- The episodes are memorable.
Probably helps that the season is short (only 36 episodes), but the episodes are hard to forget. This was one of the big things for me, as I had remembered at least half of them prior to starting it on my recent rewatch. Maybe not verbatim or had a scene-by-scene replay, but I could remember the plot of that particular episode. Some, though, I was a bit taken aback by how much I didn't remember, usually in the beginning. Which is odd, you would think the beginning would be the attention grabber. So I have to wonder how much I really paid attention to these episodes when they first aired. But when compared to the previous season, I remembered more of the Orange Islands than the Indigo League. Pretty good, since I don't that that
great of a memory.
- The gyms.
I liked the Kanto gym battles, and those battles are honestly more entertaining, but the Orange Island gym matches were rather creative—kind of. I found Navel Island's gym challenge... odd, and a bit dull. There's probably someone out there who really likes bobsled races, I personally didn't really enjoy it. Two of the gyms involved an actual gym battle, though with Rudy's gym, the challenger had to pass a test first before the match. But for the most part, the gym battles were more like tests to see how well the bond between trainer and Pokémon are, which was confirmed when Ash reached the League. Who's to say if Ash had caught on then, but he must have in order to have made it that far and even win
Also, the gym battles actually lasted
all the way through, something I can't really vouch for much with Kanto's gym matches. There were no interruptions of any sort, no need for Ash to get all heroic, they battled all the way through. So there were no pity badges here, Ash won fair and square (albeit with a bit of dumb luck). This leads to...
- The Orange Islands League.
Though it's kind of weird to call it a league, yet have the champion be a gym leader. The way they had set it all up from the gym leaders to Drake was rather interesting, and I wish we had more of that. While the other Leagues are more realistic in that there are multiple challengers, so multiple battles occur, at least this guaranteed the League was going to be short and sweet, like the season.
It's a bit amazing just how prepared the League was for Ash. Probably because this is a smaller League they have challenges all year, and it was just the one guy, yet it still felt a bit empty that it was just Ash and Drake. It's possible that not too many people compete for the League, and I find that a little disappointing, and maybe a little sad. Apparently Ash was the first for that
season, and who knows how far along in the season they are, or even how long a season is
according to them. They apparently don't make money off of it, though (except possibly from tourists), but it still seems to be a momentous occasion when the champion does
get a challenger.
- Tracey Sketchit.
I have to apologize to him. I know a lot of people still don't like him, mainly because he “replaced” Brock in the season, even though there was a reason for it. But you know what, he's not a bad guy. I actually do enjoy him, as he was a breath of fresh air. Considering that a few seasons later it would be Misty who would be “replaced”, and people have still been nagging about it, Tracey has been left alone since he stayed with Oak.
I had been led to not like him over the years because of the Tracey hate in some of the fan fiction I had read. There's a chance some of this hate can be stemmed to Cori Falls'
influence in the Pokémon fan fiction community, as she was the one who portrayed Tracey as a fat, perverted slob and a low IQ (not as low as Ash's in those stories, though). That poison seeped through, and so this influence lingered for years. I honestly couldn't see Tracey as anything but a character who needed to be hated on and laughed at. As I got older, it flushed out of my mind, and I came to regret hating him. Is he a favorite? No, but I don't see him as a plague these days like I did back then.
Despite being an obvious replacement for Brock, he pretty much was
Brock if he was more subtle and just sketched out his women. It didn't happen much, but he had shades of it for sure. Still, I do believe more could've been done to his character, and in some aspects there were
, like when he caught Scyther about halfway into the season. But I think the fact that we didn't get to be with him for as long as we did with Brock hurt his character just a bit, because character development did slow down. Though I sometimes think 4KIDS or at least someone from 4KIDS didn't like Tracey that much. He wasn't made into an idiot, nor was he bland, but he just came off as an okay guy at best, and that's a bit sad. I have a personal theory maybe Ted Lewis was given the part because he's not one of 4KIDS' best (at the time), though I'll admit it's a bit unfair for me to think that way just because Ted Lewis was in bad dubs (and wasn't that great of a voice actor in those dubs) prior to being hired to be in Pokémon. If I could make comparisons between the character as Tracey Sketchit and as Kenji, then I would, but I don't have that ability due to how much digging I will have to make to find English subs of the Orange Islands. So for the time being, I'll take what I can get.
Again, I'm sorry for everything, Tracey.
- “Bound for Trouble”
. Yes, there's a couple of problems in the episode such as the fact there should've been a bit more focus on Meowth and Pikachu. However, what I like the best about this is that the relationship between Pikachu and Meowth is explored, if only for a bit. It brings up the question of “Would I really be cooperative with or grow to like this character with whom I am constantly fighting with?” Does the answer deliver? Somewhat. So they're stuck together for a day, but what if they were stuck together for a few more days, or even a week? The battle against Rhydon, as short as it was, was made possible because of cooperation, even if Pikachu had to force Meowth to do it. But as much as they do yell at each other and want to do things their way, when they do get that moment of rest, they let their guards down.
It's really unknown if Pikachu really was coming to grow fond of Meowth, but as much as they continue to fight each other, there's hints that they're more like “frenemies” than it was before. Meowth more-or-less expresses this the most towards Pikachu if only because he can express his thoughts more often, and deep down, he's really not a bad Pokémon. Is it possible that had circumstances been different, they could have been good friends? Sure, I can see that being a possibility. Considering that Team Rocket and Ash have
teamed up on occasion, and continued to do so in the future, the foundation is already set. They would do this plot again later (even though I remember this the most), which tells me that they can
get along, but unfortunately, their lives are too different. On some days, they can be good friends, they will just have to go back the status quo the rest of the time. And it's pretty sad that their worlds prevent them from being a compatible team, which is why I wish they would've done more episodes like this. Not necessarily with just
Meowth and Pikachu, but they could've mixed it up with the cast. In a way, they kind of do this, but not to the extent that “Bound for Trouble” did.