Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu & Let’s Go! Eevee: Adventure Start Comic Review


It’s time to look at another quick Pokemon manga. This one is about the Let’s Go game and decides to frame the one shot as being about the kids playing it as opposed to taking place in the game. It’s a tactic that Nintendo used earlier with another Pokemon manga so I guess they thought it went well. I do like this approach. I probably wouldn’t want it to happen too often but it’s a good change of pace once in a while to keep us guessing. This is a nice one shot to quickly check out before you play the game.

It starts with two brothers getting their copies of Pokemon Let’s Go. The main character is a longtime Pokemon fan so he’s been waiting for this one while the other admits that he has never played the Pokemon games before. Naturally the lead decides that this won’t do and so he lets the brother play first. As he is playing, the main character shows his bro the ropes. How to land a good catch and stuff like that. As this game takes mechanics from Pokemon Go it is a very different experience compared to most of the classic Pokemon games. A tutorial like this makes sense for newcomers although Nintendo’s always done a great job of making their games pretty self explanatory so I don’t think it would confuse you for long. As they play the two main characters quickly realize that this may be the best Pokemon game yet.

At the end of the day this is basically a glorified advertisement for the Pokemon Let’s Go game. I think it’s a pretty effective one though. The artwork looks nice and it is a very realistic showing of what the game looks like. The screens on the TV in the manga look accurate and all of the advice is quite sound. I never ended up getting the game myself so I had to forego my chance at getting all of those crispy Meltan gifts, but it’s definitely a title I could see myself getting one day once it has been long forgotten by the masses.

Overall, This is another good one shot. It helps that I am just a Pokemon fan in general. I don’t expect you will learn anything new here unless you somehow missed the Pokemon Go boom. Still, it’s a nice enough story to remind you that for some people, Pokemon Let’s Go will be their first big Poke experience. It’s definitely something to keep in mind when playing. It may not be the best installment yet, but if you hadn’t played the others then I think it would rank even higher. I’ll definitely be ready for when the next big Pokemon game comes out.

Overall 7/10

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9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Sun Review


Pokémon has always been a franchise that is stocked full of high quality games. It’s hard to recall a single main game that wasn’t absolutely amazing and that’s probably because one doesn’t exist. These games are 9 star worthy and Sun is no exception. While I do prefer Y, Sun adds a lot of interesting mechanics and even challenges the notion of what a Pokémon is by adding in a bunch of aliens and monsters much like Deoxys.

The game starts off with a bang as we see a girl running away from a group of villains. Just as she is about to be defeated she manages to warp away just in the nick of time. We then cut away to the main character, Terry. He has moves to Alola and has decided to take the Island Challenge which is essentially this game’s version of the Gym Leader system. Nobody ever said the quest would be easy and our young hero knows it, but that has never stopped him before. Along the way he will have to deal with many villains and global threats but Terry is determined to take them down to prove that he is the best.

The gameplay is classic turn based combat at its best. To this day Pokémon is known as the best at this system and it’s easy to see why. The turns are fairly quick with almost nonexistent loading times and the game has a lot of depth even though you only get 4 attack options. A new feature for this game is also the ability to use wild Pokémon to get around instead of using HMs to teach your Pokémon these skills. It’s a pretty nice change since you effectively don’t need to waste a spot anymore.

Let’s talk a bit about the cast. I have to say that Hau is easily the worst rival of the series and possibly the franchise. Purely as a rival at least since this guy never even comes close to getting on Terry’s level. Almost as bad is the fact that he doesn’t care and seems to be content staying in second despite some half hearted dialogue that implies the opposite. As far as I am concerned Hau is just a bit of a miss and may have a shot at being the weakest character in the game. Not physically but in terms of character.

Lillie is a fun heroine and it’s nice to have one that learns about the importance of battling. At first she is certainly not a fan of it but by the end she has decided to start training in this style of combat. With or without the character shift her character already has more personality than many other such characters.

