Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 10 (Sub) Dialga Vs. Palkia: The Rise of Darkrai Review

Plot: Satoshi, Hikari and Takeshi arrive in Alamos Town – the location of Hikari’s next contest. Along the way, they meet the balloonist/musician, Alice, and her childhood friend, Tonio, who studies energy abnormalities. As they get a tour of the local gardens, they meet Darkrai, a powerful Pokemon who induces nightmares. He seems to be terrorizing the area, but they don’t know what he wants.

Little do they know that a fierce battle between two deity Pokemon, the master of space, Palkia, and the master of time, Dialga, has started in a dimensional rift. When these two massive powers clash, it’s only a matter of time before reality as they know it starts to fall apart.

Breakdown: Gauging from Dogasu’s Backpack entry for this movie, it seems it got away mostly unscathed, so I might not have much to talk about today, but, nevertheless, let’s see how the original Japanese version of Rise of Darkrai hits with me.

20 Minute Mark

The opening is less epic than I’d expect from a tenth anniversary movie opener, but it’s pretty good.

And, get this, they actually decided to use most of the animation for the opener in the dub opening. While they didn’t maintain the cracking animation for the initial title, opting instead to use a flash and jumping transition, the pink and blue time/space stream is kept intact. The final title card is obviously changed too, though.

Oddly, I prefer the title card that the dub created over what the original movie had because not only is the title itself better (The ‘Dialga vs. Palkia’ part makes this seem like a wrestling match) but that was a kick-ass font, color and animation they had for that title card. This one’s alright, but it seems cheesy, especially that gigantic VS.

Also, I’d like to support Dogasu’s claim that there’s a black screen after the title card instead of showing Pikachu’s shadow as it’s also on my copy. I checked some clips of it online just to make sure and it’s still in those versions too. I assume that was an error caused by the edited opening sequence and they just never bothered to fix it.

Brock’s ‘Little Blue Book of Babes’ is originally his ‘Lover Ranking Book’ That’s creepier, but less demeaning than the dub’s.

The ‘ten times ten’ thing is, strangely, in the original…..It’s not a good line, guys. I don’t know if you guys think it’s a joke or a clever nod to the tenth anniversary or whatever, but it’s not a good line. Satoshi is not the type of person to hear a number and instantly start wondering about mathematical equations to achieve said number.

One of the things that is always changed between versions is the theme song. In this version, we get Together 2007. It’s a fine song but it’s terribly generic in terms of nearly everything. Not to mention that, while the song is really Pokemon-ified, it fluctuates back and forth between making sense and being gibberish.

The leaf whistle sounds the same in the original. I was hoping it’d sound better….Seriously, why would you have a part of the movie be a song so beautiful and calming that it can instantly quell fighting between Pokemon, yet have it sound like a song you’d hear coming out of a Otamatone?

40 Minute Mark

Hey, what do you want to see more than anything over a beautiful shot of fireworks over the Space-Time Towers at night?…..Bunyatto/Purugly’s butt!? You got it!

I gotta say, while I wasn’t a fan of Darkrai’s dub voice….his Japanese voice isn’t much better.

Oh dear. I have to apologize to TPCI now because they were just mirroring the same lame cover name system the original had. Musashi calls herself Musashina, Kojiro calls himself Jikoro and Nyasu calls himself Nyasugo….

Man, I want a Crescent Feather necklace….

Hour Mark

This might just be the subs, but the scene with the illusion Beadaru/Bibarel makes more sense now. Musashi says ‘A super rare Pokemon!?’ Kojiro says ‘I’m not sure about that!’ and Baron says ‘It’s an illusion!’ Goes to show how much even minor line changes can make an entire exchange seem goofy.

Nice to know that in addition to Mojumbo/Tangrowth being the worst Pokemon ever that its Japanese voice is equally horrible.

While we’re on the subject, Lucky/Chansey’s Japanese voice is also doofy.

End

No notes until the credits where the only change is the predictable replacement of the credits music. The original has a fully English song called Going Where the Lost Ones Go. I believe this is the first time that they’ve replaced a fully English song, but, as the comparison states, I imagine it was for licensing rights issues or something.

Shockingly, I prefer the dub’s I Will Remember You to this song. This song just sounds like a million other duets. It’s very bland.

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This movie fared very well, and most of my notes are superfluous. The dub only really hiccuped in some lines that made some things either confusing or make no sense, but they weren’t really important things. And that’s kinda made up for with the songs since the lyrical songs in the original movie are incredibly weak in my opinion. Great score, bad lyrical songs. Only mar in that area for the dub is the intrusive rap song they had for no reason.

Recommended Audience: Let’s parrot the drab ‘cartoon violence’. 5+


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Pokemon Extravaganza | Movie 10 (Dub) The Rise of Darkrai Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Ash, Dawn and Brock arrive in Alamos Town – the location of Dawn’s next contest. Along the way, they meet the balloonist/musician, Alice, and her childhood friend, Tonio, who studies energy abnormalities. As they get a tour of the local gardens, they meet Darkrai, a powerful Pokemon who induces nightmares. He seems to be terrorizing the area, but they don’t know what he wants.

Little do they know that a fierce battle between two deity Pokemon, the master of space, Palkia, and the master of time, Dialga, has started in a dimensional rift. When these two massive powers clash, it’s only a matter of time before reality as they know it starts to fall apart.

Breakdown: Now we’re at an interesting point, because I have no clue what this movie is about – and I’ve read the synopsis several times. I definitely never got into the Diamond/Pearl era of Pokemon. I watched an episode or two here and there, but I never followed along. Thing is, I also wasn’t into watching the tail end of Advanced Generation, but I feel like I knew much more about that movie going in than I knew about this one. Maybe it was the Super Saiyan Ash thing.

It’s so odd. I always remember people mentioning little things here and there, either very good or very bad, about each movie that I hadn’t seen yet, maybe even seen an AMV or two about it, but this one I’m drawing a blank on, which is weird because this is the tenth anniversary movie.

From what I read on Dogasu’s comparison, this movie comes out as a cluster of bits and pieces of each movie so far.

Dogasu: “With this particular movie, we get an epic battle between two Pokemon (Deoxys vs. Rayquaza) in an alternate universe ruled by the Unown (Entei) who can only be stopped by a song (Lugia), a fact relayed to us by a number of flashbacks dispersed throughout the movie (Lucario). Oh, and I can’t forget about the three trainers who only exist to show off the starters’ evolved forms (Myuutwo), a forced romance that really doesn’t play out until the end (Jirachi), Pokemon-to-human transformation (Latios and Latias), and an ending that requires Satoshi to solve some puzzle in order to save the day (Manaphy).

I’m sure some of that is meant to be a sort of “homage” to the franchise’s ten-year history, but at the same time it just feels really lazy.”

I’d have to agree that it sounds lazy, particularly the ‘quelling the fighting with a song’ thing. Even before I read the comparison, I was getting flashbacks to movie 02.

Maybe the reason I’ve never seen or heard much about this movie is based in its perceived laziness. Perhaps it’s just uninspired. It can’t be because Darkrai is unpopular, because, despite my thinking that it’s a blah designed forgettable legendary, apparently it’s a surprisingly popular legendary to others. As of 2016, in a Pokemon popularity poll held by The Pokemon Company in Japan, it held the 14th rank – a rank above Lu-freakin’cario! Are you kidding me? Am I not getting something?

Maybe I’ll get it after watching the movie.

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We start out the movie with a game changer – The World of Pokemon opener! This is a new one, showcasing every legendary and main focus movie Pokemon we’ve ever seen interacting with each other in succession, which is really cool.

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When we get to Ash and the others, they even show a mashup of the previous nine movies behind them as they walk, which is also a cool nod to the anniversary.

Then we’re suddenly thrust into a space/time rift where we see Palkia and Dialga facing off. I never much cared for Palkia, but I really like Dialga. Something about Palkia’s design always put me off. That being said, Palkia’s cry sounds kickass. It’s robotic yet whale-like. It’s hard to describe, but it’s awesome.

Narration tells us that these powers who were never meant to meet suddenly met in the space/time rift, and they have to fight because….I dunno. The plot said so? At least with the Rayquaza/Deoxys match we could justify it for a bit with Deoxys muscling through Rayquaza’s territory. Here it’s basically ‘We were never meant to meet, so come at me, bro!’

You’d think the powers of time and space would work together in harmony.

Actually, this is more like the battle between the legendary birds in movie 02. They had a reason to fight too, but it was more petty than Rayquaza protecting its territory – they all wanted to rule over the elemental islands for some reason. Out of harmony, destruction would be imminent and a third-party Pokemon would damn near die trying to stop them…..Geez, this movie really has a thing for movie 02.

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The narrator is a scientist named Tonio reading out of a diary owned by someone named ‘Godey’. It’s talking about how the battle between Palkia and Dialga is enveloping the world and will drag it into chaos.

They have a cool battle for a while, scattering around randomly placed Unown for some reason. Unown, sweeties, I know you’re meant to be part of this tenth movie homage thing they have going but….go home. No one likes you. You have an unappealing design, no one wants you on their team, no one wants to hunt your whole collection, your completionist shiny hunt is a nightmare and you make me crave Alphabits.

Palkia’s shoulder….gem…thing gets cracked and the awesome battle continues. Symbolic breaking of an hourglass, ahoy!

We get our pretty nice, but kinda underwhelming, title sequence, which means–!

*drumroll*

Ash and friends!

For once in a very long time, we actually get a timeline confirmation…I think. The narrator explains that they’re traveling to Alamos town for Dawn’s next Pokemon contest, which is a nice breath of fresh air from constantly hearing ‘Ash’s next Gym battle’

They seemingly arrive at Alamos town only to find that it’s on a plateau with no other access besides a bridge that is on an entirely different path much higher up.

I really can’t get used to Brock’s new voice. It’s so deep. I’m gonna just pretend he went through late-onset ultra puberty.

A young lady named Alice, whose hair makes me think of if Pikachu’s ears and Bunneary’s ears had a baby and it somehow was made entirely out of hair, offers them a ride in her hot air balloon.

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Also, apparently Brock now has a ‘little blue book of babes.’ He’s officially a complete sleezeball now. Before, his girl-lust quirk was annoying but kinda funny sometimes. Now, he’s just creepy. He’s disappointed that he doesn’t have Alice written down in it but…how could he? He just met her.

Ah, yes, I heard about Croagunk taking the role of Brock’s new ‘ear-puller’ by…poisoning him? Okay. RIP Brock.

Alice states that she’s a hot air balloon tour guide and a music teacher. She plays a leaf whistle for a bit, and it draws all sorts of bird Pokemon their way, including a random Pidgeotto. Be still my broken heart….

Also, this Pidgeotto sounds weird….But that doesn’t matter because it’s Pidgeotto.

This ability even has a role in her ballooning because she can use the flute to ask the bird Pokemon which way the wind is blowing. Neat……Isn’t that kinda obvious in a hot air balloon, though?

Team Rocket’s following them….in a Carnivine balloon? Is this just for this movie, or did they ditch the Meowth balloon? If so, aw. 😦

They don’t stick around long, though, because they’re quickly blasted off after pissing off some nearby Drifloom and Driflim. Don’t worry, Team Rocket, I’m sure you’ll be movie-relevant again someday.

As they fly over the city, they notice two intricately designed towers called the Space-Time towers. Using his trusty Field Guide of Everything I Guess, Brock explains that the Space-Time towers were designed by the architect, Godey, over 100 years ago. That’s also where the Pokemon Contests are held.

Ash: “A hundred years!? That’s like ten years times….”

Dawn: “Times ten.”

Ash: “Right.”

We interrupt our broadcast to clumsily shoehorn in a mention of the words ‘ten years’ so we can kinda poke at the fact that this is our tenth anniversary movie. Sources claim they don’t care whether this line seems stilted and out of place. Back to our program.

Also, watch it when drawing attention to how long this show’s been going. People will start to ask why Ash isn’t 20 years old by this point (Aw, hell, that means he should be thirty now. This is just depressing me.)

Brock continues to explain that the tower on the right represents time while the left represents space….even though they just barely look a little different.

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Ash: “Hey, I coulda told ya that!” ….How?

They suddenly feel a surge of distortion, which is caused by Palkia and Dialga’s fighting. As quickly as it started, it suddenly stops.

As Alice gives Ash and co. the tour of the town, we get our opening credits and theme song. The song is not the typical extended TV theme we usually get, but is instead a song called “We Will be Heroes – The Rise of Darkrai” which has to be one of the clunkiest song names I’ve heard in a while. You might as well call it “We’re Protagonists So We’ll Save the Day – Pokemon the Tenth Movie: Buy the DVD”

The song itself is just alright, but it is fully destroyed by the background vocals. For some reason, they found it to be a good idea to have this relatively low-key song be interrupted every five seconds by a group of people yelling “POKEMON” (Pronounced “Pokeymon” here) and “DARKRAI” The Pokemon part I’ve just accepted by now because they jam that word into everything, but the Darkrai part could not feel more forced if you tried.

To emulate the same level of awkwardness, try imagining any song in your head and, in five second intervals, yell out a random name like ‘KEVIN!’

They wander around for a bit when Ash suddenly bumps into three trainers who challenge him to a match. Another Pokemon movie trope successfully checkmark’d.

This isn’t the usual trope, however, because, get this, Brock and Dawn are also being challenged. The writers remembered they exist! Yay!

Of course, Ash uses Pikachu against a Torterra. I’m not sure this was meant to be part of the homage, but the battle seriously reminds me of the Pikachu vs. Quagsire match in the opening battle of movie 03. The way it’s choreographed is strikingly similar.

Dawn’s Piplup goes up against an Empoleon by…holding its breath?….Okie dokie.

Finally, Brock’s Croagunk battles an Infernape.

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Thus we have the three trainers who exist solely to show off the evo’d starters for the region.

Dawn’s battle is actually pretty good. I love that spinning water move Piplup used (the first one), and there’s quite a bit of action for an opener battle. Sadly, however, the song soon ends and the battles end off-screen. The most we got to see was 2/3 of Dawn’s match, which seemed stalemated.

After the song ends, we just cut to them continuing their tour. Alice brings them all to a garden, also designed by Godey, which, according to Brock’s Field Guide of Wow, Really? It Has Info on This Too?, was modeled to symbolize the harmony between humans and Pokemon. Alice grew up here and knows all of the Pokemon, and this prompts Ash, Dawn and Brock to let out all of their Pokemon for some fresh air. Whatever gives you screentime, guys.

Time for pointless dicking around! Is this the real homage to the Manaphy movie?

I sure am being mean to Pokemon today.

The Pokemon all start fighting after some accidental shenanigans.

A face-off between two groups of pissed off Pokemon, two of whom are smashing their faces into each other? Are we homaging the shorts now too? Because that’s very similar to Pikachu’s Summer Vacation.

Alice plays her leaf flute to calm the Pokemon, and I really wish they just had a regular flute because the leaf flute kinda sounds like crap. Sounds like someone’s playing a Casio through a garbage bag.

And everyone got along again, hooray!

Side-note: I love Ash’s backpack for DP. I wish I had that backpack.

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A Gallade directs Alice and the others to some pillars in the garden that have been toppled and warped. A man named Baron Alberto, whose name, voice, characteristics and character design are all ridiculous, claims it was the work of Darkrai. He must’ve been Beetlejuice-summoned thanks to the theme song.

Brock explains that Darkrai is a Pokemon who supposedly gives you nightmares.

They believe they hear Darkrai in some bushes, so Alberto sics his….Lickylicky on it….Dear God, even his tastes in Pokemon are ridiculous. No one can not sound like an idiot when commanding a Lickylicky. Even its voice is stupid.

He blindly Hyper Beams the bush only to reveal it was actually Tonio and his Driflim. Tonio was investigating a space/time fluctuation in the area that lead him to the warped pillars.

Warning – Warning: Insanely clearly defined pointless love triangle detected.

Targets – Tonio, Alberto and Alice.

Prediction: Tonio and Alice get together while Alberto is consistently an idiot throughout the movie.

Suggested Action – Ignore it. It probably doesn’t impact the plot.

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Meanwhile, back in Badass Battle Land, Palkia and Dialga cause another rift, which triggers darkness to fall in the garden and Darkrai to appear.

Tonio: “It’s Darkrai.”

Alberto: *smirk* “I’d say so.”

What?….Also, I hate your face.

*sigh* Am I seriously the only one who thinks Darkrai just looks like an uninspired shadowy ghost with an emo kid haircut?

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Alberto tries to attack Darkrai with Lickylicky, but he turns into a shadow and dodges. Darkrai uses a Dark Void orb, which hits Ash. Pikachu friggin’ screams when this happens, which surprised me because he didn’t even do that when Ash got petrified in the first movie.

Ash is transported to some dream version of the garden. We get some kinda neat visuals with Darkrai’s shadow until he shows us an icky CGI rendition of Palkia. Ash tries to battle Darkrai and throws out Turtwig’s Pokeball only to have it disintegrate when it’s thrown. Darkrai starts to vanish underground. Ash spots Pikachu in the foreground and calls o—Uh, dude? Your Turtwig was straight up vaporized. Have an emotional response to this, please.

Dreamachu gets sucked into a hole that Darkrai’s creating, and Ash rushes to save him only to get swept up in the hole as well. Oh yeah, Turtwig reduced to atoms, barely notice. Pikachu’s about to fall in a hole—OH GOD, I’LL SAVE YOU!

Pikachu wakes him up from the nightmare with a shock and he finds himself in the local…Pokemon center? Take him to a human doctor, dammit! Why are there more Pokemon centers in this world than doctor’s offices? How freaked out would you be if you passed out and woke up in a vet’s office?

Ew, Joy’s new voice. Ew….She sounds like Jynx.

Tonio does some investigating and we learn the story of Alice’s grandmother, Alicia, who looks nearly identical to Alice except her hair is in one puff while Alice’s is in two.

In a nice sepia-toned flashback, we learn that Darkrai was in the garden many years ago. It was sending the nearby Pokemon into nightmares as a form of self-defense because it was very weak. It was about to do the same to Alicia, but she placed her hand on Darkrai and started playing a song on her leaf flute. Darkrai opened its heart to Alicia and lived peacefully in the garden after that.

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Reading further into the diary of Godey, he learns that Godey learned all he needed to know about a future event from a nightmare. In order to save the world, he needed to leave oracion.

Meanwhile, Alberto’s meeting with Team Rocket, who are disguised as TV reporters. Nothing happens, but in the past ten years Team Rocket has somehow gotten even worse at coming up with cover names. Jessalina, Jameson and….Meowt? I can’t understand Meowth very well when he’s saying his, but that’s what it sounds like.

Ash and the others go into the tower to check out the contest hall and, geez, that place is way too nice to just be held for a contest hall. There’s also a huge, intricately detailed, carved Pokemon mural on the wall. The space tower holds a cool looking mobile while the time tower has pendulums like a clock.

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As they continue the tour, Alice explains that Godey is actually Tonio’s great-grandfather. Tonio’s lab, which I assume also used to be Godey’s, is in the level below the towers.

They go down to the lab, and Tonio explains what he’s found so far, including a picture of Godey and Alicia that has sheet music written on the back. Ash and the others spot some music discs, which the tower uses to play music. Dawn really wants to try some, so they walk to the top of the tower to play them.

When they reach the top, we learn more tidbits about the tower. Godey built the tower as a beacon of hope to humans and Pokemon alike, and the towers are technically the world’s largest musical instrument given their massive integrated music disc playing device. It reads divots in the discs and plays the bells in the tower according to the patterns.

This whole sequence in the tower is quite nice. The towers are beautifully designed, even if the CGI’s a little distracting, and the fact that they’re a giant musical instrument is really cool.

After they exit the towers, the three trainers from before suddenly reappear and challenge Ash and the others to a rematch. Just when you think someone’s slammed the brakes on the plot, another rift occurs. Dialga’s kicking Palkia’s ass, and Palkia is running to the Space-Time Tower to get away.

Darkrai appears again, and Alberto, believing himself to be filmed by Team Rocket, ‘heroically’ calls out his Lickylicky (See? You can’t not sound stupid saying anything with that name) and attacks. Darkrai sends out many Dark Void orbs, hitting several nearby Pokemon….and none of them being Licklicky. Booooo!!

Also, I get that Darkrai’s seen as this horrifying Pokemon, but all it does is put you to sleep and give you a nightmare. You’re not hurt or anything. You wake up just fine afterwards. I mean, I wouldn’t want to have a nightmare, but there are much worse things.

Ash faces off with Darkrai, but is interrupted by Baron Alberto. It’s a short-lived battle resulting in Lickylicky getting Dark Voided.

There’s a weird image of a Bibarel, one of the Pokemon who got Dark Voided before, floating around them after Darkrai leaves.

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Jessie: “An ultra rare Pokemon!?”

James: “That flies through walls?”

Alberto: “It can’t be real.”

Yeah…it’s not like there are…..Ghost Pokemon….or anything……..

Suddenly, Lickylicky starts to glow, then Alberto glows….and then….he morphs…..into a weird Lickylicky/Alberto hybrid…..

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Well, good job, Darkrai. That will certainly give me nightmares for the rest of my life.

Back at the Pokemon Center, which is now overflowing with Pokemon who are trapped in nightmares, Tonio concludes that the real world and the dream world are merging, causing images of the Pokemon to appear in the real world as they’re having their nightmares. Alberto asked what happened to him and Tonio states that Lickylicky probably dreamed of being him, so he turned into Lickylicky….

Uhhh….Few things.

1) Why are just the images of the Pokemon and not the nightmares themselves merging with the real world?

2) Why does Lickylicky have nightmares about being Alberto?

3) Why is Lickylicky the only Pokemon with a nightmare that isn’t being chased by something?

4) If Lickylicky’s nightmare is about being Alberto, why did Alberto turn into a Lickylicky instead of an image of Lickylicky as Alberto appear?

Also, Pikachu woke Ash up from his nightmare with a shock – why doesn’t he just Thundershock the whole building?

The three nameless trainers arrive again and break the news that they’re trapped in the town by some sort of weird fog. It can’t be lifted with Pokemon abilities such as Defog, and running into the fog just returns you back to town.

Alberto blames these oddities on Darkrai (and licks Jessie…..I couldn’t not point that out) and rallies the Pokemon Trainers together to destroy him.

After Alberto and the Trainers leave, Alice pipes up and says she doesn’t believe Darkrai is behind this. Tonio even offers an explanation as to why he believes Darkrai is innocent……..so….you just let those Pokemon Trainers go off on a witch hunt, intent on ‘destroying’ Darkrai, before you decide to try and clear its name? Nice.

A flashback shows us that, when Tonio and Alice were children, Alice fell off of a cliff while she was playing. (Let me rephrase that. She stupidly ran around a cliffside with her eyes closed, running backwards at a point, too, and stupidly fell off the cliff like a stupid person.) Tonio tried in vain to catch her, but Darkrai appeared and caught her. He set her gently on the ground and quickly vanished. Alice always believed Tonio was the one who saved her, but now Tonio believes it was Darkrai who did it. That evidence coupled with the story of Darkrai opening its heart to Alicia leads them to believe that Darkrai isn’t evil and isn’t the one behind all of these strange occurrences.

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Or you could go the obvious route and point out that Darkrai only has the ability to create nightmares and can’t alter reality, but whatever.

Alberto licks Jessie again. It’s not in a perverted manner or anything, he does it whenever she calls him Baron Lickylicky, but it’s still insanely weird.

Pbbbbt Darkrai looks a thousand times more ridiculous when you give him long dancer’s legs.

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Tonio looks back through video footage captured by his Driflims over the past few days and discovers that Palkia entered the real world through the rift that occurred while they were playing music at the top of the tower.

Meanwhile, Darkrai’s getting piled on by the Trainers of the town, but it soon Dark Voids them all. I love this shot of Ledian sleeping. It can’t close its eyes, so it just looks dead.

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Alberto even tries to take advantage of his Lickylickiness to battle, but Darkrai just sends him and Team Rocket blasting off. I love how much of a point these four have in this movie.

Tonio shows Ash and the others the footage, and they realize that the Pokemon in the video is Palkia and that Darkrai has been trying to warn them of what was about to happen this whole time, since he’s the only one who could see them.

Darkrai has been telling Palkia to not come to their dimension and to go away, but the others thought Darkrai was talking to them.

Ash points out that Darkrai was trying to warn him of Palkia inside of his dream by simply…showing him an image of Palkia. Darkrai, you can communicate verbally. If you wanted to warn Ash about an impending doom, don’t be vague. Just tell him. So many plots in movies would be solved in minutes if people learned to communicate.

Palkia has been hovering about the Space-Time Towers, invisibly, trying to heal from its wounds, but Darkrai finds it and starts attacking it. Palkia does some kickass effects to the sky and suddenly the Dark Void effects are all ending on the Pokemon and Alberto.

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Tonio reveals that the sky has changed due to Palkia transporting the entire town into another dimension, meaning the nightmare effects wore off. The battle between Darkrai and Palkia rages on, and, again, the battle’s pretty intense. Dialga suddenly interrupts and lays down the smackdown on Palkia to the point where parts of the town are literally disintegrating.

As Dialga and Palkia beat the crap out of each other, Tonio points out that Godey had a nightmare about this battle, which he wrote about in his diary.

Alice is a dumb idiot of stupid and runs out to yell to Dialga and Palkia to stop fighting, only to put her in the line of fire. Darkrai saves her, though.

After unsuccessfully trying to Dark Void Palkia and Dialga, Darkrai gets the full force of both of them and falls out of the sky.

Darkrai has a slight moment with Alice and the others in the garden before it vanishes into shadow form again.

Tonio does some scanning of the town and discovers that the fight between Dialga and Palkia is causing the town to literally break into pieces and be lost to alternate dimensions. If they don’t act soon, the town and everyone in it will disappear into another dimension.

He remembers an entry in Godey’s diary which explains that the nightmare prompted him to leave oracion for the future. Alice recognizes the word and explains that it’s the title of a song written on the back of the photo of Godey and Alicia. However, doing it on a little leaf whistle isn’t going to cut it. They need to use a sound disk of the song and play it through the Space-Time Tower.

Tonio knows for a fact that the song ‘Oracion’ is not in the collection of sound disks in the lab, so they go to a much larger collection stored on the walls in the lobby. However, there are so many that they don’t know where it could be.

