"Pokemon Journeys: The Series" Season Talkback Thread

Light Lucario

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Ash has left the Alola region behind with a new plan in mind: see the world! Ash will travel with his new friend Goh, another boy with boundless curiosity about Pokémon. With Ash as determined as ever to become a Pokémon Master, and Goh aiming to catch one of every Pokémon, including the Mythical Mew, our heroes are in for adventure and excitement as they explore the wide world of Pokémon.

This is the talkback thread for the newest Pokemon season on its new home on Netflix. As you can tell, it isn't the same format as previous talkback threads. I was so used to the episode thread format, but I clearly kept it up for too long. I should gone to season talkback threads sooner, but I wanted to be consistent with episode threads for all of SM aside from marathons. I was going to move into season talkback threads for this series anyway, but being on Netflix makes the transition a bit smoother. We're going to get twelve episodes everything three months, so there would be virtually no point in creating individual talkback threads anyway.

Feel free to comment on the episodes in this thread. Keep in mind that not everyone will be able to watch all twelve episodes that fast. I'm still planning to take my time so I don't have too much of a long gap between new episodes, so just use the spoiler tag accordingly when deemed necessary.​
 

Light Lucario

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I saw the first couple of episodes. I meant to comment on the first one earlier, but I kept getting sidetracked. Before getting into the first episode, I'll focus on the opening theme. It's pretty good. It has a good beat, the signer has some good energy in his voice, the lyrics aren't bland and generic and it gets me more excited to watch an episode. I've listened to the full version of the song and it really made me wish that they didn't shorten it to thirty seconds. Having a full minute would really help to make the opening stand out more. Even so, this is still easily the best TPCI dub opening thus far. I really hope that they'll continue to release full versions of the opening songs. I'd still prefer getting longer openings for the show, but full versions are better than nothing.

The first episode was pretty good. It really felt like an episode zero or epilogue since it was set in the past and didn't focus on Ash. He wanted to go to a Pokemon Camp, but couldn't wake up in time, so it was different from the other Pokemon Summer Camp he went to with Serena. They did introduce Goh and Chole. They established Goh as a bit of a know it all and Chloe seemingly being his only friend at the time.

The big selling point of this episode was a bit of Pikachu's backstory. Fans have wondered about how Pikachu's time as a Pichu was. It was effectively adopted by a group of Kangaskhan. I kind of wish we spent a bit more time with Pichu and its Kangaskhan family. The scenes with Goh and Chloe were obviously important. They were planting the seed for Goh's desire to capture Mew right from the start. Seeing what Mew could do up close and personal probably also fueled more of Goh's curiosity and desire to learn more about Pokemon. I just thought that it would have been nice to see a bit more of Pichu's time with Kangaskhan. But at the same time, it might have given too much of a Pikachu short if it was just Pichu bonding with Kangaskhan. What we did see was rather cute. Pichu trying to find the baby Kangaskhan with its mother and being relieved after Mew saved it was especially cute.

It was still quite sad when Pichu decided to leave. It knew that it had gotten too big for Kangaskhan to carry both it and her baby. It couldn't even say goodbye because it knew that Kangaskhan wouldn't allow it to leave. The brief flashbacks leading up to Pichu's evolution into Pikachu really showed just how much the Kangaskhan family meant to it. Pichu can only evolve when it has a high enough friendship level in the games, so having something like that here felt pretty fitting. Plus, it gave Pikachu the extra confidence it needed to go on its own and its new form being a constant reminder of its adopted family.

We don't see how Professor Oak caught it or why Pikachu was unhappy to see Ash when they first met, but that didn't bother me too much. I don't think that was the main point of the episode. I do wonder if we'll eventually see the Kangaskhan family though. I think that they primarily wanted to just draw people into the new series with the episode being about Pikachu as a Pichu, but with the world traveling gimmick for the series, it would be relatively easy to find that area where they lived and for Pikachu to run into its old friends and family with Ash. That would be rather cute.
 

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I enjoyed the one scene where Bunnelby was eating carrots, which seems to be a nod to Bugs Bunny, a WB character, which makes me think that the writers are aware of WB's role in the Pokemon anime dub over the years.
 

Light Lucario

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I thought that the second episode was pretty good. The opening scene was definitely full of callbacks to the first episode of the original series, right down to Ash being late again, but we do see a bunch of Ash's trophies and badges from his previous journeys, so this is still in the same continuity. I also like Ash's new outfit. It has a pretty good balance of blue and white and I like that he gets an original outfit again instead of just having the same outfit as the male playable character like he did in SM. I'm not sure how I'd rank it among his other outfits, but it's pretty good.

It was so sweet to see Professor Oak drive a car. This isn't the first time they've shown cars in the anime and they needed to get to Vermillion City, but it was just so strange. Ash's reaction to Yamper was quite understandable given how adorable it is, but trying to hug it when it clearly wasn't into it wasn't the best idea.Chloe's reaction upon seeing Ash on the ground was rather funny. The Vermillion City lab looked pretty neat, although Professor Cerise's design didn't really make him stand out that much.

