Plot: Ash, May, Max and Brock meet a girl named Lizabeth and her family who are all performers who put on aquatic shows in floating spheres of water. The group learns that the performers are secretly protecting and transporting a Manaphy egg to a legendary sea temple with the help of Pokemon Ranger Jackie. May accidentally hatches the egg, and the legendary prince of the sea assumes May is its mother. As May and Manaphy bond on their way to the sea temple, a greedy pirate named Phantom stays hot on their tail, ready to follow them to the sea temple and steal the priceless sea crown.
Breakdown: Ah, our first venture into TPCI dubbing territory (Known as PUSA back when this was dubbed), as well as a movie I know really nothing about outside of it having a Pokemon Ranger and Manaphy.
I’ll admit, I’m kinda worried about what this has in store. I do like the concept of Pokemon Rangers (I’ve played a couple of the games and enjoyed them fine) but I don’t like Manaphy really…..at all. Hopefully this movie will change my mind, though from what I’ve heard of this movie from Dogasu’s comparison, it’s a laughably stupid movie at several points. So much so that they suggested this movie be up for the LittleKuriboh treatment.
Well, I guess the only way I’ll know is if I try.
We start off with the typical ‘World of Pokemon’ spiel with the return of Rodger Parsons as the narrator! Welcome back, dude! I failed to note this, but Mike Pollack had taken over narrator duty for movies 06-08 after Rodger left for a hiatus during season six, but returned when TPCI took over. In regards to the opener, it’s all much of the same, but I will mention we see Ruby again (Yay!) battling Rebecca from Movie 07….so that’s kinda random. And, of course, when we get to Ash, we sing his praises and then follow up by him just ‘being joined by his friends.’
After that’s said and done, we get to the movie where we see a Manaphy egg being poorly animated through a whirlpool. It continues to flow through the ocean, but I really can’t get over how awkward this egg looks. It looks more like a CGI balloon somehow flying around underwater than an egg floating around through the water.
The Water Pokemon festival we’re treated to is suddenly halted by the intrusion of a Playstation 1 cutscene as planes fly overhead, focusing their searchlights on the egg. Back underwater, all of the Pokemon are again spooked by a giant underwater tank thing that I could swear was designed by a Final Fantasy villain.
The Playstation 1 cutscene continues as they grab the egg with an extendable arm on the tank. The tank/sub thing surfaces and—okay, just please stop with the bad CGI. Outside of the human characters, everything in these shots so far has been either regular CGI or cel-shaded CGI. The cel-shaded shots don’t look bad, but the regular CGI is just awful. Please stop.
And to be completely honest, CGI of this caliber after they’ve been showing increasingly better work over the course of the movies is just unacceptable. Did their budget get slashed or something?
The team of pirates and their Pirate-Captain-y leader marvel at the egg with the captain stating that it will fulfill his desire of a sea crown. One of his crew reveals himself to be a spy named Jack (Nicknamed Jackie) Walker and takes the egg away from him.
Very Late But Necessary Edit 4/3/2022: When I first wrote this review, I didn’t really explore anything involving the switch from 4Kids to PUSA/TPCI nor the complete change in cast. I pretty much just noted that the cast had changed and gave my opinion on the new voices. I now realize that I should have gone much more in depth about this, because this whole fiasco behind-the-scenes is pretty important and involves the ever increasing problem of treating voice actors like shit.
None of the original voice actors were happy about being dumped by the new company, even though Maddie Blaustein took it in stride. Eric Stuart said they were driven by greed and even implied that this would be the death of the show, even though we now know that was an incorrect prediction, Veronica Taylor stated TPCI cares nothing about quality and that it’s ridiculous for them to claim it will be identical when they’re gutting everything 4Kids and the original VAs did to the show, and Rachel Lillis was pissed, she straight out said so, especially towards someone I’ll address in a second. In fact, they were all blindsided by both the fact that they were all being fired AND the fact that 4Kids lost the rights in the first place. No one told them anything, they just they were being replaced and moved on.
So why were the original cast members shafted anyway? According to Eric Stuart, Veronica Taylor and Rachel Lillis – it was all just to save money. It was cheaper to hire a cast of “sound-alikes” than it was to keep the new cast on board, and they thought the fans would be too stupid to notice or wouldn’t care because, again, voice actors are treated like shit. But, of course, the fans DID notice and DID care, but by that point it was too late.
None of them asked for more money. They all would have worked for the same amount 4Kids was already paying them, which, by implications, was already not that great, but TPCI never negotiated for their contracts or invited them back. They just showed them the door.
To make matters worse, one of the TPCI voice actors, Bill Rogers, the new voice of Brock, made a post on Serebii.net that Rachel Lillis did not take kindly to at all because he made off like the original voice actors’ old contracts had a clause that made it so they couldn’t come over to the new company and could never be involved in future Pokemon projects. According to Rachel Lillis, no such clause existed whatsoever and he had “no idea what (he) was talking about.” and said all of this was incredibly shady.
And she was right to think that way because some of the original cast were eventually invited back to play bit parts and reprise some of their roles (none of the main cast) briefly, barring, oddly enough, Veronica Taylor of all people, and Eric Stuart. Taj Productions, which was originally 4Kids’ dubbing partner and was TPCI’s dubbing partner for a bit, went out of business in early 2008 and was replaced by DuArt Film and Video. They made the decision to bring in some of the old voice actors, although to what end I really don’t know. None of them reprised big parts, except Dan Green who got to reprise Mewtwo, and Ted Lewis, who got to reprise Giovanni, and the parts they got that weren’t reprisals were kinda insulting (the last two roles they gave to Rachel Lillis before she left were voices of Pokemon….) The biggest roles the old cast seemed to land were Erica Schroeder, who originally voiced Nurse Joy, voicing Bianca in Black and White, and Jason Griffith, who really only CotD/CotM parts in the original series, eventually voicing Cilan in Black and White.
So, yeah, let us all welcome TPCI with a finger….or two…..right in the middle of each hand. I won’t sit here and say TPCI is worse than 4Kids. I can imagine if the roles were reversed 4Kids also wouldn’t give a flying fuck and would just do their own thing. That’s pretty much what they do to the original Japanese anime companies all the time. And they also don’t tend to give a crap about their audience anymore than TPCI seems to. Sadly, this isn’t the first nor will it likely be the last time I’ve seen pretty much this exact same thing happen. Let me drive this home – voice actors are treated like shit.
I am heartbroken that I never knew this. I don’t know why I never really thought to look into this either. The transition between 4Kids and TPCI did happen during a time where I wasn’t really into watching Pokemon much anymore, but I’d think I would have heard about this discourse over the years, especially as I’ve gotten back into Pokemon (well, in terms of current-rewatch, I’m back into Johto…..give me time, okay? It’s a long series, and I’m horrendously scatterbrained!) Now, I have had my criticisms of the 4Kids voice acting over the years, but I will admit that it’s some of the most memorable voice acting in all of English dubbed anime. These characters and actors were a huge part of my childhood, and I felt very disappointed when I heard that they were all being replaced. I don’t deny for a single second that all of these actors care deeply about these roles and this show and were crushed when their legs were cut out from under them after nearly a decade of playing these characters.
That being said, that doesn’t mean that this situation is a free pass to shit all over the new TPCI crew. I don’t know exactly how any of them feel about this situation besides Bill Rogers, and we already see how he was either blatantly lying or horribly misinformed and made the mistake of publicly discussing contracts that weren’t his. It’s possible this was just something TPCI fed him to make it so if he blabbed to anyone it wouldn’t reflect badly on them, but I can’t know for sure. As for everyone else, I dunno. I feel like many of them just saw it as another job. They probably had no idea how shafted the original cast was – it was a role, it was a paycheck, it was a job. Maybe they even feel different about it now, but dammit all if there’s nothing they can do about that.
