A Cacturne for the Worse (イザベ島ポケモンコンテスト！ライバルに気をつけろ！！ Izabe Island Pokémon Contest! Beware the Rival!!) is the 12th episode of Pokémon: Advanced Battle.
As the heroes sail to May's next Contest, May finds a boy named Harley. She speaks to him a bit and meets his Cacturne and eats his cookies. Harley is annoyed at the girl, who becomes his rival that he wants to crush. During the Contest, Harley gives May some false advice, which May accepts, only to find out Harley tricked her. Just as she faces Harley, he uses another trick up his sleeve to deceive May even more, wanting her to be defeated.
As the heroes sail on a ship, May trains her Bulbasaur for her next Contest. Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf, then Vine Whip to stop the leaves from spinning. May is confident to get the next ribbon, while her friends think she may even win the following Contest. Meanwhile, Team Rocket pushes a wagon full of berries. Jessie reminds James they will sell the berries, after they make the Pokéblocks. James is surprised Jessie isn't thinking about the Contest, but she plans on selling the Pokéblocks to buy the island with the money. Meowth tells her that the trader who sold the fake berries was lying, so Jessie immediately runs back. A boy comes to May, being impressed by her Bulbasaur. He asks her if she's going to the Izabe Contest; May confirms this, as the boy will go there as well. May introduces herself to the boy, named Harley. Harley shows her Cacturne, so May goes to scan it with her Pokédex, which makes Harley surprised she doesn't know about it.
May thinks despite standing still, Cacturne looks scary, shocking Harley more at such words. Harley offers her some cookies, so she takes one. She eats one and says they aren't half-bad, confusing Harley. Bulbasaur wants one, and when May asks for the cookie, Harley and Cacturne have gone off. Not far away, Harley takes a photo of her from a distance and places her picture in his book, being very angry at her responses, especially about the cookies he finds delicious. Team Rocket is making Pokéblocks and as Meowth and James think there are too many Pokéblocks, which are too small, though Jessie orders them to continue, wanting to sell these before the Contest, which were paid well. The next day, the Contest is being held. Ash, Brock, and May wait for Max, despite May needing to go to the stage.
Max and Harley run towards Ash, May, and Brock. May starts to question Max, but Harley tells her it was his fault. Harley admits he was having a cup of tea when Max bumped into him, so he offered him some ice cream, learning Max was her brother. The Contest begins, as May sends Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur uses Razor Leaf, then uses Vine Whip to stop the leaves. The judges are impressed, seeing how much Bulbasaur has accuracy in its attacks. The other contestants perform as well. The last Contestant is Harley, who sends Cacturne. The audience is a bit scared by its look, which makes Harley glad they don't talk during their performance. Cacturne uses Bullet Seed, amazing the judges by its speed. Cacturne stops using Bullet Seed, revealing to have made an image of a skull and crossbones. The judges are also impressed, knowing it needed a lot of training to make such a performance. May worries, as she saw how others did well and she may not enter the second round.
The screen displays the contestants who will go in the second round. Among them are May and Harley. May is relieved, but Brock knows May will have to concentrate, since her opponents are quite powerful. Harley notes how May passed the first round and wonders if her skills will take her higher up. Harley faces an opponent, who sends Azurill and Harley his Cacturne. Azurill uses Bubblebeam and bounces off the bubbles by using Slam, which makes Vividian dazzled by its cuteness. Cacturne pops the bubbles with Poison Sting, and to finish, Cacturne attacks Azurill with Bullet Seed, defeating it. Harley wins, so it is May's turn. Harley comes to her, so she congratulates him for the victory. Before going, Harley tells May her opponent's Surskit is slow, so she should have her Pokémon move closer to it to attack. May thanks him for the advice, but Harley smiles, for he gave bad advice to her.
The challenger's Surskit uses Double Team, making illusions of itself. Surskit uses Quick Attack, so May tells Bulbasaur to wait until it comes to it. However, Surskit is very fast, hitting Bulbasaur. Next, Surskit uses Water Pulse and charges to Bulbasaur with Quick Attack, hurting it. Ash and Max are shocked, as May is losing badly. May is baffled, as Harley said that Surskit are slow. May hears Surskit are well known for speed from Vividian, so Bulbasaur attacks with Razor Leaf. Surskit uses Double Team, so Bulbasaur attacks with Vine Whip, but misses. May is frustrated, as she loses points and doesn't have much time. To finish, Surskit uses Water Pulse and Quick Attack. However, Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip on Surskit's feet, stopping it. Bulbasaur attacks with Petal Dance, hurting Surskit. Time is up, so May wins, as she got more points. Brock and Max see this was a close call, but Ash is glad May won anyway. Harley is annoyed, but resorts to another plan.
Later, Vividian shows the finalists. May wants to know why Harley lied to her, but Harley claims she should've studied her opponents. He claims he came here to perform, unlike May, who is just fooling around. May is angry and promises to finish this. May sends Bulbasaur and Harley his Cacturne. Cacturne starts with Poison Sting, but Bulbasaur cancels with Vine Whip and counterattacks with Razor Leaf, though Cacturne stops the attack using Bullet Seed. Bulbasaur attacks with Vine Whip and tackles Cacturne. May asks who is fooling around, which angers Harley. Just as May goes to have Bulbasaur finish the battle, Harley reaches into his pocket and turns on a tape recorder, so a conversation with him and Max is heard. Max realizes Harley was recording the conversation, when he ate the ice cream. Max spoke of the event when May encountered Tentacool. May played with some of them, but many more started appearing. Thus, her mum, Caroline, mistook her for a Tentacool, so threw a Poké Ball to catch her.
The audience laughs, embarrassing May; that embarrassment turns to anger, so she yells at Max. Max tells her that Harley told him he was afraid of Pokémon as well, so he tried to make him feel better by telling the story. May is furious at Harley, who laughs. Harley begins to embarrass her more, calling her as Tentacool, "Tent". Harley continues taunting her, claiming her anger could make her evolve into an Octillery. In a moment of distraction, Cacturne kicks Bulbasaur away. Bulbasaur attacks with Razor Leaf, though Cacturne dodges and counters with Poison Sting. Bulbasaur attacks with Vine Whip, though Cacturne evades. Bulbasaur uses Petal Dance, but misses. May has not much left points nor time as well. Harley claims he will win, but May promises she will not lose to the likes of him. Max and Brock see if May does not calm down, her temper may cost her the battle. Ash gives advice to May she shouldn't think of what happened, but on the battle itself.
Cacturne goes to end with Faint Attack, but Bulbasaur uses Vine Whip on its leg to stop the attack. Bulbasaur pulls Cacturne up and attacks it with both Petal Dance and Razor Leaf. Everyone is impressed, for Bulbasaur's combination attack was beautiful to many, making it look like the stage is in bloom with flowers. Cacturne is defeated, so May wins the Contest. May is silent for a moment, then cheers and hugs Bulbasaur. Harley, however, calls his Cacturne back and angrily walks away. May receives her fourth ribbon and strikes a pose. Elsewhere, Harley claims May's victory was pure luck and promises to encounter her again, under different circumstances. Outside the Contest Hall, Ash congratulates May. May admits Ash encouraged her to win with his advice, but Ash claims she won this all by herself. Max apologizes, and while May is still angry, she forgives him. Brock tells it is time to go, so Ash encourages everyone to head on.
Meanwhile, Team Rocket is seen to be selling the Pokéblocks, as Jessie predicted it. However, that is only a dream from Jessie herself.
- The Pokémon Trainer's Choice misspells Flaaffy's name as Flaafy once again.
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