She has a flashback to her grandmother teaching her the song. Alicia tells her that oracion means ‘prayer’ and to always remember it. From this, she’s able to deduce which disk it is, but, really, she just matched the symbol on the photo to the one on the sound disk. I don’t get how she correlated the prayer thing into it.

By the way, this is a horrible way of storing these disks. They’re not organized at all and you need two people to spin the massive wheels they’re on to get the right one.

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The Trainers of the town try to stop the attacks of Dialga and Palkia, and Croagunk straight up punches one of their attacks away like a boss.

As Ash and the others ascend the tower in the hot air balloon (She really needs Chimchar to heat the balloon? Even Team Rocket has an actual burner…) a bunch of slightly unnecessary stuff happens like Piplup nearly falls to its death (it’s saved by Staravia) and Dawn nearly falls to her death (she’s saved by convenient ledges and a misunderstanding of physics.) and Ash falls off (saved by the same logic as Dawn’s, but less so because he was able to slow his descent).

As Tonio and Alice struggle to get by the attacks in their damaged balloon, Tonio falls to his death, and Alice is saved from an attack by Darkrai sacrificing itself. Alice manages to land safely, being saved from falling off the bridge by Lickylicky of all things (ew, by the way), but it can’t hold her. Tonio, having dodged death on his Driflim…..that he should’ve been utilizing this whole time, saves her instead.

Ash, smartly, utilizes Aipom and Turtwig to divert attacks from Dialga and Palkia while he and Dawn climb the tower. As they climb, they reach a dead end because part of the towers is vanishing. Dawn releases Bunneary and Buisel to make a bridge with Water Gun and Ice Beam (Wouldn’t Ice Beam make the bridge by itself? Eh whatever.)

I have to say, it’s not a whole lot, but I love how everyone’s Pokemon are getting to do things in this movie. They are terrible at being consistent with utilizing the Pokemon they have on them, but when they actually remember them it’s really great.

Also, I forgot Buneary has a crush on Pikachu. N’awww.

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The town Trainers use their Pokemon to attack the withering edges of the town and it actually slows down the disintegration process…..I have no clue why they’d think that’d work nor the logic behind this, but good job!

It’s nice that the nameless side character Pokemon get stuff to do too.

It’s all for naught, however, because Tonio’s readings indicate that their dimension will be destroyed if Dialga and Palkia collide one more time. Darkrai won’t stand for this and, while I’ve been ignoring the pink v. blue titan battle a la Mewtwo v. Mew, it’s hard to not notice that Darkrai obviously does a sendup to the first movie by jumping in the middle of two energy blasts yelling ‘STOP!’, seemingly sacrificing himself. It doesn’t immediately die, in fact it uses its power to stop the forces from colliding, but it’s only a matter of time.

Back with Ash and Dawn, the tower is still vanishing, and Ash and Dawn nearly fall, only to be saved by Buizel’s Water Gun. It was just a tiny moment, but for some reason I was really happy when that happened.

Darkrai’s power starts to wane.

Dawn: “Ash, come back!”

No! Ash, keep running! Why would you tell him to turn around to watch Darkrai’s powers fail and then see him get blasted out of the sky? He’s doing this to buy you time. You have no time to spare to just watch something happen – RUN!

Darkrai gets disintegrated, and Dialga and Palkia return their attentions to each other.

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Ash and Dawn reach the top of the tower, but the sound disk won’t fit in the system. Dawn, connecting the symbols on the disk and the system, tells Ash to try the slot in the middle….Wow…..that was an ungodly pointless ‘puzzle’. Not to mention, we’ve already done the ‘match the symbols’ “puzzle” like ten minutes ago. It’s not that difficult. And, really, Ash sees that there are numerous slots in the machine for disks and instead of checking to see if it will fit in any other slot he just analyzes the front side of the disk like an idiot.

They insert the disk and pull the lever, but are shocked to discover that the power is out. Really? With the black sky outside they didn’t notice a power outage in a building? Where is the light coming from?

Being fair, it makes sense that the power is out considering the whole place is disintegrating.

Dawn calls out her Pachirisu and Ash uses Pikachu to power the machine. Wow, Pikachu sharing the electric limelight with another? It’s a Christmas miracle.

The song plays and it instantly culls the fighting. It even stops the disintegration. The song really is quite lovely when played on bells.

Pikachu and Pachirisu are unable to hold their attacks any longer, but the tower seems to have gained it’s own magical power and doesn’t stop the song. Far from it, in fact. It glows a golden color and the tower starts to transform into a beautiful design that encapsulates the symbolism of space and time respectively.

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The tower then grows massive golden wings of light….which I think is a bit excessive, but alright. Palkia’s jewel gets healed, and Dialga and Palkia share a small glance before Dialga leaves.

However, all is still not well. Ash and Dawn beg for Palkia to return the town back to normal.

Ash: “Palkia, can’t you see what you’ve done!? You’ve destroyed the whole town….All the….Pokemon….”

Uh….First of all, while Palkia’s not blameless here, Dialga’s the one who forced Palkia here and started this whole thing.

Second, the whole town is destroyed, to a degree, and your one thought is of the Pokemon? Not the people who probably vanished too?

Third, wait, we didn’t see a damn thing happen to any Pokemon outside of Darkrai. Why not just say Darkrai?

Also, Dogasu was right, Sarah Natochenny cannot emote through Ash worth a damn.

Palkia decides to clean up the mess, so he restores the town and returns it to it’s rightful space.

Hehe, get it? I said space.

Everything’s okay now…..but of course we have to have the overly dramatic death fakeout.

Oh no.

Darkrai disappeared from the effects of Palkia’s power. But Palkia reversed everything.

Oh no.

Oh dear.

Oh my.

Certainly the Dark of Rai is dead. Let us have a clipshow to sad, dramatic music (not kidding – they put this in the movie) to remember his valiant sacrifice…..

This whole scene is ridiculous and hard to sit through if you have a few brain cells. It’s not just the typical ‘ahhh, we know he’s still alive’ death fakeout. This death fakeout makes zero sense before they even start the damn clipshow. We have to sit through the clipshow, the music, the crying, the overly dramatic declarations from Ash, the solemn walk away – all of it – when every bit of logic is screaming ‘HE’S NOT DEAD. HE CAN’T BE DEAD. UNLESS PALKIA’S A MASSIVE DOUCHE AND LOCKED HIM IN ANOTHER DIMENSION, HE’S OKAY.’

Admittedly, revealing him as a giant shadow on a mountainside was pretty cool, though.

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His overly dramatic whooshy physical reveal ruined it a little, though.

Then we get a closeup of Darkrai and it just ends….No reunion, no wrap up, just Darkrai’s glowing eye.

Credits time!

It’s mostly random shots of places we went in the movie, then we get a series of stillframes showcasing Dawn’s contest….Anyone wanna put in their two cents if this is canon? Because Dawn loses.

Also, two of the three nameless trainers were participating in the contest – the guy with the Empoleon and the girl with the Infernape. The girl won.

Team Rocket appears and I completely forgot they were even here to begin with again.

Ash, Brock and Dawn say their farewells to Tonio and Alice….I just realized that Brock let off on Alice when Tonio came into the picture. Is that character development?

Some more random shots, then Dialga heading off to his…dimension? And Palkia doing the same. Ash and the others continue their journey….

The credits songs are ‘I Will Remember You’ sung by Kirsten Price, a song I actually like quite a bit. It’s definitely one of the better movie songs they’ve had in recent years…..and then we get “Living in the Shadows” by Chris “Breeze” Barczynski – an intrusive rap song. Guys, it’s 2007 by this point. Stop it.

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The end.

————————————-

I liked this movie a hell of a lot more than I thought I would. It gave me a better appreciation for Palkia and Darkrai, and while I can definitely feel the throwbacks to the previous movies, the references only seemed a little on the lazy side. Probably the laziest was the Unown. They are literally just thrown into the movie because….alternate dimensions is something Unown do…And we couldn’t think of another movie 03 reference, so…….here we are.

The song aspect wasn’t as rip-offy in the end as I feared. Alice didn’t save the day with her leaf and the music playing through the bells of the towers was cool. I’d definitely say the references ended up feeling more like an homage rather then just lazily cobbling together a plot from old plots.

The excuse to have Dialga and Palkia fight was practically non-existent, but I don’t care because their fight was awesome.

Alice was….a somewhat boring CotM. Tonio was much more interesting.

Dawn and Brock kinda got stuff to do, and everyone’s Pokemon got to do a little something. Not to mention that hug Brock gives Happiny near the end was adorable.

I enjoyed the aspect of the dimension breaking apart, and I also loved how they handled the visuals of the dimension crumbling. The video distortion whenever a rift was occurring was a great touch – it really made you feel like reality was coming apart.

Darkrai’s plot is very understandable. It must be difficult for a Pokemon whose main power is creating nightmares to not be outcast. I would’ve liked to have seen him and Alice have a moment after his reappearance, however. It felt like it resolved on a somewhat hollow note.

Ash was not the main forefront in this movie, which was more than welcome. It was very much a team effort, even if Ash was the one who orchestrated the resolution to the conflict. However, I can’t stress enough how much Baron Alberto didn’t need to be here. He was an annoying waste of space. He wasn’t a threat to Alice and Tonio’s budding relationship (Hey, wait, they didn’t even resolve that part of the plot), he wasn’t an antagonist and he wasn’t interesting. He seemed like he was there for terrible comic relief and to give Team Rocket an excuse for being there, which was, in itself, extremely flimsy.

The visuals were very well done this time around. The CGI was not that great, but it wasn’t nearly as bad or distracting as it was in movie 09.

The music was quite good barring the stupid rap song. If you want to keep giving homages to past movies, that was a great flashback to the tonal whiplash of the first movie’s ending songs.

There were some moments that bothered me, but maybe I was overreacting on some of those because I just didn’t have much to talk about for this movie.

Recommended Audience: I can’t really think of anything worth noting beyond the typical ‘cartoon violence’. 5+


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Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 09 – Pokemon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy (Sub) Review

Plot: Satoshi, Haruka, Masato and Takeshi stumble upon a water-based circus troupe while traveling and join them for a bit while they perform their shows. However, they’re soon caught up in a web of trouble. The troupe is actually a family of descendants of an ancient race called the water folk. They’re being escorted by the Pokemon Ranger, Jackie, to deliver the egg of the legendary Pokemon, Manaphy, the prince of the sea, to the mysterious sea temple. He’s meant to protect them since they’re being pursued by Phantom – a sea captain who wants Manaphy for himself so it can show him the way to the sea temple, which houses the legendary sea crown that he’s been pursuing for many years.

Things get even more complicated when Manaphy imprints on Haruka as its mother, making his inevitable departure increasingly difficult as they grow closer.

Breakdown: Despite the movie itself being goofy, there apparently aren’t many significant differences between the English and Japanese versions. For the sake of brevity, we’ll be slicing the movie cake into 20 minute pieces.

20 Minute Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 1

Interestingly, Jack Walker’s name is the same in the original. He even has the same nickname, Jackie.

I really don’t understand the title animation for the Japanese version. First we get a crystal for some reason, a kaleidoscope effect, then we get god awful looking lava, a storm, the storm clearing, then we dive into the ocean, some…DNA….or cells? Or something….making up little lightning balls which go to water and then the title jumps out of the water?

I watched this opening three times just to see if I could make sense of it but I’m lost. The only connection to the movie that I’m getting is the water. Other than that, the best I can speculate is that they’re trying to depict the elements (the crystals are ice, the lava is for fire, the storm is water and lightning, the storm clearing is air.) but what does that have to do with this movie?

It didn’t click before, but the big water orbs that Masato just drank from are made from a Nyoromo/Poliwag or a Nyorobon/Poliwrath’s Water Gun. So my logic about never really being out of water because they always have at least a couple of Water Pokemon on hand holds true.

Lizabeth’s original name is Hiromi. Meredith, Lizabeth’s mother, is originally named Minamo and Kyle, Lizabeth’s dad, is originally named Kai. Ship keeps his name. Interestingly, this shows that Hiromi’s family originally had a water theme to their names. Ship is obviously referencing ships. Hiromi means ‘wide sea’, Minamo means ‘water’s surface’ and Kai means ‘sea’.

This theme might translate a little because Meredith’s ‘mer’ prefix is theorized to be ‘sea’ in French, but Lizabeth doesn’t mean anything related to water (from what I can gather, it means something along the lines of ‘God is my oath’) and Kyle was just given that name because it sounds like Kai. Most of the meanings of Kyle have nothing to do with water, but in Scottish and some other languages, it can be translated as a strait. I’m not sure if I want to give that to them.

Now that I’m thinking about it, it’s a little rude to suddenly pick up Ash and the others with those water orbs. Hope that PokeGear is waterproof and that they have nothing that can be damaged by water in their pockets.

As much as I don’t understand several aspects of this water show, I can’t deny that I would love to see that kind of thing if it was real. I’d love to be a part of it, too. It looks like a lot of fun.

40 Minute Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 2

Minor quibble, but Jessie’s hair, as seen from above, looks 1000x more ridiculous than it normally does.

In the original, they downright confirm that Haruka and, by extension, probably Masato, are people of the water. Takeshi even states that the memory of the temple must be encoded in their DNA. It’s not a ‘chosen one’ cliché, but it is still insanely convenient and hard to swallow – especially considering it’s never mentioned or explored outside of this movie. Again, this type of storyline would be more suited to Kasumi.

I really want to believe Manaphy just put the dream in her head, but they’re fighting that theory quite a bit.

Nyasu as Musashi is much more entertaining in this version for some reason. Just her mannerisms and expressions coming through Nyasu’s body are so goofy.

Musashi should’ve figured it out that, being a cat, she’s be faster running on all fours.

Nyasu being damn near giddy to skip along in Kojirou’s body is also much funnier than the dub for some reason.

Why didn’t Satoshi use his Ohsubame/Swellow when they were flying away? Seems like Jackie only did that to reveal that 1) He’s Jackie and 2) He’s a Pokemon Ranger.

They’re told that the item in that canister is important and absolutely cannot be damaged, so Pikachu, instead of waiting for Onidrill to land and safely handing it off, jumps from Onidrill’s back around 40 feet in the air and hopes Satoshi catches him.

Even in the original, Manaphy is still only described as being notable for living underwater and being rare.

The fact that Phantom can jump down from huge heights and not die is explained away later by his mechanical exo-skeleton. However, unless he also gave one to his grunt, that guy should at least be dead.

Even explained away by the mechanical exo-skeleton, the CGI in the rock-throwing scene is still appalling.

The joke about the vitamins is an untranslatable….’pun’? I don’t even get it with the subtitles, to be honest. Jackie says ‘What is this? Wanriki? No – Kairiki!’ The notes say that he’s talking about wanryoku, which means physical or brute strength, but he meant to say kairiki, which is superhuman strength. Even reading the Dogasu explanation for this joke doesn’t make much sense to me, except mentioning that kairiki is also Machoke’s Japanese name, and I still don’t get why that’d be funny. If someone can explain why this is a joke, please tell me because I don’t get it.

It didn’t occur to me before, but is this another movie/event in which Satoshi and the others forget they have Pokemon outside of Pikachu? Or at least forget them in situations where they’d be, ya know, useful?

Manaphy is much less annoying crying in its original Japanese voice, but it’s still bloody annoying.

Since I brought up Kasumi earlier and her relationship with Togepi briefly in the dub review, this whole imprinting thing does bring something important to light. This is completely unrelated to the movie, more or less, so feel free to skip if you want.

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 3

Kasumi had Togepi for a couple hundred episodes or so and yet it never really matured or became independent. It was entirely reliant on Kasumi and Pikachu, and the other Pokemon acting as babysitters whenever needed. Here, Manaphy is very baby-like, but within the time frame of, say, a week or so, it’s leading an army on its own and taking its place as prince of the sea.

This isn’t the only instance of a much faster maturing baby Pokemon either. Didn’t the baby Larvitar Ash had for a bit mature much faster too?

I almost want to say Togepi would’ve matured a lot quicker if Kasumi and Pikachu didn’t coddle it like a baby all the time. Kasumi has even acknowledged that Togepi could battle once, but until Kasumi returns way down the line in Advanced Generation, it does damn near nothing besides be a walking Metronome Deus ex Togepi. Look at its bio for each generation. Half of them amount to ‘it does nothing’ and the other is ‘he does Metronome a billion times then finally evolves into Togetic’.

……..Ramble over. Movie continue.

Thank God they can sacrifice that plainly drawn trailer and not the bus they clearly spent ages designing.

Why does Haruka get pissed when Masato says ‘it’s hard to be a mother’? She didn’t seem to be bothered by that title a moment ago.

I still find it way too convenient, even by Team Rocket standards, for them to have crash landed on that temple.

I don’t get Team Rocket’s original plan. They were going to get in good with Phantom AND take Manaphy? If he ever found out they took Manaphy, he’d hate their guts.

There’s very obviously a door in that wall. You can clearly see the lines. If this was meant to be hidden, they sucked at it. Also, a very conspicuous red button right next to the door outline just further shows that it’s a door.

Still bothers me that they never explain how Phantom knew the lock’s ‘combination’.

Phantom should’ve realized that they were water folk merely from the fact that they knew their way around and knew how to open the door.

The underwater shots of Manaphy annoy me a bit because it doesn’t seem like it ever displaces water. It looks like it’s just flying through the air.

Small detail, but I like that Ship, Minamo and Kai thank their Pokemon for giving them a ride before recalling them. However, I don’t like that no one else does.

Another instance of a foreign-sounding word being replaced with a foreign-sounding word, Samaya, the sea temple, was originally called Acquscia. I honestly can’t remember if they ever said Samaya out loud either.

Hour Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 4

They needed Water Pokemon to get to the shrine but now they suddenly have boats from nowhere.

I know I said this before, but much of the CGI really looks bad. It ruins some scenes with how clunky and poorly integrated it is. We’re supposed to be marveling at these Whaloh/Wailord as they pop up around the boat and all I’m thinking is ‘I wish the ocean would finish rendering. Someone should tell Nintendo that the Wailoh escaped from the Nintendo DS.’

And then they follow it up with a scene on a reef that looks very beautiful. It’s weird.

Uhhh…..who hired the barbershop quartet to do the music for the emotional ‘Jackie nearly died as a kid’ scene?

I’m gonna sound like a total buzzkill right now, but, Satoshi, hopping on that railing and jumping off into the water is very dangerous. You’re setting a bad example for the kids at home.

Seriously, someone please stop the ‘dooododeedododo’ a capella music. Even outside of that flashback, it does not mesh with Pokemon or this scene.

I love the way Buoysel swims.

Oh yeah, keep that music going in the also-supposed-to-be-emotional scene where Haruka tells Manaphy that she loves it.

Thank God the Lapras are traditional animation. Though, what’s the logic on the decisions on what’s CGI and what’s not?

Hour and Twenty Minute Mark

Pokemon Movie 09 Screen 6

The diamonds and pearls stuff is in both versions, so both versions can bite me.

May’s bandanna comes out of the water bone dry. Not really a note, but I just noticed that.

Manaphy’s voice doesn’t change at all between when it’s underwater and when it surfaces….I’m low on material in this section.

Even the second line about diamonds and pearls is in the original? Double bite me.

Seeing it in action a couple of times, is anyone else a little bothered by stylus ‘capturing’? While traditional capture is very similar, stylus capturing seems like it mind controls the Pokemon being captured.

If Lizabeth’s family wants to keep the traditions and culture of the water folk alive, why has she never been taught their language?

End

Upon second viewing, the climax is actually better than I gave it credit for the first time around.

The original obviously doesn’t have the dumb vitamin joke. Jackie just points out that the mech suit was the trick behind Phantom’s great strength.

The music during the finale where everyone’s super saiyan is also fantastic.

The original ending theme is very beautiful as well.

———————————————–

While this movie still shares about 95% of the problems that enraged me in the dub, I can’t deny that, upon second viewing in the original Japanese, this version resonates with me better….at least in the end.

The first hour and ten-ish minutes is basically the same experience to me, but the climax just feels…better. Maybe I had a better appreciation for the action and visuals the second time around, maybe it was because I wasn’t as angry this time, but the climax seemed more epic, at least in style, than I felt it was in the dub. Even the goodbye with Haruka and Manaphy was much more emotionally impacting than it was in the dub, though that might be because Manaphy just says ‘Goodbye Haruka’ instead of saying May’s name and then calling her Mama.

……And I’ll admit that at least 2% of that problem solving comes from the lack of that vitamin “joke”. I don’t know why that makes me so angry, but…..just…urgh.

Rating: 4.5/10


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Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 09 (Dub) Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea Review

Rating: 3.5/10

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 a new narrator who doesn’t sound too far off from the old one. 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.

He has belts on his beard because reasons.

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 (because she’s too good to put that E at the beginning) and that 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 (YGO) 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 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. Being fair, I feel like, had she not passed away, Maddie would have gone through whatever hoops she needed to in order to keep voicing Meowth.

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.

Wait…..Why are Jessie and James and their Meowth balloon in this magazine? Why are they not in the least bit focusing on the fact that they’re being given a spot in this magazine? Why is there a small child in this magazine? What is this thing!?

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 Jirachi: Wish Maker, 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 due to the egg. 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. I was reading the realistic version of the script. He’s fine and chases after them on foot.

Tell me how Ship doesn’t have a new hole in his head right now.

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.

I like this shot of May because the way her mouth is drawn reminds me of Sapphire (May’s Manga counterpart) since she has a single fang.

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 Jirachi: Wish Maker – 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 never thought about this before either, but if Mr. Mime and Mime Jr. are supposed to be mimes, why do they talk?

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….

Pokemon movie 09 screen 1

….jour……

Pokemon movie 09 screen 2

……………Ash….buddy…..

Pokemon movie 09 screen 3

……you okay? You look….kinda spacey……do you need to sit down?…..Ash?

Pokemon movie 09 screen 4

……….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.

LAPRAS! ❤

…..*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 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 him or pushed him 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.

Jessie: “Treasure….”

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.

Bite me.

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. Most 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 comimg 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 cliches, 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 bursts from May’s arms, swims up the waterways and attempts to return the crystals back to the crown, though he 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 is 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.

Ash: “Alright, time to go die for the sake of ancient architecture that almost no one can find, see or visit.”

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. In fact, 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. 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 mecha suit, 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 exo-skeleton….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 exo-skeleton!?

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 exo-skeleton? Hell, even if he didn’t have that exo-skeleton, 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 makes her goodbye. Manaphy sends her off by saying ‘Love you’ again but this time adding ‘May.’ She tells her she loves him and then he says it again, this time adding ‘Mama,’ which kinda lessens the whole impact if you ask me. You already did the ‘May,’ you don’t need to add the ‘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 greeting 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.

The end.

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First and foremost, this is not the worst Pokemon movie ever, but it’s 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 ‘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 exo-skeleton, 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 funny enough, but he’s not. He’s not funny at all.

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.

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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 progression 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 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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Pokemon Extravaganza! Movie 08 (Sub) Advanced Generation The Movie: Mew and the Wave Hero, Lucario Review

Plot: Many years ago, the land was rife with war. Two opposing factions threatened the kingdom’s safety, and a hero named Sir Aaron and his faithful partner, Lucario, were the only ones with any hope of saving it. As Lucario asked his master for guidance, Sir Aaron claimed he had forsaken the crown and abandoned the kingdom.

Baffled at this supposedly betrayal, Lucario finds himself sealed within Sir Aaron’s staff as he seems to run away when the kingdom needs him most. After Sir Aaron left, the kingdom miraculously found peace and Sir Aaron was proclaimed as a hero for whatever he might have done to save the land.

Back in the present, in the mystical and beautiful town of Rota, lies Celeran Castle where the current Queen of the land is holding the annual festival in honor of Sir Aaron. Satoshi, Haruka, Takeshi and Masato arrive to partake in the festivities. Satoshi wins a Pokemon battle tournament for the festival and is given the title of Hero of the Wave.

He’s given Sir Aaron’s real staff to hold during the festival, but suddenly starts hearing voices from within the staff. Suddenly, the staff shines brightly and unleashes Lucario who is blindsided by the new era he finds himself in. However, he quickly remembers the betrayal of his master and is consumed with confusion and bitterness, especially in the face of Satoshi with his strong bond with Pikachu.

When Pikachu is accidentally taken away by the local Mew to the Tree of World’s Beginning, Lucario is tasked by Queen Ilene to help him find his friend. Is the truth behind Sir Aaron’s ‘betrayal’ going to be uncovered along the way?

Breakdown:

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20 Minute Mark

The original also has that ‘Before Monster Balls existed’ “error.” Though, coincidentally, this is explained through text on the screen instead of narration because, say it with me now, kids can’t read.

Sir Aaron is actually Arlon…..though, considering r and l are interchangeable in Japanese, it’s not too much of a stretch. Also, according to the Wiki, it’s surmised that Arlon’s name is derivative from the prophet, Aaron; Moses’ brother in the bible. 4Kids probably wasn’t going for that for obvious reasons, but considering the possible origin, it’s a totally understandable change.

It still really bothers me that Aaron doesn’t seem to give a crap about his crash-landed and injured Pidgeot.

Ya know, you’d think more people would gun for a Hero of the Wave costume in this festival, especially since the prize for winning the tournament is to be named Hero of the Wave for the year, but it seems like only Satoshi wants to.

New theme song this time around. It’s alright. A little catchy and pretty easy on the ears, but nothing too great to me.

Ilene says Satoshi is allowed to merely hold the staff, she doesn’t imply that it’s his. Nitpicky still, but eh.

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40 Minute Mark

The thing I find ironic about the whole ‘The Hero cannot leave his seat’ thing is that if that were the real Sir Aaron, he’d probably be allowed to get up and join the party.

If both Haruka and Musashi fall for the same guy and both seemingly have a chance, something’s creepy.

I didn’t even notice the Celebi toy box and legendary birds merry-go-round. Damn, I want those too.

I still can’t get over how stupid Kidd’s plan is. She is seemingly such a smart and damn near perfect person yet she’s so sloppy with this.

Kojirou correctly surmises that Lucario’s been locked away for hundreds of years, not thousands.

Why does Masato instantly know what a Mew looks like but not a Lucario?

Kidd says she went there to go to the Tree of World’s origins and unlock its secrets. If that’s true, why start at the castle and why try to get the tracker on Mew?……Did….she not know where it was?…..Give you a hint. It’s that gigantic tree that’s actually a mountain. I know it’s so terribly hard to see, but use your binoculars and maybe you’ll catch a glimpse.

