League Unleashed! (Japanese: 開幕！シンオウリーグ・スズラン大会！！ Raise the Curtain! Sinnoh League - Suzuran Tournament!!) is the 183rd episode of Pokémon the Series: Diamond and Pearl, and the 649th episode of the Pokémon anime. It aired in Japan on July 1, 2010, and in the United States on November 27, 2010.
As Round One of the Sinnoh League gets underway, Ash learns he will be battling none other than his friend, the musician Nando. Our heroes also run into Paul, who is planning to use his trademark analytical strategy. And then Ash literally runs into a very confident and excited Barry!
Battling in a three-on-three format, Ash and Nando initially appear to be evenly matched. But as Ash’s desire for a real head-to-head battle takes hold, Nando becomes fascinated with the action—and a bit distracted in the process. After a moment, he manages to clear his head and battle back using his own style. Finally, Ash claims victory, but Nando is satisfied with his own efforts and bids our heroes a fond farewell. Conway and Barry catch up with our heroes to report that they both won their first-round battles. So did Paul—and an unknown Trainer who defeated his first opponent with a Darkrai!
Far from the action in the arena, Team Rocket has managed a victory of its own, successfully selling snacks for the crowds at the Sinnoh League. The team has been impressing the head of concessions, thanks to some smart sales strategizing by none other than Meowth!
Round Two of the Sinnoh League is soon to come, and we leave our heroes looking forward to even more battle action!
During the opening ceremony of the Lily of the Valley Conference, Ash learns that he will be facing a friend Nando first. Nando approaches and tells Ash that the match-up must be fate and thanks Ash for inspiring him to take on the Sinnoh League in the first place. They shake hands and wish each other luck.
Later, Ash sits with his friends to think of a battle winning strategy to beat Nando. Brock tells him that Nando often uses Bug and Grass-type Pokémon, and so Fire, Flying, and Ice-type Pokémon would be effective. Dawn also reminds Ash that Nando used a Lopunny, a Normal-type, in the Sinnoh Grand Festival. Just then, Paul walks past them. Ash stops him and tells him that he's going to give it his all so that he can face Paul in the finals, but Paul says that Ash is pathetic. He adds that 'Giving it his all' wouldn't mean anything, because everyone there had already earned eight Badges.
Meanwhile, Selma is instructing all the vendors, including the Team Rocket trio, on customer service and running their businesses. They had all drawn lots to see where they would set up shop. Jessie is angry as their booth will be lot #139, which is out in the back of the complex, away from the others, but James and Meowth tell her that with some Team Rocket ingenuity, they can make do.
Late at night, Ash ponders on what Paul said, causing him to second-guess his strategy. Frustrated, he steps out onto the balcony and begins looking at eight shining stars in the sky to clear his head. Ash remembers that he won all his Badges by believing in his Pokémon and with that, he decides it is how it always has been, and always will be, and that's how he can beat Nando.
The next morning, Ash swaps out his team with Professor Oak at the Pokémon Center. Dawn asks Ash what Pokémon he plans to use against Nando, but Ash says that it's a secret. Just then, Barry runs by and crashes into Ash. After a brief argument, he remembers that he's late for his first battle and runs off. While Dawn wonders what kind of team Barry has put together, Conway creepily appears behind her, reminding Dawn that he can answer any question she has. Dawn brushes him off while he then slinks away, snickering.
Finally, Ash's battle against Nando is about to begin. Dawn and Brock cheer him on from the stands. Nando sends out his Roserade as his first Pokémon and Ash calls out Staraptor, giving him the type advantage over Roserade. Nando gets the first move and tells Roserade to use Sweet Scent, which Staraptor fails to dodge. Then, Roserade uses Magical Leaf, hitting Staraptor once again. Staraptor falls, and Nando tells Roserade to use Solar Beam. As Roserade is preparing to launch its Solar Beam, Ash begs Staraptor to stand up and dodge. Roserade launches its Solar Beam, but at the last second Staraptor opens its eyes. The attack hits the field, however, Staraptor has soared high into the sky and is unscathed, which astonishes both Nando and Roserade. Ash tells Staraptor to retaliate with Brave Bird. The move knocks Roserade out, but Staraptor is affected by the recoil damage. Nando recalls Roserade and sends out Armaldo. Dawn checks it with her Pokédex. Ash realizes that Staraptor is worn out, so he tells it to use Close Combat, but Armaldo suddenly uses Protect, causing Staraptor to fall back. Then, Armaldo follows on with a super-effective Rock Blast, knocking out Staraptor.
