Part 49: Cheryl's ArcCheryl & The Amber Castle
So when you think "story arcs" in Pokemon, what comes to mind? Maybe an overarching theme for a season, like Whirl Islands? A short 2 maybe 3 parter about a significant game location or team plot? Tournaments? Maybe the league?
Well for some reason there are 3 episodes dedicated to Cheryl in the Eterna Forest and a honey plot line and hell if I know why. So far as I recall none of the other partner trainers have this at all.
Cheryl's generally a nice person which you can see in her dialog in the games. Unlike the games, the gang isn't helping her through the woods, they're helping her find "enchanted honey". She's been traveling around on her own and been looking to capture a Burmy, because she's actually a treasure hunter from a whole family of treasure hunters and Burmy will lead her to the honey.
Also they made her a weirdo and it owns
"My beloved grandfather once said: 'Once you've caught a Bug-type Pokemon, you may never hold hands with a man again!'"
"All roads begin with Burmy!"
[Team Rocket kidnaps Burmy in the middle of a battle] "Well that's not nice."
[Team Rocket boasts what they're going to do with Burmy] "So you're going to evolve Burmy for me? That's so nice!"
She pulls out a wacky treasure map trying to find The Amber Castle an enhcanted castle where the enchanted honey is rumored to be and how no one has ever been there.
Cheryl didn't have much personality, even in Platinum, so I approve.
a quick tl;dr leading us to the amber castle
Episode 1: Capture Burmy, find out about the honey, evolve Burmy. Shenanigans ensue for evolving because Burmy is so weak even Team Rocket accidentally beats it. Turtwig literally beats it in one blow while blinded by the leaves.
This happens at one point though
and suplexes wobbs into meowth into the ground. Why isn't that something it can do in the games, gamefreak??
Episode 2: Mothim leads them ...in a full circle to the tree where they caught Burmy last episode, instead of the enchanted honey. Then a Gloom. Then a Gardenia shows up and half the episode is a battle against Ash. But a team rocket encounter later we get back on track and find a Combee...wall.
Both characters know that Combee make the enchanted honey but for some reason Cheryl didn't think to just search out Combees in the first place...?
Episode 3: Another chase sequence later they finally enter the Amber Castle, hidden deep down in a giant cave behind a waterfall.
Spoiler alert this doesn't exist in the game at all, though it'd be a pretty cool set piece. The castle proper is hidden behind a ton of tunnels that gives the vibe more of an ant hill, and then a wall of (defense order) combee protects it even further. It's easy to get lost but thankfully we have...literally any Pokemon because it's not just Mothim that can sniff it out. You're worthless, Mothim. Why did you even come here.
Team Rocket starts digging around, makes Vespiquen (already territorial) super mad and sicks swarms of Combee firing beams (people theorize this is how Attack Order works) through the caverns to fuck everyone up and isn't too pleased once everyone breaks into the hive. Cheryl sees no issue to this, no sells all the combee staring angrily at her, talks to the Vespiquen about her backstory and asks for some honey. Then the good animators burst through the ceiling as the frames per second triple for the finale with TR and almost destroys the entire thing. yadda yadda yadda they fix the castle, TR is blasted out and Cheryl gets through to Vespiquen to get the honey and leave on good terms. Then the gang parts ways by way of Cheryl seeing a Beedrill, giving one last idiom of traveling alone, and off she goes never to be seen again.
It's a cute little arc but it's pretty inexplicable. Did they just really really like Cheryl? Honey?
Meowth, running from hundreds of bug Pokemon because they're covered in honey: Better get those honey soaked clothes off quick!
Jessie & Meowth, screaming into the sunset: Nooooooooooooooooo