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EP253 : Great Bowls of Fire!
Original series
EP255 : Why? Wynaut!
Better Eight Than Never
Fusube Gym! The Final Badge!!
First broadcast
Japan June 27, 2002
United States June 21, 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 米村正二 Shōji Yonemura
Storyboard 藤本義孝 Yoshitaka Fujimoto
Assistant director 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
Animation director たけだゆうさく Yūsaku Takeda
No additional credits are available at this time.

Better Eight Than Never (Japanese: フスベジム!さいごのバッジ!! Fusube Gym! The Final Badge!!) is the 254th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on June 27, 2002 and in the United States on June 21, 2003.

201 Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details. 201


Having finally seen stability restored to the Blackthorn Gym, Ash and Clair face off in a gym battle. Ash opens with a surprise entry, his Snorlax, and defeats Clair's Kingdra to take victory in the first round. Clair quickly comes back, wearing Snorlax down with her Gyarados. Ash sends in Pikachu, hoping its advantage as an Electric Pokémon will be enough to defeat Clair's Water Pokémon. It isn't until he puts Pikachu's speed to use, however, that he emerges victorious. At two to one, Ash is only one win away from earning his final badge, but this last round—against Clair's Dragonair—promises to be the hardest one yet.


Ash and Clair are standing inside the Blackthorn Gym, preparing to start their rematch, which will be a three-on-three battle. Unsurprisingly, Clair chooses to start out with Kingdra, while Ash leads off with Snorlax, surprising Clair. Ash explains that he had went to the Pokémon Center the day before and changed his Pokémon around. Ash starts the battle with Snorlax's Hyper Beam, which Clair counters with Kingdra's Agility. Kingdra tries to hit Snorlax, but just bounces off of its bulky body. Clair has Kingdra use Swift, but the attack once again just harmlessly bounces off of Snorlax. Ash tries to use Snorlax's Body Slam, but Kingdra dodges it with Agility. Kingdra hits Snorlax again, but once again, Snorlax is left undamaged. Clair notes that her attacks aren't working against Snorlax's big body, and has Kingdra use Hydro Pump. Ash tells Snorlax to dodge the attack, but it is unable to, and is hit. Clair orders another Hyper Beam, which Snorlax avoids it by diving into the pool they're battling on. Ash congratulates Snorlax on its quick thinking. Ash orders another Body Slam, but as both Pokémon sink underwater, Snorlax starts weighing less, allowing Kingdra escape the attack without being crushed. Clair tells Kingdra to use Hydro Pump once Snorlax comes up for air. This worries Misty and Brock, but Ash tells Snorlax to jump out of the water. As Snorlax leaps into the air and Kingdra uses Hydro Pump, Ash orders Snorlax to lean back, and it manages to successfully dodge the attack without getting any damage. Clair orders Kingdra to use Swift, but Ash tells Snorlax to just take it. Clair orders another Hydro Pump, but it only does a little bit of damage. Kingdra is starting to look tired, and Brock realizes that Ash's plan must be to just wear Kingdra out, as Snorlax has a lot of endurance. Clair orders another Hyper Beam, but Snorlax dodges it once again by going underwater. With Kingdra's stamina starting to run low, Ash orders Snorlax to use Ice Punch, knocking Kingdra out of the match. Liza then comes in to join Brock and Misty in watching the match. Brock tries to flirt with Liza, but Misty pulls him aside before filling her in on the current situation of the match.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket are trying to dig a tunnel to Dragon Holy Land to steal the Dragon Fang, but when they attempt to surface, water starts pouring in, and Meowth realizes that they've actually been digging under the lake. The lake water starts flooding into the tunnel, washing Team Rocket away.

Back at the Gym, Clair sends out Gyarados as her second Pokémon. Clair orders Gyarados to use Hydro Pump, while Snorlax uses Hyper Beam. However, Snorlax is starting to tire out, causing Gyarados's Hydro Pump to overpower its Hyper Beam. Gyarados then uses Dragon Breath, and as Snorlax is still in the middle of recharging, it is unable to counterattack. As such, the Dragon Breath makes a clean hit on Snorlax, paralyzing it and preventing it from moving. Clair orders Gyarados to use Hyper Beam, which hits Snorlax head on, causing it to finally faint. Ash decides to use Pikachu next, choosing to use his Electric type against the opposing Water type. Clair has Gyarados use Hyper Beam, but Pikachu avoids the attack before slamming into Gyarados with Quick Attack. Clair is momentarily surprised by Pikachu's Speed, but quickly orders Gyarados to use Bite. Pikachu avoids the attack before using Thunderbolt, but Gyarados uses Dragon Breath, forming a barrier that blocks the Electric-type attack. Gyarados follows up with a Hydro Pump, which Pikachu tries to dodge, but still gets grazed by it, knocking him down for a moment. In a surprising maneuver, Gyarados leaps out of the water and starts squeezing Pikachu in a tight wrap. This, however, allows Pikachu to use a close-range Thunderbolt on Gyarados, dealing notable damage on the Atrocious Pokémon before it can move away. Gyarados tries to use Bite, but Pikachu keeps dodging the repeated attacks. However, the repeated evasive maneuvers eventually leave Pikachu driven into a corner. Gyarados attempts to finish Pikachu with a Hydro Pump, but Ash has Pikachu use Agility to race up the Hydro Pump to get into point-blank-range of Gyarados's face, allowing him to land another close-range Thunderbolt, knocking Gyarados out.

