As they rounded the corner into 2006, 4Kids started wrapping up production on their eighth and final Pokemon season, Advanced Battle, as well their eighth and final Pokemon movie, Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: Mew and the Wave Hero Lucario, retitled Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
As I mentioned in my own review/comparison of the movie, I really feel like 4Kids wanted to go out strong in their last Pokemon excursion (even though, technically, the show still hadn’t finished being dubbed when the movie came out…..I’m still calling it as their last big hurrah) because their dubbing job on Movie 08 was one of if not their absolute best dubbing job. While there are some minor changes here and there, and some very typical 4Kidsisms, they weren’t that drastic or that bad, and the voice actors brought their A-game. It greatly helps that the original movie is also heralded as the best Pokemon movie to date.
While none of the Pokemon movies ever really seem to be big hits with critics, Movie 08 was about as close as they had gotten. The movie was praised for its action, comedy and excitement while also having a good story and great animation, but others criticized the dub’s more pop-ish music and the fact that the good story took a back seat to Ash and Lucario in the second half of the movie.
The Pokemon movies were also finally out of the hands of Miramax and into the more capable hands of Viz Video…..However, the movie was still released in 4:3 and would never get an American 16:9 release. It would be released in English in widescreen in Australia, but it’s disappointing that it’s never been released State-side in widescreen format. As far as I can tell, Movie 08 is the only Pokemon movie that was never re-released in 16:9 or given a Blu-Ray release in the US as Pokemon Movie 09 would be the first Pokemon movie to ever be released in the US as 16:9 from the start.
The DVD included some bonus features such as a letter from the director, a behind-the-scenes featurette and a slideshow. The original DVD release didn’t come with anything else. However, the Collector’s Edition, which was released at the same time, included two special bonuses – a limited edition Mew card and The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon 10th anniversary special (re-dubbed version).
This is actually really awkward, when you think about it. The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon, which was made specifically for American audiences to have something unique of their own to premiere during the 10th anniversary, which I think is pretty darn cool, was not dubbed by 4Kids. PUSA had already made their presence known and had dubbed the anniversary themselves, which, if you ask me, is one of the biggest passive-aggressive bitchslaps I’ve ever seen.
4Kids – at LEAST the cast and crew of the show – earned the right to dub the 10th anniversary special. Ripping it from them was bad enough, but oh no….They also aired it on Kids WB, which was basically 4Kids first domain, before the DVD release, and bundled it (redubbed, however, in order to improve the script and voice work) with the eighth movie in the Collector’s Edition, subsequently strong-arming 4Kids out of the limelight in what was supposed to be their final goodbye to the franchise. Just…wow.
I can say with certainty that PUSA made one of the worst first impressions as a dubbing company I’ve ever seen. Say what you will about 4Kids, but this whole situation with PUSA was just embarrassing.
As for 4Kids and their talented and caring cast and numerous hard-working crew members (Okay, mostly just the cast and crew.) who made the original dubbed Pokemon what it was – for better or worse – I don’t think we should forget that they introduced that awesome show and, to a degree, game to our lives as kids and helped make it the beloved franchise that it continues to be today for an entirely new generation and even the adults out there who still enjoy it, myself included…..I know 4Kids likes to pat themselves on the back and it’s usually unwarranted, but I think they deserve some credit here, and I think they deserve a proper send off as we move on from this historical moment in English dubbed anime history.
Plot: Many years ago, a kingdom was under threat of destruction by 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 begin a journey to retrieve him with Lucario reluctantly leading the way. Is Sir Aaron really a hero? Or is he nothing but a traitor?
Breakdown: 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.
Anyway, 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?
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 talented 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. So don’t tell me this is a time before Pokeballs, movie.
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 no 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. We then get narration 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, 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 overlaid 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. It was probably for the sake of making him easier to animate, but at least show him taking it off or something.
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 overlaid on the scenes, but they don’t put 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 (Pre dubbing company change, I mean)? 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-Woman, 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.
The Weavile manage 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.
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 since 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 ten 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 and then was hailed as a hero for it. Lucario may seem a little touchy, but he has a bit of a right to be.
Lucario leads the group through a dense fog using his 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 let 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 a person’s 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…
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 Beginnings 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 the other’s name, 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 2D 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 really 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.”
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 bridging the gap. Ash and Pikachu attempt 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 dogpile 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, to some degree anyway. 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 after all.
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 suspended 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 is restored 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 his 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.
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, barring some issues with the CGI sometimes. 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 and pacing were 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 came 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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