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| The Battle of the Badge
Tokiwa Gym! The Last Badge!
|| September 17, 1998
| United States
|| September 25, 1999
|| Team Ota
|| 園田英樹 Hideki Sonoda
|| 横田和 Kazu Yokota
| Assistant director
|| 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
| Animation director
|| たけだゆうさく Yūsaku Takeda
| Additional credits
The Battle of the Badge (Japanese: トキワジム！さいごのバッジ！ Tokiwa Gym! The Last Badge!) is the 63rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on September 17, 1998 and in the United States on September 25, 1999.
Ash and friends finally make their way to Viridian City where Ash hopes to earn his Earth Badge. They get to the gym just in time to see his rival, Gary, being defeated by a never-before-seen Pokémon that he insists must be evil!
Ash, Brock, and Misty are walking through Viridian City heading to the Viridian Gym. As they stop outside its doors, Ash is all fired up to win his eighth and final Badge before he can compete in the Pokémon League. So fired up, in fact, that Pikachu lights a fire in front of him to mirror his feelings, accidentally setting Ash's toe on fire in the process. After being chastised by Misty, Ash excuses Pikachu's actions. The group is then interrupted by the arrival of Gary along with his cheering squad. Once again Gary boasts that he is further along the path to the Pokémon League, having already earned ten Badges compared to Ash's seven. Gary heads into the Gym to challenge the leader followed by his cheering squad. Ash tries to follow Gary but is blocked by the guards who will only permit one Trainer in the Gym at a time.
Ash is disappointed and depressed that Gary will still continue to get further and further ahead of him, and he crouches down in a corner to wallow in his misery. Togepi pats him on the head in attempt to comfort him. Thinking it is Pikachu, Ash is so surprised when he sees Togepi that he launches it into the air. As Togepi flies up it bounces on a flag pole, catapulting it into the mouth of a startled Fearow who flies off with Togepi lodged in its throat. The trio set off after the Fearow searching for Togepi.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket is perched high on top of a skyscraper searching for signs of Pikachu. As it flies over them the Fearow manages to dislodge Togepi sending it dropping down on top of James. Jessie tries to grab it but Togepi easily evades her wandering out onto a wooden plank linking the building to the one next to it. Jessie crawls out onto the plank after it but when she reaches the middle the plank breaks beneath her sending her plummeting to the street below. James and Meowth rush down the stairs to catch her but, despite making it down before her, miss the catch and she hits the ground. As Jessie picks herself up Togepi lands on her head, allowing her to grab it before collapsing once more.
The scene cuts to the interior of the Gym where Gary, supported by his fans, challenges the Gym Leader who is shrouded in shadow, boasting that he is the best Trainer in Pallet Town. The leader accepts his challenge and his guards announce the battle will consist of three Pokémon with no time limit. Gary chooses Nidoking and the leader responds by selecting Golem. The leader commences with a Tackle attack, to which Gary responds in kind, ordering a Tackle from his Nidoking, sending Golem flying backward to crash into the wall, defeated. The leader then chooses Kingler, Gary consults his Pokédex, which informs him (among other data recorded) that Kingler is the evolved form of Krabby (a Pokémon he possesses). The leader resumes with a Crabhammer. Nidoking dodges the attack (barely) but Gary recalls him. Gary then chooses Arcanine. Ordering Arcanine to perform Take Down followed by Fire Spin, Kingler is sent reeling amidst cheering from Gary's fans. Arcanine's Fire Blast is sufficient to beat Kingler.
The leader comes forward from the shadows announcing that he is not beaten yet and will use this battle to test his most powerful Pokémon. As he snaps his fingers a door opens to reveal a Pokémon concealed by mechanical armor. Using its Psychic attacks it sends Arcanine crashing into a wall, Gary's Pokédex shows only static claiming that there is no available data on the new Pokémon. The leader offers to allow Gary to use more than one Pokémon if he is afraid of losing. Despite protestations that he isn't afraid of anything Gary sends both Arcanine and Nidoking forth to do battle. Even as they attack the mysterious Pokémon once again uses its Psychic powers to lift the pair from the ground.
