Tag Archives: anime

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)

I skipped ahead slightly in my exploration of Pokémon films and next went to Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, the ninth Pokémon film. Notably, this is the first film in the series to feature an all-new voice cast (no Veronica Taylor, no Eric Stuart, etc.) and boy does it show. After listening to six straight films with the same general voice actors it was jarring beyond belief to hear these different voices. But I digress, on to the story!

Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea follows Ash, May, Max and Brock as they find themselves teaming up with Pokémon Ranger Jack Walker as the latter seeks to return the mythical Pokémon Manaphy to the legendary Temple of the Sea all while attempting to prevent a dastardly pirate from claiming the equally legendary Sea Crown. (On a side note, I couldn’t help but think about how much Misty would’ve loved Manaphy and the Sea Temple given her affinity with Water-type Pokémon).

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Jarring voice cast aside, I really like this story. Water-type Pokémon have been among my favorites and this film is full of them. Plus, there’s some fantastic CGI animation of coral reefs and various sea life that is really well done. And of course I have to mention the Temple of the Sea is beautifully rendered as well. This is a place that I wish existed in real life and as crazy as it sounds, it was kind of giving me Castle in the Sky vibes with the architecture (that’s a good thing).

At last, after several films of wanting more Team Rocket, I finally got my wish!! Naturally Jessie, James and Meowth are after Manaphy once they learn of its existence, being the implacable treasure hunters that they are. They briefly manage to get their hands on the creature but the consequences are hysterical. I love Team Rocket so much, they always make me laugh.

And then there’s Phantom the Pirate, the big antagonist of the story. I’m not sure if this was intentional or not (I have a hard time gauging humor sometimes) but this guy made me laugh so many times. The way he talks, the way he acts, I just could not be scared of him because he’s so over the top. To be honest, the first time I saw him, I was reminded of One Piece (you know, cause he’s a pirate?). He also has the shortsightedness typical of most Pokémon movie villains, in that he’s so focused on acquiring the Sea Crown he’s completely ignorant of the consequences that come with seizing it (either that or he doesn’t care). On the flip side, maybe it was Jack Walker’s English voice actor but he kept coming across as super gung-ho from time to time (mostly when he called in to headquarters to give status reports). Let’s just say he had his own over the top moments that had me rolling my eyes (it’s a kids movie though so I’m not going to nitpick that much).

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I will say also that the Sea Crown is probably not what you’re expecting it to be. I know I was taken aback by what it actually was (how IS one supposed to “wear” it??). That being said, I can’t really say anything bad about the story, it was fun, it was tear-jerking (yet another Pokémon film that made me cry), and if you’re looking for a good time you’ll definitely find it with this story.

Let me know what you think about Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Pokemon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 3: The Movie: Entei – Spell of the Unown (2000)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker (2003)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Animated Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker (2003)

In this time of crisis, with all the issues the coronavirus is causing, it seemed like the perfect time to dive back into my backlog and do a series of movie reviews that I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Among these films is the sixth Pokémon film, Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker.

As with everything after the third Pokémon film, I had not seen nor really heard of this film before, so I was excited to see what this story was all about. The story is set during the sixth season of Pokémon: Advanced, and follows Ash and company as they encounter the mythical Pokémon Jirachi when the Millennium Comet swings by the Earth. Allegedly, Jirachi has the power to grant wishes, and there are not-so-friendly forces who want to get their hands on that power.

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I’ve never seen any of the Pokémon television series, so I wasn’t aware that the cast changed as time went on. While I was pleased to see Brock was still traveling with Ash, I was very disappointed that Misty isn’t around anymore. To me there’s no trio more iconic in this story than Ash, Misty, and Brock. May and Max were a lot of fun, don’t get me wrong, but I did feel Misty’s absence in the story. Also, pardon my ignorance, but is Team Magma supposed to be like Team Rocket? They sure act like Team Rocket (not Jessie, James, and Meowth but the sinister organization that Giovanni is in charge of). The further I get into the films, the more I’m convinced I really need to do some catching up on these old anime series.

Jirachi is one of my favorite parts of this film and he is adorable! I like how his “headdress” his shaped like a star to kind of correspond with the idea that he’s a living “wishing star.” If I had a Jirachi plushie I would hug him all day long, because he is that adorable. I also really adore his friendship with Max which is so sweet and wholesome that it makes the ending really hard to get through (seriously, what is it with Pokémon films making me cry by the end).

