The Pokemon Kalos League finals have concluded with the release of Pokemon XYZ episode 38, titled Kalos League Victory! Satoshi’s Greatest Decisive Battle! Be advised that this review will include a summary and discussion of the episode so SPOILER WARNING.
This review is broken down into five sections as follows: The Battle, Music, Animation, Supporting Cast and Final Thoughts.
The battle was indeed a nail biter. Both Alain and Ash fought intelligently and did not hold back their Pokémon’s full potential. During this season, Ash’s character development sky rocketed like it never has since starting his journey from Pallet Town. It is definitely showcased during his fight with Alain. One scene that I want to highlight from the obvious improved animation fight sequences is his use of Goodra to bring the pressure and advantageously set up his Greninja. Goodra uses Rain Dain and its bulk to really wear-down Bisharp’s onslaught of attacks and redirect the damage back. At first Rain Dance works to keep Goodra from the possibility of being affected by status conditions during the match, however, Ash’s choice of opening with Rain Dance has a double purpose when Greninja goes up against Bisharp and finishes it off with a boosted water shuriken due to the rain. As a viewer I really enjoyed seeing how Ash throughout the season and even now makes intelligent choices during battle instead of relying on the usual motif of having him stand there hoping that his attacks make contact. Ash is thinking ahead, intelligently, and changing the way he battles to the current situation. In summary, the Ash that we have been waiting 20 years to finally see if you have been with Ash since his journey began in Pallet Town. This episode makes you want to truly root for Ash although he is up against a worthy opponent.
Soundtrack & Music
The soundtrack of the Pokemon XYZ Arc is among one of my favorite and in my opinion, the best in the series thus far. They have a grandiose feel to them and to no surprise sound amazing when orchestrated live like they have been through the Pokemon Symphonic Evolutions Concert tour. The battle scenes are already great on their own but the music choices for this episode are just right; making the already tense match mean so much more. The soundtracks in the episode really made me believe that the stakes are truly high. It set the mood to expect surprises and hopefully an epic finale to the Kalos League. Once the finals are done, the music and tension is ramped up even more with the abrupt beginning of looming trouble in Lumiose City as Team Flare puts their evil plan in motion.
Since the premiere of the Pokemon XY season, there has been a noticeable difference to the series; the animation and artistic direction. The artist in charge of this particular generation really brought the type of animation like that of Naruto and other popular anime. Fans received the change with great positivity. While watching this episode the art and battle sequences were animated quite well with little to no stock images from previous episodes like so many other animated series tend to rely on. The battle scenes in the episode are crisp, well directed, and invoke a lot of emotion which I feel made this episode a success and will probably continue until the season finale before Ash goes onto the Alola Region. In short, this episode and many others feel like you’re watching one of the many Pokemon movie installments we get with every new generation. I know since there are only a few episodes left, the series will most likely continue this animation style that stands up closely to the theatrical animated movies.
Although the supporting companion characters in the Pokemon series tend to take the sidelines when Ash enters a league, I found Bonnie, Clement, Serena and other rivals of the group a perfect vessel to reconfirm that this episode was truly something to spectate in the 20 years of Pokemon. The characters exactly express that same excitement, enthusiasm, and our doubts about the outcome of a situation. During the finals, my favorite supporting characters are Bonnie and Sawyer because of their awareness of what we all know is coming with Ash Greninja and other pokemon match-ups. Throughout the season Ash’s companions had their time to shine and their highlighted episodes did not feel “filler” because it showed these characters developing while still carrying on the plotline. I always like when Bonnie screams from the stands “ASH-GRENINJA” when Greninja changes forms because it makes me feel like I’m not the only once seeing the awesome transformation. Lastly, there are the pokemon of course. Other than Greninja’s performance, I really enjoyed Goodra’s fight with Bisharp. Goodra definitely set the mood for the finale in my opinion when Greninja finally faced off with Mega Charizard.
The episode makes all the stops with the animation, music, and character involvement. Yet, it cannot escape the main complaint of the series; will Ash be victorious? In my opinion, Ash never gets the pay-off he deserves for his long journey. I am not talking about whether or not Ash wins but instead the never ending feeling that he always gets the short end of the stick when he wins big. We get it already, always press on even in the face of failure and I know this is mainly targeted as a children’s cartoon but I feel that there are definite creative ways to give Ash the pay-off while not ending his goal of becoming a pokemon master. I feel if Ash’s goal was to become a League Champion then there is no other way around it, but to me Pokemon Master encompasses more than just a trophy and fancy title. He is trying to master all that comes with being a pokemon trainer, I would not be surprised if Ash still choose to move onto another league even if he has become a champion from a different region. Masters goes beyond one league.
Stay tuned in for next weeks review of the Pokemon XYZ Arc
Written by PokemonBreederBertii