VHS Review (Posted on 03-07-2014)
You guessed right: Ash and the crew are lost yet again. While strolling, Ash still feels victorious having earned two badges, to which Brock and Misty told him they were only given out of sympathy....or lack thereof. Ash learns that only six Pokémon can be carried at one time while getting an injection of what qualities real Pokémon trainers have and portray—something Ash has yet to work on. Walking through the forest, Ash approaches a shore overlooking the sunset when a critter nibbles by his legs. It's Krabby! Getting pinched by Krabby's pincers, Ash throws a Pokéball without the need to battle (á la Caterpie), and catches it! However, the newly caught Krabby disappears in a flash. Brock and Misty remind Ash that he can't carry more than six, so any more gets transported automatically to Professor Oak's lab (similar to how it is on the Pokémon video game).
Pikachu begins jumping as it sees a mysterious lighthouse over yonder. The crew walk toward it and knock on the door, hoping to find a place to stay in after camping out for several days. A man's voice can be heard and allows them in. Worried about Krabby, Ash makes a video call to Prof. Oak, who answers in the middle of his cooking because his personal chef wasn't there. Keeping up to date from Oak, Ash finds out that rival Gary has already caught 45 Pokémon, while Ash isn't even near that number. Having asked where they are, Oak states the place they're in is Bill's Lighthouse—an avid Pokémon researcher (should we also add, a Pokémon historian and biologist) with his entire life dedicated to Pokémon. As the lights go on, the crew sees a....Kabuto? An extinct Pokémon and a rare one, but it's actually Bill himself; He was wearing a Kabuto costume explaining it helps him find out the life and mind of the Pokémon itself.
"This planet was created 4.6 billion years ago. During that time, all kinds of Pokémon existed. They had many ways of living. On this planet, there are more than 150 known species of Pokémon....there are still many Pokémon undiscovered."
It hasn't stopped, Bill. Pokémon continues to this day. (By the way, the planet being created 4.6 billion years ago is true in real life. Our Earth is, give or take, about four and half billion years old, so that number wasn't made-up.)
Meanwhile, Team Rocket also see the lighthouse and look to barge in climbing by the cliff. Inside, Bill mentions he's only after one Pokémon, describing it as lonely. The cry of the Pokémon has a rhythmic tone to it, making Brock and Misty dance to it. Calling up upon it, the mysterious creature slowly approaches Bill's lighthouse! Making sounds, Team Rocket looks to capture it....by shooting at it. The mysterious Pokémon goes bonkers, swats Team Rocket out, then runs away. The next day, Ash and the others tried to figure out what that Pokémon was. The shape of that mysterious Pokémon could be seen in the skies. (Yeah, that mysterious Pokémon was indeed Dragonite).
"The more knowledge we gain, the more we realized how little we actually do know. And so the journey of discovery continues in the incredible world of Pokémon."
Second episode on this volume has become a personal favorite of mine: "Electric Shock Showdown!" After being lost for two weeks, the crew finally reach Vermilion City, as Pikachu's and Ash's stomachs growl loudly. Heading over to the Pokémon Center, Nurse Joy mentions the other nurses in Pewter and Cerulean City are her cousins. Revitalizing Pikachu and the other Pokémon, Ash witnesses a trainer's Rattata being rushed to the emergency room, with Brock pointing out how critical its condition was. Looking at the poor Pokémon in the ER, Ash and Misty go at it again, yelling and disagreeing. Suddenly, Nurse Joy says:
"They say if two people fight, they really care about each other."
- Nurse Joy
There you have it, Ash and Misty. It's official.
Wanting to win a Thunderbadge, Pikachu feels reluctant having seen the critical conditions of the Pokémon rushed to the Center. Immediately, the crew all witness Pidgey being rushed to the ER. It wasn't long when Ash enters into the gym of Lieutenant Surge—owner of the Vermilion City gym. His two posse call him out on a new visitor "who's ready to lose." Poking fun at Ash calling him "baby" and chipping Pikachu's ego, the battle starts as Surge summons Raichu, and Ash summons Pikachu. According to Ash's PokéDex, Raichu's thunder shock is measured more than 100,000 volts, enough to render a Dragonite unconscious (ouch). As the battle begins, Surge spilled clues that a Pokémon's strength can be attained by evolving it immediately right after you catch it. Pikachu casts Thunder Shock but no use; Raichu retaliates with its own Thunder Shock leaving Pikachu in the dust. Done, that's it....no! Pikachu gets back up, and having heard trash talk from Surge and looking to plow against its own evolved form, it continues to fight. Not for long: Raichu stabs Pikachu with a Thunder Punch and a Mega Kick. On the other hand, Team Rocket witnesses the fight from the outside and realizes how strong Raichu is. However, the trio realize that Pikachu is more valuable as Jessie goes on to cheer for Pikachu. However, after the Mega Kick, Pikachu is done. Finished.
