Review: Pokémon 4ever – Celebi the Voice of the Forest

Hello my dear little subjects it is time to be right again, this time about the fourth pokémon movie in my monday movie review series. So far we have looked at three pokémon films, without their short and reviewed them including a spoiler heavy plot discussion. This time we will do things a bit differently. While I will talk about some plot elements , which you can see as minor spoilers, I will keep things a bit more suprising for those wanting to watch it for themselves. Reason for this is because I was ready to condemn this movie to a harsh grade when a surprise twist (I hate myself for for not noticing) saved this movie completely for me.

How does it Look and Sound

Technical stuff first let’s discuss the artwork and the sound first. This movie is about 70 minutes long, if we include end credits and if not lasts about 60 minutes. Visually we see some improvement of the last movie again and even the cg they used looks quite nice actually. It still has this … it doesn’t really belong their quality to it, but that actually works well in this movie. There is a theme of visual grandeur going on in this movie anyway, there are a lot of scenes in this movie that are meant to be beautiful and those moments shine at least in the visual sense. There are a lot of sparkles and mystical glows and the woods got some sense of life to them.  We get introduced to six new human characters, including secondary protagonist Sam. Their designs are all very fitting to the pokémon world, they do feel like they belong, unlike some of the filler characters of the second movie. Their is just one exception. The main villain suffers majorly from overdesign and I mean like majorly. He looks waaaaay to edgy.  He is a team rocket member, but wearing the traditional black outfit.. along with a metal vest that contains “dark balls” pokéballs that make pokémon evil.  His face is always hidden behind a golden creepy face mask, that again makes him look as if he is wearing high level MMO armor. All in all the movie has some nice visuals, a great set piece in this forest but a way to edgy villain, who comes with his own whole set of edgy effects.

The sound design in this movie starts atrociously bad.  At first I was thinking, something is wrong with my sound. Brock begins to narrate but it sounds like he is telling it through a tv or telephone as depicted in their world. After Brock has told everyone who Ash is , another narration track begins to play which does the exact same thing… clearly there must be something wrong with my soun…. oh no the characters just started talking and sound perfectly normal, i guess it’s a sort of weird style choice. All in all the english dub was done pretty well, Ash really carries some emotion in his voice this time which helps. Brock though… has some seriously stupid dialogue in this movie, and you can hear it in the preformance. He has zingers like ‘So maybe.. the lake of life.. is connected to life!….Wait! I get it restored Celebi back to life! ‘ You can just hear Eric Stuart shrugging in the recording studio going ‘dudes , what garbage is this dialogue?’ Unfortunately this is reflective for a large chunk of the dialogue that is not Ash or Sam. Oh and did I say that the villian sounds way to edgy as well?I have to give props though to the voicing of Celebi, you can really hear the emotion in that one. And it just says Bi all the time.  Quite impressive how they managed two put so many emotions in two letter words each time.
The music is nothing special, it reuses a LOT of the best music. There is some good music here.. it just has been used before, the original pieces are all very iffy to me. A choir playing a remake of Jason Paige theme into a rap thing..  it is really a mixed bag.

How does it Feel

It is strange that this sixty minute movie still managed to feel to long, at least during it’s runtime. There are a lof of ‘fluff’  scenes that do not really seem to further the plot and even convolute things. Through the twist at the end those scenes are given weight to salvage things. However, except for the twist, which is both briljant and lazy at the same time , the movie doesn’t really gel that nicely together. It feels like a bunch of scenes lighty strung together through the story of Celebi.  These scenes on their own feel entertaining enough but when you look at them all together, it makes things feel a bit ‘stupid’. For example the villain of the movie is chasing the heroes to get Celebi for himself, to make it evil with his dark balls. As he lays pursuit in a giant mechanical mecha, the group has to find some healing water to restore a battle damaged Celebi. They do not seem to notice a three meter high (10 foot)  giant mechanical spider in the forest. It gets even more stupid when the Masked Brawler or ‘Masked Hunter’ as he does not have a consistent name lays chase to them. For some reason even though he is chasing them, Ash and Sammy manage to camp out for a night, play with celebi for almost an entire day, travel from point A to B with the man chasing them.. and then manage to travel from point B back to A again BEFORE he finally intercepts them. Still they are not noticing the 10 foot giant mechanical spider mecha.

Characters are fairly flat set-pieces here, they had to be careful with Sammy because he was from the past but his arc is kind of weird. In the past he is chased by a hunter who wanted to catch Celebi and because he tried to save it he gets thrown 40 years into the future. Initially he seems perfectly okay with that, he just wants to find and rescue Celebi. While I sorta get what they are aiming for in terms of his persona, as he cares for pokémon more then himself’ it feels odd to get no reaction at first. It is only after Celebi has fully recovered and might have the energy to send him back he begins to start worrying. It both makes sense and it doesn’t .  Had they simply made him express these feelings before they found Celebi but made him say , let’s safe Celebi first though, we could have seen it’s a process. Then again.. home sickness can grow over time.. it just is not presented that well.
In this one Misty has been the one who is thoroughly sidelined.  Most of her lines are “Hello I am Misty I am a water pokémon trainer’.  As well as some jokes about Ash’s climbing skills. Brock at least gets a battle and is useful to the plot…sort of.

