Safari Zones (and variants thereof) seem to pretty much be ignored in the anime, with the exception the episode in Kanto (which was banned). Hoenn’s Safari Zone was completely ignored while the Great Marsh in Sinnoh was used simply as the location for a random episode, the fact that it was used for Safari Games was never addressed. As Cosmic Quest is the main way to show off my ideas from Luna, Terra, and Sol, I didn’t want to leave the Park Zone out. Speaking of the Safari Zone in the anime, just as I did previously with the Porygon episode, this episode featured a joke where Ash forgot about the events that took place during a banned episode, reflecting the fact that most English viewers would have no idea what they’re talking about. Another joke this episode made was Ash failing to catch a Dunsparce. For some reason it would appear that whenever Ash tries and fails to capture a Pokémon that it’s a Dunsparce. This has been seen twice now, once in the Unova episode The Path that Leads to Goodbye and again in the Kalos episode Under the Pledging Tree. I figured if I was going to have Ash fail to capture a Pokémon, that I might as well continue the joke and make it a Dunsparce as well.
An interesting fact about this episode, and the Pokémon featured in it, is its origin. Traineed and Arborrior are actually two of some of my very earliest Pokémon (alongside “Megachu,” Delphin, and Ivine). As a child when I created these Pokémon, I would play make believe with my friends using them. One scenario that I always reused was that the person I’m playing with would be training by attacking a tree, and out of that tree a group of Traineed (back then given the uninspired name of Seedona) would fall. One of these feisty Pokémon would challenge the trainer and end up finding a Leaf Stone (the original evolution method that I recently changed) and evolve into Arborrior (known as Treeona back then). This event would always occur before the trainer fights a Grass-Type gym (this was in a proto-region I created before Tenno). Wanting to give the trainer a Pokémon that is good against Grass-Types, I would have the captured Arborrior know Fire Punch. I took this original scenario and transformed it into this episode. If I had been able to write a longer episode, then there would have been one final battle between Arborrior and Breloom, representing the battle against the Grass gym leader.
Finally, I want to take this chance to give my opinion on Safari Zones. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the Safari Zone and how annoying it is. I personally cannot agree with this at all. Not only do I not think it’s too difficult, but I think it’s a great thing to have. It is an area that completely changes all of the conventions about capturing Pokémon, leading to a completely unique experience found nowhere else. It adds variety to the game, and I really don’t know how that can be a bad thing. I personally hope strongly that Sun and Moon sees the return of the Safari Zone, and I don’t mean excuses like the Friend Safari or that pale imitation we see in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. I want an actual Safari Zone with an actual Safari Game.