The territory might be familiar, but even Ash and Brock can find more than a few surprises in their home region of Kanto, like a Pokémon Ranger hot on the cases of two Legendary Pokémon! May’s back on the Contest path, blazing a trail to the Kanto Grand Festival, while Ash seeks out the hidden facilities of the Battle Frontier. If finding them wasn’t hard enough, he’s still got battles with the Frontier Brains to deal with—much tougher than any Gym Leader he’s ever faced.
On a dark and stormy night, Ash and his friends find a deserted town near an old mine. Inside the mine is a Haunter, who scares our heroes away! Team Rocket sees the commotion and investigates, only to receive a scare that sends Wobbuffet running in fear. Team Rocket then discovers that the Haunter was an illusion created by a team of Ghost Pokémon—but why?
Camped out in an empty house nearby, Ash and his friends hear strange music in the night. The music is coming from Kirlia and its Psychic Pokémon friends, all having a dance party! But Abra sleeps right through it, using its psychic powers to block out the noise. Ash and Max accidentally crash the party and scare away the Pokémon, so they make amends by putting on their own party.
Team Rocket learns that the mine's Ghost Pokémon don't like all this noise, so they offer to help restore peace and quiet to the town. Meanwhile, Wobbuffet catches sight of the graceful Kirlia and immediately falls in love. It joins the party and tries to woo Kirlia, but Team Rocket crashes the event with a giant robot that the Ghost Pokémon helped disguise as a huge Haunter. The robot snatches all the Pokémon, and Wobbuffet defies Jessie to free Kirlia and the other Psychic Pokémon.
Kirlia helps defeat Team Rocket and the Psychic Pokémon and Ghost Pokémon face off! Pikachu tries to shock some sense into them, but it's Brock who figures out the solution. The Psychic Pokémon can party inside Abra's soundproof psychic bubble, and the Ghost Pokémon won't hear a thing! With the town back to normal, our friends can continue on their Battle Frontier journey.
When May's Munchlax gets sick and there's no Pokémon Center nearby, it's a kindly old couple (and their Mime Jr.) to the rescue! They meet May and her friends and offer to help them out. James' Chimecho has gotten sick, too. But he sees a grand manor nearby and takes Chimecho there for help—it's the home of James' beloved Nanny and Pop-Pop, who looked after him when he was a boy. To protect their feelings, James lies about his line of work. And since Nanny and Pop-Pop are the ones who came to May's aid, he needs May and Ash to help cover for him when he finds out they're staying at the house as well!
With the help of Nanny and Pop-Pop, Munchlax is well on its way to recovery, but Chimecho is still sick. James is deeply concerned, not to mention very busy trying to keep Jessie and Meowth from eating all the food and stealing all the other Pokémon around the house! The last straw is when Jessie and Meowth try to creep away with Mime Jr. and Munchlax. James catches them and unexpectedly teams up with Ash to put a stop to their shenanigans... and keep Nanny and Pop-Pop from discovering what's really going on.
Soon Munchlax is ready to hit the road again, and May and her friends gratefully take their leave. But James is distressed because Chimecho is too weak to travel. He must leave Chimecho with Nanny and Pop-Pop until it fully recuperates, and both Trainer and Pokémon are sad to see each other go. However, Mime Jr. wants to travel with James, so he says his fond farewells and leaves with Jessie, Meowth, and his new Pokémon.
Brock's Mudkip evolves into Marshtomp while training with Grovyle, but when it shows off its Mud Shot attack, it accidentally hit s a nearby Flaaffy! Luckily, Flaaffy's owner, Mariah, works at a pharmacy that makes Pokémon medicine. Soon Flaaffy is well, but Marshtomp has developed a crush on it! Mariah and her friend McCauley are helping the pharmacy's doctor, using Electric Pokémon to help make medicine. It's not easy, and McCauley is really starting to doubt his abilities.
A disguised Team Rocket tries to clean out the pharmacy using Meowth in a Snorlax suit, but McCauley and Brock drive them off. Team Rocket doesn't give up: later that night, they return with a rocket-powered balloon and steal the entire building while Mariah and Flaaffy are still inside! McCauley and his Ampharos leap into the building as it's carried off. Back on the ground, Ash and his friends try to stop Team Rocket, but Pikachu and the doctor's Mareep are hurt when Marshtomp's attack is deflected by Team Rocket's latest device.
Up in the flyaway pharmacy, McCauley and Mariah mix up a Pokémon medicine, then toss it to the doctor. The hurt Pokémon are restored to full health, and the Electric Pokémon pool their power to defeat Team Rocket. McCauley now has confidence in himself, but poor Brock and Marshtomp realize that romance with Mariah and Flaaffy will never pass! Yes, everything's definitely back to normal as our friends head towards the next stop on the Battle Frontier!
Ash is about to reach the Battle Arena, but Team Rocket has gotten there ahead of him! They're pretending to be students of Greta, the Arena Tycoon, but the curriculum is a little too tough for them. Will this trick really let them get their hands on Ash's Pikachu? Meanwhile, Ash runs into Scott, who tells him that Greta prefers Fighting-type Pokémon. This gives Ash an idea...
