The Symbol Life (Japanese: 初陣！バトルファクトリー！！（後編）First Battle! Battle Factory! (Part Two)) is the 136th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 410th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on July 28, 2005 and in the United States on April 22, 2006.
Ash has opted to battle Articuno with Charizard in his Battle Factory match. Now he's busy training with Charizard, who has gotten even stronger during its time in the Charicific Valley. Team Rocket, secretly watching from the roof of the Battle Factory, are hopeful they can snatch the impressive Pokémon for themselves. But when the battle gets underway, the roof of the Battle Factory opens and they fall into the main chamber where everyone can see them.
Articuno and Charizard waste no time in clearing out the intruders before Noland and Ash get down to business. This Articuno is tough and knows a Water-type attack, so Charizard is in for a rough time. The two Pokémon wage a fast-paced flying battle that looks like it might end in Noland's favor as Articuno ices up Charizard's wing. Good thing for Ash that Charizard has a new trick in store: Overheat!
Articuno also packs a powerful Steel Wing, but Charizard grabs it mid-attack and turns the move into a Seismic Toss. Articuno tries to get back up and battle, to no avail. Ash is awarded the Knowledge Symbol along with a Frontier Folio to hold his Battle Frontier Symbols, and Noland congratulates him on a battle well-fought. Next stop, the Battle Arena!
The morning sun rises as Ash alongside Pikachu soar into the sky to test Charizard's strengths in preparation for his upcoming Battle Factory clash. Charizard showcases its incredible flight control and an impressive Flamethrower, a testament to its time training under Liza in the Charicific Valley. Ash orders a Dragon Breath. A dazzling burst of yellow-green flame erupts from Charizard's mouth, neatly blasting a hole through a cloud. He calls for some high-altitude flying, and Charizard shoots straight up, stunning May and Max with its Speed. Team Rocket watch the practice session through their binoculars, and they are also impressed by Charizard’s performance. Jessie suggests they wait until Charizard tires out Articuno, and then they'll swipe the Legendary Pokémon for their boss. Meowth wants to know what they'll do if Charizard gets beaten, and Jessie says they'll steal Charizard instead.
Later, Sergio leads Ash, his friends and Scott into the Battle Factory's arena. Noland soon steps onto his battle platform, and tells Ash that it's been a while since he's had a top-notch opponent, and he hopes Ash knows that he won't hold back. Ash says that he was counting on it, and Noland calls in Articuno, while Ash sends out Charizard. Seeing as the match will quickly into an aerial display, Scott escorts Brock and the others up to the stands for better viewing. Meanwhile, Team Rocket are atop the Factory roof, to which Meowth explains that they'll cut a hole in the roof, and when Articuno flies high enough, they'll grab it and head off to the Boss. However, the trio's scheme fails when the rooftop opens in preparation for the aerial match-up. Team Rocket hits the battlefield hard, but bounce back with a motto recital. Articuno uses Ice Beam and freezes the trio before Ash uses Charizard's Flamethrower and Pikachu's Thunderbolt to send them blasting off.
The match finally begins, and both Charizard and Articuno fly up into the air. Charizard uses Flamethrower, which scores a direct hit after overwhelming Articuno’s counter Ice Beam. Ash is exultant that Charizard can stand up to Articuno, but the Legendary flies straight back into the air, not looking any worse for wear. Ash calls for another Flamethrower, but Articuno uses its speed to evade the attack and fly right past the FirePokémon. Noland tells Articuno to spin in a steep dive and Ash tells Charizard to fly right for it. Articuno uses Mist, which disorientates Charizard, before battering its opponent to the ground. Charizard stands up, shaking its head. It looks up just in time to see Articuno fly straight for it out of the Mist cloud. Ash calls for Dragon Breath, and though Articuno dodges twice, it is hit on the third try. Charizard rushes in to grab its opponent, though Articuno escapes with ease. Noland calls for Ice Beam, and it strikes Charizard on the wing. Ash calls for Flamethrower, which Articuno dodges and hits Charizard with a Steel Wing. Charizard falls from a huge height and crashes into the earth again.
Charizard stands up, growling. It looks battered, but Articuno is still unmarked. Articuno uses a Water Pulse, sending Charizard into the wall. Ash calls for Charizard to get up, but it hunches its neck in pain. Ash is getting really nervous, and thinks he may have only one chance left. However his focus quickly returns to the match as Articuno uses another Ice Beam. Charizard soars away, though its wingtip is frozen in the process, causing it to lose control. Articuno follows up with Water Pulse, turning the ice into projectile shards. Charizard shields itself with its wings and enters into a steep climb, though its speed is greatly reduced thanks to its frozen wingtips. Charizard launches a Flamethrower to counter, but Noland’s Ice Beam and Water Pulse combination still hits its mark.
Noland tells Articuno to finish the battle by getting above Charizard. Ash realizes it's time to use that attack Charizard learned all on its own. He tells Charizard to get above Articuno, and use Overheat! Charizard glows bright red, and the ice on its wing melts. Both Pokémon zoom higher and higher into the air before Charizard releases its built up Overheat attack. However, the Legendary counters with Water Pulse, which collides with Overheat in an explosion and intense flood of light. Noland orders a Steel Wing, so Articuno bursts from the smoke and scores a direct hit. Charizard looks tired and very battered, while Articuno is still as strong as ever. Brock realizes that Charizard won't be able to withstand another direct hit by any attack. Ash knows that he can't use Overheat anymore - it won't be as effective. He realizes that there is only one chance left to win the battle.
Noland tells Ash he has battled bravely, but it's time to end the match. He orders another Steel Wing. Charizard stays unmoving in midair, as May, Brock, Scott, and Max watch in anxiety. Right before Articuno can strike, Ash orders Charizard to grab it. Charizard grabs the glowing wings with its claws, taking both Noland and Articuno by surprise. Ash directs Charizard to perform a Seismic Toss. Charizard brings Articuno in close, and spins downward directly into the battlefield. After the dust cloud settles, Charizard is not moving while Articuno struggles to its feet. Sergio is about to rule Charizard out, but Noland orders him to wait. Articuno then collapses while Charizard manages to stand up. Sergio awards Charizard the win, defeating a Legendary Pokémon, and giving Ash his first Battle Frontier Symbol, the Knowledge Symbol, in the process. Noland also hands Ash a Frontierfolio to store all of his future Symbols in. Afterwards, Articuno sets off once again and Charizard heads back to the Charicific Valley. Following on Scott's suggestion, Ash and his friends soon leave for the next Battle Frontier facility, the Battle Arena, which Max reveals isn’t too far away.
Before the battle begins in the dub, Scott says that he will finally see Ash battle, but he was the referee of Ash's battle against Agatha just a few episodes ago.
In the dub, when Charizard is first hit by Ice Beam, Max states that the move should have no effect on Charizard since it is a Fire type. This is untrue because Ice-type attacks on Fire-type Pokémon are not very effective, not ineffective. Furthermore, since Charizard's secondary type is Flying, Ice Beam should do normal damage.
In the dub, Scott says, "Overheat attacks lose their effectiveness and cause less damage each time they're used." While partially true, it implies that only the move itself loses power instead of its actual effect, which lowers the Pokémon's Special Attack and thus the effectiveness of all Special moves.