| The Grass Route
Popocco! Grass Pokémon Battle!!
|| December 21, 2000
| United States
|| November 3, 2001
|| Team Ota
|| 藤田伸三 Shinzō Fujita
|| 井上修 Osamu Inoue
| Assistant director
|| 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
| Animation director
|| 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
| Additional credits
The Grass Route (Japanese: ポポッコ！くさポケモンバトル！！ Popocco! Grass Pokémon Battle!!) is the 178th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on December 21, 2000 and in the United States on November 3, 2001.
En route to Ecruteak, Ash and company are caught by the sight of a Skiploom racing by. Following after it, they encounter its trainer, Ephram. He and his Skiploom are training for the upcoming annual Grass-Type tournament, a contest for Grass Pokémon only. Confident he can win any local tournament, Ash decides he and Bulbasaur will enter as well. Ephram and his Skiploom train hard as the tournament quickly approaches. However, Ash doesn't think it is necessary for someone of his Pokémon prowess to prepare. Find out who triumphs as young Ephram and Ash face off in the final round of the tournament!
On the route to Ecruteak City, Ash and his friends notice an array of Grass type Pokémon around them. Brock points out groups of Sunflora, Oddish, and Bellsprout, and Misty notices a Gloom. Suddenly, a Skiploom runs by the three trainers. Ash, Misty, and Brock follow the Pokémon and soon encounter its Trainer, a young boy named Ephraim. Ephraim introduces his Skiploom as "Skippy", and asks Ash if he is a trainer, and Ash shows Ephraim his three badges as proof. Ephraim immediately challenges Ash to a battle, eager to train Skippy. Ash accepts, calling upon his Chikorita. Ephraim calls for Skippy to use its Double Team attack, and Chikorita is dazed by Skippy's speed. Ash commands for Chikorita's Razor Leaf, which successfully hits Skippy and causes it to faint. Ash celebrates his victory, but Misty scolds him, saying he should be ashamed of how badly he hurt Ephraim's Skiploom. Skippy proves to be fine, and Ephraim invites the trainers back to his house.
At his house, Ephraim introduces the group to his parents. He then tells Ash that the reason he challenged him is that he and his Skiploom are training for the upcoming annual Grass Tournament. The Grass Tournament is a competition for Grass-type Pokémon only, with a large collection of Leaf Stones as the prize. Confident he can win any “local” tournament, Ash decides he and his Bulbasaur will enter as well. Meanwhile, Team Rocket find a flyer advertising the Grass Tournament and decide that they will enter too, in hopes of winning the prize Leaf Stones. James will use his Victreebel, but Jessie, having no Grass type Pokémon, resorts to having Meowth disguise itself as a Sunflora. That evening, Ephraim is seen training with Skippy and practicing their Double Team and speed moves. Misty asks Ash if he is planning to train, but Ash arrogantly replies that a small local tournament is far too easy for him, and he does not need to train.
The following day, the tournament begins. Ash is the first to battle, facing a trainer with a Gloom. Ash and Bulbasaur manage to defeat their opponent with a single attack, advancing Ash to the next round. Ephraim's first round battle is against James, posing as "Mr. Semaj" and his Victreebel. Though intimidated at first, Ephraim and Skippy manage to easily take down Victreebel with a Leech Seed attack. The moment he wins the match, Ephraim's parents rejoice over their son's accomplishment, much to Ephraim's embarrassment.
Ash's second round battle is shown after, and he challenges Jessie and a disguised Meowth. By using Razor Leaf, Bulbasaur is able to shred Meowth's costume and reveal Jessie's dishonesty. At this, the Team Rocket trio remove their disguises and recite their motto. The three try to steal the Leaf Stones, but Ash blasts them off with Bulbasaur's Vine Whip. Afterward, a montage is shown of Ash and Ephraim winning their rounds in the tournament with relative ease.
The final is Ephraim and Skippy against Ash and Bulbasaur. At first, Ash and Bulbasaur dominate the match, smashing through Skippy's Double Team attack. After an array of attacks, Ash tells Ephraim he doesn't want to harm the Skiploom any more than necessary. Ephraim asks Skippy if it is ok to keep fighting or if it would like to stop. Skiploom affirms that it wants to continue, and Ephraim agrees and tells Skippy to do "whatever it takes to win". At this, Skiploom unleashes a powerful SolarBeam attack, must to everyone's shock. This unexpected attack hits Bulbasaur straight on sending it flying. Bulbasaur is finished with a Tackle attack from Skippy, winning Ephraim the match and the tournament. Later, as Ephraim is handed the trophy, Ash remembers that pride and power aren't the only things a Trainer needs to win a battle. After this lesson in humility, Ash, Misty, and Brock continue their journey.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- When this episode's title is shown, the Pokémon logo is missing.
- The original airing of this episode on Hungama TV in India started the episode directly from the title card, skipping the part of the episode that comes before it.
In other languages