Graphic Novels
  System Video
  All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Pokemon Battle Frontier: Volume 1

Score: 88%
Rating: ALL
Publisher: Viz Media
Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 528 Mins.
Genre: Anime/Adventure
Audio: English Stereo
Subtitles: English

Ash Ketchum's journey continues after successfully taking home the gold in Hoenn. Now that he has proven himself a champion, he has been asked to take the Battle Frontier challenge, where he goes around the region challenging trainers who are more than simple Gym Leaders. These Battle Brains (of which there are seven) are renowned in their own right and got to where they are by winning championships similar to Ash's and taking the Battle Frontier challenge themselves.

Pokemon Battle Frontier: Volume 1 starts Ash's new adventure, and Brock, May and Max continue to join him. Unlike most new journeys that Ash goes on, he doesn't leave most of his pokemon behind in the hopes of catching new ones. Instead Ash will continue with his same party and concentrate on making them stronger as they face opponents more difficult than ever before. Of course, May's desire to win Pokemon Competitions and earn ribbons continues as she prepares for the next big Grand Festival.

But not all of the pokemon continue from the previous season. James' Chimeco seems to have gotten a little ill; thankfully both Ash's party and Team Rocket are near one of James' family's summer cottages which is kept up by a loving elderly couple. Ash and the gang come across the cottage first when Munchlax has also gotten sick, but when they not only find Jessie, James and Meowth are there for Chimeco's care, the two groups declare a bit of a truce. Apparently James doesn't want the couple to know that he is working for Team Rocket. By the end of the episode, Chimeco is deemed too sick to continue the journey and is left with the couple to be cared for, but James takes with him another old friend from his childhood, Mime Jr., a cute pre-evolved form of Mr. Mime that mimics everything it sees.

Brock will also gain a new pokemon in Bonsly, the pre-evolved form of Sudowoodo, and May will nurse a poke-egg until it hatches to become a cute little Eevee. Funnily enough, Bonsly gets really jealous whenever Brock pays attention to the ladies (which viewers will know happens in pretty much every episode).

Of course, amidst the Gym Battles and Pokemon Competitions, Team Rocket will make repeated attempts to steal the twerp's pokemon, and whatever other pokemon they happen to come across, and as viewers of the show have come to expect, each attempt ends in some messy explosion that will cause Team Rocket to go "blasting off again."

Ash's journey will take him across the region as he attempts to win symbols from Greta (Guts), Tucker (Tactics), Lucy (Luck), Spenser (Spirit) and Anabel (Ability). Each of these fights are tough and Ash must earn six symbols before he will even be told where the final, seventh, Battle Frontier location is hidden.

An interesting subplot occurs when Ash's Sceptile falls in love with a Bayleef, but ends up so heartbroken, that he is unwilling to fight for several episodes, that is until Ash has to go up against Spenser, the holder of the Spirit Symbol, which will be Ash's fifth if he can defeat the mystic Battle Brain in a forest-wide arena. Ash surprises everyone by bringing back an older friend, Heracross, to help fight Spenser's Venusaur.

By the end of these 24 episodes, not only will Ash have collected 5 Symbols from various Battle Brains, but May will have collected 4 new Pokemon Contest Ribbons (leaving her very close to being able to participate in the next Grand Festival) using everyone from Munchlax to Cumbuskin, Squrtile and her new Eevee. Brock even competes in a Pokemon Contest when the gang runs into a fellow Pokemon Breeder and encourages Brock to put the fact that his pokemon look so healthy (due to his own personal food blends). Of course, this particular contest ends up pitting May against Brock in the finals.

Pokemon Battle Frontier: Volume 1 is the first half of the season, and it really packs a ton of different, quality Pokemon episodes together. Heck, it brings Ash most of the way through the collection of Battle Brains. In fact, the last episode in Volume 1 has Ash going up against his sixth Battle Brain with a cliffhanger ending. Of course, that means the last part of the season is going to be even more difficult for our traveling band of heroes.

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

Related Links:

Anime Naruto Vol. 27: The Battle Begins Anime Strait Jacket

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated