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Original series
EP002 : Pokémon Emergency!
Pokémon - I Choose You!
ポケモン! きみにきめた!
Pokémon! I Choose You!
Series Original Indigo League arc
Season Pokémon: Indigo League
TV season [[{{{season_tv}}}|{{{season_tv}}}]]
DVD season [[{{{season_dvd}}}|{{{season_dvd}}}]]
Episode EP001
S01 EP01
First broadcast
Japan April 1, 1997
United States September 8, 1998
English opening Pokémon Theme
English ending
Japanese opening めざせポケモンマスター
Japanese ending ひゃくごじゅういち
Animation {{{olmteam}}}
Screenplay {{{scenario1}}} {{Romanizations/{{{scenario1}}}}}
Storyboard {{{storyboard1}}} {{Romanizations/{{{storyboard1}}}}}
Assistant director {{{director1}}} {{Romanizations/{{{director1}}}}}
Animation director {{{art1}}} {{Romanizations/{{{art1}}}}}
No additional credits are available at this time.

Pokémon - I Choose You! (Japanese: ポケモン! きみにきめた! Pokémon! I Choose You!) is the first episode of the Pokémon anime. In the US, however, the first episode shown was Battle Aboard the St. Anne. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 1997 and in the United States on September 8, 1998.

A remastered version of the episode was shown on Pokémon Smash! on April 1, 2012 to celebrate the anime's fifteenth anniversary. Only the episode itself was remastered; the opening and ending sequences, as well as the eyecatch, were not shown at all.

Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.


Meet Ash Ketchum, a 10-year-old boy full of imagination, confidence, and dreams that are almost too big for his village of Pallet Town—plus the desire to become a Pokémon Master!

Ash is finally old enough to receive his first Pokémon from Professor Oak, the town's Pokémon expert-but on the morning Ash is supposed to claim it, he oversleeps! By the time he arrives at Professor Oak's, the three Pokémon he wanted have already been chosen by the other Trainers-in-training, including his rival, Gary! The only Pokémon remaining is a strong-willed Pikachu.

Trainer and Pokémon don't get along right away. Not only does Pikachu refuse to enter its Poké Ball, it would rather climb a tree than battle a Pidgey that Ash encounters! Disagreements aside, they start to bond when they find themselves chased by an angry flock of Spearow. The Spearow wound Pikachu, but Ash risks his own safety to protect his Pokémon.

To further their escape, Ash "borrows" a bike owned by a young girl named Misty. He soon wrecks the bike; however, he and Pikachu are surrounded by the Spearow. When Ash fearlessly confronts the Spearow, Pikachu is inspired to summon its remaining energy to repel the Pokémon with a powerful electric shock.

Finally out of harm's way, the wild experience makes Ash and Pikachu realize that they've begun what promises to be a blooming friendship.


In a small Kanto region settlement called Pallet Town, a boy named Ash Ketchum stays up late watching a Pokémon battle on television. Ash’s mother, Delia Ketchum, scolds her son and tells him to go to bed, which Ash reluctantly does. Ash is eagerly anticipating the next day, where he will receive his first Pokémon from a man called Professor Oak.

Unfortunately, during the night, Ash accidentally breaks his alarm clock and is very late to arrive at Professor Oak’s laboratory. Since the usual Kanto starter Pokémon – Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle – are all taken by Trainers who arrived on time, one of which was taken by Ash’s rival, Gary Oak, Professor Oak hesitantly gives Ash a Poké Ball containing a disobedient Pikachu and also presents to Ash a Pokédex containing information on all Pokémon native to Kanto.

While Ash is excited to have a new Pokémon, Pikachu is not excited to have a new Trainer and the two of them have a very rocky relationship at first. Pikachu is extremely mistrusting of Ash and is so stubborn that Ash has to drag him around with a clothesline leash from the backpack Delia prepared for him. Making matters worse is the fact that Pikachu absolutely hates being inside his Poké Ball, so Ash has to keep Pikachu out with him at all times.

