After arriving in Striaton City, Ash’s first priority is to battle for his first Gym Badge in the Unova region! But when he arrives at the Striaton Gym, Ash is surprised to discover that there are, in fact, three Gym Leaders: a trio of brothers named Cilan, Chili, and Cress. The Gym Leaders tell Ash he can choose one of them to battle, but that isn’t enough for Ash—he wants to challenge all three! They accept, and the triple match is under way.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket has also arrived in Striaton City with a new assignment: finding the remains of a research facility somewhere in the area. Once there, they must collect a mysterious substance their boss calls “future energy,” which has the power to turn dreams into reality. Knowing that they are the only ones who can handle this tough mission, Jessie, James, and Meowth proceed with excitement and confidence!
Back at the Striation City Gym, Ash manages to win the first round, pitting his Tepig against Chili’s Pansear. But he and Pikachu suffer defeat in the second match against Cress’s Panpour. It’s down to the deciding match, and Ash chooses Oshawott to go up against Cilan’s Pansage—an unfavorable matchup that has Iris worried. Can our hero overcome the disadvantage to claim his first Gym Badge?
Ash and Pikachu have finally arrived in Striaton City. As enthusiastic and ready as he was to battle, he soon realizes that he does not know where the Gym is located. Iris then comments on Ash's behavior: typical of a 'small child', and gives a wide grin. As Axew appears from within her hair and she feeds him with some fruit, a formally-dressed young man with green hair appears, his green eyes having taken notice of Axew. He recites a short prose complimenting Axew, and then talks about the positive compatibility between Iris and her Pokémon. As Pikachu watches in doubt, he makes a sound that captures the young man's attention. Ash explains that he is from Kanto, the young man introduces himself as Cilan, a Pokémon Connoisseur. Ash is confused as to what that is, and Iris goes on to call Ash a little kid. Cilan then assures Iris that the job is not well known outside of Unova, and he explains that Pokémon Connoisseur can judge the friendship between a Trainer and their Pokémon. Ash becomes very interested and requests Cilan to examine his bond with Pikachu. However, at that moment, Iris reminds Ash about his purpose in Striaton City, and Cilan, who happened to know where the Striaton Gym is, lead the way.
Arriving at a large, grand-looking building, Ash barges in and requests a battle, only what seems like a restaurant. As the waiters, Chili and Cress greet them, Cilan reassures Ash by seating him at an empty table. The waiters then attempt to take his order, offering him Soda Pop, a delicious lunch, and various other consumables, but Ash is not at all interested. Finally, after a long session of pestering, Ash loses his cool, and demands a Gym Battle by shouting. Ash, enraged, proceeds to take his leave when the lights suddenly dim. He turns to see Cilan and the two waiters walking synchronously into an empty area, taking their positions. As a spotlight shines onto each of them, they briefly mentioned how they would battle, and reveal themselves to be brothers and the Striaton Gym Leaders. Together, they recite 'It's showtime!', and the wall behind them recedes to reveal a rocky field for battle. Ash now has to choose a Gym Leader as his opponent: Chili and his Fire-type Pansear, Cress and his Water-type Panpour or Cilan and his Grass-type Pansage. However, Ash decides to take on all three Gym Leaders. Although it is the first time the Gym has ever had such a request, the brothers allow Ash to do so, and his Badge will be earned by defeating two out of three Gym Leaders instead.
