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Review JN111: Mohn and Lilie, Snowfield Reunion

Handy Man

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I just watched this episode. This is easily a 10/10 episode, and one of the strongest episodes in the entire anime. I say this as someone who barely watched Sun & Moon, and I really regret that right now. It was great to see the dynamic between Lillie, Gladion, and Lusamine, and their interactions felt natural and not forced. For example, when Gladion was about to attack the shiny Nihilego and Lusamine stopped him, her reason was “he thinks that’s his daughter, how would you feel if someone attacked your daughter?” That was extremely good writing on its own, and the episode is stocked full of moments like that. Not to mention how tragic it was that Mohn has amnesia, and how it was overcame by the end of the episode felt very believable.

For Sun & Moon fans, this must be cathartic. As someone who watched all of XY, the Serena episode had a similar reaction for me. I’ve been rewatching XY recently, and I just finished XY060, which had me in tears knowing what would happen to Serena by JN105. I can only imagine rewatching Sun & Moon, knowing that Lillie and her family finally find Mohn in Journeys, would make the Lillie focused episodes in Sun & Moon hit much harder. Once I finish my XY rewatch, I’ll watch Sun & Moon ASAP. I keep hearing how great it is, and it’s time to catch up with what I missed out on. Beautiful episode overall, the Sun & Moon fans absolutely deserved this.
 

R1ke

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Really heartfelt and character driven episode, cuts straight to the chase but also had slow and poignant moments. I didn't know much going in so that Nihilego situation caught me off guard. I like that it wasn't evil either, stark contrast to previous ones we've seen. Glad journeys is wrapping up old plot threads in a satisfying way

Also that iron tail animation was so unnecessarily clean, love it
 

Alola

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Man. Here I thought the Serena episode of Journeys was my favorite of the saga, but I do believe this one has eclipsed it. It was absolutely wonderful, in my opinion.

As several people mentioned, the animation was on point - it felt like everyone looked detailed and on model at every moment. The camerawork around Pikachu's Iron Tail, Lillie's keystrokes on the piano, Lillie and Gladion exploring the forlorn cabin, and the ending scene with Nihilego were all my favorite bits. Most impressive of all though, was the jump scare into the mirror and how Ash saved Lillie. Usually, I associate good Pokémon animation with just the battles, but they showed here how it can look in non-Battle settings. Just, fantastic.

Speaking of Nihilego, wow! To take an element infamously known for bringing such negativity and a slew of problems to Lillie and her family in the original games (as well as the Sun & Moon anime)…and make it something beautiful, innocent, and compassionate is phenomenal writing; we got to see an entirely different side to the Parasite Pokémon I wouldn't have known could exist prior. There were a couple notable hiccups in how "Lillie" came to live with Mohn though, such as how it took on Lillie's default appearance despite both it and Mohn having no possible idea what she looked like at 10 years old, and living with Mohn in isolation (but in a fully operational home with water and heat) in an isolated tundra for years. But when you put those oddities to the side, you've got a beautiful story about a man who was blessed enough to meet an extraterrestrial entity that would come to care for him as much as his actual family, and then having those two families ultimately blend together happily. I love that Lillie recognized the profound love Nihilego had for her father - that she of all people, given her traumatic experience with one, extended the invitation for it to stay was ridiculously sweet (and also the quiet resign Nihilego ultimately ended up having at seeing the family reunited). I loved seeing Lusamine being a mom to her children, from putting herself between them and Nihilego to wisely advising Gladion about attacking someone's loved one. And I loved seeing a non-edgy Gladion. I was right up there with Koharu regarding the tears. The irony is also not lost on me that the Pokémon species who permanently changed this family's life has ended up being cared for by the person who most resented it (Gladion). Just, development all around.

And the musical choices for this episode! I love the variation, or Journeys rendition, of Lusamine's theme that we heard several times, especially the first time at the episode's beginning with the piano. Really beautiful, soothing, and melancholic.

When I first saw that Ash, Go, and Koharu would be present for this, I was worried the episode would be too crowded and the family reunion would be soured because of it. But the writers, or Aya Matsui according to @RetroPokeFan , did a fine job at keeping their presence succinct and unobtrusive. No Go catches or even brief introductions; just support and quiet presence elsewhere. Speaking of which, I love the way Ash was sitting in his chair in the living room with Lillie's family; it felt very him as well as natural.

