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As time passes, things change. Unlike Seasons 1 through 9, it's really easy to see the period i chose as more experimental, a time of change. Seasons 10 through 19, or Generations 4 through 6, started some interesting trends. For instance, Gen 4 had some incredibly daring plotlines that back then were almost too crazy to put in any children's cartoon ever. Gen 5 attempted a complete reboot of the series, and Gen 6 was like the combination of every good thing from Gens 4 and 5 plus an insane animation budget and much else.
If i'm gonna say this right now, i can easily say that this list was harder to make than the previous one. And it is pretty much exclusively because the content is BETTER. Yeah, bite me. And it's not just leveraged by the legendary Kalos(Gen 6) Anime either. So you can bet this list will have higher standards than the previous one! I also think far more of these are watchable in standalone, but maybe that's just me. And don't go straight to watch like the top 3, that won't work!
Anyways, let's move straight on to the list!
20. Ep. 904 - Party Dancecapades!
*insert disk scratch sound effect here*
Yeah, this is probably the weirdest choice on this list, which is probably why it's just #20
. But honestly, this episode served its purpose PERFECTLY. I never thought i'd like it when an episode intentionally pissed me off. But holy crap they did so in a really hilarious anti-hype way that made me laugh at how pissed off i was. It's not like, say, the plot armor they decided to put on a certain someone in the Kalos League in order for Ash to lose the Finals(when in reality it would probably incur in an even more powerful plot moment further down the line for him to win instead, but that's just me :/).
Anyways, tangent over. This episode is awesome. That one isn't.
The main reason this episode is known is because of its ties to Amourshipping(Ash x Serena, basically the ultimate Pokéship, impossible to avoid, actually canon, i ship it), or, more accurately, how it served as the ultimate troll to everyone who supported it and followed the pre-launch hype train. The fact is that this was meant to be a dance party with a pre-set date, and Serena was forced not to go with Ash because since it is Pokémon Showcase related, the Pokémon's wishes kinda come first and her Eevee was incredibly shy back then and only felt comfortable with Clemont's Bunnelby. So it's time for best rival- Er, i mean Miette, Serena's rival who also had a crush on Ash to swoop in and take the plunge instead! But instead of building up conflict, the episode quickly changed gears. It went ahead to show both that Miette wasn't exactly crush material and was kinda taking Ash for granted(and, in a reference to Showdown at the Shalour Gym, also showed that Ash is utterly shit at dancing in one of the funniest scenes i've ever seen), while, even by though she was dying inside and insanely jealous, Serena still tried to make the almost as shit at dancing Clemont have fun and feel comfortable in an environment he clearly didn't fit in, patiently teaching him the basics and everything. It really highlights her humble and giving nature above everything else, and in a way, hypes up the fact that the future does in fact hold something more for her. Besides that, there's Jessie and James, who also came in to the party as a pair, and... Oh my god. James in this episode. Legit one of the most hilarious things i've seen in my life. He just seemed so depressed throughout the whole thing, asking himself how the hell he got there... And Jessie is, well, Jessie. Then there was the pair switch scene, and right when Ash and Serena were about to dance together finally the music stopped... You guys are evil. Then there was the tag battle segment, which is pretty good(it has the funniest James moments tho), and her Eevee finally evolves into Sylveon in it so that's pretty good. Honestly though it was the first half that solidified this episode in the history books. Holy shit.
Highlight: The dancing scene.
Anyways, this segment was too long. It's probably because i was trying to justify me liking an episode the writers were legit spammed on Twitter over.
Also, in this, Bonnie was humming a song that you might certainly recognize in it. Yes, this is the episode in which Squishy's Song first appeared.
19. Ep. 836 - The Cave of Mirrors!
This episode is probably what the writing staff came up with when they were just plain high. And honestly, it's PERFECT as that. In it, the main group is led to Reflection Cave, which is famous for its mirror-like crystals. But then Ash gets lost from the rest of the group, and then suddenly a portal appears in one of the mirrors. On the other side, there's another Ash, and he sees Ash's Pikachu and thinks it's his, and gets it from across the portal. Then the normal world's Ash quickly jumps in after him, only to see that he's in an entirely new universe parallel to his. In it, while real Serena is always a kind and gentle girl with a usually very caring nature but with some personal issues, lack of pokémon training and a slight crush on Ash, mirror Serena is smug, overconfident, very powerful and always throws shade on Mirror Ash for being a baby(sounds familiar). While real Ash is, well, Ash, mirror Ash is weak, pathetic, has no self-confidence and cries a lot. While real Clemont is a science nerd who can't run at all, and always has a beautiful invention to solve any situation and no-one besides Ash gives him much credit at all(plus all of his inventions blow up), mirror Clemont instead is the best runner of the team, has a confusing magic spell for every situation, everyone adores him and his spells *always work*. There's also Mirror Team Rocket, who are just straight-up heroes of justice. Lol. With a concept like that, the episode just straight up can't fail.
Highlight: The scene that alternates between real Clemont and mirror Clemont. It's utter genius.
18. Ep. 866 - The Moment of Lumiose Truth!
Oh yeah, this is easily my new favorite Gym Leader battle episode ever made. Electric Shock Showdown fans b salty. This is honestly one of the most hype things i've seen. The fact that Ash's companion was not just a Gym Leader, but also a fairly late one makes it very interesting and climactic when it finally happens. We not only knew Clemont for a very long time already, but they straight up had him leave for like 10 episodes just to train for this face-off between him and Ash for the gym badge. The battle itself it also amazing, but honestly i personally don't watch Pokémon for the battles(whoa whoa holy shit), but for context. For the characters, for the interactions. I love battles that are symbolic. It's why i liked so much battles like Final Ash vs Brandon, Ash vs Gary, etc. And this is a very powerful battle, as nobody was letting up for even a second. Also Goodra is awesome.
Highlight: That final Bide. Holy shit. *refer to my profile pic*
17. Ep. 853/862 - Facing The Grand Design!/A Fork in the Road! A Parting of the Ways!
This is a tie between two episodes that did basically the same thing, but in equally beautiful ways. They're notably Team Rocket focused, even more so A Fork in the Road, one of them focused on James and his Inkay, and the other focused on Jessie and her Wobbuffet.
Facing the Grand Design is the episode that marks the return of the Alien Malamar, a villain from a previous episode, as it, united with two others, tries to make an ultimate superweapon to turn the planet into a suitable home for them. While the episode does start off focused on the main gang, the focus slowly shifts in towards James, as Inkay would get more and more pissed and out of control as time passed and everyone but James would think that it's being mind-controlled, leading to insane conflict. [...]