Finally, a Good Translation for the Title! Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl: Arceus – Transcend the Confines of Time and Space

NOTE: The English version of the movie provides us a good translation of the Japanese title of this Arceus movie by putting it right in the dialogue. Remember folks, if you are going to translate the title instead of using the English adaptation’s as I have, Choukoku no Jikuu e should now be called Transcend the Confines of Time and Space. Stop using every translation of the title except this one, including my previous one. That line of debate should be over one way or another.

The latest movie in the Pokemon franchise is unique in a number of ways, something which is impressive given that this is the twelfth time Pokemon has seen a theatrical release. This is the first time a Pokemon movie has been released in English so soon after its Japanese release. Known as Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl: Arceus – Transcend the Confines of Time and Space (known in English as Arceus and the Jewel of Life), it not only is the conclusive part of the Diamond/Pearl/Platinum movie trilogy, but also the first Pokemon movie to place its focus on a god of all creation.

That god is known as Arceus, who in legends is said to have shaped the universe with its 1,000 arms. A metaphor I’m sure, seeing as the kirin-like Arceus has no arms to speak of. The movie centers around his return to Earth after many generations, where Arceus plans on exacting Judgment upon the humans who had dared to betray him all those years ago. And in the case of Arceus, “Judgment” translates into “Fiery Death from Above.”

The only Pokemon capable of even putting up a fight against this Pokemon deity are the feature Pokemon of the previous two movies, Dialga (the Pokemon who rules time), Palkia (the Pokemon who is given dominion over space), and Giratina (the sole natural inhabitant of a mysterious alternate dimension). We also learn that Arceus’ impending arrival is also what caused the distortions in time-space in the first two parts to the trilogy. Even then, they are barely able to withstand Arceus’ ire, and it is up to Satoshi/Ash and friends to figure out the truth about the Alpha Pokemon.

The 12th Pokemon movie is decent overall and definitely the kind of thing fans of the series will enjoy, but there are some things this movie does not do all that well. First, it never gives you a good sense of just how powerful Arceus is supposed to be. Though it clashes with and overpowers a number of other legendary Pokemon, the difference between Arceus and the three dragons of Sinnoh are never made clear enough to really appreciate that gap in power and majesty. Second, and I admit this is being somewhat unfair to the movie, it just does not live up to the bar set by Mewtwo Strikes Back. I revisit the first movie every time I review a Pokemon theatrical release because I believe it represents the pinnacle of the franchise and its ability to tell stories with a surprising degree of maturity and moral complexity.

That said, Arceus – Transcend the Confines of Time and Space still succeeds in showcasing through its story elements of human behavior that are both supportive and condemning of their place on the planet, albeit in a somewhat ham-fisted manner, and it provides a lot of information on the world of Pokemon that we had not previously seen, and this is probably the most fascinating part of the movie. Although the fourth movie starring Celebi gave us a view of the past where Poke Balls were hand-cranked devices, and the eighth movie starring Lucario showed us a time before the Poke Ball was even invented and Pokemon were controlled by humans like a general controls an army, Arceus’s movie goes back further still. Here, we learn that before they were known as Pocket Monsters they were called “magical creatures,” as if to imply that the relationship between man and Pokemon changed as technology progressed, though not necessarily for the worse, as the magical creatures of ancient times could be seen forcibly controlled by restrictive harnesses. That doesn’t exactly make up for not quite living up to the movie’s potential, but it does provide a lot of food for thought.

Overall, while it definitely could have been more, it was a mostly satisfying end to this trilogy. The next movie is bringing back Lugia, who’s had a 10-movie break, and will mark the first true theatrical appearance of Ho-oh. Ho-oh holds special significance in the Pokemon anime, as its appearance always signals great changes for Satoshi/Ash, so an entire movie featuring the Rainbow Pokemon almost feels like the end of an era.

From Mew to Arceus: A Discussion of Rare Pokemon Events and Beyond

The Pokemon Who is Also God is available at Toys “R” Us until November 15 this week, and I don’t know about you guys but I am totally gonna get me some divine Pockets Monster and then not use it at all because I haven’t actually played the game in forever. Nobie’s been out of the Pokemon gig for a while now.

As a result of the Arceus giveaway I’ve been thinking a lot about Pokemon as of late, and so if you’ll forgive me I’m going to ramble on while trying to touch on a number of points that I want to discuss.

Arceus is not the first rare pokemon I’ve obtained. I’ve gotten Darkrai and Deoxys through Toys “R” Us and Game Stop by bringing in my DS with my Pokemon Diamond and using Mystery Gift to get eggs from that one shop. However, I also went to the Pokemon Center back when it wasn’t called Nintendo World, and I was even there to get my official Mew for my Generation-1 Pokemon games, as well as at Six Flags to get my Celebi years later. I’ve been at this for a while.

