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Review JN030: The Reluctant Pikachu and the Exasperated Barrierd

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Upon rewatching this episode with subs, I think my feelings and sentiments for it are exactly the same as episode 22 (the Gou/Raboot episode). While the main conflict of the episode had a very flawed premise and questionable execution, almost everything else about the episode was quite enjoyable. Delia was absolutely amazing in this episode, and watching Mimey interact with Pikachu was quite nice too. Koharu has also been getting a decent amount of screentime lately, with her pointing out Pikachu's "jealousy" in this episode based on her experience in the previous episode, and also scolding Ash for not noticing Pikachu's dissatisfaction much earlier. We got to see Galarian Farfetch'd again, which is nice, but I really hope it gets to do more stuff eventually beyond simply being Riolu's training dummy. Sobble's also tagging along with Gou outside of the lab, so that's a good indication that it'll get more focus in the future.
If Go was at Ash’s house, and especially sleeping in Ash’s room, is there any way Go didn’t see all of Ash’s badges and trophies?
It's a shame that all of the shots in Ash's room are conveniently taken from angles that prevent us from seeing his trophies and stuff. Not that I particularly mind, since this episode already has its fair share of continuity in it (eg. the callback to the first episode, the Vermillion Gym dude returning to battle Ash, Koharu actually remembering what happened in the previous episode, Pikachu and Mr. Mime walking through the area where Scorbunny evolved in one of the previous episodes).
 
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I think I regret re-watching it, since the subs might have just worsened my opinion of it as a whole.

Pros:
  • There were a lot of good moments though their implementation felt like a case of in-between rather than in-front. The episode 1 flashback moments, initially with Delia recounting Ash and Pikachu’s first meeting and then with the entire Spearow incident, were surprisingly welcome (though it's about time that the other series' important moments start to get mentioned). Mimey was the first standout character in the episode due to a better portrayal of his character outside of housekeeper and the new retconned Detective “Mime”. Here’s hoping there’s more of him in a similar way, and maybe even in battles or bonding with Ash. The other standout character was Koharu though it would have been preferred if her ‘scolding’ happened on-screen and if she had accompanied Ash and Goh to Pallet. Glad to see that the Yamper incident actually getting mentioned instead of being a one-off thing (can't really tell anymore because "self-contained"), though this actually hurts the episode when used in context with Pikachu’s running away.
  • Surge’s assistant being the PWC opponent was also a legit surprise which when paired with Ash’s promise to battle Surge and the recent interview about past characters, does make the series future slightly brighter. Goh (and Sobble, though it seems like it won't get much development for the next few weeks at least) also getting spotlight and actively help Ash in training by actually battling was also a nice little shiner. And thankfully, they didn't have his character hogging up screen time in episodes not dedicated to him. Delia’s appearance in the Sakuragi lab was completely unexpected given that most though that she would be in Pallet only as the end destination and not the reason behind the "trip", and her behaving like a mother is also a big plus point for her since we’ve rarely (if ever) seen moments like that, more on that in another section.
Cons:
  • Let’s start this off with the main issue. There was zero build up to this jealousy and it wasn’t even a case similar to the previous episode where Pidove came in and instantly won the family’s affection whereas Riolu has been around for quite a while with Pikachu having no problems with it, Ash even defaulted to Pikachu several times even after Riolu’s capture. During that initial battle, the assumption is that Riolu wanted to battle Electabuzz ahead of Pikachu, and it didn’t seem Pikachu had any problem at all with it to the point that he cheered it. Pikachu suddenly pouting and behaving like a brat just because he was benched for a short time was very off when you compare similar scenarios in the past, you’d think he’d have a brain aneurysm when Ash-Greninja (two souls literally becoming one, which never happened with Pikachu) became a thing that could essentially have replaced the Ash-Pikachu bond. MAYBE this episode might have worked in this series if Ash had neglected Pikachu for like 10 episodes in a row, but not out of nowhere like this. Also compared to last week’s episode, Pikachu seems way too immature to want to run away (essentially making the choice to abandon his trainer) instead of facing the issue head on like Yamper did, which is contradictory to his established character.
  • It’s kind of hard to pinpoint if Ash was indeed being OOC or whether he was being his irritatingly dense and one track minded self, since the needle tends to swing both ways in this episode's case. Although, I feel like Ash putting all the blame on himself (not even Riolu, despite it being responsible by insisting on more training despite Ash wanting to train Pikachu) does point out that this might be a case of the latter for the most part. There still wasn’t any need to portray Ash's behavior to Pikachu in an unnecessarily negative way since it made him look like inconsiderate. What would have helped would be more screen time showing Ash’s PoV and frantic search for Pikachu, as well as the supposed “Koharu really let me have it” that was mentioned (both because it would have helped and it would have been interesting).
  • The entire “trip” to Pallet town ate up 1/3rd of the episode with only the Spearow segment being interesting, otherwise it was bland for the most part and that screen time could have been used elsewhere (like mentioned above). Overall, the entire conflict in the episode was just unnecessary drama that could have been resolved in a simple manner had the character writing stayed true, though judging by the ending of the episode, the OOC stuff seemed (disrespectfully) intentional which makes me question the writer's thought process.
Additional:
  • Spearow and Fearow are definitely going to be the main antagonists of this anime if the species recent behavior is an indication. They’re going to awaken Eternamax and take its powers to go Giant, then unleash hell upon the world in revolution and revenge because a boy and his Pikachu who defeated them a long time ago. Because :wynaut:?
  • This is where the self-contained format hurts even more. The next episode was the perfect time to continue from this one and have a Pallet gathering with everyone. Judging by the fact that they carefully hid Ash’s trophies and never brought it up with Goh, it’s intentionally kept obscure so that the next episode is justified with leaping away from this one’s final setting. What a lost opportunity.
  • I’ve always found the on-screen relation between Ash and Delia to be somewhat… awkward and distant. I know that she mentioned singing lullabies to Ash like she did with Pikachu in this episode, but we’ve rarely seen her behaving like a mother specifically to Ash on-screen. Surprisingly, she behaves like a mother to his Pokemon a lot more. I’m confused.

