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EP264 : Mother of All Battles
Original series
EP266 : A Claim to Flame!
Pop Goes The Sneasel
Nyula and the Sacred Flame!
First broadcast
Japan September 12, 2002
United States September 16, 2003
English themes
Opening Believe in Me
Japanese themes
Opening Ready Go!
Ending ポケッターリ・モンスターリ
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
Storyboard 木村竜二 Ryūji Kimura
Assistant director 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
Animation director たけだゆうさく Yūsaku Takeda
No additional credits are available at this time.

Pop Goes The Sneasel (Japanese: ニューラとせいなるほのお! Nyula and the Sacred Flame!) is the 265th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on September 12, 2002 and in the United States on September 16, 2003.

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


With Larvitar returned to its rightful home, Ash and company make their way to Silver Town for the Silver Conference Tournament. On the way, they find a group of people lined up by the Ho-Oh Shrine, where the Silver Conference Torch is ready to be carried!

The torch runner appears to be late, and when an attendant goes to tell them the news, Togepi and Pikachu run inside. Ash and the others catch them, but not before they see two trainers leaving in a huff, afraid for their Pokémon's safety. The attendant is saddened that two more trainers have fled the Shrine, and turns to Silver Conference entry Ash Ketchum for help! Before Ash can answer, Harrison, a trainer from Hoenn, appears to help them out.

The attendant tells the tale of the shrine and why it is here; a Ho-Oh put a stop to a battle by spreading its flame throughout the area. All weapons burned, and the land was left uninhabitable, until one day, plant and animal life returned. One flame remains, which has been preserved as The Sacred Flame at the Ho-Oh Shrine. At the top of the steps is a Sneasel, which is intent on stopping anyone from approaching the Shrine. Without being able to get close, they will be unable to use the Ho-Oh's flame to light the torch!

Ash and crew approach the Secret Flame, just as Team Rocket get approached by the Sneasel, and its Machop and Machoke friends, for invading their space. Sneasel's Faint Attack sweeps Team Rocket into a frenzy and blast off before long. Ash makes his way to the shrine while Misty and Harrison deal with Machop and Machoke, but Sneasel shows up toss top Ash before he can take the flame. Totodile tries to stop the Sneasel, but gets taken out of the match before long by Sneasel's Shadow Ball. Ash and Totodile crash into a tree, but Ash refuses to give up.

In the forest, Team Rocket talk about replacing Meowth with Sneasel, believing that Meowth is keeping them down, while Sneasel could help them start winning some battles. Meowth overhears the conversation, and puts a plan into motion to stop them from getting the Sneasel. Ash and Harrison are still trying to stop Machoke and Machoke, and use Phanpy and Houndoom to get the job done. Before Harrison can catch Sneasel, team Rocket come around in a Sneasel shaped balloon!

Meowth, dressed in a Sneasel outfit, approaches the wild Sneasel with a smoke bomb, but clues Sneasel in on the trick before it can go off. The bomb goes off anyway, but Team Rocket grab Meowth by accident, who goes and pops the balloon, blasting them off for a while longer. Harrison calls out his Blaziken, a Pokémon Ash's Pokédex has no data on, as it is native to the Hoenn region. Blaziken's Fire Punch manages to knock down Sneasel, long enough for Harrison to catch it!

Machop and Machoke are hired to guard the shrine for good, as the torch is lit and carried off to Silver Town. Harrison announces that he too is entered in the Tournament, and cannot wait to meet Ash in the stadium!


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After returning Larvitar, Ash and the gang head toward Mt. Silver. Along the way, they notice people gathered at a large closed gate. When they get there, Ash asks a bystander what's going on. The person says that there's some commotion going on the other side. The bad thing is though, this gate leads to Mt. Silver, so everyone's stuck. The gate opens a tad and one of the attendants explains the current situation. While this is happening, Togepi, who was on the ground, walks towards the gate. Pikachu follows after Togepi and soon the attendant notices that they are inside the gate! The gang runs after them.

