Professor Oak sends Ash, Misty and Brock to the Orange Islands to retrieve the mysterious GS Pokéball found by fellow researcher Professor Ivy. When they reach her lab, moonstruck Brock decides to stay with the Professor and her three female assistants.
Ash and Misty are soon joined by Tracey, a "Pokémon Watcher" in training who sketches. After the perpetually amorous Brock, he makes a rather bland companion, although the caricatures of Groucho Marx and Clint Eastwood they encounter liven things up a bit. The characters roam aimlessly from island to island, escaping the snares of the inept Team Rocket, who stalk them in a submarine disguised as a giant Magicarp and a balloon that looks like Meowth. Ash wins the Coral Eye, Sea Ruby, Spike Shell, and Jade Star badges, which qualify him for the Orange League Tournament, where he finally learns to make his recalcitrant Charizard obey him.