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EP003 : Ash Catches a Pokémon
Original series
EP005 : Showdown in Pewter City
Challenge of the Samurai
Challenge of the Samurai Boy!
First broadcast
Japan April 22, 1997
United States September 11, 1998
English themes
Opening Pokémon Theme
Japanese themes
Opening めざせポケモンマスター
Ending ひゃくごじゅういち
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
Storyboard 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
Assistant director 大原実 Minoru Ōhara
Animation director 平岡正幸 Masayuki Hiraoka
Additional credits

Challenge of the Samurai (Japanese: サムライしょうねんのちょうせん! Challenge of the Samurai Boy) is the fourth episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 22, 1997 and in USA on September 11, 1998.

201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201


As Ash, Misty and Pikachu continue on their way through Viridian Forest, a shrill scream disrupts the calm of the trees. Ash turns around, realizing that the sound came from his female companion. She is hiding in a tree because she has seen a bug, to which Ash makes a pun. Then he spots the bug, a Weedle, and decides to catch it. He tries to use Pikachu against it, but it is more interested in sleeping than battling, so he sends out his Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto manages to defeat Weedle, but, just when Ash is about to toss a Poké Ball to capture it, a boy dressed as a samurai arrives on the scene. The samurai asks Ash if he is from Pallet Town, and when Ash replies that, yes, he is from Pallet Town, the samurai challenges Ash to a Pokémon battle. The wild Weedle escapes and the samurai rebukes Ash for allowing it to escape, but Ash insists that it is the samurai's fault that the Weedle escaped. The two then begin their Pokémon battle.

Ash uses his Pidgeotto and the samurai battles with his Pinsir. The two battle for some time, but Pinsir finally manages to defeat Pidgeotto. Ash then sends out his Metapod. Metapod breaks Pinsir's pincers with Harden and wins the round. The samurai then sends out his own Metapod! The two Metapod continue to harden themselves, leaving Misty and Pikachu to wonder whether the match will ever finish. Suddenly, a swarm of angry Beedrill arrives, and one Beedrill lifts Ash's Metapod away. The samurai takes Ash, Misty and their Pokémon to a safe place.

In the samurai's hiding place, the samurai furiously rebukes Ash for putting his Metapod in danger. Ash keeps quiet, and promises himself that he will find Metapod the next day and look after it better from then on. During the night, he is unable to sleep and can only think about his Metapod.

Early the next morning, Ash begins his search for Metapod. He sees it lying at the base of a tree, surrounded by many Kakuna, and attempts to sneak forward through the grass towards it without alerting the Beedrill swarm. However, he is interrupted by Meowth, who jumps on the back of his head. A moment later, Jessie and James appear on a cliff overhead, and launch loudly into their motto, ignoring Ash's warnings that they will alert the Beedrill.

Sure enough, the sound awakens the Kakuna, which evolve into Beedrill and prepare to dive-bomb Ash and Team Rocket. Ash runs forward below their attacks, reaching the tree where Metapod is waiting. Jessie and James attempt to take cover from the Beedrill beneath a large protective tank they have been carrying, but, as it is made of cardboard, a group of Weedle are easily able to chew through it.

Ash attempts to recall Metapod to its Poké Ball, but it rolls away from his arms. Seeing a look of sorrow in Metapod's eyes, Ash realizes that he has lost Metapod's trust. Ash attempts to explain what happened, saying that losing Metapod was all Samurai's fault. However, Ash suddenly realizes that he is lying to himself and to Metapod, and admits that losing Metapod was his fault and his alone. Ash is upset upon realizing that it was his carelessness that put his Pokémon's life in danger, and, amid tearful apologies to Metapod, he sincerely promises to take better care of it. Its faith in its Trainer restored, Metapod saves Ash by leaping into the path of an attacking Beedrill, but in the process its shell is torn by the Beedrill's needle-like arm. Ash picks up his Metapod and cradles it in his arms, thinking it has been badly injured, but it instead begins to glow; the hole in its shell has triggered Metapod's evolution into Butterfree. Ash gazes happily at his first fully-evolved Pokémon, and even Misty doesn't feel her normal fear of bugs, going so far as to call Ash's Butterfree beautiful.

