I remember when the Pokémon anime debuted in 1998. I was 12 years old, impressionable, and I was instantly hooked. Nintendo sent out a promotional VHS with a Pokémon themed issue of the Nintendo Power magazine to tell us all about the world of Pokémon. We were getting a video game on the Game Boy, a trading card game, and a cartoon. In my town, the cartoon was market tested at 6:30 AM on weekdays. My brother and I would wake up everyday before school to watch Pokémon together as part of our morning routine.
Unfortunately, the cartoon didn’t hold my attention as well as the video game and the TCG. I quickly realized how similar the episodes were and soon lost interest. Fast forward to right this second, to the world-wide release of Pokémon the Series: Sun and Moon. I am going to watch this show every day. Here’s why:
This trailer is amazing! The newly adopted art style looks incredible in motion. This style change has created some polarizing opinions across the globe. But, then again, Sun and Moon have been about big change from day one. Visual changes to the game can help us understand the new look of the show.
The world of the game is bigger, and the entire game is rendered in full 3D with properly scaled locations and character models. You’ve always been a child in the game, and now, with correctly sized character models, players will get a better sense of what that should really look like. Previous installments of the game series showed most in-game characters as being roughly the same size. That’s not the case anymore. Younger looking in-game protagonist, younger looking Ash Ketchum.
Another big issue has been the difference between the sharpness of the old Pokémon cartoons (see above), and the roundness of the new (see top). There are a couple simple reasons for this change. As mentioned, Ash is being designed to look younger, and that’s fine. However, the bigger issue at work here is that rounder/smoother objects imply and display motion much better than squared/sharp objects. Animation just likes round objects better. They can squeeze, expand, and be manipulated in a more convincing fashion than sharper, stiffer objects. This doesn’t diminish the quality of the cartoon, or take away from anyone’s feelings toward it. But it does mean that it’s going to look better from here on out, and that is something that any Pokémon fan should be excited about.
Look for details about the new Pokémon series on December 5, along with the release of the next animated Pokémon movie on Disney XD.
The Sun and Moon anime series released in Japan November 17th. It’s expected to premiere in the US a little later. What’s your favorite Pokémon anime series? You geeks be sure to let us know if you’ll be watching the Sun and Moon series when it debuts in America in the comments below.