Geek Life: Cartoon Reviews – The Pokémon Anime

Sorry it took so long between reviews, but this was a big project to take on for a few reasons.  For one thing this show started during Pokémania and was watched (and still is) by people all around the world, so there was a lot already said about the show. Also it was very challenging to think of a way to organize this article because the show went through a lot of makeovers and made many different decisions throughout the series. There is also a lot of characters throughout the span of this show that I unfortunately can’t speak of due to the great amount of them. As a Pokémon fan I watched this show since the beginning and the show truly shows a life full of experiences with our protagonist and Pokémon (even though he’s still 10).

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The show follows the Pokémon journey of a boy named Ash. Originally the show was gonna have a new character for every season like the games, but since Ash grew so popular he is the hero throughout the series as well as his starter (the mascot of Pokémon), Pikachu. Ash while having to deal with Team Rocket (as well as the other Teams in the Pokémon Universe) goes on his Pokémon journey and takes on every region and challenge that gets him closer to becoming a Pokémon Master. The thing I like about Ash that not many people notice is that he is the fourth Pokémon trainer to get a starter from Pallet Town. It was an interesting concept to have Ash be the trainer who comes in to every town after the events of the games by the other trainers that were assumed to take place, all because Ash overslept that fateful day he left with Pikachu. This is also a concept that continues throughout the series as Ash goes to more regions and collecting all the badges. I find it’s cool to see what happened on the side of the main story of the region that a game takes place in (i.e Kanto/Red and Blue, Johto/Gold and Silver, etc.). There were times when Ash was too incompetent, and times were Ash was overpowered; this was a struggling problem throughout the series being that the show has been focusing on one hero for the past 15 years. However, it’s not Ash’ character that gets the attention (even though it is established throughout the series as a determined, inspired, and noble young lad), what is focused on is Ash’s conflicts and problems and how he as a Pokémon trainer must overcome these challenges. That is really all that a Pokéfan would ask for too if you ask me. Of course Ash does not travel alone. Ash would travel and meet many friends, but also Ash has traveling companions with him on his journey. Which through certain circumstances  always changes with every region. These friends (both traveling with Ash or not) are mostly characters from the actual games and some just characters to introduce new aspects to how people interact with Pokémon (like Pokémon rangers, watchers, breeders, contest trainers, etc.). Doing this both keeps characterization with Ash fresh, and also gives Pokéfans a way to further examine and invest themselves in the world of Pokémon. After all, one of the best things a cartoon can do is let the viewer be invested with a universe filled with imagination with its own rule, social norms, and status.

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It’s hard to say what wasn’t already been said about the show, but here’s what it means to me. Yes it has its problems, like I’m not to fond of the whole Ash is still 10 thing and I’m not a fan of his inconsistency with his competency as a trainer. However, I love Pokémon and with Ash I get to explore a world I was invested in since I was in grade school with a familiar person I can feel like I know. Seeing a friendship like Ash and Pikachu meet many friends and taking on any challenge and doing their best in achieving big dreams is all a person wants in any reality. This show has had a long lifespan along with the great gaming franchise. I think this show won’t see an end for a long time, because as long as people are interested in Pokémon, with it’s science, careers, interaction between man and beast, and a kids dream come true in becoming a Pokémon Master there will be a show, new mangas, and a new game to back it up.

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The show goes with the mangas and games very well (whether cannon or not), because they all show a new reality everyone remembers and/or interacts with in many ways. Though Pokémon will never be as popular as it was the show done a great job in showing many people from the Pokémon universe we might’ve seen in the games. They gave the games further life through animation and gave the characters we fought voices and personality. I can’t give this show a perfect score but I can say it has a legacy and it is close to being perfect at what it accomplishes.

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I say give the show a watch even if you never played the games (but it would be better if you did). It’s a solid show following a trainers journey through a world of great imagination. The show expresses moments of conflict, (at times) danger, drama, friendship, and Pokémon action; all while keep it light hearted and fun. After all can’t you relate to wanting to be the very best, that no one ever was? Thank you for reading and your support, I hope you’ll check out my videos on game analyses and more on my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/NaismithBilly

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