AG181 : Thinning the Hoard!
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
AG183 : Aipom and Circumstance!
Channeling the Battle Zone!
AG182   EP456
Haruka VS Shū! The Final Battle!!
First broadcast
Japan June 29, 2006
United States December 13, 2006
English themes
Opening Battle Frontier
Ending Pokémon Go!
Japanese themes
Opening スパート!
Ending 私、負けない! ~ハルカのテーマ~
Animation Team Iguchi
Screenplay 冨岡淳広 Atsuhiro Tomioka
Storyboard 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
Assistant director 浅田裕二 Yūji Asada
Animation director 岩根雅明 Masaaki Iwane
Additional credits

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 Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire, 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.

Spoiler warning: this article may contain major plot or ending details.


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 battle between May and her rival Drew in the quarterfinals of the Kanto Grand Festival continues, with Squirtle launching a Bubble attack that fills the arena, while Combusken glides through with Sky Uppercut for a combination that lowers Drew’s points. However, Drew’s Flygon evades, while a Razor Wind from Absol batters Squirtle and Combusken. Flygon follows on with a ferocious Flamethrower while Combusken counterattacks with Fire Spin, resulting in an explosion that pushes both Pokémon back and deducts points on both sides. Drew doesn't hesitate and calls for a "Dragon Formation" combo; Absol launches another Razor Wind and Flygon adds Dragon Breath to Absol's attack. Both Combusken and Squirtle attempt to dodge, but Drew's combination is so massive that both Pokémon end up struck. In the stands, Brock is impressed by Drew's combination, noting it must have taken an incredible amount of time to perfect it. Ash and Max call out to May, telling her not to give up. Backstage, Solidad watches with firm intent, while high in the bleachers, Harley notes that Drew has finally stopped going easy on May. Flygon and Absol rush forward with a Steel Wing and Iron Tail respectively. As the two opponents close in, May evaluates the situation and directs Combusken and Squirtle to launch a Fire Spin and Bubble combination, scoring a direct hit on the opposition. Ash and Max instantly recognize the combination as being similar to the combination used by Tucker at the Battle Dome. Brock compliments May on drawing experience from recent travels. Solidad wonders how Drew will respond to May's counter. Harley is infuriated by May's display, inferring that she thinks he isn't skilled enough to face her strongest combinations. As multiple members of the audience watch his tantrum, he directs multiple violent threats at May.

The Contest Battle timer slides to just below four minutes while Drew and May continue the match. 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 intervenes with his Fire Spin, allowing the Bubble attack to hit Flygon. Upon Squirtle's descent, 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 Iron Tail to launch Squirtle into a stadium wall, rendering Squirtle unable to battle. Both May and Drew recall their unconscious Pokémon.

The Contest battle now resumes as a one-on-one fight with May's Combusken against Drew's Absol, and two minutes remaining on the clock. Combusken uses Mega Kick and Absol launches into an Iron Tail, with each side scoring a hit on the opposition. Absol manages to strike with an additional Razor Wind hitting Combusken for a direct hit before he is able to recover, knocking more of May's points off. Combusken launches another ferocious Fire Spin, but Absol blocks it with a Water Pulse attack, scoring a super-effective hit. As the water dissipates, Combusken's body begins glowing red, and May is instantly reminded of Ash's Torkoal as a large amount of steam begins forming around its body. She realizes Combusken has just learned a new move - Overheat. Drew doesn't hesitate to attempt to gain the advantage and directs Absol to launch another Razor Wind towards Combusken. As the attack approaches, Combusken uses Overheat, generating an extraordinary amount of firepower that blocks Absol's attack and hits for direct damage. May calls for another Overheat attack, though it is weaker than the last, and Absol’s counterattack with Water Pulse dissipates the Fire-type attack. As steam fills the air, Absol glides forward, attempting to blind Combusken with Flash, but Combusken flips forward and blocks out the light with its feet. Combusken uses the advantage of the close range by launching another devastating Overheat attack which engulfs Absol in the magnificent flames. Up in the stands, Ash and Brock become concerned that May is overusing her new attack, taking note of how Combusken seems burnt out from repeated usage of Overheat. Absol manages to shake off the attack, and the added shimmer effect also negates some of May’s points. Drew notices Combusken's fatigue from the continual Overheat attacks and takes advantage of Absol striking forward with a Razor Wind, hitting Combusken for direct damage. Absol strikes forward with another Water Pulse attack. Combusken manages to use another Overheat attack with a much weaker force, and it proves ineffective against the Water-type attack. The water engulfs Combusken, leaving May with precious few points. To everyone's surprise, however, Combusken is still able to continue. Absol rushes in to strike with Iron Tail, propelling itself into the air. May smiles and orders Combusken to use Sky Uppercut, much to Drew's shock. Combusken drags its claws along the stage floor to generate sparks. Combusken soars into the air and scores a direct hit just as the battle timer expires. May is announced as the winner of the close round and wins a place in the semifinals. May's friends are overjoyed with the result, while Drew offers his nod of approval as well. Brock realizes that May was intentionally using Overheat over and over again to lure Drew in close so that she could attack with Sky Uppercut to finish the battle.

