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REVIEW: S17 EP36: Battles in the Sky!

Beth Pavell

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Yeah, this'll be an episode I'll be watching again. So nice to finally see Fletchling getting some focus without bubble frog stealing the scene! Of course, it wouldn't be pokémon if the regional bird's focus episode wasn't also an evolution episode ... but that's got to be one of the coolest evolutions ever! Evolving in the midst of a Fire Blast? That's just damn awesome.
 
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A Wild Luxray

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Fletchling had probably one of the coolest evolution scenes I've ever seen in the anime. This was a really great episode omg.
 

Sakuraa

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This episode was amazing. I love how almost everyone gets a shining moment.

First we get the typical new Pokémon introduction. I like how Fletchling was so surprised when Hawlucha made his appearance. Though it only makes sense since he was the only one of Ash's crew who didn't meet him in the last episode as Ash noted. Froakie's reaction of no reaction was pretty funny, but also expected. And Dedenne bowed? Wow, so respectful...and weird. Chespin mimicking Hawlucha was cute.

Damn Moria is ruthless. Two Fire Blasts in a row on Skarmory. Anyway, it sucks that Bonnie couldn't join in since she was too short to get a suit. But I did like how Chespin came out just to comfort her. I'm really liking Chespin today. He's okay when he's not annoying. I also liked how we saw a different side of Bonnie and how upset she gets when people doubt her because of her size.

Ah Clemont, non-athletic even in the air. I really liked how Serena seemed to be the best out of all of them at staying in the air and landing safely. Talonflame is much smaller than I thought, but I guess I should keep up on Pokémon sizes. But even then, it still looked much smaller than 3 ft. Anyway, I thought it was rude how Talonflame and Moria just shrugged on Fletchling to battle Hawlucha. And part of me is also a bit upset at how Hawlucha just took on the challenge and didn't stand up for Fletchling, but seeing as they just met and how Hawlucha is so proud of its power, I wouldn't expect it so whatever. Thankfully Bonnie proposed to hang out with him so he could watch the battle. And I love how she gave him a pep talk on how they were similar due to how others doubted them both because of their size yet how they also could gain advantages because of it.

I like how Hawlucha struggled in the battle since he is more fighting oriented rather than flying. It was also nice to see Fletchling study Talonflame's movements during the battle. Bonnie was so great. I like how she's the one to stand up for Fletchling and ask for a battle. Something I don't get why Ash didn't do. I mean seriously, he's always standing up for his Pokemon when their called weak, but today...not so much.

Serena was so great toady. I love how she and Fennekin were the ones to destroy TR's balloon. I also loved how Fletchling did most of the work on TR. Fletchling's battle against Talonflame was amazing. It was great to see how evasive he was, dodging nearly all of Talonflame's attacks and getting off a lot of hits. After Fletchling evolved I like how Ash kept using Flame Charge at the end to boost Fletchinder's speed to win the battle.

Overall, this was a wonderful episode. The group learns about Sky Battles, Hawlucha gets to battle, Chespin is comforting, cute, and not annoying, Serena shows off her flying skills and destroy's TR's balloon, Bonnie and Fletchling bond, Fletchling defeats TR's Pokémon, evolves, and beats Talonflame in an amazing battle. I will end off saying that I feel Bonnie was the true star of this episode. If it weren't for her sticking up for Fletchling, encouraging him to use his small size to his advantage, and allowing him to watch the battle and study Talonflame's moves his evolution wouldn't be possible. So that was a huge plus for me. There was really nothing I disliked. I have to give this episode a 10/10!
 

Moe

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Someone needs to show this episode to the game developers and remove the stupid limitations which would have meant both of Ash's Pokemon couldn't Sky Battle. Really odd that they show off a game feature with Pokemon that can't be used in the game equivalent.

Was weird that Bonnie was proclaiming the benefits of being small, and then Fletchling won by getting bigger by evolving mid-battle. Also weird that Ash commanded Flying Press straight up, when the previous episode was all about using it as a finishing move. Did Hawlucha really need a smackdown loss straight up to welcome it onto the team? I really wish the focus could be given to a particular Pokemon without making others look bad - let it land some hits, show that it's capable but at a disadvantage because of being gliding only - not just have it thrashed first up in a short space of time to move on with the plot.

A Team Rocket blast off with no involvement from Pikachu has to be a first in a very long time - nice to see him occasionally be sidelined. I'm fairly sure Team Rocket have used something similar to those flying suits in an earlier (as in several regions ago) episode - can't place it though. Someone also needs to keep a tally of all the times in Pokemon episodes where something has been promised to a character 'when they grow up'. Those will be at a Max level for Bonnie soon.

