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The episode begins with Dawn and Piplup facing off against yet another Buneary, once again trying to capture the cute bunny Pokemon. Ash tells that now is her chance to throw a Pokeball, and Dawn nods, readying the Pokeball in her hand. Ash shouts at her however, saying that she forgot to press the button on the Pokeball to make it larger and ready to use to catch Pokemon. Dawn sweatdrops and nervously juggles the Pokeball and nearly dropping it as Ash seems to become more and more stressed at her. Finally getting a firm hold on the ball, she enlargens it and throws it. However, her swing is wrong and the Pokeball goes in the wrong direction and hits Ash square in the face.
Dawn apologises, but Ash isn't impressed at her novice actions and the two start to bicker with Brock and Piplup looking on helplessly. Piplup then notices the Buneary escaping into the bushes, and tries to get Dawn to notice in time but fails to do so in time as the Pokemon is long gone before Ash and Dawn snap out of teir arguement. Dawn steps forward and angrily tells Ash that it was his fault that Buneary managed to escape, and Ash snaps back saying she was just too slow. Neither of them are happy with the other, and continue to stare off as Brock continues to look on, unsure what to say to break up the arguement.
Sometime later, we find Ash, Dawn and Brock walking down a path on their way to their next destination. Things haven't cooled down however, with both Ash and Dawn turning their noses up to eachother as Brock stands sadly in the middle of them. Dawn insists that without Ash, things would have gone fine, and Ash snaps back before Brock decides to finally interrupts them in order to get their minds off arguing. Just then however, a small Budew appears and smiles cutely at them as Ash checks it on his Pokedex and Dawn gushes over how cute the little Grass Pokemon is. They wonder where Budew came from, and receive an answer from a shadowy figure from behind a shaded tree.
The figure stands up, and walks out from beneath the tree and greets the three trainers while strumming on his harp. The minstrel calmly explains that the Budew is his, and that he's pleased to meet them. He introduces himself as Naoshi, and the group tell him their names also and say that they're pleased to meet him too. Naoshi saysthat he's a minstrel, then brings their attention back his Budew which prompts Dawn to ask him for a Pokemon battle. Naoshi accepts, but Ash is worried and asks if she's ready to start Pokemon battling right now. Dawn tells him that she'll be fine and that there's no need to worry, but Ash doesn't look convinced. Naoshi then asks Dawn if she's going to be competing in the Sinnoh League, and she shakes her head and explains that she's going to be entering the Grand Festival and become a Top Coordinator.
Watching all of this from some nearby bushes is Team Rocket, who start to ponder their next Pikachu-grabbing scheme. Jessie doesn't seem as focused on that however, having overheard Dawn mention Pokemon Contests. James looks confused, and Jessie snaps at him and says that she'll be winning ribbons this time around for sure.
Having found a good place to battle, Naoshi and Dawn face off as they both select the Pokemon they are going to use. Naoshi says that he's going to use the Pokemon that's already out, Budew, as Dawn sends out her only choice, Piplup. With both Pokemon decided, Dawn stares at Budew and thinks back to her type advantages and disadvantages. Budew is a Grass Pokemon, and Piplup is a Water type, which means that she's the one at a disadvantage. Starting the battle off, Dawn orders Piplup to use a Peck attack, which is then dodged by Budew on Naoshi's command. Now in the air having jumped out of the way, Budew is ordered to use Bullet Seed. The small Grass Pokemon does so, sending down a rain of rock hard bullet seeds at Piplup. Brock then warns Dawn that Bullet Seed is a Grass type move, and that it'll cause some major damage to Piplup. Dawn is aware of this however, and tells Piplup to jump out of the way. Dawn then orders Piplup to use Bubblebeam, but attack doesn't seem to do much daage as Budew simply floats back down to the ground after receiving it.
