Battling the Leaf Thieves! (Japanese: キバゴ救出！アイアントの巣窟！！Rescue Kibago! Aiant's Nest!!) is the 74th episode of the Best Wishes series, and the 731st episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on April 12, 2012 and in the United States on August 11, 2012.
On their way to Icirrus City and Ash’s next Gym battle, Ash and Iris are doing some training with Swadloon and Emolga. The attacks are fast and furious, when suddenly Swadloon evolves into Leavanny!
Leavanny’s special talent is making clothes out of leaves for small Pokémon, and Ash’s Leavanny gets right on it! It makes clothes for three wild Sewaddle whose leaves are in tatters, as well as most of our heroes’ Pokémon—though not all of them appreciate the final result.
It’s time for a nap after their early-morning start. While everyone is asleep, a group of hungry Durant appears, taking the pile of leaf clothing—and Axew, who’s wearing a stylish leaf mask! Our heroes wake to discover Axew missing, and Emolga figures out what happened and leads them to the cave where the Durant make their nest. It’s a maze of tunnels, and Leavanny attaches its thread to the walls as they walk so they can find their way back.
They search for a long while with no luck, but then Cilan comes up with a plan: wrap Ash and Scraggy up in leaves and use them as bait! When the Durant come to drag our leaf-covered heroes away, the others follow, and the Durant lead them to their leaf hoard (and the still-sleeping Axew).
Their rescue attempt leads to a fierce fight with these armor-plated Bug types, until Emolga uses its secret weapon: Attract! This takes a number of Durant out of the fighting—enough for our heroes to flee, following Leavanny’s thread trail back out of the cave. Axew finally wakes up safe and sound, and our heroes are on their way to Icirrus City once again.
On their way to Icirrus City, Ash and Iris have a practice battle. Iris's Emolga is battling Ash's Swadloon. Swadloon uses Tackle which hits Emolga and sends her flying. Ash says good job to Swadloon. Emolga hits the ground hard but is okay. Emolga uses Discharge and follows it up with several Hidden Power attacks as Swadloon dodges all of them. Swadloon has a happy look on his face as he is dodging the Hidden Power orbs. Emolga and Swadloon are both enjoying the battle, as Cilan, Axew, Pikachu, and Scraggy cheer them both on. Swadloon uses String Shot several times, as Emolga dodges. The final String Shot wraps Emolga up and Swadloon uses Razor Leaf which lands a hit on Emolga. Emolga uses Discharge on Swadloon, knocking him down. Swadloon uses Energy Ball as Emolga dodges and uses Hidden Power, which knocks Swadloon down. As Emolga lands on the ground, she strikes a pose. Swadloon evolves into Leavanny, which shocks everyone. Ash is very happy to have Leavanny and scans him with his Pokédex. He thanks Emolga helping Swadloon evolve, as Emolga looks happy to hear that.
Leavanny walks up to some trees, and grabs the large leaves from them. He uses his arms to cut the leaves into head clothes, and uses string to sew them the correct way. Leavanny place two of the leaf clothes on to Axew and Scraggy's heads, as everyone says that they are cute. Axew and Scraggy love the leaf clothes, and Axew grabs Scraggy's to play keep away from him. Emolga isn't very happy about the leaf clothes. She looks scared as Leavanny tries to put leaf clothes on her. Leavanny puts a leaf clothing on Pikachu, who likes having one on his head. Leavanny sees three Sewaddle who come out of the tree with leaf clothes that are really messed up and are very sad. Leavanny cuts and sews up new leaf clothes, and puts them on their heads. Ash remembers when Burgh's Leavanny gave his own Leavanny new leaf clothes back when he was a Sewaddle. Leavanny waves good-bye as the Sewaddle go back into the tree. He has a smile on his face after helping out the Sewaddle.
Ash brings out Snivy, Oshawott, and Tepig to see that Swadloon has now become a Leavanny. Oshawott and Tepig are happy to see Leavanny, but Snivy isn't so sure when she sees him. Leavanny gives leaf clothes to Tepig and Oshawott, who both like them. Oshawott laughs at Tepig which makes him mad, as he Tackles Oshawott. They start fighting, as Pikachu has to break them up. Leavanny tries to give Snivy and Emolga leaf clothes but when they are put on, Emolga and Snivy are not happy to be wearing leaf clothes. Emolga laughs at Snivy which angers her. Snivy uses Vine Whip which Emolga dodges, but the wind blows her away to a branch of a tree. Snivy has to use her Vine Whip to bring her back down to the ground. Emolga is not grateful to Snivy for being saved. A large leaf lands on Axew and Leavanny makes a leaf costume for him. Axew likes his outfit very much.
