VHS Review (Posted on 05-05-2014)
Right before the feature episodes begin, a promo for WB Kids is unveiled: This fall, it's Pokémon: The First Movie
! According to the teaser, you can find out more at www.pokemonthemovie.com
Taking the man's advice, the trio travel to Lavender Town. Walking through the forest, it gets foggy; Misty feels it's an omen to stop this trip in obtaining a ghost Pokémon. Not wanting to lose each other, they all try to hold hands, but Brock is lost! He tries to grab Ash's hand but instead, grabs Pikachu's tail and gets electrocuted! Scared off his screaming, Misty feels more and more uncomfortable as Ash laughs sinisterly. Feeling like a ghost (perhaps a zombie), he turns around and shows his skull face scaring Misty and Brock! Ash was kidding around playing with their fears stating that to capture a ghost Pokémon, they'll have to be brave. Brock and Misty didn't take that well, and Pikachu electrocutes Ash! After that silliness, Ash says he'll save the mask for next year's Halloween.
Having arrived at Lavender Town, the trio then approach the Pokémon Tower—an eerie, rundown tower said to be where ghosts roam. Now feeling uneasy, Ash doesn't feel like going in alone and feels braver going in the morning. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is already inside the tower looking to snatch Pikachu once again. Looking to get started, James runs....and falls, busting a hole on the floor! Seeing if he's okay, Meowth senses something coming out from the open door of the room they're in—it's Gastly! Awaking from a nap, Meowth freaks out as Jesse tells Meowth not to rudely leave its mouth open like that. Asking her to look behind where Gastly is, Jesse looks behind her and sees nothing.
"You must be seeing things...."
- Jesse, in response to Meowth's sighting of Gastly
Suddenly, Gastly reappears again overtaking Jesse's face scaring the yarn out of Meowth! Meowth tells it to get away by scratching it, but instead, scratches Jesse's face! Jesse angrily retaliates by hitting Meowth with a hammer, making Meowth fall into the hole James fell in and landed on top of him. Jesse looks at her scratched face only see Gastly sneak up behind her and falling into the hole as well! The floor all three of them land also gives way as Team Rocket falls into another floor! All together they see Gastly scaring the lights out of Team Rocket, as they scream....then faint. Outside, the trio hear all the screaming; Brock heard a different voice aside from the screaming. The trio decide to go inside to see what's going on.
Entering in, the front door immediately closes getting Ash to summon Charmander to light the place up. Misty doesn't feel comfortable exploring the rest of the tower wanting to leave. Brock finds a candle as Charmander lights the candle....and Brock's face! The trio approach a door at the end of a hallway only to hear laughing: it's Haunter and Gengar watching, what looks like, a Japanese-like comedy show. Going along with more laughing, Gastly comes back to them as they all laugh in unison, ready to scare off the uninvited.
The trio then enter into a....dining room? Everything is spic and span; They see a piece of rope hanging from the top, with a card that says, "Pull This." Ash pulls the rope and the compartment opens with confetti and a sign that says, "Welcome." Suddenly, the silverware and chair run amok and fly everywhere! Charmander and Pikachu get picked up by the plates while Brock gets flown away with the dining chair. They all jump off, and everyone runs away back outside the front door. As if nothing happened, everything returns back into place as the ghostly trio, Gastly, Haunter & Gengar, laugh for successfully pulling off their prank.
Catching their breaths, Ash is dying to go back inside but Misty and Brock don't feel like doing so; Pikachu and Charmander also don't feel like doing so as well. Scolding Pikachu and Charmander, Ash boosts their courage about overcoming their fear in order to defeat Sabrina. This caused Pikachu to have a quick flashback about getting its clock cleaned by Kadabra. Ash finally convinces them to go back, while Misty and Brock wait outside. Inside again, Ash uses his PokéDex to better understand the nature of ghost Pokémon. He runs into a hole on the floor hearing some murmuring. Ash commands Pikachu to cast an electric attack....and does! He then commands Charmander to cast Flame Thrower....and does! Ash throws a PokéBall to try and catch whatever it was he attacked—it was Team Rocket the whole time. Jesse gets enraged, with James seeing fire in her eyes....and in her hair too, according to Meowth! Jesse runs in a circular path trying to pat out the fire, while James and Meowth look on without lending her a hand (ha!). Seeing the 'fireball' gone, Pikachu turns around to find Haunter behind Ash and Charmander!
