Pokemon: Johto League Champions Anime Guide

Johto is an ancient region west of Kanto and is home to the legendary Lugia and Ho-oh. Johto League Champions continues the adventure from Johto Journeys. Johto is one of those regions in Pokemon that made me fall in love with the franchise. Like Sinnoh, Johto is home to fantastic stories, and I’m fascinated with history and legends.

Bottom Line-Up Front

Johto League Champions is a superb season of Pokemon. Ash and his team steadily grow together, with Chikorita being a stand-out of the season, evolving into Bayleaf.

Noctowl also proves to be a valuable team member, the deciding factor in Ash beating Morty and winning the Fog Badge. Brock and Misty also have fun and exciting episodes and continue to provide a great dynamic in the group.

Ultimately, Ash holds three new badges by the end of Johto League Champions and is fast approaching a battle with Jasmine, the Steel-type specialist and gym leader of Olivine City.

Casey and Ash Reunite – “The Bug Stops Here”

casey and ash
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Casey and Chikorita return once more to spout her baseball propaganda in “The Bugs Stops Here.” To Misty’s dismay, Ash and Casey enter a bug-catching contest where trainers are tasked with catching Bug-type Pokemon in Goldenrod City park. The rules are as follows:

  • Trainers are restricted to bringing one Pokemon into the park.
  • You can catch as many Bug-type Pokemon as you want, but only one will be judged. Only the creepiest crawly and dangerous bug will win.

If you ask me, it sounds like a government plot to cover up a pest problem, get the public to solve it themselves, and televise it to make a comfortable profit. Ash, Casey, and countless other trainers run head first into the bug-infested park.

Casey is hell-bent on winning to get revenge on Ash for flame-throwing her Pokemon with Charizard. It’s not long before Ash encounters a Weedle, but a Razor Leaf comes slicing through, followed by a Pokeball from Casey and her Chikorita.

Casey pushes her Chikorita to the absolute limit, and she gets her exhausted Chikorita to fight a Scyther. However, Chikorita can’t keep up, and Ash catches up and is furious about how Casey is treating Chikorita. He angers Scyther and runs off, with Scyther following, shouting for Casey to “Stick to the Weedles.”

Casey’s Chikorita Evolves

casey's chikorita
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Meanwhile, Brock and Misty watch participants on a big screen in an amphitheater. After a series of antics between Misty and her fear of bugs, Brock tries to calm Misty down, but to their distress, they lose Togepi in the process. They look in horror on the screen as they see Togepi next to Casey’s Chikorita.

An angry Brock and Misty appear out of the bushes to pick up Togepi but remark on Casey’s harsh treatment of her Chikorita; meanwhile, Ash catches a Beedrill. Team Rocket suddenly appears and captures Ash and Pikachu after they stumble into a trap. Casey is sorry for how she has treated Chikorita, and Chikorita evolves into Bayleaf and saves Ash and Pikachu.

In conclusion, Ash wins the bug-catching competition but gives Beedrill to Casey, knowing that yellow-colored Pokemon are her favorite, and wishes her well on her adventure. I like this episode as it’s a great filler after Ash’s Goldenrod City gym victory.

Reunited With Gary “Power Play”

The trio is reunited with Gary in “Power Play.” The episode starts with the gang walking through a mountain path towards Ecruteak City. Suddenly, they hear two trainers battling below the ridge line. The trio looks onto to find Gary battling a trainer.

They discover that Gary’s Eevee has evolved into Umbreon since it defeated Ash’s Pikachu in Pallet Town, and Brock is excited to see it a battle. The opposing trainer announces that he is Alex Davies from Cherrygrove City and challenges Gary to a fight. For my life, I couldn’t fathom why they used an English child for Alex’s voice actor. It’s incredibly jarring, making no sense as the character appears much older.

Winning the Respect of Gary

As I watch in horror and cringe, hearing Alex shout orders to its Alakazam, Gary’s Umbreon wastes no time in dishing out the damage.

