From Bulbapedia, the community-driven Pokémon encyclopedia.
Jump to navigationJump to search
DP188 : Battling a Thaw in Relations!
Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl
DP190 : The Brockster Is In!
The Semi-Final Frontier!
DP189   EP655
Sinnoh League Semi-Finals! Enter Darkrai!!
First broadcast
Japan August 26, 2010
United States January 22, 2011
English themes
Opening We Will Carry On!
Japanese themes
Opening 「サイコー・エブリディ!」(BAND VERSION)
Ending 君の胸にLaLaLa
Animation Team Kato
Screenplay 十川誠志 Masashi Sogo
Storyboard 山田浩之 Hiroyuki Yamada
Assistant director 古賀一臣 Kazuomi Koga
Animation director 夏目久仁彦 Kunihiko Natsume
Additional credits

The Semi-Final Frontier! (Japanese: シンオウリーグ準決勝!ダークライ登場!! Sinnoh League Semi-Finals! Enter Darkrai!!) is the 189th episode of Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, and the 655th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on August 26, 2010, and in the United States on January 22, 2011.

Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.


The semifinal battle gets under way, pitting Ash against Tobias. The talented Trainer is preceded by his reputation—he’s been defeating his opponents using only his Darkrai. Tobias comes on strong and quick, defeating Ash’s Heracross, Torkoal, and Gible one after another! But when Ash brings out Sceptile, a spirited skirmish begins, and for the first time during the Sinnoh League, Darkrai is defeated!

Tobias is unfazed by this turn of events. He next brings out Latios, another surprisingly powerful Pokémon. And with one move, Ash’s Sceptile is unable to battle.

Ash follows up by bringing out Swellow, and a sky battle between Swellow and Latios ensues. Latios proves too powerful for Swellow, and Ash is left with one Pokémon, while Tobias still has five!

When Ash turns to Pikachu as his final Pokémon, the action-filled bout gets even more intense, and eventually both Latios and Pikachu are rendered unable to battle at the same time. And since Pikachu is Ash’s last Pokémon, Tobias is declared the winner! This is the first time Ash has made it to the final four of an event of this magnitude, and he has gained the respect of Tobias—who then goes on to triumph in his final battle and is declared the winner of the Sinnoh League!

We leave our heroes as Barry bids them all farewell. Both Ash and Dawn vow to continue pursuing their dreams, while in the face of their determination, Brock finds himself questioning his own plans…


Ash is up against Tobias, the Trainer who managed to defeat all the Sinnoh Gym Leaders and all the other competitors using only his Darkrai. As the battle commences, Tobias sends out Darkrai to battle first, while Ash sends out his Heracross. Brock comments that it is a good choice to use a Bug and Fighting-type Pokémon like Heracross against a Dark-type Pokémon like Darkrai. Tobias tells Darkrai to use Ice Beam whilst Ash has Heracross use Hyper Beam, and the two attacks collide. Ash then commands Heracross to use Horn Attack, but Darkrai intercepts it with Dark Void, putting Heracross straight to sleep. However, Ash expected this, and has Heracross use Sleep Talk, which turns into Megahorn; the powerful Bug-type attack slams into Darkrai and causes it massive damage. However, it was ultimately in vain, because Darkrai fires right back with a super-effective Dream Eater attack, not only healing itself but also knocking Heracross out in one shot.

Ash recalls Heracross and sends out Torkoal, whom he commands to use Flamethrower as Tobias commands Darkrai to use Dark Pulse. Darkrai's attack completely overpowers Torkoal's and knocks it out in one shot as well, and Ash is quickly realizing that Tobias and Darkrai are living up to their reputation. Ash decides to send out Gible next and has him begin with Rock Smash, which lands and causes Darkrai super-effective damage. Tobias then calls for an Ice Beam, which Gible dodges before launching a Draco Meteor. However, Darkrai dodges it and knocks Gible out with Dark Pulse, getting itself a third single-shot victory. Tobias compliments Ash on Gible's performance, revealing that he has not let his power go to his head, before asking who his next Pokémon will be.

Ash chooses Sceptile as his fourth Pokémon, and Darkrai uses Ice Beam. Sceptile dodges and uses Quick Attack, but Darkrai dodges it. Ash then orders Sceptile to use Leaf Storm, but Darkrai hits it with a close-range Ice Beam before the attack can be launched. Sceptile is hurt and stumbles, which allows Darkrai to land a hit with Dark Void to put Sceptile to sleep, before following up with Dream Eater. After taking the attack, Sceptile is shown in the midst of a dream, lost in a dark, empty void. Moments later, the Forest Pokémon sees a light in the distance, from which it hears its Trainer's voice calling out to it; it immediately wakes up, much to Tobias's shock. Ash commands Sceptile to use Leaf Blade, and it lands two brutal hits on Darkrai, finally managing to take the Pitch-Black Pokémon out of the battle. The whole stadium cheers in disbelief for Ash for managing to make history and be the first Trainer to defeat Tobias's Darkrai, but Brock reminds Dawn and Barry that he is not out of the woods yet, since Tobias still has five other Pokémon for him to defeat.

