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| Dues and Don'ts
Rocket-dan and Delibird!
|| January 10, 2002
| United States
|| January 25, 2003
Dues and Don'ts (Japanese: ロケットだんとデリバード！ Rocket-dan and Delibird!) is the 231st episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 10, 2002 and in the United States on January 25, 2003.
As Jessie, James, and Meowth track Ash and friends, they commiserate over past failures and discuss how they are paired unfairly against these younger trainers with such a superior array of Pokémon. They no sooner decide anew to catch as many Pokémon as possible and strengthen their own forces than a Delibird shows up. After finally capturing it, they are disappointed to learn that the Pokémon already has a trainer—a Team Rocket scout, no less, who is using the Delibird to test the abilities of promising new talent. Sensing their natural aptitudes toward crime, the scout offers Jessie and James positions within Team Rocket. These two assert that they are already members, to which the scout replies by accessing their Team Rocket personnel files and proving that they have been expelled from the organization. Shocked, Jessie and James set desperately to garnering some success that will earn them reentry into their beloved Team Rocket.
On the road to Mahogany Town, Ash, Misty, Brock, Togepi, and Pikachu are attacked by Jessie, James, and Meowth. After a brief scuffle involving an exploding football, the Rocket Trio is sent blasting off as usual. After a painful landing, the Rockets discuss their most recent failure and try to figure out why they can never beat the "twerps". They eventually reach the conclusion that the reason lies in the fact that the twerps have a large amount of Pokémon to battle them with, while they only have five, including Meowth. In order to increase their capabilities, Team Rocket decides that their first goal should be to capture more Pokémon.
Their wish soon comes true when they find an apparently abandoned Delibird. A tape recording near the Delibird says that it was abandoned by its trainer, and is free to anybody able to catch it. Seizing their opportunity, Jessie and James battle with the Delibird. After a gruelling battle, they succeed in defeating it. However, before they can catch it, an old woman comes out of the woods and introduces herself as the Delibird's trainer. She tells them that she is a scout for Team Rocket, and by defeating Delibird in battle, they have passed her test, making them eligible to join Team Rocket.
Jessie and James explain to the woman that they're already members of Team Rocket. When she refuses to believe them, they look up their names in Team Rocket's member registry. Looking through it, they find that their worst fears have finally come true — they've been disbanded from Team Rocket! The Rocket Scout explains that their membership was revoked because of their unpaid dues and the constant loans they've taken out. But, she tells them, if they prove themselves to her, she should be able to get them reinstated, and get them a hefty signing bonus as well. Their mission? To defeat a wandering band of Pokémon Trainers, who turn out to be none other then the twerps! Jessie and James tell the scout, that although Ash and his friends look weak, they're actually skilled trainers, and that with their current Pokémon they'll be unable to beat them. After thinking for a moment, the Scout agrees to let them borrow their Delibird. With a new and powerful Pokémon on their side, Team Rocket gets ready to attack, sure of their coming victory.
Meanwhile Giovanni, the leader of Team Rocket receives a phone call from Wendy, a member of Team Rocket's H.R. department. Wendy tells him that Jessie and James are trying to get their membership back, and suggests that he refuse to let them rejoin. Giovanni tells her that he has no problem letting them rejoin, so long as they pay Team Rocket the money they owe. With that said he hangs up on Wendy, leaving her to fume back at her desk. In a flashback we see that Wendy has a long standing grudge against Jessie, from an incident where she left her with a bill for a fruit smoothie. Angry that she couldn't get Jessie kicked out of the Team for good Wendy swears that she'll eventually get her revenge.
Back in Johto Ash and his friends are met on the road by a pair of wandering Samurai. They quickly reveal themselves to be Jessie and James in disguise, and challenge the twerps to a battle. Expecting them to use their normal Pokémon Ash calls out his Phanpy. To his surprise Team Rocket bring out Delibird, who easily defeats Phanpy with its Blizzard attack. Using its Present, Delibird hits Ash and friends with a surprise attack. Angered Ash calls out Pikachu, but finds that Delibird's Present is too much for Pikachu to handle. Ash tries to retreat, but no matter where him or his friends go Delibird is always there with another explosive present. Delighted at their success Jessie and James order Delibird to finish the twerps off, but to their surprise the next present restores Pikachu to full health. Taking control of the fight Ash orders Pikachu to attack, and Team Rocket finds itself "blasting off again".
After landing, Jessie and James are met again by the Rocket Scout, who reclaims her Delibird. She tells them that even though they lost the fight, Team Rocket is suffering a severe labor shortage (due to most of its members getting arrested) and that she's still going to register them again. The pair eagerly wait for their signing bonus, but find themselves hit with a bill instead, their bonus having helped pay all of the money they owe. At the bottom of the list is a surprise, a bill for a fruit smoothie courtesy of Wendy. The Scout tells them that every month Delibird will come to collect some of the money they owe, and that they should resume their work as Rockets. Despite all of their bills, Jessie, James, and Meowth take a moment to celebrate. Their cheers are so loud that even Ash and his friends hear it on the nearby road.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
TV episode debuts
Who's That Pokémon?: Smeargle (US and international), Delibird (Japan)
- Jessie briefly talks about two other criminal teams, "Team Jet" and "Team Helicopter", in this episode. However, they are likely just teams that she made up as a joke, as they have never been mentioned again.
- The English dub title of this episode is a pun of the phrase "Dos and Don'ts."
- It is implied in this episode that Meowth, like Pikachu, was put in a Poké Ball, but prefers to stay outside of it.
- In this episode, Team Rocket uses a variation of their motto.
- In the dub, when Team Rocket recites this football-themed variation of their motto, Jessie makes a reference to an "eighth-round pick", presumably a draft pick. The last time the NFL Draft held an eighth round was on April 26, 1993, almost ten years prior to this episode's initial dubbed airing.
- Interestingly, the dub's initial airing was the day before the Super Bowl aired in 2003.
- This is the only original series episode that includes Team Rocket's name in its title. Due to this, it is also the only one that names it using hiragana for "dan" (だん) instead of the kanji (団).
- Music from Pikachu's Vacation can be heard in this episode, as well as an instrumental version of Face Forward Team Rocket!.
- When Dexter explains Delibird's exploding gifts, the light on the top of the Pokédex is red instead of blue.
- On the Brazilian dub, Delibird is mistakenly called "Thunderbird" during the whole episode.
- When Jessie bangs her fist on the tree stump, the sound comes earlier than it should.
- In the Polish dub, Meowth mentions Communists instead of Republicans.
In other languages