The original airing credited 志村泉 Izumi Shimura and 岩根雅明 Masaaki Iwane as animation directors in addition to Hiroshi Sakai.
Pikachu's Goodbye (Japanese: ピカチュウのもりForest of Pikachu) is the 39th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 16, 1998 and in the United States on November 20, 1998. It was the first episode to air after the EP038 incident. Notably, it is also, with EP040, the first hour-long Pokémon special.
Misty and Brock continue to journey with Ash as he seeks to become a Pokémon Master. Passing through a beautiful forest, the three of them stop for a rest. As they enjoy the restful mood, Pikachu notices something staring at them from the shadows of the bush around them. Realizing that they are being watched by a group of wild Pikachu, Pikachu bounds after them into the woods. Paying no heed to Ash's call, Pikachu runs further and further into the wild unknown. Though they seem frightened at first, the group eventually opens up to Pikachu and they play together as friends. Will the group be as receptive to Ash when he makes his presence known?
Ash, Misty, and Brock were resting in the forest. Ash started to swing on vines, but he slammed into a tree. Pikachu came over to see if Ash was all right when he saw a small Pikachu. Ash and Pikachu ran after it and Misty and Brock followed them, only to see a whole clan of Pikachu with the small Pikachu in a clearing. Pikachu said hello but the wildPikachu got scared and ran off. Pikachu started to walk away, but the small Pikachu came over and shook tails with him. Brock claimed it must have accepted Ash's Pikachu. Ash ran toward them, yelling that he wants to be part of their group, but he scared them and they ran off.
Later, Ash asks Brock and Misty why the Pikachu ran away. Brock tells him that he probably scared the Pikachu, because they were not used to human contact in the deep forest they were in. The small Pikachu, watching their conversation, fell into a river and Ash's Pikachu jumped in to save it. The Pikachu all started joining tails to save them and they succeeded.
At night, all of the Pikachu started singing their Pikachu chant. Ash and his friends watched and saw how happy Ash's Pikachu was. Ash was sad, but when asked what was wrong claimed it was nothing. He stayed up while Misty and Brock slept and saw Pikachu's face in the fire. He thought maybe Pikachu should be with his own kind. The fire finally went out, with the image of Pikachu running away. Suddenly, the Pikachu screamed for help. Ash, Brock, and Misty went to investigate the noise immediately, only to find all the Pikachu captured in a net which was, as Jessie said, electric-proof. James shot a net at Ash and his friends, but they got out of it very easily. Team Rocket started sailing away with the Pikachu but Ash's Pikachu began chewing at the net and broke it. Ash and his friends held up the net they were captured in and the Pikachu jumped into it unharmed. Ash's Pikachu bit a hole in the balloon and Team Rocket started "blasting off again". Ash started to walk away without Pikachu and Misty and Brock asked him why. He said Pikachu would be happier here. Pikachu started following but Ash yelled at him to stay behind. He ran away and remembered a lot about Pikachu, having a flashback of many memories of their previous adventures.
Finally, Ash stopped and Misty and Brock caught up to him. Behind Ash, his Pikachu shook tails with the small Pikachu and all the wild Pikachu started chanting. Pikachu ran into Ash's arms. Ash was so touched that he started to cry. The episode ended with Ash and Pikachu hugging, with the narrator saying that in their hearts, they know that they will face every challenge together.
Explanation of EP038 incident
Miyuki explaining the incident
The first broadcast begins with Miyuki Yadama formally greeting the viewers while surrounded by Pokémon dolls. Miyuki mentions that the Pocket Monsters anime will be starting again soon. Miyuki then mentions the details of the incident and apologies for the issue and its effects on the viewers.
Miyuki continues by discussing the hiatus and the reason why the anime was taken off the air, mentioning that research was conducted into how the incident occurred with the help of doctors, Japanese government officials, and the broadcasting stations. She highlights that the main cause of the issue was a scene where the colors red and blue were rapidly switched at a rate higher than 24 frames per second. She then notes early hypotheses that had been rejected, such as the effect of strong lights. She mentions that the research found that striped or swirling patterns and the color red should be used with care.
The scene then switches to a board with letters, drawings, and postcards from viewers in support of the anime. After focusing on two of the drawings, Miyuki thanks the viewers for the letters of encouragement.
After the scene changes back, Miyuki makes a request for all viewers to watch television at a distance from the screen and in a room that is well lit. The debriefing ends with a shot of the Pokémon around Miyuki.
After Team Rocket finishes their motto, James says, "We'd like to thank all of our fans for their loyalty and support. This victory is for them", obviously breaking the fourth wall, and possibly referencing how Pokémon fans in Japan helped get the anime back on air after EP038.
The episode title is spelled Pickachu's Goodbye on the back of the box of the Australian VHS release.
When the wild Pikachu save the smaller Pikachu and Ash's Pikachu from going over the waterfall, all of the wild Pikachu in the chain have a torn tail. This is a result of the animation studio cycling the animation in order to save time.
Some care was taken into this scene as only the leader Pikachu has torn ears.
Later scenes are inconsistent with the number of Pikachu which have torn tails. This could be up for interpretation as the number of Pikachu Team Rocket steals is much greater than depicted in any other scene.
At this time, the leader Pikachu is missing the brown at the base of its tail when its rear end is facing the viewer.
The number of Pikachu changes throughout the episode. Although about 30 Pikachu are present when Ash, Pikachu, Brock, and Misty first see the group of Pikachu, the number of Pikachu increases greatly when Team Rocket steal the Pikachu and fly off with their balloon.
Jessie has no lipstick twice in the episode, during the motto, and when she explains that the net full of Pikachu is made out of material that absorbs electricity.
In the Japanese version of the scene leading up to the Ash and Pikachu montage, Ash originally yelled at Misty and Brock to shut up when they asked why he's leaving Pikachu. Then, when he was saying his goodbyes to Pikachu, Ash's voice was trembling as he was trying not to cry. Additionally, there was originally no music playing from the moment Ash puts out the campfire until he starts running away.
The original montage of Ash and Pikachu is different in both versions. The original Japanese version has clips that are shown in chronological episodic order. The dubbed English version have clips from certain episodes in random order, with many clips missing from the original Japanese version, and it also has some clips not present in the original Japanese version.