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The School of Hard Knocks! (009)


Just a member
This episode is notable for mentioning Pokemon levels. it's the only time when levels were mentioned in Pokemon anime. Gislle was a interesting COTD, I liked how she was both beautiful and arrogant. She thought that she knows everything about Pokemon. When Misty ended up losing to her in a battle, Gislle insulted her and Then she insulted Ash and Pikachu. But it was great that Ash challenged her in a battle and won, which made Gislle realise her mistakes and she became friendly. She is the only girl who caught Ash's interest for a while, I hope she will make an appearance in the anime again.
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Kutie Pie

"It is my destiny."
Ha, fourth wall jokes in the beginning. At least this one isn't groan-inducing, but as I've mentioned previously, 4KIDS seems to have a knack for writing jokes, though it varies greatly from dub to dub. Pokémon seems to have most of the good jokes, which shows it was cared for even while it suffered from edits that in most cases aren't necessary. (I say “most”. We'll get there when we get there, today's not it.)

This personally is a hard episode to look back on, not because it's forgettable (it's anything but, even though it feels like everything's just halted in place here), but because there's just too many “technical” things going on. It could be because I never truly understood all of it as a kid (I didn't get Pokémon Yellow until I was eight—this aired when I was six), and yet to this day, it still makes me tilt my head. This is where we get mentions of “leveling up”, an obvious reference to the games to try and connect the two universes together, or at least in a marketable way. This has become a bit infamous over time when it comes to Pikachu: here it's mentioned he may be at about level 25, and it's episode nine. If they kept the concept of levels throughout the entire Pokémon series, Pikachu really and truly should be at level 100 today, but he keeps “resetting” at the start of every new region. However, if my memory is correct, we stop hearing about Pokémon “leveling up” by the time we reach the Orange Islands, or even sooner probably because of the problems the writing faced—probably. So levels are never mentioned again, and yet fans are quick to bring it up time and time again.

That is how memorable the episode is, even if it's one of the harder ones to explain.

For the characters, Brock is noticeably more energetic than he was in the past few episodes. We see here that he apparently has almost an entire kitchen in his knapsack—how he carries it around without slouching is beyond me, but anime logic, let's go with that. And yet despite this, the characters starve as much as we've seen them eat Brock's cooking. Around the time of Johto, we stop getting mentions of starvation except amongst Team Rocket. Who speaking of which we learn were tech students themselves at the same school, but got the lowest scores in the school's history. This would come to play later in the season with the well-known (filler?) episode “The Ultimate Test”. In here, they just seem to goof around and not scheme a plan—and Meowth was up in the air for about seven minutes, give or take. So they're the butt monkeys again for this episode, and are chased away by being pelted with PokéBalls by the students. Okay, then... though call me crazy, I thought the animation during their motto with the hair blowing through their hair was pretty.

Oh, forget Brock's “She can violate my rights” comment, we have this: “We frolicked that night for our future seemed bright.” OH DEAR GOD THE DOUBLE ENTENDRE.

As for the school itself, it's a bit of a shame they didn't focus on technical schools much (though there probably was a reason for it), but it explains why there are few trainers one can run into, and yet we see a large amount of trainers that gather at the Pokémon League every year. It's safe to say that it may be split down the line as to who were students and who actually traveled from city to city, but it feels a bit... off that we don't get to see a lot of trainers who are aiming for gym badges throughout the show. You would think we'd see more and more trainers with similar goals as Ash, but oh well.

(Speaking of, this sentence by Ash: “I don't know about this school of yours, but if it's turning out students like you, I'd have to say the standards are pretty low!”

Ha, you better have Burn Heal! Though odd how Ash seemed to care about the system even though he probably didn't go to a school like that.)

