What is Pokemon?

The Pokemon anime (Japanese cartoon) series is one of the longest running and most successful animated series to have aired on TV in the past few decades and has spawned numerous spinoff specials and theatrical movies.

Based on the popular Nintendo video games of the same name, Pokemon follows the story of Ash, a ten year old boy from a place called Pallet Town which is located within a region called, Kanto.

While this region does borrow its name from the real world region of the same name in Japan, the entire world in the anime is a totally different fantasy world where animals have never existed and instead are replaced with creatures called, Pokemon.

While many Pokemon fall into the small, cute category, the size and shape of Pokemon varies with some resembling our world’s dinosaurs, others who actually come from outer space, several who are so powerful that some people believe them to actually be gods and even ghost Pokemon who have the ability to communicate with dead Pokemon and humans and even possess others.

When the series starts, we are told that there are 150 of these Pokemon known to the scientific community with the potential for many more to exist that haven’t been discovered yet. People who aim to see them all are called Pokemon Masters. This is what the main character Ash wants to be though he starts his journey as a Pokemon Trainer, a person who captures Pokemon and trains them to be stronger and participate in Pokemon Battles (where 2 to 4 Pokemon Trainers’ Pokemon fight).

To capture a Pokemon, a Pokemon Trainer has to weaken it with one of their existing Pokemon. Once weakened, the trainer can capture it with a Poke Ball, a man-made device used for storing Pokemon. Strangely while a wild Pokemon will resist capture, once it’s captured it will usually immediately show affection to the trainer and obey them without question.

There are exceptions though and several Pokemon are shown throughout the series to disobey their trainer and even attack them. The Pokemon Trainer then has to either prove that they are worthy enough to be their trainer or create an emotional bond with the Pokemon through understanding the Pokemon’s feelings or even saving it from a dangerous situation.

This theme of companionship, friendship and understanding is a constant theme in the Pokemon anime which is strongly enforced through several characters frequently lecturing an episode’s protagonist on the importance of these values.

Pokemon Anime Seasons, Specials and Movies

Due to being based on the Pokemon video games, the anime’s storyline and production is heavily influenced by the current video games’ storyline, location and characters. While each generation of the video games feature completely new characters though, the Pokemon anime follows the same main character, Ash and his first Pokemon and best friend, Pikachu as they travel to new regions (featured in the current video game) and make new friends in their search to discover more Pokemon (currently as many as 719) and Ash’s attempt to become the world’s strongest Pokemon Trainer and Pokemon Master.

Unlike many other anime and the majority of Western animated series, the Pokemon anime airs on an almost weekly basis in Japan with the occasional week off for a major sporting event, episode repeat or a special episode that focuses on different characters set in the Pokemon anime world that technically doesn’t count as part of the season. The result is seasons with a relatively high number of episodes averaging around 52 episodes per season.

In addition to the televised anime, each year a Pokemon movie is released that takes place within that year’s region and features the current cast of characters. These movies usually feature very powerful and rare Legendary Pokemon and are usually accompanied by a Pokemon animated short aimed at young children before the main feature begins.

The first season of the Pokemon anime, retroactively retitled years later as Pokemon Indigo League, is set in the Kanto region as is the first movie, Pokemon The First Movie.

The second season, Pokemon Adventures on the Orange Islands and the second movie, Pokemon 2000 are set in a chain of islands called, you guessed it, the Orange Islands.

The third, fourth and fifth seasons of the anime, Pokemon The Johto Journeys, Pokemon Johto League Champions and Pokemon Master Quest as well as their respective movies, Pokemon 3, Pokemon 4ever and Pokemon Heroes are set in the Johto region.

The sixth, seventh and eighth seasons of the Pokemon anime, Pokemon Advanced, Pokemon Advanced Challenge and Pokemon Advanced Battle as well as their respective movies, Pokemon Jirachi Wishmaker, Pokemon Destiny Deoxys and Pokemon Lukario and the Mystery of Mew are set in the Hoenn region. It’s worth noting that Pokemon Lukario and the Mystery of Mew was the last Pokemon movie to feature the original English voice actors before the majority were replaced. Pokemon Advanced Battle was the last full season with the original English cast.

