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by MrAJCosplay,

Pokémon Horizons Episodes 13-23

Anime Series Review

Pokémon Horizons Episodes 13-23 Anime Series Review

Liko, Roy, and the rest of the Rising Volt Tacklers have just finished having a chance encounter with a mysterious black Rayquaza. More questions start piling up about Liko's pendant, and the crew thinks that Liko's grandmother might know the answers. Along the way, Liko and Roy learn more about what it means to be a Pokémon Trainer through their interactions with the various adults they encounter on their journeys. They also seem to be positively affecting those around them as the reclusive tech genius of the Rising Volt Tacklers, Dot, decides to make a stronger appearance.

Through making sandwiches, catching their second Pokémon, and having more chance counters with legendary Pokémon, Lico and Roy's adventures only get more intense! But things are not all fun and games as the Explorers are still on the move for Liko's pendant with a new Admin now in charge.


Pokémon: Horizons felt like a breath of fresh air as a new mainline Pokémon series. With a more timid and empathic main character and a stronger emphasis on the adventuring aspect of being a Pokémon Trainer, I was thoroughly impressed with where the series was going. My biggest concern after the first twelve episodes was whether or not the series would lose momentum with the stronger emphasis on a mystery and overarching plot. Those concerns remain, but I can firmly say that this next batch of episodes did not falter. If anything, Pokémon: Horizons continues to ramp up the intrigue and character development in incredibly organic ways, for the most part.

There are one or two snags in the show's plotting that did break my suspension of disbelief. I'm not a big fan of shows that will dumb down a character or explicitly make someone not communicate vital information to elongate a particular plot point. That happens twice here, like when Liko fails to ascertain Dot's identity as an online internet sensation, and Friede does not communicate concerning intel to the rest of his crew. The former felt unnecessary because it was stretching out a mystery that did not feel important overall, while the latter was just annoying because it would've meant that the plot progression could have been carried out differently. It was established early on that Friede gets so caught up in things that he is very forgetful regarding the details, but that's never played up enough to feel like an endearing quirk, and instead, it came off as a bit of lazy writing. It may seem weird to talk about lazy writing in a Pokémon series, but these moments only stood out because the rest of the season was so good!

Pokémon: Horizons does a fantastic job of balancing the plot-focused narrative with genuine and believable character development. Before, it was Liko and Roy, but now, with the inclusion of Dot, the show has more firmly established that these three are to be our main characters. Not only do each of them possess a primary starter, but their positions as the youngest members of the Rising Volt Tacklers mean that their stories about growing up and learning about how the world works can be intertwined. The dynamics these three have with each other and share with other crew members feel genuine and heartfelt. You believe there is a sense of character growth after every handful of episodes, which is a huge step from what we had previously. Don't get me wrong, I loved Ash as a protagonist, but his overall growth as a character was stagnant at best and inconsistent at worst.

In this batch of episodes, we see Liko step up more as a character who is sensitive to the feelings of others. Before, she would get very easily overwhelmed by things, but now she is the one who picks up on the little emotional changes that the other characters go through. You could feel her desire to learn more about those around her, whether they be people or Pokémon, and that is an excellent direction to take her character as it helps her function as an audience surrogate while making her come into her own. Roy continues to be just a genuinely sweet bean whose personality is infectious. It's fun seeing everybody just get sucked into his pace as the more unorthodox member of the team. And then there's Dot, who gets the most development in these episodes, going from a social recluse who arguably lives terminally online to someone who learns to go out and embraces that sense of adventure. The friendship between her and Liko is hands-down a highlight of the season. When the three stand together and go up against the Explorers for their “we are the main characters” moment, it is one hundred percent earned.

Speaking of the Explorers, while Amethio gets sidelined for most of these episodes, only reappearing toward the end, his presence gets replaced with a new member of the explorers named Spinel, played by Matthew Mercer. What I like about the slow unraveling of the Explorers is their ability to feel threatening in unique ways. While Amethio is more straightforward, Spinel is mischievous, commanding his Pokémon from behind the scenes as if he were sending agents out. He gives off more supervillain vibes and would rather not get his hands dirty directly, but he steps it up the minute he gets annoyed or doesn't feel like having fun anymore. There's just so much presence to the guy, and the way he manipulated the events early on was captivating.

His presence also displays creativity as a Pokémon Trainer, an aspect Pokémon: Horizons excels at. Whether it's using magnet Pokémon to disrupt phone signals or using psychic Pokémon to hypnotize Liko and trick her into giving him her pendant, Pokémon: Horizons does make you feel like the possibilities are endless in the Pokémon world. There's a level of creativity and imagination here that makes me feel like a kid again, even though the show seems to try to appeal to a slightly older audience.

