The Mystery Menace (ちかどうのかいぶつ！？ The Monster of the Underground Tunnel!?) is the 22nd episode in Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands season.
Ash and co. climb over a mountain and notice the city of Trovitopolis. Team Rocket tries (and fails once again) to trap our heroes; however, they fall into the Trovitopolis Sewer System. There they find a monster and who should save them but Officer Jenny, unfortunately they wake up in a jail cell. They were put there by the Mayor of Trovitopolis, even though they were only wandering around the sewers for Ash's Bulbasaur. What is the conspiracy the Mayor is trying to hide, and why would the sewers be off limits?
As the group continues the journey, Ash wonders when they need to eat, although Misty asks if this is what he thinks all about. Tracey sees a big city and the three are pleased to arrive at a settlement. Team Rocket also appear and like that they are heading for the trap. Meowth knows if Pikachu's on a spot, the dynamite will blow up and Pikachu will fall in the trap. Meowth tells them to prepare, so James and Jessie chant the motto, only to be stopped by Meowth, as they need to make this a surprise for the trio. James pushes a lever and while no explosion is heard, Team Rocket fall down in their own trap. Misty hears the scream and while the gang doesn’t know why someone would scream, a crack in the ground caused by Team Rocket spreads and the trio fall down in the hole.
When Pikachu and Togepi wake Ash and Misty up, Ash and Misty pull Tracey out of the rubble. Tracey thanks them, but Ash replies that he doesn't need to thank him but stand up (as Tracey is sitting on him). Misty sees a tunnel and they head through it. At the end of the tunnel, they arrive in the sewers. Tracey believes that they need to find a manhole to get up. The trio continue and something passes, as Ash hears a small bell. Misty and Tracey think that it's a side effect of him falling down the hole. Ash gets tapped and tells Pikachu to stop it. However, Pikachu is in front of him, so they notice a monster. Ash goes to order Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but Misty warns him that they'll get shocked as well (due to the presence of water). Ash sends Bulbasaur, who uses Razor Leaf. The monster stops the Razor Leaf and takes Bulbasaur away, into the water. Ash goes to rescue Bulbasaur, but Tracey, Misty and Pikachu hold him back and Tracey tells him that the monster would drag him down, too, but Ash doesn't care and tries to struggle out of Tracey, Misty and Pikachu's arms. Officer Jenny removes the manhole cover, hearing Ash's shouts, then lowers a rope so they can get up. Ash refuses to go until Bulbasaur is rescued, but Tracey, Misty and Pikachu tie Ash up and Officer Jenny pulls him out, with Pikachu beside him.
Later, Jenny is forced to send the trio to Cell No. 5 for being in the sewer, as Ash protests to be freed and help Bulbasaur. Jenny appears and unlocks the jail, telling the kids that there were strange things in the sewer. The mayor appears and tells Jenny to have them locked up for a week. Jenny refuses, as they have arrived today and have committed no crime. Ash only cares to free his Bulbasaur. The mayor allows them to go out, but they mustn't mention the monster. Tracey and Misty object, though the mayor says that it's for the public safety. Jenny tells the mayor that they can't keep the secret up, to which the mayor responds that they can try. Jenny tells Ash, Misty and Tracey that monster was only seen taking food. The mayor says that monster needs to be captured, as the elections are next week. Misty sees there's no harm if it wants only food. Nurse Joy appears and tells the mayor that he can't do that. The mayor responds that she needs to run her Center and he needs to run the city.
Nurse Joy claims that the mayor wants to eliminate the creature instead of capturing it. The trio criticize the mayor's plan and Jenny claims it's illegal activity as the police don't know anything about it. The mayor gets angry and yells that he runs the city here. The trio contact Oak, who agrees that this creature may be a new Pokémon or a Pokémon undergone a mutation. Nurse Joy knows that it's not possible, as the mayor wants to be re-elected. The trio see the mayor's campaign posters and statue and see a strange mark. Ash tells them that they need to find Bulbasaur. The mayor orders his special police to get inside and eliminate the creature. The trio sees that it will be hard to get in, and they need to do it before the special police does, or it'll be the end of the creature (and Bulbasaur). Nurse Joy points at the back end of the sewer. Ash goes to climb up, but falls down.
