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AG033 : Now That's Flower Power!
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
AG035 : Win, Lose or Drew!
Having a Wailord of a Time
AG034   EP308
The Great First Pokémon Panic!!
First broadcast
Japan July 17, 2003
United States May 22, 2004
English themes
Opening I Wanna Be a Hero
Japanese themes
Opening アドバンス・アドベンチャー
Ending ポルカ・オ・ドルカ
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 松井亜弥 Aya Matsui
Storyboard 藤本義孝 Yoshitaka Fujimoto
Assistant director 渡辺正彦 Masahiko Watanabe
Animation director 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
Additional credits

Having a Wailord of a Time (Japanese: はじめてのポケモンで大パニック!! The Great First Pokémon Panic!!) is the 34th episode of Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, and the 308th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on July 17, 2003, and in the United States on May 22, 2004.

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


May is eagerly preparing her Beautifly for the Pokémon Contest while Max watches her Torchic. He is debating which Pokémon he will begin with when he comes of age. May discovers a beached Wailord and contacts Nurse Joy at the Pokémon Center. Joy and Brock rush to help while Ash and Max are left to take care of the Pokémon Center.

Team Rocket decides to try to steal the Wailord. At the Pokémon Center, Ash, Max and all the Pokémon are having a difficult time capturing a particularly troublesome Torchic. The Torchic evolves into a Combusken, which is an even bigger headache, especially because a new Trainer is coming to choose between a Torchic, Mudkip, or Treecko. Team Rocket tries to steal Wailord, but the newly evolved Combusken foils their plans and sends them blasting off again. The new Trainer chooses Mudkip and Combusken is invited to stay and guard the Pokémon Center.


The next Pokémon Contest is rapidly approaching, and May is training hard for it. She declares that she cannot wait to battle Drew and rushes off to train with Beautifly, leaving her Torchic with the others. Torchic feels left out and upset as it watches its Trainer run off. Inside the Pokémon Center, Ash, Brock, Max and all their Pokémon are eating when Max pipes up suddenly. He is annoyed that May keeps leaving Torchic alone; it seems like she doesn't care about Torchic anymore, only Beautifly. Ash and Brock reassure him that Torchic will always be special to May, as it was her first Pokémon. Max wants to know what Brock's first Pokémon was, and Brock remembers back to his tenth birthday when he woke up and found an Onix leaning into his room with a red ribbon around its neck. He and his father, Flint, then sat on Onix's head and watched the sunrise together. Max imagines the Pokémon he will have when he becomes a Pokémon Trainer, thinking that his father could give him anything, even a Slakoth. However, the image of Slakoth squashing him shakes Max from his fantasies.

Nurse Joy walks past while doing her rounds. Brock enthusiastically asks if she needs any assistance, but she politely turns him down. She then focuses her attention on Mudkip, Torchic and Treecko as they eat and is impressed by their great condition. She informs the boys that there is a new Trainer coming to the Pokémon Center to choose one of the three Hoenn Starter Pokémon under her care and is actually on her way to give them a checkup before the Trainer arrives. Brock once again pushes his services onto an uncomfortable Nurse Joy, who this time accepts the offer, stating that she could actually use all of their help. Down by the beach, May is practicing with Beautifly for the contest when the pair notices a beached Wailord. Back at the Pokémon Center, Ash and the others are now standing with Nurse Joy in a room that resembles a mini-laboratory. Joy explains that since there is no Pokémon Laboratory in town, all of the new trainers begin their journeys there. She then allows Max to release the Starter Pokémon from their Poké Balls. He releases a determined-looking Torchic first, followed by a Mudkip that bursts into tears and is comforted by Brock's Mudkip. Finally, and most eagerly, Max sends out Treecko, who clasps its hands together and simpers. The excitement is interrupted by a sudden video call from a rather panicked May. She explains the situation about the beached Wailord that she discovered while training. Nurse Joy rushes off to help it, telling the kids to look after the three starters. She instructs them not to let them go outside because they are not used to the outdoors yet. An infatuated Brock decides to accompany Nurse Joy instead. Max is feeling really excited to take care of Pokémon for the first time. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is standing outside the window. Having hear about the Wailord, they decide they're going to catch it. The trio proudly declares that a big Pokémon means a big promotion.

