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Review S16 EP03: A Village Homecoming!

Really good episode - and I certainly have a different impression of it after the dub (and seeing it at more than 2 frames a second helps too), I think I'd assumed that the attacks were hitting Hydreigon based on what I'd seen - and thus was rather annoyed at what I thought I was seeing Iris do. But now I know what actually happened, I think Iris did really well and I think it's believable that she could.

If I had to complain, and I will, Dragonite still doesn't sit well with me - the message to the COTD in the episode was that she could find the talent within her to do well - but she just had to sit back and watch Iris' natural powers at play, Iris couldn't talk her down about her own advantage in raising dragons, it was just a fact, and the COTD (I can never remember their names even though I just watched the episode) had to just hope that one day through hard work she could reach something like Iris' level.

The Elder saw Dragonite as being an overactive Dragon-type, not the dangerous and out of control Pokemon it was in the Junior Cup, and certainly to me not enough happened to justify the transition in the mean time - but now it's done, the end result with Dragonite is good, and where Iris' character is now, ignoring how she got there, is also quite good.

I really liked that small scene with Iris and Axew where Axew seemed to take charge of the situation - it's an extremely welcome and nice change from his being treated as a baby. But I suppose that too is to keep up appearances in front of the Elder.

I'm very much looking forward to next week - not really for the battle, but because I'm sure my better impression of Iris will be further helped by understanding the extra backstory she gets.

On some minor points, it is strange how they had everyone shout their thanks to the COTD for the food - I know that's because it's a line translating a custom that really isn't followed in the west, but it just sounded strange as it was delivered. And is it just me or did none of the Fraxure make any noise?
Episode 100, and it's an Iris episode! Alright, we're leaving behind the stand alone episodes for something like an Iris story arc. Now we delve into why she didn't wanna go by Opelucid City.

We open with our heroes about to visit the Village Of Dragons and Iris is excited to be back home. So much so that she runs ahead of Ash and Cilan without realizing or caring that she left them behind. Okay, so she's got no qualms about the Village Of Dragons itself, so what's her deal? Why so secretive? She reveals via private monologue that she's trying to avoid seeing Drayden, the Opelucid City Gym Leader.

Huh, I guess Ash and friends are in Pokémon Black then.

Anyway, once the theme song ends and our heroes get down there, they find the place teeming with Axew. Smart choice. They'll all probably evolve into Haxorus eventually. Pick the best and most broken Pokémon and stick with that. Everyone's a Dragon Master, everyone's happy. But not all of the Pokémon there are Axex-line. Iris's bestie from her earlier childhood shows up, a timid girl named Shannon, who is tending to two Zweilous. They reunite, Iris introduces Shannon and the Zweilous to Ash and Cilan, who Shannon is immediately bashful of. But now that they're in town, they decide to visit the other people Iris knows of, the Dragon Master and her two retainers. This Village Of Dragons seems kinda deserted, doesn't it? Not very many people, so far I've counted a total of four.

Iris introduces her friends to the second, third, and fourth citizens of this village as they approach the Dragon Master. She says "Oh, Iris, your journey, blah blah blah" and gives Axew a once over to see how well she's doing. As with all wise Pokémon rearers, she's keen and has Level-And-Mood-O-Vision, she can tell how far into raising Axew she is, see his level and his Happiness stat. Iris is apparently doing fine. Then the two retainers ask if Iris has any other Dragon Pokémon she found on her journey. She has only one other one. But considering how strong Dragon-types are, is it really fair to have more than, let's say, three at a time?

Iris takes everyone outside and introduces them to her newest inductee, Dragonite. Everyone's impressed. But considering how Dragonite is not just a Dragon Pokémon, but one of the best and a pseudo-legendary, AND one of those rare non-Unova Pokémon that everyone finds so rare and exotic around here, I half expected their eyeballs to fall out of their heads that scrappy Iris From Da Block could manage to not get killed by it, let alone reel it in and eventually get it to sit still. I guess she really does have potential. But just as Dragonite is freed from its Pokéball, it notices a Haxorus sitting under a tree. Dragon-types are a lot like Pokémon Trainers. The wild spirit of battle is constant in them, whenever they meet, they need to expend their excess rage and fight. So they fight.