When Ash's competition is so tough that it propels enemies like Team Rocket to cheer for him and for Pikachu to win, you know he's in serious jeopardy. How do you defeat a violent Raichu who can maul through opponents with three attacks or less? The dramatization of the answer and analysis shows up in the next scene as Pikachu recovers, yet still feels ticked off at having its spirit ruined, says Brock. Pikachu refuses to lose (like trainer, like Pokémon). Nurse Joy offers a suggestion that may help Ash win: a Thunder Stone. This'll help Pikachu evolve into Raichu, until Brock and Misty get Ash to rethink this. Ash realizes that pushing a Pokémon to evolve over one match would leave him in the same shoes as Surge. Asking for its decision, Pikachu whips the stone off of Ash's hands. Pikachu sternly explains to Ash why, when Team Rocket eavesdrops on the situation from the Pokémon Center window. Meowth gets emotional, translating that Pikachu is so brave and wants to fight the way it is without evolving. Meowth continues, saying Pikachu will fight for all pikachus, defending its honor and refusing to evolve for any reason. As Ash and Pikachu promise to rematch against Surge and Raichu with a renewed sense of confidence, Brock and Misty still feel skeptical about Pikachu, worrying about its health. Having finally recovered and heading back to the gym, the crew run into "Challengers' Cheerleaders" who are rooting for Pikachu to win, then start to run away. Misty thanks them for the support, knowing it was Team Rocket the whole time. Ash and the team continue. Here it is: rematch of the big showdown.
Surge, overhearing Ash's new plan for Pikachu having learned from Brock prior to the match, states they've found "a new way to lose." Immediately, the showdown begins with a tail whip from Raichu beating Pikachu up already (overconfident?). Team Rocket looks on wondering if their cheering got in the way of Ash and Pikachu. Beaten up again, Surge commands Raichu to cast Body Slam, flattening Pikachu below zero. Looking to finish the match, Raichu goes for another Body Slam....then Pikachu gets back up! Ash commands Pikachu to cast Agility. Raichu continues to use Body Slam but misses! Brock mentions abilities, like Agility, can only be learned from the Pokémon's original stage, and rightfully so because Surge evolved his Pokémon rather quickly. Advantage: Ash, as he gets Pikachu to use ALL
of its Agility and what's left of it. Hoping to recover from a broken spirit, Pikachu races quickly as a terrified Raichu struggles to keep up.
Pikachu's Agility clocks in at an eye-smashing one (1) ys—one yoctosecond
, which is one septillionth
of a second near Planck Time
(the speed of light)!!!!—and moving in a circular direction, getting Raichu dizzy. Looking to stop the bullet train, Surge commands Raichu to cast Thunder Bolt as Raichu's electricity breaks the battle ground and destroys the gym! Battle over....but war not won! Pikachu survives, using its tail to balance from the electric shock busting cracks from the ground. James, from Team Rocket, comments saying that was quite a "tale." Meowth hits both Jessie and James saying they've both got pun
ished. Good one, guys. Back to the match, with its speed past its maximum, Pikachu casts Quick Attack before Raichu attacks, as Raichu's electrical attacks burned out! Pikachu's final submission is a thunderous tail whip, cleaning Raichu's clock. Surge reacts, "UNBELIEVABLE!" The same word sports correspondents say when witnessed an upset, and that we saw one here.
- Meowth, in reaction to Pikachu defeating Raichu
Whew what a match. Ash gets rewarded with the Thunderbadge as they continue on their journey. Team Rocket, acting like sports fans, walk away congratulating Pikachu. Meowth then says, if they can take Pikachu, they can earn their own badges. How bizarre, as James stops and says they've wasted one episode cheering for the good guys. Oh Team Rocket.....
Quite an adventurous battle that was, so it's time to relax, as the crew reach the dock with cruise ships. Wanting to go on a cruise, Brock reminds the folks that it's too expensive to afford such cruise.
