The Pokemon Craze: An Analysis
Sep 28, 2000 (Updated Feb 2, 2001)
Popular Products in Video GamesThe Bottom Line Pokemon might have been the biggest craze within the last century, but it is also the most controversial...great when controlled, but dangerous when on the loose.
This is a writeup on the craze, the reasons for its success and the lessons the two movies have taught.
A note to readers: Ideally, my review should have been more succinct and summarized, (to make it more readable) but I decided that a long and well-substantiated review is superior to one that is intentionally kept short. I should have broken up this review accordingly into its various sections but I realized that the overall essay would be more convincing if they remained as one. Sorry about this, I hope you understand. This review contains an analysis of Pokemon: The First Movie (Mewtwo Strikes back) and Pokemon: The Movie 2000. Both reveal major details about the plot and the storyline. If you hate reading long essays, this is warning enough to stay away. Thanks!
Do you want to be a millionaire? Here is the question of the day. What is Pokemon? (pronounced as Pok-e-mon) Is it a poke in the eye every Monday morning? You have just lost $120,000. The answer is “no”. In case you are at this point still unaware of what Pokemon really is, let me give you a short introduction. A familiar word of the late 90s and the present, Pokemon has caused enough commotion to wake up even the best slackers I know. The uninitiated, few and far between today, are still confused about the nature of this craze. Fortunately, the basic story line is easily understandable. Think about it as an Animal World.
The word Pokemon was born sometime back in 1996, long after the time animals were only used as slaves. Pokemon is actually a sub-abbreviation of the two words “Pocket Monsters” and in its world, hundreds of cute little creatures with the likeness of our pets live in apparent harmony. Like animals and other beasts of burden, they don’t speak English, French or Japanese, but repeat their names over and over again when they talk. Each of them represents one of the elements, with some types being more creative: Fire, Grass, Water, Lightning, Fighting and Psychic. Sounds a lot like a classification of the people you know. Because of their element types, each Pokemon has its own special abilities and attacks, none of which ever draw blood and has strengths and weaknesses against other element types. Now that’s ecology combined with a cartoon creation.
But what’s an animal kingdom without the humans? That’s where the “trainers” come in. Among the stars are Ash Ketchum, an ambitious and courageous pre-teen, (his last name came from the “catch ‘em” in the main theme sentence “Gotta catch ‘em all!”) Misty, an aggressive down-to-earth female and Brock, who is probably older than the latter two, is always in love with one girl or another. Last but not least are Team Rocket, two gangsters, one named Jesse and the other named James, and one Pokemon that can talk, Meowth. These trainers are portrayed as talented people who carry Pokeballs with them to capture Pokemon, which they in turn use to battle with other Pokemon. They each have the vision of being the world’s strongest Pokemon Trainer. Perplexed? Here is the abridged version. Quite simply, trainers use their monsters to beat up the monsters of other people to become the champion. This sounds very much like the feuds some countries get into with each other all the time. However, I do not want you to get the wrong impression here. Pokemon is far from violent.
Anyway, four years ago, the craze was tiny, hardly comparable to the one we are in right now. Pokemon was a humble name, with little commercialisation and very few new ideas, the producers had to settle for the small royalty they made from the Pokemon Game cartridges for the Nintendo Gameboy. After a while in the limelight, the Pocket Monsters and every clue of their existence seemed to have vanished into thin air, the only trace of them was the cartoon series being screened on some television stations in the early hours on weekdays. The extra toys and figurines that remained unsold at the fast-food restaurants were tucked away into large plastic bags along with other toys that had reached the end of their promotion periods. Then, like the wakening of a dormant volcano, it kicked off in Japan all of a sudden and those Pokemon toys in the large bags were taken out, dusted and brought home by lucky collectors who made them their trophies. Today, few Pokemon products remain on the shelf long enough for the dust to settle upon them. With successful advertising and promotions, the craze has ballooned to enormous, or Godzilla-like proportions.
