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Pokemon! I Choose You!

Ah, the classic first episode, the one which introduced us to most of the characters that would mold the Pokemon anime into what it is today. I like how it started like the Red/Blue games do, with a Nidorino battling a Gengar on what appeared to be a Game Boy screen, before the picture cleared up and they were shown in their anime form on the TV in Ash's room. I always liked how they set up Ash's character in this episode: one can easily see that he's determined, but in those early days not all that responsible (the whole oversleeping thing). We also got introduced to Gary, Ash's longtime rival, and one of the first mysteries of the show started right then: who was Gary's starting Pokemon? For a long time, it was widely believed to be Eevee, but that idea was squashed in the recent episode "The Ties that Bind". The good-bye scene was classic, establishing Delia's character right away (she couldn't help reminding Ash to change his underwear, even after getting shocked by Pikachu). The scenes with Pidgey and Rattata were classic too, with Ash trying to catch Pidgey with his pajama shirt, and the Pokedex hinting that Ash is a 'stupid traveller'. A bit of the dialogue might sound a bit corny compared to the writing in more recent episodes, most notably Ash's soliloquy near the beginning and his speech to the Spearow when he stood between them and Pikachu, but this isn't really a bad thing. For some reason, it's just one of the things that makes this episode a classic.
And of course, we have the memorable first meeting with Misty that *apparently* served as her reason for travelling with Ash as long as she has. At least, that encounter, resulting in her bike being destroyed, was the excuse she ended up falling back on a few times during the first season. It was funny when she asked "Are you all right?" and Ash thought she was talking to him when she was actually referring to Pikachu.
Can't really complain about this episode, since it set the stage for the entire anime, hence the high score.

Geodude's rating: 10 out of 10