Recap / Pokémon S20E9 "To Top a Totem!"

"My young Ash, are you interested in learning why the Island Challenge was started so many years ago? You see, it wasn't simply to make trainers stronger in battle. It was to raise young people in such a way that they will love and protect the islands of Alola, as well as the many people and Pokémon who inhabit them."
—Kahuna Hala

Japanese Title: The Leader Pokémon is Dekagoos!

Original Airdate: January 5, 2017

Canada Airdate: May 13, 2017

US Airdate: May 19, 2017
Ash has to face up to a challenge the likes of which he's never seen before.

When a herd of Alolan Rattata and Raticate run wild beyond their normal hours, Ash meets Hala, the Kahuna of Melemele Island. Determined to help, Ash is directed to Verdant Cavern to seek the Totem Pokémon, officially undergoing his first trial.

This episode contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adapted Out: Ilima, the Trial Captain that oversees Verdant Cavern; Ash undergoes the Trial supervised by Hala instead.
  • Badass Baritone: Hala has a deep voice and a lot of muscle strength.
  • Balloon Belly: Pikachu and Rockruff chow down while Ash and Professor Kukui discuss getting a new Z Crystal. At one point, when Ash speaks to Pikachu, he's gone beyond just a balloon belly and actually looks obese.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After Ash beats the Totem Gumshoos, he's able to convince it and its ally Yungoos and Gumshoos to drive off the herd of Rattata and Raticate.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: The Yungoos and Gumshoos use Sand Attack to block Pikachu's electric attacks.
  • End-of-Episode Silliness: In the Japanese episode, after the PokéProblem's answer, it shows Officer Jenny grabbing the ally Gumshoos from Ash's trial at Verdant Cavern and asking it to be her partner. It looks kinda confused by the offer.
  • Face of a Thug: Gumshoos is intimidating (especially the Totem), but, once defeated, it and its kin are pretty affable, even willing to help deal with Akala's rodent problem when merely asked.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: By beating Totem Gumshoos, Ash wins the Normalium Z crystal.
  • My Beloved Smother: A flashback shows Bewear stuffing a honey and fruit mixture into Team Rocket's mouths.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Team Rocket have had enough of the Bewear's insistent hospitality, and are trying to make a run for it when the stampeding Rattata and Raticate nearly blast them off.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Averted again. The stampeding Rattata and Raticate knock Team Rocket away, but Bewear comes in and grabs them before they can blast off.