Ash after catching Aipom

As the stadium showers May with applause, Aipom, who arrived earlier in the match and had been awed by the display, begins jumping with joy, swiping Ash's hat once more, and rushes out of the arena. Ash and Pikachu give chase, though the pursuit quickly ends when Aipom simply throws Ash's hat back to him. Aipom begins leaping on the spot with fists ready, and Ash realizes she wants to battle. So, 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. Aipom quickly recovers from the attack and replies with a Focus Punch which knocks Pikachu to the ground. Aipom continues jumping up and down in excitement. Ash loves Aipom's spunk and battling spirit and has Pikachu unleash a devastating Thunderbolt. As Aipom is stunned by the attack, Ash launches a Poké Ball at Aipom. The Poké Ball's brilliant red light shines off and on before finally stopping, marking that Aipom has finally been caught. As Ash collects his newly caught Pokémon, an audience of people around him begins applauding. Scott soon arrives on the scene, instantly getting Ash's attention.

May and Drew watch backstage as Solidad wins her second-round match with her Butterfree and Lapras. Drew warns May that Solidad will be a tough opponent, and she cannot be beaten with power alone. Soon May’s semifinal clash with Solidad is well underway. Solidad has chosen her Pidgeot and Slowbro while May has chosen Munchlax and Combusken. With two minutes remaining in the match, Solidad still has over two-thirds of her score, while May's points have been depleted to only one-fourth. Munchlax launches forward with a Focus Punch while Slowbro uses its Psychic attack to rotate around and counterattack, dissipating Munchlax's attack and knocking him backward. Combusken's devastating Fire Spin momentarily envelops Pidgeot, though Solidad calls for a Feather Dance. The extraordinary feathers dissipate the flames and begin raining down on Combusken and Munchlax. Slowbro uses Yawn which puts Combusken to sleep.

Up in the audience, Ash and Max painfully note how the battle just keeps getting worse and worse for May. Brock is confused as to how Solidad is dictating the battle's pace, a feat that her battle style in the previous rounds normally would not accomplish. May orders a Solar Beam attack from Munchlax, but Slowbro uses Psychic to evade it while Pidgeot launches into a Double Team formation that strikes Combusken. Scott explains that Solidad has succeeded in getting May to attack with powerful attacks over and over again and easily dodge them, leading to big points being stolen. Scott also notes that May's strategy is quite similar to the gameplan Ash seems to consistently favor - heavy offense with dazzling attacks. As this is the strategy Solidad normally uses herself, Scott explains Solidad recognized that continuing to do so would play to May's strengths, just as it did during her battles against Harley and Drew. Since May has watched Ash battle ever since she was a novice, she unconsciously adopted his approach to battling, and it is proving completely ineffective against Solidad's adjustments. Slowbro launches a finishing Hyper Beam as Pidgeot speeds forward with an Aerial Ace, and the two attacks knock both of May’s Pokémon out, advancing Solidad to the Grand Festival finals in a lopsided fashion. May shows her support for Solidad with a respectful bow, though she is clearly upset by the loss. She greatly thanks Munchlax and Combusken for their efforts in getting her to the top four. Heading backstage, May meets up with Ash, Brock, and Max who compliment her on her amazing 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 Kanto Grand Festival and is presented with the magnificent Ribbon Cup, with the stadium filled with applause from the crowd and confetti.

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 the Indigo Plateau. With that, the group finally advances onto the final stretch of the Battle Frontier adventure.

Major events

Solidad holding the Ribbon Cup
For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the history page.


Pokémon debuts






Drew with blue eyes
  • 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.
  • When Ash throws a Poké Ball at Aipom, the crowd disappears.

Dub edits

  • In two oddly violent lines, Harley threatens to "wring her tiny neck with that bandanna" after May uses her Fire-and-Water tactic and "pound that puny punk" when she defeats Drew.

In other languages

AG181 : Thinning the Hoard!
Pokémon the Series: Ruby and Sapphire
AG183 : Aipom and Circumstance!
  This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.