caused it.
The heroes go to his house, and when they break into it illegally, they encounter a gigantic computerized head that implies it's going to eat them. It turns out to simply be a hologram, and I'm not sure if it's a ripoff of or a homage to Wizard of Oz. After they figure it out, he agrees to meet with them. They go into a big teleporter tube thing, and are introduced to Porygon. He explains that Team Rocket stole his his original Porygon and transferred themselves into the computer and are now stealing pokemon as they're transferred. He can stop them easily, but the process would kill them, so he's hesitant to do so. Ash asks if there's another way to stop them, and the guy tells him to "never say never." Well, uh, Ash didn't say "never," there, bro. The heroes agree to-- no, actually, they're too creeped out to agree, so he forces them to do it on the grounds that he's the mad scientist around here. By the way, the look of this Porygon is really terrible. Like, really terrible.
The inside of the computer unsurprisingly looks a little like Tron if it was made entirely of pipes, and the heroes start falling into an abyss. Luckily Porygon rescues them, and they all start heading to Team Rocket. I especially love the scene where they send out Arbok and Weezing, because this shows me that the American version apparently leaving Arbok's voice completely unchanged from Japanese. Even though the heroes have defeated Team Rocket dozens of times before, they need Porygon to save them. Team Rocket throws out its own Porygon, and they start fighting by turning into polygonic objects and duelling. I have to admit, this is a pretty imaginative duel sequence, as each turns into an object to counter the other's object, like the Rocket Porygon turns into a spear, so Ash's Porygon becomes a wall, so the Rocket Porygon becomes a hammer, and so on.
The heroes start freeing the captured pokeballs (monster-balls? Really, Japan?), and as the heroes foil Team Rocket, Porygon defeats Rocket Porygon.
At the same time, Nurse Joy has hired a guy to use an anti-virus program on the machine, which will kill everyone inside. It manifests as an electronic amulance heading toward the heroes. The computer guy tells them to run, and Porygon has them get on it (it enlarged itself) and flies away. Team Rocket does the same. The amulance starts firing missiles shaped like syringes (because of course), and then tries to fire a gigantic laser cannon which crashes the entire system. Team Rocket wakes up in a surreal hole in existence and realizes they're trapped in nonexistence. Ash can now escape easily through a point where they can teleport into existence, but Team Rocket is still stuck in the hole. Ash decides to go back and help them, but unfortunately, they're now too heavy for Porygon. I guess I could complain about how this makes no sense, but I get the feeling this episode has more in common with Tron than with Snow Crash, so I should probably let it go.
The ambulance program shows up and Pikachu shocks the missiles, which doesn't even slow them down. This is the famous scene that caused seizures, is it? I must say, I'm unimpressed. This looks really easy to edit out, but I suppose the controversy alone was enough to stop proper translation.
The heroes, Team Rocket, and the missiles make it into the real world. Somehow, the missiles destroy the house but don't kill anyone. The computer guy laments his machine being destroyed, but the episode ends happily for everyone except the hundreds of children sent hospitals for cartoon-induced seizures.
Throughout this episode, the subtitles kept calling the antivirus program a "vaccine." I don't know if that's Japanese terminology or something, but that bothered me a little. Don't vaccines only stop something from starting, and if there's already a virus ah screw it
Overall, this is a pretty good episode. The visuals are impressive, if ripped off from other things, and by cartoon logic, everything makes sense.
"We'd like to thank all of Team Rocket's loyal fans! This victory is for them."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
The heroes take a break at a waterfall and a lake. Left to own devices for eight seconds, Ash nearly gets himself killed, but Pikachu sees another Pikachu and runs after it. The heroes run away it, and Pikachu stumbles upon a herd(?) of wild Pikachu who are just generally screwing around. Because they're wild Pikachu, there are of course plenty of Pichu among their number, they're just off screen. None of the wild Pikachu like "our" Pikachu, and they angrily run off, looking at him angrily. There's one tiny Pikachu that's clearly meant to be a baby, which only reinforces why I consider baby pokemon to be the single worst idea the series has ever used. Baby Pikachu runs up to Pikachu and looks at him, and clearly likes him, and they shake hands with their tails, so now all of the Pikachu like him for some reason. When Ash goes up to them, they run off, scared, which makes Pikachu sad. Misty and Brock get what Ash doesn't: most things, even wild animals, don't like the idea of being enslaved to ten year-old boys. As the heroes talk about how nice it must be for the Pikachu around here and how much of a paradise it probably is, Baby Pikachu, who's listening to them, falls into the river and is about to die on the waterfall when Pikachu grabs it. They're both about to die when the other Pikachu rescue them. Unlike with Buttefree, where the writers cleverly gave it a scarf to differentiate it from the other zillion Butterfree in that episode, the writers do no such thing here, so the scenes with multiple Pikachu are really confusing.
Our Pikachu is nearly dead, but given that he's the mascot of the show, he's about as dead as Captain America, and of course wakes up. All of the Pikachu treat him as a hero. Team Rocket is looking at the herd, thinking about how they can get a promotion if they kidnap all of the Pikachu here.
The heroes watch the Pikachu have fun and celebrates amongst themselves, and Ash slowly realizes that Pikachu might be happier with his own kind than with him, which obviously saddens him. What makes the scene good is that Ash realizes this without words, and yet the meaning is still obvious. Misty and Brock, for all of their perception earlier, fail to see why Ash is acting oddly this time. I like this scene, it's pretty well done, as Ash thinks to himself about leaving Pikachu behind to enjoy himself.
Well, because it was off screen, Team Rocket's already succeeded in capturing all of the Pikachu, so the heroes overhear it and run to help. In a display of uncharacteristic competence, Team Rocket's net is electricity-proof, so Ash of course pulls out Bulbasaur to cut the net-- no, wait, of course he doesn't, so they... bum rush James? Okay. Well, they get caught in a net as well as Team Rocket makes off in the Meowth balloon, making puns so bad that even if they weren't trying to kidnap dozens of Pikachu, they would still clearly be the villains. Our PIkachu bites through the net and escapes while the heroes rescue the rest of the Pikachu. Our Pikachu destroys the balloon, ending Team Rocket's threat. Ash and Pikachu are now really excited with each other, and the "ending music" plays, only for Pikachu to leave Ash and go celebrate with the other Pikachu. Seeing this, Ash realizes what he has to do, and walks away.
Ash tells the others he's going to leave Pikcahu behind, but Pikachu shows up again and is ready to go. Ash tells Pikachu to stay, and the episode cleverly doesn't show Ash's eyes during this entire scene so you can imagine him looking sadder than the animation can allow. Pikachu is obviously saddened and hurt by Ash's actions, but Ash runs off to avoid having to speak to Pikachu as he does. The sadness of the episode is undermined by a laughable montage of all of the times Pikachu has done things in the show while a silly song about saying goodbye plays, and as you know, Pikachu is a protagonist so the flashback lasts a really, really, really long time. Like a really long time.
After the montage, which makes Ash leaving Pikachu to be about as heartbreaking as the time Jesus died, finally ends, Brock and Misty tell Ash that he's wro-- No, they don't. They just silently accept Ash's decision. Of course, Pikachu doesn't, and comes back to Ash. The others come with him to wish him goodbye, including the baby Pikachu that should really be a Pichu. They cheer Pikachu on, and he runs to Ash, intending to make sure that the franchise never lets it most valuable merchanising aspect leave ever again.
This is definitely the best episode so far. It's surprisingly subtle given what we normally see from this show, all of the actions of the characters make sense (except not just having Bulbasaur stop Team Rocket), and Team Rocket's appearance isn't just gratuitous, and actually furthers the real problem in the episode: Ash and Pikachu.
The Battling Eevee BrothersEdit
To Misty: "You could pass for my brother!"
Did I Remember The Episode Through Nostalgia?: I remembered the concept, but not the details
I was about to write this sentence, "The heroes are walking through a forest," before actually watching the episode, but I thought "Nah, that's unfair. I'll wait until I see the episode. Maybe they're in a city or something."
Well, the heroes are walking through a forest when they come across an Eevee that's been tied up, in other words, red13n's ultimate dream. Brock decides it's been abandoned even though it's got some bowls of food around and a collar. They go to Stone Town, at the foot of Evolution Mountain (... seriously?), where the Eevee's tag says it's from. They eventually find the home the Eevee's tag says it's from, and it's a huge mansion having a garden party. In it are only pokemon that can evolve through the use of stones, and three brothers with three Eevees. Team Rocket looks on, musing about how they should steal them.
The brothers see the heroes and the Eevee, and wonder where it ran off to. They call their little brother, to whom Eevee runs to, apparently it's his pokemon. The kid is annoyed they brought it back, and clearly doesn't want it. His brothers tell him he should evolve his Eevee, and when he protests that he doesn't care about battling, his brothers get angry at him because they're all sociopaths. I especially love how the brothers keep saying, over and over again, how he has three choices for what to evolve his Eevee into. Only three. Yep, just three.
They say that they're throwing the battle just for him and his Eevee when Ash points out how young he is, and it's like, how did you throw the party when the Eevee wasn't there to begin with?
Team Rocket sees the stones the brothers have, and clearly plans to steal their stones. They give a thunder stone to Ash and a fire stone to Brock (he's got a fire stone), and the heroes refuse. We're clearly supposed to side with Ash and Brock, but there's really no reason to other than that they're the main characters.
- The brothers say unsympathetic things like "evolution is what pokemon are all about," when that's pretty much accurate, and especially consider that they've got Eeveelutions, and Eevee is specifically the "Evolution pokemon," which makes them, if not right, certainly logical in their conclusion
- Pikachu doesn't want to evolve, but we don't know about Vulpix, so Brock's decision seems arbitrary
- Ash and Brock say it's wrong to force pokemon to evolve, but they travel around with Misty, who has a Starmie, which can evolve with a water stone, so whatever
Regardless, the kid with the Eevee complains that his brothers only care about battling pokemon. Jolteon and Vaporeon, okay, especially in gen 1, but Flareon's always been useless (it's my favorite Eeveelution, but I know it's completely useless). The kid admits that he hid Eevee in the forest to avoid having to evolve it, but Misty chastises him for running away from his problems. Hey, Misty, I'm pretty sure that not having Eevee with him during his main opportunity to evolve him is a completely legitimate strategy that would have worked if not for your interferance. She tells him to tell his brothers his true feelings. Ash and Brock try to claim that natural evolutions are superior to stone-based evolutions, but again, that's nonsense even in the show, so I can't feel for them.
The brothers tell the kid to choose, but as he's about to, Team Rocket shows up and steals all the pokemon around and the stones, including the Eeveelutions and Pikachu. I do like how they don't take Psyduck, I have to admit. They've escaped the heroes, so what's their evil plan? You ready for it? They want to evolve the Eevee.
Jessie decies to use all three stones on Eevee at the same time to create a monster when the heroes show up. The heroes are about to fight Team Rocket for Eevee, but the Eevee Brothers insist on being the ones to fight. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the all-Eeveelution team loses (to all-poison team, no less), so Pikachu gets involved. After Pikachu weakens them, Eevee finishes them off, and the kid tells his brothers he doesn't want to evolve Eevee at all. Until the next gen, so that way he can get an Umbreon, the Eeveelution that best balances being cool and being useful (sorry Flareon).
Overall, a solid episode, and the best possible Eevee showcase episode, I suppose.
Wake Up Snorlax!Edit
"Your girth is blowing my mind!"
Did I Remember The Episode Through Nostalgia?: The old man and the pokeball bouncing off of Snorlax
The heroes, in a forest (sigh...) encounter a creepy old guy plating with his long, hard object, which entertains them. I speak of course of his flute. Anyway, they then complain of having no food. Team Rocket listens to the same old man's music before insulting him and leaving.
The heroes reach a town, only to learn that the entire town has no food left. Even the inexplicably French chef has nothing. Another old man with a terrible voice actor gives them some food, and explains that the river dried up, and thus they can't grow anything. He explains that without a river, the town is in extreme danger, which is why no one was panicking and he's completely calm, and only brought up the problem when they asked. It also explains why no one has bothered to check out what's happened to the river for weeks, and thus he can't help the heroes with any information.
Eventually the heroes find a thorny brush in the way of the river, and Bulbasaur uses stock footage (it's really blatant) to clear a path, and they find a Snorlax. The Snorlax is blocking the water from the river, so Ash determines to wake it up.
They fail, of course, and also can't move it, and Ash's pokeball simply bounces off. Team Rocket shows up with their plan to use their balloon to move it and capture it. Ash helps them because he wants the town to get water again. Unfortunately, it completely fails, and everyone agrees to wake Snorlax up properly. Being kissed by Meowth is enough to make Snorlax stir but not wake up, and the heroes find a notice saying that Snorlax will wake up if someone plays a Poke Flute, and Team Rocket overhears and runs to catch up.
The heroes get rid of Team Rocket and bring the old dude to play for the Snorlax, who mentions that Snorlax is his. Which means he's been sitting outside of that town for weeks, I guess?
Anyway, he wakes up the Snorlax, but the water still isn't coming out. It's not Snorlax who prevented the water from flowing, it was the thorns from earlier, so Snorlax eats the thorns and saves the town. As the episode ends, the old guy reveals that he travels around, waking up Snorlaxes as necessary to help out.
Overall, a completely pointless episode.
Showdown at Dark CityEdit
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia: No
The heroes reach Dark City, a "dingy, deserted ghost town." They notice no one is outside in the middle of the day, and a little kid's mother comments that he should stay inside in case of pokemon trainers. The heroes wonder why she'd be afraid of pokemon trainers. I mean, they only take animals and force them to cockfight, right? No big deal. Some shadows throw rocks at them, and Ash has Pikachu shock them. They turn out to be little kids, so we can add "child abuse" to the list of Ash's crimes. Ash tries to apologize, but they accuse them of being pokemon trainers, which they admit to. The kids hate pokemon in general, and before they can explain, a restaurant owner tells them to come.
He explains that there are two gyms in the city who are in the middle of a gang war who keep hiring pokemon trainers as soldiers, and that whichever gym wins will become an official pokemon gym. The two gyms are fighting outside, and start destroying stuff in collateral damage. Team Rocket breaks into the restaurant, dressed as gym employees, demanding food, but the restaurant owner says he can't give them any food because their gym never pays their bills. The heroes intervene, and this is what I like.
It's a plot point in this episode that pokemon cause collateral damage, but Pikachu and Vulpix are used, the two pokemon most likely to cause collateral damage, so it's only the heroes' pokemon who don't destroy innocent buildings even though they're actually using more destructive abilities than the villains.
Eh, throughout the episode, a guy in a trench coat is watching the heroes. Another girl shows up and compliments Brock. The heroes don't want to give their real names to avoid getting their reputations ruined in the gang war, so they're Tom Ato (Ash), Ann Chovee (Misty), and Caesar Salad (Brock). She tries to convince to join the other gym, and Brock volunteers them on the grounds that she's an attractive girl. The gym leader has his Scyther attack Pikachu to test him, but Pikachu accidentally tricks the Scyther into attacking the leader, which impresses the leader. He admits that he only wants to become an official gym leader because it'll make a lot of money, so Ash refuses to help, and runs back to the restaurant.
The heroes are angry at the gym leaders for putting so many people in danger, but honestly, how rare can this kind of thing be? You don't throw out a thirty foot pillar of flame and not expect things to get burned, right? The pokedex also mentions during all of this that the color red enrages Scythers and Electabuzzes, the strongest pokemon of each gym.
Both gyms know the official Pokemon League inspector is coming by to see the gyms, and both conspire to fight the other. Ash and the kids create a plan to stop both gyms. The gyms start fighting and causing damage, and we're supposed to feel bad about the leaders doing this, but come on, every single gym battle so far has resulted in at least thousands of dollars of property damage, and that's at the hands of the heroes.
The heroes enact their plan, which is to drench the leaders (and Team Rocket) in ketchup, which enrages Scyther and Electabuzz, who try to murder them. After a few seconds of allowing a bug with scythes for arms and a monster that shoots lightning torture them, the heroes decide it might be more fun to do something else, and Ash has Bulbasaur drench the Electabuzz and Scyther in ketchup to have them attack each other, because even though a common theme in the show is treating pokemon with respect, Ash is happy to have them attack each other to save two extremely evil men. Fortunately they both get tired and faint at the same time.
The gym leaders realize who's really the evil one here, Ash, and agree to destroy the heroes together. Both gyms attack at the same time, so Ash just has Pikachu use Thunder, and as we all know from SSB, newbies have a difficult time dealing with it. The trench coat guy from earlier shows up again, reveals himself to be a herself and is the official pokemon inspecto. She's now angry at the gym leaders, and agrees to give them another chance if they'll stop being jackasses... even though they've just destroyed half of a town and obviously can't be trusted. In fairness, they do agree to fix everything they broke, but they still can't be trusted, and they're still responsible for their past actions. Even Lieutenant Surge, who was a fairly cruel guy, was still conscious of his actions and only hurt enemies who were actively battling him.
Overall, Team Rocket is completely superfluous in this episode and nothing of importance happens.
The March of the Exeggutor SquadEdit
"Be quiet, or I'll knock the cholesterol out of you!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: A few scenes with Melvin and Charmander evolving
Argh c'mon, I'm only at episode 43 and the next storyline battle is in 59? Argh... I loved this show as a kid, but Jesus Christ, the filler.
The heroes are at a carnival, and Ash and Brock somehow get hold of party clothes that would rejected from the 1970s for being too gaudy.
Misty comes across a magician with an insulting Yiddish accent. He's got an Exeggcute and he's begging his boss for more time to pay her the money he owes her, and she fires him from the carnival. He asks Misty if she's a kind girl, and she admits that she is not; they may be kidnapping cockfighters, but they're honest ones, dammit!
He very slowly approaches Misty and she backs away, saying things like "Keep and open mind" and "You're th only one who can help me," and I'm not taking this out of context. Anyway, he asks the, what, ten-to-fourteen year-old girl to be the assistant in his act and introduces himself as Melvin. In the next scene, Misty is dressed up in a somehow-even-more-revealing-than-usual outfit with Seaking fins, which I have to admit is pretty clever.
Unfortunately, his crowd is still extremely small, but does include Ash and Brock. Melvin's act revolves around Exeggcute, but unfortunately, his act is terrible, as he does things like juggling the Exeggcute. Eventually Melvin does succeed in creating a small amount of fire for a second, but everyone realizes how lame it is. After another try, he's suddenly able to summon pillars of flame that would impress a Charizard, and some insulting stereotypes in the audience complain about him before storming off.
During this entire act, Misty did nothing, meaning Melvin thought the possibly-a-young-teenage girl would attract audience members by just standing there.
Anyway, the boss fires Melvin a second time, and Melvin laments that he's going to have to give up on his dream, to which Ash tells him to learn some new tricks. Team Rocket is meanwhile floating by on their balloon.
Ash's attempt at a magic show to impress Melvin fails even worse than Melvin's did. After Ash insults his Exeggcute, they start hypnotising him. Melvin figures this out and sees the potential for a show. Melvin has Ash battle some wild Exeggutors for him while he captures them. Somehow, Ash thinks Squirtle will be more useful for fighting grass types than Pidgeotto, but whatever, I guess, it works. Melvin reveals his plan: use the Exeggutor to hypnotise everyone at the carnival to come see his show. Well, I guess as far as supervillain plans go, it could be worse. At least it has a clear goal and purpose.
Team Rocket shows up and ties Melvin up, but when they threaten Exeggcute, they evolve into Exeggutor and hypnotise them. Melvin calls them off, but all of the Exeggutor now run off, with Team Rocket thinking they're Exeggutor.
