Ash Ketchum is finally 10 years old, old enough to become a Pokémon Trainer. He wakes up late on the day he is supposed to receive his first Pokémon at Professor Oak’s lab, however, and arrives to discover all the Pokémon are gone. Ash has no choice to take a naughty Pikachu. Pikachu will not listen to Ash or go inside its Poké Ball, so Ash must drag it along with a rope. After many failed attempts at capturing some Pokémon, Ash throws a rock and hits a Spearow. The Spearow gets angry and the entire flock starts chasing Ash and Pikachu. They run away from the Spearow, borrowing a bike from a red-haired girl to escape, but when they cannot go any farther, Ash uses his body to shield Pikachu from the attacking Pokémon. Pikachu realizes how much Ash cares for him and uses a powerful electric attack to drive the Spearow away, destroying the bicycle in the process as well.
Finally arriving in Viridian City, Ash is cornered by Officer Jenny who asks why he is carrying Pikachu instead of having it in a Pokéball. After explaining, Jenny takes Ash to the Pokémon Center where Nurse Joy begins treatment on the injured Pikachu. Before Pikachu’s treatment finishes, however, Ash is interrupted by Misty, the girl who Ash took the bike from, who vows to stick with Ash until he pays her back for destroying her bike. The Pokémon Center is then attacked by Jessie, James, and their talking Meowth, members of Team Rocket, seeking to steal all of the infirm Pokémon. Ash’s Pikachu and the Pokémon Center’s many Pikachu manage to defeat Team Rocket by shocking them using Thunder Shock, sending them “blasting off” into the sky for the first time.
Ash, Pikachu, and Misty have entered the Viridian Forest. Ash captures his first Pokémon, a Caterpie, and later, a Pidgeotto. Misty, however, is scared of bugs and screams every time Caterpie comes near her. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is following them, ready for a fresh attempt at capturing Pikachu. Ash is successful in driving off Team Rocket once more, and Ash’s Caterpie evolves into Metapod.