Since 1998, the first Pokemon movie shown in Japanese theaters and now, a Pokemon movie has been the hallmark for the Japanese summer vacation. Every summer in Japan, there is a new Pokemon movie and to date, there are 19 Pokemon films ever made to keep the kids during their summer holiday interested for more. For every Pokemon movie, there is a new Pokemon featured. Some are what the called mythical Pokemon and can be given to gamers while others are preview for new installments to come in the future.
So, with the 20th Pokemon movie ready to hit theaters in the Summer of 2017, made to honor the TV series' 20th anniversary when the TV show adaptation began airing on TV Tokyo since 1997, let's jot down the films that expand our love of Pokemon.
Since the beginning:
- Pokemon: The First Movie (1998) - In the first ever Pokemon movie, shown in Japanese theaters in the summer of 1998 and then a year later globally, Ash and the gang takes on the most powerful adversary ever faced; a genetic Pokemon Mewtwo. What's supposed to be an invitation to take on the most powerful trainers in one place, turned out to be a trap set by Mewtwo, to create clones of their Pokemon in order to destroy the balance between Pokemon and trainers alike. We had a lot of memorable scenes in this film and its appearance of Mew made everyone want to have one in their collection, especially when they offered it as a gift for the moviegoers. Before the film, moviegoers are treated with a Pikachu short film featuring new Pokemon such as Snubbull and Marill.
- Pokemon The Movie 2000 (1999) - The second film sees the debut of the legendary Lugia, a Pokemon which appears in the Gold and Silver games, as well as the three legendary birds Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. A mysterious adversary tries to gain control of the three legendary birds just to hunt down the legendary Lugia. Unaware on what's going on around here, it seems that only a person like Ash could change the future of the world and how he lives up to his name and the foretelling (according to Slowking's wisdom) is a risky challenge. Like the first one, filmgoers are treated with another Pikachu short film,this time it featured newer Pokemon such as Elekid, Bellossom, and others.
The Johto Journeys:
- Pokemon The Movie 3 (2000) - In this third film based on the Johto Journeys arc of the show, a young girl is trapped on her dream set by the mysterious Unown and her father became a legendary Pokemon Entei, who took Ash's mom for a certain reason. It's up to Ash and the gang to uncover the hidden truth behind the series of strange events. Before the action kicked in, there is a Pichu and Pikachu short featuring Pikachu and the Pichu Bros in an adorable adventure in the city.
- Pokemon 4Ever (2001) - 40 years ago, the mythical Pokemon Celebi is fleeing from a vicious hunter and a young trainer rushed to rescue Celebi. The legend of the mysterious trainer who saved Celebi and vanished into thin air has about to become real as Ash and the gang find out when will the young trainer and Celebi able to show up again. However, there are still people wanted to hunt down Celebi, and this time, a powerful villain plots to get Celebi by a mysterious Poke Ball that will enslave anything in evil it captures. With Celebi fell into the wrong hands, Ash and the gang is on a quest to save Celebi from the crutches of a villainous Iron Masked Marauder. Before the film, there's a Pikachu short featuring new Pokemon such as Kecleon and Azurill, and this short sees Pikachu and friends getting through all sorts of trouble. Those who witnessed the film got their hands on Celebi, for use in the Gold and Silver games.
- Pokemon Heroes (2002) - The fifth film sees Ash and the gang made a fateful encounter with the Eon Pokemon Latias and Latios. In the start, upon losing the Water Pokemon race, Ash rescued a young girl from two femme fatales but the young girl Ash rescued is actually Latias in disguise and those two femme fatales they've encountered, they're going after Latias and Latios as well as the mysterious Soul Dew, which controls the powerful machine that protects against danger. With imminent danger has risen, it's up to Ash and the gang to save the day. Before the film, there's a Pikachu short where Pikachu and the gang are going camping, with the special appearances of Wynaut, Duskull, and Volbeat.
The Advanced Generation:
- Jirachi: The Wish Maker (2003) - Based on the Advanced Generation saga of the show, Ash and the gang are on a wishful adventure to save the mythical Wish Pokemon Jirachi from a powerful villain who wished to revive Groudon and wreak havoc over the land. Before the film, there's a short film which sees Meowth throwing up a party where all Pokemon invited and Meowth's going to need their help to make the best party ever. Those who witnessed the film got their wish come true by having Jirachi on Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire games.
