Volcanic Panic (Japanese: けっせん！グレンジム！Decisive Battle! Guren Gym!) is the 59th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on August 20, 1998 and in the United States on September 18, 1999.
Ash continues his quest to attain his Volcano Badge once he finally locates the gym that is suspended above a pool of molten lava! Only a strong fire Pokémon could help him in this battle, so Ash must rely on his misbehaving Charizard to help him win this smoldering match.
Finishing off from the last episode, Ash tells Pikachu to duck Blaine's Magmar's Fire Blast in the last second. Pikachu is still hit, but fortunately is not knocked into the lava, having hung on to the edge. Though Pikachu makes it back onto the battlefield, Ash concedes the match, not wanting to risk Pikachu falling into the lava. Blaine allows Ash to stay, as the hot springs will help heal Pikachu from his burns. Though Brock and Misty advise Ash to leave for another Gym, since Blaine was simply too powerful, Ash declares that he will not leave without a Volcano Badge.
The next day, as Ash, Misty, and Brock try to help Pikachu, Team Rocket manages to sneak into the battlefield, in an attempt to steal Magmar by freezing him. Though it appears that their attempt is successful, Magmar simply melts the ice around it, which in turn causes Team Rocket to fire more freezing missiles at it. However, their overzealous nature causes the battlefield walls to fissure and cave in; and Ash, Misty, Brock, and Blaine arrive as Team Rocket is sent flying. With nowhere to run, and the volcano about to erupt, Blaine is forced to use Magmar to dam the volcano and prevent this.
Ash also tries to have Charizard pitch in, but it is unwilling to cooperate. However, after seeing Magmar throw rocks in an attempt to dam the volcano, Charizard decides to help, and Brock calls out Onix and Geodude to assist. Staryu and Squirtle also pitch in by helping to cool off Onix and Geodude. Pikachu also makes an effort to help, while Ash stops the arriving Jigglypuff from putting everyone to sleep. Eventually, the volcano is fully dammed, leaving Charizard and Magmar with a desire to battle it out against each other.
Afterwards, Ash interjects and asks Blaine if he will give him his Volcano Badge as a thanks. Instead, Blaine offers Ash a rematch for the Volcano Badge. With the battlefield destroyed, Ash and Blaine agree to battle one-on-one on the summit of the volcano, Blaine with Magmar, and Ash with Charizard. As the battle begins, both sides trade Flamethrowers, and Magmar counters with a Fire Blast, which Charizard digs in and manages to deflect. Magmar then proceeds to hit Charizard with a Skull Bash, pushing it into a pillar. Charizard begins to fall towards the lava, but it recovers and locks up with Magmar.
Magmar then uses Charizard's own momentum against it by flipping it over and pushing the two into the lava. Although Ash calls foul, Blaine reminds him that under the volcano is still part of their agreed-upon battlefield. However, once the two emerge from the lava, Charizard is now the one with the upper hand, having used its flight ability to create an aerial Submission to then finish off Magmar with Seismic Toss. Having won the battle, Ash proceeds to congratulate Charizard and return it, only to be blasted in the face with another Flamethrower. As it turns out, Charizard only obeyed Ash in order to satisfy its competitive streak against Magmar, and nothing more. Still, Ash had earned his Volcano Badge and leaves soon after.
Wondering where to go next, Brock suggests that they head to the Viridian Gym, a leading Gym where the best Trainers prepare for the Pokémon League. Ash is unaware of the fact that there was a Gym in Viridian City and asks Misty why she didn't tell him before. Misty replies that they were too busy arguing for her to remember. When Misty cannot recall why they were fighting, Brock is about to refresh her memory. Ash then remembers and quickly decides to run, only for Misty to remember about him owing her her bike.
This is the first episode to be the length of 24 minutes and 35 seconds, which became the standard for all episodes afterwards. Also, since the Japan-exclusive segment Professor Oak's Pokémon Lecture began two episodes later, it is one of the two longest episodes of the anime, though the other is DP120, a clip show episode.
In the flashback at the beginning of the episode the narrator says that Ninetales beat Squirtle with an Ember, when it was actually a Fire Spin that defeated Squirtle. This error didn't happen in the Japanese version.
Also in the flashback, Ash can be heard telling Pikachu "You'll feel 100 percent soon", but this line was never spoken in the previous episode. He actually delivers the line a few minutes later, shortly after the conclusion of the battle.
