Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, its been awhile since I participated in one of these OWLS Blog Tours. But, when I read the prompt for this month’s tour, I just knew I had to participate.
Here at OWLS, we are pretty thankful that we are able to come together as a community and share a love and appreciation for anime and manga. This month we will be showcasing our appreciation by giving a shout out post to our favorite manga artists, creators, production companies, and writers who produced some of our favorite works. We will be discussing our favorite works by these creators and our reasons as to why we appreciate them.
–November 2018 Blog Tour Prompt
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, each and every member of the OWLS team has been sharing things they are thankful for; from content creators to specific series to personal stories, each member has taken this month’s topic and made it their own. Just before me, Flow wrote about two visual novels that left a huge impact on their life, so check that out if you haven’t already! Next on the 28th is Scott, so definitely keep your eyes peeled for that soon!
For my post, I’m going to write about a topic I have written about at length several times before, but is no less important to me… Pokemon!
I have been in love with the world of Pokemon since I was eleven years old when I received my first ever Pokemon game, Pokemon Crystal Version, maybe even before that, since I have fond memories of watching the Pokemon anime on Kids WB when I was a kid… I never missed an episode, I was enamored with Ash’s Pokemon journey and the adventures he had each week with Misty, Brock, and his best friend Pikachu. I remember wishing I too could embark on my own Pokemon Journey one day, a dream I fear I have never quite given up hope of making a reality.
I watched a lot of cartoons when I was a kid, but, for me Pokemon was the series that stuck with me the most, so it was only natural that I took my love to the next level. I remember seeing a commercial for Pokemon Crystal on TV and I lost my shit! Up until that point I didn’t know that there was a game, let alone a whole series of games that I was missing out on, so I did what any kid do in that situation, I begged my mom for a copy of the game and she flat out told me “no”.
I was undeterred, dropping hints, circling it in the Toy’s R Us sales papers, and even leaving a few clippings on her pillow… she was not amused. But, I wanted that game, I wanted to catch my own Pokemon, train them, and challenge Gym leaders just like Ash and Pikachu, so I kept up my efforts and I was rewarded on Christmas day, with my very own copy of Pokemon Crystal Version and an Electric Gameboy Color! #BestChristmasEver I was over the moon! I played that game all the time, even getting one of those light attachments so I could play it at night under the covers… there were a lot of sleepless nights back then, but I didn’t care, me and my partner Tracy, a magnificent Cyndaquil, were too busy exploring all the secrets Johto!
While I’m technically from the Gen I generation (I know it’s redundant), I didn’t start with the the Gen I games, rather, I got my start in Johto and for me that is forever the place I think of first when I think of Pokemon. It’s where I spent my fondest childhood memories, and it’s the region that I think of as my home away from home…
I will always remember agonizing over which starter Pokemon to choose, even though I almost always go with the Fire-starter, but, I will never forget my first ever Pokemon, my wonderful Cyndaquil named Tracy. We did everything together, and when we defeated Red at the top of Mt. Silver, it wasn’t just my victory, it was the collective efforts of me and Tracy (now a badass Typhlosion) and the rest of my team. Each win and loss is a memory hold near and dear to my heart and to this day, I still name all of my Cyndaquils “Tracy” in honor of the very first one (my Blog’s URL is even a tribute to it).
And I think it was this feeling that Satoshi Tajiri wanted to capture when he created the Pokemon franchise. It was born out of Tajiri’s desire to recreate a piece of his childhood. As a child Tajiri used to collect bugs, spending hours searching the fields, forests, and ponds near his home in a seemingly never ending quest to catch them all. Even after he’d grown up and out of his hobby, and the fields and ponds he used to explore were paved over to make way for new shopping malls and apartment complexes, Tajiri never forgot the wonder and excitement from that time.
There’s something nostalgic about the series that despite being in my late 20’s I always find myself coming back to… Maybe it was the idea of being able to travel to far off lands with super-powered creatures or maybe it was flashing lights and bright colors that so captured my imagination, but, I fell in love with Pokemon and I never stopped, even after I was “too old” for Pokemon. The franchise has evolved into one of the biggest and most expansive series in the world, with various games, films, toys, and other corporate cash grabs, but beneath all of that is a 10 year old exploring the vast expanses of their imagination with their beloved Pokemon companion by their side… and that’s what Pokemon is all about, capturing that childhood wonder and excitement and sharing it with others. That’s what makes this series so timeless, and now with the internet and online play, we can connect with one another in ways that weren’t possible when I was a kid… We truly live in a Pokemon World and I for one am thankful to Satoshi Tajiri for making that possible with his absolutely wonderful game series! I wouldn’t be who I am without Pokemon and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to revisit the series all these years later… and maybe one day I will share that love of Pokemon with my own children.