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Review JN125: The Semifinals IV: "Impact"

Gotta say this was a pretty solid battle. I was worried since with this being Journeys it was gonna be a let-down but I'm happy to say they did a pretty great job with this battle. Now to see how Leon's battle fares.

Bit of a shame we didn't get any Sinnoh cameos though (or even a Paul one which would have made a lot of sense) and
I'm not surprised Cynthia isn't retiring after all. Guess that battle gave her a big boost of confidence.
Woah, What an episode especially with the bond phenomenon of Ash and Lucario that even Greninja can felt it all the way from Kalos to Galar. Also to see how Semi-finals is the most Intense especially being decided to go all out. Before the main final. Anyway, time for the dream match between Ash and Leon in October. Unless, sinister plot from Leon former Chairman Rose return and spark even worse crisis than the Darkest Day.

Overall rating: A-
Full VA list courtesy of Adamant

Rica Matsumoto: Satoshi
Daiki Yamashita: Go
Ikue Ohtani: Pikachu
Kenyu Horiuchi: Professor Okido
Megumi Hayashibara: Musashi
Shinichiro Miki: Kojiro
Inuko Inuyama: Nyarth
Yuji Ueda: Sonansu
Daisuke Namikawa: Lucario
Kenta Miyake: Kairyu
Yasuhiro Mamiya: Gangar
Hana Takeda: Sarunori
Shogo Sakata: Gablias
Daisuke Ono: Dande
Tomo Sakurai: Shirona
Fumiko Orikasa: Carne
Yo Kitazawa: Danpei
Takuto Yoshinaga: Hop
Damn, this was a satisfying conclusion. I was genuinely worried that the behind the scenes drama would have impacted this episode but they managed to pull out a pretty solid end to this truly intense battle. Especially loved the very final confrontation between Gablias and Lucario with them constantly exchanging punches ending with a double knock-out. I like that this didn't show Lucario being ungodly strong as it took almost as many hits as it gave and it looked like one more blow would have taken it down.

I couldn't help but think thought that if Shirona had just used Max Mindstorm instead of three Airstreams she'd have disabled Bullet Punch... probs best not to dwell on that.

Lucario's moveset is confirmed to be Double Team, Aura Sphere, Bullet Punch and (the returning) Reversal. Guess the writers decided that he didn't need Steel Beam after all.
So for the semifinals of the Masters Eight, the track record for each gimmick is as such:

Gigantamax: 1 win (Against Mega Evolution)
Dynamax: 1 loss (Against Mega Evolution)
Mega Evolution: 2 wins (1 Against Dynamax, 1 Against No Gimmick), 1 loss (Against Gigantamax)

Therefore combining with Round 1 of Masters Eight, this means the wins and losses of each gimmick is updated as follows:

Gigantamax: 2 wins (1 Against No Gimmick, 1 Against Mega Evolution)
Dynamax: 2 losses (2 Against Mega Evolution)
Mega Evolution: 5 wins (2 Against Dynamax, 3 Against No Gimmick), 3 losses (1 Against No Gimmick, 1 Against Z-Move, 1 Against Gigantamax)
Z-Move: 1 win (Against Mega Evolution)

So the conclusion here? Dynamaxing against Mega Evolution is basically a death wish; if you can't Gigantamax, you'll be better off just not using any gimmicks :wynaut:
Finally dream battle is concluded. So sad I really expect lucario use steel beam against togekiss. And also lucario use final move as reversal after getting hit by dragon claw (that's nice touch).
Now ash vs Leon. Most likely Ash use g-max against Leon ( remaining gimmick). Lets see its Pikachu or gengar or some other. And gmax vs gmax battle or gmax vs normal one?
Only one thing need to worry is Leon Former Chairman Rose is he going to return for revenge or not? That will be a theory, many people might expecting.
I’m so fucking happy. Since Ash won, can this battle be declared the best battle since his battle with Paul?
I’m not sure how to feel about this, whether I’m happy or a bit disappointed, since there were things I really liked, and things not so much.

Overall, the entire fight was good. The final exchange between Garchomp and Lucario was full-pelt, especially when you can see Bullet Punch’s mark on Garchomp’s body. The Reversal versus Dragon Claw clash had a great outline on their body’s tone for the severity of the clash, and was a nice change from the usual Aura Sphere finisher (although I guess Steel Beam is now gone? It was around for like two fights…).
Maybe the Togekiss segment dragged on a bit, but I don’t think I would have preferred the final clash to go on longer. Once again, Lucario’s Aura-Bond relationship with Ash is still weak to me considering their lack of actual non-battle time together, so that moment was kind of just, meh.

I have an inclination to this being weird. I’m happy with what we got, but it feels as though it should have been a whole lot more too. Given with what they had set-up prior to this, this was the best the fight could be, yet there are areas that should have been fleshed out more. Cynthia’s backstory was forced, Lucario’s Aura-Bond is half-baked, Cynthia’s “retirement” is resolved quickly (what set Ash apart from all the other trainers she’s faced?), and so on. Journeys delivered a good enough fight, although it’s set-up could have made this so much better, had it only just given more time to developing Ash and Lucario, and the weight of the Champion’s title (strengths, weaknesses, philosophies). This is Ash’s biggest achievement, and I feel unfazed by it.
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They did a Scarlet/Violet reference at the end, which I thought was pretty cool.
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