Pokémon Evolutions Review


Pokemon has had quite a few mini series so far. They all tend to be pretty solid. Some are more action based while others follow the story more. They’re always a glimpse at some fun concepts for an ongoing story but at the end of the day they can sometimes just make you wish that it was a title that you could pick up and watch for 20+ episodes. Well, Evolutions is the strongest show to date. It may also make you wish that they could just adapt all of the games like this already but each episode does still manage to have a complete story within so it doesn’t feel like you’re missing everything. There are 8 episodes contained within and each region gets an episode. I’ll break them all down below.

The first episode is almost a somber one to an extent as the champion Leon recalls the big battle against Chairman Rose’s legendary monster. Even Leon’s Charizard wasn’t quite a match for this powerful Pokemon. They got to show their strong bond here though as Charizard never gave up and Leon gets his swagger back by the end of the episode. Leon’s always been a fun character since his whole thing is that he is incredibly powerful. While I wouldn’t say he is the strongest Pokemon Trainer out there, he has earned a very solid reputation for himself. If we get to see him take on some more powerful trainers and continue to win in the main anime that could change things. Either way this was a good episode to start things off with. It’s not one of the most intense ones but with the action scene we did get and the solid animation, it was a good omen of things to come.

Episode 2 brings in the Sun and Moon cast as Necrozma shows up and starts dishing out the damage. Lunala has to fight against him and it’s nice to actually see Lunala fighting with great animation like this. Lunala has rarely gotten the spotlight compared to some of the other legendaries so this was a good chance to change things. That being said, Necrozma is not a Pokemon that goes down easily and is even one of the stronger Pokemon legendaries I would say. This one really ends with a lot of momentum on the villain’s side. The fight is one of the best in the series and you can feel the tension. It was an excellent way to continue on from the first episode.

In the third episode we get Lysandre making his speech about why he’s actually the good guy. We see his past and also how he originally had good intentions that just started getting more and more extreme until he was completely the villain. It’s a much weaker episode than the first two. Not a bad one but I think the issue is that he just isn’t a very convincing villain. See, someone like N I could understand. I think you can make some valid points for why Pokemon should not be fighting and he just made sense. There’s just no part during Lysandre’s pitch where you actually think he’s in the right, especially not when he’s strapped to a giant machine and fighting off the other Pokemon. A villain with a strong goal is always at least interesting though so while this episode couldn’t compete with the first two, it still kept a high amount of energy.

Following up that episode has N appear which is quite fitting since he was a good comparison in the last one. It’s from Ghetis’ point of view for the most part though as we see how he orchestrated all of these events. He was at the front of the situation from the very beginning and it turns out that he really was a tactical genius. I was never a big Ghetis fan but his plan was sound. N is really the one doing all the work though as we see him take down the Champion and get ready to fight the main character. It’s another reason why I always found N so fascinating. Defeating a champion is pretty much unheard of except for the main character and rival. A villain taking down the champion has never really happened before. This episode didn’t have any really long action scenes but it was really hype throughout.

Episode 5 is certainly more of an upbeat one. We get a glimpse into Barry’s life as he lost to Team Galactic initially and then pressed forward until he gained the skills needed to stand up to them. It’s one of the more emotional episodes. He may not be as strong as the main character yet, but he’s giving it his best effort. I always like how stoic the main character of the relevant Pokemon game is in these episodes but more on that later. It was a bit more low key than the last episode but still a fun adventure and it ended up covering quite a lot.

Episode 6 is my favorite episode in the series. We get to see the ceremony with Zinnia as she explains the prophecy of her people to Ruby. They climb up the tower as May tries to get the stone back before they make it to the top where the summoning begins. This was a really powerful moment in the manga with how Zinnia lived her whole life for this moment only to find out that she wasn’t the right person. It’s definitely tough because she did everything that she possibly could and yet it was not enough. That’s the kind of thing that’s hard to really get any silver lining out of. Still, she makes the hero call and lets May be the one to summon Rayquaza and save the world. She at least gets to have her fight at the end though. It’s a dynamite episode from start to finish, Zinnie continues to show why she is one of the best Pokemon characters and we still do get some action in this episode even if that isn’t the main focus this time around.

