Ever since the Pokemon series debuted in the 1990s, I have always wondered what it would be like to live in the Pokemon universe. I would imagine waking up as a child, excited to choose my first Pokemon. I usually picked Pikachu or Abra. Playing out my adventure, I would travel from city to city, collecting badges and Pokemon. During my journey, I would meet new friends and gain fame as one of the greatest Pokemon trainers. As I got older, these fantasies dimmed. However, Pokemon remained a part of my life. Playing hundreds of hours, I could experience what it would be like to live in the Pokemon universe.
Catching, training and naming these digital Pokemon was an acceptable substitute for the dreams of my childhood. I always thought it would be cool if the world of Pokemon was real. The Pokemon anime series seems based on the actual world, anyway. I would image that it would be like various sports. With the release of Pokemon TwilightWings last year, the series took another step towards breathing life into the series. I may be too old for my childhood dreams of catching them all, but Pokemon remains a world I would love to live in.
I’ve heard about Jujutsu Kaisen, but I thought it was just another demon manga/anime series. Considering my history with anime (Yu Yu Hakusho and Demon Slayer), I should have known not to prejudge based on tropes. Regardless, I Iove this series. It’s still in the middle but I like the world building, characters, and animation so far.
Manhwa (Korean comics) has become an important source for anime adaptation. Tower of God was my first exposure to the series by Lee Jong-hui. The story centers on Twenty-Fifth Bam. Trapped with his friend Rachel underneath the mysterious Tower, he follows her into the Tower. Bam encounters challenges on each floor of the Tower as he searches for Rachel. The first season is phenomenal, ending in a shocking cliffhanger.
Deca-Dence is a series set in the distant future, insect-like creatures called Gadoll have forced humanity towards extinction. I had no expectation for this series, so it was a surprise when Deca-Dence turned out to be far more sophisticated. The series was full of twists and turns, while making a critique of capitalism. Its themes are topically for 2020, and it was one of the most original anime of the year.
One of the biggest surprises of this year was Pokemon: Twilight Wings. A seven episode limited animated series, set in the Galar Region, the short anime series follows the citizens of Galar. Despite the short length of the series and each episode, Pokemon: Twilight Wings was impactful. All seven focused on side characters expanding the Pokemon universe through the eyes of Galar citizens. Pokemon: Twilight Wings was an emotional series with great animation.
I was excited about The God of High School from the moment they announced it. I wasn’t disappointed. Like Tower of God, it based on the series created by Yongje Park. While the series doesn’t reinvent the wheel, there are enough surprises to keep you interested. The God of High School balances humor with high octane action.
The most expected manga for me was Tite Kubo’s Burn the Witch. The series also released a movie of the same name. Both cover the same material, but I preferred the anime. We’re introduced to the principal characters, “Noel and Ninny, the world of Reverse London, and it all ends with a battle with an ancient dragon, Cinderella.” With the addition of music, sound effects, and explosions, Burn the Witch is a unique experience when animated.
Kimetsu no Yaiba: The Movie–Mugen Train is the first film from the Demon Slayer series. A direct sequel from the anime series, the film retells the Mugen Train arc. Tanjiro, Zenitsu, and Inosuke join the Flame Hashira, Kyojuro Rengoku in investigating disappearances on the Infinity Train. The movie centers on the themes of humanity and accepting death. Once again, Tanjiro emotional intelligence stands out.
I can’t wait for the Made in Abyss series returns. In the meantime, Abyss has produced three movies. The first two were recap movies, with Dawn of the Deep telling the Ido Front Arc. Made in Abyss continues to flush out the harsh universe, as Nanachi, Reg, and Riko head down towards the center of the Abyss. Like the Demon Slayer movie, using a film to tell an arc is proving to be a wonderful decision.
Dorohedoro follows Kaiman, a man with a lizard head, as he tries to find the one magic user that cursed him. Kaiman also has amnesia, making his search even more difficult. Dorohedoro is an odd series with a strange world. Each character has unique designs and powers to match. Dorohedoro is a stylised violent series with a intriguing mystery at its center.
I wasn’t into anime sports series until Yuri on Ice. I was so impressed with the series I wanted to give another popular sports anime a chance. Haikyuu!! To the Top is the fourth season of the volleyball anime. It separates Hinata and rival Kageyama as they develop apart. Hinata learns more about volleyball without playing and Kageyama sharpens his skills with Japans best. Once reunited, Hinata, Kageyama and the rest of Karasuno battle in the Spring Tournament.
