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Review JN137: Winds of Beginning! The Endless Road!!

Since I see these last few episodes as an epilogue, I liked the first episode of this arc and I wouldn't mind if the rest are just Ash meeting all his companions for one last time and using as many of his reserves as possible.

I believe that's the point of the arc - that even when Ash isn't on our screens, he will be adventuring, meeting people, having fun, battling etc.
 
Forgot to mention this in my last post, but it’s lovely to see Ash taking charge healing an injured pokemon. He’s usually in the sidelines for these situations but here he actively applied bandaging and medicine and kept Latias calm and comfortable. Goes to show that he’s far outgrown that dumb kid that would be helpless out in the wild without his companions.
 
Honestly on the back of the previous special, this episode felt unneeded. I’m surprised everyone enjoyed it so much because to me it was boring and reductive, the same stuff we’ve seen a million times but just with added fanservice and that terrible terrible BGM.
 
Warning: long post incoming.

Originally I didn´t want to watch this new «series», because I knew they would do emotional manipulation with long time fans and, although they did just that, I´m glad to have actually watch it.

This may sound cringe and pathetic, but I literaly cried during the episode. Not because it was emotional but because it reminded me of what I love about this series: Team Rocket. This episode felt like the production used a time machine and took it directly from the pre-SM days. Since the end of XY, TR have taken a backseat. Many people online disliked the scheme of the week formula. I always loved it. The formula that worked for so many years and, as proven today, would still work until they decided to get drunk with Yokai-Watch popularity and changed the anime´s structure forever. A short lived popularity they tried to copy by losing a big part of their soul. A decision I never understood and most definetly will never understand, but that´s a topic for another time. Suffice to say, I was taken back in time, to a more simple and happy time, when I waited impatiently each week for the new episode each thursday to see in wich kinda of ways TR would make me laugh, Oh, the sweet memories. Even now I have tears as I write this.

Although I loved the episode, there were things that I disliked. The opening, for instance, is just embarasing. Not the vocals, but the animation. A clip show for the grand finale? Really? They care so little about us old viewers that they cound´t even bother to try making it something special like, for example, actually reanimating the original OP. Another thing I despised was that Professor Oak scene emulating the respective scene from movie 2000. It was blatant emotional maniplation. Many people say it was a love letter to the old fans, but in my heart I didn´t feel that way. To me it was a «We reworked this scene from a beloved movie. Now be gratefull and move along to give way for the next generation that will buy our products. You are old and you are finished. You can continue to savour your memories of this franchise, but we don´t have a place or purpose for you anymore. Go cry your nostalgia tears elsewhere with your outdated characters. Oh, but first buy our memorial products one last time!» This is obviously overdramatic but is what I genuily felt. Some fans talk about a bittersweet feeling. I only feel the bitter, because I keep thinking about what was and could continue to be, but won´t because «new things and shacking the formula are always good».

The TR paldean expedition segment was a nice surprise, but once again makes me question if people in charge of the anime have any idea of what they are doing. It appears they are so desperate to promote the SV games that they need this segments to showcase the new pokemon that won´t be appearing in the series proper during this final stretch of episodes. If so, why will the next series continue the world tour format? Nonsensical, in my opinion.

Even if I loved this episode, I still don´t have high expectations about this «series» and still believe it is a slap in the face to old fans. Only 11 episodes to say goodbye to such beloved characters (and my friends, as ridiculous as that may sound to some)? Preposterous. I only pray Team Rocket will be given the love thay deserve and get to appear in every episode. No, the expedition segments don´t count. I know many don´t want that, but I think we, TR fans, deserve atleast this much episodes to enjoy after how horribly misteated they were during Journeys (and, in my opinion, SM, but I know a lot of TR fans liked that series so I wont say more on the matter). Like it or not, after Ash and Pikachu, the most important characters from the anime who made people laugh, cry and even get through hard times during 25 years weren´t Misty or Brock or Dawn or Serena. It was Team Rocket, my dear friends.

I know a lot of what I write sounds dramatic but is how I feel deep down. I am passing hard times in real life and the anime (especially Team Rocket), were my anchor, my safe harbour. That friend I thought would stay with me forever. Obviously that´s not the case and this posts help me vent some of the sadness. They are terepeutical, in a way.

For those who read this essay, thank you and I hope you enjoy the episodes!
I’m adult and teared up while smiling at Team Rocket during the first encounter of the episode. It just epitomizes everything I’ve come to remember growing up. I’m going to miss all of this so much.

I think the sorrow I feel is partly because this ending doesn’t feel completely organic or natural, it was like they had a last minute epiphany during developing the later end of journeys that they would have difficulty using this formula with Ash going forward so they had work out a send off sequence.