It’s fitting that episode 7 is my least favorite for the ultimate whiplash. Episode 7 has a few girls telling a story about Ho-Oh and Lugia. If it sounds familiar it’s because we also got a story for the Johto portion in one of the previous Pokemon miniseries when we learn how the dog trio were created. Is Johto just not good enough to get the big action treatment like the others? I guess the most interesting thing here is seeing how the Pokemon contribute to the show. It’s like real life special effects in this verse but at the same time there was just no big hook and to me that’s what held this episode back. The whole time you’re waiting for some kind of fight or something but it never comes. The artistic style here was a big step down from the other episodes as well. Ultimately it was just not a very engaging episode.

Finally we end with Kanto so you know things are going to get hype. Green is searching for the final Pokemon in the Pokedex: Mewtwo. Unfortunately another trainer is already in the cave so now it’s a race to the finish. That said, both trainers have a good amount of chivalry so there isn’t any cheating or things like that. They both want to win in a clean fashion. At first I didn’t recognize Green since it appears more like her new design. I actually thought that it was the Let’s Go main characters at first and then Red and the others would get their cameos. Red and Blue do get a quick cameo at the end but this was in fact Green. (Don’t know the names of the Let’s Go crew assuming that they have new names) This was a great way to end the series though. It doesn’t quite defeat the Zinnia episode, however it had the longest action scenes. Not necessarily in a fighting context but with all the acrobatics and running around in the cave. We also got to see a fun look at how some of the gameplay mechanics would work out like how a fight is initiated when two characters meet each other’s gaze. Of course the guy chickened out the first time though.

There you have it, those are the 8 episodes of Pokemon Evolutions. The animation throughout the series is really solid. The battles are on point and the character designs are smooth. I dare say that the animation here could hold up with the main series and the battles in particular probably beat some of the main title fights as well. Of course I imagine it’s easier to make the fights look spectacular when it isn’t weekly 20+ minute episodes. The soundtrack also deserves a lot of respect here with how many solid tunes and remixes we get.

Pokemon Evolutions succeeds in all areas and just makes for a really fun experience. As mentioned, it feels more self contained and complete compared to the other Pokemon titles. I would say this is the best one. Yes, the episodes still tend to have cliffhangers but we got to see the fights before that happened as opposed to the battles being left to your imagination. That’s a big difference. Also, this series covered more of the big events. You’ll likely remember all of these scenes from when you played through the video games and that’s a lot of fun since now you get to see it happen in real time.

Additionally, the video game main characters all look really hype. You have Ruby who gets to prove that she is the chosen one to go and fight with Rayquaza. Then you have the main character of the Diamond and Pearl games who is holding his own against Jupiter and the others. Green gets to show her persistence in combat and Red/Blue appear to be pros as always. The fact that they are all silent for the most part just increases their mysterious aura. Not all of them are silent though like Green has a lot to say but for the most part they silently dare their opponent to make a move. Their unlimited confidence makes it easy to see how they would end up becoming the champions.

Now that we’ve gotten to explore all of the regions a bit, I’d really like to have a crossover at some point. Pokemon Adventures did this so why not a show right? Red interacting with Black or Green meeting up with Platinum would be a lot of fun. If they can keep this big animation budget as well then you could also splurge on some really big fights. Of course the best way would be to have a full TV show for this but even if the episodes were shorts, you could still do a lot. Maybe go back to the series’ roots and make it a big tournament anime. The possibilities are really endless although my money would be on Red to go all the way of course. You couldn’t rule any of the other characters out though as they all became champions by the end of their journies.

Overall, Pokemon Evolutions is a really solid title. It’s a short one so you’ll definitely be done with it in a blast but it should help to inspire you to go back to the games or read some of the manga. If you’re a Pokemon fan then you will definitely have a major blast with this one and even if you don’t know Pokemon (Somehow) you should still be able to enjoy the quality writing and pacing of the episodes. Given that you can easily complete the whole series in less time than it takes to watch a movie, there’s no reason not to watch this one. Hopefully at some point this leads to a full movie or show but in the meantime I’ll be satisfied with getting another mini series as well.

