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| The Purr-fect Hero
It's Children's Day! Everyone Gather!
|| July 9, 1998
| United States
|| September 11, 1999
|| Team Ota
|| 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Assistant director
|| 小川浩司 Kōji Ogawa
| Animation director
|| 山本郷 Sato Yamamoto
| Additional credits
The Purr-fect Hero (Japanese: こどものひだよ！ぜんいんしゅうごう！ It's Children's Day! Everyone Gather!) is the 53rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on July 9, 1998 and in the United States on September 11, 1999. It was initially intended to air in Japan on May 5, 1998, but was rescheduled following the EP038 incident.
It's Kids Day, and Ash and friends help the children at a nearby school celebrate the holiday. Team Rocket spoils the fun with a Pikachu-napping scheme that goes awry when they snatch a kid instead of the Pokémon. But in a shocking turn of events, Meowth becomes a good guy—or does he?
The episode begins with Ash and his friends walking along a dirt path. They come across a few Pokémon banners and immediately recognize that it's Kids Day. Suddenly, someone mistakes the trio for the Pokémon Trainers they've been looking for. Once she receives a phone call, she realizes that Ash and company are not the Pokémon Trainers she was searching for. However, after hearing how she wanted to do something special for the children she teaches at the pre-school, the trio decides to let the children play with their Pokémon.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket reminisces about Kids Day. James always had a great Kids Day, whereas Jessie did not.
The episode goes back to Ash and his friends inside the school. The children rush over to play with Pikachu, who has to be taken away by Ash before he electrocutes the children. Misty and Brock also let out their Pokémon, who all begin playing with the kids. However, there is one child who is off on his own. This child, Timmy has no interest in playing with any Pokémon besides Meowth. He further explains that this is due to a wild Meowth saving him from a Beedrill. However, the children are in total disbelief and mock him.
Suddenly, a bright van pulls up to the school where Jessie, disguised a magician, convinces the teacher to let her, James, and Meowth do a magic show for the children. She agrees and Team Rocket sets up. They show the children, the gang, and the teacher an empty box, and claim that they need a volunteer. Pikachu is swept up by James who places him into the box. Both Jessie and James chant before tapping the box with a wand. Meowth flies from the box and completes the trick, much to the kids' enjoyment.
The trio try to make their getaway, but are stopped by Ash who demands his Pikachu back. Team Rocket reveals themselves, but are attacked by the overly excited children. They begin to bounce around Weezing before the teacher yells at them to quiet down and leave Team Rocket alone. Getting back down to business, James tells Weezing to use SmokeScreen which is able to blind the gang.
Timmy, upon seeing Meowth's distress, rushes over to help, but knocks down the box Meowth was standing on. This also knocks Pikachu out of the box, unbeknownst to everyone else. Team Rocket picks up the box and rushes off to escape. Ash worriedly calls out to Pikachu, but Pikachu is safe and sound inside the school. However, the teacher says that Timmy has gone missing. Then Misty does a Meowth impression.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket rejoices over their capture and opens the box, hoping to pull out Pikachu. Instead, they pull Timmy from the box, who proceeds to cry. The tears stop when he sees Meowth. He runs over to Meowth, thanking him for saving his life from the wild Beedrill. Meowth is about to tell him he has the wrong Pokémon, but Jessie and James convince Meowth to go along with the kid to avoid crushing his feelings.
Putting on an act, Jessie and James behave like they want to do harm to Timmy. Meowth jumps in front of him and uses Fury Swipes to knock Jessie and James down. Meowth grabs Timmy's hand and makes a run for it. They come running back to the school, surprising everyone. The children see Meowth and apologize for not believing Timmy's story in the first place and Timmy accepts their apologies and allows them to play with Meowth, who relishes in the attention.