In the process of trying to capture a wild Pidgey, Ash accidentally angers a flock of Spearow. While running away from the Spearow, Pikachu is grievously injured due to many vicious attacks from the flock. After being fished out of a pond by a girl, Ash takes the girl’s bicycle so he can get away from the pursuing Spearow, an effort that is hampered by a raging thunderstorm. Eventually, Ash is left with no other choice but to stand in front of his injured Pokémon and defend it from the Spearow. This selfless act convinces Pikachu to help Ash, so Pikachu leaps over his Trainer’s shoulder and uses the lightning from the storm to defeat all of the Spearow simultaneously. However, Pikachu’s attack also hits the girl’s bicycle, destroying it.

As Ash and a barely conscious Pikachu get ready to continue to Viridian City, Ash sees a shimmering golden Pokémon flying overhead in the aftermath of the storm. Wondering what it could be, as the Pokédex is unable to identify the Pokémon, Ash and Pikachu make their way to Viridian City and Ash wonders what will lie ahead of him on his journey.

Major events

For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
201 Spoilers end here. 201


Dare da?
Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Pikachu

Humans Pokémon
Ash Ketchum Misty Professor Oak
Delia Ketchum Gary Oak Gary's cheerleaders
Pikachu (Ash's) Dodrio Rattata
Pidgey Sandshrew Mankey
Gyarados Spearow (multiple) Spearow (anime)
Ho-Oh (anime) Magikarp Nidorino
Onix Gengar Bulbasaur (dream)
Humans Pokémon
Ash Ketchum Misty Gary Oak
Professor Oak Delia Ketchum Gary's cheerleaders
Residents of Pallet Town Crowd at Pokémon League
Pikachu (Ash's; new; debut) Nidorino (unnamed Trainer's; debut) Onix (unnamed Trainer's; debut)
Gengar (unnamed Trainer's; debut) Spearow (anime; multiple; debut) Ho-Oh (anime; debut)
Bulbasaur (Ash's dream) Charmander (Ash's dream) Squirtle (Ash's dream)
Pidgey (debut) Rattata (debut) Sandshrew (debut)
Mankey (debut) Dodrio (debut) Magikarp (debut)

Release information

The following table lists this episode's availability on home video:

Title Episodes Region Year
I Choose You! Pikachu! 3 Region 1 1998
Pokémon GBA Video: Pokémon—I Choose You 2 -- 2004
Pokémon All-Stars, Volume 1: Pikachu 3 Region 1 2006
Pokémon: Indigo League, Volume 1, Disc 1 9 Region 1 2006, 2013
Pokémon: Indigo League - The Complete Collection, Disc 1 9 Region 1 2014
I Choose You! Pikachu! 3 Region 4 Unknown
Best of Series 1, Volume 1 5 Region 4 2002
Pokémon Season 1 Super Wallet, Disc 1 4 Region 4 2006
Pokémon: Indigo League, Disc 1.1 8 Region 4 2010, 2013, 2014
Pokémon All-Stars, Volume 1: Pikachu 3 Region 4 2010
Pokémon Kanto and Orange Islands Collection, original series Kanto, Disc 1 8 Region 4 2011
Pokémon: Heritage Collection, Indigo League Disc 1 8 Region 4 2014
Pokémon Season 1 & 2 - Limited Edition Collection ? Region 4 2014


Pokémon - I Choose You!
ポケモン! きみにきめた! Pokémon! I Choose You!
  • 首藤剛志
  • 湯山邦彦
Assistant director
  • Toshiaki Suzuki
  • 鈴木敏明
Animation directors
  • 酒井啓史
  • 一石小百合
Key animation
  • Izumi Shimura
  • Masami Murata
  • Sadatoshi Matsuzaka
  • Kiyoshi Nōji
  • Kenji Kodama
  • Hiroshi Sakai
  • 志村 泉
  • 村田雅美
  • 松坂定俊
  • 能地 清
  • 児玉健二
  • 酒井啓史
In-between animation check
  • Fujika Enomoto
  • 榎本富士香
In-between animation
  • 斎藤徳明
  • 須藤百合枝
  • 山下聖美
  • 東京アニメーションセンター
  • アニメアール
  • 進藤プロダクション
  • Takako Numata
  • 沼田貴子
Special effects
  • Tatsunori Nishimura
  • 西村龍徳
Touchup animation
  • スタジオエル
  • 真玉橋明美
  • 山田多美恵
  • 葦プロダクション