The first battle is a one-on-one battle against Chili and his Pansear, while Cilan referees. Ash sends out his Tepig, and starts the round with Tackle. Pansear is sent flying into the air, but lands softly on its feet. Chili calls for a Fire Punch, and with one quick blow, Tepig is sent rolling back onto the ground. Taking this opportunity to attack, Pansear follows up with Flamethrower. Quickly, Tepig uses Ember in an attempt to block the attack, but the Flamethrower hits its mark and sends dust into the air. Immediately, Pansear Digs underground at its Trainer's behest, striking Tepig with a sneak attack. As the Fire Pig Pokémon struggles to get up, Chili has Pansear continue using Dig. Ash, at that instant, orders Tepig to keep running,. To combat its moving target, Pansear reappears in front of Tepig, causing him to trip and to be flung into the air. Using Dig once more, Pansear disappears underground. Ash orders Tepig to follow Pansear underground. As Pansear emerges, Tepig is biting onto its tail. Pansear performs a back-flip, but Tepig refuses to relinquish his bite on Pansear's tail. Tepig then spins Pansear around by tail and tosses it across the field. While Pansear struggles to regain balance, Tepig uses another Ember and Tackles it into a wall, causing it to faint. Tepig then runs back to Ash and rejoins him and his Pikachu. Cilan declares Pansear unable to battle, and the cheerleaders all sigh in disappointment. Chili recalls his Pansear, and Ash recalls Tepig. Cress then steps up to battle.
The cheerleaders are now cheering on Cress and his Panpour. Ash chooses Pikachu for battle, and starts by telling him to do a Quick Attack. Panpour responds to Cress's command, surrounding Pikachu with its Double Team clones before landing a Scratch attack. As Pikachu lands on the ground, hurt, Cress comments on Pikachu's type advantage, which would not be very useful against his Panpour. He then tells Panpour to use Water Gun. Pikachu swiftly dodges the jets of water aimed at him using the rocky battlefield. As Pikachu readies a Thunderbolt attack, Panpour aims its Water Gun at Pikachu's feet, causing him to lose focus as he tries to steady himself. Following that, it douses Pikachu with another Water Gun and follows up with multiple Scratch attacks. While the cheerleaders delight in hushed voices, Pikachu lies sprawled on the ground, struggling to get back on his feet. Ash commands Pikachu use Volt Tackle, and Cress starts contemplating; he had already developed strategies against Electric-type opponents. With a big smile and glowing hands, Panpour uses Mud Sport, causing Pikachu to slip in mud. Panpour launches a Water Gun attack and sends its opponent flying across the field once again, causing Pikachu to faint. Cilan declares Pikachu unable to battle, and the cheerleaders go wild with excitement.
After arriving in Striaton City, the Team Rocket trio duck into the sewers to receive information of their next mission. Speaking via a monitor, Giovanni orders them to visit a former laboratory located at the nearby Dreamyard, where they are to take control of the area’s mysterious ‘Future Energy'. He logs off and sends them the assembly instructions for the machine they need, while the Team Rocket trio, determined, now heads for the Dreamyard through the sewers.
For Ash's last battle at Striaton Gym, he sends out Oshawott against Cilan's Pansage, and the choice surprises the onlookers. Oshawott looks over at its opponent and instantly retreats behind Ash’s legs to avoid facing Pansage’s menacing glare. Ash and Pikachu push him onto the field, reminding him of his heroism when he saved Pikachu and Axew from Team Rocket's captivity. After some thought, Oshawott promptly changes his mind and decides to fight for Ash. For a start, Oshawott attempts to use Tackle, but Pansage dodges it by shifting to the side, causing Oshawott to be extremely surprised at Pansage's non-aggressive response. Pansage then fires a Bullet Seed, striking Oshawott’s back as he tries to flee. Cilan points out that Ash has lack of affinity with Oshawott. He then tries to show the contrast with his Pansage, and tells his Pokémon to move towards Oshawott. As Pansage does so, Oshawott shivering in fear. Pansage then Bites down on his head, leading Oshawott to walk into a rock as he tries to shake off his opponent. Ash tries to encourage Oshawott and tells him to use Water Gun, but the Grass Monkey Pokémon dodges the jets of water by repeatedly jumping, thereby causing Oshawott to feel tired from the effort. Ash pushes Oshawott on, telling him to aim carefully, yet none of the jets manage to hit Pansage. Finally, Oshawott's attacks connects. Cilan decides to intensify the battle, and calls for a Solar Beam. Collecting a ball of light at the turf on his head, Pansage grabs it, pulls back and shoots it at Oshawott. As the light snakes its way across the field, Oshawott, now stunned, is shocked at the thought of what is to come.