Thoughts: Pokémon Origins Episode 3

Episode 3 is the best yet, as Pokémon Origins remains red hot!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/27/2013 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Now that’s more like it. Episode 3 once again scoots ahead through parts of the game and lands us at the beginning of Red’s confrontation with Giovanni. Hands down, Giovanni is one of the most awesome bad guys in the series, so I was thrilled that he didn’t get the recap treatment poor Misty had to suffer through. Red’s initial battle with the Team Rocket leader goes very, very badly, as he’s flat-out smashed by Giovanni. This defeat is important on a number of different levels, as it further develops Red as a person and trainer, and leads to a very satisfying emotional climax not yet seen on the show.

Up to this point on Pokémon Origins, Red’s been moving forward with little resistance on his quest to complete the Pokédex. This has done wonders for his confidence, but without a taste of failure, Red ran the risk of becoming big-headed. Giovanni so soundly trouncing Red came at the perfect time and helps out in two ways; Red learns he can lose and that defeat is worst when it comes from the hands of a greedy Pokémon abuser. After Giovanni escapes, the episode quickly guides us through Red’s battles with the remaining gym leaders, but through it all he’s fueled by a burning desire to bring Giovanni to justice. With the seventh badge in hand, Red is ready to face the final leader, until he finds out who that person is.

Red is shocked to find that Giovanni, who he only knew as the mastermind behind Team Rocket, is also the eighth and final gym leader he needs to beat. The way this entire final showdown plays out is immensely satisfying and epic. Giovanni is portrayed as cocky and self-confident, but beneath his cold exterior there’s an internal conflict raging that the episode explores quite a bit. Something about Red irks him, and it isn’t until the end that it’s revealed why Giovanni feels so strongly towards the young trainer. I can’t say that Giovanni really redeems himself once all is said and done, but his actions speak volumes about the impact the battle had on him.

As far as Red goes, it was awesome seeing him take on such a powerful enemy and learn even more about what it takes to be a true Pokémon trainer. Red’s disgust of Giovanni went a long way towards personalizing his relationship with his own Pokémon (a relationship I found wanting in episode 2), as the impetus for his dislike of the man stemmed directly from the gym leader’s treatment of the monsters as tools. Hitting a wall with his defeat at the hands of Giovanni, and following the conclusion of the subsequent rematch, leaves Red in a much better mindset to face off against the Elite Four.

Blue didn’t escape some time in the spotlight, but he seems to have taken a step backwards from the maturity he showed in episode 2. At the beginning of the episode, Blue makes a decision that reeks of irresponsibility and carelessness, which sends Red into a rage. The confrontation was pretty heated, as Red genuinely appeared ticked at Blue for trying to skirt off lending a hand when he was really needed. Blue seems like he’s going to be flip-flopping between likeable and hatable for the duration, but hopefully he can get his head out of the sand before all is said and done.

Episode 3 was the strongest yet, by far. Red is developing into the character I thought of him as during the course of the video game, and I’m looking forward to see how far his journey will take him. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful battle scenes in this episode. The battling has consistently been keeping pace with the quality of the narrative, and with the face off between Giovanni and Red being so poignant, the quality animation made it all the funner to watch. Until next time, Pokémon fans!

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