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Why in the World is Ash VS Hapu so Hated?

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So this is a serious question. I don't get why this battle is so hated and I'd like to know why. I was recently scrolling the SM109 Review Thread and see that people called the episode many things. They said the First Part of the Episode was "An Absolute Waste" which I disagree with. The First Part of the Episode provides the emotional narrative of Hapu becoming Island King which makes the Trial worthy of being the "Final Trial" and the beach scene isn't useless at all. It actually foreshadows the strategy Ash uses to win the Battle. It doesn't matter if the battle is 1 VS 1 or 2 VS 2, quality is much more important than Quantity. I see people saying Rowlet could have been used, but a Rowlet Vs a Mudsale would be the most weirdest battle ever with only god-knows terrible atrocious choreography. Another complaint I saw was that the Battle was just "generic hits" which isn't true. The actual battle itself makes great use of the Environment. With Pikachu jumping off of Pillars and tactically using it's surroundings. It's a decent battle at the least. And they provided a good-enough explanation for the rather-questionable tactic Ash used.
 
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The biggest problem I have with the battle, other than the improvised Soak, is that Ash had an Electrium Z equiped from the start of the battle.

It is shown that Ash only thought of using seawater to drench Mudsdale halfway through the battle to make it susceptible to electric attacks. In addition, Ash just saw a few episodes prior (SM104) that electric moves don't work on Ground type Pokemon, so Ash knew he was equipping a useless Z-crystal from the beginning.

If Ash was planning on switching out Z-crystals in the middle of the match, then that still isn't good on his part. In his first battle with Hau a while back (SM097), Ash lost the battle because he had to switch out Z-crystals mid-battle! As such, he should have learned by now to equip the correct Z-crystal at the start of the match.
 
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My biggest issue with it was that the water came from outside the battlefield and was therefore outside interference, ergo Ash cheated. This could have been alleviated as easily as putting a pool of water inside the battlefield like some of the old League battlefields used to.
 
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Ash choosing to use the worst possible type matchup, against an opponent who can boost their defenses nonetheless, just isn't how a character with as much experience as he had should act. It was Jun'ichi Fujisaku doing his usual thing: having a main character be on the ropes in a battle, when suddenly, they, as Suede would put it, "try winning", i.e. suddenly pull a winning move out of thin air and unrealistically turn the match around in their favor in an instant. Not organic or well-written at all. Thank goodness Fujisaku avoided making that mistake in the League finals, like many of us feared he would.
 
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I think a big problem I have with this episode is the writer

He's good with slice of life episodes but when it comes to battles, Ash wins by some dieus ex machina

True he improved when it came to Ash vs Gladion but I don't buy getting Mudsdale wet making it weak against Electric types
 
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People take great notice when the anime ignores basic rules of the games. Pikachu improvising Soak is just one of many examples. We all remember "Thunder Armor", where Swellow is powered up by a Thunderbolt instead of KOed without having Lightning Rod (which wouldn't have made him immune to Electric-type moves in Generation III). And the less said about Water Shuriken dealing little damage to a Fire/Dragon and Blast Burn dealing Super Effective damage to a Water/Dark, the better. And then after this battle, we've had "SOS Rest" between Ash's battle with Hau.

The writers make up their own rules as they go along, even in a short moment's notice. You'd have Normal-types deal damage to Ghost-types without Odor Sleuth or Scrappy, Steel-types be poisoned by something without Corrosion, and in M13, a Bronzor using Psychic on a Zorua without using Miracle Eye beforehand (and in the pre-SwSh games, Bronzor cannot learn Miracle Eye).

You think either SMUSUM or LGPE would've justified this with an event Pikachu (or Eevee) that knows Soak, or added Soak to Pikachu's moveset in SwSh. Both never happened.
 
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I think my biggest problem with it was how Ash won. The battle was relatively decent, or at least not awful, until Ash effectively used the water to affect Mudsdale and win. It felt incredibly cheap. It was similar to how he defeated Brock back in the day, but until of thinking that it wasn't a fair victory, he was praised for making such a strategy. It definitely didn't help that this was the last Grand Trial either. The Island Challenge in general wasn't handled that well to begin with, but ending it on such a sour note made it more upsetting too.

Maybe it could have been better if Hapu used more of her Pokemon. Pikachu could still somehow win the battle, as they did kind of set that up earlier in the arc, but giving Rowlet and Torracat a chance to battle would have been nice. I don't think that the beach scene took up that much time, but they really should have removed that in order to give more time for the battle.
 
