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| Pokémon - I Choose You!
| ポケモン！ きみにきめた！|
Pokémon! I Choose You!
|| April 1, 1997
| United States
|| September 8, 1998
Pokémon - I Choose You! (Japanese: ポケモン！ きみにきめた！ Pokémon! I Choose You!) is the very first episode of the Pokémon anime. In the US, however, the first episode shown was Battle Aboard the St. Anne. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 1997 and in the United States on September 8, 1998.
A remastered version of the episode was shown on Pokémon Smash! on April 1, 2012 to celebrate the anime's fifteenth anniversary. Only the episode itself was remastered; the opening and ending sequences, as well as the eyecatch, were not shown at all.
The episode begins the same way as Pokémon Red and Green, down to the style of the images and the sound. A Nidorino and a Gengar are exchanging attacks in a battle. After Nidorino dodges Gengar's attack, it leaps at it. At the same time, the game starts to come to life, with the small frame enlarging into the entire screen, and the monochrome Pokémon fading into color.
The two are battling in a stadium at the Pokémon League, watched by crowds of fans. Gengar dodges Nidorino's Horn Attack, and then jumps on its head to make an opening to put it to sleep with Hypnosis. As Nidorino falls asleep, its Trainer recalls it into its Poké Ball, and then throws out another to take its place. The Gengar jumps back as an Onix comes out. It tries to Tackle into Gengar head-first, but misses and hits the battlefield instead. It pulls back up, unfazed.
This battle is being watched on television by a boy from Pallet Town named Ash Ketchum. He is now ten years old, which means he can become a Pokémon Trainer. Tomorrow, he will receive a starter Pokémon from Professor Oak and start his Pokémon journey, the first step on the long quest of his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master.
His mother enters the room and reminds him that it is 11 o'clock at night, and that he should be asleep. He complains that he is too excited to fall asleep. As a compromise, his mother changes his television's channel to Professor Oak's lecture, and tells him to go to bed when the program is finished.
That night, he dreams about the starter Pokémon as he tries to decide which one he wants. First, he dreams of choosing and sending out Bulbasaur, and then Squirtle. The night turns to morning, and Ash, still in bed, dreams about if he chose Charmander. Suddenly, he bolts awake to find that he has thrown his Voltorb-shaped alarm clock in his sleep, and it had smashed against the wall. Afraid that he might have overslept, Ash bolts out of his house in his pajamas and runs as fast as he could to Professor Oak's Laboratory.
Outside the laboratory, a crowd of people have gathered, including a group of cheerleaders. Ash pushes through and bumps into his rival, a boy who is the grandson of the professor, Gary Oak. Gary taunts Ash for being late. He tells Ash that he has already received his starter Pokémon from his grandfather. He boasts to the crowd that he will make Pallet Town famous by becoming a Pokémon Master. Ash, however, is more interested in finding out which starter Gary chose. Gary tells him that it was the best one, and then leaves in a red sports car, followed by the crowd.
Before Ash can say anything about how upset he was by his rival, Professor Oak approaches him. Ash drops his anger and asks about getting a Pokémon. Professor Oak seems doubtful that he is ready, since he has showed up in his pajamas, but Ash insists that he is ready.
Inside Oak's laboratory, three Poké Balls are set up on a storage device, with a place for a fourth in the center. Ash decides that he would like to start with Squirtle, but when he opens the Poké Ball, he finds that it is empty. Professor Oak tells him it was taken by a Trainer who was not late. After this, Ash decides he would like Bulbasaur, but this Poké Ball is also empty. He has no choice but to go for the last choice, Charmander, but the final Poké Ball is also empty. The three were all taken by Trainers who arrived on time, and it seems that there is no Pokémon left for Ash.
Professor Oak mentions that he has another Pokémon, but that there is a problem with it. Ash wants it anyway. In the fourth spot in the middle, a Poké Ball appears that has a lightning bolt mark on it. Oak picks it up and hands the Poké Ball to Ash. The ball opens, and in a burst of lighting, Pikachu comes out of the ball. Ash loves the cute Pokémon, and picks it up and hugs it. Pikachu does not like this, and shocks him with an Electric attack. Oak hands Ash a Pokédex and six Poké Balls, but gets shocked as well when he touches Ash.
