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EP001

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Original series
EP002 : Pokémon Emergency!
Pokémon - I Choose You!
EP001.png
  EP001  
ポケモン! きみにきめた!
Pokémon! I Choose You!
First broadcast
Japan April 1, 1997
United States September 8, 1998
English themes
Opening Pokémon Theme
Ending
Japanese themes
Opening めざせポケモンマスター
Ending ひゃくごじゅういち
Credits
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 首藤剛志 Takeshi Shudō
Storyboard 湯山邦彦 Kunihiko Yuyama
Assistant director 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
Animation directors 酒井啓史 Hiroshi Sakai
一石小百合 Sayuri Ichiishi
Additional credits
  • This is one of the few episodes storyboarded by executive producer Kunihiko Yuyama

Pokémon - I Choose You! (Japanese: ポケモン! きみにきめた! Pokémon! I Choose You!) is the very first episode of the Pokémon anime. In the US, however, the first episode shown was Battle Aboard the St. Anne. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 1997 and in the United States on September 8, 1998.

201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201

Synopsis

The episode begins the same way as Pokémon Red and Green, down to the style of the images and the sound. A Nidorino and a Gengar are exchanging attacks in a battle. After Nidorino dodges Gengar's attack, it leaps at it. At the same time, the game starts to come to life, with the small frame enlarging into the entire screen, and the monochrome Pokémon fading into color.

The two are battling in a stadium at the Pokémon League, watched by crowds of fans. Gengar dodges Nidorino's Horn Attack, and then jumps on its head to make an opening to put it to sleep with Hypnosis. As Nidorino falls asleep, its Trainer recalls it into its Poké Ball, and then throws out another to take its place. The Gengar jumps back as an Onix comes out. It tries to Tackle into Gengar face-first, but misses and hits the battlefield instead. It pulls back up, unfazed.

This battle is being watched on television by a boy from Pallet Town named Ash Ketchum. He is now ten years old, which means he can become a Pokémon Trainer. Tomorrow, he will receive a starter Pokémon from Professor Oak and start his Pokémon journey, the first step on the long quest of his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master.

His mother enters the room and reminds him that it is 11 o'clock at night, and that he should be asleep. He complains that he is too excited to fall asleep. As a compromise, his mother changes his television's channel to Professor Oak's lecture, and tells him to go to bed when the program is finished.

That night, he dreams about the starter Pokémon as he tries to decide which one he wants. First, he dreams of choosing and sending out Bulbasaur, and then Squirtle. The night turns to morning, and Ash, still in bed, dreams about if he chose Charmander. Suddenly, he bolts awake to find that he threw his Voltorb-shaped alarm clock in his sleep, and it had smashed against the wall. Afraid that he might have overslept, Ash bolted out of his house in his pajamas and ran as fast as he could to Professor Oak's Laboratory.

Outside the laboratory, a crowd of people had gathered, including a group of cheerleaders. Ash pushes through and bumps into his rival, a boy who is the grandson of the professor, Gary Oak. Gary taunts Ash for being late. He tells Ash that he has already received his starter Pokémon from his grandfather. He boasts to the crowd that he will make Pallet Town famous by becoming a Pokémon Master. Ash, however, is more interested in finding out what starter Gary chose. Gary tells him that it was the best one, and then leaves in a red sports car, followed by the crowd.

Before Ash can say anything about how upset he was by his rival, Professor Oak approaches him. Ash drops his anger and asks about getting a Pokémon. Professor Oak seems doubtful that he is ready, since he showed up in his pajamas, but Ash insists that he is ready.

Inside Oak's laboratory, three Poké Balls were set up on a storage device, with a place for a fourth in the center. Ash decides that he would like to start with Squirtle, but when he opens the Poké Ball, he found that it was empty. Professor Oak tells him it was taken by a Trainer who was not late. After this, he decides he would like Bulbasaur, but this Poké Ball is also empty. He has no choice but to go for the last choice, Charmander, but the final Poké Ball is also empty. The three were all taken by Trainers who arrived on time, and it seems that there is no Pokémon left for Ash.

