Rango Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A pet lizard finds himself lost in the desert after his tank flies off of the back of his owner’s car. He arrives at a town called Dirt where water is scarce to say the least. He plays himself up as a hero of the west to the local townsfolk, and after (accidentally) saving them from a hawk. Because of his feats, he’s given the title of Sheriff by the mayor. Taking the name of Rango, he enjoys his newfound respect and admiration but when the situation gets dire in Dirt, he’ll have to pay up or shut up.

Breakdown: I was never a fan of westerns, unless you count space westerns. And despite being interested in this movie when it was first released, mostly because Nickelodeon promoted it quite a bit (They produced it, but it’s hard as hell to find their name on it) I never got around to watching it until now. Too bad too because this is a pretty damn good movie.

Admittedly, the story is completely overdone. Some guy pretends to be something he’s not only to eventually get ousted and then gather up the courage to return and set things right. Been there done that. And yes, the awkwardness of the continuous lying does irk me quite a bit.

However, I really love the writing of the dialogue, the timing of the jokes, the characters and the style. I can’t really compare this to any other animated movie that I can think of. It’s pretty unique in its own right, at least barring the story.

One of the ways this movie stands out is its art and animation. Rango was produced by ILM (Lucasfilms) and it is absolutely gorgeous…..I think I drooled a little.

Excuse me, I really should say it’s butt ugly, but it’s meant to be gritty and kinda ugly. It’s a western with a bunch of desert animals like rats and lizards. Even the love interest, Beans, that’s her actual name, is pretty blech-looking. But my god, the details. They are fantastic. From the littlest drops of water and the hairs and scales on the animals to the town of Dirt and the vast desert. It is all just deliciously…..Ugligorgeous. What’s even more incredible is how they integrated the human world into their own world. The cars and lights look fantastic, we’ve got a huge cityscape, and even stuff like the items in Rango’s tank are beautifully detailed.

Then we see one human character briefly, The Man With No Name; IE A Clint Eastwood ‘Spirit of the West’ character who guides Rango back on his path. And not only is he also incredibly well-detailed, but his part is probably the least cliched because he doesn’t do that lame ‘just believe in yourself blah blah’ speech. He gives a realistic speech that a Clint Eastwood character would probably give. Sadly, however, they did not get Clint Eastwood to play this part, but he was well-performed by Timothy Olyphant.

They also didn’t dumb down most of the scenes for the sake of the children. Characters get shot, they die, they swear (to a degree), they describe several gory situations and the dialogue is perfectly suited for older audiences as well as young ones. Which is weird because somehow this movie managed to grab a PG rating.

In regards to characters, they’re all kinda stereotypes, but they’re done in a fairly unique and memorable manner. Johnny Depp (hey, you broke away from Disney and Tim Burton for five seconds! Congrats!) plays our titular character, Rango. Interestingly, his real name, the one he would’ve been given by his owner, is never mentioned, which kinda makes him a legit ‘man with no name’. He named himself through the traditional means of reading it off of something he saw.

He’s a bit of a delusional chameleon who longs to be a big popular hero, but he’s lived all of his life in a tank with no one to interact with except a wind-up goldfish and a barbie doll torso. It’s actually a little sad to think that his owner might be devastated over losing his pet, but Rango never mentions it or seems to care.

Rango’s one of the most uncomfortable characters to watch because he’s lying through most of the movie, and he plays up his lies as much as possible in order to fully create a heroic sheriff persona, but he really is a good guy who wants to help the people of Dirt.

Beans isn’t all that interesting. She’s a typical ‘no non-sense’ female lead whose only schtick is her defense mechanism. Beans is a desert iguana and she has a defense mechanism that essentially causes her to freeze up and be completely unaware of her surroundings. Problem is, this ability sometimes springs up without warning or trigger. She’ll just be talking and then boom. Then she just transforms into a doting girlfriend at the end, and it’s actually a little annoying.

Priscilla, the cactus mouse, steals several scenes with her odd habit of being incredibly and painfully blunt about situations and going on small tangents about frightening or gory situations.

Then there’s the mayor who is about as transparent as humanly possible. It’s obvious that he’s behind the water shortage in the town yet it takes Rango to finally figure it out and call him out on it. He’s not much of a villain, but there is someone who actually earns the villain title; Rattlesnake Jake.

As you can guess, Rattlesnake Jake is a rattlesnake. A huge rattlesnake….with piercing almost glowing orange, yellow and red eyes, huge fangs…..and that’s about it…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh there is his KICK-ASS MACHINE GUN TAIL. Oh my god, I never knew I needed a movie with a rattlesnake with a machine gun for a tail in my life, but that part of me has been fulfilled now. He is a big, badass, looming bastard of a snake. Though the reason I really like him isn’t just how badass he is, it’s that he actually has some sense of honor. By the end, he’s basically an anti-hero.

The fact that everything looks more or less real along with stuff like guns and animal threats such as hawks really makes the movie much more intense.

And might I commend the movie for having the best end credits sequence I’ve seen in ages? The art, the direction, the style, the music; they were all awesome for that segment.

Bottomline: Even if you don’t like westerns, I’d say definitely give this movie a shot. It’s cleverly written, has a great realistic feel to it, is gorgeously detailed, has some fantastic music, intense action sequences and while it’s not the most unique story in the world, you never once feel bored while watching it. I had a lot of fun with this movie, and I’d gladly watch it several more times.

Recommended Audience: Mild swearing (hell, damn, maybe an ‘ass’ I can’t remember), guns, smoking, some people get shot but I don’t think anyone dies from a gunshot wound, a bird dies from being crushed, an armadillo ‘dies’ from being run over by a car (and ew they closeup on his squished body, even though, oddly, there’s no guts or gore, it’s like someone flatted a balloon filled with flour) ‘scary situations’ maybe. 10+

Digimon Adventure 01 Sub/Dub Comparison Episode 8

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Plot: After discovering that they’re truly on an island with no escape, the kids meet Ogremon, a Digimon known as being a brute, and Leomon who is supposedly to be a kindhearted and gentle leader Digimon teaming up to kill them. Devimon, the evil Digimon behind the black gears, discovers that the kids are too powerful together and concocts a plan to separate them. After escaping from Leomon and Ogremon, the kids discover a mansion in the woods and enjoy their sudden stroke of luck despite the fears of a trap because everyone, especially the Digimon, are completely exhausted. However, their fears were realized when it proves to be nothing but a trap of Devimon’s making.

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Title Screen: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN1

Title Change: The Messenger of Darkness; Devimon! Is changed to Evil Shows His Face.

While Digimon has a lot of jokes and dialogue where there is none in the original, I’ll note this one because there’s a mistake made in the dubbing. At the very start of the episode, there’s no dialogue until they see Jyou on the cliff. In the dub, Joe says this place would be a lot better with a bus system and Matt agrees, but believes they’re at the end of the line.

The reason this is a mistake is because the only people in Matt’s group right now are Izzy, Mimi, TK and himself. Joe, Tai and Sora are at the cliff. So there’s no way for Joe to have been saying that to Matt while he was climbing up the cliff. That just seems so sloppy considering how obvious it is that Joe is not with the group right now. They could’ve made Matt or Mimi say the line about the bus and have Izzy or Matt respond.

Jyou just yells ‘What do we do now?!’ while Joe complains that he never wanted to go to summer camp and instead wanted to go to summer school.

The narrator, as usual, does the Digimon index screens for Leomon and Ogremon. In the dub, since none of the kids are around, Leomon does Ogremon’s screen and vice versa.

Leomon: “The black gears are turning perfectly peaceful innocent Digimon into monsters!” Uhh….maybe you should’ve come up with a different term….Digimon…Digital MONSTERS. Just sayin’.

Attack Name Change: Ogremon’s fist attack is called Haouken (Fist of the Supreme King).

Attack Name Change: Leomon’s fist attack is called Juuouken (Fist of the Beast King). I never heard Ogremon’s translated attack name in the dub I don’t believe, but the dub commonly calls Leomon’s its translated attack name.

Also, in the original, the two actually call out their attacks when they first fight. In the dub, they just grunt.

Attack Name Change: Death Claw is changed to Touch of Evil.

This line was kinda cool. Devimon originally tells Leomon to accept his ‘baptism of evil’. In the dub, he just says he’ll now obey Devimon’s every command.

Also, I like Devimon’s original voice a lot better. His original voice is eerily calm and even while his dubbed voice is typically evil villain gravelly yelling.

Matt: “No question, man. You are the dude of doodles!”……What does that even mean?

Mimi originally asks why things had to turn out like this. In the dub, she said she just realizes that her gloves don’t match her dress….Yup, that’s Mimi for ya.

Likewise, Palmon only says ‘Mimi’ after this line. In the dub, Palmon says, seriously mind you, ‘How sad.’

You know, I really like how the kids and Digimon still have trust in Digimon that they’ve known to be good, friendly and trustworthy in the past, but this has been nearly every episode. Unimon, Monzaemon, Meramon, Andromon; they should really take the sudden appearance of a supposedly friendly and kind Digimon as a red flag at this point.

Why is Matt specifically telling Joe to not slow down in the dub? He’s at the front of the group. If anything, he should be telling that to Tai considering he’s last and he just went back for a bit to try to get his dumb map.

