So this episode begins with Ash training his Froakie and Pikachu. Why he is doing that when the next gym is a fricken Grass Type Gym, putting Ash at a huge disadvantage, is beyond me but whatever. He admittedly doesn't really have any good Pokemon aside from his Flechender to face the gym with anyways so yeah. Get your Hawlucha some flying type moves Ash.
Anyways, after that five second distraction Ash notices Sanpei, a ninja-styled character who previously trained Ash's Froakie, floating in the water with his Greninja. They save them to find Sanpei badly beaten up and his Greninja poisoned. They quickly get healed so that's all well and good.
After a quick scan of Greninja, Sanpei explains exactly what the heck happened to put them in this state. Apparently they were attacked by a guy wearing a Shiftry hood over his head and his Barbaracle, who are both looking for a secret scroll. You know, typical ninja stuff. I know this is going on a little tangent here but I don't really like all the water types (aside from the starter's line) in Gen 6. Barbaracle especially. So yeah...moving on.
Anyways Barbaracle attacks and Ash's Froakie and Pikachu attempt to counter. Since there is a good 15 minutes left of this episode, it doesn't work out. Instead Sanpei uses a ninja leaf shroud to make them disappear from sight so they can run away. Clearly the "No running during a trainer battle" rule does not apply in the anime.
With then currently safe, Sanpei explains that the secret scroll the other guy is trying to steal is apparently as macguffinie as it sounds, since the dude has to get it someplace before sundown. Fifteen Poke says this is some secret test of character. With that explanation and a flashback out of the way they all leave to deliver the scroll. Clemont actually thinks ahead though and realizes that they need a plan of attack. But since this is Clemont well...guess. His robotic fakes did distract Team Rocket though. ...For about five seconds and they'll probably end up being the resolver of this episode anyways.
So they cross a small, rickety, outing on a cliff that makes me question how or why the thing was built in the first place since it seems like it'd be a waste of time and resources to make something that could not possibly stand up to even basic safety codes.
Anyways, after a small trip through a cave that is pretty much accurate on how all Pokemon trainers journey through a cave is, only with Golbat instead of Zubat, they end up separated and Ash and Sanpei are forced to confront our mysterious masked I honestly don't care. A battle ensues but guess what?
The battle is interrupted by Team Rocket.
Big fricken surprise.
Doing some research, I figured out that the reason Team Rocket has been returned to this after Black and White was because this form of Team Rocket was more popular in Japan. Alright fine. I get that. I disagree but cultural differences and all that. BUT THEY STILL DON'T HAVE TO BE IN EVERY FRICKEN EPISODE ASIDE FROM GYM EPISODES! THIS GETS REPETITIVE FAST!
What's even worse is they're appearance was completely pointless and just padded out the episode. They lost to one combination attack by Ash and Sanpei before they blast off and they did nothing effective aside from maybe destroy Clemont's machine. They could have been cut from the episode and nothing of value would be lost. Seriously anime writers, Team Rocket does not need to be in every episode.
Anyways, that rant over, the battle ensues as if nothing happened. The battle continues on and both Ash and Sanpei's Pokemon get curb stomped pretty easily. That is, at least, until Ash's Froakie evolves into Frogadier and somehow tanks a poison jab. Ash's Frogadier also learned a new move in the form of Arial Ace, and just before the grass gym too, which it proceeds to use to knock Barbaracle around. I'll admit, seeing that use of Arial Ace was actually pretty impressive. Anyways, the masked dude uses a ninja leaf shroud and disappears.
So Ash and Sanpei make it to the village only to discover that le gasp! the masked dude was Sanpei's mentor all along and this was some secret test of character. No! I would have never guessed this at all! Someone get M Night Shamalan here because that was a major twist!
With that out of the way and with some sort of development or something, the episode ends with Ash and Sanpei having a battle that we're never going to see the resolution of. My final thoughts?
Once again, this was pretty predictable. I figured out pretty much everything that would happen the moment Sanpei mentioned his master gave him the secret scroll mission. The only thing I didn't know was that Team Rocket wouldn't be the plot resolver, and even then that relegates their appearances to be completely pointless. Well, I guess aside from hinting that the masked man was not as malicious as he might be, but even then anyone who is paying attention would notice that his cloths and Sanpei's mentor's are the same (and even without me noticing that until a bit later in the episode, I still figured it out).
Still, the action in the episode was a little interesting, though I kinda wish that there was more of it. And it was an evolution episode which are usually interesting in their own right. At least I can't exactly call this filler.
Listening to: Memories of You (Pokemon Mystery Dungeon)
Playing: Alpha Sapphire
Eating: Chili Dog and Mint Candy
Drinking: Elixir Soup