Pikachu and Eevee Friends is the greatest thing to happen to cute since Pino in Ergo Proxy and is arguably the most cute thing to hit Pokemon since ever. Some avid Pokemon fans and contrarians can point to other scenes that can rival this episode. These, such as the interplay between Ash, Bianca and Latias in the fifth movie, are outstanding, indeed. However, after a detailed analysis with a team of dedicated moe experts and neets, we've concluded that those can't hold a candle to this special.
One of the most striking things about this animated extravaganza must be how unexpected it was. Since their very beginning Pikachu Specials were relegated to a one time airing on Japanese television or a filler place before Pokemon movies, after which they'd be shipped with other products, provided they got lucky. Sometimes they'd be played in planes or planetariums, never to be seen again. And even if they dodged all the bullets and got released, there was no guarantee they'd get over the pond. To this day some specials don't even have raws available on the English speaking internet, let alone translations. If you follow Pokemon and peeked into the Japanese and Russian internet to see more specials, you'd know they're not big budgeted nor ambitious. So, yes, Pikachu Specials were utterly irrelevant for over ten years, last one with any kind of impact being Pikachu and Pichu in 2000. But then something happened. A lightning struck, it rained in Atacama and Pokemon Specials had their art style revamped and budget increased. It was a neat curiosity, but of little importance. Two years later, the same lightning struck for the second time. This got made and released.
Nobody expected this to be notable in any way. When it became apparent it is, Pikachu and its Eevee Friends became kind of a low key sensation. Going slightly viral is enough to sell it to a desperate bunch of Pokemon fans, but is it good? Yes. But what is good about it besides teh cute? I'm glad you asked. Time to dissect this animated sense assault.
As mentioned earlier, it looks great and they nailed the art style. Voice acting was top notch in almost every way. And as every Pokemon master knows, you've no right to complain about the terrible audio if you watch the dub. Sub all the way, baby! And especially in this case. Consider it a warning. Regarding the animation, there's some use of CGI in the latter half of the work, but it's non intrusive and the only thing that can be raised against the CGI is its low framerate. However, as Japanese lower it on purpose everywhere all the time to make it seem more like traditional animaton, no matter how bullshit that is, only a fool would complain. Japanese lower CGI frame rates, Americans believe democracy works. Nobody's perfect. You can only hope it doesn't detract from the work and unlike in Berserk (2016), it doesn't here.
I'm happy to say the special features all 9 (nine) members of the Eevee family. In case you're from the future and laughing; laughing at our measly number of eeveelutions, I'll let you know that this review was written in the current year of twenty-sixteen. We couldn't do better at the moment. Personality wise, all Eevees have distinct cutenalities. As more and more of them appeared on screen I got worried animators would take a shortcut and get lazy with the animation. Luckily, animators were able to give most Pokemon either distinct moving patterns or enough body variation to differentiate between them. Animation boosted the artstyle and fed into the characterization of Eevees. Working in tandem with each other these two created the cute.
On the plot side of things, the team behind this episode had two big problems to dodge. They could've drawn the viewer in by having Pokemon speak, like in some other specials which are not worthy of a name drop. Oh, how lucky we were to have dodged that horror. The second hurdle was making it engaging. Instead of having the narrator explain everything, they push us in medias res; Pikachu has met a new mystery friend who's gonna give him the time of his life. We're able to discern this just through the fleshy-tentacle-ribbon movements and facial expressions of Nymphia. And while it can be argued that narrator ruins it later on, it's first of many great examples of show, don't tell.
Afterwards we're treated with the meat of the story through the exploration of the Eeveelution microcosm. It's keep interesting because this work methodically opens up new, visually distinct locations to run through using interesting camera angles all the while balancing it with slapstick. Indeed, slapstick is the weakest form of Japanese humor, but it's kept brief and to the point, not overstaying its welcome. Later on we're treated to a relaxing star gazing extravaganza. While some cynics could say that this, as an obvious audience pandering scene, would be better with realistic planets and stars, the spirit of this short is in fantasy. Making it more real would be a grave mistake.
