After watching the hell out of the TV show as a kid, I’m excited about this new season. Since the games are supposed to be an all new experience, the anime decided to follow suit, and is having Ash (Satoshi) (depending on whether you’re watching it dubbed or subbed) start over with all new characters, and all new Pokemon. The difference between this and any other season (which seems to do roughly the same) is that you won’t be seeing any of the old Pokemon in this new region. While some things stay the same (such as the iconic Pikachu) some old traditions have been dropped, most notably Brock. He is nowhere to be found in this new series. While this is a disappointment to many fans, it’s a bit refreshing, to be rid of that long-running gag where he would hit on every woman in sight, trying to show them how he’s the world’s greatest “breeder.”
Another refreshing change is Team Rocket. Their new black uniform is symbolic of their transformation from comic relief/awkward plot device to villains. They’ve become the dark, confident, and most importantly, CAPABLE villains I remember them being from the first time they showed up in the Kanto series.
Introductions aside, it’s time for a play-by-play review. Warning, the following WILL contain spoilers. I recommend you watch this series on your own, but if you’re in a hurry, want another opinion, or just don’t feel like watching, this will be quick, and to the point without losing the details.
We start off with the familiar Professor Oak driving up to Ash’s house in Pallet town, inviting Ash and his mother to tag along on a trip to the faraway region of Isshu/Unova. Of course, Ash agrees, and off they go, on a plane toward their new adventure.
Next we get a glimpse of the new Team Rocket in their black uniforms. He sends them on a mission to the same overseas country in order to establish Rocket dominance. Here we see a more serious tone in the pair of humans and their talking Meowth.
After getting off the plane, Pikachu senses something strange in the air. A dark cloud approaches. Just as Ash sees the cloud, a mechanical arm grabs Pikachu, in typical Team Rocket fashion. Of course, Pikachu’s electric attacks are useless against this machine, and Ash has left his other Pokemon behind as is customary in a new Pokemon season.
The large black cloud looms hovers over the group, and unleashes a great bolt of blue lightning, destroying the machine, saving Ash and Pikachu from what would have been a crappy start to a vacation. (And you thought losing luggage was a pain) The blue electricity spills over the ground, and is drawn to Pikachu, who takes the hit and looks up into the crowd to see the shape of a large Pokemon, which anyone who has been following the release of Black and White could identify as the legendary Zekrom.
Cut to a nearby forest, where a girl brown skin, and massive purple hair watches the events unfurl. She calls out to her Axew (Kibago), and swings off on a vine. The dark cloud disappears as quickly as it came, leaving Pikachu a bit dazed, but otherwise unharmed.
Professor Juniper (Araragi) shows up afterward, picking the group up to bring to her lab. On the car ride there, Ash grows increasingly excited by this new region, as he spots several new Pokemon including Deerling (Shikijika), Pidove (Mamepato), and Patrat (Minezumi). Prof. Juniper tells Ash that he’ll only see these new Pokemon here, and that even Pikachu is considered extremely rare, and has never been sighted in the wild, making his Pikachu more special than it already is.
When they reach the lab, Prof. Juniper gives Pikachu a check-up, before her Aide comes in, and tells her that a new trainer is ready to receive his first Pokemon. She and Ash go off, leaving Prof. Oak to take care of Pikachu.
We now get to see Trip (Shootie), whose quirk seems to be that camera of his (despite Snap’s appearance in the first season of the show, AND his starring role in Pokemon Snap for the Nintendo 64) go through the oh-so-familiar dilemma of “Which starter do you choose?” The choices he is given are the energetic fire pig Tepig (Pokabu), the adorable water otter (this is where the nickname Wotter came form, if you couldn’t guess) Oshawott (Mijumaru), and the confident grass snake Snivy (Tsutarja), all of which, Ash instantly fauns over. Trip chooses Snivy, (whose cockiness NEARLY matches his new master’s) and heads off.
Ash promptly follows Trip, and asks if he’s going to train to be a Pokemon master. Trip says he plans to earn his 8 gym badges (like the other regions) to challenge the Unova league. This is when Pikachu runs out, having finished its testing. Trip then challenges Ash to a battle; a first for the both of them, and the establishment of a new rivalry.
The battle starts between Snivy and Pikachu with Trip taking pictures, saying he’s “documenting his journey.” Oshawott, who apparently decided to follow the two watches the battle from behind a tree.
Pikachu makes the first move with Quick attack, and Snivy follows with a series of tackles, as expected from a starter’s Pokemon’s first battle. Pikachu then responds with a Thunderbolt, but is unable to. Both Pikachu and Ash are surprised, and Snivy takes the opportunity to hit Pikachu with another tackle. Pikachu tries again, but is still unable to produce any electricity. Ash then calls for Pikachu’s signature move; Volt Tackle. This move fails as well, so Ash calls for an Iron Tail. This move works, but Snivy dodges, and finishes the battle with a new move; Grass Mixer.
Ash rushes Pikachu back into the lab because the last check-up was so proper. Prof. Juniper tells Ash that Pikachu was overloaded with electricity from earlier. The same black cloud that had struck Pikachu, and overloaded it in the first place, returns, floating over the lab. Prof. Juniper says that it might be the legendary Zekrom. Pikachu begins discharging electricity, ending the episode on a cliff-hanger.
New Pokemon: Alomomola (Mamonbou), Zekrom, Axew (Kibago), Deerling (Shikijika), Pidove (Mamepato), Patrat (Minezumi), Swanna, Minccino (Chillarmy), Tepig (Pokabu), Oshawott (Mijumaru), Snivy (Tsutarja).