Well, welcome to the first of my text-only reviews! I’m basically gonna follow the same pattern as before, doing animation and tokusatsu, but since these aren’t videos, I guess I don’t need to worry about cut-off dates anymore. However, I do feel the need to get caught up on my Pokémon anime reviews, so let’s start off with Mystery at the Lighthouse.
Okay, really quick thing I need to get outta the way first, this episode is kind of a classic, what with this being the thirteenth episode and all. And God forbid I should be allowed to talk crap about one of the classic episodes, right? WRONG. If an episode of a show has legitimate problems with it, I’m gonna bring it up. I don’t care if it’s a classic or not. You can still like it, that’s not the problem at all. I’m just saying there are some things that require a closer look at. So for today, what I’m gonna do is give a quick run-through of the plot first, then present my points about what I didn’t like about it afterwards. Feel free to agree or disagree, it’s just my opinion, and all I ask is that you honestly think about it.
So the episode starts with Ash, Misty, and Brock traversing a Route on their way to Vermillion City, and we get a brief recap of how Ash now has two badges and a full team of six Pokémon: Pikachu, Pidgeotto, Butterfree, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. And let’s be honest folks, when you got Pokémon Yellow, you tried playing it with that exact same team, right? Misty argues that Ash didn’t earn his badges in that they were given to him by people who felt sorry for him, and that he didn’t catch his Pokémon, they followed him. Ash decides to prove he can catch a Pokémon, and so he runs off looking for new Pokémon, eventually finding a Krabby at the beach. He catches it, but the Poké Ball disappears. Misty and Brock explain that when a Trainer catches more than 6 Pokémon, the additional Pokémon is sent to the person who gave that Trainer his first Pokémon, AKA Professor Oak. He can do a swap using a function on the Pokédex, but doesn’t want to and would rather find a phone to call and make sure Krabby’s okay. Fortunately, as is often the case with these guys, there just happens to be a lighthouse nearby. The owner of the lighthouse is a man named Bill, who allows them to call Professor Oak, confirming that Ash’s Krabby is doing just fine and that Gary has also caught a Krabby. Much to Ash’s amazement/annoyance, it’s frigging gigantic. Professor Oak asks Bill to give the group a few lessons on Pokémon, since apparently Bill knows even more about Pokémon than Oak himself.
After a brief situation where they have to help Bill get out of a Kabuto costume that he got himself stuck in, Bill tells them all about Pokémon and humans and how there’s a meaning for us all and how we should all get along, yada yada yada, when he brings up that there’s one Pokémon he’s searching for, supposedly the biggest Pokémon known to man. Once again, wonder of wonders, the Pokémon just happens to show up that night, but Team Rocket learn of it and try to capture it, attacking it with bazookas. The Pokémon smashes up the upper part of the lighthouse and wipes the floor with Team Rocket, leaving the lighthouse and going back out to sea despite Bill’s pleas. By the next morning though, Bill is happy to have seen it at all and is hopeful it may come back one day as Ash and Co. leave.
Now that general plot on its own works alright, but there’re a few things that REALLY bother me. To start, let’s look at the very first and quite possibly the biggest thing about this episode that kinda hits my berserk button.
So according to Misty, Ash didn’t earn either of his badges and all of his Pokémon just kinda followed him around, basically calling him the very crappiest like no one ever was. You know, I remember back in the day thinking about how funny it was when Misty would slap the idiot Ash down, but nowadays I can actually look at her standpoint and realise how full of crap she is. First off, regarding the badges, Ash would’ve beaten Brock but chose not to finish the battle since Brock’s Onix getting weakened by the sprinklers going off was just an accident, and he would’ve beaten YOU, Misty, if Pikachu had been the one to battle to begin with and MAY have beaten you anyway if Team Rocket hadn’t intervened. Now about his Pokémon, Pikachu was given to him as his starter, but he did legit catch Pidgeotto and Butterfree, who was a Caterpie at the time, in the wild. Bulbasaur chose to follow him, but only AFTER Ash proved himself by defeating and catching him, and Charmander and Squirtle chose to follow him after Ash proved his good character to them and that he would be a kind and worthy trainer to them. Oh, and it’s made SO much better in the dub where she has the major base in her voice that makes her sound REALLY condescending. And yeah, I called Misty a bitch. Let’s face it, in the early episodes of the show, she was a bitch! As much as people complain about Togepi on the show sometimes, some of Misty’s best character development came as a result of taking care of Togepi. At this point, her gimmick was that she loved Water Pokémon and bringing Ash down whether he deserved it or not, I.E. being a bitch. I’ve got more I could say, but I’m saving that for a later episode.
