Hello people, Criticalcanine21 here with a review of a show from my childhood. I used to love this show. Next to Dragon Ball Z and Yugioh, this was one of my favorite shows. As I grew up, I started to lose interest in the show but not the games which I still play today. Eventually, I realized that this show really doesn’t hold up. People still like it for nostalgia I suppose, but this is not a show that has gotten better with time. I have heard that people stated that the later seasons are worse but I believe they just grew out of it. The biggest problem with the later seasons is that they repeat the same formula and story. Team rocket are still the bad guys, Ash still travels with some characters from the games, he still gets all badges but loses at the elite 4. While other shows have tried to evolve and change over the years, Pokemon seems to stay the same while the games actually try to get better and improve.
The show is about a boy named Ash who is traveling with his Pokemon Pikachu and his friends Brock and Misty to be the Pokemon master while stopping the evil Team Rocket. The show feels like an 80’s cartoon because it seems more focused on showing off a new Pokemon or battles than developing character or telling a great story. Not helping its cause is the animation which feels lazy. The awkward facial expressions that are trying to be funny but seems awkward and sometimes creepy as well as the fact that the show reuses animation more than Hannah Barbera. The voice acting is over the top and feels odd a lot of times. The stories of each episode range from ok to annoying. The worst ones are when it gets preachy and talks about how Pokemon are your friend and should be respected but all I heard was “buy our crap”. This is even worse with the fact that Team Rocket appear in every episode and are always the bad guys with no change and are usually stopped by the spotlighted Pokemon of the week. These episodes feel like filler and the shows best moments are the battles but they are few and far between. Even when the battles happen, the repeated animation, seizure inducing visuals, goofy voice acting, and oddly handled fight scenes make it feel disappointing. The often out of place music and slow dull feel of the battles in the earlier season makes it feel boring. The idea of the show is that you set up a character and learn more about him and show him grow up by the end but by the end I didn’t see a change in the character. He seemed just as dumb and bland as before. Ash as a character is not interesting. He feels way too bland and feels more like a blank slate so you can insert yourself into it. This backfires as in the games, you name the character, catch what you want, and the character is silent. Ash talks, catches ones that are quite common to find, and has a personality of being a kid who is a bit dumb and selfish and while he becomes nicer towards the end, he doesn’t really become more of a man or interesting or even get drama about his life that comes in the story. The other characters have a bit more character but not much. Brock’s only character traits are being a sage like character to Ash and hitting on every woman that he sees. Misty is kinda bitchy at first but doesn’t have any traits that stick out. Team rocket are kinda funny in how inept they are at first but that joke wears out quickly. Even the Pokemon don’t have any defined character. They all just say their names, typically have human like facial expressions, and don’t stick out much as characters.
I think this is a show that people watch for nostalgia. People watch it because it makes them feel like a kid. I suppose their is not anything wrong with that and its fairly harmless but honestly it just feels like a lazy cash grab to capitalize on a oncoming franchise. Its not as bad as other cartoons based on video games but its still pretty bad and won’t get anyone who is past puberty into the franchise. I will always love Pokemon but the show is one thing about the franchise I can do without.