Just forget the words and sing along

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Wow! Such a sense of television completion in my life! Pokemon is preparing to undergo a big paradigm shift, as was indicated in today's episode. Here's the summary:

Gonna Catch Ya Later - After finsihing in the semi-finals at the Silver Cup Conference in the Jhoto League, Ash, Misty, and Brock are heading back to Ash's home of Pallet Town to take a sabbatical and decide where to go next on their Pokemon journey. But first, they're going to stop over and re-explore Veridian City, the city where Ash's original pokemon journey began. They stop at the Pokemon Center, where Nurse Joy tells them that Misty's sisters have been desperatly trying to get in touch with Misty. Misty places a call home. Her three sisters have won a trip around the world! They're getting ready to go, and they need Misty to come home and look after the family business: the Cerulian City gym. At this announcement, Nurse Joy brings Misty's bike out of the back room. Nurse Joy had been fixing it up all these years. (See, Ash and Misty first met when Ash stole Misty's bike so he could rush Pikachu to the Veridian City Pokemon Center. Ash totaled Misty's bike, and Misty said she'd follow Ash around until the day he replaces her bike.) Ash tries to be happy for Misty, telling her that now that she's got her bike back, she can get home in a hurry. But, choking back the tears, Misty charges off into the night. She doesn't want to end her journies with Ash and Brock.

While wandering the streets in an introspective mood, Misty runs afoul of a street gang and challenges them to a pokemon battle. The battle begins, but soon the bullies gang up on Misty. Three against one just ain't fair! Luckily, Ash and Brock show up to even the score, and our heroric trio trounces the gang. But then, Team Rocket shows up and traps our heroes and the street gang! The street gang was in league with Team Rocket! And now, the gang is pissed that Team Rocket double-crossed them. The gang escapes from the trap, and inadvertently frees our heroes in the process. Ash, Misty and Brock and their pokemon make Team Rocket go blasting off again.

At the edge of town, our heroes come to an intersection. Down one road is Pallet Town. Down another is Misty's hometown of Cerulian City. The third path leads to Brock's home of Boulder City. This is when Brock drops his bombshell. He got an e-mail saying there's some urgent business he's got to take care of back home. So, this is good-bye. Misty embarks down her path. Brock down his. As Ash watches them go, he lowers his head and begins speaking the words of love he couldn't say to his friends. He hears someone say, "What's that?" He looks up to see that Misty and Brock came back when they heard him talking. And they present their farewell gifts to Ash. Brock packed a lunch for Ash...complete with fork and knife. Misty gives Ash a cloth to bundle it up in. (Note: these cloths are quite common for people to carry their lunches in in Japan, and there's a proper name for it, but I've forgotten! Mr. Anderson...Yves...if you're reading...PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT'S CALLED! Man, I watch Pokemon on a whole new level now.) And now, for real, our heroes go their seperate ways.

A few days later, we're in Pallet Town and Ash is chillin' at home. He decides to go up to Professor Oak's place to see his former rival Gary. (They're friends ever since Ash kicked Gary's ass in the Silver Cup Conference 2 weeks ago.) He arrives there, and Professor Oak and Tracy tell Ash that Gary left that morning. Gary didn't say anything, just that he "felt inspired." Ash goes sprinting down the road and catches up with Gary. Gary said that he's been on his pokemon journey for so long, that it doesn't feel right to stay still for so long. So, he's off on a new pokemon journey. Ash understands. Ash takes a pokeball out of his backpack, rips it in half, and gives half to Gary. (To get the significance, you had to be watching three weeks ago.) They say their good-byes, and Gary continues down the road.

Ash and Pikachu are sitting up in a tree, deciding what to do next. Ash tells Pikachu that it's weird, suddenly being alone. Ash looks up in the sky and sees Ho-Oh, a mythical pokemon! This Ho-Oh is flying towards the Hoenn region; a region filled with all manner of new, strange and wonderful pokemon. And this inspires Ash! He knows what to do next! He climbs down from the tree and begins sprinting home...only to fall into a hole dug in the ground. It's Team Rocket, once again using their patented pitfall trap to capture Ash and Pikachu. James uses his Wheezing to fill the pit with smoke. Ash and Pikachu sit in the pit, and Ash once again wonders how he can do this alone. He thinks back to when he said his farewells to Misty and Brock, and remembers! He reaches into his backpack and pulls out the cloth that Misty gave him. Ash gives it to Pikachu to use as a gas mask. Ash then starts using the fork and knife that Brock gave him to climb out of the pit! Ash now knows that his friends will always be with him. Ash and Pikachu make it to the top, and Pikachu sends Team Rocket blasting off again.

That evening, Ash tells his mother, Professor Oak and Tracy his new plan. He's going to set off on a pokemon journey to the Hoenn region! And he's going to leave all of his pokemon behind - except Pikachu, of course. He's going to start completely fresh! Ash's mother, Professor Oak, and Tracy all understand Ash's desire. Tracy promises to watch over all of Ash's pokemon. Ash's mother presents him with a new set of clothes to wear on his journey. (Yes, after 5 years, Ash is finally going to wear clean clothes.) And Professor Oak gives Ash the newest and latest Pokedex, complete with all info about pokemon in the Hoenn region. Ash decides that his first stop will be the Hoenn region city of Littleroot Town, where he'll meet with Professor Oak's colleague, Professor Birch. Ash resolves to set out in the morning, and we see those words that end every Pokemon episode: "To Be Continued..."

Know what this means? Very shortly, they'll start showing the episodes of Pokemon that I was watching in Japan. Somewhere along the way, Brock rejoins Ash, and they get a new female companion in the form of May, who makes Misty look rather tame. Plus, they're joined by another, a little, besepctacled kid. I never caught his name. These episodes have been airing in the States since November.

Yeah, I'm a geek. Just so we're clear, these are all the season of Pokemon

Season 1: Pokemon
Season 2: Pokemon (in the Orange Islands)
Season 3: Pokemon: The Jhoto Journies
Season 4: Pokemon: Jhoto League Champions
Season 5: Pokemon: Master Quest
Season 6: Pokemon Advance

And there have been six movies, the sixth of which hasn't come to North America yet. Pokemon coverage ain't what it used to be. I wonder if a Pokemon 7 is in the works. Or a seventh season.

Next Issue...Pokemark

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