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Ash Catches a Pokemon

Maybe this episode should've been called "Ash Catches Two Pokemon"... Anyway, Kanto really started off with some awesome, classic episodes, didn't it? This was another one of them. The foundation continued to be set for the rest of the anime in this episode. Misty's fear of bugs was again established. We know from the last episode that she considers herself pretty and that she's a more experienced trainer than Ash, so maybe she was either thinking a little too much of herself or underestimating him. That's why it was so cool to see Ash teach her a lesson about love for Pokemon, right after she'd explained to him (annoyed as she was) some of the basic mechanics of battling and catching Pokemon. Some people like to bash Ash because of his enthusiasm in the early episodes, as well as initial lack of Pokemon knowledge, but I never understood that. Keep in mind, he was doing all this stuff for the very first time, taking the first steps to live out his dream. Who wouldn't be enthusiastic? As far as lack of knowledge goes, he didn't have access to the FAQs and full Pokedexes that we do. He had to obtain most of his knowledge from hands-on experience and by talking to others.
The little nighttime conversation between Caterpie and Pikachu was really cute. You didn't need a translator to figure out that Caterpie really wanted Misty to like it, and decided that maybe if it fully evolved, she'd appreciate it more. It's always nice to see an extra dimension to a Pokemon's personality, and Caterpie's was one of the first we saw in the anime. Then later Ash caught Pidgeotto, with Misty yelling at him about the stupidity of sending a Bug-type (Caterpie) in against it in the process. There was a bit of a "rookie mistake" by the dubbers, I think. Some people think Ash said, "Caterpie, Counter attack!" but I think he actually said, "Caterpie, counterattack!" as in make a counterattack, not use the Counter attack. I guess the writers were just getting used to how much they would stick to the games as far as battles were concerned. Anyway, Ash's timing was perfect when he recalled Caterpie, since it caused Pidgeotto to get its beak stuck in the tree. Too bad we never saw too much of a similar strategy in other battles later in the anime. ^_^ After the capture, Pidgeotto would go on to be a fixture in Ash's team, right up until the end of the Kanto episodes.
Seeing Team Rocket lose to Caterpie was great! Was that the start of their decline in skill? Maybe, that's up for debate. Anyway, Caterpie's String Shot was cool, and that battle finally got Misty to appreciate it, at least a bit. This was also the only episode in the entire anime to date that saw Ash catch two Pokemon and have one evolve, very cool.
And of course, this was the first episode that showed some Pokeshippy hints, or at least semi-hints. (For anyone who doesn't know, Pokeshipping is the belief that Misty and Ash have the potential for a romantic relationship.) First, Misty followed Ash after he said he'd go on without her, and when confronted, she stammered and fell back on the bike excuse. Then after Caterpie evolved, with the body language of an infatuated girl, she said to herself, "I've never known anyone like him. He really does love Pokemon."
Yet another classic episode to start off the anime.

Geodude's rating: 10 out of 10