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Review JN112: A Triumphant Return! The Alola Champion!!

Twilight-Kun

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We got the scene where Ash looks down, but that only lasts a second before he smiles again and tosses his hat to Pikachu.
I like how it's also a reference to Leon losing in SS

3BlDqP1.gif
 

A Wild Luxray

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This was actually an amazing episode. It felt more of a climax to SM than the actual ending of SM, and SM's ending was pretty touching in terms of goodbyes. Seeing everyone coming together was something. Then just seeing Ash having an entire crowd cheering for him as their Champion was so touching. I never thought I'd see the day Ash was being celebrated like this. Then there was that scene at the end with Professor Kukui and Tapu Koko. The entire Alola region is rooting for Ash in the Masters 8 and its so heartwarming. Also noticed that one shot of Ash looking upset in the preview was a fakeout.

One of the best episodes Journeys has ever given us and its coming off that touching reunion with Mohn.
 
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Neo Blaze

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For someone like me who's a huge fan of the Sun and Moon series (seriously, it has become my second favorite overall series), this episode was everything I wanted and more :bulbaLove: It felt so good to be in Alola again even if just for one episode, and I loved seeing all those familiar faces return, even if some of them were just cameos.
 

Gabo2oo

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I always found dissapointing how James (the butler) barely made an appearence during the final SM episodes when he had so many ties to Lillie and her family, so it's great for him to get a voiced cameo here. Kukui and Burnet overhearing Ash as he declares his current goals to his friends, Lana actively giving advice to Chloe (and an important one too, even if it was brief), Nihilego being shown as wanting to battle herself instead of her addition to Gladio's roster being treated as a given, Team Skull and Hau watching the battle despite not having voice roles nor having been introduced in this series. This episode was handled pretty much perfectly no matter how you slice it.

Also, the battle proved to be really interesting in spite of not having the most dynamic animation ever. And I like that they didn't show the result since it's kind of a given Ash won and that definetly wasn't the point of the episode or even the battle itself.
 

Queen Cynthia

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I'd say this was a nice and motivating episode...and one that added a totally new perspective to the Anime: Ash not being treated like the underdog but like an actual celebrity which, to be honest, still feels a bit unfamiliar and weird.

But first things first. At the beginning, I felt a bit sorry for Mohn because his own return to Alola was hardly recognized (except for his closest friends maybe) although most of the characters must have been familiar with what Lilie's family had been going through until they finally got their dad/husband back. Instead, Mohn's return was more or less overshadowed by the return of the Alola champion. It was understandable, still Mohn could have been given a more emotional welcome. But well, I'd say this was just a minor aspect of the episode.

Then there was the Battle Royal. I liked the idea of Kukui finally realizing he needs to batte as himself, not as another person wearing a mask. The message conveyed here was very insightful. Also, the reunion with Gladion, Kiawe and Kukui in the ring had a lot of nostalgia. While the episode was all about memories, I wished it had focused a bit more on the actual battle though. The only awesome move Ash came up with was Pikachu dodging Kiawe's Z-move with that "Thunderbolt jump". Personally, I would have expected Ash to take out at least one of his opponents but that aspect was more or less neglected here.
The thing that really angered me however, was the battle having an open end. Now we can only speculate if Ash beat Kukui a second time. Yes, I understand the writers might have shied away from having Kukui lose to Ash again but if that title "Return of the Alola champion" is supposed to have meaning, it shouldn't be much of a problem for Ash to take out Kiawe, Gladion and above all Kukui. No, I wasn't happy with that and it left me with that meh-feeling wondering if Ash could win the Alola league again ...

Fortunately, there was one fanatastic moment in the episode that kind of made up for what I was missing in the battle: The audience in the stadium all screaming "Champion, Champion" which could easily send shivers down your spine! An impressive and motivating moment for sure, showing that the whole Alola region, even its legendary Pokemon, are rooting for its champion. Although I still have to get used to the idea of Ash being a celebrity, it was the biggest sign of support that the people and Pokemon of that region could give to Ash.
 

