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Anime: Pokémon Origins

Pokémon Origins (known as Pocket Monsters: The Origin in Japan) is a Pokémon OVA/four-episode Mini Series, made to assist in promoting Pokémon X and Y. It aired on October 2nd, 2013 in Japan and began streaming on the North American official site in mid-November of 2013. Following the long-running main Pokémon anime series itself, Pokémon Origins is the second animated adaptation of the original Pokemon Red And Blue (preserving more of the plot of Red and Blue/Green while mixing in elements of Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen as well as Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver) games featuring Red, his rival Blue Oak, and their adventures across the Kanto region. The animation was split among three studios, Production I.G, OLM Incorporated and Xebec.

The official trailers can be viewed here: 1st Japanese trailer; English trailer.

The official releases of the English episodes were initially available on the Pokémon TV webpage, and they can now be found on Hulu and on iTunes.

Compare and contrast to the main Pokémon anime itself, in addition to Pokémon Zensho, a manga based off Red and Green that is similarly (if not more) close to the source series.


This Animation contains examples of:

  • Adapted Out: Despite being prominent NPCs in the games, Daisy Oak and Bill are not even included in the cameos.
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: The way Mewtwo is pronounced in the dub put emphasis on the "two," rather than the "Mew," which is how it was said in previous dubs.
  • The Ace:
    • Red eventually becomes this at the end of the series, as he defeats the Pokémon League and successfully catches all 150 Pokémon.
    • Charizard is the most powerful Pokémon on Red's team and is able to beat Mewtwo when the nothing else (even Articuno) could stand up to it.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Of the original generation games (compared to the main TV series, which went for expansion instead).
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Several characters get a mish-mash of their Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen and Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver designs. A more traditional example is Red's mom, who has blue hair in the games but brown in this anime, most likely to more resemble the "actual anime" version of the character (or to emphasize the family resemblance).
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • Minor NPCs like Mr. Fuji's granddaughter have expanded roles.
    • Special mention must be done to Giovanni. He has more character development and depth in this 1 hour and 30 minutes OVA compared to 15/16 years of anime!
  • Always Accurate Attack: Unlike in the main anime, Swift is portrayed true to the games in that it never misses. Not even Mewtwo can outrun it.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Mewtwo, unlike both of the Mewtwo from the main anime series, doesn't speak human language and has cries that don't sound like any particular gender.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Just after catching Mewtwo and celebrating completing the Kanto Pokédex with Oak, Red realizes that it must have been cloned from Mew, so there's one more Pokémon he needs to catch...cue Mew flying by the window.
  • The Anime of the Game: A Truer To The Text version compared to the standard one, even down to there only being the original 151 Pokémon introduced in Generation 1, except for a Slowking seen in a Hall of Fame picture. While Mega Charizard X is a Gen VI addition, his species is nothing new.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: At the conclusion of their first battle, Blue remarks on Red's employment of this strategy:
    Blue: You just attack and attack...so predictable!
  • Audience Surrogate: Giovanni, of all people, for older players of the games. In his episode, he talks about nostalgia, how great it was to be young and love Pokémon, and how he wishes he could reclaim those feelings again of being carefree without business to worry about.
  • Badass:
    • Charizard, of course. After evolving fully, he manages to curb-stomp almost every single foe that he faces, including Mewtwo after he becomes Mega Charizard X.
    • Red. He may not be perfect, but it takes balls of steel to do what he does.
      Red: I'm going to storm Silph Co. and Team Rocket!
      Blue: You're crazy! You need backup.
      Red: And that's why you're getting the police. But I'm not gonna let Team Rocket keep abusing Pokémon for the Master Ball Project.
    • Giovanni. In the games he calls himself "The Greatest Trainer". Had he said it here, it wouldn't have been bragging, it would have been stating a fact.
  • Baka: It's Professor Oak's Verbal Tic.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Protip — don't refer to Pokémon as just "business" in front of Red. He doesn't take it well.
    • Don't call your Pokémon morons in front of your grandfather, Blue.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Red is all over this trope. 90% of the time, he's just a sweet 11 year-old kid. Start abusing a Pokémon, harm a friend of his, or engage in illegal activities, and he will — to the best of his ability — try to stop you.
