They’re the best Anime that 1998 has to offer! We counts down the best anime to come out this year, including the likes of Pokemon: Pikachu no Natsuyasumi, Doraemon: Doraemon Comes Back (Movie), Doraemon Movie 19: Nobita no Nankai Daibouken, and more!
5: Pokemon: Pikachu no Natsuyasumi
English: Pokemon: Pikachu’s Summer Vacation
MAL Score: 6.81
Ash and his friends arrive at a Pokémon-only park. They set all their Pokémon loose and, after Ash tells Pikachu to watch over Togepi, they enter for a day of fun and relaxation. Unfortunately, it’s not going to turn out the way they had hoped.
*Also note: This is a review of the English version that came with Pokémon: The First Movie*
Are you ready for a short overloaded with cute Pokémon? Are you ready to see an episode where Pikachu becomes a babysitter? Are you ready to witness Ash’s (probably lv 100) Charizard get helplessly stuck in a tube only to be saved by a Cubone??
Presenting: Pikachu’s not-so-relaxing Vacation!!
Prepare yourself as we watch Pikachu and his friends spend a day away from their trainers only to find themselves using Surf to compete in swimming contests, Swagger to protect Togepi, and Strength to pull out a helpless Charizard. So basically, they set up the framework for the Pokémon Contests that happen in Gen III.
Watch Bulbasaur use Razor Leaf to pick an apple from a tree, Vine Whip to sing the first ever Bulbaby, and Confuse Ray to defeat a Snubbull while his counterpart Squirtle resorts to Scary Face instead of Attract to comfort Togepi and even loses a swimming competition to a bloody Marill. Thus, Bulbasaur proves that it deserves to be the first Pokémon in the Pokédex. After, witness Pikachu replay Jesus walking on water and then one-shotting a Weezing, Meowth, and Arbok with Extremespeed. Can Pikachu get anymore OP??
Finally, scream at an Onix that is incapable of pulling out a helpless Charizard that is less than half its own weight. Seriously, all that Onix needs to do is lift its entire body up and Charizard will be free. But it’s probably thinking, “Bitch, please.”
In all seriousness, I admit, despite all those Pokémon inconsistencies, this was one fun short. It successfully and humourously captures all the great things about Gen I Pokémon. Having not watched it for 10 years or so, I had a huge grin across my face all the way until the end. Gen I Pokémon gave me such a fantastic childhood. While not a must-watch (and overshadowed by the epic Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back), if you haven’t seen it in a while, or anything Gen I for that matter, go back and take a look! It’s just good ol’ fun.
Who is your favourite Gen I Pokémon? Let me know!!
We have to be a little lenient on the judging right? I mean, it’s fricking Pokemon. What sort of mad man would critique something this innocent in the same manner as he does with other more “mature” anime so to speak?
If you’re not rating this solely based on the nostalgia effect, then there’s the door! 😉
Of course the rules and physics in this little Pokemon short rarely make sense, even in the world of Pokemon, but you just can’t help but smile throughout. The picture quality is fantastic for it’s time and the music is as catchy as I remember it being. There’s something about the first three Pokemon movies and their little respective Pikachu shorts episodes, it’s very atmospheric and I don’t think they managed to capture it again. Though maybe that’s just my childhood speaking 🙂
4: Doraemon: Doraemon Comes Back (Movie)
Japanese: ドラえもん 帰ってきたドラえもん
MAL Score: 6.94
Movie version of the Doraemon: Come Back Doraemon Special.
