Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday animation: ポケットモンスター ミュウツー! 我ハココニ在リ / Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns

Rating:

I'm a lover of all animation, even the ones intended for children.


Yep.

Despite what Pokemopolis says, Pokémon is indeed a show intended for children.  Yes, it has plenty of more adult references and even some innuendo (totally not joking), but ultimately, it is meant for children.

That said, I am an adult, but I am also a huge fan of Pokémon.  This film was randomly selected to be reviewed today, so I'm going with it!  It's still animation, after all.

Okay, this is technically from the first movie, but it appeared in this movie as a recap.
 Yes.

(Screencaps from http://triltaison.livejournal.com/.)

Overview: It's actually a T.V. movie, an hour-long special episode that first aired on December 30, 2000 in Japan.  It was released straight to video in the U.S. on December 4, 2001.  It is a follow-up to the first Pokémon movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back.  It doesn't make as much sense if you have not seen the first movie.

Art: For a T.V. movie, the art is actually quite good.  In fact, it is so much better than the actual anime that I'm almost surprised that it's only a T.V. movie.  Obviously, a lot more money was used for this special episode.  It's not quite as good as an actual Pokémon movie, but honestly, it's not that many steps below.  It's very bright, very vivid, and very crisp.  It's not fluid, but that's the anime style.  It's certainly more fluid than a regular episode of Pokémon, and there are some scenes that exhibit a great amount of fluidity, but overall, there are plenty of held and repeated cells.  It's a way to save money, of course, but it also really is a distinctive mark of anime, so I don't know if I can knock it for lack of fluidity.  I would love if anime was more fluid, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.  I can't say that the art is beautiful.  There are some scenes that look nice, but overall, it's just decent.  Even the backgrounds are just okay for the most part.  There are some pretty moments, but they are few.

 

Sound/Music: I have seen both the Japanese and English dub.  When reviewing animated films, though, I generally prefer to review the original.  I can say that the sound in the Japanese version is great, very clear, no distortions, good quality, full.  The music is memorable in that it is distinctly Pokémon, and Pokémon music is always fun and can get you pumped up.  The voice actors are all fantastic, especially Rica Matsumoto as Satoshi (Ash) and Ikue Ootani as Pikachu.  Those two really stand out to me.  Rica because she makes Satoshi sound lively and young but at the same can convey a great amount of raw emotion, Ikue because she is able to convey a spectrum of feelings and ideas through just a handful of syllables.

Story: Well, okay, the story isn't that great, even for a Pokémon film.  Basically, the leader of Team Rocket, Sakaki (Giovanni in the dub), wants to reclaim Mewtwo for himself, and Satoshi (Ash) and his friends have to rescue Mewtwo.  Pokémon movies usually have a moral of some sort, but I cannot really think of one for this one, perhaps because it was a T.V. movie and not a theatrical release.  It definitely has a lot of humor, though humor on a more subtle level.  I think that most people would find it childish and silly, but when you read between the lines, a lot of the jokes are actually quite funny.  The characters were all brilliant which is the main reason I love Pokémon.  They are all so wonderfully flawed and add so much spark to every story.  The main Team Rocket trio (Musashi [Jessie], Kojiro [James], and Nyasu [Meowth]) is especially funny with their silly antics that always, always, always fail.  Also, action-hero Ash was in it, and action-hero Ash is awesome.

"It's hero time!"

Ash was put in charge of carrying Mewtwo all the way to the heart of the mountain because he may be ten-years-old but he is one strong little bastard.

Why, yes, that is Ash throwing a creature that probably weighs over three times as much as him over his head.
Team Rocket's sexiest members

Sakaki (Giovanni) is kind of a Pittman, but he's awesome.
Personal appeal: The first time I saw this was in Okinawa.  My sister and I were both huge Pokémon fans but were unable to watch the show since Kids' WB was not available on the military base.  We saw the Japanese version of this movie on VHS at a Japanese video store and simply had to get it.  We didn't understand a word of it, but we watched it all and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Later, I was able to watch it in English as well, and it suddenly made a lot more sense (I wonder why?!).  When I became more proficient in Japanese, I rewatched our Japanese version and really appreciated the wonderful voice work and music of the original.  Is it a great movie?  No, even for Pokémon, it's just okay.  I love it because I love Pokémon, and there are certainly some thrilling moments.  For any Pokémon fan, it's a must-see.  For anyone else, no, I wouldn't recommend it.  It's not that it's a bad movie, but it's just not worth anyone's time if you're not a fan of the show.

Overall, I give this movie two out of five peridots.

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