水中花 suichūka are a type of artificial flower which "blossoms" when placed in water.
The Water Flowers of Cerulean City (Japanese: ハナダシティのすいちゅうかThe Suichūka of Hanada City) is the seventh episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on May 13, 1997 and in United States on September 16, 1998.
Ash seeks the Cascade badge in Cerulean City—but for some reason, Misty doesn't want to join them. When Ash and Brock show up, the city is buzzing about a break-in that just took place—and are initially accused of the crime! (We see Team Rocket commit the robbery, but no one else knows about their involvement yet.)
Ash and Pikachu arrive at the Cerulean City gym, which resembles an aquarium with an Olympic-sized swimming pool. They see a water show performed by the Sensational Cerulean City Synchronized Swimming Sisters. Later on, Ash learns that the sisters are actually the Gym Leaders. He challenges them, but they don't feel like battling and instead offer him the Cascade Badge without a fight.
It looks like Ash will have his Cascade Badge without breaking a sweat...but then a fourth Gym Leader step up! Who is this mysterious Gym Leader? What does Team Rocket plan to do with the stuff they stole? And where's Misty?
When Ash and Brock enter Cerulean City, they see a big crowd of people surrounding a building. Unbeknownst to them, Team Rocket had stolen a vacuum machine from the store overnight. Ash and Brock push through to the front, they see Officer Jenny and she accuses them of being criminals. When they prove their innocence, she lets them go, and ushers the crowd away. After that, they sit on a bench and Ash asks Brock for inside information on the Gym Leader. Brock tells him that as a Gym Leader, he cannot give out that information. Then Brock decides to check something out that he has been meaning to look at. They split up, and Ash heads to the Cerulean Gym alone.
When Ash reaches the Gym, he finds three sisters performing a synchronized swimming show for a lively crowd. Ash meets the girls backstage, finds out that they are the Gym Leaders, and challenges them to a battle. The girls, Lily, Daisy, and Violet, explain that their Pokémon are too tired to battle from matches against three Trainers from Pallet Town. Lily shows Ash the trio's final Pokémon, a Goldeen. Daisy claps her hands and a Seel with the badge in its mouth appears, whereupon she offers Ash the Cascade Badge without a proper match. Misty, who had been spying on the entire scene, intervenes and challenges Ash to a battle. As it turns out, Misty is herself a Cerulean Gym Leader as well, and also the youngest of The Sensational Sisters, but because she is so much younger than her three sisters, they call her a runt.
After Misty argues with her sisters, she challenges Ash to an official Cerulean Gym battle, two Pokémon per side. Ash tries to send out Pikachu, but Pikachu refuses to go into battle because he considers Misty a friend. Instead, Ash sends out Butterfree to battle Misty's Staryu. Ash hits Staryu with a Tackle, and Staryu replies with several Water Guns. Butterfree's Stun Spore paralyzes Staryu temporarily, though it dives and washes the powder off. Ash tries Sleep Powder, though Staryu dives once again. Staryu performs several Tackles and eventually knocks Butterfree into the pool, causing him to lose the battle. After that, Misty sends out Starmie and Ash sends out Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto uses Whirlwind on Starmie, but it jumps into the water and attacks Pidgeotto. Pidgeotto uses Gust, causing Starmie to hit the wall and its red core to flash. Just as Ash is about to win the battle, Team Rocket interrupts and tries to steal all of the Water-type Pokémon and the water from the Gym using a giant vacuum machine – the one stolen the previous night.
While Team Rocket's vacuum is sucking up the Water Pokémon, Pikachu releases a Thunderbolt attack, which causes Team Rocket to fall into their machine and be blasted off. Ash rushes over to the machine and reverses the vacuum, just as Pikachu is sucked in. After Team Rocket is gone, Daisy gives Ash the Cascade Badge in recognition of Pikachu's efforts. Misty tries to argue, but her sisters convince her that if Ash had used Pikachu he would have easily beaten her Water-type Pokémon. Misty agrees with her sisters and claims that when she comes back from her journey with Ash, she will be a great Trainer. Brock then meets Ash outside of the Gym. Ash and Misty continue to argue about who would have won the match, as the trio heads for Vermilion City.
This episode has led many fans to believe that Misty's last name is Waterflower. In actuality, the words "water flowers" used in the title are merely a metaphor used to describe the three sisters' grace and beauty, and their own names come from flower species.
It is implied in this episode that a GymBadge serves as a secondary ID for a Trainer, or a primary ID for a Gym Leader, as Brock used his Boulder Badge to clear his name in regards to accusations of being a criminal, whereas Ash used his Pokédex as his method of clearing his name.
This episode begins the gag where Brock becomes immediately infatuated by almost every girl he sees, as he asks Officer Jenny out.
This episode is also the first episode where Brock is turned down by a girl.
Brock's absence during the episode is never explained.
This is the second time real animals are shown. Fish are seen behind the glass when Ash walks into the aquarium.
During this episode, the Cerulean Gym initially offers Ash a Cascade Badge without a fight. This is the first time the Cerulean Gym was shown surrendering a Badge without a fight, the second being when Jimmy challenges the Cerulean Gym in Judgment Day!. Instead of a battle, his Badge was awarded by Daisy for cleaning the pool. The sisters imply situations like these were very common when the Gym was under their leadership in Gotta Catch Ya Later!.
This was the only Gym which had ever offered Ash a Badge without a fight until Flint Sparks the Fire!, 624 episodes later.
This episode is tied for the shortest time ever between two episodes where Ash has obtained a Badge, having earned his previous Badge only two episodes earlier. The next time this happens is between Haunter versus Kadabra and Pokémon Scent-sation!
The outside of the store Team Rocket looted simply says "マシーン" (machine) in the Japanese version, while it says "MACHINE SHOP INDUSTRIAL SUPPLIES ALL MAKES AND MODELS" in the dub. The next shot replaces "ルーム" (room) with "LS".
Like the Pewter Gym, the "Hanada Gym" sign is changed to "Cerulean Gym".
When Ash's Pokédex reads Staryu, it classifies the Pokémon as a hermaphrodite. Ash calls this strange, and Misty tells him it shouldn't matter who someone falls in love with. In the English dub, the Pokédex makes no mention of Staryu's gender and instead comments on its shining core, which is sold as a type of jewelry. Ash now remarks that it's typical of a girl to "show off her jewelry", to which Misty responds by telling him to "quit stalling".