The concept of a Raid Battle with Lugia was pretty cool. It seemed a bit strange for it to appear suddenly and for other trainers to be there when it happened, but it kind of incorporation elements of both Pokemon Go and Sword/Shield at the same time. Although, I was a bit annoyed with how many Kanto Pokemon there were featured in that brief battle with Lugia. They are in Kanto, so obviously a lot of trainers would have Kanto Pokemon, but it would have been nice if there had been a bit more variety. One trainer had a Corviknight and another had a Sudowoodo, so having a couple of other Pokemon from different generations would have been fine.

Ash battling with Lugia was pretty cool and the animation for the brief battle was pretty neat too. Ash and Goh meeting each other while riding Lugia was pretty funny and cool. The scenery during that flight was just absolutely gorgeous. It really seemed like they were able to connect more with Lugia, especially Ash, and see the world in a different way. Goh definitely seemed more forward with declaring that Ash could be his friend, but they both seem to love Pokemon and riding together with Lugia was a good way to establish their friendship.

Ash and Goh staying on as Professor Cerise's Research Fellows was interesting, especially with how excited Professor Cerise was over how Ash could hear a voice while riding on Lugia. While the series doesn't directly involve Sword/Shield at the moment, the emphasis of exploration and research does kind of fit with those games in a sense. The games put a greater focus and importance on players exploring the Galar region, especially the Wild Areas, so I could see how Ash being a Research Fellow kind of matches with that importance of exploration spiritually at least. It seemed kind of weird for Ash's Mom to leave Mr. Mime there though. Overall, it was a pretty good episode that did a good job establishing Ash and Goh's new friendship and leading into the new formula for the series.

The third episode was pretty good too. Ash was so excited about his past battle, while Goh was more focused on reading his phone, which might be a good way to show their different personalities. They both love Pokemon, but Ash has a more emotional and energetic response, while Goh seems to be more focused on knowledge and research. Ivysaur going around the city was different. I really like the Bulbasaur line in general, but Ivysaur might be my favorite one. It has that great balance of toughness and cuteness that really makes it appealing to me.

Ash and Goh's argument over whether or not to help Ivysaur was pretty interesting. Goh was really getting so angry about it that it made me think he did try to help a wild Pokemon before like Ash wanted to do only for it to backfire and hurt the Pokemon in the long run. Ash saying that he doesn't need Goh as a friend was surprisingly cold for him. I'd say that it was borderline out of character for him to say something like that, especially when he has only known Goh for a day. Goh's comment about how Ash was just like everyone else combined with how he was so forward about he decided to accept Ash as his friend definitely made it seem like he had some pretty rough experiences trying to find friends.

It is typical for Ash and his friends to get into a fight or argument over the course of a series, but it might have been a tad too early to do that with Goh. They set up their friendship pretty well, but we haven't seen much of their dynamic enough to where the fight would have more of an impact. It did continue to show that despite their differences, they still love Pokemon. They show it in different ways like in the breakfast scene, but they still clearly are passionate about Pokemon and learning more about them. It was rather sweet how they started to help each other climb up the Gym to the Bulbasaur and Ivysaur though. It showed that they both had calmed down and wanted to help each other. Ash and eventually Goh pretending to be Ivysaur was pretty cute too.

Team Rocket's motto and entrance were pretty neat. Goh freaking out over a talking Meowth was pretty funny and I also liked how he had heard of Team Rocket before, even if he did think a talking Meowth was made up. Team Rocket getting access to a gotcha machine full of powerful Pokemon was so weird. They hadn't really accomplished anything for Team Rocket in Alola and unlike with previous series, they weren't able to lie about defeating any other evil team to make themselves look good in front of Giovanni. So I can't really think of a good in-universe reason why Giovanni would allow for them to get something like this gotcha machine. Plus, Team Rocket potentially not being able to bond with their Pokemon would be rather disappointing. Even though they can't keep most of them past their respective series, some of their best moments in any series are about how they truly do love their Pokemon despite being thieves. Losing that would be such a major loss for both the anime and Team Rocket's characters in general. At least Jessie still has Wobbuffet. It's basically an honorary fourth member of Team Rocket at this point, but I'm just glad that they didn't remove it like they did with BW.

