| Pokémon - I Choose You!
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 was first broadcast in the United States on September 8, 1998.
|Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.|
The episode begins the same way as Pokémon Red, 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 coming to life, with the small frame enlarging to 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 Fury 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 Slam into Gengar face-first, but misses and hits the battlefield instead. It pulls back up, unphased.
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's 11 o'clock at night, and he should be asleep. He complains that he's too excited to sleep. 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 Poké Ball-shaped alarm clock in his sleep, and it has smashed against the wall. Afraid that he might have overslept, Ash bolts out of his house in his pajamas and runs as fast as he can to Professor Oak's Laboratory.
Outside the laboratory, a crowd of people has gathered, including a group of cheerleaders. Ash pushes through and bumps into his rival and the grandson of the professor, Gary Oak. Gary taunts him for being late, telling Ash that he's 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 Gary starter 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 is by his rival, Professor Oak approaches him. Ash drops his anger and asks about getting a Pokémon. Professor Oak seems doubtful that he's ready, since he showed up in his pajamas, but Ash insists that he's ready.
Inside Oak's laboratory, three Poké Balls are 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 finds that it's empty. Professor Oak tells him it was taken by a Trainer who wasn't late. After this, he decides he'd like Bulbasaur, but this Poké Ball is also empty. He settles for his 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 there is no Pokémon left for Ash.
Professor Oak mentions that he has another Pokémon, but there's a problem with it. Ash wants it anyway. The fourth spot in the middle opens to show a Poké Ball with a lightning bolt mark on it. He picks it up and hands it 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 doesn't like this, and shocks him with an Electric attack. Oak hands him 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 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 and pulls it away. She sees Pikachu, and wonders why it isn't in its Poké Ball. He tries to get it in, but it hits the ball back every time. Ash says that they are friends, even despite Pikachu's behavior. His mother calls it weird, and in anger, it shocks the entire crowd with its electricity.
Soon, Ash has set 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's wrong, only to find out that Pikachu can't 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. However, the Pokédex explains that not all Pokémon like to be kept in Poké Balls. Ash decides to earn Pikachu's trust by treating it nicely, and 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's eager to catch it, but Pikachu doesn't want to help him and instead runs up a tree. Frustrated, Ash decides to try and 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 attempting 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, and scares it away. 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 sees a group of Pidgey in the field, and 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, hitting it in the back of its head. When it turns to look at him, however, he realizes that he didn't hit a Pidgey; he scans it with his Pokédex and learns that this 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 runs ahead of Ash, and the Spearow fly after it, attacking it until it falls 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 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 doesn't 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 towards him. He steals the girl's bike, putting the Pikachu in its basket, and rides away promising that he'll bring it back someday. Misty screams at him as Ash rides away, but he ignores her.
He quickly starts riding to Viridian City, with storm clouds above him and the tens of Spearow in close pursuit. It starts to rain. He rides the bike over a ledge, and it falls on its side, knocking 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 him to attack them in order to give Pikachu time to get inside its ball where it will be safe. However, just as the Spearow are about to dive on Ash, Pikachu leaps up and over Ash's shoulder, jumping 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 has drained his stamina.
Once the storm has cleared, Ash and Pikachu both rouse from where they were knocked back on the ground, exhausted but victorious. Ash looks up and sees a strange Pokémon majestically flying through the sky, over the rainbow that had been left after the storm, however his Pokédex cannot identify the species.
He continues on, carrying his new friend Pikachu in his arms as he walks the rest of the way to Viridian City, knowing that something big ahead of him; something to fight for.
- Ash, Gary, and two unnamed Trainers begin their journeys.
- Ash starts with a Pikachu.
- Gary starts with a Squirtle*.
- The two unknown trainers start with Bulbasaur and Charmander.
- Ash meets Misty.
- Ash steals Misty's bike.
- Ash reaches Viridian City.
- *Unknown before The Ties that Bind.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Pikachu (Ash's)
- Spearow (anime)
- Ho-Oh (anime)
- Pikachu (starter Pokémon; Ash's)
- Bulbasaur (Ash's dream)
- Charmander (Ash's dream)
- Squirtle (Ash's dream)
- Nidorino (unnamed trainer's)
- Onix (unnamed trainer's)
- Gengar (unnamed trainer's)
- Spearow (anime)
- Ho-Oh (anime)
- 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.
- This is the first time the Japanese title of a Pokémon episode is directly translated into English instead of rewritten.
