EP265 : Pop Goes The Sneasel
Original series
EP267 : Love, Pokémon Style
A Claim to Flame!
Shirogane League Opening! Shigeru Again!
First broadcast
Japan September 19, 2002
United States September 17, 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 藤田伸三 Shinzō Fujita
Storyboard よこた和 Kazu Yokota
Assistant director 鈴木敏明 Toshiaki Suzuki
Animation director 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
No additional credits are available at this time.

A Claim to Flame! (Japanese: シロガネリーグかいまく!シゲルふたたび! Shirogane League Opening! Shigeru Again!) is the 266th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on September 19, 2002, and in the United States on September 17, 2003.

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


After arriving at Silver Town, Ash runs into his favorite person: Gary! Gary is set on entering the Silver Conference, and is determined that this time he will be able to make it all the way, and beat Ash!

While Gary huffs his way into the Pokémon Center, Brock leads the way to the Athlete's Village. On the way, they bump into Mr. Goodshow, who is giving out balloons to greet the and, as part of his duties as Pokémon League Torch Committee President. Ash promises Mr. Goodshow that he will give it his all in the Silver Conference, which cheers Mr. Goodshow up even further than his normal level of cheer.

Meanwhile, Team Rocket are working at a restaurant in order to try and get some money, but wind up eating their way out of a job. Ash, Misty, and Brock make it to the Athlete's Village, where they are treated to a luxury room, with a networked computer. They immediately head to the Trainer Screening, where trainers use their one best Pokémon to try and qualify for the Silver Conference.

Ash is called to the floor to take on Salvador from Cherrygrove City, and the computer determines that Ash must draw his Pokémon first. He chooses Pikachu against Salvador's Furret. Furret's Dig seems to get the best of Pikachu, and goes in for a Headbutt to finish things off. Pikachu manages to jump on top of it before Headbutt can land, and performs a powerful Thunderbolt that leaves Furret vulnerable to a Quick Attack. That is enough to win the battle, as Ash gets his first victory. Phanpy and Cyndaquil take out Ash's next two opponents, allowing Ash to move on to the Semi-Finals!

Harrison made it through the Screening as well, along with Gary. Mr. Goodshow reminds Ash that only 16 trainers will be able to move from the Semi-Finals on to the Victory Tournament, but Ash is determined to win it all, no matter what! Later that night, Ash is unable to sleep, and takes Pikachu for a walk along the shoreline.

They stumble upon Gary, who is also out to clear his head. Gary reminisces about the day he left Pallet Town, which also happened to be the day Ash got his Pikachu. Gary compliments Ash on how he was able to tame Pikachu's wild streak, to the point where they are now best friends. Who knows where they might have ended up is things turned out differently? Gary sees the possibilities awaiting both him and Ash, but that won't let him be stopped from trying to win it all in the Tournament! While continuing their friendship, the rivalry is still strong between the two trainers.

Waiting for the Silver Conference torch to arrive in Silver Town, Ash is approached by two people looking to get him to apply for the Footprint Pokémon Panel. When he goes to sign what he believes to be paperwork, the people are revealed to be Team Rocket, who tie Ash up and take Pikachu! Gary finds Ash tied up and goes to stop Team Rocket, who manage to bump into the Torch Runner along the way. Pikachu Thunderbolts Team Rocket, blasting them off, but the Torch Runner is hurt.

While Gary cares for the injury, Ash runs the torch for him, lighting the flame in the stadium, signaling the beginning of The Johto League Silver Conference!


Ash leaves the Silver Town Pokémon Center, having just registered for the upcoming Silver Conference. He and his friends are greeted by Gary, who announces that he is also entering the tournament. Ash remarks that he is going to do well and Gary retorts that he will set the record straight this time around before walking off. Despite Gary's overwhelming confidence, Ash is determined to prove himself.

Later, Brock guides his friends to the Athlete's Village. While looking around, Ash notices Mr. Goodshow, president of the Pokémon League, handing out balloons to children. Meanwhile, at a nearby restaurant, Team Rocket is having trouble serving dishes to hungry diners. Jessie eventually snaps when a young girl addresses her as "old" and asks where her hamburger meal is. Believing that "the customer is no longer right", Jessie promptly eats all of the food about to be served, and her teammates soon join in. The manager stumbles upon the trio and promptly fires them.

The group arrives at the Silver Conference Athlete's Village. They enter their accommodation, a hotel room complete with a view of a lake and a computer for analyzing the other competitors. As Ash sits on a comfy couch, Brock reminds him that he still has some challenging battles ahead. Now pumped up, Ash and his friends head off for the screening rounds, designed to trim the field of 200 Trainers down to 48. Brock explains that the screening rounds are a series of one-on-one battles, with match-ups entirely computer-determined, with no Trainer having to battle more than three times. Ash, though, is confident he can pass the screening round.

