Curse me as you please folks, I LOVE THE NEW POKEMON. The hate for this series is utter nonsense and the constant "Ice Cream Pokemon" criticism is old. It's much better than it looks and if people could stop comparing it to the first season, you'd be able to see how old school this really is..
In terms of story, it starts off as all new Pokemon seasons do with Ash Ketchum setting off on yet another journey to a new region chock full of new Pokemon for him to form friendshi- I mean catch..no one should expect much of a difference here..
Animation-wise, Best Wishes is especially decent. Ash's redesign has received some criticism as of yet, and I feel that he may look a little TOO young..the secondary characters are easily recognizable by trademark colors, but perhaps what really makes it shine is that the not-so-important side characters actually LOOK good. Rather than the traditional brown hair, black eyes that are usually associated with unimportant anime characters, side characters who we may see for no more than 2 episodes are given unique appearances that if they were to reappear, we'd know them right away.
In terms of Sound, Best Wishes' soundtrack still suffers from being lost in the translation between Japan and the States. Emotional orchestral pieces found in the original soundtrack are exchanged for rock tunes. The biggest offense has to be the theme songs. I'm not necessarily saying that the Japanese theme songs are better (though they are pretty friggin' good) but after Diamond and Pearl, you kind of get a little tired of songs singing about friendship and destiny that was never part of the series back then..
Voice acting should no longer be a complaint by the fans; 4kids lost the rights years ago and most of the characters from that era are gone, besides Ash and Team Rocket...and yet there are STILL people throwing fits about the voices...while Sarah Natochenny is no Veronica Taylor, she HAS improved a bit. Compared to Battle Frontier, she sounds more natural, albeit a tad nasally and fake. I personally believe she would do better if she stopped trying to sound like Veronica or a boy in general. Perhaps observing ten year old boy voices might help..? Or a mentor..?
Speaking of mentor (see what I did there??) I WOULD like to say that the new pokemon has had some really popular voice actors taking some roles. Like, Vic Mignogna and Chris Sabat popular. So besides Sean Schemmel as being the only well known voice actor on the show (and given 90% of male supporting character voices), you've got these two gems.
The Pokemon voices on the other hand...still sound like the same one guy. It's ridiculously easy to point out a dubbed voice from an original voice for Pokemon. They don't sound nearly as creative as older generation pokemon, just saying their names in the tone that looks suitable to their appearance..though thanks to Vic, Lampent and Chandelure are among my favorite pokemon to hear~
What I really want to talk about though are the Characters. In the days of Diamond and Pearl, the episodes were nearly all filler and existed solely to introduce the pokemon of the day and slap some unimportant character to the plot just so they could explain some useless BS about why that specific pokemon was so mean/shy/scared of something. The only thing those episodes succeeded in doing was stalling Ash long enough so I could beat the game faster than he could get to the next town. Unless a pokemon evolved or there was an important battle, the episodes were a waste of 22-minutes with boring characters talking about friendship.
The new pokemon however is different. Enter Cilan and Iris. Both have received some hostile critcism from the fans as "replacements" for Brock and Misty. I suppose there are some similarities. Both are gym leaders (though I think Iris in the anime is different). Iris wants to master a specific type and is afraid of another, and Cilan serves as a cook (puns again XD) and voice of reason. However, if that's all you need as ammo for Cilan-Iris Hate than you're surely mistaken.
Ever since I started watching Best Wishes, I've fallen head over heels for Cilan. Compare him to Brock and the two are totally different. For starters, Cilan is a complete SPAZ and nerds out on a weekly basis. He has a wider range of interests compared to Brock's single obsession with girls and it's ADORABLE because you know he'll stay character, whereas Brock is only limited to the first encounter and possibly the departure with a new girl. Most importantly, Cilan DOESN'T get slapped out of his antics, which got stale for Brock.
Iris...hm...actually...her personality is a bit bland...she's like a doll, limited to only a few phrases like "you're such a kid" and freaking out about ice types. She acts like everything about Ash and Cilan annoy her to bits, yet she still travels with them. And unlike ALL of Ash's other female companions, she doesn't have a bike that she needs replaced. She easily can just ditch the boys, but she chooses to stay.
Like I was saying before though, the characters are much more important in Best Wishes than others. Characters introduced like characters-of-the day reappear throughout the series and have their own quirks that make them hard to forget, like the clumsy Bianca who's essentially Unova's Barry, and film maker Luke and his Zorua.
I should also point out the Team Rocket is now a threat. And it's the best thing that could happen to them. If there's anything BAD about it, it's that we rarely see them anymore since they're busy doing shadowy stuff..oh, HOW serious are they you ask? They left Wobbuffet. Yes, they're THAT serious now.
All in all, Best Wishes doesn't seem to be getting the credit it deserves. The characters are quirky and lovable again, there's more focus on storyline than advertising pokemon and heck, they've reached a region of Unova where there's crap tons of KANTO region pokemon! And may I also add that Ash flips his hat again? It's a rare sight, but he does and it's animated in the same style as the first season. Can you say REPSECT?!
Seriously guys. It's not as bad as it looks. Room to improve, yes. Disgrace to the series? When "Ice Cream Pokemon" can live in volcanoes.
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