Apparently, Nintendo doubted that Pokemon would be popular outside Japan. Therefore, it took some time before the people in the United States and other parts of the world came to know that the monsters were alive and kicking, breaking more records in the moneymaking business than ever seen before. According to reports on the net, (often outdated) Pokemon is a $6 billion industry in Japan and has run a course of almost four years. With the stream of English-translated Pokemon cards gushing from the United States, some feel this craze may last another four years. The history of this animated series along with its movie counterparts is barely understood but that is trivial when it comes to light that this creation has allowed its producers to amass a fortune so large that even the computer geek, Bill Gates would be proud of. Not to forget, it took only mere months to a year for millions of dollars to be earned out of this incredibly imaginative cartoon. This cartoon’s success is undoubtedly a child’s dream fulfilled but a parent’s hell. My heart goes out to those ailing parents who have had to provide for their kids' Pokemon "needs", since no amount of money spent seems to keep the kids from asking for more. That is "trouble, on the double" literally.
I am still in awe today as to why Pokemon has ballooned to such a widespread craze so quickly like a volcano erupting without warning. I guess many enterprising people regret not buying over the Pokemon business before the bomb went off. Boom! Hah, I wished I did too. But who has a crystal ball? Even the revered fortune tellers and witches (the existence of these sentinels is questionable) have been oblivious to the coming of this phenomenon even with their secret brews and potions. Many critics believe that this fad will run its own course and it could disappear before long and never be seen again. But think again. It made its debut in 1996, producing two games for the Nintendo Game Boy, Pokemon Blue and Red, never really died down entirely and now they have made a hard-hitting comeback. Well, since we can't stop it, why not take a closer look and try to understand the secrets behind critic-proof Japanese anime? (it just kills when the enemies of Pokemon realise that they have failed to discourage viewers)
Pokemon is widely advertised and that's why it has become so popular in such a short time. But don’t walk off now and accuse Nintendo for being shameless in its advertising. Almost everything today is commercialized anyway. If you do not believe what I say, then feast your eyes on this. Recall Father's Day, Mother's Day and Children's Day. What did they all have in common? True, these people are all your relatives, but that is not the point. When those occasions were around the corner all the advertisements said the same thing "We have a special offer, just in time for Father's Day!” so on and so forth. Who makes the most money on Valentine’s Day? The florist and the greeting card business of course, hands down! What did the new millennium mean to you? Did it change your life? I only know that it meant lots of booming fireworks, a couple of murders and heaps of advertisements on the internet, television, the radio, and on the streets. They basically said the same thing, “Buy all you can!! Great savings as we clear the store before the end of the century!!” Well, history repeats itself. They probably tried this trick again during June this year.
As this is being written, Pokemon the Movie 2000 has just been released in Australia (14th September 2000) and to promote their movie they have offered to give a free holographic Ancient Mew card away with every ticket sold! (non-collectors don’t expect me to explain) Now you have to agree that would be tempting for any collector, hard-core or one in the teething stage. This tactic has pulled off very well. Maniacs threw caution, or their dough to the wind, pouring cash into the ticket offices to buy tickets in bulk in order to obtain the cards. (I wonder where the tickets went, the welfare would have been a good solution, at least that would allow them to have a taste of this craze) Buying 1000 tickets at once just to obtain the cards may seem like plain madness to many, but it did happen.
Millions of well-informed fans already know that the cards are just the tip of the iceberg, being a fraction of the revenue earned by the producers. Pokemon is everywhere today. Just take a peek into the children's section in any shopping center and you will get my point. Toys 'R Us would be a good place to start. (keep your children out of these places unless you are prepared for trouble) I suggest you use an electronic counter to keep track of how many types of Pokemon products are on sale, because your brain will go bust. You are not a calculator. There are the well-known Pokemon cards, plush toys, 3-inch figurines, posters, books, videos, marbles, clothing, electronic Pokedex and even some extreme Pokemon stuff like bandages and mousepads! Now that’s what I call kicking butt big time. How many crazes have made them self noticed everywhere?
Another reason for their success is the way they have fashioned this creation. People of all ages have the natural instinct to collect as much of what they like as they can. With children, their desire may be to collect all the figurines of their favourite cartoon heroes, teenagers collect magazines, cards and comics. (as a teenager I know this very well) Adults collect similar items except that they may also collect antiques, coins and stamps. Of course these categories are not mutually exclusive. With regards to hobbies, the one thing that usually separates the boys from the men is the amount of money they spend. There are two big reasons for this collecting instinct: the constant hunger for fame and personal satisfaction. Almost every collector or investor has the unconscious desire to build the biggest collection in the house, the neighbourhood or the world! The hunger to be in the Guinness Book of Records will always be there. True, that’s a little extreme, but face it, ultimately what most people are fighting for is fame, excluding genuinely charismatic people like Mother Theresa. But even that may be debatable. (do not quote me on this)
The extremes some adults go to obtain the most expensive coin set in the world can be paralleled to the amount of sacrifice a kid will make to obtain a Pokemon card that he or she needs to complete the collection. Avid collectors long for personal satisfaction in their collections and will do what is humanly possible to obtain a complete set. Even the price guides of various collectibles reflect this fact. The price of, take for example, a full set of tram tickets will fetch more money than each of the individual tickets put together. The words “complete set” indirectly mean that something is perfect and no more work needs to be done to improve the collection. The human race is constantly striving for perfection. New world records are being set during the Olympics, better medicines and computers are being developed. Nobody can reach the perfection of God, but whatever is humanly possible will happen in the coming years.
