The Squirtle says that if you're not back here by noon tomorrow, the red-headed girl gets her hair dyed purple.A group of Squirtle are making trouble for people around the town, including the heroes. Team Rocket is attacked as well, but Meowth manages to persuade the Squirtle to capture them all. However, Pikachu gets seriously injured by a Goldeen and though Squirtle lets Ash go, he must be back soon or Misty will get her hair dyed purple. Will Ash be able to get back on time and be able to save Pikachu before Team Rocket take it? Also, will the Squirtle stop their attacks?
Japanese Title: Enter the Zenigame Squad!
Original Airdate: June 17th, 1997
US Airdate: September 23rd, 1998
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Ash, complete with Tender Tears.
- "Bang!" Flag Gun: The original version has Team Rocket pretending to have actual firearms in order to get the supplies need for their bombs. After they get the supplies, Team Rocket immediately fires their guns, only to reveal that the ammo was just cherry blossom petals. 4Kids gives away the reveal immediately as to prevent young viewers from confusing them with real firearms.
- Bowdlerize: Several as you can tell from the examples.
- Several instances of Never Say "Die", most prominent is the Squirtle Squad's threat goes from executing Misty to dyeing her hair purple.
- Team Rocket's weaponry is explicitly mentioned to be Family-Friendly Firearms, including the bombs despite the fact they already look like cartoon bombs to begin with.
- The Cameo: Gary Oak makes an appearance, only to inadvertently knock out Ash with the Pokéstop door.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: The 4Kids dub has the Squirtle Squad threatening to dye Misty's hair purple.
- Cool Shades: The Squirtle Squad all wear them. Their leader in particular has the Kamina shades long before Kamina made them awesome.
- Cultural Translation: When the Squirtle Squad tied up Team Rocket and begin to eat their lunch, Jessie and James bemoans that they are eating "jelly donuts and éclair" despite the fact that only riceballs are present in the picnic. This so happens to be the first instance of 4Kids infamously calling rice balls "donuts."
- Debut Queue: The last of three episodes back to back where Ash gets the three starters in Pokédex order. The Kanto trio and Pikachu will be his main Pokémon from this episode until the Johto arc.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This is, bar none, the most violent that the Team Rocket trio behaves in the series. They commit armed robbery, and toss bombs at the twerps and their Pokémon. Meowth even straight-up says he's capable of committing murder, but says he's above that.
- Everyone Has Standards: To establish prematurely that the Squirtle Squad aren't as bad as they act, Ash ends up arriving later than promised. He is fearful of what the Squad did to Misty, but they show up with her alive/with natural hair colour, admitting it was just a bluff.
- Eye Catch: The Who's That Pokémon spotlight goes to Squirtle.
- Family-Friendly Firearms: Played straight and subverted. Team Rocket's bazooka ammo is nothing more than ice, and 4Kids ensures that Team Rocket would say that these are fake weaponry right from the beginning. Even their bombs are mentioned to be made of dental floss and flash powder. Subverted with the shop owners that got robbed by Team Rocket, who pull out realistic rifles on Ash thinking he's another thief until Officer Jenny arrives.
- Growling Gut: After dope slapping her cohorts for complaining about food, Jessie's own stomach growls, at which point she decides the team should break for a picnic lunch, which is promptly stolen by the Squirtle Squad.
- HeelFace Turn: The Squirtle Squad once their leader is saved by Ash. They turn against Team Rocket and blast them away, and then they put out the forest fire caused by the blaster bombs. This made them official heroes by the locals, and they became the town's fire brigade (while the leader joins with Ash's party).
- Hostage for MacGuffin: Zigzagged as the MacGuffin, the Super Potion, is needed to heal one of the hostage, Pikachu. Ash is allowed to leave from the Squirtle Squad, but only under the conditions that he brings the Super Potion on time or Misty will face execution (or getting purple hair). It goes a bit further in the original Japanese version where Misty, unnerved by the death threat, tries to volunteer in Ash's place to get the Super Potion.
- Kick the Dog: Both Pikachu and Misty getting held hostage by Team Rocket and the Squirtle Squad, with the former badly injured and the latter actually threatened with death in the original.
- Manipulative Bastard: In one of his first demonstrations of such, Meowth tricks the Squad into befriending him after Team Rocket is captured, claiming Jessie and James are actually humans owned by him, before setting them up to help with another twerp attack to catch Pikachu.
- Never Say "Die":
- Ash states in the original Japanese version if he doesn't get the Super Potion, Pikachu is going to die. This was tweaked by 4Kids to simply big trouble.
- In original Japanese, Meowth says that if Ash doesn't return with the Super Potion for Pikachu, the Squirtle Squad will kill Misty. In the English dub, the line was changed to dyeing her hair purple.
- Pit Trap: The Squirtle Squad love this as much as Team Rocket.
- Serious Business: Misty treats the Squirtle Squad's intent to dye her hair purple like it was a death threat (and it was in the original).
- Shoplift and Die: Inverted. The shopkeepers have guns, but do not make any effort to use them against Team Rocket. Instead they proceed to pull them out against the next person to walk through the door - Ash. They only relent thanks to Officer Jenny's interference.Ash: Super Potion, please! (Is promptly met with multiple guns pointed at him) No! I don't need...a new...gun. Please, don't shoot me! I—
Officer Jenny: (runs in) STOP! Drop those! He's not with Team Rocket!
- Whole Plot Reference: Ash running to grab medicine while his friends are held hostage with the promise that he would return is one to "Run, Melos!", a well known short story by Osamu Dazai which has also been adapted into anime.