"You must be seeing things...."
- Ash, in response to Pikachu's sighting of Haunter
Ash turns to his left only to be eye to eye with Haunter! Ash uses his PokéDex to find out more but couldn't provide any more information! Toying with Ash, he summons Charmander to cast Leer. Eye to eye, Charmander tries to cast it....instead, makes a funny face cracking Haunter up. Haunter casts Lick leaving Charmander paralyzed! Laughing continually, Gengar makes his appearance! Gengar flies by and hits Ash on the head; Gengar and Haunter laugh hysterically. With his PokéDex unable to provide information once again, Ash sees what looks like a Jackass
version among the Pokémon—Gengar hits Haunter in the head as Haunter exaggerates his eyeballs being bulged out after getting hit. Gengar and Haunter stare at Ash and Pikachu wondering why they're not amused. Having expressed his distaste in their kind of comedy, Gengar and Haunter sink to the floor after being left cold with no one understanding them. Ash, wanting to capture one of them, jumps to them but lands on the floor! A chandelier gives way falling from the ceiling, landing on Ash and Pikachu leaving them immobile. The ghostly trio stop laughing noticing that Ash and Pikachu are gone (explanation below). Haunter still laughs as it goes over and pulls Ash's and Pikachu's souls out of their bodies! Awakening from the tragedy, Haunter tells them they're now alike: ghostly souls without a body.
"No way, I don't want to be a ghost yet!"
Haunter proves their ghostly figure as the ghostly trio get Ash and Pikachu to do a bit of sightseeing and traveling throughout Lavender Town. Looking over yonder at Misty and Brock, Ash knows it's time to have some fun. Misty feels she and Brock have to go inside, uneasy that Ash is taking too long. Ash talks to Misty from behind but Misty sees no one but hearing his voice! Ash jokingly carries Misty as she gets scared from being lifted! Ash lets her go and Brock catches her; Misty's worries grow rapidly now with her and Brock running back inside the Tower. While inside, Ash and Pikachu are flying and having a wonderful time. Haunter toys around and fools him into eating him; The ghostly trio laugh in unison with Ash and Pikachu. Back to the Tower, the ghostly trio invite Ash and Pikachu to a playpen where the ghost trio play around in the swing, the carousel and more. Pikachu joins in the fun and plays in the swing with Gastly. Loving the *life* the ghost Pokémon live in the Tower, Ash doesn't feel like doing so—pursuing an unfinished dream he has to actualize, which as you know, is becoming a Pokémon Master. The ghosts don't take it very well, saddened that Ash can't stay and hang around with them.
Brock and Misty dragged Ash's and Pikachu's cold bodies hoping they would wake up after a severe hit from the chandelier. Overlooking from above, Ash tells Pikachu it's time to go back. As their souls drop back into their bodies, Ash finally wakes up; Pikachu wakes up as well!
"No sweat: glad to have you back!"
Misty nearly broke in tears of joy, as Ash sees his new ghost friends laughing from up above; Ash smiles in satisfaction. Next morning, Brock asks about catching a ghost Pokémon. Then what about defeating Sabrina for the Marsh Badge? Ash says he'll use his sense of humor to defeat her. Misty and Brock become puzzled at his tactic (though they will know later). Pikachu says a ghost is following them....and scares the lights out of Misty and Brock. It's Haunter! The ghostly comedian decided to tag along with Ash and Pikachu as they're heading back to Saffron City.
"Maybe together, their comedy act will knock out Sabrina's psychic Pokémon!"
What happened to Team Rocket? Gastly and Gengar get hysterical having tied them up and making them ride on the carousel forever. "Looks like Team Rocket's throwing up again!" they say.