Brock and Misty find Ash and Melvin, who explains the Exeggutor uses hypnosis on each other by accident and got confused, and are now stampeding the town. The carnival boss plans to blow them up with a bomb, so Ash decides to stop the horde of Exeggutor himself using Charmander, but it just can't manage by itself. Inexplicably, Brock doesn't bring Vulpix to help, so Misty has Melvin use his pillar of flame magic trick from earlier to set them on fire and wake them out of hypnosis. Somehow, despite the Exeggutor only waking up because they're weak to fire, Team Rocket is also woken up.
The effort also causes Charmander to evolve into Charmeleon, who seems to have a bit of an attitude problem.
Overall, a boring episode with a boring guest character.
The Problem with ParasEdit
"They're bigger losers than the guy who invented homework."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: A few vague parts here and there
The group arrives at a tiny town, and Ash comments that since they have no gym, it's pointless to stop here. Even though they've gone to more towns without gyms than with gyms so far, but okay. Brock forces him to go anyway, since they're out of supplies. Team Rocket determines to sneak ahead of them to the town, but Meowth is sitting around, sick. Jessie and James are about to leave Meowth to his fever, when a girl wanders by and chews them out for abandoning a pokemon they're training. They correct her; they are trainers, they're superheroes.
Well, she doesn't believe them on the grounds that that's incredibly stupid, and she decides to help Meowth with some herbs, which instantly heal him, and the way the screen turns all blurry and the music plays, it becomes obvious he's in love with the girl.
The heroes show up at a pharmacy, where they find the girl Team Rocket met. Instead of offering them potions, she offers them a battle for no reason. She sends out a Paras as Meowth watches on in love, but Paras obviously doesn't want to battle. She mentions that she wants Paras to turn into Parasect because that way it'll learn Spore, and this being RBY, Parasect is the only pokemon that can take down a Mewtwo one-on-one with a greater than 50% chance of success. Also Parasects have special mushrooms that she can make special potions from. Meowth wants to help her, and James realizes what Meowth is feeling, but Jessie just wants to get Pikachu.
Ash decides to help the girl by having Pikachu battle Paras and lose on purpose to give it some experience, and the girl eventually convinces Paras to fight. Pikachu uses his weakest attack, but it still OHKOs Paras, to a point where even Team Rocket thinks Paras is pathetic. Ash decides to send out Squirtle because Paras is a grass type, but even Squirtle defeats Paras effortlessly. Inexplicably, Ash then sends out Charmeleon, possibly his strongest pokemon in general, and definitely the strongest against grass types. Charmeleon clearly doesn't intend to go easy on Paras, and ignores Ash's orders, completely obliterating Paras, then acts like its victory is a huge deal. Paras runs off, concerned and sad, until it bumps into Meowth, who wants to help it evolve and eventually convinces Jessie and James to help.
Meowth helps Paras win some battles against Arbok and Weezing, until it starts acting like a jerk because now it's so awesome at battling. The girl and the heroes show up, and now it's clear that Paras thinks it's incredible, especially after Ash throws a battle. Ash sends out Charmeleon again, but it brushes Ash off, necessitating Team Rocket to come in and cheer Paras on. Right before Charmeleon defeats Paras, it gets a lucky hit against it, which gives it enough experience to evolve into Parasect.
Nothing really special in this episode. The moral seems to be "believe in yourself," but it's undermined by Paras' confidence being a complete lie.
The Song of JigglypuffEdit
"You know us as Team Rocket and we fight for what is wrong! We're tired of our motto so we thought we'd try a song! Jessie! James! The speed of light! Prepare to fight! Meowth! That's riiiiiiiiiight! I am the handsome one! I'm the gorgeous one! Looking good is lots of fun! We get some things wrong, but we keep rolling alooooong! We want to capture Pikachu, we hope to do it soon! And when we do, we'll be the new stars of this... cartooooooooon!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Jigglypuff standing on a stump
I'm not going to lie. I never got why people like Jigglypuff. I never understood why Jigglypuff got into SSB. There are so many good choices from RBY besides Pikachu, and Jigglypuff gets in? Besides Mewtwo, who eventually got in, there are at least two dozen pokemon more deserving than Jigglypuff. It's my understanding that Jigglypuff is popular in Japan, but why? It's just a pink ball that sings, and its evolved form is dumb as hell (at least Raichu is pretty cool looking).
The heroes are traveling through a fore-- No! Actually, it's a desert this time. They come upon a bright city at night in the middle oft he desert, Neon Town, an obvious Vegas parody. Ash bumps into a Joisey guy, and five seconds later Officer Jenny shows up and tells them to break it up. Jenny explains (by yelling) that everyone in this town is short tempered and angry all the time. The next morning, it becomes obvious that Officer Jenny spends all of her time breaking up fights and screaming at people.
As they leave the town, they immediately wander into a forest, even though they were in the middle of a desert one second ago. Misty wants to catch it, so she sends out Staryu and immediately attacks it. Misty literally asks "What's wrong" after Jigglypuff starts crying when she has the psychic starfish monster attack it. I normally make "Ash is stupid" jokes, but come on. Misty asks it to sing for the heroes, but it explains that it can't sing. Misty apologizes, and Jigglypuff immediately forgives her, only to be sad again when Misty comments that no one wants a Jigglypuff that can't sing. Ash and Misty decide to help Jigglypuff learn to sing. Team Rocket decides to steal the Jigglypuff and use it to put everyone in Neon Town to sleep and steal their stuff.
Team Rocket shows up and demands Jigglypuff, so the heroes easily defeat them.
The heroes try to teach Jigglypuff to sing in the next scene, and when Pikachu upstages it, it freaking punches him in the back. Eventually it's Brock who gets Jigglypuff to sing correctly, and when Pikachu is excited for it, it attacks him again for no reason. What a dick.
Misty cleverly tells Jigglypuff to sing for them, which of course knocks them out. Team Rocket records its voice, since that's the only part they need.
When Jigglypuff realizes everyone fell asleep from its song, it gets angry and draws on their faces. When they wake up, it's indignant, and they apologize. Brock decides that they might have pokemon who won't fall asleep when it sings, but as it turns out, no. They all do. Even Psyduck just sleeps with its eyes open.
Brock suggests that since Neon Town's residents normally don't sleep, they'll take Jigglypuff there to perform. Team Rocket is excited about this idea, because it's what they were going to do anyway. For some reason, despite this being essentially Las Vegas, the first show of a completely unknown pokemon attracts the entire town and its voice is amplified by a megaphone, so everyone falls asleep, including Team Rocket. Of course, this means that, like, people ungoing major surgery, anyone in an aircraft or car moving too fast, and anyone in a bad position like walking down a staircase all die horribly. Jigglypuff, angry, draws on everyone's faces and runs off. Somehow, a good night's sleep makes everyone nicer and more neighborly.
Misty laments that she can't capture Jigglypuff now, even though it's clear its main attack would make it completely useless to her in a battle. The episode ends with Jigglypuff trailing behind them without them realizing it.
This is actually a fairly decent episode, but Team Rocket completely steals this entire episode with their song, which I've written up there for you. The rest of the episode is fine, but Team Rocket's song is possibly the best scene in the entire show so far.
Attack of the Prehistoric PokemonEdit
"Ash! Not only late as usual, but clueless, too!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
The heroes are walking through a canyon when they encounter a ton of people with mining picks, and Gary, who's dressed as Indiana Jones. Gary explains that there are fossils in this canyon, and Ash decides to find a fossil before Gary can, just because. Jigglypuff watches on.
The heroes notice no one is finding any fossils yet, and question whether there are fossils at all. Team Rocket shows up and mentions that they've planted dynamite everywhere, planning to blast the canyon and scoop up the fossils, which will get everyone in the canyon killed. Ash runs to stop them while the others run to warn everyone. As the episode isn't even half over, Ash of course fails, and there's a massive explosion that Ash and Team Rocket are at the heart of. They're dropped into a huge chasm that opens up, and Misty and Brock decide to try to dig them out. Even though they're in a chasm. I don't know.
Team Rocket and Ash are in a cave underground. As they yell at each other, a group of ancient pokemon appear, Kabutops, Kabuto, Omanyte, and... whatever its evolved form is called. Inexplicably, even though these pokemon are tens of thousands of years old and were extinct well before the show started, the Pokedex has information on them. The pokemon are angry and attack, so Ash brilliantly chooses Charmeleon to fight water/rock types instead of Bulbasaur. It doesn't matter anyway, since he just goes to sleep rather than help, so they have to run. Meanwhile, Misty and Brock continue to dig in literally the most ineffective way possible.
At the last second, the prehistoric pokemon run off. They can hear what the humans can't: an Aerodactyl. It starts chasing them, but Brock and Misty finally dig far enough to help Ash escape. The Aerodactyl accidentally helps him escape. We get some admittedly fun taunting between Charmeleon and Aerodactyl, before Charmeleon gets annoyed enough to turn into Charizard and fly up to fight Aerodactyl, who now has Ash in its claws. At first Ash thinks Charizard is trying to save him, but it quickly becomes clear that it just wants to fight Aerodactyl.
Well, Stealth Rock hasn't been invented yet, so Aerodactyl runs away from the powerful Charizard. Misty has Jigglypuff sing to put Aerodactyl to sleep, and somehow, only Charizard is smart enough to plug his ears. Charizard rescues Ash as he falls to the ground because fighting an asleep Aerodactyl, even an annoying one, isn't really worth the effort.
Ash reveals that he found a mysterious egg as he woke up, and Brock takes it. I suppose back then, the question of what it would hatch into was a big deal, but we now know that--
Wait, if Professor Elm discovered pokemon eggs after this, shouldn't Ash's discovery of a pokemon egg, any pokemon egg, be a huge deal?
A Chansey OperationEdit
"I've just never been able to refuse requests from young girls."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Nope
In a city, Pikachu is knocked out by something off screen in a tree. When he wakes up, he can't speak correctly, so Ash tries to wave him around upside-down, which is the closest thing Ash can come up with that resembles medical help. Brock decides they need a doctor, so they go to Nurse Joy. Or rather they want to, but there's no pokemon center for miles, so they run to a hospital with an actual doctor. He refuses to help Pikachu on the grounds that he's a doctor, not a veterinarian. We're obviously supposed to sympathize with the heroes, but it's not like this doctor has any experience with pokemon, which he plainly states.
By the way, this thirty-something doctor keeps hitting on Misty during this scene, which really weirds me out.
Eventually they convince him to help, and he determines something is stuck in Pikachu's throat. So he... has... to... shock Pikachu's cheeks with 10000 volts of electricity, a number he pulls out of nowhere. I don't really know what to say. That's like saying that if something is stuck in a human's throat, and humans are tool users that use their hands to manipulate things, the right idea is to crush his fingers with a wrench.
Of course the doctor is completely right, and Pikachu is suddenly fine. The doctor pulls out of Pikachu's throat an entire apple. The doctor chews Ash out for letting Pikachu try to eat an entire apple whole, and once again, we're supposed to side with the heroes when the doctor has a completely legitimate point: Ash is responsible for Pikachu's actions, and if Pikachu had died, it would have been his fault.
The heroes answer a call to the hospital from Nurse Joy, who tells the doctor that a truck full of pokemon crashed into Team Rocket's car and there are too many injured pokemon for the pokemon center, so the doctor is going to have to help the pokemon. He enlists the heroes to help, because although they're in a hospital several stories tall, he's the only doctor around. He even has them dress as doctors (Misty as a nurse) for no reason. The doctor then literally prescribes, for a bone fracture, "superglue and bandages," but this time he's treated as completely logical and correct. I don't even know. Broken teeth on a Raticate? Superglue. He also somehow diagnoses Jessie's Arbok as having "its own poison circulating through its body" by literally, and this in not an exaggeration, poking it twice. Ash tells him not to help because it's from Team Rocket, essentially to leave the Arbok to die, but the doctor just tells him that a doctor has to help anyone who asks, so suddenly, it's the doctor we're supposed to agree with. I don't even know.
I know, I know, cartoon logic. But when Brock repairs a broken horn with literally nothing except superglue, well, you do know it's just going to fall off in like a month or something, or after a bath, right?
Through an unlikely coincidence, the doctor is knocked out, leaving the heroes and Team Rocket to deal with the injured pokemon. Ash's prescription for a pokemon who's suffocating? Thunderbolt and Water Gun, of course. It somehow works.
At the same time, Team Rocket is talking about capturing the weakened pokemon. Fortunately, their own pokemon are unwilling to fight the Chansey in the hospital because they helped them earlier.
The episode ends with the heroes leaving and Misty musing that she might want to be a doctor in the future.
Nothing special in this episode, pretty much completely pointless.
"I'll follow you to the ends of the Earth and the bottom of the sea, James dearest!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The general idea behind it, but not the specifics
The heroes are walking on a path in a forest when they find a poster with a Missing Child: James, as a little kid. A butler pulls up to them and has them climb in the limo that is somehow traveling a dirt path in a forest, and Team Rocket shows up, talking about how much the kid in the picture looks like James. They, too, go to the mansion the butler takes the heroes to. It's gigantic even by mansion standards, and the heroes are all very impressed, only for it to be revealed that it's the dog's house, and the actual mansion is next to it, about four times as big. I have to admit, it's a pretty funny moment.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket and an uncomfortable James follow them. The butler explains that James' parents have passed away, and that the estate is now his. Team Rocket overhears, but James isn't excited. The butler goes on, explaining that if James doesn't show up and marry his fiance within a day, the estate will be donated to charity. Ash wants to help look for James, but fortunately Team Rocket shows up in front of them. James violently protests that he doesn't want to go his parents' funeral, and admits that he has no desire to be rich. James explains his past: he ran away from his parents as a small child with his pet Growlithe and died. Everyone thinks it's very sad, until Misty points out how he's still alive. Jesse wants him to marry the girl, but James still opposes the idea. They force James to go to the mansion, and as Jesse makes James stand before his parents' coffins and cry, his parents show up, revealing themselves to still be alive. James explains that his parents staged their deathes to force him to come back and get married... well, obviously.
They introduce James to his bride-to-be, who just happens to look identical to Jesse, named Jezebel, of course, except with different hair. James still hates the idea of marriage, so Jezebel takes James to count his money to make him feel better, the heroes following behind. Unfortunately, there's nothing in the place Jezebel takes him to except his parents, who keep telling him that he can't escape. And... apparently the bride they've chosen says things like "You'll never run away from me again" and "You'll have to do as I say" while wielding a whip. I really don't know what to say. The butler throws Jesse, Meowth, and the heroes out of the mansion. The dog, from the dog house from earlier, comes into the main mansion and rescues James from Jezebel, taking him to the heroes and Jesse. Finally, Jesse agrees that James shouldn't marry her, and James explains his real backstory.
His parents wanted him to marry him since childhood, and the idea of marrying a girl of course horrified him, so he ran away screaming "I want to do things my way!" Admittedly, it is a pretty funny scene, as Jezebel criticizes the way James runs away from her as not proper enough. Between Growlithe and Pikachu, Jezebel is driven off. Bizarrely, as James leaves, he leaves Growlithe behind at the mansion instead of taking it with him, even though it's made clear that James considers Growlithe to be his only true friend.
Overall, this is a great episode. James is always the best part of Team Rocket, and this episode is almost entirely about him, resulting in one of the show's best episodes, despite being 100% filler.
So Near, Yet So Farfetch'dEdit
"Fetch'd far far!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
The heroes are eating in a plain, and discuss how much they want to catch a Farfetch'd... Really? If it's not the single worst fully evolved pokemon in the series, it's certainly in the bottom ten.
Anyway, it ends up being Misty who finds Farfetch'd, proclaiming it be "the coolest pokemon ever!" She runs after it, and runs into some dude as she does, losing track of it. She goes back to Ash and Brock, and they get mad at her for trying to capture a Farfetch'd without them for some reason. I really don't understand what their problem with the idea is, it's not like Misty isn't also a trainer. Also, since she already has a Psyduck, if she catches a Farfetch'd and a Porygon, she'll have all of the gen 1 duck pokemon, which is something.
The scene switches, and we find that the guy whom Misty bumped into stole her backpack and exchanged it with his own empty one, and that the Farfetch'd is his. He mutters to himself about how awesome stealing her pokemon is awesome. Team Rocket is wandering around the forest, so Farfetch'd and the guy go to meet them. He offers to trade them his Farfetch'd, Starmie, and Staryu, and takes them to a stream before running off, saying he'll be right back and to watch his pokeballs and Farfetch'd. Team Rocket of course steals the pokemon while Farfetch'd laughs evilly in a really obvious way. They take a boat nearby, but it starts to sink as they try to get away, which allows Team Rocket's pokeballs to float away, including Lickitung? When did Jessie get a Lickitung? Damn banned episodes.
Anyway, Farfetch'd steals the pokeballs and gives them to the guy.
Oddly, instead of going after him themselves, the heroes report the guy to Officer Jenny, who appears to be manning a tool booth. Regardless of this oddity, it becomes clear here that the heroes think the guy took Misty's bag by accident. Jenny explains the guy is a thief and she's trying to track him down.
The scene switches to the guy and Farfetch'd together, musing on how they have to steal to survive because they're too weak to do anything else. As this is going on, Psyduck escapes from its pokeball and wanders off at the same time Team Rocket searches for him in their giant Meowth balloon. The heroes take Officer Jenny to the place Misty bumped into the guy, and Psyduck wanders over to them. Misty has it lead them to the guy's camp. Before they reach him, Team Rocket does, and he tries to talk his way out of it, offering to give them their three pokemon back, and then an entire bag of pokemon. Just as Team Rocket leaves, Psyduck leads the heroes and Jenny to the guy, and for some reason, instead of arresting him, Jenny tells him to fight Ash. Amazingly, Ash manages to lose to a Farfetch'd, a pokemon that is literally beneath Delibird in usefulness. The guy says that if he'd known Farfetch'd could actually fight, he never would have resorted to thievery. Psyduck challenges Farfetch'd, and after a while Psyduck's headache reaches a level where it defeats the guy.
The scene switches back to Team Rocket, who decide to check out their new pokeballs. Unfortunately, it turns out they're all Voltorbs. I'm a little confused, here. Voltorbs are clearly larger than pokeballs, so he couldn't have passed them off as pokeballs, but did he really keep a bag of Voltorbs in pokeballs just in case he ah screw it. Team Rocket throws the Voltorbs away, and although stealing pokemon would seem like a huge offense in a world where pokemon battling is basically everything, no one presses charges against the guy, so it all works out, and he decides to become honest. Ash encourages him, and he agrees to stop being a thief and become a cockfighter. Well, whatever.
Kind of a random episode, nothing particularly worth mentioning about it.
Who gets to keep Togepi?Edit
"The heroes always get the breaks."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The part where the heroes interrupt the Team Rocket motto and how Pikachu defeats Meowth
At a pokemon center, Nurse Joy gives Ash a message, "Professor Oak wants to speak to you." Ash calls him. Oak complains about Muk, implying that he silently hates Ash for giving him something so annoying and smelly (okay, maybe I made that up) and mentioning that there's a Pokedex upgrade. Oak mentions that Ash should go collect more badges and pokemon, something that hasn't happened in forever because this show has more filler than anything else I've ever watched. The egg is conspicuously in every shot of this scene.
The heroes discuss that they might want to go to Cinnabar Gym at some point, but the conversation is immediately sidetracked to the egg. Brock somehow hopes the egg will hatch into a Golem even though he already has a Geodude. Team Rocket overhears the conversation and wants to steal the egg.
