I’m back again folks, after another long swim in the pool of geekery, in which some nasty bugger removed the ladder from and left me to die in. I have returned as I usually do, Wet and Angry. So whats got me in such a moist fit, I’ll tell you what it is, Pokemon: Origins.
A few months ago in the early rumours and leaks of Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, we were graced with a Japanese Trailer of Pokemon: Origins, which looked to be an anime special based on the original Red and Green Pokemon games (Pokemon Red/Blue in Europe and the Muricah’s.). The trailer looked most excellent and I couldn’t wait to see this marvel as the animation style, setting and early information looked stunning, amazing, fantastic and every other word you can think of that means good, I’ve run out…… oh wait…. one more…. Bacon.
Pretty Damn Awesome.
A few months pass and this slips into obscurity for myself, to be perfectly honest I forgot about it, as I was swept up in a wave of new releases and of course with the hype surrounding Pokemon X and Y. I came home from work today with a simple goal in mind, finish painting my Kroot that I begun over the weekend and most of yesterday. Have I done anything of those poor little warhammer figures, I hear you ask in a puzzled tone. Fuck No. That is the simple answer, as I caught glimpse of the trailer again on a suggested video on youtube and then thought…. I wonder if thats available to watch yet. Turns out it was, so after indulging myself on this 4 episode special I’ve now returned like a glorious hero, riding in, as if a legend on a Charizards back, here to save the day, or to stand on a cold mountain for 20 years to challenge and beat kids at pokemon. I’m Red, I can do whatever the hell I want.
Pokemon: Origins – The Plot.
Now for me this was a huge and well timed release, made available 10 days before the launch of Pokemon X/Y Worldwide! At this time when my Pokemon frenzy nears epic proportions, they release a small anime series based around the Pokemon games of my Generation, and no I’m not talking Pokemon Gen’s. I’m talking about real life generations. Pokemon Origins follows the story of Red and Green, as they begin their Pokemon Journeys which are based on the first two games of the Pokemon Series, which are set in the Kanto region. Which for someone of my age, was a significant factor, but first, let us travel back to 1999.
During this golden age, I was 11 a young blue eyed boy with hopes, dreams and fist full of spirit and good eyesight. Then I was handed a small Blue cartridge which would change my life forever. (And yes, definetly for the better.) Pokemon Blue, I remember spending hours with my friends playing this game, trading pokemon, having crazy battles and ultimately falling in love with the series and even my own little cart of battle creatures. I played it every waking moment I could get away with, hell I even ended up needing glasses due to the damage such constant Poke-Awesome was doing to me. I’m sure many others of my generation will understand my feelings towards these early games and will be as equally chuffed when they watch this series. This small series brought back so many happy memories for me, both from the story/pokemon involved and the nostalgia of me and my friends getting together, several of which remain my best friends today, still forged in the fires of Pokemon.
So for those unfimiliar with these early games, I’ll clear things up, Red and Green are two friends/rivals from Pallet Town, one day they are contacted by Professor Oak, a Pokemon Professor, who askes them to accomplish his dreams of seeing and capturing every pokemon in the world. He hands them each a Pokedex and a Starter Pokemon (Chosen from a Charmander, Squirtle and a Bulbasaur). So the two set out to achieve his goals, whilst challenging pokemon trainers, gym leaders and each other as they try to attain 8 gym badges from the Gym Leaders in Kanto, to allow them to battle the Elite 4, a team of the most powerful pokemon trainers in the world and to become the League Champion, usually by defeating the previous champion. This story will seem familiar as it is the crux of virtually every pokemon game, so lets move on.
The Elite 4 Episodes.
So, 4 episodes to cover a whole games worth and more? How will they squeeze it all in you ask? By sadly condensing some of the content to focus on some of the bigger parts of the story. I personally would have loved more of the story to be covered, for a fight with every gym leader covered and for titanic battles with the likes of the legendary birds and more, but sadly Nintendo felt like leaving us wanting more, as per usual, (see every Nintendo Franchise ever, especially F-Zero.).
So what do you get then? well without spoiling too much as I intend to keep this as spoiler free as possible, the episodes are broken up as follows:
Episode 1 – Red: Introduction to the Series, Gym Battle with Brock.
Episode 2 – Cubone: Lavender Town and Battling Team Rocket in the Pokemon Tower.
Episode 3 – Giovanni: Silph Company and Gym Battle with Giovanni.
Episode 4 – Charizard: Elite 4, Rival Battle and a Legendary Battle.
As you can see the core elements are covered and I must say they are covered very well. The animation style and battle sequences are incredible, the music and sounds are developed and remixed from the original games to great effect, it holds entirely true in terms of story and even gameplay mechanics as battles even have their health represented and the fights are somewhat turn based, although there is enough action and fantastic animation that you barely even realise it. While they don’t show every gym battle and major event in full, they do show them in small summaries and clips to let those with minor or major knowledge of the game alike know what has been happening in between. Now as for the feel of the show, it is unlike the current anime series, as it is not cheesey or aimed at specifically children, these are not comical team rocket members who randomly explode and there are some powerful moments in the Cubone episode which even brought a tear to my eye. (As a lifelong Cubone lover, this was inevitable.)
For fans of the series new and old, I heavily stress you watch this, it is currently only available in Subbed Episodes, which are going to be made available through Nintendo’s Pokemon TV on the 15th of November, but if you, like myself, cannot wait you can find the subbed episodes here:
I’d like to point out that in the last 2 episodes, the subbing can be a bit iffy as they use the japanese names of the pokemon and there are a few grammar and spelling mistakes but nothing you can’t understand or that strange you couldn’t work it out.
Finally I will mention something which is a bit of a spoiler so if you do not want to know, please look away or stop reading here. Thanks for your time and please watch the show, even if you don’t like subbed shows, turn the volume down and watch it anyway, those familiar with the games will not be easily lost even with no dialogue.
Thanks and have a wonderful journey into the world of Pokemon,
I cannot stress how good these specials are, they are even better than I’d hoped and they also tie in nicely with the X and Y launch, as the final episode shows us a glimpse of the new Mega Evolution feature as Mega-Charizard X fights a regular Mewtwo. This is a beautiful scene and the fight is for a lack of a better word. Epic.