Furthermore, in the flashback, when Blaine calls on Magmar, he said "Come out...Magmar!", but he actually said "I choose...Magmar!".
During the scene where they are stopping the volcano from erupting, Misty calls on Starmie to keep everyone cool. However, it's Staryu that comes out.
A similar mistake happened in Princess vs. Princess, where she says she is going to use Starmie, but later in the episode, she tries to send out Staryu (only for Psyduck to come out).
The second time the Gyarados statue that opened the volcano's entrance is seen, it is no longer on a rock and is instead on the cement surrounding the hot spring.
Jessie and James can be heard perfectly under water, with no speech hindrances and no air bubbles. Additionally, they were using reeds to breathe, which would make talking even harder. This may be an example of anime physics, though.
When Magmar is about to use Flamethrower, Misty tells Ash "Watch out for Magmar's Flamethrower!", even though they haven't seen Magmar using the move before, and shouldn't be able to know what move it was going to use.
Magmar was seen running towards Charizard, even though there were platforms in the volcano.
Just after Charizard uses Seismic Toss on Magmar, Magmar blasts out of the volcano. When Magmar lands onto a platform its mouth changes to orange instead of cream and in the next shot it changes back.
When the volcano is erupting, Blaine orders Magmar to block the "lava flow". Technically speaking, it is called magma when it is inside a volcano, and called lava outside of it.
In the original version, Team Rocket was eavesdropping on Ash's conversation with his friends and ended up trying to recite their motto while still underwater, thus forcing them to surface, and was not directly related to their mission to capture Magmar. In the dub, Team Rocket was instead trying to train themselves to venture into the volcanic depths to catch Magmar by submerging themselves, and weren't even aware of Ash and co. being nearby.
Meowth's announcement that Magmar won a sweepstakes contest was originally him announcing that Magmar has a challenger.
The "riddle" Blaine gave (and Misty's response) differed between versions:
In the dub, Blaine's riddle was a pun on "lava" and "bathroom", with Misty sarcastically remarking that she now knew why Blaine liked riddles.
In the Japanese version, Blane simply gives a riddle regarding rumbles before answering his own riddle, with Misty being confused to why he answered his own riddle.
The second riddle Blaine gave, and Ash's response also varied between the two versions:
In the dub, Blaine made a joke regarding freezer burn in a volcano, with Ash telling him off for joking around.
In the Japanese version, Blaine asks what an old man was whose hair suddenly turned white, only for Ash to correct him and state the latter just froze.
Although the general gist of Blane and Ash's conversation about what happens to a volcano when ice missiles impact the volcanic magma (and Ash mistaking his question for a riddle), Ash's specific response varied between a snow cone (dub) and tempura ice cream (Japanese version).
The time limit of how long it will take before Cinnabar's volcano erupts thanks to Team Rocket's actions was never specified in the original version, while in the dub, Blaine estimated it to be a "matter of minutes."
In the dub, Misty mistakenly refers to Staryu as Starmie.
In the original version, right after Blaine accepts Ash's request for a rematch, Ash only states his intent to make sure he won this time around. The dub added in his getting closer to entering the league.
In the original version, Misty doesn't tell Ash specifically to watch out for Magmar's Flamethrower, but simply says that he should watch out for Magmar's Fire-type attacks.
When Charizard pushed the Fire Blast away, its shape changed into the kanji for medium (中), and then small (小), before vanishing. The dub kept it the same shape until it disappeared, but didn't erase the sound effects that came with the pun.
Blaine's riddle when presenting Ash with the Volcano Badge varied between the versions.
The "riddle" in the Japanese version essentially amounted to a forced riddle about something that can be claimed and abandoned at the same time before giving him the Volcano Badge, hence Ash and his friends' confused reactions.
In the dub, it was something that can be read, but had no words.
When Misty forgot about Ash needing to pay off her bike before Brock attempted to remind her, the dub worded Brock's reminder in a way that made it sound as though he was actually present at the time, while the Japanese made it more clear that he simply heard what had happened.
The ending narration was different:
In the Japanese version, the narrator commented on how Charizard seems to be listening to Ash now, and that they are on their way to Viridian City.
In the dub, there were several word-plays on the colors red, green, and blue (and orange). Namely, Ash competing for the Earth Badge (which is green), Misty getting angry ("seeing red"), and Brock trying to stop Misty from chasing Ash in a rage ("sure to make [Brock] blue.").