Pokemon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior Review

It’s time to look at a manga based on one of the older Pokemon films. It’s a little weird calling this one old since it feels so recent, but technically there have been a bunch that came out after this one. These manga adaptions are basically 1-1 so it’s not as if things have really changed all that much, but it’s still fun to re-live the adventure in a different format. It’s a solid story, but one where I did want a little more action.

Ash and friends were trying to have a normal day when a Pokemon known as Shaymin shows up. He’s currently being hunted by a guy called Zero as well as Giratina. Ash decides to help this guy find his family and escape the threat, but it won’t be easy. Shaymin allowed Dialga to escape Giratina and Zero wants him so that he can rule the reverse world. The whole concept of the Reverse world is actually pretty good and pretty ambitious for the series. Can Ash help make things right here?

First off you may wonder why Dialga would trap Giratina inside that world to begin with. Well, you can hardly blame him. From his point of view Giratina picked a fight and then tried to eliminate him. Dialga saw the guy as a threat and promptly locked him up. Dialga’s always been one of the cooler Pokemon and you have to admit that this was a real power move. It’s not like it’s easy to take down Giratina like that. To this day I’m still surprised that Palkia didn’t show up at all. He’s at least half responsible for all the stuff getting thrown into Giratina’s world. I suppose the dragon didn’t want to fight both at once which is understandable.

Zero is one of the better movie villains. The guy has a cool design and actually makes for a serious threat. His robots capturing Giratina is cool for him although it does hurt the Pokemon’s hype./ I also liked that he had a Magnezone since that Pokemon rarely gets to show his stuff. I suppose his personality isn’t all that deep, but he’s not comic relief which is already an important first step towards getting me to take him seriously. I really didn’t have any big qualms with him and should I ever make a list of all Pokemon movie villains, this guy would likely crack top 5.

As I mentioned Giratina did lose here so he lost some hype, but I like him otherwise. He’s a pretty reasonable guy and the fact that he was trying to manipulate Shaymin’s portals takes a lot of intellect. He’s likely one of the smarter Pokemon just with that feat. I didn’t like Shaymin quite as much. He’s your typical rebel Pokemon who talks tough but can’t really back it up. In his sky form at least he can fight a bit, but even then he’s not going to be winning very many fights. He’s an upgrade over Celebi and Jirachi, but isn’t at the level of the bigger Pokemon.

Surprisingly Ash and Pikachu get less to do here. They do more than Brock and Dawn of course, but Pikachu really doesn’t get to take anyone down. It doesn’t help that Magnezone is pretty resistant to electric attacks after all. Ash still tries his hardest and is pretty determined here though. That’s the kind of Ash I want to see and he feels like his older self here. I hope to see more of that in the new Go season coming up.

As far as the art goes, you can tell that this is a movie tie-in manga. It’s higher quality than some that I’ve read, but it’s not exactly going to be known as one of the best looking manga titles. That just was never in the cards for Giratina. Some close ups look really good like Ash gritting his teeth and his hair is drawn more spiky than usual like Megaman EXE’s. the action scenes are solid and you can always follow what’s happening so bravo on that.

I do have to question the existence of the Reverse world just a bit though. So apparently everything that happens in the real world mirrors over to this one so destruction and the like go there. With how often the real world is being attacked I feel like this should be a huge issue. Maybe it was specifically because Dialga and Palkia were messing with time and space, but I feel like the concept is a bit too grand and needs more of an explanation. I don’t blame Giratina for being upset, but it may be more reasonable to just move into the real world if the reverse one is always going to be getting wrecked in the meantime. Maybe Giratina can make a barrier of sorts.

Overall, This manga will definitely breeze by as you read through it. It’s a quality adventure and I have no issues with it. I’d recommend just watching the movie, but if that isn’t an option then this is a very good substitute. All adaptions have to try and fit in the important parts while cutting out the fluff and this one does a good job. You don’t really feel like anything is missing and it hits all the right beats as in the film. If anything it may feel more exciting at times since you get to add in your own music as you go through the adventure. I’ve got another Pokemon movie adaption coming up so I’ll be checking that one out pretty soon. This one’s less of an adaption and more of a tie-in though.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon: Scyther, Heart of a Champion Review

It’s time for a retro Pokémon adventure. This one definitely adapts some intriguing adventures that make you wonder just how strong the Pokémon really are. Despite the power level moments being puzzling this is still one of the better books since there is a lot of action. As usual there are two stories to be found here so I’ll talk about both of them.

The first story has our heroes walking through the forest when they encounter an injured Scyther. It apparently lost a battle for clan leadership since he is old now and has been cast away. The rules for the clan are that you have to leave if you lose. It’s pretty sad for Scyther but when you remember that he has done the same to many others (Since it’s referenced that he has won many times and only lost this one due to age) then the sympathy goes down a little bit. Still, he wants one more chance to fight for leadership so in the meantime Tracey captures him. Scyther isn’t pleased to say the least but then Team Rocket shows up so they will have to grudgingly team up.

Scyther has always had a cool design but I don’t like what they did with him in the show. I don’t think Pokémon should ever become senior citizens, especially since that whole concept seems to vanish later on. Just as importantly, they could have made him old without making him ancient. That would have made him much better if you ask me. As it stands, he is old but still gets a lot of hype and is treated as a very strong Pokémon. He was saved by the guy who overthrew him though and so I can’t buy into him being an actual rival for Charizard. I suppose none of this is Scyther’s fault though and I can’t be mad at him for still being feisty and ready for combat.