- The shadowed trainer shown at the very beginning of the episode with the Nidorino and Onix was Bruno.
- This is the only main series episode that does not have Team Rocket in it until AG120, a clip show that summed up the entire Advanced Generation series up to that point. It's also the only dubbed main series episode that does not have Team Rocket in it, due to AG120 being skipped in the dub.
- Ash has a Voltorb clock, with a cuckoo clock Pidgey in it.
- This is the only episode where one can see Pikachu in its Poké Ball.
- This is the first episode in which Ash's Pokédex is activated while it is closed. The next episode that meets this criteria is EP035.
- The widescreen opening mimics the opening to Red and Green, which seamlessly moves into a Pokémon battle Ash is watching on television.
- The music in the Red and Green sequence when crossing to the real battle is slightly out of tune.
- Pikachu's Poké Ball has a lightning bolt on it.
- Coincidentally, this lightning-bolt sticker looks like a Seal, which wasn't introduced until Generation IV.
- Ash's first choice for a starter Pokémon was Squirtle. His second choice was Bulbasaur and his last choice was Charmander.
- The English voice actors started recording for the first season in April 1998.
- Ash tries and fails to capture a Pidgey, though he will later succeed in capturing its evolution.
- In the original, the Pokédex misidentifies Pidgey as the Sky Pokémon, when instead of the Tiny Bird Pokémon.
- The Spearow that Ash throws a rock at (and subsequently angers) in this episode makes a return appearance in the final Kanto-based episode, Pallet Party Panic, though it has evolved into Fearow.
- This episode can be found on the third GBA video.
- 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.
- Despite this episode's 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 was the first episode dubbed by Master Sound.
- The first Poké Ball ever seen in the anime was on Ash's television, it was green. It may have been a Safari Ball.
- When Pikachu gets hit by the lightning bolt, the move it uses is similar to Shock Wave.
- In this episode, it is revealed that Spearow see in black and white.
- Ash's Pokédex insults him in this episode; After a Rattata steals Ash's food, the Pokédex states that Rattata steal from stupid travelers, while seeming to put emphasis on the word "stupid".
- This is the only episode that begins a generation that aired after its corresponding games in English. Pokémon Red and Blue were released a week before this episode first aired, while all later episodes that begin a region aired dubbed a few days before the English release of their corresponding games.
- 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.
- In the beginning, Pikachu's Poké Ball has a lightning bolt on it, but later the bolt is gone. After this episode, this Poké Ball is never again seen in the anime, due to the fact that Pikachu is never kept in it. However, it is revealed in The Case of the K-9 Caper! that Ash had six Poké Balls, even though he does not keep his Pikachu in any of them.
- 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 painted, making it look like he has socks on. Then, when he puts Pikachu in her bike, his shoes are painted red like Misty's.
- Professor Oak had all three Poké Balls that contained the starters when Ash went to get his starter. However, all three Trainers already got their Pokémon before Ash came, and presumably would be using those same Poké Balls to keep their starter in.
- Professor Oak hands Ash his Pokédex and six Poké Balls despite the fact that, in the games, the player receives five. Also, Oak is handing him one more Poké Ball than he needs, as a Pokémon Trainer can only hold six Pokémon at one time.
- 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 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.
- In the unedited/Japanese version, after Ash said to Misty, "I'm okay," she slapped him. This was cut from the dub due to direct violence controversy.
- In Japan, Misty tells Ash there's a hospital in Viridian City; in the dub, she just says it's 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 this episode in the English dub, Gary acts as though it was the first time they've met when they've known each other since their early childhood.
In other languages
- Brazilian Portuguese: Pokémon, Eu Escolho Você!
- Canadian French: Pokémon, c'est toi que je choisis !
- Czech: Pokémone, volím si tebe!
- Dutch: Pokémon, ik kies jou!
- European Portuguese: Pokémon, Escolho-te a Ti!
- Finnish: Pokémon! Minä valitsen sinut!
- French: Le départ
- German: Pika-Pikachu
- Italian: L' inizio di una grande avventura
- Korean: 피카츄 너로 정했다! Pikachyu Neoro Jeonghaetta!
- Latin American Spanish: Pokémon, ¡Yo te elijo!
- Polish: Pokémon, wybieram cię!
- Russian: Покемон, я выбираю тебя
- Iberian Spanish: ¡Pokémon, te elijo a ti!
- Mandarin: 神奇宝贝！ 就决定是你了！
|This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.|