Battling For The Love of Bug-Types! (Japanese: ヒウンジム戦！純情ハートの虫ポケモンバトル！！The Hiun Gym Match! Purehearted Bug Pokémon Battle!!) is the 23rd episode of the Best Wishes series, and the 680th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on March 17, 2011 and in the United States on July 9, 2011.
The time for Ash’s Gym Battle with Burgh, the Castelia City Gym Leader and Bug-type Pokémon expert, has finally arrived! Burgh’s first Pokémon is Dwebble, and Ash sends out his Tepig. From the outset, Burgh’s Dwebble shows impressive speed thanks to an extra-light rock on its back, and its powerful Rock Wrecker attack quickly knocks Tepig out!
Next, Ash brings out his Sewaddle. Burgh is pleased to see his old friend from Pinwheel Forest—until Sewaddle makes quick work of Dwebble by knocking the rock off of its back with a well-placed Razor Leaf, evening the score!
When Burgh brings out his tough Whirlipede, Ash decides to stick with Sewaddle—who evolves into Swadloon in the midst of the battle! Swadloon’s powerful Energy Ball defeats Whirlipede, leaving Burgh with only his beloved Leavanny. The Nurturing Pokémon quickly overpowers Swadloon, leaving Leavanny to battle against Ash’s Pikachu!
Pikachu soon finds itself trapped by Leavanny’s String Shot. With its tail all wrapped up, Pikachu is way off balance and having trouble aiming! After several attempts to shake off the sticky string fail, Ash sends Pikachu diving straight into Leavanny’s Leaf Storm. It’s a risky move, but the sharp leaves cut right through the strings, and Pikachu is free! Back up to speed, Pikachu defeats Leavanny with a powerful Electro Ball, and Ash excitedly claims the Insect Badge!
Meanwhile, the Team Rocket trio have been getting the silent treatment from their boss, Giovanni. His secretary advises them to act on their own and do their best for Team Rocket. Jessie, James, and Meowth decide to go back to doing what they do best—annoying Ash while trying to steal Pikachu! And when James befriends a hungry Yamask that wanders into their cave, Jessie proclaims this an excellent omen for their future...
Ash and his friends arrive at the Castelia CityGym so he can battle Burgh, the Castelia City Gym Leader. When they get inside, they are amazed at how it is similar to a greenhouse. They find Burgh feeding a Sewaddle as he mentions how the trees were transferred from Pinwheel Forest to provide a natural environment for his Bug types. Burgh opens up the battlefield, coming up from the under ground. The referee announces that the battle will be three-on-three.
Burgh summons Dwebble as his first, while Ash goes with Tepig. Iris and Cilan agree that Tepig is a solid choice. Just then, Iris realizes that Burgh's Dwebble looks different from Cilan's Dwebble. Tepig attacks first with Tackle, but Dwebble dodges it. Tepig tries again, but Dwebble uses Dig to avoid it and strike Tepig. When Dwebble follows up with a fast X-Scissor, Burgh reveals that Dwebble's rock shell is actually lighter than average, giving Dwebble more speed. Dwebble uses Protect to nullify Tepig's Ember before launching X-Scissor, which Tepig responds with Tackle. Ash decides to order a Flame Charge all-in, but another Protect stops it. With Tepig close, Dwebble uses Rock Wrecker to take out Tepig, part of Burgh's strategy.
Wanting to initiate a "Bug battle", Ash presumptuously sends out Sewaddle. Sewaddle fires Razor Leaf, but Protect once against stalls it. Dwebble charges with X-Scissor, but Sewaddle fires String Shot at the ceiling to dodge. Protect stops Sewaddle's Bug Bite counterattack before firing Rock Wrecker. Sewaddle once again uses String Shot to dodge and retaliate with Razor Leaf, but Protect once again stops it. When Dwebble fires another Rock Wrecker, Sewaddle uses String Shot to wrap and stop it. Sewaddle's Tackle hits before Dwebble can use X-Scissor, which separates Dwebble from its shell. Sewaddle keeps Dwebble from its shell with rapid Razor Leaf/Tackle pressure, knocking it out.
For his second, Burgh sends out Whirlipede. Iris and Cilan note that Tranquill and Tepig would be effective here, but Tepig is down and Tranquill isn't in Ash's party. Ash keeps Sewaddle in, having it dodge a Poison Sting attack with String Shot. Sewaddle fires String Shot on Whirlipede, but Whirlipede simply spins in place to break it. A Steamroller attack hits Sewaddle hard, and a follow-up attack couldn't be stopped by Sewaddle's Razor Leaf. Sewaddle tries to retaliate with Bug Bite, but Whirlipede's Iron Defense easily repulses it. Whirlipede lands another Steamroller before trying a knockout shot SolarBeam. Sewaddle surprisingly takes it and glows with light, evolving into Swadloon. Swadloon fires String Shot onto Whirlipede, but it once again shreds it. Swadloon tries to dodge a Steamroller with String Shot, but Whirlipede runs into the string, cutting it. Whirlipede prepares to attack again, but an Energy Ball attack stops that. One Tackle attack is enough to take Whirlipede out of the match.
Meanwhile, at the harbor, Team Rocket tries to get a hold of Giovanni, but they are unable to uncover their next assignment. Matori leaves them to decide their own mission, so they decide to once again pursue Ash's Pikachu, with new drive and a new motto, bringing back their classic uniforms. A Yamask appears and checks out their computer. Jessie wants to catch it, sending out Woobat. James stops them and decides to feed it. It eats happily and afterwards, James asks it to join him, holding a Poké Ball. It goes in, allowing James to capture the Yamask.
Back at the Gym, Burgh sends out his final Pokémon Leavanny, the guardian of the Gym. Swadloon fires Energy Ball, but Leavanny uses Protect to stop it before using String Shot to cover Swadloon. Ash has Swadloon fires Razor Leaf on itself, breaking the strings but inflicting residual damage on itself. Swadloon is unable to dodge a powerful Leaf Storm and a follow-up Hyper Beam, finally taking it out of the match. Ash recalls it and contemplates his final Pokémon. Oshawott comes out and volunteers, but Pikachu steps forward, which Ash picks, crushing Oshawott.
Pikachu fires Thunderbolt, but Leavanny simply ducks to avoid it. Leavanny uses Protect to stop Pikachu's Iron Tail before retaliating with Leaf Storm, but Thunderbolt cancels it. Leavanny uses String Shot to wrap and impair Pikachu. When Pikachu tries to dodge another Leaf Storm with Quick Attack, it is unable to move quickly and gets hit, since the strings have frozen Pikachu's tail and prevent it from balancing. Pikachu tries to break it by biting it, but the strings are resilient. Pikachu gets knocked around by another Leaf Storm, and the strings impair Pikachu's Thunderbolt accuracy as well. A Hyper Beam attack once again knocks Pikachu about the stadium. When Burgh orders another Leaf Storm, Ash decides to have Pikachu dive into it while spinning. The attack weakens the strings enough for Pikachu to shake off. Burgh tries to slow Pikachu again with more String Shot, but with Pikachu's balance in order, it easily uses Quick Attack to dodge and even a Thunderbolt to cancel one. Pikachu lands powerful hits with Iron Tail and Electro Ball, taking down Leavanny and winning the match for Ash. Burgh presents him the Insect Badge which Ash displays with pride before putting it into his Badge case. With the victory, Ash and his friends leave the Gym and continue their adventure.
This episode was originally supposed to air on March 31, 2011 in Japan, but it was moved up two weeks earlier because of the original BW023 and BW024's postponement, which would then be later retconned out of canon. The dub also followed this skip.
Due to the reordering of the previous and following episodes, there was no next episode preview after the closing credits.
The first edition of the rental DVD with this episode is the only time its preview can be seen, attached to the end of the previous episode. Strangely, subsequent printings of the DVD removed this preview and restored the one for the skipped episode.
This episode marks the first time that one of Ash's Pokémon has evolved during a Gym battle.
Jessie and James go back to wearing their white uniforms and back to their mission of trying to capture Pikachu and other Pokémon. However, they still maintain their new gadgets and competence from previous episodes.
This episode ends James's streak of having no Pokémon with him - after 23 episodes.
Due to the delaying of the two previous episodes, this is the first episode to feature a new animation for the moveHyper Beam.
In India on Pogo instead of 2 commercial breaks, from this episode only one commercial break appears.
This episode is also the first time Matori appears in an episode but Giovanni does not.
The Team Rocketmotto that debuts in this episode was first seen in a preview prior to the debut of the Best Wishes series. However, in the preview, Team Rocket were still wearing their black uniforms as opposed to the white uniforms that returned in this episode. Whether this episode was meant to originally feature the black uniforms or not is unknown.
An instrumental version of Best Wishes! is used as background music in this episode.
The Polish dub of this episode mistakenly uses the English title card.
During Team Rocket's video conference with Matori, the line in which Meowth says her name is edited to remove it. The practice of removing her name in the dub continued until Full Moon and Many Arms!, 347 episodes later.