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Review JN117: VS Shirona! Iris's Road to Dragon Master!!

KrspaceT

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I definitely wasn't expecting Ash and Iris's interactions in the hallway to become such a talking point. Huh.

The power of values dissonance my friend. Japan and Western cultural norms colliding in unexpected and unusual places.

Saw the episode while the site was down last night. Probably the best Masters Eight fight yet, and even Milotic v Dragonite wasn't as bad as people say (Milotic was swerving out of punch range, she eventually just got caught by them and got into a damage loop).
 

LovelyChika123

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Man, what happened to Dragonite. In 9 years he went from shrugging off Ice attacks to being taken out by 'em, and now a single Disarming Voice puts him on his knees. Thought he was supposed to be the bulky one.
I mean dragon types are weak to fairy types. Something tells me that Dragonite was worfed so Haxorus would look better.
 

FinnishPokéFan92

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Man, what happened to Dragonite. In 9 years he went from shrugging off Ice attacks to being taken out by 'em, and now a single Disarming Voice puts him on his knees. Thought he was supposed to be the bulky one.
I mean dragon types are weak to fairy types. Something tells me that Dragonite was worfed so Haxorus would look better.
Plus, this is Cynthia we're talking about. Her Pokémon are much stronger than those whose Ice attacks Dragonite previously survived.
 

LeonMagnus

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Loved the dramatic staredown at the end where Garchomp didn't even take an attack from Haxorus, yet they play it as if either one of them could drop

Also does the -2 SPA debuff from Draco Meteor not exist, or...?
Yeah I thought that actually wasn’t very good, because it was just a failed defensive tactic. I would have preferred if the tournament summary at the beginning was cut down, the dragon pulse defense was successful and the final clash is between each of their best physical moves.
 

VetProf

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Also does the -2 SPA debuff from Draco Meteor not exist, or...?
Yeah, that seems to be the case. I don't think the anime has ever acknowledged Draco Meteor's stat decrease. Same goes for Leaf Storm. Overheat is the only move among the three that has been shown to become weaker the more often it's used in battle, and even then, they seemed to have stopped doing that past Gen 4.
 

Sai

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The writers wanted to give a win to one of Iris' pokemon and they chose Excadrill since it was her starter so Dragonite had to lose. If they had done the opposite, people would have complained Excadrill's first appearance in like 10 years was just to lose. So it's inevitable a Pokemon has to take the fall so Haxorus could beat Milotic and go on to the end.

It was the same with Lance vs. Diantha. Had Lance beaten Diantha, you would have seen people saying Diantha came back just to be fodder. But now since Lance lost, he basically came back to lose two battles on-screen in Journey's. Basically the writers are in a, "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. Obviously in a tournament setting characters have to lose, so I don't know what people expect. As long as it's not rushed/dire like Alan's loss was where they shoved it into the last half of an episode, it's perfectly fine.
 

Twilight-Kun

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Dragonite went out like a boss though - how many times have you seen a pokemon get stabbed in the head as a finishing move?
Usually it's just explosion > dust cloud > KO'd mon
 

Eitarou

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Plus, this is Cynthia we're talking about. Her Pokémon are much stronger than those whose Ice attacks Dragonite previously survived.
And Dragonite should be much stronger than when he fought Mamoswine as well. Also, the "X character is strong because they're X character" argument always comes across as lazy to me.
 

Sai

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I'm actually glad Milotic didn't defeat it with say Ice beam or something, seeing Dragonite taken out by a different move was nice. The impact of the animation also really made it look like it got its head smashed in hard.
 

Imtnt

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I did not like how Cynthia was too calm here.. if not activating Mega evolution I would say she is not that much interested / not counting Iris in a way she is sure her ace will finish the job so no worries.. (even her last call to finish this, I would not say it is just because she aknoledged Iris / anticipated her next move... )
 

Nicolas721

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The battle was an improvement over the last one in terms of animation and strategies, but a downgrade in terms of pacing. Two minutes of talking and then an strong attack can only work so many times.

Dragonite should have been replaced by a new Pokemon, which would have not only avoided its lame role but also the implication that Iris is pulling a Dawn and hasn't changed her team since BW. It using Thunder Punch again (as well as Excadrill using Focus Blast) was somewhat nostalgic though, and I'm very glad Excadrill did got a win.

