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EP252 : Fangs for Nothin'
Original series
EP254 : Better Eight Than Never
Great Bowls of Fire!
Kairyu! Activate Imperial Rage!
First broadcast
Japan June 20, 2002
United States June 14, 2003
English themes
Opening Believe in Me
Japanese themes
Opening Ready Go!
Ending ポケッターリ・モンスターリ
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
Storyboard 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
Assistant director 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
Animation director 岩根雅明 Masaaki Iwane
No additional credits are available at this time.

Great Bowls of Fire! (Japanese: カイリュー!げきりんはつどう! Kairyu! Activate Imperial Rage!) is the 253rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on June 20, 2002, and in the United States on June 14, 2003.

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


Immediately after entering an area considered sacrosanct by the Dragon Pokémon that dwell there, Team Rocket sets off a chain of events that enrages the area's Dragonite guardian. Unchecked, this Dragon's rage threatens to destroy the area entirely and all those who dwell within it—including not only Team Rocket, but also Clair, the gym leader, and Ash and party. Facing a Dragon of an opponent, the odds are stacked against Ash, but when an unexpected ally—Ash's own Charizard—makes an appearance, Ash sees a glimmer of hope.


Moments after Team Rocket escaped in the arms of a Dragonite, Ash and his friends see Ash's Charizard approaching them from the sky. As Charizard lands on Ash and licks his face, Ash says that he hasn't changed a bit. Charizard is quickly followed by Liza, astride Charla's back, with whom both Ash and Clair are acquainted. It is revealed that Liza and Clair were good childhood friends and that Liza occasionally brings the Charizard from Charicific Valley to the Dragon Holy Land to train. Clair admits that she had seen Ash's Charizard before, but wasn't aware of his original Trainer. It seems that Charizard also has a romantic relationship with Charla, causing Brock to lament that he seems to be the only one here without any luck in love.

Liza asks Ash if he's had his Gym Battle with Clair, prompting the group to brief her on their recent troubles: Team Rocket stole the Dragon Fang, escaped into the Dragon's Holy Land, and tricked its guardian, Dragonite, into assisting them. Liza, Charla, and Charizard immediately pledge their assistance, and the group is soon towed across the Holy Land in Charizard-pulled balloons. As they fly, the group wonders why Dragonite would assist Team Rocket. Brock suggests that the criminals threatened to destroy the Dragon Fang, thereby forcing Dragonite to obey them, but Clair doubts that a Pokémon as intelligent and powerful as the Holy Land's Dragonite would fall for such a ruse. Kaburagi reminds Ash and his friends that Dragonite originally belonged to the first Blackthorn Gym Leader, who had dedicated his life to protecting the Holy Land; even after he passed away, his Dragonite continued her vigil in memory of her Trainer.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket is having a very uncomfortable flight in Dragonite's arms, but the latter assures them, as translated by Meowth, that she is taking them somewhere good. Dragonite finally drops her passengers off by a large lake, before going into the woods and collecting fruit for them to eat. As Team Rocket digs in, Dragonite implores them to eat in safety, promising them that no one will harm them now. Overcome with emotion, Team Rocket bursts into tears and praises their savior. However, the dastardly trio's attention is quickly drawn to their surroundings - namely, a small structure on the side of the lake.

In the air, Clair and company have spotted the same lake, prompting Kaburagi to wonder if Dragonite would take Team Rocket to the Dragon Shrine. When Ash questions Kaburagi about the Dragon Shrine, the old man explains that it was built long ago to represent hope for harmony between humans and Pokémon. Within the shrine lies the Prayer Flame, a symbol of the eventual peace between humans and Pokémon; despite being lit over 500 years ago, it remains strong to this day. Unbeknownst to the heroes, Team Rocket is sneaking into the shrine while Dragonite sleeps, planning to raid it of its valuables. They come upon the golden bowl containing the Prayer Flame and resolve to steal it, only for James to insist that they take it as is reasoning that it's probably worth more if the flame is still lit. However, the bowl's heat burns right through his gloves, causing him to hurl the flame out of the shrine. Jessie and Meowth curse James's clumsiness, but they soon realize that they have bigger problems; the fallen flame has set the landscape ablaze. Dragonite notices this, and turns on Team Rocket with a Hyper Beam, even as the flame burns out of control.

After dodging several attacks, Jessie uses Wobbuffet's Counter attack to reflect one of Dragonite's Hyper Beams back at her. However, the Dragon Pokémon has no choice but to use Outrage. Luckily, Ash and his allies arrive on the scene, with Charizard's Flamethrower saving Team Rocket from another Hyper Beam. Clair sends out Dragonair to put out the raging fire by making it rain with Rain Dance, while Liza, Misty, and Brock call on Charla, Onix, Geodude, Staryu, and Politoed to save the Pokémon trapped in the fires. Charizard glares at Dragonite, but Ash reins him in, intent on trying to reason with Dragonite first.

