- This article is about the first episode. For other uses, see I Choose You!.
| Pokémon - I Choose You!
Pokémon - I Choose You! (Japanese: ポケモン！きみにきめた！ Pokémon! I Choose You!) is the first episode of the Pokémon anime. In the US, however, the first episode shown was Battle Aboard the St. Anne. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 1997 and in the United States on September 8, 1998.
A remastered version of the episode was shown on Pokémon Smash! on April 1, 2012 to celebrate the anime's fifteenth anniversary. Only the episode itself was remastered; the opening and ending sequences, as well as the eyecatch, were not shown at all.
A second remastered version was first screened during Team Rocket's Emergency Meeting event held in Tokyo, on July 13, 2017. It was then aired on television on July 23, 2017 as the first episode of Pocket Monsters Anime Premier 10, to celebrate the anime's twentieth anniversary. This version includes a remastered opening, ending and eyecatch sequences.
|Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.|
Meet Ash Ketchum, a 10-year-old boy full of imagination, confidence, and dreams that are almost too big for his village of Pallet Town—plus the desire to become a Pokémon Master!
Ash is finally old enough to receive his first Pokémon from Professor Oak, the town's Pokémon expert-but on the morning Ash is supposed to claim it, he oversleeps! By the time he arrives at Professor Oak's, the three Pokémon he wanted have already been chosen by the other Trainers-in-training, including his rival, Gary! The only Pokémon remaining is a strong-willed Pikachu.
Trainer and Pokémon don't get along right away. Not only does Pikachu refuse to enter its Poké Ball, it would rather climb a tree than battle a Pidgey that Ash encounters! Disagreements aside, they start to bond when they find themselves chased by an angry flock of Spearow. The Spearow wound Pikachu, but Ash risks his own safety to protect his Pokémon.
To further their escape, Ash "borrows" a bike owned by a young girl named Misty. He soon wrecks the bike; however, he and Pikachu are surrounded by the Spearow. When Ash fearlessly confronts the Spearow, Pikachu is inspired to summon its remaining energy to repel the Pokémon with a powerful electric shock.
Finally out of harm's way, the wild experience makes Ash and Pikachu realize that they've begun what promises to be a blooming friendship.
In a massive stadium, two creatures known as Pokémon are having a battle, directed by their Trainers to give it their all. One of the Pokémon, a Gengar, uses its Hypnosis attack on its opponent, a Nidorino, causing it to fall asleep. Nidorino's Trainer recalls it and sends out another Pokémon known as Onix to battle. The massive Rock Snake Pokémon emerges from its Poké Ball and prepares to take on Gengar, at which point it is revealed that the battle is being displayed on television. Its viewer is a boy named Ash Ketchum who lives in a small settlement called Pallet Town and is ten years old, which allows him to pick a starter Pokémon and become a Pokémon Trainer. Ash declares to himself and the Pokémon of the world that he will become a Pokémon Master. His speech, however, is interrupted by his mom who tells him to get to bed as he has a big day tomorrow. Ash protests that he's too excited to sleep, so his mom tells him that if he won't sleep then to at least get ready for the next day as she switches on a program hosted by the town's Pokémon expert, Professor Oak. Ash watches as Oak explains that new Trainers get to pick one of three Pokémon to start their journey; the Grass-type Bulbasaur, the Fire-type Charmander or the Water-type Squirtle.
As Ash sleeps, he goes over the choices in his head reasoning that any of the three available Pokémon are good for starting Trainers. However his Voltorb alarm clock rolls into his hand as he sleeps and, dreaming that he's throwing a Poké Ball, he chucks it at the wall, smashing it. When Ash finally wakes up, he sees the sun high in the sky and realizes that he overslept. Ash runs to the lab in such a hurry that he doesn't change out of his pajamas, and at this point doesn't care which starter he gets as long as he gets any. He arrives at the lab just in time to see one of his new fellow Trainers (and Professor Oak's grandson), Gary, leaving. Unfortunately for Ash, Gary is very overconfident and brags that he was on time and already has his first Pokémon, although he refuses to reveal which one he received. Gary's large crowd (which includes a group of cheerleaders) cheers for him, and Gary promises that he'll become a Pokémon Master and put Pallet Town on the map before leaving. As the crowd follows, Ash is left by himself, but not for long as Professor Oak approaches. Ash apologizes for being late (and hardly being dressed for the occasion) but tells Professor Oak that he's ready to pick his first Pokémon.
