Anime Review: XY011 "The Bamboozling Forest"

In this segment, several of our writers will give their thoughts on the episode of the Pokémon anime that was most recently broadcasted in English. This week, we have Jason Koole, Aimee Marie, and Mitchell Wolfe to say a few words about Episode XY011: "The Bamboozling Forest."

 Two Pancham just doing whatever it is Pancham do.

Two Pancham just doing whatever it is Pancham do.

Jason Koole Overview 

The episode opens with Ash and company having a picnic, when the most adorable Pokemon tumble out of the bushes. It's Pancham! The adorable panda that evolves into one of the most awesome looking HM slaves. The two Pancham are interested in Chespin's food. Pancham's are being super-tricksters though, and basically convince everyone that they merely want to share food. Pancham then proceeds to just eat all of their food, quick enough to where no one can stop them.

Team Rocket, who was watching Ash and company earlier in the episode, decide to make matters worse and bust in all Team Rockety in their Meowth Balloon. They use a net to capture everyone's main Pokemon. Team Rocket, happy in their success, argue about who gets to take credit for the capture. They stupidly get in a fight and blow up their balloon, basically negating any amount of success that they had.

Meowth hits a Pangoro while falling from the explosion. Pangoro then decides to blast-off Meowth, throwing him into the distance. Pikachu ends up rejoining with Froakie after the fall. Then they run into Chespin. Chespin comedically fell head first into the ground and looks pretty stuck, but Pikachu and Froakie are able to get him out. Then they notice Meowth hanging from tree branches and vines. The Pokemon debate on whether to help out Meowth, and Pikachu ends up deciding to help. This was kind of dumb on Pikachu's part because Meowth is trying to be a sneaky sneak and plot a plan to capture everyone, but Froakie ain't having none of that.

Normally, I don’t like Fennekin that much, but the next few scenes were just adorable.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket is picking on Pancham, but don't notice the Pangoro coming up behind them. Obviously, they blast off. Cut to Pikachu and company finding Fennekin. Normally, I don't like Fennekin that much, but the next few scenes were just adorable. Froakie helping Fennekin was really cute and it was nice to have some Pokemon interaction. We have another cut back to Team Rocket, who run into a Pumkaboo just chilling and raving with its lantern lights. Jesse tosses a Pokeball at it and catches it without any effort.

We cut back to the Pokemon. They end up defending themselves from the Pangoro from earlier in the episode, and Chespin ends up incinerating the twig in Pangoro's mouth. This apparently takes away any sort of fighting spirit that Pangoro has and he just folds in sorrow. Ash and company reunite with the Pokemon at this point and are sent on a small fetch quest to get Pangoro a very specific bamboo twig.  

Of course, they come back to find that Team Rocket took this opportunity to tie Pangoro up, rather than capturing it with a ball like Jessie did to the Pumpkaboo a few scenes earlier. A battle ensues with said Pumkaboo Leach Seeding the heroes' Pokemon into submission. Ash does this really awesome thing where he runs through a slew of attacks to deliver the twig to Pangoro. Pangoro then delivers the most Mega of Punches to Team Rocket and sends them flying. Ash and company leave the Pangoro and Pancham on good terms and continue on their journey.

Overall, I liked the episode. It was quite a bit better than I expected and the episode had a bit of everything. It had character interaction, an interesting episode gag with Pangoro throwing Team Rocket around a couple of times, a moment of awesome for Ash, and Pokemon personality development. Pokemon runs on a Monster of the Week type formula, and this episode had enough quirks or development to set it apart from the others, for me.

7/10

 So, Chespin has vines. Good to know.

So, Chespin has vines. Good to know.

Aimee Marie Overview 

We start off with Team Rocket watching Ash and the Gang from their balloon. Obviously they will be up to mischief in the episode. In the meantime, Ash and the others were settling down and having a lunch break before they heard noises. Froakie all down for protecting the group, uses his Frubbles attack which then reveals the two very adorable Pancham. I’ve seen enough episodes of pokemon to know that the appearance of adorable and cutesy pokemon only means that some trickery is afoot. A little similar to the Darumaka episode in the Unova Saga. And even pikachu tried to warn ash of this. It didn’t help that Clemont used yet another invention to a fail only to the audience. The Panchams consume all of the food of the gang but before much could happen Team Rocket made their presence known by capturing Pikachu, Froakie, Fennekin and Chespin. If you yourself has seen multiple episodes of pokemon, you know the traditional formula by now. Whenever Team Rocket captures pokemon and flees in the beginning of the episode, before even the first commercial break they will somehow separate themselves from said captives and of course Meowth. And with Wobbufet back with Jesse, there is always something wrong bound to happen.

