Friend and Foe Alike (Japanese: セキエイスタジアム！ＶＳヒロシ！Sekiei Stadium! VS Hiroshi!) is the 79th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on January 14, 1999 and in the United States on November 27, 1999.
A twist of fate pits Ash and his new friend, Richie, against each other in the fifth round of the Pokémon League Competition. Both are determined to triumph, but who will emerge victorious? And, can their friendship survive the struggle? Ash and Richie make a promise to each other that because they're friends they will make this the best Pokémon battle that they've ever had. Unfortunately, Team Rocket kidnaps Ash on his way to the tournament and demands he give them Pikachu or he won't make it to the battle at all. Ash is determined to keep his promise (and his Pikachu), and have the best battle of his life!
Ash and Ritchie find themselves battling against each other in the fifth round of the Indigo League. Overnight, Brock and Misty research Ritchie to gain some insight into his battling style, and are surprised to see that he did not lose any Pokémon during the previous four rounds of competition. Misty notes that Ash is in trouble because of Ritchie's Pokémon type diversity. However, Ash is unfazed by his friends' comments and remains confident in his abilities.
The following day, Ash goes to pick up his Poké Balls and encounters Ritchie along the way. Like Ash, he is also a little shaken from the prospect of going up against a friend. Nurse Joy points out that Ash is lucky that he gets to battle a friend, and he and Ritchie vow to make it their best battle. Later, Team Rocket lures him into meeting them with a fake phone call, using a voice changer device to sound like Ritchie. They kidnap him and load him into the back of their truck. Faced with the threat of missing his battle, Ash uses Squirtle to flood the entire truck, and escapes when it hits a roadside guardrail. Team Rocket returns, but Ash uses his Bulbasaur's Vine Whip to defeat them. They return yet again, with bikes this time, but Pikachu uses Thunder Shock to paralyze them.
At the stadium, as Ritchie makes his entrance onto the Indigo Plateau battlefield, Misty confronts him over the morning's rude phone call, suspecting he scared Ash off with his words to win. He denies making the call, and Misty realizes something is amiss. Meanwhile, Team Rocket returns a final time with a claw attached to their balloon and pursue Ash on the bike he stole from them. As they lift him into the air, Ash calls out Pidgeotto to fly Pikachu up to their balloon. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt on them, and they drop into the forest. Ash orders Pidgeotto to fly the balloon to the stadium.
Meanwhile, as everyone waits impatiently for Ash's arrival, the referee approaches Ritchie to inform him that Ash will be disqualified for not turning up and Ritchie will win the match by default. Ritchie tells the referee that he and Ash promised each other a great battle, that Ash must have a good reason for not being there, and that he is certain Ash will turn up. The referee agrees to give Ash ten more minutes. Eventually, Ash appears overhead in the balloon. Unfortunately, Pidgeotto has been left exhausted from flying the entire balloon to the stadium, and Ash thanks it for its effort.
The battle between Ash and Ritchie begins, with Ash sending out Squirtle and Ritchie using his Butterfree, Happy. After Happy quickly defeats Squirtle easily with Sleep Powder, Ash learns that Pikachu has enough energy to battle. Despite being at a disadvantage due to his lack of energy, Pikachu wins after a Thunderbolt. Ritchie sends out Zippo, who uses multiple Flamethrowers that Pikachu dodges. Then, Zippo uses Tackle, finally defeating Pikachu. Left with no other choice, Ash sends out the disobedient Charizard. To everyone's surprise, Charizard battles after he is almost hit by Zippo's Flamethrower, by shooting a Flamethrower of his own.
Ritchie recalls Zippo, which immediately eliminates it from further usage, before sending out Sparky. Charizard stomps on the ground twice, then uses his wings to create a strong wind that pushes Sparky back. However, upon realizing that it could defeat Sparky if it wanted, Charizard lies down to take a nap. Ash becomes desperate and begins to beg Charizard to resume fighting, but it refuses. The referee eliminates Charizard, giving Ritchie the victory. Though he is left upset by this, Ash suppresses his feelings and congratulates Ritchie. Later, Ash stands alone in the empty stadium, knowing that regardless of his loss, he still learned a lot.
Throughout the entire battle between Ash and Ritchie, only one command was actually given to the Pokémon.
This episode's title is formatted as Friend And Foe Alike on the DVD menu of Australian DVDs.
In the English dub, both Professor Oak and Brock refer to Charmander as a "Flame-type", when it's actually a Fire-type. This is likely a translation error, since the Japanese name of Fire-type is "Flame-type".
When Squirtle was filling the back of Team Rocket's van with water, the colored part of its eyes were absent.
Squirtle is ruled unable to battle after it is put to sleep by Happy, despite the fact that both in the games and in the anime, sleeping Pokémon are still considered able to battle until they are knocked out.
Nurse Joy's words of encouragement to Ash and Ritchie are different between versions. In the original, she says she envies them because they can show each other everything they've got. In the dub, she reassures them that even when one of them loses, they can still be happy for their friend.
Jessie, through the voice changer, calls Misty by name in the dub. In the original, she instead calls her a "violent girl".
Brock's reasoning for Ash's calm temperament after losing the match also differ greatly. In the original, he claims that as a boy, he has to hold back his tears. In the dub, he thinks Ash is happy for his friend as discussed by Nurse Joy earlier.