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I was actually perfectly fine with the improvised Soak strategy for several reasons:

1. The interaction was consistent with the sprinkler strategy that Ash used a long time ago. I know, the OG series was quite weird in a lot of different ways, I'm just saying that this interaction was already established a long time ago in the anime.

2. In addition to the consistency, there's now a valid gameplay-related reason as to why splashing water onto a Ground-type made it susceptible to Electric-type attacks: Soak. Yes, Pikachu can't learn Soak, but splashing water should create a similar enough effect so that Electric-type attacks are now effective on the target Pokemon (even if it might not actually be completely turned into a Water-type Pokemon). I've said this several times before on different threads, but I'm fine with the anime bending the rules of the game and portraying things in different ways as long as they're portrayed in a believable enough manner. Think of how Lance's Gyarados used Aqua Tail to get rid of Fire Spin. That's not something you can do in the games, but the anime portrays it in a plausible-enough fashion that it makes sense to the viewers. As for the opposite side of the spectrum, think of Thunder Armor.

3. Unlike the sprinkler strategy, Ash utilized a natural part of the battlefield (i.e. the water surrounding the arena) for this improvised Soak strategy. Yeah, it's still a bit cheap, but at least he didn't exploit features that technically aren't part of the battlefield itself (i.e. the sprinklers). If anything, I'd say it was Hapu's fault for picking a somewhat disadvantageous location to battle, considering her type-specialty. Would you say Ash cheated if Pikachu somehow knocked Mudsdale completely off of the battlefield and into the water?

4. It was absolutely hilarious to see Ash use his sprinkler strategy again after so long. The fact that I kinda saw it coming made it even funnier than it should've been.

Now, if Ash actually went into the battle with this Soak strategy in mind, I'd have next to no qualms with this battle. But he didn't. He willingly chose to use Pikachu in this battle, despite having multiple different Pokemon that would be greater matchups against the opponent he'd be facing. He went into the battle with absolutely no plans to deal with the massive disadvantage he'd be facing, despite having an entire day to brainstorm strategies, which was entirely wasted on him goofing around with his friends. The only reason he won was because of a strategy that he thought up halfway through the battle, which, I'll admit, is something he tends to do a lot, but that doesn't excuse his idiotic behavior up until that point.

TL;DR I'm fine with the improvised Soak strategy, but I'm not fine with how stupidly Ash acted throughout most of the episode.
 
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I agree that this episode is better on a rewatch, specially compared to the other two members of Fujisaku's Terrible Trilogy (VS Decidueye and VS Mimikyu) who are more painful to rewatch, but still has a lot of cons. My pros and cons would be:

+Pikachu makes a good use of its high speed at least during the first minutes.
+The Soak strategy is at least foreshadowed a couple times.
-The battle being a 1vs1 is a very cheap choice that doesn't represent a final challenge well at all.
-Pikachu being used is another terrible choice because he only had two usable moves and forbid Rowlet and Torracat from the development they had showed in previous episodes.
-There are lots of comments from everyone and a very bad pacing.
-Mudsdale never really looks stronger than Pikachu.
-Pikachu avoids most of the damage from the Z-move using a regular move.
-The scenario of the battle was specially chosen so Ash could pull off the "Soak" technique, they couldn't even think of a more creative way of activating it other than placing the battle in the sea.
-The way Pikachu beats Mudsdale trapping it on an Electroweb is painful to watch and makes Hapu look like a joke.
 
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Because it was complete bullcrap. It was just like that time that Ash used the sprinklers at the Pewter Gym to his advantage only this time it felt worse because Ash shoulda been competent enough in Sun & Moon to win without needing outside interference.
 
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I feel like I already talked about this in my original review of the episode. Don't feel like going through the episode's review thread just to search for my old review, though, so enjoy my re-review of the episode, I guess.

So, first of all, the ceremony. How exactly is that thing emotional? You could argue that the scene in the previous episode was emotional, since Hapu's struggling to save her new friends and she has a reunion with her dead grandfather, who (alongside Tapu Fini) acknowledges that she's proven herself to be worthy of becoming an Island Kahuna. But this one? What's supposed to be emotional about this scene? The terrible, stupid joke that's way longer than it should've been? The classmates' reactions to the scene? The ballerina dance? And that's another thing, how exactly does this ceremony even work? Do all of the Island Kahunas have to perform a dance while dressed up as the island's tapu? Can you even imagine Hala dancing around while dressed as Tapu Koko? Or Nanu? Don't get me wrong, there being a ceremony for becoming an Island Kahuna makes sense. But this being the ceremony? If you put anyone other than Hapu in it, it becomes way to silly for a ceremony. Couldn't they have made the dance be more of a combination between a warrior dance and Z-move poses instead of some weird ballet? Maybe even make the ceremony be shorter so as to not take time away from the Grand Trial (you know, the thing that's supposed to be this episode's focus!)?