It’s not a bad story and in fact it’s a pretty important one since Tracey finally gets a new Pokémon to fight at his side. It’s pretty straightforward though as Team Rocket is the only threat here and you could argue that they have never been a threat before so why start now? The fact that the book implies they were about to win is pretty funny if you ask me. I do like that Ash was the first to think of the idea of capturing Scyther in order to take him to the Pokémon Center. This is the main character that I grew up with. A kid who was always jumping into action as opposed to being confused.

The big story of the volume has Ash and friends enjoying a good time when a trainer shows up to challenge him. The guy thinks Ash looks tough so he will make for a worthy opponent. Ash agrees and goes up against this guy but his Pikachu gets downed in a single hit and Charizard does no better. In fact, Charizard loses so badly that his life is in danger now so Ash might have to rethink using his Pokémon in such dangerous fights from now on…or quickly go for the rematch.

The elephant in the room here is that a Pokémon should certainly not get near fatally wounded from a single attack. Not to mention that it was an ice attack against a fire type. Many solutions will pop into your head like why doesn’t Ash put Charizard in a Pokeball and run to the Pokémon Center or whip out a Hyper Potion. I feel like the Pokeball trick didn’t work in the anime and the book may have mentioned that but this is just as strange. Why wouldn’t it work? If objects like ice can block a Pokeball’s power then that really is a pretty big problem. If Pokémon fights really are this dangerous then it does give N and his followers a leg to stand on when they say that Pokémon fights are barbaric and must be stopped. Their lives are clearly being put at risk in every fight if this episode is to be believed. Either way I always thought their ideology was pretty interesting but let’s stay on topic.

The only lesson Ash learns from this is to go right back and fight the guy again. Sure, they dodge this time but what if the attack had actually landed? Then they would have been in the same position only Charizard would be a lot weaker this time around. Ash should have either turned down the fight or brought out Pikachu again. As an Ash fan part of me is glad he didn’t turn down the fight but the stakes sure increased here. I thought in the anime he only reason the Poliwrath was so strong was because he had on some kind of equipment that boosted his attack but maybe I was misremembering since here he book treats the belt like a normal one that isn’t actually affecting the fight.

Finally I also have to question how Pikachu was so thoroughly humiliated in this fight. Sure, the Thunderbolt didn’t work and that was the first cause for concern. Even ignoring the type advantage, Pikachu should be at a crazy high level by now. Then Pikachu should still be quick enough to dodge the counter blow and durable enough to endure it. Pikachu was incredibly lowballed in this episode for the plot’s and as a loyal fan that was a little disappointing. Controversial Opinion time, I think Pikachu could take down Charizard in a fair fight. Still, ignoring this, it was cool to have a new trainer who could fight at such a high level. It’s too bad he never appeared again since the guy was definitely skilled. Having him show up in the next Pokémon League Championships would have been a really cool way to go about it.

Overall, this is definitely a pretty good Pokemon book. Both stories are fun and hold up well in their own right, but the second story is definitely the best one. Most of the story is about the big fights and we finally have a Poliwrath who is looking good. That Pokémon has a great design so I am certainly glad to see him getting the hype he deserves. This part of the Pokémon anime is still nostalgic from the good ole days and I look forward to the day when the anime gets back on track from this Sun and Moon saga. It’s stayed it’s course and we need more serious fights like the one this volume has. The suspense and drama have vanished in the newer episodes.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Sun and Moon: Battle for the Z Ring Review

It’s time to look at the next installment in the Pokémon Sun and Moon season. The first one was a reasonable start to the quasi reboot and this one is actually an improvement as we get our first serious island challenge which is basically just a gym battle. It’s not exactly Kanto just yet but it still makes for a decent volume nonetheless. Hopefully the series can keep up the momentum.

Ash wants to obtain a new Z crystal since his last one broke when he fought the island guardian. The local professor tells him how he can get another one and the answer is that he must beat the human guardian. Ash goes over there to fight but the guardian tells him that he has to solve the island’s rat problem first. A bunch of Pokémon are blocking the way and making a nuisance of themselves so Ash has to go to a cave and defeat some powerful Pokémon so he can team up with them and save the day. Can Ash win all of his matches in this volume?

The local head tries to tell Ash that battling isn’t always the answer and that’s the point of the trial. However, combat was the answer to winning and saving the island so I found that whole part ironic. Perhaps it was intentional but it’s hard to say. What makes this volume better than the last one is definitely all of the battles. Ash has to face off against at least 3 different opponents and he does a good job against all of them. Ash actually uses some strategy and while he seems to be a newbie at life (Forgetting basic Pokémon) at least he is quickly becoming a better trainer. Seeing him defeat the leader and use Pikachu’s new attack was definitely great. The series seems to be hinting that Ash will get a new attack for each type which will be pretty interesting. He will probably pick the thunder move but I personally found this one to be a lot more impressive. It’s essentially quick attack but even faster which will be great for overwhelming opponents. Maybe Ash will choose this one though, that’d be cool. It was also nostalgic seeing Hariyama again since that Pokémon is pretty cool. I love the design and he always struck me as one of the stringer fighting types. I think I’ll always have a lot of nostalgia for the first 3 generations.

Ash is surprisingly on his own for most of the volume as the friends just don’t get much screen time. They appear for a brief instant to remind Ash that he’s being petty about the cat stealing his food and also give him an idea about saving the island. I suppose their role was important after all even if it was so small. Aside from the big battle plot, the first few chapters were about Ash and Litikitty. That was definitely the weaker part of the volume. It wasn’t bad or anything but it definitely wasn’t as exciting as the action part.

