Before this episode re-aired on Kids Station, the scenario credit given was 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka.
Princess vs. Princess (Japanese: げきとう！ポケモンひなまつりFierce Fight! Pokémon Girls' Festival) is the 52nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on July 9, 1998 and in the United States on September 4, 1999. It was initially intended to air in Japan on March 3, 1998, but was rescheduled following the EP038 incident.
Misty and Jessie compete against one another for Queen of the Princess Festival, a day where women rule and the guys have to do whatever the girls tell them. Misty finds out how important friends are when Ash and Brock allow her to use their Pokémon in the tournament. But Jessie manages to lick her competition with a surprise Pokémon of her own.
Misty and Jessie enjoy the perks of the Princess Festival while in O-Hina Town, a holiday with events, shopping sales and discounts, festivals, and games that are exclusively for women. Misty goes on a shopping spree, making Ash, Brock, and even Pikachu carry her purchases. At a local park, Jessie shows off her expensive finds, including food and clothing, and hopes the Team Rocket company credit card can handle the pressure. Just then, a Lickitung appears and swallows Jessie's food. Irritated, Jessie throws a Poké Ball and abruptly catches it, much to Meowth and James' surprise. Jessie then drags James and Meowth with her to do more shopping.
At a store, Jessie encounters Misty, and they fight over a dress, only to have another shopper grab it while they aren't looking. They quickly forget about it when an announcement is made over the store's intercom about the Queen of the Princess Festival contest. Jessie and Misty decide to enter, fueled by their desire for the prize, a set of Pokémon Princess Dolls. The other prize is a picture with a movie star named Fiorella Cappuccino, but they don't show interest in that.
During the competition, Fiorella, an announcer, and a line of pretty girls dressed in kimonos and crowns, including Jessie and Misty, stand on a stage. The announcer reveals that the contest isn't just a beauty pageant, it is also a Pokémon battle competition. The contestants are split into divisions, and they must use four Pokémon to battle. Misty then begs Ash and Brock to let her use their Pokémon for the contest, and they reluctantly loan Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Vulpix to her. When Ash is confused as to why Misty wants to meet Fiorella, she explains that she just wants the dolls, because her sisters all had their own doll sets, while she only got their hand-me-down dolls, which were broken by the time she got them.
Misty wins several matches with Ash and Brock's Pokémon, as well as Staryu. Jessie also wins matches with Arbok, Weezing, and Meowth. Misty and Jessie then face off in the finals, but not until after Jessie reminisces about her hatred of the Princess Festivals because, like Misty, she never had a Pokémon Princess Doll of her own, while all of the other girls did. The story brings the emotional trio to tears, and James and Meowth give her support. During the match, Pikachu makes quick work of Arbok, Weezing, and Meowth. At first, Jessie and James lose hope that she will win the contest, but Meowth reminds her that she caught a Lickitung earlier, and the battle continues. Lickitung easily defeats Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Vulpix with a confusion-inducing Lick. Then, Misty tries to send out Staryu, but her Psyduck pops out instead. At first, Misty is in despair, thinking that she can never win now. Just then, in an unexpected turn of events, Lickitung's attacks give Psyduck a headache, triggering its potent Psychic powers. Misty wins the match and the Queen of the Princess Festival Contest with Psyduck's Confusion, while blasting off Team Rocket in the process.
In the end, Misty has a courier service deliver the dolls to the Cerulean Gym to make her sisters jealous. As for Team Rocket, James, Meowth, Arbok, Weezing, and Lickitung are all dressed up as Pokémon dolls to make Jessie feel better. Jessie is moved to tears, and pretends to be a Pokémon doll along with them.
Due to being originally intended to be aired after Holiday Hi-Jynx, Meowth alluding to the events of that episode in the Japanese version (specifically, when comparing Jessie's melancholy for the overall holiday to her hating Christmas). The episode takes place sometime prior to So Near, Yet So Farfetch'd, since Jessie's Lickitung is mentioned in that episode.
The title card
Jynx's original skin color
For unclear reasons, this episode's title card is written in all caps, unlike most of the other title cards from the original series.
This episode's title is formatted as Princess Vs Princess on the DVD menu of Australian DVDs.
The Jynx princess doll uses Jynx's old design, before its skin color was changed to purple due to the controversy surrounding the design.
This was one of the few episodes hinting at Pikachu's gender before it being officially confirmed in the Diamond & Pearl series, as Pikachu was shown holding one of the bags after the narrator mentioned that the males carry packages during the Princess Festival.
This is the only episode where Brock's Vulpix retains its Japanese voice.
This episode slightly confirms that Ash is an only child with Misty stating so. This would be further confirmed in the third movie.
This episode is not listed on the Japanese official site. This may be due to it being aired as a special episode.
