Ash is a Fairly Bad Pokémon Trainer
The anime for Pokémon was awesome! As I’ve mentioned before, I woke up early every morning before school so that I could watch Pokémon before school. I loved it! My mother watched it with me and it was a lot of fun and I still remember those years having to watch it standing by the year waiting for my ride when I was too young to drive myself. Thanks to the internet and the wonder that is Pokémon.com, I have been able to watch every single episode that has aired to date. It is by far one of my favourite anime series that has come out. Despite that, it didn’t make list of favourite anime series. Why is that? Well, there are some seasons that I just flat out did not like. Then there are seasons that I loved. Since that list was based on the series on a whole, I just couldn’t put Pokémon on there since there were quite a few seasons that I have seen the episodes once and I never care to see them again. I have also seen all the movies. They are pretty great too. This article will be my reviews of the seasons of the Pokémon anime leading up to the ones based on X and Y since that is still in the stage of its first run. I will be lumping them together by their Japanese seasons since that makes more sense when doing reviews. Sometimes they divide things oddly in America. Let’s get started! Keep in mind, this has some spoilers in it. I will try to keep them to a minimum. However, since some of these episodes have been out since the late 1990’s, I won’t be marking them.
Season One of the Pokémon anime is called “Pokémon: Indigo League” and is the first season in the first series of the anime. The first series is frequently called “Pocket Monsters” in Japan. This was the first thing that many people were exposed to in the Pokémon franchise. This season also had had quite a few banned episodes and episodes that were altered to make them more “appropriate” for American viewers. Really, those aren’t jelly doughnuts. I mean, have you seen a jelly doughnut? That isn’t what they look like. What they are actually eating are Onigiri. Onigiri are also known as rice balls. Was there a need to edit that? Not really. The banned episodes include an episode where Ash has a gun pointed at his face, the one that sent children in Japan for epileptic seizures, and the one where James has inflatable breasts. Of these three episodes, only Cyber Soldier Porygon has never been aired outside of Japan that one time. Beauty and the Beach was eventually aired in the States with a lot of scenes involving James’s inflatable breasts were cut as a “lost episode”. The Legend of Dratini may or may not have ever been dubbed into English as there are some debate on that even between those that were supposedly involved in the voice acting. This season was the single longest running season of the Pokémon anime. It is also quite well loved by everyone that loves the franchise as this was the first season to ever air. Granted, the English version leaves a lot of continuity errors in later seasons and episodes in the first season itself because of the heavy editing. In total there were 80 episodes released in the United States and a total of 82 in Japan. I can see why people feel nostalgia for this season. This is where we get introduced to the main character of Ash (Satoshi). Brock (Takeshi) and Misty (Kasumi) were also introduced in this season and have remained fan favourites since they were introduced. Of course, Genwunners love the series because it is familiar to them and goes along with the first games. I love it because of nostalgic reasons. It was pretty much the only cartoon or anime that I watched on a regular basis at that time because of my school schedule. If you are going to start watching the snow, don’t skip the first season at all. Some you can, this one you really shouldn’t. It’s full of humour and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
“Pokémon: Adventures on the Orange Islands” is the second season of the first series and spanned 36 episodes. This season had no episodes cut from it and none were delayed. This season also saw Brock get switched out for most of the season with a guy named Tracey (Kenji). People were not overly thrilled with him and I was one of them. It really bothered me at the time that the Orange Islands didn’t appear in the games at the time and have yet to do so. The closest thing we got were the Sevii Islands in Fire Red and Leaf Green. Coming right after the first season was probably a bad thing for this season. Looking back on it, the series was not wholly bad. At the time I just wanted them to more closely follow the games. I was looking forward to the new Pokémon that were supposed to be coming out in the new games. It just felt like an entire season of filler. I mean Brock comes back rejoins them in the last episode. Then it was off to Johto! If you were going to skip a season early on, this one would be one to skip. It was fairly boring and I was really let down by it. That being said, it was cute at times and I did like some of the episodes. So it was pretty fun to watch, but pretty disappointing in terms of a season.
