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I'm surprised to see that Serena is still only practicing for the Showcase talent round even though she didn't get past the Styling round last time. I can only hope she's been working on that off screen or something, otherwise I'd find it odd for her not to practice in the area she failed at the first time. Anyway, moving on to the actual practice, I thought it was okay, though I personally preferred the one she did for Nini in XY50. I didn't really get Pancham's anger towards Fennekin during the whole thing. If anything, the way he jumped through the fire would have been the cause for his tail getting roasted the first time, and then he was the one who accidentally tripped on her the second time. Though I did find it totally hilarious how Pancham used Serena as a shield when Fennekin used Flamethrower at him.
I'm so glad that we finally got to see Aria's personality. (And wow, they actually did go with Ariana) She’s really nice...like overly nice. I mean she just took Serena out to shop and eat with her after just meeting her. And throughout the entire day she was just trying to cheer her up and make her smile. I really didn't expect Serena to start crying over yelling at her Pokemon while they were eating.
I was surprised to see Clemont battling a challenger. I don't know why I didn't expect him to be taking challenges and that he would just be training for his battle with Ash separately. Obviously any kind of training/battling is helpful so I was glad to see that here with the new character. Certainly the most unexpected part of the episode for me.
(Aw, they didn’t give Shota (or I guess Scottie) a high pitched voice in the dub That’s one of the things I liked about him)
I loved how Bonnie was playing fetch with Dedenne and Pikachu while they were waiting for Serena. I also continue to be amused with Fennekin and Pancham's different personalities and how Fennekin rushed to Serena with a tear in her eyes upon reuniting with her while Pancham followed a bit behind. Like how also earlier in the episode when the 2 were staring out the window, Ash asked if they were worried about Serena and Fennekin nodded yes while Pancham kinda shrugged it off while blushing. It's cute. Speaking of cute, I was surprised to see Bonnie do her proposal gag in Clemont's absence.
The battle between the two was okay. I love how Ariana revealed that she was a performer and simply said she "forgot" to tell Serena. I love this chick I did like Fennkin using Pancham's Stone Edge for an aerial attack and Pancham protecting Fennekin with Dark Pulse. I love how Serena only remembered half of Ariana’s statement in her flashback. I just found that funny. I can't say I'm too happy with Fennekin evolving. I mean, it's great that she's continuing to grow, it's just my own personal dislike of Braxien. Maybe I'll start to like more by seeing more of it. There were actually a few moments in this episode where I actually found it kind of cute. Anyway, overall it a good battle for Serena. I lol'd when Aria got that phone call which put the battle to a stop. At least it was unique I love how she kept the bracelet Serena chose for her to buy. I really like Aria as a character and hope we get to see more of her. But geez, all of her “smile” talk throughout the episode got creepy after a while. Also, she should wear glasses all the time. She looks so much better with them on
Finally, I loved the ending where Serena was so happy when realized that Aria had been the one who helped her and just kept it to herself. Great episode overall. 10/10.
I knew it would be Ariana from the second you guessed it. Someone else also guessed Citroid's dub name would be Clembot too. Are you guys part of a duo who invades TPCi's headquarters? Do you guess what you think TPCi would dub their names as? Or do you just pull the name right out of a hat?
I love when TPCi corrects errors that were in the Japanese version, it just shows that the dubbers really did their homework. In this case I'm talking about how Shota's Treecko used Razor Leaf, giving Citron an opening, while in the dub Scottie's Treecko gave Clemont an opening with Mega Drain, a move that Treecko can actually learn and that is more associated with it.
I knew they would replace DreamDream during Fennekin's evolution. A small part of me was hoping they would keep it, Japanese or dubbed in English (or half Japanese, half English like in Jirachi: Wish Maker), but I knew it was too good to be true. Anyway, David Goldfarb has made the dub really improve in the soundtrack department. Good job, David!
