Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon The Power of Us: Zeraora’s Story Review


Time to look at another Pokemon one shot manga. This one’s a lot more recent than the Giratina one I checked out last time. It’s also a lot thinner as this is basically a mini manga so it goes by in a flash. That being said, it’s actually considerably better and one of the best one shot Pokemon manga that I’ve read. Surprisingly it beats Giratina in every aspect. I also have to give this volume some kudos in the art. The simple style actually ended up working really well for the fights.

The volume starts off with Ash running into town and bumping into the mayor’s daughter. The two of them head over to the nearby lab and put on some VR goggles so they can learn about Zeraora’s origin. It seems like the Pokemon was born out of a thunder storm and then he decided to protect all the nearby Pokemon. Unfortunately poachers show up so Zeraora has to stay sharp and keep on fighting. It feels like people are always trying to fight this guy. You can see how the volume is pretty short though because the whole volume is basically the professor showing them the story and then they go home. Interestingly the manga ends with a preview which basically recaps the first few pages almost word for word but with a few changes.

Back to the volume though, Zeraora is a fun Pokemon. He clearly loves to fight as seen by his smirk after being attacked. I’m also glad to see him actually take a hit and keep on going. It’s always sad when a Legendary Pokemon gets wrecked by random poachers or gets caught in a cage. None of that was happening to Zeraora. He took down all challengers and I dare say that he had the upper hand against Lugia as well. That fight was the highlight of the volume, but admittedly it was Zeraora’s fault. Lugia just came in to get rid of the fire. Zeraora blamed him for not coming sooner, but that’s hardly Lugia’s fault. The Pokemon can’t be everywhere and at least he saved some people.

It would have not been good if Elekid had perished, but fortunately the manga didn’t go down that route. That would have gotten a bit dicey if you ask me. With Elekid safe then we could really enjoy the fight. This is where I have to go back and talk about the art. The fights are very smooth here. It actually seems like a similar style to Bleach where you feel the impact beyond every hit. The characters may look a bit chibi at times, but it’s worth it for the action scenes. It’s really going for the opposite of Pokemon Adventures. That series has a ton of detail and epic fights. It works really well, but the same can be said for the flip side where this one is really focusing on the hits. This doesn’t feel like a cash-in level of art, but that of a real title.

If there are any negatives here it’s just in how short the volume is. Hopefully the going price would be a little lower to compensate. So long as that is the case then there are really no negatives to be found here. The manga has a direct plot and goes about it with no delays or distractions. You don’t need to stretch out the volume just to pad out the pages. This one just gets right down to business and it’s also probably Lugia’s best showing. It may be a little sad that we don’t get to see Ash fight, but he got his match in the actual movie. This is really Zeraora’s time to impress us and he was quite impressive. I’d take him over quite a few Legendaries. He may not be as intimidating as some of them, but his speed and power are still forces to be reckoned with.

Overall, If this had been the plot of the actual movie then things would have been quite different. This would make for an excellent TV special so I hope it is animated in some way or form. If you watched the movie then this is a must read to really see more of Zeraora’s character. He may be a little too quick to jump into a fight and doesn’t have the cool head that you’d want your ally to have, but his heart’s in the right place. At least he’s actively protecting Pokemon from poachers since the Officer Jenny’s of the world don’t seem to be around when you need them. It’s still really something to see how many poachers exist in the Pokemon world. Throw in Team Rocket and all the other teams and the world is actually quite dangerous. Hopefully Ash and friends are ready for them, but with Pikachu at his side I suppose I don’t even need to wonder. I hope that whoever the artist of this was gets another chance at more Pokemon manga in the future.

Overall 8/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Pokemon The Power of Us Review


It’s time to look at the latest Pokemon film. This one is the follow up to the last adventure which was a reboot of the series. That one was the worst Pokemon film to date though which limited my excitement for this one. Furthering that was the fact that the promotion for this film was about how it would be an ensemble cast this time so it wouldn’t just be Ash stealing the show. That’s definitely not what I was hoping to hear at this point. It is unfortunately another weak Pokemon installment, but still an improvement over the last one. Put it this way, as a film it is decently good, it’s just not up to the usual Pokemon standard.

The film revolves around a few characters as I mentioned. One of the main ones is a girl named Risa. She doesn’t have any Pokemon, but is asked to catch one by her sickly brother. Heroically Risa decides to go catch one, but she gets bad advice from the local liar Callahan which causes her to waste a lot of time. Fortunately she runs into Ash who just finished saving a little girl named Margo. Ash shows her how to catch the Pokemon, but now they have bigger problems. The flame lighting the village has disappeared and without it Lugia won’t know to show up and save the village with another year of wind. Ash and friends must unite to fix this situation but can they do it?

Right away you’ll feel a little bad for the village here since it must be rough living on the edge like this every year. If Lugia doesn’t show up even once then it seems like everyone in the village will die. That just doesn’t seem like the most enjoyable living situation. You’d think Lugia could improve the town a bit or maybe give them wind for multiple years at a time. It’s also been so many years that you’d think he could find the village from memory. Ah well, either way Ash and the others have got this.