Pokemon cards have sold in the millions since they lure the collector from inside you. Firstly, there is a finite amount of Pokemon available to collect, which means you can collect a complete set. Secondly, each of the cards is numbered. The temptation here is to collect a set of cards where you can see them in chronological order. The thought of owning cards numbered from 1 to 150 may seem a fantasy for many but this is the state of perfection they eventually hope to reach. Thirdly, in a booster pack of Pokemon cards, there is one rare (it has a star in its bottom right corner), 3 uncommons which have a diamond in their bottom right corners (thanks wavelength, I thought it was a square) and 7 commons. (the icon in their bottom right corners is a circle) But then to add to the confusion, there are two types of rare cards, some are the generic ones and others are holographic, (you can call them ultra rare) having a special reflective and stunning shine, making them cost four times as much as their more common counterparts. These are randomly inserted into the packs. If you are lucky, your rare may be a holographic instead of a generic one. Got all of that? With the hope of being able to obtain cards that are worth more than the cost of the packs themselves, collectors, like huge schools of tuna are drawn in and buy these packs like lottery tickets. I only know that more people strike the jackpot with these cards than with Tattslotto. Yes, life could be a dream.
Then, there is also the desire for power, to be in control, to feel that you own everything and rule the world. I know I always wished for lots of money and power before I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, but that was eons ago. However, this is not just children’s fantasy. Power is what people really want. I bet you would want a promotion at the end of the year and boot out your cranky old assistant director, but watch your back. Your secretary might be backstabbing you in the hope of taking over your position.
Kids from a young age have already learned about authority and power and how it is like to be in the top position, where nobody can stop you other than God. They are taught to respect their elders, parents and teachers or even an older sibling. The Pokemon card game, or any other card games for that matter, is easily marketed because they satisfy this hunger to be in charge. It puts the players into control over their surroundings and children like to feel that way. They become self-appointed generals and make the decisions in these games, to attack or retreat, to heal and nurse or to forage. In the most popular card games, the players have power over great sentinels, (usually monsters of some kind) which they use to fight against the monsters belonging to their opponents. While these simulated battles are far less serious than war between two nations, the idea and the technique required are basically the same. Their final aim is to crush the opponent and claim the title to being the stronger one.
Arguably, no parent wants their child to be that vicious at a young age lest another Hitler is born, but then again, almost every child soon learns about World War Two and its leaders, the good and the bad. Eventually people learn the art of violence and warfare, playing video games where you kill or be killed, shoot people in the head or you may bite the dust first. It is just a matter of time. Parents should be there for their kids for that very reason. You may never be able to keep your children out of violence forever. Many of them leave the realm of Animaniacs, Care Bears and Pokemon all too soon and toughen up quickly in a dog-eat-dog world, which is clearly but brutally portrayed in many unavoidable video games. But there are good reasons to play video games. Read up the article “Videogames* *and why you should play them” by Anthony Holden in Thrive 2000, a magazine for Melbourne University Students.
The Movie Reviews
The brilliant people of Nintendo and Game Freak must have figured out that they still required another edge over other companies in the toy industry. The world is not enough. Besides possessing excellent ideas for new products and in the advertising business, the producers of Pokemon have been able to use the big screen to their advantage, allowing them to increase the popularity of their products in a subtle manner. In the last two years, this company has produced two big movies, each with a different plot, featuring different Pokemon and teaching different morals and lessons. Please keep the questions till later please. Thank you. I will explain.
Both movies were produced in their homeland, Japan but they made their way to the United States of America where they were translated and rumoured to have had some witty jokes added in by the American translators. I choose to take this rumour as a lie and merely a self-important promotion of American intelligence. I have no doubt that the Japanese producers had these jokes embedded inside the movies anyway. You can choose what to believe in.