Takeru asks if Ogremon is another supposedly kind Digimon, but Patamon and Gomamon state that he’s actually a bad guy either way. In the dub, this is replaced by jokes about Ogremon wanting to eat them.

Attack Name Change: Hone Konbou (Bone Club) is changed to Pummel Whack. However, Ogremon doesn’t say it here in the dub. Instead he just grunts again.

Attack Name Change: Shishi Omaru (or Shishiou-maru, depending on the source) (Lion King Sword…Simba? :0) Is changed to Beast Sword, even though, again, he doesn’t say it here in the dub he just grunts.

So is the rule just that if a Digimon Digivolves once, no matter the circumstance, they can easily perform it again later?

Devimon originally just says that dealing with six of them together is troublesome. In the dub, he says they’ve ‘learned the secret of teamwork’ which is an eyeroll worthy line if I’ve ever heard one, says that dealing with them all together is more difficult that he realized then asks himself why Patamon hasn’t Digivolved.

Jyou points out the rockslide that occurs while Joe calls it an avalanche. Joe, rocks for rockslide, snow for avalanche. Okay?

Mimi originally says she sick of this. In the dub, she says she needs a facial.

Guess Sora’s back to calling Biyomon, Biyo, which still sounds wrong to me.

Dub Gabumon: “Do you think that avalanche knocked them both off the cliff?” It’s a rockslide. The originals keep getting it right, what’s wrong with you guys?

Jyou originally cheers at the fact that Ogremon and Leomon probably died from falling off the cliff. In the dub, he just explains how flying monsters, even ones without wings can be possible in this world because anything seems like it’s possible.

I actually prefer the dub because, while I understand that they were attacked by him, Gabumon and Patamon both said that Leomon was supposed to be a very kindhearted and gentle leader type of Digimon. The fact that he attacked them and paired up with his mortal enemy are huge indications that he’s being controlled like the other nice Digimon have been with the black gears. Yet instead of mourning the death of a good Digimon, they cheer for it.

Tai: “It’s that avalanche.” ROCK—Oh forget it.

The explanation of how the rock-avalanche occurred is basically the same, but Koushiro originally surmises that the destruction of the path may have caused instability in the rocks above whereas dub Izzy just says stress fractures in rock just eventually occur.

Jyou originally hopes there are other humans in the mansion whereas Joe hopes for a hot tub but not one that is too hot.

Yamato’s originally the one trying to stop Jyou from barging into the building. In the dub, Tai’s trying to stop both of them.

You can’t hear Jyou and Yamato talking in the original as Tai and Agumon are talking about whether or not the mansion was on the map over the shot. In the dub, their conversation is broken by Matt telling Joe to open the door, but Joe doesn’t want to go in without knocking.

I love Jyou/Joe’s flawless logic. ‘But guys there can’t be any bad Digimon in a building that has paintings of angels! That’s, like, against the law or something!’

Tentomon says being able to eat delicious food like that must be a sin (Wait, they know what sin is but not angels?) In the dub, Mimi is speaking on this shot saying that they have awful table manners.

I love the song cue in the original after Jyou starts eating.

The kids mostly just say they’ll eat as we zoom out of the mansion and fast forward to the night. In the dub, Mimi says something about lobster and a matre ‘d and TK says something about eating pizza that has peanut butter and pickle toppings…..What is with these kids and gross food choices?

Yamato tells Taichi not to jump into the bathtub while Tai says it’s been so long since they’ve had an actual bath. In the dub, Matt tells Tai not get his hair wet and Tai says he thought some bird made a nest on his head.

Immediately after, Koushiro says it’s amazing that the place also had a bathtub (it’s a mansion…it’s harder to believe it wouldn’t have a bathtub) and that he can feel the tension draining from him. Tentomon then offers electricity to Koushiro….for some reason, and he politely declines. In the dub, Izzy says warm water is great for removing soil and dead epidermis because Izzy can’t turn it off for a few minutes, and Tentomon says when he gets dirty, he just sheds his skin, but Izzy says that would be difficult for him.

Ah, we have a scene deletion!

In the original, Yamato says he can’t forgive guys who are so shy in an all-men’s bath. Taichi agrees so they jump out of the bath, while naked, and try to grab Jyou’s towel from him. This scene is basically kept the same, but the shot of Yamato and Taichi and their bare asses as well as trying to get Jyou’s towel from him are removed.

Since this is removed, the arguing over getting Jyou’s towel is also removed from the shot of Gabumon outside of the bath. Instead, Tentomon asks where Gabumon is and Patamon says he’ll get in eventually but he’s too shy to take off his fur. I’d say that’s even more understandable in the original if Tai and Yamato might possibly take his fur off by force. 0-o

Visuals: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN3

Wow, another scene deletion!…Only reason I get excited over these is because dialogue edits are sometimes a pain…

Anyway, after the girls discover Gomamon in the girls’ bath, Palmon throws him over to the boys’ side where he lands on Jyou’s head and we see a shot of them both on the ground with Jyou also now naked. All of this is kept the same, but the shot of them on the ground and also Jyou’s naked ass are removed.

Visuals: DIGIMONSDCEP8SCREEN4

Most of the dialogue when they find the beds is passable, but Mimi says that having all of the beds in one room makes it feel like summer camp. Jyou then pipes up asking what she means because they were supposed to be at summer camp anyway, but then he trails off at the group’s sad faces because he reminded them of home. In the dub, Joe complains about all the crap they dealt with outside like hiking and starving, which I guess reminds everyone that they’re far from home.

I guess I can forgive this one because it’s more blatant potty (literally) humor, but when Agumon’s on the toilet he talks about how he can’t poop despite the fact that he ate so much. Taichi wants to leave because he’s taking so long, so Agumon tries his hardest to go and just ends up farting a lot which causes Ogremon to flee the stall that he was hiding in due to the stench. In the dub, it’s kinda the same but they mostly talk about how Agumon was afraid to go to the bathroom by himself and any real mention of what he’s doing is reduced to ‘I don’t even want to talk about it.’ The reason Ogremon eventually flees the stall is I guess because Agumon’s insulting him instead of farting.

Leomon keeps repeating that he needs to kill the chosen children in the original. In the dub, he keeps repeating that he cannot disobey Devimon.

Taichi asks about the fact that there is supposedly way more to the Digital World beyond File Island. Devimon says it doesn’t matter because the spot in which they stand will be their graves. In the dub, Devimon says they’re the Digidestined sent to save the Digital World from his destruction and Tai says they were just kids at summer camp sent there by random.

Huh, another scene deletion I guess for violence. Leomon pushes Agumon out of the way and slams Taichi by his neck up against the wall. In the dub, this shot is removed.

Visuals:

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The featured images for this blog entry are going to make people uncomfortable, aren’t they?

Agumon doesn’t explain that the evil from Leomon was purged by the Digivice in the original as it’s pretty damn obvious. Also, the dub proclaims that a black gear was driven from Leomon when no gear was present nor was it actually the cause of the mind control. It was Devimon’s own hand.

Next episode, the kids are now separated on different islands made up of the old File Island. Tai and Yamato end up on frozen wastelands and have to battle ice based Digimon to continue their journey and reunite with the others.

Pokemon Episode 29 Analysis – The Punchy Pokemon

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen1

CotD(s): Anthony – A Fighting Pokemon trainer who aims to train Pokemon for the Fighting Pokemon tournament, the P-1 Grand Prix. Anthony’s got tunnel vision for the tournament and neglects spending time with his family because of it, but he’s still a kind person with a good heart.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: Anthony has a Hitmonchan as his main Pokemon. He spends much of his time training it, and Hitmonchan has become a very formidable fighter because of it.

Technically, after this episode, Anthony also becomes the owner of Ash’s Primeape. According to the original dialogue, this is not a ‘see you some other time’ situation. He legit handed Primeape over to him.

Rebecca – Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca is devastated that her father spends all of his time training for the P1 Grand Prix instead of spending time at home with his family. She is so set on getting him home that she asks Ash, Misty and Brock to defeat her father in order to get him to give up his dream.

Reappears?: No.

Pokemon: None.

Departures: Ash’s Primeape.

Reappears?: No. 😦

Final Farewell: I might as well vent here to spare the rest of the analysis some ranting. You might be going ‘Wha? Primeape’s leaving already? Wasn’t he just captured like three episodes ago?’ Yes, yes he was.

According to my unconfirmed sources (IE word of mouth I heard years ago), supposedly the writers of the show realized that Ash was in a bit of a capture slump, having not captured any Pokemon since Krabby way back when. They also realized that Ash had a free space in his party that had yet to be filled since Butterfree’s departure. So they decided to have him capture a Primeape.

However, the writers allegedly didn’t know what to do with it after that, even though giving Ash a Pokemon he cannot control is a good standing plot point. I guess they wanted that honor to go to Chameleon/izard, though.

Since they didn’t know what else to do with Primeape, they cut their losses and booted him soon after capture, which means A) they failed in their goal to get Ash more Pokemon, B) he’s now back to his confusing five Pokemon party despite having a Pokemon back with Oak that he could have with him and C) my intense hatred for giving Ash good Pokemon then chucking them away or giving them to Oak to rot until a tournament starts here.

