It works for kids and that makes people like me "too old" for Pokémon. But as a writer, I see the potential of the brand.
Let me start by saying I am a fan of the Pokémon franchise. However, the show is absolute trash! I was seven years old when I gorst played Pokémon Yellow for the Gameboy Color and vividly remember the agonizing struggle of being in the middle of an intense battle when the power light started to flicker. All of my OG, pre-lithium-ion Nintendo fans will know exactly what I'm talking about.
This post is not intendedfor anyone whose first Pokémon game was on a Nintendo DS or later. You may disagree with this entire post, you young whipper-snappers. But that's okay because we all have opinions, right? So call me what you want.
I want to shamelessly say that I have been following this company for so long that I have Pokémon in Pokémon Home that were originally from Ruby and Sapphire Versions.
Now that I've contrasted how much I love Pokémon as the product, I could easily and simply say how much I hate the show. In a nutshell, I feel like the Pokémon anime is the Nintendo version of SpongeBob or Paw Patrol. Before the hate mail starts to roll in, I have a bit of marketing knowledge and understand the importance of writing to your market. My problem with Pokémon is that they assumed that the market stayed the same age for 25 years like Ash.
I've never seen a company so comfortable with the idea of dishoning an entire share of their own market. In order for a company to keep expanding their fan base, it's necessary to do anything they can to attract new players and viewers. Pokémon as a product is marketable and appealing to children. But for anyone 13+, it's hard to engage with all the company has to offer.
The Pokémon Company (Nintendo, Game Freak, & Creatures Inc.) have stated that their products are the way they are to make it easily digestible for children.
I can go on to talk about the many ways this could be annoying for an adult Pokémon fan. But for this particular post, I'll start by only saying that the core games are dumbed down for children who watch the show as well. Could a seven-year-old complete the full Tears of the Kingdom run? Maybe... But can the average seven year old do it? Maybe not. But if you make a creature based game with the target audience of Blue's Clues in mind, your product tends to look a certain way.
Now before this goes any further, know this will be a rant of epic proportions. I do apologize for any uproar that may happen as a result of this post.
Why I Dislike the Show
I just recently watched the final episode of Ash Ketchum's journey in the Pokémon Anime and I was ultimately disappointed at the end. Though the battle between Ash and Leon was exhilarating and had me on the edge of my seat. It made me realize that the writers and directors know what they're doing here.
It's no different from WWE putting together useless promo and filler to build up the anticipation for the climax of a match between two superstars. When the Wrestlemania main event was a banger, you don't have to worry about the horrible storyline that led you there. The sheer fact that the main protagonist of the show remained 10 for the entirety of the series should have been the giveaway that the formula would never change.
If they had simply focused on Ash for a few years and then started over with a new trainer who were starting their journey, that would have been more ideal than the perpetual groundhog day loop that Ash was in.
BS Character Development
Character development in the show was so Wishiwashi (pun intended), that I grew tired of watching Ash and friends take losses just for us to not talk about it again, then watch them win with no growth in between. I know every case isn't like that, but I guess it's like that in the games too if you take enough full restores and revives with you after losing in the Elite Four.
I want to feel something when I watch the show. Learn a lesson about perseverance or humility, not just some flashy battle and a random evolution of a Pokémon I don't care about. An evolution that always tend to happen mid-battle. Something that can't even happen in the games!
Ash has been shown in multiple relationships over the years and I always thought his interactions and adventures felt lifeless and hollow. But it was simply because there was no emotion there. It was just a show designed to keep the product alive.
When we say the word Canon and Pokémon in the same sentence, it feels as wrong as wearing a fur coat to a PETA Rally.
The biggest issue I have with this series is the lack of connectivity to any other form of Pokémon product. If the popular games were any more disconnected from the content of the show, it'll qualify as an entirely new brand in of itself. How many times have you seen some cool locale being explored with cool Pokémon sightings in a show or movie, just for it to never appear in the games?
That is only a small issue compared to the lack of continuous story flow in the show. When we say the word Canon and Pokémon in the same sentence, it feels as wrong as wearing a fur coat to a PETA Rally. I grow tired of seeing the classic pay wall movies and episodes that only loosely connect to one another. It's mildly infuriating to see an episode cliffed on a matter just to not even be mentioned on the next episode. Especially character arcs that seem to result in meaningful situations.
Sometimes a character would show up in the show and do something cool and exciting only to see that it didn't mean a thing afterwards. Seriously, there are literally times where some characters would act as if certain ordeals never happened.
Speaking of character development, why did Jessy and James have so many growth periods to only continue being the comic relief. They were literally the Pokémon versions of Swiper the Fox from Dora the Explorer. Every episode was the same exact situation and it was as if the first time Team Rocket attacked and the last time they attacked wasn't the exact same "Let's take Pikachu and give it to Giovanni Energy" from season one episode two. See where I'm going here?
What We Could Get Instead
As a fan, I don't want to believe that the biggest gaming franchise in the world are putting bare minimum effort into their products. But whether I believe it or not, I feel it.
I still love the product of Pokémon. I'm just not sold that they particular care if people over the age of 10 actually likes them. We don't need to add a real story if the people who play the games can hardly read or are too immature to enjoy a good story. What I want, Pokémon Company, is simple. I, just like any other reasonable fan is suggesting a compromise.
I love the fact that you cater to the needs of the children, it's honorable. But I speak for everyone when I say it's about time you acknowledge your more seasoned fans. Stop keeping it so cute and allow your content to get the glory that it should get. Think of an anime that combines the action of Hunter X Hunter with the adventures of Ash Ketchum. Take a game like the literal Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom and Scarlet and Violet and mix them together. Take away the dual game BS, make one game and make it right.
Allow your Pokémon to be viewed the way they are supposed to be. Make them realistic, scary, and true to size (if not scaring the kids is still the main reason for doing this). This would not be a problem in Pokemon content intended for a more mature audience. Add more mature complexities to the story and let it be more free. The current game storyline is so childish that players mash the A Button in desperation during conversation on the game.
It works for kids and that makes people like me "too old" for Pokémon. But as a writer, I see the potential of the brand. We need you to understand that creating new Pokémon is cool but we really need a good, bearable platform for the ones you've already created. Because your current shows and your current games are not good showcases for any of the current 1025 that exist today.
The formula for the current Pokémon TV show works. It has been for over 25 years so kudos to that. But, please, just try and diversify. You guys just ride off on the fact that we'll just buy anything you put out and I believe you have more in the tank to offer your more mature fans. As a fan, I don't want to believe that the biggest gaming franchise in the world are putting bare minimum effort into their products. But whether I believe it or not, I feel it. This rant is over.
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