Pocket Monsters THE ORIGIN – Final Impressions

October 5, 2013 on 9:38 pm by Mikoto | In Anime, Pocket Monsters | 17 Comments

The classic rivalry never gets old

ようこそ! ポケモンせかいへ・・・って、おい!

So I’ve watched the entire four-episode special a few days ago, some hours after it had aired on TV Tokyo. I did enjoy it and it was a pretty good special, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied.

As a fan who is familiar/fond with Pocket Monsters across all continuities, such as the games, the original Japanese anime (not the dub), and the various different manga adaptations throughout my entire childhood, I feel that my opinions may be a little less bias compared to English fans who’ve only played the games, watched the English dubbed anime, and read one Pokemon manga (that is, Pocket Monsters Special, or Pokemon Adventures as it’s known in the west).

It was a fun little special, but it’s totally not as good as a Pocket Monsters anime should be, and I hope that I’ll help shed some critical insight for those who are blindly praising the special.

Look familiar?

Much like the 1997 anime, the special adaptation begins with an animated variation of the Red/Green intro of the games. And just like 1997 anime, it’s actually a tournament on television being watched by an animated adaptation of Red (in the 1997 anime, their adaptation was called Satoshi, named after the creator of the franchise due to Red not having a canon name at the time).

A boy whose heart burns of a red-hot flame

The Origin version of Red’s personality is almost no different from his counterparts across the Pokemon franchise. It’s pretty much the same as Satoshi from the 1997 anime, Red from Pocket Monsters Special, Shuu from Pocket Monsters Getto Daze!, etc. All of these versions of Red share similar personality traits and the Red shown here does not break that trend. Clearly Ken Sugimori had some sort of officialized vision of his personality while designing the character. The only difference is that this Red doesn’t keep a constant Pikachu on his Pokemon team.

Which is why I find it silly that they cast him with Junko Takesuchi instead of Rica Matsumoto. She does a pretty good job here, but seeing as Red talks like Satoshi (he has the exact same mannerisms and speech patterns) and Junko provides the same infliction in her voice, he might as well have been voiced by Rica Matsumoto.

There’s an explanation for his color name here, which is an unusual name in a region where almost all of its inhabitants have Japanese names. His father named him Red because he wanted his son to grow up to be a man with a heart that burns like red-hot flames. I wonder why Green’s father named him Green?

Red, you thief!

この泥棒!

One of the definite things about the special that brought it down were the direct references to the fact that it’s based on a video game, ones that were made in an unnecessary fashion. Now, I love nostalgic throwbacks to the Red and Green Versions as much as the next guy, but did they *really* need to do a throwback to how the players tried to toss Monster Balls at other trainers’ Pokemon during their first go-through of the game? It makes Red look like a complete dumbass in the world of Pokemon, which I’m sure he’s not.

A proper way to portray a rookie trainer would be how the 1997 anime handled its version of a beginner Red. Forgetting to weaken a monster before capturing it? Fine. Not even all too savvy about attributes and the like? Great, the special did this too. But thinking it’s OK to steal another trainers’ Pokemon? NO, that makes the character look stupid in context of the world rather than just making a novice mistake.

And the proper way to handle direct references to game mechanics would be in the style of Pokemon Special… as in not referencing downright idiotic aspects that ruin the game-to-anime/manga medium conversion.

A champion is not you

こいつは わたしの まご
きみの おさななじみであり
ライバル である

There’s not much to say about Green other than the fact that he’s… exactly the same as he is in the games. But he’s a lot less eccentric than his counterpart from the original anime, Shigeru (named after the man Shigeru Miyamoto, due to Green not having a canon name at the time), that’s for sure. And he’s a bit more friendlier. He doesn’t have the harem of cheerleaders, though.

He’s voiced by Takuya Eguchi. I wasn’t fond of his voice at first – I prefer Yuuko Kobayashi’s rendition of a “Green” character (Shigeru) and he sounded rather too old to be 11. But I got used to it. He acts the role well, and I really didn’t mind that some of the same-aged characters from Digimon sounded like they went through early puberty.

A ONE, A TWO, A THREE -CHOMP- Three.