The battle was pretty flashy and Pikachu was in a tight spot given it was outmatched initially, but then all of the other Ivysaur stepped in to help. As much as I loved the Bewear gag from SM, seeing a classic Team Rocket blast off in a new episode really felt satisfying. Goh being so impressed with Ash and Pikachu's bravery was pretty nice too. Seeing the Ivysaur and then Bulbasaur evolve was really cool. Goh asking Ash if he could be his friend only for Ash to think that they were already friends was pretty cute. I do kind of wish that they had apologized. Both Ash and Goh were kind of harsh on each other, so they really should have apologized, but to be fair, Ash kind of forgetting about it in the heat of the adventure and not really giving their fight a second thought after they had both cooled down is pretty fitting for his personality. Overall, it was a pretty good episode to help further establish the friendship between Ash and Goh.
 

dragoonanime

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I personally wish that this season had taken place only in Galar like the previous seasons. Koharu is also a really annoying character with how she always treats Ash.
 

Media Man

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I personally wish that this season had taken place only in Galar like the previous seasons. Koharu is also a really annoying character with how she always treats Ash.

I read several reviews of this series and many describe it as a soft-reboot of the franchise. I am inclined to agree.

I just watched episode six and it was a total snooze. Goh was capturing pokemon from the Kanto region. Many of which Ash had caught way back in the first season of the series. BORING!!!

At this point I wished they had stayed in Galar too. I want NEW!! NEW!! NEW!! New regions, new characters, new adventures and new critters. Not the occasional tease (Galar/Scorbunny) then returning to past trails we have already taken.

Six episodes in and I am disappointed. This series is reminding me just how fantastic Sun and Moon was.
 

Light Lucario

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I personally wish that this season had taken place only in Galar like the previous seasons. Koharu is also a really annoying character with how she always treats Ash.

I personally would have liked a return to the more traditional badge collecting journey myself, especially when I love Sword/Shield, the new Galar region and plenty of the new Pokemon and human characters. So far, I'm enjoying the new series as it is and I can kind of see why they might have wanted to do something different again here, but I can understand wanting to see more of Galar. As for Chloe, I haven't seen enough of her yet to really judge her, but I'm more annoyed with how she's just part of the supporting cast instead of right in the main cast with Ash and Goh. Having the main cast consist of just two male characters is such a huge step backwards for the anime, especially when both XY and SM had more female characters within the main cast.

I read several reviews of this series and many describe it as a soft-reboot of the franchise. I am inclined to agree.

I'm not sure about that. I can kind of see why people would describe it as a soft-reboot, but this does still take place within the same continuity as previous series. Like I mentioned before, the scene in Ash's bedroom shows some of his badges and trophies. The series is just designed to be stand alone, which is pretty much the case for every series too. You don't have to watch the original series in order to follow any of the other series.

Plus, without being too specific even for the spoiler tag, a character from XY does appear later on in the series.

Media Man said:
I just watched episode six and it was a total snooze. Goh was capturing pokemon from the Kanto region. Many of which Ash had caught way back in the first season of the series. BORING!!!

At this point I wished they had stayed in Galar too. I want NEW!! NEW!! NEW!! New regions, new characters, new adventures and new critters. Not the occasional tease (Galar/Scorbunny) then returning to past trails we have already taken.

Six episodes in and I am disappointed. This series is reminding me just how fantastic Sun and Moon was.

To be fair, the target audience wouldn't be as familiar with some of Ash's Kanto Pokemon as we are. They wouldn't have even been alive when the original series aired and I'm not sure how accessible older series are in Japan specifically. It is relatively easy for kids to watch the original series here. I think that the first season is on Netflix and the box sets are pretty easy to find online too. So Goh catching Kanto Pokemon that we've seen before wouldn't bother kids watching Journeys, especially if this is their first Pokemon series.

I can definitely understand wanting to see more new content though. Showing more of the newest region, new Pokemon and new characters instead of just going through the same older regions we've seen in other series is completely understandable. I'd absolutely love it if Ash caught a Grookey since it's my favorite Grass type starter and I want to see more Galar Pokemon within the main cast instead of just Scorbunny too.

I'm only three episodes into the series myself. I'm still trying to just watch one new episode a week every Saturday just because I still like having new episodes to look forward to on Saturdays. Plus, I don't want to rush through the episodes and wait months for new ones, although I might make some exceptions for any two parters or big cliffhangers. While it might be relatively early to judge the series too much for me, I'm enjoying it so far. The setup so far is pretty interesting, the dynamic between Ash and Goh has some nice potential and I actually like Goh so far, or at least I think he's interesting. I've heard a lot of complaints about Goh and I may agree with them more as I get to see more of the series and his goal, but so far, I think he's fine. As much as I'd love to see more Galar Pokemon and characters in this series, I'm also still willing to see where it goes with this new world traveling setup.
 

