Released in Japan about 10 years ago, this was already the eight movie in the still incredibly popular franchise.
A little known fact perhaps is that the locations in the movie and the tale have been inspired by the director`s visit to Bavaria in Germany, and the castle of Neuschwanstein and the Linderhoff Palace in particular.
The story kicks off in an era long before Pokemon where caught, trained and used to duel as Poke Balls didn`t exist yet. Sir Aaron and his thrusted companion Lucario learned of an army invading, and when his queen decided to die with her people, he went to the Tree of Beginning to sacrifice himself to stop the war, and sealing Lucario who wanted to stand with him in his staff.
Centuries later, Ash releases Lucario again, and when Mew "steals" Pikachu to keep playing with him, Ash and his friends go looking for him. During the journey, it becomes obvious that the twisting of the tale over the years has made Lucario look on humans as non-trustworthy.
When reaching the tree, the trainers are all attacked and actually defeated, which causes the Pokemon to cry over their fallen masters and as Lucario learns the truth of the legend and that it was actually as it originally was told, Mew decides to talk to the Tree and restore everyone. This causes Mew to fall ill though, but Lucario saves him in the end as he reunites with his master from hundreds of years ago.
Though a bit darker then most movies, and with even Ash falling this time, the tone is different from previous Pokemon movies.
Now, you don`t go looking to these kinds of anime films for indeep storylines of big epic stories, but you will be looking for some cheery entertainment, cute humour and the infamous yellow rodent.
I would`nt rate it at "being the best you`ll ever be", but in the few movies I saw from the franchise so far this actually wasn`t that bad at all.
Rating: 5.5 / 10
Miniature Wargames Issue 416
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