Normally, when it comes to the game release tie-in episodes, there’s plenty of different things that can be used to make a episode out of, whether it be cover Legendaries, characters, or plot elements. But Let’s Go presented an interesting problem. It has no cover Legendaries, I’ve already cameoed most of the important Kanto characters, and Kanto games have so little story, that there’s not really anything I can tie-in with. Just about the only notable thing about Let’s Go is that it’s a return to Kanto. So, that why I came up with the idea of going back to Ash’s Kanto days. This allowed Ash to experience a return to the classic region alongside us.
From the moment it was revealed, I knew I had to use Meltan, and later on Melmetal, as a major plot point of the episode. I held off on planning the story, just in case some interesting lore behind the new Pokémon was revealed. Unfortunately, no such information existed, so the Meltan story ended up relatively simple. Bringing Gary was something that was obvious to me to do, as it allowed for both a Pikachu and an Eevee to appear prominently in the episode. If you ask me, Ash and Gary didn’t interact nearly enough in Kanto, so this is partly my way of rectifying that.
Specifically, this episode took place between the episodes Bye Bye Butterfree and Abra and the Psychic Showdown, as evidenced by Ash discussing releasing Butterfree, and how he would win at the Saffron Gym in its name. When Gary shows his gym badges, he doesn’t have the Marsh Badge from Saffron, and this explains why. In order to reinforce the point in the series this episode took place, I only had Ash’s Pokémon use moves that they had used up until that point in the show.
Of note, Gary wasn’t shown to have an Eevee until the very end of the Oragne Islands, right before Johto. It might seem like a contradiction to give him an Eevee here, but never was it implied that Gary had only just captured the Eevee. More specifically, when Gary sent Eevee into battle against Ash, Ash showed no surprise that he had an Eevee. Similarly, Gary was not confirmed to have chosen Squirtle as his starter until the Johto League, when he used his Blastoise against Ash. Once again, though, Ash showed no surprise at the fact that Gary had a Blastoise, implying he knew that Gary picked Squirtle. Lastly, Ash and Gary didn’t have their first battle until that time were Gary first used Eevee. In order to maintain continuity, I had to have Ash and Gary call off their battle before it really began, which is a bit of a shame.
One final note on Meltan/Melmetal. In this episode, I listed its evolution requirement as gathering 100 Meltan. Clearly the Pokémon has no official evolution method, as it can only be evolved in Pokémon Go. However, in Go, it takes 400 Meltan Candies to evolve a Meltan into Melmetal. Since, under normal circumstance, catching a Pokémon grants three candies, and releasing gives a fourth, it would require 100 Meltan (ignoring the use of items and events) to evolve a Melmetal. This also lines up with an early promotional video of Meltan, which emphasized multiple Meltan appearing, huddling together, and then a silhouette of Melmetal appears.