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EP031 : Dig Those Diglett!
Original series
EP033 : The Flame Pokémon-athon!
The Ninja Poké-Showdown
Sekichiku Ninja Showdown!
First broadcast
Japan November 4, 1997
United States October 20, 1998
English themes
Opening Pokémon Theme
Japanese themes
Opening めざせポケモンマスター
Ending ニャースのうた
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 大橋志吉 Yukiyoshi Ōhashi
Storyboard 井硲清高 Kiyotaka Itani
Assistant director 井硲清高 Kiyotaka Itani
Animation director 志村隆行 Takayuki Shimura
Additional credits

The Ninja Poké-Showdown (Japanese: セキチクにんじゃたいけつ! Sekichiku Ninja Showdown!) is the 32nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on November 4, 1997, and in the United States on October 20, 1998.

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


Fuchsia Gym, the authorized gym where Ash seeks his next badge, turns out to be a hidden ninja's lair. After finally discovering and entering the gym, he is held up by a complex system of traps. At last, the gym's eccentric trainer challenges Ash to a match. Just as he defeats the trainer, the official battle with the Master begins. The battle goes out of control as Team Rocket also enters the gym and its vast array of traps. Can Ash actually earn the gym badge?


Ash and his friends find themselves lost in a forest en route to the Fuchsia Gym and decide to take a break by a waterfall. Brock brushes Vulpix and comments on its wonderful hair, whilst Psyduck takes a sip of water. Misty tells Psyduck that drinking cold water will only make its headache worse, but Psyduck responds with a blank stare, which angers her. She then asks Brock if he would like to trade Vulpix for Psyduck, though he refuses. As they head off for the Gym, a Venonat watches them from the trees.

The group ends up at an odd-looking mansion where they stop to ask directions, though it appears to be deserted. Misty leans against a wall and falls through it. Brock knocks on the wall and it is revealed to be a secret door, in which they quickly locate Misty. Suddenly, the same Venonat that was spying on them before appears. It hops away, so they decide to follow it. However, Ash runs into a small series of mishaps, such as being electrocuted by a Voltorb, colliding into an invisible wall, nearly falling off a ledge because of a wall trap and being pinned to another wall by several throwing stars. Then, a girl, who identifies herself as a ninja warrior Aya, jumps from the ceiling. Though Ash and Misty criticize Aya's dangerous traps, Brock is smitten and compliments Aya's outfit. However, she slaps his hand away and pushes him to the ground before claiming that she will not let the group go until she and Ash have a battle; he accepts the one-on-one match.

Aya sends out Venonat and Ash chooses Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur uses Tackle, but Venonat jumps on its head and launches a Stun Spore attack, which Bulbasaur blows away. It then replies with its Vine Whip, though Venonat evades it and scores a direct hit with its Psybeam. Bulbasaur then finishes it off with Leech Seed before its vines quickly entangle the Insect Pokémon and drain it of its energy. Aya recalls Venonat, just as a Voltorb appears and uses Self-Destruct, filling the room with smoke. Koga appears, explains that they are at the Fuchsia Gym, reveals that he is the Gym Leader, introduces Aya as his younger sister, and announces that he will battle Ash and not let the group go until he does. Ash states his intentions of wanting to find the Gym and challenge Koga, and Koga shows him a Soul Badge that he can earn by defeating him. Ash sends in Pidgeotto, and Koga responds by sending out his own Venonat, which promptly evolves into Venomoth. Koga orders Venomoth to use Stun Spore, and Ash orders Pidgeotto to use Whirlwind. This time, however, the Stun Spore paralyzes Pidgeotto. Venomoth then follows up with Sleep Powder, prompting Ash to recall Pidgeotto and send out Charmander. Venomoth uses Stun Spore again, but Charmander blocks it with Flamethrower.

At that point, Team Rocket arrives on the scene and performs a theatrical kabuki rendition of their motto, sending out Arbok and Weezing in the process. Ash, Aya, and Koga send in Charmander, Venonat, and Venomoth, respectively, to battle, but James throws a fistful of a sticky thread at them, immobilizing them. Pikachu then steps up, only to meet the same fate from Jessie. Misty then tries to send out Starmie, but Psyduck breaks out of its Poké Ball instead. An infuriated Misty asks Ash what moves Psyduck knows; Ash consults the Pokédex, which lists Tail Whip. Misty tells Psyduck to use Tail Whip, but Psyduck wags its tail to no effect whatsoever. The Pokédex then lists Psyduck's second move as Scratch, which Psyduck does use on Arbok, but it doesn't work. Arbok begins biting Psyduck's head, worsening its headache.

Koga then pulls a cord, opening up several ceiling panels and unleashing a large amount of Voltorb on the trio. However, Team Rocket uses more of their sticky thread to reel in the entire pack of Voltorb. Brock then notices that the room is slanted, and Koga explains that it is a strategy to confuse any opponents. Team Rocket breaks through a wall, with the Voltorb stuffed in a loot bag. Meowth bowls a Voltorb towards Ash and his friends, and it explodes. Ash attempts to retaliate, though his Pokemon are still entangled in Team Rocket's sticky web. When Psyduck runs frantically through the scene, Meowth hits Psyduck out of the way, agitated by its chaotic behavior. At that moment, Psyduck uses a variety of Psychic powers to freeze Team Rocket, send them blasting off, and remove the sticky gunk from Venonat, Venomoth, Charmander, and Pikachu. Ash's Pokédex chimes in, identifying Psyduck's third and fourth attacks as Disable and Confusion, respectively. Koga and Aya both offer to trade for Psyduck, but Misty declines, saying she wouldn't trade Psyduck for the world.