The beginning of the anime (left) and the opening of Pokémon Red and Green (right)
An early frame
The shadowed Trainer that resembles Bruno.
The green Poké Ball from the first scene
Ho-Oh in its debut
  • The beginning of the episode features sound effects from the original Game Boy games, drawing from the opening animation from Pokémon Red and Green (with a Gengar battling a Nidorino) before transitioning seamlessly into the battle that Ash himself is watching on TV.
  • An early, unused frame of the stadium battle scene exists.
  • The shadowed Trainer using Nidorino and Onix to battle greatly resembles Bruno of the Indigo League.
  • Ash's introductory shot is repeated in the first episode of Pokémon the Series: Black & White as a throwback to this episode.
  • Ash has a Voltorb clock with a cuckoo Pidgey in it. Furthermore, he ends up breaking it in his sleep, unknowingly using it as a Poké Ball shortly after 4 AM.
  • The order in which Ash opens the starter Pokémon's Poké Balls, only to find them empty, indicates his preferred choices: Squirtle first, Bulbasaur second, and Charmander last.
  • Despite this episode centering around receiving a starter Pokémon, neither Bulbasaur, Charmander, nor Squirtle actually appeared in the flesh until Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village, Charmander – The Stray Pokémon, and Here Comes the Squirtle Squad, respectively. This is unlike the following generations, when at least one of the starter Pokémon appeared in the first episode of each generation.
  • This is the only episode where Ash's Pikachu is seen inside his Poké Ball.
    • This caused confusion in the scene in which Ash drags Pikachu by a rope while wearing rubber gloves.
  • This episode revealed that Spearow see in black and white.
  • This is one of the few episodes in which Rachael Lillis provides the voice of Pikachu in a few scenes of the dub. This happened when another Japanese voice actor spoke over Ikue Ohtani's Pikachu voice and the audio could not be used.
  • The legendary bird Ash saw at the end of the episode was Ho-Oh. This makes Ho-Oh the first Generation II Pokémon seen in the series, and in the first episode of the entire series.
  • The book I Choose You! is based on this episode.
  • This episode can be found on volume 3 of Game Boy Advance Video.
  • This episode is featured on Volume 1: Pikachu from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
  • This episode is featured on Pokémon All-Stars: Pikachu from Magna Pacific's Pokémon All-Stars series.
  • Coincidentally, Ash would later attempt to use a Pidgey and Rattata in the following episode against Team Rocket after failing to capture both Pokémon in this episode.
  • This is the only episode of the original series where Jessie, James and Meowth do not appear in. The next time would not occur in the regular episodes until Rematch at the Nacrene Gym!, 672 episodes later. They either did not appear in a clip show episode AG120, which was never aired outside Japan.