Nice episode overall though - I liked how strong Fletchling was shown as being, and that its evolution wasn't in the middle of a Gym battle. I wonder how well its moveset will balance Fire and Flying over time.
 

Queen Cynthia

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Indeed, it was a very good episode with all the main characters being involved in some way. And believe it or not, I even liked Bonnie today, although I usually find her annoying and misplaced. This time, however, she actually did something useful that contributed to the development of the plot in a very significant way. And, of course, it was really heart-warming to see her comforting and encouraging Fletchling. (I only hope that she won't go back to her old "I'm just the little kid that happens to be there too" - role.

Nevertheless, I was a bit surprised at how weak Hawlucha appeared to be compared to last week's episode where it was shown as almost invincible. Today it went down way to early and easily if you ask me and the explanation that was given, namely Hawlucha only being able to glide, was not only unsatisfying but also illogical! This episode was all about using those updrafts in the canyon to glide (not fly!) and all the trainers did that as well. So, a Pokemon that is only used to gliding shouldn't be at any disadvantage whatsoever. But, well, I guess they needed that battle to prove their "size doesn't matter"-point in the second battle.

So, let's move on to Fletchling's battle: It's good to see that the little bird actually gets to do other things, too, instead of just serving as the poor guy who has to look for lost Pokemon from the sky. Could its ongoing frustration be a reason for its strength today? Anyways, I liked how much spirit it showed and so it definitely deserved to finally evolve, which, by the way, seemed to be one of the coolest evolution scenes so far. Really impressive!

Yes, a more than decent episode indeed.
 
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EvilChameleon

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Boy this was an exciting episode. Wouldn't mind seeing more sky battles in the future. I especially loved Team Rocket's reaction when the gang flew up to them with the wing suits.
 

Muur

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Badass entrance from Hawlucha.

So Humans can fly now. Cool. ...who needs the fly TM when you can fly?

Fire type, commands a steel move against a steel type. Ingenious. Who gives a Talonflame Fire Blast?

Sky battles look cool in the show tbf but they're lame in the games. So can our trainers fly!?

Lol only Clemont would screw it up. Good job that wasn't off a cliff.

Random sky battle challenge at random. Odds on Fletchling beating it's final stage here? gotta be 1/50!

Why does Ash get to use a Hawlucha in a sky battle? I call hax. ...Fletchling can't do a sky battle either can it? would've been more hax.

Pretty sure she just wants Ash to fall off the cliff.

Poor Hawlucha. That's what he gets for hacking I suppose. Shouldn't Talonflame be able to cut a net? and like why are the trio suddenly pro at flying?

They weren't even telling their Pokemon what to aim at. Suppose Fletchling aimed to the net for shits and giggles.

Now Fletchling will win! prolly evolve and knock it out.

Lol Talonflame nearly killed Ash. Good job he's a pro at flying after 8 minutes. ...and nearly again, sky battles are dangerous.

Hey look it's evolving ;o now for the hax win. I so called it. So BS. Kinda cocky that everyone called it before it happened, Talonflame should've killed it just for that. Now for it to never win again. Ok episode marred in BS.
 

Beth Pavell

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Yeah. Because for years it's been well established that the anime works exactly the same way as the games, right down to the metagame
 

Team Gaara

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Yes, I’m late AF for this review. Blame college.

So everyone gets to meet Hawlucha. Never before has calling a Pokémon “it” instead of “him” ever felt so awkward before. I mean, damn, is it really so hard to call them by their gender pronouns? “It” just sounds so…distancing.

But anyway, Sky trainers in the Anime actually doing their job: flying. And, oh sh*t, that "last Pokémon in a Gen V Gym Battle" music coming thru!

Well…they really gave TalonLame a scrub-ass voice didn’t they? And why is Ash so shocked to see them battling in mid-air as if he’s never seen it before? I’m pretty sure he’s fought in mid-air before!

Sucks Bonnie can’t do the sky fly sh*t. I know her pain. The “you-must-be-this-tall-to-*insert activity here* board” has long been an enemy of mine, as well. But she handled it well and told Serena to go enjoy herself. I’ll never stop being impressed by Bonnie’s maturity. I’m even impressed by Chespin, here. His random and sudden display of kindness was pretty cool.

Wow, Clemont really isn’t suited for the physical activities, is he? I mean, damn, even Serena got the hang of it. It’s like when Naruto and Sasuke sucked at using Chakra to climb the tree and Sakura somehow aced it. And lookie here: Hawlucha practicing for Sky Battles - something he can’t even participate in in-game. What the fudge, guys?

This battle crazy Sky chick is pretty damn cool! Normally they make characters like this male, so the fact that she’s, well, a she just makes her that much better and more refreshing. And I really like her voice, too. She sounds so real.

I’m at the very least glad Ash chose to battle with Fletchling before TalonLame rejected him. At least he hasn't be totally screwed over.

