Japanese Title: Forest of Pikachu
Original Airdate: April 16, 1998
US Airdate: November 20, 1998
The twerps stop when they find a forest full of Pikachu. After some mini-adventures and a run-in with Team Rocket, Ash begins to question whether it is right for him to keep Pikachu from his own kind.
This episode contains examples of the following tropes:
- Ambiguous Gender: The little Pikachu that Pikachu befriends isn't gendered. Is it small because it's a young Pikachu or is small as a Tertiary Sexual Characteristic? This makes Pikachu's interest in it ambiguous—familial or romantic? The loose manga adaptation The Electric Tale of Pikachu went with the latter adaptation and made it a female Love Interest.
- Award-Bait Song: The Time Has Come, which plays of various clips between Ash and Pikachu's interactions of previous episodes. In the Japanese version, "Goodnight, My Pikachu" (one of the B-sides to the first opening and ending single) is played instead.
- Big "SHUT UP!": In the Japanese version, Ash shouts at Brock and Misty to be quiet when they confront him about his big decision.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This family of wild Pikachu is consisted of Pikachu only, with the young members being smaller sized Pikachu. This was before Pichu was introduced in Gold and Silver. Additionally, this is before Pokémon sexual dimorphism was established in Diamond and Pearl, hence none of the Pikachu have the heart-shaped tailtips of the females.
- Eye Catch: This episode, the Who's That Pokémon is Pikachu, even going as far to show Ash's Pikachu and a smaller sized Pikachu in the original.
- Eyelid Pull Taunt: Team Rocket do this to the twerps.
- Hidden Eyes: Ash's eyes are hidden from the moment he decides to leave Pikachu, until Pikachu returns to him.
- Insane Troll Logic: Team Rocket's reason for kidnapping all of the wild Pikachu.James: All of this land is public property!
Jessie: And we're part of the public!
Meowth: So that means these Pikachu are technically ours!
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: James thanking all the fans for their support can be seen as the producers thanking Pokémon fans for their support after the Porygon incident. In the Japanese, he apologizes to their fans for keeping them waiting.
- Never Trust a Title: Thankfully.
- Reality Ensues: The reaction the family of Pikachu gives regarding to Ash, Misty, and Brock at first. Particularly when Ash foolishly runs right up to them loudly asking to be a part of their group. Their response to flee and hide played out as 'bout as you'd expect from any wild creature that lacked human contact.
- Shoo the Dog: Ash tries to do this with Pikachu. Fortunately, it doesn't take.
- Stock Audio Clip: Ash's Kangaskhan cry during his jungle boy routine is reused from "The Kangaskhan Kid".
- Trying Not to Cry: Ash definitely struggles to hold himself together as he bids farewell to Pikachu.
- Undying Loyalty: The only reason Pikachu doesn't want to leave Ash.
- Very Special Episode: During the episode, Ash struggles with the idea of releasing Pikachu.
- Vine Swing: At the beginning, Ash does this, complete with a Tarzan-like yell and Watch Out for That Tree!
- Watch Out for That Tree!: When Ash does his jungle boy routine, he falls into this trope.
- With a Foot on the Bus: Ash is ready to leave Pikachu with the other Pikachu, so he could be happy with his own kind. Pikachu chose to stay with Ash instead, leading to a tearful reunion.