Pokemon Origins: A Failed Adaptation

Disclaimer: I have not actually watched much of the Pokemon anime and am largely going by gathered second-hand knowledge and a few random episodes I’ve seen here and there. However, I feel like that little bit of knowledge is enough for me to be able to accurately make the points that support my argument.

When Pokemon Red and Green Versions launched in Japan in 1996, they launched what would quickly become one of the largest franchises of all time. Barely a year after the Game Boy games’ release, an anime adaptation began airing. The anime adaptation managed to make it to North America shortly before the slightly updated (but still infamously glitchy) Red and Blue versions did.

The anime adaptation of Pokemon began to diverge from the canon of Red and Blue fairly early on. The anime’s changes were simple enough at first, and were even incorporated back into the games with Pokemon Yellow, but ultimately, the story ended up going in a very different direction. Eventually, even the characters who appeared in both the games and the anime were given drastically different portrayals. While I’m sure that many young players named their protagonist and rival “Ash” and “Gary” when they first played Pokemon Red and Blue, Arceus help you if you refer to the game characters by their anime counterparts’ names in their presence today. Red’s the badass one. Ash is the annoying idiot. Gary and Blue are both awesome, but we have to distinguish between Red and Ash so we have to distinguish between those two as well.

During the initial Pokemon craze of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, both the games and anime managed to maintain popularity and relevance. The games managed to maintain that relevance by improving on old features and adding new ones. Those who had initially been drawn to collecting and strategy fell in love with breeding and training, and the main game remained simple enough for new players to discover and enjoy the experience. However, the anime failed to maintain the fanbase it once held. Former fans found it repetitive and childish, and were often upset by just how far it had gone from its roots.

These same fans were consequently ecstatic when Pokemon Origins was announced. Origins was meant to be a retelling of Pokemon Red/Blue that remained as faithful as possible to the original games. It promised to be a nostalgic experience for those who were part of the initial craze.

Pokemon Origins was fairly well-received, but I’m going to present a bit of an unpopular opinion here and explain just why it is the inferior adaptation. Continue reading “Pokemon Origins: A Failed Adaptation”

The Setting of Silver Spoon

In the past few years, I’ve seen several anime that seek to capture the spirit of rural living, to varied success. No-Rin was fairly educational but its appeal was more in the characters and their hijinks. It was a pretty generic show that had the added bonus of farm-related punchlines. A big appeal of Non Non Biyori was the focus on rural living, but it was more for the pretty backgrounds than anything and it seemed to be a “how do we entertain ourselves in the sticks” show than what I was looking for.

I bring those up because they managed to get things half right. No-Rin knew what it was talking about and many viewers of Non Non Biyori apparently took something from the setting, but as someone who’s spent his entire life in a rural area they just sort of lacked something. Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji), on the other hand, is quite possibly the best portrayal of rural, agricultural life I’ve seen not only in anime, but in anything I’ve watched. Continue reading “The Setting of Silver Spoon”

Nichijou and the Absurdity of Everyday Life

Nichijou is a series that it’s easy to write off as a screwball comedy with beautiful animation and a few touching moments. However, it has a dedicated cult following that seems to have been legitimately impacted by it, and I don’t think it’s for those reasons. I’ve personally found myself going back to clips and episodes of Nichijou on a regular basis. There’s something captivating about it that’s lying below the surface. It’s a bunch of wild, reflective, cute, emotional, silly scenes that don’t seem to have anything to do with each other, but there’s actually a common theme connecting most of it.

“Our everyday lives may, in fact, be a series of miracles. They just may be….” ~Sasahara, episode 4

Continue reading “Nichijou and the Absurdity of Everyday Life”