Primeape had tons of raw power and he even had personality, which makes this even worse. Did it have any goals in life? From what I saw in his only episode outside of this one, no. Perhaps just to screw around and have fun, which is fine. Primeape had potential, but they just swept him under the rug never to be brought up again for reasons that I’ll bring up later as being nonsensical.

Farewell, Primeape. You deserved better.

Plot: As Ash, Misty and Brock travel to their next destination, they find what they believe is a wild Hitmonchan in the path. Ash decides that he wants to capture it, so he starts teaching Pikachu some boxing moves.

Pikachu fails miserably, but manages to get one punch in on Hitmonchan. Hitmonchan’s Trainer, a man named Anthony, appears and chastises Hitmonchan for leaving its guard down. He tells him to return to the match, and Hitmonchan easily defeats Pikachu in a hail of punches.

Anthony’s daughter, Rebecca, appears and begs her father to come back home. However, he states he won’t come back home until he’s become the champion of the local Fighting Pokemon tournament, the P1 Grand Prix. Rebecca enlists the help of Brock and his Geodude as well as Ash and his uncontrollable Primeape to enter the tournament and defeat his father in order to get him to ‘come to his senses’ give up his dream and come home.

Team Rocket also decides to enter the tournament in hopes of getting the championship belt, selling it and using the money for themselves. Since they don’t have a Fighting Pokemon, they tie up a man named Giant and steal his Hitmonlee.

Everything goes well in the tournament, for the most part. Brock is forced to forfeit on his first match out, but Primeape is doing well in his matches, especially once Ash earns his trust by diving for him when he is thrown from the ring.

In their match against Anthony and his Hitmonchan, Team Rocket cheats by gluing Hitmonchan’s foot to the floor of the ring, leaving it mostly defenseless against Hitmonlee’s barrage of kicks. Rebecca tries to protect Hitmonchan by jumping into the ring, but before she is also hit by a kick, Anthony steps in and takes the blow. Realizing the importance of his family and the futility of the match, Anthony forfeits.

The final match is Ash and Primeape against a revealed Team Rocket and Hitmonlee. They, again, try to cheat with an electro-shock device and bomb to take out Primeape, but Pikachu secretly thwarts their plans and Primeape wins legitimately. Pikachu gives Team Rocket the bomb back and sends them blasting off.

Anthony offers to take Primeape in and train him to be a true P1 champion and Ash agrees. He wishes the best in Primeape’s future training and bids him farewell.

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– Misty: “This must be one of those Fighting Pokemon I’ve heard about!” You’ve…heard about? First of all, Misty, you’re a former Gym leader. I find it hard to believe that you never once came across a Fighting Pokemon while holding that title, especially since there are Water Pokemon, Poliwrath in Gen 1 anyway, that double as Fighting types.

Second….Mankey and Primeape are both Fighting Pokemon, and you’ve seen them. That line would be better suited for Ash, but even then are Fighting types so rare that even Ash would say something like that?

– Why exactly is Ash trying to convince Pikachu to duke it out with Hitmonchan? Any idiot can see what a terrible idea that is. He has no training in hand to hand combat, Hitmonchan is obviously way more trained in it and is its friggin’ type for crying out loud, he has the power of electricity to allow him to more easily take him down and, oh yeah, Pikachu’s arms and paws are so small I’m surprised those gloves are staying on him.

If you really wanted to see a boxing match between two Pokemon maybe…oh I dunno, use your FIGHTING POKEMON. I know Ash can’t control him, but nothing else about this scene makes sense so why not?

– Narrator: “Well, everything’s been going pretty well. Misty caught Psyduck” “Caught” is being a bit generous.

“and Brock got Vulpix.” “Borrowed” would also be more fitting here.

“But Ash hasn’t captured any new Pokemon recently.” He literally caught Primeape one episode before Misty caught Psyduck and Brock got Vulpix. Being the main Trainer of the group, he should be more focused on capturing, but he’s gone much longer without captures without anyone batting an eye and now the narrator’s getting on his case?

“He might be getting a little worried. But now he’ll try his luck with Hitmonchan.” Another case of the oddities starting off an episode with determination to catch a Pokemon and increase his capture rate only to not capture any Pokemon this episode and end up releasing one he has.

The Punchy Pokemon is such a lazy title I could cry. It’s not even purely lazy. It’s silly, too, especially for a departure episode. Why not call it “We’re too lazy to properly integrate you into the plot so, bye Primeape!” or simply “Fuck off, Primeape!”

– They’re still using the Pokemon logo in the title when it has the word in it? I’m going to keep bringing this up just because now I’m pathetically curious as to when this ends.

– I’ll actually forgive the stupid setup for Boxer!Pikachu because the actual fight is one of the funniest and most adorable scenes in Pokemon.

– I don’t understand anything about the Rocket Punch Ash taught Pikachu. He launches the boxing gloves off of his paws but then, somehow, only one of them is flying, Pikachu has the other glove back on his other paw and he’s still got the right flying glove on his paw, propelling him through the air with it.

And what about the Pikachu left behind? He wasn’t shrouded in smoke to make the illusion like he vanished. He was still there when the gloves were sent flying. I’m just imagining that, after the gloves are launched, it’s like a Benny Hill sketch with Pikachu scampering around trying to catch the left glove, getting it, then quickly running to catch up to the other glove while the smoke is still trailing to conceal him getting it back on. They really couldn’t have animated it to seem like Pikachu’s launching himself from the getgo?

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……Wait….why did Ash have Pikachu-sized boxing gloves anyway?…..Ones with rockets in them…..Ash, I think Team Rocket’s stalking is getting to you more than we think.

– I always wonder about Pokemon that ‘wear clothes’ so to speak. Is Hitmonchan wearing gloves or are those its actual hands?….Is it wearing a dress or is its torso just really weird?

– Rebecca’s plan kinda sucks. Shouldn’t she be more focused on getting him the championship rather than defeating him? He says straight out mere lines before she asks this favor of the group that he won’t come home until he’s a P1 Grand Prix champion. Enlisting people solely for the purpose of defeating him is just going to make him want to train even harder for another year.

He’ll ‘come to his senses’ after defeat? Sure some people take losses so hard that they give up entirely, but with a guy like that the alternative is much more likely. Plus, she finds it much better that he fail in one of his main life goals instead of being there with him to help him succeed. I get that she’s lonely, but she’s being just as selfish as he is.

Now that I really think about it….this whole plan is entirely unnecessary. Either way, he’s coming home, right? At least by Rebecca’s logic. Today’s the day of the tournament. He’ll either win, prompting him to go home, or lose to someone else, prompting him to supposedly give up and go home. There is no third option. Why are Ash and Brock even needed?

– Brock: “Ash, don’t you have a Fighting Pokemon we could use?”

Ash: “Errr, what are you talkin’ about?” Ash forgot he has Primeape….Has he even been let out of the Pokeball since his capture? Is he dying in there?

– Brock, just because Geodude has fists and biceps it doesn’t mean it’s a Fighting type.

– Also, yeah, Ash has a Primeape that he can’t control and has never once bothered trying to train to the point where he’s forgotten he even has it. Brock’s Pokemon is one that is actually weak to Fighting types. Neither has had any formal training in Pokemon Boxing. These are the absolute best people to recruit to defeat Rebecca’s father, the guy who has been doing nothing but training for years for this very tournament with one of the best Fighting Pokemon you can get.

– Behold! One of the rare occasions Team Rocket actually succeeds in stealing a Pokemon!

– Why do so many people in the audience look horribly concerned as the tournament starts? They’re barely making introductions and everyone’s all mortified.

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Also, props to the kid holding up the blank banner. I’m sure someone will feel like they’re being cheered on….or heckled….or something.

– Why are they seemingly acting like Brock and Ash are a team in this tournament? They introduce them together when “Giant” and Anthony were introduced on their own.

– Team Rocket has a ton of disguises on hand and they can’t add anything to Giant’s clothes to cover themselves up more? For crying out loud, Jessie’s uniform is still very visible under the collar and they didn’t even make an effort to cover up her hair.

– Continuing the amazingly cliché tradition of fixing any and all trust issues/behavioral problems by having Ash self-sacrifice himself, even just a little, to save the Pokemon in question.

– Misty: “It seems like everything changed when Ash dove to save Primeape. That’s when Primeape started to trust Ash.” Now channeling Captain Obvious-Brock is Misty. And, really guys, the audience is well aware of how lazy this flash in the pan character development is, no need to point it out by giving a detailed account of it.

– Why is Hitmonlee listening to Team Rocket? Surely it knows they’re not Giant, his actual Trainer.

– It’s a little bit on the ironic side that Anthony is telling Brock that real men know when to admit defeat. Remember way back in Pewter City? Brock is the one who both knew when to quit in order to stop himself from severely hurting Pikachu AND he basically gave Ash the gym badge on the factor of him stopping himself from hurting Brock’s Onix.

Pokemon Ep 29 Screen4
There’s nothing to dislike about this screenshot.

– Anthony: “Time to face facts; you could lose today and win tomorrow!” Another testament as to why Rebecca’s plan is doomed to….I guess succeed….In a completely unnecessary way.

– The audience just keeps looking like they’re either saddened by what they’re watching or they don’t want to be there. What is the art department thinking?