Scraggy starts to doze off, Axew yawns, and Iris yawns too. Everyone decides that they should take a nap. The Pokémon sleep on a mat, Ash and Cilan sleep in hammocks, and Iris sleeps in a tree. A couple of Durant crawl up to the blanket, grab the leaf clothes, and grab Axew as they crawl away. Scraggy wakes up to find that Axew is no longer next to him on the blanket, and starts yelling for him. Ash and his friends wake up, as Scraggy tells them that Axew is gone. The Pokémon all wake up, with Oshawott and Snivy yawning as they wake up. Iris asks Emolga to go search for Axew, as Emolga yawns and flies off to find him. Ash recalls Tepig, Oshawott, and Snivy as everyone yells out for Axew to let them know where he is. Scraggy has a really concerned look on his face the whole time. Emolga lands on top of a cliff, and notices that some Durant have Axew and follows them to where their den is. She flies back to tell the others where Axew was taken to. Everyone continues to yell out Axew's name. After Emolga comes back to say where Axew is, everyone runs to the Durant's den. They observe a Durant enter the den, as Ash scans it with his Pokédex. Ash and his friends enter the Durant's den. Leavanny uses his sewing thread to create a line to help them get back out after rescuing Axew. Iris recalls Emolga, as Scraggy waves for them to now enter the den.
While walking through the cave, Cilan hits his head while running in to a rock, and then slips and falls on the ground. They have trouble navigating the cave. They stop to think about how they are going to enter the Durant's den, and to be able to rescue Axew. Cilan thinks that one of them should be fully wrapped in leaves, have the Durant carry them to where they are keeping Axew, and they would sneak up to Axew and save get him out of that situation. Ash wonders who will be the one wrapped in leaves, as Iris and Cilan have a sneaky grin on their faces. They wrap Ash in leaves, and Ash is not happy that he is wrapped in leaves, so he tries to wiggle out of them. Leavanny places one last leaf over Ash's face so that the Durant won't know that he is in them. Scraggy volunteers to also be wrapped in leaves to try to save Axew. Scraggy is wrapped fully in leaves.
Ash and Scraggy are on the ground in front of some tunnels, as the Durant pick them up and carry them to where all of the other leaves and Axew are being stored. Iris and Cilan follow behind the Durant without being noticed. Ash and Scraggy are thrown on top of a large pile of leaves. They peek outside of their leaves, but have to hide again after a Durant hears them. Three of the Durant grab balls of leaves and eat some leaves off of them. Iris yells to Ash, but he waves and says to keep quiet. Ash and Scraggy look around to see if they can spot Axew, and see him far in front of them in a pile of leaves. Ash shows Iris where Axew is, and tries to rescue him himself, but they slip, roll down the hill of leaves, and hit the ground. The Durant hear everyone, and call for their friends to come. Ash and Scraggy jump out of their leaves out of fear.
Two Durant use Shadow Claw as everyone dodges. Durant uses Iron Head to land a hit on Leavanny. Leavanny uses Razor Leaf, but Durant uses Protect to block the attack. Durant uses Iron Head as Pikachu dodges. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt but again, Durant uses Protect to block the attack. Another Durant uses Iron Head as Iris dodges the attack. Iris brings out Emolga and has her use Discharge but again, the Durant blocks with Protect. Durant uses Iron Head to send Scraggy into the air and Scraggy uses Headbutt, but is blocked by Durant's Protect. Durant uses Shadow Claw, as Leavanny dodges. Leavanny uses Energy Ball, and Emolga uses Hidden Power to attack at once, but both Durant use Protect to block them. Pikachu uses Iron Tail, and Scraggy uses Hi Jump Kick to attack at once, but the Durant dodge and both of them are hurt as they hit the ground hard. Durant uses Guillotine, but Scraggy is able to dodge in time. Durant uses Shadow Claw, as Leavanny dodges. Emolga tries to use Discharge again, but all of the Durant use Protect.
Emolga uses Attract, which is able to affect several of the Durant which confuses the only female and leaves her open for attack. Leavanny uses Energy Ball, which hits its mark. Emolga uses Hidden Power to also hit the Durant, as Iris runs up the leaf hill to grab and rescue Axew. When Iris picks Axew up, he is still fast asleep. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt and Scraggy uses Hi Jump Kick to finish off the Durant. Iris recalls Emolga. Ash, his friends, and the Pokémon head back to the exit of the cave that they entered in. Everyone is happy and relieved as they exit the cave. After exiting the cave, Axew finally wakes up, and Scraggy jumps for joy that Axew is safe. Back in the den, the group of Durant wake up to find more leaves and leaf balls for them to eat, as they begin eating them. Ash and his friends continue their journey to Icirrus City.