EP020 : The Ghost of Maiden's Peak
Original series
EP022 : Abra and the Psychic Showdown
Bye Bye Butterfree
Bye Bye Butterfree
First broadcast
Japan August 19, 1997
United States October 5, 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 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
Storyboard 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
Assistant director 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
Animation director 玉川明洋 Akihiro Tamagawa
Additional credits

Bye Bye Butterfree (Japanese: バイバイバタフリー Bye Bye Butterfree) is the 21st episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 19, 1997, and in the United States on October 5, 1998.

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


As they journey toward Saffron City, our heroes come to a path that continues along the side of a sheer cliff. When the party sees a flock of Butterfree flying above the ocean, Brock, as a Pokémon breeder, explains that it is the Butterfree's egg-laying season. In order to continue their posterity, Butterfree find mates during this season and cross the sea together. Ash releases his Butterfree, sending it off toward the flock. His Butterfree performs a dance to attract a pink Butterfree, but is brutally rejected. Ash, Misty and Brock try to encourage Butterfree, but Butterfree can't recover from the shock of rejection. Just then Team Rocket arrives to poach the Butterfree. Ash's Butterfree tries to prevent the capture of his fellow Pokémon with very little success. Determined to free them and win the heart of the pink Butterfree, he battles Team Rocket with the strength and courage of a Pokémon in love. Can Ash's Butterfree rescue his fellow Butterfree Pokémon and win the heart of his pink Butterfree? If so, will he leave Ash, his beloved Pokémon trainer, to follow his love and fulfill the Butterfree destiny?


On their way to Saffron City, Ash and his friends arrive at a high cliff. Brock informs the others that the ridge of the cliff should lead right to Saffron City. Then Ash notices a large group of Butterfree on the horizon. Brock states that the Butterfree are celebrating their season of love to find a mate.

The group rents a hot-air balloon and is soon in the air following the Butterfree. Ash sends out his Butterfree to find a mate, but he struggles to get any interest from the other Butterfree. Brock states that none of the Butterfree may be "its type", pointing out the unique differences among all Butterfree. They then notice that other Trainers brought their Butterfree, especially a girl who Brock immediately falls in love with. Ash's Butterfree flies back to Ash and his friends and, after they cheer him up, he returns to seeking a lifetime mate. Soon Butterfree falls in love with a pink Butterfree. However, the pink Butterfree rejects Ash's Butterfree's proposal. Ash's Butterfree keeps on trying, but the pink one eventually slaps him across the face with her wing. Being shot down, Ash's teary-eyed Butterfree then flies away into a forest.

Eventually, Ash and his friends find Butterfree in the forest. Totally surprised, they discuss how they could help Butterfree. Ash decides to check if the Pokédex could help, but Misty notes that it has never been in love, so they instead decide to go with a show-off strategy. Ash tells his Butterfree to show his strength to win the love of the pink Butterfree. In order to make Butterfree also look better, Brock puts a scarf around his neck.

They return to the air with Butterfree. After failing to impress the pink Butterfree with Whirlwind and Tackle, Team Rocket arrives in a helicopter. They perform their motto and catch the Butterfree using a large net to gather them. Ash and his friends try to make Team Rocket change their minds, but it fails. Ash's Butterfree Tackles the helicopter's windshield and later tries a Stun Spore cloud, though his efforts fail. Ash is about to use Pidgeotto instead, but Misty prevents this because Ash could hurt Butterfree's confidence. Team Rocket leaves the scene with Ash's Butterfree, with Ash and his friends following them to a warehouse in the middle of a bare canyon.

Ash and his friends break in through a window while Team Rocket reviews their catch. They improvise a mock-up version of their motto. Team Rocket tries to prevent them from winning, but Ash's Butterfree dashes through them. Misty calls her Starmie out of its Poké Ball and commands it to chase Team Rocket with a Tackle attack. Meanwhile, Butterfree repeatedly Tackles the net bag holding the other Butterfree, causing the net to rip open. Jessie hits Starmie with a hammer, but Misty revives it by spraying water on it. Brock opens the doors and the Butterfree fly out of the warehouse. Team Rocket tries desperately to catch their loot, though their small nets fail. Ash's Butterfree, exhausted from breaking the net, is still inside, the pink Butterfree approaches him and is impressed by his determination. James tries to catch her, but Ash's Butterfree knocks James away, also making the pink Butterfree blush.

