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Fridge Brilliance
  • The movie is going to have Pokemon from across the generations appear, most prominently Ho-oh from Gen 2, Piplup and Lucario from Gen 4, and Marshadow and Incineroar from Gen 7. This makes sense, since this movie seems to be making an effort at updating the original Pokemon stories for a modern audience.
  • Ash is shown having a battle against Erika in this movie, but only her. Why did they choose her of all the Kanto Gym Leaders, especially over possible Misty and Brock cameos? Think about it: Erika hands out the Rainbow Badge to victorious challengers. Now, what is Ho-Oh, the main legendary of focus in this movie, associated with?
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  • Pikachu talking to Ash with human language at one point makes sense when you realize that, in the series proper, it's implied, if not outright stated, that Ash can understand what Pikachu's saying due to their close bond (albeit Rule of Funny sometimes temporarily does away with this). Pikachu talking to Ash in this movie could be us seeing, from Ash's point of view, the moment their bond became close enough that he became able to understand Pikachu.
  • Verity smirking at Ash talking with his mom and making fun of him later makes sense when you learn that her own mother is never impressed with Verity's accomplishments. She could have interpreted Ash's frustration with his mother over the phone as him having similar issues and projected onto him.
  • The reason for Ash's Adaptational Intelligence can be explained by him rarely encountering antagonistic characters - Misty's not around to belittle him, Team Rocket doesn't directly confront him, and he never interacts with Gary to get the Always Someone Better treatment. As a result, he doesn't act as brashly to try and prove himself or make up ground, and so properly learns from his mistakes. The only antagonistic character he deals with is Cross, and only a handful of times.
  • The cameos of all of Ash's pre-Alola traveling companions during the end credits are written and structured very interestingly. They all consist of them looking directly at the camera with various reactions, there are some points where their placements are arguably out-of-order (Misty's cameo, for example, comes after Brock's, even though she met Ash before him), and they are all wearing their original clothes rather than the ones we last saw them in. One may wonder why their cameos would be written like that. However, it makes more sense when you realize these cameos are seconds-long representations of the times they first met and (chronologically) befriended Ash. In fact, one could argue the audience is viewing those cameos from Ash's viewpoint.
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    • Brock has a serious reaction to the camera, because he met Ash while he was still a Gym Leader adhering to his responsibilities.
    • Misty has a reaction of surprise to the camera, because she was surprised by Ash while fishing. She is also on her bike, representing Ash stealing her bike during their first encounter.
    • Tracey is sketching during his cameo, because his first interaction with Ash was when he was sketching Pikachu and positively contrasting him with other Pokémon.
    • May is first seen tying up her bandanna and being excited, representing the excitement she had when she was starting her journey, right before she met Ash. She is then surprised by the camera, which represents the time she was surprised by Ash when he was finding treatment for his sick Pikachu.
    • Max has a curious reaction to the camera, representing his inquisitive nature when he first met Ash.
    • Dawn is first seen warming up for something, representing her first scenes where she is preparing to pursue her goal as a Pokémon Coordinator. She is then surprised by the camera, which interrupts her warm-up, thus representing her having to temporarily drop everything to help Pikachu when she first met him.
    • Iris is literally hanging out on a tree branch, representing her first scenes where she is in a tree. She is then surprised by the camera but then quickly smiles. This seems to represent her surprise when Ash threw a Poké Ball at her, followed by her smiling in the next scene.
    • Cilan is very excited but then gets surprised by the camera during his cameo, representing his initial excitement towards Ash, followed by his surprise when Ash wanted to challenge all three Striaton City Gym Leaders at once.
    • Clemont and Bonnie are interacting with one another before they are surprised by the camera, representing how they were minding their own business before Ash literally dropped into their lives.
    • Serena is the only one who is immediately happy upon noticing the camera, representing her crush on Ash and how she was quickly able to recognize him from her childhood.
  • A bit of a meta reason things changed between Ash and Ho-Oh compared to Episode 1: back when Takeshi Shudo was the head writer, he wrote Ash specifically as a Vanilla Protagonist, an everyman that stronger personalities could bounce off on and not meant to be anything special. However, after Shudo left, Ash was gradually rewritten to have more put to his way, including Aura and the status as a hero tied to Zekrom and the salvation of Kalos, as well as being a subject of interest to the Alolan Guardians. This film is set in an alternate timeline where Ash has been subject to this "post-Shudo" interpretation from the very beginning. As a result, Ho-Oh chose post-Shudo Ash to carry his Rainbow Wing back, because this Ash, unlike Shudo Ash, was meant to be this from the start. This Ash by concept could be a Rainbow Hero, while the first Ash to go through Episode 1 was never meant to be.
  • The world shown in the High School A.U. sequence is much more urbanized and industrialized, like our own. This is because the creator of Pokémon was inspired when he learned that children of the newer generations were unable to catch insects like he had, because of urban sprawl. Therefore, the Pokémon world is largely untouched wilderness to preserve that dream, and when Ash imagines a world without Pokémon, he envisions the opposite.

Fridge Horror

  • The For Want of a Nail that sets off this alternate continuity is Ash receiving the Rainbow Wing from Ho-Oh. Cross bemoans at the end how he also saw Ho-Oh, but didn't get a Rainbow Wing, and so tried to become stronger to prove he was worthy. So if, in the original series, Ash had known more about the legend of Ho-Oh or been more determined to learn about it, he could have ended up like Cross.
    • Possibly, though it is equally as likely Ash would have continued on his own path regardless. He's a tad stubborn like that.
      • Prime!Ash, without knowing about the legend of Ho-Oh, vowed to meet him again somewhere in his future. Most likely, he would have just done so, expecting to receive the Rainbow Wing at his own pace.
  • What would have happened to Charmander if Sorrel hadn't been in the cave Ash and Verity ran to?
    • Speaking of Charmander, when Ash encounters it, it's sitting in the rain fully exposed (by comparison, its main series counterpart had hidden under a leaf to protect its tail from going out). This Charmander was going to wait there for Cross until it died, not even trying to protect itself.
  • The legends about Ho-Oh and Marshadow already detail what would happen if a darkened soul got hold of the Rainbow Wing: did someone have to die at the hands of a bunch of Pokemon like Ash and Cross almost did to prove the point?
  • When Cross steals the Rainbow Wing, the evil in his heart turns out to be too much for Marshadow to absorb, causing it and the wild Pokémon to be Brainwashed and Crazy and leading to Ash’s Disney Death. Yet Cross still turns out to be redeemable. So imagine what could have happened had someone far more evil than he gotten ahold of it...

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