Back inside, the Pokémon Center's Torchic runs off in an attempt to get outside. Ash calls on his Treecko, May's Torchic, and Brock's Mudkip for help. Torchic gets overwhelmed by the other Torchic’s pecks, while Mudkip gets kicked aside. Ash asks Pikachu for its help as well, and the Mouse Pokémon quickly springs into action, blocking the Torchic's path and sparking its cheeks at it. This temporarily brings it to a halt; however, some fake waterworks are all it takes to throw off Pikachu, allowing Torchic to hit him with an Ember attack, and continue its pursuit to freedom. Treecko is the next to step up, and it only takes one glare from the Wood Gecko Pokémon to unnerve the rebellious Torchic. Max scoops Torchic up in his arms, seemingly putting its escape attempt to an end; however, a few pecks to his hands and it is once again on the move. Ash sends out his Corphish to stop it, but Torchic attacks it with a flurry of scratches before bouncing off into the great outdoors. Ash and Max give chase, while an angry Corphish tries to battle the runaway Torchic but gets surprisingly overpowered by the feisty Chick Pokémon. The feat accidentally causes the Torchic to evolve into a Combusken, sending Ash and Max into a state of panic. After weighing all their options, including trying to pass off the newly evolved Combusken as May's own Torchic, they decide that the best solution is to substitute May's Torchic for the evolved one and try to stop the new Trainer from choosing it.

Later, May, Brock and Nurse Joy have returned to the Pokémon Center after giving the Wailord a clean bill of health. May is sitting at a table with Beautifly when Max brings her a cup of tea. He asks her if she needs anything else, and May starts to get a bit suspicious of the nice treatment. Meanwhile, Stephanie, the young Trainer, is inspecting the Starter Pokémon with her father. She is very indecisive and cannot choose between the trio. Suddenly, a loud banging noise is heard, which is shown to be Combusken trying to break down a door to a room Ash and Max have hidden it in. Nurse Joy questions what the noise is, and Ash assures her it is just the wind. Stephanie continues to mull over her choices, while Ash tries to persuade her into choosing Mudkip or Treecko. Looking at Torchic, Stephanie says that she chooses it, and Ash quickly tries to talk her out of it by claiming it's the worst choice a Trainer could start off with. In the other room, May finishes her tea before asking Max where Torchic is. Max slightly panics before telling her Torchic is outside. May heads for the door to go find it. Max tries to stop her, which leads to her getting very suspicious and demanding he tell her what happened to her Torchic. Back to Stephanie, and she is still unable to decide who to pick as her starter. Ash is still trying to push Mudkip and Treecko on her when May bursts into the room. Happy to see her, Torchic leaps into May's arms, who hugs it before demanding to know what is going on. On cue, Combusken breaks out of its hiding spot to the surprise of Nurse Joy. With the jig up, Ash and Max are left to explain what happened.

An abrupt noise then alerts everyone to Wailord being hulled away in the air by a sling with the Team Rocket "R" logo printed on it. They run outside and spot Team Rocket in their balloon, who go on to recite their motto. Before Ash and Pikachu can take action, Combusken attacks the balloon with Flamethrower. It then jumps into the air and severs the ropes holding the Wailord with a swift kick, freeing it and sending it falling back into the sea. As Team Rocket comes crashing down, Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to send Team Rocket blasting off. Stephanie and her father applaud Ash's efforts, with the father even admitting that this is the first time he has ever appreciated Pokémon. Nurse Joy tells Stephanie that Combusken is probably not the best choice for a beginner, so she chooses Mudkip. Treecko gets upset and starts to cry. Stephanie's father looks at Treecko and becomes moved by it. He says that he'd like to have Treecko, and asks Nurse Joy if it is too late for him to become a Trainer. She assures him that it is fine, and so Mudkip and Treecko prepare for a new life with their new Trainers. Meanwhile, Nurse Joy decides to keep Combusken as a guard Pokémon at the Pokémon Center, and Max looks forward to the day when he will get his first Pokémon.

Major events

Brock revealing how he got his Onix
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?: Lotad


  • Advance Adventure is used as background music.
  • The English dub title is based on the phrase "Having a whale of a time".
  • This was the last episode to air before M06 debuted in Japanese theaters.
  • The Hoenn starter Pokémon featured in this episode seemed to have the opposite personalities of the main characters' Hoenn starters. The Torchic is tough and cocky; the Treecko is gentler and tends to put a flower in its mouth because, unlike the Treecko that Ash owned, that Treecko was a female; and the Mudkip was cowardly.
  • When Ash and Max think about what will happen if they swap May's Torchic for the Combusken, Max says, "Congratulations, May! Your Torchic evolved into Combusken!" This is a reference to the message displayed when a Pokémon evolves in the games.
  • This episode is featured on Volume 19: Torchic from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.


  • In the scene where Max brings May a cup of tea, May's Beautifly disappears.

Dub edits

In other languages

AG033 : Now That's Flower Power!
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
AG035 : Win, Lose or Drew!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.