Tentacool & Tentacruel (Japanese: メノクラゲドククラゲMenokurage Dokukurage) is the 19th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 5, 1997 and in the United States on October 1, 1998.
Our heroes arrive at Hutber Port, where a ferryboat line runs to the mainland. There they meet a cousin of the old man's competitor from Acapulco who, having recently acquired a great deal of money, is trying to construct a huge luxury hotel, turning a coral reef area into a tremendous resort. This section of coral reef, however, is very important to the Tentacool and Horsea that live there. When a huge school of Tentacool interferes with the construction of the hotel, the cousin and a group of young people organize a campaign to drive them away, offering a reward of $10,000 to anyone who can repel the Tentacool. Naturally this draws the attention of Team Rocket who attempt to get rid of the Tentacool by spreading a mixture of super secret stun sauce over the ocean. Their plan backfires, however, transforming the Tentacool into a gigantic Tentacruel which begins a fierce counterattack against the humans. In order to defeat this reign of terror, Ash, Misty, Brock and their Pokémon are drawn into a battle that will require more than just strong combative skill.
Misty spots an injured Horsea in the water as she, Ash, and Brock wait for the next boat to the mainland. The Horsea seems to be communicating a warning, painting an image with its ink, but Misty doesn't understand it and tries to catch it. Before she catches the Horsea, however, there is an explosion and a boat is destroyed. Misty immediately sends her Water-typePokémon – Staryu, Starmie, and Goldeen – to rescue the sailors that have been flung into the ocean. Brock grabs a nearby boat and heads out to assist in the rescue effort. The sailors are paralyzed and mumble about what caused their ship to explode.
Later, Ash and his friends meet Nastina, who is the spitting image of Brutella from the previous episode. She explains her plans of building an exclusive hotel on the ocean (literally, perched on a coral reef) for wealthy tourists. However, her building plans are upsetting the local Tentacool and Tentacruel, who've been attacking her construction site. She wants the Pokémon exterminated and offers a million dollar reward, which Ash and Brock are eager to accept. Misty angrily rejects Nastina's offer. She then explains her love of Water Pokémon to Ash and Brock, who don't quite understand her. The trio make their way to Horsea, now healed by a Super Potion, and Pikachu, who are enjoying a swim in a small pool. Misty finally understands Horsea's earlier ink drawings: they warned of the Tentacool and Tentacruel. Nastina then makes a public announcement offering the million dollars to anyone who exterminates the Tentacool and Tentacruel. The gang are nearly run over by the town's citizens, rushing to the beach to carry out Nastina's orders, and Nastina makes her way over to her loyal followers in a tank.
Team Rocket eagerly offers to help Nastina and set out on their boat. They plan on using their "Super Secret Stun Sauce" on the Pokémon and then selling them at a fish market for more money. However, their boat is soon surrounded by thousands of angry Tentacool, one of whom blasts the stun sauce with a ray gun-type attack and destroys the boat. The sauce lands on that same Tentacool, but instead of being stunned, it evolves into a Tentacruel hundreds of times the normal size of the breed, and promptly begins a citywide rampage. Tentacool overwhelm the land, while the giant Tentacruel causes a giant tidal wave that floods Porta Vista. Meowth is captured by the large Tentacruel and is used as its mouthpiece. It explains that it is destroying the city in much the same way Nastina has been destroying its home, the coral reef. Horsea that Misty pleads with the Tentacruel to stop, but is swatted away by its tentacle, though Pidgeotto manages to catch the small Pokémon and brings to Misty. Ash, Misty, and Brock send out their Pokémon to stop the Tentacruel, managing to return some of the Tentacool back to the ocean.
The Tentacruel doesn't understand why the Pokémon would fight on the side of the humans, but then Misty stops it in its tracks. She climbs to the roof of a building and pleads with it to stop its rampage. She tells the Tentacruel that the humans now understand that what they were doing was wrong, and that the hotel won't be built on the coral reef. Tentacruel replies that if their homes are attacked again they will not stop the destruction, then tosses Meowth into a Ferris wheel in the previously destroyed amusement park, which then collapses and causes Meowth to reawaken. Tentacruel then slowly goes into the ocean, followed by the Tentacool. Nastina attempts once again to destroy the Tentacruel, but has her face blotched by Horsea's ink before being whacked into the air by the Tentacruel's tentacle. The giant Tentacruel calmly slips into the blue sea, and Misty promises that the townspeople will not forget. Meanwhile, Nastina crash-lands into Brutella's construction site of a restaurant and destroys it in the process.
As Ash, Misty, and Brock board a boat to the mainland, Misty reaffirms her love of Tentacool, much to Brock and Ash's confusion. Misty also reveals she caught Horsea, calling it out to proudly show it off. She then performs Ash's victory pose, which annoys him. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is in a bucket attached to the ship, wearily plotting for next time.
This episode was banned for a period of time following the September 11 attacks. Kids' WB! refused to air this episode because of Tentacruel's destruction of a skyscraper, though the scene remained in the opening sequence. However, it did air only one time, one month after the attacks, and was never shown again until Cartoon Network began airing the series. It was also included with the release of the Pokémon: Indigo League DVD pack. This episode was also banned for a couple of weeks following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as it also portrays a city flooded with water.
Actual fish can be seen in the aquarium in Nastina's vision. This is one of the few occasions real animals are seen onscreen.
This episode marks the first time that a Pokémon communicates through Meowth's translations.
There is a noticeable similarity between the scene where Tentacruel speaks through Meowth, and a scene from the 1996 movie Independence Day, in which a captive alien speaks through the body of a scientist. In both cases, a voiceless creature covered in tentacles telepathically speaks through another being in order to make its objectives known to humans.
This is one of the few episodes where Zubat does not keep its Japanese voice.
This is the first episode with Yūsaku Takeda as animation director.
This is the first episode where Pikachu rides another one of Ash's Pokémon.
The scene involving Nastina's appearance was rewritten. The scene where she tells Ash about her new resort is changed completely. Originally, Ash apologizes to Nastina for wrecking the restaurant (referencing what happened in the prior episode), but she gets upset at Ash for being mistaken for Brutella.
James and Jessie's meeting with Nastina was also rewritten. In the original version, Jessie and James asked if she was Brutella from "Aopulco", and she fires the cannon as she was offended at being mistaken for her. In the dub, Jessie and James say "Look at that hair!" and "Disaster!", respectively, and Nastina shoots the cannon at them, telling them that she doesn't need their beauty tips.
Moe's restaurant's sign was erased in the dub.
Most of the Japanese characters (save for シーフード seafood) are removed from the dub.