| A Friend In Deed
A Rival Enters!
|| January 7, 1999
| United States
|| November 20, 1999
|| Team Ota
|| 米村正二 Shōji Yonemura
|| 井上修 Osamu Inoue
| Assistant director
|| 井上修 Osamu Inoue
| Animation director
|| 梶浦紳一郎 Shin'ichirō Kajiura
| Additional credits
A Friend In Deed (Japanese: ライバルとうじょう！ A Rival Enters!) is the 78th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 7, 1999 and in the United States on November 20, 1999.
Ash's Mom and Professor Oak make a surprise visit to watch Ash battle in the Pokémon League Tournament. Professor Oak informs Ash that if he wins his next battle he'll be able to use six Pokémon in battle instead of three. He also tells Ash to remember that if he does his best but loses his matches, he's still a winner! On their way back from dinner, Ash meets another trainer who's also competing in the tournament and also has a Pikachu. Ash and Richie become fast friends especially when they have to fight the unrelenting Team Rocket that steals all of their Pokéballs, along with both of their Pikachu.
The episode starts with Ash and his friends going to get something to eat after Ash's victory in the fourth round of the Indigo Plateau Conference. When they arrive at the restaurant they find Ash's mom and Professor Oak standing outside. Ash's mom then heads into the restaurant and begins to cook at the stove, while the cooks look on in confusion. After the food is done the group goes and sits down to eat and talk.
They all head into the elevator and as the doors begin to close a boy runs up, asking them to hold the elevator. He sees Pikachu and pets him on the head. Ash warns him that Pikachu might shock him, but to his surprise Pikachu is enjoying the experience. Suddenly, the power goes out and the elevator stops! The boy tells them that he can get it running again and asks Ash if he can use Pikachu for his ThunderShock attack. Ash agrees, and the boy opens the device and lets Pikachu use ThunderShock on it. The lights in the elevator turn back on and the elevator begins to run again. Professor Oak remarks he's glad they opened the door for him.
Later on, Team Rocket decides to pull off another elaborate scheme: a "physical examination" of sorts. If Trainers do not comply, they will be disqualified. Unfortunately, when Jessie attempts to stuff Pikachu into a sack (getting shocked in the process), James lets slip Jessie's name, causing Ash and Ritchie to realize who they were. Team Rocket performs their usual motto, and, behind the cover of Weezing's Smog, escape with the Poké Balls and Pikachu. Ash and Ritchie chase after them, cutting through the mountains to reach the escaping van. Suddenly, the come onto the road where the Rockets are traversing upon. When seeing the "twerps", James swerves off the road and down a hill and into a river.
It's nighttime, and Ash and Ritchie still haven't confronted Team Rocket. They camp out, vowing to find their Pokémon at sun-up the following day. Meanwhile, the scene cuts to Team Rocket feasting by moonlight. After doing a "Poké-dance", the scene switches back to Ash and Ritchie, staring up at the stars.
Morning arrives. The search continues, and the pair come across tire tracks. Ash and Ritchie follow the tracks, and discover the van along with the sleeping trio of Rockets. They creep through the camp towards the van, and find a muffled voice. It's Pikachu! They are reunited, and the Poké Balls are there too! However, Team Rocket has woken up and finds them trespassing. The quickly rush out of the van, lock the doors, and drive. Still in the van, the twin twerps must think of a way out...
Finally, they remember that they in a van with 100+ Poké Balls at their disposal. Ritchie identifies his Pokémon due to star-shaped stickers, but Ash sends out a Drowzee, Slowbro, and even a Magikarp before Pikachu sniffs out Bulbasaur's Poké Ball. Bulbasaur uses Tackle and Razor Leaf on the van wall, but to no avail. Ritchie sends out his Charmander Zippo and orders it to Slash open the van wall. The tactic is successful, and the wall breaks to reveal Team Rocket. Jessie sends out Arbok, which is matched by Pikachu. But before Pikachu lets loose a Thunderbolt, James uses 'turn attack,' which causes Pikachu to lose balance. Arbok hits Pikachu back. Ritchie then sends out Sparky, his own Pikachu! Jessie orders an attack, while Sparky and Pikachu both counter with Agility. Arbok is overwhelmed, and both Electric Mice Thunderbolt the van. The front portion explodes, leaving the heroes safe and sound. However, even in Anime Physics, inertia still applies, which means the back of the van is still driving along a mountain road- and off a cliff. Pidgeotto and Happy (Ritchie's Butterfree) act as parachutes, catching their respective Trainers (Poké Balls and Pikachu included). After using Whirlwind to land safely, a group of SUVs (which turns out to be the Trainers, plus Brock and Misty) pull up to claim their Pokémon.
After they return, we leave off with Ash and Ritchie finding out that their next opponents are... each other!
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture:
- Pokémon senryū summary: Various limited edition goods, souvenir salesman.
- This episode as well as the next two episodes both have the word "friend" in the title, referencing Ash's ongoing friendship with Ritchie.
- This marks Ritchie's first appearance in the anime.
- Ritchie mentions being able to identify his Poké Balls from the rest of the stolen ones because he placed Star Stickers on them which can be considered an early precursor of the Seal concept before its introduction in Generation IV.
- Ritchie's Charmander is called Zippo, which may be a reference to the American refillable cigarette lighter brand, Zippo.
Professor Oak's discolored eyebrows
- When it turns dark in the lift, Professor Oak's eyebrows turn gray. The same error happens again when they're outside the elevator.
- Though the power goes out while the characters are in the elevator, when they emerge into the lobby, all the lights are on. Although, everyone in the elevator assumes that the power went out, when it could have just been the elevator that had broken down. Either way, elevators are never set on the same power groups in buildings as the main rooms.
- When James commands Weezing to use Smog for the first time, his glove is missing.
- Through most of the Team Rocket motto and a little bit after, Jessie's eyes are different colors. This is most noticeable when she says "blast off at the speed of light."
- When Ash is chasing Team Rocket, he turns around after Ritchie calls after him and Ash's eyes are a lighter color than normal.
- After Arbok is shown dizzy, Ritchie's eyes are blue.
- When Team Rocket got blasted off, Arbok disappeared.
- Ash initially cannot find his Poké Balls, save for Bulbasaur. However, after Pikachu and Sparky defeat Team Rocket, he immediately calls on Pidgeotto.
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