“I want to be, the very best, like no one ever was! To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause!” It was those words that started the legendary theme song for the Pokemon Anime here in the United States. Those words were the first things that helped get the anime to legendary heights, alongside a beautiful animation, fun characters, and a story of being a “Pokemon Master” that still endures to this day. We’re bringing this up because the anime is now 24 years old here in the US, and it’s amazing to look at where it started and where it is now.
Because you see, originally, the Pokemon franchise wasn’t MEANT to be as huge as it’s now become. For example, the anime was supposed to be a one-off series. It’d detail the journey of Ash Ketchum and his adventures in the Kanto region, and then when it was done, it would be done. No need for anything more. Instead, we got one of the longest-running animes in history as the games took off to near unprecedented heights, and alongside that, people wanted to see more of the Pokemon anime.
So, their wish was granted. We got to go to Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, Alola, and now Galar. As well as a bunch of “side places” in order to help pad out the journey so that the anime could coincide with the recently released games.
The anime wasn’t just another way to see the Pokemon world; it was a way to experience it through the eyes of other trainers like Ash and his friends and rivals. We got to see it “come alive” in a way that the games honestly can’t do. Including having some incredibly epic Pokemon battles that light up the screen every time you watch it.
What’s more, the anime is able to show the depth and beauty of the Pokemon world in terms of its regions, the relationships between the trainers and Pokemon, and the struggles that they all go through. Of course, when we, the gamers, play the titles, we only rarely struggle, and when we lose, we can just restart and go right back at it. But the anime showed that for some, it’s not that easy.
Yes, it is a kid’s show overall, but from the original anime to Pokemon Journeys right now, there have been some masterclass episodes in regard to storytelling that make it one of the shows out there to this day.
No one expected the anime to go on this long, but we should all be grateful that it did because we would’ve lost a lot of great stories if we hadn’t.