As sad as it is, we have to continue on. Bear in mind, the following notes beyond the break were all written long before I knew any of this. My opinions were not painted by these revelations. I just learned of them while I was cleaning up blog posts and felt like I had to edit this in here. Thank you for reading. Enjoy the rest of the review.
Already, the voices aren’t that good. The pirate captain’s okay, but he can’t sound angry at all and Jackie is going the opposite direction by hamming it up. Oh and he can also run on walls and bend steel bars with a single kick like they were made of play-doh. I just thought I’d mention that.
Jackie continues to get away because bumbling goons were never good at chase scenes. They seemingly corner him with the captain releasing his Pinsir and Parasect to attack. Wow, guys. We’ve found the second character to ever use a Pokemon from the Paras line. Give him a round of mild applause.
Jackie uses his capture stylus to wrangle up a nearby Mantine and uses it to escape.
We then get our title screen, which is animated better than the previous sequence, but it’s hard to tell because it’s so dark, so little is going on and I still have to mark it down for being flooded with a dark urine color motif.
Now to our heroes who….I wish would stop talking. To everyone open to watching anime dubbed in other languages besides Japanese, do you know that feeling when you watch a show and like it in one version but then you watch it in another and, despite being fine, it just sounds really wrong? Those times where you’re so used to it being in Japanese or English or some other language that hearing it in a completely different language, no matter how well it’s done, you just can’t get into it? I hope that’s what’s going on with me right now as I transfer from 4Kids to TPCI.
This seriously is, outside of a few scenes here and there of Diamond and Pearl, the first time I’m really sitting down and listening to these new voices. I have never followed Pokemon beyond about mid Hoenn. I never thought the day would come where I would be yearning for 4Kids, but dammit I’m so much more used to their dub. I’ve been watching that dub since I was nine. It’s really difficult to work around.
And I’m going to be completely biased here and give my breakdown on the voices of each character.
Ash – Veronica Taylor → Sarah Natochenny. Sounds, surprisingly, more realistically boy-like than Veronica Taylor’s portrayal, but she also sounds a hell of a lot raspier. It’s a toss-up.
Brock – Eric Stuart → Bill Rogers. Why is he so nasally, and why does he sound like he’s doing a bad Butch impression?
May – Veronica Taylor → Michele Knotz. Fine voice, but not fitting for May. It belongs more with some ultra-big-eyed moe character – not quick-tempered May.
Max – Amy Birnbaum → Kayzie Rogers. Now that I’m listening to it fully instead of the snippet I listened to after dub Movie 08, I guess it’s fine for him to have such a dorky voice, but it really is higher pitched, nasally and mostly unpleasant. Plus, half the time he loses the dorky sound and sounds more like an energetic old lady.
These voices may grow on me. I may just be experiencing the jarring shock everyone else went through when this first happened back when TPCI first took over, but I never did since I mostly stopped watching around that time. Hopefully I’ll adapt just fine.
We’ll move on to Team Rocket later. For now, onto the movie.
Ash and the others are, surprise, lost again. How…new…They’re all baking out in the harsh sun and now they’re out of water. Ash and the others spot some weird floating orbs of water and find a Trainer and her Politoed training Pokemon within the orbs.
So, instead of asking what the hell is going on, Max immediately asks the girl if they can have some water. She agrees, and the others run up to introduce themselves when we see that the reason the orbs of water are floating is because of her Medicham and Meditite psychically maintaining them.
Brock magically deduces that this girl’s name is Lizabeth, and she’s the star of the Marina Underwater Pokemon Show, because he creepily knows everything about even semi-famous women. This seems like they’re directly ripping off from the last movie when Brock gushed and prattled on about Kidd. Unless this is just something Brock does overall now.
Lizabeth introduces them to her family – her grandpa, Ship, her father, Kyle, who sounds like he’s doing his damnedest to make his voice as low and emotionless as possible, and her mother, Meredith.
They load up on water, which I still don’t quite understand. I don’t remember where I brought this up, but I have mentioned in the past that it doesn’t seem possible for the group to ever be out of water as long as they have Pokemon who know Water Gun. Yeah, it’s a little gross, but it’s better than dying.
Lizabeth’s Buizel runs up to a loft and turns on the light for a small container, revealing the Manaphy egg from before. May gives it a quick glance and Kyle quickly closes the curtain and walks away. Great place to hide things you don’t want others to see – In plain sight in a small area where you’re inviting strangers.
Ash asks what they do in their show, and Ship says it’s better to show them, which triggers our opening credits. No theme song again. 😦
They show the….show, which is kinda like a mix between a circus and a water ballet. Also, we see a guy in a Sharpedo costume ‘swallow’ a bunch of Remoraid in floating water orbs and then ‘poop’ them out as Wooper. Stay classy, Pokemon.
By the way, it’s obvious that the Psychic Pokemon aren’t helping the humans move here yet they can somehow jump out of the water like they’re dolphins.
They bring Ash and the others into the water orbs to be part of the show (How are they all breathing in there?) and with one Psychic burst of the orbs, the show ends.
At least I can say this is a more original opening credits sequence than the usual battles or doing practically nothing.
Buizel steals the egg and hands it to May who again wonders what it is before a clown grabs it and gives it back to Lizabeth.
Now for Team Rocket’s voice analysis.
James: Eric Stuart → James Carter Cathcart; known better as Jimmy Zoppi, voice of Weevil (Yu-Gi-Oh) Tarb (Mew Mew Power) and yes, Gary. James is now voiced….by Gary.
I will be fair here and say Mr. Cathcart has plenty of range as I never would’ve guessed James was using a voice anywhere near Gary’s or any other role of his……but, my god, James sounds horrible. Eric Stuart was not the absolute original English voice of James. That honor goes to Ted Lewis, who used a more suave and serious take on the character. Fitting because that’s basically what he was in the first handful of episodes, the only ones he dubbed.
Eric Stuart brought a great mixture of sounding suave when the time called for it but also having a fairly good ‘goofy idiot’ voice.
This version is full blast ‘I’m a complete moron.’ I listened to his voice in this scene several times wracking my brain because I knew he reminded me of something so much but I couldn’t place it. Then it suddenly hit me.
“Holy crap, he sounds like a slightly more energetic Droopy Dog.”
Listen to him in this scene and watch a Droopy Dog clip. Tell me I’m hearing things.
Jessie: Rachel Lillis → Michele Knotz. Because I guess they’re keeping up the tradition of multiple main roles per one voice actor, Michele Knotz is voicing both May and Jessie. I have to say, she does a much better job voicing Jessie instead of May, but, like May, she still makes Jessie sound a bit too nice.
Meowth: Maddie Blaustein → James Carter Cathcart, whom I’m just going to refer to as Jimmy Zoppi since that’s what I know him best as. Again with the dual role tradition, James and Meowth are voiced by the same person. I have to say Jimmy Zoppi does a much better job voicing Meowth than he does voicing James. He does a pretty good job here overall, but no one will be able to replace Maddie Blaustein as the true Meowth voice to me.
After spying on May and the egg, James shows Jessie and Meowth a Team Rocket Gazette, which I guess is a magazine that updates all of the Team Rocket grunts on special items and Pokemon that are wanted at the time…..Criminal mastermind Giovanni is. He explains that a man named Phantom, the pirate captain from before, and by the way what a beautifully cliché name you have, is pursuing the egg, and Team Rocket wants to call Phantom with the tip in hopes of getting a reward. Yeah, because Giovanni wouldn’t want that egg. Oh no sirree.
