From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Jump to navigationJump to search
This article is about the first episode. For other uses, see I Choose You!.
Original series
EP002 : Pokémon Emergency!
Pokémon - I Choose You!
Pokémon! I Choose You!
First broadcast
Japan April 1, 1997
United States September 8, 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 首藤剛志 Takeshi Shudō
Storyboard 湯山邦彦 Kunihiko Yuyama
Assistant director 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
Animation directors 酒井啓史 Keishi Sakai
一石小百合 Sayuri Ichiishi
Additional credits

Pokémon - I Choose You! (Japanese: ポケモン!きみにきめた! Pokémon! I Choose You!) is the 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.

A second remastered version was first screened during Team Rocket's Emergency Meeting event held in Tokyo, on July 13, 2017. It was then aired on television on July 23, 2017, as the first episode of Pocket Monsters Premier 10, to celebrate the anime's twentieth anniversary. This version includes a remastered opening, ending, and eyecatch sequences.

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


Meet Ash Ketchum, a 10-year-old boy full of imagination, confidence, and dreams that are almost too big for his village of Pallet Town—plus the desire to become a Pokémon Master!

Ash is finally old enough to receive his first Pokémon from Professor Oak, the town's Pokémon expert-but on the morning Ash is supposed to claim it, he oversleeps! By the time he arrives at Professor Oak's, the three Pokémon he wanted have already been chosen by the other Trainers-in-training, including his rival, Gary! The only Pokémon remaining is a strong-willed Pikachu.

Trainer and Pokémon don't get along right away. Not only does Pikachu refuse to enter its Poké Ball, it would rather climb a tree than battle a Pidgey that Ash encounters! Disagreements aside, they start to bond when they find themselves chased by an angry flock of Spearow. The Spearow wound Pikachu, but Ash risks his own safety to protect his Pokémon.

To further their escape, Ash "borrows" a bike owned by a young girl named Misty. He soon wrecks the bike; however, he and Pikachu are surrounded by the Spearow. When Ash fearlessly confronts the Spearow, Pikachu is inspired to summon its remaining energy to repel the Pokémon with a powerful electric shock.

Finally out of harm's way, the wild experience makes Ash and Pikachu realize that they've begun what promises to be a blooming friendship.


Nidorino fighting Gengar

In a massive stadium, two creatures known as Pokémon are having a battle, directed by their Trainers to give it their all. One of the Pokémon, a Gengar, dodges a Horn Attack from its opponent, a Nidorino, and uses its Hypnosis attack on it, causing it to fall asleep. Nidorino's Trainer recalls it and sends out another Pokémon known as Onix to battle. The massive Rock Snake Pokémon emerges from its Poké Ball and prepares to take on Gengar, at which point it is revealed that the battle is being displayed on television. Its viewer is a boy named Ash Ketchum who lives in a small settlement called Pallet Town and has just turned ten years old, which allows him to receive his Pokémon license, pick a first partner Pokémon, and become a Pokémon Trainer. Ash declares to himself and the Pokémon of the world that he will become a Pokémon Master. His dramatic speech, however, is interrupted by his mom who tells him to get to bed as he has a big day tomorrow. Ash protests that he's too excited to sleep, so his mom tells him that if he won't sleep then to at least get ready for the next day as she switches on a program hosted by the town's Pokémon expert, Professor Oak. Ash watches as Oak explains that new Trainers get to pick one of three Pokémon to start their journey: the Grass-type Bulbasaur, the Fire-type Charmander, or the Water-type Squirtle.

As Ash sleeps, he goes over the choices in his head reasoning that any of the three available Pokémon are good for starting Trainers. However, his Voltorb alarm clock rolls into his hand as he sleeps and, dreaming that he's throwing a Poké Ball, he chucks it at the wall, smashing it. When Ash finally wakes up, he sees the sun high in the sky and realizes that he overslept. Ash runs to Professor Oak's Laboratory in such a hurry that he doesn't change out of his pajamas, and at this point doesn't care which first partner Pokémon he gets as long as he gets any. He arrives at the lab just in time to see one of his new fellow Trainers (and Professor Oak's grandson), Gary, leaving. Unfortunately for Ash, Gary is very overconfident and brags that he was on time and already has his first Pokémon, although he refuses to reveal which one he received. Gary's large crowd, which includes a group of cheerleaders, cheers for him, and Gary promises that he'll become a Pokémon Master and put Pallet Town on the map before leaving. As the crowd follows, Ash is left by himself, but not for long as Professor Oak approaches. Ash apologizes for being late and hardly being dressed for the occasion, but tells Professor Oak that he's ready to pick his first Pokémon.

