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EP265 : Pop Goes The Sneasel
Original series
EP267 : Love, Pokémon Style
A Claim to Flame!
Shirogane League Opening! Shigeru Again!
First broadcast
Japan September 19, 2002
United States September 17, 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 藤田伸三 Shinzō Fujita
Storyboard よこた和 Kazu Yokota
Assistant director 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
Animation director 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
No additional credits are available at this time.

A Claim to Flame! (Japanese: シロガネリーグかいまく!シゲルふたたび! Shirogane League Opening! Shigeru Again!) is the 266th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on September 19, 2002 and in the United States on September 17, 2003.

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


After arriving at Silver Town, Ash runs into his favorite person: Gary! Gary is set on entering the Silver Conference, and is determined that this time he will be able to make it all the way, and beat Ash!

While Gary huffs his way into the Pokémon Center, Brock leads the way to the Athlete's Village. On the way, they bump into Mr. Goodshow, who is giving out balloons to greet the and, as part of his duties as Pokémon League Torch Committee President. Ash promises Mr. Goodshow that he will give it his all in the Silver Conference, which cheers Mr. Goodshow up even further than his normal level of cheer.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket are working at a restaurant in order to try and get some money, but wind up eating their way out of a job. Ash, Misty, and Brock make it to the Athlete's Village, where they are treated to a luxury room, with a networked computer. They immediately head to the Trainer Screening, where trainers use their one best Pokémon to try and qualify for the Silver Conference.

Ash is called to the floor to take on Salvador from Cherrygrove City, and the computer determines that Ash must draw his Pokémon first. He chooses Pikachu against Salvador's Furret. Furret's Dig seems to get the best of Pikachu, and goes in for a Headbutt to finish things off. Pikachu manages to jump on top of it before Headbutt can land, and performs a powerful Thunderbolt that leaves Furret vulnerable to a Quick Attack. That is enough to win the battle, as Ash gets his first victory. Phanpy and Cyndaquil take out Ash's next two opponents, allowing Ash to move on to the Semi-Finals!

Harrison made it through the Screening as well, along with Gary. Mr. Goodshow reminds Ash that only 16 trainers will be able to move from the Semi-Finals on to the Victory Tournament, but Ash is determined to win it all, no matter what! Later that night, Ash is unable to sleep, and takes Pikachu for a walk along the shoreline.

They stumble upon Gary, who is also out to clear his head. Gary reminisces about the day he left Pallet Town, which also happened to be the day Ash got his Pikachu. Gary compliments Ash on how he was able to tame Pikachu's wild streak, to the point where they are now best friends. Who knows where they might have ended up is things turned out differently? Gary sees the possibilities awaiting both him and Ash, but that won't let him be stopped from trying to win it all in the Tournament! While continuing their friendship, the rivalry is still strong between the two trainers.

Waiting for the Silver Conference torch to arrive in Silver Town, Ash is approached by two people looking to get him to apply for the Footprint Pokémon Panel. When he goes to sign what he believes to be paperwork, the people are revealed to be Team Rocket, who tie Ash up and take Pikachu! Gary finds Ash tied up and goes to stop Team Rocket, who manage to bump into the Torch Runner along the way. Pikachu Thunderbolts Team Rocket, blasting them off, but the Torch Runner is hurt.

While Gary cares for the injury, Ash runs the torch for him, lighting the flame in the stadium, signaling the beginning of The Johto League Silver Conference!


The episode begins as Ash finishes his paperwork to formally enter the Silver Conference, Gary arrives and greets the pair, himself also finishing up on the paperwork. After a brief exchange of pleasantries, Ash and his friends decide to look around town for a while. The whole place is celebrating the tournament that is about to come. While looking around, Ash notices Mr. Goodshow handing out balloons to kids. As president of the Pokémon League, he explains, he intends to greet all the fans, and the best way to do that is through handing out balloons.

Meanwhile, at a nearby restaurant, Team Rocket is having trouble serving dishes to hungry diners. Though James keeps his cool in serving dishes and Meowth is keeping his in cooking them, Jessie snaps when a young girl addresses her as "old" and demands where her hamburger meal is. Believing that "the customer is no longer right", Jessie promptly eats all the food about to be served, causing the trio to be fired.

At the Silver Conference Athlete's Village Pokémon Center, just as the group is getting accustomed to their room (a luxury suite complete with a view of a lake and a computer for analyzing other Trainers), Ash and his friends head off for the screening rounds, designed to trim the field of 200 Trainers down to 48. Brock explains that the screening rounds are a series of one-on-one battles, with match-ups entirely computer-determined, with no Trainer having to battle more than three times. Ash, though, is confident he can pass the screening round. Against his first opponent, Salvador from Cherrygrove City, Ash is disadvantaged when he is told to make the first move. Ash chooses Pikachu, while Salvador chooses Furret.

