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Episode 39 Review: This Can't Be The End... ("The Forest of Pikachu")

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Recently I've been watching a lot of the original series. I've been undergoing a marathon of the whole anime, which I started in October 2013 in fact, and to my annoyance I've only gotten so far as Episode 39. I have started to watch at least one episode a day now, however. And I thought, now would be as good a time as ever to start making reviews of these episodes. Like, proper reviews. And of the original Japanese versions as well, to boot. And what better time to start doing this than with Episode 39, "The Forest of Pikachu" (Pikachu's Goodbye)?

EP039: "The Forest of Pikachu"/"Pikachu's Goodbye"

Original Airdate: 16/04/1998
US Airdate: 20/11/1998
Opening: Aim to be a Pokemon Master
Ending: Fantasy in My Pocket
Dare Da/Who's That Pokemon: Pikachu
Main Events: Ash attempts to release Pikachu, but he returns.
Debuts: None
Location: Forest of Pikachu



As pretty much everyone seems to know, EP039 was created in response to the Pokemon Shock incident in December 1997. The show went on hiatus for months due to an episode causing hundreds of Japanese children to suffer epileptic seizures or similar symptoms, and I think this episode was created in order to have a nice cutesy sort of an episode to mark the show's return from the hiatus. As a sort of way of reassuring parents that the show wouldn't harm kids again in the same way it did before, with a nice, warm simple episode like this.

The fact that this episode was rushed in such a short amount of time (four months!) implies that they had to cut quite a few corners to get this aired in time for the show's return. Which you can see. Common things throughout the episode include repetition of shots, lengthy montages, simple shots with limited animation, etc. And the fact that Meowth and Pikachu are the only Pokemon to ever appear in this episode also implies that they were deliberately making it easy for the animators as well.

Which are really my main gripes with the episode. Frequent repetition of shots, montages, etc. as well as the frustratingly simple plot (Pikachu meets up with a bunch of wild Pikachu and Ash wants to release Pikachu to be with the rest of its kind but it doesn't want to in the end) makes the episode kind of annoying for me. Sure, it's a nice episode - I'm not denying that - but the overall simplicity and cheapness of the episode force me to take off a few marks from it. But as I said, it's not really bad by any means. There's not much to talk about really other than that.

Rating: 4.0/5 - B
Verdict: A nice episode with a simple plot but with repetition of shots and flashback montages.
Next Time: EP040: The Four Eevee Brothers

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Comments

  1. HumanDawn's Avatar
    I never understood or got this episode's appeal, even when I was really young. It's almost a straight up rehash of Butterfree's departure episode, only Pikachu returns and doesn't have a love interest. I guess I can understand why they decided to make it, but that doesn't excuse how cheap and bad it is. They should have made Pikachu suffer from amnesia like they did in Hoeen. It would have been more devastating and interesting while keeping the cheap parts, which could be overlooked more.

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