It should be noted that I took some liberty with the gym battle, when compared to its in-game counterpart. Mainly, the battle with Allen is not normally a double battle. What actually inspired me initially to do so was trying to solve a problem. In addition to the two of Allen’s Pokémon seen already, Allen also uses a Lunatone and Solrock in in the games. The problem is that since the show uses three-on-three as its battle standard, Allen needed a third Pokémon, but couldn’t use his fourth, and it would be very awkward for him to use either Lunatone or Solrock, but not the other. So I needed an excuse for Allen to only use two Pokémon. The solution was a two-on-two double battle. Another benefit of this format that became apparent to me was that I would be able to show off the partnership between Arborrior and Eagladiator that I’ve been building up. The other liberty I took was actually Eatyai. Way back when I first made my game concepts, Eatyai was supposed to be Allen’s signature Pokémon. But when thinking about it recently, I realized this couldn’t work. The problem is that Elgyem doesn’t evolve into Beheeyem until level 42, and therefore the minimum level for an Eatyai is 43. But being the fifth gym of a region means that Allen’s Pokémon should be somewhere in the range of level 35. 43 is just pushing it too much, and I didn’t want to give him an impossibly under-leveled Pokémon either. So I made Yuifoe his signature Pokémon instead and gave him an Elgyem to fill the last spot. But for these episodes, I knew I wanted to use Allen in order to introduce Eatyai.
As I say in every review of a gym battle episode, I like to have each one show off a different skill and/or trait of Ash that proves how good of a trainer he is. This time around, it was Ash’s ability to not take the easy option, and instead prioritize a more clever one, as shown by his choice of Pokémon. One would assume picking to Fighting-Types to battle against to Psychic-Types would be a bad choice, but Ash knew that any short-term gain he could achieve with type advantages would be outweighed by the long-term advantage of the strong partnership of his Pokémon.
Also of note in this episode was Pikachu’s participation in the battle, despite the fact that it didn’t actually battle. I like Pikachu taking part in as many gym battles as possible, but I just couldn’t give up either Arborrior or Eagladiator’s spots, so Pikachu needed to sit out this one, but I still wanted it to contribute to Ash’s win. So I took a page out Ash’s battle with Olympia in Kalos, where Pikachu was instrumental in Ash’s victory, due to its ability to predict when the Future Sight attack was going to land. I tried to replicate and expand upon that concept. I think I improved on it myself, as anyone could have figured out the amount of time it takes for Future Sight to inflict damage, but only an Electric-Type like Pikachu could detect the Eerie Impulse.
Speaking of Ash’s battle with Olympia, an interesting fact of trivia that someone pointed out to me in a review, is that of Ash’s three battles with Psychic-Type Gym Leaders (Sabrina, Liza/Tate, and Olympia), two of them were double battles (Liza/Tate and Olympia). So, in a way, making this a double battle served to continue a tradition.