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Review JN010: The Kairyu Paradise and Hakuryu's Ordeal!

Megalomaniacal toaster on a keyboard
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The island being safe from humans because of the storm makes no sense when to get around all you need to do is fly up and over it - and wouldn't meteorologists be very concerned when they see a hurricane on their satellites?
 
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I wouldn't be surprised if we got a Dragonite v. Dragonite rivalry.
Eh, First of all I doubt we are going to see the Full 6 VS 6 Battle and Red Gyarados does seem like the Main Focus of Lance's Team the way the episode is advertised.
 
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I remember there were a lot of people strongly against the Buizel Aipom trade back in DP, but the seeds were set early; Aipom showed interest in contests very early, and from Buizel's first appearance he was a warrior; he'd obviously be more interested in a Gym challenge than contests.

Scorbunny likes Gou and Dragonite likes Ash, and Scorbunny doesn't seem interested in battles to the point that he'd want to leave Gou for them.
the kicking of Ash and gigs with Pikachu are a sign... also Gou catches pokemon one after a other and his goal is Mew... what happens when he catches it? also Dragonite? seriously Ash has a dragon/flying pokemon already. Relesing it also is boring...
 
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I think this episode cements the fact that Ash isn’t doing the Galar gym challenge, as there’s no way they’d give Ash a Dragonite to use in the first gym against Milo. He’s most likely going to be doing battle challenges that take place around the world, which is the premise for this series. Some battles will take place in Galar for sure, but the whole series won’t revolve around the region.
 
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Should I even make a review? Hasn't this episode received enough praise already? The answer is no, it has not, as this episode is simply amazing and it deserves even more praise!

First of all, about time that they actually used the whole "research fellows" thing they established all the way back in episode 2 to its fullest. I know, I know, we already had episode 3 and the Galar two-parter, whose plots revolved around Ash and Go studying a Pokémon/phenomenon related to Pokémon. But episode 3 was nothing more than a Bulbasaur's Mysterious Garden rip-off that surprisingly had nothing to connect it to the original (which makes it pretty bland, as we already know Ivysaur's mystery (and Ash should as well)) and the Ivysaur in that episode weren't studied in much detail, while the Galar two-parter was the worst introduction to Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing, as nothing about the phenomenon is explained (we don't get to know why it happens, what causes Pokémon to grow in size, why it's restricted only to the Galar region, no mention of the differences between Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing, no mention of Max Moves and G-Max Moves, no expert like Professor Magnolia appears to explain it). But, in this episode, Ash and Go are actually actively researching the Dratini line. They study their behavior and record it, they bring up some interesting questions, they analyze them and investigate their habitat based on those question and, eventually, they learn the answers to those questions. And they even introduced some of the lore from the games into the anime, by having a Dratini shed its skin, which was a nice touch.

Second of all, finally, Ash has caught something! About damn time! And it's not just any kind of Pokémon, mind you, but a kriffing Dragonite! The original Pseudo-legendary itself! Now I know some people said that this is bad because the writers are giving Ash a strong, fully evolved Pokémon and that Dragonite has no room for improvement since it's already so powerful. But you have to remember that Dragonite is newly evolved, way too friendly and it hasn't participated in battle yet, all of which point towards it not being that OP and it having room for some character development (as long as the writers are willing to have their characters grow, that is). I mean, its not like we haven't had fully evolved Pokémon continue to develop and go through some character arcs even after evolving. Plus, its friendly demeanor really suits Ash, if you ask me. It was nice to see Ash come up with crazy and unique strategies to help a Pokémon train and I really liked his creative way of using Electroweb. Also, it was quite refreshing to see a character actually helping, spending time with and bonding with a Pokémon before capturing it. Better than just throwing Poké Balls at everything that moves with minimal effort and catching them in one try. Also refreshing was to see a character fail at catching something effortlessly on the first try (gotta love those faces Go made while failing to catch his next prey friend, really made him look unhinged).

Other than those two, it was nice to see Team Rocket back to their usual plans, the Rocket Gachat is still as stupid and impractical as ever and makes me feel very sorry for all of those poor amazing Pokémon that are gonna be treated like dirt, animation seemed okay for the most part (it wasn't terrible, but not that great either), it was nice to see Sakuragi's assistants do more than just be in the background for, even if their role in this episode was very, very minor (though we might see more of them in the future, based on next episode's previous), Go catching Pokémon every episode continues to be just as boring and annoying as ever (though it was nice of them to try and spice it up a little by having him not catch a Pokémon in one try) and the fact that he didn't even care about his new slave friend after they got separated... just, wow. Still, most of the negative and positive stuff I just listed were pretty minor and most of them don't really affect the episode.

