*cough* I noticed no people wrote a review for this, so I'll make one myself *cough* And my first review...If you don't like to read this review, then go away >_>.
Pokemon Advance is very enjoyable to watch, followed by Ash (Satoshi) and co. traveling on the whole Hoenn region. This anime also brought me to love Pokemon! How? Uhh...long story, but Pokemon Emerald was my first game and that game brought me on loving Pokemon.
Anyway, let me start. I love the story of Pokemon, even I only watched *cough* five or more...I just watch random episodes of the anime, that's all. The characters? Hmm...Ash
(Satoshi) is getting boring, and Brock (Takeshi) has the same attitude...and May (Haruka)...I liked her attitude, and Max...I wished May didn't brought him all along. But I love how the team is big. Unlike the new season *ahem*...
Now, Ash (Satoshi) and co. did the same thing like on the first seasons, want their dreams to come true like Ash's, like May wanted to challenge all Pokemon Contest and to be the best Pokemon Coordinator, and so on. But, hey, this is like forever. I'm an impatient girl, but not too impatient. And also, does Ash never age up or go through puberty!? I mean what the heck!? He should be a young adult right now!
Tsk tsk tsk...I didn't like the style of their eyes, it looks...simple. Not very creative. I like the style of the eyes in "Pokemon Special" manga. But...I guess it's okay, the story is nice anyway.
Splendid!! I love the music and sound, both English and Japanese. Some are calming, some fit when you're going on a journey, some are rock n' roll, and others. But, it's my opinion.
Yes, I mostly enjoyed some interesting episodes, but I skipped the boring ones. The boring ones are full of talk, so on so on so on...But, yeah, the interesting ones, I feel like watching them over and over again.
It was the best season in my opinion. The 1st one with Misty and the 2nd one with May are the best ones. Until...with...Dawn, the most annoying girl I met. The season with Dawn has the most suckish story. I mean come on, the story is like all about "friends". It's getting annoying. I hope Dawn dies from a car accident.
I didn't expect many reviews on this chp. of pokemon. The history of pokemon had done so well up until this point, as seen by many. However, hardcore/loyal pokemon fans stuck around and watched the entire ADV generation. We embraced the new characters, though many did not want to see old ones retire away. We took note of even more pokemon added to anime, though some felt the originals could never be replaced. The games were stellar, I've played every single pokemon game out there and I can honestly say ruby/sapphire or emerald are must haves. So what is about ADV? I mean, it should
be better than Kanto's and Johto's saga, right?
PMKN ADV features the return of our main heroine Satoshi (better known as Ash Ketchum) as he explores an entire new region, Hoenn. Here, he encounters totally new pokemon with different aspects and abilities nowhere seen in the previous regions he was in. During his journey, he meets new friends and some returning ones. Haruka(May) and Masato(Max) are some new faces this time around, both are brother and sister. May, a once serious trainer competing for gym badges, focuses on a new goal to be a serious PKMN contest challenger. Max provides the group with in depth strategies to PKMN battling despite given his age. He takes a real liking to Ash, since he too also wants to become a pkmn trainer. The final character to the group is Brock, a familiar face seen with Ash throughout the series. He is still is normal self, acting perverted anytime a nurse joy or any of the likes of a cute girl is near. Ash himself is still competing for badges, so that one day he can participate in the "Hoenn League."
PKMN ADV is divided into several different titles. When the timeline gets serious enough and Ash gains more badges, the story is known as ADV Battle. From there, the story gradually gets deeper into harder challenges otherwise known as PKMN ADV Challenge. The style of "Double Battling" ie is introduced to where two pokemon battle another two in the same fight. Everything is still considered the ADV timeline, the story just gets deeper and possibly better.
PKMN theme's around this time are very solid. Perhaps better than it's previous counterparts. I do enjoy the opening ADV Challenge theme A LOT. The art is slightly better than Johto, however much improved from Kanto sagas. Battles are better detailed, and animation is more fluid. So it seems like ADV is just perfect, right? Well no. The story lines between travel are STILL the same: Team Rocket attacks Ash and gang until he reaches a gym or certain point of relevance in the story. I do like presentation of different groups like Team Magma and Team Aqua, but still most of the time it's the annoying Rockets doing the dirty work. Another thing is accepting the fact of just understanding new pokemon and how they work. There's LOTS of names I wouldn't begin to remember then, there was like 350 known species in this timeline. Sometimes, I questioned "oh what type is this?" or "what atk was that!?"
