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| Meowth Rules!
Lord Nyarth's Island!?
|| May 13, 1999
| United States
|| March 25, 2000
Meowth Rules! (Japanese: おニャースさまのしま！？ Lord Nyarth's Island!?) is the 96th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on May 13, 1999 and in the United States on March 25, 2000.
Team Rocket has engine trouble and lands on an island where the natives are waiting for the Great Meowth of Bounty to arrive and fulfill an ancient prophesy. When Meowth gets mistaken for this great creature with special powers, he enjoys the special treatment and decides to play along. But, when he's unable to perform the ancient ritual that's expected of him, the treatment he gets isn't quite so fun anymore.
Team Rocket's Magikarp Submarine has washed up on rocks while Jessie and James initiate repairs. James wants Meowth to use Pay Day so they can have money, but Meowth can't learn it because his ability to talk negates his ability to learn it. He turns the argument around when he thinks James is hiding coins, and Jessie searches him, finding his favorite gold bottle cap. When Team Rocket spots Ash and his friends in the distance, looking for an island to rest at, they decide to confront them. Before they can do anything, the submarine begins to sink. Ash sends Squirtle to attack with Water Gun, sending Jessie and James blasting off. Meowth follows soon after, but flies much farther than Jessie and James.
On another island (Golden Island), people gather around a gold Meowth statue, wishing for the Great Meowth of Bounty to arrive as predicted, on the night of the full moon. Meanwhile, Meowth crashes on the beach of that island. The island people find Meowth and take him inland, putting him in front of the statue. The villagers honor Meowth with a fruit offering. Meowth's talking shocks the villagers, but they still accept him as the Meowth of Bounty. Everyone hails Meowth as such and he decides to take advantage of it, snacking on all the fruit.
By the next day, Meowth begins to enjoy the humble treatment, ordering the villagers to bring him meatballs and entertainment. As Meowth watches over the coast and plays a guitar, he wishes that Jessie and James were with him. He notices Ash and his friends approaching and knows that they will blow his cover. Knowing this threatens his happiness, he orders the villagers to force them off the island, propagating them as hostile. The villagers use the Meowth statue to confront Ash, attacking with its giant paw. They dodge and Ash attacks with Pikachu's Thunderbolt, but it does nothing. The machine chases them off the island and forces them to jump back into the sea. The Meowth statue returns to the ark with Jessie and James in tow. Meowth decides to lie by saying he doesn’t know them, for fear they will ruin his happiness as well. The villagers order them to be thrown back into the sea. Meowth looks away as the statue hauls them off.
Team Rocket manages to sneak back onto the island and watch Meowth enjoying himself. The villagers decide to begin the ceremony that Meowth will use Pay Day to bring them happiness and prosperity, as the prophecy foretells. Knowing that his inability to use the move will blow his cover, Meowth tries to leave, but the statue grabs Meowth and shakes him continually for coins. It fails as Meowth admits that he can't use Pay Day. Everyone is shocked, and the elder believes that Meowth needs battle experience to recall how to use Pay Day. Even though Meowth argues that it won’t work, the villagers are adamant and take him to the stadium.
At the stadium, a huge crowd watches as they send out a Nidoking to fight Meowth. Meowth can only run around and avoid Nidoking, exhausting him. They check for coins, but Meowth still hasn’t produced any. They continue the training by sending out an Onix. The Onix knocks Meowth around and locks it in a Bind attack. Jessie and James, disguised as part of the villagers, watch their friend get hurt and decide to help Meowth. Meowth is bruised and battered, locked in Onix’s grasp, when suddenly a coin smacks into Onix. Coins begin to fly out onto the battlefield, and the villagers begin to gather the money. In actuality, Jessie was throwing her coins out onto the field. James has no money, but he throws his three favorite gold bottle caps out there before they leave.
The villagers thank Meowth for the coins, believing the prophecy has come true. They want Meowth to stay and rule them. Meowth is still shocked at how it happened as he looks at the coins. He notices the gold bottle cap atop the stack and realizes what Jessie and James did for him. Meowth tears up and runs away to the beach, trying to find Jessie and James. Jessie and James listen nearby as Meowth admits how close they are. The villagers want him to stay and Meowth comes clean. Jessie and James step out and forgive Meowth. They all jump aboard the Magikarp submarine and leave, against the villagers' will. Meanwhile, Ash and friends continue along, unaware of what really happened on the island. Jessie and James decide to make another attempt at giving Meowth battle experience to learn Pay Day, which shocks Meowth.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Magnemite (US and international), Meowth (Japan)
Lapras's miscolored mouth
- Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture: Clefairy: Oak discusses how Clefairy has many riddles, and that its Metronome attack is quite strong. Oak tells Clefairy to use Metronome, causing a spoon to fall and hit Oak on his head. Then, a bunch of spoons fall and cover Oak.
- Pokémon senryū summary: A fluffy walk with Clefairy, how fun.
- This is one of the very few episodes outside Pokémon Chronicles where neither Ash or his friends play major roles. It is also the second episode where Meowth is the main character, the first one being Go West Young Meowth.
- In the opening scene, Meowth is seen holding clams, a real-life animal.
- In this episode, Team Rocket uses a variation of their motto. There was also a different background music in the second motto, while the first one had the normal music.
- This episode is featured on Volume 11: Meowth from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
- When Meowth is greeted and presented with the large offering of food, Meowth responds, "I'm a little short on cash, but I can pay you for the food on Tuesday." This is a reference to Wimpy from the Popeye cartoon, who is famous for ordering hamburgers and paying for them on Tuesday.
- When Meowth finishes off his 100 meatballs, he exclaims, "Whisker-licking good!" This is a reference to KFC and Colonel Sanders's famous line "It's finger-licking good!"
- In the final scene in which Lapras appears, the area below its mouth is colored blue.
- Throughout the episode, Mikeosu, Misty, and James refer to Meowth as a "cat type".
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