Nostalgia Critic Real Thoughts on – Pokemon the First Movie

With Pokemon Go taking over the world, what are Doug and Rob’s thoughts on Pokemon as a whole?

About Doug Walker

Creator of 5 Second Movies, Nostalgia Critic, Bum Reviews and more.

38 comments

  1. Devil's Advocate

    like I said on youtube, I think some people will be upset for legitamate reasons and not fanboyism.

    from what I understand, the original Japanese version had some depth and the creator wanted adults to like it too. like MewTwo’s motivation was an exastancial crisis over him not being “real being” and the original Mew was a supremacist as well.

    and Pokemon want to be caught and fight. it’s just fighting to the death that is the problem, they are pretty much as sapient as humans and we only don’t notice that because they usually don’t talk.

    • ^This. Though just to rephrase the fighting thing, pokemon have a level of sentience (at least in the anime), and pokemon battles are not so much cockfighting due to this but rather a team-based combat sport, more akin to a martial art tournament than anything else. So yeah, when they said fighting is wrong, its because the context of the fighting was different. Typically its friendly or competitive sport, this was unrelenting violence which solved nothing.

      Side note: The gotta catch ’em all would be a cynical marketing strategy if it was based on action figures, but the main product was the game, which was more a challenge to provoke sales rather than a direct order.

      • Devil's Advocate

        and to clarify on the thing about Pokemon sapience going unoticed most of the time, Meowth isn’t some super intelligent mon, all of them are capable of leaning and speakin English, most just don’t care too.

      • Has anyone heard of those terrible PETA Pokemon parody games that portray Pokemon battles as animal abuse? As a Pokemon fan, those Flash games offended me.

  2. TragicGuineaPig

    POKEYMAN? WITH THE POKEY AND THE MAN AND THE THING WHERE THE GUY COMES OUT OF THE THING!

    Edit: And now there’s an edit feature! And my avatar is back! Sweet!

  3. To be honest, I was always more into the games than the anime, especially with that weak censored dub there was (and I’m not talking about only the movie in that respect).

    I will say, on the subject of Pokemon GO, that I don’t think it’s so much about tricking people to go out as it is simply giving them incentive. I love going on walks, but I hate the summer heat and playing has still gotten me out on daily walks; not to mention I’m using a dog-walking app to raise donations for a nearby shelter while I’m at it.

  4. You say that, outside of the forced “violence isn’t right” message, the English dub is faithful. That’s actually not true. The story and dialogue were simplified on the whole because it was considered too dark and confusing for American children. Essentially, it was a movie about Mew-Two looking for meaning in his life.

    These two articles explain it pretty well.

    http://youchew.net/index.php?/articles/mediareviews/why-39pok%C3%A9mon-mewtwo-strikes-back39-is-much-better-than-we-thought-r491/

    http://dogasu.bulbagarden.net/comparisons/movies/mov01.html

    • It’s kind of amusing because it really isn’t that heavily complex for a child. It’s not like Mewtwo goes on a bunch of soliloquies about life aqnd death and existence and such. He’s still very much an antagonist bullying a group of kids just to prove he’s “real” and not a clone. Was there really much need to change him into a traditional world conqueror?

      What’s even weirder is how the dub seems to tread along the line of following the original theme of life at times before going back and forth to that fighting is wrong message. When the film ends with that dopey tears moment (which, to the dub’s credit, actually tried to hint towards it, unlike the original Japanese where it isn’t built up to at all, nor in the Perfect Edition’s Ambertwo/Aitwo sequence), the English Mewtwo makes some profound little speech that suddenly follows the original message and has zilch to do with the nonsense everyone was spouting earlier.

      And going back to that cut Ambertwo/Aitwo thing, apparently it was KidsWB that forced it to get cut. The english version of it (seen later as a DVD extra for Mewtwo Returns’ release) was apparently already done at that time, and then KidsWB went all nutty about it and cut it at the last second. This is why we hear Mewtwo asking if what all he saw “before” was just a dream near the beginning of the film, which makes no sense without that cut moment. This is proof that it was originally intended to be there in the dub (well, that and the fact a bilingual release in Japan had the kept intact in English a whole year before the west saw it as that aforementioned DVD extra).

