So once again our gang is lost, this time in the mountains. Team Rocket is enjoying a nice lunch elsewhere, that gets suddenly ruined by a blast. Ash and co. here this blast too and both groups head to it. They find loads of trucks being smashed together by diglett digs. The foreman (no name given) is very distraught as the diglett continually prevent his crew from building the Gaiva Dam. Like many episodes already they are enlisting trainers to remove the Pokemon. In a twist of fate, it’s Gary Oak that comes for th challenge.
Both our heroes and our villains want to prove themselves by stopping the diglett. While all the trainers are being briefed on the situation the diglett attack. Gary is the first to try, but his Pokemon do not come out of their pokeballs. Actually no trainer can get their Pokemon to come out. Adorably all the thrown pokeballs are returned by the diglett, some trainers even say thank you. At this failure Gary leaves, saying there’s no point for a trainer to be here.
Jessie and James are working hard to evolve Koffing and Ekans. In stead of battle, their tears of love are what triggers their evolution. Meanwhile, Ash and co chase the diglett to see what’s going on. The diglett and dugtrio plant trees all over their mountain home. The foreman realizes how much damage a dam would cause the forest and decides to cancel the project. It’s not over without conflict though, Jessie and James unleash their brand new Weezing and Arbok. Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Pikachu, and not Pidgeotto fight the two Pokemon. Diglett and Dugtrio end up sending Team Rocket into the dam, solving two problems at once.
- Gaiva Dam
- Ash asks if Gary’s fanclub are Pokemon
- Gary’s a know it all
- The diglett are nice enough to return the thrown pokeballs to the trainers
- Jessie and James evolve their Pokemon through love
- The builder in this episode realizes them-self the harm they’re doing
- Jessie and James singing along to digletts chant
I’m surprised at how many environmental episodes their have been so far. This one has probably been my favorite message wise. I liked how the focus was much more on the Pokemon and not any kind of greedy antagonist. I think the fact the foreman had a change of heart by simply seeing the Pokemon existing in their environment. Of course it was as subtle as an environmental episode can be, but serves as a drastic departure from the episode it’s near identical to, Tentacool and Tentacruel. They have a similar set up except there is no antagonist, just ignorance. I still love Tentacool and Tentacruel for being a great tribute to old school monster movies, but this one trumps it in execution of the message.
I think that’s what sells this episode, the heart. There’s some mean spirited moments with Gary of course putting down Ash. Gary’s screen time only lasts a few minutes overall thankfully. Yeah there’s problems too, once again Pidgeotto gets the shaft compared to the more marketable Pokemon. Also again it’s an environmental episode, so it’s preaching a point. Even still the fact that the Pokemon don’t even want to come out of their pokeballs is a great plot devise. Again it’s also just super sweet the diglett bring the pokeballs back to each trainer. It shows very well that everything is not what it seems with these Pokemon.
Even Team Rocket contributes to the heart of the episode. Their side plot was relevant. They want their Pokemon to get stronger and evolve. It isn’t experience that improves their Pokemon’s abilities though. This is not close to the game, but Jessie and James musing on how they would never want to change their Pokemon while crying being what triggers evolution is just a great message in itself. The image above shows them as they realize what’s happening, the animators really showed pure joy in them. It shows love being just as strong as power and good on Pokemon for letting the villains be the one to show this off.