However easily the worst element of this movie is the villain. He is not as stupid as the one from the second movie but he is just this random evil dude who wants to use celebi of all pokémon to rule the world. Using Dark Balls to turn pokémon evil feels cringeworthy to me as well. It basically goes against the entire philosophy of pokémon and just feels needlessly ‘dark’ for kids. A pokéball that would prevent a pokémon from disobeying would have worked just as well and would have been less detrimental to the inevitable moment that the guy manages to catch Celebi (I do not consider this a spoiler since the entire movie is about movie trying to catch Celebi with Evil making balls, and each pokémon movie has Ash going up against a legendary.) Celebi as an antagonist doesn’t really work let alone under someone as edgy as the masked guy. The guy literally only yells words like “Destroy, Kill and Crush’  His goal is to ‘rule the world or at least take over Team Rocket and then maybe even the world’ He is so flat.. I asked him if I could get my bra back. 

How is the plot

Celebi gets chased by a hunter and flees to another time while he takes young Sam with him.. who was trying to help him, 40 years later the masked Rocket guy finds that same hunter for discovering Celebi once and turns his pokémon evil. He uses those pokémon to go hunt for Celebi himself, but this time not only does he has to deal with Sam, Ash is there too. Heroes of the past and present unite to fight against the force of evil, to free Celebi from his clutches.’ This is in short the plot summary and it’s executed pretty decently in terms of the overall narrative. It feels like a good movie plot and it works well enough to carry the movie trough it’s runtime. All scenes that need to get addressed get checked off properly.
Predictable? Yes! Entertaining? For the most part. There isn’t that much wrong with it, it is just cheap. Remember those colour by number things you could buy? That tells you where to put what paint? It kinda feels like that. In the end you get a decent enough product , but it doesn’t feel very exciting to sit through this.

Like I said earlier every scene in itself is done solidly enough, the Celebi fight is entertaining but if you ever saw any hero turning into a villian, you know how this will go beat per beat. Cue the sad moment that is in all these movies right after that. Yep! It follows suit in that regard as well. Where the film really falters though is in the dialogue. Ash and Sam get off fairly well but the rest of the characters are all so throw-away.  Their lines feel so wooden and often inappropriate. There is a scene where Misty twists her knee, while they are being chased, so you expect the villains to close the gap between them because of it. Nope.. it doesn’t effect the story at all. When Ash is nearly falling off a tree due to a psychic attack and he climbs back again ferociously Brock and Misty make a monkey joke about him rather than be concerned. This movie is about the blooming friendship between Ash and Sam and because of it , Brock and Misty could not have anything interesting to say.  Even if Brock had a battle in this movie, if both of them weren’t there.. nothing would have changed in the course of the movie.  

There are a lot of throwaway scenes there too. While it does show Ash and Sam becoming friends because they saw these scenes together, which works in the end, they could have bonded trough talks or trough fighting harder together, but now they see a bunch of Metapods evolve and they eat berries together. Sam gives Ash some bread when he gets hungry in the middle of the night, because he thinks of his mother’s cooking?!. It’s cute but do we really need to spend 5  minutes filled with that in a movie that is already kinda short. The scenes aren’t bad but they could have just been so much better. We see Sam use an old fashioned style pokéball and not knowing off the pokédex, tell us how things went in his time then! At least that would be interesting lore. We’ve seen metapod evolve into butterfree already so why this.  There is a great playscene with Celebi which I love though, Sam and Ash play with Celebi and they bond over it.. which works very well but that one would have been enough to convey the message of blossoming friendship. All in all, without spoiling to much , the movie does what it needs to do but it feels like it is aiming to be passable rather than good. As a result it barely succeeds at being passable. 

What is the verdict

The last pokémon movie had the title 3d and in fairness it had many dimensions. This one just has one. The villain has no layers at all, but at least he didn’t become a megalomaniac over a trading card. Celebi is super cute and it’s struggles are by far the most interesting thing in this movie, but they are repeated to many times. It is to predictable as well. Brock and Misty do very little in this movie other than maybe keep some additional animators employed. I was ready to give this the “full of smoke” verdict much like the second movie when a twist near the end saved this movie for me a bit. I realised it just before the big reveal and felt stupid, i could have known this, but somehow I was blinded by other obvious things. 
The twist did not only impact the movie for me but the anime franchise as a whole. It made me think about things reflect on what I’ve seen before. It was purely from this moment of reflection of my childhood that this movie had gotten some additional value.  It is overall very inoffensive just very lazy and while I am critical on that in the end it shown to have some value in the franchise for me , which I am glad about, because the movie felt to good for Flareon rating and those final minutes made me smile as I could now confidently put it in my espeon tier. I do not mind this movie ,it is okay and that last revelation made me feel I did not waste my time.

Question to my readers:

What is your favorite time travel movie?

So little subjects that concludes yet another factual review. Do note that the plot twist though is only interesting if you know something of the pokémon world. That being said the stupid diaglogue is also only stupid you know something about it either, so I guess it balances out. ‘So you really like Pokémon?’ is a really stupid question to ask to a pokémon trainer though regardless! So have a wine or something before watching this one. Maybe I should ask Irina for some tips to sit through the next 18 movies!

