Pokémon Scent-sation! (Japanese: エリカとクサイハナErika and Kusaihana) is the 26th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on September 23, 1997 and in the United States on October 12, 1998.
The party arrives in Celadon City, a perfectly pleasant town full of large department stores, condominiums, and fancy arcades. Brock and Misty are mesmerized, listening to a pretty young girl in a miniskirt, selling perfume. Appalled by the price of the perfume, Ash is kicked out of the department store, and heads for the Pokémon gym alone, but he is denied entrance to the Celadon Gym. The perfume that Ash criticized in the department store is produced in this gym. Brock and Misty enter the gym and befriend those who inhabit it, but Ash must go to some outrageous lengths in order to even set foot in the gym let alone prove himself worthy of battle against its Master.
As Ash and his friends arrive at Celadon City, everyone but Ash notices a wonderful smell in the air, and Brock runs off. Ash finds him with his face against a store window, noticing several girls inside. Ash thinks Brock is wasting time and proceeds to leave, but Misty and Pikachu are revealed to be inside the perfume store, admiring the variety of aromas. Misty asks about how much it will cost, but Ash steps inside and urges her not to waste her money. The female manager confronts Ash about his negative claim, but Ash pushes it further by saying all perfumes are a waste and turn guys into zombies, pointing to Brock. Everyone in the store is against Ash about his remark, even his own friends, and they kick him out. Ash storms away and heads to the Celadon Gym, but when he tries to enter, none of the Trainers are willing to let him in. They know about his perfume distaste since the perfume originates from the Gym. The lead Trainer stamps a red cross on Ash's face before kicking him out and closing the doors.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket sets up a ladder to sneak into the Gym and steal the perfume formula. While exploring the interior forest, Jessie runs into a Gloom. James waves at Gloom's face, waking it up. James sends out his Koffing to launch Poison Gas, but Gloom is unaffected by the attack, breathing it as if it were fresh air. Gloom responds by releasing its stench, the putrid smell instantly knocking out Team Rocket. Meowth is unaffected since he does not have a nose, but the Trainers knock Meowth out with a hammer before planting red cross marks on all three of them, taking them outside and suspending them from a tree branch.
Ash runs into Team Rocket tied up in the tree. James asks Ash to free them, but Jessie refuses at first. She then decides to taunt Ash for not getting into the Gym. Jessie offers to help Ash get inside the Gym if he releases them. Though reluctant at first, Ash does not want to pass up the opportunity to get the Badge. They go to the department store and Team Rocket dresses Ash up in a dress and a blonde wig. Ash speaks about wanting to get back at the Trainers, but Team Rocket subtly point out that Ash needs to change his voice. Ash coughs and speaks again in a high-pitched voice, setting up his disguise. Jessie and James dress up as Ash's parents and go to the Gym to enroll Ash in the Pokémon training classes under the name Ashley. Ash notices that the girl registering him into the class was the same one he saw at the store, but the disguise holds and he is successfully admitted. Team Rocket runs off to find the secret perfume formula while Ash unintentionally distracts the Trainers. Meowth, hiding under James's disguise, pulls out a blaster ball, asking what to do with it, and Jessie orders Meowth to plant it.
The Gym Trainers work out with their Grass-type Pokémon while Erika finishes telling a story to the group. Ash enters the room and finds Misty and Brock in the group. Ash finds out that Erika is not only the Gym Leader, but she is also the store manager that kicked him out. Brock steps forward to introduce the seemingly shy Ashley as Ash notices Pikachu in the group as well. Misty asks Erika why Gloom does not emit its horrible smell. Erika points out that as long as Gloom feels safe, it will not smell. Erika recounts that she first met Gloom, her first Pokémon and motivation to become a grass type Gym leader, when she was a child after she ran into a wild Grimer. Gloom came to her defence and used its stench to send Grimer scurrying. As Erika finishes the story, Misty wishes that Ash could have heard the story. Ash responds in his normal voice, raising suspicion as Misty takes a closer look at Ash. Pikachu gets closer and hugs Ash's leg. He pushes him away, making him angrily shock him, breaking the disguise. Ash drops the facade and challenges Erika to a battle. Meanwhile, Team Rocket breaks into the safe holding the perfume.