Light Lucario

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I watched episodes four and five and they were pretty good. The first episode started off pretty nice. The toothbrush scene was cute. The whole Mr. Mime miming all the time is really weird. Mr. Mime has largely been assocciated with cleaning up Ash's house along side his mom, so having him act more like a mime is weird, especially when it does seem like they're just trying to mimick the Mr. Mime from the Detective Pikachu movie. Going off to explore Dynamax in the Galar region was neat and they even showed a picture of Professor Magnolia. Even though they only showed a bit of the Galar region, it was still neat to see some of the new Pokemon. Nickit looked and sounded so cute. It took me awhile to get used to Scorbunny's voice, but I think it works. I was surprised that Goh's Pokedex couldn't recognize Scorbunny due to its different color. It seems kind of weird when the Pokedex could recognize Team Rocket's Meowth in different costumes in multiple other series. They might be trying to make these Pokedexs more similar to the ones from the game. They feature a number and while they don't have to capture them, they still need to at least see a Pokemon to have it registered in their Pokedex.

The battle was brief and if I didn't already knew who would get Scorbunny, it almost felt like Ash would have bonded with it afterwards instead. It was rather telling that Goh made up that lie about Scorbunny to save it from getting in trouble. Scorbunny had helped the Nickit for quite some time, so the shop keeper already knew that he was lying. Plus, Scorbunny was shocked by Goh standing up for him too. He was still impressed over Goh's determination to help Scorbunny.

While it does feel a bit early for Goh to feel that passionate about traveling and finding new things to discover, his speech to Scorbunny was quite touching, especially when he started up asking if Scorbunny had given up by just remaining here with the Nickit. That passionate and excited kind of energy fits with Ash as well and they do seem to be good friends already. It definitely affected Scorbunny and its Nickit friends knew that as well. It was cute how they carried it to the train station and showed that they would be able to handle things on their own so that Scorbunny could go be with Goh.

Episode five was pretty good as well. It was cute how Scorbunny kept trying to get attention only for no one to notice it. It fell asleep that then seemingly lost its chance to be with Goh too. I wish that they could have shown more of the Wild Area, but even within the games, only a small portion of it is available for players to experience for awhile. It was strange how both Ash and Goh thought that a regular Snorlax was a Dynamax Pokemon. I could let it slide with Goh since he might not have seen a Snorlax in person before, but Ash actually has a Snorlax. Granted, it would be early for a callback to an older series, but they love throwing in references to the original series and this would be a natural reason to bring up Ash's own Snorlax. The one in the Wild Area looked a bit longer than Ash's, but that could be a matter of different character models.

It was cute to see Scorbunny so happy to find Goh after going through so much to find him again. Goh was obviously happy to see Scorbunny and touched that it wanted to be his partner, but he was still too set on the idea of Mew becoming his partner instead. Snorlax turning into a Gigantamax Pokemon was pretty cool, especially when they had the berry seeds there to explain how the tree started to form. Having it so close by to the train tracks definitely added more danger and urgency to the situation.

It was nice to see Ash and Goh working together so well and the plan to move the berry into its mouth was pretty good. Scorbunny still wanted to help even after Goh rejected it, which was quite cute. They were able to work together nicely as well and Scorbunny's Double Kick really saved the day. While I knew that it wouldn't eat Scorbunny, it did make Goh panic. At least Scorbunny was safe and the train was able to stop without running into Gigantamax Snorlax.

Scorbunny was still heartbroken and was walking away afterwards, but it was perfectly clear that Goh really cared about Scorbunny. Even though he was still set on getting Mew as his first Pokemon, Goh felt bad about turning down Scorbunny at the time. After seeing how well they worked together and that he was so worried about it when it fell into Snorlax's mouth, I think Goh realized that he really wanted to be with Scorbunny as well. It was funny how the Pokeball initially missed Scorbunny, but then it went and jumped into the Pokeball itself. That high five with Goh and Scorbunny was quite cute.

Scorbunny wanting more attention after they got back to Kanto while Pikachu and Yamper were more focused on each other was pretty cute. I do wish that they showed off more of the Galar region. It also felt really weird for Ash to learn about a new region and not be set on traveling through it or challenging its Gyms. But the main objectives for these episodes were introducing Scorbunny and setting up for Goh to catch it as his first Pokemon. I think that they did a really solid job with establishing a connection between Goh and Scorbunny. That made their desire to be with each other feel natural and earned. Goh is still so far pretty likable. It's still really early, but he seems likable and his concern over Scorbunny showed how much he does care about Pokemon too.

Scorbunny was also quite adorable. Grookey and Scorbunny and tied for being my favorite Galar starters at this point, so Scorbunny's expressions just reminded me of how much I love it too. I already chose Scorbunny in Sword, but these episodes made me want to raise another Scorbunny, which I might do just for the fun of it.

EDIT: My 47,000th post and it's Pokemon related. I always love whenever that happens.
 

Light Lucario

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I saw episode six and I thought it was pretty good. It still feel so weird for the Pokedex in this series to be more akin to how it is in the games with registering Pokemon characters catch. Goh wanting to capture more Pokemon was understandable. He was excited over catching Scorbunny and wanted to get even more Pokemon data. It was pretty adorable how Scorbunny was so excited to help Goh catch Pokemon, but it made their first few attempts not work out. It was a nice touch how Goh's first Pokemon catch was a Caterpie since that reminded me of Ash capturing his own back in the day. It was kind of strange that Ash didn't bring it up. They don't make past references too often, but it would have been a pretty natural and organic way to bring up Ash's first journey and his first Pokemon capture.

