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To be fair everything between Johto and pre-XY animation wise has aged terribly. Kanto’s hand drawn animation still holds up, and XY and SM both got huge production value jumps for their different styles.

I actually went back to rewatch some DP eps after not seeing them for a few years and was honestly a bit surprised with how dated the animation looked because in my mind I didn’t remember them that way. Iwane’s eps still look good but a large chunk of DP especially the first half is shoddily animated. Granted these eps aired in 2007-2009 so we’re speaking over a decade ago now. Characters moved like stick figures and were off model all the time.

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On 10/21/2019 at 4:33 PM, Petrifying Panda said:

I remember when everyone called the new art style lazy.

Imagine calling the most expressive animation to come out of this series since the original series lazy.

Was everyone calling it lazy, or were people just disliking it? Cause I think it's still ugly.

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39 minutes ago, Soniman said:

Is it the entire artstyle or is it mainly just Ash?

The entire artstyle; it's rounded, softened and proportions the characters strangely. Furthermore, the way that it's animated leads to characters emoting through excessively exaggerated poses and facial expressions rather than anything that's a just a touch more grounded (if you say that previous artstyles were grounded, relatively speaking). It's ugly. And flat. Very, very flat.

I genuinely think that the animation was on top form in XY. I don't agree with arguments that it looked stiff, and I don't personally recall hearing such arguments before SM changed the artstyle so dramatically. It's true that SM is more fluid, but I don't think that it gains anything from it being so. It just looks totally unappealing.

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Just now, Blue Blood said:

The entire artstyle; it's rounded, softened and proportions the characters strangely. Furthermore, the way that it's animated leads to characters emoting through excessively exaggerated poses and facial expressions rather than anything that's a just a touch more grounded (if you say that previous artstyles were grounded relatively). It's ugly. And flat. Very, very flat.

I genuinely think that the animation was on top form in XY. I don't agree with arguments that it looked stiff, and I don't personally recall hearing such arguments before SM changed the artstyle so dramatically. It's true that SM is more fluid, but I don't think that it gains anything from it being so. It just looks totally unappealing.

Fair enough. I don't agree with the assessment on SM since I think it just has more life to it on a episode to episode basis that fits with the slice of life genre it's going got, also it helps give the characters more personality from a visual perspective.

But regardless of that XY happens to be my favorite art style in the shows run and I also recall when people praised the hell out of it for being so well animated before they turned around and changed their minds when SM started and then called it stiff and lifeless lol.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Soniman said:

Fair enough. I don't agree with the assessment on SM since I think it just has more life to it on a episode to episode basis that fits with the slice of life genre it's going got, also it helps give the characters more personality from a visual perspective.

But regardless of that XY happens to be my favorite art style in the shows run and I also recall when people praised the hell out of it for being so well animated before they turned around and changed their minds when SM started and then called it stiff and lifeless lol.

A lot of kids TV seems to be going for a "slice of life" approach these days. Even when shows have a lot of action and an on-going plot (like Pokémon), it's the trend to adopt a comedic approach to the storytelling with an "friendlier" artstyle to match. The shift in artstyle for the SM series felt like a distinct effort to modernise the program and directly answer other things that are popular. Yokai Watch was huge for a couple of years around the XY series and definitely influenced where the series went next. And as far as I know, it's paid off too. It seems like the SS series is generally continuing the trend from what little we've seen, although it sounds like there's more of a journey involved in the plot this time.

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SM got really good as it progressed so hopefully next saga can take the better elements of SM and bring back the battling of XY and we’d have the best of both worlds. Also limiting the cast to just Ash and Go next saga should help with the development since SM having a bloated cast of 6 plus like 10 recurring characters was a bit too much.

Also this November marks the 17th anniversary of the end of the original series and Misty leaving the anime. Lol, can you believe there was once a time people thought the anime couldn’t go on without Misty and all those people who used to troll Pokémon forums in the early 2000’s, raging about Misty leaving or claiming people couldn’t like another female companion more than her? Heh, feels so absurd thinking about that now over 17 years later, now that we’ve had 8 more female leads in the series. And now the entire series is after Misty left, so she retroactively became  a short lived character in the franchise.

