EP013 : Mystery at the Lighthouse
Original series
EP015 : Battle Aboard the St. Anne
Electric Shock Showdown
Electric Shock Showdown! Kuchiba Gym
First broadcast
Japan July 1, 1997
United States September 25, 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 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
Storyboard 日高政光 Masamitsu Hidaka
Assistant director 日高政光 Masamitsu Hidaka
Animation director 志村隆行 Takayuki Shimura
Additional credits

Electric Shock Showdown (Japanese: でんげきたいけつ!クチバジム Electric Shock Showdown! Kuchiba Gym) is the 14th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on July 1, 1997, and in the United States on September 25, 1998.

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


Our heroes finally reach Vermillion City, and they discover that the Pokémon Center is filled with Pokémon hurt during battles with Lt. Surge, the Vermillion City Gym Leader.

Ash and Pikachu head to the Vermillion City Gym, where Lt. Surge is proud of his Raichu. (Lt. Surge's attitude is to evolve Pokémon as soon as possible.) The two Electric-type Pokémon battle, and Raichu, being the evolved form of Pikachu, delivers stronger attacks that send Pikachu to the hospital. Even Team Rocket, spying the scene from outside, is disappointed.

Nurse Joy offers Ash a Thunderstone, which is required for a Pikachu to evolve. As a Raichu, Pikachu would have a better chance of defeating Lt. Surge's Raichu, but if it evolves, it can never go back to being a Pikachu.

What will Pikachu decide? Are there disadvantages to evolving Pokémon as soon as possible? And why is Team Rocket rooting for Pikachu?


After two weeks of traveling, Ash and his friends have finally made it to Vermilion City. Brock and Misty are eager to get cleaned up, but Ash is more concerned about finding the Vermilion Gym. However, Brock stops Ash and points out that Pikachu is in no condition to have a battle. Pikachu and Ash are also very hungry. However, at the Pokémon Center, the group witness Nurse Joy's Chansey and a Trainer run in. On a stretcher pushed by the Chansey is a badly beaten-up Rattata. Brock wonders what happened, and Nurse Joy sadly comments on all of the injured Pokémon that have been coming in. Ash and his friends are taken to a room where there are many badly injured Pokémon. Nurse Joy explains that they have all lost to Lt. Surge, the Vermilion City Gym Leader. At this, Ash begins to worry over his upcoming Gym battle against Surge.

Misty unhelpfully reminds Ash that he only received his first two Badges out of pity, but Ash retorts that a Badge is a Badge. After a heated exchange with Misty on the subject, a bell chimes to signal that Ash's Pokémon are fully recovered. However, upon seeing the injured Pokémon, Pikachu becomes frightened to take on Lt. Surge and flatly refuses to battle. Ash drags Pikachu with him to the Vermilion Gym anyway, and enters the Gym declaring his intention to win a Thunder Badge. Lt. Surge's two subordinates in the Gym mock Pikachu, and the man himself is even crueler, christening Ash "baby" and Pikachu a "baby Pokémon". Surge calls on his Raichu, a Pokémon that has a personality very like its Trainer's. Despite Surge's assertion that Ash should have evolved Pikachu already, Ash protests, claiming that there is more to a Pokémon battle than evolution.

Listening to Surge's taunts, Pikachu decides that he is ready to fight Raichu. Lt. Surge accepts Ash's challenge and the battle promptly begins. Both Pokémon begin with a Thunder Shock attack, but Raichu's is significantly stronger and does far more damage to Pikachu than Pikachu deals to Raichu. Brock realizes that Pikachu simply cannot stand up to Raichu's more powerful attacks and recommends that Ash withdraw Pikachu. However, when Ash tells Pikachu to return, he refuses and charges again at Raichu. The resulting trade-off between Pikachu and his adversary leaves Pikachu severely damaged by a Mega Punch and Mega Kick from Raichu. Outside, Team Rocket is looking in, seeing Pikachu getting knocked around. They begin to worry that if Pikachu is getting beaten up like this, then maybe he is not worth stealing after all, and all their efforts have been in vain. Meowth suggests that they could steal Raichu instead, but Jessie and James decide that they should root for Pikachu. However, Lt. Surge and Raichu have already won, with Raichu unleashing a powerful Thunderbolt that defeats Pikachu easily.