How many bites does it take to get to the center of a Hitokage?

I have to give this special credit for having this kind of… Generation I brutality. We haven’t seen this kind of thing in a Pocket Monsters animation in years.

The shrieking…. the shrieking…

Breeeeeding

Breeeeeding…

Tomokazu Sugita voices Takeshi. Need I say more? Yuji Ueda will always have the better Takeshi voice to me, but Tomokazu Sugita always provides a fantastic performance. He made Takeshi sound rather distinguished and mentor-like.

YELLING MAKES ME SO EXHAUSTED

Speaking of Takeshi, his battle was one of the only battles in this special that I actually liked. It really showcased how overwhelming the first Gym could be for first-time players who chose Hitokage. Plus, the victory music that played during Red’s turnabout was pretty sweet.

But, one minor gripe: Why are they panting? Their Pokemon are doing the work – the trainers are just shouting commands. The only canons where this should ever happen are in series such as Pocket Monsters Special or Pocket Monsters RéBURST, where the humans are actively participating in the battle as much as the Pokemon. Otherwise it’s rather melodramatic. I can understand that they were going for a shounen-ish “connection with your partner” type of deal, but the execution is silly.

HP Bars + Non-Japanese made-up language

The rest of the battles were pretty lackluster. I have no idea why some people are praising the battles within this special – it was mostly a 1HKO-fest of four Pokemon on Red’s team, leading him to rely on either Lizardon or Thunders (the only cosistent members on his team). And the HP bars? I don’t mind incorporating game mechanics, but this is an anime, and they should go with choices that would work well as an anime. Levels are definitely possible as strength CAN be measured (in no way do I agree with a level 100 cap for an anime), but HP bars totally take away from the suspense of a battle. Knowing that a character is near his/her breaking point visually is a lot more effective than relying on some HP bar on the screen. Also, gameplay/storyline segregation. What’s next, we’re going to have a bunch of NPCs that provide one-line gameplay expositions? It’s not too bad, but it’s a rather silly choice. Other anime adaptations of JRPGs are a little more smart in this regard.

And by the way, I hate how the made-up language from the internationally-poisoned current anime reared its ugly head into this special. Why the hell is Hitokage’s name so fucking long in Whatevernese? I know it’s a fantasy series. I can respect made-up languages like the Hylian language in The Legend of Zelda, because it was created as a readable, translatable language that the player can *understand*. The runes here are clearly just gibberish and would have just been better off being Japanese. The Gen I games based their region on an actual Japanese region and use 円 as the currency marker. Why not just use the Japanese language or simply romaji? 4Kids aren’t on your back anymore, guys…

Moving on.

MY TEARS T_T

The best part of this special has to be the second chapter about Karakara and the Pokemon Tower. This story arc from the games has never been given justice in any adaptation, anime or otherwise, and it was nice to see it being so focused on in this special. The scene where Karakara bids farewell to the spirit of its mother and helps Red avenge her is just so well-done and exactly as I imagined in my headcanon (and my planned reboot of the 1997 anime in manga-form), sans Karakara actually joining “Red”, which does not happen here.

Shion Town (Lavender Town) keeps its creepy atmosphere from the games here, and my favorite NPC line about the white hand being on Red’s shoulder is kept – with a twist. An even creepier twist.

Fuji is a grandbro

Mr. Fuji is a grandbro

Oh my god. I can’t help but give this special props for having so much focus on one of the more interesting, yet almost never discussed, characters from Generation I – Mr. Fuji. That, and portraying him in an accurate role. His anime counterpart from the 1997-1998 Mewtwo Saga was a really, really interesting and well-written character with a great backstory – but he was in no way faithful to the Fuji from the games. And the Fuji from the Pocket Monsters Special manga sucked because he’s such a insignificant character that really had nothing to do with Mewtwo at all.

Also, he gives Red the Mega Stones and seems to have knowledge of the lore of the Kalos region. This supports my previous theory that Fuji will have some sort of role in XY. But I digress.

MOE ON MY MIND

Reina’s such a cute character! It seems the theory I posted on Bulbagarden when she was first added to the character page was spot-on – she’s a meld of both the NPC that lives with Karakara and Fuji’s granddaughter.

