Not to drop a pun right out of the gate, but it’s been quite the journey to get here, hasn’t it? The wait for the English Dub of Pokemon Ultimate Journeys has been excruciating at times, and given all the spoilers that have come out of Japan and now the new mainline anime going down right now, you just had to hope that it would all work out in the end. Would Ash, Goh, and Chloe get some meaningful endings? Or would it end up like the rest of this particular series? As in, an inconsistent venture. Well, as my Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Part 3 Review will explain, it was a champion time, but it still stumbled in key moments.
I’m going to focus mainly on the Masters 8 arc here because it was easily the highlight of the final episodes (for better and for worse.) The “final battles” with Ash in the World Coronation Series were always going to be a big deal, but the question was whether they would be better than the fights we saw previously. As I noted in my last review, I didn’t like how they handled the first set of matches, and there were issues with these new ones, as I’ll detail later. But, for the most part, it was a fun time.
For example, the fight with Steven Stone was interesting, and it was great to see Ash overcome him, given how they’ve helped save the world a time or two in the past. The Cynthia fight is arguably one people will be talking about for a while for all the right reasons. Ash arguably has the deepest “relationship” with Cynthia, given how many times she’s popped up over the years, so their fight HAD to be special, and it was. Cynthia is a BOSS, and I’m glad they had her almost beating Ash in many ways to show that while he won, he could still learn a thing or two. One thing I’ll definitely give credit to the writers for is how they used Ash’s 3-6 Pokemon from this set of journeys to make every fight special and not retread on old ground.
But, of course, the fight that everyone wanted to see, and wanted to be good, was Ash vs. Leon. This was teased the moment that Pokemon Journeys showed off Galar and the World Coronation Series. Leon is easily one of the best champs we’ve ever seen, both in-game and out. His representation in the anime was beautiful, and his interactions with Ash were awesome. So I was curious to see how it would all play out despite the ending being spoiled for anyone who’s been on social media when the episodes aired in Japan.
Easily one of the best parts of the fight was not just how Ash and Leon went back and forth in the fight with their “leads” and strategies but how they pushed each other into corners and then found a way out of them. Leon using Ash’s Counter Shield, for example, was something I didn’t expect but totally loved.
A great irony of this fight was that if I DIDN’T know that Ash was going to win, I honestly would’ve thought he would lose like so many times before. But not only did that not happen, we easily got one of the coolest animation moments in series history with this scene here:
Yep, that happened, and in a way, it was the perfect way for the fight to end. Because this episode, in many ways, ended Ash’s main journey, it was fitting that they played the OG theme song to show Pikachu’s ultimate victory for his ultimate friend, Ash. And if you’re curious, yes, not only did I get chills when that song hit, I started to cry. I regret nothing.
As for the other characters in the show, I did enjoy Chloe’s mini-adventure, where she decided to dedicate herself to learning more about Pokemon, both Eevee and beyond. It’s fitting, given that she’s the child of a professor, and it would also fit along her journey with Eevee to learn everything she can before making a decision about a possible evolution for her partner. Chloe wasn’t my favorite companion when this series started, but I’ll admit, once she got Eevee, she became a very fun character with a nice perspective on the Pokemon world.
So what about Goh…? Well…
Honestly, I thought it would take longer to get to this part of my Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Part 3 Review, but oh well.
Since this was the last part of this particular series, that meant that Goh’s journey with Project Mew had to come to an end. That meant “one last mission” to try and find Mew, and in part, it was worth it. I liked the episode where we saw the “birth of the world” and the team questioning what it meant overall. Plus, Goh did get to meet Mew and even held it in his hands, as you can see above.
But…after that ONE MISSION…they were done. Seriously, they did all that effort to find chasers, and then they were basically dismissed after one mission. Yes, they were offered to continue the work with the project, but NONE of them accepted outright, which really makes me question the point of this arc outside of Goh meeting Mew. Plus, there were some really odd bits that made no sense, such as Mew splitting itself in two and mimicking Groudon and Kyogre or somehow being able to shut down all electrical devices.
Or my personal favorite, the team suddenly and randomly thinking that “Mew is cruel” because…of people’s reports on it? It was weird.
Sticking with Goh, it also really ticked me off when he decided to go on his own journey, but when Ash said that very line first, Goh went off on a rampage. It was so…dumb. He also said that he couldn’t imagine doing a journey alone, even though his “line” for much of the series is that “I don’t do teams.” So which is it, Goh?
Furthermore, the placement of the final Project Mew episodes felt really off to me. They just so HAPPEN to happen during Ash’s final battle with Leon, which many agreed was bad form. Then, they had those episodes AFTER the Leon fight. Personally, I would’ve swapped the arcs. Do Project Mew first, and then end things with the climactic final match before heading to the epilogue episodes…which honestly were odd for multiple reasons outside the one I mentioned with Goh.
Another big flaw I found was with the handling of Leon vs. Diantha. She’s the “Queen” of Kalos, has beaten Ash, Lance, and others, and yet she basically got run over by Leon. Plus, the episode that featured much of her fight…we didn’t see! Why? because they had a weird episode of Ash and Cynthia helping two kids. This is the Masters 8! Why do that storyline, instead of showing two of the best, go at it? It made no sense, especially given the two epic battles we’d see next.
Finally, there were several odd moments in the final fights that frankly made no sense. Like Pikachu beating Mega Metagross simply because it could use its Z-Move in a way the Pokemon couldn’t predict? Huh? Or Ash repeatedly being shocked by Cynthia switching out Pokemon in their fight when it was specifically stated that she could do that (and then he did the same against Leon.) Or in the Leon fight, Cinderace didn’t take a single hit of damage and then was one-shot by a non-supereffective Dynamax move. Yes, they are “minor details,” but they should matter.
In the end, many people will be happy with Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Part 3 because of how well the final battles were shown and the touching ending to Ash’s penultimate journey. But if you wanted a “flawless victory,”…you’ll have to look somewhere else.
Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Part 3 is currently watchable on Netflix.
Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Part 3
Pokemon Ultimate Journeys Part 3 wrapped up Project Mew and the World Coronation Series! It wasn’t a perfect ending by any means, but many longtime fans, along with new ones, will likely enjoy much of what they see.