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AG002 : A Ruin with a View
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
AG004 : You Never Can Taillow
There's no Place Like Hoenn
AG003   EP277
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 Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire and the 277th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on December 5, 2002, and in the United States on November 15, 2003.

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


Ash and May have made it all the way to Petalburg City—the first city with a gym. Ash is very excited to take on the gym leader. May seems a little uneasy—perhaps it's because she hasn't yet told Ash that her father, Norman, is the gym leader in Petalburg! When Ash first gets to the gym, he meets May's little brother, Max, who is pretending to be the gym leader. Max knows a lot about Pokémon and can't wait until he's old enough to become a trainer. Once Ash finally meets Norman, he learns that he will need three Pokémon in order to battle at the gym. He only has Pikachu with him. When Norman agrees to an unofficial battle, Ash encounters his first Vigoroth. Ash realizes that he will have to train hard in order to win a badge in Petalburg City. After a quick scuffle with Team Rocket, Ash and May are ready to hit the road again. Max has decided to tag along, too!


Ash and May arrive at Petalburg City, and as the pair sits down in a park, Ash is quick to bring up the Hoenn League. He asks May if she wants to compete in the League, but she is startled and laughs off the idea. Ash wonders what the Petalburg Gym Leader is like, and May replies that she is sure "he" is a nice guy. Ash becomes suspicious of May's familiarity with the Gym Leader, but she admits having heard a lot about him on the streets. Ash suggests they go to the Gym together, but May rushes off to take care of things.

Ash soon reaches the Petalburg Gym, steps inside, and reaches the main arena. He tries introducing himself to present a challenge, but there is initially no response. Ash tries again, just as a young boy carrying books walks into the room. The boy recognizes Ash and asks him if he was in the Silver Conference. Ash confirms this and says he got all the way to the Victory Tournament. The boy tries to remember Ash's name and guesses it is "Alf". After Ash corrects him, the boy goes onto criticize Ash's performance against Harrison's Blaziken. Ash becomes infuriated by the young boy's sharp comments and orders him to call out the Gym Leader. In a surprising twist, the boy claims he is the Gym Leader. Ash doubts it but immediately asks if he could challenge him and the boy accepts. As both of them prepare to battle, the boy says that they will each use three Pokémon, though Ash only has Pikachu to fight for him. At that moment, May peers through a window and returns 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.

May formally introduces her family to Ash. It is revealed that Max is too young to be a Trainer, and Max and May's father, Norman, is the real Gym Leader. May's mother, Caroline thanks Ash for helping escort May home. Caroline turns her attention to May's missing bicycle, and she explains that Pikachu shocked it to a crisp. Max asks to see which first partner Pokémon May chose, and she sends out Torchic. Max is disappointed that May picked Torchic, and states that he would have picked Treecko, which causes Torchic to start pecking him, much to Ash's amusement. Caroline doesn't mind the extra company, so Ash decides to enjoy lunch with the family. Over the dinner table, Ash reveals that he used to travel with his friends. During the meal, Ash asks about the rules Norman uses for his matches; Max makes a comment that it was the same rules as he stated before, a three-on-three match. When Ash is dismayed by this, Caroline tells him that he can have his other Pokémon sent to the Pokémon Center. However, Ash replies that he wants to start fresh and only use Pokémon he catches in Hoenn. Norman is impressed by Ash’s ambitions and offers him an unofficial match, which Ash doesn't mind. Just after lunch, everyone goes back to the arena for the battle.

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. When the Pokédex tells him that Vigoroth is both powerful and quick, Ash feels he has an advantage since he emphasizes on speed. Unbeknownst to everyone, Team Rocket has been spying on them through a window. The villainous trio plans their next move to see if they can snag Ash's Pikachu, and maybe the Gym Leader's Pokémon. The first strike is a Thunderbolt from Pikachu, but Vigoroth uses its quick reflexes to easily jump away. Vigoroth soon runs towards Pikachu at high speed and Slashes him. As a result, Ash switches from Electric moves to physical attacks, and Pikachu sprints into a Quick Attack. Even so, Pikachu's speed is still no match for Vigoroth; Pikachu ends up being tossed around and is eventually defeated.

Suddenly, Team Rocket blows a hole in one of the Gym's walls. Unaware of the threat, Caroline thanks Team Rocket for assisting May on her journey so far, thinking they are friends. Team Rocket scoffs at the idea and launches into their motto. Jessie sends out Arbok and James calls on Weezing to attack the group. Weezing uses Smokescreen, as Arbok use Headbutt on Pikachu. Vigoroth decides to help, but when it cannot see through the Smokescreen, Max suggests that May should use her Pokémon. Nervously, May calls out her Torchic, but as she pauses to think, Arbok lands an attack on Torchic. As Jessie gets ready to steal Vigoroth and Pikachu, Ash has Pikachu use Thunderbolt on them, but it hits Max by accident. As Ash checks to see if he is okay, Team Rocket escapes in the Smokescreen. Once the dust settles, May realizes she has lost her Torchic.

