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REVIEW: SM107: Run Kaki! Surpass Yourself!!

Charizard Enthusiast (Armed and Ready to Go)
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During D&P I was sick of Team Rocket being shoehorned into episodes, and now here I am wishing they'd make even just a cameo.
And now, instead of TR, we have the classmates being shoehorned for no reason.:bulbaFacepalm:

At least if Team Rocket would have appeared during this episode (and if it would have been done right), the writers could have set up the next story arc/crisis our heroes would have to face. What do the classmates' scenes even add to the story? That they like to eat?
 
Megalomaniacal toaster on a keyboard
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Mallow's asides felt really unnecessary, and Ash continues to be a shadow of himself, but hey, at least Kiawe didn't spend the entire episode being a mockery of himself

And...Fly-Z, because...reasons

Ah, the sweet tears of people screaming that it should've gone to Rowlet and Ash are glorious
 
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Honestly, I don't mind Kaki getting the Flynium-Z because he needed another one. We were (briefly) at the point where Suiren had more crystals than him and she didn't even become a Z-Move user until way after him.

But I do agree that Flynium-Z is a really random one to give him given how we didn't even know Lizardon had any use outside of being a Poke Ride until this episode. I'd have expected him to get Ghostium-Z quite frankly.
 
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Honestly, I don't mind Kaki getting the Flynium-Z because he needed another one. We were (briefly) at the point where Suiren had more crystals than him and she didn't even become a Z-Move user until way after him.

But I do agree that Flynium-Z is a really random one to give him given how we didn't even know Lizardon had any use outside of being a Poke Ride until this episode. I'd have expected him to get Ghostium-Z quite frankly.
We did however know that Charizard used to belong to Kiawe's grandfather back when he was the Kahuna of Akala, so it did have some battling experience.

Kiawe does plan to enter the Alola League, so this gives him a third Pokemon he can use without having to write in and develop a new one.
 
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Not a bad episode, if I do say so myself. Kiawe passed a trial set by his grandfather (or Tapu-Fini, depending on who you listen to), got a new Z-crystal (about time) and his Charizard was finally given some time to shine, cementing his status as a member of Kiawe's team, not to mention that their battle with Tapu-Lele was wonderful (but a little to short). Speaking of Charizard, I know that some people are... less than enthusiastic about the fact that it's now considered Kiawe's "third" team member (to the point that they wish that Kiawe caught a "real Pokémon"), but let's take a moment to look at the situation. Putting aside the fact the it is a Charizard, we're talking about a Pokémon that has been with a main character since the start of the series, was given a backstory, was established to belong to a protagonist and has the same type that said protagonist specializes in. Kiawe's Charizard is also one of the few cases (if not the first) where a Pokémon that belongs to a main characters is so rarely used and so irrelevant that it is considered nothing more than a device, a method of transportation, an HM slave (to the point that it's the first protagonist-owned Pokémon to not have a page of its own on Bulbapedia). Putting aside the popularity of its species, we're talking about a main character-owned Pokémon that's in desperate need of development and/or focus. And it finally got what it needed. You may not like that a Pokémon that you consider "overrated" is now officially part of the cast, but don't let your dislike of Charizard obscure the fact that it's a Pokémon belonging to main character that has been, for the most part, unimportant and in need of focus.

Back to the review, as nice of an episode as this was, it still wasn't without its flaws. One problem that this episode had (and one that the series as a whole still suffers from) is the pacing. It took around 10 minutes (that's almost half of the episode) for the writers to set up the story and get to the main point/focus of the episode. Couple that with the fact that the classmates' "plot" also takes around 5 minutes of screen time and that leads to having little time to focus on the episode's... well... focus. And speaking of the classmates' "adventure", couldn't they save it for next week's episode? As I said above, their scenes felt shoehorned, boring, wasteful and like they were done just for the sake of giving he classmates to do. But if they would have been saved for SM108, the scenes would have had a purpose, as it would give the Ash's group a reason to visit Hapu. Also, the infamous "comedic" faces appear in this episode (like ALWAYS!!!!), but, thankfully, they were kept to a minimum.

