Seeing the Forest for the Trees! (迷いの森・・・進化の夜明け！ The Winding Woods... The Dawn of Evolution!) is the 28th episode of Pokémon the Series: XYZ
Serena and the others are worried about Ash after he disappeared into the forest at night after his loss against Wulfric and still didn't return by morning, so they all decide to go look for him. But as Ash is lost in the forest, the other Pokémon that disappeared as well appears before him.
As Ash is sitting alone in a forest, Serena, Clemont, Bonnie and Pikachu are worried. Nurse Joy reports Greninja has gone missing, so Serena suspects he likely went after Ash. In truth, Greninja is sitting on a tree as it was pretty angry at Ash for leaving it. Serena runs off into the Winding Woods to find Ash. Bonnie wonders if Ash will come back, though Clemont has no doubt about it. Some Pokémon watch Ash, who tries to get himself together. Pikachu touches Ash's Poké Balls Ash left, sending out Noivern, Talonflame and Hawlucha. Pikachu tells what happened, though Hawlucha runs off to punch a tree, causing snow to fall on him. Bonnie wonders where Serena is, who is running through the forest. Team Rocket watches Ash and seeing him alone looking into the sky, they plan on stealing Pikachu. Greninja, however, thinks of its battles against Sawyer's Sceptile and Wulfric's Avalugg, both of which ended in defeat and tries to shake the feeling off.
Serena visits Ash, who apologizes for leaving without warning and sets his hat. Serena tries to comfort Ash, pointing out he can talk to her about anything that troubles him. Serena claims she knows how Ash is feeling, since she also has been defeated at her first Showcase. Blinded in his grief and stress Ash yells at Serena that she knows nothing about how he feels and won't talk about it because it is his personal problem. This causes an upset Serena to throw a snowball at Ash, pointing out this isn't the Ash she knows, since the "real" Ash would be optimistic, act like a leader and would never give up, telling Ash is not himself. Serena throws two more snowballs at Ash, who falls down, and leaves. Ash looks to the sky and wonders about the words Serena said, but shouts out, startling the Pokémon that look at him.
Ash snaps out of his state and to go onwards, since brooding over his defeat won't achieve anything. Ash runs off, but rolls down a cliff, falls onto a Snorlax and bounces down. Ash gets approached by Bidoof, whom Ash holds and jumps off before being crushed by Snorlax, who rolls over. As Ash's Pokémon are training, Bonnie wonders where Serena is. Serena actually returns to the Pokémon Center, passing by Clemont and Bonnie, ignoring them. Bonnie asks what happened to her and sees snow is falling. Nurse Joy asks everyone to come in, as the snowfall will get heavier later on. Pikachu tries to warn Serena, who does not want to search for Ash due to their conflict. However, she becomes annoyed and promises to find him, even if it means using force to drag him back. Ash's Pokémon, Bonnie and Clemont decide to help her out. As the snow falls down, Greninja recalls Ash's words how he "couldn't draw Greninja's power, since he was not himself". Greninja got angry at itself for not thinking about it sooner and punches the tree out of frustration. Greninja stands up and decides to look for Ash. Ash goes into a cave, while his friends reach the place, where Serena found him last. Luxray uses its vision, but fails to find Ash. While Pikachu tries to continue to search, he encounters Team Rocket.
Pikachu fires Thunderbolt, electrocuting them, who don't seem to feel much of an impact. As Pikachu repeats his attack on his enemies, Serena, Clemont and Bonnie see something is going on nearby. Pikachu repeats its attack, but it does not blast Team Rocket off. Team Rocket wonders it may be even due to the lack of presence of their enemy. Seeing Pikachu became weak, Team Rocket leaves the area without taking him. Serena, Clemont and Bonnie come to Pikachu and as the snowstorm's impact increases, Serena wonders where Ash has gone to. Squishy, however, traces a location and sees a cave, then exits Bonnie's pouch and leaps off. It finds a Cell, which vanishes, but Bonnie points out Squishy found a cave for them to rest. Inside the cave, Serena confesses she let what Ash said get to her in that moment said some terrible things back to him, hoping he is okay, since he is a person she admires. Clemont feels the same and promises to look for him after the snowstorm subsides.