The Pinkest Poké Blogger is blasting off again

Review: Pokemon 3 – Entei the spell of Unown

Little subjects it is time for me to bring yet another factual opinion on the pokemon movies. This week it’s the third one that is going to get reviewed. Like always the shorts that come prior to these are not being taken into the review and  if possible I try to watch the uncensored version with english audio. This movie featured the legendary pokémon Entei and the mysterious Unown as its main subject. It is produced by OLM Inc, whose is responsible for all 22 animated pokémon movies.  This would be the last Pokémon movie written by Takeshi Shudo and also be the last movie Warner Bros would launch internationally up until detective Pikachu. Like my previous reviews, I will discuss the plot in detail in the third part of this review, so that  part will contain major spoilers. 

How Does it look and sound

Entei, the spell of the Unown is the best looking Pokémon animated movie I have reviewed to date. Only being launched one year after the second one, (US launch in April 2001)  the improvements are quite noticeable The drawings in a distance have significantly improved, right up until the end credits where they might not have tried as hard. The movie has a much more ethereal setting , surreal even, with spirit realms and fantasy worlds. Lighting looks a lot chunkier in this movie and it doubles down on explosions and special effects. The 3d animation we saw used in the second part returns to animate the unown , and unlike the last movie here it works! Unown are supposed to be from a different dimension and those qualities are portrayed quite well.The way pokémon combat is mostly animated overall seems great and well thought out. At first you wonder why Entei uses such odd coloured flames (even if he has an attack called Sacred Fire) yet later we find out there are “beam struggles” with other fire pokémon and it all just ends up reading a lot better. We also finally get a really colourful setting,. Mewtwo’s palace was kind of bland in looks and about half way in the second we mostly ran through icy landscapes. While the setting here is mostly crystalised landscapes we do see some nice vibrant colours in it and around the middle part we get a few other settings to keep it fresh. The crystals setting itself can even range from a bright princessy looking bedroom, a cool blue crystalised flowerfield with spikes as a warning and even twisted strains of crystal with nothing but endless black depths below. There was also a lot of attention to detail, in terms of animation. At one point Misty and Brock  enter a room while riding a stream of water gun. When Ash rejoins them their hair has actually changed from being wet.While it sounds logical these kind of effects oftenly get overlooked and people would just and drops to their har.. but in this case it is actually weighed down and slightly darker as well. Tiny details occur throughout

The sound design I am somewhat less ecstatic about, overall the music score just felt very forgettable. The only song that stuck somewhat is the remix of PJ Lequerica ‘s  Johto Journeys opening. Besides that the music is there and it isn’t detracting either but never did I get the feeling ‘this is pokémon or now ‘this is amazing. Near the conclusion there is one particular scene  that has some great music but at least during the first two thirds of the movie it all feels a bit , meh. There is one particular entry that felt particularly disjointed and it was something that made me frown a little, but that disjointed tone kinda fits the tone of the movie, so I somewhere have to give them credits for choosing this as a score, it seems well thought out it just hardly managed to capture me. I missed the quirky sound design that was in the first and second movie. At least I could not detect effects they “stole” from other movies. So little monsters if you know of a weird sound effect in it please let me know.. it has become a sport of me somewhat. All in all just forgettable sound design.

How does it Feel

So when we come down to the emotional impact of this movie, I have mixed feelings. Do not get my wrong both of my feelings are fully factually correct and a lot better than that of others who have written these reviews but this movie does feel very pokémon and not very pokémon at the same time. That doesn’t mean I do not like this movie though, in fact all in all I was very invested in this movie. Which was mostly due to it’s ironclad plot, but more on that later. This movie felt consistent. The treat wasn’t a black and white villian but the concept of how grief and loneliness and how it can impact people. A story on how we can fool ourselves with denial or refusing to see reality and how we can become a prisoner to our own delusions. That is is a lot more powerful stuff than ‘People were mean to me.. time for revenge’ or ‘I liked collecting Pokémon Cards I need to have more so let me destroy the world to collect real ones’. We get an antagonist much more comparable to the Japanese Mewtwo rather than the Western one, resulting in Ash fight being much more layered this time around. The way the movie opened with a trainer battle featuring the opening team, hugging his pokemon was an homage to the way  the Mewtwo movie started. A nice little tribute. The battles feel like pokémon battles, although they can be fairly short that actually is much more reminiscent to how things go in the games so I did not particularly mind. It felt like good hybrid of the games and the series, while the later battles added some oomph. Now the best choice they made in this movie by far is to give Brock and Misty stuff to do! Of course it was the ‘You go ahead I shall take care of this battle’
Yet  was done very well. Their persona , their careers and even their battles contributed to resolving this fight just as much as Ash did, in their own way. Even Delia, who plays a major part in this movie, contributed to the plot. For those who forgot Delia is Ash’s mother. No one feels redundant…. well almost no one.  I guess it is time to bring up some of the negatives so I can end up with some positives again.

Team Rocket in this movie is completely throwaway and they this time really detract from movie. This isn’t just because they dont really do anything, it is also because their humor this time is really lackluster. The movie is a lot more nuanced in a lot of things but it came at the price of the zippy humor of the previous part. The fourth wall breaks are still there, but that is basically all they are good for and they only do it once. This results into the movie becoming a bit more heavy handed, with less for the non pokemon fan to enjoy. This only enforced by the fact that most of the things happening in this movie are.. only semi real. Molly our sort of antagonist is a tortured little girl who is being granted the power to sort of live in a reality bubble. Where she can create what she imagines and shape her own little dream world. This results her in using Pokémon  that can never really be beaten, but also not really pokémon. It results into a house that is crystallized leading into grassy fields, onto a nice little beach and stuff like that. The power they give the unown isn’t as lore intrusive as what happened with the legendary birds but it is all a bit ‘out there’. Way too much for someone not into the pokémon franchise to handle. It has a plot that is enjoyable for everyone, but it al seems quite unhinged and the pokemon spirit and mindset patches this back up. This one isnt for you if you do not like weird.

