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| A Marathon Rivalry!
Get Fired Up, Kabigon! King of the Pokéthlon!!
|| January 21, 2010
| United States
|| June 19, 2010
|| OLM/OLM Digital
|| 武上純希 Junki Takegami
|| 大庭秀昭 Hideaki Ōba
| Assistant director
|| 近橋伸隆 Nobutaka Chikahashi
| Animation director
|| 木下和栄 Kazue Kinoshita
| Additional credits
A Marathon Rivalry! (Japanese: 燃えよカビゴン！ポケスロンの王者！！ Get Fired Up, Kabigon! King of the Pokéthlon!!) is the 160th episode of the Diamond & Pearl series, and the 626th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on January 21, 2010 and in the United States on June 19, 2010.
On their way to Daybreak Town, Ash and his friends are walking through the forest when they suddenly find a giant object in front of them. Ash wonders what it is, and Brock identifies it as a trampoline. Pikachu and Piplup excitedly run up to the trampoline and start bouncing on top of it while Dawn wonders aloud why the trampoline was in the forest. Just then, a Snorlax jumps up and bounces on top of the trampoline, sending Pikachu and Piplup flying. Ash and Dawn catch Pikachu and Piplup, respectively, as Snorlax bounces off of the trampoline and lands on the ground.
Dawn curiously looks up Snorlax on her Pokédex, and both she and Brock remark that Snorlax must be working out a lot, as it can move well despite its large size. Just then, a voice behind the group applauds Snorlax for having improved its response time. Ash, Brock, and Dawn turn around to see a boy wearing khaki pants, black glasses, and a lab coat, holding a laptop in his left hand. The boy introduces himself as Daniel, and the group shares introductions. Brock wonders if Daniel owns Snorlax and compliments Daniel for raising it well. Daniel responds that he uses scientific training methods to train his Pokémon, surprising the entire group.
Daniel then takes the group to his Pokémon training lab in Camellia Town. Daniel demonstrates his training methods by putting a metal helmet and blindfold on Snorlax’s head. Snorlax boards a treadmill as Daniel puts on a similar headband. Daniel explains that he will do an exercise that increases the synchronicity between him and Snorlax. He pushes a button, causing the treadmill to start and Snorlax to walk forward in response. A green hurdle suddenly appears on the treadmill. Daniel focuses on the hurdle, causing a red light to flash on his headband and then in response on Snorlax’s helmet. Daniel jumps when the hurdle comes near Snorlax, causing Snorlax to jump in response. Ash, Brock, and Dawn gasp as Snorlax jumps over the hurdle. Daniel and Snorlax repeat the exercise several times, as Ash expresses his awe at Snorlax’s ability to jump despite being unable to see. Daniel and Snorlax take a break, during which Daniel inserts a stethoscope on Snorlax’s chest, pleased to see that their level of synchronization has increased. Ash shows his appreciation of the science but explains that he doesn’t need any scientific training to connect with Pikachu. Daniel remarks that Ash’s ways are too abstract, angering Ash. He challenges Daniel to a battle, but Daniel laughs and says that it’s impossible to compare level of synchronization in a battle.
However, Daniel suggests an alternative: the Pokéathlon. Dawn remarks that she has never heard of it, whereupon Daniel explains that the Pokéathlon was first held in Johto and consists of 10 events, 3 of which are chosen for each Pokéathlon, and that only 1 Pokémon may be chosen for each event. Daniel also adds that a Pokéathlon will be held on the very same day in Camellia Town. Brock remarks that this Pokéathlon must be the first ever to take place in Sinnoh, causing Daniel to blush in surprise at Brock’s knowledge of the event. Ash explains that he and Brock traveled extensively throughout Johto. Dawn notes that the day’s Pokéathlon will start with a Disc Catch, then continue with a halftime show instead of the normal second round, and end with a Hurdle Dash. Brock further explains that the event is a qualifying event to enter a regional Pokéathlon competition. Ash decides to enter the event, whereupon Daniel exclaims that he will not be defeated by a non-scientist. Dawn decides not to enter because her contest is coming up.
Ash, Dawn, Brock, Daniel, and Snorlax head over to the Pokéathlon Stadium. Daniel reaffirms that he will not lose to anyone without science. Ash notices that Snorlax is feeling tired, probably due to extensive training, telling Daniel to care about Snorlax. Daniel checks Snorlax’s energy level on his laptop and is dismayed to find that Snorlax has a less-than-normal energy level. James and Meowth appear, disguised as massage therapists, offering to give Snorlax a scientific massage. They bring Daniel to their tent, where Jessie shows him their multiple-armed massaging robot. Daniel asks if they can finish giving Snorlax a massage prior to the Hurdle Dash. Team Rocket assures Daniel that Snorlax is in good hands and ushers him out of their tent, later excitedly exclaiming that they will definitely get a promotion.
Ash and Pikachu are walking outside of the Pokéathlon Stadium when the still disguised James and Meowth offer Pikachu a massage. Ash asks if they will be finished prior to the Hurdle Dash, to which they respond yes. James grabs Pikachu and runs with Meowth into their “Massage Tent”, leaving Ash confused.
