EP041 : Wake Up Snorlax!
Original series
EP043 : The March of the Exeggutor Squad
Showdown at Dark City
Showdown! Pokémon Gym!
First broadcast
Japan April 30, 1998
United States October 29, 1998
English themes
Opening Pokémon Theme
Japanese themes
Opening めざせポケモンマスター
Ending ポケットにファンタジー
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 武上純希 Junki Takegami
Storyboard 横田和 Kazu Yokota
Assistant director 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
Animation director 武田優作 Yūsaku Takeda
Additional credits

Showdown at Dark City (Japanese: たいけつ!ポケモンジム! Showdown! Pokémon Gym!) is the 42nd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on April 30, 1998, and in the United States on October 29, 1998. It was initially intended to air in Japan on January 27, 1998, but was rescheduled following the EP038 incident.

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


In the middle of a terrible desert, our heroes inadvertently wandered into Dark City. With no name but Dark, the city has fallen into ruin. The streets, even at midday, are vacant of people. But suddenly, a rare figure appears and begins to throw stones at Ash and friends. They had heard at a restaurant in town, that this town contains two authorized Pokémon gyms, but that their Masters try to battle traveling Pokémon trainers anywhere within the town. This is said to be the cause of the town's desolation. Will our heroes also be caught up in the whirlwind of these battles?


Ash and his friends arrive in Dark City, which appears to be a ghost town, much to Brock's dismay. They are even more curious to see a mother taking her wandering son back indoors for fear of Pokémon Trainers in the area. As they ponder why that is, Pikachu is hit by a rock thrown from the roof of a nearby building. When Ash tells Pikachu to retaliate using a Thunderbolt, it hits three children on the rooftop. When the group goes to apologize to the children, they get hit in the head with sticks, as the children want the group to leave their town. The children are then stopped by a local restaurant owner, who invites everyone back to his restaurant.

At the restaurant, while eating lunch, Pikachu takes a particular liking to eating ketchup from the bottle. The restaurant owner explains to Ash and his friends, as a mysterious patron listens close by, that Dark City has two rival Pokémon Gyms, the Yas Gym and the Kaz Gym, lead by Yas and Kaz, respectively. Both Gyms seek official status, but to do so, they would need the approval of the Pokémon League inspector, who is scheduled to arrive at any moment. As there can only be one official Gym per city, each of the two Gyms seeks to eliminate the other before the inspector arrives. The restaurant owner further explains that Pokémon Trainers who pass through Dark City are typically recruited for the cause of either Gym. Suddenly, a street fight between the two Gyms breaks out outside the restaurant. The Yas Gym's Scyther and the Kaz Gym's Electabuzz in particular are dispatching the men of the opposing Gym with ease, all the while damaging the town and terrorizing the townsfolk. As Ash and his friends watch from the safety of the restaurant, the three note that the fighting is not as much of a proper Pokémon battle as it is just a petty gang war.

At that point, the safety of the restaurant is completely shattered when Team Rocket, hired by the Kaz Gym as elite bodyguards, invades the building in disguise and demands food. They send out Arbok and Weezing to deal with the restaurant owner when he refuses due to the Kaz Gym having run up a large tab. Ash sends out Pikachu and Misty her Starmie to intercept Team Rocket, but they are beaten to the punch by Brock, whose Vulpix quickly forces Team Rocket out of the restaurant with a Flamethrower. Vulpix garners the attention of a female Yas Gym recruiter, and when she thanks the group for their efforts, Ash tries to take credit for the whole thing before Misty shuts him down and reminds him that it was Vulpix alone who stopped Team Rocket. The recruiter then tries to recruit Ash and his friends for their cause. At the advice of Misty, who claims that taking sides would ruin their reputations as Trainers, Ash, looking at Pikachu's ketchup bottle, introduces himself as Tom Ato, followed by Misty as Ann Chovy, and Brock as Caesar Salad. They are then taken to the Yas Gym.

Yas is introduced to Ash and his friends. To judge Ash's strength as a Trainer, the unofficial Gym Leader proceeds to release his Scyther to attack Pikachu. However, Scyther's Cut attack is blocked by Pikachu's ketchup bottle, to Pikachu's pure devastation. This results in Scyther getting squirted in the eyes with ketchup, blinding it and causing it to attack its Trainer. Surprised, Yas recalls Scyther and asks Ash to join him. When asked why the Yas Gym wanted to be an official Gym, Yas responds that it is simply a means to earn money quickly, as with official Gym status comes prestige and funding. Because Ash does not see this as a worthy cause, he declines. However, Yas, angry at Ash for refusing, orders his underlings to physically beat him up with several Fighting-type Pokémon. While the Pokémon are busy trying to attack Ash, his friends rescue him and they flee.

Back at the restaurant, Ash gets treatment for his wounds and comments that both the Yas and Kaz Gyms only see Pokémon battles as regular fighting rather than an honored sport, and Brock asserts that unless they're stopped, it could make all Pokémon and their Trainers look bad. Misty is curious as to why they were able to escape the Yas Gym so quickly and uncovers the answer from Ash's Pokédex: Scyther and Electabuzz are color-sensitive, and the color red in particular will send the two into a rage. Knowing this, Ash and his friends devise a plan to stop the fighting once and for all by defeating both the Yas and Kaz Gyms in one fell swoop.