Ash discovering all three Pokémon are gone

Taken into the lab, Ash sees three Poké Balls sitting on a pedestal and states that after thinking about it he's decided to choose Squirtle as his first partner Pokémon, however the Poké Ball is empty. Oak explains that Squirtle has already been claimed by a Trainer that was on time. Ash doesn't mind as he decides to instead go with Bulbasaur, who has also been taken already. Ash is still happy to go with Charmander but, alas, that Pokémon is gone too with someone who wasn't late. Ash asks if this means that there are no Pokémon left for him, and Oak tells him this isn't exactly true as he does have another Pokémon but it is very unusual. At this point, Ash is willing to settle for anything and tells Oak that he'll take whatever it is. A fourth Poké Ball emerges onto the pedestal and Ash picks it up, upon which point it opens and from it emerges a small yellow mouse-like Pokémon. Oak explains that the Pokémon is named Pikachu, and Ash is very impressed by its cuteness, deciding that Pikachu is better than any of the other first partner Pokémon. He picks up Pikachu and hugs it, but Pikachu doesn't like being hugged and gives Ash a massive electric shock as Oak explains that Pikachu is an Electric type, and has a shocking personality to match. Oak gives Ash some Poké Balls and a Pokédex, at which point Pikachu shocks them both.

Heading outside, Ash finds his mom and a small group of supporters outside ready to wish him luck as he heads out on his Pokémon journey. Ash's mom gets weepy at the thought of her son finally leaving to start his life as a Trainer, before starting to list the numerous supplies that she has packed for him before he goes. She notices Pikachu and asks why he isn't inside his Poké Ball like other Pokémon. Ash realizes that she's right and tells Pikachu to go inside, but Pikachu refuses, repeatedly swatting the ball away. Ash's mom simply assumes that the two are playing catch, but admits that she finds Pikachu "weird". Pikachu doesn't take kindly to this comment and shocks everyone in the area, except Professor Oak, who remarks that the rubber gloves that were packed will come in handy since rubber doesn't conduct electricity.

Pidgey dashing the hopes of Ash's first Pokémon catch with Gust

Ash and Pikachu begin their long journey, walking beyond the outskirts of Pallet Town. Or rather, Ash, wearing the rubber gloves, is walking while Pikachu, who is tied to a clothesline like a leash, has to be dragged along behind him. Ash tries talking to Pikachu, but all he learns is that the Pokémon can only say its name and doesn't like him at all. Trying to persuade Pikachu to go inside his Poké Ball, Ash consults his Pokédex but it confirms that while many Pokémon travel in Poké Balls some don't like being confined. Deciding to make life easier for Pikachu, Ash removes the leash and rubber gloves but Pikachu still isn't impressed. Just then the two hear footsteps behind them and find that they are close to a Pidgey. Ash looks up Pidgey in the Pokédex and finds that the small bird is a Flying-type Pokémon which is gentle, easy to catch, and a good choice for a beginning Trainer. Ash is happy at the chance to test Pikachu's skills and tries to send him to battle, but Pikachu refuses and instead decides to climb a tree and watch. Ash, angry at Pikachu's continuing disobedience, decides to do it himself and throws a Poké Ball at Pidgey. The ball connects and Pidgey is drawn inside, leading Ash to think that he's captured it. However, the Poké Ball shakes for a few seconds before Pidgey escapes, and the Pokédex explains that when catching a Pokémon you normally have your own Pokémon battle to weaken the target first. Pikachu finds Ash's ineptitude hilarious while Ash gets more worked up, determined to show Pikachu what he can do. He decides to try sneaking up on Pidgey with his pajama shirt, but when he covers it the Pokémon unleashes its Gust and Sand Attack in response. Ash is sent crashing to the ground and Pidgey flies away. As Ash bemoans his bad luck, he quickly notices another Pokémon rifling through his bag. He chases it away as the Pokédex identifies it as Rattata, a Normal type that lives in the forest. When Ash states that they're not in a forest, the Pokédex goes on to explain that occasionally Rattata will emerge to steal food from stupid travelers.