And they still haven't updated Be a Hero or the title card for Serena's new design? Hmm...foreshadowing that Serena will go back to her old design at some point in the future, so they didn't bother to change it (like how the Japanese version didn't update Mad-Paced Getter for Goodra since it was going to leave soon)? Or just laziness on the part of whoever put the theme song animation together? Well, Froakie wasn't updated either, so I'm guessing it's the latter.
By the way, I'm glad the dub is going back to having other characters read the title card besides Ash. I thought Serena would read the whole title card, but I liked the "duet" between Ash and Serena, similar to what they did with Jessie and James in the previous episode. Next episode will it be Ash or Bonnie and Tierno?
Anyway, about the episode itself and not just dub edits, I liked how Aria was a nice (if a little playful) girl rather than your stereotypical jerk Pokémon rival. Actually, all the rivals in XY are pretty nice, even Ash's main rival (usually the only mean one), Tierno (or is it Scottie, who is also nice as well? We'll just have to see.)
Serena screaming at Fennekin and Pancham was kind of funny, and Aria's little akanbe (Japanese teasing expression involving sticking her tongue out and pulling her eyelid down, which has been kept in the dub since TPCi has taken over) when she said "Oh, I guess I forgot. Tee hee!", as well as Braixen (who has now grown a forehead taller than her) hugging Serena were very cute.
Although I'm not really into Pokemon showcase, I found it was a very inspiring and heart-warming episode. Not only was Serena's inner conflicted presented in a pretty intense way, I also thought that Ariana's /Aria's coaching was done pretty well. She seems to be a very friendly and helpful person, a trait that I enjoy to see.
What first seemed unusual to me was the fact that it was the second episode in a row in which Ash remained on the sidelines and didn't play the main role. But surprisingly this didn't end up in a bad or unimportant episode. On the contrary, it was quite a welcome change.
Now that Serena's got a new, stronger Pokemon, I hope that she'll finally be able to start her "career" but what I'm looking forward to even more is Ash and Clemont's gym battle that we'll hopefully see as soon as possible.
General Thoughts because I haven't done one of these in ages.
If there's one thing I really like about Serena, it's Haven Paschall's performance as her. There were some quite emotional scenes there, what with the rage and the breakdown later, and I think she did those really well.
I gotta be honest, I'm not entirely sure where I stand with Aria's voice. It's a lot deeper than I kinda expected it to be (and I don't remember her previous speaking role that well). It has a mature yet playful tone to it, certainly. To describe Aria herself, I can't help but think of the word "quirky". X3
That aside, it was a pretty solid episode all around. A nice little battle, Team Rocket having a small yet relevant bit and the conclusion was pretty decent too. Also, Pancham's attempts at trying to be the cool cub throughout everything is just...kinda lolzy. X3
It's good to finally see Aria doing other things besides performing in a Pokémon Showcase or PokéVision video. She's such a nice person and I really enjoyed seeing her hanging out with Serena. I also liked that she said Performers should always smile to captivate the audience and how this helped Serena to pass on confidence to her Pokémon during their battle.
Speaking of their battle, I'm so glad it was just a regular Double Battle involving some charging poses instead of a Contest Battle carbon copy. As much as I miss the Contest Battles, I don't want them to return with a different name adding to the list of what Showcases and performing have stolen shamelessly from Contests and coordinating. Aria's movements and poses when commanding an attack remind me of... Ash Ketchum. Just take a look at this:
Don't you see? He's a natural at performing and could crossdress and enter a Showcase one of these days. Just imagine.
I still can't see what Palermo or anyone in the Kalos region see on Aria's performances. That short video at the end and all of the videos we have seen so far are just so simple and basic. She's Kalos Queen, it's the equivalent of a League Conference or Grand Festival winning Trainer or Coordinator and she definitely doesn't look as good and talented. If she excels at this she should be able to do way better than what Serena is currently doing in her rare and brief training sessions. I'm still waiting for a groundbreaking performance.