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Pokémon: The Path to the Pokémon League
After earning his second badge, Ash is full of confidence and plans on battling a trainer called A.J After the battle Ash and A.J fight until Team Rocket come and steals A.J's Pokemon A.J then gives them a taste of their own medicine.
9/10 (2 Votes cast)
Episode number: 1x8|
Production Number: 108
Airdate: Thursday September 17th, 1998
||Jan 08, 2000|
Ash and his friends are traveling towards Vermilion City, making frequent stops so that Ash can battle other trainers me meets. One trainer, impressed by Ash's 10 straight wins and two badges, suggest that he challenge AJ, a very good trainer who lives nearby, and even built his own gym, although it is not sanctioned by the Pokémon League. Ash decides to do so.
When Ash, Misty, and Brock get to AJ's gym, they see a sign over the entrance proclaiming the gym as undefeated with 98 wins. AJ shows up with a backpack full of wild Pokémon he just caught. When they go in, AJ gives them to a Butterfree and Ash challenges him to a battle. AJ has no badges and says that once he reaches his 100th win, he'll start. This gives Ash the idea that he is better than AJ (since he has two). AJ, however makes fun of Ash, saying that the leaders of those two gyms must have been pretty pathetic, thus angering Brock and Misty. Ash and AJ start to fight, but unfortunately for Ash, AJ defeats him in seconds flat with his Sandshrew for his 99th win. Ash is shattered and, not accepting the defeat, starts to whine that AJ somehow rigged the match. AJ is annoyed and goes inside the large tent, telling him to grow up.
Our heroes are about to leave when they hear a whip cracking and AJ yelling at his Sandshrew from inside the tent. They rush inside and Ash attacks AJ, sending both of them into a pool. Emerging, AJ instructs Sandshrew to get back into the water. Ash says that ground Pokémon are weakened by water, but Sandshrew jumps out and spins dry, not weakened a bit. Ash then notices that the Sandshrew, as well as all the other Pokémon in the tent are wearing some sort of straitjacket type thing. AJ explains that they are "strength intensifiers" and help his Pokémon become stronger. Ash feels AJ is treating them too harshly, and appeals to Brock for support. Unfortunately for him, Brock takes interest in what AJ feeds them.
Meanwhile, outside, Jessie, James, and Meowth have seen Ash go in and plan to try to steal Pikachu again. They try out a new motto, but James frowns, saying it just doesn't feel right. They plan to hide themselves in a large rubber ball and sneak in, nab Pikachu, and escape with it before Ash realizes what happened.
As Ash and AJ talk, Pikachu tries on one of the strength intensifiers, but is overwhelmed and rolls up into a ball. Sandshrew snickers and rolls up into a ball next to Pikachu. Team Rocket rolls in and sneaks up on two. In the darkness inside the ball, they accidentally take Sandshrew instead.
Soon enough, Ash and AJ notice Pikachu's predicament and AJ frees him. Then, AJ realizes that Sandshrew is missing. Ash meanly suggests that Sandshrew ran away after seeing how much better Ash treated Pikachu. He offers the other Pokémon a spot on his team but is quickly turned down.
In the meantime, James is struggling with his bundle. It seems that the Pikachu is heavier than it looks. He is about to hand the bag over to Jessie when Sandshrew pops out, knocking both Jessie and James out. Sandshrew then burrows into the ground, bringing Meowth along.
Back at AJ's gym, Sandshrew pops out through the floorboards, with Meowth dragging behind. AJ and Sandshrew are extremely happy to see each other and they share a warm embrace. Ash starts to rethink his feelings about AJ when Pikachu alerts him of Meowth's presence. Meowth is scared until Jessie and James show up to get him back. They halfheartedly apologize to AJ, but insult him by calling his Sandshrew weak and he challenges them to a battle.
After easily defeating Ekans, Koffing, and Meowth with Sandshrew's Fissure attack, AJ gets his 100th straight win. He begins to pack up for his journey, and Ash offers to let him join his group. AJ declines, saying that he has his own path to follow, and Ash, Misty, and Brock resume their trek to Vermilion..Read the full recap
This is the first time in the series Meowth does something that's cat-like
Who's That Pokemon?: Sandshrew
Included on Viz Video's VHS collection "The Sisters of Cerulean City".
