It’s astounding how Pokemon has managed to stay culturally relevant for so long. As I’m writing this it’s approaching its 20th anniversary and I still overhear people talking about it on a regular basis. It’s embedded itself as a prime standard of nostalgia for our generation while still continually releasing new material and topping the sales charts.
Naturally such a phenomenon has to spawn a few films.
Despite all of this, there is statistically speaking at least one person unfamiliar with all of this. And it would probably be best if I didn’t go over the cast and their quirks every single review. So, for the uninitiated, I’m gonna run over the basics.
Pokemon is a video game/trading card game/anime series that was established in 1996. It’s the prevalent example of the ‘Mons’ subgenre, which is based around collecting critters and having them do battle (other good examples include Digimon and Yo-Kai Watch). Upon its release, it quickly took the world by storm and an anime series was quickly ordered.
This show is what we’re going to be focusing on today. Keep in mind that I am sticking with the dub out of convenience in addition to complete and total apathy towards the “subs v. dubs” debate.
Ash Ketchum (Veronica Taylor) is our primary protagonist.
He’s pretty standard as far as anime protagonists go, being headstrong, kind, and in all honesty kind of dumb. His ultimate goal is to be a Pokemon champion, and his best friend is his starter Pikachu (Ikue Ohtani).
The next important character is Misty (Rachael Lillis).
She’s the obligatory snarky female companion, meant to act as a grounding force of sorts while still providing her share of moments herself.
Rounding out our trio is Brock (Eric Stuart).
His initial characterization was that of the levelheaded companion meant to act as a foil to these, but it quickly devolved to that of a massive horndog willing to hit on anything with a pulse.
The series’ antagonist is Team Rocket, but unless it’s specified assume that it refers to Jessie (Rachael Lillis), James (Eric Stuart), and Meowth (Maddie Blaustein).
They’re the incompetent comic relief, but they have a catchy motto.
Our leads travel throughout the Pokemon world; collecting badges, making friends, and learning lessons that are forgotten the next week. There’s a few more details than that, but those are bridges that we’ll cross when we get to them.
Naturally, the success of this show led to the creation of a movie, because they’re gonna ride this thing out as long as they can. Then that led to another movie. And another. And another, then suddenly it’s twenty years later and there’s eighteen films in this franchise (not counting the anime specials that are really just groups of episodes). And we’re gonna examine them. Which ones are good, which ones are bad, which ones just don’t really stand out.
I mean, you gotta catch ‘em all.