Anime Film Review: Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew

Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew is the eighth film in the Pokémon franchise, and it was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 16, 2005, and the English dub was released in the United States on September 19, 2006. Viz Media has the DVD distribution rights for the film in the United States.

Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama
Written by: Hideki Sonoda
Starring: Rica Matsumoto, Ikue Ōtani, Yūji Ueda, KAORI, Fushigi Yamada, Megumi Hayashibara, Shin-ichiro Miki, Inuko Inuyama, Daisuke Namikawa, Satomi Kōrogi, Takeshi Aono, Noriko Hidaka, Kōichi Yamadera, Kumiko Okae, Momoko Kikuchi, and Becky
Run Time: 100 minutes

At the beginning of the film, the setting is in the distant past, where a Pokemon named Lucario sensed that two armies would fight. He sent a message to his master, Sir Aaron, as Lucario was being attacked by a group of Houndoom. Lucario lost his sight in the battle, and Sir Aaron traveled on his Pidgeot to the tree of beginning. Sir Aaron ends up sealing Lucario in his staff, and he sacrificed himself to save the kingdom. Pidgeot returns to the palace with Sir Aaron’s staff.

Then, the movie moves on to the present day, where Ash, Brock, May, Max, and their Pokemon arrive at the palace in time for a celebration to honor Sir Aaron. Ash ends up choosing a costume that is close to what Sir Aaron wore, and he wins a Pokemon battle that takes place during the celebration; he beats another trainer named Kidd.

That night at the royal ball, Ash has to sit on a chair with the staff. Suddenly, Lucario frees himself from the staff, and says that he sensed Sir Aaron’s aura; however, it is Ash that he sensed. Meanwhile, it is revealed that Kidd is an agent trying to capture a Mew. How do Ash and his friends deal with Lucario and Kidd?

The movie is pretty standard for a Pokemon film. It’s an interesting story, but it’s another film where Ash has a “larger than life” role to play. Back in Pokemon The Movie 2000, Ash was “the Chosen One,” and in this film, it’s almost presented that Ash is some kind of reincarnation of Sir Aaron. The reincarnation of Sir Aaron concept would have been a little more interesting and compelling to me if Ash hasn’t already been “the Chosen One” in a previous film.

Animation-wise, Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew tries to combine computer animation with traditional 2D animation; while the computer animation doesn’t stand out quite as drastically as it did in some of the earlier films, it still does stand out a little compared to the traditional 2D drawings.

When it comes to the DVD itself, there are three special features included on this disc. The first is “Behind the Scenes,” which is a roughly six-minute documentary. It starts out talking about the visuals; you see the director scouting out locations in Germany, as well as the steps that go into making the visuals. Then it talks about the soundtrack, and you see the orchestra recording one of the pieces. The documentary ends with a message from the director; his words are dubbed into English by the narrator, instead of utilizing subtitles.

Next is a slideshow of character sketches, which runs for about three-and-a-half minutes. However, the viewer has no control over how fast the visuals move, and the visuals move rather quickly; if you blink, you might miss something. The final extra is “Pokemon Online,” which is a splash screen promoting the official Pokemon website.

When Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew was released in the United States, it was released as a two-disc collector’s edition. The second disc contains Pokemon: The Mastermind of Mirage Pokemon, which is a 10th anniversary special that runs for 42 minutes. In this story, a Pokemon scientist named Dr. Yung has developed a system that can create realistic mirage Pokemon. Ash, Brock, May, Max, Misty, and Professor Oak arrive at the scientist’s mansion after Ash, Misty, and Professor Oak received invitations to go there. As Dr. Yung is demonstrating his invention, he is suddenly kidnapped by the Mirage Master. Can Ash and his friends save Dr. Yung and figure out what’s going on?

This special on disc two was all right, but it wasn’t as good as the film. In some respects, I found the story to be a little on the strange side. If I watch this DVD, I’m not likely to watch the second disc very often.

There are only two special features on this disc. The first is “A Letter From the Director.” It’s three pages in length, and the viewer has control over when the pages change. In the letter, the director briefly talks about the special and about the American Pokemon fans. There is also a splash screen to promote the official Pokemon website.

If you’re a Pokemon fan who wants to own all of the Pokemon films on DVD, then you need to acquire a copy of this DVD for your anime home video collection.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Pokemon: Lucario and the Mystery of the Mew that my husband and I purchased.

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