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| Pokémon - I Choose You!
| ポケモン！ きみにきめた！|
Pokémon! I Choose You!
|| April 1, 1997
| United States
|| September 8, 1998
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.
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 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 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, 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 runs as fast as he can 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, which is the grandson of the professor, Gary Oak. Gary taunts him 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's ready, since he showed up in his pajamas, but Ash insists that he's 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 wasn't late. After this, he decides he'd 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 was 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. 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 had 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 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 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. 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, 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 explaines 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. 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 saw 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, which hits it in the back of its head. When it turns to look at him, however, he realized 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 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 grabbs 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 had 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 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 above him and the tens of Spearow in close pursuit. Soon, it starts to rain. He 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 in his arms as he walks the rest of the way to Viridian City, knowing that something big is ahead of him; something to fight for.
- * 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.
Who's That Pokémon?: Pikachu
- 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.
- This is the first time the Japanese title of a Pokémon episode is directly translated into English instead of rewritten.
- The episode starts with a small screen tuning on, obviously mimicking a Game Boy, on which the games Pokémon Red and Blue ran. Also, the introduction itself mimics the opening to Red and Green (a Gengar battling with a Nidorino), which seamlessly moves into a Pokémon battle Ash is watching on television.
- The shadowed trainer shown at the very beginning of the episode with the Nidorino and Onix was Bruno.
- 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.
- 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 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 is also the only dubbed main series episode that does not have Team Rocket in it, due to AG120 being skipped in the dub.
- 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.
- This episode can be found on the third GBA 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.
- In the original, the Pokédex misidentifies Pidgey as the Sky Pokémon, instead of the Tiny Bird Pokémon.
- In the beginning, Pikachu's Poké Ball has a lightning bolt on it, but later the bolt is gone.
- 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.
- 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 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 (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 Japan, 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.
In other languages
- Arabic: بوكيمون، لقد اخترتك انت!
- Czech: Pokémone, volím si tebe!
- Dutch: Pokémon, ik kies jou!
- Finnish: Pokémon! Minä valitsen sinut!
- Canadian French: Pokémon, c'est toi que je choisis !
- European French: Le départ
- German: Pika-Pikachu
- Hebrew: אש בוחר את הפוקימון שלו Ash bocher et haPokémon shelo
- Italian: L' inizio di una grande avventura
- Korean: 피카츄 너로 정했다! Pikachyu Neoro Jeonghaetta!
- Mandarin: 神奇宝贝！ 就决定是你了！
- Norwegian: Pokémon - Jeg velger deg!
- Polish: Pokémon, wybieram cię!
- Brazilian Portuguese: Pokémon, Eu Escolho Você!
- European Portuguese: Pokémon, Escolho-te a Ti!
- Russian: Покемон, я выбираю тебя
- Iberian Spanish: ¡Pokémon, te elijo a ti!
- Latin American Spanish: Pokémon, ¡Yo te elijo!