Ah yeah, Johto! Finally! I was totally psyched for the new Pokémon and the new region. I was even more excited for the next three seasons. They pretty much go hand in hand. So, I will put them together. “The Johto Johto Journeys”, “Johto League Champions”, and “Master Quest” all fall under the title of “Johto Chapter” in Japan. These are the last of Series One. The seasons were 41 episodes, 52 episodes, and 64 episodes long respectively. Only one episode never made it to be shown Stateside. That episode was The Ice Cave. Now, this group of seasons saw the return of Brock. However, it also saw him and Misty leave on the second last episode of “Master Quest”. I loved the character of Brock and Misty had grown on me. When she first appeared back in Season One she kind of annoyed me. This season introduced a whole bunch of new Pokémon and I was so excited! That being said, I was also slightly disappointed in that the plot was so similar to the adventure in Kanto. The new Pokémon made up for it though. I was delighted to see that at the end of the whole thing Ash got a new outfit! Thank goodness! No, I had nothing against his iconic outfit. I just always found it a bit odd that they never changed their clothes for any length of time. It made me excited for the next season. Overall, there was enough newness to this adventure that it made it interesting. You should defiantly watch this season. It was a fun way to see two fan favourites off for a while. I loved it almost as much as the first season and it brings back good memories of junior high and the first couple of years of high school.
I was so excited about Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald with their introduction of even more Pokémon. In Japan, the series of Pokémon known as “Advanced Generation” was divided into two parts. These were “Hoenn Chapter” and “Battle Frontier Chapter”. America likes things cut up a bit more and we ended up with “Advanced” lasting 40 episodes, “Advanced Challenge” lasting 52 episodes, and “Advanced Battle” lasting 52 episodes making up “Hoenn Chapter” followed by the 47 episode “Battle Frontier” season to finish it off. This was also the first series of the anime where we had a new female companion for Ash, May (Haruka). A few episodes in, Surprise! Brock comes back. He apparently got bored and rejoins Ash who is now traveling with May and her brother Max (Masato). Ugg! I really just did not like May. Not because she replaced Misty, but because I found her annoying. I’m not entirely sure why, but she sort of ruined the whole thing for me. It was somewhat sad because I was so excited after playing the games. I also didn’t have a problem with her game counterpart. I rather liked being able to play that character in the game. She was more developed than her predecessor in terms of playable female characters. I also really didn’t have a problem with Max. Just May. I think it was her whole fascination with only “cute” or “pretty” Pokémon as she primarily wanted to enter Pokémon in contests rather than battle with them. She’s like the pageant mom of Pokémon! This season would have been better off being called “Here Comes Honey May-May and Her Pokémon”. If you were going to skip a whole region of the show, this would be it. The “Advanced Generation” anime was just so disappointing and the whole “Battle Frontier” was pretty much another filler season with the only real redeeming episode being Sweet Baby James where we learn more of Team Rocket’s James’s backstory. I will always adore James. He is one of my favourite antagonists and, quite frankly, is more in tune with Pokémon than Ash is. Part of me thinks that the only reason that the Emerald, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver versions of the games only had a Battle Frontier in them is because of the anime. It irritates me to no end. Not worth my time.
The anime covering the Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum was interesting. It was simply called “Diamond & Pearl” in Japan. Once again, the States had to be difficult and brought us 51 episodes of “Diamond and Pearl”, 52 episodes of “DP: Battle Dimension” and “DP: Galactic Battles”, and the shortest of the seasons in this series being the 34 episode “DP: Sinnoh League Victors”. On the plus side we got to keep Brock. The downside is that we changed May and Max out for Dawn (Hikari). I was pretty okay with Dawn. I mean, I do share a name with her. So, go Dawn! What I didn’t like about her was her overemotional at times. Unlike May, she did things other than enter her Pokémon in contests. She did that, but she was also a trainer. It was a nice mix. She reminds me a bit of one of my friends. Girly, but at the same time isn’t afraid to kick your butt. Although, May did come back for a few episodes…I would skip those. This portion of the anime is a delight to watch. It reminded me of the first season in that it was funny and could keep you interested. It didn’t really fell like there were many filler episodes. After a terrible series and a lackluster second series, this was like a breath of fresh air! However, it does see the actual end of us seeing Brock on a regular basis. I was sad about that. Brock was funny despite his womanizing ways. Watch this series! It goes back to a lot of the old stuff that worked in the first season making it a wonderful series with tons of Pokémon to see.