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Hour Mark

Aura was originally called the wave.

I’m going to revise something I said in the dub review for a minute. I didn’t realize the group was actually halted by the geysers and just decided to bathe in a nearby hot spring while they waited. Chalk it up to completely derping during watching or some dialogue change I didn’t catch, I dunno. I’m still gonna call foul here a little because I really think the car could make it around those geysers with no problem.

It’s so cute when Lucario purrs.

The whole ‘Satoshi and Aaron have the exact same wave’ thing is present in both versions. Irritating and nonsensical either way.

While Satoshi does claim that Lucario’s story is a bunch of bull, he doesn’t accuse Lucario of being the one who betrayed Aaron like Ash does.

So, even in the original version Lucario says to never abandon Pikachu specifically and not ‘any of his Pokemon’. Seriously, sometimes you have to wonder how jealousy and Pokemon rivalry doesn’t come into play more often in this series considering playing favorites is so common.

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Hour and 20 Minute Mark

It’s kinda cute when Haruka helps Masato climb up the crystals.

How the hell has no one discovered or studied this place yet? I know, the Regis and blah blah, but if a bunch of kids could get passed them I don’t see why adults couldn’t. Even if they had to call in skilled Pokemon trainers to help. It’s not like it’s in some inaccessible area. You can easily drive to it and walk into it. And it’s not like it’s hidden either, it’s a gigantic mountain in plain sight for miles with tons of legends surrounding it.

Hm….Listening closely to what Regice is saying, it really does sound like he’s saying Regi-Ice and not Redge-ice, despite how it’s spelled. Oddly, though, Satoshi still sounds like he’s saying ‘Redge-ice.’ I guess it’s the former, but it’s spelled like the latter? Please just add another I to make me feel better.

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End

I’m starting to think that, while they don’t outright say it, these gloves somehow amplify the wave ability or somehow focus it better. Though, if so, why would a wave master such as Aaron need them and why would he take them off near the end?

Also, Aaron must’ve had small hands if Ash, a ten year old boy, can wear them without issue.

Satoshi merely says, as Sir Aaron and Lucario before him, that the wave is within him. Ash said that Lucario’s aura is with him. Nitpicky a little, but the original is basically honoring the sacrifices and lives of the wave users before him. The dub is basically ‘he lives in you’. Nothing wrong with the change, per se, but it is a change.

Here’s another weird thing; when Satoshi and the others are looking at the altered painting of Lucario and Sir Aaron, we get a closeup of Satoshi as he points out that they were finally reunited. In the dub, 4Kids chose to not include any dialogue here, so it’s a bit awkward to have a closeup of him talking with no sound. They really can’t make up their minds on how they feel about shots like that. Either that or they just put the song over all the credits and didn’t pay attention to the fact that there was voice work there.

Interestingly, there are shots of more talking later with Brock in the gondola, but there’s no audio from it in the original and the same is said of the dub. *shrug*

The original’s ED….is actually not as good as the dub’s in my opinion. The dub’s was similarly moderately high in tempo, but with an air of somberness in its lyrics. The original’s is a bit overly happy with no real somberness to the lyrics.

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Overall, yes, I would say, barring some minor changes and mistakes and the totally predictable ‘let’s skirt around death’ thing, this is definitely 4Kids best dubbing effort that I’ve ever seen from them. The music, most of the writing, a majority of the voice work, the relative lack of edits outside of those that are ‘necessary’, I’m damn near proud of those idiots.

Of course, it’s a bittersweet ending, just like the movie, because it’s yet another reminder that 4Kids had it in them all along to do solid dubbing work and they just chose to be….well, 4Kids.

It’s a shame because dubbing companies for anime aimed purely towards kids isn’t really common anymore. Nelvana’s still dabbling in a couple of shows, DiC hasn’t done an anime since Knights of the Zodiac in 2003; and that’s pretty much all the main ones that still exist to my knowledge. 4Kids could’ve been a great dubbing company for bringing anime to a younger audience in America, but they never cared about anything but money.

I’m not gonna say 4Kids didn’t at least help expose younger audiences to anime. Part of my doing these comparisons was because I used to love old 4Kids dubs like Yugioh and Pokemon. They obviously had a huge impact on many kids of the anime resurgence back in the early 00’s. 4Kids took up most of Kids WB on Saturday mornings, and they took up so much of it that it was eventually full out changed to 4KidsTV at a certain point.

Problem was, most kids didn’t realize that what they were watching was anime. It was so Americanized and filtered that most kids took it as cartoons with weird art. 4Kids never understood that these shows can have a widespread appeal without whitewashing every single thing out of it. I may never have known that what I was watching was anime without the help of a friend of mine who was actually into anime for real and pointed out Japanese versions of stuff like the Pokemon games and Sailor Moon to me.

Every time that I do a comparison with a 4Kids show, I know most of these edits are pointless and stupid, but when they actually do a great job dubbing something I get even more angry since they seem well in the knowledge that what they do to shows is mostly pointless and stupid. I know these shows need some tampering to coincide with American laws, such as the card paint edits in Yugioh because of advertisement laws in kids shows and some instances of violence, alcohol and whatnot, but to say 4Kids went above and beyond the call of duty when it came to edits is a huge understatement. They were just determined to be as kid-ified, paranoid, xenophobic and MURICA’d as humanly possible.

They weren’t even good with money and covering their ass legally what with the several lawsuits from Pokemon and Yugioh’s creators. Their greed lead to their downfall, and it’s both a good thing and kind of a waste.

Sorry for the big tangent, but since this is 4Kids final excursion, I felt it fitting to get that off my chest here. Plus, I don’t have much else to add about the movie. It’s still a great movie that I would gladly watch again. The original Japanese version is only a tiny bit better, mostly in regards to voice acting and not including the very minor changes.

But now, we have to move on from 4Kids. It’s Pokemon USA’s turn up to bat.

Recommended Audience: There’s several mentions of death and some tense moments where you think several characters have died, and a couple of characters do die. However, it’s presented in such a way that’s not horribly traumatic or anything. Still, maybe, just maybe, a parent or guardian would be nice to have around with kids watching this. Just to be safe. 7+


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Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 08 (Dub) Lucario and the Mystery of Mew Review

Rating: 9/10

Plot: Many years ago, a kingdom was under threat of destruction from a war between two factions unrelated to the kingdom. Sir Aaron, Guardian of Aura, is credited for saving the kingdom and being a hero of the land. However, he sealed away his student and friend, Lucario, in his staff for hundreds of years. Lucario is suddenly released from the staff by Ash, and he believes Sir Aaron abandoned the queen, the kingdom and him all those years ago. When Ash and the others lose Pikachu to the Mew that lives in the mysterious Tree of Beginnings they start a journey to retrieve him with Lucario reluctantly leading the way. Is Sir Aaron really a hero? Or is he nothing but a traitor?

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Obligatory poster babble: This poster’s pretty good, even if it does look slightly muddled. And why exactly does Munchlax take up more of the poster than May, Max or Brock, whose face basically gets sliced in half?

I will point out that Ash’s hero outfit is not purple like it’s being shown here. It’s dark blue as Aaron’s was. No idea why that’s like that.

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Finally entering into mostly uncharted territory. I say ‘mostly’ because despite the fact that I have never seen this movie outright, I have seen clips and heard a lot about it. There’s a lot of praise surrounding this movie. Even some critics I watch who don’t seem to be Pokemon fans have listed this movie as one of their favorite movies or animated movies ever.

But what makes it so good? And is it really as great as many people claim?

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Our movie starts out, predictably enough, with yet another variation on The World of Pokemon intro. However, unlike the previous intros, this one actually doesn’t mention Ash or his friends directly. Clips of him and his companions are put behind the explanation of trainers in their entirety, which I like. It doesn’t put so much emphasis on Ash being the big hero of every story and instead allows him and his friends to just be a handful among the many trainers around the globe.

Our narrator brings us back into olden times ‘before Pokeballs ever existed’. Really, movie? You’re going to make me get nerdy before the title screen? Okay, let’s do this. Ahem. Skipping ahead a tad, we see that this movie seems based roughly in medieval England-ish times considering Sir Aaron’s outfit design, the fact that he’s titled ‘sir’, indicating some knighthood, and some of the designs of the architecture. Plus, the description for the movie says this is a some hundreds of years in the past, not thousands.

There have been artifacts found in ancient times that have powers that were basically the exact same as Pokeballs – most notably in the episode The Ancient Puzzle of Pokemopolis. These artifacts were of varying designs and none of them were really similar to the modern Pokeballs we know today, but they served the exact same function.

If you want to make the argument that that doesn’t count somehow, there is also an ancient Pokeball from Pokelantis that looks very similar to the modern Pokeballs of today and served the same function shown in the episode Battling the Enemy Within.

We see a rather beautifully animated Lucario traversing the mountains, and he uses his aura ability to seek out other living beings. Using this ability, he spots an army of people and Pokemon in red armor. I gotta say, while there’s not a real point for a lot of these Pokemon to be wearing armor, such as Rhydon and Steelix, these Pokemon look awesome with this armor on.

Using his aura ability again, he looks off into the other direction to sense another army, this one wearing green armor. I know it’s unlikely, but I like to think that this is a poke to the original Japanese versions of the first games, especially seeing as how there’s a Charizard on the red side. There’s a Blastoise on the Green side if they’re making it some kind of combination reference for the original Green and later released Blue.

As a Ho-Oh flies overhead, Pokemon from the Red army start to corner Lucario, so he contacts his master, Sir Aaron, through a nearby crystal.

At a really beautiful castle on an even more beautiful barring the sickly sepia-tone-ish colors everywhere landscape, we see Sir Aaron and the queen, Rin, whose hair must weigh 70 lbs, as Aaron answers the crystal. Lucario updates him on the situation and the Queen claims that the kingdom will fall once the armies reach the castle.

Lucario fights off the Red Army Houndoom with his aura abilities after getting temporarily blinded in battle while the Queen stands firm in staying with her people and the castle no matter if they all shall fall and perish. And yes, while they don’t say ‘die’ they do say there won’t be any survivors so….

Sir Aaron flies off towards the armies with his Pidgeot—Oh look, a Pidgeot. Isn’t that quaint not-even-born-yet-Ash?

Aaron’s Pidgeot gets badly wounded and crashes into the trees and Aaron doesn’t seem to give a crap about it. Doesn’t say anything, no visible emotion on his face, just ‘well, that happened, where’s Lucario?’ Pidgeot can’t catch a break.

As Lucario catches up to Sir Aaron, he reveals that he’s no longer Lucario’s master nor is he allied with the Queen or the Kingdom anymore. As Lucario tries to make sense of Aaron’s seeming betrayal, Aaron recalls Lucario into the crystal on his staff before running away. I like the added bit of the staff shaking after Lucario is inside of it. Either it’s a nod to how Pokeballs shake when a capture is in progress or it’s showing that Lucario is so upset by Aaron’s actions that he’s actually causing the staff to shake. I prefer the latter.

The two armies converge, Pidgeot appears and seems fine, so that’s good. Ho-Oh turns out to be a Mew in disguise, and Pidgeot returns Aaron’s staff to the queen. Suddenly, the Tree of Beginnings and all of the crystals across the land glow green. The story is then narrated by a woman who is telling her daughter a story as the scene turns into a storybook. She explains that Aaron went to the Tree of Beginnings and did….something with Mew that caused peace to fall over the land. The armies lost the hatred in their hearts and left the land, and the kingdom was restored. Sir Aaron was forever memorialized as the hero of the land.

We then get our title screen, which, despite some iffy CGI on Aaron’s staff, weird animation effects on the text and holding on shots for too long, is a pretty nice intro. I like when they showed the evolution of certain aspects of technology through time.

We’re back with Ash and the others as the narrator, the actual one, explains that Ash and his friends are currently at Cameran Palace where an annual festival is being held in honor of Sir Aaron. A bunch of awkwardly animated CGI Pokemon trainers gather together for a competition in which the winner will be crowned Guardian of the Aura. Ash, May, Max and Brock are also planning to partake in the festivities while Mew wanders the town turning into a bunch of different Pokemon for really no reason.

Ash and the others go buy some traditional costumes for the festival, and I do like May’s outfit. She did a nice bow with her bandana and the Beautifly bow on the back is not only pretty but it suits May considering that she has/had one. Meanwhile, Brock chose clothes that make him look like a monk or a priest while Max chose an outfit that makes him look like Mickey Mouse.

Three guesses as to what Ash looks like….

Yup, he chose an outfit that made him look exactly like Sir Aaron. Well, I guess if we’ll take him out of the World of Pokemon intro to make him feel more like an everyman Trainer we have to take the time out to purposely dress him like a real hero…who is also a storybook hero and a legend….and then later crown him as the Guardian of the Aura….essentially making him a pseudo-Sir Aaron…Hero of our story…I’m probably more bitter about this than I really should, especially since Ash has really only been a ‘chosen one’ hero in one other movie, but something about it just irks me. I do have to say, though, the costume does look pretty good on him.

Even Pikachu gets a spiffy new costume that makes him look like a court jester, and it does make him look pretty cute.

The costume that Jessie picks out looks horrendous. It’s just so busy.

At the arena, Queen Ilene, descendant of and near mirror image of Queen Rin, announces the start of the tournament where…..We get our theme song? Again? Finally?! YAY!

While this is yet another opener with a theme song overlaying on a Pokemon battle, 1) I don’t care, I’m just glad they have the theme song back and 2) Advanced Battle’s theme song is great, so I still don’t care.

Ash is up first against an unnamed trainer with a Breloom. I should note that the trainer’s traditional garb costume clearly has a Pokeball symbol on it. That could just be attributed to non-accurate costumes, but considering the ‘time before Pokeballs’ line earlier, I felt like nit-picking.

Ash chooses Pikachu, because of course he does, and somehow Pikachu loses his costume between shots. One minute he’s charging up his electricity with his costume on, the next he’s landing a hit without the costume and it never returns.

Next we get a battle between some dude in cool looking armor and his Weavile against Not-Ash!? Opener battle showcasing someone besides Ash? Holy crap! Anyway, his opponent is someone in robes with a Tropius. Weavile wins the match.

Next battle is someone I can’t see with a Misdreavus against a Ninetales! Awesome! We hardly ever get to see a Ninetales do anything. Not that it matters, because it ends up losing, I believe, by a rather cool attack from Misdreavus.

We get a quick montage of battles with the tournament bracket overlaying over the scenes, but they don’t put the names or pictures on the brackets and animate it to show a passage of time, they just increasingly zoom in on the ‘final’ part. Obviously, Ash is a finalist and he’s actually facing off against the armor guy and his Weavile. Nice consistency, movie!

Pikachu, of course, ends up winning the match through a gigantic, dangerous to the spectators and trainers, Thundershock.

As Ash is crowned the Guardian, the armor guy shows up to congratulate Ash and reveals that he’s actually a girl named Kidd.

Later that night, in the palace, Ash is being formally presented with Sir Aaron’s staff. Team Rocket are in the background and we see James’ outfit, which is actually pretty damn tame compare to Jessie’s. He just looks like a stereotypical 1800’s Englishman.

Nitpicky again, but Ilene says that the staff of Sir Aaron is Ash’s now….I only bring this up because the wording makes it seem like he can keep it. “The staff is yours now.” Which, since this has been a long-standing tradition with every winner getting the staff, can’t be true.

Ash accepts the staff. As he marvels in it, he suddenly hears the voice of Lucario from within the crystal asking why he was betrayed by his master.

They have a ball in Ash and Sir Aaron’s honor and all of the creepy CGI models stiffly dance.

May dances with someone who looks twice her age, Brock dances with Kidd, Pikachu dances with the Mew disguised as an Aipom and Max stuffs his face. Meanwhile, Ash just sits on the throne watching everyone else have fun. He’s forced to do so in order to keep up appearances, and golly gee it sure is a nice prize to miss out on a party to sit in a chair and hold a pretty stick.

He lets out all of his Pokemon to have fun at the party….without asking the Queen if it’d be okay to do that. I mean, yeah, she has a Pokemon, a Mime Jr., and Pikachu and Aimew are able to be out just fine, but seriously you should ask first before letting a bunch of animals run loose in a fancy palace.

May does the same thing, again, without asking.

At this point, I have to ask….is there something different about the VA’s in later seasons? Eric Stuart and Rachel Lillis sound weird for some reason.

Kidd breaks away from Brock for a second to make a call in private. We learn that she’s actually working for some strange organization with someone named Banks. She asks for blueprint information to be sent to her visor in an effort to hunt down Mew.

Meanwhile, the Pokemon all head upstairs to the attic to play with a bunch of toys. I would ask why there are so many toys in a palace attic, but I want that Suicune rocking horse and legendary birds mobile too much to care. I will, however, complain again about the lack of supervision for these Pokemon. Letting them out in a fancy palace is one thing, not bothering to keep an eye on them is quite another.

Kidd starts to swing around the rooftops of the palace like she’s Spider-man, and man, Kidd’s hair is ridiculous when she’s in her ‘stealth’ outfit. How does she get through doors?

She finally spots Mew when it transforms back at the worst time possible. There wasn’t even any reason for it to transform back into its original state. Kidd sends out her two Weavile to place a transmitter on the Mew.

The Weavile pursue Mew, freezing all of the other Pokemon besides Pikachu and Meowth because, oh god, wouldn’t want them to actually contribute or anything.

Weavile manages to blow Pikachu away by combining their Ice Beams and creating an explosion when combined with Pikachu’s Thunderbolt. I do find it rather cute that Meowth not only catches Pikachu, but he carries Pikachu around afterward. Granted, yeah, Team Rocket wants to steal him, but I really don’t get any bad vibes from Meowth when he’s doing this. Then the Weavile dance and pose like they’re a slightly more graceful version of the Ginyu Force.

*shrug*

Max spots the Pokemon upstairs, though can’t get to them due to the ice blocking the door, and Mew teleports them away. Hey, Kidd, ya know, a good way to capture a Mew, a Pokemon that seems to love teleporting, might be with a Pokemon that knows Teleport. Then again, you seem way too surprised that Mew even could teleport.

Mew transforms yet again, this time into a Pidgeot, and flies Meowth and Pikachu away from the palace.

It should be noted that Kidd is actually angry that her Weavile were being so aggressive with Mew and the others, so her intentions don’t seem to be very bad.

Lucario pipes up again as he sees the painting of Sir Aaron and as Ash holds the staff up to call for the fireworks to start, Lucario releases himself. Still blind….somehow (he was blinded by dust hundreds of years ago, why did he not recover from that yet?) he believes Ash to be Aaron since he’s only using Aura to see. However, when Ash starts to talk to Lucario, he slowly opens his eyes and sees that he’s not Sir Aaron. Has he been in stasis this whole time or has Lucario never thought to try and open his eyes?

…Actually, now that I mention it, maybe he was in some kind of stasis. That would explain why Lucario hasn’t died of old age.

Lucario runs away from the party and looks around the palace, confused as to why people are celebrating when the kingdom is under attack and why everything looks odd. He flashes back to when Sir Aaron first brought him to the palace as his new home and started training him in using Aura.

Queen Ilene, Ash and the others meet Lucario in his old bedroom where they reveal the sad news to him that he’s been sealed and asleep for hundreds of years. This deeply shocks Lucario as he looks at the relics encased in glass like a museum.

In the throne room, Lucario explains what happened all those years ago, particularly why he seemed to disappear in the middle of the battle. Wait, if Sir Aaron and Lucario seemingly disappeared at the same time during the war and were partners, why not assume that Lucario also gave his life in some way to quell the fighting and save the palace? Why just believe he vanished without warning? Makes it seem like Lucario’s a traitor while Sir Aaron is the only hero. Actually, if they knew Lucario was trapped in there, wouldn’t anyone be questioning why Aaron did that?

Queen Ilene explains the legend as it has been passed on through the centuries, but Lucario argues that Sir Aaron abandoned the Queen and the palace, not that he managed to miraculously end the war and save the palace.

Ash asks why Lucario thought he was Aaron and Lucario states that the aura within Ash is similar to Aaron’s. Look, I have all sorts of questions as to how this tradition has gone on for so long without a single person triggering Lucario’s awakening and release, but I suppose I can just accept the really unlikely possibility that Ash’s aura is so much like Sir Aaron’s that it spurred/allowed Lucario’s release and that no other tournament winner ever has had an aura close to Sir Aaron’s. But if I have to accept that, everyone else has to accept that that I’ll be salty about this basically meaning Ash is another ‘Chosen one’ because I hate that trope.

James: “He was locked in that staff for over a thousand years.” Err…I guess I can also accept that the Pokemon world doesn’t work on real world timelines because, given the setting they were in, it really just seemed like medieval England-ish, which was far from a thousand years ago. Then again, this is Team Rocket, so they could very well be wrong.

Max returns and relays the information about Mew, Meowth and Pikachu to Ash and the others while they catch him up on Lucario. This whole conversation showcases a really odd dynamic. Ash and the others are not surprised in the least that Max saw a Mew, only May asks if he’s sure it was a Mew and not some other Pokemon. Though I do have to ask how May even knows what a Mew is. I would say Ash and Brock know and are cool about it because of movie 01, but they forgot about it so I’ll just stand firm in my belief that Ash and his friends are just used to seeing legendary Pokemon now.

However, when they relay the information to Max about Lucario, Brock is prattling the info off like it’s no big deal or even something odd while Max is going ‘Whaaa?!’

Kidd is back in her ball garb because….I don’t know why. She’s explaining that she was on the roof and she doesn’t have bad intentions really so there’s no reason why she felt the need to change. Also, if you thought people pronouncing Charmander as Charminder was bad; Kidd pronounces Pidgeot as PIDG-IT. I’ve never been so badly irked so quickly. I got irk-lash.

Queen Ilene explains that it’s not surprising that Mew took them and was probably playing with them as Mew is frequently around the palace playing around and taking toys to someplace never to be seen again. This freaks out both Ash and Team Rocket….well, James anyway, as this may mean that Pikachu and Meowth are gone forever.

The Queen tells them that Mew is likely at the Tree of Beginnings, which is revealed to not actually be a tree at all but a rock formation in the shape of a tree, which might explain all the weird crystals around the city. Ash is determined to go there and find Pikachu, but Ilene warns that Mew takes on many forms and doesn’t usually show its true form to humans. However, Lucario’s abilities with Aura allow it to see Mew’s true form, so Ilene requests him to join Ash on his journey, which he accepts.

Kidd returns now in her stealth clothes….. Why’d you get back into that ball gown if you were just gonna change your clothes back 10 minutes later?

She says that she wants to join Ash and his friends on their journey when Brock suddenly gushes as he recognizes her as the legendary Kidd Summers, a woman who has broken the world record for most world records broken. She’s basically perfect at everything, but that doesn’t have much to do with anything. Thanks for adding some characterization, though.

Also, I really like that Mime Jr. is mimicking Brock as he gushes over Kidd.

It is a bit strange that it took Brock this long to realize who she was, though. He keeps a book with her adventures on him at all times, he’s seen her face several times and even danced with her and he knew her name was Kidd. How could a person who is so into women that he can actually tell the Jennys and Joys apart easily not recognize that this woman was someone he seems to idolize?

It’s not like Kidd is a common name either, nor does she have a generic face. He really needed to see her in her trademark pink outfit and weird illogical hair poofs to realize it was her? I guess that explains why she needed to change back into her ball gown earlier, though. Didn’t want her backstory to interrupt the plot.

Kidd explains that the reason she’s here is to explore and research the Tree of Beginnings and Mew to unlock the mystery behind them. Uh, okay….why not just ask the Queen if you could do that? Hell, considering the Queen seems to know Mew, perhaps she could’ve convinced it to wear the tracker, like a toy or something. Why did she feel the need to sneak around in order to do her work?

Ash and Lucario meet later that night in one of the chambers. Ash thanks Lucario for helping him out with Pikachu, and Lucario asks if he’s Pikachu’s master. Ash says no, even though that is technically correct, and says they’re best friends. He asks Lucario if he’d do the same for one of his friends and Lucario says he doesn’t have any nor does he want any friends.

Ash grumbles over Lucario’s attitude, but dude, keep in mind, he still believes the one person he thought was even close to being a friend betrayed him by locking him away in a staff for however many years while abandoning the palace and the Queen. Lucario may seem a little emo, but he has a bit of a right to be.

Lucario leads the group through a dense fog using its aura abilities, and I’m just now realizing that there’s no real reason why Lucario should be able to sense rocks….Aura senses energy within living beings. Plants I can buy; not rocks. And, no, I’m not counting Rock Pokemon.

While discussing the power of aura, they basically spoil a part of the movie by deducing that since Ash’s Aura is very similar to Sir Aaron’s (how is that really possible without reincarnation being a factor?) that he should be able to control aura too. Gee, I wonder if he’ll do that in this movie….

I guess this is one way we might be differentiating this Mew from movie 01’s Mew; its voice is entirely different….and not in a good way. Movie 01 Mew sounded like a kitten and was really cute. This one’s voice is much lower, basically hums its one word dialogue and sounds like a baby.

The group stops for a nice lunch and a wild Bonsly tries to steal a plate of food. Lucario takes the plate from the Bonsly and scolds it for stealing while offering a bit of fruit to the Pokemon. I could’ve skipped this part, but it really does seem like a sneak peak at a more soft-hearted Lucario.

Pikachu wakes up in the Tree of Beginnings after being tended to by Mew and Meowth. Pikachu and Mew play for a bit and, again, I see legit caring for Pikachu from Meowth. He seems elated when Pikachu wakes up, gets worried when he sees Pikachu fall and then breathes a sigh of relief when Pikachu shows that he’s fine and gets back up. Did Pikachu and Meowth bond somewhere down the line in the show and I never caught it? I know there have been some bonding moments for them, but it’s always retconned.

Meowth leans against a knot in the tree which sends him through a portal, leading him into a green room with a bunch of green floating bubbles. Pikachu and Mew follow suit, bouncing on the bubbles and having fun. At the end of the line, Meowth, Pikachu and Mew find themselves in a beautiful spot with a gorgeous view.

As the group comes to a bunch of geysers in their path, they decide to stop at a hot spring to take a bath…..ya know, I let the lunch thing slide because they have to eat. I will not the bath slide. Pikachu, for all they know, is injured and being held in some place where Mew keeps all its toys for all eternity. Yet they decide to stop in the middle of their journey for a bath in a hot spring.

