|In the Shadow of Zekrom!
In the Shadow of Zekrom! (Japanese: イッシュ地方へ！ゼクロムの影！！ To the Isshu Region! Zekrom's Shadow!!) is the first episode of Pokémon the Series: Black & White, and the 658th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan, as part of a one-hour special along with BW002, on September 23, 2010, and in the United States on February 12, 2011, alongside Enter Iris and Axew! as a one-hour special.
Ash excitedly arrives in the Unova region along with Pikachu, his mom, and Professor Oak. Meanwhile, Team Rocket's boss, Giovanni, has given them an important assignment in the Unova region. As Jessie, James, and Meowth prepare for their new assignment, Professor Oak introduces Ash to Professor Juniper, one of the top researchers in Unova.
Suddenly, a dark storm cloud appears, and Pikachu is hit with a massive amount of electricity! Professor Juniper does a quick examination of Pikachu, but she doesn't seem to find anything wrong. Later on, however, when Ash battles a budding new Trainer named Trip and his first Pokémon Snivy, Pikachu can't use any Electric-type moves!
Back at Professor Juniper's lab, we learn that Pikachu is still suffering the effects of the lightning strike during the thunderstorm. Just as Professor Juniper reaches her conclusion, the same dark cloud appears as suddenly as before! The professor then recounts the story of the Legendary Pokémon Zekrom, and everyone wonders if it could be responsible for the mysterious disappearance of Pikachu's Electric-type powers. Will Pikachu ever be able to use those powers again?
Ash runs into his bedroom, grabs his backpack, and hurriedly runs out. As he returns to retrieve his hat, he expresses his excitement to Pikachu about their upcoming vacation. Ash's mother then walks into the room, informing him that Professor Oak has arrived to pick them up, whilst proceeding to adjust his hat with a smile. Seeing the Professor's Pinap Berry shirt, Ash questions Professor Oak on his style of clothing, but he explains that he is headed on vacation afterall. Delia then enquires about Professor Oak having to work in Unova, but he tells her that he has quite a bit of free time when he is not attending seminars. Ash and his mom then join him in the car.
Meanwhile, within one of Team Rocket's bases, Giovanni questions Jessie, James, and Meowth about Team Rocket's goals: to obtain strong and rare Pokémon, and to form a formidable army of Pokémon to take over the world. He then tells the trio that the Unova region will be strong foothold for their world domination plans, and has given them the important mission of infiltrating the region alone, for now. The trio accepts the mission. After the reception is cut, Giovanni leans back in his chair and tends to his Persian. His secretary appears by his side and informs him about the operations of a mysterious organization in Unova, but Giovanni does not flinch. He is, after all, confident that Jessie, James and Meowth will force this organization in question to reveal their identities and operations, allowing them to strike at the opportune moment. He just leans back and takes a drink, smiling.
Ash, together with his mother and Professor Oak are now on board a plane heading to Unova. Unbeknownst to them, Jessie, James and Meowth are on board the same plane. Dressed in dark coats and speaking in hushed voices, Team Rocket spot Ash and his Pikachu and decide, on the spot, to capture Pikachu as their first objective once they land as they got distracted. Meanwhile, Ash is reading a brochure on the Unova region. Professor Oak tells him that the Pokémon native to Unova cannot be found in any of the other regions, namely Kanto, Johto, Hoenn and Sinnoh, and Ash becomes extremely excited.