A decent battle overall, but I expected a bit more...character and stakes. Yeah, Iris and Cynthia were their usual selves, but their previous battle is only brought up for a couple seconds, and the title lied as there wasn't much focus on what this battle would meant for Iris' goal. For the fandom this will be without question Iris' "Ash vs Paul/Kukui" moment, but for the characters it was just another competition, as some said before it was awkward that nobody acknowledged how close Iris got to winning.
 

Kairyu

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Credit where credit is due - all the callbacks to both past companions as well as the interactions Cynthia's had with Iris involving both her Dragonite and Axew added some additional weight to the episode. Also, the ice-cold way Cynthia acted when Excadrill got blasted into the wall and when her Milotic was defeated fit her so well and I guess was also a callback to how she acted in her debut episode (when Garchomp effortlessly tanked Frenzy Plant). Just great.

My biggest gripe though is still the average at best fight animation and a fight choreography that is simply too slow and cut up. Basically same issues that were present last episode (but to an even bigger extent there). There's no weight behind the movements and attack impacts (okay, there were some exceptions to this but they are too few and far between), and no intensity and fast paced exchange of blows between the mons for a lengthy period of time. Cutting away to the stands, the non-battling M8 members, Team Rocket and the announcer happens way too frequently and interrupts the flow of the battle.

As a viewer I want to be on the edge of my seat when watching these champion battles between the best in the world but that's just not happening due the aforementioned reasons.. And I really thought OLM, the animation company behind it all, would've went all-in for these battles and have freelancer animators who are actually good participate heavily in every episode but apparently not. They rather choose to outsource full episodes to China, like they did with the entire Diantha vs Lance battle. The visuals were thereafter. Laughable.
 

Reborn Talonflame

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Cutting away to the stands, the non-battling M8 members, Team Rocket and the announcer happens way too frequently and interrupts the flow of the battle.
This is something I really wish was changed. Yes, it’s important to keep the viewers, especially children, up to speed, but it sometimes it goes on for way too long. It’s what ruined battles like Sirfetch’d v Gallade for me. The time Sirfetch’d had to adapt and change stance was ridiculous, and for a “rivalry” no less.

And whilst it’s nice to have call-backs like Jessie’s Pumpkaboo, or seeing other characters interact, in the long-term we will barely remember that being a thing. I feel as though the show is trying to do too much, in circumstances where they can’t thanks to these battles being one episode.
 

Vincentz0811

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Cynthia takes a 180 turn by saying "I won't go easy on you" because before she said "Go easy on me, okay?" 2 episodes ago. Can't believe she's not the woman of her words... Smh
 

Imtnt

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I was wondering by the time we get to see Ash vs Leon in the finals, would that be a 6V6 full battle?
In the start of tge episode, when they stated the recent events (Lance vs Daintha) they did say something like "in the 1st round it is going to be 3 vs 3" in away sounds like it might be changed in the 2nd. Though I think the format is gonna be changed only on the final.
 

Ghost Diplocaulus

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I mean dragon types are weak to fairy types. Something tells me that Dragonite was worfed so Haxorus would look better.
Oh, sure, that's exactly what happened, and I don't think that anyone here is unaware of that, since the Pokemon anime does this kind of stuff practically all the time (such as Alain's Charizard being made to look like a joke so that Leon's Charizard looks like the most badass thing ever) and just about everybody has pointed out the trend. Thing is, Iris's Dragonite's case is notorious due to the fact that he loses more often than he wins, and has in fact lost every single battle he's been in ever since he started obeying Iris, something that seriously calls his cred as a powerhouse into question.

Also, sure, Dragon is weak to Fairy, but Disarming Voice is among the weakest Fairy-type attacks, and Dragonite only has a normal weakness to it when in the past he's shrugged off Blizzard attacks, which are both significantly more powerful and have a double advantage.

In other words, yes, the intention is simply a twofold of letting Haxorus show off and get a win and showing Cynthia as the more experienced trainer by making her get two KOs in a row. The issue is with the fact that Iris's Dragonite has been worfed so often that by this point it doesn't feel all that impressive for an opponent to knock him out. It's a similar issue that Torterra and Snivy suffered from: they were supposed to be strong or at the very least competent, but they lost so often that it became really difficult to believe.
 
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