Having Ash battle Ryu in an all-out dragon fight was an idea I’ve had for a very long time. It was first inspired some time after Ash captured Goomy in Kalos. It was then that I realized that him using a team of his previously captured Dragon-Types would make for a fun battle with Ryu, not to mention a challenge that Ryu would gladly accept. Since then, the only Dragon-Type that Ash had obtained was Naganadel, but I unfortunately could not justify Ash somehow contacting Naganadel in a different dimension and bringing it here just for this battle, so I had to settle for using Charizard as the fifth dragon. I didn’t think anyone would particularly mind an excuse to bring Charizard back anyways.
This battle’s primary purpose was to put Ash and Ryu’s rivalry back on track. Admittedly, in my attempt to not over-use Ryu, I’ve probably been under-using for a while, and therefore the rivalry hasn’t been all that well-defined. This battle marks the turning point where the rivalry gets serious again, and starts to receive the focus it deserves. As you might have gathered from Ryu’s speech at the end, the relationship between Ash and Ryu is suddenly a lot more complex than it was before.
Another goal with this battle was simply to provide one of the most memorable battles I could. If this were in the real show, I’d want it to rank among the most memorable battles of all time, such as Ash against Gary in the Johto League, or either of Ash and Paul’s full battles. Not only that, but full six-on-six battles are a big deal, and I didn’t want to waste the opportunity. As such, I went all-out in the scripting and choreography of the fight. I wanted you to really be able to see the battle play out in your head. You might have noticed that once I got to the Charizard vs. Dragonite fight, I took things to a whole new level, adopting a completely different way of writing the battle. This was done in order to express how intense and dramatic, yet also majestic and thrilling, the fight was.
As far Heala/Curemodo’s part goes, I feel like it was only natural to have it evolve here. The main reason I even gave Ash a Heala to begin with was to fuel his rivalry with Ryu. Heala’s personal rivalry with Jangmo-o furthered this goal. As such, Heala was written as the central figure in this battle, which I suppose is only natural, given that aside from Pikachu, it was the only Pokémon Ash used that was on his current team. Despite that, I still worked hard to make sure that all of Ash’s other Pokémon other got their chance to shine in one way or another. After all, what’s the fun in bringing back an old favorite, if it doesn’t do anything meaningful?
I truly hope you all enjoyed these episodes, as they most certainly rank among the greatest Cosmic Quest episodes of all time, if you ask me. I would even dare to say that they could potentially rank among the best Pokémon episodes of all time, were they animated. Is that too much hubris? What ever.