Once again, fighting breaks out on the streets of Dark City between the Yas and Kaz Gyms. Scyther, with a boost from Swords Dance, manages to use Cut to destroy Kaz's forces and claimed buildings with ease. Meanwhile, Electabuzz's Thunder Punch manages to do the same against the Yas Gym's Pokémon. When Ash sees an opening, he tells his friends, the restaurant owner, and the children from earlier to dump a bunch of ketchup barrels from the rooftops onto all the Trainers below, covering them in the sticky red sauce. This enrages Scyther and Electabuzz as they proceed to attack their own Trainers. Yas and Kaz are at Ash's mercy, and Ash decides to end the conflict by having his Bulbasaur use Vine Whip to throw a pair of buckets filled with ketchup to soak Scyther and Electabuzz. Both Pokémon try to attack their counterpart, only to run into each other, knocking the two of them out.

When Ash asks whether the two Leaders have learned their lesson and resolved their differences, they finally agree to team up, but only to fight back against Ash and his friends. In response, Ash orders Pikachu to unleash Thunder, shocking both sides. Despite this, the Leaders refuse to give up and prepare to attack the heroes with sticks. However, the mysterious patron from before appears and reveals herself to be Nurse Joy, the Pokémon League inspector, and tells everyone that neither Yas nor Kaz deserve to be an official Gym, as their street fighting will not be tolerated by the Pokémon League. However, she allows the Leaders a second chance, and tells the two that Ash would make a fine tutor with regards to how to be a proper Pokémon Trainer and how to start over as one united Gym, but Ash admits he is at a loss of words with regards to how to be one. However, Ash does manage to order the Leaders to repair all the damage to the town that they had caused, as they promptly proceed to get to work on the restoration.

As Ash and his friends begin to leave Dark City, they are met again by the children from earlier. They have quickly become fans of Pikachu and exclaim that they have decided to become Pokémon Trainers themselves. Meanwhile, Team Rocket, having been covered in ketchup during the battle, are run out of town by the enraged Scyther and Electabuzz.

Major events

For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the history page.


Pokémon debuts

English dub debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Scyther


Pikachu crying over a broken ketchup bottle
  • Ash and his friends decide to use fake names for sake of safety. Since they are in a restaurant, they use food as inspiration for their false names in both English and Japanese versions (see dub edits for more details).
  • Pikachu reveals his fondness for ketchup. The next time he does so is in A Ruin with a View, 234 episodes later.
  • This episode reveals Electabuzz and Scyther's apparent dislike towards the color red.
  • The story of this episode is based on the famous 1961 Japanese samurai film Yojimbo. In it, a lone samurai warrior played by Toshiro Mifune puts an end to rival gang fighting in a small, desolate town.
  • This is the first episode in which an HM move is used, as Yas's Scyther uses Cut.
  • Team Rocket isn't seen in their regular uniforms throughout this episode.
  • In the English dub, the title card is written in all caps.
  • This episode may serve as a reference to Pokémon Adventures manga, as the Yas and Kaz Gyms share its more violent battle style. Both sides' Pokémon are shown to attack other Trainers directly, and the two "Gym Leaders" show no apparent qualms in killing each other's Pokémon or severely injuring each other.


  • When Ash apologizes to the young boys, one of the boys' left arm is disconnected from his body.
  • During one of the ketchup scenes, Pikachu's red cheeks are missing.
  • When Yas first tells his Scyther to attack, the clips on his uniform are missing.
  • When the Yas Gym underlings send out their Pokémon, the Poké Balls disappear into thin air.
  • When Kaz sends out his Electabuzz during the final fight, the "K" on his shirt is colored blue like the rest of the shirt instead of red.
  • Shortly after Nurse Joy reveals herself as the Pokémon League Inspector, the two Gym Leaders are no longer drenched in ketchup.
  • In one scene, the "z's" on Ash's cheeks are missing.

Dub edits

  • Kanto Pokérap: Day 2
  • During the ketchup scene, Pikachu was voiced by Rachael Lillis because the lines are muffled by the human conversation.
  • When supplying fake names to Officer Jenny, Ash uses the name Tom Ato, derived from tomato; Misty uses the name Ann Chovy, derived from anchovy; and Brock uses the name Caesar Salad in the English dub. In the Japanese version, they use names derived from Omurice with ketchup, chicken rice, and curry rice, respectively.
    • Similarly, Ash gives a fake name of "Ketchup" (inspired by his ruined dish) in the English version when asked by a Yas recruiter for his identity. In the Japanese version, he instead gave his name as Napolitan, causing the recruiter to ask if he was of Italian origin.
  • Although Team Rocket's pun on the various stages of cooked meat upon being roasted by Brock's Vulpix was largely kept intact in the English dub, James manages to use the correct terminology of "Well-done" in the dub, whereas in the Japanese version, he mistakenly says "Well come", causing Jessie to berate him for screwing up the punchline as they flee.

In other languages

EP041 : Wake Up Snorlax!
Original series
EP043 : The March of the Exeggutor Squad
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.