Anime Film Review: Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life

Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life is the 12th film in the Pokemon franchise, and it was directed by Kunihiko Yuyama. The film was released to Japanese theaters on July 18, 2009. The film made its premiere in the United States with an airing on Cartoon Network on November 20, 2009; it was eventually released on DVD in the United States on February 1, 2011.

Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life
Direced by: Kunihiko Yuyama
Written by: Hideki Sonoda
Starring: Rica Matsumoto, Megumi Toyoguchi, Yūji Ueda, Inuko Inuyama, Shin-ichiro Miki, Megumi Hayashibara, Kii Kitano, Masahiro Takashima, Kōichi Yamadera, Akihiro Miwa, and Ikue Ōtani
Run Time: 94 minutes

At the beginning of the film, Ash and his friends arrive in Michina. They quickly find themselves in the middle of a conflict between Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina. Ash, Dawn, Brock, Pikachu and Piplup are saved by Sheena, a young woman who is able to connect with the hearts of Pokemon. She and her assistant, Kevin, explain that the conflict is due to Arceus, a Legendary Pokemon, being close to awakening. Sheena also explains that her ancestor, Damos, had betrayed Arceus and took the Jewel of Life. When Arceus returns, Sheena plans to return the Jewel of Life to the Pokemon.

Arceus awakens from its slumber and returns to Earth. When Sheena tries to return the jewel, Arceus realizes that it’s a fake and destroys it. Arceus goes into a rage, and Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina arrive to try and stop Arceus. Dialga, the Pokemon of Time, sends everyone except Kevin back in time to the point where Damos is supposed to return the jewel to Arceus; Dialga hopes that by doing this, the past can be altered. Can Ash and his friends make a difference in the past in order to correct the future?

The story itself was decent, even if it does rely on time travel. By changing what happened in the past, Ashand the others have ultimately created a paradox. Now that they have changed the past, the reason that sent them back to the past in the first place no longer exists. Outside of that, Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life is basically the type of story fans of Pokemon have come to expect from the films for the franchise.

When it comes to the animation in the film, there were attempts to try and combine traditional animation with computer graphics. Unfortunately, the two elements did not blend together very well, and the computer animation drew too much attention to itself. Also, there were times when I thought that the computer graphics were being used for things that really didn’t need computer graphics, such as plants and trees. However, I did enjoy the musical score.

Arceus and the Jewel of Life was released as a single disc DVD. Like the previous two DVD releases of the Pokemon films, Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life does not include any special features.

Even without any bonus features, this DVD should still be in the home video collection of anyone who considers themselves to be a fan of the Pokemon anime.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Pokemon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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