I haven't followed the Pokemon movies for years, but I decided to give this one a watch (granted, I only saw the English dub, so it's possible that my viewpoint toward certain aspects of the story are skewed). I have to say, the story as a whole was quite interesting. Zorua was really cute, and his determination to find his mother was admirable and touching- though admittedly Zoroark herself is probably the more badass of the two. But either one was certainly a Pokemon I could follow and root for.
The main trio were mostly their bland-protagonist selves, but since this is just one movie in a long-standing series I can more-or-less let them slide. The movie-only characters served their purposes but were largely forgettable for the most part, with the possible exception of Rowena, who was fairly cool.
I have to say that Kodai was probably the strongest and the weakest point of the movie all in one. I'd heard rumors about how evil he was before checking the movie out for myself; to be honest, I was fairly underwhelmed. Although I can't deny that he was very evil, and that certainly, I cheered on the heroes to beat him, I never really felt emotionally invested in how evil he was- he seemed just like another stock psychopath (though maybe I've just seen far too many worse villains). He also didn't seem quite as cunning or manipulative as I would have liked (it doesn't help that he makes the STUPID mistake of using the most obvious password to hide his personal information), but I think what most crippled his role in the story was how obvious it was from the beginning that he was a villain. We know that he presents as an honest, reasonable man to the public, but I found that very hard to buy since all the viewer ever sees is his evil deeds; I think it would have been more interesting if the fact that he was a villain was a plot twist (as it is, I was kind-of drumming my fingers on the desk waiting for the heroes to figure out that he was the villain). To his credit, he did seem to be one of the more intelligent characters in the movie, but considering he was up against the usual Idiot Hero
kids and a few Pokemon, that's hardly surprising. I actually would say he was probably the most interesting character- but considering most of the other characters (except for Zoroark) are largely bland but cute that's not hard either.