Ash asks how long it is to Cinnabar Island. I don't want to disappoint you, Ash, but I'm afraid it's about nine episodes away. Anyway, Team Rocket shows up and steals the egg (that was fast) and quickly escape. Oddly, the heroes don't immediately follow them, instead electing to wait for a day. Ash calls out Pidgeotto, Brock Geodude, and Misty Staryu to steal the egg back, which they do with such ease and speed that they might as well not have animated it. The egg keeps switching hands as people and pokemon tackle each other, until Meowth finally drops the egg into Pikachu's hands by accident. It almost immediately starts to hatch, of course.
Misty grabs it just as it hatches, and it becomes a Togepi. Pikachu deals with Team Rocket as the heroes escape. The pokedex identifies it as Togepi, good thing it was upgraded ten minutes ago. Brock thinks he should get to keep it because he put the most effort into it, Ash wants it because he found it, and Misty wants it because it likes her the best. Eventually Meowth shows up, insisting that he should have it. Ash challenges everyone to a tournament for Togepi, but Meowth kicks Jessie and James out of the tournament, so it becomes a four-way battle, with Meowth entering himself.
Meowth defeats Brock's Onix, and I have to admit that I did find Meowth ordering himself to attack to be kind of funny, parodying the heroes in almost every way, even down to the inspiring speech he gives himself as he looks at Togepi forlonly and determines to win. I think this might also be Meowth's first proper battle in the show, by the way, but I'm not sure.
Ash sends Bulbasaur to fight Misty's Psyduck instead of Pikachu for no reason, using intentionally ineffective attacks to avoid giving Psyduck a painful enough headache to use proper psychic attacks.
Pikachu versus Meowth, now. There's a flashback of all of Meowth's times with Togepi, and I have to admit that while I normally mock flashbacks to things that were like five minutes long (the show has a lot of those), this one is actually clever because it's just a parody of them, because that's essentially what Meowth's gimmick this episode is. Unfortunately, Meowth is easily defeated, crying and scorched.
Ash tries to claim Togepi, but it's clear that Togepi's already bonded with Misty and won't leave Misty's side.
Overall, a solid episode, and one that isn't filler, for a change. We get a ton of Meowth action this time, which is a rarity, as while Meowth shows up constantly, he rarely actually does anything besides act as Team Rocket's sidekick.
Bulbasaur's Mysterious GardenEdit
"Fire the SOLLAAAAAAAAR BEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAM!!!!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Bulbasaur fighting a Rhyhorn and the wall of vines
The narrator starts the episode by implying we might get to see Cinnabar Gym soon. The damn liar. Instead, we start with a generic hiker challenging Ash to a fight. His Rhyhorn oddly manages to almost beat Bulbasaur, but Razor Leaf and Vine Whip are enough to handle it in the end, and Ash acts like beating something 4x weak to his pokemon's element is a big deal. Bulbasaur's bulb? starts glowing, so Ash brings it to a pokemon center. As Bulbasaur moves past some potted plants, they start to bloom more obviously. Nurse Joy explains that Bulbasaur is getting ready to evolve, and of course explains why Bulbasaur apparently evolves over an extremely long period of time, as opposed to literally every other pokemon ever.
The flowers around the pokemon center start sparkling, and Nurse Joy explains that once a year, Bulbasaurs from around the world get together and evolve. Even though this is completely different from all other established pokemon, except that one time those eight hundred Kakuna evolved at the same time and attacked Ash. Joy explains to the heroes that somewhere out there is the mysterious garden of the Bulbasaur, which Ash says he wants to see.
At night, Bulbasaur sneaks out of the pokemon center and follows some CGI sparkles to the forest, while Pikachu talks to him. Bulbasaur gets vine whipped himself by about seven nearby Bulbasaur and dragged off, but he tells Pikachu not to follow him.
Pikachu runs back to Ash and needlessly shocks him awake and there's an admittedly funny scene where Pikachu imitates Bulbasaur to tell Ash what's happened.
Team Rocket is following the sparkles, too, and gets attacked by the Bulbasaur when they try to capture them. The heroes follow the sparkles, which Brock claims is pollen but yeah no, and the heroes eventually find the titular mysterious garden. The Bulbasaurs eventually bring to life a huge-ass tree, and out of the tree comes a Venusaur, the least cool of the gen 1 starters. The heroes secretly watch the Bulbasaurs in the most obvious way possible, in that kind of cartoon stealth fashion that would never work in real life. Eventually, after chanting "Saaaaauuuuuurrrrrr!" like eighty times, the Bulbasaurs start to evolve, all of them except Ash's Bulbasaur, who is apparently making a conscious decision not to evolve. The Venusaur confronts Bulbasaur, and they get into an incomprehensible subtitle-less argument. When Venusaur attacks Bulbasaur, Ash gets involved, and this is of course angers all of the Ivysaurs and Venusaur. Despite humans showing up and completely breaking their tradition, the Venusaur is apparently annoyed more at Bulbasaur not evolving than anything else. Ash eventually convinces Venusaur that if Bulbasaur doesn't want to evolve, that's his choice, and I have to admit that I enjoy the sight of Venusaur using its powers in the most ridiculous, obviously bling way to try to convince Bulbasaur of how cool it can be if it's an Ivysaur.
Well, Team Rocket shows up again in their Meowth balloon, this time equipped with a vacuum that starts kidnapping Ivysaurs. Venusaur tries to rescue as many as possible, but it can only rescue a few. Somehow, Bulbasaur isn't sucked up despite being lighter than Ivysaurs, who knows. Bulbasaur finally gets annoyed enough to learn Solar Beam and it uses it to destroy the balloon and rescue the Ivysaurs. Impressed, the Venusaur thanks Bulbasaur, and Bulbasaur decides not to evolve.
It's really not explained why Bulbasaur doesn't evolve. Pikachu has a reason for choosing not to evolve, and also is the franchise's mascot, but Bulbasaur? It doesn't really have any reason. It's also a little odd that Charmander's and Charmeleon's evolutions were given a few minutes at the end of their episodes, while Bulbasaur gets an entire episode just about choosing not to evolve.
Overall, a solid episode.
Princess versus PrincessEdit
"I don't think I'm tough enough to be a woman."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
The heroes are at the Princess Festival, during which girls are in charge apparently, so Ash and Brock have to carry around Misty's stuff as she buys stuff even though the heroes' relative poverty is often a plot point. Jessie does similar things with James. During the festival, Jessie finds a Lickitung, which steals her food. I don't if I've mentioned this before, but I consider Lickitung to be the single worst RBY pokemon. I really hate the design and gimmick.
Anyway, Jessie catches the Lickitung in revenge for eating her food, but I'm not really sure what else you'd expect from a tongue with a creature attached to it.
In the next scene, James gives us the quote I used for this episode. You just make it too easy for me sometimes, James. Regardless, there's going to be a contest for the girls, with the winner getting to meet a movie star and getting some dolls. Jessie and Misty of course both enter while a creepy judge with a Latin accent judges them. Again, I know I've mentioned this before, but isn't Misty a young teenager at the oldest, yet she's in a contest with Jessie? How old is Jessie? At least in her mid twenties, right?
Anyway, the contest also involves pokemon battling, so Ash and Brock lend Misty Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Vulpix (with Misty using her Staryu, because **** you Starmie, that's why) because you can use up to four pokemon and Misty only has water types. Jessie takes Weezing and Meowth to fill up her roster, and there is a funny scene where Jessie stares into Meowth eyes until he freaks out and has to fight for her.
As you've already guessed, the finals are Misty and Jessie because they're main characters. Jessie flashes back to being a little girl and hating the Princess Festival because she had no dolls, so that's why she wants these dolls. James, who also never got to play with dolls in the Princess Festival despite wanting to, wishes her luck, and Jessie decides, for once, to fight fair.
Pikachu easily knocks out Arbok, Weezing, and Meowth, before Jessie remembers she has a Lickitung. Surprisingly, it manages to defeat Pikachu by licking it. It's probably a good thing that James was off screen as Jessie, by proxy, licked something into unconscious.
Anyway, Lickitung proves to be surprisingly competent, taking down Bulbasaur and Vulpix effortlessly. It comes down to Misty's Psyduck, whom she accidentally summons. Psyduck is apparently immune to being licked. Unfortunately, Psyduck also can't attack, and starts to get a headache. It eventually uses Confusion, which defeats Lickitung.
Overall, a solid episode that focuses on Misty and Jessie and instead of Ash. Also, I'm a little confused, Jessie had Lickitung in an earlier episode, didn't she? Did they get shuffled out of order or something? Eh. I don't like Lickitung (though I think it's genius compared to its evolution), but this episode was a pretty good showcase episode for it.
The Purr-fect HeroEdit
"Team Rocket may be rotten cheaters, but we're not in the business of destroying childrens' dreams! At least not yet."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The part with the wild Meowth licking itself
The heroes are walking on a path, and they see some pokemon banners on a pole, and they're happy because it's apparently "Kid's Day." Misty mentions that she'd like to play around on Kid's Day, but Ash insists that they're busy because they need to reach Cinnabar Gym, they don't have time for filler.
A preschool teacher shows up and tells them she's been expecting them, but then gets a phone call. Apparently she had ordered some pokemon trainers to come visit and have the preschoolers play with their pokemon, so the heroes volunteer to let the kids play with them.
The kids start messing with Pikachu, who of course tries to murder them. Luckily Ash saves them by grabbing him at the last second.
In a display of uncharacteristic wisdom, the heroes bring out every pokemon they have except Charizard. The heroes notice that one little boy, Timmy, isn't playing with the others. He isn't scared of pokemon, it's just that the only pokemon he wants to meet is a Meowth, because he was saved by a Meowth once as a really little kid.
Team Rocket shows up to the four year-olds in a van (...) with a "pokemon magic show" (they're disguised). Also, really, James?
They ask Pikachu to come into their mysterious magic box, and out comes Meowth. This of course excites the little kid, and Team Rocket starts their motto, but the kids get in the way. Eventually the little kid accidentally frees Pikachu without realizing it and gets trapped in the box, and the teacher discovers Timmy is missing in roughly ten seconds after looking "all over the school!" Really, now.
Anyway, Timmy mistakes Meowth for the Meowth that saved him. Jessie and James feel bad for the kid, so Meowth agrees to pretend to be wild Meowth for the kid. Also, look at this.
Tell me James doesn't have on his rape face as he looks at the little kid, and tell me Jessie doesn't look like she's going to let him. The kid, for his part, clearly doesn't know what's going on, but he can still sense something is wrong.
Anyway, Jessie and James pretend they're going to get the little kid while Meowth pretends to defend him. Timmy leads Meowth back to the school, and for some reason, everyone believes it's the wild Meowth and don't realize it's obviously Team Rocket's Meowth until he accidentally says "That's right." Meowth runs off (I just noticed this preschool is in a forest with no roads nearby, who drops their kids off here?) and the heroes and Timmy chase Meowth to a dead end in a canyon thing. Team Rocket challenges Ash to a fight, so he brings out Pidgeotto and Onix takes out Onix. You'd think Team Rocket might eventually catch a new pokemon, but over the course of fifty-three episodes, it's captured exactly one pokemon.
Ash and Timmy are about to be killed by a boulder when the real wild Meowth shows up and destroys it. In the end, Meowth joins Timmy, and the episode ends with everything being happy.
OR IS IT?!
Yes, it is.
Case of the K-9 CaperEdit
"We'll be the richest criminals of all time! The Queen, the King, the Cat of all Crime!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
The heroes are walking through a forest (of course) and the narrator taunts us again, making it clear that we'll never get to see Ash fight Blaine.
Officer Jenny yells out "Stop, thief!" and a guy comes by with a bag. Ash has Pikachu shock him, but he has a gun. I actually checked, and it turns out this episode was broadcast normally, unlike The Legend of Dratini. Apparently the reason it got to be broadcast was that the guy just flashes the gun and doesn't point at someone. Even by insane anime translation standards, the standards that do things like digitally replace cigarettes with candy canes, that's pretty insane. Does not pointing the gun at someone appreciably reduce the level of firearm-based violence among children who watch Pokemon?
Fortunately, there's no time to consider this obvious question, as Officer Jenny has her Growlithe tackle the guy and Pikachu shocks the guy. Suddenly there are a ton of Growlithes surrounding the heroes, apparently thinking that they, too, are thieves.
Jenny reveals that the thief is actually a police officer, and that he was helping to train some Growlithes in the "canine police unit." As it happens, I know that attacking a police officer under any circumstances, even if he attacks you first, is pretty much the easiest way to get yourself arrested other than keying a cop's car, but eh, as this is Japan (where they eat riceball-shaped donuts) I suppose my knowledge of that little factoid is useless.
The heroes muse on how Growlithes must be the perfect police pokemon, even though we saw a town earlier that made all of its money on evolution stones and an Arcanine would obviously be much more useful than a Growlithe. All is forgiven, of course, and Jenny introduces the heroes to the Growlithes. Team Rocket watches on, thinking about how much Giovanni would love "police-trained pokemon." Really, Jessie? You really think a monster would like to be introduced to dogs that breathe fire and live on justice? Do you really think that?
Jenny cooks some food for the heroes, and you know what, I don't care what anyone thinks, I'll just say it. There are almost no situations in which chopsticks are better than forks. Except for themed restaurants, I don't get why anyone continues to use chopsticks for anything. They're terrible.
Jenny mentions that Pikachu shouldn't have tried to attack a thief with a gun because a pokemon needs special training to fight real weapons (I love that Nuzlocke comic where Lt. Surge flashes back to his Raichu fighting during the war), so Ash wants Pikachu to train with the police for a bit. I like how even though Bulbasaur is closer to Growlithe in practically every way except that shooting electricity is probably closer to shooting fire, down to personality and fighting stance, Ash still only considers Pikachu. Jenny puts Pikachu and Ash through the training; Jenny's philosophy is that a pokemon won't respect its trainer if he or she asks it to do something he or she won't do. Really, Jenny? How often to you tackle monsters that can shoot lightning and create hurricanes? And Ash is freaking ten, you crazy... person.
Somehow, even though Ash is ten and Jenny is a trained adult, he outruns Jenny, but Jenny still gets ahead of him. I especially love the scene where they have to climb a wall: Growlithe and Jenny climb it off-screen because there's no possible way to animate a dog climbing a wall. Anyway, Ash can't climb it, so the course ends in failure, and Ash realizes that Pikachu doesn't especially care enough to complete the course and prove it's as good as a Growlithe.
Team Rocket shows up and are surrounded by the Growlithes, but surprise-surprise, they planned for it and-- woah, I never payed attention to how short Officer Jenny's skirt is.
Somehow, Jenny forgets the police are allowed to have guns, so she can do nothing as Team Rocket gases everyone and-- what. Officer Jenny arrests Team Rocket for "trespassing." Keep in mind that they've already broken a wall and announced their intent to steal the Growlithes and use them to rob banks, and she arrests them for "trespassing?" Eh, the gas makes the humans' voices get high and squeaky so that the Growlithes don't recognize Jenny's orders, even though Island of the Giant Pokemon established pokemon as intelligent, sentient beings and they shouldn't be so easily tricked. Jessie and James then dress as Officer Jenny (yes, James wears a miniskirt) and use a voice synthesizer to command the Growlithe. I have to admit, as far as cartoon villain plans go, that's not half-bad. The Growlithe then arrest Jenny, and surround the heroes, and it takes Ash several seconds to remember he can use pokemon to battle them. Somehow, everyone forgot to bring their pokeballs even though there was literally no reason not to bring them, so they only have Togepi and Pikachu.
Jessie then dresses as Ash and uses the voice synthesizer to sound like Ash (why would it even have an Ash setting? I can believe they found one with an Officer Jenny setting because she's in every town in Kanto, but Ash?), and fortunately, I didn't have to explode when Pikachu believed Jessie, because Pikachu recognizes the trick and stays with Ash. Jessie tries to have the Growlithes attack Pikachu, but some repeated frames and and off screen electricity later (no joke), Pikachu's defeated-- none of them? They're just annoyed? What?
Fortunately, by this time, Jenny's freed herself, but her voice is still squeaky. A Growlithe attacks her, but when she defends herself, it realizes in a flashback (of scenes we've obviously never seen before) that she's the real Jenny. I really have to wonder what would happen if they met another Officer Jenny, would they be confused? Eh. The Growlithes attack Team Rocket, and they run off.
In the end, Brock uses a voice synthesizer to have himself compliment himself in Jenny's voice, in what it admittedly kind of funny.
Overall, a pretty solid episode. Its strengths outweigh its weaknesses, I think, so I liked it.
"I need protein!" - James
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Nope
So the heroes are eating rice balls, and this time, they actually do say "rice balls." I don't even know, man. I don't even know. I think it may be because we see Brock make one, and its construction can't be mistaken for a donut, but I don't know.
A weird guy watches them from the bushes, and we get a weird flash of everyone being shot or something? The construction of this scene makes it really hard to tell, but I think Ash imagined his friends being killed, so he tells everyone to run for cover. Of course, we know it's a camera because of the title. Brock and Misty start chewing Ash out for making them move, so Ash decides to check the bushes.
The guy's camera is almost destroyed by Squirtle, but don't worry, it's alright. What an important detail for this show to mention. I'm glad they went into that. The guy's name is "Snap," and he introduces himself as a photographer. Ash's response? Turning his hands into fists and growling "Come on!" Our hero, ladies and gentlemen. He wants to be the Number One Photo Master, and to prove it, he produces a picture he once took of an Aerodactyl, from a previous episode, and Ash shows that he's in the picture, which Snap thinks is hilarious. Snap offers to make them breakfast even though they just ate rice balls and it's clearly around noon. Anyway, Snap wants to keep taking Pikachu's picture, but knowing his picture is being taken messes with Pikachu. Misty asks the dumbest question ever, which I'll so kindly provide.
"Why does it matter whether the pokemon pose or not?"
Inexplicably, to prove his point, Snap points to pictures of pokemon in their natural habitats that are clearly posing for the camera.
Besides, if he wants pokemon acting naturally, why would he want a trained Pikachu's pictures?
Snap insists he needs a picture of Pikachu, but he can't say why. And he keeps acting in the most intimidating way possible toward Pikachu, just to ensure he'll hate him. A flashback reveals Team Rocket (in disguises) asked him to capture pokemon, but from the scene, it becomes clear that Team Rocket meant "capture" as in "steal" and Snap mistook their meaning for "capture" as in "take a picture of."
Snap keeps following the group as they walk, but keeps screwing it up. Team Rocket is building a trap for the heroes, yet another pit hole. Without seeing the trap, Snap sets up his camera equipment to wait for Pikachu, and we see that Pikachu is hiding in Ash's backpack to avoid Snap. Ash loudly says that Snap doesn't understand the feelings of the pokemon he takes pictures of, which clearly hurts Snap. The heroes fall into Team Rocket's trap, of course, so Snap goes to it. Team Rocket, still thinking he intends to physically capture Pikachu, watch and wait, assuming he'll take him from the now-helpless Ash.
Hey Team Rocket, let me give you some advice. If a character looks heroic and he's in a cartoon, he's not going to be on your side. He is, in fact, going to be a hero, especially if he's young and his personality and abilities contrast the establish heroes. Oh, look at that, Snap even has large, idealistic hero eyes, come on, Jessie and James, keep it together here.
Snap agrees to help them out of the hole, but Team Rocket sees his camera and realizes the mistake. Does the pun work in Japanese, too? I would have assumed it was specific to English, but apparently not.
Snap sees that the bottom of the pit is crumbling, because Team Rocket apparently accidentally built the hole over the part of a dam where water is run through (don't ask how that's possible), but they fall through anyway. Luckily, Snap is able to rescue them.
Team Rocket shows up in their disguises and undisguises, kidnapping Pikachu. James then attempts to murder Ash with a bomb because why not. Ash tricks Team Rocket into having their picture taken by him using Snap's camera, which allows James' other bomb to go off in their faces. He then summons Bulbasaur, who defeats Team Rocket.