The last 14 episodes of the eighth season, Pokemon Advanced Battle and the ninth season, Pokemon Battle Frontier see the main characters return to the Kanto region. The ninth movie, Pokemon Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea starts in Kanto, however the story quickly takes the characters out to sea, making their exact location difficult to determine.

The tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth seasons of the Pokemon anime, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Battle Dimension, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Galactic Battles and Pokemon Diamond and Pearl: Sinnoh League Victors as well as their respective movies, Pokemon The Rise of Darkrai, Pokemon Giratina and the Sky Warrior, Arceus and the Jewel of Life and Pokemon Zoroark: Master of Illusions are set in the Sinnoh Region. The three films, The Rise of Darkrai, Giratina and the Sky Warrior and Arceus and the Jewel of Life are exceptional among the Pokemon movies for being an actual movie trilogy that shares several story arcs across all three films.

The fourteenth and fifteenth seasons of the anime, Pokemon Black & White and Pokemon BW Rival Destinies as well as the sixteenth season which was split into Pokemon BW Adventures in Unova and Pokemon BW Adventures in Unova and Beyond as well as their respective movies, Pokemon White: Victini and Zekrom / Pokemon Black: Victini and Reshiram, Pokemon Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice and Pokemon Genesect and the Legend Awakened are set in the Unova Region with Ash and Pikachu returning to Kanto once again towards the end of Pokemon BW Adventures in Unova and Beyond.

The current, seventeenth season of the Pokemon anime, Pokemon the Series: XY as well as its upcoming movie, Pokemon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction are set in the new Kalos Region.

If I Could Only Watch One…

  • …Episode I would watch the first season episode, Episode 20: Bye Bye Butterfree. It’s a beautiful episode that explores the more dramatic side of a Pokemon Trainer raising a Pokemon and learning that sometimes you have to let go of the ones you love so that they can have the best life they can have. The events in this episode have had a major influence in the maturing of Ash’s personality and were even brought up recently in Episode 33, Butterfree and Me, of the show’s sixteenth season!
  • …Season I would watch the first season, Pokemon Indigo League. In addition to being the only season of the anime to feature a full trip to a Pokemon League within one season and providing an introduction to most of the main characters, there’s a wonderful sense of charm and humor to these episodes that’s reduced in the later seasons. It also features the majority of the original 150 Pokemon and a very strong female supporting character in the form of Misty.
  • …Movie I would watch the eighth Pokemon movie, Pokemon Lukario and the Mystery of Mew. It provides a rare glimpse into the ancient past of the world the Pokemon anime is set in and tells a genuinely moving story of sacrifice and loyalty mixed with some epic action scenes and comedic moments. The animation is also very impressive and the music score is one of the most moving out of all the films in the series.

Who Should Watch?

Pokemon is an anime series that can, and is, enjoyed by fans of Japanese and Western animation of all ages. Adults can get frustrated with some slight plot repetition with episodes in the later seasons and movies but those who can just enjoy it for what it is will have a lot of fun.

The focus on friendship and family and the lack of any sort of major violence or sexual themes makes this an ideal anime for younger children (preschool / kindergarten) to watch unattended. Be warned though that some of the movies lean towards a slightly older age group (preteens) regarding violence.

How to Watch

Due to its popularity, the Pokemon anime and its movies are fairly easy to get your hands on.

The official North American website offers a wide selection of episodes to watch for free from all the story arcs. The anime also airs very frequently on free to air TV in most countries around the world in addition to the cable channel, Cartoon Network.

Naruto Shippuden Ending

After 15 years, the long running Naruto manga series (now in its second arc, Naruto Shippuden) is finally nearing a conclusion.

The final chapter of the Naruto Shippuden manga will hit newstands in Japan in the November 10th volume of Shonen Jump Magazine with it likely to be collected in the upcoming Volume 72 of the Naruto Shippuden manga (release date TBA).

While no final airdate for the Naruto Shippuden anime has been given, it’s very unlikely it would continue long after the manga has finished and with a Naruto movie titled, Naruto: The Movie, The Last (or The Last Naruto: The Movie) due out in Japan on December 6th, it’s beginning to look like the anime will finish up in November with the movie acting as a sort of grand finale for the fan-favorite series.

