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EP010 : Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village
Original series
EP012 : Here Comes the Squirtle Squad
Charmander – The Stray Pokémon
Stray Pokémon - Hitokage
First broadcast
Japan June 10, 1997
United States September 22, 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 武上純希 Junki Takegami
Storyboard 井硲清高 Kiyotaka Isako
Assistant director 井硲清高 Kiyotaka Isako
Animation director 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
Additional credits

Charmander – The Stray Pokémon (Japanese: はぐれポケモン・ヒトカゲ Stray Pokémon - Hitokage) is the 11th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on June 10, 1997 and in the United States on September 22, 1998.

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


Ash and his friends seem to have lost their way en route to Vermilion City, making Misty very frustrated. The group stops to consult a map that Brock has unfolded, and Ash determines that -- while they are currently in the middle of nowhere -- the trail they are following intersects Route 24, which in turn leads straight to Vermilion City. Brock, satisfied with how they must proceed, puts the map away. But as they move to leave a large shadow suddenly falls across their path, causing them to look up in alarm.

With the sunlight shining directly into their eyes, the source of the shadow manifests itself as the impossibly large silhouette of a Pokémon. Ash quickly orders Pikachu to get ready, but it has other ideas and takes cover behind the group. Just as he begins to rebuke his Pokémon the sunlight's intensity dims, revealing a Charmander sitting upon a rock as having cast the shadow.

After checking Dexter, Ash is happy that he finally got a chance to catch a Charmander. Brock points out how weak its tail flame is, and that it probably needs help. Ash throws a Poké Ball at it, but the Charmander whacks it back with its tail. Ash asks if Pikachu should weaken it first, but Misty suggests she try, because her Template:Type2 Pokémon would help. Brock still doesn't think it is that strong because of its small flame, and suggests that Ash try again.

Ash throws the Poké Ball again, and this time it pulls the Charmander in. However, it breaks out quickly, which causes the Poké Ball to conk off Ash's head. They are surprised by how much spunk the Charmander is showing. "A little too much, if you ask me," was Ash's comment.

Pikachu climbs up onto the rock and talks to the Charmander. It then comes back down and puts on a charades display. Ash eventually figures out that what Pikachu is saying is that Charmander is waiting on the rock for someone else to come pick him up. Brock decides that if it belonged to someone else, it is best to leave it. Ash and friends leave.

Farther down the trail, Ash and friends discover the Pokémon Center that is on the map. Ash declares that Route 24 can't be far now. And they couldn't have found it at a better time, as it soon starts to rain, forcing Ash and friends to quickly race down to the Pokémon center.

A brief scene showes the Charmander still on the rock, vainly trying to protect its tail flame from the rain with a leaf (it'll die if its flame goes out). Back at the Pokémon Center, Misty is serving up some soup, but Brock is still worried about the Charmander. Ash points out that there's no way the Charmander would have waited around that long. Brock agrees, stating that the trainer surely would have gotten it by now.

However, they hear laughter nearby, and look over to see a trainer named Damian surrounded by a group of hanger-ons. They are awing over his Pokémon collection, which is pretty sizable, when one of them asks if he has a Charmander too. Damian reveals he did, but since it was so weak, he left it on a rock out in the middle of the woods promising to return for it, which he had and still has no intention of doing.

Ash and his friends realize that it must have been his Charmander they saw and that based on Damian's description of Charmander's loyalty to him, it must still be waiting on the rock. This pushes the normally calm Brock over the edge, and he stands up and makes his way over to Damian. While they continue to laugh about how the Charmander was probably still waiting, Brock confronts Damian, telling him to go get the Charmander.

Damien pushes him off, but Ash and Misty soon arrive to back up Brock. The argument almost escalates to a Pokémon battle, but Nurse Joy breaks it up, saying Pokémon should never be used in personal battles. Damian and his crew leave, and Joy warns Ash, Misty and Brock about their bad reputation. Brock spaces out in his usual fashion, but Ash and Misty snap him out of it by reminding him about the Charmander.

The three race back through the pouring rain towards the rock where the Charmander is, only to find it has worse problems than the weather. A gang of Spearow attack it, and Ash tries to drive them off by throwing a rock at the Spearow, but this only makes the Spearow attack them. Ash orders a ThunderShock from Pikachu, and it obeys, scaring off the Spearow. Unfortunately, its ThunderShock also inadvertently zaps Ash, Misty, and Brock too.

They quickly wrap Charmander up in their rain coats, Ash volunteers to make sure its tail flame stays lit. They race their way back to the Pokémon Center, and ask Nurse Joy to help.

Nurse Joy is angry at Ash and Co., wondering how they could let the Charmander get into such bad shape. But Ash explains that it was Damian that left the Charmander out there, taking advantage of Charmander's loyalty. Brock pleads with Nurse Joy to save the Charmander, and she promises to do whatever she can.

From there, there is nothing they can do but wait. A montage of scenes show the three waiting, while Brock silently pleads for Charmander to hang on. Nurse Joy soon comes out, though, and reported success. The Charmander has pulled through, and it would be fine by morning.

When morning comes, Ash and Misty are asleep on couches in the lobby, Pikachu asleep below. Ash rolls over, causing his blanket to drop onto Pikachu. Suddenly, Brock shouts, causing Ash to crash off the couch. It turns out Charmander has disappeared from the ER.

Ash is certain that the Charmander simply went back to the rock. Brock wants to go after it again, but Misty points out that it was no use. Even if Damian was a jerk, the Charmander is still loyal to him, and nothing would change that. They couldn't just force Charmander to go with them if it didn't want to.

