Hold on there, partner! You’ve just opened up a Pokemon Catch-Up article and you’re in a for a ride. As always, in Pokemon Catch-Up, we cover only the most interesting and important Pokemon Anime episodes as prescribed by the Fast Track Viewing List.

Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 29: “The Punchy Pokémon”

Synopsis

The scene opens on a hot day on the open road with a Hitmonchan training its punches. Ash and the group run to it and marvel at it. Ash calls forth his Pikachu into battle but his Pikachu is too scared.

Ash decides to impromptu teach his Pikachu about boxing while the narrator recounts that Brock has caught a Vulpix while Misty caught a Psyduck. Ash, however, caught none.

Pikachu attacks Hitmonchan but Hitmonchan simply holds its head down with one hand. Ash commands Pikachu to do the Rocket Punch. As Pikachu flies through the air, it hits Hitmonchan squarely in the jaw.

Pikachu celebrates an early victory before it notices that Hitmonchan was slightly annoyed by the punch and nothing more. A trainer comes up from behind Hitmonchan and remarks that the Pokemon needs to hold up its guard properly. Then he commands Hitmonchan to knock Pikachu out. One attack later, Pikachu is out.

A girl named Rebecca runs up and tells the trainer, who is her dad apparently, to come back home. But he refuses. He won’t come back until he becomes the champion in the P1 Grand Prix.

He leaves to his gym and tells Ash to come see him when he’s ready to challenge him.

Rebecca apologizes for her father and asks for a favor. She wants them to defeat her father’s Hitmonchan!

The group makes it the gym but it turns out it’s not like any regular Pokemon gym. Brock sees a poster of the P1 Grand Prix and asks Rebecca about it.

It’s a tournament for fighting Pokemon. Rebecca’s father trains all the time and neglects his family. Brock signs up to take care of it and points out that Ash has a Primeape that he could use.

Meanwhile Team Rocket is lusting after the P1 champions belt.

Team Rocket go through their usual fantasies. And James finally snaps them back into reality. How will they steal the belt?

They see a Hitmonlee pass them by and set to stealing it.

The P1 starts and the crowds gather inside.

Sidenote: I feel like PUCL should have a fighting-Pokemon-only tournmant called the P1 Grand Prix!

Jessie stole Hitmonlee and left its trainer tied to a toilet in the bathroom.

The contestants enter the rink. The first one is Anthony and his Hitmonchan. Its challenger is Hitmonlee with its trainer “Giant”. “Giant” is in fact Jessie on top of James’s shoulders.

Lastly, Ash and Brock are announced as the new challengers.

First match, Machop and its trainer challenges Ash and his Primeape. The battle starts and Machop knocks Primeape back. Primeape gets back up, jumps in the air and tries to kick Machop but Machop catches his foot in the air. It spins Primeape and throws it out of the rink. Ash tries to catch it which results in…sigh Primeape finally appreciating Ash.

Always. This always happens, doesn’t it? Ash always dives to save his Pokemon and then they love him for it. Even if Ash signs them up for a match, or puts them in danger, or teams up with Team Rocket. Ahhh, my rant is over.

Ash orders it to use Scratch attack and Primeape…yeah, it obeys. It uses Mega kick and knocks Machop out.

Next up, Geodude vs. Hitmonlee! The match starts and Brock waves at Rebecca rather than focus on the match. Geodude lands squarely on Brock’s head but the Pokemon goes back to attack Hitmonlee.

But Brock throws in the towel when Geodude finds itself clearly outmatched and Anthony suggests he does so.

Brock apologizes to Geodude and Geodude apologizes back.

We get a quick set of cutscenes where a few matches follow. Everyone we know and love advances until Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan match up.

The fight starts.

Unless I find a funny screenshot from this episode, I guarantee this image will be the thumbnail.

When Hitmonlee can’t land any kicks, Meowth injects glue onto the rink from down below and Hitmonchan gets stuck. Then Hitmonlee gets a 100% accuracy boost immediately.

Brock advises Anthony to throw in the towel. When he doesn’t, Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca jumps in front of the kicks in order to block the blows so that Hitmonchan can survive the encounter. But Anthony jumps in front of her first and gets knocked back to the corner.

He throws in the towel and the match is over. Hitmonlee is the winner. The beat-up Hitmonchan exits the rink.

Ash realizes he’s up against Hitmonlee and all he has to do is win, and then he’ll be the champion. Rebecca is just happy to have her father back.

Team Rocket reveals itself to the group and do their song.

The fight starts. Hitmonlee hits Primeape and the Pokemon defends itself. Ash urges his Pokemon to punch back.

And so it does and keeps on punching the Pokemon.

In the mean time, Pikachu discovers that Meowth has been sneaking under the rink and set up the “secret weapon”. A 100,000 volts will fire off against Primeape.

Pikachu tries to warn Ash but in his typical Ash-like fashion, he brushes his trusted friend off.

Hitmonlee jumps up, they fire off the device but nothing happens. The Pokemon jumps back down and Primeape uses the Seismic Toss on it.

Hitmonlee hits hard and Primeape is declared the winner!

Anthony approaches Ash after the match and offers to keep training Primeape since it has a lot of potential to become a “true P1 champion”.

Back to Team Rocket, Pikachu comes out from under the rink and hands the trio the “secret weapon”. Meowth thanks it and inspects it. He finds out that it still works. Well, Pikachu presses the button on the remote and makes them blast off!

Ash and his friends say goodbye to Primeape as they leave town. Anthony promises to do well and Rebecca promises to keep her father interested in his family.

Primeape’s eyes swell up with tears and Ash walks off.

It looks like Ash’s journey with Primeape is forever over, and what a short journey that was. I’ll offer my opinion here and say that I’m glad that Ash is able to let go so easily and do what’s best for his Pokemon rather than keep them close to him and far away from their true potential.

It’s a lesson we should all learn.

Next episode:  season 1 episode 30: “Sparks Fly for Magnemite”

Trivia

  1. Geodude is not a fighting type Pokemon yet it still entered the fighting-type-only championship
  2. The original Hitmonlee trainer is never seen after he was tied up.