Guarding the Guardian of the Mountain! (Japanese: ハチク登場！ウルガモスの聖なる山！！Hachiku Appears! The Holy Mountain of Ulgamoth!!) is the 78th episode of the Best Wishes series, and the 735th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on May 10, 2012 and in the United States on September 8, 2012.
Crossing a mountain during their final approach to Icirrus City and Ash’s next Gym battle, our heroes are startled when they look up to see two huge boulders crashing down on them. Before they can land, the boulders are demolished by an amazing man Cilan recognizes as Brycen, the martial-arts action movie star!
Ash and Iris aren’t familiar with him, so Cilan explains Brycen’s career in detail and sadly recalls how he quit making movies. Brycen explains that he was injured during production because he lacked preparation, so he’s on the mountain with his Pokémon co-star Beartic for some intensive training.
Brycen senses trouble, and soon discovers that the powerful Pokémon Volcarona, the Guardian of the Mountain, has been targeted by a Pokémon Hunter named Rizzo. Brycen angrily demands that he let Volcarona go, and accuses him of making the boulders fall earlier. Rizzo wants to settle things with a battle, saying he’ll release Volcarona if anyone can beat his Jellicent, and Ash and Krokorok accept his challenge.
Just when Jellicent is about to be defeated, Rizzo sneakily calls a second Jellicent into the battle! The two-against-one attack is too much for Krokorok, and it ends up in a cage with Volcarona—and that’s when Brycen and Beartic leap into action! Thanks to their overwhelming skill and power, Volcarona is freed and Rizzo is defeated, and Officer Jenny comes to haul the greedy Pokémon Hunter off to justice.
When Ash tells Brycen that he’s going to challenge the Icirrus City Gym, Brycen reveals that he’s the Gym Leader! The battle that awaits is sure to be full of action and excitement!
Ash and his friends have nearly reached Icirrus City but must first traverse a rocky mountain. The group hears a sound coming from the top of the ridge on their left. Suddenly, two large boulders become dislodged and begin tumbling down toward them. Fearing for their safety, they turn and run away as fast as they can. Two figures, a mysterious man and a Beartic, swiftly descend from the ridge and pulverize the boulders with well-placed kicks, saving the group from danger. The man asks if everyone is all right, to which they say yes and thank him, as well as remarking about his amazing feat. Iris, however, cannot resist recoiling in the presence of an Ice-type. Cilan becomes extremely excited as he realizes that the man who saved them is the action hero Brycen. Cilan proclaims to be his biggest fan while Ash and Iris express their excitement over meeting a movie star, but Brycen humbly emphasizes that he does not think of himself that way. Cilan goes into Movie Time as he explains that Brycen starred in the first blockbuster martial arts film Enter the Beartic, pioneering the genre. Cilan acknowledges Brycen's Beartic, who co-starred with Brycen in several movies, including The Way of the Beartic and Fist of Ice. After Cilan says that he has seen Enter the Beartic at least 25 times, his friends ask him about it. Cilan explains that in the movie, Brycen goes to a secluded island to compete in a martial arts competition which, it turns out, is run by an evil organization. He and Beartic initially face off in combat, but soon become allies and destroy the evil organization. Ash and Iris say that they want to see it, but Cilan goes on to say that Brycen quit the movie business during the filming of the sequel, Game of Ice. When Ash asks what Brycen is doing out here in the mountains, he says that he’s training with Beartic, after which the three introduce themselves. Beartic shows one of the pieces of pulverized rock to Brycen and it is revealed that the crashing boulders were no accident. Brycen says that it is likely the work of Pokémon hunters who frequent this mountain. He also says that the mountain is a dormant volcano and a protected Pokémon sanctuary.
Ash, interested in Brycen's training, asks him about it and if he may join him. Brycen agrees, so Ash releases Krokorok from his Poké Ball. Brycen and Beartic begin with a handstand, which Ash and Krokorok shakily do as well. Brycen and Beartic then hop on one hand over to Ash and push off backward to land in battle poses, impressing everyone else with their strength. Ash and Krokorok try to do the same thing, but Ash falls onto his Pokémon shortly after removing his hand. In the next challenge, Ash and Krokorok must jump across large rocks, but both end up slipping and falling. Brycen demonstrates the next challenge by running up to and splitting a large rock in half with a powerful punch. Beartic completely shatters another rock with Ice Punch, a move Cilan remembers seeing in the movies. Ash and Krokorok both punch a rock as hard they can, but it doesn't even chip and they end up just hurting their hands. Next, Brycen and Beartic jump from the top of a waterfall and dive into the water. They emerge shortly thereafter, landing on posing on some rocks. Ash and Krokorok are about to do the same thing, but Krokorok fears water since he is a Ground-type. Ash tries to push him off of the top, but Krokorok dodges, accidentally sending Ash down into the water.