The main villain is also a very solid character and potentially the best villain yet. She has a solid design at the end and her ambitions are pretty decent. She is rather psychotic and doesn’t realize how evil she is but the justifications help make her a fun villain to root against since she is so in denial of what is happening. I do think the anime dropped the ball on this one.

Since Hau couldn’t cut it as a rival the game gives us a second one who is more of a match for Terry. Gladion has a pretty good theme and his Pokémon is interesting since it looks very unique. It definitely appears to be man made right from the start so of course you will start to wonder how this kid got one. He gets a big role in the climax and was one of the low key standouts of the game.

Then we have the leader of team Skull who never really gets to do a whole lot. Guzma could have been cut out of the game and not much would have changed. His team in general just wasn’t that good. I suppose it makes some sense that they would seem rather directionless since they were more of a red herring than anything else but it would have been nice if they could have been at least a little formidable. Instead they were a joke right from the start.

Going back to the man made Pokémon, this game definitely toyed around with the idea of different kinds of a Pokémon more than any of the other games. We had monsters who looked like Digimon from space and that helped to mix things up a bit. The Alola forms of the old Pokémon are nice but only when they are supplementary like in this game. I wouldn’t want them to take the place of a new generation or anything like that.

The graphics are the best that we’ve seen from Pokémon or at least the most cinematic. Now we can get full cutscenes throughout the game to ramp up the intensity. It does make the reused character animations a little more noticeable though as each character can only pull off one real animation and then keeps on doing it for a while. Our rival Hau likes to just grin for ages and ages. That’s definitely in character though.

Unfortunately this game probably has the weakest soundtrack among the main Pokémon games. In particular team Skull’s theme is just terrible and the main Alola theme is well below average as well. After seeing the incredible soundtrack of Pokémon Y it really feels like a step back. Most of the themes are still reasonable remixes but they are brought down by the first two themes.

The game will probably last you at least 30 hours and then you still have the post game to deal with. It’s one of the longer Pokémon post games in the franchise with a lot of new Pokémon to catch in the form of the aliens that escaped. It even acts like an extra story in a sense and then you can go to the battle tower and challenge all kinds of opponents. Assuming you also want to collect all of the Pokémon, you are certainly going to be here for quite a while.

Overall, Pokemon Sun is definitely a blast. While the new style of taking on Island challenges isn’t quite as fun as the normal gym leader system, it works well enough. It’s a decent gimmick but naturally not one that you would want to repeat for the next big installment. At the end of the day the gameplay is as great as always and that’s the most important thing. The game has a ton of content to get through and feels like a AAA game all the way through. I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Overall 9/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Mobilize!! Pokemon Ranger Review


You may remember that I started this series about a month ago. I ended up finishing it about a day or two later, but I didn’t get a chance to put up the review til now. It’s only 12 chapters long so it makes for a very fast read. The chapters are also small so it’s considerably shorter than the average manga volume. It basically adapts the first game, but think of it as an abridged version.

A Pokemon Ranger wants to be the very best. He’s at a pretty low rank at the moment, but his heart’s in the right place. He completes several missions and then becomes aware of a new danger lurking over the horizon. They are essentially the anti Pokemon Rangers as they use their capture nodes to control Pokemon and bring them over to the dark side. Is there anything that our young hero can do to stop them? Luckily he is not alone as he has two main comrades who help him when they feel like it. They are far more experienced so typically they’re busy on other tasks.

Grabbing this series was pretty tough since Deviantart is really the only place that has it all. It’s so obscure that websites even say that it has 12 volumes as opposed to chapters. I suppose the chapters may have been called volumes or something, but I think that’s just because it was labeled that way on the site. I read it all in one batch and I’m glad that I did because finding it again would be a bit of a hassle. It’s mostly due to the fact that the site doesn’t load well and the same goes for the pages so it takes a while. That’s the main reason why I didn’t go back to grab the names. You don’t really need them here anyway since the personalities are what’s important.