Ash, after seeing a Sentret, a Scatterbug, an Oddish, a Budew and a Zigzagoon invites them to come into the cave. Seeing this, Ash remembers he also let a Butterfree, a Caterpie, an Oddish, a Rattata and a Weedle enter a hollow tree, where Ash took shelter from the rain when he was little. The Pokémon enter the cave and hug Ash, who tells they will be warmer this way. While everyone is resting, Pikachu sees Squishy is going, who, a moment later, runs off in its 10% form. Ash hears something and sees six Spewpa freezing and stuck on a tree. Ash goes to rescue them, asking the Pokémon to stay in the cave. Meanwhile, Greninja meets up with Squishy, who traces Ash's location and tells it to Greninja. Ash climbs the tree to rescue the final Spewpa, though the tree overlooks a cliff. Ash offers a hand to let Spewpa come to him. Spewpa does so, but the branch snaps, causing Ash and Spewpa to fall down. Fortunately, Greninja extends its tongue and wraps Ash, pulling him back up. However, the wind causes Spewpa to be blown off Ash's hand.
Ash and Greninja synchronize (causing the latter to transform), as they both want to save Spewpa. Ash has faith in Greninja succeeding, causing Greninja to transform itself into Ash-Greninja. Ash-Greninja manages to save Spewpa, but as it continues to fall down, per Ash's command, he starts evading the branches. After decreasing the speed, Ash-Greninja stops at a tree and comes to the ground. Later on, Ash-Greninja returns back to Ash and gives Spewpa back. Ash-Greninja shifts back into its original form and is thanked by Ash, who apologizes for making Greninja worry. Forming a new trust, Ash and Greninja high-five each other. Inside the cave, Ash admits when he was little, he was looking for some Pokémon in the woods. Since he was alone, Ash got lost and it started to rain. Ash managed to find the hollow tree and offer the Pokémon place inside it, which made him happy and willing to become a trainer. Ash admits he did want to get stronger, which is why he made the promise to Sawyer, to win the last badge. However, Ash realized he was too impatient and needed to try harder and to try working together. Ash admits he views Greninja as a friend, whom he loves a lot and wanted his friend to be there to save Spewpa. Ash looks to Greninja and shakes his hand, as they both promise to start anew.
With the snowstorm stopped, everyone comes out of the cave. Just then, they see the Spewpa evolving into Vivillon, who fly off. Elsewhere, Serena, Clemont and Bonnie come out, hoping Ash's okay, with Squishy resting in Bonnie's pouch. Just then, Ash and Greninja come to them, which pleases everyone they are okay. Ash and Greninja apologize for making them worry, while Ash thanks Serena for those words, since it made him come back to his senses. Serena is really happy he's back to himself. Squishy, however, contacts Z-2 and speaks about the bond between Ash and Greninja, as they both could communicate even when they are apart and worked for a new bond. Squishy tells Z-2 it trusts humans and Pokémon, but Z-2 does not reply. Suddenly, the heroes are attacked by Team Rocket, as Greninja counters Gourgeist's Seed Bomb. Team Rocket claims they came back for Pikachu, seeing he looks much different. Gouregist uses Dark Pulse and Inkay with Psybeam, but Pikachu uses Thunderbolt, negating the attacks and blasting Team Rocket away, who are glad Pikachu's attacks are effective once more.
The next day, the heroes watch the news and see the Kalos League will be held in Lumiose City. Ash is excited and calls Greninja, who places the Poké Ball on the ground and pushes it away. Ash remembers the day he obtained Greninja as a Froakie and promises they will be heading straight to the Kalos League. Ash fist-pumps Greninja, as everyone heads for the Snowbelle Gym.
In the Poké TV segment, Bonnie, however, thinks how Dedenne can change his appearance into Bonnie-Dedenne. Clemont, however, thinks Bonnie-Dedenne would use Nuzzle, causing a shiver to go down his spine.
- "There it is, just like old times!" - Meowth
- "The power that refreshes!" - Jessie
- "And it's worth the wait!" - James
- "Refreshing! A zap from the history books!" - Jessie
- "Which means, time to get our eyes back on the Pikachu prize!" - Meowth
- "Worthy and wise!" - James
- "So it's back the plan A!" - Jessie
- "WE'RE BLASTING OFF AGAIN BUT HAVING A NICE DAY!" - Team Rocket
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