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 the Best Wishes series, and the 658th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan, as part of a one-hour special along with Enter Iris and Axew!, on September 23, 2010, and in the United States on February 12, 2011, alongside Enter Iris and Axew! as a one-hour special.
The episode begins as Zekrom and Reshiram make their appearance. Their black and white colors swirl and fade into the shape of the Earth, and the narrator begins to explain about the world of Pokémon.
Ash is a ten-year old Pokémon Trainer who aims to become a Pokémon Master. He lives in Pallet Town, which resides in the Kanto region. Along with Pikachu, his partner, he grabs his belongings and hurriedly walks out of the room. As he returns to retrieve his hat, he expresses his excitement to Pikachu about his upcoming journey. 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.
Professor Oak is waiting outside in a beige open-roofed vehicle, sporting a colorful collared shirt with Pinap Berry printings. Ash jokingly questions Professor Oak on his style of clothing, but he simply expresses his wish to "have a feel of being on vacation". Ash's mom then inquires 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. He also adds that for now, the trio will be entering the region alone. 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 as well. Dressed in dark coats and speaking in hushed voices, they spot Ash and his Pikachu and decide, on the spot, to capture Pikachu as their first objective once they land.
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. After a while, it runs forward and scans its surroundings, its attention now focused on the dark spiraling cloud looming overhead. Ash, witnessing Pikachu's odd behavior, turns back to question it. However, an Alomomola near the edge of the pier jumps out and draws his attention, and Ash, together with Pikachu, rushes towards the edge. The Team Rocket trio then appears behind them, grinning with evil intentions.
Ash reaches the end of the pier and searches for the Alomomola, but it seemed to have disappeared. He then notices the same ominous black cloud that Pikachu had previously spotted, surging with erratic bolts of electricity and moving even closer towards the pier.
Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a metallic frame reaches out behind Pikachu, expands, and cages it within its sturdy confines. Pikachu is now trapped! As fast as he could, Ash grabs the cage and tries to pry it open. He then caught 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, the they replied with two lines that would signal the start of their motto, and revealed themselves: Team Rocket!
Ash tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but it fails to shock the trio as they open a shield to deflect the electric attack. At the same time, the swirling black cloud draws even closer, threatening to engulf the sky in darkness. As increasing amount of blue lightning bolts shot downwards, people nearby begin to notice. A central glowing core shone through the clouds, its blue light gleaming in magnificent contrast to the stark blackness around it. Suddenly, a large bolt of lightning descends, shattering Team Rocket's Pikachu-capturing contraption and sending them flying. Ash and Pikachu were sent spiraling towards to the ground.
Meanwhile, electronic equipment and visual displays around the area start to malfunction.
Ash lies sprawled on the ground, his eyes trying to recover from the shock that had just happened. Amidst the shining flecks of blue and white light surrounding him, he 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 a bolt of lightning at the central blue core. However, the electricity appeared to have been absorbed by the clouds and dissipated away entirely, seemingly doing nothing of significant importance.
The silhouette of a large, mysterious figure is seen within the clouds, its eyes glowing red with apparent fury. Seemingly enraged by Pikachu's attack, it summons 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.
The dark clouds are now intense with lightning as raw steaks of electricity pour out from the sides into the surrounding area. With Ash and Pikachu trapped in the middle of the violent storm, the mysterious figure henceforth musters it strength and summons a gigantic bolt of blue lightning with its tail, shocking the Pokémon Trainer and his companion before disappearing. Immediately, the dark clouds cleared to make way for the bright blue sky above, and electronic equipment in the area mysteriously regain 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 randomly and spontaneously emitting sparks. Pikachu, however, assures Ash that it is fine and climbs onto his shoulder. Ash's mom then starts talking about the thunderstorm. Even though Ash told them that he saw a Pokémon's shadow from within the clouds, they were not able to 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 jeep. On the way, Ash expresses his sheer excitement as he spots a herd of Deerling, a flock of Pidove and a scurry of Patrat within the area. Out 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 became 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 by saying that they have never been encountered in the wild. The jeep 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 at Nuvema Town. Driving past a group of children playing in the streets with their Minccino, Professor Juniper heads straight for her lab. Over there, Pikachu's condition is being monitored on a screen and a few tests have already been performed. After being told that the numerical data do not show any discrepancies, Ash and Pikachu express their delight. However, as more tests will have to be conducted to gather more data, Pikachu became slightly disappointed at the thought of having to go through more of them. In a short moment, a lab assistant enters the room, announcing the arrival of a new trainer that was scheduled to meet Professor Juniper on this day. Professor Oak then explains that Professor Juniper has the duty of giving new trainers in Unova their Starter Pokémon, just as he does for the new trainers in Kanto. This makes Ash excited.
In the waiting area, a young boy is taking pictures with his camera. Addressing him as Trip as she approaches, Professor Juniper breaks into a conversation with him about the Pokémon World. 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 came from Pallet Town, he smirks and passes it off as some mediocre town from the countryside, which Ash took to 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-typed Tepig. Ash told it that it was 'cool,' but the Fire Pig Pokémon ignored him and ran to the side of the waiting area, blowing a small puff of fire from its snout. Next, the Water-typed Oshawott was sent out, and Ash calls it, to the Sea Otter Pokémon's amusement, 'cute'. The Sea Otter Pokémon blushed. Lastly, the Grass-typed Snivy was sent out. The three Pokémon then assembled in front of Trip, allowing him to decide which one he wanted to take along with him. 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.
