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| Fighting Ire with Fire!
Explosive Evolution! Goukazaru!!
|| February 11, 2010
| United States
|| July 10, 2010
|| 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
Fighting Ire with Fire! (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 and in the United States on July 10, 2010.
On their way to the Sunyshore Gym and Ash's next battle, our heroes come across their friend Barry. He shows off all eight of the Badges he's earned, which prove he's ready to compete in the Sinnoh League! Paul is on the scene, too, and he's also won eight Badges. Barry challenges Paul to a battle on the spot, but Paul refuses, suggesting Barry battle Ash instead. Barry would rather take on Paul, but when Barry discovers that Ash has previously battled Paul in a full battle, he changes his mind and challenges Ash.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket has decided to try a new approach: catch the heroes first to get them out of the way, and then catch their Pokémon. It appears to work! Pikachu, Piplup, and Barry's Empoleon are caught and held captive. But, while Barry and Ash are battling, Monferno becomes enraged, thanks to an out-of-control Blaze ability! Ash reasons with Monferno to calm it down, only to get a big surprise when it evolves into Infernape! Infernape saves Pikachu, Piplup, and Empoleon, and proves to be a powerful and quick Pokémon in its own right.
Paul tells Ash he will battle him in the upcoming Sinnoh League. But first, Ash knows he must set his sights on winning his eighth Badge at the Sunyshore Gym!
Ash, Dawn and Brock are traveling through a small town on the way to Sunyshore City when they 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 the person who is battling is 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 is very impressed, and Brock notes that Empoleon is a lot stronger than when they last saw it. Barry has Empoleon use Metal Claw. The Trainer tries to counter with Silver Wind; however, Empoleon expertly dodges the attack and strikes Mothim, knocking him out. The Trainer sees to his Mothim while Barry congratulates Empoleon and the crowd cheers 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 relaxes, Barry catches up with Ash and asks about Gible's training to master Draco Meteor. Ash is forced to confess that it is not going very well at the moment, which disappoints Barry, who remarks that Ash may never reach the Sinnoh League if his Pokémon can't master their moves. Ash tells Barry he is still headed for Sunyshore Gym for his final Badge, which makes Barry laugh. Barry shows off his collection of eight Badges, including the Beacon Badge he got from Sunyshore, adding that the Sunyshore Gym was the best of all of them. Dawn tells Ash that now he has to catch up to both Barry and Paul, much to Barry’s excitement.
Meanwhile, at Team Rocket's temporary base, James announces that, after analyzing their previous failed plans, he has decided to take charge of the next attempt to nab Pikachu and Piplup. Jessie and Meowth are incredulous, but continue to 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 counterattack 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 goes to flirt with her, only for Croagunk to Poison Jab him. Just then, Dawn spots Paul and points him out to Ash, who has not seen him since their Full Battle. While Ash is surprised, Barry goes over to Paul, introduces himself, tells him he has also earned eight Badges, and challenges him to a battle. Paul is unimpressed with Barry, however, and declines the offer, which surprises Barry. Paul reveals that he is declining all challenges at the moment to concentrate on serious training for the Sinnoh League and he will not 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 is desperate for a battle, he should battle Ash. Barry refuses since he doesn't believe Ash is on their level, given that he only has seven Badges. Ash tells Paul that he knows he has earned all eight Badges after seeing the news report about it, with the atmosphere of the conversation awkward and chilly. Ash then tells Paul that he plans on getting his eighth Badge at Sunyshore Gym. Suddenly, Paul furiously tells Ash that he does not consider Sunyshore City's Gym to be worthy of its title. A surprised Barry insists that it’s the best Gym, but Paul declares it the worst. The conflicting reviews of the Gym leave Dawn and Brock extremely confused. Paul then leaves. Barry tries to shout at him, and then angrily tells him that he is getting a fine.
Ash assures Barry that he is bound to encounter Paul again someday, and warns him not to let his guard down in battle. Barry asks exactly what happened between the two of them. Ash replies 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 as he learned a lot. He then vows that the next time he and Paul battle, he will definitely win. Barry is impressed by Ash's determination, and then decides to follow Paul's advice by challenging Ash to a battle, which Ash accepts.
Just then, the latest update regarding Pokémon Contests appears on television, catching Dawn's attention. Marian informs the viewers that she has news straight from the Grand Festival Planning Committee, and announces that the Sinnoh Grand Festival will be held at Valor Lakefront. Marian advises that any Coordinator who have not earned the required five Ribbons need not give up as there are still seven Contests remaining before the event. 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 is determined to win another two and enter 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 will need to use the spare time to start working on new Contest combinations, and Barry wishes Dawn the best of luck in the Festival before reminding Ash of their battle. The group run out of the Center, while Jessie tries to leave to get her two Ribbons, only to be reminded of the current plan to nab Pikachu and Piplup.