Taken into the lab, Ash sees three Poké Balls sitting on a pedestal and states that after thinking about it he's decided to choose Squirtle as his starter, however the Poké Ball is empty. Oak explains that Squirtle has already been claimed by a Trainer that was on time. Ash doesn't mind as he decides to instead go with Bulbasaur, whom has also been taken already. Ash is still happy to go with Charmander but, alas, that Pokémon is gone too with someone who wasn't late. Ash asks if this means that there are no Pokémon left for him, and Oak tells him this isn't exactly true as he does have another Pokémon but it is very unusual. At this point, Ash is willing to settle for anything and tells Oak that he'll take whatever it is. A fourth Poké Ball emerges onto the pedestal and Ash picks it up, upon which point it opens and from it emerges a small yellow mouse-like Pokémon. Oak explains that the Pokémon is named Pikachu, and Ash is very impressed, deciding that Pikachu is better than any of the other starters. He picks up Pikachu and hugs it, but Pikachu doesn't like being hugged and gives Ash a massive electric shock as Oak explains that Pikachu is an Electric-type, and has a shocking personality to match. Oak gives Ash some Poké Balls and a Pokédex, at which point Pikachu shocks them both.
Heading outside, Ash finds his mom and a small group of supporters outside ready to wish him luck as he heads out on his Pokémon journey. Ash's mom gets weepy at the thought of her son finally leaving to start his life as a trainer, before then starting to list the numerous supplies that she has packed for him before he goes. She then notices Pikachu and asks why he isn't inside his Poké Ball like other Pokémon. Ash realizes that she's right and tells Pikachu to go inside, but Pikachu refuses, repeatedly swatting the ball away. Ash's mom simply assumes that the two are playing catch but admits that she finds Pikachu 'weird'. Pikachu doesn't take kindly to this comment and shocks everyone in the area, except Professor Oak who remarks that the rubber gloves that were packed will come in handy since rubber doesn't conduct electricity.
Ash and Pikachu begin their long journey, walking beyond the outskirts of Pallet Town... or rather, Ash (wearing the rubber gloves) is walking while Pikachu, who is tied to a clothesline like a leash, has to be dragged along behind him. Ash tries talking to Pikachu, but all he learns is that the Pokémon can only say its name and doesn't like him at all. Trying to persuade Pikachu to go inside his Poké Ball, Ash consults his Pokédex but it confirms that while many Pokémon travel in Poké Balls some don't like being confined. Deciding to make life easier for Pikachu, Ash removes the leash and rubber gloves but Pikachu still isn't impressed. Just then the two hear footsteps behind them and find that they are close to a Pidgey. Ash looks up Pidgey in the Pokédex and finds that the small bird is a flying-type Pokémon which is gentle, easy to catch, and a good choice for a beginning trainer. Ash is happy at the chance to test Pikachu's skills and tries to send him to battle, but Pikachu refuses and instead decides to climb a tree and watch. Ash, angry at Pikachu's continuing disobedience, decides to do it himself and throws a Poké Ball at Pidgey. The ball connects and Pidgey is drawn inside, leading Ash to think that he's captured it. However, the Poké Ball shakes for a few seconds before Pidgey escapes, and the Pokédex explains that when catching a Pokémon you normally have your own Pokémon battle to weaken the target first. Pikachu finds Ash's ineptitude hilarious while Ash gets more worked up, determined to show Pikachu what he can do. He decides to try sneaking up on Pidgey with his pajama shirt, but when he covers it the Pokémon unleashes its Gust and Sand Attack in response. Ash is sent crashing to the ground and Pidgey flies away. As Ash bemoans his bad luck, he then notices another Pokémon rifling through his bag. He chases it away as the Pokédex identifies it as Rattata, a normal-type that lives in the forest. When Ash states that they're not in a forest, the Pokédex goes on to explain that occasionally Rattata will emerge to steal food from stupid travelers.