"Reality can really bum you out...."
We all aren't strangers to that, Ash. Yup, it hurts....until two clueless teenagers show up to give Ash a ticket to the St. Anne cruise ship. Acting like dumb school girls from southern California, they push on to persuade Ash to take the ticket and go on the St. Anne for free. The teenagers then run away, but who would they be? They were Team Rocket posing as those teenagers as they report back to their 'office' to have a talk with their boss about their plans of snatching all the trainers' Pokémon aboard the St. Anne.
Meowth: "Hey Boss, what about Meowth? Ain't I your favorite anymore?"
TR Boss: "I'm totally disgusted watching you fail me, when I expect total perfection. 'Purrrr-fection' like this beautiful Persian."
Okay, look: if your boss demands perfection, s/he'll realize 1) it'll never happen, 2) s/he expects too much out of his/her workers and 3) the company guarantees failure. Although that wouldn't be the point of Team Rocket having tried countless times of kidnapping Pikachu, Team Rocket's morale in achieving perfection could never be met as their slapstick clumsiness makes for a recipe for entertainment and comedy. Nevertheless, I thought I'd mention this for any of you out there working for an aggressive boss like Team Rocket's. I know there aren't many that exist, considering most of us now find and launch our own companies, but still, regardless of the pay, the art of proper and friendly communication is key.
Oh, and Meowth, if your boss isn't your favorite anymore, I'll list you as a favorite. Come on, who doesn't want a cat who can talk?
As Ash and the folks enter in, they feel the warm atmosphere looking like a Pokémon convention, Ash describes. Walking through the crowd, Ash hears a man yelling "let the battle begin!" That's the call of a match between Starmie and Raticate, to which Raticate wins. Excited, Ash jumps on in to battle the man with his beautiful lady. Ash summons Butterfree as it plows through Raticate easily. Looking to finish off the match with Stun Spore, the man picks up his Raticate saying "okay, let's call it a draw." Yeah, a sore loser indeed, so Ash, don't worry about it. Roaming around the area of the booths is James, as one vendor calls him to check out a "rare" Pokémon inside the aquarium—a Magikarp. The vendor goes on to talk about Magikarp's biological function, laying 1,000 eggs. He informs James that selling those thousands of eggs could make him an instant millionaire. Like an idiot, James purchases the Magikarp.
The St. Anne continues to sail and whoa: Ash eats like crazy, Pikachu packs up all the food, and Misty enjoys the cake while Brock is lovin' the sandwiches. The man with the pretty woman walks up to Ash checking up on his enjoyment on the cruise. As always, Brock turns red after looking at the man's lovely lady. After exchanging compliments on each other's Pokémon, Ash reluctantly accepts to trade Butterfree for Raticate, under Brock's encouragement only because he's blushing over the pretty woman. For James, Jessie and Meowth both tell him that the vendor tricked him into buying the Magikarp, and he used....Jessie's money to purchase it. Jessie angrily, yet hilariously, forces James to get the money back. Back to Ash, Misty approaches him asking why he's so unhappy (Nurse Joy was right; after all, what other girl would want to know what's on a guy's mind when he's alone?). Ash reflects on how Butterfree was the first Pokémon he ever raised, since its Caterpie form (recall the scene where Caterpie told Pikachu its dream was to soar like a butterfly—evolve into Butterfree). Ash goes on to try and trade for Butterfree back.
Quietly, the boss sees all the trainers sucked in into the ship not minding a thing when suddenly, "MEOW!" from Persian, summons the Team Rocket mobsters in the St. Anne sucking up everyone's Pokémon. As one guy holds Ash hostage, Pikachu comes over and electrocutes him! Ash gets all trainers on the ship to team up and win the war against Team Rocket. All trainers summon their Pokémon as everyone teams together to attack: Pikachu, Charmander, Bulbasaur and Butterfree. Ash summons his Butterfree but Misty reminded him that he traded for Raticate. Ash nearly gets sentimental, as Butterfree holds a memorable spot in his heart, and really wants to get it back. Nearly held hostage by a Team Rocket gang again, Ash summons Pidgeotto and casts Gust, tornadically spinning the Team Rocket mob out of the ship. To finalize the battle, Pikachu and its group cast Thunder Shock and eliminate the entire Team Rocket mob successfully! Jessie, James and Meowth crawl out defeated, hoping to get out of the ship. They're not the only ones: the waves start acting up, shaking the ship back and forth causing a ruckus inside. As everyone fights to get out as soon as possible, Ash is busy trying to trade back for Butterfree....and does! Suddenly, the ship tilts and Ash loses Butterfree chasing after it. As the folks clear out, including the Captain, James chases the Magikarp, unable to get his money back, and Team Rocket ends up in the kitchen unconscious. Ash finally grabs Butterfree, but the crew gets flown about and also get knocked unconscious. The Captain outside silences everyone outside who were saved via emergency boats, as the folks are all safe and sound. Nope: Ash and friends are still trapped as are Team Rocket. The ship sinks slowly, as the Narrator feels an "sinking feeling" unsure about our heroes. The volume ends with credits.