In the end, Snap joins the group. Well duh, I warned you, Team Rocket.
The Ultimate TestEdit
"How much skill does it take to win a match against Team Rocket?"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: A few bits, like James guessing "Pokeball" when he sees a round shadow, but not most of it
The heroes are eating a picnic, during which Misty both points out how long it's been since Ash got a badge (implicitly pointing out the ridiculous amount of filler in this show) and mentions how Ash only legitimately won two or possibly three of his badges (pointing out incompetent he is). Snap suggests Ash try to take the Pokemon League Admissions Exam to prove his skill. It's a skill and knowledge exam that, if you pass, you don't have to bother with the gyms.
Just imagine something like this in the games. You can either fight eight gym leaders or answer a series of questions and skip almost the entire game.
Team Rocket is also at the testing center. The guy informs Ash that he can't use his pokemon during the exam, so he takes everything except Pikachu, who goes with Ash. The group also meets a Nurse Joy, who wants to become a legitimate pokemon master on her own. She explains that the test is really for people who can't travel for various reasons, which of course means Ash is essentially just trying to BS his way through not having to go to the remaining gyms. Jesus Ash, there are only two left at this point. After all the effort you went through just for the Marsh Badge alone, I would have thought you'd give up at nothing to defeat the gyms.
The first test is just a series of questions, during which we see that Jesse is just aiming for 50% (that's not a good score, man) and Ash is a complete idiot.
The second test is a parody of the Who's That Pokemon?! segments between commercials, with a perfectly round shadow being a Jigglypuff seen from above, as opposed to Ash and Jesse thinking Voltorb and Electrode. I have to admit, it's a funny moment. He then asks other completely insane questions like which direction the swirl on a Poliwag's stomach goes. Jesse gets annoyed at the insane questions and runs off, planning revenge. Unsurprisingly, it turns out Ash got the lowest score... at 0%. But we see him correctly identify Ninetales as evolving from Vulpix earlier, don't we? Eh.
The third test is a battle using rented pokemon, during which Brock creepily has Snap shoot some pictures of Nurse Joy ordering around a Squirtle. James is kicked out when he pulls out two pokemon at once because double parts are against the rules (...). Ash beats a Flareon with a Weezing, with James taking notes on his techniques (okay, that's pretty funny, I admit). Next is Ash's Arbok against a Jolteon, but Ash doesn't know Arbok as well as he knows Weezing and loses. By this point it was easy to guess Ash's last pokemon, a Meowth, of course. I know the joke is that Ash happened to get Team Rocket's pokemon, but all of the others were evolved, so why doesn't he have a Persian?
Eh, Meowth is countered with Vaporeon, who effortlessly defeats it.
Regardless, we now see Team Rocket's plan is to steal some pokemon from the test and use them against the instructor. Really? You guys could have just taken the pokemon and left! The instructor tricks the pokemon into attacking Team Rocket, who are easily defeated when Ash needlessly trashes the arena with an explosion attack. Ash decides he doesn't need the test anymore and wants to legitimately the badges because this way the show will go on longer and they can make more episodes to watch.
Overall, a very good episode. We see a lot of battling, which, let's be honest, is really the core of the show, and there are lot of humorous moments as well.
The Breeding Center SecretEdit
"To infect the world with devastation! To blight all peoples in every nation! To denounce the goodness of truth and love! To extend our wrath to the stars above! Cassidy! Butch! We're Team Rocket, circling Earth all day and night! Surrender to us now, or you will surely lose the fight! That's right!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The pokemon in the cages, Snap's camera flash alerting Butch to his location, and Team Rocket, the heroes being in the same cage with Team Rocket, and Misty giving Officer Jenny the wrong photos
The heroes are taking a break while Snap takes some pictures of Togepi. They see a huge screen, on which is an ad for a breeding center that boasts it can make your pokemon evolve in just a few short days with pampering. The thought of animals breeding of course excites Brock, but what surprises me is that it also excites Misty and Snap. Brock sees an older woman who runs the center, so yeah, he starts acting like Brock. The woman keeps talking about love power, but only Misty suspects something is wrong. Knowing something might be wrong and that they might be hurting their pokemon, Misty of course chooses to give them Psyduck. I know she doesn't like Psyduck, but hell, Misty, Psyduck has won most of its battles and helped you out when that guy with the Farfetch'd stole your pokemon, and you still hate it? There's really nothing else Psyduck can do for you.
The heroes come across an All You Can Eat for Free ad, and the chef says they can only have the free food if they can show him his favorite pokemon. He reveals that his favorite pokemon is Psyduck, so the heroes run back to grab Psyduck, but the building is closed even though it's been minutes since there was a huge throng of people in front of it and there's no way they've all been served already.
Misty insists on getting into the building anyway, so she breaks into the building. I know this is a weird thing to mention, but Brock uses a flashlight to find their way in the darkness even though literally every other time they needed a light they used Charmander. It's not brought up, but I guess if you want to read too much into it, you can claim Brock recognized that Charizard is too much of a pain to bring out for small stuff anymore and bought the flashlight. Anyway, the pokemon that were left in the building are in tiny cages in the dark, and I especially love how Misty asks "What is this?" and Brock responds "It's the pokemon," as if she didn't know what pokemon are.
We then see a conveyer belt takes the pokemon to the woman from earlier, who muses that a Sandshrew will only be useful if it knows Fury Swipes. Yes, because that's definitely one of the better moves in RBY. It becomes clear that the woman, and her male counterpart, are stealing the pokemon sent here. Snap suggests taking pictures of the place and publicizing them, even though they can just bring out their pokemon and destroy everything and free the prisoners. Everyone thinks it's a good idea anyway.
A scene reveals that these two are also working for Team Rocket, and are named Butch and Cassidy. Butch goes to check out a flash from Snap's camera, and the heroes cower in a corner as he opens the door even though they can just pull out their own pokemon and kick his ass. They instead use Pikachu to pretend he was making a flash trying to break out of a cage.
Team Rocket sneaks into the center, thinking it's a real pokemon breeding center, wanting to steal the pokemon inside. Ash confronts them, and they make so much noise that Butch and Cassidy show up and do their own motto, which I've written up there. Team Rocket complains that Butch and Cassidy stole their motto, which they admit they themselves stole. The heroes try to run off, and-- wait, James mentions that his Weepinbell evolved into a Victreebell, but when the hell did he get a Weepinbell? When the hell did that happen? As Team Rocket tries to leave, Butch and Cassidy trap them in a cage, which they also do to all of the heroes except Misty.
Butch and Cassidy give the heroes and Team Rocket to Officer Jenny, and somehow, despite proving to be very competent earlier, forgot about Misty. Misty decides that with the camera, she can prove Ash's innocence. She goes back to the breeding center, asks for Psyduck back, and has Pikachu run in for the camera, which Butch confiscated earlier. Cassidy gives Misty back her Psyduck just as Pikachu grabs the camera, so she runs out with the camera and her pokemon. Meanwhile, James boasts of how his Victreebell is "big and strong and health-looking, friendly too!" It's really too easy with him.
Misty gives Jenny the photos proving Butch and Cassidy are thieves (we also see that she agrees that Squirtle looks best with sunglasses, as she's got a picture of him with them), and suddenly Jenny is indignant and comes back to the breeding center. For some reason, as she gets there, Butch and Cassidy are standing around in their Team Rocket uniforms, which means that between her last scene and this scene, Cassidy changes out of her scientist uniform for no reason whatsoever. Cassidy sends out Raticate, who loses easily to Pikachu, and Bulbasaur captures the bad guys.
Somehow, Jenny reminds the heroes that they go to the All You Can Eat buffet even though there's no reason she would know about it. Meanwhile, Team Rocket proves that they're extremely good at diggin holes as they escape their prison cell despite the floor being made of concrete.
For no real reason, Snap leaves the group to go take pictures in the mountains as the heroes head to Cinnabar Island. Because... a pokemon picture expert would definitely want to see wild pokemon in a mountain more than Ash battle Blaine, right? Right?
Todd, you do know that you're only going to see Zubats and Geodudes, man, right? It's a mountain. You'll be lucky if the programmers bothered to add a third of pokemon to it.
Riddle Me ThisEdit
"I'm so hungry, I could eat a Horsea!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Gary's explanation of Cinnabar Island, Blaine's riddle, Blaine being the hippie, that line by Ash
Gah, Ash, don't all CD-I Zelda on us.
Finally, finally, we return to the plot. Holy hell, we're actually at the plot again.
The heroes are on a boat traveling to Cinnabar Island. Personally, I think it would have been cooler if we'd seen Ash and Misty teach their water types Surf and then had them turn into Laprases to take them across the ocean, but okay. Somehow, Gary is also on the boat, and no one noticed him earlier despite them clearly being out on sea.
Gary explains that pokemon trainers haven't gone to Cinnabar Island since Oak's younger days, and everyone else on the boat is a tourist. But if no one has earned a badge at this gym for decades, wouldn't its official gym status be ah screw it. Gary explains that he's just taking a break at the resort on the island.
When they reach the island (Jigglypuff is shown to have followed them on the boat), it becomes clear that Gary didn't lie, and the entire island is a tourist trap. This makes no sense. Tourist traps only work if people know of them, so how could the heroes be surprised by Cinnabar Island's status? If no word comes out of Cinnabar Island, how did they even find out there was a gym at all?
Brock wonders what makes Cinnabar Island so popular, and an old hippie gives him a riddle for an answer, "What do tourists think is hot and cool?" Misty figures it out, "hot springs," while Ash is again an idiot. The old hippie complains that the tourists took over the island because of the hot springs, explaining that trainers don't even come anymore.
The hippie explains that Blaine's gym is where you put your glasses, "Right in front of your eyes," and shows them an old, abandoned building, saying Blaine left the gym. The hippie gives Ash a card for his hotel, the "Big Riddle Inn," and Misty points out that it's odd that someone who hates tourists runs a hotel. The heroes also check out the Cinnabar Island Lab, which turns out to be just more stuff for tourists. They clearly hate this, but resign to spend the night in the pokemon center. Team Rocket watches on, thinking they can steal some pokemon from the lab.
Unfortunately, Nurse Joy says the center can't house any more visitors, and no hotel will let them in. I especially love this one guy whose mouth isn't even animated. He just telepathically tells Ash "Sorry, nothing here," I guess, because he certainly didn't say it. Gary taunts them for having no hotel, but he gets his comeuppance when Jigglypuff turns out to be the evening's entertainment. You really have to wonder how Jigglypuff even got a hotel to book it. Did it call up the hotel and say "Jigg, Jigglypuff, Jigg, Jigg?"
Brock finally remembers the old hippie's card, and "If you look at me swing, you'll be hands, or at least my face" is written on it. Misty figures out it means a clock, so they go to a nearby hotel with a huge clock.
Team Rocket shows up and starts kidnapping the pokemon in the Pokemon Lab, so Ash shows up and frees them. That was, uh, pretty fast. The entire trial of this episode starts and is dealt with in thirty seconds.
The old hippie rewards Ash with information: "Blaine built a gym where tourists could never see; it's in the place where firefighters could never win." The heroes think about it in a hot spring, and Togepi accidentally trips a secret cave entrance, which the heroes walk down. Inside is, of course, the gym, and it's revealed the riddle's answer is "a volcano," and the old hippie reveals he's Blaine. I wonder why the others never fight gym leaders, too. It's not like they lose anything by trying, so after Ash does it, why wouldn't, say, Brock challenge Koga just for the experience?
Eh, Ash challenges Blaine, and Blaine throws out Ninetales, so Ash sends out Squirtle. Because Ash is terrible, Blaine still wins. Ash decides puns are as clever as he can get, so he throws out Charizard to "fight fire with fire" (his own words). Blaine takes out Rhydon, because Rhydons are well known for their fire type. It doesn't matter, though, because Charizard won't battle for Ash, and instead just takes a nap. With no one left, Ash sends out Pikachu. I'm looking forward to the line. I know it's coming. I know what Ash is about to say. What? Ash never actually says "Aim for the horn?" Aw, what a goddamn gyp. He only says "Pikachu The horn!" I was really looking forward to that. Rhydon goes down, of course.
Blaine sends out Magmar on the grounds that Magmortar hasn't been invented yet. Magmar proves too powerful for regular electrical attacks, and as Magmar sends out a huge fire blast, the episode ends.
This episode has both good and bad points. The battle with Blaine is well done, but Team Rocket is just so forced and unnecessary that I don't really know what to say about them. Their only purpose is to create a problem that Ash solves to impress Blaine.
"'Under the volcano' is part of the volcano, too!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Pikachu hanging onto the edge of the arena
We get a recap of the previous episode and-- wait, why did Blaine recall Ninetales before it fainted in the previous episode? Eh. We also get a clip of Ash saying something that he absolutely did not say in the previous episode, "You'll feel 100% soon, Pikachu!"
Pikachu barely survives the attack, and though he wants to continue, Ash calls off the match. Blaine then says that if Ash had continued the match, he would have been disqualified as a pokemon trainer. Really. You're the guy who built a secret underground gym inside of a volcano, surrounded the arena with lava, and used it to implicitly threaten ten year-olds' pets, and haven't handed out a badge in decades, and you're threatening to get him disqualified? **** you, Blaine. Ash decides that nothing is going to stop him from getting the badge, and for once, I hope he succeeds, because Blaine just proved himself to be way more evil than Team Rocket ever was. Brock points out that there are other gyms, none of which hang over lava, and while Ash concedes the point, he still wants the badge.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket comes up with a plan to steal Magmar: go into the gym and freeze it with a freeze gun. Nevermind how they found out about the gym, I don't know. The plan works as well as you'd think freezing an animal made out of fire would. After some lavatory-based puns that are bad even even by the show's standards, the heroes and Blaine reach the gym, who have fired their freeze guns so many times that the lava is now frozen. Blaine says that this could set off a chain reaction inside of the volcano and cause an eruption. The gym is destroyed, and Blaine comes up with a plan to have his fire pokemon throw rocks in the way of the lava and stop the lava flow. Ash asks Charizard to help, so Brock throws out his own fire-type-- nah, I'm just screwing with you. Magmar can't do it alone, so after an art shift to show Magmar looking heroic,
Charizard finally decides to help, and grabs a boulder Charizard may hate Ash, but what about all of those other people who will be killed if the volcano erupts? Charizard silently decides to assassinate Ash in a volcano-related "accident" another day. Bizarrely, Brock sends out his rock pokemon to help with moving the rocks and Misty and Ash their water pokemon to keep them cool, because this is intense heat even for a fire pokemon, but Brock still doesn't send out his Vulpix. I admit, Vulpix is too small to lift the boulders that Magmar and Charizard lift (also, why doesn't Blaine send out his Ninetales?), but it could still help a little. By the way, Onix throws more boulders than everyone else put together, showing that, as Magmar almost succeeded by itself earlier, if Brock had just used Onix at the beginning, this would ended immediately. The pokemon succeed, of course, and Magmar and Charizard gain respect for each other.
Blaine offers Ash another chance, which actually makes some goddamn sense. I've mentioned this before, but Ash only beat Lt. Surge and Koga, with Brock being defeated by a sprinkler, Misty's battle never finishing, Sabrina being stopped from battling by Haunter, and Erika giving Ash a badge as a reward, but not an award. So despite being a horrible person, Blaine is still one of the better gym leaders we've seen so far.
Charizard and Magmar's respect turns into rivalry, so Blaine takes Ash to the top of the volcano and only then challenges him to a fight. What if Ash had refused to battle over an active volcano? What then? Then you just hiked up a gigantic-ass volcano for nothing, Blaine. Good work.
Ash agrees, of course, and they agree to a one-on-one duel. Charizard volunteers to fight Magmar because he's Ash's most pokemon. But it's made clear that Charizard is fighting Magmar on his own behalf, not Ash's, so I really don't think Blaine should give Ash a badge ah screw it.
I really can't say much for this next sequence, as it's just Magmar and Charizard fighting. Sure, I could point out how it makes no sense that Charizard doesn't just fly out reach and attack from there, but whatever. Magmar drags Charizard into the lava, and when Ash points out that that's against the rules (almost as illegal as electrocuting a sprinkler system until it defeats an Onix for you), Blaine responds that as Ash agreed to the volcano as the duelling ground, it's still legal. Hey, Blaine, Ash agreed to duel "right here on the volcano," not "right here in the volcano." What the hell is with you and knocking things into lava, anyway? I get that you have a theme, but come on. Also, Magmar didn't drag Charizard under the volcano, it dragged him into ah screw it.
Magmar made one mistake, however, in that it forgot how Charizard is the pokemon of a protagonist, so Charizard escapes the lava, takes Magmar above the volcano and spins around (by the way, Charizard starts spinning around the planet at one point, so I'm not really sure what to say about that), and throws Magmar to the ground, defeati-- oh, no. The fight is still going on. Well, okay then. Magmar strikes a karate pose before realizing it's too weak to fight, and falls over unconscious. Charizard decides to celebrate his victory by frying Ash and spitting fire out at the sky.
A solid episode with a gym battle that both makes sense and is actually concluded. I don't really know what to say.
Beach Blank-Out BlastoiseEdit
"My paws need a pause!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
The heroes are running to catch the last ferry off of Cinnabar Island, when Ash runs into a Wartortle. Wartorlte starts saying something, so it's only Pikachu who thinks to send out Squirtle.
By the way, check out this amazing animation here.
Wartortle tells Squirtle something, who puts on his ridiculously awesome sunglasses and follows Wartortle into the ocean. Ash decides to grab a boat and follow them, and I guess they steal a boat because they're only a few feet behind Squirtle in the next scene, meaning there was no time to find out legitimately. They're led to an island that's not on any map while Team Rocket follows in their submarine.
We really aren't given a reason for Squirtle to put on its sunglasses other than that the animators wanted to differentiate it from the other Squirtles in the episode, but they oddly don't do anything similar for the "main" Wartortle and all of the other ones. Dunno.
Squirtle and Wartortle run to a clearing on the island in which dozens of Squirtles and Wartortles, and a Blastoise, are sleeping. Ash goes up to it, but when he touches it, he immediately falls asleep. Squirtle touches it, too, and it falls asleep immediately. Surprisingly, Brock and Misty prove wise enough to not touch anything-- nah, I'm just screwing with you. They still touch Ash, but luckily they don't fall asleep, too. Pikachu wakes up everyone with an electric shock, save for Blastoise. Ash claims that when you touch Blastoise, you hear weird music that makes you fall asleep. Team Rocket looks on, planning to capture the Blastoise.
Brock pieces together the story: this is a turtle pokemon haven which Blastoise rules, their king, but Blastoise didn't come back after swimming a few days ago. They found Blastoise in the ocean and dragged it back to shore, whereupon they all fell asleep. Even though we clearly saw the Squirtles and Wartortles were asleep in a clearing, not the beach. Whatever. Luckily, one Wartortle realized what was happening and went to find help on "the mainland," even though it went to Cinnabar Island.
