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| Balance of Power
Touka Gym! The Fifth Badge!!
|| April 1, 2004
| United States
|| March 19, 2005
|| Team Ota
|| 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
|| しのゆきひろ Yukihiro Shino
| Assistant director
|| 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
| Animation director
|| たけだゆうさく Yūsaku Takeda
| Additional credits
Balance of Power (Japanese: トウカジム戦！五つ目のバッジ!! Touka Gym! The Fifth Badge!!) is the 70th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 344th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 1, 2004 and in the United States on March 19, 2005.
Ash enters the Petalburg Gym, ready for his battle against Norman. Norman tells him that he's been waiting for another fight with Ash ever since their last battle, and Ash says he's more than willing to take Norman up on his offer! Watching from the sidelines, May says she's excited to see how the match turns out. Max tells her that their dad is certain to win. Brock and Caroline tell him that he should just relax and enjoy the match without worrying about the final result.
Outside of town, Team Rocket begins construction on their new secret base. Meowth says that after they finish building their base, the Boss will be certain to give them a promotion. With the thoughts of corporate credit cards as their motivation, all of Team Rocket, including Wobbuffet, begin working.
Back at the Gym, Kenny is the referee announces the rules of the match: three Pokémon, but only Ash is allowed substitutions. Raising his flags, Kenny signals for the match to begin and both Ash and Norman send out their first Pokémon, Norman's Slakoth against Ash's Pikachu. Utilizing Pikachu's Speed, Ash orders Pikachu to use Quick Attack, Slakoth dodges and counterattacks with Shadow Ball. Jumping out of the way, Pikachu attacks with Iron Tail but misses once again as Slakoth leans out of the way. Dazed, Pikachu is unable to dodge Slakoth's Hidden Power, and is blasted across the arena.
On the sidelines, Brock tells May and Max what kind of attack strategy their father is using. He knew from watching Ash before that he favored using Pikachu as an opener, using its powerful speed attacks to knock the enemy off balance and gain control of the battle. By using a slow Pokémon like Slakoth who could dodge Pikachu's attacks, Norman was forcing Ash to fight at his pace, giving him control over the match.
As Pikachu recovers from Hidden Power, Ash realizes that he needs to change his strategy. He decides to try Electric attacks and orders Pikachu to attack with Thunderbolt. However, Slakoth dodges this attack as well, and responds with Blizzard. The incredible cold keeps Pikachu from attacking back, so Ash recalls it and calls out Torkoal instead. Torkoal uses Flamethrower, which easily blasts through Slakoth's Blizzard and scores a direct hit, knocking Slakoth out. With Slakoth out of commission, Norman calls out his next Pokémon, Vigoroth. Dodging Torkoal's Overheat, Vigoroth knocks Torkoal out with Scratch. With Torkoal down, Ash sends Pikachu back into the arena. Brock explains that by using the hyperactive Vigoroth right after the slow laid back Slakoth Norman is able to disorient his opponents and knock them off balance, as the skills necessary to defeat Vigoroth are completely different from those used against Slakoth. Meanwhile, Team Rocket continues construction on their new hideout. Yelling through a megaphone, Meowth orders Jessie and James to work harder. They respond by dropping a box on him and telling him to help out too.
In the arena, Vigoroth dodges a Thunderbolt from Pikachu and attacks with Scratch. Pikachu blocks the attack with Iron Tail, but is hit with a surprise attack when Vigoroth uses Flamethrower. Max says that it's amazing that Vigoroth can use an attack like Flamethrower, causing Caroline to tell him that Norman is fighting Ash more seriously then he fights normal Trainers. May says that Ash should substitute Pikachu, but Brock tells her that if he does that, his only reserve Pokémon will be the already injured Pikachu. He has no choice but to use Pikachu as long as possible. Sizing up Vigoroth, Ash suddenly comes up with a plan. He orders Pikachu to use Quick Attack, dodging a Flamethrower from Vigoroth. As Pikachu closes the distance, Norman orders Vigoroth to use Scratch, but is surprised when Ash tells Pikachu to take the hit. Vigoroth's Scratch attack hits home, but the powerful Pokémon is suddenly paralyzed by Pikachu's innate Static Ability. Seizing the opportunity, Pikachu attacks with Iron Tail, knocking Vigoroth out. However the effort is too much for Pikachu and it passes out as well, resulting in a double KO.
