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Review JN048: A Close Call with Practically Pikachu!

Craiden

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So, I haven't seen this around much, but I thought I'd share this, to this episodes credit (I'll provide context if needed). The real "joke" of this episode was Team Rocket trying to recover their "stolen" Pikachu.
 

Panky..

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  • ++ A relatively lighthearted episode that does something different from what we've seen so far and one that focuses on TRio in shenanigans similar to the SM era. Thankfully, the steal plot here doesn't amount to something boring like we've seen so far, but involves a unique twist of a clone mecha with a quirk ("Hikachu") that forms the main plot point of the episode and all the chaos around it (and ends with them ironically 'stealing' it instead of the real Pikachu successfully), causing confusion when Pikachu eats an ice cream stick resulting in a hiccup and the real one saying "Hikachu" (I personally find the ice cream stick eating funny because I actually did it as a kid thinking the stick was edible like the cone part of ice cream cones).
  • ++ The real highlight of the episode though was giving Lucario and Cinderace screentime that is actually used to expand on their characters and post-evolution personalities (which we've seen in sprinkles prior to this episode) rather than to just shill the species. Lucario in particular is shown as this wannabe cool guy who gets agitated/flustered/abashed/embarrassed quite easily and fails to keep the stoic mask up while clashing (in a friendly rival way) with Cinderace's more bubbly and outgoing personality, so that automatically makes Lucario a far better character than a certain overrated frog (good job bringing about the comparisons between those two and pre-defection Naruto/Sasuke). And all of it came without treating any of the characters within as plot devices, also there was no unnecessary interference (other than the boys giving exposition about Pokemon shaped food, which felt pointless).

  • - - - Continuing with the world building woes of this series, this episode just piles onto that issue. A tinfoil AU version of me would have said that the staff just hate Unova, but this comes down to laziness in general when it comes to the production of this episode. Not only do they take the biggest city in the region and make it completely desolate and devoid of most life, they also fail to make it indistinguishable from any other big city in the animeverse. The entire setting might as well have been a filler-esque original location (or even worse, Kuchiba City again). Since I mentioned laziness, it applies more so to the visuals department. You might have noticed the static unchanging models of Lucario and Cinderace flying around quite stiffly instead of being ragdolls? It's like they just rotated/minimized/maximized an image frame/model instead of drawing the characters and backgrounds to reflect actual natural motion. On top of that, the animation framerate was outright choppy and quite painful to the eyes.
  • - - Deko Akao continues writing the characters around the episodic plot instead of factoring established characters and writing the plot unfolding around them. This results in more OOC Ash from her, and to add to the misery, she continues a trend of using the "hungry Ash" reasoning. This is the second time where she has Ash disregard missing/runaway Pokemon in favor of stuffing his face without any other care in the world. There's also the gag repetition with the flinging/flying, while it was funny a few times when the situation developed in a proper way, the times it was used as 'filler' screentime was just... lazy. Someone brought up the Bonnie/Meowth episode on how to have a "stuck together" episode concept with a variety of gags.

  • ~ As I called it rightly in the previous episode, Greedent's usage there amounted to being nothing more than an eating plot device and not a character.
  • ~ The inter-episode connectivity, while a good sign to eroding the self-contained format, wasn't used here in a way that made sense (especially when you consider how easily they've been jumping around the regions and how the last episode and this one also had episodic plots). Yes, TRio planned the reward as some eat-em-all fest to lure the boys into a trap, but I expected it to be some buffet or restaurant or some elaborate location and not... a truck stand in the middle of a deserted Central Park in a deserted Castelia City on the other side of the planet from their home. You can swap that entire thing with a regular coincidence of location steal plot and nothing changes.

6/10: Both the good and the bad points of this episode are equally valid and clash with each other, so I couldn't rate it any higher or lower.
 

Max1996

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- - Deko Akao continues writing the characters around the episodic plot instead of factoring established characters and writing the plot unfolding around them. This results in more OOC Ash from her, and to add to the misery, she continues a trend of using the "hungry Ash" reasoning. This is the second time where she has Ash disregard missing/runaway Pokemon in favor of stuffing his face without any other care in the world. There's also the gag repetition with the flinging/flying, while it was funny a few times when the situation developed in a proper way, the times it was used as 'filler' screentime was just... lazy. Someone brought up the Bonnie/Meowth episode on how to have a "stuck together" episode concept with a variety of gags.
Wait, what was the first time? Still, great review as always!
 

Panky..

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Wait, what was the first time? Still, great review as always!
First time with the "hungry Ash shtick" was technically in JN004, where Ash visits an entirely new region and the region's main city is desolate and deserted, and Ash is more interested in food than exploration and Pokemon which completely contradicts how is whenever he visits a new region.

Second time was in JN017 where Scorbunny runs off after Goh refuses to help it train and Ash is pretty nonchalant about it and goes to have breakfast instead of being even the slightest bit concerned, to the point of saying "it'll return when hungry".

Not related to the eating part, but more OOC writing from her is in JN040 when Ash is the most excited to battle Zapdos out of everyone present but later, for no explained reasoning, decides to not battle Zapdos on the roof.
 

FinnishPokéFan92

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One thing that I think no one has pointed out yet: since we know that Team Rocket stole the wrong Pikachu, why did the real Pikachu, aka Ash's Pikachu, not react in any way other than mild confusion at seeing another, seemingly perfectly normal Pikachu getting stolen by Team Rocket? Sure he must've been confused at them not stealing him like they've always wanted, but he's been shown reacting to them stealing other Pokémon and stuff in the past, hasn't he?
 

Rocket Messiah

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One thing that I think no one has pointed out yet: since we know that Team Rocket stole the wrong Pikachu, why did the real Pikachu, aka Ash's Pikachu, not react in any way other than mild confusion at seeing another, seemingly perfectly normal Pikachu getting stolen by Team Rocket? Sure he must've been confused at them not stealing him like they've always wanted, but he's been shown reacting to them stealing other Pokémon and stuff in the past, hasn't he?

Deko Akao, that's why.
 

GrookeyFan77

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Alright Let's REWIEW!

PROS
(y) Lucario and Cinderace teaming up at The End.
(y) Cinderace smudging Lucario with Cookies.
(y) Cinderace and Lucario's personalities.
CONS
(n) REALLY out of character for Ash. In EP167 when the Johto Starters went away and didnt come back he SEARCHED for them. But here he does not CARE one bit.
(n) Lucario and Cinderace slingshotting was too long.
(n) TEAM ROCKET HAD THE FAKE PIKACHU!!!!
(n) They are COPYING XY071!
(n) This Episode Gets BORING very quick.
(n) Goh didn't Catch A Unova Pokemon!
(n) Is This Castelia City or Nuvema Town???
OVERALL
3/10 Boring and Not Funny. What A Disgrace of an Episode. At Least It wasnt a COMPLETE DISGRACEFUL GARBAGE OF AN EPISODE LIKE THE HO-OH ONE!!!
 
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