  • Big Bad: Giovanni as Team Rocket's leader.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At Pokémon Tower, when a Team Rocket Grunt's Koffing fills the room with smoke so Red's Jolteon can't see, who should appear but Cubone, whose well-timed Bonemerang clears the smoke and allows Red to lay the smackdown on the Team Rocket Grunts responsible for Marowak's death.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Blue starts out surprisingly nice and friendly towards Red, but it's not long before he becomes an even bigger jerk than he is in the games.
  • Book Ends:
    • Red's last battle against Blue comes down to their starter Pokémon, just like the first. But this time, Red's starter wins.
    • In the journey to the first Gym, Red meets a mysterious figure in his life who mentors him into properly training and battling Pokémon. Said mentor later ends up being Brock who is the Gym Leader. Red later meets an recurring enemy in Giovanni, only to find that he is the Leader of the last Gym.
  • Bowdlerization:
    • During Red and Blue's first battle with each other, in the scene where Blue's Squirtle uses Bite on Red's Charmander, Charmander's blood-curdling scream (which occurs as Charmander writhes in agony) is toned down in the English dub.
    • This also occurs with Marowak's death scream.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Pokémon Mansion in the montage. Also, the stones given by Mr Fuji.
  • Compressed Adaptation: It was inevitable. The moments shown in detail are: the beginning, Pewter Gym battle with Brock, the Lavender Town plot, Silph Co., the Viridian Gym Battle, Kanto Champion battle, and Mewtwo. Everything else is shown through montages. If a place that was visited at one point only has chronological significance at a later point, it gets more-detailed coverage in a flashback when it becomes significant.
  • Cross Counter: Between Red's Charizard and Giovanni's Rhydon during their Gym battle.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Red's first battle against Blue is this. Red's under-leveled Charmander is no match for Blue's Squirtle.
    • Red's Charmeleon is shown incinerating Erika's Gym with Flamethrower.
    • Giovanni's Nidoqueen trounces Red's Charizard in seconds at the Silph Co. building, blowing the building's top off.
    • Red's Gym battle against Giovanni, where Giovanni's Rhyhorn alone took down five members of Red's team. Red only got to Rhydon because Hitmonlee was able to beat it to a draw.
    • Blue, when he tried to catch Mewtwo. We don't see the fight itself, but Blue bedridden and swathed in bandages is enough of an indicator that Mewtwo is no ordinary foe.
    • In the time it takes for a flashback, Mewtwo takes down Red's entire team except Articuno and Charizard. Articuno goes down after the damage inflicted by Blizzard gets nullified away by Recover, and Charizard did little better. Cue Mega Charizard X, who turns the tables on Mewtwo. Just look!
  • Cuteness Proximity: Red has this in his catching montage when he catches his Pikachu. The look on his face simultaneously reads "I've always wanted one of those." and "It's so freaking cute!".
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Amongst other things, it stays faithful to the original games by highlighting the Marowak's death.
    • The battles are also a lot more violent than they are in the original anime. Even Charmander and Squirtile's first battle had the former screaming in pain after the later used Bite on it.
    • Enforced in that its primary audience is the people who played the Generation I games as children, who are all now in their mid-to-late twenties.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Mega Charizard X, despite being Red's main Pokémon, has the darkest and scariest color scheme of any Pokémon in the special.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Giovanni, after Red's battle reminds him of how he used to feel as a young Pokemon trainer.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Pikachu only appears in a short cameo during a catching montage.
    • Most Gym Leaders are only glossed over in montages.
  • Disc One Final Boss: Blue. The real final battle is against Mewtwo.
  • Dub Name Change: Green Okido is known as Blue Oak in English.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Cubone for a short while after Marowak was killed.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Mega Charizard X, ten days before the release of Pokémon X and Y. This special was even its introduction to the public, with the marketing material for the new Mega Evolution appearing afterwards.
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: Red gets a Mega Stone from Mr. Fuji, and it doesn't activate until the battle with Mewtwo, turning Charizard into Mega Charizard X.
  • The Fettered: Red. He's a nice kid, but abuse Pokémon or his friends and he will fuck your shit up or die trying.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Red and Blue have one with each other.
  • Foil: Giovanni and Red. It turns out Giovanni was a trainer much like Red, but he forgot how much he enjoyed Pokemon and became a ruthless buisnessman-gangster.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Red's Charizard uses alot of physical attacks. This is to highlight the physical attack boost when it mega evolves into Mega Charizard X.