Even if Pikachu wasn’t injured, he’s still being held in some strange place far away from his best friend/master. Again, for all they know, he’s lonely and scared. Yet they decide that it’s bath time.

Ash does bring up missing Pikachu….but dude, if you were really that eager to get Pikachu back you’d be in the car right now not bathing.

This does, however, set up another flashback for Lucario back to a time where he and Sir Aaron also enjoyed the hot spring.

Ash tries to invite Lucario into the hot spring, but he just walks away.

Ash: “Wonder what’s wrong with it?” Did you not hear the whole ‘my master betrayed me, abandoned me and the kingdom that was so precious to us’ story?

May and Ash find a flower-like crystal in the rocks nearby and accidentally pick it, causing another flashback in which Sir Aaron reveals that the flower is actually a time flower; an object that allows you to see the past if you have the power of aura.

Ash and the others decide to replant the time flower, which, when handed to Ash, starts to glow. So is it that it reacts to aura period or that it reacts to people who are trained in controlling aura? Because according to Sir Aaron, aura is something everyone has but requires training to control. Yes, Ash’s aura is similar to Sir Aaron’s, but unless he’s a straight up reincarnation with aura control simply for being like Sir Aaron, it doesn’t make any sense as to why this is happening.

When the plant responds, it shows Ash accidentally picking the time flower earlier and falling off the cliff……wow, such a useful flower showing what happened a couple hours ago….to the person holding the flower…

Hehe, it looks like Ash is holding himself.

When this happens, Kidd explains the legend of the time flower and says it reacted to Ash since his aura and Sir Aaron’s are the same. Wait, we’ve jumped from ‘similar’ to ‘the same’. How can their auras be identical to each other if reincarnation is not a factor? I guess you could surmise that Ash is a distant relative to Sir Aaron, but, to the best of our knowledge, Sir Aaron never reproduced before running off to his supposed death.

Later that night, Ash is, for some reason, recalling that Pikachu didn’t like him at all when they first met and that they became friends after Ash tried to save the wounded Pikachu from a flock of Spearow and how Pikachu in turn saved him way back in episode one. Geez, that’s a hell of a distant flashback.

Also, they loyally redid the entire scene from that episode instead of just ripping the shot straight from the episode. Good on ya, guys.

…..Though….I do have to point out a gigantic problem here….Ash, why the hell are you sharing such a touching tale of friendship blooming between a Pokemon and human….when Lucario is five feet away? Ixnay on the otentiallypay urtfulhay orystay.

In response to this tale, Lucario has another flashback about Sir Aaron training him in using aura by avoiding swinging logs while blindfolded. After the flashback concludes, Lucario angrily states that all humans are untrustworthy and starts to walk away. I have to ask why Lucario is still so loyal to the Queen if he now distrusts all humans. This isn’t even the same queen he knew back then.

Hearing this, Ash confronts Lucario stating that he is trustworthy and would never abandon Pikachu, though Lucario doesn’t believe him. In a rage, Ash accuses Lucario of lying about Sir Aaron’s betrayal and even goes so far as to accuse Lucario of being the one who betrayed Sir Aaron and abandoned the Queen. Yeah, and then he sealed himself away in Sir Aaron’s staff for hundreds of years because reasons. Good detective work, Ash.

Angered even further, Lucario surmises that maybe Pikachu wasn’t abducted by Mew and that he might have ran off because he didn’t want Ash for a trainer.

Ash then flips out and tackles Lucario to the ground, causing them to roll down a banking and into a nearby river where they have a wrestling match, which Lucario wins. After Lucario walks away, Ash dries off and gains some clarity on his words by May. Ash feels remorseful for what he said and did. Ooh wait, I just remembered. Ash tackling legendary Pokemon is back!

“But Lucario’s not legendar–” *brick’d*

Later, Max meets Lucario on a hill and offers him some chocolate to cheer him up. Never having eaten chocolate before, Lucario enjoys the sweet new taste while not trying to openly show his enjoyment or appreciation to Max.

Back at the Tree of Beginnings, Pikachu, Meowth and Mew continue to enjoy themselves with neat toys like a music box that has a surfing Lapras and plays Jigglypuff’s song. However, Pikachu says that he wants to go back to Ash and the others. In an effort to make him want to stay, Mew shows him more cool toys like a noisemaker that looks like a Shuckle shell that shows the Shuckle when you blow on it and a spinning Hitmontop on a yo-yo string.

Pikachu resigns himself to staying with Mew, but sadly looks up to the sky while saying Ash’s name (Pika-pi is Pikachu’s way of saying Satoshi, Ash’s Japanese name.)

Somehow, Ash immediately wakes up in response. I know this is meant to highlight what a strong bond the two have, but it’s so instantaneous that it seems like Ash has psychic powers. He leaves the van and quietly stares at the tree before he says ‘Pikachu’ which Lucario overhears and sees.

The next day, Lucario stops in the middle of the path as he realizes that he’s at the spot where Sir Aaron sealed him in the staff. He drops to his knees in front of a time flower. I would say this is incredibly convenient, but it was established in that scene that there was a time flower nearby…..how it stayed there for that long is beyond me, but they did.

The time flower shows exactly what happened on that day. Aaron sealing Lucario away and then him flying away on his Pidgeot. However, we get even more than what we saw before as we see the two armies intersecting directly on top of where the group is now. Aw, does that mean the staff was shaking because the ground was?…..I’m still going with my theories, they’re better. *pout*

Lucario freaks out and starts attacking the illusions, only to be brought to his senses by Ash before the vision ends. I don’t really know why Lucario didn’t figure that out for himself. He’s a master of aura, he can sense life forces; he should’ve realized the armies weren’t really there.

Brock: “You know what I think? Lucario was right.”

………..Brock….why do you always point out the obvious? Really, it seems to be a rather consistent character trait with you. Lucario’s story was right? After you witnessed the entire event unfold in front of your eyes? No way. Hey, I wonder if this HD video evidence of someone committing a crime will be enough to convince a jury that the person committed the crime.

May: “But, I don’t get it. How does that vision prove anything?”

……………………………………………May….are you an idiot? No, it doesn’t give proof that Sir Aaron completely abandoned the kingdom, but it does show pretty damning evidence that he betrayed Lucario and the kingdom because of what he said and did to Lucario, and it also shows him flying away on Pidgeot. It proves that Lucario’s story was technically right. It’s obviously an incomplete version of the story, but it’s right.

Max: “I think I know. There was a big battle, and Sir Aaron must’ve abandoned Lucario.”

YES, we know that already. Lucario said that in his story, it’s part of the legend and you just saw it before your eyes. Did you boil your brains in that hot spring?

Ash apologizes for what he said the other night in light of this vision, and he even cries about it. I know that him crying adds weight to this whole scene….but I am so tempted to hop back on my ‘Ash is completely inconsistent on when he cries and when he doesn’t’ soap box.

Lucario asks him to promise that he’ll never abandon Pikachu. Lucario, you really should be saying ‘promise me you’ll never abandon any of your Pokemon.’ Yes, Pikachu is his partner, but he still has plenty of other Pokemon that he should feel obliged to pledge that to. Ash agrees and Lucario suddenly senses something. He pushes Ash out the way as they’re attacked by a Regirock.

Ah the Regis…….I don’t care for them…..That’s about it. I just don’t care for them. Their designs, their names, their powers, their backstories….nothing. Regirock does have a stupid voice, though.

Lucario leads them to a hidden tunnel and on the other side is a beautiful oasis filled with Pokemon, even several fossil Pokemon that the group isn’t batting an eyelash at. I guess they’re alive because it’s under the Tree of Beginnings?

Since they’re directly under the Tree of Beginnings…somehow, I could’ve sworn they were still quite a ways away, Ash and the others rush towards the surface to find Pikachu. Meanwhile, Kidd sends out a bunch of cool little survey robots to send data back to Banks. She says this area has been isolated and protected for tens of thousands of years, but if it’s only protected by a fairly easily avoidable Regirock, I don’t see how that’s possible.

Seriously, how has this place gone overlooked by scientists for so long? It’s a place that is not only known to harbor a Mew, but has a bunch of extinct Pokemon living below it. Not like it’s easy to overlook; the damn ‘tree’ is essentially a mountain.

The robots survey the area and start lightly piercing the crystals to investigate them, but Registeel shows up to crush them, and his voice is just as weird. One of the robots ends up being consumed by a crystal after it mysteriously starts turning orange.

Banks reveals that the tree of beginning is actually a living being, feeding off of sunlight, that is an active part of the ecosystem. So the tree rock is literally a tree made of rock……I feel like we’re going in circles.

Also, Banks’ beard looks like he has a huge chin that was painted gray…..That doesn’t have any bearing on anything, but it’s true.

Out on the surface, Ash and Pikachu hear each other calling each other’s names and as Ash rushes to find Pikachu, he comes face to face with Regice.

Ash: “AGH! REGICE!”

First, how the hell do you know what a Regice is? To the best of my knowledge, this is the debut of all of the Regis.

Second, it’s redge-ice. Not Reggie-ice. At least that’s how I’ve always said it considering the spelling. If it was Regi-Ice wouldn’t it be spelled ‘Regiice? Call me out if I’m wrong, but if I am, I feel like the spelling needs to be changed.

Also, his voice is even worse than the other two because it’s a lot higher pitched.

Lucario helps protect Ash with his poorly animated shaky ball of doom.

They realize they can’t fight Regice, even if Ash doesn’t bother trying with his own Pokemon, so they run off and get trapped in a cave where Registeel and Regirock join the party.

Man, they really did up the animation in this movie by quite a bit. James is being animated like he’s in a much better show.

But jeez, Eric Stuart is really phoning in his James voice. He can’t yell or emote in the least today.

Jessie gets absorbed by a weird orange gooey Lileep while James gets absorbed by a weird orange gooey Omastar. Before he does so, however, he releases his Chimecho to save itself (Cacnea was already out, but I like to think he’d do the same for it.) Small thing, but a nice gesture. I know how much James likes Chimecho.

Weird orange gooey fossils start pursuing the others as well, so now they have a bunch of powerful weird stuff attacking them from all angles in a confined area.

Kidd analyzes the goo and Banks tells her that the goo is essentially the equivalent to the Tree of Beginnings’ white blood cells. It’s viewing the group as a threat and is assimilating them in order to protect the tree. Hm, that’s actually a really clever idea.

As they continue running, Kidd almost gets absorbed, but Lucario takes the hit for her. However, the goo doesn’t end up absorbing him because….

Kidd: “I guess Pokemon aren’t considered dangerous.”

Whaaaat? Pokemon, of all things, aren’t considered dangerous? Have you met Pokemon? They’re pretty damn dangerous. I get that this probably means that, since it’s a haven for Pokemon, it probably refuses to absorb Pokemon as a failsafe to protect the Pokemon housed within its walls, and humans are considered a bigger threat not only to it but to the overall ecosystem, but humans train Pokemon and they can be hella dangerous. It just seems like a weird way to put that.

Ash decides to stay behind and buy the others some time, and Lucario also decides to stay behind in loyalty to helping Ash find Pikachu.

Lucario: “And I know you’d do the same for me.”

D’aw.

Using Corphish and Grovyle, Ash starts his delay tactics. And damn it’s cute that Grovyle decides to carry Corphish to help him run.

Later, Brock, Max and May also get absorbed, releasing their Pokemon as well to save them from their fate. Again, really great gesture.

I also find it weird that all of the Pokemon but Forrettress walks sadly to the spot where Brock and May disappeared. It’s not like it’d be difficult to animate him going to the spot. Did they just forget?

Pikachu and Ash finally meet back up, but they’re on two different sides of a huge crevice with only the giant crystals connecting the gap. Ash and Pikachu try to make their way to each other while trying to maintain their balance on the slippery crystals as well as fighting off the severe winds gusting through the center.

Pikachu and Ash nearly fall into the abyss after catching each other in midair, but Kidd manages to catch them and return them to safety. And, ya know, as much as Pikachu tends to irk me, the way he nuzzles Ash’s cheek when they’re back on solid ground is endlessly adorable.

Lucario gets captured by Registeel, and Ash and Kidd get captured by the goo–

Lucario: “Ash!” I know you’ve really only bonded with Ash, but Kidd’s getting captured too. Have some courtesy.

Ash and Kidd let out their Pokemon before they’re consumed, and despite the valiant efforts of Pikachu and the others to save him (Guess screw Kidd, huh, Weavile bros?) they fail and Ash and Kidd disappear.

Well, Pikachu and the other Pokemon are crying. Does that mean Ash and the others will come back from being consumed by gooey Pokemon shaped white blood cells?

Oh did I say the other Pokemon? I meant only Ash’s because apparently the Weavile really don’t care about Kidd as they stand there with no expression.

Geez, Pikachu is legit sobbing. Stop, you’re breaking my heart and giving me more than my fair share of movie 01 flashbacks.

Seeing that Mew can’t cheer up the distraught Pikachu, it decides to take action and imbue its power into the Tree of Beginnings, allowing everyone to return. So…where the hell were they this entire time? If we take these things as real white blood cells then shouldn’t they have really…died? Were they stuck in some sort of rock purgatory?

At least the Weavile express happiness at Kidd’s return, though they’re probably thinking “Damn, that was our best shot at getting her millions!”

Haha, I love the way the other Pokemon glomp Ash and Grovyle just walks up to him with his arms crossed like ”sup?” I really love Grovyle.

Meowth explains what Mew did to the tree, and Kidd surmises that the mystery of Mew’s connection with it is that the two are symbiotic; they rely on each other to survive…..That…what? How did you come to that conclusion?

All Mew did was tell the tree that the kids weren’t ‘germs’, causing it to expel them. The oasis might be helping Mew survive, though FirstMovie!Mew had no trouble wandering around undetected and safe, but how is Mew really helping the tree survive? I don’t think keeping the kids would’ve damaged it, and surely there has to be some way the tree discerns between threats and non-threats, like the human body can. Also, that doesn’t explain why this particular Mew has these strange tree powers in the first place.

Mew suddenly falls ill and the tree starts to become seemingly ‘infected’ and extremely hot. Wait, so does that mean Mew and the tree are essentially one in the same? Does that mean Ash and everyone else has been wandering around Mew’s body for half the movie?

Banks tells Kidd that the tree is going into shock due to the sudden expulsion of energy on its immune system. If something isn’t done soon, the Tree of Beginnings will collapse, as well as the kingdom surrounding it due to the various crystals from the tree covering the land. Since Mew and the tree are one in the same, this also means that Mew will not survive if the tree collapses.

The sickly Mew directs Ash and Kidd through the tunnels and into the heart of the Tree of Beginnings where Lucario finds Sir Aaron trapped in the crystals.

Curious as to why Sir Aaron is there, Ash conveniently finds a time flower right in the room which shows them exactly what happened with Sir Aaron all those years ago.

In an effort to save the kingdom, Sir Aaron called upon Mew in the heart of the Tree of Beginnings and offered his aura to Mew since they’re one in the same, making the tree thrive and somehow quelling the hearts of those in the war. I don’t quite get it as there was nothing wrong with the tree, but okay.

Since his aura is essentially his life force, Sir Aaron had to sacrifice his life for the kingdom, making him a true hero afterall.

Lucario kneels before his fallen friend, deeply regretting that he had ever doubted him. While this should be a very emotional scene, Lucario’s VA does a piss-poor job at conveying the emotion. Especially when he goes ‘Ughhuh’ when he bows his head in grief and shame.

Mew tells Lucario that he can help revitalize the tree with the power of his own aura, but Kidd warns him that doing such a thing will put Lucario in the same state of perpetual animation that Sir Aaron is in. While Sir Aaron’s body is indeed encased in crystal and perfectly preserved….he died. Just say Lucario will die if he does this.

Lucario tries to transfer his aura into Mew, but finds he’s not strong enough to do it. Ash, realizing he’d have to do what we all knew he’d do since they said his aura is like Sir Aaron’s, dons Sir Aaron’s gloves….that he took off and neatly placed on the crystal he’s trapped in

because they’re…..magic I guess?

and begins transferring his aura to Mew because he just knows how to do that all of a sudden without any training or instruction.

Again, he’s not Sir Aaron’s reincarnation, he just has an aura like Sir Aaron’s. Even if he was a reincarnation, like, say, Kagome was to Kikyo in Inuyasha, you usually still have to condition such powers in order to properly use them.

Kidd: “No. It’s too dangerous! You’ll end up destroying yourself!” Yeah, Ash, you might end up in the Shadow Realm!

So Lucario and Ash combine their auras into Mew. At the last second, Lucario knocks Ash away, cutting off his aura contribution, leaving Lucario to sacrifice only himself.

Lucario: “The aura is with me!”

May the aura be with you….always.

The transfer completes and after a beautiful light show, the Tree of Beginnings restores back to its rightful glory. Jessie and James reunite with Meowth in a legit happy moment for the three of them, not interrupted by a dumb insult or joke, thank god. Though I do have to point out that Jessie was the only one who didn’t release her Pokemon before she was absorbed. Granted, she didn’t know what the goo was doing to her, but still.

Everything’s all fine and dandy now with Mew, and Banks congratulates Kidd on her findings, claiming it will be a media sensation. However, Kidd asks that they keep this whole thing between them to avoid tourism. Uh, they have a big festival where a bunch of tourists come together every year to honor the legend that includes the tree and you can easily see the tree as well as the copious amounts of giant crystals everywhere from the palace. How this place is not a tourist attraction is beyond me. How this place is not being investigated by scientists is beyond me. A lot of things about this are beyond me, but okay.

As Lucario starts to di—err, destroy himself, wow that sounds so much worse in this context, he activates the same time flower to see Sir Aaron’s final moments. While they do show him taking off his gloves, I still don’t understand why…

They see Sir Aaron apologizing to Lucario for sealing him away, stating that he had to do it in order to protect him since he knew he’d follow him and sacrifice himself as well. Sir Aaron gives a rather touching final speech as his time twindles down, telling Lucario that he was his closest friend and maybe they’ll see each other again some day. Lucario wants nothing more than to speak to Sir Aaron one last time, but the vision fades with Sir Aaron’s life.

Lucario also starts to fade away, despite Ash’s pleas to hold on. He holds no regrets and knows that his place is back at Sir Aaron’s side. Lucario fades away and the auras of both Sir Aaron and Lucario meld into the Tree of Beginnings, causing it to shine yet again.

I don’t know why Sir Aaron’s body was placed in suspended animation while Lucario’s sacrifice caused his body as well as Sir Aaron’s to turn into aura light and meld with the tree, but okay.

I find it horribly tragic and a bit ironic that Sir Aaron went through all of that trouble to save Lucario from his fate and a mere two days after he’s released from the staff, Lucario suffers basically an identical fate.

Ash reunites with his friends and shares the sad news of Lucario’s passing, but his fate is not held in grief as Ash proudly proclaims that its aura is with him.

Our credits play, showing Ash and the others returning to the palace. We see that, somehow, the painting of Sir Aaron has been altered to include Lucario. Either Ilene has a friggin’ quick painter on hand and wanted Lucario in that painting for some reason, or that was magically changed to include Lucario. In which case, that’s a little dose of BS. A nice touch, but BS…Oddly enough, they show a closeup of Ash as he talks with no sound coming out. I thought 4Kids was paranoid of that…or not….do they ever make up their minds?

They say goodbye to Kidd, Mew has found a friend in Bonsly, the Pokemon who had absolutely no role until that little shot. Mew kept Sir Aaron’s gloves in its stolen toy pile, and we see the also unexplained Regis (were they guardians of the tree or parts of its immune system or what?)

There are some more random shots of Kidd and Ash and co. just doing random stuff, then we cut to Lucario and Sir Aaron in…the past? Or a heaven version of the past? If they went into the tree, they can’t be in heaven, right? Or is the tree creating a heavenly experience for them? Anyway, Sir Aaron eats a chocolate bar….I have no qualms believing there’s chocolate in tree heaven.

And the group continues on their journey.

Throughout the credits, we get the song ‘We Will Meet Again’. It’s a pretty decent little song with instrumentals that sound very similar to the BG soundtrack and a singer who sounds like a higher pitched Vic Mignogna.

The end!

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So that’s Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, and I have to say that it’s definitely the best made and most well-written of all the movies so far. I’d definitely put it side-by-side in my top favorite Pokemon movies list as number one.

The art was amazing, the animation was fantastic. The story, while having some problems, mostly in how aura and the Tree of Beginnings as well as Mew work, was very well-written and emotionally impacting. The flow was great, and the characters were mostly good.

The music was outstanding and very fitting for the theme, and there were many more little details that I enjoyed than there were little things that irked me.

Even Team Rocket’s role, while not being at all useful, didn’t bother me. Brock, May and Max also got really nothing at all to do, but I wasn’t that bothered by it this time around, plus their absorption scenes gave them a tiny bit of spotlight.

The tone was just right, and I actually didn’t mind that the main Pokemon focus this time wasn’t even a legendary. This story really is Lucario and Sir Aaron’s even if Ash and Pikachu take the spotlight a few times.

Mew is a part of the story, but could’ve mostly been removed without much trouble. Sir Aaron and Lucario could’ve just transferred their auras directly into the tree, though I guess having a living being personify its pain and vitality is a bit beneficial to the emotional impact of the story. The Regis were also relegated to basically being bodyguards (…literally?) for the tree, and they weren’t even really acknowledged as legendaries.

I’m perfectly fine with the way this is because it really seems like this was one of those times where the writers had a legit story they wanted to tell and didn’t feel like writing a movie plot around a new legendary that they were contractually obligated to make the star of the movie. Hell, Mew is an OLD legendary at that. The Regis are new, but like I said they’re not given legendary focus, they’re just powerful.

I also like how this movie didn’t have a big baddie. There was plenty of conflict to be resolved in Lucario and Sir Aaron, Lucario and Ash, Ash finding Pikachu, traversing through the Tree of Beginnings and saving the tree as well as Mew from utter destruction. There was no big baddie to beat, no big threat come about by some evil person; just perils that our heroes have to survive. That’s a pretty big breath of fresh air in this series.

It’s very appreciated that they didn’t go down the terrible route of somehow just freeing Sir Aaron from the crystal and having him and Lucario live happily ever after or somehow talking to his ghost. They have Sir Aaron stay dead and Lucario follow, as it truly should be.

In addition, it was a relief that they didn’t go too far with Ash’s Sir Aaron aura stuff. Yeah, it allowed him to easily manipulate it at the end (with the help of magic gloves? I still don’t get that) but it didn’t give him some super mega deus ex machina power to make him this fantastic hero at the end. He’s about as powerful as Lucario with no real example of true power outside of transferring it.

I do have to ask why Sir Aaron acted like he was betraying Lucario and the kingdom, though. Why not tell Lucario what he was doing but seal him away anyway? Lucario still wouldn’t have been able to escape and he wouldn’t leave the staff thinking so badly of Sir Aaron.

Why say that stuff about not being allied with the Queen or kingdom anymore? Sacrificing your life to save the kingdom is about as loyal as you get. Plus, if Lucario really did believe that Sir Aaron was a traitor, how does he make any logic out of who or what stopped the fighting back then?

I can definitely see why so many people love this movie. It’s almost hard to believe that they managed to find their way back to such quality after so many instances of blah to crap.

I also find it to be a fitting send off for 4Kids. Yes, this is the last Pokemon movie (and maybe the last Pokemon thing? It’s difficult to confirm) that 4Kids dubbed before handing over the reigns to PUSA.

Instead of being bitter buttmonkeys and making a terrible dub, they decided to actually make one of their best dubs, if not their best dub, ever. While some emotional scenes get lost in their impact due to lackluster voice acting (though I must admit, Jason Griffith did a fantastic job as Sir Aaron), and there’s the whole ‘can’t say ‘die” BS, everything is incredibly well-done. Though I can imagine that, since changes and edits cost 4Kids time and money and they likely didn’t have much to spend at that point, they probably just didn’t want to bother making too many changes either way.

RIP in peace, 4Kids. You’re….kinda….mis–….we’re sad to see you g—….Well, bye.

Recommended Audience: The death scenes are a bit heavy for younger audiences, but it’s definitely not on the same childhood scarring level as Mufasa or Bambi’s mom. E for everyone!

Final note: Here’s something to ponder; Kidd is responsible for Lucario’s death and nearly destroying the Tree of Beginnings. If she had just asked Ilene about seeing Mew or properly instructed her Weavile, Mew never would’ve kidnapped Meowth and Pikachu and Ash and the others never would’ve gone to the tree at all. It could be argued that without her interference Lucario never would’ve found out the truth about or reunited with Sir Aaron, but I can imagine Lucario would’ve investigated on his own either way.

Also, Kidd never seems to admit to Ash and the others that her Pokemon attacked them and caused Mew to run off with Meowth and Pikachu. If she had, I can imagine Ash would be a little pissed at her. Pretty good character; kinda slimy with her methods and honesty.


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Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 07 (Sub) Deoxys the Visitor Review

Rating: 3/10

Plot: A mysterious meteor lands on earth near the north pole containing the alien Pokemon Deoxys. It tries to take a strange stone from deep within the snow, but Rayquaza, angry at the intrusion on its territory, violently attacks Deoxys. Rayquaza seemingly kills Deoxys before returning to the sky.

Four years later, Deoxys regenerates its body and continues its search for the stone, and Rayquaza wants to take him down once more.

Meanwhile, Satoshi/Ash and the others meet a boy named Toi/Tori who suffers from a paralyzing fear of Pokemon after a traumatic experience with them as a small child. They try to help him get over this fear by getting him accustomed to Pokemon, but they find that helping Toi is a lot more difficult than they first thought.

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This poster is definitely more dynamic than the American poster, but, being fair, the American poster is just an Englished-up version of an alternate Japanese poster, so I can’t really complain too much.

From all I can find, this movie is a very loyal translation, if not the most loyal adaptation we’ve seen so far, so I don’t believe this requires a step-by-step analysis.

Instead, let’s review this in a chunklet format – by 20 minute chunks.

20 Minute Mark

PM7SUBSCREEN1

The World of Pokemon opener is actually the same dialogue we’ve come to know of it instead of trying to shoehorn in stuff about the Pokeball itself.

Just now noticing that the animation on the Jolteon in the opener with the herd of Pokemon running is so jarring I’d even say it’s incomplete.

Now I know what this opener with the awful CGI reminds me of. Pokemon Snap. Mm, I miss Pokemon Snap.

