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Extreme Pokemon

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 Sentret.
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 know.
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 Ash's team.

Geodude's rating: 7 out of 10