Hi and welcome to Pokemon Catch-up! We’re rapidly going through the Fast Track Viewing List by a reddit user which allows us to get up to speed with the Pokemon anime without wasting time on filler episode (I’m looking at you Hoenn!).
Today, we’re going to enjoy an episode that does involve one of the criteria for the Fast Track list (catching a Pokemon); however, that Pokemon will have a whole of one minute of screen time. Probably less than that.
Despite that, this episode is quite unique in that it features lore that’s never explored in the games in an anime-only location. It does call back to the games; however, in a very strange manner.
Today’s episode: Season 1 (Indigo League), Episode 13: “Mystery At The Lighthouse”
Ahh, our three (human) heroes and Pikachu are making their way through yet another forest. This intro will become a standard for seasons to come and as always, they are utterly lost. The episode came out in the 90s meaning that no one had a GPS yet so let’s cut them a break.
The narrator quickly walks us through the season so far with Ash chiming in to boast. I decided to pick a few highlights:
1. Ash has so far earned 2 badges: one from Misty and one from Brock. (technically winning neither one)
2. Ash has 6 pokemon, the maximum a trainer can have (how many of those had he actually caught? None. Okay.)
Misty catches onto the caveats in Ash’s achievements and both her and Brock take the boy down a notch. Ash vows to become a Pokemon Master and presumably actually catches a Pokemon on his own.
He runs off to find a beach, the ocean, and a beautiful setting sun. Now honestly, where is this in Kanto? As it often happens, this is an anime-only location.
He’s disappointed, he wanted to see more Pokemon. Just as he says that, a Krabby strolls by his feet on the sand.
After learning more about the Pokemon, Ash realizes the Krabby is actually pretty small and remarks to it as such. The Pokemon attacks the boy. The wind picks up, the music swells: It’s a Pokemon battle!
Ash runs up to Krabby, uses a wooden stick to distract its claws and throws a Pokeball at it. And it’s caught! Before Ash can gloat, the Pokeball teleports from his hand.
“A trainer can only have six Pokemon, the rest are transported,” Misty remarks. Brock chimes in to tell Ash that by simply pressing a button on the Pokedex, the system will exchange Pokemon from storage to what he has in person. We still don’t have that functionality in games and it’s been twenty years.
Krabby, it turns out, was transported to wherever Ash got his Pokedex which means it’s with Professor Oak and in his laboratory. Which makes Ash worry for Krabby’s safety so the group decides to find a place with a phone.
The group spots a lighthouse which can probably keep them overnight and should also have a phone as well as someone who can tell them where they are.
Note, that the reason there is a block of text and not really any screenshots is because the group stood in one place having an “exposition” moment.
The lighthouse was much farther than it looked and the group is thoroughly exhausted when they get there. The lighthouse has a tool door with Pokemon inscriptions.
Ash rings the doorbell and a man answers, “Who’s there?” over the intercom. After a brief discussion, the man let’s them in.
Fun fact: the door has a Mewtwo on it. You can see it in the picture below, left-most column second from top.
The inside of the lighthouse looks like a palace. Ash asks for a phone again and so he promptly calls Professor Oak to check on Krabby.
Ash was worried about Oak cooking Krabby but it turns out, Professor Oak has Krabby in a fishbowl with Ash’s picture attached to the side. Oak jokes about making dinner from Krabby and tells Ash about how Gary’s Krabby is pretty big.
Apparently Pokemon differ in size and Gary’s Krabby is several times larger. And apparently, Gary has already caught fourty four Pokemon!
After Oak finds out about the lighthouse, it turns out that it belongs to Bill.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket finds the lighthouse and they plan to sneak into Bill’s place and take what they can.
They decide to sneak in by climbing the cliffs. They do their song, of course, for no one else’s benefit but their own…and us, the audience.
Back at the lighthouse, the group are facing a human-sized Kabuto.
But it turns out, it’s not actually a Kabuto, it’s Bill in a costume! That sounds familiar. Ash frees Bill with the push of a button and Bill reveals himself.
It turns out Bill wanted to dress up as the extinct Pokemon to understand its mind better.
Bill gives us a quick history lesson. Our planet was created 4.6 billion years ago and all kinds of Pokemon lived during that time. Apparently, about 150 known Pokemon live on our planet. Oh Bill, I wish someone had given you a ticket for SS Anne so you could have made it to Johto!
Bill commends Ash for taking on the task of catching all of the Pokemon but Ash hangs his head in despair. He has only caught seven.
Bill explains that there are many more undiscovered Pokemon (or you know, Pokemon that live in a different region, I guess…). How many could there be? No one knows exactly.
The researcher gives us a very meaningful speech about…meaning and we cut back to Team Rocket, scaling the cliff below the lighthouse.
Back to Bill, he is currently looking for only one Pokemon out of the many that are known and many more that may be unknown.
Bill takes the group outside to look into the night.
Bill claims that no one has ever seen this Pokemon and it may be the biggest Pokemon ever. It wanders and it’s the only one of its species without any friends or family.
Bill plays a recording of the Pokemon’s cry and it sounds oddly like Lugia (spoiler alert: it’s not). The man also recorded another sound and played it back in hopes of meeting this mysterious Pokemon. He believes the Pokemon wants to meet him and he definitely wants to meet it. And the Pokemon replied.
Bill believes that Pokemon will come meet him one day.
That’s when they hear the same sound from the recording from over the ocean.
Bill turns the sound he recorded on a loudspeaker and the lighthouse colors start to change colors in response to the Pokemon.
The conversation continues. What Pokemon could it be?
It sings (in the way that whales do) and Brock and Misty decide to dance. Even Team Rocket stops in its tracks to listen.
James cracks a joke about the Pokemon’s size and they decide to shoot it with a bazooka in order to catch it. The blast makes the mysterious Pokemon angry. It collapses a part of the lighthouse.
Bill tries to reason with it but James and Jessie keep firing.
The Pokemon blasts them off and quickly turns away, disappearing into the night.
The next day, the group stands out on cliff and wonder about the Pokemon. What Pokemon was it?
James and Jessie lament missing out on that very rare Pokemon but they keep their hopes up and dream of one day catching a Pokemon like that.
Ash, Brock, Misty, and Bill give a nice quick PSA telling us what Pokemon is really about: friendship, etc.
Bill promises to stand watch for the Pokemon if it ever comes back.
An interesting little tidbit happens where Ash asks Bill if we will ever find out how many Pokemon there really are and Bill says no, stressing that there might not even be a limit to how many there are. He says “there are probably as many as we can imagine.”
The trio continues on in their journey to find Pokemon.
Now that the episode is over, I should point out that the “mysterious Pokemon” was obviously a Dragonite. It’s NOT the biggest Pokemon and we see it quite often over the course of the series so it’s also not an “unknown” Pokemon per se.
Next up though is episode 14: “Electric Shock Showdown” where Pikachu faces off against Raichu!