Ash and the others arrive in Emeragrove Town, where the Eterna City Gym Leader, Gardenia, just happens to be. Team Rocket decides to steal Pikachu, but when James calls out Cacnea, Gardenia swoons over it and asks to have a tag battle. The battle ends up being Ash and Dawn vs. James and Gardenia. During the battle Cacnea pulls off the move Drain Punch. James tries to use it a second time, but it does not work. Gardenia then tells James he needs to be in perfect sync with Cacnea for the move to work and asks if she can train Cacnea. James starts to think about it, and decides to try and train Cacnea himself. Jessie and Meowth think that Drain Punch would be a good move for them to have, so they convince Ash to help James train. However, will James' training work?
A young boy named Ash Ketchum embarks on a journey to become a "Pokemon Master" with his first Pokemon, Pikachu. Joining him on his travels are Brock, a girl-obsessed Rock Pokemon Trainer, and Misty, a tomboyish Water Pokemon Trainer who may have a crush on him. Ash and Co. end up traveling through various regions, including Kanto, the Orange Islands, and Johto, and then enter the Pokemon League competitions there.
Along the way, they run into many confrontations with Jessie, James, and Meowth, a trio of Pokemon thieves who are apart of an evil organization called "Team Rocket". But every time Team Rocket try to do their evil deeds, they fail thanks to Ash and his Pokemon.