    • A subtle musical one as well. Its difficult to hear in the special itself, but on the soundtrack there's a beat to the entry section of the Vs. Champion theme that wasn't present in previous versions. Upon closer listening, it becomes clear its the beat to Red's Theme for Pokémon Gold and Silver, slyly indicating who is real Pokemon Master in the battle.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Used when showing Team Rocket's murder of Marowak.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: This is Red's ultimate goal. He starts off with no desire to become a Pokémon Master at the start of the special. He learns about Trainers very early on, and it starts as a secondary objective and snowballs from there. [[spoiler:He succeeds... mostly].]
  • Graceful Loser: Giovanni after being beaten by Red, mostly because of his Heel Realization.
  • Heel Realization: Giovanni, although it's more like he's remembering why he shouldn't be a heel.
  • Heroic Second Wind: After being savagely beaten down by Mewtwo, Charizard evolves into Mega Charizard X and proceeds to give Mewtwo the misery of its life.
  • Hit Points: These values are made visible via Life Meters displayed on wall-mounted monitors, such as during Red's Gym battle with Brock.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Due to the mini-series being directly inspired from a video game. The Japanese episodes use "Report" (such as Report 1 - Red being the first episode; the term refers to how the process of saving a game is usually referred to as "reporting" in the Japanese Pokémon games). The English version swaps it out for the word "File" (as in Save File) to convey the same concept.
  • I Know You Are In There Somewhere Fight: Played with brilliantly. Giovanni is on the receiving end of this in his battle against Red for the Earth Badge, but Red doesn't know he's doing this. He just sees Giovanni, a Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons:
    • Subverted with Lance's Dragonite which is briefly shown and defeated.
    • Played with concerning Charizard, which is the main featured Pokémon and is dragonic in appearance (but not actually a Dragon-type). It's eventually played straight when it Mega Evolves into Mega Charizard X.
  • Irony: Despite being Red's main Pokémon in various other adaptations, along with being his highest leveled Pokemon in the games, Pikachu is only caught after the Pokémon League and is never used after.
  • Life Meter: Wall-mounted monitors display each Pokémon's Hit Points during Official Pokémon League battles.
  • Loophole Abuse: Red says he won't accept a Badge from the boss of Team Rocket. So Giovanni disbands Team Rocket right there so he can accept it from a Gym Leader.
  • Lost in Translation:
    • As the English pairing for the original games is Red and Blue rather than Red and Green, Blue's green shirt/jacket (which contrasts Red's red clothing) loses a bit of its meaning (with Japan's Green Okido being known as Blue Oak in English). On the plus side, the diametric pairing of "Red's Charizard and Blue's Blastoise" actually gains meaning in the English release, as Charizard and Blastoise are the opposing mascots for the English-released Pokémon Red and Blue, respectively (as opposed to the Japanese release, where Charizard of Red Version was opposite Venusaur of Green Version, while Blastoise was sort of standalone due to the Japanese Blue Version being a separate re-release/special edition).
    • This actually presents a slight problem in that Red picks Charmander as his starter because it matches his name:
    • In the Japanese version, when Professor Oak asks Green (Blue in English) if he wants to do the same and pick Bulbasaur, he says that that's not a good reason to pick a Pokémon and chooses Squirtle instead. In the English dub, Professor Oak poses the same question, but the reference to Bulbasaur is changed to Squirtle (a blue-colored Pokémon, thus matching Blue's name). Blue's response is still the same, in that choosing a Pokémon based on one's name is a ridiculous reason; however, as to the reason for Blue's selection, Blue emphatically declares that "since Red chose Fire, I will choose Water!" (Like the games, this more directly implies that Blue was going to choose whatever had the advantage over Red, as opposed to favoring Squirtle over Bulbasaur as in the original version)
    • In the Japanese version, Red considers the term "Sepultura" (which was the nickname of a Charmander depicted on the back of the Japanese box packaging of Pokémon Red, meaning "grave" or "burial" in Spanish) as a possible nickname for his Charmander, but later decides against it and doesn't nickname his Charmander. The back of the English box of Pokémon Red contains a screenshot of a "Sandshrew VS. Meowth" battle instead. As a result, in the English version of Pokémon Origins, when posed with the option of nicknaming Charmander by Professor Oak, Red ponders for a second but decides to keep the name Charmander, without suggesting any possible nicknames aloud at all.
