The Best You'll Find of the Pokemon TV Series
Nurse Washu | South Burlington, VT United States | 01/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Just another video about pocket monsters? Well, yes and no. The first episode of this volume, "Ignorance Is Blissey", actually contains a story about one of the main characters of the series - Jessie - and I found this episode to be much more dramatic and entertaining than the usual Pokemon series material. It begins with Ash, Misty, and Brock arriving at Happytown in the middle of the night and looking for something to eat. At the Pokemon Center they are greeted by Blissey, the evolved form of Chansey, who turns out to be very friendly but very inept. The resulting cascade of cataclysms finds Ash so injured that he needed to be wrapped head to toe in bandages. Switch to the next plot, Jessie, James, and Meowth break into the same Pokemon center looking for a bite to eat and anything else they can get their hands on. What they find instead is Blissey, who turns out to be an old friend of Jessie's. What follows next is a delightful little anime that tells the story of their friendship in the Pokemon Nurse School. Several times over the course of this TV series there have been flashbacks showing Jessie's past before she joined the nefarious Team Rocket, but this time we see her live the events as she was before - a decent human being. Here Jessie is warm, pleasant, and sincere as she helps her friend (then Chansey) graduate from school even though she herself flunks out and leaves in a touching parting scene. Back to the present, Blissey willingly gives Team Rocket all of the food in the center's storage pantry out of friendship, only to get caught on the security tape the next day. Watching from a distance, Jessie sees that her old friend is now in trouble and Team Rocket decides to help out by claiming responsibility for the theft and remove the guilt from Blissey. What happens next is probably the strangest Pokemon battle I have ever seen. Team Rocket puts up a false battle against Blissey, a real battle against Ash & Co. and Jessie fights turmoil within herself all at the same time; you have to see it to believe it. In the end, Blissey is exonerated, Team Rocket gets blasted off again, and Ash, Misty, and Brock finally get something to eat. I found this episode very interesting because it brings up several issues with the series. First, what happened to the character Jessie? What cruelty could change such a decent person into the nasty shrew she is now? Next, near the end of the movie Pokemon 2000 Team Rocket doesn't just cooperate with the good guys, they actually sacrifice their own well being to help someone else. They do it again in this episode which, to me anyways, seriously ruins their credibility as the villians of this show, but in the next episode they are back at their dirty old tricks again. I find this lack of consistancy somewhat annoying. Last issue, certainly the Pokemon TV series was born of the desire to sell Nintendo game products, essentially a half-hour long commercial. However there have been some episodes like this one and the movie Pokemon 3 that clearly demonstrate a potential to evolve beyond the original purpose into a real anime series that has a life and spirit of its own. Sadly, I doubt this will ever happen as long as Nintendo and Game Freak retain control of this TV series. The second episode of this volume "A Bout with Sprout" is more like the standard Pokemon material. Ash, Misty, and Brock finally arrive at Violet City and start to look around for the gym. Before you know it a boy and a girl try to kidnap Pikachu, but surprise, it's not Team Rocket this time! It's Zack and Lizzie, two students at Earl's Pokemon Academy, a place with more than a little silliness. Zack, unbent by Ash's ownership of Pikachu, continues to persue the little guy into the woods, where Pikachu is seemingly caught in a Pokeball. At this point Ash and Zack are caught in one of Team Rocket's pitfalls and Zack finds out he actually caught a bellsprout when tries to unleash a thundershock on Team Rocket. The real Pikachu arrives in time to give Team Rocket a good zorch and blast them out of the picture yet again. Ash and Zack continue on to meet the academy class at the Sprout Tower, an unusual building supported by a single large swaying beam. At the tower they are met with a Team Rocket encore - another attempt to catch Pikachu, but with the help of Zack and his new friend bellsprout, our heroes save the day and send Team Rocket on their way again. In the end Zack learns a good lesson - that you don't need to be strong and powerful to be a hero. This episode has some pretty good laughs and silliness to go along with the good lesson at the end. In the third episode of this volume, "Fighting Flyer With Fire", Ash finally makes it to the Violet City Gym. There he encounters two officials from the gym that insist on examining Pikachu. Only after they abscond with the little guy do our heroes recognize the officials as Team Rocket (although it is very obvious to the viewer - I kind of miss some of the really good disguises they used years ago). Very soon a new character shows up riding a hanglider and rescues Pikachu from Team Rocket and sends them on their way. Ash thanks him for his help and they become friends only to find out that this new guy is Faulkner the Gym leader Ash has come to battle. If you're really into Pokemon battles this one is a very good demonstration of type and level mismatches, and some strategy for beating a stronger opponent. Faulkner seems friendly enough on the street, but in the arena he turns out to be a fierce competitor, and doesn't give Ash any easy breaks. In the end Ash is forced to use his head to win, he doesn't win by luck this time. Not a lot of laughs or silliness in this episode, but a great Pokemon battle."
J. Nickerson | Pallet Town, Kanto | 09/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another video featuring the pocket monsters and the trainer battling to the ... yada yada yada. You know all that. So let's get on with it! This video is a rare occurance, as all three episodes featured on this tape are highly recommended! The first, Ignorance is Blissey, starts off with Ash and Co finding a Pokemon Center with a happy Blissey wanting to make them as happy as possible, but everything it does, ends up with Ash getting hurt until he is completely wrapped in bandages. But the real story begins when Team Rocket sneaks in during the night to find some chow and Jessie runs into Blissey, who turns out to be a friend of hers! Jessie tells James and Meowth how they both attended nursing school when Blissey was a Chansey, but Jessie was flunked out. Blissey, knowing how hungry Team Rocket is, gives them all the food in the center, but how will Ash react when there's nothing for breakfast? Next, in A Bout With Sprout, the group stops by Earl's Pokemon Academy (and Dance School) to show the kids their Pokemon, but one little brat is determined to steal Pikachu! But even if Ash can stop the little boy, he'd better prepare for double trouble as Team Rocket is out to capture Pikachu too! Finally, in Fighting Flyer With Fire, we FINALLY get to see a Johto Gym Battle! Gee, and it only took 15 episodes to get here too! But Pikachu should have no problem against Flying type Pokemon.... right?"