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| A Ghost of a Chance
The Burned Tower! Matsuba Appears!!
|| January 18, 2001
| United States
|| November 10, 2001
|| Team Ota
|| 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
|| 福本潔 Kiyoshi Fukumoto
| Assistant director
|| 岩崎太郎 Tarō Iwasaki
| Animation director
|| はしもとかつみ Katsumi Hashimoto
| Additional credits
A Ghost of a Chance (Japanese: やけたとう！マツバとうじょう！！ The Burned Tower! Matsuba Appears!!) is the 181st episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 18, 2001 and in the United States on November 10, 2001.
Arriving in Ecruteak, Ash immediately heads to the Gym to challenge it's leader for his next Johto League badge. Our heroes soon realize this isn't a normal gym... it bursts into flames as soon as they enter! Trying to douse the flames with their water Pokémon, they find out the blaze is bogus. It's actually the Gastly, Haunter and Gengar instigating the illusion. Find out how these Ghost-Types end up helping our heroes when Togepi and Pikachu get lost among the ruins. Plus, don't miss the Gastly lesson they teach Team Rocket!
Arriving in Ecruteak City, Ash immediately makes his way to the Gym to challenge its leader for his next Johto League Badge. Walking through Ecruteak to get to the Gym, they come across a fire breathing salesman that stops them, claiming to be 'just they guy they're lookin' for'. After talking briefly with this strange person, the trio is asked to buy an Itemfinder. Brushing this salesperson off, Ash, Misty and Brock continue on the trail headed toward the Gym.
The scene changes to Team Rocket talking about trailing the twerps and that 'if experience has told them anything, it's that they've learned from trailing those twerps they would stop at a Johto League Gym for a Badge'. After going off on that discussion, Jessie and Meowth claim to be hungry and hand James the money to go buy them all food. However, James runs into the same sales person that Ash and company had and instantly buys the Itemfinder after being convinced of its uses and ability. As soon as James returns with the Itemfinder, both Jessie and Meowth show their great distaste with it and tell James to give them the money so that they can buy something to eat. James soon explains that he spent all the money on the Itemfinder and is soon able to convince both Jessie and Meowth (even if only slightly) that he could find treasure with it. Turning it on, James soon has the Itemfinder go off and the three of them become excited that it actually found something. However, they soon become upset by the fact that it was merely a bottle cap -- James being the only one enthralled by having found it.
Arriving at the gates of the supposed 'Gym', Misty speculates that the Gym isn't like any others that they have seen before. As they venture through this 'Gym' for a few moments, the trio is soon finding themselves running away from flames that mysteriously appeared within the building. Trying to douse the flames with their Water-type Pokémon, they find out the blaze is merely an illusion thanks to Gastly that reside in the burned out building. They were revealed thanks to Ash's Noctowl's Foresight. Soon after having the Gastly revealed, Ash commands Noctowl to use Tackle on the Gastly in the area after they attack them with Night Shade. The Gastly are soon warded off and the trio gives a sigh of relief only to be on edge again by the Gastly coming back... and with Haunter accompanying them.
Getting ready for battle, Ash commands Pikachu to use ThunderShock on the Ghost-type Pokémon. Ash is ready to do more than he has at this point when the Gastly and Haunter disappear, making it so that Pikachu's attacks couldn't hit. Soon, a Gengar appears and all the other Ghost-type Pokémon seem to be weary of its presence. Ash is about to command another ThunderShock before an unknown voice calls out, "Stop."
Turning his attention toward where the voice came from, a young blond man is revealed, standing atop of the staircase. At the initial sight of the man, all the Ghost Pokémon instantly hover over before him. After they do, this man soon tells Ash and the others that they should understand that the Pokémon were not trying to harm them, but merely trying to protect the place it is they reside because they felt threatened by their appearance. As soon as he does, Ash asks this person who he is and the man dismisses the Pokémon before him before responding that he is Morty, Leader of the Ecruteak City Gym. All Ash, Misty and Brock seem to be surprised at the mention, though Ash quickly regains his bearings and claims to Morty that he wants to compete for the Gym Badge that he holds.
Merely smiling to Ash, Morty explains that he would love to battle Ash in an official Gym battle but that they couldn't do it where they were. Morty continues on to say that the place that they were was and has been confused as the Ecruteak City Gym by many different Trainers that pass through the city. Brock asks just what exactly the place is and Morty gives his response that it 'used to be a place of brightness and hope; now it's a place of darkness', and that's why so many Ghost Pokémon have come to live there. After coming to that realization that the place is the home of all the Pokémon that attacked them, a small feeling of guilt is bestowed upon them.