Team Rocket meet their boss, Giovanni, revealing him to be the Leader of the Viridian Gym, presenting Togepi to him for his approval. However when he demands to know what it can do the team are at a loss to explain, causing Giovanni to lose his temper accusing them of total incompetence. They are allowed a brief reprieve when the phone on Giovanni's desk rings calling him to deal with an accident, leaving Jessie, James and Meowth in charge of the Gym giving them three Poké Balls to use if necessary. During the discussion, Togepi was able to escape through an open door.
Giovanni, walks through a dungeon where the Pokémon he used earlier are kept in cages. Continuing to the last one he pulls a lever releasing the mystery Pokémon explaining that he has an emergency assignment for it.
Meanwhile, the three friends are still searching the city for Togepi, as they meet back at the front of the Gym none of them have seen Togepi anywhere. However they hear Togepi's voice coming from inside the Gym. Pulling open the heavy doors reveals not only Togepi, but Gary and his fans lying unconscious on the ground. As Ash pulls Gary back to consciousness, Gary says that the mysterious Pokémon is not only powerful, it's evil as well, despite Ash's assertion that there can't be an evil Pokémon. Gary's fans are inconsolable, unable to believe that their hero lost a battle. As Gary announces that no one will ever beat the Pokémon, Team Rocket appears and begins to recite their motto, however they are interrupted by Ash, and his friends. To counter Misty's claim that their motto is never any different they state that "today is very different" because they are now in charge of the Gym and the Earth Badge. When the trio demands to know why Team Rocket has a Gym James explains that Team Rocket's plans are far too complex for them to understand before asking Jessie what they are, who Meowth reveals, doesn't know them either. Jessie then angrily sends Meowth flying.
Jessie raises two platforms on either side of the battlefield and invites Ash to take his place as the challenger on the green platform. Despite his friends warnings that Team Rocket have probably booby trapped the box, Ash ascends as Jessie calls the three Pokémon Giovanni gave her; Machamp, Kingler and Rhydon. Ash calls out Squirtle, and the battle begins. Jessie orders Machamp to use Karate Chop, striking Squirtle many times. As the blows land, Ash is given a shock; the box turned out to be rigged so that the Trainer feels all the pain his Pokémon feels. Ash withdraws Squirtle and sends in Bulbasaur prompting Jessie to switch to Kingler. Ash orders Bulbasaur to use Vine Whip as Jessie orders Kingler to use Harden. Bulbasaur's Vine Whip is rendered ineffective. Pressing the advantage, Jessie orders a Bubble attack, causing Ash to feel the pain as the Water move strikes Bulbasaur.
Gary calls to Ash to give in, claiming the Pokémon are too strong, but Ash refuses to give up as he trusts his Pokémon. Ash calls out Pidgeotto and orders it to use Quick Attack which slams into Rhydon, inflicting damage to it. Sparks of electricity starts crackling at Jessie's feet which she notices. Ash then orders Pidgeotto to use Double-Edge which also slams into Rhydon, causing more damage to it. Now Jessie is on the receiving end of the pain. James reveals that he rigged both sides, as it hadn't occurred to him that they might lose. Meowth, on the other hand, planned for just such an eventuality, and reveals a remote control, which can cause either platform to explode. Meowth is about to press the button, but Gary tackles him, sending the remote flying. Seeing as they are now at a disadvantage, Jessie and James call on Arbok and Weezing to aid them. Ash orders Pikachu to attack, using its Thunderbolt to attack all the opposing Pokémon at once. This show of force sends Machamp, Rhydon and Kingler running away, and Weezing and Arbok crashing into the equally shocked Jessie. Ash greets his Pokémon celebrating their hard won victory. Gary's fans do a cheer in Ash's honor, and even Gary is forced to admit that Ash is a pretty good Trainer.
