Island of the Giant Pokémon (Japanese: きょだいポケモンのしま！？Island of the Giant Pokémon!?) is the 17th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on July 22, 1997 and in United States on September 30, 1998.
As our heroes and Team Rocket beat the odds by surviving the sinking ship, they are dragged into another potentially deadly situation when they are attacked by the ferocious Pokémon, Gyarados. One Gyarados becomes many and Ash, friends and foe are swept up in a tornado landing them in various locations on an island. Ash loses Pikachu and the Poké Balls containing Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. Jessie and James from Team Rocket, who land in another remote part of the island, also lose their Pokémon. Thus both Pokémon and their masters are left searching for each other on this strange island, inhabited by gigantic Pokémon. Where could this island be?
After the attack caused by a group of Gyarados in the last episode, Ash and his friends end up on an island, where they realize that four of Ash's Pokémon, including Pikachu, are missing. On another side of the island, Jessie and James are awakened by a Krabby to find their Pokémon, including Meowth, are missing. They try to call for help in a phone booth, but they soon remember they don't have any money. On another part of the island, a separated Pikachu finds the Poké Balls of the separated Pokémon and releases Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. They then see a Slowpoke fishing in the sea with its tail. Pikachu and Charmander decide to ask for help but with little result while Bulbasaur and Squirtle relax on the beach.
While trying to find Ash and the others, Ash's Pokémon are found by Team Rocket's Pokémon, Koffing, Ekans and Meowth. Meowth tells Koffing and Ekans to attack Ash's Pokémon, only to find out they won't battle for him because he is not their master. They also tell him that they are not bad guys and only take bad orders from their masters, much to Meowth's dismay, leaving him unable to battle Ash's Pokémon. Each side tells the other about their missing Trainers and Koffing and Ekans get visibly upset when Bulbasaur mentions that their Trainers may have abandoned them. Pikachu immediately refutes the very idea, telling Bulbasaur that Ash would never do something like that. The two sets of Pokémon join together to find their Trainers. Meanwhile, Meowth is tied up for what he has done to Pikachu and the others in the past. While they are eating, a giant Rhydon frightens them. The Pokémon escape, accidentally leaving Meowth tied up. Pikachu unties Meowth so he can escape. Meowth shows no gratitude for Pikachu's action, instead pushing him and saying that he could have got out himself. At the same time, Ash, Misty and Brock are being chased by a giant Zapdos. They soon elude it and decide to rest for the night. Ash vows to find his Pokémon no matter what. Meanwhile, Jessie and James are being chased by a huge Moltres. They run into a sign and are both knocked out, causing them to escape the Moltres.
The next day, Team Rocket runs back to the phone booth and Jessie makes a phone call. When James tells her that they don't have money, she says they are calling the boss by collect. They annoy him with their motto, causing him to hang up on them. Jessie and James then use a wire to get help by pulling on it while inside, hoping it will lead to the phone company. They see a Pikachu and decide to catch it, not realizing until it is too late that it is in fact a giant Pikachu. At the same time, Ash and company run behind a rock after being attacked by a giant Charizard. Meanwhile, the Pokémon, still searching for Ash and Team Rocket (and having agreed to a truce until they find them), come across a giant Blastoise. Squirtle is forced to ask it for directions by the other Pokémon, something that it's not too happy to do. Squirtle tries to start up a conversation with the giant Blastoise but it gets attacked by its Hydro Pump. They then see a Venusaur and Squirtle this time asks Bulbasaur to seek help from it as Squirtle thinks it's one of Bulbasaur's relatives. Bulbasaur is too afraid to ask the giant Venusaur and so says that it's an orphan and has no family, to which Squirtle decides to call it a "coward." Team Rocket, still pulling the telephone wire, are now being chased by a huge Kabutops. They decide to jump into a rail cart to get away. It starts moving but begins to head backwards toward the Kabutops, rather than away from it. It gets its foot tied in the wire and is dragged after Team Rocket. Then Ash and friends find the giant Pikachu, which is then knocked down because of Team Rocket and the trailing wire on the rail cart. Ash and friends fall into the cart with Team Rocket inside. Then they see their Pokémon chased by a giant Charizard, Blastoise and Venusaur. The Pokémon manage to jump to their Trainers and are at last reunited. Then the cart is sent flying into the air because of a giant loop in the rail tracks causing them to fly and crash into the giant Zapdos which they then discover to be robotic. Soon all the other giant robot Pokémon crash into each other and lie broken in a massive pile on the beach. Then the rail cart crashes into the water. A Gyarados shaped boat approaches the island. Inside, a woman introduces what appears to be tourists on the boat to Pokémon Island, however on noticing the damaged Pokémon, apologizes and then makes a call. It is revealed that the island is actually an attraction park owned by Team Rocket's boss, Giovanni, who isn't too happy with the destruction of Pokémon Land.
Ash and his friends continue on, ending up in Porta Vista. Meanwhile, the Slowpoke from earlier in the episode is still sitting on the rocks. It stands up, revealing a Shellder attached to its tail. The newly evolved Slowbro looks forward and says its name proudly.
This is the only episode where subtitles were used to translate what the Pokémon were saying.