  5. The big thing with Pokemon Go is that it is the first real mass appeal augmented-reality game. As such it is a major step towards the popularization and evolution of this unique genre. If you really want to understand the appeal of Pokemon Go I suggest you check out some other augmented-reality games like Ingress. These will give you a sense of what makes these games intriguing without the detraction of not understanding Pokemon.

    • Honestly, I feel like you don’t need to understand Pokemon to get Go in the first place. There’s not really much of a focus on combat and they change so many mechanics like experience and evolution and stuff…. All you really need to know is that there’s monsters and you throw balls at them to catch them. That and the specific Pokemon is pretty much all that caries over from the general series.

  6. I’ll just address the point about “haven’t you ever seen puppies play? Roughhousing and violence is just gonna happen!” You do know that when our cute domesticated pets play-fight as puppies/kittens it’s because they still have instincts that are training them to one day kill each other in the wild as adults, right? By your logic, humans play violent video games because we are naturally inclined to practice for when we are violent adults. I’m not sure that argument plays.

  7. It’s also curious since I think at it’s prime people like the cartoon to the point where it sort of told the events of the first games. Now the cartoon that’s still going has better animation but a lot of people have moved from it.

    I think sometimes there are things that stuck with you at the moment. There are others like Sage has said that stick with you despite it’s flaws, and well for me, I think I more often than not take for granted good visuals until there’s another sort of thing that hooks me.

    I’m not sure if that’s because I’m still a Nintendo fan, or that I don’t dig realistic visuals as most people do.

  8. Funny thing is that Pokémon dropped the ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All’ tagline since, in the Anime, Ash didn’t seem to be catching very many Pokémon at all XD I honestly don’t think that it was to sell merchandise but more for the games since they were primarily about catching as many Pokémon as possible..Nintendo of America expected the series to bomb in the United States, so its likely they didn’t even consider selling a ton of merchandise when the ‘Gotta Catch ‘Em All’ tagline was made.
    The current Pokémon tagline is ‘Train On’.

    Also worth pointing out because I’m a nerd: Ash didn’t keep Pikachu in a ball and, even if he was, evidently (according to the games), each PokéBall has an environment attuned to each Pokémon in them. Then, with Pokémon saying their names, its a weird thing Japan does, Yoshi from the Super Mario Bros. series does the same thing these days (and in an old Nintendo Power comic).

  9. Doug feeds on our misery. LOL. I loved Pokemon the First Movie. I loved the soundtrack too. I think I saw the following ten movies but I’ve lost track now. Also, I always get scared when animals roughhouse in real life but then again, I haven’t had many pets so that may be it.

  10. Ghost Pokemon: Definitely NOT for kids.

    • I think that most kids know what a ghost is. They know Casper and they know about Ghostbusters.

      • Most of the Ghost Pokemon actually do have pretty creepy descriptions. Like for example, Yamask has the face of the person it used to be, Banette is an abandoned doll that wants to get revenge on it’s previous owner, Drifblimp abducts children and they’re never seen again, stuff like that.