- Destiny Deoxys (2004) - The next Advanced Generation flick sees Ash and a gang met a young boy who is afraid of all Pokemon, even the cute ones like Pikachu, and got caught in a crossfire between two powerful Pokemon Deoxys and Rayquaza. Those who watched the film got their own Deoxys for use in the Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green versions and with this Pokemon, they can unleash different forms in terms of attack, defense, and speed, as well as its signature Psycho Boost attack.
- Lucario and the Secret of Mew (2005) - Upon winning a battle, Ash became a ceremonial Aura Guardian and out of nowhere, a mysterious Aura Pokemon Lucario appeared and following its long betrayal from its long-time master, a descendant of a Aura Knight, Mew appeared and took Pikachu and Meowth away to the Tree of Life. As the situation becomes critical, Ash and the gang must convince Lucario to put aside its betrayal and save their friends. Of course, while moviegoers never got the chance to have Lucario, as well as the other new Pokemon appeared in this film, they got Mew instead for use in the Fire Red and Leaf Green versions.
- Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006) - Ash and the gang got mixed into the action when May befriends a mythical Pokemon named Manaphy and that Pokemon was targeted by a pirate who wants to gets his hands on the Sea Crown. Teaming up with a Pokemon Ranger, who has a Buizel at his side, they have to shake off the pursuers to protect Manaphy before its too late. Since this is 2006 and this is the year when Diamond and Pearl are out, those who got the game got a special Manaphy bonus in-game.
Diamond and Pearl
- The Rise of Darkrai (2007) - The first of the Diamond and Pearl films and in this film, Ash, Brock, and Dawn got caught in a conflict of time-space proportions and witnessing the wrath of the mythical Pokemon Darkrai, which causes nightmares for humans and Pokemon alike. Those who witnessed the film got their hands on Darkrai, which comes with its signature Dark Void attack which renders multiple Pokemon to sleep and then let its Bad Dreams ability drain the sleeping opponents' HP per turn.
- Giratina and the Sky Warrior (2008) - Since the launch of Pokemon Platinum, a second Diamond and Pearl movie went out and in this film, following events from the previous film, Giratina, the renegade Pokemon, dragged Dialga to the Reverse World until it was thwarted by the mythical Shaymin. Ash and the gang are helping Shaymin return to Gracidea garden until an evil plot threatens the very landscape by harnessing the power of Giratina. Giratina's Origin Forme and Shaymin are the star highlights of the film and while players are able to unleash Giratina's Origin Forme from Platinum, players who watched the film get a chance to have Shaymin as well as the Gracidea that transforms Shaymin from Land Forme to Sky Forme only on the daytime.
- Arceus and the Jewel of Life (2009) - Since the dawn of time, the Alpha Pokemon Arceus was worshipped as a god, and then betrayed by those after granted with the Jewel of Life. With the world's under threat from disruptions from the previous films, an imminent end of the world draws Ash and the gang travel back in time to revert the mistakes its ancestors done to Arceus. In addition to the mythical Arceus, a spiky-haired Pichu was present in the film and both are special bonuses given to players who played Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver.
- Zoroark: Master of Illusion (2010) - A city that was ravaged by the three legendary beasts; Entei, Raikou, and Suicune, as well as the return of Celebi, sees Ash and the gang team up with the mischievous Zorua to solve the series of unfortunate events, where the turning point is the work of a Illusion Fox Pokemon named Zoroark. Since this film was launched in the same year Black and White went out, players get their own Zorua or Zoroark in the game by catching one normally.
Black and White
- Pokemon the Movie Black/Pokemon the Movie White (2011) - To celebrate 15 years of Pokemon, their Summer 2011 film is a dual film experience. The storyline is the same but what's differ between these two film is the appearances of the Pokemon. Since this is a double sided film, moviegoers think twice about which side are they on. If they want Black; the tale of Victini and Reshiram is told, but for those who gone White, it's going to be the tale of Victini and Zekrom. Either way, the double film experience sees Ash, Iris, and Cilan, help Victini free from the barriers it couldn't escape while uncovering the truth or ideals that surrounds them.
- Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice (2012) - Ash and the gang meets up the mythical Pokemon Keldeo, who got caught in trouble when the Swords of Justice; Cobalion, Virizion, and Terrakion, held captive by the powerful Kyurem and its power to combine genes of either Reshiram or Zekrom to become more powerful. Unaware of this, the gang must shake off by any means necessary while letting Keldeo face its own destiny. Before the film, there's a short musical film featuring Pikachu and the gang as well as the mythical Meloetta.
- Genesect and the Legend Awakened (2013) - Genesect, a paleozoic Pokemon, lived a million years ago until Team Plasma modified it to become a powerful weapon. In a middle of nowhere, searching for their home, five Genesects, led by the shiny Red Genesect, made a fateful encounter with the legendary Mewtwo. Moments later, Ash and the gang caught up in a deadly crossfire between the Red Genesect and Mewtwo and how will our heroes prevent a possible disaster caused by these powerful Pokemons while promising a certain Genesect to find its home. Before the film, a special Pikachu short features Eevee evolutions, including the new evolved form, Sylveon. A different kind of Mewtwo and Sylveon became a mystery to the viewers until the launch of XY tells all that Sylveon's a Fairy-type Pokemon and that Mewtwo in question is Mega Mewtwo Y, one of the Mega Evolutions.
- Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction (2014) - The first film in the show's XY saga sees the mythical jewel Pokemon Diancie making its debut appearance. In this film, the Heart Diamond at the Diamond Domain where Diancie and the Carbinks live is disintegrating and Diancie's not powerful enough to make a new one. As it ventures to find the legendary life Pokemon, Xerneas, Diancie is being targeted by mysterious adversaries trying to take advantage of it and with Ash, Serena, Clemont, and Bonnie met up with Diancie, the gang are trying to fend off against pursuers before the wrath of Yveltal was unleashed. Those who witnessed the film got their hands on Diancie for use in the X and Y games and when Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire went on sale in November 2014, they can transfer Diancie via Pokemon Bank and gain the Diancite mega stone to mega evolve it. Oh yeah, before this film was shown, there's a Pikachu short where Pikachu and friends met up with Klefki and embark on a journey like no other. Mythical Pokemon like Jirachi, Manaphy, Darkrai, and Victini made special cameos in this short.
- Hoopa and the Clash of Ages (2015) - In this film, our heroes arrived at a desert city by the sea and later, they've been introduced by the mythical Pokemon Hoopa. Hoopa has the power to summon different things, especially humans and Pokemon, through its magic ring. What they didn't know that there was a tale about a young hero who managed to stop a major cataclysm unleashed by a powerful Pokemon long ago and with the darkest secret waiting to be unleashed, how can Ash and his friends protect Hoopa before a massive onslaught bring chaos to the world? This film features a powerhouse cast of legendary Pokemon that overshadowed the star Pokemon of the film, Hoopa, and those who witnessed the film got their very own Hoopa for use in XY and ORAS, and to unleash its Unbound form, players need to find the Prison Bottle at their nearest PokeMarts in-game. Oh yeah, there's a Pikachu short where Pikachu and the gang are doing a musical.
- Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel (2016) - Shown in Japanese theaters last summer of this year, this last film of the XYZ saga stars two mythical Pokemon such as the Steam Pokemon Volcanion and the Artificial Pokemon Magearna. In this film, Ash and the gang made a fateful encounter with Volcanion, a powerful Pokemon who despises all humans, and the unlikely pair set off on an adventure to save Magearna from a rogue minister trying to take control its Soul-Heart for hostile takeover. Although Volcanion and Magearna are the stars of the film, the real credit goes to the Mega-evolved Pokemon, including the shiny Mega Gengar and the shiny Mega Gardevoir. Of course, those who saw the film got two special bonuses. One is a code to get Volcanion for use in XY and ORAS, while the second is a Magearna card for use in the Pokemon Ga-ole arcade game by Takara Tomy. Thanks to Pokemon Sun and Moon's QR scanner, they managed to scan its QR code to add Magearna to their Alola adventure. With the addition of Magearna, the total number of Pokemon recorded on the National Pokedex, if you add the Alolan Pokedex, is now 801.
So, what will next year's Pokemon movie going to be? Since it's made to honor the TV series' 20th anniversary, it's going to be very special in store for the fans and your guesses will be as good as mine so see you in 2017!