I just couldn’t wait for the North American release of Pokémon Origins. I needed my Pokémon fix before the new game comes out, so I watched the Japanese version. If you haven’t seen it yet, then you may want to cover your eyes because I will not shy away from its content to keep it spoiler-free.
Here’s a bit of background info to get things started. The episodes are based off the original Pokémon, Red and Green. There is no real story line present but there is a plot that is followed. You train a team, earn badges, defeat Team Rocket and catch all the Pokémon. The anime goes along with those events but adds more emotion. Red, the protagonist, learns how to grow with his Pokémon forming strong bonds and friendship.
At the start of the show, a ‘New Game’ screen appears, then there’s a short intro from Professor Oak on the world of Pokémon. Before we see the characters, there’s a little battle on a television between Nidorino and Gengar, just like the game’s opening cinematic. Red chose Charmander at the start of his journey, just like you can do, while his rival, Green, picked Squirtle, giving him the upper hand. Afterwards, Red catches a few new Pokémon and then engages in battle with his rival for the first time. When we get to see any Pokémon, you expect them to sound like they do in the other anime and say their name over and over; not in this show. They make noises similar to their game cries. Usually barks, growls, bellowing or purrs of some sort make up all the Pokémon sounds. It’s refreshing because when I saw the first Pokémon in the show I was thinking to myself, “please don’t say your name.” This new take on the anime should come with new features, so it’s very pleasurable there was no name-calling.
After learning a tough lesson from his first loss, Red healed at the PokémonCenter in ViridianCity and then onward to PewterCity for his first gym battle. Red faces Brock and his two Pokémon, Geodude and Onix, just like in the game. This scene is what got me thinking about the similarities. Gym battles display each trainer’s Pokémon on a screen as well as an HP bar. After each hit lands, the bar shortens like the one on the game screen. It makes it easier for them to tell how much fight they have left in them. Brock and Red noticed if the health was low their Pokémon couldn’t go much further. In the game it’s the same byway of an annoying beep…you know the one. In the heat of battle, Red was forced to invoke some strategy instead of going at it with brute force. First he sent Nidoran out to use Fighting-type moves and then his Metapod to use String Shot to lower Onix’s speed which allowed Red’s final Pokémon to deliver the last blow. We found out it was all thanks to String Shot after Onix faints, because there’s a thin strand that floats down. Also during this battle, I realized how the trainers did not tell their Pokémon to dodge or block attacks like they do in the other anime, because it’s impossible to do so in the game. Any missed attack can be attributed to their evasiveness.
Red arrives in LavenderTown, and when making his way up the PokémonTower, that eerie music starts playing. They play the actual music from the game! It’s not just the PokémonTower; they’ve included some battle music and adventurous stuff as well. The story continues with identifying Marowak using the Silph Scope, Red knocks around Team Rocket and rescues Mr. Fuji who then rewards Red with a Pokéflute and mysterious gems. There are moments explained using quick flashbacks such as other gym battles and how Red acquires new Pokémon. It picks back up outside of Silph Co. headquarters. After learning of Team Rockets’ plans to experiment on Pokémon, he storms their hideout to save Pokémon and employees. He’s even given a Lapras as a thank you, something that also happens in the game, people just give you Pokémon for free. After rescuing them, Red is face to face with Giovanni. They have a quick exchange that ends with Red and his Charizard defeated. Fast forward a few gym matches later and he has to fight Giovanni again, this time for the final badge. While the battle was unfolding, I kept thinking, “oh, his secret weapon will be Mewtwo,” because that’s how much of the old show stuck with me. But that didn’t happen. Red was able to win because he believed in his Pokémon. Giovanni could see the passion Red displayed for his Pokémon and it made him remember the joy of adventure. After the match, Giovanni decided to disband Team Rocket and focus on a new start.
But hey, speaking of Mewtwo, Red beats Green to become the new Pokémon League Champion in the final episode. However, he decided to pursue his journey and capture every known Pokémon. Red catches all the legendary birds in their respective locations through a quick flashback sequence. It’s not like in the other anime where they’ll just be all over the place, but he still has one more Pokémon to capture — Mewtwo. He read about the creation of Mewtwo through diary entries on CinnabarIsland but now knows where to find it. Inside of Cerulean Cave Mewtwo is alone, waiting to destroy all who approach him. Red doesn’t back down and throws all of his best Pokémon at the powerful Psychic-type.
He’s down to one last partner, his beloved Charizard. The two duke it out, each blow more powerful than the last. Mewtwo knocks Charizard and Red into the water and this is where the show strays from the original games. It then turns its focus on the new Pokémon X and Y. The gem Mr. Fuji gave him begins to glow and so does Charizard. They burst out of the water to reveal Charizard’s Mega X form. It makes quick work of Mewtwo and Red easily catches him. The show ends with Red revealing to Professor Oak that he’s completed the Pokédex, but realizes there are still many new Pokémon to see. Mew then floats passed their window. The final scene shows the data saving over the old file.
So, there you have it: a quick summary of the show as well as many features from the game. Of course there are moments I did not include, but you’ll have to go find them yourself. The show is a wonderful throwback to the early days and really made me feel like I need to go on my own Pokémon journey. It made me feel like a kid again, albeit the darker storyline. Regardless, it’s the perfect way to prepare you for Pokémon X and Y.