Pokémon started out as a pair of Game Boy games. As they took the world by storm, so did the anime series. The first season, The Pokémon Original Series, introduces one of the world’s most prominent protagonists. Ash Ketchum (or Satoshi), along with his trusted partner Pikachu, set out on a journey to become the best among the rest.
Pokémon: The Name Etymology
The name Pokémon is the romanized contraction of the Japanese brand Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター Poketto Monsutā). The term, in addition to referring to the franchise itself, also collectively refers to all of the 807 fictional species that have made an appearance in other media. Fun fact, the series started out with 151 original Pokémon. The franchise has indeed gone a long way.
“Pokémon” is identical in both the singular and plural, as is every individual species name. Put it this way, it’s grammatically correct to say “one Pokémon“. Confusing at first, I had to admit that.
Dwelling In The Anime Series
The original series, titled Pocket Monsters or Pokémon in Western countries, begins with Ash’s first day as a Pokemon Trainer. His very first Pokémon was a Pikachu that he got from Professor Oak. Thus differing from the games, where only Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle could be chosen. The series follows the same story line of the original games, Red and Green, in the region of Kanto. Accompanying Ash is Brock, the Pewter City Gym Leader and Misty, the youngest of the 4 Cerulean City Gym Leaders.
The three travel all over the Kanto region collecting Gym Badges along the way for Ash to challenge the Indigo League, a tournament to decide the best trainer in Kanto. Unfortunately he didn’t win, but that didn’t stop him from pushing on.
Along the way, he also meets brand new Pokémon to accompany him in his journey to reach his dreams. Plus, he gets to meet more people along the way that helps him grow as a trainer and as a person. However, there were also some nasty villains to deal with along the way — The Evil Organization Team Rocket. Namely just Team Rocket’s Jessie, James and a talking Meowth.
These three continuously make an effort to catch Ash’s Pikachu and yet fails every single time. They really just won’t quit and they can get super annoying with their motto; honestly.
Journey To The Orange Islands
Following the Western version of the series, in Pokémon: Adventures In The Orange Islands Ash continues on with his journey traveling through the Orange Islands, a place that’s unique to the anime. Here, Brock bade them farewell as he decided to stay at Professor Ivy’s lab to help her out. It’s only because he fell head over heels for her. Fun fact: Brock was removed from this series due to the creator’s belief that he’s a racist stereotype because of his eyes. Truth of the matter, no one ever complained about his appearance and fans were screaming to bring him back. But let’s talk about that later.
As mentioned, Brock was removed from this arc and was replaced with a character named Tracey Sketchit. He’s a Pokémon Watcher who dreams to someday be Professor Oak’s assistant. Along with Ash and Misty, they travel through the Orange Islands in search of more adventure and more Pokémon to catch. So, why were they in the Orange Islands in the first place?
Professor Oak asked Ash, Brock and Misty to get a special ball from Professor Ivy’s lab for him to analyze — the GS Ball. Professor Ivy had no clue as to what this ball may contain, so she asked Professor Oak to help out with it. As they were going back to Pallet Town without Brock, Ash decided to compete in the Orange Island League. So, another journey of gym battles and winning the league took place. Ash did win the league here unlike in the Indigo League.
Journeying Through The Johto Region
Ash’s Johto journey is pretty much the same with his journey through Kanto. However, in this arc, Brock has returned — the writer’s pretty much heard the cry of the fan base to bring him back. The other few things that came as a shock to everyone here was Ash letting some of his Pokémon go. His Charizard was left to train at the Charicific Valley. His Squirtle is back with the Squirtle Squad. As with Bulbasaur, he was left with Professor Oak to help him watch over the lab.
In Johto, he travels collecting 8 badges again for him to compete in the Silver Conference. However, he ended up losing once more just like what happened in Kanto. Yet again, that never stopped him from fulfilling his dreams. The lesson: It’s alright for you to lose sometimes, it will motivate you to work harder to achieve your dreams.
What Made Me Love Pokémon?
I would say this is the part of Pokémon that I love the most: the entire anime has been teaching kids a ton of life lessons over the years. In life, there will always be times when we have no choice but to lose. However, that shouldn’t be the reason why you should just simply quit. Just like Ash, we have to move on, take a step forward, and continue to aim for our dreams.
With that, I end my season 1 review. Stay tuned as I continue on with my season 2 of the same series!