As Pikachu laughs further, Ash notices some more Pidgey nearby and throws a stone at them in frustration. Just then he spots what he thinks is a lone Pidgey nearby and is determined to finally catch one. He throws another stone and it makes a direct hit... but it turns out not to be a Pidgey, but instead a much angrier looking bird-type Pokémon. Ash scans it with his Pokédex and it identifies the bird as Spearow which, unlike Pidgey, has a bad attitude and a violent temperament, being known for attacking people and Pokémon without warning. Ash then sees Spearow flying directly at him, but Spearow spots Pikachu in a tree as it passes and decides to attack him instead. The Pokédex explains that wild Pokémon are sometimes jealous of those with trainers. As Ash tries to get Spearow to focus on him again instead, Spearow nearly knocks Pikachu out of the tree, at which point the Electric Mouse unleashes electricity at his attacker which sends Spearow falling to the ground.
Spearow is down, but it's not out and it lets out a loud cry. In the distance, Ash and Pikachu spot a large flock of Spearow emerging from a tree and heading straight towards them. The two decide to make a run for it, and quickly try to get away as the furious flock give chase. Ash promises to protect Pikachu, but Pikachu runs on ahead of Ash, making himself an easy target for Spearow who don't hesitate to attack him en masse. By the time Ash catches up, Pikachu is very weak and can no longer run, so Ash picks him up and carries him away. The two come to a fast flowing river and Ash, needing to get away from the angry Spearow quickly, jumps in and allows himself and Pikachu to be swept away, during which he very nearly becomes lunch for a Gyarados.
Further down the river, where there's no current, a young girl is leisurely fishing when the lure starts to react. The girl quickly grabs her rod to reel in what she thinks will be a big one, but instead yanks out Ash and Pikachu. She is disappointed, but then notices Pikachu and angrily tells Ash that he should never let his Pokémon get into such a bad condition. She tells him that Pikachu needs to get treatment right away, explaining that there is a Pokémon Center (a medical center that specializes in healing Pokémon) nearby. As she points out the direction that Ash needs to go, he notices the flock of Spearow has caught up to them. Ash decides to make a getaway on the girl's bike (putting Pikachu in the basket) despite her protests, promising that he'll eventually give it back, much to her anger.
As Ash rides for dear life, a thunderstorm starts. With rain falling and the Spearow flock still on his tail, Ash rides as fast as he can. However, the Spearow catch up and start to attack him, and this coupled with the dangerous conditions eventually cause Ash to fly off a small bank, crashing to the ground. Lying in the mud, Ash spots Pikachu nearby weaker than ever. Upset that his first day as a Pokémon trainer has turned into such a disaster, Ash tells Pikachu to get inside his Poké Ball as it seems to be the only way that he can be safe from the approaching Spearow. Deciding that he's done running, Ash stands before the Spearow and announces that he refuses to be beaten by the likes of them if he's going to be a Pokémon Master, vowing to defeat them all. Pikachu sees that Ash is willing to sacrifice himself to save him and, just before the Spearow flock can hit, jumps onto his shoulder and then into the air. Pikachu is struck by lightning, causing him to let out a massive Thunder Shock which throws Ash back onto the ground.
Soon, the rain has cleared and the sun is shining. Ash and Pikachu are lying unconscious near the smouldering remains of the bike they stole. The two wake up and find the Spearow flock has gone. They weakly note that despite everything, they managed to defeat their attackers together and finally a friendship is formed. Just then a shimmering golden Pokémon flies overhead towards a rainbow. Ash wonders what it was, and the Pokédex can't identify it but explains that there are many Pokémon species yet to be discovered. After watching the Pokémon disappear into the distance, Ash picks up Pikachu and keeps on walking as the narrator explains that Ash and Pikachu have many more adventures together to come. Reaching a bank, Ash spots Viridian City in the distance and heads toward it, having taken the first of many steps on his Pokémon journey.
- Ash and Gary begin their Pokémon journeys.
- Gary starts his journey with a Squirtle.*
- Ash starts his journey with a disobedient Pikachu, a Pokédex, and six Poké Balls.
- Ash tries and fails to catch a Pidgey.
- Ash meets Misty for the first time.
- Ash steals Misty's bike, which is destroyed when Pikachu defeats a flock of angry Spearow.
