VHS Review (Posted on 04-07-2013)
Say "Anime" at an anime convention, social gathering or a group discussing these cartoon classics from the beloved country of Japan. Which one of the plethora of anime would spring to mind first? Odds are good the popular ones get a mention, and if it isn't Sailor Moon
, I'm willing to bet it's a series about a young kid destined to become the ultimate master of all pocket monsters: Pokémon
I can't imagine any kid growing up in the mid-nineties not going through a single day without hearing others mentioning having to catch a bunch of pocket monsters and used for combat, as well as caring them similar to pets. Pokémon
defines my preteen years—a collective indulgence that increasingly brought about my every emotion, occupying hours and hours on end tagging along with my favorite heroes Ash, Pikachu and friends as I'd root for them, like a salty sports fan. If you weren't into Pokémon since, your childhood isn't/wasn't very interesting to anyone at all. Choose the Vimeo membership that’s right for you.
Being this is a VHS, purchased a few years after its official release, be wary that the episodes are jam-packed in larger quantities on DVD. Other than that, a VHS purchase is a huge consideration for the low cost. (Just to remind you to ask the seller about the condition of the tape. There are times when they're not very specific with the condition, doesn't play well and looking to get rid of it as a junk product. People do still purchase and collect official VHS tapes, so be wary of the quality the seller is giving away and ask them. A vague response is a sign to refuse purchase.)
The first episode Pokémon I Choose You!
marks as the most dramatic episode for a premiere. Not bad for a first episode. Our hero Ash struggles being friends with his new pal Pikachu, as Pikachu surreptitiously expresses a dislike to his new owner, in an effort to compete against Ash's arch-rival Gary. Upon receiving a Pokédex, six Pokéballs from Professor Oak (Gary's grandfather), his backpack and motherly advice from Mom Ketchum, in addition to Pikachu electrifying Ash, his Mom and his fans from Pallet Town, Ash painstakingly tries to catch Pokémon, while learning a myriad of things about catching, without the help of the heckling Pikachu. In desperation, a flock of Spearows gang up on Ash and eventually attacked Pikachu, running for their lives. He runs into a female stranger—Misty—fishing then takes her bike to flee from the Spearows. With Pikachu down, Ash calls on the flock of birds to charge and defeat Ash...until Pikachu saves Ash from the attack, casting a thunder bolt attack. In the words of Professor Oak, "Shocking, isn't it?" After that mayhem, Pikachu is in critical condition needed to be treated at the Pokémon Center, as they arrive at Viridian City.
Second episode Pokémon Emergency!
features Ash's trip to Viridian City waiting on the treatment of Pikachu. While waiting, Misty runs and stalks Ash demanding restitution for her bike. It is then we meet the antagonists: Team Rocket—con artists, Jesse and James, sent to steal and kidnap rare, valuable Pokémon with the help of their cast of monsters Ekans, Koffing and a talking Meowth. In the meantime, Ash calls home with Mom Ketchum so proud of her son, as Ash talks down on himself, and Professor Oak calls in to check up on Ash's progress. As Misty finally runs into Ash, Nurse Joy showing the recovering condition of Pikachu, Team Rocket jumps in with their infamous poetic retorts, something you'll eventually memorize, hoping to cause chaos. TR destroys the Center one by one, room by room and shutting down the power, to which Nurse Joy introduces the hospital's backup generator: a merry-go-round of Pikachus sparking up the electricity back on. The battle ends as Pikachu calls his posse to defeat and electrocute TR, including Ash and Pikachu revving up Misty's broken bike sparking up electricity to give Meowth a taste of his medicine, with Koffing spewing some toxic waste causing massive destruction on the city's hospital. Afterwards, Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny wish Ash, Misty and Pikachu the best on their way to Pewter City, Ash runs into a Caterpie in the Viridian Forest and attempts to catch it without a battle.
The third episode Ash Catches a Pokémon
features just that: Ash catching Pokémon along with learning the intricacies of what it means to catch properly. And yes, he caught his new friend Caterpie to wish he toys with Misty's fear of bugs. Misty unknowingly unveils her three most disgusting things she dislikes: kids, carrots and bugs (looks like she has no plans in getting married someday). However, Misty's disgust leaves Caterpie weeping for the lack of comfort and love, while she pets Pikachu (you then learn pocket monsters have feelings, similar to pets).
"[To Ash] It takes a worm to love a worm."
