Pokemon Special Brings Back 1990s Childhood Memories
The latest Pokemon game came out this past Saturday featuring 70 new species as well as a new type. But it’s not as much the game that is bringing back childhood memories of the beloved series, but the four episode anime special that aired in Japan in anticipation of the game’s release.
Let’s begin with a brief history of the series.
Pokemon was released in 1996 in Japan and later in 1998 for the U.S. I was in 2nd grade back when the Nintendo/Game Freak franchise became a generational phenomenon and every one of my classmates was under it’s spell and just had to ‘catch’em all’.
Many of our adventures began where we stepped out into the wild grass where the Pokemon Professor Oak, stopped us and told kids all around the world to pick our first Pokemon partner. For many kids this was a hard decision, would they choose the grass dinosaur Bulbasaur, the fiery tiny dragon Charmander or the water turtle Squirtle.
Many of my school friends went with Charmander to get his final evolution form on the Pokemon Red box art, the mighty dragon Charizard. I opted for the the water type because as a kid blue was my favorite color so I wanted the blue one. Squirtle’s final evolution Blastoise, had two cannons attached to him so what better than to have a Pokemon that could fire from a distance. Then we embarked on a journey to collect the eight gym badges and become the Pokemon Master.
From there Pokemon only grew more powerful with toys, action figures and even a T.V. series. The fever only got stronger and the next question was how could they make it better. Well, Game Freak knew just what to do next. They released Yellow Version a year later which had Pokemon Trainers start out with a Pikachu like in the T.V. show. This only had more of my friends get more excited and more into the spell of Pokemon because now they could now pretend to be like the the trainer from the T.V. show.
Pokemon had now become a permanent statue engrained in the lives of children and was later parodied in many television shows. South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, saw just how big the series from Japan was getting and even made an episode that revolved around the monster series and how kids were reacting to it.
The year 2000 would expand the world of Pokemon as we knew it. When Gold and Silver came out we were thrown into a new region with 100 new Pokemon to catch and train. There was even a surprise for us at the end of the game when we became the Pokemon Champion, a new set of challenge to take on in the region that started it all. There was not only one but two regions that we could catch and train Pokemon in.
The Pokemon Special, in part to promote the new Pokemon X and Y game brings the origins of the Pokemon series. The special follows the original games and matches everything from the story to the music and even the trainers name. The series was a four-episode arc where all four episodes aired on October 2 on TV Tokyo.
Watching the series will surely bring back some fond childhood memories of playing the game and trading and battling friends in the hallways and playgrounds in school. It may even bring a tear to your inner child.
The video below is the first episode of the special. It is in it’s original Japanese audio and English subtitles are included in the video. An English dub of the special is scheduled to be released on November 15th through the Pokemon TV app for Apple and Android.