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I was relieved to see Team Rocket make their appearance known for a few minutes early in the story (trying to steal Pikachu again). This was a big step up compared to their appearance in the previous film, even though they didn’t do much except trail our heroes after that. I wish they would do more, but I’m glad the film at least included them, these stories don’t feel the same without Jessie, James and Meowth.

I really liked Butler, the would-be villain of this story. He’s introduced as a skilled magician, which he is, but he’s got one heck of a backstory that you do not see coming at first. I actually got really behind him because he’s the living embodiment of “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it” and once he gets what he thinks he wants, he immediately does an about-face and is like “My God, what have I done?” No true villain would have that kind of reaction, so Butler is really alright. It’s one of those situations where you think you want something until you get it and you realize it’s actually a really, REALLY bad thing.

In conclusion, I think you’ll really like Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker. It’s a fun story, it’s got an adorable mythical Pokémon at the center of the action, and a fairly straightforward plot. Really, what more can you ask for from a story like this? Be sure to check this film out if you can.

Let me know what you think about Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Pokemon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 3: The Movie: Entei – Spell of the Unown (2000)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

 

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)

As my adventure through the Pokémon films continues, I made my way to Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias, the fifth Pokémon movie overall. This movie was released in 2002 and follows the adventures of Ash, Misty, and Brock in the town of Alto Mare (a place that bears a significant resemblance to Venice). This town is protected by two legendary Pokémon named Latios and Latias and, predictably, members of Team Rocket want these magnificent creatures for their own nefarious ends.

By and large I really liked Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias. Alto Mare is a beautifully rendered location with adorable Pokémon around every corner. There’s a fun opening scene with Ash and Misty taking part in a water-chariot race (Totodile is adorable). I was initially dismissive of the idea that there were Pokémon modeled after fighter jets, but that is indeed what Latios and Latias are and it just works! They’re incredibly cute (as most Pokémon are), and you can get a pretty good idea of what they’re saying to each other, an impressive feat since neither speaks a recognizable language. Also I think it’s really fun that Latios and Latias can take human form, though I am disappointed that we didn’t get to see the human form of Latios.

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That being said…there were a few things that bothered me with this movie. First of all, there’s the extremely limited presence of Brock and Misty in the film. By and large, these two don’t do very much, especially compared to the previous four films. Ash does most of the work this time. And then there’s the almost complete absence of Team Rocket (Jessie, James and Meowth) from this story. Really, aside from a glorified cameo, they don’t play any part in this story whatsoever and I am not okay with this. Here’s the thing, if you aren’t going to involve this trio in the story, then don’t include them at all. For that matter, Annie and Oakley are okay villains (I especially like Oakley’s power trip at the climax of the film), but we don’t really know that much about them (and no, that one line about Giovanni is not enough, I want backstory for my villains).

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Ultimately, while I enjoyed Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias, it is inferior to the first Pokémon movie (which admittedly set a pretty high bar). However, don’t let that stop you from checking this movie out. As with any lengthy film series, there are highs and lows, and this one just isn’t the best (it’s still fun though!)

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’m pretty sure that’s Latias at the end of the film. I know it’s supposed to be up in the air, but I can’t see it being anyone else.

Let me know what you think about Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Pokemon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 3: The Movie: Entei – Spell of the Unown (2000)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker (2003)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

 

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 3: The Movie: Entei – Spell of the Unown (2000)

And now we come to the last Pokémon movie that I know for sure I watched back in the day. I remember sneaking off to watch Pokémon 3: The Movie and being completely enthralled by the story, as I usually am by anime stories.

In summary, Pokémon 3: The Movie centers around the mysterious Unown (pronounced “Unknown”), extremely powerful psychic Pokémon that can bend reality itself to their will. When the Unown are accidentally summoned by Molly Hale, a young girl who has just lost her father (and her mother two years previously), a strange world of crystal and fantasy is created that threatens everything around it if it isn’t stopped.

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One thing that jumps out to me right away, especially compared to the first and second films, is the presence of the obviously CGI Unown. Their appearance is almost jarring because of how different they look compared to everything else in the film. Given the mysterious nature of the Unown, this isn’t exactly a bad thing, and the CGI holds up really well given the film turns 20 this year. Also, another thing related to the Unown that I really like is the little “nexus” they develop once they’re fully ensconced in Molly’s home. You know, when they’re all orbiting each other and singing that little song to themselves. It’s almost like they’re working together as a hive mind to obey whoever has summoned them.