  • Made-for-TV Movie: The presentation of the special in Japan, as one cohesive anime special with four segments.
  • Market-Based Title:
    • The subtitle is The Origin in Japan. The English release lops off the "The" prefix and adds an "S" for plurality.
    • A subtle visual example: The Japanese logo's rendering of the word "Origin" uses red-and-green coloration in the title (as the first pair of Pokémon games in Japan were Red and Green). In contrast, the English logo's rendering of the word "Origins" opts for red-and-blue coloration in the title, as the first English pair of Pokémon games opted for the color blue rather than green.
  • Meaningful Name: Red was named by his dad because Red is the color of warmth and love (in the English dub, Red's father names him this so that Red will have "the passion and energy of a red-hot fire."). This influences Red's starter Pokémon choice of Charmander, and is further reinforced by Red's actions with Team Rocket. What happens when you fight against warmth/fire? You get burned.
  • Megaton Punch:
    • Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this move becomes one of Charizard's staples, and an effective one, at that.
    • ...Except when dealing with Blue's Blastoise.
    • Doubly so when Mega Charizard X, who, with one blow, can punch an opponent as supremely tough as Mewtwo across a room. One should note that, prior to ascension, he couldn't even touch Mewtwo.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Just like the regular anime, but Origins handles the Merchandise-Driven aspect more carefully due to its older target demographic. The only blatant advertising in the special is for Mega Charizard X, which in itself is many older fans' wish fulfillment for a Dragon-type Charizard.
  • The Mentor: Brock, of all people, acts this way towards Red, using the battle to teach him basic type matchups.
  • Mini Series: The presentation of the special in the United States, with each segment being released one episode at a time, with a total of four episodes.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The unnamed Team Rocket member we see killing Marowak looks similar to Executive Proton from Pokemon Heart Gold And Soul Silver.
    • The Pokémon Fan Club president's design is lifted from Pokémon Adventures.
    • In the original Japanese Dub, when Giovanni loses to Red in the Gym Match, he orders his subordinates to tell ALL the branches that Team Rocket is disbanded. This seems to directly refer to the Johto and Sevii Islands branches of Team Rocket.
    • Jynx's appearance uses the old black skin coloration instead of the updated purple one.
    • Despite the different premise, there are still several Shout Outs to the original Pokémon anime,
      • Red watching the opening battle between Gengar and Nidorino on TV in his room, just like Ash.
      • The montage showing Red beat Sabrina with a Haunter.
      • Red's Charizard finishing Giovanni's Rhydon with Seismic Toss, a move Ash's Charizard was famous for using in the original anime.
      • Red's Charizard is voiced by Shin'ichiro Miki, the voice actor for Ash's Charizardnote ; however, instead of having a roar that sounds vaguely like "Lizardon!", this Charizard sounds more like Bowser.
      • Much like the League battle between Ash and Gary, the last two Pokémon standing are Red's Charizard and Blue's Blastoise, with the former being the victor.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Averted just like the game in Lavender Town, whose primary attraction is Pokémon Tower, a memorial for dead Pokémon.
    • On the other hand, while they don't shy away from Pokémon being dead, the dub avoids explicitly referring to Pokémon actually dying. Particularly notable in a scene at the end of the episode where a woman says "Growlithe, I miss you so. Why did you have to..." Likewise, Cubone "lost his mother" to Team Rocket, rather than Team Rocket killing her. In the Japanese version, it is averted, and the Marowak is explicitly stated to have been killed.
    • In Part 3, the Silph Co. secretary seems rather upset that Team Rocket's experiments have caused Pokémon to "collapse."
  • No Sell:
    • Being a Rock-type, Geodude barely felt Charmander's Scratch.
    • Blastoise eats up Charizard's Mega Punch in the final battle between Red and Blue.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: The Marowak ghost. It's actually warning people away from Team Rocket.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • Mr. Fuji has this happen when he learns Red is going to fight Mewtwo.
    • Red gets one when he approaches Mewtwo and he jumps out, ready to fight.
    • Mewtwo himself gets one when Charizard Mega Evolves.
  • On Patrol Montage: The montage at the start of Part 2, covering everything between the Boulder Badge and Pokémon Tower. Including the next 3 Badges.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Giovanni of all people goes through this to himself. He's normally very stoic and business-like, but when he battles Red, his attitude changes. In their Gym battle, in particular, he notices that he actually gives a damn if Red is a strong enemy and his disbanding of Team Rocket is driven by the resurgence of old feelings caused by the battle.
