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| Challenge of the Samurai
Challenge of the Samurai Boy!
|| April 22, 1997
| United States
|| September 11, 1998
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Assistant director
|| 大原実 Minoru Ōhara
| Animation director
|| 平岡正幸 Masayuki Hiraoka
| Additional credits
Challenge of the Samurai (Japanese: サムライしょうねんのちょうせん！ Challenge of the Samurai Boy!) is the fourth episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on April 22, 1997 and in United States on September 11, 1998.
Misty and Ash continue to wander the Viridian Forest when they spot a Weedle. As Ash battles it, he's distracted by a boy dressed as a samurai and calling himself (naturally) Samurai. Samurai challenges Ash to a battle, and Ash gets the advantage when his Metapod defends itself against Samurai's Pinsir. Samurai sends out his own Metapod—and a standoff begins.
A swarm of Beedrill interrupts the battle. Ash flees, but leaves his Metapod behind. The Beedrill grab Metapod and take it back to their hive. As Ash sneaks toward the hive to save Metapod, Jessie, James, and Meowth shows up to cause trouble. Ash is able to duck the angry Beedrill, and they instead focus their wrath on Team Rocket.
Metapod is mad at Ash for being abandoned. Has Ash learned his lesson about leaving his friends behind? Will Metapod evolve again? And will Samurai and Ash ever resume their battle?
As Ash, Misty and Pikachu continue on their way through Viridian Forest, a shrill scream disrupts the calm of the trees and the Beedrill. Ash turns around, realizing that the sound came from his female companion. She is hiding in a tree because she has seen a bug, to which Ash makes a pun. Then he spots the bug, a Weedle, and decides to catch it. He tries to use Pikachu against it, but he is more interested in sleeping than battling, so he sends out his Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto manages to defeat Weedle, but, just when Ash is about to toss a Poké Ball to capture it, a boy dressed as a samurai arrives on the scene. The samurai asks Ash if he is from Pallet Town, and when Ash replies that, yes, he is from Pallet Town, the samurai challenges Ash to a Pokémon battle. The wild Weedle escapes and the samurai rebukes Ash for allowing it to escape, but Ash insists that it is the samurai's fault that the Weedle escaped. The two then begin their Pokémon battle.
Ash uses his Pidgeotto and the samurai battles with his Pinsir. The two battle for some time, but Pinsir finally manages to defeat Pidgeotto. Ash then sends out his Metapod. Metapod breaks Pinsir's pincers with Harden and wins the round. The samurai then sends out his own Metapod! The two Metapod continue to harden themselves, leaving Misty and Pikachu to wonder whether the match will ever finish. Suddenly, a swarm of angry Beedrill arrives, and one Beedrill lifts Ash's Metapod away. Ash tries to recall Metapod, but he misses and it gets away. The samurai takes Ash, Misty and their Pokémon to a safe place.
In the samurai's hiding place, the samurai furiously rebukes Ash for putting his Metapod in danger. Ash keeps quiet, and promises himself that he will find Metapod the next day and look after him better from then on. During the night, he is unable to sleep and can only think about his Metapod.
Early the next morning, Ash begins his search for Metapod. He sees him lying at the base of a tree, surrounded by many Kakuna, and attempts to sneak forward through the grass towards him without alerting the Beedrill swarm. However, he is interrupted by Meowth, who jumps on the back of his head. A moment later, Jessie and James appear on a cliff overhead, and launch loudly into their motto, ignoring Ash's warnings that they will alert the Beedrill.
Sure enough, the sound awakens the Kakuna, which evolve into Beedrill and prepare to dive-bomb Ash and Team Rocket. Ash runs forward below their attacks, reaching the tree where Metapod is waiting. Jessie and James attempt to take cover from the Beedrill beneath a large protective tank they have been carrying, but, as it is made of cardboard, a group of Weedle are easily able to chew through it.
Ash attempts to recall Metapod to his Poké Ball, but he rolls away from his arms. Seeing a look of sorrow in Metapod's eyes, Ash realizes that he has lost Metapod's trust. Ash attempts to explain what happened, saying that losing Metapod was all Samurai's fault. However, Ash suddenly realizes that he is lying to himself and to Metapod, and admits that losing Metapod was his fault and his alone. Ash is upset upon realizing that it was his carelessness that put his Pokémon's life in danger, and, amid tearful apologies to Metapod, he sincerely promises to take better care of him. His faith in his Trainer restored, Metapod saves Ash by leaping into the path of an attacking Beedrill, but in the process his shell is torn by the Beedrill's needle-like arm. Ash picks up his Metapod and cradles him in his arms, thinking he has been badly injured, but he instead begins to glow; the hole in his shell has triggered Metapod's evolution into Butterfree. Ash gazes happily at his first fully-evolved Pokémon, and even Misty doesn't feel her normal fear of bugs, going so far as to call Ash's Butterfree beautiful.
