A Look Back: Pokémon

Might re-do this one in the future. Don’t think I did it enough justice here, but I was scrambling for memories of the show, despite having poured so much of my childhood into watching it. Hardly bothered with the games, to be honest (I know, I’m as surprised as you are, believe me). But alas, here is what I wrote about Pokémon earlier this year:

(From previous blog, unedited)

My memory is atrocious when it comes to… most things, really. Yet, I feel compelled to indulge in a little nostalgia detour and revisit the world of Pokémon. It was one of the first shows to get me into anime, at a time when I had never heard the term “anime” before. As a kid you aren’t really picky about the shows you watch, which is probably why when I look back at all the shows I watched, it’s very seldom followed up with a feeling of content.

For me, Pokémon wasn’t a show I fell in love with straight away. It was just something for me to watch in-between the shows I actually looked forward to (prominently Digimon and Yu-Gi-Oh!). I do remember what aspects I liked the most — that being the Pokémon, of course. None of the characters were really engaging for me, even as a kid. Except maybe Brock. Brock was cool.

What probably drew me into the show was the idea of Ash and friends journeying around and finding all different kinds of Pokémon. From the beginning, the show had a great sense of adventure and wonderment. As you can imagine, I was a sucker for the “Who’s that Pokémon?” intermissions. I had a fifty-fifty guess rate during my viewing of the series. Aside from that, the other appeal of the show were the cities and gym leaders. Or should I say gym battles, since I can’t remember any gym leaders apart from Brock and Misty? To me, the gym leaders were just so forgettable. I can’t remember a single one, apart from the ones traveling with Ash. I’ve heard that the later parts of the series have better gym leaders and battles, which without seeing much of them, I wholeheartedly agree. But this isn’t about the Pokémon series I didn’t watch, so I’m sticking to just to first five seasons. One last remark on the gym thing — I was enthralled by those gym badges. Every time I saw them my eyes gaped in awe and envy. I desperately wanted them. So much so, that my hatred for Gary didn’t stem from him picking on Ash, as much as it did from my envy against him having gym badges and constantly showing them off, while I was stuck at home without any. Jerk.

I should probably mention that, up until this point, I had never played a Pokémon game or even heard of one before. It wasn’t until “Diamond” and “Pearl” came out that I finally got to play one. I enjoyed it for what it was at the time, but I don’t think I like the idea of dedicating a lot of time to looking for every Pokémon (because I have to have them all, of course) and failing to capture them again and again. Especially, when I just want certain Pokémon that I can never find, or once I do find them they either run away or I accidentally KO them and scream profanities at the top of my lungs and throw the DS against the couch. So yeah, fun times.

Anyway, to me, Pokémon, while something I don’t regret watching (or playing), isn’t as important to me as it is to the rest of the world. Reminiscing about the show does bother me a bit, because I know if I watched those earlier seasons now I wouldn’t be able to tolerate them, much less enjoy them like I did as a kid, and although the later series do improve in a lot of ways, I just don’t see myself picking the show back up ever again. Relistening to the openings is the only enjoyment I get out of the show, really. But hey, if you’re still watching the series or love re-watching the old series, props to you. Keep watching what you like. And keep reading if this is something you like as well.

~ Ace

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