They call him and drop the tip as the convoy moves on.
Lizabeth, really wanting to keep the egg safe and secret, puts it on a table behind a curtain….again. Guys, curtains are not the pinnacle of security or secrecy. Try a safe, a lockbox, a cookie jar, a cardboard box – anything but an easily movable somewhat translucent curtain.
Later that night, Buizel gets the egg again because curtains.
He presses the little button on the canister which makes it glow again, but this time it glows much brighter, throwing May into a vision. I’m going to guess that this movie is skewing main characterness to May like Max was kinda the protagonist of Movie 06, right?
In her vision, May floats around under (pink) water with a bunch of Water Pokemon when she sees a huge underwater tower that is later revealed to be the titular sea temple. Manaphy shows up and swims all around her before going to the temple. She tries to call it back to her, but May suddenly wakes up.
Later, at lunch, May tells everyone about her dream. Lizabeth and her mother explain that Lizabeth has had that same dream before since they’re from a nearly wiped out civilization called ‘the people of the water’. The group clamors and says that’s amazing even though they haven’t been told what the people of the water even are yet.
Meanwhile, back with Team Rocket, they break into the RV and try to steal the egg.
Meowth: “Not anudda egg!” Am I missing something? A) This is the egg they were looking for. B) What first egg is he talking about and why is he upset over it?
They all touch the canister, causing it to glow, and when the light dies down they find they’ve all switched bodies. Because we haven’t done that trope in Pokemon yet, so why not? And of course make their own voices come out of each others bodies too because that never made sense.
Meowth is in James’ body, Jessie’s in Meowth’s body and James is in Jessie’s body.
Back with the group, they explain that the people of the water were basically aquatic nomads who lived alongside Water Pokemon. As a show of gratitude to the Water Pokemon, they built the sea temple that their people see in these mysterious dreams. They assume that May, and by extension Max, might be descendants of the people of the water because she had the same dream, but I think we can all conclude that she had the dream because Manaphy put it into her mind.
The gang spots Team Rocket as they return from lunch and they do their (different?) motto. They then fly away with the egg on their pedal-powered balloon thing. Ash tries to shoot it down with Pikachu, but the clown from before, who reveals himself to be Jackie, tells him not to out of fear of the egg being damaged. Instead he ‘captures’ a nearby Fearow to follow them. Ash sends up Pikachu with Fearow, and he successfully grabs the canister while Fearow does what all Flying Pokemon are meant to do – pop Team Rocket’s balloon.
I know I’m out of the Poke-loop, but why do Ash, Max, May and Brock know what a Pokemon Ranger is? It’s a bit understandable that Team Rocket knows, but how do Ash and Co. know?
Jackie explains that the canister is holding a Manaphy egg, a Pokemon that is only described as being very rare and living underwater (hoo boy, we’re really getting creative with these Legendaries). He’s been protecting the egg until it hatches with the help of the Marina group so he can bring it to the sea temple. Suddenly, Phantom and his Playstation helicopters show up to take the egg. They run off, and a Beedrill very nearly gouges Ship in the face, holy shit, and Phantom jumps down from his helicopter and dies….Oh excuse me. He’s fine and chases after them on foot.
Jackie and Ash pull a switch right in front of Phantom’s face (gee, why did Jackie suddenly take the time out to cover the egg with a cloth? Why did they both go behind that huge rock? And where did that other boy go? Oh well, get back here with that egg you totally have, Jackie!) and we get some slapstick a la Phantom. Because nothing says ‘tension’ like a pirate villain who partakes in slapstick.
Phantom can somehow lift a giant (horrible) CGI boulder above his head and throw it 50 feet through the air with Jackie on it. It doesn’t do anything to him, but he does that.
Back with Ash, who has met back up with May and Max, they are confronted by another grunt and his Beedrill. Ash has the egg knocked out of his hands by the Beedrill’s Sludge Bomb, but May catches it, making it her responsibility now.
Phantom confronts May because I guess Jackie lost sight of him somehow (he was still right in front of Phantom even after he threw the boulder) and after a struggle, the lid pops off of the container, sending the egg flying. May catches it again and Manaphy hatches.
Manaphy starts bawling because babies. Congrats everyone – we now have a replacement Togepi. Whoohoo.
By the way, I’m not really a fan of how Manaphy looks. Not only is it yet another small and cutesy Legendary, but the ‘eyelashes’ and shape are just weird to me. And of course the high-pitched voice and crying….
They manage to escape Phantom and his cronies, and May is able to calm Manaphy as they ride in the trailer. Manaphy starts to sleep so Merideth asks if she can relieve May for a bit. She agrees, but uh oh. Not the mama!………Did I seriously make a Dinosaurs reference? One that works? Do I get a badge of honor now or something?
After all of 1.5 seconds of trying to quell Manaphy’s cries, and by that I mean saying “No, not again! Stop! Please?”, Merideth passes Manaphy back to May. Boy, you must’ve been one hell of a mother to baby Lizabeth.
Back for more Togepi-ism, it’s revealed that, since May was the first person Manaphy saw when it hatched, it’s taken May to be its mother.
Phantom shows back up and tries to stop the convoy with cables attached to the helicopters. They jump to the truck and release the trailer, sending the trailer careening over the edge of a cliff and losing Phantom.
It’s at this point where you seriously realize that, yeah, this pretty much is the arrangement of Movie 06 – just replace Jirachi with Manaphy, Max with May and the brother/best friend bond with that of a parent-child and it’s the same thing.
Back with Team Rocket who somehow landed right on the building that the group was headed to, they wake to find they’re back to normal again. Why did they do that switch and what caused them to turn back? Being too far away from Manaphy?
Also, I guess I never really got to this part in the series. I remember James getting a Mime Jr., but now he’s a comic relief Pokemon who bursts out of his ball without warning to…..just mimic people? And holy crap, he does not need to be imitating another comic relief Pokemon (Wobbuffet). This is further compounded when James and Jessie put Wobbuffet and Mime Jr. away at the same time. It’s like it’s a subtle acknowledgment that this shtick is incredibly old.
I’m just now noticing that even the 2D art and animation for this movie is lower than it usually is. Certainly not even touching what they accomplished in Movie 08. I’d even go so far as to say, at times, it’s worse than the TV show. Especially when they focus on Team Rocket.
The group makes it into the ancient building, somehow not noticing that the helicopter and Phantom are hot on their tails. Using his magic ‘people of the water’ bracelet, Ship activates a glowy combination lock for a hidden door in the wall. Following soon after, Phantom uses a broken bracelet he somehow has and also activates the lock. However, they don’t show him actually putting in the combination and there’s no way for him to have known one, so how he really got in is beyond me.
Using their Water Pokemon, the group travels through a waterway to another part of the building. After some crazy flat voice acting by Ship and Merideth as they recall their Pokemon, the group enters a beautiful cathedral-like area. Lizabeth and her family explain that the sea temple is called Samaya, and that it is perfectly hidden from those not a part of the people of the water due to the fact that it blends in perfectly with the water.
And dear god, I swear Kyle is getting worse and worse with his voice acting by the minute.
The sea temple holds an item called the sea crown that many people have tried and failed to steal. Many years ago, the temple broke away from it’s original resting spot and started traveling with the tides, making it even more difficult to find. However, the temple is said to be made visible during a full eclipse.
In order to actually find it, you need a Manaphy. The Manaphy of the world have taken the sea temple as their home, and every Manaphy is born with the innate ability to find it. That’s why Phantom is after Manaphy. He doesn’t really want Manaphy – he wants to find the temple and steal the crown.
