Japanese Title: Persevere! Look Forward, Rocket Gang
Original Air Date: December 17, 2002
US Air Date: July 1, 2006
From his castle high on a hill, a mad scientist dispatches a giant robot to the village below. The villagers sound the alarm, afraid that the robot will ruin their crops, and a girl named Kate hopes that the angels of justice will save her village. Instead, Team Rocketfresh from being blasted off by Pikachuland right in front of the villagers, and Kate mistakes them for the superheroes known as Team Righteous. To convince the villagers of their villainy, Team Rocket knocks the robot out of commission. That just convinces everyone that they really are heroes!
The grateful villagers tell Team Rocket that the stranger in the castle keeps sending robots to destroy their fields during the harvest season, and they want Team "Righteous" to protect them. Surprisingly, Jessie thinks this is a great idea; they'll fool the village and turn it into Team Rocket territory. Meowth makes a Meowthmobile mecha out of the robot they destroyed, and Team Rocket heads for the castle.
This episode contains examples of the following tropes:
- Abuse Mistake: Type 2 with Team Rocket. They enact acquisitive plots and don't shy away from the fact that they're criminals; but, even so, the villagers are steadfastly convinced they're heroes. Type 1 with the robots' inventor, Professor Brown. The villagers believe he sends robots to destroy their fields, but he actually wishes to help during harvest season and befriend them.
- Bait-and-Switch: The stranger in the castle who sends the harvest-destroying robots is visually introduced in nigh-darkness, with Scary Shiny Glasses and a menacing, shrill voice. In truth, he's a shy professor who simply wants to make friends and revolutionise the villagers' farming methods for the better.
- Becoming the Mask: James very nearly commits to a HeelFace Turn after big doses of Good Feels Good and falling in love with Kate. Then, he accidentally pushes a button inside the Meowthmobile mecha that sends them blasting off again.
- Compliment Backfire: Team Rocket consider being called "superheroes" an insult.
- Crush Blush: It appears on James and Kate both.
- Identical Stranger: The serial reveals that Team Righteous looks almost exactly like Team Rocket, right down to having a talking Meowth (portrayed by an actor). No explanation is ever given.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Professor Brown's real motivations.
- Love Redeems: James plans to live and experience happiness with Kate, as well as truly become the hero they believe him to be.
- Mad Scientist: The villagers reckon that an Evil Genius type created the robots. They were in reality invented by a bashful, magnanimous scientist whose robots prove beneficial to the villagers.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Meowth muses that their attempt to prove they're not heroes actually did do good for the villagers.
- Sustained Misunderstanding: No matter how much they emphatically clarify that they're actually a villainous gang named Team Rocket, the villagers think they're Big Damn Heroes.