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| The Punchy Pokémon
Fighting Pokémon! The Great Battle!
|| October 14, 1997
| United States
|| October 15, 1998
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Assistant director
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Animation director
|| 酒井啓史 Hiroshi Sakai
| Additional credits
The Punchy Pokémon (Japanese: かくとうポケモン！だいバトル！ Fighting Pokémon! The Great Battle!) is the 29th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on October 14, 1997 and in the United States on October 15, 1998.
In the outskirts of Fuchsia City, our heroes come across Hitmonchan, a fighter-Pokémon. With little thought, Ash attempts to capture it, but he and Pikachu are badly defeated. Hitmonchan's master has abandoned his family, training day and night, aiming for victory at the P1 Grand Prix (the number one Pokémon Grand Prix). His daughter tells Ash and his friends of her desire to make her father remember his family. In the meantime, Ash's party enters the P1 Grand Prix, but with Team Rockets unwanted, not to mention, unofficial presence at the competition, the battle goes out of control.
A Hitmonchan runs along a road and suddenly stops by a tree to punch the air, while a girl watches the Fighting-type from behind. Ash and his friends are amazed, but believe Hitmonchan is a wild Pokémon. Ash tells Pikachu that if he can defeat Hitmonchan, he will be a world champion Pokémon. When Pikachu doubts it, Ash says that he will teach Pikachu his secret punch, prompting Misty and Brock to question when Ash became a boxing expert.
Ash challenges Hitmonchan, but Hitmonchan blocks Pikachu's efforts. Pikachu sends an improvised Rocket Punch into Hitmonchan's face, but it is unaffected. A man runs over, and tells Hitmonchan to not let his guard down, then tells him to knock Pikachu out, which it does. Suddenly, the girl runs out from behind the tree. She calls the man her father, and begs him to come home, and to give up trying to become a Trainer. The man tells his daughter, Rebecca, that he won't quit until he becomes the P1 Grand Prix champion. He then informs everyone that he will be at his Gym and leaves. At the Fighting Spirit Gym, Rebecca informs Ash and his friends about her fathers ambitions and that he has since abandoned his family. After Rebecca's pleas, Brock volunteers his and Ash's assistance, saying their Geodude and Primeape will defeat Anthony and his Hitmonchan.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket gets wind of the Grand Prix as well and decide to enter. James and Meowth want to win for the all-you-can-eat buffet, but Jessie intends to go to the salon and embark on a shopping spree. However, James points out that only Fighting Pokémon can enter, but Jessie says that they will have to borrow one, pointing to a tall man and his Hitmonlee, which James identifies as the Kicking Fiend. As the P1 Grand Prix begins, Team Rocket have since stolen the man's Hitmonlee and clothes, keeping him tied and locked in a closet.
At the P1 Grand Prix, all the competitors are presented to the crowd. The first battle is between a Machop and Ash's Primeape. Despite Ash's pleas, Primeape refuses to listen, until Machop launches a Seismic Toss and sends Primeape out of the ring. Ash rushes to save it, but misses. He then asks his Pokémon if it is okay. Primeape gives Ash a sad look, then shakes it off and jumps back into the ring. Now listening to Ash, Primeape is able to take control and defeat the Machop with Scratch and Mega Kick.
The next match is Hitmonlee against Geodude. Brock waves to Rebecca, saying everything is under control. Suddenly, Rebecca tells him to look out, and Brock is hit in the head with his own Pokémon. He sends Geodude back into the ring, where it is kicked mercilessly. Anthony approaches, telling Brock that a real man knows when to admit defeat. Brock throws in the towel, and apologizes to Geodude for making it battle, and Team Rocket move onto the next round. Ash promises that he and Primeape will take care of the tournament from that point forward.
As more battles take place throughout the tournament, a Trainer and their Machoke who defeated a Poliwrath, Primeape, Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee rise to the top of the ladder. The next main match is between Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee. Jessie is ready for anything and to make sure they win. Hitmonchan steps on glue, a part of Meowth's scheme, and gets stuck. Anthony's Hitmonchan takes several Mega Kicks, and Rebecca attempts to stop the match. This forces Anthony to intervene, and he takes a hit and throws in the towel. Anthony says he is sorry he worried Rebecca and her mother. Misty says that the fighting brought a family back together. "Giant" then arrives to meet with Ash, though James' ill-timed appearance and response to Jessie causes them to realize it was Team Rocket in disguise. Jessie and James then try to recite their motto, although James, due to obvious strain from trying to carry Jessie, ends up collapsing beforehand.
