The Spheal of Approval (Japanese: 海の博物館を守れ！マグマ団の襲撃！ Protect The Ocean Museum! Attack of Team Magma) is the 36th episode of Pokémon: Advanced.
While Brock and May go shopping, Ash and Max go to the museum, only to find it closed. Max attempts to go in, but is caught by a boy, who claims they are thieves. Just then, Captain Stern arrives and the confusion is settled. While Ash and Max visit the exhibition, the members of Team Magma try to infiltrate the museum to steal Captain Stern's stone he recently acquired.
With May's first Pokémon Contest in Slateport City being over, Ash, Brock, May and Max decide to stay in the city one more day. May proposes going shopping, while Max wants to see the local museum. Brock decides to go with May to buy supplies, while Ash goes with Max and they all promise to meet up at the museum. To Ash and Max's surprise, they find the Slateport Museum closed. Ash reads it is supposed to be opened everyday. Max does not give up and tries to climb up the museum wall. However, Max gets startled and falls down, since a child confronts him, demanding to know what was Max doing. Before Max could explain, the boy accuses Max wants to steal museum's exhibits. Ash comes to see what's going on, but the boy calls him a thief, too. The boy sends out Spheal, ordering it to use Water Gun, but Spheal claps instead. The boy repeats the move, but Spheal soaks the boy instead. The boy commands Spheal to use Body Slam. Ash and Max dodge the attack, Spheal bounces off a wall and ends up knocking the boy down on the ground, making Ash and Max think the boy is just a new trainer to have a hard time with Spheal. Spheal uses Blizzard, but Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, countering the attack and defeating Spheal.
The boy is surprised his Spheal has been defeated this easily; Max explains him that Water-type Pokémon have a weakness to Electric-type moves. Ash advises the boy to return Spheal to its Poké Ball for Spheal to rest. A man, named Captain Stern, arrives and greets the boy, Marius, who believes Ash and Max are thieves. Ash and Max explain to they only wanted to visit the museum. After Marius' apology, Captain Stern introduces himself as the curator and explains he had to close the museum because of an unexpected event, but invites Ash, Max and Marius to come to the museum. Jessie, James and Meowth observe the scene and make a plan to steal Ash's Pikachu and rob the museum to become rich. Ash, Max and Marius admire the Oceanic museum's exhibits, while Marius explains, being an marine biologist, he displays the exhibits. They stop at the models of water Pokémon, where Marius hopes to catch a Goldeen and evolve it into a Gyarados. Max and Ash explain Goldeen evolve into Seaking and Magikarp into Gyarados, so they see Marius is not well-informed. Marius tells them his dream is to become a scientist and travel the sea in the submarine that Captain Stern is currently building. Marius tells Stern is also known as the owner of the ship-making company.
Captain Stern takes the three to his office, explaining he closed the museum to find more about the dark rock he received. Captain Stern believes the rock, which was found at the bottom of the ocean went under extreme heat and was transformed into this dark appearance, suspecting a Pokémon emitted a lot of heat under the ocean. Ash and Max are astonished because they cannot understand how can there be heat at the bottom of the ocean, but Captain Stern tells them that it may be work of a Pokémon. Suddenly, someone is heard from the museum's courtyard to be selling snow cones. Ash, Max and Marius go outside to buy some, while Captain Stern stays in the museum to find more about the dark stone. Meanwhile, someone hacks into the security system and enters the museum. Ash, Max and Marius are enjoying their icy desserts, when it occurs to Max the museum is closed and the snow cones salesmen ought to know that. However, Team Rocket persuades them to continue eating, causing more brain freezes. When the three are almost unable to move due to freezing effects of snow cones, Team Rocket reveals their true identity and steals Ash's Pikachu. Thus, Pikachu is put in a cage, while Ash, Max and Marius are trapped in a cage as well.
