Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Opening Impressions: Pokemon Sun and Moon anime

I know you're probably sick of Pokemon stuff, but I want to cash in on the Sun and Moon hype. But I'm only on Ula Ula island, and there are plans for a video review of it in December. So what to do... First two english episodes of the new anime are out thanks to Europe you say? Sold. Forewarn, like with every anime I do, unless an english dub will never happen, a la 10+ years old, I review the english dubs, because it grounds the basis for how I can review them (or more bluntly, I can review English voice actors, not really Japanese ones as I'm not fluent in Japanese.

So the plot for the first two episodes is pretty self explanatory. Ash is getting an education in Alola. How? Well his mom's Mr Mime won a lottery... somehow... and they got tickets to Alola. Professor Oak tasks Ash and his mom to give his cousin, Professor Samson Oak, being the principle of the Trainer School in Alola. To those wondering how they can be cousins and share the same name, I can respond in one of two ways. The first is that I'm fairly certain its not the same as Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune, the second being that I think there are about 1000 Nurse Joys and Officer Jenny's each in the Pokemon Anime, this is reasonable by comparison. Regardless, Ash being Ash gives up his pokemon from Kalos to Samuel Oak, travels to Alola, and thinks it would be a good idea to study at the school. Oh and Tapu Koko gives him a Z ring because reasons. I've only got two episodes to work with here.

I am going to lump all parts of presentation together, as they do go hand in hand here. The character designs for the students of the school, mostly being the first four announced trial captains, Mallow, Kiawe, Lana and Sophocles, with the fifth student being Lillie, along with Professor Kukui and Samson Oak, are really well done, they look like they've been ripped right out of Sun and Moon, that the animation style was chosen to match the games more closely, as this is a style drastically different from the previous seasons of the show. Voice acting I do however need to hear move of them before getting a definitive answer, as this feels like a mostly fresh cast, with new characters, meaning there's some growing pain to get through. The problem many people have, is Ash himself. He's not as sharp looking in this season in comparison to the previous seasons, especially the XY seasons. This was done to give him more emotion, more animation, and it does work. But the issue is his voice, not so much the voice acting itself, as its the same voice since... Season 9, episode 1, and episode 420 of the whole show. For refference, Sun and Moon episode 2 is the 941st episode, of the 20th season. Sarah Natochenny's voiced Ash for 521 aired episodes. Also, side note, see why I'm not reviewing every season of this anime at once yet? So no, my issue isn't with the voice acting, just that the voice doesn't match the new style. Ash's voice is sharp, so the smoother lines of Sun and Moon serve as a pretty bad contrast. I'm willing to chalk that down more to direction and sticking with confirmed tallent rather then opting for recasting or a performance change. Maybe its like Charles to Mario at this point?

I do have once concern for this series going forward, and these first two episodes have given me reason to think this. I think this may have been a pretty hard reset for Ash, not quite as bad as Best Wishes, the generation 5 anime, but getting close. In XY, Ash did feel like he's aged, matured, that there has been some growth in his journey. Here, I think that may have been thrown to the wayside, which is a shame because I think Ash was at his best in XY, and would have liked to have seen that come back, along with the other travelers from XY, as I think Serena, Clemont and Bonnie are the best travel companions Ash has ever had. I want to see them return, I want them to be here as I do think this could be Ash's last series, due to the events of the games, and his class mates all being the trial captains in Sun and Moon. Time will tell how this will play out. Next week, I promise no Pokemon, but instead you'll get to see me potentially torture myself, should other sources be believed, as I'm going back to Jem and the Holograms, with the live action movie... joy... Oh and for those who want my views of the games so far, I am very much enjoying them, I'm just being thorough and enjoying the adventure rather then rushing through it.

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