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The Path to the Pokémon League! (008)


Ace Trainer
I can't stand AJ. Even until this day. He came off as so arrogant. I wonder if he ever became a champion or pokemon master yet. Probably not.


On a quest to be the best...
I didn't see this episode when it first ran; I saw it years later on video. Not a bad episode. Really, it's one of those episodes where I can say "So that's why I watched this!."

Did they play this one very much? I can see why they wouldn't; leaving it out wouldn't harm the overall story, and it could be misconstrued as promoting animal abuse.
AJ was an idiot. Writers, if you're going to portray Ash as the bad guy, at least do it right. Another badly done episode. 6/10
The episode was always blah to me. I didn't like how Ash was too confident, which resulted in his lost. Well, it goes to show you, things can blow up in your face. But, it was kind of funny when AJ's Pokemon refused to go with Ash.


Well-Known Member
Loved A.J. man, his training seemed brutal but then you also saw the love and care he showed his Pokemon (their won personal Pokemon food, etc) you warmed to him. His Sandshrew was bad ***, wonder how strong it'd be now, years on. Good episode to highlight Ash's development as a character as well. The writers nailed the childish, arrogant and cocky side of his character which would've built up after his early success.

A.J., like Samurai and Giselle, was a character I really hoped to see again.


Just a member
The Kanto saga has some great episode, but it also has some bad episodes. I think this is one of those bad episodes.
In this episode, Ash defeates 10 unknown trainers(mostly offscreen)in a row, then he starts to get overconfident and cocky. Later the group runs into A.J.'s Gym, which is an unofficial gym. AJ got 98 wins in a row(I think he got those wins by beating unexperienced rookie trainers)and his goal is to get 100 wins in a row before he goes on a journey. Inside the gym, Ash suddenly starts braging about his 10 wins and his, badges(and magically his nose starts growing). Then A.J arrogantly calls the gyms "failure city" and "wimpsville". Brock and Misty gets angry and tells Ash to defeated him. After they start the battle, COTD A.J.'s experienced Sandshrew beats Ash's unexperienced Pidgeotto and Butterfree. Seeing this Ash's Pikachu gets scared and refuses to battle, Ash tries to get Pikachu to battle, but he thundershocks him.(Wow Pikachu, you're really a fearless Pokémon, aren't you?) Because of this, A.J. gets his 99th win. Later Ash and co. sees A.J. using metal Braces to train his Sandshrew and other Pokémon. Ash didn't like his so-called training methods and complained about A.J. treating his Pokémon way too harshly. He also asked Misty and Brock to back him up, but instead of backing him up .... Brock compliments A.J. on the food he prepares for his Pokémon. Ugh! Brock, is that all you care about?. Later Jessie, James, and Meowth tries to steal Pikachu, but they accidentally steals Sandshrew instead. It escapes and A.J. challenged Team Rocket to a battle. As expected, his Sandshrew defeats Team Rocket, winning A.J. his 100th victory(Whoa, defeating Team Rocket counts as a gym battle win?). Then Ash and A.J. part ways, so they can meet up again at the Pokemon League.....which they never did.

Overall, this episode was a badly written and it's one of my least favorite episodes from the Kanto saga. I can't stand A.J, because of his arrogant and annoying personality. Ash was arrogant in this episode too, but he was right about A.J's training methods. Putting metal bracers on Pokémon and making ground type Pokémon swim isn't a good way to train Pokémon. In fact, it's a dumb way to train Pokémon.
Geez, I hope someday Ash will meet with A.J. again and they'll battle. It would be interesting to Ash stomping A.J.'s Sandshrew with his Sceptile, but sadly the chances of that happening are very slim.
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Kutie Pie

"It is my destiny."
So it looks like we've reached our first filler episode—“Clefairy and the Moon Stone” apparently wasn't filler, strangely enough. I personally can't tell for the life of me the difference between filler episodes and regular episodes, even when it's spelled out for me. Apparently filler is used to lengthen the illusion of time in a show, which I personally do like in a way. With Pokémon it makes sense, as it shows just how big the region is, and we get to see interesting sides to this world. Pokémon in particular seems to have some fillers that fans are more fond of than in, say, Bleach or Naruto. (Dragonball Z had some notable ones, though not all of the fillers were well-received from what I've gathered.) It's also said filler does nothing in character development, but I could argue against that here.