I’d feel better about all this if it felt like a complete conclusion was planned from the beginning if this series, but it feels to me that was not the case.
 
I’m adult and teared up while smiling at Team Rocket during the first encounter of the episode. It just epitomizes everything I’ve come to remember growing up. I’m going to miss all of this so much.

I think the sorrow I feel is partly because this ending doesn’t feel completely organic or natural, it was like they had a last minute epiphany during developing the later end of journeys that they would have difficulty using this formula with Ash going forward so they had work out a send off sequence.

I’d feel better about all this if it felt like a complete conclusion was planned from the beginning if this series, but it feels to me that was not the case.
Thia is exactly how I feel. You explained it perfectly. The emotions I´m feeling remembering those amazing moments I passed with this anime are just unreal.

All of this feels so forced. There is no way that this was planed since the start of Journeys.
 
Meowth was standing so close to Ash when Team Rocket captured Pikachu that he had to take a giant smear frame leap to get on the balloon. I kind of expected/wanted Ash to grab him and whack him on the tree, the nerve of this guy.

Anyway, I really don't understand the point of this episode. Really underwhelming start to what is supposed to be the conclusion to a 25-year series. Was this just baiting the audience into thinking this is the Latias from the movie?
 
Honestly on the back of the previous special, this episode felt unneeded. I’m surprised everyone enjoyed it so much because to me it was boring and reductive, the same stuff we’ve seen a million times but just with added fanservice and that terrible terrible BGM.
Yeah, the plot itself was quite basic, but I think this episode does a good job of establishing several things going into this mini-series:
  • Ash being able to freely rotate his team members and utilize them effectively, in and out of battle.
  • Ash being able to do stuff on his own, without relying on other travelling companions for help.
  • The possibility of the Latias returning later on.
The latter two points make this episode especially important, I think, regardless of how "boring and reductive" the plot feels. As much as I want to see Ash immediately rushing to see his old friends, I appreciate that the writers took their time to establish that Ash is not only perfectly capable of travelling on his own, but is also able to make good use of the skills he learned from his previous companions and past adventures to help others in need. The Latias point is self-explanatory; plenty of people in this thread are already expecting it to return later on.

With all that said, I do agree that this episode has very similar vibes to the previous special with how Ash is travelling alone, but I'd say that's more to do with the weird placement of the previous special and not the fault of this episode itself.
 
This episode is just all over the place. What had happened to Latias which led to the incidents happening in the episode? Why do we randomly see Unova/Alola Pokémon in Kanto now? Why did the writers suddenly start trying too hard with the comedic relief now, especially in the first part of the episode? I understand that there is supposed to be the "chill" vibe in the beginning of the episode, but it gets slightly cringe when they endlessly start with running gags now (the cliché Pikachu shocking Ash, the entire Team Rocket scene, and I mean how many "the same Beedrill scene" can you fit in a series?).
 
Forgot to mention this in my last post, but it’s lovely to see Ash taking charge healing an injured pokemon. He’s usually in the sidelines for these situations but here he actively applied bandaging and medicine and kept Latias calm and comfortable. Goes to show that he’s far outgrown that dumb kid that would be helpless out in the wild without his companions.
Meh he would still starve
 
@VetProf I’m not dead against the establishing of the points you raised (with the exception maybe of Latias) (and also I feel it’s already been established that he’s capable of travelling alone these days) but the execution of this episode was so basic that as a veteran watcher of the series I just felt like I’d wasted 20 minutes of my life. We didn’t need a whole episode when time is already short to reiterate the status quo.

Perhaps my error was in not checking the staff list beforehand thus having elevated expectations - I’d assumed Tomioka would be writing the first episode of this his swan song mini-series, but within a few minutes I knew that this cr@p could only be churned out by Yonemura, and lo and behold… - Embarrassing error corrected for me below.

As for Latias, if it’s not M5 Latias, then what is the point? ‘Legendary Pokémon is suspicious of humans until eventually Satoshi puts himself at enough risk for their sake to change their mind’ is such a stale beat at this point, and it was the only trait that the Latias had in this episode. I don’t wanna see it come back and I don’t want Satoshi to capture it as if he’s ticking off another category before he leaves. What’s the point now? We’re supposed to be in the concluding stages so let them conclude without having to bring in new and unnecessary plot points!
 