With Dawn and Brock discussing Ash's situation, Barry runs down the stairs and stands in front of Brock and Dawn and tells them that an unknown Trainer has entered the competition with a powerful Darkrai. While Brock takes note, Dawn ignores Barry’s comment and continues cheering for Ash. Barry turns his attention to the field and sits down to watch Ash compete. Meanwhile, outside the stadium, Team Rocket is putting their plan into action. They are now in the middle of the complex, giving food away for free. Jessie and James realize that they are losing money, though Meowth has something in mind. Selma looks on, admitting the sales concept is strange.
Back in the stadium, Ash calls out his Quilava, who is quickly running out of steam. Nando tells Armaldo to use X-Scissor, and Ash tells Quilava to use Aerial Ace. Both attacks collide and the round ends in a draw.
Back in the stands, Conway appears again, scaring Dawn and Barry. Conway reveals that he won his first-round match with ease and introduces himself to Barry, who hasn't met him yet. Nando sends out his last Pokémon, Kricketune, and Ash sends out his Heracross. Ash has Heracross charge ahead with Megahorn, but it is kept away by Kricketune using a counter Silver Wind. Nando tells Kricketune to use Sing, and Heracross falls asleep, falling to the ground. Then, Kricketune uses Fury Cutter, and Ash tells Heracross to use its newly learned Sleep Talk; a move that allows it to attack in its sleep. Heracross dodges the Fury Cutter, and uses Focus Punch continuously while waking up, and Kricketune counters it with another Fury Cutter. The two continue to exchange attacks with Paul watching the battle on the television. A strong impact from both attacks sends both Pokémon flying. Nando then tells Kricketune to use Sing but just as it is about to use the move, Ash tells Heracross to use Megahorn on the ground. The Megahorn hits the ground and Heracross stamps its feet, using Horn Attack to send Kricketune flying. With the strong power, Kricketune is knocked out, and Ash is the winner. Heracross flies over to Ash and suckling on his head, while Ash’s supporters cheer him on. Conway laughs and disappears once again.
Outside the stadium, Team Rocket now has lots of customers at their booth. Jessie is pleasantly surprised the strategy worked, and Meowth admits the free taste test helped entice customers to them. Selma says to herself that she will have to get the trio a better booth. Nando thanks Ash for the great battle and then leaves to continue traveling. Soon, is it revealed that Paul is advancing to the next round, and Dawn informs Ash that Barry and Conway also won their first-round battles. Brock tells Ash about the Trainer with the Darkrai. Ash is surprised at first but becomes excited about battling such a strong foe.
- Nando is revealed to have obtained an Armaldo.
- Ash's Quilava is revealed to have learned Aerial Ace.
- Ash's Heracross is revealed to have learned Sleep Talk and Focus Punch.
- Ash defeats Nando in the first round, advancing to the second round.
- Barry, Conway, Tobias, and Paul also make it through the first round.