Overall, I wouldn't be quick to say ADV is the "rotten apple" in the history of PKMN. There's good scenes and action waiting to be watched here if you haven't yet. I think it naturally depends on if you are willing to accept the many changes to PMKN when you brace this saga of pokemon.
Note: Given the nature of this series, this review will be split into two parts to cover both the Hoenn League and Battle Frontier.
Regardless of what we think of Pokémon, it's a successful franchise, and the original series was popular even with its ups and downs. However, its popularity began to decline during the Johto season, and the Pokémon phenomenon that rocked the world lost its luster. That didn't mean Pokémon was done with, as the Ruby and Sapphire versions rolled around for the fairly young Game Boy Advance on November 21 of 2002 in Japan, and then March 19, 2003 in North America (April
3rd in Australia and July 25th in Europe, can't forget you guys). The final Johto episode aired just weeks before the games' release in Japan, while in the U.S., it aired in late October of 2003, months after Ruby and Sapphire were released.
Statistics say the Ruby and Sapphire versions sold 16.22 million copies world-wide total as of March 2013. However, when compared to Red/Blue (31.38), and Gold/Silver (23.10), there's a plummet of sales. Why is that? It could be because of the new handheld, or it could be because the fans are moving on. Or it could be because the Hoenn region was different compared to Johto complete with new gameplay, and (gasp!) people don't like it when a formula that already works gets switched up. Who's really to say when there's millions of people with their own reasons for why they never bought the games. The anime was still on-going at this time, why didn't that help boost sales? Maybe it did, just not to the same extent as the original series.
Pokémon Advanced Generation is notable for being the first time the Pokémon anime tried something “new”, as in changing the location, changing companions (although Brock remained), changing battle strategies, and overall just better writing; and in America, there was a change in voice actors mid-series (more on that later). Saying there's “better writing” is a little weird to say since Pokémon's not the best story-driven anime in the world, not by a long shot. But when compared to the first three sagas, it's an improvement even without Takeshi Shudo's involvement (although it's sorely missed).
THE HOENN LEAGUE
STORY: Continuing on from where the original series left off, Ash Ketchum arrives in the Hoenn region with his partner, Pikachu, and shortly afterwards met the new trainer May from Petalburg City, who picked out a Torchic. Accompanying them are May's brother, Max, and Brock, who chose to return to traveling but still doesn't change in personality even with his new roster. Ash explores the new region and Pokémon in his quest to collect the badges to challenge the Hoenn League, and May discovers her love for Pokémon Coordination. Team Rocket is still adamant in catching Pikachu, but have convinced Giovanni they were setting the foundation for the rest of the organization to infiltrate the region. They develop a brief rivalry with two other teams, Team Aqua and Team Magma, who proved to be slightly more competent than the Rocket gang.
That's pretty much it. There's not a lot of difference outside of what's on the surface. Likewise with the previous seasons, fillers still abound, but they're not taking up half of the journey like in Johto, and it's still used to give the illusion the Hoenn region is huge—although Ash and company don't cross the ocean as much as the player does in the games, and it's all in a later season anyway.
There are improvements from the first season such as better gym battles, and the presence of Teams Aqua and Magma (mostly Magma), and the two teams do occasionally clash. The payoff, however, is disappointing to say the least. The Pokémon anime tends to do that. But even so, there's still some enjoyment to be had during the season, especially with a fresh Pokémon roster that aren't overshadowed by Ash's older Pokémon for once. The Pokémon Contests shakes up the formula a bit by giving May a character motivation of her own, as well as some different rules and performances, showing some impressive and uniques strategies in Pokémon moves both inside and outside of battle. Luckily, the journey to collect ribbons is given equal focus and importance as the journey to collect gym badges.