Pikachu looks really good which is always a plus in my book. I’ve said this a million times over the years but at this point he should easily be level 100 so I don’t want to see him losing against anyone. Pikachu should be able to claim victory no matter the opponent. That’s just how it should be. Ash will need more Pokémon though as Rowlett just isn’t an amazing backup. He’s not really much of a fighter and constantly falling asleep isn’t doing him any favors either. Once Ash has a team of 6 then he will really be set.

Overall, I’d say that the books are doing a good job of adapting the episodes. The book is quite small so the author does a good job of not overdoing it with the details so we can still cover a lot of ground. These little books are always a good format for such adaptions and while you know that it’s definitely not going to make it all the way, hopefully we get a lot of volumes before it finishes. That’s the dream at any rate. I wonder when the next big Totem Battle (I think that’s the correct term) will be. I stopped following the anime early on so I can’t say that I know much of the specifics aside from big moments like Brock and Misty showing up. As long as we get battles like this every volume, the series should continue to go smoothly.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Talent Showdown Review

Time for another Pokemon adventure. Ash and friends were minding their own business when they notice a big crowd of people gathering around. It turns out that a big talent show is occurring nearby and Gary is even participating in it. Ash isn’t a big fan of contests, but Gary eggs him on and continues to insult Ash until the main character decides to bluff his way through it and claims that he already has a great act in mind. Can Ash think of an act that will actually defeat Gary’s or is it time for a slice of crispy, humble pie?

This adventure is a lot of fun because having Gary in the story is always great. I recently went back to check out most of his best moments and it’s easy to see why he’s such a fan favorite. The book does him justice as well since he actually had the slight upper hand against Ash. As Ash referenced, it’s a little odd for Gary to be so arrogant after Ash upstaged him in the tournament, but this is the fan favorite portrayal of Gary after all so I guess it’s to be expected. Either way I hadn’t been expecting a rematch between the two of them so that was really awesome.

The actual talent show wasn’t bad either. I felt a little bad for Ash since he apparently can’t sing or even play any instrument so he was given the smallest role. Still, Misty and Brock did help him out by coming up with their show so that was nice. I’d definitely assume that Gary is a better singer than Brock, but it’s nice to see that the Pokemon characters have such musical talent. The ending is a little cheesy though as the owner stated that this contest wouldn’t be about battling and just sportsmanship, but then Ash saves the day and he flips on that statement. I suppose having your life saved is a decent reason to quickly change up the results, but it still felt like Ash didn’t really earn his win. I guess that part could be pretty nostalgic to the original season as well though.

This book probably had the most action out of all the Pokemon books I’ve read so far so as you can imagine it is also my favorite one. Pokemon action is just a blast to watch and I definitely picture the fights in my head as they go. I forgot that Gary had a Charizard or if they just made it up for this adventure but that’s certainly interesting. It’s a little disappointing that Charizard was losing to Alakazam, but psychic types are some of the only ones who can give him a real fight so I can live with it. The stakes were definitely pretty high. I think Alakazam could definitely beat Psyduck though. Psyduck’s confusion certainly is great, but it takes forever to use and no opponent should actually just stand there and wait to be attacked. Gary’s confidence let this happen, but it wouldn’t be viable on most opponents.

Ash also fought another performer earlier as she thought he stole her Seel so she retaliated by trying to beat him up. I guess she was determined to get the truth out of him, but beating Ash in a Pokemon fight is no easy task. I think Ash is a little too quick to return his Pokemon during the battles here, but when you have Pikachu at the ready I suppose it’s no big deal. I also didn’t mind that the battles got more screen time than the actual show because that part was certainly more exciting for me.

As always the pacing is really great for the book. Since it’s so short everything has to happen quite rapidly which always makes for great results. Ash really can’t catch a break as a result, but it also shows how he is able to think on his feet. There’s never a dull moment and so you’ll be engaged from cover to cover. It certainly won’t take you long to finish this book anyway so it works out well.

Overall, This was a really good Pokemon story. All of the characters were itching for a fight and Ash was always ready to oblige. He may not have won all of his matches instantly but at least he reacted right away and acted reasonably experienced. I’d love to see an old school Pokemon movie that takes place around here where Ash just takes on trainers. It would be a lot of fun and I miss his old school lineup of Pigeot, Charizard, Snorlax, and the others. It was just a very balanced team even if Bulbasaur and Squirtle may hold the team back in attack power since they’re still in their first forms. They really haven’t been looking good in these books so far but maybe that’ll change soon. Charizard and Pikachu have really been doing all of the work. If you haven’t checked this story out yet, then you should definitely change that ASAP.

Overall 8/10

Pokemon: Journey to the Orange Islands Review

It’s time for another quick Pokemon chapter book. This one brings us back to the beginning of the Orange Island adventures. Ash may have conquered the Pokemon League or at least that’s what you’d assume from how he talks about it in this book, but there is a new challenge around the corner that he cannot resist. Before starting the tournament he runs into a Lapras who is in need or a rescue and a Professor who may be in over her head with research. Ash is ready to save them all, but can he also stop Team Rocket from kidnapping Pikachu?

