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| The Superhero Secret
The Mysterious Superhero! Enter Gligerman!!
|| March 9, 2000
| United States
|| February 17, 2001
The Superhero Secret (Japanese: なぞのスーパーヒーロー！グライガーマンとうじょう！！ The Mysterious Superhero! Enter Gligerman!!) is the 138th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on March 9, 2000 and in the United States on February 17, 2001.
The legendary Gligarman grows old and begins to bend under the weighty task of fighting crime. When Ash and friends wander into town, they bring with them a challenge that threatens to be Gligarman's last—Team Rocket.
This episode finds Ash and his friends passing through a forest on their way to the Azalea Gym to try to win Ash's next Johto League Badge. The group hears a strange noise in the vicinity, and seconds later observe an unbelievably quick Pokémon (which Brock claims to be a Gligar) jumping from tree-to-tree before vanishing from sight.
As group continues on their way Ash uses his Pokédex to bring up information on Gligar while Misty and Brock discuss the Pokémon, the latter explaining that they are said to be temperamental and dislike humans. Upon hearing this Ash jumps in, expressing confidence that any Gligar they came across would like him.
As Ash begins calling out to Gligar the road underneath the companions suddenly collapses and they fall into a large hole. As Ash wonders aloud how it got there, the previously concealed Team Rocket takes its cue and recite the motto while simultaneously placing a bamboo grate over the hole and wheeling over a two-man pump and attached hose. Jessie and James operate the pump while Meowth aims a torrent of water into the hole, explaining that they plan to fill it with water and steal Pikachu when it floats to the top, leaving Ash, Misty and Brock trapped.
It looks like the friends are in trouble as Pikachu can't attack for fear of electrocuting them as well. Then a familiar silhouette appears in front of the sun and breaks through the bamboo grate over the hole. A Gligar then leaps from the hole with Togepi in its arms. A deep, echoing laugh is heard from the trees and a man dressed like a Gligar appears next to Gligar on a tree and tells Team Rocket to release the trio. Confused Team Rocket and the heroes ask who this masked man is. The man bursts into his own motto and introduces himself as 'Gligarman'.
Jessie and James comment that they have never heard of him which embarrasses Gligarman, Meowth then asks why Gligarman is wearing long underwear which embarrasses the Gligarman further. As Gligarman defends his choice of clothing Jessie, James and Meowth continue to question whether the masked man really is a superhero. Misty says that because he saved Togepi he may really be a superhero. Pleased that someone has faith in him Gligarman sends Gligar to dispense of Team Rocket.
Gligar attaches itself to Jessie's face. As James and Meowth attempt to get it off they are mistakenly being attacked by Jessie's thrashing around! James gets Jessie to stand still but is then confronted by Gligar's dangerous tail stinger. The intimidated James sends Meowth in to attack it. Meowth attacks with his Fury Swipes but Gligar jumps away and Meowth lands a swipe right across Jessie's face and Jessie instantly responds by giving Meowth her version of Fury Swipes. Gligar attacks again and chases Team Rocket away screaming.
Gligarman triumphantly announces victory over evil and attempts to jump down off his tree to hand Togepi back to Misty. Misjudging the height of the jump and his own physical abilities, Gligarman begins to tumble in mid-air before crashing to the ground but managing to keep Togepi from harm. Gligarman jumps up quickly and gives Togepi back to Misty before leaping onto a motorcycle hidden by a bush. Gligarman tells Ash, Misty and Brock that if evil-doers trouble them again all they have to do is blow on a whistle he hands them and he will be by their side. He then calls Gligar and they speed off on the bike back towards a city in the distance.
The trio stand there bewildered and look at the whistle. They hear a female voice call out to them and a young woman on a bicycle stops and asks if they saw Gligarman around. Telling her that Gligarman was there just seconds ago, the woman looks down and says she hopes he didn't cause to much trouble. Misty tells the girl that in fact Gligarman saved her Togepi. The girl is relieved and Brock starts making his trademark moves. The girl introduces herself as Latoya before Misty pulls Brock away. Ash asks why Latoya is interested in Gligarman and asks if he really is a superhero. Latoya says that he sometimes believes he is a real superhero. This prompts Ash to ask keenly if Latoya knows Gligarman's true identity. Latoya hastily rides away saying that she has probably already said too much.
Ash notes that she appears to be hiding something and goes on to say that whether he is a superhero or not he must be a super Trainer for his ability to handle the Gligar.