3: Doraemon Movie 19: Nobita no Nankai Daibouken
English: Doraemon the Movie: Nobita’s Great Adventure in the South Seas
Japanese: 映画 ドラえもん のび太の南海大冒険
MAL Score: 7.13
Finding a treasure is always been so hard! But, nothing is ever impossible for Doraemon and his magic tool. And so, with the help of Doraemon, Nobita and the rest of the gang set sail on a ship to find treasure on an islands. However on their way to the island, the ships have almost been destroyed and resulting Nobita to stray on an island with a young pirate while Doraemon and the rest of the gang somehow involved in a war between pirates.And so, their adventure begins…
2: Slayers Gorgeous
MAL Score: 7.32
Sorceresses Lina Inverse and Naga the Serpent are enjoying a meal in a villiage when the residents suddenly retreat indoors and two armies – one of men and one of a young girl and a tribe of dragons. Although the ruler of the town originally tries to convince Lina that this is because of a dark legacy, in truth the dragon army is led by his daughter and their battles are over her allowance. Lina agrees to help the ruler while Naga joins his daughter, Marlene.
So, we open with Lina and Naga sitting in a town square, enjoying some tacos, when everyone around them starts panicking and running indoors. They find out why when an armoured girl appears with dragons. Lina fends her and her dragons off only to find out that her father rules the town and they’re fighting over a raise in her allowance. That moment when you realise you suck as a parent. Naturally, both Lina and Naga are brought in on opposite sides for the promise of gold.
The biggest weakness of this film is that it does hit some of the same beats as Great did. That on featured a father and son building golems for opposite lords in a dispute while Lina and Naga took opposite sides. To be fair, the reasons for parent and child fighting were different and the way their dynamic plays out is different, but the basic story lines are pretty similar. Another, more minor gripe is that the imagery accompanying the ending credits has a segment with Lina flipping a coin that’s pretty close to the same as the scene that Great had in its.
The strength this has is that the humour is at a very high level with most of the gags landing very effectively. This film also demonstrates the ability this franchise has to introduce a big threat and have a cool action sequence, but also add in a bunch of comedic elements during the fight that make it tonally fit perfectly. The reveal of the ultimate antagonist is also very cool.
In terms of character, the strength of these films has consistently been Lina and Naga’s dynamic. They’re similar and distinct enough that you can both understand why they keep one another company and why they drive each other crazy. I can really buy them as friends. Hell, I’d buy them as lovers of the “old bickering couple variety” if that had been the route they’d taken. And their dynamic really shines in this film at the point where they’re working in combination and you can see them communicate intentions without saying a word.
The side characters also follow the same pattern as the ones in the last film. They aren’t complex, but they’re quirky enough for some good gags and to make them memorable.
JC Staff has consistently done a great job with the artwork in this franchise. It features some strong visual gags, well designed characters and some really good action sequences. My biggest complaint about the action sequences is that some of the scenes in them are a bit too clichéd. For instance, it has that scene where two opponents run at each other, it pauses for a moment and then you see the result.
Hayashibara Megumi & Kawamura Maria are amazing as ever. The actors for the film exclusive characters give strong performances as well. You can’t really fault Hikami Kyouko, Kamiya Akira, Takiguchi Junpei or anyone else in that regard. The music is pretty great. Hayashibara Megumi’s ending song in this one is Raging Waves, which is fantastic.
There’s still none to be had. Yeah, they could make Lina and Naga work as a couple, but there are no hints of that.
Areas of Improvement:
Vary the film plots more. I get that every writer has a “thing” but it’s going to get a bit tired if we keep seeing parent/ child squabbles as a central plot element.
Lose the action scene clichés. I’m sorry, they just don’t work all that well.
A different ending gag. I get that they vary it slightly, but it’s close enough to the same thing that it doesn’t work all that well when you’ve seen the film before it.
This is a pretty great film and definitely worthy of the franchise. Ultimately, my complaints with it are more minor nitpicks than serious, enjoyment affecting problems. So, I’m going to give it an 8/10. If this franchise is your thing, you’ll enjoy this film. If it’s not, at least look up the song Raging Waves by Hayashibara Megumi.
1: Pokemon Movie 01: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu
English: Pokemon: The First Movie
Japanese: ポケットモンスター ミュウツーの逆襲
MAL Score: 7.63
It was a successful science experiment gone horribly wrong. When a team of scientists discovers the DNA of the ancient Pokémon Mew, they harnessed the potential within it in an attempt to create the ultimate living weapon. With advanced cloning techniques and resources provided to them by Team Rocket crime syndicate leader Giovanni, the scientists succeed in creating the powerful psychic Pokémon, Mewtwo.