Emerging from the clouds, the plane finally arrives at the Unova region. It makes a gradual turn, slowly descends into the sea and docks near a pier. Ash expresses relief after landing and together with his mother and Professor Oak, they make their way out of the pier. Pikachu suddenly detects something, stops, and turns to face the sea. He runs forward with his attention now focused on the dark spiraling cloud looming overhead. Ash, witnessing Pikachu's odd behavior, turns back, but becomes distracted by an Alomomola leaping out of the water. Ash reaches the end of the pier and searches for the Alomomola, but it seems to have disappeared. He then notices the same ominous black cloud that Pikachu had spotted, surging with erratic bolts of electricity and moving even closer.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a metallic frame traps Pikachu. Ash instantly grabs the cage and tries to pry it open. He then catches sight of Pikachu's captors: three figures dressed in black coats topped with dark hats and sunglasses. Upon asking who the three of them were because of their disguises, they replied with two lines that would signal the start of their motto, and reveal themselves as Team Rocket.
Ash tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but it fails to shock the trio as they open a shield to deflect the attack. At the same time, the swirling black cloud draws even closer, threatening to engulf the sky in darkness. Suddenly, a large bolt of blue lightning descends, sending Team Rocket flying and freeing Pikachu from the cage. Ash and Pikachu are also sent spiraling towards to the ground. Amidst the shining flecks of blue and white light surrounding him, Ash gets up and spots Pikachu being zapped by a bolt of blue lightning. Curious, he looks up at the blue core, and notices it shining even brighter than before, radiating both light and electricity. While Team Rocket backs off slowly, Pikachu aims some electricity at the central blue core. However, the electricity dissipates away entirely. With glowing red eyes, a Zekrom descends, summoning forth more lightning, causing the core to glow an exceedingly intense blue.
Amidst the broad daylight, a girl and her Axew pop out from a tree and notice the dark swirling clouds at a distance. Curious, she leaps from the tree and grabs a vine, swinging her way towards the disturbance. At the same time, Ash's mom became concerned about her son, and heads off with Professor Oak to see if he is all right. Zekrom musters it strength and summons a gigantic bolt of blue lightning with its tail, shocking the Ash and Pikachu before disappearing. Immediately, the dark clouds clear to make way for the bright blue sky above, and electronic equipment in the area mysteriously regains power. Ash wakes up to find Pikachu exhausted from the ordeal. Joined by his mother and Professor Oak, he assures them that he is all right, but suddenly notices Pikachu's cheeks spontaneously emitting sparks. Pikachu, however, assures Ash that he's fine and climbs onto his shoulder. Ash's mom then starts talking about the thunderstorm. Even though Ash tells them that he saw a Pokémon's shadow from within the clouds, they cannot confirm nor argue otherwise; from their point of view, they only saw a large black thundercloud.
Professor Juniper soon arrives, apologizing for being late. Professor Oak introduces her as a young, but very important Pokémon Researcher in Unova. Professor Juniper then drives the group back to her laboratory in a red SUV. On the way, Ash expresses his sheer excitement as he spots a herd of Deerling, a flock of Pidove and a scurry of Patrat. All of a sudden, Pikachu's cheeks start emitting sparks, and Professor Juniper suggests giving Pikachu a check-up at her lab. Ash agrees. At that moment, Professor Juniper becomes curious about Pokémon in the Kanto region, and requests Professor Oak to tell her more later. Ash interrupts her conversation and asks if Pikachu are rare in Unova, and she replies that they have never been encountered in the wild. The SUV makes a gradual turn to the right near a lake, and Ash watches a flock of Swanna fly across the water.
Eventually, the group arrives in Nuvema Town, and soon Professor Juniper's lab. Over there, Pikachu's condition is being monitored, and Juniper admits the numerical data doesn't show any discrepancies, but further tests will are required. A lab assistant enters the room, announcing the arrival of a new Trainer who is due to receive their starter Pokémon. Professor Juniper greets the new Trainer, Trip. Ash interrupts the conversation, talking about how excited he was the night before he became a Pokémon Trainer. Professor Juniper then introduces him to Trip. Upon learning that Ash comes from Pallet Town, he smirks and passes it off as some mediocre country town, which Ash takes offense. As Professor Juniper tries to calm the two Trainers and prevent them from fighting, she sends out the three starter Pokémon, first starting with the Fire-type Tepig followed by the Water-type Oshawott and the Grass-type Snivy. After a moment of deliberation, Trip takes out his camera, snaps a quick picture of the three, and then announces that he would choose Snivy. The Grass Snake Pokémon smirks, leaving Tepig slightly annoyed and Oshawott extremely shocked. As is standard for beginning Trainers, Trip is also given a Pokédex which he uses to check the data of his new partner. He is also given five Poké Balls, along with Snivy's Poké Ball. After recalling Snivy into his Poké Ball, he thanks Professor Juniper and takes his leave.