But the Dragon Master steps in before these two kill each other and everyone around them. She steps in calmly and stands between them, using her own body as a shield to stop the exchange of blows. And surprisingly, Dragonite pulls back! It doesn't hit the Dragon Master! I understand that Dragonite does care about living-isms, it protected that Pidove flock, but it was only a few episodes ago that he seemingly didn't care about anybody when it came to interrupting his kung fu. How does a Pokémon manage to both care and not care about people so drastically at the same time? But it doesn't matter now, now Dragonite is well behaved and cares about mostly everyone. Mostly well behaved. The Dragon Master then moves in on Haxorus and gets all Granny Bad Touch on it. And Haxorus is all "Oh! Oh my..." Her silken caress... relieves Haxorus, and it calms down. Then she turns and does the same to Dragonite. Again, a few strokes and it's out like a light. So, besides that little outburst, Iris appears to be impressing her hometown heroes.

Iris and the team run off to do Twerp stuff. But hiding in the leaves is a man so bearded he might as well have no mouth. It's Drayden! The Opelucid Gym Leader! He's been watching Iris. The Dragon Master says that Iris still believes she ran away from his schooling without his permission. If she only knew it was all a test. All a part of Drayden's plan to sculpt a Dragon Master out of her.

Quick mention, if I were Iris, I would've told them about my encounters with Georgia, that seems like a prominent device in her Dragon Master journey. Just seemed like an interesting story to tell them.

Anyway, later our heroes find Shannon tending to her Zweilous again. One of them appears to be sick or something. Oh well, she's done enough for it, she can't fix it. Time for some cheese! In the Village Of Dragons, it's perfectly fine to just eat cheese on bread. That stuff you have left over in your cabinet and refrigerator that you don't think makes up a whole meal; bread, sauce, a can of spinach, that DOES make a meal in the Village Of Dragons. Perfectly fine to just have cheese sauce on a biscuit for lunch. Shannon, still timid, shares her dreams with the group. Apparently she wants to be a Pokémon breeder. Hey! Like Brock used to kinda wanna be, right? Wasn't that what he wanted to be before he decided to be a Pokémon doctor? But she's seen how far Iris has come and she doesn't think she can compare to Iris. Iris says "Oh, flibbertygibbet." But Shannon presses on, saying that the Dragon Master let Iris have all this freedom because the Dragon Master knows that Iris has the potential that Shannon doesn't have. Iris suggests Shannon go on a Pokeyman Journey to see how she plays in the big time, but Shannon says that she hasn't asked the Dragon Master's permission yet. When both Zweilous evolve into Hydreigon, she will ask for permission to go on a Journey. And then she'll see just how much talent she really has. Hopefully Iris is right that she can walk the walk too.

And it looks like Shannon's Journey might be happening sooner than she thinks! The Zweilous that was all stomach-achey is starting to evolve! The other Zweilous starts yelling frantically to alert Shannon that it's brother is doing something strange. And then, out of nowhere, not dramatically in the middle of a battle or after a touching speech about how Shannon will always be its friend or something, the other Zweilous evolves into Hydreigon! Amazing!

Oh crap, didn't Iris's Dragonite have some bad blood with a Hydreigon? Oh well, maybe this one will be more under control-

Oh CRAP! It's NOT under control! It sees its reflection in the water and freaks out at the fact that it has three heads instead of two. What's with Dragon-esque Pokémon and freaking out upon evolution? Not just Dragon-types, but Dragon-looking Pokémon, most notable Ash's Charmander / Charmeleon / Charizard. In fact, while not a true Dragon-type, it probably is what the kids call the Trope Namer.

