Pokemon Go Update

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I am now Level 37! Feels good! So apparently I’m about halfway to level 40 now. That’s not half bad and the current estimate says that I’ll beat the game in a little under a year. That’ll definitely be a huge accomplishment!

*This photo was taken from Google. I didn’t get to grab my own photo and there was no normal default level 37 pic like the other levels. I guess this is where a lot of people dropped off!*

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Mobilize!! Pokemon Ranger Review

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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

Pokemon Generations Review

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It’s time to review the recent web series that Pokemon got. It was a relatively short show as it only had 18 episodes and they were each 5 minutes. It was a good show, but also very disappointing as I had been expecting something a little more grand. From the premise and the poster, I was awaiting a magnificent look at the best moments in Pokemon history, filled with a lot of great high budget fights. Unfortunately, that was not to be. There are little to no fight scenes to be found here so the series plays out like a commercial. Really, I feel like these were made to be little cutscenes inside of a Pokemon game and wouldn’t be shocked if they announced something like that in the future. It’s important to go into this series knowing this beforehand as you’ll enjoy it a lot more. There won’t be any fights, just think of the series as a commercial for the games.

The first segment is just an overview of what’s to come. We see Pikachu take on a lot of Legendaries and prove that he is the strongest Pokemon of all. It was an interesting way to start the series and I wasn’t against it since I love seeing Pikachu wreck everyone. Unfortunately, it did give the wrong impression as this segment did have a lot of Pokemon action. No full fights as they were all interrupted, but it was still epic. The second episode sees Looker attempt to capture Giovanni, but the mastermind had already escaped. It was a fun little sleuthing episode even if you knew from the start that Looker was doomed. He’s no Red and that’s the only person who can stop him. Looker actually appears quite a lot in the series so if it ever got a full anime, I could actually see him being the main character.

The third segment is easily the best one. It’s about how Blue took down the Pokemon League and became the champion, only for Red to arrive and dethrone him. While most of the fights are skipped over, we do get some nice trash talking and Blue’s voice actor does a great job in the role. The whole thing felt epic and it’s always good to see Blue getting his props. Especially since he didn’t look particularly good in Origins. Next up, we see Lance and Dragonite attack a Team Rocket base and they witness the Red Gyarados. This was another fun segment and Dragonite got a lot of personality. It’s safe to say that the villains stood absolutely no chance against an opponent of Lance’s level. He could wipe the floor with them without even trying.

Next up is the weakest one so far. Looker asks Silver to tell him where Giovanni is, but the kid doesn’t have any answers at the moment. It was also bad timing since Silver was getting ready to take on the Pokemon League and Looker was throwing him off of his game. The discussion is interesting enough, but since you know that the series isn’t very long in the first place, it really just feels like filler. Following that is a story about how Suicune, Entei, and Raikou originally started out as normal monsters and after dying, Ho-Oh brought them back as Legendary Pokemon. I was glad about the twist since the animal violence would have been terrible otherwise. The story is still a bit of a downer as the humans chase off the legendaries anyway. This segment was probably the most boring one as nothing really happened.

The next two segments are essentially flipped versions of each other as one deals with Kyogre and the other with Groudon. It’s not surprising that Groudon had the much cooler version as we see a trainer infiltrate the base and some really cool music is playing in the background the whole time. That part was the best part of the segment and even beat the main plot of Groudon’s awakening. The legendary Pokemon waking up was neat and then they destroyed the world, but it was more of a disaster scene than a fight so I was still hoping for some extra action. The music ensured that the Groudon segment was good though while the Kyogre one was a little underwhelming.

After that was the Deoxys vs Rayquaza segment. Finally, a segment with a big fight scene! Naturally, this was one of the best ones and perhaps it was the best aside from the Blue one. This fight was handled really well in the movie and I was glad to see it return here. Deoxys is easily still one of the best Pokemon out there. After that was a horror episode as a girl and her Chansey walk into a spooky mansion. It was a change of pace and wasn’t so bad I suppose, but the main character really annoyed me. She was scared of everything even though she has a Pokemon and likely dies in the end. Cmon….I expect that from horror movies, but not in Pokemon land where you have Pokemon fighters at the ready. I thought that the scenario didn’t make much sense.