This creativity also leads to gorgeously animated sequences and even solid episode direction. One episode in particular goes into the history of Captain Pikachu, and it is hands-down one of the best-looking and best-directed episodes I think the entire franchise has ever seen. It even comes with black bars to give you that cinematic feel. Animation is consistent and takes it up a notch when we get to some iconic moments in character acting, and the Pokémon battles themselves. The sound design is also super crunchy, and the soundtrack sounds more varied this time. I noticed a couple of music themes that seemed to have specific cultural inspirations, and some characters seem to mix in foreign words into their dialogue. Nothing major, but little touches like that make the world feel bigger when going on a globetrotting adventure.

Honestly, the fact that I can talk this much about eleven episodes of a Pokémon series is probably a testament in and of itself. I haven't even gotten into the rest of the Rising Volt Tackers, who feel much more fleshed out and like real characters now that we have started getting backstory into how the team formed. There's just so much that happens! Pokémon: Horizons continues to display some of the best the franchise offers with great character work, creative setpieces, surprisingly strong direction, and a focus on a plot that continues to feel engaging. While there were some plot complaints, that's because the bar has been raised for what to expect from Pokémon: Horizons moving forward. I hope it continues to maintain this momentum because when we consider where this batch of episodes left off, there are certainly more exciting things to come.

Overall (dub) : A
Story : A
Animation : A
Art : B+
Music : B+

+ Liko, Roy and now Dot continue to be great protagonists, Spinel is another great villian, super creative use of Pokémon and setpieces
Some plotting feels lazy and unecessary

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Production Info:
Chief Director: Daiki Tomiyasu
Director: Saori Den
Series Composition: Dai Satō
Deko Akao
Naohiro Fukushima
Kureha Matsuzawa
Naruki Nagakawa
Dai Satō
Muga Takeda
Michihiro Tsuchiya
Kimiko Ueno
Hiromasa Amano
Yūji Asada
Saori Den
Takahiko Kyōgoku
Daichi Masu
Kazuaki Mōri
Ayumi Moriyama
Makoto Nakata
Shōji Nishida
Yasuhiro Noda
Makoto Ōga
Yūsuke Oshida
Noriaki Saito
Masato Satō
Satoshi Shimizu
Hiroaki Takagi
Daiki Tomiyasu
Tetsuo Yajima
Episode Director:
Yūichi Abe
Yūji Asada
Saori Den
Yoshihiko Iwata
Takashi Kojima
Junya Koshiba
Hiromichi Matano
Ayumi Moriyama
Makoto Nakata
Yasuhiro Noda
Makoto Ōga
Jin-Koo Oh
Hiroyuki Okuno
Satoshi Saga
Hiroaki Takagi
Masashi Tsukino
Fumihiro Ueno
Unit Director:
Takahiko Kyōgoku
Daichi Masu
Ayumi Moriyama
Kotaro Sakamoto
Haruno Tasaka
Daiki Tomiyasu
Chiko Ueda
Music: Conisch
Original Concept: Satoshi Tajiri
Character Design: Rei Yamazaki
Art Director: Masatoshi Muto
Chief Animation Director:
Kyōko Itō
Rei Yamazaki
Animation Director:
Ryōtarō Aoba
Makoto Arashiro
Jie Qiong Chen
Saki Ebisawa
Peng Guan
Keita Hagiwara
Hironori Hano
Natsumi Hattori
Kosuke Hiramatsu
Toshihito Hirooka
Kyōko Itō
Masaaki Iwane
Kenji Kato
Yūki Kitajima
Chiaki Kurakazu
Ding Fu Liu
Jun Liu
Yuki Masutani
Megumi Matsumoto
Toshiko Nakaya
Hiromi Niioka
Yasue Ohno
Akihiko Oka
Masaya Ōnishi
Yoshifumi Ookawa
Yūsuke Oshida
Pei Qi Peng
Hiromi Sakai
Prommee Saksit
Mare Sekikawa
Izumi Shimura
Takashi Shinohara
Miho Sugimoto
Sayo Sugiyama
Yūhei Takahoshi
Hibiki Takazoe
Shuji Tanaka
Chuang Xu
Toshiya Yamada
Kurika Yamagata
Naoko Yamamoto
Rei Yamazaki
Yoshitaka Yanagihara
Shinichi Yoshino
Pei Ming Zhou
Sound Director: Masafumi Mima
Cgi Director: Takayoshi Kawasaki
Director of Photography:
Yūsaku Ishimi
Hiromichi Suzuki
Tsuyoshi Kajiwara
Yūsuke Kudō
Tomoya Negishi
Ayaka Sekiguchi

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