After removing Pikachu from the battlefield, Ash and Norman send out their last remaining Pokémon, pitting Slaking against Grovyle. Ash attacks first by ordering Grovyle to use Bullet Seed, but Slaking easily blocks the attack with its arm, sustaining no damage at all. Grovyle attacks again with Leaf Blade, but Slaking grabs it mid attack and tosses Grovyle back across the arena. Slaking begins to attack with Focus Punch but is stopped after Grovyle hits it in the face with Bullet Seed. The attack angers Slaking, who begins to go into a rage. It attacks with a powerful Earthquake.
In their new hideout, Team Rocket feels the effects of Slaking's Earthquake, which rouses a group of nearby Dugtrio. Blaming the Dugtrio for the Earthquake, Jessie kicks a rock at them. Angrily, the Dugtrio begin to chase Team Rocket around their cave.
Meanwhile, Grovyle dodges the Earthquake by jumping. It attempts a Pound attack, but Slaking grabs it in midair and tosses Grovyle into the ceiling. Grovyle counterattacks with Bullet Seed, but Slaking blocks with a powerful Hyper Beam, which cuts through the Bullet Seed and sends Grovyle flying. Watching Grovyle struggle to its feet, Norman suggests that Ash withdraw from the match for Grovyle's safety. Ash begins to consider it, but stops when Grovyle indicates that it wants to keep fighting. Ash tells Grovyle to show Norman what it's made out of. Inspired by Ash's confidence, Grovyle activates its Overgrow Ability, which powers up its Grass-type attacks.
Leaping back into combat, Grovyle dodges both an Earthquake and Slaking's clumsy attempts to grab it. It begins bouncing around the arena. Dodging a Hyper Beam, Grovyle hits Slaking with a powerful Pound. Norman congratulates Ash for his recovery, but tells him that he'll need more than just speed to beat Slaking. He orders Slaking to attack with Focus Punch while Ash tells Grovyle to use Leaf Blade. The two attack each other at the same time, and after a moment's pause, Slaking falls to the ground. Shocked at his father's loss, Max can only stare in disbelief as Brock and May congratulate Ash on his victory.
Later, Norman presents Ash with the Balance Badge - however, before he can give it away, Max grabs it and runs away. Locking himself in the Gym's greenhouse, he tells everybody gathered outside that it was unacceptable for his dad to lose the match and that it's not okay for a Trainer like him to lose in a Pokémon battle. Norman tells him that losing is just as important as winning, and that sometimes life's most important lessons are learned through losing. Ash tells Max that he really doesn't need the Badge, beating Norman in a fight taught him enough that he'd be satisfied without one. Touched by their words, Max comes out and gives the Badge back, but not before promising his Dad that they'll battle too, once he becomes a Trainer.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Pokémon Trainer's Choice: Slugma
- Challenger!! replaces Advance Adventure as the opening.
- The dub episode's title is a reference to the geopolitical concept balance of power.
- Although Abilities are featured prominently in this episode (two of Ash's Pokémon rely on their Abilities to turn the tide of the battle), Truant doesn't seem to affect Slaking despite being its main weakness in the games.
- Music from the first movie was heard on this episode.
- In the Latin American dub, Ash calls for Grovyle to use Razor Leaf when it uses Leaf Blade, a common error.
- Norman's Slaking attacks immediently after Ash's Grovyle attacks, however that's not possible. Because it has the ability truant.
In other languages