Brock inspects Blastoise, who promptly wakes up. His cannons (by the way, Blastoise is the best fully evolved starter), come out, and inside of one is stuck a pink blob, which you've already guessed is a Jigglypuff, singing to itself to avoid boredom. Now that half of itself is out of Blastoise's cannon, its song is much clearer, and everyone falls asleep again. Team Rocket shows up and sends Meowth to catch the Blastoise. Meowth falls asleep as he gets near it, and James grabs him using a rope, but he still won't wake up. Jessie then remembers they have a giant plumber attached to their submarine for some reason, and uses it to grab Blastoise. With Blastoise (and Jigglypuff) now gone, everyone is able to wake up. Ash's Squirtle gets all of the Squirtles and Wartortles to work together, as they're all very impressed by his sunglasses. By the way, I didn't make that up, that's the explanation in the show itself. The Squirtles and Wartortles go into the ocean following Team Rocket's trail (in the ocean, yes), and at the same time, Team Rocket starts arguing about who gets the credit for Blastoise. They accidentally pierce a hole in the submarine, through which Jigglypuff's song makes it, so they all go to sleep as it sinks. Luckily the Squirtles and Wartortles show up and rescue the sub, the heroes rescue Team Rocket, and they run away when they think the Squirtles are going to attack. They then reveal the submarine has a tank function that's immune to water gun (the only attack most of them know), so Brock gets out Onix to trip the tank-- nah, I'm just messing with you. Only Blastoise can defeat the tank, so Ash orders Squirtle and Pikachu to attack Blastoise and wake it up. The attack forces Jigglypuff out of Blastoise, who can now wake up.
As the best starter evolution in the franchise, Blastoise goes right up to the tank. Most people would use a cannon to defeat a tank, but Blastoise? Screw that, it just uses its bare hands.
Overall, a great episode.
The Misty MermaidEdit
"Ooh! A ballet. I'd like to see that." - James
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
Every so often, I wonder if it's unfair that I take so many of James' quotes out of context, but then he does something like this.
Amazingly, the heroes only needed one filler episode to reach Viridian City. I'm honestly impressed. Unfortunately, it's still a filler episode.
We start with Brock admonishing Misty for so rarely letting Horsea swim outside of fountains they visit. Hey, Brock, remember when you were traveling around the ocean one episode ago? Goddammit, man. And furthermore, I just checked the Wiki, and it says Brock is fifteen. No. Freaking. Way. I can buy Ash and Misty being ten (I just checked the Wiki, the Japanese version says she's ten), but Brock looks much older than fifteen. Eh.
The group agrees to leave Viridian City arghhhhhh and go to Cerulean City to get Horsea some exercise and visit Misty's sisters. When they reach the gym, there's an ad for an "underwater ballet," and Misty's sisters immediately go all over Ash. Misty, annoyed at this, puts Horsea in a pool.
Misty's sisters tell her that she's in the underwater ballet as the star. They have a problem: they've done so many shows that they can't make money anymore because everyone knows their act already, so they want Misty for a new show, which has already sold out. Really, Cerulean City? You sold out a gym so you could see a ten year-old swim? That's almost as creepy as James. Just James in general. Also, I brought this up the first time they appeared, but why would Misty's sisters have different accents from her?
They explain the ballet's plot: there's a mermaid and a sunken treasure, so two villains take her hostage. A prince rescues her, and they live happily ever after. Lots of water pokemon are in the show, too. Team Rocket discusses how they'd like to steal the pokemon in the show, so it's easy to see where this episode is going.
Misty now has her hair down (and it's far longer than her ponytail), and begins the show. I have to admit, they actually go out of their way to show Misty coming up for breath. Before her sisters go into action as the villains, Team Rocket shows up, ties them up, and takes their part in the show. James demands that next time, "We steal mens' clothes," but don't try to hide it, James. We all know damn well that you came up with the idea to dress as a ballerina. The audience loves Team Rocket's motto, and then they bring their Meowth balloon to steal the pokemon.
Ash's last sister, dressed as the prince, is about to go into the show, when Ash and Brock jump into it instead. Misty's two other sisters break out of the locker they're stashed in, and--
Wait, if Misty's sisters were all supposed to be in the show, who's narrating it? There's a valley girl accent narrator narrating everything ah screw it. Team Rocket sends out its pokemon to fight the heroes, and surprisingly "bubble attack" does exactly what you'd expect to Arbok: nothing at all. James' Weezing is too buoyant to fight underwater, but Arbok is still enough to defeat the heroes' pokemon. Somehow. Even though Arbok has consistently been useless in the past, and they're actually underwater. Anyway, Misty's sisters' Seel evolves into Dewgong and defeats Arbok. We also see that the pokedex can function underwater and not have its voice distorted because screw you physics.
After they pull the pokemon out of the water, Ash has Pikachu shock the completely helpless villains who can literally do nothing except breathe even though they could call the cops or something.
Well, the audience loves it, of course, and Misty's sisters ask for her Horsea and Starmie for the show because they don't have enough pokemon to replicate the show otherwise. Of course, I know why Misty really gave them her pokemon. It's because Misty needs room in her party for more new pokemon to make merchandise out of. Horsea was never popular and Starmie never pulled its weight in cuteness, so they were the ones who had to go.
"I hate people who have be the center of attention. Especially when they take everybody's attention away from us."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Pokemon droping out of trees as Jigglypuff walks by, Team Rocket's alien costumes, and Pikachu breaking its prison
More filler? Come on...
Jigglypuff is walking on a road, and things drop out of trees as it does so. A weird UFO-looking thing flies over it and crashes, and when a door opens, dozens of Clefairy are inside.
The heroes are eating some ice cream, and apparently Brock likes vanilla. Who knew? A Clefairy walks up to them and runs away, so the heroes chase after it, but lose it. Unfortunately, when the heroes return to their table, all of their stuff is gone. They go to report the theft to Officer Jenny, but there are hundreds of people complaining about thefts, but a lot of the thefts are of worthless things like buttons. Brock wonders out loud about this when a German scientist comes up and claims aliens are responsible. Seems like a missed opportunity for that guy from the Clefairy episode to show up again. A chef mentions that he saw something that looked like a UFO three nights ago, which Jenny confirms coincides with when the thefts started. The heroes and the scientist go to search for aliens because, you know, the plot.
Fortunately, after one minute of searching, a UFO lands in front of them and out come some aliens, who take Pikachu and start to fly away. I love how no one does anything as aliens with Jessie and James' voices take Pikachu. They reveal themselves to Pikachu, and start laughing because, you know, they're evil. Pidgeotto breaks their UFO, so they do the motto, but during it, a Clefairy shows up, and the scientist's scanner tells him that Clefairy and Jigglypuff, who shows up, are aliens. It then says Misty is an alien, so she breaks it. Clefairy takes Pikachu, still trapped a trap by Team Rocket, and runs. Jigglypuff chases it angrily, and the heroes do too. Clefairy ducks into a sewer, the most logical place for a fairy to go, of course. The heroes fall down the most improbably constructed sewer of all time,
And land in front of the spaceship from earlier next to a rocket. The scientist declares that the Clefairy will blasting off very soon, which he knows because... he...
The heroes find the Clefairy are stealing stuff to use for their rocket, and Ash refuses to let Pikachu be used as a power source by the Clefairy. The countdown for the rocket starts, so everyone except Brock runs to the rocket, while Brock goes to get Jenny. Team Rocket is also there somehow, thinking that if they steal both Pikachu and the rocket, Giovanni will love them.
The heroes find Pikachu guarded by a bunch of Clefairy, who all have blank, smiling faces as they refuse to let Ash pass.
They refuse to let Ash have Pikachu back, and while Ash to reason with them, Jigglypuff just goes up and starts beating the Clefairy up, apparently able to take them all on at the same time.
Jigglypuff and the scientist confront the head Clefairy, and we get a staredown. They start slap fighting, because what else are two cute pink pokemon going to do?
Jigglypuff finds it megaphone and puts everyone to sleep. Unfortately, the countdown is still going, so the rocket launches after it forces Pikachu, by automation, to shock the engine.
Meanwhile, Jenny refuses to believe Brock about the alien spaceship and Clefairy thieves when the ship launches literally twenty feet from her.
Pikachu breaks its prison and escapes, so Ash and Misty escape the spaceship with Bulbasaur's help, so the heroes wish the Clefairy luck as they leave. Unfortunately, they crash in another town and start stealing stuff all over again.
Really bad, pointless episode. It felt like someone wrote a bunch of Jigglypuff-centered scenes and then had to invent an excuse to show them.
The Battle of the BadgeEdit
"Who's got the force?! Gary, of course!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Jessie on the board between building roofs, Giovanni being unimpressed with Togepi, James setting up the gym to electrocute both contestants, and Brock saying they should visit Professor Oak
The heroes reach the Viridian Gym, and I'll give the show points for having Misty mention the Viridian Pokemon Center being up and running again, showing a little continuity.
They go in to see... Roman guards, apparently. Okay, sure. Ash is excited about getting his last badge (yep, this is almost the end of Ash's journey. Yeeeep. I'm not only 1/10th of the way through the anime, yeeeep.
Gary drives up and laughs at Ash just for the hell of it. He goes into the gym ahead of Ash, but the Roman guards (with New York accents) won't let more than one trainer in at a time. Ash complains that Gary might get ahead of him now, but Misty points out that Gary's always been ahead of him, obviously.
Through a convoluted series of events, Togepi ends up in a Fearow's beak, which drops it onto James' butt. James pretends he doesn't like things impacting his butt as Jessie grabs Togepi.
Gary challenges Giovanni to a match, and he proves pretty good, with a Nidoking, Arcanine Also, the ground-type trainer Giovanni has a Kingler. Giovanni ends with Mewtwo, who easily defeats Nidoking and Arcanine at the same time. Well, of course you're going to lose, Gary. Arceus might be superior to Mewtwo now (now), but nothing is like Gen 1 Mewtwo, if you count Special as Special Attack and Special Defense. Nothing ever could be. To be a Gen 1 Mewtwo, you needed a specially-built Parasect, and even then it didn't work every time.
Team Rocket presents Giovanni with Togepi, who asks what it does. Team Rocket admits it does nothing, it's just rare. Giovanni chews them out for bringing only a Togepi after searching for months, and you know, I kind of have to side with him here. A phonecall interrupts their discussion, "there's been an accident." Giovanni gives them his three pokemon to take over his gym until he gets back. Meanwhile, Giovanni gives Mewtwo an "emergency assignment."
Since Giovanni didn't bother with Togepi, it easily escapes back to Misty, and the heroes enter the gym. Gary and his cheerleaders are unconscious, apparently having had their asses whupped by Mewtwo. Even Gary is so impressed by Mewtwo that he doesn't bother insulting Ash, just talks about how it amazing and evil it is.
Team Rocket shows up and reveals themselves to be the leaders of the gym. Brock asks why Team Rocket would want to own a gym, and we of course never get an explanation as to why Giovanni, who seems to always have his hands full with his criminal dealings, would personally run a gym.
Jessie versus Ash, heaven or hell! Ash accepts Jessie's challenge (yes, the gym leader challenges the challenger, don't ask me), and even though Gary has shown nothing but contempt for Ash so far, he stays to watch.
Ash is faced with a Machamp, so he sends out... Squirtle? As Squirlte loses, it's revealed that the gym is rigged to electrocute Ash every time his pokemon is injured. Even Gary thinks this is pretty uncool.
Jessie counters Bulbasaur with Kingler, and its bubble attack somehow hurts Bulbasaur. Ash refuses to give up even when he's electrocuted, and sends out Pidgeotto to fight Jessie's Rhyhorn, and we learn that the gym also electrocutes Jessie. Meowth reveals he can blow up the gym in case Team Rocket loses, so Gary, who now has a modicum of respect for Ash, stops him.
By the way, in total seriousness, so anti-Ash jokes here, from what we've seen, Gary has powerful and fully-evolved pokemon while Ash still has multiple unevolved pokemon, and his only fully evolved one is Charizard.
Team Rocket sends out Weezing and Arbok, changing the rules as they go along, so Ash has Pikachu effortlessly defeat all of Jessie's pokemon at once. Of coures, we learn that the reason Ash didn't bring out Pikachu back when he thought he could only use three pokemon is... that he...
Jessie's pokemon run away, and Ash celebrates this travesty of a match that completely ignored all rules and shouldn't be valid in any case. Even Gary's cheerleaders are excited for Ash, and after Gary admits Ash is a decent trainer, he goes right back to talking about how powerful Mewtwo is.
As this on, Togepi accidentally hits the self-destruct button, and the Earth Badge escapes Jessie's grasp and falls into Ash's hand. Everyone escapes as the building collapses and the faux-Roman guards, who we saw earlier are in the gym when fights go on but who aren't in the shot of the survivors, are all killed horribly.
As the episode ends, Brock gives a "I wonder if we'll see that powerful cliffhanger pokemon Gary spoke of, I bet it definitely won't show up in a movie HINT HINT HINT" speech, and they decide to go to Oak to ask where the Pokemon League is located.
It's Mr. Mime TimeEdit
"I'm not a Mr. Mime, I just play one on TV."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
The heroes are heading back to Pallet Town, and-- Really, show. Really. Did you actually, seriously just do that?
I know one of the Mr. Mimes is named "Mimie," but Ash doesn't pronounce it that way and "Mr. Mime Time" makes more sense because they are multiple pokemon.
Anyway, the are heading "back" to Pallet Town even though Misty and Brock have never been there to speak to Professor Oak. As Ash runs down the road, he runs into an invisible wall, and several feet in the air is a Mr. Mime climbing the wall. Ash decides to catch it when a girl shows up, asking to capture the Mr. Mime. Ash isn't going to let her when Brock gets in the way.
The Mr. Mime runs away as she throws her pokeball, and Brock agrees to help her. She reveals that she's a ringmaster in a circus, the Pokemon Circus. Some other circus workers ask if she found a new Mr. Mime, so... I'm confused. Mr. Mime is supposed to be incredibly rare, so much so that the pokedex has very little information on it, and Stella (the girl) just went out into the wild and happened to find one immediately?
Eh, the circus workers reveal that their Mr. Mime is too lazy and slobbish to go onto the stage again. Stella thinks that if she can find another Mr. Mime, her current one will see it as competition and work again. Brock agrees to help her get one, and recognizing the impossibility of catching one, decides to "make" one. By the way,
Brock then says "I think there's a way you can help me," and the camera pans up as Ash screams.
Team Rocket is floating around on their balloon and reach a proper Team Rocket base, and speak to Giovanni, who chews them out for sucking so much. He then foreshadows Mewtwo for a bit. As they leave, they find an ad for the circus advertising Mr. Mime. We then Brock's Mr. Mime is just Ash in a costume. Brock promises that Stella (an adult) will use her "gentle touch" to "teach you everything you need to know," and after this, Stella pulls out a whip as Ash fastens the clown mask to his face. I'd post screenshots, but there's really nothing to add to my description.
Stella trains Ash to pantomime, and the next scene is of the circus' act. We see the circus has a ton of legitimate pokemon, including a Machoke. Maybe you guys should trade it and trade back, I bet people would be more impressed by a Machamp, those things are OU. Ash sees his mom watching, but before anything happens, Team Rocket shows up and announces that they plan to steal Mr. Mime, so they kidnap Ash, hoping Giovanni will be impressed by a Mr. Mime. Somehow Ash's mom recognizes that the Mr. Mime was Ash, even though there is absolutely no way she could have possibly even suspected that.
She isn't worried because she thinks Team Rocket will let Ash go when they find out he's not a real Mr. Mime, and by the way, the circus clears out in literally half of one second.
Ash reveals himself to Team Rocket and steals their balloon, making a pun that is actually pretty decent ("This time your hot air came in handy") as he does so. The scene switches to Ash's mom, who bids Ash's friends goodbye as they finish the meal she cooked. A real Mr. Mime shows up at her house, and she assumes it's Ash. Because she's even more of an idiot than Ash, she thinks the Mr. Mime saying "Mime" over and over is just Ash being in character. The real Ash shows up, and Ash's mom asks Mr. Mime to help Ash's friends at the circus, so it agrees.
Team Rocket shows up at the circus again with their official Team Rocket tank (because of course), and though Stella and Mr. Mime are running away, Team Rocket catches up easily. Mr. Mime is still impressed by Stella's devotion to it. As Team Rocket prepares to fire a missile, Ash jumps literally out of nowhere (I mean he literally falls in their way when he was in an open field with nowhere to have climbed up) in their way. Ash asks Charizard to destroy their tank, but he just goes to sleep. Brock sends out Onix-- nah, I'm just kidding. Ash's mom's Mr. Mime shows up and starts creating walls to stop Team Rocket, which of course works perfectly. This makes Stella's Mr. Mime extremely jealous, so it goes out to outdo the other Mr. Mime. They get into a contest with each other to build more walls and trap Team Rocket in a box.
Stella's Mr. Mime agrees to do its job again, and the heroes properly arrive at Pallet Town.
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Almost all of it, I'm not sure why
It's Christmas, and because this is Japan, that's apparently a big deal because of Japan's huge Christian population (yes, yes, I do know about Japanese commercial Christmas). Jessie and Meowth capture Santa Claus as he sneaks into a house she's in, and-- woah, Jessie got to read the title card. Weird. It's then revealed that they captured James in a Santa suit, and that it was a test run of the trap.
Jessie has it in for Santa Claus, you see, because as a kid a Jynx showed up dressed as Santa Claus and stole her doll. By the way, I normally have no opinion about political correctness and stuff, but even I have to admit...
Jessie has since believed that Santa Claus is a Jynx.
Meanwhile, the heroes just happen to see a Jynx at a beach, fooling around with a boot. Upon seeing a black pe-- pokemon, Ash immediately has Pikachu attack from cover. Jynx survives the attack and kisses Jynx with Lovely Kiss, and Ash throws out Charmander. I checked Bulbapedia, and apparently this episode was meant to go much earlier in the show but was rescheduled for some reason, so okay, whatever.
Ash has Charmander use flamethrower, but she blocks a pokeball with a boot. Misty spots the boot and says Jynx might have a trainer. Jynx comes to them and gives them the boot, and Misty determines the boot belongs to Santa Claus because, well, I'll just show you.
Now, granted, the pokemon world does canonically have magic, and granted, the characters are very young and routinely see impossible things, and granted, none of them are displayed as exceptionally smart. But Misty reaching that conclusion based on a picture in a boot is insane even by the standards of that episode with the human doctor who can determine an Arbok has poisoned itself by poking it twice. The possible explanations for Santa Claus' face being on a boot are so numerous and obvious that I'm not even going to list them. Also, it's of a clearly different animation style than the rest of the show.
Brock figures out that Santa is Jynx's trainer, so Ash resolves to go to Cerulean City later and trade for the Jynx that one guy has. We also see the only kind of girl Brock will turn down.
Jynx psychically projects her story into the heroes' minds: she was on a piece of ice that drifted off from the North Pole while she was shining his boot (over the ocean, for some reason), and because a pokemon can still technically be female, Brock agrees to bring Jynx to the North Pole. Team Rocket overlooks this, deciding that if they follow them, they'll find Santa's hideout. Then what was with the trap earlier?
The heroes built a raft out of logs and decide to have their pokemon tow them to the North Pole. They don't even grab warm clothes or something or food, so the next scene of course involves them all dying of exposure.
Or maybe not, unfortunately. We also see Ash pulls the raft by himself. On the way, Ash hears a psychic direction to the North Pole, and it turns into a Lapras for some reason, don't ask me. Apparently this Lapras can speak telepathically, and it agrees to take the heroes to the North Pole because Santa Claus told it to. The pokedex boasts of Lapras' being able to understand human speech even though literally every trained pokemon we've seen can understand human speech on some level.
They reach the North Pole, and the heroes deservedly freeze their asses off. I don't even know what they expected, it's the goddamn North Pole. Team Rocket shows up in their Gyarados submarine and demands Jynx, saying it's Santa Claus. Silly Jessie, Santa Claus is obviously a Delibird, and though I haven't seen the Johto arc yet, I assume this episode's lack of Delibirds won't ever be brought up. Team Rocket captures Jynx and inexplicably doesn't try to capture the very rare Lapras fifteen feet away. They then reach Santa's workshop with a tied up Jynx and see the real Santa Claus. Jynx explains and Meowth transla-- Nah, I'm just messing with you.
