EP071 : To Master the Onixpected!
Original series
EP073 : Bad To The Bone
The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis
Fierce Battle! Ancient Pokémon
First broadcast
Japan November 26, 1998
United States October 14, 1999
English themes
Opening Pokémon Theme
Japanese themes
Opening めざせポケモンマスター
Ending タイプ・ワイルド
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
Storyboard 福本潔 Kiyoshi Fukumoto
Assistant director 福本潔 Kiyoshi Fukumoto
Animation director 福本勝 Masaru Fukumoto
Additional credits

The Ancient Puzzle of Pokémopolis (Japanese: げきとつ!ちょうこだいポケモン Fierce Battle! Ancient Pokémon) is the 72nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on November 26, 1998 and in the United States on October 14, 1999.

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


While Ash and Brock are busy training for the Pokémon League, they inadvertently uncover a hidden temple containing Pokémon fossils. Misty recalls reading about a hidden city where people used to build temples to honor Pokémon. Could they have stumbled upon the ancient city of Pokémopolis?


Ash is finally training for the Pokémon League, first by battling Brock, with Pikachu pitted against Vulpix. Pikachu is about to use Thunderbolt, and Vulpix is about to use Flamethrower, when Jigglypuff appears in-between them. At Ash and Brock's command, Pikachu and Vulpix fire their attacks in a different direction, destroying a rock wall. As Ash and his friends walk closer, they see that they have uncovered the entrance to a temple, as well as a gigantic bell. They find an ancient artifact in the rubble, and an archaeologist named Eve takes it.

Eve and the other archaeologists are digging up artifacts related to the ancient city of Pokémopolis, and a professor finds a spoon similar to the first artifact. Pokémopolis was destroyed in a storm a long time ago, and an ancient tablet reads that two great powers of destruction will fight and destroy the world, and no human knows the secret to stop them.

That night, Team Rocket attempts to steal the rare and valuable artifacts from the temple. Jessie has her Arbok enter the temple and bring back the most valuable thing it can find. It brings back a dark object that appears to be three dark orbs together. It absorbs Arbok, and chases after Team Rocket. It makes footprints in the ground as it chases them, as though it is invisible. It absorbs them as well, off-screen.

The next day, the professor finds the dark device, and is absorbed by it. It then absorbs all the archaeologists except Eve, and turns into a giant Gengar with strange markings on it. Gengar heads to the nearest town to destroy it. As the nearest town is Pallet Town, Ash tries to stop it. Ash and his friends chase after it while Eve heads back to the van, where the artifacts are floating around. He sends Pidgeotto after it, but the Gust Attack doesn't do much, and Pidgeotto is absorbed by Gengar. Brock sends Onix after it and has Onix use Bind, wrapping around Gengar's leg, but Gengar absorbs it too.

Gengar chases Ash and his friends back to the van, where Eve is possessed by the two strange artifacts (the one that looks like a spoon and the other one with the same design), and the spoon sticks in the other one like a key, and the spell on Eve and the other artifacts is broken. The two artifacts then transform into a giant Alakazam, also with strange markings on it. Gengar and Alakazam battle. Alakazam shoots energy waves that, when they hit the ground or a wall, transform into strangely shaped stones. What those are is unknown. Gengar and Alakazam enter a beam struggle with Night Shade and Psybeam respectively, and where the beams collide, they shoot into the sky, threatening to destroy the entire planet.

Ash has his Pikachu use Thunderbolt on them when they step into the water, but although they are affected, no significant damage is caused to them. Then, Jigglypuff appears and sings its song. Everyone inside the giant Gengar falls asleep, but Gengar and Alakazam do not, as Jigglypuff is too small to put them to sleep. Gengar knocks Alakazam backward, and it crashes into Jigglypuff, sending it blasting off.