– Anthony never realized that in order to get Hitmonchan out of the ring he’d have to unglue its foot from the floor?….And…ya know….call for the officials to come and investigate? Then have a rematch or disqualify Team Rocket?….No?….Just give up and ignore that that is the exact sequence of events that would happen in any realistic scenario? Okay.

– Also, three times in one episode, forced character/relationship development brought on through self-sacrifice.

– Oh look, Team Rocket’s revealing themselves to Ash and Co. Now Ash will alert the officials and get them disqualified for not being the contestant in question, they’ll get arrested for kidnapping and Pokemon theft and Ash will win by default. Realistic scenario.~~~~

I do love the failed motto due to James’ giving out from carrying Jessie.

– Oh look, they’ve revealed it to everyone….and not a single person seems to give a shit or point it out.

– Shocking Primeape I can understand, because you can mask that without anyone noticing what’s actually going on, but why trigger an explosion too? They’ll just call off the match or declare it a draw if Primeape ends up getting KO’d due to a random explosion that Hitmonlee obviously didn’t cause.

– Primeape suddenly learned Seismic Toss? I guess that’s alright, but how did Ash know it knew that out of the blue?

– Even when the tournament is done and they’ve declared a winner, the audience is still stuck on ‘Wtf am I even watching?’ mode. Is there a gas leak in here?….and is the gas leak a fast-acting depressant?

– Why is Misty screaming ‘We did it!’? You didn’t do a damn thing outside of watch and cheer.

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While we’re on the topic, Brock, why are you up there cheering too? Primeape’s not your Pokemon and you didn’t do anything to help. Are you seriously (unfairly) teamed up with Ash here like the intros implied?

– This is the line that always kinda irked me about the reasons behind Primeape staying behind.

Anthony: “I promise to turn it into a true P1 champion!” It already IS a true P1 champion. An amazing one, considering it’s had no formal training in either regular battles or boxing-type fighting and yet won every match fairly easily. How much more of a P1 champion can it become? They should’ve said that they’d try to win more tournaments like this and make it the best Fighting Pokemon out there or something. This reason just seems poorly handled.

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This episode was….kinda boring and stupid. The setup didn’t make any sense. It was resolved at breakneck speed. There’s not enough given to either the Primeape or the Anthony story. You don’t even sympathize much with Rebecca because we barely know anything about her besides her father is hardly ever home and she misses him. Also, she sucks at making plans. There are a bunch of logistic problems that shouldn’t fly even in Pokemon. The action wasn’t that impressive. The departure of Primeape is frustrating and poorly written, especially if my intel on the reasons behind his leaving are true.

About the most interesting thing here is the Pokemon Boxing, but they don’t do anything with the concept. This should be more about actual boxing or martial arts moves or something, but they’re no different from Pokemon battles, just exclusively with Fighting Pokemon. Ash was doing more actual boxing when he was teaching Pikachu than anyone else was over the course of this episode.

I’m still a little irked at the loss of one of Ash’s few evolved and powerful Pokemon. But hey at least I can relax now. It’s not like he’ll be getting another evolved and powerful Pokemon that he’ll shove under the rug for stupid reasons any time soon, right?

So, uh, what’s next on the docket?

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……..….….…..Pbbbbbttttt…..I give up.

Previous Episode….

SSBS – Yu Yu Hakusho Episode 1: Surprised to be Dead

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Plot: Yusuke Urameshi is a punk. He frequently skips class, doesn’t try in school, gets into street fights all the time and has run-ins with basically every type of authority figure that exists.

His home life is no better with a drunk lazy mom who seems to pay him no mind at all while loafing about the house. He does have friends, the model student Keiko and the fellow street punk Kuwabara, but they seem to have just as poor of a view on Yusuke as everyone else does.

One day, Yusuke sacrifices his life to save the life of a little boy by pushing him out of the way of a speeding car and getting hit in the process. Yusuke appears near his body as a ghost and is quickly greeted by a flying girl on a boat oar named Botan.

She is a shinigami or grim reaper, but she’s not greeting Yusuke to take him to the afterlife, she’s there to give him one more chance to live. He was not set to die that day and no one in the other world believed Yusuke would ever risk his life to save a child, one that would’ve, ironically, not have died or even been hit anyway. So Yusuke is getting a second chance to live due to the error.

Yusuke, however, is not sure he wants to return to his life since he believes everyone dislikes him and everything seems to dump more crap on him. In an effort to get him to see the true value of his life, Botan gives him some time to think about the decision.

In the meantime, Yusuke visits his wake and sees how utterly devastated most of the guests are from his mother to Keiko and even to Kuwabara and one of his teachers. He even sees the grief of the mother of the little boy he saved.

After visiting his wake and taking everything into consideration, Yusuke meets with Botan again to agree to her offer, and Botan starts setting everything up to bring him back to life.

Breakdown: This has been my favorite pilot episode to an anime for a long long time. It is just so wonderfully written, so heartbreaking and so gripping that you can’t help but care for each character, even Yusuke, deeply from the get-go.

It’s also a shining example of how English dubs can really be just fantastic. There’s so much passion and emotion put into their line-reads here that it is just one of my favorite dub jobs ever.

The only negative I really have about it is the fact that two of Yusuke’s teachers really seem like they’re over the top. I mean, one has a character design that just screams ‘weasel,’ the other looks like a serial killer and they’re both such complete assholes that they’re at Yusuke’s wake being thankful that he’s dead and even making jokes about how he probably died on accident while trying to steal the boy’s lunch money.

While Kuwabara makes the most impacting scene here, you really have to appreciate the subtleties of Yusuke’s mom’s short scene. She’s just sitting on the floor not saying a word or even showing any real emotion for much of the scenes, almost like she really didn’t care, and then suddenly she just says Yusuke’s name and bursts into sobs.

Even the short scene with the little boy and his mother was very well done. It reflected the kid’s inability to really process the death of Yusuke and the gravity that the entire situation had on the mother. She’s both incredibly happy that her boy is alive yet devastated that another kid had to die to save him.

I will say that, while this is just an amazing opening episode, they don’t delve at all into the actual plot of the entire series yet, that being Yusuke eventually becoming a spirit detective and this show becoming essentially a tournament fighter.

The main characters were all very well-established from the start, the atmosphere was great and this really does seem like a pretty original story.

The art basks in that lovely ’90sness that makes me smile, and while the animation isn’t amazing it’s still pretty damn nice for its time, the music is wonderful and the OP and ED for this season stay very near and dear to my heart.

This was a great way to start off this awesome show, and I definitely look forward to going over this series again.

Rating: 10/10

Next episode, Yusuke is brought to the spirit world to meet Koenma, ruler of the spirit world, in order to get him started on the task that he will need to complete in order to be brought back to life.

Episode One-Derland: Bartender

Plot: A secluded warm bar called Eden Hall welcomes its guests with a mysterious drink they call The Glass of the Gods, a drink that is perfect for your particular troubles. The master bartender and owner of Eden Hall, Sasakura, uses his keen observations, insight and gentleness to help customer’s through their problems.

Breakdown: We all know the bartender trope. Bartenders are kind and friendly people who offer solutions to problems or just to lend an ear while pouring you a nice drink. Well, what if there was a show about that?

I don’t think Bartender is the greatest candidate for Episode-Oneland since it seems pretty episodic to me at first glance, but the main focus of the whole thing is indeed the Bartender.

Ryuu Sasakura, is one of the best bartenders in the world, tends bar at Eden Hall. He makes spot-on observations and analyses on completely minor things like Detective Conan and makes perfect drinks to sate the worries of the customer. And yes, in this episode anyway, the customer’s problems were seemingly solved just by making the guy a really nice drink.

The customer is a man who has been contracted out to renovate a hotel bar. However, he despises bars and especially has a poor view of bartenders as pretentious people with no real skills and even refers to them by the ‘slur’ of ‘barten.’ Despite this, he seems to have a vast knowledge of drinks and liqueur as a whole. He enters Eden Hall through chance and has a complete 180 on his opinion of bars and bartenders after meeting and getting a Glass of the Gods from Sasakura.

That’s the whole story. No, I’m not kidding.

Also, the reason behind this man’s hatred of bars and bartenders is kinda dumb. When he was a college student, he went to his first bar. Like you do. He chose one of those fancy-ish bars and went alone, so he’s already making all sorts of mistakes for a first-time run.

He feels really uncomfortable right as he enters the door, noting the door’s heaviness as feeling like the bar is actively trying to keep people out. He’s appalled at the high cost of a bowl of nuts and feels like an outsider for not being there on a recommendation.

He orders a beer and feels like a cheapskate for doing so. He orders a whiskey in order to feel more proper, all the while believing everyone in the room is either silently judging him or laughing at him. He reaches for his wallet and finds that it fell out of a gigantic hole in his pocket that I can’t believe he’s just now noticing, and then believes everyone in the bar is staring at him, laughing at him, judging him and whatnot. The bartender then gently touches his hand and tells him that they can settle the bill some other time.

So, yeah, he hates bars and bartenders because he’s a paranoid crazy person and had a slightly embarrassing experience with a bartender who was actually really nice about the whole situation.

This show puts a lot of focus on the, for lack of a better term, ‘psychology’ behind drinks and bars. Drinks are highlighted and explored, we’re told when a drink is appropriate for certain situations, and we even get a recipe at the end.

