465: Following A Maiden's Voyage
But shortly after, his companions May and Max left him. May was looking to pursue her dreams of being a Grand Festival Winner in Johto (and get into the pants of a certain green haired rival) while Max was to return to his Father's Gym and prepare for his own journey as a Pokémon Trainer. Even Brock headed off for more of his mysterious "stuff" to do. Then Ash got the shit kicked out of him in a one on one battle with his original rival, Gary, and decided to head to the new region of Sinnoh with just Pikachu to once more "start anew" much like he did after Johto.
But his recently acquired (and obsessive) Aipom didn't like the sound of that and went along for the ride, and now Ash starts his new journey with only his Best Friend Pikachu and obsessed stalker Aipom for company.
So as this episode begins, the narrator introduces us to Sinnoh, and a singing man tells us all about.... Pokémon.
Pokémon... Pokémon... it's all about the challenges, it's a brand a new game and a brand new world.... NEW RIVALS as you fight for survival; nothing can stop you, Diamond and Pearl! Pokémon! It's all about the battle, you gotta play smart, you gotta move faster behind every win there's a chance to begin again you gotta take it all if you wanna be a maaaaaaster Pokémon! Pokémon! It's time for adventure Diamond and Pearl we can change the world!
Well.... all right then, take a dollar and go buy yourself something to eat chummy.... don't buy booze! No don't buy booz.... ahh fuck it, let's just get back to the show. We're doing something a little different today, instead of immediately catching up with Ash and Pikachu, we're going to be....
We open on a sunny scene and a pretty house. A cat-like Pokémon named Glameow sleeps on a windowsill as a clock rings to mark 7am in the morning. A young girl sits up in bed and turns off the alarm, then snuggles back under the sheet, pulling her bare feet up and snuggling in to get just that last few minutes of warm sleepy time that this crazy modern world tries to take away from you. Finally she gets up as the narrator explains that this is Dawn, she's just recently had her tenth birthday, and as is the way of this crazy mixed up world, she's about to be thrown out into the world all on her own to sink or swim. As she dresses, her mother walks into the room and HOLY SHIT THAT'S A LOT OF HAIR!
Dawn - apparently conditioned to the shock of this giant bouffant hairstyle - kneels down and says hello to Glameow as it jumps up on the warm bed to get some more precious sleep. Dawn heads down to the breakfast table and has a hot drink as her Mother reminds her to take along her postcard from Professor Rowan, because without it she can't get her Pokémon or her Pokedex. Dawn pulls the card out and says she'd never forget it, but she can't choose from the starting Pokémon because they're all so cute. She thinks any would make a great partner, but she has to be smart if she wants to be a top coordinator like her Mother has been. We then see a series of framed pictures and trophies won by her mother during her time as a Pokémon Coordinator, including winning the Grand Festival.
Dawn fantasises appearing at a Contest with a Chimchar (a little fire monkey) that creates an impressive looking Flame Wheel, and then returns to reality as her mother and her gigantic surreal hair sweat drops at her schoolgirl naiveté.
But first she suggests she eat breakfast, while Dawn continues her fantasies, and we see her in a different outfit with a different Pokémon - Piplup this time, a penguin-like Pokémon that using Bubble beam. Then we see her in yet ANOTHER outfit with Turtwig, a turtle-like Pokémon that uses Razor Leaf to cut up berries as Dawn pirouettes around. For the first time we actually see the outfit she is wearing, and unlike the over-developed May, she actually looks like a ten year old! With one exception... she's wearing the shortest skirt you can get outside of a strip club!
Her Mum - Johanna - thinks she should stop messing around or else she won't have time to get ANY Pokémon. A short time later, Johanna stands on the balcony enjoying the nice day (and the soon to be quiet house) when Dawn emerges carrying the "bare essentials" of the luggage she'll need.... a giant pink suitcase full of clothes and jewellery.... including some rather.... un-ten-year-old-girl like outfits!
Dawn's mother hands her a small yellow knapsack telling her this is all she'll need, then offers her the first championship ribbon she ever won. She explains it was her good luck charm and she wants her to carry it. Dawn thanks her, giggles, then leaps onto her bike and prepares to head off alone in the big bad world, a ten year old girl in a short skirt and a penchant for adult outfits.
