|A Look Back On The Pokémon Anime|
|Johto Arc & Movies|
|Hoenn Arc & Movies|
|Sinnoh Arc & Movies|
|Unova Arc & Movies|
So, last week’s edition of Pokémon Smash left us with the news that an announcement of some sort to do with Pokémon would be made on this week’s edition of the show. However, while we always knew the announcement would likely be small, it turns out all that was announced was a contest revolving around their show. So, sadly something which doesn't effect fans outside of Japan.
While this may be slightly saddening news, bear in mind that next week we have been promised some details on the up-coming Pokémon Black 2, and Pokémon White 2 Nintendo DS games. Today isn’t all doom and gloom for Pokémon though. It marks the day the very first episode of the much loved anime series aired in Japan fifteen years ago, and what a fifteen years it has been. With that in mind why don’t we have a look back on the series so far?
Read on to find out more!
The Pokémon anime is an insanely big part of Pokémon. Anyone who’s anyone will have at some point seen one episode out of the 700+ currently aired featuring Ash and his trusty pal Pikachu, or one of the fourteen currently released movies. Despite this, it’s sometimes quite hard to believe its been fifteen years since the very first episode of Pokémon aired in Japan. It likely feels just like yesterday when you were sitting in front of your TV cheering for Ash and his Pokémon pals, and hey, a lot of us still sit in front of our TV’s or computers watching this much loved show and cheering for our heroes. But in light of how long it has been lets take a look at the series so far, and the movies which go alongside it.
The very first episode aired in Japan on April the 1st, 1997 going under the name of Pokémon, I Choose You! (A name it also kept for its release outside of Japan). It was the episode which would kick off this massive part of Pokémon, and it gave us Pikachu. It is probably safe to bet the cute electric mouse likely wouldn’t have ended up such a big mascot for Pokémon overall if not for this episode, and the anime overall. The story showed us Ash, a young wannabe Pokémon trainer who has just turned ten. It’s the night before he’s due to set off for Professor Oak’s lab which is in the quiet hometown of his, Pallet Town. Once there Ash believes he will have the choice of picking a Bulbasaur, Squirtle, or Charmander as his starter Pokémon and his partner on his adventures.
However, things don’t go quite to plan for our young hero, and he ends up oversleeping after smashing his alarm clock in the night while dreaming about which starter Pokémon to pick. Dashing to Professor Oak’s lab, hoping he’ll be on time, he runs into his soon to be rival Gary Oak, the grandson of the great Professor Oak himself. After a somewhat heated discussion with Gary, Ash finally gets to speak to Professor Oak and is given the chance to pick his first Pokémon. However, once Ash opens the Poke balls which should contain one of each of the three starters he quickly finds out being late has cost him dearly. After some pleading Professor Oak admits there is one more Pokémon, but warns it is quite the handful.
Professor Oak shows Ash a Poke ball with a lightning bolt mark on it. Once opened it revels the small electric mouse Pokémon Pikachu, who would soon become a much loved Pokémon all over the world for its role in the series.
At first Ash thinks Pikachu is cute. However, after going to hug it and being given an electric shock, he quickly learns just what Professor Oak meant when he mentioned this young Pokémon was a handful. Despite the young Pokémon’s attack, and the fact it seems somewhat stubborn (this is shown when it refuses to take any orders, or go inside its Poke ball) Ash agrees to take it, and so starts a great friendship…. Or is it?
From what we see of Pikachu for the rest of the episode we quickly learn it is insanely stubborn, and refuses to do anything it’s told. Despite that Pikachu was a character you could quickly grow to love. Its stubbornness just adds to the overall charm, it was a cute Pokémon, and even if it wasn’t going to listen to Ash, Pikachu was a character we could grow to love anyway. Thankfully though Pikachu and Ash’s friendship would grow stronger after the two are attacked by a flock of Spearow, and Pikachu saves them both with a massively powerful electric move.
That episode gave us our two heroes, showed us the start of an amazing friendship, and for some threw them into the strange world of Pokémon for the very first time. It was also the episode which sees Ash set out on his adventure in the Kanto region.
The first season of Pokémon is the one most people remember. Ash’s adventures in Kanto and the Pokémon he caught and came across were much loved. As were his traveling friends, Misty, and Brock. While all of the Pokémon Ash caught within the first season were well liked by fans, there are a few who stand out more than others just for the sheer amount of screen time they got, and/or the effort which seemed to have gone into making us feel for, and love them.
Most notable of the Pokémon Ash caught in Kanto who we quickly fell in love with are, Butterfree (Who, everyone will agree had a heart-breaking episode when it left Ash), Charizard, Squirtle, and Bulbasur. While Ash may not have been able to pick any of the three Kanto starter Pokémon for his actual starter, he did manage to befriend all three on his travels. All three quickly become much loved characters, but more notably then the others was Charizard. As a young Charmander the young Pokémon had been left by its trainer on a cold stormy night. After Ash saves the young Pokémon’s life it teams up with him and his gang for many adventures. While Charmander was well loved from the start, it wasn’t until it evolved into Charmeleon, and then into Charizard that the real fun started.
Fans were quite likely reminded of the young stubborn Pikachu when watching Charizard. It turned out to be another Pokémon which refused outright to listen to the young trainer, which often led to quite funny moments for the viewer. More importantly it gave viewers another close friendship to cling too, Ash and Charizard were insanely close even if it did choose to ignore his every word.
The Kanto generation is also one of two seasons which weren’t split up into different seasons once dubbed for airing outside of Japan. It is also the season with the most episodes, with 82 having aired in Japan.
Mewtwo Strikes Back
Each generation of the anime also had a movie or two to go alongside it. So far fourteen have been released worldwide, with the fifteenth due for release in Japan on the 14th of July this year. The very first movie went under the title of Mewtwo Strikes Back and was released in Japan in July 1998. As the title suggests it featured Mewtwo as the star Pokémon, alongside the newly revealed Mew. It is still seen as one of the best Pokémon movies as it featured a truly moving story from the get go.
Orange Islands Arc
Once Ash had taken on all the gyms in Kanto, and then the Pokémon League, he started looking for a new challenge; cue the Orange Islands!
This season didn’t change too much, but it is where Ash caught some of his more famous Pokémon such as Snorlax, and Lapras. It also seen Pokémon watcher Tracey joining Ash and Misty on their travels after Brock leaves them to stay behind at a Professor Ivy's lab not long after the gang reach one of the first Orange Islands.
Ash kept using a lot of the Pokémon seen throughout his Kanto adventures, and set out to take on and beat the four Orange Island gyms. This season took an interesting take on the concept of Gyms, and turned them more into proper tests of skills then the normal idea of trainers just battling Pokémon. The Orange League also remains memorable for the fact it is the only League Ash has won so far. The league seen some epic battles take place, and I for one specially loved the final battle for Ash to take the title. Not just because Ash won, but for the fact it was a truly memorable match. Pikachu taking on a Dragonite, and winning? Yeah, it was an awesome match.
Like the Kanto generation of the anime the Orange Island’s was an arc not spilt into different seasons. It also currently stands as one of the shortest season having featured only 36 episodes.
The second Pokémon movie was set within the Orange Islands. The star Pokémon of this movie were Lugia, and the three legendary birds Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. With the world at stake Ash has the troubling task of having to try and calm down the fighting birds, but can he manage it and bring peace back to the world?
The movie was released in Japan in the July of 1999. It was the first and only Pokémon movie to feature Tracey who is seen throughout the Orange Island season.