5 Best Pokémon Anime of All Time
by Callum May,
Even after 22 years of airing, Pokémon is still evolving. Whilst it remains a kids series, it has so much heart and creativity that I believe anyone can appreciate it. The journeys of Ash, along with the three adjacent series Pokémon Origins, Chronicles, and Generations, have all worked to expand the Pokémon world even further and gives us an idea of how people and Pokémon live together.
Today, the series has advanced yet again into a form known simply in Japanese as Pocket Monsters. While Ash and his new friend Gou will adventure to the new Galar region, they'll also have adventures across previously explored territory, and fans are expecting some occasional blasts of nostalgia.
So, let's recap on some of the best series of the show, from 1997 to 2019.
5. Pokémon - Diamond and Pearl
Diamond and Pearl is often regarded as one of the more serious adventures within the series' history and one where you really felt that Ash needed to defeat his rival, Paul. Appearing early in the series, we learn more and more about where Paul's attitude comes from and how he expresses it to the detriment of his Pokémon. It's a step further than Gary and Gary's appearance in the show works as a reminder that people can change.
Diamond and Pearl's league battle in which Ash faces off against Paul is one of the series' highlights, with Ash bringing one of his best team's yet. Although this is perhaps one of the most battle-focused series, the show did still find some time for silliness, most famously with “Where No Togepi Has Gone Before”, an episode in which a rogue Togepi launches the gang into space.
4. Pokémon: Gold and Silver
The Gold and Silver adventures are generally considered to be part of the Original Series with Indigo Plateau and Adventures on the Orange Islands. Misty and Brock are still part of the team, his rivalry with Gary persists, and he brings more than just Pikachu to the Johto region. This is a series that dealt a lot more with legends and myths, taking time to acknowledge Ho-Oh in "For Ho-Oh The Bells Toll", and Lugia in Ash's several episode attempt to save its baby. Among these episodes, we also got the fun laid back "Hot Water Battle" episode where Cyndaquil, Chikorita and Totodile must learn to work together. But ultimately, the main reason this series is on this list is because of the Silver League. These remain the most satisfying battles in the show thus far with the conclusion of five years of Gary rivalry and a legendary battle that introduced the Hoenn region in style.
3. Pokémon Generations
Generations was one of just two series that had nothing to do with the main Pokémon show. But unlike Origins which was a way of building up nostalgia in the lead up to the Pokémon X and Y game releases, Generations has no reference to Sun and Moon at all. Instead, it tells untold stories from the Pokémon games, showing what was going on when the player character wasn't around. Spanning all previous mainline games, there's some excellent episodes here with some excellent production, thanks to the fact that they brought on several talented animators to work on it. Each episode is only about five minutes long, but the ways in which it tells its stories are neat and compact. It's only worth watching in context of having played the games, but if you have, the value of Generations is unmissable.
2. Pokémon XY
For many fans, XY was the point it was worth jumping back into Pokémon as an adult. The game's appeal to nostalgia brought a whole load of fans back and a more visibly mature Ash was the right character to do it. Thanks to 3D backgrounds, the gym battles were exciting and Serena quickly became a fan-favorite companion thanks to her strong character arc and how she learns to deal with failure. XY also went a lot further with its individual episodes. There's parallel versions of Ash, time travel, an episode in which Jessie leaves Team Rocket and starts dating a hunk, and the Mega Evolution Special, four episodes key animated entirely be Masaaki Iwane that focus on Team Flare and the battle between Primal Groudon and Kyogre in Hoenn. They're some of the best episodes in the main series.
1. Pokémon: Sun and Moon
If XY was an evolution, Sun and Moon was a revolution, completely turning the formula of the series on its head. Instead of just one or two companions, he gets six, as well as several other characters who appear frequently. In Alola, Ash attends a school to learn more about the region, sometimes taking trips out to other islands to discover new Pokémon and battle against Trial Captains. Whilst the battles aren't as intense as in XY, the general quality of episodes is so much more creative with silly premises. The show's animation is also at its highest point yet, thanks to designs that are more animation-friendly. Sun and Moon is the best that the Pokémon series has ever been, and its highlights are too many to count, from the Lusamine arc, to the league battles or the many fun episodes in between. Let's hope that the new season is able to top it.
- Tsuyu "Froppy" Asui
- Ochaco "Uravity" Uraraka
- Momo "Creati" Yaoyorozu
- Kyoka "Earphone Jack" Jiro
- Himiko Toga
- Mina "Pinky" Ashido
- Mei Hatsume
- Inko Midoriya
- Nemuri "Midnight" Kayama
- Eri (tie)
- Nejire Hado (tie)
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