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The episode begins with our heroes finally reaching Saffron City for May's first Contest in Kanto. Standing before a huge poster advertising the Contest, May sends out her entire Pokemon line-up of Combusken, Munchlax and Squirtle. The latter two new to the Contest scene. May points to the Contest Hall and explains to her Pokemon about the upcoming Contest, but Combusken seems to be the only one interested as Squirtle and Munchlax yawn. Max suggests that maybe she should use Combusken and Brock agrees. Either way, May is excited and is determined to win her first Kanto Contest ribbon.
Outside of the main stadium, May asks a nearby Coordinator holding a Mankey about the Contest. The man explains that the battles in the stadium are open stage. Inside the stadium, things are still being set up and a man is explaining to who appears to be Vivian the stage plans.The group enter, and are amazed at the size of the hall. Brock asks who May will use for the Contest, and May wonders. Down below, the woman resembling Vivian is asked to do a stage check to ensure that everything is working correctly. The woman walks into the centre of the stage, and tests the speakers and lighting. She then sends out one of her Pokemon, Epseon to further test the stage's lighting. And sure enough, the three lights instantly focus on Espeon as soon as it hits the ground. May and Squirtle look on, amazed, and May says that Espeon is beautiful. The woman then orders Espeon to use Swift, which it does firing off several rapid bursts of the attack. To follow the attack up, Espeon is told to use Confusion... which freezes the Swift's stars and uses its psychic power to dance them around the arena and create rings. To finish, the woman orders Espeon to jump through the rings of Swift. It does so, landing perfectly and holding its head high. The group are extremely impressed, especially Squirtle who jumps out of May's arms and runs over to the Contest stage. Espeon looks at Squirtle questioningly, and Squirtle uses Bubble to put on a little show of its own amusing itself no end. The woman picks Squirtle up just as May and the group run over to apologise. The woman then hands May back Squirtle, who instantly starts crying having been taken away from the stage it seemingly as fallen in love with. The woman tells May that Squirtle is suited to the stage, and that it could probably put on a good performance. May thanks her for her advice, and calls her by her name: Vivian. The woman looks confused and May repeats the name, and says that she is the Announcer at the Hoenn Contests. The woman explains that Vivian is her sister, and she is Lillian who deals with the Kanto Contests.
Later that day, the group are relaxing inside the nearby Pokemon Centre and May is worrying as to what Pokemon she should use... after all, it would be Squirtle's first Contest. Max reminds her she can call upon her Skitty and Beautifly anytime she wants, and Brock agrees. However, as May goes on to say, she wants to tackle the Kanto Contests afresh with the new Pokemon of her team. Max says that he sees now, and Ash and Brock wish her luck. Just then, a voice speaks over loudspeaker, telling May that her Pokemon are fully recovered. The lift on the ground floor opens, and a trolley with May's Pokemon on it is pushed forward. May runs over to the nurse, thanking them. However, it isn't a Nurse Joy, Chansey or any other Pokemon Centre attendant. Standing there, pushing forward the trolley with her Pokemon on is a tall, purple haired man wearing a Cacturne themed outfit with a doctor's coat over it. It's Harley! May is shocked beyond belief, and asks Harley what he is doing there as the coordinator smiles happily at her.
May not being the only one to enter the Contest however, we find Jessie walking out of another lift and towards one of the help desks. Reaching the desk, she smugly presents her Contest Pass and asks for entrance into the Contest. The woman at the desk takes the pass from her, takes one look at it and apologises as she cannot enter Jessie into the Contest using that pass. Jessie screams angrily, and asks why not... she is, after all, a 'Top Coordinator', the Great and Mysterious Jessie while being showered with flower petals by James. James and Meowth leap forward, proclaiming themselves as Jessie assistants. Jessie asks once again why she can't be entered into the Contest, and the woman tells her that her pass is for Hoenn... in Kanto, they use a separate Contest pass. She pulls out another pass and shows Jessie, who steps back saying that she knew that of course, laughing nervously.
In a nearby forest, Jessie asks James for his help. James agrees. However, she wants more than his help, and tells him to let her use his Cacnea. James asks why, and Jessie tells him that she can put on a great performance using his Pokemon and Meowth agrees. James is finally convinced, and sends out Cacnea who instantly jumps at his face, hugging him. As James struggles to get the cactus Pokemon from his face, Jessie looks on slightly deflated saying that she has her work cut out.
Back in the Pokemon Centre, May asks Harley once again what he is doing here. Harley explains that he's helping the Centre out for a while, and that he helped treat May's Pokemon. As for the reason why, he goes on, his precious Cacturne was hurt and Nurse Joy helped it recover. Because of this, he decided to help the Centre out to repay Joy. Just as May appears to be taken in, Max reminds his sister that Harley has tricked her twice before. Harley smiles nervously at the young boy's outburst, and says that he's worked really hard to make up for things and starts to cry. Just then, Nurse Joy walks in and greets Harley who runs over to her, grabbing her hands and thanking her once again for healing his Pokemon for the Contest. Nurse Joy says that it's fine, and the group look on amazed... after all, if Nurse Joy believes he's a nice guy, then he must be. Nurse Joy asks if the group are Harley's friends and Harley turns and smiles and tells her they are, and introduces May as a great Hoenn Coordinator. Joy talks with May briefly about the upcoming Contest, and wishes her luck. May thanks her, and calls over to Combusken and Squirtle and tells them that they will be her Pokemon of choice in this Contest. The two Pokemon jump off the trolley, excited. Harley compliments Combusken, saying that it looks so strong and that the new face Squirtle is so cute. May thanks him, but Max still isn't convinced which causes Harley to form a rather large sweatdrop on his head as he tries to ignore the young boy.
