AND WE'RE BACK! I'm sorry, guys, my Billy Mays mode is stuck.
SO THEY'RE OFF IN THE LAB! My God, I'm only halfway done.
Pikachu gets hooked up to a bunch of wires, it looks stupid, ya-da-dee, ya-da-dah, yep. It moans how damn stupid it looks, 'cause Pikachu is a ladykiller, and ladykillers are not suppose to be stupid-looking. In front of it the pesky humans are fretting over its status, looking at
HP MP just some bars with Pikachu's picture on the top left corner, and it's obvious to me that nobody can understand what the hell the screen is saying.
"Like Satoshi said, it absorbed a lot of electricity," Juniper says. "Other than that, it's all gooooooood."
"Then that means he's all right?" asks Ash.
WHEN THE HELL DID PIKACHU BECOME A MAN?
...This puts the "romantic scene" in question...in question. Oh-ho-ho yes.
"I'm so glad!" Ash says gladly. "You're gonna be all right, Pikachu!"
Pikachu is like, "DAMN RIGHT I AM, KID," and hops up and down. I don't think that's safe, considering all the wires attached to its electric sacks, but hey, what Godchu wants, Godchu gets. He can take a lickin' every now and then.
"STAY STILL," Juniper says, glancing back at Pikachu. "WE HAVE TESTS TO DO!"
Pikachu looks at Ash with an expression that says Homicidal Rage all over it, and Ash says, "You just have to wait a bit more." Pikachu's like, "Shut up," and some plump dude walks in through the doors.
The plump guy with the Beatles haircut says to Juniper, "I've got a new trainer who's starting their journey today."
Ah, that brings back memories. Hey, Ash, do you remember your first day? You know, when Pikachu tried to shock you to death? When you were embarrassed by your ten-year-old rival who could somehow drive a car? When you had nothing on but pajamas in front of your said rival? When all your food got stolen by Pikachu's vermin minions? When you pissed off a flock of Spearow, which ended up flying at you with the irresistible urge to kill? When you were almost murdered by a Gyarados and were saved by that tsundere redhead? How you destroyed her bike while fleeing for your life? How you were accused of being an animal abuser? How you fought off a villainous team that was only defeated by incredible luck and conveniently placed Pikachu clones?
"OMG, it's already time?!" says subbed!Juniper.
"New trainer?" asks Ash.
I hate to point it out to you, Ash, but whenever you visit the head Pokemon Professor of a new region, you end with a new girl, a fried bike, and eventually, the dude who cooks for you. But hey, maybe this year that new trainer'll be some sadistic asshole with a voyeur-fetish-thing going on. I dunno, just the vibe I'm getting.
"Professor Araragi distributes Pokemon to new trainers in the Isshu Region," answers Oak, who's somehow back in his whole "upstanding researcher" get-up. That's sad. I kinda miss his pimp gear.
Ash perks up perkily. "Starting Pokemon?"
Outside the lab room, a camera flashes. We zoom out a bit and find a green-haired, blue-eyed Paul. Not kidding. He's got the hair, his skin tone's a bit lighter but that doesn't matter, his clothes are even baggy in the right places. Although he's got unfortunate pigmentation (green hair, a shade like dying crab grass that was poisoned by a pesticide with an added drop of pee), he's pretty much what you would picture Paul as if he ever smiled. Hello there. You are now Paul II. Hello, Paul II. How nice to meet you. I don't think we'll get along too much.
Ah, a MySpace camera angle. Ha ha, now I know I won't like you.
Turning around, he spots Juniper, the plump, weird-haired assistant, and Ash walking down the hall towards him with a cart of Poke Balls.
"Hi, Shooti-kun!" says Juniper.
...pfffffftBAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Oh, LAWD. God, you've got my pity now, dude. Shooti. Oh, pity the fool. I apologize if that is someone's real name.
"Good morning, Professor," says...Shooti. Apparently, he's going to be the overly polite asshole rival. "Finally it is time for me to begin my journey as a Pokemon trainer." He smiles. I gag.
