Channeling the Battle Zone! (Japanese: ハルカVSシュウ！最後の戦い！！Haruka VS Shū! The Final Battle!!) is the 182nd episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 456th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on June 29, 2006 and in the United States on December 13, 2006.
May and Drew are in a battle to reach the final four of the Grand Festival, and both Coordinators have some powerful combinations up their sleeve. May even picked up a few tricks from watching Ash's Battle Dome match against Tucker! Her Combusken and Squirtle give it their all against Drew's Flygon and Absol, and nobody in the arena can even predict which way things are going to go.
Once Flygon and Squirtle are knocked out, that's when things really get exciting. Absol's Water Pulse is bad news for a Fire-type like Combusken, but Combusken hangs in there and even comes up with an unexpected move, Overheat! Absol uses Water Pulse again but Combusken's Overheat protects it in the nick of time, and the clock runs out on the battle. It's up to the judges to decide the winner: May!
Elsewhere, Ash faces a battle of his own as he tries to catch the mischievous Aipom for once and for all. With Pikachu's help, he catches the Pokémon for his team and goes to watch May battle Solidad in the semifinals. Solidad knows exactly how to counter May's powerful battling style, and it's Solidad who goes on to win the Grand Festival. May is disappointed, but her friends cheer her up. Now it's off to the Battle Pyramid for Ash's rematch with Brandon!
The magnificent cup shines and glimmers in the middle of the arena, giving our hero, May, great confidence required to conquer her awaiting foes just around the corner. Through May's prior strategic efforts, we are thrown into the next part of the exuberant Kanto Grand Festival.
As a brilliant array of bubbles from Squirtle's Bubbleattack shimmers throughout the stadium, Combusken glides through with Sky Uppercut towards Absol but is met with a Razor Wind from Absol. One twentieth of May's score is deducted as Squirtle and Combusken struggle to recover. Flygon continues the attack with a ferocious Flamethrower closing in on Combusken and Squirtle at a high rate. Combusken counterattacks with his own Fire Spin with the two attacks fusing and exploding throwing both Pokémon back and deducting one-twentieth from both contestants scores. Drew doesn't hesitate to continue the attack as Absol launches another Razor Wind and Flygon releases its Dragon Breath on Absol's attack. Both Combusken and Squirtle attempt to evade but manage to take direct damage from the attack and are thrust towards the ground. One-tenth of May's score is removed in the effort. Flygon and Absol explode forward with a Steel Wing and Iron Tail attacks. As the two opponents close in, May evaluates the situation and directs Combusken and Squirtle to launch their Fire Spin and Bubble attacks. The two attacks fuse creating an electrical effect colliding and making for a direct hit with Flygon and Absol enveloping them in shards of electricity and heat. Only five percent of Drew's score is reduced. Ash realizes that May is using the fusion of fire and water that was used against him in his battle against Tucker's Arcanine and Swampert. Both Flygon and Absol are thrown backwards removing ten percent of Drew's score. Meanwhile, Drew displays his anger with May out loud as a group of children stand in amazement.
The Contest Battle timer slides to just below four minutes while Drew and May continue the attack. Squirtle withdraws into its shell and uses Rapid Spin. Absol uses Flash, blinding Combusken but having no effect on Squirtle. Flygon attempts to use its Steel Wing attack to divert Squirtle but only manages to knock him above the arena. With Flygon's back turned, Squirtle launches a devastating array of bubbles towards Flygon. Absol responds to divert the attack with Razor Wind but Combusken blocks Absol's attack with his Fire Spin. The Bubble attack makes direct contact with Flygon removing another ten percent of Drew's score. Upon Squirtle's decent, he strikes down with a finishing Ice Beam just inches away from Flygon, knocking it out. As Squirtle begins its final descent, Absol takes advantage of the time and uses its Iron Tail to harshly knock Squirtle into a stadium wall, rendering Squirtle unable to battle. Both Coordinators return their unconscious Pokémon. The battle now resides between May's Combusken and Drew's Absol. Combusken uses Mega Kick and Absol uses Iron Tail. Both attacks hit one another. As Combusken manages to recover, Absol manages to strike with an additional Razor Wind hitting Combusken for a direct hit before he is able to recover from the prior attack removing twenty percent of May's score. Combusken launches another ferocious Fire Spin but Absol manages to gain the type advantage with a Water Pulse attack. The gigantic wall of water crashes onto Combusken removing another twenty percent of her score leaving her with only forty percent of her original score.
As the water dissipates, Combusken's body begins glowing red as steam begins forming around his body. Drew doesn't hesitate to attempt to gain the battle advantage directing Absol to launch another Razor Wind towards Combusken. As the attack begins its descent, Combusken uses Overheat, launching an extraordinary amount of fire power dissipating Absol's attack and hitting for direct damage. Absol's entire body is engulfed in flames. The battle timer moves to just under 1:30. Both Trainers attempt to guess the other's strategy but May makes the first move directing Combusken with Overheat. Another devastating ball of energy is launched towards Absol but Absol counterattacks with its Water Pulse attack dissipating the flame attack. Another fifth of May's score is removed reducing her score to only twenty percent of her original. Absol glides forward attempting to blind Combusken as he rotates forward striking Absol but managing to make no damage. Combusken uses the advantage of the close range launching another devastating Overheat attack engulfing Absol in the magnificent flames.