More importantly, though, as Sasakura explains, why you drink what and when and when you’d be better suited for what drink over another depends on both you as a person and your current state of mind. A drink can be a soothing experience, a getaway, something fun, nostalgic etc. Most of all, the bartender’s job is to create an openness and gentleness to the patron’s experience, creating a safe and warm atmosphere for everyone who wants a place to go just to feel like they belong or want a hideaway.

The art is alright for the characters themselves and not much animation is needed here, but a lot of detail and animation focus is put on drink preparation and presentation, which is pretty nice. Plus, the environments are nicely detailed. The direction is also fairly stylized and pleasantly arranged.

The music is reminiscent of lounge music to a degree. I enjoyed it.

While the story is definitely different and, admittedly, a little on the odd side, I will say that I never lost interest and I did feel relaxed through the whole thing, which may be one of the main points of this anime; to emulate the bar experience.

Final Verdict:

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If anything, it’s a short and relaxing series and really makes you wish more bars were like Eden Hall.

Amon Volume 4 (Manga) Review

Rating: 5.5/10

Plot: Satan has gone missing, and while Amon has saved many of the demons, he’s also not making himself known. A new greatly powerful demon named Asura arrives and offers the demons a chance to become as powerful as Amon. All they have to do is merge together over and over. Most of the demons are more than willing to go through with her plan and see her as leader, especially the demon who wishes for nothing more than be beautiful. However, Silene’s not giving into her claims. Asura has more going on behind the scenes than just a lush future filled with demon gods.

Breakdown: Our first chapter title page is a butt shot. Starting out well, Amon.

This whole volume was just very uninteresting. It focuses mostly on Silene, Demiko (still given no name) and a new enemy named Asura, who seems like a half-human, half-demon crazy person who is trying to take over as leader of the demons since Satan mysteriously disappeared. She’s trying to convince all of the demons that they can be like Amon if they agree to merge together over and over. However, her true intentions are to use the demons in their merged state to find Satan and kill him for revenge on how her body looks and acts.

Asura is two beings, Earth and Terra, merged into one. She used to be angelic-like with beautiful white wings, but when Satan fucked up in the last volume, the two were merged into one crazy being with two personalities, a weird body and small black wings that couldn’t handle flight.

In the end, Demiko gets killed by Kaim who kills her after she tries to steal Silene’s wings for Asura, under a semi-brainwashed delusion that she could be made beautiful if she helped Asura.

Silene’s part is almost entirely stagnant through this whole volume. She meanders and mopes, longing for her precious Satan to return. She’s not buying into Asura’s lies, especially in her statement that they can surpass Satan, but she mostly whines and mopes and cries out for Satan.

The very last chapter is where the only thing of interest happens, though it’s a bit confusing. We find out why there seem to be contradictions between Devilman and Amon. The events of Devilman did happen, but they’re also in the future. God, as punishment for the events of Devilman, apparently put Satan in a time loop so he’ll constantly be tormented by losing his love (Amon, or moreso Devilman, though I thought Akira was a bigger part of that) He’s destined for the events long passed, and he’s damned to start all over again when it’s over with no memory of what happened.

It’s still not entirely clear in some respects, but it’s an explanation at least.

Amon’s role is mostly just to escort Silene to Satan as Asura goes to him with her new pile of merged demon goo to take him on, but she’s ironically defeated by the demons she gathered, granted powers or abilities by the sleeping Satan, who all turn into little Saiyaman angel things that range in size from a few inches to a few stories tall. The little ones stab her over and over with a bunch of tiny needles and they mutate her into some glob. She tries to assimilate with Silene, but gets stopped by Amon who’s again mostly just annoyed by everything around him. He rips off Silene’s wing as it’s trying to be merged with Asura and kills her.

Then the weirdest part of the volume…No….weirdest part of the manga happens. A gravely wounded Silene rides on Kaim back to their nest and quickly becomes pregnant. She reveals that silene continue to grow larger and larger in preparation for childbirth. However, if a silene’s life is put in mortal danger before then, they can basically force asexual pregnancy and give birth to one child very quickly before they die. She does indeed give birth to a young child (not a baby) that Kaim names Silene and starts to raise.

So….does that mean the Silene we see in Devilman is actually this Silene?

The very end has some nice action, answers some questions and ends….interestingly, but it didn’t hold my attention very well through the read. It was either boring or confusing. I don’t know what the next volume holds, but hopefully it will at least make more sense and be more interesting.

Oh and fewer butt shots, yeah that would be nice. Seriously, what is with all of the lone panels with pure butt shots? What is the point, Mr. Nagai?

Recommended Audience: Still lots of gross imagery, gore, and damn near full frontal nudity. 16+

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 03 (Dub) The Spell of the Unown

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A little girl named Molly has mysteriously lost both of her parents. In her grief, she starts writing their names together with letter tiles that her father collected. They are somehow connected to the mysterious Pokemon, Unown.

As her tears fall on the tiles, they magically summon a group of Unown into her house (Because tears are magic. Haven’t you learned anything from these movies?) and grant her any wish that she desires.

Her first wish? To have her father back.

An Entei appears as a creation of the Unown since Molly and her father previously joked about him being like Entei. He tasks himself with doing everything in his power to make her happy, including kidnapping Ash’s mom to complete their family. As Ash and the others go to save his mom, but Molly becomes more comfortable with her newfound abilities and gives them a run for their money. Can anything truly beat the power of the Unown?

Breakdown: Ah, my favorite Pokemon movie.

I love this movie. Not just as a Pokemon movie, but just as a movie period. It has a touching story, a great legendary, exciting moments, awesome music, Charizard returns to be a badass, and practically everything has a point!

Also, the fate of the world isn’t on the line for a change. Not to say it’s perfect – it’s not obviously – but I still believe it’s the best out of all of the Pokemon movies I’ve ever seen by far.

You can find the Bulbagarden comparison here.

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Our movie starts out overlooking a mansion where a little girl named Molly Hale is being read to by her father Spencer Hale. Her father as well as Entei are voiced by Dan Green. Mandatory cheering session everyone!

And damn I want that Ponyta rocking horse. I don’t care if I’d look like an idiot riding it, I want that.

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He’s explaining legendary Pokemon through a book filled with pictures of said Pokemon. They talk about Unown, and it’s gently hinted at that Molly’s mom was taken by the Unown. According to sources online, that is the canon explanation in the dub.

However, they don’t really explain what happened to her mother very well in the dub. In fact, they don’t explain at all, making the whole situation confusing.

They eventually start talking about Entei, one of the legendary beasts. Molly really likes Entei and believes her father is like him because he’s big and strong while also being really nice. They play make-believe Entei for a bit and have a bunch of fun even riding the Ponyta rocking horse. Lucky bastards.

However, their fun is interrupted by a video call by Spencer’s associate, Schuyler. Look, I hate to be an ass, but naming your kid Skylar is pretentious enough without spelling it like that.

He says they’ve found a temple with signs of Unown in it and he should come to the site right away. Spencer agrees, tucks Molly into bed and bids her goodbye while telling her that he loves her and to keep him close in her dreams.

Well, he’s a goner.

Seriously, even if I hadn’t seen the movie before, a picture-perfect scene of family togetherness like that can only result in his instant disappearance or death. It’s just a given.

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As the scene pans out, we see a picture of Spencer and Molly with Delia and a younger Ash implying that they are pretty good friends with the two….I have no clue why this picture is in Molly’s room. Keeping that picture on her desk next to a picture of her family must mean that it means a lot to her, but she doesn’t recognize Ash or Delia at all later. Spencer was pretty good friends with Delia, but I doubt Ash and Molly were good enough friends to do that.

Also, there’s only a two year gap between Molly and Ash according to the Wiki. Must be quite the growth spurt between 8 and 10 in the Pokemon world because I assumed she was like 6. In addition, if they’re so close why do we never see these characters again ever? Alright, I’m just confusing myself. Let’s move on.

Spencer arrives at the dig site, and it is indeed a pristine Unown temple. Spencer finds some tiles with Unown markings on them, which triggers the presence of the Unown who promptly kidnap him.

This is another thing that bothers me. In the dub, the explanation for Molly’s mom’s disappearance and supposedly Spencer’s fixation on the Unown is that she went missing while investigating the Unown too (Again, this is based on outside sources and largely assumptions as the movie doesn’t explain practically anything of her mother). Why do the Unown keep taking people? And if they do just randomly take people who touch their tiles, why did Molly get fairy godmother treatment instead? Sure, they were basically holding her in their dream world, but she wished to be there.

Schuyler and their butler or whoever that is tell Molly the bad news. Molly actually tries to investigate what happened to her dad by looking through his laptop….Shouldn’t the police have that? Oh right, cops in the Pokemon world. They’re sure helpful. They’re probably collaborating with the Gotham Police department on the case of how to continue to get other people to do their jobs for them. How long has it been since he disappeared? Because it seems like they just up and stopped looking for him the night after it happened.

She spots pictures of the Unown on his computer and drops the priceless ancient artifact on the floor to play blocks with the also priceless Unown tiles. She spells out ‘Papa’ ‘Mama’ and ‘Me’ with the tiles in Scrabble fashion and this prompts the floating Alphabits to appear.