Ash: “So who is that guy?”
Jackie: “Phantom the pirate. He’s one mean dude.” TPCI: they’re one bad writing staff.
After Team Rocket pathetically grovels to do the lowest of grunt work for Phantom, we see that Phantom has utilized high-tech scanning equipment to analyze the building. They reveal that there are many water routes underneath the building that they may have used to escape, and it’ll be very difficult to find which way they went. Phantom doesn’t care because he’s already set a trap for them wherever they’ll end up and claims it’s just a waiting game now.
We actually get one kinda funny scene when Team Rocket, having overheard the conversation, starts clamoring over the sea crown. One of Phantom’s cronies and his Chatot (because he’s a pirate and needs a parrot) glare back at Team Rocket as they laugh and they awkwardly go back to work. It’s not the most hilarious scene in the world, but I have frequently questioned why no one ever seems to hear Team Rocket when they say suspicious things like that, and it was nice to have a scene where they joke about it.
Back with the group, Jackie thanks Ash and co. for their help so far, but says once they get off the boat they’ll be leaving them behind because bringing Manaphy back to the sea temple is a Pokemon Ranger’s job and he doesn’t want them getting any more involved than they already are. Even though you’d think leaving would be ill-advised given that Manaphy is greatly attached to May. But I guess it doesn’t matter too much since Manaphy will part ways with May soon enough anyway.
Sure enough, when they get out of the tunnels, Ship gets his boat out of dock, and Lizabeth and her family as well as Jackie take Manaphy and proceed to set sail. I should mention that three older guys take care of Ship’s ship while he’s traveling and they seem like complete fanboys of his for some reason. *shrug*
As predicted, Manaphy starts wailing as soon as they leave port, and May feels an odd feeling in her heart as she watches the boat leave. Are they seriously playing her up as being one of the people of the water or are they establishing some mystic motherly link between her and Manaphy?
The three nameless fanboys encourage May and the others to follow them anyway, and they agree. Thanks for serving some purpose that kinda wasn’t needed because this whole scene seems like padding, nameless fanboys!
As they run towards the boat, Manaphy starts flipping out and glows. It touches one of its weird head tentacle things to Jackie’s head and the other shoots red lightning through the water and onto the dock where Ash steps on it. After it dies down, we see Jackie and Ash have switched bodies.
I’m sorry, is there some point to this power? Like, at all? Because it just seems like an excuse to stop the plot, pad the movie some more and try to make weird jokes that don’t work.
Jackie explains that this power is called Heart Swap and that it uses it to escape danger…..How…does switching people’s bodies….make it escape danger?
Case and point – the very first example of this happening was Team Rocket switching bodies. That didn’t prevent it from getting kidnapped because the three people switching bodies were all people that wanted to steal it.
In this example, sure, I guess it prevented it from getting separated from May, but that’s really only because A) Lizabeth and her family were polite enough to decide to get Ash and Jackie back to normal by bringing everyone on board and waiting out the effects and B) They don’t know what happens when two switched people are extremely far apart. Though, if my guess on what happened with Team Rocket was right, they’d just switch back. If they wanted to, they could just say ‘sucks to be you, Ash and Jackie. We’ll run to the temple and back and you’ll probably be back to normal after some time.’
I guess Ash could try jumping off the boat with Manaphy so they have no choice but to turn back, but without his Corphish, I don’t think he’d be able to get away very well. He doesn’t know how to use a Ranger Stylus to capture a Pokemon to help him either. Plus, that might put Manaphy in danger for literally no other reason than ‘we wanna go have an adventure.’
Also, Lizabeth suddenly blurts out that Manaphy are known as the prince(s) of the sea. Thanks for that clunky dialogue/exposition, Lizabeth.
After cuddling with Manaphy, it suddenly reveals that it can mimic some words with its first word being ‘Happy,’ and it quickly mimics even more words from Ash, Brock and Max. So, its two main impressive abilities are causing people and Pokemon to switch bodies temporarily and…..talking.
I’ve already pointed out how disappointed I am in the former, but the latter…I know it’s not a legit ‘power’ but so far that’s one of the only things this Pokemon can do that most others can’t. But it’s not impressive in the least given that, despite not being the norm, many other Pokemon can talk.
Getting the obvious example of Meowth off the table, and that’s more impressive given that he’s a regular Pokemon who struggled through hell to learn how to do that, most Legendaries can talk or otherwise speak through telepathy (Mewtwo, Lugia, Entei, and Jirachi) and there are other Pokemon, mostly featured in movies, that aren’t Legendary and can talk in this same manner, such as Slowking and Lucario. Hell, this very movie features a Chatot – a parrot Pokemon who has been mimicking human speech this whole time.
I was disappointed enough with Jirachi and his ‘I steal shit’ “wish-granting” ability. Please tell me Manaphy has more impressive abilities than this.
Kyle walks out and—dude, seriously, someone fire his voice actor. I couldn’t sound as bored as this guy if this movie was about watching rocks erode in real time.
He stops the boat and explains that it’s time for Manaphy to be released into the ocean so it can choose its own path. May agrees and releases Manaphy into the water. Manaphy happily jumps through the water and the group continues…..their….
……you okay? You look….kinda spacey……do you need to sit down?…..Ash?
……….Okay then, you probably just need a minute. A quick segue into the next scene should make you feel better.
Lizabeth and her family take Ash and the others down to the hull where they reveal a glass viewing port to watch the Water Pokemon and Manaphy.
We cut through dusk, night then the next day without any plot advancement, but I do have something to say during Jackie’s para-sailing scene – Ms. Natochenny, please tone down the deep raspiness of Ash’s voice. I feel like you’re going to blow out a vocal cord.
Really, the past three minutes or so is nothing but dicking around in the water with Water Pokemon. If this was any other movie I’d say it’s to show off the CGI, but oh god why?
Ash: “Hey, so why’d you become a Pokemon Ranger in the first place, Jackie?”
Jackie: “I was a kid.” ….Most people were, Jackie. Maybe start off this story with the less awkward “When I was a kid….”
Jackie explains that he got caught in a terrible snow storm up in the mountains as a child. He managed to find a cave to take shelter in, but was still so cold that he feared it was the end of him. Suddenly, a bunch of migrating forest Pokemon such as Swablu and Furret gathered around him to keep him warm. He wanted to be a Pokemon Ranger ever since.
Wait, that doesn’t really explain why he specifically wanted to be a Pokemon Ranger. Also, Jackie pronounces Pokemon ‘Pokeymon’…..That has nothing to do with anything either, but it’s irking me.
More dicking around in the water.
The next night it becomes painfully obvious (no pun intended?) that we’re getting to the peak of May and Manaphy’s friendship when she teaches it to say ‘I love you.’ Seriously, it’s a little annoying how blatantly this is trying to rip-off the Max/Jirachi friendship from Movie 06 (And it’s also a little paranoia-ly funny that this movie, 9 is 6 upside down.) Gee, I wonder if May is soon going to come to the realization that she’s going to need to part ways with Manaphy and someone will give her a pep talk about it.
…..*cough* Sorry….I love Lapras.
Another scene that is basically just dicking around. I know they’re really meant to show how attached May and Manaphy are becoming, but you can do that without constant *Manaphy being cute* *May/Manaphy cuddles* wash, rinse, repeat stuff.
Not like there’s any tension anyway. We know Phantom isn’t following them because Jackie’s been on constant lookout for helicopters. It’s not like Phantom stated he had a trap laid for them already, nor has it been established that Phantom has easy access to an underwater tank thing. Not like Jackie was on it when he was undercover or anything. Not like they have sonar that, while following Manaphy, should also easily detect the sub. No sirree.