  • As Delia catches the alarm clock Ash threw, her ponytail curls to her left shoulder. When seen from behind in the next shot, it is curled to her right shoulder.
  • When Professor Oak appears on television to discuss the starter Pokémon, the background colors behind Charmander and Squirtle are reversed (blue behind Charmander and red behind Squirtle). Bulbasaur's background color, green, is correctly shown.
    • In this same scene, the starters look significantly different between the shot of the whole television and the close-up of the screen. Charmander, for instance, has a much larger tail flame and more open mouth in the close-up.
  • When Ash throws the Poké Balls containing Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle in his dream, both sides of the Poké Balls are red. This was fixed in the scenes of the Poké Balls releasing the Pokémon.
  • As Ash runs to Professor Oak to collect his first Pokémon, the top button on his pajamas changes from green to yellow.
  • The sneakers that Delia hands Ash are the same ones he is already wearing.
  • After Gary tells Ash that his Pokémon is inside its Poké Ball, the order of Gary's cheerleaders reversed.
  • If all three starters had already been taken, then the Poké Balls containing them should be with their Trainers, as Gary's is, and not with Professor Oak.
  • After Ash opens Charmander's Poké Ball in Oak's lab, part of Oak's coat unnaturally changes position as he speaks.
  • When Professor Oak hands Ash Pikachu's Poké Ball, the bottom portion of the black ring surrounding the white center of the Poké Ball turns white.
  • As Pikachu's Poké Ball opens with a strobe-like flash of light, the background behind Ash differs greatly between the two frames. The buttons and features of the large machine change position and size. Also, the table and beaker in front of it change position and shape, respectively.
  • When Ash opens his Pokédex for the first time, the directional buttons are not present.
  • When Pikachu is up in the tree, Ash's coat loses its yellow stripes, but they return later on.
  • In the Japanese version, the Pokédex misidentifies Pidgey as the Sky Pokémon instead of the Tiny Bird Pokémon.
  • When Ash sees the Spearow flock again after Misty tells him where the nearest Pokémon Center is, his shoes are not colored, making it look like he only has white socks on. Then, when he puts Pikachu on Misty's bike, his shoes are colored normally.
  • When Ash places Pikachu's Poké Ball on the ground, his thumb passes right through it when he stands up to face the flock of Spearow.
  • As Ash looks at Ho-Oh at the end of the episode, his hat points backward as it had since he jumped into the river. As he walks uphill in the next scene, it points forward. When he gets to the top and looks at Viridian City, it points backward again. Lastly, as we see him from behind as he walks toward Viridian, his hat points forward again.
  • In the slap scene cut from the English version, the hole in Ash's hat matches his skin color despite being above his hairline.


Dub edits

The cut shot
  • Onix's Tackle was not referred to by its name in the dub, whereas in the Japanese version, the announcer clearly identifies the attack.
  • During the shot of the whole television and Ash moving his head into view, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle have their Japanese names written below their pictures. The names are gone during and after the close-up, however.
  • When the people outside of Professor Oak's lab cheer for Ash, the flag says "Go for it, Satoshi" (「ガンバレサトシ」) on the Japanese version. The dub edits this to "GO ASH GO".
  • The Poké Balls in Professor Oak's lab are labeled in Japanese when they first appear, but are painted over when Ash picks up one up. These labels are also partially visible when Pikachu's Poké Ball is revealed.
  • In the Japanese version, after being shocked by Pikachu, Delia tells Ash to change into his pajamas before going to sleep, even if it's the dirty pajamas he was wearing at the moment. The dub changed this to her telling Ash to remember to change his underwear every single day.
  • The Japanese version of the scene with Ash talking with Pikachu on Route 1 contains an untranslatable pun. When Ash asks Pikachu to talk ( hanashi) to him, Pikachu misunderstands this as him saying it has "no teeth" (歯なし ha nashi), thus opening its mouth to show Ash that it indeed does have teeth. In the dub, Ash asks Pikachu to open its mouth and tell him what's wrong, to which Pikachu responds to by literally opening its mouth wide open.
  • In the Japanese version, after Ash thanks Misty, she slaps him. This was cut from the dub (the screen freezes just as Ash answers Misty) due to physical violence. In the next scene, Ash can clearly be seen rubbing his aching face and Misty has her hand in the air.
  • In the Japanese version, Misty tells Ash there is a hospital in Viridian City; in the dub, she just says that it is nearby.

Differences between the episode and the comic adaptation

  • The opening League Battle was shortened, cutting out the reference to the Game Boy opening scene.
  • Ash's attempt at catching Rattata was cut.
  • Ash's escape through the river was shortened, only showing the first swimming distance. Gyarados and Ash's attempt to swim away from it were cut.
  • In the ending of the episode, after Pikachu licks Ash, Ash was silent, though his gratefulness for finally earning Pikachu's respect is still implied. In the comic, it has Ash either saying or thinking, "Hey, Pikachu really does like me!"

Differences between the episode and Pokémon the Animation Volume 1

  • After Misty scolds Ash for endangering Pikachu, she directly comforts and cradles the injured Pikachu instead of simply expressing concern for him.

In other languages


Original series
EP002 : Pokémon Emergency!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.