Pokémon 4Ever

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Pokémon 4Ever
Japanese film poster
Japanese 劇場版ポケットモンスター セレビィ 時を越えた遭遇(であい)
Hepburn Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā Serebyi Toki o Koeta Deai
Literally Pocket Monsters the Movie: Celebi A Timeless Encounter
Directed by Kunihiko Yuyama
Produced by Yukako Matsusako
Takemoto Mori
Choji Yoshikawa
Written by Hideki Sonoda
Starring Rika Matsumoto
Ikue Ōtani
Mayumi Iizuka
Yūji Ueda
Megumi Hayashibara
Shin-ichiro Miki
Anne Suzuki
Shiro Sano
Kazuko Sugiyama
Narrated by Unshō Ishizuka
Music by Shinji Miyazaki
Cinematography Hisao Shirai
Edited by Toshio Henmi
Distributed by Toho (Japan)
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures via Miramax Films (International)
Release date
  • July 7, 2001 (2001-07-07) (Japan)
Running time
81 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Box office $28 million[1]

Pokémon 4Ever: Celebi - Voice of the Forest, commonly referred to as Pokémon 4Ever, originally released in Japan as Pocket Monsters the Movie: Celebi A Timeless Encounter (劇場版ポケットモンスター セレビィ 時を越えた遭遇(であい), Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā Serebyi Toki o Koeta Deai, lit. "Celebi: The Meeting that Traversed Time"), is a 2001 Japanese anime film directed by Kunihiko Yuyama and based on the television series Pokémon. It is the fourth official Pokémon film and the last one to receive a theatrical release in North America. It was released in Japan on July 7, 2001. The film was directed in Japan by Kunihiko Yuyama, and written by Hideki Sonoda. It stars the regular television cast of Rica Matsumoto, Ikue Ōtani, Mayumi Iizuka, Yūji Ueda, Megumi Hayashibara, and Shin-ichiro Miki.

The English adaption of the film was released on October 11, 2002 in the United States, produced by 4Kids Entertainment and distributed by then Disney subsidiary Miramax Films, who would take over from Warner Bros. starting with this film. The English dub was directed by Jim Malone, and written by Norman J. Grossfeld. The English adaption stars the regular television cast: Veronica Taylor, Eric Stuart, Rachael Lillis, and Maddie Blaustein.

For the original Japanese release, the characters had sounded "cartoony", but in the 4Kids English dub release, the characters had a larger than life tone to fit in with the epic nature of this story and the craftsmanship of the animation like Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened.

The DVD release includes the short animated cartoon "Pikachu's PikaBoo!" and an exclusive Suicune Nintendo e-Reader card.

Optimum Home Entertainment re-released the movie on DVD in UK on May 9, 2011.[2] Studio Canal also re-released 4Ever along with Heroes on Blu-ray in the UK as a double Pokémon movie pack on April 2, 2012,[3] a week before Pokémon the Movie: Black—Victini and Reshiram and White—Victini and Zekrom was released.

The movie also premiered on Cartoon Network in the United States in early 2005 as part as their Pokémon marathon.


In a forest in the Johto region, a Pokémon trainer named Sam is warned by a woman named Towa to be weary of the “Voice of the Forest”, actually Celebi, a Pokémon capable of time travel. By chance, Celebi is being pursued by a Pokémon hunter and is injured. Sam protects it from the hunter, but Celebi uses its powers to travel forward in time, taking Sam with it. Forty years later, the elderly hunter is confronted by the Iron Masked Marauder, a member of Team Rocket, who seeks to enslave Celebi.

Meanwhile, Ash Ketchum, Misty, and Brock arrive in the neighbourhood of Arborville, spotting the legendary Suicune on a riverbank. Speaking to Professor Oak, the trio learn he encountered Suicune himself many years ago, but they have to depart before he can explain how. The group are taken to the forest by a local named Mr. White, but encounter the elderly Towa and her granddaughter Diana, warned of the Voice of the Forest. Celebi and Sam appear from the past, but the former hides, while Sam comes to term with his time displacement. Ash, Sam, Misty, and Brock find the wounded Celebi and decide to take him to the Lake of Life, said to have healing waters.

Team Rocket pursue the children, joining forces with the Marauder. The children are guided to the lake by wild Pokémon, where Celebi is healed. That night, Ash and Sam bond, hoping the latter can return to his era. The next day, the Marauder confronts the group, using a unique Pokéball called a Dark Ball, to brainwash Celebi and uses its immense powers over nature to encase it in enormous draconian-like armour made from the forest. Jessie is captured, the Marauder admitting he plots to overthrow Team Rocket’s leader Giovanni and conquer the world. Ash, his friends, and Suicune battle to rescue Celebi from the Marauder’s influence.