Team Rocket wanders the sewers and Meowth gets hungry. He gets tapped by the creature and thanks Jessie and James, but says that it won't get rid of his hunger. Team Rocket notice the creature and flee the scene. Team Rocket are exhausted and hear footsteps, then see a flashing light. James sends Weezing, who uses Smokescreen (dimming the vision of the trio, whom they didn't see) and Team Rocket run off. After the smoke clears, the heroes heard Team Rocket. Misty sees that Togepi is gone, who almost ran in water. Misty grabs it, but soon, the creature takes Togepi and Misty away. Ash knew that they were coming in the sewer and sends Muk (who comes on him). Team Rocket are very exhausted and hear some footsteps. Meowth encourages Jessie and James to scare this monster and make fearsome (which are silly) faces. Team Rocket appear to the special police, who report to the mayor that they see three creatures. The mayor is surprised, but orders to shoot, making Team Rocket run away from the goo they shoot.
Muk leads the boys to a dead end. However, seeing a hidden tunnel, Tracey and Ash dive in water and go through the tunnel. At the end, Ash gets out and sees the monster. The police report that they found three creatures and think that sewers are full of them. The mayor orders to block every manhole and seal the sewers. The police use concrete to barricade the manholes and sewer entrances. Ash wakes up and sees Bulbasaur, pleased that he found it. Ash gets tapped and Tracey tells his friends that the monster is actually an overgrown Bulbasaur, who uses Vine Whip. Ash wonders how it got here. Tracey knows that someone left it, as it has a collar and a bell. Tracey believes that it wanted company, which is why it took Ash's Bulbasaur and Togepi with it. Ash pats it and notices a mark on the bell.
Nurse Joy protests against mayor's decision. The mayor tells her that they didn't exterminate the creature, but Joy reminds him the kids are there. The mayor tells her that he'll let them out after the election is over, but Joy informs him that the elections end in next week. The mayor responds that children shouldn't play in the sewers, making Joy angry. The mayor has a bath and believes that he'll win the elections with the problem exterminated. Soon, he feels the ground shaking and a leak of water comes out of his tub, letting the water out as the trio and the overgrown Bulbasaur float out of the mayor's mansion. The mayor sees the trio and is asked if the Bulbasaur looks familiar. The mayor sees the Bulbasaur and is surprised. When he notices the mark on the bell, he says that bell has his initial on it; he then remembers that when he was a child, he abandoned his Bulbasaur leaving it floating into the sewers because it wouldn't evolve. His Bulbasaur lifts him up, still glad to see him, while others aren't at hearing this story.
The mayor asks Bulbasaur to put him down. Misty tells him that he should apologize first, to which the mayor objects and orders his special police to fire, telling them that Bulbasaur is taking him hostage. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to stop them, while Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip to blast them off. The mayor's Bulbasaur spins him and blasts him off, making the mayor fall onto his own statue and crashing it. Later, Jenny explains that, with the elections coming up, there will be a new mayor soon. Joy tells that she will be taking care of the overgrown Bulbasaur. Ash asks if Trovita Island is nearby. Joy points at an island and tells that it will take them few minutes to get there. Jenny tells them that with a ferry around, they can use the boat and go there.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket are in the sewers and see daylight, but the way out is barricaded. Jessie sneezes, causing the bars to fall down, and they are happy that they are out.
- The "Who's that Pokémon?" of this episode is Zapdos.
- This episode's title is similar to the 1999 film, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
- The straps on Tracey's backpack are orange instead of black when the "monster" attacks at first.
- When Misty finds Togepi, the blue triangle symbol on its shell disappears.
- In the original Japanese version, it's implied that Team Rocket didn't escape from the sewer system. For the very last shot, sound effects were added for the American version to imply that they managed to escape.
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