Our heroes are finally able to catch Pokemon in the Safari Zone. Ash and Misty are super excited to be catching Pokemon. Their excitement angers and old man who points a gun at them. His name is Kaiser, he’s the warden of the Safari Zone. He explains the rules of the area to them while still pointing his gun. Misty sees a picture of him with a dratini from thirty years ago, Kaiser exclaims their’s no dratini in the Safari Zone. Ash asks Professor Oak about the dratini, but it just ends at him telling Ash to send him more Pokemon.
As our heroes prepare to start Safari Zoning, Team Rockets attacks them. Kaiser shoots at them until they flop in failure. Team Rocket offers a Pokemon catching contest, if the trio wins they’ll stop bothering them. If they lose Team Rocket gets all their Pokemon. With Brock’s help Ash catches some Tauros. He also accidentally catches some more until he has his own herd. Team Rocket never planned on playing fair and interrogate the warden about dratini.
Our heroes still have Safari Zone fun. Misty goes fishing with her Misty-shaped lure. It fails when she snags a gyarados. Kaiser is stuck in Team Rocket’s tickling machine, but is freed when he runs into Ash and co. Jessie finds dratini while James and Meowth nearly die underwater. They end up scaring the cute little Pokemon away. The heroes find Team Rocket and declare victory since Ash used all the Safari Balls. Team Rocket throws a bomb in the water. Kaiser, Ash and Misty’s Staryu go in after it. Ash nearly drowns carrying the bomb up, but is rescued by a dragonair of all things. As sends Team Rocket blasting off with their own bomb. The dragonair is also revealed to be Kaiser’s friend from thirty years ago.
- This episode did get banned for guns pointed at Ash, but Here Comes the Squirtle Squad and The Kangaskhan Kid did not
- Not only do our heroes find 30 Tauros, but they catch them all
- Call back to Team Rocket’s St. Anne disguise
- Meowth with a Hitler stashe
- Kaiser and dragonair’s have a really tearful reunion
So getting this out of the way, this episode was banned in America due to Kaiser’s heavy use of guns. Unlike Beauty and the Beach it never got dubbed either. This does create a plot-hole that I actually remembered, Ash’s Tauros. If you were watching this as it aired it was never really explained how he got a herd of them. This is a shame because it’s not even a bad episode. It’s got good stakes and heart.
So this episode is centered around a Pokemon catching contest. It’s pretty silly that Ash expects Team Rocket to play fair after everything he’s been through by this point. It was pretty clever of them to use it as a diversion to try and catch the dratini. Watching Ash catch all his Pokemon is pretty boring though. Being in the Safari Zone their’s not battling allowed, but unlike the games he can’t even throw things at them. It’s just Ash mindlessly catching Pokemon, heck even he sees it’s too easy.
The highlight really is the last third when Team Rocket finds a dratini. The intensity Team Rocket gives by throwing a bomb in the water is pretty unparalleled so far in the series. It’s the most suspenseful thing so far and it has a great payoff with a beautiful scene of dragonair carrying Ash to safely. It even gives Kaiser some character with him breaking down realizing dragonair was his dratini friend.