Finally back to the Pokemon Fast Track Viewing List, today, we will continue on Ash’s journey to becoming a Pokemon Master. Ash had so far collected all eight badges and has faced a good deal of adversity. So what’s next for our hero? The Indigo League of course! Today, we’re straying a bit from the basics of the viewing list. Because it’s the start of the league itself, it was included in the list alongside Ash’s major victories and Pokemon captures.

Today’s Episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 74: “All Fired Up!”

Synopsis

Our heroes finally reached the Indigo Plateau, the home of the Pokemon League. Ash is slowly losing it as they’re approaching the conference. It turns out the opening ceremony happens tomorrow! When they enter the village, they find the streets lined with people holding little pokeball flags. Ash assumes they’re there for him and they all start cheering. “There he is!” they call out.

Ash offers his autograph as the crowd runs past him. They were, in fact, waiting for a torchbearer that will light the fire that burns throughout the whole competition. Kind of like with the Olympics in the real world! How cool!

The man is flanked by Officer Jenny and Hitmonchan. The legend says that the flame comes from long ago from Moltres. Ash looks up a Moltres (this is its debut mention!) in his Pokedex. Ash deduces that if the flame really is from Moltres, that means Moltres exists.

Note: While not entirely relevant to the plot, I like to mention these small moments Ash has that don’t make sense. It really tells you more about who he is and what goes through his head.

Ash runs up to the torchbearer and stops him. He wants to take over but before anything can happen, Officer Jenny informs Ash that only approved torchbearers can be bestowed the honor of carrying the flame.

After a little back-and-forth, it turns out that only competitors can be approved and Jenny denies him his request. This is when a short man with long white hair and a long white bear pops up from a truck that followed the torchbearer, Mr. Goodshow. Mr. Goodshow, or just Charlie, is the President of the Pokemon League and he tells Jenny that they should bend the rules in the spirit of the games. Ash thinks the man is Santa Clause.

Ash gets changed into running clothes, and the previous torchbearer transfers the fire into Ash’s new torch. The crowds clap as Ash runs through the streets. Unfortunately for him, Team Rocket follows close behind in their balloon. And they’re planning to steal the fire and some Pokemon along the way.

Ash, meanwhile, exits the town when a large hole opens up under the truck and Jenny’s motorcycle. The whole gang except for Pikachu and Ash fall into the hole.

Team Rocket say their motto and jump off their balloon right onto Ash. Meowth scratches Ash’s face and the torch goes flying until Pikachu catches it. It sets Meowth on fire in the process.

James calls out his Victreebell who sets on fire whilst trying to help Meowth. Ash sends out his Squirtle to put out the fire engulfing Team Rocket. They still steal the fire and fly off.

Ash’s friends, Charlie, and Officer Jenny scramble up out of the hole. Charlie shows Ash that he keeps an extra flame with him in a lantern. Meanwhile, Team Rocket’s flame is going out. Meowth turns up the fire but the flames burn them in a small explosion. The flame then goes out.

Charlie lights a new torch and they’re off to the Pokemon League. The Pokemon intro song starts and cut scenes of Ash running, Ash lighting a torch Misty runs with, Togepi smiling and Vulpix running with Brock who holds the torch next. They finally arrive at the stadium which is currently empty. There’s a small crowd waiting for Brock and the Flame of Moltres.

Charlie takes the torch and our heroes depart for the Pokemon League Village, where all the Pokemon trainers stay during competition. And Gary is waiting for him there.

They both talk smack. Gary informs Ash that he needs to study his competition in order to be a good trainer, which Ash is obviously not. And that keeps Ash up all night. He stares at the ceiling and recalls the events of the day. Brock and Misty doubting him earlier, and Gary’s subpar trash talk.

Full moon is out, and Ash gets dressed to leave the little cottage. He walks to the empty stadium and watches the field. He doesn’t realize that Charlie watches him from the stands. The boy gives himself a pep talk and we open to the next morning when the ceremony starts.

All of the competitors enter the stadium field in ranks. They are cheered. The announcer lets the crowd know that each competitor earned a “minimum of eight badges”. A woman runs in with a torch and lights an enormous torch all the way up above the stadium.

Two robed figures stand in front of it to accept the flame. But it’s Team Rocket! Ash is already running up the stairs to get the torch back when they disrobe.

James calls out Weezing with its Smog attack. The Team runs back with a torch in hand. They light the enormous dish on top of the tower and disappear. When they reappear, they are inside of a giant robot in the shape of a grasshopper.

The robot uses its appendages to lift up the giant torch and put it on its back. The robot jumps down to the stadium field. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt but the robot is unaffected! Ash sends out his Bulbasaur and it uses Razor Leaf. The torch fire turns the attack into ashes. The Pokemon walks up to Ash and backs him in a corner.

Ash goes on a speech about how he’ll stop the robot. They let the fire out and it engulfs him.

And this would have been an interesting ending to the Pokemon series. Even if it isn’t, and it’s not, it’s rather interesting that Team Rocket directly tried to kill Ash.

The fires don’t affect Ash nor his Pokemon. Team Rocket is baffled by Ash’s survival. The fire takes shape of a Moltres and attacks the grasshopper robot. Team Rocket blasts off and the torch dish falls down on the tower. The Moltres-shaped fire lands in the torch.

Charlie gives a speech and the games begin officially. Trainers watch the fire and Ash thanks Moltres in his mind. He looks on at the flame.

Trivia

  • This is Moltres’s first-ever debut with not only full drawing but by name. You may recall that a Moltres carving was present in one of the first episodes along with the other birds from the legendary trio
  • This is the one and only time when a main character outside of Team Rocket, expressed interest in capturing a legendary Pokemon