It’s incredibly fast, powerful, and damn right awesome, as it easily identifies Alakazam after using Double Team, Showing how good Gary is as a trainer. After the inevitable, Ash wastes no time challenging Gary to a battle, but Gary declines, stating that he’s learned all of Pikachu’s attack patterns.

Ash releases all his Pokemon, declaring that he could beat Umbreon with either Chikorita, Totodile, Cyndaquil, or Noctowl. However, all his Pokemon carry out all their antics. Chikorita cuddles up to Ash’s leg, Totodile dances around, Cyndaquil wanders off, and Noctowl, sleepy, takes a kip, much to Ash’s embarrassment. However, Gary doesn’t even glance, already walking off in the distance.

The trio visits a town on the road to Ecruteak City and rest at the Pokemon Centre Ash gets jealous of Gary’s Umbreon as Brock and Misty can’t stop talking about it. Shortly a power cut ensues, and the Pokemon Centre is left in darkness.

With Pokemon in critical condition, the trio tries to find a way to restore power to the town and save the injured Pokemon. With help from Gary, the gang discovers that the power outage is the work done by none other than Team Rocket.

Gary comments that Ash has gotten much stronger since their last battle and will challenge Ash to a match when they next meet. This is an excellent episode. Despite the dodgy voice acting at the start, it’s great to see Gary grow as a character and trainer.

Ash’s Chikorita Evolves

Chikorita Evolves
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There aren’t many changes regarding Ash’s team from Johto Journeys to the end of Johto League Champions. However, Chikorita plays a considerable role in Ash’s team for Johto League Champions.

It not only battles against Whitney in “A Goldenrod Opportunity” but also evolves into Bayleaf in episode 199, “Current Events,” after Ash and Chikorita are separated from Brock, Misty, and Pikachu in an electric plant. The two battle through countless Electric-type Pokemon, including a powerful Electabuzz.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Pokemon without Team Rocket making an appearance, as they too are trapped within the electric plant after breaking in searching for food. Ash eventually bumps into the team, and they steal Chikorita. However, understanding that Ash is in danger and needs help, Chikorita evolves into Bayleaf and breaks free from Team Rocket.

“Current Events” is an excellent episode as it puts Ash in a dangerous scenario without the help of Pikachu, Brock, and Misty. It’s fun to watch Ash and Chikorita have their own mini adventure.

Bayleaf Goes Missing – “Turning Over a New Bayleaf”

The following episode, “Turning Over a New Bayleaf,” focuses on Bayleaf struggling to adapt to its new evolved form. Chikorita is a loving and energetic Pokemon that regularly jumps on people to show affection. However, its new body is much bigger than its previous form, and this leads to Bayleaf body slamming Ash as a sign of affection.

The problem first becomes apparent when the trio decides to have a rest and relax by a riverside. Ash calls out all his Pokemon so they can enjoy the much-needed rest. On release, Bayleaf immediately tackles Ash to the ground and later wins a game of fetch by using her new bulk and strength.

Later the group is getting ready for dinner, and Bayleaf awakes from a much-needed kip. Aware that Ash won’t like it if it tackles him, Bayleaf slowly walks up to Ash. However, Ash is terrified that he will be pulverized again and tells Bayleaf to leave him alone and stay away.

Bayleaf retreats into the woods. Sad and hurt, it kicks rocks into a stream, reminded of Ash’s words. One big kick and a stone launches straight into a Beedrill nest, and Bayleaf falls into a river trying to escape. Misty soon realizes that Bayleaf is missing, and the trio looks for her.

Winning Her Back

bayleaf pokemon
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Meanwhile, Bayleaf is rescued by an old lady and a Machoke. They take good care of Bayleaf, wrapping it in blankets. The old lady lives alone with her Pokemon. The Pokemon tend to the old lady’s garden, and life seems peaceful here.

