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|| This article is about an episode of the Pokémon anime that has not been dubbed into English. As such, its coverage may contain romanized Japanese names, rather than dub names.
Explosive Evolution! Goukazaru!!
|| February 11, 2010
| United States
|| OLM/OLM Digital
|| 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
|| まついひとゆき Hitoyuki Matsui
| Assistant director
|| 大庭秀昭 Hideaki Ōba
| Animation director
|| 志村泉 Izumi Shimura
| Additional credits
(Japanese: 爆進化！ゴウカザル！！ Explosive Evolution! Goukazaru!!) is the 163rd episode of the Diamond & Pearl series, and the 629th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on February 11, 2010.
It's a lovely sunny day as Ash, Dawn and Brock are traveling through a small town on the way to Sunyshore City when they all notice a crowd has gathered to watch a Pokémon battle taking place nearby. Deciding to stop and have a look, they are surprised to find that battling is none other than Barry, whose Empoleon is battling another trainer's Mothim. Barry has Empoleon use Hydro Cannon, which scores a direct hit on Mothim. His opponent has Mothim use Signal Beam, however Barry has Empoleon block it with its wings, receiving almost no damage from it. The crowd are very impressed, and Brock notes that Empoleon is a lot stronger than when they last saw it. Barry has Empoleon use Metal Claw and Empoleon powers up and heads towards Mothim. The trainer tries to counter with Silver Wind. however Empoleon expertly dodges the attack and strikes Mothim, knocking it out. The trainer sees to his Mothim while Barry congratulates Empoleon and the crowd cheer his excellent victory. As Barry laps up the kudos he stops Ash and the others and happily greets his friend and rival.
Later, as the group relax Barry catches up with Ash and asks how Gible's training to master Draco Meteor is coming along. Ash is forced to confess that it isn't going very well at the moment, which disappoints Barry who tells Ash he'll never earn the eight badges he needs for the Sinnoh League if his Pokémon can't master their moves. Ash tells Barry he's still headed for Sunyshore Gym, which makes Barry and Empoleon laugh. After being asked what's so amusing, Barry tells everyone that he's already been to Sunyshore Gym... and earned the badge! To prove it, Barry shows off his collection of badges and it turns out that he's gathered all eight he requires for the Sinnoh League. Dawn tells Ash that now he has to catch up to both Barry and Paul, and Barry is excited to hear that Paul has also collected the eight badges he needs and tells Ash that he needs to get a move on and reach Sunyshore Gym. Barry then shows off the Beacon Badge he got from Sunyshore Gym and tells Ash that Sunyshore Gym was the best of all. This naturally makes Ash all the more excited for the battle to earn his eighth badge.
Meanwhile, at Team Rocket's temporary base, James announces that after analyzing their previous failed plans, he is going to take charge of the next attempt to nab Pikachu and Piplup. Jessie and Meowth are incredulous, but still listen as James explains that the main problem with their previous schemes is that they have always been stealing the Pokémon then trying to flee. This, in turn, allows the twerps to counter-attack and send them blasting off. However, if they were to instead trap the twerps, then grab the Pokémon and flee they could then make a clean getaway. Jessie and Meowth both like the idea and decide to get started at once.
Back in town, the group are all feeling pretty hungry so decide to stop at the local Pokémon Center. Nurse Joy greets the four and Brock naturally goes to greet Nurse Joy in his own unique (and creepy) style. Luckily both Brock and Nurse Joy are put out of their misery by Croagunk's Poison Jab. Just then Dawn spots someone familiar across the room... Paul! She points him out to Ash, who hasn't seen his rival since his massive loss against him in their full battle. While Ash is surprised, Barry is very excited to meet the trainer he admires so much. Going straight over to him as Paul prepares to leave, Barry introduces himself, telling Paul he has also earned eight badges and challenges him to a battle. Paul is clearly unimpressed with Barry and declines the offer, which surprises Barry who, after threatening to fine him, tells Paul that he has a reputation as a really strong trainer with really strong Pokémon and he presses the point that he'd love to battle him. Paul responds by telling Barry that he's currently declining all challenges at the moment. Now he's earned his eight badges, Paul is now in the middle of serious training for the Sinnoh League and he won't risk his Pokémon's condition by having a 'pointless' battle. Barry insists that a battle against him won't be pointless, but Paul tells Barry that if he's that desperate for a battle he should battle Ash. Barry doesn't want to battle Ash, as he doesn't believe that Ash is on their level since he only has seven badges.
