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|| This article is about an episode of the Pokémon anime that has not been dubbed into English. As such, its coverage may contain romanized Japanese names, rather than dub names.
The Legend of Miniryu
|| November 25, 1997
| United States
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Assistant director
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Animation director
|| 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
| Additional credits
(Japanese: ミニリュウのでんせつ The Legend of Miniryu) is the 35th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on November 25, 1997, but was not aired anywhere else outside of Asia.
After finally entering the safari zone, our heroes meet up with the elderly supervisor of the zone. As they are being explained the rules of the safari zone in his office, a picture, carefully hung there, catches Ash’s attention. It is a picture of the elderly supervisor as a boy, taken alongside a Dratini, the legendary Pokémon. Ash asks desperately about the existence of Dratini, but the elderly man denies everything. Hearing of the plenitude of Pokémon in the safari zone, Team Rocket also arrives on the scene.
As Ash, Misty, and Brock are about to reach the Safari Zone, Ash happily sings about it. Brock asks Ash to stop singing, but Ash ignores him. Misty and Pikachu sing along, and Brock gives in and decides to sing as well. Just then, a man approaches from a nearby building and abruptly demands that they keep quiet. When Ash asks what the man's problem is, the man pulls out a firearm and asks whether he wants to get shot. The group hastily apologizes and the man relents, then introduces himself as Kaiser, the Safari Zone warden.
Inside the warden's office, Kaiser shows the group a basket of Safari Balls and a fishing rod. Ash is delighted and reaches out eagerly for them, but Kaiser pulls his gun out and explains the rules of the Safari Zone: all that is permitted to be used are the Safari Balls and the fishing rod. If they break the rules, his gun, nicknamed Thunderbolt, will burn them. He then points the gun at Ash's head to demonstrate his point. Misty notices a picture of Kaiser as a young man, in which he is holding a Dratini. As Ash and Misty view the picture, Brock tells them that he has heard rumors of a Dratini living in this Safari Zone. Suddenly, Kaiser leaps forward and snatches the picture from Misty's hand, screaming that there is no Dratini. Ash argues otherwise, but he is silenced by seeing Kaiser reach for his gun. Kaiser leaves the group and walks outside, taking the picture with him. He stares at the picture and apologizes to Dratini, saying that he will never bother it again.
Meanwhile, Ash calls Professor Oak for further details, and Oak explains that he knows Kaiser well. Thirty years ago, a Dratini was found in the Safari Zone by Kaiser himself. Trainers from all over flocked to the Safari Zone to catch Dratini, but while they were there, they caught many other Pokémon in the process, literally destroying the Safari Zone. Since then, only the use of Safari Balls has been allowed in the Safari Zone. The Dratini was never found, and all that remains is a picture. Team Rocket, overhearing the conversation, decides to catch Dratini and the Safari Zone's other Pokemon. Later, Ash, Misty, and Brock are about to enter the Safari Zone, Safari Balls and fishing rods in hand. They are confronted by Team Rocket, who proposes a challenge: whichever group catches more Pokémon will win. If Ash and his friends win, Team Rocket won't bother the group ever again. If Team Rocket wins, they will take all of the group's Pokémon. Ash accepts the challenge, confident that he will win.
The first Pokémon that Ash and his friends see are a herd of Tauros; and Ash and Brock catch two of them easily with Safari Balls. The group then hides behind bushes while observing a Rhyhorn. Ash throws a Safari Ball at it, but just then, the herd of Tauros run past, causing Ash to end up catching another Tauros. Jessie observes the group from afar, commenting on how Team Rocket will end up getting all of the Pokémon anyways. It is revealed that Team Rocket is inside the entrance building, with James holding a firearm to Kaiser's head. Jessie holds another firearm to Kaiser's head while asking him to tell them where Dratini is. Kaiser resists, prompting Jessie to send out Arbok to wrap itself around him. After several unsuccessful attempts at getting Kaiser to talk, Team Rocket sends out a mecha that tickles Kaiser, causing him to finally concede.
Meanwhile, Misty shows off her lure case to the group, which includes a Magikarp, Seel, and Psyduck lure. She takes out one modeled after herself and throws it into the lake. Soon after, she gets a bite from a Gyarados, but the line breaks, allowing the Gyarados to return to the water. Kaiser appears before them, still being tickled by the mecha, and asks them to help get it off of him. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, effectively stopping the machine. Kaiser then reveals that Team Rocket is going after Dratini, who is in the Dragon Valley.
Team Rocket is at a lake inhabited by Dratini. James and Meowth don scuba gear and attempt to find Dratini, while Jessie waits for them above. Suddenly, a Dratini emerges from the water and reveals itself to Jessie. She kneels down on the air supply pipe, causing James and Meowth to struggle to breathe, whilst she calls for the Dratini to come closer. Just as Jessie tries to grab it, James and Meowth splash out of the water, scaring it away. Jessie starts to yell at them, when Meowth reveals a backup plan to capture all the Pokémon in the lake. He explains that the electric bomb he is holding will zap all the Pokémon in the water and cause them to rise to the surface. Just then, Ash, Misty, Brock, and Kaiser intervene. Jessie asks whether Ash has caught any Pokémon, and he answers that he has used up all of the Safari Balls, signifying victory. Jessie says that the game isn't over yet and throws in the bomb.