Ash grits his teeth as he remarks on the type disadvantage that Piplup has against a Grass type, just as Naoshi tells Budew to use its finishing move, Solar Beam. Budew starts to charge up, and Dawn smiles, knowing that the attack needs a long time to focus. She then tells Piplup to use Peck to attack Budew, but just as Piplup is running towards Budew, the charging up is completed and Naoshi smiles and orders his Pokemon to fire the attack. Dawn looks on dismayed as Budew fires off a huge Solar Beam straight at Piplup, knocking it back and out for the count. Dawn says that she thought Solar Beam took a long time to charge, and Brock explains that if it's a very sunny day, the attack doesn't take as long to gather all the energy it needs. Naoshi then walks over, and says that for a first battle, was quite impressive. Dawn thanks him, and Brock remarks that his Budew is a good battler. Naoshi smiles, and then bids them arewell.
Later that day, Dawn is still a little down over the day's events. She couldn't catch a single Pokemon, and she didn't win her first battle either. She is cheered up slightly when Brock mentions that there is a Pokemon Centre nearby, which means delicious food and a warm bed. Brock then calls out his Bonsly, and tells it that they'll soon be visiting a beautiful Nurse Joy, and so must be on its best behaviour. Dawn, having never seen Brock's Bonsly, checks it on her Pokedex. Ash asks where his other Pokemon are, and Brock says that he left them at the Pewter City Gym. Dawn looks a little confused at this, and Ash explains that Brock used to a Gym Leader. Dawn is amazed by this, and says as much. The group then continue walking, and soon reach a Pokemon Centre. Inside, Brock calls out to Nurse Joy, and one walks out and greets them. Dawn is surprised to see Nurse Joy again however, not knowing that there are many scattered across the world. Nurse Joy explains that the Nurse Joy that she'd met recenly was a relation of hers, and Dawn repeats her words until Brock shoves a white book under her eyes, filled with pictures of various cute girls, including a family shot of Nurse Joys. Brock then makes his usual love-filled speech to Nurse Joy, which Dawn shocked by until Ash tells her that, for Brock, this isn't unusual. Sometime after that, Dawn decides to call her mother. Meeting Ash and Brock for the first time, she tells them to take good care of her daughter, and they say they will and Dawn becomes embarrassed. After the call is finished, Nurse Joy walks over to them, and tells Ash that he can apply for the Sinnoh League at this Centre.
Ash suddenly remembers that that is what he set out here to do, and agrees. Nurse Joy takes his Pokedex, and inserts it into her computer in order to do the registration process. The process doesn't take long, and Joy soon hands Ash his Pokedex back. Dawn asks if she can apply to enter Contests here too, and Nurse Joy explains that she'll need to get a Contes Pass at Contest Hall first. Dawn understands, and thanks her. At that, three trainers enter the Pokemon Centre, one with a Chimchar, another with a Turtwig and one with the evolved form of Piplup. Dawn runs over to the girl, and checks the Pokemon on her Pokedex while thinking that her Piplup might soon evolve. Naoshi then walks in, and greets Dawn. Nurse Joy then calls over to Naoshi, and hands him his Budew which he had handed in previously on that day. Naoshi thanks her, and then bids the group goodbye once again. Nurse Joy then explains to the group that Naoshi is currently confused as to which path of Pokemon he should follow. The path of a Pokemon trainer that competes in Gyms, or a Pokemon Coordinator. Ash smiles and says that the choice is obvious: Budew is a strong Pokemon that would be great in Gym Battles. Dawn disagrees, and says that it's cute nature and beautiful looking attacks would be more suited to Contests. The two then say that they're both going to convince Naoshi of which ath to follow, and run off after him. Brock soon follows after bidding farewell to Nurse Joy.
