This will probably make me unpopular, but I’ll just come out and say it—I hate the Pokémon TV show. It’s worse than Yu-Gi-Oh, and it’s absolutely worse than Digimon. I’ll admit, I did love the show growing up. But I was 8-years-old and drunk off some serious Pokémon Kool-Aid.
I was like most kids back then… I wanted Pokémon cards for every Christmas and birthday; I played Blue, Yellow, Silver, and Crystal on Gameboy… And god knows how long I spent playing Pokémon Snap and Stadium.
There’s a trend with all of those games—I wanted to “Catch ‘em all.” I wanted every Pokémon and I never wanted to lose. So why the hell is our protagonist for the TV show Ash Ketchum—a trainer who seldom wins tournaments and caught a staggering 14 Pokémon from the Kanto region. That’s not a typo. Across every series, he only caught 14 of the original 151: Pikachu, Caterpie, Pidgeotto, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle, Krabby, Primeape, Muk, Tauros, Raticate, Lapras, Snorlax, and Beedrill. I’m being VERY generous with Raticate, too. It’s like he never listened to the theme song.
Plus, by traditional standards, Ash only beat three Gym leaders: Lt. Surge, Koga, and Blaine. He didn’t beat the other five gym leaders:
- Brock won the battle but gives Ash the Boulder Badge anyway.
- Team Rocket waylays his battle with Misty, and her sisters give Ash the Cascade Badge. (Though he probably would have beat Misty with Pikachu.)
- Ash saves Gloom from a fire/Team Rocket and Erika gives him the Rainbow Badge.
- Haunter makes Sabrina Laugh and he gets the Marsh Badge.
- Jesse and James fight Ash for the Earth Badge instead of Giovani, and Ash “beats Team Rocket” for the zillionth time.
Then there’s the issue of Legendary Pokémon. I hate that the movies portray them as untouchable. In the first three movies, Ash sees Mew, Mewtwo, Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos, Lugia, and Entei. He never throws a Pokéball.
Now, this is where it gets really wild. In Pokémon 2000 (aka, the second Pokémon movie), the villain is Lawrence III. Why is he the villain? Because he “caught” Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos, and wants to use the three of them to catch Lugia.
Give me a series about Lawrence III! Sure, he doesn’t “catch them”, but I’ll wager if he threw an Ultra Ball at any of them, they’d be his.
That’s why I loved the four episode series, Pokémon Origins. Red’s (not Ash) goal is to complete the Pokedex WHILE catching them. He beats all the gym leaders legitimately, defeats the Elite 4 and Blue, and catches Mewtwo. (Yes. He does it with an Ultra Ball, and I will never forgive the show for that.) That mistake notwithstanding, these four episodes are better than the entirety of Ash Ketchum’s series.
Red embodies what any kid who played the games or collected the cards aspired to be—a Pokémon Master. No one wants to play like Ash Ketchum.