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AG143 : The Saffron Con
Advanced Generation series
AG145 : Pasta La Vista!
A Hurdle for Squirtle
AG144   EP418
Pokémon Contest: Yamabuki Conference!! (Part Two)
First broadcast
Japan September 22, 2005
United States June 24, 2006
English themes
Opening Unbeatable
Japanese themes
Opening バトルフロンティア
Ending ポケモンかぞえうた
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
Storyboard しのゆきひろ Yukihiro Shino
Assistant director 渡辺正彦 Masahiko Watanabe
Animation director 広岡歳仁 Toshihito Hirooka
No additional credits are available at this time.

A Hurdle for Squirtle (Japanese: ポケモンコンテスト・ヤマブキ大会!!(後編) Pokémon Contest: Yamabuki Conference!! (Part Two)) is the 144th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 418th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on September 22, 2005 and in the United States on June 24, 2006.

201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201


The contest in Saffron City is about to begin! Harley ends up apologizing to May, but it rings hollow given his history of hating May. He goes first, and really impresses the crowd with his Cacturne's combination of Cotton Spore and Needle Arm. A disguised Jessie comes up to the stage, impressing and horrifying the crowd when she embraces James' Cacnea, followed by a firework-laden Pin Missile. May brings Combusken up, performing a great combination of Fire Spin and Sky Uppercut. All three of them make it to the next round.

Jessie and Harley are opponents next, and Jessie's strategy is to send in Wobbuffet knowing that its defensive moves could knock out Harley's Ariados. Harley is quite aware of this, and orders his Pokémon to do nothing. Frustrated and annoyed, Lillian issues them yellow cards, knocking down their points. Harley finally strikes, using String Shot to tie up Wobbuffet and move it like a helpless puppet. Eventually Wobbuffet is thrown in the air and knocked out of battle.

May makes through her next battle fine, and faces Harley in the finals. May has elected to use Squirtle, and the little Pokémon has a rough start, especially when it uses an Ice Beam that is too strong for it! Harley tries String Shot again, stringing up Squirtle near the ceiling. Ariados then uses Spider Web to cover the entire stage. May orders Squirtle to use Ice Beam again, which frees it from the Spider Web and freezes the stage—and Ariados! With the Bug-and-Poison-type out of the way, May wins the Saffron Ribbon. May is thrilled, and Ash is hyped for his next Frontier battle.


After a short recap of the events of the previous episode, Lilian officially begins the Saffron City Pokémon Contest by showcasing the stage and explaining the prizes and rules. May watches via television in the contestants' room and confirms to Squirtle that they will win the Saffron Ribbon. Harley interrupts and apologizes for what he did, but May sees through his devious talk and reaffirms that they will win. Harley quickly drops the act and contemptuously proclaims that he will defeat her.

Lilian then introduces the judges of the Saffron Contest: Raoul Contesta, Mr. Sukizo, and Saffron City's Nurse Joy. She asks the crowd if they are ready to begin, prompting uproarious cheers. In the audience, James wonders if Jessie might actually win this one, but Meowth replies saying that she doesn't stand a chance.

Harley is the first contestant and calls upon his Cacturne, who starts things off with Cotton Spore. The spores slowly rotate in the air while Harley calls for Needle Arm. Cacturne stands motionless for some time before suddenly protruding spikes from its whole body through all of the spores, creating an interesting display.

Other contestants are shown with their Pokémon, including Pidgeot, Vileplume, Alakazam, and Tangela. Lilian then introduces "Empress Jessibella"—Jessie in disguise—who sends out Cacnea. Cacnea and Jessie run toward each other and hug each other. The painful embrace moves Lilian and the crowd to tears in reaction to how close Jessibella and Cacnea appear to be. Jessie tells Cacnea to use Pin Missile and the pins wind upward and collide, creating an explosion similar to that of fireworks. Both Meowth and James are amazed at Jessie's performance. Lilian then goes to congratulate Jessie but notices that Cacnea is still attached to her and she's not moving at all. Lilian taps her and she falls to the floor, paralyzed with pain. Jessie is then rushed back into the operating room again by Chansey.

Lilian then introduces the last contestant, May, with her Squirtle at her side. Squirtle seems uneasy at the sight of the mass of people in the stands, but May says that it'll get over it. She calls upon Combusken, who twists and flips to the ground like a gymnast after coming out of its Poké Ball. May then unties and throws her bandanna toward Combusken as tells it to use Fire Spin and Sky Uppercut. Combusken propels the bandanna upward with Fire Spin, leaps through the spiraling fire, and hits it repeatedly with Sky Uppercut, tying it back to its normal state. Combusken then delivers one last blow to send the retied bandanna right back onto May's head. Combusken lands in front of May and the two pose for the finish. The crowd goes wild, shouting and cheering. Squirtle looks on admiringly and everyone seems to be pleased with her performance, except for Harley, who looks disappointed with her success.