While Trip walks away from the lab, Ash catches up to him and questions him about Gym matches in Unova. Similar to Kanto, a Pokémon Trainer in Unova has to collect eight Gym Badges before they can compete in the Unova League. At that moment, the now-recovered Pikachu runs out from the lab and re-joins Ash. Completely shocked by Pikachu's appearance, Trip checks his Pokédex and starts snapping pictures. Trip then realizes that Pikachu is Ash's partner and decides to test the Electric Mouse's strength by challenging Ash to a Pokémon battle.
Making their way to clearing near the lab, Trip sends out Snivy and starts taking pictures to document his journey and his first ever Pokémon battle. Meanwhile, Oshawott curiously peeks at the two Trainers from behind a nearby tree. Pikachu begins the match with a Quick Attack, which hits Snivy squarely on his body. Snivy quickly recovers on his feet, brimming with determination. Quickly, Trip calls for a Tackle, but Pikachu dodges it skilfully. With another leap, he then dodges another Tackle attack from the opposite direction. Ash then tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but Snivy's Tackle lands first and knocks Pikachu to the ground. For a second time, Pikachu charges up a Thunderbolt, but the move fails once again. Trip then taunts Ash. Taking the bait, he asks Pikachu to use Volt Tackle and Pikachu runs towards Snivy attempting to charge himself up, but once again nothing happens; he loses momentum and stops in the middle of the field, panting. Ash panics for a moment, to which Trip taunts him even further. He then realizes that Pikachu is unable to use Electric-based attacks, so Ash calls for an Iron Tail. Pikachu's tail hardens into a gleaming slate of metal and slams earthward, but Snivy nevertheless dodges once again. With a bout of confidence, Trip tells Snivy to use Leaf Tornado, which traps Pikachu in a cyclone of grass and leaves. Pivoting its body, Snivy slams its tail to the ground, whipping up a large cloud of dust. As the dust settles, Pikachu lies sprawled in a hole, completely unconscious. Ash quickly runs to Pikachu's side and picks him up, while Trip compliments his Snivy and recalls him into his Poké Ball. Trip suggests Ash go over the Trainer basics again, but Ash ignores the comment and rushes back to Professor Juniper's lab to have Pikachu treated.
Professor Juniper, after another analysis, tells Ash that Pikachu became 'overloaded' and unable to perform Electric attacks after receiving a massive amount of electrical energy during their ordeal under the mysterious black cloud. Ash worries that Pikachu might never use Electric attacks ever again. At that moment, the lab's electronics start receiving a lot of interference, and the black cloud that was spotted previously at the pier is now moving over Professor Juniper's lab. The equipment Pikachu is hooked up to begins discharging, shocking the Electric Mouse Pokémon. Meanwhile, the girl and her Axew from earlier, stand quietly within the leafy branches of a tree, observing the black cloud forming above Nuvema Town.
A bolt of lightning suddenly strikes the lightning rod at the top of the lab, and the facility blacks out. Excessive current from the lightning bolt channels to Pikachu through the electronic device, causing the streaks of electricity to discharge from his body. Professor Juniper asks an assistant to restore the power, and he runs out of the room, forcing the automatic door open in his wake. Meanwhile, gazing at the black cloud through the window, Professor Juniper realizes the Legendary Pokémon Zekrom is behind the lightning show. She explains that Zekrom is a guardian that is said to protect both people and Pokémon in the area. Within the dark clouds, Zekrom's eyes gleam through the surrounding darkness in bright red, as lightning strikes all around Nuvema Town.
