Apr 28, 2020
‘The Red Shoes’ was a fairy tale by Hans Andersen, and just like his other stories, it had his characteristic gruesome and morbid imagery. It told the sad tale of a girl, Karen, cursed by an angel with a pair of red shoes that doomed her to dance for all eternity. In her sheer desperation, she asked an executioner to chop off her feet. However, to her horror, the shoes danced before her – with her amputated feet still inside them. She prayed to God, asking for help, but that same angel reappeared…and caused her heart to burst.
While no one dies in ‘Pokémon Gotta
Dance’, it too tells the grim tale of beings condemned to dance due to an evil object – the dancing stick.
‘Pokémon Gotta Dance’ is, without a doubt, one of the darkest Pokémon shorts. A trio of Whismur get abducted to play maracas for a mob boss. Pikachu polka dances near a cliff’s edge, a step away from certain death. Treecko, visibly in pain, tries to resist the power of the dancing stick, but eventually succumbs to it. And by the end, Meowth muses depressingly that music ruined his life. There might not be much to the plot, but this Pokémon short is one of the very few that did not bore me to tears.
It’s obvious that this special was a labor of love from the animators. Colors are bright and cheery, one of the last Pokémon shorts that used traditional hand-painted cels. The scenery is rife with coy references to other Pikachu shorts. Animating all those Pokémon to dance must have been a gargantuan task. Ever wanted to see Meowth and Pikachu tango together? How about Mudkip doing some sick pirouettes? Or Wobbuffet hula dancing – grass skirt and all? Choreography, technique, and performance are on point. Contestants in ‘Dancing with the Stars’ could learn a thing or two from them.
I sure hope you liked the second ED in ‘Pokémon Advanced Generation’, because ‘Polka O Dolka’ is played. A lot. Thank God it’s catchy as hell. For anyone who isn’t a Pokémon nerd, this song is an upbeat melody played with xylophones and a shamisen – a traditional three-stringed Japanese instrument. While I did not feel annoyed by its excessive use, I would wholeheartedly understand anyone feeling irritated by the third time around.
Recommended to anyone who wants to watch cute Pokémon dancing against their will. You sick fuck.
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