Salutations good PUCLonians and welcome to this week’s Underground Star Scoop! This week is a special Double Feature edition, where we will be covering two episodes in one articles. Let’s jump right on in shall we?

XY&Z 4 – A Fiery Rite of Passage

On our way to Snowbelle City, the gang is in a warm grassland with the sun beating down on them. Clemont isn’t doing so great. They all hear a loud roar in the distance and catch sight of a pride of Pyroar. It looks like a Litleo and the male Pyroar are having a fight.

The male Pyroar is forcing Litleo to leave the pride to go onto its on small journey to grow up and become stronger, but this Litleo refuses to go. It looks scared and clings to Pyroar. Pyroar hits it away and Litleo only goes into a temper tantrum. It takes a nasty Flamethrower to get Litleo’s tantrum to stop.

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Pyroar prepares another Flamethrower, but Ash intervenes and pleads for Pyroar to let Litleo to stay with it a bit longer. Pyroar attacks Ash with a Flamethrower, but Pikachu counters with Thunderbolt to create a large cloud of dust. When the dust settles, Pyroar and the pride are gone.

The gang tries to help Litleo, but Litleo panics and ends up biting Clemont. Clemont still sprays it with a Super Potion to heal its wounds. As an apology for its attack, Litleo licks Clemont’s bite marks now knowing that Ash and others only want to help.

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Serena offers it one of her delicious PokePuffs, but Litleo remembers that Pyroar expects it to find its own food. It needs to take care of itself. So it refuses the PokePuff and begins to walk away from the group.

Ash understands how Litleo is feeling, but Bonnie doesn’t want to leave it alone. She’s worried. So they all decide to follow Litleo quietly to watch over it just in case.

Now Team Rocket, always watching in the bushes gets the brilliant idea to capture Litleo. If they capture it, they can evolve it into Pyroar and then they will have a strong Pyroar on their team. So they follow Litleo as well.

They manage to trick Litleo with a floating Sitrus Berry (on a fishing line) and try to lure it to them. Luckily there is someone else watching over little Litleo. The shadow growls at Team Rocket and lets loose a Flamethrower to stop their scheme.

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Sad and lonely Litleo continues on its journey. Ash and the others try their best to resist helping it, only helping in dire situations like when Litleo almost slides off a cliff or when it gets overwhelmed by the river’s current. They try their best to keep their distance, respecting that Litleo needs to learn to care of itself.

They happen to catch the eye of Pyroar, who is also following Litleo at a distance. They realize that Pyroar is also worried and wants to ensure Litleo is safe. Litleo actually manages to catch Pyroar’s scent. It is disappointed to not find Pyroar, but it now has a renewed determination. It now wants to prove to Pyroar it can take care of itself.

Litleo finally arrives to the top of the cliff where it finds a plethora of Oran Berry trees. This is what Litleo has been searching for! Litleo looks right at Pyroar, knowing it was there the entire time watching. It wants to reassure Pyroar that it will be okay by itself.

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Pyroar, feeling comforted by Litleo’s determination, turns to leave, but it confronted by Team Rocket and their new robot! They suck Pyroar into a cage. Next is Pikachu. They aim their vacuum at Pikachu, but Litleo interrupts with its own Flamethrower. Annoyed, Team Rocket just swats Litleo away.

Pyroar is not happy. It goes into an angry Overheat in the cage trying to get out, but Team Rocket just absorbs the power and spit it out at Ash and the gang. Even Frogadier’s Water Pulse is no match for the powered up Overheat.

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Ash and the others realize they need to calm Pyroar down, but the attacks are too strong. Litleo steps up and treks through the powerful Overheat. It climbs into the mouth of the robot and makes its way to Pyroar in the cage. It calls out to Pyroar, reassuring it of its safety, and calms it down.

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Ash and Frogadier use this as an opportunity to break the cage with Cut. Litleo, Pyroar, and Pikachu all combine their Flamethrowers and Thunderbolt to destroy the robot and send Team Rocket blasting off again, just like that.

With that issue dealt with, Litleo’s renewed confidence gives Pyroar reassurance that it will be okay. It thanks Ash and the others, and proudly leaves the gang to set off on its own journey to become as strong as Pyroar.

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This is a good parallel to Ash and other trainers having to leave home to travel on their own to become stronger. It is also a small reminder of how Clemont felt he could only become a better gym leader by leaving his gym to see the weird. And to see adorable Litleo making a “lion king-type” journey is just so irresistible!

Major points: adorable Litleo gaining the confidence to become much more independent, Pyroar scaring the heeby-jeebies out of Team Rocket, purely “Pokemon of the day” centric

Missteps: Overall boring episode with no story development – especially compared to earlier episodes

Starmie 7

7/10, not a bad score. In fact, it is the average score for the anime. Seems appropriate for an average episode don’t you think?

