Tactics Theatrics!! (バトルドーム！炎と水のフュージョン！！, The Battle Dome! Fusion of Fire and Water!!) is the 8th episode of Pokémon: Battle Frontier.
Ash finally arrives at the third Battle Frontier location where he challenges the Battle Dome Brain Tucker to a match. The battle begins with Ash using his Swellow and Corphish against Tucker's Arcanine and Swampert. During the battle, Ash learns how to combine his Pokémon's attacks and uses their power to defeat Tucker.
The episode begins outside the huge Battle Dome facility, with a large group of people listening to some reporters who are talking about the next Battle Dome challenger, as it appears that whoever challenges the Battle Dome's Frontier Brain causes a lot of excitement in the area. Just then, Ash, May, Max and Brock walk towards the Dome having just left the nearby Pokémon Center, which causes the large group to rush towards them in excitement. Our heroes don't look happy however as they are swamped with questions and mindless chatter from the crowd.
Luckily Scott appears out of nowhere and asks the crowd to stand back and let Ash have some space. Ash looks at him, puzzled, wondering he came from. Scott greets him, and says that it's nice to see him again as Ash continues to wonder.
Having calmed the reporters down, Scott takes them to a nearby building in order for the interview and questions to take place in peace without the excited crowd to interfere. Ash is sat down at the front, sitting next to Scott and who are surrounded by May, Max and Brock. The reporters ask Ash about his already obtained symbols and his Pokémon team, and Ash grows excited at all the attention he is receiving before Brock tells him to calm down. One of the male reporters then stands up and asks him about Tucker... which confuses Ash who has no idea who Tucker is. This is the worst thing he could have said as the room totally goes silent. The idea of someone not knowing who Tucker is unbelievable to the local reporters who stare at him in shock. Ash looks puzzled and asks Scott who Tucker is, and Scott smiles nervously and tells him that Tucker is the local Frontier Brain, and leader of the Battle Dome. Not only that, but he's somewhat of a star in the local area and is incredibly famous and respected. As is shocked that he's never heard of such a guy, but May holds her hands together in joy at the thought of meeting such a Superstar!
Over inside the Battle Dome, Tucker is getting his hair brushed by three extremely familiar make-up artists... seems that Jessie, James and Meowth have somehow got jobs inside the Battle Dome taking care of Tucker. Tucker's Personal Assistant then walks in, and Tucker asks how the preparations are doing. The assistant says that everything is going fine and according to Tucker's wishes.
Inside the Dome's battle arena, Max and May look on in wonderment at how awesome and big it is. Scott then remarks that battles inside the Dome aren't just battles, they are also entertainment. A 'performance' of sorts, with Tucker as the star. What he says is true, going by the huge amounts of screaming girls. Jessie, James and Meowth have also got in on the act, selling drinks and food to the hungry crowd. Just then, the lights dim and a huge screen lights up with a shadowed image of Ash. A man on a speaker then goes on to talk about Ash's achievements, which include the Indigo League, the Whirl Cup, the Johto League and the Hoenn League. A small explosion of smoke is then let off, and when it clears, Ash is standing on one of the end of the Battle Dome arena. He then introduces himself, and the crowd cheers. The light shining on him doesn't last long however, and the screen lights up again, but this time talking about Tucker. The mere mention of his name sends the females in the crowd wild, as the announcer proclaims him to be the 'Dome Artist'. At that moment, Tucker appears out of nowhere, and glides around the arena, surrounded by hoards of screaming fans. Rainbow lights fill the Dome as Ash looks on in wonderment. May is also excited at the sight of Tucker, but this causes Max to wonder what his father, Norman, would look like dressed like him. May sees his point.
Tucker tells Ash that if he wins, he'll get the Tactics Symbol of the Battle Dome, and that he's looking forward to a good battle. Tucker then sends out his two Pokémon of choice, Arcanine and Swampert. At that moment, Tucker's Personal Assistant and Referee of his battles swoops in on a floating device and informs the crowd and Ash that this battle is to be a Double Battle. Ash wonders what Pokémon he should use for the Battle, and decides that Corphish would be best suited to use on Arcanine, but since Swampert is half-Ground, Pikachu and its electricity would be useless. He then smiles and realises that Swellow would be best to choose against Swampert. Telling the referee that he's chosen his Pokémon, Ash is informed to send his Pokémon out. He does so, and Tucker grins at his choices. The referee then announces that the Battle has begun!
Ash starts things off by ordering Swellow to use Quick Attack on Swampert. Tucker smiles, saying that he's impressed by Swellow's speed but he can also play that game and thus orders Arcanine to jump on Swampert's back and use Extreme Speed to fire itself at Swellow. Arcanine does so, and Swellow's Quick Attack is stopped at Swellow thrown back. Ash then tells Corphish to keep Arcanine busy and off Swellow's back by ordering it to use BubbleBeam on Arcanine. Corphish fires off its attack but is stopped when Tucker orders Swampert to protect Arcanine with Protect. Ash grits his teeth, and Brock explains to May and Max that Tucker's Pokémon are such a good and fatal Pokémon Team because while Arcanine relies on Speed, Swampert can back it up with its defence and body bulk.
