Life has been difficult lately. As much as I wanna catch up on all the thrilling tension of all the tv shows that everybody else other looked – Squid game, Succession, the new season of The witcher – I just don’t have the energy for that. If I only have an hour or two after work, I don’t want to spend it on edge, and that doesn’t help it shows like Squid Game really hand me my dinner.
So my partner and I started watching the original Pokemon Indigo League series, kind of like a nostalgic joke, kind of like a filler, the same way you eat popcorn just to occupy your hands and face during a movie. Then we decided to move on to the more modern Pokémon series (partly to see how it had evolved, and partly in hopes of seeing a Snom), and we opted for Pokémon trips, which is the final season of Sword and Shield … and, spoiler alert: it settles a little.
I’m sorry for the people who have been hitting the Pokemon anime drum for years. I was shocked to learn that Pokémon Journeys is the twenty third season, and while I played almost every game (so it wasn’t too hard to catch up on), I admit my diligence slipped on the TV show.
Lucky for me, Pokémon Journeys don’t expect me to know much about the intervening years. Ash is still ten years old, Pikachu is still his best friend, and while there is a bit of confusion as to what Ash has done before – he seems to be referring to, or at least implying, that he has already beaten. multiple gym rulers and had plenty of adventures, so it’s not just a straightforward reboot – most importantly, it’s super easy to jump into the new story.
With the newcomer to the Goh series, a charming and exciting boy who really wants (and tries) to catch them all, Journeys is the first time that two protagonists have been equally billed in a season of Pokémon anime. Goh and Ash are both very well written as pre-teen best friends – they have silly fights, lofty goals, and teach each other important things about life and growth. As we know, Ash is a brave and knowledgeable young rascal, and Goh’s attitude of catching first, asking questions later, mixed with an overabundance of caution in combat, is a good balance for ambition. enthusiastic about Ash.
The Pokémon that play in Journeys are also full of personality, with Pikachu appearing more mature and supportive than before, and Goh’s partner, Pokémon Scorbunny, having quite a history revolving around wanting to help the underprivileged, and becoming later. a sulky teenager Raboot. Pikachu even has a story of adoption by Kangaskhan, and it’s truly quite tearful.
The original Pokémon was very well animated by Japanese studio OLM, which would later make several Pokémon movies, the anime Inazuma Eleven and Yo-Kai Watch, and the cult favorite. Komi can’t communicate – but Journeys is something else. The animators took a closer look at some exaggerated emotions, extremely cute and awkward moments, and a million things I loved so much that I had to pause the video to take a photo and send it to friends.
Put it all together, and what you get is a series that’s built on the same Pocket-Monster-of-the-Week tropes as the original, including Team Rocket’s Jessie and James as enemies, but updated to the modern era. The messages of consent, burnout, and trust are woven into a structure we all know and love, making it a surprisingly deep show for adults and kids (at least I guess it’s okay). for kids … I don’t have kids myself so it’s just me and my partner, two adults in their 30s, watching Pokemon while we have lunch).
I’m so invested in this show that’s supposed to be about little fighting animals for kids that exists entirely to sell games … and I’m not ashamed of it. It’s painfully cute, and I burst out laughing a few times.
Of course, part of it is predictable – Team Rocket will always come back, Ash will almost always win any battle, and there is never a real conflict – but who cares? It’s full of heart, it’s gorgeous, and it’s honestly remarkable for how many of its stories consist of Pokémon just saying their names in different tones for 15 minutes, and still making you feel emotions.
I know your backlog of TV shows to watch is probably as long as mine, but if you’re ever looking for something that’s both light and surprisingly meaty, then you might as well enjoy Pokémon Journeys.
I warn you though: I am at 27 episodes and there has been no Single Snom.