Japanese Title: Alola! The Starting Island, the Starter Pokémon!!
Original Airdate: November 17, 2016
UK Airdate: November 20, 2016 (special airing)
US Airdate: December 5, 2016 (special airing), May 12, 2017 (in sequence)
When the Ketchum family wins a trip to Alola, Ash and Pikachu discover the existence of a Pokémon School that is home to Professor Kukui. He is also intrigued by the presence of the local island's Guardian Deity Pokémon, who sees something special in Ash.
This episode contains examples of the following tropes:
- Amusing Injuries: Ash nearly drowns when he's playing underwater with a Pyukumuku, gets his face burned after he accidentally steps on a Litten's tail, gets his nose pinched by a Grubbin, and gets trampled by Tauros when he wanders onto a racetrack unaware at the Pokémon School.
- Ash Face: Ash gets this courtesy of a Litten whose tail he stepped on.
- Bears Are Bad News: Lost in the forest, Ash finds a Bewear. He thinks it's cute...until it screeches and starts breaking trees with ease.
- Bullying a Dragon: Team Skull decides to fight a Charizard with a bunch of Com Mons. Admittedly, it is nine-on-one until Ash intervenes.
- The Cameo: Kind of: Ash can be seen leaving Talonflame, Hawlucha, and Noivern's Pokeballs with Professor Oak in a flashback.
- Channel Hop: In the US, Pokémon Sun & Moon marked the series' move to Disney XD. The first two episodes of the SM series premiered via special airing on December 5, 2016, immediately after Pokémon: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel.
- Continuity Nod: Ash tells his future schoolmates that getting trampled by Tauros is nothing for him, since he's suffered worse from not one, but thirty of his.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Ash's first encounter with Team Skull goes like this. He and Kiawe, with Pikachu and Turtonator respectively, take on a total of nine Pokémon (three each of Salandit, Yungoos, and Zubat) from three Skull Grunts. Pikachu overpowers the Salandit with ease, and Kiawe finishes all nine with the Z-Move Inferno Overdrive through Turtonator.
- Egg MacGuffin: Ash and Delia have to deliver a Pokémon Egg to Samson, Professor Oak's cousin.
- Face of a Thug: Ash's borrowed Sharpedo is pretty tame and friendly for a, well, shark.
- Fastforward Gag: The flashback montage of the Ketchum family winning their vacation and taking flight to Alola. Which is, mere seconds later, replayed in reverse to remind Ash of the egg they're supposed to deliver.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Right before Ash receives the egg he was to take to Samson, Ash was giving Professor Oak five of his Pokéballs to storage.note
- The Gift: The guardian deity of Melemele Island, Tapu Koko, gifts Ash with a Z-Ring and the Electrium Z-Crystal.
- Hypocrite: The Team Skull grunts are angry at Kiawe for using a Z-Move without warning them. This is after they tried to go nine-on-one against him.
- Irony: Several Ride Pokémon are featured in this episode, and the only one that Ash actually got to use, Sharpedo, was a Pokémon that Ash doesn't have.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Most of the episode is spent setting up Ash's Denser and Wackier characterisation, acting like a hyperactive Fish out of Water and suffering countless Amusing Injuries for it, with Pikachu no less playful throughout. Then when Ash sees Team Skull ganging up on Kiawe, his usual altruism reemerges and he and Pikachu skilfully curb stomp them.
- Jump Scare: Ash is spooked off his Sharpedo by a Bruxish that Lana fishes up right in front of him.
- Mr. Exposition:
- While on a Tauros-drawn coach on their way to the Pokémon School, the friendly driver tells the Ketchums about Alola's primary means of transport: the Ride Pokémon.
- Thinking that Ash is an enrollee, Mallow offers to escort him around the school. Even after Ash told her that he's not a new student (and the meeting with Samson Oak shortly into their tour further clearing things up) she still makes good on her promise.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Ash's face when Bewear changes demeanor and starts smashing trees is priceless.
- Team Skull when they realize Kiawe is about to use a Z-Move.
- Reflexive Response: As Delia reminded Ash that it was thanks to Mimey that they won the vacation, Mimey relished the memory by pantomiming the moment he drew the winning lottery ball.
- Security Cling: When Pikachu fires Thunderbolt at Team Skull's three Salandit, they bunch together in fear.
- Underestimating Badassery: The Team Skull grunts think they have a chance against Kiawe, even though his Charizard is bigger than all nine of their Pokémon put together. Ash is underestimated by both sides, with Kiawe warning him not to get hurt before Pikachu surprises him with his speed.
- Unwanted Assistance: Kiawe initially didn't want Ash's help.
- Vacation Episode: It's initially framed as this (Mr. Mime had won a lottery prize), but the flashback reverses, and we see Professor Oak gave them a Pokémon Egg to deliver to his cousin, Samson.
- V-Sign: When Ash takes a closer look at a Pyukumuku, it greets him hello with this; Ash responds in kind.
- "YEAH!" Shot: The Fastforward Gag ends on Ash, Delia, and Mr. Mime doing this upon their arrival in Alola. The second gag then reverses from this point.