  11. Okay, time to be a pokemon apologist.
    The first movie didn’t really match the japanese. The english dub of Pokemon in general takes a lot of the seriousness out, since “it’s for kids” which means a lot younger audience when said here than when said in japan.
    The reason for the exposition at the start is because it’s central to Mewtwo’s character and motivation, the focus of the movie. It explains how he came to be and WHY he’s having the identity crisis that’s supposed to be the story of the movie.
    The first movie’s animation was kinda poor, but that’s because it was trying to match the anime which was pretty poor until… idk, the third game’s generation? So when the gameboy advance was out.
    The “pokemon aren’t meant to fight” line adds “not like this” because they knew it would counteract the whole point of pokemon otherwise, and the fighting in the movie was pokemon fighting to the death, rather than until incapacitation like in the show and games. The manga shows pokemon getting straight up killed but it’s totally separate from the anime’s world where everything is happy and safe.
    Canonically, pokemon cannot be captured by pokeballs unless they want to be. They have to accept the human as a worthwhile partner. Basically, and I’m basing this off a good theory on why pokemon and humans coexist the way they do, pokemon are really strong and can be really smart, but they’re kind of stuck in their natural habitat and lack the strategic element that humans have. Humans have the natural human urges to fight and compete, and when there are fucking dragons and fire-breathing lizards roaming around, they make a pretty good way to satisfy those urges. The pokemon then get the much needed travel, basically free food and shelter, and someone who can help them grow stronger, which is a necessary thing for them considering that the only way they can evolve, which is basically like growing up to them, is by getting stronger. So pokemon get their basic needs taken care of and a friend (or many friends if you count the trainer’s other pokemon) and/or a coach to help them become able to move on in their development cycles rather than being stuck as a child (still able to mate though, mind you. It’s not so much a maturity as it is a physical development, if that makes any sense.) all their life. That’s why the bad guys, Team (Insert name here, usually Rocket) don’t use pokeballs to catch their pokemon unless it’s one they’ll train themselves. They use nets and cages because that way the pokemon doesn’t have to accept them.
    I’ve heard that in the original version, Mew is kind of a dick and tells Mewtwo how he’s a mistake and an abomination and THAT’s why they fight, rather than just Mewtwo not liking Mew because “well you’re why I exist.”
    There’s an episode where Ash and Team Rocket are hooked up to machines so they feel the pain their pokemon feel, and it shows them that “hey, you’re actually putting these sentient creatures in an actual fight,” but it’s still much more like a sparring match than a death battle when pokemon fight, barring some parts of the manga.
    Honestly, you’d probably have been better off reviewing Pokemon 2000, because it, from what I remember having not watched it in years, has a very self-centered plot. It doesn’t really require knowledge of the anime to get invested in, and the english dub does some clever things that I don’t know if the original japanese had in it. The final message is somewhat weird, since the villain is just trying to catch pokemon, like literally everyone in the pokemon world, but it’s basically saying “pokemon aren’t just animals, they’re not only sentient but can be incredibly powerful and they are forces of nature. Just like with nature, if you dick around with an ecosystem for selfish reasons, shit’s gonna go badly.”
    Personally, I’d love to see a review on Pokemon 2000, even if you tear into it harder than you normally would just for the reactions.
    You’re actually not that far off with your theory on pokemon having kept people inside too much. Supposedly, the original creator of the concept made it because he wanted to share with people the joy he found in bug hunting/collecting. So pokemon go is sort of doing that, though I don’t think the person in question had anything to do with it. The game is literally just geocaching. The most important spots to go to are landmarks and special places like malls, museums, sculptures, etc.

    • Mew never says that Mewtwo is a mistake and an abomination in the original. He just wants to prove that the real Pokemon can match up to the clones. The whole final battle is just about two sides fighting to prove their worth and who is more “real,” with the onlookers stating how pointless it all is because all of them are real living creatures.

  12. I never was super into pokemon but I downloaded pokemon go to see what the fuss was about. It’s fun. That was really it haha. I play it casually.

    • I know, right? It sounds kind-of stupid, but there really is just something inherently fun about going out, finding something in your backyard or at the park or whatever, and then getting stuff for catching it. And then there’s the social element on top of that so your work can actually pay off in a rewarding way.

  13. I know he probably won’t, but it would be pretty cool if he did the second and third movies. I know that at least the third film isn’t ‘NOSTALGIA CRITIC’ bad, it’s actually pretty good, but it would be cool to get their impressions on them at some point.

  14. The Real Silverstar

    I find it funny how half of the comments on here are from Pokemon apologists trying desperately to prove to Doug and Rob that Pokemon isn’t “kiddie”, rather I would find it funny if it weren’t so sad.

    For all the ones doing that, you should be angry and embarrassed at yourselves. The Walkers just aren’t into Pokemon for their own reasons; you guys are acting like they’re implying that once you reach a certain age, you’re not allowed to enjoy certain things anymore, or that you’re not permitted to be a fan of something just because of how old you are, when they never said anything of the sort.

