The Semi-Final Frontier!
The Semi Final Frontier is the 189th episode of the Diamond and Pearl series, and it concludes the Lily of the Valley Conference.
Ash and Tobias prepare for their match in the semi-final round of the Sinnoh League, with the winner advancing to the final round. Tobias sends out his Darkrai, the only Pokemon he used to defeat every opponent in previous rounds. Ash decides to start off with his bug type, Heracross.
Ash gets the first move and begins by commanding Heracross to use Hyper Beam, while Tobias tell Darkrai to use Ice Beam. Both attacks clash, causing an explosion, but once the smoke clears, it shows that neither Pokemon were harm. Ash commands Heracross to use Horn Attack, but Darkrai counters with Dark Void, instantly putting Heracross to sleep. Ash was prepared and immediately called for Heracross to use Sleep Talk, which allows a sleeping Pokemon to use any of its attacks from its move set, and in Heracross' case, the attack turned out to be Megahorn. The attack lands a direct hit on Darkrai, although he quickly recovers and is ordered to use Dream Eater, which hits and knocks out Heracross, leaving Ash down with five Pokemon.
Ash calls out his second Pokemon, Torkoal, a fire type. He commands Torkoal to use Flamethrower, but Tobias tells Darkrai to counter with Dark Pulse. Dark Pulse easily overpowers Torkoal's Flamethrower, which result in him taking a direct hit and getting knocked out from a single attack, leaving Ash down to four Pokemon.
Ash begins to recognize Tobias' strength and carefully selects his third Pokemon, Gible. Darkrai is ordered to rush in towards Gible, but Gible attacks with Rock Smash, knocking back Darkrai. Tobias commands Darkrai to use Ice Beam, and Gible successfully dodges. Ash takes the offense by commanding Gible to use Draco Meteor. Darkrai dodges, then follows up with Dark Pulse, striking Gible and knocking him out, leaving Ash down with three Pokemon. Tobias compliments Ash's performance with Gible, mentioning that his Draco Meteor could have eliminated any Pokemon, had it made contact.
Ash continues the battle by calling out his fourth Pokemon, Sceptile. Tobias starts by commanding Darkrai to use Ice Beam, but Sceptile dodges and Ash commands him to use Quick Attack, where Darkrai also manages to evade. Ash tells Sceptile to use Leaf Storm, but Darkrai manages to strike him with an Ice Beam before he was able to unleash the attack. Sceptile manages to land on his feet, but he appears to be in a lot of pain. Tobias takes the opportunity and tells Darkrai to use Dark Void, putting Sceptile to sleep. Darkrai follows up with Dream Eater, which also lands a hit and puts Sceptile in his dream, wondering what's happening. Ash repeatedly calls out for Sceptile to wake up. Moments later, to everyone's surprise, Sceptile manages to wake up and Ash commands him to use Leaf Blade, which strikes hard on Darkrai and knocking him out, leaving Tobias down with five Pokemon. The announcer remarks how this is the first time that any competitor has taken down Darkrai, and Tobias compliments Ash on how he has earned his spot in the semifinals.
Tobias calls out his second Pokemon, which turns out to be Latios, to Ash's and everyone else's surprise. Dawn looks up the Pokemon in the Pokedex, where it mentions how extremely fast it is. Barry remarks on how he believes Ash's Sceptile is the perfect Pokemon to take Latios down, due to its speed and power. Ash commands Sceptile to use Leaf Blade, but Latios proves to be powerful by countering with a Giga Impact, knocking him out in one hit, leaving Ash down with two Pokemon.
Ash thanks Sceptile for a job well done, and immediately calls out his fifth Pokemon, Swellow. Brock and Dawn remark on how they believe that Swellow has an excellent shot against Latios, since it can take on the legendary Pokemon in the sky. Ash starts out by commanding Swellow to use Quick Attack, but Latios easily dodges. Ash then tells Swellow to descend to the ground, while Tobias commands Latios to chase it. Moments later, Swellow is ordered to use Aerial Ace. As Swellow flies back into the air, and descends with the attack, Tobias quickly orders Latios to use Luster Purge, knocking Swellow out in one hit and leaving Ash down to his final Pokemon.
Ash and Pikachu start to become upset as they both realize the situation, in which Ash has one Pokemon, while Tobias still has five. It would take a miracle for him or any trainer to make a huge come back. Suddenly, Ash mentions to Pikachu how he isn't ready to quit and that he wants to battle to the fullest, despite the situation, and Pikachu agrees. Therefore, Ash sends out Pikachu, his final Pokemon.
Tobias credits Ash once more on his Pokemon's performance and wants him to give it his best in this final match, which Ash agrees. Ash starts out the match my commanding Pikachu to use Quick Attack, but is ineffective towards Latios. Ash immediately tells Pikachu to follow up with a Volt Tackle. Tobias is prepared and tells Latios to counter with Giga Impact, which strikes Pikachu directly, although the electric Pokemon easily remains on his feet. Tobias orders Latios to use Giga Impact once more, while Pikachu attempts to counter with Iron Tail. Giga Impact overpowers Pikachu's attack and, once again, strikes him directly. Pikachu is knocked onto the ground, but he manages to stand up, although he now appears exhausted.
Tobias attempts to wrap up the match by commanding Latios to use Luster Purge. Ash tells his Pikachu to dodge and jump onto Latios back, which the electric Pokemon successfully does. Latios flies into the air and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, landing a direct hit on the legendary Pokemon. Latios tries to toss Pikachu, but is unable to, therefore Ash takes the opportunity and tell Pikachu to use another Thunderbolt, landing a direct hit on Latios once more. Tobias tells Latios to use Light Screen, while Ash tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt a third time. The thunder move isn't as effective since Light Screen cuts the damage Thunderbolt would have dealt by half. Despite that, Ash commands a Tunderbolt one last time, before Latios finally tosses off Pikachu into the air.
Tobias tells Latios to quickly descend and finish off Pikachu with a Luster Purge. Ash tells Pikachu, who's falling, to use Volt Tackle. Pikachu's Volt Tackle slowly cuts through the Luster Purge, but he's shown to be struggling. Ash yells with all of his might for Pikachu to use Iron Tail. Pikachu gets close enough to Latios to strike him directly causing a huge explosion. It takes a while for the smoke to clear, but once it does, it's shown that Pikachu and Latios are both unable to battle and due to Ash having no Pokemon remaining, he's eliminated and Tobias advances to the finals. Ash credits Pikachu for a job well done. Tobias approaches Ash and they both thank each other for an amazing battle.
The episode shifts to the climax of the final round, where Tobias is shown to beat his opponent's Magmortar, with just his Darkrai, and is declared the winner of the Sinnoh League. Later that night, he is presented the trophy, thus concluding the tournament.
Finally, Ash is shown outside of the stadium, where Dawn approaches him and mentions how it feels like their journey has just begun, even though it's coming to a close. Brock suddenly appears and mentions to both of them that their journeys are both beginning. Ash and Dawn agree and vow to work hard to reach their respective goals. Brock is happy to hear those words from his friends, but he starts to wonder about himself and his goals. Suddenly, Barry appears and tells Ash that he plans to train and defeat him in their next battle, and then the two trainers say their good byes.
The episode ends with Ash, Dawn, and Brock preparing to travel back to Twinleaf Town, where Ash's Sinnoh journey will conclude.
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