Jessie realizes Santa didn't steal her doll, but still wants to steal all of the presents Santa and the Jynx made. Team Rocket ties Santa up and starts stealing the presents. By the way, like this rope would really hold Pikachu the way it's tied around him, this is like how Superman would be tied up in Superfriends and have it work on him for no reason.
Jessie says a Jynx stole her doll as a kid, and the main Jynx psychically takes the memory from her and goes back to the workshop, coming back with the doll in literally not even a full second. Santa explains that Jynx saw her doll was broken when she was a kid and brought it to him to fix it, but when he tried to give it back to her, she no longer believed in Santa, and he's "powerless to go where hearts are closed." Jynx gives her the doll, and Santa asks if she'll give back the presents, but Jessie just runs off. As Team Rocket leaves, Lapras shows up with really awful voice acting ("Christmas belongs to everyone. You can't steal it.") and stops them. Rather than have Bulbasaur cut the ropes, Ash has Charmander burn them because it makes much more sense that way. Despite everyone's best efforts, Team Rocket still escapes, but Santa is sure the presents will still be gotten back.
He doesn't know this because "things always work out" or something Christmas-y, he just commands his army of Jynxes to telepathically take Team Rocket's submarine out of the water. We also see that Santa uses a Rapidash instead of Reindeer because of... cheeseburgers. A Jynx also gives the heroes presents for Christmas, so Misty thanks Lapras.
Snow Way OutEdit
"Snow food is low in fat and helped me maintain my fabulous figure."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The pun "catsicle," Jessie's "snow, snow, I love it so!", Ash's door made of snow, and Team Rockete being unable to leave the hot spring
The heroes take path that goes over a snowy mountain, and once again, they're unconcerned with the cold. Somehow Misty and Brock find blankets to use as jackets. They get lost immediately, so Ash sends out Pidgeotto to find them a trail. Pidgeotto, happy to finally get some screentime, happily complies. As you already expect, Team Rocket is following behind, and Jessie apparently loves the snow, with a flashback to her childhoo-- wait, two Jessie flashbacks in as many episodes?
They accidentally lose the Meowth balloon, forcing them to walk. Meanwhile, clouds form overhead and it begins to snow heavily, so the heroes, rather than bunker down somewhere, continue on. Eventually Brock and Misty force Ash to let it blow over while they rest, but before they succeed, Pikachu is blown away in a blizzard and Ash gets separated from the others. Misty wants to follow him, but Brock says they'll get lost out there, even though they're already lost and lose nothing by sticking together while following Ash.
Ash follows Pikachu, and eventually hears him screaming, barely holding onto a cliff face. Rather than bring out Bulbasaur to easily grab him, Ash attempts to grab him himself. After this display of idiocy, he remembers he has a pokemon who can easily rescue Pikachu, so brings out Bulbasaur. Now, Bulbasaur fails anyway, but it's for reasons out of anyone's controls, so Ash is still an idiot. Luckily, Bulbasaur is able to rescue Pikachu anyway. Ash and Pikachu have a tearful reunion that the animators do their best to include Bulbasaur in, but it's still really awkward when you see him.
Ash and Pikachu realize they're separated from the others, so they elect to build a snow cave using Charmander, but only after nearly killing himself using his hands. He then seals off the cave to preserve warmth, but it's still cold, so they all crowd around Charmander, which somehow warms Charmander even though two seconds ago he'd been cold as well. Somehow Charmander becomes exhausted and nearly dead and his flame almost goes out, so Ash puts him in his pokeball. Ash puts Squirtle and Bulbasaur in their pokeballs too because they'll be warmer, but they don't want to because if Ash freezes, they'll be entombed in tiny balls.
FOREVER. You really have to wonder if that's ever happened to other unfortunate pokemon. Pikachu doesn't want to go in his ball, so Ash lets him stay outside, even though Squirtle and Bulbasaur didn't want to go. We get some good moments with Ash insisting Pikachu go into the ball to preserve warmth, and somehow all of Ash's pokemon escape their pokeballs (even Pidgeotto) to keep Ash warm, and the "inspiring" music plays as Ash declares "We'll be cold, all together."
The next morning, Brock and Misty somehow find Ash instantly, and then they find Team Rocket's balloon and use it to leave the mountain.
Overall, it's a pretty good episode about Ash surviving with his pokemon.
Showdown at the Po-ke CorralEdit
"Let's pokeround in my laboratory."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The giant pokeball in Ash's dream, Gary's Doduo
The episode begins with Ash dreaming he's attacked by a gigantic pokeball, essentially meaning Ash's worst nightmare is to have what he does to pokemon inflicted upon himself. He wakes up to his mom's Mr. Mime cleaning his room. He then sees that Mr. Mime has effectively replaced him as his mother's son, which he doesn't angst about at all.
Team Rocket is traveling to Giovanni, talking about how much they suck and decide to just run away from their meeting with Giovanni when his mansion explodes and Mewtwo flies away into two movies. Giovanni barely survives his mansion exploding, being at the center of a massive psychic attack, and losing all of the money he spent on Mewtwo, but the real problem? Jessie and James showing up and asking if he's alright. Gotta keep things in perspective. Giovanni tells them to just do their job for a change, so they decide that this time they really need to steal something.
The heroes visit Oak, who's more excited to see Togepi than Ash. As it turns out, Gary got to Oak first, who of course immediately insults Ash. Oak says they're the best trainers in Pallet Town, which, given that in the game it consists of about twelve people living in three buildings can't be too big a deal. Oak of course tells Ash and Gary that they need to go to the Pokemon League now. Oak tells them that they have to be at the Indigo Plateau in two months to fight two hundred other trainers. Gary boasts that he could beat Ash with both hands tied behind his back, but I really don't see why that's any kind of boast, given that he's just commanding pokemon, right?
Team Rocket shows up at Ash's mom's house dressed as reporters, asking to see him for an interview, and she directs them to Oak's lab.
Gary keeps insulting Ash until he points out how he earned eight badges, fortunate that Gary doesn't know he only actually earned only four or five badges. Oak points out that Ash has seen more pokemon than Gary, but Gary's caught more. Oak shows his lab containing all of the pokemon Pallet Town's trainers have caught, which is odd, because we've seen that Oak releases pokemon every so often and lets them roam around, but the hundreds of balls he has are way too many to make that viable. Oak accidentally points out how almost all of Ash's pokemon are Tauros he caught in the Safari Zone, which of course makes Gary smile. Gary reveals that his philosophy is that pokemon are there to be caught, and Ash's view is that pokemon should be friends. To this, Oak says both of their views are valid.
Way to undermine the entire message of the show, there, Oak.
Oak then says that he thinks people should pokemon as individuals and as people, which explains why he has a darkened room of nothing except monsters stuffed into tiny balls whom he lets out to exercise every once in a while. He reveals in a series of still shots how he takes care of pokemon and researches them, and here's an undoctored picture.
Oak also mentioned how he designed a park so he can study pokemon in their "natural habitats," which doesn't even begin to make sense. Even if we accept that Oak's grassy hills consistute a "natural habitat," he still takes care of Magmar (volcanoes), Grimer (sludge areas), and Voltorb (I don't even know). Whatever, I guess. When Oak mentions that pokemon often take on the characteristics of the people who capture them, Brock declares that he has a girlfriend in Suzy, Vulpix's original trainer, because that's the easiest way to maximum creepage. Even Gary recognizes how creepy Brock is.
Brock also mentions how Togepi disproves the existence of the notion of only 150 pokemon, and meanwhile, trainers in Johto are playing around with their extremely common Hoothoot.
As all of this goes on, Gary and Ash begin to respect each other, so they do what everyone who respects each other do: they want to fight. Unfortuantely, just before it happens, an explosion goes off a little off, and the heroes find Team Rocket sneaking around in "the electric pokemon preserve" with some Voltorbs. Really, Oak? You put pokemon in their "natural habitats," and Voltorb's natural habitat is a grassy plain?
Meowth, who talks, of course blows Oak's and Gary's minds, even though Gary met Meowth during The Battle for the Badge and it is in fact a plot point that he heard him speak. Team Rocket attacks, but luckily Ash's herd of Tauros knocks them away, rendering the Team Rocket subplot completely pointless. Oak compliments Ash on catching the Tauros who defeated Team Rocket, mentioning that Team Rocket could have succeeded without him. Hey, Oak, seriously. Seriously? Seriously. Any one of Ash's or Gary's pokemon alone is enough to defeat what Team Rocket can throw out, the guys have one non-poison type.
Gary and Ash part on good terms without battling.
The Evolution SolutionEdit
"This is a case of the mimes leading the mimes."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Oak grabbing his head and groaning, Westwood's "Call me Westwood V" and acknowledgement of how different Slowbro Shellder looks from regular Shellder
A ton of people from Pallet Town, as well as Misty and Brock, are going to Seafoam Island for a vacation. Ash asks to come, but he has to stay at home and prepare for the Pokemon League.
Ash goes to talk to Oak, who says he's looking into pokemon evolution, and is confused. He's complaining that he can't figure out why a Shellder always clamps onto a Slowpoke's tail. Silly Oak, it's because the Slowpoke reaches level 37. Oak is really frustrated by this mystery when he remembers Professor Westwood, the pokeologist (ugh). He just happens to live on Seafoam Island, so Ash runs to Seaform Island. We get absolutely no explanation as to how Ash reaches the island, he certainly didn't take the same ship and Brock and Misty, who are surprised to see him. Westwood V mentions that he just happens to be looking into the Slowpoke/Shellder question himself. They see a Slowpoke nearby, so they immediately fear Pedobear-- I mean Ash insults it using the pokedex, so Misty asks Slowpoke if it's going to defend itself. Slowpoke's clueless expression reminds Misty of Psyduck, who comes out and starts talking to Slowpoke really slooooooooowly.
We then pan over to Giovanni relaxing on the beach with his Persian while Team Rocket digs for clams on the beach while they're forced to watch other people have fun on the beach. James ultimately digs up a Shellder, I wonder where this is going. Anyway, Jessie captures Shellder after James weakens it just before Giovanni calls them over and tells them to break into Westwood's laboratory, but doesn't tell them, you know, why.
We go back to Westwood V, and everyone acts like they're really surprised by Shellder's different shell shape when it's part of Slowbro even though it's incredibly obvious. Before more can happen, Team Rocket parasails onto Westwood V's balcony and eventually announce that they plan to steal Westwood V's pokemon. Again someone acts surprised by Meowth talking. It's not that I think that's odd, but for sixty-six episodes, no one ever questioned the talking Meowth except that League entrance examiner, and now people are suddenly surprised? Westwood V admits Slowpoke is his only pokemon and runs off with it while Team Rocket threatens to use their Shellder to make it evolve. Man, that isn't even an evil plan. Hell, I think it might qualify as a good plan, in fact. As in a plan that creates more goodness in the world, not like oh you know what I mean. Slowpoke runs away from Shellder for some reason. Happy to finally get to do something, Misty throws out Psyduck and doesn't allow Ash to help, and Psyduck starts talking to Slowpoke, and fortunately, Psyduck keeps getting in Shellder's way by accident. This eventually gives Psyduck a monster headache with either Disable or Confusion (the characters say both). Shellder still clamps onto Slowpoke's tail, and we see a completely different evolution than the one we saw in the Island of the Giant Pokemon. Westwood V claims to be the difrst researcher to ever see this... really? It's not like Shellders and Slowpokes move exceptionally quickly.
Westwood V finally realizes why Shellder clamps onto Slowpoke's tail: it's mutually beneficial. Shellder gets to travel on land and Slowpoke gains the balance to stay on two feet and use its arms to punch.
Overall, a bad episode. It's just kind of bizarre more than anything else.
"Full speed ahead for Pikachu times two!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: A lot of it
I remember when having a surfing Pikachu was a huge deal. With a Raichu with surf, you could actually turn Raichu into something useful, because even back in the RBY days, Raichu left something to be desired. This is unrelated, but a little research I've done implies that Articuno's only major flaw is its quadruple weakness to Stealth Rocks, and that otherwise it would BL instead of NU. I freaking hate Stealth Rocks, it makes playing so unpleasant.
Ash is still on Seafoam Island, training hard, outspeeding Brock. Jesus Brock, you can't beat a ten year-old? Ash somehow causes a completely impossible car accident on a mountain trail, which Officer Jenny instantly disperses, rendering the scene pointless. Jenny mentions that "Humunga Dunga" is coming, a huge wave that comes ever twenty years and attracts tons of surfers. Everyone who wants to be a surfing legend is here, because the previous surfing legend, Jan, placed a flag on the top of a huge pillar of rock off of the beach. This is an excuse to not train, so Ash runs off to surf even though there's never been any indication that he's at all interested in the sport. Pikachu sees another Pikachu looking at the ocean, its tail glowing, and an old guy shows up for a scene. Ash gets caught in an undertow and the ocean gets too violent to get involved, so the old guy and the Pikachu show up and rescue him in a needlessly flashy surfing segment.
Ash wakes up in the old guy's bed, and we learn his name is Victor. Victor reveals that his Pikcahu is named Pooka, so Pikachu runs over to talk to it even though Ash has clearly been out for a while and Pikachu would have had plenty of time to talk to Pooka (who is inexplicably much, much larger than Pikachu). Team Rocket watches them, here's an undoctored picture.
Victor mentions that he's had Pooka for twenty years, and a flashback reveals that Victor met Pooka when he sailed in from the sea (literally), and that everything about Pooka is mysterious. It can even feel the waves in its body somehow. Victor mentions that he's about fifty years old (I love Ash's expression, like the idea of being more than fifteen had never entered his mind) and knew Jan.
Jan was the very best (like no one ever was), and Victor spent much of his youth imitating Jan, and was there for Jan's ridiculous flag-on-the-rock trick. He then gave Victor his surfboard and told him to do it too one day and left mysteriously to "surf the world," apparently without a surfboard, I don't know. Victor reveals that he'd tried the big wave the next time, and had been completely destroyed by it. Victor holds high hopes for a dual Victor/Pooka team for Humunga Dunga's return before he's too old to surf.
Team Rocket shows up and steals the Pikachu in their submarine, but before they can escape, several Gyarados show up and start messing with their sub. The Pikachu escape, so Bulbasaur rescues Ash's Pikachu and Victor rescues Pooka. By pure chance, Humunga Dunga is coming, and suddenly all of the surfers who came earlier in the episode are gone for no reason.
Victor and Pooka of course ride the wave and match Jan's feat with the flag, planting their own flag, and gives Jan's surfboard to some random kids, and the narrator tells us the lesson for today, "It's never too late to accomplish your dreams."
Overall, a solid episode, but Team Rocket's forced presence brings it down. It was fine as a story about an old guy going out for one more surf. Hell, even the heroes are unnecessary for this story except in that they're the people whom Victor tells his backstory to.
Pokemon: The First MovieEdit
"We dreamed of creating the world's strongest pokemon... and we succeeded."
Did I Remember This Movie Through Nostalgia?: Hell, I still have the gold pokemon cards McDonald's handed out, in fact, I could go to the very same McDonald's right now
Technically, nameless scientist I just quoted, Arceus is the strongest pokemon, though Gen 1 Mewtwo is still stronger than it.
I'll say that this is pretty much the best kind of movie of a TV show: it's true to the show in nearly every aspect and it has so much going on that it's too large for an episode, and thus legitimately needs a movie. If it's got a major flaw, it's that it's too true to the show even when it shouldn't be: silly puns and switching to Team Rocket every few minutes works in cartoon format, but not in a movie.
I was going to review this seriously until I realized I could just post a link to the Nostalgia Critic. He pretty much nails everything there is to say about the movie.
In a franchise where the entire gimmick is watching monsters fight each other, you don't get to make a movie where the moral is "Don't fight each other." That's against the rules. There's also an incredibly inappropriate song, Brother, My Brother, played during the main fight scene at the climax. I know it's about pokemon fighting their clones so it makes sense, but it undermines the action because it's too slow and feely.
One thing I'll say that he doesn't mention is that the remixed version of I Wanna Be The Very Best is nowhere near as good as the original. It doesn't need a techno beat and a choir, having just one guy say the lyrics makes more sense because you're still trying to become the very best, you aren't already there.
Another thing is that Mewtwo apparently rewinds time at the end of the movie to before the trainers set out during the storm. It couldn't have just been rewriting the characters' memories because the throng of other trainers and Officer Jenny are also there, and its gigantic castle was never built. Don't really know what's up with that.
Make Room for GloomEdit
"You're already one tomorrow closer to the battle of your life!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostlgia?: Dodrio acting as a rooster
Man, didn't we already have a Gloom-centric episode?
The heroes go to train for the tournament at a mountain because if there's anything Ash hates, it's being around his mother. Even though this was never alluded to before this episode and will never be brought up again. They arrive at the Xanadu Nursery, a huge-ass garden. Brock sees a beautiful girl, but by the time Ash looks over, it's only a Gloom. A dude named Potter walks up to them and discusses how a lot of trainers bring him their grass-type pokemon. They discover that the garden also grows pokenip, which "affects pokemon like catnip affects cats." I wish this show could be more consistent about whether non-pokemon animals exist.
Ash is about to smell the pokenip when the girl, Florinda, shows up and stops him. Bulbasaur smells it, and Florinda reveals that it's actually a stun stem, which can paralyze anyone and anything that smells it. The Gloom from earlier saves Bulbasaur, and Bulbasaur instantly falls in love with it.
Florinda complains to Brock; she needs to run this nursery, but she's terrible with pokemon because she can't get her Gloom to evolve. We also learns that Florinda even tried a leaf stone, but Gloom still wouldn't evolve. Oak shows up for no reason and reveals that the leaf stone is a fake, and that's why Gloom won't evolve. Oak says he's here because he's investigating phony evolution stones... what? How would he know to come to an obscure nursery? Regardless, Florinda describes the people who sold her the stone as Team Rocket. Florinda now thinks that she's stupid and unable to run a huge nursery like this. Brock offers to find Team Rocket and a real leaf stone, and at the same time, Team Rocket find the stun stem. Fortunately Potter has cameras set up around the nursery because... he... Anyway, he finds Team Rocket stealing stun stem, so the heroes run to stop them. After Meowth announces his intention to stun everyone with stun stem, everyone stands perfectly still so that Meowth's extremely slow and telegraphed attack can succeed.
The now-paralyzed heroes beg Florinda to use Gloom to fight Team Rocket, and the sheer amount of time it takes Brock to stare her into agreeing (yes, Brock stares her down) means that Jessie and James could have easily escaped. Eh. Though she's unsure of herself, Florinda starts commanding Gloom to battle effectively using Double Team, showing that she doesn't pay much attention to Smogon. I remember back in the RBY days, the only things people seriously discussed banning were Mewtwo, DT/Rest, and DT on Gengar. Funny how all of those things are pretty much universally disallowed now, I remember there actually being debate about Mewtwo. And this was Gen 1 Mewtwo. Gloom then uses Solar Beam, and Team Rocket stands perfectly still so that the slow, telegraphed attack can hit them, returning the favor.
Anyway, the Bulbasaur-in-love subplot goes nowhere, and Brock tells Florinda that she doesn't even need a leaf stone to evolve Gloom because it's already so powerful and because there's no time for the writers to introduce a plausible way for Florinda to find one.
Florinda implies that she's in love with Brock, so when Brock is excited, she reveals that she's actually in love with Potter, the generic guy who could have been cut out of the episode with no problem. Ouch.
Lights, Camera, Quack-tionEdit
"Prepare for trouble! No stunt double! To protect the movies from devastation! To restore spectacle and imagination! To make great epics of hate and love! To direct the best films you've ever heard of! Clevand Sphielbunk!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: No
The heroes are walking to another town, and-- Dammit, translator. This is a scene in which Brock boasts of his chili. Tell me what's wrong with it.
