Reviews: Poke Mon
XY season, another BW? Or something better?
After BW ended I now had a least favorite season: the mistakes that the Unova arc did were either much more glaring than in past seasons or there just wasn't enough upsides to compensate for the downsides. Now that XY is ongoing many people -myself included- are hoping that it is not a repeat of BW, and while so far it does seem like a mild improvement, it still has a few issues, namely that it still has that BW feel to it: too watered-down and cutesy, there is a large saturation of filler episodes at the beginning (though arguably it is better in the long run to get the fillers out of the way early so that we don't end up with a filler arc at the end of the saga like last time), and I'm sorry, but Serena is so far incredibly uninteresting: all that she has done is be shipping fuel and not much else; heck, even Bonnie has done more than Serena has and the kid is what? Six years old? It doesn't help that Serena is just a stereotypical girly-girl (yes, I know that there have been countless girly-girls in past seasons, but at least those had an actual personality beyond just being girly). On the other hand, the good stuff has been quite satisfying: Ash is competent again, Clemont and Bonnie are, while not excellent, pretty decent characters so far; the Mega Evolution arc seems interesting so far, Korrina joined the group recently and is so far entertaining, and some fillers have been pretty fun, particularly the Malamar episode. Personally, I'm going to keep up my guard, however: just because this saga seems like an improvement so far doesn't mean that it will be an improvement in the long run. Hopefully, it will be a good arc. This being the Pokemon anime, I gave up long ago in anything truly spectacular coming out of it, but hey, surprises do happen occasionally.
Black and White season SUCKS!
Here's a problem with the Black and White anime that makes it so bad. The thing is, it removes all the experience and all the good moments that made the Pokemon Diamond and Pearl anime so good. It make it kiddy, and it "rebooted" Ash back to the stupid 10-year-old he was in Kanto, a season I didn't like at all. In the early seasons, Brock doesn't come back, and Team Rocket is made serious. You'd really like that considering how annoying Brock and Team Rocket were, but they made the spirit of the anime. They made it funny. With the new characters and the new Team Rocket, you would be begging for Brock and the old, stupid TR that blasted off to come back. Not only that, but Ash's Pokemon battles (and the Pokemon themselves) are really sucky and I feel that they only appeal to the weeaboos who go "kawaii, desu" and all that. The later seasons try to focus on nostalgia, like with Ash's Charizard coming back, but those later seasons are really lackluster because Ash's Charizard doesn't actually do anything relevant in the story. Also, Ash's Butterfree never comes back, even though an episode really implied it. I forgot to mention that Team Rocket comes back to their goofy selves, but it's not as entertaining as it was in the earlier seasons. To sum it up, the Black and White season is a season that doesn't know what it should do. It tries to "reboot" the series, but eventually near the later seasons it tries (and fails) at being nostalgic to older fans. TL;DR, it is bad and you shouldn't watch it. EDIT: One thing about this season that gives it a high advantage over DP and XY is that there's barely any filler. You have no idea how boring and useless filler is.
A view point from a fan of the original series and the games.
I'm not sure how long this will be I just wanted to get my thoughts out. Personally I think the use of Ash is a bit played out, same thing with most of the recurring trends that started back in the Kanto series. I've watched all of the Kanto and Orange Islands, along with major bits and pieces of each series that followed, and all the movies. And the only main flaw that I see is that Ash still being used as the viewer/fan of the games proxy. And this goes back to why Ash was created in the first place: He was an analog for Red who was the only character a player (at least visually) could be in the original three (Red, Blue, Green in Japan) games. This basically let the kids have a connection between the anime and the games. Yellow made an even stronger connection. Ash doesn't know about the Pokemon word and neither do the children playing the games. Now this is where the problem begins. Red is no longer the player figure in the games, he's not in the games anymore. Each generation introduced new player characters so shouldn't the anime have updated as well? This wasn't much of a problem with Johto since when GSC came out the audience watching the show and playing the games would still remember Red. But jump to the year 2002 and 2003 when the 3rd generation started. You have brand new players picking up Pokemon games and watching the anime. Why isn't Brandon with May in the show based on my new game? Who is Ash? Obviously I'm over thinking this a tiny bit, but I feel it was missed opportunity to end Ash's story and introduce new players to serve the same role, only with new Pokemon and new game elements to show off. Same applies to each new series that starts in a new generation. Instead we have a character who doesn't really grow (literally) and is costly getting reduced to the status quo every time he goes to a different region despite amassing Pokemon and skill sets that should beat every opponent he meets. Opting to "start fresh" aside from Pikachu. He basically forgets everything he's learned like how the types interact with each other. Or getting surprised when his freshly caught untrained Pokemon loses. And then there's the fluxing of Pikachu's power, I know they gave a "reason" in Best Wishes. But it wouldn't have to come to that if they replaced Ash as the viewer proxy several seasons ago. And that's my two cents.