Ash and Brycen declare that they still have much training to do, but are done for now. Iris again asks Brycen why he quit being a movie star. He says that he had an accident during production which he blames on his own carelessness, so he decided to train to make sure it never happens again. Suddenly, he gets an uneasy sensation as dark clouds gather. The wind picks up and lightning flashes nearby while a red glow appears off in the distance. Brycen thinks that something must have happened to the "Guardian of the Mountain" and runs off with Beartic. Ash and his friends decide to go as well.
In another part of the forest, a Volcarona flies around hurriedly with a male Jellicent close behind. A man on a motorcycle tells Jellicent not to let that Volcarona get away. Volcarona turns around and tries to fend off its pursuers with Fire Spin, but the yellow balls of energy from Jellicent's Confuse Ray cancel out the attack. Volcarona finds itself backed up against a cliff side and uses Fire Spin, but Jellicent counters it again with Hydro Pump. The hunter, whose name is Rizzo, tells Jellicent to use Confuse Ray again, which confuses Volcarona. With Volcarona incapacitated, the hunter then shoots a net from a gun to ensnare it. Volcarona tries to burn the net away with Fire Spin, but Rizzo reveals that it is fire-resistant. Brycen and the rest appear and tell the hunter to release the Guardian of the Mountain. Ash finds out more about Volcarona from his Pokédex. Brycen says that because Volcarona's fire once took the place of the sun after a volcanic eruption in the area blocked it out, it is a protected Pokémon. Rizzo initially refuses, but offers to think about it if he is defeated in a Pokémon battle. Ash looks up Jellicent on the Pokédex and volunteers to be the one to fight the battle, deciding to use Krokorok.
Lightning crashes down across the forest as the battle is about to commence. Jellicent makes the first move with Hydro Pump, but Krokorok jumps and dodges. Krokorok uses Crunch, but Jellicent escapes into the air and uses Hydro Pump, hitting his opponent squarely. Krokorok gets back up and uses Stone Edge successfully twice in a row. Jellicent slams against a cliff and collapses. Krokorok runs over to use Crunch, but Jellicent pushes him backward with his large body. Ash tells Krokorok to use Crunch on Jellicent's underside, but Jellicent's Hex forces his mouth open and propels him into the ground. His mouth appears to be hurting, to the dismay of Ash and his friends. Jellicent uses Confuse Ray, but Krokorok evades with Dig. He pops up underneath Jellicent and hits, followed by a Crunch to the face. The spectators note that Dark-type moves are strong against Ghost-type Pokémon. Ash calls for another Crunch, but Jellicent uses Hex to stop Krokorok in his tracks and slam him against the cliff. Jellicent uses Confuse Ray, which Krokorok again avoids with Dig. Upon reemergence, Krokorok uses Crunch on Jellicent's face again and he falls down. Brycen declares Ash the winner. Just as Ash is about to win, the hunter calls out another Jellicent, this one female. Ash says that only a coward would use a second Pokémon, but Rizzo justifies the use of a second Jellicent by noting that he said he would release Volcarona if Ash defeated his Jellicent. The female Jellicent uses Confuse Ray on Krokorok, making him fall to his knees, unable to fight back. Both Jellicent then use a combined Hydro Pump on Krokorok, knocking him and Volcarona into the motorcycle's trailer cage. Rizzo laughs at getting Krokorok as a bonus and begins to walk away. Before Ash can act, Brycen steps in and says that Rizzo gives humans a bad name, and prepares for battle with Beartic. The hunter calls for another double Hydro Pump, but Beartic's Brine is strong enough to counter the combination attack. Beartic uses Brine again, hitting both opponents. It next uses Ice Punch, but is stopped by the male Jellicent's Hex. Beartic struggles for a while and manages to break the Hex and hit both of the Jellicent with Ice Punches from each of its paws. Rizzo calls for a double Confuse Ray this time, but Beartic dodges and jumps off of the Jellicent's heads. Another dual Ice Punch sends the Jellicent tumbling into the cage, freeing Krokorok and Volcarona. The Jellicent use another double Hydro Pump on Beartic, but it jumps over them and finishes the battle with one last dual Ice Punch, sending the hunter and his Pokémon flying. Iris frees Volcarona from the net and Ash checks on Krokorok as the enemy team launches into the air and lands in their own cage. After Brycen bids farewell, Volcarona flies away to live in peace.
Later that day, the hunter and his Jellicent are seen trapped in the cage and attached to a police cruiser. Officer Jenny thanks Brycen for taking care of the hunter and soon leaves with the trailer cage and its occupants. When Ash mentions that he is going to Icirrus City to battle the Gym Leader and win a Badge, Brycen welcomes him, revealing that he is the Gym Leader Ash plans to battle. Ash, Iris, and Cilan are shocked at the news, but are still eager to see what will happen in what is sure to be a truly momentous battle.