The main hero isn’t bad. He’s a nice kid who is very determined. In effect, he’s a generic Shonen kind of character who doesn’t have a whole lot going for him. Luckily, he’s just got a lot of natural skills and Pokemon just want to work with him. He’s courageous and can definitely hold his own story. His more experienced partner is a good character as well. As I mentioned earlier, she doesn’t get a whole lot to do though. For the most part, she pitches in once in a while along with the boss, but it’s all up to the main character. Without him everyone would have been doomed anyway.

The art is a little basic, but it works just fine. It’s certainly clear at the very least so you always know what is happening. It’s nothing that’ll win awards, but it gets the job done. With each chapter being so short, I imagine that the artist had a lot of time to make sure that each page looked just right. As this story is essentially a one shot, you don’t really need to know anything about Pokemon to jump in and enjoy this one. The title gives you the basic premise and explains what is happening.

I played the first Pokemon Ranger game a while back. It’s been a while, but I’d say that the volume felt pretty faithful for what is adapted. Either that or the pre-arc and the main villain were just very similar. One thing that was a little sudden was how the main character jumped from around rank 1 all the way to the max in the final chapter. I guess he did save the world and all, but it seemed a little sudden and out of left field. Well, at least he can boldly proclaim how he got to his goal a lot faster than most other heroes. It didn’t take him almost 6 years to be the Hokage or 10+ years to finally unlock Super Saiyan 4.

Overall, This is a nice little title. It’s a bit of a fluff piece as you’ll read and enjoy it, but then never come back to the title. There isn’t really a need to ever re read this piece, but it’s still good. It didn’t really make any mistakes and it was just a pleasant little tale to read. There’s a lot you can do with the Pokemon universe and I’d like to see more manga titles like this. A longer one would be nice as well, but this is better than nothing. I’d recommend checking it out if you can find it. Maybe it’ll convince you to buy the game since that’s the whole point of this. I aim to buy the next few titles at some point, but it could be a while.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Pokémon: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Review


It’s always a good feeling to have a new Pokemon film around. I was definitely ready for this one and while I wasn’t very hyped walking into it (The trailer wasn’t all that exciting) I still knew that it would be a good film since it’s Pokemon. As expected, this is a pretty solid film. It may not be one of the highest Pokemon titles for me as it’s around Hoopa level, but it has good action scenes and Pikachu gets his props. I don’t ask for much more than that.

Volcanion is a Pokemon who protects others from the villainous humans who roam the world. In particular, he is currently protecting Magearna, a robot who is also classified as a Pokemon, but very unconvincingly. Unfortunately, this robot is wanted by Alva and his cronies so that they can take away her life gem and make the world a darker place. Ash and friends are caught right in the middle of this when a mystical stone binds Ash and Volcanion together. They may not get along all that well, but they’re going to have to make do now because neither one of them will be getting away. Can these two strong willed individuals get along or is it curtains for the heroes?

Before talking about the new characters, it’s important to point out that the film gets all of the main characters right. Ash and Pikachu get the respect they deserve and it’s why so many people liked the X and Y series. This was one of Ash’s toughest rosters to date and he had the most experience that he had ever had except for possibly Johto. It’s a close fight with those 2. Well, this film acknowledges that as Ash is able to defend himself from multiple Mega Evolved Pokemon at once with Pikachu, Greninja, and his other fighters. Since the little green mascot is around, this seems to take place well into the X/Y series so it makes sense that Ash would be ready to deal with just about anything. Pikachu also looks really good and even picks a fight with Volcanion. Ash puts an end to that since pointless fighting isn’t his style, but Pikachu would have won that fight. I was very satisfied with how they looked and it’s probably one of their best movie portrayals in a while although Pikachu has been consistently looking strong lately. (Ignore Sun and Moon)

Likewise, Serena and the others were still around. I can’t really say that they did all that much to be honest. They were ready to fight as well so I’ll give them some props there. There was nothing wrong with them, but they were mostly here as spectators this time. Bonnie is definitely still my least favorite member of the group and she’s too young for the journey. Clemont is certainly not very charismatic either, but I do like that he has the same voice actor as Yuuya. It makes him a little more bearable. I have yet to see Serena fight, but she’s always seemed like she has a lot of personality so she’s probably the best from the group.

