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Pokemon – Season 1 Episode 4 Retro Review: Not Out of the Woods Yet

Episode four starts off with a brief recap of the previous three episodes. We then switch to the present where Misty shrieks in terror after they encounter a Weedle. Ash tries to get Pikachu to weaken the Weedle first, however Pikachu chooses that now is a good time to pull a mini futon out of nowhere and take a nap (AKA he is being lazy). The Weedle ends up taking a liking to Misty and tries to climb up her leg, and she runs away screaming for Ash to catch it.

Ash summons Pidgeotto and starts fighting the Weedle. Meanwhile as Misty is still putting as much distance between her and the Weedle as possible, she is ambushed by a guy wearing a few pieces of samurai armor and wielding a katana. He asks Misty if she is the trainer from Pallet Town, he leaves after she tells him that she isn’t. Misty immediately realizes that he is after Ash. Meanwhile Ash is still fighting the Weedle. Just as he is about to catch it, the guy in samurai armor shows up and distracts him.

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Apparently the guy’s name is Samurai, even though he looks like a generic bug catcher trainer that a player would encounter in the game. Regardless it is a bizarre choice for a name, and you’d think that the writers could have come up with something other than a title for a name. Ash finally realizes that he has forgotten about the Weedle and sees it escaping. He tries to capture it but it is too late and it gets away. Ash blames Samurai for tripping him up, while Samurai counters saying that Ash is clumsy. The two of them decide to have a Pokemon battle.

Samurai summons a Pinsir, and Ash summons Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto is quickly defeated by the Pinsir and Ash summons his next Pokemon, Metapod. Ash quickly realizes that Pinsir could snap Metapod in two with the sharp horns on its head. As Pinsir charges in Ash has Metapod use harden. This destroys Pinsir’s horns, forcing Samurai to call Pinsir back. He then summons his own Metapod. This is probably one of the more infamous battles in the series as neither Metapod can do anything else but use harden.

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So after several hours of a Metapod staring contest, a large swarm of Beedrills arrive. Samurai recalls his Metapod and starts running away like the devil is chasing him. I don’t blame him, because apparently a Beedrill is a little over three feet in size. If I was getting chased by a large horde of oversized bees, I’d run too. Ash tries to recall his Metapod but a Beedrill grabs it and flies away. Ash, Misty, and Pikachu run away and follow Samurai. They find a hiding spot… right nearby a tree covered in Kakunas. Kakuna, for those unfamiliar with Pokemon, is the second stage between Weedle and Beedrill.

Ash sees his Metapod on the tree and declares that he sees it a little too loudly. The Kakuna notice him and decide it is time to hatch, and so our heroes are chased away by a smaller group of Beedrills. They hide in Samurai’s cabin and decide to wait it out for the rest of the day. While they wait, Samurai blames Ash for letting the Weedle get away so that it could get help from the rest of the swarm and criticizes him for leaving Metapod behind.

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Early the next morning, Ash sneaks out of the cabin and heads to where Metapod is. As he arrives he is ambushed by Meowth and Team Rocket. Despite clearly being aware that there are Beedrills in the area, Jesse and James insist on making a lot of noise and explosions with their motto. This results in the Beedrills waking up. Ash barely manages to dodge the Beedrills and they go after Team Rocket. Jesse and James were prepared for Beedrills, however the tank they made to protect themselves was made out of paper and got devoured by Weedles. While Team Rocket runs from the Beedrills, Ash picks up Metapod.

As he is running Ash blames Samurai for Metapod getting left behind, but then corrects himself and says that it is his fault. He promises that he will never abandon a friend ever again. One Beedrill followed Ash and flies in to attack. Metapod jumps in the way and destroys one of the Beedrill’s stingers, forcing it to retreat. As Ash holds Metapod in his arms, it suddenly evolves into a Butterfree. As the rest of the Beedrills move in to attack, Ash orders Butterfree to use sleep powder. Butterfree is able to knock out all the Beedrills along with Team Rocket.

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Shortly afterward, Samurai shows Ash and Misty the path to the Viridian Forest. Ash reminds Samurai of their unfinished match, but Samurai turns him down saying that Ash is not a novice and that he still has a lot to learn. Ash and Samurai then promise to someday fight one another again.

I do wonder why they chose to have a character run around in samurai armor int his episode, as it felt sort of out of place in Pokemon. Sure it is intended to be a cultural reference for Japan but that kind of thing should be more subtle and not in your face. Although, Samurai is the first example of a character in which we see them only in one episode and then never again save for flashbacks. Throughout the series Ash makes a bunch of empty promises about future rematches against other trainers that end up never happening.

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But overall this was a decent episode. We’ll be meeting Brock in the next episode, for real this time. Episode five review will be up not before long.



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