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AG102 : Where's Armaldo?
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
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 Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, 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.

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


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, with its performance pleasing May. After seeing her training, Harley, a fellow Coordinator, approaches May to introduce himself and his main Pokémon Cacturne. Harley becomes jilted after May looks up Cacturne on her Pokédex and admits that Cactus Pokémon looks scary. He offers her a cookie, though is left unimpressed when May admits they aren’t half bad. Harley quickly vanishes, leaving May confused. Hidden behind a nearby wall, Harley takes a polaroid snap of May before pasting into his personal scrapbook, only to draw 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.

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 her teammates watch. Later they attempt to make some Pokéblocks, but the end product looks more like misshapen lumps. Meowth and James give up, but Jessie yells at them because they don't have much time before the Contest starts.

At the Contest Hall, Vivian welcomes the audience to the annual Purika Contest 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.

As entry 17, 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. Later, Harley takes to the stage as the final contestant, calling 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 remarkable speed. Cacturne ends its run around routine to etch a skull and cross bones formation into the field with its Bullet Seed attack. Harley’s performance is well received by the judges. Backstage, May nervously awaits the announcement of the Coordinators who will move on to the Contest Battles. Soon the results are announced, and May is relieved to have qualified, as have Harley, Kent, and the Coordinator with an Azurill, for the second round. Harley, however, 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, making for a cute display. Cacturne responds with a Poison Sting attack that pops all the bubbles before striking Azurill down with a Bullet Seed. The judges rule a Battle Off for Azurill, so Harley proceeds to the next round. Backstage, May congratulates Harley on his win. Harley thanks her before giving her some deliberate misinformation on how to handle her opponent’s Surskit – he advises her that Surskit are slow and to move in close to attack. May thanks him as she steps on the stage.

Kent starts off the next semi-finals match. He has Surskit use Double Team. May decides to follow Harley’s advice as Surskit approaches with a Quick Attack, hitting May's Bulbasaur. It uses Water Pulse followed by a Quick Attack, hitting Bulbasaur again. As Vivian announces that Surskit are well known for their speed, May decides to abandon Harley's advice. 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 as the timer for battle has run out. With the most points remaining May is declared the winner, though the victory leaves Harley fuming.

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 tells her that Contests are serious, and May responds that she'll show him how serious she can be. May calls Bulbasaur while Harley selects Cacturne as the battle gets 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 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.

In an underhanded tactic, the purple-haired Coordinator reaches into his pocket and presses a button on his small tape recorder. Suddenly, Max's voice can be heard over the loudspeakers of the auditorium. The voiceover relays an embarrassing story about May’s childhood, where she found herself surrounded by a school of Tentacool while swimming. As she called out for help, her mother, Caroline pulled out a Poké Ball and attempted to catch May because of her blue swim cap resembling a Tentacool. The audience laughs, and Max quickly realizes that Harley recorded him during their private discussion. Harley 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.

May returns her focus to the field and order a Razor Leaf. Cacturne evades before striking its opponent with a Poison Sting. 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. The round ends before the timer stops, and May is announced as the winner. 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 flicks through his book once again and smirks as he imagines defeating "Miss Tent" someday.

Later that night, Max apologizes for telling Harley that embarrassing story. May decides that she isn't angry at her brother, and she wonders what they should do next. Ash replies that Izabe is a big island, so the group decides they’ll do some sightseeing before reaching Cerosi Town. As for Team Rocket, the trio's money-making Pokéblock scheme fails to get off the ground, leaving them to only dream of the possibilities of wealth and success.

Major events

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



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, about 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.
  • This is the first episode that doesn't have any Generation II Pokémon appearing in it since Princess vs. Princess, 325 episodes ago.


  • 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 as an insult. Being called an octopus in Japan is considered an insult.
  • 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 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.
  • In the English dub, it is implied that Contests are only held there once a year. The original Japanese version doesn't mention how often they occur.

Pokémon Trainer's Choice

In other languages

AG102 : Where's Armaldo?
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
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.