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Recap / Pokémon S1E31 "Dig Those Diglett!"

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"Ash, uh, shouldn't we put some clothes on?"
Brock

Japanese Title: Lots of Digda!

Original Air Date: October 28th, 1997

US Air Date: October 19th, 1998

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pokemon_dig_those_diglett.png
"Their time to evolve just happens to be now!"
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A herd of Diglett are causing issues at a dam construction site. When the foreman calls trainers in, not even Ash and Gary can convince their Pokémon to take the Diglett on. An even bigger mystery, however, is Team Rocket trying to figure out how to evolve Ekans and Koffing when all they do is lose.

This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Artistic License – Physics: In the English translation Gary claims that a Diglett can pull its head back into its hole at the speed of light. Then again, maybe it's just hyperbole.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Team Rocket introduces the newly-evolved Arbok and Weezing, Meowth says, "For the first time on TV!"
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: After Jessie and James say their names in the motto, Meowth pops in saying "Dey know da rest!"
  • Christmas Cake: Brock gets a sort of male variation of this trope in this episode, when he solicits Gary's cheerleaders for a date and they respond with "Yes, sir!" This is actually softened from the Japanese, where the girls outright call Takeshi an old man. Nevertheless, Brock's English dialogue suggests he knows what "sir" really means in this case:
    Misty: Brock's over the hill already.
    Brock: All right, so they think I'm an old man, but I don't care! I'm desperate!
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  • Critical Research Failure: In-universe. The foreman repeatedly refers to Diglett as a "bug" and at one point a Bug-type Pokemon. Gary corrects him, telling him that Diglett is classified as a "mole" rather than a bug and is not a Bug-type either.
  • Curbstomp Battle: When Team Rocket realize how many Pokemon are gathered at the construction site, they are naturally eager to get their hands on as many as they can. James however is the first to realize that since their only Pokemon are Ekans and Koffing, they would not stand a chance against the many hundreds of Pokemon they'd be up against.
  • Cultural Translation: Team Rocket's lunch is interrupted by the explosion caused by the dam builders - and they ARE NOT pleased. In the original Japanese, Musashi is eating curry and Kojiro is having ochazuke (rice flavored with green tea). The English dub changes Jessie's lunch to Chinese food and James' to tea and crumpets.
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  • Didn't Think This Through: The Construction Worker never realized that the construction of the dam would destroy the forest. Upon learning that this would be the case, he decides to cancel construction.
  • Dope Slap: Ash receives one courtesy of Brock when he asks if Gary's cheerleaders are Pokemon. Brock chews him out for asking something so stupid.
  • Early Installment Character Design Difference: A close up of Gary's eyes show that he has blue eyes. By the end of Johto, his eye color had been changed to green and has stayed that way since.
  • Ear Worm: The song the Diglett and Dugtrio sing. So much so, that Team Rocket got into it.
  • Epic Fail: Arbok and Wheezing getting their butts handed to them by the Diglett and Dugtrio almost immediately after their respective evolutions.
  • Eye Catch: The Who's That Pokémon? is Diglett.
  • Foreshadowing: A complicated example. The episode was intended to be this for Takeshi Shudō's original planned ending for the anime, which included a conflict between humans and Pokémon, part of which pertained to nature. Obviously that didn't end up happening, but still worth noting.
  • Green Aesop: As has occurred in a number of episodes by the original head writer, the episode's central conflict is nature-based.
  • Heel Realization: The foreman realizes the serious damage the dam will do to the region if it is actually completed, and that the Diglett were merely protecting their home. He immediately abandons the project.
  • Hot Springs Episode: Well, a scene, anyway. Ash, Misty, and Brock are shown discussing the situation while in a hot spring. One has to wonder what Misty is, or isn't, wearing.
    • It turned out to be a Red Herring. They all were clothed, with Misty wearing a bikini with no shoulder straps, making it only look like she was less clothed in the springs. (Yes, even in the original Japanese. The bikini was not a 4Kids addition.)
  • Kabuki Sounds: Meowth does okawa sounds while Team Rocket is introducing Arbok and Weezing.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Jessie mentions "experience points" in terms of Pokémon evolution. James bemoans the fact that all they do is lose.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: At first, it's hinted that the Diglett aren't causing trouble for the Construction Worker on purpose and don't mean to be pests. Then its revealed that they were sabotaging his efforts on purpose, but for good reason: his dam would flood the mountains.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Since nobody's Pokemon will battle with the Diglett, Gary deems the effort a waste of his time and leaves, advising that the other trainers do the same.
  • Shout-Out: The Construction Worker becomes so frustrated with the Diglett that he attempts to hit them with a mallet a la Whack-A-Mole.
  • Title Drop: "Gary doesn't dig those Diglett!" - Gary's cheerleaders' chant in the English dub.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ekans and Koffing evolve into Arbok and Weezing. Subverted, though, as this doesn't make them much more effective in battle.
  • The Unreveal: Gary attempts to release his Pokémon to battle the Diglett, but it refuses to come out.
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