Hydreigon freaking out alerts everyone else that's appeared so far. It's mentioned that Hydreigon is freaked out at suddenly evolving without a story instance to trigger it. I agree, it was kinda sudden, but sometimes that's natural. It's also mentioned that the evolution has filled Hydreigon with, like, craziness hormones or something. Evolution = puberty for Pokémon, which is apparently why Pikachu never hit that when Buneary was practically living in his pants. But then what does that say about Piplup and Oshawott? I guess Water-types mature physically a little faster than Electric-types. Anyway, Iris says she's gonna put an end to this, and through peaceable means. She calls out Dragonite and Emolga and tells them to pretend-attack Hydreigon and box it into a corner so it can't run and she can calm it down. But Hydreigon can fly! But they try the plan anyway. And again, Dragonite was surprisingly well behaved! In fact, while Dragonite only attacked Hydreigon with feints and fake-outs, 'twas Emolga who actually attacked it! Not with any Electric attacks, but, I mean, she kicked Hydreigon in the head! That probably hurt kinda!

Iris successfully backs Hydreigon up against a dead end. Dragonite and Emolga's turn is up, now it's time for Excadrill and Axew, another Gentle/Fierce combo. Notice, Emolga, Excadrill, AND Dragonite each gave Iris trouble, and she eventually worked it out. It was a real hustle raising Iris's Pokémon, but having a Dragonite, an Excadrill, and an Axew? Worth the time, IMO. Anyway, Excadrill and Axew hit Hydreigon with Focus Blast and Dragon Rage. And just as Iris is becoming more confident and commanding in her abilities, so is Axew. No more puberty boy, he's a man with puberty and soon he may evolve as well. Iris uses each attack to create a window of opportunity through which she can jump through and land on Hydreigon and try the Dragon Master gentle approach. The one that worked on Dragonite and Haxorus. Meanwhile, Drayden continues to watch in secret. Shannon and the Dragon Master watch as well, and Shannon is amazed at what Iris is doing. Shannon wants to be that good too. The Dragon Master says to watch Iris and know how to be. Which kinda left a bitter taste in my mouth. I mean, I know this is Iris's march to Dragon Mastery, but does she have to use Shannon's appeal to getting stronger to do it? Shannon has dreams too, why is Iris using Shannon's time to voice her dreams?

Eventually Iris successfully calms Hydreigon down. Seeing that Iris was able to do this, Drayden steps out and reveals himself. Things get real awkward for Iris. She apologizes to him, apparently she ran away from home and his schooling when she was younger so she could go on a Journey. But Drayden says that's fine in his book. In fact, he LET her go! But he doesn't tell her that part. He just says that she's come far and is no longer scrappy Iris who didn't know how to pick her battles. Out of respect for the hurdles she has... hurdled... he issues her an invitation to battle him at the Opelucid Gym. Which raises the question, how does Iris go about becoming a Dragon Master? Ash's goal is to be a Pokémon Master, right? That involves winning Gym battles and becoming League Champion and jazz like that, but Iris has so far not won a single Badge, it seems. Does becoming a Dragon Master not involve winning Badges? Cilan wants to be a top ranked Pokémon Connoisseur, I think there's an evaluating board he has to apply through to appeal for higher rank or something. But what does Iris need to do? Does the Dragon Master decide when she's made it? I guess we'll learn in future episodes.

And guess what? Shannon gets recognized too, she isn't getting her spotlight stolen by anyone. She speaks up, inspired by all that she's seen today. She tells the Dragon Master that she wants to go on a Journey like Iris, as soon as her other Zweilous evolves. The Dragon Master says that's fine by her, it was always fine by her. She was just waiting for Shannon to be brave and speak up about it, for she can only claim destiny herself, no one else can push her along on her journey, she must open the door otherwise she'll not have any inclination of where to go. So, Shannon is happy and works to be like Iris. Everybody happy once again. Nice little visit to the Village Of Dragons, and now Ash and company are gonna take a little detour to Opelucid City before they go to Vertress City. Squeezing a couple more episodes out of this Gen, are we?
I was pretty amused when Zweilous evolved to Hydreigon, looked at its reflection in the water, and promptly freaked the hell out after that. I can understand that, I guess. If I suddenly grew an extra head and looked like an absolute muderdemon, I'd probably freak out too. It would be awesome if that was a casual trait of the Hydreigon line. XD

