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As Ash sleeps, he goes over the choices in his head reasoning that any of the three available Pokémon are good for starting Trainers. However, his {{p|Voltorb}} alarm clock rolls into his hand as he sleeps and, dreaming that he's throwing a Poké Ball, he chucks it at the wall, smashing it. When Ash finally wakes up, he sees the sun high in the sky and realizes that he overslept. Ash runs to [[Professor Oak's Laboratory]] in such a hurry that he doesn't change out of his pajamas, and at this point doesn't care which starter he gets as long as he gets any. He arrives at the lab just in time to see one of his new fellow Trainers (and Professor Oak's grandson), {{Gary}}, leaving. Unfortunately for Ash, Gary is very overconfident and brags that he was on time and already has [[Gary's Squirtle|his first Pokémon]], although he refuses to reveal which one he received. Gary's large crowd, which includes [[Gary's cheerleaders|a group of cheerleaders]], cheers for him, and Gary promises that he'll become a Pokémon Master and put Pallet Town on the map before leaving. As the crowd follows, Ash is left by himself, but not for long as Professor Oak approaches. Ash apologizes for being late and hardly being dressed for the occasion, but tells Professor Oak that he's ready to pick his first Pokémon.
Taken into the lab, Ash sees three {{i|Poké BallsBall}}s sitting on a pedestal and states that after thinking about it he's decided to choose Squirtle as his starter, however the Poké Ball is empty. Oak explains that Squirtle has already been claimed by a Trainer that was on time. Ash doesn't mind as he decides to instead go with Bulbasaur, whom has also been taken already. Ash is still happy to go with Charmander but, alas, that Pokémon is gone too with someone who wasn't late. Ash asks if this means that there are no Pokémon left for him, and Oak tells him this isn't exactly true as he does have another Pokémon but it is very unusual. At this point, Ash is willing to settle for anything and tells Oak that he'll take whatever it is. A fourth Poké Ball emerges onto the pedestal and Ash picks it up, upon which point it opens and from it emerges a small yellow mouse-like Pokémon. Oak explains that the Pokémon is named {{AP|Pikachu}}, and Ash is very impressed by its cuteness, deciding that Pikachu is better than any of the other starters. He picks up Pikachu and hugs it, but Pikachu doesn't like being hugged and gives Ash a massive electric shock as Oak explains that Pikachu is an {{t|Electric}} type, and has a shocking personality to match. Oak gives Ash some Poké Balls and a [[Pokédex]], at which point Pikachu shocks them both.
Heading outside, Ash finds his mom and a small group of supporters outside ready to wish him luck as he heads out on his Pokémon journey. Ash's mom gets weepy at the thought of her son finally leaving to start his life as a Trainer, before then starting to list the numerous supplies that she has packed for him before he goes. She then notices Pikachu and asks why he isn't inside his Poké Ball like other Pokémon. Ash realizes that she's right and tells Pikachu to go inside, but Pikachu refuses, repeatedly swatting the ball away. Ash's mom simply assumes that the two are playing catch, but admits that she finds Pikachu "weird". Pikachu doesn't take kindly to this comment and shocks everyone in the area, except Professor Oak, who remarks that the rubber gloves that were packed will come in handy since rubber doesn't conduct electricity.
** Coincidentally, this is the same order the {{SSB|Pokémon Trainer}} from Super Smash Bros. Brawl obtains their respective evolved forms in the Subspace Emissary.
* Despite this episode centering around receiving a starter Pokémon, neither Bulbasaur, Charmander, nor Squirtle actually appeared in the flesh until ''[[EP010|Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village]]'', ''[[EP011|Charmander – The Stray Pokémon]]'', and ''[[EP012|Here Comes the Squirtle Squad]]'', respectively. This is unlike the following generations, when at least one of the starter Pokémon appeared in the first episode of each generation.
* This is the only episode where [[Ash's Pikachu]] is seen inside his [[{{i|Poké Ball]]}}.
* This episode reveals that {{p|Spearow}} see in black and white.
* This is one of the few episodes in which [[Rachael Lillis]] provides the voice of Pikachu in a few scenes of the dub. This happened when another Japanese voice actor spoke over [[Ikue Ohtani]]'s Pikachu voice and the audio could not be used.