EP010 : Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village
Original series
EP012 : Here Comes the Squirtle Squad
Charmander – The Stray Pokémon
Stray Pokémon - Hitokage
First broadcast
Japan June 10, 1997
United States September 22, 1998
English themes
Opening Pokémon Theme
Japanese themes
Opening めざせポケモンマスター
Ending ひゃくごじゅういち
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 武上純希 Junki Takegami
Storyboard 井硲清高 Kiyotaka Itani
Assistant director 井硲清高 Kiyotaka Itani
Animation director 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
Additional credits

Charmander – The Stray Pokémon (Japanese: はぐれポケモン・ヒトカゲ Stray Pokémon - Hitokage) is the 11th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on June 10, 1997, and in the United States on September 22, 1998.

Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.


Our friends, lost, discover an injured Charmander. Pikachu talks to it and learns that it's been waiting a long time for its trainer to return.

Later, at a Pokémon Center, we overhear a Trainer bragging about abandoning his Charmander. Brock and Ash confront the trainer, named Damien, who challenges them to a battle. Nurse Joy breaks things up and reminds everyone that Pokémon are not to be used for settle personal disputes.

Ash, Misty, and Brock rush to retrieve the Charmander. It's not only threatened by a driving rain that could extinguish its flame, it's also under attack by a flock of Pidgeotto! Fortunately, Pikachu is able to make the Pidgeotto scatter so the Charmander could be saved.

They return to the Pokémon Center, where Nurse Joy says the Charmander requires an overnight stay.

When our friends wake up the next morning, however, the Charmander is gone!

Is the Charmander still loyal to the neglectful Damien? Will Damien ever learn that a Trainer must be responsible for his Pokémon? And will Team Rocket's latest trap finally succeed?


Ash and his friends apparently lose their way en route to Vermilion City, frustrating Misty. The group stops to consult Brock's map, and Ash determines that the trail they are following intersects Route 24, which in turn leads straight to Vermilion City. Brock is satisfied and puts the map away. As they move, a large shadow suddenly falls across their path. Soon, the sunlight's intensity dims, revealing a Charmander sitting upon a rock. After checking his Pokédex, Ash is happy that he has a chance to catch a Charmander. Brock points out how weak his tail flame is, and that he probably needs help. However, Charmander resists Ash's attempt to catch him. Brock suggests that Ash try again, but Ash's second attempt also fails. Pikachu climbs up onto the rock and talks to the Charmander. When he comes back down, he manages to communicate to Ash that Charmander is waiting for someone to come by and pick him up. Brock decides that if he belongs to someone else, it is best to leave him, and they leave.

Farther down the trail, the group discover the Pokémon Center that is on their map, and they enter just as it begins to rain. Despite Brock's concerns, Ash reassures him and points out that there is no way Charmander would have waited around that long. However, they overhear laughter nearby, and look over to see a Trainer named Damian surrounded by a group of friends. They listen in on his conversation; Damian reveals that he had a Charmander, but since he was so weak, he left him on a rock out in the middle of the woods promising to return for him, though he admits he has no intention of doing so. Ash and his friends conclude that the Charmander they saw, and the Charmander that Damian abandoned, are one and the same. This pushes the normally calm Brock over the edge, and he confronts Damian, demanding he retrieves his Charmander. Damian pushes him off, but Ash and Misty soon arrive to back up Brock. After Damian and his crew leave, Ash and his friends hurry back to find Charmander.

The three of them race back through the pouring rain towards the rock where the Charmander is and find him under attack from a gang of Spearow. Ash tries to drive them off by throwing a rock at them, but the Spearow turn their attention to him and his friends. Ash orders a Thunder Shock from Pikachu, and he obeys, scaring off the Spearow. The group quickly wrap Charmander up in their raincoats and race back to the Pokémon Center, begging Nurse Joy to help. Initially, Nurse Joy is angry at Ash and his friends, but Ash explains that it was Damian that left the Charmander there, taking advantage of Charmander's loyalty. Brock pleads with Nurse Joy to save the Charmander, and she promises to do whatever she can. After an intense and distressing wait, Nurse Joy finally comes out of the operating room and reports that Charmander has pulled through, and it will be fine by morning.

Morning arrives, and Brock's shout causes Ash to fall off the couch. It turns out Charmander has disappeared from the emergency room. Ash is certain that the Charmander has simply gone back to the rock. Brock wants to go after it again, but Misty points out that it is no use. Even though Damian does not care about it, the Charmander is still stubbornly loyal to him. Although Brock is still disappointed, Ash and his friends leave the Pokémon Center. Up ahead, Team Rocket has just finished digging another one of their pitfall traps for the twerps. However, Pikachu is too light to activate the trap. Jessie and James argue over who is responsible for this failure until Meowth silences them with scratches to the face. Ash and his friends, being a lot heavier than Pikachu, end up triggering the trap and falling into the hole. Then, Team Rocket appears who are delighted at the fact that their trap worked. Pikachu tries to shock them, but Team Rocket's rubber uniforms insulate them against electricity. Pikachu tries to run, but they release a special ball that swallows Pikachu and further insulates his electricity.

