Episode #77 - Friend or Foe Alike

The night before his fifth round Pokemon battle, Ash sits by the window in the cabin and he thinks about how he has to fight his newest friend Richie, and why he can’t fight another Trainer who isn’t his friend. Misty and Brock look at a computer screen, and then Misty calls Ash over to the computer. Ash gets up and he walks over to where the computer is. Misty tells Ash that she’s loaded up the Pokemon League database, and that it tells you all about the trainers who are competing in the Pokemon League. She opens up Richie’s file, and they are all astounded and amazed that Richie has managed to win all four of his battles in all four fields without losing a Pokemon in any of the previous battles.

He also did it using only three of his Pokemon, his Pikachu Sparky, his Butterfree Happy, and his Charmander Zippo. Misty comments on how Richie must really know what he’s doing and then she notes that it all really boils down to who’s the better trainer because Ash uses the same types of Pokemon that Richie does. Ash is confident that he will win.

The next day, Richie picks up his recharged Pokemon from the Pokemon Center and as he starts to leave the Pokemon Center, Ash walks in and they bump into each other. They say hello to each other and then Richie suggests that because they’re friends, they should promise to make this battle their biggest battle ever. Ash agrees and then Richie runs off.

Ash walks up to the main desk and Nurse Joy gives him back his recharged Pokemon and she tells him that he’s very lucky to be battling a friend in his fifth round Pokemon battle because even if he lost, he can still be happy because his friend won. Ash agrees with Nurse Joy and then he takes his Pokemon from her and he leaves the Pokemon Center.

Outside the Pokemon Center, Team Rocket stand watching and they peer through a glass window as they watch Ash to see what he’s up to. Jessie says that she never really had that many friends when she was a little girl, and James comments that it must have been because of her personality. Jessie gets annoyed so she smacks him over the head with her fan.

Later on in the day, in the cabin that Ash is staying in, the phone rings. Misty runs over to the phone, and she picks it up, recognizing the voice as Richie. After insulting Misty quite a bit, he asks for Ash and she is all too happy to oblige as she gives the phone to Ash complaining about his new friend Richie is no Prince Charming. Ash picks up the phone and he says hello.

Meanwhile, we discover that the caller is not Richie at all, and that it’s actually Jessie using a voice synthesizer to imitate Richie’s voice. She tells him in Richie’s voice that he needs to tell him something very important, and that he needs to meet him and bring his Pikachu with him. Ash agrees and he hangs up. Brock warns him that his Pokemon League match starts very soon, so he should be back in time or else he’ll miss it. Ash agrees and then he leaves.

Ash arrives in an opening clearing where Richie told him to meet him, and he sees a figure in the shadows. Ash talks to the figure which appears to be Richie, and then a net drops down from the tree and it covers Ash and Pikachu. Jessie, holding a Richie puppet stands up and she and James perform their motto. Ash tells them that he really needs to get to his next battle, but they ignore him and throw him in the trunk of their van instead.

Meanwhile, Brock and Misty are starting to worry because Ash hasn’t come back to the cabin yet and that he’ll miss his next battle if he doesn’t get back soon. Misty suggests that he might have met up with Richie and just gone straight on to the Indigo Stadium and that they’re meant to just meet him there. Brock nods his head and he agrees.

Meanwhile, Jessie, James, and Meowth all realize that the van is starting to fill up with water. In the trunk of the van, Ash’s Squirtle is using its Water Gun attack to flood the van. Meowth jumps onto James’s face to avoid the water, but because he can’t see where he’s driving, he swerves and the van crashes, opening the back of the van up.

Ash and Pikachu jump out of the van and they start to run back down the road and back towards the Indigo Stadium. After a while, Team Rocket shows up again, and this time they’re rolling along the road on an axle from the van. Ash jumps aside, and Team Rocket roll right past him and they crash into the side of the road. Ash sends out his Bulbasaur who Vine Whips them. Pikachu uses its Thundershock and they fall over as Ash continues on.