Pikachu and Togepi are reunited with their Trainers, and they apologize to the guard. But the attendant says it's probably perfect timing anyway, since he didn't know how else to say this. Before he can finish, two Trainers run down a set of stone steps and it looks like they were in a battle. One of them yells at the attendant. Ash asks what was that all about, then attendant finally says that nobody's been able to get to the Sacred Fire. Ash, as usual, asks about that. Soon another Trainer steps in to tell about that.

But before the stranger could tell the story, the group breaks that off with a "Who are you?". The Trainer is Harrison from Littleroot Town in Hoenn. Brock says he's heard of Hoenn, which is supposed to be around here. Harrison starts to explain that long ago, this area was one major place for battles and wars. People ravaged the place so badly that the Pokémon suffered because of it and the vegetation was wiped out. Ho-Oh appeared after a battle and unleashed a rose-colored flame that stopped the battles and "burned" the area back to life. Eventually the forest that stands now was restored. But a bit of a tree was left burning for the longest of times. And they placed the fire in a shrine that's supposed to be around here.

The attendant adds that recently there have been reports of a Sneasel, a Machop, and a Machoke preventing people from getting near. Every Trainer who volunteered to try to stop the offending Pokémon ended up coming back with hurt Pokémon, broken bones, and other serious injuries. The attendant is really worried, because without the Sacred Fire, the ceremony for the Silver Tournament can't start, and thus, no tournament this year.

Ash says he'll make sure he can get the Sacred Fire secure from the Sneasel, mainly because he wants to go compete. Harrison, on the other hand, wants the Sneasel and will help Ash out if he can get his hands on it. Ash asks where is the shrine and the attendant points the way: the same stone steps. Everyone soon goes up the stairs.

Somewhere else in the forest, Jessie and James are searching for the Sacred Fire. They plan to get it and sell it off, and finally they find the shrine, but as soon as they run, they get clotheslined by a Machoke. All but Meowth are decked, Meowth looked around and saw that there was a Machoke and a Machop, followed by a Sneasel. Jessie and James get back up and see the Sneasel and decide to capture it as well.

Jessie sends out Arbok to try to take care of the cat. She commands Arbok to use Headbutt, but Sneasel simply jumps out of the way and uses Fury Swipes on Arbok. Meowth makes a snobby comment but Jessie throws him to battle to prove what he said. Meowth tries to use Fury Swipes on Sneasel, but Sneasel dodges the attack and gives Meowth a Slash, which sends the cat Pokémon crashing into Jessie and James and sending them all clear across the path.

The group is almost there, and when they almost reach the top, Ash runs towards the shrine. However, he almost gets clotheslined as well, but manages to avoid it. He almost falls backwards down the stairs, but everyone else grabs him. When everyone reaches the top, they find out it's the Machop and the Machoke that the attendant was talking about. They decide to distract the Pokémon and then run from them since our heroes don't want to waste time.

Misty sends out Corsola and Harrison uses his Houndoom to take down the fighting duo. They successfully hold them back with Spike Cannon and Flamethrower. While this is happening, Ash goes up to the shrine and opens the doors, but almost gets swiped by the Sneasel. Ash sends out Totodile to take the Sneasel on. Ash tells Totodile to use Water Gun, but tells Totodile not to hit the Sacred Fire, and Totodile attacks Sneasel. Sneasel strikes back with Slash and knocks Totodile down, but not out. Finally the Sneasel gives Totodile a Shadow Ball that throws Totodile right into Ash! Both get sent right back down the hill, but fortunately they collide into a tree.