Ash tells Paul that he knows he has earned all eight badges after seeing the news report about it, however the air between the two is distinctly chilly and Barry asks what the story is between the two to which Dawn just tells him it's a long one. Ash tells Paul that he plans on getting his eighth badge at Sunyshore Gym, however Paul's reaction to the mention of Sunyshore Gym is very different to Barry's. Paul angrily tells Ash that he doesn't consider Sunyshore City's Gym to be worthy of the title of Gym, surprising Barry who tells Paul that he considered it to be the best Gym however Paul tells Barry it isn't the best Gym... it's the worst of them all. Dawn and Brock are left confused by these total opposite statements, and are now very curious about just what Sunyshore Gym has in store for them. Paul then leaves, and Barry tries to shout him back and then angrily tells him he's getting a fine. Ash calms Barry down by telling him he's bound to encounter Paul again someday and warns him that when he does get to battle him, he shouldn't let down his guard for a second. Barry asks exactly what happened between the two of them, and Ash tells Barry that he and Paul had a full battle (earning Barry's jealousy) and that even though he lost, Ash considers it to have been a good battle. Barry asks how Ash can think so well of a battle that he lost, and Ash tells Barry that the battle taught him that while he may be a good trainer there's still a lot he needs to do if he wants to be the best and vows that the next time he and Paul battle he will definitely win. Barry is impressed by Ash's determination and decides to follow Paul's advice and challenge Ash to a battle which Ash accepts.
Just then, the latest update regarding Pokémon Contests appears on TV, catching Dawn's attention. Marian appears with the latest news regarding the Grand Festival, announcing that the event will be held at Valor Lakefront. Ash notes this was also the location of the Wallace Cup, and Marian continues with news that any coordinators who have not yet completed their requirement of five ribbons needn't give up as there as still seven contests remaining before the Festival. Nearby are (the disguised) Team Rocket who are also listening to the news, and Jessie is very excited to hear that her own goal is not yet out of reach. Having earned three ribbons at the Solaceon, Majolica and Lilypad Contests, Jessie only needs two more and she is determined to get to the Grand Festival too. Ash notes the coincidence that the Grand Festival is being held in the same place that Dawn earned the Aqua Ribbon. Checking his Pokégear, Brock tells the group they should continue on to Sunyshore City then backtrack to Lake Valor afterwards. Dawn knows that she'll need to use the spare time to start working on new Contest Combinations, and Barry wishes Dawn best of luck in the Festival and then reminds Ash they're meant to be battling. The group run out of the center, while Jessie tries to leave to get her two ribbons only to be reminded that today Team Rocket are trying to nab Pikachu and Piplup.
It's decided the match will be composed of three one-on-one battles, Brock will referee and Dawn uses the Coin Toss application on her Pokétch to decide who goes first. Barry wins the toss, and he and Ash decide to bring out their Pokémon at the same time. Throwing the Poké Balls, Barry sends out Empoleon first while Ash starts with Monferno. Barry is happy, knowing that as Empoleon is Template:Type2 it will have the advantage over the Template:Type2 Monferno. However Ash and Monferno are ready to show Barry a Pokémon battle is about a lot more than just type and with that, Brock begins the match.
Barry starts off by having Empoleon use Hydro Cannon, and Ash responds by having Monferno dodge it and use Mach Punch. Monferno quickly evades the Hydro Cannon and lands a direct hit on Empoleon, leaving Barry astonished at Monferno’s high speed. Meanwhile Paul is walking past the battle area and, unnoticed, decides to stop and watch when he sees Ash is using Monferno. Ash boasts that with the high speed of Mach Punch, Monferno can easily overcome the type-disadvantage it has over Empoleon. Barry decides to try Drill Peck, however Ash tells Monferno to use Dig and the Playful Pokémon is able to dodge the Template:Type2 move leaving Barry even more frustrated, especially when Monferno emerges from the ground and lands another hard hit on Empoleon. Both Ash and Dawn comment on how this kind of fluid battling is just what is expected of Monferno as it goes in for another Mach Punch. Barry has Empoleon use Hydro Cannon, and while this time it hits it lands at such close range that Monferno is sent flying into some nearby trees. Ash and Dawn are both worried, while Barry curses himself knowing he used far too much power against Monferno. Ash starts calling for Monferno, however there is no response.
Just then, a plastic capsule flies out of the air heading towards Ash and Dawn calls for him to look out. However it’s no use and upon catching up to him it seals itself around him, trapping him inside. He pounds on the capsule and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt on it how the capsule is electricity-proof and the attack has no effect. The others are about to go and help when suddenly three more capsules appear, and Ash screams for the others to run for it. Brock, Dawn and Barry try to escape, but the capsules are too fast and all three are trapped. Piplup tries using his beak to free Dawn but it’s no use and a distraught Piplup looks up to hear the laughter of Team Rocket as they descend in the Meowth balloon and start reciting their motto. Pikachu, Piplup and Empoleon use Thunderbolt, BubbleBeam and Hydro Cannon against Team Rocket however as they do the balloon itself starts to deflate while arms and legs emerge from the basket. The arms deflect the attacks and grab the three Pokémon and deposit them in a cage as Team Rocket finish the motto. Ash, Dawn and Barry are horrified that it seems their Pokémon will be taken by the villainous trio while Brock sends out Happiny and has her use Pound to try and break the capsule, however even Happiny’s strength can’t break it and instead the capsule is sent spinning. Team Rocket boast that the capsules are unbreakable from the inside and prepare to make their getaway.