- Ash and Pikachu become friends.
- Ash sees a mysterious Pokémon.
- Ash reaches Viridian City.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Ash Ketchum
- Gary Oak
- Delia Ketchum
- Professor Oak
- Gary's cheerleaders
- Residents of Pallet Town
- Crowd at Pokémon League
- Pikachu (Ash's; new; debut)
- Nidorino (Trainer's; debut)
- Onix (Trainer's; debut)
- Gengar (Trainer's; debut)
- Spearow (anime; multiple; debut)
- Ho-Oh (anime; debut)
- Bulbasaur (Ash's dream; debut)
- Charmander (Ash's dream; debut)
- Squirtle (Ash's dream; debut)
- Pidgey (debut)
- Rattata (debut)
- Sandshrew (debut)
- Mankey (debut)
- Dodrio (debut)
- Magikarp (debut)
- Gyarados (debut)
- This episode was chosen by Kunihiko Yuyama as the first episode of Pocket Monsters Anime Premier 10.
- The beginning of the episode features sound effects from the original Game Boy games, drawing from the opening animation from Pokémon Red and Green (with a Gengar battling a Nidorino) before transitioning seamlessly into the battle that Ash himself is watching on TV.
- An early, unused frame of the stadium battle scene exists.
- The shadowed Trainer who sends out Nidorino and Onix to battle greatly resembles Bruno of the Indigo League Elite Four.
- Ash's introductory shot is repeated in the first episode of the Best Wishes series as a throwback to this episode.
- Ash has a Voltorb clock with a cuckoo Pidgey in it. Furthermore, he ends up breaking it in his sleep, unknowingly using it as a Poké Ball shortly after 4 AM.
- The order in which Ash opens the starter Pokémon's Poké Balls, only to find them empty, indicates his preferred choices: Squirtle first, Bulbasaur second, and Charmander last.
- Coincidentally, this is the same order the Pokémon Trainer from Super Smash Bros. Brawl obtains their respective evolved forms in the Subspace Emissary.
- Despite this episode centering around receiving a starter Pokémon, neither Bulbasaur, Charmander, nor Squirtle actually appeared in the flesh until Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village, Charmander – The Stray Pokémon, and Here Comes the Squirtle Squad, respectively. This is unlike the following generations, when at least one of the starter Pokémon appeared in the first episode of each generation.
- This is the only episode where Ash's Pikachu is seen inside his Poké Ball.
- This episode reveals that Spearow see in black and white.
- This is one of the few episodes in which Rachael Lillis provides the voice of Pikachu in a few scenes of the dub. This happened when another Japanese voice actor spoke over Ikue Ohtani's Pikachu voice and the audio could not be used.
- The legendary bird Ash saw at the end of the episode was Ho-Oh. This makes Ho-Oh the first Generation II Pokémon seen in the series, and in the first episode of the entire series.
- Only two pieces of background music were kept in the dub: the opening music of Red and Green in the beginning, and Tears, After the Cloudy Weather in the scene where Ash is defending Pikachu from the Spearow.
- The book I Choose You! is based on this episode.
- This episode can be found on volume 3 of Game Boy Advance Video.
- This episode is featured on Volume 1: Pikachu from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
- This episode is featured on Pokémon All-Stars: Pikachu from Magna Pacific's Pokémon All-Stars series.
- Coincidentally, Ash would later attempt to use a Pidgey and Rattata in the following episode against Team Rocket after failing to capture both Pokémon in this episode.
- This is the only episode of the original series in which the Team Rocket trio does not appear. The next time would not occur in the regular episodes until Rematch at the Nacrene Gym!, 672 episodes later. They also did not appear in a clip show episode, AG120, which was never aired outside of Japan.
- This episode has the most Pokémon debuts in the entire anime, with 16.
- Parts of this episode are remade in I Choose You!.
- As Delia catches the alarm clock Ash threw, her ponytail curls to her left shoulder. When it is seen from behind in the next shot, it is curled to her right shoulder.
- When Professor Oak appears on television to discuss the starter Pokémon, the background colors behind Charmander and Squirtle are reversed (blue behind Charmander and red behind Squirtle). Bulbasaur's background color, green, is correctly shown.