Ash got cocky in this episode because he won two badges. A young trainer he battled against was fascinated by his winnings, which made him too proud. As Ash is still considered a novice trainer, the fact that he's gotten as far as he did was getting to him fairly quickly. And as he's striving to become the very best that no one ever was, as he's one step closer to reaching that goal and is excited to get another badge, it's inevitable he'd get a big head at some point. If I remember correctly, this shows back up again when he faces Lt. Surge, but we'll get there eventually. During the battle with A.J., Pidgeotto was a nice choice, but he underestimated strategy fairly quickly, which is odd since he was learning slightly about strategy, but that's what cockiness does to you.

I totally forgot how cool A.J. was from the get-go. He sounds just as cocky as Ash, which I think was the point, but the difference is he's confident in himself, and he knows it. His training methods are rather rough, as they are trained to exhaustion and are made to jump into water just to shake it off (though I have to admit that is clever), but the episode made it clear with the disappearance of his Sandshrew that he does care for his Pokémon deep down. Really a damn shame we never saw AJ again in the anime with exception to the Orange Islands opening theme. Even then, the training reminded me a bit of dojos. Which is interesting as this is the first episode where we see a gym that's not recognized by the Pokémon League. There are apparently a few of these gyms across the region specifically for training, much like the Fighting Dojo in Saffron City (even though it originally was an official gym), and if I remember correctly, we do see these from time to time. Though of course, as we learn later on with Gary, there are more than eight gyms across the region that are recognized by the Pokémon League, but I do believe they say you have to meet the requirement of eight badges from any gym. I really do wish we got to focus on those kinds of gyms more in the anime, especially since the anime's gone on much longer than the intended year-and-a-half.

Back to A.J., I believe he's either an Ace Trainer or Tamer judging from the whip, but he's probably more-or-less just a regular trainer who doesn't identify himself as anything. The move Sandshrew used last made me wonder what it was, but listening to it again, he says “Fissure” (his accent is a bit hard to understand at times), which would explain the ground breaking apart and Team Rocket getting all beaten up. Apparently Pokémon Yellow version makes a reference to him as a Youngster with a Sandshrew that does have Fissure in its move-pool, something I have totally forgotten about. Also, that's really cool to have seen a prototype Macho Brace prior to Generation III. Sure, it's called “Strength Intensifier”, but that's pretty much what it is. So he invented it in the anime-verse, then? Perhaps?

And here we have Team Rocket musing over their motto, and a first instance of their sneaky methods in broad daylight (laying a trap in episode five probably counts, but Ash and Misty were nowhere near it). I've said this a few times, but I'm going to keep saying that I really do love their chemistry here. Makes you wonder why they never explored more of their backstory in this season if they expected this to be only 82 episodes. Them joining Team Rocket would've been shown much more earlier and we would've been able to see how they got to be close friends, but I guess Takeshi Shudo wanted to make them as mysterious as possible. Now for some reason, I didn't notice that James' voice actually changed here at the end of the episode, I actually thought that Ted Lewis was still James, but apparently Eric Stuart took over during the battle at the end. I wonder why that happened. I knew Eric Stuart would be James fairly early on, at least right before “Here Comes the Squirtle Squad!”, but I never knew it was in this episode. He apparently tried to sound similar to Ted Lewis here to make it not as noticeable. Which takes a good voice actor to pull off, and he sure did fool me here. He probably stops sounding like Ted Lewis' James' voice by the next episode.

