Houndoom's Special Delivery (ヘルガーとトゲピー！ Houndoom and Togepi!) is the 23rd episode of Pokémon: Johto League Champions.
With Ecruteak City just a few yards away, Ash and co. notice a Houndoom delivering something. After an encounter with Team Rocket, Togepi gets separated from the group and Misty is frantic about it. The Houndoom that was delivering the package noticed Togepi and decided to care for it until Misty could reclaim it. Will Houndoom get to its destination with a travelling partner? And who's that Legendary Pokémon?
The heroes gaze the mountains, thinking that image is beautiful it can be on a postcard. They see a Houndoom delivering something, due to a bag on its back, though Misty knows she does not want to be the one to take the delivery. Team Rocket are happy to be in nature, but Jessie yells it is wrong. James and Meowth realize they are not doing what a member of Team Rocket should - deliver Pokémon to their boss. They spot the twerps and Jessie tells they each should battle one at a time, to keep it simple. The heroes climb the mountain and encounter Team Rocket. James sends Weezing to cover the field using Smokescreen. Arbok goes to get Pikachu, but the latter uses Thunderbolt to send it onto the balloon. Misty wanders around the smoke and trips, losing Togepi. The latter rolls over and encounters Weezing. Using Teleport via Metronome, Togepi teleports away, but is scared due to the height of the tree. Weezing charges with Tackle but Pikachu tackles it back, while Ash sends Chikorita, who blasts Team Rocket off by popping their balloon with Razor Leaf.
After the smoke clears, Misty sees Togepi is gone and goes to search for it with Ash and Brock. The Houndoom the heroes saw hears Togepi and jumps on the tree, then gets Togepi down. It goes to deliver the package, but Togepi cries, as it does not want to be left alone. So, Houndoom uses Flamethrower, causing an apple to fall down and Houndoom brings Togepi the apple. Houndoom goes to deliver, but sees Togepi encountering a Pinsir. So, Houndoom tackles Pinsir and scares it off. Houndoom goes away and Togepi follows it, but trips over a rock and cries. Houndoom sees it will not be easy, but gives Togepi the apple back and brings Togepi on its own back. The heroes search and are worried, since Togepi is usually found right away after it wanders off. Misty worries it got abducted by a wild Pokémon. Brock advises her to remain calm, as he and Ash send Golbat and Noctowl to search for it.
The Houndoom, with Togepi, jumps on rocks to cross the river. A Gyarados appears and engulfs them with a wave, though Houndoom manages to swim with Togepi on shore. Togepi is happy and wanders off. It climbs the mountains and begins to fall down, so Houndoom picks it up and jumps on the peak. On the peak, Togepi enjoys its time by dancing with Bellossom (with some Bug Pokémon buzzing around). Bellossom launch Togepi on a Venusaur, waking him up and causing him to use Sleep Powder. Venusaur walks away and Houndoom goes to save Togepi, but falls asleep. Noctowl searches and finds footprints. The heroes notice not only Togepi's, but another one's. They think Togepi was carried away, causing Misty to be very worried, though is told to investigate. Togepi uses a flower to wake Houndoom up. Bellossom launch Togepi onto Houndoom and bid farewell, as it goes away.
The heroes track the footprints to the river, though Misty tells they need to cross now, not to look for a bridge. They encounter a Gyarados (with Brock analyzing it is a small one) and cross the river, finding more footprints. The heroes climb the mountain and find themselves on the field with Bug Pokémon and Bellossom, but Misty still searches for Togepi. Jessie is angered for the recent blast off, while James notices their balloon is falling down. Meowth sees the hole that was supposed to be stitched lets the air out, so a Gyarados tackles the balloon and they fall near the river. Jessie and James are glad they survived, but Meowth does not think so, as the Gyarados uses Hydro Pump to blast them off. Houndoom spends time with Togepi, running with it and keeping it safe and dry (since a rain fell). After the storm, a fog appears, but so does a mysterious Pokémon with a silhouette, who emits electricity and runs off. They come to a field that emits sparkles and run across it.
The heroes search for Togepi and Misty worries what if she never finds it. Brock and Ash advise her not to think that way, even if the rain washed the footprints away. However, Pikachu finds some fresh footprints, so track them. Houndoom runs, but slows as Togepi sleeps. Houndoom comes to a farm with Mareep and an old man, who asks what took it so long, but sees it made a new friend. The heroes come and see Houndoom kept Togepi safe, as it is asleep. Togepi wakes up and rejoins Misty, who promises to be more careful in the future. Team Rocket come to the farm and see they will capture Mareep and a Houndoom. The man pulls a clipper out from Houndoom's bag (which is what it was carrying the whole time), but Houndoom gets captured by Team Rocket. Ash sends Chikorita, who sets Houndoom free by cutting the rope via Razor Leaf.
Jessie sends Arbok and James sends Victreebel, but it chews the former. Ash sends Pikachu. Arbok uses Poison Sting, but Pikachu dodges. Victreebel goes after Misty, but gets tackled by Houndoom. Pikachu electrocutes Arbok with Thunderbolt, while Houndoom uses Flamethrower to make (yet another) Team Rocket blast off. The old man takes the heroes to a road to Ecruteak City. The heroes go, but Togepi returns to its old friend. Houndoom shakes its head, as Togepi cannot remain here. Togepi cries, but Misty holds it and explains they need to say goodbye. With that, Togepi bids farewell to Houndoom.
- This episode was initially titled Howl of the Houndoom.
- Raikou makes a cameo in this episode, yet only its back can be seen.
- Never Too Far From Home is used as an insert song in the dub.
- The book Togepi Springs Into Action! is based on this episode.
- Who's That Pokémon?: Poliwhirl
- Jessie's earrings were colored wrong in one shot.
- After Brock sent out Golbat, the back of its wings were shown to be the color blue instead of purple like in the front.
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