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AG102 : Where's Armaldo?
Advanced Generation series
AG104 : Claydol Big and Tall
A Cacturne for the Worse
AG103   EP377
Izabe Island Pokémon Contest! Beware of the Rival!!
First broadcast
Japan November 18, 2004
United States November 26, 2005
English themes
Opening Unbeatable
Japanese themes
Opening チャレンジャー!!
Ending GLORY DAY 〜輝くその日〜
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 松井亜弥 Aya Matsui
Storyboard 秦義人 Yoshito Hata
Assistant director 秦義人 Yoshito Hata
Animation director 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
Additional credits

A Cacturne for the Worse (Japanese: イザベ島ポケモンコンテスト!ライバルに気をつけろ!! Izabe Island Pokémon Contest! Beware of the Rival!!) is the 103rd episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 377th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on November 18, 2004 and in the United States on November 26, 2005.

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


The kids are still headed for Izabe Island, where May will compete in her next Pokémon Contest with Bulbasaur. Meanwhile, Team Rocket has just bought a cartload of berries to make PokéBlocks out of. Unfortunately, they aren't a type that PokéBlocks can be made out of.

On board the boat, May meets a Trainer named Harley and his Cacturne. He is quickly annoyed by her though, because she doesn't recognize what a Cacturne is, nor does she bestow highest compliments on his cookies!

Just prior to the Purika City contest, Max is nowhere to be found, until he runs up alongside Harley. May goes out and impresses the crowd with her Bulbasaur's Razor Leaf and Vine Whip, while Harley's Cacturne stuns the crowd with its lightning-fast Bullet Seed. Both of them progress to the next round.

In the next round, Cacturne quickly takes out an Azurill. Harley tells May that her opponent, a Surskit, is slow in battle, so her Bulbasaur moves in close to the Surskit. She is surprised when Surskit's Quick Attack deals a beating to her Bulbasaur—in fact, that Surskit is known for its impressive speed! May eventually recovers enough to claim victory.

In the next round, May faces off against Harley, and she's doing well with a strong combo of Vine Whip and Tackle. Just then, a recording plays over the loudspeakers—it's Max, telling an embarrassing story about May to Harley. She is mortified and angry, allowing Cacturne to hit Bulbasaur hard. Ash calls out to May, giving her focus. She combines Petal Dance and Razor Leaf for a beautiful knock-out blow. May wins the ribbon, and the kids head off. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is dreaming of being highly-successful PokéBlock vendors...


As Ash and his friends head to Izabe Island via boat, May is on the deck practicing with her Bulbasaur, trying to get its attacks perfected before the Pokémon Contest in Purika City. Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf, and then follows it up with a Vine Whip. After the attack's finished, May seems pleased with Bulbasaur's performance.

Elsewhere, on Izabe Island, Team Rocket is pulling a large cart full of Berries up a steep hill. Jessie plans to use the Berries to make Pokéblocks, enabling them to make lots of money at the upcoming Contest. However, Meowth has them stop the cart and says that they can't make Pokéblocks out of those particular Berries, and that Jessie had been fooled by the berry salesman. Jessie gets angry and tries to carry the cart up the hill by herself, but without the other two helping her, she's dragged downhill as James and Meowth watch.

Back on the boat, May is approached by a purple-haired guy in a Cacturne-themed outfit. He introduces himself as Harley and May goes to look up his Cacturne on her Pokédex. Harley seems offended that she had to look such a magnificent Pokémon up. After hearing what the Pokédex has to say about Cacturne, May comments that the Cactus Pokémon looks scary, which upsets Harley even further. However, Harley turns the other cheek and simply smiles as he offers May some cookies that he had made. May eats them and says that they're "not half bad", and Harley seems upset. May looks up to request one for her Bulbasaur, but Harley is nowhere to be seen!

The camera then pans over to a nearby wall, where Harley is seen hiding. He secretly uses an instant camera to take a picture of May and post it in some sort of scrapbook. Then, he draws a skull and crossbones over her picture! Harley can't believe the nerve of May, calling his precious Cacturne "scary" and whatnot. He decides to teach her a lesson.

On the land, Team Rocket is trying to make some Pokéblocks. James has a Wobbuffet-shaped Berry Crusher, but the Pokéblocks aren't coming out well at all (instead of being little cubes, they look more like misshapen lumps). Meowth and James give up, saying that what they're doing is impossible, but Jessie yells at them and tells them that they don't have much time before the Contest starts.

