Best: The Thick Black Line

These motion lines make everyone look like they have the shakes. That’s what you get for continuing to feed your destructive drug habits, Pikachu and Misty. Some people can’t handle fame and child stars are often the first to fall. So sad.

Certain artistic styles catch my attention so the cold opening of the show with the thicker-than-usual outlines, while still clearly being Pokémon, was nice to see. Actually, there are several interesting artistic choices in this episode. There’s a lot of deliberate frame ghosting, as well as some cut frames. There’s some quite good (and wasted on this episode) animation for the Team Rocket intro as well.

An interesting art direction can make me more likely to watch something even if ordinarily I wouldn’t be too interested in it, especially in a highly visual medium such as animation.

Worst: Speaking of Interesting Art Directions

I’m not here to tell you how 4Kids ruined Pokémon by changing everything from the Japanese version. I mean, maybe they did (they didn’t) but it’s not really too pertinent to this blog. I’m certainly not as good as Dogasu.

But even so, I’d be remiss not to note all the badly painted labels that are far brighter than the rest of the image. The “prune juice”, Brock’s Mt. Moon spring water and Misty’s Pokémon Tech flier are all victims of this. I don’t really get why these things have to be painted over as I believe that if Brock holds up a bottle of water and proclaims “this is a bottle of water!” then it doesn’t matter if you can read the label that says “Bottled Water” or not but here we are.

Best: “Here, Firewood!”

Ash is such a lazy git. Asked to go and gather firewood so Brock can cook, Ash takes to sauntering around and trying to coax branches into his arms with his sweet, sweet words. Oh sure, everyone will starve and then freeze to death in the night but I guess it’s worth it to make sure Ash Ketchum doesn’t have to dirty his hands picking up sticks from the ground like the damned proletariat or something. Who is he, Dersu Uzala? They’ll want him to build a tent out of grass next.

Now I want someone to show Ash taking Misty’s bike from four different viewpoints, like in Rashomon.

Worst: The Best Days of Your Life

What the hell? Did Ash wander into the hazing inductions for Skull and Bones or something? If my school made me answer questions while running on a treadmill, I would have received slightly more F’s than I did in reality.

This is one of the few episodes where game mechanics are heavily featured and it’s really awkward. Pidgey learns attacks at certain levels, evolves at level 18 and so on. It doesn’t really mesh up with how Pokémon work in every other episode.

Best: Children Are a Superstitious, Cowardly Lot

Ash challenges the jerk students to a fight (kind of) and the gang decline because they’re too civilised to fight, especially when you can make your pets do it for you. Ash yells that they’re scared so they just kind of go “lol yea scared of kicking YOUR ASS!!” and walk off. It’s very grade school, so it gets a best for being somewhat realistic.

    • David says:

      Best idea I’ve heard in a long while. Samurai, Seymour the Scientist, Joe, Giselle. All of Gary’s cheerleaders can be the girl students at the lighthouse in the movie. Charmander’s original owner too. I know there’s a samurai-style guy with a Marowak later on, maybe he’d win it.

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