Underground, Team Rocket is having their mecha dig a tunnel for them this time while they relax and eat. Their mecha detects signs of the Dragon Fang and they surface, but instead of Dragon Holy Land, they discover themselves somewhere else. They see Charla sleeping nearby, and, examining it, realize that the mecha mistook its fangs for the Dragon Fang. Charla suddenly wakes up and, clearly disliking its sleep getting disturbed, proceeds to send Team Rocket blasting off again with a Flamethrower. In the process, they drop their bag of food, which is taken away by an unseen Pokémon.

At the Gym, Clair sends out her final and strongest Pokémon: Dragonair. Pikachu repeatedly uses Thunderbolt, but Dragonair keeps dodging them all. Misty, Brock, and Liza wonder what Ash is up to, as Electric moves don't work well against Dragon Pokémon. However, Ash's intentions suddenly become apparent as Dragonair dives close to the ground while dodging attacks, giving Pikachu a chance to use Quick Attack. Dragonair once again dodges the attack and uses Hyper Beam, knocking Pikachu out. After picking Pikachu up, Ash sends out Charizard as his final Pokémon. Kaburagi pulls a lever, opening the Gym roof so that the two Pokémon can use their flying abilities to their fullest. Charizard attacks with Flamethrower, but Dragonair dives underwater to avoid the attack before counterattacking with Hyper Beam. Charizard uses Flamethrower again, but once again, Dragonair dives into the water to avoid the attack. Clair then has Dragonair use Dragon Rage, engulfing Charizard in a cyclone that smashes it down to the ground. Ash urges Charizard to stand up, and it does so, before attacking with yet another Flamethrower, which is yet again avoided by Dragonair diving underwater. Dragonair attacks with Hyper Beam, while Ash has Charizard use Fire Spin, blocking the attack. Misty, Brock, and Liza understand that Dragonair can use the water to its advantage, giving it an edge in the fight. Ash issues yet another command for a Flamethrower, promoting Clair to repeat the now common order for Dragonair to dive underwater. However, Ash then changes his attack order into a full-power Fire Spin. All of Charizard's previous attacks have been evaporating the water in the pool, and this Fire Spin disposes of the remaining water, leaving the pool empty and Dragonair without a place to hide in.

Charizard attacks with Flamethrower, but Dragonair blocks it with Safeguard before striking Charizard with Iron Tail. Clair orders another Iron Tail, but this time, Charizard intercepts the attack and grabs Dragonair, preparing to use Seismic Toss. As Charizard is building up power, Clair has Dragonair use Dragon Rage, disrupting Charizard, and causing it to crash hard into the ground. Despite the heavy hit, Charizard is still able to stand up. After an exchange of fire with Hyper Beam and Flamethrower, Dragonair goes in for another Iron Tail, but once again, Charizard grabs Dragonair and goes for for another Seismic Toss. Once again, Clair has Dragonair use Dragon Rage, but this time, Charizard counters by using Fire Spin, engulfing both of them in flames and turning Seismic Toss into a "Flaming Seismic Toss". The attack slams into the Gym floor with a devastating force, and as the flames die down, Dragonair faints, making Ash the winner of the battle. Clair recalls Dragonair and congratulates Ash on his victory before handing him the Rising Badge. Ash, ecstatic of having just won his eighth Badge, makes his usual victory pose with Pikachu.

Later, Liza prepares to head back to Charicific Valley with Charla and Charizard, and as they take off, Ash, his friends, Clair, and Kaburagi wave them goodbye as they fly off into the sunset.

Major events

Ash holding the Rising Badge
For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.


Pokémon debuts



Pocket Monster TV


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Muk (US and international), Charizard (Japan)



Dragonair's missing horn
  • In the end, when Clair says good-bye to Liza, she mispronounces her name as "Laiza".
  • Brock states that Gyarados is a dual Water/Flying type, and Misty replies that Pikachu should "still" have an advantage over Gyarados because of his Electricity; this implies that Electric-type attacks are super effective against Water-type Pokémon but weak against Flying-type Pokémon. In reality, Electric attacks are strong against both, giving Pikachu a double advantage.
  • Dragonair's horn is missing when she faints from battle.
  • After Snorlax uses Ice Punch, Brock states how Dragon Pokémon have trouble against Ice-type attacks, but because Kingdra is part Water-type it would affect it normally. The reverse happened in a previous episode when Pikachu used his Electric-type attacks against Kingdra.
  • In one scene, Togepi's right arm is colored the same as its body.
  • When Snorlax jumped out of the water, its feet were the same color as its body.
  • When Ash sends out Charizard, the original generic animation of him throwing a Poké Ball is shown, a throwback to the original series. Because of this, Ash's hat is on backwards when it shouldn't be.
  • In "Who's That Pokémon?" it says that Muk's footprints are poisonous, but Muk doesn't have a footprint.
  • When Ash tells Charizard to use Fire Spin while using Seismic Toss, Charizard rotates its head a full 360 degrees.

Dub edits

  • It would seem that some of Charizard's Flamethrower attacks are dubbed as Fire Spin.

In other languages

EP253 : Great Bowls of Fire!
Original series
EP255 : Why? Wynaut!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.