So off Dawn happily heads (after an initial wobble where she almost falls off of her bike), calling out to her mother not to worry as she leaves Twinleaf Town and heads down Route 201 towards Sandgem town, just outside of which lives Professor Rowan.
Pokémon fly through the air ahead of her as she rides through Sandgem town, stopping at Professor Rowan's lab and skipping inside to declare she is here for her Pokémon..... and finds herself inside of a cafe! Panicking as she realises she's read the map wrong, she zooms around inside Sandgem Town constantly getting her directions wrong until she moans and cries that she wants her Mum, and then bangs into a stern looking moustached elderly man with sideburns.
She apologises and he tells her she looks lost, and she insists she'll be fine, but he doesn't seem convinced and suggests she comes with him to his lab.... STRANGER DANGER! STRANGER DANGER!
But wait, no, it seems this stern looking motherfucker is Professor Rowan, and she follows him to his neat looking Laboratory complete with a pink windmill. Inside, two assistants are feeding the new starters some Pokémon Food, and then some other assistants bring in a couple of other Pokémon - a Starly and its evolved form - Staraptor. The two Assistants start talking about the first Pokémon they ever caught, and with their attention diverted, Chimchar takes the opportunity to grab a bite of Piplup's food. The angry little penguin-bird isn't going to take that though, going wobbly eyed with tearful fury which gets nothing but a rude response from Chimchar by pulling down its eyelid and waggling its butt at Piplup. This kicks off a massive temper tantrum from Piplup, which begins blasting machinegun-like Bubble beams at Chimchar, almost hitting the Starly and Staraptor and setting them off too. The Staraptor kicks off a Whirlwind that shatters the glass window, and it and Starly fly out the window, followed by Chimchar and then Piplup! Only Turtwig is left behind, which happily continues chowing down on its food as the Assistants fly into a panic, knowing that Rowan could be back any time.... NOW! He's back!
Rowan glares them down sternly as they charge for the door, then stomps through to where the Starters were supposed to be. There's nobody left but Turtwig, STILL eating till it gets unsettled by Rowan's stern face glaring down at it. Dawn says she wants to go find the two missing Pokémon since either one could be her future partner. He eyes her sternly (he does everything sternly!) then gruffly tells her that if she does find them, she should crouch down and talk to them at eyelevel so as not to frighten them. She heads out through the grounds outside the lab to find them, saying to herself that Rowan ended up a lot nicer than she thought he would be. She runs her short skirt into the forest where she spots Chimchar.... and then Piplup attacks it with Bubble beam. She tells it to stop and it takes a shot at her too, and she gives chase angrily. She follows close behind but despite her greater height and stride-length, she manages to lose them both till she hears a cry and discovers.... a nightmare!
Piplup and some other Pokémon have been caught up in the web of an Ariados, which apparently plans to sink a sedating poison into their system that will liquefy their internal organs and allow it to drink the innards out of their still living bodies as they lay helpless in its web.... sleep tight, kids! Spotting Dawn and realising she is a threat to its food supply, it fires Sludge Bombs at her which burst into flame as it skitters down the web and comes for her, darting around the tree branches.
Realising that she can't get the other Pokémon free, she shouts at Ariados to chase her, then leads it around in circles. It chases after as she brings it back to its web and the captive Pokémon, then jumps aside from Ariados' Sludge Bomb, letting it hit the web and burn through it, freeing the captive Pokémon. She catches Piplup as it falls through the air flailing its clubby little wings, then trips and slides down the hill into the bushes where she promises it they are safe now and introduces herself.... and it smashes her in the face!
She snaps at it that it is IT'S fault for getting caught, so it should be pretty embarrassed. It throws a tantrum and jumps about angrily, then its belly rumbles and it blushes in horror as she kneels down and offers it some Pokémon food. More proud than hungry, it refuses the offer and she snaps that it has an attitude problem... but then they have other worries on their minds as the Ariados returns with some friends (maybe it told them they could eat like kings!?!) and tries to fence them in with webbing, as well as blasting poison attacks at them. As she tries to keep clear, she drops her canister of Pokémon food and realises that she can distract them with tasty morsels, and then use Piplup's Bubble beam to smash through the web. The plan works and they run... and then like so many Japanese schoolgirls before her, she's caught by the tentacle-like appendage of a menacing monster!