Ash tells Swellow to use Aerial Ace, and Tucker once again counters by ordering Arcanine to use Extreme Speed. Both Pokémon collide, but Swellow is once again knocked back but the force does send Arcanine sliding forward and unable to stop. Ash sees his chance and orders Corphish to attack the fast approaching Arcanine, but Tucker quickly steps in and tells Swampert to use Mud Shot. Swampert does so, firing out several shots of shining blue mud. Arcanine sees them coming towards it and jumps over them, causing the attack to smash straight into Corphish. Both Pokémon fall to the ground, exhausted and shocked at Arcanine and Swampert's amazing battle coordination. Ash grits his teeth and wonders how he can beat such a powerful combination of Pokémon and attacks. From the viewing point above them, May wonders how Ash can beat Tucker, and Scott tells them that Tucker is one of the best, and an expert at combining attacks and developing tactics... hence the name of his symbol, the Tactics Symbol.
Back in the arena battle, Swellow and Corphish leap up and are ready to battle once again, and Tucker smiles and comments on their amazing fighting spirit. But now it's time to get serious. Tucker orders Swampert to use Water Gun, and the attack smashes straight into the place Corphish and Swellow were standing before they manage to jump out of the way. Ash quickly tells Corphish to attack again with Crabhammer, and Tucker counters by ordering Swampert to use DynamicPunch. The two Pokémon smash into each other and are knocked back by the huge explosion which occurs. Ash grits his teeth and hopes Corphish is alright, but Tucker doesn't let up and tells Arcanine to attack quickly. Arcanine jumps on Swampert's back and leaps towards Swellow. Ash then orders Swellow to use Aerial Ace again. but Tucker decides to heat things up and tells Arcanine to use Flamethrower. Arcanine fires Flamethrower straight at Swellow, but Ash quickly tells his Pokémon to use Double Team to avoid the attack. Swellow does so, creating several clones all around the Dome.
Tucker isn't worried though, as he orders Arcanine to use Fire Blast to get rid of the Swellow illusions. Arcanine does so, firing out the attack in all directions. Ash manages to get Swellow to avoid the attack to itself by quickly telling it to avoid. Tucker smiles and says that his Pokémon can't run away forever, and then tells Swampert to use Water Pulse. Swampert stands perfectly still, and its tail starts to light up and a collection of water forms over itself. The girls cheer again, but Ash stays calms and decides that this is his chance. Ash then orders Swellow to use Quick Attack on Swampert as it is powering up its attack, but is quickly stopped as Tucker tells Arcanine to use Extreme Speed to meet Swellow's attack head-on. Ash then tells Corphish to use Crabhammer on Swampert, just as Tucker tells Swampert to use its powered up Water Pulse. The attack sweeps Corphish and Swellow up and confines them inside a huge water twister, which allows for Tucker to order Arcanine to use Fire Blast on the twister trapping Ash's two Pokémon.
Tucker laughs, and tells Ash that this is entertainment, and that it goes perfectly with the damage caused by his lethal tactics. This... this, is his Fire and Water Fusion. Tucker then tells his Pokémon to finish, as he feels that this show is over. Both Pokémon are flung back to the arena floor, and Tucker comments that his tactics must have caught Ash off guard, but in the end he was a good challenger. Just as the referee is about to declare Tucker the winner, Corphish and Swellow jump up, ready to battle again. Tucker smiles, and orders Arcanine to use Flamethrower and Swampert to use Water Gun as the two Pokémon corner Swellow and Corphish. The two attacks are fired, but quickly put out by Corphish's BubbleBeam. However, the steam which comes out of the attacks being put out seems to give Ash an idea... he isn't given too long to congratulate himself though, as Tucker quickly tells Swampert to use DynamicPunch. Ash smiles and orders Swellow to use Quick Attack. May is shocked and Max wonders what he ha planned, and so does Tucker who laughs and tells Arcanine to use Extreme Speed to stop Swellow in its tracks once again. Ash isn't going to fall for that again, and tells Swellow to use Double Team to dodge away, meaning that Arcanine smashes straight into Swampert instead of Swellow. Tucker sees what Ash is trying to do, and says it won't work and orders Arcanine to use Fire Blast again.
Ash follows up by telling Corphish to jump on Swellow's back and use Bubble Beam. Corphish does so, and the impact of the Bubble Beam on the Fire Blast causes the whole arena to be covered in steam. Tucker tells his Pokémon to attack, but they are useless to team up together as they can't see each other or Ash's Pokémon. Ash tells Swellow to use Quick Attack, and Tucker tells his Pokémon to attack them when they appear. Swellow is too fast for them however, and dodges around their charging attacks. Seeing his chance, Ash orders Corphish to use Crabhammer on Arcanine and Swellow to use Aerial Ace on Swampert. The two Pokémon sash straight into Tucker's with their attacks, and Tucker's Pokémon are send flying back and out for the count. The referee announces that Ash is the winner, and Ash jumps up and then thanks his Pokémon. May comments that Ash did awesome, but Brock says that not everyone is happy... Tucker's fans, especially his front-row female ones, look pretty upset.
Tucker walks over to Ash, clapping and congratulating him. The girls scream and cheer at Tucker's good sportsmanship. Tucker says that it was an awesome battle, and the two trainers shake hands as Scott, Brock, May and Max walk over to congratulate their friend. Tucker says that he enjoyed himself, and begins to walk away... Ash stops him, and asks if he can have his Tactics Symbol. Tucker smiles and tells Ash to look under his hat. Ash does so, only to find that Tucker somehow had placed the Tactics Symbol in his hat!
The episode ends with Ash holding up his newly won Tactics Symbol and the crowd cheering.
- At the Men of Anime convention, Bill Rogers who voiced Tucker revealed that it was his intention to ensure that his dubbing of Tucker sounded exactly like the performance of Kenta Miyake who plays Tucker in the Japanese version of the episode.
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