May overhears Jackie asking Ash to help separate May and Manaphy because he worries Manaphy won’t go home if he gets too attached to May. May comes into the room and says not to worry about that, but Jackie asserts that the separation must happen. Manaphy is the prince of the sea, and it’s his responsibility to lead all of the Water Pokemon at the sea temple – What? Since when?
From the way you guys were talking earlier, it sounded like there were a bunch of Manaphy at the sea temple. Why is this one specifically destined to be leader? Where are Manaphy’s real parents? Did it just spawn from nothing? Why wasn’t the egg anywhere near the sea temple to start out with? Where did this thing come from?
It now makes perfect sense that they gave Manaphy the ability to talk. What better way to juice some more emotion from this forced separation than having Manaphy keeping parroting ‘Happy’ and ‘Love you’ over and over?
May runs off crying at Jackie’s words and seeing Manaphy swimming around outside of the glass. Lizabeth tries to console her by saying in a totally not caring voice ‘I know it’s hard.’ Then May completely breaks down sobbing in her arms.
Hey, what do ya know? They are being followed Phantom in his underwater tank thing. Who woulda thunk?
That night, they stop for a while, and Manaphy starts singing on a rock, calling the Water Pokemon of the sea to gather around him…..It’s not a terrible song, but it’s definitely not giving off the striking beauty I imagine they wanted from this scene. Manaphy’s voice just sounds a bit too whiny for that. I know during the singing parts that they’re using Manaphy’s Japanese voice, but that doesn’t change my opinion.
Lizabeth then gives May her bracelet, which is actually a mark of the people of the water. I feel like this movie would’ve fit better if Misty were still around. Who better to be a pseudo person of the water than someone who strives to be a Water Pokemon Master? Then again, her having two baby Pokemon who grew attached to her as a mother through imprinting might be incredibly redundant.
The next day, Manaphy comes up from dicking around in the water to eat lunch and it starts looking for May. As a way to keep them separated, Ash lets out all of his Pokemon so they can dick around in the water with Manaphy. *sigh*
May tries to put her bandana on, but it flies off with the wind. Manaphy, seeing this, goes after her bandana, even though it keeps getting carried away by various Water Pokemon. And because the most intelligent thing you can do with a baby Pokemon who is leading you to a legendary sea temple that hardly anyone ever gets to see while you’re being pursued by a bunch of criminals who want both Manaphy and the sea crown that is at said sea temple is lose sight of him for hours on end……..they lose Manaphy for hours on end. They decide that they have to find him with a submarine.
May blames herself for Manaphy’s disappearance, claiming it probably ran away because of how she was treating it….Uh….huh? Treating it how? Last time she saw Manaphy, she ran off crying. Last time Manaphy looked for May, Ash distracted it. She never once yelled at it or pushed it away or anything.
Phantom begins to make his move, and Manaphy manages to finally retrieve May’s bandana. Ya know, May doesn’t seem too attached to that bandanna. She loses it, doesn’t say anything about it and walks around like nothing happened.
After some nauseating CGI Pokemon shots and May crazily talking to a window, Manaphy somehow manages to find them. However, they quickly get caught in a riptide. Lizabeth loses control of the submarine and radio contact with Ship, Kyle and Merideth. Manaphy, who has no problem in the current, directs them away. Not like that matters because Lizabeth clearly said she lost control of the submarine, meaning she can’t direct it anywhere and they can’t follow Manaphy.
So they follow Manaphy and make it safely out of the riptide. *cough*
Because they managed to time this right as a lunar eclipse was occurring, Ash and the others vanish underwater. As the eclipse starts, the moon turns red, which somehow turns the water purple…..oh I get it….red plus blue equals purple…..
The sea temple is revealed to all, and they finally notice that Phantom is following them.
I don’t know why, but everyone’s VA is being just terrible in these past ten minutes or so. They’ve actually been pretty decent (major exclusion being Kyle’s VA) up until now. I don’t know what happened.
They arrive at the pretty-but-not-that-unique-or-fantastical sea temple where they realize that they can both exit the water within it and breathe the air, despite still being extremely deep underwater.
They make their way into the temple and Manaphy starts singing. The temple seemingly sings back and May’s bracelet and Lizabeth’s necklace start to glow in response. The cascading waterfalls which were blocking a pathway then open, allowing them to pass.
Phantom arrives and follows closely after the group, taking the time to laugh maniacally. Team Rocket, having stowed away in an empty tank, emerge to follow him.
James: “Diamonds and pearls….”
Meowth: “Let’s get through this season first.”
Ya know, I let the earlier utterance of ‘diamonds and pearls’ go because, despite being blatant plugging for the next generation, it still fit the lines of treasure and whatnot. So you decide to not just push the plug button again, but this time you’re so unabashedly blatant about it that you’re breaking the fourth wall to drill it into our heads that Pokemon Diamond and Pearl is what you’re really talking about?
Not only is this stupid and unnecessary, but how terrible of an idea is this from a writing perspective? “This movie/season/generation in general is such a chore to get through that we feel compelled to remind the audience that this will be ending soon and the totally much better Diamond and Pearl will be starting up in the near future.”
Back with Ash and the others, they make their way to some room with a big plaque in it but can’t decipher what it says. Suddenly, Phantom appears behind them, stating that he can read it just fine, and that it’s pointless to stop him because, even combined, they have no chance….Uh, why? I mean, this isn’t an advisable place to have a Pokemon battle, but, together, they have a hell of a lot of Pokemon and Phantom has like three.
He reads the plaque, which says that the door can only be opened by someone with the mark of the people of the water. Behind the door lies the sea crown, and anyone who wears the sea crown is the king of the sea.
He reveals his mark of the people of the water, and all he says on how he obtained it was that he went to a lot of trouble to get it. Okie dokie.
He uses the mark to reveal the lock and somehow knows the combination to get in.
Back on the surface, the eclipse is ending so Jackie and the others lose sight of the temple.
Phantom and the others reach the sea crown, which is a big cluster of crystals about 15 feet high encased in suspended water….How do you wear that?
Manaphy happily jumps from May’s arms and into the water to swim around. However, when Phantom tries to pull some of the crystal out of the sea crown, he sends Manaphy, now trying to protect it, flying out of the water and onto the floor, causing it to start crying.
Gee, I sure hope that screwing around with this ancient mystical treasure doesn’t trigger some massive terrible event.
So the massive terrible event starts with the water that was encasing the sea crown suddenly bursting. More water juts from the walls, nearly knocking everyone over the edge of the platform they’re on. From the outside, Jackie, having captured a Mantyke, observes the temple coming back into view with odd beams of light shooting around it.
After Max nearly falls to his death, Lizabeth convinces Ash and the others to leave the temple, essentially leaving Phantom to destroy the crown and the temple, much to the dismay of Lizabeth.
Insatiable greed leading to the certain doom of our enemy? You spoil me with clichés, movie.
Ash and the others make it back to the submarine where they meet up with Jackie who proceeds to go take down Phantom while they escape. Jackie starts taking crystals from Phantom and putting them back into the sea crown, but Phantom manages to corner him as they fight over one of the crystals. More water bursts from the walls, causing Jackie and Phantom to lose their balance and fall into the water. Phantom goes down one underwater tunnel while Jackie has no choice but to be sucked into another. Phantom loses the crystal down a water chute and cannot follow after it.
As they’re about to leave, Manaphy decides to make one final effort to save the sea temple. It lunges from May’s arms, swims up the waterways and attempts to return the crystals back to the crown, though it can barely lift any of them. Ash and May jump in to help only to find that, once all of the crystals in the room were replaced, one was still missing.