While I did like her presence, there’s one female that SORELY needed to be in this special:

Dat skirt, dem socks

BLUE/LEAF!

Why? Why does Game Freak hate her so? Despite being an optional Player Character, she’s rendered non-existent in the game’s canon, is not featured in any other continuity besides two manga series (one being a gag series and the other being Pocket Monsters Special), and might effectively be replaced by Serena as Satoshi’s (and by extension, Shigeru’s?) childhood friend in the upcoming XY anime series (I’m not gonna bother too much with it unless it really impresses me…).

And no, don’t even start with “this anime is based on RED AND GREEN”, “not FIRERED AND LEAFGREEN”. Terrible logic. They used the FireRed/LeafGreen character designs (aside from the Zukan/Pokedex and Takeshi) and incorporated aspects of XY into the special. If they really were doing a strict adaptation of Red and Green, the characters would have looked more like their 1997 anime counterparts, which used the Generation I designs.

This shot is glorious

Red’s Lizardon against Green’s Kamex… it wasn’t a bad battle alone, I suppose, but it pales in comparison to how another continuity handled the “Red’s starter vs. Green’s starter” battle. That is, the original anime, which had the very same set. The version of Red there, Satoshi, actually found a unique and kickass strategy that managed to turn the tides of battle despite the type disadvantage against Shigeru’s Kamex. Here, Red is bombarding Green’s Kamex with a bunch of fire attacks and finished it off with Daimonji (Fire Blast). Not… very impressive, despite the pretty visuals.

I love seeing at least one animated instance of a Player Character becoming Champion, though. The Hall of Fame scene was absolutely glorious.

MASACHIKU ICHIMURA IS CRYING

:/

Red’s battle with Mewtwo was complete bullshit. As cool as Mega Lizardon X looks, you can’t possibly convince me that it could curbstomp Mewtwo.

Not only that, but Mewtwo as a character is terribly underwhelming compared to the Mewtwo characters from other canons. Mewtwo (Masachiku Ichimura), from the Japanese (not butchered/dubbed) original anime written by Takeshi Shudo, had an interesting/tragic backstory and had considerable depth as both an antagonist and an ally. Compared to his previous anime adaptation, this Mewtwo is truly underwhelming. Perhaps it would have helped if he had at least spoken – they kept its backstory with Mr. Fuji from the games, and it’s a really interesting backstory – but the character itself lacks personality compared to his cross-canon brethren. The Mewtwo from Pocket Monsters Special also started talking, with the writers taking cues from the 1997/1998 anime character because it was so well-done.

Masachiku Ichimura gave a perfect rendition of what I imagined Game Mewtwo to sound like in Melee (and it’s totally different from his performance as Takeshi Shudo’s Mewtwo!). Why couldn’t they have done that?

Not an interesting final antagonist at all. But at least it’s easier to stomach than the feminine, walking-plothole of an uninteresting attempt at a tsundere that the new Mewtwo from the ExtremeSpeed Genesect: Mewtwo Awakens movie is. Takeshi Shudo is rolling in his grave.

This is the best shot I ever took!

My final story-related gripe is the complete lack of explanation as to why Red is on Mt. Silver (or, since this is supposed to be “Gen I” nostalgia, portray the collapse of Hanada Cave). I refuse to believe that this boy left his mother alone and lonely at home for three years for a generic excuse such as training. We already have enough of a child’s disregard for the feelings of their (only) parent in the current incarnation of Red’s anime version, Satoshi (who, was previously characterized as actually giving a shit about his mom whenever he had the chance). We don’t need it for a Red that’s supposedly a closer representation to the game version.

Overall, despite some of my negative comments towards this special, I REALLY enjoyed it otherwise. It’s much easier to watch than the current Pocket Monsters anime, which is only a shell of its former self. One thing I must note is that this is certainly not canon to the games, as certain things are changed to the point where it can’t simply be the canon version of the game’s events with acceptable liberties. I liked the hidden depths Sakaki’s character had as the Rocket Gang boss in this special, but his characterization here really contradicts his event from HeartGold/SoulSilver. Overall, it’s a nice little special for fans that manages to provide a load of nostalgic fanservice to those played the Generation I games, but it certainly isn’t the godsend of a Pocket Monsters anime people were hoping for.

