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An Anime Review: Pokémon Origins

Updated on October 9, 2013
Promotional art for Pokémon Origin, or Pocket Monster: The Origin as it is called in Japan
Promotional art for Pokémon Origin, or Pocket Monster: The Origin as it is called in Japan | Source

Pokemon is one of my dearest memories from childhood, and when I heard of an entirely new Pokémon series without Ash Ketchum, I had no choice but to watch it. Sadly, we only got four episodes of the anime which attempted to sum up the first Pokémon games, which was rather optimistic of them. Pokémon Red and Blue may not have had a heavy plot by any means, but there was still a lot of stuff to cover. So how did cramming it all into four episodes work? Continue reading.

Taken From the Game

The anime certainly aims to be closer to the games, as we see from the very beginning. We get the start screen from the original game prompting us to start a new game, and we follow the game's intro from there. Game design and mechanics are used more closely through the entire anime, they show us “saving” after each episode, and unlike the Pokémon anime, all the cities visited are from the games.

The battles also seem to follow how they work in the games more. In the first anime, Ash uses the sprinkler system to make Brock's Onix wet, which makes lightning work on it. No such tricks in this anime. Instead Brock is defeated by using Metapods String shot, lowering Onix's speed so that Red's Charmander strikes before the rock snake.

And the music, dear God, the music. Most of the songs are remixed versions of the soundtrack of Pokémon Red and Blue, my favorite being a rather slow violin version of the rivals theme, which plays whenever Green is acting smug. I find myself giggling whenever I hear a tune I recognize from those old games. The animation is using a lot more straight lines for the faces, rather than the more rounded faces from the other anime, and the battle animation is decent. There is a lot movement, but not anything eyepopping. It does however seem more realistic at times than the Ash's anime, and some new interpretations of how the attack moves look are used.

Source

First Episode

But let us move on to the plot. It is exactly what it usually is in the Pokémon world: gather all the known Pokémon to fill the Pokedex and become the champion of the Pokémon league. Our main character is named Red, and he is given a Charmander to help him complete this task by professor Oak. Red's rival through all his life, Green, takes the Squirtle. And so they travel out and goes from town to town gathering gym badges, so that they can challenge the Elite Four.

Red catches several Pokémon, but finds himself unable to beat his rival, who quickly destroys him in battle. The moral issues of allowing animals to fight against each have been discussed enough other places on the internet, so I shall not attempt to do so. I shall however mention that Red after this humiliating loss comes across Brock, who gives him his first advice on Pokémon training and then battle him for his first gym badge. Red wins and then moves on.

And here we get to a big issue with this anime, perhaps the biggest: the fast forwarding. Four episodes to cover everything was impossible. And so we get these annoying parts where we glance over what Red has been doing. Every gym battle except the first and the last is done this way, as is most of the catching of the Pokémon Red uses. Thus we jump around, his Pokémon change randomly, it is a mess. They then focus on just a few moments, which may have been the best solution, given the time issues.

Skipping Along

And here we get to a big issue with this anime, perhaps the biggest: the fast forwarding. Four episodes to cover everything was impossible. And so we get these annoying parts where we glance over what Red has been doing. Every gym battle except the first and the last is done this way, as is most of the catching of the Pokémon Red uses. Thus we jump around, his Pokémon change randomly, it is a mess. They then focus on just a few moments, which may have been the best solution, given the time issues.

The second episode focuses on Team Rocket, and is quite decent. I do find it interesting that the Pokémon make animal sounds instead of repeating their own names, which I did not notice before this part. Anyway, the evil Team Rocket take over a cemetery for Pokémon, and Red and Green team up to stop it. There are some emotional moments, some short battles, but I can not help but think that here too it never reaches the levels of real good action, not enough time is spent building it up.

And then we are in the third episode transportet to the last gym battle, which may be the best battle in this short anime. Red's team is continually destroyed with a little too much ease, but it creates some suspension if nothing else. And so, the last episode, which again skips so much. Red and Green's final battle becomes virtually nothing, not much of a payoff of their rivalry at all.

Admittedly, the commercial looks really good.
Admittedly, the commercial looks really good. | Source

Commercials

They continue their adventures, and Green is ambushed in a dark cave. So Red has to try to take down the monster in the cave, the violent Mewtwo. And here we get what it has all been building up to: a commercial. A new feature for the upcoming Pokémon X and Y games were featured, and while it looked cool, I feel a little cheated.

As it stands, Pokémon Origins turned out to be a commercial spanning four episodes. Some things were good, but it is more a little tease of what the anime might have been with time and without a quite so obvious corporate plot(although I guess the anime would have been a commercial of sorts anyway). If you are a Pokémon fan you might find it enjoyable with its references to the original games and its slightly more action oriented plot compared to the first anime. If you are not a fan, there is really not much reason watch it.

© 2013 Nidag the Goat

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    • Jeremy Gill profile image

      Jeremy Gill 2 years ago from Louisiana

      Nice hub! I agree with a lot of your points. As a big Pokémon fan I somewhat liked Origins, and it had some good fights, but it felt a bit rushed.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      I need to watch this still... Anyway, nice hub, this is another for the planned to watch list.

    • Nidag the Goat profile image
      Author

      Nidag the Goat 3 years ago from Norway

      Ah, I see. That is probably Pokémon Adventures. Well, all three share almost the same story, so who can really tell.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      Sorry, only some chatter I heard from some acquaintances, but it stars red, blue, yellow and green apparently.

    • Nidag the Goat profile image
      Author

      Nidag the Goat 3 years ago from Norway

      Well, I have read the Pokémon Adventures manga and Pikachu's electric adventure, so I can say it follows neither of those more than the game. But there are a lot of Pokémon manga, so perhaps it is one I have never heard of. Did you have any particular in mind?

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 3 years ago

      actually I think it follows a manga, which the games are loosely based off. Red kinda becomes the ultimate trainer in that...