Sometimes I legit wonder what happened to those people, but I guess they’re just not online anymore or moved on from Pokémon in general, it is two decades later after all and we’re not in 2005 anymore.

Looking forward to the next series, and I would like to see all of Ash’s old companions like Misty/Brock, the SM cast, etc appear for a few eps next saga. Bonnie/Clemont had better appear in Kalos at least.

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To move away from the current anime discussion for a moment, there’s something I wanna talk about.

I recently got around to checking out some of early original series episodes in the original Japanese, and something that really stuck out to me was the musical choices.

I’ve seen comments from militant dub fans in the past (...okay, one militant dub fun) saying that one of the things they hate about the Japanese version was how often they would misuse their soundtracks, going on to use a scene from the first movie as an example (an example that I disagree with).

When I watched the first five episodes of the original series in Japanese...I kind of started to understand where the guy was coming from.

In the first episode, the scene where Ash is frantically cycling away from the Spearow in the rain is accompanied in the dub by a piece of 4kids-made music that does a decent job of getting across that sense that Ash is in a real pinch. The music in the Japanese version, meanwhile, is the standard wild Pokemon battle music.

Ehhh...okay. Not the most fitting theme to be playing in a frantic situation like that now is it?

Next in the second episode, the scene where Misty finally catches up to Ash at the Pokemon Centre with her wrecked bike. She starts ripping into him, and then the mood shifts when Ash tells her his Pikachu isn’t doing so hot. The dub uses 4kids-only music again for this moment which, again, works well enough. The Japanese instead uses “Tears After the Cloudy Weather”. Now I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I love that theme. It’s just...we literally just had it used one episode ago, in a scene that called for it, but I don’t believe it was needed here.

The last example, the one that truly leaves me scratching my head, is in “Showdown in Pewter City”.

So, do you guys remember the scene after Ash and Brock’s first round were Flint takes Ash to watch Brock taking care of his siblings at home? The music that plays over the scene in the dub, another 4kids-made one, fits the scene perfectly. It’s a melancholic piece that helps the viewer to sympathise with Brock, showing them that there’s a softness under the stern exterior we just witnessed during that gym battle. So what music did the Japanese version use?

...is this scene of Brock taking care of his siblings supposed to have some kind of sinister undertone that I’m not seeing?

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The first season dub is head and shoulders above the later dub seasons in terms of compromise however, because while it did try improvising with its own studio music, it did at least USUALLY keep a lot of the original tracks when they were most effective (eg. almost all of the games remixes were still regularly heard in the dub). By the time of Johto however, 4Kids barely uses any of the original music besides the odd handful of games related tracks and the Team Rocket theme, a pattern replicated in most TPCI seasons if not worsened, and the quality of their studio music they use to replace it also worsens, now replacing perfectly good tracks with unfitting elevator music that syncs even less with the events.

I heard the Sun and Moon dub is a mild improvement over recent seasons, though still heavily discards a lot of the Japanese version's better tracks and in a 'NEVER uses them even when they fit' sort of way rather than just to spice things up. I can NOT forgive taking out all renditions of Lillie's theme. 

That said, one thing I like about the Japanese version is its occasional use of NO MUSIC AT ALL. The dub for whatever reason is completely averse to any moments of silence, as if western cartoons never have it. Sometimes it's effective in terms of giving atmosphere which cannot be granted with a constant soundtrack blaring in the background. I think in the fact the only cases the dub utilised this were for a handful of Diamond and Pearl episodes that were handed to another studio that kept the soundtrack completely as is.

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This is going to be SO much fun. That's the feeling that's building up inside of me as I watch this trailer. It's gonna be a blast and way more enjoyable for me than SM ever was aside from Brock and Misty's battle episodes and the match against Kukui and Tapu Koko.

I'm so ready for this.

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