Well here, I wonder if anyone would have guessed this little episode would be the beginning of an anime that goes on for 20+ seasons. Watching this again brings back so many feelings of my childhood. I never had a Gameboy as a child but man even without the games did this spark an intense love for the series. Well nostalgia aside how is the episode?
Well it starts off with Ash Ketchum at the very start of his journey. The night before he’ supposed to receive his first Pokémon he stays up late in anticipation. He ends up oversleeping because of it and when he gets to Professor Oak’s lab all three of the starter Pokémon (bulbasaur, charmander, and squirtle) have already been taken. Which raises the question if Oak knew four trainers were coming why did he only have three starter Pokémon ready? Either way Ash doesn’t leave empty handed, instead of a starter he receives a rather unfriendly Pikachu. As they head out on their adventure Ash’s naivety and impatience along with Pikachu’s stubbornness lands them both in a pretty scary situation as they are attacked by a flock of Sparrow. Pikachu gets hurt very badly and Ash has to carry it to safety all while running from the angry Pokémon. He meets another trainer who we know as Misty, who scolds him from letting Pikachu get so injured. Even after taking her bike they still end up cornered by the Sparrow. So Ash does the only thing he can, stand up and protect Pikachu. This moment was really well done as you can see Pikachu really starting to trust Ash. In one last effort Pikachu manages to jump in front of Ash and electrocute all the Sparrow. As Ash and Pikachu lie there a gold shinning unknown Pokémon appears in the sky (now known as Ho-Oh) and it gives off a real sense of hope for Ash, Pikachu, and their journey.
What I Liked
- All the Nostalgia
- The excitement of beginning a new journey
- Pretty intense action with the Sparrow
- Pikachu’s character development
What I Disliked
- Three starters for four trainers
- The Sparrows only attack Pikachu cause he’s a trainer owned Pokémon, even though Ash was the one to throw the rock at them. That just seems super contrived
- Oak isn’t really much of a mentor in this episode, he mostly just hands Ash Pikachu and sends him along
- There were quite a few moments that I genuinely chuckled at. Mostly when Pikachu screws with Ash
- I also can’t believe how sarcastic the dex is to Ash, also really funny
Overall, this is a really solid start to a series clearly about adventure and friendship. Yeah it’s definitely made for a child audience, but even that didn’t cause any less enjoyment from me. How the Sparrow chase began does seem forced but the sudden intensity after the start-up was most welcomed. It also resolved itself in an excellent climax solidifying the beginning of Ash and Pikachu’s long friendship. I know not every episode will be this good but I look forward to what comes next. If it’s anything like Pokémon, I Choose You! It’ll at least have a lot of heart.