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| Steamboat Willies!
|| July 5, 2007
| United States
|| December 1, 2007
|| Team Iguchi
|| 松井亜弥 Aya Matsui
|| 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
| Assistant director
|| 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
| Animation directors
|| 玉川明洋 Akihiro Tamagawa
| 岩根雅明 Masaaki Iwane
| Additional credits
Steamboat Willies! (Japanese: ピカチュウのおるすばん！ Pikachu's Caretaking!) is the 39th episode of the Diamond & Pearl series, and the 505th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on July 5, 2007 and in the United States on December 1, 2007.
On the way to Hearthome City, Ash and his friends spot a sightseeing steamboat and decide to take a ride. But the old man in charge of the boat informs them that it doesn't depart until noon, which leaves our three Trainers with plenty of time to go shop at a nearby Poké Mart. All their Pokémon stay on the boat to have some fun in the meantime, since there are no other passengers yet. The fun starts to get a little messy, however, and on top of that, Pachirisu's clowning around accidentally sets the ship in motion!
Team Rocket is already onboard and in disguise, planning to carry out their latest criminal scheme. Using the power of song and dance, they lure Pikachu and the Pokémon into a trap—except all the Pokémon escape when the ship suddenly changes course! Pachirisu is still up in the boat's cockpit, and it accidentally turned the steering wheel. Pikachu and friends have no problem blasting Team Rocket off and overboard, but now the boat's new course is taking it right toward a giant waterfall!
Ash, Dawn, and Brock return to the boat dock and discover that their Pokémon are in danger. With the help of the old man's Mantine, Ash and Dawn catch up to the runaway boat and jump onboard. Then, with Ash at the wheel and some Pokémon teamwork, the ship is steered away from the waterfall and back to safety. Our heroes apologize to the old man for all the trouble, but he's proud of what they accomplished and wishes them good luck on their adventures.
Ash, Dawn, and Brock stand on a cliff overlooking a large river. They spot a large Wailord-shaped boat docked in a harbor below. They decide to take the ship to Hearthome City, their next destination. An old man, supposed to be watching the ship, naps in a chair on the shore while Ash's group boards the ship. They marvel at a large dining room complete with a bandstand and instruments. Pikachu runs over and plucks a string on a standup bass, making his body vibrate. He runs upstairs to look out over the river. Ash and friends follow and release their Pokémon to enjoy the view.
Pachirisu and Happiny pick up some rings and get stuck inside them, making them fall over. Piplup runs over and points out the rings are used for ring toss, so he throws a ring, which misses; however, Pikachu jumps up and catches the ring, then throws it onto the 100 point pole. Aipom applauds and Buneary fawns over Pikachu.
Meanwhile, Ash and friends yell down to the old man about the ship. He tells them it won't be leaving until noon, so they decide to go to a nearby town to get Pokémon food. They notice that their Pokémon are enjoying their free time aboard the ship: Pikachu and Happiny hand out rings to Buneary, Aipom, and Turtwig; Pachirisu watches Staravia fly overhead; Buizel and Sudowoodo lean against a pole, Sudowoodo covertly eyeing Buizel; and Croagunk sits inside a life ring. The group is reluctant to leave, but the old man tells them he will watch over the Pokémon on the ship.
Ash and Dawn tell Pikachu and Piplup they are in charge. At the old man's acknowledgment of the two as leaders, Pikachu becomes embarrassed, and Piplup is his usual boastful self. The group then leaves, and Pikachu and Piplup run off to play. However, they notice that Pachirisu and Happiny are standing on the edge of the ship, reaching out to the sky to Staravia, longing to fly with it. Just as they jump overboard, Piplup grabs Happiny and Pikachu grabs Pachirisu, but Pachirisu falls too far over the edge, so Piplup grabs onto Pikachu to hold on. Meanwhile, Aipom, Buneary, and Turtwig play ring toss, Buizel and Sudowoodo sit in back-to-back chairs (Sudowoodo still eyeing Buizel), and Croagunk stays in his life ring. Happiny grabs Piplup, who is about to fall overboard, and pulls the three Pokémon back with her extraordinary strength.
Team Rocket hovers overhead in their balloon and notices that the Pokémon have been left unattended. Meowth imagines if they captured the Pokémon for Giovanni, and a several fantasies are spawned: the Pokémon dance around Giovanni, they eat at a long table with him, they ride a slide with him, and they sleep with him in his bed. Fantasy Giovanni praises Meowth by pointing and saying, "Meowth, what a guy!" Team Rocket does their usual cheer, and Wobbuffet and Mime Jr. join them.
On the ship, the Pokémon have migrated to the dining room. Croagunk settles himself in front of a mirror, staring at his own reflection. Sudowoodo bangs on the piano, Pikachu plucks the bass, Buizel plays the saxophone, and Turtwig plays the drums. Piplup, Pachirisu, Buneary, Aipom, and Happiny enter a dressing room filled with costumes, and the latter three, being female, dive into a rack of dresses. Pachirisu looks up on a shelf and sees some balloons, and it imagines itself floating along with Staravia. It rushes up a ladder while Piplup sees a magic set and top hat. Pachirisu ties the balloons around its waist and flies off, but the balloons can't totally support its weight and it floats just inches above the floor past Piplup, who is wearing the top hat and is playing with the magic kit. Pachirisu floats out of the room. Croagunk is still in front of the mirror.
