First things first, I loved that we got to see Serena register for her performances. I also loved how Bonnie was mocking Clemont about his invention blowing up. You’re right Clemont, your inventions don’t always blow up. It’s just a majority of them
The scenes of Ash and Serena shopping were pretty funny. I'm always amused by Ash's lack of taste in clothing and items. Ash and Serena’s conversation on the train where she gave him advice about what gift to give his Pokemon was my favorite of their actions in this episode. I prefer it when Serena just acts like a helpful friend to Ash giving him advice rather than crushing on him, so I'm glad with how everything between them turned out.
There were a lot of touches that I liked in this episode. Like Hawlucha posing for Bunnelby (and later everyone), Frogadier carrying Dedenne to the rest of the group and helping him stand up for the picture, Luxio carrying Goomy on his head, and Fennekin's reaction to Serena returning. I was really glad that Bonnie wanted to make a gift for all of the Pokemon and drew them a picture. I'd like to say that I'm glad that Chespin and Pancham's unnecessary skirmish wasn't a result of Chespin being a dick and that he actually looked sorry...but at the same time that little moment just seemed so pointless overall. Whatever.
What is it with Ash watching to catch a Dunsparce? Is this going to become some gag? Hope not. Anyway, moving on to my least favorite part of the episode, I absolutely hated that TR were so dickish as to try to steal the gifts that everyone got for their Pokemon. And then they, surprisingly, got gifts for their own Pokemon. They could have just had that sweet moment where they gave their Pokemon gifts, but nope. They have to be jerks as usual. Sigh. At least that got a brutal blast off, because they seriously deserved that. And we got to see Frogadier being a badass and destroying their machine without a command.
Finally we get to the gifts. I loved Fennekin and Pancham's different reactions to their gifts, that fact that Clemont built his gift for his Pokemon, and Ash giving his Pokemon food. Not surprised that that’s what he’d like to be given as a gift. I'm also not surprised that Chespin ditched Clemont's gift to go eat off of Ash's but whatever. Actually, what I was more intrigued by was the fact that there was no Dedenne model in gift Clemont made for his other Pokemon. I guess it's not too weird though since he barely interacts with him. Loved that fact that Grace sent Serena her performance dress and that Ash gives the ribbon he won to her as well. I also liked that they brought up that Serena and Grace have different tastes in clothing and that Grace chose a dress she didn't like. Nice ending.
Great episode. It's nice to see more developent on Serena's feelings for Ash.
The premise of the episode was really nice and served very well as a filler. The gift-giving was cool, Bonnie had a couple of good moments, Clemont saying "So Ash, did you get the gift?" or whatever in such a sly way was pretty funny, and SERIOUSLY PANCHAM HAD TO BE THE ONE TO NOT LIKE HIS GIFT. I guess that was the best choice out of all of them.
What was the real purpose of this episode, though? It seems like it was really meant to emphasize interaction with Serena and Ash (namely the "date" stuff at the beginning and the ribbon scene at the end).
A really nice episode! Although not much of importance for the plot itself happened, the whole story and the idea of giving presents to your Pokemon to express your gratitude is really lovely! I also liked the idea of having a festival to do that. (By the way, beautiful decoration. Must have been a heck of a lot of work!)
There's only one thing I'm not so happy with. The episode started very promising by making us believe that this would all be about a possible Ash and Serena date. But during the episode it seemed they wanted to drop that idea again pretty quickly. There would have been more potential in that subplot.
Anyways, nice episode with many awesome scenes, for example Frogadier rushing forward and attacking TRio without Ash even having to tell him or our heroes launching a combined attack against the Rockets. Impressive animation!
Solid episode. I'm surprised Dunsparce got its voice dubbed, since back in DA! (which the whole thing was a continuity reference to) they just kept the Japanese voice, which was weird since they have different Japanese/English names, kind of like how they leave Onix, who clearly says "Iwark", alone.
If 4Kids was still dubbing the series, they probably would've added a whole lot more AmourShipping hints than the Japanese version, by the way.