It’s at this point where I really feel compelled to mention that the CGI for the Unown is just blech. Every other instance of CGI is pretty nice looking, but it’s like they didn’t put as much effort into the Unown. They look like Gamecube graphics….which might make sense considering when this was made and what company owns the system….

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“Come play Pokemon Colosseum with us, Molly.”

They start turning everything to crystal because…I really don’t understand what the Unown do at all. I guess they’re allowed to be confusing because that’s their namesake and whatnot, but if there’s one general problem about this whole movie it’s that the Unown don’t make much sense in what they’re doing or why.

Remembering her father’s words on the legendary Pokemon and looking at the picture book on the page with Entei, she strongly wishes that her father would return. A dream Entei appears to grant her wish. I really love Entei. It’s one of my favorite legendaries. Just seems like a really cool and majestic lion.

The entire mansion is soon covered in crystal and we get our title screen. It’s really nicely done, but I should note something. 4Kids decided to add a little plate at the bottom of Spell of the Unown that says ‘Entei’ in Unown letters. That’s fine and dandy and it is kinda neat that they spelled it in Unown letters, but…I guess…Why? I know I said Entei seems like the more prominent legendary (Unown aren’t even legendary, technically) in the movie, but he’s still not part of the given English title.

Hey, including the short, it’s been nearly a half hour. Isn’t it about time we got Dumbash and friends? Yes! We see Ash, Misty and Brock continuing on to Theyreallyneverspecifiywherethey’regoinginanyofthemoviesland.

Narrator: “As they travel into unknown territory.” HAHA! I get it! Unknown and Unown! It’s funny!

Ash and the others run into another Trainer, Lisa voiced by Lisa Ortiz. I’m actually more bothered by the fact that they specifically named this chick Lisa when she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz than I am by the fact that she’s voiced by Lisa Ortiz.

I do like her hat, though.

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She challenges Ash to a battle, he accepts and we get our movie theme song version of Pokemon Johto. I really like this theme and the battle is set very well to the music.

Ash calls out Totodile while Lisa calls out a Granbull, but Granbull gets beaten by one Water Gun. Also, Ash and Totodile do an almost cheesy high-five in sunlight shot.

Next up, Ash calls on, *sigh*, Chikorita, who obviously snuggles Ash before battling while Lisa calls out a Girafarig. After a bit of battling, Girafarig defeats it with a Psybeam.

Ash calls out his Noctowl while Lisa uses her own little partner Pokemon, Aipom, but it seems like Aipom doesn’t have those almighty partner Pokemon deus ex machina powers like Pikachu because it gets beaten with one tackle.

Lisa calls out Butterfree while Ash calls out Bulbasaur and he easily gets beaten with a Sleep Powder and Gust combo. Wow, it’s not a good day to be a Grass type apparently.

Cyndaquil’s up next and he’s up against a Mankey. Hehe, hey Mankey, steal Ash’s hat!

The match goes to Cyndaquil with a shot of Flamethrower.

If there’s one thing that kinda bothers me about these theme song battles it’s that, because they have to fit in the time frame of 2-3 minutes, all of the matches are incredibly short and almost unrealistically won. Doesn’t help that they’re commonly 6v6 battles either.

Uh oh. It’s a tie. I wonder if Messiahchu can win! Messiahchu is matched up fairly badly as Lisa’s final Pokemon is the doofy Quagsire. Pfft. Considering Pikachu’s beaten Onix, Golem, Rhydon, Nosepass and all sorts of other Ground types with irritatingly little issue, I can’t see this–

*one failed Thundershock later*

Alright, I’m confused on so many levels.

Pikachu tries to physically battle instead, to no real avail, until it launches itself off of a nearby swingset and headbutts Quagsire in really funny shot.

The Wiki says this match ended in a draw (which, if that’s true, is a rarity) but this last shot is set up like Pikachu won because it stood standing, albeit wobbly, longer than Quagsire did. Ash is cheering in the end, so it just seems like they’re implying that he won.

They have lunch together, and Misty states that their match was the fifth battle Ash has had this week. Wow, five battles in a week!? That’s almost like training and work!

Misty asks where the nearest Pokemon center is, and Lisa replies that there’s one in a nearby town called Greenfield. Misty’s super excited to go to Greenfield since it’s supposed to be incredibly beautiful, but when they arrive they find that the entire town is covered in the Unown’s crystal. Also, there’s a sloppy zoom-in during this scene…and Team Rocket’s here.

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Cut to a news crew who is talking about the phenomenon, and they also mention that Spencer’s wife did indeed disappear, but we move away from the TV before we can hear how or where. It was supposedly two years ago, though.

We see Delia watching the news. When she hears that Spencer’s house is in the midst of it, she rushes to the fridge and peels off a bunch of papers to reveal the same picture that Molly has in her room.

Hm. Molly keeps that picture framed in her room on her desk, Delia keeps the picture pinned on the fridge under Chinese restaurant menus, grocery lists and likely a big sign that says ‘REMIND ASH TO WEAR CLEAN UNDERWEAR EVERYDAY.’ That’s a contrast right there.

We cut to Professor Oak, who is also watching the news with Blandy, and he talks about how Spencer was his best student. Supposedly Delia was also his student according to some online sources, which is how Spencer and Delia were friends, but seeing as how her knowledge on the Pokemon world is extremely limited and she seems like an airhead, I can’t imagine she was a good student. I don’t know what she was studying for, either. Did she want to be a researcher?

Also, we get this screenshot littered with Engrish which I’m not sure I can blame 4Kids for.

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…Dammit, I have to peak at the Japanese version.

Nope it’s the original’s fault. You win this round, 4Kids. But, trust me, I’ll have plenty of opportunities to mock you in the future. Still, what happened there, TPC? There’s really no reason to put that text into English. I know they’re wary of using Japanese at this point and people can’t read Poke-ese, but if you felt the need to make that snippet English, at least pay for a proofreader.

Delia arrives and asks Oak if he’s seen the news. He says yes and that he’s planning to go to the scene to investigate. Delia says she’s going too because she’s worried about Molly. Here’s hoping Oak actually does investigate some stuff and be useful instead of just spouting science babble that makes no impact to the plot.

They arrive at the scene and meet up with Ash and the others. I love how blasé Delia is about first seeing Ash. I think the ten-year-old kid that you only see like once or twice a year warrants more than an ‘Oh hi honey’ when you randomly bump into him.

Molly sees Ash and Delia hugging on the news because that’s really vital to put on the air right? Town turning to crystal? Bo-ring. Turn the camera to the people who have nothing to do with this occurrence hugging! The ratings will go through the roof!

Molly looks at her pictures and tells Entei that she wants a Mama too. Entei says he’ll grant her wish, and we cut back to Ash and the others who are…eating lunch? How many lunches do you people need?

Delia and Ash talk about how Spencer used to live in Pallet Town before he went off to be a Pokemon researcher and moved to Greenfield. They visited once two years ago which is where the picture of them came from. I find it hilarious that Oak taught Spencer yet he lives in a small research facility in Pallet Town and Spencer goes off to live in a huge mansion in the most beautiful town in Johto shortly after he becomes a researcher.

Ash says he somewhat remembers them, which I actually think contradicts a later line where he tells Molly that they used to play together all the time when they were little. That’s also in contradiction to saying they only visited once.

Entei comes down from the mansion and hypnotizes Delia into being Molly’s Mama.

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“I do not have a son named Ash…Huh, suddenly I feel like all my dreams have come true.”

He kidnaps her and Pikachu tries to stop him, but to no avail. Wow, Pikachu’s sucking today.

Ash also tries to pursue Entei, but Brock stops him because he thinks it’s too dangerous.

I’m a little confused again. The Unown had no trouble making Molly an Entei Papa, why did he need to kidnap Delia to make her a mother? All she asked for was a mother – and in both of the pictures her real mother is there, so why not make a fake version of her real mother…In Pokemon form, I guess? He also could’ve made a fake Delia.

Explanation: Unown – we don’t need a reason to do stuff.

I’m also a little confused as to Molly’s delusions. It’s somewhat understandable that she believes that her dad came back to her in the form of an Entei, but she believes her mom is Delia? Is this part of the Unown’s powers or is she just going 

?

A hypnotized Delia has accepted Molly as her child and now they’re all a big happy family. After a quick scene explaining things we already know back at the lab, we cut to the Charicific Valley where we see Liza watching the news report of Delia’s abduction with Charla (Huh, I’m just now realizing that’s another character voiced by Lisa Ortiz that has basically the exact same name.) Outside the window, Ash’s Charizard watches the report and looks up into the sky.

Cut back to Greenfield where it’s now nighttime, and someone with a bulldozer is trying to plow through the crystal fields. However, Molly won’t stand for that and demands that they leave them alone. Her declaration causes the Unown to become more powerful. They knock the bulldozer away and cover it with even stronger crystals.

Back at the lab, we get more stuff we already know until Oak gets an email from Molly which contains a video file of her warning them to stay away from the mansion and leave them alone.

Cut back to the mansion where we see Molly riding around her room on Entei who actually looks like he’s smiling. This is a really adorable yet also very sad scene. It’s cute because of what they’re doing, but it’s also sad because she’s trying to mirror what she did with her actual father and seeing it from a third-person perspective just showcases the sad state of the delusion she’s in.

