Lawrence III, a Pokémon collector, strives to make a legendary prophecy occur. His plan to capture the legendary birds Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno will ultimately lead to the capture of the “Beast of the Sea” Lugia. Lawrence sets out in his flying hovercraft to the heart of the Orange Islands to capture the three legendary birds, referred to as the Titans of Fire, Ice and Lightning. He successfully captures Moltres, but the balance of power the birds have over the world’s climate begins to collapse, causing all sorts of weather phenomena across the world, alerting countless Pokémon to the change. Ash Ketchum and his companions Misty and Tracey Sketchit get caught in a freak storm, and are washed ashore Shamouti, set in the centre of the Orange Islands. Learning the island festival celebrating the legend is about to begin, Ash is selected as the festival’s chosen one by a girl named Melody, the festival maiden.
At the festival’s banquet, Melody explains to Ash he must retrieve three glass balls from each of the legendary birds’ islands and take them to Shamouti’s shrine, guarded by a talking Slowking, where Melody will end his task by playing the festival’s song, actually the song of Lugia. Ash immediately sets out, led by the troubled Pikachu. Taken to Fire Island by sea captain Maren, Ash and Pikachu find Moltres’ treasure, but are interrupted by Team Rocket. Misty, Tracey and Melody arrive via Melody’s multi-purpose boat, followed by Zapdos who attempts to conquer the island. Lawrence appears overhead, absorbing Zapdos’ electrical energy and captures it along with Ash and co. accidentally. Meanwhile, Professor Oak, Professor Ivy, and Ash’s mother Delia Ketchum fly to the islands but their helicopter crashes on Shamouti. Lawrence frees Ash and the others and attempts to capture Articuno, accidentally awakening Lugia in the process. Meanwhile, Ash and the others manage to free Moltres and Zapdos who escape and bring down Lawrence’s hovercraft.