Pokemon The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
The very first production is unsurprisingly, called Pokemon The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back. This baby movie of the Pokemon universe made its first flick sometime back in 1999, bringing an adult fortune of $155.7 million worldwide. The main movie was accompanied by a pre-movie 15 minute short called “Pikachu’s Vacation”, featuring a great variety of these monsters along with some newly created ones. Pikachu is of course a Pokemon. Belonging to Ash, this cute, yellow electric mouse is undeniably the most famous and well liked of all the monsters. Pikachu always makes dramatic entrances and exits with its electric attacks, so that explains it.
As the title suggests, Pikachu, along with several of its friends made their way down to a Pokemon paradise to have some fun while their trainers were away. While enjoying themselves they made contact with other Pokemon along the way and they were far from friendly. Little fighting took place between the new Pokemon and Pikachu’s bunch.
Being a movie rated G, no blood was spilt, nobody was seriously hurt but Meowth nearly had his fur blown off by his own contraption (thanks wavelength for correcting me) and the situation was somewhat hilarious and partially musical. To add to the humour, Pikachu and its companions had the almost impossible task of entertaining a babyish Pokemon named Togepi that was perpetually in tears. The funny faces I saw made me remember the not-so-funny faces my bullies displayed about four years ago. Somewhere along the line during their escapades, a large red dragon, Charizard, a friend of Pikachu flew right into a rock crevice, got its head stuck in a hole and was unable to move. Naturally, everybody was required to help rectify the situation. Charizard later landed right on top of Meowth (the cat that can talk) while he was trying to plant a bomb, burying him along with his deed. As expected, the bomb went off but being so thick-skinned, the dragon was hardly tickled. Charizard smiled, but Meowth was virtually turned to charcoal. However, he survived. This scene had me laughing endlessly. Till now I still wonder how I let this slip past me while writing the review. The short ends, quite predictably with everybody becoming friends and leaving happily. Pikachu and its bunch are finally reunited with their trainers.
There are absolutely zero twists in this short, except that the Pokemon starting out as enemies became friends. Literature students would bored to tears looking for that little bit of dramatic irony. Running for only 15 minutes, this trim presentation is still unintentionally long, dragging on for what seems like hours, drawing sighs from the audience. Younger children are nevertheless delighted. To them, the value of the show lies in being able to see their favourite Pokemon. Compared to the television series, this short is marginally inferior. The animation is reasonable, with a little special effects and some nice colour schemes. Unfortunately, this short does not contain any subtitles. With no humans in any of the scenes, English is totally absent, so are the translators. Pokemon gibberish is almost incomprehensible, being very much like a language that has been unheard of. However, do not fret. The best way solution to this problem is through body language. Facial expressions and body movements will undoubtedly provide clues to even the most perplexed of parents, making the clip more understandable and hopefully less of a drag. Overall, I believe this short teaches the ideals of friendship as well as teamwork, showing that nothing is gained by being unhelpful and selfish. On the other hand, lending a helping hand and being genuinely sincere can yield more personal satisfaction and happiness and may bring one closer to many friends.
Mewtwo Strikes Back
“Mewtwo Strikes Back” is the major part of the entire screenplay. It is much darker, more entertaining and dramatic than the introductory clip. Many viewers will be happy to hear that the trainers participate this time. With the Pokemon language being minimal, “Mewtwo Strikes Back” should be well understood even by those lacking in the knowledge of body language. The movie starts off in some kind of Pokemon cloning laboratory, with several ambitious and crazy scientists hoping to clone a more powerful Pokemon from the DNA of another named Mew. Just as the scientists of today were successful in the cloning of Dolly and other critters, those in the film succeeded in creating Mewtwo, a bigger and nastier version of its ancestor. Mewtwo is then confronted by the fact that it will be under a trainer’s command and used as a slave. Angered at this prospect and at the scientists for creating him for this sole purpose, Mewtwo destroys the entire laboratory while the scientists were popping their champagne.
