Gym Challenge (Japanese: ジム拡張第2弾 闇からの挑戦Gym Booster 2: Challenge from the Darkness) is the name of the seventh expansion of the Pokémon Trading Card Game. It focuses primarily on some of the Gym Leaders of Kanto.
Gym Challenge was originally planned to be released on October 16 in North America. It was then pushed up the 7th, then back to the 16th. Many Sears locations ended up releasing it on the 4th.
Two Japanese cards; Imakuni?'s Doduo and _____'s Chansey were not released in the English set. Imakuni is a singer for several Pokémon songs released only in Japan, so the exclusion of Imakuni?'s Doduo was mostly due to prevent confusion from players. Also, as a "spoof" card that are never released outside of Japan, it had no place in a "serious" card set. The exclusion of _____'s Chansey was also due to one of the English TCG unwritten "rules" to not feature blank owner's Pokémon. The only exception is the promotional _____'s Pikachu.
There were a few art changes between the Japanese and English releases due to the fact that they were deemed "inappropriate" by Wizards.
The Trainer card Misty's Tears was originally in Gym 1 in Japan, but its English counterpart was not released until Gym Challenge due to a required art change. The Japanese version was deemed unsuitable for younger players as it featured a "nude" Misty.
The Trainer card Sabrina's Gaze was changed because of the way she is drawn holding a Master Ball; almost as if she was giving the viewer "the finger".
The Trainer card Koga's Ninja Trick was changed because of an omote manji, which could have been mistaken for the Nazi Swastika. Incidentally, the Japanese reprint of Koga's Ninja Trick removed the symbol following the English change.
The so-called "Common rares" did not make an appearance in Gym Challenge, unlike in Gym Heroes.
Blaine's Arcanine, the first card to feature a 120 attack damage, debuted in this set.
The Giovanni Theme Deck is the only Gym series Theme Deck that is based on two types.
It is noteworthy that the Japanese versions featured neither a Koga nor Giovanni-based Theme Deck. Subsequently, there was no holographic version of the Trainer Card Koga and no non-holographic version of the Trainer Card Giovanni in the Japanese set.