It’s always nostalgic to take a look at the good ole days of Pokemon. The newer adventures are fun enough (Although Sun and Moon is a downgrade) but the classics are classic for a reason. It’s great to see Ash just show up and take down 3 bullies in a single blow. He didn’t have time for one liners or panic attacks, Ash just got the job done. That’s why he’s the hero of legends. Ash doesn’t play games when it comes to cleaning up shop and I wouldn’t expect him too. Ash is also pretty straight forward here as he openly cringes depending on the situation. I’m not kidding, on page 2 he cringed and that’s when I knew that I was in for quite the ride. It was a good way to start things off.

There are really two main adventures here although they continue into each other pretty seamlessly. The first adventure has the kids stop by Professor Ivy’s lab to pick up the GS ball. For some reason it is impervious to teleportation so they are supposed to bring it to Professor Oak. Brock decides to stay with Ivy so he can become an official Pokemon breeder. Ash and Misty are pretty okay with this and head off, but Team Rocket tricks them and they get launched pretty far away. That’s when Ash notices the bullies and takes them down. A kid named Tracy shows up to join the crew and Oak allows Ash to forget about the GS ball so he can just have fun entering the league. Oak’s a pretty nice guy. The adventure is On!

Naturally this was a pretty big moment in the anime since Brock had been around for so many episodes. That being said, he was always the worst of Ash’s friends as he never kept his head in the game and was always holding the team back. He may have been the team’s cook, but I couldn’t get around to missing him. His replacement wasn’t exactly a fan favorite though as Tracy can be extreme in his own way. He notices some kids bullying Lapras and decides not to do anything about it because he’s busy sketching. That’s very shady right off the bat and he basically forced his way into Ash’s inner circle. Ash was totally against having Tracy on board but the decision was taken out of his hands. It was all pretty sudden. Tracy will have some work to do to get past his initial appearance and since he isn’t much of a fighter, that’ll be tough. Misty doesn’t do much here, but I’m sure she’ll have more of a role in the next few volumes…possibly. Technically Ash’s Pikachu is really the only Pokemon to get a big role. Ash doesn’t even use his others. Jigglypuff looks pretty good as she shows up to take names. I really miss the days when she would come out of the blue and just start singing. That was a quality running gag.

One thing I have to wonder is if the author has to recap what everything is at the beginning of every book or just for each region. For example, we’re reminded what a Pokedex is and the author describes everything as if we’re seeing it for the first time. The book’s fairly short and even then these scenes are really quick, but it does seem like you’ll lose valuable page space this way. In the end, I have no real complaints with the pacing though. The book flies by and it’s an engaging read from cover to cover. If I had any small complaint, it would be that this book is light on action. Pikachu’s one hit win and Geodude’s one hit win were basically the only battles in the book. Props to Team Rocket for tricking the heroes the same way twice in a row. Since the book cuts out the filler it almost literally occurs back to back. At least Ash didn’t go down without yelling for his food first.

Overall, This was a good volume of Pokemon. It could get a little dark like with the Lapras chapter and it’s easy to forget that the stakes used to be so high. Even Ivy almost died because of Pokemon spores gone wild. I have a feeling they’ve been nerfed to just knock you out in newer episodes. That being said, Ash is even more intense than usual in this volume and it’s just nice to have the old gang back. The show really had a lot of depth and emotion at this point. I still prefer almost all of the other regions to Orange Islands, but I like to just think of them as the lost episodes of Kanto. Think of it like an epilogue story and it works a whole lot better. No Gary this time, but he’ll return soon enough. If you haven’t read the book yet, now’s a good time to do so. It’s a pretty nice way to read through two episodes and it covers all of the important parts so it’s a quicker way of getting caught up with the anime.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Sun and Moon: The Pokemon Training School Challenge Review

I read the first volume in the Pokemon chapter book series for the recent Sun and Moon adventures. I was debating on whether to review this book or just wait until the series ends, but the latter could certainly end up taking a while. Ultimately I may start reviewing the individual books for some titles with no foreseeable end while for others a series review still makes sense. It’s tricky, but especially since this book is so small it seems reasonable. It covers around 2 episodes of the anime give or take. The series had a lot of controversy surrounding it when it first came out and it’s easy to see why. Pokemon went from being a really serious action show to a comedy. It’s not the Pokemon that I grew up with, but it works out well enough.

The series starts with Ash being on summer vacation. He sees a lot of cool new Pokemon while at the new region and asks his Mom if he can stay. She allows it and he quickly joins the school so he can learn how to be a Pokemon Trainer. I can understand why he would want this knowledge since he’s been training for over 10 years with nothing to show for it. He hasn’t even aged a day for some reason. So, Ash sticks around and everyone starts to teach him the ropes. However, the island’s sacred guardian has taken an interest in the kid and challenges him to a fight. Can Ash really win this battle?

Ash has definitely lost most of his character development from the old days so part of the plot in the series will likely be him gaining it back. He learns something new in every episode so in about 100 or so episodes he should be a good strategist once again. It’s a long while to wait, but what else can we do right? It’s just the way it has to be I guess. Pikachu has also gotten quite a bit weaker so it’s rough for the pair. They used to be one of the strongest duos and now they’re getting kicked around left and right. It feels bad when you really think about it. They are still good leads though. They mean well and are always up for a challenge. The series works much better when you just think of this as a prequel. Imagine that it takes place immediately after episode 1 of the original series and you’ll be set.

I think one of the parts where a book can adapt this better than an episode is that the comedy gags don’t stand out as much. Ash getting pinched and saved from random disasters doesn’t seem as bad when you’re reading about it compared to actually seeing it on the big screen. He keeps a little more of his dignity this way, at least that’s how I see it. For example, I can’t stand the living Pokedex in the anime. That may be a bit strong, but at least in AMVs and such he just gets in the way. In the book he barely talks at all so he’s not as annoying.

