During their trek across a vast grassland, our heroes hear a powerful roar in the distance! It’s the leader of a Pyroar pride, who is sternly commanding a young Litleo to leave the pride and live on its own. Ash’s first instinct is to intervene, but after he realizes this is a necessary rite of passage, he convinces his friends to follow at a distance so they can keep an eye on Litleo.
Litleo’s journey is interrupted when Team Rocket swoops in to grab Pyroar, who has also been watching over the little one from a distance. Litleo is determined to stop Team Rocket, and finds the courage and strength to stand up to the villains. With a little help from our heroes, Team Rocket is sent blasting off again, and Pyroar is freed!
It looks like Litleo will be just fine on its own, so after saying goodbye to their new friend, our heroes are off once again to Snowbelle City!
Ash and his friends' journey to the Snowbelle City Gym takes them through an open grassland. They stop momentarily for Clemont to catch his breathe, to which Bonnie suggests Clemont keep up, or he will get left behind. Ash's laughter is suddenly interrupted by a loud roar which startles everyone. Ash runs ahead and spots a pride of Pyroar and Litleo down below. Suddenly, the male Pyroar roars angrily and a Litleo cowers in fear. The female Pyroar and the other three Litleo walk off, leaving only these two. The Litleo tiptoes back towards the Pyroar, who roars again angrily and grits his teeth menacingly. Defeated, Litleo bows its head and tries hugging the larger Pokémon's leg. However Pyroar is not impressed and flicks his leg upwards, throwing Litleo some distance away. Looking to explain the aggression, Ash scans both Pyroar and Litleo with his Pokédex. This reveals that Litleo must leave their pride to grow up strong. Undeterred, the Litleo runs back towards the Pyroar, throwing a tantrum. Pyroar retaliates with a breath of fire.
Next, Ash decides to intervene as Pyroar prepares to attack again. Pyroar ignores Ash’s pleas and launches a Fire attack at him. Ash asks Pikachu to use Thunderbolt, cancelling out Pyroar's attack. Litleo, who had braced for impact, is now wondering what happened. Litleo looks up sadly at Pyroar, who turns and walks away. As the smoke from the explosion clears, Ash and Pikachu are shocked to see that all the Pokémon have gone, except Litleo. The duo run to check whether Litleo is okay. While Ash has his arms around the Pokémon, the weak and disheartened Litleo suddenly squirms around. Clemont reassures Litleo that the group are friendly before treating Litleo's injured paw with a spritz of Potion. Litleo bites down on Clemont's arm, though Clemont remains composed, telling Litleo it will be fine now. Litleo's stomach then rumbles, but it ignores Serena's offer of some Poké Puffs after remembering Pyroar's attacks, loses its appetite. Serena wonders why it won't eat despite its hunger, while Bonnie theorizes Litleo is still in pain. Next, Litleo leaves the group and walks solemnly away. Bonnie tries to get Litleo to come back, but Ash tells her that Litleo is doing its best to learn how to be on its own. Bonnie states emphatically that she is worried, to which Clemont suggests that the group could watch over Litleo from a distance instead. Another group, Team Rocket, observe from a hilltop and set their sights on nabbing the young Litleo.
A disheartened Litleo walks through the grasslands. A moment of looking back leads Litleo to walk off a cliff, shocking Ash and friends, who have been watching. Litleo continues on, and quickly cheers up at the sight of a suspended Sitrus Berry. Litleo leaps for it, only to land on its head. Team Rocket are revealed to be the ones behind the floating berry, with it being attached to a fishing rod. The trio are quite frustrated that the Litleo is taking so long to take the bait, as an angry shadowy figure appears. Meowth urges the shadow to be quiet, but soon the trio realize they have "company" – Pyroar. They try to calm Pyroar down, but are sent blasting off for their antics. Litleo resolves to keep moving forward, with Ash and friends trailing behind while Pyroar observes from a distance. Litloe gradually becomes more confident, and with some help from the group its journey of independence continues smoothly.
Litleo later scales a large rock. Exhausted, it is suddenly energized again by the sight of an Oran Berry tree. Clemont explains that Litleo is being independent and hence has been looking for food on its own. Ash realises that this is why Litleo didn't eat Serena's snack earlier. At the top of the rock, the group and Litleo notices Pyroar spying from behind a nearby rock. The two Pokémon look at each other with mutual understanding. Satisfied with its progress, Pyroar prepares to leave the young Litleo.
Just then, Team Rocket turns up again in one of their mechas, the "Vavoominite Mark 4", which resembles a Charizard). Team Rocket insists that Pyroar comes inside the mecha, and turns up the power on its vacuum fuction. Pyroar is pulled inside and trapped in a capsule, leaving Litleo in distress. Ash orders them to let Pyroar go, however Team Rocket recite their motto, which focusses on how powerful they will be with Pyroar in their team. Jessie then orders the capture of Pikachu. Meowth drives the mecha forwards, skidding to knock Pikachu away from the rest of the group. Litleo is looking indignant, as Pyroar tries to escape, and calls down to Litleo, who becomes even angrier. Meowth turns on the vacuum control again, which Pikachu struggles to resist. Suddenly, a fire blast comes seemingly from nowhere to hit the mecha, shocking everyone, though Litleo is revealed to be the source. However, a rather annoyed James steers the mecha's tail to hit Litleo, and knocking it hard into the air. The group rushes to check on Litleo while Pyroar retaliates with an Overheat attack. Team Rocket switches gears and launch Pyroar’s attack at the twerps, who narrowly avoid the flames. Pyroar is too angry to listen, allowing Team Rocket to continue directing its attacks at the group. Ash asks Frogadier to use Water Pulse, which cancels out one jet of fire but allows another to hit the Pokémon dead on. Ash points out the urgency of finding a new solution, to which Litleo selflessly jumps out and runs towards the mecha.
Team Rocket are prepared to fire the flames directly at Litleo. However Litleo just jumps into the flames, leaving Ash's group shocked. Litleo struggles to bear the searing pain but manages to forge ahead, at Team Rocket's horror. Jessie is particularly amazed at Litleo's newfound courage while the group encourage its efforts. Litleo calls out to Pyroar, who is still angry. Ash's group all urge Pyroar to listen, and Litleo shouts more loudly. Pyroar soon calms down, and Litleo then reaches Pyroar's chamber. Ash's group celebrate. Clemont says that Pyroar has finally listened. Ash has Frogadier slash open the cage using Cut. As a result, Litleo and Pyroar fall out and safely land on the rocky ground. Pyroar and Litleo seem happy at their strengthened bond. With that, Ash commands Pikachu to fire a signature Thunderbolt, with Litleo and Pyroar joining in with a double Flamethrower finish to send Team Rocket blasting off once again, destroying the mecha in the process.
Litleo seems proud of itself in front of Pyroar, and the group are happy at Litleo's newfound independence. Litleo and Pyroar exchange a bow before one another before Litleo continues on its own path. Afterwards Ash and his friends continue on their journey, with the spirit of Litleo in their hearts.