Pokemon's first season still rules over 20 plus years later! The Pokemon franchise is currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary, and in the decades since its inception has inspired all sorts of notable spin-offs that include an anime franchise, feature films, trading cards, and tons and tons of merchandise. While the original games have always had enough drawing power of their own, it's arguable that the anime adaptation helped bring the franchise to an entire new realm of popularity as it morphed into a multimedia juggernaut. It's because that first season of the series knocked it out of the park.
This admittedly could be nostalgia talking, but the first season of the Pokemon anime (which for the purposes of this piece marks from the series premiere to Ash's loss at the Kanto Pokemon League), not only served to help establish a format for the rest of the successful anime franchise to follow for years to come but breathed new life into the world of the games.
While the games themselves were always inherently appealing for its unique composition as a collection based role playing game (that was great for helping develop social skills for more shy and anxiety laden individuals like myself), there was a lot of filling in the blanks needed to really appreciate the franchise. My kid brain loved the Pokemon world, but it wasn't until watching the anime that I truly came to become a fan in full.
I was loving catching and training my own team, but it wasn't until I started imagining the battles playing out in my head looking exactly like they do in the anime. The game releases have yet to capture this electric feeling in full, but it's really hard to match up to a kid's imagination of what the Pokemon battles would feel like in real life. The anime's come close, however, and while future seasons would have impact among fans it's this first season that many look back on the most fondly.
It's got a ton of memorable moments that have aged surprisingly well such as Butterfree's farewell, Charmander's rescue, Pikachu's brief split with Ash, Ash's loss in the Kanto League (which was a surprising muted conclusion to such a massive journey). 4Kids' English dub deserves credit for this as well as that first opening (and PokeRAP) was the kind of earworm I can still fully recite so many years later.
But what do you think? What's your favorite season of the Pokemon anime? What are your favorite moments from the series overall? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or you can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff @Valdezology on Twitter!