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| A Friend In Deed
A Rival Enters!
|| January 7, 1999
| United States
|| November 20, 1999
|| Team Ota
|| 米村正二 Shōji Yonemura
|| 井上修 Osamu Inoue
| Assistant director
|| 井上修 Osamu Inoue
| Animation director
|| 梶浦紳一郎 Shin'ichirō Kajiura
| Additional credits
A Friend In Deed (Japanese: ライバルとうじょう！ A Rival Enters!) is the 78th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 7, 1999 and in the United States on November 20, 1999.
Ash's Mom and Professor Oak make a surprise visit to watch Ash battle in the Pokémon League Tournament. Professor Oak informs Ash that if he wins his next battle he'll be able to use six Pokémon in battle instead of three. He also tells Ash to remember that if he does his best but loses his matches, he's still a winner! On their way back from dinner, Ash meets another trainer who's also competing in the tournament and also has a Pikachu. Ash and Richie become fast friends especially when they have to fight the unrelenting Team Rocket that steals all of their Pokéballs, along with both of their Pikachu.
Ash and his friends are going to get something to eat after Ash's victory in the fourth round of the Indigo Plateau Conference. When they arrive at the restaurant they find Ash's mom and Professor Oak standing outside. Ash's mom then heads into the restaurant and begins to cook at the stove, while the cooks look on in confusion. After the food is done the group goes and sits down to eat and talk.
They all head into the elevator and as the doors begin to close a boy runs up, asking them to hold the elevator. Professor Oak manages to keep the doors open enough for him to enter. The boy sees Pikachu and pets him on the head. Ash warns him that Pikachu might shock him, but to his surprise Pikachu is enjoying the experience. Suddenly, the power goes out and the elevator stops. The boy tells them that he can get it running again and asks Ash if he can use Pikachu for his Thunder Shock attack. Ash agrees, and the boy opens the elevator's control box and has Pikachu use ThunderShock on it. The lights in the elevator turn back on and the elevator begins to run again. Professor Oak remarks he's glad they opened the door for him.
Later on, Team Rocket decides to pull off another elaborate scheme; a so-called physical examination. They cruise through the Indigo Plateau's streets, using their vans loudspeaker to get everyone's attention. They claim that if Trainers do not comply, they will be disqualified from the Indigo League. Unfortunately, when Jessie attempts to stuff Pikachu into a sack, getting shocked in the process, James lets slip Jessie's name, causing Ash and Ritchie to realize who they were. Team Rocket performs their motto, and use Weezing's Smog to escape with the looted Poké Balls and Pikachu. Ash and Ritchie chase after them, cutting through the mountains to reach the escaping van. Suddenly, the come onto the road which forces James to swerve off the road, and Team Rocket drives into a river. Ash and Ritchie chase after them as the van floats down stream.
It's nighttime, and Ash and Ritchie still haven't confronted Team Rocket. Ritchie suggests they camp out and Ash concedes. The pair vow to find their Pokémon at sun-up the following day. Over a shared meal, the pair discover they are equally passionate about Pokémon and competitive. Meanwhile, the scene cuts to Team Rocket feasting by moonlight and relishing in their successful scheme. Meanwhile Ash and Ritchie stare up at the stars and laugh as they seen Pokémon constellations in the sky.
Morning arrives and the pair continue their search. Ash and Ritchie follow a set of tracks, and discover the van along with a sleeping Team Rocket. They creep through the camp and into the van, where they hear a muffled voice. Ash unties the sack and is soon reunited with his Pikachu and the stolen Poké Balls. However, Team Rocket wake up and finds the pair trespassing. The quickly rush out of the van, lock the doors, and drive off. Still in the van, the twin twerps must think of a way out.
Finally, they remember that they were in a van with hundreds of Poké Balls at their disposal. Ritchie identifies his Pokémon due to star-shaped stickers, but Ash sends out a Drowzee, Slowbro, and even a Magikarp before Pikachu sniffs out Bulbasaur's Poké Ball. Bulbasaur uses Tackle and Razor Leaf on the van wall, but to no avail. Ritchie sends out his Charmander, Zippo, and orders it to Slash open the van wall. The tactic is successful, and the wall breaks to reveal Team Rocket. Jessie sends out Arbok, which is matched by Pikachu. But before Pikachu lets loose a Thunderbolt, James uses 'turn attack,' which causes Pikachu to lose balance. Arbok hits Pikachu back. Ritchie then sends out his own Pikachu nicknamed Sparky. Jessie orders an attack, while Sparky and Pikachu both counter with Agility. Arbok is overwhelmed, and both Electric Mice Thunderbolt the van. The front portion explodes, leaving the heroes still in peril as the back of the van is still driving along a mountain road and towards a cliff. Pidgeotto and Ritchie's Butterfree nicknamed Happy use Whirlwind to act as parachutes, catching their respective Trainers, Poké Balls and Pikachu included. They land safely as a group of SUVs, which turns out to be the Trainers, plus Brock and Misty, pull up to claim their Pokémon.
Ash and his friends return to the Indigo Plateau's registration center. The attendant instructs Ash to fish for a Magikarp to find out his next Indigo League opponent, and unfortunately it is his latest friend Ritchie.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Diglett (US and international), Weezing (Japan)
- Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture:
- Pokémon senryū summary: Various limited edition goods, souvenir salesman.
- This episode, as well as the next two episodes, each have the word "friend" in the title, referencing Ash's ongoing friendship with Ritchie.
- Ritchie mentions being able to identify his Poké Balls from the rest of the stolen ones because he placed Star Stickers on them. This can be considered an early precursor of the Seal concept before its introduction in Generation IV.
- Ritchie's Charmander is called Zippo, which may be a reference to the American refillable cigarette lighter brand, Zippo.
- An instrumental of Together Forever can be heard, as well as Tears, After the Cloudy Weather.
- When it turns dark in the lift, Professor Oak's eyebrows turn gray. The same error happens again when they're outside the elevator.
- Though the power goes out while the characters are in the elevator, when they emerge into the lobby, all the lights are on. Although, everyone in the elevator assumes that the power went out, when it could have just been the elevator that had broken down. Either way, elevators are never set on the same power groups in buildings as the main rooms.
- When James commands Weezing to use Smog for the first time, his glove is missing.
- Through most of the Team Rocket motto and a little bit after, Jessie's eyes are different colors. This is most noticeable when she says "blast off at the speed of light."
- When Ash is chasing Team Rocket, he turns around after Ritchie calls after him and Ash's eyes are a lighter color than normal.
- After Arbok is shown dizzy, Ritchie's eyes are blue.
- When Team Rocket gets blasted off, Arbok disappears.
- Ash initially cannot find his Poké Balls, save for Bulbasaur. However, after Pikachu and Sparky defeat Team Rocket, he immediately calls on Pidgeotto.
Professor Oak's miscolored eyebrows
- Pikachu's Jukebox: My Best Friends
- Misty mentions the chef asking for Delia's croquette recipe in the dub, but in the original it's clear she cooked it herself and she marvels at the difference from normal restaurant food.
- In the dub, Ash recognizes the Rocket trio in their disguises by James calling Jessie by name. In the original, he doesn't call her by name and instead he's suspicious because he said "we got what we came for". Also, Ritchie recognizes Team Rocket in the dub but not the original.
- At the campfire, Ash expresses worry he won't ever see his Pokémon again in the dub but more specifically worries that they are starving in the original.
- Team Rocket performs a Pokémon-themed parody of the folk song 99 Bottles of Beer in the dub on two separate occasions. In the original, they sing a different song with indistinct lyrics.
In other languages