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Pokemon Johto League Champions: The Complete Collection

Score: 90%
Rating: TV-Y7
Publisher: Viz Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/6
Running Time: 18 Hrs.
Genre: Anime/Family
Audio: English

Pokemon Johto League Champions: The Complete Collection has Ash not only getting three new Johto League badges, but also having lots of adventures, seeing one of his pokemon evolve and, as always, making new friends every time he turns around.

This series is the second third of Ash's journey through the Johto Region, and it starts off with him already having two badges under his belt. The season kicks off with Ash, Misty and Brock making their way to Goldenrod City where Ash plans on winning the Plain Badge from Whitney, a trainer that specializes in normal type pokemon.

What Ash doesn't expect is the sheer force of Whitney's Miltank and its rollout attack. He will have to come up with a new strategy in order to get past that particularly devastating ability. Of course, Ash also has to deal with the ever-present Team Rocket, and when they see what Miltank is capable of, they decide they want one, or more, of their own.

Between Goldenrod City and his next gym badge challenge in Ecruteak City, Ash and his friends will compete in several other unique competitions. One is a bug type catching competition where the reward is a Sun Stone, another is a Seaking fishing competition that Misty is keen on winning, and a third is a grass tournament that will put Ash's Bulbasaur to the test.

They will also hunt down a Suowoodo for scientific research, visit an archaeological site with a secret, and even meet up with Suzie, the breeder that gave Brock his Vulpix. The group will also run into old friends like Madame Muchmoney and her Snubbull, Duplica and her Ditto, as well as old rivals like Aya and Gary, whose Evee has evolved into an Umbreon.

In Ecruteak City, Ash will have to face off against Morty and his ghost type pokemon, but this stop holds a couple more adventures for the group as well. While in Ecruteak City, they learn of the ancient Bell Tower where the legendary pokemon Ho-Oh used to perch. When Ash claims to have seen a Ho-Oh on the day he started his journey, Morty is doubtful given the rareness of the pokemon, but viewers who saw the show's first episode will remember Ash's brief sighting of the pokemon.

Before the group gets to their next, and last, gym in this collection, they will have even more crazy shenanigans. They will be tormented by a flock of Murkrow, learn the secret behind an ancient lake that once contained Remoraid, and even befriend a little Teddiursa that has a mischievous streak.

The trio will also come across an old friend, Todd. When he tells Ash, Misty and Brock of his desire to get a picture of Articuno, our heroes decide to join up with the boy and hope to catch a glimpse of the bird pokemon. Their time with Todd will take them to an elderly couple hoping to take an anniversary picture with a field of Sunflora. They will also encounter a man that uses Swinub to dig for hot spring wells, and then finally to the top of an icy mountain that is filled with legends of Articuno rescuing injured hikers.

Before finally making it to Cinawood Gym, Ash tries his hand at a new type of pokemon battle, a sumo competition. Ash retrieves his Snorlax from Professor Oak and the two work their way through the charts hoping to win a year's supply of pokemon food. Of course, given Snorlax's appetite, if they do win the prize, the rewards might not last all that long.

Pokemon Johto League Champions wraps up with Ash's battle against Chuck for the Storm Badge. Ash will have to pull out all the stops in order to take down Chuck's Machoke. Thankfully, his recently evolved Bayleef might have just the power needed to get a fifth Johto League badge.

Needless to say, a lot happens in this season's 52 episodes. Besides each episode's story, every episode also features some kind of zany scheme by Team Rocket. While Jessie, James and Meowth frequently get their hand on their various targets, they always end up running afoul of Ash's friends and end up with nothing. In one episode, Team Rocket manages to capture Pikachu and get him in an unbreakable cage, but when Wobbuffet is left behind while holding the key, everyone ends up running around trying to get both Pikachu and Wobbuffet in the same place at the same time.

In another near-victory for Team Rocket, Jessie puts on a mask that lets her control any pokemon she gets near. She quickly captures Pikachu, but when she learns of the mask's weakness, her reign as Queen of Pokemon ends up being very short.

Pokemon seasons are never small, and they tend to cover large parts of Ash's adventure and Pokemon Johto League Champions: The Complete Collection is no exception. With three more badges under his belt, Ash gets closer and closer to finishing his time in the Johto Region where there seems to be adventure around every corner. Any fan of the anime, both old and new, should want to see this season.

-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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