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JN012 : Flash of the Titans!
Pokémon Journeys: The Series
JN014 : Raid Battle in The Ruins!
The Climb to Be the Very Best!
JN013   EP1098
Satoshi VS Dande! The Road to the Strongest!!
First broadcast
Japan February 16, 2020
United States September 11, 2020
English themes
Opening The Journey Starts Today
Japanese themes
Opening 1・2・3
Ending ポケモンしりとり(ピカチュウ→ミュウVer.)
Animation Team Kato
Screenplay 米村正二 Shōji Yonemura
Storyboard 毛利和昭 Kazuaki Mōri
Assistant director 毛利和昭 Kazuaki Mōri
Animation director 山崎玲愛 Rei Yamazaki
Additional credits

The Climb to Be the Very Best! (Japanese: サトシ対ダンデ!最強への道!! Satoshi VS Dande! The Road to the Strongest!!) is the 13th episode of Pokémon Journeys: The Series, and the 1,098th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on February 16, 2020 and in the United States on September 11, 2020.

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


After the World Coronation Series finals and the crowning of Monarch Leon, an aggressive Gigantamax Drednaw threatens the stadium! Our heroes spring into action, and Pikachu suddenly Gigantamaxes, saving the stadium and everyone in it! Leon is impressed, and he’s also amazed that Ash doesn’t have a Dynamax Band. When Ash and Goh finally meet the Monarch, Ash challenges him to a battle…and Leonagrees! He lends Ash a Dynamax Band, and the battle between Pikachu and Charizard begins. With both Pokémon Gigantamaxing, the excitement reaches a new level! Leon wins, but Ash is grateful for the opportunity, and he looks forward to a rematch someday…in an official tournament!


Continuing from the end of the previous episode, a Gigantamax Drednaw is rampaging at Wyndon Stadium. As its head enters the battlefield in pursuit of Team Rocket, Ash and Goh decide to do something about the situation. They rush outside, where Drednaw has retracted its long neck and looks down on them. They try to tell it to calm down, but it just attacks them instead. Ash figures they must battle it to draw it away from the stadium. Goh asks if he has any plans of how to fight a Dynamax Pokémon, and Ash casually answers that he doesn't, saying that it just gives them all the more reason to try. He tells Goh that he can stand back, but he refuses to do so if Ash is fighting.

The two Trainers start attacking, but Pikachu's Thunderbolt and Scorbunny's Double Kick do nothing against the giant Pokémon. As Drednaw extends its neck again, Ash tries to stop it with Pikachu's Electroweb, but it ends up only momentarily slowing Drednaw down, forcing Ash and Goh to run. Drednaw chases them, but it soon extends its neck to its maximum length, preventing it from chasing them any further. The duo and their Pokémon have stumbled upon a bunch of glowing red cracks in the ground, with red lights flowing out of them and into Pikachu. Just as Goh recognizes the phenomenon, Pikachu suddenly starts growing giant, and Ash and Goh back off in a panic as Pikachu Gigantamaxes before their eyes. All of them, including Pikachu, are surprised by this sudden transformation, but their moment of astonishment is cut short as Drednaw prepares to attack again. Ash orders a Quick Attack, but with Pikachu's new, massive form, his usually great speed is reduced to slow lumbering, giving Drednaw plenty of time to use G-Max Stonesurge. The G-Max Move causes Pikachu to stumble back and hit the stadium, shaking it and causing panic inside. Ash next calls for an Iron Tail, and as Pikachu prepares to attack, Leon arrives on the scene, surprised to see a Gigantamax Pikachu. As Pikachu executes Max Steelspike, successfully hitting Drednaw, Leon is even more surprised to notice that Ash doesn't have a Dynamax Band, despite him clearly commanding a Gigantamax Pokémon in battle.

As Drednaw starts using Max Rockfall, Leon calls down to Ash from the balcony he's on, telling him to have Pikachu use G-Max Volt Crash. Ash follows the advice and calls for a G-Max Volt Crash, which not only ends up stopping Max Rockfall on its tracks, but also sends Drednaw flying back. Upon landing, it quickly reverts to its normal form and size. Ash and Goh are amazed by the move they just saw, and as Pikachu also reverts to normal, Ash congratulates him on the job well done. In the background, Team Rocket emerges from a bush and decides to go capture Drednaw, scurrying off. Leon goes down to Ash and Goh, and both sides thank and introduce each other. Ash requests to have a battle with Leon, baffling Goh and surprising Leon. However, before Leon can answer, a stadium personnel comes up to them and says that Dynamaxing isn't allowed here. Ash and Goh try to explain everything, but Leon bails them out by saying that the two are heroes who saved the stadium from ruin, giving Ash a reassuring wink as the personnel apologizes.