Second episode of the volume is it: badge time. Nearly becoming Sabrina's toy dolls, the trio push on. Ash informs Haunter about Sabrina and her psychic Pokémon, as Haunter seems reluctant. Redemption time: Ash can't wait to battle....only to see Misty and Brock cheer for him without going back inside. Ash tries to get them to go with him for support, but Brock fears they'll be back in the doll house after what happened previously. With enough courage, and having persuaded them, Ash summons Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur, ready to take on Sabrina a second time. Entering back to the battle arena, Ash demands a rematch. Sabrina quickly summons Kadabra; Ash summons Haunter....but Haunter disappeared! Unable to find Haunter, the clock is ticking and Ash needs to summon a Pokémon immediately. Ash tries to get Pikachu to battle but evades! For Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur, they all back out knowing the eerie punishments laid down by Sabrina. Not able to find a Pokémon, Ash calls the match and runs to the exit! Brock and Misty follow Ash but the doll catches up to them: she turns Brock and Misty into dolls! Cornering Ash and his Pokémon, the doll nearly turned them into dolls....until the bearded man reappears and teleports them to safety.
Sitting on the bench exhausted, Ash's confidence and spirit burned out, labeling Sabrina as "the meanest trainer he's ever met." The bearded man decides to share a very unhappy background story about Sabrina and what her cold-shouldered disposition originated from.
"Though she was very young, Sabrina became completely obsessed with her psychic training. She didn't want to make friends, all she wanted was to be left alone to develop her powers. Her parents tried to help but Sabrina used her psychic powers to drive them away. The conflict caused Sabrina to split into two girls: the strong Pokemon trainer who is always causing trouble, and the lonely little girl who desperately desires to make friends. That doll that Sabrina always holds represents her true self, before her training....before she rejected her own heart."
- Bearded man (Sabrina's father)
Certainly quite a story: a pretty female Pokémon trainer with a psychological disruption. Perhaps a clinical psychologist needed?
Ash, unable to save Brock and Misty, mentions they've been turned into dolls and now needs to rescue them AND
earn a Marsh Badge. The man says he has to defeat Sabrina to save his friends, otherwise they're done for good. As if Ash hadn't already have enough on his shoulders....
Meanwhile, Team Rocket, looking like they're cleaning windows off a building, devise their new plan in capturing Pikachu: James thinks an old fashioned fishing net will do the trick. About the launch the net, as Ash and Pikachu walk by to try and find Haunter, James immediately stops after a visitor appears: it's Haunter! Team Rocket scream in fear as the platform collapses, and Jesse is hanging on while James and Meowth hang onto Jesse. Feeling bummed again, Jesse misunderstood why the ghost Pokémon kept following them. Hanging on tightly, Haunter decides to perform a little physical comedy, while James tells Jesse to hold in her laughter. Making more cracks, Jesse slowly....laughs, as she lets go! James doesn't see what's so funny, and Meowth thinks she'll die laughing. Team Rocket hit cement bottom, and Ash witnesses the fall and thanks Haunter from stopping them. Ash explains that now he has to save Brock and Misty, in addition to defeating Sabrina. After a few tries, Haunter decides to do it after flaking out the last time.
Next scene takes place inside the doll house, where Brock and Misty converse wondering what will happen to them. Suddenly, another doll welcomes Brock and Misty: it's Sabrina's mother! Wanting to play "dollie," Ash rushes back and looks to challenge Sabrina. This is it: no way out. Sabrina's doll makes a proposition: if Ash loses or tries to quit, he'll be a doll. The match is on: Sabrina summons Kadabra; Ash summons Haunter....but doesn't show up again! Sabrina threatens Ash he won't escape this time, while Ash desperately calls for Haunter, but not to be. Feeling bummed and watching his clock tick by, Pikachu runs to the rescue! Ash wants to pull Pikachu out because of its mismatch against Kadabra; Pikachu refuses. The electric mouse tells Ash it wants to save him from turning into a doll, and bravely chooses to fight for Ash despite the mismatch.
"(tears of joy) Thank you, Pikachu. You're a real pal!"