Ash approaches Jessie and demands the Earth Badge as proof of his victory, but she refuses. As they argue, Meowth sees Togepi playing with the remote control. Despite Meowth's protests, Togepi presses a button, forcing Meowth to reveal, far too late, that he had rigged both platforms to be able to explode. Sure enough, the trio's platform blows up, sending Team Rocket blasting off again, and the Earth Badge falling into Ash's hands. They all are forced to flee as the Gym begins to collapse around them.
As the Trio continues their journey, Brock wonders if they will ever see the Pokémon Gary saw, while Ash is only interested in his eight Badges -- his ticket to the Pokémon League. Realizing that they don't know where the Pokémon League is, they decide to head for Pallet Town to consult with Professor Oak.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
TV episode debuts
Who's That Pokémon?: Mr. Mime (US and international), Arcanine (Japan)
- Professor Oak's lecture: Charmander
- Pokémon senryū summary: Suspended on Charmander's flame, people's shadows.
- The episode title is derived from the World War II Battle of the Bulge.
- Some scenes of this episode are preludes to the first movie. These include the battle with Giovanni and Gary.
- This is the first episode to use background music from the first movie's original Japanese soundtrack, namely during the scene of Giovanni with Mewtwo, making it by definition also the first episode to feature Japanese movie music. However, the music was replaced in the dub.
- This marks the first and only time a Gym Leader refuses to give the Badge to Ash despite winning the battle fairly; granted, Ash did not actually battle the official Gym Leader.
- Like in Riddle Me This, Pikachu was able to defeat, or at least, injure Rhydon with a Thunderbolt attack despite the Ground-type's immunity to Electric moves.
- This is the first time Giovanni's face is entirely seen, as it has always been in the shadows in previous episodes.
- If going by number of episodes spent in each region, this is the quickest that Ash has ever earned eight Gym Badges. By this point in Johto, Ash is in the process of obtaining his fourth Badge; in Hoenn, he has four Badges; in Sinnoh, he only has two Badges, and in Unova, he has five Badges.
- The book Team Rocket Blasts Off! is partially based on this episode.
- Both times Gary's Nidoking is shown, its cry is actually a stock sound effect, not that of a Pokémon.
- Later in the episode, Rhydon uses exactly the same cry as Nidoking.
- The picture of Mewtwo hanging in Giovanni's office shows Mewtwo in the same pose as its sprite from Red and Blue.
- This episode was released as part of the "Mewtwo Box" in Japan on December 18, 2013, along with Mewtwo Strikes Back, Mewtwo Returns, Mewtwo — Prologue to Awakening, and Genesect and the Legend Awakened.
- After Gary's Arcanine defeated Giovanni's Kingler, a different perspective gives it the size of a Growlithe.
- When Jessie calls Kingler, Machamp, and Rhydon out of their Poké Balls, the red light that they return in shows, but in the next scene they're in the white color light.
- Even though Kingler is one of the Pokémon Giovanni gave for Jessie and James, it is still seen in a cage in the basement after Giovanni had given Kingler's Poké Ball to Jessie.
- Despite being a Ground-type, Rhydon was hurt by Pikachu's Electric attack.
- Gary's Arcanine used Fire Spin in this episode, a move it was not able to learn until Generation II.
- Ash's statement of it being "a whole year" since they last visited Viridian City was added in the dub. In the original Japanese version, Ash only remarks that it's been a while since they last visited Viridian City.
- In the original Japanese version, Giovanni introduces himself to Gary by name. In the dub, he just refers himself as the Viridian Gym Leader.
- In the original version, when a Pokémon was knocked out during Gary's and Giovanni's battle, the name of the defeated Pokémon was declared. In the dub, the names of the winner Pokémon were declared instead.
In other languages