That being said, learning all of the names is going to take some time. The new rival is a guy who’s named something close to Kiwi. He talks a good game and has a Charizard so I’m expecting him to fight quite a bit, but he gets on my nerves. He seems to think of himself as a big shot. The other friends are nice enough but they start to blend into each other since their personalities are virtually the same. The teachers try a little too hard to all be suave and cool around Ash, but it just doesn’t really work. Once they fight and prove themselves, then things could be different.

Team Rocket doesn’t get to do a whole lot here either. Nobody really fears them and while they may be more of a threat in this region than the others since Ash has forgotten how to deal with them, they aren’t very interesting. The only part that will make their plot fun is Mimikyu once he’s a main character. I had fun watching his fights in the anime and he’s probably the best part in the whole region. He looked quite good in the book as he was beating Pikachu with ease, but had to leave since Team Rocket was getting wrecked. Why do they manage to snag really cool Pokemon like that one?

Finally, Tapu Koko is a pretty cool Pokemon. He easily has one of the best designs in the entire region which may not be saying all that much but I’m certainly a big fan. He lives up to the hype and really manages to be a thorn in Ash’s side. He’ll make for a good rival as I’m sure he isn’t quite done with Ash and friends yet. His appearance also resulted in an action scene so I’m all for that.

Overall, This chapter book is quite short of course so you’ll read through it right away. It still does a good job of covering quite a bit though. This region certainly is my least favorite because the animation is the worst and there’s less action than usual, but the former doesn’t apply to the book and the latter isn’t noticeable yet. If I didn’t know any better, I’d actually consider this to be a pretty promising start to the region. If you’re a Pokemon fan then you’ll certainly enjoy this and it’s a reasonable way to jump into the franchise. It certainly is new reader friendly. We’ll see if the next book adaption can be quite as good. Moreover, I’m ready for Ash to finally win a fight!

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Hoopa and the Clash of Ages Review

Considering that the Pokemon anime messed up big time and probably lost a lot of viewers, it is nice to go back to before that time and remember the more innocent days. This film is fairly recent so it isn’t that far back, but it still counts. The movie was fun although I didn’t care for Hoopa’s true form and didn’t like how they overhyped him the whole time. The manga does a great job of fixing that up although it feels super small, even for a one volume one shot. The whole film is being played on fast forward mode and the manga diverges a little bit for fun. It’s a fun little read.

Ash and friends are enjoying some donuts when Ash is thrown into a portal. He meets up with Hoopa and two guardians who have decided that it is time to bring him back to full power. Unfortunately, this causes Hoopa’s true form to go on a rampage as he starts to blow everything up and summons 6 Legendary Pokemon to defend himself. Ash grabs Pikachu and prepares for the fight of his life. He is aided by 3 Legendary Pokemon as well so now he is ready. Can Ash prove that he is the true Pokemon Master and take these clowns down? Time to find out!

One thing that this abridged version makes very clear is that the plot gets a little repetitive. Hoopa’s jar is broken so he turns evil at the very beginning of the volume, but the heroes quickly turn him back to normal. That’s good…but only a few pages later we see Meowth grab the jar and unleash Hoopa once again. In the film, there was a decent amount of fluff so this didn’t happen immediately, but the manga depicts just how quickly these two identical events occurred. It did help us get to the climax very quickly though so that’s always fun.

The original characters from the film were okay, but mostly just generic here. The two protectors remember happier times with Hoopa and one of them gets to help out a little during the climax, but that’s about it. In the end, it really came down to Ash and his friends to save the day as you may have expected. Hoopa wasn’t quite as charismatic as in the film, but he is still a decent Legendary. I still don’t like the Unbound form though. At least he makes for a good villain. I was also glad that the manga fixed some of my issues from the film regarding his power level. He was definitely very overhyped there, but in the manga version we see that Lugia was wrecking him. Had the fight continued on, I’m confident that Lugia would have won here. He had Hoopa on the defensive right from the start.

The 6 vs 3 fight of the Legendaries was also handled a lot better than in the anime. Who hasn’t wanted to see Rayquaza take on heavy weights like Dialga? I do think that the 6 evil Pokemon would have won in the end since the numbers advantage is important and Latias is fairly weak, but it would have been a good fight. Ash was around as well so his Pikachu can really tip the scales. I was satisfied with Ash’s portrayal here. He was eager to help Hoopa out and didn’t back down from a fight. He was even willing to get zapped by Pikachu in order to save the day. His friends felt forced in though and the classic “The future is now!” saying felt a little tacked on as well since it was a really odd way to start the sentence. Ah well, Ash will get new friends soon.

Now, the writing for the manga could be a little odd at times. At one point, Hoopa asked Ash what he would wish for so he could thank Ash. Ash responded with his wish to become a Pokemon Master, but after Hoopa offered to grant this to him, he quickly backpedaled and said that it couldn’t be done. He could have given Hoopa an actual wish or simply declined as he did in the movie. Another moment was when Hoopa told his Unbound version something. I’m going to quote the dialogue word for word so here goes.