Aside from that... meh. I did like the Elder in this episode (though I agree with the above post about the inconsistency of Dragonite's character where it goes back and forth between giving no fucks about anything and having no issue smashing whatever living being is in its way, and allegedly "caring" about the bystanders; it still looked more like Dragonite was distracted by the Pidove flock rather than actively protecting them, and the Elder freaking ninja dodged before Dragonite could throw a punch... how does this translate to "Dragonite has honor and won't threaten powerless bystanders! Except for all the times it threatened powerless bystanders before..."). Though I am annoyed that they imply that she might think Iris isn't doing as well with Axew as she claimed she was (because we all know that's utter bullshit) and then just drop that detail right afterward. This would've been a much better episode if Iris came to realize how little progress she was making with Axew... and maybe point out her apparent lack of common sense when she unleashes Dragonite right in an area crawling with dragons that the violent, rambunctious Dragonite would automatically want to fuck up. They've had Dragonite on the team long enough to know when it's a bad idea to let it out of its ball, I think.

Shannon was.... weird. All of that near-constant blushing she was doing damn near convinced me that she's got a thing for Iris. Just what Iris needs: a doormat of a childhood friend who relentlessly kisses Iris' ass. We sure haven't had enough characters like that in the show already, amirite? Maybe it's her uncanny vague resemblance to fellow brown-noser Dawn that makes me roll my eyes every time Shannon praised Iris.

It's just... amazing how apathetic I was for this whole episode. I almost laughed when it got to the part of Iris not being the same person she was when she initially left for her quest. Possibly because Iris is pretty much exactly the same as she was in the beginning. The only thing I'm interested in for the next episode is if Iris' horrible experience in school was self-inflicted or if they'll make her the poor innocent angel... cuz either way, for someone who's allegedly desperate for friends she sure doesn't act like it. And when Ash said that Iris takes care of herself, I just about chuckled at that because it's so true.

The fact that Drayden took such a vested interest in one single dropout in school just... annoys me. Like we needed more special snowflake propaganda.

To the episode's credit, I did like seeing the detail given to the Village of Dragons. It looks like these are the true boonies Trip is looking for. I would've enjoyed learning more of what kind of society they are since it seems very much like a matriarchal thing (no one's been nearly as badass as the elder), and how they fit into the puzzle of Unova since it seems so disconnected from the rest of the region (sort of like the games, where it WAS totally separate from Unova). It was kinda funny seeing such a limited variety of dragons in the village, too. I understand why that's the case, of course, but we're in the midst of the series where they're leaking pre-Gen V Pokemon wherever in Eastern Unova , which seems to have been a thing for a while now at least. You'd think the Village of Dragons would import some of the extra species from the east - it doesn't sound that hard to do. The Village of Dragons having only three species of Dragon-types to roam about with just makes it lacking in concept, doesn't it? :p

But I understand why we didn't get more details on this mysterious location. Iris takes precedence over everything in her episodes, damn the consequences and what could have been. Sigh.
The Zweilous sound like Stitch! And also their name is pronounced the way it's spelled, as opposed to the typical German pronunciation of zwei. Weird, because Deino and Hydreigon have the proper pronunciation in their names.

Edit: Amazing episode! But wtf Shannon, you leave a Pokemon you believe is seriously ill outside while you entertain your friend inside?
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I usually don't care for Iris-centric episodes, but I really liked this one. The Village of the Dragons seems like an interesting place. Although I agree that there should have been pre gen.5 Dragon-types there. I guess Ash in the gang aren't in Eastern Unova anymore. I still don't know exactly where this is supposed to be located, I was expecting this episode to explain that.

When the Village Elder evaluated Axew, I highly doubt she was only evaluating it battle experience-wise. Sure, Axew hasn't been raised to be the strongest Pokemon ever, but there is alot more to raising a Pokemon than strength alone. Iris has raised it with plenty of care and love and I think that is what the elder was pointing out.

