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The episode starts right at sunrise, with {{an|Dawn}} screaming and waking up a flock of {{p|Starly}}. Nearby, a familiar set of ears perk at the sound. {{an|Brock}} is preparing breakfast, as Dawn's protests wake {{Ash}}. He rushes to Dawn's tent, but she tells him to keep out because her hair is distressed. Dawn tries to fix her hair manually, but it doesn't work. {{TP|Dawn|Piplup}} is amused, and Dawn gets the idea to use Piplup's {{m|BubbleBeam}}. Ash is puzzled at the order. Brock drops a potato and {{TP|Brock|Croagunk}} simply looks at it. He eventually tosses it forcefully upward. Ash backs up and trips into Dawn, while {{AP|Pikachu}} grabs the potato. The capture impresses a nearby {{pkmn2|wild}} {{p|Buneary}}.
Meanwhile, everyone finds out about Dawn's fixed hair. Ash is puzzled by the method. Dawn wants to use the method to fix Ash's hair, but he mentions that he has his {{AP|cap|hat}}. At that word, {{AP|Aipom}} steals Ash's hat and runs away with it. Pikachu pursues and steals it back with a {{m|Quick Attack}}. However, the hat covers Pikachu's face and he lands in the middle of a path. [[Officer Jenny]] almost runs over Pikachu, but Buneary jumps in and gets Pikachu out of danger. Ash reclaims his hat and Dawn catches up, noting the Buneary.
Buneary seems shy, covering her face with her fur. She bounces away, slamming into a tree before escaping. Jenny scolds Pikachu, and Dawn confuses her for the same Jenny in [[Sandgem Town]]. Brock shows Dawn that each Jenny is different. Brock is infatuated as usual, but Croagunk calms him with {{m|Poison Jab}} and drags him away. Jenny shows Ash and Dawn a picture of a [[List of Team Rocket's disguises|disguised]] {{TRT}}, involved with stealing machine parts, but they don't recognize them.
Later on, everyone's eating lunch, and Ash decides to {{pkmn2|caught|catch}} the Buneary next time, but Dawn protests because she still needs to catch a {{OBP|Pokémon|species}}, mainly for her first [[Pokémon Contest]]. Team Rocket is nearby watching, and while [[James]] is working on a machine, the others notice Croagunk is with them. Croagunk stops eating and notices something in the bushes. Buneary jumps out and bounces away. Ash and Dawn pursue, leaving the dishes to Brock.
Dawn takes the lead and has Piplup attack Buneary with BubbleBeam, taking the first opportunity. Ash lets her go first. Piplup misses with {{m|Peck}}, but attacks with BubbleBeam. However, Buneary's {{m|Ice Beam}} freezes the attack, stunning everyone. Buneary uses {{m|Dizzy Punch}} to knock Piplup down. Buneary seems to be trying to impress Pikachu, and Piplup is now {{status|confusion|confused}}. Dawn doesn't know how to treat the condition until Brock tells her to [[recall]] Piplup. But before she can do so, Buneary knocks out Piplup with {{m|Bounce}}.
Dawn recalls Piplup and lets Ash take his turn. Pikachu gets ready to battle, but Buneary acts differently, not willing to attack. They finally notice Buneary is [[LagomorphShipping|attracted]] to Pikachu. Ash tries to throw a [[Poké Ball]], but Buneary freezes everybody with Ice Beam, though {{AP|Starly}} escapes the blast. Buneary dances with Pikachu, spinning and whisking him away.
Pikachu finally frees himself and scolds Buneary, upsetting her and making her cry. Pikachu tries to remedy the situation but he fails. Starly catches up and notices. Buneary suddenly stops crying, ears perking up at something. Suddenly, a glass ball captures Buneary, locking her into [[Team Rocket's mechas|Team Rocket's mecha]]. Starly flies away while Pikachu attacks with {{m|Thunderbolt}}. However the {{type|Electric}} [[move|attack]] is diverted to hurt Buneary. Croagunk finds the frozen group and uses Poison Jab to free them. Starly arrives and leads the group to Team Rocket. Pikachu decides to surrender against Team Rocket, and they don't hesitate to capture Pikachu into another glass capsule. Pikachu orders them to release Buneary, but they refuse. Ash and the others find Team Rocket. Buneary tries to free herself with Dizzy Punch but it fails, and Pikachu uses {{m|Iron Tail}} to try to escape. Ash tries to rush over, but Team Rocket blocks him. Jenny arrives and connects Team Rocket as the factory thieves. Pikachu frees himself as Team Rocket detaches a part of the mecha, lifting off with rocket propulsion. Pikachu frees Buneary with Iron Tail. Buneary use Ice Beam and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to send the pod plummeting. The Pokémon jump off the falling pod. Ash catches Pikachu and Dawn catches Buneary. Jenny tries to arrest Team Rocket, but they run away, with Jenny in pursuit.
Buneary is drawn to Dawn, but Dawn needs to battle her again for an actual catch. She summons Piplup again, leading with BubbleBeam, but Buneary dodges. Piplup tries to evade and use Peck, but Buneary dodges again. Piplup's BubbleBeam and Buneary's Ice Beam is even. Buneary attacks with Dizzy Punch, but Piplup dodges and uses Peck successfully. Dawn throws a Poké Ball to catch Buneary, and after a few moments, it succeeds. Buneary becomes Dawn's first catch and she celebrates. Everyone congratulates her and she lets Buneary back out. Now Dawn is ready for the {{ci|Jubilife}} Contest.
* {{p|Starly}} ({{OP|Ash|Starly}})
* {{p|Turtwig}} ({{OP|Ash|Turtwig}})
* {{p|Buneary}} ({{OP|Dawn|Buneary}}, new)
* {{p|Bonsly}} ({{OP|Brock|Bonsly}})
* {{p|Croagunk}} ({{OP|Brock|Croagunk}})
== Trivia ==
* This is the first episode that features a {{wp|cold open|cold open format}}. It consists of scenes showing what will happen throughout the episode later on.
* [[Brock's Croagunk]] is added to ''[[Together]]'' and ''[[By Your Side ~Hikari's Theme~]]''.
* An instrumental version of ''By Your Side ~Hikari's Theme~'' is used as background music during the second {{TP|Dawn|Piplup}} vs. {{TP|Dawn|Buneary}} battle.
* [[Professor Oak's Big Pokémon Encyclopedia]]: [[Gym Leader]]s
** Pokémon senryū: ジムリーダー いのちをかけて かかってこい ''Jimu Riidaa, inochi o kete, kakatte koi'' "Gym Leader, put your life on the line and challenge me."
== In other languages ==
|zh_cmn={{tt|和捲捲耳一起玩!?|Let's Play with Buneary!?}}
|cs={{tt|Všichni se točí kolem Buneary|Anyone Turns Around Buneary}}
|de={{tt|Verknallt in Pikachu|A crush on Pikachu}}
|he={{tt|לכוון את העולם ע"פ באנירי|Setting the world by Buneary}}
|it={{tt|Un nuovo compagno di viaggio|A new fellow traveler}} & {{tt|Una conquista per Lucinda|An achievement for Dawn}}
|pl={{tt|Wszystkie oczy na Buneary|All eyes on Buneary}}
|pt_br={{tt|Meu Mundo por uma Buneary!|My World for a Buneary!}}