Another thing that stuck with me as I watched this film is how deep some of this film’s themes are. I had a sense of this when I first saw the film, but now that I’m two decades older, I think I understand the message even better. If you think about it, at its core Pokémon 3: The Movie centers around grief and the various ways one can handle it. And keeping that in mind, Molly’s actions make perfect sense. If you’re a little girl who has just lost her father and you find yourself in the company of Pokémon who can give you anything you want just by wishing for it, then of course you’re going to retreat into a fantasy world where you don’t have to face the cold reality that your parents are gone. That’s a powerful thing for any movie to deal with, and I think it’s handled fairly well in the end.

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And speaking of altering reality, the crystalline world created by the Unknown is so beautiful, I’d actually forgotten how gorgeous it looked. It’s like a bizarre piece of art that is lovely but deadly at the same time (because there’s nothing that’s actually “alive” out there). Everything, the flowers, the trees, and so on, is preserved in crystal so that it never dies (which also feeds into my earlier point about the movie dealing with a child’s handling of grief).

Finally, I need to talk about Entei. While it’s made plain that this is only an illusion of Entei, he feels perfectly real. A lot of this has to do with Entei’s animation, which absolutely brings him to life on the screen in my opinion. Another interesting note, and one I wasn’t even aware of until I checked the cast notes, is that Entei and Molly’s father are voiced by the same person (which makes so much sense when you remember that Molly views Entei as her father). I love little details like this that make the story so much better every time I watch it.

It was so much fun to watch Pokémon 3: The Movie again, and relive some amazing childhood memories. Let me know what you think about the third Pokémon movie in the comments below and have a great night!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Pokemon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker (2003)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

 

My Thoughts on: Pokemon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998)

To give you an idea of just what kind of impression the first Pokémon movie had on me, consider this: it’s been over 20 years since I first saw Pokémon: The First Movie, and portions of the film have remained with me to this day. Don’t ask me why it took 20 years to watch the film for a second time, but that is indeed the approximate length of time between views.

In summary, Pokémon-The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back deals in large part with the introduction Mewtwo, for me one of the most iconic Pokémon to be found in the entire franchise. Mewtwo is a clone of the ancient Pokémon Mew, and this knowledge drives Mewtwo to discover his purpose in life, a purpose that he ultimately decides (after some unfortunate encounters with Team Rocket) is to purge the world of humans and “inferior” Pokémon.

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I still remember sitting and watching this movie in 1999 and being in awe of all of it. Mewtwo terrified me then, and if I’m honest he’s still pretty scary even now in the year 2020. The extent of his psychic powers is pretty intimidating from his introduction, and they only grow from there. I honestly forgot just how intense Mewtwo’s introductory scene is, the movie certainly starts off to a bang from the word go.

I was pleased to discover that even after all this time, I still enjoy the first Pokemon movie. Mew was one of my favorite parts of the movie. To tell the truth, I’d completely forgotten about everything Mew does in this film, and certain scenes had me positively squeaking with delight.

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And then, of course, there’s THAT scene. Anyone who’s seen this movie knows exactly what I’m talking about. That moment with Ash at the climax of the film. The moment that broke us all when we were kids and damn it all but it completely broke me all over again the minute I saw it. Anyone who tries to tell you that Pokémon is “just for kids” has clearly never seen this movie because that moment is sad, it’s heartbreaking, and it’s downright DARK (before it gets better anyway). I was worried I wouldn’t be able to “feel” that moment now that I’m all grown up, but clearly there was no need to be concerned.

Finally, the overall message of this film deserves a mention. While it’s somewhat ironic for Pokémon (a franchise about fighting monsters) having an anti-fighting message, it still works in my opinion. What they’re trying to say is that Pokémon shouldn’t be made to fight by someone else’s whims. In theory, trained Pokémon fight because they’ve formed a relationship with their trainer and they choose to obey, so it’s not quite the same thing. And of course there’s also Meowth’s little monologue about how we “share the same Earth, the same sky” and maybe if we focused more on THOSE things, then the world would be a much better place.

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Watching Pokémon: The First Movie brought back a lot of feelings for me, mostly good ones. For a lovely 90-odd minutes, i was 11 years old again, just enjoying the adventure of Ash and his friends. I would definitely say the movie holds up after all this time, and should be seen at least once by anyone even remotely interested in the Pokémon series. I’m glad I sat and watched the film again. The animation feels “alive” in a way that you just don’t see these days.