Now we arrive onto the Dialga and Palkia plot. They get captured as per usual, but luckily Giratina is here to lend a helping hand. This was a fun segment and I did like that Giratina got the last laugh against the villains. Legendaries should always show the humans who’s boss in situations like this. They certainly have the power so there is no excuse not to humiliate the humans. The 12th segment had Heatran show up and take on Looker and a kid. It was a fight scene so that was neat and while Heatran isn’t the most interesting Pokemon to fight, he is still pretty tough. Looker showing up again also made the episode feel plot important.
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The next episode saw a bunch of the gym leaders come together to try and fight the region’s equivalent of Team Rocket. Naturally, the special ends before the fight can really get started, but it’s still a fairly neat premise. Usually the cliffhanger would be exciting, but it doesn’t work when you know that the next episode is just going to completely ignore it. After that was a segment where the world is frozen. This one was probably one of the weaker ones again. It had some nifty energy blasts and what not, but it’s the kind of segment that could have really used an extra battle scene or two. It just felt a little hollow.

Luckily, we returned to the action with the next segment as N showed up to try and save the world. He gets crushed, but at least we actually got to see the fight this time. I feel like he should have put up a better fight to be honest. The segment ends when the main character comes in as backup and that’s a good thing for the villain since he would have been doomed. This one was solid so it was followed up by a more underwhelming one. Lysandre tricks the world into thinking that he is a good guy by day while actually being a villain by night. The special doesn’t really go anywhere so it is the ultimate definition of a 5 minute filler episode. We are nearing the end now so episodes like this one are the kind that you do not want to see.

The second last episode sees a girl get a meta human suit and perform super feats. Unfortunately, she uses her skills for evil since she has been mind controlled. It was a good special although her Pokemon should have dodged the blow. Looker returned once again for his final appearance and showed that he still had some moves. Finally, the last episode was very underwhelming as it was the most disappointing episode in the whole batch. It starts off with some hype as a guy showed up to challenge the champion, but then cuts away to an incredibly boring flashback that lasts all the way through the special. Disappointment….that’s basically what the whole series boils down to.

Well, the animation is pretty solid for the segments. I suppose they were able to save a lot of the budget by not having fight scenes so it could be used for the environment and destruction moments. I’d like to see a whole series of this, but I suppose it would take a while. That’s why I would have settled for one well done 30 minute episode as opposed to 18 5 minute ones. Hopefully they do something like this soon as an Origins sequel or something. The soundtrack was also fun as it had a lot of good themes and some familiar ones. The show had fun experimenting with different genres and tones so that allowed it to use a bunch of different themes.
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Overall, You can kind of get the gist of what I think of the review from the tone alone. The show should have done a better job of marketing itself as a series of commercials rather than a revisit to the best moments in Pokemon. They wasted too much time on stories and flashbacks when they could have been used for fights instead. The Pokemon anime has more action on a week to week basis, which is too bad since I was hoping that this series would have focused on all the action since they could use a higher budget for the 5 minutes. Despite all the disappointment, it’s still a good show in its own right. It won’t last you very long of course as combined it’s only about an hour or so, but it’s a good little watch. At the very least, it should be a little nostalgic if you’ve played all of the games. I’m still behind on those, but I’ll catch up one day. The final takeaway that you should get from this review is that the directors, producers, and anyone who had a say in Generations should be fired ASAP and replaced with people who know what they’re doing. There’s no excuse for having a Pokemon anniversary series that is light on action. Now, the next big Pokemon product to look forward to is the reboot movie. I’m definitely pretty hyped for that one so hopefully it doesn’t let me down!