In some non-English dubs, the Pokémon used human language or voice-overs and the English subtitles were kept, while in some dubs, the English subtitles were translated into subtitles of the respective languages.
In the Japanese version of this episode, some Pokémon had their genders revealed through the subtitles: Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Ekans were implied to be male due to using a first person pronoun almost exclusively used by males.
This is the first episode where the Who's That Pokémon? segment is different in the English version than the Japanese version.
The picture used during the Who's That Pokémon? segment in the Japanese version shows a real fish biting Slowpoke's tail.
Bulbasaur and Meowth appeared to get drunk at the stand, which is backed up by somebody talking to a "barkeep" in the original episode.
The music that plays during Pokémon Land- tour is the same that plays when S.S. Anne leaves the port in the game.
The robotic Moltres that chased Team Rocket and the robotic Rhydon were the only giant Pokémon that were not seen to be destroyed, although Giovanni's phone call implied that they were indeed destroyed as well.
The book adaptation, however, does have the robotic Rhydon being tripped alongside the other robotic Pokémon as well.
Slowbro says "Slowpoke" at the end of the episode, before realizing it had evolved. This implies that even Pokémon without training are able to say some things that aren't their own name, at the very least the names of their previous forms.
In India, when this episode aired on CN, the Pokémon were given voice overs even though the subtitles were kept. When it was aired on Hungama, the Pokémon did not receive voice overs even though the subtitles were removed. This made it difficult to understand the Pokémon speech.
This episode contains one of the few instances of Pokémon eating humans being mentioned (by Squirtle, who jokingly claimed, that Ash, Misty and Brock may've been eaten by wild Pokémon, which Pikachu and Charmander didn't find funny at all and told him to stop talking that way).
The plot of Ash and his friends washing up on an island, supposedly filled with giant Pokémon could be a reference to the film Mysterious Island, where people get stranded on an island, with creatures, which have been genetically enhanced to be giant.
What Jessie says about the sand in the Japanese version near the start of the episode is a reference to the poem "A Handful of Sand" by famous Japanese poet Takuboku Ishikawa.
This episode was skipped in Brazil during the 2018 rotation of the anime on RedeTV!.
One of Squirtle's captions capitalizes Pokémon as "pokémon", without a capital P.
Also, as Pikachu stumbles across Ash's Poké Balls, he says "Poké Balls" without the accented "é", making it "Poke Balls".
When Team Rocket are about to use the brakes on the cart, they say "pull", but they push the lever.
After all the Pokémon jumped in the moving cart, when Jessie and James are hugging Koffing and Ekans, their gloves are missing.
When Team Rocket sees Meowth, when James and Jessie are crying, James has no pupils.
When the Pokémon jump into the moving cart, Misty catches Squirtle and Brock catches Charmander and Bulbasaur. However, when the cart falls towards the water, Misty is shown holding Charmander while Brock is holding Squirtle and Bulbasaur.
When James is explaining about their recent run of bad luck, Jessie's earrings and lipstick are gone.
After the scene when the cable is about to snap, Meowth's paws are brown instead of white.
When the destroyed robots are shown, the Blastoise robot's bottom jaw is miscolored.
At the very end, when Brock, Ash, and Misty are seen walking a path, Ash's gloves are missing. Just afterward they reappear, only to disappear once more as the three are running towards Porta Vista.
When showing that the Pokémon were running on the right side of the cart, when the Pokémon jumped, they were shown jumping from the left.
When the group fell into the water, Charmander was still out of its Poké Ball and its tail was completely submerged, yet the flame did not go out. This happened again, as a Charizard, in Charizard's Burning Ambitions.
In addition, Ekans and Koffing are missing as the cart flies off the rails and falls into the water.
In the dub, Jessie and James reveal that Ekans and Koffing were given to them as birthday and Christmas presents, respectively. Originally, they were gifts from seasonal events in Japan, in particular the Ghost Festival (chuugen) and Year-End gift giving (oseibo) events respectively.
For subsequent dubs, the text and the Pokémon sounds were deleted and replaced with text/sounds clarifying what they're talking about for non-English speakers. For example: the Latin Spanish version was dubbed over, and the Brazilian Portuguese version was subtitled.
The scene where Krabby and Slowpoke appear also had them with subtitles in the Japanese version as well.
Meowth's reaction actually had two interpretations in the Japanese version. One implies that he has a master, and one states that he doesn't have a master.
The word Oden is removed from the stand.
Also, the scene where the Pokémon were at the Oden was not translated. The translation of the scene is as follows:
...those darn humans
...those darn humans
...those darn humans
Not all people are bad
I understand ya
That's just how the world is
There was also a subtitle that told the time.
In the Latin American dub, when Meowth points out that (the mechanical) Blastoise is the evolved form of Squirtle, he pronounces it "Baltoise".
Jessie apologizes to the Kabutops mecha when the cart's cable tripped it in the Japanese version.
When Jessie and James were making the collect call to Giovanni, they originally asked to be saved and then recited the motto, only to be reminded that they had an advanced payment. Due to the way the motto was triggered in the Japanese version (in this case, Giovanni questioning their request), this was changed in the dub to simply wanting to do the introduction first, with Giovanni expressing his annoyance with their nonsense.
The digital effect of Giovanni's voice was dub-only.