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Anime / Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life

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"A tale untold. A legend unleashed."

The twelfth Pokémon: The Series movie, which concludes the Story Arc set up in the tenth.

While the tenth movie introduced Dialga and Palkia, and the eleventh introduced Giratina, the twelfth introduces Arceus, who serves as the creator deity in Pokémon myth. As we learn more or less immediately, Arceus is not a happy camper and has every intention of bringing humans to Justice (read:annihilating all of humanity), starting with the town of Michina, the site of an age-old betrayal.

Naturally, this happens just as Ash, Dawn, and Brock are passing through the town and visiting the local temple (the site of the betrayal). There, they meet the two temple guardians, Sheena (whom we care about) and Kevin (whom we don't), who appear and reveal that they have been charged with overseeing the sacred Jewel of Life, which gives life to the valley and was wrongfully stolen from Arceus in ages past by Sheena's own ancestor, Damos.

And good thing, too, because that just so happens to be when Arceus makes his appearance, in which he screams about Justice and starts laying absolute waste to the town and temple. Luckily, Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina all appear and decide to band together to hold Arceus back from destroying their pals, Ash and Pikachu. Sheena delivers Arceus the Jewel in attempt to make peace, only for everyone to discover that the Jewel is fake (and Arceus doesn't like that one bit). With the downward spiral of events suddenly accelerated, Dialga hurls Ash, the gang, and Sheena into the past to confront Damos, secure the Jewel of Life, and Set Right What Once Went Wrong.

