Pokémon Journeys is easily the most ambitious Pokémon anime so far. Ash and his research partner, Goh, travel the entire world in pursuit of their goals where they gain not only new experiences but reconnect with familiar faces that lead to the near-limitless potential for storytelling.
While Journeys has had its share of highs and lows, like all Pokémon series, the highlights are truly exceptional. At its best, Journeys acts as a kind of homage to the Pokémon franchise as a whole; characters from across the series' extensive history are celebrated throughout, and frequently experience a greater sense of closure than anything from the anime before.
10/10 Episode 125 Ends A Highly Anticipated Battle
Cynthia, the Champion of Sinnoh who is the fan favorite, and Ash have a long-standing relationship. One of the most significant fights in Pokémon takes place in the semifinals of the Masters Eight due to their close friendship and Cynthia's iconic status.
Cynthia proves why she is regarded as one of the best Trainers in the entire world by pushing Ash to the absolute limit with her unexpected use of Dynamax and her infamously terrifying Garchomp. It's difficult not to feel content watching him finally defeat her, even if there were some missed opportunities with regard to Ash's team.
9/10 Episode 12 Prepares Ash's Biggest Objective
The World Coronation Series goal, which Ash has won, is first introduced in episode 12. The first episode of this global battle competition establishes everything necessary to get interested in this subplot, which sends Ash on a mission to become the strongest Trainer in the entire world.
The championship match between Leon and Lance serves as the primary event of the episode. Along with being an exciting battle in and of itself, it also features new twists like Lance's access to Dynamax as well as nostalgic references for seasoned viewers. The conflict perfectly prepares the ground for Ash's eventual ascent to the top.
8/10 Episode 2 Gets Off To A Good Start
Making a good first impression early on in a new series is crucial. It's up to the second episode of Journeys to really get things moving since the first episode only serves as a prologue for Pikachu and Goh.
As they travel across Kanto on top of Lugia in their first encounter, Ash and Goh are quite literally the stuff of legend. The vast wonders of the Pokémon world are one of Journeys' biggest draws, and its second episode excels at doing just that.
7/10 Episode 21 Connects Riolu To Ash's Aura
Lucario is one of the most popular Pokémon in the franchise and was naturally one of the biggest requests to join Ash's team. Much to fans' delight, Ash finally catches a Riolu in episode 21 of Journeys, and it's hard to imagine a more satisfying debut for this soon-to-be top dog.
Riolu's headstrong personality is established very well in its first appearance, but the biggest surprise was the episode remembering Ash's connection to aura, which was first established in the Lucario & the Mystery of Mew movie. This exceptionally clever nod to Ash's past works wonders in establishing the growing bond between Ash and Riolu.
6/10 Episode 18 Provides Ash With A Fantastic First Battle
With Ash's goal, journeys got off to a slow start. Unlike most shows, which establish Ash's quest from the start, the World Coronation Series wasn't introduced until episode 12. Then, it took him six more episodes before he finally entered the competition himself.
Episode 18 thankfully more than makes up for this. It starts his battle run off to a great start with a fantastic battle against Visquez and plenty of fond nods to Ash's Vermilion Gym battle. It's also one of the few times the show's primary setting, Vermilion City, is utilized effectively.
5/10 Episode 77 is All-out Tactical Combat
Ash's battle with Volkner is one of the simplest, yet most effective episodes of Journeys. Even compared to other World Coronation Series battles, this one has no B-plot or underlying story involved. It's simply an all-out, highly strategic battle between two powerful Ultra Class Trainers.
Episode 77 marks the first three-on-three battle in Journeys, which is a welcome return to form for the anime. The whole thing is a pure action fest from start to finish, which hearkens back to the days of Ash's Gym battles and is just an all-around blast to watch.
4/10 Episode 114 Is A Huge Flashback To The Past
There were high standards to meet with Episode 114. It was not going to be easy to evaluate Paul's return to the anime because he is Ash's biggest foe and one of the most nuanced characters in the series. Add to that the fact that Ash's former Pokémon, who aid in preparing his current team for the Masters Eight, had to share time with Paul during the course of the episode.
Thankfully, almost everything was satisfactorily addressed in this episode. Ash's last test in combat and preparation for the best of the best were provided by Paul, who showed off his improved attitude and strength in full force. Infernape, the emblematic Pokémon of Ash and Paul's relationship, receives a lot of fond memories and heartwarming scenes as well as other Ash's Pokémon.
3/10 Episode 111 Completely Concludes Lillie's Story
One of the most distinctive and memorable Journeys experiences is Episode 111. The plot is not nearly as closely related to Ash, Goh, or Chloe as most episodes are. The final unresolved subplot from Sun & Moon is instead almost entirely focused on Lillie and her family, who eventually locate her missing father, Mohn.
How expertly the series can wrap up the backstories of earlier characters is demonstrated in Episode 111. From her father's lost memories to her past trauma involving the Ultra Beasts, the episode beautifully brings everything about Lillie to a close, and her entire family enjoys an incredibly well-deserved happy ending.
2/10 Episode 112 is Alola's Actual Swan song
In episode 112, Ash and Lillie make a triumphant comeback to Alola, continuing the story of their reunion. With a sizable party and a unique event created to honor Ash, Alola's first Champion, the cast gathers to celebrate their return.
Sun & Moon's concluding episode, rather than an episode of Journeys, is Episode 112. Ash's Champion title is given the weight it rightfully deserves, and all of the Alola-related storylines have been resolved, allowing him to finally enjoy the fruits of his labor and his position of power.
1/10 Episode 132 Completes Ash's Journey in Its Entirety
Ash's ultimate battle with Leon comes to a head in its fourth and final part, and Episode 132 goes nothing short of above and beyond. Ash becoming the World Champion is an astounding feat on its own, but one element, in particular, gives Ash's win even more meaning than that.
Episode 132 doesn't just conclude Ash's journey to becoming the best, it makes sure everything about his past is there supporting him for it. With all of Ash's companions watching and every Pokémon he's owned lending their power to Pikachu, Episode 132 of Journeys is truly a kind of experience.