Pop Goes the Sneasel (ニューラとせいなるほのお！ Sneasel and the Sacred Fire!) is the 56th episode of Pokémon: Master Quest.
The running of the torch. One of the greatest moments to start a competition. However, this competition will be delayed for a while.
As Ash and co head to the Silver Conference, where they find out that it can't start because a Sneasel has claimed the place where the Ho-Oh flame is used to light the torch and claimed it as its turf. Fortunately Ash and co. get help from Harrison, a trainer from Hoenn. How will they stop the Sneasel and light the torch?
The heroes arrive at a gate, where people await something. The trainers respond they are at Ho-Oh's shrine, which contains the holy flame. The heroes decide to stay here and see the torch. A man opens the gate and informs the torch runner has not arrived yet. Suddenly, Togepi and Pikachu run off beyond the gate. Ash and Misty get them, so the man warns them to be more careful. Two trainers come and are unpleased to train in this danger before the League. Ash claims he also came to participate, so the man asks them to solve the problem, as the other trainers run away from danger. Suddenly, a young trainer comes and is interested in this problem.
The young trainer is Harrison, from Littleroot Town in Hoenn. The heroes introduce themselves to Harrison. The man tells that the runners would like to get the flame to the shrine, but are unable. It is known a great battle was fought here, destroying the land. A Ho-Oh appeared and burned down the weapons with a colorful flame. Everything was destroyed, but Ho-Oh's flame caused life to bloom from the ashes. The people have worked for peace and one flame still exists, the Sacred Fire. The fire needs to be brought back to the shrine, but a wild Sneasel prevents anyone from touching it and injures them badly. Also, it is accompanied by Machoke and Machop.
The heroes and Harrison (who plans on catching Sneasel) will help get the flame back. Team Rocket heard of the Sacred Fire and plan on taking it for ransom. They run to the shrine but get stopped by Machoke, Machop and a Sneasel. Meowth translates that this is Sneasel's turf and they should scram. Jessie sends Arbok to headbutt Sneasel, who scratches it. Jessie and James are impressed by Sneasel. Meowth thinks he saw better moves at a Weedle, so Jessie tosses him. Meowth uses Fury Swipes, but Sneasel dodges and scratches him. Machop and Machoke punch Team Rocket away. Ash comes to the top, but gets saved by Harrison and Brock, who catch him after getting nearly hit by Machoke and Machamp.
Misty sends out Corsola, who uses Spike Cannon. Harrison's Houndoom uses Flamethrower, while Ash runs to the shrine. Ash gets ambushed by Sneasel, so sends out Totodile, who dodges its attack and uses Water Gun. Sneasel distracts Totodile using Feint and hits him. Machoke and Machamp are defeated by Corsola's Tackle and Houndoom's Flamethrower. Totodile uses Water Gun, but Sneasel dodges. Sneasel hits Totodile and uses Shadow Ball. Totodile is knocked out on Ash, who rolls down the slope and is knocked onto a tree. Still, they see a different approach must be used to catch Sneasel. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is exhausted. Meowth thinks he could train to defeat Sneasel, but James reminds him he'd evolve into a Persian. Jessie goes with James for a private discussion.
Jessie believes they should replace Meowth with Sneasel, while Meowth overhears the conversation. James is shocked and tells Jessie to remember the times with Meowth. Jessie responds he should think what is best for Team Rocket, so James sees Sneasel should join. Jessie and James come, telling Meowth he is out of Team Rocket. Meowth thinks he should share a tip with Sneasel, but knows he shouldn't be replaced. The heroes and Harrison come back, though Sneasel, Machoke and Machop still stand guard. Ash sends Phanpy and Harrison Houndoom. Machoke and Machop are hit by Phanpy's Take Down and Houndoom's Headbutt. Machoke and Machop retaliate, but miss and trip over Phanpy and Houndoom, then roll down the slope, defeated.
Harrison goes to catch Sneasel, but Team Rocket comes in their Sneasel-shaped balloon. Meowth approaches Sneasel, dressed as one. Jessie hopes that Sneasel will trigger the bomb hidden inside the present Meowth carries, so they can snatch it. However, Meowth warns Sneasel what Jessie and James are up to. Meowth advises to throw the present back to them, but Sneasel cuts his costume and the present, triggering the smoke bomb. Jessie and James take the Sneasel and fly up in the balloon, saying Meowth goodbye. However, they caught Meowth, who scratches them for this betrayal. Jessie tosses him onto the balloon, and, due to Meowth's sharp claws, pops the balloon and Team Rocket is blasted off.
Harrison sends Blaziken to fight. However, the heroes are surprised that the PokéDex has no data about it. Blaziken starts with Quick Attack, hitting Sneasel, who retaliates with Shadow Ball. Blaziken uses Flamethrower on Sneasel and uses Fire Punch, defeating it. Harrison throws his Poké Ball and catches Sneasel. Misty and Brock remind Ash of the Sacred Flame, so Ash opens the shrine. Later, the flame is delivered. The man thanks the heroes and points out Machop and Machoke are hired to protect the shrine. The heroes observe as runners carry the torch. Harrison tells he will be in the League and expects Ash to battle him there. He leaves, while Ash hopes to defeat all trainers.
- One of the male trainers who failed to get the flame was voiced by Andrew Rannells.
- "Who's that Pokémon?": Elekid.
- The episode's name is a reference to the nursery rhyme "Pop Goes the Weasel".
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