This was an interesting episode. It simultaneously dealt
with the serious issue of the treatment of Pokemon (whether they should be
confined to collars and leashes) and the more lighthearted topic of extreme
sports, and still ended up being a solid episode.
It was interesting how at first Ash didn't like the idea of Pokemon being
confined to collars and leashes and was astonished that Gary did just that
to his Arcanine. But when it was explained that the Pokemon didn't seem to
mind it at all, and when Mr. Shelby explained what Extreme Pokemon was all
about, he warmed up to the idea. And of course, at the realization that Gary
was competing, Ash wanted to compete too. Shelby's explanation of how Extreme
Pokemon got its start was interesting and fit in well with his Tauros-pulled
cart. It was cool to see so many Pokemon eggs...apparently eggs for different
Pokemon are colored differently, for example we saw a yellow egg with black
stripes, which obviously came from an Electabuzz. There were lots of baby
Pokemon at the daycare too: we saw Natu, Aipom, Wooper, and a two-day-old
I liked how Ash had little trouble getting used to the skateboard Shelby
let him use. It even revealed a bit more of Ash's past, with the flashback
of him doing "mountain boarding" in the hills near Pallet. When Ash hit a
rock and fell off the board, it was cool to see Gary help by having Arcanine
block his fall. It's nice to see the continuation, with Gary and Ash being
friends now, but still rivals. Ash made a good decision to use Bayleef, and
I liked his explanation of the reason: "Cyndaquil is too laid back...and Totodile
can be hard to control sometimes".
The little scene with J&J sleeping while Meowth watched "the twerp"
was funny. It had an obviously reused animation with Jessie returning Wobbuffet
twice though. Not cool.
We got to see several Pokemon belonging to the competitors, some of which
we haven't seen in a while like Exeggutor, Scyther, Granbull, Beedrill, and
Machamp. The pileup right at the start of the race was funny. We saw the Scyther
dragging its trainer behind while flying, and another competitor's Dodrio
with its three heads fighting. When TR stole Gary's Arcanine, I had to wonder
why Ash didn't just have Bayleef use Razor Leaf right then to cut the net.
I guess maybe since they were on kind of a cliff the positioning might not
have been right for Arcanine to land...or something. Anyway, it set things
up for Ash having Bayleef launch him on the skateboard off that ledge and
into the balloon, with the skateboard puncturing a hole, that was cool. When
the balloon landed and everyone struggled out, I was a little confused as
to why Arcanine didn't help out when Jessie sent out Arbok. Ash didn't have
any of his Pokemon with him so he needed help. Sure, Gary wasn't there to
command it, but Arcanine did know that Ash was a friend of its trainer, so
it could've helped. But anyway, Bayleef came running up just in time to attack.
Surprisingly enough, Arbok was actually winning the battle when Gary caught
up and told Arcanine to attack. Good timing, Gary. We got to see Arcanine
use Flame Wheel to blast off TR, which looked pretty cool.
When the race resumed, Ash launching off that higher ledge to land next
to Gary was great. The last stretch of the race was suspensful, and Bayleef
using Vine Whip on herself to boost past the finish line was cool. I liked
how Gary took the loss, he didn't get upset or angry, he just smiled and applauded
like a good sportsman. Then we saw Ash get an egg as a reward from the Shelbys
for protecting the eggs in their daycare from Team Rocket. You probably know
already what it will hatch into, but I won't say it just in case you don't
So overall it had a few minor problems, but it was a solid episode with
the acquisition of what would, a few episodes later, be a new addition to