Verdict: Like I said before, a below average episode that is 4/10 to me. Ash-Pikachu episodes have been done in a far better way in the past, especially by Aya Matsui, without any OOC or bad writing (give it all to her next time, not writers who can’t be bothered to research what they’re writing).


Now, I’ve already said above that the emotional stuff did add to the positive within the context of the episode itself plus it’s the first time something like this happened (probably in the entire anime), and I tried to keep my overall write-up as unbiased as possible, but now I’m gonna unleash Ragnarok.

I’m all for emotional and heartwarming content, but if they come at the cost of character or writing integrity, then they completely lose their meaning in the bigger picture. It’s pretty much akin to intentionally dropping something heavy on your leg to fracture it badly (despite there being no need to in the first place) and then having people crowd around your hospital bed to sympathize with and console you. Sure, it’s going to be emotional but at what cost?

Has this been forgotten? Does this not mean anything anymore?



What about this?



Maybe this?



Or even these?




Or how about these? The most recent and very popular ones that even the writer of the episode should have come to know about.




I could keep bringing up these examples which makes this episode’s writing even more embarrassing and disrespectful to both the longtime main protagonists. Though, I guess stuff like this should no longer be relevant and hold weight because we can always get characters being OOC paired up with bad writing, that’s patched up with emotional moments as a band aid. /s
 
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The subs make me like this episode more, but the Nice parts of this episode only happen after both Ash and Pikachu were being out-of-character assholes.
 
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Yeah, the premise for this episode was bad from the get-go. After all that Ash and Pikachu went through, and after so many other Pokemon that Ash gave attention to, only now does Pikachu feel left out? Only people who have never seen any other series would buy that. Now, this episode did have some good stuff. It gave some focuse to Mr. Mime (let's face, he needs any that he can get, considering its reputation), although I kept asking why didn't it just use Psychic to lift Pikachu from the river; the Delia-Pikachu scene was oh so very cute, and I have to admit, I kinda fell for the nostalgia bait referencing episode 1.
 
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Without taking things too seriously, it is an enjoyable episode.

And I think what this fandom needs to remember once in a while is to let themselves just enjoy things.
The problem there is that this episode happens within a series that has 20+ years of continuity. Characters acting OOC to that degree simply to service the narrative of the episode is both contrived and jarring. It has nothing to do with people needing to let themselves have some fun. That’s a major character inconsistency.
 
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This is totally the misadventures of Pikachu and Mimey!
 
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I actually expected this review thread to have much more comments because this was easily one of the best, most mature and most amazing episodes of Pokemon Journeys!
So much depth, character insights and great references to the past! As a fan who's been following the show since its very beginnings, you just got to love this episode.

First of all, Ash acting so out of character fitted in perfectly. Yes, I know he acted like a jerk and although Riolu/Lucario is one of my favorite Pokemon, I didn't like how he preferred him over Pikachu at all. Still, that was a great motif adding so much depth that many other pointless filler episodes couldn't do. Let's be honest, we know our trainer from Pallet Town normally isn't like that. He simply got carried away by his own success and Riolu's unbounded will to train and win, which per se is a great thing. Couldn't that have happened to us as well if we were in Ash's position? I guess we would be lying if we said "No".
And no, I didn't like at all how Ash treated his best friend Pikachu but I found it great to see that even after countless adventures Ash and Pikachu's relationship can't be taken for granted and that every once in a while there are still some conflicts.