Overall 6/10

Pokémon: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel Review

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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

Pokemon Go Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time: Unknown, but numerous
Team: Valor
Level 32
Pokedex Caught 137 Seen 144
Item Space 550
Pokemon Space 400
EXP:3080188
Coins 320
Pokemon Caught 7791
Pokemon Evolved 1351
Pokestops Visited 11386
Distance Walked 100km
Eggs Hatched 100
Gym Battles 100
Gyms Trained 100
Tiny Rattatas caught 50
Big Magikarps Caught 3
Pikachus Caught 3
Normal Type Pokemon Caught 4235
Flying Type Pokemon Caught 2966
Poison Type Pokemon Caught 2323
Ground Type Pokemon Caught 309
Bug Type Pokemon Caught 1269
Ghost Type Pokemon Caught 257
Water Type Pokemon Caught 1193
Grass Type Pokemon Caught 490
Psychic Type Pokemon Caught 253
Fire Type Pokemon Caught 50
Thunder Type Pokemon Caught 321
Rock Type Pokemon Caught 50
Steel Type Pokemon Caught 50
Fighting Type Pokemon Caught 50
Fairy Type Pokemon Caught 50
Dragon Type Pokemon Caught 10
Ice Type Pokemon Caught 8

Pokemon Go Review

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It’s time to finally review the big app sensation of the last few months. I played it quite a lot and got all the way to Level 32. The game’s starting to die down now with the cold weather stopping many players so now felt like a good time to review it. I’ll still be sticking with it but my pace has slowed quite a bit so if anything, I’ll just add updates whenever I reach a new level. I can certainly say that it has lived up to the hype although I’ll admit that it was a rough road at first with all of the bugs. The game isn’t 100% smooth yet, but we are getting there and the game continues to add updates. As this is an App game, the review likely won’t be all that long, but still longer than most similar titles.

You are given some Pokeballs to start the game with. You catch Pokemon and every time you do this you get 100 stardust and 3 candies for that Pokemon. You can use stardust to power up your Pokemon and you can use the candy to evolve them into stronger forms. You can transfer duplicates that you don’t want to the Professor. As you level up in the game, you’ll get more items like Great and Ultra Balls as well as access to stronger levels for your Pokemon. The end goal for players is usually one of two options. The first is to simply complete the Pokedex. That’s my end goal although it is certainly a very tough one. I don’t count Regional Exclusives, but even so you have to get lucky to catch some of the rare ones like Snorlax and Lapras. The other goal is to get to Level 40, which is quite the achievement as well since the EXP needed for each level grows tremendously as you go through the game. I’m at Level 32 and I believe that means that I am just barely over half way or maybe not even there yet.

The game itself is very simple. You’ll understand how to play it in a matter of minutes. What made it a sensation is the fact that you find Pokemon out in the wild and you can activate the camera so you can see the real world at the same time. I never use that feature because the battery drain is already quite high without considering that. It’s fun because it loosely tracks the distance that you walk and it’s a way to keep you active and about. You may walk more while playing the game because you want to catch Pokemon and get some more EXP. It’s a game that you can’t play quite as well indoors as outdoors.

If the game had been handled smoothly, I think it still could have been a big sensation right now. Unfortunately, the game has a tendency of shutting off, heating up your phone, glitching your gym battles and locking you out, and a whole plethora of issues. I’m not even going to go into them because you’re probably well aware of them thanks to the internet and how popular the title was. The only bug that really bothers me now is the Gym one. Whenever I try to take over a Gym, I’m blocked out because of a random glitch. It’s gotten to the point where I haven’t taken over a gym in a very long time. That’s tough on coin earning since it’s the only way to earn coins. I have a survey app which has helped quite a lot with that, but it’s still not a very fun issue to have.

I don’t want this review to give off a negative vibe though. As you can tell, I’ve played the game for a very long time. It’s a highly addictive title much like Mario or Pac Man and it’s a game that can last you for well over a year. They may raise the level cap when they add in future generations which could be fun or frustrating depending on how you look at it. That’s not til the summer though and I have my doubts on whether I’ll be playing that far into the future, but you never know. I don’t plan to delete the app even when I’m playing rarely so I can always go back and look at it. Ultimately, it is an app and those are great for passing the time. The game will likely be even smoother and more polished by that point.

