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EP041 : Wake Up Snorlax!
Original series
EP043 : The March of the Exeggutor Squad
Showdown at Dark City
Showdown! Pokémon Gym!
First broadcast
Japan April 30, 1998
United States October 29, 1998
English themes
Opening Pokémon Theme
Japanese themes
Opening めざせポケモンマスター
Ending ポケットにファンタジー
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 武上純希 Junki Takegami
Storyboard 横田和 Kazu Yokota
Assistant director 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
Animation director 武田優作 Yūsaku Takeda
Additional credits

Showdown at Dark City (Japanese: たいけつ!ポケモンジム! Showdown! Pokémon Gym!) is the 42nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on April 30, 1998, and in the United States on October 29, 1998. It was initially intended to air in Japan on January 27, 1998, but was rescheduled following the EP038 incident.

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


In the middle of a terrible desert, our heroes inadvertently wandered into Dark City. With no name but Dark, the city has fallen into ruin. The streets, even at midday, are vacant of people. But suddenly, a rare figure appears and begins to throw stones at Ash and friends. They had heard at a restaurant in town, that this town contains two authorized Pokémon gyms, but that their Masters try to battle traveling Pokémon trainers anywhere within the town. This is said to be the cause of the town's desolation. Will our heroes also be caught up in the whirlwind of these battles?


Ash and his friends arrive in Dark City, which appears to be a ghost town, much to Brock's dismay. They are even more curious to see a parent herding their child off for fear of Pokémon Trainers in the area. As Ash, Misty, and Brock ponder why that is, Pikachu is hit by a rock thrown from the roof of a nearby building. When Ash tells Pikachu to retaliate using a Thunderbolt, they hit three kids on the rooftop. When they go apologize to them, however, they get a cold shoulder treatment, as the kids want the group out of the town. The kids, however, are stopped by a local restaurant owner, who invites them to his restaurant.

At the restaurant, while eating lunch, Pikachu takes a particular liking to eating ketchup from the bottle. The restaurant owner explains to Ash and his friends, as well as a mysterious patron who had happened to overhear, that Dark City has two rival Pokémon Gyms, the Yas Gym and the Kaz Gym. Both Gyms seek official status, but to do so they would need the approval of the Pokémon League inspector, who is scheduled to arrive at any moment. As there could be only one official Gym per city, each Gym seeks to eliminate the other before the inspector arrives. The restaurant owner further explains that Pokémon Trainers who have neared Dark City are recruited for the cause of either Gym. At that moment, fighting between the two Gyms breaks out. As Ash, Misty, and Brock watch from the safety of the restaurant, the three note that the fighting is not as much of a Pokémon battle as it was a gang war. The Yas Gym's Scyther and the Kaz Gym's Electabuzz in particular are dispatching the men of the opposing Gym with ease.

At that point, the safety of the restaurant is shattered when Team Rocket, hired by the Kaz Gym as elite bodyguards, invades the restaurant in disguise and demand food. They send out Arbok and Weezing to deal with the restaurant owner when he refuses because of the Kaz Gym having run up a large tab. Ash sends Pikachu and Misty her Starmie to intercept Team Rocket, but they are beaten by Brock, whose Vulpix quickly forces Team Rocket out of the restaurant with a Flamethrower. Vulpix has now garnered the attention of a female Yas Gym recruiter, who tries to recruit Ash and his friends for their cause. At the advice of Misty, who claims that taking sides would ruin their reputations as Trainers, Ash, looking at Pikachu's ketchup bottle, introduces himself as Tom Ato, Misty as Ann Chovy, and Brock as Caesar Salad. They are then taken to the Yas Gym.

The Yas Leader is introduced to the trio, and proceeds to judge how powerful he is by suddenly releasing his Scyther to attack Pikachu. The Scyther's Cut attack, however, is blocked by Pikachu's ketchup bottle. This resulted in Scyther getting squirted in the eyes with ketchup, blinding it and making it attack its own Trainer. Surprised, the Yas Leader recalls Scyther and asks Ash to join him. When asked why the Yas Gym wanted to be an official Gym, the Yas Leader responds that it is simply a means to earn money quickly, as with official Gym status comes prestige and funding. Because Ash does not see this as a worthy cause, he declines. However, the Yas Leader, mad at Ash for refusing, orders his underlings to physically beat him up with a Hitmonchan, Hitmonlee, Machoke, and Mankey. Ash, aided by Misty and Brock, flee to the restaurant. There, Misty is curious as to why he was able to escape the Yas Gym so quickly and uncovers the answer from Ash's Pokédex: Scyther and Electabuzz are color-sensitive, and the color red in particular will send the two into an outrage. Knowing this, Ash and his friends devise a plan to stop the fighting once and for all by defeating both the Yas and Kaz forces in one fell swoop.