Scott and Ash show up at the Battle Arena, where Greta has Ash spin a wheel to determine how many Pokémon they'll battle with. Ash spins a two, so Greta's Hariyama and Medicham will face off against Ash's Grovyle and Snorlax, who Ash brought back just for this battle. Grovyle is fast, but Hariyama uses its speed against it and Grovyle is soon knocked out. Ash sends out Snorlax and uses a defensive strategy to defeat Hariyama, whose powerful punches aren't as damaging to the big Pokémon. Greta's Medicham could be a different story, though!
Team Rocket is accidentally revealed during the Pokémon battle, but Pikachu zaps them before they can do anything. Then it's right back to the battle, where Medicham's attacks are proving to be pretty dangerous to Snorlax. After some close calls, Ash hits on a novel idea: have Snorlax use Hyper Beam to propel itself into the air and land on Medicham! This wins Ash the battle—and a shiny new Frontier Symbol! Greta tells Ash that the next stop on the Battle Frontier is the Battle Dome, and he's soon on his way!
As Ash and his friends head for the next Battle Frontier stop, May spots a lovely farm. But when she takes a closer look, she's zapped by Voltorb! The Voltorb guard the farm, where a friendly couple and their daughter Nicolette raise Pokémon Eggs. Nicolette has a Vileplume and wants to be a Coordinator, except she's afraid to leave home. She's not afraid to battle May and Munchlax, however—but May wins, proving her ribbon-winning skills!
Team Rocket hatches a plan to raid the farm by sneaking Meowth and an egg-shaped robot inside. The robot then transforms and swipes the Pokémon Eggs, including one that's about to hatch! Once Team Rocket's villainy is out in the open, our heroes must stop them without hurting the stolen Eggs. Nicolette has Vileplume knock Team Rocket for a loop, and after some scrambling around the Eggs are safely retrieved.
To everyone's relief, a Vulpix emerges safe and sound from the Pokémon Egg that was ready to hatch. Nicolette decides she's ready now to set off on her own and become a Coordinator—and someday compete against May! As for May, Nicolette's parents give her a Pokémon Egg to thank her for all her help. She resumes her journey with a new sense of excitement and anticipation!
It's time for the Silver Town Pokémon Contest, and May is ready to win! As the show starts, one last competitor arrives late: a businessman named Jeremy. He doesn't look like much, but after May makes her big entrance with Squirtle, she's surprised to see Jeremy dressed up like a rock star onstage with Butterfree! However, Jeremy's wife and son show up and demand that he stop his embarrassing Contest antics.
With encouragement from May, Jeremy stands up to his family and explains how important Contests are to him. No matter what, he's going to compete! Both May and Jeremy make it to the finals, but will Jeremy's family come back to watch? Outside the Contest, his wife remembers how she met him back when he was a real musician. As she reminisces, she starts to think what Jeremy's doing isn't so silly after all.
Back at the Contest, Jeremy sends his trusty Venusaur to battle May's Combusken. As a Fire-type Pokémon, Combusken should have the advantage, but Venusaur is too tough to be defeated that easily. Venusaur also has a powerful Frenzy Plant attack, and soon May is losing points fast. She risks it all on one last Sky Uppercut and Combusken knocks Venusaur out just before time is up. Victory goes to May! And Jeremy may not have won the ribbon, but his family finally respects him as a Pokémon Coordinator. A happy ending all around—except for Team Rocket, who goes hunting for berries and finds Beedrill instead!
Ash and his friends visit a famous fishing spot that looks oddly abandoned. Ash still manages to hook a Crawdaunt, which he challenges with Corphish. But Crawdaunt wins and begins wrecking property until a woman named Tiffany chases it off. Tiffany explains that the lake was busy until a year ago, when Saridakis Industries wanted to fill in the lake and turn it into a spa. Tiffany wouldn't sell out, but Crawdaunt scared off all the fishermen and Pokémon.
Naturally, Ash and friends help her out. They track down Crawdaunt, which belongs to Mr. Saridakis himself! Team Rocket is there too, disguised as consultants so they can steal Crawdaunt. Tiffany confronts Saridakis, who says he didn't ask Crawdaunt to ruin the lake. But he'll battle Ash and Corphish tomorrow: if Saridakis wins, he gets the lake! He fell into the lake once when he was a boy and though he somehow survived, he's hated the place ever since.
To help Ash train for the battle, Tiffany's Granny Galea challenges him with her Vaporeon. By cleverly using the terrain, her Vaporeon is able to beat Corphish. The next day, Ash also has Corphish use the lake to its advantage while battling Crawdaunt. Except Team Rocket interrupts the match and steals Crawdaunt!
Ash and his friends stop them and rescue Crawdaunt, but in the commotion, Saridakis falls into the water. He's saved by none other than Granny and a Dragonair, who saved him back when he a boy, too. Saridakis realizes it'd be wrong to fill in the lake, and things return to the peaceful way they were as Ash continues towards his Battle Frontier destination.
Ash has finally reached the Battle Dome, and what a reception! An eager crowd of journalists wants to meet the new challenger who's going to take on Tucker, the famous Dome Ace. Ash is whisked off to his first press conference and he's having fun until he admits he doesn't know who Tucker the Dome Ace is, to the horror of all the reporters.
Team Rocket knows who Tucker is—when they're not selling snacks at the Battle Dome, they're busy pretending to be his hairdressers. Tucker knows how to please a crowd, and Ash makes his big Battle Dome entrance only to be outshone by Tucker and his tons of screaming fans! Tucker sends out Swampert and Arcanine, so Ash chooses his Corphish and Swellow. But type advantage won't be enough against Swampert and Arcanine's teamwork and combos!
