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REVIEW: SM144: Alola's Strongest Z! Kapu-Kokeko VS Pikachu!!

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I don't get why Team Rocket is entirely dismissed of Ash's victory in this league. They were so carried away watching his league battles in Sinnoh that they even forgot what they were there for. They even got sentimental after his victory over Paul. This time, though, we received absolutely no reaction upon Ash winning the league, and even no presence upon winning over Kukui and Tapu-Koko itself.

Apart from that, though, it was a great episode. I didn't even realise how 20 minutes ran out. It felt like the episode just began.
Same thing can be said for Guzma and even Tupp, Zipp and Rapp. I don't know if anything from the league was broadcasted on TV or not but just imagine the look on their faces if they saw all of that.
 
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Same thing can be said for Guzma and even Tupp, Zipp and Rapp. I don't know if anything from the league was broadcasted on TV or not but just imagine the look on their faces if they saw all of that.
Honestly, one of the only real sore points I have with the League after Ash vs Guzma is that neither he or the other Team Skull members stuck around. I would've killed to see them react to a battle like this (and for Guzma to have a more concrete resolution with Kukui).
 
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Review

Pros:
  • The animation was beyond fantastic and I didn't see any recycled move footage, frame rate was butter smooth for an SM episode. The choice of music was really good this time, glad they didn't reuse the Regi-trio music though I felt that Battle! Trainer from XY felt a bit off. Compare that to last week's Secret Super Training for Naganadel, that was a fitting soundtrack.
  • Thank Arceus that the writers haven't made Ash into someone else (like they did with BW) and that he can still come up with smart and unorthodox improvisations on the fly. We often see a lot of it with Pikachu on the field, though I really wish we saw more of that partnership with Naganadel too (did happen in a sense in its battle against Lucario I guess).
  • Tapu Koko technically assisted Ash and Pikachu in winning thanks to the Electric Terrain. No wonder that Discharge took out Naganadel easily instead of its other two moves, and how Pikachu was able to press the offensive continuously with his own Electric attacks.
  • Absolutely loved the Z-moves themselves upon re-watching, along with the Kamehameha and the well timed Type: Wild (+ montage). Ash looked far more detailed during that one segment when he was 'pushing' Pikachu, with his hair and clothing flying around, than the entirety of his SM appearance combined. Glad to see the exhaustive effect of using two Z-moves in a row being touched upon.
  • Ash and Pikachu took down yet another legendary, and the haters can rest easy with their bullshit "he has to hand the title over" and "Kukui will smash him" tinfoil theories. They were becoming lame and boring, and there was absolutely no logic to them.
Cons:
  • I don't take issue with Naganadel going down (it was obvious given the episode's title), I take issue with how fast it was brought down. There were a lot of flashy moves being traded back and forth but nothing felt of substance and relevant to the plot. Recall I had a similar complaint about Lycanroc's recent defeat (though that one was worse imo)? For a Guardians vs. Ultra Beast clash, it was over too fast and felt a bit flat, not to mention there was no type coverage outside that little Dragon Pulse moment (which was more of a divertion).
  • I honestly felt that the scenes involving Tapu Koko summoning the other Tapus and Z-Ring recharge and Z-Crystal appearances were somewhat deliberately slow and could have used some speeding up or cropping. The screen time from that could have gone to Naganadel's battle. Glad to see that the Z-move limit was acknowledged by Kukui though, that's one more doubt cleared.
Extra:
  • I am still annoyed from last week's Tapu Koko interruption. At least Kukui could have been considerate enough to bring out his last Pokemon (for us to know who it is) and for him to ask its consent to let Tapu Koko take over.
  • The backstory that Hala gives regarding the Tapunium-Z kind of makes the Guardian of Alola a bit cheap. It's appearance should have been during some big event like the Necrozma arc, not an exhibition match. This is backed by the fact that it was an "appear only to lose" moment.
  • Delia is getting ready to leave immediately. You'd think she'd stay for some sort of celebration party of her son winning a League and a Champion level match, with the rest of the Alola crew? Oak asked Burnet to give Ash their regards, why not do it in person? Also why the hell does Mime keep filming Delia? That's weird.
Verdict: I'd say it was a decent episode, other than the issues I had here and there especially compared to last week's brilliant episode. I'll give it 9/10.

Ash defeating Kukui (essentially a low-Champion level trainer) opens up so many options for the future, he could essentially defeat some of the previous Elite 4 members if he were to rotate his reserves and use his aces more often. Not to mention being able to go toe-to-toe with ubers like Cynthia, if not then at least giving them a hard time and coming down to close finishes.
 
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You know what? I don't even care anymore about Koko jumping in. Ash and Pikachu winning regardless made it a meaningless complaint. I mean, would Kukui's sixth Pokémon really be able to do what the guardian deity couldn't?
Where exactly is this mysterious "type advantage" that Tapu Koko supposedly had over Naganadel that you speak of? 'Cause this type chart from Bulbapedia says something completely different.

View attachment 126670
Whoopsie, forgive me for not knowing the type chart by heart. I'm still kinda unfamiliar with the fairy type, I knew it was weak to poison, but I didn't know poison actually resisted it. TIL!