What I do like however is the journeys everyone makes. Ash has to do some creative puzzle solving to get to a location, has to show trust in his friends and than has to do a battle which he cant blatantly win. He has to grow. Molly as a ‘antagonist’ has to learn and grow to reach the resolve she reaches by the end. Each scene feels like it’s own , where the second movie had four kinds of boat scenes  here that felt interchangeable the action in this felt diverse. Every single Pokémon on Ash Team was at least used for something whether it be combat or to make progress in moving through Molly’s ‘home’. We encounter several types of situations that need to be resolved in certain ways and none of them feel like a rethread. The actual journey feels like a sensicial one .. even if it is in twisted reality it all feels logical and engaging. We get to see some old familiar faces which felt nice and heartwarming, you feel sad for the suffering little girl who caused all this and you really hope for an happy ending. I believed all the characters, aside from maybe the Deus Ex Machina trainer that led them  stumble upon the town.. and she hardly has a role other than provide some occasional exposure in a fairly natural manner. This time we even see the official instances making some attempts to solve this dire situation, Ash just gets some motivation to not be as cautious as them. Great job! It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but as only the third movie it didn’t really need to either. It uses it tropes well enough to be a very solid pokémon product. Nagging about how he flies on pokemon and  how he uses the same types of strategies again is like complaining you about how all D&D have dungeons where you have to kill a lot of things.

How is the plot?

The plot of The spell of Unown: Entei, or Entei and the crystal tower, or MO3 Entei: The spell of Unown (this movie has a LOT of names)  easily has the best plot of all three movies I saw so far. It’s written very very well with the English Dub in fact even having my preference as in consistency. (There are a few minor changes between versions) We start of with an intro seeing Molly’s father playing with his daughter. Showing her pictures in a book of a pokémon he is researching Unown. We also see a picture of Molly and professor Hale hanging out with Delia, Ash and professor Oak. Already a lot of strings are being set up and while it initially feels forced this tie actual makes sense later on. We see the scientist getting a call about a new room being discovered in some ancient ruins, consistent to how unown discoveries are made and having to leave his daughter for it. We see the pain in her face as she is established to be a lonely girl. He  gets sucked into an alternate dimension and thus goes missing. His aide takes some of the mysterious symbols along to investigate the disappearance and then goes to the daughter and her butler to report it.  Molly distraught she is an orphan now interacts with the symbols which summons the unown from her father’s stories, wishing her father returns to her but als remembering he played an Entei. As it appears for her and agrees to be her father the house begins to crystallize making sure the staff has to flee leaving the daughter in a proverbial ivory tower. The unknown are making her wishes appear to gather psychic energy from her fantasies. It’s a perfect start albeit a bit stuffy in terms of originality. Knowing that Unown only knows the move ‘hidden power’ this to me fits the brief of their mysterious powers as well.

The title pops up and we move our perspective to Ash Where we get the intro titles and the set up for the heroes to be where they need to be. While somewhat of a Deus Ex Machina, it really isn’t that much of an issue.  Ash battles a trainer and Bulbasaur Chikorita and Pikachu get scuffed up so it makes sense he ventures to a pokémon center. The pokémon center lies near the crystallizing town so.. sure I can believe it. Cheap but functional. We get a better hook from professor Oak and Delia. The missing professor was a student of Oak’s and having been present in Pallet Town he was a classmate of Delia. His wife had gone missing so while he was working Ash and  Molly would occasionally play together. Delia and Hale being childhood friends is nice way to provide exposure. Delia tells about how Molly’s mother had gone missing. (In the japanese version she got sick) and now that her father is missing , what it must do with the girls minds. It is exposure but done in a smart way. It also sets up for another incident to drag Ash into this. Traumatised Molly looks at the photo of everyone together and sees a surrogate for a mother in Delia and asks her mental Entei to give her a mommy. Which of course would be Delia who then gets kidnapped.  It gives Ash the determination to brave the dangerous that is to come but also seems like what a little girl that is traumatised would wish for. She deludes herself with fake family and builds herself a fort so no one can take her little family away ever again.  It makes her an interesting ‘obstacle’ for our heroes to overcome. The rescue operation uses a lot of , sort of, clever pokemon and terrain usage to get to their destination which I found quite enjoyable. 

