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Playing the Leveling Field (561)


What's next, a Latin speaker?
...uhh...you do realize that Latin is a dead language, don't you? Or are you talking about Latin America?

Anyway, onto the episode...I haven't reviewed anything in a while, so this will probably suck. Oh well. This was a pretty good episode, and I was more impressed with the animation than I thought I would be. What I actually liked most about the art was how well Melissa's facial expressions were portrayed. She was hilariously over-the-top, and all around I'd say that they did a good job of retaining her personality from the games.

So, onto the episode itself. It had all the components of an interesting episode, but for some reason they didn't add up quite as well as they could have. I think they spent a little too much time on the battling in this one, considering that it was just a practice battle. The flashback giving Melissa a little backstory was pretty nice. It fleshed out her character a little...and it gave the writers an excuse for all those times she was out of the gym without a replacement. Excuses are always good. (Kids, that was sarcasm.)

Maybe it didn't turn out so well because they were trying too hard. Nozomi in a non-contest (not even pre-contest) episode, cameos of Adan and that one nosepass guy, Musashi's alter ego...the list goes on. They didn't really need to pack that much stuff into one episode if they're going to take up half of it with a battle. Then again, what kind of fan am I if I think that long pokemon battles are tedious...?

Speaking of the battle, I have to say that I like how they incorporated game mechanics into it more than usual. And as far as I remember, this is the first good acknowledgment of how utterly frustrating Hypnosis is. I feel your pain, Satoshi. I feel your pain.

Before I wrap this up, a little note on the voice actors: I was much more impressed with Fantina's VA's performance than Melissa's. Maybe it's just because I hear Japanese spoken with real English accents a lot, but Melissa's sounded extraordinarily fake. Fantina's French and accented English was great, and I have to give Bella Hudson kudos for her performance.

All in all, despite having lots of good stuff in it, the episode seemed a teeny bit forced, and the practice battle was far too long for a practice battle episode. It wasn't bad at all, but I've seen better.


Well-Known Member
This episode was pretty good. I'm glad they gave Fantina a French accent; it would be pretty lame if she didn't have one.
And asdfjkl; Drifloon! I love them so much. But I never realized they had mouths... o_O Still, Fantina's is pretty beastly. And her Mismagius too, wow.

And what's with the random cameos? There was Juan, and that Nosepass kid. (He the CotD before, right?)
Andd they actually used the Poketch! /shock
i like the cameos in the D&P series speciality the ones whit Marina(Krystal).


Well-Known Member
How could the Alan guy have faced Fantina with a Probopass. In Season 10( Diamond and Pearl(, when Ash made it to Hearthome, Fantina wasn't there( and they participated in the Tag Battle), In Season 11( DP:Battle Dimension), they meet Alan with his Nosepass. During that episode, it evolved. In Arriving in Style, they return to Hearthome, Fantina is still not there. How could he have battled Fantina, if Fantina wasn't in the gym, and his Nosepass had just evolved.


Too old for your rubbish..
Just because Fantina wasn't at the gym when Ash went, it doesn't mean she wouldn't be there when other people turned up.
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Fantina was much more stronger than Ash. he wasn't able to beat her.

And it was great to see that Alan earned a badge.


Team Awesome
At least Ash finally got to meet Fantina in this episode, it was about time after more than half a season. Too bad he didn't do well against her in battle, but at least he would make up for it later and gain a new battling style in the process. Plus, it gave us a good running gag for a few episodes with Ash falling asleep trying to think of a way to stop hypnosis. LOL


Yay, about time Fantina appeared in the anime. She was just as crazy as I thought she was in the games. I mean, leaving the Gym? During a time where challengers are eager to get her badge? She should've been fired :p

I loved that we got a sample of her Pokemon's abilities. The fact that her Pokemon knew Hypnosis and that it alway affected the opponent's Pokemon was unbelievable. She's really tough, even for a Gym Leader.

Glad she was interested in Contests too, but I sure do hope Ash develops a way to counter Hypnosis. 9/10


Well-Known Member
It was an exciting start with Zoey battling Fantina. Poor Ash and hypnosis. Every time I thought Fantina's pokemon would miss with their hypnosis attack it hit dead on.


Man of Mystery
I LOVED Fantina's voice and accent, they suited her very well. The only thing I don't like is her battling style. To me, using Hypnosis over and over again to win her matches just seemed kind of cheap. Good episode though.

Lance The Champ

The Aura Guardian
Ash has only to deal with Hypnosis....then he could easily beat Fantina


Well-Known Member
This episode got better the further it went along, until finally, I think it finished as a solid episode.

