Pokemon BW: Adventures in Unova DVD Set 1 ReviewOctober 28, 2014
Back in 1998, around the time that Pokemon became a huge phenomenon, I played the Game Boy games and collected the cards religiously. I also watched the cartoon with my younger brother. Having just recently acquired a Nintendo 2DS – packaged with Pokemon Y – I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out the latest season of Pokemon and see what Ash Ketchum and co. have been up to. The first part of the sixteenth (!) season of the series, Pokemon BW: Adventures in Unova DVD Set 1, was recently released by VIZ Media, featuring 25 episodes of Pokemon-battling goodness.
Pokemon BW: Adventures in Unova DVD Set 1 follows Ash, Iris and Cilan, and picks up after their confrontation with Team Rocket in the last season. The main story arc for Ash revolves around his desire to become a Pokemon master – he’s managed to get his hands on eight Gym badges, and is looking to challenge himself by entering the Unova League.
In the first episode, “Beauties Battling for Pride and Prestige!”, the gang has to battle a bunch of pompous girls dubbed the “Flower Garden Troop” after the girls insult Iris’ Pokemon by calling them ugly. Since their club is girls only, Ash and Cilan are forced to dress up in drag to help Iris put these girls in their place. “A Surface to Air Tag Battle Team!” finds Ash and Cilan in a tag battle against twins Rocko and Soren, who have mastered both air and land battling. Ash offers to help the brothers catch a Water-type Pokemon, so that they can wield an unstoppable force of air, land and sea domination.
Before Ash heads to the Unova League in Vertress City, Ivy suggests that they make a detour and visit her hometown – the Village of Dragons. There Iris runs into her old friend Shanon, who has been watching over two Zweilous. When one of the Zeilous suddenly evolves, it goes on a destructive rampage our of fear; it’s up to Iris to calm the beast down and make the village elder proud. “Drayden Versus Iris: Past, Present, and Future!” focuses once again on Iris, as she faces her fears and challenges Drayden, the Gym Leader of Opelucid City. Drayden managed to best Iris once in the past, but she’s learned from her mistakes and gained a lot of experience since then, which she’ll put to good use in this final showdown.
“Team Eevee and the Pokémon Rescue Squad!” sees the group almost meet a grisly death after falling off a dangerous mountain, but luckily they are saved by a man named Virgil and his Eevee and Espeon Pokemon. He helms the Pokemon Rescue Squad, which helps citizens in distress whenever the need arises. Virgil trains a host of evolved Eevees, and puts them all to use in this episode when a group of workers become trapped in a frozen dam. After Ash and Virgil help to free to the workers, Virgil reveals that the two will soon be rivals – he’s going to join the Unova league, as well!
Pokemon BW: Adventures in Unova DVD Set 1 packs a lot of fun into its 9 hours, but unfortunately there are no extras to speak of. The English voice dub is overall pretty good, and nothing stood out to me as laughably bad – though I’ve read that a lot of fans are not happy with the new voice actor for Ash (Sarah Natochenny – the original actor was Veronica Taylor). The sound mix is clear and powerful, and the visuals look great, with smooth animation, beautiful backgrounds and a few well-placed CGI shots.
In short, Pokemon BW: Adventures in Unova DVD Set 1 is a solid collection of episodes, and definitely worth picking up for fans of the show. While it would have been nice to pack in some extra features, the animation and sound mix are great, and the set boasts over 9 hours of content.