• Magnificent Entertainer pokes around in the Great Marsh and battles his rival again. Will Zexy finally overcome ME's team? Watch here to find out.

REVIEW: SS001: Pikachu is Born!

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Coming out of retirement to say... this was not a good first episode, honestly. Probably the, uh, worst first episode? I'm going to echo most of the thread and say that the Pikachu backstory was a gigantic missed opportunity- at the very least, I wanted to learn why Pikachu had such an attitude at the beginning of Ash's journey, but... nope.

It also bugs me that they decided to give such a huge portion of the episode to Not Pikachu Backstory but maybe that's for the better because..real talk, I feel that they would have just done even more jack squat with the extra time.

Regarding the music, I just think the choices used weren't the best for this episode, and that definitely contributed to a lackluster first impression. That said, Yuki Hayashi has done some absolutely spectacular music in other shows (some of his Pretty Cure series tracks are my all time favorites), so I don't think it's fair to write anything off yet. I'm sure there are some great tracks in store as we get more action/drama oriented.
 
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As I said in the preview thread:
Martianmister said:
I never got that tragic backstory feeling from Pikachu's refusal to go into the ball or his grumpy attitude to Satoshi before. Always seems a pretty normal thing to me.
So, I have no problem with lack of explanations about these. Same is true for the supposed mystery behind his capture and his refusal to evolve.
Music was very different from the usual, but still good. More string based.
The episode is advertised kinda misleadingly, 'cause it's more of an introduction episode of Gou and Koharu. Focusing on new characters while keeping few references to Satoshi actually reminds me the first DP episode.
If I get it right, implication here is that, Satoshi was fated to meet Pikachu, Gou, Koharu and Mew, but missed his chance back then. Instead he met Serena.
 
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It also bugs me that they decided to give such a huge portion of the episode to Not Pikachu Backstory but maybe that's for the better because..real talk, I feel that they would have just done even more jack squat with the extra time.
This is true.

Some people say they would rather see more about "the reasons why Pikachu hates Pokeball and distrusts humans" than "Go and Koharu moments".

However, seeing "the reasons why Pikachu hates Pokeball and distrusts humans" was likely never an option. After all, if they want to show more about Pikachu's backstory, they could.


The options were likely between "more cute moments between Pichu and the Kangaskhan family" or "Go and Koharu moments".
 
Prepare for over-used stock animation!
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Man talk about the missed potential here...

It was especially jarring going from the EP001 scene to Satoshi in his new outfit. Maybe it was wishful thinking on my part but I was hoping for a handful of static shots showing Satoshi and Pikachu throughout each series since a lot of the promos for this series are heavily relying on nostalgia. One thing I really liked though was how Pichu subtly said "Pikach-" right before evolving.

I also heavily suspect Koharu will eventually join Satoshi and Gou traveling. I mean heck, I'm pretty sure she had more screentime than Satoshi in this episode. Why give so much focus to a minor character? I don't think she'll get to co-star status like Gou but I can definitely see her eventually becoming the Takeshi of the group.

The background music was alright, the only piece that stood out to me was the Next Episode Preview music which was fantastic. It's gonna be weird without Shinji Miyazaki's music...
 
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I liked the episode, but I wanted to know who did Pikachu end up with Professor Oak and in a Poké Ball?

Also, the introduction of Pichu caused a plot inconsistency. Pichu was happy to evolve into Pikachu, but Pikachu doesn't want to evolve into Raichu.
 
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So a quick question: Anyone else thinking that we'll be seeing Kangaskhan (kid, parent, or both) again in the near future?

...Or is it just me.
I hope so.

Pi(ka)chu leaving his Kangaskhan family while they sleep reminds me of TR leaving their Alola mons.
 
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Also, the introduction of Pichu caused a plot inconsistency. Pichu was happy to evolve into Pikachu, but Pikachu doesn't want to evolve into Raichu.
Has it been established that Pikachu dislikes the process of evolving in and on itself? I thought he just didn't like the idea of becoming a Raichu.
 