Team Rocket prepares to leave with Pikachu in tow, though Charmander confronts them. Charmander, as translated by Meowth, orders them to give Pikachu back to Ash and the others. Team Rocket refuses and warns Charmander to beat it or else. Charmander responds by closing his eyes, focusing hard, and unleashing a massive Flamethrower, which roasts Team Rocket. They drop Pikachu and flee, all the while moaning about how Charmander roasted them. They pass Damian in the process, causing him to express shock that Charmander had managed to beat them. Ash and his friends, having gotten out of the pit, thank Charmander for his help, and Ash asks Charmander if he wants to come along with them. However, Damian arrives and claims that he has come back for Charmander, just as he promised. Damian goes on to say that abandoning Charmander had made the Lizard Pokémon stronger. Despite retorts from Ash and his friends, Damian brags about his methods of training and treatment of Pokémon. When he tries to recall Charmander by throwing his Poké Ball, he rejects him as his Trainer by throwing the ball back at him with his tail. Enraged, Damian attempts to attack Charmander with all his Poké Balls. Charmander responds with a Flamethrower, followed by Pikachu's Thunder Shock, both of which are aimed at Damian and prompt him to flee. After some negotiation, Brock insists Ash should have Charmander, and the Fire-type happily jumps into Ash's Poké Ball.

Major events

Ash catching Charmander
For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the history page.


Pokémon debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Charmander


  • This is the first episode that credits Izumi Shimura as an animation director.
  • This is the second episode of a three-episode arc where Ash catches each of Kanto's first partner Pokémon.
  • Misty states that the group has been searching ten days for Vermilion City since they left Cerulean City at the end of The Water Flowers of Cerulean City.
  • Damian is shown to be carrying around twenty Poké Balls, all allegedly containing Pokémon; however, it is later established that a Trainer can only carry six Pokémon at a time in their party, just like in the games. This may be because he wasn't shown to have a Pokédex; therefore, he is not forced to use the storage system. Alternatively, he may have had a maximum of six Pokémon on his team already, while the rest of the Poké Balls were meant for recapturing Charmander.
  • This is the first episode mentioning that Pokémon could die.
  • It is revealed in this episode that using a battle to settle a personal argument is frowned upon, and that Pokémon battles are not supposed to occur in Pokémon Centers. Ironically, the Cable Club, where players can link up to battle exists exclusively in Pokémon Centers, and in fact neighbors the healing counter in the Generation I games. Later games also introduce battles that occur in Pokémon Centers, most notably Pokémon Platinum.
  • This is the first episode where Meowth translates a Pokémon's speech.
  • Routes 24 and 25 are stated to lead to Vermilion City in this episode. In the games, these routes instead lead to the Sea Cottage north of Cerulean City.
  • This episode is featured on Volume 9: Charmander from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
  • This episode aired in the United States on the 30th birthday of Megan Hollingshead, the voice actress of Nurse Joy.
  • This episode was partially adapted into the book Charizard, Go!.
  • Parts of this episode are reanimated and used for flashback material for The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!.


Ash's miscolored "Zs"
  • The blurb on Pokémon.com mistakenly refers to Spearow as Pidgeotto and misspells Damian as "Damien".
  • When Ash and his friends rush up to the rock to get a closer look at the shady Pokémon, the "Zs" underneath Ash's eyes are miscolored.
  • Charmander's eye shape changes to resemble that of a Charizard whenever zoomed in upon.
  • Ash's Pokédex sounds different than how it did before it was upgraded with a new voice in Who Gets to Keep Togepi?.
  • In one scene, Pikachu is missing his cheek pouches.
  • When Ash and his friends are facing off against Damian and his friends, Ash's right glove is missing.
  • After Nurse Joy stops running, two extra footsteps are heard.
  • When Ash realizes that he is standing on Misty and Brock, his left glove is drawn with a hole.
  • When Pikachu is running from Team Rocket's balloon, his feet have pads.
  • Damian is seen holding a big cluster of Poké Balls just before Charmander uses Flamethrower on him. When he runs away afterwards, though, the Poké Balls are missing.
  • In the Brazilian Portuguese Pokémon TV, this episode uses the English version of the PokéRap and an instrumental version of the ending theme, instead of the dubbed versions.

Dub edits

  • Kanto Pokérap: Day 1 (Poliwrath error)
  • In the original Japanese version, Damian mentions to his friends that Charmander was so weak that it couldn't defeat a Poliwag. The English version changes it into the weakest opponents, which created a dialog error when Brock immediately remarks Charmander is naturally weak against Water-type Pokémon.

In other languages

EP010 : Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village
Original series
EP012 : Here Comes the Squirtle Squad
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.