When Ash steps outside the laboratory, he finds a small crowd has gathered to cheer him on as well, including his mother, who is sad to see him leaving. She gives him his bag full of supplies, and starts explaining everything she packed for him. Ash gets embarrassed when she reminds him to change his underwear every day, and pulls his bag away from her, telling her she was embarrassing him. She sees Pikachu, and wonders why it is not in its Poké Ball. Ash tries to get it in, but it hits the ball back every time. Ash's mother says it is cute that Ash and Pikachu are playing catch, and that they must be great friends already. Ash replies that they are buddies, despite Pikachu's behavior. His mother calls it weird, and taking offense at her comment, Pikachu shocks the entire crowd (excluding Professor Oak) with its electricity.
Soon, Ash sets off, trying to get a handle on the rebellious Pokémon by wearing rubber gloves and dragging it with a clothesline leash. After getting tired of dragging it along, he tries to talk to it and find out what is wrong, only to find out that Pikachu cannot say anything but its name. He tries to convince it to get back in its Poké Ball, and pulls out his new Pokédex for information on it. His Pokédex explains that Pokémon must be kept in the Poké Ball. Then Pikachu clicks it and it explains that not all Pokémon like to be kept in Poké Balls. Ash decides to earn Pikachu's trust by treating it nicely, and he unties the clothesline and takes off his rubber gloves. Pikachu turns away.
Then, a Pidgey walks out near them, and Ash scans it with his Pokédex for more information. He is eager to catch it, though Pikachu does not want to help him and instead runs up a tree. Frustrated, Ash decides to catch the Pidgey without Pikachu's help. He throws a Poké Ball at it, but the Pidgey breaks out easily. The Pokédex explains that a Pokémon should be weakened before it can be caught. Pikachu laughs at Ash. Ash tries again, this time attempting to throw his pajama shirt on top of the Pidgey, but the bird blows him off with a Gust and then hits him with a Sand-Attack, before flying away. Pikachu laughs at Ash more. Ash turns and sees that a Rattata is digging through his bag. He scans it with his Pokédex, which mentions that Rattata is a forest Pokémon. Just as Ash questions why it came out into the field, the Pokédex explains that it sometimes leaves its habitat to steal from stupid travelers. Pikachu laughs at Ash even more.
Ash turns and notices a group of Pidgey in the field. He throws a rock at them, which only scares them away. However, he sees another bird Pokémon in the field and throws another rock at it, which hits it in the back of its head. When it turns to look at him, however, he realized that he did not hit a Pidgey; he scans it with his Pokédex and learns that it is a Spearow, which is considerably less friendly than a Pidgey. The Spearow swoops down at Ash several times to attack him, and then spots and targets Pikachu instead. The Pokédex explains that wild Pokémon are sometimes jealous of trained Pokémon. Just as the Spearow is about to knock Pikachu out of the tree, Pikachu shocks it with an Electric attack, and it is knocked out of the sky.
The Spearow, however, cries for help, and Ash and Pikachu start running away from a flock of angry Spearow. Pikachu runs ahead of Ash, and the Spearow fly after it, attacking it until it falls to the ground. The Spearow start swarming around it, but Ash grabs his injured Pikachu and runs straight to a waterfall. He jumps into the river below to escape the Spearow, and is dragged into a large pond, narrowly swimming out of the path of a Gyarados.
On the shore of this pond, a girl is fishing, and is excited to find that she has a bite. However, instead of a Water-type Pokémon, she pulls out Ash and Pikachu. She does not care about Ash, but is very concerned about the injured Pokémon in his arms. She tells him that he needs to take it to the Pokémon Center in Viridian City, and points out the way to go. At that moment, Ash hears the distant cries of Spearow, and turns to see the flock in the sky, flying toward him. He steals the girl's bike, putting the Pikachu in its basket, and rides away, promising that he will bring it back someday. The girl screams at him as he rides away, but he ignores her.
Ash rides quickly towards Viridian City, with storm clouds forming above him and the flock of Spearow in close pursuit. Soon, it starts to rain. Ash rides the bike over a ledge, and it falls on its side, which knocks Ash and Pikachu off. Ash finds himself looking at his injured Pikachu lying on the ground, with the Spearow approaching and the storm growing worse. Desperate to save his Pokémon, he leaves Pikachu's Poké Ball next to it, and then stands before the Spearow, telling them to attack him in order to give Pikachu time to get inside its ball where it would be safe. However, just as the Spearow are about to dive on Ash, Pikachu leaps up and over Ash's shoulder. It jumps at the flock of Spearow. The lightning from the storm is drawn to Pikachu, raising its potential and strength by vast amounts, and it uses a massive electrical attack to take out the entire flock of Spearow, as well as the girl's bike. Pikachu is drained of stamina from the effort.
