#79(-ish): The Battle Club and Tepig's Choice!
This episode begins with Ash cheerfully looking at a large city he thinks is Striaton City, but Iris tells him otherwise (of course she shouldn't have expected him to know, he's a kid!), which disappoints him, since he was so psyched for a gym battle. Then she tells him that there's a Battle Club nearby, which he doesn't know what it is...
In the building, Iris explains the concept of Battle Clubs to him, which gets him excited for a battle. So after the intro and episode title, Ash sees two people battling and gets more excited. When the battle's over, a burly man comes out and reveals himself as Don George, the Club Battle manager. Then he notices Ash's Pikachu, which is a huge deal, since it's not native to Unova. The winner of the previous match challenges Ash to a battle, and he accepts. Pikachu's ready to battle, when Oshawott suddenly comes out of its ball, also ready for battle. It knocks down Pikachu, and the other trainer sends out Dewott, Oshawott's evolution. This causes Oshawott to cower behind Pikachu, and Ash to recall it. The battle begins, and then we cut to a somewhat amusing scene with Team Rocket. I would have complained, but the battle was nothing special, and TR are MUCH more likable than they were for much of the anime's run.
They go inside of an unlocked building, and Jessie says, "No locks? Careless.", which made me laugh for a bit. A small, shadowed figure runs out of the building, and they stumble for a bit. The alarm rings, and they run away instead of just standing there and getting caught. The alarm also forces Ash's battle to get suspended, and Don George goes off with his subordinates to investigate, with Ash and Iris following along. Soon after, one of DG's subordinates report that nothing was stolen, and Don George gets the idea to use the security cameras.
Back in the building, Ash is more concerned about whether or not the cause of the conflict is a new Pokemon he can catch...he's such a kid if he expects to find a new Pokemon that easily! And so, the security system reveals the scene of Team Rocket setting off the alarm and running away, and we get this overused line:
Ash: They're a bunch of bad guys who steal Pokemon from other people!
So after they identify the mystery Pokemon as an Umbreon, Meowth suggests stealing a bunch of supplies while finding Umbreon. The other two agree, but first, they have to distract the others somehow. How? Well, Jessie whips out a can of paint, and genius Meowth catches on to their plan to paint a fake trail! But then he gets no response, and all of a sudden, it hits him...
Back with the others, they're all still looking for Umbreon, when they suddenly hear one cry out its name. They then see the Pokemon (which is really Meowth in disguise) running away, and take chase. You'd think they'd accept a Meowth, since it's also foreign to the Unova region.
Ash and Iris are trying to lure in the Umbreon with food, and are competing to see who catches it first. Oshawott pops out and provides more humor. When the humans are not looking, it starts eating the food meant for Umbreon! Pikachu tries to stop it, but Oshawott shoves it away, causing a bowl, followed by a box to fall on it. Oshawott looks confused that Pikachu's suddenly gone, but just shrugs it off. Then...
"Who's That Pokemon?"
You'd think it would be Umbreon, but...
Guess the "mysterious" Pokemon is not so mysterious anymore, is it?
Anyway, the next scene is Ash and Iris seeing...Tepig, but it looks black and thin, and also has a rope tied around its snout. Ash tries to take off the rope, but Iris comes in and calls him, and Tepig runs away. The next scene is just Ash chasing after it and calming it down so he can untie the rope, before betting that he'd like to eat some yummy Pokemon food, which he feeds him. Oh, and he has this line:
Ash: Oh, man. Who would do such a terrible thing?
Gee, I don't know...maybe paul, Damian, and so many more you've met over the years...months...however long it's been since you first started your journey?
The next scene is Meowth luring Don George and the workers away from the warehouse so his friends can search it for anything worth stealing. Meowth gets cornered, and they start crying tears of joy over finally catching up to "the first Umbreon to be discovered in Unova!". Meowth feels guilty for leading them on, so he polishes his charm to show that he's actually a Meowth, before casually walking away. At first, they're disappointed that it's not an Umbreon, but then one of his workers remind Don George that a Meowth would be just as rare, which gets them to turn around to see Meowth running away from them. Since it's too far for them to catch up, they start crying again.
Meanwhile, Ash and Iris meet up with Don George, who explains Tepig's backstory. Basically, after it lost to a Deerling, its trainer tied a rope around its snout and left it there. After Don George tried to untie it, it chewed itself free, but there was still a piece of rope tied around its snout. After the story, again, Ash wonders how someone could do something so terrible, while Iris wants to give whoever did this a piece of her mind. Then they see Team Rocket strolling along with a bag, and Ash asks them what they're up to, but they keep moving on. Behind TR, Oshawott points to them, having finally decided to put aside his rivalry with Pikachu, who makes a muffled sound inside the bad.
Ash: That voice, who's that, Pikachu!
Jessie: "Who's that voice", so naive, indeed! (Agreed!)
(The rest of the motto goes here)
Oshawott tries to blast them with a Water Gun, but they put up a shield to defend themselves, so Ash runs after them himself...only to slip on a puddle made from the failed Water Gun. Then, Tepig offers to help and uses Ember on TR, who have an expression of fear. The device they're hovering on explodes, Pikachu is freed, and Team Rocket...escape on gliders. Awesome!
Ash: Team Rocket burned me up!
You have to love how angry he gets after they escape!
Anyway, Iris comes to the scene and admires it for a bit, before getting ready to catch it. However, Tepig wants to go with Ash instead. For what, you may ask? Well...
Don George: It appears Tepig has chosen Ash as its trainer! And after all its hardships, Tepig knows a great trainer when it sees one! Raise Tepig well, Ash!
.......What? First of all, Don George wasn't even there when Ash helped the Tepig, so this makes no sense. If he's referring to the way he commanded it, then it's just stupid, seeing as anyone can say "Tepig, use Ember". Second, how exactly would Tepig know a great trainer if it was mistreated? Iris just watched Ash treat it, so going by that logic, she'd be a great trainer too, since she didn't do anything to him. And again, anyone can say "Use Ember". This just looks like more Ash glorifying, which it is. It would be great if they could stop bringing up how much Ash loves Pokemon, because it's just annoying, and it proves they can't come up with anything else.
Before the episode ends, Giovanni assigns the trio to go to Striaton City and contact headquarters immeiately after they arrive there, for a certain area requires their investigation.
Now, if I liked this episode so much, what's my problem with it?
#1. Tepig's backstory is a rehash of Charmander's, and also Chimchar's to an extent. With Best Wishes! doing many original things, you'd think they wouldn't reuse the abused fire starter plotline, too.
#2. Ash's one-track-mind and general cluelessness was annoying. As well as that, some of his lines were completely idiotic.
#3. Yet again, the writers rely on Ash's love for Pokemon as a crutch to make him look better.
Ghirajinxaphobia (or Ghirajinxphobia) - Fear of Ghirahim being cosplayed by a Jynx