I think this episode does a great job of showing how peaceful life can be in the countryside of Johto. It also explores how Pokemon struggle to adapt to their new evolved forms, a problem not explored in the games.

Thanks to Togepi and Pikachu, the trio discovers the old lady’s house, and Ash tries to win Bayleaf back by pretending to enjoy gardening and sucking up to Bayleaf; however, Bayleaf has none of it. It appears it will take much more than an apology to get her back. Brock suggests playing hard to get, drawing from his “expert” knowledge of girls.

Ash tries to tempt Bayleaf with food and a brush, but a pouty Bayleaf ignores him. Brock freaks out, realizing that he has girls all wrong. Of course, this is about time for Team Rocket to come crashing in with one of their insane mecha war machines. Honestly, why doesn’t Giovanni get these three in engineering?

Outnumbered and out-brained, Team Rocket is defeated, bringing Bayleaf and Ash back together. Ash apologies to Bayleaf, stating it can tackle him whenever it wants. Bayleaf restrains itself to not hurt Ash before using Body Slam on Ash.

Jasmine and the Ampharos – “Fight for the Light”

“Fight for the Light” wastes no time getting into the action, opening with Ash fighting Jasmine, the Olivine City gym leader. Ash sends in Totodile to counter her Onix. However, Water-type attacks appear to be ineffective much to the confusion of Ash and the trio, and Totodile is swiftly wiped out. However, before the battle goes any further, a lady appears with a Magnemite declaring that she is Jasmine and the girl Ash is fighting is Janina, her apprentice.

Fun fact Janina is Koga’s daughter and is appointed as the Fuchsia City gym leader after Koga becomes a member of the Elite Four in Johto.

The match is called off. Ash is denied a battle, and Brock falls in love. The real Jasmine states that she’s not feeling up to it since her “Little Sparkle” hasn’t been feeling well recently and leaves the gym. The gang looks puzzled and is left wondering where Jasmine has gone to and who Little Sparkle is.

Fortunately, they bump into Janina, who apologizes to Ash for their fake battle and that she covered her Onix with water repellent, much to Brock’s horror. Janina explains that they should look for Jasmine at the Shining Lighthouse, also known as the Glitter Lighthouse.

The Shining Lighthouse

Jasmine and her pokemon
Image from Pokemon Fandom

The group reaches the old Lighthouse and enters; the group feels uneasy as it looks abandoned. Reaching the top, they discover that the light source for the tower is an Amphoros, but it looks sick; Jasmine and her grandfather Myron enter and explain that the Ampharos is Little Sparkle.

Myron explains to the group that Ampharos are a big part of Olivine City’s culture as they were used to guide lost ships to the city.

However, a new lighthouse was created when electricity was discovered. However, the city still uses the Shining Lighthouse out of tradition as it means a lot to the people of Olivine City. It’s revealed that Janina was meant to head to Cinawood City to pick up medicine for Little Sparkle, but Ash found her playing gym leader instead.

Meanwhile Team Rocket has been creeping about and thinks Ampharos would make a fantastic gift for Giovanni. Jame’s Weezing uses Smokescreen, and everyone legs it. Brock picks up Ampharos to protect it and is captured by Team Rocket. As the crime duo gets into their Meowth balloon, it looks like their plan might work for the first time ever.

Their victory is short-lived as Janina, riding on her Onix’s back, orders Onix to grab Jessie’s Arbok to stop the balloon from escaping. Janina frees Brock and Little Sparkle, and Team Rocket is quickly blasted off. The episode ends with the group waving goodbye as they sail off on a boat to Cinawood City.

Johto League Champions Gym Battles

johto league champions gym battles
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The gym battles in Johto League Champions are no pushover, although obtaining all of Kanto’s badges and the Zephyr and Hive badges in Johto Journeys. Ash’s strategy and Pokemon will be pushed to their limits by the next three gym leaders, but despite this, he manages to obtain the Plain Badge, Fog Badge, and Storm Badge. His combatant’s skill increases with each new battle, so he doesn’t come out victorious on the first try.

