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The episode begins with Ash, Dawn and Brock arriving into Hearthrome City. Ash, as usual is pumped up and ready for the possible Gym Battle against this city's Gym Leader and wants to go to the Gym right away. Arriving at the Gym though, Ash is deflated a white sign with the words 'Closed' written in big red letters hanging up on the door. Suddenly, a long black car rolls up behind them and a woman with long brown hair along with a Lopunny step out of the car and walk towards Ash and co and greets them. The woman asks if he is here to challenge the Gym Leader, Fantina and Ash says that he is, but she is not here today. Brock jumps towards her, saying that he got the Top 4 in the Tag Battle Tournament in an effort to impress her but Croagunk has other ideas and prepares his Poison Jab attack. Dawn is amazed to see her here, prompting Ash to ask who she is. Dawn explains that the woman is named Paris, and is a famous Pokemon Stylist. Dawn then pulls out a magazine with Paris on the front telling Ash that being a Pokemon Stylist is a profession. Buneary, who was standing beside Dawn, hops over to Lopunny and says hello, to which Lopunny smiles and waves back. Paris says that Buneary is very cute, to which Dawn jumps over and says that Buneary belongs to her. Paris then asks her if she is a Coordinator and Dawn says that her dream is to be a Top Coordinator. Paris explains that there is a special Contest happening in the city at the moment and that the winner will receive an item from her fashion collection. Dawn starts imagining herself in a beautiful dress from Paris' collection and decides to enter. Paris then turns to Ash, telling him that he should enter as well. Ash is shocked, but agrees thinking that he might as well seeing as how the Gym is closed.
Elsewhere we find Team Rocket sitting in a tent watching Paris on a television screen. Jessie is annoyed and jealous that such a woman is a well loved, famous Pokemon Stylist Idol and that SHE should be in her position instead- and that Meowth and James will help her achieve it.
In a Pokemon Center nearby Ash and Dawn are in line to enter the Contest with Brock in tow. A group of girls nearby start cheering and shouting in amazement as a young woman with blond drill like braids walks into the building with a group of woman following her. The blond woman laughs and greets everyone and thanks them for their adoring praise. Dawn wonders who the woman is and the girl next to her tells her that she is Chouko, a lead designer. Chouko then starts talking about how she dreams of winning the piece of Paris' collection. Buneary then jumps over to Chouko much like she did with Lopunny and tries to say hello. Chouko looks down spitefully and shouts at the small Pokemon. Dawn runs over and grabs Buneary and apologies to Chouko but Chouko only laughs cruelly. Dawn seems bothered at Chouko's attitude, before a short black haired woman with big red glasses starts talking to her, telling her not be bothered by Chouko. The woman continues to talk about how the upcoming Contest before walking off, unimpressed by Chouko's flashy displays and performing nature.
Later that night, Dawn is struggling to think of designs based on Pokemon in an effort to be a Pokemon Stylist. She seems a little unhappy with her current ideas, which includes a dress based on Buneary and Dustox. Brock walks onto the porch where Dawn is sitting, asking her how she's doing. Dawn seems worried that she can't seem to think of something that works, until she remembers something the black haired woman said earlier in the day. The concept of keeping it 'simple' can be as equally be as effective as being flashy, which reminds her of something Zoey said to her in a previous Contest- the limelight should be on the Pokemon and not the Coordinator. By trying to design a fancy, over the top dress Dawn would be moving the attention onto her instead.
The next day the Contest begins in the local Contest Hall. The announcer from the Tag Battle Contest is the announcer for this as well, and he introduces Paris and Hoshino the short black haired woman from the day before as the two judges for this special Contest. The Announcer then calls out the first Coordinator, a girl dressed up as a Bellosom. This is followed by appeals by Coordinators with Magikarp, Toxicroak, Chikorita, Roselia and Arcanine. All the Pokemon however are covered in jewelry and flashy accessories which fails to impress Hoshino.