The eight Pokémon Coordinators moving on to the Contest Battles are then announced, which include May, Jessie, and Harley. James and Max are surprised at Jessie's success and wonder if she might actually win. The contestants' battle match-ups are randomly selected, and it is revealed that Jessie will face Harley and May will battle another participant in the second round of the Contest. May is very exuberant and excited about her performance as Harley interrupts her again. He then begins off with his usual threats and May fires back quickly.

A strange person wrapped in mummy-like cloth interrupts the argument. The unknown person then removes the cloth and reveals herself to be the "Empress Coordinator" Jessibella. Harley and Jessibella then both mention that they're going to beat each other and then May. The Battle Stage begins with Lilian introducing the first match, Jessie versus Harley. Harley sends out his Ariados while Jessie calls upon Wobbuffet. Both James and Meowth are confused about Jessie's choice of Wobbuffet for the second round. Jessie's plan is to have Wobbuffet use Counter just as Ariados fires an attack to reflect it back at double the power. Harley catches on and is reluctant to make the first move, knowing it would only backfire. Lilian announces that she has no choice but to give them each a yellow card, which subtracts half the points from both participants' scores. Both Harley and Jessie argue back and forth as Lilian is about to disqualify both of them for not battling. Harley submits and tells Ariados to use String Shot on Wobbuffet. Seizing the opportunity, Jessie directs Wobbuffet to use Counter, but Wobbuffet becomes helplessly wrapped by the maneuver. Brock commends the strategy and explains that since String Shot is a defensive move and not an attack, neither Counter nor Mirror Coat will work. Ariados then manipulates Wobbuffet like a puppet with its attached strings, as points are gradually deducted from Jessie's score. The crowd begins to laugh at the puppet show on display, which is ended when Ariados is told to throw Wobbuffet. It tumbles through the air and lands on Ariados's back. The rest of Jessie's points are deducted and Harley advances to the next round. Jessie, James, and Meowth then fall to the ground, turning white from disbelief.

Intervals between May and Harley's rounds are shown with Squirtle knocking out a Crobat with Bubble and Ariados entangling a Walrein in a Spider Web. Squirtle knocks out a Weepinbell with Tackle. With both May and Harley having won all their rounds, they find themselves in the finals of the Saffron Contest.

Lilian starts the final match as May calls out Squirtle and Harley brings out Ariados. Ariados attaches itself to the ceiling with its String Shot and swings to use Scary Face close up to Squirtle. Squirtle then recovers and uses Ice Beam on Ariados, but it is so powerful that it misses its mark and knocks Squirtle onto its back. Ariados then retracts up to the ceiling and shoots another String Shot onto Squirtle's body, bringing it closer and deducting more of May's points. Harley decides to rack up style points by covering the whole stage with Spider Web, impressing Lilian and the audience. Ariados then spins Squirtle around in a circle and sends it hurtling onto a web, entangling its back in the process. As Squirtle continues to struggle, May's points are approaching zero. Ariados then descends down from the ceiling to the web and begins walking towards Squirtle to strike with Double-Edge. May tries a Bubble attack, but it doesn't even slow Ariados down. May then recalls Squirtle's last attempt of Ice Beam which propelled it backward because of its great power. She tells Squirtle to use Ice Beam, which succeeds not only in freeing it from the web, but freezing Ariados and all of the webs in the stadium. Harley's points drop by more than half. Squirtle runs and jumps onto the frozen web to hit Ariados with Bubble, shattering the ice and throwing Ariados backward. Ariados tries to stop itself, but its feet can't get any grip on the frozen web. Squirtle slides down the icy webs like a surfer and Tackles it. Ariados crashes onto the ground, knocked out. Squirtle neatly lands on its feet on top of Ariados. Ariados is announced as unable to battle and May is declared the winner. Squirtle comes running back to May as Ash, Brock, and Max cheer from the stands. Harley thinks that the Contest was rigged and walks off in a huff. The crowd cheers as May is awarded her first Kanto Ribbon.

Outside Contest Hall, May says she wants to practice all of her moves as Ash tells of his excitement for the Battle Arena. The group then walks off in the sunset.

Major events

For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.





Pokémon Trainer's Choice

Pokémon Trainer's Choice: Groudon



Dub edits

Pokémon Trainer's Choice

  • Question: Trainers, which of these Pokémon is the heaviest?
  • Choices: Snorlax, Groudon, Wailord
  • Answer: OK, Trainers! If you chose Groudon, you were right!

In other languages

AG143 : The Saffron Con
Advanced Generation series
AG145 : Pasta La Vista!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.