The Misty Mermaid (Japanese: ハナダジム！すいちゅうのたたかい！Hanada Gym! Underwater Battle!) is the 61st episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on September 3, 1998 and in the United States on September 23, 1999.
One of Misty's water Pokémon is in desperate need of exercise, so the gang decides to take her Horsea to a gym that's run by her sisters in Cerulean City. But, Misty gets more than she bargains for when she learns that her sisters are planning an exciting underwater ballet.
While in Viridian City, Misty's Horsea looks ill as it swims in a fountain. Brock suggests that it needs to find a bigger pool to swim in, and so, the gang decides to head for Misty's home town, Cerulean City. When they get there, they discover that Misty's sisters at the Cerulean Gym are having trouble attracting crowds to their performances and have advertised Misty to be in a new performance called the Underwater Ballet. Misty is reluctant to be a part of this at first and shocked to learn that the first performance is tomorrow. She finally agrees after a lot of begging from her sisters alongside Ash and Brock's encouragement. They then celebrate after convincing their little sister to do what they want, much to Misty's frustration.
The sisters soon begin rehearsing as Violet, the scriptwriter, reads it out. Misty remain disinterested and nervous, though her sisters actively act out the scenes including the sword fights. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is in front of the Cerulean Gym when they notice the Underwater Ballet show poster. James is immediately interested and notes that he used to learn dance, though Jessie and Meowth have different motives. The trio decides to infiltrate the show to steal all of the Water-type Pokémon.
On the day of the performance, a large crowd fills the whole Gym, eager to see the show. Ash and Brock are sitting among the audience, and Ash is excited to see Misty, though she is nervous after seeing the size of the crowd. After an introductory announcement, the lights dim and the Gym's pool rises close to the ceiling. The show starts smoothly with Misty swimming with the water Pokémon. While Lily and Violet, in costume, are watching, Team Rocket attacks them and takes their costumes. Daisy, who had been taking tickets, hears her cue on the pre-recorded voice-over and goes to change. As the antagonists of the show appear, Ash and Brock quickly realize that Team Rocket has gate-crashed the show and leave their seats to address the situation. Jessie and James insert breathing devices into their mouths before diving into the pool. Misty emerges from a clam shell to see Team Rocket swimming towards her. They perform their motto underwater and are thrilled by the crowd's applause.
Meowth, waiting on a diving board, presses a button, and the Meowth Balloon crashes through the ceiling. Meowth then releases a net, which ensnares several Goldeen. Misty and Team Rocket tussle over the Pokémon. Meanwhile, Daisy has since changed into her costume and is about to enter the stage when Ash and Brock appear. They quickly inform her of Team Rocket's arrival and hand her Togepi before diving in to help Misty. Confused at this, Daisy hears banging on a nearby locker, and finds Lily and Violet bound and gagged. An underwater battle commences between Misty and Ash's Water Pokémon against Jessie's Arbok. Horsea's Bubble is swatted way by Arbok's tail, and it then disappears in a Smokescreen. When the black cloud clears, a Seaking attacks Arbok with its horn. Misty then orders Seaking to use Horn Drill, which hits Arbok multiple times.
The battle continues, but the audience is still convinced that it is all part of the show and are practically enjoying it. Violet attempts to help and summons Misty's Psyduck, though they are shocked to learn that it hates water. Although Weezing floats to the surface, unable to breathe underwater, Arbok dominates its opponents and rounds them up, hoping to finish them off. Just then, Seel intervenes, quickly encircling Arbok. At Misty's command, it follows up with several Headbutts. Misty's sisters are impressed by Seel's battling, admitting they never thought about using it. After delivering a successful Aurora Beam, Seel begins spinning and evolves into Dewgong. Arbok advances again, though Dewgong sends it flying into Jessie and James before freezing them with its Ice Beam. After Misty and Brock bring the Water Pokémon to a rock, Pikachu electrocutes the water, sending Jessie, James, and Arbok upwards. They hit Meowth and the balloon, sending them all blasting off once more. The crowd goes wild, having enjoyed the show. Because of this, the Cerulean Gym shows are popular again, with months worth of bookings set up.
Before departing, Misty decides to leave Horsea at the Gym after Brock reminds her of Horsea's condition, and her sisters also borrow her Starmie. They also want Togepi and Pikachu as well, but Misty and Ash refuse to hand them over. Misty then offers to let them have Psyduck, which the sisters say they aren't that desperate for. Later, Ash and his friends bid farewell to the Sensational Sisters to continue their journey. As they leave Cerulean City, Ash compliments Misty's performance, but Misty reminds him that he still owes her a bike.
Pokémon senryū summary: Magikarp, splashes lively, energetic child.
The dub title of the episode is a reference to the fairy-tale story and Disney film The Little Mermaid.
The play itself is also a reference to the fairy-tale, although the overall premise (namely the fact that pirates were the main villains, as well as the main mermaid's overall appearance and her even being named, or at least played by a person named "Misty") more closely resembles the Disney storyteller record Misty the Mischievous Mermaid.
Jessie and James's outfits when they appear to ruin the show appear to be based upon the ballet Swan Lake.
Since Ash registered Dewgong underwater, the Pokédex is apparently waterproof. This also marks the first time Ash uses the Pokédex underwater.
Unlike its pre-evolution Ekans, Jessie's Arbok is shown to have the ability to breathe underwater. James's Weezing, however, is less dense than water and immediately floats to the surface.
This is one of many episodes in which a variation of Team Rocket's motto is given. In the last line, Meowth replaces "Meowth, that's right" with "Meowth, that's wet".
The swords Misty's sisters are using are made of rubber, but when Daisy unleashes her sword as she is about to go onstage, it has a metal sound effect.
When Pikachu falls in the water, his mouth doesn't move when he says "Pika-Pi".
Despite Arbok fighting in the water, it is said that only Water Pokémon could do so. However, many real world snakes have the ability to survive and fight under water, which may explain why Arbok can do so.
The sign in front of the Gym has its text changed from "Hanada Gym" to "Cerulean Gym".
The underwater ballet poster in the Cerulean Gym had its text translated for the dubbed version.
Ash compares the mermaid on the poster to Misty in the dub, while he comments on the oddness of the gym doing swimming and underwater ballet shows in the original.
In the English dub, Lily guilt-trips Misty by saying the customers will be disappointed, but she simply teases her inexperience in the original version.
Lily starts narrating the ballet's plot earlier in the dub; in the original, she starts by saying she is more worthy for the role but is being kind by giving it to Misty.
When Brock and Ash are applauding the ballet rehearsal, they specifically complement the prince and the Seel respectively in the dub. In the original version, they simply complimented the story in general.
James' quip that "next time [they'll] steal men's clothes" was originally just a remark on the magnificence of their plan.
The sign that says "Metamon Coffee & Tea" had the word Metamon digitally erased from it.
In the final exchange of the dub, Ash compliments Misty's performance while Misty tells him flattery won't make her forget about her destroyed bike. In the original, Ash reaffirms his original suspicion of the Gym while Misty tells him not to think much of it.