Iris' determination to help Hydreigon was admirable. I know its so late in the series, but things like this are slowly warming me up to Iris.

I guess im one of few, but I liked Shannon. She was cute. I actually really liked the message the Elder gave Shannon. She was saying just because you don't have super-natural Dragon listening powers doesn't mean you can't be a great Dragon Trainer. At least that's the way I interrupted it. I mean, to the best of my knowledge, Clair, Drake, and Lance don't have Iris' abilities.

I expected Drayden's voice to be more rugged. I like his voice, I just expected them to go the rugged older gym leader route. Again, im okay with it though. I recognized the voice and I don't know his name but he is really good.

Good episode. I think its pretty cool Shannon gets to start her journey off with 2 Hydreigons, lol. You know there will be some poor run of the mill beginner, with a Snivy and a Pidove, being the first Trainer she battles. His low leveled beginning Pokemon will be crushed by 2 Hydreigons haha
This was the best Iris episode, by far! (even better than the more boring follow-up)
The dub helped it out even more, since IMO the Iris school past mystery was better handled than original Jap. Also, the humour of the ep was better. One of the few times where dub is better than original (i have noticed that all Adventures in Unova episodes seen till now are better handled in the dub. At least compared to the Junior Cup/Meloetta....)
When it comes to Dragonite, we can see that Iris still has problems. Hopefully, Iris visited Village of Dragons after the Meloetta arc (in which Dragonite started obeying her) If we got that right after Junior Cup, it would be awful. Plus, i think that if all this hasn't transpired, Iris would have been ashamed to return with 2 nondragons, an unevolved baby and a freakin' destroyer. No matter Iris' problems, it was handled the right way (the way it worked against Hydreigon helped that out)
It was great to see a Zweillous to Hydreigon evo, and Hydreigon's reaction to its evolution was just perfect!
And here comes the good part... Iris becomes the Ep's superhero, and itis not forced. I really think that this was one of Iris' biggest achievements (the other being winning the Club Battle). In opposition to the second one, this one was pulled off great.
The COTD was indifferent. In such an episode, someone timid has to get a faith lesson. Since Iris was showcased as badass, someone else had to do the donkey job. That is, we make a COTD just for that.

10/10. Easil
I think this episode made me dislike Iris a bit less then i used to and Shannon was cute. All in all not a bad episode and definitely far better then the 2 fillers we just had.
I couldn't stop laughing at Kayzie Roger's voice for the Elder. It sounded so forced and not natural what so ever.
A very good episode that I really enjoyed watching! A well thought out plot with plenty of profound lines.

Although I have to admit that I myself also expected to see more different kinds of Dragon-types in a place that prides itself with the title "Village of Dragons", but I think we might consider that as a minor point of criticism. I agree with user Sinneth, though, who said it was kind of disappointing that, after Cilan had insinuated that Elder somehow wasn't quite happy with Axew's development, the writers didn't pick up that thread anymore. It would have been interesting to hear what had gone wrong in the Elder's eyes.

What I definitely liked was Drayden's appearance who was mysteriously staying on the background until the very end. This really helped to build up suspense and to also look forward to next week's episode.

And finally, I mustn't forget Iris' very brave efforts to calm down the savage Hydreigon. The whole plot was being developed very carefully and the problem was solved by Iris in a pretty impressive and dramatic way. I'd say we can't get enough of such scenes.

Last but not least, I'd like to say something to all those who are unhappy with Dragonite's character or rather character development which, in their eyes, seems to be handled arbitrarily. It's true that Dragonite used to be a rampaging beast which recklessly used to attack each and everybody in its way. But I'm sure you didn't forget what Cynthia did during the Junior Cup, did you? She, the most wonderful Champion, was the first one to reach Dragonite's heart and to calm it down as a consequence. Sure, Dragonite is still a fierce battler but it was at that point that it seemed to rethink its attitude for the first time and went from a reckless Pokemon to a more considerate one. Cynthia made the ice melt (and she knows a lot about ice :D)

All in all, a very nice episode!
This episode was really cool, actually. Iris running away from Drayden was pretty funny, only to be found out by him anyways.