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This episode is just all over the place. What had happened to Latias which led to the incidents happening in the episode?
Well, it was just flying by and happened to get struck by Team Rocket mid-air. I find it pretty funny. Unfortunately it is a new Latias, but I think it's for the best.
I understand that there is supposed to be the "chill" vibe in the beginning of the episode, but it gets slightly cringe when they endlessly start with running gags now
It's probably the last time we see all these running gags, so I'm happy to see them again. But actually it's a little different this time - Ash manages to befriend the Beedrill, which shows how much he has grown as a trainer.
I’d assumed Tomioka would be writing the first episode of this his swan song mini-series, but within a few minutes I knew that this cr@p could only be churned out by Yonemura, and lo and behold…
The episode was written by Tomioka and it shows with all the little nods to original series and the second movie.
We didn’t need a whole episode when time is already short to reiterate the status quo.
We actually needed it to establish Ash's goal in the series - to make new friends. And it remembers us how good he is at it!
The goal comes directly from Hyakugojūichi, the first Japanese ending used in this episode - Oak even references it himself in his conversation with Delia and his new haiku.
I think that Ash will start thinking about the whole what it means to be a Pokemon master thing mid-way through the series (and of course it's all about befriending Pokemon).

I think that this episode is also a great (and probably the last one) Team Rocket tribute.
As much as I want JJM to appear in every episode of the series and see an episode dedicated to themselves, we are in the short series that focuses mainly on Ash.
Roketto-dan tried to catch Pikachu, tried to catch a Pokemon of the day, approached Ash randomly, they were funny and had major impact on the plot. The episode also has the vibes of Ash Catches a Pokémon from the original series - which was the first episode written by Tomioka.
 
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Not sure if I'd call it befriended. It was simply Beedrill staring at Ash and flying away. Friendship does mean more than that, in my opinion.
Knowing how hostile all Beedrill are in the anime - I would regard it as friendship.
But well, Ash is unsure about it too!

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What are Team Rocket made of that crashing into a Latias sends it flying into a lake and needing hours of healing while they end up completely unscathed?

All those Thunderbolts must've made them near-invincible (to things that aren't Thunderbolt, that is).

Knowing how hostile all Beedrill are in the anime - I would regard it as friendship.
But well, Ash is unsure about it too!

That's not growth as a Trainer, it's just Ash happening to meet a wild Beedrill that isn't murder-happy like the other 95% of its species.
 
It's been a while since I felt motivated to watch an episode subbed, but these 11 episodes are going to do it for me, starting with this one!

Overall, I thought it was a sweet episode. Was it some big, super important episode with tons of plot? No. But, completely selfishly, I enjoyed it because I just love Ash. It was fun to watch him and Pikachu traveling by themselves again, especially since they both showed off so much personality! I'm surprised people feel like Ash and Pikachu teasing one another was OOC; I thought it fit them perfectly and was something we haven't seen in a really long time. More recent series have had a tendency to sanitize Ash and Pikachu, sometimes to the point of feeling hollow. So I really appreciated getting to see them be a little goofy and mess around.

And how great was it to see Ash's reserves?? It does seem like he's going to be switching Pokémon in and out over these 11 episodes, which is exactly what should've happened in Journeys! I'm disappointed we only get 11 episodes of it, but better late than never I suppose. It was cool to watch him command Pokémon he hasn't in a while, and watching Pokémon who weren't necessarily on a team together interact with one another. All of them guarding Ash and Latias during the night was really sweet.

What little plot there was (Ash finding, treating, and befriending Latias) was so so. I didn't hate it, but they could've done more with it. I wasn't expecting it to be the same Latias from M5, so that wasn't really surprising to me. It was nice to watch Ash take care of Latias; would've been nicer if he had mentioned he learned those skills from Brock or something, especially since we've seen him actively struggle to do the same in the past. But it was still really sweet and I love how all of the care Ash put into Latias was so representative of his character.

It's also kind of a bummer Team Rocket just gets sent back to trying to steal Pokémon yet again, but I guess that's still an upgrade of what they were given in Journeys, which was essentially nothing. Loved that they had a unique animated motto once again and actually thought to prepare for Pikachu's attacks other than electric based (but not Ash's other Pokémon and then not for Pikachu at all when they were aiming for Latias, lol.)

I had fun watching, even though it was pretty mundane overall. As a big Ash fan, it was enough to satisfy me and fill my fangirl quota. Looking forward to next week's episode when my best girl shows up!
 
Late review from me, better late than ever. Just as our eternal 10 year old countdown for his adventure end. Love to see how he bonding with Latias after being hit by Team Rocket 1st blast off direction. Ultimately, it was able to recover properly without any get caught by Team Rocket. At the end of it as it follow and observing Ash. Don't know, what it wants? Only a few episode will find out the answer. Also, first ever Beedrill chill with Ash since 26 year.

Overall rating: B+
 
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