At the Contest Hall, the Purika Contest's opening ceremony has begun! Vivian makes the usual salutations and introduces the panel of judges, formed by Raoul Contesta from the Pokémon Activities Committee, Mr. Sukizo from the Pokémon Fan Club, and the Nurse Joy from the local Pokémon Center. Backstage, Ash, Brock, and May are wondering where Max is. As the group worries, Max and Harley come running down the hall. May gets ready to berate her little brother, but Harley tells her not to be angry—he had just wanted to hear some stories from the little kid. May decides not to yell at Max just as her turn on the Appeals Round comes up.

Entry #17, May! May calls on her Bulbasaur, who starts things off by using Razor Leaf. As the leaves fly through the air, the Pokémon slaps them with its Vine Whip attack, impressing the Contest Judges. We don't get to see her actual score, but we assume that she gets high marks. The Contest continues, and we get to see different Coordinators (we see one with an Azurill, one with a Camerupt, one with a Tentacruel, and one with a Surskit) take the stage.

The final Coordinator is contestant #30, Harley. Harley calls on his Cacturne, which surprises the audience. Max repeats May's sentiments that the Pokémon is scary, and it seems that the rest of the audience agrees as well. Harley ignores their stunned gasps and decides to show them how great his Cacturne is. He orders it to use Bullet Seed on the ground, and as the Pokémon runs around the judges comment on its speed. After running around for a while, spitting seeds on the ground, Cacturne comes to a stop. From above, the audience can see that the Pokémon was using its Bullet Seed attack to draw a giant skull and crossbones on the stage! The judges are impressed, but Ash and his friends worry about May's competitor.

Backstage, May nervously awaits the announcement of the Coordinators who will move on to the Contest Battles. She doesn't have to wait too long, as the results are announced, revealing that May, Harley, Kent, and the Coordinator with an Azurill have advanced to the second round. In the auditorium, Brock seems worried, as he believes that Harley will be a difficult person to beat. Backstage (again), Harley seems upset that May could make it to the second round.

The semi-finals are now underway! Harley and Cacturne are up against a Coordinator and his Azurill. The Azurill spits out a ballet of bubbles and then bounces from bubble to bubble, causing May to comment on how cute it is. Cacturne responds with a Poison Sting attack that pops all the bubbles. Cacturne then hits the Pokémon with its Bullet Seed attack, causing it to faint. It's a Battle Off for Azurill, meaning that Cacturne won and Harley can proceed to the next round!

Backstage, May congratulates Harley on his win. Harley thanks her and tells her to be careful of her opponent, Kent. He says that his Surskit is very slow, and gives her advice on how to counter it. May thanks him as she steps on the stage.

The next battle in the semi-finals has begun! Surskit uses Double Team and follows it up with a Quick Attack, hitting May's Bulbasaur. It then uses Water Pulse followed by a Quick Attack, hitting Bulbasaur again. The Bug Pokémon moves in for a third attack, but Bulbasaur is able to counter with a Razor Leaf. However, Surskit uses Double Team to dodge the attack, so Bulbasaur tries a Vine Whip attack this time.

Surskit thrusts forward with another Water Pulse/Quick Attack combination, but Bulbasaur is able to slap it away with a Vine Whip attack this time. The Grass-type Pokémon follows it with a Petal Dance attack, hitting Surskit while dazzling the judges. Surskit gets up from the attack and is about to counter, but the buzzer goes off! The time for this battle has run out, and May is declared the winner. Harley, who's been watching this match, is upset at her win.

Without wasting any time, May and Harley take the stage for the final round. May asks Harley why he gave her that bad advice, and Harley admits how much he doesn't like her. He then tells her that Contests are serious, and May responds that she'll show him how serious she can be. May calls Bulbasaur while Harley calls Cacturne as the battle is under way. Cacturne starts off with a Poison Sting attack, but Bulbasaur is able to deflect them with its Vine Whip. Bulbasaur takes the offensive now as it uses Razor Leaf, but Cacturne is able to deflect those attacks with its Bullet Seed. May's Pokémon then uses Vine Whip, followed by a Tackle attack, to land a hit on Cacturne. The Cactus Pokémon is knocked down, and Harley screams out for his dear Pokémon.

The purple-haired Coordinator then reaches into his pocket and presses a button on what appears to be a small tape recorder. Suddenly, Max's voice can be heard over the loudspeakers of the auditorium! As Max sits in the audience, wondering what's going on, the voice over the loudspeakers tells an embarrassing story about May. Ash and the others ask what's going on, and Max told them that Harley had asked him to tell him a story before the Contest. It seems that he was recording it with a hidden tape recorder!

