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Recap / Pokémon S1E13 "Mystery at the Lighthouse"

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I just want to be friends!
You're always putting me down, but I'll show you! I'm gonna prove to you I can do it! I'm gonna be a Pokémon Master. Stand back and watch me work.
Ash Ketchum

Japanese Title: Masaki's Lighthouse

Original Airdate: June 24, 1997

US Airdate: September 24, 1998

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Ash and company travel onward. Ash brags about having caught 6 Pokémon, but Misty claims that all his Pokémon followed him (he caught two fair and square, but she is mostly right). Determined to prove himself he rushes to the beach and catches a small Krabby. He is shocked to see the Pokéball vanish before his eyes! Misty and Brock explain that he can only carry six Pokémon at a time and the extra went to the person who gave him his Pokédex, Professor Oak. Ash is afraid Professor Oak is going to eat Krabby and they rush to find a phone.

This brings them to a lighthouse where they meet Bill. Bill is a Pokémon researcher and longs to see a Pokémon that has been making mysterious sounds from the sea. Bill plays a recording of the sounds out of the lighthouse to attract this Pokémon. It shows up covered in shadow, but looks like an uncommonly large Dragonite (although no one recognizes it as such). Team Rocket, in the middle of scaling the cliff to the lighthouse, want the Pokémon for themselves and try to fire rockets at it. Unfortunately for everyone the Pokémon retreats into the night.

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Tropes

  • Adaptational Mundanity: In the games Pokémon Red and Blue, Bill accidentally turns himself into a Pokémon using a machine, and needs the players help to turn back. Here, he's simply stuck in a costume.
  • Always Someone Better: Even Ash's Krabby doesn't compare to Gary's.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The giant Dragonite that appears.
  • Break the Haughty: At the start of the episode, when Ash gets a big head about having six Pokémon, Misty, Brock and *all* of Ash's Pokémon gang up against him to deflate his ego.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Ash is worried Professor Oak will eat his Krabby, and Professor Oak jokes about it. This is pretty disturbing considering that Pokémon range in intellect from noticeably smarter than a dog to smarter than a human being. The franchise is a little iffy on wither or not people eating Pokémon is acceptable. This episode further confuses things with an explicit reference to hamburgers in the dub.
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  • Contrived Coincidence: The giant Dragonite that Bill has been looking for shows up at the lighthouse just when Ash and his friends were visiting.
  • Cultural Translation: One of the most obvious changes from Japanese to American was making Bill and Professor Oak both dislike tofu, while in the Japanese they enjoyed it. Brock telling Bill he was planning on making hamburgers was also an Americanization.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Due to already having six Pokémon and not knowing that was the limit a trainer can carry at a time, Ash was taken completely by surprise when his newly caught Krabby disappeared.
  • Dub Name Change: Bill, the Pokémon scientist, is named Masaki in Japanese.
  • Early Installment Weirdness
    • Bill has an image of Mewtwo on one of his walls. This is never commented on.
    • To say nothing of the kaiju-sized Dragonite, a sharp contrast to the one seen in Pokémon: The First Movie which is, at most, a couple feet higher than Ash.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: James thought shooting at a giant, mysterious, friendly Pokèmon was a rotten thing to do, even for Team Rocket being Card Carrying Villains.
  • Eye Catch: The featured Who's That Pokémon? this episode is Krabby.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: The giant Dragonite's features are completely shrouded in darkness, making its identity appear unknown, though people who have played the game know what it is.
  • Hold the Unsolicited Ingredient: Brock tells Bill he is going to make hamburgers and asks if Bill wants one. Bill responds by asking Brock if he can "cook without using tofu." Generally you would assume that if someone intends to make burgers they are not going to use tofu.
  • Homage: The episode's plot is clearly based on Ray Bradbury's short story The Fog Horn, which also features a giant sea creature being attracted by sounds coming from a lighthouse.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Bill tells Ash that he does not want to capture the mysterious Pokémon, but that he would like to be its friend.
  • Kansai Regional Accent: In the original, Bill talked in Kansai-ben, a nod to his voice actor Masaya Onosaka. In the dub, he talks in what's presumably meant to be an English accent.
  • Lighthouse Point: The lighthouse Bill lives in is very ominous and shown out in the dark. When the mystery Pokémon shows up it is in a dense fog, contributing to the atmosphere.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Oak and Bills’ cooks are on vacation, so the two resort to tofu for sustenance, despite not liking it.
  • Video Phone: While Pokémon is not an all-around futuristic setting, there are some weird sci-fi technologies thrown in from time to time. The lighthouse has a video phone, which everyone seems to think is neat but not terribly rare.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Team Rocket discusses how to break into Bill's lighthouse, and realize the one obstacle standing in their way.
    Jessie: To be truly great criminals we have to do things the hard way.
    James:''And then we'll become hardened-criminals.
    Jessie: But it will be tough to reach the top.
    Both: CAUSE WE'RE AFRAID OF HEIGHTS!note 
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