To end this off, I’ll do a 1997 vs. 2013 character ranking, just for fun.

Shudo VS. The Origin!

Original Satoshi / Anime Red = Origin Red
Original Shigeru / Anime Green > Origin Green
Takeshi = Origin Takeshi
Kasumi > Origin Kasumi
Natsume > Origin Natsume
Erika < Origin Erika (she retains her sleepy moe game character)
Sakaki > Origin Sakaki
Dr. Fuji = Mr. Fuji
Dr. Orchid > Origin Dr. Orchid (eccentric old men are more amusing)
Hanako/Satoshi’s mama > Red’s mama (Hanako is spunky; Red’s mama only appeared for like, 10 seconds. Not gonna lie, she’s just as hot.)
Shudo Mewtwo > Origin Mewtwo (easily)

The Gym Leaders (other than Takeshi and Sakaki) on the left get an easy win mostly because the ones on the right don’t get any speaking roles other than a game textbox (I’m serious!) within quick montages.

As for the OST – the only tracks that stood out to me were the original stuff (such as the victory theme played whenever Red is turning the tides) and the Silph Co. theme. I’ve already heard better remixes of the game music from the 1997 anime series:

I wonder who's the better Lass. The one from The Origin or Seiyo from episode 9 of the 1997 anime?

Image Credit: raemz from Pixiv.

(Bulbagarden comments)

17 Comments »

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  1. Honestly I have no problem with it .
    Pokemon The Origin did well for only a 4 episode special .
    Unlike , “”Best Wish” that had enormous amount of time but the Anime decide to rush everything for a pathetic journey call Da Journey !!!
    Honestly Red seem so much alive & real compare to current Ash .
    Actually , All the character from the special seem more real compare to BW Series character.
    And That girl from Brock Gym seem to have more personality then all BW Series girl.
    I almost wish to see a girl like her in XY Series .
    Pokemon The Origin obviously has much better script then BW Series.
    And surprisingly Red’s mom look’s much more prettier then Ash’s mom .

    Comment rebelious — October 6, 2013 #

  2. @rebelious: Clearly, I even mentioned it being highly preferable than the current incarnations of the Pokemon anime. But it still lacks in a lot of areas and could have been better. I liked the Origin version of Red because he was pretty lively, but holy crap did they make him look bad with that “stealing Nidoran” thing. Unnecessary throwbacks to newbie playthroughs…
    As for Red’s mom being hotter than Satoshi’s mom, I disagree, they’re both pretty nice ladies. If you look closely, you can see that Red’s mom is just an import/style conversion of Satoshi’s mom into Origin (rightfully so…).

    Comment Mikoto — October 6, 2013 #

  3. I think your review was quite an interesting read due to your broader exposure to the franchise. I think this Special will be overly lavished with praise by the fandom for not only pandering to Gen I fans, but also because it was something vastly different to the current anime we have. Pretty much how the manga Pocket Monsters Special is overpraised for being so “Dark” and “Mature” when it was just the fans overcompensating for the fact that the anime didn’t grow up with them.

    “Reina’s such a cute character!”

    This, Reina-chan is adorable!

    “Why? Why does Game Freak hate her so? Despite being an optional Player Character, she’s rendered non-existent in the game’s canon, is not featured in any other continuity besides two manga series (one being a gag series and the other being Pocket Monsters Special), and might effectively be replaced by Serena as Satoshi’s (and by extension, Shigeru’s?) childhood friend in the upcoming XY anime series (I’m not gonna bother too much with it unless it really impresses me…).

    And no, don’t even start with “this anime is based on RED AND GREEN”, “not FIRERED AND LEAFGREEN”. Terrible logic. They used the FireRed/LeafGreen character designs (aside from the Zukan/Pokedex and Takeshi) and incorporated aspects of XY into the special. If they really were doing a strict adaptation of Red and Green, the characters would have looked more like their 1997 anime counterparts, which used the Generation I designs.”

