Benkyou Pokémon Series

Anime Hajime Impressions: Benkyou – Pokémon Indigo League – Episodes 21 to 25

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

Episodes 16 to 20 Recap

Our heroes – Ash, Pikachu, Misty, and Brock – continued their journey. While traveling to the next Pokémon gym, the group ran into many obstacles and misadventures. Among them were:

  • A daring escape from the sinking St. Anne
  • Escaping an island of giant Pokémon 
  • An impromptu beauty contest
  • Preventing a devastating Pokémon attack on a city
  • Uncovering the mystery of an old ghost story

Now, Ash has his next prize in his sites – Saffron City Gym’s Marsh Badge.

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Pokémon

Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 21
Japanese Title: バイバイバタフリー
Romaji Title: Bai Bai Batafurī
English Title: Bye Bye Butterfree
Episode Synopsis

While on the way to Saffron City, Ash and his friends make it to some seaside cliffs. The area is beautiful, and off in the distance, the team sees a massive flock of Butterfree in the middle of their mating season. To get a closer look, everyone hops into a hot-air balloon.

Wanting his Butterfree to have the chance to find a partner, Ash lets his first caught-Pokémon join the festivities.

Despite Ash’s Butterfree enthusiasm, his efforts don’t appear to be working. Then, Ash’s Butterfree sees a pretty pink Butterfree, and he goes in for a bit of courtship. Unfortunately, the pink Butterfree shows zero interest.

Dejected, Ash’s Butterfree runs away in shame. Ash finds his friend and tries to boost his confidence. After a quick pep talk and makeover, Ash’s Butterfree tries to woo the pink Butterfree once again. Unfortunately, the result is the same.

At that moment, Team Rocket appears and captures a large swath of the Pokémon, including the pink Butterfree.

Ash’s Butterfree gives a heroic case and leads our heroes to Team Rocket’s hideout. While Ash and his friends distract Team Rocket, Ash’s Butterfree works to free the captured Pokémon. After a gallant push, Ash’s Butterfree succeeds, and everyone makes a run for it.

Not wanting to lose their prize, Team Rock rushes to recapture the escaping Pokémon. But before they can do anything, Ash’s Butterfree and Pikachu work together to zap Team Rocket off into the distance.

Having seen Ash’s Butterfree’s bravery, the pink Butterfree reciprocates the mating ritual, and the two become a couple.

Knowing his friend has found where he belongs, Ash says a tearful goodbye and releases Butterfree back into the wild.

English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Butterfree (Butterfree) – 012

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

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Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 22
Japanese Title: ケーシィ! ちょうのうりょくたいけつ!
Romaji Title: Kēshii! Chōnōryoku Taiketsu!
English Title: Abra and the Psychic Showdown (Part 1)
Episode Synopsis

In the middle of the night, our heroes struggle to find their way. Then from the darkness, a young girl appears for a brief moment before vanishing without a trace. The team tries to follow the direction they think the girl went but to no avail. However, they do come to a high ridge looking over their destination, Saffron City.

As they enter the town limits, a hyperenergetic “welcoming committee” greets the group, saying they are the one-millionth visitors. Ash, not thinking this is strange in the slightest, gladly follows the committee to a nearby building. Once Ash and his friends are inside, the committee springs their trap.

It turns out it is Jessie and James of Team Rocket, and they successfully grab Pikachu and capture the group. With no way for Ash, Misty, and Brock to escape, it looks like Team Rocket has finally won their prize. Then from the shadows, the little girl appears. 

Without lifting a finger, the girl destroys Team Rocket’s equipment, rescues Pikachu, and transports our heroes to the doors of the Saffron City Gym.

Once again, the girl disappears, but Ash doesn’t have time to think about that. He is itching to get his Marsh Badge. But as the group is about to enter the gym, a mysterious man creeps up and warns them not to enter. Before Ash can inquire more, the man walks away.

Undeterred, Ash walks into the gym and sees that the place also researches psychic abilities. Just as apprehension descends over Misty and Brock, a staff member leads the group to see the Gym Leader, Sabrina. And at the other end of the arena, sitting upon Sabrina’s lap is the little girl, who reveals itself to be a doll.

The ensuing match is a one-on-one fight, and should Ash lose, he and his friends will have to “play” with Sabrina forever. Without hesitation, Ash agrees to these terms, and the battle begins. 

Pikachu steps forward, and Sabrina throws out the Psychic-type Pokémon Abra. During the match, Abra evolves into the much more powerful Kadabra and easily defeats Pikachu.

As per the agreement, Ash and his friends must now play with Sabrina, who shrinks everyone down to doll-size and places them within an elaborate doll-town. The team tries to run, but there is no way out. Just as things begin to look hopeless, the man from before appears and teleports everyone out of the gym.

The man insists Ash give up on the Marsh Badge but Ash will not listen. Thus, the man advises the team to head to Lavender Town and its Pokémon Tower. There they might find a Ghost-type Pokémon that can defeat Sabrina’s Kadabra.

English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Abra (Casey) – 063

Pokémon

Kadabra (Yungerer) – 064

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

Pokémon

Sabrina

A.K.A. – Natsume

A powerful psychic and leader of the Saffron Gym

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Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 23
Japanese Title: ポケモンタワーでゲットだぜ!
Romaji Title: Pokemon Tawā de Getto da ze!
English Title: The Tower of Terror (Part 2)
Episode Synopsis

In a mist, Ash and his friends arrive at Lavender Town’s infamous Pokémon Tower. As soon as they step up to the doors, an eerie air blows through their bones. None of them feel like entering, but Ash remembers why he has come here. To defeat Sabrina, he must capture a Ghost-type Pokémon. Thus, he steels himself and walks inside.