Queen Cynthia

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One thought that just struck me:
What might the people of Kanto think seeing how much Ash is being admired in his second "home", the Alola region? Can Ash still be seen as somebody coming from Kanto while representing Alola, as the episode put it today?
And what about Ho-oh? Isn't it supposed to have been Ash's guardian angel/deity since day 1, a role that Tapu Koko seems to have taken on now.
 

SonansuMan

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Really can't express how much of a roll this series has been on lately.

These last two episodes have been great at finally giving Alola that full closure that it deserved. They didn't hold back from bringing old characters to appear in this episode, and I love how much they play into Alola being like a family, right down to having so many different characters celebrate Mohn's return. Even as tight of an episode it was, I think the majority of the characters featured still had plenty of great moments to shine, and seeing more action from Kiawe too especially was great given he didn't have as well of resolve as Gladion/Kukui IMO. Despite the animation leaving a bit to be desired, the Battle Royale was very solid with how fast-paced it felt, and i like that it gradually came down to Ash and Kukui yet again. Having the final battle be left up to interpretation was not only great but important because the ending showed that regardless of the result, it doesn't stumble Alola's pride

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS:
  • The Ash/Kukui dynamic is probably one of my favorite things to come out of SM, and having Burnet + Lei on top of that just helps feel the region feel so much more personalized compared to any of the others.
  • The champion scene almost me cry just because of how genuine it felt. It genuinely feels like this series might finally be Ash's swan song, and having the support from nearly every supporting character he's met in the last series helps tie together how much he grew because of Alola. Wrapping it all up at the very end with even Tapu Koko supporting him was just a cherry on top
  • No Turtonator?

OVERALL SCORE:
9/10
 

KrspaceT

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One thought that just struck me:
What might the people of Kanto think seeing how much Ash is being admired in his second "home", the Alola region? Can Ash still be seen as somebody coming from Kanto while representing Alola, as the episode put it today?
And what about Ho-oh? Isn't it supposed to have been Ash's guardian angel/deity since day 1, a role that Tapu Koko seems to have taken on now.
Hard to say. It feels like something you could explore in a fanfiction more than the anime. This is partially because citizenship laws are different in some east Asian nations. Like I don't know if that includes Japan. I believe China for example doesn't do dual citizenship...

As to Ho Ohi think Ash just have a lot of legendary Pokemon with claim to him.
 

WatcherMark

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As I was rewatching this episode with subs and witnessing all of Alola come together to watch Satoshi battle and seeing all the admiration he's earned in the region you know what I found myself wishing... that he got half of this respect back in Kanto, his actual home region. All the achievements he's earned, all the leagues he's competed in and all the accolades he's got, yet as far as the Kanto news media is concerned the only notable thing about Satoshi is that he's one of Sakuragi's research fellows. While Alola's citizens will chant his name and recognise him as their first champion, the only time Kanto's citizens have acknowledged him was when he came in the Top 16 of the Indigo League, which he arguably achieved more through luck than ability. Since then, no-one seems to give a crap about him with even his mom and his hometown's professor not bothering to make the journey to Galar to watch him compete in the most prestigious tournament ever held.
 

Alola

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As I was rewatching this episode with subs and witnessing all of Alola come together to watch Satoshi battle and seeing all the admiration he's earned in the region you know what I found myself wishing... that he got half of this respect back in Kanto, his actual home region. All the achievements he's earned, all the leagues he's competed in and all the accolades he's got, yet as far as the Kanto news media is concerned the only notable thing about Satoshi is that he's one of Sakuragi's research fellows. While Alola's citizens will chant his name and recognise him as their first champion, the only time Kanto's citizens have acknowledged him was when he came in the Top 16 of the Indigo League, which he arguably achieved more through luck than ability. Since then, no-one seems to give a crap about him with even his mom and his hometown's professor not bothering to make the journey to Galar to watch him compete in the most prestigious tournament ever held.
A thought, but it could be a cultural thing. Granted, it was after the Kanto games that regions began to have their own identities and notable customs...but even still, this is the anime and the writers could do as they please, such as some of your suggestions. But back to my point, Alola has always prided itself in family and community, both in the games and its anime adaptation. Kanto does not, nor does it have as large of a cast of main, key, and supporting characters. So, it'd make sense that the Alola region would be more explicit with their support, and recognition of Ash (their first and current Pokémon Champion) than his home region, as its a difference in ideology in the communities that live in those regions. At least, that's what I think, anyway. Sometimes, family and homes can be where you make them, rather than where you're from.