I've heard a lot of complaints over Goh's capture methods and I can see why. Despite the shaky start, he was easily able to capture a lot of Pokemon within one episode. I didn't mind that with the Caterpie and Weedle lines, but most of the other captures were too easy, especially his double capture, Pinsir and Venomoth. Even if this is supposed to mimic the Pokemon Go style of capture, it doesn't really feel accurate. Capturing Pokemon in one attempt happens, but there's also plenty of times where a Pokemon runs away, jumps away from the Pokeball or you go through multiple Pokeballs to get it. Aside from Sycther and Venonat, Goh didn't really have any problem once he started his capture spree. It was also kind of weird when the anime has always emphasized that trainers need to weaken a Pokemon before they can capture it. That isn't always the case of course, but even when Ash brought up having to weaken it, Goh just brushed it off saying that his way was faster. Although, based on how Scorbunny wanted to battle and what I know of future events in Journeys, I'm pretty sure that they're going to go somewhere with Goh seemingly not being into battles and more focused on collecting Pokemon.

I wasn't upset with Goh being so set on collecting Pokemon because that's pretty similar to how people treat captures in the games. When the Isle of Armor DLC came out last month, I spent a good amount of time just going on a catching spree myself. I caught a ton of Pokemon with Quick Balls and it was a lot of fun. I had spent most of my time working on my teams and going through Max Raid Battles that I forgot how fun it is to capture Pokemon through regular encounters. I was catching full evolution lines whenever possible too. I do think that this is a case where what works in the video games doesn't quite fit within the anime, especially when captures have generally been treated as a big deal. There is usually an episode or even more worth of buildup whenever a main character captures a Pokemon since they're effectively new character for the main cast. Going on a capture spree like this is kind of the opposite of how the anime has treated captures for decades, so I can understand that part of the problem, along with how Goh generally seems to have way too good luck with his Pokeball throws. I just can't feel too upset at Goh in large part because I was doing virtually the same thing whenever I get to a new area within the games. I just kind of have mixed feelings on this where I understand the complaints a bit more, but I also don't feel that upset about it for the most part either.

Goh clearly still cares about his Pokemon. He was too set on getting a complete Kanto Bug type collection to notice how Scorbunny felt, but the moment Ash pointed out that they needed to take it to a Pokemon Center, Goh immediately looked up where to find one and was clearly worried about Scorbunny. After it was healed, he immediately apologized for not recognizing Scorbunny being so weakened from their battle. Their bond is quite touching to me already and shows that Goh does care for his Pokemon. Their battle against Scyther was brief, but still pretty cool. Scorbunny did pretty well, which was impressive considering it seemingly doesn't know how to use any Fire type attacks or else Goh would have ordered it to use Ember at some point. While it was kind of weird that Goh could carry that many Pokemon on him at a time, seeing him play with his Pokemon in his room really showed how he does have some similarities with Ash. Although, Ash was caught up in a cocoon, which was pretty funny.

Being able to put all of Goh's Pokemon in their own research lab does seem like a quick and easy way to let Goh capture more Pokemon while not having an set team. I'm kind of okay with that since Goh is more focused on capturing Pokemon, so he may not have a set team on him besides Scorbunny for awhile. The logic of catching all other Pokemon to work his way back to Mew is kind of weird though. Mew can learn any attack, so it's thought to be the ancestor for all other Pokemon, but catching a lot of other Pokemon doesn't sound like it would necessarily lead him to finding Mew. They wanted Goh to have his own unique goal, but it doesn't quite make sense. Overall, it was a pretty good episode. I can understand some of the complaints I've heard about Goh for awhile a bit more, but Goh himself still seems pretty likable to me.
 

Light Lucario

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I saw episode seven and I thought it was pretty good. The opening with Mr. Mime was weird, especially when it looked more like it was doing exercises instead of martial arts. Scorbunny accidentally knocking Metapod into a rock like that sounded so brutal and painful, but at least it was okay.

Ash taking Goh into a Pokemon tournament was pretty fitting. Although, the name was a bit odd since it didn't really have anything to do with the Battle Frontier. I guess that they wanted to tie the tournament with the Hoenn region, but there must have been a better way to do that. Having a Frontier Brain host the tournament would have been a good idea too, but maybe that wouldn't have been too practical either given the focus on Ash and Goh. Of course, Goh was still more focused on catching Pokemon than battling. Hodge seemed pretty cool. He looked like a tough guy, but was surprisingly friendly. Even his interactions with Goh were nicer than I think he took it. Goh's excitement over finding new Pokemon is kind of cute, although to be fair, it would be easy to take that as being condescending with Hodge's tone.

