The Bonds of Evolution! (Japanese: チャンピオン・カルネ登場！霧の中のメガサーナイト！！Champion Carnet Appears! Mega Sirnight in the Mist!!) is the 28th episode of the XY series, and the 827th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on May 22, 2014, in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2014, and in the United States on July 26, 2014.
Ash, Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie meet Diantha, the Champion of the Kalos region! Professor Sycamore is on the scene as well, doing research on Diantha's Gardevoir and its Mega Evolution.
Ash challenges the Champion to a battle, and under unusual circumstances, she accepts. However, their battle is quickly interrupted by the Team Rocket trio, who grab Gardevoir in a cage of energy and fly away! Thanks to the strong bond between the two of them, Diantha knows exactly where Gardevoir is, and she leads our heroes there at once.
She challenges Team Rocket, calling on the power of her Key Stone—and inside the cage, Gardevoir Mega Evolves! Professor Sycamore is delighted to witness a Mega Evolution in person, and Mega Gardevoir makes short work of the villains. Diantha has to get back to a movie shoot, but she agrees to battle Ash again someday...just as soon as he beats the Kalos League!
This episode begins with Ash and his friends, who have found a poster advertising a battle featuring the Pokémon Champion of the Kalos region, Diantha. The friends tell Ash, who has never heard of Diantha before, that Diantha is not only the strongest Pokémon trainer in Kalos, but is also a famous actress. Ash decides to request a battle with Diantha, and the friends run off to meet her.
Behind the scenes at the stadium, Diantha's manager tells a large crowd that Diantha is not accepting meetings or interviews. Just as Ash and his friends are about to leave, Professor Sycamore appears and motions to them to follow him into a room. The professor has come to examine the Mega Evolution that Diantha's Gardevoir possesses. The friends are excited to also hear that Diantha is in the room next door. Ash head towards the door, wanting to request a battle immediately, but before he can open it Diantha emerges, much to the awe of Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie. Professor Sycamore asks Diantha if she has thought about his request to leave her Key Stone temporarily in his possession, to which she respectfully declines, saying that the Key Stone is the very bond between her and Gardevoir. Professor Sycamore persists, however, and Diantha begins to offer a compromise for the next time she visits Lumiose City. Diantha's manager Kathi Lee, however, appears and abruptly tells Sycamore that Diantha's schedule is full. Diantha tells the group to feel free to watch the battle.
At the battlefield, the two opponents take to the field to a cheering crowd, Diantha and a previous year's champion from Brackish Town, Magnus. In the stands, Ash asks Professor Sycamore about the Key Stone. Professor Sycamore tells him the Key Stone is the stone Trainers hold, and the Mega Stone is the stone that Pokémon hold, both crucial to Mega Evolution. Diantha releases Gardevoir, who wears a Mega Stone. Professor Sycamore tells the travelers that a close bond between the Trainer and Pokemon is also crucial to Mega Evolution. Above, Team Rocket watches and decides to get Gardevoir for themselves, hoping to please Giovanni. On the field, Magnus releases Absol, and the battle begins. Magnus and Absol begin with Bite, but Gardevoir is too quick. Absol then uses Quick Attack, but again Gardevoir evades the attack, able to understand Diantha's commands merely through eye contact. Magnus's Absol uses Psycho Cut, but Gardevoir repels it with Shadow Ball, which rebounds to hit Absol. Absol uses Perish Song, but Gardevoir uses Moonblast to knock Absol out, winning the match.
Inside the stadium, a crowd again forms, hoping to see Diantha. An officer tells the crowd that Diantha has already left for a movie shooting. Serena suggests that the group go try Brackish Town's famous chocolate cake, Professor Sycamore opting to join them after he takes care of his data. However, when the travelers reach the restaurant, they are greeted by a long line. However, Bonnie and Serena are determined to get through the line, and manage to procure one slice. Faced with the predicament of sharing one slice with four people, Clemont pulls out a machine that can cut the piece into exactly equal pieces. Before he can cut into the dessert, the group notices a disappointed woman who was unable to procure a slice, and offer to share with her. The lady reveals she is indeed Diantha, and the group share the dessert, after which Bonnie asks for Diantha to marry her brother. Ash determinedly asks Diantha to have a battle with him, and after his persistence, she accepts. Professor Sycamore appears, wanting to also watch the battle.
In a field, Ash begins to battle Diantha's Gardevoir with Pikachu. Ash begins with Pikachu's Iron Tail, followed up by Quick Attack, which Diantha's Gardevoir nimbly avoids. Ash next commands Pikachu to use Electro Ball and Thunderbolt, which Gardevoir also dodges. Gardevoir uses Shadow Ball, which sends Pikachu flying and Ash running to catch him. Seeing Ash's devotion to his Pokémon, Diantha recognizes his passion. Just then, Team Rocket releases a net, which captures Gardevoir in a transparent box. Diantha orders Gardevoir to use Shadow Ball on the box, but to no avail. Jessie throws a smoke bomb and Team Rocket's balloon soars off. Diantha, who knows where Gardevoir has gone, leads the way.
Diantha recalls an experience in which she was lost in the fog while shooting in the Lapidarian Highlands, and her Key Stone led her to Gardevoir. Ash says he think their hearts were calling out to each other. The group reaches Gardevoir, and Diantha tells the others to stay back while she confronts Team Rocket. Diantha mega-evolves Gardevoir into Mega Gardevoir, and this time, the force of Mega Gardevoir's Shadow Ball blasts the box. Diantha tells Mega Gardevoir to use Moon Blast, which sends Team Rocket blasting off again.
The group congratulates Diantha as Mega Gardevoir returns back to normal. A helicopter with Kathi Lee arrives to pick up Diantha. Diantha thanks Ash and all the children, but has to go to her next shooting. Just before she leaves, Ash tells Diantha that he is challenging the Kalos League, and asks her to battle him when the time comes. Diantha tells him she'll look forward to it, and the friends and Professor Sycamore wave as the helicopter rides off into the sunset, having all learned more about the secrets of Mega Evolution.
This error is fixed in the Mandarin (Taiwan) and Cantonese dubs.
When Clemont uses his invention to cut the cake into six pieces, the color of Diantha's shadowed skin is dark brown instead of dark beige.
When Gardevoir is about to Mega Evolve, its legs are green instead of white.
In the Pokémon Holo Caster segment, when Professor Oak is about to scare Spewpa in his Fletchinder costume, the beige and light gray parts of Spewpa's head are dark gray instead, and the two dots on its face are black instead of beige.
For an unknown reason the episode title is used again in XY034 in the Russian dub.
For unknown reasons, the theme song has no vocal in the Indonesian dub.