The third part of the movie is the actual rescue operation. Get Delia out of the clutches of Molly and Entei. This  means climbing one the crystal towers the mansion , now crystal flower, has gotten. One each floor Molly shows up, or an illusion of herself. On the first level she fights brock as a mature woman because that is how she feels she has to be to be a pokémon trainer. She uses a Flaaffy, Teddiursa and Phanpy to properly kick Brock’s ass. We discover that in this realm Rebecca can not be beaten because she can always imagine her pokémon as strong enough. Brock manages to bond with Molly though saying how pokémon of a trainer are like family too.  On the next level Molly fights Misty and discovers she is a gym leader. While Misty also fights a losing battle, the discovery that a young girl can be a gym leader causes mature molly to regress .. to more Misty and Ash’s age (her real body a floor above is a bit younger) Before the battle can finish though Delia and Ash meet up and tell Molly they need to all leave this place. Which triggers an anxiety attack in Molly as she has to give up her delusions but is not ready yet. A final battle ensues between Entei and Ash squad. This goes about as well as you expect for Ash. His Pokémon , aside from Pikachu get oneshot. Pikachu can hold his own against a legendary AGAIN!.. but this time the movie does it right. We see Entei coming from the encounter unharmed while Pikachu is quite spend. The look in Entei’s eyes reveals he is just wearing the pokémon out to proof their fight is hopeless. Which he also tells them (of course Entei can speak like a lot of movie pokémon and since Molly imagines him with her father’s voice) .Ash  jumps in front of an attack again in a way very similar to the first movie and gets blasted out the tower falling to his death. He is however saved from this fate by his Charizard, who saw Ash on a news report ad decided to go help him. This was very impactful to me, albeit a bit convenient. It felt so sweet that Ash got reunited with his pal and it opened new dimensions to this fight. As Ash takes to the sky, and Molly’s mind manipulates the tower with her mind so Entei does not fall either. During this fight Ash realises he can not flat out win, because Molly would lose her father again.. thus not solving anything. Instead he also shows her the bond between a trainer and their real pokemon and how it is more genuine than what Molly has now. With the help of Delia who comforts her during these hard realisations they manage to quell Entei’s anger. However the confusing Molly experiences cause her psychic energy to go out of control and the crystals begin to grow wild.  Consuming everything in its path.

The final act sees our heroes dealing with the unown and their messed up spirit-bomb. It becomes all to obvious that they do not have the strength to stop this raw power. Their fates are in the hands of Molly. This place still amplifies and realises her fantasies. She has to believe in Entei one last time, which in the Dub she now calls Entei while in the original version she still calls Pappa. The dub showing better how much she has progressed. She has to believe in her hopes and dreams ..while fully realising that once Entei stops this treat he will fade away. Entei tells her she has the strength to stop this, that she can believe in him if she wishes, to signify this choice. Teaching Molly to take strength from her memories but to never live in a state of delusion. Completing her lesson Molly sacrifices her Entei and her safe space to rescue the world. Realising their goal, Molly’s fantasies fade away as Entei says it goodbyes. It makes you stronger to have fantasies but we can never lose grip of reality either. A strong lesson for a strong plot.  During the credits the Unown move back to their world and set free Molly’s father, as they also seemingly have learned their lesson. Causing the father to go home.. where he to has learned to put his ambitions over his family.
In the original western release, this scene takes place prior to the end credits as they believed no one would stick around in the movie after the credits. It was different times back in the early 2000’s .

What is the Verdict

As you can most likely tell I was quite pleased with this movie, as a pokémon fan. I fully well realise that this movie is not for the average eye. If you know little about Pokémon and do not have an open mind about “thought manifestation’ as such this movie most likely will be horrible for you to sit through. If you however believe in the power of the mind and  enjoy pokémon, nearly everything in this movie will click together nicely. You won’t be as invested and shouting as let’s say the second Gurren Lagann movie and you won’t cry as much as you would in Your Name and no where does this movie show any creativity like in the Ghibli movies. Yet this manages to be a movie that does everything well enough and it just works. It  is a perfect movie to watch on a rainy saturday morning. Like those classic saturday mornings cartoons it’s quite cool.

Three down, about 20 movies to go if we include detective Pikachu. At least there is plenty of content so I wont be out of a job any time soon. If at least some of these are as enjoyable as this one I will have a blast. There is a lot of them to go trough and I am kind of scared.. I heard the Hoopa movie is allegedly terrible! It will be a good while before I get there though!

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The New Pokémon Series

Recently we got new about the newest Pokémon series announced. Unfortunately we will not see Marnie as a protagonist or even one of the Galar people as companions yet the series will revolve around an interesting concept which could save it.

Ash is Back

Let’s first address the elephant in the room, the series opted for the safe route and decided to let Ash and Pikachu make their return. Something I expected but really rooted against. It remains unclear if we get a rebooted Ash or a continuation who once more left his pokémon behind.  In the teaser that was revealed we hear him yelling he wants to be a pokémon master, which he kind of became already so softly I hope to see a rebooted version. The concept of the series however seems to make this unlikely. It seems more to become more akin to a legacy season.  However looking at his design Ash looks younger once again. His eyes have become a lot brighter and bigger, his hair spikes upwards rather than horizontal, giving him a more playful and energetic look. He wears a vest that closely resembles his vest in season one, similar as how the title changed back to pokémon, without a subtitle.  Similar to when he first began. The white sleeves of the vest are gone though.. instead it is sleeveless and he wears a white shirt underneath.. to produce a similar look still. His shoes also look look like an updated version of Gen I Ash. For some reason though they chose to replace his jeans with shorts. Which this reporter doesn’t find that fashionable.  It makes him look like a Youngster. It’s weird because his buddy walks around in skinny jeans. His Rotom Dex will become more smartphone like.

Let’s Go

This time Ash will be accompanied by an androgynous boy named Go. Dark skinned, blue eyes with some bobby pins in his hair and somewhat feminine eyes he appears to be a fully original character. Whose design I find very agreeable. Having a cool demeanour around him he comes across as a confident young trainer of his own. Not something like the throwaway followers like Max or Bonnie and more passionate than Gym Leaders like Cillian or Clemmont. In fact by the looks of it it almost seems as if the series will focus slightly more on Go.