Goh choosing Scorbunny and Scyther made sense. Scorbunny is his partner and Scyther might be his strongest Bug Pokemon. I figured that he'd lose, but I didn't think it would be that quick, especially with Scyther. Mightyena is one of my favorite Dark types, so seeing it get to battle was pretty cool. I also like that Hodge didn't rub salt in Goh's wounds or anything like that. He just praised his Pokemon, which showed that he was a nice person. Goh doesn't have a lot of battle experience. Most of his captures were done without battling, so Ash putting him in a tournament for his first battle might have been too much too soon. Ash wanted to show Goh why Pokemon battles are so much fun and I can understand that, but it did initially backfire. Goh was relieved to see his Pokemon recovered, but he was understandably upset over losing. It was kind of sad that Ash wanted Goh to be there for his battles, but he was still too upset to respond.

Ash using Mr. Mime does really bother me though, especially when I've heard claims from Japanese sources that it's supposed to be his Pokemon. It just feels like such an unnecessary retcon. It does make Mr. Mime into an unexpected powerhouse with that Reflect and Focus Punch combo and it gives Mr. Mime some needed new personality, but it's just so drastically different. It honestly feels like they should have just given Ash a new Mr. Mime instead of turning the one that has been with Delia for decades into something akin to the Mr. Mime from Detective Pikachu. Those dramatic facial expressions combined with the focus on miming makes it really clear that they want it to be more like that version of Mr. Mime. Maybe this could have felt a bit more natural with more buildup, but it still would have been a tough sell even if they had a flashback showing Ash capturing Mr. Mime way back in the original series. If that did happen, there's no way Ash wouldn't have tried to use it prior to this series. Giving Ash a different Mr. Mime or a Galarian Mr. Mime would have been preferable. The battle was still pretty good though.

Pikachu vs. Mightyena was really good. I loved seeing Mightyena in battle and Ash had some pretty solid strategies. I especially liked his use of Electro Web since that was quite fitting for him and it added a lot of power to Iron Tail. Even though Hodge looked scary and mad, he really enjoyed the battle too. After watching that battle, it definitely seems like Ash hasn't regressed in his skills. Granted, I got the same impression from the first few episodes of SM, so this might not be new necessarily. I think it just stood out to me more in a way since this was Ash's first proper trainer battle in Journeys and he really went all out. It was pretty impressive. It also made Goh realizing that Pokemon battles were fun more believable. It was a good battle, so the idea that Goh would understand more about what Ash was talking about before made sense. I don't know if he'll try to battle more often, but he might be more open to it at least. Overall, it was a pretty good episode.
 

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Thoughts on first few episodes:

Having the premiere episode be a small peek into Pikachu's origins was interesting but they could have gone a bit more in depth. I wanted to see how he originally came into Oak's possession or an explanation for his antisocial behaviour towards humans in the original series first episode. But the scene with him leaving his foster mother because he was literally weighing her down was a nice showcase of his caring personality. You have to ignore the huge fact that Pichu doesn't weigh much and Kangaskhan should possess superhuman strength, nevertheless it was the episode's highlight.

I applaud the writers for not having Ash and Pichu come across each other. I hate when several episodes into a television series they reveal the characters had an encounter prior to when the viewers first see them meet. Even when it doesn't cause any glaring continuity problems it usually comes across as forced. Ash sleeping through the whole thing was funny and I'm glad Goh's backstory was more of a focal point.

It's cool that the dub is going to be coastal from now on. One of the things I prefer about TPCi over 4kids is their willingness to hire a larger variety of voice actors even if it's for a single episode or movie. After a certain point in time 4kids just relied on the same few people and it became quite noticeable. Loved hearing the voice actors of Asuna and M from Sword Art Online play the roles of Chloe and her father. The Pokemon anime and especially the video games would benefit greatly from taking more aspects from SAO media besides just the voice talent.

Not really a fan of Ash's new design. His clothing is a bit too plain and his eyes are too distracting. In all the previous series the sclera was bigger than the iris so it's really jarring to suddenly seem they do the opposite after two decades. The only positive thing I can say is at least they didn't give him similar clothes to the Sword and Shield male trainer. Seeing him wear those duds for 3 years would have been ten times worse.

The relationship between Ash and Goh seems like it could be interesting. Ash's previous male travelling partners are usually portrayed as more mature than their age. It's nice to see someone closer to him in terms of high energy, being prone to make mistakes, and butting heads on certain decisions. Ash sometimes had those moments with the others but there's a lot more potential with Goh for them to "bro out."

I'm split on the decision to have Team Rocket use Pokemon from HQ. On one hand, the times that Jessie and James bonded with or had to say goodbye to their Pokemon were some of my favorite moments of each season. On the other hand, their battles with Ash and Goh could be more exciting due to never knowing which Pokemon they'll use. And any times that they do manage to win a battle won't be as far-fetched due to not seeing that Pokemon lose easily dozens of times in previous episodes. I'm curious if this change will last the entirety of Journeys or if the writers will eventually give them permanent Pokemon.

