In mid-September, Pokémon announced a series of animated shorts, titled "Pokémon Generations," that would be posted weekly from September to December. "Pokémon Generations" was teased as "[diving] deeper into the stories from the video games" and this was all but confirmed with the release of its trailer.
"Every generation has a story to tell, adventures to explore, enemies to challenge, heroes to emerge, legends to be forged. Discover the untold stories. Witness the greatest battles. Experience the epic world... through new eyes."
Even though the art and animation styles were noticeably different from the Pokémon anime series, I was still pretty excited about it. The trailer lured me in and, while I knew each episode would only be 3 to 5 minutes long, the trailer made me feel as if I were going to see a movie. I also was excited to see which of the many important moments throughout the last twenty years of Pokémon they decided to feature, especially those moments that were only vaguely alluded to throughout the video game series.
"Generations" started off strong with "The Adventure" which begins with the player character from Pokémon Red and Blue and follows his adventures with his Pikachu around the Pokémon world from the first region of Kanto to the most recent one, at that time, of Kalos.
The episode is roughly four minutes but, in that span of time, a number of different Pokémon and locations across the known world of Pokémon are showcased in a very satisfying way. Each scene flowed into another and the quick pacing captured the essence of adventure well.
The following two episodes focused on Kanto as well. "The Chase" centered around a police sting on the leader of Team Rocket while "The Challenger" showed the rival of Pokémon Red and Blue sweep the Pokémon League prior to the arrival of the player character.
The first three episodes were equally climatic; each showed an in-game moment or a moment alluded to in-game and quickly but effectively built a final, satisfying shot.
Many of the later episodes would mimic this same style. In particular, the Hoenn-centric episodes of the series ("The Vision", "The Cavern", and "The Scoop") accomplished this just as well as the Kanto episodes.
While overly dramatic in all aspects including animation and voice acting, "The Cavern" was the best of the trio of Hoenn episodes considering its startling and unexpected ending.
The only other two worthwhile episodes were centered around Unova. "The Uprising" saw the clash of the Seven Sages of Team Plasma and the Gym Leaders of the Unova region while "The King Returns" had a clash of its own with Ghetsis and N which was quite the emotional moment.
While the aforementioned episodes succeeded in being entertaining, the others struggled to match them and often times failed. Silver's monologue in "The Legacy" was lackluster, a greater insight into his character nonetheless but one that could have been better executed.
"Pokémon Generations" was not created with the intent of replacing the already established Pokémon anime but instead to entertain fans by revisiting some moments from the past twenty years of the Pokémon franchise. While the episodes were hit or miss and there were quite a few missed opportunities, it was nevertheless entertaining and is worth watching again start to finish.