As Pikachu laughs further, Ash notices some more Pidgey nearby and throws a stone at them in frustration. Just then he spots what he thinks is a lone Pidgey nearby and is determined to finally catch one. He throws another stone and it makes a direct hit, but it turns out not to be a Pidgey, but instead a much angrier-looking bird Pokémon. Ash scans it with his Pokédex and it identifies the bird as Spearow which, unlike Pidgey, has a bad attitude and a violent temperament, being known for attacking people and Pokémon without warning. Ash sees Spearow flying directly at him, but Spearow spots Pikachu in a tree as it passes and decides to attack him instead. The Pokédex explains that wild Pokémon are sometimes jealous of those with Trainers. As Ash tries to get Spearow to focus on him again instead, Spearow nearly knocks Pikachu out of the tree, at which point the Electric Mouse unleashes electricity at his attacker which sends Spearow falling to the ground.

Ash and Pikachu running for their lives

Spearow is down, but not out, and it lets out a loud cry. In the distance, Ash and Pikachu spot a large flock of Spearow emerging from a tree and heading straight towards them. The two decide to make a run for it, and quickly try to get away as the furious flock gives chase. Ash promises to protect Pikachu, but Pikachu runs on ahead of Ash, making himself an easy target for Spearow who don't hesitate to attack him en masse. By the time Ash catches up, Pikachu is very weak and can no longer run, so Ash picks him up and carries him away. The two come to a fast flowing river and Ash, needing to get away from the angry Spearow quickly, jumps in and allows himself and Pikachu to be swept away, during which he very nearly becomes lunch for a Gyarados.

Further down the river, where there's no current, a young girl is leisurely fishing when the lure starts to react. The girl quickly grabs her rod to reel in what she thinks will be a big one, but instead yanks out Ash and Pikachu. She is disappointed, but then notices Pikachu and angrily tells Ash that he should never let his Pokémon get into such a bad condition. She tells him that Pikachu needs to get treatment right away, explaining that there is a Pokémon Center (a medical center that specializes in healing Pokémon) nearby. As she points out the direction that Ash needs to go, he notices the flock of Spearow has caught up to them. Ash decides to make a getaway on the girl's bike, putting Pikachu in the basket, despite her protests, promising that he'll eventually give it back, much to her anger.

Ash defending Pikachu from the Spearow

As Ash rides for dear life, a thunderstorm starts. With rain falling and the Spearow flock still on his tail, Ash rides as fast as he can. However, the Spearow catch up and start to attack him, and this, coupled with the dangerous conditions, eventually causes Ash to fly off a small bank, crashing to the ground. Lying in the mud, Ash spots Pikachu nearby weaker than ever. Upset that his first day as a Pokémon Trainer has turned into such a disaster, Ash tells Pikachu to get inside his Poké Ball as it seems to be the only way that he can be safe from the approaching Spearow. Deciding that he's done running, Ash stands before the Spearow and announces that he refuses to be beaten by the likes of them if he's going to be a Pokémon Master, vowing to defeat them all. Pikachu sees that Ash is willing to sacrifice himself to save him and, just before the Spearow flock can hit, jumps onto his shoulder and then into the air. Pikachu is struck by lightning, causing him to let out a massive Thunder Shock which throws Ash back onto the ground.

Soon, the rain has cleared and the sun is shining. Ash and Pikachu are lying unconscious near the smouldering remains of the bike they stole. The two wake up and find the Spearow flock has gone. They weakly note that despite everything, they managed to defeat their attackers together and finally a friendship is formed. Just then, a shimmering golden Pokémon flies overhead towards a rainbow. Ash wonders what it was, and the Pokédex can't identify it, but explains that there are many Pokémon species yet to be discovered. After watching the Pokémon disappear into the distance, Ash picks up Pikachu and keeps on walking as the narrator explains that Ash and Pikachu have many more adventures together to come. Reaching a bank, Ash spots Viridian City in the distance and heads toward it, having taken the first of many steps on his Pokémon journey.

Major events

Ash meeting Pikachu for the first time
For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the history page.



