Welcome to Pokemon Catch-Up! We’re already a few episodes in so you should know what to expect. I’m covering the Pokemon anime from the very first episode onward. To cut down on time, I’m using the Fast Track Viewing List by a reddit user. The viewing list outlines only the most important episodes in the series, cutting out all kinds of fluff. In fact, we already skipped episode six!
Today’s episode takes place in Cerulean City. I wanted to quickly point out that, if it’s not obvious, Kanto’s cities are all named after colors with the exception of Pallet Town. Viridian is a blue-green, Pewter is a grey, and Cerulean is a shade of blue. The word “Pallet” comes from the word “Palette” which is a tool that traditionally holds paints for an artist.
Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 7: “The Water Flowers of Cerulean City”
While we didn’t follow our heroes on their journey through Mt. Moon in episode 6 (an episode I purposely skipped), we do get to see Ash, Misty, and finally, Brock, enter Cerulean City.
As the scene opens, however, we only see Brock and Ash. And it looks like Ash got some news about Gary last episode and how far ahead he is, both in the journey and the count of Pokemon he caught. Misty catches up with the group and she seems a little apprehensive about entering the city. In fact, she seems to be making up things about Cerulean City and its gym, trying to thwart the group from going there.
But Ash does not relent. He needs more trainer badges and Cerulean City is the closest place to get one.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket is breaking its way into a laboratory of some kind. Or maybe a store?
Ash and Co. make it to the city the next morning but Misty disappeared on them again. They arrive just in time to see a crime scene and an officer Jenny investigating a burglary of a store. Ash recognizes Jenny right away but she only sees two suspicious-looking boys. The officer accuses Ash of dealing with criminal activity, since he knows her identical-looking sister from Viridian City.
And whatever Ash and Brock try to do, Jenny just sees it as evidence of their crime. Luckily, Ash’s Pokedex and Brock’s Pewter City badge prove their innocence. Which prompts Brock to ask Jenny out. Unfortunately, she won’t be off the clock until Brock’s bedtime. Ooh, what a burn.
The thieves stole a giant vacuum from the story but no one has any clue why they would do that.
The duo leaves. And after a brief conversation about the Cerulean gym, Brock leaves to deal with some personal stuff. For Ash, it’s Gym-time!
But when Ash actually enters the gym, he finds himself among a crowd watching a trio of sisters doing synchronized swimming in the Gym’s pool.
Ash runs into the sisters after the show and it turns out, they’re the gym leaders. But they refuse to battle Ash. Three kids from Pallet Town beat them prior to his arrival and now they’re just too bummed out to battle. As a side note, it’s cool to see references back to the original Pallet Town trainers that picked up the Kanto starters; however, I don’t think we’ll ever run into them in the show.
So the sisters agree, since they’re almost out of Pokemon already, that they will give him a Cascade badge outright without a battle. But…not so fast!
Misty intervenes! She takes up the challenge of battling Ash! But how can she? It turns out, she’s a Cerulean City gym trainer who left on a Pokemon journey of her own. The fourth sister.
The sisters immediately start putting Misty down. So Misty uses this opportunity to show her sister she means business.
Misty and Ash square off in the large pool that the sisters performed in earlier. They stand on floating blocks. Two Pokemon against two. And the battle starts.
Or not. Pikachu refuses to battle a friend. Butterfree to the rescue then! Misty calls out a Staryu. Butterfree uses Tackle and Staryu counter-attacks. The Pokemon bash each other for a small while. Staryu uses a bunch of water gun attacks and Butterfree uses stun spore. Staryu manages to wash it off in the pool water. Sleep powder comes next, Staryu washes it off and flies up in the air to tackle Butterfree until it slams it into the water.
Next comes Pidgeotto. Staryu gets replaced by Starmie. Misty employs similar tactics of putting its Starmie under water and using Tackle against it over and over.
Unfortunately, Pidgeotto manages to score a direct hit with a Gust which blows Starmie straight out of the pool against a wall.
The match gets suddenly interrupted by a duo (or, I guess, trio) of troublemakers. That’s right, Team Rocket! “Prepare for trouble!” as they say.
To gain an advantage, Team Rocket uses a massive vacuum and a giant hose to suck all the water out of the pool and the Pokemon around it as well. It turns out, it was Team Rocket that broke into that store at the beginning of the episode!
The vacuum reverses directions, washing out all the Pokemon. It subsequently starts draining the water again in order to capture the Pokemon trapped in it.
Pikachu falls into the water and Ash tells it to attack with a Thunderbolt. Team Rocket wasn’t expecting that! They get shocked and blast off! But wait, the vacuum is still turned on and still stealing Pokemon.
Luckily, Ash manages to reverse the direction of the vacuum yet again.
The sisters tell Misty and Ash that they will not allow the match to continue but give Ash the Cascade Badge since it was his Pikachu that saved everyone from Team Rocket. The sisters also acknowledge that Ash’s Pokemon would have won anyways.
And so, Ash gains his second Pokemon trainer badge under dubious circumstances. The sisters send Ash, Misty, and Brock on their way.
Now, while Pokemon may have a lot of plot holes, there is one thing bothering me. Where did Brock go and what did he do while Ash was at the gym? Was he visiting someone? Was he on a date? Possibly bothering Jenny again? I guess we’ll never know!
What’s interesting is that this is Ash’s second badge that he gained in an unconventional manner. He won the first badge by accidentally setting off water sprinklers and now he won his second badge by beating Team Rocket. Will the trend continue? We’ll see!
The episode line up skips the next couple of episode (episode 8 and 9) all the way straight to episode 10 where we get to meet Bulbasaur for the first time in “Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village”.
For those of you truly interested, episode 8 deals with AJ, a trainer at an unsanctioned gym where he is trying to achieve a 100-win streak and he’s on number 98. After Ash beats him, AJ shows Ash some of his unconventional training techniques: making his Sandshrew swim in water, and having his Pokemon wear strange gear that requires them to constantly use their strength.
In episode 9, Ash and Co. end up at the Pokemon Technical Institute which is a prep school that allows trainers to study their way into Pokemon League rather than earn badges to get there. Ash and Misty end up learning a few lessons on Pokemon battle strategy such as type match-ups and how they’re not enough to win a battle.
But until next time! I’ll see you when we make our way into the Hidden Village!