After the lights go out, three Team Magma members, including Tabitha, break into the building and steal the black stone. Captain Stern confronts them, but Tabitha refuses to say anything and sends Mightyena, who uses Shadow Ball to distract Stern. Outside, Ash has Pikachu use Thunderbolt, but it fails, since the cage is electric-proof. Team Rocket spots Team Magma members running away and figures Team Magma got "their treasure", so Team Rocket decides to steal it from them. Marius tries to break the cage by having Spheal use Body Slam, but it claps and hits Marius with the attack. Ash sends Corphish, who breaks the cage with Crabhammer. Team Rocket blocks Team Magma's way by sending out Seviper and Cacnea. Jessie has her Seviper use Poison Tail, but Tabitha's Mightyena tackles it. Cacnea uses Pin Missile, but Mightyena uses Double Team to evade the attack. Seviper tries to use Wrap, but Mightyena's Iron Tail counters the attack and hits Seviper. Thus, Team Rocket blasts off and drops Pikachu's cage. The cage falls on the ground and opens. Ash, Max, Marius arrive, glad Pikachu is free, but face the Team Magma members. Captain Stern comes as well and sends out his Sealeo, who attacks Mightyena with Aurora Beam. Mightyena is hit and sent onto Tabitha, causing him to drop the suitcase with the black stone; Marius catches it and hands it over to Captain Stern. The other two members of Team Magma send out their Mightyena, while Tabitha demands the stone back.
Meanwhile, Brock and May are done with their shopping and decide to go to the museum. Ash wonders what Team Magma wants with that stone, but he, Max, Marius and Stern refuse to hand it away. Tabitha simply claims whoever is in their path will be eliminated. Ash sends out his Corphish and Pikachu to battle against Mightyena, alongside Sealeo. Captain Stern orders Max and Marius to run into town to get Officer Jenny, once he gives the signal. All three Mightyena use Hyper Beam while Corphish, Pikachu and Sealeo use BubbleBeam, Thunderbolt and Aurora Beam,, countering the attacks and causing an explosion. Smoke covers the area, so Max and Marius start to run. The boys come to a cliff, so Marius tells they have to jump off the cliff into the sea. Max is terrified and does not want to jump. Tabitha orders Mightyena to use Shadow Ball, so Marius takes Max's hand and drags him down to dodge it, along with Spheal. The boys and Spheal slide down the cliff and end up in sea. They hold onto Spheal, who starts swimming to the city, quite quickly. May and Brock think it was a shame Ash and Max could not come with them, but soon see Marius and Max.
Meanwhile, Captain Stern gives the suitcase to Ash, telling him to run while Sealeo distracts them using Blizzard. Ash runs with Pikachu and Corphish, but despite Blizzard, Mightyena uses Shadow Ball and hits the ground in front of Ash. The explosion sends Ash flying and he drops the suitcase. The suitcase opens and the stone falls on ground, spliting into two pieces, one being significantly bigger than the other. Mightyena takes the larger piece and gives it to Tabitha. Team Magma's helicopter arrives and Mightyena uses Shadow Ball to distract Captain Stern and Ash while Team Magma is getting aboard. As Ash and Captain Stern watch the helicopter flying away, Stern sees Team Magma is quite organized, for a criminal organization. The police arrives, along with Brock, May, Max and Marius. Ash apologizes to Captain Stern for dropping the stone, but Captain Stern tells him it doesn't matter because he retrieved the smaller part of the stone which will be sufficient for his research. May wonders what Team Magma wants to do with the stone, but nobody knows. Marius promises to battle Ash once more, who approves of the idea, though Max points out Marius has a lot of training to do first. Ash, Brock, May and Max then bid farewell to Captain Stern and Marius as they go to Mauville City.
- Featured Pokémon: Nuzleaf
- This episode's title is a reference to the term "seal of approval".
- After this episode, Pokémon underwent a nearly three-month hiatus on Kids' WB!, and did not return with new episodes until September, despite the new season not beginning until What You Seed is What You Get.
- The hint given in the "Who's That Pokémon?" eyecatch, "This Pokémon lives in in the forest and enjoys startling people!", has an extra in.
- In the Hungarian dub, a Team Magma Member asks his Mightyena to use "Shadow Bell" instead of "Shadow Ball".
- While Ash, Max, and Marius are eating snow cones Ash and Marius' snow cones trade colors. Ash's snow cone became yellow, and Marius' became green. This was corrected the next time the cones were shown.