Next up is Ash and Pikachu, who are dressed up in a minimalistic cave man outfit with red and blue afros. Their appearance gets laughs from the crowd along with Paris and Hoshino. Pikachu jumps onto the stage and uses an Iron Tail attack to hit a drum that is attached to its back. It then uses Thunderbolt to create sparks that fall from above. Both judges are very impressed which James notices, making a point aloud that accessories don't seem to make much of a splash with the judges which Brock agrees with, sitting down next to him. James is shocked to see Brock, hoping that he doesn't see through his disguise. Elsewhere with Jessie, we find her applying lots of paint and makeup to Wobbuffet who she is planning on appealing with. Back with James and Brock, James makes a point of keeping it simple really being the key to winning the judge's favor.
The next appeal is Jessie with Wobbuffet and the curtain is listed to reveal the dolled up pair. James is horrified to see that Jessie ignored the concept of keeping it simple and starts crying. Brock comforts him and the two hug. Jessie shouts at Wobbuffet trying to get it out onto the stage, but remembers that Wobbuffet can't attack and thus can't even do an appeal. The crowd laugh her out the stage.
Next up is Chouko, who with Mismagius puts on a pretty display involving white tentacle like stripes that fall out of Mismagius' dress. Using the ghost's psychic abilities, Mismagius is able to light up the balls of light that cover the stripes allowing for a very effective light display. Paris is impressed but Hoshino looks on sadly. Dawn looks on from behind the curtain, nervous at the upcoming appeal. The curtain raises, revealing Dawn wearing a long, beautiful and pure white dress with a simple necklace on with Buneary matching. The announcer and Paris are impressed, while Hoshino looks on in interest. Dawn invites Buneary onto the stage, and Buneary hops down the stairs and jumps about. Dawn tells it to use Ice Beam, which Buneary does, firing the cold blast down at the ground and creating large ice pillars.
Paris looks on in amazement and even Hoshino seems impressed. The crowd applaud for Dawn, as does Ash looking on from the Coordinator's waiting room. All the coordinators are then called out to come onto the stage, where the announcer is about to call out who will be entering to Top 3. Reading from a list, the announcer reads out Ash, Chouko and Dawn which walk down to the lower area of the stage. Jessie is stricken with shock that she was not chosen for the Top 3 and storms off meeting James in the corridor leading away from the stage. James snaps at her for not even making the Top 3 and for trying to make her appeal way too flashy and over the top. Jessie, not in the mood for back chat, shouts at James causing him to recoil back into his normal house trained self. Jessie then storms off, with James in tow.
Back on stage, the announcer is congratulating the Top 3 for making it this far, but is interrupted by a loud voice that echoes throughout the hall. A large, purple Vespiquen shaped flying mecha then descends from the skylight in the roof and Team Rocket shout off from inside. They then start their usual motto, but James is a little deflated and depressed and doesn't recite his lines properly. Jessie tells Meowth to grab Hoshino, who Paris confirms to be her teacher. Jessie wants to kidnap her and force her to teach her. Meowth releases a large amount of mechanical hands which fly out and attempt to grab Hoshino but is stopped by Buneary using Dizzy Punch. The hands try and attack again and are attacked by Piplup but the head butt style attack fails and allows the hand to grab Piplup. Paris then tells her Lopunny to use Hidden Power, which it does sending out several glowing balls which smash into the mecha and freeing Piplup. Then together, Dawn and Paris tell their respective Pokemon to use Jump Kick which sends Team Rocket blasting off again.
Back to the main event, the announcer, Etna tells the audience that in 3rd is Ash and his combination with Pikachu. Ash is happy and cheers with Pikachu. The spotlight then falls on Dawn and Chouko, with Chouko smirking at what she thinks to be an obvious choice for 1st place. Paris walks forward however, and says that Dawn is the winner with her combination with Buneary. Chouko says that there must be some sort of mistake, but Hoshino and Paris say that it was Dawn's simple appeal and appearance that won them over. Chouko falls down to the ground in disgust bitting her glove. Paris then presents Dawn and Buneary with a tiara each as their prize for winning the event.
The episode ends with the crowd cheering for Dawn as the winner, Chouko seems to have regained her composure and Ash happy at winning 3rd place.
Thanks to Alfonso for writing this for us
554: Arriving In Style
554: Hearthome Collection! Road To Becoming A Pokémon Stylist!
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