Pokémon the Movie 12: Arceus and the Jewel of Life (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 30, 2011 by  

Entertaining, fun and action-packed! The 12th Pokémon film titled “Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” is one of Japan’s top box office hits and it is also a rare film to find four of the legendary Pokémon together in one film.  If you are a Pokémon fan, this film is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2011 Pokémon. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Pokémon the Movie 12: Arceus and the Jewel of Life

DURATION: 90 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Anamorphic Widescree (1:85:1), English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, Subtitles: English Closed Captions

COMPANY: vizkids/Viz Media

RATED: All Ages

Release Date: February 1, 2011

Director: Kunihiko Yuyama

Screenplay: Hideki Sonoda

Original Concept: Junichi Masuda, Ken Sugimori, Satoshi Tajiri

Character Design: Kazuaki Moori, Kazumi Sato, Sayuri Ichiishi, Tokuhiro Matsubara, Toshiya Yamada

Art Director: Minoru akiba

Chief Animation Director: Kazuaki Moori, Kazumi Sato

Animation Production by Oriental Light and Magic

Featuring the following voice talent:

Dan Green as Damos

Evelyn Lantto as Sheena

Jason Griffith as Marcus

Tom Wayland as Arceus

Wayne Grayson as Kevin

Bella Hudson as Kiko

Bill Rodgers as Brock

Emily Bauer as Dawn

Emily Williams as Officer Jenny

Ikue Othani as Ash’s Pikachu

Jimmy Zoppi as James

Kayzie Rogers as Spiky-eared Pichu

Marc Thompson as Tapp

Michele Knotz as Jessie

Sarah Natochenny as Ash Ketchum

Tim Werenko as Kato

Tom Wayland as Heatran

Long ago, Arceus granted a fragment of its awesome power as the Jewel of Life to help Michina in the town’s hour of need, only to be betrayed when it was time that power to be returned. After so many years, Arceus is about to return to reclaim that stolen power – enraged, vengeful, and seemingly unstoppable!

Not even the combined might of Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina can stop Arceus from devastating all existence across multiple dimensions, but Ash and his companions, joining forces with their new friend Sheena, may have discovered the only way to redeem that ancient betrayal. Their journey will be both dangerous and uncertain: even if Ash and his friends can set an old wrong right again, will there be time to return the Jewel of Life before Arceus destroys everything and everyone they’ve ever known?

For over a decade, the popularity of Pokémon continues to go strong.

I can easily remember when I was in Japan before the film and TV series became popular in the U.S. and being questioned by a distributor if I have ever heard of Pokemon.  I wasn’t even familiar with the series at the time but suffice to say, the TV series, the films, the video games and merchandise continues to be a financial powerhouse worldwide and it shows no signs of decline.

Although a series created for kids, many grew up with the series and as a father who has a young son that is “Pokémon” addicted and as a reviewer who has pretty much followed the series and video games for a very long time, I always look forward to the release of the annual Pokémon films in Japan and the US.

In 2009, the 12th Pokémon was released in theaters.  Titled “Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl the Movie: Arceus: To the Conquering of Space-Time”, the film made over $50 million (USD) in the box office in Japan.

The film was retitled to “Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” in the U.S. and aired on the Cartoon Network in the US in Nov. 2009.  The film is the third film in the “Diamond and Pearl” movie trilogy.  And now this film receives its DVD release as well as a simultaneous manga release in the US courtesy of Viz Media’s vizkids imprint.

“Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” is directed by Kunihiko Yuyama (Kimagure Orange Road: Summer’s Beginning”, “Wedding Peach” and “Pokémon”) and features Ash and his friends Brock and Dawn arriving in the land of Michina.

A beautiful area that lush and green and a great place for the Pokémon to rest and play.  But one day, for some apparent reason, the legendary Pokémon Dialga, Palkia and Giratina begin attacking each other.  This is not supposed to be possible as these legendary Pokémon exist in different space and time but somehow, they are fighting each other in Michina.

Fortunately, Sheena, who has the power to communicate with the hearts of Pokémon is able to calm the three legendary Pokemon and realizes that there is trouble.  But when she sees Ash with Pikachu, she wonders if the prophecy of a young boy with a Pokémon that will come to save the day is actually them.  Confused about the situation, Sheena explains that the reason why the legendary Pokémon are there is because of another power legendary Pokémon named Arceus.

