The story is split into four episodes. It was first aired in Japan on October 2, 2013, airing in its entirety. The first episode premiered in English on Pokémon TV on November 15, 2013, with subsequent episodes following on November 18, 20, and 22, 2013; the episodes remained on Pokémon TV until December 2, 2013. All four episodes were released on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan on December 4, 2013. On January 30, 2014, the English dubs of all four episodes were made available on the Hulu streaming service for the United States (although after April 2015, they became Hulu Plus-exclusive), along with Amazon Video. On May 28, 2014, the English dubs of all four episodes were released on the iTunes distribution service, available in standard-definition (SD) and high-definition (HD) formats. On September 13, 2016, the first English dubbed episode was uploaded to Pokémon's official YouTube account.
Red encounters certain wild Pokémon in locations where they cannot be encountered in the games, such as Caterpie and Spearow appearing on Route 1.
Red and Blue first battle on Route 1, instead of in Professor Oak's Laboratory. He references the lab battle by proposing that he and Red "test out [their] Pokémon" like in the games, but quickly changes his mind.
Giovanni is the only Trainer that battles Red inside Silph Co. Also, Red loses against him.
In the games, Blue leaves Red to defeat Team Rocket in Silph Co. In this special, he goes to inform the police, though only after being scolded by Red.
The Master Ball's production is put on hold, as opposed to Red being given one.
Giovanni uses fewer Pokémon.
This is referenced by him putting away his regular Gym Pokémon to battle Red with his two most powerful ones.
In the games, Giovanni originally disbands Team Rocket because he does not wish to face his followers after losing to Red. In this special, he disbands them because he remembers his former love for Pokémon.
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Unlike the main anime, all of the Pokémon make realistic, animal-like sounds. However, these sounds were still dubbed over and recreated by English-language voice actors in the English dub.
The sound and visual effects for Poké Balls (such as when a Pokémon is being sent out) differ in comparison to the effects used in the main anime, instead being more loyal to the games. Another example is the three small stars that pop out of a Poké Ball when it has successfully caught a Pokémon.