Also I liked the fact very much the writers showed us what a great mother Delia is. That sure was heart-warming and I do hope Ash appreciates what a great mother he has and never forgets it. Delia was one of the two "heroes" in this episode!

That brings me to the second (secret) hero: Mr. Mine, no doubt about that. What a good-natured and caring Pokemon! He's always there for everybody without complaining and even saves them if needs be. Mr. Mime sure should be awarded a medal for being such a great character!

As a side note, here are two scenes that were "special" in some form or other:
- Pikachu showing his butt was ... kind of funny and disturbing alike.
- Pikachu's mischievous grin at the end of the episode was the icing on the cake of a great episode. Take that, Ash, you deserved it!

All in all, there's not a single point that I would have to criticize today. A wonderful, emotional, mature episode that simply was a pleasure to watch!
 
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The lullaby is a cute moment but it raises some questions.

Pikachu is Ash friend.Do you sing lullabies to your friends?
 
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I like the joke about how Mr. Mime isn’t that popular so no one pulled over but the second Pikachu did it someone literally sped to a halt despite going full speed just to pick them up.
 
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I like the joke about how Mr. Mime isn’t that popular so no one pulled over but the second Pikachu did it someone literally sped to a halt despite going full speed just to pick them up.
You misunderstood the message, they were teaching children what to do when they're lost, show of their butts to strangers.

The amount of censorship this post went through while I was writing it is horrifying
 
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So this are my thoughts about this episode:

Pikachu:

After watching the subbed episode, I guess Pikachu really has the right to get mad with Ash. As Ash told him to wait his turn, and he did. He waited several hours and then he fell asleep. But Ash scolded him and said that he wouldn't battle in the next matches because his attitude (lack of interest in the training).

It still feels like Pikachu threw a tantrum, because Ash give a bit more of attention to Riolu, who by the way is literally a baby, for just two days. I agree there wasn’t enough time for building the conflict during this episode, but they could used a couple of past episodes to hit that Ash was neglecting Pikachu.

When Ash focuses too much in training a single Pokémon, Pikachu usually doesn’t care and hangs out with the other Pokémon or human companions.

I guess Pikachu didn’t really planned to leave Ash for long, but just enough to cool off. As soon as he arrived to Ash's house, he was ready to go back, even though he knew Ash was going to spend more time training Riolu.

Mimey:

The rest of the episode was pretty good, specially Mimey. I like how it acts more like a human than a Pokémon, being able to tell the way home and come up with all those different ways to hitchhike.

Also I like how it mimicserving tea to Delia and she plays its game. It was so simple, but a great way to show the bond between those two.

Go:

While Go doesn’t has a party and he rotates according what he needs at the time, notice that Beedril and Farfetch'd are getting more screen time recently.

Also Sobble was sleeping with him on Ash's bed. So he is pretty much a permanent member of the cast by now. Soon Go is getting two problematic teen Pokemon, the edgy kid and its little sibling the emo kid.
 
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This episode was really conflicting for me.

Let's start off with the positive: it actually ended up being quite a sweet episode. I was prepared to give big points for Delia showing up regardless, but her role in this episode was perfect. I really like that we got to see more of her relationship with Pikachu. It's obviously something we don't get much of since Pikachu is always traveling with Ash, so I'm glad they took advantage of the home base situation in order to give Delia and Pikachu those scenes together. The flashbacks were also nice to have, both the one of Ash and Pikachu's first meeting and how Pikachu saved Ash from the Spearrow.

I also really loved the end of the episode, where Ash essentially followed Pikachu to Pallet Town (and beat him there, lol) and they had their own nighttime scene at the very end that paralleled Pikachu and Delia's from earlier in the episode. I thought the lullaby was a lovely touch and led into what I think was probably one of the most beautiful endings to an episode I've ever seen.

