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| A Bout With Sprout
Big Crisis! Madatsubomi Tower!
|| January 13, 2000
| United States
|| December 16, 2000
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 石原立也 Tatsuya Ishihara
| Assistant director
|| 石原立也 Tatsuya Ishihara
| Animation director
|| 池田和美 Kazumi Ikeda
| Additional credits
A Bout With Sprout (Japanese: だいピンチ！マダツボミのとう！ Big Crisis! Madatsubomi Tower!) is the 130th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 13, 2000 and in the United States on December 16, 2000.
Our heroes are recruited as guest instructors at a youth Pokémon Academy, where Ash does his best as an educator until one of his pupils takes an overly ardent interest in Ash's Pokémon, finally kidnapping Pikachu and heading for the hills.
After traveling all the way from New Bark Town, Ash, Misty, and Brock finally set their eyes on Violet City, where Ash hopes to earn his first Johto League Badge at the local Gym. While wandering through the city, Pikachu stops to smell some flowers, only to be attacked by two school kids wanting to play with him. Threatening to shock them, Ash snatches Pikachu from the kids only to be zapped by Pikachu's Thunderbolt. The two kids explain that they thought it was a wild Pikachu, but their explanation was cut short when a woman runs outside telling the kids they should be in class.
The woman, Miss Priscilla, explains that the two kids are her students at the Pokémon academy, and she teaches them all about Pokémon training while they're young so they grow up and become great Trainers. Brock volunteers the group to put off looking for the Gym and show the school kids some of their Pokémon, which the students are exuberant about. Ash tells them how he made the top sixteen in the Indigo League but one boy asks why they should listen to him if he wasn't the winner. Ash dismisses the blow, and Misty suggests that they go outside so they can show the kids their Pokémon.
While the kids are playing with the Pokémon, Miss Priscilla tells Ash, Misty, and Brock about the Sprout Tower and how its main support beam sways back and forth like a Bellsprout. She then invites them on a field trip her and the class are going on to visit the tower. Brock agrees for Ash and Misty.
While Miss Priscilla is talking to Ash, the little boy who made the comment to Ash earlier asks Pikachu to be his Pokémon and to forget Ash. Pikachu declines, but the boy says if he doesn't want to be his Pokémon, then he'll just take Pikachu, and pounces on him, but Pikachu gives him a little shock and he backs off. Ash runs over and asks the boy what he can do and the boy screams at him to give him the Pikachu. After Ash refuses, the boy, named Zackie, steals one of Ash's Poké Balls and tries to catch Pikachu with it. Since Pikachu is scared of Poké Balls, he runs away, and Zackie runs after him. Ash tells Miss Priscilla that once she finds Zackie he'll take him to the Sprout Tower to meet up with everyone else. Ash recalls his Pokémon and runs after Zackie.
Zackie spots Pikachu's ears sticking out of a bush and throws the Poké Ball behind the bush. Pikachu runs away, but apparently isn't fast enough and the Poké Ball makes a successful capture. Zackie celebrates when Ash tackles him, but they fall down one of Team Rocket's traps. Team Rocket thanks Zackie for catching Pikachu, and says if he hands them Pikachu, they'll get him out, but Zackie says he won't give them Pikachu. Ash suggests he take Pikachu back to handle Team Rocket, but Zackie says he wants to do it, and sends out Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, only for it to be revealed that Zackie didn't actually capture Pikachu but a wild Bellsprout.
So Team Rocket uses an amplifier to alter their voice to sound like Ash's, and they call out for Pikachu's help, which Pikachu responds to by coming out of hiding, but Team Rocket tries to net Pikachu, but the real Ash calls out to Pikachu and tells him to move. Pikachu evades the attack, and Ash uses the net to climb out of the hole. Ash tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt on Team Rocket, which sends them blasting off again.
Back at the Sprout Tower, Brock is looking at the support beam that sways back and forth, but outside, Team Rocket fall from the sky into the tower. They devise a plan to get Pikachu and it involves getting Miss Priscilla's class out of the main room, so James uses his Weezing's SmokeScreen to replicate a fire. Falling for it, Miss Priscilla orders her class to evacuate the building immediately.
Once Ash is at the Sprout Tower, he sees the 'fire' and sends out Squirtle to use Water Gun; Misty sends out Poliwag to do the same. Brock notes that the water isn't helping, so Misty recalls Poliwag. Team Rocket then appears on the balcony and tell Ash to come inside and see what is being done.
Inside, Lickitung, Weezing, and Arbok are sawing away at the support beam and have strapped a rocket to it. Jessie says that unless Ash hands over Pikachu, they'll send the tower into orbit as soon as the support beam is cut. Ash refuses, but Pikachu goes forth. They tie up Pikachu, and Ash tries to send out another Pokémon, but Meowth says he shouldn't try anything or else he'll blow the place up.
Zackie orders Bellsprout to use Razor Leaf, which flings the rocket remote out of Meowth's paws. Bellsprout uses Razor Leaf against Lickitung so it stops sawing at the support beam. Jessie and James recall their Pokémon, and grab onto the rocket as part of an escape. Ash's Bulbasaur and Zackie's Bellsprout use Razor Leaf to free Pikachu from the rope before Team Rocket gets away with him; the leaves eventually cut the ropes that tether the rocket to the support beam. The rocket, with no mechanics to control it, blasts off Team Rocket once again.
The episode ends with Ash bidding farewell to the Pokémon academy, and Zackie wishing Ash luck in the Johto League. Zackie says that he'll battle with Ash when his Bellsprout evolves into a Weepinbell and then eventually a Victreebel.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Cleffa (U.S. and international); Bellsprout (Japan)
- The Pokémon academy in this episode is directly derived from its in-game counterpart.
- The book Battle for the Zephyr Badge is based on this episode.
- This is the first episode to show Pikachu's Thunderbolt randomly exploding when it is used against Team Rocket to send them blasting off.
- In EP035, Brock caught a Tauros, but the Tauros was counted as one as Ash's 30 because he using one of Ash's Poké Balls. In this episode, Zackie uses one of Ash's Poké Balls to catch Bellsprout, but the Bellsprout is counted as Zackie's own Pokémon.
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