Unbound- “You disappear…I am Hoopa. I will be…the one…who remains!” Hoopa- “Ashkan said…he wanted to help you too. I’ll tell you everything about me. So please…..calm down and listen…They’re all waiting for you….You and I should become one again. Hee hee, Surprised? You can have fun with them too!” Then Unbound turns good and the two of them merge. Not only did this conversation use the classic three dots…too often, but it didn’t make much sense. Hoopa said that he would tell Unbound all about himself, but then he didn’t. The conversation didn’t actually go anywhere. Maybe it was a bad translation or something, but the dialogue throughout the manga isn’t great. The other lines aren’t quite that bad at least, but it definitely is something.

The art is very clear at least. It’s not great art or anything as it stays very basic to make it look appealing. It’s good for kids since they can easily understand what is happening and I’ll definitely take this over vague artwork that you see from time to time, but it still didn’t feel really high quality. A good example of a great take on simple art is Bleach. That series got it down to a T.

Overall, This was a bit of a short review, but there isn’t a lot to say about this manga. It did a good job of covering the events from the film, but it probably should have been a little longer as everything was really glossed over. I am glad that the 6 vs 3 fight was extended a little though and it definitely shows that the author had his priorities straight. These one shot adventures are always fun and a great way for Pokemon fans to experience the movies in case they don’t have the opportunity to watch them. It’s a good adventure and while it is not great, you’ll have fun reading it. Even if you’ve never watched Pokemon before, this makes for a good story. After all, you won’t need any previous context to understand what is happening since it is all self contained.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction Review

It’s time to check out the manga adaption of one of the latest movies! This movie had a pretty anticlimactic end fight, but still managed to be a fun experience. I’ve read a lot of the manga adaptions in the past and they are usually about as good as the movie, but not quite on par since it has to rush through the events more. That’s especially clear in this volume.

Ash was enjoying a day as usual by fighting other trainers when a mysterious gem Pokemon appears. She is being targeted by professional thieves so Ash helps her out. Her name is Diancie and unless she can get her gem abilities to work, her people will all die! To gain access to her powers, she must find Xerneas. Being the nice guy that he is, Ash agrees to help her out, but will he be able to stop the legions of villains who are on Diancie’s trail?

As explained earlier, the volume really cruises through the film since it’s so short. The battle between Ash and the Trainer is basically off screen because there was simply no time. It makes for rapid pacing, but sometimes it’s a little too rapid as I did want to see the fun fight scene. Ah well, they kept in the climax at least for the suspense factor. The final battle still ends on a sour note as the fight never actually happened since Yveltal decides to just fly away.

The writer did make it a little more clear that Xerneas was basically toast after saving Pikachu though. He seemed to have transferred his life energy to Pikachu before turning into a tree. It’s not a permanent condition, but it does seem like Xerneas will stay like that for a very long while. That’s definitely not a lot of fun for his many fans.

Finally, my other slight complaint for the volume is that the art wasn’t so good. It’s probably the worst Pokemon movie art that I’ve seen. Something was just off about it. It simply wasn’t as clear as you would expect and the characters constantly felt off model or they would have odd expressions on their faces. Luckily, this doesn’t really affect the action scenes although there really aren’t any. We get a few laser blasts during the scuffles I suppose. The cool part is that Pikachu actually holds his own against Yveltal here!

As with the movie, the volume gets a little emotional towards the end as Pikachu is turned to stone and the viewers are reminded of his mortality. Ash was around with his magic tears, but it was still a very dicey moment for the whole cast. Ash is a solid lead as always and the other characters aren’t bad either. Ash’s friends did seem to be rather helpless without him though as Ash had to save the day once again. I’m waiting for one of his friends to decide to be a serious fighter. Until that point comes, everyone will just have to follow Pikachu and just hope for the best.

I do find it funny how the fast pacing does wreck a lot of the tension from the movie though. For example, one of the villains pretends to be an ally by helping Diancie out when she’s in a pinch. Only about 4 pages later, the villain shows up in the base talking tough and making threats. The reader isn’t given any time to even think that she might be a real hero before things going south. Of course, it was rather obvious, but the volume should have kept up the pretense a little while longer.

Tam Rocket is around, but their role is also very small as they are just around to get blasted off again. They’re still better than the two thieves though. I couldn’t take those guys seriously at all and their personalities are simply unlikable. They really added nothing to the film and really embody the term “Filler character.”

As this volume is so tiny, there’s really not a whole lot more to say about it. Especially considering that I already reviewed the actual film. This was not one of the stronger movies as the lack of action scenes are very noticeable. Genesect, now that was a really epic Pokemon movie filled with epic action scenes and even a parody of the Man of Steel climax, but with how the fight should have ended. Diancie can’t hope to compete with that.

As for Diancie herself, she’s not bad, but not one of the more likable legendaries either. I’d take Celebi over her since Celebi just seemed to have a more enjoyable personality. Yveltal gets the job done and I definitely like him. That’s one villain you don’t want to mess with and Yveltal actually destroyed a lot of the heroes. That takes a lot of skill for sure! Xerneas….well, he seems pretty cool, but I really don’t care for the tree part. Even the hype for Xerneas didn’t really win me over since he didn’t do anything with it. He’s a good Pokemon and certainly an intimidating one, but less words of wisdom and more action scenes would have been good for him.

Overall, if you liked the movie, then you’ll definitely like the manga adaption. It’s essentially the movie on hyper speed so you’ll be done with it very quickly. It makes for an enjoyable read and there are no real negatives aside from the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of action to be found here. I’m looking forward to the next Pokemon movie being more impressive and as a result, the next manga would also be more explosive. Still, this is your big chance to check the volume out and see how it compares to Pokemon Adventures since you don’t get to see Ash in manga format very often. Also, the best part of this volume is the fact that it proves how strong Pikachu is. He stops hits from Yveltal!! That’s pure hype!