But now the negatives: my first thought was that Pikachu was going to be OOC here, but that really wasn't the case...it was Ash. Sure, at first glance it might seem like Pikachu was also not really acting like himself, but quite honestly, I thought he was entirely justified based on how Ash was acting. What an absolutely awful portrayal of him. Him choosing to train with Riolu wasn't really the problem. First of all, you have Pikachu all excited for the next World Championship battle, and Ash immediately shuts him down and says he's gonna keep going with Riolu? That came across as legitimately rude to me, which is very unlike Ash. Secondly, throughout the whole training montage, you can see Riolu is getting tired, even though it insists on continuing to train. How many times have we seen Ash train with his Pokemon, they start to get tired, so he calls them back for a break and uses another Pokemon in the interim? Sure, Riolu is a baby, but then teach it to take turns. Ash knew Pikachu wanted to battle, but kept on going with a clearly exhausted Pokemon just because it was too stubborn to quit. And don't get me started on the fact that Pikachu's potential training match up with Riolu was cut off because Goh of all people volunteered to battle Ash himself. He's not even into battling, but he gets to step on Pikachu's toes and Ash just lets him? Doesn't sit right with me. And then, after having to sit there for hours and hours watching Ash train with Riolu, Pikachu ends up falling asleep, and Ash gets...mad?! And threatens to sit Pikachu out of training and battles?? What in the actual hell??

If you have to write a character that out of bounds in order to create the entire conflict of the episode, then I'm not entirely sure it's worth it. That's the main issue I'm having here. There were things I liked about the episode, that I thought were very nice and emotionally strong, but then I think about how we got to those points and it kind of becomes disappointing. It especially sucks since Ash is probably my favorite character. I love him for his personality, but this episode just made me want to smack him, quite honestly. This went above and beyond even season one, brand new beginning trainer Ash...he was a legitimate jerk here, and it was straight up painful to sit through.

Another issue I had with the episode was that we spent way too long on Pikachu and Mimey's journey to Pallet Town, which also hampered the episode for me. Those scenes could've easily been cut down in order to leave room for us to actually see Chloe calling Ash out for his horrendous behavior, or Ash having his own moment of emotional turmoil once he realized it was, in fact, his fault, and that Pikachu was now missing as a result of it. My favorite parts of this episode were the ones that packed an emotional punch, and there was easily room for more. The attempt at humor with the hitchiking and getting tired and all of that, in my opinon, interfered with what the episode was trying to accomplish.

So, this one was pretty half-and-half for me. There were things I really enjoyed, but also things I absolutely hated that ended up holding the overall episode back.
 
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As I said before the episode, I don't see anything "out of character" about Pikachu's feeling jealous. My opinion didn't change after watching the episode, as it feels consistent to me considering how many times we seen him annoyed to be left out of Satoshi's battles. It's nothing comparable to how SM treated him like an animal.
vlcsnap-2017-11-08-17h47m06s556.pngimages - 2020-07-10T224550.859.jpeg
On the other hand there is some forced writing on Satoshi's part. Maybe that's because we seen those events from Pikachu's point-of-view, but it's definitely strange that Satoshi didn't care about Pikachu's staying in different beds, and forgot his promise to battle with him. But I see it more as him being oblivious/stupid.
Barrierdo, Hanako and Koharu were the MVPs of the episode. It was surprising to see that much focus on Hanako, and they done a good job with linking Pikachu's jealousy to the previous episode by using Koharu as the person who bring Satoshi to reason. It's still ironic though that their biggest interaction yet happened off screen.
With this episode, Gou not only become one of the few who visited Satoshi's house, he even stayed there for night and even sleep on Satoshi's bed. Pretty weird, right?
I'm not sure why people are so focused on whether Gou see his league awards or not. It's not like a secret or anything and he already knows that Satoshi is really good at battles, he might be already know of it, and even if he didn't, learning it wouldn't change anything about their relationship. Not to mention Satoshi's current goal is beating the strongest pokémon trainer in the world.

Pretty good episode overall. I give it a 7/10.
 
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Why does Riolu need training when it can OHKO three pokemon in a row without even trying, and then had an entire day and night of training on top of that?

I'm looking forward to it OHKO'ing Leon's Charizard and then evolving.
 
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Why does Riolu need training when it can OHKO three pokemon in a row without even trying, and then had an entire day and night of training on top of that?

I'm looking forward to it OHKO'ing Leon's Charizard and then evolving.
The King's Charizard would fight hard.
 
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Why does Riolu need training when it can OHKO three pokemon in a row without even trying, and then had an entire day and night of training on top of that?

I'm looking forward to it OHKO'ing Leon's Charizard and then evolving.
Wonder what would happen if Ash's Riolu ever came across Cameron's Lucario. There's some payback needed to be delivered there.
 
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Wonder what would happen if Ash's Riolu ever came across Cameron's Lucario. There's some payback needed to be delivered there.
The one circumstance I would welcome the return of Cameron; a character otherwise completely devoid of any entertainment value whose incredible idiocy actively ruined any episode that had the misfortune of having him appear in it. I'm very grateful to the show for not having any characters that have approached his level of unwatchablility since then.
 
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