Battling on Thin Ice! (Japanese: 氷上決戦！ピカチュウVSビビヨン！！Decisive Battle on the Ice! Pikachu VS Viviyon!!) is the sixth episode of the XY series, and the 805th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on November 14, 2013 and in the United States on February 22, 2014.
After his defeat at the Santalune City Gym, Ash is having doubts that he can defeat the skilled Gym Leader Viola in a rematch. But Serena (who, it turns out, met Ash at Pokémon Summer Camp when they were younger) reminds him that he’s always been determined not to give up until it’s over. This reminder snaps Ash out of his self-doubt and inspires him to do some serious special training with Pikachu and Fletchling against Alexa’s Noivern!
Standing up to Noivern’s Gust is hard work, but soon Ash feels like they’re ready. He also has an idea about how to deal with the ice battlefield if Viola uses that trick again, but he’s not telling anybody what it is. And since they also had trouble with Surskit’s Sticky Web, Clemont shows off one of his inventions: a machine that reproduces Sticky Web exactly! The machine shoots a couple of webs so Pikachu and Fletchling can practice dodging, but when Clemont tries to turn up the intensity, it blows up. Undeterred, Ash asks Froakie to throw its gooey Frubbles to simulate Sticky Web attacks, and Ash and his team seem to be as ready for a rematch as they can be...
The next day, it’s obvious right from the start that their intense training is paying off. Pikachu digs in with its tail to stay upright on the icy battlefield and defeats Surskit! Ash then sends Fletchling out for a rematch against Vivillon, but Viola’s Pokémon has another move they didn’t know about: Sleep Powder! The snoozing Fletchling can’t avoid Vivillon’s powerful Solar Beam, and Viola evens the score at one Pokémon each.
Ash has to call Pikachu back in, even though it’s worn out from beating Surskit. Vivillon uses Sleep Powder again—but Ash’s voice cuts through Pikachu’s sleepiness, telling it to use Electro Ball on itself! This shocking strategy wakes Pikachu up so it can defeat Vivillon with a final Thunderbolt, and Ash wins the match and the Bug Badge!
Alexa suggests the Cyllage City Gym for their next destination, and after a few farewells, Ash, Clemont, and Bonnie head off—along with Serena, who isn’t yet sure where she’s going...
Ash continues training with Alexa so he can battle Viola again at the Santalune Gym. After saving his Pokémon from Noivern's Gust, Ash ponders his strategy for defeating Viola and all of her tactics. As he does so, Serena offers Ash a handkerchief and asks if he remembers her. She explains that the two of them met at Professor Oak's Pokémon Summer Camp, and Ash remembers going there but not specifically meeting her, much to Serena's disappointment. Serena reminds Ash how he once told her to never give up until it's over, and that he hasn't changed at all since they met. Thanking Serena for her help, Ash resumes training. Pikachu and Fletchling make steady progress on dealing with Gust and their training continues into the evening.
At the Pokémon Center, while everyone is eating dinner, Ash tells the group that he has come up with an idea to counter Surskit's ice battlefield, but refuses to tell anyone until they can see for themselves the next day, to Bonnie's general annoyance. Clemont volunteers to provide his assistance for dealing with Sticky Web, leading the group outside and introducing his newest invention, the "Sticky Web Sticky Wicked Whacker Wonk" - a cannon that fires a synthetic material resembling Sticky Web. However, when Clemont sets the machine to its maximum level, it tilts upwards and clogs itself with its own artificial web, causing the machine to explode. Instead, Ash sends out Froakie so that its frubbles can function as their Sticky Web training.
Ash facing Viola
The next morning, Ash returns to the Santalune Gym and begins his rematch with Viola. Off to the side, Alexa mentions to Serena her surprise that she was the one to give Ash his much-needed encouragement and inspiration. Both Viola and Ash are excited for the match, and so they begin by sending out Surskit and Pikachu, respectively. Uncharacteristically for Ash, he is waiting for Viola to make the first move. Surskit fires its Sticky Web attack, which Pikachu has no trouble dodging thanks to his special training. Pikachu's Thunderbolt is blocked by Surskit's Protect before the former lands a hit with Iron Tail. As Surskit attempts to counter with its ice battlefield strategy, Pikachu jumps onto it and starts to use Thunderbolt, but is thrown off too quickly and fails to stop Surskit from creating its special battlefield. Surskit then starts skating around Pikachu, just like before. As Viola orders a Signal Beam attack, Pikachu lodges his tail into the ice to stay balanced, which was Ash's secret plan for the ice battlefield. With his balance restored, Pikachu aims a perfect Thunderbolt at Surskit, overpowering its Signal Beam and knocking it out.