This time Ash will be accompanied by an androgynous boy named Go. Dark skinned, blue eyes with some bobby pins in his hair and somewhat feminine eyes he appears to be a fully original character. Whose design I find very agreeable. Having a cool demeanour around him he comes across as a confident young trainer of his own. Not something like the throwaway followers like Max or Bonnie and more passionate than Gym Leaders like Cillian or Clemmont.

In fact by the looks of it it almost seems as if the series will focus slightly more on Go. The teaser makes it look like it will be a two protagonist series, yet Go’s goal seems to be very central in the story. When he was a young boy Go met Mew and he wishes to find him again. Featured both on the poster and it being an adorable sound bite at the end of the short teaser, this search seems to be an extremely relevant aspect of the plot. More so than Ash potential gym challenge. Yes I am saying potential gym challenge because it may not even be about it at all.  Could this be a series in which we pass the torch? Moving from Ash to Go? It would be very interesting and a very open ended way to handle Ash departure. Pleasing both his supporters as those who wish to see him retire. In the japanese version he will be voiced by Daiki Yamashita who is best know , at least recently, for his voice portayel of Deku from My Hero Academia The only thing I do not like about Go so far is giving him a Scorbunny as his partner pokémon. Making it seem like the best pick! Cleary that honour should go to Sobble!

Traveling across the lands

What makes this series potentially interesting is the concept. On the reveal poster we saw a globe featuring all the regions and they will all be visited in this anime. Kanto, Johto, Hoenn , Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos , Alola AND Galar. A trip across the world to find Mew. This is where a non rebooted Ash comes in. It would be a lot more rewarding to see everyone Ash has interacted with in those regions to react to his championship title  and to reminisce , it would validate Ash alongside Go for this story. It would be nice to see May again, if we found out that Max has tragically died (I really hated him in the anime) it would even be nice to see Ash and Serena catch up that way.

Yet it would also make sense to let the rebooted Ash travel alongside Go.. picking up after Ash first saw Ho-Oh they could travel together to find the legendaries who influenced their lives so much. The concept has potential but makes it hard to be focussed around a gym challenge. Without a rebooted Ash this makes perfect sense though!  He already is a champion so he would pursue other goals, with two protagonists it would also prevent us from having to look at a double gym battles should Go be into similar endeavours. It would make for an interesting show if we deal with other teams rather than getting stronger and stronger but instead focus on the more mysterious side of the pokémon world. Questing for other goals than a simple competition can lift the series much more into a exciting serial anime with less of the ‘filler’ content the other shows had. There definitely is potential in this one but a lot of dangers too. 

A birthday gift

The new series will begin airing on the seventeenth of November. The day of my birthday.  Now this series could be a lovely gift or something I trade in immediately it remains to be seen. I am getting a Sylveon rug for my birthday as well and I will gift myself the Pokémon Sword game of course, so it has a lot of great gifts to compete with.  Sun and Moon got a lot of flack for its art style..but the fluidity it brought to animations was actually great, with the developments in style it looks a bit more crisp as well. While the main character might not appeal to me all that much anymore this would be the way to make him more appealing.

If the other regions however turn out to be filler in between Galar gym badges this show will be dropped faster than a bungee jumping Snorlax.  Since I am a little social bug I might be quite busy around that day but reviews will be coming and they will be honest! The transition from Kalos to Alola was to much of a drop-off for me to fully follow the series.  Yet this time we don’t see a badass Ash reverting back into a kid. This might be something I can get behind. Keep following me up until december at least to find out if this show is any good.

Question to my Readers:

Do you like the concept of this new series?

While I feel incredibly mixed about the idea, there is potential to build the show out in a new way, yet if they do not innovate this will turn out to a big dud. Either way we either will have a Gyarados of a series or a Magikarp of a series.. no in between for this one. Let me know what you think in the comments.
The Pinkest Poké Blogger is blasting off again

What if : Ash was a girl (Part 1)

Howdy little monsters! Today is another wednesday so it’s time to explore another what if. This week we’ll be starting yet another story, as well as next week. Then their follow ups will all appear once a month. This gives me more time to think all the angles trough properly and get a feel of what of these stories you like best. Today we will do a strange one! What if Ash was a girl, or what if Ash was Ashley.
Now I know in essence, not a whole lot may change from just a genderswitch.
However keep in mind that Ash was basically given the personality of a standard 10 year old boy. So it would make sense that Ashley would be a typical girl.. more like Ushio from Sailor Moon than like original Ash.

Gender  Swapping the protagonist thusly would not lead to this:

This type of Ash would not influence the story THAT much.

But to this:

This Ashe is a screengrab from the anime which since has been adated to look more like Delia.

