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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.
While passing through a forest on their way to the Azalea Gym, Ash and his friends hears a strange noise in the vicinity, and then observe a Gligar jumping from tree to tree before vanishing from sight. 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 come across would like him before he begins calling out to Gligar. Suddenly, the road underneath the trio suddenly collapses and they fall into a large hole. As Ash wonders how it got there, Team Rocket appears and recites their 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 he floats to the top, before leaving the others trapped.
Pikachu is left unable to attack out of fear of electrocuting Ash and his friends as well. Just then, Gligar appears, breaks through the bamboo grate, and saves Togepi. A man dressed like a Gligar then appears next to Gligar on a tree and tells Team Rocket to release Ash and his friends. Confused, they all ask who he 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. Then, Meowth then asks why Gligarman is wearing long underwear, which embarrasses Gligarman even further. As Gligarman defends his choice of clothing, Team Rocket continues to question whether the masked man really is a superhero, though Misty defends him. Pleased by this, Gligarman sends Gligar to dispatch Team Rocket.
Gligar attaches itself to Jessie's face, prompting her to thrash around and hit James and Meowth. James gets Jessie to stand still, but he is then confronted by Gligar's dangerous tail stinger. The intimidated James sends Meowth in to attack it instead. Meowth attacks with Fury Swipes, but Gligar jumps away and Meowth cuts Jessie's face instead, prompting her to retaliate in kind. Gligar attacks again and chases Team Rocket away. Gligarman triumphantly announces his victory over evil and jumps down from the tree, but crash-lands pathetically. 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 evildoers trouble them again, all they have to do is blow on a whistle that he hands to them and he will be by their side. He then calls Gligar and they speed off towards a city in the distance.
The trio stands there bewildered and looks at the whistle. They hear a female voice call out to them, just as a young woman on a bicycle stops and asks if they saw Gligarman around. When they confirm it, the woman says that she hopes he didn't cause to much trouble. Misty tells her that Gligarman actually saved Togepi. The girl is relieved before introducing herself as Latoya. Ash asks why Latoya is so interested in Gligarman and asks if he really is a superhero. Latoya says that he sometimes believes he is one, prompting Ash to ask if she knows Gligarman's true identity. Latoya hastily rides away, saying that she probably already said too much. Ash notes that she is hiding something, then commends Gligarman's ability to handle Gligar.
Later, the trio arrives at a store selling Gligarman merchandise and are told that Gligarman is extremely popular in the city before being ushered inside. There, they find Latoya behind the counter of the shop. Ash tells Latoya that he wants to know more about Gligarman. Then, Latoya's father, Mr. Parker, appears, telling Ash that he knows everything about Gligarman. He shows them an old video of Gligarman and Gligar defeating a giant insectoid monster. Intrigued, Ash asks why the Gligarman in the video looked different from the Gligarman they saw. Mr. Parker responds by telling them the video was made several years ago and quickly hands the three Gligarman merchandise to change the subject. Togepi suddenly develops a liking to Mr. Parker, and Misty says that she thinks he may be Gligarman. He says that Misty's theory is ridiculous and refers to her by name, but 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 now 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, Team Rocket spies on the entire conversation and hatches a plan to unmask Mr. Parker.
Latoya and Mr. Parker take Ash and his friends to the Gligar Mansion, where 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. One day, he decided to become Gligarman because it was more fulfilling than just being a businessman. Mr. Parker says he will never stop being Gligarman because people need someone like him around. The group then steps into Gligarman's extremely high-tech laboratory, where Gligar is relaxing. When Ash remarks that Gligarman has the coolest job ever, Latoya and Mr. Parker offer Ash the job of becoming the new Gligarman, but he turns it down because of his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master. Brock offers to take the Gligarman mantle if he marries Latoya, but she brushes off his remarks as a joke, inadvertently breaking his heart.
Suddenly, an alert sounds in the lab and TV screens show Team Rocket attacking Gligarman's store. Mr. Parker puts on his Gligarman costume and confronts the trio with Ash. There, they find Jessie in a supervillain costume and James and Meowth, dressed in Metapod costumes, tying up the store workers and dressing them as Metapod. Gligar attacks James and attaches itself to his face, but Meowth brings out a Spinarak robot and wraps up Gligarman and Ash in a web. As Meowth hangs them up in the middle of town with civilians everywhere, Jessie announces they will unmask Gligarman in front of everyone. However, the store workers run out and yell that they have faith in Mr. Parker, causing him to realize that they knew his true identity all along. Suddenly, a female dressed like a Gligar appears and introduces herself as Gligirl. She asks for assistance from Gligar, who is reluctant at first, but it then recognizes her as 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 to battle the machine. Pikachu eventually uses Thunderbolt, causing the machine to malfunction before it blows up and sends Team Rocket blasting off. The town celebrates the victory, but Brock is still oblivious to the fact that Gligirl was Latoya.
Later on, Mr. Parker and Latoya say their goodbyes to Ash and his friends before having a small argument over who would be Gligar's owner, just as Brock finally realizes Gligirl's secret identity as Latoya.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Mareep (US and international), Gligar (Japan)
- The character of Gligarman is based on that of Batman.
- The English dub version of his true 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.
- This episode was partially adapted into the book All Fired Up.
- This episode is similar to The Mighty Accelguard to the Rescue!, as both are about Ash and his friends helping a costumed superhero based on a Pokémon.
- 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.
- Latoya calls Ash by name without having heard it.
- When Gligarman is jumping off the tree with Togepi, the marking in the center of Togepi's egg is blue instead of red.
- In the short Gligarman film, when Gligarman is shown kicking the unknown arachnid creature, the background is a city road. However, in the next shot, the arachnid falls from a clifftop in a completely different location.
- In the Polish dub, the female store worker is voiced by a male after being freed from the ropes.
- In the Italian dub, Gligar is erroneously called "Cligar" throughout the episode.
In other languages