| The Whistle Stop
|| January 1, 2000
| United States
|| December 2, 2000
|| Team Ota
|| 米村正二 Shōji Yonemura
|| 椎名ひさし Hisashi Shiina
| Assistant director
|| 岩崎太郎 Tarō Iwasaki
| Animation director
|| はしもとかつみ Katsumi Hashimoto
| Additional credits
The Whistle Stop (Japanese: レディバのふえ！ Rediba's Flute!) is the 128th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 1, 2000 and in the United States on December 2, 2000.
When Team Rocket attacks Ash and his friends, a brave young Trainer and her flock of Ledyba come to the rescue. With a bolt of electricity, Pikachu makes quick work of Team Rocket, but they look to capture a prize anyway: the same bolt from Pikachu sends one of the Good Samaritan's Ledyba flying right into their clutches.
The episode starts with Ash, Brock, Pikachu and Misty traveling to a new town via a bridge, with Team Rocket watching them. Team Rocket plan to have our heroes drop into a cage under the bridge and then lock them in it. However it doesn't go according to plan because the bridge collapses. Meowth breaks the fourth wall wall by saying "We usually don't wash out this early in the episode." The bridge collapses and they fall into the river below. The gang arrive at the bridge and notice the gap in the middle, not knowing Team Rocket caused this.
They think of how to get across, with the nearest bridge being 10 miles away. They notice a woman traveling with Ledyba, by flight. They ask her help to get across the river. She introduces herself as Arielle and says that she can fly them across using her Ledyba, which she controls with a Whistle. She takes them across, one at a time.
She tells them about her job, which is picking apples using her Ledyba to pollinate the apples, commanding the Ledyba to fly up or down or pollinate with the whistle. Brock explains that this is how apples reproduce by pollinating. Ash sends out his Heracross to help the Ledyba, though it decides to suck maple out of the tree instead. Team Rocket spies on the gang saying that Arielle's control over the Ledyba would be a good present for the boss.
Team Rocket tries to steal the whistle by pretending to be TV Hosts. Team Rocket says their motto and takes off in their Meowth balloon. Jessie blows the whistle but the Ledyba do not obey her, because she hasn't trained with them. Jessie sends out her Lickitung and which uses Supersonic. The confused Ledyba won't listen to Arielle. Pikachu, unaffected by the attack uses Thunderbolt on the balloon, shocking Team Rocket and fires Team Rocket into the air. The Ledyba follow Team Rocket as the blast off, Jessie still in possession of the whistle.
Ash, Pikachu, Brock, Misty and Arielle search for the Ledyba. Brock uses his Zubat to find them. Ledyba and Zubat both use supersonic waves and it can therefore spot the Ledyba. However the Zubat finds a group of Golbat. Brock recalls his Zubat and the Golbat leave. Arielle says that Ledyba like the smell of flowers so Ash sends out his Heracross to sniff nicely scented Flowers. Heracross leads them to a tree with Maple on it.
Jessie throws the whistle away and says that it is worthless. Meowth says she is blowing it wrongly so he tries to use it, though he can't even get a sound from it. Jessie sends out her Arbok to find food. Meowth finally gets a note out which has an effect on Arbok, it starts dancing. James sees the Ledyba over in the bushes. Jessie suggests capturing them but Meowth tells Arbok to go underground and surround them. Jessie and James don't believe that Arbok listened to Meowth. Arbok appears in front of the Ledyba. Whilst the Ledyba was distracted, Meowth throws a net over them and ties them to rope. The Ledyba fly off with Meowth holding on though Jessie and James grab on to stop them from flying away. The Ledyba stun Team Rocket with Stun Spore. Team Rocket let go and the Ledyba fly away.
Arielle is worried that they won’t listen to her without the whistle. Ash reminds her of who looked after the Ledyba when they were young. Arielle smells the scent that the Ledyba give off when they’re in danger. Ash tells Pikachu to find them. Pikachu shows her an area, with Stun Spore filled air and orange footprints leading to Team Rocket and the Ledyba. They find Team Rocket and James activates a net which engulfs our heroes in it. Jessie tells them to give them Pikachu. Jessie sends out Lickitung and James sends out Victreebel.
They attack the gang who struggles to escape. Arielle wonders whether the Ledyba will listen to her without the whistle. Lickitung uses Stomp on Ash and Misty’s head and Victreebel uses Tackle. Arielle tries anyway and they listen to her, but they are being held back by Arbok, They break free and fly over to Arielle – dragging Arbok with them . Arbok flies into Lickitung and Victreebel and knocks them over. Ash sends Bulbasaur to get them out by using Razor Leaf. James instructed Victreebel to use the same attack, but Arielle instructs the Ledyba to fly upwards so the Razor Leaf cut the rope instead. Then downwards to dodge the next attack. Jessie tells Lickitung to use Supersonic. Ash tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt on Lickitung before it can use Supersonic, which knocks Team Rocket over. Arielle tells Ledyba to use Tackle on Team Rocket, which sends them hurdling into the sky. Arielle thanks them for the help and all the Ledyba gather around. The gang then heads out for Ash's first Johto region Gym battle in Violet City.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
TV episode debuts
In 2007, someone posted a backwards video of the scene where James was heard mumbling while at the grip of his Victreebel's mouth. Played normally, his dialogue appears to be gibberish. However, when the scene is played backwards, James clearly says "Leo Burnett and 4Kids are the devil! Leo Burnett...". Some fans had speculated that Eric Stuart, the then voice actor for Brock and James, may have left the hidden message to poke fun at Burnett's idea of animation commercialism and at the same time mocking 4Kids Entertainment for upsetting the fans who were unsatisfied with the international edits back when the company was responsible for dubbing the Pokémon anime.
In 2011 at Matsuricon, a fan asked Stuart about this quote, which he confirmed was indeed intentional and claimed that it was because he was no longer being paid for his short commercials while working for 4Kids.
In the version streaming on Pokémon TV and on the 2015 DVD set of The Johto Journeys, the backmasked audio is replaced with James screaming.
- After Team Rocket steals the whistle it disappears while they say their motto and briefly afterwards.
- Arielle says that she uses different whistle notes to direct the Ledyba, but throughout the episode only one note is played.
- When Arielle is telling the Ledyba to climb and descend, when Arielle says "climb", the Ledyba descends, and when she says "descend", the Ledyba climbs.
- When Mr. Douglas appears, he mispronounces Arielle's name.
In other languages