Once the storm has cleared, Ash and Pikachu both rise from where they were knocked back on the ground, exhausted but victorious. Ash looks up and sees an unknown Pokémon majestically flying through the sky, over the rainbow that had been left after the storm, but his Pokédex is unable to identify the species.
Ash continues on to Viridian City, carrying his new friend Pikachu. Pikachu licks him while in his arms as he walks, knowing that something big is ahead of them; something to fight for.
- Ash and Gary begin their journeys.
- Gary starts with a Squirtle*.
- Ash starts with a Pikachu.
- Ash meets Misty.
- Ash steals Misty's bike, and it is destroyed when Pikachu defeats the Spearow.
- Ash sees a mysterious Pokémon (Ho-Oh**).
- Ash reaches Viridian City.
- * Unknown before The Ties that Bind.
- ** Unknown before Generation II.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Pikachu
The shadowed Trainer. Note the strong physical resemblance to Bruno, as well as the similar style of clothing
The green Poké Ball from the first scene
- The beginning of the episode features sound effects from the original Game Boy games, drawing from the opening animation from Pokémon Red and Green (with a Gengar battling a Nidorino) before moving seamlessly into the battle that Ash himself is watching on TV.
- The shadowed Trainer using Nidorino and Onix to battle greatly resembles Bruno of the Indigo League.
- Ash's introductory shot from this episode is repeated in the first episode of the Best Wishes series as a throwback to this episode.
- Ash has a Voltorb clock, with a cuckoo clock Pidgey in it. Furthermore, he ends up breaking it in his sleep, using it as a Poké Ball, shortly after 4 AM.
- When Ash speaks to Gary, Gary acts as though they have never met, saying "Well, you must be Ash"; however, they have in fact known each other since their early childhood.
- The order in which Ash opens the empty starters' Poké Balls indicates his preferred choices; namely, Squirtle first, Bulbasaur second, and Charmander last.
- Professor Oak knew that at least four new Trainers would be receiving their starter Pokémon and beginning their journey. However, he only ever thought to stock three (a Bulbasaur, a Charmander, and a Squirtle) not counting Pikachu, who was seen as a "last resort." Professor Oak states that if Ash was early, there would be one for him. However, even if Ash was earlier (the third to arrive), the Trainer to arrive fourth would find that Oak is fresh out of Pokémon, except for Pikachu.
- This is the only time when viewers can see Pikachu in its own Poké Ball.
- Every scene of Pikachu shocking people was cut in the South Korean dub, except for the part where Pikachu shocks the whole group of Spearow and the bike.
- This caused confusion in the scene where Ash was dragging Pikachu by the rope with rubber gloves on.
- In this episode, it is revealed that Spearow see in black and white.
- The legendary bird Ash saw at the ending of the episode was Ho-Oh. This makes Ho-Oh the first Generation II Pokémon seen in the series, and in the first episode of the entire series.
- Despite this episode centering around receiving a starter Pokémon, neither Bulbasaur, Charmander, nor Squirtle actually appeared in the flesh until Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village, Charmander – The Stray Pokémon, and Here Comes the Squirtle Squad, respectively. This is unlike the following generations where at least two of the starter Pokémon appeared in the first episode of that generation.
- This is one of the few episodes in which Rachael Lillis provides the voice of Pikachu in a few scenes of the dub. This happened when another Japanese voice actor spoke over Ikue Ohtani's Pikachu voice and the audio could not be used.
- The book I Choose You! is based on this episode.
- This episode can be found on volume 3 of Game Boy Advance Video.
- This episode is featured on the Volume 1: Pikachu copy of Pokémon All-Stars.
- An early frame of the stadium exists.
- As Delia catches the alarm clock Ash threw, her ponytail curls to her left shoulder. When she is seen from behind in the next shot, it is curled to her right shoulder.
- When Professor Oak appears on television to discuss the starter Pokémon, the background colors behind Charmander and Squirtle are reversed (blue behind Charmander and red behind Squirtle). Bulbasaur's background color, green, is correctly shown.
- In this same scene, the starters look significantly different between the shot of the whole television and the close-up of the screen. Charmander, for instance, has a much larger tail flame and more open mouth in the close-up.
