Why? Wynaut! (Japanese: ソーナノ！？ジムバッジとソーナンス！！Sohnano!? Gym Badges and Sonans!!) is the 255th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on July 4, 2002 and in the United States on June 28, 2003.
Having defeated Clair and earned his eighth gym badge, Ash must now set out for the Johto League championship, which he learns is to be held on Mt Silver in three months time. As Ash heads toward New Bark Town, where he will register for entry in this competition, he is stopped by two reporters who ask for a shot of the trainer making his triumphant return. The reporters turn out to be none other than Jessie and James of Team Rocket. They trick Ash out of all eight of his badges, but the plan backfires when a passing Wynaut steals the badges from Wobbuffet. Remembering each of the eight victories that earned him these badges, Ash sets out after Team Rocket, determined to get back what is rightfully his.
Ash and his friends enjoy a hearty breakfast with Clair from her Blackthorn City balcony. Attention quickly turns to Ash's Badges. Clair informs him that the Silver Conference will take place in three months in Silver Town, and she recommends that he should register at New Bark Town. Ash stands from his seat in excitement and declares that he is headed to New Bark Town. Team Rocket has plans of their own, and they decide to steal Ash's Badges for their own purposes; Meowth and James want to sell the Badges, while Jessie plans to enter the Silver Conference using them. In the midst of their discussion, Team Rocket's food is stolen, with Wobbuffet receiving the blame.
Jessie and James pose as a reporter and cameraman just as Ash and his friends are walking out of the Gym gates. Jessie takes Ash's jacket and hands it to a hidden Meowth, whilst James puts Ash in an oversized red coat and golden crown. Ash poses for several photos, as Meowth and Wobbuffet admire Ash's Badges. Jessie then returns Ash's jacket and begins to walk away with James. However, Ash utters the word "prepared", causing Jessie and James to try and resist the urge to say their motto. Ash mentions the word "trouble" next, and Team Rocket instinctively reveals their true identities. Meowth and James tell Ash that they have come for his Badges. Ash peers inside his coat, noticing that the eight Badges have been replaced with bottle caps.
Ash and his friends chase Team Rocket, but Wobbuffet is further ahead with the Badge case. He decides to rest on a marked tree stump with a Jessie flag on it. Wobbuffet then moves from his position, locating red fruit-filled trees. Wobbuffet imagines Jessie, James, and Meowth happily thanking him and stuffing their faces with the fruit. He promptly begins filling the Badge case with the Berries before returning to the meeting spot. As he does so, a Wynaut watches hidden behind some shrubs, and it grabs the case. Wobbuffet quickly notices and the two Pokémon have an exchange. Jessie and her teammates suddenly arrive, startling Wobbuffet and giving Wynaut time to flee. Unable to locate the case, Wobbuffet tries to explain what happened, with Meowth translating, though Jessie remains frustrated. Wobbuffet drawing a picture of Wynaut in the dirt. Unfortunately, James misinterprets the drawing as being of his childhood nanny. After Wobbuffet states the thief was blue, Jessie believes a Wooper stole the Badges, and the trio try to find one. Meanwhile, Ash tries on his own to try to find the Badges. Though Clair mentions that he could have the Badges reissued, Ash refuses, stating that those particular Badges have special meaning to him. With that, Clair, Misty and Brock offer their support and agree to help Ash locate his stolen Badges.
Team Rocket stumbles across a Wooper sitting on a rock in the middle of a running stream. She attempts to grab it with her hands, but it dodges the trio and runs into the forest. Meanwhile, Ash calls out Noctowl and Bayleef to search the forest alongside Clair and her Dragonair. Misty and Brock stay together whilst Ash goes in a different direction to find Team Rocket. Noctowl and Bayleef soon find Wynaut and the case with the Badges and Berries. Wynaut is having trouble opening the case, so Bayleef lends her vines and returns the case back to Wynaut. With glee, Wynaut empties the case, and to Bayleef's astonishment, Ash's Badges also fall out. Noctowl flies off, locating Ash by a stream and notifies him of the discovery.
Bayleef has since gathered the Badges on a large leaf. Wynaut's snack is suddenly interrupted when Wooper appears, followed by Team Rocket. Arbok and Victreebel are sent out to deal with the situation. Bayleef jumps backwards, holding both Wooper and the leaf of Badges to avoid Arbok's Poison Sting. Victreebel's Vine Whip trips the fleeing Bayleef, separating her from the Badges. Jessie again calls for a Poison Sting attack, but the Wynaut's Counter intercepts and sends the attack back towards Arbok. Just as Meowth retrieves the Badges from the ground, Ash arrives on the scene. Arbok uses Poison Sting again, this time allowing Team Rocket to escape to their awaiting Meowth balloon. Bayleef's Vine Whip hurls Ash towards Team Rocket, but he narrowly misses the balloon's basket and begins falling to the ground. Noctowl quickly tries to catch him by his backpack, but Ash slips from its grip. Clair and Dragonair then arrive and manage to rescue Ash.
Ash gets Noctowl to pick Pikachu up from the ground, reaching the escaping Team Rocket soon after. Pikachu lets out a Thunderbolt, and the balloon bursts, sending Team Rocket blasting off and scattering Ash's Badges into the air. Ash and his friends manage to rescue seven of the eight Badges, with only the Rising Badge missing. The group disperses once again to find the missing Badge in the surrounding greenery. Wynaut appears from the bushes with the Rising Badge and hands it over to Bayleef. Bayleef then gives the Badge to Ash, who is searching nearby. However, when Bayleef tries to give credit to Wynaut for finding it, it disappears. A ship carrying logs suddenly travels passed them on a nearby stream, with Wynaut standing on it and waving. However, by the time Ash looks up, both the ship and Wynaut have passed through. Misty, Clair, and Brock gather near Ash; and he shows them that the Badge has been recovered.
The group later talks to Professor Oak via video phone in the Pokémon Center. Ash announces that he has all eight of his Johto Badges. The call ends abruptly, however, when Ash's Snorlax, Kingler, Bulbasaur, and Muk become too enthusiastic upon seeing their Trainer, crushing Professor Oak in the process. Clair instructs Ash to follow a road to the sea, then to follow the coastline to reach New Bark Town in order to register for the Johto League Silver Conference. Brock is particularly teary and admits that he feels very close to Clair having spent so much time with her, though Misty pulls him away before the situation becomes any more embarrassing. The group waves goodbye to Clair and begins to head towards their next destination.
In the original Japanese version, Wobbuffet and Wynaut's conversation contains a pun that was lost in translation. Their Japanese names, ソーナノ (Wynaut) and ソーナンス (Wobbuffet) translates into "Really?" and "That's right!" respectively.
Meowth was holding the leaf that had Ash's Badges in it, then it shows Meowth holding nothing, and then holding the leaf again.
Ash says he won his Plain Badge from Whitney in the Goldenrod Gym; however, this is incorrect as he won it on her uncle's Miltank farm. However, it's highly possible he was referring to how she is the Gym Leader at Goldenrod.
In the recap of the previous episode, the Seismic Toss animation is flawed.
There is a repeated frame when Team Rocket finds Ash's Badges.