Harley reminds May about the Contest pass. May says that she'll have to go get it sorted right away, but Harley waves his hand, telling her that it'll be okay as she can use her Hoenn Pass. He then leads the group back over to the table at which they were sitting... but behind their backs, an evil grin comes to his face.
Back in the forest, Jessie is training with Cacnea. She calls Cacnea out of its ball, who looks shocked to see Jessie instead of its master, James. Jessie stares bitterly at Cacnea, as both know that they'll have to cure Cacnea's desire to hug as soon as it comes out of its ball. Cacnea cannot take the strain however, and turns around, leaping at James. Meowth shouts angrily at Cacnea, telling the Pokemon that it has to work with Jessie so that she can win the Contest. Cacnea turns around, looking nervously at Jessie. Jessie steps back, worried just before Cacnea leaps at Jessie causing a scream to erupt from the forest.
Back with the group, Harley takes happily with May about the Contest and mentions her rival, Drew. Max looks at Harley worried however, still not convinced. Just then, Jessie with Cacnea tangled in her hair stumbles into the Pokemon Centre screaming with James and Meowth following. People stop and look as Jessie is carried off, and Joy asks Harley is he can help with the operation. Harley says that he will, and runs off saying goodbye to May. James and Meowth, still in disguise, notice the group. Meowth comments that since they'll be so focused in the contest, he and James can nab all they want and not get caught.
Outside of the Pokemon Centre, Ash suggests to May that she start training, and May agrees and sends out Squirtle. However, just at that moment a huge metal claw reaches out from the sky and grabs Squirtle and Pikachu: It's Team Rocket, minus Jessie! The group look on angrily, and Ash demands that they give the Pokemon back. Meowth laughs, and says that they've finally got Pikachu. They begin their motto, with Meowth replacing Jessie while still doing his part in the motto. They finish, and the balloon hovers over the group. Team Rocket have attached a cage to the bottom, and several robotic claws which they can use to grab Pokemon. The group look on unimpressed, and Ash tells Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, but stops remembering that May's Squirtle is inside the cage too and that the attack would hurt it. James says that that's right, and that there's nothing Ash can do.
Back in the Pokemon Centre, Harley and Joy are wondering what they should do. Joy thinks that they should just cut her hair off, and Jessie looks horrified at the suggestion. They decide to stick with the idea however, and Joy calls for Scizor to help with the slice. Jessie then faints from the shock. Joy tells Harley that it's okay, and that she and Scizor can handle the rest. Harley walks out.
Outside, Team Rocket are snatching all sorts of Pokemon, as their trainers look on helpless. James and Meowth decide that's all for now, and attempt to fly off. However, Harley appears and sends out his King of Cool, Ariados. The purple haired Coordinator tells May that he'll deal with Team Rocket, and orders Ariados to use String Shot which creates a huge web in the sky preventing Team Rocket from escaping. Harley tells May that now's her chance, and May sends out Combusken to use Sky Uppercut which smashes the cage open and frees the Pokemon. James screams at Meowth to cut the web with its claws, while Lillian appears just before Squirtle jumps out of May's arms to use Ice Beam, causing the balloon to explode and send Team Rocket blasting off. May looks at Squirtle, confused as she didn't know it could use Ice Beam. Ash congratulates her, saying that the attack was amazing and Max says that it'll help her out in the Contest. Brock wishes her luck, and May picks up Squirtle and thanks it. She then says that it was Harley that really needs thanking, as he stopped Team Rocket. Harley says that it's alright, and they shake hands as May wishes Harley luck.
Back with Team Rocket, James and Meowth sit ribbing their hurting bones after their last blasting off while Jessie looks on with a new hairstyle.
The next day, May finds a shock waiting for her at the reception as the receptionist explains that she cannot use the Hoenn pass in Kanto Contests, and apologises since the deadline for getting a Kanto pass has already been reached. May falls to the ground, rejected and depressed as Harley looks on, happy that his plan to trick May actually worked. However, Lillian walks past and greets the group, asking why May looks so depressed. The receptionist explains the situation, and Lillian says that it's okay, and gives her authority for May to get a Kanto pass anyway. May thanks her, and the receptionist gives May her new Contest pass and a ribbon case.
The episode ends with May holding the new ribbon case close to her chest, happy at her new chance to get a ribbon while Harley looks on angry that his plan was foiled.
Thanks to Alfonso for writing this for us
420: The Saffron Con
420: Pokémon Contest! Saffron Conference (Part 1)!
May Enters the Saffron City Contest