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Recap / Pokémon S1E22 "Abra and the Psychic Showdown"

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So now, time for us to play...
Sabrina

Japanese Title: Casey! Psychic Showdown!

Original Airdate: August 26th, 1997

US Airdate: October 6th, 1998

The party finally arrives in Saffron City where a young girl manages a gym of Pokémon using her psychic powers. If Ash defeats this particular Gym Leader, Ash can earn a gold badge. Gathering all their strength, Ash and Pikachu challenge her. She happily accepts, but adds the strange condition that if Ash loses, they must become her friend. The official gym battle begins, but Pikachu is helpless against the young girl's Pokémon, Abra. To make matters worse, Abra evolves in the middle of the match, turning into the more powerful, Kadabra. Employing even stronger psychic powers against Pikachu, Saffron City's Gym Leader defeats Ash. As this strange story unravels, Ash encounters a mysterious man who seems to be the key to solving the puzzle to this young girl's disturbing power.

Tropes

  • Adapted Out: Besides the Abra line, Sabrina used a Mr. Mime and a Venomoth in the games. Considering how strong she is with a single Psychic Pokémon, Ash is really lucky those aren't in the anime.
  • Creepy Child: Sabrina's doll.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Ash is on the receiving end of one of these by Sabrina's father, having his jeans pulled down to his ankles and being forced to dance in his white boxers.
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  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Kadabra delivers one to Pikachu (in which it uses its psychic ability to humiliate Pikachu), giving the win to Sabrina by forfeit.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Zig-Zagged. As punishment for losing to Sabrina, Ash and Co. are forced to play with her Split Personality doll, which represents her younger self.
  • Disguised in Drag: James (of course) as a Hawaiian girl, complete with cheesy falsetto voice.
  • Eye Catch: This episode, the Who's that Pokémon is Abra.
  • Fan Disservice: Misty doesn't take well to seeing Ash in his boxers any more than we do.
  • Heroic Willpower: Discussed. Sabrina's father says Ash has the willpower but it alone won't be enough to beat his daughter.
  • Involuntary Dance: Pikachu by Kadabra's Psychic, and Ash by Sabrina's father's telekinesis.
  • Long Speech Tea Time: Ash and his friends have tea while waiting for Team Rocket to finish their catchphrase, to Jessie and James’ offense.
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  • Non-Indicative Title: Abra was only seen for a while before evolving into Kadabra mid-battle.
  • Sequence Breaking: This is the first time the show goes off the rails from the order of events in the games. Ash challenges Gym Leader number 6, before we meet 4 and 5.
  • Skewed Priorities: Even after Sabrina’s father saved Ash and co from possibly dying in the hands of Sabrina, Ash still worries about earning a badge from Sabrina.
  • Spoon Bending: Many of the psychics in Sabrina's gym are shown to be practicing their psychic abilities by trying (to limited effect) to bend spoons. One such psychic tries demonstrating this to Ash, Brock and Misty with great difficulty.
  • The Stoic: The real Sabrina dosen't show any expression at all. She instead relays her thoughts to her doll.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Ash still thinks it’s a good idea to challenge Sabrina after the latter’s father, Misty, and Brock tell him not to.
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  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Ash, upon realizing that the two cute girls who kissed him earlier were Team Rocket in disguise, is understandably grossed out. Of course, because it was both of them, it was more "unsettling identity reveal."
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