Ash and Kaiser jump into the lake after it, while Misty sends out her Staryu to assist Ash and Kaiser. Ash and Staryu catch up to Kaiser, and Ash orders Staryu to take Kaiser back to the surface. He reaches the bottom, retrieves the bomb, and starts to swim back up, but he runs out of air and falls to the lake-bed. Suddenly, a storm begins and a giant whirlpool churns the lake's waters. A bright blue light beams through the whirlpool, a Dragonair emerges with Ash on its back, and the skies clear up. Ash throws the bomb back at Team Rocket just as the timer sets off, causing Team Rocket to blast off. Ash returns to the group and Dragonair approaches Kaiser, who realizes that it is the same Dratini that he took care of all those years ago. A Dratini appears next to Dragonair, and Kaiser realizes that this Dratini is Dragonair's child. Both Kaiser and Dragonair are moved to tears by their reunion after so many years.
Back at the warden's office, Ash promises Oak that they will never share their experience in the Safari Zone with others. Oak says that the group has grown up well and asks Ash if he has sent him any new Pokémon. Just then, a herd of Tauros trample over the Professor in a stampede, revealing that in the end, Ash failed to catch anything but Tauros. Ash and his friends bid farewell to Kaiser, with Dratini and Dragonair watching over them.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Tauros
This controversial episode was banned in almost all countries outside of Japan, largely due to the pervasive use of firearms, which are pointed at Ash and Kaiser and fired at Jessie, James, and Meowth. Even though the scenes where Kaiser threatens Ash, Misty and Brock with his guns were intended for comic effect, 4Kids Entertainment still found this too dark for children. 4Kids used footage of this episode in the Pokérap, which means that they obtained the episode from Japan. According to Eric Stuart, there was never an English dub for this episode, as Network Television refused to have it aired when the scene with Kaiser pointing a gun at Ash was shown. Unfortunately for fans, this episode's non-airing created a major plot hole for non-Japanese versions of the show, confusing many viewers on how, when, where, and why Ash caught thirty Tauros, although Professor Oak mentioned it once in Showdown at the Po-ké Corral. To a lesser extent, the episode also explained Team Rocket's plan for Ditto's Mysterious Mansion.
On a related note, this was technically the fourth banned episode to feature a fairly important event, as Challenge of the Samurai, Pokémon Scent-sation!, and The Ninja Poké-Showdown, which featured Ash's Metapod's evolution into Butterfree, Ash earning the Rainbow Badge, and Ash earning the Soul Badge, respectively, had been banned in South Korea due to overt references to Japanese culture because of tense relationships between the two countries (specifically, Samurais, Japanese traditional clothing for women, and Ninjas, respectively).
- Although the episode was never dubbed in English, the video for the Pokérap uses footage of Dratini, Dragonair, and Rhyhorn from this episode, as well as a clip of Ash, Misty, and Brock catching a Gyarados. The footage of Dratini and Dragonair is also used in the music video of What Kind of Pokémon Are You? in Pikachu's Jukebox.
- Although the episode was never aired in English, a summary was posted on Pokémon.com, and the episode numbered as episode 35. However, an English title was never listed.
- The Japanese version of Netflix has English descriptions for every banned episode, including this episode: "Ash and his friends meet the warden of the Safari Zone. While being briefed on the safari rules at his office, they spot an intriguing photograph."
- This is the first appearance of Misty's special lure in the anime. However, due to this episode being banned in numerous countries, the lure first appeared in the dub in Bye Bye Psyduck.
- The Safari Balls pictured in this episode are vastly different from their later-introduced in-game sprites, likely due to a design change between the time of Generation I and Generation III. This is similar to the alteration in design of the Sport Ball, which appears differently between its anime debut and its Generation IV reintroduction with an in-game sprite.
- By extension, this episode marks the anime debut of any non-standard Poké Ball.
- The mecha that Team Rocket uses in this episode made a reappearance (and its first appearance outside Asia) in A Marathon Rivalry!, 591 episodes later.
- This is the only episode in which a main character catches more than one Pokémon of the same species.
- This is also the only episode to feature a total of more than two captures by one or more main characters.
- Kaiser's appearance, demeanor, and handgun bear a resemblance to the Man with No Name, a character from the Spaghetti Western Dollars Trilogy, played by Clint Eastwood. In addition, the name of Kaiser's gun, "Thunderbolt", is a reference to the crime film Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, where Clint Eastwood also plays a starring role.
- When Dragonair is emerging from the lake, the R on Jessie's shirt is missing.
In other languages
As most dubs are based on the English adaptation, this episode has not aired in most of the world outside of Japan.