I don’t have the Japanese video track so, sadly, I can’t compare the title screens.

Tory’s Japanese name is Toi. Also, his last named is Rondo, which may be accurately-ish turned into Lund.

Status update: Munchlax/Gonbe is still adorable and hilarious.

Oh god, the little cube robots are just as annoying here as they were in the dub….

40 Minute Mark

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Satoshi tells Toi he only wants to battle as they exit the elevator whereas Ash just said ‘Wait, we just wanna…’ which makes it a little more understanding in the original as to why this guy just shoved these kids into the battle tower system….the system still should have recognized that Toi’s not a Trainer, though.

Likewise, Hitomi/Rebecca says Satoshi beat her to the arena, not that he cut in front of her. Wording is everything, 4Kids.

I have no idea how I got through Movie 06 without noticing this, but Masato’s/Max’s Japanese voice is terrible.

Ryu was changed to Rafe, and Shota was changed to Sid.

Satoshi actually acts like kind of a jerk when he takes the reigns in the match. Whereas Ash tells Tori not to worry about battling, Satoshi says, in a pretty rough tone, ‘I’ve had enough of this! I’ll do this alone!’ Dude, chill out. He said he’s not a Trainer and yet you pestered him to battle all because you were way too hyped to battle someone you met ten minutes ago. Is it really a surprise he has no idea what to do?

Status Update: Yup, still adorable.

Later Status Update: Still hilarious.

Okay, so we get a bit of a trade off here. Haruka is a little more rude to Shota than May is to Sid and Takeshi is much less of a pushy controlling asshat in that one scene with Hitomi than Brock was with Rebecca.

Obviously, the insert song during the little Pokemon party is completely different from the dub’s. And….this song really is just bad. I feel like this song should be in some moe shoujo anime, not Pokemon. The melody is okay, a little toe-tapping, but the lyrics and vocals are just….gah. Not to mention, with all the talk of stars, this song seems more suited for Movie 06….

Also, the song just suddenly ends after the second chorus. *shrug*

One Hour Mark

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Nothing of note, really.

One Hour 20 minute Mark

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Haruka: “Motionless escalators feel kinda weird.”

……Excuse me, Mitch, gonna borrow a joke for a second.

Mitch Hedberg: “I like escalators because escalators can never break. They can only become stairs. There would never be an ‘escalator temporarily out of order’ sign, only an ‘escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.’”

For the record, May merely said that she’d never take escalators for granted again.

Audrey and Catherine, Rafe’s sisters, keep their original names. Though I have to wonder why they have English names and Ryu’s is very obviously Japanese.

End

PM7SUBSCREEN5

Satoshi: “Professor Rondo, Toi’s not the only one who can save the city. I’m here too!” You really can’t let anyone else have the spotlight for five minutes, can you? This is Movie 04 all over again.

Wow, Kabigon/Snorlax’s Japanese voice is…..just awful. Just….terrible.

As expected, the end credits song is just the insert song only longer and somehow it’s even worse in the extended version. The added lyrics are even more cutesy and lame and, while it’s not horribly repetitive, it still is as such.

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This movie is damn near identical to the 4Kids version barring some minor dialogue changes that both make the script better and worse, so it evens out. The music is worse thanks to the lone vocal song, but then again the video isn’t cropped so that also evens out.

All in all, I have the same problems with the original as I do the dub. Some problems differ due to slight script changes, but I’m ultimately just as ‘satisfied’ with the original as I was with the dub.

Recommended Audience: Same as the dub, 6+

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 07 (Dub) Destiny Deoxys Review

Rating: 3/10

Plot: A mysterious meteor lands on earth near the north pole containing the alien Pokemon, Deoxys. It tries to take a strange stone from deep within the snow, but Rayquaza, angry at the intrusion on its territory, violently attacks Deoxys. The legendary dragon seemingly kills Deoxys before returning to the skies.

Four years later, Deoxys regenerates its body and continues to search for the stone, but Rayquaza wants to take him down once more.

Meanwhile, Ash and the others meet a boy named Tory who suffers from a paralyzing fear of Pokemon after a traumatic experience with them as a small child. They try to help him get over this fear by getting him accustomed to Pokemon, but they find that helping Tory is a lot more difficult than they first thought.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the last Pokemon movie I watched full out in the past before doing these reviews.

I caught Destiny Deoxys on Kids WB around the time of its release in the US, and I remember being completely unimpressed by it. I don’t like Deoxys at all. It has a weird design, especially in defense form, I don’t care for its color scheme and I find its backstory to be rather silly, even if this is the first time in a long time where we’ve revisited the concept of Pokemon aliens.

There is one aspect of this movie that I watched all the time and that was really for the song, which I’ll address later.

Before I go onto the review, that movie poster has two different versions. The one you see above which is basically a mirror image of the Japanese poster barring the text (I think that’s the first time that’s ever happened) and this version.

I honestly don’t know why this was altered like this. It’s still the same poster but the alternate forms have been removed, Rayquaza has been moved up, Max, May and Brock have all been removed, Plusle and Minun have been moved and Munchlax was added. I much prefer the original version, and I honestly don’t understand the changes to the second.

I can, however, excuse it a bit because the speed form never appears in this movie – only the normal and defense forms do.

With that out of the way, let’s start the show!

Be warned, this movie is quite a bit longer than the other Pokemon movies because it didn’t need to take 20-30 minutes off to include the short, meaning the review will also be a little lengthier.

You can find the Bulbagarden comparison here.

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We start with not-the-World-of-Pokemon opener. This time, we’re exploring the World of Pokeball. We as an audience even get sucked up into a Pokeball to finally see what it’s truly like in there. Apparently it’s a green world filled with green blocks of jello and hallucinations of various Pokemon. Hah, take that countless Pokemon message board posts!

We segue into the World of Pokemon as we cut to tons of Pokemon running across the screen. The last time I saw so many Pokemon running in one direction, the world was ending, so, uh, you’re making me kinda nervous already, movie.

What’s up with the weird CGI Rhyhorn during this sequence? So awkward.

After that we keep going back and forth between CGI and traditionally animated Pokemon. At least most of the CGI ones go by so quickly that I can’t tell how bad they likely are, but the Arbok at the end is a little off-putting.

As the opener continues with explaining the dynamic between humans and Pokemon, we cut to Ash and the others. Then they straight up steal the shot of the equally icky CGI Suicune from Movie 04. Nothing like lazy shortcuts, huh animators?

But they “justify” it by having a full Movie 04, Ash and Misty in their race from Movie 05 and Ash flying on Flygon in Movie 06.

Ya know, I praised the last movie and even the last short with their homages to the previous movies. Showing the legendaries from all of the movies in fantastic and NEW shots was great. Even seeing brief shots of the locations from the previous shorts was a nice addition to the final legit short.

This is just laziness. They didn’t even pick particularly good scenes from those movies, nor did most of these clips show the legendaries of the movies.

Continuing on with the opening, there are a lot of Pokemon on earth but there might be more on other worlds. Cut to a weird meteor in space.

We get our title sequence, and despite it being really nicely done in regards to color choice and animation, the actual graphics look flat and uninspired. The final shot itself is just a silhouette of Deoxys. Also, why are the gong sounds from my grandma’s doorbell playing at the end while lights flash in sync to it?

Onto our credits sequence, which sadly still has no Pokemon opening song again, where we cut to the north pole. A bunch of researchers are there doing researchy things when our movie main character, Tory’s, father and his assistant, Yuko, spot Tory with binoculars as he plays in the snow and befriends a Spheal.

The same meteor starts heading for earth, right where these researchers and Tory are, to be precise. A Rayquaza is watching the meteor fall from high up in the sky. I always loved Rayquaza but apparently I’m a rarity? I’ve been in at least two forum threads asking for favorite Dragon Pokemon and Rayquaza was treated like a leper in both threads for no given reason.

The meteor lands closeby, causing Tory to fall and the nearby Walrein to stampede around him. He’s so frightened that he ends up passing out. Tory’s father saves him, and out from the meteor emerges Deoxys. It uncovers a big colorful rock in the snow, infuses it with power and causes a light to shoot up into the sky.

Rayquaza arrives and starts attacking Deoxys for some reason. The battle rages on and Rayquaza actually manages to blow Deoxys’ arm clean off. Uhh….by the way, parents, Pokemon the First Movie: We’re Totally Against Violence We Promise, is on sale for everyone who skips this shot. Hehe…he….Broooother, my broooooother!

But don’t worry, Deoxys is obviously from Namek and can regenerate his arm just fine. Deoxys starts fighting back, and Tory’s father and Yuko take Tory and run off.

After getting a really good throat strike on Rayquaza, Rayquaza and Deoxys start to destroy the researchers’ equipment while trying to attack each other. Deoxys manages to get the upperhand, and just as its about to finish Rayquaza off, we get a shot of Rayquaza through Deoxys’ eyes which seem to constantly have a ripple Photoshop effect on them. Deoxys stops his attack, giving Rayquaza the opportunity to strike back again, but Deoxys defends itself with its defense form.

The battle rages on….and on….and on….I don’t much mind long battle sequences, I can sit through any arc of DBZ just fine, but this battle is going on for a bit too long with me not knowing what’s going on nor who to side with or care about. Am I against Rayquaza for attacking a seemingly innocent Deoxys? Is it actually trying to protect something? It’s obviously not protecting the researchers considering it’s helping destroy the place. Does Deoxys mean harm? What was the rock? What did it do when it glowed? Does Rayquaza want the rock? Just keep pummeling each other and explain later. I have time.

Long battle short, Deoxys earns a hearty Hyper Beam right to the face and ends up being disintegrated, leaving only an oval-shaped stone much like the one Deoxys found at the start behind, sinking into the depths of the ocean as Rayquaza returns to the ozone layer.

Oh wait, is it dead? Did Rayquaza just murder Deoxys? Geez, this movie is much shorter than I remember it.

The researchers take their only non-destroyed mode of transportation, a helicopter, out of the site while carrying the rock that Deoxys picked up earlier. Tory’s dad says that the reason Rayquaza was so mad was because Deoxys entered into his territory. Thanks, I could’ve used that information sometime at the start of the battle, but better late than never.

Cut to four years late – oh now you’re not afraid to use time cards, huh, 4Kids? Couldn’t use them in the movie about time travel, but you’ll use them here? Anyway, the researchers are now experimenting on the rock. They zap it with a laser in hopes of regenerating what I presume will be a different Deoxys, but they overload the system before the regeneration can be performed.

Older Tory talks to someone offscreen, and as the researchers leave for the day, Yuko sees the stone glowing. Meanwhile, back in the old research site location, the ice begins to crack and break apart as a water spout shoots into the sky to reveal a newly revived Deoxys who spouts a bunch of pink light from his chest. Deoxys, you fool! Don’t you know that too much pink energy is dangerous!?

We cut to Ash, May, Max and Brock riding a magnet train and enjoying the sites of Larousse City, known for its high-tech gadgetry. However, Ash is more interested in its famous Battle Tower.

Team Rocket also shows up to the city in—holy crap, that’s the Magikarp sub! Wow, they haven’t used that in ages. Anyway, they arrive by water since the city is so close to the water and I guess they’re too cheap to take the train. Aw the sub sunk! Does that mean it’s the legit end of that now?

We see our first example of the super high-tech city when a nearby child and his Poochyena throw a bottle into a high-tech trash can where apparently it needs to scan the item and open its lid for you before you can throw the trash away. Yes, let’s promote recycling and cleaning up your garbage by over-complicating a trash can and making a half-second task take five seconds.

Now, you’d think the scanner would at least make the process more efficient. It probably only allows certain types of items or scans them to understand where to send them in regards to recycling, and it probably keeps animals and stuff out of it.

Nope, it’s just there to detect when something, anything, is there to throw away.

This is shown when a nearby pair of Plusle and Minun decide to play with it. The instant it scans Minun it opens to let it in, which, when you think about it, is even worse than an animal getting into a regular garbage can. At least in that situation the animal has a good chance of getting out on its own. This trash can closes up tight once the item is inside, meaning the animal would probably die in there. Thanks, technology!

Plusle and Minun screw around with the garbage can some more by having Plusle activate the lid while Minun is on top, launching him up in the air. They knock it over, garbage goes everywhere, they laugh and walk away. Littering is not funny, you little delinquents!

A nearby Munchlax sees this and kindly puts the trash can back up. He tries to kick one of the bottles into the trash can in a pretty funny scene, but fails and sadly walks away. Aw, I wanted him to get it in.

Back with Ash and the others, we see another aspect of the movie that stood out to me and it’s these weird floating block robots. Now, stopping myself for a minute, I like the idea of this city, but it does weird me out that it’s such a different environment for this show. Despite several displays of incredibly advanced technology, we’ve never really had them in such a high-tech environment before. Closest they get are the really big cities and even that’s not terribly more high-tech than your average city in the real world.

Even having this take place in a city is a new thing for the movies since most of them have either taken place in a forest, a small town, or some desolate location.

I can’t really bring myself to say it’s all that great because, despite liking them in an environment that isn’t a forest, forest, forest or, on the rare occasion, a forest, it doesn’t really wow me at all. The only major note of this city, really, outside of the magnet train are these little colorful block robots that, for some reason, remind me of Cubix: Robots for Everyone and I didn’t even watch that show.

But just because these robots are pretty unique in the show, that really doesn’t mean they’re terribly interesting or fun. In fact, they’re downright annoying with their super-high-pitched voices.

The group stumbles upon one of these robots and it suddenly takes everyone’s individual pictures, strangely enough with a camera that looks like it was taken from the 1930’s, and logs their origin data somehow. It spits out passports for everyone that are needed to give people access to pretty much everything in the city. So, yeah, not only does it randomly take your picture, but it transmits the picture back to some headquarters place, your personal data is somehow recorded by these people and they give you a passport which monitors where you go and what you do. Where’s the fuhrer of this city?

Ash makes an idiot out of himself by accidentally getting on a moving sidewalk and trying to run against it. Some locals laugh at him for this, and one of them sends out his Blaziken to help Ash get on the proper sidewalk. He pisses Ash off by saying he was making a fool of himself and directs him to the battle tower.

Despite laughing at him and calling him a fool, Ash decides to be friendly to the guy, named Rafe, and asks to battle. He accepts and says he’ll see him at the battle tower. With Rafe are his two little annoying twin sisters who basically do all the typical annoying twin things like speaking in unison, constantly agreeing with each other and repeating things others say, again, in unison. Doesn’t help that their voices are terribly high-pitched that it hurts.

God, who does their voices anyway?…..Rebecca Honig? Hm, I don’t recognize her other Pokemon roles. Let’s see what else she’s got….Cream the Rabbit from Sonic X?! I knew that level of annoyance was familiar. Careful, or you’ll be battling Lisa Ortiz for top spot.

There’s also some guy named Sid, another trainer on his way to the battle tower who quickly falls for May, and Rebecca, yet another battle tower trainer who uses her laptop all the time and also uses it to help in her battles.

They arrive at the battle tower and Ash goes off to register while May, Max and Brock go off to the stands to spectate. We get some more shots of all the gadgets in the city which, again, are not really that impressive. One of those cube robots makes a screen to create a map of the tower for guests while another doles out ice cream, which is apparently free just as long as you show your passport. Free healthcare AND free ice cream!? The Pokemon world is awesome.

Ash gets lost because that’s what Ash does. Why didn’t he follow Rafe, Sid and Rebecca? They were all going to the same place yet they seem to disappear when they get to the tower.

There’s also a library at the battle tower for…some reason, and Ash sees Tory walking out of it. He tries to stop Tory to ask for help, but Tory freaks out at the sight of Pikachu and runs away. Tory tries to escape in an elevator, but Ash manages to jump in just in time. He explains his situation to Tory and asks for help, but Tory is too scared to answer and runs off again when the elevator stops. The boys are both stopped by an employee at the tower who sends them on a conveyor belt track to the battle arena. A machine scans Ash and Tory and detects their passports, instantly registering them for the tower.

Rebecca tries to get in, but doesn’t arrive on time. She was ahead of Ash and the others, and Ash was lost, how the hell was she late?….Wait, her voice sounded very familiar in that line….Lisa Ortiz? I was just kidding about competing with Rebecca Honig in annoying voices. Please don’t try to defend your title here.

Also, this place is so high-tech that practically everything is a gadget yet it can’t detect that Tory has no Pokemon of his own and thus wouldn’t be able to battle? And aren’t Pokemon trainers registered in some mass system?

They arrive in the battle tower stadium to have a tag team battle, and Rebecca joins May, Max and Brock in the audience.

May: “I wonder how Ash got registered so quickly.”

Rebecca: “By cutting in front of me.”

How did Ash cut in line? There was no line. There is no registration line. You go down to the basement and some big guy throws you in there without even asking you any questions. The system automatically registers you once you’re already heading to the stadium and your match is set up. You didn’t get in because you arrived behind Ash and Tory for no given reason despite having a huge head start.

Ash and Tory’s opponents come into the stadium and its, predictably enough, Rafe and Sid. The announcers gives the conditions of battle – a tag team match with only one Pokemon used per trainer, and Rafe and Sid release their Pokemon first. Rafe sends out his Blaziken while Sid sends out a Blastoise. Ash sends out Pikachu and asks what Pokemon Tory will use, but as we all have figured out two minutes ago, Tory has no Pokemon to battle with.

With no second Pokemon on their side, Ash and Tory are set to forfeit by default. Ash decides to lend one of his Pokemon to Tory with which to battle. I don’t understand why that wouldn’t be against the rules, but whatever. Tory figures he has no choice so he sends out Ash’s Torkoal to battle.

The battle begins and Rafe starts by sending Blaziken out to hit Pikachu with a Blaze Kick. Pikachu jumps up to dodge, but Blastoise knocks it away with Hydro Pump. Sid commands Blastoise to use Bubble on Torkoal. The Bubble attack hits, and Ash tells Tory to give commands to Torkoal, but since he’s not a trainer he doesn’t know what to do.

Blastoise does a Rapid Spin into Torkoal, sending him flying and causing everything to slow down in Tory’s perspective as Blastoise gets close to him while spinning. We flash back to Tory in the middle of the Walrein stampede, causing Tory to freeze up.

This solidifies his fear in Pokemon, allowing me to bring up a big problem with this whole scenario. Tory is scared to death of Pokemon to the point where even cute little Pikachu sends him running off like a horror movie target…..Okay…before I get to the big picture, why the hell was Tory in, of all things, the Battle Tower? That place is crawling with Pokemon and the tower itself is meant to be a place where trainers can come together to battle each other. Why would he go there?

Yes, there’s a library there and Tory, being a researcher’s son, probably has a thirst for learning, but I assume with all the technology in this city and his dad having access to untold amounts of information surely there’s really no reason for him to brave a Pokemon-ridden tower to read some books. Use a Kindle….use the Internet, have books delivered to your house. You have lots of options, kid.

Next, how the hell does he get through life like this? He lives in the Pokemon world where practically everything is dedicated to Pokemon in some way. Where, if you are somehow a rarity who dislikes Pokemon, you’ll be treated like a leper and eventually have to conform and like Pokemon after being ceaselessly prodded by others. Pokemon are everywhere in this series. Friggin’ everywhere. How does he stay sane even merely leaving his house when the average person probably sees or interacts with at least one to five Pokemon per day?

Finally, really? The reason he fears Pokemon this much is because of the Walrein stampede? Granted, yes, that would probably be scary for young Tory, but he didn’t get hurt in that stampede….at all. They ran around him. Would that slightly frightening experience be so bad that he would end up being this emotionally scarred for so long? And why does it encompass all Pokemon, even small cutesy ones? Shouldn’t he just be afraid of Walrein? That’s like developing a fear of dogs after having one run past you and then being afraid of bunnies as a consequence.

Back to the action, Pikachu tries to defend Torkoal with a Thunderbolt to Blastoise, but Blaziken counters with a Flamethrower. Blastoise regains his composure and Skull Bashes Pikachu, knocking him into Torkoal and pinning him under his shell.

Ash decides to take the reigns for Torkoal too—Okay now he’s controlling his ‘partner’s’ Pokemon. Surely that is against the rules!

Apparently it isn’t, and Ash commands Torkoal to use Flamethrower. It does, but accidentally burns Pikachu’s tail in the process. Torkoal, upset at accidentally hurting Pikachu, starts crying and sending smoke everywhere. Geez, I’m embarrassed for them. Rafe finishes off Pikachu and Torkoal with Overheat and Ash and Tory are defeated.

Tory’s dad and Yuko show up to the battle tower. They had watched his battle on television and went to the tower to tell him how proud they were. Tory tells them not to be proud because the whole thing was an accident and runs off.

Brock gushes over Yuko and – Since when does Brock discuss Professor Ivy without becoming a depressed lump in the corner? Anyway, Yuko explains Tory’s situation with his childhood trauma and being afraid of all Pokemon because of it. Yuko believes he really loves Pokemon deep down, like he used to as a small child, but he needs to get to know them again to get over his fear. Ash, feeling guilty over pushing Tory so hard in the battle tower when he has a fear of Pokemon, decides to take it upon himself to show Tory how great Pokemon really are. See? I told you. You must all like Pokemon!

Back with Tory, the Plusle from earlier tries to get Tory’s attention, but he shoos him away. Plusle runs to a knocked over trash can where his brother is trapped and begs Tory to help. Again, told ya so. Despite his fears, he decides to help them out and just as Ash comes out to meet him, Tory frees Minun from the garbage can. Plusle and Minun happily reunite and try to thank Tory by giving him a hug, but he backs away before they can touch him and runs off.

Munchlax shows up again to pick up the trash can and tries again to kick a bottle into the can. This time he succeeds. Yay! I love that little guy.

Ash follows Tory to some garden where he speaks with the unseen being from earlier, only this time we get to see what it is.

A big sparkly glowy piece of intergalactic Flubber made of light….Yeah….yeah that pretty much sums it up.

He excitedly tells the Flubber thing about what happened with the Plusle and Minun when we cut to Deoxys. Oh right, the plot! I completely forgot about that part of the movie…..Sad thing is, I’m not even really joking. We haven’t so much as mused about Deoxys, legendary Pokemon or anything main plot related for over 15 minutes.

Deoxys lands in Larousse City and expels all his pink energy into the sky again, creating an aurora borealis effect. And….that’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed it.

As Tory continues to talk with Flubber, Ash shows up and asks who he’s speaking with. Flubber disappears in response and so does the pink light.

He badgers Tory about who he was talking to and tries to talk with him, but Tory keeps telling him to go away. He accidentally spooks a flock of Wingull, which causes him to fall down in fright. Ash runs to his side to see if he’s okay, but Tory knocks Ash down when he gets scared by Pikachu.

Angered, Ash grabs Tory by the shirt but May arrives to calm him down. Trying to create an opportunity for everyone to become friends, Brock cooks up a fondue. Wasn’t aware Brock was a housewife from the 1950’s but okay.

Seeing the food, a bunch of other Pokemon arrive. Brock gives them some bowls of Pokemon food and May and Ash try to get Tory adapted to the Pokemon. Ash even offers to have Tory pet Pikachu. He starts to try, but ends up pulling his hand away in fear.

Tory thanks the group for trying to help him and runs off. Munchlax returns again to eat the group’s lunch. Once he’s done, he jumps up 300 feet in the air, lands quietly and walks off……What the hell was that even? Why is this Munchlax so adorably funny?

The Plusle and Minun from before arrive to have some food too and I’m just now realizing that these two are basically the Pichu Bros. They already look almost exactly like Pichu to begin with, they’re brothers and they cause a bunch of trouble. Huh.

The plot returns again, and this time Deoxys is just destroying stuff in the city. He creates the pink light again and….we’re back to Ash and the others again. Bye, again, plot!

They marvel at the lights and Rebecca explains that they shouldn’t be able to see aurora lights since they’re usually only viewable at the north and south poles. A bunch of awkward flirting goes on with Sid and May and Brock and Rebecca. Brock also gets really demanding with Rebecca for some reason, basically yelling at her to spend time with him.

Rafe arrives to give a few jabs to Ash for losing so badly earlier, and Ash asks for a rematch at the battle tower tomorrow. Rafe agrees and starts to leave. I guess he was only there to pick on Ash.

He stops when he sees Tory, who came back to share a big basket of cookies with everyone. Oh did I say cookies? Let me clarify – they’re Pokemon cookies because what else would they be?

Everyone lets out their Pokemon to have some cookies and enjoy the night, and this was the one part of this movie that kept me coming back. This is really just a scene with the Pokemon having fun and playing while Tory gets slowly closer to them, but the real reason I liked the scene was because the song, while being kinda cheesy, was also really catchy. Yup, just a moderately decent and catchy song with nothing important happening on screen was the one reason I usually stayed to watch this movie.

Apparently Rafe’s sisters also have Pokemon; a Surskit and a Masquerain. Not that it ever matters at all but there ya go. In addition, I guess the only Pokemon that Rafe and Sid have are Blaziken and Blastoise respectively.

….This scene is cheesier than I remember. The song’s lyrics are cheesier than I remember, the scenes themselves get downright dorky sometimes like the sudden quick cuts of all the Pokemon playing in the pipes, and its saturated with sugar. I don’t dislike the scene, but it’s definitely a bit of diabetes.

Team Rocket arrives to take the food from their picnic. Oh yeah, they’ve been here the whole movie again, I just didn’t mention it because, like always, they don’t do anything but complain about food and get hurt. Only reason I’m mentioning them here is because Munchlax ruins their thieving plans by bogarting the food himself and running off, making Team Rocket give chase.

The light disappears and Deoxys knocks some more stuff and Pokemon over. And then he……Oh okay, back with Ash and Tory again. Don’t worry, it’s not like the movie is about Deoxys or anything.

Tory tells Ash that he’s never really had fun with a bunch of friends before and believes it to be because of his fear of Pokemon. See?! Your life is ruined if you don’t like Pokemon! I am on a roll.

Pikachu offers to have Tory pet him again to prove that he’s finally getting over his fear of Pokemon. He tries again, yet Corphish butts in and freaks him out, making him run off. Way to go, Corphish. Ash calms him, but the attempt to get closer to Pokemon is again ruined.

The next day, Tory brings the whole group to his father’s lab where Tory introduces everyone to Flubber out in the garden.

The Pokemon B-Squad let out their Pokemon to meet Flubber while Rebecca tries to analyze it with her computer.

