| Meowth Rules!
Lord Nyarth's Island!?
|| May 13, 1999
| United States
|| March 25, 2000
Meowth Rules! (Japanese: おニャースさまのしま！？ Lord Nyarth's Island!?) is the 96th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on May 13, 1999 and in the United States on March 25, 2000.
Team Rocket has engine trouble and lands on an island where the locals are waiting for the Great Meowth of Bounty to arrive and fulfill an ancient prophesy. When Meowth gets mistaken for this great creature with special powers, he enjoys the special treatment and decides to play along. But, when he's unable to perform the ancient ritual that's expected of him, the treatment he gets isn't quite so fun anymore.
Jessie and James begin repairs on Team Rocket's Magikarp submarine, which has washed up on some rocks. James asks Meowth to use Pay Day so they can have money, but Meowth reveals he cannot learn it because his ability to talk negates his ability to learn it. He turns the argument around when he thinks James is hiding coins, and Jessie searches him, finding his favorite gold bottle cap. When Team Rocket spots Ash and his friends in the distance, looking for an island to rest at, they decide to confront them. Before they can do anything, however, the submarine begins to sink. Ash sends Squirtle to attack them with Water Gun, sending the trio blasting off.
On Golden Island, people gather around a gold Meowth statue, wishing for the Great Meowth of Bounty to arrive as predicted, on the night of the full moon. Meanwhile, Meowth crashes on its beach, and the villagers find him and take him inland, putting him in front of the statue. Meowth's talking shocks the villagers, but they still accept him as the Meowth of Bounty and hails him as such. He decides to take advantage of it, snacking on all of the fruit they provided him.
By the next day, Meowth begins to enjoy the humble treatment, ordering the villagers to bring him meatballs and entertainment. As Meowth watches over the coast and plays a guitar, he wishes that Jessie and James were with him. Just then, he notices Ash and his friends approaching and knows that they will blow his cover. Knowing this threatens his happiness, he orders the villagers to force them off the island, propagating them as hostile. The villagers use the Meowth statue to confront Ash, attacking with its giant paw. They dodge it and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, but it does nothing. The machine chases them off the island and forces them to jump back into the sea. The Meowth statue then returns to the ark with Jessie and James in tow. Meowth decides to lie, saying he doesn't know them, out of fear that they will ruin his happiness as well. The villagers subsequently order them to be thrown back into the sea.
Team Rocket manages to sneak back onto the island, however, and watches as Meowth enjoys himself. The villagers decide to begin the ceremony in which Meowth will use Pay Day to bring them happiness and prosperity, as the prophecy foretells. Knowing that his inability to use the move will blow his cover, Meowth tries to leave, but the statue grabs him and shakes him for coins. It fails as Meowth admits that he cannot use Pay Day. Everyone is shocked, and the elder believes that Meowth needs battle experience to recall how to use Pay Day. Even though Meowth argues that it won't work, the villagers are adamant and take him to the stadium.
At the stadium, a huge crowd watches as they send out a Nidoking to fight Meowth. Meowth runs around and avoids Nidoking, eventually exhausting him. The villagers check for coins, but Meowth still hasn't produced any. They continue the training by sending out an Onix, which knocks Meowth around and locks it in a Bind attack. Jessie and James, disguised as villagers, witness this and decide to help Meowth. They throw coins and even James's bottle caps onto the battlefield, convincing the villagers that Meowth's Pay Day is being activated.
The villagers thank Meowth for the coins, believing that the prophecy has come true. As they ask him to stay and rule them, Meowth notices a gold bottle cap atop the stack and realizes what Jessie and James did for him. Meowth tears up and runs to the beach, finding Jessie and James and admitting how close they are. When they are confronted by the villagers want him to stay, Meowth confesses the sham to them, and Jessie and James forgive Meowth. They all jump aboard the Magikarp submarine and leave, against the villagers' will. Meanwhile, Ash and his friends continue along, unaware of what really happened on the island. Jessie and James decide to make another attempt at giving Meowth battle experience to learn Pay Day, which shocks Meowth.
- Meowth reveals that he's unable to learn Pay Day due to having spent too much energy on learning how to talk.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture: Clefairy: Oak discusses how Clefairy has many riddles, and that its Metronome attack is quite strong. Oak tells Clefairy to use Metronome, causing a spoon to fall and hit Oak on his head. Then, a bunch of spoons fall and cover Oak.
- Pokémon senryū summary: A fluffy walk with Clefairy, how fun.
- This is one of the very few episodes outside Pokémon Chronicles where neither Ash or his friends play major roles. It is also the second episode where Meowth is the main character, the first one being Go West Young Meowth.
- This was chosen by Louis Kurihara as the tenth episode of Pocket Monsters Premier 10.
- In the opening scene, Meowth is seen holding clams, a real-life animal.
- In this episode, Team Rocket uses a variation of their motto. There was also a different background music in the second motto, while the first one had the normal music.
- This episode is featured on Volume 11: Meowth from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
- When Meowth is greeted and presented with the large offering of food, Meowth responds, "I'm a little short on cash, but I can pay you for the food on Tuesday." This is a reference to Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons, who is famous for ordering hamburgers and paying for them on Tuesday.
- When Meowth finishes off his 100 meatballs, he exclaims, "Whisker-licking good!" This is a reference to KFC and Colonel Sanders's famous line "It's finger-licking good!"
- Remarkably, in the Dutch dub Meowth says the English swear word shit in the sentence: "Ik zit in de shit en ik kan Jessie en James niet eens de schuld geven."  This was during the scene where he talks to himself thinking he is in some kind of trouble with the locals. Translated to English, the phrase says "I am in deep shit [as in: trouble] and I can't even blame it on Jessie and James.".
- This is the first episode where James' obsession with bottle caps is mentioned.
- In the final scene in which Lapras appears, the area below its mouth is colored blue.
- Throughout the episode, Mikeosu, Misty, and James refer to Meowth as a "cat type".
Lapras's miscolored mouth
In other languages