After a few minutes, Team Rocket shows up again and they begin to pursue Ash on their bicycles. James sends out his Wheezing, which uses its Smog attack against Ash, and he is left in a cloud of thick smoke. James tells Ash that he can either hand over his Pikachu to Team Rocket, or he can miss his fifth round match against his friend.

While he’s stuck in the smog, Ash remembers the times that he’s had with Richie and then he remembers the promise that he made with Richie back at the Pokemon Center. As he peers through the smoke, he sees the bicycles sitting nearby. Outside, Jessie and James stare at the cloud of smoke and they wait for Ash’s decision. Suddenly, he comes outa nd he grabs one of the bicycles and rides off down the road with Pikachu in the basket of the bicycle. Jessie and James both yell at Ash and they tell him to give them back their bicycles. Ash turns around and he looks at them with a look of determination of his face. He yells back that he hasn’t ‘taken’ the bicycles, and that he’s only ‘borrowing’ it...

Meanwhile, back at the stadium, everyone is waiting for Ash to show up so that the fifth round Pokemon battle can begin. Richie has been at the Stadium for quite a while now, so long in fact that the announcer tells the crowd that if Ash doesn’t show up soon, then Ash will lose the battle and that Richie will automatically win the battle.

Mrs. Ketchum is extremely worried and Professor Oak calms her down and he tells her that even though Ash gets into trouble quite often, he always has a way to get out of it. Mrs. Ketchum reluctantly agrees with Professor Oak, but it is obvious that she is unsure.

Misty decides to go onto the field and she storms over to Richie who is just standing there and looking confused because Misty looks really mad. When she arrives to where Richie is standing she yells at him and she tells him that she thinks that he purposely told Ash that if they were really friends, then Ash wouldn’t show up so that he could lose the battle.

When Richie denies her claims, she stamps on top of Richie’s foot, causing him to hop around in pain. Misty reminds Richie of what he had said to her on the phone; all of those insults that he had given her. Richie looks shocked at her comment and he tells her that he never called and Misty realizes that he was telling the truth, and she starts to worry again.

Meanwhile, it’s getting quite dark now and Ash is still quite far from the Stadium where his battle is. As he pedals along on the bicycle, Team Rocket arrives in their balloon and they snatch his bike into the air along with him. Ash sends out his Pidgeotto and Pikachu jumps onto its back. When Pikachu gets close enough to Team Rocket, it unleashes a powerful Thudnershock and then the bottom of their basket breaks, and they fall down below.

Ash thanks his Pokemon and then he realizes that the balloon holding his bike has drifted quite far from the Stadium, so he tells his Pidgeotto to help pull the balloon to the Stadium. Pidgeotto obliges and it flies over to the frame of the basket, and it grabs onto it tightly as it begins to pull the balloon towards the direction of the Stadium.

Back at the Stadium, the lights turn on brightly as the referee approaches Richie to inform him that he won the battle because Ash hasn’t shown up. Richie refuses the win, and he instead begs the referee to give him more time, and the tells him about their promise that they made to each other and that he knows that Ash will come because he won’t break his promise.

The referee thinks Richie’s comment over, and then he agrees to wait for ten more minutes, and if Ash hasn’t arrived by ten minutes, then the match automatically goes to Richie. The ten minutes are over, and one again the referee walks over to Richie to announce him as the winner of the match when suddenly a balloon floats into the Stadium.

Ash stands on top of the bike and he waves to the crowd as he apologizes for being so late but he had been held up with some business. Mrs. Ketchum is furious, and she yells at Ash and she demands that he apologizes for being so late. The announcer says that this must be the most dramatic entrance in the entire Pokemon League history.

When the balloon is closer to the ground and within jumping range, Ash jumps down and he lands, but his Pidgeotto crashes down to the ground from exhaustion. Ash hugs his Pokemon and he thanks it for helping him. After he recalls his Pidgeotto and he tells it to have a nice, long rest, he resumes his position and the battle begins as the crowd cheers loudly.

