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.
- 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 a thing, 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.
- Shoo the Dog: Ash tries to do this with Pikachu. Fortunately, it doesn't take.
- 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.