Worlds - Pokémon: Path to the Peak Episode 4 Review - The finale, and the path to future Pokémon TCG animated series
(Please note: This review contains spoilers. If you haven't watched the episode yet, take 10 to watch it now before reading on!)
Ava’s loss at Internationals in the previous episode caused her to be in a slump for weeks. She had been constantly winning to the point that, when she failed, it got to her. Thanks to her mother however, Ava realized that what’s most important wasn’t winning, but having fun, and the friends she made along the way. Because of this newfound resolution, she decides to head off to Worlds to challenge Edgar Troy once and for all, with both Joshua and Celestine in tow.
My hunch of Ava’s mother being a former Pokémon Trading Card Game player was right on the nose! Ava’s old deck was what her mother had used in the past; she stopped playing after suffering a loss to a trainer who used a Pikachu ☆. I do wonder if that Pikachu player was Ava’s father. I also like that Ava’s mother finally played a role after being in the backseat for the entire show. She was the one who gave Ava the pep talk she needed to rekindle her friendships, and to win Worlds without stressing too much about winning.
I think this is really the root of why Edgar and Ava are such opposites. Edgar has been a long time competitive player, so all he knows is winning and the glory of that feeling. Ava wanted to dip her toes into that feeling, but it didn’t end so well. That was why she decided to play the game how she wanted to like how she did in the beginning - for fun. Fortunately, her words did get through to Edgar, and Edgar finally humbles in a way. Also, while Edgar playing Groudon was a good way to end the series, I do wonder why he didn’t attack straight away? I get that he would've needed to have enough energy for Groudon to do its attack, but we saw plenty of energy cards attached to it, so this didn't make a lot of sense to me. I'm told that Edgar using the Nemona card wasn't very realistic either, since it's not a card you'd really see competitive players go for given all the other Supporter cards out there that would do additional effects on top of drawing 3.
I really liked the animated battles for this episode! They were so fluid, and the way the Falinks were animated were really good! My favorite part of the episode was Ava was playing her Pokémon for the last round; all she had was Oddish and no benched Pokémon. Oddish’s expression killed me; it looked like it was in despair. I also really liked how Ava and the writers made it so that Ava isn’t exclusively using one branch of the Oddish line, but both. Her Oddish evolves directly into a Bellossom for the finale thanks to a well-timed Rare Candy. The best part of this final battle was Bellossom’s kamehameha-style attack with that smug look on its face. Also, the fact that the Pokémon "card spirits" were with their human partners truly made it a finale to remember. Kudos to Ava’s little fangirl for hanging out with a Darkrai. It felt like Pokémon and humans were united, just like how it is in other Pokémon media.
While this show isn’t a true one-for-one adaptation of the Trading Card Game, I think that it’s a fantastic series that shows off how capable the card game can be as an adaptation. It doesn’t have to be Yugioh or Cardfight Vanguard-levels in drama and quality; it’s a good start to what Pokémon can do more with card game animes. I can also tell the animators had so much fun with this with how animated and alive the Pokémon felt. I can’t wait to see what these animators have in store next. What are your thoughts on the finale, and on all four episodes as a whole?