Mystery at the Lighthouse (Japanese: マサキのとうだいMasaki's Lighthouse) is the 13th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on June 24, 1997 and in the United States on September 24, 1998.
The party emerges from the forest onto a beach, where in the distance they see a lighthouse, shining at the top of a cliff. The lighthouse belongs to Bill, a Pokémon researcher who is awaiting the coming of a one-of-a-kind Pokémon, never before seen by humans. Before long, a tremendously large shadow begins to take form in the sea mists, but this possible discovery could be hindered due to the infamous Team Rocket lurking in the background cooking up another one of their schemes. Could such a legendary Pokémon truly exist?
While Ash is wandering through the forest with his friends, he begins bragging about his accomplishments, but Misty claims all of his Pokémon simply followed him, and therefore, he failed to actually catch any of them. This angers Ash, who then runs off through the forest vowing to legitimately catch a Pokémon. He finds himself on a beach and notices a small Krabby scurrying between his feet. Ash insults Krabby for its small size, and it challenges him to a battle. Not even bothering to call upon one of his Pokémon, Ash lunges at Krabby with a stick. When Krabby slices it with little effort, Ash throws a Poké Ball and catches it. When the Poké Ball is transferred to Oak's lab, Misty informs Ash that Trainers can carry a maximum of six Pokémon with them at one time. Suddenly, Pikachu begins jumping and looking at a distant object, alerting the gang to looks a lighthouse on a cliff. Excited, they all run towards it.
By the time they arrive there, night has fallen and the long walk has made them exhausted. Ash rings the bell, only to be greeted by an eerie ringing and a mysterious voice asking them to identify themselves. After Ash and his friends explain their situation and Brock offers to cook for the lighthouse keeper, they are granted entrance. However, as the door swings open, they find there is no one to greet them. Ash asks for permission to use the lighthouse's phone, and is directed to a mysterious video phone near them. Ash calls Professor Oak to ask about his newly caught Krabby.
As he picks up, Oak is shown cooking dinner, and Ash is enraged to learn that Gary has also caught a Krabby. He becomes even more angry when he sees how large it is compared to his own. Ash is further humiliated when he finds out that Gary has already caught 45 Pokémon, dwarfing his mere seven. Oak tells them that they are calling from Bill's Lighthouse, and that he is very knowledgeable Pokémon researcher who knows more than Oak himself. Bill overhears the conversation, and accepts Professor Oak's request to give the trio a crash course in Pokémon. The lights turn on and a giant Kabuto appears, claiming to be the keeper of the lighthouse. Meanwhile, Team Rocket has set their sights on stealing all of the rare Pokémon inside Bill's Lighthouse. They say their motto and begin their ascent up the sea cliffs.
Ash and his friends realize the Kabuto is a costume made by Bill, who has been stuck in a Pokémon suit for hours. Bill explains that there are more than 150 known Pokémon species, but there is only one Pokémon he is searching for, which he claims is the largest Pokémon ever. He says it is unique and that no one had ever laid eyes on it. He takes the trio up to the observation deck to overlook the ocean. He reveals that he heard a strange noise coming across the ocean from the Pokémon one night, but that was the last time he heard it. As Bill is reminiscing, the same sound is suddenly heard, and a large Dragonite appears, rising from the ocean. As it comes closer to the lighthouse, Team Rocket spots it and initially admires its beautifully haunting sound. Then, they begin launching a barrage of missiles to try to catch it. This angers Dragonite, and it smashes the top of the lighthouse and sends Team Rocket flying with its tail. Bill calls out for it, but to no avail, and the Pokémon simply walks away.
In the morning, Bill seems to be at peace despite failing to learn more about the Pokémon and is grateful he got to see it at all. Ash and his friends say goodbye and continue on their journey.
Brock mentions in this episode that Trainers can switch the Pokémon in their party by pressing a button inside their Pokédex, suggesting that additional Pokémon are kept in computer storage similar to the games. However, this rule is immediately dropped and in future episodes Ash would have to call Professor Oak in order to switch the Pokémon in his party and have the requested Pokémon sent over.
