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A party is being held in Pewter City to honor Ash after he came second place in the Unove League. Unfortunately, the boy is feeling there nothing to celebrate about yet another failure. Things get much worse after a bomb planted by Team Plasma to kill him instead claims other victims. With no other choice, Ash has to join a group to stop them. Of course, there is no way Dawn isn't going to help him.

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  • Action Girl: Cynthia in not only a great trainer, as usual, but is very capable of defeating people with her bare hands.
  • Adaptational Badass: It is clear that in this version Ash didn't Took a Level in Dumbass when he traveled to Unova. He even menaged to reach the final, only losing to N due to him using Reshiram.
    • Ash's Pokemon are strong enough to defeat the Unova Elite Four. Unfortunately, they are being controlled by N.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Cilan and his brothers are the Shadow Triad of his Plasma. However, they are Forced into Evil by a combination of fear and gratitude toward Ghetsis.
    • N, while still being a Well-Intentioned Extremist, is far more cruel than canon: he tries to kill Dawn, threatened Ash with a knife and uses a torture device to force Ash's Pokemon to fight for him.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Unlike canon, Krokorok hasn't evolved by the end of Ash's Unova journey. Ash still brings it when he is told to make his best team and it finally evolved during a battle with Team Rocket.
  • The Atoner: Cilan is one of the Shadow Triad, and the one who planted the bomb that killed Lance and put Delia into a come. After seeing Ash's resolve, he pulls a Heel–Face Turn and starts helping the heroes, even performing an Heroic Sacrifice.
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  • Bad Ass Abnormal: Ash learns how to control his Aura to create energy shields and sense other people's presence.
  • Bad Ass Normal: Alder and his Pokemon are fighting five-to-one against five of the Team Plasma Sages. To give his Pokemon a chance, he takes as many attacks as he can with his body, In the end, not only he wins, but he still has enough energy to punch Ghetsis.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ash saves Dawn, Alder, Cynthia, Lenona and Burgh from a Plasma ambush.
    • In Chapter 12, Dawn mounts an assault on the Plasma airship, where Ash was being kept prisoner and rescues him.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Subverted. Dawn mostly finds Ash getting embarassed by Cynthia's vicinity exhilaranting.
  • Cloaking Device: Team Plasma has one, allowing them to strike with surprise. They also use it on Reshiram during the battle with Ash.
  • Cpr Clean Pretty Reliable: Averted: when Cynthia has to perform it on Ash, the boy throws up twice, and they still have to bring him to a hospital, while fearing he might have suffered brain damage due to briefly diying.
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  • Crippling Overspecialization: Alder and the Elite Four trained specifically to contrast Reshiram. So when N uses a completely different team, it throws them for a loop, allowing him to defeat all five.
  • Evil vs. Evil: While fighting against the League, Team Rocket and Plasma are also at war with each other to gain control of the legendary dragons of Unova.
    • Dawn actually suggests to let the two teams wore each other out and then attack the weakened winner. Cynthia and Alder refuses, because they are afraid the winner would have both dragons at that point, making it too powerful.
  • Failure Hero: As the title says, Ash feels this way for much of the story: at first for losing yet another league, and then due to his inability to keep his loved ones safe from Team Plasma.
  • Forced into Evil: Cilan and his brothers. When they were young, their parents died, and Ghetsis took them, allowing them to not being separated into different foster homes. Both for this and the fear they fell towards him, they accepted to work for him.
  • The Gadfly: Much to Ash's surprise, Sabrina is now this. Cynthia explains it is a way to live a second childhood, since she didn't get it the first time.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: While trying to protect Dawn and Alder, Cilan is cut at the waist by a Night Slash.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: When the bomb in the Pewter City Gym goes off, Lance protects Delia with his body, getting crushed by rubble.
  • Killed Off for Real: Lance,Cilan,N,Ghetsis and, by the end of the story Delia.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The members of the league are not above using it.
  • Just a Kid: Alder is initially against the idea of letting Ash and Dawn join them, since they are only ten years old. Later he warms up to the idea, but he still tries to defeat N while the two aren't here.
  • Likes Older Women: While Ash's true feelings are clearly for Dawn, he also founds Cynthia attractive. According to Sabrina, he even occasionally dreams about the champion.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Since she wasn't present for much of Ash's Unova journey, Dawn has no idea the Terrible Trio she knew in Sinnoh has Took a Level in Badass. Ash quickly informs her.
  • The Mentor: While they are on a mission at the Silph Co., Sabrina helps Ash develops his Aura abilities.
  • Mythology Gag: The dress Dawn wears while under cover are those of the female protagonist of Black and White.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Ghetsis orders Reshiram to use Hyper Beam on Ash with the intent of killing him. However the attack strucks the Black Stone, which absorbs it, giving it enough energy to morph into Zekrom.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: When N and Pikachu meet after Team Plasma kidnap the Pokemon, N promises him he will bring Pikachu back to his friends. Of course, Pikachu thinks that he means to gave him back to Ash, while N wants to release him in the wild.
  • Rejected Apology: Ash refuses to forgive Cilan for bombing the Pewter City gym and making his mom fall into a coma.
  • Shout-Out: When Ash and Dawn go under cover in the Nimbasa museum, they use the fake names Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon.
  • Slave Mook: When is time to fight the Unova Elite Four, N uses the Pokemon he stole from Ash, forcing them to fight with soundwaves that cause them pain. Then, in his fight with Alder, he does the same thing with the Pokemon he took from the Elite Four.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Dawn was never a slouch in battling, but training with Alder and Cynthia made her formidable enough she and her team single handely rescue Ash from Team Plasma airship.
  • Undying Loyalty: Ash and Dawn has this for each other, and that's before they realize they are in love.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After his hideout has been conquered, Giovanni disbands Team Rocket and escape capture.
  • Would Hurt a Child: No member of Team Plasma or Rocket has trouble attacking, hurting or trying to kill Ash and Dawn.
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