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Review JN132: The Finals IV: "Partner"

Iris vs Cynthia and Lance vs Diantha were both perfectly great battles IMO.
I thought those battles were okay. I liked the strategies Diantha used in her battle and Iris vs Cynthia had some great emotional moments in it. But they mainly suffer from the same problems as the other battles; overly stiff animation and littered with one-shots. Not to mention Lance vs Diantha in particular had a weird lack of dodging, your basically just watching pokemon tank hits for 22 minutes straight and that's just not exciting to me.
 
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I was looking at my old posts, and I somehow predicted Ash’s friends watching the finals… of the Kalos League, over six years ago. I'm glad it became a reality, now we just need the party to happen!

While the XY series has not mentioned any past series whatsoever (except for a brief mention of Dawn's Piplup in XY022), it would be very fitting to see past companions watching the finals of the Kalos league live. This isn't just big for Ash, it's big for the anime itself; a milestone that took 20 years to reach was finally reached. I'm sure some or all of his companions watch the leagues off-screen, as Max said he watched the Johto conference and Misty was watching the Ever Grande conference. Having his past companions cameo and witness Ash winning the league would be great, as Ash has been working on winning a league for a long time now and it would come full circle for all of his friends. I've actually been thinking for a while that they should show past companions watching Ash in the finals too; it would be so satisfying to see as a long time watcher of the anime.

A party would be cool too, but that would be a lot of characters to juggle at once. Plus, the Kalos group would probably have to go to Kanto with him, then leave to Kalos afterwards. It would be awesome though, as they can celebrate both the Kalos league champion and the one who foiled Team Flare.
 
Hi, I’m alive. This is going to be more of a ramble than a review.

I haven’t posted in over a year. At first it was mostly due to frustration with how this series was treating Team Rocket. Squandering the best villains in the history of tv is just a big misstep, no matter the good qualities of the show.

But then during the fall of last year, my dad’s health started to fail. I spent the next months helping take care of him, but in May of this year he passed away.

It’s been a melancholy few months since then. The only episode I watched for a good while was the one where Lillie and Gladion reunited with their dad - which aired the same week my dad passed away. That hit hard as you might imagine, as did the episode about Koharu and her dad which I watched later.

I got spoiled on the outcome of Ash’s match with Leon and decided to marathon all the episodes I hadn’t watched yet. I ended up enjoying the later part of Journeys a lot - it might have been more enjoyable as a marathon due to not having to wait through the clipshows as they aired. It’s similar to my experience with Sun & Moon; most of the series was very much a mixed bag for my taste but the later episodes ended up improving my opinion of the whole thing.

The Masters Eight was great IMO. A couple of matches were so-so, but on the whole I loved it. I even loved the intermission episode between the Cynthia and Leon matches - call it a filler if you must but that was the kind of Rocket-oriented episode I’ve been missing. It even managed to make the Gachat not suck for once, which is quite an achievement. And on the topic of the Rockets, seeing them cheering for Ash and Pikachu through all their matches was huge for me.

The way the tournament (especially the matches with Cynthia and Leon) tied in so many characters and storylines from the beginning of the show up until now was spectacular. Calling it fanservice would be a disservice, this was a love letter. And the scene with all of Ash’s Pokemon cheering on Pikachu (no one is going to convince me that was just a dream - they were really there)….if I had to pick a single best scene to come out of this show? That’s the one. It excelled thematically too - you can see how Ash’s purpose is to touch the lives of the people and Pokemon he meets and give them inspiration; battling is a means to that. We might not find out exactly what a Pokemon Master is but I see it as a spiritual thing rather than a battle goal.

This was huge for someone like me who’s been watching since the beginning. Back when the show started in the late 90s so much of pop culture was taking a turn towards the dark and dreary. I was in high school at the time and not in the greatest of moods. Having a genuinely cheerful show I could turn to was a huge breath of fresh air. Ash was like the younger brother I never had and it was fun to cheer him on. The show helped me get out of depression, which…yeah, it’s like something that would take place within the show. I haven’t followed it constantly since then, but whenever I do come back it still brings me golden smiles and silver tears. We’ll see what’s next…I’m in the “unlikely they’ll retire Ash” camp. I hope the show goes on and keeps touching other people’s lives like it has mine.

I hope my dad is watching with me from beyond. His introducing me to Godzilla when I was very young played a huge part in my obsession with Japan and monsters. He didn’t see much of Pokemon but I can remember him saying “That’s tremendous!” when he saw some of an episode I was watching.

Pokemon isn’t the best-executed show I’ve ever seen but I’d be lying if I said it’s not my favorite show. Thank you Anipoke.
 
This ep was peak fiction man, seriously impressed with this whole fight. So well executed with constant strategies from both ends. Both Ash’s and Leon’s pokemon got to shine, besides Cinderace every KO felt so earned and believable to me. No wonder they had all those recaps bc Pikachu vs Charizard is the best 1v1 battle we’ve had by far. Truly felt like an epic boss fight with 3 phases. Yeah this is my favourite Journeys ep, probs one of my favourite of all time

Then the cameos. Top notch throughout this entire tournament. Absolutely insane. Stuff like this reminds me why I love pokemon in the first place. Great battles and charming characters that you grow up with. Can’t believe that Ash is the strongest in the world now, but if anyone deserves it it’s him. Him and Pikachu are really the heart and soul of this franchise and go to show that you can always achieve your dreams no matter the setbacks. Stuff like that is inspiring to kids and adults alike. They’re truly timeless characters who embody what pokemon is all about

The overall battle trumps Ash vs Kukui’s for me, it’s even better than Ash vs Paul’s imo (if you take out buildup and stuff). I know we shouldn’t expect this quality moving forward l, but I’m honestly fine with longer waits and shorter sagas if it means the series/battles have more polish to them. Quality over quantity matters more to me. This series has been pretty rocky but I’m glad they were able to give it their all when it counts most

Btw I have kept up with anipoke I was just using serebii more lol
 
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