All right, lets look at Volcanion, the Pokemon that this film is named after. I’m afraid that I did not like him. He is Hoopa levels of bad and we’ve seen this kind of character way too often. I liked Mini Hoopa so that helped the former a bit, but there is nothing like that for Volcanion. Not only is Volcanion not that smart since he doesn’t realize that Ash is tied to him for a very long time, but he is way too grumpy. Eventually he becomes a nice guy of course, but I just couldn’t get on his side. If you want to be a mean character, then you’ve got to go all in. A good example is Kamui from Tsubasa. He didn’t want to get along with the heroes and never made an effort too. That was just how he was and I can roll with that. Also, Volcanion is easily one of the weakest legendary Pokemon that I’ve ever seen. The Mega Evolved Pokemon completely destroyed him in the opening scene and he never looked much better. At least that proves that Pikachu is stronger than him, but it is always sad to see a Legendary Pokemon look so weak.

He is still better than Magearna though. Personally, I wouldn’t even count her as a Pokemon based on the description here. I mean, as far as the movie is concerned, she is a robot who was given a gem and is now called a Pokemon. That doesn’t really make you a Pokemon if you ask me. She is also not all that smart and just comes off as very annoying the whole time. If she had been able to fight or defend herself even a bit, that definitely would have helped quite a lot. As it stands, things didn’t go all that well for her since she wouldn’t defend herself.

Alva’s the main villain here and he’s fairly good. He tricks the prince pretty easily and then accomplishes his goals. He knows how to use everyone else to do his bidding including Team Rocket. His Mega Pokemon army was also very formidable and their sheer numbers would be enough to defeat just about any Trainer. He simply didn’t count on Ash and his team working together with the land of Pokemon inhabitants. Not to mention that the new Mewtwo-esque DBZ character was also around to stop his city destroying blast. There was really nothing wrong with Alva and he actually had a good plan.

Chymia was a reasonable character. She realized that her younger brother Rali was being gullible again so she had to stop Alva. Unfortunately, Rali seems to have all of the political power since he is the prince so she had to ask Ash and friends for help. Her Gardevoir was certainly a powerful Pokemon to have and being able to Mega Evolve as well helped to really make her a useful ally. Hers may not be as strong as the Elite Four Champion version that Ash fought, but it was still quite tricky. Unfortunately, Rali was not likable in the slightest. It’s just hard to believe how naive he was. He didn’t suspect anything even when the villain was attacking his sister and her friends or when he kidnapped Magearna and held her at knife point. He still thought that Alva was a nice guy…and that’s just sad.

This film went back to Pokemon’s roots with some aspects that I really enjoyed like the opening fight. Remember the good ole days in the first films where Ash would wreck multiple trainers to start out a movie. That was awesome. The opening fight here was definitely a blast as well and then we also got a nice song to end the movie with. The epilogue itself may not have been super exciting, but the song was definitely well done and overall I did enjoy the soundtrack. It actually had some decently good battle tunes and the lyrical themes spoke for themselves. Additionally, the graphics were good as always. The fight scenes stand out and the sharp colors are always good for the fights as well. All of the character designs are on point and there’s not much more that you can ask for from this one.

The film never drags on either, which is important. Some plots in the Pokemon movies aren’t that interesting or are bogged down by the characters which can hurt the overall film. There was nothing like that here so the film was just fun from start to finish. I may not have liked the Legendary Pokemon much, but they weren’t bad enough to hurt the whole thing. The running gag with Ash being stuck to him may have been rather pointless in the end, but I guess it was the only real way that the film could have him stick around the way that he did. The Pokemon films are never very long so I suppose that helps the pacing.