    I’ve always felt sorry for the poor girl when you really think about it. Now correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t she supposed to be in the original Red, Blue, and Green games as a playable character but was taken out at the last second due to lack of memory?

    The only substantial narrative I can come up with for Blue/Leaf/Midori is the Pocket Monsters Special manga. The Ruby and Sapphire manga didn’t do as much with her as a character.

    I also secretly wished that GameFreak would have put Blue on top of Mt Silver in HeartGold and SoulSilver if you chose Kotone as your main character. It would make sense because of the retconning of FireRed and LeafGreen superseding the original Red, Blue, and Green games. Not to mention that by Gen IV, the technology of the games had evolved enough that they could have put her in the game if they really wanted to. So there’s no excuse this time around for “Lack of Memory”.

    Poor Blue/Leaf/Midori you are the neglected child of GameFreak.

    Comment TsukuyomiMagi99 — October 7, 2013 #

  4. @TsukuyomiMagi99: Glad you enjoyed the review!
    I think this Special will be overly lavished with praise by the fandom for not only pandering to Gen I fans, but also because it was something vastly different to the current anime we have. Pretty much how the manga Pocket Monsters Special is overpraised for being so “Dark” and “Mature” when it was just the fans overcompensating for the fact that the anime didn’t grow up with them.
    Agreed. The bigger picture isn’t often seen because of this overcompensation.
    I do give this special credit for the tragic brutal death of Garagara. We haven’t seen that kind of darkness/implication since the original anime (I don’t count the Lucario movie, because while it was sad and very well-done, it wasn’t very brutal and was more bittersweet than downright heartbreaking).

    I’ve always felt sorry for the poor girl when you really think about it. Now correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t she supposed to be in the original Red, Blue, and Green games as a playable character but was taken out at the last second due to lack of memory?
    Yeah, or at least that’s what people claim. She was even present in some early Sugimori sketches. Pocket Monsters Special and one short Origami manga used this as the basis for their versions of Blue.
    Blue/Leaf seriously needed some attention in The Origin if they weren’t going to give her justice in any of the games. It’s just further proof that Game Freak has it out for her.
    (By the way, her name wouldn’t be “Midori” as that’s Green in Japanese. ^^;;)

    Comment Mikoto — October 8, 2013 #

  5. Ichimura Mewtwo: 私は オペラ座の怪人 (sorry if there’s a mistake. I used a translator)

    Origin Mewtwo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlNILMJCiw4

    Comment Hitmonchan — October 8, 2013 #

  6. @Hitmonchan: That’s pretty much an accurate comparison, yeah.

    Comment Mikoto — October 8, 2013 #

  7. I apologize for leaving another comment on this topic and this is probably going to sound redundant but it needs to be said. I think this special will make the majority of Red fans even more obnoxious then they already are. Its not bad enough that it has to be constantly explained that these are DIFFERENT canons, but the special has also given Red fans an even bigger reason to look down on anime Red or Satoshi to the point where I feel sorry for him. It’s not his fault that he has poor writers and is used as a marketing tool.

    Here’s an example of what I am talking about this comment comes from youtube with 20 upvotes.

    “red did what ash couldn’t in a series within 4 episodes.”

    Its times like this I wonder why I am part of this fandumb.

    Comment TsukuyomiMagi99 — October 19, 2013 #

  8. @TsukuyomiMagi99: Discussion is more than welcome here. :P
    Yes, the international fandom tends to get really stupid like that. The comparison is quite flawed, especially since Origin is quite (and I mean QUITE) abridged and seems to work a lot differently. Becoming Champion and winning battles in general seem quite unspectacular in The Origin – everyone are chumps if you train only one Pokemon to smash through everything. They also fail to realize that whether the guy is named Red or Satoshi, it doesn’t matter if he’s written by terrible writers who only care about marketing. The perpetual stupidity on YouTube just tends to augment it.
    Compare this to the Japanese fandom, where I’ve already seen fanart on Pixiv of Origin!Red and Anime!Red/Satoshi getting along perfectly fine (compare this to the international mindset that the former looks down on the latter).
    It’s reassuring that there are fans like us though. I agree that it’s depressing being in this fandom sometimes – people tend to be rather simpleminded and well… just facepalm-worthy. Search “Satoshi Tajiri” on Google. A lot of the pictures aren’t actually Satoshi Tajiri, it’s Tsunekaz Ishihara. That’s right, these stupid fans don’t even know what the creator of their beloved franchise looks like! Ugh.