Pokemon Black & White: Could it actually be good?
Note: This review was written before the American premiere of the Black & White (Best Wishes) season. Many people displeased with the Pokemon franchise as a whole see the fifth generation as the swan song, if it wasn't ruined already. However, Black & White! seems to be anything but the dying remains of a once-great cornerstone of 90's media. One reason why Black & White is so good is because it feels so fresh. Here is a short list of what has been added, changed, and removed compared to the previous seasons.
- The "rules" of the Pokemon world, so to speak, are much more solid than they were in any of the previous seasons.
- A sort of B-Plot so far about Team Rocket and some insidious plan they have cooking in Unova.
- Like previous seasons, Ash starts off with just his Pikachu, and eventually captures other Pokemon along the way. He does begin with a few rookie trappings, but they are much less severe than in previous installments. He's no longer coddled by the plot, he loses on a number of occasions.
- The English titles are no longer puns, but match their Japanese counterparts much more accurately.
- Team Rocket is much more serious than they were in any of the previous seasons, probably due to their promotion.
- The music and animation quality has improved.
- Writing is all-around better and more serious.
- Gone are the old running jokes.
- Many of the numerous complaints that fans had about the previous seasons are also removed. If you had one, it's probably gone.
The episode N Arc: A monumental disappointment. And don't expect Charizard to do anything.
Black and White with the tiny amounts of depth removed and the villains reduced to generic bad guys. The moral conflict about realising pokemon is completely removed. N is mildly interesting at first, and they at least keep his character faithful to the games... except Ash fairly easily convinces him that his pokemon are happy in slavery and therefore theirs no need to question the status quo. N never forms his movement to free Pokemon, opposes Ash or commands Resheriam. Their is a brief nod to the dreams and reality thing at the end of the episode N14, but otherwise its never dealt with. Charizard comes back with much fanfare and hype, and has a hyped battle with Dragonite which is astonishingly boring and ends in 40 seconds without being resolved. Charizard then proceeds to do nothing useful that Torkal couldn't have done, proving almost useless to the plot. Team plasma are defeated when they summon Reshiram and mind control it, and rather than the climatic battle we were promised, Pikachu snaps it to its senses with thundershock, while Meowth holds off a dozen Perlion's through some astonshing Deux Ex Machina bull**** powers, then the bad guys are arrested easily enough. Theirs some fighting before Resheriam is summoned, and then some fighting where suddenly Team Plasma is so pathetically weak that Jessie and James can solo the entire group without even trying. Aside from the god awful Episode N 14, the fight scenes are mostly ok I guess. The plot is bland, boring, and predictable, and they still manage to space it out with even more pointless filler eps. Overall Id give this one a miss. If you watch Episode N13, don't watch Episode N14, whatever resolution to the cliffhanger you can think of will be better than what the writers did.
It's not bad, I like it, is that okay?
I watched Pokemon when I was a kid, but like a lot of people I grew out of it around Hoenn/Battle Frontier and hated Diamond and Pearl when it first came up. But years later, I forgot what caused me to, but I decided to marathon the entire series from start to finish and.......... I like it. Kanto was a fun nostalgic romp filled with early installment weirdness, it had mostly fun episodes, fantastic music, and was for the most part well paced. Negative points would be some episodes don't hold up quite as well, but other than that I didn't find anything to bad Orange Islands was the same deal, it was short enough that I felt it wasn't dragging, the Gym Leader battles were inventive and original, and hey Ash actually won a League for once! A shame it's filler. Johto was a bloated padded out mess with tons of pointless filler (hello Whirl Cup arc), there were some decent episodes here and there but aside from the Pokemon League and the Gym Battles it wasn't worth sitting through. Still though it was great to see Ash vs Gary as well as Blazekien in all of his magnificent glory. Hoenn was great. Aside from being well paced it had a good advancement on Ash's character as well as giving the newbie character May much more development than Misty as well as having a consistent goal by competing in Pokemon Contest, which was a nice alternative to battles every now and again. The Pokemon League was eh though. Battle Frontier was good, as well as nostalgic. I enjoyed how Ash rotated his roster using the various Pokemon he caught over the "years". The Frontier Brain battles were also pretty fun. I hated Diamond and Pearl when I saw it years ago, now? I quite like it. Though it has the same pacing problems as Johto, it had way more of an overarching story to redeem it somewhat. Say what you want, but I thought Paul was a great rival for Ash and it really kept D&P interesting. D&P in general put a lot of emphasis on battle strategies and planning that really tested Ash's skill as a trainer and put him to the limit. And finally, Best Wishes. It improved in some aspects, but regressed in others. Most notably Team Rocket for improvements and Ash's skills for regression. I would like to explain more, but those are my brief thoughts on each series. I still quite like it, it's nowhere near perfect, but it's still enjoyable.