Who's that Pokemon was in desperate need of a change. Showing only part of the Pokemon is something they should have done long ago. It's still easy to guess for long time fans but I can see some younger kids having trouble especially if the silhouetted Pokemon isn't revealed until the second half of the episode. I'm hoping future series get rid of it entirely and replace it with trivia or eye catches.

The new dub song is okay but forgettable. I would prefer if they used the Japanese opening but that's never going to happen. At this point, if they simply used a title card instead of an actual musical opening, I wouldn't even mind much. I usually skip the opening credits to anime and cartoons on Netflix unless the song is really good. The in show bgm sounds good so far. I heard they replaced the previous music composer with the person who does the music for My Hero Academia. That anime is pretty horrible when it comes to the characters, story and designs, but the bgm is probably the least offensive thing about. I'll have to listen to more of it to make a final decision but it doesn't seem too out of place so far.

Overall, I like what I'm seeing so far. They weren't the most action packed or fast paced in the series but I liked how different they were. Having the entire first episode be a flashback is something they've never done before. It's also great to see Ash not do the same routine of immediately travelling to a new region, catching a local Pokemon and deciding to participate in the gym challenge. They took time to establish Gohs motivation and him partnering with Ash didn't feel forced. Also, the dubbing, animation and music were pretty good. The show not being invested in promoting the games as much as before is a blessing. Sword and Shield were filled with bland characters, outdated animation techniques, uninspired writing and a complete lack of creativity. In terms of originality and production quality the first three episodes of Pokemon journeys are already leaps and bounds ahead of any of Game Freak’s recent offerings. The less the anime is forced to adapt from the games the better.
 

Light Lucario

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Netflix has the next twelve episodes available, but I forgot to comment on the last few episodes of the first batch. I binged watched them, but then I got sidetracked for awhile. I'll talk about the last four episodes in these next few posts before starting getting into the new episodes.

I thought that episode eight was okay. The whole setup with Piplup randomly showing up at the lab was weird, but it was impressive that it swam all the way from Sinnoh to Kanto. It would have been kind of nice if Ash thought of Dawn and her Piplup, especially when he did that back in XY, but it wasn't a major issue. It was nice that they found its trainer so fast. I really could have done with her running gag of losing her glasses. I know it was supposed to be funny, but as someone who wears glasses, it obviously isn't a good thing if your glasses aren't secure. So it just came off as annoying more than anything else to me.

The sibling rivalry kind of relationship between Piplup and Croagunk was a bit weak partly because I didn't care for their trainer. She was nice and not unlikable. The running gag with her glasses just really bothered me and it feels like the problem could have been potentially resolved if she just spent more time with both of her Pokemon or reassuring them that she cares about both of them deeply. The race was pretty neat though. Goh got to use his new Manktye while Ash relied on Pikachu. I'm still not a fan of Team Rocket's machine, but they had some interesting Pokemon and it allowed for Piplup and Croagunk to finally settle their differences in order to save their trainer. The ending where she finds another Pokemon seemingly to catch and favor on made it seem like the problem would just start all over again.

Episode nine was pretty good. Ash and Goh going off to Johto to learn about Ho-Oh was a pretty neat setup. Ash wanting to battle against Ho-Oh also reminded me of the movie I Choose You, so that was a nice touch. I think that the idea of the grandson trying to help his grandfather rediscover his belief in Ho-Oh was nice, but it was kind of bothersome that Ecruteak City felt so bland to me. They made use of the location a bit with the towers, the legend behind Ho Oh and Ash was adamant about how Ho-Oh does exist because he saw it, but it seemed odd that Ash didn't mention that he had been in Ecruteak City multiple times before or see the Gym Leader Morty. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but something that kept coming up in my mind during the episode. It probably also doesn't help that Cyndaquil appeared for the first time in ages in the anime, yet I kept forgetting that it was there.

I liked that they used both Misdreavus and Stanler to create those illusions. I thought that was a cool use of some Johto Pokemon. Goh needed to catch both of them at the same time most likely so that one of them couldn't use their illusions to distract them while he was focused on the other. I liked that despite all of their efforts, the group still didn't see Ho-Oh. The grandfather did when no one else was looking, but that wasn't the point. He finally regained his faith and he was full of determination to find Ho-Oh alongside his grandson. It was a nice touch that made the episode a bit more enjoyable.
 

Light Lucario

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Episode ten was really good. The setup was pretty interesting with Ash and Goh off to explore a Dragonite island. It also felt like a better use of Ash and Goh being research fellows than they've gotten for awhile. Goh spent a lot of time and Pokeballs trying to capture that Dewgong, which is way more faithful to the Pokemon Go catching style. I generally don't have a problem with how Goh catches his Pokemon, but taking multiple tries should happen at least a bit more often. Even running out of his Pokeballs was primarily just so that Ash could be the only one to catch a Pokemon from Dragonite Island. His frustration was played off more for comedy too.