So, overall, I'd say this is probably the best episode of this series yet. It takes full of advantage of the fact that Ash and Go are Sakuragi's assistants in order to show-off Dragonite, the entire Dratini line and what makes them interesting and unique, it showcases Ash, his character and what he's capable of as a trainer and it finally features a normal catch, rather than the Pokémon GO BS that Go is doing. And I gotta say, after the disappointment that was everything post episode 2, this episode was just... delicious. Finally, some good kriffing episodes of Pokémon. Here's hoping that the next episodes will be just as great (which, based on the titles and summaries for them, episodes 11-13 should be).
 
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I don't know why some people are complaining about Ash capturing a "powerful" Pokemon. Ash has done the gym challenge or equivalent of a gym challenge in 7 regions (plus Orange Islands), so I think he's experienced enough to capture a Dragonite.

If it had been Go who captured the Dragonite, then I would have had a lot to say.
 
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I was thinking this might be a standard filler and ended up being pleasantly surprised.

- Go's good at research.
- Woohoo Team Rocket!
- I liked Go freaking out trying to catch Dewgong, they've still got some work to do to make his catching scenes not feel like filler but at least they got some comedy out of this one.
- Thunderbolt works on regular lightning.
- Music with the Dragonites on the beach sounded Miyazaki-ish, more of that please.
- They actually called out how Dragonite doesn't look like its prevos, hahahahaha!
- Hey it's that forest lighting effect they used a lot in XY!
- Love that training scene! I still miss Volt Tackle but Electro Web is much better than Electro Ball.
- Not a big fan of the gatcha machine but Wailord was funny here.
- Love that 90s-style shot of Dragonair's eye. I hope we get more throwback art like that.
- TR could have used more screentime.
- Was not expecting a Dragonite capture at all, shows how secretive they've been with marketing. I feel pretty neutral towards Dragonite tbh but I'm glad to see a capture! Based on the poster I hope it gets some kind of gag involving Meowth.
- Prof. Sakuragi showed a bit more personality at the end there.

Aside from TR not getting as much screentime as I'd like this might be my favorite ep yet of the new series.
 
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I laughed for a minute the first time I saw Ash jumped on the Electroweb and Gou pointing out that he can't use it as a trampoline.

I kinda knew Ash would get a Dragonite the moment he offered his Pokeball to Gou but refusing to have because Ash might want to use it later. I'm kinda dismissing the thought because I'm not exactly sure if this episode has the guts to pull it off so I was really surprised when they did.

I'm so happy Ash caught a Dragonite. Dragonite can really be an asset for him when the time for Galar Tournament or World Championship comes. This is not actually weird because it's a pokemon befitting of a Champion.
I feel like dragonite will be the opposite of Iris’s. With ash’s being a pacifist and much weaker since it recently evolved.
 
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Maybe I'm late to the party but I've just figured it out

The poster and opening titles show a Dragonite hugging Meowth, a bit like Bewear did and Ash has caught a Dragonite with a hugging nature
 
"I am L."
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Alright, @Max1996, as you asked.

Tentativelly, I must put a disclaimer that I didn't like this episode as much as I did 17 and 15. Hopefully I can explain why.
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WORLDBUILDING
This episode pretty much screwed up in that department. So, this is the episode where the Dragonite Island is introduced... As a tangible, psychicall location. It sounds fine, but it raises the obvious question of how it hasn't been found in all those years of Pokemon world history?

So, there's a giant, static storm around this island, created by its inhabitants for their own protection. Dragonites whole thing is that they... Save sailors who got shipwrecked in the storm they put up as a self defense mechanism. But hey, it's fine, because they don't bring those sailors onto their island, so their secret is safe, right?

Only when Ash and Gou are lost in the storm, they're brought onto this isle immidiately.
So... Do Dragonites always do that? Were Ash and Gou an exception? If they were an exception, why? Or do Dragonites always do that, but they just got super lucky and never once picked up someone who would disclose their secret?

Humour me for a sec. If those Pokemon do take in every sailor, it does look pretty weird, doesn't it? They created a defense mechanism that can kill people, and cause large lossess in resources in order to protect their sacred isle from discovery, only to take the survivors of close encounter with this mechanism to their isle and hope that they, I dunno, will not tell anybody about their secret from the goodness of their hearts or whatever. Those Dragonites aren't seen even for a second being concerned that Ash and Gou know their secret, almost like they're a 100% sure they won't tell anybody. It's like... Why?