Suddenly a pillar of fire emerges from the nearby trees, transforms itself into an extra-powerful Flame Wheel and heads towards Team Rocket’s mecha. It circles around, leaving Barry confused and the others worried about what this might indicate. The Flame Wheel then goes towards Ash is able to smash the capsule trapping him. The Flame Wheel then lands and Monferno emerges... however its eyes are colored pink, confirming that Monferno has accessed Blaze! Monferno then screams with fury as powerful flames emerge from its tail. Barry asks what’s happening and Brock and Dawn explain Blaze is Monferno’s ability, which kicks in when Monferno’s endurance is low and its under stress. As a result Monferno’s fire-type moves get a power-up, and Barry realizes that this happened because of the Hydro Cannon, however its clear that Monferno has received far more than just a power-up.
Team Rocket can’t believe their luck and decide to get Monferno too as the troubled Pokémon would be a perfect addition to their team. Monferno starts pounding its chest and screaming in pure fury, and Ash runs to his Pokémon and tries holding it like he did before when it went into the same rage before it evolved from Chimchar. However Monferno is a lot stronger than it was before and furiously sends Ash flying back. Team Rocket take the chance to grab it and one of the arms manages to catch Monferno, however this isn’t enough and Monferno’s sheer power easily destroys the hand that’s holding it. It then powers up a Flame Wheel and heads towards Team Rocket, however Ash tries to block it and reminds the out-of-control Monferno that the other Pokémon are still trapped and could get hurt, however Monferno doesn’t care about Ash or any of the other Pokémon and hits Ash before continuing on and hits the basket causing an explosion. Monferno then comes around and uses Mach Punch, completely destroying the basket and sending Team Rocket blasting off as they commiserate another failed plan.
By now Monferno is completely out of control, and while the controls of the mecha were destroyed the main body survived and the Pokémon are still trapped. Without anyone controlling it, the legs start to buckle, threatening to crush the Pokémon still in the cage. Ash prepares to send out a Pokémon to help, when suddenly Paul sends out his Electabuzz and has it use Protect to support the cage. Everyone is amazed that Paul is helping, while Paul tells Electabuzz to maintain Protect for as long as possible.
Unfortunately Monferno decides to destroy the mecha completely and powers up a Flame Wheel and damages one of the legs putting the Pokémon in far more danger. Monferno circles around and prepares for another hit however Ash is determined to save Monferno and all the Pokémon and intercepts the Flame Wheel, grabbing Monferno when it emerges and holding on tight. Ash begs Monferno to remember the promise he made back when it was a Chimchar and he took it under his wing when Paul released it, that they would become stronger together. Suddenly the flames emerging from Monferno surround both it and Ash, as he begs his Pokémon not to allow itself to be swallowed up by Blaze’s power but instead try to control it because if it can, then it can become even more powerful. Paul looks on in amazement at the power of the bond between Ash and Monferno.
Suddenly Electabuzz’s Protect fails, and the mecha starts to collapse, endangering Electabuzz as well as the Pokémon in the cage. Monferno, now back in control, powers up a Flame Wheel and races towards the cage getting underneath and supporting it. As it supports the cage surrounded by the power of Blaze, Monferno suddenly starts to evolve! Everyone watches in amazement as the flames clear to reveal Infernape supporting the cage! Everyone is in awe at seeing Infernape, and it shares a smile with Electabuzz. Ash has Infernape throw the cage into the air, and then has it destroyed with Mach Punch. This proves to be no problem for the powerful Pokémon as it frees Pikachu, Piplup and Empoleon and when they start to fall, Infernape absorbs them into a Flame Wheel to allow them to land safely. Ash congratulates Infernape, and Pikachu and Piplup thank Infernape for saving them.
Paul then approaches and explains that Monferno was not only able to control Blaze but was able to transform it into a new kind of energy that allowed it to evolve. Infernape then releases Brock, Dawn and Barry from their capsules and Piplup and Empoleon reunite with their relieved trainers. Barry and Empoleon thank Infernape for its help, while Dawn comments on how good it is that Infernape managed to reach it’s final stage of evolution before looking it up in her Pokédex.
Paul starts to leave, however Ash thanks him for his help and tells his rival that both he and Infernape would like to have another battle against him one day. Paul tells Ash that Reggie would also like to see another full battle between the two... at the Sinnoh League. Ash and Infernape agree, the battle between the two will take place at the League. Paul then leaves, and Brock tells Ash that when the two do battle, he will be able to show Paul just how much both he and his Pokémon have improved, and Dawn concurs that this time Ash won’t lose. Ash vows to not let Paul defeat him again, but until then Ash still has his battle at Sunyshore Gym to look forward to and both Pikachu and Infernape promise to give it their all.
And so, now with a very powerful Infernape by his side Ash is feeling more ready than ever for his upcoming battles. And as the episode ends Ash, Paul and Barry look forward to their participation in the Sinnoh League, each determined to win and each more than ready to defeat their rivals.
TV episode debuts
- In an initial announcement for this episode, TV Tokyo's website incorrectly stated that Barry had won the Coal Badge from the Sunyshore Gym. This was corrected a day later, stating instead that Barry won the Beacon Badge from the Sunyshore Gym.
- In one scene, a man has green sclera in his eye instead of white.