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Abra & The Psychic Showdown (022)


No longer posting
Although they wanted to show Abra's Teleporting only self, I wish it would've done a few other attacks and not just Teleporting like it does in the games in the wild. Sabrina and her doll still scare me like crazy after all these years for some reason...


Well-Known Member
It is indeed creepy.


Well-Known Member
Sabrina was probably the most toughest gym leader Ash had ever had to face -considering his inexperience around that time. That whole evil theme with the hopelessness of Ash in battle with some risks at stake made it even more better in general. This episode definitely was not the most epic battle out of the entire Kanto saga, but the things around it and the personality of Sabrina made it all around it probably the most interesting gym leader out of the entire Kanto series.
Eah there go the writers again with their antics, this time overpowering the psychic types. :/ Teleport is supposed to be used to end a battle. How's any opponent supposed to win? Gym leaders aren't supposed to be completely invincible in battle.


Well-Known Member
In all fairness in Gen 1 Psychic pokemon were absolute beasts so Ash having a hard time with Sabrina makes sense


Active Member
A good episode no other gym leader in the series will match Sabrina in her cold and callous nature as she comes off in this episode.
Exactly. I love everything about Sabrina back in this point in time, especially the outfit. This is pretty much my favorite episode of the entire Pokemon anime.


The episode was good, Sabrina was one of my favorite gym leaders

Kutie Pie

"It is my destiny."
As a children's show, Pokémon is known for being light-hearted and goofy as the audience follows Ash on his journey and watches him grow and interact with friends. Occasionally, however, creepy elements sneak their way through, such as the Beedrill swarm and the legend of Maiden's Peak. “Abra and the Psychic Showdown” is notable for being an episode full of creepiness if not downright nightmare fuel. It is the debut episode of Sabrina the teenage witch of Saffron City Gym, and from the very first minute of the episode, she is introduced as a mysterious, shadowy character with a young girl on her lap accompanied by a mysterious song composing of a dark piano melody and what sounds like cries in the background.

Yeah, not creepy at all. Excuse me for a minute while I change my underwear.

For those of us who didn't know how the games went, needless to say we had no idea what was going to happen. We didn't know who Sabrina was, or what she did, and thus her role was more-or-less a mystery—as it should be. For those who did know about Sabrina, they probably wondered why the girl was there and why she scared them so much. I do not blame you, the girl creeped me out, too. But luckily, mood whiplash exists to make us laugh by having Ash and the others get confused at the sudden celebration of them walking into the city—right after Ash falls off a cliff because of said-girl. (Too bad this episode didn't air on Halloween, albeit it was still in October.)

I have to say that Team Rocket's disguise is probably one of their weirdest, yet better ones thus far as they were not recognizable except for Jessie's voice, though a normal person would probably question why Hawaiians are handing out leis in the middle of a city at night. (But then again, Team Rocket hasn't really been in a lot of disguises right now, this is their... I want to say third disguise.) It's funnier when James speaks normally while in-disguise after grabbing Pikachu even though his falsetto is even more of a falsetto than it was as a valley girl. But the humor peaks when Ash freaks out over the realization they kissed him on the cheek.

Then it immediately stops being funny when the girl shows up and paralyzes Jessie and James, but then she rescues Pikachu and the others. Odd how she has a bit of ambiguity to her. I mean, she leads Ash over a cliff, but then she saves them. Adds to the mystery and creepiness, anyway. Now I love how Sabrina's gym is also an institute for psychics, but it's only glanced over, sadly. And I'm sorry to say this, but the guy who approaches them reminds me of a brunette Wizardmon complete with a strange, gruff accent. I don't know, must be the hair. The best humor in this episode has to be when Ash bends the spoon forcibly and laughs about “muscle over mind”.

And it stops being funny when the girl appears to mind-screw the guy. Does she torture the people there like that all the time? Despite that, Sabrina remains one of my favorite gym leaders. Thing is she doesn't become my favorite until a little bit later, but she proves herself unique here. For one thing, outside of Brock and Misty, Sabrina has a story behind her character. Lt. Surge had a personality, sure, but we didn't get much out of him. With Sabrina, the mystery is set up for us immediately that is eventually revealed over time. But until then, all we know about her is she's emotionless and ruthless. That's not something you usually see in Pokémon, but one trait out of many the Indigo League saga is well-known for are the personalities given to its gym leaders along with their gym battles. Not that other seasons don't do this, but as it was possible they still believed the show was going to be only one season at this point, the writers felt they had to give the gym leaders some characterization outside of their games. And it works really well in terms of being memorable. Sabrina happens to be one of the better successes because of her uniqueness.