You know what? I don't even care anymore about Koko jumping in. Ash and Pikachu winning regardless made it a meaningless complaint. I mean, would Kukui's sixth Pokémon really be able to do what the guardian deity couldn't?
Ha! This was exactly my line of thought as well!
 
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Let's enjoy this win and forget about those who still whine about Sun and Moon's art style after 3 years of airing. There might be flaws in this series but I still consider it one of the good ones. I'm going to rewatch the whole Alolan league 1 week before the airing of Sword and Shield anime.
 
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Well, they FINALLY captured the epicness of Z-Moves. Took them long enough. Best battle of the Sun and Moon series, no question. Although Kukui was a decent battler, I felt like he fell short in some places. Like , aside from when he's using Incineroar, he barely felt like a challenge. Even with Tapu Koko, for as flashy and epic-feeling as the battle was, didn't really raise his threat level than before. Like at first Tapu Koko curbstomps Naganadel, matching its speed, but then it feels slow as a snail when fighting Pikachu, not landing a single hit before the Z-move clash. IDK; I'm still overall happy Ash came out with a win, and the battle was still good, but it still feels like it held back.
 
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I forgot to mention that the announcer is the GOAT of the Alolan league. He really deserves all the praise for hyping the audience in each battle. It was really fun to listen to his commentary and reaction like he did his research.
Here's hoping he does the same in the dub
 
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Gosh it hasn't even been 24 hours, and I've rewatched the portion of the episode where it was Z-move vs. Z-move a good 20+ times (for real) the music is what gets me along with the animation!

Look, I'm 28 and I've been through some stuff in regards to working towards goals (whether it be surviving graduate school, getting by in a call center job for 3 years and finally becoming a full-time YouTuber for the past 2 years; only 7,000 more subs before I hit 100,000) and I've gotta say it brings me to tears during that "Kamehameha" moment with Ash and Pikachu. I don't have a "buddy" that helped me walk through my journey, but it's all good because I'm still making it one day at a time.

Then to see Tapu Koko slowly float down before "fainting" (at first, I thought it was pulling a Rowlett and trolling us all), Ash declared the victor, he passes out, Ash grabs his hat and gently rest on his best pal's arm. It was the quietness of that spectacular victory that makes me feel some kind of way. This was truly a great way of 'ending' Ash and Pikachu's journey in Alola (if not the entire show, BUT we know that isn't true based on the next series).

Then Hala's line about this being like a 'final exam' oh boy that was the icing on the cake! Along with Ash's classmates cheering him on and then in tears after the win!

Yeah, I do have SOME gripes about the episode (and the league overall) but all minor in the grand scheme of things. This was AMAZING from start to finish, but I wish some things were a little different.

Tapu's Z-move, I wish it would've appeared during the arc where they had to deal with Necrozma (look my spelling is probably off). I did kinda scratch my head about how it was mentioned that a hero would be given the Z-crystal in the time of a crisis to use its power...that line would've work had this not been a exhibition match haha

Was it just me or was Koko a wee bit I don't know "weak" compared to its previous battles with Pikachu? I mean this is "league Pikachu" who is in top form like in nearly every other series when it gets to that point of the saga.

Why are Oak and Delia leaving so soon?! I mean why not stick around for the next couple episodes or at least leave at the start of the next one to say hey we are gonna throw you a party in Kanto! Won't Ash get to 'graduate' from the Pokemon school? Geez, could've seen him cross the stage or whatever. I REALLY wish Misty and Brock were around to see this! Was this league televised? Again, a wasted chance to have past friends and rivals look at Ash now!

Overall, this battle was amazing. I'm not certain if it is my FAVORITE, but it had some great highlights. Top 5 for sure!
 
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The Alola league wasn't brilliant but the battle and this episode in particular made it improve
 
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Let's enjoy this win and forget about those who still whine about Sun and Moon's art style after 3 years of airing.
Where did this come from? There is no single post in the thread "whining" about SM's art style.
 
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First time posting here, but what finally got me to register an account was because I couldnt find out what were the songs that were played during the episode.
Does anyone know what are the songs played when 1) Pikachu started using quick attack on Koko and when 2) Kukui was charging up for the z move and the ground started cracking open?
 
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Naganadel. Got. Jobbed.
A pokemon with no training jobbing? Inconceivable!


I see why the Tapu didn't bother using Guardian of Alola against Guzzlord - if a foot-tall rodent can shatter it with ease, it would've gotten annihilated

I liked the Majora's Mask and Saiyan Saga shoutouts though
 
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Oh, you again. On what evidence do you base your assumption that Naganadel has "nO tRaInInG"?
The fact it was with Ash for several dozen episodes and never once trained with him?

If you'd watched the series, you'd know this
 
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The fact it was with Ash for several dozen episodes and never once trained with him?

If you'd watched the series, you'd know this
Uh huh... but do you have evidence that it did not train in it's own homeworld with the beings present there? You think it was only lazing around and drawing stuff?

Nice try with the deflection, it didn't work though.
 
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So can everyone agree that this is in the top 4 battles of the entire series along with Ash vs Alain, Ash vs Sawyer and Ash vs Paul? I mean, the battle got better every episode, culminating in a beautifully animated and written ending episode with Ash and Pikachu performing a Kamehameha. The only bad part of this episode was the whole Tapu dance scene being longer than necessary, but besides that I have no complaints. Hopefully the quality of this battle can carry into the new series.
 
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