This is the first time that Ash and one of his rivals are confirmed to have a Pokémon of the same species.
Gary's Krabby is also the first Pokémon Gary is confirmed to own.
In this episode Bill is depicted as having green hair. This is the only time this is the case as he has brown hair in all other media.
This episode features the first appearance of a giant Pokémon. In fact, two appeared in this episode.
This is the second episode after Showdown in Pewter City where Team Rocket does appear but Ash and his friends do not encounter them at all.
At the end of the episode, when Ash asks Bill if he thinks every species of Pokémon will be discovered, a Dragonite-shaped cloud can be seen.
The plot of this episode was likely based on the short story "The Fog Horn" by Ray Bradbury. In the story, a sea monster who is the only one left of its kind, hears a fog horn that sounds similar to its own voice and it is attracted to it.
Despite Bill claiming the Dragonite present is the last of its kind, several other Dragonite appear in later seasons. It has been speculated that Bill refers to this Dragonite as the last of its kind not because of its species, but because of its size. The Dragonite in this episode is much larger than Dragonite seen later in the series.
This is one of few episodes that mention people eating Pokémon, as Ash is worried that Professor Oak may be cooking his Krabby.
In the dubbed version, when Misty tells Ash that all his Pokémon followed him, she is actually incorrect. Pikachu was given to him by Professor Oak, Butterfree (caught as a Caterpie) was a lucky catch, Bulbasaur and Pidgeotto were caught in a legitimate battle, while Squirtle and Charmander were the only ones that followed him. Ash further exemplifies this error by saying, "Now I really caught one," after catching Krabby.
When Krabby pinches Ash's finger, it pinches Ash's left index finger. But in the next shot, the wound appears on Ash's right index finger.
When flashing back to when Ash got Pikachu, when deducing that Ash's Krabby is sent to Oak's lab, Professor Oak shouts, "Here is your Pikachu!!!!" (with the elongation of the "chu" part being from Pikachu electrocuting him and Ash). In Pokémon, I Choose You!, the episode the flashback came from, the dialogue was in fact Ash weakly saying, "Thank you," before yelling as well as Professor Oak screaming, "You're welcome!" when Pikachu starts electrocuting the both of them.
When the lighthouse door was shown for the first time, it shows the second row of Pokémon images from below as: Moltres, Arcanine, and Scyther (and Kangaskhan beside Scyther). However, when the whole door was shown the arrangement of the Pokémon was:
The way Misty retorted to Ash's bragging about how Ash "caught" all six of his Pokémon was different between the versions. In the original version, she questions if how he got those Pokémon should be counted as "caught" or not, with Ash stating that it's close enough. In the dubbed version, she erroneously states that all of his Pokémon just followed him. In fact, only Squirtle followed Ash and Pikachu was given by Professor Oak, while the others have really been caught.
The speaker conversation between Brock and Bill is different between the two versions: in the original version, Brock asks if he can use his kitchen so he can make delicious tamago chaahan and nabe. Bill asks if he can also make yakisoba as well, which Brock responds that he can make that as well as katayaki, chow mein, sauce yakisoba, or anything else Bill might like, to which Bill responds he'd like katayaki, and lets them in. In the dubbed version, Brock asks him if he can use his kitchen to make cheeseburgers for his group. Bill asks if he can make anything without tofu, to which Brock responds he can. Bill gladly agrees to let them in since he hadn't eaten anything but tofu since his cook left for vacation.
In the original version, Misty identifies the phone as resembling a Bellsprout; in the dubbed version, she simply points out it's a videophone. Also, Ash called Oak directly by his phone number in the Japanese version. In the dubbed version, he calls him via collect.
In the original version, Professor Oak says that Ash caught him in the middle of cooking Nabe, while in the dubbed version, he mentions that he is making tofu to make the time while his cook is on vacation.
Also, the dubbed version implies that Bill and Oak dislike eating tofu. In the original version, they imply that they enjoy eating tofu.
In the English dub, Professor Oak says that the tofu is done when talking to Ash. In the Brazilian Portuguese dub, he says that the tofu has burned.