Does the Pokemon anime take away from the Games?

pokemon1Hiya Players! Today I’m going to stick with the Pokemon thing (hopefully I can get it out of my system). I’ve spent the last week dedicating a large chunk of my time to Pokemon Black 2, completing all the various post-game gauntlets and fights online. For those of you who haven’t picked the game up yet, it’s pretty great. Today I want to discuss more the Pokemon anime than the game itself though. Let’s dig into this sure-to-be opinionated piece.

As stated, I’ve been playing the game all week. Since the game music gets kind of old, I’ve also been streaming the Pokemon Anime. I had watched the anime years ago but as I “grew out of Pokemon” (around Gen III), I stopped watching. As it turns out I didn’t miss much and I’ve gone from thinking ‘wow, this anime is getting lame’ to the fact that the anime is on the borderline of ruining the game itself. The games have evolved quite a bit from their initial 1998 NA release, but the shows are constantly resetting with a dumb character and weak plots.

Characters

ashslapAttacking Ash, our main character, first: When he first started out he was naive, didn’t really know how tough it would be on his own resulting in him making a lot of stupid mistakes. He’s supposed to be a 10 year old, this is to be expected and perfectly OK at the beginning of the series as he’s still getting his bearings. Jump ahead to now, and we’re 15 seasons into the show, Ash has traveled through 4 different regions, and he’s still making the same stupid mistakes he did when he started. The kid is no longer a youngster trying to find himself, but simply dumb.

All of the games so far have had generally the same plot: Player gets a starter Pokemon and Pokedex, Player gets gym badges, Team Villains are doing something they shouldn’t be, Player stops Team Villains, Player fights the Elite Four and the Champion, Player is the strongest person in the region. Of course this is a huge summation, but holds true.

In the show it starts out the same way but gets kind of weird: Ash gets a starter Pokemon, Ash catches more, Ash fights with Team Rocket, Ash meets friends to travel with, Ash gets gym badges, Ash…loses every tournament he enters, Ash flees to the next region and leaves all but Pikachu behind.

I understand that Ash is supposed to be the underdog, but this kid loses almost all of his fights, never learns from any matches, rarely makes his Pokemon any stronger and is just generally a bad trainer. Period. I think most viewers of this show would have grown tired of them repeating this over and over again. Heck, I know even my 10 year old self would be yelling at the screen now telling him what he should be doing.

I want to say I’m just really tired of Ash. In all of these seasons, the supporting cast always seem to have more personality than Ash himself.
Ash: Whiny 10 year old, cries a lot, doesn’t really get the whole Pokemon thing, wants to be everybody’s friend.
Misty: Used to be a Pokemon Gym leader, very independent, has two sisters, likes swimming and water Pokemon, very much a tom-boy.
Brock: Comes from a big family, runs the Pewter City Gym off-and-on, likes rock/ground Pokemon, wants to be a Pokemon Breeder, has a thing for hitting on women but no follow-through.
Cilan: Used to be a Gym leader, uses grass type Pokemon but knows about balance in a fight and covering your weaknesses, is a Connoisseur of pretty much everything (aka know-it-all), is arrogant but tries not to be, and is a great cook.

You get the idea I’m going for here? We’re given tons of details about his temporary traveling companions but when it comes to Ash he’s just a shell of a bad trainer. The supporting cast is what keeps the show from dying, but let’s ditch Ash and go with somebody who doesn’t know everything but takes it seriously; I recommend Trip from BW.

Anime VS Game facts

Aside from the characters being questionable, I find it almost disheartening that the anime doesn’t take more from the game. Let’s take the movie “Kyurem VS. The Sword of Justice” as an example. From the game, we know Kyurem is a PO’d ice-dragon who used to take people from the village at night and eat them, lives in a crater, and is the hollow shell of what used to have in it Zekrom and Reshiram. Without truth or ideals, he’s just angry at everything. Using the DNA Splitters, he can merge with one of the other dragons. I thought that was cool. In the movie he lived at an abandoned railroad (not a crater), and did not need to merge with either Zekrom (lightning) or Reshiram (fire) to use their powers – He switched whenever he wanted. That alone would bother me a bit, but to add in that most of time when he was Black Kyurem (Zekrom) he shot fire, I thought they were just doing it out of spite. I’m not often one to argue consistency, but come on!

Conclusion

It’s irregularities like that which take away from the show. I could deal with the pathetic main character if they didn’t butcher every single one of the details that are included in the game. The games are fantastic, and enjoyed by people of all ages. An ideal show would be one that though it’s targeted at kids, still holds true to the game and allows players to view themselves in the character’s place when they watch. The anime should be expanding on what is said in the games, not changing it.

At this point though, I think the show is at a loss. Those initial fans of Pokemon have grown up, and play the game for the strategy of it now and finding that perfect combo. It’s a great time to simply cut the anime’s losses and reboot the show. Forget this Ash kid and his weak-ass Pikachu and let’s start over. Heck, if they went with the trainer from Black/White 2 we’d have an interesting show. With the new Pokemon X & Y coming out for the 3DS this October, this is a perfect time to relaunch the franchise. If it was to be made off a new character, with new Pokemon, with a new attitude maybe it won’t be so bad this time.

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