Overall 8/10

Pokémon HeartGold SoulSilver: Go! Go! Pokéathlon Review


Pokémon’s certainly had a lot of different titles over the years. Pokémon Adventures is easily the most well known one but there are countless stories you can tell through manga and we have seen a nice variety. You have action titles like Reburst, heists, comedies, trading card manga, etc. Well, this one is a sports one shot and the premise is good enough where you wish it could have been a true ongoing. There’s a whole lot you could do with Pokemon and sports after all. It would end up being one of the big time Pokemon manga titles.

The story follows a kid named Takashi who is really excited to enter the Pokémon Triathalon. He just barely makes it in time but knows that this should be a complete win on his part. He has Onyx, Chikorita, and Pigeotto. His childhood friend Lyra warns him that this competition won’t be easy and he should think things through. Unfortunately that’s not Takashi’s strong point so things start to go south. Takashi has to question if he really stands a shot here. Can he make a comeback or is time to go back to being just an ordinary Pokemon trainer?

The story is only about 20 pages so there isn’t a whole lot of time for events, but we do get to see 3. The first is the hurdles where you have to jump over the stick like in the Olympics. Chikorita would probably be the best pick here right? Well Takashi doesn’t seem to think so and he decides to go with Onyx. I can tell you that at this point I was starting to get a little concerned. Still, maybe he just didn’t think it through… It was a rough loss but you really can’t blame him, I don’t see how you can expect the guy to jump a large distance like that. It’s just not the Onyx way.

Takashi keeps making questionable choices to the point where a bully shows up to mock him. Problem is, Lyra points out that even the bully is taking this more seriously and has put himself in a position to win. He brought berries and drinks for his Pokémon. Takashi admits that he forgot. Now this is already bad but the next scene is easily Takashi’s worst. Lyra says she thought this might happen and so she brought him a Poke smoothie from home. All right, this should give him the edge right? Wrong! As Takashi is walking to the arena he forgets why he is holding a smoothie in the first place and ends up drinking it himself. The guy either has the memory of a goldfish or he just really wanted a smoothie. Either way, it’s an awful look and he doesn’t really deserve to win now. That said, the only other competitor is the bully and we don’t want him to win either so that makes this a tough proposition.

Well, the final event is a classic Pokémon battle only there is a ring out feature this time. The first team to have all of their Pokémon knocked out loses. This event goes really fast which makes sense since the story was ending. I’ll give it kudos for having a decent way for Takashi to compete here even if the Pokémon did all the work. The bully is redeemed and we get a happy ending to end off with. It’s a solid ending and that wraps up our journey.

This was a fun story although I think it was a bit exaggerated with how bad Takashi was. It gets to the point where you seriously can’t root for him. He massively squanders every possible opportunity. The smoothie scene was certainly inexcusable. He’s a nice kid but ultimately I can’t say I liked Takashi. If you’re going to enter a tournament I expect your best. Whether you win or lose doesn’t matter as long as I know you tried your best. Takashi didn’t seem to be trying his best though which is a bit much.

Lyra did her best at least. She came prepared after all but I would have liked to have seen her in more events since if seems like she did enter. I suppose she just happened to be in different events most of the time which is reasonable. It seems like a big enough event where you had a lot of different sports going on at the same time so you couldn’t enter all of them. Even as the story ends we’re not done with the triathlon and more events are to come. I never got to try any Triathlons in the games since I don’t own HeartGold yet, but it sounds fun enough. Sort of like minigames so if the controls are on point this could be really solid.

The artwork is on point as well too. The pages are very clear and you can always tell what is happening. It makes for an easy read and you’ll be blasting through the chapter. The writing’s good and it’s just a pleasant light hearted adventure to read through. It’s probably not going to be a super memorable one that you go back to every few years or anything like that but it’s a good read. If you enjoy it enough perhaps it will even convince you to buy HeartGold so you can try it out for yourself. Now that would be a real win for the story.

Overall, There’s certainly nothing really negative to say about the manga. It’d be nice to have had some more pages so we could really enjoy the actual events though. Here it’s more like we see the start and end but don’t get a whole lot beyond that. With another 10-15 pages I think we would have gotten a whole lot more action which would have worked out really well. Pokemon will continue to get more and more manga though so I look forward to seeing which one shows up next. The franchise is vast and I doubt we’ll ever run out of new ideas to create manga for. The series just has too much potential.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Unite Review


Pokemon Unite is the latest free to play Pokemon title out there. It’s loaded with all the microtransactions you want though so you can buy just about anything if you want to give some money to the gam. There was some potential to be had here for sure but ultimately I don’t think Unite quite lived up to it. The main issue with the game is how long each battle takes so I feel like you need a complete overhaul of the gameplay mechanics in order to go farther.

