At first glance, this appears to be little more than just your "run in the mill" tag battle episode. We have all of the elements: two young twins who are really overconfident in their battling, the opponents having their pokemon combine their attacks in a pseudo-contest fashion, Ash and another main protagonist teaming up to stop them, etc. The only difference in this scenario is that Ash and his partner of the tag battle (Cilan), although they were cornered at first, managed to defeat the twins without going back and challenging them again.
The double battle that takes place during most of the first half was arguably the most prevalent aspect of the episode. It was nice to see Unfezant
compete in an actual battle since... its two-minute beatdown from Roxie's Koffing
during BW083. (Yes, poor Unfezant doesn't get used much in real combat, unfortunately), but it felt that all Unfezant had done was support Pansage
in the air. Braviary
combined its attacks with Drilbur
, yet Unfezant only used two real attacks during the entire battle. It was a horrible resolution to what should have been Ash and Cilan teaming up with equal prominence instead of having one of the trainers act as the other's support.
I also felt that Cilan should have used his Stunfisk
, an actual Ground-type pokemon, instead, considering that the the two COTDs in this episode used a flying-type and a ground-type, respectively. Frankly, I don't like Pansage too much, and I feel that it is overused compared to some of the other members of Cilan's team. Meanwhile, Stunfisk doesn't get too many battles, yet it has some very powerful and diverse moves. Both its Scald and Thundershock would do wonders against its opponents, and having Cilan use Stunfisk instead would have better led to Cilan suggesting to the twins to catch Water-types, considering that the twins' pokemon are at a disadvantage against those types of opponents.
The second half of the episode was rather bland, in my opinion. I already got the gist of the two twins' personalities during the first half, but I hated having to hear them repeat the exact same lines and catchphrases again and again. Outside of the twins catching two water-type pokemon species that Ash also has members of back at Professor Oak's lab, I couldn't have cared less about the twin's "accomplishment" in battle. If these two characters are going to compete in more tag battles, then why would they bother having their own two pokemon (two each, I mean) combine their attacks? If Buizel
won't be used with Braviary or Drilbur, respectively, what is the freaking point?
But I did like the inclusion of the wild Swanna
at the end of the episode, and Cilan just realized that he screwed up big time. Cilan told these two trainers to catch water-type pokemon so their team could be more diverse, and the two Water-types that they did caught beforehand had very little to do with their "sky and earth" theme. The two twins would have probably been happier if they had caught the part Ground-type Palpitoad and the part Flying-type Swanna
. I guess an A-class connoisseur's skills have to be limited. It is nice to see that Cilan made a little mistake with his "tasting time;" this rarely happens.
Overall, this episode was average. The battle was interesting to watch, and I liked that both Braviary and Drilbur got proper screentime from all of this (Drilbur only got a flashback and a few cameo episodes under its belt, while this is Braviary's anime episode debut). Nevertheless, this was just another tag battle episode, with very slight differences between this one and ones that had aired in past series. I liked that the writers didn't attempt to make this into a "lose and rematch" plot line. I mean, if Ash lost a battle here before he got to Higaki City against two generic trainers, that would have been very disappointing.
I won't be commenting much about Ash scanning Buizel and Corphish into the dex. Logically, this anime does not make much sense, and the pokedex bits are primarily for the audience members who need to be reminded that these pokemon species exist in the first place. Ash scanning pokemon species that he had already caught or interacted with regularly had happened since the original series, so there shouldn't be too many complaints.
Next week's episode should be "interesting."