(Also “pussy-footing” and “moment of tooth”. Wow xD.)

Worth noting is the gag in the gym. I don't know what the gags were in the original (chances are they're a play on words), but they got a bit clever with the mess-up of words. Puns really are hard to translate over, so I feel that one of 4KIDS' few strengths in their dubs is that they were able to make up their own jokes for those particular scenes. Sure, just about every dubbing company does this, but you have to give credit where credit is due, and for the most part 4KIDS was good at writing jokes.

So where Seymour and Samurai fell flat for me, A.J. made up for his coolness, and thus kept the episode from being a bore. I'm actually curious as to who is more popular in the fandom, he or Giselle, though that really should be a no-brainer. There's just something about high-class Lasses with Cubones that stick out more than a random trainer with an awesome Sandshrew. Also, there's this:

“She can violate my rights any time!”

For shame, Brock.

Haunter ゴースト

Well-Known Member
I personally can't tell for the life of me the difference between filler episodes and regular episodes, even when it's spelled out for me.

A filler is an episode in which if you skipped it, you wouldn't miss anything of importance, plot and developmentwise.

For example - If you skipped EP001, you would miss everything Ash beginning his journey and meeting Pikachu whereas if you skipped BW Episode N 005 (Ampharos one) you would miss nothing that would be relevant in future episodes.
I guess A.J. was EV/IV training before it became a thing.

It's fine to be tough and hard when training your Pokemon, but not so much that you end up almost hurting them.


Ugh, I disliked AJ's faux-Southern accent tbh, as well as his cockiness in general. I at least liked that Ash got a reality check after losing to AJ's Sandshrew that humbled him a bit though, because his ego was expanding really fast tbh. AJ's battle with Team Rocket was interesting as well; Sandshrew knowing Fissure was a surprise.

Mrs. Oreo

AJ seemed like such a jerk and I didn't like him at all. Ash may have been cocky himself but his heart was in the right place and I wish he had beaten AJ instead of losing. Sandshrew was strong and cool however like when it used Fissure.

Mega Altaria

☆~Shiny hunter▢~
It seemed to be exciting that AJ was on a 98 winning streak and beat Ash and TR to obtain a 100 winning streak. Disappointed that AJ never appeared again and that the Gym is unofficial but at least in Yellow, there is a Trainer based on him.

Mrs. Oreo

AJ's win streak was impressive even tho I didn't like him ha ha. I mean winning so many battles with his Sandshrew just to qualify as an official gym was a good story line for such a simple character. ^^

Mega Altaria

☆~Shiny hunter▢~
The only thing I didn't like about AJ was how he treated Sandshrew. Forcing him into water and getting whipped. But otherwise, I find him nothing wrong.


wine comes from olives
AJ's fake accent got on my nerves as well as his training methods. Honestly this episode feels kind of pointless because (1) AJ didn't change his methods, (2) Ash didn't learn anything, and (3) AJ never returned so that either of those things could happen.

The non-TR related events could be summed up like this

Ash: "I don't like how you're treating your pokemon"
AJ: "Lol I may be whipping and insulting my pokemon but being tough on them is good so deal with it"
AJ's pokemon: "Lol we don't care"
Brock: "I don't care either, you're a good trainer AJ"
Ash: "Okay I'll just shut up then"
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It's fine to be tough and hard when training your Pokemon, but not so much that you end up almost hurting them.

True enough, but he did show that he cared for his Pokemon no matter how harsh his training was. Ash interfering and lecturing A.J. annoyed me since he was acting high and mighty.

Mrs. Oreo

True enough, but he did show that he cared for his Pokemon no matter how harsh his training was. Ash interfering and lecturing A.J. annoyed me since he was acting high and mighty.

I can see why Ash's holier than thou approach might've seemed meddling but AJ seemed so full of himself, so I didn't mind that Ash was giving him grief for his training methods. :)