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Review S16 EP04: Drayden Versus Iris: Past, Present, and Future!

I liked the Line, " I feel like I just been hit in the Head with a ton Of Bricks." That was the best line in the whole episode and this was not bad at all, I give this episode a 8/10.
Anyone else catch the S1 music at the beginning? Oh, how I miss those days...

So Iris was the only child at the school who could actually play like a child? When you think about it, that's almost creepy. Does anyone know if it's SOP for elementary prep schools to have kids who always act like young adults?

Beard Boy's Druddigon came perilously close to screwing the rules against Dragonite, but nowhere near as grievously as the Big D back in the Junior Cup.
A Gym Battle episode with Iris! She's not playing for badges so whether she wins or loses, her journey continues. This episode really gets into how much of a redneck jungle savage Iris is compared to people who have been living in the developed world. And yeah, DracoMan, I caught the throwback music at the beginning, but I didn't notice what it was until right now as you're telling me this minute. I was trying to find out what that song might've been.

So when our heroes get to Opelucid City at the top of the episode, they find that lots of people are dressed in uniforms. Yep, this is a college town, and the college? Opelucid Academy. The president is Drayden, and that's who they're here to battle, so why not pop over for a visit? They do, and Iris suddenly has a nervous breakdown. She actually tells herself to "find her happy place". Sheesh, I didn't know Iris needed to have a happy place. What was so traumatic about her time here that she needs psychiatric care?

But that's not the end of Iris's psychosis, she then panics, saying she CAN'T fight Drayden, then she runs to the top of this Eiffel Tower-esque tower. Like the one in the teaser video for Gen 6.

Come to think of it, Opelucid City looks a lot like that town in the teaser video for Gen 6, doesn't it?

Now all Gen long Iris has been straight outta Jungle 2 Jungle, but what is she thinking, climbing that tower? That's a good way to fall to one's death! It's smooth on the surface, it doesn't have, like, steps to climb. But in addition to it being crazy, it's also, like when you climb most tall structures, illegal. Officer Jenny shows up and gives Iris the bullhorn, telling her she is guilty of willful endangerment and some kind of vandalism/trespassing, or whatever the technical term is for criminal climbing and ledge-standing. Officer Jenny gets a good look at Iris and recognizes her as that handful kid from her rookie days. Yep, Iris is a repeat offender, she's been causing trouble in Opelucid City since she was a kid! A younger kid than she is now.

Iris comes down and Officer Jenny just yells at her. Can she not bring her in because she's a minor? Don't they have a Scared Straight program? For the love of Arceus she climbed a tower! And this isn't the first time it's happened. Every time Iris does this all she gets is a scolding. And also arriving to Iris's corner is Martha, the dorm mother to Iris back when she was still going to Opelucid Academy. Martha warmly greets Iris and her friends, and reveals that not only was Iris a criminal delinquent, but she also caused trouble at the school itself. See, Iris, being raised in the Village Of Dragons, doesn't have the firmest grasp on the... etiquette... of city life. So she kinda overstepped some boundaries.

Then they find Drayden, who is speaking with his lawyer regarding whether or not his facial hair is an infringement on Yosemite Sam's intellectual property. Drayden meets our twerps and promises to battle Iris later. He walks off. That meeting sticks with Iris, but Ash doesn't notice it and asks Iris if she'd like to share some stories of her school days. Iris says she doesn't like remembering the sad times she had back then. You mean the sad times that drove her to climb up the Eiffel Tower? I gotta hear this, I gotta hear what went so wrong in her past that she hates to remember it. So, she flashes back...

Long ago when she was in the early training of Excadrill, she lost a battle to Drayden. Using Excadrill. She'd actually told them this part already, loooooong ago. Anyway, after losing she got the idea to go to Opelucid Academy, where Drayden is the President Of School. That might help her get good enough to beat him. Problem is, when she got there, she realized she couldn't read. In fact, how did she get into that school? Who signed her up> Who's her custodian managing all this? The Village Elder? And is this some kind of tuition free school running on taxpayer dollars? And she got put here without standardized evaluation? They signed her up and didn't know she was that low on the food chain as far as scholastic aptitude? A do nothing police force and a public school that doesn't know how to teach it's students? The taxpayers in Opelucid City would probably cry foul about this if their dollars weren't also going towards making the city as beautiful as it is. How about that skyline? Anyway, Ash says that the kids were wrong to snub Iris, and that even though schooling is important, kids gotta have fun. But it's explained to him that the kids didn't mean to snub Iris, it's just that they were all feeling awkward because they were forced to partner up with the school's Pokémon provided to them. So, In addition to not having any prior book learning and being foisted into a grade she wasn't ready for, Iris soon discovered she wasn't ready for city life of any kind. She would climb and swing from things like a wild animal, entreating the other kids to apples she found in the trees. But the other kids wouldn't hang around when she was hanging around, and Iris got lonely. Also, she stopped eating.