This movie provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Arceus created the Creation Trio, and spends this movie beating them up for defiance.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Dialga somewhat, as while Palkia did most of the heavy lifting in Darkrai's film, it's space-distorting powers being the primary thing that caused problems, and Giratina had it's own movie, Dialga here pushes the plot forward by sending Ash and the gang back in time to figure out why Arceus is raining down Judgment on Michina.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Arceus is intended to be genderless even in the movies. This is both helped and hindered by the voice actor. In Japan, it's voiced by Akihiro Miwa.
  • Barrier Change Boss: Arceus is one due to being able to switch plates at will. The only reason Marcus is able to defeat Arceus by having Pokémon under his control spam-shock it is because Arceus made the Jewel of Life out of the plates that would have let it resist electricity.
  • Benevolent Architecture: The lower levels of the temple appear to use a series of wooden posts as stairs. They are remarkably wide, far too wide, in fact, to be safe, but wide enough to allow Ash to make a flashy save of the Jewel of Life (detailed under the Awesome section for this movie).
  • Big Bad: Marcus.
    • Greater-Scope Villain: The above's actions here pretty much make him partially responsible for the events of the previous two movies.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Dialga at the beginning of the movie to save Pikachu and Piplup; later, both Dialga and Palkia saving Ash and company from Arceus' attack, which would soon be followed by Giratina.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Sheena and Damos have these.
  • Bowdlerize: In the Japanese version, Arceus says "Judgment Day is come! Humanity, prepare for trial!" as it awakens and prepares to destroy the world. The English version changed this to "The time has come! Prepare for justice!", presumably to remove the Biblical reference.
    • Even though "Judgment" (with one 'e') is the name of Arceus' signature move.
    • The word 'god', (in the polythestic sense) is thrown around a couple of times, but not in the English Dub.
  • Break the Fake: Arceus stomps on and shatters the fake Jewel of Life to prove that it is a fake. In the original Japanese version, it states that the genuine article couldn't be as easily destroyed. In the dub, it states that the real Jewel of Life was indestructible.
  • Butt-Monkey: Believe it or not, Dialga goes through this during the movie. In order: it is asked by Sheena to save Pikachu and Piplup only to then be attacked by Giratina, then afterward is trapped in a waterspout, uses all its energy to send Ash and friends back in time, and finally, it's the first to faint by Arceus. Poor, guy.
  • Continuity Nod: The credits include shots of characters from The Rise of Darkrai and Giratina and the Sky Warrior. Giratina also recognizes Ash and calms down from its rage at Dialga at the sight of him.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect: Arceus remains angry and violent for some time despite all the meddling in the past. Only after Arceus is able to recognize Ash does time begin to correct itself.
  • Demoted to Extra: Heatran, a legendary Pokémon, is the Big Bad's underling...and that's it. Seriously. It's not even the pivotal underling to the plot; that would be Bronzong.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Ash, Dawn, and Brock doing nothing but standing there as Kevin explicitly orders them to escape as Giratina is in the distance fighting Dialga. Then Ash impulsively runs into the lake to get to Giratina. Granted, Giratina doesn't hurt him, but it was still a pretty dumb move when up against the enraged, 14ft tall Eldritch Abomination.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In the present, Arceus, aka God, is strong enough to beat three other legendaries at the same time, despite missing five of his plates. In the past, Arceus can be subdued with large amounts of electric attacks (granted, it didn't have the Zap Plate or the Earth Plate at the time) and something called silver water.
    • Silver water seems to be molten metal, cement, or even liquid mercury, the latter being particularly likely owing to the fact that one of mercury's names in antiquity was 'hydrargyros', literally silver-water. If that doesn't punch out Cthulhu, especially after being zap-fried with millions of watts of electricity, nothing probably would.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: possibly inverted, since the eponymous artifact is created by Arceus from a few of its (already-established) Elemental Plates.
  • Disney Villain Death: The Big Bad Marcus appears to fall to his death when Arceus is freed and breaks free of the hardened Silver Water. However, he's shown alive in the epilogue, likely due to Arceus' divine intervention. In the manga version, he doesn't get off so easy and dies in a Driven to Suicide by bringing the whole temple down on top of himself. Though he was a much worse person in that one.
  • Divine Intervention: The Dragon Trio arrive to help stop Arceus and protect the humans.
  • Do Not Touch the Funnel Cloud: Subverted by the waterspout at the beginning.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: You anger Arceus, and it will not hesitate to kill your entire species.
  • Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: The Jewel of Life consists of five of Arceus's plates, which correspond to the types of Water, Ground, Electric, Grass and Dragon. The presence of the last four means that it effectively gave up all of its resistance to electric attacks, which comes back to haunt it later.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: "Humans being brought to justice" obviously means "Humans will go through Judgment". See Below.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: In the present, Team Rocket hide in the ruins of Michina from the ongoing battle in the present, and become excited when they find several old artifacts, believing them to be precious treasures. In the previous scene set in the past, what they actually found were mundane objects like a cooking pot and a Cyndaquil harness.
  • Fallen Hero: Arceus. It gets better after Ash and Pikachu return the Jewel of Life to it, changing the future in the process.
  • God Is Dead: Arceus. It doesn't take.
  • God Is Displeased: Arceus once cared for humans and even gave humans some of their own power in the form of the Jewel of Life but after being betrayed, attacked and having the person they gave it to refuse to give them back the Jewel of Life, they become displeased with humans and want to exact judgment on them.
  • Grandfather Paradox: During the climax of the film, Ash and his friends begin to disappear as Arceus is dying. Marcus mentions that because of his death, the heroes won't have had any reason to go back into the past.
  • Hanging Judge: Arceus.
  • Heroic BSoD: In the altered past, Arceus has such a massive attack of fury that he shuts down entirely.
  • Inconsistent Dub: The dub of the movie pronounces Arceus' name as "Ark-ee-us", whereas the original Japanese version pronounces it as "Ar-say-us". Fans of the games and Pokémon Battle Revolution have also used "Ar-see-us", which is still in popular usage today. Apparently, the pronunciation was originally going to be "Ar-see-us", until they realized the first two syllables sounded too much like arse. Then they experimented with "Ar-say-us", the Japanese pronunciation, but then settling on "Ar-key-us".
  • Kill the God: What Marcus plans to do with Arceus in order to achieve his goals.
  • Large Ham: "YOU DARE SIDE WITH THE HUMANS?!" Granted, this is Arceus we're dealing with.
  • Magic Missile Storm: Arceus's Judgment attack manifests as firing numerous glowing projectiles into the air, which then impact with the force of small meteors.
  • Meanwhile, in the Future…: The story constantly cuts back to the legendaries battling in the future, and Team Rocket trying to survive it. There's one silly moment where the Team mistake a couple of pots and a broken spear for crowns and a tiara.
  • Meteor-Summoning Attack: During Arceus's rampage, it fires a golden orb into the sky several times calling down pink meteors to destroy Michina Town.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Sheena unwittingly tells Marcus the plot of the movie, being tricked into holding a scepter without the Jewel of Life to present to Arceus, and also feeds him information that causes him to change tactics; as it were...
    • Arceus was only hurt in the original past, but lived to come back. Sheena's warning from the future allows Marcus to nearly KILL Arceus.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In the legend, Damos betrayed Arceus because he believed that the Jewel of Life's power itself was the direct cause of the valley's fertility, and that Michina Town would go back to being a wasteland if the Jewel were lost. This was actually correct, but the valley was saved by the inhabitants working together to make the valley fertile again.
    • Possibly Justified if you think that all the Jewel of Life did was the equivalent of growing plants off of steroids, which would probably provide minerals for future plants, or maybe Arceus just lowered the pH of the soil or something.