Giovanni, the boss of the gangsters Team Rocket as mentioned before, inspects the situation and recruits Mewtwo by tempting it with the hope of power and glory. However, Mewtwo breaks free again soon after, vowing to become a Pokemon trainer himself. Mewtwo rebuilds the entire laboratory, (do not ask me how, but I think these creatures are pretty smart) with the dream of using the DNA extracted from other Pokemon to create stronger strains to take over the world. To get the DNA, Mewtwo lures our good friends, Ash, Misty and Brock as well as other trainers to his abode. Using sophisticated equipment, he steals all their Pokemon and duplicates them using the cloning machines.
So Ash becomes the hero here. He destroys the cloning apparatus, leading the real Pokemon out to a field to fight the clones. Mewtwo’s ancestor returns to haunt him, or rather, to attempt to take him out while the other battles proceed on the field. Ash realizes that all the fighting is coming to no good and sacrifices himself to stop the fight between Mew and Mewtwo. Eventually Ash is brought back to life by the emotions of the other Pokemon. Mewtwo sees this and suddenly discovers he was wrong about humans all along. They were not as selfish and dominating as he thought they were. (unfortunately some people are) He calls off his plan for world domination and flies off to some unnamed place along with his clones to contemplate the meaning of life.
Morally provoking to some extent, this movie is, in my opinion of a high standard. The animation is not much of an improvement over the television series, but there are certainly enough special effects to cover up for this. Children may like the movie mainly for the sake of this but older children or parents may see the hidden morals beneath the animated violence, the energy balls and the beams. Very appropriate in today’s modern world, this movie displays the tragedy of cloning and its possible dangers if it is allowed to continue without stringent controls. Cloning under watchful eyes can be useful and the results may not be as disastrous as the one in the show but accidents do happen. Like its precedent 15 minute clip, the emphasis is also on the importance of a non-violent existence, proof that fighting is not the solution to every matter. Power, without control is as destructive as it is useless. Only power combined with the right frame of mind, as in the case of our hero, Ash, can change things in the appropriate way. One of the final statements made by Mewtwo provoked me to think. It went like this "I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It’s what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are." Yes, it is a little tongue-twisting and hard to understand, but keep that in mind and contemplate its meaning. It will come to you.
Pokemon The Movie 2000
Only eight months after their first production, Nintendo and Warner Brothers have managed to amass enough ideas to come out with another production on the big screen. Why stop at one when you can have the goodness of two? In the United States, this movie attracted a fortune of $31 million on its opening weekend in November, which also makes some critics wonder what the third movie (if any) would do. It also makes me wonder why the negative reviews on the internet have not been able to discourage more than a handful of people from watching the movie. Running for about 1 hour 55 minutes, including the preceding short (history repeats itself), this production is almost as short as the first. Although not possessing the ability to run as long as the 3 hour Titanic movie, this movie still has its qualities, which are unfortunately, not noticed by many.
Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure
The introductory clip, in this case, runs for 20 minutes and is called “Pikachu’s Rescue Adventure”. Several Pokemon make their debut on the big screen along with the presentation of other more familiar faces. It basically starts off with one of Pikachu’s friends going missing and they set off to find it. In so doing, they fall down an incredibly long tunnel that flings them into another dimension that is filled with these new Pokemon. The story goes that Pikachu soon finds his friend located on a treetop sitting in the nest with eggs (these are also Pokemon) Nothing stays fine and sunny forever and a large storm soon brews over this large tree, a center stage for all the action. In order to prevent the nests from being blown away, several Pokemon from within the forest all come to help Pikachu and his friends. As usual, nobody dies, the nests have been saved and Pikachu’s friends all return to their trainers who were initially sleeping somewhere.
Now, once again, as subtle as I am, I cannot help but be brutally frank here. This clip would grade 3/10. Maybe less. Even though the rescue itself is a very likely situation, Pikachu’s coincidental contact with the new Pokemon during their rescue attempt is as unlikely as the sighting of a Loch Ness Monster. With these distractions stirred into this suspension the clip appears as murky as a mudslide. Like its 15 minute ancestor, this short has once again proven that language is not a requirement. English is almost absent, replaced by the Pokemon language that could add up to nothing but sound to the uninitiated. But body language will still carry you pretty far if your patience holds out long enough. The plot of the rescue attempt is quite easily comprehendible, but this featurette is still inferior to its 8 month old predecessor. Some critics say this is a 20 minute commercial. I do not agree totally, but go take a 20 minute walk and wait for the next part. If I learned anything from this clip, it would be the idea of teamwork in tug-of-war!