Ash, Sam, and Pikachu breach Celebi’s armour and convince it to resist the Marauder, regaining his memories and is freed from the Dark Ball’s influence. The Marauder and Jessie tumble in the lake as Celebi’s armour collapses. However, upon taking Celebi to the lakeside, it dies in Sam’s arms. The group attempt to revive it when Suicune purifies the lake, but it fails. The Voice of the Forest, actually each Celebi from across time, materialise in the sky and magically resurrect their brother. The Marauder appears and kidnaps Celebi, using a jetpack to escape, but Ash and Pikachu rescue Celebi, the Marauder crashing into the forest and is confronted by Towa, Diana, White, and the angry wild Pokémon.

Celebi takes Sam back in time, who promises to reunite with Ash in the future. Team Rocket reunite in the lake whilst, the Marauder’s freed Pokémon go their separate ways. Ash, Misty, and Brock speak to Professor Oak of their adventure, Ash saddened by Sam’s departure. However, Professor Oak reassures him that friendships can withstand the test of time and he and Sam will remain friends. However, upon ending the call, the trio are perplexed about how Professor Oak knew Sam’s name, having never mentioned it. In his laboratory, Oak owns Sam’s sketchbook, revealing he is the same character. During the end credits, Tracey Sketchit discovers Oak’s sketchbook and inserts it into a bookshelf for safekeeping.


Character Japanese voice actor English voice actor
Ash Ketchum (Satoshi) Rica Matsumoto Veronica Taylor
Pikachu Ikue Ōtani
Misty (Kasumi) Mayumi Iizuka Rachael Lillis
Brock (Takeshi) Yūji Ueda Eric Stuart
Togepi Satomi Kōrogi
Jessie (Musashi) Megumi Hayashibara Rachael Lillis
James (Kojirō) Shin-ichiro Miki Eric Stuart
Meowth (Nyarth) Inuko Inuyama Maddie Blaustein
Bayleef Mika Kanai
Child Prof Oak (Yukinari) Keiko Toda Tara Sands (as Tara Jayne)
Diana (Miku) Anne Suzuki Roxanne Beck
Towa Mami Koyama Veronica Taylor
Kerry Williams (young)
Iron Masked Marauder (Vicious) Shirō Sano Dan Green
Vicious's Scizor (Hassamu) Katsuyuki Konishi Eric Stuart
Vicious's Sneasel (Nyūra) Yumi Tōma Kayzie Rogers
Celebi Kazuko Sugiyama
Suicune Masahiko Tanaka
White Takashi Fujii Marc Thompson
Hunter Kōichi Yamadera
Hunter's Scyther (Strike) Kōichi Sakaguchi Eric Stuart
Hunter's Houndoom (Hellgar) Tomoyuki Kōno
Hunter's Ursaring (Ringuma) Hisao Egawa
Hunter's Furret (Ōtachi) Akiko Suzuki
Hunter's Teddiursa (Himeguma) Ryōka Yuzuki Tara Jayne
Hunter's Stantler (Odoshishi) Shinichi Namiki
Hunter's Oddish (Nazonokusa) Kaori Tsuji Kayzie Rogers
Croconaw (Alligates) Masaru Motegi Eric Stuart
Professor Oak (Ōkido) Unshō Ishizuka Stuart Zagnit (as Stan Hart)
Tracey Sketchit (Kenji) Tomokazu Seki
Narrator Unshō Ishizuka Rodger Parsons (as Ken Gates)


Norman Grossfeld, the producer of the English adaption, said that the animation quality in the film was the "finest yet" from Oriental Light and Magic. The animators felt "tremendous pressure" that their adaption, both in the writing and the casting, held up against "this incredible achievement". Grossfeld says they adjusted the casting so that the guest characters did not sound too "cartoony" - "and instead had a larger than life tone to fit in with the epic nature of this story and the craftsmanship of the animation".[4]


Box office[edit]

Pokémon 4Ever was successful in Japan, but earned $717,061 in its opening weekend in the United States, ranking #18 on the box office for that weekend.[5] Because the first three films had made $31 million, $19 million, and $8 million respectively in their opening weekends, the film ultimately ended up a box office bomb. However, much like the next film, it was successful upon its release on video and DVD.[6] The film earned a total of $1.7 million during its domestic run, and $26 million overseas, closing with a worldwide gross of $28 million.[1] The film stayed in theaters for 58 days, closing on December 5, 2002.[1]