Later that night, the group still hasn't found the minstrel even with Starly searching in the air. Ash says that they better set up camp, and Dawn asks why they can't go back to the comfort of the Pokemon Centre. Ash tells her that it's too late to head back there, and that it wouldn't hurt to sleep out here either. Dawn is a little rejected, just as Jessie and James appear in two very obvious disguises consisting of a pair of glasses each and a jacket over their uniforms. The two invite the group into their tradtional Japanese inn which just happens to be standing just behind them, and Ash wonders why they didn't see it before. The group think it's a good idea, and agree to stay in the inn, just as Meowth in disguise appears. Just as Jessie smirks, the inn, which is actually a cardboard cut out, falls over and knocks off their equally thin disguises. The villains then recite their new motto, and once it's down, Dawn asks if they're here to try to get Pikachu again.
James says that they are, and send out his new Pokemon, Carnivine. Coming out of its ball however, the affectionate Pokemon clamps onto James' head. Dawn, seeing her chance, sends out her Piplup to use Bubblebeam, but Carnivine opens its mouth and simply eats the bubbles. James then orders his Pokemon to use Bite, but the attack and the Pokemon itself is sent flying back as Budew appears on the scene and tackles into Carnivine. Budew then uses Bullet Seed, and Team Rocket are sent blasting off again. Naoshi then walks out from the bushes, and greets the group once again. Ash thanks him for getting rid of Team Rocket, Naoshi says that it was his pleasure.
The whole group then soon set up camp, and Naoshi explains to the group his problem... he has no idea whether to do Gyms or Contests. Ash says that his Budew is a good Pokemon for battling, and so should do Gyms. Dawn disagrees, and insists that he do Contests with his cute Pokemon. Naoshi ponders on this for a moment, before a sound interruptss them. The sound is not a singular one however, but more the sounds of the Pokemon of the woods under the full moon which starts to sound almost like music. Naoshi smiles at the beautiful music being made by nature, as Dawn and Ash apologise to eachother for arguing before. Ash then explains what originally inspired him, and tells the story of when he saw Ho-oh. Dawn then says that she had a similar experience, when she saw a mysterious Pokemon above the lake when she became a Pokemon trainer. Naoshi then starts to strum on his harp, and says that it is music that inspires him. Ash then asks if Naoshi would have a Pokemon Battle with him, and he agrees. The net day, the two trainers stand off against eachother. Ash has chosen Pikachu, and Naoshi has chosen Budew. Ash starts things off by telling Pikachu to use Quick Attack. Naoshi tells Budew to use Bullet Seed, but Pikachu dodges and Pikachu's Quick Attack hits home and sends Budew back.
Naoshi then smiles however, and calmly tells his Pokemon to use Mega Drain. Budew does so, firing off a large stream of green energy which takes hold of Pikachu and sucks energy out of it. Pikachu falls back down to the ground, and Budew absorbs the energy taken from Pikachu, healing itself. Pikachu gets back up, and Ash tells it to use Thunderbolt. Pikachu proves too fast for Budew, and Budew is pushed back by the sheer force of Pikachu's electric attack. Just then however, Budew begins to glow and Dawn wonders what is going on. Brock says that Budew is evolving, and the light around Budew fades and reveals its evolved form, Roselia. Naoshi, very happy at his Pokemon evolving, tells Roselia to use Sunny Day to makethe sunlight stronger. He then tells it to use Solar Beam, which with the bright sun, powers up instantly. Roselia fires off the attack, but Pikachu dodges but it sent flying up into the air by the force of the attack. Ash then orders Pikachu to use Iron Tail, which knocks Roselia out. Naoshi thanks Roselia for putting up a great fight, and calls it back to its Pokeball for a good long rest. Naoshi then thanks both Ash and Dawn, and they ask if he's made his decision yet. Naoshi says that he has, and says that he's going to both Gyms and Contests.
The episode ends with Ash, Dawn and Brock heading on their way having said goodbye to Naoshi.
Thanks to Alfonso for writing this for us
472: Dawn of a New Era
472: Piplup VS Budew! Dawn's First Battle!!
Dawn has her first trainer battle