The battle heats up immediately and there are plenty of surprises in store for Ash. For one thing, Tucker's speedy Arcanine knows Aerial Ace, and goes head to head with Swellow! Ash also needs to find a way around Swampert's strong defense. It turns out Tucker's all about strategy as well as showmanship, so Ash has a rough time until he figures out how to counter Tucker's tactics with a few of his own. Corphish and Swellow then deal a knock-out combination to win the round. Ash leaves the Battle Dome with a shiny new Tactics Symbol and memories of an amazing experience!
On the way to the Battle Pike, Ash and his friends spot some strange and stormy weather nearby. What's more, an irritable Elekid is busy zapping all the local Pokémon! Pikachu and Phanpy try to stop Elekid, but in the confusion, May's Pokémon Egg lands on Elekid's head and Elekid gets away. Team Rocket finds Elekid—and the Egg—but Elekid zaps them too and now Mime Jr. is lost as well!
Ash and his friends find Mime Jr., who tags along as they search for May's Pokémon Egg. Meanwhile, Elekid continues to use its Electric-type moves on everyone who crosses its path. Lightning from that nearby storm has overcharged it, so now it has to release the excess energy. When Ash realizes what's going on, he has Pikachu charge up the same way. Now Pikachu is ready to battle with Elekid, which should drain enough energy to restore it to normal!
Team Rocket shows up with their latest robot, but James calls time-out so he can swap the Pokémon Egg for Mime Jr. Now it's back to stealing Pokémon! The robot is shielded against electricity and too tough for Phanpy to defeat, but Elekid and Pikachu team up for a super-powerful Thunder move that releases their extra charges and overloads the robot. Then Phanpy evolves into Donphan and sends Team Rocket on their way. With everything finally back to normal, our friends can continue their journey to the Battle Pike!
Celebi comes to the rescue of Pokémon under threat from a forest fire, but the effort leaves it exhausted and it creates a giant tangle of vines to protect itself. A day later, Ash and his friends reach the Cycling Road, which is temporarily closed. Pikachu suddenly runs into the forest, and Ash gives chase only to be stopped by Solana, a Pokémon Ranger. She lets them through in order to find Pikachu, but giant vines have sprouted everywhere—the real reason why the Cycling Road is closed.
Solana recruits some Pokémon to clear a path through the vines, freeing a trapped Team Rocket along the way. The group then catches up with Pikachu, who ran off to help Celebi. Our heroes all watch over Celebi until it recovers and once it's back in good health, the vines disappear.
Team Rocket returns and captures Celebi using their latest robot, so Solana and her Plusle spring to the rescue. Celebi is freed, and Team Rocket is sent packing by Pikachu and Marshtomp. But the wrecked robot nearly starts another fire, and Celebi quickly intervenes to save the forest once again. With its job done, it returns home, wherever—or whenever—that may be. And now that the vines are gone, our heroes can take the Cycling Road to Fuchsia City after all!
Ash takes a break to train with Donphan and Pikachu, and Donphan uncovers a young ninja named Evian. He's from the Pokémon Ninja School, where Trainers and their Pokémon study the ninja arts together, and he thought Ash and his friends might be behind a recent rash of strange events and robberies. After he apologizes, our heroes enroll in the school for day and try out ninja techniques with their teacher, Angela. Team Rocket secretly watches and waits—Jessie has big ninja dreams of her own!
Angela has everyone try to find her Kecleon, which is easier said than done for Ash. During the exercise, the students find a Bonsly and blame it for the thefts. Brock calms the crying Bonsly down and proves its innocence. The real thieves are Team Rocket, who swoop in to steal the students' Pokémon but are clearly outmatched. Jessie, never one to give up, still challenges Angela to a ninja battle and the real ninja easily wins. Then it's time for everyone to send Team Rocket bouncing on their way again.
With Team Rocket gone, Bonsly wants a battle with Brock. Brock sends out Forretress and uses Spikes to weaken Bonsly so he can capture it. Now he has a new Pokémon! A baby Pokémon! Who needs lots of attention and care... is Brock really ready to be a "father"? Our heroes continue on their way to the Battle Pike with their newest, youngest team member!
While our heroes are stopped at a Pokémon Center, Squirtle runs off—never a good idea when Team Rocket is lurking nearby! May finds Squirtle at an empty train station with an old lady, Edna. Edna's granddaughter Katrina tells May (and an eavesdropping Meowth) the story: Grandpa Jonathan left to become a Pokémon doctor, but Grandma Edna didn't want to leave town. She changed her mind when she realized they were going to have a baby, but she missed his train and he passed away in an accident before she could see him again.
After May returns to the Pokémon Center, Squirtle disappears again. She goes to the train station and finds Meowth pondering Edna's story. Then she sees Squirtle, who's found Edna's old locket. A bright light envelops all three and they're transported back in time! May spots Jonathan and realizes this is the day he leaves for the city, but she can't enter the train station without a ticket.
Thinking fast, May and Meowth use a hot air balloon and Squirtle's Ice Beam to turn rain clouds into snow. Jonathan's train is delayed and Edna catches up in time to tell him about the baby. Then our trio returns to the present day just in time to see May's Pokémon Egg hatch into an Eevee, watched over by Jonathan and Edna. Not only have their lives been changed, but the entire town is better than ever! May and Meowth look on, happy to have done a good deed.
