Early reports credited Yukihiro Makino as both storyboarder and assistant director.
Dawn's Early Night! (Japanese: ポケモンコンテスト！ヨスガ大会！！Pokémon Contest! Yosuga Convention!!) is the 49th episode of the Diamond & Pearl series, and the 515th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on October 4, 2007 as part of a two-hour special alongside DP050, and in the United States on January 26, 2008.
As our Heroes make their way through Hearthome City and to the Hearthome City Gym, they run into their friend Nando at the Gym door who tells them that the Gym Leader will be away for quite awhile, much to Ash’s dismay. But telling them about the upcoming Hearthome City Pokemon Tag Battle, Ash and Brock decided to enter that instead – as a team. Meanwhile, the Hearthome City Pokemon Contest is just getting underway, and Dawn finds herself competing along with Nando, Zoey, and Jessilina, who of course is actually Jessie in disguise. Feeling very confident, Dawn gives a superb performance, but is sadly shocked to learn that she hasn’t even made it past the 1st round. As she struggles to cope with the situation, Jessilina is defeated by Nando, leaving Zoey and Nando battling in the finals, which Nando ultimately wins. Sharing feelings about their losses proves to cement Dawn and Zoey’s friendship even further, and as they both marvel at Nando’s ability to compete in both Pokemon Gym battles and Contests, the future begins to look much brighter for both of them, as the Pokemon Tag Battle is set to take place for Ash and Brock in a matter of days.
Brock notices a note on the door as Nando recites what it says: the Gym Leader is out and won't be back for a while. Nando mentions the Hearthome City Tag Battle Competition, a tournament where skilled Trainers pair up to compete in several rounds of Tag Battles, and suggests that they enter it instead. Ash is eager to get in, and Brock also agrees. Nando has decided to enter the Pokémon Contest instead, which reminds Dawn that she needs to register.
As Nando and Dawn walk to the Contest Hall, Dawn finds out that he still has one Ribbon and one Badge. Dawn knows that it has been some time since the Floaroma Contest, but thanks to Zoey's help, she is confident about Double Performances. At the Contest Hall, Zoey relaxes with her Pokémon as Dawn and Nando find her, Zoey's leg fully healed from her injury. Nando meets Zoey for the first time, but when Nando reveals his decision to participate in both Pokémon Contests and Gym battles, it draws criticism from Zoey. Meanwhile, Jessie puts on her "Jessilina" disguise and trains with Dustox and Seviper, but decides to use Mime Jr. in the performance instead.
At the center, Dawn checks on her Pokémon, confident about the Contest. Still she feels nervous about the event. Zoey meets up with Ash and the others, mentioning the Tag Battle. Dawn thanks Zoey about her help, but starts to demonstrate overconfidence and less on her Pokémon.
Other Coordinators take their turns, as Dawn is still confident despite many high-experience Coordinators. Her turn arrives as she takes the stage with Pachirisu and Piplup. Pachirisu launches Sweet Kiss while Piplup encases the attack with Bubble Beam. Pachirisu uses Discharge as Piplup uses Whirlpool, the electricity causing the whirlpool to dissipate in a flash of sparkles. She gets positive reviews, while her mother watches from home intently.
Jessie takes her turn, sending out Mime Jr. and Cacnea. Cacnea uses Needle Arm, which Mime Jr. Mimics before using Tickle on Jessie as both Cacnea and Mime Jr. hug and tickle Jessie, spinning her around the stage. The unique experience gets Dawn's attention but actually creeps out Ash and Brock. Cacnea then fires Pin Missile, which Mime Jr. mimics, into the sky and creating fireworks.
Jessie gets a very high score as Zoey then takes the stage with Glameow and Shellos. Shellos fires Mud Bomb as Glameow's Iron Tail breaks the attack. Glameow taps into Secret Power, which creates a paralyzing light as on the stage. Glameow then prepares Shadow Claw to create a sparkle from the Secret Power. Shellos than launches Water Pulse, surrounding Glameow as it uses its claws to split the Water Pulse, causing the water to then rebound on itself and create a dazzling sparkle. Her performance also gets a great score.
The first round ends as the results are calculated. Backstage, Dawn brushes the fur of her Buneary as Pachirisu eats a Poffin, Dawn confident that she passed, even predicting that her and Zoey will be in the finals. The results are then announced as the eight Coordinators are posted one by one. Nando and Zoey take the top two and three. Other Coordinators are posted, leaving only one spot left, as Jessie and Dawn watch. The eighth Coordinator to advance to the Contest Battles is not Dawn, but Jessie. Dawn is clearly upset as her friends notice, even her mother back in Twinleaf Town. Jessie is ecstatic at passing as Dawn's Pokémon try to cheer her up, as does Ash and her friends. Dawn is still clearly upset, even angry, as she gets up and runs out of the room. Zoey suggest that they leave her be for the moment as Dawn runs outside and lets out a scream of agony. Meanwhile, Jessie and Nando wind up battling as Nando's Kricketune easily takes out Jessie's Seviper and Dustox, depleting all her points and sending Nando to the finals.
Backstage, Dawn gets back into her travel clothes as she heads out, Ash and Brock informing Dawn that the final round will pit Nando against Zoey. Ash and his friends watch as the crowd bustles with excitement. The scene then jumps to the following night. Ash and Brock talk to Johanna over the telephone, as she knows that both Dawn and Zoey are upset, since Nando managed to beat Zoey in the final round. Johanna decides to let Dawn talk to Zoey instead of her since they both can sympathize with one another. On the balcony, Zoey reveals her respect for Nando and her inspiration. Dawn's talk with Zoey helps put down her depression.
Fantina wasn't at her Gym in this episode and had not left anybody to stand in for her, despite the fact that if the Pokémon Inspection Agency's rules from Cerulean Blues still applied, that kind of behavior would lead to the Gym being shut down. However, it is possible that they do not have that kind of authority in the Sinnoh region.
This episode was initially skipped in New Zealand for unknown reasons. When the season was repeated, the episode aired as normal. It is also readily available on DVD in New Zealand.