I don't know the name of the animation studio that did this episode (they also did "Poetry Commotion" and "Exploud and Clear"), but it seems like their every episode turns out to be a classic, and not just in the hysterically expressive animation either. I admit, the premise of Ash getting his badges stolen has been done before ("All That Glitters", "Why? Wynaut"), but this time, the new character Sullivan brought a new angle (no pun intended) to the issue. I was surprised that he called himself a "fishing god" - that's fair game, but Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres have to be called "titans"?
For their brief screen time, Jessie and James were classic again (although I wish 4Kids would come up with a consistent translation for their promotion chant). I found it funny that Jessie was actually angry to keep getting a Feebas attacking her hair, considering how stupidly rare those things are.
Hey, we finally get a Flaaffy on the show. And boy, did this animation studio make it a badass or what? But the pinnacle of genius in this episode had to be Nero swallowing Sullivan's Master Ball - I laughed myself silly at that one - then balancing it on his tongue against the sunset during the final scene. Altogether, this was a great episode that took a recycled idea and made it look innovative anyway.
P.S. Was I the only one hoping that Max would pick a Jirachi lure?