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The Ties That Bind (Pokémon the Series: Original Series)

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The Ties That Bind (Pokémon the Series: Original Series)
The start of the battle between Ash and Gary!
Part of Season: 5
Episode Number: 269
Air Date: October 10, 2002 (Japan)
September 20, 2003 (USA)
Previous episode: Tie One On!
Next episode: Can't Beat the Heat

"The Ties That Bind" (Japanese: けっしょうトーナメント!フルバトル6VS6!! "Tournament Finals! Full Battle 6 VS 6!!") is the 269th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on October 10, 2002, and in the United States on September 20, 2003.


Ash's skills as a Pokémon trainer are put to the ultimate test as he faces his longtime rival, Gary, in the Johto League Silver Conference.

Why It Rocks

  1. This episode was a decent way to start the Ash vs. Gary Two-Parter Arc.
  2. The plot is well-done, with the tension of the battle between Ash and Gary heating up as we get to the exciting battle.
  3. The beginning picks up where the last episode left off, where Ash and Gary argue as usual for their upcoming full battle.
  4. The music is amazing, and fits really well with the episode, as usual.
  5. The moment where Ash reflects on how he lost to Gary before was nice, and got his confidence that he will beat him during the full battle with him.
  6. Ash was doing some studying with Brock’s help to figure out a way to beat Gary.
  7. Great animation in its time, especially for early 2000 standards as usual.
  8. Many hilarious moments in the episode, like when during the flashback, Ash got slapped in the face with the Magikarp, and when he got Flamethrowered by Charizard as he returned, as it’s way of saying hello.
  9. Ash was talking with Misty and Brock about how to assemble his team against Gary, since Gary can be unpredictable with his Pokémon.
  10. Such as when Ash was thinking about his team, Charizard came back, and it was awesome, as Brock revealed he called Liza, the Charizard trainer, and told her to have him it come over to help Ash in his battle against Gary.
  11. It was sweet that Professor Oak (Gary’s Grandpa) and Delia (Ash’s Mom) came to Johto Stadium to cheer on both Ash and Gary.
  12. Ash and Harrison had a nice talk, and Harrison wished Ash luck on beating Gary, and they promised each other they would battle in the next round.
  13. The battle’s startup was nice, as Pikachu, Psyduck, Togepi and Politoad were a good Pokémon cheering squad, and there were also Gary’s cheerleaders.
  14. The battle started on the Rock battlefield, and Ash had a rough start as his Tauros was knocked out by Gary’s Nidoqueen.
  15. When Ash chose Heracross, Gary picked Magmar, but even at a disadvantage, Ash amazingly turned the match, as Heracross was awesome and strong, knocking out Magmar with a powerful Megahorn in the end. You go, Heracross!
  16. The cliffhanger ending was intense as Ash’s Heracross faced off against Gary’s Blastoise.

Bad Qualities

  1. Team Rocket had boring parts in this episode, and were not that funny here. They kind of went nowhere.
  2. The Pokéball back story wasn’t necessary as it was never mentioned before and there could have been better ways to bring more tension to Ash and Gary’s battle.
  3. An animation error with Tauros’ Pokéball as usual, as it’s supposed to be a Safari Ball, but it’s instead a normal Pokéball.
  4. There was also a dubbing (or translation) error in the English dub, where Ash tells Heracross to use Fury Swipes, but the original Japanese dub told him to use Fury Attack.


"The Ties That Bind" was met with positive reception and critical acclaim among fans and critics. It was scored an 8/10 on


  • The episode's English dub title is very similar to that of a future episode.
  • When Ash is looking for his half of the broken Poké Ball, the rubber gloves and the clothesline Delia gave him in the first episode can be seen.
  • The battle between Ash and Gary marks the first and currently only time in the anime where Pikachu isn't in Ash's active party, though he is still present on the sidelines to cheer him on. Ash likely gave his Poké Ball to Professor Oak, at least temporarily, to make this possible. The fact that this occurs means that Pikachu is ineligible to battle, as Ash states in the next episode.
  • This episode is featured on Volume 5: Blastoise from Viz Media's Pokémon All-Stars series.


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