Team Rocket returns to their helicopter in a last-ditch attempt to recapture the Butterfree. However, Ash and his friends pursue them in their rented balloon, catching up quickly. As the pink Butterfree watches, Ash's Butterfree flies towards Team Rocket's helicopter with Pikachu on his back. Pikachu jumps on the helicopter and unleashes a Thunder Shock attack, sending Team Rocket down into the darkness. Having witnessed the determination of Ash's Butterfree, the pink Butterfree shows her new love by making her own proposal dance. Naturally, Ash's Butterfree joins the dance.

Back at the cliff, Ash, filled with mixed emotions, bids farewell to the Butterfree couple. As they fly into the sunset, a flashback of Ash's memories is shown. Ash remembers first capturing Caterpie, then him evolving into a Metapod, and finally into Butterfree. He remembers times with Butterfree such as battling Misty's Staryu for the Cascade Badge. As Misty tells Ash that Butterfree is nearly out of sight, he waves and wishes Butterfree good luck. Butterfree continues his flight path into the sunset with tears streaming from his eyes.

Major events

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?: Butterfree


  • This is the first episode to feature an alternately colored Pokémon.
    • It is also the first example of an alternately colored Pokémon in any Pokémon media.
  • This was chosen by Rica Matsumoto as the second episode of Pocket Monsters Premier 10.
  • In this episode, Team Rocket's motto is ripped off for the first time.
  • This is the first episode of the anime to have a boss fantasy.
  • The episode's Japanese and English titles are based on the message that appears when the player releases a Pokémon in the games. For example, if a Butterfree is released, it would say, "Bye-bye, Butterfree!"
    • This is also one of the few episode titles to be exactly the same, in spoken words, in English and Japanese.
  • This is the first episode where a main character formally releases a Pokémon.
  • Parts of this episode were reanimated and reused in a flashback in Butterfree and Me!, while a shot was reanimated and reused in a flashback in Alola, Kanto!.
  • This is the last episode with the Kanto Pokérap in the Finnish dub, because it was considered to be surreptitious advertising.
  • In Pokémon HOME, a Challenge involves the player withdrawing or releasing a Butterfree, potentially referencing this episode.


  • In the Swedish dub, when Ash picks up his Pokédex to check if it has anything to say about Butterfree, his English voice can be heard as he grunts.
  • Meowth's mouth is missing for a brief second before Ash, Misty, and Brock imitate Team Rocket's motto.
  • When Ash throws Butterfree's Poké Ball, he is seen with his backpack on, even though he was not wearing it previously.

Dub edits

  • Kanto Pokérap: Day 1 (Poliwrath error)
  • At the end of the episode, the song that plays during the scene of Ash and his friends saying goodbye to Butterfree is different in both versions. The Japanese version uses Aim to Be a Pokémon Master, while the English version uses Pokémon Theme. However, they are both the first theme songs for their respective versions.
    • However, in the Dutch version, The Time Has Come (Pikachu's Goodbye) is used as the song that plays in the montage of scenes featuring Ash and Butterfree, and during the scene of Ash and his friends saying goodbye to Butterfree.
  • A shot of Ash giving commands to Butterfree was replaced with Butterfree doing a skydive.
  • The banner that had Team Rocket's motto had the text edited out.
  • Meowth's mention of becoming the top cat again was him saying "when we tell the boss..." and trailing off.
  • During the scene in which Ash and his friends pursue Team Rocket and then Pikachu uses Thunder Shock, an instrumental version of Kanto Pokérap is played in the European Portuguese dub. In the Dutch version, the song that plays during the farewell montage of Pikachu's Goodbye is used.
  • In the dub, Brock says that Ash raised Butterfree to be courageous and that he believes Ash has shown himself to be courageous too, to which Ash thanks him. In the original version, he instead says that people can take care of Pokémon but cannot reproduce them, to which Ash agrees.

In other languages

EP020 : The Ghost of Maiden's Peak
Original series
EP022 : Abra and the Psychic Showdown
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.