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Why US Pokémon Fans Never Saw Ash Catch His Tauros

Ash Ketchum has caught plenty of Pokémon in his day, but nostalgic fans of the "Pokémon" anime may best recall his team members from his earliest adventure through Kanto. Of course, there's Pikachu, along with fan-favorites like Bulbasaur and Charizard, as well as some underrated heavy hitters like Kingler and Muk. However, viewers of this early chapter of the long-running series may still be rather puzzled by one of Ash's earliest gets — or, rather, 30 of them.

By the time in the original series that Ash collects eight of the Kanto badges and returns to Pallet Town to prepare for the Indigo League tournament, he owns a whopping 30 Tauros, all of which live in his hometown with Professor Oak. This reveal may have been one of the most shocking "Pokémon" anime moments for fans of the English dub, as they had never seen an episode in which Ash went about catching any Tauros. As it turns out, there's a good reason that many viewers never saw Ash make his grand achievement.

Ash caught his Tauros in a banned episode

The reason that viewers of "Pokémon's" English dub never saw Ash capture his Tauros is because the trainer actually did the deed in one of several banned episodes that never aired in Western territories (via Serebii). Episode 35 of "Pokémon," which roughly translates to "The Legend of Dratini," was banned everywhere outside of Asia — though it wasn't for anything the Tauros did themselves.

The episode features Ash and his friends reaching the Safari Zone, a wildlife preserve where trainers are allowed to catch rare Pokémon living in the habitat. Per its name, the episode mainly focuses on the elusive Dratini, but most of that action comes after Ash goes on his massive catching spree and obtains 30 Tauros. The problem is that this episode was banned from English channels due to its extensive depiction of realistic firearms. Early on in the episode, the Safari Zone's warden holds a gun to Ash's forehead and threatens him. Later on, Team Rocket's Jessie and James return the favor by holding the warden at gunpoint.

According to Brock's former English voice actor Eric Stuart, these darker sequences didn't pass 4Kids Entertainment's kid-friendly guidelines, and the episode never received any sort of English dub as consequence. English viewers without any knowledge of the ban simply had to put the pieces together as the anime continued. Despite their controversial origin, however, Ash's band of Tauros is still in the trainer's care to this day.