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Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by this one. Some of it was good, some was meh.
I still find Rockruff to be totally unfitting with Ash and I'm not just saying this just because I dislike the mutt. It just doesn't mesh with him imo, and to me it just feels like he's borrowing Kukui's Pokemon. I did like finally seeing a quadruped use a Z-Move though. I was wondering how or if they'd even have them do the pose with the trainer, so that was nice to see. Though honestly, this moment just showed how infrequently Ash even uses Z-Moves. A random battle 1 minute at the beginning of the episode was such a dull way to show off the dog using Breakneck Blitz for the first time.
I did like that they introduced Sophecles's family. His and his parents confused expressions are really cute. I loved all of the Togedemaru merchandise like the picture frame and hat. Also, that moment where Togedemaru hopped down the stairs and fell on the ground was really cute. The part with the giant wheel overheating and exploding felt like such a Clemont moment. It seemed really unnecessary, but at least it ended up attracting Tapu Koko...
The battle...was disappointing. For the big rematch against the Island Guardian, this was bit boring. The fact that it was a short fight shoved at the end of the episode was the main killer imo. It didn't feel like Ash re-matching an opponent he'd faced before, it just felt like a random battle for fun. And the only moment that actually made it seem as if Ash had improved from the last battle was the fact that he was actually able to knock Tapu Koko back with Gigavolt Havoc. Personally, I think it would have been nice if Ash would have used Breakneck Blitz against Tapu Koko instead. Not only would the move have been neutrally effective instead of nve, it would have shown off Ash's new skill to Tapu Koko. Also, the Z-Move stock footage...I get it, they don't want to re-animate a different version every time...but c'mon can we get a little variation? To use the same exact footage from start to finish as the second episode, all the way down to Ash and Pikachu getting hit by the wind and looking to see through the smoke of the aftermath...that's a bit dull. I'd take them just flipping it at this point, anything to look a bit different.
But yeah, long story short, I wasn't too interested in the battle. Honestly I preferred the moments of Tapu Koko knocking away the dog and owl, Togedemaru saving the group from the blast of electricity, and Tapu Koko saving Ash more than the actual battle.
So overall, this was good in some areas and poor in others. I'll give this a 6/10.
This one was pretty good. I much preferred the first half of the episode to the second. Though I do have to say the battle with Tapu Koko kept my attention much better in the dub than it did in the original Japanese. I guess watching it on a TV in English helped? Either way, relatively impressive considering I find most battles to be pretty boring and zone out during them.
I really liked getting to see Sophocles' parents and lab. I'm in the minority who actually enjoys him as a character, so I thought it was nice for him to get some dedicated screentime. I really enjoy his dynamic with Ash as well. It feels different than companions of the past (they get along, of course, but there's still a pretty big gap between them as far as personalities and interests are concerned) and I like that when they're together, the conversations and interactions don't feel forced. Sophocles can ramble on about data while Ash gets bored and snoops around. Ash can touch things he's not supposed to and get on Sophocles' nerves. It's nice that it's not all rainbows and sunshine, which always ends up feeling super contrived and fake.
One thing I hated: can we please stop having Ash jump off cliffs and buildings and all that to rescue Pikachu? It's so overdone. I seriously roll my eyes every time a scene like this plays out. It's like the writers are fishing for drama and suspense but honestly, they've done this whole act to death.
Also, I just found it really weird that Tapu Koko just sets itself up on a battle field in front of the entire school to battle Ash. In the first episode, the classmates are shocked Ash even saw Tapu Koko, and it's clearly meant to be this mythical guardian, almost like a legend. So the fact that it just kind of put itself in front of all these random students felt...off. I don't know, it just felt a whole lot special after this episode. Not that I'm crazy about the whole "Ash gets to connect with all of these mythical legendary Pokemon because he's special" aspect either, but having it battle in front of the entire school just kind of ruined the mythos for me.
Z Moves are pretty OP. Although it was that horses fault, Ash yelled out he was gonna do it then danced, they had plenty of time to sand attack his face or something. Poor bald little kid.
That was a regular Geodude on that guy's shirt.
Of course Sophocles's mum is big.
100c? wtf. I guess it's actually 37c based on Google... that's still really hot. Hotter than any UK weather ever.
His Dad too... so why do his Mum and Dad looks like they're related? that's also quite the unibrow.
"Sopcoles Mum makes the best food ever". ...why does he say it like that? just makes me think it's a random guy, or a second husband. Or an uncle I guess? idek but it was a really stupid line.
Sopcoles is quite the nerd.
That giant wheel clearly isn't for training.
And now Ash owes his money. Or I guess he doesn't care Ash rekd his machine.
Mr Ketchup wouldn't beat Koko this early, so he's gonna get curbstomped.
Decent battle. Pika did well against a Legendary. Although remember that time he beat a Regice and a Latios (draw still counts)? good times. Also none of those random people cared if Ash was okay I guess.
Breakneck Blitz was a better choice really. Pikachu is just a bad match up with Steel and Electric moves. Steel is neutral, I guess. Eh. Enjoyed the episode anyway.
I'd point out that Tapu Koko seems to be deliberately targeting Pikachu. Rockruff had a better type matchup more or less.
I think Koko's role is gonna be more a Trickster Mentor thing. He's the reason why Ash knows about Z Moves, and also why he has a Z ring and Electrium Z. I also think koko's doing this to get a good fight with Pikachu specifically.
Nice to see Sophocles's family being introduced but the first half was your typical slice o' life stuff that we've come to expect and then the second half was of course the battle and that was...
As Sakuraa previously stated, it honestly felt more like a "Hey Tapu Koko, let's do this battle just for fun" rather than a proper proper rematch. Also the less said about the reused and rather tiring Z move animation, the better. Even the ending where Ash tries to save Pikachu didn't do it for me.
At the end of the Sun and Moon, this one was moderate at best but a letdown too.
Eh, while the battle wasn't that impressive, the first half was nice. We got to see Sophocles's home and family, which was nice. Though it doesn't look like Ash is winning against Tapu Koko anytime soon. He didn't even properly lose. Maybe it'll happen in the penultimate or final episode to mirror the games. Though since we know next to nothing about Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, anything can happen.
Some closed captioning goofs I thought were funny:
-Snowy was called "Alola Eevee". Derp.
-Even though the Z-Move text was scrubbed as always, the subtitle at that part said something about on-screen text. Huh.
It's nice seeing Rockruff using Breakneck Blitz for the first time. Also, good seeing Mudbray being used.
Ash wants to battle Tapu Koko again, huh? Course, that's Ash for you.
Nice learning about Sophocles's family. That Togedemaru photo frame is great. Also, I wish I could try some of Sophocles's mother's malasadas too.
The interaction between Togedemaru and Pikachu is always priceless. Togedemaru's cheerfulness just cannot be beat.
Of course, Ash knows not what facts and figures are...
I kinda expected Rowlet to not do much on the giant hamster-wheel thingy; I was not disappointed.
The Pikachu versus Tapu Koko was well-written and it was quite good. Good seeing Nature's Madness in the anime. Look pretty cool TBH. Also, Togedemaru saving the bystanders from the random electric spark from Tapu Koko's Discharge was nice.
I like how the training on Sophocles's wheel-thingy seemed to have raised Pikachu's speed. Also, it was great seeing Ash and Pikachu being strong enough to at least push Tapu Koko back with Gigavolt Havoc now.
The Ash jumping after Pikachu was reminiscent of Lumiose City Pursuit! for me... Fair enough!
A decent episode. Great knowing about Sophocles's family, and the battle against Tapu Koko was pretty great as well.