Ash first fights Whitney, a Normal-type specialist and gym leader of Goldenrod City. Secondly, Morty, a Ghost-type specialist and gym leader of Ecruteak City, and Chuck, the Fighting-type specialist and Cinawood City gym leader.

  • “A Goldenrod Opportunity.”
  • “A Dairy Tale Ending.”
  • “From Ghost to Ghost.”
  • “Machoke, Machoke Man!”

Ash Fights Whitney – A Goldenrod Opportunity”

Johto League Champions starts with a bang, and Ash battles Whitney to earn the Plain Badge. I love the two battles between Whitney and Ash, and it’s funny that Ash loses to Whitney in their first battle in “Goldenrod Opportunity,” as Whitney’s Miltank is seriously overpowered in Pokemon Gold and Silver.

At level twenty, Miltank is no pushover. Its high HP, Defense, and Speed stats make it a formidable foe that is both tanky and hard-hitting.

Its Attract move is incredibly annoying, and its Roll-out is lethal if it manages to land sequential hits as Ash quickly learns in battle. Ash should just be glad that you don’t have to fight Whitney with Gen V and above updates, as Miltank’s abilities and hidden abilities make it even harder to fight with Sap Sipper, Thick Fat, and Scrappy.

Unlike Pokemon Gold and Silver, Ash has to fight Whitney three on three. Whitney first sends out Nidorina, and Ash responds with Cyndaquil. After a tackle and Flamethrower, Nidorina is quickly knocked out, and Whitney sends in a Clefairy.

After an attack from Cyndaquil, Whitney recalls Clefairy as she hates to see her Clefairy in pain and sends out the one and only star of the show Miltank.

Miltank knocks Cyndaquil, Totodile, and Pikachu out by rolling into them at high speeds using Roll-out. Brock hints that Pikachu should use an Electric-type attack on Miltank after Totodile doused Miltank with a Water Gun. However, Miltank’s rolling around made this ineffective.

“A Goldenrod Opportunity” is an excellent episode as it’s got everything from the trio exploring Goldenrod City to blasting off Team Rocket to tense Pokemon battles. I think Ash losing to Whitney is great for the show as it shows that Ash isn’t guaranteed to win every time.

Ash Beats Whitney “A Dairy Tale Ending”

I like how Johto League Champions opens with two episodes with Whitney as she gives a bit more insight into the lives of the people of Johto and, more immediately, Whitney as we see where she trains her terrifying Miltank. In “A Dairy Tale Ending,” Whitney takes Ash, Brock, and Misty to her uncle’s Miltank dairy farm.

The trio fights off Team Rocket a couple of times as they attempt to steal food and later attempt to steal Miltank and Pikachu while rolling around in a wooden barrel. Seriously these guys are hilarious as they walked from Saffron City in Kanto to Goldenrod City in one night! Just to get defeated again. At this point, they are just being farmed by Ash for Exp to level his Pokemon.

The trio helps around the farm, and Ash uses this moment to learn more about Miltank. The trio brushes the Miltank, but Whitney’s Miltank starts to walk off, Ash grabs its tail to get it to come back, and it kicks him. There’s just something about Miltank that doesn’t like Ash.

Whitney decides to give Ash a rematch after saving Miltank from Team Rocket; however, using Miltank as her only Pokemon. Ash sends in Cyndaquil, but before it can do much damage, it’s knocked out, and Ash sends in his jolly Totodile and orders it to use Water Gun on the ground to restrict Miltank’s Roll-out.

Roll On the Rematch

Whitney continues to spam the “A” button on Roll-Out, and Totodile sparks the idea to launch itself into the air with Water Gun to get on top of Miltank. Spectators of the battle scratch their heads as Totodile runs atop the spinning Miltank with joy.

