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Movie Review

The tissue-thin plot of the 20-minute short film Pikachu's Vacation which preceeds Pokémon: The First Movie focuses on the holiday of Ash Ketchan's Pikachu and will most likely drive anyone over age 8 to distraction with its nauseating, ever-present "cuteness." Sequestered with scads of other Pokémon and no humans in sight, Pikachu and his friends try to relax and have a good time, but are interrupted by a ravenous baby Topegi (a new egg-type Pokémon) who won't stop crying, a contentious bunch of Pokémon and an ill-fated Charizard who gets his head stuck in a pipe.

Positive messages far outweigh negative ones. Pikachu and his companions care for the Topegi and try to keep a raucous group of Pokémon from disturbing the baby. When disputes arise, they are settled by sport as Pikachu wants to set a good example for the youngster. Yes, he looses his temper after being shocked by a rambuncious Raichu and the ensuing battle ends up snaring the poor Charizard in his pipe-prison, but he and the other Pokémon quickly band together to free the creature. Even the normally selfish and aloof Marowak is swayed by their example and he works with the group, finally freeing the dragon. At the end of their vacation, the misunderstandings between Pikachu and the rough-housers are resolved and they leave friends.

Patience, unity, peace, and negotiation rather than violence are all rewarded, making Pikachu's Vacation a morally rewarding quarter-hour (if not a mind-numbing one for parents).

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