Tobias recalls Darkrai into its Poké Ball, and, impressed with Ash, admits that he earned his spot in the semi-final round for accomplishing what no other Trainer could whilst battling him. For the first time in Sinnoh, he now has to send out a second Pokémon. However, he shows no signs of worry and throws a Poké Ball into the air, releasing his second Pokémon: a Latios. This puts Ash, Dawn, Brock, and Barry in disbelief, but Ash quickly gets over it and has Sceptile use another Leaf Blade attack as Tobias commands Latios to counter with Giga Impact. The attacks collide and cause a massive explosion, but Sceptile gets the worst of it and faints.

Ash recalls Sceptile and thanks him for a stellar performance before sending out his fifth Pokémon, Swellow. After Swellow and Latios let out their battle cries, the former goes in for a Quick Attack, but Latios easily dodges. The battle then turns into an aerial chase as the Swallow and Eon Pokémon keep in pursuit of one another. However, despite the former's amazing speed, it pales in comparison to that of the latter; Latios has Swellow beat both on offense and defense, being more than fast enough to not only dodge all of its offensive advances but also stay right on its tail. This is further proven when Swellow's attempt to throw Latios off with a nosedive fails, and further still when, after Swellow flies high up in the air and quickly descends with Aerial Ace, Latios intercepts it with a powerful Luster Purge, knocking it out in a single shot.

Ash recalls Swellow and thanks it for trying its best, before bowing his head in desperation now that he only has one Pokémon left to take on his opponent's remaining five. Pikachu is also upset at the seemingly hopeless situation, but Ash tells him that, no matter how bleak things may look, he has no intentions of giving up, a sentiment with which Pikachu agrees. Ash then pulls his hat backward and sends Pikachu in as his sixth and final Pokémon, both of them more than ready to give it their all. Despite having gained respect for his opponent, Tobias is certain that this will be their last bout and gets ready to end this battle once and for all.

Pikachu starts off with a Quick Attack, and Latios tries to dodge, but Pikachu manages to land a glancing blow on him. Pikachu turns around and uses Volt Tackle, but Latios overpowers him with a Giga Impact. Latios prepares to use another Giga Impact, and Ash has Pikachu use Iron Tail to try and counter, but he ends up getting overpowered again and lands on his stomach. Latios then mimics Swellow's earlier trick and flies high up in the sky, before coming down fast while at the same time charging a Luster Purge. Ash commands Pikachu to dodge, and despite the severe damage he has taken up to this point, he narrowly does so, before jumping onto Latios' back once he flies past him. Pikachu then uses a close-range Thunderbolt, causing Latios considerable damage. Tobias commands Latios to shake Pikachu off, and he tries to do so by flying around erratically, but Pikachu manages to keep hold of him and use another close-range Thunderbolt, pushing Latios closer to his limit. Tobias then orders Latios to use Light Screen, which causes Pikachu's relentless Thunderbolts to not even faze him. Latios then flies high up in the sky again, and, as his Light Screen wears off, he finally manages to shake Pikachu off. With Pikachu in a vulnerable freefall, Tobias commands Latios to return to the ground and finish him off with Luster Purge. However, Ash commands Pikachu to use Volt Tackle, which slowly but surely cuts through the Luster Purge. Ash then yells at the top of his lungs for an Iron Tail attack, which, in conjunction with the Volt Tackle, completely cuts through the Luster Purge and scores a direct hit on Latios, causing a giant explosion that knocks out all of the monitors.

The battlefield is covered with smoke and everyone is desperate to see what happened. Eventually, the smoke clears and reveals that Pikachu has gone down, but not without taking Latios down with him. As Ash has no Pokémon able to continue, Tobias is declared the winner by default. Paul is shown having watched the battle on TV, and walks away in disappointment that his former rival has lost. Tobias approaches Ash and they thank each other for a spectacular battle. Dawn and Barry are upset over Ash's loss, but Brock points out that Ash was amazing and that this marks the first time he's ever made it into the Top 4.

Tobias is later shown defeating a Trainer's Magmortar with his Darkrai, winning him the Lily of the Valley Conference. Tobias is presented the Winners' Trophy by Cynthia and Mr. Goodshow as fireworks fire off around the stadium. Later, Ash stands outside the stadium ready to get on his way when Dawn arrives and notes that although their journey together is ending soon, it feels like they've just begun. Brock then arrives and reminds them both that their journeys really are just beginning. Ash agrees, knowing he's still got a lot of work to do if he's ever going to get into the Champion League, while Dawn comments that she's got a lot to do if she's ever to become a Top Coordinator. Brock is happy to see that his friends still following their dreams, but this leaves him to wonder if he's following his own. Just then Barry turns up, telling Ash that while he might be stronger than him now, he plans to train and defeat him in their next battle. Ash laughs, and the two rivals say a final goodbye before Barry leaves, full of energy as always. And so, the group prepares to set forth on the final leg of their journey back to Twinleaf Town.

Major events

Tobias holding the championship trophy
For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the history page.


Pokémon debuts

TV episode debuts





Ash with his hat on backwards


Dub edits

  • In the English dub, Jessie says to the customers that they shouldn't watch on an empty stomach and to eat some of the food. In the Japanese version, she specifies that she has rice crackers, caramel, juice, and popcorn.
  • In the English dub, a customer asks if she has Darkrai merchandise. In the Japanese version, the customer wants an actual Darkrai.
  • In the English dub, the announcer says that it was the first time Tobias' Darkrai was defeated. In the Japanese version, the announcers adds that it's the first time Tobias' second Pokémon had to be used in the league.

In other languages

DP188 : Battling a Thaw in Relations!
Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl
DP190 : The Brockster Is In!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.