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| There's no Place Like Hoenn
Touka Gym! VS Yarukimono!
|| December 5, 2002
| United States
|| November 15, 2003
|| Team Ota
|| 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
|| 誌村宏明 Hiroaki Shimura
| Assistant director
|| 秦義人 Yoshito Hata
| Animation director
|| 宍戸久美子 Kumiko Shishido
| Additional credits
There's no Place Like Hoenn (Japanese: トウカジム！VSヤルキモノ！ Touka Gym! VS Yarukimono!) is the third episode of the Advanced Generation series and the 277th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on December 5, 2002 and in the United States on November 15, 2003.
Ash and May have made it all the way to Petalburg City—the first city with a gym. Ash is very excited to take on the gym leader. May seems a little uneasy—perhaps it's because she hasn't yet told Ash that her father, Norman, is the gym leader in Petalburg! When Ash first gets to the gym, he meets May's little brother, Max, who is pretending to be the gym leader. Max knows a lot about Pokémon and can't wait until he's old enough to become a trainer. Once Ash finally meets Norman, he learns that he will need three Pokémon in order to battle at the gym. He only has Pikachu with him. When Norman agrees to an unofficial battle, Ash encounters his first Vigoroth. Ash realizes that he will have to train hard in order to win a badge in Petalburg City. After a quick scuffle with Team Rocket, Ash and May are ready to hit the road again. Max has decided to tag along, too!
Ash runs up to a cliff seeing that Petalburg City is just ahead. However, May lags behind, and as they settle down in a park, Ash begins talking about how he wants to get the Badge from the Gym Leader. May on the other hand is not so thrilled about this, so she goes off without Ash, saying she'll meet up with him as soon as she can. Ash doesn't mind however, and tells Pikachu that they're going to the Gym for his battle.
Ash soon reaches the Gym, taking a look at it. The Gym looks like a large oriental building and has a large front entrance. Determined as ever to win the Badge, Ash steps into the Gym. He reaches the main arena, a rather large room with wooden floors, introducing himself to present a challenge. There is no response. Ash tries again, then a young, nerdy looking boy carrying books walks to the arena. Ash thinks this might be the Gym Leader so he asks. The boy recognizes Ash, asking him if he was in the Silver Conference. Ash confirms this and said he got all the way to last round. The boy tries to remember Ash's name and guesses the name Alf. Ash corrects him, telling him that his name is Ash. Then the boy answers Ash's previous question. He makes a pose and says that he's the Gym Leader. Ash isn't so sure, but immediately asks if he could challenge him and the boy accepts, saying that it'll be interesting taking on someone.
Both of them get ready for the battle. The boy says that they will each use three Pokémon. The only problem is that Ash only has Pikachu to fight for him. Luckily, May comes back with two other people, her parents. May asks the boy (who turns out to be her little brother Max) what he is doing acting like the Gym Leader. Max is too young to be a Trainer, but he'd like to be one some day. Instead, Max spends a lot of his time studying to be a Pokémon Trainer. Max and May's father is Norman, the real Gym Leader. Ash is surprised, giving Max a glare before looking back at Norman. He was just about to ask Ash for a challenge, but May pulled him over, saying that it's almost lunch and she's hungry. May's mother doesn't mind the extra company, so Ash stays over for lunch.
Max asks to see which starter Pokémon, and she happily sends out Torchic. Max is dismayed that May picked Torchic, and states that he would have picked Treecko, which causes Torchic to start pecking him. Norman says Torchic is a fine Pokémon to start out with, and Max says he can't wait to get his Treecko, which causes Torchic to start pecking him again.
While they go on their way, the Team Rocket spy on them through a window. They plan their next move to see if they can snag Ash's Pikachu, and maybe the Gym Leader's Pokémon.
During the meal, Ash asks about the rules Norman uses for his matches. Max makes a comment that it's the "same rules" as he used, a three-on-three match. Ash hangs his head; now he can't fight in the Gym since he left all his other Pokémon in Pallet Town. Caroline tells Ash that he can have his Pokémon sent to the Pokémon Center, but Ash tells the family he wants to start fresh and only use Pokémon he catches in Hoenn (apart from Pikachu, of course). He decides that he will come back to the Gym when he's caught more Pokémon. Norman tells Ash that as he's traveled a huge distance, he's willing to give Ash a temporary rule change. The match will be unofficial, but Ash doesn't mind; he's just looking forward to his first Pokémon battle in Hoenn. Just after lunch, everyone goes back to the arena for the battle. Max cheers Ash on in the back, having a lot of confidence for someone who was in the Silver Tournament.
As the battle starts, Ash uses Pikachu and Norman sends out Vigoroth. Ash looks it up on his Pokédex to see how to handle the Pokémon. The Pokédex tells him that Vigoroth is both powerful and quick. Ash feels likes he has an equal playing field since he emphasizes on speed. The first strike is a Thunderbolt from Pikachu, but with the quick reflexes of Vigoroth, it easily jumps away from the blast. Vigoroth soon runs to Pikachu with deadly speed and gives Pikachu a wide slash. Ash now realizes Vigoroth is a force to be reckoned with. Ash switches from electric moves to physical moves, and soon Pikachu starts using Quick Attack. Even so, Pikachu's speed is still no match for Vigoroth's might. Pikachu ends up being tossed around left and right, and is eventually defeated. Ash runs over to his partner to see if he's alright, and acknowledges Vigoroth's power.