The trio arrive in front of a store selling Gligarman merchandise where they are told that Gligarman is huge in the city before being ushered inside. There they find Latoya behind the counter of the shop. Ash tells Latoya he wants to know more about Gligarman, then Latoya's father appears telling Ash he knows everything there is to know about Gligarman. The man then shows them an old looking video of Gligarman in which he and Gligar defeat a giant insectoid monster. Ash asks why the Gligarman in the video looked different from the Gligarman they saw. Latoya's father responds by telling them the video was made several years ago and quickly hands the three Gligarman merchandise to change the subject. Togepi seems to have a liking for Latoya's father and Misty says that she thinks he may be the Gligarman. Latoya's father says that Misty's theory is ridiculous and refers to her by name before Misty points out that Gligarman is the only person in the town that knows her name. Brock puts a Gligarman mask on Mr. Parker, who looks exactly like Gligarman, confirming their suspicions. Ash and Brock start to bombard him with questions, but Mr. Parker quiets them and begs that they never reveal his secret. Meanwhile outside Team Rocket have been watching the whole scene through binoculars and hatch a plan to unmask Latoya's father.
Latoya and her father take Ash, Misty and Brock to the Gligar Mansion and Latoya reveals that Gligarman began because her father wasn't selling enough toys at his store. He invented Gligarman and made up stories to make it seem real and one day he just became the real Gligarman because it was more fulfilling than just being a businessman. Latoya's father says he will never stop being Gligarman because people needed someone like him around.
The group then step into Gligarman's extremely hi-tech laboratory where Gligar is relaxing. Ash is in awe, and remarks that Gligarman must have the coolest job ever. Latoya and her father then offer Ash the job of replacing Latoya's father as Gligarman. Ash graciously turns it down because of his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master. Brock offers to take care of everything if he marries Latoya but Latoya brushes off Brock's remarks as a joke which crushes Brock. An alert sounds in the lab and TV screens show that Team Rocket are attacking Gligarman's store.
Gligarman and Ash arrive as Jessie in a supervillain costume and James and Meowth, dressed in Metapod costumes, are tying up the store workers and dressing them as Metapod. Gligar attacks James and attaches itself to his face. Jessie and Meowth look on and Jessie tells Meowth to bring out the 'big bug'. Meowth returns in a Spinarak robot and wraps up Gligarman and Ash in a web. Meowth hangs them up in the middle of town with civilians everywhere and Jessie laughs and announces they will unmask Gligarman in front of everyone. The store workers run out and yell that they have faith in Mr. Parker. Gligarman realizes that they knew his identity all along. A voice from on top of a building is heard and the camera pans up to see a female dressed like a Gligar. She introduces herself as Gligirl. Gligirl asks for assistance from Gligar who is reluctant at first. Gligar then recognizes that Gligirl is Latoya and flies to her. Gligirl tells Gligar to cut Gligarman and Ash free from the web. Pikachu runs around underneath the Spinarak machine which causes Meowth to get its legs tangled. Gligar and Pikachu then work together and a Pikachu Thunderbolt causes the machine to malfunction before it blows up and sends Team Rocket flying. The town celebrates the victory of Gligirl with Brock still oblivious to the fact Gligirl was Latoya.
Mr. Parker and Latoya are saying their goodbyes to Ash and co. before having a small argument over who would be Gligar's owner as Brock finally realizes Gligirl's identity as Latoya. The heroes say goodbye and continue on their way to Azalea's Gym.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Mareep (U.S. and international), Gligar (Japan)
- The character of Gligarman is based on that of Batman.
- However, his dub name, Mr. Parker, is likely based on Peter Parker, the alter ego of Spider-Man.
- The instrumental version of The Time Has Come (Pikachu's Goodbye) can be heard in this episode.
- The book All Fired Up is based on this episode.
- This episode is similar to The Mighty Accelguard to the Rescue! since both are about Ash and his friends helping a costumed superhero based on a Pokémon (Gligar or Accelgor).
- When the video of Gligarman is shown, "Look up in the sky, is it a Pidgeotto? A Charizard? A Dragonite? No, it's the crime-fighting Pokémon superhero Gligarman!" is heard, a reference to Superman.
- Another possible Superman reference can be seen when Gligarman poses on top of what looks like the Daily Planet building.
- A large, yellow, arachnid creature appears in the short Gligarman film. It appears nowhere else in the Pokémon franchise, only as part of a fictional movie in the anime.
- In the Italian dub, Gligar is erroneously called "Cligar" throughout the episode.
- Latoya calls Ash by name without having heard it.
In other languages