EP253 : Great Bowls of Fire!
Original series
EP255 : Why? Wynaut!
Better Eight Than Never
Fusube Gym! The Final Badge!!
First broadcast
Japan June 27, 2002
United States June 21, 2003
English themes
Opening Believe in Me
Japanese themes
Opening Ready Go!
Ending ポケッターリ・モンスターリ
Animation Team Ota
Screenplay 米村正二 Shōji Yonemura
Storyboard 藤本義孝 Yoshitaka Fujimoto
Assistant director 大町繁 Shigeru Ōmachi
Animation director たけだゆうさく Yūsaku Takeda
No additional credits are available at this time.

Better Eight Than Never (Japanese: フスベジム!さいごのバッジ!! Fusube Gym! The Final Badge!!) is the 254th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on June 27, 2002, and in the United States on June 21, 2003.

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


Having finally seen stability restored to the Blackthorn Gym, Ash and Clair face off in a gym battle. Ash opens with a surprise entry, his Snorlax, and defeats Clair's Kingdra to take victory in the first round. Clair quickly comes back, wearing Snorlax down with her Gyarados. Ash sends in Pikachu, hoping its advantage as an Electric Pokémon will be enough to defeat Clair's Water Pokémon. It isn't until he puts Pikachu's speed to use, however, that he emerges victorious. At two to one, Ash is only one win away from earning his final badge, but this last round—against Clair's Dragonair—promises to be the hardest one yet.


Ash and Clair are standing inside the Blackthorn Gym, preparing to start their rematch, which will be a three-on-three battle. Clair chooses her Kingdra, while Ash leads off with Snorlax, surprising Clair. Ash explains that he visited the Pokémon Center the day before and changed his Pokémon around. Ash starts the match with Snorlax's Hyper Beam, though Kingdra dodges the attack with Agility. Kingdra tries to hit Snorlax but just bounces off of its bulky body. Clair has Kingdra follow up with Swift, but the attack once again harmlessly bounces off of Snorlax. Ash tries to use Snorlax's Body Slam, but Kingdra dodges it with Agility. Kingdra hits Snorlax again, but Snorlax is unaffected. Clair notes that her attacks aren't working against Snorlax's big body, and has Kingdra use Hydro Pump. Ash tells Snorlax to dodge the attack, but it is unable to and is hit. Clair orders a Hyper Beam, which Snorlax narrowly avoids by diving into the battlefield’s pool. Ash congratulates Snorlax on its quick thinking before ordering a Body Slam. The attack lands, causing both Pokémon to sink underwater. However, Snorlax begins to weigh less, allowing Kingdra to float back to the surface unharmed. Clair tells Kingdra to use Hydro Pump once Snorlax comes up for air. This worries Misty and Brock, but Ash tells Snorlax to jump out of the water. As Snorlax leaps into the air and Kingdra fires a Hydro Pump, Ash orders Snorlax to lean back, and it manages to successfully dodge the attack without sustaining any damage. Clair orders Kingdra to use Swift, but Ash tells Snorlax to just take it. Clair orders another Hydro Pump, but it only douses Snorlax's face. Kingdra is starting to look tired, and Brock realizes that Ash's plan must be to just wear Kingdra out, as Snorlax has a lot of endurance. Clair orders another Hyper Beam, but Snorlax dodges it once again by going underwater. With Kingdra's stamina starting to run low, Snorlax uses Ice Punch, which knocks Kingdra out of the match. After feeding Charla, Liza joins Brock and Misty on the sidelines to watch the unfolding match. Misty quickly pulls Brock aside as he begins to flirt, before filling Liza in on the current situation of the match.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket is trying to dig a tunnel to reach the Dragon Holy Land and steal the Dragon Fang. Jessie and James are beginning to question when they will reach their target. Meowth glances at his map and orders his teammates to strike the section above them. However, water begins to pour in and Meowth quickly realizes that they have been digging directly under a lake. The lake water starts flooding into the tunnel, washing Team Rocket away.

Back at the Gym, Clair sends out Gyarados as her second Pokémon. Clair orders Gyarados to use Hydro Pump, while Snorlax uses Hyper Beam. However, Snorlax is starting to tire out, causing Gyarados's Hydro Pump to overpower its Hyper Beam. Gyarados uses Dragon Breath, and as Snorlax is still in the middle of recharging, it is unable to counter the attack. As such, the Dragon Breath lands a direct hit on Snorlax, paralyzing it and preventing it from moving. After taking a Hyper Beam, Snorlax finally faints. Ash decides to use Pikachu next in the hopes that its Electric typing will overcome Gyarados. Clair has Gyarados use Hyper Beam, but Pikachu avoids the attack before slamming into Gyarados with Quick Attack. Clair is momentarily surprised by Pikachu's speed but quickly orders Gyarados to use Bite. Pikachu avoids the attack before retaliating with a Thunderbolt. However, Gyarados uses Dragon Breath to form a barrier that blocks the incoming attack. Gyarados follows up with a Hydro Pump, which Pikachu tries to dodge, but gets grazed by it and is knocked down to the ground. In a surprising maneuver, Gyarados leaps out of the water and starts squeezing Pikachu in a tight wrap. This, however, allows Pikachu to land a close-range Thunderbolt on Gyarados, dealing notable damage on the Atrocious Pokémon before it can move away. Gyarados tries to use Bite, but Pikachu dodges the large jaws before finding himself trapped in a corner. Gyarados attempts to finish Pikachu off with a Hydro Pump, but Ash has Pikachu use Agility to race up the torrent to get into point-blank range of Gyarados's face, before delivering another close-range Thunderbolt, knocking Gyarados out.