For a closer look at the final Naruto movie, the teaser trailer and Naruto’s hot new hairstyle, check out the

Where and When to Watch the Last Naruto Movie

The moon is approaching dangerously close to Earth! Unless something is done, the moon will disintegrate, showering the earth with gigantic meteorites. As the clock ticks towards the end of the world, can Naruto save the earth from this crisis? The final chapter of Naruto’s story unfolds!

In the same month the final episode airs though, one last Naruto movie will hit the big screen and conclude this chapter in Naruto’s life in a grand theatrical fashion.

As a special treat to international fans, The Last: Naruto The Movie (in case you were confused, that’s the actual movie title) will be getting limited screenings outside Japan in the original Japanese language with English subtitles.

A Western release of the movie on Blu-ray and DVD is a given sometime in 2015 in both Japanese and English audio but for dedicated Naruto fans who don’t want to wait, these screenings are sure to please

Attack on Titan and Marvel Comics Crossover Confirmed

AttackonTitan-Marvel

In a surprise announcement, Marvel’s C.B. Cebulski revealed on his Twitter account that the monstrous titans from the hit manga series, Attack on Titan would be crossing over into the Marvel Universe in a manga to be released in late November 2014.

In a series of tweets, Cebulski reflected on how much he loves crossovers and how excited he is for this one.

I loved “Marvel Team-Up” and “What If?” as a kid. I would spend hours dreaming up my own crossovers & alternate reality stories. As I got more into manga, I always imagined how cool it would be for the Marvel characters to cross into the pages of manga worlds. For many decades & multiple reasons, almost no manga, especially popular titles, crossed into other comic universes… until now! If you ever wondered, “What if the titans from Hajime Isayama’s “Attack on Titan” attacked the Marvel universe?”, you’ll find out soon!! Not a joke, folks. Attack on Titan and the Marvel Universe are crossing over! In 2 weeks. In Japan.

No details concerning plot or which characters would star though the preview picture released with the announcement implies that Spider-man will appear and at least part of the story will be set in a modern day metropolis, most likely New York City.

While no official announcements have been made about an English language release of this manga special outside of Japan, it is highly likely that it will be released relatively soon on Crunchyroll’s new manga service.

This isn’t the first time Marvel has worked with Japanese creators. Several of their franchises have had manga and anime releases over the years such as X-Men, Iron Man and Spider-man.

Where and When to Watch the Live Action Attack on Titan Movie

Based on the hit anime and manga series of the same name, the first live action Attack on Titan movie is due for release in Japan on the first of August and will be screened internationally soon after the Japanese premiere! The second film, Attack on Titan: End of the World premieres on the 19th of September 2015 and is also expected to get a release outside of Japan.

This page will constantly update with the latest cinema times and locations for both Attack on Titan films so make sure to bookmark it or pin it to one of your Pinterest boards so you can check back for updates as we get closer to the film’s launch.

The Japanese live action Attack on Titan movies will be directed by Shinji Higuchi, who is known for his storyboarding on several hit anime series and movies such as Macross Plus, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kill la Kill, Pokemon: Jirachi Wish Maker among many others.

Attack on Titan manga creator, Hajime Isayama will be supervising production and the script will be written by Yusuke Watanabe who recently worked on 2014’s new Dragon Ball Z anime movie, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods.

Due to the fact that almost all the characters in the Attack on Titan anime and manga series are non-Japanese, several elements of the film will be changed to make the production more practical for a Japanese film. While the famous walls and cities will still be present, the part of the world the story takes place in will be set in a post-apocalyptic Asian country (possibly even Japan itself) instead of a European one and only several main characters from the series will be featured in the film with the supporting cast being made up of a collection of original characters with Japanese names to suit the entirely Japanese cast.

Eren, Mikasa and Armin will be portrayed by Haruma Miura, Kiko Mizuhara and Kanata Hongo while Satomi Ishihara, Nanami Sakuraba and Takahiro Miura will play Hans, Sasha and Jean. Other Japanese actors starring in the two live action Attack on Titan films include, Hiroki Hasegawa as Shikishima, Ayame Misaki as Hiana, Pierre Taki as Souda, Jun Kunimura as Kubal, Shu Watanabe as Fukushi, Satoru Matsuo as Sannagi and Rina Takeda as Lil.