Dewgong being caught up in the waves after chasing after a female Dewgong was intense, but at least the Dragonite came to save them. Goh was worried about Dewgong, but they mainly wanted to keep it away for most of the episode so that there would be more of an excuse for Ash and Goh to stay on the island. I really did like how they were learning more about Dragonite and is pre-evolved forms. It just felt so natural with the research fellow setup they have for the series and it was pretty fun to see them learn more about Pokemon. I also liked how they questioned why Dragonair becomes something like Dragonite. That has been something fans have asked about for ages too.

Ash bonding with a Dragonair was pretty nice. He would want to help it learn to fly and he had pretty hands on training methods too, which is pretty fitting for Ash as well. They were able to make nice progress with getting Dragonair to learn Dragon Dance. Of course, Team Rocket had to show up. Getting a Wailord that only knows Splash was at least funny. It would be impractical in other environments, but it did create some huge waves for Ash and Goh to deal with.

I liked how Dragonair was so determined to save Ash after he fell that it evolved into a Dragonite. It was such a cool moment and tied in with Ash wondering why Dragonair get hands when they evolve. The notion that they do so in order to help people is rather sweet. Dragonair can carry people, but their skin is slippery, so it was too hard it to get to Ash before he fell before getting arms as a Dragonite. Ash getting a Dragonite for his first capture in Journeys was so cool. They bonded so nicely during the course of the episode, so it felt earned and it was such a different first capture for him as well. I love that Ash's Dragonite is so affectionate too. It was so happy when Professor Cerise agreed to not reveal more about Dragonite Island because of how important it is for the Dragonite there to live in peace.

Episode eleven was really good as well. It was nice to finally get some focus on Chole, if only because the series still doesn't have a proper female lead. Her morning routine with her family and Yamper was pretty cute. Goh being disappointed that all three of his Wurmple evolved into Cascoon only to be okay with it after they were jumping all over him was rather cute. He wants to capture every Pokemon, but he still cares about them. While I do have issues with his goal or how they're handling it, that's a big reason why I don't think it bothers me that much.

Chloe has been pretty reserved and it is still weird to see a character go to a regular school in this universe too. I thought that her conflict was really interesting. Everyone assumed that Chloe loves Pokemon or that she knows what she wants to do given that she's the daughter of a Pokemon Professor, but no one is seemingly asking her how she really feels or is giving her the time to really process how she's feeling. I think that's a unique and relatable conflict, but it also might be a bit at odds with the show. The anime is all about Pokemon, so Chloe not being that into them just limits what they can do with her. I assume that she'll eventually find a goal or something to do with Pokemon, but that might take awhile. That wouldn't be a bad thing if there was another prominent female character in the cast. I like Goh and I like the dynamic between Ash and Goh, but it is still disappointing that they don't have a female lead within the cast. It's still the biggest problem I have with Journeys, or at least the most confusing problem within the series. The franchise has always been more gender neutral than appealing exclusively towards boys, they've always had at least one girl within the main cast and some of the most popular characters from the anime have been the female leads. Removing that just to make the cast be Ash and Goh seems like such a weird direction.

That being said, I really liked the conversation between Chloe and her mother. It's a good message for kids, and people in general, that they don't have to rush finding a goal for themselves. Chloe is still a ten year old girl at the end of the day. The flashback between Professor Cerise and his future wife when they were younger was especially cute. He really cared about her happiness and didn't want to give up her dream as an artist. It was a nice moment that made Professor Cerise much more charming than I thought he would be. I wrote him off as just a bland Professor. Admittedly, he still comes off as such. After XY and SM made such good use of the Professors from the games, I didn't think that there would be much use for an anime-only Professor. But seeing how much he valued her happiness made him more endearing and made me happier that they were eventually able to get married and have their own family.

Gengar attacking the lab was pretty creepy. It was pretty powerful when Ash couldn't do much against it either. I liked how Yamper was so protective over Chloe. It wouldn't even listen to Professor Cerise giving those orders. Chloe and Yamper were able to drive Gengar away for the moment. Chloe may not know how she feels about Pokemon yet, but she does seem to have a strong connection with Yamper and it clearly cares deeply for her. I'm sure that they'll expand more on their history at some point. Chloe has had only one focus episode thus far and I still wish that we could see more of her, which is a good sign.
 

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So, Mick Wingert is currently following me on Twitter. That's pretty cool.
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The Animaniacs reboot came and still no new Yakko's World. How would you change the lyrics?
'Toy Story' was released 25 years ago today. Now, compare the animation of that to 'Toy Story 4'. Mind blowing.
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