CHARACTERS
Dewgong? More like Dew-GONE!
Remember how one of the major grivenaces people have against this series is that it makes Pokemon mindless and one-dimensionall? Dewgong here was introduced just... Standing in place. And when Gou started chucking Pokeballs at him, he continued... To stand in place. Then he made a backflip and yawned. And then got back to stand in place.

Sure, later he becomes Brock 2.0, so he has at least some personallity, but ehhh... This trait isn't brought up in any of the following episodes, but that's not a complaint that would change this episode's overall quallity.

Ash's Dragonite
I liked the relationship between Ash and his Dragonair. Really, it was just sweet from the get go. Dragonair being unable to fly felt like an interesting conflict for that Pokemon to develop.

But there's a problem I have with it. At one point, a Dragonite witnesses how Ash's Dragonite, as a Dragonair, can't fly, and so, that Dragonite waves his wings around, presumaby to show him that's how he should do it.
But just a moment later, we learn that Dragonairs need to perform Dragon Dance before they can fly! That Dragonite must've been aware this Dragonair hasn't performed it. Is this entire evolutionary line unaware they have to know Dragon Dance on Dragonair stage to fly... Despite using Dragon Dance on Dragonair stage to fly?
Why didn't this Dragonite tell him that's what he needs to do and instead gave him the wrong advice only to fly away and leave it in the sand? Am I missing something here?

Speaking of this scene, there's a shot where at least five Kairyu flew away, presumably to help TRio, but when we cut to TRio, there's only one of them? Were there multiple shipwrecks conveniently lined up far away from each other? Or can TRio make Pokemon disappear? :unsure:

Ash
He was at his best whenever he was interacting with Dragonair, later Dragonite. From immidiately choosing to help it, through the creative use of Electroweb, those were pretty much his best moments in this episode.
He earned that capture.

At other times though, he was simply praising Gou for figuring out how Dragonites protect their island, or his capture of Dewgong... I'm not saying it didn't make sense, it did, but holy hell, that Gou favoritism...

GOU-RY S-
He was a smartass this episode, really. Good thing he didn't catch that Dewgong with a single chuck. -_-

I saw some discussion about whether or not him leaving Dewgong behind can be considered assholish, and having seen this episode... You know, if that Dewgong hadn't conveniently came back just when he was needed (Like, litelary at the very goshdarn second, what are the odds of that?), he would probably have been forgotten about. When Ash and Gou were on the isle, both of them didn't mention it even once, and his return was pretty much happenstance, implying they either assumed it will come back or just didn't care about it.
Althrough and to be fair, leaving him in the wild would give him larger chance of finding his love, and it would mean he's not gonna be locked in Sakuragi's Institute. :rolleyes:

TRio
Imagine they started using Pokeballs instead of those tiny cages. They would probably not be considered villians anyomore, sheesh.

Anime should probably establish how the insides of the Pokeballs look like, BTW, but that's a complaint for the anime as a whole.
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CONCLUSION
Ash and Dragonite were the saving grace of this episode. I saw some complaints that this episode could've been set anywhere else, and you know what? If it was, if we wouldn't have that convoluted mess that was the Dragonite Island, it probably would have been even better. Imagine if this episode was happening somewhere else and then would end on an ambigious note, which would have left people wondering whether Dragonite Island is reall or not, you know, something that would've impacted the audience's imagination by a significant margin? What we've got instead was 'we don't know if this Island exists, but we want to get there', and then they get there because a randomass Dewgong happened to be Brock's copypaste and Dragonites took them in for... Reasons. Laaaaaaameee...

This episode has the pros of episode 15, wherein it develops a relationship between a human and a Pokemon instead of capturing it without forming a prior bond or a battle at least, Ash is more in character than in episode 17, althrough it is worrysome that he wasn't concerned about Dewgong...
But it has the con of demistifying a Pokemon mytho in a way that seems quite implausible. There are smaller things to pick up on, such as how this episode shows Dratini shedding his skin, how it explains why Dragonites grow arms and legs, and that's all fine and dandy, but it doesn't overshadow the way Dragonite's Island is structured.

It's really hard for me to give this episode a finall rating, but it's probably... 6.5/10.

Theeeeere you go.
 