After the credits, the commercials included are Pokémon for Game Boy, Ranma ½: The Movie
and Kimba The White Lion
This was the most action packed volume ever, and will leave you at the edge of your seat. However, this volume also includes some references and hidden meanings that many of you would care to know:
Mystery at the Lighthouse
was likely a reference to the hunt of the Loch Ness Monster
. From creatures, like Bigfoot, Bill was on hunt to find a rare creature whether anyone believe it exists or not, to study its full nature. I'm not sure where I stand on my belief of such creatures but if science does capture it, examining its biology shouldn't take long and we would've found out in a flash. Nevertheless, the Pokémon Bill as after looked like a gigantic Dragonite (no doubt: training and raising Dratini to evolve to Dragonite is tough work....unless you used the Rare Candy trick). In addition, there were a couple of biological facts that relate to our own planet as well (e.g. "this" planet was created 4.6 billion years ago). Second episode Electric Shock Showdown
felt like a dramatization of a sports competition, with Team Rocket acting as sports fans (or should we call them "bandwagoners"). Ash learns that Pikachu's abilities and experience can only be learned in its original stage before having to evolve into a better form. I'm going to push the button: when I think "experience," I think "Life." No human being on this planet has ever gone through life without thinking that one dreaded question: "what's the point of living if we're all going to die anyway?" I researched this and everyone agreed on one answer: experience. Our technology, if injected into the human genes, can allow us to have the average life span of 500 years sans 70-80 years. However, authors, [life after death] researchers, skeptics and philosophers state that death exists to transition into another realm. With the average life span of 500 years, it's said we'd get tired of living, but we exercise self-preservation to extend our years longer to continue our earthly experience—to stamp as much as we could do, see, feel, smell and touch before our "contract" here on Earth is over. With Lt. Surge evolving Raichu rather quickly may have the meaning that suicide isn't an answer. Following up on experience Pikachu wanted to stay in, and realizing a higher realm exists somewhere in the Universe after our life here, tells me that one must
experience the goings-on here on Earth before advancing to a tranquil place. Otherwise, as spiritualists say, it'll be a long while for them to grow if they don't live on here on Earth. (According to a close friend, those who commit suicide get reincarnated back here on Earth to relive the years they've lived previously and continue on until it's time.) Granted, many Pokémon fans say "it's just part of the story" with no meaning. However, like many anime/cartoons, the show's producers and writers can get away with an egregious amount of political and social messages, offensive or not, and portray any hidden truths, reality checks and their feelings behind it while using the characters to act upon them (I'm sure I mentioned something like this having reviewed The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3
). Anyway, enjoy the experience and continue learning. There are people who need you, and even though it's a whole lot nicer up there, we have ways to go and learn before our time is up. Lastly, for the third episode of this volume Battle Aboard the St. Anne
, it's quite easy: a reference to the Titanic. Because everyone has a mixed opinion about the film with Leonardo DiCaprio and hearing the soundtracks from Celine Dion, and debates about how a ship can be destroyed by an iceberg, I'll stop it right here. (The St. Anne was sunk due to high waves and was not struck by an iceberg).
Yet another enjoyable volume from season one of Pokémon. I sure hope you don't miss this volume. In fact, if Pikachu had a final match before the world ends, it would be against Raichu (nope, not against Mewtwo, Mew or Dragonite). It's a match I couldn't stop rewinding to.
Who's That Pokémon?
Ep.013 - Krabby
Ep.014 - Raichu
Ep.015 - Raticate
Let's discuss these deeper meanings from this Pokémon volume, via video, on the ever-popular video sharing website Vimeo
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© 2008-2019 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Norman J. Grossfeld
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