ART/ANIMATION: A continuation from the late Johto episodes, the digital art and animation is the same, and remains rather consistent throughout, though wonky art still slips through on occasion—this WAS still the awkward early-to-mid 2000s transition. The biggest upgrade are many Pokémon moves being done in CG to make them look flashier. Sadly, outside of the Pokémon Contest events, nothing of note sticks out in this department. The two-parter episodes involving Kyogre and Groudon could've had impressive animation with their battles, but they were reduced to painted (or colored pencil) stills. They could technically pass off as beautiful paintings, though.
I didn't know where to put this, but I figured I'd mention it here. One of Pokémon's well-known traits is its “Who's That Pokémon?” eye-catch halfway into each episode. While it's still on-going in Japan, in America, 4KIDS decided to go a different direction starting in episode 41 with Advanced Challenge. Up until their contract expired, “Who's That Pokémon?” was replaced with “Trainer's Choice”, kind of like a trivia question in which out of three choices, the viewer chooses basically the “best” choice for type advantages, or what Pokémon evolves into what. It's a pretty good idea—however, someone in charge of it apparently was not that knowledgable about his or her Pokémon facts, with some questions having either multiple possible answers or incorrect answers, and some Pokémon's names were misspelled. What most people remember is the most infamous moment of “Trainer's Choice”, episode 77's “Which of these Pokémon evolves into Seviper?”. Advanced Battle got better with it in asking actual trivia with match-ups, battle strategies, and callbacks to episodes, but the damage had been done.
SOUND: The soundtrack is honestly the best part of this section and it's not just because it's full of trumpets—well, in actuality, the brass section (the trombone was the most prominent). Well, the reason is because most of the score, like with the previous seasons, are covers of the game score, and they sound fantastic. Unfortunately, the dub noticeably got iffy with the music by this point unlike with the previous seasons. The original soundtrack does still remain (which, if YouTube is anything to go by, consists of less new scores than with Johto), but more often than not, you're hearing the 4KIDS-implemented score from the movies or albums, and it's a little more easier at this point to not catch the original score if you weren't already familiar with it.
Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart, Maddie Blaustein, and Dan Green still give good performances. However, by Advanced Battle, the vocal evolution of the cast becomes apparent, particularly with Team Rocket. Jessie had the least change to her voice, but James got noticeably whinier, and Meowth's Joisey accent had become almost slurred that he started sounding a little like Elmur Fudd.
CHARACTERS: This is a bit hard to truly gauge because the Hoenn saga's a continuation. Ash, Brock, and Team Rocket are the same as they were from before (sort of with Team Rocket, I'll explain shortly), although Ash has some character development in becoming a mentor to his new friend, May—I say some since this is mainly up until after Advanced Challenge when she becomes able to stand on her own two feet, then he seemingly regresses back to the same-old Ash, just mature. There's also no shortage of COTDs, though whether they stick with you or not depends on your tastes.
Judging the new main characters, they aren't bad. May is a rookie with some lack of self-confidence, and her brother is a know-it-all who gets annoying at times. What makes the two endearing, however, is their sibling relationship. They have their squabbles, but they truly care about each other. What also makes them a little bit different is they're the children of the Petalburg City gym leader Norman, and we do get to see them as a family on occasion. Sure, when it comes to Brock and Misty, we've seen them interact with their families, but not to the same extent. Still, the character development all went to May as she slowly became more confident and independent, who gained rivals in Drew, Jessie (in various disguises), and later Harley in Advanced Battle. Max was hinted at to have some gift with Pokémon bonding, but due to his young age, there wasn't much he could do about it, even though he once made a promise to a Ralts to be its trainer one day. He also later took up Misty's mantle of dragging Brock away by the ear whenever he got girl-crazy, but that's got nothing to do with his character in the slightest.
Team Rocket... ehhhhh, this is basically a continuation of their Johto personalities, except it got taken a step further depending on the writer. The Giovanni fantasies were a thing at that time, but they became ubiquitous by this saga that it began to get rather uncomfortably annoying rather quickly. Sure, it's a possibility we as children loved those segments, but the older we got, the more creepy and “ho yay” (although not necessarily in the same boat) it became. Maddie Blaustein enjoyed doing those parts, good for her, but when looking at it from a character perspective, it's like looking into the mind of a mad man, or in this case, a mad cat who may-or-may-not have a thing for his boss. This is similar to how Brock chases after every skirt he sees, except this is how Meowth sees his boss and believes this is how he's going to react for every rare Pokémon they bring to him. The ways the Pokémon are being used in these fantasies are rather reminiscent of servitude, and Giovanni doesn't look like the man who treats his Pokémon very well outside of his Persian (who is absent from all of these fantasies, funnily enough), but I personally doubt he'd use rare Pokémon for such mundane tasks as breaking open coconuts for him or be his personal alarm clock or workout partners.