Ash heads for the Battle Pike ahead of his friends, and finds himself at a facility staffed by three suspiciously familiar faces and their Wobbuffet. Ever trusting, Ash challenges their "Pike Queen Lucy" to a battle. In the meantime, the real Battle Pike crew has come to meet the new challenger, and they're displeased when Ash doesn't show. Brock is instantly smitten by Lucy, the real Pike Queen, who comes to the rescue when Team Rocket reveals their fake Battle Pike and tries to run off with Pikachu. She bursts their bubble and defeats Jessie's Seviper with a powerful Seviper of her own.
Now the real Battle Pike challenge can start! First, Lucy's Seviper battles Ash's Donphan. Even without using defensive moves, Seviper and its Flamethrower attack are tough to beat! Scott explains that Lucy's style is to forget about defense and just hit as hard as possible, but this strategy works against Lucy when Donphan uses a fiery Rollout to defeat Seviper.
Next up is Milotic, who knocks Donphan out with a one-shot Hydro Pump. Pikachu enters the field, only to take the brunt of Milotic's powered-up offense. Ash has to think quickly and figure out how to use Milotic's strength against it, ordering Pikachu to take advantage of Milotic's moves to boost its own attack. This does the trick and knocks Milotic out, earning Ash the Luck Symbol. Ash and his friends are now headed for the Battle Palace and May's next Contest... but before they leave, Brock manages to make a sweet impression on Lucy after all!
Ash and his friends enter an orienteering competition on Potpourri Island! For this stamp rally challenge, Trainers and their Pokémon compete to be the first to find all the different destinations and stamp their map at each one. The winner gets the Teamwork Medal and boxes of juicy fruit! May lets Max team up with Munchlax and then our heroes—and Team Rocket—split up to enter the race.
Jessie and Meowth decide not to bother with the map, a plan that doesn't work out too well. So they hit upon an even better plan: sabotage the other competitors so James and Mime Jr. can win the grand prize for Team Rocket! The other teams are making progress, but Max isn't doing so great and has to cover it up when he runs into May. To make things worse, Jessie and Meowth cut a bridge while Max and May are still on it. Luckily, Ash and Brock get there just in time for a rescue.
Jessie and Meowth return to the Pokémon Center, where they net our heroes' other Pokémon and all the fruit for the prize. Swellow gets away and warns Ash, who catches up to the criminals at the crime scene. Jessie and Meowth obligingly stop to recite the Team Rocket motto, which gives Ash's friends plenty of time to sneak around them and retrieve everything they stole. After that, it's no contest. Though Jessie and Meowth are defeated once again, their hopes rise when James and Mime Jr. win the competition—except James happily gives away the prize fruit!
May is preparing for the Pokémon Contest in Wisteria Town when her old rival Harley shows up and vows to beat her. He's even got one more Ribbon than she does! Harley also runs into Team Rocket, who offer to help him beat May if he'll help them steal Pikachu. Harley just laughs and laughs at the idea, infuriating Jessie.
May starts the Contest with a dazzling display from Squirtle, and Harley brings out Ariados for an impressive but scary show. During the appeal, Wobbuffet suddenly falls onto the stage, then runs away. As May and Harley move on to the next round, Pikachu and Ash investigate this odd occurrence. Chasing after Wobbuffet, they find Team Rocket busy stealing Pokémon—Wobbuffet fell onto the stage because it fell out of their balloon. Team Rocket tries to convince Ash they're really big May fans, but Pikachu quickly sends them packing.
Harley and May make it to the Contest finals, and Harley's brought his Octillery. Moves like Constrict and Octozooka hit hard, but Munchlax strikes back with Metronome. Harley has Octillery use Rest to restore its health, so now Munchlax must knock it out before it wakes up! But at the last minute, Octillery wakes up and defeats Munchlax with Octazooka. May's not too upset about her loss, though. She has her next Pokémon Contest to look forward to—and a message from an anonymous admirer. Could it be Drew...
The team is on Camomile Island, en route to May's next Pokémon Contest on Chrysanthemum Island. Everyone lets their Pokémon out to have some fun. When Ash's Donphan tries to play with some young Rhyhorn, its intentions are misunderstood and soon Ash and his friends are running from a Rhyhorn stampede! Nurse Joy and her Meganium come to the rescue, except Grovyle then picks a fight with a Tropius and Meganium has to calm things down once more.
Team Rocket wants Meowth to recruit Tropius, and Tropius agrees—if Meganium comes along. Tropius is in love with Meganium, but so is Grovyle, and it's not happy about losing. So when Team Rocket attacks the Pokémon Center and steals Meganium, Grovyle has already left for a rematch with Tropius. Love powers Grovyle to victory but when Team Rocket returns, Meganium only has eyes for Tropius. Poor Grovyle is devastated.
Ash and his friends arrive on the scene, and even Team Rocket has to help explain Grovyle's romantic woes to Ash. Team Rocket then kidnaps Tropius too, and Grovyle evolves into Sceptile to stop them. However, Sceptile's moves are all a bust! Pikachu comes to the rescue, and Tropius and Meganium combine to defeat Team Rocket. The two Pokémon are clearly a couple, but it looks like Sceptile may not recover from its broken heart!
