Early reports previously listed 大山和弘 Kazuhiro Ōyama as the storyboarder and 嵯峨敏 Satoru Saga as the director.
New Plot, Odd Lot! (Japanese: ハーリー＆ロケット団！悪役同盟結成！？Harley and Rocket-dan! Formation of a Villainous Alliance!?) is the 174th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 448th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on April 27, 2006 and in the United States on November 29, 2006.
May is feeling the pressure at the Mulberry City Pokémon Contest, her last chance to get a fifth ribbon before the Grand Festival. To make things worse, Harley shows up! He has his ribbons already so he doesn't have to compete. But Jessie plans to enter in her Jessebella disguise, so when Harley spots Team Rocket, he offers to loan them his Cacturne and Banette to use against May in the Contest.
The Contest begins, and Jessie does great with Cacturne. May and Combusken then take the stage, but unseen by anyone, Harley's Ariados secretly trips up their grand entrance with its webs. Pikachu and Ash sense something's afoot and head to the stage rafters, where they find James, Meowth, and Ariados. Meanwhile, Combusken's Fire Spin display sets Ariados' webs on fire and soon, with Pikachu's help, Team Rocket's plans are up in smoke! May makes a quick recovery and her performance has Harley steaming.
With that round over, Jessie and May advance to the second round. Harley is furious at Team Rocket for messing up the plan, but he's not done messing with May yet. What underhanded tricks will he and Team Rocket come up with in the next round of the Contest...?
Another beautiful day is upon the Kantoregion while our heroes are inside of a Pokémon Center with May preparing herself for the upcoming Mulberry CityPokémon Contest. A cart rolls across their path as her Pokémon stand diligently beside her. May stops Nurse Joy as she makes her way down the hallway. Joy questions May if she will be participating in the Mulberry Contest and reminds her that this event will be the last Pokémon Contest held before the Kanto Grand Festival, therefore her last chance to obtain her fifth Ribbon.
May, depressed, begins devouring her drink as Harley appears behind her and whispers into her ear, frightening her. May's victory at this Contest is a must since this would complete the requirement of five Ribbons to enter the Kanto Grand Festival. Since this is the last Contest, she must achieve victory or be unable to enter the Kanto Grand Festival. Harley manages to drop his Ribbon case while May steps forward and picks it up. She opens it up to reveal that Harley has already obtained five Ribbons and is eligible to enter the Grand Festival. The flames of courage begin to grow within May as she marches off into the distance bringing Ash along to train.
Outside in a nearby field, Combusken ignites the area with a ferocious Fire Spin attack as Pikachu manages to evade and retaliates with a Thunderbolt. Combusken evades the attack as both combatants return to a battling stance.
Jessie makes her first appearance in Contest attire as she selects Meowth for her first Contest round. Jessie goes into a dream state as she imagines Meowth in a kimono performing a small dance as the crowd goes wild. The dream is broken as Meowth goes into a defensive state, refusing to enter the Contest with Jessie. As Jessie argues with Meowth, Harley appears in the distance and walks over and takes Jessie's hand. Harley shows his five Ribbons to Team Rocket and pledges his support to help Jessie to defeat May in the final Contest. Harley explains to Jessie that when he was young, he and a group of children sat down to enjoy a meal. After Harley almost finishes his last piece of food, a girl resembling May grabs a piece of food resembling an Octillery. As the girl walks off into the distance displaying her pleasure, Harley begins to break down into tears. As he continues mourning, he finally recovers and pledges his revenge to defeat May. Jessie is overwhelmed by Harley's story and agrees to assist Harley.
Harley then calls upon his Banette and Cacturne to assist Jessie in claiming the final Ribbon required by May. Cacturne takes a liking to Jessie and clamps onto her body, showing its approval. Lilian begins the Contest preparations by introducing the Contest Judges as usual, and displaying the final Ribbon up for claim. As Lilian begins the Contest, Drew steps inside the stadium to view the contestants' progress. The first round of contestants include Altaria, Clamperl, Koffing, and many more. Jessie finally makes her appearance with Cacturne. Jessie rotates a carrot into the air as Cacturne extends its needles and dices the vegetable to exact precision as the pieces fall to the ground forming a small structure. The crowd explodes with Jessie and Cacturne's display of skill. Cacturne follows up by releasing an array of small cylindrical objects and ignites the objects with a Bullet Seed attack creating a magnificent shower of sparkle and shine. All three judges show their approval as Harley claps for Jessie cheering her on.
May makes her Contest appearance as she begins to rotate to unleash her Poké Ball, but manages to slip and fall to the ground. Above the stadium, Meowth and James are controlling Ariados using its sticky fluid to cause May and her Pokémon to lose their balance and fall to the ground. As Combusken is unleashed from its Poké Ball, Ariados manages to catch Combusken causing it to lose its balance and crash to the ground. May runs towards Combusken but is tripped once again. As Ariados's web grasps onto Combusken once more, it becomes temporarily visible as Pikachu shows the fault out to Ash. Pikachu and Ash begin heading towards the ceiling as May continues her routine. May rotates a circular object into the air as Combusken blasts into the air to strike but manages to miss its target. Ash and Pikachu reach James and Meowth as Pikachu blasts forward with Quick Attack. Ariados manages to stop Pikachu by attaching it to a handrail with its fluid. Combusken begins rotating at a high speed spewing a Fire Spin attack as the fire begins engulfing Ariados's web and begins climbing towards the ceiling. As James and Meowth continue bickering, the flames finally reach the stadium ceiling and engulf Ariados while James and Meowth move to attempt to put the fire out. The flames spark and dissolve the web around Pikachu's body. Meowth extends his claws and dashes forward while Pikachu counterattacks with a devastating Iron Tail blasting James, Meowth, and Ariados through the stadium ceiling. Combusken explodes into the air as May throws the Frisbee into the air and Combusken returns it back to her with a brilliant Sky Uppercut. Combusken lands elegantly to the ground as the three judges give approval of her first round. After her performance, May doubts that she will advance to the next round as Ash arrives to announce to her that Team Rocket was trying to eliminate her in the first round. The television screen lights up and Lilian announces the eight Pokémon Coordinators moving on to the Contest Battles. Both May and Jessie advance to the next round and May shouts in joy.
Meanwhile, Harley soothes his Ariados from its battle wounds and argues to James and Meowth's about their poor effort in managing to eliminate May from the Contest. With an extension of his arm, Harley returns his Ariados to its respective Poké Ball and stampedes out of the room. The Flames of Courage ignite in our heroes as a grueling competition awaits our heroine May. Will she be defeated by the elusive Jessie or come to defeat Jessie and claim her respective spot in the Kanto Grand Festival?