Anime Review: Pokemon Movie: Zoroark, Master of Illusions

Anime Review:
Pokemon: Zoroark, Master of Illusions

What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! While I have already finished off my year-end review of 2010 anime shows, there are a handful of shows that have become available in the past few months. For more information about me and my reviews, click here.

Movie Premise: Pokemon: Zoroark, Master of Illusions (also known as Pocket Monsters Diamond and Pearl the Movie: Phantom Ruler: Zoroark), is the thirteenth movie in the decade-old Pokemon franchise, released in theaters in Japan on July 10, 2010. Just as everyone is showing up at the Crown City to watch the big World Baccer Championship, the city finds itself suddenly under attack by three mysterious Legendary Pokemon. It’s up to Ash and his friends, along with their new shapeshifting friend Zorua to uncover the mystery of the attacks, and why the long-lost Celebi has returned after twenty years.

Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:

ep. tl;dr review: Ash, Pikachu and crew save the day…of course; Kiddie movie, but decent enough.

Spoiler-Free Set-Up: Ash and his friends are excited to be traveling to Crown City to watch the World Baccer Championship, where Pokemon fight it out in a soccer-like game. This year’s match is especially exciting because one of the teams is composed of three “legendary” Pokemon: Raikou, Entei, and Suicune. Meanwhile, flying far above Kodai, the manager of this team, is goading the caged Zoroark with illusions of these Pokemon. Using the threat of injury against Zoroark’s little child, Zorua, he coerces the illusion master Zoroark to take part in his nefarious plan to attack Crown City. Zorua manages to escape, where he meets up with Ash, Pikachu and the rest and vows to rescue his mother. As they arrive at Crown City, they find it under attack. What plans does Kodai have with the city? How can the little Zorua confront three of the most powerful Pokemon imaginable? And why is the mysterious Celebi returning to Crown City after a twenty year absence?

My Reaction: What can I say? It’s a Pokemon movie, and about what you would expect from Pokemon, nothing more nothing less.

I’m not really a fan of Pokemon, but over the years I have managed to pick up some basic knowledge about the show. After all, it’s arguably the most well known export out of Japan in the past ten years, and one of the most popular cartoons in America. I’ve seen various individual episodes at one time or another, and even the first movie many years back. Now, as far as this movie goes, it’s pretty much standard Pokemon fare, with artwork and animation decent enough but not spectacular. The story and plot itself is aimed for about a ten-year-old viewer, so it’s all fairly well explained even if it does start out a bit convoluted. The good guys act like good guys and there is the omnipresent themes of working together as a team and overcoming obstacles through the power of friendship. The bad guys act like bad guys but more out of misguided priorities rather than anything especially evil. The only people that kind of stand out like a sore thumb are Team Rocket, who show up occasionally but don’t really do anything, included in the story more for appearances than for the plot.

Honestly, I don’t really have much to say about this one. Unless you have been living under a pile of rocks for the past decade, any anime fan should have a basic knowledge of Pokemon, and this falls right in light with what you should expect from a Pokemon movie.

The verdict:

FINAL GRADE: C+ (Every feature-length movie that I review gets a “letter grade”.) Not exactly the type of movie I would choose, but as far as children’s movies goes, it is decent enough.


  • Videos and Previews:
  • Additional Info Resources:
  • Official United States Licensing Information:
  • The Blog-Roll of Reviews:
    • “I give it average ratings on almost everything. If you do not care about plot, background illustrations, nor fear the ridicule of those who would scorn you for watching Pokémon movies—this movie offers lots of Zoroark kickass, which is very notable. If you are a fan of the Pokémon movies as a series, you will probably enjoy this. Grade: 3/5.” – Smogon University
    • “Until then, as a stand alone film this is mediocre and not really a film that pushes the Pokemon universe in any postivie direction. For a series that has pushed out as many films as this franchise, I just expected more. Grade: C-.” – Japan Cinema
    • “Overall, I enjoyed the movie a lot. Of course I’m biased as shit towards Pokémon, but this is coming from someone who didn’t enjoy every movie they threw at us. Grade: 9/10.” – Riyoga’s Ramblings
    • “While it does pack most, if not all, of the positive attributes the recent films had, it doesn’t pack that much of a hold like the classic films did. Times have changed, and so has the world of Pokemon. That doesn’t change the fact that Zoroark: Master of Illusions is a great Pokemon film and is a must have for fans of the series. Grade: 4/5.” – iGo Gaming

Odds ‘n’ Ends to Review Left Over from 2010: Gunpla Builders, Naruto: The Lost Tower Movie, The Borrowers Movie, Votoms: Case Irvine, Votoms: Finder, Heartcatch Precure Movie, You Are Umasou Movie

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One Response to Anime Review: Pokemon Movie: Zoroark, Master of Illusions

  1. Pingback: Anime Review: Where Things Stand as of August 13th | This Euphoria!

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