Gathering the Gang of Four! (Japanese: 最初のポケモン！最後の戦い！！ First Pokémon! Final Battle!!) is the 189th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 463rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 24, 2006 and in the United States on February 10, 2007.
At the Fennel Valley Pokémon Center, Ash gets a special delivery from Oak's Lab—his Bulbasaur. Officer Jenny soon arrives with his Squirtle, and his Charizard flies in too. Ash is going on a retreat with these three Pokémon and Pikachu to train for his upcoming rematch with Brandon. Out in the forest, the four Pokémon work together to build a bed to sleep on, but Charizard hogs it at first and starts a fight. Eventually they calm down and rebuild the bed, get some food, and even practice their moves. That night Charizard lights a campfire, and Ash remembers how he met Pikachu, Charizard, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur.
Team Rocket happens to be watching, and they drive up in a noodle truck in which they manage to grab Pikachu. The truck releases a metal balloon that they then escape in. Ash takes to the air on Charizard, and has his Pokémon perform various attacks on the balloon to no avail. Eventually Charizard and Squirtle alternate their attacks, causing the balloon to crack so Bulbasaur can break it open. The four Pokémon then team up their attacks to send Team Rocket blasting off. Brandon emerges from the bushes nearby to tell Ash it's time to battle, and that they should make it a 4-on-4 battle with his four Pokémon.
Back at the Pokémon Center, Scott lets Ash know that he could be a Frontier Brain if he beats Brandon, but Ash is more worried about winning first. At the Battle Pyramid, the battle begins with Charizard versus Brandon's Dusclops. Dusclops traps Charizard in battle with the move Mean Look, and then uses Confuse Ray to confuse it. Eventually Charizard snaps out of its confusion. Ash makes a fatal error by having Charizard use Seismic Toss, which has no effect on Ghost-types like Dusclops. Dusclops performs Shadow Punch, knocking Charizard out.
The last stride of the Battle Frontier is upon Ash, as our heroes are outside of a local Pokémon Center. As our heroes are about to begin their departure, Professor Oak exits from the establishment and hands Ash a Poké Ball. Ash throws the Poké Ball unleashing the magnificent force of Bulbasaur, his old companion of Kanto. Pikachu rushes over to Bulbasaur and the both reacquaint themselves. The mysterious Squirtle of the devious Squirtle Squad rides in Officer Jenny's motorcycle as the two speed towards Ash. Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Pikachu reacquaint themselves with the old group. Brock once again falls for Jenny's charm but is broken out of his state of confusion by Max's stiff pull of his ear. After a few seconds, a silhouette resembling Charizard appears in the skies and begins closing in on his location. The grumble of Charizard's call can be heard from the distance. Ash welcomes Charizard with open arms and is welcomed by a blast from Charizard's Flamethrower.
May calls upon her Squirtle and as the Poké Ball explodes open, Ash's Squirtle uses its Water Gun to keep May's Squirtle suspended in the air. After the water recedes, the two begin dancing gently together. Ash's Squirtle towers over May's unusually small turtle Pokémon. As the two play, Brock hands Ash his faithful backpack. Nurse Joy gives Ash a parting gift of homemade cookies while Ash prepares his Pokémon for the journey to the Battle Pyramid. Charizard reassures Ash that he is ready by charring Ash, Pikachu, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur with another spray of its Flamethrower.
As our group continues down a nearby path, Ash comes across a group of logs blocking the path. Charizard uses his strength to propel the logs into the air as Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf to slice the logs into small pieces as each Pokémon catches a small piece. After all of the logs have been successfully cut, everyone places the logs into place forming a box. Squirtle uses Rapid Spin to create a wind current as Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip to capture nearby leaves, and Pikachu uses Quick Attack to force the foliage inside of the box structure. After the group finishes, a soft bed of underbrush is formed. Charizard slams down into the box, scattering leaves into the atmosphere. Squirtle becomes furious and launches a Water Gun, hitting Charizard directly on the forehead. Charizard wakes up from its nap and walks over to confront Squirtle. Bulbasaur and Squirtle prepare to dodge Charizard but soon after, Bulbasaur makes the decision to attack Charizard with Vine Whip but Charizard evades the attack and Bulbasaur's attack crashes down on Pikachu. Pikachu's tail begins growing brightly as he ascends into the air and hits Charizard with an Iron Tail. When Ash tries to stop the fight, he and Pikachu are blasted with Charizard's Flamethrower. Pikachu begins building electrical energy launching a Thunderbolt attack, shocking Ash, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charizard.
The group continues further down the path and soon come to a large tree. Charizard takes to the skies with his wings growing brightly, and Ash recognizes it as Steel Wing. Charizard descends around the tree cutting the fruit loose. Squirtle uses his Water Gun to keep the fruit ascended into the atmosphere while Pikachu and Bulbasaur use Quick Attack and Vine Whip to capture the fruit from the fall.
Dusk has fallen upon our hero while Ash prepares a fire for the night. Charizard uses his Flamethrower to light the fire as everyone moves away from his devastating force. The Flamethrower proves to be unsuccessful, only managing to heat the nearby rocks. Ash realizes that he foolishly forgot to place firewood into the fire pit. Charizard uses a smaller Flamethrower this time to light the fire gently. Night falls upon our heroes as the fire glistens and sparkles under the night sky. Ash reminds Pikachu of their past experiences in Kanto while he also brings up the same instances with Bulbasaur, Charizard, and Squirtle.
Morning has arrived for our heroes as training preparations continue throughout the day, Bulbasaur smashes rocks with his Vine Whip, Squirtle practices his Rapid Spin and Charizard once again shows off his Steel Wing attack. Throughout the day, the group's time goes good, with everyone splashing around in a small lake, until things go down much the same as the day prior, everyone once again gets into an altercation that leads to Ash attempting to step in and stop it, Pikachu just shocks him and the rest of the group again. The day concludes once more with our heroes sitting at a glistening fire once more. Nearby, Team Rocket plan their devious attack to capture Pikachu. After a few seconds, a strange vehicle emerges from the forest while Ash runs to greet the couple. The couple are a pair of ramen dealers who prepare ramen for travelers. An older man greets Ash stating that he needs an electric Pokémon. While Ash is distracted, the old man snatches Pikachu with his companion and escapes into the vehicle. The group speed off and reveal themselves as Team Rocket. The vehicle soon collapses revealing Team Rocket's balloon forged of a form of steel. Ash takes to the skies with Charizard. Bulbasaur attempts to stop the group from escaping with his Razor Leaf but the attack only is deflected from the balloon's outer surface. Charizard launches his Flamethrower but the metal only absorbs the heat. Squirtle uses Water Gun soon after also proving ineffective. Both Pokémon continue heating and cooling the metal weakening it after every attack. The steel soon begins to crack as Bulbasaur delivers the final blow causing the balloon to crush into the ground. Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charizard launch a combination of Electric, Water, Grass, and Fire attacks clashing with Team Rocket for a direct hit and blasting the trio into the sky. As Team Rocket blasts off, Jessie begins devouring a bowl of ramen fighting off James, Meowth, and James's Mime Jr.. Wobbuffet releases itself from the Poké Ball giving its notorious call. The trio disperse into the sky as a blinding light.
Ash checks the status of his Pokémon and notices the expression on Charizard's face. Charizard has noticed a nearby human within the vicinity. The underbrush moves gently as Ash welcomes Pyramid King Brandon with exuberance. Brandon extends an invitation for the second official battle. Morning arrives upon our hero as the two head towards the Pokémon Center. As our heroes are seated inside of the center, Scott introduces himself as the owner of the Battle Frontier. He reveals that any participant who can successfully complete the Battle Frontier is entered into the Hall of Fame and becomes a Frontier Brain candidate. As the time for the battle comes and Ash and Brandon take their places on the battlefield, the Battle Pyramid's ceiling opens up. Brandon calls upon his Dusclops while Ash selects Charizard as his start.
Charizard doesn't hesitate to being the battle with his Flamethrower as Dusclops counterattacks with Will-O-Wisp with both attacks clashing and dispersing into the atmosphere. Charizard charges and uses Steel Wing as Dusclops uses Shadow Punch making for a direct hit. Charizard recovers and strikes down with Dragon Breath. After Dusclops manages to recover, he counterattacks with Mean Look. Charizard charges his wings again and descends towards Dusclops for another Steel Wing attack, which hits directly. Dusclops takes advantage of Charizard being up close and uses Confuse Ray to confuse Charizard, which works perfectly. Ash attempts to recall Charizard back into his Poké Ball but proves unsuccessful due to Mean Look. Dusclops strikes Charizard with another Shadow Punch, sending it flying back into a wall as Ash tries to help Charizard recover. Dusclops strikes down with another Will-O-Wisp for a direct hit. Ash attempts to remind Charizard of his past battles while he tries to grasp consciousness once more. Charizard snaps out of confusion and launches another Dragon Breath attack for a direct hit. Dusclops launches another Will-O-Wisp attack knocking Charizard backwards. Charizard is now pretty tired after all the damage taken, and Dusclops is also showing signs of fatigue. Charizard blazes forward with another Steel Wing attack, hitting directly and rotates around to attempt to complete a Seismic Toss. As Charizard prepares to finish the attack, Dusclops's body disappears from Charizard's grasp due to being a Ghost-type. Dusclops takes advantage of its foe and uses another Shadow Punch to incapacitate Charizard. With Ash's most powerful Pokémon down, will he still be able to defeat Brandon, or have his Battle Frontier dreams gone up in flames?
In the English dub, Ash says "A lot has happened over the years", despite the fact that he did not age at all, still being ten years old after all of the seasons. He may have been breaking the fourth wall.
Ash's outfit error
Team Rocket refers to waiting for "nine seasons" in the English dub.