One of the more memorable (or at least notable) episodes of the original Pokémon series, and for good reason. Must've been the “doughnuts”. Yup, nothing beats a jelly-filled doughnut, indeed. Next notable aspect is Ash catching a new Pokémon, a Mankey—I mean Primeape. But first, he has to get beat up a lot and fight for his hat, resulting in a lot of hilarious beat-downs. Just about everyone got their share of hurt in this episode, yes, even Misty (she was kicked in the head when Mankey used her as leverage). I have to wonder if the hat being stolen by Mankey is a reference to Super Mario 64 where the monkey steals Mario's hat. Considering the game came out a year before the anime did, it wouldn't surprise me.
One other tidbit worth mentioning is that Ash really loves his hat. It's an official expo league hat that only had one hundred produced (so that means there are ninety-nine other people in the Pokémon world wearing it). Ash said he sent in a million postcards, but chances are it's more likely an exaggeration; still, he wanted it, so he sent in a lot. That flashback to the commercial said “official” a lot xD, almost like it was a joke toward the commercials about these things (“SUNDAY, SUNDAY” comes to mind). They must've had fun officially dubbing it much like the Charizard and Blastoise in the commercial had fun being in it.
Moving away from that silliness, we meet up with Professor Oak for the first in a long while—and as per usual he's drinking tea and not doing research (of course, he may be on his break, but still). And Krabby is his personal... um... well, he calls it a “friend”, but I dunno... You know, shouldn't he be researching when onscreen instead of looking bored, writing haiku—I mean poems, and encouraging Ash to push himself further to near-obsessive levels? He's really, really senile, but he's just so fun to watch. The guy is well-revered and this is who he is when he's not being professional. It's kinda funny, but at the same time it's also a bit sad... I guess that's why they had Tracey go stay with Professor Oak after the Orange Islands. The man must be pretty lonely and possibly a bit forgetful, so having an assistant is convenient for him.
All right, let's bring up the “doughnuts” again, briefly. I'm sure the voice actors knew they were rice balls, but I swear, Eric Stuart had so much fun saying the word “doughnut” in this episode. It's almost like the dialogue was written specially for him. I'll admit that I believed they were some kind of doughnut as a kid because I had never seen a rice ball before prior to that episode. It looked delicious and I've always wanted one, though, and to this day I still have of yet to eat a rice ball. *sadness* I was kind of a dumb, maybe gullible kid back then, you can't blame me for not being informed about other cultures when I was six years old. But hey, it makes for a funny in-joke/take that as an adult. Can't deny that.
Ah, James' magical boot makes a comeback. Another in-joke in the fandom that is one of my personal favorites. He had a habit of kicking Pokémon, didn't he? Again, Eric Stuart must've had so much fun voicing James in these episodes due to his emotions. As for the character himself, I guess it's proof that James really isn't too bright most of the time. You would think he'd keep his feet to himself, but considering him kicking Magikarp and it evolving was a one-time thing, he probably never thought the same thing would happen twice. And as this is almost ten episodes later, and that means no more than a month has passed since that incident... yeah.
But of course, the best part about this episode was the meat of the episode: Mankey/Primeape. The episode focuses on that Pokémon anyway, but just how it shows off the vicious nature and plays it for laughs makes it that much more enjoyable. It seriously went from happy to angry within a minute of meeting it, and it stays that way for the rest of the time. But it doesn't get stale as it chases down our heroes. It only calmed down twice to play with the hat, that was it, and those were great moments. (Mankey miming Ash's signature move was priceless.) Ash eventually decides to stop monkeying around and uses a bit of strategy to fight it for the purpose of capturing it. Charmander got hit with it hard, but the little guy uses a new move in a pinch and it is him who weakens Primeape enough. He deserves to be proud.
This episode really was welcoming after the disappointment of the previous episode. Where Haunter failed to deliver, Mankey/Primeape took over in its own special way. But... unfortunately, Primeape isn't on the team for very long. And it's a shame because Primeape has so much personality that had it had more screentime, there would've been a lot of possibility of growth before it leaves. And of course, the fanbase is a bit obsessive over Primeape sometimes despite having the least screentime. But that was how memorable it was. Made for an entertaining debut episode, for sure, but the farewell... ehh... but that won't be for a few episodes.
Now if you excuse me, I need to take a doughnut break before I tackle the next episode. Most likely gonna be on it like ugly on a Primeape unless my memory really is that bad and thus it's not a bad episode. But considering Erika is one of my least favorite gym leaders and I remember the episode being a bit frustrating...