Suddenly, a wall explodes on the side. When the dust settles, it reveals Team Rocket as they say their motto. Ash does a quick explanation of who they are and gets ready to bump them out of the Gym. Jessie sends out Arbok and James uses Weezing to attack the group. Weezing uses SmokeScreen, as Arbok use Headbutt on Pikachu. Vigoroth decides to help, but it can't see anything in the Smokescreen, so Weezing evades. Then, Max has an idea, as he suggests May to use her Pokemon. Nervous, she takes out her Torchic. As she thinks, Arbok takes the time to attack Torchic. As Jessie gets ready to take Vigoroth and Pikachu, Ash has Pikachu Thunderbolt them, but instead it hits Max by accident. Ash checks to see if he's okay, but Team Rocket escape in the Smokescreen. Once everything is clear, everything looks okay. Ash still has Pikachu, Vigoroth is unhurt, but May lost her Torchic! They think that Team Rocket accidentally stole Torchic instead of Pikachu.
They see Team Rocket float away in their balloon, off into the distance. In their balloon, Team Rocket take a look at their prize, which they expect to be Pikachu. Instead they're surprised to find a confused Torchic. Torchic then pecks every one of them angrily, but Team Rocket manage to get it under control. Then they have a plan that they could use Torchic as bait to get Pikachu.
Meanwhile, everyone looks for Torchic in one group, but they decide to split up and cover more ground. As the search went on, Ash managed to find a field where Team Rocket's balloon was and where Torchic was trapped in a cage. The others soon meet up with him, who says he found where Team Rocket is. May and Max run after Torchic, but Ash tries to call them back but it's too late as the two fall into a hole. Ash makes a disappointed face as May's parents run after her. Ash tries to stop them, but they fall into another hole. Ash slaps his face in grief and decides to go out and help them. He helps out May and Max first, while Norman and Caroline make it okay.
Just after everything is getting better, Team Rocket pop out and they try to keep them busy with a fight. After a few moments in another heated battle, Max sneaks by and gets to Torchic's cage, freeing it. Torchic goes back to May and they have a short happy reunion. May still doesn't know Torchic's attacks quite yet, but Max tells her which one to use. Meanwhile, Arbok seems to be coiled tightly around Vigoroth so Ash has Pikachu help it by using Quick Attack on Arbok. Then, May tries to use Torchic, and tells it to use "Amber" attack, but then Max corrects her, and realizes that she meant "Ember". Anyways, May commands again, but by mistake, Torchic attacks Max. He quickly blows it. This time, she tells it to use Peck, but again it attacks Max. Meanwhile, Ash and Norman are still fighting off Team Rocket. Arbok Headbutts Pikachu and Vigoroth tackles them both so they land in the balloon. Then Pikachu finishes it off with a Thunderbolt.
Later, back in front of Norman's Gym, Norman directs Ash to challenge the closest Gym in Rustboro City. As a gift, Norman gives Ash and May Badge cases and Max a PokéNav. Max messes around with the Nav, explaining what it does. Ash and May are ready for their journey, but Max is going to follow them. His parents say that if he wants to be a Trainer, it'd be more helpful if he saw examples rather than read it in textbooks. Max is so excited that he goes off right away to Petalburg Forest; Ash and May quickly follow afterwards.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Who's That Pokémon?: Cleffa
- The eyecatches are updated in this episode to include Max.
- When first arriving in her home city, Misty was also wary of Ash going to the local Gym because of it being run by family, just like May is in this episode.
- When May calls out Amber instead of Ember, an image of a mushroom goes across the screen. This was a joke that was only understandable in the Japanese version because kinoko (mushroom) sounds very similar to hinoko (Ember).
- The title of this episode is a reference to the common saying "There's no place like Home."
- The scene with Blaziken's hands being red instead of gray is used for a flashback.
- After Ash's Pikachu lost the battle to Norman's Vigoroth, the back of Ash's shoe had a different design between scenes.
- When Ash was thinking about his Noctowl, his shirt was missing.
- When they find Team Rockets hot air balloon Norman's left hand is missing.
- At the end of the episode when Ash and May are leaving and waving goodbye, instead of walking off-screen, for a split second, they appear to walk in place at the screen boundary.
- Two separate scenes showing James's head and Max on fire due to Torchic's Ember attack were cut from the dub for being too violent.
- After the scene when James was caught on fire, the scene with Torchic with a sad expression was also taken out from the dub.
- In the Kids' WB! version of this episode, the Poké Ball design on Ash's and May's Badge cases are painted over and replaced with rectangles. This edit occurs every time Ash's Badge case appears in the Hoenn saga, though it initially did not happen in international airings. This also does not occur in the Cartoon Network or Boomerang airings.
Blaziken's miscolored hands
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