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Review JN014: First in the Isshu Region! The Raid Battle at the Ruins!!

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please don’t blame fictional characters for writing decisions,
Funny you say that when people have been attacking Ash since the anime's beginning or worse wishing death on any girl companion after Misty or moan about Tracy and Cilan for replacing Brock.
 
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Bright Days
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If only Ash had been told during Sun and Moon by Rotom that Golurk was a Ground and Ghost type

Oh wait, he was told
It was just spur of the moment probably as a way to touch on type effectiveness. Means nothing, let it go. I assume they want to show an Electric-type move not working.
 
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It was just spur of the moment probably as a way to touch on type effectiveness. Means nothing, let it go. I assume they want to show an Electric-type move not working.
They already showed that Ground-type Pokemon were immune to Electric-type attacks earlier on with the Sandile (Pikachu preemptively attacked it on its own, so Ash isn't to blame here). Gou's Pokedex also mentioned that Golurk are part Ground-type. These two moments should provide enough info for new viewers to deduce that Electric-type attacks won't work on the Golurk. Ash's brainfart moment, while somewhat in-character, was completely unnecessary.
 
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Re-watched the episode, softened up on my opinion of it (but only by a minimal amount).

Pros:
  • Quite the interesting bunch of characters were introduced in today's episodes that takes tropes from the various types of Pokemon players. As some other people have pointed, Keira bears a striking resemblance to the Galar Gym Leader Milo so that would be an interesting point for the writers to explore when we eventually get around to seeing Milo in the anime. And Karabari too, I never expected we'd actually see a shiny hunter in the anime, now it's only a matter of time till we get Magikarp enthusiasts and what not other weird categories. I also know people have already voiced it before me but I do hope we see these characters again in the future, especially Keira and Karabari (and Houji from the 7th episode). On a side note, did anyone find that entire Cofagrigus segment weirdly hilarious and disturbing at the same time?
  • I was wondering when they'd show more of Dragonite as well as it participating in a proper fight, was hoping the latter would have been in the previous episode but it's all the same I guess. Dragonite turned out to be quite the powerhouse with a decent moveset yet retaining it's cheerful and huggable personality. It was quite interesting to see it being so energetic and overenthusiastic during the sand race and then somewhat saddened at having to return to its ball (hope this part is explored more in the future, Dragonite's reluctance to be in its ball more often, could be an interesting part of its character development). I still wish we saw Ash training with Dragonite and learning new moves, but I guess it can be forgiven due to the tight schedule present for the episodes since its capture, and the fact that it learned new moves is proof that Ash isn't idling around like Gou.
  • Although the ruin exploration was fine, it was kind of cliche with the kind of stuff present in it. A bit more creativity would have been appreciated here, as well as less time wasting. The Raid battle itself was quite energetic and fast paced, with so much happening simultaneously, though I wish it was animated like the Lugia raid was (and didn't end the way it did). The soundtrack is also lacking with the amount of music recycling being blatant, this part is starting to get exhausting as the series goes on. The only musical score that was pretty good and well timed was during the Golurk puzzle, and even then, that track was reused from the teaser trailer. More musical variety is really needed at this point, and it's time to start prodding the composer on Twitter.
Cons:
  • Gou has gone on from getting perfect captures without putting in any effort, to perfect captures on powerful Pokemon without putting in any effort and now he's devolved to snatching captures that other people put in more work towards. And no, he wasn't "saving" Golurk, it didn't look like it was in any danger (the only danger was the humans being buried alive by a potential tomb collapse). Even if they agreed that Golurk was fair game, he did pretty much minimal compared to every other person in the room. If anyone deserved to catch Golurk, it should have been Keira for actually solving many puzzles and problems throughout the episode (whether it's the issue of the hot desert sands, the traps, the part with the Cofagrigus, Titan puzzle etc.) and then actually putting a considerable amount of effort against Golurk. Gou did what? Scorbunny blatantly disobeyed him (signs of a weak trainer) and got one-shotted. Beedrill didn't even scratch Golurk and got one-shotted. And finally he used Darmanitan, the latter being absolutely fine with no issues whatsoever and landed a combined hit with Dragonite on an already weakened Golurk. Him capturing Darmanitan and Golurk didn't even do anything positive for him or his "goal", he pretty much left them lying around as watchmen for his zoo, why even capture them in the first place then?
  • Moving onto Gou's Pokemon. They're pathetically weak which reflects poorly on the trainer (Scorbunny, a fire type Pokemon doesn't know any fire type moves after 14 episodes and is burnt by hot sands despite Ash stating that Scorbunny should by fine). This becomes a problem when an incompetent trainer who doesn't care about improving his Pokemon (much less have anything meaningful planned for them other than roaming around in closed captivity) is handed out powerful Pokemon like Darmanitan and Golurk on a silver platter. What the hell was that Darmanitan capture anyway? "Watch out, it's Overheat!", BAM, surprise ball! Captured instantly! Pathetic... at this point, Gou catching anything feels like an intentionally disrespectful/trollish parody of the entire concept of capturing Pokemon. And when a battle actually has to happen for a capture, it happens for a weaker Pokemon like Sandile. Then there's the issue of all of his Pokemon being monotonous in character and not having any sort of issues being captured, much less unique attributes to them. On top of that, he can use a recent capture in battle very effectively and without any training, despite those Pokemon being pretty much hostile. Everything's all smiles and happily ever after, amirite?
  • Tomioka has done it again. He gave Ash a dumb trainer moment for "gags" and "throwbacks to BW". This is pretty bad because Ash himself mentioned the Ground immunity and Gou's Dex called out Golurk's typing. Even if Ash was considerably over-excited at the prospect of the Raid battle that he ended up having a slip-up, the entire thing felt unnecessary. If they're really going to move Ash into the big leagues then there's no scope for such nonsense at all. If Ash has to suffer setbacks then it should be like the ones he had back in DP/Lake Acuity or XY/Snowbelle, just more extended. Don't even get me started on Pikachu being one-shotted here despite tanking several powerful hits from Charizard in the previous episode.
Additional thoughts:
  • One of the main issues of this series is the terrible world building. This episode could have been in any region, in any city, in any desert/ruins. Right off the bat we're in Unova but we're not even told which city it is (though logic prompts that it should be Castelia City due to the close proximity to the Desert Resort). The most irritating part about this was the decision to use an anime exclusive ruin that's pretty much a clone of the Relic Castle. You know, the same Relic Castle that never got a proper appearance in the anime due to two cancelled episodes? This series has been jumping around between anime exclusive locations and not revisiting old ones in any meaningful capacity. Like, what's the logic behind this decision?