Phantom and Team Rocket wrestle for the sub, but end up getting waterlogged, blasting Team Rocket off and showing that their role in this movie was more pointless than usual. Jackie, who has amazing balance to be standing on the edge of a dome like that, jumps onto Phantom’s sub and takes it, along with his Chatot.
Ash and May get lost trying to find a way out of the somewhat ironically sinking sea temple and end up conveniently stumbling across the final crystal. Ash grabs it before the place floods some more, and they also conveniently stumble upon the tank Team Rocket was in earlier. He puts Manaphy, May and Pikachu inside of it, claiming he has to return the crystal and save the sea temple.
Uh….Ash….I applaud you for your bravery and selflessness. Really, I do….even if this is just you forcing yourself to take the reigns as hero during a movie where another character is technically the main protagonist again. However, I have to ask….you’re really going to seemingly sacrifice your life…for….this? Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful building that is important to a near extinct culture who doesn’t get explored much, and a bunch of Water Pokemon, I guess. Still, we don’t know why it’s such a literal life or death situation to save this place outside of it being something important to a handful of people.
Yeah, Manaphy can’t take his rightful place as king of the sea without the sea crown, for some reason, but we never know why that’s so necessary anyway. Really, the only consequence is one Jackie explained earlier.
Jackie: “Remember that Manaphy is the prince of the sea and destined to become leader of all the sea temple Pokemon.”
Got news for you, buddy. There are no sea temple Pokemon. In this whole huge temple, there are no Pokemon at all. The only Pokemon we see here outside of ones owned by the characters are ones outside of the temple, and there aren’t even that many of them. If those are the Pokemon he’s talking about, they seem to do fine without Manaphy.
I also feel compelled to ask the obvious….What does it matter….if an UNDERWATER SEA TEMPLE sinks? The sea temple is encased in an air bubble, but are you seriously telling me that the people of the water made an underwater sea temple that couldn’t handle being flooded?
It might mess up some of the décor, but I don’t see why it’d be so damaging. People don’t even go there anymore, and the Water Pokemon who are supposedly so reliant on it would be able to access it with no problem even if it was entirely flooded because they’re Water Pokemon. Actually, now that I think about, many Water Pokemon wouldn’t be able to enter the sea temple unless it was flooded because they can only travel in the water. Ash and the others could just give one of their Water Pokemon the crystal and tell them to put it back after they got back to the sub or boat, fixing the problem and keeping everyone safe.
There is no logical reason whatsoever that Ash feels the need to basically die for this.
Just to get on another stupid rant, that tank doesn’t look like it can be controlled, is motorized or even looks like it would float. May and Pikachu might be as good as dead in that thing anyway. To prove my point….it doesn’t. Yeah, the next few times we see them, the tank is just sitting underwater. I guess it could be that he put them there to keep them safe until he got back but;
1) He has no plan for getting them back to the boat even if he does survive and get back to the tank,
2) Does he think this thing won’t move?
For all he knew, he just put his friends in a tank that may have rolled off of the temple and sank to the bottom of the ocean where it would be crushed by the pressure.
Ash makes his way to the sea crown, and here’s something 4Kids would never keep – the shot of Lizabeth obviously praying. Though I have to wonder what deity the people of the water worship.
Ash wastes all of his air and energy trying to get the crystal freed after it gets stuck in a little nook. He falls unconscious and starts drowning while the crystal falls even deeper into the depths of the temple. May keeps hoping for Ash to be alright, and suddenly Manaphy demonstrates another power – makeshift telepathy. It places one tentacle on May’s head and another on the tank to somehow transmit May’s thoughts through the tank and the vast amounts of water between them to Ash, somehow waking him up and prompting him to swim to the surface and get a breath.
Manaphy a deus ex machina? Holy crap, you totally are a new temporary Togepi.
Ash gets a breath, the last one he’ll be able to get considering the space available above his head, and he rushes down to the crystal, back up to the sea crown and replaces it all in one go. Geez, Ash. Screw being a Pokemon Master. Go into professional swimming. You’ll clean up at the summer Olympics.
With the sea crown whole again, the temple glows and starts correcting itself – draining the water and floating back up. A bunch of golden tentacles grab the tank that May, Manaphy and Pikachu are in.
The temple, for some reason, surfaces even though it wasn’t on the surface before the crystals were removed. I will admit, in this one shot, despite the still incredibly questionable CGI, the temple looks pretty awesome.
The golden tentacle was nice enough to put the tank on a flat spot on the temple. May states that Ash must’ve saved the temple, but then they all start getting upset under the belief that Ash died in the process. Uh, if you know that Ash succeeded in replacing the crystal, why assume that he’s dead? I mean, sure, he could’ve drowned anyway, but the temple was draining water pretty quickly and surfaced even more quickly. If Ash has Olympic swimming chops, I’m pretty sure he’s fine.
Phantom pops back up (literally) and takes Manaphy away again, claiming that as long as he has Manaphy he can always find the temple again and get the crown…..which is stupid because he knows screwing with it causes it to sink. I suppose he could prep up in scuba gear and get it, I don’t know.
And here we are at what is supposedly the big scene of the movie. What the fans have coined as ‘Super Saiyan Ash.’
Let me back up. When the sea crown’s final crystal was replaced, it imbued Ash with the title of king of the sea….because….doing that is equal to wearing it? As a result, he was cloaked in a golden aura, given the ability to breathe underwater, to swim incredibly fast and even, to a degree, fly. Which is another pseudo-theme in these movies.
Think about it – Ash is usually flying either through magic or riding on a Legendary Pokemon through many of the movies. Mewtwo’s psychic abilities in 01, Lugia in 02, (Charizard might count a little in 03), Celebi’s psychic abilities in 04, Latios in 05, half-counting Flygon in 06, Deoxys’ psychic abilities in 07. The only movie I really can’t count is 08.
Ash and Phantom have an….’epic battle’ which is really just Ash chasing Phantom through the water as Phantom goes around in circles on his little metal jetski thinger that can also go underwater. Dude, just move away from the temple. You’re outrunning him pretty well. Just make your way to shore where he can’t touch you with these powers.
Phantom is suddenly faced with a ton of Water Pokemon when Kyogre pops up and pushes him back above water. Oh shi – did I mention Kyorge’s in this movie?! He’s appeared totally randomly in two shots and now he’s trying to be a part of the plot. Isn’t that cute?
Ash snatches Manaphy away from Phantom and he crashes into the water. It seems like they’re home free, but somehow Phantom managed to land directly on top of his big underwater tank sub thing. It’s now gunning for the sea temple, and the Water Pokemon are all trying to stop it. The tank uses its synthetic Supersonic, which confuses the Water Pokemon and shoos them away.
Manaphy breaks free of Ash and starts singing and glowing again….somehow calming all of the Water Pokemon down….I know I said I wanted Manaphy to have better powers, but it’s really just pulling stuff out of its ass at this point.
Manaphy sends the Water Pokemon off to charge the tank, slowing it down, nearly knocking Phantom off and cutting off their power supply.
Kyogre, under command of the riding Manaphy, uses Hyper Beam to blow apart the tank. It’s weird to see Pokemon attacks do things like that sometimes because it makes for a lot of fridge horror. Like if that Hyper Beam can rip apart a tank, what would happen if it hit a Pokemon in a battle?
Just when you think Phantom might finally be done, he reveals that he is strong enough to hold up a falling part of the tank with his mecha exo-skeleton they just decided to reveal under his clothes.
