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| Friend and Foe Alike
Sekiei Stadium! VS Hiroshi!
|| January 14, 1999
| United States
|| November 27, 1999
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 福本潔 Kiyoshi Fukumoto
| Assistant director
|| 福本潔 Kiyoshi Fukumoto
| Animation director
|| 福本勝 Masaru Fukumoto
| Additional credits
Friend and Foe Alike (Japanese: セキエイスタジアム！ＶＳヒロシ！ Sekiei Stadium! VS Hiroshi!) is the 79th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 14, 1999 and in the United States on November 27, 1999.
A twist of fate pits Ash and his new friend, Richie, against each other in the fifth round of the Pokémon League Competition. Both are determined to triumph, but who will emerge victorious? And, can their friendship survive the struggle? Ash and Richie make a promise to each other that because they're friends they will make this the best Pokémon battle that they've ever had. Unfortunately, Team Rocket kidnaps Ash on his way to the tournament and demands he give them Pikachu or he won't make it to the battle at all. Ash is determined to keep his promise (and his Pikachu), and have the best battle of his life!
After foiling one of Team Rocket's heists in the last episode, Ash and Ritchie are battling against each other in the round five battle! Brock, Misty and Nurse Joy think Ash is lucky he gets to battle a friend, and he and Ritchie vow to make it the best battle they've had. Unfortunately for Ash, due to Team Rocket's sneaky tricks, he becomes distracted on the way to the next battle. Team Rocket kidnaps Ash and demand that he either surrenders his Pikachu to them or be unable to battle Ritchie in Round five. Ash is trapped in the back of a truck, but manages to escape by flooding the entire truck with Squirtle, and escapes when the truck runs over. Team Rocket returns, but Ash uses his Bulbasaur to defeat them. They return yet again, with bikes. Pikachu uses ThunderShock to paralyze them. They return a final time by hooking a crane on the bike Ash stole from them, and lifting him into the air. Ash takes out Pidgeotto to fly Pikachu up into their air balloon, where Pikachu uses Thunderbolt on them, and they drop into the forest. Ash orders Pidgeotto to fly the Rocket Air Balloon to the Pokémon stadium.
Meanwhile, Ritchie and everyone else is awaiting Ash's arrival. Everybody is getting tired of waiting and the referee approaches Ritchie to inform him that as it appears that Ash is not going to turn up he is to be disqualified and Ritchie will win the match by default, but Ritchie begs the referee to wait. Ritchie tells the referee that he and Ash promised each other a great battle and that Ash must have a good reason for not being there but he is certain that his new friend will turn up. The referee, seeing that Ritchie is desperate that Ash not be disqualified, agrees to give Ash ten more minutes. Misty, Brock, Delia and Professor Oak are beginning to worry, but are proud of Ritchie. Delia and Professor Oak note that Ash certainly seems to choose his friends well.
The ten minutes pass and there's still no sign of Ash. By now the referee has had enough and is about to disqualify Ash and award the match to Ritchie when suddenly Ash appears overhead in the Meowth balloon, certainly making quite an entrance. Ash's friends are very relieved, while Delia shouts at her son to apologize for keeping everyone waiting while Professor Oak tries to calm her down. Unfortunately Pidgeotto is exhausted from flying the entire Balloon to the stadium, and Ash thanks it for all its effort.
The battle between Ash and Ritchie finally begins with Ash using Squirtle and Ritchie using Happy. Happy defeats Squirtle easily with Sleep Powder, and the ringer counts this as an elimination. Ash is truly surprised to see that Pikachu has enough energy to battle. Pikachu is at a disadvantage due to his lack of energy, but wins by using Thunderbolt. Ritchie sends out Zippo, who uses multiple Flamethrowers that Pikachu dodges. Then, Zippo uses Tackle, finally making Pikachu too weak to battle. Ash is left with only one Pokémon to use. Ash realizes he only has one choice, and it's a very risky one. He uses this one choice and sends out the disobedient Charizard. Everyone is shocked by Ash's choice, especially Brock and Misty, but to their surprise, Charizard battles after he is almost hit by Zippo's Flamethrower, by shooting a Flamethrower of his own. Ritchie recalls Zippo, which immediately eliminates him. Ritchie sends out Sparky, who is ready for anything. Charizard stomps on the ground twice, then uses his wings to create a strong wind that pushes back Sparky. However, now it is satisfied it could defeat Sparky if it wanted, lies down to take a nap. Ash is desperate and begins to beg, but Charizard clearly has no intention of moving for the trainer it doesn't respect. The referee declares Charizard as eliminated, giving Ritchie the victory. Ash is very upset, but manages to put a lid on his feelings in order to congratulate Ritchie and wish him luck. Ash's friends are proud of him for his attitude, and later Ash stands alone in the empty stadium, knowing that regardless of his loss he has still learned a lot.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Aerodactyl (U.S. and international), Pikachu (Sparky) (Japan)
- Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture: Pokémon League battles
- Pokémon senryū summary: Trainer; thinking of strategies, the day comes to the end.
- Jessie, though through the voice changer, calls Misty by name.
- This is the only episode where Pikachu has used Double-Edge.
- This is the last episode of season 1 to air in Finland.
- The book Charizard, Go! is partially based on this episode.
- Parts of this episode were reanimated and used for flashback material for The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!.
- Throughout the entire battle between Ash and Ritchie only one command was actually given to the Pokémon.
- In the English dub both Professor Oak and Brock refer to Charmander as a "Flame-type", when it's actually a Fire-type. This is likely a translation error, since the Japanese name of Fire-type is "Flame-type".
- When Squirtle was filling the back of Team Rocket's van with water, the colored part of its eyes were absent.
- Squirtle is ruled unable to battle after it is put to sleep by Happy, despite the fact that both in the games and in the anime, sleeping Pokémon are still considered able to battle until they are knocked out.
- During one part of Team Rocket's motto, Jessie's lipstick is missing.
In other languages