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Ash is fed up with waiting and decides to run off to the mansion on his own, but Misty and Brock soon follow behind. Lisa stops them to give them her Pokegear so that he can communicate with Professor Oak while he’s there. And now Lisa can leave because she’s served her only functions of battling Ash for the opener and giving him the Pokegear.

Is this our first sighting of Pokegear in the series? Since Ash doesn’t know what it is, I’ll presume it is.

They go through the unaffected stream to get to the mansion….since no one ever thought to do that before now. I have no clue why this crystal stuff doesn’t affect water.

Explanation: Unown – We don’t like water. We’re part cat, I guess.

And we cut to Team Rocket following them in their balloon. They believe since Ash and the others are going into the mansion, there must be valuable Pokemon in there….Well, okay. I’m not going to expect Team Rocket to think of anything beyond food, digging holes, building insane contraptions and valuable Pokemon. They also have some fairly humorous banter involving how Meowth hears the word ‘wading’.

Entei spots them and blasts them out of the sky, but they, surprisingly, don’t really blast off, they just sorta fall and crash into the crystal and end up in some weird part of the mansion.

Entei doesn’t notice when people are just walking up the least protected part of the mansion?

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Molly and Delia are watching the news as Entei returns, and we see that Ash is using Bulbasaur and Chikorita’s vine whip to climb up the stream into the mansion. Delia watches, but isn’t really reacting since she’s under the Unown’s power, until Ash suddenly slips.

Delia suddenly snaps out of her trace state and freaks out that Ash is doing something so dangerous. Molly asks why she’s upset but Delia just pretends that everything’s alright.

Ash and the others make their way through the mansion when Oak calls on the Pokegear. He’s upset that they left suddenly and without telling him, but decides to help him find his mother either way.

He relays more information about the Unown and how they can read the thoughts and dreams of people and create their own realities, which they seem to have been doing for Molly…..Still doesn’t explain why they kidnapped Spencer and his wife, but whatever. Maybe they dreamed to be kidnapped.

Ash tries to break through a crystal structure with Cyndaquil’s Flamethrower, but they soon realize that the damage closes up instantly. One of them, surprisingly, decides to be smart. They come up with the plan of using Cyndaquil and Vulpix to burn a big hole in the crystal then using Staryu and Totodile’s Water Gun to keep it open. It works, and they make it through.

That’s another reason I really like this movie. Many of the Pokemon, even ones from Misty and Brock, are actually getting plenty of stuff to do instead of making slight cameos in the opening or just being let out for no reason like in the first movie. And what they’re doing is actually needed and makes sense.

As they make their way upstairs, the Unown change the reality again and make the staircase into a bunch of floating panels that lead into a room that looks like a beautiful meadow.

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Cut back to Team Rocket where they discover the room with the Unown but nothing really happens.

James: “I haven’t seen this many strange letters since the last time I placed a personal ad.” Haha! Team Rocket’s actually getting some good lines today.

Molly’s still watching the news (yeah, kid, you have a pet Entei and an entire alternate reality that you have complete control over all to yourself, but watch the news for five hours. That’s much more interesting.) and she believes that Ash and the others are in the mansion. Entei asks if she wants him to send them away, but Molly, knowing that Ash is a Pokemon Trainer, decides that she wants to battle them instead.

She dreams of being a Trainer, and Entei disappears with a fake version-ish-maybe-her-consciousness-I-dunno of Molly who suggest that she might not be not old enough for Pokemon. Entei tells her to believe that she is, and she magically transforms into a teenager. The minimum for being a Pokemon trainer is supposed to be ten years old, but sure why not?

Teenage Molly confronts Ash and the others for a battle, but Ash just wants to know where his mom is. They realize that the teenager is actually Molly and Ash accepts her challenge, but Brock decides to battle in his place so they can find Ash’s mom while he staves her off.

Molly dreams up a battlefield and they begin their battle. Brock uses Zubat while Molly uses a dream Flaafy. Brock gets the upperhand with Confusion, but Zubat gets felled by a Thundershock.

Next up, Brock uses his Vulpix and Molly calls out a dream Teddiursa.

Brock: “Figures a cute Pokemon trainer would have a cute Pokemon.” GAH! Brock! She’s still eight years old, you sick bastard!

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They’re pretty even for a bit, but Teddiursa wins by I guess a Fury Swipes or Tackle, it’s hard to tell. Technically this match should be over since they’re only dealing in one-on-one matches with no previous Pokemon continuing on into proceeding matches, meaning Brock already lost, but they keep going anyway.

Brock: “Guess if I want any chance at beating you, I better really start to rock and roll. *releases Onix*” Hehehe, get it? Because Onix is made of rocks? Hahaha! LAUGH!

Brock: “And using Onix is just how I like to rock and roll.” YES. We understood your pun. Thank. You. Brock.

Molly calls out her dream Phanpy who Rollouts towards Onix and flings it across the battlefield. I’ll just take these physics books and burn them.

Misty and Ash make it up into Molly’s next reality, a beach covered in red flowers.

Dream Molly appears, indicating that Brock lost. Molly asks which one of them wants to challenge her next, and Misty steps up to the challenge declaring that she used to be the Gym Leader of Cerulean City. Molly then realizes that you don’t have to be an adult to be a Gym Leader so she turns herself into a ten year old for some reason. I guess there really is a growth spurt between eight and ten because now she’s just as tall as Misty, basically.

Misty tells Ash to go on ahead to find his mom. He agrees and runs off while Misty stays to battle. She says she’ll only use Water Pokemon since she’s a Water Pokemon Trainer and Molly agrees that she’ll do the same.

She then takes the water from the dream ocean and floods the whole floor for the battle, but since it’s a dream world they can breathe and even talk under the water. This is a really cool part of the movie. I’d love to see more themed battle arenas like this outside of Gyms, but this whole ‘breathing underwater’ thing is obviously a one-shot.

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Molly calls out a dream Kingdra while Misty calls out GOLDEEN!? GOLDEEN’S IN A BATTLE! QUICK, SOMEONE TAKE A PICTURE!

Despite its efforts, Goldeen loses from a Headbutt. Because why would anything good happen to Goldeen?

Team Rocket pops up again, breaking the fourth wall by Meowth asking if they’re going to get a bigger part in the next movie. Your part in the last movie was bigger than most of the regular side characters – quit whining.

Misty calls out Staryu while Molly calls out a dream Mantine. It catches Staryu in a Whirlpool, but Misty cancels it out by having Staryu use Rapid Spin. They then have a battle of Take Downs vs. Tackles and we cut back to Ash who finally finds his mom in Molly’s room.

Delia: “I’d like to know where you got such a reckless streak.”

Ash: “Well, I guess I got it from you.”

Considering we have no clue who Ash’s dad is, that probably is the only explanation. Also, considering Delia went off in a helicopter though a natural disaster on the off-chance Ash was in the midst of it all, yeah, that’s probably likely.

Ash gets Delia up to speed on what’s going on and Delia wakes Molly up. She tells her the truth about how she’s not really Molly’s mother and that she’s really Ash’s mother. She’s shocked at this, which is still confusing to me.

Maybe it’s possible that she confused Delia with her real mom since they’re in the pictures together, but that would indicate that she doesn’t remember what her real mom looks like. She’s only been gone for two years, so I’m not sure how plausible that is.

Delia and Ash try to get Molly to leave with them, but Molly doesn’t want to go. She freaks out, which causes the Unown to go crazy as well. They create huge spikes of crystal all around Molly’s room and separate Ash and Delia. Entei returns to see what’s going on, and Molly alerts him to the fact that Ash is taking Delia away.

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“You can’t possibly be my mother’s child. You don’t have random lightning bolt shaped lines on your face.”

While trying to get his mom out, another huge spike separates Ash and Delia completely while Entei confronts Ash.

Sooooo….I’m guessing Misty lost? That was all we got for her battle? One and a half matches? We never even saw the outcome of Mantine vs. Staryu. Since Molly’s dream Pokemon are so unreasonably strong, she was probably doomed to lose anyway, but I still would’ve liked to have seen the full battle. Especially when you’re in such a cool battle environment as that. How disappointing. 😦

That actually means that Poliwhirl and Psyduck, Misty’s most-seen Pokemon outside of Togepi, don’t get seen in this movie. Weird.

Ash challenges Entei to a battle and uses Totodile, but it’s quickly defeated by Entei’s weird purple energy ball attack things.

Next up, Ash uses Cyndaquil. Yes, use a base evo Fire starter to beat a Fire legendary. That won’t fail miserably or anything.

After that fails miserably, Ash makes Molly upset by vehemently stating that Entei is just an illusion. Due to her outburst, the Unown create even more spikes and Entei charges at Ash. Pikachu tries to fight off Entei, but ultimately doesn’t do more than just just stave off its attacks and run. Entei gets in one good shot and blasts Ash and Pikachu out through the wall, sending them to a fifty story fall.

Well, they’re dead.

Except.

Could it be?!

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Yes! It’s Charizard to save them in the completely unrealistic and insanely convenient nick of time. Awh but we forgive him mostly because that was awesome and everyone loves Charizard. Plus this means Entei vs. Charizard. Hell yes.