Team Rocket huddles at Ash's feet, thanking him for saving them; and Kaburagi takes the opportunity to retrieve the Dragon Fang from James. Clair begs Dragonite to recognize her and stop her attack but to no avail. Dragonite fires a Hyper Beam at her, which is only partially deflected by Charizard's Flamethrower. Although Clair is unharmed, Kaburagi finally realizes why the Pokémon is so unreasonable; he warns Clair that Dragonite is suffering from Outrage. As the guardian of the Holy Land unleashes a powerful Whirlwind that forces Dragonair to dispel its rain clouds, Misty asks Clair about Kaburagi's statement. The Blackthorn Gym Leader explains that Dragonite has become confused after performing its move too many times, causing her to attack everything she sees in a berserk fury.

Realizing that they need to battle Dragonite to snap her out of her confusion, Ash has Pikachu try a Thunder attack; unfortunately, Dragonite dashes up and knocks him down before he can attack. Ash catches Pikachu and is in turn saved from Dragonite's attack by Charizard. Ash again tries to talk Dragonite down, asking her to listen to the cries of the wild Pokémon around her, but the maddened Dragon/Flying type is unmoved. Kaburagi declares that Dragonite is using Outrage in response to something terrible, forcing James to admit his attempt to steal the Prayer Flame. As Misty's Politoed puts out the flames around the Dragon Shrine, Clair leaves Kaburagi in charge of restoring the shrine, while she tries to think of a way to stop Dragonite's rampage.

Meanwhile, Charizard and Dragonite face off over the lake. Charizard opens with a Flamethrower, knocking Dragonite into the water. Dragonite emerges unharmed and fires a Hyper Beam at Ash, but Dragonair intercepts the attack with Safeguard. Clair arrives and asks Ash to work with her in order to stop Dragonite. When Ash agrees, Clair has Dragonair use Thunder Wave to cut Dragonite off; when the fully evolved Dragon Pokémon breaks free, Charizard and Dragonair blast her with Flamethrower and Hyper Beam, respectively. Even this combination attack fails to slow Dragonite down, and she quickly evades and counters Dragonair's second attempt at a Hyper Beam. Ash has Charizard use Seismic Toss, but Dragonite dodges and hurls Charizard into the woods. As Charizard returns to the air, ready for another round, Clair realizes that Dragonite is too powerful for any single attack to work.

Trying a different approach, Clair orders Dragonair to summon thunderclouds while Charizard keeps Dragonite busy. Another Whirlwind blown by the latter forces Liza and Charla to land their balloon, now carrying Brock and the evacuated wild Pokémon. After a moment, lightning begins striking Dragonite, and Pikachu soon adds a Thunder attack to pin the Dragon Pokémon down. Despite the shocking assault, Dragonite tries to break free with Hyper Beam. In response, Ash has Charizard use Fire Spin to contain the attack. The energy of the Hyper Beam is thus reflected and turned back on Dragonite herself; nonetheless, the furious Pokémon attempts another Hyper Beam. This time, the combined attacks explode in Dragonite's face, sending her plummeting into the water.

As everyone regroups and holds their breath, Dragonite emerges from the water in a flash. Assuming the worst, Ash prepares to have Pikachu launch another Thunder attack, but Clair tells him to wait, and shortly after, Dragonite's attack rage finally subsides. Having regained her conscious state, Dragonite weeps over the damage she caused to her beloved Holy Land. As she is consoled by the other Pokémon living in the area, Misty and Kaburagi order Team Rocket to leave. Although the trio does so without protest, Kaburagi quickly realizes that they have taken the Dragon Fang from the box. One Thunderbolt attack later, and the Dragon Fang slips from James's hand as Team Rocket blasts off. Ash recovers the Dragon Fang, while Geodude places the Prayer Flame back in the Dragon Shrine.

Later, back at the Blackthorn Gym, Ash and Clair agree to start a new Gym battle the next day, as Charizard gives Ash a 'lucky' Flamethrower attack to the face.

Major events

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


Pokémon debuts



Pocket Monster TV


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Chinchou (US and international), Dragonite (Japan)


  • The English title of this episode is a reference to the song "Great Balls of Fire".
  • During this episode, with Charizard's arrival, Ash technically has seven Pokémon on hand, one more than the allowed six a Trainer can carry. However, it is possible that Charizard was nominally under Liza's ownership until Ash was able to officially swap one of his Pokémon out for Charizard in time for the Gym battle.
  • Some parts of this episode were reanimated in A Pokémon of a Different Color!.


  • Outrage is referred to as "Attack Rage" in the English dub.
  • Dragonair's Safeguard attack appears to neutralize Dragonite's Hyper Beam when it should have only protected it against status changes. However, this is consistent with other portrayals of Safeguard in the anime.
  • When Ash tells Charizard to use Fire Spin, Charizard uses an attack that looks like a sphere of fire.
  • Dragonite uses Whirlwind, a move that can't be learned by Dragonite in the games.

Dub edits

In other languages

EP252 : Fangs for Nothin'
Original series
EP254 : Better Eight Than Never
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.