Lost Leader Strategy! - Recap
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Ash and co. have finally reached Tobari City where the Tobari Gym awaits Ash's arrival. Suddenly, a blue sphere flies at Ash and co. They nearly dodge it in time. More spheres begin to fly out everywhere, and Ash suddenly realizes that it's a Pokémon attack, Aura Sphere. Ash and co. decide to find out where the attacks are coming from, so Ash leads the way behind a fence. One of the Aura Spheres blasts through the fence leaving an opening. Ash and co. take a look, and they see a Lucario. Ash looks up Lucario in his Pokédex. Lucario fires an Aura Sphere at its trainer, but the trainer kicks the attack right back at Lucario. Ash finds it amazing that Lucario's trainer is able to do that. Lucario's trainer wants Lucario to stop, but Lucario ignores her commands. It uses Bone Rush on its trainer, but the trainer dodges Lucario's attack. Lucario suddenly stops its attack. Dawn notices that Lucario is acting up in a weird way.
Suddenly, an electric attack is fired at Ash and co. It came from an Electabuzz, who was hiding behind a tree. Piplup gets angry at Electabuzz. It charges straight towards Electabuzz and tackles it, but the attack isn't powerful enough to bring Electabuzz down. Electabuzz uses its body to take Piplup down, and Piplup ends up knocking into Pikachu. This gets Pikachu angry, too, so both Pokémon attack Electabuzz. Ash and Dawn order Pikachu and Piplup to stop fighting, but the Pokémon ignore them. Lucario and its trainer hears the commotion from Ash and co. Lucario's trainer asks Lucario to help them out. Lucario fires an Aura Sphere at Electabuzz, Pikachu, and Piplup, and the fighting stops. Lucario's trainer realized that the attack was too powerful, and she runs over to Ash and co. and apologizes. She wants Lucario to apologize too, but Lucario just turns its head away.
A man named Reiji runs over to Lucario's trainer, Sumono, and asks her if she is all right. Electabuzz slowly tiptoes away, but Reiji catches it. Ash asks Pikachu if the Electabuzz could be Paul's, and Pikachu nods its head. Reiji is surprised that Ash and co. knows Paul, but he believes them as soon as he sees Pikachu, the Pokémon who can use Volt Tackle. Reiji introduces himself as Paul's older brother. Reiji explains that the Electabuzz belongs to Paul, and that he is busy raising it now. Ash introduces himself as a trainer who is looking for the Tobari Gym. Reiji tells Ash that Paul won his gym battle, and that the gym leader is the Lucario trainer, Sumono. Ash is excited that he will be facing a Lucario, and he asks Sumono to have a battle with him. Sumono isn't in the mood for a battle and wants to change the topic. Lucario ends up attacking Sumono with its Aura Sphere. Reiji explains to Ash that Lucario made a mistake earlier in the morning due to Sumono not being reliable, and now Lucario doesn't trust Sumono.
Team Rocket is hiding behind the bushes. They want to capture Lucario for themselves. Sumono recovers from the attack and tells Lucario to stop attacking her. Three men that appear to be gym assistants tell Sumono that Lucario thinks that she is a nuisance. Sumono tells them that she doesn't want to go back to the gym, but then she would be setting a bad example for other trainers. Reiji explains that the Sumono is under control of the three men because she doesn't have enough experience to become a gym leader. Sumono pleas to the men to not let her become the gym leader anymore. Lucario attacks Sumono again, but Sumono deflects the attack away. Reiji asks Sumono if it's Paul's fault that she has this attitude. A flashback of Sumono's match with Paul occurs. Paul was able to use his Pokémon to defeat all of Sumono's Pokémon including Lucario. Sumono didn't learn about Paul's behavior and fighting style until after the battle. Sumono realizes that she needs to work harder, so she decides to run off into the forest. Lucario wants to follow her, but Sumono tells it not to follow her. Reiji tells Kuroda, one of the three men, that him and Lucario will handle the situation. Reiji apologizes to Ash and co. for having to put them in this mess. Ash doesn't mind, knowing that he will eventually be able to batlte Lucario. Dawn decides to run out and comfort Sumono. Lucario leads the way to where Sumono is at, and Ash wonders what Dawn plans to do.
Sumono is sitting near a river. Dawn and Lucario walk up to her. Meanwhile, Ash and the others have gone back into the house. Reiji explains that Sumono and Lucario are well known for their martial arts skills, and that's why she became the gym leader. However, Sumono isn't experienced enough in battling. Brock knows that it is normal for a gym leader who is constantly under pressure. Back with Sumono and Dawn, Dawn tells Sumono that she constantly faces challenges and obstacles when it comes to Pokémon contests. So, every once in a while, Dawn takes breaks from contests because she doesn't want to think about them all of the time. Sumono explains that she has realized the challenges in being a gym leader as soon as she lost the gym battle to Paul, but Sumono is scared to face the challenges. That's why she doesn't want to become a gym leader anymore. Sumono knows that it's no fun to lose, and Dawn agrees.
