Wednesday, 20 November 2013

[#8] The School of Hard Knocks (1/2)

"As our story continues, we once again find our friends travelling together on their Pokémon journey in perfect harmony..."

Yeah, right. They're bickering as usual, and then Brock makes a fourth wall breaking reference to the fact they've got to start the show. It's filler time, people.

That's what this episode feels like. It's like taking a sequence of hard knocks to the head. It starts off with Brock putting together a lunch. On the menu; Prune Juice.

In Japan, this was actually a tea cup with the Japanese names for Pokémon such as Charizard, which is "Lizardon". Ash is seen drinking from the unedited cup in a moment.

And the Mt. Moon Spring Water that Brock will be using to brew herbal tea, originally contained Japanese writing too. 4Kids lazily slapped on a picture of a mountain.

Ash drinking from the unedited tea cup, against a Japanese design background. Music associated with Japan plays in the background. Nothing in this shot was changed....

Misty attacks Ash with a giant log because his loud crunching (I'm assuming it was slurping in the Japanese version) was ruining her romantic day-dream, which was triggered when Brock mentioned that he would be cooking crepes.

This isn't the first time Misty has attacked someone in this very episode; in Japan, before the episode title card appeared, Misty had attacked Brock with the very same log! They had to cut it out after the direct violence in the very first episode, where Misty slapped Ash in the face (which was also cut out in the dub).

Hopefully we'll see a semblance of plot soon. Brock orders Ash and Misty to go looking for firewood. What about the massive log Misty was just carrying? Misty delegates the job to Ash, who goes off in search of firewood with Pikachu.

Oh My God. Does Pikachu have a cold or something? Did Pikachu just swallow some helium!? That does not sound like Pikachu. That sounds like Ditto impersonating a Pikachu. What the hell is going on?

Well, I just had to look this up. Apparently, this is the only episode of the show where every instance of Pikachu speaking is performed by regular voice of Misty and Jessie, Rachael Lillis. Normally, Pikachu keeps the Japanese voice, performed by Ikue Ohtani. And when Ohtani's not voicing Pikachu, it's obvious.

Ash and Pikachu observe something in the distance, to them it looks like a fire. To us, it's the fiery downhill slope as this episode crashes even further into disaster. In the cartoon, so far, nobody has really mentioned the concept of Pokémon levelling up, so now, this is going to seem very out of place.

A kid is running on a treadmill, surrounded by other kids who are asking him questions. "Alright, what's the name of this one?"

It's ummm... Ummm... Shit. Aw.... umm, I... Ugh, it's on the tip of my tongue, but uh... Aw damn. Go on, tell me. It's Pikachu, isn't it?

"What's Pidgey's special attack?"
"At LV. 5, Gust."

Wait, what? Is this the first instance of Pokémon learning moves and gaining levels in the entire show so far? It's an important part of the games. You really need to have that stuff down before you're even ready to take on the Brockmeister.

Ash slides in. As you do. Interrupts these kids. A long-winded and boring sequence involving Ash, Misty, these kids, Brock, and a meteorite heading for Earth happens. Well, except for the meteorite. Eventually, the nasty kids leave.

Apparently, in the cartoon lore, students at a school named Pokémon Technical can enter the Indigo League without collecting any badges. I call that cheating, that's no better than using a Walk Through Walls cheat.

While the boring sequence continues, Pikachu starts messing around with the treadmill. And Lillis' voice is driving me insane. It's awful. She makes an excellent, nay, amazing Misty and Jessie, but her Pikachu is grating. The reason why Pikachu is re-dubbed here, specifically, is probably because Brock is talking at the same time.

D'awwww. There are similar videos on YouTube of cats on treadmills. They can be very entertaining.

Pikachu kicks the treadmill. Bad idea.

Ash is infuriated by the very existence of a snobby school that allows entrance into the Pokémon League without badges.

"Where is this place anyway!?"
"It's right over there!"

The fog disappears to reveal Pokémon Technical.

This kid reveals that he's deliberately answering the questions wrong because if he gets them right, they'll be harder. What kind of dumb logic is that? Of course the questions get harder. That's what exams are, that's how they work. How can you expect to learn anything if you don't try?

Ash isn't happy with the system, and wants to meet the student in charge so he can complain. The kid shows him a photograph of said student, a girl named Giselle. The photograph makes Ash and Brock jizzelle.

This is the first, and only time, that Ash ever falls for a girl in the Pokémon series. Seriously. Watch through the rest of the show, all 700+ episodes, and tell me there's another time that Ash straight up falls for a girl. Doesn't happen, not ever. Brock on the other hand, this is the second time... of many... but the first, and only time, that he falls for a girl noticeably younger than himself.

"While you two are slobbering over that dopey picture I'm going to find this little witch and straighten her out!"

Misty's jealousy in full effect here. Misty really likes Ash and can't stand to see him interested in any girl that isn't her.

Off she goes...

Team Rocket are snooping as usual, I see.

James and Jessie recall the time that they went to Pokémon Technical. They got the lowest scores in the history of the school. Wait, we're cutting it off here are you serious!?


I don't blame you for not knowing this if you're new to the whole Pokémon thing, because it hasn't appeared yet in this episode. Give you a few moments to jot it down, no conferring.

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