Damn, I love this loveable little crocodile. Totodile inevitably falls off, and Ash sends in Pikachu positioned in front of Totodile’s trenches, and Miltank rolls over it. The uneven ground flings it into the air allowing Pikachu to finish it with a Thunder Shock!

Ash Obtains the Fog Badge – “From Ghost to Ghost”

Arriving in Ecruteak City in “Ghost of a Chance,” Ash Brock and Misty enter the Burned Tower, thinking it’s the Ecruteak City Gym.

Only to find that it’s home to numerous Gastly, Haunter, and Gengar. Using Noctowl’s Foresight attack, Ash can identify the Ghost-type Pokemon in the Burned Tower, a strategy that will come in handy for his gym battle. They meet Morty, the Ecruteak City gym leader who helps them recover a lost Pikachu and Togepi, and Morty accepts Ash’s battle.

The battle for the Fog Badge begins in “From Ghost to Ghost” Morty sends out Gastly, and Ash responds with Noctowl and uses Foresight to identify Gastly; however, Noctowl struggles to land hits, and Ash recalls Noctowl saving it for later. Ash then sends in Pikachu, but Gastly’s Night Shade attack quickly knocks it out. Next up is Cyndaquil, and it defeats Gastly by running up its tongue and striking it with a Tackle while it uses its Lick attack.

Morty sends in Haunter and uses Mean Look, causing Cyndaquil’s fire to go out and be trapped in the battle. Misty thinks this is unfair, and Brock replies that it is a legal move in battle. Heavily disadvantaged, Cyndaquil puts up a good fight using Smokescreen to protect itself from Haunter. However, Haunter gets the better of Cyndaquil. Down to his third and final Pokemon, Ash resends in Noctowl.

Noctowl is back with a Vengeance

Morty appears confident that the battle is over, but it’s anything but… Noctowl uses Hypnosis, and Haunter uses Confuse Ray and gets the better of Noctowl. Falling to the floor, a confused and dazed Noctowl gets back up and tackles Haunter.

As the two collide with attacks, Noctowl’s confusion wears off. Noctowl’s head feathers glow blue, and Brock explains that it’s learned Confusion as a new move. Perhaps Noctowl learned Confusion after being confused, or maybe it just leveled up to level 41. Either way, Noctowl smacks down the grizzly ghost with a super effective Confusion, and it’s down for the count.

A now not-so-confident Morty remarks that its impressive Noctowl learned a new move in battle. He sends in Gengar as his third and final Pokemon. But Noctowl has had enough of all these ghoulish creeps and proceeds to confuse the whole gym after struggling to hit Gengar with Foresight.

As spectators become afflicted by Noctowl’s move, Gengar reveals itself atop the gym, struggling with Noctowl’s attack. Ash locks it in with Foresight, and Noctowl Tackles it before Gengar can get a Shadow Ball out. Gengar is knocked out, and Morty is defeated, rewarding Ash with the Fog Badge!

Ash Obtains the Storm Badge – “Machoke, Machoke Man!”

Machoke, Machoke Man
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The trio reaches Cinawood City and is close to obtaining medicine for Jasmine and Little Sparkle but even closer to obtaining the Storm Badge. Chuck is an interesting character. He’s an older man that is a master of Fighting-type Pokemon.

He loves to train with his Pokemon,, like fighting against them himself. He may be old and looking a bit flabby as of the present, but don’t let that fool you like it fooled Ash, as underneath all that blubber is a strong and powerful Pokemon trainer.

After the trio are fed dinner by Chuck and his wife, they head down to the gym battlegrounds and begin the match for the Storm Badge. Chuck only uses two Pokemon for the battle, Poliwrath, and Machoke.