The Power of One
More intense and electrifying, “The Power of One” should be able to wake you from your 20 minute snooze or refresh you after your walk. Do not expect a large amount of improvement over the animation. Just sit back and watch the show. Ecologically orientated, this show starts off with the introduction of the villain, Lawrence III, who is a Pokemon fanatic with a calm, irritating British accent and has the ambition of capturing the rarest of all Pokemon. Fans can tell you what is rare and what is not. He sits in a giant aircraft with the likeness of the great spaceships from Independence Day, which is surprisingly well animated. Comprising of complicated locating equipment as well as turrets and cages of some kind, this ship will enable him to fufill his ambition to capture the three legendary birds, Zapdos (the God of Lightning) Articuno (the God of Ice) and Moltres. (the God of Fire) In so doing, Lawrence hopes to be able to lure Lugia (another new Pokemon) from the depths of the sea. The villain manages to successfully catch Moltres and continues to look for the other two birds located on islands adjacent to one another. Meanwhile, Ash and Misty are on the move, with Brock apparently missing in action. (he was only seen doing some cooking in the background) Their destination was the Orange Islands in search of a new adventure. The trip did not remain smooth sailing for long and a great storm caused them to lose control of their ship. They were shipwrecked on another island where they did not plan but were destined to be. Some villagers on the island attended to them and invited them to their carnival. Here, a girl with the brashness of a teenager seemingly falls in love with Ash (too young, too soon) and later introduces Ash to a legend on the island in which he appears to be mentioned. It soon becomes clear that the legend has foretold a great disaster and the impending doom of the human race where the world will turn to Ash. (referring to the hero and not burnt bits of debris) His job in the movie is to save the world. The infamous Team Rocket is once again featured in this sequel and they contribute most of humour in this story. Though traditionally poetical with badness, they mend their ways to help Ash in his aim to restore peace and harmony.
With Moltres captured by the villain, the earth goes terribly out of balance creating storms, strong underwater currents and lots of mayhem, causing various Pokemon, enough to fill the screen at any one time to migrate to the islands to watch the fun before they perish. In the midst of all this disaster, Lawrence catches Zapdos and unintentionally, Ash along with a few of his friends. Still calmly clutching his controls and sitting in his seat like a slob, a constant robot-like drone emitting from his controls, Lawrence tells his new visitors of his plans. The unhappy Ash destroys the cages to free both the birds but they break out of the ship and start to fight with each other. Eventually, after a lot more unhappy occurrences, more than I can explain in a thousand words, the great bird from the sea, Lugia finally appears. The story goes that Ash obtains three magical orbs, lightning, fire and ice with the help of Lugia, from the various islands where the birds were from and aligns them in a stone monument, helping to restore peace. The story ends with everything going back to square one, or in this case, normal. The storms and the tornadoes cease, the ice sheet retreats from the sea and the sun comes out again. Ash’s mum finally reaches the island and is overcome when she sees him, asking him to try saving the world a little closer to home in the future.
This movie definitely contained more of a story than I expected. It is longer than the first movie “Mewtwo Strikes Back” and has better animation along with more special effects. Though the ratio of mouth movements to words spoken is about 1:3, I think this show is of greater artistic value than the very popular South Park. I find this movie unique in its own way since the villain of the show hardly appears. In fact, he disappears for a large part of the show after his initial appearance, only to return at the end for his punch line. I actually got his name from the reviews I read due to the fact that I did not even hear his name being mentioned in the story. Despite little development of its characters, this show proves that poor factory produced animation may belie a very creative and meaningful story line. Pokemon 2000 uses abstract characters to develop an imaginative and fictional but true portrayal of today’s world, a world that is slowly degenerating due to us continuously hacking away at resources that we should not take for granted. It also demonstrates the dangers of meddling with nature and crossing the boundaries in an attempt to take over the position of God. (cloning experts beware) The fulfillment of the prophecy reflects the true nature of wisdom and how important it is to believe in it. In a technologically advanced world, few of us have the time or patience for “antiques” and things of the past. Your elders are always speaking to you. Will you heed the good advice? In comparison to the show, I would like to emphasise on how much your parents love you and that they would kill to defend you. Just as Ash’s mum braved the storm to get to her son is no different to how your parents will brave the wrath of the world for you. Ash’s mum said to her teary son “No matter what, you will always be my hero.” Are your parents your heroes?