Joe's not very memorable, honestly. I guess it doesn't help I keep forgetting his name, and that he's just such a bland character-of-the-day. Giselle really is the only one everyone remembers. But you know, she is pretty much a bitch when it comes to her mannerisms, even if she knows what she's doing (even going so far as to foreshadow Lt. Surge and Pikachu's strength). I think that's why she's so memorable, her conceited nature is hard to forget, and it does make her a more interesting character when compared to Joe. She appears to have a change of heart at the end, but that to me feels like it came out of nowhere. She was mean towards Joe the entire time, and yet they're now on good terms? Um... okay...

Oh, and Ash crushes on her while Misty gives jealous looks (which is another episode that Pokéshippers tend to point out, even though Misty was more-or-less trying to protect her reputation). Apparently this is the only time Ash is shown to crush on anyone, which is strange. You'd think he'd crush on more pretty girls in the future, but he doesn't.

Of note is this is the one episode where Rachel Lillis voiced Pikachu. I forget why they did this, whether the audio for Ikue Ohtani was messed up, or they wanted to try it once and see how it comes out. Obviously, it was very easy to notice, and it wasn't that good. (Sorry, Rachel Lillis. I do like your Jigglypuff voice, though.) This is also where we get an estimated period of time from the first episode to now: Ash has been on his journey for about two months. Has it really? It honestly does not feel that way, but they have been in Viridian Forest for about... I'd say no more than a week, and they did stay a night in Pewter City, so... it's mostly just guesses for how long he has been on the road, but it gives the illusion of time passing, a detail that is sadly overlooked as time goes on (but not forgotten amongst the fans, again).

And on the wings of another promise that's hasn't been held up, we head on to the next episode, never to see Joe and Giselle ever again. Seriously, I wonder why the writers backed off from holding up to these promises if they thought Pokémon would only last 82 episodes.
Misty mentioning she likes French food

"She can violate my rights anyd-"
Best line of the episode!


I really liked Giselle's personality; she was so sassy and shady and I was sad that she lost to Ash. Alas. Anyway, I appreciated the idea of a school for trainers where they could bypass collecting badges and enter the Pokemon League based on educational credentials. Also, I was surprised that Ash thought Giselle was attractive.


New Member
So I grew up watching Pokemon and playing with video games and recently had a nostalgia hit where I wanted to watch all the original episodes in order, why not. Anyways, while doing this I'm smoking and getting high, which makes this all the better and helps me notice some things that I have missed as a child. It's been YEARS since I've watched the show. (Sorry for throwing different episodes in here, I just really wanted to talk about this in one giant blurb) So the first episode I want to point at is Episode 7: The Water Flowers of Cerulean City. When Ash and Brock are about to split up (before Ash finds the gym) Brock says "well, I have some stuff I need to check out," to which Ash questions "what stuff?" and Brock ends with "just stuff, see you later" and to my ears he almost sounds secretive....what does he have going on? It appears to be soooo secretive that he can't even give Ash a one-two word summary of where he is going. Maybe like "The library", or "Poke Center", you know whatever. Why be so secretive? And then to top it off at the end of the episode I nearly lost it when Brock is approaching the gym and calls out to Ash who then calls with a nickname? "Yo Brocko." Seriously? What the heck is that? When was a nickname ever established and why is there no question to where Brock was. Not even a "so did you check out your stuff?" Nope, just "hey look at my new badge, OMG lets go ADVENTURE!"

The next two episodes that I am going to bring up involve the narrator guy who does the recap in the beginning and a small blurb at the end. Well, the two episodes are the next two (8 and 9) and they involve, in my opinion, odd endings from the narrator. Beginning with Episode 8:The Path to the Pokémon League. This is where Ash finds that gym where that guy trains wild pokemon and such. I don't know, it honestly didn't appeal to me at all really. It should be noted that when saying gym, I mean that this is just a training facility and it not part of the league. Anywho, so the name of the gym is A.J.'s Gym, simple name right? This is important when explaining why I find this ending from narrator weird. So AJ walks one way and Ash and friends walk the opposite way and there's a freeze frame where the narrator does his thing. He says: "........but one thing's for sure, he'll never forget the name of the place with the great gym again." WHAT. THE. FUUUUUUUUUU... Seriously, why does that need to be so wordy?! The name is AJ's Gym. Also, why say "again"? Had Ash forgotten he name before even though he was there the whole time once he discovered its existence? I played it over a few times because I was sure I was just really high and had not heard that right, but apparently I had.