Later, at the Pokémon Center, Pikachu awakens, and Ash is relieved that he is all right. Pikachu, however, is upset to have been beaten so badly by Raichu. Nurse Joy enters the room, revealing that she has come across a Thunder Stone. With it, Ash could evolve his Pikachu into a Raichu as well. Brock warns him to think hard about this, because once he evolves Pikachu, there is no way to change him back. At this, Ash is extremely torn. He knows that if he evolves Pikachu into Raichu, he might be able to defeat Lt. Surge. However, he also realizes that if he were to evolve Pikachu just to battle, he would be no better than Lt. Surge. Finally, he decides to let Pikachu choose. Outside, Team Rocket watch intently to see what choice Pikachu will make. Pikachu stands up and whacks away the Thunder Stone with his tail and goes into a tirade, which moves even Meowth to tears. Meowth explains that Pikachu doesn't want to change; he wants to battle Lt. Surge again, but as a Pikachu; he wants to win in the name of all Pikachu everywhere. Ash agrees with Pikachu's decision and promises that they will win together. Brock suggests a strategy change, but Ash is convinced that they can find a way. Pikachu says he will fight to defend both his honor and Ash's. While waiting for Pikachu to fully recover, Brock believes that there might be a solution to defeat Lt. Surge and his Raichu after all when learning that Lt. Surge had evolved his Raichu the moment he caught it.

Later, Ash and the fully recovered Pikachu head back towards the Vermilion Gym. After receiving bizarre cheers from Team Rocket, they arrive at the Gym, ready for their rematch. Once again, it is to be Lt. Surge's Raichu against Ash's Pikachu. The battle begins, and Ash tells Pikachu to stick to their planned strategy. Lt. Surge uses the same strategy as last time, but Ash orders Pikachu to dodge Raichu's heavy attacks, causing Raichu to give itself recoil damage from moves like Body Slam. Ash orders Pikachu to use Agility, and Pikachu accelerates to full speed. Repeated Body Slam attempts from Raichu all miss completely, as Pikachu is simply too fast. Brock reveals the strategy: because Lt. Surge evolved his Pikachu into a Raichu too fast, it never had a chance to learn the speed attacks it can only learn as a Pikachu. Lt. Surge, growing aggravated, orders Raichu to fill the entire Gym with a vicious Thunderbolt attack. Raichu rips up the arena floor and even blows out all the windows around the arena. At first, Lt. Surge is convinced he has won, but the smoke clears, revealing the unharmed Pikachu standing on his tail.

Brock explains that Pikachu used his tail as a ground to insulate himself from the electric shocks. Lt. Surge orders another Thunderbolt, but Raichu is unable to muster up the electricity for it. Ash orders a Quick Attack, to which Lt. Surge responds by ordering a Take Down. The quicker Pikachu manages to strike first, slamming into Raichu's stomach before slamming into Raichu again while surrounding himself with electricity, knocking out his opponent and winning the match. Conceding defeat, Lt. Surge awards Ash with the Thunder Badge. He no longer refers to Ash as "baby", and Raichu even shows kindness and respect for Pikachu as well. As Ash and Pikachu share an electrifying hug, Team Rocket walk off, with James realizing that they had spent the entire episode helping Ash and his friends.

Major events

Ash holding the Thunder Badge
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?: Raichu


  • This was chosen by Nicole Fujita as the ninth episode of Pocket Monsters Premier 10.
  • Pikachu's dislike of Raichu is revealed. However, he only rarely appears to have this sort of animosity towards Raichu in the future, including in Pika and Goliath! and Racing to a Big Event!.
  • When Pikachu first battles Lt. Surge's Raichu, Meowth is seen polishing an extra coin. However, Meowth is later revealed to be unable to use Pay Day.
  • Ash keeps the Thunder Stone he receives in this episode until Pika and Goliath!, 523 episodes later, where it is stolen by Team Rocket.
  • This is the first time in the anime where Team Rocket disguises themselves.
    • Team Rocket's disguise is a reference to the gag manga series Ay! Flower Cheering Team (Ā! Hana no Ōendan​) . Jessie even does the main character's pose when she sticks her tongue out.
  • This is the first episode where Ash wins a Gym Badge for actually defeating the Gym Leader in battle.
  • This episode marks the first time that Team Rocket refers to Ash by name (in this case, Meowth), when they show their support for "the brave Pikachu and Ash." This is also the first time they express support for a main character.
  • James breaks the fourth wall in this episode at the end by saying, "Drat, we wasted this episode cheering the good guys!" This also marks the first time when Team Rocket has broken the fourth wall.
  • Team Rocket does not blast off in this episode.
  • This episode was partially adapted into the book I Choose You!.
  • Pikachu and Raichu's respective voice actors could be a reference to the series Bakusō Kyōdai Let's & Go!!, where two brothers share these same voice actors.