I had to laugh at Ash's rxn to Fantina's reasoning for her leave from the gym. Ash wasn't happy about things to begin with, but after hearing her explanation and Brock's/Zoey's approval, he basically says, "You're right! Okay, let's battle!" I'm not quite so sure he agreed with her, but just played along, since all he really wanted was a battle. And he got it, by the luck of the coin toss (Dawn's Charlie Brown expression was probably my favorite part of this episode). As for the battle, it's okay. I have a special memory from watching Ash's gym battle with Morty back in Jhoto, and so, as far as showcasing the wackiness of ghost-type battling, I prefer Morty's gym battle a good deal more. But in terms of thinking skills, which I also like a good deal, this battle will lay the foundation for one of the best efforts Ash has to put into developing a strategy for a gym. It's not a spurt of the moment thing; it takes him a few episodes to come up with what to do (even if, as other people have pointed out, what he eventually comes up with is a technique we've sort of seen before). I didn't notice this the first few times I've watched this episode, but these 3 pokemon are the exact same pokemon Ash uses in the gym battle later on, and that's one of his philosophies, I think: losses sometimes are the fault of strategy, and not the pokemon (or, it's more important to battle smarter than necessarily to battle harder, doing it the same way). Paul has criticized Ash a few times in the region for not taking responsibility of his pokemon (losses are the trainer's fault, I think he said), but he's quite wrong about this. Ash does understand this fact, and works with his pokemon to fit the strategy; Paul is the one who's more likely to give up on the pokemon and find stronger ones. Paul is supposedly the better of the two at tactics, and maybe in traditional tactics he is. But Ash's gift as a trainer is to come up with creative strategies, that fit the strengths of any pokemon (well, almost any type....that's a little later down the road, and this, I think by general consensus, is one of the stunning/surprising things about Ash's pokemon in Sinnoh, in how many times this pokemon was defeated after it evolved, with Ash never quite getting the hang of how to battle with it). And so, I think while Paul has the greater likelihood of being the stronger trainer just by traditional means and tactics, Ash is the one who has the chance to be something really special (a pokemon master, I guess). And maybe that's part of the reason Ash bothers Paul so much.

The way this episode started out, though, I was really thinking of saying that the Sinnoh storyline has really become predictable again. Just like after the Tag Team Battle, where everything seemed like it would be predictable. What changed things then was Dawn losing in the appeal round of her 2nd contest in a row, and that storyline concluded pretty much at the Wallace Cup. It's been quite a few episodes since then, and again it seems like things will go the routine way. Ash's struggles with Fantina's hypnosis is the beginning, again, of more interesting things in the overall story of this region; there's also going to be the introduction of 2 more rivals pretty soon, one for Ash and one for Dawn (although for Dawn's, I'm not quite sure how soon is soon), that really makes the story more interesting. Mind you, they are not the super serious rivals that Paul and Zoey are, but they are fun to watch. In Dawn's case, that rival is quite frankly her most interesting one, and it's pretty obvious the writers realize that, since Dawn ends up battling her 3 times in contests, which is amazing considering how few contest adventures were left for Dawn at that time. It's a real shame that that rival did not appear earlier, and was Dawn's main rival. Ash's rival is not one he battles too much, but he's such a fun character, that it's okay. Just having him around is enough, and just a few episodes into the next region (12, or 13?), we've seen someone with a similar personality, and it was just as welcome to watch. So things will get more interesting, and I think this episode is the start of that, into what I suppose is the 3rd "chapter" of Sinnoh (I'll call it that, anyway).
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No longer posting
This episode was ok... It was cool to see Fantina for the 1st time. It was cool to see Gardenia's Drifloon evolve into Drifblim. Unfortunately that made Drifblim much too difficult to defeat for Ash. Ash didn't really stand much of a chance against Fantina, her Pokemon was so powerful, not to mention his Pokemon kept falling asleep from Hypnosis and then knocked right out. It was cool to see Ominous Wind for the 1st time. Zoey lost as well.



Looking back, I kinda felt bad for Zoey's Glameow here; seeing Fantina's Mismagius overwhelming it was kinda sad imho. I really liked seeing a run down of what Fantina did as a citizen of Hearthome City; I especially liked seeing that Probopass guy in her flashback. Fantina's Drifloon impressed me when it beat Buizel and Chimchar even before evolving.


Fantina's French dub accent and voice got annoying fast but I liked watching her mop the floor with Ash and totally crush him. 7/10

Mrs. Oreo

It was nice to finally see Fantina, tho from some angles she kind of reminded me of Tucker hee hee. She was too strong however as seen when she defeat Zoey and Ash with her ghost types. ^^;
Fantina was very lively and charismatic in this episode and my favorite scene was when her Drifloon evolved and how strong its Hypnosis was. :)