    Comment Mikoto — October 20, 2013 #

  9. First off I’d like to say that I find your avatar of Akarin from Yuru Yuri to be very cute. :)

    Secondly, I’d like to make one last complaint if you don’t mind. Its a bit off-topic relating to the origin, but it was something I meant to say in my previous post but forgot to.

    Its not that Red fans just look down on Satoshi despite him and Red being the same character in a different universes but they also look down on the other main characters in the game cannon. Which is sad because Mei-tan and Hikari-chan are my two favorite characters in the series (I am one of those types of guys who plays as the cute girl in my Pokemon games).

    If you take a look at Blue/Leaf (who is downright shunned), Hibiki/Kris/Kotone, Yuuki/Haruka, Koki/Hikari, Touya/Touko, Kyouhei/Mei,and Calem/Serena not only have they done the exact same things that Red has done (since the games pretty much follow the same exact formula) but have actually eclipsed him in terms of accomplishments. For example until Gen VI, Kyouhei/Mei had defeated the strongest dragon Pokemon in existence whose power was only rivaled by Arceus almighty (In other words, a Dragon whose Power surpasses the Gods of Time, Space, and Antimatter). And they defeated Kyurem without the help of any legendary Pokemon but did they get any credit for what they did?

    No, they didn’t get any credit and Red is still praised as the Paragon of Pokemon trainers. If you really want to see the bastion of stupidity in the Pokemon fandom go onto any Gamefaqs Pokemon forum and you’ll see what I mean. Fair warning though is that this forum will give you brain cancer if you try to use reason and common sense with these people.

    I apologize if you’re a Red fan yourself because it is not my intent to make Red look bad. What he did accomplish for his time was amazing and I thought it was really awesome to fight him on top of Mt. Silver, but saying he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread is stupid and not giving any credit to those that came after and surpassed him in terms of achievements is blatant ignorance.

    Finally a little trivia, Touya/Touka were programmed into the beta version of the Pokemon Black and White 2 game to participate in the PWT for which they are called “The strongest trainer in existence!”

    I wonder how Red fans will look at that?

    Comment TsukuyomiMagi99 — October 29, 2013 #

  10. […] original Red/Green video games – which I enjoyed simply for the nostalgia. As detailed in my review of it, I didn’t think it was all that great outside of that. But it was nice seeing another […]

    Pingback オタクSPOT× Asian ramblings about anime, manga, and other Japanese stuff × » Have a Happy New Years! — January 1, 2014 #

  11. I actually really enjoyed both The Origin and Mewtwo Strikes Back (in Japanese), even though neither of them is a bona fide masterpiece. Both of them are good in their own way, and are leagues better than the current anime series.
    The Origin is simply a faithful adaptation of Red/Green – no complex plot/story development, just lots of action and Lizardon fanservice for ’90s kids (along with intentional aversion of many people’s gripes with the regular anime), and I happen to be a huge Lizardon fan.
    Meanwhile, Mewtwo Strikes Back brought us the original Mewtwo, who might possibly be the greatest Pokémon character of all time, and gave him a deep, tragic backstory and a compelling personality so that adults watching the movie could enjoy it as much as the children who dragged them along (too bad one can’t say the same about the 4Kids dub).
    I agree completely that Origins Mewtwo is nothing compared to the original, but is leagues better than M16 female Mewtwo. Still, as long as the Mewtwo in SSB4 ISN’T M16 Mewtwo, I’ll be happy. But I’d love for Ichimura’s Mewtwo to return, especially if they can give him a proper English voice actor with full dialogue (maybe Dan Green again).