Yeah. As much as I love Serena, this is my favorite episode of Journeys at the moment. I think this was a lovely conclusion to Lusamine's familial journey and it was treated very well in my opinion. I can't believe an episode I was so-so about in expectation ended up turning out to be such a great piece of animation.

Random Thoughts
  • I thought it cool how Lillie was dressed in Nihilego's colors and even had its stars on her dress as a design, while it copied Lillie's appearance entirely. Probably an explicit way to show the connection between the two and maybe an homage to theories of old that Lusamine dressed Lillie after a Nihilego in Sun & Moon.
  • The Freezington mayor forgetting what Nihilego looked like was an amusing bit of levity and a cool reference to how he can't recall what Calyrex/the legendary horses looked like; I liked how the kids all said his catchphrase at the end of Koharu's question.
  • I'm curious what Lillie and Gladion will do now that their family is back together.
 

Gabo2oo

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I was gonna say, that Iron Tail animation was phenomenal, I don't think they've drawn backgrounds from scratch since Ash vs. Kukui. Good use of frame variation for weight, too. And shoutouts to the accurately-animated piano, I don't know if this is common in anime but it drives me nuts when they get instruments all wrong in cartoons.

Another thing I liked was the oddities coming up as you watch the episode. I found it strange when Mohn opened the door and the piano kept playing, it certainly wasn't presented as background music. And then his cottage was all dim for no apparent reason. The characters don't mention these things themselves so they're not on the nose, but they're still addressed later on.

There were a couple notable hiccups in how "Lillie" came to live with Mohn though, such as how it took on Lillie's default appearance despite both it and Mohn having no possible idea what she looked like at 10 years old, and living with Mohn in isolation (but in a fully operational home with water and heat) in an isolated tundra for years.
I sorta got the feeling that the "Lillie" appearence was a visual representation of how Mohn perceived it, not an actual disguise. That's why he didn't find it strange when it suddenly "reverted" to its Nihilego form and started floating around. The final scene with them joining hands is rather symbolic, as it happens right when Lillie says "we're both Lillie".

As for how Mohn and Nihilego lived there, there's a settlement nearby so I don't find it too hard to believe, there's just some blanks to fill the writer probably didn't feel needed to be adressed on-screen. For example I think most of us are assuming Mohn was fully reclusive, but that doesn't have to be 100% true. The way he treats guests like any person would normally do or acknowledges "his daughter is shy" gives room to think he may have had contact with other people.
 

Queen Cynthia

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A wonderful episode! 10 out of 10 points. Period.

Although I could stop at this point right now and just be happy, let me go into detail at least a bit:
The idea that they didn't forget Lilie, Galdion and Lusamine and their backstory is just great. I was wondering how exactly the would do it. Would they finally find Mohn in the last few minutes of the episode (a likely scenario) or would the writers come up with a different, more creative way? Thank God they chose the latter!

Mohn suffering from amnesia, thus confusing Nihilego with his real daughter and realizing his mistake just at the end of the episode was wonderful writing! I simply loved the interactions, the development of the story and the slightly creepy and melancholic atmosphere. What also impressed me was the fighting spirit of the family and their determation not to give up until they would finally find their father/husband.
The best, most heart-warming, most emotional scene however was Mohn saying "I remember...everything. I'm home!" Let me be honest, that scene deeply touched me and it was a perfect conclusion to Lilie's story.

I could certainly go on much longer but I think it's enough to say that I thoroughly and wholeheartedly enjoyed this mature and great episode. Lilie, Gladion and Lusamine, I feel happy for you !
(Oh yeah, I've been asking myself that question since Lusamine's debut: Could she finally be revealed as Cynthia's sister? The resemblance is striking)
 
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SonansuMan

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One of, if not the best JN episode by far.

This episode was amazing. It offered a perfect conclusion to Lillie and her family’s arc, picking right where they left off and allowed each of them to shine here. The tone and structure were handled in such a mature manner which was only elevated by both the music and performance of the seiyuus (esp. Lusamine)! The scene especially where Mohn finally regains his memory was powerful. Having Lillie go from who couldn’t even touch a Pokèmon to accepting one as her sister is a testament to how much she’s grown, as well as Gladion’s mindset towards UBs changing and evolving. I will say I wish that Lillie caught it instead of Gladion though since I think that it really would’ve made her arc come full circle.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:
* In classic SM fashion, what’s probably one of the most grounded stories randomly comes out of nowhere w/ the best animation you’ve ever seen. Just about every single shot in this episode was so well detailed (especially that Iron Tail scene o_O) and it felt like they put everything into this episode!