Meowth accidentally lets some human speech slip from his mouth, getting Misty to call him out. In desperation, he makes a run for it, much to the dismay of Timmy and his classmates. Timmy chases after Meowth, followed by everyone else. Meowth is able to make it back to Team Rocket, but he is followed by everyone. Team Rocket recites their motto once more and challenges Ash to a battle. Jessie sends out Arbok while James sends out his Weezing. Ash calls his Pidgeotto out and Brock helps by using Onix.
Weezing uses Smog, which is easily blown away by Pidgeotto's Gust, along with Weezing itself. Arbok, however, escapes by using Dig. Arbok pops up in front of the gang, but was tackled by Onix. This tackle causes part of the rock on the cliff Arbok slammed into to crumble and roll. Everyone is able to escape with the exception of Ash and Timmy. However, a wild Meowth comes out of nowhere, kicking the boulder in two and saving their lives. Timmy immediately recognizes this Meowth as the one that had saved him before.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket is running atop a second boulder, disappearing from sight while chasing their Meowth, unable to stop rolling.
Once back at the school, the teacher thanks Ash and his friends for all their help. Timmy proclaims he's going to become a Pokémon Trainer as well, hinting that the wild Meowth is now his. Finally, our heroes say goodbye to their new friends.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Wartortle (US and international), Meowth (Japan)
- The correct placement of this episode in chronology is somewhat a mystery because of the episodes airing out of order due to the EP038 seizure incident. The events of this episode take place sometime after Who Gets to Keep Togepi?, because Togepi is present in this episode; it is estimated to take place either before or after the Todd Snap arc.
- This episode was originally scheduled to air on Children's Day itself, on May 5, 1998, but was rescheduled in the aftermath of EP038. The original schedule was as follows:
|| English title
|| Japanese title
|| Planned broadcast
|| Actual broadcast
|| Holiday Hi-Jynx
|| December 23, 1997
|| October 5, 1998
|| Snow Way Out!
|| January 6, 1998
|| October 5, 1998
|| The Battling Eevee Brothers
|| January 13, 1998
|| April 16, 1998
|| Wake Up, Snorlax!
|| January 20, 1998
|| April 23, 1998
|| Showdown at Dark City
|| January 27, 1998
|| April 30, 1998
|| March of the Exeggutor Squad
|| February 3, 1998
|| May 7, 1998
|| The Problem with Paras
|| February 10, 1998
|| May 14, 1998
|| Princess vs. Princess
|| March 3, 1998
|| July 9, 1998
|| The Purr-fect Hero
|| May 5, 1998
|| July 9, 1998
- This episode and the preceding air after The Breeding Center Secret in the dub. It aired between The Breeding Center Secret and Riddle Me This on Pocket Monsters Encore.
- The events of Princess vs. Princess were referenced by Ash in this episode.
- This episode seems to have a legitimate Multi Battle, consisting of Ash and Brock vs. Jessie and James towards the end, though Multi Battles didn't exist until Generation III.
- This episode is featured on Volume 11: Meowth from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
- Starting with this episode, the dialogue of Who's That Pokémon? sounds different from the previous episodes (unless a Pokémon has already been used in a segment).
- Also, this is so far the only episode in which the Pokémon featured in the segment is a Meowth that is not Team Rocket's. The next time a different Meowth appears is in The Ultimate Test.
- When Brock sends out his Pokémon, he says "that's not all, folks", a references to the "That's all folks" line at the end of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoon series.
- This episode is not listed on the Japanese official site. This may be due to it being aired as a special episode.
- During Meowth's fantasy of being revered like a hero, his English name appears twice as a logo and written on a card respectively. Bizzarely, this is the case even in the Japanese version.
- In a scene where the children throw Weezing around, Weezing's eyes are missing. However, it could just be that its eyes are not visible from the camera angle.
- Dub error: when the children are playing with James' Weezing, Reiko screams at her class to "get inside this instant!", even though they are clearly already indoors.
- When James reminisces over when he celebrated Kids Day as a child, the kashiwa-mochi (mochi balls wrapped in oak leaves, a traditional Children's Day snack) are replaced with ice cream sandwiches.
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