The final episode of Pokemon Twilight Wings, Sky, opens in the hospital where it all began. Leon’s Championship match has arrived and because of John’s letter, all the kids from the hospital get to attend. On his way to the Stadium, John sees Leon lost on a mountain top. He asks the driver to stop. Elsewhere, the children are excited, however, Chairman Rose has no idea where Leon is. Meanwhile, Leon asks for a ride, with the winds being so powerful the driver tells Leon to ride Armorgaw without the taxi.
Leon agrees and takes John along. As they fly, Leon convinces Armorgaw to fly faster. They finally arrive and Chairman Rose begins the show. Leon tells John that they will battle the next time they meet. Leon battles against Raihan, the Hammerlocke Dragon-type Gym leader. John cries as he witnesses an epic battle between the two. Raihan uses his Goodra, against Leon’s Aegislash. However, uses Surf but it doesn’t seem to do anything. Next up is Flygon verses Dragapult, which uses its signature Dragon Darts move. Dragapult’s is defeated by Raihan’s Duraludon. This sets up a final clash between, Gigantamax Duraludon and Charizard.
The episode ends abruptly, however, it was the perfect conclusion for the limited series. While Pokemon Twilight Wings was never about Pokemon battle specifically, I’m glad it closed out with a brief but exciting battle. The ability for Pokemon to be more focused on a narrative that felt real, made me hope that future games might feature this level of attention to the story. Pokemon games have made strides in gameplay, but I never pay attention to the story that feels unimportant. Regardless, Pokemon Twilight Wings is an amazing animated series, that proves no matter the length and focuses of a Pokemon series, it can still be entertaining.
There’s a dark side to Pokemon. It illuminated through the Pokedex entries of many Pokemon. This particular dark element is best illustrated in the descriptions of the Ghost Pokemon. The Pokemon Cofagrigus entry reads in part that “People who approach Cofagrigus are swallowed and turned into mummies.” The Pokemon Lampent according to the Pokedex, uses spirits to “fuel its baleful fire.” It waits for hospital patients to die.
Banette use to be a doll that came to life after being disregarded, it seeks the child that abandoned it. Even more shocking is Yamask, who’s mask is created from the “face of a human.” Ghost Pokemon take center stage in this sweet but spooky episode. Pokemon: Twilight Wings episode 6, Moonlight, centers around Allister. The very young Ghost-type Gym leader from Stow-on-Side, Allister hides his face behind a mask. This episode returns to the story of John and Tommy.
After a falling out over their dreams of becoming Pokemon trainers, Tommy is hoping that he can make amends. He asks Allister for tickets to see Leon. However, Allister suggests apologizing in person. Together they sneak into the hospital, were Tommy apologizes. Meanwhile, Leon is finally given John’s letter by Chairman Rose. With one episode remaining Pokemon: Twilight Wings continues to tell touching stories.
After a delay due to COVID-19, Pokemon: Twilight Wings returns with “Assistant.” The fifth episode of the limited series follows Oleana. A secretary for Chairman Rose, as well as his companies, Macro Cosmos, vice-president. As a researcher, she invented the Dynamax Band. Oleana has been a recurring character in the Pokemon: Twilight Wing series, this time she takes center stage. In the past, Oleana is portrayed as working very hard, which impresses Chairman Rose.
One thing you will notice is that Oleana’s appearance changes from her younger days as a scientist to today. She originally appears wearing large glasses, somewhat unkempt hair, and a turtle neck sweater. As the vice-president of Macro Cosmos, she has gotten rid of the glasses, wears more high fashion clothing, and high heels. Oleana is constantly endured with questions from employees and expected to solve them. When she finally attempts to take the rest of the day off, Chairman Rose arrives. He offers her a ride back to the office and she accepts.
Oleana seems stoic but devoted to her job and Chairman Rose. She exhausts herself. Oleana is also devoted to the knowledge of Pokemon, as shown when she corrects the driver’s misunderstanding of Gigantamax vs Dynamax. Anyone that played the Pokemon: Sword and Shield know that Oleana is a villain, in Twilight Wings she is giving more nuance.