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| The Human Race and the Pokémon Race
| 激走！ ポケモンレース|
Exciting Run! Pokémon Race
| Collected in
|| Vol. 2
| Chapter number
The Human Race and the Pokémon Race (Japanese: 激走！ ポケモンレース Exciting Run! Pokémon Race) is the fifth chapter of the manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu. It was first published in the December 1997 issue of Bessatsu CoroCoro Comic Special, released October 30, 1997. It was collected in the second volume. It is based on the anime episode The Flame Pokémon-athon!.
The story starts with Ash and Brock traveling together. We are told that Brock is taking a break from leading the Pewter City Gym to travel, though he returns to it between training journeys.
The duo head north by train to Fuchsia City to watch the famous Fuchsia Free-For-All Race, part of the Nomads Independence Day celebrations. A herd of Tauros stampedes past the train window. On arriving in Fuchsia City, Brock suggests that they should immediately register for the race; however, Pikachu leaps off Ash's shoulder and darts away into the crowd, having spied Misty. Ash and Brock become re-acquainted with the four sisters of the Cerulean City Gym. As Brock works his charm on the three older sisters, Ash and Misty each decide to test the other's skill as a Trainer. The competition is to capture a wild Tauros, but as they argue the Tauros charges towards them. They retreat and fortunately are rescued by Lara's Ponyta. Later that day Ash and Misty have a meal at Lara's homestead. She is a hardy breeder, but her right arm is in a sling. After eating, she takes the pair out to properly meet Ponyta. She explains that her Ponyta is a thoroughbred, which is why its coat is pure white; it also means Ponyta is very fast.
Ash inquires if Lara is ready for the Free-For-All Race (not quite remembering about her injury). Misty nudges him and reassures Lara that she can "knock them dead next year." With a sad smile Lara informs them that this is the final year of the race due to the danger involved.
As Ash and Misty wander through town that evening, an interview is broadcast on a big screen. The 'favorite to win' the Free-For-All Race (Dario) is being asked about Lara's injury. He jokes that Lara had some bad luck before the race and adds that her Ponyta threw her off. Unrest develops amongst the crowd watching, which accuses Dario of causing Lara's accident- It seems that year after year, Dario uses dirty tactics in his attempts to win. A hot-headed Ash decides to race with Ponyta in Lara's place to save her reputation. Ponyta shows his agreement by flipping Ash onto his back, and Ash demonstrates his riding ability (or lack thereof) by falling right off again.
Over the next few days, Lara puts Ash through his paces with a rigorous training regime. She teaches him the correct way to sit, hold the reins and to command Ponyta confidently.
On the day of the race, all the riders line up at the start. Dario is riding a Dodrio. The race starts, and the riders disappear into the dust cloud. As the dust lifts, we see Dario taking a huge lead. Most of the riders are still bunched together in the middle, but lagging furthest behind is Ash. Soon, fights begin to break out between the other competitors' Pokémon, and a few riders are thrown from their mounts. Dario is still in the lead, but Ash has managed to gain some ground as they reach the foothills of Mt. Spirit.
As Ash and Ponyta climb the steep ledges, a boulder narrowly misses them, and over the ridge Dario is talking to some other men riding Doduo. They inform him that the other competitors have been eliminated and that he shouldn't have any competition. Ash overhears this and becomes even more determined to win.
He springs over Dario and gallops into the lead. Dario's henchmen are unable to stop Ponyta, but Dario releases some Blastoise, Wartortle and a Squirtle to douse Ponyta's flames. Pikachu uses a Speed Star attack to stop them; however, one remaining Blastoise hits Ponyta with Hydro Pump.
Back at the stands the onlookers see a shape coming out of the fog- it's Dario. With no other competitor in sight, it looks as though he's set to win the race. Suddenly, out of nowhere, another shape begins to close in on him at high speed. It's Ash, clinging desperately to a speeding Rapidash- Lara's Ponyta evolved. As the two remaining riders approach the finish, they draw neck and neck. A final burst of speed from Rapidash puts the flag in Ash's hands.
Dario makes one final attempt to snatch the flag from Ash, but Rapidash sends Dodrio flying into the distance with a kick. The Chapter ends with a photo of Rapidash, Pikachu, Ash, Misty and Lara.