Ash and the others are then once again attacked by the swarm of Beedrill, but, this time, Ash is prepared for them. He orders his newly-evolved Butterfree to use Sleep Powder, which puts the bee-like Pokémon to sleep and allows the group to escape. Samurai applauds Ash for being able to control his Butterfree well so soon after its evolution. Samurai also tells Ash that he takes back the statements he made about Ash being a novice, and that, compared to Ash, Samurai is the novice.
Ash and Samurai part as friends, promising to battle again someday. Ash, Pikachu and Misty then go on and finally reach the end of Viridian Forest. Ash runs at full speed towards Pewter City to earn his first Gym Badge, with Misty following close behind. Team Rocket, meanwhile, are left wrapped up like Kakuna among a hive of angry Beedrill.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Metapod
Kakuna's original evolution method
Metapod's original evolution method
- This is the first episode not to have the word "Pokémon" in its title.
- This is the first time the lines "Prepare for trouble! / And make it double!" are included in Team Rocket's motto.
- In this episode, Metapod and Kakuna's evolution processes are depicted as their shells cracking and their evolved forms emerging, leaving behind an empty carapace, similar to real life insects' emergence from pupation. In later episodes, however, Metapod and Kakuna are shown to evolve like any other Pokémon.
- Ash tries and fails to capture a Weedle; however, he would later succeed in capturing its final form only to give it away shortly thereafter.
- In that episode Ash once again tries and fails to capture a Weedle.
- This episode features the first anime move error, as Pinsir cannot legally learn Tackle in the games.
- During the Metapod vs. Metapod battle, each side uses Harden in a futile attempt to defeat the other. However, Ash's Metapod should technically know Tackle as well, since it evolved from a Caterpie. It does, in fact, appear to use this move later to protect Ash from a Beedrill's Twineedle attack.
- When Ash, Misty and Samurai are settled down for the night and Ash is shown to be awake and worrying about Metapod, "Satoshi", Ash's Japanese name, is seen to be written on his sleeping bag.
- This episode was banned in South Korea due to a cultural problem.
- Butterfree's Pokédex entry in this episode states that Metapod evolves after one week. This means that one week has passed since the previous episode.
- Many times in this episode, when referring to multiple of a Pokémon, characters add "s" on the end of the name when the plural of a Pokémon is the same as the singular.
- During the flashback when Caterpie evolves, Ash's eyes are red in color.
- When Samurai first points his sword at Ash, Ash's gloves disappear.
- After Samurai challenges Ash to a match, Pikachu says "Pika?" and his mouth is white instead of the usual pink.
- Right before Ash and Samurai battle, Pikachu says his name but his mouth doesn't move.
- As mentioned above, Samurai's Pinsir uses Tackle in this episode, a move it is normally incapable of learning.
- The hole a Beedrill makes in the door of the cabin disappears in the next shot.
- When Ash sets out the next morning to look for Metapod, Meowth kicks Ash in the head and scratches him. After he starts crying, Jessie and James are shown on top of the cliff above him. Ash runs off after they finish reciting their motto, during which time Meowth is still next to him. However, when the camera cuts to Jessie and James jumping off the cliff and running after him, Meowth is shown jumping off with them.
- At the end of the episode, Samurai's sword appears smaller than normal.
- Also at the end, in one shot Samurai is standing under trees, but the trees disappear in his close-up.
- Ash getting in a cow costume and suggesting that a bug is a "cowterpie" makes more sense in the Japanese version, being an untranslatable pun: Misty says "Mushi! Mushi! Mushi! ...Mushi!" which means "Bug! Bug! Bug! ...Bug!". Ash then says "Ushi?", meaning "Cow?".
- The word "Mika" on Jessie's Kakuna disguise is painted out in the dub.
Differences between the episode and the comic adaptation
- The scene where Misty first encounters Samurai is cut, leaving Samurai's first appearance to be when he encounters Ash.
- During the scene where the Metapod are hardening during their battle, only the picture of Pikachu sunbathing is retained, whereas the episode shows both Misty and Pikachu sunbathing.
- The panel where Misty scolds Samurai and Ash for being "more hardheaded than their Metapods" reuses the panel where Jessie and James knock Meowth off their Beedrill-protection device.
- Meowth scratching Ash (as well as Ash's reaction) is cut from the comic.
- The final scene where Jessie and James end up wearing Kakuna disguises in the comic cuts out the part where they end up being stung as a result of the Kakuna deducing their real identities.
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