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The Legend of Miniryu
|| November 25, 1997
| United States
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Assistant director
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Animation director
|| 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
| Additional credits
(Japanese: ミニリュウのでんせつ The Legend of Miniryu) is the 35th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on November 25, 1997, but never broadcast in the United States or all other countries airing a dub based on the English version.
After finally entering the safari zone, our heroes meet up with the elderly supervisor of the zone. As they are being explained the rules of the safari zone in his office, a picture, carefully hung there, catches Ash’s attention. It is a picture of the elderly supervisor as a boy, taken alongside a Dratini, the legendary Pokémon. Ash asks desperately about the existence of Dratini, but the elderly man denies everything. Hearing of the plenitude of Pokémon in the safari zone, Team Rocket also arrives on the scene.
Ash, Misty and Brock are touring the area in the Safari Zone. Ash is singing, while the narrator explains that the group hasn't yet caught a single Pokémon, but with so many Pokémon in this area, it's understandable why anyone would want to sing.
As the group approaches a building, Ash sings that they're in the Safari Zone. Brock asks Ash to stop singing, which Ash ignores and continues to sing. Brock asks Misty to do something, and she replies by singing along with Ash. Brock decides to sing as well. Before he can do so, however, a man approaches from the building and demands they "shut up!"
Ash demands what the man's problem is, to which the man pulls a firearm out and replies, "Do you want to get shot?" The group hastily apologizes, and the man relents. He then introduces himself as Kaiser, who's none other than the care-taker of the Safari Zone.
Inside the building, Kaiser shows the group a basket of Safari Balls and a fishing rod. Ash is delighted and reaches out eagerly for them, but Kaiser pulls his gun out and explains the rules of the Safari Zone: All that's permitted are Safari Balls and fishing rods. If they break the rules, his "Thunderbolt" will burn them. He then points the gun at Ash's head to demonstrate his point.
Misty notices a picture of Kaiser as a young man, in which he's holding a Dratini. As Ash and Misty view the picture, Brock tells them about a rumor of a Dratini living in the Safari Zone, and the picture certainly proves that the rumor is true. Before this can be expanded on any further, Kaiser leaps forward and snatches the picture from Misty's hand, screaming that there is no Dratini. Ash argues otherwise, but seeing Kaiser reach for his gun is more than enough to make him take his statement back.
Kaiser leaves the group, taking the picture with him. Misty wonders why he acts so serious, to which Brock replies that something must be up for him to act like this. Ash suggests that they ask Professor Oak, which the rest agree on.
The focus then shifts on Kaiser, who's standing outside the building staring at the picture. He apologizes to Dratini and says he'll never bother it again. While this happens, Oak explains to the kids that he knows Kaiser well. Thirty years ago, a Dratini was found in the Safari Zone by Kaiser himself. Trainers from all over flocked to the Safari Zone just to see the mythical creature, but while they were there, they captured many other Pokémon in the process, literally destroying the Safari Zone. Since then, only Safari Balls have been allowed there. The Dratini was never found; all that remains is a picture.
After an attack by Team Rocket, the Warden directs the group to a lake inhabited by Dratini. James and Meowth don scuba gear and attempts to find Dratini, while Jessie is waiting for them above. Suddenly, a Dratini emerges from the water and reveals itself to Jessie. She kneels down on the pipe that is supplying air to James and Meowth, calling the Dratini to come closer, while the other two are struggling for a breath of air. Just as Jessie tries to grab it, James and Meowth splash out of the water, scaring it away. Jessie starts to yell at them, when Meowth reveals a backup plan to capture all the Pokémon in the lake.
He then goes to explain how the electric bomb he is holding will zap all the Pokémon in the water to cause them to rise to the surface, and is about to throw it in when Ash intervenes. Meowth throws it in anyways, and Kaiser jumps in the lake after it. Ash jumps after him, but Misty stops Ash, telling him not to go. Then she asks, "What gives you such confidence?". He then replies, "I told you before, the good guys always win." He dives into the lake with Misty's Staryu to retrieve the bomb, and sends Staryu to take Kaiser back to the surface. He reaches the bottom, retrieves the bomb, but then runs out of air. Suddenly, a storm begins: it is caused by a Dragonair. The Dragonair saves Ash, just as it did when it was a Dratini, saving Kaiser. The Warden is overjoyed, as he has successfully protected the Pokémon. Team Rocket is sent blasting off again, and Ash sends all his Tauros to Oak, who trample over the Professor in a stampede.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Tauros
This controversial episode was banned in almost all countries outside of Japan, largely due the pervasive use of firearms, which are pointed at Ash and Kaiser and fired at Jessie, James, and Meowth. Even though the scenes where Kaiser threatens Ash, Misty and Brock with his guns were intended for comic effect, the American censors still found this too dark for children. Although an English dubbed version of this episode will never be aired, dub voice actors have confirmed that it was made. This suggests that it was the network, and not the producers of the American show itself, who deemed it offensive. Unfortunately for fans, this episode's non-airing created a major plot hole for non-Japanese versions of the show, confusing many viewers on how, when, where, and why Ash captured thirty Tauros, although Professor Oak mentioned it once in Showdown at the Po-ké Corral.
- Although the episode was never aired in English, the video for the Pokérap uses footage of Dratini, Dragonair, and Rhyhorn from this episode, as well as a clip of Ash, Misty, and Brock catching a Gyarados.
- This is the first appearance of Misty's special lure in the series. However, due to this episode being banned in numerous countries, the lure first appeared in the dub in Bye Bye Psyduck.
- The Safari Balls pictured in this episode are vastly different from their later-introduced in-game sprites, likely due to a design change between the time of Generation I and Generation III. This is similar to the alteration in design of the Sport Ball, which appears differently between its anime debut and its Generation IV reintroduction with an in-game sprite.
- Kaiser's appearance, demeanor and handgun bear a resemblance to the Man with No Name, a character from the Spaghetti Western Dollars Trilogy.
- When Dragonair is emerging from the lake, the R on Jessie's shirt is missing.
- Throughout the episode Dratini and Dragonair were referred to as Legendary Pokémon. However, this may come from Dratini's Pokédex entry, which calls it a "mythical Pokémon".
In other languages
As most dubs are based on the English adaptation, this episode has not aired in most of the world outside of Japan.