Suddenly, Team Rocket pops out of the bushes, and they say their motto. Dawn warns Sumono about Team Rocket and about how they may try to steal Lucario. Jessie quickly states that that's not their intentions. She wants Lucario to become Team Rocket's scout. Meanwhile, Ash, Brock, and Reiji continue their discussion on battling. Ash states that he thinks Paul's battling style is wrong. Meanwhile, Team Rocket is hoping that Lucario will join their team. Lucario ends up using its Bone Rush attack on Team Rocket, and they blast off again. Sumono thanks Lucario for getting rid of Team Rocket. Dawn knows that Lucario still likes Sumono even though it's still angry at her. Dawn then challenges Sumono to a battle, and Sumono and Lucario agree.
Reiji wants Ash to battle with him as a replacement of the Tobari Gym battle because Reiji wants to see Ash's battling style and how he would do against Paul. Ash agrees to a 3-on-3 battle. Ash heads outside to prepare for his battle. Brock notices a badge collection sitting on the fire place. He asks Reiji if they all belong to Paul, and Reiji tells Brock that they are his. Brock notices that Brock won badges from Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and the Battle Frontier. Reiji and Brock head outside as well. Dawn and Sumono then meet up with them, and Brock tells Dawn that Ash and Reiji will be battling each other. Ash sends out Gligar. He tells Gligar to keep up with his actions so that it can battle well in future battles. Ash then sends out Turtwig as his first Pokémon for the battle. Reiji sends out Bibarel.
Turtwig starts the battle off with Energy Ball. Bibarel counters with Super Fang, and then it uses Secret Power, a special attack that puts Turtwig to sleep. Brock explains that the effect of Secret Power all depends on the battle field. Ash shouts out Turtwig's name, but Turtwig doesn't wake up. Then Bibarel uses its Take Down on Turtwig. The attack wakes Turtwig up. Reiji is surprised that Turtwig woke up so soon. Nevertheless, he orders Bibarel to use Super Fang. Turtwig dodges the attack and fires a Razor Leaf at Bibarel, scoring a direct hit. Turtwig charges up for another Energy Ball. Bibarel counters with Ice Beam, but Turtwig jumps and doges the attack. Then it fires the Energy Ball at Bibarel, and Bibarel faints. Ash congratulates Turtwig for perfecting its Energy Ball attack. Dawn tells Sumono that Ash never gave up hope in perfecting Turtwig's Energy Ball, and now they both have succeeded. Sumono is excited now, and she wants to teach Lucario all sorts of new attacks.
Reiji sends out Swalot as his second Pokémon for the battle. Ash returns Turtwig back into its Pokéball, and then he looks up Swalot in his Pokédex. Ash sends out Staravia, and it immediately uses Quick Attack. Reiji commands Swalot to use Stockpile. Swalot endures Staravia's attack, and then it charges up with Stockpile. Staravia uses Wing Attack next. The attack hits Swalot, and Swalot uses Stockpile a second time. Dawn wonders why Swalot isn't attacking. Brock explains that Stockpile will increase Swalot's power, and it can cause some serious damage if it hits Staravia. This time Staravia uses Aerial Ace. Staravia charges towards Swalot with blazing speed. Reiji orders Swalot to use Spit Up. The energy stored in Swalot all gets released onto Staravia. Staravia is damaged by the attack, but it still stands in the end. Staravia uses Aerial Ace again, but Swalot counters with Sludge Bomb. The Sludge Bomb hits Staravia, resulting in a win for Reiji.
The battle is tied. Reiji is impressed with Ash's Staravia. He thinks that Ash's Staravia can learn a new ability, so Reiji sends out Staraptor. Ash looks up Staraptor in his Pokédex and finds out that Staravia evolves into it. Ash tells Staravia to pay close attention to the battle. He then sends Pikachu into battle. Pikachu starts off with Thunderbolt. Reiji orders Staraptor to use Brave Bird. Staraptor dodges Pikachu's attack, and then it charges towards Pikachu with full power. Pikachu gets hit by the attack. The attack damages Pikachu, but it hurts Staraptor, too. Pikachu and Staraptor both are still willing to fight. Staraptor's next attack is Steel Wing. Pikachu uses Iron Tail to leap itself into the air, and then it charges towards Staraptor with Volt Tackle. Staraptor counters with Wing Attack. Both Pokémon collide into each other. Pikachu falls to the ground and so does Staraptor, but at the end Pikachu is the one who is left standing. Ash wins the battle.
Reiji congratulates Ash for winning the battle. He has decided to teach Ash's Staravia the move, Brave Bird. Reiji has confidence that Staravia will be able to learn the move since it has mastered the Aerial Ace attack. Reiji then asks Sumono if she is willing to battle Ash. Before Sumono can state her answer, Dawn declares that she wants to battle Sumono. This will be Dawn's first gym battle.