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Recap / Pokémon S1E26 "Pokémon Scent-sation!"

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Please don't stare at me like that! I'm a very shy little girl!
Ash, as Ashley

Japanese Title: Erika and Kusaihana

Original Date: September 23rd, 1997

US Date: October 12th 1998

The party arrives in Celadon City, a perfectly pleasant town full of large department stores, condominiums, and fancy arcades. Brock and Misty are mesmerized, listening to a pretty young girl in a miniskirt, selling perfume. Appalled by the price of the perfume, Ash is kicked out of the department store, and heads for the Pokémon gym alone, but he is denied entrance to the Celadon Gym. The perfume that Ash criticized in the department store is produced in this gym. Brock and Misty enter the gym and befriend those who inhabit it, but Ash must go to some outrageous lengths in order to even set foot in the gym, let alone prove himself worthy of battle against its Master.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Berserk Button: Ash riles Erika and the workers at Celadon City's department store and gym by calling their perfume financially wasteful, which royally pisses them off to the point that they force him out of the department store and indirectly ban him from entering Celadon Gym.
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  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Meowth thinks his nose was dissolved by Gloom, but then remembers the cartoonists never gave him a nose. Note that Meowth makes different a joke in the original Japanese version, which had to be changed due to being Lost in Translation.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": In the dub, Team Rocket call a Cartoon Bomb a "blaster ball", presumably for censorship reasons.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Erika's Gloom curb-stomps Charmander easily with her scent.
  • Disguised in Drag: Team Rocket forces Ash to disguise himself as a girl named Ashley.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Ash poses as Ashley, Pikachu immediately recognizes him, and tries to snuggle up to him. Ash rebuffs him, forcing Pikachu to expose Ash's identity in front of Erika.
  • Enemy Mine: Ash teams up with Team Rocket after they are forced out of the gym. And unfortunately for him, he realizes too late that he's an Unwitting Pawn in their plans.
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  • Even Evil Has Standards: James is somewhat put off when Jessie announces she's going to bomb Celadon Gym just for putting a mark on her face.
  • Eye Catch: In this episode, the Who's that Pokémon is Gloom.
  • Eyelid Pull Taunt: One of the Celadon Gym's staff members responds to Ash's pleas to enter the Celadon Gym by doing this.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Ash insults Erika's perfume for its high prices, resulting in him being forced out of both her store and Celadon Gym as a punishment.
  • Fiction Isn't Fair: When Ash mocks Erika's perfume, he is forced out the department store and Celadon Gym. Pokémon gyms are certified by a wider, possibly government-affiliated league meant to provide places for trainers to battle. Ash never points out the blatant conflict of interest or that Erika should be obligated to meet his challenge, and instead forces himself into the gym to duel with her.
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  • Fun with Acronyms: In the English dub, Erika does this with the word PERFUME, using each letter of the word to stand for an adjective to describe perfume and ending it on a sort of Crowd Chant note. This is in response to Ash's badmouthing perfume in general. In the original, she simply gives Satoshi a lecture about the benefits of using perfume.
  • Hair Decorations: Erika, when she's dolled up in traditional Japanese style, and when she's wearing Western clothes and sporting a pink headband.
  • Harmless Electrocution: Pikachu shocks Ash, which only comically chars him—through it somehow disintegrates his disguise. Alas, poor Ashley...
  • Heroic Fire Rescue: Ash earns the Rainbow Badge by rescuing Erika's Gloom from her burning gym.
  • Idiot Ball: Meowth placed the blaster ball near him and the others cause he didn't want to lose it.
  • It's Personal: In Team Rocket's second attempt to invade the gym, Jessie plants explosives to exact revenge for her team being manhandled by Erika's staff. Even James seems to think this is rather excessive.
    Meowth: Just one question—what am I supposed to do with this blaster ball?
    Jessie: Stick it someplace where it'll make a nice big kaboom!
    Meowth: A-ha-ha! They'll get a bang outta this!
    James: Jessie, what's the blaster ball for?
    Jessie: Sweet revenge for stamping an "X" on the most beautiful face in the world!
    James: (under his breath) Talk about delusions...
    Jessie: WHAT?!
    James: Uh, I-I-I mean, yeah, that'll teach those slobs!
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Although Erika's workers are violent pranksters who deny Ash access for pressing Erika's Berserk Button, they deeply care about their Pokémon and Erika.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Erika's rather overzealous staff also humiliatingly punish Team Rocket for trying to enter the Celadon Gym. In turn, the trio outright level the gym with everyone inside as payback.
  • Licked by the Dog: Pikachu was the only one to recognize Ash in his disguise, and quickly compromised his cover when Ash rebuffed him for trying to snuggle.
  • Literal Ass-Kicking: Ash gets kicked out of the perfume store this way.
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Team Rocket manage to steal Erika's perfume and set her gym ablaze without getting caught. However, they actually only got their hands on one ingredient; Gloom's essence. Cue more nose torture.
  • Must Make Amends: After Ash helps Team Rocket, thus indirectly setting Erika's set gym ablaze, he risks the fire to save her Gloom. This earns him Erika's respect and the Rainbow Badge.
  • No OSHA Compliance: No sprinkler system in a huge building is already stupidnote , but no sprinkler system in a huge building with a forest planted inside it?
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ash, when he inadvertently presses Erika's Berserk Button.
    • Erika, when she's cornered by a Grimer in her flashback.
    • Ash and Erika, when the former realizes his cover has been compromised when Pikachu electrocutes him for outing himself after listening to Erika's story.
    • Erika when she realizes that Gloom is stuck in the burning Celadon Gym.
    • Team Rocket when they realize the perfume has the essence of Gloom.
  • One-Hit KO: Gloom knocks Charmander out with one blast of its stench.
  • Overzealous Underling: It is implied Erika, while very protective about her business, was willing, if not obligated outright, to challenge Ash to a gym battle. Her staff, however, violently forces him out of the department store and the Celadon Gym.
  • Persona Non Grata: After Ash insults Erika's perfumes, the latter bans him from the store and Celadon Gym. Ash, however, doesn't care and enters the Gym to battle Erika anyway.
  • Running Gagged: This is the last time Pikachu shocks Ash in temper.
  • Sensory Overload: Gloom's stench is so horrid it can knock others out. It even scores a One-Hit KO on Charmander.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Ash doesn't realizes that Team Rocket is using him to further their plans to steal Gloom's perfume until it's too late.
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