THE BATTLE FRONTIER
STORY: Upon coming home from Hoenn, Ash stops by for a quick invited battle with Agatha, the temporary Viridian City gym leader and one of the Elite Four, accompanied by a man named Scott, who took interest in Ash because of his skills in the Hoenn League. Although Ash lost, Scott encouraged him to take the Battle Frontier challenge, and thus he travels the Kanto region once more, briefly visiting familiar places along the way, but there were more new places than there were old.
ART/ANIMATION: Outside of CG becoming steadily more abundant, there are no changes, although the battles get more clever. But there is a funny scene in the Deoxys two-parter of Meowth having one of his fantasies of Giovanni riding on the back of a Deoxys. You might've seen it around.
CHARACTERS: Everything still carries over, there are no changes to the main cast, not even to old faces who make appearances (since this is in the Kanto region). The Frontier Brains, however, fall under here. The problem(?) is, they don't all get the same amount of character development—well, screentime. The most notable Brains are Lucy of Battle Pike, Anabel of Battle Tower, and Brandon of Battle Pyramid, the former two because they had showed interest in either Ash or Brock (weirdly enough), though with Ash for the most part, it was mainly due to his skills.
SOUND: The voice cast is where this gets messy for the dub. From the beginning of the saga until “Pasta La Vista!”, it's still the classic 4KIDS cast. But thanks to the previous airing of “Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon”, the audience knew the voice cast was going to change at some point or another and were fearing the worst. This didn't come to fruition until the contract expired and there was a change of networks from Kids' WB to Cartoon Network (this was a problem personally, but by then I was turned away by the replacement of the voice actors, though I was disappointed to see it leave the network). Pokémon USA, wanting to find a cheaper company to produce the dub, went to TAJ Productions (when it still existed) where they cast newcomer (and actual Pokémon fan) Sarah Natochenny as Ash Ketchum, plus others—although a few such as James Carter Cathcart (Jimmy Zoppi) still remained, but were cast in new roles, or in the case of the narrator, Rodger Parsons returned.
Weirdly enough, the change wasn't AS jarring as people claim it to be. It's a gradual change in style in terms of the localization and script, but the quality wasn't any different. The theme and end credits songs are the only things I can say weren't as good as 4KIDS' themes, although they're both short and easy to brush off. On the plus side, the soundtrack from the original remained, so it's not a constant cacophony against your eardrums like it was before.
But needless to say, the Battle Frontier can be the roughest sit of the dub if you let it get to you. Although yes, some episodes and characters were better dubbed than others.
ENJOYMENT AS A WHOLE: Eleven years—that is how long it took to finish Advanced Generation. Hoenn was oddly enough not as memorable as the original series was despite being the “more recent” of my childhood. Upon my rewatch, I have no idea why that was the case, though it could be there was something different about it from the start. But there wasn't anything completely terrible about it, so I must've just had slowly lost interest. And even as an adult viewer, it was still a bit of a chore at times to watch even before the Battle Frontier saga, which had a noticeable change to the feel of the show. The season may not have had the 4KIDS touch, but it didn't really need to.
Still, there were good moments, good ideas, and memorable characters that helped make the Hoenn saga stand out from its predecessor. The transition from Johto to Hoenn was a bit of a whiplash, and again with Battle Frontier, but over time, it calmed and felt more natural. There were more places to see in Hoenn than in the past regions, because this time, it was an entire region getting coverage. It left almost no stone unturned, though in the process, it still skimmed over a bit in order to progress.
While not a personal favorite, Advanced Generation still left a good impression behind, generously rewarding those who stuck with it to the end. I'd dare say it was a better reward than the end of the Johto saga. But like they say, the journey continues, and so it does.
