The Bug Stops Here (Japanese: むしとりたいかい！しぜんこうえんでゲットだぜ！！Bug Catching Tournament! Capture a Pokémon at the Nature Park!!) is the 161st episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 24, 2000 and in the United States on August 25, 2001.
En route to Ecruteak City, our heroes make their way through a beautiful national park. Finding that a Bug Pokémon catching contest is being held, Ash signs up and runs into fellow trainer Casey and her Chikorita. In an effort to catch the best Bug Pokémon and win the contest, Casey pushes her Chikorita too hard and learns a lesson about the importance of putting her Pokémon's welfare ahead of winning. Watch as Casey's Chikorita evolves in order to help save Ash and Pikachu from Team Rocket's grasp! En route to Ecruteak City, our heroes make their way through a beautiful national park. Finding that a Bug Pokémon catching contest is being held, Ash signs up and runs into fellow trainer Casey and her Chikorita. In an effort to catch the best Bug Pokémon and win the contest, Casey pushes her Chikorita too hard and learns a lesson about the importance of putting her Pokémon's welfare ahead of winning. Watch as Casey's Chikorita evolves in order to help save Ash and Pikachu from Team Rocket's grasp!
On their way to Ecruteak City, Ash, Misty, and Brock come across Johto's National Park which is hosting a Pokémon Bug-Catching Contest. The rules state that each participant is given a special "Park Ball". They are to enter the forest, and using only one Pokémon, catch the strongest Bug-type Pokémon they can find. Whoever gets the strongest one wins the competition and, in addition to keeping the Pokémon they catch also wins a Sun Stone. Eager to get a new Pokémon, Ash decides to enter the contest. While registering he encounters a familiar face: Casey, the baseball-loving Trainer from a previous episode. She tells him that she's entering the contest as well, and announces that she intends to beat Ash no matter what the cost.
Meanwhile Jessie and James are also trying to enter the contest. Unfortunately they are unable to register, due to the contest's rule that forbids anybody over the age of 16 from entering. Not to be deterred from finding new Pokémon, Jessie, James and Meowth kidnap a contest employee and sneak into the contest grounds with his Venomoth costume.
Viewing from a screen in an amphitheater inside the park, Misty and Brock watch as Casey and Ash venture deeper into the forest. Ash quickly spots a Weedle. He orders Pikachu to attack it, but before he can engage it Casey appears and attacks it with her Chikorita. She easily catches it and continues on her way, ignoring Ash's protest that he saw it first.
In another part of the forest Team Rocket attempts to use their stolen costume to attract Pokémon. Jessie succeeds in luring a wild Venomoth towards her, but gets hit with Stun Spore when the bug Pokémon realizes she's a fake. As they recover from the attack James and Meowth decide to try a different plan.
Meanwhile, Casey orders Chikorita to start attacking trees, and manages to knock some wild Pineco out of their hiding spots. After a short battle Chikorita manages to defeat them and the two continue on their way. Watching from the amphitheater Misty and Brock comment on her momentum. However Misty's attention is taken away from the contest when several bug Pokémon appear nearby.
Back in the forest Casey notices Chikorita lagging behind, still tired from its previous battles. Still wanting to win she tells it not to give up, and the pair continue their hunt. They soon encounter a rare Scyther. Despite Chikorita's obvious exhaustion Casey orders it to attack and the tired Pokémon soon finds itself in a battle it can't win. At the last moment Ash appears with Pikachu and saves Chikorita. He yells at Casey for being an irresponsible Trainer then lures the Scyther away so that she and Chikorita can rest. Not wanting to listen to him, Casey tries to encourage Chikorita, only to realize that it has run away.
Meanwhile Togepi has wandered into the forest. It finds Chikorita hiding in a bush, and tries to cheer it up. Misty and Brock soon appear looking for it and Casey stumbles upon them a moment later. She calls Chikorita over to her, but is surprised to find that it refuses to listen to her. Misty tells her it's because she'd ignored Chikorita's feelings, and made it fight until it collapsed. Realizing her mistake Casey tearfully apologizes to Chikorita who joyfully jumps into her arms.
Elsewhere Ash and Pikachu continue their pursuit of the Scyther. Following it through a bush they accidentally disturb a small swarm of Beedrill who swoop down to attack them. Taking advantage of the opportunity Ash orders Pikachu to drive them off with Thunderbolt, and easily catches one of the shocked Beedrill. The two begin to celebrate but suddenly fall into one of Team Rocket's infamous pit traps. The pit drops them into an insulated cage, and the pair are quickly lifted off by Team Rocket's hot air balloon.
Misty, Brock and Casey come running to help Ash and Pikachu. Casey orders Chikorita to use Razor Leaf but finds that it's too weak to hurt the balloon or free Ash. Taunting the people on the ground Meowth pulls out a large rocket and prepares to fire it at them. In response to this new threat Casey's Chikorita suddenly evolves into a Bayleef and easily deflects Meowth's attack. Using Razor Leaf again, Bayleef is able to free Ash and Pikachu who quickly send Team Rocket blasting off with a Thunderbolt.
With the Beedrill he caught Ash wins the contest, earning him a Sun Stone as well allowing him to keep Beedrill. Ash however decides to give his Beedrill away to Casey, as thanks for her help against Team Rocket and also because of her obsession with black and yellow-striped Pokémon. She tearfully accepts his gift and happily sings the Electabuzz Fight song before parting ways with Misty, Brock, and him again.
Ash holding Beedrill's Poké Ball and his new Sun Stone
The Park Balls pictured in this episode are vastly different from the later-introduced Sport Ball in-game sprites, likely due to a design change between the time of Generation II and Generation IV. This is similar to the alteration in design of the Safari Ball, which appears differently between its anime debut and its Generation III reintroduction with an in-game sprite.
Both Jessie and James are over 16 years old, at least in the dub. This is one of the few times the anime has mentioned their ages.
In the Japanese version, the Pokémon featured in the episode's Dare Da? (Who's this?) segment is Jessie in the Venomoth suit. When the "Pokémon" is revealed, the narrator calls it a Venomoth, but the kids then shout, "Incorrect!"
It should be noted that this is the second time the Dare Da? (Who's This?) Pokémon segment had a human appearing as a "Pokémon", with Brutella having earlier appeared in EP018.
Misty was scared of every single Bug Pokémon in the episode and reacted to them by hiding or shooing them away. The only Bug-type Pokémon she didn't react to was Pineco; she even asked Brock if Pineco are Bug-type Pokémon or not.
Casey telling her Chikorita to knock the tree down is a reference to the games, where the player can Headbutt trees to find wild Pokémon.
While saying her last line in the motto, Jessie holds a bag with a fish in it.
After Casey's Chikorita evolves into Bayleef, its headband appears to have disappeared.
This is the only episode in which Ash gave a Pokémon to another Trainer.
Casey saying "Speed and charge" in the Japanese version soon after catching a Weedle is the same slogan which former Baseball manager of the Yomiuri Giants, Shigeo Nagashima used.
Casey telling her Chikorita to "Show the power of the machine gun battling line!" is a reference to the "Machine Gun Offense" used by the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, during their '98 season.
In one scene, Misty's shoes are colored all white.
When Misty is complaining about Bug-type Pokémon, Togepi moves its mouth, but it doesn't say anything.