What's weird is that that you could just say that's like mashed potatoes, right? Why choose chili of all things?
A girl named Katrina shows up and asks if the heroes are trainers. She asks to "skip all the smalltalk and get right to the fun," but before Brock can come onto her, Misty drags him off.
She sends out Raichu, so Ash sends out Pikachu. Before the battle gets underway, Team Rocket throws a net over Raichu by accident, meaning to grab Pikachu. Raichu kicks their asses, but then, confusingly, a director yells "cut," and his zillions of cameras zoom in on Team Rocket. He reveals himself as a great film director, and he hates cartoons because they distract young people from his movies. He wants some actors, and James reveals that he's extremely skilled and experienced in professional theater. Well, duh. It's James. He brushes off Team Rocket, because he only wants pokemon for his movie, a love story with action and suspense, starring a Wigglytuff. The director is looking for a costar, and is casting any pokemon that wants to be in it.
The heroes and Team Rocket, and some extras, enter their pokemon, and confusingly, Brock thinks Vulpix is perfect for the part. Even though Vulpix is a fox and Wigglytuff is a... thing. Don't ask me. Misty means to send Staryu, which makes even less sense, but she sends out Psyduck by accident.
We get a really long scene during which everyone competes, and through a series of bizarre events, the part ends up with Psyduck, the least qualified for the part. Also, would you want to watch a movie where a duck seduces a balloon?
The director reveals his storyline: Wigglytuff and Psyduck are in love, but Psyduck's family of water types and Wigglytuff's family of normal types hate each other. Do you think anyone will ever reference a love story that isn't Romeo and Juliet? Anyway, Psyduck sacrifices its life for Wigglytuff, bringing everyone together.
The director shoots the final scene, but a lot of it is just indescribable, sorry. Suffice it to say that Team Rocket enters to ruin the movie for revenge, and eventually kidnap everything except Psyduck. "The one with the best special effects always wins." Oh God, James has watched Avatar. I'm sorry, James, I'm sorry, but I swear, not everything Hollywood makes is as devoid of plot and originality as that, I swear. Anyway, Psyduck defeats Team Rocket
Somehow, the director thinks this will make a great final scene for the movie even though there's no way to work Team Rocket and Psyduck's trainer into the plot. Eh, as the episode ends, Ash and Katrina agree to meet each other at the Indigo League in two months, even though I've checked and this is her only appearance. Who knows.
Throughout these filler episodes, we keep seeing Ash not training. No wonder he loses when the time comes, and the only time he's ever won was in the season of pure filler, the Orange Islands.
Go West Young MeowthEdit
"We may be mean and nasty but we never turn our backs on a teammate in trouble! As long as we're not exposed to any actual physical danger."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Almost all of it
Great Expectations Spoilers
The heroes are training for the competition when a guy gives them an invitation to the movie Psyduck is in. Everyone gets to go to Hollywood, and Team Rocket also decides to go. Meowth mentions that he doesn't want to go to Hollywood, because he's been there and hates it.
He flashes back to when he happened to see a movie, and someone mentioned that it was made in Hollywood, so he knew he had to go.
The heroes get to Hollywood in the modern day, and although they imagined it as amazing and glitzy, it's a huge dump. Team Rocket overlooks them, and Meowth mentions that he's not going to watch the movie, instead going to go do "personal business."
He flashes back to when Hollywood was still glitzy, but unfriendly and mean to him, a newcomer, until he met a pack of wild Meowth and a Persian. He joined them in looting stores and restaurants for the food, but he "was still starving for love," because the movie he'd seen made it seem like love was easy to find in Hollywood. He fell in love with a Meowth he saw in a store window, but who completely spurned his advances because her trainer was rich and human.
Predictably, this inspired Meowth to become as human as possible. He snuck into a building where ballet dancers were trained to learn how to walk on two legs and snuck into a speech class to learn how to speak properly, and we get some good scenes of Meowth to pronounce things like "R" as "Meowth meowth meowth." Very slowly, Meowth learned to do both properly. We also learn that his first proper word was "Rocket," so that's why he joined Team Rocket. That's... kind of stupid, actually.
Armed with his new skills, Meowth went to the female Meowth, and displayed that he was now essentially the most human Meowth ever. She not only spurns him again, but says that he's neither Meowth nor human, and is now just a freak. Harsh, man.
In the present, Meowth is suddenly surrounded by the old gang the Persian, who want him back in the gang. Meowth refuses to rejoin them because he prefers Team Rocket, but Persian reveals the female Meowth joined them after her trainer abandoned her after running out of money. Meowth tells her to leave the Meowth gang, but Persian won't let her.
Before the Meowth gang can eviserate Meowth, Team Rocket shows up at the last possible second. We don't see what leads up to it, but Meowth ultimately ends up in a duel with Persian, which he wins in one of those "Both fighters run past each other and slash, and then the bad guy falls to the ground while the hero's back is turned" fights, you know, the ones that never happen in real life. Sadly for Meowth, the female Meowth is concerned with Persian, not him, a move that even Jessie and James think make her a piece of crap, and also, Meowth will always be a freak Meowth for being able to talk and walk.
We cut to the heroes being angry that their parts were cut from the movie. Team Rocket shows up, and James mentions that he likes to do his part for "musical theater." Dammit, James, I already made that joke in a previous episode. They don't do anything, however, and simply leave.
With everyone disappointed in their trip to Hollywood, the episode ends surprisingly sadly, with Meowth looking at the moon and wondering if the Meowth who will never love him is also looking up at it.
I know this analysis is waaaaaaaaaay deeper than this episode actually is, but hell with it, I'll just say it. This episode really reminds me of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
You've got a poor boy who falls for a rich girl who utterly despises him, and who makes himself better and grander only to learn that her contempt for him is exactly the same as it was, except now she sees him as a pretender as well as a peasant. Ultimately, she turns out to be even poorer than him. Oddly enough, Great Expectations, despite being known for being way sadder than most of Dickens' stuff, actually ends more happily than this episode.
I've got to say, it's the end of this episode that makes it great. Changing the perspective from the heroes to Meowth specifically gives him a lot of time to develop and display his characterization, which is something sadly missing from most other characters in the show. In fact, you could have easily cut the heroes out of this episode and made it entirely about Meowth, which probably would have made it even better. Even so, it's still one of the best episodes I've seen so far.
To Master the OnixpectedEdit
"Be one with the wood."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
You know that meme where you write some words and use a picture of a pokemon to fill in a blank, like "I'm not gonna Raichu a love song?" Man, smalltime stuff compared to this episode's title.
Ash continues to not train, and instead just watches Bruno on TV. Man, he's the weakest Elite Four member in both games he appears in. Ash wishes he could the learn "the secrets of pokemon" that he assumes the Elite Four know. Ash mentions that he wish he could be trained by Bruno, to which Ash's mom comes in and says she's heard a rumor Bruno trains at Mount Hideaway, just between Secret Forest and The Not-Here River. They pass an old lady who's being robbed by Team Rocket for her food. Fortunately, she defeats them easily, which renders the scene more-or-less pointless. She mentions that there are giant Onixes in the mountain they're headed to.
Predictably, they quickly find a giant Onix. There are no sprinkler systems to save Ash this time, so the heroes run. They're about to be crushed when Bruno (who's like three heads taller than even Brock) saves him. Ash asks Bruno for his help in training, and Brock is also excited by the idea of being trained by a master. They want to be as powerful as the Elite Four, and the weird thing is, the show never properly explains what the Elite Four is. If I didn't already know, I would never have known.
Bruno's training proves to be nothing except silly, mundane stuff like hauling buckets of water. Brock, insisting Bruno is really amazing, attacks him to prove Bruno can block any strike with his perfect training, only to give him a concussion. Bruno admits that there is no "secret of pokemon" and that he's only on the mountain to catch a giant Onix. Team Rocket overhears this and essentially hears "Catch a giant Onix and you'll be Bruno's equal."
Sorry Bruno, but GSC spends an inordinate amount of time teaching you that the secret is "Love all pokemon equally, not just strong or weak ones."
Eh, Team Rocket grabs a bazooka and shoots it at the Onix, but that only annoys it, so they hide in a cave while Onix attacks the cliffside. The heroes decide to help them, so the heroes send out Onix, Staryu, and Squirtle, instead of just sending out everything. The heroes succeed in blinding it so Team Rocket can escape, which it does. That was anticlimatic. Brock then says again what we already know: this Onix is very large. Thank you, Brock. I had no idea.
Ash tumbles into a ravine the Onix is in, but at the last second Bruno saves him. Bruno decides to catch the Onix by going down and asking the giant rock snake why it's angry and assaulting people while avoiding its attacks. He eventually tricks it into hitting itself, which somehow gains its respect, don't ask me. Bruno determines that the Onix has a Sandslash stuck in the space between its rock segments, so he pulls it out and everyone is happy. Onix agrees to join Bruno, and that's that. Bruno tells Ash to care for his pokemon, and that's enough to be a pokemon master. Sorry Bruno, but I happen to already know that Ash fails in every single tournament he enters except the Orange Islands one, so clearly there's more to it than that.
Overall, a disappointing first episode for an Elite Four member.
The Ancient Puzzle of PokemopolisEdit
"It could be a veritable vault of valuables!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The giant, deep-voiced Jigglypuff and the weird-shaped pokeballs
Ash and Brock accidentally uncover an ancient staircase of some kind and find a weird doodad outside of it. Some archeologists show up and take the doodad, so they decide to set their camp up around the staircase and start an excavation. When the heroes see a Psyduck statue, they mention that there used to be a city called Pokemopolis that built temples to pokemon. A female doctor named Eve accidentally plays around with two artifacts and reads a legend, "Beware the two great powers."
At night, the two artifacts the archeologists have found begin to glow, and Team Rocket sneaks into the camp. They think the "really good stuff" must be in the temple, so they send Arbok in to steal anything it can find, but it only finds a doodad in the shape of a dumb bell. It starts to glow and float, and the artifacts the heroes have glow as well. It zaps Team Rocket and freezes them, and as it floats, footprints appear beneath it.
Cut to the next morning and we see Team Rocket is gone and the heroes find the "dark device mentioned in the tablet," i.e. the thing Arbok found. When an archeologist picks it up, it sucks him inside of it, and an image of Team Rocket and the archeologist appears on it, apparently they're stuck inside. It zaps everyone who doesn't have a name, leaving only the heroes and the main archeologist, Eve. It then turns into a giant Gengar with weird markings on its body. Gengar then whips up a storm somehow while Oak looks from miles away with Muk, who despite being larger than a human, barely reaches Oak's knees in this scene. The heroes run after Gengar as it heads toward Pallet Town while Eve stays at the camp to research.
As Gengar walks, it destroys stuff in its way, so Brock and Ash send Onix and Pidgeotto to slow Gengar down. Despite ghosts being consistently invincible in previous showings, Pidgeotto is somehow able to slow it down before it zaps it and sends it to the same place as Team Rocket and the archeologists. The same thing happens to Onix. The heroes run back to the camp, but now Eve is floating in the air with crazy yellow eyes around the artifacts seen earlier. They combine magically and create a yellow beam before Eve is freed, and then they turn into a huge-ass Alaakzam with the same markings as Gengar.
Gengar and Alakazam start fighting, and Eve realizes these giant pokemon are the "two great powers" from earlier. They destroyed Pokemopolis earlier, she realizes, and they'll do the same to the modern world if not stopped. Ash tries the brilliant plan of "throw a pokeball at them," which annoys both of them, so they zap the heroes. They both stand in a lake, so Pikachu shocks them, pissing them off even further. Fortunately, Jigglypuff shows up, so the heroes ask it to sing for the giant pokemon and put them to sleep, but for once, its singing does nothing at all. Another artifact starts to glow, but nothing else happens.
The artifact floats to the two pokemon, and out comes a giant Jigglypuff with the same markings. Both Gengar and Alakazam are about to attack when it sings in a ludicrously deep baritome and puts them to sleep. By the time the heroes wake up, the pokemon are gone, and the imprisoned humans and pokemon are sitting in a field. We get no real explanation as to anything, and Eve realizes that the relics are the first primitive pokeballs.
Overall, this episode has no moral and couldn't be more pointless.
Bad to the BoneEdit
"I'd recognize that fashion flair anywhere!" - James
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Otoshi and the concept of handing over your badges
Ash decides to get some last minute advice from Oak about the Pokemon League, but Oak sends him off, telling him to just do his best. Rather than take a car or something, they decide to walk to the Indigo Plateau, and on the way a crazy guy with a sword, Otoshi, challenges Ash to a fight to test himself before he himself goes to the league. He demands that whoever loses turns over his badges, so Ash just refuses, to which the guy taunts him into agreeing. Otoshi sends out Marowak, so Ash sends out Bulbasaur. This being the anime, Marowak's Focus Energy is actually a really good ability instead of the single most useless ability in the game (in RBY, it was glitched into doing literally nothing). Marowak defeats Bulbasaur, so Ash sends out Pikachu to fight a ground type, I don't know. Pikachu is too fast for Marowak to hit, and defeats it easily. Otoshi admits that he has no badges, having lost all of them (we also see that he had a Marsh Badge, even though Sabrina was undefeatable and murdered those who lost to her, and that he defeated Blaine even though Blaine's gym was secret). Otoshi's flashback shows that Team Rocket stole his badges through trickery. See, this is the problem with the badge system, they're physical objects. We know the pokemon world has networked computers, just keep track of who's beaten what gym online and then confirm it there, and keep the badges as ornaments. Well, whatever. Ash agrees to help Otoshi even though it could mean he misses the start of the competition because he sympathizes with Otoshi, and we get a needlessly long flashback to Ash getting every single badge that does nothing except eat up screen time.
Meanwhile, James and Meowth realize the badges are gone, and so is Jessie. She took them so she could prove herself to be the best and most beautiful trainer in the world. That's, uh, not something you've ever expressed interest in before, Jessie, so I'm not really sure how to read your motives here.
Ash sends out Pidgeotto to find Team Rocket, and they find James and Meowth. They admit Jessie stole the badges, and we get to see the stuff James and Meowth keep to themselves, things like wax and bottle caps. Marowak says it no longer wants to stay with Otoshi because it thinks he's incompetent, and walks off.
Jessie is walking to the Pokemon League and sees another trainer with eight badges, and we see a huge number of weird badges that belong to no known gym. For no particular reason, she decides to steal his badges, too. James and Meowth find her and before she can steal anything, they bomb them, and James tricks her into doing the motto, which freaks out the other trainer. When James accuses her of disgracing disgracefulness, she's somehow hurt by this. The heroes show up and demand the badges back, so Jessie challenges them to a fight for them. Otoshi agrees to use another pokemon.
Cut to Marowak happening to walk by a ton of trainers training for the league (including a guy who has a Nidoran Male), and realizing it's made a huge mistake.
Unfortunately for Otoshi, he's not a protagonist, so Jessie is able to beat his Doduo.
Unfortunately for Jessie, she's still the villain, so Marowak shows up to fight for Otoshi, and unsurprisingly, since Levitate hasn't been invented yet, the ground type easily defeats Team Rocket's poison pokemon and somehow destroys the Team Rocket balloon with an explosion by throwing its bone. I don't know.
A solid episode, though it's a bit strange Jessie betrays James and Meowth, given that they've always seemed as close as Ash and his hat.
All Fired UpEdit
"We're taking that flame-o, lame-o!" - James
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The Olympic Torch-ripoff
That's right, folks, James wants to have a bigger flame than he already does.
The heroes finally reach the Pokemon League, and Ash is confident that he'll do great. With his untrained Charizard, three unevolved pokemon, and a Pidgeotto? I'm afraid not, Ash. A ton of people wave to Ash, only for him to see that behind him is a guy with a torch (like the Olympic torch) running to light the light for the competition. A little exposition later, we learn that the flame is the same as from ancient times, and it was originally lit by a Moltres. Not "the Moltres" or "Moltres," but a Moltres, because I guess there are more than one? Ash decides for no reason that he wants to carry the flame, too, which impresses the President of the Pokemon League Torch Commitee (???), so he tells the current torchbearer to gives Ash the flame to deliver. Can you imagine being the actual torchbearer, and having your boss tell you to give it, something you probably worked for years for, to a small child because he shows spirit?
Team Rocket decides to steal the flame for absolutely no reason (okay, fine, Meowth wants to steal the spotlight for Team Rocket, you know, the shady underground mafia), and we get the first Team Rocket motto played completely straight, with no joke or subversion at all, in dozens of episodes, and actually succeed in stealing it. The president and Officer Jenny aren't mad at him for losing the flame, and he reveals that he keeps a spare flame in his ridiculously huge beard as a just-in-case policy. At the same time, Team Rocket accidentally puts out their stolen flame because they're idiots.
Ash lights a new torch, and we get a montage of the heroes passing off the torch as they go while a remix of the opening song plays, and like the movie's remix song, it's far inferior to the original song. When they finally reach the stadium, Brock hands the torch the president, and they mention that the proper gigantic torch will be lit the next day. Also at the stadium, Gary meets with ash and taunts him about knowing nothing about his competition, to which Ash replies with-- oh, Ash actually admits it to himself, and stays up the next night, considering how Gary is actually right. That's uncharacteristically mature of him. We also learn that Ash sleeps under covers with his clothes on because he's weird, I guess. Ash decides to wait at the stadium with the president in the early morning to make sure he doesn't miss the opening ceremony, and in again uncharacteristic introspection, Ash decides to just do his best and assume it'll all work out.
We see all of the dozens (hundreds?) of competitors walk into the stadium to wait for the official lighting of the central torch. Before she reaches it, Team Rocket takes the flame, lights the central torch, and steals it with a huge frog tank which Ash tries to fight. He loses, of course, but luckily Moltres shows up and defeats Team Rocket while saving Ash. It replaces the central torch and lights it with itself, and literally no one mentions that they just saw a legendary pokemon. They start the competition as if it was a completely normal occurance and don't even mention the legendary bird of fire, and the only person who even acknowledges it is Ash himself, who silently thanks it.
I don't know, regardless, an okay episode. It wasn't really necessary, but it at least wasn't filler, so there's that.
Round One -- Begin!Edit
"Those were some of my top favorite Officer Jennys!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Brock talking about the differences between Officer Jennys
Finally, finally, we end the filler for the season. It's glorious.
Everyone at Pallet Town is watching Oak's TV for Ash and Gary. Ash checks into a hotel at the League, and Brock reveals that you need to win four matches before you get to compete in the stadium proper. Ash's first match has to be in a field of water, and he's put up against a guy named "Mandy."
At the same time, Team Rocket is disguised as reporters, asking trainers about their pokemon. I do like the guy with a Raticate, Dodrio, and Venomoth acting like he's hot ****, though, I admit. They just happen to find Mandy, who turns out to be a magician, and James mentions that he "likes that guy's style." I have no doubt you do, James, I have no doubt you do. Mandy thinks their network is too small to bother with an interview, and to be fair, he's technically correct.
Ash walks by Gary, and Gary mentions that he's fighting on the ice field, and wishes him luck because he wants to defeat Ash himself. Oak calls Ash and offers to give Ash a pokemon over the teleporter, so Ash takes Krabby, a pokemon he's used for literally nothing, ever. Ash meets Mandy, and he turns out to be an even bigger douche than Gary, literally introducing himself to Ash as being too good for a handshake. That is something he actually does.
Misty points out what I already said; Krabby has no experience, and Krabby has no experience, so she offers to lend him one of her water pokemon. This is a logical thing to do, so Ash of course refuses.
We get to Ash's match about halfway through the episode, and Team Rocket tells Ash to defeat Mandy because he's such a douche. We also learn that Brock can tell Officer Jennys apart somehow, I don't know.