Ash's face looks so stupid during this scene, I have to say. The animators were off right there, probably weren't paying attention. If you don't believe me, you better see it yourself. Sorry. I'll continue.
"You've been waiting for a while," says Juniper. "Welcome to the world of Pokemon!"
Didn't we already go through with this?
Ash, being energetic and hopped up on sugar, says excitedly, "Yesterday night you were so excited that you didn't sleep, right? Well, I did!"
Now, don't get me wrong: I love Ash -- but sometimes I think his peppiness makes me want to hit him upside the head. I mean, JUST CALM DOWN AND TAKE YOUR MEDICINE AND STOP HARASSING THE POOR BOY. Not everyone shouts their love of Pokemon every few minutes. If he decided to take this journey, then I think he wouldn't exactly hate Pokemon, kid.
Shooti is like, "Oh God, you're a trainer?" with a Paul-ish analyzing look.
"I'll introduce you," says Juniper. "This is Satoshi-kun from the Kanto Region."
"Nice to meet you, Shooti!" says Ash with a smile. Aw, he wants to make friends, isn't that so damn adorable --
Shooti snickers when he hears "Kanto Region," and I know I was right when I gave him the name Paul II.
Ash is surprised. "What's so funny?" he asks.
"Nothing," says Shooti with a smirk, not looking at him. "It's just that I never knew you had the guts to come from such an old village."
OH SHIT, IT'S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG. PUNCH HIM, ASH, PUNCH HIM.
Ash snaps his head up. "Hey! What kind of person treats a town like that?"
YOU IDIOT, HE WAS INSULTING YOU, DAMN IT! NOW PUT UP YOUR HANDS AND DEFEND YOUR HONOR.
Juniper, the sissy, tries to cut off the argument before it goes anywhere. "Why, it's a debut day for a new trainer," she quickly interrupts. "Shall we get everything started?"
She walks over to the cart and says, "Okay, you have to choose a Pokemon from one of these three!" She picks up a Poke Ball and says, "First off, the Fire-type, Pokabu!" She throws the Ball up into the air.
After a sparkly blue entrance (they replaced the Poke Ball animation!), a small orange piglet appears on the ground in front of them. It sort of...oinks?...and smiles. Ash, a dedicated fanboy, squats down to the Tepig's (that's Pokabu's name in English, I think) eye-level.
"Wow, that's so cool!" Ash shouts. "You're a Pokabu!"
Yes, Ash. I think it knows that.
The Tepig, whether frightened or annoyed, runs off to the window, snorts a little fire, and poses.
Ash grins. "You're a Fire-type, huh? Seems like you have guts!"
YES, ASH. JUNIPER ALREADY SAID THAT.
"Next is the Water-type," Juniper says, before throwing a Poke Ball and calling, "Mijumaru!"
A strange ice cream cone concoction (alliteration, yo) appears, a seashell on its belly, black dots on its cheeks, and a brown potato where its nose's supposed to be. Its eyes are sparkling. I dunno what to call it: Cute? Weird? Odd? Unique? Yeah, I'll go with unique.
Ash apparently thinks it's cute, as he says, "Wow! Looks so cute!" I'm sorry, Ash, but I must disrespectfully disagree. That otter is strange-looking.
The Oshawott (again, official English name) smiles politely, trying to act modest, but is really soaking in the praise like...an otter...in water. Yep. Above, Paul II rubs his chin as though he's in deep thought. Sorry, but you're ten-years-old, kid. But, then again, if you compare him to Ash....Sad.
"And lastly, the Grass-type, Tsutarja!" says Juniper, throwing the final Poke Ball.
SMUGLEAF Snivy, in all its smug, snide glory, the arrogant little reptile, and right at that moment I know which one Paul II's gonna pick.
"This one seems to have guts!" says Ash, clenching his fists. Why he keeps describing them as "having guts," I'll never know. Again, Japanese.
