Pokémon - I Choose You! (ポケモン！君に決めた！) is the first episode of the Pokémon anime series, except in the United States, where it was broadcast after Battle Aboard the St. Anne! The episode was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 1997 and in the United States on September 8, 1998. The episode introduces Ash Ketchum as the series protagonist and Pikachu as his first Pokémon, as well as Misty.
A battle between a Nidorino and Gengar is broadcast on the television and, after Gengar gets the advantage, Nidorino is called back and switched for Onix. The cameras then show ten year old Ash Ketchum watching the battle on television, until he is interrupted by his mother. She tells Ash to go to sleep. Ash protests and she changes the channel to a program with Professor Oak describing the three Pokémon he can choose from in the morning: the grass type Bulbasaur, the water type Squirtle and the fire type Charmander. Ash falls asleep and dreams about owning a Bulbasaur and then a Squirtle, talking about the advantages in his sleep. The next morning, Ash dreams about owning a Charmander, throwing a Poké Ball, which turns out to be his alarm clock, designed to look like a Voltorb.
When the alarm clock hits the wall Ash wakes up and rushes, still in his pyjamas, to Professor Oak's laboratory to collect his first Pokémon. Ash, however, runs into Gary Oak, the professors grandson, along with the people of Pallet Town, who, along with Gary's cheerleaders, show their support for Gary. Gary tells Ash that he has already got his Pokémon, although he does not tell Ash which Pokémon he chose. Gary, telling Ash that he is already behind, leaves with his cheerleaders and the townsfolk following. Professor Oak then appears, telling Ash that he is late. The two go inside where the professor tells him that the three starter Pokémon have been taken by trainers who were on time.
The Professor tells Ash that there is still one Pokémon left, a Pikachu. Ash decides to take Pikachu, but Pikachu is not as happy and electrocutes Ash. Oak then gives Ash his Pokédex and Poké Balls, with Pikachu electrocuting both Ash and Professor Oak. Ash then leaves the laboratory and is greeted by his mother and the people of Pallet Town. Ash is given his backpack filled with supplies and some advice from his mother, and leaves, literally dragging Pikachu behind him, after tying a rope around Pikachu's waist and using rubber gloves to protect himself.
After dragging Pikachu along for a while, he decides to try and improve his relationship with Pikachu by untying him and taking off the rubber gloves. Pikachu, however, continues to ignore Ash's instructions, including when he asks Pikachu to attack a Pidgey. Ash throws a Poké Ball and almost captures Pidgey, who escapes and runs away, with Pikachu happily laughing at Ash's failed attempt. Ash then decides to sneak up on Pidgey, hiding behind his pyjama top, later using it to trap Pidgey, who escapes using its whirlwind attack and then its sand attack. Pikachu continues to laugh at Ash, who then watches a Rattata steal food from his backpack.
Ash, more determined than ever, turns around and spots three Pidgey, including the one he had tried to capture. Ash throws a rock but misses, with the three Pidgey flying away. Ash then spots another Pokémon and throws a rock, and hits his target. The Pokémon, however, is a Spearow, who begins to attack Ash and then Pikachu. Pikachu uses thundershock to scare Spearow away, although Spearow cries out and a whole flock begin to attack Ash and Pikachu, who run away but are easily caught and attacked by the Spearow. Pikachu, who had run ahead of Ash, takes a lot of damage before Ash arrives to scare away the attack Spearow.
Ash picks Pikachu up and runs to a cliff edge, where he decides to jump off and into the water below, where he sees a Magikarp and a Gyarados. He then grabs a fishing lure and is pulled out by Misty, who questions Ash about the state Pikachu is in, telling him of a nearby Pokémon Center. Ash takes her bike and cycles off towards the Pokémon Center, with the flock of Spearow following behind them. Ash crashes the bike and crawls over to Pikachu, putting a Poké Ball out for Pikachu to enter, to protect it from the attacking Spearow. Ash then stands up to the Spearow, challenging them to attack him. Pikachu, seeing Ash's courage and determination to protect him gets to his feet and climbs on to Ash's shoulder, jumping into the air and using a thunder bolt to release a strong thundershock attack, which scares away the Spearow flock.