As May blushes from embarrassment, the story continues as Max tells (through a flashback) how May was playing in the water one day when she was little. She's approached by two Tentacool, so she swims over to pet them. Suddenly, she notices that she's being surrounded by a whole sea full of Tentacool! She yells for her mom and dad to help, and the flashback ends with Norman and Caroline getting ready to "help", but from what the recording said Caroline accidentally thought May was one of the Tentacool and actually tried to catch her. Everyone in the audience starts to laugh at May as the girl from Petalburg City angrily screams out her brother's name. Harley then starts to laugh and calls her "Miss Tent," causing the audience to laugh even more. As May boils in her own embarrassment, Harley's Cacturne sneaks up behind Bulbasaur and hits it from behind!

So the battle continues! After Bulbasaur recovers, it uses Razor Leaf, so Cacturne responds with the Poison Sting. It hits the starter Pokémon, but Bulbasaur quickly retaliates with a Vine Whip attack, followed by Petal Dance. Cacturne is able to dodge all of it.

Bulbasaur is visibly worn out as it struggles to keep up. Harley simply laughs, calling May "Miss Tent." Ash shouts at May not to give up as Cacturne begins to charge toward May's Pokémon. Bulbasaur responds by using Vine Whip to wrap around Cacturne's leg! Bulbasaur tosses Cacturne into the air, and as it falls Bulbasaur uses a combination of Razor Leaf and Petal Dance to knock Cacturne out. May wins the Contest! As Ash and the others cheer, May proudly holds up her new Ribbon. Harley quietly recalls his Cacturne and leaves the stage with only a "hmmpf." He ends by saying that he wants to face "Miss Tent" again someday.

Later that night, Max apologizes for telling Harley that embarrassing story. May decides that she isn't angry, and she wonders what they should do next. The others say that Izabe Island is a big place, so everyone agrees that they should do some sightseeing for a bit. So, Ash and the others make their way through a forest to their next destination.

Elsewhere, Team Rocket is seen manning a giant Pokéblock shop, serving dozens and dozens of customers. Jessie laughs as she imagines all the money they'll make, but it's soon revealed to be only a dream as we see that Team Rocket has fallen asleep beside their Pokéblock-making equipment. Better luck next time!

Major events

May holding the Purika Ribbon
For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.



Pokémon debuts

TV episode debuts




Pokémon Trainer's Choice

Pokémon Trainer's Choice: Tyranitar


May's fear of Tentacool
  • May earns the moniker "Miss Tent" (Japanese: メノちゃん Meno-chan) from Harley due to an embarrassing story that Max told Harley before the Contest. The story involves May being afraid of Tentacool and Tentacruel.
  • The English title is a pun based on the saying "A turn for the worse".
  • Team Rocket doesn't recite the motto or blast off in this episode.


  • When Harley is insulting May about her fear of Tentacool, he tells her to calm down lest she were to evolve into an Octillery. Octillery is actually the evolution of Remoraid, not Tentacool. However, it is possible that this was an intentional mistake on Harley's part.
  • During May and Harley's battle, at one point, the scoreboard is shown when Harley loses some points. The camera zooms out to reveal a bit of the clock that reads 5:00.
  • During May and Kent's battle, when Kent first commands his Surskit to use Double Team, he appears as if he is standing on the right side, although he is actually on the left.
  • When the counter reaches 0:00 during May and Kent's battle, their point bars both show full points.

Dub edits

  • A skull-and-crossbones symbol is replaced by а sad smiley face in Harley's scrapbook. This edit was only present in the Kids' WB! airings, and is not present in the Cartoon Network broadcast version, home video, and streaming releases, airings in other English-speaking countries nor in foreign dubs.
  • Caroline's cleavage is removed in the dub.
  • In the Latin American Spanish dub, Harley is referred to as a woman by Max when he is explaining why he told "her" about May's Tentacool experience. Furthermore, he is dubbed in a very straight way that contrasts with future episodes, where Harley's voice actor adds many extravagant elements to his personality and way of talking.
  • In the Brazilian dub, May's nickname is changed to "Estressadinha" (Stressy), making Harley's pun and his comment on her evolving into an Octillery pointless.
  • When Harley begins mimicking May after putting her photo on the scrapbook, he changes into her face twice, the first in the beginning of a sentence and the other in the middle for brief seconds. In the original version, the second time he changed into his face was to put emphasis on his annoyance of May's overuse of kamo, a Japanese word for uncertainty.

Pokémon Trainer's Choice

In other languages

AG102 : Where's Armaldo?
Advanced Generation series
AG104 : Claydol Big and Tall
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.