I was bored and decided to rewatch this since I have a copy of the JP ep on hand(hence all my comments about the JP voices and such) Don't expect me to review all of Kanto or anything, but I figured that while I was watching this...
-I'm not used to Misty's Japanese voice. At all. And Ash sounds higher-pitched than he does nowadays(subtle maturing?). Brock just sounds...off.
-Ash is SO impressed by his TWO badges. I suspect that most of Ash's Kanto behavior is even more hilarious in retrospect(wow! I got two badges out of the 340976456 I'll get in the future!!) than it was in the first runthrough.
-The term "pity badge" is Misty's fault! I KNEW IT!
-This is probably the only ep of the entire series where we see trainers randomly battling each other just because "we're trainers! BATTLING IS WHAT WE DO". I guess showing Ash randomly challenging people to battles would get old, but you think they'd acknowledge that (rather MAJOR) part of the games more often/at all.
-This is also the only ep where we see a battle take place in the middle of...farm fields. Oh Kanto and your "hey, this could conceivably be the real world other than the magical animals" moments.
-Unofficial gyms(and not just "TR pretending to run a gym for a scam") are a concept I wish the writers would revisit in the anime nowadays. Not that AJ's was anything special, but things like the Yaz/Kaz gyms from later in Kanto could provide entertaining filler material, at the least.
-I just realized that Akai/AJ is based on the Tamers from RBYFRLG. It's probably not coincidental that we stopped seeing that trainer class as the franchise started treating Pokemon less as animals and more as sentient beings.
-Old recycled Pokeball throwing animation! How I missed you! (not)
-It's really weird seeing Ash be so COCKY, compared to his Shinou self. I guess that's what they call "character development", even though it seems like Pokemon almost never has that with Ash/Brock/TR anymore.
-Hey, this is one of the three eps where Pidgeotto got to do something! Sure, it didn't get to do things for very long, but Ash sent it out with the intent of having it battle another Pokemon, and that's what counts.
-The writers are so close to caring about type advantage, and yet so far.
-Ahahaha Akai's little training camp is HILARIOUS. The secret to strength? CIRCUS TRICKS.
-Bahahahaha! Sure Akai, having three Rattata headbutt Sandshrew around like a soccer ball is TOTALLY intense training. *snicker*
-Meowth sounds REALLY weird. I guess everyone's bound to sound a bit weird since this IS only the eighth episode of the series, but...
-I have to say, I forgot how wacky Kanto could be. I still prefer Shinou's attempts at having coherent, high-quality(for a children's cartoon, at least) continuing plot lines, though.
WHO'S THAT POKEMON DARE DA? ...It's Sandshrew, dingbat!
-Haha, Kanto Ash is a JERK.
-Oh yes, TR in the "wear pink rubber gloves to prevent Pikachu from shocking us" days.
-Kanto Ash is still a jerk. "Hey everybody~ Why don't you leave Akai and be MY POKEMON?!" All while Akai is RIGHT THERE.
-It's the original TR motto! ...which sounds super-weird to me, since I'm used to the dub Kanto-Johto motto(and the Houen & Shinou Japanese mottos).
-Fissure? Even now we basically NEVER see OHKO moves in action(even though it'd be easy enough for the writers to ignore the "OHKO" part of the move description). Even here, Fissure just makes a GIGANTIC EFFING CRACK IN THE GROUND. Dangerous for anything that falls in? Yes. Assumed one-hit knockout? No.
-Oh Akai. Beating TR hardly counts as a win(even if this is early enough in Kanto that JJ&M are still semi-serious villains)
-So Akai's just going to leave a giant tent & wooden wall in the middle of the woods? Yeah, there'll be a whole lot of that left to come back to after the eternity it takes to become a POKEMON MASTER.
-LALALA I'M NOT HEARING YOU MAKE EMPTY PROMISES ABOUT MEETING AT THE LEAGUE LALALA
-Worst. Ending. Animation. Ever. (bounce that Pokeball, Pikachu!)
A fun little visit to Nostalgia Valley, especially since I really did forget all the wacky random moments Kanto had. That said, I'm glad that the series grew out of this style of episode(even if it had major growing pains in the form of Johto). It's cute for a while, but I'm not sure I'd still be watching the show if it was still "haha, Pikachu's making funny faces! Haha, Ash is a braggart! Haha, slapstick is the height of comedy!" all the time. (that said, I wouldn't mind a few more comedic Shinou eps(aka "Barry showing up more often"). Comedic eps tend to be full-on hilarious when they happen nowadays.)