Fireworks are set off as the Camellia Town Pokéathlon begins with the Disc Catch. In the stands, Brock explains that the Disc Catch involves great jumping ability of a Pokémon along with synchronicity with its Trainer, as a Trainer must jump on a seesaw to propel his/her Pokémon upward in order to catch a disc. Meanwhile, on the stadium floor, the competitors are lined up and ready to start competing. Daniel brags about how his scientific training will enable him to win with his Hitmonlee. Ash, who has chosen Monferno, disagrees as the MC announces the start of the event. The disc throwing machines throw discs at a constant pace, challenging every team’s skill and ability, but both Hitmonlee and Monferno skillfully knock discs into perfect piles. The event ends and the results are announced. Much to Daniel’s surprise, he and Ash are tied for first place, each having twenty points.
The second round halftime show begins. A Spoink, the last year’s Pokéathlon champion, gives the crowd a Performance Exhibition in which it jumps off of a trampoline to touch a yellow-colored, lit lamp amidst 21 other red-colored, unlit ones above it. The crowd is impressed by Spoink’s dexterity, as are Dawn and Brock. Just then Brock notices that he doesn’t see Ash on the stadium floor, although the Hurdle Dash will soon begin.
The scene shifts to the outside of the stadium, where Ash is running towards Team Rocket’s “Massage Tent” in order to retrieve Pikachu. Just outside of the entrance, he bumps into Daniel and the two of them fall down. Daniel asks why Ash is there, to which Ash remarks that he is getting Pikachu back from a massage. Daniel adds that Snorlax is also getting a massage, and the two look up just in time to see Team Rocket’s balloon inflate behind the tent and knock it down. The balloon rises, revealing Pikachu in a cage tied to a rope and Snorlax, eating a small snack, tied to the end of the same rope. Team Rocket takes off its disguises and recites its motto. Their balloon continues to ascend but is weighed down by Snorlax. Jessie sends out her Yanmega and orders it to cut the rope with Steel Wing. Yanmega cuts the rope and Jessie recalls Yanmega, cheering with James and Meowth as they continue ascending. Daniel hugs Snorlax and asks if it’s okay, to which Snorlax just grunts and continues to eat.
Ash sends out Staraptor to capture Pikachu, but Meowth stops by Staraptor by punching Staraptor out of the sky with the balloon’s robotic hands. Ash recalls Staraptor as Daniel brings out his trampoline and has Snorlax jump on it until it reaches Team Rocket’s balloon. Meowth tries to block it with the robotic hands, but Snorlax jumps through them and crashes into the balloon, sending Team Rocket flying. Pikachu jumps out of its cage and Ash tries to run to catch it but realizes that he will not be able to reach the spot where Pikachu will land. Suddenly, Snorlax runs from behind Ash and slides on the ground, allowing Pikachu to land safely on its belly. Ash thanks Daniel for saving Pikachu, to which Daniel remarks that he will have to use science all the way in order to beat Ash. Just then an announcement is made that the Hurdle Dash is about to begin. Both Ash and Daniel run as fast as possible to the stadium floor.
The Hurdle Dash is about to begin in one minute... but Ash and Daniel are nowhere to be seen! As Dawn comments about Ash and Daniel’s first round performance, Ash and Daniel run into the stadium and take their places. The competitors are given visors and their Pokémon are given headbands. Ash wonders what it is supposed to do. Daniel explains that it is supposed to synchronize Trainer and Pokémon, much like the devices he uses in his training. The MC explains that the Pokémon’s headbands have video cameras which enable the Trainer to see where his/her Pokémon are going. Hurdles will appear, and the Trainer will be able to see them before their Pokémon. The Trainer must jump at the right time in order to signal their Pokémon to jump over the hurdle. Ash and Daniel agree to a fair match as the Hurdle Dash begins. Each Pokémon charges forward, running on the track as fast as possible. Examining his visor, Ash notices a hurdle coming up, so he jumps in order to warn Pikachu, who successfully jumps over the hurdle. Daniel also notices an upcoming hurdle and signals Snorlax to jump successfully over the hurdle. The Pokémon continue running and jumping over hurdles until Pikachu and Snorlax are running neck-and-neck, far ahead of the rest of the competition. As they reach the final stretch, Ash and Daniel encourage Pikachu and Snorlax, respectively, as both Pokémon run as fast as possible towards the finish line, seemingly passing the finish line at the same time. However, the judges deem that Snorlax’s belly passed the finish line first. Therefore, Snorlax and Daniel are announced as the winners of the Camellia Town Pokéathlon.
Daniel and Snorlax dance in jubilation at winning. While Daniel and Snorlax are presented with wreaths on a podium, Ash congratulates Daniel for his victory, much to Daniel's surprise. The two apologize for criticizing each other's training methods and shake hands. Ash wishes Daniel luck in the Johto Pokéathlon, and Daniel wishes Ash all the best in the Sinnoh League. From the stands, Dawn notices that Ash and Daniel have become friends, and Brock explains that their love of Pokémon goes beyond their different training styles. He then reminds Dawn that her Contest in Daybreak Town is coming up. The episode ends as Dawn and Piplup excitedly look forward to the opportunity to earn her fifth Ribbon.
- Ash encounters and competes at the Pokéathlon for the first time.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
On a Pokéathlon poster
- The Pokémon on the Pokéathlon poster were all introduced in Generation II, referencing the fact that in the anime, the first Pokéathlon was held in Johto, a reference to Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
- Possibly, Meowth also references the said games by mentioning "heart and soul" in the motto.
- The same mecha used to torture Kaiser in the banned episode The Legend of Dratini appears in this episode.
- Meowth breaks the fourth wall by saying "this is a reality show".
- Ash and Brock mention events that happened off screen, namely that they knew of the Pokéathlon when traveling through Johto, the episodes of which aired before the Pokéathlon even existed.
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