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| Staging a Heroes' Welcome!
Everyone's A Rival! Mikuri Cup!!
|| May 8, 2008
| United States
|| September 20, 2008
|| Team Iguchi
|| 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
|| 日高政光 Masamitsu Hidaka
| Assistant director
|| 古賀一臣 Kazuomi Koga
| Animation director
|| 田口広一 Kōichi Taguchi
| Additional credits
Staging a Heroes' Welcome! (Japanese: みんなライバル！ミクリカップ！！ Everyone's A Rival! Mikuri Cup!!) is the 77th episode of Diamond & Pearl series, and the 543rd episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on May 8, 2008 alongside Pruning a Passel of Pals! as part of a one-hour special, and in the United States on September 20, 2008.
The day before the Wallace Cup, Zoey shows up at Lake Valor for the competition. She says hi to Dawn and meets May for the first time; while she's there, she also admits to Ash that Coordinators can still learn from regular Trainers, too. Not far away, Jessie is shocked to learn that she won the Solaceon Ribbon all by herself, without the use of any secret plans or cheats. Then it's on to the Wallace Cup and a dramatic entrance from Wallace himself—he'll even be one of the judges in the appeals performance round!
May and her Wartortle take the stage first and put on a great performance. In contrast, Jessie and Wobbuffet's appeals round performance doesn't actually seem to have much appeal for the judges. Then Zoey's new Finneon makes its dazzling Contest debut, which ratchets up the pressure on Dawn. It doesn't help Dawn's nerves when Ash and Buizel have a terrific performance, either; afraid of failing again, she's almost ready to quit before she starts.
Piplup responds to Dawn's anxiety with a well-timed attack that snaps Dawn back into reality. She tries to relax as she heads onstage with Ambipom, and indeed, Ambipom puts on a performance that showcases its best qualities without relying on too much flash. With the first round over, it's up to the judges to decide which Coordinators are moving on the second round. Jessie is in for a disappointment, but Dawn is relieved to know she'll be battling in the second round along with Ash, Zoey, and May!
The day of the Wallace Cup has arrived and everyone is getting excited. Brock starts flirting with another girl when Croagunk Poison Jabs him. May noticing Brock being taken away by Croagunk, makes a note he's taken over Max's job. Dawn is really nervous now about the Contest. The scene turns to Ash who confirms having signed up for the Contest when Zoey appears. The Brock, Dawn and May show up and Dawn introduces May to Zoey.
The scene turns to Team Rocket when Jessie dressed as Jessilina is also entering, still thinking that James and Meowth helped her win the Solaceon Contest. James quickly denies having helped her with the Contest making Jessie shocked she won the Solaceon Ribbon all by herself.
Next day, Marian is announcing the big day has finally arrived. The Contest is about to start, while Dawn is messing up her hair again. May fixes it up, and Zoey says Dawn was like this during her debut, meaning she is extra nervous. Back to the stage, Wallace makes his appearance in an impressive way along with his Milotic and salutes the spectators. Marian informs the audience he will be a special judge and then proceeds to present the other judges who are Raoul Contesta, Mr. Sukizo and Nurse Joy from the Lake Valor Pokémon Center. Then she explains that the prized Ribbon is valid to use in any region followed by the beginning of the preliminary round.
May being the first participant uses Wartortle during the preliminary round, showing that her Squirtle has evolved. The scene briefly changes to Max, Norman and Caroline watching May on TV back in Petalburg City and to Drew, Solidad and Harley also following May on TV. The scene reverts to May who orders Wartortle to use Rapid Spin on the water field and to finish up with Aqua Tail. The Contest continues with performances from other contestants and with Jessilina's turn. She uses Wobbuffet, failing to impress the judges. Zoey's turn comes up revealing she captured a Finneon who does a fantastic performance making Dawn even more nervous.
Ash's act with Buizel is amazing and is praised by the judges, however Paul catches the appeal on TV and is unimpressed to see Ash has entered a Pokémon contest. By now, Dawn is extremely nervous that she is not going to make it, but Piplup snaps her out of it and she heads for the stage. She may have didn't send out Ambipom on her first try, but the act was stunning, soaking James and Meowth in the progress and she is congratulated by the judges.
Next, she returns to her friends and the results are announced, which make Dawn relieved now because everyone except Jessilina made it to the second round. And now, this is where the real action begins!
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
TV episode debuts
Sakura and Tomoyo look-a-likes
- I Won't Lose! ~Haruka's Theme~, Battle Frontier, and By Your Side ~Hikari's Theme~ are used as insert songs during the appeal rounds for May, Ash and Dawn respectively.
- Both May and Dawn had most of their rivals appear in the episode either in cameos or throughout the course of the episode: Drew, Solidad, and Harley for May; and Zoey and Kenny for Dawn. It should be noted that Ash's rival, Paul, also had a brief appearance. Nando was the only one of Dawn's or Ash's main rivals not to appear.
- Two girls near the beginning of the episode look like Sakura Kinomoto and Tomoyo Daidōji from Cardcaptor Sakura. This is most likely a joke on how their hats resemble the one Wallace wears.
- The two children running wearing Lucario and Weavile masks may be a reference to Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
- Instead of Professor Oak's Pokémon lecture, the end of the episode featured a memorial to Spell of the Unown: Entei. This is part of a countdown to Giratina and the Sky Warrior.
- This is the second Contest in a row that Ambipom's Poké Ball almost slips out of Dawn's hand due to her nervousness.
- This episode marks one of the extremely rare occasions that Jessie actually sends out her Wobbuffet as opposed to it popping out of its Poké Ball.
- One of the Coordinators that made it to the second round looks very similar to Cherry, a character in another episode.
- Team Rocket doesn't blast off or recite their motto in this episode, though Jessie is briefly launched into the sky as part of her act.
- This episode marks Ash's second and final participation in an official Pokémon Contest.
- This is also the debut of Ash's contest costume.
- When Croagunk drags Brock away from the woman selling crepes, May's gloves disappear.
- When Meowth and James show their displeasure at Jessie's performance there is a sound indicating a Pokémon coming out of its Ball, despite Mime Jr. already being outside its Ball.
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