First of all, I'm a 28 years old dude who still loves Pokemon. Me and my brother grew both with Pokemon. And to be honest its still a great serie to watch.
The story in short, you follow Ash with he's journey to become a Pokemon Master. And together with he's friends he will try to conquer the League and the Battle Frontier. There were funny, drama and sometimes sad moments. But overall its still great to watch. (anno 2019).
The artwork in this serie is just decent. Its a old serie and you will see that sometimes. Its easy to watch for kids. Thats all I
want to say.
Sound and then I will talk about the Opening and ending first. Its really motivated music. And to be honest, as a child the opening was my favorite. The sound in the serie is not to great but good enough.
Not the fun part the characters. First Ash: Great trainer and to exicted for new adventures. He's partner Pikachu really looks like him. Ash has in this serie new clothing more adult. Its a really nice person.
Brock: Mr. Playboy? Man he's really funny. Always in love with pretty girls. And besides of that he is a care person. What I mean is that he always take care of he's friends, injured Pokemon and helping he's family.
May: One of Ash he's new friends. She is new with Pokemon and kinda clumsy in the beginning. But later she will learn alot of the Pokemon World and besides she want to go to the League. She will join the Cordinator tour. (the serie will explain it.) And for a girl sidekick of Ash. She is not to bad ;)
Max: Mr wiseguy and the little brother of May. He is the most anoying child if ever met in in Pokemon series. (For now.) I dont like him and he is always thinking he's the smart guy. Well with May and Ash...Its not to hard to be the smartest.
My enjoyment was good. Its was a long time if watched this serie back on the TV. But it was fun to rewatch it. In this serie you will see always a Pokemon you will like in the serie. For me it was Torkoal. Man he is awesome.
If you like to watch Pokemon you will need to watch this serie. Great adventures and decent Pokemons after Gen 1 and 2.
Pretty good, but a step down from the Original Series.
In terms of negatives, the contest episodes mostly were pretty boring. A lot of them were all flash but with none of the intensity that usually makes the gym battle episodes so good. The battle centered ones were usually fine, however.
Adding to this, the high amount of tournament arcs, as well as a lighter, more relaxed tone, resulted in there being less interesting episodes than the OS.
But though it was weaker than the original, that doesn't mean it was BAD. There was still more good episodes than not, and quite a few (such as
the Swampert episode, Kyogre vs Groudon, or the one where Pikachu loses his memory, to name a few) that i'd definitely consider highlights of the overall show. The animation was still solid, and the humor was very good, with a lot of funny moments in most episodes. And when it came to emotion, it would consistently deliver.
Overall, weaker than the first series, but still enjoyable. If you liked the OS, you'll probably like this.
Pokemon Advanced. Another enjoyable pokemon series. Its full of humor, lovable characters, and a AMAZING soundtrack. Advanced really doesnt fail with the enjoyable formula pokemon is so well known for.
Storyline9/10-NO SPOILERS. Ten year old Ash Ketchum is now on his quest to go to the Hoenen region. He is joined by May, Max, and Broack. Ash once again is going to collect gym badges and become a pokemon master. Pokemon once again has that really fun and enjoyable storyline. Its cute, adventrous and full of laughs. Its like the first series, just newer.
Characters8/10-The charaters are once again, enjoyable, Ash is once again, my favortive,
because hes stupid and funny. Team Rocket still are enjoyable characters, mostly Mewoth. The characters mature qutie a bit in the series. I find Lance(from the first series when ash was in Jothto),To be a good character.(He only appears for a few episodes. May is a character that matures very well, but I think she wasnt as good as Misty. Max is very annoying.(Hes like a replacement for Misty). Broack is still annoying, but the characters are still enjoyable.
Soundtrack8/10-One thing the pokemon anime DOESNT fail at is the music. There is nothing wrong it. Its catchy, and fits the mood really well. The battle music is the most enjoyable. There are no flaws, and no problems with it, but its not amazing, so it doesnt get a 10. Just a 8.
Art8/10-The new design is good. The character design is very good in my opinon. The art for the pokemon are also well made. Like the soundtrack, theres nothing wrong with the art. But its not perfect, so it gets a 8.