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The Episode was fine for what it was. Pikachu's backstory was sweet, but I expected a bit more.
It was funny how Gon portrayed Ash as careless and simple-minded. Hopefully they will refer to that statement in the future.
The evolution scene when Pichu becomes Pikachu was really nice, I liked how they used flashbacks with all the nice moments Pichu had with Kangaskhan. Pichu evolves in Pikachu when happiness is maxed out and that exactly happened because of the adventures with Kangaskhan.
That’s what I don’t get
 
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Has it been established that Pikachu dislikes the process of evolving in and on itself? I thought he just didn't like the idea of becoming a Raichu.
So I actually loaded up Electric Shock Showdown and here's what Meowth translated for Pikachu's speeches about it:
"Pikachu won't change; if it's going to beat the Raichu it wants to do it just as it is."
Then:
"It's going to fight in the name of all Pikachu."
And finally:
"Pikachu will prove it can beat Raichu; it will defend it's honor and Ash's."

Pika vs Goliath isn't available on the official site so I cannot check that one out, but back in Kanto it honestly seems to me that it mostly just wanted to avenge itself and Ash on Surge without proving him right by evolving, but there is a bit of "Pikachu pride" going on.
Of course this was before it turned out Pikachu was already evolved; not the only time later game mechanics made the anime look odd.
 
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Well this was a little underwhelming, just because I was hoping most of it would be about Pikachu. Its a bit hard to tell, but I'm guessing Pikachu was actually with Kangaskhan for a while, even though it almost seemed like it was just 2 days, at least that would make a bit more sense to me. I'm wondering if in the very first scene Pichu had literally just hatched, that's kind of my theory due to how he was acting. It is possible his egg was left for whatever reason. Having never gotten to spend much time with other Pichu/Pikachu fits in well with the Pikachu's goodbye episode because Pikachu was so happy to finally get that opportunity later on. Really all that was missing, outside of a few more cute Pichu moments, was understanding how on earth Oak got a hold of him, although I like that theory about the timeline with the Celebi movie. Also, a little montage of what he did in those 4 years in between may have been interesting as well, but now they leave the opportunity to fill in more backstory for Pikachu at a later date if they so choose (which I assume they won't choose, but we can dream).

Also, I am really happy to see Mew using transform. I just love transform so much, and Mew is the most exciting Pokemon that can use the move, because Mew is more capable of other things than Ditto. Considering this episode has both Pikachu's backstory and Mew's ability to transform, I want to link my own, old, really bizarre thread that kind of related to both (was really nothing like this episode, but still made me think of it). Although I don't really want Go to be able to catch Mew, I do hope we see it more often, it has a very entertaining personality, and was very enjoyable to watch.

So overall, I had super high hopes (too high, admittedly), so it was a bit disappointing, but still a good episode with cute moments. Hopefully this episode gets referenced/continued in the future, with a potential meeting with Kangaskhan and maybe more flashbacks for Pikachu (like we got with Meowth in OS).
 
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I don't get the point of this episode, what will it even offer in the long term of this series? The Animation was good at least...
 
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These replicated scenes from the very first episode give a good idea on how much the art style has changed over the years.

View: https://twitter.com/lslonelyshadow/status/1196207186243964928?s=20
I'm not sure about adding Kanto map in Ash's room. I mean why would he be interested in having something like that?
Another funny thing I noticed is when Ash is running towards Oak's Lab, there was a very plain, modest-looking house in the background in the original, while here it was redrawn as a quite well-off one. I swear it's like every time we see Pallet Town again, Ash's house is gradually becoming the simplest one around.
 
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Subbed version came out quite late for this one.