May is about to enter her next Contest on Chrysanthemum Island. Drew is there too, but not only is he not competing, he didn't send her the mysterious note she received in Wisteria Town. During a practice battle between Munchlax and Combusken, May meets Brianna, the real sender of the note. Though she rooted for May in Wisteria Town, she's really a huge Drew fan. May introduces her to Drew, which only makes Brianna determined to beat May and earn Drew's respect.
The Contest begins! Jessie teams up with James' Mime Jr. to perform a hula dance, May and Munchlax take the stage with a risky use of Metronome, and Brianna and her Surskit puts on an amazing ice show. All three will move on, but before the second round starts, Brianna wants to know if May likes Drew! Well, May's not so sure about that. Jessie battles May in the second round, and James is horrified to watch Combusken defeat Mime Jr. with a mighty Sky Uppercut.
Now it's Brianna and May in the final round, and Brianna's brought her Vibrava. Vibrava comes on strong, using Sand Tomb to trap Combusken. All looks lost but Combusken learns Mega Kick, just in time to free itself and then knock Vibrava out! Afterward, as Brianna congratulates May, Drew compliments Brianna and sends her into a swoon. May is sure to see Drew and his smooth moves again, but first, it's on to the Battle Palace!
Ash has arrived at Metallica Island, home of the Battle Palace. He's ready for battle, but Sceptile isn't—its attack moves still aren't working and it runs away in frustration. When Ash follows, they're attacked by a swarm of Beedrill and fall into a river, losing Sceptile's Poké Ball along the way! Pikachu is washed away, but Ash manages to grab Sceptile. Scott finds Ash's friends and tells them this is the time of year when the island's Kakuna evolve, so the Beedrill are extra vigilant—everyone had better grab some Repel and find Ash fast.
Elsewhere in the forest, a kind old man and his Venusaur rescue Pikachu and take care of it at their campsite. Scott finds the campsite and introduces Ash's friends to Spenser, head of the Battle Palace! Spenser encourages everyone to take a rest before they resume looking for Ash.
Ash and Sceptile continue to search for Pikachu, but the Beedrill chase them to a dead end. Ash is hurt protecting Sceptile, and Pikachu and the others arrive just in time to calm the Beedrill down. Team Rocket then swoops in, snatching Pikachu and Sceptile. Ash tries to stop them from escaping in their balloon, but Jessie's Dustox knocks him off. Seeing this, Sceptile uses its moves to rescue Ash, though the effort leaves it worn out. A little healing from Spenser's Chansey restores Sceptile's strength, and now it can finally send Team Rocket blasting off! With Pikachu found and Sceptile back to normal, Ash challenges Spenser to a battle—after a good night's rest for everyone, of course.
Ash's Battle Palace challenge against Spenser is about to begin, and it's going to be one big battle when the island itself is the true battleground! Ash's friends take to the skies in a hot air balloon to watch, and since no regular referee can keep up, a hovering robot called Jamero will keep everyone informed of what's going on. The first battle will be Spenser's Shiftry against Ash's Sceptile, and naturally the pair take to the forest to have their battle. Sceptile, back and better than ever after its recent romantic woes, takes a dunking during the fight but comes back to knock out Shiftry.
Next up is Spenser's Venusaur. Ash has brought Heracross in just for this match, although Heracross seems more interested in seeing if Venusaur's flower has anything tasty to eat. Speaking of tasty, after Venusaur's mighty Solarbeam defeats Heracross, Spenser takes time out of the battle for a snack break. After that refreshing pause, Swellow battles Venusaur on the beach, where the sun could prove to be an advantage for Venusaur. But the weather is unpredictable and a cloudy sky is no help for Venusaur's Solarbeam. That gives Swellow an edge that wins it the round, and now it's time for Spenser's Claydol.
Claydol is packing a powerful Hyper Beam that knocks Swellow out in short order, so now it's up to Sceptile. Things could be tough when a sudden squall blows through, but the clouds part and this time the sun is shining for Ash! The sunlight helps Sceptile charge up and its Solarbeam finishes the match, winning Ash his fifth Frontier Symbol. Next stop: the Battle Tower!
On their way to the Battle Tower, our heroes win a free massage from a thinly disguised Team Rocket. The treat turns out to be a trap when Team Rocket tries to snatch their Pokémon, but Munchlax's Metronome sends Team Rocket flying—along with Bonsly, Mime Jr., Meowth, and Pikachu, who end up lost in the city! What's worse, they're now being chased by a bunch of goons in suits. With Meowth's help, the Pokémon evade their pursuers and even get a free meal.
Meanwhile, Ash and his friends encounter a different Bonsly and Mime Jr., who turn out to be the starring king and queen of a hit TV show. The same TV show whose set Meowth has just wandered onto, in fact! Meowth and Team Rocket are reunited with a new plan: Mime Jr. and Bonsly will replace their royal counterparts and make Team Rocket a fortune! However, the real King Bonsly and Queen Mime Jr. have been found—the goons in suits Meowth saw were actually hired by the talent agency to find their runaway actors—and Ash and his friends come to check out the set as well.
With Trainers and Pokémon together again, everyone is eager to be on TV. Everyone's getting along fine until Jessie doesn't get enough camera time. Irate, she calls for Team Rocket to show its true colors! Bonsly and Mime Jr. do battle on camera, thrilling the director but not Jessie. She calls out Seviper to put an end to the antics, but Pikachu sends Team Rocket blasting off and that's a wrap!