Second of all, the beach scene. We spend way to much time focusing on Ash and his classmates (and their Pokémon (though, mostly, just Ash's)) just screwing around. In what is essentially the equivalent of a Gym episode. Why? Just... why? What does Snowy and Shaymin getting scared by a wave add to the episode (or the series as a whole, for that matter)? What does Lycanroc playfully digging around the beach add to the episode? Or Sophocles and Kiawe relaxing under the shadow of a tree? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's just a waste of time for what should be the grandest of the Grand Trial (since it's the last one and the final step in Ash's Island Challenge). And what does it even set up? That being wet makes you susceptible to Electric-type attacks? News flash, Brionne and Lana and Eevee and Ash already are, with or without water. Mudsdale, on the other hand, is completely immune to electricity. So those two cases aren't comparable in the slightest. And how is it being wet suddenly make it unimmune to electricity? I can understand why Soak would work, since it's a Pokémon move (you know, magical abilities that have their very own, unique properties) whose whole purpose is to turn the opponent in a water type. But regular water? That's just a whole new level of unbelievable.

And, lastly, we have the battle itself. Why is it a 1v1? This is the last Grand Trial, the grand finale of Ash's Island Challenge, the ultimate obstacle that Ash has to overcome, the equivalent of the final Gym in all of the other regions. And, instead of showing off Ash's Alolan party, their strong bound, their incredible power and just how much they've grown since they started this journey, instead of doing any of that... we get a match between Pikachu and a Pokémon that would obliterate him. I think I mentioned it in my original review, but why not let Ash use more of his Pokémon (like poor Torracat, who didn't even get to fight in a single Grand Trial)? Why not let some of Ash's more underwhelming Pokémon shine and show that they can carry their weight in a battle (like Rowlet, who a few episodes before, was shown to have become more determined to battle and to want to become stronger)? Why not give Hapu some other Pokémon, like, say, an Excadrill, to allow these Pokémon to shine? Why did they have to go for a clearly one-sided 1v1 match, in which it was quite clear that Pikachu wouldn't be able to win without some kind of asspull (and you can't say that he might have had a chance without that seawater = Soak BS; not only is Mudsdale immune to Pikachu's Electric attacks (which are his specialty), thanks to Stamina, it's defense also increases every time Pikachu hits it with one of its other attacks). Yeah, quantity doesn't always equal quality, but where was the quality in this battle, huh? Outside of that Electroweb trampoline trick and that Soak DEM, I don't remember there being any other creative strategies. And don't even get me started on Tectonic Rage. Why is it that Z-moves in Sun & Moon had to be either very underwhelming in terms of animation compared to the way they are in the games, or be incredibly epic but overused to the point of exhaustion? And the way Pikachu managed to escape from it... blech. Seriously, how was that "quality over quantity"? That was more very little quality and quantity. Having the battle be more than just Pikachu vs Ground-type that would clearly destroy Pikachu would've actually improved the quality of the episode, since we would've gotten to see more of Ash's Pokémon fight and some interesting strategies that wouldn't involve cheap OG series-style BS. Which would've also allowed for the beach scene to be cut (since, without that nonsensical foreshadowing, it would've added absolutely nothing to the episode) and for the ceremony scene to be shortened a bit, thus giving the episode more time to focus on what should've been that main event: Hapu's Grand Trial.

Now, is this episode impossible to enjoy? Well, that depends entirely on the person and their tastes. If you want to like this episode, maybe even love it, then that's alright, more power to you. That's entirely up to you and no one can take that away from you or anyone else. But, just as some are allowed to like this episode, maybe even love it, others are also allowed to dislike and hate it. And just because you like something, it doesn't mean that it's completely flawless and that people shouldn't hate it. Just as disliking something doesn't mean that it has no merits or that people aren't allowed to love it.
 
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I feel like I already talked about this in my original review of the episode. Don't feel like going through the episode's review thread just to search for my old review, though, so enjoy my re-review of the episode, I guess.

