the torrent for this episode sure took its sweet time getting up, and as usual, I avoided spoilers until it did.... it was so f***ing worth the wait. I wasn't spoiled on this, but Juptile contacted me on AIM. I stopped him before he said anything, but he already managed to imply that something important would happen, and something big that would be enough to get him excited. Given what the preview was centering around, I narrowed that possibility down to either the egg hatching, or less likely, something having to do with Manene (perhaps it shows off an attack and that it's not exactly useless in battle). All throughout the episode, I was anticipating something like that to happen, not even giving a second thought to Gomazou's presence. Pikachu and Elekid shocked Rocket Dan's mecha.... I knew something was off, because they didn't explode and say their usual "Yana kanji!", so the mech suddenly reviving was expected. Then Gomazou participated in the fight again, with the song Battle Frontier starting up. It got pushed back, screamed holding its trunk up in the air, and I thought it was about to charge up a Hidden Power. For a split second when it started to glow, I still thought of Hidden Power, but then I noticed that the glow was encasing its whole body..... holy crap, holy crap, holy crap..... ooooh god, evolution ^^. Aw yeah.... my heart was friggin racing when I saw that happen, and it continued racing even after the Mysterious Dungeon prize give-away announcement had ended (basically, when the file finished playing). I tell ya, really huge surprises like that don't come along very often in Pocket Monsters, and to receive the full effect as I did really is a great sensation.
This is so damn great, too. Satoshi's team is once again full of tough bada**es as it was in Houen (even Pikachu's bada** now that it knows Volt Tackle, even if it needs practice.... BTW, love your sig, Pokeballs). And as everyone else mentioned before, Satoshi finally got that Donphan he always wanted, and Gomazou joining the team is finally justified. The Battle Frontier continues to surprise me, too, because with the exception of Manene's seperation, this episode didn't look too interesting in the preview, and it was assumed that unless the egg hatched, this would be the first filler in the long stream of non-fillers.
[cough] You're probably all sick of hearing about the evolution, so unto the rest of the episode. I actually kinda liked the main plot to this one. When Satoshi thought back to when Pikachu was overloaded on electricity at the beginning of Houen, I thought "Yay! Continuity!" Speaking of continuity, they brought up the fact that Gomazou was hatched from an egg at the beginning, nice. The fact that a small Elekid was wailing on several Pokemon, including a large grass-type Nasshii, was justifiable (I hate tiny titans, probably more than Big Al does). Also, when it was suggested that Pikachu could absorb the lightning to fight back, there was a pretty nice tension in the air. Satoshi fearing for Pikachu's safety, then Pikachu willingly agreeing to it... kinda brings fond memories of the Crystal special, and that moment between Kenta and his Bakuphoon.
I agree that they could've done much more with Manene interacting with the main group. Its mimicry of Gomazou was still cute, though, and considering it evolved into Donphan, it was the only chance for the writers to do something like that. And that scene where Kojirou and Haruka put the battle on hold to make their switch.... hilarious XD. Donphan suddenly learning Hyper Beam bugged me as well.... aside from being an unnecessary ranged attack with Hidden Power already being there, this also disproves that theory I had. The one where the reason Gomazou had Hidden Power, Kabigon had Protect, and that damned turtle suddenly got Ice Beam was because Ookido was testing out move tutoring on the Pokemon at his lab without anyone's consent. Since Donphan just pulled a Kingler, I guess this means that theory's out, and the show has gone back to how attacks were being done the first time they were in Kantou: TM moves were just there, nothing spectacular, as if they could learn the moves naturally (although, this could just be a one-time fluke, like those Kinogassa that suddenly got Iron Tail). It sucks, really. I liked how all throughout Houen, they'd make things realistic and have Pokemon learn new moves through effort and training to use them properly. Ah well, given the surprise evolution and the decent quality of the filler material for this episode, mistakes like that could easily be forgiven right now.