As Viola recalls Surskit, Ash does the same with Pikachu, wanting to give Fletchling a second chance at defeating Vivillon. Bonnie notes that Sticky Web will not be an issue this time, which Serena credits to Pikachu. Clemont adds that since Ash's Gust countermeasure is ready, this battle is nothing like the last one. Fletchling leads off with Steel Wing, but Vivillon uses Psychic to catch Fletchling mid-attack and throw it to the ground. With a second Steel Wing, Fletchling lands a hit on Vivillon and, although Fletchling also scores a Razor Wind attack, a combination of Vivillon's Sleep Powder and Solar Beam knocks Fletchling out, leaving just Pikachu. Although Bonnie is worried that Viola is making a comeback, Serena reassures her with her unwavering confidence in Ash's abilities.
With the match now a one-on-one match between Pikachu and Vivillon, Ash and Viola continue to battle. Vivillon uses Gust, and although Pikachu struggles at first, Ash has him dig into the ground using Iron Tail. With its Gust having failed, Vivillon uses Solar Beam, which is countered and canceled out by Pikachu's Thunderbolt. However, Vivillon manages to hit Pikachu with Sleep Powder and, just as with Fletchling previously, charges another Solar Beam attack. As Ash begins to lose hope in his chances of winning, Serena calls words of encouragement to him. Her support makes him regain focus on the battle and Pikachu uses Electro Ball on himself, destroying the effects of Sleep Powder. Pikachu counters the Solar Beam just in time with an Electro Ball that breaks through Vivillon's attack and knocks Viola's Pokémon against the lamps frozen by Surskit. With Vivillon's wing partially frozen, it is unable to dodge Pikachu's Thunderbolt, securing Ash the victory.
Clemont, Bonnie, and Serena all congratulate Ash on his win, to which he responds that he won due to the effort put in by all of them. Viola presents Ash with the Bug Badge as proof of his victory over her. Ash proudly accepts it and sets his sights on Cyllage City for his next Gym battle. The episode then concludes with Ash inquiring as to where Serena is headed next.
Ash holding the Bug Badge
Serena reveals that she and Ash first met at a summer camp in Pallet Town, but he does not remember her.
In a previous episode, the gray logo on Ash's Badge case is colored in the dub (red and green is added for the Pokémon Gym logo and the pattern around it respectively). However, this didn't happen to Ash's Badge case in this episode.
This episode's dub title is a reference to the phrase "skating on thin ice".
This episode is similar to Showdown in Pewter City, where Ash is helped by Flint to rematch his first Gym battle in Kanto. In this case, he is helped by Alexa to win his first Gym battle in Kalos. Thus in both cases, Ash was helped by a relative of Gym Leader for his rematch at the first Gym of that region.
When Fletchling has been hit by Vivillon's Sleep Powder and was falling down, Serena's hat is colored purple for a few frames, and a few frames later, Alexa's eyebrows are incorrectly colored the same beige as her skin.
After Ash recalled his fainted Fletchling and then use Pikachu again, his hair is briefly shown completely black instead of the usual dark-cyan tone.
When Pikachu has woken himself up with Electro Ball, some of the ice around his feet has melted. When he prepares to fire another Electro Ball to counter Vivillon's Solar Beam, the ice that melted is back.
In one scene for a split-frame, the part of Bonnie's hair near her left ear is colored the same way as her skin.
After Pikachu hits Surskit with Iron Tail, Clemont states that Pikachu didn't land a move in their last battle. This is incorrect, as Pikachu landed an Iron Tail during the battle.
Alexa without the earrings
Serena's hat error
Alexa's eyebrows error
Bonnie's hair near her left ear error
Like in the past five episodes, the title card is lacking the characters' shadows in the dub for an unknown reason. This edit was reverted in home video and iTunes releases, as well as non-US airings.
For unknown reasons, the title card segment was skipped in the Hindi dub.