So, first of all, the ceremony. How exactly is that thing emotional? You could argue that the scene in the previous episode was emotional, since Hapu's struggling to save her new friends and she has a reunion with her dead grandfather, who (alongside Tapu Fini) acknowledges that she's proven herself to be worthy of becoming an Island Kahuna. But this one? What's supposed to be emotional about this scene? The terrible, stupid joke that's way longer than it should've been? The classmates' reactions to the scene? The ballerina dance? And that's another thing, how exactly does this ceremony even work? Do all of the Island Kahunas have to perform a dance while dressed up as the island's tapu? Can you even imagine Hala dancing around while dressed as Tapu Koko? Or Nanu? Don't get me wrong, there being a ceremony for becoming an Island Kahuna makes sense. But this being the ceremony? If you put anyone other than Hapu in it, it becomes way to silly for a ceremony. Couldn't they have made the dance be more of a combination between a warrior dance and Z-move poses instead of some weird ballet? Maybe even make the ceremony be shorter so as to not take time away from the Grand Trial (you know, the thing that's supposed to be this episode's focus!)?

Second of all, the beach scene. We spend way to much time focusing on Ash and his classmates (and their Pokémon (though, mostly, just Ash's)) just screwing around. In what is essentially the equivalent of a Gym episode. Why? Just... why? What does Snowy and Shaymin getting scared by a wave add to the episode (or the series as a whole, for that matter)? What does Lycanroc playfully digging around the beach add to the episode? Or Sophocles and Kiawe relaxing under the shadow of a tree? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It's just a waste of time for what should be the grandest of the Grand Trial (since it's the last one and the final step in Ash's Island Challenge). And what does it even set up? That being wet makes you susceptible to Electric-type attacks? News flash, Brionne and Lana and Eevee and Ash already are, with or without water. Mudsdale, on the other hand, is completely immune to electricity. So those two cases aren't comparable in the slightest. And how is it being wet suddenly make it unimmune to electricity? I can understand why Soak would work, since it's a Pokémon move (you know, magical abilities that have their very own, unique properties) whose whole purpose is to turn the opponent in a water type. But regular water? That's just a whole new level of unbelievable.

And, lastly, we have the battle itself. Why is it a 1v1? This is the last Grand Trial, the grand finale of Ash's Island Challenge, the ultimate obstacle that Ash has to overcome, the equivalent of the final Gym in all of the other regions. And, instead of showing off Ash's Alolan party, their strong bound, their incredible power and just how much they've grown since they started this journey, instead of doing any of that... we get a match between Pikachu and a Pokémon that would obliterate him. I think I mentioned it in my original review, but why not let Ash use more of his Pokémon (like poor Torracat, who didn't even get to fight in a single Grand Trial)? Why not let some of Ash's more underwhelming Pokémon shine and show that they can carry their weight in a battle (like Rowlet, who a few episodes before, was shown to have become more determined to battle and to want to become stronger)? Why not give Hapu some other Pokémon, like, say, an Excadrill, to allow these Pokémon to shine? Why did they have to go for a clearly one-sided 1v1 match, in which it was quite clear that Pikachu wouldn't be able to win without some kind of asspull (and you can't say that he might have had a chance without that seawater = Soak BS; not only is Mudsdale immune to Pikachu's Electric attacks (which are his specialty), thanks to Stamina, it's defense also increases every time Pikachu hits it with one of its other attacks). Yeah, quantity doesn't always equal quality, but where was the quality in this battle, huh? Outside of that Electroweb trampoline trick and that Soak DEM, I don't remember there being any other creative strategies. And don't even get me started on Tectonic Rage. Why is it that Z-moves in Sun & Moon had to be either very underwhelming in terms of animation compared to the way they are in the games, or be incredibly epic but overused to the point of exhaustion? And the way Pikachu managed to escape from it... blech. Seriously, how was that "quality over quantity"? That was more very little quality and quantity. Having the battle be more than just Pikachu vs Ground-type that would clearly destroy Pikachu would've actually improved the quality of the episode, since we would've gotten to see more of Ash's Pokémon fight and some interesting strategies that wouldn't involve cheap OG series-style BS. Which would've also allowed for the beach scene to be cut (since, without that nonsensical foreshadowing, it would've added absolutely nothing to the episode) and for the ceremony scene to be shortened a bit, thus giving the episode more time to focus on what should've been that main event: Hapu's Grand Trial.

Now, is this episode impossible to enjoy? Well, that depends entirely on the person and their tastes. If you want to like this episode, maybe even love it, then that's alright, more power to you. That's entirely up to you and no one can take that away from you or anyone else. But, just as some are allowed to like this episode, maybe even love it, others are also allowed to dislike and hate it. And just because you like something, it doesn't mean that it's completely flawless and that people shouldn't hate it. Just as disliking something doesn't mean that it has no merits or that people aren't allowed to love it.
This was a good post. Made me understand why some people aren't a big fan of this battle.
 
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