Already within the tower is Team Rocket. They are lying in wait to steal Ash’s Pikachu. But soon, they fall victim to the shenanigans of the tower’s resident ghost Pokémon, Gastly, Haunter, and Gangar.

Back on the ground floor, Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu begin to explore. Like they did with Team Rocket, the ghost playfully scare our heroes and chase them from the tower. Although Misty and Brock no longer have an interest in this place, Ash cannot afford to give up. He and Pikachu go back.

Once Ash is inside, the ghosts resume their haunt. However, their ridiculousness gets to the point where Ash is no longer frightened of them. But as Ash and Pikachu are getting comfortable with the ghost, there is an accident.

An old chandelier falls from the ceiling on top of Ash and Pikachu. The blow knocks the two unconscious. Seeing a chance for some fun, the ghost Pokémon pull Ash and Pikachu into an out-of-body experience; they cannot see things as though they were spirits.

For a brief while, Ash and Pikachu enjoy themselves. Except, they cannot stay this way for long, and when Ash sees that Misty and Brock have discovered his and Pikachu’s lifeless bodies, he asks the ghosts to return them to normal.

As Ash wonders if there is another way to defeat Sabrina, the ghost Haunter agrees to join the team. 

English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Gastly (Ghos) – 092

Pokémon

Haunter (Ghost) – 093

Pokémon

Gengar (Gengar) – 094

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.

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Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 24
Japanese Title: ゴーストVSエスパー!
Romaji Title: ゴーストVSエスパー!
English Title: Haunter vs. Kadabra (Part 3)
Episode Synopsis

Ash returns to Saffron City to have a re-match with Sabrina. But when he arrives at the gym and accepts the leader’s challenge, Ash’s secret weapon, Haunter, has disappeared.

Realizing there is no way for him to win, Ash attempts to run. However, Sabrina won’t let him escape that easily. She transforms Misty and Brock into dolls and tries to do the same to Ash. 

Before Sabrina can reach Ash, the mysterious old man jumps in and teleports Ash and Pikachu out of the gym. The man, who is Sabrina’s father, tells Ash Sabrina’s story. 

Sabrina’s psychic powers have always left her feeling alone, and her mind split. One half is a fun-loving girl, while the other is a cold, heartless trainer. The only way for Ash to beat Sabrina and save his friends is to get her to smile.

But first, Ash goes looking for Haunter. After a long search, he finds the ghost Pokémon floating around the city (having just successfully toyed around with Team Rocket). Once located, Ash brings Haunter to the gym, where the Pokémon immediately disappears again.

Sabrina, who has grown tired of Ash’s delays, won’t let our hero flee anymore. Luckily, Haunter appears before Sabrina and acts as his usual, goofy self. Unbelievable, the ghost’s antics bring Sabrina to uncontrollable laughter, thus breaking her curse.

Misty and Brock return to normal, and for his efforts, Sabrina presents Ash with the Marsh Badge.

English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Kadabra (Yungerer) – 064

Pokémon

Haunter (Ghost) – 093

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

Pokémon

Sabrina

A.K.A. – Natsume

A powerful psychic and leader of the Saffron Gym

Jump to Episode:


Pokémon Indigo League

Episode 25
Japanese Title: おこらないでねオコリザル!
Romaji Title: Okoranai de ne Okorizaru!
English Title: Primeape Goes Bananas
Episode Synopsis

While Ash and his crew are taking a lunch break, a curious Mankey comes along to see what they are doing. Getting excited over encountering a new Pokémon, Ash attempts to catch the Mankey. Except, all the attempt does is enrage the ill-tempered creature.

As Ash runs for his life, he drops his signature hat, which the Mankey gleefully takes. 

Ash loses sight of the Mankey but vows to get his hat back. He then explains to a mystified Misty and Brock, who don’t see why he is so upset, that he won his hat in a Pokémon League contest. Therefore, it is very important to him.

Elsewhere, Team Rocket is preparing their latest trap when they too run into the Mankey. Irritated by the Pokémon’s presence, Team Rocket tries to shoo their onlooker away. Unfotrently, all they end up doing is angering the Mankey to the point where it evolves into the far fiercer Primeape.

Ash manages to locate the now Primeape but hesitates to face the raging Pokémon. However, Ash realizes that if he can’t challenge a wild Pokémon, there is no hope of becoming League Champion. Using his entire team to battle, Ash successfully captures the Primeape and retrieves his beloved hat.

With that ordeal over, Ash and his friends continue their journey and reach their next destination – Celadon City.

English Name (Japanese Name) – Pokédex Number
Pokémon

Mankey (Mankey) – 056

Pokémon

Primeape (Okorizaru) – 056

Pokémon Images Taken From: The Offical Pokémon Website

Principle Charcters
Pokémon

Ash Kechum

A.K.A. – Satoshi

Pokémon Master in training and adventurer

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Final Thoughts

Although Pokémon has always been targeted towards a younger audience, it has never shied away from sadder subjects. Even after all these years, it was heartbreaking to see Ash say goodbye to Butterfree.

Also, the encounter at Pokémon Tower in the anime is nothing like the one in the actual game. If you want to talk about sadness, play through that segment. 

One of the strengths of this series has always been the Pokémon themselves. The vast majority are instantly likable; you become attached quite easily. As a result, you never want to lose any of them.

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 26 to 30.

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Pokémon
Episodes 16 to 20
Main Page
Episodes 26 to 30

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