Overall, This was another good Pokemon film to add to the total and I would recommend it. It had good action, a nice plot, a good character roster, and a fun soundtrack. This film is just a fundamentally good film even if it isn’t one of my all time favorite Pokemon films. It’s the kind of film that you could recommend to anyone, whether they are a Pokemon fan already or not. If you are, then you’ll naturally get an extra kick out of it. It’s going to be tough waiting for the next film since it’s looking like it could be one of the all time greats. A remake/alternate route to the original Pokemon episode with a super high budget? Count me in! The one annoying part will be that Ash will be back to being a rookie…again, but maybe he’ll just get really good really quick. I could definitely roll with that and since this is such a big homage, I do think that he will end up looking pretty good. Maybe Mewtwo will even appear….maybe.

Overall 7/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

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

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Pokemon: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages Review

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It’s time to take a look at the latest Pokemon film! The hype around this movie was that many different Legendary Pokemon would get to appear. I’m always up for seeing the titans come up, but was admittedly disappointed in how it was handled. A good film overall though and Pikachu isn’t nerfed this time around, making for some good power feats. It reminds me that I still need to go play Pokemon X/Y!

The film starts out in a desert as we see a village looking up to the all powerful Hoopa. In Hoopa’s true form, he’s essentially a giant Genie. He warps other Legendary Pokemon to the village via his inter dimensional rings and then fights them for a little while before sending them back when he’s in danger. This cowardly fighting style gains him many fans, but then the power corrupts him and the village is essentially destroyed. Fast forward a few centuries to the present where Hoopa is now in his chibi form being escorted by two allies. They are looking for the bottle so that Hoopa can regain his true form once more. Surely he is ready for this now…right?

Ash and friends were enjoying a nice vacation when Hoopa decides to snag a donut. The odd thing is that the real donuts look like French Crullers while the fake donuts look like the real deal. I think Ash and friends are essentially getting scammed. Ash follows Hoopa through the portal and then gets his friends across as well. The odd thing is that the friends still don’t trust Ash and actually try to stop him, but he is able to overpower their combined might. Ash and friends decide to help Hoopa out, but then the city comes under siege thanks to Hoopa’s true powers. He has split into his dark self and the chibi form. Can Ash muster up the will to defeat the evil Hoopa or will his feelings of friendship and camaraderie overpower him!?

To start the analysis off, I was underwhelmed by the opening. For starters, I have to say that Hoopa’s design is one of the worst Pokemon designs of all time and probably top 5. The genie looks nothing like a Pokemon and is hard to properly use in a fight. The voice likely doesn’t help matters either. He also comes across as very petty in the intro as he is clearly going to lose against the Legendary Pokemon so he warps them away, but not before getting his cheap shots in. This happens during the entire film and it can be a little annoying. The Pokemon were minding their own business before getting thrown into these fights and never get any closure since they are just tossed aside. It’s the issue with having fighters who can’t talk, they don’t get much of an ending when they’re cheated out of a fight.

Most of the fight scenes also aren’t actual fights. It was cool to see Lugia flying rings around Hoopa and landing some good shots in, but that was probably the only real fight scene that we got. The rest were “action” scenes which are essentially just long chases throughout the city. I’m fine with having action, but not at the expense of fight scenes and that’s exactly what happened here. The sad part is that the TV show has a lot of fights consistently across the episodes, but then when the movies come…it’s like there’s not enough budget for it. The budget is instead used for things that aren’t quite as important like the backgrounds or adding extra layers to the dimension effects. I’d trade all of that for a quick 1 on 1 fight in an instant. I’d say that most people watch Pokemon for the fights anyway.

Character-wise, the new original characters weren’t bad. The guy was pretty weak willed since he was possessed so easily and he probably should have expected the situation to happen, but it’s not totally his fault and he rebounds from the whole thing. Likewise with the heroine who is fairly similar to the guy personality wise. Both of them don’t have much personality, but they have powers in the form of Force blasts from Arceus. They don’t get to fight all that much, which is why another villain would have been really good. It’s always neat to see a human with some kind of super ability though so I’ll give some extra props for that.