The graphics for the game look pretty good. Considering that it’s a mobile title, everything is clear. The soundtrack is limited as it only has one or two actual themes. The main theme isn’t very good, but the other one is all right. I’d love the ability to add in your own musical tracks, but I play on mute 99% of the time so I suppose it wouldn’t actually make a huge difference to me in the end.

Overall, Pokemon Go was a sensation and I’m glad to have been apart of it. It’s definitely the kind of thing that you’ll have fun telling people about many years down the road. This is the company’s second project of this kind so I wonder if they’ll ever do another franchise. I doubt it would get quite as much traction since nothing is quite as big as Pokemon when it comes to catching them all, but it is a very successful formula. At Level 32 with 137/150 Pokemon caught, I’d definitely say that I’ve come far. If you haven’t played the game yet, then I recommend giving it a whirl. It’s not the same as when it first came out of course, but there are still a lot of lures around to attract Pokemon with and it’s better to start now than later. More players is always a good thing for the game since it means that the gyms will stay active and you’ll have actual competition. Just remember that Team Valor is the way to go!

Overall 9/10

Pokemon Hoopa and the Clash of Ages Review

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Considering that the Pokemon anime messed up big time and probably lost a lot of viewers, it is nice to go back to before that time and remember the more innocent days. This film is fairly recent so it isn’t that far back, but it still counts. The movie was fun although I didn’t care for Hoopa’s true form and didn’t like how they overhyped him the whole time. The manga does a great job of fixing that up although it feels super small, even for a one volume one shot. The whole film is being played on fast forward mode and the manga diverges a little bit for fun. It’s a fun little read.

Ash and friends are enjoying some donuts when Ash is thrown into a portal. He meets up with Hoopa and two guardians who have decided that it is time to bring him back to full power. Unfortunately, this causes Hoopa’s true form to go on a rampage as he starts to blow everything up and summons 6 Legendary Pokemon to defend himself. Ash grabs Pikachu and prepares for the fight of his life. He is aided by 3 Legendary Pokemon as well so now he is ready. Can Ash prove that he is the true Pokemon Master and take these clowns down? Time to find out!

One thing that this abridged version makes very clear is that the plot gets a little repetitive. Hoopa’s jar is broken so he turns evil at the very beginning of the volume, but the heroes quickly turn him back to normal. That’s good…but only a few pages later we see Meowth grab the jar and unleash Hoopa once again. In the film, there was a decent amount of fluff so this didn’t happen immediately, but the manga depicts just how quickly these two identical events occurred. It did help us get to the climax very quickly though so that’s always fun.

The original characters from the film were okay, but mostly just generic here. The two protectors remember happier times with Hoopa and one of them gets to help out a little during the climax, but that’s about it. In the end, it really came down to Ash and his friends to save the day as you may have expected. Hoopa wasn’t quite as charismatic as in the film, but he is still a decent Legendary. I still don’t like the Unbound form though. At least he makes for a good villain. I was also glad that the manga fixed some of my issues from the film regarding his power level. He was definitely very overhyped there, but in the manga version we see that Lugia was wrecking him. Had the fight continued on, I’m confident that Lugia would have won here. He had Hoopa on the defensive right from the start.

The 6 vs 3 fight of the Legendaries was also handled a lot better than in the anime. Who hasn’t wanted to see Rayquaza take on heavy weights like Dialga? I do think that the 6 evil Pokemon would have won in the end since the numbers advantage is important and Latias is fairly weak, but it would have been a good fight. Ash was around as well so his Pikachu can really tip the scales. I was satisfied with Ash’s portrayal here. He was eager to help Hoopa out and didn’t back down from a fight. He was even willing to get zapped by Pikachu in order to save the day. His friends felt forced in though and the classic “The future is now!” saying felt a little tacked on as well since it was a really odd way to start the sentence. Ah well, Ash will get new friends soon.

Now, the writing for the manga could be a little odd at times. At one point, Hoopa asked Ash what he would wish for so he could thank Ash. Ash responded with his wish to become a Pokemon Master, but after Hoopa offered to grant this to him, he quickly backpedaled and said that it couldn’t be done. He could have given Hoopa an actual wish or simply declined as he did in the movie. Another moment was when Hoopa told his Unbound version something. I’m going to quote the dialogue word for word so here goes.

