Anyway, onto the episode...I haven't reviewed anything in a while, so this will probably suck. Oh well. This was a pretty good episode, and I was more impressed with the animation than I thought I would be. What I actually liked most about the art was how well Melissa's facial expressions were portrayed. She was hilariously over-the-top, and all around I'd say that they did a good job of retaining her personality from the games.
So, onto the episode itself. It had all the components of an interesting episode, but for some reason they didn't add up quite as well as they could have. I think they spent a little too much time on the battling in this one, considering that it was just a practice battle. The flashback giving Melissa a little backstory was pretty nice. It fleshed out her character a little...and it gave the writers an excuse for all those times she was out of the gym without a replacement. Excuses are always good. (Kids, that was sarcasm.)
Maybe it didn't turn out so well because they were trying too hard. Nozomi in a non-contest (not even pre-contest) episode, cameos of Adan and that one nosepass guy, Musashi's alter ego...the list goes on. They didn't really need to pack that much stuff into one episode if they're going to take up half of it with a battle. Then again, what kind of fan am I if I think that long pokemon battles are tedious...?
Speaking of the battle, I have to say that I like how they incorporated game mechanics into it more than usual. And as far as I remember, this is the first good acknowledgment of how utterly frustrating Hypnosis is. I feel your pain, Satoshi. I feel your pain.
Before I wrap this up, a little note on the voice actors: I was much more impressed with Fantina's VA's performance than Melissa's. Maybe it's just because I hear Japanese spoken with real English accents a lot, but Melissa's sounded extraordinarily fake. Fantina's French and accented English was great, and I have to give Bella Hudson kudos for her performance.
All in all, despite having lots of good stuff in it, the episode seemed a teeny bit forced, and the practice battle was far too long for a practice battle episode. It wasn't bad at all, but I've seen better.