The film goes out of its way to show you how mean the villagers are early on though. For example, we have the bullies who try beating up Margo. They would have seriously attacked her if Ash hadn’t stepped in which is pretty crazy. Then you have the old lady who doesn’t like Pokemon and is constantly trying to shoo them away. She has a backstory which explains this of course, but it doesn’t help her current disposition all that much. The backstory was also a little too dark. No reason a Pokemon had to die there. It’s like the film is trying to bump off a Pokemon in each of the new films. As we are only two installments into the series it is hard to tell so far though. We’ll know more as the series goes on. Needless to say, the old lady wasn’t all that good.

Then we have Callahan. His whole gimmick is that he’s always lying which is pretty dicey. A lot of fun characters have been invented this way of course, but to effectively pull off this cliche the character has to be quick on his/her feet. Look at Hercule or King. Both characters work so well because they do a good job of hiding their lies. This guy doesn’t even try. Part of the reason for this of course is that we need to wrap up the plot before the end of the movie so it has to go wrong almost immediately as opposed to dragging it out for the entire series. Ultimately Callahan does end up getting past his lying ways, but he sure put a lot of people in danger in the meantime.

Then we have the scientist. His problem is that the film makes him way too timid. Not only does he have a hard time speaking in public, he can’t even talk to an old lady without shaking in fear and crumpling to the ground. The former is realistic while the latter is just trying too hard to be funny. Even during his big speech at the end where he finally mans up the character ends up getting scared. That’s not how you finish a character arc. That just cements the fact that the character’s arc didn’t have a good ending. He finished as he started. The worst part for him was when he put in the wrong tape during the presentation though. At the very least he should be good with the technology. That should be the one area where he is confident and knows what to do even if he panics for the rest. Otherwise he really doesn’t have any business being one of the professionals.

So those supporting characters didn’t work so well. Lets talk about the ones that were good. I did like Risa. She did a good job of helping out and taking charge when necessary. She got past her leg injury to help in the climax as well. Even after being tricked by Callahan she was nice enough not to rat him out. Then we’ve got the new Pokemon Zeraora. He’s a pretty cool electric type. He reminds me a bit of Manectric. This guy is pretty strong and fast. It is a bit dicey with how he just starts trying to fight Ash and co. at the end though. I feel like the situation should have been pretty obvious to him by that point. Nearly destroying a bunch of innocent Pokemon in the process would have been quite a blow s well.

He does give us a great fight scene/2 where he shows off his speed. Speed is very important for a fighter and Zeraora uses it quite well. It’s a shame that he is weakened for most of the film though so we can’t see his upper limits. I’d say that he seems to be a match for the Pesudo legendaries but based on this he probably wouldn’t beat the main ones. Still, I like the design and I look forward to seeing him in Pokemon Go at some point.

Ash looks great here. This is easily one of his best appearances to date. His opening scene has him catch a projectile that almost hit a kid. He then stops some poachers from getting another Pokemon. While this version of Ash may be early on his journey he carries himself as a seasoned veteran. Truly this is the Ash that you want to see in a film like this. He’s basically perfect and this is one of his best appearances to date. He steals any scene that he is in. You also get the feeling that there are very few who can beat him in a Pokemon battle in this universe.

The animation looks pretty good. It’s much better than the art direction we got for Sun and Moon, but not nearly as good as Kalos so it’s somewhere in the middle there. It seems to be trying to look more mainstream if I had to try and put the look into words. It does excel when the fight scenes start though. The battles with Zeraora are quite excellent. That’s why it’s a shame that we don’t get much action in this film. There are only a few quick skirmishes. The rest of the film is more about the dialogue which is fine, but the characters aren’t quite interesting enough to make that as exciting as a good fight. The soundtrack is also not that inspired for the most part. We get a good song or two, but most of the ost is a bit flat.

There’s also one scene where everyone looks bad. It’s borderline a plot hole. After Ash stops the poachers they decide to run and the mayor says to just let them get away. Why? These guys are breaking the law and if you let them gt away they’ll hunt more and more Pokemon. I didn’t agree with the decision at all. The worst part is that the poachers do not appear again so they really did get off without any repercussions. It just wasn’t a well written scene at all.

Overall, The Power of Us is an ambitious concept but one that did not work. I think if you want to do a big ensemble cast like this then they have to all be new characters. Don’t have Ash in it at all. Make it a very unique Pokemon spinoff that takes place as its own thing. Alternately, they should all be characters we are familiar with like Misty and Dawn. You can’t mix and match like this because then the new characters just seem like they are stealing away Ash’s screen time and that’s one thing that you don’t want to see happen. All in all, I’d still recommend this film but only if you’ve already seen the others. If not, I’d suggest checking out the original movie or Destiny Deoxys instead. Those really help define what a Pokemon movie should be.

Overall 6/10