Professor Oak mentions that he has another Pokémon, but that there is a problem with it. Ash wants it anyway. In the fourth spot in the middle, a Poké Ball appears that has a lightning bolt mark on it. Oak picks it up and hands the Poké Ball to Ash. The ball opens, and in a burst of lighting, Pikachu comes out of the ball. Ash loves the cute Pokémon, and picks it up and hugs it. Pikachu does not like this, and shocks him with an Electric attack. Oak hands Ash a Pokédex and six Poké Balls, but gets shocked as well when he touches Ash.

When Ash steps outside the laboratory, he finds a small crowd has gathered to cheer him on as well, including his mother, who is sad to see him leaving. She gives him his bag full of supplies, and starts explaining everything she packed for him. He gets embarrassed when she reminds him to change his underwear everyday and pulls his bag away from her, telling her she was embarrassing him. She sees Pikachu, and wonders why it is not in its Poké Ball. Ash tries to get it in, but it hits the ball back every time. Ash's mother says it is cute that Ash and Pikachu are playing catch, and that they must be great friends already. Ash replies that they are buddies, despite Pikachu's behavior. His mother calls it weird, and taking offense at her comment, Pikachu shocks the entire crowd (excluding Professor Oak) with its electricity.

Soon, Ash sets off, trying to get a handle on the rebellious Pokémon by wearing rubber gloves and dragging it with a clothesline leash. After getting tired of dragging it along, he tries to talk to it and find out what is wrong, only to find out that Pikachu cannot say anything but its name. He tries to convince it to get back in its Poké Ball, and pulls out his new Pokédex for information on it. His Pokédex explains that Pokémon must be kept in the Poké Ball. Then Pikachu clicks it and it explains that not all Pokémon like to be kept in Poké Balls. Ash decides to earn Pikachu's trust by treating it nicely, and he unties the clothesline and takes off his rubber gloves. Pikachu turns away.

Then, a Pidgey walks out near them, and Ash scans it with his Pokédex for more information. He is eager to catch it, though Pikachu does not want to help him and instead runs up a tree. Frustrated, Ash decides to catch the Pidgey without Pikachu's help. He throws a Poké Ball at it, but the Pidgey breaks out easily. The Pokédex explains that a Pokémon should be weakened before it can be caught. Pikachu laughs at Ash. He tries again. This time, he attempts to throw his pajama shirt on top of the Pidgey, but the bird blows him off with a Gust and then hits him with a Sand-Attack before it flies away. Pikachu laughs at Ash more. Ash turns and sees that a Rattata is digging through his bag. He scans it with his Pokédex, which mentions that Rattata is a forest Pokémon. Just as Ash questions why it came out into the field, the Pokédex explains that it sometimes leaves its habitat to steal from stupid travelers. Pikachu laughs at Ash even more.

Ash turns and notices a group of Pidgey in the field. He throws a rock at them, which only scares them away. However, he sees another bird Pokémon in the field and throws another rock at it, which hits it in the back of its head. When it turns to look at him, however, he realized that he did not hit a Pidgey; he scans it with his Pokédex and learns that it is a Spearow, which is considerably less friendly than a Pidgey. The Spearow swoops several times to attack him, and then spots and targets Pikachu instead. The Pokédex explains that wild Pokémon are sometimes jealous of trained Pokémon. Just as the Spearow is about to knock Pikachu out of the tree, Pikachu shocks it with an Electric attack, knocking it out of the sky.

The Spearow, however, cries for help, and Ash and Pikachu start running away from a flock of angry Spearow. Pikachu ran ahead of Ash, and the Spearow fly after it, attacking it until it fell to the ground. The Spearow start swarming around it, but Ash grabs his injured Pikachu and runs straight to a waterfall. He jumps into the river below to escape the Spearow, and is being dragged into a large pond, narrowly swimming out of the path of a Gyarados.

On the shore of this pond, a girl is fishing, and is excited to find that she has a bite. However, instead of a Template:Type2 Pokémon, she pulls out Ash and Pikachu. She does not care about Ash, but is very concerned about the injured Pokémon in his arms. She tells him that he needs to take it to the Pokémon Center in Viridian City, and points out the way to go. However, he hears the distant cries of Spearow, and turns to see the flock in the sky, flying toward him. He steals the girl's bike, putting the Pikachu in its basket, and rides away, promising that he would bring it back someday. The girl screams at him as he rides away, but he ignores her.