"There have been so many Pokémon movies by now that the beginning of Pokémon 4Ever does have the air of a mass-produced product. And yet, to be fair, somewhere in the middle of the rather predictable storytelling there are flashes of charm. The start [of the film] is highly disappointing, as the first 20 or so minutes are a confusing and lazily put-together mishmash. Still, there are some reasonably pleasing sequences midway through the film when it revels in some of the more pleasant aspects of the forest - its lake of life, for example - and some of the animation actually becomes a little creative".
—Richard Duckett, Worcester Telegram & Gazette.[7]

Pokémon 4Ever received generally negative reviews from television critics. Some critics called it "predictable" and "disappointing", while others stated that "the viewers won't be disappointed". The film received a 14% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 32 of a total 37 reviews being determined as negative, the lowest of the Pokémon film series (original), with the consensus reading, "Only for diehard Pokemon fans". [8] It received a rating of 25 out of 100 (signifying "generally negative reviews") on Metacritic from 16 reviews.[9] In a review of the film, Dann Gire of the Daily Herald said that "nothing feels more desperate than a movie that tries to extort emotions from young viewers. That happens in the animated Pokémon 4Ever, in which colorful characters stand around crying over the shriveling corpse of a magical creature called Celebi. The movie has emotional warmth of tin foil, mainly because it never establishes connections among the characters, or between the characters and viewers".[10]

Tenley Woodman of the Boston Herald said that "Fans 4Ever would be a more appropriate title for the film because Pokémon enthusiasts likely will be the only ones satisfied by the fourth big-screen installment of this Japanimation craze".[11] He added that "the story line is solid, with Pokémon's proxy-fighter premise pieced together for first-time viewers. However, the film lacks the spark needed to make it a must-see flick".[11] Robert Koehler of Variety said that the "script by Hideki Sonoda is thin in terms of levels of action and adventure, and suffers from last minute padding with one ostensible ending following another. A clever notion to pop up in the larger Pokémon epic, however, is the suggestion that The Professor (the Pokémon trainers' long-term, reliable guide to all things Pokémon) is actually Sam, now grown up in the present".[12] He then added: "Yank voices - holdovers all from the past films - remain as irritating and overly emphatic as ever".[12]

Loren King of the Chicago Tribune gave the film a generally positive review, saying: "The latest installment in the Pokémon canon is surprising less moldy and trite than the last two, likely because much of the Japanese anime is set in a scenic forest where Pokémon graze in peace. The backdrop provides a welcome respite from the ear-, eye- and mind-numbing Pokémon action. And the time-travel plot, though less than inspired, is still tolerable enough for adults accompanying kids".[13] He added that "like most Pokémon tales, this one offers lots of exposition and clunky dialogue, but also counters the expected mayhem with a sweet-sided story about friendship and peaceful creatures who prefer to live far from the madding crowd".[13] Angel Cohn of TV Guide said in his review that "the story is a bit predictable and the characters given to restating the obvious (presumably for the benefit of very young viewers), but overall this third Pokémon sequel is surprisingly entertaining, and a mystery surrounding Sammy's identity provides an interesting twist. The film's flat, traditional anime aesthetic is perfectly suited to the look of the bold, cartoon-like creatures, though the animators switch to a more CGI-influenced look for portions of the final battle sequence. While well done, these scenes feel jarring and out of sync with the rest of the film. Quibbles aside, children and adults enamored of all things Pokémon won't be disappointed".[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Pokemon 4Ever (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Pokemon 4Ever". Amazon.co.uk. May 9, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2017 – via Amazon. 
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Pokémon 4Ever - Official Website". pokemon.com. Archived from the original on August 22, 2008. Retrieved October 31, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for October 11–13, 2002". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Pokemon Movies". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 31, 2008. 
  7. ^ Duckett, Richard (October 12, 2002). "'Pokemon 4Ever animated by violence". Worcester Telegram & Gazette. pp. A10. 
  8. ^ "Pokemon 4Ever (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Pokémon 4Ever". Metacritic. Retrieved October 27, 2008. 
  10. ^ Gire, Dann (October 11, 2002). "Pokemon 4Ever just as bad as the rest". Daily Herald. p. 40. 
  11. ^ a b Woodman, Tenley (October 11, 2002). "Movie Review - Pokemon series goes 4th but fails to conquer". Boston Herald. p. 8. 
  12. ^ a b Koehler, Robert (October 6, 2002). "Pokémon 4Ever Movie Review". Variety. Retrieved October 31, 2008. 
  13. ^ a b King, Loren (October 11, 2002). "This Pokémon is 4 the fans". Chicago Tribune. p. 25. 
  14. ^ Cohn, Angel. "Pokemon 4Ever: Review". TV Guide. Retrieved October 31, 2008. 

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