Ash and the others are then once again attacked by the swarm of Beedrill, but, this time, Ash is prepared for them. He orders his newly-evolved Butterfree to use Sleep Powder, which puts the bee-like Pokémon to sleep and allows the group to escape. Samurai applauds Ash for being able to control his Butterfree well so soon after its evolution. Samurai also tells Ash that he takes back the statements he made about Ash being a novice, and that, compared to Ash, Samurai is the novice.

Ash and Samurai part as friends, promising to battle again someday. Ash, Pikachu and Misty then go on and finally reach the end of Viridian Forest. Ash runs at full speed towards Pewter City to earn his first Gym Badge, with Misty following close behind. Team Rocket, meanwhile, are left wrapped up like Kakuna among a hive of angry Beedrill.

Major events

For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.


Pokémon debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Metapod

*Unknown before The Ties that Bind.


Kakuna's original evolution method
Metapod's original evolution method
  • This is the first episode not to have the word "Pokémon" in its name.
  • This is the first time the lines "Prepare for trouble! / And make it double!" are included in Team Rocket's motto.
  • In this episode, Metapod and Kakuna's evolution processes are depicted as their shells cracking and their evolved forms emerging, leaving behind an empty carapace, similar to real life insects' emergence from pupation. In later episodes, however, Metapod and Kakuna are shown to evolve like any other Pokémon.
  • Ash tries and fails to capture a Weedle; however, he would later succeed in capturing its final form only to give it away shortly thereafter.
    • In that episode Ash once again tries and fails to capture a Weedle.
  • This episode features the first anime move error, as Pinsir cannot legally learn Tackle in the games.
  • During the Metapod vs. Metapod battle, each side uses Harden in a futile attempt to defeat the other. However, Ash's Metapod should technically know Tackle as well, since it evolved from a Caterpie. It does, in fact, appear to use this move later to protect Ash from a Beedrill's Twineedle attack.
  • When Ash, Misty and Samurai are settled down for the night and Ash is shown to be awake and worrying about Metapod, "Satoshi", Ash's Japanese name, is seen to be written on his sleeping bag.
  • This episode was banned in South Korea due to a cultural problem.


Ash's eyes
  • In one scene, when Ash is arguing with Samurai, his gloves disappear.
  • As mentioned above, Samurai's Pinsir uses Tackle in this episode, a move it is normally incapable of learning.
  • Misty refers to Ash's and Samurai's Metapod as "Metapods".
    • In the scene with the Kakuna hive, Samurai incorrectly refers to the plural of Kakuna as "Kakunas." The Pokédex also makes this mistake.
    • Misty and Ash also incorrectly refer to the plural of "Beedrill" in this manner.
  • The hole a Beedrill makes in the door of the cabin disappears in the next shot.
  • When Ash sets out the next morning to look for Metapod, Meowth kicks Ash in the head and scratches him. After he starts crying, Jessie and James are shown on top of the cliff above him. Ash runs off after they finish reciting their motto, during which time Meowth is still next to him. However, when the camera cuts to Jessie and James jumping off the cliff and running after him, Meowth is shown jumping off with them.
  • In one scene, Ash's eyes are red in color.
  • In the end when Misty said "Next time don't do Metapod Versus Metapod." It is an error as Ash's Metapod evolved into Butterfree.


Dub edits

  • Ash getting in a cow costume and suggesting that a bug is a "cowterpie" makes more sense in the Japanese version, being an untranslatable pun: Misty says "Mushi! Mushi! Mushi! ...Mushi!" which means "Bug! Bug! Bug! ...Bug!". Ash then says "Ushi?", meaning "Cow?".
  • The word "Mika" on Jessie's Kakuna disguise is painted out in the dub.

Differences between the episode and the comic adaptation

  • The scene where Misty first encounters Samurai is cut, leaving Samurai's first appearance to be when he encounters Ash.
  • During the scene where the Metapod are hardening during their battle, only the picture of Pikachu sunbathing is retained, whereas the episode shows both Misty and Pikachu sunbathing.
  • The panel where Misty scolds Samurai and Ash for being "more hardheaded than their Metapods" reuses the panel where Jessie and James knock Meowth off their Beedrill-protection device.
  • Meowth scratching Ash (as well as Ash's reaction) is cut from the comic.
  • The final scene where Jessie and James end up wearing Kakuna disguises in the comic cuts out the part where they end up being stung as a result of the Kakuna deducing their real identities.

In other languages

EP003 : Ash Catches a Pokémon
Original series
EP005 : Showdown in Pewter City
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.