Best: The First Ever Episode

In America!

When it came time to debut this Pokémon Japanimation (which was a real thing people said in the 90s, look it up!) in the United States, someone felt that the first episode wasn’t very exciting. Perhaps because they stopped watching before Pikachu nearly died or perhaps because they felt no empathy for children or mice. So, with a few minor alterations for the first showing, this episode was put on instead, with a one-time ending narration saying something along the lines of “let’s see how our heroes got into this mess” and then kicking off EP001 the following day.

And seeing as the show still airs today in America, I think it proves that people will rather watch children suffocate than be mauled. A noble sentiment, to be sure.

Worst: Aargh, My Eyes!

Why would you hold your badge up in front of the sun? The sun is quite bright, bright enough that it won’t make seeing your badge any easier. I guess it makes an allegedly neat image if this was being broadcast on television, but I didn’t expect Ash to be so self-aware as to being making these stylistic choices consciously. Even better, this came out around the same time as The Truman Show. 1998 was the peak for this sort of thing, huh?

If Pokemon ends with Tajiri Satoshi trying to convince Ash to return to the Pokémon world, only for Ash to say “Gotta catch ’em all!” and take the exit into the real world, it would make all the bad episodes totally worth it.

Worst: Battle Aboard the HMS Rumpelstiltskin

In the Japanese Pokémon games, the ship is called the St. Anne. Outside of Japan, thanks to Nintendo’s puritanical nature in the 80s and 90s, all frivolous religious references were removed so the ship became the S.S. Anne. Now the cartoon reverts back to St. Anne. Make up your minds.

So Ash knows about contemporary cruise vessels but not Pokemon types? Did he want to be a sailor the day before he found about this Pokémon thing going on at Professor Oak’s house? No wonder Oak only had three Pokémon available in advance. But then again, I guess Pallet Town is by the sea, even if they never really mention that. Usually Ash whines whenever anyone wants to do anything not directly related to his getting badges and now he’s desperate to get on board this ship.

He should get a ticket, cross the ocean and meet Justin, Feena and Sue from Grandia coming the other way. I like crossovers.

Worst: Radical to the Max

Ash gets suspicious because Disguise-Jessie said “radical” and lol only losers say radical in the not-quite-post-modern-era of 1998. Hey screw you, Ash. The Ninja Turtles said radical all the time and they’re a hell of a lot cooler than you’ll ever be. Nothing was good in 1998 anyway. Go listen to “It’s Like That” and “My Heart Will Go On” and revel in the mediocrity of your time, you twat.

Besides, slang goes in cycles. When everyone is saying radical in 2047, they’re going to think Ash is such a loser. For the wrong reasons, I mean.

Best: Blinded by Greed

They didn’t even change their hairstyles. If your greed blinds you to these terrible disguises, guys, then maybe you deserve to have your Pokemon stolen. A Pokémon is a friend, a companion, a way to earn Pokémon Currency Unit in inhuman cockfights, not as a means of obtaining free cruise tickets. Have some dignity.

  1. Rando says:

    i didn’t know this was the first episode either – interesting move, if most likely unnecessary.

    i’m interested to know how ‘nintendo’s puritanical nature’ affected the original translation of the next episode. as i recall, brock had once heard ‘a story about a man called noah’ that inspires them to send pidgeotto to look for land. there’s your homework for next week.

    • David says:

      Oh, that’s definitely getting one of my paragraphs where I just talk about Japanese culture and make no jokes and everyone skips to the next Best/Worst.

  2. Delsaber says:

    I totally forgot that Team Rocket had a vaguely-imposing Shadowy Figure of their very own. I wonder where he places in the greater pantheon of Shadowy Figures; above Inspector Gadget’s Claw and Star Trek’s “Future Guy”, but below the WWE “Board of Directors”?

    Southern Gentleman = the current head of the Maximillian Knights. Fred got it on with someone, obviously.

    Also, your choice of image for Worst: I Miss My Butterfree can be totally misinterpreted. By me, anyway. I guess they don’t mind Pikachu watching.

  3. Luke says:

    Oh man, I was really beginning to enjoy reading these and it ends so abruptly. And with that comment promising more soon almost a month old with nothing new, is this the end of this? I sure hope not

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