Another is this is our first encounter with a (pure) Psychic-type Pokémon, and the anime doesn't pull any punches to show off just how powerful they can be. We don't notice it with Abra, but once it evolves (very quickly, might I add, which isn't exactly realistic due to being sudden), almost at a glance we can tell Ash is screwed. What happens is the manipulation of lightning bolts that chase down Pikachu, then followed by a silly little pantomime as Kadabra controls Pikachu's body before it suddenly becomes brutal with it slamming him up and down without hesitation.

Damn. They really wanted to show off Psychics even if it's only a tiny sample of what they can do. And this is about a year before we get to see Mewtwo, a more powerful Psychic, in action. (And considering there are few Psychic Pokémon at this point, the chances of seeing another one is few, but the next Psychic we do meet has a different power to show how versatile Psychic types are.)

The reveal of the dollhouse is quite possibly one of the creepiest things in the anime by far. Already you should know something is amiss by the bright colors and stillness of the outside world. When they walk into a house, the fact no one's around should tip you off if the cake being a lie—I mean fake doesn't. But the reveal of a doll in the bathtub and how it's looking at him through the mirror just right before the roof is taken off. Then Ash and the others are chased down a long path as the little girl walks behind them with her ball. Seriously, whoever played the voice of the young girl (probably Liza Ortiz) did her job really well. Her laugh and monotone voice is freaking creepy, and it manifests itself in this scene.

Luckily for them, a Chekhov's gun shows up: the man they met earlier who warned them to avoid Sabrina. Turns out he's a psychic, and he tries to get Ash to give up on challenging Sabrina through such means as... controlling him and making his pants fall down. Okay then. Funny, but odd. (Also funny is how before he ran to punch Mewtwo, he went up against a man with telekinesis who kept shooting him back. So in the movie, would that be a case of a nice callback, or something?) Once he's impressed enough by him, he tells him to go to Lavender Town and get himself a Ghost Pokémon.

And as we all know, only three Ghost Pokémon existed at this time, and they are unfortunately half-Poison and that Ghost-type moves didn't affect Psychics, and thus the balance was still broken. But games do not equal the anime, so no matter what, a Ghost was going to do the trick. Right?

Well... they do tricks, all right. I'll have on a fresh pair of underwear by then.

(Love the stinger of Team Rocket still being paralyzed, by the way. Always is a nice touch to have a brick joke at the end, Indigo League was good at that.)


Let's go to the beach, each.
I watched this episode in Japanese yesterday and it wasn't all-that different from the dubbed version; the BGM was good though and from the little Japanese that I understand, the plot was essentially the same. I'm still surprised by how much psychic powers Sabrina/Natsume had though. She was able to make Abra evolve using her will alone and that was pretty creepy; I'm surprised that she wasn't accused of cheating lol. Anyway, one of my favorite scenes from this episode was the beginning where Ash and friends were walking around at night. I just thought it was spooky and I miss the days when nighttime actually looked dark, not all indigo and purpley like the newer animation portrays it.
It's been said already, but Psychic types were OP back in the old days of Pokemon, so of course Sabrina is portrayed as nigh on indestructible.
I forgot how creepy she was. Also, its a shame she wasn't like this in the games she was in. Off-topic but, this episode made me feel that Lt. Surge should have the attitude he had in Electric Shock Showdown in the games.

Abra itself was a bit creepy in this episode, what with the unsettling tone it used to say it's name.

That dollhouse scene: creeeeeeeepy as sin!
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U.N. Owen

In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night ...
This episode was freaky in the sheer amount. I still wonder how many people did Sabrina turn into her dolls and puppets. Then the nightmare fuel wore off as Ash danced in his underwear.

Mega Altaria

☆~Shiny hunter▢~
Well, it was really seeming like that Ash was in a tough situation in this due to so-called OP Psychic types but at least Haunter saved the day for Ash. Disappointed that it wanted to stay with Sabrina and Ash didn't catch it, otherwise it would be his first and only Ghost type.

Mrs. Oreo

Team rocket's trap here with the warp tiles reminded me of Silph Co. I liked how Sabrina's Abra evolved into Kadabra and totally stomped on Pikachu and seeing Ash and his friends get turned into miniatures was cool. ^^


In all fairness in Gen 1 Psychic pokemon were absolute beasts so Ash having a hard time with Sabrina makes sense

I understood that concept, but Sabrina having psychic powers that could make people shrink and feel pain was way overboard lol.

Mrs. Oreo

I understood that concept, but Sabrina having psychic powers that could make people shrink and feel pain was way overboard lol.

Well at least her powers made her stand out from other gym leaders ha ha. Her occult-like powers were my favourite thing about the Saffron gym mini-arc. ^^


The light is coming
Great episode, but I found it pretty weird that Abra randomly evolved right into Kadabra. It seemed kind of pointless to me, because usually a trainer's Pokémon evolves in the anime right after a battle. I think it would've been more understandable if it was a Kadabra right from the get go.

Minor nitpick, though.