It's time for another blast from the past as we take a look at a Nintendo 64 classic.
Pokemon Episode 8 Retro Review: Battle of the Egos
Well it’s been awhile since I did a Pokemon review, but here we go. Our heroes just left Cerulean City, and are enroute to Vermillion City. Don’t expect for them to get there anytime soon though, I recall there are several episodes worth of filler between Vermillion and Cerulean. Much longer compared to how long it takes to go from Cerulean to Vermillion in the game. While traveling, Ash defeats a few trainers including some random kid with a Rattata.
The random kid with a Rattata tells Ash about a guy named AJ that has his own gym and hasn’t lost a single match yet. Intrigued, Ash and friends go to the this gym. Well by intrigued, I mean Ash shows off his arrogance by thinking he is the greatest trainer in the world simply because he has two badges and has won ten battles. As they arrive at the gym they find out that this AJ fellow has won 98 matches and is undefeated.
So you’d think that this AJ guy is a badass right? Well not so much in appearance. He’s got an odd outfit with hair the color of leaves, oddly enough the leaves look sort of like the leaves on the Pokemon Oddish. So we’ll be calling him Oddish instead of AJ. It appears that the 98 wins have gotten to Oddish’s head, as he initially acts very arrogant and sure of himself in this episode. Ash challenges him to a match only to get his ego partially deflated by Oddish. Ash doesn’t know when to accept defeat and starts claiming that Oddish cheated because his Sandshrew is unusually strong. So a trainer made their Pokemon insanely strong therefore they are cheating… seems legit Ash. I really do wonder how Ash has made it as far as he has.
So Oddish goes into this large tent of a gym and our heroes take a look inside. The gym looks like a cross between a crazy circus and Fight Club. They spot Oddish ordering his Sandshrew to jump into the water, which is not good for a Pokemon like Sandshrew. Although it seems to have built up a resistance to the water, so it doesn’t seem to be a problem. Yet Ash makes another scene by running in and tackling Oddish into the water. Since Oddish is a grass Pokemon embedded in the skull of a human he probably won’t mind being in the water.
Afterward, Oddish shows the trio his gym. He even shows them where he stores an impressive collection of Pokemon food that he himself has made. In this scene it becomes clear that Oddish cares for his Pokemon and wants them to be as strong as possible, even if his methods may be considered a bit extreme and unorthodox. Although Brock admits that Oddish’s Pokemon are in great shape because of the training.
As you are probably expecting, Team Rocket shows up in an attempt to steal Pikachu. You got it, their plan goes wrong as they steal Sandshrew instead of Pikachu. Of course the situation fixes itself, as Sandshrew manages to get out of the bag and digs down into the ground to head back to the gym, taking Meowth with him. Meanwhile Ash makes an arse out of himself by claiming that Sandshrew left because it saw how he and Pikachu were, and was angry for how it was treated. He then tries to get all of Oddish’s Pokemon to go with him but is ignored, as Oddish’s Pokemon love and respect their trainer just as much as Pikachu cares for Ash… well when Pikachu isn’t electrocuting Ash with voltage that would have killed a normal person by now.
Sandshrew shows up and Oddish is happy that his Pokemon came back safe and sound. Team Rocket shows up and insults Oddish’s gym and his Pokemon. So Oddish challenges them to a battle, using Sandshrew as his Pokemon. Sandshrew easily defeats Koffing, Ekans, and Meowth which forces Team Rocket to retreat. With his 100th victory, Oddish and Sandshrew pack up and get ready to head out on their own journey to get badges and compete in the league. Our heroes say goodbye and the character of the day that is Oddish walks off on his own path, never to be seen again. Him and all the other one time only characters we see throughout Pokemon.
There are quite a few episodes that made Ash my least favorite character in the entire show, and this episode was one of them. Ash thinks he is the toughest trainer in the world simply because he has two badges. Evidently badges do not make the trainer, as Oddish had no badges but a lot of victories and crushed Ash in a matter of seconds. Not only that but Ash didn’t accept defeat with any humility and just claimed that Oddish was cheating. Then he criticized Oddish’s methods and told him he was a bad trainer because of it, because you know it isn’t like Oddish’s training methods are showing results or anything. For a main character, Ash can be really unlikable at times.