Pikachu's Goodbye (ピカチュウのもり Pikachu's Forest) is the 39th episode of Pokémon: Indigo League.
When Pikachu wanders off, the heroes see a field of Pikachu, whom Ash's Pikachu quickly befriends. When Team Rocket steal the Pikachu, Ash's Pikachu defeats them and gains the loyalty of the other Pikachu. Ash, seeing that his friend will be happier staying with them, makes a difficult decision of releasing Pikachu.
Ash, Misty, and Brock are resting in a forest. Brock begins to state how nice it is to kick back and relax for a while, but Ash starts swinging on some vines, and he slams into a tree. Pikachu runs over to make sure Ash isn't hurt when he sees a small Pikachu watching them. Ash, Pikachu, Misty, and Brock chase after the small Pikachu and the small Pikachu leads them to a large group of wild Pikachu. Pikachu says hello to them, but the group runs off, scared. But the small Pikachu stays behind and shakes tails with Pikachu. The group of Pikachu comes back and they play with Pikachu. Brock says the small Pikachu must have accepted Ash's Pikachu into their party.
Ash stupidly runs out from behind the rock he, Misty, and Brock have been hiding behind and says he wants to be a part of the group too. When he runs out from behind the rock, Ash, not knowing this Pikachu group doesn't really come into contact with many humans, accidentally scares away the group of wild Pikachu.
Later, Ash asks Brock and Misty why the Pikachu ran away. Brock says that the Pikachu must have been scared away by Ash because the Pikachu aren't used to seeing humans. The small Pikachu that Ash's Pikachu met earlier, watching them, falls into a river from a tree and Ash's Pikachu jumps into the river to save the small Pikachu, but he is suddenly washed away too. Suddenly, all the other wild Pikachu all join tails to save Ash's Pikachu and the small Pikachu and they succeed.
Team Rocket watches the group of wild Pikachu and decides they would be a good present for the boss and they make plans to catch them.
That night, all of the Pikachu, including Ash's Pikachu, sing the Pikachu chant. Ash and his friends see how happy Ash's Pikachu is, and stated that it was the best thing in the world for Pikachu to be with his own kind. Ash is saddened by this remark, seeing Pikachu may want to leave him, but said it's nothing.
Ash stays up while Misty and Brock sleep. He watches the campfire and sees Pikachu's face in it. Ash thinks that maybe Pikachu should be with its own kind. The campfire dies out as Ash sees an image of Pikachu running away. Suddenly, all of the Pikachu yell for help.
Ash and his friends run over to where the cries were coming from and they find all of the Pikachu trapped in an electric-proof net. Team Rocket, including Jessie, James, and Meowth, appear and reveal their plan to swipe the Pikachu tribe. When Pikachu tries to break it with an electric shock, the net, which is an environmentally resistant net, absorbs the shock, keeping the Pikachu trapped. James then traps Ash and his friends in a net, but they easily get out of it. Team Rocket starts flying away in their balloon taking all of the Pikachu with them. Ash's Pikachu chews a hole in the net and jumps out of the net. Ash and his friends hold out the net they were trapped in to catch Pikachu. They catch Ash's Pikachu and all of the other Pikachu follow Ash's Pikachu out of the net. Ash's Pikachu bites a hole in Team Rocket's balloon and Team Rocket goes "blasting off again".
Ash is overjoyed to have Pikachu back with him, but then Pikachu heads off to celebrate with the Pikachu tribe. Ash is shocked but then decides to accept Pikachu's seeming decision.
Ash starts walking away without Pikachu. Misty and Brock catch up to him and ask him why he's leaving Pikachu. He says Pikachu would be happier with the wild Pikachu. Pikachu starts following Ash and Ash tells him to stay behind. Ash runs off, struggling not to give into his emotions with Misty and Brock running after him, calling his name. Pikachu is left behind, shocked and confused at what's going on.
As he continues to run through the forest, Ash finds himself remembering all the things they've been through together... their first meeting, saying goodbye to Ash's Butterfree among other things. The memories end with an image of Ash and Pikachu laughing at when Haunter scared Misty and Brock into leaving the Pokémon Tower.
In the present, Ash finally stops running. Misty and Brock both catch up to him, asking why he's leaving Pikachu. Ash stands his ground, stating that Pikachu will be much happier with its own kind in the forest rather than traveling with him.
Suddenly, the sun comes up and a familiar shadow is seen overhead. Brock, Misty and then Ash all glance up at the figure and sure enough, it's none other than Pikachu who's obviously overjoyed at seeing the group once again while Ash is completely stunned by Pikachu's appearance.
As it stands there, the other Pikachu emerge from Pikachu, all together in a single group as Ash, Brock and Misty look on in disbelief.
The little Pikachu that Pikachu itself attempted to save earlier comes up to Pikachu and the two shake tails. The rest of the Pikachu cry out, leaving Pikachu stunned. The group then begin cheering as loud as they can.
Misty wonders what they're doing. Brock tells her that the other Pikachu are cheering, not only for Ash but also for Pikachu as well. Ash is stunned.
Encouraged by their cries, Pikachu leaves to rejoin Ash, running along the path before eventually jumping into Ash's arms, choosing him over his own kind much to Ash's joy. As they embrace each other in a passionate hug, Ash, overwhelmed with emotion, finally begins crying while still hugging Pikachu with the cheers of the wild Pikachu echoing in the background and the sun behind them as well.
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" in this episode is Pikachu.
- This is one of the only episodes that 4Kids Entertainment did not lessen the brightness on the ending scene with Pikachu and Ash. The original reason for this is unknown at this time.
- Additionally, before this episode was first broadcasted on TV Tokyo, there was a short segment titled テレビの前のみなさんへ (To everyone watching TV previously) airing before it with Miyuki Yadama explaining the issues with the previous episode with many going to the hospital as a result of the broadcast and how the network and its affiliate networks, professional doctors, and the government had to research into the cause of this at-the-time unknown issue to ensure that it will not happen again.
At the begining, the narrative changes from present tence to past tence between sentences.
After Team Rocket finishes their motto, James says, "We'd like to thank all of our fans for their loyalty and support. This victory is for them", thus breaking the fourth wall, and referencing how Pokémon fans in Japan helped get the anime back on air after the previous episode.
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