I should probably take this moment to note that at no time is this function EVER used, rather that Ash makes switches using a transporter at the various Pokémon Centres, not unlike the PC Storage System from the games. It’s also worth noting that Best Wishes changed it so that the Poké Balls weren’t teleported away after they were caught past the 6 Pokémon limit, they instead were locked down until enough Pokémon were teleported to whomever was storing them for the Trainer to leave them with 6. And as much as I’d love to bitch and moan about Best Wishes again…I actually like that idea. Makes more sense than them immediately teleporting ON THEIR OWN. Granted, it goes against how the game works, but I think if we’ve established ANYTHING above all else regarding the anime, the anime and the game are not the same thing.
This is more of a technical problem than anything, and one that people have pointed out before, but I felt the need to add my two cents as well. First off, I’ll point out that in the next full shot of the doors we see…
…that the arrangement of some the Pokémon carved on them is different. But that’s not the big issue I have, it’s one of the Pokémon found on the door: Mewtwo. What is Mew-frakking-two doing on there? If my understanding of the anime’s timeline is correct, Mewtwo should’ve been, at best, a foetus growing in a test tube in the labs on New Island. There is no way that Bill would know of its existence unless he was in on that little deal, which would kinda paint everything that happens in this episode in a new, more horrifying light.
Okay, I kind of alluded to this earlier with Misty, but in the original, she just asked if Ash getting his full team of six should really count as him catching them or not, to which he says it was close enough. Meanwhile in the dub, she outright tells him he’s wrong and that they all followed him, which I already explained is bullcrap. Then there’s this stupid running gag they added involving Oak and Bill having cooks who went on vacation that left them having to make tofu meals. Umm, what? Why is that funny? Is it because tofu sounds weird? I’m gonna guess that was their reasoning since all other Japanese food names were replaced in the dub, as a part of the dub’s writers’ constant need to remove all trace elements of Japan from the show…and failing miserably.
Okay, I know that characters who were in the game and were brought over to the show have been changed up. Still, they had SOME aspect of their video game counterparts in them. This version of Bill is NOTHING like his video game counterpart. He lives in a lighthouse instead of a cottage, he has green hair instead of brown, and he’s some kind of Pokémon expert and philosopher instead of the inventor of the PC system. In fact, I don’t get why they don’t use that, considering what happened in the opening act of the episode with Ash catching his seventh Pokémon. And that kind of leads me into the big one…
And I’d like to break down exactly what I mean in this very simple list.
- Why does Bill not know what Pokémon the giant is? He’s supposed to be an expert, he has holographic images of every one of the original 150 he can put up around his room, and yet he doesn’t know that’s a Dragonite. Hell, the Pokédex fricking makes mention of Dragonite in the very next episode! Speaking of which, I call foul on that Dragonite being the biggest Pokémon ever known, I’m certain we’ve seen bigger in the show.
- He says that the Pokémon is the last of its kind, even though we know that’s bunk. Now, I’ve heard people suggest that he simply meant the last of its kind of that size, but considering he never refers to it by species, I’m going to assume the more likely answer is that Bill is an idiot.
- He gets into a Kabuto costume where the only method of getting out of it is a button on the outside that he cannot reach while in the costume…I don’t even need to say anything else!
I mean, we’re supposed to believe that he’s smarter than Professor Oak? He comes across as a twit most of the time, and when he’s philosophising, it comes across as pretentious bunk. And don’t tell me “Well, c’mon Jyger. Should you really be so critical of a kids show?” Well first off, you can call me Jeff, we’re all friends here. Second, yes, it’s a kids show, but that doesn’t excuse stupidity. Kids shows can be kids shows and still be smartly written…And speaking of this being a kids show, I’d just like to say that I WOULD mention the bazookas in a kids show, but that seems more like something I should bring up looking at the series in general.
So yeah, how does this episode hold up? Well, as you can tell, there’s plenty wrong with it. Still, there are some genuinely cool moments, as well as some plain insane moments that Season 1 was known for. If you like it, fine, but I personally do not.
And that’s my thoughts on Mystery At The Lighthouse. Lemme know what you think of this text review, as next time I’m gonna be looking at a little something that was requested a while back: A two-parter from the Justice League cartoon called Hereafter. Ja né!