Benkyou Pokémon Series

Anime Hajime Impressions: Benkyou – Pokémon Indigo League – Episodes 1 to 5

Note: For the Pokémon series, Anime Hajime refers to both human characters and Pokémon by their English names.
Original Run: April 1, 1997 - January 21, 1999
Number of Episodes: 82
Based on the Video Game: Pokémon

As A Reminder:  Anime Hajime Impressions: Benkyou is not a review series. Anime Hajime’s Odyssey attempts to watch an anime in Japanese with no English subtitles. Therefore, misinterpretations and misunderstandings are possible.

Feel free to leave comments, clarifications, and thoughts in the comments section below.


Pokémon

Pokémon Indigo League

This Benkyou series is going to be much different than what has come before it. For you see, PokémonTHIS original run of Pokémon, is something I grew up enjoying. I remember watching the adventures of Ash Ketchum, Pikachu, and their friends every week as they traveled around the Kanto region.

As a result, I will have a significant advantage when it comes to understanding the Japanese in this series; I already have a pretty good idea of what is going on. Still, there will be some unique challenges.

For starters, the nostalgia. There is only a handful of anime where their English dub sounds natural and correct to me. Pokémon is one of them, so it will be weird to hear different voices and different names to places, characters, and Pokémon I know so well.

Also, it’s been over twenty years since I last watched the Pokémon anime. Thus, there are plenty of opportunities for me to get things wrong.

Please follow along as we re-explore the classic series that started it all.

Jump to Episode:


Pokémon

Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 1
Japanese Title: ポケモン! きみにきめた!
Romaji Title: Pokémon! Kimi ni Kimeta!
English Title: Pokémon I Choose You!
Episode Synopsis

In Pallet Town, ten-year-old Ash Ketchum cannot be any more excited. Tomorrow he will be starting his journey to becoming the world’s great Pokémon Trainer. His imagination runs wild as he wonders what his starter Pokémon is going to be: Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle.

That night, Ash has a dream-filled sleep, which, unfortunately, causes him to thrash about, thus breaking his alarm clock. He oversleeps the next morning and is horribly late when arriving a Professor Oak’s lab. To Ash’s disappointment, the three usual starters are no longer available. Luckily, Professor Oak does have another Pokémon to give out, the Electric-type mouse Pikachu.

Ash is over the moon, but he soon realizes Pikachu has a bad temper and refuses to listen to Ash, won’t go into his Poké Ball, and will zap anything – and anyone – who gets on his nerves.

Nevertheless, Ash and a reluctant Pikachu begin their quest. Along the way, the two encounter many wild Pokémon. However, since Pikachu refuses to cooperate, Ash has no chance to catch any of them.

Growing frustrated, Ash inadvertently angers a highly aggressive Spearow. The Pokémon attacks Ash, and, having misunderstood the situation, Pikachu too. In the fray, Pikachu takes a severe hit.

The pair make a mad dash to get away, but the Spearow, as well as a whole horde of its brethren, are hot on their heels. Thinking quickly, Ash and Pikachu jump into a nearby river. The water’s flow takes them downstream, where they run into a girl fishing along the banks. With the Spearows still giving chase, Ash “asks” to “borrow” the girl’s bike.

Peddling as fast as he can, Ash cannot shake the Spearows. It then begins to rain and storm, causing Ash to crash the bike. The Spearows swoop in and attack. Ash shields a wounded Pikachu, but the situation looks bleak.

Pikachu sees the lengths Ash is willing to go for him and faces the Spearows. With one massive electric shock, Pikachu takes out the entire flock of attacking Pokémon.

With the ordeal over, the rain lets up. Looking to the sky, Ash and Pikachu see an unknown flying Pokémon soar through the air.

Ash picks up a badly damaged Pikachu and heads to the nearest Pokémon Center.

Featured Pokémon
English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Bulbasaur (Fushigidane) – 001

Pokémon

Charmander (Hitokage) – 004

Pokémon

Squirtle (Zenigame) – 007

Pokémon

Pidgey (Poppo) – 016

Pokémon

Rattata (Koratta) – 019

Pokémon

Spearow (Onisuzume) – 021

Pokémon

Pikachu (Pikachu) – 025

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

Pokémon

Pikachu

A.K.A. – Pikachu

Ash’s best friend and first Pokémon.