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction Review

The next Pokemon film is finally upon us! This one introduces us to the World of Pokemon Kalos, but it fails to leave a grand impression like the previous films. It’s a fun watch, but it ends up being a very brief experience and you’ll be left wanting more. Pikachu finally gets his props here, which still makes it a must watch for all fans. Time to see what really went on here.

The plot involves a princess Pokemon by the name of Diancie. Her kingdom is falling into ruin because the jewel that brought harmony, peace, and life to everyone there has finally faded. Diancie is the only Pokemon in existence who can recreate the crystal, but she doesn’t have the power needed to do it. She must now search for Xerneas so that the legendary Pokemon can awaken her true power. Some hunters decide that they want to capture her so Ash and friends quickly get involved. They decide to escort her through this perilous journey, but are they really strong enough to accomplish such a feat? Looks like they’re about to find out!

I’d say that this was a pretty standard Pokemon film as far as they go. It was pretty light and fun, but the duration really hurt it. The film is barely over an hour and it really shows. It doesn’t help that the TV airing seemed to have to quickly end a few scenes as some just abruptly end in a rather awkward fashion. Most notable was the tournament scene where two trainers are about to face off and a scene where the main villain is talking to his daughter. By and large, it was really just the film’s fault here. Even for an animated film, 90 minutes should really be the bare minimum.

The animation is pretty good here, but it’s not exceptional. I would actually say that the animation in almost all of the other films was better. The fact that a large part of the story takes place underground doesn’t help since that naturally makes the animation worse, but the day scenes weren’t extraordinary. They lacked the depth that we have seen in titles like the Genesect film as well as the Entei installment. Pokemon’s strength has always been during the battle scenes and that continues to be the case here. The large energy blasts from Yveltal look very impressive and I like the universe effects that they use when a Pokemon is summoned as opposed to the classic stream of red light.

One thing that definitely works in this film’s favor is that the stakes may be the most personal yet. The body count in this film is incredibly die and there are several fatalities. A particularly emotional scene is where one of the main characters is taken out so the hero yells his name a few times before giving way to despair. It’s not something that you typically see in Pokemon and if not for a certain figure helping out..it may have been a pretty tragic ending.

Another positive that I give the film is the fact that I have not seen the Power Levels this realistic in a long time. Obviously, there are still some pretty iffy moments, but the film did a decent job. Pikachu finally looks like the pro that he is. He takes out one of the enemies in a single shot and he fights off two champion level Pokemon by himself. Topping this off is Pikachu’s masterful performance against Yveltal. Pikachu’s Thunderbolt is able to match up against a legendary Pokemon’s blast! You have to admit that this is pretty awesome and the writers have definitely come a long way.

The iffy part of the situation would be Diancie’s portrayal. She’s a decently powerful Pokemon and even without her crystal abilities, she should still be able to deal some damage to the villains. Unfortunately, she just spends most of the film running or getting kidnapped. It’s not a very accurate depiction of this fighter and her lack of speed is the most alarming part. No Pokemon should be that slow and the whole point of levitating is that you don’t have to hop. She hops on the air to get by and that’s not cool.

As for her personality, I was pretty mixed on it. On one hand, Diancie ends up being used as a plot point that I’ve never enjoyed. She is new to Earth customs so she doesn’t know what a friend is or how to engage in quality shopping while on the run. We’ve seen this with other shows and films like Starfire in Teen Titans or (to a lesser extent) Nia in Gurren Lagann. I’ve never found it to be amusing or entertaining since it just slows down the plot as the heroes have to explain basic fundamentals. I think a show should try to turn this trope around by having a character know all the basics, but being forced to ask a lot of questions because she lives in an inverted world where the laws of reality has changed. Now that would be interesting, but I don’t care for the current trope as it is.

On the other hand, Diancie definitely works as the picture perfect main character. She’s very polite and she loves to help others. This is sort of how I would picture the main characters from My Little Pony so it was pretty interesting to see how it was handled. If not for the naive part of Diancie’s character, this would have been able to shine even more. I do think that Diancie should have defended herself more, but at least she gives Pokemon a good name. There is one scene that does destroy most of her character development (Abandoning her kingdom for pleasure) but I’ll assume that this was just something that the writers forgot to take out of the script.

Yveltal was definitely very good and he’s one of the best new Pokemon to be introduced. He really means business and he lives to destroy all who oppose him. Just by being around others, he can drain their life force and one of his blasts will destroy his opponent. (By draining all of their life energy) The very concept of this Pokemon is very dark and while it’s all part of the natural cycle…you could say that he’s the closest thing to a villain. Even Ash doesn’t sympathize with this Pokemon as he rushes to the offensive. It was good to see a legendary Pokemon who could live up to his name and no human was going to capture him. I do wish that he could have continued to demolish everyone, but he’s technically not evil so the ending still makes sense. Yveltal has his own roar and what other Pokemon actually gets to smash a plane by jumping on it and blasting the pilots at point blank range? Yveltal’s scenes are some of the most epic scenes that we’ve ever seen in Pokemon! He’s definitely awesome.

Xerneas is the counterpart to Yveltal and while she may be more heroic….I can’t say that she’s extremely impressive. She’s more of a pacifist and we only get to see her fire off an attack or two. The attack does look powerful, but I was definitely hoping to see more of her abilities. Now that the ending has rendered her immobile for a little while, that chance may have slipped away. Xerneas isn’t a bad character, but she definitely can’t be considered to be Legendary level until she proves herself.