The three starters line up in a row in front of Paul II. He rubs his chin (I think of Dr. Evil when I see this), and Ash says, "It's so hard to choose! Choosing any of them is great!"
"SHUT YOUR MOUTH," says Paul II. "I'M THE ONE WHO'S PICKING, MOTHERFUCKER!"
"Yeah, yeah," says Ash. "If it was me, I'd....It's so hard to choose...."
Paul II ignores him, Ash crosses his arms, trying his hardest to think poor boy, and then Paul II pulls out his camera and takes a picture of each one. Oh-kay.
"I've chosen!" he says. "Tsutarja!"
So fuckin' called it.
The arrogant reptile is like, "Ha, take that, fatties," Tepig narrows its eyes, and Oshawott...turns to stone. Yeah, told you it wasn't modest. Stone cold rejected, Ice Cream Otter! (Punny, right?) It falls over in a heap of sad, and it'll be afflicted with psychological and emotional problems in the near future, I fear. "I WAS REJECTED FOR A COLD-BLOODED REPTILE!"
Juniper gives Paul II a Pokedex. "Thank you very much," says Paul II, taking it and using it for the first time on his new Snivy. Some weird dude that sounds suspiciously like Mr. Voice-Over says something about something, blah, blah, blah, nobody pays attention to their Pokedex anyway.
Ash momentarily admires it, just before Paul II snaps it shut and stuffs it in his pocket. Ass. Juniper hands him five Poke Balls, telling Paul II of the Six-Pokemon-On-The-Person rule nobody listens to.
"Yeah, I already know," says Paul II. "It's basic knowledge." Oh, Paul II.
"And here's Tsutarja's Poke Ball," Juniper continues, handing it over. "Please take good care of him! And no taking lewd pictures....Unless you send me some, too."
"Yes!" says Paul II. He enlarges the Poke Ball (hehe) and returns his Snivy.
"To fulfill your dream as a trainer, train well!" says Juniper.
"Yes! Thank you very much!" says Paul II. He bows and leaves.
Ash, taking a leaf out of Team Rocket's book, follows Paul II outside (aw, what a cute little stalker he'll make! Does anybody else notice he only does this to his rivals?), sees him ("TARGET ACQUIRED"), and runs up to him.
"Hey, wait a sec!" he says. Paul II's like, "Oh, what does he want now?"
"Hey, Shooti, are you going to have a Gym battle yet?" asks Ash.
"Isn't that basic?" says Paul II with a smirk. Well, looks like we got a shtick going on. Damn quirks. Infodumps Paul II: "Pokemon trainers go to Gyms, and when they win they get a badge. You need all eight badges to challenge the Isshu League."
"That's right! Same as the Kanto League!" says Ash enthusiastically.
"PIKA-PII!" shouts Pikachu, running out of the lab. I'm pretty sure he's pissed at being left alone with a bunch of professional nerds. I would be. After all, I'm more geek than nerd. I would end up in a battle of Trivial Pursuit facts with them if it had been me. The fat rat runs into Ash's arms; Ash lifts him up, and they have another "moment." Squicky, but sort of adorable. A boy and his pudgy electric rodent. Would beat out Old Yeller any day.
"Is the check-up done?" he asks Pikachu.
"YES, IDIOT," replies Pikachu cutely.
Behind Ash, Paul II looks dumbfounded. "That Pokemon is..." he mutters. He pulls out his Pokedex, scans Pikachu, and blah, blah, blah, who cares? NOBODY READS THE DAMN POKEDEX ENTRIES. WE FILL UP OUR POKEDEXS SO WE CAN BRAG TO OUR FRIENDS AND GET INTO BILL'S SECRET GARDEN, OKAY?
Paul II takes out his camera and snaps a picture of Pikachu on Ash's shoulder. I'm starting to think he's making some stupid scrapbook, one with all the felts, the stickers, the pretty calligraphy, and -- I'm not a scrapbooker, okay? Instead of taking one picture, however, he takes several, all different shots with different angles, and now I'm freaked out. It's creepy, man.