As for the Rockets, Jessie and James get a little doubtful about Meowth. Jessie pulls James over for a private talk about this. Jessie says that they should get the Sneasel, since it's more powerful than Meowth but no less different, as it's still a cat. Meowth sneaks up on the conversation and listens to the whole plot to ditch Meowth for that Sneasel. James is a little hesitant, since he can't picture someone replacing Meowth. Meowth hurries back before they're finished and soon Jessie and James go back. Jessie tries to cover up their plot with some excuse and Meowth pretends to be happy about it. James on the other hand seems a little hesitant.

The group plans out some tactics and soon goes at the Sacred Fire again. This time they encounter the fighters who are waiting. Ash sends out Phanpy and Harrison uses Houndoom. Phanpy takes Machop down with a Take Down and Houndoom hits Machoke with Headbutt. This knocks the fighters back and when they try to run to their opponents, Houndoom and Phanpy lift them up and send them down the hill. The duo lands on the bottom where the attendant is standing, looks like they could do something else now.

They find the Sneasel, but soon the Rocket's in a Sneasel balloon float above. Everything's almost the same, except Meowth imitating Sneasel. Everyone but Ash knows that it's just Meowth in a Sneasel costume. So the Rockets put their plan into effect. Meowth brings over a present box to the Sneasel. Jessie tells the plan: Meowth gives the box which is really a smoke bomb, Jessie and James pick up Sneasel, and they run off. As for Meowth, he tells the Sneasel what's really going on. The Sneasel doesn't bite and slashes Meowth, the smoke bomb coming out of the present anyway. The bomb explodes and the Rocket's make their move and grab Sneasel. They run off and laugh in their success, but when they check on Sneasel, it's really Meowth! Meowth gives both Jessie and James a good scratching.

The smoke clears and the group is surprised to see that Sneasel is still there. With no time to waste, Harrison takes the chance and initiates battle. He sends out a new Pokémon this time: Blaziken. Ash tries to scan it on the Pokédex, but there's no data. Brock realizes that this must be a Pokémon from the Hoenn region. The first attack Blaziken uses is Quick Attack, which the Sneasel has no chance of dodging. The Sneasel tries to counter with a Shadow Ball, but Blaziken dodges from that and counters with Flamethrower. Blaziken gives Sneasel a Fire Punch, knocking it down. Harrison throws a Poké Ball at Sneasel and catches the Pokémon.

Ash comments about Harrison's Blaziken, seeing this Pokémon being strong and all. Finally, they go get the Sacred Fire. The ceremony of the Silver Tournament begins with a runner bringing the fire to the stadium. Harrison says that he'll be at the Tournament and he's looking forward to seeing Ash there. Ash on the other hand is left stunned but is feeling confident that he's going to win.

Major events

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



Pokémon debuts

TV episode debuts



Pocket Monster TV


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Elekid (US and international), Sneasel (Japan)



  • During the intro, Ash and his friends walk down a slope that does not exist. The flat trail is drawn from a diagonal, overhead view, but the group walks as if it were a decline seen from the side.
  • When Ash introduces himself to Harrison, Pikachu appears distorted and flattened.
  • As the attendant explains the legend of the sacred fire, Brock's belt changes from black to green.
  • Pikachu is on Ash's shoulder when they go up the stairs to the shrine, but disappears in the shot of Ash about to fall after Machoke tries to Karate Chop him.
  • After Jessie and James realize they grabbed Meowth by mistake, one shot shows them without noses.
  • Ash's Pokédex doesn't recognize Blaziken because, as Brock claims, it belongs to Hoenn. However, the Pokédex recognized Kecleon when it debuted 60 episodes before.
  • Jessie's Arbok has two tongues in the first scene it is called out.
  • In the Norwegian dub, the attendant mispronounces Ho-Oh as "Oh-ho".
    • Also in the Norwegian dub, James refers to Meowth's evolved form as perser, which is a domestic cat breed. This mistranslation is due to both the Pokémon Persian and the Persian cat having the exact same spelling in English. The same error was previously made in EP044.

Dub edits

In other languages

EP264 : Mother of All Battles
Original series
EP266 : A Claim to Flame!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.