An announcement calls for Ash and his first opponent, Salvador from Cherrygrove City, to make their way over to the Block C court. The computer randomly selects Ash to select his Pokémon first. Ash chooses Pikachu, while Salvador chooses Furret. Ash orders a Thunderbolt which Furret evades with a Double Team attack. Pikachu soon finds himself surrounded and confused by Furret and its duplicates. Salvador orders a Swift attack, and the move hits its mark. Pikachu holds his ground and sprints into a Quick Attack. However, Furret Digs underground and follows up with a direct Headbutt on Pikachu. Salvador continues to use the Dig and Headbutt combination, and each time Pikachu is struck down. As Furret prepares to land another Headbutt, Ash has Pikachu leap onto Furret’s back. Furret attempts to shake Pikachu off, but it is unable to. It soon dives into one of the dug holes. This allows Pikachu to Thunderbolt a trapped Furret, and a final Quick Attack seals the match for Ash. Ash has no further troubles in the screening process, as Phanpy and Cyndaquil help him earn another two victories.

Back in the Pokémon Center, Ash discovers that Gary and Harrison have also passed the screening round. Though Ash is confident that he can beat 47 other Trainers to the championship, Mr. Goodshow shows up and tells them all that it wouldn't be as easy, as the 48 Trainers are placed into groups of three in the semi-final round, where only one Trainer from each group will advance to the Victory Tournament. Ash, nevertheless, is fired up.

That night, Ash can't sleep due to all of the anticipation. He gets out of bed, accidentally waking Pikachu up. They both go out for a walk to clear their heads. The pair also stumble across Gary, so they decide to talk things over. The full moon out that night reminds Gary of his first night as a Pokémon Trainer — the same day that Ash was late in getting up and got Pikachu as his first Pokémon. Gary wonders what could have been — if Ash had been on time, or if he himself had not seen the full moon. He remarks that all the contemplation is for the future, but the present is all about the rivalry. Ash and Gary make it clear to each other that they will defeat anyone who gets in their way to the top - each other included.

The next day, the Opening Ceremonies begin. Silver Stadium, the Pokémon Stadium for the Silver Conference, is filled to capacity, awaiting the arrival of the finalists, and even Professor Oak, Tracey, Professor Elm, and Delia watching from home. The semi-finalist Trainers are soon corralled off awaiting their entrance cue. A pair of officials approach Ash, at the back of the line, and they ask him whether he has a "Silver Pokémon Footprint Panel", and that Ash could be disqualified if he did not. Ash immediately leaves the line, which makes Gary, further up the line, curious. Ash, however, finds himself tied up, as the two officials reveal themselves to be Team Rocket, who has also made off with Pikachu. As the athletes enter, Brock and Misty, in the stands, notice that Ash isn't there. Professor Oak and Tracey, at the Oak Lab, also notice that Gary is curiously absent. At the same time, Ash, attempting to break a locked door down, is freed by Gary. Ash informs Gary that Pikachu had been kidnapped, so the rivals give chase to the Rocket trio. Team Rocket eventually collides into the torch runner as he enters Silver Stadium. The trio subsequently drops Pikachu, which Ash recovers, and Gary catches the flaming torch baton in time. Team Rocket’s attempt to flee the scene is stopped by Pikachu's Thunderbolt, which sends them flying.

Though Ash has recovered Pikachu and the torch is still in one piece, the runner has twisted his ankle because of his earlier collision. The news of the accident is soon announced to all the waiting competitors and spectators. Not knowing what to do, as the Silver Conference will not start without the torch, Gary tells Ash to make the final leg of the torch relay while he himself cares for the runner. Just when things look bleak, Ash makes his way into the arena and runs up the stairs to light up the big torch. The cameras focus in on Ash and the crowd cheers as the torch ignites with a large flame. Afterwards, Mr. Goodshow walks onto the center stage and gives a resounding speech to kick off the Silver Conference.

Major events

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?: Scizor (US and international), Furret (Japan)


  • The episode's English dub title is derived from the phrase "A claim to fame".
  • This episode begins the seven-part Silver Conference arc.
  • Harrison does not have a speaking role in this episode.
  • "Dragonite Takes Flight", a song from Mewtwo Strikes Back, is used as background music.
  • Aim to Be a Pokémon Master is used as an insert song.
  • In the Swedish DVD release on the episode selection screen, this episode was erroneously called Fäckelbäraren instead of Fackelbäraren.
  • When Salvador sends out his Furret, Misty states “I figured a Ground Pokémon would be stronger against an Electric-type”. While this message may be interpreted as Misty erroneously calling Furret a Ground-type because “figured” is emphasized instead of “ground”, in the Japanese version she questions why Furret was brought out instead of a ground type.


  • The Teddiursa teddy bear being held by the little girl in the restaurant doesn't have a crescent moon on its forehead.
  • When Ash's name is announced for his first battle, his eyes look lopsided.

Dub edits

In other languages

EP265 : Pop Goes The Sneasel
Original series
EP267 : Love, Pokémon Style
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.