Rematch: Ash commands Pikachu to cast Thunder Shock; Sabrina commands Kadabra to use Teleport, evading from Pikachu's attack! Sabrina commands Kadabra to cast Psybeam, inflicting major damage to Pikachu. Slowly trying to get up, Ash commands Pikachu to retaliate with Thunder Bolt....and does! The attack burnt up Kadabra; Sabrina commands it to cast Recover....and does! Ash and Pikachu in shock, Sabrina states its Recover makes it impossible to win. Out of the blue, Haunter makes an appearance! Laughing at Sabrina, Sabrina's doll claims Haunter's appearance makes it an unfair match. The bearded man makes an appearance stating that Haunter is playing around on its own, and not battling, thus making it legal. Haunter is at it again: performing his physical comedy as Sabrina looks on. Haunter takes out a bomb out of its mouth, exploding between them cracking up as a result. All this made Jesse laugh, so what about Sabrina? She suddenly smiles and gets a big laugh from Haunter's comedy! The bearded man couldn't believe how happy Sabrina looked since she began her Pokémon training as a child—bursting with laughter, and smiling like she never smiled before. Ash, still unsure about the goings-on, fears he'll be turned into a doll as a result because Haunter is making Sabrina laugh, not battling Kadabra. The man points at Kadabra who's rolling on the floor laughing, telepathically in unison with Sabrina. Ash still doesn't understand the scenario, but Sabrina's doll suddenly leaves and disappears, while Brock and Misty are back!
"Since Kadabra is no longer able to battle, I officially declare Pikachu the winner!"
- Bearded man (Sabrina's father)
Ash and Pikachu win!
Sabrina and her parents are back, sending their best wishes to the trio, thanking them for reuniting the family—Haunter has now become Sabrina's new Pokémon! Walking away with a new badge, Ash still feels if it was fair obtaining it. Misty and Brock said it best:
"Making Sabrina laugh herself into a defeat is a great strategy!"
"Keep it up and you'll become known as the funniest Pokémon Master of all time!"
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Third episode starts at the lab of Prof. Oak back in Pallet Town. He receives a video call from Ash showing off his badge collection. Oak doesn't look impressed, as he updates Ash that rival Gary has already passed through Celadon Cityૼthe next destination for the trio. Ash feels frustrated and defeated as usual.
"Writing poetry is a lot like Pokémon training: I can't write a good poem without rhymes, and you can't be a good Pokémon trainer without capturing more Pokémon."
- Prof. Oak
Not having any choice, and learning that quality is better than quantity despite Gary's number of Pokémon he caught, the trio take a break eating Brock's homemade donuts. Pikachu sees something coming out of the bushes: it's a Mankey! Brock kindly offers his homemade donuts to Mankey; Ash took Oak's word to heart and is looking to capture it immediately. Mankey didn't want to as it tosses the donut to the PokéBall Ash throws, and now Ash is left with a captured donut! Mankey grows angry and starts chasing after the trio. Misty loses her balance and gets run over by Mankey, as the angry monkey continues running after Ash. Mankey beats up Ash and steals his hat! After a rough beating, Ash gets back up and tries to get his hat back. He mentions how rare and collectible that hat is—an official product of Pokémon League Expo—having said that he sent millions of postcards in order to win that hat.
"Poor Ash, losing an official hat is like losing your best friend."
That sarcasm didn't work, Brock. Many fans have likely found out why later.
Ash climbs to the top of the tree trying to grab his hat back, but gets punched by Mankey! Team Rocket then shows up as Mankey observes them. James kicks Mankey out of the way as they ask Ash to "borrow Pikachu permanently." In the background, Mankey gets enraged and angrily evolves into Primeape! Team Rocket then summon both Ekans and Koffing to battle Ash, but Primeape mega punches Jesse, flying about and crashing into a rock face first! Jesse, too, gets enraged and command Ekans and Koffing to charge at Primeape, but Primeape beats all of Team Rocket! Having learned not to give eye contact to Primeape, according to Ash's PokéDex, Pikachu tries to grab Ash's hat but gets stopped by Primeape! Pikachu slowly tries not to give eye contact to Primeape, but no good! Primeape grabs the hat and happily wears it again. Ash commands Pikachu to attack it with Thunder Shock....and does! Primeape gets more and more red with anger, however, Brock composes a theory. He thinks the reason for its anger is that it simply needs attention. With Misty and Ash feeling unsure, Brock walks up to Primeape saying it's alright, but he gets punched in the face! Ash gets chased by Primeape yet again, using his PokéDex to which Dexter says Primeape