Having the guilt vanish as quickly as it came when seeing a plaque of Ho-Oh, Ash quickly runs over to it, asking what it is, where Morty replies and explains that it's Ho-Oh, one of the ancient legendary Pokémon. At that response, Ash responds with: "It may be legendary, but I saw one!" This is when the flashback of him seeing Ho-Oh plays over. As soon as said flashback ends, Morty instantly lets Ash know that he's highly skeptical about his seeing Ho-Oh, as they have not been seen for three centuries. Ash is a little miffed by Morty's not believing him, though after being told that it's been over three-hundred years since anyone's seen it, his miffed state fades. Morty then goes on to say that there's a tower that was rebuilt not too far away from the burned out building that they're all in. He further explains that the tower he mentions is a copy of the one that they're standing in.
Ash then questions what happened to the original tower that they're in, soon receiving a rather long-winded response:
"It was built to promote understanding between humans and Pokémon, and my ancestors protected it for generations. Over the decades, the Tin Tower became a special place for another reason. It was the only place on earth where Ho-Oh, the legendary Pokémon, made contact with humans. Ho-Oh's visits were a sign of peace, but it would only appear to a chosen few. Only those guarding the tower. Then, one day, invaders came who sought to use the Ho-Oh's power for evil! In the ensuing battle, the Tin Tower was set afire! The Ho-Oh fled... it ceased to make contact with humans... and it has never returned. Some wanted to rebuild the tower, but my ancestors insisted that it be left as a witness for future generations of man's brutality -- but they also decided to build a new Tin Tower. Their hope was that the Ho-Oh might return, to a new place of peace. So far... these hopes have been in vain.... We've waited so long that some people say that Ho-Oh was a legend that never really existed."
As soon as Morty stops with the historic response of the towers, Ash pipes up that he knows that he saw Ho-Oh and that it isn't just a legend that didn't exist. While going off on that, Pikachu notices that Togepi is wandering off further into the Burned Tower, and heading for a hole that only small Pokémon would be able to fit through. Acting as the caretaker of Togepi, Pikachu instantly jumps from Ash's shoulder and bounds over stop the young Pokémon -- its efforts only turning out to be rather futile. As soon as both Pokémon disappear into the small hole, Morty leads the others toward a part of the burned out tower that would lead them to the same general location that both Pikachu and Togepi ran off in.
Busting open an old and worn out door, Ash comments on the fact that the place is like a maze. Morty explains that due to the fire, a lot of the support beams weakened and fell, now making it so that venturing further than where they were currently would be too dangerous for them. Morty soon tells Misty that there are other ways to find the two Pokémon, and this is where he calls upon Gengar to rally up the other Ghost Pokémon residing in the building and find both Pikachu and Togepi.
Just as soon as Pikachu catches up with Togepi, it instantly bounds off, heading deeper into the tower. Just outside, however, Team Rocket is following the beeping of the Itemfinder that James bought up the stairs to the place of the burned out tower. James instantly runs over to where the Itemfinder is pointing him, excited about what may be under whatever it is he's run to while both Jessie and Meowth are thoroughly unimpressed by the fact that they've been finding nothing but bottle caps. Meowth insists on calling it a sack of garbage and both he and Jessie agree that the caps are worthless, while James defends them and says that they're extremely valuable collector's items. This only rouses the suggestion to sell them for extra cash, but James is too attached to them to allow that to happen.
Togepi soon pushes through rubble, instantly capturing Team Rocket's attention and making them sparkle with joy. Their joy is only amplified by the fact that Pikachu comes pushing up through the rubble soon after. When Pikachu sees Team Rocket with Togepi in their possession, it's about to shock them all with a powerful attack before they tell it that it shouldn't attack them unless it wanted to hurt Togepi as well. At the mention of that, Pikachu instantly stops, not feeling good about not giving Team Rocket a good jolt. While Team Rocket is dancing for joy, however, Gastly peeks out from the hole created from both Togepi and Pikachu and then swiftly goes to tell Morty and the others that it has found the location of the two Pokémon.
Here, it is speculated that Morty can also communicate with Ghost Pokémon more than just being friends with them, however, nothing is solidly confirmed. Getting the news from the Gastly, Morty tells to Ash and his friends that they've seen where both Pikachu and Togepi are located before following along after it. Ash questions how it is that Morty is able to understand the Gastly, where the only response received from him is: "Practice."
The scene changes again to an excited and laughing Team Rocket, this time with them running off with Pikachu and Togepi strapped upon their backs. They're making their out of the city until Morty's Gengar appears and trips them via using its tongue. Falling face first onto the ground, Jessie gets up first and instantly pegs the blame on Meowth, who honestly denies the action since he tripped as well. As soon as James says that it must have been something, Morty's Gengar appears before them, startling James back up onto his feet. At this point, Morty and the others have arrived on the scene and Ash points out that it's Team Rocket.