- In this same scene, the starters look significantly different between the shot of the whole television and the close-up of the screen. Charmander, for instance, has a much larger tail flame and more open mouth in the close-up.
- When Ash throws the Poké Balls containing Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle in his dream, both sides of the Poké Balls are red. This was fixed in the scenes of the Poké Balls releasing the Pokémon.
- When Ash passes Gary's cheerleaders and a crowd, a man has no eyes.
- As Ash runs to Professor Oak to collect his first Pokémon, the top button on his pajamas changes from green to yellow.
- Gary addresses Ash as if he has never met him before, despite the fact that they were childhood friends.
- After Gary tells Ash that his Pokémon is inside its Poké Ball, the order of Gary's cheerleaders reversed.
- If all three starters had already been taken, then the Poké Balls containing them should be with their Trainers, as Gary's is, and not with Professor Oak.
- Also, the Japanese writing on the Poké Balls disappear after Ash picks them up.
- After Ash opens Charmander's Poké Ball in Oak's lab, part of Oak's coat unnaturally changes position as he speaks.
- When Professor Oak hands Ash Pikachu's Poké Ball, the bottom portion of the black ring surrounding the white center of the Poké Ball turns white.
- As Pikachu's Poké Ball opens with a strobe-like flash of light, the background behind Ash differs greatly between the two frames. The buttons and features of the large machine change position and size. Also, the table and beaker in front of it change position and shape, respectively.
- The sneakers that Delia hands Ash are the same ones he is already wearing.
- When Ash tries to make Pikachu go to his Poké Ball, the lightning bolt on it disappears.
- The same thing occurred again when Ash tries to protect Pikachu from the Spearow.
- When Ash opens his Pokédex for the first time, the directional buttons are not present.
- In the Japanese version, the Pokédex misidentifies Pidgey as the Sky Pokémon instead of the Tiny Bird Pokémon.
- When Pikachu is up in the tree, and in the last shot before the title card, Ash's coat loses its yellow stripes, but they return later on.
- In the slap scene cut from the English version, the hole on Ash's hat matches his skin color despite being above his hairline.
- When Ash sees the Spearow flock again after Misty tells him where the nearest Pokémon Center is, his shoes are not colored, making it look like he only has white socks on. Then, when he puts Pikachu on Misty's bike, his shoes are colored normally.
- When Ash places Pikachu's Poké Ball on the ground, his thumb passes right through it when he stands up to face the flock of Spearow.
- When Ash stands up to the Spearow to protect Pikachu, he incorrectly refers to them "Spearows." The plural of a specific species of Pokémon is the same as the singular.
- As Ash looks at Ho-Oh at the end of the episode, his hat points backward as it had since he jumped into the river. As he walks uphill in the next scene, it points forward. When he gets to the top and looks at Viridian City, it points backward again. Lastly, as we see him from behind as he walks toward Viridian, his hat points forward again.
- Throughout this episode and the next, Professor Oak's hair changes.
- PokéRap: Day 1 (Poliwrath error)
- Onix's Tackle was not referred to by its name in the dub, whereas in the Japanese version, the announcer clearly identifies the attack.
- During the shot of the whole television and Ash moving his head into view, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle have their Japanese names written below their pictures. The names are gone during and after the close-up, however.
- When the people outside of Professor Oak's lab cheer for Ash, the flag says "ガンバレサトシ" on the Japanese version. The dub edits this to "GO ASH GO".
- The Poké Balls in Professor Oak's lab are labeled in Japanese when they first appear, but are painted over when Ash picks up one up. These labels are also partially visible when Pikachu's Poké Ball is revealed.
- In the Japanese version, after being shocked by Pikachu, Delia tells Ash to change into his pajamas before going to sleep, even if it's the dirty pajamas he was wearing at the moment. The dub changed this to her telling Ash to remember to change his underwear every single day.
- The Japanese version of the scene with Ash talking with Pikachu on Route 1 contains an untranslatable pun. When Ash asks Pikachu to talk (話) to him, Pikachu misunderstands this as him saying it has "no teeth" (歯なし), thus opening its mouth to show Ash that it indeed does have teeth. In the dub, Ash asks Pikachu to open its mouth and tell him what's wrong, to which Pikachu responds to by literally opening its mouth wide open.