Starting with Poliwrath, Ash gets the type advantage by sending out Pikachu and ordering it to Thunderbolt Poliwrath; however, to Ash and Pikachu’s surprise, Poliwrath is extremely fast and dodges the incoming attacks. Poliwrath gets hit on the third, and Ash orders Pikachu to hit it with Quick Attack, hoping to finish it before it can react. Chuck retaliates with Focus Energy, and Pikachu bounces off Poliwrath into the floor.

Then brutally, Poliwrath is ordered to Double Slap Pikachu. Poliwrath then smacks Pikachu side to side before chucking him away. After that beating, Pikachu is down and out, and Ash thinks long and hard about the next Pokemon he sends in as it will have to fight Machoke after Poliwrath.

One Angry Bayleaf

Ash chooses Bayleaf and orders it to Razor Leaf after dodging a Water Gun, a strange move for Chuck to use, considering the type match-up. Bayleaf proves to be a good choice as it ain’t messing around. It picks up the oversized frog with a Vine Whip and promptly throws it into the air before smashing its face into the ground! Ash orders Bayleaf to Body Slam Poliwrath before it can use Focus Energy to knock it out.

Chuck then sends out Machoke and orders it to Karate Chop himself. Ash is puzzled, but Brock declares that it will keep the two focused in battle by psyching them up for battle, and Ash copies Chuck asking Bayleaf to Body Slam him. The battle recommences, and Chuck orders Machoke to Karate Chop Bayleaf, but she manages to dodge many of its attacks until it takes a big hit.

Bayleaf quickly recovers and lashes out with Vine Whip Machoke grabs the vines and commences a tug of war between the two. Brock and Misty shout out advice, but Ash carries on with his plan. Machoke eventually gets the upper hand, pulling Bayleaf and attacking her before throwing Bayleaf into the air.

Ash uses Vine Whip in the air for extra damage. Machoke survives but cannot withstand Bayleaf’s incoming Razor Leaf and is promptly knocked out. Ash and Bayleaf are declared the winners, and Ash is given the Storm Badge concluding Johto League Champions.

Other Johto League Champions Events

  • Brock’s Zubat evolves into Golbat in “Hassle in the Castle” and later into Crobat in “Control Freak!”
  • Brock returns Vulpix to Suzie in “Beauty And The Breeder.”
  • The trio meets the Kimono Sisters, and Misty becomes friends with Sakura in – “Trouble’s Brewing.”


Question: What Region of Japan is Johto based off?

Answer: Johto is based in the city of Kyoto in Japan as well as the surrounding countryside of Kansai. Kyoto is filled with many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. If look a bit closer to Johto you’ll notice many ancient buildings such as the Burned Tower. As well as geographical similarities like Mt. Silver representing Mt. Fuji west of Tokyo and east of Kyoto and same in their in game counterparts.

Question: Does Ash Ever Encounter Lugia?

Answer: While Ash encounter Ho-oh in the very first episode. It wouldn’t be until episode 210 “Around the Whirlpool” in the fifth season of the original series and also encounters a baby Lugia in Pokemon: Master Quest. However, Ash did encounter Lugia earlier in the main series timeline in the Pokemon 2000 movie but this is never mentioned in the anime.

Question: Are There Any Third Generation Pokemon from Ruby and Sapphire in the Johto Seasons?

Answer: Yes! Kecleon makes an appearance in “The Kecleon Caper” and Ash fights a Blaziken in the Johto League. Ash also encounters a Sharpedo, Peliper, and, Wailmer in the final episode of Master Quest.

Johto League Champions Anime: Conclusion

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed Pokemon Johto League Champions and found it a much better watch than Johto Journeys. The filler episodes are better, and it’s great to see how Ash’s new team has come together. Through the tough times of losing to Whitney and overcoming it, to Chikorita evolving into Bayleaf and proving to all the Chikorita haters out there that it’s a force to be reckoned with.

I think the series does a great job of entwining elements of the plot from Gold and Silver into Ash, Brock, and Misty’s story. For example, adding Ampharous and Kimono girls was a great idea to connect both stories.

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