Ash continues his Pokemon journey in the land of Hoenn. With old friends Pikachu and Brock, and new friends May and Max, Ash continues his journey to become a Pokemon master, while tackling the always pursuing Team Rocket along the way.
I'd just like to say one thing before going any further: Thank God the Johto series is over. What a horrible 150+ episodes of animation, writing, and effort THAT was.
And now, back to the review.
For the very few loyal Pokemon anime fans left out there, rejoice! Pokemon Advanced is a new Pokemon series, and with it come some major changes, most for the better. First off, Misty and her annoying Togepi are gone. Aside from a cameo much later on in the series, Misty doesn't appear in the series at all, which may or may not make you happy (I know it won't make AshxMisty supporters happy, but then again, I'm not one of them).
Second, for the first time since the beginning of the first series, the anime actually *gasp* does stuff from the original video games. Pokemon contests, berries, gym leaders using the correct Pokemon from the games, seeing Team Aqua and Magma, the old man and his Wingull ... all the stuff that happens in Ruby and Sapphire actually happens on the show. And extras of the day are far and few between, allowing plot to flow more freely. In fact, I'd say more happens in the first 20 episodes of Pokemon Advanced than the first 40 episodes of the first television series, gym leader battles aside.
Third, Ash and Brock don new clothes. They also have brand new Pokemon from Hoenn, with the exception of Ash's Pikachu (duh) and Brock's Forretress.
Fourth, May, the new girl, isn't just a replacement of Misty. Much like Ash, she is a beginning trainer, except while Ash wanted to be a Pokemon master, May wants to train Pokemon for contests. Unfortunately, she's very clumsy as a Pokemon trainer, much like Ash was at the beginning. But the fun part is how she slowly learns little by little how to communicate with her Pokemon, unlike with Ash, who gained 100% trust in Pikachu after a couple of episodes. And also, unlike Misty, May isn't a bitch who yells at everyone all the time for no reason. A bit whiny, perhaps, but totally more likable than Misty EVER was.
I wish I could say the same for May's brother, though; Max is annoying. While he's not Scrappy-Doo, Jar Jar Binks, or Dragonball GT Giro annoying, the show would be a lot better off without him. All he seems to do is point out the obvious to his sister, who knows zilch about Pokemon, their kinds of attacks, etc. This would actually be somewhat helpful to the audience, except that the people watching this show are either:
1) those who have been with the original Pokemon anime for years, or
Overall, more good than bad is added to the traditional formula of the first series, with the biggest problems of the first series (filler, Misty, annoying extras of the day) weeded out almost entirely. Also improved is the animation and art. Not a tremendous improvement, mind you, but computer coloring sure is a nice touch to the series. In fact, when I first saw the Pokemon Advanced episodes on a preview on Kids' WB! in March 2003, I found it hard to go back to Johto animation/art two weeks afterward. It just looks that much better.
The new Japanese music is nice too, but the dub is still pretty bad. May sounds exactly like Ash's mom (no joke), and the Pokemon voices are getting worse every season. The American music is getting more annoying as well, as most of it is recycled at times where it fits the least. If it actually FLOWED with the episodes, this wouldn't be a problem. But just like with all of 4Kids' other dubs (especially Yu-Gi-Oh!), it doesn't.
Even with all of the small changes to the traditional formula, this is still Pokemon. Those who still care for Pokemon will find a neat new series that brings back the fun of the Pokemon anime missing for so very, very long. Subtract two stars if you think Pokemon should just end already. — Tim Jones
Recommended Audience: Slapstick violence between Pokemon and sometimes humans. Nothing major here.
Version(s) Viewed: Broadcast (Kids WB), English dub
Review Status: Partial (50/192)
Pokemon Advanced © 2002 Nintendo / Creatures / Game Freak / Jr Kikaku / ShoPro
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