It’s time to close out this series since Act IV appears to be the last one. It’s been a fun ride and was certainly filled with a lot of action. It definitely gets you hyped for the climactic clash between Alain and Ash. I’m satisfied with how this all ended even if Alain’s naivety can be a bit much. Seriously, his goals seem pretty iffy and he certainly takes contradictory steps to get him to the end goal.
Alain decides that he wants to be the strongest Pokemon Trainer of all time. His boss Lysandre tells Alain that he will need to defeat 10 Mega Pokemon trainers in a row. If he loses even one of them, Alain will be forced to hand over his Mega Stone and he’ll be fired. Alain doesn’t seem to mind the fact that this is basically a threat and agrees to the challenge. “Fight’s over son” is what his opponents should have said, but none of them went that far. In the subplot, Mairin is forced into tears once more and her Pokemon helps a prisoner escape the evil facility, but becomes sickly in the process. This is alarming and it seems like Lysandre may not be the nice guy that we thought he was. Of course…who ever actually believed that one right?
As always, the animation is quite good for the special. This one was basically just nonstop action the whole time and while the fight in episode I was probably still the most impressive, the quality doesn’t let up here. It’s still sad to see the Pokemon wait for the trainer to give out an attack instead of making a move, but it seems to be their destiny. After all, getting caught by the Pokeball has always seemed like a subtle form of brainwashing, which is what made the N plot from the Unova days so interesting. Maybe it also takes away some of their intelligence or free will to even think about doing something without a command. It’s something to think about. We get quite a few Mega Pokemon here as Alain runs through them all with minimal effort.
One thing to note is that Alain’s Charizard has the edge over most of the Pokemon thanks to the type advantage. It was interesting to see so many grass Pokemon in the mix, maybe Lysandre has a heart inside of him after all! That being said, I have to call in plot hax to the fact that Alain won all of the fights. Especially when you consider the fact that the very first opponent was giving him a lot of trouble. There’s no way that he should have been able to have defeated an Elite Four member in his weakened state. I’m not buying it and that’s why Ash is always routinely defeated by these guys. They mean business pure and simple.
There was one intriguing moment in the film where the Dub seems to have messed something up. I forgot the context so you’ll have to watch the film yourself. It involves Alain answering a question with a big No, followed by a little line and then a No. It was just odd and I don’t think that it was intentional. Maybe….but unlikely. The soundtrack was pretty fun. Oddly enough, the soundtrack for the full length Hoopa film wasn’t very good, but this special used quite a few themes from the games and that’s always fun to see. We had a remix from what I think was probably the Red/Kanto games and another one from the newer titles. Good music themes can always make the difference in a film so you want to have good ones.
I’d say that the main frustrating part of the film is Alain. His goal is to become the strongest Pokemon Trainer, which is a great one. The problem is that he goes about it the wrong way. Being Lysandre’s Yes Man is not the greatest job in the world and he’s mean to Mairin for no reason. He wants to make things right by saving her Pokemon, but it really made no sense to be rude to her earlier. He can’t seem to make up his mind. Furthermore, it’s odd that he doesn’t even suspect that the organization is evil. I thought that it was obvious when the group grabbed the crystal and it should be even more evident now that a Pokemon is sick from the mysterious lab. They were clearly imprisoning a Pokemon and while the heroes don’t know that, the dots should be connected now. It seems like a Professor is close to figuring out the truth though.
I do like the concept of having a “hero” who is being tricked and working for an evil organization since it can lead to a good fight between heroes. Case in point, Ash and Alain are going to be facing off against each other soon so that’s going to be great since Alain is already an established character. It’s like having Yugi fight Jaden or Batman going up against Captain America. Of course, the former barely counts since it’s best when the two characters are seriously fighting each other with something at stake. I’m certainly going to be on Ash’s side and I want him to crush Alain, but Alain is still a good main character. The fact that he’s getting suckered so easily and convincingly is part of why I’m looking forward to Ash pounding him flat. Alain needs to learn from someone who knows, that you’ve gotta see the bigger picture. That’s probably how Ash made it all the way back to age 10 after so many years. Charizard is a great partner for Alain as well and it’s easy to see how they’ve beaten so many opponents. He really means business.
There’s a nice twist ending in the film as well. If there’s anything that can match up to a crossover battle, it’s seeing the next big villain. The Pokemon that was being experimented on is getting ready for vengeance and hopefully he is able to take down the villain organization. Those guys have definitely got to go. Steven should know that the group is evil as well since he’s supposed to be a pretty wise guy so this is all partially his fault as well. I still don’t care for Mairin as a character and she’s definitely not needed here, but she could be worse I suppose. She’s mostly getting in the way though, but Alain still needs to remember that there are no johns (excuses) in Pokemon battles.
Overall, A Pokemon special with nonstop action the whole time is definitely a good way to get me interested in what’s happening. Alain’s story ends here and it’ll be great to see him return from Ash’s point of view soon. In the anime, Ash just got his Mega Pokemon recently so since Alain can’t stand to see another trainer use a Mega that he has not defeated, things are definitely going to heat up a lot in the upcoming moments. With that epic cliffhanger at the ready, I’m looking forward to seeing the Pokemon’s true form. I remember seeing it a while back and the design was certainly awesome. Steven and Mairin may be rather uninteresting supporting characters, but all that you need in the end is a good main character to have a TV special succeed. While Alain is a watered down Sasuke, he still has his moments and I’d say that he ended this 4 part special as a good (naive) character.