Pokémon: I Choose You! (Pokémon)
"Pokémon: I Choose You!" (Japanese: ポケモン！きみにきめた! "Pokémon! I Choose You!") is the very 1st episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 1997, and in the United States on September 8, 1998.
Ash Ketchum, now at age 10, leaves his home in Pallet Town to fulfill his greatest dream, which is to become a Pokémon Master, and receives his first Pokémon -- a strong-willed Pikachu.
Why It Rocks
- This is the episode that started off the beloved Pokémon anime.
- It also aired on April Fools Day 1997 in Japan, so that date is really interesting to know that day was when the start of the anime happened.
- The plot is very well done. With Ash being excited to become a trainer, he stayed up late out of pure joy. Then, on the day everyone got their Pokémon he overslept, but he luckily managed to get the only Pokémon left, Pikachu.
- The music is amazing, and fits really well with the episode, especially "Tears, After the Cloudy Weather".
- Funny moments in the episodes, like Ash’s failed attempts of catching a Pokémon without Pikachu, how his PokéDex savagely insulted him by calling him a "stupid trainer", and how the empty starter Pokéballs were shown.
- Great animation in its time, especially for the Indigo League season as usual.
- The characters are introduced greatly, the snarky confident Gary, the sweet mother of Ash, Delia, the smart Professor and Gary’s grandfather, Professor Oak, and of course, our lovable main protagonist, Ash Ketchum. The townsfolk cheering for Ash were likable too, and Misty was also decently introduced too.
- Pikachu is an adorable Pokémon, and him not listening to Ash at first makes sense since not all Pokémon will get along with their trainer the first time they meet them.
- Ash’s attempts of trying to get Pikachu to come along with him are not only funny, but understandable.
- The moment Ash angered a Spearow is when the episode got serious, as the Spearow started attacking him and Pikachu. Even after Pikachu shot him down, the Spearow called for his army, and badly injured Pikachu as a result.
- Ash carried Pikachu with him as he ran from the Spearow, and faced the river, and used Misty’s bike to get to safety.
- After Ash crashes Misty’s bike on the slope, there was a heartbreaking moment when Pikachu and Ash lied on the ground, and how Ash was saddened to see his Pokémon not doing well.
- While Pikachu doesn’t like to be in his Pokeball, which is understandable, Ash told him to go in to keep him safe at that emotional moment the Spearow were surrounding them, with Ash telling him to trust him, and Ash telling the Spearow about his goal and that nothing will stop him.
- Pikachu’s heart was touched by Ash’s speech, so in return, with the last of his strength, Pikachu climbed and jumped off of Ash’s shoulder and delivered a powerful Thundershock, powered by the rain, which defeated the Spearow and saved both himself and Ash.
- A heartwarming moment when Ash and Pikachu smile at each other and see Ho-Oh fly above them, beautiful.
- Speaking of which, Ho-Oh is an amazing Gen II Legendary introduced in the very first episode, that moment where Ho-Oh! flies into the sky shows you a simple teaser to the Johto era (Seasons 3-5), as well as the then-upcoming Gold & Silver games.
- The ending: As Ash carried Pikachu to the next city, Pikachu licked Ash’s cheek, which is adorable as he touched Ash’s heart, with both of them being friends now.
- Some moments in the episode were not fun to watch, like Ash pulling Pikachu on a leash (thankfully it didn’t last long), and Ash stealing Misty’s bike (granted, it was to help him and Pikachu escape the Spearow, and he said he’ll give it back someday, but that doesn't help the fact that he and Pikachu damaged her bike).
- In the original Japanese version, Misty slapped Ash in the face. Ouch!
- Granted, she was asking if Pikachu was OK, and that she said "not you", so Ash thought he meant himself. But it’s no excuse for slapping him after he got out of the river he was struggling in. Luckily, the international versions of the episode has this scene cut off and changed to Misty scolding Ash. Unless you are looking up a fan edit that had that part uncut with the English dub on YouTube.
"Pokémon: I Choose You!" was met with positive reception and critical acclaim among fans and critics. It was scored an 8.6/10 on iMDB.com.
- The beginning of the episode features sound effects from the original Game Boy games, drawing from the opening animation from Pokémon Red and Green (with a Gengar battling a Nidorino) before transitioning seamlessly into the battle that Ash himself is watching on TV.
- A similar sequence and transition occurs in the beginning of the first episode of the Pokémon Origins miniseries, in which Red watches a televised battle between Gengar and Nidorino.
- This is the only episode of a few things:
- The only episode where Ash's Pikachu is seen inside his Poké Ball.
- The only cel animated Pokémon episode that got a restored and remastered version, but this was only in Japan than in other countries during the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon anime.
- The only episode of the original series in which the Team Rocket trio does not appear. The next time would not occur in the regular episodes until Rematch at the Nacrene Gym!, 672 episodes later. They also did not appear in a clip show episode, AG120, which was never aired outside of Japan for reasons unknown.
- The legendary bird Ash saw at the end of the episode was Ho-Oh. This episodes marks Ho-Oh the first Generation II Pokémon seen in the series, and in the first episode of the entire series.
- There is a loose movie adaptation based off the original episode, albeit an Alternative Timeline version from the original episode, and the movie is called Pokémon the Movie 20: I Choose You!, released in 2017 to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Pokémon anime.