I love the Rocket Grunt look. I guess lots of people do. Then it’s surprising that Rocket Grunts very rarely appear in the anime. Grunts are important, you know? They’re disposable and nondescript so you can run through them in no time at all without damaging the credibility of anyone in the main cast, which is kind of what will happen to Jessie and James after a while.
Jessie and James should be the bosses you have to fight after defeating 1,000 grunts at Hu Lao Gate in Dynasty Warrior or something. They shouldn’t be the only two enemies on the entire battlefield.
The Rockets have these vacuum backpacks to suck up everybody’s Poke Balls. It’s a decent plan, seeing as it works. Except this guy isn’t on the same page as the others at all. This kind-of-pudgy grunt just stumbles up to Ash and holds out his hand, going “duuuuh gives me your Pokémons.” You can imagine Giovanni watching on the security cameras wondering why he allowed himself to be talked into hiring his “special” nephew, Rodney.
Ash inspires rebellion on board the St. Anne and all the grunts are slaughtered because, hey, they’re grunts and besides, these grunts don’t even have any Pokémon. Giovanni could have at least given these guys some Rattata like in the games. Just to make a fight of it. Really, this turned out to be something of a poor plan.
Anyway, seeing a bunch of Butterfree using Stun Spore on the grunts, Ash sends out his, only it’s a Raticate. I know you haven’t had much time together, but you could at least try to remember who your Pokémon are. Of course this makes Ash more wistful for Butterfree but no one gives a damn about Raticate’s feelings. No one seems to wants him.
Additional worst: A flashback to Metapod evolving into Butterfree! There has been frozen stills and cribbed animation through this entire episode. Who snorted the budget away on this one? I hope they were caught.
I guess this is the first big cliffhanger in the series, if you don’t want to include “will Ash catch a Caterpie” in that category. It’s pretty awesome. The shot of the ship sinking with the bells in the background is particularly good. Really, I can see why they chose to make that the end to their first episode in America.
But, you know, I’m glad they didn’t put this sort of things into the original games. When I got older, I kind of wished the Pokemon games had more serious, dramatic plots but nowadays I’m glad for the simple sense of adventure they provide, devoid of drama and angst. Sometimes a journey is just fun, you know?