Ash Ketchum is already pretty established so I was confident that he would be as cool as always. Ash doesn’t disappoint as I dare say that he flies off the handle much quicker than he used to. As soon as he sees a threat, Ash charges in with his good ole Pikachu. He helps Diancie on her quest without a second’s hesitation and he even heroically decides to stay back to fight off one of the villains while the other heroes went off without him. Ash’s heart is always in the right place and his confidence is well placed since he has Pikachu.

Unfortunately, Ash’s Pokemon all look pretty bad except for Pikachu. He has a flying type Pokemon that I don’t really care for. It’s supposed to be some kind of superhero or wrestler, but it’s definitely not my favorite fighter. Ash also has a small water type frog Pokemon at his disposal, but it loses rather easily to a random opponent so I quickly lost my respect for it there. As expected, Pikachu is the only Pokemon who can really pull his own weight around here. Pikachu looks pretty impressive from the get go as he easily takes out an opponent’s Pokemon. He follows this up by taking on two Champion Level Pokemon on at once and then his best scenes were against Yveltal. Can Pikachu really take on a legendary? But of course! Pikachu trades blows with this monster and it’s a fairly even fight. Considering that Pikachu has the massive speed advantage, we know who would have won if the fight had kept going.

Ash had a few new friends here so let’s look at how well they performed. Bonnie is a little kid and she’s sort of like Max from Advanced. She’s here to remind us that she’s a great character and she helps Diancie realize that she is already pretty special. It may be heartwarming for some, but I still don’t care for kids being main characters. (In this case, Ash is not considered to be a kid because he’s not really portrayed as such) Bonnie just isn’t my kind of character and I didn’t enjoy any of her scenes.

Clemont isn’t much better. “The future is now!” isn’t the greatest catchphrase in the world and he could barely control the ladder. He also lost immediately when it came to a Pokemon battle, which was fairly disappointing. Cmon Clemont…we expect more from you. He’s probably the worst male sidekick to Ash yet since I actually prefer the food themes guy from Pokemon Black and White.

The main heroine is also the worst one yet (Passing Misty) as Selene just isn’t a fighter. Dawn and May had fun with their contests, but they were still A-S rank fighters. Selene gets a brief action scene and she doesn’t do very well in it. She’s not quite as obnoxious as Clemont or Bonnie, but she hasn’t really provided us with any reasons to really like her so far. I’ll definitely need some more convincing at any rate. If she had only scored a single hit against the villain, this paragraph probably would have been a lot more positive. Being a tough trainer is the bare minimum requirement for even being considered as a solid character in Pokemon.

The main villain of this film is basically a parody of himself. He wants to get rich and that’s really his only motivation as he eats a bunch of chocolates. (Snacks are a big thing in this film as Ash and friends even go to a dessert buffet) He barely appears at all and his screentime may be around 10 minutes total. You can imagine that things don’t go very well for him once Yveltal arrives. His daughter is also a minor villain who ends up betraying the heroes, but she had only appeared for a scene or two before the big twist so it wasn’t much of a surprise. She was fairly generic as far as villains go. There really isn’t anything to say about her. She’s not comic relief like Team Rocket, but she doesn’t even accomplish as much as those villains…which isn’t a good sign.

Team Rocket actually gets a bigger role than usual, (Keep in mind that it’s still a small role) but they ultimately do not accomplish a whole lot. They back off when the going gets tough and that was pretty sad for them since they could have made a name for themselves there. Finally, we had two new villains for this film as well. A pair of hunters by the name of Marilyn and Riot. Riot is the calm ninja who is always quiet as he unleashes deadly moves while Marilyn is basically Jessie with a fire motif. Neither of them end up being a match for Ash Ketchum, which was admittedly awesome. They just aren’t good characters and while I actually liked them for a while, the rushed ending completely wrecked their characters. They were ready to ditch their Pokemon and they basically panicked when the going got tough. That’s not what I expect from the big villains!

The soundtrack is pretty uninspired. You’re not going to find the next big battle theme here as there really isn’t a battle theme. The intro during the credits reuses music from the previous Pokemon films and there is nothing unique to be found. It’s sad since the action scenes would have been even better if we had gotten some good tunes to listen too. A good example of this is when Yveltal is dodging a lot of rockets and attacking an airplane. It’s pretty intense stuff, but there is no music to complement it.

Again, the main drawback with the film has got to be the length. Many of the film’s weakpoints could have been fixed had the film been longer. The uncut version would likely help to an extent, but we still need like 40 minutes of extra footage. Ash’s battles against the thieves are pretty short and some are off screen to save time. They should have all been shown and the battles should have been longer. The film ends up just ending since the film’s duration was about to expire so it wasn’t as glamorous as it could have been. The short length meant that we got to the meat of the plot pretty quickly, but everything was rushed. The whole film felt rushed and that really ended up hurting it. (The only positive of this is that the film never ends up dragging on as you get to have fun from start to finish)

Overall, This is definitely a solid Pokemon film, but it ends up feeling more like a 1 hour special than a full length movie. The fights are solid and the power levels were really accurately portrayed here. Ash Ketchum continues to light up the room with his presence and Pikachu is finally showing off his true power. Unfortunately, the film is too short to really contain the content within it so bits and pieces are filled with lost potential. This is definitely a good way to start your Pokemon career, but I’d sooner recommend checking out the previous film with Genesect. That’s still the best Pokemon film out there and I highly recommend it.

Overall 7/10