Best: 4Kids Does a Good Job

No, not with that horrible scoreboard but with the scene where Ash brags about the badges he’s won and his nose grows.

Originally, Ash brags about he has two badges after only 10 wins, which is true, but vague on the details. This leads to his nose growing, which is a Japanese sign for arrogance, based on tengu, which are long-nosed demons common in Japanese mythology.

As you can imagine, such a visual reference depicting arrogance would have little meaning to most of the intended audience for the dub and so they, quite ingeniously I think, tweaked Ash’s dialogue so that he’s blurring the truth a bit, talking about how he “won” his two badges. This turns the nose growing skit into more of a Pinnochio reference, something more palatable to western audiences.

Worst: Double Standards

Ash grinds out some random trainer wins and he’s an overconfident jackass for thinking they mean anything but A.J. literally sets up camp in the area and grinds out almost 100 of them and he’s a great Pokémon trainer for it?

Anyone can get 100 wins if they’re continually fighting the likes of Youngster Timmy and Bug Catcher Drew repeatedly. What is A.J. learning from all this besides how easy it is to make people think you’re tough if you pull a Bill Goldberg and beat up a pile of losers? I don’t give Ash a lot of credit but at least he fought Brock.

Best: Loser City and Wimpsville

It’s nice to see Brock and Misty get fired up over their gyms. After all, the trouble with sidekicks is that, after a while, they come to accept their role when in fact, the best sidekicks should know they’re the heroes of their own story.

So, Brock and Misty wanting Ash to win, not because he’s their awesome friend but because the other guy happens to be a bit more of an asshole is a good idea. Yeah, Ash could use a humbling experience right now but screw that, the other guy insulted YOUR gym.

Best AND Worst: Ash Makes a Good Choice

Ash blows off Misty’s attempts at advice, which is par for the course. But this time it doesn’t lead directly into Ash doing something stupid. Flying Pokémon are usually immune to Ground attacks. Of course, seeing as two of his three Pokémon have that attribute, it’s not like he had much choice…

Anyway, then Ash loses in about 15 seconds because pride comes before the nonsensical fall. It’s a weird trade-off to only allow Ash to make smart choices when they can’t work out for him. Sure, you want to have some “overcoming the odds” stuff so he’s always going to make some questionable picks but does that mean his sensible choices have to fail to compensate for it?

You’re not really an underdog for making bad choices if the bad choices are the only way you can win!

Best: The Biggest Cry Baby in the West

Ash is very annoying in this episode but that’s sort of the point, so mission accomplished, I guess. He goes from complaining the battlefield was rigged, to begging for a rematch to accusing A.J. of abusing his Pokémon, which I imagine is like accusing the coach of the little league team that beat your team of being a paedophile.

It’s just so wonderfully petty and pathetic. If your memories of Ash Ketchum are of him as the noble, never give up hero of the show (and I’ll be fair and say he does grow from this point) then this episode will certainly catch your attention.

  1. Delsaber says:

    Holy shit, A.J. is Guy Fieri.

    Whatever happened to Bill Goldberg, anyway? Still squashing cruiserweights somewhere?

    Koffing! should be high-octave. Perhaps ALL the octaves.

    Obligatory Star Trek Reference of the Week: Vermillion City, isn’t that where the weird holodeck train was going? Y’know, with the dude delivering metaphorical bricks, or something?

  2. Rando says:

    you know, when i watched it, i assumed the ‘place with the great gym’ was referring to aj’s gym, and was some poorly-articulated message about how it was great even though it wasn’t in some big city, but upon further consideration, that makes even less sense. it’s a dumb closing line either way.

    and i don’t think i even noticed the mid-episode VA switch >.>

  3. Anonymous says:

    Shell helmet=shelmet. It’s not a lazy pun, it’s MATH. I guess we should count ourselves lucky they didn’t invent a Shelgina. Oh wait, they did. It’s called Cloyster.

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