Chapter 1: Mother Daughter time
Ashley was a typical young girl, the daughter of Delia Ketchum could have almost been a straight copy of her mother were it not for one thing. Inside Ashley the adventuring spirit of her father burned deeply. This call of the wild had let her to sign up to become a trainer. Tommorow Ashley would  get her first Pokémon. She had long since dreamed about it and already knew which pokémon she was gonna pick. Yet tonight she would spent her last night with her mother together. There was a large plate of cookies on the table, along with two glasses of milk. The milk had a bit of honey in it so Ashley could get in some early rest before the next day. They talked about what they were gonna miss about each others.
‘I will miss how well behaved daughter very much, and my best friend in this world’ Delia would say getting a bit misty eyed. ‘I’ve heard rumors that professor Oak’s grandchild, is quite the troublesome one to handle’ Delia would add, she always added gossip when she felt uncomfortable. Ashley seemed to tune out and stare in front of her for a bit ‘I’m sorry Gary did what?’ she would ask her mother. ‘Nevermind sweety, you.. you will call every day right?’ Delia began to worry as the hour began to further. Ashley took a cookie and looked at her mother seriously ‘Mamma I can’t promise you that , some days I might need to camp somewhere like you told me dad used to do, but I pinky promise whenever there is a phone near I will call you each evening before I go to bed.’ Ashley at her cookie after she sat that and took her mother’s hand. ‘You are the best mamma in the whole world, I don’t want you to be alone in here, so maybe you should date again’ Our heroine wanted her mother to be happy, she had noticed how Delia looked at couples and just knew she was lonely. She also knew Delia would never look with her around, so perhaps it helped her if Ashley went away on this journey, she wants her mother to be happy.  Delia blushed ‘Oh dear, I am not sure if I am ready’. ‘Mom!’ Ashley puffed up her cheeks and stomped the floor once before continuing. ‘It’s been years, it’s okay to move on at least get like a pet Pokémon to keep you company’ The single mother saw the determination in the eyes of her daughters, one of the few traits she got from her father, she smiled at her daughter and hugged her. “Okay dear, I shall try for you, but it’s getting late off to bed with you’. Delia’s heart broke a bit when she knew this was the last time in a while she could send her dear daughter to bed. ‘Okay mom, I love you’ Ashley said as she went upstairs, tomorrow her journey would begin.

Ashley hugging her mother.

Chapter 2: Ashley is early
The next morning Ashley woke up by a knock on the door. ‘Dear are you awake, it’s time to get up’. Ashley jumped up, feeling energetic, she looked at her alarm clock, which was fine because she did not spend her last night watching tv, she had dreams about meeting a guy on her journey and her mom and her new boyfriend visiting the wedding. Mom you’re fifteen minutes early, Ashley moaned a bit. ‘I’m sorry dear I was just so worried you might be late, now get dressed I made you some breakfast.’
After an early morning shower Ashley slipped into her comfy pink dress, and put a pink ribbon in her hair. She wanted to look cute for all the trainers she would encounter, especially Gary Oak. She ate her breakfast with her mom and then walked to the lab together after they went over her bag one more time to ensure she had everything she could need’ Having arrived at the lab the gates were still closed. ‘Go ahead dear i’ll be waiting right here with everyone waiting to see you off’’ Delia caressed her daughters cheek, who kissed her mother on the moth before proceeding to push the button of the intercom. “Ah who is there’ Professor Oak’s voice would sound excited. ‘You are early and you know what they say, the early bird gets the worm’ Ashley shivered when hearing that, she really hated bugs. ‘This is Ashley Ketchum’ she replied to the intercom before being buzzed in. As Ashley walked up to the lab, she waved to her mother.
Inside she was greeted by an excited professor. ‘My my I like your enthusiasm, that means you have first pick, which of the starters did you had in mind.’  The girl however was mesmerised by the lab, there was this weird scent that smelled like cleanliness she really liked and these machine thingies looked very complicated. Samuel tapped her on the shoulders and repeated his question. Ashley blushed embarrassed by her zoning out again. “Oh sorry professor, I have thought about it a lot and I’ve decided to go with Bulbasaur’ Professor Oak smiled at her and said ‘a perfect choice for a rookie trainer, Bulbasaur is easy to raise and it has great defences. With a partner like that you’ll learn the arts of becoming a trainer in no time.’The young girl smiled at the compliment, even though she knew these things about bulbasaur already.  The pokemon professor tabbed some buttons on a machine they were walking trough and point at the appropriate pokeball. ‘That is your pokemon Ashley, I caught it when I was exploring viridian forest, it was being attacked by some Beedrill.’ ‘I hate bugs’ the teen would immediately bounce back. However seeing that pokeball of her pokémon compelled her enough to get over her fear. She opened the ball and her bulbasaur appeared. ‘Will you give it a nickname’ Oak asked to the girl. ‘Flora, I will name it flora’ Ashley replied. Oak smiled seeing such a prepared little trainer, his grandson could learn from her. ‘Very well then, Flora meet your new trainer Ashley’ The bulbasaur sniffed it’s new trainers hand and spoke it’s name enthusiastically.  “It’s nice to meet you to Flora’ Ashley said as she petted it’s head. ‘Will you come on a journey with me?’ Flora nodded ferociously, excited for it’s adventures.
Oak handed the rookie five new Pokéballs and a Pokédex.’Only five pokéballs? ‘Ashley asked confused, she thought she had to collect them all. ‘Ah yes a young trainer can only carry up to six pokémon so I have given you enough to fill your team. If you ever need more give me a call and I will send you new pokéballs but be aware, the seventh one will be transferred to my storage system. I can always swap them out for you.’ Ashley nodded in understanding and after running to a few more questions, she and Flora went outside.

Ashley hugging Flora, the pair gets along well from the start.