Enjoyment10/10-I really enjoyed pokemon advanced. I always enjoy pokemon. The characters,and art, and soundtrack,and storyline,its all enjoyable. All of it I pretty much enjoyed. Its always great,(not counting best wishes! and X and Y).
Overall8/10-I enjoyed this series ALOT. I loved it. For a ture pokemon fan, watch. Someone new to pokemon, WATCH IT. Its very good.
This one is better than the prequel. This region gets ash in the top, where he might've won first, but this region makes ash start the trend of losing forever to make it seem like he never ages, but he does age, just keeps him looking young.....weird. This season ash gets May and annabelle (second to last frontier brain) there might've been another girl or 2 earlier, but highly doubt it. They scuffed charizard in the end lost first round and didn't defeat a dusclops.
On the contest side of things they did great as a first time, they introduced a gay harley out of nowhere,
where he is a like-able character, second favorite character. I think this region of anime they introduced combo attacks, but I think I am wrong, maybe they did that last in original pokemon. Well let me tell you who is my favorite character, it is the magikarp dude, he showed up like 3 or 4 times it's before the frontier arc. Pokemon advanced starts off good like always, but then it always seems like it's getting stretched out, this does have quite a bit of filler, just skim it, but if it looks like a good ep watch it, if not skim through or skip. There are a few good fillers and or eps not really needed. Ash's life lessons and advice/teaching of brandon, just got forgotten in next season, ash's dense and idiotic ways have to live on for the kids, can't have some smart kid on tv, the kids find the stupid hot headed ways of protags cool.
So, as anticipated, I did end up enjoying Advanced quite a bit more than the Original for most of my viewing experience. Though you may have noticed that the overall score doesn't reflect that... And it wasn't for the same reasons I'd expected...
As I mentioned in my review for the original series, Hoenn was my generation. I didn't get really into playing the games myself until Sapphire/Ruby. I expected to connect better with Advanced because the towns and gym leaders and some of the special events with teams Aqua and Magma were more familiar to me. But that wasn't really the case. It was kind
of nice to know what was coming next, but for the most part, the gym battles were just... gym battles. It was the way the second season was handled that won me over. The format changed a bit for this second season, and I feel it changed for the better. I think adding in the contest side of the Pokémon world broke up the time between Ash's gym battles very nicely. Ash and May switched off pretty evenly. And I felt it just gave the series a better... flow. Much less felt like it could be skipped without consequence, which I think is a huge plus.
And there were a few other places Advanced really shined. I feel like training took a much more prominent place in this season. We saw a lot of Ash actually working with his Pokémon to learn new moves, instead of the miracle, in the nick of time learning that happened a lot in the original. There were still instances of it, for both Ash and May, but it felt like more time went into preparing for each battle or rematch, and it showed Ash growing as trainer. On top of that, the battles got a lot more creative. This was true of the contests where appearance was just as important as effectiveness, but also when it came to Ash's battle strategies. Don't get me wrong, there were still some bullshit plot armor moments. (Because no, Ash, hitting your bird with a bolt of lightning would not give it an electric shield.) But overall, I felt it was a step in the right direction.
At least... This can be said for the first two-thirds of Advanced. More than one thing about Battle Frontier didn't sit quite right with me, but I'll start with the formatting.
Okay, so I know I'm going to soundl like a total hypocrite saying this, but... Frontier just felt rushed. I know, one of my biggest complaints about the original series was that it was too drawn out, but I didn't get the sense that they were really going anywhere throughout Battle Frontier's run. Which shouldn't have been possible, because Frontier took us back to Kanto, where everything should have been familiar. But stopping in towns where Ash previously won his Indigo League badges just didn't have the sense of connection that I felt they should have. For a comparison, I ask you to look back to his Johto travels. To be honest, I don't remember exactly why, but our heroes had to double back through Ecruteak over the course of their journey. And during those episodes where they returned to Ecruteak, they met back up with Morty-- the gym leader-- and had another little adventure having to do with the ghost tower in town-- a prominent aspect of Ecruteak. And I felt like it was a really nice callback.
That's the feeling Frontier should have had. But it didn't. In fact, I don't think I really appreciated the characterization of the gym leaders until that point. It can be kind of subtle, but each gym leader is a really solid reflection of their town. Like Roxanne also running the trainer's school. Rustboro is the first town in Hoenn where you can earn a badge, and the trainer's school being such a big part of it was a really strong reflection of being The Beginning. It gives the towns character and makes them memorable, and I just felt like they really dropped the ball bringing things back to Kanto during Battle Frontier. Of course, there's another thing Frontier can be remembered for...
And now... I suppose we have to discuss the voice acting. It's not typically something I bring up in my reviews unless I have something specific to say. I think it goes without saying that I, like most people, watched Pokémon dubbed. (That's just part of it stemming from my childhood.) Yup, from the company notorious for bad dubs. Who would have thought it would actually be something to mourn when 4Kids lost the rights to a show?
Let's take a step back for a minute, shall we? Remember those little questionnaires in elementary and middle school that tried to determine which learning style you were best suited for? Like, were you most likely to remember a graph drawn on the board, a lecture, or a hands-on activity? I've always been a very auditory person. When I recall something someone said, it's down to every last inflection of their voice. So, regardless of which language I watch a show in, the characters' voices stick with me and become as much a part of their character as any of their actions throughout the series. So it's hell on my ears when even one voice actor is replaced, never mind the entire cast.
Pokémon was one of the few things 4Kids did pretty well. Yes, even with all the censorship and localization they're so well known for. The actors put so much heart into their roles, even when they were saying truly ridiculous things. And I'd had about 400 episodes to get used to them. So maybe I'm a bit biased, but the new dub did just sound worse in general. There was either no emotion behind their words, or everything came out sounding over exaggerated and fake. Some of them (Brock, in particular) grew on me over time, but I want to specifically discuss Ash and May, because I don't think I ever truly appreciated how much Veronica Taylor was carrying this show until she was replaced.
May... I know a lot of people hate May, either because she's inexperienced and says some pretty dumb things (even though Ash did that all the time in the original series) or because she replaced Misty, or whatever other reasons. I really like May as a character. (Significantly more than Misty.) She was a much more active character, and I already mentioned that I liked the way her contest storyline split up the filler between Ash's gym battles nicely. But mostly, I just like how much she grows throughout the series. She goes from not even liking Pokémon-- just wanting to travel-- to learning to love them and finding a purpose in this world. Even throughout her contests, May is very shortsighted, so her departure-- where she finally decided on a goal for herself and started thinking towards the future-- was very satisfying to me. It felt like a complete character arc. (As opposed to Misty, who was kind of just there until she wasn't.)
But I felt May suffered quite a lot from the recasting. Further proof that WHAT you say doesn't matter half as much as HOW you say it. And everything May says after the recast comes out sounding overly timid or insecure, and that's really not who she was written or animated to be. May's defining characteristic was that she's adventurous. She has her low moments. There were lessons to be learned from both doubt and overconfidence over the course of her journey. But she was always just as brave as any of the other characters, and just as passionate about her contests as any of the others were about their dreams. Her new voice just sounded out-of-character, which is a shame because-- for the rest of the cast-- it was pretty clear they were trying to mimc the old voices.
But May was not the one who suffered the most from the recasting. Ash's new voice is the one that really made me wish they'd just gone in an entirely new direction with Ash. Now, I have heard that Sarah Natochenny improves a lot as Pokémon continues and... Good lord, I hope so. May's voice just sounded wrong for her character. Ash's lines frequently came out as bad acting, plain and simple. My biggest complaint is that it sounded, to me, like the real problem was she couldn't both maintain Ash's voice and emote properly. Which I feel should have been a major indication that the job should have gone to someone else, but... We're in it for the long run now.
So, I'm about to dive into Diamond and Pearl, and I'm interested to see how this goes. The next few seasons will be truly blind for me. I watched a few episodes of season three when it first came out, but... Eh. My interest in Pokémon kind of dropped off between Sapphire/Ruby and X/Y. Even if I didn't play much of the games, I was really familiar with the original Pokémon through the movies and just spending a lot of time with older cousins who were drawn in by the Pokémon craze. I've got a vague remembrance of some of the Sinnoh Pokémon, but I can't even remember the Unova starters off the top of my head. So it's promising to be quite a journey, truly free from any nostalgia, and I'm interested to see how that colors the experience.