Episode 5 (The Legacy) Review – Episode 5 is in Johto and reintroduces us to Detective Looker, still on the hunt for Giovanni. He runs into Silver, Giovanni’s son and your rival in the Gold/Silver games. The episode includes flashbacks from Looker as he reminds us of the Rocket takeover of the Goldenrod Radio Tower hoping they could draw back Giovanni. He never showed. I am really enjoying the new character of Looker. Introducing us to the police force in the Pokemon where every single cop isn’t a cousin (i.e. Officer Jenny in the standard anime) is great. Also, giving us some more back story for Silver was good. This brief episode, this little interlude gave us some fascinating insight into the character of Silver.
Silver is self-reliant because he saw his father fail him. He saw his father decide to give up and go into hiding. He watched his father flee after losing to a couple kids as the Viridian Gym leader. Silver became determined to never fail, to never be like his father at that point. Giovanni gave his son the skills to be a Pokemon trainer, but his absence forced Silver to grow up fast and learn to rely on himself. When Looker meets Silver, he’s grown at peace with where he is – but still is trying to prove himself to be strong on his own, hence him trying to take on the Pokemon League.
Silver is a more complicated character than Blue. Blue was straightforward – he wanted to win, he wanted to be the best trainer there was. Period. Silver is a broken young man who saw his father fail as he relied so heavily on organizations, on others. Silver did not want to have to deal with others helping him up, he wanted to be self reliant. He did not want help. He wanted to be his own master. Blue was too, but Blue’s was based in arrogance, Silver’s in a determination to not be his father. It’s an interesting dynamic and I appreciated this side story.
Episode 6 (The Reawakening) Review – Episode 6 keeps in Johto, specifically going to Ecruteak City. Eusine is in Ecruteak at the Burned Tower. While there, Eusine recounts the history of the Burned Tower, how it collapsed, and the rise of the legendary beasts of Johto. Eusine narrates the story for us as he brings us to Feudal Johto (Japan). The style is well done as you see the people watch the Tower burn and be amazed as three Pokemon inside emerge being resurrected by Ho-oh as new creations. The people are afraid and try to kill the new Pokemon. The rawness of seeing angry mobs rising up trying to murder these Pokemon is an intensity you don’t see in the family friendly series. It also reminded us of the mentality many have about the unknown – fear. Fear is a powerful force and when you are afraid of some new creature that spontaneously arose from the ashes of your former Pokemon, you may lash out.
Yet, Eusine reminds us the viewer of the love the Pokemon still display for man. After rising again, they leave without harming those who wished to destroy them promising to one day return. In a weird way, the legendary beasts of Johto are Christ-like figures, rising from the dead to return again with a restored relationship with humanity. The imagery of Ho-oh as a phoenix-like bird only amplifies the resurrection narrative. The comparison falls apart as you realize that there is no salvation story associated with the legendary beasts.
All in all, this episode is still a well done tale feeling like a classic Pokemon world fairy tale with glimpses into reality of their world. Seeing the Burned Tower actually burn, seeing the rising of the beasts was an interesting interlude. As a huge Generation 2 fan, I’m really enjoying these Johto tales delving deeper into the traditional lore of Johto. That said, I’m looking forward to see something new soon. I hope we see some of this from Hoenn next.