An Old Fan's Review
I'll be honest, I stopped watching after Johto and so have no idea what happens after that, but that's why I want to give my opinion. I was part of the original generation who was really into this fad, and have done everything from watch the show, to playing the video games, to collecting the cards. I view this show like I view DBZ, Sailor Moon and Yugioh, as a Gateway Series that wasn't actually that good, but brought a lot of people into the world of video gaming and anime. I love this show for nostalgia's sake, but yes, I can't get over Misty being Put On A Bus, and yes, I like really hate the new voices. They grated on my ears when I tried to keep watching. I think they handled Ash poorly by continually him shoving back to newbie status and ignoring the world changing things he's done. Most of my negative comments have been said a thousand times. The thing is, I saw an episode of the latest series and it made me laugh because I felt like it was so bad. The background characters didn't move. Animation was reused. Pikachu lost an easy battle. Ash was completely out of character so that it was like watching a different trainer who looked a bit like him. I almost felt like they should have made Ash mentor a new trainer and let that new trainer take over the series instead of doing it like this. I didn't like the new character designs, or the new Pokemon designs, or anything about it really. When it came to the original show, I remember liking how they portrayed the emotional aspects of the show, like when Ash died in the movie, when Pikachu chose not to evolve or how determined he was to become a Pokemon master. In most aspects it's like a classic shonen series. I think if there's anyone of hasn't heard of Pokemon, I'd still recommend series up to Kanto to them. I'd warn them to be careful of the fanbase though, because there's people who hate anything past Kanto, there's people who only know the new series and think people complaining about the changes should have moved on long ago, and any variation in between; the Fanon community is also one of the best parts though, because since almost an entire generation enjoyed Pokemon in some fashion, there's something for everyone. So I guess to summarize it, I hate the new series, love Kanto like an old Disney movie, and have mixed feelings about the Fanon community that are mostly positive.
Diamond and Pearl: Missed Opportunities
Diamond and Pearl is a saga that I felt had a lot going for it but failed on a lot of aspects. Paul- Yes we all know how big of a Karma Houdini he was. He was a Drill Sergeant Nasty that went overboard with Chimchar. I think that his brother should have gave him a verbal slap to the face at some point in the anime. The writers really could have expanded on his relationship with his brother instead of giving him such a flimsy excuse. Plus they made his conversion to a nicer person unrealistic. However, in terms of rivalry he was still pretty good for the fact that he forced Ash to come up with strategies as well actually battled him on more than one occasion. He did what a rival was supposed to do; he pushed Ash. Granted he was a complete Jerk Ass in doing so. The Team Galactic Plot- The writers have a track record of failing miserably with villain plots (Team Magma/Team Aqua). Only about 10 episodes of appearances? Fail. Why didn't we have a battle between Barry and Jupiter? Perfect time for Character Development for him. There was so much they could have done with this plot. It would have cut down on some of the filler of this saga. However the 10 episodes were, for the most part epic. The planned bombing of Iron Island was unique and unexpected. Hunter J being involved with capturing the pixies was sheer brilliance. Tobias- Nothing but a plot device to keep Ash from winning a league. You know, you would think that a person with a legendary Pokemon blasting his way through all the gyms would have gotten some mention. I don't think that there was anything that could help make Tobias' presence in the league less cringe-worthy other than just not having him. There was a lot of potential to be had in this saga, but it just fell short. So much the writers could have done to make it a truly great season. So for the Tl;Dr version
- Paul- Expand on his relationship with his brother and made his change to a nice guy happen sooner
- Team Galactic- More involvement in the plot in general
- Tobias- They should not have had him appear