Unbound- “You disappear…I am Hoopa. I will be…the one…who remains!” Hoopa- “Ashkan said…he wanted to help you too. I’ll tell you everything about me. So please…..calm down and listen…They’re all waiting for you….You and I should become one again. Hee hee, Surprised? You can have fun with them too!” Then Unbound turns good and the two of them merge. Not only did this conversation use the classic three dots…too often, but it didn’t make much sense. Hoopa said that he would tell Unbound all about himself, but then he didn’t. The conversation didn’t actually go anywhere. Maybe it was a bad translation or something, but the dialogue throughout the manga isn’t great. The other lines aren’t quite that bad at least, but it definitely is something.

The art is very clear at least. It’s not great art or anything as it stays very basic to make it look appealing. It’s good for kids since they can easily understand what is happening and I’ll definitely take this over vague artwork that you see from time to time, but it still didn’t feel really high quality. A good example of a great take on simple art is Bleach. That series got it down to a T.

Overall, This was a bit of a short review, but there isn’t a lot to say about this manga. It did a good job of covering the events from the film, but it probably should have been a little longer as everything was really glossed over. I am glad that the 6 vs 3 fight was extended a little though and it definitely shows that the author had his priorities straight. These one shot adventures are always fun and a great way for Pokemon fans to experience the movies in case they don’t have the opportunity to watch them. It’s a good adventure and while it is not great, you’ll have fun reading it. Even if you’ve never watched Pokemon before, this makes for a good story. After all, you won’t need any previous context to understand what is happening since it is all self contained.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon: We’re The Mew Research Team Review

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It’s time to look at a quick Pokemon one shot that came out. This manga is less than 30 pages long so there’s only so much that it can do. Of course, that also makes reviewing it pretty easy since I can just read the chapter and immediately review it afterwards. It does a good job of capturing the hype that we all felt when Mew was first released. I wasn’t even playing Pokemon seriously at the time and I can still feel the hype and the tension that was involved. The manga really goes for a lot of slapstick which can be trying for many, but it never goes too far into crude humor territory.

It starts out with a kid looking at his Pokedex and realizing that he has caught every Pokemon across Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn except for the legendary Mew. He wonders about this when Atsushi bursts through the store and decides to tell the kid about how Mew was first discovered. This leads to a flashback of 9 years ago where Atsushi and Gorita decided to compete over who could get the Pokemon first. They were each tied at 999 wins and 999 losses so this was the deal breaker. What we get after this is them using whatever means necessary to find out info about Mew. They run around town, ask locals about it, but nothing works. Finally, they hear that the latest issue of CoroCoro comics has news about it, but neither one of them has enough money to buy the issue. They are ultimately forced to put aside their differences to buy the issue. Sadly, neither one of them had the skills needed to get Mew because the only way was through codes from the magazine and you had to send them a letter. The deadline had expired by the time these two kids got to the store. (How long was that run? It seemed like the magazine had just come out according to the other kids so maybe the trip was a week or something)

Back in the present, Atsushi decides to fight the kid and reveals that while it took him 9 years, he still caught Mew first. He (probably) crushes the Rayquaza that the kid used and then goes back to bickering with Gorita. He hyped Mew up a lot though and reminded us that he can use any TM, which makes Mew quite the threat. He’s certainly not a Pokemon that you want to underestimate.

The story isn’t bad, but the characters are all pretty annoying. Rivalries between a kid and a bully are nothing new, but this one makes sure to exaggerate the facial expressions and chibi fighting to a whole new level. The characters can’t go a panel without throwing a punch or insulting each other. The bully even claims that the main character is the one who picks fights with him. I use the term “bully” loosely as the fighting seems to be completely fake. They’re just friends who are highly competitive and both of them love Pokemon. Of course, even 9 years later and they still can’t help but keep on trying to beat each other up. That’s just how it goes.