Wait, hold on, what??? That's what happened in her past? She developed an eating disorder? Holy crap, Iris! How homesick were you? So that must be the thing she doesn't wanna remember, how she stopped eating?

Actually, Iris got better. Martha, the dorm mom, warmed her heart, she was like a younger, but not that much younger version of the Village Elder. She got Iris to eat again. As Iris retells this story, she decides to show our heroes her old dorm room. The wall has drawings on it, Iris drew on the walls. Martha says that Iris is the only student they've ever had that actually drew on the walls. That's something poorly kept babies do. But who's more to blame? Iris for drawing on the wall, or the school, for not ever cleaning it after all these years? Unless Iris drew it with some kind of impossible oil-based stain crayon that never comes out. Did she keep it there for old times sake? Once Iris leaves the school, it's not her dorm anymore. Do they do this for all the students? Their dorms are theirs forever? Or was Iris a special case because she dropped out and never finished so it's like she was never mitzvah'd or something so until she graduates from the school, the dorm remains hers? Anyway, while Iris was there, she drew on the walls depictions of the Village Of Dragons. And she continued climbing the Eiffel Tower in hopes of maybe getting to see the Village Of Dragons. But she was too far away. However, the air was calm up there and it relaxed her. A bad combination. You DON'T wanna get lulled into relaxation when you're standing on a steep precipice several stories off the ground.

So, it got better for Iris, right? So what was so bad? Well, during one of the Pokémon battles with the publicly provided Pokémon from the school, something happened that changed EVERYTHING.

Iris was battling this one boy, see? She, with an affinity for Dragon-tyes, used a Fraxure. And he picked an Altaria. And she lost. Why? Because she wasn't listening to Fraxure's body and responding to it like a Pokémon Trainer should. Drayden tells her so. And the awkwardness of getting told by Drayden gets to her so much, that... she drops out of school and runs back home to the Village Of Dragons. So that was the big trauma? She didn't know what her borrowed Pokémon was trying to convey to her? How many times has that happened to Ash's lady travelling partners? How many times has that happened to Ash himself? Ain't no thang! I can see maybe dropping out in the heat of the moment, but Iris, being older and more accustomed, why would this be so painful a thing just to remember? And why would she have trouble battling Drayden now after he's invited her to battle? What's still the same about those times that makes her shy about battling Drayden in this day and age? Or thinking about those times?

Whatever the answer, she's not that bothered by it because she's now all set to battle Drayden! It's a two Pokémon battle. They head to the gym, and show each other their Pokeymans. Drayden brings out Haxorus, and Iris counters with Excadrill. Just like that battle she lost all those years ago. They barely fight. They throw out some heavy moves and then suddenly it's all over with a Giga Impact that knocks both Pokémon out. But does Giga Impact work that way? Or was it the move Excadrill countered with that knocked out Haxorus? Anyway, first match ends in a draw.

After that battle, Drayden calls out Druddigon. And Iris counters with Dragonite! Now, both Iris and Dragonite know that Dragonite can Fly and Druddigon can't Fly. And Dragonite knows Iris knows this and knows she's gonna command him to Fly, which would give him a strong advantage in this fight, especially if he gets started Flying in the early going. But Dragonite turns to Iris and begs with leering eyes "No. Don't make me Fly. I want this to be a fair fight." Iris, who know understands the unspoken language of Pokémon, knows what Dragonite is saying. He could tell she was about to have him Fly, and he cut her off. So, they focus on his land game. Big mistake. Druddigon does not move. He shrugs off everything Dragonite throws at him until Dragonite just says "Forget it, let's Fly." But that doesn't help either. Finally, Dragonite breaks the bank and uses his psycho move, Dragon Rush. Druddigon stops this too, then wallops Dragonite with Dragon Tail. Drayden wins the match. Which is fitting, because if Iris beat him, that would mean her journey towards being a Dragon Master would be pretty much over. She's still got a few more adventures ahead of her for that. If this was just for a Gym Badge, then it would be fine, that's barely even an eighth of the journey. But anyway, Iris loses, and is humbled before the skill of Drayden the Dragon Master. These Dragon trainers, do they EVER lose when they don't mean to?

