Pokemon Origins: Reviving the Pokemon Anime Franchise

Even though I’ve played every generation of the Pokemon games, like many people in the Pokemon fandom I stopped watching the anime many years ago. Many people found that the anime was getting stale and formulaic. It started having characters which I couldn’t connect to the same way as in the first few seasons and the conflicts had little depth. While I still watched the movies, I had basically given up on watching the actual anime series, waiting for a revamp that never seemed to come.

Pokemon Black and White Anime

Pokemon Black and White Anime

When Pokemon Black and White came out, more fans of the game began to watch the anime again. Encouraged, I watched the first few episodes but I still found myself disappointed.

It was okay, I guess. But, could the Pokemon anime ever be engaging and cool again?!

Everything changed when I saw Pokemon Origins.

Red and Green from Pokemon Origins

Red and Green from Pokemon Origins

This beautifully animated and 4-episode short series used a lovely updated art style and goes back to the original Pokemon games as source material. It follows the journey of Red and his rival Green as they beat gym leaders, fight team rocket, and discover the mysteries of the Pokemon world. As soon as I finished it, I watched it over again- its just that good.

Over all Pokemon Origins is concise, well animated and made me cry several times. I would explain in detail exactly when and why it made me cry but then I would ruin a lot of the plot-points since the series is only 4-episode.

Red and his Charmander from Pokemon Origins

Red and his Charmander from Pokemon Origins

In my friend group Pokemon Origins has been hailed as “super super awesome” and “an hour-long commercial for mega evolution that is full of nostalgia”. Spoiler: I totally agree with both statements. Even though my first Pokemon ever was a Pikachu, and Ash’s main Pokemon is Pikachu, I still feel like the little yellow rodent is over-rated as the mascot of the franchise. My favorite original starter evolution chain is Charmander/Charmeleon/Charizard, so it was exciting to see Red and his Charmander set out together, and to watch it evolve into a Charizard as the two fought together.

Pokemon Origins restored my faith that the franchise is capable of working on their anime to make it good again. Due to that restored hope and a few positive reviews I’ve decided to watch new the Pokemon X & Y anime series to give it a shot. The art style is also different in the X & Y incarnation from the previous series (though not the same as Pokemon Origins) and Ash is still the main character with his Pikachu.

I still highly recommend Pokemon Origins! Watch it!

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Popular Anime of AnimeUSA 2013 (By Convention Poll)

In September I attended AnimeUSA 2013 and I went around asking people about their current top 5 favorite anime shows (not counting movies). Most people stared at me for a moment before their expression turned sheepish and confused, responding with something along the lines of “U-um, uh- well, that’s really hard! Only 5? Wow, I’ll need a moment to think about it.”

Mashup of Characters from Different Anime

Mashup of Characters from Different Anime

I tried to ask as many people as I could while still being able to enjoy the convention myself and wound up with 40 lists of 5 anime shows. As a notable part of my methodology, I did mostly approach cosplayers, since some people in a hotel on an anime convention weekend are just bystanders that wouldn’t be able to answer my question.

There were 99 titles mentioned out of the 200 collected total show answers, which I think really shows the diversity of the Anime community from such a small sampling. A lot of the shows only had one mention, and a number of those shows I had never heard of before, like Patlabor (which makes sense since it seems to be a Mecha series). But other shows only mentioned once surprised me because I thought they would have more people talking about them, like Guilty Crown.

Guilty Crown

I intended to make a chart containing only the shows that had more than one mention, since I thought that there would probably be only about 60 shows total with only about 50 or so repeated, but there turned out to be 43 shows and 143 results, which still seemed like a bit much. But even with 28 shows and 118 results the chart still looked… not very visually helpful.

Huge Anime Chart, 28 Shows, 115 Results

Huge Anime Chart, 28 Shows, 115 Results

Once I narrowed it down to 5+ mentions, there were 8 anime shows left, which seemed to be the most popular.

Top 8 Most Popular Anime Chart

First, as a side note, I want to point out that the listing of “Full Metal Alchemist” contains both the original series and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and that the listing of “Gundam” contains all answers that were a Gundam series, G Gundamn, Gundam Wing, and a few others. These are both shows are classics that probably got people into anime, as are Sailor Moon, and Pokemon.

Soul Eater

Of the more recent shows, Soul Eater is one that I consider to be a ‘modern classic’ which has joined the others on the above list as being a well-known show that most people in the community like or are at least well aware of. The other two, Free Iwatobi High School Swim Club and Attack on Titian, were the most popular new anime at the time of the convention, hence how they both made this Top 8 Answers list.

Attack on Titian

Attack on Titian

Attack on Titian had the most mentions with 7 total. You might be thinking that with only 7 out of 40 people surveyed saying that Attack on Titian is one of their top 5 favorite anime show that it wasn’t that popular, but I asked them about their top 5 shows, so I’m sure that many of them considered Attack on Titian, even if they didn’t put it down.

Overall I found this polling process fun and interesting! I think that I’d like to do it again at a future convention but ask more people… and write the post within a month of the convention, which I failed to do this time. Oops. Ah well, I hope that you all enjoyed this!