Jump to Episode:


Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 2
Japanese Title: たいけつ! ポケモンセンター!
Romaji Title: Taiketsu! Pokémon Sentā!
English Title: Pokémon Emergency!
Episode Synopsis

Ash makes it to Viridian City and is desperately searching for the local Pokémon Center to heal Pikachu. There he has his first encounter with an Officer Jenny, who escorts the two. Along the way, Officer Jenny warns of recent sightings concerning a trio of Pokémon thieves from the notorious Team Rocket.  

And unbeknownst to Ash, the girl he ran into by the river, Misty, had followed him into town. She is carrying the charred remains of her bike (Pikachu’s electric attack against the Spearows saw to that) and is looking for compensation.

Ash makes it to the Pokémon Center and hands Pikachu over to the care of the resident Nurse Joy. While waiting, Ash sees a mural of ancient Pokémon, including the one he saw after the Spearow attack. Ash calls home and informs Professor Oak about his sighting. The Professor explains Ash had witnessed a Pokémon not seen in the last 100 years.

At that time, an enraged Misty catches up with Ash, who begins pestering him about her bike, and Pikachu gets out of treatment. Then, an alarm goes off, and three looming shadows bear down over the  Pokémon Center. They are Jessie, James, and Meowth of Team Rocket, and they intend to steal all the Pokémon at the center.

While the three villains scoff at the thought of taking Ash’s “average” Pikachu, they are in for a rude awakening. Pikachu unleashes an unusually powerful Thunder Shock and sends Team Rocket blasting off.

With their time in Viridian City over, Ash and Pikachu, now accompanied by a not-going-to-quit-until-she-gets-what-she-wants Misty, continue their journey. And the next Pokémon they encounter is a small Caterpie.

Featured Pokémon
English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Ekans (Arbo) – 023

Pokémon

Meowth (Nyarth) – 052

Pokémon

Koffing (Dogars) – 109

Pokémon

Chansey (Lucky) – 113

Pokémon

Goldeen (Tosakinto) – 118

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

Pokémon

Pikachu

A.K.A. – Pikachu

Ash’s best friend and first Pokémon.

Pokémon

Misty

A.K.A. – Kasumi

A Water Pokémon Master and Gym Leader at the Cerulean Gym

Pokémon

Jessie

A.K.A. – Musashi

A member of Team Rocket who is after Ash’s Pikachu

Pokémon

James

A.K.A. – Kojiro

A member of Team Rocket who is after Ash’s Pikachu

Pokémon

Meowth

A.K.A. – Nyarth

A member of Team Rocket who is after Ash’s Pikachu

Jump to Episode:


Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 3
Japanese Title: ポケモン ゲットだぜ!
Romaji Title: Pokémon Getto Da Ze!
English Title: Ash Catches a Pokémon
Episode Synopsis

Ash attempts to capture the seemingly weak Caterpie and, to his delight, is successful. Having caught his first Pokémon, Ash looks to add to his team.

Soon enough, the group encounters a wild Pidgeotto, and Ash sends Caterpie out to weaken it. However, the massive bird (compared to the tiny bug Pokémon) is too much for Caterpie. Ash still has a lot to learn when it comes to Pokémon battles and training. Still, with the help of Pikachu, Ash manages to catch the Pidgeotto.

That night, Pikachu and Caterpie become fast friends. Caterpie indicates his dream of evolving into a Butterfree.

The next day, while the group is traveling, they have another run-in with Team Rocket. Having seen Pikachu’s power, Team Rocket has vowed to capture the mouse if it’s the last thing they do.

Ash challenges Jessie and James to a battle and throws out Pidgeotto. Unfortunately, the bird is not a good match against Team Rocket’s Pokémon. Then, to everyone’s surprise, it’s Ash’s Caterpie that easily traps not only the opposing Pokémon but Team Rocket as well.

Following the battle, Caterpie evolves into Metapod.  

Featured Pokémon
English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Caterpie (Caterpie) – 010

Pokémon

Metapod (Transel) – 011

Pokémon

Pidgeotto (Pigeon) – 017

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

Pokémon

Misty

A.K.A. – Kasumi

A Water Pokémon Master and Gym Leader at the Cerulean Gym

Pokémon

Pikachu

A.K.A. – Pikachu

Ash’s best friend and first Pokémon.

Jump to Episode:


Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 4
Japanese Title: サムライしょうねんのちょうせん!
Romaji Title: Samurai Shōnen no Chōsen!
English Title: Challenge of the Samurai
Episode Synopsis

The forest our heroes are traveling through is teaming with Bug-type Pokémon.

