A Brief History: Pokemon
first arrived on American shores in the form of the anime series in September
1998, which was followed later that month by the introduction of the Pokemon
Red and Blue games for Gameboy. The anime series was a huge hit in syndicated
TV and was picked up by 84% of the local broadcast market when it debuted.
In some areas, it was possible to see Pokemon on different channels three
or four times a day! The cuteness appeal and smart writing made it appeal
to both young and older viewers. In March 1999, the WB picked up the rights
to broadcast Pokemon, and Pokemon became the first anime to be broadcast
by a national network. Shown on the WB's "Kids WB!" lineup, it quickly
picked up the network's Saturday morning ratings to the number one spot
for several years to come. Today, Pokemon is shown six times a week on
Kids WB, and won't be leaving the airwaves anytime soon.
Like most Anime, the Pokémon
show is split up into "series", each series with different characters and
a different region to explore. Each series doesn't stray far from the original
formula (traveling to gyms, battling Team Rocket and capturing Pokemon),
but they provide enough differences to satisfy even the most rigid Pokemon
Advance Generation Coming
(The Indigo Series) 82 Episodes
Many people say original
is always the best, and the same can be said here. The first series of
Pokémon, commonly refered to as 'The Indigo Series' introduced us
to Ash Ketchum, Pikachu, and a world full of strange creatures and even
stranger humans. Following the popular Red and Blue videogames, Ash battled
through eight Gyms and earned Badges to compete in the Indigo League Tournament.
He met Misty and Brock, who traveled along with him, and he also met Jessie,
James and Meowth, Team Rocket flunkies who have become fan favorites. In
the end, Ash lost a critical match in the Indigo Tournament, but it only
made him more determined than ever.
Orange Island Adventures 33
Depending on who you ask,
the Orange Island Adventures was either the best or the worst of the Pokémon
series. The series took Ash and Misty to the Orange Islands, where Ash
decides to compete in the Orange League, taking part in tests of skill
to earn Badges. Brock was MIA during the Orange League, and he was replaced
by Tracey Sketchit, a Pokémon Watcher and artist who became Ash's
guide to the island chain. Since this series wasn't based on any game,
the writers had the freedom to do pretty much whatever they wanted with
Ash and the crew, and many people feel this series is the best because
of that. At the end of the series, Ash faced the Orange League Supreme
Champion Drake in an exciting two part episode, and won the coveted Orange
The Johto Journeys 46 Episodes
Dubbed by some fans as "The
Boring Journeys", The Johto Journeys thrust Ash into the Johto League,
as featured in the Gold and Silver games. Ash caught new Pokémon
and fought new trainers, but the series just had the feel that it was retreading
familiar territory. One thing that plagued the series was its incredibly
slow pace, as evidenced by the fact it takes Ash over 160 episodes to finish
the Johto League. In the original series, it took Ash only seven episodes
to earn two Gym Badges. In Johto, it takes him 28 episodes to get that
far. Other things that irked fans was that the humor of the show seemed
to be more geared to younger audiences, and that Brock, who had returned
to the show, seemed a lot less mature than he did in the Indigo Series.
Still the series had a few bright spots and episodes that stood out.
Johto League Champions 52
Ash is still in Johto, out
to earn five more Badges after leaving Goldenrod City. The series is the
same as The Johto Journeys, except with a new title and new beginning to
go along with the fourth beginning in the Japanese versions, and maybe
to try to renew interest in the series. The pace of the episodes also seems
to pick up too, and each episode was broken up into four parts instead
of three, and the humor was skewed towards a maturing audience. Still,
it felt very repetitive and too familiar for fans of the original series.
An interesting note about the opening is that instead of using only clips
from the Japanese opening and from the show, a majority of the animation
in the opening sequence is brand new, possibly only made for the US version
of the show.
Master Quest 64 Episodes
Ash has a lot more to learn
as he conquers the remaining Gyms and prepares to enter the Silver Conference!
Ash captures more GS specific Pokemon, including a Phampy he hatches from
an egg, competes in a special Whirl Island League, accidentally gets turned
into a Pokemon, and encounters Lugia again in a four episode story arc
involving Butch and Cassidy and Ash's long time friend, Ritchie! It's a
lot for Ash to handle, but Ash FINALLY obtains all eight Badges and sets
out for the Silver Conference. But we know another series is coming after
he finishes his run at the Johto League...
Taking place after the Johto
Championship, Ash, Brock and Misty split up and return to their hometowns.
When Ash returns home, he decides to head off into the Houen Region and
try his luck there. He leaves behind all his Pokemon, except for Pikachu,
with Prof. Oak, and leaves. Along the way, he teams up with a newbie trainer
named Kimi, and Brock eventually returns as well. Ash still has to deal
with Team Rocket, but their screen time is now split with two new dark
forces on the horizon, Team Aqua and Team Magma.
To find out which Pokémon
episode airs next, click here to go
to the official KidsWB! site.