  • No-Sell: Arceus likes to change its type to absorb the Dragon Trio's attacks without any harm at all. The Jewel of Life, was created out of the Water, Grass, Electricity, Ground, and Dragon plates, and those last four are the only ones that resist electric attacks.
  • Obviously Evil: Marcus, Damos' lieutenant, has a cold expressions, narrowed, shrewd eyes, and is one of the only people in Michina town familiar enough with the power of "magical creatures" to be confident in their presence. He is also the main antagonist, using Damos to orchestrate the betrayal of a god.
  • Olympus Mons: Arceus, but the movie also features Palkia, Dialga, and Giratina from the previous two movies.
  • Pals with Jesus: The dragon trio are basically friends of Ash and company in this movie, particularly Giratina, which is probably why they stepped up to protect them from Arceus. By the end of the movie, you can add Arceus to the list as well.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: When Arceus lays waste, he lays waste.
  • Physical God: Arceus is a god more in the polytheistic sense than actually being God. While it is extremely powerful, it is neither omnipotent nor invincible.
  • Pocket Dimension: Arceus inhabited one similar to the ones Dialga, Palkia and Giratina were seen in, which allowed Sheena's device to pick up on it.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Arceus has these when it's angry. In the present, where it's trying to exterminate humanity, only its pupils glow red. In the past, when Marcus tries to kill it with silver water, it gains Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Arceus, holy cow. Humans, landscapes, even its own "children" are all fair game for Judgment.
  • Staying Alive: Near the end of the movie, Marcus was clearly killed when the earthquake knocked him off of a ledge, but he shows up during the end credits with the only possible explanation being that Arceus saved him while saving everyone else, even though we don't see that happen.
    • Averted in the manga.
  • Stone Wall: Giratina takes a tremendous beating from Arceus and keeps fighting long after Dialga and Palkia are taken down.
  • Time Travel: Dialga used its ability over time to send Ash and friends back in time to fix the past.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball:
    • Although the film addresses the Grandfather Paradox above, it fails to address the fact that successfully returning the Jewel of Life to Arceus should also give them no reason to have ever gone to the past. In short, it doesn't have a Stable Time Loop, though it could be Hand Waved by the presence of Dialga, who has complete and total control over the flow of Time, not to mention his superior, Arceus...
    • The heroes' disappearance also appears not to be retroactive, allowing Marcus to cheat the future anyway.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: Heralds Arceus' arrival.
  • Unstoppable Rage: This prevents Sheena from telepathically communicating with a Pokémon, and is introduced as by her inability to calm Giratina when it first arrives. In the altered past, Arceus has an attack so great that Sheena cannot even be in his presence.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Arceus wants to destroy Michina Town and kill everybody in it due to getting betrayed by Damos or so it appeared, but Dialga sends Ash, Brock and Dawn back in time to change history.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Damos in the legend is said to have feared that Arceus taking back the Jewel Of Life would doom Michina Town, and thus was trying to save his home, at least in his own mind. As it turns out, Damos always intended to return the Jewel, but his lieutenant, Marcus, attempted to betray Arceus for the valley, and hypnotized Damos to take the blame. Subverted in the Manga, where his motivation is to kill Arceus and become a god himself.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Arceus himself tells Ash this at the end.
  • Wowing Cthulhu: After Arceus destroys a meteor, Arceus ends up crashing into the Earth and loses its Life Plates. Damos is able to bring one to it, allowing Arceus to revive itself and reclaim its other plates. In gratitude, Arceus creates the Jewel of Life and Damos uses it to bring life to Michina Town.
  • Write Back to the Future: A carved tablet to let Ash and co. know how things worked out.
  • X Meets Y: The premise can best be described as Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai meets Star Trek: First Contact, as it involves our heroes having to stop a wild Pokémon from destroying a town by traveling to the past to save the future.