The next day, outside of the Wyndon Pokémon Center, Goh, Pikachu, and Scorbunny are enjoying local scones, but Ash is completely zoned out, too much in thought to even eat. Just then, a Skwovet climbs onto the table and starts eating one of Ash's scones. After having his Rotom Phone identify the Pokémon for him, Goh quickly throws a Poké Ball at it, successfully making his second catch in the Galar region. Ash, however, is still completely lost in thought and barely notices the whole incident. Goh asks what's bothering him, and Ash responds that he's just been thinking about Leon's battle from yesterday. Goh quickly understands that Ash still wants to battle Leon, which Ash confirms, but Goh tells him that it isn't going to be easy. If he wants to challenge him, he's going to have to sign up for the World Coronation Series online and win his way through the ranks. The Top 8 Trainers in the rankings are called the Master Class. At the end of each season, these Trainers compete in a tournament, whose winner is declared the Monarch. Ash figures that he just needs to participate in the tournament to get to battle Leon, but Goh goes into further details to show him how it's not that easy. The participating Trainers are divided into four classes, based on whether an entrant wins or loses a Pokémon battle and looking at the content of the battle. All recently entered competitors compete in the Normal Class, the competitors from ranks 999 to 100 compete in the Great Class, those in ranks 99 to 9 are in the Ultra Class, and the Top 8 are in the Master Class. Since Leon is at the top of the rankings, Ash is going to need to climb through the ranks to reach him.

Ash is having trouble understanding the whole ranking system, but figures that he just needs to win a lot of battles. With his energy restored, he quickly gobbles up his scones, only to almost choke on them. Someone hands him a glass of water to flush them down, and Ash is surprised to notice that it's none other than Leon. To Ash's great pleasure and Goh's utter astonishment, he says that he's going to accept Ash's earlier request for a battle. Meanwhile, Team Rocket has been wandering around all night, unable to find Drednaw. James suddenly notices a Pokémon hanging on to Jessie's hair, and Meowth uses the trio's Rotom Phone to find out that it's a Chewtle, the pre-evolved form of Drednaw. Upon learning that this Pokémon evolves into the giant Pokémon from yesterday, the trio decides to take it to Giovanni, declaring their mission a success.

At Wyndon Stadium, Ash and Leon are preparing for their battle. Leon hands Ash a Dynamax Band, explaining that while he was able to use Dynamax without one the day before, Trainers usually use a Band to control Dynamax. He goes on to explain that when a Pokémon Dynamaxes, the names of its moves also change. Goh takes over for a bit, giving examples of some of these changes: Normal-type moves become Max Strike, Steel-type moves become Max Steelspike, and Electric-type moves become Max Lightning. Leon also explains that since Ash's Pikachu can Gigantamax, his Electric moves become G-Max Volt Crash instead of Max Lightning, and that Dynamaxing is triggered by recalling the Pokémon into its Poké Ball and loading it with power from the Band before sending it out again. Ash remarks that Pikachu hates going into his Poké Ball, but assures they can still manage.

With all the information sharing out of the way, Ash and Leon take their places. Ash chooses Pikachu, while Leon calls out Charizard, just like Ash had hoped he would. While Pikachu has a type advantage, Leon reminds Ash of his unbroken winning streak. Dan starts the battle, and Ash makes the first move by ordering a Quick Attack, which gets countered by Charizard's Thunder Punch. Ash follows up with an Iron Tail, but once again, his attack is blocked by a Thunder Punch. As Charizard goes on the offensive, Ash calls for an Electroweb, but Charizard breaks through it with Thunder Punch before using Air Slash, scoring a direct hit. Despite of this, Pikachu is still standing strong, and Ash has him use Thunderbolt. Charizard answers by using Flamethrower, which starts pushing the Thunderbolt back, leaving Pikachu with only a struggling barrier of electricity to protect him from the Fire-type move.

Fueled by Ash's determination, Pikachu starts applying more power into his attack. Responding to this, Ash's Dynamax Band starts to glow and sends Dynamax energy into Pikachu, causing him to start growing again. As the Gigantamax process takes effect, Thunderbolt is transformed into G-Max Volt Crash, which overpowers Charizard's Flamethrower and actually manages to hit it, knocking it to the ground. Ash is happy to have successfully achieved Gigantamax again, but Leon responds by recalling his Charizard and Gigantamaxing it as well. Ash tells Pikachu to use Max Strike, but Charizard easily dodges it before using Max Airstream. Pikachu struggles to stand up in the face of the powerful blast of wind, but is eventually thrown back. Ash calls for a Max Steelspike, but as Pikachu struggles to stand up again, Leon tells Charizard to use Max Lightning, which interrupts Pikachu's Max Move before he can execute it. Ash decides to go all out and orders a G-Max Volt Crash, and Leon responds with his own G-Max Move, G-Max Wildfire. Both attacks connect, but Charizard manages to endure the Electric attack, while G-Max Wildfire's secondary effect is too much for Pikachu to handle, and he shrinks back down, defeated.

After reverting his Charizard to its normal size and form, Leon goes to Ash and hands him an Oran Berry to restore Pikachu. Ash thanks Leon for the serious battle, and Leon says that battles aren't fun unless they're serious. Ash tries to return his Dynamax Band, but Leon tells him to keep it. He tells Ash that he likes Trainers with rough edges like him, but if he really wants to satisfy him, he needs him to "break out", or, as Goh puts it, "let 'er rip". As Leon turns to leave, Ash requests for another battle later. Leon accepts this request, promising that their next battle will be an official one in front of a crowd. As Ash and Goh exit the stadium, Ash declares that he's going to enter the World Coronation Series to face Leon again and defeat him this time to take another step closer to his dream of becoming a Pokémon Master. He turns back to look at the stadium one more time, imagining himself facing Leon in front of a huge, cheering crowd.

Major events

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


Pokémon debuts



Dare da?


Who's That Pokémon?

Who's That Pokémon?: Drednaw



Dub edits

In other languages

JN012 : Flash of the Titans!
Pokémon Journeys: The Series
JN014 : Raid Battle in The Ruins!
Project Anime logo.png This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.