There's big trouble in the big city when Ash and our friends pay a visit—a mysterious talking Pokémon known as Red Lighting has been battling all the Trainers in town, and it acts like a real bully when it wins! May's plans for a nice day out are ruined when Red Lightning humiliates her and her Squirtle, so now our heroes are out to uncover who or what is behind its activities. To catch up with it, our heroes commandeer Team Rocket's balloon and follow Red Lightning back to a huge house.
There they meet Red Lightning's owner, a little girl named Luna. Luna isn't about to apologize, so Pikachu battles Red Lightning and the truth is revealed: Red Lightning is a Scizor in disguise! Luna was behind the whole thing, even equipping her Scizor with hidden speakers so she could be its voice. With or without a costume, however, her Scizor is incredibly fast. To keep up with its speed, Ash decides to call on Sceptile. When Scizor ends up on the losing end, Sceptile even saves it from a nasty fall, but Luna is less than grateful.
Luna's butler explains that her parents are often away due to work, and that's why she has an attitude that started all the Red Lightning trouble. To help her feel less lonely, May challenges Luna to a real Pokémon battle. Squirtle comes out the victor in its rematch with Scizor, but Luna doesn't mind. She doesn't need to pick on Trainers now that she's experienced a fair Pokémon battle, and she'll be cheering for May as our favorite Pokémon Coordinator heads to the next Contest!
Our heroes are in Gardenia Town for May's next Pokémon Contest, and there are a few new faces to meet. Say hello to Mollie and Yuma: one's a beginning Coordinator, the other an experienced pro here as a spectator! Of course, Brock falls for Yuma on sight. And when she praises his skills as a Pokémon breeder and says that she takes on new Coordinators as students, he signs up for the Pokémon Contest in a flash. Now May has two competitors to look out for!
Even though it's their first time at a Contest, Brock and Bonsly do a great job in the appeals round. So great, in fact, that Yuma invites Brock to come study with her after the Contest is over! Brock defeats Mollie and then faces off against May in the final round, with his Marshtomp battling her Eevee. Eevee has learned a new move, Dig, but Marshtomp's can track Eevee's movements underground. Looks like May will have to come up with another strategy if she wants to win!
This match goes down to the wire, but after a hard-fought battle, May comes out the winner. That's no problem for Brock because Yuma said she'll take him on as a pupil whether he wins or loses. Except after the Contest, she tells him he's so good, he doesn't need her help. She's going to take Mollie as her pupil instead! Crushed, Brock gives up on the Contest world, but at least May has new hope for the future—and a new prize ribbon!
On their way to the Battle Tower, Ash and his friends come across a stray Smoochum. But before they can get close, they get a very chilly reception from three Jynx who are very protective of Smoochum. Ash is upset at first, but finally realizes it's best to leave them alone. While everyone is distracted, Smoochum wanders back into the forest and finds Team Rocket fighting over food. Even though Smoochum innocently eats their last rice ball, Jessie forgives it when she decides its cute looks are their ticket to a show business fortune!
Ash thaws out in town, but then the Jynx arrive looking for Smoochum. They're freezing everything in their path until they find it! With Swellow's help, the Smoochum snatchers are spotted, and our heroes chase them with the Jynx in hot pursuit. Team Rocket fails to fool the Jynx with Meowth, Mime Jr., and a couple of yellow wigs, but Jessie still won't give up "her" Smoochum. She escapes up a utility tower with Ash in hot pursuit, while the Jynx try to put both of them on ice.
Team Rocket's getaway balloon is a little too late, and Jessie accidentally drops Smoochum. Ash leaps off the tower to save it, and the Jynx use Psychic to save him. Team Rocket won't give up, so Ash and the Jynx work together to send them on a one-way trip out of town. Now the Jynx understand Ash's good intentions and everything is back to normal, just in time for Smoochum to evolve! The Battle Tower will have to wait until tomorrow—until then it's time for a good night's rest after a busy day.
As Ash eagerly heads for the Battle Tower and his sixth challenge, he accidentally stirs up a horde of Beedrill who chase him down! Fortunately, he's saved by a stranger who calms down the Beedrill and an upset Gyarados nearby. Just then, Team Rocket makes another Pikachu snatch attempt, but they're stopped by Pikachu and the stranger's Alakazam. Ash's friends catch up to him and everyone is invited back to their new friend's house to dry off.
Their new friend is named Anabel, but Ash doesn't stick around long—he has a Battle Tower to get to! Once he gets to the Battle Tower, he discovers that Anabel is in fact the Salon Maiden of the Battle Tower! Ash sends out Corphish against Anabel's Alakazam, but Anabel's uncanny ability to mentally communicate with Pokémon means Ash doesn't even known what commands she's going to give. It doesn't take long for Alazakam to knock out Corphish, so Ash brings out his Tauros, which he had sent over just for this battle. But brute strength won't win the day—Alakazam knocks it out too!
Now it's up to Pikachu, but it's confused by Alakazam's Psybeam. To keep Pikachu from hurting itself, Ash throws himself in front of its Volt Tackle, which snaps Pikachu out of its confusion. Pikachu goes on to defeat Alakazam, but Anabel has another heavy hitter lined up: Metagross! Though Pikachu does its best, Metagross has powerful attacks and its Hyper Beam finally knocks Pikachu out. With his Battle Tower challenge ending in defeat, what is Ash going to do now?
