Anime Film Review: Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai

Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai is the 10th film in the Pokemon franchise, and it was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 14, 2007. The film had a “preview” airing on Cartoon Network on February 1, 2008; the “official” Cartoon Network airing took place on February 24, 2008.

Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai
Directed by: Kunihiko Yuyama
Written by: Hideki Sonoda
Starring: Rica Matsumoto, Megumi Toyoguchi, Yūji Ueda, Ikue Otani, Shin-ichiro Miki, Megumi Hayashibara, Inuko Inuyama, Rosa Kato, and Kōji Yamamoto
Run Time: 90 minutes

The film opens with a scientist named Tonio reading a diary that belonged to Godey, a famous architect. In the diary, it is indicated that two Pokemon are battling with each other between their dimensions. As Tonio reads, Palkia (the Pokemon of space) and Dialga (the Pokemon of time) are fighting.

Meanwhile, Ash, Brock, and Dawn are heading to AlamosTown so Dawn can participate in an upcoming Pokemon contest that is taking place there. They meet a girl named Alice, who offers them a ride in her hot air balloon. The balloon is jostled by a massive air current, which is caused by Palkia and Dialga’s fighting.

Alice takes the trio to a garden where Pokemon reside in peace. A guy named Baron Alberto emerges in the garden, and he says he is there to battle a Pokemon named Darkrai. Brock explains that Darkrai is a Pokemon that causes nightmares.

A sudden noise startles the group, but it turns out it’s Tonio hiding behind a bush. Darkrai suddenly comes into the garden, and Alberto tries to attack. In the middle of the fighting, Ash is accidentally hit by Darkrai’s Dark Void, and he falls asleep and is trapped in a nightmare. In the dream, Ash sees Palkia, although he doesn’t realize it at that point.

The next day, Alice and Tonio take Ash and his friends to the top of the Space-Time towers and see a massive instrument that plays music by the hour. As they leave the towers, a massive shockwave rocks the town. Darkrai returns, and a massive fog covers the city; the fog prevents anyone from leaving. Can Ash and his friends figure out what is going on and save the day?

The Rise of Darkrai is a decent Pokemon film, and it tells a good story. It’s a story that keeps the viewer interested, and I didn’t feel bored at all as I watched it. However, it felt like there were more attempts to integrate CG animation than in previous films. Compared to the other films that utilized the computer graphics, the CG in this film sticks out even worse than in the previous films and draws way too much attention to itself.

When I put the DVD into my Blu-ray player, my player automatically put the English subtitles on the screen. Since there is no option for turning off subtitles in the set-up menu, I had to use the “Subtitle” menu on my Blu-ray player’s remote to turn off the subtitles. However, when I later put this disc into a computer DVD drive, the English subtitles did not automatically appear on the screen.

The Rise of Darkrai is the first DVD release of a Pokemon film to not include any kind of special features. But even with the lack of special features, a Pokemon fan would need to purchase this DVD in order to have all of the Pokemon films in their anime home video library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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