IT’S TIME TO HIGH FIVE THE SKY!!! Oh...yeah, er-hem, battle’s starting.

Bonnie’s inspirational speech was really nice and it looked like it really touched Fletchling, too. It’s so good that even though she was disappointed that she’s staying optimistic for Fletchling, so much so that she didn’t even want Ash to return him to his Poke Ball so she could get a chance to tell him this. Really great moment, there. I still hate being short…but at least she got through to Fletchling.

At least they acknowledged that Hawlucha’s living in the days of Spyro before Dawn of the Dragon so it doesn’t feel like his inability to do this in the games isn’t complete horsesh*t. I’m at least glad Ash tried to employ some battle strategy here with grabbing Talonflame’s legs and not just trying to Karate Chop the air all day. And I like that they showed Fletching paying attention to TalonLame’s battle style.

I think it was sweet of Bonnie to ask on Fletching’s behalf for a battle and....

SUDDENLY TEAM ROCKET!?

Are you kidding me? This is the most random…the most unnecessary…the absolute most mind-boggling appearance of Team Rocket thus far. What the actual f*ck? These guys came out of nowhere. No scene of them in the beginning eavesdropping saying they want to Sky Battle or steal TalonLame or any of that. Just popping out of buttf*ck nowhere. Writers…stahp. At least give them so reason for being here, dammit. Side note: Not only Talonflame’s voice, but his music falls a bit short, too, imo.

Anyone else confused at how disgustingly badass Serena was for that one scene? Not only did she command Fennekin (a shock in itself) before Ash or Clemont did anything, but she had her use Flamethrower right next to her face. Someone woke up on the cool side of the bed, it seems. But she also woke up on the stupid side, too, it appears, since she commanded the attack while Ash and goons were still hanging on to the net. What the hell, Serena, you could have killed them!

Looks like Fletchling has been doing some lifting in his Poke Ball. He’s still keeping up with Team Rocket’s Pokémon on steroids when they give the more commonly used Pokémon trouble pretty much every time. But that weird Team Rocket encounter aside, looks like TalonLame will finally battle Fletchling.

So the battle was actually pretty damn good. Though, I can’t help but miss the days of DP when Brave Bird was pretty much the absolute badassery that it is in the XY games. I was about as shocked as Moria was though about Fletchling knowing Double Team. Has he shown that before?

That all aside, the moment of truth is here! Fletchling evolves amidst the pinnacle of Fire Blasts ever shown! And damn was that amazing! It’s as if he absorbed the Fire to become the Fire-type, Fletchinder. And I like that his voice is more similar to Fletchling’s than TalonLame’s.

I love how Ash said “dodge that”. He could have essentially said “screw that” in it’s place and it would have been extra awesome.

So Fletchinder gets the victory! And well deserved it was! Finally, he gets some time to shine on the screen and evolve on top of that! I honestly didn’t expect Fletchling to evolve so soon in the series so this episode was a pleasant surprise. We also got some nice development from Bonnie, too, which just added to the mix well. Sky battling was shown pretty well in the Anime; makes me wish they were shown similarly in the games. Overall, a great episode only hindered by the most random of random Team Rocket appearances. A 9.1/10.
 

Beth Pavell

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See, Team Rocket did have a point in this episode. Admittedly, it was only to be beaten, but they provided a way for Fletchling to impress Talonflame enough for Talonflame to agree to battle. Which works better than Ash or Bonnie just saying words to the effect of "please oh please"
 

CrashBash

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GOOD POINTS
*For one thing, it's nice to see an episode focused on Fletchling. It hadn't seen much action prior, and it's a nice little underdog story. I know they happen a lot in Pokemon, but they're still nice to see.
*The whole Sky Battle thing. They're cool in the games, but the anime made it so much cooler.
*Bonnie, once again, proves nearly everything she does is adorable. Her look of frustration as she tries to make herself taller is just too....cute.
*It's been said before, but Fletchling's evolution into Fletchinder has to be one of the coolest evolutions I've seen in Pokemon for some time.

NOT-SO-GOOD POINTS
*"And the award for most pointless appearance EVER by Team Rocket in an episode of the anime goes to..."....seriously, what was the point? They showed up out of nowhere for no reason, just to capture Talonflame. There could have been another way to have Fletchling save Talonflame and make it appriciate the tiny robin. "The Forest Champion" showed that it was perfectly possible to have conflict without Team Rocket butting their heads in.
*I'm not really buying Hawlucha's use in a Sky Battle. Since it specifically said it could only glide rather than actually fly, doesn't that make it a little unfair?
*Just a little nitpick, but were four flame charges in a row really neccessary?

It was a very cool and dynamic episode, let down slightly by an unneeded TR appearance.
 
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