All About the New Netflix Anime Series Glitter Force

What is Glitter Force About?

Glitter Force is the English language version of the anime (Japanese cartoon) series, Smile Pretty Cure. It follows the adventures of a group of five young girls who are given the ability to transform into magical superheroes by a mysterious and cute little critter called, Candy.

Together, the girls try to balance home and school responsibilities while trying to save the world from evil fairy tale villains and rescue the queen of the magical kingdom, Jubiland, Queen Euphoria.

Who are the Main Characters in Glitter Force?

The Glitter Force anime series revolves around five girls who make up the superhero team, Glitter Force, and their mascots Candy and Pop. Emily (Glitter Lucky) is usually the main focus of storylines and often acts as the leader of Glitter Force while Kelsey (Glitter Sunny) provides physical strength and a tom boy personality. Lily (Glitter Peace) is the typical shy girl, April (Glitter Spring) is good at sports, and Cloe (Glitter Breeze) is student council vice president, studies hard, and comes from a fairly traditional Japanese family.

How Many Episodes of Glitter Force are There?

Netflix has officially announced plans for 40 episodes of Glitter Force with the first 20 episodes forming Glitter Force Season One.

The final 20 episodes (Season Two) are expected to premiere on Netflix sometime during 2016.

Eight of the 48 Smile Pretty Cure episodes will not be adapted into English (hence the 40 episodes of Glitter Force) however the missing episodes announced so far (Japanese episodes 10, 17, and 19) are basic filler episodes which contributed very little to the overall storyline and were likely removed to improve the series’ pacing.

Is there a Glitter Force Movie?

There is an animated feature film that was released in cinemas in Japan called, Smile PreCure! The Movie: Big Mismatch in a Picture Book! but there have been no official announcements regarding an English release yet. If Glitter Force proves popular on Netflix though, a future release is extremely likely.

Who Sings the Songs in Glitter Force?

The new English songs in the Glitter Force anime series are performed by the North American-based pop group, Blush which consists of five members from Japan, South Korea, the Philipines, India, and Hong Kong.

Who Should Watch Glitter Force?

Glitter Force is a super accessible anime series that will appeal to fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the original 90s Sailor Moon.

There are no sexual themes or course language and while the fight scenes consist of lots of punches, kicks, and magical blasts, there is never any blood or gore and the fights never get too intense. Glitter Force is suitable for any age group and may be watched by children unsupervised. Need more convincing? Here are five reasons why everyone should be watching Glitter Force.

Where Can I Watch Glitter Force?

Glitter Force is available in most non-Asian regions via the popular streaming service, Netflix. There have been no announcements regarding TV broadcasts at this stage.

Are there Glitter Force DVDs and Blu-rays?

There have been no announcements regarding official Glitter Force DVDs or Blu-rays however since several Netflix shows have been given home releases in the past, a physical release of Glitter Force for fans to buy is a possibility if the series is popular enough.

When is an Anime Not an Anime?

Earlier this week, it was announced that the famous Japanese anime artist, Masaki Yuasa would be guest-animating an episode of the popular North American cartoon series, Adventure Time.

With so many global collaborative efforts behind animated films and series, the use of “anime” for Japanese animation and “cartoons” for non-Japanese animation is beginning to make a lot less sense than it did in the early 90s when anime began to boom in popularity.

Note: The word “anime”(pronounced “ah-ni-meh” in Japanese though “a-knee-may” in English usage) is literally the Japanese word for “animation” or “cartoon” and was adopted by Western speaking anime enthusiasts in the 90s to categorize animated tv series or films from Japan.

If a Western animation is animated by Japan based animation studios, is it an anime or cartoon? What if a Japanese company outsources a Chinese animation studio for partial or majority of the animation? Is it no longer an anime?

When is an anime not an anime? Or is the use of the word out of date, irrelevant, and should we just put all animation under one category such as “animation” (as is done in Japan and more and more internationally)?