The art isn’t all that bad. It reminds me of the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl art. It uses a rather simple style that I can imagine any artist emulating. It’s certainly not all that good, but at least it’s easy to read. It would have been fun if this story had taken place in the Pokemon world, but I suppose it can be fun to read about Pokemon fans as well sometimes. I think this manga could have easily turned out to be a bad one if it was longer or if the art was worse, but as it stands, it is a decent way to spend 5 minutes. I don’t think it deserves a negative score at this point.

Overall, This probably isn’t a chapter that you will remember a year from now, but it’s not a bad one shot. If anything, it reminds you how overpowered Mew can be. The character’s Mew was only level 50 something and yet it was causing a lot of damage in the one panel that it appeared in. Mew’s always been a fun Pokemon although I consider Mewtwo to be a whole lot stronger. Now that’s one Pokemon that you definitely do not want to mess with. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing more one shot titles to promote new Pokemon or other Nintendo games and events. For all I know, Japan does this sort of thing all the time and they just aren’t scanned all that often. It’s always fun to see a gem from the past. Who knows what will be scanned next? Whatever it is, I shall be waiting and ready for when it pops up! Now, back to Pokemon Go to catch me a Mewtwo one of these days!

Overall 6/10

Pokken Tournament Review

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Nintendo has churned out another winner folks. The Wii U has gotten a lot of heat over the infamous Gamepad as well as the lack of third party games, but it’s always very easy to forgive these oversights when you look at the first party titles. Super Smash Bros for Wii U is the greatest game of all time and Mario Maker is an all star title as well. Pokken continues to set the bar very high and isn’t afraid of those other titles. In fact, I’d say that this game beats Mario Maker and it’s automatically my 2nd favorite Wii U game. It has a lot of replay value and I can definitely see myself playing it for a very long time. This one’s a keeper all right.

Pokken is a mix of 2D and 3D fighting. There are two phases which have different rules and strategies so the game is deeper than you would expect. In 3D mode, you want to either overwhelm your opponent with projectile spam or quickly hit them with a close attack. 2D mode plays more like Street Fighter and you have to really think about which move you are going to use or it’ll all be for naught. The game has a bit of a rock paper scissors mechanic so it’s all about out thinking your opponent.

Your standard attacks beat out grabs. Grabs beat out Focus Attacks. Focus Attacks beat out Power Modes. Power Moves usually beat out strong moves and strong moves are basically pointless, but I’m guessing that they beat out standard ones. String them together for combos and then you also have the Burst Mode at your disposal once you have enough meter. That mode essentially gives you super armor on just about all of your attacks as well as a great final smash which can eat through just about every single attack. I highly recommend using it after performing an unsafe combo, the opponent will try to punish you and that’s when the final smash really comes through.

I’m not usually a fan of the classic Rock Paper Scissors for fighting games, but it’s implemented well here. It doesn’t feel like luck and it’s really more tactical than anything else. Conditioning an opponent feels more important here than in Super Smash as you want to lead an opponent to your destination. (For example, spending the first 2 rounds of a set always going for a Focus Attack when getting up to set up the grab for the third round where you’ll go for a strong combo instead.)

An interesting choice that the game made was to include a level up system. I suppose that this is a feature that has always been in the Pokemon games so getting rid of it may not have gone over well with the older fans, but it does give you a bit of an advantage online. It actually applies to your online “For Glory” mode and that means that the person with the higher leveled fighter has the edge. The level caps at 100 and you should have that after 2-3 days, but until then you better watch out. You can choose to use your level up points on Attack, Defense, Synergy, or Support I believe. I put everything into attack so my Final Smash is truly awesome now!

The bulk of your playtime will likely go towards the local multiplayer mode or online to fight with friends and rivals as you rise through the ranks. I really like how the leaderboard rankings are set up because it’s less discouraging than some other games. For example, a loss won’t get rid of any of your points until you make it to C rank. That’s when the true struggle will begin. This differs from a game like Street Fighter where you’ll lose points each time you lose and one loss can force you to have to make up a lot of ground and you can even lose your rank. That can happen here, but it’s a little safer and going on a losing streak is just as tricky as going on a win streak due to the solid matchmaking algorithms in place.