Chapter 3: The handsome Gary Oak
Outside three other trainers were waiting, one of them she recognised as Gary, her heart skipped a beat, as she approached him. ‘H-Hi G-Gary, look I just got my first Pokémon’ Gary looked down at Flora and scoffed “Jeez Ash, thank you for letting me know what starter to pick, I was gonna go for squirtle but now that I know YOU picked a Bulbasaur, I’ll just pick Charmander. I can’t lose to a girl..or a Ketchum’ Ashley just grinned sheepishly, staring into his blue eyes. Ever since they were kids, she had fantasies about marrying Gary. ‘I.. doubt… I could ever defeat someone as good as you G-Gary’ she ushered. ‘You’ve got that right Ash..but I can’t waste more time on you.. I’ll get my starter now.. smell you later’ Gary pushed the other two trainers aside and went in to visit his grandpa. One trainer cleary annoyed turned to the girl and said ‘Thanks a lot stupid, I wanted Charmander! Now I have to pick squirtle! At least I can beat Gary Oak now…but if Squirtle is weak it can go rot in a ditch somewhere’.  “That’s mean, you are a bad trainer if you think like that’ Ashley said, getting angry. ‘Heh… says you. a bad trainer is one who sticks with weak Pokémon’ was the reply she got. The sound of a slap broke the morning silence as Ashley hit the guy in the face. ‘There are no weak pokémon , only weak trainers and scum like you’. Her victim turning red with anger, trying to punch her only to be grappled and floored by Bulbasaur.
‘Just wait until I get my pokémon Ash! You’ll die!’  Ashley stared into his eyes and said ‘I will never lose to a trainer like you’.  The guy crawled up just to be knocked down again by a blue sleeved arm. ‘Whoops sorry Damian, didn’t see you there pal, guess I must be loser blind’  Gary stood there spinning a Pokéball on his fingers, as Ashley swooned about how cool he looked. The handsome boy turned to the girl and told her ‘Hey that’s pretty cool what you did! I can’t stand losers like him, you are alright Ketchum, now excuse me I got some fans to please’ Gary would walk off towards the gates and his cheerleaders. Ash puffed up her cheeks and stomped the floor at the sight of them. Gary was HER handsome encounter!

Ashley’s daydream

Chapter 4: Ash throws like a girl
Having arrived at the gate Flora was introduced to Delia and Ashley’s neighbours who came to support her. ‘Shouldn’t Pokémon be in their pokeball Delia asked”  prompting Ash to indeed withdraw her Bulbasaur. It happily went back into its pokéball. Ashley had prepared a little speech. ‘On this day I promise to have a great adventure, catch a lot of cute pokémon and together we shall have a great adventure! I will make lots of friends and become the most lovable pokemon trainer and I will get like super rich! So me and mamma can live easily!’ The group chuckled, this girl was so endearing, sweet and and the same time somewhat superficial, she would amuse people everywhere she goes spouting her convictions and dreams.  After Ash and Delia said their tearful goodbyes they hugged together intensely one more time. ‘I love you Mamma’ Ashley said before she finally wandered in off towards the dirt road out of town, her journey was about to truly begin. She put on a brave face but in truth she was terrified, what if she would rip her dress or encounter perverts.
A good while into her journey Ashley was looking around and she saw a pidgey. She opened her pokédex and looked at it’s entry, finding out it could create gusts of wind and be classified as a flying type, she knew it would be a bad idea to send Flora out.
Taking her partner out of the pokéball anyway, she told Flora to watch her stuff, which croaked as it obeyed. Sneaking up to the Pidgey she managed to land a pokéball on it after which it broke free. Flora used a vine to tab her pokédex which stated she would need to damage a pokémon before trying to capture it. Flora offered to do it for her, stepping up bravely, however Ashley being afraid of the type disadvantage told Flora to keep guarding their stuff, it was to dangerous. Flora begrudgingly obeyed.  Flora picked up some rocks to throw at the pidgeys after all they were weak to rock type moves. Her first pebble missed scaring three birds away. Yet a silhouette, in the distance revealed she had another chance.
She carefully aimed and threw the rock, which landed quite a bit short of the bird. The spearow looked at the rock that landed a few steps from it , pecked at it once and flew off. ‘Shoot! I really need to learn how to throw better’ Ashley said.  Maybe it’s for the best though! I only have five pokéballs, I don’t want them to like be locked up in a box all day long.’  Flora made a few sounds in agreement. ‘You know what Flora? I want Gary to like me, he seemed impressed when I was strong, so if I can defeat him in battle, he might fall in love with me! Water beats fire, and you beat water, so for our first Pokémon let’s search for a water type! Flora jumped around excitedly seeing Ashley’s spirit flare up. Together they began following a small river, walking past a cute little waterfall. Trying to find a way to spot the water pokémon out there. Initially their ventures proved unfruitful, the fish being deep below the surface. As they passed a hill with a bright red bicycle their luck began to change however, when they saw an orange headed girl fishing.

A new encounter for a new episode.

This is where the story ends for today. I really liked writing this one, the stronger bond between mother and daughter having a major impact on the story and the protagonist following some more  stereotypical girly motivations on her road to success.
We see a much more careful and calculative Ash, who took after her mother more than her father. Using some girly tropes for Ashley, like the orginal used boyish tones for Ash, we have embarked on a journey with a completely different tone already.  I hope you are as curious as me to find out what this story will bring in the future. Do you think Misty well help Ashley? What kind of “What If” would you like to see? Let me know in the comments, leave a like, and STAY PiNK!