Ash Versus the Champion! (Japanese: サトシVSチャンピオン・アデク！Satoshi VS Champion Adeku!) is the 52nd episode of the Best Wishes series, and the 709th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on October 13, 2011 and in the United States on March 10, 2012.
Just as our heroes are ready to head across the drawbridge to Driftveil City, they run into Ash’s rival, Trip. Ash wants to battle, of course, but Trip is waiting to meet Alder, the Unova League Champion! When Trip was a young boy, Alder had advised him to work hard and get strong as a Trainer, and someday they would battle.
So when they finally see Alder (who is unexpectedly flirting with Officer Jenny), both Ash and Trip challenge him to a battle! Ash goes first, and it’s Pikachu vs. Bouffalant—but during the battle, Alder dozes off. Annoyed, Alder’s Bouffalant goes after him instead of Pikachu, and after being hit by an extraordinary Head Charge, Alder declares himself the loser and says he’s done for the day. Trip storms off when he realizes he won’t get his battle after all, and Alder invites our heroes to dinner at the Pokémon Center.
The Champion chats with Ash, Iris, and Cilan about what their goals are and how to achieve them, and when they all decide that getting stronger is the most important thing, he disagrees. He’s just beginning to explain when they’re interrupted by Nurse Joy (another target of Alder’s flirting). She needs Alder’s help for a Pokémon emergency: an angry Gigalith on a rampage through the city! Alder goes to the rescue, and after he and Bouffalant manage to corner Gigalith, he figures out the problem: a nail embedded in the huge Pokémon’s foot. He removes the nail, and quickly gets Gigalith calmed down.
After the crisis is over, Alder finally has time to explain his philosophy: to him, the most important thing is not getting stronger through battle, but helping people and Pokémon to grow closer. He wishes them luck, and our heroes begin their journey to Driftveil City and Ash’s next Gym Battle!
After obtaining his fourth Gym Badge, Ash, along with Iris and Cilan head to Route 5. When seeing a fair, the gang is ready to play until Ash notices Trip and approaches him, questioning him on his being at Route 5. Trip tells him of a childhood memory in which Alder let him pet his Bouffalant and told him to get stronger and that he heard Alder was around. The gang hear a commotion and turn around to see Officer Jenny next to her motorcycle with Alder on it flirting with her. After Jenny makes some threats and pulls out some handcuffs, Alder jumps off and Jenny drives away.
The gang walk over to Alder. Trip asks Alder if he remembers him, which he kinda does, even if he does forget Trip's name. Ash then asks to battle Alder but Trip pushes in front and asks to have one. Alder decides to battle Ash first so they head to a field nearby. Ash uses Pikachu and Alder sends out his Bouffalant. As Pikachu begins to use Thunderbolt, Alder just stands still. Bouffalant absorbs attack after attack in to his afro, but Alder's still not giving any commands. Bouffalant turns around and yells at Alder, but he's asleep. Trip wakes Alder up with a yell, who sheepishly says he must have fallen asleep. Bouffalant gets angry as everyone sweat-drops, and instead of attacking Pikachu when told to use Head Charge, he does it on Alder sending him flying in to a tree.
Alder starts talking to Trip about battling after he asks him a question. Alder then says he need some food before he battles again. Trip leaves, saying that if Alder's just going to fall asleep and has no interest in battling him, he has no intent to battle him. The gang head over to the Pokémon Center to get some food. Ash and Alder are chowing down, but Iris and Cilan just look behind them and say it's hard to eat with an audience. Alder looks behind him at the crowd of kids and says that he'll give them autographs later and to wait outside. They all slide off of the screen, as Alder asks the gang what they're on their journeys for.
Nurse Joy runs in and tells them there's a wild Gigalith on a rampage through the fair. They run over to find everybody running away from the Gigalith. Alder tells everybody to stay back and sends out his Bouffalant. He looks at the Gigalith and holds out an apple, telling it to try it. Gigalith starts running toward Alder, but he just stands there, sure it will stop before running into him. It doesn't, and Alder ends up on a pillar. Jenny says that it's up to her now, and sends out her Herdier. She tells it to use Shadow Ball, but Bouffalant steps in front of it and Alder tells her that he's figured out Gigalith's problem.
He steps in front of it, and braces himself. Gigalith charges toward him, but he catches it and flips it over. Alder bends over and takes a nail out of Gigalith's foot. Alder sprays a Super Potion on Gigalith's foot and gives it a stone to eat. It flips itself back over, making it much happier. Jenny insists on arresting Gigalith. Alder tries to reason with her, but then a pillar starts to topple right on top of Jenny. Gigalith jumps on top of her and stops the pillar. Jenny agrees to not arrest it, and Alder sends it on its way.