Pokémon Horizons review: An evolutionary new start for the anime

We were all sad to see Ash Ketchum leave, but he was still the leader Pokemon The anime’s 10-year-old protagonist after 25 years of adventures was a big part of why the show seemed stuck in the past. Although Ash has never really changed much, he is the bigger one Pokemon franchise did. And while the anime always took cues from the games, it also became very comfortable sticking to its own simple formula.

Considering how buggy the most recent generation is Pokemon games, it might be hard to imagine the anime doing that much better with or without its longtime protagonist. But Pokémon Horizons: The Series – the franchise’s latest core animated series – has a surprisingly refreshing energy that makes it feel like the start of an exciting new era.

Pokémon Horizons has an unusually large cast of characters, but it mainly centers on a trainer named Liko (Alejandra Reynoso) as she embarks on her first real adventure. Pokemon trip. As a native Paldean who has never traveled outside her home region, Liko feels a little out of her element as a new student at the Indigo Academy in the Kanto region, where young trainers from around the world come to learn the basics of raising Pokémon . But Liko knows that stepping outside her comfort zone is good for her, and from the moment she meets her first partner Pokemon Sprigatito (Kira Buckland), she has no doubt that she’s on the right track.

The concept of children attending school regularly rather than walking around at their leisure is discussed in the Pokemon anime before, but the emphasis Horizons The fact that Liko is a student is very similar to the series expanding the educational theme of the series Scarlet And purple games. At Indigo Academy, studying comes first, and Liko is eager to stay in the good graces of her teachers. But when Amethio (Daman Mills), a menacing boy with a Ceruledge, shows up one day and demands that Liko hand over her grandmother’s mysterious pendant, she knows her life is in danger. And while Liko and Sprigatito put up a good fight, it’s only thanks to the arrival of Pokemon Professor Friede (Crispin Freeman) that she can get away safely.

although Horizons Set in the same world as previous seasons of PokemonThere’s a complexity to the central story and an intensity to the combat that makes it feel like a drastically different kind of show aimed at a slightly older, more action-oriented audience. While Ash just wanted to make friends and compete for glory, Liko is on the run and discovering how many secrets her family has kept from her. What’s most distinctive about the new show, however, is how Liko’s story quickly focuses on exploring the world with Friede and his crew – the Rising Volt Tacklers – on their massive airship.

By introducing so many different supporting characters, like Mollie (Erica Mendez), a pink-haired doctor who’s too cool for the Pokémon Center, and Orla (Mara Junot), the resident engineer of the Rising Volt Tacklers, Pokémon Horizons can switch between a weekly one-off adventure series and a series that tells a more extensive story. Once Liko is with the crew, Horizons shifts the focus to other members, like secret streamer Dot (Faye Mata) and her gourmet uncle Murdock (Major Attaway), with episodes that take the Rising Volt Tacklers to a number of different regions in quick succession.

The almost A piece-like way the Rising Volt Tacklers make a race around the world Horizons‘ take over Pokemon world feels more cohesive and connected than in previous seasons of the show or most games. But no matter how different the new show feels, you can still see it Horizons paying homage to the original series through its second protagonist, a very Ash-like boy named Roy (Anjali Kunapaneni), who has a special relationship with a legendary Pokémon.

Because Liko is something of a wallflower and more of a team player than Ash – a stereotypical Shonen protagonist who focused on his own priorities – Horizons feels like a true ensemble series that wants to make you realize how much more there is to the world of Pokemon then fight. Of course, combat is still important here, and Liko’s character development is most evident in the way she and Sprigatito become more powerful as they encounter new opponents. But the exciting thing about it Horizons is how open it feels in terms of being able to take new directions as the characters evolve.

While Horizons‘ potential to stray even further from the traditional Pokemon The beaten path of anime is great, it’s easy to imagine that this also makes the series a little harder to jump into compared to the original series. But the show’s first episodes feel perfectly tailored to both newcomers to the franchise and diehard fans, and with the next big one Pokemon game won’t be released until 2025, Horizons should be just the thing to help everyone while we wait.

Pokémon Horizons: The Series now streaming on Netflix.

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