Day 2 – Pokemon S&M, a Return to My Childhood

Going back to my childhood, it’s easy to pintpoint the decision that put me on my current path. I was 5 or 6, living in Wichita, Kansas at the time, and I had a Gameboy Advance SP that I had gotten for some reason or another fairly recently. I decided that I wanted Pokemon, which many of my friends had, so my mom took me to a game store and I got a used copy of Pokemon Ruby. The previous owner’s only decent Pokemon was a Blaziken and they were near Fortree City when I reset the game.

Over the years, Pokemon has been something of a constant in my life. While my precise interest in it has changed, it stands as the biggest monument on the path of my interest in Japanese pop culture. Looking up details about Pokemon taught me about anime, helped me learn more about the world beyond America.

To say that Pokemon was important to my life would be a massive understatement. But over the last 5 years or so my interest in it has slowly decreased. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy it, playing every game up through Sun and Moon.

That said, my interest in the anime has not faired so well. I watched it a lot longer than many of my peers; all the way up through the early part of Black and White. But eventually I stopped watching it with any regularity. I found other TV shows to watch and in short time I found other anime. I thought that was fine.

At the same time, it was a bit sad. Pokemon was the last childhood anime I was clinging too – Zatch Bell was long off the air at this point and I was no longer into Yu-gi-oh – so to see it fade wasn’t entirely pleasant, especially in that period where I wasn’t watching any other anime. Still, there wasn’t anything I could really do about it; I just wasn’t interested anymore.

Can you really blame me? The Black and White anime is bad and given that X and Y were my least favorite Pokemon games, I saw no reason to go back to the anime. Especially since I was no longer watching TV, meaning I’d need to go out of my way and torrent it. Not something I was going to do.

Around later 2015 I started hearing rumblings that the X and Y anime was really good. I considered watching it but, having just finished catching up on Yu-gi-oh Arc-V(that was a mistake), I ultimately decided I’d stick it in the backlog and just watch it at some other point.

Then the Sun and Moon anime came along. This time I vowed I would start watching with everyone else, not needing to waste time catching up. I never even got around to X and Y – though I will someday – so I had to begin with everyone else.

Can’t say I did though. Fall 2016 was a great season for me, to the point that I kind of forgot I was supposed to start Pokemon. I wanted to, of course, but I didn’t. I felt saddneed whenever I saw some amazing animation cut on twitter or heard people talk about it, but I kind of just resigned myself to the idea that I would never catch up.

However, that all changed with the announcement of Brock and Misty’s short return. I’m sure the goal of that was to bring back nostalgic but lapsed fans and it sure as hell worked for me. That announcement was what I needed to motivate me to download all the currently released episodes and finally begin catching up.

Ecstatic would be a good word to describe how I feel about my decision. This anime is amazing, only elevated by the fact that it’s my childhood favorite in even better form. I’m not going to get into great detail about why I like the show; my recent piece on kids’ anime already does that and my anime of the year piece will as well. But it’s so nice to be able to revisit my childhood in a friendly, accepting, well-made shell.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I fell out of the Pokemon anime. It made it easier to deal with the shift in art style(a shift which was for the better) and made the anime come across as more fresh than it otherwise would’ve. It’s hard to say for sure, all I know is that this anime is really good and consistently makes me happy.

At this point I can say that my full love of Pokemon has been succesfully revived. I’ve got multiple projects in the planning stages regarding Pokemon. If you’ve been checking my twitter you’d know that I’ve been replaying Platinum and will soon be on to HeartGold. By the time this post releases, I may already being playing HeartGold.

Like I said in the beginning, Pokemon was fundamental to my development into the person I am today. If I hadn’t encountered it, my life may have gone down a totally different path. It’s hard to say if that path would be better or worse but I like the life I live so I’m happy to have taken it.

Looking ahead, I don’t know what the future will bring. I’m a bit nervous at how quickly the Sun and Moon anime is speeding through things, especially given that I have no clue when the next games are coming out. But I have hope that this time, I can stay interested in the Pokemon anime, at least as long as it stays this good.


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