Pokemon Talent Showdown Review

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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

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Pokemon: Journey to the Orange Islands Review

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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