| Abra and the Psychic Showdown
Casey! Psychic Showdown!
|| August 26, 1997
| United States
|| October 6, 1998
|| Team Ota
|| 武上純希 Junki Takegami
|| 井上修 Osamu Inoue
| Assistant director
|| 井上修 Osamu Inoue
| Animation director
|| 酒井啓史 Hiroshi Sakai
| Additional credits
Abra and the Psychic Showdown (Japanese: ケーシィ！ちょうのうりょくたいけつ！ Casey! Psychic Showdown!) is the 22nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 26, 1997 and in the United States on October 6, 1998.
The party finally arrives in Saffron City where a young girl manages a gym of Pokémon using her psychic powers. If Ash defeats this particular Gym Leader, Ash can earn a gold badge. Gathering all their strength, Ash and Pikachu challenge her. She happily accepts, but adds the strange condition that if Ash loses, they must become her friend. The official gym battle begins, but Pikachu is helpless against the young girl's Pokémon, Abra. To make matters worse, Abra evolves in the middle of the match, turning into the more powerful, Kadabra. Employing even stronger psychic powers against Pikachu, Saffron City's Gym Leader defeats Ash. As this strange story unravels, Ash encounters a mysterious man who seems to be the key to solving the puzzle to this young girl's disturbing power.
The scene opens focusing on a silhouette of a woman, holding a visible little girl. In the woman’s eyes, she sees Ash and his friends making their way towards Saffron City. However, Ash and his friends appear lost and Ash blows up on Misty for her lack of directions, starting a full-scale argument among the group. They stop arguing when they spot a little girl giggle nearby bouncing a ball. She runs off as Ash follows. The forest gives way to a massive cliff drop-off and Ash plummets, but he calls out Bulbasaur to save him with Vine Whip. The Pokémon pulls him up to safety as they notice that the girl has disappeared. However, they spot Saffron City in the distance and Ash is excited for his upcoming Gym battle.
As they enter the city, Jessie and James, disguised as Hawaiian women, kiss Ash and put leis on him. They say that Ash and his friends are the one-millionth visitors to the city and they take them to a skyscraper for a prize. When they get there, James grabs Pikachu with rubber gloves and Jessie pushes the three onto a warp tile, sending them to an isolated room with no exit. They find out that they were set up as a television screen drops down. When Team Rocket removes the disguise, Ash freaks out at that they both kissed him. Team Rocket recites their motto, but Ash and his friends ignore Team Rocket. They show Pikachu bound up and Ash orders them to give Pikachu back. The monitor cuts off, but Team Rocket did not cut the link. As Jessie and James work to fix it, Meowth points to the little girl that got inside, the same one Ash saw earlier. She emits a blue aura, freezing Jessie and James, unable to move. The girl takes Pikachu and teleports into the same room with Ash, giving Pikachu back. Ash thanks her, but the girl glows again and points to Ash and his friends, teleporting them.
When Ash and his friends reappear, they find themselves in front of the Saffron Gym. A man runs up behind them and informs them where they are, suggesting that they avoid the Gym and runs off. Ash ignores the warning and heads inside, intending to win the Marsh Badge. They go inside, finding it empty at first. They run into a door and look inside, finding several people in the room practicing telekinetic powers. A man confronts them and Ash asks for a match against Sabrina. When Misty asks what the people in the room were doing, he demonstrates by holding up a spoon and bending it a little by telekinesis. Ash shows off by bending the spoon completely by force, prompting the others to turn away embarrassed. The man leads them to the arena and bows down in front of a gate, asking Sabrina to come out. The little girl appears, her eyes glowing red, using telekinetic force to send the man running. Ash asks for his official match from Sabrina and the little girl agrees. She agrees if Ash and his friends play with her if he loses. The gate opens as the little girl is revealed to be sitting on the real Sabrina’s lap. The doors close, sealing them in.
