From the first episode we saw plenty of new stuff. New Pokemon, new people, new places, and new features. While Ash is his same old self, we’ve already seen a drastic change in some other important, recurring characters; Team Rocket. Their profound lack of “Blasting off” is actually a welcome sight to me. While it’s been as age old a tradition as Brock’s perversion, I’m glad to see it go, as it allows for a much needed change in atmosphere. You’ll be hearing a lot of praise from me about that. As long as they keep being awesome, I’ll keep talking about it.
This time, we’ve got the continuation of episode 001 (big surprise there) starting off where we left off, with Zekrom’s cloud hovering over Professor Juniper’s lab, and Pikachu discharging large amounts of electricity into the room.
Introductions aside, it’s time for a play-by-play review. Warning, the following WILL contain spoilers. I recommend you watch this series on your own, but if you’re in a hurry, want another opinion, or just don’t feel like watching, this will be quick, and to the point without losing the details.
Pikachu’s electric discharge is so intense; it begins to cry out in pain. Ash decides to hug it out, because nothing’s better than 500 000 volts through the chest. Once again, Zekrom disappears in a flash, and Pikachu collapses. It stands back up after a moment, recovered, and able to use its electric moves again, which it gladly demonstrates by using them on Ash.
A quick note here, in case you haven’t noticed about the opening animation (at least in the Japanese version), many Pokemon silhouettes are shown, but the silhouettes will become coloured in as they are seen in the show.
To the surprise of no one, Ash decides to travel through the Unova region, starting with just Pikachu, and a handful of Pokeballs. He heads of running, dreaming of what his first Pokemon will be. He spots an odd purple shape in a bush, and pulls out his new Pokedex, checking its entry. The Pokedex says that this mysterious shape is Axew (Kibago), despite it looking nothing like the image on the screen. Ash decides to throw a Pokeball anyway. The ball bounces off the target, and drops to the ground. An angry Iris pokes her head out of the bush, and yells at Ash for mistaking her for a Pokemon. Her Axew (Kibago) pokes out of her hair, which seems to be a running theme in Unova if you saw the Zoroark movie. Iris instantly forgets her anger when she sees Pikachu, who as mentioned before is extremely rare in Unova, and has never been seen in the wild. Ash gets distracted by a wild Deerling (Shikijika), and gives chase, determined to catch his first Pokemon of the new region.
Cut to Team Rocket, communicating with Giovanni (Sakaki) from inside a cave. He tells them that they have to catch their own Pokemon because their old Pokemon were too rare, and would draw too much attention. (Because a talking Meowth isn’t rare at all) Their confidence boosted, Team Rocket becomes determined to not let him down. This marks the end of another long running gag. Wobbuffet will no longer force its way out of its Pokeball to scream WAAAABBBAAAAA and be useless. Giovanni (Sakaki) reveals that his plan is to draw out the “other organization.” (Most likely Team Plasma, the local gang of Unova) A group of Woobat (Koromori) fly out of the cave, and we cut back to Ash and Iris.
The duo watches a herd of Deerling from the bushes. Ash bursts out, and tosses a Pokeball, without even trying to weaken it first. (This, coincidentally, is how he caught his Caterpie in the first season) This doesn’t work however, as the Pokemon simply knocks it away. Iris reminds Ash that he’s supposed to weaken the Pokemon through battle before trying to catch it, (Pokemon Master!) and Ash calls on Pikachu to fight. The Deerling run away rather than fight, and a convenient stampede of Patrat (Minezumi) knock the two over, and the capture is lost.
Ash and Iris eat their next meal, and talk under the stars, basically developing character, and Oshawott (Mijumaru) peeks out from behind a tree, showing that it’s still following them.
The next morning, Ash heads out with Pikachu, Iris having disappeared on her own. A Pidove (Mamepato) flies overhead and Ash gives chase, to finally make his first capture.
Pikachu easily beats the flying type with a thunderbolt, but just as Ash is about the throw his Pokeball, the rest of the flock appears, and attacks them, denying them another capture. However, after the flock leaves, one more lingers behind. Ash decides to battle that one, because why not catch the slow dumb one if everything else can outsmart you?
After an exchange if blows and a failed capture attempt, Pikachu finally gets off a Thunderbolt, letting Ash make the capture, gaining his first team mate.
Iris shows up to rain on Ash’s parade, telling him that getting so excited over catching a Pidove was childish. (Which seems her to her favourite insult) This is when Team Rocket shows up, using a mechanical arm to grab both Pikachu and Axew. In response, Ash sends out his newly captured Pokemon to battle. Meowth (Nyarth) leaps forward to attack, but is blown away by a gust attack, so Jesse (Musashi) sends out her most recent conquest; a Woobat from the cave earlier.
Pidove goes in for a Quick Attack, but Woobat dodges, and knocks the tired bird out with Gust. Having defeated the protagonists, Team Rocket begins to escape on a black hot air balloon (A change from the original Meowth shaped one of the previous seasons) Ash and Iris try to catch the hot air balloon by climbing up a nearby tree and jumping, but miss.
Oshawott comes out of hiding, and pulls the shell off its chest, tossing it at the balloon, which tears a hole, bringing the balloon down. (A minor, yet important detail is that rather than landing in a heap, Team Rocket lands on their feet, ready for battle. Just one of those small details that makes them seem more threatening)
Pikachu and Axew are free now, and Pikachu charges its Thunderbolt attack, but Woobat Air Slashes the both of them. It goes in for another Air Slash, but Oshawott jumps in, and hits it with a Water Gun. Pikachu charges at Team Rocket with a Volt Tackle, but they escape by using a smoke bomb (another minor detail that makes them more competent. No more “blasting off”)
They rush their Pokemon to the Pokemon Center, where they are al fully restored. The episode ends with Oshawott watching them from the door, it still following Ash around.
New Pokemon: Woobat (Koromori)