casting Thrash makes it go psychotically out of control. Ash, Pikachu and Misty run quickly from Primeape, as they try to split to confuse Primeape, but no good! More and more running, Ash falls into a hole Team Rocket has dug. Team Rocket looking to grab Pikachu again, Ash warns them that the Primeape has gone out of control. Ash commands Pikachu to electrocute Team Rocket....and does! Ash climbs out of the hole and breaks the rules: he glares angrily at Primeape, eye to eye, as he recalls a message from Prof. Oak remembering that capturing Pokémon is like writing good poetry. Getting back up, Ash looks to challenge Primeape; He summons Squirtle to cast Water Gun. Primeape dries up all that water with its intense heat from its anger. Ash then summons Charmander to cast a flame attack to which Primeape evades the attack. Primeape then confronts Charmander and continually punches Charmander. With Ash worried about Charmander, its flame on its tail grows larger! According to Dexter, Charmander's growing flame on its tail is a sign ready to cast its special attack: Rage! Ash commands Charmander to cast Flame Thrower, in addition to Rage, as Pikachu sneaks by and grabs Ash's hat at the last second before the fiery flames burn up Primeape. Out of energy, Primeape loses and Ash throws a PokéBall to capture it. Dramatically, he successfully captures it! Jesse blames Ash for falling into the hole and asks where Primeape is. Ash throws his newly captured Pokémon as Primeape punches Team Rocket over yonder! Ash is proud to have Primeape on its team but Primeape punches Ash in the left eye. The trio then continue on and see Celadon City is a few steps away. A brand new adventure awaits as Ash looks to acquire another badge. Meanwhile, Team Rocket lands on an area filled with Primeapes! As they all get beaten up, the episode finishes with them saying, "I wish we had some donuts!"
As the third episode ends with credits, there was no PokéRap included on this volume
. My guess is the time constraints of the episodes themselves. The volume ends with commercial promos for Pokémon for the Nintendo® Game Boy, Ranma ½
, The Dog of Flanders
and Kimba the White Lion
That wasn't too bad, was it? As usual, there's something being said here on this excellent volume.
On The Tower of Terror
wasn't just about overcoming fear. Having chased after a ghost Pokémon, Ash and Pikachu were knocked out cold after a massive hit from the chandelier. You see Haunter pull their souls out of their bodies? Let's not forget what Ash said to Haunter:
"No way, I don't want to be a ghost yet!"
Whether you're religious, spiritual, or hold no belief whatsoever, Haunter showed us our eternal self. No matter what doubts you may have about the existence of a soul, this is an example to believe in it. When the ghostly trio bring Ash and Pikachu to their playpen, Ash realizes they just needed more company to hang around with. I don't like to think of it, but this tells me how lonely ghostly souls are. The playpen represents eternal happiness and perfection, mired with nothing but pure pain-free living. The fact that Ash would like to stay but couldn't made me think he was just "visiting." In other words, when we've made a meaningful connection with someone, we like to be with them for eternity. Many grief counselors all agree why crying over the death of a loved one is considered normal (every one of us experiences this in our lives). When Gastly, Haunter and Gengar were saddened that Ash and Pikachu can't stay to hang around with them, they couldn't find a way to make them stay because of the bond they've created. Meaning, our passed loved ones miss us as much as we miss them. However, when Ash said he didn't want to be a ghost just yet made him think he didn't want to believe he still exists without body. Haunter proved him wrong.
When Misty and Brock run back inside only to find Ash and Pikachu immobile made them think they passed out (some may say they're dead). Looking from above, Ash tells Pikachu it's time to go back as they re-enter back into their bodies and awaken. Seems like a call on out-of-body experiences which is what looked like the whole time. Being that it was "time to go back," Ash and Pikachu realize how painless being a soul is and how eternal and happy they are. Ash mentioning he has a goal to become a Pokémon Master explains that before he becomes just a soul, he has to make something of himself while he's still living. Although many may not think of it, we're here for a reason; We're here to learn and love; We're here to contribute what ever it is for the good of ourselves and for others. There's a clear reason why people say, "the world needs you
," to those contemplating suicide. You have a purpose whether it's big or small. Even if it's very little, one discrepancy can disrupt an entire flow. Yes, you
have a purpose and reason to be here. Make something out of it.