All in all, a few problems aside (most of which are series-wide problems), this was a pretty good episode (the again, this was a Kiawe episode, so what did you expect). Now here's hoping that the next one is better (and considering all the hype it's apparently getting, it better be).
 
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This was a very good episode! Seeing how often the writers have Kiawe make a fool of himself (I like comedic Kiawe but the writers made him too difficult to take seriously instead of balancing his stoic and comedic sides), it's nice to see him take charge of the situation and battle competently without any shoehorned mess-ups. Kiawe development episodes are always a plus, and it was nice to see more of Kiawe's history with his grandfather. Furthermore, we got to see more of Charizard's moveset, and the Flynium-Z was an awesome surprise! As much as I'm sick of the overexposure of Charizard's species, Kiawe's was in desperate need of development and was a lot of fun to watch in action. Cheers to you, Charizard!

Though, the Lana training scenes could've been omitted as they didn't add much, and while the Mallow gives Hapu food scenes were cute, they ran on for way too long and honestly could've been cut for more Kiawe screentime. The transitions to it really break the serious mood of the episode. Still, it's nice to see Hapu getting along with everyone and having fun!

Seeing as the show likes to make visual references to other anime, along with the title of the episode talking about running and surpassing oneself, I was wishfully hoping that they'd make a Tenya Iida reference, since they share the same VA in Japan. It was wishful thinking but still fun to imagine!
 
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Wow, the episode was very good. I certainly didn't expect to see the "Kiawe's trial" and "Kiawe & Charizard" bonding plots I've been asking for ages in an episode that was promoted as "Kiawe runs lol". The plot turned out to be quite interesting, the battles were very dynamic and it had its emotional moments. I now understand why they used Sofu, as Tapu Fini had to explain her plan in some form.

The subplot wasn't that bad, as it had two main purposes: 1) Finish Mallow's radish subplot and 2) Give some development to Hapu by making her comfortable around other kids. However I agree that it could have been told in less scenes.
 
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Anyone else think that Ash's 'abandon Kiawe to save yourself' moment will come up next episode as a trial of some sort, or just part of one?
 
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It’s ironic how Charizard of all pokemon is the one that took this long to be fleshed out.

Really liked this one. The battles were cool, it had its tense moments and I loved the Kiawe focus. I also loved seeing Psycho Lele again.

My one gripe with this, and it’s not really about the episode, is how a decades old Charizard that used to be the prized pokemon of a kahuna is no different from any other. He could be larger, have scars, a different color, anything. Instead he only has that saddle.
 
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My one gripe with this [...] is how a decades old Charizard that used to be the prized pokemon of a kahuna is no different from any other.
Well, to be fair, they never said that Charizard is that old.

And I know Kiawe said that "Charizard was his [Kiawe's grandfather] partner", but I kinda speculated that that's because by the time he [Kiawe] was old enough to remember stuff about his grandpa, the rest of his [Kiawe's grandfather's] Pokémon either passed away due to their age or were so old and weak that Charizard was the strongest Pokémon he had and as such, by virtue of being the strongest on his team (as well as it probably having a strong bond with Kaki's grandpa), Charizard became his partner.

Either that, or it was a case of him having more than one partner (the way Ash has Pikachu as his main never-gonna-give-you-up BFF partner, but he also has regional partners like Charizard for Kanto and Heracross for Johto and Sceptile for Hoenn and Infernape for Sinnoh and etc. etc.).
 
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My one gripe with this, and it’s not really about the episode, is how a decades old Charizard that used to be the prized pokemon of a kahuna is no different from any other. He could be larger, have scars, a different color, anything. Instead he only has that saddle.
Actually, that's not entirely true. Kiawe's Charizard does have scars. If you look at Charizard's wings in this shot, you can see that they're shaped differently than normal; it's almost as though a chunk was torn out of them at some point in the past. (Of course, it may be that this is just the way the wings are shaped, but it's still something to differentiate Kiawe's Charizard from the others.)

