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| That's Just Swellow
Beginning Challenge! Sky Match - PokéRinger!!?
|| June 10, 2004
| United States
|| May 28, 2005
|| Team Ota
|| 藤田伸三 Shinzō Fujita
|| 誌村宏明 Hiroaki Shimura
| Assistant director
|| ながはまのりひこ Norihiko Nagahama
| Animation director
|| 広岡歳仁 Toshihito Hirooka
| Additional credits
That's Just Swellow (Japanese: 初挑戦！空中競技・ポケリンガ！！ Beginning Challenge! Sky Match - PokéRinger!!?) is the 80th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 354th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on June 10, 2004 and in the United States on May 28, 2005.
Outside Crossgate Town, the kids meet a Trainer named Shane and his Swablu. He is practicing for the PokéRinger competition, a contest where flying Pokémon battle in the sky to capture a ring and place it on the goal post.
Ash and May both sign up with Taillow and Beautifly. Meanwhile, Team Rocket has also arrived in town. As a child, James received training from a champion PokéRinger, and decides to enter the competition as well.
The competitors are matched up into three separate groups of four. In the first group, Shane and his Swablu use the wind to their advantage and win the round. Ash faces the previous PokéRinger champion in the next group, but knocks out his Volbeat to win. In the last group, May and James face off against each other, but Dustox (borrowed from Jessie) scores the goal.
In the next round, Ash's Taillow faces off against a Skarmory and wins easily. Shane goes up against James, but his Swablu gets blinded by the sun, giving Dustox a chance to score.
While the competition is going on, Jessie and Meowth have been tricking Trainers into leaving their Pokémon behind for a special "relaxing" treatment. They trap the Pokémon into a net and prepare to run. Meowth tries to order James to leave with them, but James refuses.
Ash and James begin the final round, but they are interrupted by a freak tornado in the middle of the field that blocks their path to the ring. Ash sends Taillow into the swirling wind, and its determination causes it to evolve into Swellow. Swellow snags the ring and leaves the tornado, with Dustox on its tail. Swellow punts the ring onto the goal, and James is dragged away sobbing by Team Rocket.
Swellow frees the stolen Pokémon, and then Pikachu sends Team Rocket blasting off with Thunderbolt. Ash attends the award ceremony, where his picture is displayed alongside the previous PokéRinger champions.
Ash and his friends arrive in Crossgate Town, where they immediately help a Swablu who's floundering in the air that belongs to Shane. Apparently they were doing training for the PokéRinger, a game that involves two to four Trainers using their Pokémon to capture a ring that's hanging up quite some distance in the air. The Pokémon that first brings the ring to the goal post wins. A PokéRinger tournament is scheduled later in the day. There are lots of Trainers here, and not all of them local. Shane is forced to admit that this is his first tournament.
Team Rocket make their first appearance. James actually knows a lot about the sport. He had some aspirations to become a player in these games when he was a kid. Surprisingly, his old teacher is part of the tournament. James gets all fired up to compete!
Shane is in the first round. Ash is in the second round along with the defending champion Volt and his Volbeat. Then James makes a weird entrance. James appears to be in the third block along with May. May, displaying a characteristic lack of manners, totally ignores James even after he wishes her a good battle. The tournament gets underway and Shane emerges victorious.
Volbeat seems to have the early advantage in the second round by possessing Electric-type attacks. Taillow actually overcomes the electricity and gets the ring! Volbeat isn't beat yet though. Another Thunderbolt causes Taillow to drop the ring while trying to dodge. Volbeat takes it and goes for the goal. However, Taillow's counterattack causes Volbeat to lose the ring! Ash wins the second round.
Now, James and May face off. Unbelievably, James actually wins! May and Beautifly concentrated too much on everyone else, thinking James would be useless. The business scheme that Jessie and Meowth have concocted seems to be raking in the cash and the Pokémon. They're bringing them in out there, from the ranks of all the losers' Pokémon.
One quick flash past segment later, and we learn that Shane, Ash and James are winning all their matches. Next, James and Shane face off! Swablu has the early advantage, but James's experience is paying off tactics-wise it seems. When the sudden sunlight blinds Swablu as the clouds move, James takes it!
The next round is Ash versus James. However, the battle is interrupted by Meowth, and he and James have somewhat of a conversation aided by flags, as though they've suddenly started using the semaphore system. Meowth gets smacked in the face by a flag, and James turns his attention back to the battle at hand.
James has the advantage and uses a Psybeam attack! But Taillow reflected it and hit back with a Wing Attack! James isn't out of it yet though, and then a sand tornado starts.Looks like after the tornado is over, it will be a matter of speed - who can take the ring first...but wait, Taillow goes and flies into it! The wind appears to knock Ash's Taillow backwards, but then we realize that it's evolving!
Swellow just can't lose against this tornado. James makes one last desperate play....and might just win...but it's another Wing Attack, knocking the ring onto the goal! Ash wins! James cries his heart out and Jessie shows up in the balloon! Looks like Team Rocket are up to their old tricks again, but they're simply no match for Swellow. The Pokémon are returned, the balloon is blown up, and they blast off.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
Pokémon Trainer's Choice: Marshtomp
- The episode's title is a reference to the phrase "that's just swell".
- This marks the first time Meowth fills in for James in the Team Rocket's motto, though he had done so for Jessie previously.
- This marks the first time James borrowed a Pokémon from Jessie, who usually borrows Pokémon from him.
- Oddly, Wobbuffet hiccuped at the end of the motto. It said "Wobba-hic!".
- This episode marks one of the extremely rare occasions that a member of Team Rocket refers to one of the main characters by name (this being James while speaking to May after entering the PokéRinger competition).
- This marks the first time Team Rocket's original theme is played since Hoenn Alone!, the last episode of the original series, making it the first time for it to feature in the Advance Generation series. It is also the first time that both the original and new themes are played in the same episode. However, note that the beginning of the original theme music appeared in AG020 and AG024.
- This episode is similar to Pursuing a Lofty Goal! in multiple ways:
- Ash enters a PokéRinger with his Flying-type Pokémon, while James enters with one of Jessie's Bug-type Pokémon.
- In each episode, the over-confident and boastful former champion enters only to be knocked out in the first round.
- Ash's Flying-type Pokémon evolves into its final form, helping him win the Contest.
- Ash's Pokémon hits the hoop over the goal section with its wings (even the background music is the same in both episodes).
- Instrumental versions of Advance Adventure and OK! are used as background music.
- Instead of Wing Attack, Ash commands Taillow to use "Wing".
- When all of Team Rocket's captured Pokémon were in a net, one of the Golbat looked like a Crobat.
- While Shane is talking to Max about the competition, the man who is sitting behind him is slightly overlapping Shane.
- The challengers were divided into three blocks, and from each one the winner moved to the semifinals. However, there were four semifinalists instead of three.
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