Ash lost his first Battle Tower challenge, but he won't give up. He's out practicing with his team the next day, until Tauros stirs up a Beedrill nest that even Anabel can't calm them down. Both Anabel and Ash end up in the lake, but at least they see the funny side of it all. Below them, Team Rocket tries to burrow their way to Pikachu, but they find Munchlax instead. Undaunted, they bring out a giant Wobbuffet device to assist in their scheme, but all it takes is a Tackle from May's Eevee to puncture that plan.
With Team Rocket out of the way, Ash challenges Anabel again. Both Trainers use the same teams as before, but this time Ash plans to get the best out of his Pokémon. Corphish is confused by Alakazam's Psybeam during their rematch, but Ash recalls it to its Poké Ball to cure the confusion, then sends it back out. Corphish wins the battle, but it's tired out and Anabel's Metagross knocks it out in one hit. Then Ash's Tauros has a head-on battle with Metagross that ends in a double knockout!
Now it's time for one of Anabel's favorite Pokémon, Espeon! Pikachu is fast, but so is Espeon. Things are going well for Anabel until Pikachu's attack accidentally shorts out the lights, startling Espeon. With Espeon rattled, Pikachu finishes the battle and wins Ash the Ability Symbol! Now it's time for the location of the seventh and final challenge, the Battle Pyramid, to be revealed—it's near Pewter City, so there's a homecoming for Brock to look forward to as well!
Ash and May spot an amazing golden Sudowoodo at the edge of a lake, but it knocks Ash's Poké Ball away when he tries to catch it. Brock and the others don't believe it, until they reach the next town and find a saloon full of locals looking for the golden Sudowoodo. They also meet Keenan, the golden Sudowoodo's Trainer, who can't explain why it's golden or why it ran away from him. Our heroes happily decide to help Keenan find Sudowoodo, yet Keenan doesn't seem to want the help.
May is feeling the pressure at the Mulberry City Pokémon Contest, her last chance to get a fifth ribbon before the Grand Festival. To make things worse, Harley shows up! He has his ribbons already so he doesn't have to compete. But Jessie plans to enter in her Jessebella disguise, so when Harley spots Team Rocket, he offers to loan them his Cacturne and Banette to use against May in the Contest.
The competition is underway at the Mulberry Town Pokémon Contest, where Harley has teamed up with Team Rocket to plot May's downfall. While May is getting ready for her first opponent, Team Rocket lures her friends into a sealed transport container and sends them up, up and away with a Meowth balloon! But they didn't count on Drew being there to save the day. He frees Ash and the others, only for all them to then fall into one of Team Rocket's old-fashioned pit traps. While James and Meowth gloat, our heroes realize Team Rocket is working with Harley, and they have to get back to the Contest to help May.
Team Rocket decides to go their separate ways after yet another foiled Pikachu kidnap attempt. Elsewhere, our heroes come across a one-day Pokémon Battle Tournament secretly run by Butch and Cassidy, who are having their own problems getting along. Ash signs up, unaware that while he's battling, Cassidy is preparing to swipe the competitors' Pokémon! Cassidy runs into Jessie and James, and decides to make James her new team. As for Jessie, she fast-talks her way into a partnership with Butch.
Our heroes have finally made it back to Pewter City, where Brock once again comes home to find the Pewter Gym looking stranger than ever. When he gets in the door, he discovers that his mom and dad are headed off on a free prize vacation, leaving the Gym in the care of three suspicious Gym remodelers who promised to make the Pewter Gym fashionable. His parents even took his Ludicolo to carry suitcases! Of course, it's all another Team Rocket scheme in disguise.
Ash is really excited to get to the Battle Pyramid, but he falls down a hole into a strange ruin. When Team Rocket goes to check it out, they end up falling in as well. As Ash and his friends explore, they set off a trap! They're saved by a man and his Regirock—the man's name is Brandon, and he tells Ash off for messing with the ruins. The ruins, he explains, are where the King of Pokelantis sealed a Ho-Oh. But instead of being careful, Ash gets excited and runs off in search of Ho-Oh. He finds something much more sinister when he awakens the spirit of the King, who possesses him and demands everyone's Pokémon as part of plan to rule the world!
On the way to the Grand Festival, our heroes are swarmed by a group of Aipom who swipe Ash's hat and May's ribbon case! That's not all—the Aipom also cleaned out an orchard belonging to a farmer, Taylor. He says the local Pokémon have started acting strangely, and it might have something to do with a strange monster recently seen in the mountains. Everyone sets out to investigate and get May's ribbons back.
May has arrived at the Indigo Plateau Grand Festival, where there are many familiar faces in town. Team Rocket is turning over a new leaf as Contest commentators. And Aipom has followed Ash all the way there, but its latest hat-snatching spree is halted by Drew and another Coordinator, Solidad. Solidad is an experienced Coordinator and an old acquaintance of Drew, so it's no wonder that with all this competition, May is feeling a few butterflies.
May, Drew, Harley, and Solidad are all competing in the Grand Festival, and it's time for their Pokémon to show off their best moves. Only 16 Coordinators will advance to the next round, so the pressure is on! Although Drew and Absol do a great job, he's not at all happy with Absol's performance. May is shocked to see him angry at his Pokémon, and she's even more hurt when he takes some of his frustration out on her. Drew later calms down, but his tension showed how seriously he's taking his rivalry with May.