Morty tells them to give back both Pikachu and Togepi, where Team Rocket quickly disregard it and start off their whole motto as they normally do. Ash runs in telling them to give back the Pokémon after the motto and Meowth jumps up to scratch at his face. Backing off at that, Jessie and James applaud Meowth for his work and then start taunting Ash and the others with both Pikachu and Togepi in their possession. Ash and Misty instantly demand a battle for both Pikachu and Togepi -- Jessie says that they'd be happy to before Meowth interjects that every time they try to battle the twerps, they end up losing badly to them and that it would be just best to run for it. Asking James what he thought, he agrees with Meowth to beat it and the three of them start running again with Ash and the others chasing after them while calling them cowards.
Chasing after them, Morty calls upon Gengar once more, who appears beside both he and Ash, and then issues the command to take back both Togepi and Pikachu. At this, both Jessie and James send out Arbok and Weezing to stall the Ghost-type Pokémon from catching up with them. Gengar soon hovers close to the ground and then disappears to ward them off its location, causing both Arbok and Weezing to be confused for a brief couple of moments. It soon then appears behind them and rushes in to knock them into the neighboring thicket that's next to the pathway that they're on. Both Arbok and Weezing get momentarily knocked out as they come into contact with the trees and Gengar goes to halt Team Rocket in their tracks by simply appearing before them. As soon as the trio is rather trapped, Morty calls them out on being thieves and asks, "how can people who are Pokémon Trainers steal other peoples' Pokémon!?"
Getting an answer from Team Rocket, Morty quickly commands Gengar to use Night Shade on Team Rocket. This attack hits the straps on both Meowth and James' backs, releasing both Togepi and Pikachu. As the two Pokémon are flying through the air after being released, Morty calls upon Haunter and Gastly to catch both of them and bring them to Ash and Misty without harm. After the small reunion, both Jessie and James persist on getting back at the Gengar and brings both Arbok and Weezing into battle. Both Pokémon dive in for Gengar, and the Ghost-type merely braces itself for impact before Morty tells it to dodge the attacks. Following orders, Gengar disappears and both Arbok and Weezing crash into the ground.
Appearing above the battle scene, Gengar grins to them and Jessie commands Arbok to perform a Wrap attack on it. The move only appears to be successful, however, Morty again tells Gengar to disappear. Following instruction once again, Gengar vanishes from Arbok's hold, making Arbok and Team Rocket shocked as to what they just witnessed. Morty, deciding to make the battle quick now, issues the next command: for Gengar to use one of its most powerful attacks, Shadow Ball. At that, however, both Jessie and James stupidly command both Arbok and Weezing to take it head on. Because of this, The Shadow Ball hits the directly and sends them headlong into the ground, causing Team Rocket to 'blast off again'.
Looking at the damage that the Shadow Ball created, Ash remarks in awe of Morty's Gengar's Shadow Ball. Brock's response to that was that Ash should be careful, now that he knows what exactly his opponent is capable of. Here, we near the end of the episode and Morty tells Ash that they could have their battle now, however, he imagined that both he and his Pokémon must be tired. Saying that resting up will make it a better battle, the two part ways for just the day and both Misty and Brock ask Ash about how he would handle Morty in battle the next day. The only response that he gives is that they'd just have to see tomorrow!
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Raticate (U.S. and international), Gengar (Japan)
- This episode was initially titled The Tower Inferno; however, unlike The Tower Of Terror, this episode was renamed rather than skipped after the September 11 attacks.
- Despite this, several sources still refer to this episode as The Tower Inferno. Pokémon.com formally referred to this episode by that title.
- The English title of this episode is taken from the phrase "a ghost of a chance".
- This episode features the Itemfinder, though it is referred to as a "Treasure Detector".
- This episode is featured on the Volume 9: Ghost copy of Pokémon Elements.
- Music from Mewtwo Strikes Back can be heard in this episode.
- Because Ecruteak City is based off of real-world Kyoto, Japan, there were many references to the characteristics of the real city. Women dressed in Kimono were seen multiple times in the episode. Further, a man can be seen in the beginning of the episode eating Takoyaki, a popular snack in the Kansai region.
- In the English dub, a Haunter appears and cries "Gengar" instead of "Haunter".
- As a Normal-type, Noctowl should be completely immune to Ghost-type attacks. However, this is not the case in this episode.
- The Pokémon logo isn't on the title screen when Ash says it.
- When Totodile is in the fire, its mouth moves but nothing comes out.
- When Morty first starts talking, his mouth moves but he doesn't say anything for the first second then starts talking.
- The scene where Ash and co. are chasing Team Rocket with Pikachu and Togepi was edited for violence. When Ash first attempts to get both Pokémon back, Meowth scratches Ash's face in the original version. In the dub, the scratching was replaced with stars on a black background.
In other languages