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| The Purr-fect Hero
It's Children's Day! Everyone Gather!
|| July 9, 1998
| United States
|| September 11, 1999
|| Team Ota
|| 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Assistant director
|| 小川浩司 Kōji Ogawa
| Animation director
|| 山本郷 Sato Yamamoto
| Additional credits
The Purr-fect Hero (Japanese: こどものひだよ！ぜんいんしゅうごう！ It's Children's Day! Everyone Gather!) is the 53rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on July 9, 1998 and in the United States on September 11, 1999. It was initially intended to air in Japan on May 5, 1998, but was rescheduled following the EP038 incident.
It's Kids Day, and Ash and friends help the children at a nearby school celebrate the holiday. Team Rocket spoils the fun with a Pikachu-napping scheme that goes awry when they snatch a kid instead of the Pokémon. But in a shocking turn of events, Meowth becomes a good guy—or does he?
As Ash and his friends are walking along a dirt path, Misty notices a flagpole with several wind cones modeled after a Gyarados, Goldeen, and Magikarp. At that moment, the group recognizes that it is Kids Day. Suddenly, a woman, Reiko, mistakes the trio for the Pokémon Trainers she has been expecting, though a phone call clarifies that the requested visitors will not be able to attend. However, after hearing how she wanted to do something special for the preschool's children, the trio decides to let the children play with their Pokémon instead. Elsewhere, Team Rocket reminisces about Kids Day; James says he always had a great Kids Day with the day off school, swimming, and ice cream sandwiches, whereas Jessie did not.
Inside the school, the children rush over to play with Pikachu, pulling at his face. Ash rescues the children from electrocution and receives the shock instead. Ash, Misty, and Brock let out all of their Pokémon, who all begin playing with the kids. However, one child, Timmy, reveals that has no interest in playing with any Pokémon besides Meowth. He explains that this was due to a wild Meowth saving him from a Beedrill once. However, the other children do not believe the story and mock him.
Suddenly, a bright van pulls up to the school, where Jessie, disguised as a magician, convinces the teacher to let her, James, and Meowth do a magic show for the children, which she agrees to. Team Rocket shows the children, the gang, and the teacher an empty box, and claim that they need a volunteer. Pikachu is swept up by James, who places him into the box. Both Jessie and James then chant before tapping the box with a wand, whereupon Meowth flies from the box and completes the trick, much to the kids' enjoyment.
The trio tries to make their getaway, but are stopped by Ash, who demands his Pikachu back. Team Rocket reveals themselves, but are attacked by the overly excited children, which interrupts their motto several times. James tells Weezing to use Smokescreen, which is able to blind the gang. Timmy, upon seeing Meowth's distress, rushes over to help, but knocks down the box Meowth was standing on. This also knocks Pikachu out of the box, unbeknownst to everyone else. Team Rocket picks up the box and flees. As Ash finds Pikachu inside the school, the teacher realizes that Timmy has gone missing.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket rejoices over their capture and opens the box, only to find Timmy. He proceeds to cry, but the tears stop when he sees Meowth, who he believes is the Meowth who saved him from the wild Beedrill. Meowth is about to tell him he has the wrong Pokémon, but Jessie and James convince Meowth to go along with Timmy to avoid crushing his hopes. Putting on an act, Jessie and James behave like they want to do harm to Timmy, but Meowth pretends to save him with Fury Swipes and escapes with him.
They come running back to the school, surprising everyone. Misty is a little suspicious, noting that this Meowth resembles the one from Team Rocket, which makes Meowth slightly nervous. However, the children see Meowth and apologize for not believing Timmy's story in the first place. Timmy accepts their apologies and allows them to play with Meowth, who relishes in the attention. Meowth accidentally lets some human speech slip from his mouth, and Misty calls him out. He starts to back away from the group, with his cover now blown. In desperation, he makes a run for it, much to the dismay of Timmy and his classmates. Meowth is able to make it back to Team Rocket, but he is followed by everyone after Timmy began to run after him.
