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I Choose You! by Tracey West is the first book of the Pokémon series based on the anime. It was published by Scholastic, and is 87 pages in length.
Eleven-year-old Ash Ketchum wants to be the world's greatest Pokémon master. With Pikachu, his brand-new Pokémon at his side, he sets out to capture and train every Pokémon he can find. Will he do it? Ash is determined, and Pikachu's power is electrifying!
But there's one kinda huge problem — mischievous little Pikachu won't do a single thing he says!
This book follows the plots of the anime episodes Pokémon — I Choose You!, Pokémon Emergency!, Electric Shock Showdown, and Pikachu's Goodbye.
Pokémon — I Choose You!
The story begins with Ash watching a Pokémon battle on TV. Having turned ten, he is now eligible for his Pokémon license, Pokédex, and first Pokémon. Ash, excited with the thought of getting a Pokémon for the first time, falls asleep thinking about his three starter Pokémon choices: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle.
The next day he wakes up, only to realize that he is late to receive his first Pokémon from Professor Oak. Desperately running to the laboratory, Ash forgets to change out of his pajamas. Upon arriving at the lab, he sees that his biggest rival, Gary Oak, has already received his first Pokémon. Ash enters the lab, hoping that one of the Pokémon is left, until Professor Oak informs him that they have all been taken — all but one, though there is a slight problem with it. Ash, desperate for a Pokémon, ignores that and begs to have it. Professor Oak hesitantly brings Ash the final Pokémon,Pikachu.
After getting his Pokédex from Professor Oak, shocked by Pikachu, and embarrassed by his mother, Ash walks through the woods, searching for Pokémon to catch. Unfortunately, Pikachu does not want to go with him, nor does it want to get inside a Poké Ball or obey Ash's commands. Angrily, Ash attempts to catch a Pidgey by throwing rocks at it. However, upon striking the Pidgey, it turns around and reveals itself not to be a Pidgey, but a Spearow. Spearow's temper gets the better of it, and it begins to attack Ash and Pikachu. Ash grabs Pikachu and runs.
In the distance, even more Spearow have joined the attack. An entire flock is now zooming after Ash and Pikachu! In desperation, Ash jumps into a waterfall to escape. After swimming for a while, a girl (Misty) fishes him out. Ash realizes that the Spearow are still chasing him, and grabs Misty's bike and runs, much to her dismay.
As Ash pedals frantically away, he asks Pikachu to get in its Poké Ball for safety. Pikachu, realizing that Ash cared for it, leaps in the air and defeats the Spearow with a Thunder Shock, subsequently destroying Misty's bike and leaving Pikachu in critical condition. Ash runs the rest of the way to Viridian City to get to the Pokémon Center.
As Ash arrives at the Pokémon Center, Misty arrives and explodes at Ash about her bike, but softens up when Ash mentions Pikachu's condition. While waiting for Pikachu to recover, a band of Pokémon thieves show up: Jessie, James, and Meowth - Team Rocket!
Ash hurries to protect Pikachu, but Pikachu has another idea. After getting Ash to pedal Misty's broken bike until its headlight shines, it absorbs the energy from the headlight and sends Team Rocket flying. Ash hopes that they don't appear again.
High above them, however, are the three Pokémon thieves, vowing to capture Pikachu after seeing its true abilities.
Electric Shock Showdown
As Ash arrives in Vermilion City, he stops to reflect on the progress he made - not just with Pikachu, but with his friends too. Not only did Pikachu obey his commands easier, but Misty joined him in his Pokémon journey, as did Brock, an older boy who was formerly the Gym Leader of Pewter City. After stopping by a Pokémon Center for a rest before going to challenge the Vermilion City Gym, a Pidgey covered in bandages was wheeled inside on a stretcher. After being informed that the Pidgey was a victim of the Vermilion City Gym Leader, Lt. Surge, Pikachu panics and tells Ash it does not want to battle against whatever fought the Pidgey. Ash replies that Pikachu "won't end up that way, because you'll win!"
Ash and his friends enter the Gym, only to be confronted by a tall man, presumably Lt. Surge. Upon seeing Pikachu, Surge laughs and shows Ash his Pokémon, the evolved form of Pikachu — Raichu. Ash, not afraid, dashes into battle, only to be met with a quick defeat.
In the Pokémon Center, Nurse Joy gives Ash a Thunder Stone, and says that by using it on Pikachu, it will evolve into Raichu and have a better chance of winning. Ash wonders if he should do it, and realizes that if he does, he'll end up like Surge — only caring about winning and not about his Pokémon. He decides that it's Pikachu's decision, and it refuses to evolve. At that moment, Brock remembers that Surge evolved his Raichu instantly, and comes up with a battle plan.
