Pokemon Advanced Vol. #5: A Hole Lotta Trouble (of 8) (Mania.com)

By:Derek Guder
Review Date: Monday, February 21, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, November 09, 2004



What They Say
Which Wurmple's Which?
A battle between Jessie and May's wurmples turns into complete confusion. Will Ash and his friends switch wurmples before Team Rocket jets off?

A Hole Lotta Trouble
Team Rocket's knack for digging holes is helpful when Ash and the gang get together with Jessie, James and Meowth to escape Granite Cage before it caves in.

Gone Corphishin'
When a mysterious Pokemon disrupts Ash's new training technique, it's up to our heores to uncover the identity of this pesky Pokemon.

The Review!
It is business as usual for our intrepid band of Pokémon travelers. New friends and new battles await in another volume of the series that just keeps cranking out the merchandise.

Audio:
Featuring only an English audio track, this volume provides a simple but solid stereo track. There were no distortions, dropouts, or other problems. Everything comes through the center channel with no directional effects; action, dialogue, and music are balanced well providing an adequate experience.

Video:
The video provides an adequate experience; the transfer has no issues with artifacts, cross coloration, or print damage. While colorful, the picture feels flat and lacks much detail; it looks decent but there just is not much detail to catch the eye.

Packaging:
Wurmple and Corphish grace the front cover accompanied by a rather large series logo at the top. The volume number and title is at the bottom along with a sizable banner indicating that the disc contains two bonus episodes. The back cover features the requisite screenshots, episode synopses, and disc information. Also included on the back is the Pokédex entry for Corphish.

Inside is a one page insert with the chapter listings and the Pokédex entry for Wurmple on one side. The opposite side contains only a brief advertisement for the Pokémon web site.

Menu:
The menus are very simple featuring only a static image and no background music. They are quick and functional but also quite boring; at the very least, they could have looped a piece of the theme song in the background.

Extras:
None

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Having watched more Pokémon than I ever expected to, I had a good idea of what to expect from the fifth volume of Advanced. There would be training, new Pokémon acquired, and a generous helping of Team Rocket blasting off. The key would lie in how entertaining all of this could be made.

Things are not off to a roaring start as the first episode has the group fishing in a river. Eventually, they manage to haul up the stinkiest fish possible -- Team Rocket. In the ensuing blast-off, Jessie and May manage to get their Wurmple's mixed up. May and the gang finally catch up to them and switch them back.

The next episode finds the gang inside a cave system looking for Steven, a master trainer. Team Rocket's hole trap goes horribly wrong and ends up leaving each member of Team Rocket trapped with a member of Ash's gang. This leads to the only amusing moments for the volume as each Rocket member gripes about the others through the whole ordeal. That is, they gripe until they are reunited, and then it is back to business as usual.

The last three episodes have the gang picking up a corphish for Ash and a mudkip for Brock. May and Jessie's wurmples both evolve into silcoons in the process as well. Beyond that, nothing of note occurs in this volume making for a boring viewing session. There are small attempts to push the standard "friends help friends" and other messages, but they tend to get lost in the large amounts of merchandising wrapped around it.

But, having been a kid myself once, this is the sort of series I would have watched. It is colorful, features an amusing cast of characters and cool looking creatures, and provides plenty of slapstick humor. Unless there is a specific Pokémon in this volume a child likes, this is one that can be skipped over for purchasing and rented on a rainy day or for a long car trip.

In Summary:
This volume is summed up best by the old adage "if you've seen one, you've seen them all". The focus is on training and picking up new friends along the way. This seems to be the formula for the series; train for a number of episodes, have a gym battle, and then start training again so new Pokémon are introduced. The formula makes it easy to jump into the series at any point but makes watching volume after volume a bit tedious for a more mature viewer. For a younger viewer, if they have seen one and liked it, they will most likely keep watching no matter how repetitious the series becomes.

Features
English 2.0 Language

Review Equipment
Mitsubishi 27" TV, Panasonic RP-82, Sony STR-DE915 DD receiver, Bose Acoustimass-6 speakers, generic S-Video and audio cable



Mania Grade: C+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 3 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 14.99
Running time: 110
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Pokemon