Ash almost beat Palmer, you have to hand it to Grotle. I agree that in retrospect knowing how much he jobs makes people wish he really won this battle, but in context with Palmer being the strongest Sinnoh Frontier Brain I think him losing was fine. Ideally, Grotle would’ve won, but whatever. Ash beat Brandon only after multiple attempts and that was using the Pokémon that’d he’d had the longest, you could argue some of his strongest. So him coming extremely close to beating Palmer makes sense. Grotle was awesome regardless; him swallowing the Energy Ball and the result of it was surprising, I did not remember that. I also love how it inspired Dawn.
This was a cute arc. Nothing too crazy happened, but it was a nice breather from everything intense that happened beforehand. It was grounded and gave some good mini focus to Dawn and Barry, and their relationships w their parents. I really liked how when the two were speaking abt respect between trainer and Pokémon, Ash remembered his battle w Paul and the relationship/respect he has w his team. Good food for thought and I think what marks Ash’s shift in mindset following his loss.
Ahhh excited for Sunnyshore, I love Volkner.