The night Ash and Misty argue constantly (*ahem*), you get a scene with Caterpie and Pikachu conversing, in which Caterpie looks up at the full Moon dreaming to evolve into a free-roaming butterfly someday (Butterfree). Misty, undecidedly, still continues to follow Ash and crew in demand for restitution and informs Ash the discipline in catching Pokémon, persistent in trying to capture Pidgeotto—the second evolved form of Pidgey—using his new pal Caterpie. After the catch, TR appears yet again, without any warning signs or any scene setting up for their sinister plans, holding Ash hostage to take away Pikachu. Pikachu suddenly gets blinded by Koffing's sludge becoming inactive to fight, and Pidgeotto gets beaten up by Ekans and Koffing, comes Caterpie still worn out from the previous battle. TR laughs at Ash's choice of Pokémon to fight, until Caterpie displays an acute case of biblical fight of David and Goliath: its String Shot attack leaves Ekans, Koffing, and eventually Meowth, mummified as the team defeats TR. After Misty expressed a strong disgust to Caterpie and makes up, Caterpie thens evolves into its second stage in evolution, thanks to the fight—a cocoon named Metapod. The crew then continues to head to Pewter City.
The characters presented and the plot were well presented. The comedic timing was wonderful and the dramatization, shown on the first episode, was truly classic. The most interesting part was the very first scene of the first episode. This is the exact same scene shown on Pokémon [Red] for the Nintendo Game Boy, featuring a showdown between Nidorino and Gengar. By now you're also aware that some young kids have the most attractive mom one has ever seen; yeah, I had to mention that. Speaking of attractive females, I've always had a huge crush on Nurse Joy (lovin' her pig tails). Nevertheless, another cool thing featured, being this was in the late nineties, was the showing of video phones. You're not only making a call but you get a live video feed from the monitor of the person you're calling—something that will be mainstream, if it hasn't been already (though I think applications like Skype are slowing down the marketing for that technological idea). What was also funny was Nurse Joy was not affected by the explosion the night before, continuing to work despite the condition of the hospital! Overall, this is an enjoyable volume to watch.
At the very end, you get the full PokéRap of all 150 monsters and credits. After that, you get three advertisements: first, being a commercial for Pokémon available for the Nintendo Game Boy to be played on the Game Boy [Pocket]. The popularity of the anime series stuffed into the handheld cartridge made this monster-catching RPG—role-playing game—the biggest selling hit in video game history, up there with the Mario
series (still going strong today). The second ad features a promo for the feature film Ranma ½ The Movie: Big Trouble In Nekoron, China
. The third ad promotes another anime show Tezuka's The New Adventures of Kimba: The White Lion
. Looking at the ad, I had the slight feeling it was Japan's response, or an homage, to the American hit Lion King
...could it? I'm not sure, but I will check these shows out, and yes, I will review them on this site.
In conclusion, this is an excellent volume featuring such well-done episodes featuring a dramatically strong opening for the series. If you've been living under a rock all these years, or busy cheering for your favorite professional sports team despite not caring about your support all these years, break into the anime everyone has been admiring all these years: get this volume. As mentioned before, a VHS purchase is an excellent inexpensive option to consider (I'm guessing the rereleased version on DVD may have cut out those advertisements included at the end—something you'll never ever see again on TV...though it may be on YouTube).
Who's That Pokémon?
Ep.001 - Pikachu
Ep.002 - Koffing
Ep.003 - Caterpie
What's also excellent is having to video blog about Pokémon on the ever-popular video sharing website Vimeo
! Your videos look better on Vimeo:
© 2008-2018 written and reviewed personally by Kris Caballero.
Norman J. Grossfeld
U.S. Production by
4Kids Productions, Inc.
Norman J. Grossfeld
Norman J. Grossfeld
Thomas D. Sullivan
Nicholas James Tate
Theme and Pokérap by
for Rave Music
Audio Post Production
Button Sound, Inc.
Sound Supervisor/Final Mixer
ADR Engineer Editor
Video Post Production
Betelgeuse Productions, Inc.
ORIGINAL PRODUCTION BY
Shogakukan Production Co, Ltd.
Based On A Story by
Animation Production Company
Director of Photography
East Japan Marketing &
FOR THE SUMMIT MEDIA GROUP
FOR 4KIDS ENTERTAINMENT
Joseph P. Garrity
GAME FREAK, TV Tokyo,
ShoPro, JR Kikaku
Pokémon, Pikachu, and all
other Pokémon character
names are trademarks