"What are you doing?" asks Ash.
"This is why old villagers aren't that good," says Paul II. That cracking sound? Yeah, I just hit the table. "Listen!" he continues, raising his finger like a school marm. "In the Isshu Region, there is a Pikachu! It is an accident!"
"...What?" I ask. Japanese-to-English translation error? Does not make sense.
"It's not an accident..." says Ash. "Pikachu is my best friend." Pikachu looks like it's stifling laughter. "Yeah, okay," it says.
Paul II is momentarily surprised by their love for each other. I would be, too, if I saw that. Suddenly, he makes this down-right evil look that makes me jump away from the monitor. Now I know it's Paul. PAUL II IS REALLY A CLONE OF THE ORIGINAL PAUL.
"Are you strong?" asks Darth Shooti in a deep, unsettling voice.
"Of course!" replies the naive and soon-to-be-a-murder-victim Ash. "BRING IT, SON," says Pikachu. "You want a test?" asks Ash.
"Sure!" says Paul II.
I'm afraid for our boy.
We move to a battlefield, there are trees surrounding everywhere, and -- OH SHIT, ROCK MUSIC. We are getting serious, guys, the rhythm's fast, beat's faster, ELECTRIC GUITAR, and a SPLIT SCREEN, smiling Ash on one side, Paul II smirking on the other, a white backlight blinding my eyes --
"Go, Tsutarja!" cries Paul II. Out pops Mr. Smugleaf himself.
Ash has Pikachu out on the field already. "Go for it!" he says.
The tension's building, mood's stiff, everything's pulse-pounding and spine-tingling and...Paul II's taking photos. Way to ruin the mood, man.
"Why do you keep taking photos?" asks Ash.
"It's a record of my journey," replies Paul II. HA HA, I SO KNEW IT. HE'S A SCRAPBOOKER! "And it's also Tsutarja's first battle!"
Behind a nearby tree is that Oshawott from before. It took a leaf from Ash's taking a leaf from Team Rocket's book and stalked Ash to the battlefield.
What is it with this series and stalking, may I ask? The teenage thugs stalk, the young redhead stalks, the pink balloon idol singer stalks, the effeminate cactus guy stalks, the gaseous slapstick clown ghost stalks, the hand-for-a-tail monkey stalks, several Gym Leaders stalk -- what, is it a term of endearment in this world? And now the ice cream cone of an otter is stalking! What the hell? What the hell?
"It's also our first battle in the Isshu Region!" says Ash. "Victory will be mine! Pikachu, Quick Attack!"
Taking on a burst of speed, Pikachu rushes at Snivy, and HA HA, Snivy takes a beating. I'm wondering why Paul II took on the challenge when he knew Ash was an experienced trainer already.
"Tsutarja, Tackle!" shouts Paul II in a very dramatic fashion, and I laugh hysterically. I mean, you think you can win with Tackle, Shooti-boy?
"Avoid it!" shouts Ash, waving his arms like a headless chicken.
I never understood it...but why should the trainers tell their Pokemon to dodge when it's obvious to their Pokemon that they should? It's like saying, "Make me a piece of toast!" when you already have the bread in the toaster and are ready to turn it on.
Just a thought.
With the speed of toast popping out of a toaster, Pikachu avoids the attack easily. Snivy, not giving up, lands on the ground and, using the momentum, pushes itself into another Tackle. Again, Pikachu dodges.
"Okay, Pikachu! Thunderbolt!"
BUT WAIT! Just as Pikachu is about to launch the FURY OF A THOUSAND VOLTS, it...doesn't. SOMETHING'S WRONG. (Gasp!) Pikachu can't use its electric attacks!
Shocked (pun unintended, but it's a very nice touch), Pikachu is hit with a Tackle and sent flying back. It stands up, however, with little damage.
"Pikachu," cries a shaken Ash, "another Thunderbolt!"