* On the other hand though, it’s disappointing that the many of the battles (the Drasna and Raihan, both huge landmarks in their own right) had worse presentation than an episode that had such little movement. This does not take away from the actual episode for me, though I do think there are more episodes that probably could’ve benefitted from this team

* I also feel like this episode was very long overdue, but given that JN has already had episodes wrapping up past characters’ storylines (JN065, JN095, JN105) it didn’t seem too out of place

* The dub is gonna gutter this episode so hard LOL

* Goh and especially Chloe really didn’t need to be here

OVERALL SCORE:
10/10
 
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ripplefieldz

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ok so like um... thoughts now that my brain isn't completely fucking fried! i say this as if the background noise i have isn't going to completely fry it again
  • yeah, the animation was HOLY SHIT DUDE.. AND THE IRON TAIL ESPECIALLY YEAH I WAS LIKE YO WHAT THE FUCK THERE.... really this entire ep made me go YO WHAT THE FUCK ngl

  • i will say like. mohn getting his memories back DID feel kinda abrupt. like "ok babam he's remembered now yay!!!" idk man

  • also i love my funny pal pepo boy dearly but i do wish it was like. touched on that yeah trying to keep mohn from remembering was Kind Of Fucked Up even if they were simply a silly guy in the end. they do a bit of trolling, i suppose.

  • honestly the whole deal with nihilego and mohn felt. familiar ngl i can't figure out what it was but i feel like i've heard something like this before

  • and as i said before. YEAH!!!! THEY FINALLY ACKNOWLEDGED ONE OF THE WEIRD LITTLE NIHILEGO FACTS THAT WERE NEVER REALLY TOUCHED UPON!! at first i thought they were touching upon the whole shapeshifting thing, an even MORE obscure fact that i presume was scrapped entirely during development, but i still liked the whole deal that was Actually going on
overall. good ep that made my brain explode. when i went into watching this ep i was generally expecting to be like "YOOOO THAT'S MY BLORBOS FROM MY SHOW!!!" but instead after the initial Losing My Shit i just kinda felt weird and empty inside for the rest of the night which is NOT an emotion i was expecting journeys to make me feel (atleast, i wasn't expecting to feel it out of anything but disappointment) but damn if that wasn't a sign they did good!

anyway this image but it's lillie and this new nihilego (nihilillie? fuck that name is kinda hard on the eyes though with all the Ls and Is)
1653144124449.png
 

Keith

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This is probably my favorite non-Ash-focused episode of Journeys. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
 

Nicolas721

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I can't really add much that hasn't been said. It was great how using elements from the games (the Lillie/Nihilego similarity or the UBs appearing in the Crown Tundra) they created an original story that felt fresh and exciting, while also being creepy and solving the mysteries in a very satisfying way. I also liked the Lusamine/ Gladion interactions and the flashbacks to SM which made Lillie and Gladion's overall story much more complete and compelling.

My only change would be adding more Galar Pokemon, the only ones were Grookey and Yamper. It wouldn't have hurt anyone if the major had a Snom on his shoulder or something.
 

SammyW27

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The only thing that would've made it perfect was if Ash-tachii hadn't been shoehorned in and sidelined. I KNEW they should've made the Aether family reuniting an Ash-free special, preferably done between SM and PM2019. Eh, better late than never!

And before anyone says anything about Pikachu saving Lillie, one of Gladion's Pokemon could've done the same thing just as well.

Or at least middle ground with Goh and Chloe being sidelined (Arceus knows Chloe's used to it) since Ash being there would've been just a bit a appropriate.

9/10

Oh, and Lusamine? Old Lady Bulma's not going to like you mimicking her stuff ;p

Though I am NOT looking forward to English Dub. If Hymes' ruining Lillie's scenes won't be bad enough, the music changes will certainly hurt. I can already see them playing a different tune during the piano scenes that doesn't match how it's being played... -_- (it'll be the Homika episodes all over again :sick:)
 
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ripplefieldz

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Though I am NOT looking forward to English Dub. If Hymes' ruining Lillie's scenes won't be bad enough, the music changes will certainly hurt. I can already see them playing a different tune during the piano scenes that doesn't match how it's being played... -_- (it'll be the Homika episodes all over again :sick:)
hey man it could be a lot worse, there's this one REALLY emotional scene in the kirby anime, everyone thinks they're about to die n all that, and 4kids just put happy upbeat music over it. it would be funny as hell if tpc pulled something like that though
 
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