Aipom and Circumstance! (Japanese: エイパムと王様！Eipam and the King!) is the 183rd episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 457th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on July 6, 2006 and in the United States on December 14, 2006.
When Ash's new Aipom plays another prank on him, it leads them both to a village that's preparing to select this year's King. Whoever manages to hang onto the ritual crown until sunset will be King of the village for a year! Ash and Brock meet Hank, who wants to be King, and Brock wants to be King too—King of the village's lovely girls. But as Brock and the villagers race for the crown, Aipom runs away with it and tries it on for size. Once it puts on the crown, it can't get it off again!
Hank and his Nosepass help Ash find Aipom, but Ash can't get the crown off Aipom's head either. Team Rocket then breaks up the reunion in order to seize the crown, using a flock of robot Fearow that are too much for our heroes to handle. So Hank has the idea of using Aipom's Double Team to confuse Team Rocket, and Nosepass's Thunder Wave to disrupt Team Rocket's robot remote.
This lets our heroes send Team Rocket packing, but the crown is still stuck on Aipom's head until Hank has another bright idea: feed Aipom a sour Belue Berry. Aipom reacts so strongly that Hank is able to pull the crown off, just as the sun sets and the rest of the villagers arrive. Hank is now the King, and he's sure to be a good one! But if Ash wants to be the champion of the Battle Frontier, he still has to battle Brandon again. Our heroes' trip to Fennel Valley continues!
Ash and his friends are now headed for Fennel Valley, the latest location of the Battle Pyramid so Ash can have his rematch against Brandon but have stopped for a lunch break. While the Trainers and their Pokémon are eating, Ash notices his newly captured Aipom has finished eating and has gone to a nearby field of flowers where she forms a crown and puts it on her head to get attention. After lunch, Ash asks Pikachu to train, and Pikachu jumps on Ash's shoulder. Aipom gets jealous, has a tantrum and pulls Ash down, takes his hat again and runs away baiting Ash to follow. Ash gives chase to the misbehaving Pokémon and Brock (leaving May and Max to watch the other Pokémon) follows, knowing that Aipom's behavioural problems are getting way out of control. Unfortunately, Ash and Brock lose Aipom but spot a shrine in the distance and go to investigate.
Ash and Brock go to the location and meet Hank, where they find out that the village will pick a new king for a year. The elder reveals the golden crown, announcing that the person that possesses the crown by sundown will become the king. Everyone is welcome to participate, so Brock (with fantasies of getting plenty of girls if he was to become king) joins the group. Team Rocket finds out about the crown and decide to steal it for Giovanni, believing he can get many uses out of it.
The elder opens the gate, and the crowd runs up the pyramid to the crown, leaving Hank and Brock behind dazed by the stampede both disappointed. Team Rocket is at the top and tries to take the crown with a mechanical hand, but Aipom beats them to it. Team Rocket grabs Ash’s hat off Aipom, and Jessie throws it out where it drifts back to Ash. Aipom climbs out of reach, and the elder explains that if Aipom still has the crown at sunset then she will indeed become king. Naturally nobody likes the idea of being ruled over by a Pokémon for a year and try to get the crown back off Aipom however she easily dodges everyone and runs back down the pyramid, passing Ash. He tries to convince Aipom to give the crown back, but Aipom is still jealous of Pikachu riding on Ash’s shoulder. She runs away, and Ash sends Pikachu ahead to catch up with Aipom.
The villagers lose Aipom despite the fact she is simply hiding in some nearby bushes. Aipom tries to wear the crown, but it keeps falling off. Aipom gets angry and forces the crown on but it goes too far and starts covering Aipom's eyes. Aipom struggles to pull it off when Pikachu catches up. Helping out, Pikachu is able to move the crown enough so it no longer covers Aipom's eyes, but the crown is still stuck fast. Suddenly Aipom runs off again with Pikachu and the very angry villagers in pursuit. Ash, Brock, and Hank lose them again, but they overhear the villagers saying that Aipom is at the North Cliff. Ash and Brock don’t know which way is north, but Hank summons his Nosepass to point in the right direction. They run into May and Max and inform them of the situation.
Aipom and Pikachu get trapped at the North Cliff, but Pikachu finds a small cave passageway that allows the duo to escape the villagers. They wind up on part of the cliff where they run into Ash and the group. Noticing sunset is imminent, Ash tries to pull the crown off, but it won't budge. Aipom is now really scared and hugs Ash for comfort and Ash reassures her that if Aipom is forced to become king, he will stay with her for the year. Max reminds him that the Battle Pyramid is close by but Ash tells his friends that while it would be a disappointment to have to miss his rematch, he won't consider leaving a member of his team behind. Aipom is happy to hear Ash say this, now knowing that Ash cares for her just as much as Pikachu.
Suddenly, a robotic Fearow grabs the crown and Aipom along with it. Ash grabs Aipom and Pikachu removes it with Thunderbolt. Team Rocket shows up and unleashes a whole flock of robotic Fearow. Ash shields Aipom from the attacks. The Fearow scatter high enough away that Pikachu cannot reach them with Thunderbolt. Ash summons Swellow, sending it to attack the robots, even though it is woefully outnumbered. Even though Swellow inflicts plenty of the damage, the robots are too numerous, forcing Ash to recall Swellow.
Hank suggests that Aipom should use Double Team to confuse Team Rocket. Ash decides to go along with it, and Aipom produces dozens of illusory copies. However, the Fearow flock quickly destroys the illusions and reveals Aipom. One Fearow grabs Aipom, and Ash grabs back, trying to stop it. Hank uses Nosepass and Thunder Wave to disrupt Meowth's control of the Fearow flock, sending them flying erratically. Aipom uses Swift and Pikachu uses Thunderbolt to send Team Rocket flying.
Sunset is imminent, and it appears that Aipom will become king. Aipom is still scared, and Ash convinces everyone to try to remove the crown, but it still won’t budge. Ash gives up and resigns himself to spending the next year in the area, but Hank brings out a Belue Berry. Ash gets Aipom to eat it, and she jumps around with lips puckered since the Berry is so sour, pushing on her head. With Aipom already pushing, Hank pulls off the crown. Ash hugs Aipom kindly asking her to try not to get up to as much mischief in future, and Aipom blushes in guilt.
The villagers and the elder arrive, noticing that Hank is holding the crown at sunset. They proclaim him as the new king, with the villagers bowing down to him. Hank is ecstatic, feeling unsure if he should accept. However, May and Brock mention that Hank's contributions prove that he can lead. Hank accepts the crown, and Ash looks forward to the Battle Pyramid rematch.
The crown bears a striking resemblance to the one in A Corsola Caper!, but that crown was pink instead of yellow.
Although kings are usually male monarchs, the village's ceremony neither forbids women from participating nor defines a king as male, given that one girl says "No, I want to be king!" as she chases Aipom.
The girls in Brock's fantasy later appear in the flesh as ceremony participants, including the one noted above.