- When Ash throws the Poké Balls containing Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle in his dream, both sides of the Balls are red. This was fixed in the scenes when the actual Pokémon were out.
- As Ash is running to Professor Oak to collect his first Pokémon, the top button on his pajamas changes from green to yellow.
- The sneakers that Delia hands Ash are the same ones he is already wearing.
- After Gary tells Ash that he has his Pokémon inside its Poké Ball, the order of Gary's cheerleaders reversed.
- After Ash opens Charmander's Poké Ball in Oak's lab, part of Oak's suit unnaturally pulsates as he speaks.
- As Pikachu's Poké Ball opens with a strobe-like flash of light, the background behind Ash differs greatly between the two frames. The buttons and features of the large machine change position and size. Also, the table and beaker in front of it change position and shape, respectively.
- When Ash opens his Pokédex for the first time, the directional buttons are not present.
- When Pikachu is up in the tree, Ash's coat loses its yellow stripes, but they return later on.
- In the Japanese version, the Pokédex misidentifies Pidgey as the Sky Pokémon instead of the Tiny Bird Pokémon.
- When Ash sees the Spearow flock again after Misty tells him where the nearest Pokémon Center is, his shoes are not colored, making it look like he only has white socks on. Then, when he puts Pikachu on her bike, his shoes are colored normally.
- When Ash places Pikachu's Poké Ball on the ground, his thumb passes right through it when he stands up to face the flock of Spearow.
- When Ash is standing in front of the Spearow trying to protect Pikachu, he says "Spearows," but the plural of a specific species of Pokémon is the same as the singular.
- At the end of the episode, when Ash is carrying Pikachu to the nearest Pokémon Center, his hat is initially pointed forward. In the next two scenes, it is backward. In the last scene, his hat points forward again.
- During the shot of the whole television when Ash moves his head into view, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle have their Japanese names written below their pictures. The names are gone during and after the close-up, however.
- When Ash goes into Professor Oak's lab and looks at the Poké Balls, they are all labeled in Japanese. Later, when Ash picks up a Poké Ball, the labels are painted over. These labels are also partially visible when Pikachu's Poké Ball is revealed.
- In the Japanese version, after Ash said to Misty, "ありがとう," she slapped him. This was cut from the dub (the screen freezes just as Ash answers Misty) due to physical violence. In the next scene, Ash can clearly be seen rubbing his aching face and Misty has her hand in the air.
- In the Japanese version, Misty tells Ash there is a hospital in Viridian City; in the dub, she just says that it is nearby.
Differences between the episode and the comic adaptation
- The opening League Battle was shortened, cutting out the reference to the Game Boy opening scene.
- Ash's attempt at catching Rattata was cut.
- Ash's escape through the river was shortened, only showing the first swimming distance. Gyarados and Ash's attempt to swim away from it were cut.
- In the ending of the episode, after Pikachu licks Ash, Ash was silent, though his gratefulness for finally earning Pikachu's respect is still implied. In the comic, it has Ash either saying or thinking, "Hey, Pikachu really does like me!"
In other languages
|| بوكيمون، لقد اخترتك انت!
| Mandarin Chinese
|| Pokémone, volím si tebe!
|| Pokémon - Jeg vælger dig!
|| Pokémon, ik kies jou!
|| Pokémon! Minä valitsen sinut!
|| Pokémon, c'est toi que je choisis !
|| Le départ
|| Πόκεμον, διαλέγω εσένα!
|| אש בוחר את הפוקימון שלו Ash bocher et haPokémon shelo
|| पोकेमोन, तुम मेरे हो!
|| Téged választalak, Pikachu!
|| L' inizio di una grande avventura
|| 피카츄 너로 정했다!Pikachyu Neoro Jeonghaetta!
|| Pokémon - Jeg velger deg!
|| Pokémon, wybieram cię!
|| Pokémon, Eu Escolho Você!
|| Pokémon, Escolho-te a Ti!
|| Pokémon Te Aleg Pe Tine!
|| Покемон! Я выбираю тебя! Pokémon! Ya vibirayu tebya!
|| Latin America
|| Pokémon, ¡Yo te elijo!
|| Pokémon, te elijo a ti
|| Pokémon, jag väljer dig!
|| โปเกมอน ฉันเลือกนายนี่แหละ
|| Pokémon! Tớ chọn cậu!