    Comment Mike — March 23, 2014 #

  12. @TsukuyomiMagi99: You’re right. Red is pretty overrated in the fandom. I’m a fan of him and his cross-canon counterparts, but his fandom is way too obnoxious for me to associate with them. Especially the ones that flanderize his characterization by promoting his exaggerated Pixiv fanarts.
    Yeah, I’ve heard of those unused text strings in Black 2 and White 2. In my opinion, all of the Player Characters are the strongest trainers in canon, but I can imagine Red fanboys going crazy over the line.
    @Mike: While I wouldn’t call it faithful since there is still quite a few liberties, I agree that it was the great fanservice throwback to us kids who grew up during the 90s. I also agree that while Origin Mewtwo was certainly lacking, especially in comparison to Takeshi Shudo’s Mewtwo from the original anime’s Mewtwo Strikes Back, it’s a much better portrayal than the one in M16.
    Ichimura reprising his role as Mewtwo in SSB4 would make me a little happier after the M16 fiasco. I do hope that English fans get a voice actor for it this time around, since the English version of SSBM Mewtwo was regulated to Ichimura’s grunts (unless you switch it to Japanese).

    Comment Mikoto — March 23, 2014 #

  13. Origins was hit and miss with me. On the one hand, I’m glad to see something akin to what Takeshi Shudo originally wanted with the anime before it took a nosedive into the horrible drivel it is today. There are a lot of strong points towards the Origin in that it has a bit more mature tone (but sadly this doesn’t allow for comedy which also detracts from it). While Red and Ash/Satoshi are relatively the same character in personality, I lean more favorably towards Red in this series in that he had a more consequential presence in this world (Ash/Satoshi was for the most part inconsequential toward anything going on in the world aside from the Orange Island arc and sadly it’s gotten worse as the series progressed) however they don’t allow Red to have too comedic a personality alongside the more badass scenes in the last two episodes which detracts a little from his character. Also the series is too abridged to leave a lasting impact, even if this OVA feels like a breath of fresh air compared to the current show.

    This may be a tangent but note that not all Red fans are annoying and bigoted. I enjoy Red as much as Ash from both the Kanto and Orange Island arcs however the issue with current Ash/Satoshi isn’t that he’s so poorly written but also the fact that he will not leave. Even if they were to give Ash/Satoshi a more likable character and a more fleshed out, his presence in the show has been too long to where he’s not only become stale but any changes at this point will feel like betraying the character. Red’s memorable in that he isn’t everywhere in the series however the impact he leaves as the “silent stoic” type that Gold/Silver/Crystal introduced will last with most fans for a while. Even then he isn’t the only great character the games have to offer (to be honest, I love both Diamond and Pearl’s character from the DP arc of PokeSpe more than Red in all cross-canon material).

    Comment LioSKETCH — July 7, 2014 #

  14. @LioSKETCH

    Fair enough, I don’t have a problem with more moderate Red fans. As you’ll see in my previous post, its their blind worship of him as some sort of God that I have a problem with. To the point where they neglect and ignore any achievements any of the other characters accomplish. I too was around when the original Gold and Silver games came out and faced off against Red. I thought it was the coolest shit for its time. However unlike most hardcore Red fans I moved on and accepted the fact that each character trumps the previous one in terms of accomplishments.

    As for Satoshi, I really wished that they stuck to Shudo’s vision and made him the champion at the end of the Kanto saga. Because now he’s become nothing but a walking advertisement. I am not sick of him, I am sick of the way they write his character. He hasn’t been interesting to me since the end of the DP arc.

    Comment TsukuyomiMagi99 — July 8, 2014 #

  15. @LioSKETCH: I see what you mean. Satoshi really should have had a final confrontation with the Rocket Gang. In retrospect, the only real point where Satoshi diverges from his Origin counterpart (and a number of his fellow Red cross-canon counterparts for that matter) is actually ending his journey and defeating his respective antagonist, which he never gets to do. Instead, about 15 years later, the inferior degenerated version of Satoshi finally confronts Sakaki and loses disgracefully…
    You should check out the Japanese versions of the third movie and also the Mewtwo Special (Takeshi Shudo’s final “present” as main writer, if you will). Satoshi, as a “shounen”-esque protagonist, is at his peak of likability in those. The third movie itself is also a good example of how the anime should be written all-around, so it’s worth a watch. Though it’ll make you feel a bit depressed with how the anime’s become in modern times. Heck, that even happens if you watch the very first episode of the original anime and then catch an episode of XY… it’s like they’re two different shows. And the very first episode definitely made you feel like the series had a direction and destination at some point that was lost along the way.
    It really makes me wish a remake were possible, following what Takeshi Shudo originally intended (and incorporating interesting elements from his short novel series that actually adds some depth to the setting and back-stories). The first three (non-butchered) movies are a good idea of what even the series could have been if he was given free reign.