But before the inevitable can happen, Piplup leaps in front of Dawn and takes the full brunt of a series of Poison attacks. It doesn't die from MASSIVE poisoning though, apparently protecting itself with the defensive aura of Bide, which absorbs the energy and sends it back at twice the strength, sending the Ariados blasting off aga..... for the first time! Piplup collapses and she scoops it up, then walks up to the shores of Lake Verity where she takes advantage of the remote location and its weakened state to grab at its crotch, leaving it blushing in horror from the molestation.
Well... okay, or maybe it's just that its belly rumbled again.... but anyways, he feeds it the last of the food that the Ariados didn't get. As it eats, they look up and see an utterly embarrassed Chimchar caught up in the claws of the Staraptor that escaped Rowan's lab earlier. Well, since it is likely that the Staraptor is going to eat the Chimchar alive, they figure fuck it and abandon it, preparing to head back to the lab and leave it to its grisly fate. But as they go to leave, the fogbound banks of Lake Verity suddenly gusts up, the water twists and some....thing emerges from the lake, a spectral image that fades away almost immediately, leaving Dawn confused.... what was that?
Back at the lab, Rowan suggests there is a legend of a Pokémon in Lake Verity and she might have seen that. He tells her that her journey has begun and it is time to get her Pokeballs and Pokedex, and then offers her the choice of the three available starters. It seems that the Staraptor either brought Chimchar back or they just replaced the one what was eaten alive, screaming in pain as its belly was torn asunder (sleep well again, kids!). Dawn chooses Piplup, much to Chimchar's pratfalling horror, and she heads out on her bike as Rowan and his male assistants stand and wave goodbye, watching her short skirt disappear into the distance. The narrator asks what could be waiting for her, as we get a shot of just what that might be.
Approaching Sinnoh as seen in the last episode of the Battle Frontier, it's Ash, watched from beneath decks by Team Rocket as he insists to Pikachu and Aipom that they're going to make a bunch of new friends and he'll become the Sinnoh Champion, just like he didn't become the Indigo Champion, the Johto Champion or the Hoenn Champion! He disembarks from the ferry as it docks and contacts Professor Oak, who is pleased to see Aipom since now he doesn't have to explain to his bastard son that he managed to lose his pet. He tells Ash he'll send its Pokeball to Professor Rowan for Ash to pick up, but other people don't need anyone to send anything to them..... Team Rocket have apparently already found a store that sells both Happy Buddha Face Meowth Balloons AND mechanical extendable arms! They grab Pikachu off of his shoulder, horrifying Ash who can't believe that Team Rocket have followed him all this way.
"Direct from the Battle Frontier!"
"An evil as old as the galaxy!"
"Sent here to fulfil our destiny!"
"Seems like a waste of energy for one twoip," notes Meowth.... and the motto ends as quickly as it began.
They laugh as he screams at them to bring Pikachu back, sail away on the wind (but not past the stars), James saying they'll plot a course for the Boss. But Jesse notes that they don't actually know where they are at the moment, so this might be difficult. Meowth demands to know if she EVER knows where she is, but she's in too good a mood to argue and laughs they should have a little look around before heading back to Giovanni. Meowth is furious, will "just" taking a look lead to them "just" building a house for her to live as well? He loses it as she continues to happily dismiss his complains, and challenges Jesse for dominance of the trio, leaping straight at her and swinging his claws in Fury Swipes. Jesse sighs and turns Wobbuffet around to face him, and the Fury Swipes bounce against the surprised Wobbuffet which glows bright with a Counter that.... blows the balloon up!
Pikachu falls out of the balloon as Team Rocket are sent blasting off again, but is Ash going to be able to catch it in time? As he runs down the road with Aipom beside him, and elsewhere Dawn rides happily on her bike, we're left to wonder, because we won't find out until next episode!