Satoshi and his friends get lost in an unknown wasteland. They eventually come across a "Water Pokemon Show" performed by the star of the Mariner Troupe, Hiromi. Hiromi is a descendant of the troupe of Water People able to communicate with water pokemon, and she tells our heroes the legend that's been passed down by her people for generations. According to legend, a temple the Water People built called "The Water Temple Akuusha" rests somewhere in the ocean, and a treasure called "The Water Crown" is hidden there. It's said that no one has ever seen this treasure, but that changes when a Pokemon Ranger named Jack Walker (aka Jackie) appears to chase aftert it.
Jackie is on a top secret mission that has him protecting the egg of the leader of the water pokemon, Manaphy. This pokemon, called the "Prince of the Sea," needs to be taken to the Water Temple Akuusha, so Satoshi-tachi and Hiromi decide to help him. Along the way, a pirate named Phantom attacks our heroes from his great submarine. Phantom plans to use the Water Crown's power to help him conquer the world, but he'll have to solve the mystery of Manaphy's egg first. When the Rocket-Dan get into the mix, Jackie uses his Capture Styler to borrow the power of a nearby pokemon to stand up to them. Satoshi and Pikachu enter the fray, but they still have to contend with the attacks of Phantom's powerful high tech mecha! Suddenly, the egg starts to shine with a vivid light, and Manpahy is born!
What is the mystery of the legendary treasure? What mysterious powers does Manaphy have? Can Satoshi-tachi and Jackie complete their top secret mission? The journey to reach the Water Temple Akuusha has begun!
In the long list of Pokémon movies, this is not the worst nor the best.
There were many elements I thought were very computer game-ish; I could see that if they wanted to turn the movie straight into a game, there would be many scenes directly translated to that with all the jumping, fighting and moving around.
Our main character Ash, Brock, May and Max are joined by a Marina Group, who put on a beautiful show with water and psychic Pokémon. None of the new characters stay as strangers and they become part of the story very nicely.
Although the Pokémon Ranger Jack Walker is kind of
annoying, he remains fairly professional and doesn’t ruin the whole thing. Pokémon Rangers as a whole are not explored all that much, when Ash - and especially May - end up being the big heroes.
The music in the film was kind of disappointing. You could listen to it for a bit, but then it just seemed to repeat itself instead of remaining entertaining. The art was top notch again, although I’m not a fan of computer animation being mixed into the usual animation style - they just don’t fit together that well.
The plot was short, making the movie feel slightly too long. It wasn’t boring, though, and remained quite well balanced. It also captured some good, strong emotions of taking care of someone and then having to let them go.
I wouldn’t resist watching this again, but the story was a bit weaker than in the best of Pokémon movies I’ve already seen.
Manaphy: The Movie, or if you're fond of long winded titles, Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea, is the fourth and last film in the Pokemon Advance series. While the film series continued onward with annual releases under a slightly different name, this was the last we saw of May and Max. The first Advance film gave Max some focus, but both characters were generally reduced to supporting roles. Luckily for May, Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation the Movie: Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea: Manaphy decided to focus on her. And lucky indeed she is, because the fourth Advance film is
the only of the four I can consider good without any doubts.
While the slapstick antics of the titular ranger, Jack, did initially turn me off the film, they're used sparingly. Phantom and his pirate crew border on the ridiculous as well, but just like Jack, they're used in moderation and in mostly good taste. A scene that itches me as inapropriate is the one where Phantom's antics diminish the drama of the chase leading to hatching of Manaphy's. Generally, these gripes are insignificant in the wider picture.
One of the major things that make this film stand out from most Pokemon sequels is the creation of interesting side characters. The family Ash and company come in contact with this time aren't exceeding strange or special. They feel like normal people and as normal people, they have small quirks that flesh them out as unique - the way they dress, talk, walk and values they spout. The film succeeds at painting the relationships of supporting cast as real and fine dialogue makes them interesting enough to follow. Their distinct "house" is given its own visual identity, as well. Because of this, film successfuly indulges into 40 minutes of set up and casual character building.
Handled wrongly, Manaphy could have ended up as an annoying baby and a catalyst for many frustrating moments. This doesn't happen. In the film, Manaphy bonds with May, and although May isn't interesting here as she is in the fourth season of the regular Pokemon show, she can take the spotlight just fine.
While the film is plot driven, a large chunk of the middle half is spent on a journey. This time is spent focusing on the relationship between May and Manaphy and I'm happy to say - this relationship makes the movie shine in a few moments. Accompanied by some quite sophisticated dialogue for a Pokemon film, these scenes make the best that movie has to offer.
Some standout scenes are Manaphy's search for May's scarf and the exchange between Jack and Ash with May joining in later. On the less positive side, this migrant family of circus entertainers has enough money for top tier sea equipment, boats and submarines. In the movie they proceed to destroy these vehicles and you can't stop and wonder - how rich do they have to be not to mention the loss?
The last third of this film, features a supernatural sea temple and while I've had my rants regarding vague magic in Pokemon before, this one's not a thorn in my side. Indeed, it is connected to currents and power of Manaphy as a legendary sea Pokemon. Last but not least, the whole creation is seen to be fragile, with decaying pilasters, statues and the whole sinking plot. It's a creation subservient to the (embellished) laws of physics.
In the last act, the film serves us a nice meal - Ash acting heroic. There's some neat action and Ash, who usually spouts exposition while his pokemon do all the work, plunges right into the plot and saves the day. While the ending could certianly do with some more May, Ash makes it worthwile. Bravo Ash, this marks the first time since the Mewtwo movie that you displayed agency.
All in all, while the whole deal with nonsensical yellow powers at the end does lower the score, the vast majority of the film is nested in the fine to pretty good area. Manaphy and May were an enjoyable pair and the plot was solid, even if a bit barebones. I feel that movie could have benefited from the apearance of Phione, but that's a very minor point. 6.5/10
This was the cutest Pokemon movie ever. Pokemon Rangers are set out to protect Manaphy, "the prince of the sea."
After it hatches, it sees May as its mother, thus making a strong and painful bond for them.
After evil comes to capture Manaphy, Ash is the hero once again. For the kids that don't know this generation, this will show how Ash has come along. For those that have seen this, couldn't hurt to watch it again!