Verdict: Although I was harsh in my initial thoughts, it's still an average episode which proves once again that Gou and his collection "goal" bring down the anime's quality and trivialize/mock the entire concept of capturing Pokemon. I'm giving it a 5/10, this is definitely one of Tomioka's worst works (alongside the infamous BW001).
 
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You have my deepest sympathies for wasting your time typing all that irrelevant information - all we know is that Lance is a G-Man (What are they? What do they do? Where are they stationed? Has Ash met them before? When did he do that in the previous 11 episodes?) and he has a gyarados, just like his game team, similar to how Steven has Metagross, Cynthia has Garchomp, and Diantha has Gardevoir
I don't consider it a waste of time if it helps disipate misinformed opinions like your "continuity isn't a thing" one. And that isn't "irrelevant information", as it proves without a doubt that each series is connected to the other in some way, shape or form, thus meaning that continuity is a thing. As for Lance, I think you glossed over the parts where I state the Pokémon G-Men are an anime-only organization and that main anime Lance is the only Lance who's a member of said organization. If the new series was supposed to take place in its own, alternate universe, devoid of any connections to the previous series, then why go through the trouble of referencing such an obscure thing (that hasn't been acknowledged since the AG series)? Same goes for Red Gyarados, which, out of all the other medias in which Lance appeared, only the anime showed him to have caught it (even Steven's Metagross wasn't Shiny just in the anime, as Finnish already pointed out above). And even if we ignore Lance, they had two flashbacks to the first episode of the anime and a shot that focused on all of Ash's most significant prizes that he got thought his career as a trainer (which also included obscure stuff, like his Indigo Conference participation badge or his Orange League Winner's Trophy). Again, these references may not be as explicit or in-your-face as some of us may want, but these references do exist. And to deny that they exist or that they are continuity nods is like denying that the Earth is an ellipsoid.

There's also nothing connecting the Pichu to Ash's Pikachu, since their personalities are completely different
Inconsistent personality is more of a writing issue, which relates to the quality of the show and, as I've said before in my post, "quality of the series aside, it's made quite clear that the series is a continuation of the previous" ones (which I don't think I made clear, but this applies to all of them). After Pikachu leaves his family behind in that episode, as Pikachu is running on the road, the narator says "One parting... leads to another meeting. Several years later..." and cuts to Ash's first day as a trainer and him receiving Pikachu as his starter. I don't know what else they could've done to make it more clear that that Pichu is Ash's Pikachu, other than outright saying "That Pikachu... is Satoshi's" (which would've been forced, cringey, out of place and stupid).
 
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