And at the very least, Iris is competent as a Dragon Trainer to an extent where she can calm Hydreigons down.
It was nice to see something to Iris other than a casual incompetence for Pokémon training and moaning about everyone else around her; but I didn't like that how dangerously violent Dragonite can be was downplayed and dismissed as "he/she's a Dragon-type, so it's okay if he/she goes apeshit because Dragon-types are special." I don't imagine Pokémon of other types getting the same treatment and having the issue of nearly killing someone (Junior Cup hissy-fit, nearly Thunderpunching the Elder) passed off purely on it's type.
Fun episode. "Sweye-lus," eh? Add another Pokemon name to the list I've apparently been pronouncing wrong, don't quite understand what was up with TPCi. "Hydra-gin," not "High-Dragon." I also prefer the former pronunciation given the double pun isn't so in your face. The Zwelious did sound like Stitch, that was a nice treat. I liked seeing Zwelious debut in an episode and I liked seeing Hydreigon itself. I'm probably the only weird-ass in the minority that thinks Hydreigon is really cute. I just really like the chubbiness of it and how it has such an endearing face and colors and such. Nice seeing the Dragon Village in real-time, expected to see more than Druddigon, Axew family, Deino family.
....and Altaria.
in the village. I still can't believe the village has wild Haxorus walking around. I mean waaaah? :p Felt weird seeing that.

Shannon was likable, not very interesting but better than Dawn's boring childhood friend and her ugly boring childhood friend. I cannot believe she plans to start her journey with two Hydreigon under her belt, she could skewer Chili, Cress, Lenora, Burgh, Elesa, and Skyla like they're nothing, sorta reminds me of AJ from Kanto who wanted to start off with a 100 wins. Interesting intel on the D-Village, so apparently Iris has a natural talent for understanding the hearts of Dragons in the same way her game counterpart was a prodigy from a young age. Shannon meanwhile had a natural talent for raising Pokemon and breeding, I'm taken back to Pokemon Adventures with those whole "The Fighter," "The Healer," "The Hatcher," titles. That's a nice little fact to think about.

Liked seeing Emolga, Dragonite, Excadrill, and Axew teaming up on Hydreigon to calm it down. Axew taking the role of leader in that sitch was nice, I thought Excadrill would have been more fitting though. Hydreigon blasting the village randomly with a Draco Meteor was intense, mainly because the chaos and destruction was clearly close to wrecking those Fraxure, people, and Axew. The Elder is a freaking ninja to be able to evade D-Nite's Thunder Punch, I don't quite understand why the dub didn't make it clear once Dragonite saw the Elder he was doing his best to restrain himself from hitting her which caused his klutz moment. I liked how the Elder informed that Dragonite had been through many battles to get to its power-levels, sure it's grasping for straws but I always like getting little mention of a Pokemon past like that.

I don't understand why Emolga just didn't Attract Hydreigon but that was a serious moment and an Attract solution might have been too abrupt and anti-climatic. I liked seeing Iris get so embarrassed and sound like a shamed teenagers when she's all "Not around my friends!" and how she was so happy to get praised by Drayden himself. Drayden acting all cryptic this episode was cool, I think it his VA does the job well. Not as quite commanding as the Japanese VA but Mike Pollocks get the job done. I also liked how Iris was so excited to show what she learned and how she had changed on her journey along with her Pokemon, specifically Dragonite and Excadrill as well as Axew.

Emulating Elder like that was nice, though I still think the most emotional display of the ability to understand Dragon's hearts was when she had calmed down Druddigon. It wasn't a raging or angry Dragon, instead it simply had a problem with its emotions and letting others in and its own depression. All Elder had done was talk to it and she still managed to free it from its insecurities. That was quite an amazing, not really regularly done, way of connecting to a Dragon's heart and I wish we got moments more like that. They're very relatable and cute.

Overall it was a fun episode, looking forward to the next dubbed.
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