Right now my For Glory Win% is around 80% and I’ve made it to E1. I expect to be in the D ranks by tomorrow and my progress will likely start to slow around that point as the opponents will get a lot tougher. The rounds are short and fun so it’s easy to play this game for hours and hours. It’s easy to see how streamers can keep on playing in front of their audience for so long. It’s the kind of game that has unlimited replay value.

The offline modes are not quite as brilliant. There’s a nice tutorial/practice mode, but you may not want to spend much..or any time there. I recommend at least giving it a quick stop, but you should use Story Mode to practice your moves since it’s so long and the opponents in the first league won’t really fight back anyway. The plot of the story is that a mysterious Shadow Mewtwo has been challenging players and defeating them all. He continues to get stronger, which is a problem since it’s draining synergy, the life force of the planet. If he’s not stopped then the planet will blow up so the main character has to get strong enough to end this.

The plot shows up at the end of each tournament before finally coming into play after the third one. The plot is actually pretty enjoyable. The exposition was a little unnaturally long, but for the most part the characters were interesting and the universe was nicely developed. Shadow Mewtwo’s boss themes were also incredible and I’ll never forget the very first time that he showed up. It was such an epic moment and easily the best part of the whole story experience. Unfortunately, the gameplay of the story is what I’m not crazy about like with DBZ’s Budokai 2.

There are 4 (Possibly 5 from what I’ve heard) tournaments. Each tournament has you start by moving up the ranks as you face 5 opponents. You must then fight them again and again to move past that part and enter the 8 man tournament. After you win that, then you fight the Promotion Battle and then you rinse and repeat after a quick cinematic fight. It gets longer and longer and according to Reddit/Gamefaqs calculations, the story is around 110-120 fights long and that number will vary if you happen to lose during the run. I completed the first 3 tournaments so far and I’ll admit that I’m not too crazy about the prospect of going for the next 2. I will do them, even if only to get Mewtwo and the final support Pokemon, but the story didn’t have to be artificially extended quite so far. There was just no reason for it.

The short part that is actually the story is quite interesting though and I really would have liked the whole story mode to be about that. Maybe next time I guess. The voice acting has been chuckled at a lot online and I can see why. As one guy said for the first big promotion battle master, he sounded like he was eating while talking. The voice was very muffled. Still, it’s pretty funny and I’d say that the voice acting is pretty well done depending on how intentional it all is. I actually like Nia as she constantly rubs the losses in your face and takes credit for your wins. “You’re like a Magikarp out of water” “They made you their punching bag that time!” Those are epic quotes that may seem mean spirited, but that’s just who Nia is. It’s not personal, even when she gives you advice like “Keep your guard up” right before the opponent grabs you. You have the option to turn her off, but I can’t bring myself to do that. The constant dialogue is hype and she’s much better at her role than Navi. Mewtwo’s owner is also a pretty cool character. She’s a mysterious figure and even her ending is rather sudden so I guess that’ll leave some room for the sequel. Hopefully the main character gets to talk if there is a Pokken 2.

The gameplay is great, which is lucky for me because it makes this a lot more bearable than it would have been otherwise, but it’s still really long. My recommendation is, don’t lose when you’re in the main tournament phase. Trust me, it’ll make the whole cycle even tougher. You can cheese most of the opponents though, but make sure that you are truly good by the time the last tournaments roll around because the cheese tactics won’t be nearly as effective.

Each round earns you up to 20K and winning tournaments gives you significantly higher amounts. I’ve earned almost 10 million already, but the money goes very quickly. I don’t even know how many accessories and clothes you can buy, but it’s a lot and I’m nowhere near rich enough to purchase them all. That’ll come with time since the game is quite generous with the money. Local battles and friendly matches still give you the 20K so just play a lot and eventually you’ll have all the money that you could ever want. I can’t say that most of the clothes are anything that I would want to use for my avatar, but to be honest I haven’t looked through most of the choices yet.