- Ash learns that a mysterious Trainer has entered the tournament with a Darkrai.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
- Tobias (shadow)
- Tobias (shadow)
- Charles Goodshow
- Pikachu (Ash's)
- Meowth (Team Rocket)
- Piplup (Dawn's)
- Wobbuffet (Jessie's)
- Heracross (Ash's)
- Quilava (Ash's)
- Aipom (Ash's; flashback)
- Staraptor (Ash's)
- Turtwig (Ash's; flashback)
- Chimchar (Ash's; flashback)
- Infernape (Ash's; flashback)
- Buizel (Ash's; flashback)
- Gliscor (Ash's; flashback)
- Seviper (Jessie's)
- Roserade (Nando's)
- Kricketune (Nando's)
- Armaldo (Nando's)
- Lopunny (Nando's; flashback)
- Empoleon (Barry's)
- Rampardos (Roark's; flashback)
- Roserade (Gardenia's; flashback)
- Lucario (Maylene's; flashback)
- Floatzel (Crasher Wake's; flashback)
- Drifblim (Fantina's; flashback)
- Bastiodon (Byron's; flashback)
- Abomasnow (Candice's; flashback)
- Luxray (Volkner's; flashback)
- Darkrai (Tobias's; flashback)
- Azurill (Trainer's)
- Nosepass (Trainer's)
- Cherubi (kid's)
- Delcatty (boy's)
- Natu (young man's)
- Oddish (boy's)
- Skiploom (girl's)
- Whismur (girl's)
- Marill (boy's)
- Poliwag (girl's)
- Gloom (girl's)
- Starly (young man's)
- Aipom (man's)
- Machamp (Trainer's; flashback)
- The Greatest - Everyday! (BAND VERSION) replaced the original version of the song as the Japanese opening theme, without any changes in the animation.
- In Your Heart, LaLaLa replaced Which One ~ Is It? as the Japanese ending theme.
- There is no Professor Oak's Big Pokémon Examination following this episode.
- This was the last episode to air before M13 debuted in Japanese theaters.
- This episode marks the first time that a Trainer has entered a Mythical Pokémon in a Pokémon League Conference, the Pokémon in question being Darkrai.
- From this episode onward during the remainder of the Lily of the Valley Conference arc, Team Rocket doesn't blast off or recite the motto in any form.
- This episode marks the final appearance of Nando.
- When Jessie sends out Seviper, it is smaller than her, being the same size it was in A Tail with a Twist.
- During the flashback of Ash's Gym battles, Turtwig is shown defeating Roark's Rampardos with Magical Leaf, despite the fact that Turtwig actually defeated Rampardos with Razor Leaf and is in fact unable to learn Magical Leaf. This might just be a coloration error, however.
- When Kricketune and Heracross are clashing with Fury Cutter and Focus Punch, respectively, in the end, Kricketune is knocked back after the red flash, and Heracross is knocked back after the white flash, although it should be the other way around since Kricketune's Fury Cutter is colored red, and Heracross's Focus Punch is colored white.
- Heracross uses Focus Punch via Sleep Talk. However, Sleep Talk cannot call Focus Punch in any generation.
- In the Polish dub, when discussing Nando's team, Ash omits Swellow and mentions Cyndaquil, despite it evolving in the previous episode.
- In the original Japanese version, when he is thinking about which Pokémon to use against Nando, Ash thinks he should choose between Glalie, Infernape, Staraptor, Swellow, or Quilava. In the English dub, Quilava isn't mentioned.
- In the English dub, Paul tells Ash that giving it all he has got won't be enough. In the original Japanese version, he calls him naïve and says that he'll need more than high spirits to defeat the experienced Trainers at the League.
In other languages
|Dutch||De League gaat los!|
|Finnish||Liiga pääsee vauhtiin!|
|European French||La ligue de Sinnoh se déchaine !|
|German||Das Turnier ist eröffnet|
|Indonesian||Turnamen Kota Lily! Pertarungan Liga Sinnoh Dimulai!!|
|Italian||La Lega ha inizio!|
|Korean||신오리그 영란대회 1차전 지우 VS 시호|
|Norwegian||Ligaen er i gang!|
|Portugal||Os Futuros Vencedores da Liga Sinnoh!|
|Spanish||Latin America||¡La Liga Desencadenada!|
|Swedish||Ligan i full gång!|
|This episode article is part of Project Anime, a Bulbapedia project that covers all aspects of the Pokémon anime.|