Let me know what you think about Pokémon: The First Movie-Mewtwo Strikes Back in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 3: The Movie: Entei – Spell of the Unown (2000)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon 4Ever- Celebi – Voice of the Forest (2001)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Heroes: Latios and Latias (2002)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Jirachi—Wish Maker (2003)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)

My Thoughts on: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (2019)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

 

My Thoughts on: Slayers Revolution (season 4) (2008)

*This is my 600th post!

My oh my, how the time can fly. Who’d have thought that after the conclusion of Slayers TRY, that over ten years would pass before the adventures of Lina Inverse would continue. That’s right, Slayers Revolution didn’t arrive until 2008, and by then the world of anime was very different from what it had been in 1997. The fourth season is now drawn using digital animation, but don’t worry, everyone is still recognizable, and thankfully most of the original voice actors have returned (Xellos, however, has been noticeably recast and I’m not a fan of that change).

Slayers Revolution starts with an absolutely hilarious story, so funny that I have to share it. The season starts with Lina finding herself under arrest for the crime…of being Lina Inverse! And what makes it even funnier? Every time Lina gets arrested for this “crime” she turns to find Gourry, Zelgadis, and Amelia huddled together secretly agreeing that there’s no arguing with this “evidence” much to Lina’s growing frustration.

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That humorous interlude aside, the real plot of season 4 finds Lina in conflict with a mysterious creature named Pokota (he reminds me of a Pokemon), who is far more than what he appears to be. However, the surprises of who and what Pokota really is don’t compare to the other bombshell this season drops. Out of nowhere, the story brings up none other than Rezo the Red Priest (you know, the villain of season 1?) Of all the characters to choose from, I never thought to hear Rezo’s name again.

I like Slayers Revolution for the most part, however something about it bothers me. Late in the season we’re introduced to something known as “Zanaffar Armor” something that hasn’t been referenced in the series before now, and yet I get the feeling that everyone acts like we (the audience) should know exactly what that armor is and what it does. Let’s just say I was confused for a couple of episodes before certain things were explained. I just feel like that plot detail could have been handled better. Otherwise, I really do like Slayers Revolution. It’s a shame there’s only one more season to talk about after this one.

What do you think about Slayers Revolution? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers TRY (season 3) (1997)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Return (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Great (1997)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

My Thoughts on: Slayers TRY (season 3) (1997)

After several false starts, I finally made my way through Slayers TRY, the third season of Slayers overall. As with the first two seasons, Slayers TRY follows the ongoing adventures of Lina Inverse and company, now making their way into the outside world in the wake of Lina’s defeat of Hellmaster Phibrizzo at the end of Slayers NEXT. But of course, this being Lina Inverse, adventure and intrigue is simply going to seek her out whether she wants it or not.

Our cast of heroes is joined this season by Filia, a priestess of the Fire Dragon King who also happens to be a dragon herself (she appears as a human for most of the season, but a running gag will have her tail showing at inopportune moments, she also favors a HUGE mace for a weapon). I found myself liking Filia, she’s clearly the audience surrogate in this story (if her reactions to Lina and company are anything to go by), and it’s interesting to watch how her character evolves from the beginning to end of the season.

I freely admit that Slayers TRY is not quite as good as Slayers NEXT, but it does tell a good story. One of the big things in this story, unless I completely missed the point, is that the question of who is good and who is evil is somewhat addressed (Gourry openly asks the question late in the story arc). When the story begins, you think you know who the good guys and bad guys are; but as the story progresses, it starts to emerge that maybe things aren’t as black and white as we thought they were.

One funny moment that I have to share comes early in the season. Filia gives Lina a letter from her older sister Luna Inverse (who was originally meant to be the main character of the story before Hajime Kanzaka realized Lina was far more interesting). We’ve never actually met Luna, but Lina’s reaction to the note (telling her sister to take the job “or else”) tells us everything we need to know. Lina’s over-the-top freakout includes assembling a pyramid, building a tomb and sarcophagus inside before sinking the pyramid into the earth and screaming hysterically that her sister is going to kill her! It’s a scene that makes me laugh every time I watch it.

If you’ve enjoyed the first two seasons of Slayers, then you will likely enjoy Slayers TRY as well. It keeps the adventure going, and it has a really sweet ending.

Let me know your thoughts on Slayers TRY in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Slayers (season 1) (1995)

My Thoughts on: Slayers NEXT (Season 2) (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Return (1996)

My Thoughts on: Slayers Great (1997)

Animated Film Reviews

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook