Anime Meta-Review




By Date




Title Info

  • seen: 1-12 of 60+
  • type: TV
  • grade: watchable
  • genre: kodomo
  • Other elements of this title:
    • This title has been commercially released in Australia.
  • made: 1997
  • Review created: Recently, but I didn't record the date.
  • mod: none

Like it or loathe it you have to respect this anime as a product. The pokemon craze successfully tied computer and card gaming with anime and the `collectibles' bug to make some people an awful lot of money. That has nothing to do with an anime review of course. It must also be mentioned that reviewing this title is fairly insane, as there are legions of schoolkids who know far more than me about pokemon, so use this review only as a guide if you know less than I. I will probably watch more episodes to strengthen my opinion at a later time.

The story, for those who don't have a handy primary school student, is set in a world a bit like ours. One of the main differences is that, while humans are largely normal, someone went overtime on the wildlife. There are a large variety of pokemon creatures running wild. A lot of them are very strange (ie. illogical) and some have magical powers. Ash, the hero, is a young pokemon trainer out to capture and train pokemon...which is apparently a well recognised and respected profession. He begins with a strange Pokemon called Pikachu, gains some fellow trainers as friends, some opponents in the form of the enjoyably camp team rocket and heads off on pokemon based episodes.

While the game element reeks of `product' it actually works fairly well. No doubt this is inherited from the computer games. In addition pokemon have personalities (albeit limited) and stories of their own in addition to the ritualised and non-lethal pokemon battles. And being an anime ash's team-mates also have quite well developed personalities and there's some reasonable dialog. The stories are also quite well paced, and reasonably exciting. In essence it is a reasonable team anime, with a strong central theme of the pokemon capturing. Note that I said `reasonably', because this is carefully aimed at the target audience (young poke-fanatics) so while those not so inclined can still enjoy it, you're unlikely to value it. The fairly ridiculous pokemon battles (they're pretty abstract) and limited complexity provides an upper bound on other viewers. Although it must be said that the continuous backstory gives some additional longevity (ash is travelling and gaining new pokemon throughout the series). On the other hand when run against the average american `kiddy' cartoon this has enough anime heritage to draw on to easily outclass them. As a non pokemaniac I would happily watch this, but neither recommend nor purchase it.

The animation is pretty average to low for a Japanese anime. The linework and character designs are very simple, the backgrounds look like simple water colors and the colors are very bright. The action is reasonable, but not always very smooth and often quite abstract. The effects are quite reasonable. Of course given some of the weird creatures, with unlikely powers, that dominate the screen time you can see why they went for a relatively simple, cartoony style. The sense of character, and character motion is quite reasonable. As before, nothing special for an anime but probably sufficient to trounce the opposition on american TV.

The folks at THEM claim to have watched a `lot' and unashamedly endorse it in this review as a cute family anime and a good introduction to anime. Sounds like a reasonable position to me.


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:23 WST 2009