Charizard and Entei fight for a bit and nearly knock Ash out of the gaping hole in the wall again.

Well, he’s dead.

Except.

Could it be!?

Yes! It’s Misty, Brock and Team Rocket making a human chain to save the day. Congratulations Team Rocket, that is the only thing you’ve done this entire movie. Seriously, all they’ve done is walk around.

They also mention that the reason that they saved Ash was because if anything ever happened to him they’d be out of show business. While this is yet another instance of breaking the fourth wall, I can’t say they don’t have a point. If the creators of Pokemon ever decided to ditch Ash in lieu of someone else, I can bet you anything Team Rocket wouldn’t be there. Their whole shtick relies on Ash and Pikachu. Unless Ash handed off Pikachu to someone else, they’d be out of a job TV-wise.

Through all the examples of friends and family, Ash tries to convince Molly to come with them, even offering the chance to have real Pokemon. However, Molly still won’t believe them and freaks out again, prompting Entei to go on the offensive.

They have a really awesome battle, probably one of if not the coolest and best choreographed ones I’ve seen in Pokemon to date. That coupled with the really good cinematography makes this look amazing.

Entei eventually knocks Ash and Charizard out of this sky and pins Charizard’s neck with intent to kill him with an energy blast…..Damn. Things just got real….or imaginary. I’m not sure anymore!

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Molly steps forward and tells him to stop, which he immediately does. Molly runs up and hugs Entei while pleading for him to stop the fighting. Entei looks gently at Molly and removes his foot from Charizard’s neck.

Brock and the others praise Molly for her wise choice.

Brock: “A big part of battling, is knowing when to stop.” We interrupt this movie for deja vu from the first movie, and kinda from way back in the Boulder Badge episode, really.

And now back to our feature presentation.

Misty tells Molly that she could easily be a Gym Leader in the future if she truly wanted to, and they try to convince her to go with them including one more cheesy line from Brock about friendship being real.

She’s still not sure, but Delia extends her hand to Molly and says that her papa would want her to go with them. Molly slowly walks towards Delia, grabs her hand and quietly wishes for everything to be real once more.

The crystals start to go away in response to Molly’s wish, and Entei starts to walk away as well. Molly asks where he’s going and Entei responds that he was created to be her father and make her happy in the reality made by the Unown. If she’d rather be in the outside world, he can’t stay with her.

Suddenly, the crystal starts reappearing in droves and surrounds them with spikes. Entei makes them a path to the exit with his energy blasts and the group tries to make their escape.

Back at the Pokemon Center lab thing, Oak tells Ash and the others that the Unown have generated so much psychic energy in granting all of Molly’s wishes that they can no longer control it. If Ash and the others don’t get away from the crystal soon, they’ll be trapped in the Unown’s reality forever.

They continue to escape, but we see that all of Greenfield is being covered in the crystal as well. The only way to stop it is by stopping the Unown.

They find the Unown, and you will never, ever guess what Ash decides to do when he gets there.

Does he:

A) Develop a sophisticated plan of draining the Unown of their power.

B) Want to have a Pokemon battle with them to see if he can defeat them and stop them from getting out of control.

C) Create a way to contain the Unown’s psychic powers through the use of thoughtful ingenuity

or

D) Charge headfirst into the cluster of Unown like a braindead antelope.

If you answered D, you obviously know our little Dumbash very well.

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I mean, what the hell? Is this becoming a movie staple or something? First he does this to Mewtwo in the first movie, then he does it to a cage that can restrain a legendary in the second and now this. Ash, sweetie, you are not a Pokemon. And even if you were, your Tackle attack sucks!

He hits a psychic barrier because he’s a dimwit, and then he calls on Charizard to try to blast through it. He seems to succeed, but ends up getting blown back by the psychic energy.

Pikachu, in an effort to not suck for once in this entire movie, tries to do the same. He also enjoys a degree of success for a bit but gets blown back. What’s wrong with you today, Messiahchu? Did they nerf you in the movie patch? He and Charizard then try to blast the barrier together, but still fail.

Entei returns with a roar (awesome) and starts blasting the crystal away. He jumps down and tells Molly that he was happy to be her father for the time that he was able to be, and the last thing that he can do for her is help her get out of the Unown’s reality. Molly asks how he can do it and Entei responds that he was created from her dreams, and if she believes in him there’s nothing he can’t do.

This may sound corny, and it is, but this is actually a rare occasion where “you just gotta belieeeeevvvveee” actually makes a lot of sense.

Entei’s right. He was created from the Unown’s power to grant Molly wishes. This entire reality was made to sate Molly’s wishes. If Molly believes in Entei, wishes he had the power to beat the Unown, then it’s perfectly logical that the wish would be granted and he’d actually be able to overpower them.

Molly gives Entei some encouragement, acknowledging him as Entei and not as her father. After some struggling, he shoots off a different blue and, might I add, pretty energy blast into the cluster of Unown, stopping them immediately.

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The secret’s in the flavor crystals.

Entei bids his farewell to Molly and damn, this movie still tugs at my heartstrings. I’m gonna miss you too, Entei. 😦

As he disappears, so do the Unown and all of the crystal that has covered the mansion and Greenfield. We also see Spencer being returned to the temple. Still don’t know why they took him to begin with. Guess the explanation will always be *sunglasses* Unknown.

 

The group gazes in awe at the beauty of Greenfield and Professor Oak and the others arrive to meet them. As they greet each other, Molly sees a cloud in the shape of Entei in the sky and dammit movie, stop it! I’m going to cry!

Our last scene is Team Rocket stating that they’re stuck in the mansion because there’s too many police outside and after some blah blah, they bid everyone goodbye by saying Team Rocket’s fading out again…..Which, they shouldn’t be doing directly out that window because the cops will see them.

We start our credits, but unlike the other movies, the end credits actually continue the story a little bit. We see Molly and her father reuniting at the mansion, Ash and the others bidding goodbye to Charizard (for now anyway) and then the group saying goodbye to Lisa.

We do get our regular miscellaneous shots of fields and the group traveling. We also see Oak and Tracey at the lab, Delia and Mr. Mime at home…Wait, it was more vital to see them saying goodbye to Lisa than his mom? That’s just rude.

We cut back to the mansion where Molly is playing around with a real Teddiursa, that I guess she might own, when Spencer comes out to meet her, and he’s not alone. He brings out Molly’s mother and it stands that this whole mother thing is the most confusing thing about this movie.

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I’ve read that the dub explanation, as I stated, was her disappearing from the powers of the Unown since she was also researching them, but they couldn’t have been the same Unown from that temple or else she would’ve been released where Spencer was. Is she emotionally scarred from being in Unown purgatory for over two years?

Keep in mind, I didn’t get any of this from watching the movie even for this review. All they ever stated was her mother went missing and it was extremely slightly hinted upon that Unown may have had something to do with it. If I never looked it up, I never would’ve guessed that was the reason.

In fact, when I first saw this movie, the best I could assume was that her mother was either on a long trip or randomly missing and suddenly found. Her mother could’ve been completely omitted from the movie and I never would’ve cared or questioned it.

In terms of ending themes, this is the first time that we only get one lyrical song for our ending, Innosense’s To Know the Unknown, and I really love this song. I have it on my iPod, I sing along to it. It’s really nice. The only other song is gentle piano music that I think is Molly’s theme or something, and that is really nice as well. It’s very calming.

Bottomline: I do have my problems with this movie, but they’re not really important, and I stand by my statement in saying that this is my favorite Pokemon movie ever. It may be one of my favorite movies period.

The art is crisper, the animation is better, while some shots may still be shaky, and the backgrounds are lovely. The CGI is actually really great barring the Unown. The cinematography and battle choreography were fantastic.

Ash is really tolerable in this movie, too. He actually thinks for a change, has good ideas and all he really wants is his mother back. Okay, he’s insanely stupid once, but he’s Ash, he has a stupid quota to fill.

Misty and Brock not only get stuff to do, but they get to friggin’ battle. I think that’s the first time in any movie that they’ve actually battled. Granted, you only saw half of Misty’s cool underwater battle, which is kinda a ripoff, but still. Delia even gets plenty to do, though I do find it weird that we never saw a scene with her and Spencer considering they were supposed to be such good friends.

The only ones who really did nothing this entire movie was Team Rocket. You could bring up that scene with the human chain rescue, but come on, they weren’t all needed to pull Ash back up. He’s a spindly ten year old boy not the Blob. Misty and Brock probably would’ve sufficed on their own.

Molly is also a very likable character. She’s a believable little kid without being whiny or bratty and you really feel bad about her situation even if she’s inadvertently causing chaos. I wish we had gotten to see more of her and Spencer in the series, but I guess they’re doomed to the fate of 99.8% of CotDs.

Entei is one of my favorite legendaries and Dan Green did a fantastic job voicing him. The relationship between Entei and Molly is very believable, cute and sad at the same time. You can really tell that Entei truly loved Molly and Molly truly loved him even if he wasn’t her real father.

I’ll be a grouch here and doubt that they ever made another movie as good as this one. Granted, I’ve only seen movies 1-7 at this point, but they’d be really hard-pressed to impress me anymore than they did with this movie.

Recommended Audience: It’s Pokemon. It’s 4Kids. It’s not Scarface.