Ash is off to a bad start due to wanting to play a speed game (Furret's Double Team matching Pikachu's Quick Attacks), and Pikachu ends up being subjected to repeated Digs and Headbutts. However, Ash gains the upper hand when Pikachu latches onto Furret, who tries to get into the dug holes in order to shake Pikachu off. This allows Pikachu to Thunderbolt a trapped Furret, and a final Quick Attack seals the match for Ash. Ash has no further troubles in the screening process, as Phanpy and Cyndaquil help Ash make it through with three wins.

Back in the Pokémon Center, Ash discovers that Gary and Harrison have also passed the screening round. Though Ash is confident that he can beat 47 other Trainers to the championship, Mr. Goodshow shows up and tells them all that it wouldn't be as easy, as the 48 Trainers are grouped into groups of three in the semifinal round, where only one Trainer from each group will advance to the Victory Tournament. Ash, nevertheless, is fired up.

That night, Ash couldn't get any sleep. He gets out of bed, accidentally waking Pikachu up. They both go out for a walk, Ash talking to Pikachu about this whole thing. But down some ways, they see Gary. Gary notices them and both of them have a talk. The full moon out that night reminded Gary of his first night as a Pokémon Trainer - the same day that Ash was late in getting up and got Pikachu as his first Pokémon. Gary wonders what could have been - if Ash had been on time, if he himself had not seen the full moon... but all the contemplation is for the future - the present is all about the rivalry, and Ash and Gary make it clear to each other that they will defeat anyone who gets in their way to the top - each other included.

The next day, the Opening Ceremonies begin. Silver Stadium, the Pokémon Stadium for the Silver Conference, is filled to capacity, awaiting the arrival of the finalists, and even Professor Oak, Tracey, Professor Elm, and Delia watching from home. As the semifinalist Trainers are corralled off awaiting their entrance cue, a pair of officials approach Ash, at the back of the line, asking Ash whether he has a "Silver Pokémon Footprint Panel", and that Ash could be disqualified if he did not. Realizing this, and that he could get a last minute registration, Ash leaves the line, which makes Gary further up the line curious.

Ash, however, finds himself tied up, as the two officials reveal themselves to be Team Rocket, who has also made off with Pikachu. As the athletes enter, Brock and Misty, in the stands, notice that Ash isn't there. Professor Oak and Tracey, at the Oak Lab, also notice that Gary is curiously absent. At the same time, Ash, attempting to break a locked door down, is freed by Gary. After telling that Pikachu had been kidnapped yet again, the rivals give chase to Team Rocket, but Team Rocket eventually collides with a torch runner as he enters Silver Stadium. This causes Team Rocket to drop Pikachu (which Ash recovers) as well as causing the torch runner to drop the torch (which Gary catches out of midair). Team Rocket's attempt to flee the scene is stopped by Pikachu's Thunderbolt, which sends them flying.

Though Ash has recovered Pikachu and the torch is still in one piece, the runner had twisted his ankle after Team Rocket had collided with him. Not knowing what to do, as the Silver Conference will not start without the torch, Gary tells Ash to make the final leg of the torch relay while he himself takes care of the runner.

Now everyone in the stadium is worried, since the expected time for the runner to show up has passed. Just when things look bleak, Ash makes it to the arena and runs up to the stairs to light up the big torch. As Mr. Goodshow gives a final speech to kick off the Silver Conference, it looks like the tournament is just beginning...

Major events

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


Pokémon debuts



Pocket Monster TV


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Scizor (US and international), Furret (Japan)


  • The title for the episode is derived from the phrase "A claim to fame".
  • This episode begins the seven-part Silver Conference arc.
  • Harrison does not have a speaking role in this episode.
  • "Dragonite Takes Flight", a song from Mewtwo Strikes Back, is used as background music.
  • Aim to be a Pokémon Master is used as an insert song.
  • In the Swedish DVD release on the episode selection screen, this episode was erroneously called Fäckelbäraren instead of Fackelbäraren.


  • In the English dub, Misty says Furret is a Ground-type Pokémon. It is actually a Normal-type Pokémon.
  • The Teddiursa teddy bear being held by the little girl in the restaurant doesn't have a crescent moon on its forehead.
  • When Ash's name is announced for his first battle, his eyes look lopsided.

Dub edits

In other languages

EP265 : Pop Goes The Sneasel
Original series
EP267 : Love, Pokémon Style
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.