After the battle, Martha reveals the truth to Iris. Iris might've dropped out of school, but what she DIDN'T know is that Drayden was holding a parent teacher conference with the Village Elder and suggested that Iris... drop out of school! What a coincidence! How did that line up so perfectly? Anyway, Drayden and the Village Elder never told Iris this, because the idea was to get her to go on her own journey and make her own choices with her own partner Pokémon, Axew. Life would be her teacher because school isn't for her. Jungle savages get their education from the outside world. Drayden also hoped that after Iris's journey, she would prove herself worthy of replacing him as Opelucid City Gym Leader. Iris is stunned! It's like she... like... got hit in the head with a ton of bricks! Her, the Dragon Master of Opelucid Gym?

Yeah, why her of all students? What made her so special? The fact that she was unable to grasp the curriculum? Did they see some kind of Dragon Master Rudy or Radio in her or something? Is she really the only prodigy at that school?

But regardless, Iris is a prodigy, they see it in her. Will she become Dragon Master of the Gym one day? Who knows, let's wait and see. But Ash chimes in at the end of the episode, reminding everyone that this is his show. He's not gonna let Iris outshine him, he's gonna win the Unova League. Can he do that? If you remember Gen 4, he failed to conquer the Sinnoh League.
I just have to say I LOVED this episode! I think the first few episodes of Adventures in Unova have been pretty strong. This one, though, was especially entertaining. I liked the return to the whole concept of Iris being a "wild child" in a city setting; climbing towers like they're trees. It's something I wish they'd done more often!

Really great episode for Iris. I enjoyed it!
It was a nice episode, indeed. Too bad Iris' reactions and descriptions aren't as lively in the dub as the Japanese, we still find out why she was avoiding Opelucid all the time. There were some pretty nice moments. Hopefully, Adventures in Unova does quite a job already. 8/10
"I heard someone's doing something dangerous!"
"Yeah, and it's a girl!"

Who talks like this?! Okay, this episode had really awkward lines and reading. But other than that, it was another great episode.
Little Iris was very adorable in my opinion.

And it took me to this moment to realize, that Drayden´s weird beard resembles Druddigon´s lower jaw. o_O
Anyone else catch the S1 music at the beginning? Oh, how I miss those days...
I usually don't notice the music but this I did - was really nice to hear.

I'm now more confused than previously about Iris' backstory, she seems to have
- Played with non-dragon Pokemon around the village of dragons
- Caught Drilbur
- Trained it up to win 99 battles, evolve and lose to Drayden by badly commanding Excadrill
- Excadrill then balls up and stops listening to Iris, stays like that until BW033
- Iris goes to school on Drayden/Elder's recommendation to learn about Dragon types
- Sucks at school so graffitis/climbs towers
- Excadrill sits at home happy with Shannon outside of its ball and not in a drill shape
- Iris Loses a battle by badly commanding a Fraxure
- Iris goes home and then on a journey on Drayden/Elder's recommendation
- Takes Excadrill with her, which now starts drilling itself up again
- Hugs it out with Excadrill and figures out what she did wrong
- Gets back to Opelucid city, battles Drayden, loses and proves herself able to understand Pokemon


How did Iris manage to go to school for the major reason of honing her ability to understand when not to keep attacking, not learn that and have Drayden change his mind to have Iris go back to doing what she previously did, but this time with the addition of an Axew? Did I miss something here? Excadrill's issue would make more sense as it complaining about Iris coming along after however long and selfishly deciding to take him with her on a journey, it seemed happy in the village despite their past. Plus, having more or less the same battle problem being the cause of her both going to school and stopping school makes no sense to me; particularly with the weird split between Dragon and non-Dragon.

