Beware the wrath of Zoroark!
Old and new fans alike were pumped to witness the 13th Pokemon movie that premiered on February 5th, 2011 on Cartoon Network! The movie premiered later on after they premiered the final episode of the Diamond & Pearl Series. Now for those that haven't kept up with the franchise since it first came to America, your probably asking yourself… the show is still going on?! How many more of those little guys can there possibly be?! Well, not only does the movie treat the fans with great action sequences involving legendaries, but it also entices new viewers into not only getting into the new season of Pokemon, but the new games as well!
So like always, we follow Ash, Dawn & Brock as they are traveling to Crown City so, they can witness the Pokemon Baccer World Cup! However, they find themselves lost in a forest and end up saving a mysterious Pokemon they've never seen before. It even talks! This strange, fox creature is known as Zorua and he is also heading to Crown City to find someone named, "Meema." They all eventually make it to the city only to find it being evacuated due to the actions of a strange Pokemon called, Zoroark. It seems this Pokemon is manipulating the Legendary Beast Trio: Raikou, Entei & Suicune into destroying the city. However, Zorua reveals that "Meema" is actually Zoroark and the gang tries to discover the truth behind the chaos with the help of a journalist named Karl. Karl along with his comrade, Rowena are both undercover and investigating the incident that happened 20 years ago that almost destroyed the city. They are also trying to learn more about our villain, Grings Kodai. A famous businessman who claims that he can see into the future and will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. We eventually learn that he has tricked Zoroark into causing fear in the city; distracting everyone from his true goal: finding Celebi. He seems to be losing his power and the only way to reclaim it is to find the "time ripple," which is what Celebi uses to time travel. We learn that his actions to gain this power caused the same incident 20 years ago, but he has no concern whether the city perishes again. With the combine efforts of our heroes, Zorua and Zoroark, the truth is revealed to the world about Kodai as he is arrested for his crimes. Zoroark is revived with the help of Celebi and is reunited with Zorua at last. The gang finally gets to watch the World Cup while Zorua and Zoroark are taken back home to the Unova region.
Once again, we are treated to beautifully lush backgrounds inspired by several places/locations in Amsterdam. Again, the artists always strive to make the locations real and pleasant within every movie and this one in no exception. The music is captivating and the translation is very close to the original script despite a few minor changes such as Zorua calling Zoroark "Meema" instead of "Ma." The animation of course is fantastic! Fans get treated superb action between Zoroark and the Legendary Beast Trio duking it out with the city. We are also treated to the usual cute scenes seeing Pokemon frolic and interactions including Piplup's gag of tripping over himself then crashing into a tree. It is not as dramatic as the previous movies, but it has enough emotion to make you feel for Zorua in his struggle to find Zoroark. The film gives a bit on insight of where the new series: Black & White is heading. Kodai is one of the most ruthless villains in any Pokemon Movie going so far as to choke Celebi just so he can have power. Sean Schemmel seems to play villains very well in Pokemon. From Archie to Cyrus, he gives each villain not only their own voice, but really brings out how ruthless and cruel they can be to get what they desire. Eileen Stevens who plays Zorua is also familiar in the Pokemon Series playing roles such as Jupiter and Lyra. Despite her giggling sounding a tad loud compare to the original snickering, she captures Zorua's childlike behavior and determination very well especially searching for Zoroark. It seems the show is evolving to become a bit more mature making shows enjoyable for both young and older fans.
One of the major issues with the movie though was how much time was restrained from it. Due to time constraints, the actual beginning of the movie was cut from the premiere; leaving a lot of unanswered questions for new fans while leaving old fans a bit annoyed. From previous showings of the other Pokemon Movies, they're usually shown without such heavy cuts especially not from the beginning of the movie. For those that haven't seen the original Japanese version, I will mention the following that was cut out:
~ World of Pokemon Introduction
Every Pokemon movie nowadays has a little intro basically explaining a little about what Pokemon is, the world and our heroes. This is so new fans of the series can sort of get what's going on and who they're suppose to follow. Wasn't a huge deal that this was removed, but it is part of the formula it seems for Pokemon Movies. Also for the fans, Ash battles Jimmy for a bit!
~ Explanation behind Pokemon Baccer
Did you ever wonder exactly what Pokemon Baccer was? It's not a long explanation, but we basically get a little insight on how this sport works. The beginning of the movie actually shows our heroes watching the sport at a Pokemon Center. We see two teams; each with 3 Pokemon trying to kick this strange object into a pyramid like goal. Team Rocket, who disguise themselves so not to be noticed, even ask what the sport is. It's apparently become quite popular (though I doubt we'll ever hear from it again, but who knows).
~ Introducing Grings Kodai & the Legendary Beasts Trio
During the movie, Kodai announces to the city via broadcast that he was bringing the 3 Legendary trio to the city. This brings up waaaay too many questions! How does he have all 3 and why was he bringing them there? This is also answered in the beginning. While the gang is watching the match, a commercial is shown with Kodai who is also part of the Baccer Cup saying he'll be at the tournament with his team which are Raikou, Entei and Suicune. It then announces where the tournament is taking place: Crown City, which explains why the gang was so excited to head over there.
~ Introducing Zoroark and Zorua
Zorua tells the gang he was on an airship with Zoroark, but we never witnessed it. In the original, the two are on the ship and then Kodai separates the two so he can threaten Zoroark to work for him.
~ Kodai's Technology
Kodai has lots of little gadgets throughout the movie. Though we don't know exactly how they are made (science technobabble), we do get to witness them first hand as they are tested on Zoroark. We get little explanations behind these spheres that can project images of Pokemon (Raikou, Entei & Suicune are revealed to be holograms). Also, the illusion cancelers, which can cancel out illusions to the person who wears them. This explains how Kodai is able to not be tricked by Zoroark's illusions.
~ Zorua's Powers & Escape
Zorua is taken away by a Ninjask, which he then escapes from. We also see one of the guards Scizor's go after him and see Zorua transform for the first time. It seems he has to see the Pokemon in order to transform into it. Zorua eventually escapes out of the airship and falls; bumping into a Skiploom; which explains why when we first see him in that form.
Other than little unnecessary translations, edits including names of characters and a few little filler moments (did that purple hair girl serve any purpose?!), Zoroark: Master Of Illusions is very engaging from beginning to end. It's also likely that whatever was cut from the premier will be included on the DVDs. We shouldn't worry too much for now. The movie is definitely a highlight for what we may expect for the new Pokemon Series: Black and White. We can expect great things for this series especially since we'll have two more movies based on it: Victini & the Black Hero and Victini & the White Hero!
ComicsOnline rates Zoroark: Master Of Illusions 4 illusions out of 5.
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