Then, the highly anticipated final battle between Ash's Primeape versus the stolen Hitmonlee takes place. Primeape blocks multiple rapid kicks from Hitmonlee and manages to sneak through a few hits. Under the arena Meowth tries to pull off another cheating move, but Pikachu spots him and decides to get moving. He finds that Meowth has planted a bomb on the stage.
Meanwhile, back on the stage Hitmonlee jumps up, as per the plan, Meowth hits the button on the controls, but the bomb does not explode. Hitmonlee falls down, and Primeape grabs him. It uses its Seismic Toss and wins the match. Primeape has now become the new P1 Grand Prix Champion and proudly boasts its new championship belt. Ash says he is proud of Primeape. Anthony says it has a lot of natural talent, and offers to train it for Ash; he promises that he will make Primeape a true P1 Champion. Meanwhile, Meowth and the rest of Team Rocket are baffled as to why the bomb didn't explode. Pikachu then turns up and gives the bomb to Meowth, who thanks Pikachu for finding it. Just at that moment, however, the bomb activates, shocking Team Rocket before exploding, sending them blasting off yet again.
Ash leaves Primeape in Anthony's care for further training. His daughter says that she will also make sure he spends time at home. Primeape, now teary eyed, waves goodbye to Ash and his friends as they continue towards Ash's next Gym Badge.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Hitmonchan
- Despite it not being a Fighting-type, Brock was allowed to enter his Geodude in the competition. In the Pokémon Trading Card Game, however, Geodude is considered a Fighting-type.
- Anthony quotes the song You Gotta Be by Des'ree while commanding Hitmonchan in his fight against Hitmonlee.
- In the original version, Ash wanted to teach Pikachu boxing. So he said : " Ashita no Tame ni #1 " (For the sake of tomorrow #1), which is clearly a reference to the 1970 Boxing anime Ashita No Joe (Tomorrow's Joe). "For the sake of tomorrow #1, 2..." are boxing lessons in the anime.
- All of the Generation I Fighting-type Pokémon appear in this episode, excluding Mankey, who had evolved previously.
- The announcer mistakenly refers to a Machoke as Machop.
- Meowth's trap for Primeape proved to be flawed.
- When Hitmonlee jumped on the turnbuckle, had the trap went off, he would've been shocked anyway.
- When Pikachu handed the device to Meowth, there was no way for James or Jessie to get shocked, as there was no current.
- PokéRap: Day 4
- Ash's statement of Pikachu using an uppercut was actually supposed to be a right straight.
- A lot of paint edits were made in this episode.
- The sign outside the Gym, 闘魂ジム (Fighting Spirit Gym), was changed to "Fighting Spirit". A similar, yet reversed version happens in the interior of the Gym, where toukon (Fighting Spirit) is changed to "Fighting Spirit Gym".
- The "P-1 Grand Prix" text on the Banners are removed.
- Any and all banners saying 必勝 (Victory), ポケピタソP (Pokédrink), がんばれ (Do Your Best!), ガンバレ(Do Your Best!), and ファイト (Fight!) are removed. However, a banner reading GOGOサワムラー (Go Go Hitmonlee) is left in the dub.
- Team Rocket's desire for what they should get after winning the Belt were different between the original and dubbed version. In the original, Team Rocket mentioned wanting hamburg, curry, cake, ice cream, steak, spaghetti, and cola. In the dub, it was changed to honey-glazed ham, roast leg of lamb, strawberry jam, sirloin steaks, and chocolate cakes. On a related note, Jessie's original desire was to invite bishonen (pretty boys) over for okonomiyaki, whereas the dub just called them her close friends.
- Rebecca's mother was never mentioned in the Japanese version.
- The hints at Primeape seeing Ash afterwards (and the implications that Primeape being Anthony's Pokémon only being temporary) were dub added. In fact, the only character in both versions to even hint at Primeape and Ash seeing each other again was the narrator.
- When Hitmonlee was about to knock Hitmonchan out, Rebecca jumps before Hitmonchan, screaming not to hurt her brother's Pokémon. Later, when Anthony was knocked down, Rebecca refers to him as her dad.
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