Japanese Title: Paras and Parase
Original Air Date: May 7, 1998
US Air Date: February 13, 1999
As our heroes continue their journey, Team Rocket never let up with their constant interception, but Meowth is feeling ill. After a young girl named Cassandra cures him, she soon meets with Ash's group and explains her difficulty in evolving her wimpy Paras.
This episode is notable for being the very first to be broadcasted on Kids' WB!; kicking off a seven-year run that helped elevate the franchise to where it is today.
This episode contains examples of the following tropes:
- Anime Chinese Girl: Cassandra's appearance definitely invokes this trope, what with her hairbuns and fashion sense.
- Ash Face: Both Ash and Team Rocket are the unfortunate recipients of this from the newly evolved Charmeleon.
- Berserk Button: Nothing sets Cassandra off more than trainers trying to abandon their Pokemon, as shown by how she tears into Jessie and James for their mistreatment of Meowth.
- Call-Back: Team Rocket brings back the disguises they wore to cheer on Ash and Pikachu during their battle against Lt. Surge, only this time they're cheering for Paras.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Meowth, Cassandra has apparently chosen Persian over him in the end of the episode.
- Epic Fail: Paras faints from Pikachu's "teeny static bolt" and Squirtle's "sprinkles".
- The fact that Ash called Charmeleon against Paras at all was a terrible idea. Not only was it in the middle of its Jerkass level-up, but also being a Fire-type, Paras (Bug- and Grass-type) was profoundly weak to it.
- Even worse, trying to order the proud and newly disobedient Charmeleon to take a dive against such a pathetic opponent effectively costs Ash any remaining respect Charmeleon had left for him.
- Eye Catch: This episode, the Who's That Pokémon is Paras.
- Gaussian Girl: Meowth sees Cassandra this way.
- Interspecies Romance: After she nurses him back to health, Meowth develops a crush on Cassandra.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Cassandra's grandma may be a bit rude, but she isn't wrong to criticize Ash's skills as a trainer seeing as how he sends out Charmeleon to help Paras level up despite its type advantage. Twice.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Pikachu shocks Charmeleon after it refuses to listen to Ash and uses flamethrower on the latter.
- Mobile Shrubbery: Team Rocket tries to sneak into town this way.
- Only in It for the Money: Jessie and James only help Paras evolve into Parasect because Meowth convinces them that any miracle potions made from Parasect spores will rake in the cash, which they can profit from. Meowth, of course, is in it for Cassandra herself.
- Shrinking Violet: Poor Paras is incredibly shy and scared to death of fighting. Because of how horribly weak it is, one can hardly blame it for being so averse to battle.
- Throwing the Fight: Ash asks his Pokémon to go easy on Paras so that it will gain the experience needed for it to evolve. It failed miserably (we're looking at you, Charmeleon). Meowth has more success with it by beating up Arbok and Weezing for Paras, and making it look like Paras is the one who did it.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Upon evolution from the previous episode, Charmeleon goes from a sweet, lovable, and loyal companion to a vicious, hot-tempered, and disobedient asshole for Ash.