Back with the “main plot” Rayquaza is making its way to the city to confront Deoxys. Oh and apparently Officer Jenny is the leader of the security guys for this city. You’re all screwed.

Professor Lund (Tory’s Dad) tells Officer Jenny that if Rayquaza and Deoxys meet and battle there, the city will mostly likely be destroyed. He calls for an evacuation, and Jenny agrees with his request.

This is really random and minor, but when the people start evacuating a guy gets on a train wearing a dress, sways back and forth and says ‘it’s party time!’ He’s never seen or brought up again.

Ash and the others are trapped in the garden since Deoxys has been messing with all of the electrical devices in town, making the passport system not work. Professor Lund tries to get to Tory but ends up getting caught on the moving sidewalk when it reboots.

Millions of cube robots then come together to make a bridge away from the city and into a different one, which uh yeah, screw that. Everything is being disabled by Deoxys, meaning that once these robots get hit everyone on the bridge will be right in the water. Not to mention this bridge doesn’t have side rails which Professor Lund could’ve really used to keep him from falling in the water like he does.

Officer Jenny drives by in a boat the instant Professor Lund falls into the water and saves him. Really convenient considering she didn’t know where he was or what he was doing.

Deoxys makes a bunch of clones of itself and starts kidnapping people. Rayquaza shows up and starts attacking Deoxys. It puts up a force field around most the city, somehow draining power from everything, which results in the cube bridge breaking apart and falling into the water. How many times am I going to say ‘I told you so’ in this movie? Luckily no one was on it because apparently a whole-city evacuation can occur in a minute and a half.

Rayquaza is trapped behind the force field, and we return to the group where Sid and Blastoise are trying to pull open the doors to the garden. Hey guys, you could probably save yourself a lot of trouble if you just broke the GLASS doors. Rebecca’s Metagross simply walking into them would probably break them.

Deoxys arrives at the garden and makes more clones which kidnap Sid and Blastoise as they try to protect May. Tory leads everyone to the exit while Rafe and Ash try to buy some time by defeating the clone Deoxyses….Deoxyi….clones with Pikachu and Blaziken.

Ash: “Way to go, Rafe!”

Rafe: “All in a day’s work!” Yeah, way to go, Rafe. You stood there and watched as your Pokemon did all the work after you merely gave it one command to do one attack. The skillz to pay the billz.

After they manage to unlock the passage for the underground exit, which is weird considering I thought most of the power to the city was drained, including the power in the garden which is why they couldn’t get out the front door to begin with, the group calls Ash and Rafe to follow them.

Even the Pokemon are getting taken away by the clones, but Plusle and Minun as well as Munchlax manage to hide in a pipe.

Yuko explains the full situation to the group, and its revealed that the malfunctions of electronic equipment is so widespread that even the Pokeball management system is down, making it impossible to expand, contract or open Pokeballs. Wait, that means that the main group can’t use any of their Pokemon and they’re reliant on Metagross, Blaziken, Pikachu, Surskit and Masquerain now? Do these movies do everything in their power to keep the other Pokemon out of the fun?

Also, how does Rebecca’s laptop work if everything’s so screwed that even the Pokeballs, which always seem to work no matter what, are broken because of these electrical disturbances?

After an unnecessary retelling of the story with Deoxys and Rayquaza, complete with flashback clip show of everything that happened, the group hears a strange noise in their hideout and Ash and Rafe go to investigate.

They discover that it’s merely Plusle and Minun as well as Munchlax. Plusle and Minun run to greet Tory, but he runs away from them again. Ash, Brock, Rafe, Rebecca and Tory decide to leave and split up. Rafe and Rebecca go off to see where the Deoxys are holding everyone who was kidnapped while Ash, Tory and Brock go to find food. However, the food machines won’t activate in response to the passports. Pikachu decides to shock the machine to power it up, and it starts shooting hot dogs everywhere.

As they try to catch the hot dogs:

Brock: “Gotta catch ’em all!”

Gotta vomit in this bucket for that terribly forced catchphrase!

Deoxys clones come to kidnap them, but Plusle and Minun arrive to fight them off. Sadly, Minun gets captured while trying to save Tory.

They run off and a Deoxys clone kidnaps the hot d—Noooooooooooo!! Not the hot dog cart! Do you have no mercy, Deoxys?! You monster!

Ash and the others hide from the Deoxys clones in a warehouse, and Tory tries to pet Plusle as an apology for what happened to Minun, but still can’t manage to touch it.

Back with Rebecca and Rafe, they see that the clones are putting all of the kidnapped people, Pokemon and machines into some domed building. The hot dog cart actually begs to be released and when it runs out of power, the clone drops it into the river! D:

The next morning, the clones find the group and start breaking into their hideout so they decide to head to an underground laboratory to hide yet again. Yuko shows the group the stone that they were experimenting on and explains that it’s a part of a different Deoxys, same as the stone that fell from Deoxys’ body four years ago when it was destroyed by Rayquaza. More specifically, though the movie doesn’t mention it, it’s supposedly Deoxys’ brain.

Flubber emerges from the stone, revealing that Flubber is actually another Deoxys in an incomplete form. Rebecca analyzes the light and compares the wavelengths to those of the lights in the sky that Deoxys produced. She concludes that the lights are actually communication signals and that the green light means ‘friend’ and the pink light means ‘where are you?’

….Okay, I can swallow that she deduced that the lights were communicative signals sent between the two Deoxys, but how the hell is she translating Pokemon speak? Alien Pokemon speak! Alien Pokemon speak that is performed through lights! Just with her laptop?! They’ve been researching that stone for four years and haven’t been able to do much with it, but Rebecca and her laptop have the whole situation figured out in two minutes.

Ash and the others conclude that Deoxys does not really mean harm, its just trying to find its friend. Yuko further explains that Deoxys sees through electromagnetic signals, and all of the people, Pokemon and machines, all beings that give off electromagnetic signals, were clouding its vision as it searched for its friend so it was breaking electrical items and kidnapping everyone to clear up its sight.

The group decides to regenerate the other Deoxys so he can reunite with his friend and they can leave the planet, hopefully sparing them from a city-destroying battle between Rayquaza and Deoxys. They don’t have enough emergency backup power, which also shouldn’t be working, so they team up to generate some power. They formulate a plan to free all of the kidnapped people and Pokemon.

As they head to the building where the kidnap victims are being kept, Deoxys cuts them off. Ash tries but fails to reason with it before it clones itself some more and attacks them. They fend of the clones and start to find another way around, but Rafe decides to stay behind with Blaziken to buy them some time.

Rafe: “Just make sure nothing happens to my sisters, Ash.”

Oh yeah, those sisters who have contributed so much to the movie like………Not getting names so far and being annoying.

Rayquaza uses a Hyper Beam to break through the force field and get into the city. Wow, it just now realized to do that about 12 hours after the force field was put up. Super smart, Rayquaza.

The clones surround Blaziken and Rafe and they allow themselves to get kidnapped.

Meanwhile, Rayquaza starts destroying Deoxys clones while Ash and the others continue to run and execute their plan. Munchlax runs in the opposite direction, but Max has no time to get it back.

As Ash and the others meet back up with Rafe and Sid to start their plan, the clones disappear and the real Deoxys and Rayquaza meet in the flesh. Oooh, it’s time for the main event!

Ladiiiiiieeeessssss and gentlleeemeeeennnnnnnnnn!! Let’s get ready to rummmmmmmmmmmbllllllllllllleeeeeeeee!! In this corner, weighing in at 454 pounds, the Sky High Pokemon – Raaaaaaaaaaayquazaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!

In this corner, weighing in at 134 pounds, the DNA Pokemon, Deeeeeeeeeeeoxyyyyyyyyyysssssssss!!

The two stare down, ready to battle and! We cut back to Ash and the others.

*cough*

Ash and Tory command Plusle and Pikachu to feed power into the building while Minun does the same on the other side of the door. With power restored, the entrance is opened and everyone is reunited, including Plusle and Minun.

Back to the action, *cough* Rayquaza is chasing after Deoxys, leaving a wake of destruction behind him! Oooh! Deoxys fights back and gets a good shot off on Rayquaza, but he maintains his composure before hitting the ground! The chase and destruction continue, but who will come out the victor?! Find out after a word from our sponsor.

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Larousse brand windmills: Getting blown for over 60 years.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Tory and Ash go back to the lab to see how the regeneration is going as power is restored. Everything’s set to start the process, and Ash gives Tory the honor of restoring his friend back to full form. He starts the laser, but they still need 20% more energy to get it to full power. Pikachu, Plusle and Minun get on the case and their power is enough to get the laser to finally work. The other Deoxys is restored to full form. As I guess a means of thanking them, Deoxys releases the Flubber light again and surrounds them in teal light.

Tory asks if it wants to go find the other Deoxys, and it lifts them up with psychic abilities and flies them along with it. It also destroys the roof of the place for no reason. Good job, Deoxys.

Meanwhile, the pink Deoxys is getting its ass beat by Rayquaza again. After being slammed into the ground, the force field dissipates.

*cough*

Things are looking bad for Deoxys, and Rayquaza is ready to celebrate its victory! The referee is about to call the match but what’s this?! Deoxys is getting back up, and it doesn’t look happy! Rayquaza shoots off another Hyper Beam, but Deoxys defends itself with a shield of rocks! INSANE! And out from the smoke comes Deoxys who body slams Rayquaza into a nearby bridge! I hope they had insurance, most preferably from our sponsor, Shay Dee Insurance company. For when legendary Dragon Pokemon and aliens smash into your stuff; don’t trust anyone but our Shay Dee Insurance salesmen!

Rayquaza doles out another Hyper Beam yet again, but misses, and Deoxys counters by smacking Rayquaza right in the face! Rayquaza is down! And Deoxys looks ready to finish the match with one of its Psychic Boosts! A direct hit! Rayquaza is not looking good. Will Rayquaza throw in the towel?!

Ooh, Deoxys is showing no mercy even while Rayquaza is down as it Night Shades him further into submission! Deoxys is set to throw another Psychic Boost, and I think this is the last shot for Rayquaza!

An upset! The other Deoxys has shown up in defense form to protect Rayquaza from the attack! Simply amazing! I haven’t seen a move like that since the last time I saw a move like that!

*cough cough*

Anyway, the two Deoxys meet and the green stone’d one sets off its green lights while the pink stone’d Deoxys lets out its pink light. I don’t know what they’re saying, but if anyone does please enlighten me.

Everyone marvels at the pretty lights which combine as the two Deoxys get closer and start to dance around each other but–

*cough cough*

Rayquaza shoots out of the rubble looking for trouble and shoots off a Hyper Beam towards the two Deoxys! The lights are gone, and we now have a sudden tag team match, ladies and gentlemen!

Rayquaza is shooting off Hyper Beams like they’re going out of style, but the two Deoxys double Night Shade Rayquaza into a nearby building! That move can’t be legal, but the ref appears to be crushed under twenty tons of rubble!

Two small boys and an overpowered rodent nearly get hit by Rayquaza’s body, but the two Deoxys save them in the nick of time! Rayquaza’s down again, but he’s not out as he gets back up and continues his assault, even knocking over a—Nooooooo!! Not a different hot dog cart! This movie is turning into a hot dog cart massacre!

*ahem*

The city is being demolished at every turn, and the two Deoxys are doing everything in their power to restrain Rayquaza.

The Pokemon crash into some building where I think is the main terminal for the cube robots. The Hyper Beam from Rayquaza creates a sudden surge of energy which somehow turns the newly restarted cube robots red, gives them an angry face and causes them to go out of control, creating a wave of blocks over the city.

Rayquaza gets taken down yet again and gets caught up in the wave of blocks. The two Deoxys go into defense form and protect Rayquaza while Plusle and Minun return to save Ash and Tory from the blocks. Professor Lund communicates to them through a screen behind them, though I don’t know how he knew they were there, and tells the boys that they need to get to the chief block robot and present it with a passport. That should open a channel that will give Professor Lund and the others access to the hub to disable them.

And let me just say, wow, there are way too many block robots in this city. There have to hundreds of millions of those things. The blocks are covering the battle tower and they soon smash into the screen that Professor Lund was talking to them through.

Tory, Ash, Pikachu, Plusle and Minun hitch a ride on—the hot dog cart! Can’t you leave that poor thing alone? As they try to grab onto some nearby towers, Munchlax emerges from the hot dog cart while eating some hot dogs. As it falls into the sea of blocks, it evolves into Snorlax. I guess, in order to evolve, Munchlax just needs a hot dog fix.

Ash uses Snorlax as a bridge to hop over to the towers, and Snorlax sinks into the blocks. Ash and Pikachu climb the tower and hop on the floating blocks to the Chief robot and Ash tries to present his passport to it, but drops it.


Tory throws him his passport, but he misses the catch.

Pikachu jumps off, smacks the card with his tail so Ash can finally catch it, but Pikachu ends up getting carried away by the blocks.

Ash presents Tory’s passport to the chief robot and it accepts the scan, allowing Officer Jenny to override the blocks and shut them down.

Everything’s all fine and dandy, Tory, Plusle and Minun observe the stopped block robots, but the brothers fall off of the gigantic tower of blocks. Tory, in his big show of getting over his fear of Pokemon, jumps off and grabs them both. Tory dies from the fall, the end.

Ahh, of course not. Deoxys….Uh one of them, I can’t see which, emerges from the blocks and flies up to save Tory, Plusle and Minun.

Pikachu emerges from the blocks as well….on top of Rayquaza’s head. But he’s plucked off of his head psychically by the other Deoxys and picks up Ash as well.

The two Deoxys and….Ray…quaza…..fly around….happily together…wait, what? Did Rayquaza really get over his insane blood lust of Deoxys just because it shielded it from completely non-lethal plastic and metal blocks?

I guess so, and then Rayquaza just leaves.

*cough cough* And everyone becomes friends, and lives happily ever after! Yes, folks, this is a pretty damn crappy ending to this fight that wasn’t even that great to begin with, but I must remind you that we have a strict ‘no refunds’ policy. If you want to cry about it, use Tear Dri tissues. Tear Dri – for when movies are especially disappointing. Now in new lavender scent.

*ahem*

As I was saying, everything’s all fine and dandy now. Tory reunites with his dad, he shows him his new friends Plusle and Minun who cuddle the crap out of his face. The two Deoxys bid goodbye to everyone with their pretty lights, Team Rocket continues to power the windmills with their stationary bike in the bushes for some reason, there is untold amounts of property damage to the city, millions of block robots lay brick’d on the ground and in several buildings, millions of people were unable to return to their homes for months, and all of this really means that they ultimately failed in protecting the city.

The end.

In terms of credits, we just get a longer version of the insert song ‘This Side of Paradise’ with a shot of Rayquaza flying, a shot of a block robot flying around the city, Ash and the others leaving Larousse City and bidding farewell to Tory, Professor Lund and Yuko, Ash and the main group riding on the magnet train with the side characters, Rafe and his sisters getting off the train, Sid getting off the train and bidding goodbye to May, Rebecca getting off the train and waving goodbye to a forlorn Brock, and then the typical shots of the group camping and walking. Though, for some reason, during the walking shot, they add the faces of the group in squares in front of the shot. Thanks to the way the dubbed movie is cropped, Ash’s face is sliced in half during this.

Pikachu does some cheerleading in front of a five year old’s birthday card design, and the shot of him doing that is repeated in numerous blocks. Then all of the Pokemon in the movie do some cheerleading…I don’t know what’s going on anymore but Blastoise cheerleading is priceless. This song gets really repetitive. Not as bad as Cele-B-R-A-T-E but still really repetitive…. End please.

Thank you.

=====================================

So…..I don’t like this movie. I don’t really have anything to hate, but I have even less to enjoy.

This movie was the first Pokemon movie to not be accompanied by a short film, meaning an extra 20 or so minutes was added to the runtime than is usually allotted for Pokemon movies, and I really don’t think they used this time well at all.

Deoxys is a side character in its own movie. Notice how much of the movie is dedicated to two things – the battle tower and Tory’s fear of Pokemon. The stuff with Deoxys and Rayquaza never seems like its the actual focus until the very end, and most of Deoxys’ screentime is shared with Rayquaza who is only there because of a very petty reason.

At first it was reasonable for Rayquaza to be upset that Deoxys entered into its territory of the ozone layer. The first battle, in that regard, was understandable. The fact that it somehow sensed Deoxys’ return four years later, hunted it down halfway across the globe to kill it when it did not repeat the same mistake of entering into its territory is stretching it rice-paper thin to me.

Throughout much of the movie you don’t even understand which of them is the bad guy. Deoxys destroys stuff too for seemingly no reason much of the time.

Deoxys’ story as a whole is incomplete. He came to earth to find his friend. Okay, I get that. Why is his Deoxys friend on earth? Why is it ‘dead’? Why couldn’t it regenerate after spending so long dormant in its stone form if the other Deoxys fully regenerated in four years? Why was the Deoxys’ in stone form? What ‘killed’ it? How long has it been here? Why did it take so long for Deoxys to arrive on earth to rejoin his friend? It was embedded in meteorite, meaning it must have been in there for hundreds, thousands or even millions of years. How did they get separated to begin with? Why was the green Deoxys able to turn into a light while dormant in its stone form and move about freely? Shouldn’t the pink Deoxys have had that ability too?

The movie doesn’t even touch upon Deoxys’ origins, which, according to its Dex entry, is that it was formed by the DNA of a space virus after being hit with a laser. It’s a pretty silly origin to me, even if it probably has more basis in science than most other legendaries, but they at least could’ve worked that in there considering it’s one of Deoxys’ only forms of lore. Speaking of which, if that origin is true, how is there more than one Deoxys?

Why did Rayquaza just up and forgive both Deoxys after holding such an intense grudge? The whole battle against Rayquaza ultimately seems pointless and poorly executed. The battle itself wasn’t even anything that epic. It’s just a back and forth of Hyper Beams and Psychic Boost with Night Shade.

Touching upon the battle tower aspect before we get back to Tory’s plot line, this part of the story takes up quite a bit of time and yet ultimately amounts to nothing. It does introduce Tory to Ash, but that could’ve been achieved without the lengthy battle sequence, and it was already established before the battle that Tory was afraid of Pokemon.

Don’t get me wrong, I find the battle tower segment to be one of the more enjoyable parts of the movie. Mostly because, outside of opening theme sequences, we just don’t get to see many legit Pokemon battles in these movies. But not only was it long and had nothing really to do with anything, but the battle itself was painful to watch and awkward. Not to mention we didn’t get to see Rebecca battle at all outside of one attack near the end.

The battle tower did allow us to get some other trainer side characters in a movie for a change – ones that actually get names that are said on screen and do things that matter to the plot. What a novel concept, huh movie 01?

However, the rivalry between Rafe and Ash is never resolved. They set it up several times throughout the movie, even seemingly interrupting things to butt it into the plot. They say they’ll battle again in the battle tower in a legit match, but they never have one. That could’ve been at least included in the ending credits, but nope. It’s like they forgot about it.

Rafe’s little sisters, as I said, amounted to absolutely nothing. Rafe doesn’t make a big show of protecting them, they barely even talk to him, Ash doesn’t focus on protecting them for Rafe, they don’t battle or contribute anything, they’re just set dressing. Annoying….annoying set dressing. Luckily they didn’t get many lines.

Sid was a little entertaining, and I’m glad that they had May be nice and respectful of him instead of being cliché and being repulsed by him merely because he’s overweight and has a crush on her. He was nice and not really creepy with his attention to May.

Rebecca wasn’t really necessary to me. Her role could’ve easily been taken by Yuko with really nothing changed. I didn’t mind Rebecca at all and she did dole out some exposition a la laptop, but still.

Getting back to the main plot issue at hand, the actual main plot of the story being Tory’s fear of Pokemon and him spending time with Ash and the others as he tries to get over this fear. I didn’t clock it, but I’m almost certain that this part of the movie really does take up significantly more runtime than the Deoxys one.

Here’s the deal, this isn’t the first time that something like this has happened. Similar setups have occurred in movies 04 and 06. You can have a plot line that takes focus away from the legendary plot line and have it work to the film’s advantage. While movie 04 had problems with this, movie 06 ironed them out, and both movies did a pretty decent job with it.

This movie does not.

I really don’t have any problems with a plot point involving someone getting over a fear of Pokemon, but here it feels like it’s merely an extended plot from any average episode of Pokemon. In fact, I’m almost certain a similar plot has appeared in the show.

My problem is that I find the reason for his fear to be pretty silly. I know phobias are irrational fears by definition, and even here the fear is somewhat founded because, let’s not kid ourselves, Pokemon can be very dangerous. I also know that even if a situation doesn’t seem traumatic, it can be. But looking at it as a storyline, it’s just silly.

Walrein stampede around him as a child, he doesn’t get touched by them, kinda faints because of it and as a result of this he is scared to death of all Pokemon for years. Like I said, even putting realistic logic in there would mean Tory would just be afraid of Walrein or at most all Pokemon similar to Walrein like Dewgong, but no. It’s every Pokemon in existence, no matter how cute, cuddly or harmless.

Not to mention that it really does get old to watch him try to simply touch a Pokemon and then run off. Over and over and over.

You’re telling me Yuko and Professor Lund never once thought over the four years that he’s been struggling with this fear to help him out with this? This fear has left him with no friends and no life, and yet, like always, a group of random children have to solve the problem for the adults because it seems like they either won’t get off their asses and try or they’re too stupid to know what to do to try.

One of the bigger issues with this plot is that it has absolutely nothing to do with Deoxys. What do the more human plot threads of movie 04 and 06, and in a different light, movie 03, have in common?

While the plot itself may not be completely centered on the legendary Pokemon, they are big parts of it. Movie 03 – the Unown make Molly’s dream reality to help her escape into a world with her ‘papa’, an Entei, to protect her and stay with her since her real parents are gone.

Movie 04 – Sam is ‘stuck’ in the future because of Celebi’s time traveling abilities after protecting it from a poacher. Celebi is the only one who can bring him back home.

Movie 06 – Jirachi needs Max to act like a partner and guardian to him as his lives out his one week of being awake before returning to stone form. Max befriends Jirachi and learns about letting go.

Movie 07 – Tory is scared to death of Pokemon after nearly getting trampled by a bunch of Walrein. Ash and the others try to get him over this fear to help improve his quality of life.

Tory’s story has nothing whatsoever to do with Deoxys. Yes, Deoxys caused the disturbance which made the Walrein stampede, but I don’t even think Tory really got a good look at Deoxys back then considering it was bathed in light during this point, and that’s mostly unrelated.

Also, his friendship with green Deoxys doesn’t change things much either. Nothing would’ve really been different had Tory not befriended Flubber. It didn’t affect Tory or green Deoxys at all. It’s not like the Deoxys hated humans and Tory’s friendship with one of them quelled the destruction. They were just muddling up its vision.

He also has nothing to do with Rayquaza. It would’ve been better to have Tory nearly or actually get caught up in one of Rayquaza’s many Hyper Beams. It probably wouldn’t hurt him too much, being Pokemon, it would connect him to the legendaries and give him a stronger reason to be so afraid of Pokemon in general.

You can’t give a legendary top billing, give most of the movie to a human character and then not have the human strongly connected to the legendary. It just makes the movie seem horribly disjointed.

As for Tory himself, he’s another problem to me. Tory’s dull as dishwater. His only trait is being afraid of Pokemon and being a nice kid. I suppose he also has an interesting character design, but that’s it. He’s not particularly smart, skilled or fun. They didn’t even try a little harder to make him memorable and just make him a little annoying.

In fact, looking at it, it’s almost like they took all the possible character traits for Tory and gave them to the battle tower group. Rafe is skilled with Pokemon and he’s cool, Sid is fun and dorky, Rebecca’s very smart and the twins are annoying. They just forgot to leave a character trait for Tory.

While we’re on the topic of characters, May, Max and Brock barely got to do anything either. They were definitely more included than Brock and Misty were in movie 05, but they still didn’t get to do much of anything. They help in trying to get Tory over his fear and in getting the windmills going, but outside of that they don’t get to do much. They can’t really participate anyway since their Pokemon are stuck in their Pokeballs for a good chunk of the movie, and for some reason they didn’t let any out to meet Flubber like the battle tower group.

Finally, I find the ending to be flat out dumb. There are really that many block robots in this city? Enough to make a city-destroying tsunami of blocks? And they really needed to make that the big disaster of the movie instead of something actually related to the plot? It comes out of nowhere.

At least in movie 05 the big flood was somewhat foreshadowed. This was totally random and, again, has really nothing to do with our main plot. Who is afraid of a bunch of block robots with cartoony emoticon faces and six-year-old voices anyway?

This ending also could’ve been resolved very easily with Deoxys. It’s been causing electromagnetic mayhem everywhere, right? It’s been causing power outages and malfunctions all over the city – even, coincidentally enough, disabling the block robots. So why could it not simply disable them with those same abilities instead of just becoming a shield for Rayquaza? If you really needed to do that, couldn’t you have Deoxys, preferably the pink stone one, protect Rayquaza while the green one disables the robots? Why could Rayquaza not destroy a good chunk of these blocks with its Hyper Beams?

Action! Excitement! Bureaucracy!

What, did you not want to take away from the epic ending of Ash swiping his passport to stop the robots? You know, I always thought the ending of Star Wars would’ve been better if Luke had just destroyed the Death Star by filing a complaint in to the empire.

Considering that the Rayquaza and Deoxys battle didn’t have many epic moments (Blowing Deoxys’ arm off was, admittedly, as metal as this show can get) or actual ending, that means this movie has two lame climaxes. The only technically ‘epic’ part of the movie is when the two Deoxys meet and merge their lights, but considering we’ve been seeing these lights the whole movie and them combining really makes them less impressive in regards to color, to be honest, it’s really not something to write home about.

Even the credits were slightly disappointing because the movies usually use that time to let the art department have some fun by putting the main group in a bunch of detailed and quite visually appealing environments that we typically don’t get to see them in, but here they spend most of the credits on the train. We get one detailed shot of them camping and then the rest is weird cheerleading by the Pokemon in front of a cheesy 90’s-esque background.

Art and Animation: Better than the series, but I still noticed quite a few bad shots such as this.

What is up with James’ face?

The animation is on par with basically all of the movies and despite my poke at the CGI in the opener, the rest of the CGI with the robots is pretty decent, and I can thank God that they didn’t make Rayquaza CGI. They did make Deoxys CGI a few times, but that was it and it wasn’t bad. Also, I should mention that the cinematography in this movie is really great. Nothing breathtaking, but some shots were wonderfully lit, had great angles and really good atmosphere.

