Pokémon: A World Revealed

By , Flemington, NJ
We all remember the show. Like Teenage Mutant Turtles, Hey Arnold!, and The Pinky and the Brain, it was a television series that most any child raised in the 90s remembers well. However, unlike its animated counter-parts, it was and still remains a cut above the rest.


You may know it as Pokémon, the Japanese cartoon that first aired in 1997 and captured the attention of millions of children. I, however, know it as something more. I know it as Pokémon, a kingdom that opened before me through the television, a place where cuddly creatures like Jiggly Puffs and Squirtles roamed freely, a place where kids were free to live on their own. Of course, to my young mind, it sounded like a true haven.


Pokémon, the name derived from creator Satoshi Tajiri’s “Pocket Monsters”, originally was meant to only run one season, as a small spin-off to the mass-produced Nintendo game series. However, due to the ingenuity of the story and enrapturing effect it had on viewers, the show has since been spun into four TV series, running for thirteen seasons. It has become its own separate franchise during the years since it first aired, spawning movies and television specials galore. In a distinct way, Pokémon has become a part of American society, gaining the same sort of status any long-airing cartoon gains in United States pop culture. Like Pop-Eye the Sailor and Fred Flintstone, Ash Ketchum and Pikachu have gained their own form of celebrity stature amongst the youth of America.


The series follows Ash Ketchum and his Pokémon, Pikachu, as he travels the world catching new Pokémon, fighting against Pokémon trainers, making new friends, and thwarting the attempts of villains like Team Rocket. In this place, children are encouraged at age ten to go out into the world to begin training as Pokémon masters and Pokémon of all shapes, sizes and abilities thrive. Each Pokémon has a different power and a different temperament, much the same way pets come in so many shapes and sizes. There’s the sleepy Sunffaluffagus, the absent-minded Psyduck, and the ferocious Charizard. Each unique Pokémon gives a different aspect to the show, and each unique Pokémon gives children a new character to love or hate.


Adults may often wonder why shows such as Pokémon can captivate the attentions of children so readily, why the idea of a boy and his Pikachu searching and battling for other Pokémon can be so entertaining. The answer follows along with the same reasons that those very adults back in the day might have enjoyed Scooby Doo or The Smurfs. Children are enlivened by the humorous and by the fantastical. The theme that young people are capable of accomplishing great things on their own is one that is very entrancing to kids, who so often feel constricted by the rules of grown-ups. Pokémon combined all of those elements in a way that had 5-year olds like myself rushing downstairs for Saturday morning cartoons. Pokémon’s legacy will live on just as the legacies of those shows before it will, for it is not just a show to children. It’s a whole new world, one fill with action, adventure and the possibility of greatness.





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cartoonlover said...
May 14, 2011 at 8:08 pm
Yes, I agree! What a great review. This is exactly how I saw it too. Courage and kindness for kids! Even when they're completely on their own.
 
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