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Our friends are walking through a dark forest one afternoon. Pikachu hears something and they look up to see a large birdhouse in a tree. As they watch, Pokemon lands on a branch and looks it over. The Pokedex identifies it as a Noctowl, the evolved form of HootHoot. These are supposed to be nocturnal Pokemon, but Misty theorizes that because the forest is so dark, the Pokemon think it's night when it isn't.
The branch moves and the Noctowl is scared away. Soon after, another Noctowl lands on the branch, this one is a different colour. Another small branch with berries on it appears, but the Noctowl kicks it away and butts the tree. A man who had been sitting in the tree wearing a disguise falls down, and everyone runs to help him.
His name is Doctor Wiseman, he's trying to catch the unusually coloured Noctowl but it keeps outsmarting him. This particular Noctowl is smaller, has a different colour, and seems more intelligent than average, which makes rare and valuable.
Ash wants to catch it and throws a Pokeball, but it kicks the Pokeball back at him. The Noctowl stares at him for a moment, then suddenly Ash begins to talk to a rock, believing it to be Pikachu! Dr. Wiseman explains that the Noctowl used its Hypnosis ability to put Ash under a spell so he wouldn't be able to capture it.
Later they are all at Dr. Wiseman's cabin having tea (Ash has recovered by this time). The doctor says he came to this forest because he is devoted to catching rare and unusual Pokemon. Misty claims she has a rare and unusual Pokemon and brings out Psyduck, but the doctor isn't impressed. Both he and Ash insist that they're clever enough to catch the Noctowl, but he has a new trap that's guaranteed to work. Brock tells him that it's a bad idea to use a trap because the Pokemon won't respect him as a trainer, and it's better to be honest. Ash agrees and determines that he'll capture the Noctowl fairly. Team Rocket has been eavesdropping from the roof and decide to capture the Noctowl for the boss.
Dr. Wiseman climbs a tree and prepares his trap. The kids are hiding in the bushes close by. Dr. Wiseman is convinced that the Noctowl will show up because it likes to test its wits against his. As expected, the Noctowl lands on the branch where the trap is hidden. The doctor pulls a rope to reveal the trap: a mirror. The Noctowl uses its Hypnosis but the rays bounce off the mirror and it ends up hypnotizing itself! The Noctowl falls from the tree and Dr. Wiseman runs to catch it, and for some reason picks up a rock instead! Brock realizes that the Noctowl must have used its Hypnosis on the doctor just before it fell. Ash is worried that it might be hurt and goes to help it.
Suddenly a huge wind blows, Dr. Wiseman is hit by a branch and the spell is broken. A giant robot that looks like a Noctowl appears, it's Team Rocket! Dr. Wiseman tells off Team Rocket for interfering, and Brock adds that honest trainers should only use their own Pokemon to catch new ones. Team Rocket laughs and says they'll do whatever it takes to get what they want. Ash tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt but the robot is unaffected by electricity. Then Ash releases Cyndaquil and Totodile but TR uses the robot to unleash another gust of wind.
While everyone is distracted, Dr. Wiseman grabs the still-woozy Noctowl and runs away. TR sees him and uses a metal claw to grab the Noctowl from him, then the robot starts to fly away. Ash tells Bulbasaur and Chikorita to hold the robot down with their Vine Whip. Recklessly he climbs a tree and jumps onto the claw, and tries to pull it open so the Noctowl can escape. TR gloats that he can't do anything.
Misty's Psyduck comes out on its own, she thinks it's trying to help Ash with its Confusion attack. Unfortunately nothing happens. After a valiant effort, Ash frees the Noctowl and it flies away. The robot shakes the claw and Ash falls, Misty and Brock run to help him.
The Noctowl talks to the other Pokemon. Cyndaquil fires a Flamethrower attack at the robot, and Totodile follows it up with a Water Gun. Team Rocket laughs but stops when they hear a cracking noise. The cold water on the hot metal has caused the robot to crack open! Ash tells Pikachu to aim a Thunderbolt at thecracked area, and the robot explodes, sending TR blasting off.
Noctowl lands in a tree and hoots at Ash. Dr. Wiseman explains that it's challenging Ash to a battle. The doctor admits that he's had his chance to catch it, and now it's Ash's turn to try.
Ash accepts the challenge and tells Pikachu to attack, but Noctowl hypnotizes Pikachu and the lightning goes wild. However, a stray blast shocks Pikachu back to normal. Noctowl dives down and Pikachu runs, but Ash tells him to wait until he hears the Noctowl coming. Pikachu closes his eyes and listens carefully, and when the Noctowl gets close, he zaps it. The Noctowl is brought down, Ash throws a Pokeball and captures it! Dr. Wiseman congratulates Ash on a fair capture, and the three friends head off into the sunset toward Goldenrod City.
156: Fowl Play
156: Different Colored Noctowl!! Get It!!
Ash captures a Shiny Noctowl