XY&Z 5 – Dream A little Dream From Me

After their adventure in the grassland, the gang decides to camp out under the stars. There’s supposed to be a meteor shower! Everybody is excited to watch the shower and make their wishes on the shooting stars. Everybody wishes for their dreams to come true, except for Clemont who wishes for everybody else’s wishes to come true.

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Soon after the shower and setting Clemont’s alarm clock for the morning, everybody drifts off to sleep. Squishy unable to sleep in its usual pouch, hops away into a tree and decides to sleep on a branch. Close by, as always, is Team Rocket snoring. All of the snoring is making it difficult for even Meowth to fall asleep so he has to count Mareep.

As everybody drifts into their sleep, a Darkrai floats overhead and perches on top of the tree that Squishy is sleeping in. Something ominous is about to happen…

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Pikachu is the first to wake up. It searches for water, but finds none left in the canteens. It goes to the river in search for water. As it takes a drink at the river, it is greeted by a Diggersby, Froakie, and Delphox… But they’re speaking in human talk! And they seem awfully familiar with Pikachu too. Pikachu, confused and scared, just runs away from the three and back to the camp.

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During the entire exchange, Meowth, who had also woken up and searching for water, heard and saw everything. He freaks out and makes his way back to Jessie and James.

Pikachu wakes up Ash, but Ash’s eyes are weird. It has the same eyes as Frogadier… and even sounds like Frogadier!

When Meowth wakes up Jessie and James, he experiences something similar. Jessie and James are talking like Wobbuffet and Inkay! What the heck is happening here!

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Pikachu and Meowth run away confused and end up bumping right into each other. As they recover, Squishy hops over to them, but it is also speaking in human!

Suddenly a fiery light appears and Squishy warns them that this thing has been chasing it. They have to run! Pikachu grabs Squishy and the three of them make a run for it as this fiery ball chases them. They manage to lose their pursuer after crossing the river, but everything is just so confusing.

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Squishy explains that it needs to be taken home. It will be able to return to full strength there, but if the fiery ball captures Squishy, something bad will happen to the Kalos region, whatever that means. Pikachu and Meowth touch Squishy so it can show them what it means, but the vision is so scary that they become horrified and wake up, realizing that they were in a dream.

Their scared yelps scare everybody awake. Ash tried to calm Pikachu down, but Pikachu panicks again when it cannot find Squishy in Bonnie’s bag. Everybody goes into the forest to look for Squishy. Even Meowth feels the compulsion to find Squishy and figure out what that dream all meant.

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During the search, Pikachu and Meowth bump into each other again and fall into the dream once more. They find that they are back where they first met Squishy in the dream. They make a run for it when the see that fiery figure approaching again.

They are able to lose the monster quickly and find a safe spot, but they discovered a portion of the forest has been burned down. The work of that monster no doubt. Squishy focuses its energy and heals the forest back to its original state. Well that’s an interesting power…

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The flame monster catches up to them and blocks the way to Squishy’s home. Meowth and Pikachu try to ward it off, but they aren’t strong enough. Diggersby, Froakie, and Delphox appear to help, but even they are no match. Pancham and Chespin appear to help and evolve at will – well that’s a new trick…

Pangoro and Chesnaught combine their Dark Pulse and Pin Missile with Pikachu’s Thunderbolt. They manage to break the flame monster into several smaller pieces that look scared of this team protecting Squishy.

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Suddenly, Clemont’s alarm clock in the distance goes off and, in good Clemontic Gear fashion, explodes. The sound can be heard all throughout the forest, loud enough to wake Squishy, Pikachu, and Meowth.

Bonnie finds Squishy at the tree and Ash notices that Darkrai perched at the top of the tree. It must have been responsible for Meowth and Pikachu appearing in Squishy’s weird dreams. But maybe Squishy’s dreams mean something about what is in store for our heroes in the future…

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Well that was more exciting! It was neat to see more about what could be going on with the mystery of Squishy. Why was there a giant flame monster chasing Squishy around? And what could’ve been so scary about what Meowth and Pikachu saw when they touched Squishy? And where is Squishy’s home? There are so many questions that need answering! And the fact that all the other Pokemon were able to evolve at their own whim was very interesting. Does this mean that Squishy may have some sort of effect on the power of evolution? That is something that I would love to find out!

Major points: the mystery of Squishy deepens, Darkrai, Pokemon being able to evolve at their own will

Missteps: none of the classic Pokemon anime tropes that make it a classic episode (no Pokemon battle, no Team Rocket blasting off again, no new Pokemon to focus on), Ash and the others don’t realize how awesome it was to run into a Darkrai in the wild

Starmie 8

Oooo a strong 8/10! It’s better than your average episode, but it’s still missing some important components. It is really riding on the positive points from the mystery of Squishy and how it may be connected to that prophecy that Olympia saw back in Anistar City.

And that’s all folks! Thank you again joining me for another Underground Star Scoop! If you want, leave a comment down below! What did you think of these two episodes? What do you think about the mystery shrouding our adorable Squishy? I’d love to hear about it! But until next time, see you all on the flippity flops!