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
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