As soon as this battle starts, James is no longer voiced by Ted Lewis. Eric Stuart, who is also the voice of Brock at this point, begins his 75 year run voicing the character. You can tell because his “Koffing!” is about 50 octaves higher than Ted Lewis’ ever was.
Way back in episode two, I gave Ted Lewis a “Best” because I always dug his James but Eric Stuart does a wonderful job about 90% of the time over a much greater range of episodes (over 400 when all is said and done) so I’ve got to give the guy his props. He certainly won’t make the show any worse.
Speaking of voice acting, I’d also like to note that Veronica Taylor is finally starting to get the hang of Ash. She was never terrible, but you can tell she’s getting used to it and is able to express herself more with the voice.
Good thing A.J.’s leaving right after this battle, otherwise he might have had to clean up his fake gym and do something about the giant chasm his Sandshrew created.
The battle itself is a pile of bollocks. Each of Team Rocket’s Pokémon try one attack each, fail and are therefore done battling. I’m also surprised the Fissure attack didn’t cause Team Rocket to explode like everything usually does. They just kind of run away because they think this battle is lame and they don’t even like Pokémon anyway, not like you, you big loser.
I guess A.J.’s Pokémon did revolt after all. I’m sure he’s in a ditch somewhere with a Beedrill sting sticking out of his silly pineapple head.
Pokémon of England, Pokémon of Ireland,
Pokémon of every land and clime,
Hearken to my joyful tidings
Of the Golden future time.
I’m still not sure why Ash and A.J. are friends now, besides it being the end of the episode. We can assume that Ash has moved on from his loss, sure, but A.J. wasn’t an asshole because Ash was. He was just a coarse kind of guy, prone to flinging out insults and snide remarks. Maybe the pressure of getting those 100 wins made him a jerk, I don’t know. Personally, I blame the hair.
Grinding in one area is always going to fall under the law of diminishing returns. There’s a certain point where the experience, whether you want to view it as actual Experience Points like the games or not, gained from these repetitive battles against neophyte trainers in one location isn’t worth the time put in to actually compete in them.
A.J. is going to go out there, with a mediocre team conditioned to easy victory. Where’s he going to go first? Cerulean City? If the Sensational Sisters Pokémon are recovered by then, he’s probably not going to win, magic Sandshrew or not. Then what? Nothing, because A.J. thinks he’s done the training part and now it’s time for the winning badges part. They’re not intertwined to him.
A loss always makes Ash feel bad, and sometimes very whiny and petty like in this episode, but I’d never think he’d quit over it. I don’t know if I can say the same for A.J. so I’m certainly not surprised we won’t be seeing him at the Indigo Plateau in 70 episodes or so.
“One thing’s for sure, he’ll never forget the name of the place with the great gym again.”
What? Why are they referencing something mentioned in the first 30 seconds of the episode (Ash forgets they’re going to Vermilion City) while ignoring the 22 minutes that just happened? It’s not like anything in this episode served to remind Ash where he’s going. Is it supposed to be a joke that the name isn’t mentioned, implying that it’s been forgotten again? Who are you people and why are you in my house?
And what’s up with that walk? I hope he keeps that up until they get to Vermilion City.