Pokémon debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Pikachu


The beginning of the anime (left) and the opening of Pokémon Red and Green (right)
An early frame
The shadowed Trainer that resembles Bruno
The green Poké Ball from the first scene
Ho-Oh in its debut


  • In the Japanese version:
    • The Pokédex misidentifies Pidgey as the Sky Pokémon instead of the Tiny Bird Pokémon.
    • In the slap scene, the hole on Ash's hat matches his skin color despite being above his hairline.
  • As Delia catches the alarm clock Ash threw, her ponytail curls to her left shoulder. When it is seen from behind in the next shot, it is curled to her right shoulder.
  • When Professor Oak appears on television to discuss the first partner 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 the same scene, the first partner Pokémon 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 Poké Balls are red. This was fixed in the scenes of the Poké Balls releasing the Pokémon.
  • When Ash passes Gary's cheerleaders and a crowd, a man has no eyes.
  • As Ash runs to Professor Oak to collect his first Pokémon, the top button on his pajamas changes from green to yellow.
  • Gary addresses Ash as if he has never met him before, despite the fact that they were childhood friends.
  • After Gary tells Ash that his Pokémon is inside its Poké Ball, the order of Gary's cheerleaders reverses.
  • If all three first partner Pokémon had already been taken, then the Poké Balls containing them should be with their Trainers, as Gary's is, and not with Professor Oak.
  • After Ash opens Charmander's Poké Ball in Oak's lab, part of Oak's coat unnaturally changes position as he speaks.
  • When Professor Oak hands Ash Pikachu's Poké Ball, the bottom portion of the black ring surrounding the white center of the Poké Ball turns white.
  • 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.
  • The sneakers that Delia hands Ash are the same ones he is already wearing.
  • When Ash tries to make Pikachu go to his Poké Ball, the lightning bolt on it disappears. This also happens when Ash tries to protect Pikachu from the Spearow.
  • When Ash opens his Pokédex for the first time, the directional buttons are not present.
  • When Pikachu is up in the tree, and in the last shot before the title card, Ash's coat loses its yellow stripes, but they return later on.
  • 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 Misty's 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.
  • As Ash watches Ho-Oh at the end of the episode, his hat points backward as it had since he jumped into the river. As he walks uphill in the next scene, it points forward. When he gets to the top and looks at Viridian City, it points backward again. Lastly, as we see him from behind as he walks toward Viridian, his hat points forward again.
  • In the English dub:
    • After Ash picks up each of the first partner Pokémon's Poké Balls, the Japanese writing on them disappears.
    • When Ash stands up to the Spearow to protect Pikachu, he incorrectly refers to them as "Spearows". The plural of a specific species of Pokémon is the same as the singular.