Richie sends out his first Pokemon, Happy, and Ash sends out his Squirtle to battle it. They both call out for their Pokemon to Tackle one another, and after quite a numerous amount of blows, Happy managed to put Squirtle to sleep with its Sleep Powder. Ash recalled his Squirtle and he sent out his Pikachu to counterattack Richie’s Butterfree.

Pikachu tackled Happy and they both landed on the ground, with Pikachu breathing in ragged breaths because it was exhausted. Ash is really proud of his Pikachu because he thought that it was too weak and too tried to even battle against any of Richie’s Pokemon. In a desperate attempt to free itself from Pikachu, Happy flew up into the air with Pikachu holding it tightly.

Pikachu let out a Thudnershock and then they both fell back down onto the ground, as Pikachu had knocked Happy unconscious. Richie recalled his Butterfree and he sent out his second Pokemon against Pikachu-his Charmander Zippo. Richie commanded Zippo to use its Flame Thrower attack against Pikachu and Ash’s Pokemon narrowly avoided several shots.

Ash wonders how long Pikachu will be able to withstand Zippo’s hot Flame Thrower, and so does the announcer as Pikachu is suddenly hit by one of Zippo’s attacks, and it is sent onto the ground. Pikachu stands up slowly, and then Richie calls out for Zippo to use its Tackle attack, and Pikachu is flung backwards onto the ground unconscious.

Ash is now down to his last Pokemon and Richie still has two more Pokemon to go. Ash pauses for a moment and he wonders what Pokemon he should send out to counterattack Richie’s Charmander, a fire-type. Ash knows that he can’t send out his Bulbasaur against a fire-type Pokemon because it is a grass-type Pokemon and it’ll get too damaged.

After a few more reflections, Ash realizes that he only has one other choice for him to use if he wants to win the battle. Charizard. Ash remembers all of the times that Charizard has disobeyed him but he decides that Charizard is his only Pokemon that he can use if he wants to win his fifth round match...so he reluctantly sends out Charizard to battle Zippo.

Zippo uses another Flame Thrower, which Charizard manages to easily dodge it. Charizard then lets out a continuous blast of fire, and Zippo runs around frantically as it desperately tries to avoid it. Richie, fearful his Charmander’s safety; recalls his Charmander and he is now down to one more Pokemon, and he sends out his final Pokemon, his Pikachu, Sparky.

Sparky stands ready, and alert, its ears pricked up. It stares at Charizard with a determined look on its face, and then Charizard...stomps on the ground? Charizard continuously stomps on the ground and Sparky keeps on falling over due to its weight. Charizard then spreads its giants wings and it flaps them hard, causing Sparky to tumble back towards Richie.

Sparky jumps back up and it runs towards Charizard, ready to attack...but then Charizard lies down and it appears to be...taking a nap? Ash falls down onto his knees and he begs his Charizard to battle and that if he does, it’ll never have to battle for Ash ever again. Back in the stands as Mrs. Ketchum and Professor Oak are observing the match, Mrs. Ketchum is very confused about Charizard and she asks Professor Oak why Charizard isn’t obeying Ash at all.

Professor Oak concludes that it must be because Charizard thinks that he’s too ‘superior’ to face Sparky because it is a little and worthless Pikachu, and that Charmander was a more worthy opponent because it was a fire-type Pokemon like itself, and that Pikachu is just a puny Pikachu and that it’s not equal to Charizard because it’s an electric-type Pokemon.

The referee waits for a while, but it is then declared that Charizard isn’t going to fight so the referee waves a flag up into the air...and the victory goes to Richie. Ash stares up in shock and he clenches his fist tightly as he falls to his knees and he angrily returns his Charizard back to its Pokéball. He is very disappointed as he stares down at the ground.

Richie runs over to Ash and he bends down slightly and he asks him if he’s alright. Ash slowly stands up as he continues to stare at the ground and he sniffles quietly to himself, and he tells Richie that he’s all right and that he’s happy that Richie won. He looks up and he extends out his arm and Richie takes it, and they shake hands. Ash’s adventure in the Pokemon League might have ended, but his dream’s still there and he now has a renewed faith in it.