Pokémon Debut: Sandshrew
This episode is one of the few times a real animal is mentioned. Misty claims that A.J. controls Sandshrew with the crack of his whip just like a lion tamer.
This episode is technically the first filler episode in the series.
In other languages
European and Brazilian Portuguese: O Caminho para a Liga Pokémon
Dutch: Op weg naar het Pokémonkampioenschap!
French: Le chemin qui mène à la Ligue Pokémon
Italian: Impegnati e vincerai
Latin American Spanish: ¡El camino a la Liga Pokémon!
Spanish: El camino hacia la Liga Pokémon
A.J.: Sandshrew! Pick up that pacing!
(Sandshrew rolls up in a ball and is hit back and forth by three Rattatas)
Ash: Wait a minute. I thought you said "pacing", not "passing".
(Brock and Misty, behind him, fall to the floor. Pikachu picks up a pillow and shows it to Ash)
Ash: No, Pikachu, I said padding. (Becomes flustered and stomps his foot) I mean, I said passing! (Pikachu, ashamed, covers its head with the pilow and slinks away)
A.J.: Why do you keep hanging around here? There must be other trainers you can bother.
Jesse: That outfit that trainer is wearing is positively hideous.
James: That shirt looks like it's from a century or two ago. He'd fit right in perfectly at a museum.
Meowth: At least he doesn't look like he's trick-or-treating like you do.
Ash: What is that thing? It looks like a straitjacket!
AJ: Are you my next victim?
Ash: You must be the wild Pokémon Trainer.
AJ: That's my job but beating chumps like you is my hobby. Ready to lose?
Trainer: (About AJ) He's never lost a single match.
Ash: Until now (wags finger) he hasn't come up against somebody like me.
Misty: (to Brock about Ash) He's getting a big head.
Brock: Yeah, but his brains still the same size.
Pikachu: (nods head in agreement) Pika Pika.
AJ: You may think your hot stuff kid but your not playing in the Pokémon little league anymore! (AJ cracks whip Ash's feet and Ash yells in fear)
AJ: Did you buy those Badges or steal them? Either that or you competed in some loser Gyms. Where were they Failure City or Wimpsville?
(Brock and Misty both growl in anger)
Misty: What do you mean loser Gyms?
Brock: Hey Ash pulverize this guy!
Jessie: Team Rocket will do what it has to do
James: To snatch that little Pikachu
Meowth plays with Sandshrew as a ball)
Jessie: Stop pussyfooting, Meowth!
Meowth: Hey! I was just biting my time! (bites Sandshrew and breaks his teeth) AAH! The moment of tooth!
Jessie: (to James) Here's a line you'll like.
James: What is it?
Jessie: It's called curiosity killed the cat.
Meowth: (Surrounded by everyone in AJ's tent) How am I gonna get out of this mess?
Jessie: Prepare for trouble.
James: Make that double.
Ash: Team Rocket!
Meowth: Use the old motto!
(Jessie and James finish the general motto)
Jessie: (emotionally crying) That feels so great.
James: (emotionally crying) It's a classic!
After Sandshrew used Fissure, the ground split in two, with Ash and Brock on one side and Misty and Pikachu on the other. But later on, they were all together and there was no evidence of an attack being used
When Sandshrew uses Fissure, it somehow affects James's Koffing who is in mid-air.
In Dub, the sign over the Gym is heavily edited:
The text is translated.
The background changes from plain white to a grey that fades into white.
The numbers are made to look digital.
The number of losses (0) is added.
In Dub, a sign inside the tent saying "Fight! Work Harder!" is changed to a picture of a Poké Ball being hit with a whip.
In Japanese,Team Rocket experiment with a different motto:
Jessie: "We are the pretty thieves"
James: "Target: Pikachu!"
Jessie: "Team Rocket will do what it has to do"
James: "To snatch that little Pikachu"
At the end, a five second panning of the battle field is cut by three seconds and replaced by a three second clip from earlier in the episode.
The way Ash's nose grew when he lied is an allusion to the Disney movie Pinocchio.