I will mention one part during the evacuation where the people are walking up a ramp to get on a plane and they’re very obviously simple CGI walk cycles being slid across the ramp.

Music: Outside of the insert song, which is also the ED, nothing really stood out to me here as particularly good or bad. Though This Side of Paradise does get very repetitive at the end and is a huge ear worm. I catch myself singing it all the time. They kept the Japanese soundtrack to my knowledge, but it’s just okay. Also, I really do miss the Pokemon theme songs as the openers.

Voice Acting: Everyone’s on par with the TV series, and despite Rebecca Honig’s dog whistle of a voice, she didn’t get many lines with which to annoy me. Lisa Ortiz was using her much more reserved voice which is definitely a step up from her more frequently heard raspy screech, thank God.

By the way, Tory is voiced by Tara Jayne, who does a lot of ‘young boy’ voices for 4Kids, most frequently in Pokemon but most recognizably as Mokuba in Yugioh. She is doing absolutely nothing here to change her voice from her typical one, leaving Tory with even less identity. However, the main problem I have is that Tara Jayne also voices another prominent movie character…Sam. And they sound exactly alike. Distractedly so.

Bottomline: Unlike the other Pokemon movies, I really cannot see myself ever going back and watching this movie again. The main plot leaves a lot of unanswered questions, what plot is there is pretty weak, the thing with Rayquaza really seemed forced during the second half and is poorly resolved. The side plot is not worthy of reaching ‘side plot turned main plot’ status for the movies, and it has nothing to do with the Deoxys plot. It’s an average Pokemon episode plot stretched out to fit a movie.

There’s even more filler with the battle tower, even if that is a nice change of pace from our normal non-battling movie plots. The tower itself is nicely designed and looks like a lot of fun, but this is also a plot line that just kinda stops without resolution.

Tory is not an interesting movie character or even an interesting character period, but the side characters were another welcome change to the typical movie formula, and they did a lot to pick up the slack. They got personalities, names, Pokemon, and things to do and I really respect this movie for finally getting that right. At least with everyone but the twins.

Team Rocket was useless and barely there the whole movie. Brock, May and Max didn’t get much to do, but they didn’t seem like they were absent the whole time, so that’s something.

All in all, it’s not incredibly stupid or bad like some of the Pokemon movies. It’s just very much broken and average at best. I feel like this movie didn’t really know what it wanted to be so it tried to be a few different things (human focused, legendary focused, and battle/Pokemon/leisure focused) and couldn’t get any of them to be much good. I don’t dislike Deoxys as much as I did going in, but I still don’t care for it much. I can be thankful they didn’t make either Deoxys or Rayquaza talk, though.

The most entertaining parts of this movie are the amusing Munchlax and whatever this movie has against hot dog carts. I really did laugh out loud just at the fact that the hot dog cart was being trashed this whole movie.

I know my score seems harsh, and I completely understand if people enjoy this movie for their own reasons. Admittedly, I struggle with giving this such a low score since it really is, at its core, bland mixed with some silly aspects bordering on stupid. I didn’t feel like I lost anything going in, but I also feel like I didn’t gain anything either. In a lot of respects, that’s worse than it being ridiculously bad. At least ridiculously bad movies with nonsense plots are usually fun to watch.

This is just bland. It borders on boring. The fact that the big climax of the movie is something that shows up as a threat in the last ten minutes of the film and has little to nothing to do with the legendaries or anything plot related, and the fact that it’s brought down by a passport of all things, with an amputated battle with Rayquaza and Deoxys, is underwhelming to say the least. I didn’t find much enjoyment in it at all. I had to make my own fun in this review. I fully understand anyone liking this movie, but, personally, I can’t find much to recommend here.

Seeing as how this is supposedly a very loyal dub according to Dogasu, I can’t imagine the Japanese version is any better or worse.

Recommended Audience: Deoxys does get its arm blown off and hit by a Hyper Beam so powerful that he essentially dies, but neither involves blood (just particles of light) and Deoxys is eventually regenerated and brought back to life. Outside of that, really nothing. 6+

Final note: No idea what destiny involves Deoxys. *shrug* They should’ve called it ‘Deoxys: Friendship is Magic’

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 06 (Sub) Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: The Wishing Star of Seven Nights: Jirachi Review

Rating: 8/10

Plot: A former member of Team Magma, Butler, wants to use the legendary Pokemon, Jirachi’s, power to absorb energy from the Millennium Comet in order to power a machine to revive a Groudon from a fossil. Jirachi selects young Masato/Max as his partner to protect him in the seven days he has awake while the Millennium Comet is visible from earth. It’s up to Masato, Satoshi/Ash, Haruka/May and Takeshi/Brock to keep Jirachi away from Butler and return him back home.

—————————————————

Jeez, long-ass title there, Japan.

That is the best Japanese poster I have seen for the movies so far. It’s reverting back to a bit cluttered, and Jirachi kinda looks pudgy for whatever reason, but everything else looks fantastic. I like the nice touch of having Jirachi’s true eye cracking open.

I’m pretty excited but a little worried for this review. Dogasu said the script suffered from quite a few changes, though the comparison is pretty short. I really liked the dubbed movie, but will the subbed version make me rethink my opinion?

15 Minute Mark

Sadly, I’m working from the English visual track (widescreen somehow, guess they must’ve re-released it) with the Japanese audio, so I can’t compare the title screens.

Ah, I never noticed that the guy in the van at the end credits is part of the festival. He never has a big role in the movie outside of selling Haruka her wishing star but that’s a little interesting.

I find it weird that Kirlia got a voice change despite keeping the same name between versions and them both saying that same name.

Speaking of voice changes, Butler’s original voice is so much better. Suave and deep.

Butler commands Samayouru/Dusclops to do Will o’ The Wisp. In the dub, he says ‘Kappitata’ or something like that. It’s weird because this attack is the same thing in the English version. Maybe they wanted it to be triggered by a ‘magic word’ for whatever reason.

Half-Hour Mark

The whole thing about Jirachi needing a friend to emerge isn’t quite right. When Jirachi is about to emerge, he chooses a kind-hearted young boy as his partner to help protect him over the time that it is active. In a way, it’s a chosen duty or honor for this boy (no idea why it specifically has to be a boy…) not that simply Jirachi wants or needs a buddy or is designated as a ‘wish maker’.

The way it’s worded in the original also adds more weight because being Jirachi’s partner technically means that it’s Masato’s Pokemon, like how Satoshi considers Pikachu his partner, making Masato extra happy because that means he has a Pokemon of his own now. In the dub, their being labeled as friends changes the dynamic just enough to not hold as much weight.

Haruka says she’s not quite sure about the ‘kind-hearted’ part, and Masato gets defensive, saying that Jirachi just understands him better. May feels like Max is going crazy for hearing voices and talking to a rock. Max gets even more defensive and says May’s just jealous because Jirachi wants to be friends with him and not her.

This changes the later scene when May tries to touch the rock. It goes from Max teasing her about wanting to touch the rock when she said it was crazy to be friends with a rock to Masato teasing that he supposedly was too un-kind to let her touch it.

The wishing star that May bought was originally the ‘wish-maker.’ I wouldn’t have brought up, really, but the fact that the title of the dub is ‘wish-maker’ and this is the first I’ve heard of that phrase in the original (Jirachi didn’t say it to Masato when he was talking to him earlier) makes me wonder.

I refrained from mentioning this in the other review, but the guy with the van I mentioned, the one scene in which he has a speaking role is here (where he sells Haruka the wish-maker) and he sounds normal in the original but very ‘bad guy’-ish in the dub.

Masato isn’t being quite as creepy as Max was with the rock. He asks to hear Jirachi’s voice again and that’s why he ‘snuggles’ the rock. Max says they’ll be best friends and then hugs the rock.

The thing about transporting Haruka makes more sense in the original. She merely says to return everything to where it came from, which Jirachi takes as meaning he should put Haruka back in the pile of candy from which she emerged. I don’t know why 4Kids changed this bit to something that made no sense—Oh wait, 4Kids. Default setting – Make no sense.

Oddly enough, there’s actually a reference to the movie’s short. Nyasu’s/Meowth’s original dialogue says that they should use Jirachi to wish for a new base that won’t be broken or danced on. This is in reference to the fact that Team Rocket’s new base was destroyed due to the magic dance wand thing in Gotta Dance. This is the first time I believe the show/movie has ever mentioned anything from the shorts. Kinda neat, actually.

Takeshi says that if Jirachi and Absol are friends, then it makes sense to teleport Achamo/Torchic and Pikachu out to avoid the fighting. Brock says it’s unlikely that the two know each other since Jirachi’s been asleep for 1000 years.

45 Minute Mark

The land that Jirachi originates from is called Faunz not Forina.

Butler doesn’t say that he’s doing this for Diane, which of course we know he isn’t anyway, he’s doing it purely for revenge and his own pride. He just pleads with her to understand why he needs to do this.

Takeshi says Groudon’s power is the ability to create land, not just that he has ‘incredible power.’

Okay, now we’re at a point where the original makes no sense. Diane says that part of the necessary procedure for awakening Jirachi is to find the young boy that Jirachi wants to be his partner. Thus, Butler has been putting on a slue of magic shows in search of that boy.

But surely Jirachi wouldn’t contact his partner before the day of the comet’s arrival? Unless he would and some boy would have to be friends with a rock for days, weeks, months, years, possibly decades just to get to the comet’s arrival, and that’s if the kid is lucky enough to be born within a decent time frame of the comet’s arrival.

What would Butler have done if he found the right kid like last year? Stalked or kidnapped the kid for a year until he can awaken Jirachi?

This conversation is omitted from the dub in lieu of more explanation of the comet’s energy and Jirachi’s ability to absorb it.

And now we’re bridging a gap I had in the dub. I never understood why Butler, who seemed to have great aspirations of being a magician, became a scientist for Team Magma. In the original’s flashback to Diane and Butler as kids, she says he loved inventing things that surprised people, which culminated in magic tricks when they were kids and his attempt at making a Groudon revival machine as an adult.

I believe his desire to put on a show for people, impress them, resulted in a big ego for Butler, and his pride as a showman was greatly damaged when he was humiliated by Team Magma after his failure.

It’s mostly implications and theorizing, but it’s something to ponder.

Okay, I’m going to talk about Team Rocket because I just don’t have much to discuss at the moment. Team Rocket is after Jirachi too. They’ve been following the group this whole time supposedly waiting for the right time to snatch Jirachi. While I’m glad they never try because, in all honestly, one Team Rocket snatch job is more than enough for most episodes and seriously isn’t needed in the movies, the fact of the matter is…..just that – they never try.

The group is on this trip for four days and they are completely unguarded save for Satoshi and the gang. Butler snatched Jirachi right from Masato’s arms offscreen even, while Takeshi, Satoshi and Pikachu were all asleep within two feet of each other. Why aren’t they making any effort to take Jirachi?

They have at least three opportunities to do that at night while everyone’s sleeping and they just sit there doing nothing. They, both sub and dub, even say at a point that they have the perfect opportunity, yet still nothing. Their desire to catch Jirachi is only there to keep them on screen because they’re a crowd favorite in America and Japan.

Hour Mark

Got nothing particularly note-worthy here.

End Mark

Butler originally tells the boys that he’s sorry for what he’s done when he’s being absorbed. In the dub, he said at least he’d get to be with Diane. I prefer the original’s because I think we needed a moment where he actually said outright that he was sorry for what he’d done. Knowing that he loves Diane and wants to save her only goes so far, ya know?

Jirachi just says he loves Masato, he loves everyone and that they’re all friends. The group assures this. In the dub, this was the stuff with Max being the one to grant Jirachi’s wish of having a friend.

Oh God, Takeshi’s Japanese VA is just as bored-sounding when he’s singing this song!

Oh okay, so Diane and Butler actually had a reason for staying in Faunz beyond ‘as long as we’re together.’ Butler and Diane want to help restore the land that was damaged from the clone Groudon’s attacks. They also plan on studying the plant life.

The ending song is the same between versions except that it’s, obviously, 100% Japanese instead of half Japanese half English. I like both versions equally.

Bottomline: The script wasn’t changed too much for the dub. I really stretched for some of my notes here, but yes the script for the original is better than the dub’s. Some things that were nagging me were explained, such as Masato’s actual role here and why Butler and Diane were staying in Faunz. We still get no explanation as to why Groudon turned out that way, but I guess we can just chalk it up to an experiment gone wrong.

The dialogue’s better and really shows how much wording can help a script, the voices are better, and, oh yeah, there aren’t any jarring edits. At least they didn’t really change the story or lore, but the minor changes to the script can still have lasting impacts.

The only thing I would call major is the fact that the ‘wish-maker’ thing doesn’t exist. The only ‘wish-maker’ in the original is Haruka’s charm thing. The dub kinda leads you to believe that Max is chosen as a ‘wish-maker,’ kinda like Jirachi’s a genie and Max is his master. It doesn’t come up much, but it does pop up a few times and is the name of the movie.

The ending song, while still having a bored-sounding Takeshi, was also a bit less silly to listen to, making the ending more emotionally connecting.

4Kids missed the mark a bit here, but it is by far not their worst efforts. I still really wanna slap whoever thought it was okay to release the movie with incredibly obvious and annoying screen jumps.

Recommended Audience: E for everyone!

Pokemon Extravaganza: Movie 06 (Dub) Jirachi – Wish Maker Review

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Every 1000 years, the Millennium Comet is visible from earth for seven days. Ash, May, Brock and Max take a break from their Pokemon journey to visit a festival meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet. While enjoying a magic show, they meet the Great Butler and his assistant, Diane, who give Max a crystal that contains the wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi, as he’s the one Jirachi has chosen to befriend in order to emerge from his slumber.

They become fast friends, but it soon becomes apparent that Butler had malicious motives for giving Jirachi to Max. He wants to use Jirachi and the comet to power a machine that will clone a Groudon as revenge against Team Magma.

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I don’t really know if there’s anything I can say here. Like I said in my Gotta Dance review, I only caught this movie on TV once or twice. I really wasn’t keen on getting into it for a few reasons:

1) I was still salty about Misty leaving.

2) This movie’s main character is Max. I am not a fan of Max.

3) Despite liking him, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jirachi.

I still watched it when it aired on Cartoon Network, and I didn’t remember entirely all that happens. I was either watching something else while watching that movie the first time or I just wasn’t paying proper attention. I don’t have much else to say about my previous experience with this movie beyond that.

The poster is really good yet again. I have to wonder why only the starters and Pikachu are on it, but it’s nothing major. Looks fantastic otherwise.

Bulbagarden’s comparison of the movie can be found here.

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Since Misty is now gone, we need to make a new ‘World of Pokemon’ opener, but this one’s a bit different….and awesome.

This ‘World of Pokemon’ opener moreso focuses on the legendaries and the Pokemon lore as a whole. The thing that’s really cool about it, though, is the fact that they showcase each of the legendaries that have been spotlighted in all of the previous movies and in the TV show. They even show Ho-Oh first because technically that was the first ever legendary to appear in the show.

Mewtwo follows, and he’s wearing a huge scarf for some reason, then we get Lugia, Entei, Celebi, Latias and Latios (though it must be a different Latios) and Kyogre….who must’ve appeared in the show before this I guess. Each of their shots are extremely cool, too. Entei’s and Lugia’s in particular look amazing.

Cut to a Pokemon battle in a stadium and – oh my god, those are different Pokeballs!

Man, it’s so rare to see different Pokeballs in this show. What’s that black one? It’s awesome!…..Wow, I think this is the most excited I’ve gotten during any of these movie reviews and I’m only at the ‘World of Pokemon’ opener. Hopefully this is a good omen.

Anyway, we – oh my god, the person throwing them is Ruby!

I’m so unreasonably happy right now!

The narrator continues on saying that Pokemon are sometimes used in battles alongside Pokemon Trainers, and Pokemon and humans live together in peace and harmony. However, there are some evil people who want to use the strongest Pokemon for their own malicious means, such as Team Magma’s pursuit of Groudon.

Cut to a cave where two people find a big crystal that supposedly holds the key to granting their strongest desire.

Now we’re with Ash and friends, further explaining their stories. Well, Ash’s dream of being a Pokemon Master anyway. The narrator doesn’t even bless the others with names just ‘friends with hopes and dreams of their own.’

Also, you think I’m joking when I call him Messiahchu?

Since when is Pikachu so fast that he doesn’t break surface tension? I don’t even think he’s using Agility!

The narration keeps going with basically saying dreams are great, but be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Obvious moral is obvious.

We get our title screen and…..really good CGI?…..What the hell were the good CGI guys doing when Gotta Dance was being made?

Ash and the others are walking around in the middle of the night looking for some festival that is meant to celebrate the Millennium Comet, a huge event since the comet only appears for seven nights once every 1000 years.

They reach the location where the festival is supposed to be, but find it to be a completely empty field. They take a break to eat and soon after fall asleep when they’re awoken by the festival workers setting up.

The credits are playing over this…..

But….but…..but what about the theme song? They started not including the theme songs in the movies? That’s a sin or something isn’t it? Outside of the awesome World of Pokemon opener, it makes the opening really lackluster.

Wow, even the CGI trucks look really good….Seriously, where the hell were you animators in the short?

We see our main CotM and antagonists, basically, Butler the magician and his assistant, Diane, using cute tricks with balloons to make crates and tents suddenly appear and assemble. The place ends up looking good, but I don’t think that assembly montage was ‘opener-worthy.’

Cut to the daytime where Ash, May, Max and Brock are having fun at the festival and we see Team Rocket throwing fliers for the Great Butler’s magic show. Way to litter, guys. I really never understood why people thought that was a good way to advertise. Yes, it’s exposure but it’s also really annoying.

Ash and the others find one on the ground and decide to go to his show.

Dogasu’s comparison makes a note about this poster. There’s Japanese text at the bottom of the title that is basically the exact Japanese translation of the English words, The Great Butler’s Magic Show. In the dub, they erase this text, which isn’t anything new by far. This is 4Kids. However, it is a new thing for the movies, because, outside of titles and credits, the text has been left alone in the movies.

They explain how this paint edit in particular is dumb because they left half the Japanese theme song to this movie completely untranslated, which is very much a rarity for them. They also have the full Japanese song and the Japanese title card available on the DVD, so it’s yet another ‘missing the forest for the trees’ moment for 4Kids. Maybe they’re just so used to removing this stuff that they did it on instinct.

What I’m more focused on is the sloppiness of this edit. If there’s one thing I can always (backhandedly) compliment 4Kids for is that, when it comes to the editing involved in their changes, they’re pretty good about whitewashing nearly every trace of the fact that they changed it.

While their text replacements leave much to be desired most of the time, they’re pretty good when it comes to removals. They’re so good that there have been numerous times when I’ve tried to catch a screencap of the painted shot and it just goes by so quickly that it’s either incredibly difficult or close to impossible to get the shot.

What they do may be stupid, but they did get pretty damn good at it – Usually, anyway.

Nelvana and DiC also do similar edits sometimes and they suck at it for the most part. I remember those edits that Cartoon Network would make on Yu Yu Hakusho to censor blood and middle fingers and they were horrible at it. Colors never matched, the paint would shake in a very distracting manner, and it just looked awful.

I can think of several instances where their paint and editing is off, but 4Kids was basically the best in the business at what they did. I’ve probably missed minute details that they’ve edited away in my SDCs simply because I don’t have hawk eyes or the patience to go through episodes frame by frame.

The shots of Team Rocket throwing the fliers is perfect. You can’t tell a single thing was changed. Then when they show a close up shot of one of the fliers on the ground, there’s one frame that they neglected to change.

What’s worse is that, in addition to erasing the text, they seem to have moved the shot a bit, making the screen jump when it cuts to that shot.

This is the frame they neglected to paint:

This is the frame post-paint:

Granted, their ‘after’ shot is a little better because they made the G visible, but that’s still no excuse. This is such sloppy editing from 4Kids that I’d actually say I’m disappointed in them. They rarely ever miss frames, and editing mistakes that make the screen jump are a once-in-a-blue-moon deal with them.

The reason I brought up Team Rocket throwing the painted fliers is the fact that those are numerous, much smaller posters being thrown through the air. Meaning you have way more things to paint that are constantly moving and changing angles. That’s a very hard and time consuming paint edit that they did perfectly.

This is a mostly static shot, up close. There’s no reason for this. For shame 4Kids’ editing staff. For shame.

….Last thing about this poster, I promise…..Shouldn’t it be ‘Welcome to THE Great Butler’s Magic Show?’

Cut to the magic show where magic happens. Butler is wowing the audience with his magic and he makes Diane and the stone they found earlier in the cave appear in a puff of fire and smoke. The stone is CGI, and, on its own, it looks fantastic. Diane is traditionally animated…So yeah, it looks wonky when they try to meld the two in one shot and make the CGI move with the regular animation. It just doesn’t look right.

Max starts hearing a voice emanating from the stone talking about wishes and the comet, so he rushes the stage like a crazy person. Ash tries to bring him back to his seat, but Butler and Diane decide to use them as volunteers in their act.

I’m gonna stop right there and explain why I don’t like the fact that Max is technically the protagonist of this movie.

I don’t much care for Max as a character. I find him to be a little annoying know-it-all. He does love Pokemon, yes, and he definitely has a passion for training. But the fact of the matter is that he’s annoying to me because of his attitude and the vibe he gives off. Even his voice irks me.

There’s also little point in him being there. On the episodes that do follow him, they mostly just focus on the bare basics in terms of the spirit and technical aspects of Pokemon Training, which makes sense considering Max is too young to be a Trainer, but it’s boring to watch unless you’re just that new to the franchise.

If it is to help welcome newbies who may be getting in on the new generation….We have May for that don’t we? Isn’t she supposed to fill the newbie role? I know she becomes a Coordinator later, but my point still stands. Plus, he seems to be pretty booksmart in regards to Pokemon, so it’s a little contradictory.

Other than that, his episodes mostly center around his childishness, which also makes sense because child, but that doesn’t make it any better to watch.

Speaking of not being a Trainer….Max isn’t a Trainer. Or anything else, for that matter. Thus what he does is essentially nothing in episodes that don’t center around him. He basically takes a seat as yet another Ash companion who is there to be there and not much else.

I guess I understand why Max is the main character in this movie, because it’s cuter to have a younger kid being best friends with a cute Pokemon over the older kids. Plus, the other kids have Pokemon they treasure and Max doesn’t get to actually ‘have’ a Pokemon often.

Still, couldn’t they have just as easily used a new CotM? They did it in Movie 04. Max will be gone from the franchise entirely in….what, two or three years? And I will say it makes me stew a bit that who I consider to be the second most useless Ash companion (three guesses who the first is) gets a movie to himself, but Brock and Misty never did, and this really never happens again as Ash or a CotM takes over in practically every other movie.

I won’t say Max doesn’t grow over time. He does mature and gets slightly less annoying to my recollection. However, we will never see the fruits of this labor. The last we see of Max is him back at his dad’s Gym still working on becoming a Trainer some day, and I will bet everything I own that we will never see that day.

He’s barely made a cameo since his departure, and in order to actually see him as a legit Trainer, we’d need to hop ahead three years to make him ten, and Pokemon just doesn’t age people. They may change their character designs a bit, but no aging. Worse yet is the horrible idea of making Ash 13! *gasp*

If anything, Ash has been de-aged recently with the new character designs.

I don’t remember him being quite a big annoyance in this movie, but I’m still not looking forward to an hour and a half of Max spotlight.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program.

Ash and Max are set to perform the trick of ‘the burning box’ which requires them to escape from a box before it bursts into flames. May bitches about not being in the show and Brock does the same because he wants some of Diane’s booty.

They start the trick and decide to make it more interesting by, instead of using flames, using a Dusclops’ Hyper Beam to destroy the box.

Meowth: “They’re stuck in a dark place with impending doom and no way out. That sounds like my life.”

Wow, that’s…kind of dark, 4Kids.

The Hyper Beam goes off and the bottom of the box falls out at the last second, sending Max and Ash under the stage. The Hyper Beam looks weird in this movie. It charges blue and then looks like fire when shot instead of the yellow beam we know and love.

They continue to ride under the auditorium and pop up back in the audience.

As they take the applause, Team Rocket ditch their clown outfits and nab Pikachu as well as Butler and Diane’s Mightyena and Kirlia.

Butler defeats them with Dusclops, Pikachu lends a hand and Dusclops sends them blasting off.

Once the show concludes, Butler tells them that the rock is housing the sleeping wish-granting legendary Pokemon, Jirachi. He only awakens once every 1000 years, and in order to awaken he needs two things; 1) The Millennium Comet needs to be visible and 2) He needs to find a friend.

We’ll be right back with Care Bears: Wish Maker in a moment, but wow that is some crazy coinky-dink. Jirachi can only be awoken when the Millennium Comet comes around, which it only does once per 1000 years. How convenient that they happened to find it right as the comet’s set to come in that very night.

They realize that Max is the one Jirachi has chosen to be its friend, and additionally his ‘wish-maker’ if what Jirachi said earlier is any indication….No criteria needed, it probably could’ve talked to anyone or everyone in the audience, but there ya go. Butler hands the rock over to Max since he has the best chance of awakening Jirachi.

Later that night, Ash and the others enjoy the festival some more. May decides to buy a wishing star, which looks kinda like a dreamcatcher. The cashier says that the wishing star is a neat little contraption with which you use in conjunction with the seven days of the comet. On each day of the comet, you fold down one of the points and make a wish. When the final day is done, your wish will come true.

They watch the fireworks and, of course, there’s a Pikachu one and, of course, it’s the biggest one.

They also show a Psyduck, Treecko, Lotad, Torchic, Beautifly and Mudkip…..wow, that was just a big collection of random Pokemon Ash and his friends have owned. Huh.

Can I take the time out to step back and show how crazy Max seems right now?

He’s hearing voices only he can hear and he’s carrying around a rock, cuddling it and treating it like it’s alive. I, you and the Ash gang know or believe there’s a Pokemon in there….but no one else does! I’m surprised more people aren’t staring at the kid giving hugs to the giant purple rock. I can’t be the only one who thinks it’d be funny if it ended up to be just Butler yanking the kid’s chain or Ash and the others humoring him until the guys in white show up to take Max away.