The weakest part of this short has got to be the Meowth and Wobbuffet duo. It could've be done without them. Adding in superficial and unneeded elements is always a bad idea. Luck is on our side this time, I'm happy to judge. They take up a measly amount of time and when they're present, they're supporting of the main plot rather than disruptive. Meowth even gets to have a non villainous role and his own arc. Considering their screentime is measured in seconds rather than minutes, that's impressive. I can't take away from the score for this.
Craving a more cerebral experience, some viewers might not take kindly to the narrator, dissing her as useless. On a superficial level, she is and I'd gladly hear this short without her. Still, by the end of this dazzling animation, I've found myself enjoying her completely obvious observations. She's become a soothing voice of fate, guiding us through a perfect day in Pokemon paradise. And while I'm skeptical of such extreme wish fulfillment and find its theological properties disturbing, I can't really fault it in this case because it's Pokemon and only once.
Pokemon has started as wish fulfillment for young boys wanting to tame and master various beasts. And while Americans always thought of it as cool and rad, the reality was slightly different. Gamefrak didn't think Pokemon would break through in the west because they designed the monsters to also be cute. As years and installments - games, anime, manga - went by, fans grew up and the idea of becoming the ultimate master got run into the ground as sequels recycled the same premise. Becoming the best bled into competitive play and got lost in a whirlwind of autism among the small minority of players. What rest of us were left was nostalgia and our favorite Pokemon designs, bunch of which were cute.
By making this short about Pikachu and all of Eeveelutions, the most numerous and among the cutest of Pokemon, OLM studio have made a powerful statement. Knowingly or not, they crafted a work that can be considered the natural conclusion of the Pokemon idea in animation. Removing Ash from the equation and focusing on a complete set of "cutest" Pokemon in a perfect and magical world unconstrained by logic, they've made a holistic self contained story of cute. This is what Pokemon is in its very essence. And just like Caravaggio and Beethoven will never be surpassed in their respective fields, this will stand as a definitive expression of Pokemon in anime form.
Should you watch this? Unless you're mad at me for mentioning Sylveon in Japanese and Nyasu in English, in which case you're dead inside, you should definitely watch this one.read more
[ Tiny bit of spoiler warning? ]
This was an extremely adorable little short! I wasn't in a great mood before watching, but after the episode ended, it left me with a big smile. If you're a fan of eeveelutions, this is totally the small short for you! I watched the english version, and the person's voice who narrated it was very calming and cheerful. It goes on with a story of how Pansage, Axew and Piplup are all chasing Pikachu and roll down a hill into a beautiful garden of pink flowers. There, they meet Sylveon who shows them to a beautiful castle like home where all the eeveelutions live together in harmony. They play around at the eevee house and have a party there as well. Even Meowth and Wobbuffet show up to the party and cook a meal for everyone! Umbreon has a little surprise for them at the end, which was beautifully animated. Once again, I totally recommend watching this! The music, animation, and story line were all absolutely brilliant. Most definitely my favourite pokemon short to date, following after the Pichu one in one of the older movies!read more
For me, it´s the most adorable Pikachu short ever made. Well, I´m a bit suspect to tell, though, because the Eeveelutions are my favorites, too.
The story, as usual, is really simple, made for everyone to understand without no troubles. But it´s very enjoyable and fun, with cute jokes. It´s great if you are tired and want to relax and smile a bit.
The art is nice, just like the anime. But since it´s a short movie, some graphics like the 3D are enhanced. And let me say, it´s just beautiful. I won´t give spoilers, just take a look and you´ll understand what I´m talking about.
The characters are lovely as always. Meowth´s into some trouble, Oshawott is the comic one... The main feature is the debut of Sylveon, the most recent Eeveelution, which is a must see for the fans.
The music is also awesome. It fits really well with each scene. The English ending is pleasant to the ears.
I recommend it highly, you can watch with your little bros and grandparents. I watched with my grandma and she loved it so much, hehe. Have fun, everyone.read more