| Pokémon Paparazzi
Photo Op Pikachu
|| July 23, 1998
| United States
|| April 17, 1999
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 横田和 Kazu Yokota
| Assistant director
|| 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
| Animation director
|| 武田優作 Yūsaku Takeda
| Additional credits
Pokémon Paparazzi (Japanese: シャッターチャンスはピカチュウ Photo Op Pikachu) is the 55th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on July 23, 1998 and in the United States on April 17, 1999.
Say cheese! Ash and friends are being shadowed by Snap, the world's greatest Pokémon photographer. Snap hopes to catch just one great shot of Pikachu, but Pikachu is camera-shy. What Ash and friends don't know is that Snap is doing this job for Team Rocket. But Team Rocket thinks that Snap is in the business of actually capturing Pokémon—the villains don't realize that he only captures them on film. When they realize they've been duped, Jessie, James, and Meowth drop in to swipe Pikachu themselves. Ash and Snap work together to send Team Rocket off in a photo finish. Snap gets the photo he wanted, and Ash gets a new friend.
Ash and his friends decide to stop and eat, with Brock making his famous rice balls. However, Ash notices what he thinks is a gun pointing at Pikachu, and knocks his friends out of the way. Ash sends out Squirtle and commands it to use Water Gun at the bushes where he saw the gun. Just then, Todd stands up, holding nothing but a camera, and tells him to stop, afraid that his camera will be ruined. Ash, infuriated at Todd, asks why he was spying on them. Todd explains that he is a world-famous Pokémon photographer and didn't want his picture of Pikachu to look fake.
The group goes back to Todd's house to talk, and he shows them a magazine with his picture of the same Aerodactyl that took Ash. Todd subtly tries to get a picture of Pikachu, but it accidentally zaps him in the process. He tries again, but gives up and reiterates that Pokémon should be photographed naturally, not posing, showing them pictures he took of various Pokémon to prove his point. Pikachu doesn't like to be photographed, so Ash, Misty, and Brock send out their Pokémon for Todd to photograph. However, Todd says that he only wants to take pictures of Pikachu. They ask him why, but he says that he cannot tell them.
Ash and his friends leave, and as they are walking down a path, Todd is shown hidden in the grass, trying to get another shot. It is revealed that Team Rocket, disguised as seniors, assigned Todd to capture Pikachu, unaware that he was just a photographer.
Misty and Brock rest under a tree as Ash and Pikachu wash their faces in a pond. Twice, Todd tries to take Pikachu's picture, but he hides behind Ash before the photo is taken, much to his frustration.
Meanwhile, as Team Rocket is digging a pitfall trap, Meowth yells that Todd is coming, and Jessie and James quickly put their disguises back on. Todd tells them that he hasn't taken Pikachu yet, and James almost tells him about the pitfall, but Jessie and Meowth stop him and drag him away.
Todd sets up his camera on a tripod and waits for Ash and the group to walk by. Pikachu hides in Ash's bag and Brock suggests he must dislike photography. Todd overhears Ash criticizing him by pointing out that Todd shows no regard for his photographed Pokémon and their feelings. As they walk, however, they fall into Team Rocket's pitfall trap. Todd comes up and tries to rescue them when he sees Pikachu peeking out of Ash's backpack and decides to take his picture. Team Rocket sees this and realizes that he is actually a photographer. Just then, the ground below Ash starts to crack, and Ash and Pikachu fall into an underground cavern. Todd jumps down after them and runs along the water's edge. Realizing they will fall over the waterfall, Todd holds out his camera on the tripod for them to grab onto. Ash grabs onto the strap and realizes that Todd sacrificed his camera to save them. As Ash starts to pull himself up, Todd reassures him that the loss of the camera is not an issue.
Just then, Team Rocket appears and says their motto before taking off their disguises. Meowth uses a net to take Pikachu off Ash's back. Todd asks why they tricked him, and Jessie answers that he tricked them first because they wanted him to take Pikachu, not take its picture. James then throws some small bombs into the waterfall, causing Todd to begin slipping. Ash twists Todd's camera and acts like he is going to take Team Rocket's picture. As they wait for him to take it, the small bomb explodes in James' hand. Ash pulls himself up the rest of the way with Todd's tripod, then sends out Bulbasaur and tells it to use Razor Leaf. The attack tears the rubber net holding Pikachu, and he escapes. Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip and chases Team Rocket into a river, then they fall off a different waterfall. Brock and Misty arrive on the scene and Pikachu lands in Ash's arms. Misty queries why Ash and Todd are laughing together, and Ash officially declares their friendship due to a common love of Pokémon.
Todd sets up his camera to take a picture with his new friends, but he slips on a rice ball and knocks Ash and Misty down. However, the shot turns out well, with everyone smiling and in more natural poses.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- This episode was the first to air in Japan after the theatrical release of M01.
- In The Battling Eevee Brothers, Pikachu has no problem having his picture taken, whereas in this episode, when Todd Snap tries to take his picture, he gets upset. This may be because it was prepared in that episode, unlike this one, where it was a surprise.
- In the dub, this is the last episode to use the Pokémon logo as the title uses the franchise's name.
- When Todd is trying to take a picture of Pikachu, Ash mistakes his camera for a sniper, which he imagines shooting Brock. This is the first time a character is seen dying in the anime, though it is not real.
- This is one of the few 4Kids episodes in which rice balls are referred to properly.
Pikachu's missing stripes
- When Team Rocket shows Todd the pictures of Ash's Pikachu, he doesn't have any stripes on his back.
- When Todd is trying to get Pikachu's picture, the napkin he had tied around his neck disappears.
- When Todd offers pancakes to Ash and his friends, one of Pikachu's red cheeks is missing.
- When James is first shown disguised as an old man, his left eye is missing.
- In one scene in the beginning when Misty is trying to get Togepi to stop crying, Misty's mouth moves but her voice is not heard.
- When Ash and his friends are eating pancakes, Brock says he would like to get the recipe for them. As he says this, it sounds like he has food in his mouth. However, if one looks closely, Brock's mouth is wide open and his mouth doesn't move.
- Kanto Pokérap: Day 5 (Version 2)
- Originally, Todd's name was dubbed as "Snap", as it is the default name for him in Pokémon Snap, released earlier in the year for the Nintendo 64. Because of potential issues with Kellogg's over one of the mascots of Rice Krispies, the episode was redubbed and aired in the United States with his name as Todd. The "Snap" dub was used in the airings outside of the United States. When Cartoon Network gained the rights to air first-run episodes of Pokémon and stream older ones on Toonami Jetstream, they chose to use the "Todd" dub, retconning his full name to "Todd Snap".
- In the original, Todd wears a mask of Blastoise because Ash thought he said カメックス (Kamex) instead of カメラ (camera). Because this would not make sense in the dub, the joke changes to Ash thinking Todd called himself a "Pokémon Masker" instead of a "Pokémon Photo Master".
- When Meowth checks the Pokémon Times article on Todd after Todd finally takes Pikachu's picture, it originally included text that identified him as a camera kid and his age as 10. The dub only shows Todd's picture.
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