Ash and his friends are finally definitely headed toward Cinnabar Island like in this episode. They’re on a boat headed straight for it. Coincidentally Gary is also on board. He tells Ash that Cinnabar Island doesn’t have a gym, it’s just a resort town. Our heroes are pretty disappointed when they arrive at the island and find out Gary was right.
While searching for the gym our gang runs into an old man who likes telling riddles. He knows where the gym is, but won’t tell them directly. His riddle leads them to a dilapidated building that used to be the gym. The leader, Blaine closed the gym because only tourists were challenging him.
Disappointed walking around the tourist trap of Cinnabar Island, Ash and co. try searching for a place to stay for the night. Every place is full and Ash ends up exhausted and starving. They end up having to go the riddling old man’s hotel. He gives them free rooms since Misty solved the riddle that lead them to the hotel.
While this is happening Team Rocket are scheming their way to getting more Pokemon. They attack the Pokemon Lab and the riddling innkeeper is called in to help, which means Ash and the gang are called in to help. Pikachu and Pidgeotto are sent to save the Pokemon Team Rocket started catching in their balloon. The riddling innkeeper rewards Ash with a secret, Blaine built another gym “in a place where firefighters can never win.”
Everyone thinks the riddle over while dipping in some hot springs. On the girls side Togepi gets away from Misty and starts jumping on the faucet thing. This causes a secret cave to be revealed. They journey though the piping hot caves and find their way to a volcanic gym. Turns out the riddling man is actually Blaine in a wig. Ash challenges him to a battle.
Blaine sends his Ninetails and Ash strikes back with Squirtle. It ends up burning Squirtle up in just one hit. Ash tries again with Charizard which Blaine takes on with Rhydon . Since Charizard couldn’t care less he looses again. His last shot is with Pikachu. Pikachu does okay, even manages to knock out Rhydon with an electric attack by going for it’s horn. Blaine tries again with his Magmar. Pikachu is left on the edge of the ring about to take a nasty fire blast head on.
- Jigglypuff cameo
- Gary’s karmic Jigglypuff show
- Misty’s good at riddles
- Magmar “air lancing” is not a thing
This is what we’ve been building towards for twenty episodes. I liked that Jigglypuff popped back up to ruin Gary’s night. Especially since Gary’s trying to humiliate Ash. Other than that I was pretty disappointed. Basically I felt like our gang when they found out Cinnabar Island was a resort town.
The problem is how many things they do in this episode, it keeps everything rushed and unfocused. It all gets dragged down when they go on a montage for a hotel to sleep at. It’s not fun to watch our characters get repeatedly rejected. I was hoping Team Rocket would make it interesting, but their plan is stopped in like two minutes. The don’t even get a full battle Ash just straight up sends them blasting off immediately. I was hoping their journey toward the gym would be interesting, but that goes so fast too. It takes like another two minutes to find the entrance. It’s not even visually interesting inside the cave or gym.
The most disappointing thing was the gym battle. I thought it was fine that Blaine turned out to be the old man, but it was weird how his character personality basically turned 180. I didn’t want him to stay a hippy, but he had like no respect for Ash. This wouldn’t be so bad if he hadn’t just spent most the episode getting to know him. The battle itself is quick and dull. Normally the battles are the highlights, but they animate it so lazily. Neither sides ever end up in the same frame as each other. It’s mostly launching attack from separate frames. That is so jarring when most episodes have the Pokemon getting up close and on the same screen together. It leaves on a cliffhanger, so next episode could where the animation budget went. I hope so, it’s disappointing how boring and stale the series is starting to become.