Episode #176 - The Grass Route

Ecruteak City is just over the next moutain for our friends, when they come across a field populated by many Grass Pokemon, including a Skiploom. They follow it to its trainer, a boy named Efram, who has been training it for a long time. Efram asks Ash if he's going to Ecruteak Gym and challenges Ash to a match. Surprised, Ash accepts. Ash easily wins the battle against Skiploom with Chikorita. At Efram's house, his father tells him he's lucky to have learned something by having a match with such an experienced trainer as Ash. Pikachu and Togepi notice the flowers in the house, and Efram's parents explain that they use their grass Pokemon to help tend their gardens. In fact there's an annual Grass Pokemon tournament here tomorrow. Ash decides to enter along with Efram.

Team Rocket is close by, eating lunch. James finds a note about the tournament and learns that the winner receives a trophy and a collection of Leaf Stones, which make grass Pokemon evolve. They plan to enter the tournament so they can win the stones and sell them, but Meowth points out that they only have one Grass Pokemon: Victreebell. Jessie has an idea about that.

Ash and friends watch Efram train his Skiploom that evening; they have been invited by Efram's parents to spend the night. Misty asks Ash if he's going to train, but he's confident that he doesn't need to train.

As the tournament begins, Team Rocket enters dressed in Arabian disguises, James with Victreebell and Jessie with Meowth dressed as a Sunflora. Ash and Bulbasaur win their first match against a Gloom; Efram and Skiploom defeat Victreebell, much to James's surprise. Ash battles the "Sunflora" in his second match, and Brock becomes suspicious when the "Sunflora" uses a Scratch attack. As the battle progesses, the costume comes apart after being hit with a Razor Leaf attack and Team Rocket is revealed. Bulbasaur easily sends them blasting off and the tournament continues.

Eventually, Efram and Ash face each other in the final round. Bulbasaur is on the verge of beating Sunflora, and Ash asks Efram if he wants to forfeit, but Efram refuses to give up. Suddenly, his Skiploom learns the Solar Beam attack, and uses it to defeat Bulbasaur. Efram wins! Brock says that the Skiploom gained levels during the match, and that it's training, experience, and determination that help Pokemon learn attacks.

Ash and Efram exchange congratulations. Efram accepts his trophy and Leaf Stones, and Ash has learned that it's not always good to be overconfident.

By: Audrey