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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 and his friends are attacked by Team Rocket. After a brief scuffle involving an exploding football, the Rocket trio are sent blasting off. The trio release their parachutes to soften their landing, but Wobbuffet emerges from his Poké Ball and leads Jessie to get tangled in her teammates' parachutes. After a painful landing, the Rockets discuss their most recent failure and try to figure out why they can never beat the twerps. They hold a vote, but this reveals that everyone blames everyone equally for the failures, and eventually reach the conclusion that the twerps have a larger amount of Pokémon to battle with, while they only have five, including Meowth. Team Rocket begin to fight amongst each other, but find this also does nothing to solve their glaring problems. They walk wearily, hoping to find a solution.
The trio soon comes across a Delibird trapped in a cage. A tape recording near the Delibird announces 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. Jessie calls on her Arbok, while James orders out his Weezing for a Smog attack. Delibird flies into the air and unleashes a Blizzard at Team Rocket. James then calls out his Victreebel, but its latches onto its Trainer and Jessie first. Victreebel then sends out several Razor Leaf attacks, but Delibird evades them before freezing Victreebel in ice. Arbok attempts a Poison Sting, but Delibird sends it and Weezing back at Team Rocket. Jessie calls on Wobbuffet, and his Counter knocks Delibird to the ground. She and James then argue over who gets to keep Delibird, but an elderly woman returns her Delibird back to its Poké Ball.
The woman introduces herself as a Rocket Scout and congratulates the Rocket trio on passing her test. She announces that they can now join Team Rocket. Though Jessie and James explain that they are part of Team Rocket. The scout isn't convinced and shows them the typical black uniform worn by all Team Rocket Grunts. 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 a hefty signing bonus as well. The Rocket Scout presents the trio with their mission, to defeat a wandering band of Pokémon Trainers, who turn out to be none other than Ash and his friends. Jessie and James tell the scout, that although the Trainers look weak, they're actually very skilled, 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 her Delibird. With a new and powerful Pokémon on their side, Team Rocket gets ready to attack, sure of their coming victory.
The Rocket Human Resources Department receives news of Jessie, James and Meowth's attempt to re-register. Wendy is absolutely furious and remembers that Jessie still owes her money for a fruit smoothie back when they were training as new recruits. She contacts the Rocket boss, Giovanni. He examines the lump sum of money owing, but is fine for the trio's registration to go through provided they can pay the money owed. With that said he hangs up on Wendy, leaving her to fume back at her desk.
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 and challenge the twerps to a battle. The group isn't too thrilled to see the trio again. Jessie and James explain that they need to get their Team Rocket memberships back. Misty suggests that it is a lot of effort, but the trio is determined to remain in the evil organization. Jessie calls out a Delibird, and it gifts a Present to the group which explodes in their faces. Ash calls out his Phanpy to retaliate, but it is easily defeated by a Blizzard attack. Ash and his friends are then forced to retreat as Delibird showers them with explosive Presents. 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 with Thunder, and Team Rocket finds themselves 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