I didn’t like Hoopa’s normal form, but I liked his mini version. His gimmick is that he always says “Were you surprised?” throughout the film for many different contexts. I can work with that and Hoopa’s actually very likable unlike some of his predecessors who could be more annoying like Manaphy. His abilities are fun as well even if he didn’t use them properly. Why not call out Mewtwo or Deoxys? That’s actually another critique with the film. From the legendaries, it’s mostly just the scrubs that are called. Latios, to an extent Lugia, etc. Where were the big guns like Mewtwo, Arceus, Deoxys, Ho-Oh? Let’s face it, those are the fighters that people wanted to see. We’ve seen Dialga, Palkia, Giratina, and fans a lot. They also got the new Legendaries from Black and White so it’s almost like they didn’t want to have to go and animate the older Legendaries with the exception of Lugia. I feel like that cheapened the whole point of the film to an extent because I was looking forward to seeing my favorite Pokemon fighters. Of course, if Lugia is more than a match for Hoopa, those guys would have crushed him without much effort.

Luckily, this is where the Pikachu hype comes in. His thunder blast is able to match up against a combined Legendary Pokemon onslaught and the whole film goes out of its way to show that Pikachu should not be taken lightly. The bond between Ash and Pikachu was also proven as Ash was able to recognize him instantly even when surrounded by dozens of other Pikachus. I was surprised at this since I was sure that Pokemon would want to use this as a joke, but the writers resisted the urge. It was a good move since Ash and Pikachu should definitely pass a test like that. Ash also admits that he wants to be a Pokemon Master on his own and he won’t take any shortcuts. I’d expect nothing less from such a hero.

The animation was crisp and sharp as you would expect. It’s a shame that we didn’t get any big fight scenes to really see how the animation fared, but that’s how it goes. It may be easier to animate scenes of just walking around, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the scenes are all very clear. Pokemon makes a large sum of money so the animators likely have the best equipment and staff to work on these projects. As a result, you’ll be hardpressed to find any scenes that don’t look good.

Unfortunately, the soundtrack is not very good. I don’t think I’ll call it downright bad, but it’s very uneventful and there are no good battle themes. That’s a shame since the video games are known for their spectacular soundtracks and the film should have just borrowed them. Instead, most of the music is very peaceful and that’s definitely never been my style. I want some quick battle music themes that rock you to the core. The Mega Evolution Acts succeeded with this so the movie should have been able to as well.

Ash’s new partners definitely have less personality than his old ones and that’s shown in the film. Their role is very small and none of them have a critical game changing moment. One of them picks out the donuts and one of them has “The future is now!” catchphrase, but is that really a personality? Granted, the dubbing is so over the top and forced for the catchphrase that it can be funny in a retro outdated kind of way. I don’t think that kind of way even counts though to be honest. Ah well, Ash is a great main character and that’s really what counts in the end.

So, where does this film rank in the end? I’d say that it beats the last one, but get roflstomped by Victini, all of the Dialga and Palkia trilogy, most of the classic films through Hoenn, (Beats Manaphy and Zoroark though) and that’s not too bad. I don’t want to bother looking at the full list of films, but it’s likely on the lower side of the half, but think of it this way, 1 film less than half is the destiny for many films no matter how good they are since there are just that many. This film had a lot of flaws and was a big missed opportunity like Battle of Gods, but had enough positives to send it over the hill.

Overall, This is definitely a film that I would recommend. It’s not the most inspired Pokemon film and I miss my action scenes/insert song from the older titles, but I have to accept that with modernization comes a decrease in quality at times. The new Mewtwo film was amazing though so maybe Pokemon will get right back on the saddle in the next film. Otherwise, the TV show crossover arc with the Mega Evolution Act is liable to feel more like a movie than the actual movie series. Team Rocket is around, but their role is very small. Still, keep an eye out for Wobbuffet since his true powers are finally given their due credit!

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Pokemon XY The Strongest Mega Evolution Act II Review

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Well, the Mega specials continue here as Alain carries on in his journey to defeat all of the Mega evolved Pokemon. Unfortunately, this is a goal that is even more difficult than Ash’s dream of being a Pokemon Master so it shall never happen. Still, Alain can just try to defeat all of the Mega Pokemon that he encounters. That would be a nice start to his goal. This special is pretty good, but it’s not quite as engaging as the first special. There simply isn’t as much action to be found here.