Meanwhile, Ash and friends peruse the aisles of the store. Ash turns around to talk to Dawn, but she surprises him by holding a Piplup mask in front of her face. She sees some seals and admires them before running off to get some shampoo. She imagines Piplup rinsing her hair with Bubble Beam, making Ash sigh. Brock notices several young women in the store and dashes over to them. He starts to hesitate, then remembers that Croagunk, his usual foil, is not there, so he continues to openly admire them.
Back on the ship, Pikachu, Buizel, Sudowoodo, and Turtwig play in unison, but the music is not very melodic and causes Staravia to cover his ears in agony. In the dressing room, Buneary, Aipom, and Happiny have put on dresses. Buneary and Aipom twirl and bow and curtsy, and Happiny has her dress on wrong, so Buneary and Aipom fix it for her. Piplup continues playing with the magic kit, and Pachirisu floats into the kitchen, knocking down pots and pans. Pikachu hears this noise, and he runs into the kitchen just in time to see Pachirisu knock over a set of dishes. Pikachu dashes and catches the dishes before they hit the floor. Croagunk is still in front of the mirror, and Pachirisu leaves the kitchen for the control room. The balloons pop when they hit the windshield, and Pachirisu, surprised, lets out an electric shock. The jolt starts the ship, and Pachirisu is too exhausted to notice. The rumble of the ship starting up causes dishes to crash on top of Pikachu, breaking on the floor and burying him. The ship leaves the harbor, and the old man is still asleep on shore, not noticing what is happening.
Pikachu emerges from the dishes only to hear voices chanting in the dining room. The Pokémon, sans Croagunk and Pachirisu, are gathered around Team Rocket. Jessie is wearing a disguise, James is dressed as Plusle, and Meowth is dressed as Minun. The three chant a variation of their motto, and the Pokémon dance along with them after being invited to do so. James leads the Pokémon into a small doorway that reads "Welcome," and a door shuts behind them. James waves the key and Jessie and Meowth comment, not noticing Croagunk still at the mirror.
Pachirisu, still in the control room, wakes up and falls on the steering wheel, making it turn several rotations. The ship makes a hard turn, and the key falls out of James's hands and bounces across the floor. Team Rocket chases after it, and Meowth picks it up, but they turn around to see the Pokémon have escaped from behind the door and are angry. Aipom uses Swift, Buizel uses SonicBoom, Piplup uses Bubble Beam, and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to send Team Rocket flying off the ship. As they blast off, Wobbuffet appears again, and Mime Jr. imitates the chant from earlier.
The Pokémon on the ship look up through the hole created by Team Rocket and see the ship is moving quickly, so they run on deck. Back on land, the old man wakes up and sees the ship chugging away. Ash and friends return, and they ask if they can use one of the other boats nearby to chase the ship. The man says they aren't fast enough, so he sends out his Mantine, and Ash and Dawn jump on its back and rush after the ship, which is approaching a massive waterfall. The Pokémon on deck are frightened and appear helpless. Pikachu and Piplup nod at each other and attempt to organize the Pokémon. Pachirisu and Happiny get on Staravia's back, and Buneary, Piplup, Aipom, Turtwig, Buizel, and Sudowoodo jump up on the ship's ledge to attempt to stop the impact with attacks. Croagunk is still in front of the mirror, so Pikachu drags him away to help. Ash and Dawn appear alongside the ship, and the Pokémon rush over to meet them.
Ash tells Mantine to jump over the ship, and he and Dawn jump on deck as it does. Dawn admires Aipom and Buneary's dresses, and Ash runs to grab the steering wheel. Dawn tells Piplup to use Whirlpool, which, in conjunction with Ash's turning, causes the ship to turn around. The whirlpool, however, begins to drag the ship back, so Buneary uses Ice Beam to seal it. Ahead is a rock pillar, and Pikachu, Turtwig, and Buizel attack it to break it up. A chunk of rock flies toward the ship, but Mantine crashes through it at the last second, breaking it into pieces that fall into the water. Ash collapses on the wheel in relief as the Pokémon cheer.
Back at the harbor, the old man apologizes, but the group doesn't make a big deal over it because everything turned out okay. In turn, they thank him for the use of his Mantine. The man praises Pikachu and Piplup and wishes them luck. He tells the group the ship is about to set sail for Hearthome, so they board and he waves as they sail away.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Brock's Happiny is added to the opening and ending animations.
- Summer Vacation Fan Club and music from Lucario and the Mystery of Mew were used as background music.
- The dub confirms Ash's Aipom and Dawn's Buneary as female. Brock's Happiny, which also wears a dress in this episode, can only be female due to its species.
- No Professor Oak's Big Pokémon Encyclopedia or preview for the next episode was aired. Instead, a preview for the July 12, 2007 showing of the ninth and tenth movies was aired.
- On a similar note, this was the last episode to air before The Rise of Darkrai debuted in Japanese theaters.
- The dub title of this episode is a play on the first widely-shown Mickey Mouse cartoon Steamboat Willie.
- In this episode, Team Rocket sings a song containing some of the words of their motto.
- Dawn's Pachirisu flying around the ship using balloons may be a reference to Red's Pikachu from Pokémon Yellow and/or Chuchu from the Pokémon Adventures manga, who were able to use the move Fly (despite being Pikachu and normally unable to learn the move) through the aid of balloons.
- James and Meowth break the fourth wall during their blastoff. Jessie says, "I don't care what those Pokémon party poopers thought, I liked our song." James refers to the viewers when he replies, "Bet the kids did." Meowth then shook his hand and said, "Fat chance."
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