May and Drew are in a battle to reach the final four of the Grand Festival, and both Coordinators have some powerful combinations up their sleeve. May even picked up a few tricks from watching Ash's Battle Dome match against Tucker! Her Combusken and Squirtle give it their all against Drew's Flygon and Absol, and nobody in the arena can even predict which way things are going to go.
When Ash's new Aipom plays another prank on him, it leads them both to a village that's preparing to select this year's King. Whoever manages to hang onto the ritual crown until sunset will be King of the village for a year! Ash and Brock meet Hank, who wants to be King, and Brock wants to be King too—King of the village's lovely girls. But as Brock and the villagers race for the crown, Aipom runs away with it and tries it on for size. Once it puts on the crown, it can't get it off again!
On the way to Fennel Valley and Ash's rematch with Brandon, our heroes meet Chatot, a Pokémon that can imitate anything it hears. However, this Chatot keeps running away from its Trainer, Audrey! After Ash and his friends help Audrey get Chatot back, Audrey explains that she and Chatot are a stand-up comedy duo. The only problem is that Audrey can't travel to perform her act because Chatot keeps flying away.
On the way to Fennel Valley, Ash's Aipom scampers away and runs into a Weavile with an attitude. Aipom's up for a battle, but Weavile deals it a harsh defeat! Luckily, Ash and his friends meet a passing wilderness guardian named Kerrigan, who lets Aipom rest at his home. Kerrigan explains that the Weavile belonged to a local group of Weavile and Sneasel, but now it's alone and challenges any Trainer's Pokémon it sees. Ash resolves to help Kerrigan find the stray Weavile before anyone else is hurt.
Ash has reached Fennel Valley at last, where he plans to challenge Brandon to an official battle—but Brandon won't be back until tomorrow! Instead, our hero is welcomed by an enthusiastic Nurse Joy. This Nurse Joy loves Pokémon battles and Contests, and she even offers to help Ash train. Her Chansey may look sweet, but once its nurse's hat comes off, so do the gloves! Chansey quickly outpowers Ash's Corphish, teaching Ash a lesson about battle strategy that doesn't make him too happy.
Ash is still recovering from his defeat at the Battle Pyramid, while May is also melancholy about her own defeat at the Grand Festival. Professor Oak shows up at the Pokémon Center in Fennel Valley, with a special care package meant to cheer Ash up. It contains a poster with the prints of his Pokémon, a fishing lure from Misty, and food from his mother. There's even a postcard from Gary in Sinnoh, which gets Ash thinking about their rivalry and actually pulls him out of his funk.
At the Fennel Valley Pokémon Center, Ash is practicing attacks with his Pokémon while Brock is excited to be cooking with Nurse Joy. His excitement quickly disappears when he finds Nurse Joy unconscious on the floor. They put her in bed, and Professor Oak says she needs rest. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is incredibly lost from when Harley sent them blasting off, and to choose their path, Jessie throws a stick that hits several Pokémon and damages a small bus passing on the road below.
At the Fennel Valley Pokémon Center, Ash gets a special delivery from Oak's Lab—his Bulbasaur. Officer Jenny soon arrives with his Squirtle, and his Charizard flies in too. Ash is going on a retreat with these three Pokémon and Pikachu to train for his upcoming rematch with Brandon. Out in the forest, the four Pokémon work together to build a bed to sleep on, but Charizard hogs it at first and starts a fight. Eventually they calm down and rebuild the bed, get some food, and even practice their moves. That night Charizard lights a campfire, and Ash remembers how he met Pikachu, Charizard, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur.
With Charizard out of the battle for his rematch against Pyramid King Brandon, Ash calls out Bulbasaur. Dusclops performs Mean Look again, while Bulbasaur wraps the Ghost-type with Leech Seed. The two Pokémon are evenly matched, but Bulbasaur takes a beating from the Fire-type move Will-O-Wisp and is affected by Confuse Ray, which causes it to use Vine Whip on itself. Because Leech Seed is taking energy from Dusclops and giving it to Bulbasaur, the Grass-type manages to stay in the fight, using SolarBeam to knock Dusclops out.
The kids are at Terracotta Town, where May and Max will catch a boat back home to Hoenn. The town happens to be hosting a festival, complete with its very own Pokémon Contest. Ash figures it's unofficial, so he wants to compete. Both Ash and May sign up, with Ash using Pikachu and Sceptile, and May using her Eevee and Combusken.
Nurse Joy is the MC, doing her best Lillian impersonation. May goes first, impressing the crowd by having Eevee use Dig and Shadow Ball to create a fireworks display. Ash is equally impressive when Pikachu uses Quick Attack, Thunderbolt, and Iron Tail to create electric rings that buzz around the arena. At the end of the first round, May is in first place with Ash a close second, both of them advancing to the finals against each other.
The smoke finally clears at the Terracotta Town Pokémon Contest, and the winner is revealed—it is a tie between May and Ash! Both are declared the winner with only one prize medal between the two, so Sceptile cuts it neatly in half. That night, during dinner, May announces her intention to go to Johto and compete in Pokémon Contests. She doesn't want Max to come, though, because she'd depend on her brother too much. Max is sad, but Ash cheers him up by promising to battle some day.