Outside, Team Rocket is watching, and are amazed at Pikachu's determination and moral strength. They determine that if Pikachu wins, they absolutely must steal it.
The next day, Pikachu is prepared for its rematch with Raichu. the battle starts off with a rocky start for Pikachu, getting struck multiple times with powerful Body Slams. But as the battle progresses, Pikachu manages to evade Raichu's attacks easier by using its Agility. Upset, Surge commands Raichu to fire off a Thunderbolt, which destroys the Gym but leaves Pikachu untouched, as it used its tail as a ground to avoid the electricity. Raichu tries to use another Thunderbolt, but runs out of power. Pikachu responds to this with a Quick Attack, which KO's Raichu, earning Ash his Thunder Badge.
Team Rocket, who watched the whole battle, remark that Pikachu was out of the ordinary, and claim that soon Ash and his friends would find out how evil they really were.
Ash and his friends are camping out in a forest. They all express relief for getting a vacation after all their hard work.
Suddenly, Pikachu runs down the tree on which it was perched and away from the campsite. Ash, Misty, and Brock rush after it. When they find Pikachu in a clearing, they are amazed as they realize that it is not alone.
A whole herd of wild Pikachu are in the clearing, playing and eating. Ash's Pikachu waves hello. This frightens them, which makes them run away, which in turn makes Pikachu sad. As if in response to this, one of the Pikachu herd walks over and talks to Ash's Pikachu for a bit, which makes the other wild Pikachu realize they have nothing to fear from it. They run over and play with Pikachu, accepting it as a member of the group. Excited, Ash dashes into the clearing, also wanting be part of their herd. This frightens the wild Pikachu, and they run away again, this time not returning, which makes Pikachu sad again. Ash wonders why the wild Pikachu ran away, and Brock explains that as wild Pokémon, the Pikachu are not used to humans, and thus are afraid. Ash notices the grief he caused Pikachu and begins thinking if Pikachu would be better of without him.
The gang is unaware, however, that a familiar band of Pokémon thieves is watching them and has seen the entire herd. Jessie and Meowth say that by capturing the herd and giving them to their boss, they will receive a promotion. They promptly head off to their balloon to begin executing their plan.
Meanwhile, though it is night, Ash can't sleep, too busy feeling guilty about what he did to Pikachu that morning. At that moment, terrified Pikachu cries erupt from the forest, waking up Brock and Misty and startling Ash. The gang runs in the general direction of the cries to investigate.
There, they arrive to see all the Pikachu, including Ash's, trapped in an electricity-insulated net. That's when Team Rocket appear, and proceed to trap Ash and his friends in a net. They hop into their balloon and fly away.
The gang struggles against the net, and free themselves, because "This net may be Pika-proof, but it's not people-proof." In the meantime, Ash's Pikachu gnawed a hole in the net big enough for them to jump out of. Ash, Misty, and Brock use their net to catch the leaping Pikachu and soften their landings. Meowth notices that all the Pikachu have disappeared from the net. Ash's Pikachu leaps onto the balloon, and, while avoiding Team Rocket, pops their balloon with its teeth, which sends them spiraling away.
The next day, whilst Brock and Misty comment on Pikachu's superb training, Ash decides to leave Pikachu behind, as it seems much happier here. He tells Pikachu this, and rushes away from the forest so that Pikachu can't follow. As he runs, he remembers all the good times he had with Pikachu. This recollection is interrupted by Pikachu itself; it has chosen to follow Ash instead of staying behind with the herd.
Differences from the anime
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Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Not all differences.
- Ash thinks about which Pokémon he should choose while awake instead of asleep.
- Gary does not say "You must be Ash".
- Ash doesn't "play catch" with Pikachu.
- Professor Oak describes Dexter instead of Dexter describing itself.
- Ash's mother doesn't state that Ash should change his underwear everyday.
- Oak states that rubber blocks electricity instead of saying that rubber doesn't conduct electricity.
- Pikachu "chirps like a bird" before laughing at Ash.
- Misty's dialogue after fishing out Ash is different.
- Viridian City's Officer Jenny is completely absent.
- Lt. Surge does not assume Misty is the challenger.
- Team Rocket's puns after Raichu's Thunderbolt attack are absent.
- Team Rocket does not break the fourth wall after Ash wins the Thunderbadge.
- The back of the book states that Ash is eleven years old, like his game counterpart, but the actual book along with the anime state correctly that he is ten years old.
- The mistake was fixed in the Italian edition of the book.
In other languages