Today is Dawn's tenth birthday, and that means it's time for her Pokemon journey to begin. Dawn has always dreamed of becoming a top coordinator like her mom. After breakfast, she says good-bye to her mother, to Glameow, and to her home in Twinleaf Town.
Dawn's first stop is Sandgem Town, where she'll pick out her first Pokemon at Professor Rowan's lab. She's making good time on her pink bicycle, but along the way, she gets lost. Luckily, Professor Rowan pulls up and leads her to his lab. But when they get there, some of the Pokemon are missing.
One of the research assistants explains that Piplup and Chimchar got in a fight. Apparently, Chimchar ate more than its fair share of Pokemon food. The fight got completely out of hand: Staraptor, Starly, Chimchar, and Piplup all ran away. Dawn, ready to start her training, offers to find and return the rebellious Pokemon to the lab.
It doesn't take Dawn long to find the Pokemon, but little does she know that the hardest part is yet to come: the runaway Pokemon don't want her help. Piplup is especially resistant. But when Dawn helps the Pokemon fend off Ariados, she earns their respect and some well-deserved rest.
Dawn and the Pokemon recover from their rough day on the shore of a river, where Dawn spots something magical in the water. It's a legendary Mesprit.
After their encounter, Dawn and the Pokemon return to the lab. Professor Rowan thanks Dawn for all her help and offers her a Pokemon. Earlier in the day, she couldn't decide, but now the choice seems clear. She picks Piplup as her new pal.
As Dawn rides out of Sandgem Town, our hero, Ash, is just arriving on a ferry from Kanto. Ash is excited to step foot in Sinnoh for the first time, and he is looking forward to new adventures in a new region. But hovering above the happy scene is Team Rocket, who swoop in on their hot-air balloon and steal Pikachu.