Playing with Fire! (Japanese: バシャーモふたたび！ハヅキとのたたかい！！Bursyamo Returns! Battle Against Hazuki!!) is the 271st episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on October 24, 2002 and in the United States on October 4, 2003.
Ash is battling Harrison from Hoenn at the Johto League Silver Conference. Pikachu is very excited to be battling, but Harrison's Kecleon knocks Pikachu out in Round 1. It's a close match the whole way through, but one by one Harrison knocks out Totodile, Snorlax, and Noctowl. Ash cleverly guides Bayleef through a rough battle with Harrison's Houndoom. Houndoom is a fire type Pokémon so it has the advantage, but Ash had Bayleef use its Vine Whip attack to close Houndoom's mouth. In the end, Bayleef is able to knock out Houndoom! But Bayleef is no match for Harrison's last Pokémon. Harrison's sixth Pokémon is one that Ash has never seen before—Blaziken. It's a fire type Pokémon and it's at a really high level. Ash has saved Charizard for last. With two strong fire types in the arena, it's hard to predict the outcome! (To be continued!)
Ash has chosen Pikachu to battleHarrison's Kecleon. Ash takes a moment to check his Pokédex for information, which alerts him to Kecleon's unique Color ChangeAbility. Soon enough Kecleon camouflages itself, making itself almost invisible besides a red zigzag on its stomach. Ash soon realizes that Kecleon hasn't moved yet, but before Pikachu can attack, Kecleon jumps into the long grass for cover. To counter this manoeuvre Ash orders Pikachu to listen out for Kecleon. However, Kecleon uses its Lick attack to confuse Pikachu, then tosses him aside with its tongue. Harrison then orders a Psybeam, and the attack narrowly clips Pikachu as he tries to evade. Pikachu stands up and rushes into the grass to hide. But Kecleon uses its tongue to cut down the lawn. Pikachu bides his time before grabbing a hold of Kecleon's tongue, using it as a wire to deliver a direct Thunderbolt, knocking Kecleon out. Harrison quickly recalls Kecleon.
Harrison then sends out Sneasel, the same one he captured before the tournament opened. Pikachu uses another Thunderbolt, but Sneasel dodges and lashes Pikachu with a Metal Claw to claim the round. Ash takes a second to collect Pikachu from the field before calling out Totodile. He orders a Water Gun, but Sneasel runs forward and attempts to use Metal Claw. However, Totodile Bites down on Sneasel's arm, effectively immobilizing it. Totodile performs a happy dance, knocking Sneasel into the ground in the process. Afterwards Totodile swats it away with its tail, leaving Sneasel unable to continue.
Harrison chooses Hypno to fight next. Totodile tries a Scary Face, but Hypno is totally unfazed by the attack. Hypno replies with a Hypnosis, taking full control of Totodile. Next Hypno uses a Psychic attack to send Totodile flying, knocking it out cold. Ash sends out his Snorlax, who emerges from its Poké Ball sleeping peacefully. Although Snorlax slumbering state prevents it from being affected by Hypnosis, Hypno takes advantage of the situation by using Dream Eater. As Hypno slowly absorbs Snorlax's energy, its target soon wakes up in a rage from having its dreams stolen. With a single Hyper Beam, Hypno is blasted out of the match. The announcer orders a five minute intermission due to three of Harrison's Pokémon being unable to battle.
From the sidelines, Brock and Misty remind Ash that he needs to remain focused. He reassures them, declaring that he hopes to make Gary proud. Meanwhile, the Team Rocket trio watch as construction goes ahead on their ever-expanding business venture. James takes all of the credit, remarking that his excellent pin designs made all the difference. However, Jessie reminds him that her marketing strategies were invaluable. As the pair squabble, Meowth orders them to settle down and focus on the business instead.