In the Japanese version, this episode is one of the few to assign its events a specific date (March 3).
When Misty is planning for the competition, she says she is going to use Starmie. Later in the episode, however, she tries to send out Staryu (her Psyduck comes out instead).
Jessie's Lickitung's yellow eyebrows turn into a shaded pink many times throughout the episode.
This episode being dubbed out of continuity creates a continuity error concerning Ash's Pokédex. In the dub, Ash's Pokédex is voiced by Eric Stuart as it has always been since Who Gets to Keep Togepi? In the dub, the Pokédex's different voice was explained in-continuity to be part of the Pokédex upgrade Ash received in said episode. However this episode takes place chronologically before the above episode, meaning Ash wouldn't have received the update yet. Also, Misty's Togepi is not present in this episode.
Numerous signs throughout the episode were edited in place of the original text for English audiences.
In the Japanese version, the Princess Festival was actually called Hinamatsuri (literally "Girl's Day"). In addition, the Japanese version specifically lists the date as being March 3, while the dub omits this at various points:
In the beginning of the episode, Misty specifically mentions March 3 is occurring, while in the dub, she simply states it is her favorite holiday.
The narrator also mentions the March 3 date when explaining what the holiday is about, something that is omitted in the dub. On a related note, the same narration also gives the name of the town as O-Hina Town, while the setting is left unnamed in the dub. He also mentions that the women are allowed to do whatever they please during the holiday due to the money they bring in, something that's left unsaid in the dub.
Jessie, when monologuing about her motives, also mentions the March 3 date. The Japanese version also reveals her personal motives for doing the contest were similar to those from Holiday Hi-Jynx.
The dub implies that only men have to pay while women can get their items for free. The Japanese version, however, makes clear that the girls simply got a discount, while the men are implied to have to pay the full price.
Brock's prince statement when flirting with the waitress was originally the emperor figure in various Hina dolls during Hinamatsuri in the Japanese version.
Jessie's request to put the items on the Team Rocket account was actually a request to gift-wrap them in the Japanese version.
In addition, the gifting for the Boss was originally to show their appreciation for Giovanni instead of an attempt to make up for not capturing Pikachu. Meowth's line about "a half-price Pikachu" was likewise simply stating that it was nice that Giovanni was a salaryman.
Jessie's exclamation about "genuine designer fakes" was originally her yelling at Lickitung and demanding to know what it just did.
In the scene where Jessie and Misty fight for the outfit mentioned in the Japanese version, Jesse says that the outfit can't fit Misty because it is too big for her (while also calling her a Jaari Girl), with Misty simply replying she'll grow into it, and refers to Jessie as "Rocket-Dan" (the Japanese name for Team Rocket). They also referred to the large woman who took the dress they had been fighting over as "Old Woman" in the Japanese version (which explains her glaring at them after their shouting at her).
The announcer's statement that the winner must be "poised as a Jynx, sit as serenely as a Jigglypuff, and possess the charm and grace of an Oddish" was originally a Pokémon-ized version of a Japanese proverb on how to be a lady.
Misty originally mentioned that she's "the most beautiful woman in the world" and thus will win, while Jessie commented that a true beauty wouldn't boast like that before stating she'll win for that reason in the Japanese version.
The Pokémon Princess Doll Set was specified in the Japanese version to be a three-tiered Hina doll set. In addition, the "Batteries sold separately" quip was dub-added.
Ash's reference to Misty's status as the runt of the Cerulean sisters was replaced with his claiming that her desiring the doll set was simply "a Misty thing."
Misty's comment about using Starmie when reviewing her team was actually referring to Staryu.
James' reaction about Jessie taking Weezing was originally him expressing shock that Jessie had managed to take it without his even noticing.
Meowth's threat to Primeape was originally his boasting that he'll take it down in one hit due to being all fired up.
Jessie's two outbursts to the announcer was originally due to anger at being addressed as "San" instead of "Chan".
Misty's warning to Pikachu about Lickitung was originally her deducing that Lickitung was lazy due to its using its tongue to grab things.
Meowth's comment about Lickitung getting tongue tied was originally commenting that Pikachu didn't taste good and it spit him out.
Brock's concern for Misty was originally his stating that Lickitung was more concerned about tasting his victims than actually battling.
Fiorella Cappuccino's comment about Psyduck not being affected by Lickitung's tongue being "just like in the movies" was originally him expressing some minor surprise at Lickitung's tongue not affecting Psyduck at all.
In the Japanese version, we hear Lickitung's stomach rumbling when it disobeys Jessie, strongly implying that it wasn't willing to continue if it can't eat. The dub doesn't make this clear because of the music obscuring the gurgling effects.
Jessie, when discovering James and Meowth dressed up as dolls for her, only said "ii kanji" in the Japanese version.