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There's no Place Like Hoenn
Touka Gym! VS Yarukimono!
First broadcast
Japan December 5, 2002
United States November 15, 2003
English themes
Opening I Wanna Be A Hero
Japanese themes
Opening アドバンス・アドベンチャー
Ending そこに空があるから
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
Storyboard 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.

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


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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. She goes off somewhere 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 reached the gym, taking a look at it. The gym looks like a large oriental building with a large front entrance. Determined than ever to get 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 was 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 if he was in the Silver Tournament. Ash said he was and got all the way to last round. The boy tries to recognize Ash from that and asks if he was Alf. Ash says 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 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 fight. The boy says that they will use three Pokémon each. The only problem is that Ash only has Pikachu to fight for him. Luckily enough, May comes back with two other people, her parents. May asks the boy, who happens 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 just once. Instead, Max spends a lot of his time studying to be a Pokémon trainer. Both Max and May's father is actually 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.

And while they go on their way, the Team Rocket trio 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 and regulations Norman uses for 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 all his other Pokémon have been left in Pallet Town. Caroline tells Ash that he can have his Pokémon sent to the Pokémon Center, however Ash tells the family that he wants to start afresh and only use Pokémon he catches in Hoenn (apart from Pikachu of course) and 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. However 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.

The battle starts off, Ash uses Pikachu and Norman sends out Vigoroth. Ash looks it up on his Pokédex to see how to handle the Pokémon. The Dex tells him that Vigoroth is both a power-house and quite the speedster. Ash feels likes he has equal playing field since he emphasizes on speed. The first strike is a Thunderbolt from Pikachu, but the quick reflexes of Vigoroth easily jump 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 the electric to the physical, 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.

But just before a winner could be decided, 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 releases Arbok and James releases 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 shoots out some Sludge Bombs, all easily defeated by Vigoroth. Finally Weezing sprays around a giant cloud of smoke. Everyone but the Rockets freeze, trying to figure out where everything is. The Rockets make 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 the Rockets 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 at 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 other soon meet up with Ash, Ash says he found where Team Rocket is. May and Max run after Torchic, but Ash tries to call them back. Too late, 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. Except that 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 the Rockets 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 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.

Major events

  • Ash and May arrive in Petalburg City.
  • Ash travels to Petalburg Gym and meets May's brother Max, her mother Caroline and her father Norman, who is the local Gym Leader.
  • Ash is unable to have an official Gym Battle as he needs three Pokémon, however he is allowed an unofficial battle but loses.
  • Max joins the group.
  • Max receives a PokéNav while Ash and May receive badge cases.






Who’s That Pokémon?: Cleffa


  • When Max got pecked by Torchic, Ash had a sadistic or even cocky smile on his face. This trait is rarely seen by Ash and it was the only time that it ever happened. Ash smiled in this manner because he enjoyed seeing Max, who had previously insulted him, receive a punishment for his smart talking.
  • The half time shots features Ash, May and 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 took off on Ash, Pikachu said, "Pika-pika" in a tone that sounded like "See you later".
  • When May calls out Amber instead of Ember, an image of a mushroom goes across the screen (In the original version she called out mushroom, very similar in Japanese.).
  • 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, Ash's back of the shoe had a different design one scene after another.
  • When the group is behind the bush looking at the balloon, Norman's left hand is missing.

Dub edits

  • Two separate scenes showing James's head and Max on fire due to Torchic's Ember attack were cut 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.

In other languages

  • French: Réunion de famille
  • Italian: Il fratellino
  • Latin American Spanish: ¡No hay lugar como Hoenn!
  • Portuguese: Não Há Lugar Como Hoenn!
  • Spanish: No hay otro lugar como Hoenn


Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.