Image result for supersonic skystrike charizard
 
V for veritable vegetable
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Actually, that's not entirely true. Kiawe's Charizard does have scars. If you look at Charizard's wings in this shot, you can see that they're shaped differently than normal; it's almost as though a chunk was torn out of them at some point in the past. (Of course, it may be that this is just the way the wings are shaped, but it's still something to differentiate Kiawe's Charizard from the others.)

Image result for supersonic skystrike charizard
Oh, true, I hadn’t noticed that! Good eye.

It’s minor, but I like them. Adds some roughed up touch.
 
Megalomaniacal toaster on a keyboard
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Kiawe's Charizard also has muscle in its arms unlike the twigs that Ash's has
 
"What do you mean, my Gengarite is contraband?!"
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Kiawe's Charizard is also one of the few cases (if not the first) where a Pokémon that belongs to a main characters is so rarely used and so irrelevant that it is considered nothing more than a device, a method of transportation, an HM slave (to the point that it's the first protagonist-owned Pokémon to not have a page of its own on Bulbapedia).
Quick note, but this really isn't the first or worst case. Clemont's Magnemite has been shafted way harder than Kiawe's Charizard due to never being a series regular. I think it only appeared in two episodes total, where it did absolutely nothing of note in the first and got quickly flattened by a Vivillon in the second. I'd be surprised if anyone remembers him having one.

No, Magnemite doesn't have a page either. It really shouldn't anyway.
 
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Another episode with Yūji Asada, Masaaki Iwane and Izumi Shimura involved which made the animation good
 
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Quick note, but this really isn't the first or worst case. Clemont's Magnemite has been shafted way harder than Kiawe's Charizard due to never being a series regular. I think it only appeared in two episodes total, where it did absolutely nothing of note in the first and got quickly flattened by a Vivillon in the second. I'd be surprised if anyone remembers him having one.

No, Magnemite doesn't have a page either. It really shouldn't anyway.
True, true. But it and Magneton and Heliolisk are Clemont's Gym Pokémon, and since he's no longer acting as the leader of the Lumiose Gym (at least, most of the time), they more so belong to Clembot (the current leader) than to Clemont (and since the policy says that only the Gym Leader's main Pokémon deserves an article, it makes sense that Magnemite will (most likely) never have one). I'm actually more surprised that Magneton got a page of its own, considering that it also didn't do much (Heliolisk, at least, I understand, since it's the Gym Leader's main battler and received far more screen time than the rest).

Also, counterargument: Misty's Azurill and Brock's Comfey were also barely relevant in the anime and they also had few appearances (Azurill appeared for 3 episodes and Comfey appeared for just 1 (and chances are it won't appear again for years to come)), yet they still have their own articles, while Kiawe's Charizard (who had a backstory, some partial focus in the resort episode (alongside the rest of the UG's Rides) and more appearances then these two could ever dream of having) still doesn't have a page of its own.
 
The one once known as Alphaphlare
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This episode was a mixed bag. On one hand I like the ghost cliche at the end, and I was glad Kaki got to use all his Pokémon, prove himself, and get a non fire Z crystal.

On the other hand Christ Kaki has been disappointing so far. How many proper matches has he been in that had a result? Like two at most? I kinda hoped that he would be the Joey to Ash's Yugi. Getting less matches but, still getting consistent matches and wins. In retrospect that might have been a bit unreasonable given SM prioritizes slice of life over battling speaking of which...

God the B plot was boring. I'm actually a bit confused where the entertainment was supposed to come from. It wasn't joke heavy. It's not like there was any worry that Mao's cooking would be lacking. I didn't notice any poiniant character moments. I guess the juxtaposition between the plots was amusing but, besides that it felt useless.

Overall I liked the episode but, would have liked it more if Kiawe got to beat up a bird Totem.
 
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