- Ash and Pikachu travel with Delia and Professor Oak to the Unova region, where Professor Oak is attending a conference.
- Ash learns that all of the Pokémon that live in the Unova region cannot be found in Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, or Sinnoh.
- Team Rocket also arrive in the Unova region, having being assigned there by Giovanni.
- Iris is introduced.
- Pikachu becomes temporarily unable to use Electric-type attacks after being hit by lightning caused by Zekrom.
- Ash meets Professor Juniper and travels to her laboratory in Nuvema Town.
- Ash meets a photographer and beginning Trainer by the name of Trip.
- Trip obtains a Snivy from Professor Juniper as his starter Pokémon.
- Professor Juniper's Oshawott starts to follow Ash.
- Ash has his first battle against Trip and loses.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Starter Pokémon of Unova:
- Zekrom (anime)
- Axew (Iris's)
- Deerling (Spring form)
- Professor Oak
- Delia Ketchum
- Professor Juniper
- Professor Juniper's assistants
- Airport employees
- Pikachu (Ash's)
- Meowth (Team Rocket)
- Axew (Iris's; debut)
- Persian (Giovanni's)
- Snivy (Trip's; new; debut)
- Minccino (child's; debut)
- Tepig (starter Pokémon; debut)
- Oshawott (starter Pokémon; debut)
- Zekrom (anime; debut)
- Reshiram (introduction only; debut)
- Alomomola (debut)
- Deerling (Spring form; multiple; debut)
- Pidove (multiple; debut)
- Patrat (multiple; debut)
- Swanna (multiple; debut)
- Professor Oak's Pokémon Live Caster: Unova starter Pokémon.
- Best Wishes! replaced The Greatest - Everyday! (BAND VERSION) as the Japanese opening theme.
- This is the season premiere of Pokémon: Black & White.
- The Japanese TV airing of this episode and the following one did not include an ending theme. On DVD releases, Fanfare of the Heart replaced In Your Heart, LaLaLa as the Japanese ending theme.
- This and the following episode are the first episodes to air in Japan after the earliest releases of Pokémon Black and White in Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
- This episode marks the first time that the first episode of a series has focused solely on Ash since Pokémon - I Choose You!.
- According to the narration at the beginning of the episode, Ash is still 10 years old, despite the fact the anime has been airing for over thirteen years at this point. However, previous statements that have alleged otherwise can be reasonably refuted based on context, including:
- In The Battle of the Badge, the line about not being in Viridian City for one year was a dub added line. In the original, it was only stated that it had been a "long time" since the group had been in Viridian.
- In Pikachu and Pichu, Ash didn't say a year has passed when he said, "This is the day we first met. The day we first became friends." However, it implies it has been a year, and the Pikachu short's place in the anime canon, as well as all of the other Pikachu shorts, can be brought into question.
- In When Pokémon Worlds Collide!, the moment where Meowth said they had been chasing Pikachu for as long as Dawn had been alive (ten years) was probably an exaggeration, or maybe due to breaking the fourth wall (since the episode in question aired during the anime's tenth season).
- For the first time since the series began, Ash receives a physical redesign, with the most significant change being his irises being enlarged in order to match Ken Sugimori's recent character art. Jessie, James, and Delia's eyes are also similarly modified, while Professor Oak's eyebrows were made larger and his hairstyle became more boxy.
- Also, for the first time since the series began, Jessie, James, and Giovanni are given costume changes, and the Team Rocket logo is also modified, now showing as a stylized "R". However, the logo on the uniforms of Jessie and James remain the same.
- The first scene of this episode of Ash getting ready in his bedroom is a callback to the first scene of Pokémon - I Choose You!, in which he was seen doing the same thing.