    Giovanni (aloud): "You disappoint me with your lack of skill, Red."
    Giovanni (thinking to himself): Disappointed? He's just a kid with no knowledge of battle theory; why am I disappointed?
  • One Bullet Left: In every major battle, Charizard is Red's last Pokémon still standing, and it always wins. Even when it has a type disadvantage. Justified when Giovanni observes that Red has been power-leveling Charizard but neglecting his other Pokémon.
  • Out of the Inferno: Mewtwo after blowing up the Pokémon Mansion.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: When Red gets to the Viridian Gym several Rocket Members are disguised in dark Jackets and hats. It doesn't take a genius to figure out who they are.
  • Pokémon Speak: Averted. The Pokémon roar, growl, chirp, hiss, etc., just like real animals.
    • Interestingly, the Marowak ghost speaks human language before it's reunited with Cubone.
    • Played straight by Mew's short cameo. Justified here because Mew's name is also an onomatopoeia.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Red's Charizard, definitely. As a result of the series being only four episodes long, he's the only of Red's Pokémon who gets significant screentime in battle. Red's Jolteon fares slightly better than most, but generally, battles tend to get skipped over or sped through to the point where Charizard can come in and get the lion's share of the focus.
  • Stock Subtitle: Origins (English); The Origin (Japanese).
  • Suddenly Voiced:
    • Red. By Junko Takeuchi (of Naruto fame, voicing Naruto Uzumaki himself) and Bryce Papenbrook, of all people!
    • An inversion. Although he didn't speak in the original games, it's still kind of jarring to have a Mewtwo that doesn't telepathically communicate.
  • To Be a Master: Blue's goal, not Red's. At least not at first. Red's original goal was merely to complete the Pokédex. Like in the game, Red is the one who succeeded to become the Pokémon Master.
  • True Final Boss: Mewtwo.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Implied to be the case with Giovanni.
  • Victory By Endurance: Gym Battles are played the same as the games where a Gym Leader will always use less than 6 Pokémon versus the challenger's full team of 6. This is demonstrated twice with Red's first Gym Battle against Brock and his final battle with Giovanni.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Team Rocket, in a stark contrast to the Team Rocket trio in the anime. Just like the games, they actually kill Pokémon, and they're shown conducting horrible experiments on them, too.
  • Vocal Dissonance: This incarnation of Professor Oak sounds much younger than he looks, which can be a bit jarring for viewers familiar with the other Pokémon anime adaptation.
  • Wham Shot: Surprisingly, the special contains one not just for itself, but for the then-upcoming Pokémon X and Y. Charizard Mega-Evolves during the battle with Mewtwo.... but it's a different Mega form than the one previously revealed. Cue the end of the special showing that Charizard will have two Mega forms, one for X and one for Y.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The President of Silph Co. just flat out disappears during the battle between Giovanni and Red. His office is destroyed, and there's no sign of him, despite the fact that Red, Giovanni, and everyone else in the room are all perfectly fine.
    • After beating Brock, Red gets a TM for Bide, much like in the original games. However, Giovanni does not seem to give Red the TM for Fissure after he is defeated. Furthermore, Red never seems to use any of the TMs he acquires, save for maybe Blaine's Fire Blast on his Charizard.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Early in his journey, Red tries to capture another Trainer's Pokémon after weakening it. Naturally, his opponent let's him know not to try and steal other people's Pokémon.
    • Red gives Blue an earful for refusing to help an injured woman call the police, even pinning him against a wall.
  • The Worf Barrage: Any of Red's Pokémon that aren't Charizard are quickly dispatched on-screen in order to justify Red bringing out his starter. The most egregious examples include skipping over the majority of Red and Blue's Champion battle to get to the battle between Charizard and Blastoise and Articuno being defeated in one hit after attacking Mewtwo.
  • You Don't Look Like You: The Pokémon Nurse at the Pokémon Center. Justifed, as the Pokémon Nurses didn't get Nurse Joy/Joi's pink hair until Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire. Also, all the nurses match Generation I artwork by Sugimori. That's also why they are different at each center: he made several incarnations of them.

Alternative Title(s):

Pokemon The Origin