Pokémon the Movie 15: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 25, 2013 by  

The 15th Pokémon film “Pokémon the Movie 15: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice” is a fun, action-packed family film featuring a coming-of-age story about a Pokémon who wants to be a member of the “Sword of Justice” and take on the mighty Pokémon dragon known as Kyurem. Pokémon fans of all ages will enjoy this animated film!

DVD TITLE: Pokémon the Movie 15: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice


DURATION: 70 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Dolby Digital, English Stereo

COMPANY: Viz Media


RELEASE DATE: April 2, 2013

Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama

Screenplay by Hideki Sonoda

Music by Shinji Miyazaki

Original Concept by Junichi Masuda, Ken Sugimori, Satoshi Tajiri

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

Art Director: Minoru Akiba

Art Design: Toshinari Tanaka

Anime Production: Oriental Light and Magic

Featuring the following voice talent:

Eileen Stevens as Iris

Ikue Ohtani as Pikachu

Jason Griffith as Cilan

Sarah Natochenny as Ash Ketchum

Vic Mignogna as Keldeo

Bill Rogers as Cilan’s Stunfisk

Eli James as Ash’s Krokorok/Cilan’s Pansage

Jason Griffith as Ash’s Scraggy

Kayzie Rogers as Iris’s Axew

Lisa Ortiz as Ash’s Oshawott

Marc Thompson as Ash’s Pignite

Michele Knotz as Ash’s Snivy

Mika Kanai as Iris’s Emolga

Rodger Parsons as Narrator

Tom Wayland as Ash’s Boldore/Cilan’s Crustle

Ash and Pikachu along with their friends Iris and Cilan are on a train headed to the next stop on their journey. From the train Ash spots an injured Pokemon one he’s never seen before. He’s trying to figure out how he can help when the train is attacked by the Legendary Kyurem a Dragon-type Pokemon with immense power! Ash and the others barely manage to escape the rampaging Kyurem’s attack and as the dust settles they turn their attention to the injured Pokemon. Their new acquaintance turns out to be the Mythical Pokemon Keldeo and it’s on a mission to rescue its friends Cobalion Terrakion and Virizion the Legendary Pokemon known as the Swords of Justice from Kyurem’s icy clutches! But Kyurem’s rampage isn’t over and it’s drawing power from Reshiram and Zekrom changing into Black Kyurem or White Kyurem to make its attacks even stronger! Why is Kyurem attacking Ash and his friends with such unrelenting fury? How will they be able to overcome this danger? To protect its friends to discover true power and genuine courage and to preserve its bond with Ash and its companions a hidden strength awakens within Keldeo

In Japan, right after the film “Pokémon the Movie: Black – Victini and Reshiram and White – Victini and Zekrom” in 2011, audiences were teased with a new Boundary Pokemon known as Kyurem, but also teased with new Pokémon such as Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion and the newest Pokémon, Keldeo.

By the summer of 2012, the 15th Pokemon film titled “Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice” (or “Kyurem vs. the Sacred Swordsman: Keldeo”) was released in theaters to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Japanese manga publisher Shogakukan.  And by December 2012, American audiences were treated with the latest Pokemon film!

And now “Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice” was released on DVD courtesy of Viz Media.

The film around a young Pokémon named Keldeo who has been training with Sword of Justice Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion (three Pokemon that are protectors against evil Pokemon).  But during training, he wants to learn how to use the move “Sacred Sword” so he can become part of the group and fight against Kyurem.  But the three feel that Keldeo is just not ready to be a Sword of Justice just yet.

That night, Keldeo sneaks out and goes to the Full Court to challenge Kyurem.  He pretends to be a member of the Sword of Justice and challenges Kyurem to a duel.

During the battle, Kyurem easily beats Keldeo and breaks off his horn.   The three Sword of Justice comes to Keldeo’s rescue but Kyurem transforms to White Kyurem and uses his power to freeze them, shocked about what has transpired, Keldeo runs away in fear.  While Kyurem, chases after him to let Keldeo know that their battle is not over.

Meanwhile, in another city, Ash and his friends Iris and Cilan are on the train and take a brief stop in Windy Station to try some Darumaka boxed lunches.  They are interrupted when they discover an injured Keldeo on the train.  They rush to his aid but Keldeo tells them that Kyurem is coming and he collapses. Iris recalls being told a story about Kyurem from an elder, that Kyurem is a dragon Pokemon and is the living corpse of the ancient dragon that Reshiram and Zekrom split from after the original owners of the dragon Pokémon had a conflict.  Meanwhile, Kyurem arrives and tries to attack all of them but everyone manages to escape.

The three take Keldeo to Roshan City’s Pokemon Center for rehabilitation and Nurse Joy explains to them about who Keldeo is and how he is training to be a Sword of Justice.

Learning about how the Sword of Justice are protectors of Pokémon in danger, Ash and friends come up with a plan to help Keldeo free the Sword of Justice but also giving him the confidence that he can also be a member of the Sword of Justice one day.


“Pokémon the Movie 15: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice” is another film that demonstrates that with each year, things look better for the Pokémon films . With each newer film, there is much better detail in the paintings and better use of CG.

Of course, with this being DVD, you are going to see mild artifacts and some banding but nothing to bothersome and I doubt the children will even care. It’s a beautiful looking film!  But I do hope that Viz Media considers a Blu-ray release for these films in the near future.

As for the audio, the audio is presented in 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital. Dialogue is clear and understandable, special effects sound very good coming through the center and front channels. I don’t really recall hearing the surround channels being utilized all that much but for the most part, dialogue and music are quite clear. It’s important to note that only the English dub is featured and the Japanese soundtrack is not included.

Subtitles are available in English.


“Pokémon” comes with a trailer.

As a father who has grown up with a child who enjoys “Pokémon” and having been in Japan during the time of the Pokemon merchandise explosion, it’s always intriguing for me to see how “Pokémon” remains innovative and how it manages to attract the attention of a new generation of young (and older) fans continually well for over a decade and I’m sure it will continue many years from now.

With “Pokémon the Movie 15: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice”, the storyline definitely is much more family oriented, as in the past where we see Ash and friends in major trouble and using their Pokemon to fight a major adversary, this time around, Ash and friends are more of a supporting cast to Keldeo and giving him the confidence to find out his inner strength.

So, more or less, this animated film is a coming-of-age storyline about a young Pokémon who thinks he has what it takes to beat the ultimate Kyurem, but he learns an important lesson about friendship but also having confidence in one to do their best.

While most children will enjoy this film, having reviewed the Pokémon films since the very first film, I have to say the storyline was playing it safe, but what makes it very exciting is the introduction of the Swords of Justice but also this menacing looking Pokémon named Kyurem, who is the living corpse of the ancient dragon that both Reshiram and Zekrom split from.

As for parents who are considering buying this DVD for their child, there is really nothing violent about the storyline, while some younger children may find one scene where it looks like Keldeo got badly hurt (don’t worry, he was just exhausted) and children will obviously learn that Nurse Joy of the Pokémon Center will make them healthy again.

As mentioned in the video quality section, the film looks vibrant and fantastic! And with each year of a Pokémon movie release, animation is better, well0-detailed art backgrounds and for the most part, animation studios tend to put more time into an animated film versus a single episode of a TV series, so the films look at lot better.

Overall, if you or your child (or a fan that is young at heart) who loves the Pokémon series whether on TV series, collectors cards or video games, I definitely recommend “Pokémon the Movie 15: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice”.

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