Last Saturday afternoon, frustrated that there were no new Pokémon to be found in my neighborhood, I decided to look up the show on YouTube instead. If you can't catch them all, might as well watch them, right? What I thought was going to be a nice little break from Pokémon hunting has become a new major obsession. I was 10 when the show premiered in 1998, the same age as main protagonist Ash Ketchum, but I never saw past the third or fourth episode. I only remember bits and pieces, not from the show, but from memes and GIFs. So I'm seeing almost everything for the first time now and I have to say, the show still holds up 18 years after it first came out. It's the cute action comedy anime that appeals to all ages, which I wish we had more of these days.
Come for the adventure and the novelty of meeting all the adorable Pokémon, stay for the friendship and camaraderie of Ash's squad. I'm only on episode 25 (out of 83!!!) of season one and I've already learned so much about ~life~ from the show.
- Things happen for a reason.
In his excitement to start his Pokémon journey, Ash ends up being the last to claim a starter Pokémon and is left with Pikachu, a stubborn Pokemon not recommended for beginners. Training Pikachu and winning his trust was really a challenge for Ash, but he wouldn't have had it any other way. The little fireball also proves throughout the show that he's not like any other Pikachu, so it was really a blessing in disguise for Ash.
- You can't learn everything from textbooks.
When Ash meets a few snooty kids from an exclusive Pokémon school, he's intimidated by their extensive knowledge of Pokemon. But he shows them that courage and experience (with a bit of luck) are just as important as book smarts.
- Pokémon have feelings too.
Behind their tough exterior, Pokémon are fragile creatures who feel bad when their masters mistreat them. Abandoned by its master, Charmander refuses to leave the tree trunk where its master promised he would come back for it. Fortunately, Charmander eventually realizes that its loyalty is better pledged to someone worthy.
- There are no bad Pokemon, only bad masters.
In one of my favorite episodes, all the Pokémon are separated from their masters and they band together to find them. Meowth, the speaking Pokémon of Team Rocket, tries to attack Pikachu and co. using Ekans and Koffing, but both refuse because Meowth is not their master. Without the bad guys to order them around, Ekans and Koffing are actually pretty decent and are happy to play nice with the other Pokémon.
- There's more to raising a Pokémon than making it evolve.
There's bonding with it, having adventures with it, and teaching it things that it would never learn if you take the fastest shortcut (see: the "Electric Shock Showdown" between Pikachu and Raichu, Pikachu's evolved form).
- "Good friendships last forever even though friends don’t always stay together."
When it came time for the Butterfree mating season, Ash had to let Butterfree go. It was very emotional for him because Butterfree was the first Pokémon he ever caught, back when Butterfree was still a Caterpie. Ash watched his Pokemon grow and evolve, so in that moment he was like a dad sending his kid off to college, knowing it's for the best.
- "When people fight, it means they really care about each other."
Ash and Misty are always at each other's throats—if they didn't care about each other, they wouldn't bother to try to settle their differences or make each other understand their point of view. Another thing that true friends do? Tease each other about their crushes, of course! Brock, who develops a crush on practically every girl they come across (and there are A LOT), is the best target for this!
What's your favorite Pokémon episode? Tell us in the comment section below!