Alain was looking for more people to fight when his sidekick ended up falling down only to be helped up by the Pokemon Champion, Steven. Alain quickly challenges Steven to a fight that the champion cannot refuse and Alain’s big fight is here. His Charizard is powerful, but he’s up against a champion right now so you can bet that it won’t be an easy fight. That’s the meat of the episode and after that the heroes use some ruins that they have found to locate a large energy source. It could be the ultimate Mega Stone…let’s hope that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands!

Speaking of which, Lysandre has a pretty big role in the special. There will be no drama for the kids who played Pokemon X/Y, but for those of you who do not play the games, you’ll still realize that something is fishy with this guy. I didn’t care for him anyway as Lysandre interrupted a good fight and he seems a little condescending. His hairstyle is pretty good though since it stands out. Hopefully Alain turns against him quickly and uses his good ole Charizard to take his boss down!

Steven is a pretty likable character and you can tell that his skills are worthy of being a Pokemon Master. I don’t like the fact that his Metagross is not blue, but I suppose that making it a shiny version makes the kid look even more impressive. Suffice to say, I was rooting for Alain, but it definitely makes sense that he was being crushed in the fight. One simply does not defeat a Pokemon Champion and especially someone with Alain’s track record. See, Alain talks a good game, but he has a habit of losing when the going gets tough.

Alain’s goal is to defeat all of the Mega Pokemon, but he’s already been defeated twice if I recall correctly and he suffered a tie that would have been a loss in this special as well. Alain is a nice guy and he’s finally getting used to the power of friendship, but he’s still going to have to improve his fighting skills if he wants to stay relevant in the Pokemon world. He’s definitely no Ash Ketchum, but he’s a cool lead.

I still can’t wait until the anime starts to use Mega Evolutions more as it is certainly a good step in the Pokemon universe. Imagine seeing Pikachu having a Mega Stone and gradually mastering his new form as the series goes on! It would add a Shonen Twist to keep Pokemon going and the visuals are always great once that happens. The Mega energy that envelops the Pokemon and causes many cool destruction scenes is something that we need to see more of.

The animation is naturally very good for this special. The fight scenes are a lot of fun to watch and the energy attacks all have a lot of detail. The character designs are easy to look at and it’s a win all around. Pokemon definitely proves that it can still hold up with the best mon shows. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is another story. It wrecks the tension and excitement that the fights have because the music is so slow and happy. It’s simply not well suited to accompany these action scenes and I have to wonder what the channel was thinking. Throw in some rock themes from GX or rip some music from Pokemon Advanced, but just about anything would have been an improvement over what we got. Music is a key ingredient in anything and especially an anime so they need to get that fixed before act III comes out.

Unfortunately, this special is still really short and it’s basically equivalent to watching a normal episode of Pokemon. To an extent, it does feel like a normal episode and you would probably just call this filler if it was occurring alongside Ash’s adventures. That would have actually been interesting, but this way is better since we get to have both. Hopefully this series gets many acts although I hope that they make it bi weekly or at least monthly soon since the wait can be pretty bad. It will certainly help with the pacing since nothing really happened in this episode, but it wouldn’t feel as bad if we had the next one coming in a few weeks.

Overall, Act II may not be as intense as Act I, but it’s still a pretty fun Pokemon special. It’s really everything that you would expect from the classic franchise as we get some cool action scenes and some world building for the future. It’s almost inevitable that Alain will have to fight his boss so that should be a pretty intense fight. I hope that we get to see some more game characters like Red and Blue as the special series goes on. The most important thing is for the specials to fix the soundtrack. That negative really needs to be addressed before the third Act arrives since it really limits the special’s potential. It’s only about 20 minutes so I’ll expect all of my blog followers to give it a shot by then unless you plan to watch all of the acts as a film once they end. Otherwise, see you then!

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

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