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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 was first broadcast in Japan on December 5, 2002 and in the United States on November 15, 2003.
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 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 Tournament. Ash confirmed 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. May says she'll help them fight and sends out her Torchic. Jessie sends out Arbok and James uses Weezing to attack the group. Arbok fires a volley of Poison Stings, but Vigoroth simply slices them all away. Arbok goes out for the all offensive, but Vigoroth easily takes care of it. James takes over, and his Weezing fires several Sludge Bombs, all easily defeated by Vigoroth. Finally, Weezing sprays a giant cloud of smoke. Everyone but Team Rocket freezes, trying to figure out where everything is. Team Rocket makes their move, saying that they got Pikachu. But soon Vigoroth does a Whirlwind-like attack and clears the smoke.
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. But before Ash could make another move, May says that she wants to fight them. May still doesn't know Torchic's attacks quite yet, but Max tells her which one to use. May tells Torchic to attack, and Torchic sprays out Embers to Team Rocket to drive them back into their balloon. Then Pikachu finishes it off with a Thunderbolt.
Later back in front of Norman's Gym, Norman explains that he's actually a Gym Leader Ash is supposed to fight later on. The first Gym he should try is the one in Rustboro City; they'll have to get through Petalburg Forest to get there though. As a gift, Norman gives the group a PokéNav, but Max snatches it as soon as he sees it. 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 has a different design between scenes.
- When Ash says that he would have his Noctowl, his shirt was missing.
- At the end of the episode, when Ash and May are leaving and waving good bye, there's a fast glitch on the scene. Instead of disappearing from the video, the kids walk without getting out of place.
- 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 or even on the Region 1 DVD release. Also does not occur in the Cartoon Network airings.
Blaziken's miscolored hands
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