Ash and Koga resume their battle outside in the courtyard. Koga's Golbat makes the first move, swooping on Ash's Charmander with a Wing Attack. Charmander keeps Golbat away with his Ember attack, though Koga responds with Screech. Despite the high frequency, Charmander launches a series of Flamethower attacks, burning Brock's face and Golbat's wing in the process. Charmander then wins the battle with an intense Fire Spin. Koga promptly gives Ash a Soul Badge in recognition of Charmander's battle skill alongside Psyduck's efforts for saving the Gym and his Voltorb from Team Rocket, and the trio goes on their way.

Major events

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



Pokémon debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Venonat


Brock's eyes open
  • This is Maddie Blaustein's first episode as Meowth.
    • However, the first one, chronologically speaking, is Beauty and the Beach due to it being initially skipped in the dub.
  • Brock's eyes open up after being hit by Charmander's Flamethrower.
  • This episode marks the first time Psyduck jumps out of Misty's Poké Ball when she attempts to summon another Pokémon.
  • This episode was partially adapted into the book Psyduck Ducks Out.
  • This episode is featured on Volume 13: Psyduck from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.
  • Team Rocket performs Kabuki, a type of Japanese dance-drama, when they enter Koga's Gym.
  • Due to Koga later becoming a member of the Elite Four in the games, this is technically the first appearance of an Elite Four member in the anime.
  • The Gym is not located in Fuchsia City as it is in the games. Fuchsia City itself would not appear until almost 400 episodes later in Time Warp Heals All Wounds.
  • This episode was banned in South Korea, likely because of references to Japanese culture.
  • Parts of this episode were reanimated and used for flashback material for The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!.
  • In the Japanese version, Koga frequently makes use of the archaic polite language usually associated in Japanese media with samurais, including de gozaru and the obsolete personal pronoun sessha.


Ash's Bulbasaur using Whirlwind
  • When Brock opens the door to the mansion, he is to the right of Ash while Misty is to the left, but in the next shot, they swap places.
  • Koga has his Venomoth attack Ash's Pidgeotto with Stun Spore and Sleep Powder, which paralyze it and put it to sleep, respectively. However, no Pokémon can have more than one major status condition on it at the same time.
  • Even though Ash is stuck to the wall by the throwing stars, when the camera changes to show the side of Ash's face and sleeve, the stars are missing.
  • When Ash and his friends notice the Venonat, Ash's bag is missing. This also happens to Misty when Aya slaps Brock.
  • The Pokédex classifies Venonat as the Bug Pokémon instead of the Insect Pokémon.
    • Shortly afterward, Pikachu's left ear is briefly overlapped by Ash while part of Ash's right leg is missing.
  • When Ash asks Aya to remove him from the wall, Misty's eyes are colored white instead of blue.
  • When Koga tells Venomoth to use Sleep Powder, it is colored like Stun Spore.
  • In the shot right after Team Rocket performs their motto, Ash's gloves are completely black.
  • When Ash and his friends enter the slanted trap room in the mansion, there are several errors:
    • When the floor tilts, Ash and his friends tilt, but the trapdoor does not.
    • The wall design changes from one scene to the next.
    • Initially, the back wall is slanted, but appears normal later.
    • After Team Rocket blasts off, the room is no longer slanted.
  • When Pikachu tries to remove the webbing on himself, part of the stripe on Charmander is missing.
  • In several scenes, the back of Golbat's wings are colored blue instead of purple, similar to its pre-evolved form.
  • When Koga gives Ash his Soul Badge, it is perpendicular and rounder. However, when Koga unrolls it earlier, the badge was pointing away from the top.
  • In the English dub:
    • Ash commands his Bulbasaur to use Whirlwind, though in the games, Bulbasaur cannot legitimately know this move. This was most likely a dubbing error, since Whirlwind is known as ふきとばし Blow Away in Japanese. Ash was most likely telling Bulbasaur to simply "blow it away" rather than the actual attack.
    • Ash instructs his Pikachu to use "electric attack", which does not exist, while in the Japanese version he instructs it to use Thunder Shock. This is most likely a translation error, as Thunder Shock's Japanese name でんきショック means Electric Shock.
  • In the Swedish dub, after obtaining the Soul Badge, Ash's English voice can be heard.

Dub edits

  • Kanto Pokérap: Day 2
  • In the original version, Brock questions if Koga's Venonat's evolution was using Kawarimi no Jutsu, a ninja art also known as "Body Replacement Technique" or "Substitution Jutsu" in the West. In the English dub, this was changed to "metamorphosis attack".

In other languages

EP031 : Dig Those Diglett!
Original series
EP033 : The Flame Pokémon-athon!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.