Part 53: Side Notes #08: The Anime OpeningsSide Notes #08: The Anime Openings
So I suppose it's about time we start talking about this darn cartoon show that this game is based on. The anime first debuted in Japan on April 1st 1997 and, with a couple breaks here and there, has been more or less weekly since then. As of writing this Side Note, there have been 879 episodes aired, excluding side content. There have also been 18 theatrical movies, the most recent one airing two days ago, on July 18th.
This anime has been going for a very, very long time. But when it began, it would've been a 1.5 year project to coincide with the games and would end with the movie, since the popularity of the games and related media would fade and the next big thing would come about, the anime would end and everything would be great. Man, wouldn't that have been a crazy time, when things were allowed to end instead of squeezing every last drop of profit you could? Maybe one day it'll happen, but not for a long time yet.
In this LP, we'll only be focusing on the first season of the anime, 80 episodes of traveling through the Kanto region. And what better way to start then with the first thing you'll see if you tune in to any of these shows, the opening. Of course, it's different depending on which language you watch it in, so let's compare them.
Japanese Opening (An extended movie version can be found here, while the translated lyrics can be found here)
English Opening (An extended movie version can be found here)
So, what's the first thing that stands out? Well, they're both very good, but different in their own way. The Japanese opening is much more carefree and talking about going on this grand adventure with friends by my sides while they try and look for Pokemon under a girl's skirt. (I dunno, must be a culture thing)
In contrast, the English theme meanwhile, is, well you know it anyway, you know exactly what it's about, the imagery and the words and the themes, who hasn't? Despite what you personally think of the song, it still remains an excellent opening regardless that has, of course, been replayed and rewritten and parodied to the absolute limit and will get you millions of views while people shout in the comments "LIEK IF UR A 90S KID!!1!11!!". But, well, I am a 90s kid, this was and still is my shit, so props where it's due, it's good.
Another difference between them is the use of animation. Japanese openings have this wonderful unique animation that really shows what kind of show it is. As a premonition for how 4Kids will butcher the series like they have done to many others, they change things around in their opening to better fit the theme and even use footage from the show itself. You can tell, since the quality is so much worse, but it creates a larger narrative that this show is 2cool4school(tm).
Overall, despite the differences, I think the two themes work in their own unique way. No matter the language, you knew you were in for a treat.