| Bye Bye Butterfree
|| August 19, 1997
| United States
|| October 5, 1998
|| Team Ota
|| 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
|| 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
| Assistant director
|| 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
| Animation director
|| 玉川明洋 Akihiro Tamagawa
| Additional credits
Bye Bye Butterfree (Japanese: バイバイバタフリー Bye-Bye Butterfree) is the 21st episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 19, 1997 and in the United States on October 5, 1998.
As they journey toward Saffron City, our heroes come to a path that continues along the side of a sheer cliff. When the party sees a flock of Butterfree flying above the ocean, Brock, as a Pokémon breeder, explains that it is the Butterfree's egg-laying season. In order to continue their posterity, Butterfree find mates during this season and cross the sea together. Ash releases his Butterfree, sending it off toward the flock. His Butterfree performs a dance to attract a pink Butterfree, but is brutally rejected. Ash, Misty and Brock try to encourage Butterfree, but Butterfree can't recover from the shock of rejection. Just then Team Rocket arrives to poach the Butterfree. Ash's Butterfree tries to prevent the capture of his fellow Pokémon with very little success. Determined to free them and win the heart of the pink Butterfree, he battles Team Rocket with the strength and courage of a Pokémon in love. Can Ash's Butterfree rescue his fellow Butterfree Pokémon and win the heart of his pink Butterfree? If so, will he leave Ash, his beloved Pokémon trainer, to follow his love and fulfill the Butterfree destiny?
On the way to Saffron City, Ash, Misty and Brock arrive at a high cliff. Brock informs the others that the ridge of the cliff should lead right to Saffron City. Then Ash notices a large group of Butterfree in the horizon. Brock states that the Butterfree are celebrating their season of love to find a mate.
The group rents a hot-air balloon and are soon in the air following the Butterfree. Ash sends his Butterfree to find a mate but it struggles to get any interest from the other Butterfree. Brock states that none of the Butterfree may be "its type", pointing out the unique differences among all Butterfree. They then notice that other Trainers brought their Butterfree, especially a girl Brock falls in love with. Ash's Butterfree flies back to Ash and friends, and after they cheer up the Butterfree it returns to seeking a lifetime mate. Very soon Butterfree falls in love with a pink Butterfree. The pink Butterfree, however, rejects Ash's Butterfree's proposal. Ash's Butterfree keeps on trying, but the pink one eventually slaps it across the face with its wing. Being shot down, Ash's teary-eyed Butterfree then flies away into a forest.
Eventually Ash, Misty, Pikachu and Brock find Butterfree in the forest. Totally surprised, they discuss how they could help Butterfree. Ash decides to check if the Pokédex could help, but Misty notes that "Dexter's never been in love," so they instead decide to go with a show-off strategy. Ash tells his Butterfree to show its strength to win the love of the pink Butterfree. In order to make Butterfree also look better, Brock puts a scarf around its neck.
They return to the air with Butterfree. After failing to impress the pink Butterfree with Whirlwind and Tackle, Team Rocket arrives in a helicopter. They sing their motto as usual and then go after the Butterfree using a net to gather them. Ash and friends try to make Team Rocket change their mind, but it fails. Soon all the Butterfree are captured by Team Rocket, save Ash's Butterfree. Butterfree then tries to break into the helicopter by using its Tackle attack on the glass, but it fails. It also tries to stop them with Stun Spore, but it fails as well. Ash is about to recall Butterfree and use Pidgeotto instead, but Misty prevents this because Ash could hurt Butterfree's feelings. Team Rocket leaves the scene and Ash's Butterfree rushes after them. Ash and friends follow it to a warehouse in the middle of a bare canyon.
Ash and friends break in through a window while Team Rocket reviews their catch. They improvise a mock-up version of their motto. Team Rocket tries to prevent them from winning, but Ash's Butterfree dashes through them. Misty calls her Starmie out of its Poké Ball and commands it to chase Team Rocket with a Tackle attack. Meanwhile, Butterfree begins to Tackle the net bag holding the other Butterfree. After repeated attempts, Butterfree manages to break open the bag. Jessie hits Starmie with a hammer, but Misty revives it by spraying water on it. Brock opens the doors and the Butterfree fly out of the warehouse. Team Rocket tries desperately to catch the fleeing Butterfree with small nets, though they fail. Ash's Butterfree, exhausted from breaking the net, is still inside, the pink Butterfree approaching it, impressed by its determination. James tries to catch it, but Ash's Butterfree knocks James away, also making the pink Butterfree blush.
Team Rocket attempts to steal the Butterfree again by getting back in the air with their helicopter. Ash and his friends follow them with their rented balloon and they soon find them. As the pink Butterfree watches, Ash's Butterfree flies towards Team Rocket's helicopter with Pikachu on his back. Pikachu jumps on the helicopter and destroys the helicopter with its ThunderShock attack, sending Team Rocket down into the darkness. Having witnessed the determination of Ash's Butterfree, the pink Butterfree shows its new love by making its own proposal dance. Naturally, Ash's Butterfree joins the dance.
Back at the cliff, Ash, filled with emotions, bids farewell to the Butterfree couple. As they fly into the sunset, a flashback of Ash's memories is shown. Ash remembers first capturing Caterpie, then it evolving into a Metapod and finally into Butterfree. He remembers times with Butterfree such as battling Misty's Staryu for the Cascade Badge. As Misty tells Ash Butterfree is nearly out of sight, he wishes Butterfree good luck. Everyone watches the sun set as another adventure ends.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- In this episode Team Rocket's motto is ripped off for the first time.
- This episode marks the debut of Team Rocket's boss fantasies.
- The episode's title is based on the message that appears when the player releases a Pokémon in the games. For example, if a Butterfree is released, it would say "Bye-bye, Butterfree!"
- This is one of the few episode titles to be exactly the same, in spoken words, in English and Japanese.
- This is the first episode where a main character releases a Pokémon.
- Parts of this episode were reanimated and reused in a flashback in Butterfree and Me!.
- This is the last episode with the Kanto Pokérap in the Finnish dub, because it was considered to be surreptitious advertising.
Jessie's missing lipstick
- Jessie's lipstick is missing while in the chopper with Meowth waiting for James so that they can go recapture the Butterfree, and again when Pikachu first lands on their windshield.
- At the end of the episode, the song that plays during the scene of Ash and friends saying goodbye to Butterfree is different in both versions. The Japanese version uses Aim to Be a Pokémon Master, while the English version uses Pokémon Theme. However, they are both the first theme songs for their respective versions.
- However, in the Dutch language version of this episode, The Time Has Come (Pikachu's Goodbye) is used as the song that plays in the montage of Ash and Butterfree scenes and during the scene of Ash and friends saying goodbye to Butterfree.
- A shot of Ash giving commands to Butterfree was replaced with Butterfree doing a skydive.
- The banner that had Team Rocket's motto had the text edited out.
- Meowth's mention of becoming the top cat again was him saying "when we tell the boss..." and trailing off.
- During the scene in which Ash and his friends pursue Team Rocket and then Pikachu uses ThunderShock, an instrumental version of Kanto Pokérap is played in the European Portuguese dub. In the Dutch version, the song that plays during the farewell montage of Pikachu's Goodbye is used.
In other languages