    Comment Mikoto — July 11, 2014 #

  16. @TsukuyomiMagi99: The Satoshi nowadays feels like a shadow of how he was originally written. As you said, he’s nothing more than a walking advertisement now, and you can pretty much tell how they’ve modified his character to suit that need. I literally cannot see Shudo!Satoshi and XY Satoshi as the same character outside of some very barebone character traits. As I’ve said before, alongside that, he has been dulled and Flanderized to the point where I can no longer look at him in the show anymore without cringing (if there’s anything I miss from the original episodes of the anime, it has to be Satoshi). The last time I could even do that was around the end of DP. For example, back in the Shudo days, Satoshi’s “stupidity” was due to immaturity. He knew what the basic concept of love was. He liked girls. He knew he had to release his precious Butterfree because he knew that it wanted to mate and have a family with the one it loves. He also never really had any problem following explanations and stuff from CotD’s, even if they had nothing to do with Pokemon. He wasn’t a character with much complexity by any means, but there were plenty of episodes that portrayed his emotions,so he actually felt human. Now it feels like they’re forcing themselves to write him to be mentally-challenged in order to fit a reusable character mold for a throwaway kid’s show. His inner feelings aren’t explored much at all, and they just throw “IDIOT HERO ARCHETYPE” all up in your face that it’s starting to become obnoxious. In one of the only XY episodes I watched, he even had trouble keeping up with the simplest CotD explanations… it’s like he’s a terrible version of Luffy now. Also, Shudo!Satoshi had a much more amusing personality, if one at all.
    There was an argument I posted on BMGf recently where I stated how it’s a problem either way with having one protagonist in the type of action/adventure anime PM is trying to be, for all the wrong reasons, without an eventual end no matter how long you’re going. Once the main character reaches the threshold of power and development – what are they going to do? Keep him stale? Reset him again? There has to be an end. Sometimes keeping a character’s self-respect means ending their journey while they’re ahead instead of milking and Flanderizing them.

    Comment Mikoto — July 11, 2014 #

  17. @Mikoto

    I suspect that’s the reason advertisers and the writers retard Satoshi’s growth. Since developing him and having him mature into the role of a Pokemon Master Trainer and then developing a unique character from scratch for a new story is a lot more difficult. I also believe it’s good for the corporate bottomline since they can simply just rehash the anime to a new generation of kids thus keeping the cycle continuing ad infinitum.

    It does a disservice to not only veteran fans of the franchise but towards children as well. Its crucial that kids receive quality entertainment so they can learn to appreciate good storytelling.

    This is why I think Red vs Satoshi debates are pointless. Outside of the obvious reasons, Red has the luxury of closure due to the fact he isn’t inhibited by corporate greed that keeps fucking up his goals. Its only when there isn’t any corporate profit to be gained (Orange Islands or Battle Frontier for example) is when they take the shackles off of him.

    That’s why I had one shred of hope during the DP saga since he seemed to become quite powerful. More of his Pokemon evolved and grew in character, while writing IMO, the best rival the show has ever had with Shinji. And when he had the power to take out two Legendary Pokemon something no else could do, and finished the highest he’s ever achieved I had hope. Hell, if it wasn’t for Takuto, he would’ve finally been champion.

    So after all that, to see him regress yet AGAIN was truly disheartening. It was then that I threw my hands up and said that this isn’t worth it.

    Finally, yeah I know what you mean about how Shudo’s Satoshi had heart. At the end of the day, both the characters and Pokemon under Shudo’s direction had heart.

    Comment TsukuyomiMagi99 — July 11, 2014 #

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