Welcome back to Pokemon Catch-Up. If you’ve been following this article series, I commend you for doing so and if not, let me give you a quick overview of what this article series is about.

I’m reviewing and covering the Pokemon Anime starting from episode 1 all the way to the show as it runs today. But instead of having to watch and write about 900+ episodes, many of which are horrible fillers, I’m using the Fast Track Viewing List which outlines only the most important episodes in the series. That way, we get to cut to the meat of the anime story.

Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 4: “Challenge of the Samurai”

Synopsis

Let’s do a quick recap of where we are.

Ash, Misty, and Pikachu are traveling through Viridian Forest. Ash caught a Caterpie that evolved into a Metapod after defeating Team Rocket. Our hero also caught a Pidgeotto.

We open with Misty screaming because she saw yet another bug. And it was a Weedle! Will Ash catch his fourth Pokemon today? This time, Ash takes a slightly different approach than before, he uses his previous knowledge to increase his odds by weakening Weedle first.

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Unfortunately, Pikachu, Ash’s first pick, decides to take a nap. Ash sends out Pidgeotto instead.

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I just wanted to screenshot that awesome action pose right there. But, back to the story.

Misty had already run off when Weedle tried to approach her so it’s just Ash and his Pokemon in this fight. Unfortunately, Misty is stopped by the Samurai and he’s looking for a Pokemon trainer from Pallet Town. When he finds out Misty isn’t it, he moves on.

Meanwhile, Ash beats Weedle but just as he’s about to catch the Pokemon, the Samurai finds him.

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It turns out the Samurai has been searching the entire forest for Ash and now it’s time for a Pokemon battle. As a side note, Ash’s Weedle got away.

The match starts with Ash calling forward his exhausted Pidgeotto which collapses immediately. The Samurai calls forward his Pinser.

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Pidgeotto expertly executes his Sand Attack but Pinser just stands there. It counter-attacks with a Tackle and takes Pidgeotto out completely. Next up? Metapod.

Metapod uses Harden and Pinser tries to squeeze the life out of it with its horns but fails, breaking the spikes on those horns in the process.

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Pinser returns and the Samurai calls out….his Metapod!

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Samurai’s Metapod uses Harden as well. In fact, the two Metapod keep using Harden for a while. We can see how the sun moves and Misty and Pikachu opted out to sun bathe.

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In the meantime, Team Rocket is making its way across the forest in its “tank”, a cardboard boxes they put over themselves and carry it around.

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It’s there to “protect” them from Beedrill.

The Metapod vs Metapod battle keeps going when our heroes hear the buzz of a Beedrill swarm! Pikachu takes one out but the crew is running for their lives. Everyone…except for Metapod.

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The trio: Ash, Misty, and the Samurai stumble upon a tree with a multitude of Kakuna hanging from it. Ash’s Metapod sits at the base of tree. Unfortunately for everyone, the Kakuna start to evolve when they arrive.

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The brand-new Beedrill come out and attack the humans once again. They run until they find the Samurai’s cabin where they hide.

As the group sits down to take a breather, Ash finds out that other Pallet Town trainers have passed through the forest. It turns out the Samurai had fought against three trainers, each using one of the Kanto starters and he lost. I’m pretty sure the references to these three trainers stop in this episode which is a shame. I was hoping we would get to meet them one day!

The group sleeps in the cabin overnight.

The next day, early in the morning, Ash sneaks up to where Metapod is waiting by the base of the tree only to be stepped on by Team Rocket’s Meowth!

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Jessie and James do their spiel, ignoring Ash’s warnings about waking up the Beedrill. And the Beedrill do wake up and attack all humans and Pokemon alike in their vicinity. Ash heads straight for the hive, running past and dodging Beedrill. Jessie and James become the angry Pokemon’s primary target.

Ash is able to get to Metapod but Metapod refuses to get into Ash’s Pokeball because it felt abandoned. Ash starts his monologue on how he is not a good Pokemon trainer and he should not have run away. It hits Metapod right in the feels.

A stray Beedrill finds Ash and his Metapod and attacks.

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Metapod decides to protect Ash by jumping up and intercepting the Twineedle attack. The attack pierces its shell but breaks Beedrill’s …errr.. stinger arm.

From within the shell, you guessed it, emerges Butterfree.

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As you can gather from the previous episodes, Butterfree was very happy to have evolved. It had been its dream since it was a Caterpie.

Unfortunately, the Beedrill come up in big numbers. Luckily, this is the Pokemon Anime so Butterfree is able to knock out the entire hoard of Beedrill with Sleep Powder.

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Quick note about this episode. In the future episodes, I’ve noticed that Pokemon do not have a plural version and thus when you say “Pidgey”, you can refer to a single Pidgey or multiple. In this episode, we hear both “Kakunas” and “Beedrills” early on.

The Samurai is clearly impressed with Ash and decided to not challenge Ash again until he gets better. After all, three losses in a row suck already, no need to make it four.

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In case you were wondering about Team Rocket, they got stuck in a…sticky situation.

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And now that our heroes our out of Viridian Forest, we’ll get to see Ash overcome his first big Pokemon challenge against a Gym Leader.

See you next time when we finally arrive in Pewter City!