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Recap / Pokémon S1E30 "Sparks Fly for Magnemite"

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Uhh, how about we just be friends, ok?

Japanese Title: Do Coil Dream of Electric Mice!?

Original Airdate: October 21st, 1997

US Airdate: October 16th, 1998


As our heroes make their way through the industrial town of Gringy City, Pikachu, perhaps weary from travel, is in a strange state; the electric sacks on his cheeks are continually twitching as though overcharged. At the town's Pokémon Center, Joy diagnoses Pikachu as being in the first stages of a Pokémon cold. She begins treatment immediately, but the town suddenly goes into a blackout. Assuming the problem to be in the power-generating station near the beach, Ash and friends go to investigate. There they discover the Pokémon, Magnemite and a pack of Grimer—Pokémon created from sludge. What exactly is going on?



  • Adults Are Useless: While most episodes are focused on the 10-year-old Ash and friends solving people problems, this one is particularly strong on that theme. First the Nurse Joy who checks out Pikachu is overly dismissive, causing Ash to lecture her on bedside manner, then when the power goes out Ash makes it his mission to get it back on, because otherwise the Pokémon in intensive care at the Pokémon Center might die. Not only does the Pokémon Center not have a back-up generator, the adult electric company employees already working on the issue are evidently not competent enough to handle the matter themselves. In the end Ash has to fight off the Grimer and capture Muk in order to get the power back on.
    Ash: (to Nurse Joy) Miss? Excuse me, but are you, by any chance, the oddball in your family?
    Nurse Joy: Oh, no. It's the rest of my family who are the oddballs.
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  • Big Damn Heroes: Magnemite and its group of Magneton appeared at the last minute to save Ash and the group from the Grimer and Muk when all hope seem to have been lost.
  • Crapsack World: Gringy City, as its name would imply, is an absolutely grimy, over-industrialized city suffering from rampant pollution. In fact many of its former residents have straight up left due to the number of factories in town.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: This is the only episode where Muk can be smelled through its Poke Ball.
  • End-of-Episode Silliness: Professor Oak receives Ash's Muk, whose rancid odor even escapes the Poké Ball.
    Prof. Oak: What's the idea of sending me a Muk? Yuck!
  • Epic Fail: Team Rocket plans to capture Pikachu through a giant magnet as Pikachu's illness causes his body to be magnetized. However, they use it right after the electrical workers explain why Magnemite no longer follows Pikachu after the later is cured, which causes Team Rocket to attract a lot of Magnemite and Magneton instead, causing the Gyarados sub to sink afterwards, the result...
  • Eye Catch: Magnemite is the feature of “Who’s That Pokemon?”
  • Green Aesop: Clean up the pollution in the ocean and air, or a bunch of sludge-like lifeforms will infest the pipes and shut off the power needed for the intensive care.
  • Monster of the Week: Muk and its Grimer gang.
  • Out of Focus: Team Rocket, strangely enough. After having a dedicated sub-plot of them trying to enter the Pokémon Center through sewers, they disappear from the second half of the episode until the very end where they apparently figure out Pikachu's magnetized body offscreen and try to use a giant magnet to catch him...only to find out that they were too late, and they get a bunch of Magnemite and Magneton instead.
  • Red Herring:
    • Since the episode focuses on the Magnemite following Pikachu around and saving the day by summoning its friends against the Grimer and Muk, one might believe that Ash will catch Magnemite. In the end, however, Magnemite loses interest in the cured Pikachu and no longer stalks him, while Ash ends up catching the Monster of the Week Muk.
    • After Team Rocket failed to enter in the Pokémon Center through the sewers, they spot Ash and his friends passing by them to the power plant. One might expect the trio to follow the twerps and ambush them or go through crazy shenanigans with the Grimer gang or Magnemite's friends. However, they do not appear again until the end of the episode, with a plan that is relatively unrelated to their previous build-up save for apparently knowing that Pikachu's illness makes it magnetized...however, what they didn't realize was that Pikachu has been cured and upon activating the magnet they attracted a bunch of Magnemite and Magneton.
  • Shout-Out: To Philip K. Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. Not only is the Japanese title and the polluted city derived from the novel itself, but the electrical workers at the power plant are named Philip and Dick according to the companion pocket guidebook in Japan. And this wouldn't be the franchise's only reference to the book either.
  • Sick Episode: Pikachu spends most of the episode with a cold, which causes it to spark and electrocute things without warning.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Magnemite followed Pikachu due to it being attracted to Pikachu who had became magnetized due to its cold. After Pikachu dispelled the excess electricity, however, Magnemite lost interest.


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