Once again, fighting breaks out on the streets of Dark City between the Yas and Kaz forces. Scyther, using a Swords Dance boosted Cut, manages to destroy Kaz's forces and city buildings with ease. While Electabuzz and Thunder Punch manages to do the same against the Yas forces. When Ash sees an opening, he tells Misty, Brock, the restaurant owner, and the kids to dump tomato ketchup that were stored in barrels on the roofs of various buildings, on all the Trainers, soaking them. This makes Scyther and Electabuzz go into a rage, and they begin to attack their own Trainers. Yas and Kaz, the two leaders, are at Ash's mercy, and Ash decides to end this by having Bulbasaur Vine Whip two barrels of tomato sauce on Scyther and Electabuzz, soaking both. When the two turn to attack each other due to the rage, they run into each other, knocking the two out.

When Ash asks whether the two Leaders have learned their lesson and resolved their differences, the two leaders finally agree to team up and deal with Ash. In response, Ash orders Pikachu to unleash Thunder, shocking both sides. Before any more damage can be done, however, the mysterious patron appears. The patron reveals herself to be Nurse Joy, the Pokémon League inspector, and tells everyone that neither Yas nor Kaz deserved to be an official Gym because street fighting would not be tolerated. However, Nurse Joy allows the two Leaders a second chance, and tells the two that Ash would make a fine tutor with regards to how to be a proper Pokémon Trainer and how to start over as one united Gym, but even "Tom Ato" is at a loss of words with regards to how to be one. However, Ash does manage to tell the two Leaders to repair all the damage to the city that they had caused, and they quickly get started on the restoration.

As Ash, Misty, Brock, and Pikachu leave Dark City, they are met again by the kids from in town. They had quickly become fans of Pikachu and decide to become Pokémon Trainers themselves. Meanwhile, Team Rocket, having been covered in red ketchup just as a building falls on them during the battle, are run out of town by Scyther and Electabuzz in their red-induced rage.

Major events

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


Pokémon debuts

English dub debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Scyther


Pikachu crying over a broken ketchup bottle
  • Ash and his friends decide to use fake names for sake of safety. Since they are in a restaurant, they use food as inspiration for their false names: Ash uses the name Tom Ato, derived from tomato; Misty uses the name Ann Chovy, derived from anchovy; and Brock uses the name Caesar Salad. In the Japanese version, they use names derived from ketchup, chicken rice, and curry rice, respectively.
  • Pikachu reveals his fondness for ketchup. The next time he does so is in A Ruin with a View, 234 episodes later.
  • This episode reveals Electabuzz and Scyther's apparent dislike towards the color red.
  • The story of this episode is based on the famous 1961 Japanese samurai film Yojimbo. In it, a lone samurai warrior played by Toshiro Mifune puts an end to rival gang fighting in a small, desolate town.
  • This is the first episode in which an HM move is used, as Yas's Scyther uses Cut.
  • Team Rocket isn't seen in their regular uniforms throughout this episode.
  • In the English dub, the title card is written in all caps.
  • This episode may serve as a reference to Pokémon Adventures manga, as the Yas and Kaz Gyms share its more violent battle style. Both sides' Pokémon are shown to attack other Trainers directly, and the two "Gym Leaders" show no apparent qualms in killing each other's Pokémon or severely injuring each other.


  • During one of the ketchup scenes, Pikachu's red cheeks are missing.
  • Shortly after Nurse Joy reveals herself as the Pokémon League Inspector, the two Gym Leaders are no longer drenched in ketchup.
  • In one scene, the "z's" on Ash's cheeks are missing.

Dub edits

  • Kanto Pokérap: Day 2
  • During the ketchup scene, Pikachu was voiced by Rachael Lillis because the lines are muffled by the human conversation.

In other languages

EP041 : Wake Up Snorlax!
Original series
EP043 : The March of the Exeggutor Squad
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.