The trio flees in their balloon. They soon land, and Jessie reaches into the loot bag to find Torchic instead. Torchic retaliates and lands an Ember attack on James's face. Jessie is upset, admitting that Torchic is definitely not Team Rocket material. Meowth comes up with a backup plan and suggests they use Torchic as bait to get Pikachu. Meanwhile, May's family and Ash decide to split up to cover more ground in their search for Torchic. Caroline and Norman search together, leaving the children on their own. Max first attempts to use a magnifying glass to find footprints, but May reminds him that Team Rocket fled in a balloon. May’s parents soon return with good news; they've located Team Rocket nearby. They reach the clearing, and Ash confirms that the balloon is unmistakably Team Rocket’s. May spots her Torchic stuck in a cage, so she and her little brother rush forward. Ash tries to call them back, but it is too late as the pair fall into a hole. Norman and Caroline run after them; Ash tries to stop them as well, but they fall into another pitfall trap. The trio emerges from hiding to laugh at the family’s predicament.

Ash reaches for Bayleef's Poké Ball, but he quickly remembers that he only has Pikachu with him. As Ash peers into the pitfall trap, Jessie calls for Arbok to attack. Ash sends Pikachu out to confront the trio while he helps May and Max out of the hole. Caroline and Norman make it out on their own. Norman is infuriated at the trio for stealing his daughter's first Pokémon and he sends Vigoroth into the fray. James calls on Weezing to even things out. Meanwhile, Max sneaks passed the trio and reaches Torchic's cage, freeing it. Torchic returns to May, who tries to use its attacks at Max's suggestion. Meanwhile, Arbok wraps itself around Vigoroth, so Ash has Pikachu help it by using Quick Attack on Arbok. Then, May tries to use Torchic's "Amber" attack, but Max corrects her, saying she meant "Ember". When May commands it again, Torchic attacks Max by mistake. This time, she tells it to use Peck, but again it attacks Max. Meanwhile, Arbok Headbutts Pikachu, however, Vigoroth tackles both Arbok and Weezing into the balloon. Pikachu follows up with Thunderbolt, sending Team Rocket blasting off.

Despite the theft, some good has come of the situation: May and Torchic are already showing signs of bonding. Later, back in front of Norman's Gym, as May and Ash are about to resume their journey, Max insists that he is coming with them. Norman notes that Max will be a good help thanks to his wide knowledge, while Caroline says it will be a lot less trouble for her. Despite May's clear irritation, Norman asks Ash, who quickly agrees to the idea. As a gift, Norman gives Ash and May a Badge case each and Max is thrilled to receive a PokéNav. With his new toy in hand, Max rushes ahead as Norman directs Ash to Rustboro City for the closest Gym.

Major events

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



Pokémon debuts




Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Cleffa



  • In one scene during Ash's flashback of the Johto League, Blaziken's hands are red instead of gray.
    • Shortly after, orange stripes appear in Charizard's wings twice.
  • Ash calls Max by name before knowing him.
  • After Ash's Pikachu lost the battle to Norman's Vigoroth, the back of Ash's shoe had a different design between scenes.
  • When Ash is thinking about his Noctowl, his shirt is missing.
  • When Ash and his friends find Team Rocket's hot-air balloon, Norman's right hand is missing.
  • At the end of the episode, Ash and May are leaving and waving goodbye. However, instead of walking off-screen, for a split-second, they appear to walk in place at the screen boundary.

Dub edits

  • In the original Japanese version, the name that Max keeps getting wrong for Ash is "Satoru", while in the English dub, he calls Ash "Alf".
  • 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 is caught on fire, the scene of Torchic with a sad expression was also taken out from the dub.
  • The original Japanese version of this episode contains an untranslatable pun. When May first commands Torchic to use Ember, she mistakenly says "kinoko", and an image of a mushroom pans across the screen. In Japanese, the words for mushroom (キノコ kinoko) and Ember (火の粉 hinoko) sound nearly identical. In the English dub, May instead says "amber", which was likely the only word that the dubbers could come up with that both sounds similar to Ember and makes the mushroom bit as relevant as possible, since the mushroom is arguably amber in color.
  • In the Kids' WB version of this episode and first two North American home video releases, 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. This also does not occur in the 2017 North American home video release, Cartoon Network and Boomerang airings, Australian home video releases, Pokémon TV, Disney NOW, and digital home video releases.

In other languages

AG002 : A Ruin with a View
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
AG004 : You Never Can Taillow
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.