Ash and his friends have reached Shelter Town, a snow-covered town near Snowpoint City, and they’re taking a break at the Pokémon Center. When Dawn brings out her Buneary, it attracts attention from Marilyn, a Trainer who loves cute Pokémon more than anything else. Marilyn thinks Piplup isn’t cute at all, but she wants to battle Buneary; Dawn agrees, eager to avenge Piplup’s pride. As it turns out, Marilyn only wants to watch her Cherubi act dramatic. Brock has to prod her to actually battle, but when she does battle, she wins!
To show Marilyn that cuteness isn’t everything, Brock asks her for a battle. She doesn’t like his Sudowoodo or Croagunk, but she agrees to a 3-on-3 battle if it includes Brock’s super-cute Happiny. Team Rocket wants to get their hands on Marilyn’s adorable Pokémon, so James disguises himself as the match referee. The match begins with Sudowoodo battling Cherubi, and Sudowoodo uses Mimic and Fake Tears to imitate Cherubi’s acting. Marilyn has to admit, Sudowoodo’s dramatics are as good as Cherubi’s—but James wants to see Marilyn’s other Pokémon, so he calls it a tie and calls for the next set of Pokémon!
Now it’s Croagunk vs. Marilyn’s Chingling. Chingling has the upper hand, but Brock shows Marilyn how a Trainer’s encouragement can inspire a Pokémon to keep fighting. So when it’s time for Marilyn’s third Pokémon, she changes her team and sends out a Shellder! She always thought Shellder was cute, but people teased her and soon she became obsessed with typical “cute” Pokémon. Now she’s ready to stand behind her Shellder! But before Shellder and Happiny can battle, Team Rocket steals her Cherubi and Chingling. Shellder promptly freezes Team Rocket so Marilyn can rescue her Pokémon, and Happiny blasts Team Rocket into the sky. Brock’s lesson worked: Marilyn is proud of her Shellder again, so our heroes can change into cold-weather gear and get ready to leave for Snowpoint City!