Pokémon Heroes: Latios & Latias (Japanese: 劇場版ポケットモンスター 水の都の護神 ラティアスとラティオスPocket Monsters the Movie - Guardian Gods of the City of Water: Latias and Latios; officially known as The Guardians of Altomare in Japan) is the fifth Pokémon movie and the final original series movie. It features Latios and Latias.
It was released in Japan on July 13, 2002. Distributed on limited release by Miramax Films, it opened in select American theaters on May 16, 2003. It was released on VHS and DVD in the United States on January 20, 2004. Echo Bridge Home Entertainment released the movie on Blu-ray (along with Destiny Deoxys on the same disc) on May 15, 2011.
Every year the city of Alto Mare holds a special Water Pokémon race through its canal streets—and this time around, Ash and Misty are top competitors! Even though he doesn't win, Ash still finds his own special place in the heart of a mysterious girl that he rescues from two roguish women. But this isn't any ordinary girl—it's actually the Legendary Latias in disguise!
Ash gets a special peek into the secret world of Latios and Latias, but this world is soon threatened by the two women from before—Annie and Oakley—who are after the two Legendary Pokémon, as well as a mysterious jewel called the Soul Dew. These elements combined will let them control a powerful machine that normally protects against danger. When the machine malfunctions, though, it not only puts Latios and Latias at serious risk, but the entire city of Alto Mare!
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The main film's setting is in the water-themed city of Alto Mare, Johto. The city is watched over by two Legendary Pokémon, Latias and Latios. The story behind the two involves an evil Pokémon Trainer using a Kabutops and an Aerodactyl to terrorize the citizens, until the original Latios came to the city, using his powers to drown the evil Pokémon and turning the streets into canals. However, Latios died and his children were left orphans. His soul is within a special jewel, the Soul Dew.
The Soul Dew is sought by Annie and Oakley, two members of Team Rocket, and acts as a key for activating the Defense Mechanism of Alto Mare (DMA), a special device built in case of disaster. Meanwhile, Ash, Misty, and Brock are visiting Alto Mare on their travels. Ash and Misty participate in the Tour de Alto Mare, a water chariot race. Misty wins, after Ash takes a wrong turn due to an invisible Latias and Latios. Ross, the former champion of the race, gives the group a tour of the city in his gondola and tells them of the city's guardians. Annie and Oakley follow Latias, disguised as a girl named Bianca. Latias is saved by Ash and his Pikachu. Team Rocket are also in the city and decide to follow Annie and Oakley.
The trio later visit Lorenzo, the curator of a local museum, who explains the city's history and also introduces them to the Defense Mechanism of Alto Mare. Ash pursues Bianca, and then Latias in disguise, across the city, eventually discovering a hidden garden where Latias and Latios live. When Latios and Bianca threaten to force Ash out, Lorenzo arrives to clear up all the tension. Latias and Latios play with Ash and Pikachu, and Lorenzo later reveals the Soul Dew to Ash. However, Annie and Oakley's spy robot is watching this, and the duo soon raid the garden, stealing the Soul Dew, capturing Latios, and using both to control the DMA. Latias flees to Ash for help, so they race across the gridlocked city to the museum. Using the DMA, Oakley locks down the city and revives the dead Pokémon to capture Latias. After a long chase through the city, Ash and Latias cause the undead Aerodactyl to crash into a building, and are saved from the Kabutops by their friends' Pokémon. The heroes arrive at the museum to find the DMA going berserk and Latios seriously injured. After freeing Latios, the Soul Dew fades and turns black, causing the DMA to shut down. When Annie tries to get the Soul Dew, it disappears and the city's water becomes a giant tsunami. Latios and Latias use their psychic powers to stop the tsunami, but Latios sacrifices himself in the process. The water returns to the city, washing away Team Rocket in the process. The undead Pokémon return to the museum as Fossils, and Annie and Oakley become trapped inside the DMA.
Latios becomes a new Soul Dew and the new guardian of Alto Mare. Ash, Misty, and Brock start heading off to leave Alto Mare, but Bianca (or Latias disguised as Bianca) stops them before they leave and hands Ash a drawing of him and Pikachu. Saying nothing, she gives Ash a kiss on the cheek before running off, leaving the group wondering who it really was. As the group leave on a boat, they see two Latios and a Latias in the air. Annie and Oakley are sent to jail, where they read a book about Lawrence III and his possessions from The Power of One.