When you first start the game you get a pretty nice cinematic. The graphics are really on point and you can tell that you’re about to jump into the crazy world of Pokemon. I allowed my hopes to jump up as I told myself that this would be one of the greatest Pokemon spinoffs of all time. Then you’re taken to the main menu where you learn about the game. There’s a lot to the gameplay so it’s tricky to explain but here’s the basic rundown.

Unite is a 5 on 5 Pokemon battle that uses a real time overhead view. The goal is to knock out wild Pokemon or opposing team members to store up some energy. You then go to one of the opponent’s cores and use the energy to take it over. When you have accumulated enough energy to do so, you slam the energy down in a Basketball slam dunk of sorts and take over the area. Rinse and repeat until the time limit is up and the match is over.

Each match is around 10 or more minutes so that’s a lot of time to run around and explore. You will want to try and coordinate with your teammates but that isn’t easy in an online lobby. I’m not sure if you are able to connect your microphone but if you can then that is probably your best bet to get everyone on the same page. You can send generic orders using the control pad as well though.

Whether you run straight at the enemy or try and protect your own bases initially, it’s your call. There’s no best strategy I’d say, it’s really about how you execute it. Each Pokemon has their normal attack, two special moves, and a final smash. Yo want to master each ability so you’re ready for action. Of course, when the match is starting everyone has to scramble to choose which Pokemon they want to play so the odds of you getting to play the same one a lot is pretty rare. Unless you like playing as Slowbro or something since nobody seems to want to play as him.

Charizard is probably the best Pokemon from the ones that I played. Note that you start out as the Pokemon’s rookie form and gradually move up by defeating opponents. Eventually you will level up during the match and then you repeat the process for future rounds. So this all sounds pretty decent right?

Well, the gameplay is good in theory but it just didn’t really mesh with me. The time limit is too long for starters, I’d prefer a stock ruleset as opposed to time. Maybe do it by score instead but the problem with time though is that you will probably know if you are going to win or lose by the middle of the match. So you can either quit and live to fight another day or just stick it through. I’m not sure if you keep the EXP if you quit so keep that in mind. I didn’t put that to the test here.

The battles also feel repetitive very quickly. You don’t feel any real weight behind the blows. I think a 1 vs 1 battle or 2 vs 2 would have worked better than 5 v 5. This is really aiming more at the World of Warcraft/League of Legends crowd with the widespread battles. I can’t speak to those titles since I haven’t played them but for Pokemon it hasn’t yet worked. The game is a little too limiting.

So even though it’s free I don’t see you sticking with this one for very long. Ultimately it’s a fun game to bide your time with but that’s about it. Eventually you’ll be ready for the next thing. Still, I will say that the graphics are good even after the opening cinematic. The Pokemon character models are on point. Additionally, I’d say that the soundtrack is pretty solid as well. You get some classic Pokemon themes. Maybe nothing too exciting but it’s good enough as background music to keep you going.

Ultimately to move up this game just needs more content. Whether they add in a 1 vs 1 mode or maybe even a story mode, that would help immensely. You need that here to give the game an extra kick. Something to help it stand out in a crowd and give you reason to play it. Otherwise there are just too many good alternatives out there and you don’t want to miss any of those.

Overall, Pokemon Unite may not have lived up to the hype for me but it was fun to give it a shot. The game may appear very greedy with how it wants money for everything but it is still a true free to play in the sense that you don’t need to buy anything. Stick on the free path and you will still have every option available to you. Now that’s a good bargain if I’ve ever seen one right? What we need now is a free to play Pokemon runner game. Now that would have lots of potential.

Overall 5/10

Pokemon Go Update


It took a long while but I’m finally all the way to Level 45! Definitely a fun milestone to be sure. It’ll probably be a long while until I make it to Level 46 though because I need close to 10 million XP to get all the way over there. Will keep on chugging along one step at a time though!