The biggest difference between then and now, is that with the way event Pokemon get sent to you through the Mystery Gift function, you can totally get your Arceus without anyone noticing or wondering why you’re even there. This was not the case with getting that original Mew. You had to stand in a line with your game cartridge in hand while next to people of all ages (mostly kids, obviously) talking about Pokemon, and then you had give it to the Nintendo official who was wearing a bright Pokemon shirt so that they could use a machine to give you your Mew. In other words, there was no way to disguise the fact that you were a Pokemon fan. You had to accept it in order to get your Mew, or you were out of luck. Or you could just Gameshark it, but that’s another issue entirely.

I’m the kind of person who was never afraid to tell people I was into Pokemon, and keep in mind that I was into Pokemon starting in high school, so I was well beyond the target age. So what I liked about the Mew event was that you had to proudly show that you were a Pokemon fan, and while I can definitely say that the current way of obtaining event Pokemon is a lot more convenient for everyone, I do end up missing that aspect of camaraderie where you couldn’t hide in shame. And I’ve known people like that online and off, who were afraid to tell other people they were fans of Pokemon. They in many ways helped to inform my posts about having confidence in yourself as a fan of anime and such. It’s something I want people to come to terms with, no matter who they are.

Going back to the whole “people of all ages” thing, it’s really amazing how Pokemon is able to attract such a wide age group, and it’s a testament to the effectiveness of the game design and the supporting material. The game is easily playable by children 4 and under, and yet the battle system is one of the most robust and entertaining vs modes you will ever find in a video game. With currently almost 500 Pokemon available, 17 types, tons of attacks and items and more, it creates this intricate web of decisions and actions that you have to consider in order to make an effective Pokemon team. If it wasn’t obvious before, I’ll say it now: I love the strategy in Pokemon. Love, love, love it. It’s one of my favorite games of all time as a result, where I focus my efforts on trying to make Pokemon with lesser stats and abilities viable in competitive play while still maintaining what makes them unique. I’ve been a part of Azure Heights, Pokemon Daily, I used the Pokemon Battle Simulator, GSBots, Netbattle, Shoddy, and I even wrote some of the strategy sections on Smogon for some of the lesser-used Pokemon such as Noctowl and Sableye (though they are out of date), and was one of the first to suggest Yawn + U-Turn on Uxie. The only reason I don’t play it more now is that I know how easily it can draw me in.

And the best part is, if you don’t want to be a part of this insane world, you can ride on back to Pokemon just being about going out on adventures with your Pokemon friends and trading and having fun and ignoring all the number crunching that goes on. But if you do choose to stay? Why, there’s a whole plethora of options available to you. You can make a team according to your personality and what you think is important in a game, and you can still be competitive.

I know it can be a very daunting task to try to get into Pokemon multiplayer seeing as how there’s so much information. You’re supposed to memorize the fact that Steel is only weak to Ground, Fire, and Fighting, while also knowing that Ursaring has a very high attack stat. You’re supposed to at the very least know all 17 Pokemon types and most of the Pokemon out there. It’s a lot to commit to memory. But do you know who does commit it to memory? Kids. And they don’t do it by first going, “OKAY, I, GEORGE PEEPANTS, AM GOING TO BE A COMPETITIVE PLAYER.” No, they just absorb all of the media naturally. They learn everything about Pokemon because they love Pokemon, and that’s the true beauty of the Pokemon concept.

I know some people are of the belief that games shouldn’t require you to learn so much before you get to play. To that I say, first off you don’t actually need to know all this stuff to start playing against other people, it just increases your chances of winning. Secondly, I think you are rewarded much more richly for understanding the Pokemon system first. Sure, Pokemon is glorified Rock-Paper-Scissors (and Yu-Gi-Oh is glorified War, but that’s another topic for another day), but it’s that glorification that makes it the solid game that it is, and the complexity of the type chart is not something which people “just know.” And if you want to learn, just do what the kids do, and play.

Wow, are you still with me? In that case, let me share one of my favorite Pokemon to use with you. It’s designed primarily to annoy people who hate it when luck influences a match. I won’t go into stat distributions and what-not, so you can have the opportunity to see what works for you.

Registeel @Leftovers
Zap Cannon

Both Dynamicpunch and Zap Cannon have 50% accuracy, so you’re essentially fighting with coin flips, until you’ve had enough and you explode on somebody. Have fun with it, and watch as your opponents grow to hate you. You can use it in both the current generation and in the Advance line of games. If you want to apply it to Gold/Silver/Crystal, note that Ampharos can learn both Dynamicpunch and Zap Cannon.

So yeah, Pokemon.