Anyway, this was another great, heartwarming episode for the reasons that many users above have already listed; some of my favorite parts were the prayer Tapu Koko did for Ash - so in-character and authentic - and Gladion's muffled comment he made about Kiawe while drinking. I wasn't too big a fan of the SM saga, but this along with the Lillie episode felt like beautiful love letters to the Alola region and its people. What would have made these possible final Alolan episodes even better is if we finally got a battle with Ash's Incineroar, but I guess I have to settle for Kukui's... Oh, and Hau having a speaking role or at least being included in the festivities (rather than pulling a pre-character development Gladion in the shadows), with his, you know, grandfather and all.
 

vivian20

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I watched the episode subtitled, and Kukui asks Ash if he is enjoying his ( ash)victory when he (Kukui) aproachs Ash. So, Ash won. I liked how Ash is treated as a celebrity in Alola. He isnt known as the Alolan champion outside of Alola because Alola´s league is new. It only had championship so far. Most people outside alola likely doesnt even know alola league exists. So, Ash is not called the Alola Champion in the M8 championship. And its very realistic. Just imagine if a country that never had a Wrestling championship decided to make a wrestling championship for the first time. The champion of this championship would have a much lower status than the people that won older and more traditional championships. People in alola are rooting for their champion to win the world championship and prove that their champion is better than the others!
 

Gabo2oo

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I watched the episode subtitled, and Kukui asks Ash if he is enjoying his ( ash)victory when he (Kukui) aproachs Ash. So, Ash won.
Not sure which subtitles you watched, but as I saw it Kukui says "I thought I'd find you here // What's on your mind?" when he first approaches Ash. When Tapu Koko shows up he explains it's praying for Ash's victory, but he's referring to the Masters Tournament.
 

FinnishPokéFan92

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As I was rewatching this episode with subs and witnessing all of Alola come together to watch Satoshi battle and seeing all the admiration he's earned in the region you know what I found myself wishing... that he got half of this respect back in Kanto, his actual home region. All the achievements he's earned, all the leagues he's competed in and all the accolades he's got, yet as far as the Kanto news media is concerned the only notable thing about Satoshi is that he's one of Sakuragi's research fellows. While Alola's citizens will chant his name and recognise him as their first champion, the only time Kanto's citizens have acknowledged him was when he came in the Top 16 of the Indigo League, which he arguably achieved more through luck than ability. Since then, no-one seems to give a crap about him with even his mom and his hometown's professor not bothering to make the journey to Galar to watch him compete in the most prestigious tournament ever held.
From zero to hero.
 

Nicolas721

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Great episode. It was a really fun celebration of not only the Alola series but also Ash's accomplishments during that series. You could feel the writers' love for the SM series, as well as their desire for Ash being the champion fueling his deserved position in the Masters 8. I liked seeing Faba and icke again as well of the plenty of minor cameos of different characters. To think some people said that JN037 was going to be the biggest reunion we were going to get...

The battle was good. Some of the hidden potential of the Battle Royal was untapped, the moves were interesting and the slow pacing was used well to show the characters' personalities. In true SM fashion it had a Z-move being dodged in an absurd way, but because of that reason I can let it slide.

My pipe dream would be getting an episode like this for every series. Even if Ash didn't won anything or whatever I'm sure he made lasting friendships in all of them.
 
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