Film DP 04
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Movie Stats:Japanese Movie DP 04: "The Illusionary Conqueror, Zorro'ark"
American Movie 13: "Zoroark - Master of Illusions"
Japanese Air Date: July 10th, 2010
American Air Date: February 5th, 2011
Important Characters: Kohdai (Kodai), Rioka (Rowena), Goon (Goone), Kurt (Karl), Proof (???)
Important Places: Crown City (Crown City)
Satoshi and his friends head toward Crown City to watch the Pokemon Baccers World Cup. On the way, they meet a fox pokemon named Zorroa who's searching for its "Maa," a pokemon named Zorro'ark. Coincidentally, the man who kidnapped it, a clairvoyant businessman named Kohdai, is also headed to Crown City. Once they arrive, Satoshi and the others find that the city has been evacuated to protect the citizens from the legendary pokemon Raikou, Suicune, and Entei. They find a way to sneak into the city and discover that Kohdai is after something called "The Ripple of Time," a mass of energy created by the pokemon Celebi that enables him to continue seeing the future. He forced Zorro'ark to transform into the legendary beasts to cause havoc, emptying the city and allowing him to search unhindered. Eventually, Satoshi and his friends discover that the Ripple of Time is located in the Pokemon Baccers stadium, so they head in that direction. After a clash with Kohdai, Celebi is captured, Satoshi is paralyzed, and both Zorroa and Zorro'ark are unable to battle! Kohdai proceeds to absorb the Ripple of Time but is soon overtaken by Zorro'ark's ability to cause illusions. Kohdai collapses and is later arrested by the Junsa who gather there. Meanwhile, Celebi uses its powers to restore everyone to full health before leaving to travel to another era. Later, Zorroa and Zorro'ark get on a ferry heading back to their home. Satoshi and his friends bid them farewell, promising to meet up with them again someday.
I liked the fact that the producers of the first three films tried to do something different by trying to create a trilogy. But, well, I kind of feel like their experiment wasn't as good as it could have been. The movies barely had any connection with one another, and I was so sick of Dialga by the time the third movie came along that I was happy to see its story wrapped up. The writers' strengths definitely lie in making one-shot movies with no connections to other films in the series, so I was happy to learn that the Zorro'ark movie was going to be like all the other pre-Diamond & Pearl movies.
I feel like this movie does a pretty decent job of juggling the million characters it tries to cram into the story. I remember thinking how crowded this movie was when the preliminary details started pouring in, and I was genuinely surprised at how well the end product ended up treating everyone. Curiously, the only pokemon I feel bad for in this movie is Zorro'ark because even though it's in the title of the movie, it ends up spending the majority of the film in the background. The narrative spends most of its time focusing on Kohdai and Zorroa, and by the end of the movie, I don't really feel like I know Zorro'ark any better than I did at the start.
Luckily, Kohdai and Zorroa are interesting enough to carry as much of the movie as they end up doing. Kohdai isn't an antagonist with good intentions but questionable methods of realizing them; he's an all-out villain, plain and simple. His motives are purely selfish, and he doesn't care who he hurts or what damage he causes to get what he wants. I don't mind the ambiguous antagonists these movies love to present us or anything, but it is nice to have a straight-up villain every now and again. As far as Zorroa goes, it tends to bounce back and forth between "cute and sometimes funny mascot" and "annoying little brat who won't shut the hell up." Its transformations are all funny and its little laugh is infectious, but at the same time you get sick of hearing it talk about how bad a guy Kohdai is or shouting for its "Maa" over and over and over again.
As much as I praise this movie for juggling so many things, there are quite a few shortcomings. For example, Pokemon Baccers is a pretty interesting concept, but the movie doesn't do nearly enough with it. It's just a plot device to get the gang from one point to the other and a lame attempt to cash in on the World Cup fever Japan was in the middle of. The movie also doesn't bother to explain a number of plot points, like how Kohdai was able to get ahold of Zorro'ark and Zorroa in the first place, why Celebi shows up in Crown City, or why the Jouto beasts are protecting it. And then, there are the standard complaints that come up in every movie about how Hikari, Takeshi, and the Rocket-Dan really don't do much of anything.
I really liked the music in the movie, though. My favorite pieces were the ones that were reimaginings of some of the songs from older films, but the new stuff was fantastic as well. Some of the music has already started being used in Best Wishes!, and I hope to hear more of the music appear as the series continues.
The English version of the movie isn't out yet. In Japan, it aired in between "The Curtain Rises! The Shin'ou League Suzuran Conference!!" ("League Unleashed!") and "The Third Round of the Shin'ou League! Shinji vs. Jun!!" ("Casting a Paul on Barry!"), but it doesn't seem like it'll be airing in the U.S. until near the end of Diamond & Pearl. It's currently set to air on Cartoon Network on February 5th, which, assuming the network premieres one new episode a week from January 9th onward, will place this movie between DP 190, "Takeshi the Pokemon Doctor!," and DP 191, "Memories are Pearls! Friendships are Diamonds!!" I was almost certain they were going to wait until after the series was finished before airing the movie, but I guess they wanted to air it while the series was still on the air even if it was at the last minute possible.
Zorro'ark doesn't speak any during the movie, so I'm assuming it'll be allowed to keep its Japanese voice. I'm also assuming that Celebi and the legendary beasts will be keeping their Japanese voices as well.
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