As you probably guessed from my username, my name is Mark and I live near Durham in the UK. I am 27 years old and I have been interested in Pokémon for just over ten years. Let me tell you the story about how my interest started...
Getting into Pokémon
My first introduction to the world of Pokémon was, like many people in the UK, through the anime. The first episode I ever saw was Bulbasaur and the Hidden Village, and boy did it get a few reactions from me...
"What the hell is that Star-Shaped thing?
"God, what an ugly thing! Who the hell designed these anyway?"
"Who are those guys with the big red R's on their chest? Are they meant to be the bad guys?"
"A talking cat! What the hell?!"
So yeah, the anime at that point wasn't the best lead in for me... which is ironic because now I love the anime (and, even more ironically, Bulbasaur ended up becoming one of my favourite Pokémon). But then came Pokémon Red...
"My name is OAK! People call me the POKéMON PROF!"
One Friday, I had just gotten some cash and was thinking about what to spend it on. As I was heavily into my Game Boy at the time, I decided to buy a game... but which one. After looking through the possibilities I decided to buy Pokémon Red. I'd heard good things about it, and it was good price so... why not?
Well, if I'd realised when buying it just how much impact it would have... who am I kidding, I'd still have bought it. Next thing I knew, I'd spent a good few weeks on it and while I did indeed make some stupid mistakes (for instance, running away from Articuno) I did eventually learn my way around. As none of my friends owned any of the games, the idea of completing the Pokédex was out of reach for the time being (it's difficult to believe that, as I rely a lot on the Wireless Club now, I would once have had to depend on friends to get some of the Pokémon I needed). But if I thought Pokémon Red was good, I had no idea of what was to come.
The glittery cartridges
Generation II soon rolled around, and boy was I looking forward to them. Hell, the fact that the cartridges were all glittery was enough to impress me (what can I say, I was very easy to please back in the day). Eventually I was able to get hold of a copy of Pokémon Gold and boy, oh boy, was I impressed. The graphics, the colours, the fact that Pidgey no longer looked like a hen. It was all good, and by this point I can say I was well and truly hooked.
Me and the anime... a love/hate relationship
Ok, I'm going to say this now and if you choose to disagree then that's your belief but as for me I have to say it now...
...I really, really don't like the Original Series.
Now, I'm a huge fan of the anime in general. Yeah, my first impressions weren't the best but as I played the games it made me more knowledgeable about the Pokémon universe and the anime now made a lot more sense. The problem is that, compared to Advanced Generation and Diamond and Pearl, the Original Series is really, really lacking. It's inconsistant, seemingly making up rules on the fly to let Pikachu take center-stage (because PIKACHU RULZ apparantly) and most of the stories are pretty stupid (I could go on all day about The Kangaskhan Kid, easily one of my least favourite episodes).
Also, the Johto episodes were pretty dark times as we all know. Filler after filler after filler, seriously, you could stop watching for two months after a Gym Battle and come back and chances were nothing had happened in the meantime. But even the fillers didn't annoy me as much as the competition episodes that would pop up every now and then, when Ash would turn up the day before a competition (involving something generic like sumo wrestling, hot-air balloon riding etc.) and end up defeating the person who had spend pretty much all their lives preparing for it. Still Johto did pick up a little towards the end (say what you like, the Silver Conference was done well), and Advanced Generation was a massive improvement with not that many fillers (thank god for Pokémon Contests) but then Diamond and Pearl came along and, quite simply, it is easily my favourite series of them all. With Diamond and Pearl, it seems like the producers actually know what they're doing. It's nicely plotted, the pace is good and best of all there is serious foreshadowing going on all the time.
Also, Diamond and Pearl introduced Paul who is easily the best character on the show at the moment. After ten years of almost-constantly friendly rivals and happy trainers, seeing someone like Paul was such a breath of fresh air. The best part is, unlike Gary, he has given absolutley no hints that he's a nice guy underneath. He's a d**k, and I really hope he stays that way.
But yeah, the anime is great at the moment and here's hoping it remains so.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, I did enjoy the Orange Islands saga.
Rice Balls? What are these 'Rice Balls' you speak of?
Ok, you may have seen on my usertags that I support the new voice actors. Well, it's true. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't happy when I heard that the original voice cast was being replaced and even more unhappy when I heard the original version of The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon (sorry Kayzie Rogers, I think you're great but you just couldn't voice Ash). However, even though I was unhappy the voice actors were going I was pretty glad that 4Kids were getting booted off the franchise.
Ironically, it was just as the anime was hitting its stride when I started to realise that 4Kids really weren't up to the job of dubbing the series. Seriously, the theme for the flashback from Gotta Catch Ya Later being changed from 'Misty - a good trainer and a good friend' to 'ASH N MISTY 4EVER!!!' was just unforgivable. And it was various other things, like:
- 4Kids seemingly never getting the hang of how Abilities work.
- Rice Balls. Now, being told Rice Balls were actually Jelly Donuts/Sandwiches/Cookies was bad enough, but when they actually started to paint over the rice balls with sandwiches...
- Every single movie seemed to involve at least one Pokémon being misidentified... and speaking of movies, why did 4Kids remove that really good looking introduction to Alto Mare's past at the beginning of Pokémon Heroes anyway?
Now TPCi is far from perfect, but especially since the start of Diamond and Pearl I think they've actually done a pretty good job (and did you see what they did with Where No Togepi Has Gone Before!; no music taken out, no paint edits... it was perfect). As for the voices, with the exception of Ash many of the voices now don't sound that different from the ones they replaced. As for Sarah Natochenny as Ash, even though she had a very shaky start I actually believe she's now doing a really good job now she's settled into the role. She sounds far closer to Satoshi than Veronica Taylor ever managed, and with the 4Kids actors coming back one by one it seems things are only going to get better for the dub.
Bulbapedia and me
So what do I do on Bulbapedia, I hear you asking... well thinking, unless you like to talk to your computer screen in which case, you really should stop. Well, I am a member of Project Anime and Project Anime Dex, and like to contribute to articles where and when I can (writing synopsis, adding trivia etc.). That's pretty much it really.
Ok everyone, here are a few top ten lists.
1 - Aipom (I love that cute little monkey!)
2 - Croagunk
3 - Bulbasaur
4 - Piplup
5 - Entei
6 - Bayleef
7 - Totodile
8 - Ho-oh
9 - Poliwhirl
10 - Yanmega
1 - Pikachu Re-Volts
2 - Pikachu's Goodbye
3 - Pedal to the Mettle!/Evolving Strategies!*
4 - Charizard's Burning Ambitions
5 - Chim-Charred!
6 - The Totodile Duel
7 - Do I Hear a Ralts?
8 - Steamboat Willies!
9 - Where No Togepi Has Gone Before!
10 - Glory Blaze!
Favourite Movies - There's only five here due to there only being 12 movies so far.
1 - Lucario and the Mystery of Mew
2 - Arceus and the Jewel of Life
3 - Spell of the Unown
4 - The Power of One
5 - Jirachi Wish Maker
Favourite Games - Once again, top five.
1 - Pokémon Silver
2 - Pokémon Platinum
3 - Pokémon Trozei!
4 - Pokémon Battle Revolution
5 - Pokemon Yellow
And now, the end is near...
And that's all for now. Hope you guys enjoyed reading this, and if you want to discuss anything you've read, feel free to post on my discussion page.