The graphics for Pokken are very well done. It has the semi realistic look of Tekken while still being very bright and fancy. As you may know from the Brawl days, I’m not a super big fan of darker, more live action esque designs, but these stay colorful enough that they still feel like Pokemon and it does leave a trail of epicness for the fights to escalate to even greater heights. It’s part of why I like maining Blaziken so much, his fiery attacks look so great when you’re in the middle of a good ole fashioned fist fight. Blaziken was the very first Pokemon that I ever got in Pokemon Ruby, my first Pokemon game so he has a lot of sentimental value for me. He may be a low tier fighter next to most of the others in Pokken, but he’s currently my main and he’s taken me pretty far.

The soundtrack’s decent for the most part. I’ll admit that most of the stages are fairly unmemorable when it comes to the music and I tried to listen to a few of them on Youtube, but some of them just aren’t that good. Luckily, Shadow Mewtwo makes up for that with his incredible themes. I could listen to those for hours and the tunes are great enough to raise the whole soundtrack for me. Still, that’s reason enough for me to just call the soundtrack decent, it doesn’t really live up to my expectations of how good it would sound. Most of the handheld games have a better overall soundtrack.

As possibly mentioned earlier, there are 16 fighters. This is a really low amount and I’ll admit that a few of the choices were pretty underwhelming. Chandelure and that Fire Fox? Really? I don’t think they’ve earned a spot on the roster to be honest although I support Shadow Mewtwo and Pikachu Libre so..my opinion is a little unique. Unlike Super Smash where you’ll have memorized all of the attacks for all 50+ characters right away, it’s tricky to do that in this game since there are 4 different attack types for each character and then you have to double that for 3D mode + 2D mode while also accounting for their attacks in both modes while in Burst Mode. Simply put, it’ll take a while unless you make this game your top priority.

I’m going to be spending a lot of time with this game, but it’ll never be my top priority the way that Smash Bros is. I’ve put in well over 100 hours on that game just watching gameplay footage from the top players around the world. I’ve maybe put in 2 hours for that with Pokken, but I’ll really just spend my time playing it as opposed to watching. I am entering the Pokken event at Apex 2016, but I’ll see how far I can go as I am. Back to the main point, the 16 characters limit doesn’t feel as bad as it could. As it is, it’s very hard to pull out another fighter once you’ve chosen a main and do well enough to win the fight. I have pulled it off with my classic pockets, Pikachu Libre and Chandelure, but it’s tricky since I’m relying on pure fundamentals and button mashing.

Blaziken’s definitely my guy right now. He unfortunately has a very tough time against projectiles though. If I see any strong Gengars or Chandelure players, I can probably count the match as a loss although I’ll try to keep it real. I like Pikachu since he really has a lot of good projectiles and Libre’s command grabs make him a real threat. Each of the characters have their strengths with the only one that just feels weak is Charizard. He’s just soooo slow, although I pulled off a nice win with him online, I doubt I will play him again for a while. I still haven’t even tried out around 5-6 of the characters so I have to get around to that. This is the kind of game where you don’t spend much time choosing different characters since there’s not much merit to it. Just pick 2 characters to cover your matchups and you’re set.

By the way, you’ll want to stay active online or your ranking will plummet. You won’t lose points, but people will just leapfrog you. I made it into the 8000s on my first day, but then I took a break from online for a day to focus on the story. When I got back I was in the 14000s. I’ve since made it back to the 10000s, but it just goes to show how many people are playing it right now. I kind of want to make the top 1000, but that’s unlikely unless I really play it a bunch. I’ll probably look at the overall sales figures and then I’ll try to stay in the top 10% or 5% by the end. That’s a reasonable goal I’d say.

Overall, Pokken is a fighting game that you’ve got to get right away. The gameplay mechanics can be a little complex and overwhelming at first, but put in an hour or two of just fighting normally in Story Mode and you’ll start to pick up all of the little rules. It’s not a game like Virtua Fighter where you can play for days and still not pick up most of the terms. Once you’re in, you’ll see how much fun the game is. There may only be 16 fighters, but you’ll still have a tough time learning all of their attacks and now you can really prove your stuff with your main. The replay value is endless and you also unlock a lot of titles from time to time, which are fun to use online. There are so many choices that it’s tough to decide on one. Aim to become the world champ with your character and I’ll see you at the top!

Overall 9/10