Celebi: The Voice of the Forest was released internationally after this film was released in Japan.
Like the previous movies, this one briefly displays Porygon at the beginning.
This is the first movie not to feature a remixed version of the season's theme song during the opening credits; instead, an extended version of Believe in Me with no new lyrics is played.
This is the first movie in Japan to use a different opening theme than the opening used at the time in the main series; in this case, using the 2002 remix of Aim to Be a Pokémon Master rather than Ready Go!, which had been used in the anime for four months by the movie's release.
This explains why the characters say ciao and arrivederci, as well as the names of Bianca and Lorenzo.
This movie begins the tradition of featuring a next-generation Pokémon during the last movie in the current generation's series.
This is the first movie in which Team Rocket has no contact with the main characters. It is also the first movie in which they are not the last characters to appear before the ending credits.
The English dub of this movie mentions that an Aerodactyl and Kabutops drowned. Though the Rock/Flying-type Aerodactyl may have drowned, it is highly unlikely that the Rock/Water-type Kabutops would have.
The reanimated Aerodactyl and Kabutops most likely reference the fossils visible on display in the Pewter City Museum in the games that had been released at the time (and possibly reference MissingNo. and its use of the fossils' sprites as two of its forms as well).
Cyrillic characters on Oakley's computer
Cyrillic characters appear on the right side of Oakley's computer screen while she is deciphering the code on the stone plates.
In this movie, just like its predecessor Celebi: The Voice of the Forest, Jessie, James, and Meowth land on a protruding object that only breaks when Wobbuffet comes out of its Poké Ball.
Ash continues his habit of ramming obstacles, this time throwing himself into a barrier shielding Latios.
The covers of VHS and DVD releases of the movie refer to the movie as Pokémon Heroes: The Movie.
The events of this movie are potentially referenced in The Semi-Final Frontier!, as in that episode, Ash immediately recognized Latios.
During the opening scene, Brock narrates how Ash met Pikachu as the events of the first episode are shown with new animation, but fraught with inconsistencies and errors.
Ash is pictured fully clothed when he receives Pikachu, but he was in his pajamas at that point in the episode. Also in this scene, Pikachu's Poké Ball surges with electricity as Ash holds it and Pikachu shakes his head after being released, neither of which occur in the episode.
In the very next scene, Ash and Pikachu are running on foot from the flock of Spearow while a storm covers the sky, but the storm doesn't occur until after Ash takes Misty's bike in the episode.
Ash's hat faces forward during this entire cinematic, even while Ash and Pikachu are lying on the ground after defeating the Spearow. In the episode, he turns it backward right before jumping into the river with Pikachu and it stays that way for the rest of the episode (except for the very end, when his hat erroneously flips back and forth between scenes).
In one scene of Oakley typing on her computer, several keys on the keyboard disappear and reappear.
Scene that did not appear in the English dub
Brock narrates the opening of the movie instead of the narrator.
The entire backstory of the movie was changed in the dub. A segment of approximately two minutes, which told the story of the origin of the Soul Dew in Alto Mare's ancient history, was cut. This cut also removed the reference to the fact that many Latios and Latias visited and left Alto Mare frequently, causing some confusion to dub watchers when two Latios and a Latias appeared in the credits. This scene is very unique because the animation was done in a storybook-like fashion, something that was only done one other time, when it did appear in the dub.
A replacement backstory was added in the form of a story about an evil Trainer who once attacked the people of the city with a Kabutops and Aerodactyl until Latios brought water to the town, drowning the evil Pokémon and turning the streets into canals. Lorenzo also mentions having witnessed the evil Trainer's misdeeds, thus giving him a more personal investment in protecting Latios and Latias.
In the dub, the Soul Dew is the soul of Latias and Latios's father rather than the soul of one of their ancestors.
The dub makes Annie and Oakley members of Team Rocket, but in the original, the two are working independently and never mention a relationship with Team Rocket or Giovanni.
Masashi Ebara and Megumi Hayashibara provide the voices for Latios and Latias in the Japanese version, but Hayashibara provides each Pokémon's voice in the English dub. As a result, Latios's voice sounds like a less feminine Latias.
An intense blue tint was applied to DVD releases of the movie that came out of Miramax, making most of the colors much darker than in the original.