Underground, Team Rocket takes a snack break as their latest mecha digs a tunnel for them instead. The mecha soon detects signs of the Dragon Fang and they surface, but instead of the Dragon Holy Land, they discover themselves near the Blackthorn Gym. They spot Charla sleeping nearby, and, after examining her, they realize that the mecha mistook her fangs for the Dragon Fang. Charla suddenly wakes up and, clearly disliking her sleep getting disturbed, proceeds to send Team Rocket blasting off again with a Flamethrower attack. In the process, the trio drops their bag of food, which is taken away by an unseen Pokémon.

In the Gym, Ash and Clair's match continues as Clair sends out her final and strongest Pokémon: Dragonair. Pikachu repeatedly uses Thunderbolt, but Dragonair keeps dodging them all. Misty, Brock, and Liza wonder what Ash is up to, as Electric moves don't work well against Dragon Pokémon. However, Ash's intentions suddenly become apparent as Dragonair dives close to the ground as it dodges the attacks, giving Pikachu a chance to use Quick Attack. Dragonair once again evades the attack and knocks Pikachu out with a Hyper Beam. After picking Pikachu up, Ash sends out Charizard as his final Pokémon. Kaburagi pulls a lever, opening the Gym roof so that the two Pokémon can use their flying abilities to their fullest. Charizard attacks with Flamethrower, but Dragonair dives underwater to avoid the attack before countering with Hyper Beam. Charizard uses Flamethrower again, but once again, Dragonair dives into the water. Clair has Dragonair use Dragon Rage, engulfing Charizard in a cyclone that smashes him down to the ground. Ash urges Charizard to stand up, and he does so, before launching another Flamethrower attack, which is yet again avoided by Dragonair diving underwater. Dragonair attacks with Hyper Beam, while Ash has Charizard use Fire Spin to block the attack. Misty, Brock, and Liza understand that Dragonair can use the water to its advantage, giving it an edge in the fight. Ash issues yet another command for a Flamethrower, prompting Clair to repeat the now common order for Dragonair to dive underwater. However, Ash changes his attack order into a full-power Fire Spin. Ash's intentions are finally revealed when the Fire Spin evaporates the remaining pool water, leaving Dragonair without a place to hide.

Charizard attacks with Flamethrower, but Dragonair blocks it with Safeguard before striking Charizard with Iron Tail. Clair orders another Iron Tail attack, but this time, Charizard intercepts it and grabs Dragonair, preparing to use Seismic Toss. As Charizard is building up momentum, Dragonair uses Dragon Rage to disrupt Charizard, causing him to crash hard into the ground. Despite the heavy landing, Charizard is still able to stand up. After an exchange of Hyper Beam and Flamethrower, Dragonair rushes in for another Iron Tail attack, but once again, Charizard grabs Dragonair and goes for another Seismic Toss. Once again, Clair has Dragonair use Dragon Rage, but this time, Charizard adds his Fire Spin to the mix, engulfing both Pokémon in flames and turning Seismic Toss into a "Flaming Seismic Toss". The combo attack slams into the Gym floor with a devastating force. As the flames die down, Dragonair faints and Ash is declared the winner of the match. Clair recalls Dragonair and congratulates Ash on his victory before handing him the Rising Badge. Ash, ecstatic of having just won his eighth Badge, performs a victory pose with Pikachu.

Later, Liza heads back to Charicific Valley with Charla and Charizard, and everyone waves her goodbye as she sets off into the sunset.

Major events

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


Pokémon debuts



Pocket Monster TV


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Muk (US and international), Charizard (Japan)



Dragonair's missing horn
  • In the end, when Clair says good-bye to Liza, she mispronounces her name as "Laiza".
  • Brock states that Gyarados is a dual Water/Flying type, and Misty replies that Pikachu should "still" have an advantage over Gyarados because of his Electricity; this implies that Electric-type attacks are super effective against Water-type Pokémon but weak against Flying-type Pokémon. In reality, Electric attacks are strong against both, giving Pikachu a double advantage.
  • Dragonair's horn is missing when it faints.
  • After Snorlax uses Ice Punch, Brock states how Dragon Pokémon have trouble against Ice-type attacks. While this is true, Kingdra is part Water type and only takes normal damage from Ice moves.
  • In one scene, Togepi's right arm is colored the same as its body.
  • When Snorlax jumps out of the water, its feet are the same color as its body.
  • When Ash sends out Charizard, the original generic animation of him throwing a Poké Ball is shown, a throwback to the first season. Because of this, Ash's hat is on backwards during this shot when it shouldn't be.
  • When Ash tells Charizard to use Fire Spin while using Seismic Toss, Charizard rotates its head a full 360 degrees.

Dub edits

In other languages

EP253 : Great Bowls of Fire!
Original series
EP255 : Why? Wynaut!
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.