Illusion Confusion (Japanese: ホーホーと怪しい森！ Hoothoot's Doubtful Forest!) is the 5th episode of Pokémon: The Johto Journeys.
On their way to Violet City, Ash and co. are lost in a giant forest. As luck would have it they meet up with Gary, who has a Hoothoot, a type of guide in the forest. Realizing they need one, Ash and Co. run into an old woman named Hagatha who loans them a Hoothoot who only likes pretty girls like Misty. With Hoothoot's help, can they get out of the forest, or be lost forever?
Ash, Misty and Brock are lost in the forest, though Ash claims they are not. He chooses a direction and runs, telling them to trust him, but Misty, Brock, Pikachu and Togepi are skeptical about that. The night came and the heroes are lost (even Ash claims so), being surrounded by a spooky trees. Suddenly, they hear a noise and see trees with malicious faces, so they run away from them. A Pokemon appears and uses its red light from its eyes to dispel these illusions. Ash asks what was that. Gary appears and answers that those were illusions, praising Hoothoot for the job nicely done. Gary warns Ash he needs to have a Hoothoot to cross the forest, else he'll be lost in the forest forever.
Misty asks Gary if he has a Hoothoot, why is he here. Gary responds he came here and saw he needed a Hoothoot to cross the forest. He walks away, leaving Ash frustrated. Brock sees it is wise to find a Hoothoot, so the heroes search for it. They try to find one, but Misty sees looking for one is making them more and more lost. As Ash tells they won't find one, one appears in front of Misty, following her. Misty is not very pleased, but Ash tells it wants to greet her. Hoothoot pecks Ash on his head and runs away. The heroes follow it to the ruins, where it continues to go away. Pikachu is about to use ThunderShock, but Hoothoot turns around and flies to Ash, pecking him. Hotohoot stops and comes to an unpleasant-looking old woman. Brock tells Ash it must be an illusion, as she looks ugly. Ash agrees, but the woman yells at them, as she is real and introduces herself as Hagatha, telling they need her to get out of the forest.
Hagatha tells them she rents Hoothoot since their powers can pierce through the forest illusions. Ash asks of Hagatha to rent a Hoothoot and she agrees, but there is a problem. The last Hoothoot she has will likely lead them to the wrong path. The last traveler that used that Hoothoot came back after three days, starved as well. Hagatha believes that tomorrow the Hoothoot will come back, but Ash does not want to, as Gary will advance and thinks Hoothoot needs a strong trainer like himself. Ash raises it and tells they already have a bond, but Hoothoot pecks him and goes to Misty. Hagatha remembers it likes pretty girls. Ash tells that it is bad there are any, making Misty and Hagatha furious about that statement. James studies the map of the area, since he, Jessie and Meowth were lost. Team Rocket sees the twerps going with Hoothoot.
As the heroes wander, Ash notices they are at the place where they saw the tree illusions. Hoothoot shakes, but gets angry when Ash calls it scared. Suddenly, the heroes notice blue speckers of fire, but Team Rocket do not see any problem. Ash asks of Hoothoot to do something, but Hoothoot refuses. Misty asks it and it accepts, making Ash not pleased about that. Hoothoot pursues the blue speckers, but fails. Ash orders it to get them away, but Hoothoot listens to Misty (who begs it) and attempts to do so once more. The speckers form into one big specker, making the heroes and Hoothoot frightened, so run away. Team Rocket saw this and know the twerps lost their minds, but think they might lose Pikachu, too.
Ash tells Hoothoot it did not do its best. Misty recalls Hagatha warned them, but Ash refuses to believe and takes Hoothoot, telling it needs to start acting as a real Pokemon. Even if it cannot, it has to try. Hoothoot goes to Misty, who tells that it should use its powers to become stronger and get her and her friends out of the forest. Hoothoot agrees to, amking Ash very unpleased. Suddenly, Pikachu gets wrapped (although Ash gets on the rope), as Team Rocket appear to steal him. Ash gets bashed onto a tree, as Team Rocket escape the area. However, the rope breaks and they fall down. Ash gets Pikachu, while Team Rocket are sad to see their plan failed. Jessie sends Arbok and James Victreebel (who bites James). Ash sends Bulbasaur, while Hoothoot jumps around, wary of something.
Team Rocket turn around and see a Dragonite. Victreebel and Arbok attack it, but Dragonitedodges and floats away. Team Rocket follow it, but the gang sees there is no Dragonite and are following nothing. Suddenly, Misty and Brock are surrounded by Ash's illusions. Pikachu makes a desparate move – he electrocutes the illusions and the real Ash, although the illusions are banished. Suddenly, Misty is surrounded by bugs. Misty is very terrified and while Hoothoot hops away, Ash warns it Misty is in trouble and she has faith in it. Hoothoot uses its red vision to pierce the illusions. Hoothoot affects the area around it, so the heroes see Gengar and Haunter are making the illusions. They cover the field in a fog, but Hoothoot prevents them. Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip and Pikachu Thunderbolt to chase them away. Ash is glad that Hoothoot listens to him, but Hoothoot pecks him and goes to Misty, who praises it, as Hoothoot was inspired by her.
Later, the heroes came to the ruins and see Hagatha. The woman yells at them, telling them she is Nagatha, Hagatha's sister. They contact Hagatha they came safely out and depart to Violet City. Meanwhile, Team Rocket are on a beach, but that is one of many illusions caused by Haunter and Gengar.
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" in this episode is Bellossom.
- The blue speckers resemble the Generation III move Will-O-Wisp.
- Brock has six fingers on his left hand after recoiling from Hagatha's anger.
- While they are being terrorized by the ghosts, one scene has Ash without his gloves. But in the next scene, they can be seen on him.