With the recent release of Pokemon Go and the celebration of Pokemon turning 20 this past year, I have compiled a list of 20 things I love the most about this wonderful franchise. It has inspired millions of viewers, gamers and others to try to catch 'em all.
So without further ado, my top 20 reasons to love Pokemon all these years later!
20. The video games.
Each region had something new for the players to discover. This allowed me to stretch out my battling horizons and gain new Pokemon in the process.
19. The original Trio.
Ash Ketchum, Misty and Brock are three of the most iconic anime characters to date. They each have their own stories but when put together something magical happened. Even if Ash gets new companions constantly, these three will remain the true heroes of the story in my mind.
Who doesn’t love Pokemon’s original mascot?? If you don’t like Pikachu then there is something very wrong with you… just kidding (mostly)... but seriously whoever would hate on a little yellow mouse must not like puppies or something. Pikachu is synonymous with the franchise at this point. You think of Pokemon automatically when you think of Pikachu.
17. The friendships formed by playing the games.
Pokemon bridges age, racial, orientation and various other gaps between people. It bonds together a generation of gamers who all grew up with the same toys, movies and shows. The franchise has stood the test of time. The comradery shown when two people team up to fight two others is a neat thing to see. I have made friends with others because they also loved Pokemon growing up so it gave us something to talk about.
16. The theme song
The original 1998 theme song was iconic even back then. It is even more so now. If you weren’t as into the show back in the day as maybe your friends or family you still knew the theme song. We all know the song. It is the anthem of a generation. It will remain that way for years to come.
15. The merchandise.
As someone who has been in this particular franchise since its American debut, I have had my fair share of merchandise. I have played almost all the games (and eagerly await Sun and Moon), I have several episodes on both dvd and VHS, I have the old movies and various trading cards. I also have shirts, an Ash Ketchum hat, stuffed animals (including a Pikachu build-a-bear), figurines and backpacks. I had computer games, a Pikachu bank and various other toys when it was all first coming out. Now it’s all collectible.
14. The various villains.
While I am partial of course to Team Rocket from the original games and Jessie and James from the anime, I can’t deny that each region had its own set of unique bad guys. I enjoyed seeing different villains at work in a series so expansive. I’m tired of the same bad guys for most shows but Pokemon was different in terms of the video games. Each one had its own “team” (team Aqua, Magma, Rocket, Galactic).
13. Pokemon themselves
I found the original 151 to be the most creative. After that while some were pretty neat, others lacked the same originality and charm the old ones had. All in all though, Pokemon still hasn't lost its zest for crazy critters.
12. The regions
Each region holds its own surprises. Each new edition to the games brought about new places to see, Pokemon to catch and rivals to face. The regions were always the best. The professors all had very distinct personalities and the fascinating thing about this game is how you can continue even after you are done with the first part.
11. The music
The album 2BA Master was released in the late 90’s to accompany the anime but not the video games. The games have their own music as well. The game music is fun to listen to on a CD or on your iTunes if you have it. Game music gets you pumped for whatever lies ahead.
10. The stuffed animals
This was mentioned in Merchandise but the truth is they deserve a category all their own. The stuffed animals are all sold still at Target or wherever else they may be. The plushies as they are sometimes called, are soft durable material. They come in all shapes, sizes, makes and models. All are adorable.
9. The episodes.
Each episode contains that flair of 90’s humor. The show itself is corny but still an amazing series even after all this time. It has stood the test of age while retaining what makes it a standout series at it's core.
8. The movies.
I saw the movies in theaters. I enjoyed every minute of each of them. I have seen them multiple times. I still cry during movie 1…hard. I don’t think I will ever dislike any of those movies.
7. Pokemon Gyms
The best place to strengthen your skills as a trainer by battling the first people and eventually the leaders. Each time you win you get more and more XP points. I know losing isn’t as bad as it seems. In order to get better at something, you need lots of practice. Gyms give that extra boost for later in the games.
6. The love others share for the series
I’m not sure how to say this one. I just enjoy seeing people bond over watching, reading or playing Pokemon. It is a truly uniting force.
5. Pokemon Go
This new game has been released on the App Store. Within the past two days the game has exploded. It is intensely fun, interactive and while slow as molasses in January it still manages to keep things fun by making available older Pokemon for the older fans to enjoy.
We can’t have a Pokemon article about the anime without talking on this. It is the pairing between Misty and Ash. I truly loved this ship and I wanted them to be a couple even back when I was first watching the show. Little 4 year old me saw potential in the relationship from day one. Now I didn’t know there was fan fiction or fan art out there until much much later. But I still loved the pair with all my heart.
I have to give Misty her own spot because I loved her so incredibly much as a young Pokemon Trainer myself. I admired Misty as a munchkin. I wanted to train water pokemon like her, carry around Togepi everywhere and strike poses. I wore my hair in side ponytails frequently because I wanted to look like her. I very much loved the character. I still think she is an amazing character with a heart of gold and fiery hair to match.
2. Ash Ketchum
Yes I know I have talked about characters as a whole but Ash deserves his own little column because without him of course there is no story. So I had to give him his due. While he is a little on the bland side in terms of staunch character progression, he isn’t bland in terms of his love for family and friends. He cares for those closest to him even if it is hard for him to show it since apparently 10 year old kids are oblivious to everything.
1. Ash and Pikachu’s friendship
This relationship was the only true character development Ash had. He was fairly flat but the only time he ever had actual character change was of course in his friendship with Pikachu. With every battle they grow in the bond. It is a beautiful progression over the original 82 episodes.
Pokemon has been my love for the past 18 years. It has been in my life since I was 3 or 4 years old and hasn't left. No matter what phases I go into my love (or as some of my friends refer to it: Obsession) for Pokemon will never waver. I am a proud 21 year old Pokefanatic and will always remain that way.
Still trying to Catch 'em all after all this time.