Pokemon: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu reveals the terrifying power of Mewtwo as he learns that not only was he created to be an experiment, but also to be a tool for Giovanni’s sinister dealings. Breaking free of his control, Mewtwo creates his own island fortress and reconstructs the cloning technology that gave life to him.
Under the guise of being a master Pokémon trainer, Mewtwo lures the best trainers in the world to his base. Among these trainers are Ash Ketchum, his loyal Pokémon Pikachu, and their friends Brock and Misty. United together, human and Pokémon alike, they must not only discover the hidden secret of Mewtwo’s plans, but stand against his terrifying might. If they fail, Mewtwo’s vengeance will not only lead to tyranny over all the Pokemon, but also the extinction of the human race.
The reason why Ash is always able to win is because he’s friends with his Pokémon. The whole series is an allegory on how you’re supposed to treat your fellow man, using the relationship between Pokémon and their trainers as a parallel for the relationship between human beings.
Mewtwo’s hatred for mankind stems from their lack of compassion – he was basically used. He was given life, and then treated as less-than-life – a tool to be used for human purposes, rather than a living being with a living will and a purpose. He has no purpose of his own, he didn’t know he was, so he lashed out against all of humanity, and against the Pokémon he felt were being used by their masters.
Mew is his foil, as Mew is everything that Mewtwo is, minus the hatred. Mew loves mankind because he knows that they’re just another form of life on the planet. He eliminates the antipathy between humans and Pokémon by realizing that they’re all the same. Pokémon and their trainers can be friends, but can also walk their own paths, just like all humans in real life.
Mewtwo makes his own purpose in life the destruction of life itself, but realizes that isn’t the way things are supposed to be. The reality of friendship “slaps him in the face” as he sees all the Pokémon weeping over the petrification of a human being who only wanted to protect his friends.
Pikachu is the Pokémon embodiment of friendship. The relationship between Ash and Pikachu is the entire central theme of Pokémon: friendship prevails over selfishness. Pikachu’s will is so similar to that of Ash’s that he refuses to fight the other Pikachu (essentially, refuses to fight another living being to prove to the other Pikachu that the fighting is pointless – even Meowth, who’s supposed to be one of the “bad guys” knows better than to fight like that), even as it continues to slap him over and over again.
The most saddening part of the movie as a child was when Pikachu just kept taking the hits without retaliating. As an adult, I understand why that was so heartbreaking: Because that’s the way many people in the world are, just fighting each other to prove that their purpose means anything, instead of just banding together in friendship.
We’ve been so deadened as a society that we think that that is “cheesy,” and “children’s material.” No. Fuck that – I’ve been through the ringer in life, and I can still come back around and see the value in a story like this. It’s a parallel to life, and I believe the creators would be very sad to know that audiences are taking it with a grain of salt instead of realizing the true message behind their work (instead of just writing it off as “kiddie stuff”).
I know that many adults don’t want to hear it, but “kiddie stuff” is codeword for “things that are important in life, but I don’t want to think about them anymore.” You have to think about them. “This is life,” as Nurse Joy herself puts it.
Also, the dub did dumb down some of the deeper parts of the message for American consumption, but that’s America’s own damned fault for thinking that our children can’t handle being exposed to a little bit of truth for an hour and 15 minutes of their lives.
If you’re an adult, and you find yourself calling this movie “stupid,” you should try looking beyond the medium and look to the message. You could find that you’re a bitter Mewtwo, and two stubborn and hurt to see it. The human condition.
Don’t be a Mewtwo. Mew :3
4kids have cut out 15 minutes of the movie, removed part of Mewtwo’s monologue simply because he mentioned ‘God’ and distorted the message movie was trying to give. Mewtwo also wasn’t portrayed as the spawn of Satan in the original version, but a misguided villain. He was given motives and backstory. Mew was subjected to character change as well; in Japanese version, he doesn’t want to start the fight, but certainly thinks of clones as lesser beings.
