Saturday, 22 September 2012

[#1] Pokémon I Choose You! (Part 2)

So Ash is excited to become a Pokémon master, but should he be? Anyway, he needs to sleep and rest up ready for the big day when he finally receives a Starter Pokémon from Professor Oak!

I really don't get the whole "Ash talking to himself in his sleep" thing. It's more a narrative tool than anything else; just so that the audience knows what he's thinking. His dream sequence would be even better without dialogue. It becomes almost menacing when you mute the audio.

Ash dreams about which of the three starter Pokémon he is going to take. Will he take Bulbasaur, good for beginners? Squirtle, the middle ground? Or Charmander, those in the know say that's the way to go.
I used to always pick Bulbasaur as a kid, it wasn't until I weighed up the facts that I actually went for the best starter, Charmander. But you see, there was always a challenge to raising Charmander. The first two Pokémon GYMs are focused on Water and Rock type Pokémon, both of which Charmander doesn't have an easy time against in a battle situation.
I find Ash's actual decision fascinating, he was going to opt for Squirtle. A wise move, potentially. Squirtle grows up to have the largest move pool of all three starters, with the ability to learn some pretty sweet ice moves too, and it's got a defense stat not to be laughed at.
But Squirtle gets dwarfed later on by much better water Pokémon, you get some of the best practically handed to you (well, definitely in the case of Lapras). If Ash were playing Pokémon Red or Pokémon Blue, he would be missing out on some great water Pokémon later on. But on the plus side, Blastoise could allow him to surf anywhere and there's great moves like Hydro Pump which can just destroy the opposition.

Ash oversleeps and is subsequently late to the Pokémon Lab. He meets his rival, G-G-G-Gary, who already has a procession following him, made up of female admirers. I always thought this strange too, isn't Gary also Ash's age? In fact, when has age even mattered in cartoons? Characters are just characters, any which way you try to slice it.
Gary talks to Ash as though they've never met, but we know that they've been rivals and friends since childhood, the game even tells us this. So again, that's some kind of mistake in the translation or the dub itself.
Gary seems awfully popular, being the grandson of Professor Oak. There's been this relationship between Professor Oak and Ash's mother Delia hinted at over the course of the series, which means Delia is hanging out with a much older man. Sources indicate that Delia may not even be in her thirties at the beginning of the Pokémon cartoon, but again, what I said about age. It barely has any relevance to the plot.

I'm not surprised by this, but Gary goes for the best starter Pokémon available, Charmander. He doesn't tell Ash this, I think the earliest we might find out is in "Dig Those Diglett", but I can't tell you whether I'm right or not until we get that far. By that time Gary has raised it to a Charmeleon. I believe that is also the episode where Team Rocket's Pokémon Koffing and Ekans evolve because of their "love" for their masters.

"Professor Oak, where's my Pokémon?"
"Your Pokémon?"
"Yes, I'm ready."
"You look like you're ready for bed! Not for Pokémon training!"
This is why I love the cartoon Professor Oak so much. He's fine with ridiculing and embarrassing Ash. He's also a joker, unlike in Pokémon Blue or Pokémon Red where he's always strict and uses very formal language.
So what Pokémon does Ash end up getting? Of course, we already know. But that's a story for the next time I've got thirty minutes to talk about boring childhood Pokémon stuff. Come back soon.

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