Finally, the last episode I want to draw attention to is the one that actually deals with this thread. So Episode 9: The School of Hard Knocks everyone knows about here since that's what is on topic. The point I'm drawing attention to again deals with what is said by the narrator at the ending of the episode. The camera pans away to show the school since that is what the group is taking a last look at and he says "so as Ash and his friends journey on, they take one last look at the school where they learned so much." This one really had me laughing. In my opinion, the narrator sounds like he didn't have anything to say and just spit out something. Like they forgot to finish the sentence before recording and the narrator just went with it and added his own ending and everyone was all "yeah, that will work, whatever wasn't a great episode anyways..." Does anyone not agree with that. The ending narration was just some words thrown together because they needed to have that voice at the end, but the episode was awful and there wasn't anything great to reflect on. HAHA.

I've only just started and if this is what I've found so far I'm looking forward to other weird things I will find. Do you agree or disagree with my opinions? Please let me know, having noticed these things I've really been wanting to discuss this with other people who have my mindset and see that these are oddities that make this show quite hilarious in a way that is different to when I watched them when they first came out.

Mrs. Oreo

Ha ha I liked Giselle's personality and Ash liking her was unexpected but interesting. Giselle beating Misty's Starmie with Graveler despite having a type disadvantage was surprising but Pikachu winning against Cubone made me happy. ^^

Mega Altaria

☆~Shiny hunter▢~
I kinda liked this episode because of the battle simulator and liked it when Ash's Pikachu defeated Cubone without using Electric attacks.


wine comes from olives
Joe creeped me out to be honest. How did he get a picture of someone who didn't give a crap about him to begin with? Not to mention, he was a boring character. Giselle was stuck up but at least she was interesting.

Also that line about violating rights...wtf Brock. Pretty funny though :p
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Ha ha I liked Giselle's personality and Ash liking her was unexpected but interesting. Giselle beating Misty's Starmie with Graveler despite having a type disadvantage was surprising but Pikachu winning against Cubone made me happy. ^^

Well type match ups are usually ignored on the show especially in old episodes so it isn't so surprising...


Ash liking Giselle was the oddest reaction from him. I liked the academy setting and I felt bad for Giselle when her Cubone lost. 7/10
It was funny when Giselle made passive aggressive comments about Ash's badges + my favorite scene was when Ash thought Giselle was cute. :)


New Member
Can someone help to get the Background music that plays after Giselle's Graveler defeats Misty's Starmie? I'd like to do a Fandub but I couldn't find this track! :(


Satoshi getting grilled by Seiyo the teacher just because his Pokemon knowledge was low seemed rather cruel, although the fact that Satoshi even thought she was cute was a shocker since he never shows much interest in girls again.
Ugh, I really didn't care for this episode much. I did think Cubone was really cute and I liked the way it battled, but why the heck did Ash battle it? I thought he learned that mistake back at the Pewter Gym. :x


The light is coming
It was so satisfying watching Ash beat Giselle after she was such an ******* to him. I also liked the part near the beginning with Pikachu and the treadmill.


Paladin of the Snow Queen
I'm just stunned that Ash actually found her attractive. :p

Truly the most powerful character in the anime. She caused the status quo to be set for the next 20 years real time . We don't even know how he feels about Serena and she confessed to him rather...directly.


It was so satisfying watching Ash beat Giselle after she was such an ******* to him. I also liked the part near the beginning with Pikachu and the treadmill.

Seiyo losing to Satoshi was like payback for all the passive-aggressive comments she had made about Satoshi's progress, although the fact that her Karakara lost to Pikachu was a bizarre moment given Pikachu's type disadvantage. But I guess it's just one of those things that we're meant to ignore.