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Nerves of Steelix!


This episode was one of the best Gym Leader battles in the anime yet. I liked how Ash was out running with his Pokemon at the beginning, it hints that they could have been doing some other training too. It was cool that we got to see both Brock's and Jenina's Onix again as they Tackled TR's giant Wobbuffet machine. I liked Brock's taunt: "Let's see what that Wobba-whatchamacallit is made of! Go, Onix!"
Steelix's first appearance was cool and menacing, as it knocked the Wobba-Warrior back down the cliff. Jasmine's leap off the cliff to somersault and land on Steelix was cool. Right from the start, her personality seemed quite different from the games. But maybe it was just her battle facade, because it did take her a while to get emotionally ready for another battle after what happened with Ampharos. Brock's imiation of Ash's Pokedex on seeing Jasmine was hilarious:

Ash: Is that...?
Brock: (imitating Ash's Pokedex) Jasmine--the Olivine Gym Leader. She's a natural beauty but prefers simple attire, choosing hair barrettes as her only accessory.

Steelix blasting off TR with Crunch and then Iron Tail was cool. Then came the battle. It was a cute touch to have Jenina serve as the ref, she's the youngest one I've seen yet. The Pikachu vs Magnemite battle was pretty good. They were both very agile so they kept dodging each other's attacks until finally Ash had to have Pikachu take a hit to get into better position to actually connect with an attack. It also showed a fairly rare use of Thunder Wave, and it apparently has a couple of different strengths in the anime. We've seen it used as a paralysis move in the anime before, but Magnemite's version of it seemed more like a damaging attack. Magnemite falling to just a Thunderbolt and a Quick Attack might have seemed unrealistic considering its resistance, but keep in mind that the Quick Attack slammed it into the wall, so it took extra damage from that. Next came Steelix, who defeated the already tired Pikachu pretty easily. At least they showed Pikachu's Thunderbolt barely fazing Steelix, which is realistic since it's half-Ground.
The Cyndaquil vs Steelix battle was excellent. Seeing Steelix use Sandstorm to avoid the Flamethrowers from Cyndaquil was an original idea. Cyndaquil using Flamethrower to push itself away from the wall at one point was cool. Ash used another good strategy too, he had Cyndaquil go down through one of Steelix's holes and surprise it with a Flamethrower from the other side. When Cyndaquil went back down the hole, Jasmine said "I'm not falling for that again, Ash Ketchum!" Sounds like something Misty or his mother might say, using his last name like that, that was funny. A few minutes later, Ash repeated an earlier strategy by having Cyndaquil aim a Flamethrower at the ground to push itself up and avoid a direct hit. It did, but the Iron Tail still struck a glancing blow and almost knocked Cyndaquil out. That would've been the perfect chance for it to evolve, but I guess we can't have everything, darn writers. Oh well, Cyndaquil's Flamethrower heating up Steelix's Sandstorm was a really cool idea. I liked how Cyndaquil really turned up the power on it twice, the attack looked nice and strong. When it all stopped, it was funny how it looked like Steelix wasn't hurt since it was standing stock-still, but then we noticed it was steaming and then it suddenly collapsed.

An excellent battle overall. I liked how TR didn't interrupt this one since they were dealt with at the beginning of the episode.

Geodude's rating: 9 out of 10

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