Sabrina and the little girl move over telekinetically as the arena lights up. The little girl tosses a Poké Ball, sending out Abra while Ash sends Pikachu. Pikachu acts aggressive but notices Abra is sleeping. Pikachu bounces around Abra, but it is sound asleep. Ash checks his Pokédex and it says that Abra sleeps eighteen hours a day but can employ telekinesis while asleep. Pikachu fires off a ThunderShock, but Abra wakes up and uses Teleport to dodge and get behind Pikachu. Abra suddenly evolves into Kadabra. Ash checks his Pokédex again. He thinks that it is unfair, but evolving during the match does not count. Ash orders Pikachu to fill the stadium with lightning to negate Kadabra’s teleportation. Pikachu launches several bolts of electricity into the ceiling, pooling it into a massive blast and sending it down towards Kadabra. It uses Confusion to coalesce the attack and send it back to Pikachu as a dragon, causing serious damage. It uses Psychic to control Pikachu’s body, forcing it to get up and dance. Kadabra suddenly sends Pikachu up towards the ceiling and back down, repeating the attack several times before Ash decides to forfeit the match.
Since he lost, he has to fulfill the request of being the little girl’s friend. She employs telekinesis to teleport them to another area. They reappear in a deserted town. They check the nearest house and find it empty. However, there is a set table complete with cake. Ash checks around as Brock samples the cake. When he bites into it, he finds it to be a plastic fake. Ash enters the bathroom and sees a woman in the bathtub. He turns away, but Pikachu points to the mirror, noticing that the figure is really a doll. Misty and Brock realize that they are in a dollhouse. The place rumbles as the house roof comes away, showing a giant Sabrina and the little girl towering above them. She slams her hand into the dollhouse as they run away, noticing that they were shrunk by telekinesis and are in her toy box. The little girl laughs uncontrollably as Ash and his friends run into a picture frame, showing the little girl and her parents. With nowhere to run, the little girl approaches, dribbling a ball and rolling it towards Ash and company. The man they ran into earlier appears and uses teleportation to get them out.
Ash and company reappear in Saffron as the man orders them to leave, mentioning that Sabrina is very dangerous. Ash is not willing to leave without the Badge and thinks that he just needs to attack faster to beat Sabrina. The man’s eyes glow red as he employs telekinesis on Ash, dropping his pants and forcing him to dance which makes Misty cover her eyes. The man laughs as he stops the telekinesis. Ash pulls up his pants unabashed and charges forward and asks to be taught telekinesis, but the man pushes him back, mentioning that a person must be born with it. Ash is still determined and steps forward as the man forces him to the ground. Ash gets back up as the man continues to use telekinesis to push Ash to the ground. He continues to crawl forward, shocking the man as he asks for help. It convinces the man to tell Ash that Ghost Pokémon can beat Sabrina, found in Lavender Town. The man teleports away as his friends help Ash up. Ash decides to go to Lavender Town as the man reappears nearby and mentions that he may be able to help Sabrina. Ash and his friends press on to Lavender Town. Meanwhile, Meowth drags Jessie and James, still frozen, as they follow.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- During this episode, it is stated that Ghost types are strong against Psychic types, when, during Generation I, the generation of this episode's airing, Psychic types were actually immune to Ghost-type moves. Similarly, in the Generation II episode The Psychic Sidekicks!, it is said that Psychic types are strong against Ghost types, although the reverse was true by then. However, Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar's secondary Poison type does make them weak to Psychic moves.
- This was more likely a mistake of the game than the anime however, as the official Nintendo strategy guide states that Psychic-type Pokémon take extra damage from Ghost-type Pokémon, and in the game itself there is a Trainer in the Saffron Gym that mentions that Psychic-type Pokémon "only fear Bugs and Ghosts".
- This is the first episode in which Ash finds a Gym and doesn't get the Gym Badge later in the same episode.
- Ash and his friends finding themselves in a dollhouse is most likely a reference to the The Twilight Zone episode Stopover in a Quiet Town.
- Also, Sabrina holding a doll of her younger self and using it to do her bidding may be a reference to another Twilight Zone episode, Living Doll, and her ball rolling down a narrow hallway is possibly referencing the first Indiana Jones film, Raiders of the Lost Ark.
- This is the only anime episode to date to feature a warp tile.
- The book Night in the Haunted Tower is partially based on this episode.
- This episode is featured on the Volume 7: Psychic copy of Pokémon Elements.
- This was first of the Ash's Gym battle episodes where he did not receive the Badge during the same episode, only two episodes later.
- Sabrina's dad states that only Ghost-type Pokémon can beat Psychic Pokémon. However, even in Generation I, Psychic types were only weak to Bug-type moves.
- The Pokédex claims that Kadabra is the Psychic Pokémon, not the Psi Pokémon.
- The scene where Team Rocket say their motto on the big screen, as well as the scene where Ash and his friends comment about it getting cancelled soon, was only in the dub.
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