When I first heard that there would be a new Pokemon anime released, and furthermore that it was based upon the Fire Red/Leaf Green games, I was rather excited. As a fan of the games and manga I've waited a long time hoping for something other than the disappointing anime where the writers so shamelessly retcon the story and frequently bend and defy the Pokemon world's logic whenever convenient to showcase merchandise. I guess I should have checked my enthusiasm however, as all I got for watching this was more disappointment.
Pokemon: The Origin offers nothing interesting to the fans, new or old, that hasn't been
seen before in some form. Those that have played the generation 1 or 3 games already know well how this story goes and to greater depth than this OVA series gives. People who read the various Pokemon manga will have read of far more interesting Pokemon adventures, and even those who watch the regular anime will have seen better battles.
To begin with the primary issue: This story feels rushed, badly. What should be major event arcs and intriguing battles with the gym leaders, or the sense of adventure of exploring a new area and what makes it unique, are glanced over in simple montages upon the start of each OVA and you simply feel like you've missed out on over half the experience. In fact, only two gym leader battles are ever presented, and even the Elite Four are reduced to mere montages. For those looking for a greater in-depth look of Kanto or maybe wanted more dialogue from the gym leaders for a richer experience won't find it here.
There is nothing particular that feels memorable or will make the watcher reflect and while Green (Blue, Gary) is given a closer role to the protagonist and some unique dialogue, the few characters presented are even less dimensional than those in the regular anime. Red's growth as a a trainer and his experiences and mistakes are touched upon in the first OVA, but then he is practically rushed via montage barrage into a competent trainer well on his way to becoming champion. The final OVA is objectively where the story gets the most interesting and unique to a degree, but that is only used to showcase new merchandise to further hype up Generation 6.
Another thing I note is that similar to the anime the world's own lore logic is horribly ignored for plot convenience, particularly noticeable in OVA's 02 and 04. I honestly don't know why I expected something different.
The animation for each OVA was split up between four studios. However while Production I.G. is famous for working on many visually appealing series such as FLCL or Ghost in the Shell, don't expect it to show here; it is actually in the fourth OVA, where Oriental Light and Magic were in charge, where the best animation and most interesting sequences are presented. However, since Pokemon is already their most prominent work I guess they had home field advantage. Outside of these few battles though the animation is quite simple and will fail to impress people who have already watched a decent amount of anime. As I touched upon earlier the regular Pokemon series features more interesting battles with a consistently better quality of animation. The characters and locations featured are however all recognizable to fans and are consistent with lore. The battles themselves outside the fourth OVA are quite simple, but they are somewhat more conformed to the game style of battle rather than the anime with such features as HP bars and techniques used. There is also an unexpectedly gritty side touched upon regarding pain the pokemon experience that the traditional anime never really portrays. It is by far one of the more memorable parts of this overall as well.
The music I found to be one of the better elements, the classic, corresponding themes trigger upon a certain arc or battle. Particularly well done and noticeable are Team Rocket's and Giovanni's (Sakaki) theme.
Overall Pokemon: The Origin is wasted potential used to push hype for merchandise and any fan could watch some pokemon leak youtube videos for that. If you enjoy the games or manga you already have had richer experiences than what this will provide and for the hardcore nostalgic fans: This isn't the anime you will likely expect it to be. The only good of this is that maybe the fact this was made is a sign that those in charge of the Pokemon anime franchise will be willing to further deviate from their traditional, stagnant formula they have pumped out for so many years now and more original, properly thought out and well paced works will be produced for fans.