How is Max dealing with lugging that rock around this whole time, anyway? It’s really quite big to be carrying around like a teddy bear.

They see the Millennium Comet, May makes her wish and Max falls asleep. May pats his head and Max mutters for his mommy. Aw. That is kinda cute.

May starts… I suppose I’ll call it humming even though she’s moreso going ‘doodododdodododo’ Another note Dogasu made here was that they left in May/Haruka’s original Japanese voice for this song……which I find baffling. Is Veronica Taylor really that bad at singing that she can’t pull off a ‘doodododododdooododo’ song in her female voice? I’m not really complaining, I’m just curious.

May explains that the song is a lullaby their mother would ‘sing’ to them, and as she ‘sings,’ the rock glows and we cut to the woods where a green light is flowing through everything. It looks exactly like Celebi’s time travel effects. An Absol sees this and runs towards the rock.

Jirachi emerges, and I will say that Jirachi is very cute…..Not as cute as Mew, maybe on par with Celebi. They also selected an equally cute voice for the little guy.

Diane arrives somehow knowing what happened and tells the kids they can sleep in their bus for the night. Remember kids, if a carny you barely know says you can sleep in their bus, it’s A-Okay!

Diane then runs off to tell Butler, who happily receives the news, revealing that he has big plans for the little star—Evil plans! Muahahahaha!! He doesn’t have the voice to pull this off but MUAHAHAHAHAH!

Back with the kids, Max wants to test out Jirachi’s wish-granting powers. So, being a kid, he wishes for a bunch of candy.

Jirachi’s tags glow and he floats up in the air, but nothing happens.

Max: “There’s no such thing as someone being able to grant wishes! I knew it!”

See, this is the kind of crap that makes me dislike this kid. Also, when the hell did you ever say that? You’ve been believing each and every thing about this situation since the instant you heard Jirachi’s voice. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have snuggled with a rock for the past six hours. Little brat.

Jirachi’s wish-granting abilities start working and candy starts popping up all over the bus. I don’t know when crackers and cheese became candy…..but I like cheese, so I’ll allow this.

However, it seems that Jirachi works on the laws of equivalent exchange because we then cut to the vendors at the festival having their candy and foodstuffs disappearing.

Once Max’s wish has been granted, the others fight over who gets the next wish, even going so far as to play tug-of-war with poor Jirachi until they burst out the back door of the bus.

Diane and Butler arrive and explain that Jirachi grants wishes, but the hitch is, like I said, he really just teleports things that you wish for. He doesn’t make them from thin air…..So….Jirachi’s a kidnapping and theft machine. Kinda takes away from the mysticism of this legendary doesn’t it? That also means there’s a ton of wishes you simply can’t make because of this fine print. This is the least impressive legendary ever.

At least they’re giving rules and restrictions to how this magic works, which is more than I can say for a lot of magic things in kid shows….but when something is a wish-granting machine, you kinda just accept that it grants wishes. The fact that it simply steals things makes him a really lame legendary…that you’d probably get arrested for using.

May flips her lid after discovering what Jirachi did and demands him to ‘get rid of the problem’ which prompts Jirachi to transport May into the pile of candy. I uh….don’t get it? May’s the problem? Because she’s yelling? Or did Max find her to be the problem at the moment and Jirachi was only obeying him? I dunno. Also, how does putting her mere feet away into the candy pile ‘solve the problem’?

Jirachi, exhausted from ‘granting wishes’ goes to sleep, but Butler assures Max that he won’t return to hibernation until the comet leaves at the end of the week. Meanwhile, the kids are doomed to bringing back the candy themselves.

The next morning, Max and Jirachi go off to play while Ash and the others prepare for the show. Apparently, Ash and Brock are clowns now while May’s a stagehand.

Jirachi starts causing trouble as it steals Max’s glasses and coaxes him to chase him while Max tries to help May stop a big lighting tower from falling over. The tower falls on May, causing a mess and she blames Jirachi, even if that was equal parts Jirachi and Max’s fault. Max could’ve stayed and still helped. He doesn’t need his glasses to push a tower up.

Max gets his glasses back and, surprisingly, isn’t mad at Jirachi for nearly causing severe harm to his sister. The Absol from earlier appears and starts attacking Max. Butler notes that Absol only appears in front of humans when a great tragedy is about to occur.

May tries to stave off Absol with Torchic, but has no effect. Ash tries Pikachu and does a little more, but still doesn’t faze Absol much. Jirachi says Absol is there for him and he uses his teleportation powers to teleport Pikachu and Torchic to the roof of the tent.

Absol suddenly directs his attention to Ash and the others and charges toward them. However, Butler triggers a trap door in the stage that sends Absol to a cage and puts him to sleep using Kirlia’s Hypnosis.

Jirachi then falls asleep again for some reason. He sleeps for 1000 years at a time. Does he really need to nod off after doing the littlest thing?

The second night is over, we can hear Jirachi snoring in his sleep through telepathy somehow, and May heads out to use her wishing star again. When she’s done, she spots Butler walking away from the bus where the kids are sleeping. He’s kidnapped Jirachi and put him in a weird device he has in his stage. Diane tells Butler that Absol is trying to bring Jirachi back to Forina, the land in which he originated, and that they should let him go back to where he belongs, but Butler ignores her.

He activates the machine, which causes Jirachi pain, and claims that when Jirachi sees the comet with his ‘true eye’ his ultimate wish will come true.

He holds up a glass container with a fossil inside of it and we get a flashback. Butler used to work for Team Magma as a scientist. He was presenting the council of Team Magma with the fossil, which was from a Groudon, claiming that he would create an actual Groudon from the fossil before their eyes.

He fails, claiming he needs a better power source, and is fired from Team Magma as a result. He reclaimed his fossil and vowed that he would make a real Groudon no matter what. Not sure the organization who is obsessed with Groudon would just let him take a Groudon fossil, but okay.

The flashback ends and Butler prepares the machine. He forces Jirachi into opening his true eye with Dusclops’ Psychic, and a beam of light bursts from the eye towards the comet only to return and crash into the stage.

Max and the others arrive and try to protect the wounded Jirachi. Diane pleads with Butler to stop, but he claims he’s doing it for her. She says she doesn’t want this, and Butler shoves Diane out of the way to get Jirachi before Max escapes with him.

The gang escapes. Before Butler can pursue them, Absol escapes from his cage, attacks them and runs off.

They continue to escape in Butler’s bus, and Mightyena somehow catches up and places a tracker on it.

Diane explains Butler’s backstory again and we actually hear Butler’s legit evil laugh which itself is laughable.

May: “Groudon?”

Brock: “Isn’t that the legendary Pokemon rumored to incredible powers?”

No no, it’s the one legendary Pokemon on planet earth that does not have incredible powers. Oh wait, no, that’s Jirachi!

The only thing we really get from this that we may not have already known is that it’s not Jirachi’s power that Butler is using. Jirachi’s merely used as a channel to take power from the comet and use its energy instead. So yeah, Jirachi’s one major talent is to take things that don’t belong to him…..Team Rocket should steal this legendary.

So far we’ve had;

Mewtwo, who could do a gigantic list of things with his psychic powers from building a laboratory from scratch, perfecting the cloning process or making an apocalyptic storm.

Moltres, Articuno and Zapdos who basically control the entire ecosystem of the world – plus Lugia who keeps them in line.

Unown who create their own legit realities from scratch.

Celebi who can heal wounds/bring the dead back to life and travel through time as well as psychically make gigantic grass monsters.

Latias and Latios who have sight sharing abilities and the ability to transform or become invisible.

Then we have Jirachi….the thief. He’s supposed to be a wish-granting Pokemon – that’s not outside of the realm of belief for this show. Why is he so seemingly blasé compared to the other legends?

The group decides to head to Forina to bring Jirachi back home…..which is…understandable, but a dumb plan. Even if Butler didn’t put the tracker on them, do they really think Forina is the place to go? That’s where Butler found him, Absol’s been trying to bring him back there and Diane suggested that they should bring him back earlier. Do they really think he’s pounding his head going ‘where could they possibly have gone!?’

It’s night three, May makes her wish, Jirachi telepathically snores and May and Diane have a chit-chat. She explains that she’s known Butler since they were kids, and she always knew they’d be together. We get a pretty nicely done flashback with everything in warm colors and the kid versions of Diane and Butler in silhouette, which I find to be pretty cool. Butler’s practicing magic on her, and, after calling him great, he dons the name ‘The Great Butler,’ which is good for his magician career and if he ever decides to become a butler.

The flashback ends, and Diane laments how much Butler has changed since the good ol’ days. She can only hope that he’ll return to normal once the comet leaves.

The next day, their journey continues. I want to point out that there’s a shot during the ‘next day’ montage where they get stuck in the mud and even Jirachi is helping push the bus out but Pikachu’s just chillin’ behind them. Messiahchu is above this menial labor!

Night four and day five go by with May and Max seeming increasingly worried and sad.

As we reach night five, May makes her wish and points out that there’s only two more nights left, which upsets Max and makes him run off.

Ash joins him and explains that, while Jirachi may go away, they’ll be friends forever, because true friendship lasts no matter if you see them or not. He gives an example by saying he had to say goodbye to a friend and he misses her everyday. He makes some strained facial expressions as he speaks, but he says they remain friends and will always be such. Ladies and gentlemen, the last known AAML poke. I believe anyway.

Too bad this is a dub-exclusive line. Funny how, even after she’s gone, 4Kids still wants to keep the spirit alive. I miss her too, man. I miss her too.

Does anyone else really wish we got more of ‘older brother’ Ash?

Day six and the gang arrive at Forina. Ah, it’s beautiful. The landscape is crisp. The Altaria are singing. The Tropius are eating the slightly better modeled CGI fruit from the slightly better animated CGI branches. Truly a paradise.

Night six, May makes her wish, Max goes to bed and May hums her lullaby again.

Day seven – judgment day—Er I mean, the last day with Jirachi. The gang is lead by Absol into the cave where Jirachi usually sleeps. Once night falls, he is beckoned towards the comet, but Max pleads for him to grant his wish of staying by his side. However, Jirachi can’t escape the comet’s call and floats up to open his true eye in preparation for the absorption of the comet’s energy and his 1000 year hibernation.

Diane explains that Jirachi collects this energy not only for itself but also for the sake of the land around it. While he sleeps, the land of Forina feeds off the energy to grow and thrive.

As Jirachi is about to collect the energy, mechanisms appear from the cave walls and trap Jirachi in a ball of light. It’s Butler, if that wasn’t obvious, and after one of the most overused jokes in villain history and trapping the gang in a purple lightning cage, he starts his preparations to gather the energy himself.

The process starts, and Pikachu tries to break through the cage to no avail. Hey Ash, aren’t you gonna run into it head first, thinking you’re the Hulk or something?

*doesn’t*

….Wha….eh….Why are you being smart and mature in this movie!? I demand you cease this nonsense at once and go fling yourself towards danger!

Absol and a Flygon from Forina come to destroy the mechanisms creating the cage. Flygon gives Ash and Max a ride to Butler’s giant platform thinger.

Butler’s revival of Groudon is going smoothly, but Ash and Max arrive to save the day. Butler reveals that he has a friggin’ Salamence and commences aerial battle with them……Awesome! I haven’t seen an aerial battle since Movie 03.

Ash sends Max and Pikachu off to stop the machine and save Jirachi while he distracts Butler in the air. Now you’re being logical? Who are you!?

They do so, the process stops and the gang manages to escape Butler’s evil clutches and Jirachi’s perfectly fine now. May and Max even have a little moment. Awww.

Despite the process being interrupted, a Groudon is emerging from where the energy was being displaced. And it looks AMAZING.

I love Groudon’s design anyway, but this ‘shadow’ Groudon or ‘clone’ Groudon looks fantastic. It looks like it’s actually made of lava with green (and later blue) neon shining through it. It’s especially great right before it’s fully formed. I kinda wish they have kept it more black to be honest, but this is great too.

Butler’s initially ecstatic for the creation of the Groudon, but when he realizes that he used his crest of courage for selfish means and caused a dark digivolution of him, he is shocked and appalled.

They realize that, in a polar opposite manner of Jirachi who feeds the land with energy from the comet, the clone Groudon is actually sucking up energy from the land, causing the plants to die.

Absol tries to attack the Groudon in vain, Groudon fires back, and holy crap it looks even better when it’s attacking! I love this thing!

Groudon’s not only attacking Absol, he’s absorbing him into his body. The spikes on his back start to grow and change into cool little blue gooey tendrils to absorb all the other Pokemon of Forina.

Butler lands near the group and Diane asks if there’s anything he can do to stop Groudon, but he is without ideas.

Team Rocket gets absorbed next…Oh yeah, Team Rocket. I forgot to mention them. Yeah, they’ve been popping up now and then for the past half hour to just make a quick comment and then go away. Gotta remember that they exist.

Butler stares in horror at his creation and is about to be absorbed when Diane jumps in to save him and gets absorbed instead.

Is there such a thing as an emotion budget? Because he just used up a lot of it.

May and Brock get absorbed next, and just as Max and Ash are about to get absorbed, Jirachi teleports them away.

Butler, changed in his ways in the wake of Groudon’s destruction, helps out the boys and warns them that the Groudon is after Jirachi’s energy. Butler and his Salamence do everything in their power to keep the tendrils away from the boys, but one gets through the defenses and tries to grab the boys only to be stopped by Flygon.

They hop on Flygon and try to get away underground, but the tendrils continue to follow. As they inch closer and closer, Jirachi teleports them yet again. They meet back up with Butler in the air and he develops a plan. They can drain the energy from Groudon if they can get Jirachi back on his machine and reverse the polarity. Ah yet another problem solved by reversing the polarity. Job well done, science!

Ash initially doesn’t trust Butler, but after seeing his grief at losing Diane, he starts changing his tune. Butler’s Salamence is grabbed by Groudon and Butler falls, but is saved by Jirachi by teleporting Salamence below him.

That just leads to me question….Jirachi’s one major power is teleporting anything he wants right? Then why doesn’t he teleport everyone who is inside Groudon back to where they belong?

Also, why isn’t Jirachi getting exhausted? A couple days ago he was going comatose from teleporting one or two things. It’s been teleporting things all over the place tonight and he still seems fine, even in spite of being drained by Butler’s machine.

Jirachi believes that Butler can’t be all bad because he loves Diane, and that further encourages Ash and Max to go through with the plan. I feel like this past page has been kinda redundant.

Butler tells the boys to distract Groudon since he’s intent on catching Jirachi. Meanwhile, he’ll try to get the machine running.

The plan commences, but Butler accidentally drops the Groudon fossil from the platform only to be caught in a pretty cool shot by Ash as they fly by on Flygon.

Apparently, flipping the fossil’s container around reverses the polarity…Uh…kay, and they place Jirachi back on the machine. The only thing left to do is to flip the final switch, but as Butler’s about to do so, the platform starts to fall some more, causing him to slip off.

As Butler hangs on by a thread and Flygon and Salamence are absorbed, Ash channels his inner movie protagonist and pulls the switch. Jirachi starts draining the power from Groudon and putting it back into the land, but Groudon attempts to thwart his efforts by trying to absorb Jirachi with his tendrils. Butler stands in his way and gets absorbed.

Jirachi’s efforts are successful and we get another really cool shot of Jirachi making another pseudo-comet, the light explodes in midair and creates a star shower as the Pokemon and everyone else reappear safe and sound.

Jirachi floats back down to Max’s arms and thanks Max for making his wish come true – giving him a friend. Awwwwwwwwwwww.

Jirachi asks for one more wish to be granted by Max – he wants Max to sing him the lullaby before he goes off to sleep once more.

Max and everyone else agrees to grant Jirachi his wish. They start sing—Hahahahahaha….ahahaha….hahahahaha….oooohhh….Oh Brock my boy….Please stop. You’re killin’ me. Oh God.

Brock sounds awful when he’s doing this song. He sounds unbelievably bored, like he just got done filing his taxes.

I know for a fact that Eric Stuart can sing. He’s got a couple of songs on 4Kids’ soundtracks that are actually good….and he’s the lead singer of his own band! Maybe slow soft songs just aren’t his thing.

For the record, Veronica Taylor is doing the ‘singing’ voice of Ash. I guess her voice isn’t good enough to sing as a girl but okay to sing as a guy.

I know this scene is supposed to be really sad and sweet, and, for the most part, it is, but the fact that this song is literally just ‘Dododooododododdodoooododdodooo’ makes it seem a little bit on the silly side. Was it really too difficult to give this song lyrics?

Jirachi thanks them all and goes back into hibernation. He reverts to his crystal form and merges back into the earth, causing it to glow.

Max bids farewell to Jirachi and says he’ll always be in his heart.

After a weird scene with Team Rocket, we cut to the next day where we learn that Butler and Diane are going to stay in Forina because as long as they’re together nothing else matters. Uh, you guys don’t want to be magicians anymore? That thing you’ve been your whole lives? What do you intend on doing in Forina?

May congratulates Diane in getting her wish and then freaks out because she forgot to make her final wish on her wishing star. She says it doesn’t matter because everyone has to make their own dreams come true (Shh, don’t tell Disney.) They’re about to get a ride back to town with Butler and Diane when Max hears Jirachi’s voice yet again telling him they’ll be friends forever.

Jirachi! It is way past your bedtime, mister! You go to sleep right now or I won’t make you pancakes for breakfast in 3015!

Max smiles and returns to the bus as our movie ends.

The end credits start and the song is pretty nice…..hey….wait, this sounds familiar….Do…dodoooodododo—It’s the lullaby! It has lyrics!? Then why not sing the song in the movie!? Aw, forget it.

Now….I’m unsure about posting this since it might just be my copy, but since I distinctly remember this also happening when I watched it on TV, I’m going to say I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

During the end credits, May gets hungry, collapses to the ground and complains. A truck drives up and as we see the surprised faces of the group, the shot jars REALLY drastically to the left after about one or two frames. The exact same thing happens in the next shot of the truck driving down the road. The shots are perfectly fine in the original version.

First frame (Group shot):

Rest of Shot (Group shot):

First frame (Truck shot):

Rest of shot (Truck Shot):

I have only one theory as to why this might be. There’s one thing that Dogasu commonly brings up in the movie comparisons – the fact that all of the movies never get widescreen releases despite the source being released in widescreen.

This has caused several issues across the movies, most notably in Movie 01 and 02 where people would be cropped out of shots or shots would jarringly shift to get another character who starts talking into frame.

This is the shot in the original Japanese version:

See how everyone’s in the shot and how, at best, only May, Max and Ash make it fully into the shot in the dub? I think this was an insanely sloppy effort to get everyone’s reactions into frame. When the shot returns to the truck, the focus must’ve still been kept to the left for a frame or two and then they corrected it to be centered, making it jar there.

I don’t really get why this needed to be attempted anyway. So Brock’s not in the shot. Who cares? I’d rather have Brock cropped out of a completely pointless end credits scene than have the footage jar all over the place like it was edited by Edward Scissorhands on crystal meth.

This isn’t like in the first movie where they basically had to move the shot suddenly to get Brock into frame because he had a line and needed to be on-screen after someone on the other side of the screen said their line. There is no point here.

Now that I think about it, the earlier cut that jarred the screen also fixed the positioning, so I’m guessing the standard format cut off parts of the poster (IE, the ‘G’ I mentioned), forcing them to move the shot when it got to the close up. It likely wasn’t because of particularly sloppy editing due to painting off the Japanese text and moreso really sloppy editing due to cropping that occurred between versions.

If this cropping is, for some reason, absolutely necessary, why not just make it so the shot moves slowly from one side to the other? A pan shot is miles above a sudden jump cut to the same scene.

The rest of the scenes are the group stargazing and pointing out Pokemon-based constellations and yup, the rest of this song is indeed in Japanese. I have to say, Bra-freakin-vo on whoever chose the woman to sing the English version of the ending song because she sounds almost exactly like the original singer.

We also get some shots of the group walking, a nice cameo by a good chunk of the group’s Pokemon at the beach, them enjoying some of the same fireworks from earlier (the exact same ones) and finally them staring off into the sunset at the movie ends.

————————————

You probably already got this, but….I kinda loved this movie. Surprisingly, to be honest, because I just didn’t remember giving this movie much credit back when I first watched it, but now that I’ve sat down and watched it again, this is probably the second best Pokemon movie so far.

Practically everything about it works very well. The relationship between Max and Jirachi is genuine, and their departure was saddening and well-handled. The May and Max moments were pretty heartwarming. Max wasn’t that annoying here. He was actually pretty sweet most of the time. He has his moments of annoyance here and there, but they can be overlooked.

Ash was actually pretty cool to watch for a change. Butler was a legit villain with a backstory, a non-stupid, but admittedly cliché, motivation and something to humanize him. Granted, his voice does not work, but what can you do?

Team Rocket’s part was basically pointless from start to finish, but since they didn’t affect anything and barely had any screentime I can’t complain too much. Speaking of which, outside of hitting on girls, Brock was also totally non-existent here again.

The clone Groudon was AWESOME……But he is one of the bigger problems in the movie mostly because they never explain in the least how this thing was made. Why was the cloning process corrupted into making this shadow Groudon? Was it just because not enough energy was fed into it or are we really going with my dark digivolution theory of using power for selfish means creates evil?

I may rag on Jirachi being a pretty lame legendary (mostly because practically every Psychic type can teleport things, and him being a non-wish-granting wish-granting Pokemon is just really disappointing. The fact that he can channel energy from the Millennium Comet is really the only thing he has going for him.) but I will admit, he can be pretty damn cool when the situation calls for it. That finale was simply fantastic.

Story-wise, you can easily compare this with Movie 04. That movie tried to combine action with soft and genuine moments of friendship, growth and reflection, but it pretty much failed. The conflict with Sam being ‘stuck’ in the present was a non-plot point as Celebi could’ve sent him back whenever he wanted. The conflict of Jirachi’s impending 1000 year hibernation was very real and completely unavoidable.

The Sam and Ash friendship was pretty nice and genuine in Movie 04, but it was a bit too hammy. I think they overplayed the connection between the two. They got way too close too fast all because they wanted to make the ‘Ooh it’s Oak’ connection. In terms of him crying over Sam leaving as well as everyone else doing so was also over the top for someone who A) Isn’t dying and B) could easily be seen again in their time if they thought to research who he was in the present.

The connection between Sam and Celebi is okay, but they didn’t focus on it enough. Like I said, it felt like Ash kept taking the spotlight away from what seemed to be their story. Slowly, it started to be more like Ash was meant to have the connection with Celebi and not Sam.

The relationship between Max and Jirachi is a bit forced at first, downright weird when Jirachi is a rock, but the way I see it is that Max views Jirachi as kinda his first Pokemon. As a non-Trainer, but an aspiring one, he has no Pokemon of his own to care for, yet he really loves Pokemon. So it’s not that far out there that he’d be really excited to have Jirachi choose him as his friend.

Additionally, the small bits with May and Max were well done as they have a very realistic relationship here. They fight, they make pokes at each other, but in the end they still love each other and aren’t afraid to show it when the situation calls for it.

I didn’t quite understand why May kept getting so angry with Jirachi, though.

Ash’s role in this movie was near perfect. He was the smartest and most mature I’ve ever seen him, even better than Movie 03, and he never seemed to take the spotlight away from Max and Jirachi’s story. He obviously got focus, and, in the end, had his little hero moment, but they had just the right amount of focus on him and Pikachu.

Ash’s role in Movie 04 overstepped his bounds. There were so many times where I felt Ash was stepping on Sam and Celebi’s toes and taking the story from them. Plus, he was pretty annoying and dumb in that movie.

Butler is the first villain that I would actually say is good outside of Mewtwo. He’s fleshed out, has a story, a human connection and a believable reason for turning to the side of good at the end. He wants Jirachi for a legit reason, he wants to create Groudon for a legit reason, and everything he does has a purpose. He was a scientist bent on revenge who created a monster in place of his dream. He realized his mistake, he paid for it, and he helped fix it. Even Diane was well-used as a character, though she’s a bit too passive for my tastes.

The Iron Masked Marauder may have been the first villain in these movies who was a legit villain, again outside of Mewtwo, but he was really cliché. He had no backstory, he wasn’t fleshed out outside of ‘he works for Team Rocket and wants Celebi’s powers to take over Team Rocket and rule the world.’ We never learn why he’s specifically targeting Celebi nor why he’s destroying the forest. He never changes, he never grows and even the reveal of who/what was behind the mask was lame because it was nothing.

Lawrence the Third was complete nothing outside of a collector, and Annie and Oakley were just thieves who, like IMM, wanted Latios and Latias merely for power and to take over the world. Their growth and change was really just giving up on resisting their punishment in the end.

Movie 04’s seemingly pointless and cliché, sometimes cheesy and laughably animated, action gets in the way of what could be a heartwarming story of a boy (Seriously) trapped in another time. That’s a pretty interesting story. You could also greatly build on his connection with Celebi through a lot of quiet and soft moments, but those were too few and far between amongst the insanity.

Art: The art, animation and CGI are the best I’ve seen them. The CGI is actually the best of the movies so far, I believe edging out Movie 03 merely because of the icky Unown. The CGI here does have its spots of poor quality, but they’re quick and not very noticeable. I think a lot of this is helped by the fact that much of the CGI is done at night, masking more imperfections.

Shame on the editors for this movie though. One screen-jarring edit is bad enough, but three?

And yes, I also don’t understand why the hell they went through so many years of releasing the movies in standard format instead of widescreen when the source is widescreen. All it does is make more problems for them.

That in itself dropped this movie down a couple of decimal points for me. It was probably fixed in future releases, if there were future releases, but the fact that this was greenlit for release on VHS and/or DVD and TV release once upon a time with these issues intact is enraging to me. Pure laziness.

Music: The music was great, though I do miss the OP. The lack of music at numerous moments was also a welcome change of pace. The ED is really nice, though the in-movie version will never sound not-silly to me. When May does it alone, it’s not too bad, but when they all did it it was hard to keep focus on the sad Jirachi departure because ech.

Bottomline: All in all, a pretty great movie. Not perfect, but definitely the most I’ve enjoyed a Pokemon movie since 03, and that’s really saying something.

This movie had what I think is a pretty nice balance of quiet, genuine moments and action. Plus, the action had a point, didn’t seem to be in the way and was completely awesome from start to finish.

This movie is everything 04 could’ve been but wasn’t.

Recommended Audience: Nothing that I remember. E for everyone!