Mandy sends out an Exeggutor, so Ash counters with the worst option possible: Krabby. When Misty points out how bad an idea this is, Ash's response is basically "Don't worry about it." Ridiculously, Krabby defeats Exeguttor and evolves into Kingler.
Mandy sends out Seadra, and through sheer luck, Kingler defeats Seadra with, by the way, two water attacks, which kind of bugs me. Mandy's final pokemon (it's 3 versus 3) is a Golbat, and Brock mentions that Kingler is weak against air attacks and that this is the worst possible thing that can happen to Ash, even though Kingler isn't weak to air attacks, it's in the water (its element), and most of all, even if it faints, Ash still has two pokemon in reserve. Misty encourages Ash to use Pikachu, but he stays with Kingler, who wins with a Hyper Beam, a move there was never any indication it ever knew.
Thus, Ash wins without losing a single pokemon, and he rightfully celebrates.
While this episode isn't bad in any particular way, and half of it is devoted to a solid battle with a rarely-seen pokemon, it's all undermined by its greatest strength: Krabby/Kingler. Everyone gives Ash solid advice and logical reasons why not to use Krabby: it's inexperienced, he's never used it for anything, it barely knows him, and Misty can lend him pokemon with none of those flaws. Ash's responses are never more involved than "Nuh-uh," and while he's ultimately proven correct, it's through luck and stubbornness and not actual skill and logic. I don't know, I just kind of think that if your show is going to have a moral, it should be "Think," not "Believe."
Fire and IceEdit
"My internal Nurse Joy detection system is always 100% accurate."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: "I didn't forget it, I just didn't remember it right away"
We start with Ash on the rock field, with both trainers with only one pokemon left. Ash with Squirtle versus Unnamed Brown-haired guy with a Nidorino. I wonder who'll win this.
Unsurprisingly, Squirtle wins, though oddly, he wins with a skull bash instead of, you know, a water attack.
Team Rocket is outside of the stadium, planning to kidnap Pikachu because they have nothing better to do.
Ash, Brock, and Misty are in the plaza looking for a restaurant, and Misty chews Ash out for not dropping his pokemon off at a pokemon center. Unfortunately, the Pokemon Center is massively crowded and can't accept more pokemon, but don't worry, that subplot is instantly forgotten when Ash goes to a nearby restaurant. Luckily, any competitor can eat for free, so Ash's perpetual poverty doesn't prove important. Eventually Ash notices Brock is gone, and we get an anticlimatic commercial break. When we come back, we learn Brock's just been standing around, admiring how many Officer Jennys and Nurse Joys there are to service the League.
The next pokemon center is also crowded, so Ash goes toward a hand in an alley beckoning him. The hand belongs to a nurse who's obviously James crossdressing again, and he takes them to a fake pokemon center and takes Pikachu to "treat" him. Rather than silently run away with Pikachu, Team Rocket reveals itself for no reason. They then run away in their balloon, so Ash uses Pidgeotto to pierce the balloon like he's done a billion times befo-- Nah I'm just messing with you. Brock uses Onix to defeat Team Rocket. We're fifteen minutes into this episode and the only thing that happened during it was Ash winning his second match mostly off screen in the first two minutes. Argh.
The pokemon centers are no longer crowded for some reason, so we skip to the next day at the Ice Field. The announcer mentions that both competitors here have "already won one battle apiece" even though Ash has won two, don't ask me.
Anyway, Ash's Kingler versus some dude's Cloyster. Kingler wins effortlessly. The guy then sends out an Arcanine, so Ash assumes his water type will win easily. Arcanine uses Dragon Rage, and dammit, Kingler needed those forty hit points! It faints, so Ash sends in Pikachu. It won't surprise you to learn that Pikachu wins easily.
This episode is almost entirely pointless, with the only relevant parts at the beginning and the end.
Fourth Round RumbleEdit
"To protect the world from hunger and thirst! Our food isn't bad, at least not the worst!"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Jenette's kung-fu Bellsprout
We start with Gary fighting a nameless girl for the fourth round, with his Nidoking versus a Golem. Surprisingly, Gary's poison type loses to a ground type, and-- Gary loses! A major character with an actual personality and backstory loses to someone other than Ash. Even the heroes are surprised by this turn of events. Ash doesn't feel exceptionally bad for Gary, as he gets in his corvette with his cheerleading squad and drives off.
Ash's fourth match is on the grass field, and he runs to catch it. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is selling trinkets to people through honest, ordinary work.
Back to something interesting; Ash versus Jenette Fischer, a girl with a red carpet and a bunch of people throwing flower petals around her.
Ash throws out Bulbasaur, and Jenette sends out Beedrill. We quickly learn Beedrill knows such powerful moves as "Poison Sting," dear God. Despite the threat of moves with 30 Power and a nearly 1/3 chance of poisoning your enemy, Bulbasaur somehow comes out on top. She sends out Scyther, and Ash waits literally at least ten seconds before giving Bulbasaur an order. It double teams, and she tells Ash that he'll "lose twice as fast against Scyther's Double Team!" Not that I have a problem with using a strategy in a match, that's actually kind of unusual in this show, but Double Team only ever enlongates battles, doesn't it?
There's no time for logic, however, as Bulbasaur has just grabbed a Smash Ball! Or rather, it uses Vine Whip and wins, despite Scyther being 4x strong against grass.
No, that's uninteresting. Let's switch to Team Rocket being foiled by some Officer Jennys and accomplishing literally nothing at all. This scene couldn't be more pointless.
Everyone assumes Jenette's final pokemon will be incredibly powerful, but she sends out a Bellsprout. It turns out to be a fighting type Bellsprout, I guess, defeating Bulbasaur easily. Ash sends in Pikachu, but Bellsprout turns out to be immune to electricity because it's grounded itself with its legs like "teeny-tiny thunder rods." We get some surprisingly well choreographed kung-fu action from Pikachu and Bellsprout before Bellsprout knocks him out. At the same time, Oak and Ash's mom show up to cheer Ash on.
Ash sends out Muk, of all things, because poison has the advantage over grass. By the way, from Gen 2 onward, poison's only advantage is over grass, though it resists a fair amount of stuff as well.
Bellsprout proves completely unable to harm Muk's amorphous body with its kung-fu. Eventually Ash gives Muk an order, and it smothers Bellsprout.
Cut to Team Rocket, talking to themselves about how their legitimate business was more successful than their thievery.
Overall, I did enjoy the inexplicable kung-fu Bellsprout and Ash's surprise use of Muk, but Team Rocket, used to break the battle up into segments for the audience, was even more useless than normal, literally not even interacting with the main characters. The only major character they even see is an Officer Jenny, and their pointlessness pulls the episode down a little.
A Friend In DeedEdit
"Please deposit all your pokeballs in the bag held by this official-looking man with the mustache."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
"Last time, Ash faced off against his toughest opponent yet!" the narrator helpfully tells us about Jenette and her kung-fu Bellsprout. Oh, okay. See, I thought Sabrina and her teleporting Kadabra, backed up by the threat of horror movie murder and invulnerability to anything except ghost attacks, was Ash's hardest opponent. Or maybe Blaine, to whom he actually lost. But no, it was the Bellsprout Muk defeated in one attack. Who knew?
Ash's mom and Oak compliment him for winning the fourth round, and wanting to cook for him, she takes over a restaurant's kitchen. I wonder what would happen if someone actually tried that in real life. "My son just finished the secondary qualifying entrance examination for a tournament, I'd like you to stop serving everyone while I cook for him." On the way out of the restaurant, another contestant shows up in the elevator and compliment Ash's Pikachu. I tried to make a joke here about him massaging Pikachu's cheeks, but it kind of fizzled, so fill in your own joke as you will.
The power goes out and the elevator dies. Oak says it's probably a power outage and to wait until someone fixes it, but the competitor (who is possibly as old as Ash), disassembles the control panel and has Pikachu power the elevator until they reach the lobby. And the adults just let this go on, assuming the little kid knows what he's doing because, I don't know, Aphrodite, goddess of love. The kid introduces himself as Richie, and runs off when they're in the lobby. We see that the power isn't out anywhere else once they're in the lobby, so that means the elevator specifically had the problem. Why? I have no idea. It's never mentioned or acknowledged.
When the heroes leave the building, Team Rocket drives by in a van, demanding in an official tone all pokemon for "inspection." Ash, Richie, and a ton of nameless extras show up. Everyone's just finished giving Team Rocket their pokeballs when Jessie and James realize they can't not do the motto, and reveal themselves like idiots. Luckily, absolutely no one does anything while Team Rocket runs to their van, and hell, Ash and Richie are the only people who even freaking run after it as it drives off. We also learn from Ash's dialogue that he only cares about Pikachu, and not his other pokemon. Ash almost kills himself running off of the edge of a cliff, but Richie saves his life. Ash thanks him by acting like a douche, but they succeed in getting in Team Rocket's way anyway. They stand unarmed in the middle of the road, so Team Rocket swerves to avoid them and their van tumbles down the side of a hill. Even though in a previous episode they attempted to murder Ash. I don't know.
Despite their best efforts, Ash and Richie can't find Team Rocket, so they make camp because it's suddenly night. Cut to Team Rocket and they're also making camp for the night. Cut back to Ash and Richie, and they're seeing what pokemon they can see in the stars. I'll be honest, I could never see constellations.
In the morning, the heroes find Team Rocket still asleep, and sneak into the van to free their pokemon. They free Pikachu but not the others before Team Rocket appears behind them in the van, showing they sleep in their uniforms because they're insane. Makes enough sense, I guess. Team Rocket locks Ash and Richie in the van while they drive off, so because they have access to all of the pokeballs, Ash pulls out Bulbasaur to cut a way out-- Nah I'm just messing with you. Ash can't tell which pokeballs are his, and we learn that some contestants planned to win using Magikarp and Drowzee, apparently.
Ash eventually finds Bulbasaur and sends him out, but he's unable to do anything, so Richie sends out his Charmander, who breaks the van's wall easily. Richie sends out his own Pikachu, so the two Pikachu defeat Arbok easily because she forgot to send out her Lickitung to help because... um...
More through Richie's competence than Ash's, both heroes survive and they rescue the pokeballs. Just as they escape, Officer Jenny and a squad of jeeps show up, and we follow the standard trope of the police showing up too late to do anything except wrap things up.
At the tournament, Ash and Richie draw each other for their next battle because it's the least likely outcome possible.
I'm not really sure what the point of this episode is. Ash makes a new friend and has to battle him next? That's, uh, uplifting. All that happens is that we meet a character who's far more competent and logical than Ash while having the same basic heroic traits and who thus makes Ash look like a loser by comparison. He even nicknames his pokemon, something Ash has never bothered with.
Friend or Foe AlikeEdit
"If that kid's so brainless and he beats us all the time, how brainless are we?"
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: The obvious Richie doll, Richie asking the judge to wait for Ash, Ash's dramatic entrance
Ash spends the night angsting about having to fight Richie because it's the lamest thing he can do. He knows they have to fight, just do it. Misty and Brock do some research and learn that Richie has won all of his rounds without losing a single pokemon, and has only used three pokemon at all; Pikachu, Charmander, and Butterfree. Ash is suddenly sure he'll win the match, treating it logically for absolutely no reason: he's got to fight Richie, and the better trainer will win. The next morning, they meet with each other and agree to battle their hearts out. Team Rocket overlooks this, planning to oh you already know.
They capture Ash and Pikachu, but Ash (eventually) escapes them and reaches the stadium. I'm skipping several scenes here, but suffice it to say that the effort of getting back to the stadium renders Pidgeotto unable to battle and Pikachu severly drained.
With seven minutes left in the episode, Richie sends out Butterfree and Ash sends out Squirtle. Since Ash knows Richie has a Charmander, you'd think he'd wait to use Squirtle, but I guess not.
We get some hilarious shots of Squirtle duking it out with Butterfree and both of them inexplicably using their fists instead of their actual specialties, and let me tell you, watching a turtle fight a butterfly in a boxing match is even more stupid than it sounds. Ash pays for his stupidity with Squirtle losing, so he sends out Pikachu, which is what he should have done to begin with. Pikachu easily defeats Butterfree.
Richie declares that he has to "fight fire with fire," and sends out his Charmander. I know he's only ten, but this doesn't follow any kind of logic; he's only fighting fire with fire if Ash has a fire type out, but if he means it metaphorically, he should have sent out his own Pi ah screw it. Pikachu, rather than actually attack, opts for the unorthodox strategy of "Jump around and do nothing while my enemy stands perfectly still and shoots fire at me," which, while unexpected, proves ineffective, and he's eventaully defeated.
At this point, Ash is desperate. He considers his options: well, he has a Kingler, who can defeat Charmander but will lose to Richie's Pikachu, he has a Muk, who's largely inexperienced but Nah I'm just messing with you, Ash doesn't consider his options at all, he just sends out Charizard in a move of desperation. Charizard defeats Charmander with ease, but when Richie's Pikachu refuses to go down in one attack, he gets bored and drifts off to sleep, giving Richie the victory by default. For some reason, the crowd cheers and is excited by this turn of events even though a second ago it was angry at Charizard's refusal to fight.
This episode is about losing, but really, Ash doesn't lose. His pokemon were tired and partly unusable from earlier; it's the same thing as if you're beating everyone in Mario Kart and three Blue Shells defeat you without your enemies having to do anything but remain in the race. He doesn't mention it, the episode doesn't go into it, but the circumstances are set up to make Ash appear like the better trainer while still giving Richie the victory, which, well, sucks. It's the most anticlimatic possible way for Ash's journey through the Indigo League to end and it's not as if we care about the welfare of Richie, a character we don't really care about and have no interest in the welfare of.
If they wanted to do an episode about Ash losing to a rival, why wouldn't they use Gary? Why knock Gary out of the tournament only to replace him (effectively) with this kid? What is the payoff? What is the logic?
Or if they want to do an episode where Ash legitimately loses, how about they put Ash up against either a guy who's a better trainer or who has simply better and more experienced pokemon? The writers chose the only way that makes the result unsatisfying. I kind of want to like this episode, it's got some good scenes in it, but it's undermined by the choices it makes and that really brings it down, I'm sorry.
Friends to the EndEdit
"Make sure you don't choke like Ash did."
Did I Remember This Episode Through Nostalgia?: Not at all
The episode starts with the "sad" music as Ash lays in his room, angry at his loss. Somehow, only Brock can figure out why Ash is depressed, with his mother unable to piece together that losing the match in such a ridiculous way has gotten to him. After Ash acts moody enough, both Misty and Oak chew Ash out for failing to train Charizard properly, and Ash responds to their logical argument by acting like an infant.
Cut to Richie preparing for the sixth round, and the heroes come to wish him luck. We get a montage of Richie fighting... someone, I guess. Oh wait, her name is Asunta. I'm sure that's a detail I needed to tell you, and Asunta will be a major player in the anime, just wait. Richie brilliantly counters an Ivysaur with his Pikachu, and loses to a Kameham-- a solar beam/tackle combo. Well, that was anticlimatic and stupid. Ash, too, is very disappointed with this turn of events, as it renders the moral of the previous episode about losing gracefully kind of pointless, because Ash's graceful loss is now just a loss.
In the next scene with Richie and Ash, Richie decides he'll do better next time, while Ash broods to himself about losing and realizes that he, the mature ten year-old, is acting childishly. Before this introspection can go any further and Ash develop as a character, Team Rocket shows up and kidnaps the Pikachu and traps the heroes in a hole. Dammit, writers, seriously, no one cares about Richie. Trapped in a pit, the heroes of course send out their fliers-- Nah, I'm just messing with you. Oh wait, no I'm not, they actually do send out Pidgeotto and Butterfree to pull themselves out, it just takes them a while.
Wait, in Richie's first episode, Pidgeotto and Butterfree couldn't fly Ash and Richie, they could only slow down their descent, but now they pull them directly out of a pit ah screw it. They defeat Team Rocket so easily that they don't even mention it to Brock and Misty, who show up immediately afterward.
We get the "inspiring ending" music, but we're only 2/3 of the way through the episode, and-- wait, the tournament is over now? We don't even get to see the winner of the tournament? The entire point of eighty-two episodes, and you don't even show us the winner? You bastards. You absolute bastards. At least show AJ in the crowd of contestants, damn you. In fact, making Richie lose against AJ in round six would have made the entire "Ash loses in a ridiculously stupid way" aspect of the show all worth it. Just have AJ show up, steamroll Richie's pokemon with his one Sandshrew, maybe a Sandslash now, and win the touranment. It would be the best of all possible endings.
Also, if the tournament is just between entrants, what's the purpose of the Elite Four in the anime? We know they exist, Brock mentions the Elite Four in the episode with Bruno. How do you challenge them? Where do wait to be challenged? Is there a proper champion like in the games?
Ash is given a badge to show his achievement, but since everyone gets the same badge, it's not really an achievement. It is a nice looking badge, though, I'll give it that.
Ash and Richie sit on the empty stands the next morning, both saying that having fun was worth the effort of entering. We then get the I Wanna Be The Very Best music, and they wisely don't remix it, instead choosing to play it straight with a montage of Ash's time in the tournament. The montage goes on too long for the song, so they elongate it with extra lyrics to pad out the end of the episode, but hell, they more-or-less fit, so I'll let it go. The last scene is of Ash determining to train harder for the next time.
This episode is far better than the previous episode, but again, I really don't like Richie. There is absolutely no reason to replace Gary with Richie. What they should have done is have Gary defeat Ash where Richie does, and then have Gary lose where Richie does, and have Ash and Gary talk to each other about losing. They could become friends, Gary learns something about losing gracefully from Ash while Ash learns something about determination, and it makes more sense thematically because, well, is it so much to ask that Ash's rival for almost eighty episodes actually battle him in the climatic tournament after taunting him about how he'll battle him in the climatic tournament? Is that really an unfair demand I'm making? As it is, Ash learns something about himself from Richie, not with Richie, which is a lost opportunity to make both Ash and his rival learn about themselves.
I don't know, I'm kind of glad I didn't remember this episode from my childhood. The season officially ends, and we're off to the entire season of filler: Orange Islands.
Indigo League RetrospectiveEdit
"Your girth is blowing my mind!"
The Indigo League proves itself to have a lot of problems. Besides the obvious lack of logic in many episodes, Jessie and James are needlessly crammed into plots they have no reason to be in. The worst problem, however, is the constant, seemingly endless filler. Even if you count gym battles, League battles, catching a pokemon, releasing a pokemon, and revealing a character's backstory all as non-filler, the season is still more filler than content.
Misty is not given enough characterization. Ash and Brock have clearly defined personalities, but Misty's is mostly just acting as the straight man to their antics and being frustrated with them all of the time.
The season's biggest problem, however, is its massive anticlimax. I can understand not having Ash win the tournament, it teaches him humility, it shows that you can't always win, and purely from a storytelling perspective, the writers can't have Ash win yet. However. The way it's handled is so terrible that any moral to be had is lost in the stupidity. Richie is neither more skilled nor more powerful than Ash, who loses due to circumstance more than anything else, rendering the moral pointless. We also lose absolutely all of the buildup with Gary; an entire season is spent establishing him as Ash's rival and legitimately one of the best trainers around. If Ash needed to lose to someone, it should have been Gary, not a character introduced one episode prior.
Overall Score: 6/10
Best Battle: Metapod versus Metapod
Best Episode: Pikachu's Goodbye / Go West Young Meowth
Worst Episode: Sparks Fly for Magnemite / Clefairy Tales
Best Protagonist: James
Worst Protagonist: Misty
Best Side Character: AJ
Worst Side Character: Richie
Best Main Character's Pokemon: Squirtle's Sunglasses
Worst Main Character's Pokemon: Togepi