Okay, I guess that explains why he was strong enough to lift up a boulder with a person standing on it and throw it through the air….but….why have something as cool as a super strong mecha exo-skeleton and not only not visually put any focus on it but also not imply much with it? Yeah, he threw a big rock with a person on it, yeah he stopped falling steel from crushing him…..But that’s not doing nearly enough with that fairly unique-to-the-series dev—Oh nevermind, it broke and the steel ended up crushing him comically anyway. Whatever, movie.
Oh and upon the reveal of the mechanical exoskeleton that they can fully see and acknowledge by the way;
Jackie: “Wow, I didn’t think a guy like that took vitamins.”
…..I paused the video at this line because…it’s obviously meant to be a joke, they even pause afterward to give the audience time to laugh but….I don’t get it. He has a mecha exoskeleton….vitamins….guy like that would….not take vitamins…but…he’s clearly using a mechanical device to lift these things….not…..why would….
If I had to make some weak correlation here, Phantom is a pirate and traditional pirates were known for getting scurvy due to lack of sources of vitamin C….But…he’s a modern day pirate. He obviously gets vitamin C….and even with that weak connection that I doubt they’re really making anyway, why the hell is that line proceeding a shot of Phantom lifting steel with the help of a mecha exoskeleton!?
Wouldn’t this line have made just slightly more sense when Jackie was first facing Phantom? He….Oh wait….*rewind*
Jackie: *he and the boulder get thrown by Phantom* “Man, you’re strong Phantom. You take vitamins?”
……That was deemed funny enough for an end-of-movie throwback quip? One that doesn’t even make sense with the reveal of the exoskeleton? Hell, even if he didn’t have that exoskeleton, that line still wouldn’t make sense because why would he say he didn’t think Phantom was the type of guy who took vitamins if his first theory as to why Phantom was so strong before was that he took vitamins? You lazy unfunny non-sense-making bastards.
Later, everyone gets to go Super Saiyan and dick around in the water again because I suppose Ash can transfer the power to others or at least let them borrow it. Zooming out, we see that the many tentacles of the temple have webbed around the building to make a crown shape, what is truly the sea crown.
…..So you have to wear a building? I really am thinking about this way too much.
After the purty light show is over, the sea temple decides it’s time to go back underwater. That means that it’s also time to say goodbye to Manaphy. It jumps into May’s arms one last time, and May tearfully says her goodbyes. Manaphy sends her off by saying ‘Love you’ again but this time adding ‘May.’ She replies saying she loves Manaphy too, and then it says ‘Love you’ again, this time adding ‘Mama.’
Manaphy hops out of May’s arms and back into the water, swimming towards the temple as May looks on with a bittersweet smile saying she’s not fine now, but she will be.
Our end credits song is replaying the song we got in the middle of the movie, just with lyrics now, ‘Together We Make a Promise,’ and I still like the song just fine. As for our end credits shots, of which most are painted, which is a nice change up, we get those completely pointless Ship fanboys welcoming his return, Jackie and Officer Jenny hauling in the wrecked underwater tank thing along with a shot of Phantom and his first mate in chains, the group departing from Lizabeth and her family, then as we transition back to the animation we get….
Jackie capturing a random Zapdos and riding on it?
….Huh? Why did he capture a Zapdos? How did he capture a Zapdos so easily? How did he know a Zapdos was here? Do we just have easy access to Legendaries now? I guess that would make sense considering Ash sees at least one a year. This is even more random than the Kyogre. At least that was a Water Pokemon who kinda belonged, even if it was unannounced and came from nowhere.
We then see Team Rocket cloaked in darkness with just their eyes visible (oh you silly cartoon tropes) when they suddenly get expelled with water upwards, and we see that they were really inside a Wailord the whole time and it just shot them out of its blow hole….ewww.
Random Kyogre shot, then we see the sea temple littered with the Water Pokemon who were no where near it earlier, lead by the happy Manaphy. We get Ash and the others camping because that’s new, and an animation error that leaves the line for May’s closed smiling mouth on her face even though she’s now drinking, and then we see them walk off into the mountains.
First and foremost, I don’t know if I’d say this is the worst Pokemon movie ever, mostly because I still haven’t caught up and seen the rest beyond this, but it’s high up there because it’s just so incredibly sloppy.
Let’s address that title – Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea. Jackie’s not a huge part of this movie, nor is any other Ranger seen but him. He does talk to some unnamed woman at the Ranger station a few times, and there is a shot of a blue haired female Ranger during the ‘World of Pokemon’ section, but that doesn’t really count.
We don’t learn much about Pokemon Rangers in this entire movie. We only learn that they protect wild Pokemon. We don’t learn about their practices, their training, why they use styluses to ‘capture’ Pokemon instead of using Pokeballs or anything. Don’t put something in the title of your movie if it doesn’t have that much bearing on anything in the movie. If you wanted, you could remove Jackie from this whole movie and it would only cause a few easily corrected problems.
Next, Manaphy, while it did grow on me, was still very annoying with its super high-pitched voice, wailing and repetitive talking. It was also incredibly inconsistent with its powers, going from a weird and seemingly useless ability to cause people and Pokemon to switch bodies to underwater makeshift telepathy and a widespread Pokemon calming ability, all of which seem to be emitted by the same light that comes from his head tentacles.
Manaphy didn’t seem to do much in the big finale. The Water Pokemon were already attacking the underwater tank thing – did they really need Manaphy almost comically yelling out ‘Manaaaa!’ with his arm pointing ahead for them to continue doing it once they weren’t caught in confusion anymore? Usually the featured Legendary Pokemon gets the final big hurrah, but this time it just seemed like it was orchestrating it.
It’s really so necessary that Manaphy become king of the sea? Really? Because when the temple goes down, no one brings up that Manaphy can no longer do this. You’d think, as the temple was sinking, Jackie would yell something like ‘Oh no! If the temple sinks then Manaphy can’t become king and (more terrible thing) will happen!’ They don’t explain what his real role is anyway, just that he is meant to be a leader to a bunch of Pokemon who, by all means, have no reason for a leader.
Phantom was a joke as an enemy. I can say he’s the worst conceived Pokemon movie villain to date. Lawrence the Third may have been omitted from most of his movie, and the Iron-Masked Marauder may have had little backstory, but at least they seemed like threats and at least they seemed interesting.
They purposely made Phantom comical so the tension was almost entirely drained, leaving him almost as minor of a threat as Team Rocket. Despite giving him something cool that could’ve been pretty great in his super strong exoskeleton, they waste it entirely. It’s almost like that was an afterthought to give him more of a threat when it was only used twice, both for completely pointless purposes.
They don’t even explain why he’s so dead-set on becoming king of the sea, or how he got that mark of the people of the water or how he knew the combinations to get into the locks throughout the temple or how he can read the language of the people of the water. I thought they’d reveal that he was a rogue descendant of theirs, but nope. If he is, they don’t mention a damn thing about it.
No backstory, no decent motivations and no threat = Terrible villain. That doesn’t have to really be a dealbreaker either, if the guy is entertaining enough, but he’s not. He’s not funny at all, he’s not crazy enough, he doesn’t have fun one-liners or even quirks. He’s just blah.
Lizabeth and her family were…fine. They’re supposed to represent the connections to the people of the water and how much the sea temple means to them, but their role was pretty weak. None of them made strong connections with the main characters. They tried to have May and Lizabeth bond a little when May started crying and when she gave her the mark of the people of the water, but it was really just one-note “Yeah, I know. That sucks” and “Here, have this bracelet.”