Dub edits

The cut shot
  • Kanto Pokérap: Day 1 (Poliwrath error)
  • Onix's Tackle was not referred to by its name in the dub, whereas in the Japanese version, the announcer clearly identifies the attack.
  • The Japanese version has the narrator and Ash finishing each other's sentences when Ash is being introduced, which was not made apparent in the English dub. The exchange also implies via Ash correcting himself that Pokémon Master meant the strongest Pokémon Trainer, while the English dub simply has Ash declaring his plans to be a master.
  • During the shot of the whole television and Ash moving 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.
    • The English dub has Professor Oak directly indicating that new Trainers will start their journeys the next day, while the Japanese version does not specify a timeframe.
  • The English dub makes it sound as though Gary and Ash are meeting each other for the first time when the latter bumps into him while in a rush, while the Japanese makes it clear that Gary and Ash already know each other. This resulted in an inconsistency in The Ties that Bind and Lights, Camerupt, Action, which both depicted flashbacks to Ash and Gary interacting with each other sometime prior to their first day of their Pokémon journeys.
  • The Japanese version has Oak specifically state that Ash was the fourth scheduled Trainer to arrive to get his first Pokémon, which was omitted in the English dub. The same scene also has a bit of wordplay in the Japanese version regarding "little boy" (坊や) and "careless/absentminded" (ボヤボヤ), which was omitted from the English dub.
  • The Poké Balls in Professor Oak's lab are labeled in Japanese when they first appear, but are painted over when Ash picks up one up. These labels are also partially visible when Pikachu's Poké Ball is revealed.
  • Oak's analogy for late Trainers varies between the Japanese version and English dub: in the former, Oak compares getting a Pokémon even a second late to being a second late when trying to catch a commuter train, while the English dub uses a variation of the adage "The early bird gets the worm."
  • In the Japanese version of the scene where Professor Oak attempts to warn Ash of the sole remaining Pokémon's attitude problem, Ash replies that it doesn't matter since his being late was also a problem. The English dub has Ash being insistent that he must get a Pokémon without referencing his tardiness. By consequence, Oak's reply varies slightly between the two versions: the Japanese version has Oak enthusiastically agreeing to supply Ash with the Pokémon due to being impressed at the boy's self-awareness, while the English dub has Oak sounding more reluctant regarding giving him the last Pokémon.
  • Ash and Oak's exchange when Pikachu "greets" Ash by electrocuting him is slightly rewritten in the English dub by having Oak make electricity-based puns at Ash's expense. Originally, Oak warns that Pikachu generally doesn't take too kindly to humans and will shock anyone who doesn't treat him right. In the dub, Ash also admits he understands what Oak is conveying, while in the Japanese version, he laments that Oak should have told him before, with Oak correcting him by saying Ash should have been there in the first place, in reference to his earlier tardiness.
  • When the people outside of Professor Oak's lab cheer for Ash, the flag says "ガンバレサトシ!" on the Japanese version. The dub edits this to "GO ASH GO!".
  • Delia's list of items for Ash is slightly different: the dub indicates she is giving Ash hot chocolate in case Ash "needs something hot", while the Japanese version specifies she is actually supplying him with instant emergency rations from the house as his food. Her reason for providing him with rubber gloves is also different: the Japanese version specifies they were for doing the dishes, while the English dub makes it sound as though it was to aid in doing laundry. Ash in the Japanese version also expresses confusion at the gathered crowd and requests this sort of thing happen after he comes back as the ultimate Trainer, with Delia conceding Ash's point, while the English version has him requesting for her to not embarrass him in front of everyone, while stating he's mature by this point and can take care of himself, with Delia saying she understands.
  • The English version indicates that Ash intends to capture every single Pokémon in the world, while the Japanese version merely has him desiring to catch various Pokémon across the world.
  • In the Japanese version, after being shocked by Pikachu, Delia tells Ash to change into his pajamas before going to sleep, even if it's the dirty pajamas he was wearing at the moment. The dub changed this to her telling Ash to remember to change his underwear every single day.
  • The Japanese version of the scene with Ash talking with Pikachu on Route 1 contains a pun. When Ash asks Pikachu to talk () to him, Pikachu misunderstands this as him saying he has "no teeth" (歯なし), thus opening his mouth to show Ash that he indeed does have teeth. In the dub, Ash asks Pikachu to open his mouth and tell him what's wrong, to which Pikachu responds by literally opening his mouth.
  • The scene where Ash fails to catch Pidgey was rewritten in the English dub.
    • As before, the English dub makes it sound as though Ash's goal is to capture every Pokémon in the world, while in the Japanese version, Ash only reiterates his resolute desire to become a Pokémon Master.
    • The dialogue also has Ash making a dark comment of telling Pidgey to enjoy its last moments of freedom before he catches it, which he does not do in the Japanese version.
    • After deciding to use his backpack as a makeshift capturing device, Ash makes a pun on Pikachu and parachute by referring to it as a "Pika-chute" in the Japanese version, while the English dub simply has him stating he got an idea.
    • After being hit by Pidgey's Sand Attack, Ash originally references his Pidgey alarm clock when lamenting how it's not easy to do Pokémon captures, while the English version only has him saying it wasn't his lucky day.
  • Ash's Pokédex originally described that Rattata likes stealing food from careless travelers rather than stupid ones.
  • In the Japanese version, after Ash thanks Misty, she slaps him across the face. This was cut from the dub (the screen freezes just as Ash answers Misty) due to physical violence. In the next scene, Misty clearly has her hand in the air.
    • In the Japanese version, Misty also demands to know why Pikachu looks so beat up, while in the English version, she instead accuses Ash of nearly killing his Pokémon.
  • In the Japanese version, Misty tells Ash there is a hospital in Viridian City; in the dub, she just says that it is nearby. Similarly, Ash's reassuring Pikachu about them almost being there avoids directly mentioning Viridian City in the English dub.
  • The narrator's ending narration was completely rewritten in the English dub and extended slightly. As a result, the narration starts while Ash is climbing on the hill in the Japanese version, while the English dub has it starting while Ho-Oh was still on-screen.
  • The English-dubbed version of this episode was released in Japan as part of the Pokémon de English! Aisatsu Hen VHS/DVD. This version has a few changes made:
    • Some paint edits are undone, such as the Japanese labels on the Poké Balls in Professor Oak's Laboratory.
    • The Who's That Pokémon? segment from EP160 is used instead of the original.
    • The shot of Misty slapping Ash is included, though the slap doesn't produce any sound.
    • The Pokérap and end credits are not included.

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!"

Differences between the episode and Pokémon the Animation Volume 1

  • After Misty scolds Ash for endangering Pikachu, she directly comforts and cradles the injured Pikachu instead of simply expressing concern for his well-being.

In other languages

Original series
EP002 : Pokémon Emergency!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.