Pokemon XY The Strongest Mega Evolution Act IV Review

Mega_Evolution_Special_IV_Poster
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.

Overall 8/10

Pokemon XY The Strongest Mega Evolution Act III Review

Poster_Mega_Evolution_Special_III
All right, the third act of the Mega Evolution special has arrived! It’s been a fun little series and a good way to show off the Mega Evolutions since the main anime hasn’t done a whole lot with that so far. It’s too bad that the special is only about 20 or so minutes, but it gives us some action, which is really what counts I suppose.

Alain is still working with Steven as they try to uncover the mystery behind the large evolution stone. Alain’s boss wants to use the energy to let humanity experience a time of peace. That sounds a little suspicious eh? Well, Alain seems to think that it’s all right and he just wants to become the strongest Pokemon Trainer of all time! Meanwhile, Steven is also interested in finding out about the stone, but Groudon and Kyogre suddenly emerge and the situation escalates. Can the heroes stop these Pokemon from destroying the stone?

As this is a fairly short special, we jump to the fighting very quickly. That’s good as the first few minutes before the fight scenes weren’t incredibly awesome. They weren’t so much dull as you were just wondering where the Act was going with this. We are on a time table after all and expect a good fight since the specials don’t have the luxary of being 800+ episodes. Watching the heroes engage in small talk and walk around semi aimlessly just felt like wasted time that could have been used for more action. Luckily, the two Kaiju Pokemon arrive and then things get really intense. The special takes a lot of cues from the Godzilla films.

Groudon walks through the ocean in a similar fashion to Godzilla and uses Ghidorah’s sound effects and even seems to borrow some from Mothra, but maybe it’s just Mecha King Ghidorah. Kyogre actually used Godzilla’s roar, which was incredibly awesome to see! Then we got to the meat of the special as the two Pokemon fought each other in their Primal forms. I liked the special’s explanation of the forms as they both regained their original abilities from when they first walked the Earth. That’s pretty reasonable to me.

The battle between Groudon and Kyogre did not disappoint! Naturally I was on Groudon’s team as he has always been one of my favorite Pokemon. It was certainly a hype moment as he just grabbed Kyogre and slung him away with a back throw. That was awesome and Groudon definitely had the edge in this fight as he hit Kyogre with wave after wave of attacks. Kyogre landed many blows as well, but they just didn’t seem to have much of an impact compared to Groudon’s. Then, Rayquaza jumped into the fray and I had a feeling that the other two Pokemon were basically doomed.

In a fair fight, I like to think that Groudon could actually put up a decent fight. The problem is that Rayquaza can fly and Groudon can’t. That immediately puts Groudon at a sizable disadvantage since he will have a very tough time trying to dodge any of Rayquaza’s attacks. What helps to balance this a little is that I never found Rayquaza’s raw attack or defense power to be that impressive although this special would certainly disagree. His giant energy blast looked spectacular and made for a great end to an impressive fight. No cop outs or anything of that nature, but an actual end to the fight.

It almost goes without saying that the animation is pretty stunning here. You really feel like this is a battle between immensely powerful Pokemon and the big jump in the animation helps to distinguish it from a normal Pokemon fight. Groudon’s eruption technique from the ground along with the laser blasts especially look great. Everything is crisp and feels modern. You can tell that the company gave this special a good budget.

Unfortunately, the soundtrack is very uninspiring and there are no good themes to be found here. That’s a real shame as having a good soundtrack can make everything feel so much better as you’re watching the fights unfold. It’s safe to say that a dynamite soundtrack would have added an extra star to the rating or just made this one a stronger 8. It’s actually the dub’s fault in this case, which is too bad. The dub will need to work on improving the music as that has been a recurring problem for Pokemon for some time now.

I haven’t talked about Alain all that much, but that’s mainly because he’s a bit of a nonfactor here. He still wants to be the best, but his Charizard gets absolutely wrecked by Groudon in the fight. It’s decently realistic I suppose, but with the dragon’s speed, he should not be getting hit by any of Groudon’s attacks. Speedblitzing in this match should not be hard so he could have definitely been more impressive. At least Alain beat a random guy at the very end of the special, which will help him reclaim some dignity.

Unfortunately, you get the distinct impression that Alain is simply being used as his boss seems completely evil right from the get go. If you’ve played the games then you’re probably ready for what happens next as well. I’m hoping that Alain makes the hero call and doesn’t hesitate to unleash his powers when the stakes get high. As a character he’s all right, but while his dream gives him a lot of promise, Alain has not done anything with it yet. His bold moment when trying to save Charizard also falls flat because he gets knocked out and misses the whole climax.

Mairin is still travelling with Alain. She means well and is a nice character, but she can’t fight, which hurts her chances of really being useful in the adventure. You could essentially call her a filler character as she definitely doesn’t add to the story. I suppose that she is slowly trying to make Alain a nicer person, but that’s a very small part of the story. Steven’s probably cooler than Alain and Mairin combined although he also seems quite naive. I loved him in the Pokemon Ruby game and I’m glad that he’s still portrayed as a very tough fighter here, but he should have suspected something when Alain started to talk to himself. Letting the crystal get snagged was also unfortunate. Luckily, he is trying to correct this by personally escorting Mairin to Alain so he can get revenge and some answers. I’m rooting for Steven here!

Overall, This was a good third part to the special series. I’ll admit that I’m more interested in the fights than the actual plot as it’s been underwhelming, but with part IV supposedly being the final one, I’m expecting an epic climax full of betrayal and tension! The final fights are sure to be really epic and I hope that Alain and Steven look really good as I want at least one of them to end on a really high note. It’ll likely be a while before that one arrives in the US, but I shall be ready with a review. If the next special improves with the soundtrack, we could be looking at an elite title! I highly recommend this special if you’re a Pokemon fan or just a person who wants to see some epic action scenes! It’s short so it’s not like you will have to set aside too much time to check it out.

Overall 8/10