Well, hello there, PUCL people! Today, we’ll be taking yet another plunge into the Pokemon Fast Track Viewing List, a shortlist of only the most important Pokemon episodes made by a reddit user some years back.

Last time, Ash battled Lt. Surge and Pikachu deafeated Raichu in an epic showdown. In today’s episode, we venture onto the St. Anne.

I personally don’t believe this episode should have made it on the list; however, no one can deny that St. Anne was a major plot point for the Pokemon games. So let’s get to it!

Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 15: “ Battle Aboard the St. Anne”

Synopsis

The sight of the Vermillion City and St. Anne immediately fills the screen and we see our heroes crossing a bridge toward the docks.

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The narrator makes a few horrible puns and we get to the story. The group gets to the boat and they start dreaming about how amazing it would be to cruise on a ship like that over the ocean! How many Pokemon they’d see!

But they quickly realize they wouldn’t be able to afford a cruise and saunter off screen where they’re accosted by a duo that presents them with tickets for the cruise!

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Boy, they look familiar! The duo convinces the group to take the tickets and get on the super-exclusive St. Anne cruise for Pokemon trainers-only, all for free.

Just as a side note, yes, that is James cross-dressing with make-up on.

Jessie and James celebrate their first victory of the episode when Ash, Misty, and Brock make their way to St. Anne. But then they scamper off to what looks like a lighthouse and there they receive a call from their boss.

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Through a voice modulator, the boss speaks to the team. Meowth gets a not-so-nice surprise when a Persian shows up and the boss pets it, becoming a replacement for Meowth. He expresses his disappointment in the constant failure of the trio.

I believe this is the first time we see Team Rocket as more than the trio but an entire organization with this mysterious man at the top, heading the operations.

It turns out that Jessie and James were tasked to give out a lot of free St. Anne tickets. The boss tells them that his men have already boarded the ship and once given a signal, they will steal Pokemon from all the trainers who were tricked to attend.

Meanwhile, our heroes officially board and make their way to the main hall which is filled with trainers and Pokemon alike. It looks like a giant Pokemon convention!

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Trainers compare their Pokemon, how well they’re treated, and so on. There’s even a battle between a Starmie and a Raticate going on!

Ash forces his way through to watch Raticate use Super Fang to break Starmie’s central gem.

The Raticate’s trainer calls out a challenge for anyone to battle him.

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Ash obviously takes the bait and sends out his Butterfree. A battle ensues.

Raticate tries to use Hyper Fang but Butterfree dodges only to fire off a Stun Spore. Before it can defeat Raticate, the trainer picks up his Raticate and calls for a draw.

In the meantime, we see that Jessie and James are disguised as waiters. James walks by a stand with a man selling a Magikarp. The man explains how healthy the fish Pokemon is and how it is a gold mine!

Ah, so we finally get to the bottom of this frequently-recurring joke in the Pokemon franchise. You see, this man sells Magikarp (and its equivalent through the generations) and sometimes he dupes James into spending all his money and sometimes he doesn’t. In my personal watch-through of Pokemon, I last saw him at the end of the 3rd gen. That’s season 8!

The man ends up tricking James into the deal and even upping the price to $300!

The ship sets off and our heroes are enjoying their first few hours on the cruise by eating everything in sight.

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Note the lobster in the picture! That’s not a Pokemon!

The trainer from before approaches Ash with a female partner that Brock immediately falls for. The trainer proposes to trade Raticate for Ash’s Butterfree. He goes on to explain why trainers trade and what the advantages of that are, like spreading friendship.

Ash reluctantly agrees and they find a Pokemon-trading machine.

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The machine finishes the trade and Raticate is Ash’s new Pokemon!

Meanwhile, James tries to convince his teammates that the Magikarp is a gold mine when Meowth let him know how scammed he got. Jessie blows on him after she finds out that he used an advance on both their salaries!

On the other side of the boat, we see Ash moping while looking over at the water. He’s wondering about Butterfree and expressed regret.

Ash and Misty make it back on the boat where the attendants tear off their costumes to reveal that they’re Team Rocket grunts!

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Jessie and James turn down the lights and introduce themselves to the boat on a stage and the mayhem ensues.

The backpacks they wear suck in all the Pokeballs and then the grunts go through the crowd to collect the left overs. Ash calls on his Pikachu and electrocutes the grunt. He then calls to all the trainers to not give up but make the struggle into a Pokemon battle!

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The trainers release their Pokemon and a group of Pikachu get together in the shape of a pyramid, firing off at Team Rocket.

I wanted to quickly point out that a few of the animated scenes in this episode are reused from previous episodes. Here are Pikachu jumping over a wall:

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This should definitely look familiar.

The Pikachu form a pyramid and fire off a Thunderbolt.

Ash turns his hat back, calls Charmander forward. A group of Charmander create a pyramid as well and burn Team Rocket. Brock’s Geodude partners up with other Geodude to create a spinning circle that rams straight into the evil team. Bulbasaur get into a pyramid form and vine whip the enemy while Butterfree get together and let their stun spore wash over the evildoers.

And that just keeps going until Ash calls out for his Butterfree, oh wait. Ash no longer has a Butterfree! He traded it!

Ash goes down the memory lane, remembering all the cool stuff he did with his Pokemon. He vows to get Butterfree back!

He calls for Pidgeotto which joins other Pidgeotto and they attack with a “Group Gust”.

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Pikachu follow up with one more Thunderbolt that blasts the entire Team Rocket off the ship!

No wait, I should be more specific here. The Team Rocket that blasted off was the group of dark-shirted villains. The Team Rocket we know and love are still on board!

A storm rages outside, swaying the ship left and right, causing James to lose his Magikarp Pokeball.

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The ship is going to have a hard time.

In the meantime, Ash asks for Butterfree back and the other trainer agrees to trade it back for its Raticate.

A panic onboard ensues as the Captain abandons the ship in a life raft.

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Everyone is trying to get to the last remaining life raft. Misty and Brock go find Ash who just got his Butterfree back when the ship hits a large wave and the Pokeball flies out of the boy’s hands.

Meanwhile, James is still chasing after Magikarp’s Pokeball (with its distinctive golden finish). The ship turns completely over and starts sinking!

Both Team Rocket and Ash get knocked unconscious. The entire crew and everyone on board got off the ship safely; however, our main heroes are stuck on board.

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“Could this be the end?” the narrator asks.

This is the first episode that has a cliffhanger in the series! I actually didn’t expect that at all. I figured that our Team Rocket would blast off as well. What a plot twist.

Here’s another: the sequel to this episode isn’t listed in the Fast Track Viewing List which means that I should skip it and we’ll be left with a cliffhanger forever. However, since this is my Pokemon catch up series, I’m going to indulge my own curiosity and post about the first ever two-part Pokemon episode.