He quickly starts to ride to Viridian City, with storm clouds forming above him and the flock of Spearow in close pursuit. Soon, it starts to rain. Ash rides the bike over a ledge, and it falls on its side, which knocks Ash and Pikachu off. Ash finds himself looking at his injured Pikachu lying on the ground, with the Spearow approaching and the storm growing worse. Desperate to save his Pokémon, he leaves Pikachu's Poké Ball next to it, and then stands before the Spearow, telling them to attack him in order to give Pikachu time to get inside its ball where it would be safe. However, just as the Spearow are about to dive on Ash, Pikachu leaps up and over Ash's shoulder. It jumps at the flock of Spearow. The lightning from the storm is drawn to Pikachu, highly raising its potential and strength by vast amounts, and it uses a massive electrical attack to take out the entire flock, as well as the girl's bike. Pikachu is drained of stamina from the effort.

Once the storm has cleared, Ash and Pikachu both rise from where they were knocked back on the ground, exhausted but victorious. Ash looks up and sees an unknown Pokémon majestically flying through the sky, over the rainbow that had been left after the storm, but his Pokédex could not identify the species.

He continues on, carrying his new friend Pikachu, who licks him while in his arms as he walks the rest of the way to Viridian City, knowing that something big is ahead of them; something to fight for.

Major events

  • Ash and Gary begin their journeys.
  • Gary starts with a Squirtle*.
  • Ash starts with a Pikachu.
  • Ash meets Misty.
  • Ash steals Misty's bike, and it is destroyed when Pikachu defeats the Spearow.
  • Ash sees a mysterious Pokémon (Ho-Oh**).
  • Ash reaches Viridian City.
* Unknown before The Ties that Bind.
** Unknown before Generation II.
For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.

Debuts

Pokémon debuts

Characters

Humans

Pokémon

Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Pikachu

Trivia

Ho-Oh in its debut
The beginning of the anime (left) drawn from the opening of Pokémon Red and Green (right)
The shadowed Trainer. Note the strong physical resemblance to Bruno, as well as the similar style of clothing
The green Poké Ball from the first scene
  • Fans have often speculated that the mystery Trainer battling with Nidorino and Onix is actually Bruno due to the strong resemblance.
  • The legendary bird Ash saw at the ending of the episode was Ho-Oh. This makes Ho-Oh the first Generation II Pokémon seen in the series, and in the first episode of the entire series.
  • The beginning of the episode features sound effects from the original Game Boy games, drawing from the opening animation from Pokémon Red and Green (with a Gengar battling a Nidorino) before moving seamlessly into the battle that Ash himself is watching on TV.
  • Ash has a Voltorb clock, with a cuckoo clock Pidgey in it. Furthermore, he ends up breaking it in his sleep, using it as a Poké Ball, shortly after 4 AM.
  • This is the only time when one can see Pikachu in its own Poké Ball.
  • In this episode, it is revealed that Spearow see in black and white.
  • Ash tries and fails to capture a Pidgey, though he will later succeed in capturing its evolution.
  • Despite this episode centering around receiving a starter Pokémon, neither Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle actually appeared in the flesh until Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village, Charmander – The Stray Pokémon, and Here Comes the Squirtle Squad, respectively. This is unlike the following generations where at least two of the starter Pokémon appeared in the first episode of that generation.
  • This is one of the few episodes where Rachael Lillis provides the voice of Pikachu in a few scenes. This happened when another character spoke over Ikue Ohtani's Pikachu voice and the audio could not be saved.
  • This episode can be found on volume 3 of Game Boy Advance Video.
  • Professor Oak knew that at least four new Trainers would be receiving their starter Pokémon and beginning their journey. However, he only ever thought to stock three (a Bulbasaur, a Charmander, and a Squirtle) not counting Pikachu, who is seen as a "last resort." Professor Oak states that if Ash was early, there would be one for him. However, even if Ash was earlier (the third to arrive), any of the other Trainers would arrive fourth to find that Oak is fresh out of Pokémon, except for Pikachu.
  • The book I Choose You! is based on this episode.
  • This episode is featured on the Volume 1: Pikachu copy of Pokémon All-Stars.
  • Ash's introductory shot from this episode is repeated in the first episode of the Best Wishes series as a throwback to this episode.
    • Several other shots from the Best Wishes series are throwbacks to the original series in general.

