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Recap / Pokémon PK1 "Pikachu's Vacation"

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Japanese Title: Pikachu's Summer Vacation

Original Airdate: July 18, 1998

US Airdate: November 10, 1999


  • Badass in Distress: Charizard, easily one of Ash's strongest Pokemon, ends up with his head stuck inside a narrow playground tunnel. This necessitates that the other Pokemon put aside their differences and work together to free him.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Poor Pikachu falls into the river trying to protect Togepi from falling off a rolling log. Naturally, Togepi is completely fine and doesn't fall off.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Unlike his friends, Pikachu tries to stay calm and not fight the other Pokémon. However, when Raichu deliberately shocks Pikachu and Togepi, he finally loses patience and challenges Raichu.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Pikachu, Bulbasaur and Squirtle are all protective and doting towards Togepi. When it starts crying, Pikachu and Squirtle try to cheer it up by making silly faces. When their efforts to get some food fail, Bulbasaur gently picks it up and sings it a lullaby. Later, when Togepi nearly gets shocked by Raichu’s sparks, Pikachu tries to comfort it when it’s about to cry.
    • Raichu similarly is quick to step forward protectively when Snubbull falls over after losing a staring contest with Bulbasaur.
  • Break the Cutie: Poor Togepi gets reduced to tears quite a bit throughout the special. First it gets hungry, then the apple the other Pokemon managed to get for it was eaten by Psyduck, and then Raichu deliberately scares it by shooting electric sparks around it.
  • Break the Haughty: The normally arrogant Charizard is reduced to tears when his head is trapped inside a pipe.
  • Butt-Monkey: Three of 'em, in fact.
    • First off, Squirtle can't catch a break throughout most of the short. He makes Togepi cry, loses a race to Marill, and falls over making a fool of himself when he tries to go against Snubbull.
    • Charizard of all Pokémon gets hit with this in the middle of the special. First Pikachu and Raichu stomp on his tail while racing. Then he ends up crashing into a variety of the park's equipment when he chases after them, leading to his getting his head stuck in a metal pipe. Then when he's finally pulled out, he's blasts off through the air like a cannon ball (note ), taking poor Psyduck with him.
    • Last but certainly not least, Meowth, as usual. All he wants to do is relax, but he keeps getting disturbed by the antics of everyone else. What doesn't help his case is that when he grabs a bomb, the now-freed Charizard falls right on top of him and Meowth's bomb goes off. When Charizard gets off of him, Meowth lies charred in a crater.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The short is filled with very brief interludes that cut away from the main action and have rather odd visuals. These include a split-screen effect with a dancing Bellsprout, a horde of Magnemite that keep getting larger and larger, a group of Jigglypuff rolling around singing an adorable lullaby, and a scene with a yawning Slowpoke.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In one gag, Charizard lands butt-first onto Meowth, who's holding a bomb. When it goes off under Charizard's rear, it's clearly meant to look at though it just ripped a gigantic fart directly on top of Meowth.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: First appearances of Generation II Pokémon Marill and Snubbull. Also first appearance of Mr. Mime, since it predates the episode "It's Mr. Mime Time" both in Japanese and English.
  • The Faceless: Ash, Misty, and Brock are portrayed this way, to keep the focus on the Pokémon.
  • Gang of Bullies: The group consisting of Cubone, Marill, Snubbull and Raichu qualifies, but they have a Heel–Face Turn in the end.
  • Help, I'm Stuck!: Charizard chases after Pikachu and Raichu when they accidentally step on his tail. When he takes to the air and swoops over them, he's so busy being smug that he doesn't look where he's going, ending with crashing through a bunch of playground equipment and getting his head stuck in a pipe. Seeing how upset he is, the rest of the Pokemon stop arguing and work together to free him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Meowth grabs a bomb to try and stop the other Pokémon's noisy antics so he can get some rest, only to have Charizard promptly fall right on top of him that instant after being freed from a pipe earlier. Said bomb then goes off, leaving Meowth charred in a crater when Charizard gets up off of him completely unharmed.
  • Ineffectual Loner: Cubone initially refuses to help everyone pull Charizard out of the pipe, even when his buddies decide to join in. In the dub, Dexter mentions it was likely in its nature to do so.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Pikachu is mostly mild-mannered and tries to keep his head through the short. The moment Raichu shocks him and Togepi, Pikachu turns around with a darkened expression and lets the sparks fly. And where the other Pokémon have trouble keeping up with their counterparts, Pikachu has no issue keeping up with Raichu in their electric tag-team race despite being half its size.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first half of the short is filled with goofy slapstick antics between Pikachu, Raichu, and even Charizard. But while Charizard getting stuck in a pipe is initially Played for Laughs with Meowth getting singed by his fire, he soon breaks down in tears when he can't get out, causing the other Pokemon to stop arguing and help him. The music takes a more somber tone as well.
  • Narrator: In the dub, Dexter, Ash's Pokédex, serves this purpose, to better explain what is happening on screen.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Meowth attempts to climb out of a crater created by a bomb he was holding exploding under Charizard.
    Meowth: "I think I'll take my nap right here. Good night. (passes out and slides into crater)
  • No-Sell: Meowth's bomb explodes under Charizard's rump, which doesn't hurt Charizard in the slightest. Heck, he hardly even seems to notice.
  • Oh, Crap!: Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Psyduck have this reaction when they realize Togepi is very hungry and about to cry.
    • Also virtually every pokemon that's behind Pikachu when Electrode is about to explode at the start of the race.
    • Marill has this reaction after bumping into an angry Starmie.
    • And then after bouncing off of Snorlax's belly, both Pikachu and Raichu have this expression just as Snorlax rolls over and crushes them both.
  • Out of Focus: Though Team Rocket's Meowth, Arbok and Weezing appear in the park, Lickitung and Victreebel aren't seen with them. A Lickitung and a Victreebel can be seen in the background during the race between Squirtle and Marill, but it's not clear if they're supposed to be Team Rocket's or not.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: Charizard does this before chasing after Pikachu and Raichu after they stomp on his tail.
  • Squashed Flat: When Pikachu and Raichu bounce off of Snorlax's stomach, the sleeping Pokemon rolls over until his giant belly crushes them underneath him.
  • Staring Contest: Bulbasaur beats Snubbull at one of these by rolling his eyes until Snubbull gets dizzy.
  • Team Dad: Pikachu, towards all of the Pokemon who get separated from the group (Togepi, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Psyduck). In the English version, at least, he even tries to stop his group and Cubone's group from fighting because it would set a bad example for Togepi and in both versions he enters into Papa Wolf mode when Togepi is nearly hurt.
  • Trampoline Tummy: Charizard blows Pikachu and Raichu away and the two end up bouncing on Snorlax's belly.
  • True Companions: The main trio's Pokemon, of course, but the above mentioned Gang of Bullies also qualifies.
  • Vacation Episode: Ash, Misty, and Brock drop off all their Pokémon to spend the day at a Pokémon theme park. The presence of Meowth, Arbok and Weezing indicates that Jessie and James did the same thing.
  • When He Smiles: Despite usually being an arrogant jerkass, Charizard can be seen smiling happily when he and the other Pokemon enter the park. It's surprisingly adorable.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Raichu scares Togepi by creating a shower of sparks around the little guy, although he seemed to be trying to intimidate Pikachu, Squirtle and Bulbasaur. When Pikachu tries to comfort Togepi, Raichu electrocutes both of them. Pikachu does not take this well.
  • The Worf Effect: Charizard is so strong that he can pull the other protagonist's Pokemon (attached to a rope) just by stepping forward. Note that one of them was Onix, who is even larger and heavier than Charizard.