A very long time ago, Michina used to be a ravaged land with no vegetation.  Because a man named Damos help save Arceus, the legendary Pokemon allowed Damos to use the Jewel of Life to bring prosperity to the land and make a ravaged, desert land to become full of vegetation, trees and life.  But both knew that when Arceus was fully-healed, Damos would return the Jewel of Life back to Arceus.

But instead of giving it back, for the fear that giving away the Jewel of Life would bring their land back to a ravaged time, Damos betrayed Arceus by not returning the Jewel of Life but taking advantage of Pokémon to unleash attacks that Arceus is unable to defend.  Betrayed by Damos, Arceus was sent into a rage and into a slumber, vowing to take revenge on humanity for their betrayal.

And because Arceus is back, it has altered time and space and thus all legendary Pokémon are together in one area.

But Sheena reveals that she is the ancestor to Damos and generations after Damos have vowed to make things right with Arceus once and for all and that is by returning to him the Jewel of Life.

When Arceus returns, his rage and hatred towards humanity continues but when Sheen goes to present him the Jewel of Life and tries to make peace with them, Arceus is further angered that humanity tried to lie by giving him a fake Jewel of Life and now he wants to unleash his anger.  Before he can do so, the three legendary Pokemon take on Arceus.

Meanwhile, Dialga transports Sheena, Ash and friends back to the past before Damos’ betrayal and to learn the truth of the betrayal of Arceus.


“Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen (1:85:1) and I will say that because it is a film and because “Pokémon” is such a huge money-maker in Japan, you know there is not going to be any skimping on this film.  And I was right.  The film looks absolutely beautiful as they combine animation and these beautifully painted backgrounds.  The amount of detail to attain realism for the background art is fantastic and for the most part, this is a very vibrant film that  because it was released in 2009, I can only hope that it will be released on Blu-ray because I have no doubt in my mind, this is one film that would look great on HD.

But on DVD, “Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” looks very impressive!


“Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” is presented in English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0.  Audio is well-done and because there is a good amount of action throughout the film, there is a good use of surround channels for blasts and various sound effects during the legendary Pokémon battles.

For those who are wondering if the original Japanese soundtrack is included, there is no Japanese soundtrack but only the English dub.  If you have been watching the “Pokémon” TV series for a long time, more than likely you are used to the English dub which is great!  But for those hoping to hear Rica Matsumoto as Satoshi (Ash), Yuji Ueda as Hikari (Dawn) or Yuji Ueda as Takeshi (Brock), you’re not going to find it on this DVD.


“Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” comes with no special features.

Entertaining, fun and action-packed! “Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” is another exciting film featuring Ash and friends but this time around, you have the four legendary Pokemon all in battle!  That’s a storyline that you just don’t see at all and for many Pokémon fans, to have each of these legendary Pokémon in one film  is awesome!

The storyline does feature Ash, Dawn and Brock and you do see a little Pikachu action in this storyline but truthfully, the focus of the story is primarily showcasing the legendary Pokemon and the fact that you see Dialga, Palkia, Giratina and Arceus in one storyline and seeing these Pokemon against each other was quite a surprise because these Pokémon are not supposed to exist in the same time and space.  So, it was quite intriguing to see them fight (or nearly fight) each other.

As for parents who are considering buying this DVD for their child, there is really nothing violent about the storyline.  The main premise is “revenge” which Arceus wants because humans have wronged him and Ash and friends try all they can to stop him from hurting humans.  It’s a pretty straightforward story and although its hinted that Arceus killed of Damos and others for their treachery, it’s not presented in a way where the word “kill” or “dead” was used.  But other than that, there is nothing violent or scary about this manga and it is child-friendly.

As mentioned in the video quality section, the film looks absolutely vibrant and fantastic!  I would not be surprised if “Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life” receives a Blu-ray release because the film is not that old and the fact that it is a film and not the TV series, the film features higher production quality and it shows!  If there was one thing that I wished the DVD had and that would be special features.

Overall, if you or your child (or if you are an adult fan) loves the Pokémon series whether on TV series, collectors cards or video games, I definitely recommend “Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life”!

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