Ash starts off the episode cockily going towards Vermillion city. Misty and Brock are starting to get sick of his attitude. Ash is sent to an unofficial Pokémon gym by a no name trainer. The gym is ran by A.J. who is pretty intense. A.J. expects Ash to be his 99th win in a row. A.J. is pretty cocky too, he manages to insult both Pewter and Cerulean city by saying how weak the gyms must be for Ash to have a badge from them. Understandable this gets Misty and Brock fired up. Whip in hand A.J. sends out his Sandshrew while Ash fires back with Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto quick gets one shot by Sandshrew. Ash tries again with Butterfree, who is also quickly defeating. Pikachu literally holds on to the group as Ash tries to lift him just to avoid being sent to his Sandshrew filled doom. This failure breaks Ash’s newly inflated ego. Team Rocket has watched the whole fight and takes interest in Sandshrew. The trio see how A.J. trains his Pokémon and it’s pretty intense. Ash gets angry over A.J.’s training style, but all the other people and Pokémon seem okay with it. Team Rocket is able to swipe Sandshrew while the trainers are distracted. They meant Pikachu, but both it and Sandshrew were in little yellow ball form. Since no one saw Sandshrew run away it’s assumed it ran away. This deeply upsets A.J. who has a deep bond with his Pokémon in spite of his training style. Sandshrew escapes Team Rocket and returns to the gym with Meowth attached to it. Ash sees how A.J. does deeply care for his Pokémon as he reunites with his Sandshrew. Team Rocket returns for Pikachu and a battle ensues. This time it’s A.J. who fights them instead of a main character. Sandshrew is able to take on both Koffing, Ekans , and Meowth in spectacular fashion. A.J. makes it to his 100th victory and I like to think Ash has begun accepting others for who they are. Strange moral for a Pokémon episode.
What I Liked
- A.J. is a proto e.v. trainer
- Pikachu trying to lift a little barbell
What I Disliked
- A.J.’s whip like what the flip
- Strange Pikachu pillow gag
- Ash is either too egotistic or too preachy throughout
- A.J. trains Sandshrew using a pool, this nullified it’s weakness to water
- Ash can’t take training styles different than his own well
Besides the summary I feel like I don’t have much to say about this episode. It was pretty middle of the road for me. This episode is centered solely on Ash and is beef with A.J.. Even though Ash’s irritating behavior normally would completely drag the episode down for me, it just didn’t. I think because in the end he was proven wrong about his ego and A.J.’s training style. A.J. is okay. He’s probably the first one off character I’ve liked okay. He’s pretty calm and collected. Even when Sandshrew disappears he stays more or less level headed. His training style is pretty tough and I find it weird that he uses a whip to order his Pokémon around. He’s all around all right though. Helps carry the episode when Ash simply cannot. Ash does ask him to join the crew on their journey and I’m not tore up that A.J. refuses. I’m just glad I haven’t hit another episode like samurai.