- Several of the items in Ash's bedroom at the beginning of the episode are those he received during his travels through Sinnoh. These are:
- The Soothe Bells he received after winning the Hearthome City Tag Battle Competition in Smells Like Team Spirit!.
- The Focus Band he was given at the end of Bibarel Gnaws Best!.
- The wooden model of a Teddiursa he was given as a gift from May in A Full Course Tag Battle!.
- The diploma he received for attending the Pokémon Summer Academy in One Team, Two Team, Red Team, Blue Team!.
- The certificate he received for winning the Squallville PokéRinger competition in Pursuing a Lofty Goal!.
- The trophy he was awarded by Palmer for winning the Festival Battle Challenge in Challenging a Towering Figure!.
- This is the second time Ash has arrived in a new region and Pikachu has had problems with its electricity, the first time being in Hoenn during Get the Show on the Road!.
- Two new eyecatches were shown:
- The flight number of the plane Ash took from Kanto to Unova was "Flight 151", most likely to reflect the original 151 Pokémon.
- The English dub of this episode aired as a one-hour special along with Enter Iris and Axew!. This makes it the first time more than one new episode premiered during the same day since Tag! We're It...!, Glory Blaze!, and Smells Like Team Spirit! aired together back on February 1, 2008.
- This is the first episode to feature Who's That Pokémon? since 4Kids removed it almost seven years before.
- This is the first episode to use music from Arceus and the Jewel of Life, after Trip defeats Ash.
- The dub of this episode confirmed the localized name of Nuvema Town, much like Sandgem Town's English name was confirmed with the airing of Home is Where the Start Is!.
- This and the next episode was aired in Italy on DisneyXD one day after the American airing.
- This marks the first time an episode is aired in Italy one day after the American airing.
- In early previews of this episode shown at the end of Memories are Made of Bliss!, some changes were seen in relation to the episode aired. The scene from first battle between Ash and Trip initially went to a location within the city and not in a forest around the lab. However, the result of the battle is still the same.
- Team Rocket doesn't recite the motto making it the first time not to do so in the Unova region.
- This is the only episode after A Farfetch'd Tale where Jessie does not have a Psychic-type on hand.
- In the title opening introduced in this episode, there are six Poké Balls that are in the same order as they would be when healing in a Pokémon Center in Pokémon Black and White.
- The shirt that Professor Oak is seen wearing at the beginning of the episode (with the pineapple pattern) is extremely similar to the one he wore in Beauty and the Beach, the only difference being that the shirt was yellow in that episode while it is green in this one.
- In one scene, Pikachu's left ear is missing the black stripe on the tip.
- In the Hindi Cartoon Network dub, Meowth describes Team Rocket's ambition as "green rule" over the world instead of "our rule".
- In the Hindi dub when Professor Oak says "Sinnoh" he pronounces it wrong by saying soineh. In the same conversation, Ash mispronounces "Unova" as yuneva.
- In the Hindi Hungama TV dub, the narrator says the Pokémon world is inhabited by "काल्पनिक", which means imaginary creatures. This could be a translation error of the word "imaginable" from the English dub.
- The Hindi Cartoon Network dub leaves this word untranslated.
- In the control tower scene, the controller clears the plane to land in the dub, while in the original version, he merely announces that the flight will be arriving soon.
- In the English dub, Giovanni tells Team Rocket that they will be sent undercover to the Unova region and that they'll be by themselves at first. In the Japanese version, he adds that it's another step to conquering the world.
- In the Japanese version, Professor Juniper says that Zekrom's thunderclouds are known as the "eyes of God" and that its thunderbolts are "judgements from God". In the English dub, she says that Zekrom watches over people and Pokémon and that the thunderclouds are the pillars that hold up the skies.
- Both the Hindi dubs follow the original Japanese version on Zekrom but drop all mentions of God.
In other languages
- Vietnamese dub on YouTube.
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