When Haunter decided to tag along with Ash and the crew simply tells us that our loved ones are always with us. Ash and Pikachu laughing at Haunter's comedy acts sort of says there's nothing to worry about; Our loved ones are free from suffering and are just as fine as we are.
On Haunter vs. Kadabra
felt more covering psychological disorders and laughter. When Sabrina's father tells the story about Sabrina, the part where he mentions she 'split' into two girls was the giveaway. Multiple Personality Disorder
isn't something to be proud of, nor is it a joke. Because of the mystifying cases of those suffering from mental illnesses, going out of their way committing gruesome acts such as murder, I felt writers wanted to play it safe and get Sabrina's "victims" to be turned into dolls rather than getting killed. What I need to question is this: if Sabrina turns their opponents into dolls after losing to her, shouldn't this be reported as kidnapping? Where are the citizens filing complaints about it? What about the opponents she faced prior to Ash, did they succeed? We assume so since they're not in the doll house. Nevertheless, without resorting to a darker act of violence caused by Sabrina, the writers did a great job of keeping it subtle. Sabrina's father made another mention about her wanting to make friends. Perhaps, despite her alleged disorder, is what led to her "kidnapping" in wanting people to play and be with her. With all due respects to the top psychologists in the world, I feel this is still something that's misunderstood. There are times people with mental illnesses do something that's vile and disgusting—such violence emanates from being victimized as a child by abusive parents, peer groups and/or even their romantic partner, past and present. I never majored in Psychology but to my understanding there's an empty space, or damaged per se, in a person's mind that needs to be covered and fulfilled in order to be happy. Unfortunately, both men and women don't understand and listen to these people's problems, what's in their mind and what they have to say. A lack of love and friendship, even if you're an introvert, can leave you feeling short on life and love. Some philosophers may say that a reason a murderer is happy when s/he kills people because s/he gets to eliminate the people whom s/he thought made them miserable; That case may as well be that the murderer may have been disassociated from peers and other people who don't want to listen to what s/he has to say, and/or was bullied by them.
Despite Sabrina's cold disposition and turning Brock and Misty into dolls, having learned about her troubled past in wanting to make friends, what does this tell us? Kidnapping people because she wants friends isn't going to cut it, neither will it do any good in real life. You can't choose your enemies but you can choose your friends. Sabrina's disorder and lack of friends make her seem like the prettiest sociopath I've ever seen. The best prescription to cure her condition? Thanks to Haunter, that medicine could very well be laughter.
"That Haunter has helped Sabrina re-discover the human part of heart."
- Sabrina's father
Whether it's a pet or another human helping one do that certainly is the mark of a wonderful friend; A friend who can make you laugh is the coolest friend anyone could ever have. If love is all you need, then laughter should come packaged with it. I understand some psychological symptoms require prescription, but who knows, just a good laugh may just cure their condition.
Lastly, Primeape Goes Bananas
didn't say much other than stepping up to a challenge and one interesting little fact. Can you guess? It's the part where Dexter mentions not to look Primeape in the eye. In Japanese culture, eye contact is an act of aggression and causes major discomfort to Japanese citizens. Here in America, not giving eye contact either means you're not listening or whatever it is you're saying is a lie. I personally am not shy, nor am I of Japanese descent, but I get very very
uncomfortable giving someone eye contact (and vice versa). I like reading and am currently honing my skills in Mathematics so numbers, symbols and letters, English or any other languages, are what I like looking at. Thus if something or someone stares right at me, I look away. Others may find this unusual, but I completely understand and respect this custom from the Japanese culture. Besides, I too wouldn't want to look an angry person in the eyes....nor would I look a gift horse in the mouth.
Not bad for three episodes, huh?
Who's That Pokémon?
Ep.022 - Gengar
Ep.023 - Haunter
Ep.024 - Primeape
It's also not bad producing video blog about this Pokémon volume and uploading it on Vimeo
! Your videos look better on Vimeo:
© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Norman J. Grossfeld
U.S. Production by
4Kids Productions, Inc.
Norman J. Grossfeld
Norman J. Grossfeld
Thomas D. Sullivan
Nicholas James Tate
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Director of Photography
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FOR THE SUMMIT MEDIA GROUP
FOR 4KIDS ENTERTAINMENT
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