The second half of the battle begins, Ash sends out Noctowl and Harrison chooses Steelix. Noctowl hits Steelix with a Confusion, but Steelix blinds it with Sandstorm. Noctowl is hit with a Dig attack from Steelix. Noctowl recovers and attempts to use Hypnosis. However, Steelix knocks it out of the sky with a powerful Iron Tail, winning Harrison the round. Ash sends Snorlax back out. As Snorlax prepares to use its Hyper Beam, Steelix Binds it up and uses a Crunch attack. Snorlax manages to free itself from Steelix's Bind with an Ice Punch before proceeding to knock Steelix out with a Hyper Beam.
Harrison's next Pokémon is Houndoom. Snorlax uses Hyper Beam once more. However, Houndoom uses Counter to deflect the attack and Snorlax ends up getting blasted by its own Hyper Beam, and is taken out of the fight. Brock is amazed that Harrison's Houndoom can use Counter. Ash's next Pokémon is Bayleef. The decision surprises Harrison, however, as a Grass-type Pokémon like Bayleef is weak against Fire Pokémon like Houndoom. Brock and Professor Oak have their doubts, but they hope Ash can overcome the type disadvantage. Bayleef starts with Razor Leaf, but a Flamethrower attack from Houndoom burns through the leaves. Ash orders Headbutt, while Harrison orders Bite. The attacks miss, but then, Bayleef uses Vine Whip to snap close Houndoom's jaws, which prevents Houndoom from using Flamethrower and Bite. Bayleef tosses Houndoom to the ground, and then finishes the battle off with a Body Slam.
Harrison is down to his last Pokémon—Blaziken. Oak is surprised to see Blaziken, and he informs Delia that the rare Hoenn Pokémon will be interesting to watch. Brock notes that Bayleef has to battle yet another type-advantaged Pokémon. Ash consults his Pokédex once again, which reveals Blaziken can use its long legs to make incredible leaps. Bayleef starts with Razor Leaf, but Blaziken uses its legs to kick the leaves away in a flash. This impressive display of strength and speed causes Ash to reconsider his strategy. He settles on keeping Bayleef away from Blaziken as much as possible. Ash orders a Vine Whip, but the vines are easily caught by Blaziken. Ash is shocked at yet another incredible display of reflexes while Blaziken proceeds to reel Bayleef in. Ash orders a Body Slam to use Blaziken's power against it, but Blaziken lands a close-range Fire Punch on Bayleef and knocks her out.
Now Ash is also down to his last Pokémon, Charizard. Harrison knows the round will be challenging as Ash's Charizard is a high level Pokémon. Both Pokémon launch their Flamethrowers and the attacks clash in mid-air, resulting in a huge ball of fire.
Ash's Snorlax is confirmed male in the English dub as Professor Oak says in the dub "Snorlax's Hyper Beam was sent back to him at double the power."
Team Rocket doesn't blast off or recite the motto in this episode.
When Ash sends out Totodile, he throws a normal Poké Ball, despite the fact that he caught it with a Lure Ball.
Harrison's Steelix hits Ash's Noctowl with Dig, which should not be possible since Noctowl is a Flying type, and as such should not be affected by a Ground-type move.
During the introduction, the narrator says that Harrison is using Pokémon Ash has never seen before but it shows Kecleon as an example, even though Kecleon is one of the few Hoenn Pokémon Ash has seen before. Pikachu, Misty, and Brock appeared not to recognize the Kecleon either.
When Pikachu is hit by Kecleon's Lick, he is shown with spiral eyes, which is normally used as an indication that a Pokémon has been knocked out, and yet is still able to battle. To make matters more confusing, when Pikachu is knocked out a couple of minutes later, he is shown with the standard spiral eyes.
At the halfway point, the announcer incorrectly states that this is the semifinals instead of the quarterfinals.
On Pokemon.com, the title says "Play with Fire!" instead of "Playing with Fire!".
When Ash sends out Snorlax for the second time, the white part of its belly is disconnected from the white part of its face.