But again, the electricity refuses to be let loose! Pikachu, tired and surprised, pants helplessly.
"What's wrong, Pikachu?" Ash asks.
"Are you really battling?" asks Paul II. Oh, you're really asking for it, boy.
"Of course!" Ash replies, Pikachu looking like it could be used for an asthma commercial. "Okay, Pikachu, Volt Tackle!"
Pikachu complies, dashes forward, pushes its electricity forward -- but nothing, it's got nothing, and to be honest, it looks a little lame, just jogging at a leisurely pace like an eighty-year-old on a treadmill.
"You're kidding me," mutters Ash.
Out in the battlefield, Pikachu stands there, panting, looking very, very tired and very, very pudgy.
We get a close-up of Ash's disturbed face (WITH ADDED SHADOW AND ANGST!) as he says, "Why isn't the move working?" I WONDER, ASH. MAYBE THE GIANT BEHEMOTH CLOUD YOU JUST FOUGHT, LIKE, TEN MINUTES AGO HAD A HAND IN THIS. MAYBE THAT DID IT.
Paul II, the sneering little asshole, asks, "Is that your strategy? Or are you asking it to use a move it doesn't know?"
ASH, STOP THE POKEMON BATTLE AND SHOW THIS BASTARD YOUR FISTS -- OF -- JUSTICE! DEFEND YOUR POKE-BOYFRIEND'S HONOR!
Giving up on electric moves, Ash cries, "Then use iron Tail!"
With very cool animation and a metallic badass tail, Pikachu slams its tail into...the ground? Oh, look, Snivy dodged in the nick of time! Damn. Instead of a scrambled green mess on the floor, a dust cloud puffs up. Pikachu retreats to its side of the field.
Smirking, Paul II cries, "Tsutarja, Grass Mixer!"
What the hell? How does a just-given-away Snivy -- which, if I recall, is supposed to be level five -- know a move that it doesn't learn until level sixteen? And don't give me that "the anime isn't like the games" BS. We just saw the damn reptile be given to a new trainer. They haven't been together for five minutes before they battled; that isn't enough time for the two to even figure out what moves the thing has and doesn't have!
I tolerated Paul because he was a trainer for as long as Ash, was a much more strategic battler (at least whenever Ash got hot-headed and emotional), and had a flaw that explained why his Pokemon were tough. I tolerated Gary because he was cool being an arrogant dick and he was around the same level as Ash with as much, if not more, experience with Pokemon and battling. But Shooti -- even with Pikachu at a disadvantage -- started his journey not even ten minutes ago -- and -- and -- it does not make sense! With the number of experiences and battles under its belt, Pikachu should be able to kick that Snivy's scaly green ass! It's like fan fiction gone wrong, horribly, horribly wrong!
...Why do I feel so compelled to rant and rave about a children's shonen anime?
In a series of complicated break-dancin' moves, Snivy whips up a tornado of leaves and green stuff with its tail.
"What's this move?" asks Ash worriedly.
"Are you sure you don't know?" Paul II boasts, smirking. "Go, Tsutarja!"
The tornado slams into Pikachu -- hard -- raises it high into the air, and as Ash and his little otter stalker watch with horror, slams Pikachu to the ground, right by Ash's feet. "Pikachu!" Ash cries as the dust cloud...clouds his vision. Once the dust clears, we see a trench carved deep into the ground, with Pikachu at the very end, spread-eagle against the wall.
Ash's eyes widen. "Pikachu!" he shouts, picking his poor rat and cradling it in his arms. I believe this is Romantic Scene Number Three. Ash grits his teeth.
"The round has ended," says Paul II. He says to Snivy, "For a first battle, our teamwork was pretty good."
DON'T GIVE ME ANOTHER REASON TO BITCHSLAP YOU, PAULY-BOY. HAX, I SAY! HAX!
"It was good to choose you," he says before returning Snivy to its Poke Ball. "You," he says to Ash, "I would learn the basics first."