It is decided the match will be composed of three one-on-one battles, with Brock refereeing. Dawn uses the Coin Toss application on her Pokétch, with Barry winning the chance to go first. Throwing the Poké Balls, Barry sends out Empoleon first while Ash starts with Monferno. Barry is happy, knowing that as Empoleon is a Water-type it will have the advantage over the Fire-type Monferno. Barry starts off by having Empoleon use Hydro Cannon, though Monferno dodges it and lands a Mach Punch. 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 with Empoleon. Barry decides to try Drill Peck, but Ash has Monferno Dig underground before emerging and landing another hard hit on Empoleon. 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, but 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 is no use, and Ash is trapped inside. He pounds on the capsule and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt on it, but the capsule is electricity-proof. The others are about to go and help when suddenly three more capsules appear, capturing Brock, Dawn, and Barry. Piplup tries using his beak to free Dawn, but it is no use. 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, Bubble Beam, and Hydro Cannon, respectively, 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, grab the three Pokémon, and deposit them in a cage as Team Rocket finish their motto. Brock sends out Happiny and has her use Pound to break the capsule, but even Happiny's strength cannot break it and is sent spinning. Team Rocket boasts 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, before landing and Monferno emerges, but its eyes are colored pink, confirming that Monferno has had Blaze triggered. Monferno then screams with fury as powerful flames emerge from its tail. Barry asks what is happening and Brock and Dawn explain that Blaze is Monferno's Ability, a power boost which kicks in when Monferno's endurance is low and it is under stress. Team Rocket cannot believe their luck and decide to get Monferno, too. However Monferno's sheer power easily destroys their grabbed claw. It then powers up a Flame Wheel and heads towards Team Rocket. Ash tries to block it and reminds the out-of-control Monferno that the other Pokémon are still trapped. In its fury, Monferno is unable to listen and hits Ash before continuing on and hitting 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 still-captive Pokémon. Ash prepares to send out a Pokémon to help, when Paul suddenly arrives and sends out his Electabuzz. He has it use Protect to support the cage, amazing everyone. Unfortunately, Monferno irately 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, but Ash is determined to save Monferno and all the Pokémon. He intercepts the Flame Wheel, grabbing Monferno when it emerges, and holds on tight. As Blaze engulfs Monferno and Ash, he begs it not to allow itself to be swallowed up by Blaze's power and reminds it of the promise they made to get stronger together. Paul looks on in amazement at what Ash is willing to endure to calm his Pokémon down. Suddenly, Electabuzz's Protect fails, and the mecha starts to collapse, endangering Electabuzz as well as the other Pokémon. 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, Monferno suddenly evolves into Infernape. 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. 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 remarks 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. Paul starts to leave, but Ash thanks him for his help and tells his rival that both he and Infernape will battle again. Paul tells Ash that Reggie would also like to see another Full Battle between them, adding he will see them at the Sinnoh 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 will not lose. Ash vows to not let Paul defeat him again.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
TV episode debuts
- Professor Oak's Big Pokémon Examination: Donphan
- The English dub title is a reference to the phrase "fighting fire with fire".
- 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.
- This is the first episode where Barry doesn't bump into Ash.
- This marks the first time since the original series that a rival of Ash's shows off all his Badges, only some of which are similar to Ash's.
- Two Team Rocket's mechas from Cooking Up a Sweet Story! and Noodles! Roamin' Off! make cameo in this episode.
- The children's story "The Little Engine that Could" is referenced by Meowth when he says that they will be known as the "Team Rocket that could."
- "Ready Go!" is played during the scene Monferno evolves.
- As of this episode, Ash, Paul, and Barry have all three final forms of the Sinnoh starter Pokémon between them.
- As of this episode, all forms of all Sinnoh starter Pokémon have made their appearance in the anime series.
- This is the first episode where when Team Rocket recites their motto in front of Barry where he didn't interrupt them.
- When Meowth says when Team Rocket is blasting off, "There's no place like home," he may be referring to the movie The Wizard of Oz.
- A version of "Which One ~ Is It?" is used as the ending theme, in which animation is used alongside live-action shots.
- This is the last episode to be produced by OLM/OLM Digital. Team Kato takes over the animation duties starting from Piplup, Up and Away! and onward.
- Team Rocket narrates the preview for the next episode.
- In one scene, a man has green sclera in his eye instead of white.
- After Ash tells Barry about his problems with perfecting Gible's Draco Meteor, the lace-like pattern on Empoleon's belly is missing the black spots. They later reappear while Empoleon is sitting in the same position.
- When Ash's Monferno was about to use Dig during his battle with Barry's Empoleon, Monferno has only four fingers.
- In the beginning of the battle between Ash and Barry, Barry says that he and his Empoleon had the type advantage (Water over Fire), However, he did not consider the fact that his Empoleon is also a Steel type, which is weak to both types of Monferno, plus removing Empoleon's Water-type resistance to Fire. Because of this, neither of the two had an advantage over the other.
- After Croagunk used Poison Jab on Brock, Croagunk's Japanese voice can be heard.
- In the Polish dub, when freed from the plastic capsules, Brock sounds like he was still trapped.
Far right man has green sclera
In other languages