Trip was also given a Pokédex, to which he used to check the data of his new partner. He was also given five Poké Balls, along with Snivy's Poké Ball. After recalling Snivy into its 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. Similar to Kanto, a Pokémon Trainer in Unova has to collect eight Gym Badges before he or she can compete in the Unova League. At that moment, Pikachu runs out from the lab (after the tests are complete) and rejoins 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 its strength by challenging Ash to a Pokémon battle.
In a clearing near the lab, Trip sends out Snivy, and Ash calls on Pikachu. Trip then starts taking pictures, so as 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 battle with a Quick Attack, which hits Snivy squarely on its body. Snivy quickly recovers on its feet, its eyes brimming with determination. Quickly, Trip commands it to use Tackle, but Pikachu dodges it skilfully. With another leap, it then dodges another Tackle attack from the opposite direction.
Ash then tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt. However, Pikachu, unable to do so, was hit by Snivy's Tackle and was sent rolling across the ground. For a second time, Pikachu was told to use Thunderbolt, but the move fails once again. Trip then taunts Ash. Taking the bait, he asks Pikachu to use Volt Tackle, but Pikachu grows weary; it loses momentum and stops in the middle of the field, panting. Ash panics for a moment, allowing Trip to taunt him even further. He then realizes that Pikachu is unable to use Electric-based attacks, and instead commands it to use Iron Tail, which was successful. Pikachu's tail hardens into a gleaming slate of metal and slams it earthward, but Snivy nevertheless dodges it once again.
With a bout of confidence, Trip tells Snivy to use Leaf Tornado, and a cyclone of grass and leaves comes forth from Snivy's tail, pulling and trapping Pikachu in the center of the vortex. Ash and Oshawott both gasp simultaneously. Pivoting its body, Snivy slams its tail to the ground, whipping up a smokescreen of dust that spread across the field, preventing the outcome of the attack from being seen. Oshawott watches attentively.
As the dust settles, a long, wide hole is seen on the ground, and Pikachu lies sprawled at the end and on its belly, unconscious. Ash quickly runs to Pikachu's side and picks it up, while Trip complements his Snivy and recalls it into its Poké Ball. He then proceeds to taunt Ash again, but the defeated trainer merely runs off towards Professor Juniper's lab, the injured Pikachu held tightly in his arms.
Professor Juniper, after another analysis, tells Ash that Pikachu is 'overloaded' after receiving a massive amount of electrical energy during their ordeal under the mysterious black cloud. As a result, Pikachu was unable to use Electric attacks. Ash then expresses his concern over Pikachu being unable to use Electric attacks ever again.
At that moment, the lab's electronics started receiving a lot of interference, and the black cloud that was spotted previously at the pier was 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 which had appeared before now stands 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 building blacks out. Excessive current from the lighting bolt channels to Pikachu through the electronic device, causing the streaks of electricity to discharge from its body. Professor Juniper asks the assistant in the room to restore the power, and he runs out of the room, forcing the automatic door open in his wake (Oshawott peeps through the door). Meanwhile, gazing at the black cloud through the window, Professor Juniper talks about the legendary Pokémon Zekrom, a guardian that is said to protect both people and Pokémon in the area. The huge cloud represents its watchful eye as a divine being, and the lightning bolts, which also acts as supports for the sky, represent the hammer of judgment.
Within the cloud, the wings of the mysterious figure began glowing a bright blue, and numerous large bolts of electricity began to snake out into the lab through Pikachu, causing the Electric Pokémon much pain and suffering. Meanwhile, the large storm cloud had already washed the city in darkness, and Zekrom's eyes, gleaming through the surrounding darkness in bright red, stood out against its curled-up silhouette like a jewel in the night sky.
- 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.
- Ash and company meet Professor Juniper.
- Pikachu becomes temporarily unable to use Electric-type attacks after being hit by lightning caused by Zekrom.
- Ash meets a photographer and beginning Trainer by the name of Trip.
- Trip obtains a Snivy from Professor Juniper then battles Ash's Pikachu and wins.
- The Oshawott from Professor Juniper's lab starts to follow Ash.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Axew (Iris's)
- Snivy (Trip's)
- Tepig (Juniper's)
- Oshawott (Juniper's)
- Professor Juniper
- Professor Oak
- Delia Ketchum
- Giovanni's secretary
- Professor Juniper's assistants
- Airport employees
- Pikachu (Ash's)
- Meowth (Team Rocket)
- Axew (Iris's, debut)
- Reshiram (introduction only, debut)
- Zekrom (debut)
- Snivy (Trip's, debut)
- Persian (Giovanni's)
- Alomomola (debut)
- Deerling (multiple, debut)
- Pidove (multiple, debut)
- Patrat (multiple, debut)
- Swanna (multiple, debut)
- Minccino (child's, debut)
- Tepig (starter Pokémon, debut)
- Oshawott (starter Pokémon, debut)
- This episode marks the first time that the first episode of a series has focused on Ash since Pokémon - I Choose You!.
- According to the narration at the beginning of the episode, Ash is 'still' ten years old (despite the fact the anime has been airing for over thirteen years at this point).
- For the first time since the series began, Ash receives a physical redesign, with the most significant change being his irises being made larger to match Ken Sugimori's recent character art. Jessie, James, and Delia's eyes are also similarly modified.
- 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.
- 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 Tag Battle Tournament 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 Twinleaf Tournament 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 being Hoenn.
- 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! making 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 in February 1, 2008.
- This is the first episode to feature Who's That Pokémon? since 4Kids removed it almost seven years before.
- The dub of this episode confirmed the localized name of Nuvema Town.
- This episode, like BW002, was aired in Italy on DisneyXD one day after the American airing.
- This marks the first time a episode is aired in Italy one day after the American airing.