People hate on my absolute favourite series of the Pokémon series and the game that goes along with it as well. “Best Wishes!” as it is called in Japan became “Black & White” for 48 episodes, was “BW: Rival Destinies” for 49 episodes, for 25 episodes it was “BW: Adventures in Unova”, and for the single shortest season of any Pokémon season it was “BW: Adventures in Unova and Beyond” with an underwhelming 20 episodes. This series wasn’t underwhelming to me at all! I love characters in it! We get two new companions for Ash rather just one. This time we get Iris and Cilan (Dento). I will agree with people that Iris can be annoying at time because she calls Ash childish all the time. That strikes a nerve with me. I get called childish all the time for things I love and I want to punch the telly when she says it. I understand where Ash gets aggravated about it because it is aggravating. Then there is Cilan. People hate Cilan and I don’t think it’s justified at all. People get all upset because they want Brock back and while I do love the character of Brock, I also understand the things that made him a not so great character. He was great at bringing humour to the show and his womanizing ways were his shtick and it got really old after a dozen season of the show. Cilan is a gym leader along with his two brothers, Chili (Poddo) and Cress (Koon), and he is also an A-Class Pokémon Connoisseur in the anime. Pokémon Connoisseurs are something that has yet to appear in any of the games and is unique to this series. I hope it stays that way! What Cilan does as a Connoisseur is that he judges the compatibility of a Pokémon and their trainer. The closest thing to that in the games is a Friendship Rater. After a few episodes of him he quickly replaced Brock in my heart as my favourite of Ash’s male traveling companions. Cilan loves all sorts of things and is quite excitable, but also knows when he needs to be serious. I think my reason for adoring him is that I relate to his character quite a bit. He can be a gentleman and that leads me to believe that, despite no ages besides Ash’s being given in the show, he is probably older than Brock. Either that or he is from an upper class family, but so is James and look how he acts. This series also shows off what is quite possibly the single most complex human antagonist of the entire Pokémon Franchise, but he isn’t much of an antagonist in the anime. A confusing choice by the creators of the series, but an interesting choice nonetheless. Natural Harmonia Gropius, called N by most, is an oddball in terms of antagonist because while you know that Team Plasma is the token villainous group of the area, he is the king of the group. Yep, he’s the leader and he isn’t the antagonist. Rather in this incarnation of his character he deflected and is now Ash’s ally. He does still believe that Pokémon would be better off not being contained in Pokéballs, but isn’t so hell-bent on making the protagonists understand this. I personally preferred his in-game personification, but then again, I really didn’t care too much for Cilan, Chili, and Cress in the game. Guess some things get flip-flopped when they are changed from one format to the next. This season made me want to play my copy of White again because it was so awesome! Don’t skip this one at all and for the love of all things good in life, give Cilan a chance! Just kind of ignore some of N’s hippyish tendencies at times. Also, the first two openings in English are pretty awesome in terms of Pokémon openings songs. Oh, and Brock comes back for an episode. Yay? I mean after a whole season of the well-dressed gentlemanly Cilan, who really wants Brock back?
Well, there you go. I guess I’m sort of an oddball myself in that I seem to love the most unloved series and games of the entire franchise. However, since X and Y are still on the air and have yet to finish their run in the States and in Japan, I cannot say what my favourite one of all time would be. For now “Best Wishes!” is at the head of the pack because it is just so different from the other series. I will say this about the anime based on X and Y, the animation style does look like it’s received quite the update. Not gonna lie, I do like the episodes that I’ve been able to catch. I will need to go back and get caught up on some episodes later on, but it does look awesome. Just not too sure about Ash’s traveling companions. My overall opinion of the show as a whole is that it is a cute show and it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. There is enough humour in it that adults will catch and kids won’t that it makes it rather amusing to go back and watch them now that I’m in my twenties. As a companion to the games it is pretty amazing. My only really issue with the show is that throughout the show Ash says he wants to be a “Pokémon Master” and he has barely caught any Pokémon. Well, unless you count those thirty Tauros he caught in an episode that was banned in the States leaving all of us here to wonder where the heck he got that many Tauros. The Safari Zone kiddos. He caught them in the episode The Legend of Dratini. Continuity entertainment studios. Please learn how to not screw with it.