Errors

  • In the original, the Pokédex misidentifies Pidgey as the Sky Pokémon, instead of the Tiny Bird Pokémon.
  • When Ash sees a Rattata for the first time, Ash's Pokédex mispronounces its name.
  • When Ash runs up to Misty's bike, his shoes are not colored, making it look like he has socks on. Then, when he puts Pikachu on her bike, his shoes are colored red like Misty's.
  • When Ash is carrying Pikachu to the nearest Pokémon Center, his hat is initially forwards. In the next two scenes, it is backwards. In the last scene, Ash's hat is facing forwards again.
  • When Ash opens his Pokédex for the first time, the directional buttons disappeared.
  • The sneakers that Ash's mother hands him are the same ones he was wearing when he ran to get his Pokémon.
  • When Ash is standing in front of the Spearow trying to protect Pikachu, he says "Spearows", but when talking about more than one of a specific species of Pokémon, one doesn't put an "s" at the end.
  • When Professor Oak appears on television to discuss the starter Pokémon, the background colors behind Charmander and Squirtle are reversed (blue behind Charmander and red behind Squirtle). Bulbasaur's background color, green, is correctly shown.
  • After Ash opens Charmander's Poké Ball in Oak's lab, part of Oak's suit unnaturally pulsates while Oak delivers his line.
  • In Ash's dreams, for all of the starter Pokémon, all of the Poké Balls are red all over apart from the middle stripe, which is black, but in the next scenes they retain their coloration of red, black and white.
  • When Pikachu is up in the tree, Ash's coat loses its yellow stripes, although, later on, he retains the stripes.
  • As Delia catches the alarm clock Ash threw, her ponytail is curled around to her left shoulder. However, when we see her from behind her ponytail is curled to her right shoulder.
  • When Ash places Pikachu's Poké Ball on the ground next to Pikachu, his thumb passes right through it when he stands up to face the flock of Spearow.

Changes

Dub edits

The cut shot
  • When Ash goes into Professor Oak's lab and looks at the Poké Balls, they are all labeled in Japanese. Later, when Ash picks up a Poké Ball, the labels are painted over. These labels are also partially visible when Pikachu's Poké Ball is revealed.
  • In the unedited/Japanese version, after Ash said to Misty, "I'm okay," she slapped him. This was cut from the dub (the screen freezes just as Ash answers Misty) due to direct violence controversy. In the next scene, Ash can clearly be seen rubbing his aching face and Misty has her hand in the air.
  • In the Japanese version, Misty tells Ash there is a hospital in Viridian City; in the dub, she just says that it is nearby.
  • When Delia switches the channel on Ash's TV, Professor Oak is talking about tomorrow being the newest day for Pokémon students. However, in the whole view of the TV when Ash moves his head into view; Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle have their Japanese names written below each picture. But when the camera zooms in on each picture and then eases out, the Japanese names are gone.
  • When Ash speaks to Gary in the English dub, Gary acts as though they have never met when they have in fact known each other since their early childhood.

Differences between the episode and the comic adaptation

  • The opening League Battle was shortened, cutting out the reference to the GB opening battle.
  • Ash's attempt at catching Rattata was cut.
  • Ash's escape through the river was shortened, only showing the first swim distance, and cutting Gyarados, and Ash's attempt to swim away from it out.
  • In the ending of the episode, after Pikachu licks Ash, Ash was silent, although his gratefulness towards his finally earning Pikachu's respect is still implied. In the comic, it has Ash either saying or thinking "Hey, Pikachu really does like me!"

In other languages



 

Original series
EP002 : Pokémon Emergency!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.