In the middle of the night, an explosion is heard. Men and Pokémon come out, looking for RX-1, a Riolu that is needed for research. Riolu escapes, trusting the men they would take it home. However, the men are just looking to get profit. Riolu senses this and uses Aura Sphere to get out. It hurt itself, but went away. The leader dispatches them, wanting Riolu at all costs. Next day, the heroes wander. Ash senses something is wrong and sees a Riolu, a hurt one. Ash rushes to help it, but gets hit by an Aura Sphere. Brock knows that usually Lucario learn the move, but seems Riolu must be very special to have learned this.
Ash tries to help it, but Riolu is still not convinced and attacks with Aura Sphere, though a man comes an negates it. Riolu escapes and the man chases it. The heroes come to help the man, while Team Rocket watches. Naturally, they want to get it. Ash wanders and gets pulled by the man. The man told him he'd get the Riolu and they watch it. The man states it is not his, while it wants to go back home. Suddenly, vehicles come and the well known troops of Hunter J come out to take it. The man sends Crobat, who uses Wing Attack, hitting Riolu and making it fall to the ground. Ash does not want to see anything else and goes to attack.
Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, but Crobat dodges, though gets hit by Riolu's Aura Sphere. The men send Crobat, so the from the bush comes out and takes off his disguise, revealing to be a Pokémon Ranger. The Ranger sends his disk and captures an Ariados. Ariados uses String Shot, immobilizing the Crobat. He captures a Nincada, who digs a tunnel for the men, who fall in. The heroes are amazed to see the Ranger, but he is a Top-Ranger - a Ranger skilled enough to dabble in more advanced tech to capture Pokémon. The Ranger gets out a small statue of Riolu, showing it to it and placing it on its neck. The heroes follow the Ranger, whose name is Kellyn. The heroes introduce themselves to him. Team Rocket saw this and they still remember they want revenge on Hunter J.
Kellyn treats Riolu and heals it. Riolu goes a few steps away, as it is shy. Kellyn tells them it has come through some tough times, which is why it attacked Ash. The statue, the doll it has now, comes from the one who trained Riolu and raised it. Ash has a vision - he sees the man who raised Riolu the doll it has now. Ash comes and knows this doll means much to Riolu - its aura told him, shocking Dawn, Piplup, Pikachu and Brock. Kellyn thinks Ash's aura and Riolu's aura match perfectly, which is why he can sense what Riolu thinks. Ash promises Riolu to get back home. Suddenly, Kellyn receives a call from Solana. Ash and Brock greet her, while Dawn meets her.
Officer Jenny rides the motor, along with Solana. Ash confirms he is after the Sinnoh League. Solana reports they found where Hunter J's client is, so they go to arrest him, while the heroes and Kellyn protect Riolu from harm. Suddenly, the heroes hear noise - J's ship comes. The heroes follow Kellyn's commands. J receives the call from her men. The men were unable to get Riolu and were hunted by a Ranger. J knows Kellyn was behind this and is nerved to see the same ones who opposed her - twice.
The heroes use a boat. Kellyn reveals Riolu is a guardian of a kingdom, a role that has passed from generation to generation. However, it is a target for many people who want to misuse it, so Kellyn's task is to get Riolu back home. Suddenly, Sharpedo attack the boat. The Sharpedo belong to members of J's team. Kellyn captures a Floatzel and they all use their Water Pokémon to go away. Sharpedo use Aqua Jet and attack the heroes. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, hitting them all. However, they got problems, as J and Salamence stop them. Pikachu uses Thunderbolt and Piplup BubbleBeam to stop Salamence's Hyper Beam. J goes to turn Riolu in a statue, but Floatzel uses Water Gun, making Salamence to be thrown off balance.
J fires, but misses. However, the doll Riolu had falls in water and it goes to get it back. Everyone follows Riolu, though the heroes evade the rocks that Salamence brought down. Ash and J still go after Riolu, while the others watch. Riolu still goes after the doll, but begins to drown. Ash and Buizel go after it. Riolu remembers that his master carved out the doll. Some men came and they wanted it, so the master threw it away and told it to run before they got it. Riolu wakes up and tries to find the doll, though Ash got it. Ash felt that the home it lived in is beautiful and gives the doll. Suddenly, Pikachu senses something.
The men tell J they escaped somewhere and soon they spot them running away. The men go after it, but J stops them. Team Rocket dug out a hole and suddenly, fires comes out of nowhere, burning the forest, so they go in the hole. J's Salamence burns everything in its path. J still wants Riolu and orders Salamence to use Flamethrower on Ash and his Pokémon...
- Professor Oak's Pokémon lecture: Pokémon Ranger
- This episode, along with Pokémon Ranger and the Kidnapped Riolu! (Part 2), was based on the mission Rescue Kidnapped Riolu! in Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, explained by the appearance of the special Aura Sphere Riolu and Kellyn.
- This is the fourth time blood has been seen in the anime, seen when Riolu blasts out the back of the truck and hurts its arm in the process.
- In the English dub when Ash chases after Kellyn and Riolu, Brock and Dawn tell Ash to wait, but only Brock's voice is heard.
- When Ash is confronting J, J's left sleeve is colored the same as her jacket.