Episode N Preview
First, I want to talk about this. I’ve been seeing trailers for this for a long time. Episode N. N is a fascinating trainer and he’s got quite some story to him, and I think that he’ll contrast quite nicely with Satoshi’s personality. The only problem is that Team Rocket looks like they’re going back to their comedy roots, but hey…I want to see the first episode before I decide if i’ll cover it, but I really suspect that I will. There will still be the funny filler episodes, but Pokemon with a proper plot and an anti-hero as a main character? It sounds a little like Colosseum all over again. Heck, even seeing Ghetsis and Colress in the trailers is enough to get my hopes up. However, my concern is that they’ll try to make him fit in too much, and that they’ll dull down the Reshiram/Zekrom story that the trailers are promising.
I have a lot of concerns about it, but I really think that they could do it right, and considering that it’ll probably be a 24 episode thing (It’ll get replaced when X and Y are released and the anime is ‘thrown into a new dimension’, I think that they could do it right. Anyway, With this many episodes, it can only be called a marathon…after the break there’s Episode 17 – Opelucid Gym! Iris VS Shaga!; Episode 18 – Team Eevee, Mobilize! The Pokemon Rescue Squad!; Episode 19 – The Unova League Higaki Tournament Begins! Satoshi VS Shootie!; Episode 20 – Fierce Fighting! Win Your Way Through the Rival Battles!!; Episode 21 – Kibago Gets Lost and Episode 22 – Enter Sawk! Satoshi VS Kenyan!
Opelucid Gym! Iris VS Drayden!!
This was the kind of episode I wanted for Iris from the very beginning, truth be told. It’s a reflection on her life and just why she’s a dragon prodigy, and a little but of her backstory…well, a lot of her backstory. After loosing to Drayden and having Excadrill shut it’s heart to her, the Matriach of Dragon Village send Iris along to enroll in Drayden’s special academy, in the hope that she can learn a lot more about what it really means for her to become a dragon master, but…well, she had a pretty rough time of it. It turned out to be a rather heartwarming tale, and something which developed Iris pretty tenfold and almost put a conclusion to a large part of her journey.
However, Iris and Drayden actually had to have their battle. With Haxorous going up against Excadrill, it becomes very clear that Drayden isn’t actually battling, but more testing Iris to see just how much she’s grown. However, their nostalgic battle ending in a draw, the match will be decided by Dragonite going up against Druddigon, a true Dragon-Typed battle. This is the first match where Iris accepts Dragonite’s feelings, and this is where you really see her growing as a character and bonding with her Dragonite…but, well, that aside, Iris couldn’t beat Drayden. He outplayed her in the last minute, but I think that loosing was what Iris really needed to develop…because this is where it’s shown that Iris is meant to succeed the Dragon gym in years to come, and i’ll imagine that’s where her counterpart in the game comes from.
Team Eevee, Mobilize! The Pokemon Rescue Squad!
Moving swiftly onwards, we come to an episode where Satoshi and Iris run itno trouble, yet get rescued by someone with an Eevee and Espeon. He introduces himself as Virgil of the Pokemon Rescue squad. In their desire to see all of Eevee’s evolutions, they go back to Virgil’s ranch to meet the bunch of them and find out a little more about what they get up to and what they do, and it’s not long before Virgil and his family get thrown into a crisis where wild Cryogenel start freezing things hastily.
It’s a pretty odd little episode, but the biggest reason for it is to introduce a new rival for Satoshi in Virgil and his eight Eevee’s. It’s your typical adventure episode, where all of the Eevee’s and Satoshi with his party get their own chance to shine. Promising to meet again at the league, we stop with the filler episodes and move onto the part i’ve been dreading…the onslaught of battle matches.
The Unove League Higaki Tournament Begins! Satoshi VS Shootie!!
Upon arriving here, we get an introduction to all of Satoshi’s rivals, with Belle appearing first in her typical manner by running people over, Kenyan appearing second with his usual name issues, Virgil appearing third with his awesome method of transport, causing quite a stir with the others. Next to arrive is Shootie, with his personality all sorted out from his conflict with Alder last time. Last to be met, but probably first to arrive is Kotetsu, after he’s slept in his tent for a day or two. In typical Kotetsu style, though, he causes the most problems for everyone by forgetting to register. However, firstly, it’s time to reflect on all the gym leaders that Satoshi’s battled…yet my favourite is still Roxie. Even reflecting on it, she was still the best one. Reflections and memories aside, it’s time for the league to start up. The preliminary matches start up, with one Pokemon per match. However, it’s starting straight off with Satoshi and Shootie, whilst none of the others are paired with each other.
Considering Satoshi constantly lost to Shootie, it should be a good match. However, before anything, we get a little preview of Kenyan, Belle, Virgil and Kotetsu. This showed my main problem with the league, but i’ll talk about that next episode, as it’s time for Shootie and his famous Serperior to go up against Satoshi and Pikachu, and as Dento himself said, there’s sure to be some form of a plan forming in Satoshi’s mind to put an Electric type against a Grass type. However, without even shouting a command, Serperior is dodging everything Pikachu can throw out with amazing ease. Ending on a cliffhanger, the next episode starts up.