After the continuous Overheat attacks, Combusken begins showing fatigue. Absol disperses the flames from the previous Overheat attack. Drew notices Combusken's fatigue from the continual Overheat attacks and takes advantage with Absol striking forward with a Razor Wind hitting Combusken for direct damage. Combusken is thrown backwards reducing May's score to only five percent of her original. Absol strikes forward with another Water Pulse attack as Combusken manages to use other Overheat attack with much weaker force proving no effect on the Water-type attack. The water engulfs Combusken, causing steam to rise from Combusken's body. Absol launches forward with a last Iron Tail propelling into the air. Combusken attempts to take advantage of the airborne attack and uses Sky Uppercut. The attack manages to make contact just as the battle timer expires. May is announced as the winner of the round between herself and Drew advancing her to the semifinals.
The Contest music begins playing majestically in the background while Combusken begins his battle stance moving up and down in excitement. Drew thanks Absol for his effort and turns around approving May of her effort with a simple eye gesture. May grasps onto Combusken's body thanking him greatly. In the confusion, Aipom manages to snatch Ash's hat once more and begins escaping outside of the arena. After running a few seconds, Aipom rotates around and throws Ash's hat back to him. Ash, confused, stands as Aipom jumps up and down in her battle stance. Ash begins his second attempt to try to capture Aipom as Pikachu blazes forward with Quick Attack. Aipom evades the attack and uses Swift making direct damage. Pikachu recovers and counterattacks with his Iron Tail but Aipom manages to recover from the attack and counterattacks with Focus Punch striking Pikachu towards the ground.
Aipom continues jumping up and down in excitement. Ash finally decides to attack long-range with Pikachu's devastating Thunderbolt enveloping Aipom's body with electricity. As Aipom manages to recover from the attack, Ash launches a Poké Ball which opens and captures Aipom's energy within. The two forces collide with the Poké Ball's brilliant red light shining off and on and off and on. After a few moments, the red light finally disappears confirming Aipom's capture. As Ash goes to collect his newly caughtPokémon, an audience of people around him begins applauding.
Scott arrives obtaining Ash's attention. Above our two rivals, Solidad is featured on the screen above and is finally announced as the winner with her Butterfree and Lapras. We are taken deep into the semifinal round between Solidad and May leaving Solidad with seventy-five percent of her original score and May with only twenty-five percent as the battle timer moves to just below two minutes. Solidad has chosen her Pidgeot and Slowbro as May has chosen Munchlax and Combusken. Munchlax launches forward with a Focus Punch while Slowbro uses its Psychic to rotate around and counterattacks, dissipating Munchlax's attack and knocking him backwards. Combusken's devastating Fire Spin envelops Pidgeot but after a few seconds, Pidgeot manages to recover and counterattacks with Feather Dance. The extraordinary feathers dissipate the flame attack and being raining down on Combusken and Munchlax with a flame effect. Slowbro uses Yawn creating a gigantic bubble which manages to collide with Combusken causing him to fall into a deep sleep. Munchlax collects energy for his Solar Beam attack but is only evaded by his opponents and met with Slowbro's Psychic and Pidgeot using Double Team to create illusions of himself and striking for direct damage. Slowbro launches a finishing Hyper Beam as Pidgeot blasts forward with an Aerial Ace making contact with both targets knocking both opponents unconscious, advancing Solidad to the next round. May shows her support for Solidad and greatly thanks Munchlax and Combusken for their effort and making it to the top four. Heading backstage, May finds Ash, Brock and Max waiting who tell her how amazing she was during her campaign. Despite the compliments, May cannot help but be devastated over her loss and begins to cry. As she sobs, her friends comfort her knowing that she's still made a big step on her journey. Later, Solidad wins the Grand Festival and is presented with the magnificent cup as our contestants applaud for her victory.
Later that night, an after-party is held for all the participating contestants. Drew begins to leave as May manages to catch up to him holding a solitary rose. She wishes him an exuberant parting as he walks off dispersing into the distance. May, as confident as ever, is now ready to head towards the artful Battle Pyramid. Scott tells Ash that the Battle Pyramid is near the ruins of Fennel Valley, and Max reviews his PokéNav and finds that Fennel Valley isn't too far from Indigo Plateau. With that, the group finally advance into the final stretch of the Battle Frontier with the Flames of Courage brighter than ever.
This episode is similar to Rhapsody in Drew, as each was the third and final episode of the region's Grand Festival, May battled Drew in both, and both dealt with the sixth member of Ash's team (Snorunt evolving and Ash catching Aipom).
None of the moves used in May and Drew's battle during the previous episode affected their scores at all. Absol had even landed a direct hit on Combusken with Iron Tail in that episode, but the first deduction of points occurred in this episode—and to Drew—when Combusken uses Sky Uppercut while surrounded by Bubble, a combination that failed.
After Squirtle appears above Flygon, Drew's eyes are blue instead of green.
The last time Razor Wind hits Combusken in the dub, Ash comments that the scores are even when the scoreboard just showed that Drew is clearly in the lead.
After Water Pulse hits Combusken, May's score bar is larger than before.
When Aipom hops in excitement before stealing Ash's hat, her right foot has a line through it.