A scene shows Charmander on its way back, stopping long enough to look back at the Pokémon Center. Ash and friends were soon on their way as well, Brock still disappointed. Ash pointed out that Charmander knew they cared about it, but it couldn't forget about Damian. Misty then slaps Brock, saying that Route 24 was just ahead, and there would be plenty of Pokémon once they get to Vermilion City.

Up ahead, Team Rocket is grouped around their newest mecha. They go into a dancing version of their motto, but Meowth cuts in early. They declare they now had a foolproof plan to capture Pikachu, and they start up their "automatic super-duper high-speed whatchamacallit," which turns out to be an over glorified hole driller.

Meowth flips, saying they tried this already, but James assures Meowth that this time, they'll remember where the hole was. They go to work covering the hole, and when Meowth asks if they were sure, Jessie said "Don't you think we're smarter than that?" to which Meowth replies with a face fault. Suddenly, he sees Ash and Co. coming, and alerts the others. They quickly hide, and Jessie orders the mecha to hide itself as well.

Pikachu comes up to the hole and walks right over it. It seems that Pikachu was too light to trigger the pitfall. Jessie and James argues over who blew it this time, until Meowth shuts them up with scratches to the face. Ash, Brock, and Misty, being a lot heavier, end up triggering the pitfall and fall into the hole.

Team Rocket then appear, laughing at the fact that their trap worked. Pikachu tries to shock them, but they are dressed in rubber uniforms that don't conduct electricity. Pikachu tries to make a break for it, but they fire the Anti-Pikachu Rubber Balloon Bazooka, which eventually catches Pikachu and traps it inside.

Ash realizes that Pikachu is in trouble. So he quickly tries to climb out of the pit, but fails. He tries to get Misty and Brock to get him up, but he is standing on them. Team Rocket gloats for a while, then turn to leave, but then Charmander steps in their way.

Charmander, as translated by Meowth, orders them to give Pikachu back to Ash and the others. Team Rocket naturally refuse, and warn the Charmander to beat it or else. The Charmander responds by closing its eyes, focusing hard, and it then unleashes a massive Flamethrower that roasts Team Rocket.

They drop the Pikachu balloon and run like crazy, and James screams, "Didn't I tell you we needed fireproof uniforms?!" Jessie tells him to keep running. "Some geniuses", says a despondent Meowth. Team Rocket are "blasting off again" by running off, much to Damian's surprise that Charmander beat them.

Ash, Misty, and Brock, having gotten out of the pit, thank Charmander for its help, and Ash asks Charmander if it wants to come along with them. However, Damian shows up, saying he came back for Charmander, "just as he promised". Ash is angry, saying he was just bragging about how he abandoned Charmander, but Damian laughs, saying it toughened him up. He later says "Besides, what's wrong with dumping off a weak Pokémon?"

Charmander seems to be taking exception to most of these statements, but Damian goes on about not even having to make Charmander tough himself. Brock angrily replies that raising a Pokémon is the best part of being a trainer, but Damian calls it the most boring part. Finally, Damian, having had enough talk, flings a Poké Ball at Charmander. The Charmander, realizing that Damian neither cares nor respects it, whacks the ball right back into Damian's face.

Damian is now furious, and attempts to crush Charmander with every Pokémon he has, but Charmander used Flamethrower on him. Pikachu added injury to injury by adding a ThunderShock of its own. The utterly scorched and fried Damian runs off crying, and the others cheer Charmander for its choice.

Brock tells Ash to go ahead and catch Charmander. Ash protests at first, but Brock convinces him that Ash will raise Charmander to be a great Pokémon. Ash accepts Brock's decision, and takes his opportunity throws a Poké Ball, which Charmander dives into for an easy catch. With a new Pokémon, and a new friend, Ash and friends continue on their way to Vermilion City.

Major events

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





Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Charmander


  • This is the second episode in a three-episode arc in which Ash obtains each of Kanto's starter Pokémon.
  • It is revealed in this episode that using a battle to settle a personal argument is frowned upon, and that Pokémon battles are not supposed to occur in Pokémon Centers. Ironically, Generation IV's Platinum Version introduces the concept of battling trainers in Pokémon Centers.
  • This is the first episode that credits Izumi Shimura as an animation director.
  • Damian is shown to be carrying around twenty Poké Balls, all allegedly containing Pokémon; however, it is later established that a trainer can only carry six Pokémon at a time in their party, just like in the games. This may be because he wasn't shown to have a Pokédex; therefore, he is not forced to use the storage system.
  • This episode is featured on the Volume 9: Charmander copy of Pokémon All-Stars.
  • This is the first episode mentioning that Pokemon could die.


The missing "Zs"
  • In the English dub Ash says that Route 24 leads straight to Vermilion City. In the games, Route 24 is just north of Cerulean City, which the gang left from four episodes (and, according to Misty, ten days) prior. The quickest way to get to Vermilion in the games is through the underground path on Route 5--just south of Cerulean. This probably shouldn't be written off as a character flaw, either, given that the gang meets Bill two episodes later (presumably on Route 25), and this actually does get them to Vermilion, which they reach the following episode.
  • When Ash and his friends rush up to the rock to get a closer look at the shady Pokémon, the "Zs" underneath Ash's eyes disappear.
  • Charmander's eye shape changes to resemble that of a Charizard whenever zoomed in upon.
  • After Nurse Joy stops running, two extra footsteps are heard.
  • When Pikachu is running from Team Rocket's ballon, his feet have pads.

Dub edits

In other languages

EP010 : Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village
Original series
EP012 : Here Comes the Squirtle Squad
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.