Insert all the Rocky references/jokes at your leisure, because there might be for all I know—as I haven't watched any of the movies. The beginning probably counts, I'm sure a lot of people placed “Gonna Fly Now” as a joke during the opening sequence because there's no training montage in this episode when it needed one.
I wonder if this episode relates to the Fighting Dojo in the games. It features a Hitmonchan and a Hitmonlee, respectfully, though there's no Dojo Master, so it's a maybe. I don't know exactly where they are on the map except that it's somewhere near Celadon City. As far back as I can remember, there are no episodes that make a callback to the Fighting Dojo, so this is the closest we'll probably ever get.
So... how come Ash wanted to teach Pikachu how to box, like, out of the blue? Just because they run into Hitmonchan? Pretty odd, if you ask me, but hey Pikachu's Rocket Punch is pretty cool. Rather pointless, honestly, but it's pointlessly cool. Considering Pikachu can learn Mega Punch through use of TMs... but we don't see TMs in the anime. Well, apparently in the anime, numerous Pokémon can learn TM-based moves naturally, so... perhaps Pikachu can learn it in the anime?
I have to admit that while the writing is “meh”, what the episode revolves around is interesting because we get to see other tournaments outside of gym battles. It's almost like an alternative of sorts that anyone can participate in if they qualify, but for a specific type that we frankly need to see more of. But what does take away from mood a little bit is that the one-shot characters aren't fleshed out well-enough for us to really care whether they win or not. (Well, Hitmonchan's clearly got a personality, so... it probably counts.) The plot of the episode kicked off because a girl wants her dad to come home. Why? Because his absence is worrying his family. What are they worried about? Who knows, she just wants him to return home and give up training. Of course, we're not told about what goes on home when he's not there, so everything seems kinda petty, unless this really is a big problem. And considering it doesn't sound like he's getting paid for this, that could mean he's not working.
But who cares about trouble at home and the possibility of father-daughter time, let's check out this nifty tournament!
I think this is the first time Brock's become more forward with the ladies, or at least touchy-feely. He at least kept his hands to himself when it came to Suzy, and yes, he's flirted with older women (namely Jenny), but he grabbed Rebecca's hands when he agreed to take up on her favor. Yeah, Brock is a teenager, and she looks no older than eighteen, so it's easy to let this slide. But considering she's not an interesting character by herself, I could pin this on her beauty drawing him in. But then again, he's admitted to this eventually, didn't he?
I'm looking too hard at this scene, moving on. What did Brock agree to do? Beat Hitmonchan in the tournament—where he says he will use his Geodude. Hey... um, Brock? Only Fighting-types can only enter the tournament. Geodude is obviously not a Fighting-type, you can't get away with it—
—oh you got to be kidding me. Why did they qualify Geodude? Yeah, the fight doesn't last long, thank goodness, and Geodude proves to be no match for Hitmonlee. Brock's face—moments after telling Rebecca all was well—almost screams like he didn't think things through.
You can just hear his brain crumble.
Not one of his smarter moments. You'd think knowing about type advantages and disadvantages would be part of his desire to be a Breeder.
While brief since Team Rocket's disguise is as paper-thin as tissue (thus there's not much to talk about), I do love how James pretty much passes out near the end after holding Jessie up for so long. Either he's a wimp, or Jessie's too heavy for him. Or both. But at least he's got stamina.
Pfft, love how Pikachu sabotages Team Rocket's plan, he takes such glee in foiling them. Well, actually, it's more Meowth's plan, since he was the one who put the gadget underneath the ring and had the remote in-hand. You know, I think he really is the brains of the group, especially since he carries out a lot of the plans thus far. Sure, his haughtiness is what becomes their downfall, but he really takes pride in everything he does.
Now that I reach the one event everyone remembers best in this episode (or hell, the entire original series in general), I'm going to be frank in that I don't care about Ash's decision here. Primeape's departure falls short because we didn't get to spend time with Primeape, like at all. But it's almost as if the characters acted like he had been on the team long enough to know everything about him, so everyone (mainly Misty as she explains to the audience what happened) is happy to know he's progressed. The episode may or may not have been worth the watch depending on if the character development was really worth it in not seeing him since episode 25.
And yet, ironically, his departure from the team is one of the most memorable to date. I can kinda see where people are coming from with this, but it just baffles me how a lot of people ask about Primeape. “Train it for a while”? More like “train it forever”. At least the narrator lampshades it by saying how Ash and Primeape were just now getting to know each other.
Gee, Ash, you would have known Primeape better had you spent more time with him instead of being scared stiff of him. Perhaps it really is for the best you give him to someone who really will bring out his best potential; bonus points the guy knows how to train Fighting-types. At least you make it up with Charizard, have to give you that.
Fare thee well, Primeape. We hardly knew ye.
Primeape: Episode 25 – 29
...hey, wait a minute. What happened to the guy Team Rocket tied up and stripped down? Is he still there on the toilet?