Erika accepts the challenge and sets up a three-on-three battle. Ash sends out Bulbasaur while Erika sends out Tangela, which prompts Ash to check his Pokédex. Bulbasaur attacks with Vine Whip, but Tangela uses Constrict to pull Bulbasaur closer before following up with Stun Spore, paralyzing Bulbasaur. Ash recalls Bulbasaur and Erika offers to treat it with Parlyz Heal, but he refuses and considers using Primeape, but knowing how unruly the Pokémon is, he changes his mind and sends out Charmander instead. Erika sends out Weepinbell and opens with a Razor Leaf attack. Charmander uses Flamethrower to stop the attack and send it back as fireballs. Charmander uses Skull Bash to knock out Weepinbell. Erika points out Ash's lack of empathy towards his Pokémon as she sends out Gloom. It releases its stench and upon smelling it, Charmander jumps into the air, holding its nose before fainting. Ash tries to decide his next Pokémon, but Pikachu steps forward and offers to battle. Ash is not optimistic, but Pikachu is confident that he will win.
Team Rocket interrupts the battle and jumps down onto the battlefield. Meowth detonates a bomb, which is still on Meowth, sending them blasting off, but they manage to escape with the perfume. The bomb starts a massive fire and the Trainers quickly recall their Pokémon. Everyone gets outside as the fire grows out of control and threatens to destroy the Gym. Everyone tries to put the fire out, but their attempts are not very effective. Ash feels guilty that he allowed Team Rocket inside (and the prior remark about the Gym's perfume that caused the whole mess in the first place), but Misty snaps him out of it. He sends Squirtle while Misty sends out Staryu and Starmie to fire Water Gun at the fire. Brock sends Geodude to drop dirt on the flames. As they begin to get a hold on the fire, Erika runs around, frantic because she cannot find Gloom. She thinks Gloom is still inside and attempts to run in, but Misty stops her. Ash runs in instead. He finds Gloom scared, but as he approaches, Gloom releases its smell. The ceiling begins to cave in around Gloom. Ash takes a chance and holds his breath as he rushes into the room. He gets up to Gloom, but can no longer hold his breath as he takes a breath, but he finds no smell because he remembers the story that Gloom will not stink if it feels safe.
Ash runs out of the burning Gym with Gloom in hand and everyone congratulates Ash for his bravery. The next day, Erika presents the Rainbow Badge to Ash because he saved Gloom. Ash points out the lost potion, but Erika points out that the bottle held Gloom's scent. Meanwhile, Team Rocket opens the bottle, the contents knocking them out.
In Showdown in Pewter City, Brock states that as a Gym Leader, he has to accept all challenges. However, in this episode, Ash is denied entry into the Gym; this is ironic as later in the episode, Erika even says she has to accept all challenges, so it's possible that the women at the door were acting on their own agenda.
James's disguise in this episode is a reference to a character played by Cha Katō.
Ash shouting, "Fine! Fine! Fine!" in the Japanese version is a reference to a line the ending of the series Matchless Raijin-Oh, a series which was also written by the writer of this episode, Hideki Sonoda.
When Erika finishes telling the story about Omanyte, a miniature Victreebel is seen next to Gloom and Tangela in the respect that it is only slightly taller than the two of them.
Most of the scenes involving the perfume shop had kanji removed from them.
Erika's explanation towards what perfume was differed between the two versions. The English version resembled a kind of cheer, while the Japanese version mentioned that perfume helps people relax, gives them energy, and gives them a peace of mind.
The Cleopatra reference was dub only.
The scene setting up the gag involving Meowth's lacking a nose was played out slightly differently between the two versions. In the Japanese version, Meowth was reacting along with everyone else about the smell, but then Jessie mentions "hana" as in "flower", by which point Meowth thinks about his own nose because hana means both "nose" and "flower" in Japanese. He then starts freaking out until he realizes that he doesn't have a nose. In the English dub, Meowth is complaining about his nose being on fire. Then Jessie reminds Meowth that he doesn't even have a nose, thus causing Meowth to panic about his nose "being dissolved by the fumes". He soon realizes that the "cartoonists never gave him one". Presumably, this was done due to this being an untranslatable joke.