Aw, hell no. You did not just say that.
Ignoring him, Ash runs Pikachu back to the lab. As Ash leaves, Mr. I'm-Beating-Paul-Out-For-The-Position-Of-Biggest-Dick-Around flips his hair and smiles. I'm pretty sure he steals lollipops from mouths of babies, crushes them under his feet, and takes a picture to capture the moment. Damn it! Why do I love to hate him? It's like he reminds me of every ten-year-old brat I had to deal with ever.
Back inside the lab, the wires are hooked back up to Pikachu's cheeks, everyone's clustered around the screen, and I wonder why they would do that same method when it hadn't worked before.
"What's wrong with Pikachu?" Ash asks.
"I think Pikachu is in Overload situation," replies Juniper. Could this be a Matrix or Terminator reference? Dunno. I'm ashamed to admit I never saw the movies. BUT I SAW TERMINATOR: SALVATION! I'm still cool, right?
"Overload?" asks Ash.
"Pikachu received too much electricity from the thunder clouds from before," she replies.
"There was a change in its body, so it can't use Electric-type moves," says Oak.
SERIOUSLY, WHY THE HELL DIDN'T YOU GUYS NOTICE THIS BEFORE? Pah, you're called the leading researchers of all thing Pokemon for nothing.
"That can't be," says Ash. He looks at Pikachu. "Does that mean Pikachu can't use Electric-type moves from now on?"
"OMG!" yells Juniper as the screen goes fuzzy, before she can reply.
"What's this?" asks Oak.
Still stuck with the wires, Pikachu's cheeks start spilling electricity like an overflowing Styrofoam cup of beer.
OMG! The ominous black cloud is here! EVEN THE CLOUDS ARE STALKERS! And it's hovering over the lab! Oh no!
Inside the lab everything electric is going as fuzzy as a Ursaring's ass.
"Okido Hakase! Those cloud out there!" says Juniper.
"It's the same as the airport!" he says.
We zoom out from the building to see the cloud once again turning into a Vortex of Evil, its center focused on the lab building. Up in a tree is the wild child from before with her banana dinosaur on her shoulder, watching the cloud.
"It's happened again..." she mutters.
Back at the lab, a lightening bolt hits one of the metal rod thingies lying around for whatever purpose a metal rod thingy does, which transmits the lightning down onto Pikachu, making all the wires on its body burst. The power goes out; the only thing emitting light is Pikachu, who looks like a visual pun for the Energizer Bunny, in my mind.
"Restore the system!" Juniper says to her assistant.
Ah, our little stalker Oshawott returns to us! Well, it doesn't really matter 'cause we're focusing on Juniper again, who, looking out the window, mutters, "Are...those...clouds?"
MAYBE. JUST MAYBE.
"A legendary Pokemon named Zekrom might have made those..." she finishes.
Oak, Ma'am Ketchum, and Ash stare at her in bewilderment.
"Zekrom?" asks Ash.
"A legend from the region tells us a large thunder cloud means a Pokemon that looks over both humans and Pokemon," says Juniper. "Thunder that erupts for a while means it may be a god using its iron fist for judgment."
"It also might mean that its pillars in the sky..."
Before she can finish her sentence (DUN-DUN-DUN), Pikachu gets flooded with electricity, lighting up the room with its Zeus Bolts.
"Pikachu!" cries Ash for the fortieth time this episode.
Watching as Pikachu suffers this torture, Mr. Voice-Over says in his shady voice, "Something strange has hit Pikachu. Will Pikachu be able to regain its electric powers? Satoshi and Pikachu's new journey has started very turbulently."
TO BE CONTINUED.
Yes, kids, stay tuned to see whether Pikachu dies or not! Check back in to see if our cute mascot will be disabled for life! Keep watching to see whether there are anymore stalkers we can add to our growing list of repeat offenders!
Yeah, from the video I was watching, the ending theme and all that was cut off. Ah well. Maybe next time.