Jesse catches a Pumpkaboo which makes the second ghost typed pokemon she has ever owned.

As the episode moves along, I as a fan begin to see little thing that set off my smiles. When Pikachu finds Froakie, he’s using his frubbles as a mask which he does in the first episode of the season. Watching Froakie use his frubbles always makes me happy, though i’m not sure if that’s cause i like the cuteness and how much frubbles is in response to Froakie’s character OR if it’s cause I love Froakie in general. I also love how Fennekin matches Serena’s personality as Fennekin is worrying about the dirt on its tail. I don’t want to give every little detail that happens in the episode but i will say that in this episode one of the big points to it was that Jesse catches a Pumpkaboo which makes the second ghost typed pokemon she has ever owned. It will be interesting to see how this pokemon benefits Team Rocket. Overall, This was a general episode with a similar formula as other seasons, but you can’t put too much fault into that. With so many pokemon and environments in the pokemon universe, not every formula is gonna be the same. I enjoyed the episode and i thought it was just overall nice. I also love the idea of Pangoro being a “sad panda” because he doesn’t have a sprig. It definitely adds character to Pangoros everywhere though i am sad that this episode might that there’s a huge chance that Ash will NOT have a Pancham or Pangoro on his team. I look forward to next week’s episode. 

7/10

 "Please accept this branch as a symbol of my people's good will."

"Please accept this branch as a symbol of my people's good will."

Mitchell Wolfe Overview

If “The Bamboozling Forest” isn’t a filler episode, I don’t know what is.  The only thing of consequence that took place in the episode is Jessie’s capture of a Pumpkaboo which was a bit overdue considering that James has had his Kalos Pokémon, Inkay, for quite a while now and Wobbafett using Counter and Mirror Coat on absolutely everything has been getting a bit repetitive.

Seriously? We can just do that? That kind of changes the entire dynamic of the show.

So, the gist of the story here is that two Pancham have just been palling around the forest between Lumiose City and Cyllage City (spoiler alert to the video game players: No, this place shouldn’t exist) and they’ve been SUPER hungry. Finding Ash and the gang, they each steal about three full plates of food.  Ash and the gang, true to form don’t care at all. This is also a nice opportunity for Clemont to show off that he’s a cool science guy who does scientific science that Ash loves so much by creating a machine that allows humans to understand Pokémon. Seriously? We can just do that? That kind of changes the entire dynamic of the show.  Whatever, though. This is just a filler episode, though; they’ll probably never use that again.

The rest of the episode is humorous, but largely consists of repeated plot devices that the series has gotten so comfortable with. There’s a bit where a Pangoro charges at just about everything it sees, being an all-around jerk; there’s a bit where Meowth tricks Pikachu and the other Pokémon into thinking he’s on their side; there’s a bit where Ash & Co. need to find a new twig for Pangoro’s mouth after Chespin destroyed his other one.  It’s a pretty typical episode that reminds me a bit of all the filler that was so common back between Unova and Kalos on the Decolore Islands.

All in all, I’m not that impressed with it. Typically, even filler episodes try to say something with the half hour they are allotted. I’m not sure what this episode is saying, if anything.  I will say, however, that Pancham seems like a pretty usable mascot and that I’m surprised that the Pokémon Company isn’t pushing Pancham harder than they are. This episode is a pretty good indication of Pancham’s playfulness and it would be strange if we won't be seeing a lot more of Pancham later in the series.

4/10

Even though Pancham is a neat character that adds to the episode and we finally see Team Rocket’s Pokémon collection expand, the plot is just so bland that I can’t give the episode any rating higher than 4.

 Sad panda...

Sad panda...

So there you have it. Two 7s and a 4 out of 10 averaging to a 6/10. Let's see if next week's episode is better or worst on the next Anime Episode Review!