Fierce Fighting! Win your Way through the Rival Battles!!
There was never any doubt that Pikachu would loose over the cliffhanger situation, but as Shootie continues to press the offence time and time again, it really doesn’t take a genius to see how drastically outclassed Pikachu is against Shootie’s Serperior, instead of focusing, Satoshi takes the time to decide that he simply can’t loose yet again, as he hasn’t won a single match against Shootie and that this could be the end of their journey before it’s really began. Elsewhere on the field, Belle wins her match, and Virgil thrashes his opponent with style and flair. After messing around a little bit, Kotetsu cleans up and wins his match. With a little bit of thought, Pikachu escapes from Shootie’s clutches, but that doesn’t change that he’s quite drastically outclassed…however, thanks to his knowledge of combo-ing attacks with each other through the tag battles he did with Dento, Satoshi pulled a win out of nowhere. It’s strange to see Shootie out the picture so early, but hey.
Moving on, we get a little bit of the classic slice of life between the trainers and their Pokemon, but it’s not that much longer before the match ups are decided. First? Kotetsu and Belle. It’s Samurott against Excavalier, and Belle uses a pretty clever tactic of doing nothing but dodging and boosting defence, but even the best defence can’t beat offence a nice little like at the metagame that plagues this generation of Pokemon. Moving onwards, Belle…sends Emboar against Samurott. The idea of a big muscular Emboar using attract is cringeworthy…something that I think fits Belle pretty well. With Belle getting over her waves of cuteness for Riolu, it’s time to see just what the Riolu is like in battle. It’s a tiny little powerhouse that uses it’s size to dodge everything…and counter with Copycat. Emboar didn’t really stand a chance when it couldn’t land a hit, and as such, Belle’s knocked out of the tournament already.
Kibago Gets Lost!
Hands up if you saw this coming. Putting the matches aside, we get a rather odd filler episode, so this seems like the perfect time to talk about my problem with the leagues. Think back to Diamond and Pearl’s league. Someone came out of nowhere in that league with a fricking Darkrai and Lati@, and as such, it wasn’t really a close match. I’ve managed to avoid spoilers for this league, but I still think it’s really obvious who’ll win. Virgil’s shown that he’s got the sense and the power to outstrip all of the Pokemon that we’ve seen battle, so unless Shootie’s secret weapon is something stupid like an Arcues, I think that placing bets on Virgil is a very safe game…and that kinda ruins the tension. Whilst they need to have at least one person stand atop.
However, enough of that…it looks like Iris and Dento get a little bit of screentime. With Belle being set on some Castelia Ice Cream and Kotetsu camping out for a Fireworks Festival, Iris, Dento and Satoshi all get together for the first time in a while, and the plot this time is that Kibago got lost whilst chasing a balloon. One thing turns to another, and it’s not until Virgil appears that people do things. However, Dento’s “detective time” gets shut down pretty quickly…as Iris is having none of this crap when she’s busy hunting. I like this episodes’s sense of humour, actually. Belle pushes Satoshi into a fountain or a body of water yet again after distracting Virgil and his Eevee with a delicious looking ice cream. However, it’s never a good idea to leave Pokemon to wonder around on their own, as everyone’s causing trouble for everyone. The only people actually doing a reasonable job of this are Belle and Virgil, albit a little slowly as Oshawott’s already put the Pokemon group in great danger.
With a little bit of sharp thinking from Virgil, the comedic little distraction comes to an end with Satoshi and Dento putting all the wrongs that Oshawott caused to right again. Starting up next episode, Satoshi against Kenyan.
Enter Sawk! Satoshi VS Kenyan!
We’ve got a Liepard going up against Krookodile, The match didn’t last long, and it was just a bit of flashy back and forth between the two until Liepard falls, and it’s time for Zebstrika to go up against Palpitoad. It’s slightly more tactical, but Zebstrika doesn’t appear to suffer from Four Moveslot Syndrome…it has 7 by my count. Double Edge and Facade make a pretty interesting combo, and he finishes the match with a Giga Impact when Stomp did next to nothing. Unless it forgot all of it’s electric moves and Flame Charge, it’s a very god powered Zebstrika. Finally, Sawk goes up against Leavanny, where Leavanny completely outpaced Sawk with it’s speed, but a Low Kick weakens it enough for Swarm to activate, seemingly giving it the advantage…but a well timed Karate Chop puts this to an end. The match comes down to the weakened Krookodile against Sawk. However, a surprise Aerial Ace gives Satoshi the victory, bringing this to a close.
The final two episodes are a two parter, so I don’t plan to cover them until Episode 24 has been subbed, even though 23 has been subbed. It’ll be an interesting match to see Satoshi fight Kotetsu, but it’s a little odd to see the league only having a pair of episodes left. It makes me think that Satoshi’s going out against Kotetsu, especially now that he’s got a Hydregion.