It's very nice to get all of the backstory for Iris - and certainly amusing hearing Ash's bemusement about how schools work and how Iris couldn't read (the Pokemon world really need to invest in non-Pokemon based education - perhaps they need a Pokemon based on a teacher like how Chansey is based on a nurse) - but I don't feel like I know anything more than before. Iris just has the natural talents that she needed to get more mature about to be able to focus and they needed to figure out what method of learning worked best for her.

The other weird thing is just how much time needed to pass between her battle with Drayden using Excadrill and BW033 - because Iris had to go to school and then visibly age between those episodes. It just makes her neglect of Excadrill seem that much worse if you think too deeply about the series of events here.

I'll emphasise I liked this episode though - I'm just confused by the context to it. The battle was bad though, way too short and unbelievable.
Anyone else catch the S1 music at the beginning? Oh, how I miss those days...
I usually don't notice the music but this I did - was really nice to hear.
I think it was movie version (don't ask which movie, they all sound same to me) of route 4 theme. If I recall correctly, same thing happened in Crisis from the Underground Up! where they probably used the Zoroark movie version of it because other tracks from that movie was used during the episode.

The final battle Druddigon vs Dragonite wasn't nearly as epic as in Japanese since they replaced the whole BW ending theme with TPCi's unmemorable, bland bgm.
Admittedly, it's not easy to judge this episode.
As far as I'm concerned, I liked the first part, mainly because of the message they were trying to convey. Although I'm a teacher myself, I don't like the idea of having to go to a Pokemon school. Sure, they'll be able to teach you the basics, which is not a bad thing per se, and maybe you'll succeed in becoming something higher, like for example, a gym leader with the knowledge you'll get form such a school. But you know, Pokemon, and Pokemon battles in particular, don't work like, say, mathematics. (If you multiply this with that, you always get this or that result, and accordingly: If you use this attack against that type, you always get this or that result) No, we all know that battles usually don't work in such a strictly rational, causal way. Again, if it's only some kind of prep school, then I'm fine. But a Pokemon trainer absolutely has to go on a journey and find their own way. The world has to be their "teacher", as the Village Elder rightly put it, and that has always been one of the message of the show, too. You remember? When every life meets another life, something will be born ? ;)

Now let's look at the second part, the battle. I honestly wasn't very happy with that, actually I was rather disappointed. On the one hand, Excadrill didn't really seem to have difficulties against Haxorus, a Pokemon that used to be portrayed to be exceptionally strong. It seems to me that the writers were running out of time, that's why this battle was so short and thus rather implausible. (Why not make two episodes, writers?) On the other hand, we saw Dragonite, a Pokemon that not long ago seemed to be strong enough to defeat every Pokemon in the Junior Cup single-handedly, not being able to hold its own against Drayden's Druddigon. Let me ask you: Does that sound logical? No definitely not. If Drayden really was that strong, he should be a member of the Elite Four and not just a gym leader.
To cut a long story short, I wasn't happy at all with the inconsistencies in that battle. It could have been a great and rousing fight, but turned out to be way too short, implausible and unspectacular.

All in all, a so-so episode.
Ohmigosh little Iris is adorable. Like ridiculously so.

I really like seeing Iris's backstory and development all come together here. Drayden reading Dragonite like that was a nice indication of his own abilities, too, and also makes me wonder if we're going to get more on Dragonite's backstory at some later date.
Good episode. Clearly paving the way to see Iris as a future gum leader and maybe eventual champion.

8/10 from me too. Lost a couple of points for the confusing timeline backstory.
Does anyone know who the heck Voices Haxorus because I have been tying to find that out for 2 Stinking Years but I think it is Marc Thompson but I'm not sure because it's voice was pretty Good.
The episode was ok but I really felt that the battle was over too quickly.
They could have made this a two parter but no, squashing all that backstory and battling into one episode is somehow better now.
I guess they didn't want to stretch Iris's story over three episodes, since that would probably be draining for a lot of people.
Really enjoyed Iris' backstory. Makes a lot of sense with what we've learned about her character and her past. I always like scenes like this episode and the previous one that show Iris' "wild child" athleticism, it really makes her stand out from Ash's previous female companions. And we can see that her natural abilities towards Dragon types are making progress too. About time.
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