So, what does this have to do with reviewing the movie? Everything. The point is that unlike the English version, which feels like a relic from the 90s, Japanese one makes a good movie. It isn’t plagued by false moral messages (fighting is wrong anyone?). Mewtwo is a being estranged from love and misunderstands the nature of life, like some kind of a distorted overman. That’s not my pretentiousness. The overtones and philosophical implications are in the dialogue.
Art and animation are great and CGI blends in perfectly. The movie is very dark in general and heavy for its target audience. For a kids cartoon, it’s great. Even an adult can get a small something from it and there are certain symbols and references in its designs everywhere, which should keep adults from getting bored.
STORY – As a kids’ movie for a kids’ show, the themes in Mewtwo Strikes Back are actually quite impressive. The morality of cloning and genetic modification/enhancement is a very real debate that ripples through the scientific community now and again, and it’s interesting to see that idea translated into a Pokemon movie. Thus, as far as its target audience goes, the core plot of this First Movie is definitely doing something uncommon. The arrangement of the story around this central theme is a little more normal as it retains many typical elements from the anime series.
CHARACTERS – Let’s skip over the normal cast of the series because I’m going to assume you already know there isn’t a lot going on there. Now, Mewtwo is a fun character — his monologue presented at the beginning of the movie and the constant destruction he finds himself in is a great way to start the foundations of his character. His feelings are very logical and easy to understand while offering possibilities beyond what’s obvious. His repeated question of "What is my purpose?" highlights the deepest theme of the movie well, and I find it very exciting that the rest of the movie is based around the fact that he creates a purpose for himself, since no one else is able to provide him with one. If you take a step back and go through Mewtwo’s train of thought, it’s really not that riveting or different from what you would expect, but when you remember again that this is a movie directed towards a younger audience, I think the philosophical and moral implications of those kinds of questions and actions is very potent, thus making for a great movie character.
Mew and Mewtwo’s clones pretty much make up the rest of the movie-exclusive characters. The simplicity of Mew was a great foil to the complexity of Mewtwo, though I still wonder if they could have been more clear about Mew’s intentions because certainly she had some. The rest of the clones were rather generic, bending easily to the whims of the movie’s message with no real personality of their own. That’s perfectly forgivable though; after all, kids’ movies need morals.
ARTSTYLE & ANIMATION – Honestly, there wasn’t much notably different from a normal Pokemon episode. Maybe things were animated a bit more smoothly, but other than that, just average.
MUSIC – I’m actually rather fond of most of the music in this movie. It was great that they used the full version of the normal TV introduction (whether in English or Japanese). There are some pretty epic tracks played during Mewtwo’s reign of terror, and many of the movie’s other background tracks are reminiscent of melodies also found in the series. Mew’s innocent little theme also comes to mind as a pretty fun and memorable tune.
VOICE ACTING – I’ve seen this movie in English, Japanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. I’ll just talk about the first two though, lol. The English dub… well, I’m sure you already have your own opinions about Ash and the gang, but I liked Mewtwo’s voice. It suited him very well. And so did Mew’s! But I guess that really isn’t that impressive. I liked the Japanese better mostly because I like the main cast better. Especially memorable is the opening scene with Ash and his friends, during which he’s challenged to a random Pokemon battle. The Japanese version offers some brilliant Engrish that just can’t be rivaled: "OH MY GODDDDDD!!!"
OVERALL – Pokemon the First Movie is my favorite Pokemon movie (keeping in mind I’ve only seen the first three). Sure, it’s definitely a film aimed for the younger audience, but even for an older audience, as long as you can bring yourself to swallow some of the corny bits, I think it retains a lot of merits. Cloning and genetics is always an interesting subject, anyway.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Pokemon Movie 01: Mewtwo no Gyakushuu
2. Slayers Gorgeous
3. Doraemon Movie 19: Nobita no Nankai Daibouken
4. Doraemon: Doraemon Comes Back (Movie)
5. Pokemon: Pikachu no Natsuyasumi