- In the Japanese version, after Ash thanks Misty, she slaps him. This was cut from the dub (the screen freezes just as Ash answers Misty) due to physical violence. In the next scene, Ash can clearly be seen rubbing his aching face and Misty has her hand in the air.
- In the Japanese version, Misty tells Ash there is a hospital in Viridian City; in the dub, she just says that it is nearby.
- The English-dubbed version of this episode was released in Japan as part of the Pokémon de English! Aisatsu Hen VHS/DVD. This version has a few changes made:
- Some paint edits are undone, such as the Japanese labels on the Poké Balls in Professor Oak's Laboratory.
- Who's That Pokémon? is presented in the Johto League Champions style rather than the original style as the segment from EP160 is used.
- The shot of Misty slapping Ash is included, though the slap doesn't produce any sound.
- The PokéRAP and end credits are not included.
Differences between the episode and the comic adaptation
- The opening League Battle was shortened, cutting out the reference to the Game Boy opening scene.
- Ash's attempt at catching Rattata was cut.
- Ash's escape through the river was shortened, only showing the first swimming distance. Gyarados and Ash's attempt to swim away from it were cut.
- In the ending of the episode, after Pikachu licks Ash, Ash was silent, though his gratefulness for finally earning Pikachu's respect is still implied. In the comic, it has Ash either saying or thinking, "Hey, Pikachu really does like me!"
Differences between the episode and Pokémon the Animation Volume 1
- After Misty scolds Ash for endangering Pikachu, she directly comforts and cradles the injured Pikachu instead of simply expressing concern for him.
In other languages
|Arabic||بوكيمون، لقد اخترتك انت!|
|Bulgarian||Покемон, избрах теб!|
|Valencian||Pokémon, et trie a tu!|
|Croatian||Pokémon, ja biram tebe!|
|Czech||Pokémone, volím si tebe!|
|Danish||Pokémon - Jeg vælger dig!|
|Dutch||Pokémon, ik kies jou!|
|Finnish||Pokémon! Minä valitsen sinut!|
|French||Canada||Pokémon, c'est toi que je choisis !|
|Europe|| Le départ|
Pokémon - Le départ*
|Greek||Πόκεμον, διαλέγω εσένα!|
|Hebrew||אש בוחר את הפוקימון שלו Ash bocher et haPokémon shelo|
|Hindi|| पोकेमोन, तुम मेरे हो! Pokémon, Tum mere ho! * |
पोकेमोन, मैं तुम्हे चुनता हूँ! Pokémon, Main Tumhe Choonata Hoon! *
|Hungarian||Téged választalak, Pikachu!|
|Italian|| L' inizio di una grande avventura* |
Pokémon, scelgo te!*
|Korean||피카츄 너로 정했다! Pikachyu Neoro Jeonghaetta!|
|Norwegian||Pokémon - Jeg velger deg!|
|Polish||Pokémon, wybieram cię!|
|Portuguese||Brazil||Pokémon, Eu Escolho Você!|
|Portugal||Pokémon, escolho-te a ti!|
|Romanian||Pokémon Te Aleg Pe Tine!|
|Russian||Покемон! Я выбираю тебя!|
|Serbian||Покемон, ја бирам тебе!|
|Slovak||Pokémon, vyberám si teba!|
|Spanish||Latin America||Pokémon, ¡Yo te elijo!|
|Spain||¡Pokémon, te elijo a ti!|
|Swedish|| Pokémon, jag väljer dig!*|
Jag väljer dig*
|Tamil||போகிமொன், நான் உன்னை தேர்வு செய்கிறேன்! Pokémon, Naan Unnai Tervu Seykiren! *|
|Telugu||పోకెమోన్, నేను నిన్ను ఎన్నుకుంటాను! Pokémon, Nenu Ninnu Ennukuntanu! *|
|Thai|| โปเกมอน ฉันเลือกนายนี่แหละ|
|Turkish||Pokémon! Ben seni seçiyorum!|
|Ukrainian||Покемон, я обираю тебе!|
|Vietnamese||Pokémon! Tớ chọn cậu!|
|This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.|