Part 78: Pike Queen Lucy and Palace Maven SpenserOh two for one. Excuse the inconsistent screen sizes
Lucy & the Battle Pike
Thanks for going out of order! Lucy was #4 in Ash's journey.
Anime Lucy is cool, calm & collected. The first quarter of her episode is her being cool and taking out team rocket who easily tricked ash into a fake battle pike and stole his Pikachu. Dramatic leaps, dramatic wind, dramatic posing, she's great. She'll even throw around fancy seviper-themed pinwheels
For some reason she now has a sister and a bunch of (entirely female) students
The students don't really say anything. Barbara gushes over Lucy all the time, runs battle commentary on Lucy since she's not one to talk a lot, and it kind of makes her annoyed. That's about it.
But the big thing here is she has a very visible crush on Brock. It's love at first sight! She's always blushing anytime Brock looks at her or comments here. The Battle Pike is actually closed that day (because....?) but Lucy's crush is what has her go "OH it's always open to friends its fine lets go."
What is it about Brock? Is it...his voice? Is it...being handsome? Is it....his care for his Bonsly? Is it....his winning personality??
she likes squinty eyes
What about the Pike and battle itself?
The factory in the anime tried. It did set up the rental shtick even if it didn't happen. But the Pike doesn't bother. It's just the battle against Lucy. There's no weird rooms, no random wild pokemon, no maids. The battle field is on a swamp but that doesn't really factor into anything. It's just a standard 2 vs 2 battle. She uses Seviper but her ace in the hole is her Milotic which is the entire reason there's a swamp here at all.
Worth mentioning that the gimmick of Ash's time in the battle frontier is bringing in his reserves constantly. For this, he brought back his Phanpy who evolved a few episodes prior into a Donphan. Donphan beat Seviper with no real issue, then Pikachu cleaned up Milotic. There was some sneaky stuff with explosions causing dust clouds and Milotic activating Facade I guess? Otherwise it was just an ok battle but you can start to see the issue I brought up with Nolan about not really...doing anything, with the Facility concept.
By the way in the anime, this is near Fuschia City. Not featured: Fuschia City, the Safari Zone, Koga, Koga's anime-only apprentice/sister, Janine or...anything notable to Fuschia in general.
Spenser & the Battle Palace
Spenser was #5. Unlike Greta, Tucker & Lucy Spenser got 2 episodes to himself because I guess the writers finally realized they could squeeze more out of these characters.
Ash gets lost in the woods with just his injured, pokeball-less Sceptile separated from Pikachu. Spenser finds & nurses his pikachu back to health because he's a naturalistic mystic man who roams the woods with his pokemon all the time. Let's him commune with his heart, pokemon and the earth you see. He even resolves conflict, saving Ash from a bunch of beedrill, by having his Venusaur's flower placate the bees. If these episodes were dubbed by 4kids he absolutely would have been voiced like a hippie is what I'm saying.
Here's the battle palace!
Now forget about that because you won't be seeing it again or even the insides.
I emphasized Spenser being a naturalist because this is sort of them trying to get across the actual Palace's gimmick of not being in control of your Pokemon. Like the idea is supposed to be believing in your Pokemon or whatever? And being in nature all the time helps that, obviously. Which leads to Spenser having a 3 vs 3 battle in the outside, with trainer & pokemon constantly moving throughout the entire city-sized jungle. Since there's mor environment to work with, the Pokemon can take charge a bit in how they dodge and launch attacks after given a command. At least they tried more than they did with the Factory & Pike, even if the gimmick isn't 1:1. The logic is sort of there!
For the best I think since this is probably one of the more dynamic battles. Jumping between trees, rushing down mountains, diving into rivers, climbing waterfalls....they even all take a break for berries since it's like a day long battle. It had been a while since I've seen it, but it was pretty good. Probably my favorite of the first 5 or so.
If you were curious, Spenser uses Shiftry, Venusaur & Claydol. Ash used Sceptile, Heracross (clowned near instantly by solar beam) and Swellow. Yeah he doesn't use any of his possible pokemon from the games. Not the last time that happens.
In the anime, this is on a new island (Metalica Island) supposedly near Seafoam Island. Not featured: seafoam islands, articuno, cinnabar just....nothing of note.