However, Jigglypuff's song makes the giant bell glow, and it summons forth a giant Jigglypuff. The giant Jigglypuff's song is loud and powerful enough to put the giant Gengar and Alakazam to sleep, as well as everyone else. Just like the regular Jigglypuff, the giant Jigglypuff gets angry when it sees that Gengar and Alakazam fell asleep, and pulls off the head of the bell, revealing it to be a paintbrush, and scribbles on Gengar and Alakazam's faces.

When Ash and the others wake up, the dark clouds have vanished, as have the three giant Pokémon. The artifacts and all the giant Gengar's victims have all reappeared. Ash walks up to Team Rocket, and they decide not to battle Ash this time, and run off.

Major events

For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline.


Pokémon debuts

TV episode debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Jigglypuff (US and international), Alakazam (Japan)


The recurring stone tablet
  • Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture: Rapidash
    • Pokémon senryū summary: Cold winter; if Rapidash was here, it would be warm.
  • A stone tablet very similar to the one that Eve deciphers appears almost exactly four years later in A Ruin with a View. It shows up in the possession of Professor Alden, who learns from it the way to get into the stone chamber of the Oldale Ruins.
  • The object from which Gengar is released resembles a vajra. A bell and a vajra are two of the ritual objects used in Vajrayana Buddhism.
  • This is the second time someone, namely the giant Gengar and Alakazam, doesn't fall asleep to Jigglypuff's song, this time because Jigglypuff was too small to affect them.
  • The giant Gengar's ability to trap other people and Pokémon inside its body is somewhat similar to Meta Groudon from Jirachi: Wish Maker. Team Rocket was also trapped inside both.
    • In SM129, over a decade later, it would be shown that regular Gengar can take others into their body, though temporarily.
  • Alakazam uses a move similar to Psycho Cut, although the move wasn't revealed until three generations later.
  • Jigglypuff blasts off instead of Team Rocket in this episode.
  • Ash makes a reference to The Tower of Terror when he mentions that the last Gengar he saw wasn't even as big as him.
  • This episode is featured on Volume 2: Jigglypuff from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.


The misspelled title card
  • In the beginning of the episode, Ash commands Pikachu to use "Electric Attack" on Brock's Vulpix. This is most likely a translation error, as Thunder Shock's Japanese name でんきショック means Electric Shock.
  • Although Arbok was the first Pokémon to go into the Dark Device it is never seen for the rest of the episode.
  • The title card for this episode misspells Pokémopolis as Pokemopolis without the e acute (é).
  • Brock's Vulpix used Agility in this episode, a move it is normally incapable of learning. In the original Japanese version, Brock tells Vulpix to use Quick Attack.
  • Muk appears much smaller when seen next to Professor Oak.
  • Togepi does not retract its spikes when it falls asleep due to the giant Jigglypuff's song.

Dub edits

  • Pikachu's Jukebox: My Best Friends
  • At the start of the Japanese version, Ash and Brock both told their Pokémon to use Quick Attack instead of Agility.
  • The part about Eve writing a book at age nine was exclusive to the English version.
  • Instead of talking how she was afraid of doctors when she was eight, Misty originally said that she can't call Eve "Eve-chan" now, but Eve responds by telling Misty to use -chan instead of -hakase, since she proclaims herself as "someone who loves ancient civilizations".
  • In the English dub, James refers to a location in the real world, Miami Beach, after being trapped in the giant Gengar. In the original, he instead comments on the professor's nonchalant attitude.
  • Ash commands Pikachu to use Thunder Shock on Gengar and Alakazam to free himself, Misty, Brock, and Eve from being frozen by Gengar. In the original Japanese version, Ash commands Pikachu to use Thunderbolt instead.
  • In the Italian dub, when Jessie and James plan what to do once they'll be rich thanks to the stolen artifacts, they make several real-world references, saying they'll be like Sitting Bull, an Egyptian pharaoh, a Roman emperor, an Assyrian king, and a Chinese emperor.

In other languages

EP071 : To Master the Onixpected!
Original series
EP073 : Bad To The Bone
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.