As I mentioned earlier, the villain returns for his punch line at the end of the story “This is how it all started and that is how it shall all end” and holds up his Mew card, the one thing that caused him to go on his mission, now known as a failure. Young collectors will yell and exclaim “I have that card!!” Adults will pull their hair out and yell “That is how my wallet went bust!” Critics who know of nothing more to say will add “This is just another shameless tactic to cash in on the craze which has died down long ago!!” Well, here is how I differ “Just as the world started as a ball of dust, it will in time, return to dust. Just as you were created from dust, you will turn to ash. (this time I am referring to debris) The rich and the poor, the proud and the humble, the bullies and the bullied…in death, they are all the same. But in life, they can be different, based on what they choose to do with the gift of life.”
I Am Glad You Came This Far
Despite the hundreds of negative reviews I have read on the internet, I refuse to be subdued. I had an opinion and decided to express it and to be different from everybody else. (sheer determination that I learned from every Pokemon episode, perhaps wrongly applied) On the contrary to what others said about Pokemon (stupid children’s anime), I still insist that I learnt a lot from it. I was angered to read reviews where critics accused the Pokemon movie of being an 83 minute commercial. As I cited above, almost everything is commercialized mainly because humans are opportunistic and will cash in on every possible chance. If they wanted to sell Mission Impossible underwear, why, they would blow the pants off Tom Hanks to show you he wore them. Advertisers always look for the best looking women or men to feature in their advertisements so that their company name can be remembered. At least they made you look. (or ogle) Get my point? Somehow, Pokemon has been looked down upon by many people and is sometimes compared to a poor quality Disney Production. In my opinion there should be no comparision here since it is not a Walt Disney Production. Pokemon is in a class of its own commonly called “Japanese Anime”. It has become accepted in society that adults and children alike may watch a Disney film, but the thought of an adult watching Pokemon often raises an eyebrow or two. If you think that Disney films have a little something-for-adults in every film while Pokemon does not, then I encourage you to reflect on the points I mentioned above. It is all a matter of perspective.
With this phenomenon on the move, there has also been an apparent rise in the number of reports of crimes and robberies related to Pokemon paraphernalia, Pokemon cards in particular. Though it is shocking to hear of 13 year olds robbing two 10 year olds of their Pokemon cards, (Xan Brooks, Film Unlimited 18 April 2000) some extremists have gone further to blame the entire Pokemon craze for the “sudden” appearance of these new dangers and hazards. In reference to the above source, it has also been reported that “in 1997, 685 viewers suffered epileptic seizures brought on by the animation's unique brand of red and blue strobe-lighting.” Such occurrences are however, not isolated and have actually been reported even before the craze. Referring to my reviews, I make an assertion that Pokemon did not instill violence in young minds. Many other television screenings today are increasingly violent, with many being morally, even politically incorrect.
Many people have commented that the teaching of morals and values should begin at home, where parents have the duties of guarding their children against any material they deem harmful and to help them differentiate between what is real and what is a fantasy. If any violence spills out onto the streets, nobody else should be blamed. However, few parents are able to spend sufficient time with their kids today. With many of them slogging it out at the work place for anything between 8-15 hours a day in order to support the family, out-compete inflation and tax rises, neither Mum nor Dad has the energy left for any constructive interaction with their children. It has become a luxury that is virtually unaffordable, even for the rich. Several angry adults have expressed their concern that Pokemon cards as well as games are keeping their children away from their parents. This is untrue. On the contrary, it appears that with the coming of Pokemon, parents are compelled to spend more time with their kids, namely shopping (somewhat undesirable to some) and learning more about the nature of the game. With parents and children spending more time with each other, a stronger relationship can be built.
Epileptic fits and seizures are not new to our society. They are probably getting more common by the day. With computers and televisions finding their place in almost every home, more users are suffering from visual problems, headaches and neckaches. (I had a lot of these while working on this essay) In addition, with a population of over 6 billion world wide, it is impossible to find the matching colour scheme for every pair of eyes. Certain video games come with health warnings due to repeated urges from authorities, but health warnings on the television are something only to be visualized in the coming years.
Well, that is basically all I will say and I will sign off here. But let me encourage you to think of one more punch line from Pokemon The Movie 2000 before I go. It makes sense that none of us can save the world on our own because alone, we will fail. But if each of us does one good deed a day, that dream will become a reality. Along with others, “One person can make all the difference”. Will that person be you? Be different in a good way today.
Any questions? Email me!
By: Andrew Lim