Later on, when the storm clears, Ash and Pikachu wake up. Ash tells Pikachu that they beat the Spearow and Pikachu nods in agreement. Ash looks up into the sky and sees a mysterious flying Pokémon in the sky. The Pokédex can give Ash no information, so Ash and Pikachu decide to walk on towards the Pokémon Center in the next city (Viridian City), as Misty's bike is too badly damaged to use. The two continue walking and eventually, from a hill top, are able to look down on the city as the episode ends.
- Ash Ketchum
- Delia Ketchum
- Professor Oak
- Gary Oak
- Gary Oak's cheerleaders
- People of Pallet Town
- The opening of the episode sees a battle between a Nidorino and a Gengar, which also appears on the Pokémon Red and Green games.
- After Nidorino is put to sleep, its trainer calls it back. This trainer's silhouette is said to be Brendan's.
- The trainer throws a green and white Poké Ball, suggesting that his Pokémon was captured in the Safari Zone using a Safari Ball..
- The episode reveals that Spearow are colour blind.
- Ho-Oh is seen flying during the episode, despite not being introduced as a Pokémon at this point and despite being a Pokémon in the Johto region.
- Misty slaps Ash shortly after they meet, although the scene was cut when the episode was dubbed into English.
- Rattata's name is mispronounced during the episode.
- Ash and Gary Oak do not recognize each other, despite being childhood friends.
- Veronica Taylor is one of many voice actresses to use tone change, changing from the low tone of Ash to the medium tone of Delia.
- Though Crispin Freeman was not a regular in the Pokémon series, he, Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart and Lisa Ortiz were the main voice cast of the anime Slayers. In Pokémon, Crispin worked as an adaptor guy.
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" in this episode is Pikachu.
- In the credits, Maddie Blaustein has been credited as Adam Blaustein.
- "I will journey to gain wisdom of Pokémon training. And I hereby declare to the Pokémon of the world, I will be a Pokémon master. Pokémon Master! That is what I-" — Ash
- "Ash! Get to bed!" — Delia
- "Gwa!" — Ash
- Ash threw the alarm clock but Delia catches it revealing the time.
- "It's 11 o'clock and you should be asleep." — Delia after catching Ash's alarm clock
- "Choose it or lose it." — Ash dreaming about choosing Squirtle
- "You look like you're ready for bed, not Pokémon training. I don't think you're going to train in your pyjamas." — Professor Oak
- "The early bird gets the worm, or in this case the Pokémon." — Professor Oak about Ash's final choice
- "Its name is Pikachu." — Professor Oak
- "It's so cute it's the best of all." — Ash
- "You'll see." — Professor Oak
- "Oh, hi Pikachu." — Ash
- "Pika." — Pikachu
- "It's also known as Electric Mouse. It's usually shy but can sometimes have an electrifying personality." — Professor Oak after Pikachu shocks Ash
- "I see what you mean." — Ash
- "Shocking, isn't it?" — Professor Oak
- "Thank-" — Ash before Pikachu shocks both Ash and Professor Oak
- "YOU!!!" — Ash after getting shocked
- "YOU'RE WELCOME!!!!" — Professor Oak
- "Oh Ash, I'm so proud of you. You're finally going to fulfil your dream and start your Pokémon training but I'm going to miss you so much. Oh my little boy." — Delia Ketchum while saying goodbye
- "Oh you're playing catch, you're friends already." — Delia about Ash and Pikachu
- "Don't forget to change your underwear, every single day." — Delia
- "Ok." — Ash
- "Hey I got a bite! Oh wow I really think this could be a big one." — Misty before reeling in Ash
- "Nah, it's just a kid. Oh and a Pokémon. Aww, are you OK?" — Misty after reeling in Ash
- "Yeah, I'm ok." — Ash
- "Not you! Look what you've done to that poor little thing. Is it breathing?" — Misty
- "Spearows! Do you know who I am? I'm Ash from the town of Pallet. I am destined to be the worlds number one Pokémon Master. I can't be defeated by the likes of you. I'm going to capture and defeat you all. You hear me? Pikachu, go inside the Poké Ball it's the only way. Come and get me!" — Ash's first speech