| Bright Lights, Big Changes!
Splitting Up the Combination!? Satoshi and Rotom
|| November 25, 2018
| United States
|| March 28, 2019
|| Team Kato
|| 面出明美 Akemi Omode
|| 尼野浩正 Hiromasa Amano
| Assistant director
|| ウヱノ史博 Fumihiro Ueno
| Animation director
|| 篠原隆 Takashi Shinohara
| No additional credits are available at this time.
Bright Lights, Big Changes! (Japanese: コンビ解散！？サトシとロトム Splitting Up the Combination!? Satoshi and Rotom) is the 98th episode of Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon, and the 1,037th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on November 25, 2018 and in the United States on March 28, 2019.
When Rotom Dex catches a continuity error during the filming of Alolan Detective Laki, the cast and crew are so impressed that they invite it to join the show and help Laki solve cases! Ash is thrilled, until he realizes the international shooting schedule means Rotom will have to leave…
While our hero sadly considers this option, a serious conversation with Laki reminds Rotom that its real dream is to be the best Pokédex in the world—and when Ash tries to be strong and send his friend off to pursue an acting career, it decides to stay and study rare Pokémon with him instead!
Laki is in the midst of filming another scene for his hit television show, Alolan Detective Laki, when Rotom, with its blonde Laki wig, interrupts filming to correct one of Laki's lines. As Ash arrives to retrieve Rotom, an assistant checks Rotom's claims and confirms their veracity. When Rotom boasts about being a true Alolan Detective fan, Laki tests it with a series of trivia questions, and is impressed after Rotom answers all of them correctly. The show's producer, George Charino, approaches Rotom and Ash, hands them his business card, and invites Rotom to star in Alolan Detective Laki. Over lunch, George explains they just started filming the show's fifth season, and with the series running for so long, he is looking for a way to keep things interesting, such as a new character. George claims Rotom fits the criteria, and Laki and his Smeargle agree. With the support of its idol, Rotom enthusiastically accepts the offer and agrees to play Laki's newest partner.
The following day, Ash discusses Rotom's new role with his classmates at the Pokémon School and admits he is becoming tired of Rotom's nonstop Laki impersonations. Rotom retaliates by mimicking Ash, Kiawe, and Mallow, but Sophocles comments that Rotom lacks any individual appeal from this, leaving it speechless. Sophocles then explains that a first-rate actor has their own appeal and an understanding of character. The girls reaffirm Sophocles advice – that Rotom should just be its regular self. The class decides to practice several Alolan Detective Laki scenes with Rotom, but the rehearsal is stopped when Ash goes off-script and challenges Kiawe to a battle. Everyone praises Rotom for staying in-character, however.
Later, as Rotom and Laki practice a scene where they decide to join forces and solve mysteries together, George announces the production team will be filming overseas for the next season. Rotom is excited, but then notices Ash standing in shock. George clarifies that they will likely be overseas for half of the year, but that time may extend if audiences like the new direction of the series. Though Ash doesn't want Rotom to leave, Rotom tells him that he never caught it, and that it is technically a free Pokémon. Ash throws two Poké Balls at Rotom in frustration, but the Plasma Pokémon dodges them and swats them away, prompting Ash to storm off.
Ash returns to the Pokémon School in a sulky mood the following day. After Professor Kukui escorts the class outside to study Pokémon feathers, Ash, with a stick in hand and his Pokémon walking behind him, leaves the group to begin his own feather expedition, surprising Kukui and the class. Pikachu spots a yellow feather on the ground, and Ash instinctively asks for Rotom to identify it. Elsewhere, Rotom is left exhausted by his first official shoot. Laki asks it about his performance, and Rotom wakes up and exclaims that it was perfect. Rotom then perks up after Laki invites it over to his house so they could get to know each other better.
Komala rings the school bell to announce that the school day is over. As Ash is leaving, Lillie stops him so the pair can talk. Lillie and Ash head down to a beach, while Pikachu and Snowy play. Lillie explains that Kukui told everyone that Rotom will be traveling overseas to film the next season of Alolan Detective Laki. Lillie empathizes with Ash and adds that she felt the same while her mother was busy working and living away from the family. Ash reflects on the highs and lows spent with Rotom since he first arrived in Alola and affirms Rotom's earlier claim to freedom. Lillie assures Ash that Rotom stayed with him on its own free will and that the pair made a great team. She then suggests that Ash talk to Rotom to smooth things over, and Ash agrees to the idea.
In Laki's apartment, Rotom examines Laki's memorabilia. Rotom soon stumbles on an odd poster, to which Laki explains was from a play before he hit the big time. Laki tells Rotom that he almost considered quitting acting because he received little to no lines, but he continued to follow his childhood dream. Rotom is instantly reminded of Ash's sentiments and ambition to become a Pokémon Master. Laki then asks Rotom about its dream, but the Pokémon doesn’t reply. Meanwhile, Ash lies awake in bed and continues to think about Rotom.
The following day, Ash and his Pokémon make their way onto Laki's latest filming location. Laki reveals that Rotom is hiding behind his actor's chair, and pushes it and Ash to talk things over. Ash apologizes to Rotom for yelling and admits that he will support Rotom's ambitions. Rotom replies that it will stay and won't pursue its role in Alolan Detective Laki. The revelation shocks Ash and Rotom assures him that its goal is to become the best Pokédex in the world. Rotom adds that it will stay with Ash because he is the most likely to encounter rare Pokémon. Laki and Smeargle admire the now reunited duo for their strength and teamwork.
During a night on the couch, Kukui, Rotom, Ash and Pikachu watch the latest Alolan Detective Laki episode. Rotom reminds Ash to not fall asleep, but the young Trainer looks drowsy. The episode reveals that a Chatot will be fulfilling Rotom's role as Laki's latest companion. The episode ends with Laki, Smeargle, and Chatot returning to Alola. Ash and Pikachu are shocked, but Rotom explains that George decided that the overseas filming location was to be a one episode feature to avoid having to change the series' name.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Poké Problem: Who is the opponent that I will be fighting against in today's episode?
- The clapperboard that Mallow holds up has the number "98" written on it, which could be a reference to this episode being the 98th episode of Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon. However, in the English dub, it is only the 97th due to SM064 being skipped.
- Ash breaks the fourth wall when he shoos away Rotom's flashback of himself in this episode.
- Harper, Sarah, Lana, Pikachu, and an Eevee narrate the preview for the next episode.
- The final scenes featuring Alolan Detective Laki are filmed outside Alola at a location that closely resembles London, England, featuring Westminster Bridge, the House of Parliament, and Big Ben. Coincidentally, the next region of Galar is based on the United Kingdom.
- The English dub title is a play on the phrase "bright lights, big city".
- Ash, Rotom and Laki read the Who's That Pokémon? segment in the English dub.
In other languages