Pokemon Vol. #04: Poke Friends (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, May 18, 1999
What They Say
Ash and his friends discover a spa for wounded Pokemon that is guarded by a brave Bulbasaur. Can Ash and Bulbasaur protect the spa from Team Rocket's evil plans?
Ash finds an abandoned Charmander and both of them learn a lesson in loyalty. Finally, Ash runs into a gang of delinquent Squirtle that have united with Team Rocket to cause trouble. Will Team Rocket ever go straight?
Grass, Fire, and Water power are added to Ash?s arsenal, and his friends.
Pokémon comes with only an English language stereo mix that makes no attempt to use directionality. Dialogue and sound are clear, and directed towards the front sound stage.
After the horrible video on the previous volumes, I didn?t locate any color or mpeg related problems on this volume. Aside from a little bit of graininess, this volume looks fine.
On the front cover, Pikachu, Charmander, Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Butterfree get front and center stage, since by the end of this volume, Ash will have increased the number of his Pokémon. Poor Pidgeot, he gets ignored by this cover. The volume name is on the front cover and spine. On the back cover, we have additional pictures of Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. A two sentence description for each episode is on the back. Again, the chapter insert is just a copy of the DVD menu,
The same familiar menu consists of just a chapter selection scene where you can select an episode, the opening, ending, or the Pokérap.
In addition to the same extras on this DVD as the previous volumes, the Pokérap and the fourth volume of the ?The Electric Tale of Pikachu? comic, this volume of Pokémon comes with a Pokémon card featuring Pikachu.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Ash?s collection of Pokémon doubles in this fourth volume.
As our Pokémon journey continues, Ash and gang encounter Bulbasaur and The Hidden Village. After the gang finds an Oddish on their path to Vermillion City, both Ash and Misty try to catch it but are stopped by a Bulbasaur. In the forest, they find a girl named Melanie who is taking care of some hurt and abandoned Pokémon. The Bulbasaur protects the weakened Pokémon and doesn?t like trainers. Team Rocket takes advantage of all these Pokémon gathered in one spot, and makes a grab for them. Bulbasaur and Ash defend everyone, and Bulbasaur gains a new respect for Ash.
Everyone is lost on their way to Vermillion City when they notice Charmander ? The Stray Pokémon on a rock in the middle of the road. Ash tries to catch it, but they finally figure out that it has a trainer, so they move on. The gang finally reaches the Pokémon Center, where they locate a trainer named Damion who abandoned his Charmander because it was too weak. A storm is going on, and a Charmander will die if its flame goes out, so Ash, Misty, and Brock rush outside into the rain to get the Charmander to the Pokémon Center. Even after Charmander is healed though, it returns to the rock due to its misplaced loyalty in Damion.
Here Comes the Squirtle Squad features a band of abandoned Squirtle who play tricks and pranks on the local town. Meowth encounters the Squirtles, and tricks the squad into capturing Pikachu, Ash, Misty, and Brock. In the battle to capture them though, Pikachu gets badly injured. Ash convinces the Squirtles to let him go to get a Super Potion for Pikachu to heal them. On the way to get the potion, he learns that Team Rocket is going to double cross the Squirtle squad so he rushes back. The leader of the Squirtle and Ash work together to stop Team Rocket, but not before a forest fire begins. Luckily, we have a bunch of Water Pokémon to take care of it.
The three Pokémon Ash gets in this volume are actually the three he was supposed to choose from for his first Pokémon. They are also the three Pokémon you choose from in the original Pokémon game. Except unlike the game, where you catch Pokémon, Ash earns these Pokémon through his actions. Respect and caring are qualities everyone should show, and all these Pokémon are moved by these qualities in Ash. Since these Pokémon will play important roles on Ash?s journey, this is another great volume to have in your collection.
Toshiba 3109 player, Toshiba 36? Cinema Series via component, Pioneer VSX-810S receiver via optical, Cerwin Vega front speakers, Pinnacle center and rears
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: B-
Packaging Rating: C+
Menus Rating: C-
Extras Rating: B-
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
Running time: 75
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2