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Only when Ash and Gou are lost in the storm, they're brought onto this isle immidiately.
So... Do Dragonites always do that? Were Ash and Gou an exception? If they were an exception, why? Or do Dragonites always do that, but they just got super lucky and never once picked up someone who would disclose their secret?
Good luck finding that island even if you've been there once. Dragonite could just take returning people to Kanto shores, even if they trusted them originally. It is not a reach to assume that Ash and Go looked harmless because they're kids, either. The island is certainly protected, but obviously some people have visited it over the years or there would be no rumor to speak of. But it's no coincidence that the location hasn't been disclosed.

Also, Pokemon have intuition - calling it luck is dismissive. Even when a Pokemon agrees to join a trainer (as Dragonite did here), that also involves some risk. It's worth it to them because they're drawn to people at the end of the day.
 
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Megalomaniacal toaster on a keyboard
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Good luck finding that island even if you've been there once. Dragonite could just take returning people to Kanto shores, even if they trusted them originally. It is not a reach to assume that Ash and Go looked harmless because they're kids, either. The island is certainly protected, but obviously some people have visited it over the years or there would be no rumor to speak of. But it's no coincidence that the location hasn't been disclosed.

Also, Pokemon have intuition - calling it luck is dismissive. Even when a Pokemon agrees to join a trainer (as Dragonite did here), that also involves some risk. It's worth it to them because they're drawn to people at the end of the day.
It's a static unchanging hurricane - every meteorologist should immediately know where it is because hurricanes are kinda a bad thing

And if Go can figure it out by corroborating stories of shipwrecked people, then you'd think people with more than two brain cells to rub together would've figured it out decades ago

Even Team Rocket knows where the island is, because the TRio was on their way there when they ran into Ash & Go - is that where they get the dratini to sell at their game corner?
 
"I am L."
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One thing I forgot to mention in my review: the episode opens with Gou saying that he compilled a list of Dragonite sightings in order to help him find the island. Shortly before he gets caught in the storm, GPS tells him he's not too far away from reaching the set destination.

... This kid just outsmarted everybody in less than a day... Can anyone say GOU-RY S-

But hold on. Just a few moments later, Team Rocket comes to the immidiate area to 'capture a Dragonite for Giovanni'. How were they aware where to look for a Dragonite? Did they based that assumption on where the sailor in that newscast was saved? Did they also compile a list of sightings? Another bit to think about.

Good luck finding that island even if you've been there once.
It is surrounded by a large, static storm though... How do you miss that?

To add to the point, it can't be too far away from the Kanto shoreline. Think about it: the events of the episode take place in a single day. Ash and Gou capture Dewgong, reach the island, Gou back to encounter TRio and all of that while the sun is shining high above their heads, and then they return to Sakuragi's lab, and then and only then, the sun is shown moving below the horizon. The island can't be less than severall hours worth of travell away from Kanto.

Why? Why do you think it'd be hard to find? People in our world were more than capable of reaching the same island twice, when those island were not hours but months or weeks worth of travell away, and they didn't have that very noticeable characteristic of being clouded in a static and unchanging storm.
And they did that without GPS or any advanced, modern navigation equipment.

It is not a reach to assume that Ash and Go looked harmless because they're kids, either.
Sure, that is an explanation for why they trust them, but not for why they bring them into the island. What do Dragonites expect from them visiting it? What do they hope to achieve by showing them this place?

Also, Pokemon have intuition - calling it luck is dismissive. Even when a Pokemon agrees to join a trainer (as Dragonite did here), that also involves some risk. It's worth it to them because they're drawn to people at the end of the day.
What intuition are you talking about? I know I missed a huge bulk of this anime (I never finished AG, DP, BW and XY), so bring up episodes and examples where it shows, I'm all down for solid evidence and proofs.

Though it bears mentioning that Dragonite in this episode recieved help and kindness from Ash when he didn't ask for it. He's had more reasons than just some magicall intuition to trust him.

Also, what are the benefits Dragonites can gain from showing anybody their island, though? What can they obtain from doing it that would be worth the risk? At no point has any of the Dragonites asked Ash to do anything. What do they expect to gain or achieve by bringing them in if they barelly interact with them beyond showing them around? Is it getting captured? Then why not just leave the island and look after a partner off-island, instead of, you know... Locking yourself behind a giant storm in a very blatant attempt to hide yourself from humans?
 
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Lol! Go couldn't catch a dragonite cuz he wasted all Poké balls. The thing which I liked the most in this ep was the fact that ash got a new Pokémon!
Rating 3/5
 
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