They also note on the Wiki that Lizabeth is one of the few girls that Brock lusts after that actually likes him back. Uh, where was that? I mean, yeah she talked about cooking with Brock once or twice, but that was about it. Lots of girls that Brock has lusted after have ‘liked’ him. Lizabeth never showed any inkling of liking him romantically.
Back to the family as a whole, they never talk about stuff from the culture of the people of the water, just that they were nomads who traveled the seas, lived alongside Water Pokemon and built a temple in their honor that works from some magic powers they somehow have but are never explained. They’re excited about seeing the sea temple, but don’t say or do much when they actually see it. Lizabeth does get a somber look on her face when she realizes they need to abandon the sea temple as it’s about to flood, but that’s it.
These people of the water just seem like madlibs entries no one built on. “And the (building) was built by the ancient (culture/race). And it’s totally important to them for (reasons).”
Brock and Max were more useless than usual this time around. They did 100% pure nothing. Just to drive that point home, I ctrl+f’d Brock’s name on this document, and the only times he’s notable enough to mention are when he explains who Lizabeth and her family are and me being confused as to why Ash and the others know what a Pokemon Ranger is already. Max nearly falls to his death and that sums up his role.
Team Rocket….I don’t even know why they’re in this movie, moreso than usual. It’s like they shoehorned them in under contractual obligation. They alert Phantom to Manaphy’s location, pointlessly swap bodies just to pointlessly display Manaphy’s pointless power, become the janitorial service for Phantom and spend about three scenes giggling about how they’ll get treasure only to be easily pushed out of the movie by the flood waters never to be seen again until the end credits.
Now for the biggest issue – Ash completely hijacked this movie from May.
I was actually going to praise this movie for a while because, while being a complete rip-off of Movie 06, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I liked Movie 06 and how they handled Jirachi and Max’s relationship. Sure, May and Manaphy’s scenes were mostly just dicking around in the water and super gushy cutesy scenes, but they were fine. It’s understandable for May to get so attached to Manaphy and vice versa, much in the same vein as Misty and Togepi. Even though it seems like they unnecessarily crammed days worth of bonding in when, in Movie 06, the days of bonding and travel had a purpose in that they were waiting for the comet…
…..Wait, in this movie they’re waiting for an eclipse. Do you have no shame, Movie 09?
It seems all fine until we get to that climax when Ash wrestles the limelight away from her and suddenly decides to risk/sacrifice his life for the sake of the temple. Sure, Ash is self-sacrificing, but he has no emotional connection to this place nor is it really that big of a deal if he lets it sink.
If this wasn’t a life sacrificing/largely risky task, it would be more understandable, but from the way it’s presented, it seems like Ash is really going off to die in order to just possibly save the temple – and, he does nearly end up dying. The only reason he didn’t was because of Manaphy’s grab bag of powers.
Why did the focus suddenly shift to Ash to the point where we got a superhero-esque confrontation out of it? Why did it shift to him at all?
In Movie 06, Ash stayed away from the limelight because it was Max’s movie. He did do one heroic thing because main character, but he never stole the show from Max. The climax was more of a team effort with Ash, Max and Butler if anything. Contrast that to Movie 04, where one of the main negatives there was Ash stealing the show from Sam and, to a lesser extent, his relationship to Celebi. We’re moving backwards in character and storytelling abilities as we move forward in movies.
There’s no reason whatsoever why May couldn’t have been the one to go down there and fix the sea crown. Absolutely none. Given everything that has been built up until this point, it’s almost like they intended to have that happen in the first few drafts then changed it to Ash at the last second because main character.
Think about it. May has that dream about Manaphy, which Lizabeth says indicates that she may somehow be a descendant of the people of the water. It’s unfounded and unexplored, but there you go. Lizabeth also gives May one of her marks of the people of the water.
These facts seem to nudge that May would be the one to save the sea crown and become king queen of the sea.
Not to mention that she has way more motivation than Ash does. Let me rewrite this entire ending for you.
May, realizing that her beloved Manaphy will never become king of the sea without the sea crown intact and the temple back to its former glory, decides she must sacrifice herself to restore the crown. When they find the tank, she shoves Manaphy into Ash’s arms and explains what she must do. He tries to talk her out of it, but she stands firm in her resolve. Ash begrudgingly accepts this and wishes her luck before they enter the tank and lock the door.
May makes her way through the temple, reaches the crown and drops the crystal. As she attempts to retrieve it, she runs out of air and loses consciousness. Manaphy, sensing May is in danger, transfers its own thoughts to May, saying ‘Love you’ a couple of times before saying ‘Love you, May!’, which triggers her mark of the people of the water and wakes her up. She gets one more breath, grabs the crystal and puts it back in the crown. The sea crown, recognizing May’s mark of the people of the water and maybe her possible people of the water bloodline, gives her the powers of the queen of the sea.
After the crown is restored and the temple surfaces, Phantom steals Manaphy yet again. Sensing Manaphy’s in danger, due to her queen of the sea-ness, May bursts from the water with her new Super Saiyan powers and takes on Phantom, retrieving her beloved Manaphy and earning a touching reunion.
Later, after the climax, she and Manaphy say their goodbyes and she transfers her queen of the sea powers to Manaphy before he jumps back into the ocean and leaves.
That was a tiny bit fanfic-y, but it makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? The whole flow of the movie gets derailed because Ash couldn’t help himself but be the hero when it clearly wasn’t his movie. Meanwhile, our supposed heroine gets to sit still in a tin can literally just hoping the hero can save the day. I’m glad they didn’t have her tears or something transfer to Ash too because my eyeballs practically escaped my skull from how hard I was rolling them during the finale of the temple scene.
I’m trying really hard to not put a sexist slant on this, but it’s very difficult. All May does the entire movie is react to stuff, cry and be a mama to a baby. She’s not even the one who saves Max from nearly falling pointlessly to his death – Lizabeth was. In fact, Lizabeth does way more in this movie than May does, and even she does less than Ash.
Admittedly, May does help put the crystals back in the sea crown, but that was only because she was stupidly running after Manaphy. Yeah, sure wouldn’t want Manaphy to get trapped in this sinking building….the one falling underwater…..where he’s strongest….can swim against all currents….and can easily breathe. Oh no.
Plus, as you already know, she didn’t even do that alone – Ash helped there too.
Not that this movie’s story is all that much to get excited over anyway. It could’ve been worse, but we’ve seen this same exact story several times in this movie series already. It’s like a mish-mash of several Pokemon movies with a new coat of paint, and the paint is smelly and pea colored. If you’re going to rip-off other movies, especially in your own damn universe, you have to bring new things to the table that make it unique and interesting to allow it to stand on its own.
But no. We get an annoying mix of Togepi with a cutesy Legendary, a bunch of dicking around in the water, a villain who is completely forgettable and non-threatening, side characters who are completely forgettable, a Pokemon Ranger whose character is mostly wasted, random appearances from other Legendaries to, I guess, make it more interesting, and the only things standing out being hilariously awful CGI and Super Saiyan Ash. Even the names in this movie were forgettable placeholders; Phantom, the people of the water, the sea temple, the sea crown, the prince of the sea and the king of the sea.
It’s not a huge chore to sit through, I wouldn’t even say it’s unpleasant, but if you asked me if I’d be interested in watching this movie again I’d probably say no. There’s no reason for me to ever watch this again…..even though I have to when I do the subbed version review.
I will say that the soundtrack for this movie is fantastic and that the climax was fun and impacting, but otherwise this movie is bland, boring, sloppy and disappointing. Seriously, guys, this is what you follow up Lucario and the Mystery of Mew with? I guess you were serious when you said this is something to ‘get through’ until we get to Diamond and Pearl.
Recommended Audience: Nothing happens. E for everyone.
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