The team then meets Samurai, a Bug-type Pokémon trainer. Samurai challenges Ash to a Pokémon Battle. Ash happily accepts, and he throws out Metapod to face Samurai’s Pinser. But before the fight can end, a swarm of Beedrill appears. These ill-tempered Pokémon force Ash, Misty, Pikachu, and Samurai to run for it. However, during the panic, one of the Beedrills captured Ash’s Metapod.

The group makes it to Samurai’s house, where they rest up for the night. Samurai explains to Ash that the other trainers from Pallet Town were incredible to battle.

During the night, Ash grows ever more worried about Metapod and decides to go looking for him. While searching, he comes across the Beedrill nest, and sitting there is Metapod. As Ash is trying to figure out how to get Metapod back without waking the Beedrill, Team Rocket appears.

The problem is, Team Rocket’s signature fanfare is far too loud; they wake up and enrage the Beedrill. Still, Ash uses the opportunity to rescue Metapod. Then, as the Beedrill turn their attention to Ash, something incredible happens.

Metapod evolves into Butterfree, who then quickly puts the swarm (and Team Rocket) to sleep.

Ash meets up with Pikachu and Misty after the encounter, and the team parts ways with Samurai.  

Featured Pokémon
English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Butterfree (Butterfree) – 012

Pokémon

Weedle (Beedle) – 013

Pokémon

Kakuna (Cocoon) – 014

Pokémon

Beedrill (Spear) – 015

Pokémon

Pinsir (Kailios) – 127

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

Samurai

A.K.A. – Samurai
  • Voiced By: Yukiji

A Pokémon trainer specializing in Bug-type Pokémon

Jump to Episode:


Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 5
Japanese Title: ニビジムのたたかい!
Romaji Title: Nibi Jimu no Tatakai!
English Title: Showdown in Pewter City
Episode Synopsis

At long last, Ash and his friends make it to Pewder City. Without a moment’s hesitation, Ash heads to the Rock Gym to claim his Bolder Badge. There, Ash meets the Gym’s leader, Brock.

Ash’s confidence soon goes down the drain when Brock effortlessly wins the match after defeating both Pidgeotto and Pikachi.

Wondering how he can raise Pikachu’s power, Ash runs into a mysterious merchant named Flint, who offers his help.

While Flint and Ash train Pikachu, Flint explains that Brock is a naturally gifted Pokémon breeder. Sadly, the Gym Leader cannot fulfill his potential since he has a strong sense of responsibility towards his many younger brothers and sisters.

With the training done, Ash returns for a rematch. Thanks to Pikachu’s enhanced power, Ash puts in a much better showing. However, he goes a bit overboard, and one of his attacks sets off the Gym’s sprinkler system. With the battlefield drenched in water, Pikachu’s electricity is even more powerful and is on the verge of winning the match.

The problem is, Ash knows that should he continue, his victory will be due to an accident rather than skill. Thus, he concedes the match and leaves town in defeat.

But before Ash can go far, Brock catches up with him. Seeing Ash’s love for Pokémon and acknowledging his honor as a trainer, Brock presents Ash with the Boulder Badge. At that moment, Flint appears, and Brock cannot believe his father has come back. Flint takes up Brock’s responsibilities so that his son can fulfill his dreams.

With that, Ash, Pikachu, Misty, and Brock continue their adventure.

Featured Pokémon
English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Geodude (Isitsubute) – 074

Pokémon

Onix (Iwark) – 095

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

Pokémon

Brock

A.K.A. – Takeshi

A Rock Pokémon Master and Gym Leader at the Pewter Gym

Pokémon

Pikachu

A.K.A. – Pikachu

Ash’s best friend and first Pokémon.

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Final Thoughts

Oh my god, the nostalgia – THE NOSTALGIA! It is strange and wonderful to be watching this series again. Heck, it’s been so long that I had forgotten Pikachu was once a very choncky boy.

And sure enough, the differences between the Japanese and English versions are stark; for example, the Japanese opening theme song simply does not have the same power.

Also, I am amazed by how many names of Pokémon I remember. In fact, it is almost as if I am not watching this show in another language.

Still, I’m sure I’ll run into issues sooner or later.

Thanks for following along with me. If you’ve seen this series and feel I am wrong in my descriptions, please let me know in the comments below. I wouldn’t want to put this show in an inaccurate light.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m Odyssey, and I’ll see you next week for more of Pokémon Indigo League with episodes 6 to 10.

Jump to Episode:


Main Page
Pokémon
Episodes 6 to 10 (October 14)

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