Team Rocket recites their motto once more and challenges Ash to a battle. Jessie sends out Arbok while James sends out his Weezing. Ash calls his Pidgeotto out and Brock helps by using Onix. Weezing uses Smog, which is easily blown away by Pidgeotto's Gust, along with Weezing itself. Arbok, however, escapes by using Dig. Arbok pops up in front of the gang, but is tackled by Onix. This causes part of the cliff Arbok slammed into to crumble, and a giant rock is dislodged and rolls towards everyone. Most escape in time, though Timmy trips over and Ash picks him up; the pair are in boulder's path as it continues its descent. However, a wild Meowth comes out of nowhere, kicking the boulder in two and saving their lives. Timmy immediately recognizes this Meowth as the one that saved him before. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is running atop a second boulder, disappearing from sight while chasing their Meowth.
Once back at the school, the teacher thanks Ash and his friends for all their help. Timmy proclaims he is going to become a Pokémon Trainer as well, hinting that the wild Meowth, resting on the preschool's roof, is now his. Meanwhile, Team Rocket discuss the day's events, with Meowth stating that Jessie and James need him more. Jessie proclaims they still need to get Pikachu, and James states that Meowth will come up with their next plan, in turn affirming Meowth's prized place in the trio.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Wartortle (US and international), Meowth (Japan)
This episode was originally scheduled to air on Children's Day itself, on May 5, 1998, but was rescheduled in the aftermath of EP038. The original schedule was as follows:
|| English title
|| Japanese title
|| Planned broadcast
|| Actual broadcast
|| Holiday Hi-Jynx
|| December 23, 1997
|| October 5, 1998
|| Snow Way Out!
|| January 6, 1998
|| October 5, 1998
|| The Battling Eevee Brothers
|| January 13, 1998
|| April 16, 1998
|| Wake Up, Snorlax!
|| January 20, 1998
|| April 23, 1998
|| Showdown at Dark City
|| January 27, 1998
|| April 30, 1998
|| March of the Exeggutor Squad
|| February 3, 1998
|| May 7, 1998
|| The Problem with Paras
|| February 10, 1998
|| May 14, 1998
|| Princess vs. Princess
|| March 3, 1998
|| July 9, 1998
|| The Purr-fect Hero
|| May 5, 1998
|| July 9, 1998
This episode and the preceding air after The Breeding Center Secret in the dub. It aired between The Breeding Center Secret and Riddle Me This on Pocket Monsters Encore.
- Ash references the events of Princess vs. Princess in this episode.
- This episode seems to have a legitimate Multi Battle, consisting of Ash and Brock vs. Jessie and James towards the end, though Multi Battles didn't exist until Generation III.
- This episode is featured on Volume 11: Meowth from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
- Starting with this episode, the dialogue of the Who's That Pokémon? segment sounds different from the previous episodes (unless a Pokémon has already been used in a segment).
- Also, this is so far the only episode in which the Pokémon featured in the segment is a Meowth that is not Team Rocket's. The next time a different Meowth appears is in The Ultimate Test.
- When Brock sends out his Pokémon, he says "that's not all, folks", a references to the "That's all folks" line at the end of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon series.
- During Meowth's fantasy of being revered like a hero, his English name appears twice as a logo and written on a card respectively. Bizarrely, this is the case even in the Japanese version.
- In a scene where the children throw Weezing around, Weezing's eyes are missing. However, it could just be that its eyes are not visible from the camera angle.
- In the dub, when the children are playing with James' Weezing, Reiko screams at her class to "get inside this instant!", even though they are clearly already indoors.
- When Misty sends out her Pokémon, Goldeen makes a sound before moving its mouth.
- When James puts Pikachu into the magic box, he speaks without opening his mouth.
- Pikachu's Jukebox: My Best Friends (US DVD box set), Double Trouble (Pokémon TV)
- When James reminisces over when he celebrated Kids Day as a child, the kashiwa-mochi (mochi balls wrapped in oak leaves, a traditional Children's Day snack) are referred to as ice cream sandwiches.
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