| Making Battles in the Sand!
Satoshi and Go, Crawl Up From the Sand Hell!
|| September 6, 2020
| United States
|| December 4, 2020
|| Team Kato
|| 土屋理敬 Michihiro Tsuchiya
|| 齋藤徳明 Noriaki Saito
| Assistant director
|| 田辺慎吾 Shingo Tanabe
| Animation directors
|| 新城真 Makoto Shinjō
| 升谷有希 Yuki Masutani
| No additional credits are available at this time.
Making Battles in the Sand! (Japanese: サトシとゴウ、砂地獄から這い上がれ！ Satoshi and Go, Crawl Up From the Sand Hell!) is the 36th episode of Pokémon Journeys: The Series, and the 1,121st episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on September 6, 2020 and in the United States on December 4, 2020.
Ash is in a slump—after three straight losses, he’s dropped down a class in the World Coronation Series. Meanwhile, a mysterious whirling sandstorm has appeared in Mauville City, drawing people in with a strange singing noise. Ash and Goh investigate—inside, they discover a sprawling desert, and Goh catches a Trapinch and a Vibrava. They also find the source of the singing noise: a powerful Flygon! As Ash gets caught up in his own thoughts, Goh confidently defeats Flygon…and catches it, too! Then, when Goh reveals that his unconventional strategy was inspired by Ash, Ash starts feeling better and vows to train hard again so he can battle Leon!
Following his defeat at the hands of Bea, Ash and his Pokémon are jogging as a part of their training to win next time. Hearing this, Goh and his Raboot decide to join them. Ash suddenly gets an alert on his Rotom Phone, with his next World Coronation Series opponent standing only feet away. Drone Rotom soars into to oversee the one-on-one match, with Ash calling on Riolu against a male Trainer and his Octillery. Ash notes that Octillery will probably move like Bea's Grapploct and warns Riolu to stay back as much as possible. Riolu makes the first attack. Octillery evades the flurry of Vacuum Waves before striking back with Psybeam, which manages to confuse Riolu. In its daze, Riolu is unable to escape Octillery's Wrap attack and is struck out by a direct blast of Octazooka. Ash rushes to aid his Riolu, though the defeat causes his official ranking to drop from 930 to 975.
Ash's disappointment quickly subsides when he receives another battle invitation, this time from a female Trainer with a Tentacruel. Ash again calls out his Riolu, warning it to keep its distance. Riolu starts off strong, evading an oncoming Bubble Beam while firing off several Vacuum Waves. However, Riolu gets too close to its opponent, and is battered away by a tentacle. Tentacruel follows on with a Bind before using Poison Sting, leaving Riolu unable to battle. Ash's official ranking again declines for the third consecutive time, now down to rank 1021, landing Ash back in the Normal Class.
Meanwhile, in Mauville City of the Hoenn region, a large sandstorm has appeared out of nowhere. A hauntingly beautiful song from inside the sandstorm seemingly hypnotizes the people, and they walk towards it. Reports of the strange phenomenon soon reach Cerise Laboratory, with Ren, Chrysa, and Professor Cerise left baffled by it. As they consider that the strange song may be the work of an unknown Pokémon, Goh volunteers to help the Professor investigate further. The Professor allows his research fellows to go, though Goh is forced to drag the unusually somber Ash, who is still mulling over his three consecutive losses, out to Hoenn.
Ash and Goh arrive in Mauville to find the city half-buried in sand. With a new Pokémon mystery to uncover, Ash quickly cheers up. Putting on their Go-Goggles, the boys and their Pokémon walk directly into the sandstorm. They brave the vortex winds to reach the eye of the storm where they rush towards the distant cries for help. As three people are dragged into a pit, a Trapinch appears, snapping its jaws. Goh consults his Pokédex, learning that Trapinch dig bowl-shaped pits to trap and hunt prey. Goh decides he will have to catch the Trapinch to save the people. A standard throw fails, but his curveball manages to catch the Trapinch. The three people thank their rescuers before leaving.
Ash and Goh hear the same song again, this time being ambushed by a flying Vibrava. Goh tries to catch it as well, but a simple toss fails. Vibrava retaliates by its wings which instantly induces a headache over Goh and the others. Next Goh tries a curveball throw, which initially misses until Raboot kicks Poké Ball into the right trajectory. The Ball lands and successfully captures the Vibrava.
Goh deduces that the Trapinch line's final evolution must be somewhere nearby, and soon enough a Flygon bursts from the desert sands. Goh instantly concludes that Flygon is the source of the song, which was created by the desert wings hitting Flygon's wings. He believes Flygon must have whipped up the sandstorm so it could build its nest without being disturbed. Goh throws a Poké Ball, but quickly realizes that he and Ash will need to battle it first. Goh chooses Sobble to assist, while Ash erroneously selects Pikachu and orders a Thunderbolt attack. Flygon is unaffected by the Electric-type attack, and Goh reminds Ash that Flygon is a part Ground type. Ash switches Pikachu out for Riolu and orders a flurry of Vacuum Waves. Flygon whips up another Sandstorm to defend itself, though Sobble's barrage of Water Guns eventually break through.
Ash realizes that Goh was trying to get the loose sand to react to water, which leaves Flygon open to a combo of Water Gun and Vacuum Wave attacks. Flygon switches tact and dives underground using Dragon Rush to navigate the sand like water. It eventually strike Sobble, forcing Goh to recall it before having to contend with an outburst of tears. Ash tries to think of a counter-strategy, but he and Riolu and struck down by Flygon in the meantime. As Flygon flies back up, Goh order Raboot use Double Kick. Though the move misses its mark and Flygon goes into a Dragon Rush yet again. Raboot takes its time to listen to Flygon and it manages to successfully evade Flygon's sneak attacks. Flygon escapes two Ember attacks and responds with a Draco Meteor. Goh orders Raboot to keep dodging while closing in to attack, a strategy which Ash questions. However, Goh follows through, suing the Draco Meteors to help Raboot get leverage before having Raboot use Ember on one of the meteors. The combination proves a success, knocking Flygon to the ground before Goh makes the catch. The sandstorm over Mauville City dissipates as a result. Goh lets out a mighty cheer, thanking Raboot for its amazing effort.
Ash is stunned by Goh's surprising combo technique, to which Goh reveals that he developed it from watching Ash battle. Goh adds that he really wanted to use Ember, a move that he and Raboot worked hard to develop. Ash vows to continue aiming to battle Champion Leon and realizes his mistake, admitting he tried to only attack from a distance after his loss to Bea's Grapploct. Pikachu and Riolu nestle up to Ash, supporting his rediscovered confidence thanks to Goh's newfound determination.
- For a list of all major events in the anime, please see the timeline of events.
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