Pokémon Recaps Through Adult Goggles: Episode 3 – Ash Catches a Pokémon
After watching a VHS tape designed to brainwash kids into loving Pokémon, I felt inclined to revisit the beloved anime series from my childhood. Pokémon: Indigo League, season one of the long running series, is the only one I finished, mostly because Brock left early in season two and the promo talking about it will forever haunt my dreams. I’ll be going through each episode in detail, so if you’ve never seen a solitary minute of this show or you’ve watched ’em all, I invite you to join my Pokémon Journey through yesteryear. Let the recaps begin!
Episode 3: Ash Catches a Pokémon
We left Ash throwing a Poké Ball at a wild Caterpie. He hits the poor creature square in the goddamn face and miraculously catches the Pokémon with absolutely no effort. After yelling and screaming about how he finally did something right, the title of the episode appears, although we’ll later see that it isn’t completely true. Ash says, “It must be great for Caterpie inside the Poké Ball all cute and comfortable inside there!” and it makes you wonder what life is like for a Pokémon inside those small devices. Is it actually comfortable? Or is it more akin to the Genie with an itty bitty living space? These are answers we may never know.
Ash decides to have Caterpie walk along side them and he makes the most adorable noises you’ve ever heard. During the show, Pokémon either say their own name or make weird noises, except for Meowth who can talk like humans. In the case of Caterpie, it’s amazing. He tries to cuddle up to Misty, but she is rude and calls him disgusting and one of her three things she hates most. The other two items are carrots and peppers, so Misty obviously has no taste at all. Ash decides to ditch Misty because of her fear of bugs, but she just follows them anyway, making no real effort to stay hidden. She comments about how Ash owes her a new bike and Ash just says he’ll “make good” on her bike “one day” which, to be fair, is a horrible answer.
At a campfire later that night, Ash and Misty fall asleep after bickering at each other some more. Pikachu and Caterpie then have a conversation where no actual words are spoken, other than Pikachu’s name and random noises from Caterpie. It’s over a minute in length and cuts very few times, but it’s nearly perfect. Through purely movements and babbled nonsense, you easily understand that Caterpie dreams of becoming his final evolution, Butterfree, and the two Pokémon are just overjoyed at the aspect of this. He even looks to Misty while she sleeps, as if maybe being a Butterfree would make her see him in a different light. Although it goes on a bit long, it’s extremely touching. The voice actress for Caterpie should be commended.
In the morning, Misty yells more about Caterpie sleeping too close to her and being disgusting. Caterpie makes a super sad face and then goes inside the Poké Ball unprompted. It’s a little depressing. A wild Pidgeotto appears and eats what I assume is a regular non-Pokémon worm. Are there real world animals in this universe? No one seems to question this and it’s a little bizarre. Ash attempts to catch it without fighting, again, but this time the Pokémon bird simply knocks the Poké Ball away as nonchalantly as possible. Proving he is still a moron, he sends Caterpie into battle. Both Misty and Pikachu react with horror, proving even a Pokémon knows more about types and weaknesses than Ash does. Caterpie is trounced after Ash issues him an attack he can’t even learn. Pidgeotto repeats a flying animation a few times and then Pikachu shocks him once, incapacitating him immediately. Ash then catches a second Pokémon, negating the title of the episode. Ash catches two Pokémon, you idiots.
Misty gives Ash a lesson about Pokémon battles cause Lord knows he needs it. There is a strange slap noise at the front of the conversation. Upon further research, there was originally a shot of Misty slapping Ash in the face which was cut from the American dub. This also happened in episode one after she pulls “just a kid” out of the water. Children can’t handle slaps in America apparently. During their argument where Misty actually says “No Ash, I’m afraid things won’t just work out if you try hard enough!” and dashes every child’s hope of being a pro athlete, astronaut, or the next President of whatever country they live in, Team Rocket appears and delivers their stupid motto which everyone, again, actively allows to happen. They end on a Nazi salute and no one cares.
They blather on and on about how Pikachu is special since he leveled an entire building to the ground, then throw out Ekans and Koffing to battle. Ash complains about how that’s not fair to the criminals who call themselves the bad guys, out loud, to their faces. Koffing spits sludge on Pikachu’s face immediately, rendering him useless. Ash sends out Pidgeotto to fight and it’s actually pretty interesting, with great music to boot. Pidgeotto dodges around for a bit, but is outmatched by the two-on-one aspect, as is quickly returned to his pris–I mean, Poké Ball. Ash attempts to punch James who flicks his face and sends him flying backwards. What a fucking loser.
Jessie says “Guess you’ve got no choice. Let Pikachu in and watch Team Rocket win!” which makes no sense and no one calls her out on this. Instead of Misty helping at all, she just stands around and comments how they should use two Pokémon since Team Rocket is. Ash then sends out an injured Caterpie to take on two presumably seasoned Pokémon. Koffing and Ekans dash forward to attack and three voices are heard for unexplained reasons. Apparently, this was a dubbing error where Ekans’ Japanese voice was left in. Top quality stuff here. Ash orders Caterpie to use String Shot, a move that in the games decreases the defending Pokémon’s speed. However, in this instance, it completely suffocates both Koffing and Ekans, after which Caterpie head-butts an incapacitated Koffing into Ekans. Meowth talks big but then is also completed covered in string. Team Rocket runs away and Caterpie is a fucking badass. Ash says “Yeah!” three times in a row, outdoing the kid from the Crossfire commercial.
As Misty is about to pet Caterpie for doing an excellent job, it covers itself with string and evolves into Metapod. No other Pokémon ever has this cool of an evolution, as they all just glow white and change and it’s really boring. A Beedrill flies by, Misty cries some more, and they’re off to find more adventure. Some good fights, two captured Pokémon, and an evolution. Episode three has a lot going on!
Tune in next time as Ash challenges a Samurai!