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Recap / Pokémon S1E35 "The Legend of Dratini"

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Japanese Title: The Legend of Miniryu

Original Airdate: November 25, 1997

US Airdate: Never Aired

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This episode was never aired in the US, or in many other areas using the 4Kid's dub due to featuring realistic firearms and a man who's willing to point them at children.

Ash and company reach the Safari Zone. They meet Kaiser, the warden and care taker of Safari Zone, who repeatedly threatens them with a firearm. He explains how the Safari Zone functions and what is the penalty to break the rules. He also visibly denies any rumors of a Dratini living in the Safari Zone, despite having a picture of it in his office. Professor Oak reveals to our heroes that Kaiser had once spotted and befriended Dratini in the area 30 years ago, but its presence in the Safari Zone lured a myriad of trainers intending to catch it, causing the Safari Zone to be nearly destroyed in the process; hence why the use of regular Poké Balls is now banned and why Kaiser is so hostile. He then demands them to catch as many Safari Pokémon as they can since he hasn't gotten any Pokémon recently from Ash.

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As Ash and company enter the Safari Zone, Team Rocket appears and challenges them to contest of catching Pokémon in the Safari Zone. If Ash loses, he has to give up all of his Pokémon, including his Pikachu. Ash agrees to the challenge despite Brock's protest, since the good guys always prevail. On the open plains, he and his friends use Safari Balls to catch the wild Pokémon found here, but the stampeding Tauros herd always gets in the way. However, it turns out that Team Rocket's challenge is merely a ruse to distract Ash and company from their real goal, getting the location of Dratini out of Kaiser. Through several interrogation methods, they discover that Dratini is located in Dragon Lake.

Realizing that Dratini is in danger, Kaiser goes to Ash and his company for help and directs them towards the lake where Dratini lives. There they find Team Rocket who, after initially failing to capture the rare Pokémon the old-fashioned way, threw an electric bomb into the lake to shock Dratini, along with any other Pokémon, out of the water. Kaiser dives underwater in an attempt to disarm the bomb, and Ash, along with Staryu, dives after him. Staryu rescues Kaiser from drowning while Ash presses on to retrieve the bomb. Ash manages to get the bomb and heads towards the surface but runs out of air, sinking down at the bottom while a mysterious shadow passes by. As the gang begins to fear for the worst, a storm breaks out of nowhere and Dragonair breaks out of the surface with Ash on its back. It turns out the be the Dratini that Kaiser befriended, and the Dratini in the present time is its offspring. Team Rocket gets blasted off by the bomb and the lake is saved. Ash and company bid farewell to Kaiser, but not before giving Professor Oak the Safari Pokémon they have caught which, to his horror, are all Tauros.

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  • Adaptational Name Change: The official name of the Safari Warden in the games is Baoba instead of Kaiser. However, the Warden wasn't officially named until HeartGold and SoulSilver.
  • A Load of Bull: Literally. Ash gets 30 of them, and offloads ALL of them on Oak.
  • Animal Stampede: Tauros, what do you expect? And unfortunately for Oak, Ash delivers a total of thirty ready to run over the professor.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Professor Oak demands to Ash that he must capture as many Pokémon as he can in the Safari Zone since he hasn't been giving Oak new Pokémon for awhile. Ash uses up all the Safari Balls to get the maximum amount of Pokémon he could capture. The Pokémon he captured? Tauros. All thirty of them, ready to trample Oak when they are transported to his lab.
  • Big "OMG!": James can heard shouting "Oh my god!" in Gratuitous English when Kaiser attempts to shoot Team Rocket.
  • Brick Joke: Ash and his friends obtain 30 Safari Balls and encounter a stampeding Tauros herd in the Safari Zone. Ash (along with Brock) manages to catch two of them with their Safari Balls. He later attempts to catch Rhyhorn, but the stampeding Tauros got in the way just right as he threw the Safari Ball, unintentionally catching another Tauros. The Safari catching sub-plot is dropped to focus on the Dratini plot, but it later returns at the end of the episode where Professor Oak is receiving 30 Safari Pokémon that Ash has caught. To Oak's dismay, they're all Tauros.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: Kaiser stops the Team Rocket motto by shooting at them repeatedly.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: When trying to get Kaiser to talk about the Dratini, Team Rocket uses methods including a gun to the head, a recording of Meowth's singing, and eventually succeed with Tickle Torture.
  • Disney Death: Ash appears to drown at the bottom of the lake. Then he's saved by Dragonair, which turns out to be the Dratini that Kaiser was seeking.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Among other things, Kaiser fires his gun just because of singing.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole:
    • This is the episode where Ash caught his 30 Tauros. When it was skipped for the international airing, viewers from overseas were left wondering: Where did Ash's Tauros come from, and how?
    • In Ditto's Mysterious Mansion, Team Rocket mentions that they have never been able to capture Dratini for the Boss. In the English dub, it seems to be an out of place Noodle Incident since that is the first time Dratini is seen internationally, and Team Rocket is never known to go after rare Pokémon that Ash and friends have not yet encounter. If one takes in account of this banned episode, however, then it becomes clear that they were referring to their attempt to capture the titular Dratini in the Safari Zone.
    • As a less major example, some of the footage used in the original Pokérap was taken from this episode.
  • Eye Catch: The featured Who's That Pokémon this episode is Tauros.
  • Epic Fail: Ash throwing 30 Safari Balls and catching a stray Tauros with every single one of them falls somewhere between this and Achievements in Ignorance. Especially when you consider that Tauros are among the more notoriously hard to catch Pokemon in the Safari Zone, and one of the rarest (with a 1% spawn rate). And Ash caught THIRTY in one visit. It's telling that Pokemon Yellow increased the spawn rate to 10%, probably because of this episode.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: 4Kids could find no way to make this trope work them in their edited version, so they averted it completely by simply not airing the episode and plot-holes be damned.
  • Fishing for Sole: Misty begins fishing in a small lake with her Misty Special lure. Suddenly, she gets a strong bite from the line, which needs the strength of all of our heroes. What they end up getting is a very large Gyarados. Misty even states she didn't even know there were Gyarados there.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Do not sing, do not abuse the Safari rules, and DO NOT TALK about Dratini in the presence of Warden Kaiser.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Kaiser has formed a sort of bond with Dratini and deeply regrets causing so many people to flock around and disturb it.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: At one point the Kaiser aims his gun directly between Ash's eyes. That might have had something to do with why it was banned.
  • Perp Sweating: One of the ways Team Rocket interrogates Kaiser.
  • Precious Photo: Kaiser is very protective of his photograph with Dratini since Dratini left and never came back again.
  • Scars Are Forever: The Dratini befriended by Kaiser cracked the pearl on its forehead. Thirty years later, even after evolving into Dragonair, it still has the crack on its horn.
  • She Is All Grown Up: The Dratini in Kaiser's photograph is revealed to evolved into a Dragonair, and that the current Dratini is its child.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kaiser is willing to point a loaded gun at children around the age of 10 to 15 if he feels like they are breaking the rules or trying to catch Dratini.
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