Ah, Pokémon XY. I’m sure we’ve all heard of this series right? In fact, it seems almost impossible to not have heard about this series. We can’t even turn on the television these days without seeing some kind of promotional Pokémon advertisement, whether it be a brand new video game, a collection of Pokémon cards, or of course, the wildly popular anime series. The anime series first premiered in 1997 with Pokémon Indigo League and since then its popularity has sky rocketed. I mean that very literally. It's one of the most well-known anime series ever created. Even people who aren’t members of the anime community have watched, or at least heard of Pokémon XY. Before I even knew what anime and manga were, I was watching Pokémon on the weekends after school. Since its release, the phrase ‘gotta catch em all’ has been permanently engraved into our heads. In fact, Pokémon XY’s first opening is a revised version of the original song! Since the premiere of Pokémon Indigo League, different series featuring new characters, new Pokémon, and several different movies have been added to the franchise. Let’s take a look at the most recent addition to the show, Pokémon XY.
Pokémon XY centers around a ten year old boy named Satoshi (known in the English version as Ash Ketchum) whose lifelong dream is to become a Pokémon Master. Every version of the series consists of a main focus point. Satoshi travels to a new region, along with his partner/best friend Pikachu to challenge gym leaders (because letting a 10 year old out on their own with no supervision whatsoever is a great idea). After defeating said gym leaders, he is given a badge proving his victory at the gym. Once he has gained all of the required badges, Satoshi is able to enter the Pokémon League, a regional competition where contestants battle each other in hopes of them and their Pokémon making it all the way to the finals. Winning the competition is the first milestone in becoming a Pokémon Master. Each series features a new region, with new gym leaders, new Pokémon and new characters (the main characters being Satoshi’s full time travel companions). And of course, new side adventures (otherwise known as filler episodes) are available as well.
In Pokémon XY, Satoshi is venturing through the Kalos region. Along with his new found friends Serena (the main female protagonist who has such an obvious crush on Satoshi that it takes all of our will power to not slam our heads against the wall at Satoshi’s stupidity for not even noticing), Citron (known as Clemont in the dubbed version), and Citron's little sister, Eureka (also known as Bonnie). In Pokémon XY, all of the main characters have different dreams, goals and wishes. Serena wishes to become a first class Pokémon Performer (a title/goal that is brand new and created specifically for Pokémon XY). Citron, who is also the gym leader of the Lumiose city gym that specializes in electric type Pokémon, is hoping to gain brand new and exciting experiences through his travels with Satoshi. He also loves inventing, and strives to perfect his inventions in order to help simplify their journey. All though none of them ever work and always end up in an explosion. It’s a recurring gag in the show, kind of like when Takeshi (Broke in the dubbed version) from Pokémon Indigo League was always being rejected by women in the series. Unlike the other characters, Eureka is too young to begin her journey and catch her own Pokémon. She simply travels along with the gang. Of course, there’s the familiar team rocket, still trying to catch Pikachu and always ending up being outsmarted by 10 year olds. Like seriously, what the heck?
The Pokémon franchise as a whole is an incredibly unique franchise, even if it may not be as good as some anime series out there. It’s a show that literally everybody has heard of, whether they think of it as an anime or a cartoon (please don’t be someone who mistakes it for a cartoon.) Let’s be honest, Pokémon is one of the first series that comes to mind whenever someone thinks about anime, especially by those that aren’t familiar with the genre. Pokémon, in many ways is like The Simpsons of the anime community. It is a long running show, with no foreseen ending. Pokémon XY is very unique in particular for one main reason, its characters. Take Serena for example, Serena is the first girl as obvious as she is about her feelings towards Satoshi. Sure, a girl has kissed Satoshi before, but this is the first time that a girl’s crush on him has been explored throughout the entire series. Whenever any other girl is around him she gets jealous. I mean, super jealous. She is also the first girl actually considering confessing her feelings towards him. Other characters are extremely aware of her crush, although Satoshi himself has no clue. Of course. Serena is also the first main character with a prior relationship with Satoshi, as she originally met him at summer camp when they were both very young. Serena is one of the first Pokegirls whose character and motivation is truly explored and actually given some decent development. Same with a lot of the other characters. Pokémon XY gives us a fair chance to get to know, and come to like the characters. This gives a very long running series, a bit of an enjoyable and fresh new aspect.
Similar anime titles eh? If you’re someone who can’t get enough of this show, and need their fill right away, there are two titles I suggest you look into. The first one is the original Pokémon series, Pokémon Indigo League. Featuring the same main character Satoshi, as well as his partner, Pikachu, Pokémon Indigo League is the gem, and must notable show in the entire franchise. You just can’t beat a classic Pokémon adventure featuring some of the show’s most lovable characters, Takeshi and Kasumi (also known as Misty). And the theme song. My God, this is probably one of the most catchy anime theme songs in the history of anime openings, and that’s saying a lot. If you’re looking for a show with very similar themes, but not an actual part of the series, I recommend you go check out Digimon Digital Monsters.
Digimon features a group of kids and their ‘pets’ known as Digimon. Digimon are strange animal look alike creatures that can be used in battle, very similar to Pokémon. One of the main differences between the two shows is that in Digimon, there is an actual, full on conflict that the characters aim to ultimately solve. Although it is one of those shows with over fifty episodes, it centers on the children’s journey to solve a problem. Not like Pokémon, where the characters are trying to make their dreams a reality, without a major conflict. Unless you count the stupid shenanigans of Team Rocket, and the occasional team that tries to stir up trouble and can actually be taken seriously. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a different experience.
So unless you haven’t already seen the show, which I assume most of you have, I’m sure you’re asking yourself one final question. Should I watch this show? Is Pokémon XY really worth all of the hype? Well, this is a bit of a tough question to answer, but let me try to put it this way. Yes you should watch it, but no you don’t need to watch it. Confused? Let me break it down. The Pokémon franchise is very important in the anime community. It has introduced tons of fans (especially younger fans) to the anime and manga community. But overall, Pokémon XY is not the greatest show ever. My advice to all anime and manga fans, is to watch Pokémon Indigo League for sure, because that is a true anime classic on both sides of the ocean. But only take the time to watch every Pokémon XY episode if you are head over heels in love with this series. Even if you’re not, take the time to watch a couple of Pokémon XY episodes so you know what’s going on in the franchise, and can contribute your opinion to all of the hype. Since Pokémon has made such a big impact on the anime and manga industry, you should at least stay up to date. Maybe even take the time to check out the Pokémon XY 3DS game. Those are extremely enjoyable and feature many of the same characters. In conclusion, Pokémon XY definitely has some entertainment value, but it is not one of those shows that you must watch in order to be taken seriously as an anime fan. It all boils down to your overall opinion. ‘Pokémon gotta catch em all! Pokémon!’ (Sorry if I just got the theme song stuck in your head).