Misty's miscolored suspenders
  • Pokémon.com's blurb for this episode misspells Vermilion City as Vermillion City.
  • When Ash realizes that he is hungry, his bag is missing. This also happens with Misty when Nurse Joy says she looks like the other Nurse Joys.
  • In one of the Pokémon Center shots, Misty's suspenders are shown as light blue instead of red.
  • When Nurse Joy is explaining that all Nurse Joys look alike, she says the one in Pewter City is her first cousin, and the one in Viridian City is her second cousin. However, in Pokémon Emergency!, the Nurse Joy in Viridian City called the one in Pewter City her sister. If they were sisters, they would both share the same relationship with the one in Vermilion City, such as both being first cousins or second cousins.
  • When a Pokémon Trainer comes in with a Rattata, Chansey's pouch is the same color as the rest of its body.
  • When Lt. Surge sends out his Raichu for the first time, the screen freezes for a few seconds.
  • During the scene in which Nurse Joy gives Ash the Thunder Stone, the symbol on her hat changes from orange to green, then back to orange.
    • In the same scene, she speaks without moving her mouth. This also happens with Ash when he thanks Lt. Surge.
  • When Ash says that Pikachu might be able to defeat Raichu, part of the bow on Nurse Joy's apron is the same color as her dress.
  • When Ash asks if Pikachu is ready, his gloves turn compltely dark-green.
  • In this episode, it is mentioned that Pikachu is faster than Raichu. In fact, Raichu's base Speed is higher than Pikachu's. However, this may be due to the fact that Pikachu used multiple Agility attacks.
  • When Team Rocket begins looking into the Vermilion Gym window, Jessie and James lack gloves.
  • After Pikachu first dodges Raichu's Body Slam, Jessie's earrings are colored blue instead of green.
  • When Pikachu knocks the Thunder Stone away with his tail, his bandage does not completely cover his cheek, although it did earlier in the scene.
  • When Team Rocket watches Pikachu make his decision to evolve, Jessie's lips move before any sound comes out.
  • In the English dub, when Pikachu shocks Ash at the Pokémon Center, Ash's Japanese voice can be heard.

Dub edits

  • Kanto Pokérap: Day 4
    • For its rerun the week of August 8, 1999, it instead featured the television premiere of Double Trouble. Rather than being a Pikachu's Jukebox segment, it was introduced as a "Pokémon Music Video" using footage of the Kids' WB! backlot.
  • Rachael Lillis provides Pikachu's voice in the scene where he is shocking Ash.
  • Raichu's Pokédex entry in the Japanese version mentioned an Indian elephant instead of Dragonite.
    • In the Polish version, it instead mentions a dragon.
  • In the original version, the welcome sign says "Welcome to Kuchiba City", while in the dub, it just says "Vermilion City".
  • Brock's implication that Pokémon generally change completely upon evolution is not in the Japanese version.
  • In the original version, no music is played during the scene where Pikachu is making its decision on whether to evolve or not.
  • In the original version, Lt. Surge says that he doesn't need to use Electric attacks, and would do fine with Normal attacks, explaining why Raichu doesn't use Electric moves for most of the battle.
  • The shot of Raichu constantly trying to Body Slam but missing Pikachu is longer in the English dub than it is in the original Japanese version. Raichu tries to Body Slam Pikachu twice in the Japanese version, but in the English dub, Raichu tries three times.
  • In the original Japanese version, Lt. Surge uses English curse words when Pikachu uses Agility. The dub changes it to "Okay!"
  • In the dub, Lt. Surge tells Raichu to finish Pikachu with a Thunderbolt. In the original version, he tells Raichu to "cut off the baby's movements".
  • The shot where Raichu launches its final Thunderbolt is slightly shorter in the English dubbed version than in the Japanese version.
  • Pikachu and Raichu's voices are removed in the English dub from the scene where Pikachu confuses Raichu with Agility.
  • The scene where Team Rocket were commenting on how Pikachu grounded the attack was rewritten in the dub. In the original version, Jessie mentioned how Pikachu used his tail as an assu, meaning ground. James replaces it with Dogassu, explaining why he's holding his Koffing. Meowth then hits and scolds them for not taking them seriously. In the dub, this is replaced by a series of puns. Jessie starts in with "What a shocking story!" James follows up with "That was quite a tale!" Meowth finishes the sequence by hitting them while saying "And now you have both been PUN-ished."
  • The music briefly stops when Pikachu is first hit by Raichu's Thunder Shock in the dub.

In other languages

EP013 : Mystery at the Lighthouse
Original series
EP015 : Battle Aboard the St. Anne
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.