So here we are... After 100 episodes and more than 2 years of waiting, Ash and co. have finally arrived to Iris
's hometown, the Village of Dragons. At first glance, it might seem like a typical homecoming episode. Iris reunites with the elder who gave her Axew
, the other main characters stay on the sidelines, and some interesting plot device happens that makes things rather hectic. Well, in this case, it seems to combine those elements of a homecoming episode with the "generic" filler in which Ash and co. assist with a "COTD's" situation. More than half of the episode was spent on Iris reuniting with her "childhood friend but we never saw her up until now" Shobu, who happens to own the only non-legendary fifth gen Dragon-type pokemon who has yet to debut in the anime: Zweilous
. She actually owns two Zweilous, and one of them evolved into a Hydreigon
near the middle of the episode who (like many other COTD pokemon who had evolved half-way through an episode) had a complete change in personality and caused a lot of destruction.
Of course, Iris is a up-and-coming "Dragon Master," so she obviously steps up to the plate to calm down the Hydreigon. I'm a bit relieved that Fujita did not write this episode, because otherwise he would have given Iris a special power that can instantly read a Dragon-type pokemon's heart. Since another writer constructed this episode and had reminded us viewers that Iris needs to put some effort in to calm down a Dragon-type, it was obvious that Iris was going to get up close and personal to solve this little issue.
The one aspect of the episode that I did like about this episode was that Iris actually used her freaking pokemon to assist her. When was the last time that she had actually called out her reserves at the same time? It was also nice that Iris even called out Axew, and that Axew worked alongside Excadrill
to calm Hydreigon down once it landed. I also liked seeing Emolga
climb on top of Dragonite
's head to help it fight Hydreigon in the skies, even though it had been made clear in the past that Dragonite can get a bit wild sometimes. It took some damn effort and observation skills from Iris to actually calm down her friend's pokemon. And for those who just do not plain like Iris at all, she does get bit in both arms by Hydreigon's mouth claws.
If it were not for the fact that most of Iris's pokemon had disobeyed her at some point and that the writers just magically had all of them obey Iris after only a few seconds of emotional bonding, I would have been more accepting of this episode's outcome. Indeed Iris did struggle with getting her Dragonite to stop attacking a Haxorus
during the start of the episode, and she still has problems getting it to obey her commands. Even though the elder calmed Dragonite down near the start of the episode, how is this enough for Dragonite to obey its own trainer just moments later? Realistically, Iris would not have been able to get all of her disobedient pokemon to obey her, much less work together. Just seeing Emolga and Dragonite cooperating with each other at all cannot be called anything but a DEM. So yes, another problem swiftly and magically solved because the writers seem to prefer Iris to do anything but develop and change on her own; her pokemon and the Hydreigon were responsible for the issue and Iris had to be the one to calm them down.
And what is with Drayden lurking in the bushes, observing Iris, and making assumptions that Iris has the potential to become a powerful Dragon Master? Iris is already practically at that level without much growth on her part, and all of the techniques that she had used to calm the Hydreigon down in this episode could have also worked on pokemon with different types.
Has Iris really developed throughout the course of her time on the main cast to justify Drayden's decision to battle her again? Nope. Was there any true exposition on Iris's character outside of the fact that she had a childhood friend who was just introduced here to create a conflict for this episode? Nope.
Overall, this was an average episode. The episode slated to air in two weeks seems to combine what will most likely be a rushed gym battle with Iris's "true backstory" (the writers seem to rewrite Iris's past a lot, don't they?).