Made sure I had the right episode this time...
The race starts out pretty interesting, and then becomes pretty boring, b/c there were not enough scenes showing off the unique abilities of the pokemon. Angie does it twice, but, nevertheless, she's still tied with Ash going into the cave. But, I think the boring nature of the race, in the end (I mean, it's not like I really cared which team won, and seemingly, no one did since everyone got a plaque), is part of the reason Angie admires/fancies Ash as she does. For Angie, this is the extent of her pokemon journey so far, while for Ash...I'm honestly surprised he even came to this. Ash is the same guy after this summer school academy as he was before, and so, storywise, considering how many episodes are spent on the summer school academy, that's not really good. However, what I think I can take away from this is how Ash is a real trainer, engaging in these adventures all of the time. The academy is over, but his lifestyle doesn't really change. That's one of the challenges as a student, I can say, is that the older you get, the more meaning you want to find in it. It's not like you try to survive, take final exams, and then say that's how I did, and that's it. I want it to be me; I'm almost the same person out of school that I am in school. My outlook on my studies is the same as everything else, or at least I want it to be. I want to feel sincere about it, and I think that's a feeling that comes from the inside. I think Ash has gotten to that point, as well. Back in the Kanto days, I'm pretty sure that after any big achievement, he would come back home, and his mom would throw some sort of party. He was the "pride" of Pallet Town. I think things have really changed since then. He's a trainer b/c he wants to be one, and whether he's improving or having fun or doing well enough, it's based on his feelings. And I think that's part of the reason Angie develops the crush that she does on Ash, and she's disappointed at Ash's response to her saying how much she values Ash's rescue of her (twice); he says, well, of course! He does this all the time, and it's how he always acts. It's a type of confidence Angie doesn't quite have, since she doesn't have that type of experience. Before the race starts, she even tells Ash he is taking the race too lightly, only for Ash to basically to say yeah right!
I made a pt in the other episode that Ash isn't very sincere, and I really feel that. I also think Angie's disappointment comes from this, in a way, b/c Ash interacts with her, in these few episodes, as much or even more than he does with Dawn and Brock. As a pearlshipping fan, I can say, there's almost no hint in here. Some of this is by design, seemingly, to develop Angie's crush on Ash, but, you know, I really think Ash is like this in general. He treats almost everyone the same, and you can look at that in couple of ways. Either Ash is just that type of stereotypical character, or he's just a very closed character. I think part of the reason he comes off like this in Sinnoh is b/c of Dawn's troubles; he's focused on being supportive of her, and since she admires the way he trains and succeeds in some big battles, keeps his frustrations to a minimum. (Shrugging) Well, that's one thing I'm looking to see in the next region, about how light-hearted Ash may be. A theme of Sinnoh is about how awesome Ash is, which Dawn and Paul, in particular, come to realize. These last few episodes show Angie realizing that. But I don't really think this many episodes was worth it (and I think I'm in the majority on this), and I really think Angie's crush on Ash is a good deal inferior to Anabel's crush on Ash, which this was based upon. Many of Sinnoh's remakes are an improvement on the original, but I think this was a miss. But Angie does show up again, so maybe that's just me.
One more thing, and this is quite honestly the most baffling thing for me. When I first watched this episode, I thought it effectively finished Conway's storyline, or at least concluded his crush on Dawn. But Conway does show up again later, which is certainly not a bad thing; but what's really surprising, for me, is that his flirting with Dawn becomes even more pronounced. And it's where Conway shows up again that makes this aspect so baffling, b/c you would think the writers would put the flirting there if they had some sort of conclusion in mind, if at the least Dawn having Piplup bubblebeaming Conway away. But nothing. And Conway doesn't even get a fitting conclusion. Nando actually gets a more pronounced ending than Conway. This was one of the weirdest unfinished storylines in Sinnoh (and it's not an aversion to romantic stuff, either, since Kenny does get some sort of conclusion), and the best reason I have for it, right now, is that the writers were too embarrassed over how they had to end the part of the story where Conway shows up again. Who knows, though?
Side note: I found Professor Rowan quite annoying. All he could talk about was how great his academy thing was. The very definition of arrogance, in my book.