:bulbaLove: - Pros:
  • The Pichu backstory was quite cute but somewhat straightforward and simple, one should assume that the Pichu was just born because of how he behaved. He came into Mama Kanga's care and said Pokemon overly-pampered him to the point that Pikachu felt claustrophobic in a manner of speaking. The reason Pichu evolved was due to their love and care, but he decided to leave because he felt he was a burden (metaphorically) on them (no, it's not because of his "weight" like some people said in earlier comments) due to the incident with Baby Kanga. I assume there's some sort of time skip involved from Oak's "camp" to the rain scenes.
  • Also, I guess the reason Pikachu hates being in Pokeballs is because of the over-pampering and restraining by Mama Kanga that I described earlier. Pikachu is a free spirited Pokemon who doesn't like being cramped up, and the fact that it was helpless in trying to save Baby Kanga only added to the fact that it prefers to stay out of its Pokeball so that it can actually do something if things go south.
  • We finally see Mew's proper potential as the common ancestor of all regular Pokemon. I do feel like there was a bit too much focus on Gou and Koharu with their entire Mew chasing but in the end, I blame the lack of extra time that was originally falsely advertised for this episode. The artstyle looks spot on, not to mention the battle animation (I hope there's more usage of the 3D camera), I hope they continue with this instead of faltering halfway like SM did. Controversial, I liked the soundtrack as well... maybe people just need to adjust to something new.
:bulbaFacepalm: - Cons:
  • The biggest issue comes out of the false advertising and bait-and-switching involved with the episode touted as a "1-hour special". They even blatantly admitted to using the Pikachu hype build-up to get people to watch the anime, and while this itself wouldn't be a problem, it's the actual content that broadcasted which was the real problem. The "special" was just a normal episode length that was preceded by a live talk show that didn't exactly reveal anything of relevance that wasn't already known to the audience. What a waste of my 30 minutes.
  • The above point only had a butterfly effect of harming the episode directly, especially in the final third where things got rushed. If the entire episode was an hour long (or 40-45 minutes, if you discount the commercial breaks in between) then it would have been more than enough to flesh out Pikachu's backstory adequately instead of rushing it in the final third of the episode straight to the present day. More on that in the next point.
:confused: - Extra:
  • What this episode could have been if it were an hour long: The episode's final segment wouldn't have been rushed at all and we'd have actually gotten to see how Pikachu's development from leaving Kangaskhan and how he ended up in Oak's care, not to mention we'd also see the reasons on its disobedience. On top of that, we could have seen some extra tidbits fleshed out like the Summer camp (instead of the random field trip that was shown) along with Ash and Serena's cameo (because Ash's scenes were wasted due to how the episode turned out). Maybe even some other people like Ash's father, Gary, the other two trainers from Pallet who started out with Ash .etc.
  • I really hope that the Mew shown in SM042 is the one that'll be prominent in this series. Also, where exactly was the setting of this episode? Wilderness on the outskirts of Pallet Town or the Safari Zone? Because it wasn't even remotely clear and judging by them "leaving" and Ash not being able to catch up, it does seem like they traveled to a far away place.
  • Hehe, Gou being a know-it-all and a smartass. The way he described the "one who has yet to arrive" made me chuckle. I do hope that Kangaskhan is featured in future episodes.
  • Ageing issues need to be addressed in the anime, even more so when you factor in Burnet's pregnancy from the previous episode. Ash went from 6 (or technically from birth) to 10 normally but then he's stuck for... writer and commercial reasons? They could have kept have made him 12-13 by now and still have the same audience response.
Verdict: A decent episode in itself I guess, but the amount of false advertising and bait-and-switching not to mention the wasted potential, really dampened the start to what could be a great series so I give it 6.5/10.

Here's hoping this was an isolated incident and we get more backstory or explanations in future episodes when the timing is relevant.
 
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Its a bit hard to tell, but I'm guessing Pikachu was actually with Kangaskhan for a while, even though it almost seemed like it was just 2 days, at least that would make a bit more sense to me.
It's at least "several weeks" according to the subs. Narrator also mentions that both Kangaskhan and Pichu physically grown while staying together.
Also, where exactly was the setting of this episode? Wilderness on the outskirts of Pallet Town or the Safari Zone?
It's probably part of the lab's ginormous ranch/research grounds.
 
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Japanese Dodrio sounds like three Minions shredding a broken acoustic guitar.

The scenes of Oak introducing the kids to wild Pokémon remind me of a fanfic called Mirror World Adventures on this very site.
 
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