    News flash: you can like whatever you want, and you don’t have to explain yourself or defend it either. THAT’S what being an adult is, not worrying about if things are “too kiddie”. That’s something a teenager would worry about.

    Furthermore, I wish folks would stop trying to convert the Walkers into Pokemon fans. Doug and Rob aren’t fans of Pokemon, well, so fucking what? If you dig it, then that’s all that should matter. We don’t all have to be into the same things. If everyone felt exactly the same way about everything, then life (as well as videos on sites like this) would be boring because we’d all be some hive-mind collective and there’d be no variety.

    • Devil's Advocate

      I am not a Pokemon fan and was just saying what I know from other sources. even if Pokemon is still a kid’s franchise, it’s still worth pointing out some of the depth it has and it’s not “junk food entertainment”.

      • The Real Silverstar

        Yeah, see, here’s the thing: I literally don’t care about any of that, and a sizable chunk of the people who play the games don’t either. You’re basically embodying the sort of mentality I mentioned earlier; why are you laboring so hard to prove to us all that Pokemon is so deep, layered and intricate, especially if you’re “not a fan” as you claim? Why does that even matter? You’re either into Pokemon or you’re not.

        Maybe it’s just “junk food entertainment” and maybe it isn’t, who the hell cares? At the end of the day, when you strip the thing down to bare bones level, it’s just a game involving supernatural creatures who get trapped inside of balls and fight for their owner’s amusement. Some people are going to be into that and some people aren’t. Does if have to be anything else? Everything desn’t have to be deep to be fun, it just has to be fun.

        • Devil's Advocate

          well, Linkara is one of the ones saying it has some depth too. maybe it’s because I’m a brony and defending against the “it’s a little girls show, there’s no substance to it” mindset makes me empathize with those trying to inform Doug and Rob about Pokemon.

          and like MLP, I may conseed Pokemon is just candy entertainment but it’s sugar free at the least from what I understand.

          • The Real Silverstar

            Yeah, ’cause screw accepting that everyone isn’t into all the things that you’re into and they have their own reasons for feeling the way they do which should be respected even if you don’t agree with them. That would make too much sense. Ramming your own views down other peoples’ gullets when nobody fucking asked you is much easier. Here we go again with your “everyone who doesn’t share my view on things is wrong and needs to converted to my way of thinking” attitude.

            Seriously, stop acting over-privileged and stop painting others’ opinions as objectionably incorrect just because they don’t suit your personal preferences. Why do Doug and Rob have to think Pokemon is all deep and intricate just because you want them to? Why can’t you just accept that other people have differing opinions on things for once?

          • Devil's Advocate

            I do accept that it may just not bee their thing and I could be wrong about Pokemon as I don’t know that much about it but a show either has character development and depth or it doesn’t, that’s not a matter of opinion, weather or not character development, for instance, exists in a work is not subjective, only how it’s handled.

  15. You fellas should talk to one of your pokemon experts like Il Neige to explain certain things about it to you; They’d be able to answer all your questions.

  16. Acetylsalicilique

    Anyone telling you you should watch the show to like/understand the movie is full of it. There is one scene in the entire anime that connects at all to the movie, and it’s just a wink at the audience. The whole Mew/Mewtwo storyline is entirely told in the movie.

    Basic point is : Pokémon is freaking awesome. The anime sucks.

  17. I’d wish for an NC Editorial discussing, if movies could be fan articles.

  18. Devil's Advocate

    and another reviewer I sometimes watch recommended the eighth movie, with Lucario, to non Pokemon fans.

  19. I on the contrary agree with your opinions 100% Walkers.

  20. I really don’t understand this or my or younger stupid-ass generation of pop cultural idiocy. Pokemon Go has dastardly, despicably took over the Russian youth in Federal Russia by fucking storm, damn you Japanese with your even more enhanced intoxicating pop cultural spreading schemes, (I know that’s modern times racist) Imperial Japs are and were sort of back or returned since the early 1990’s (Except Miyazaki among others) and are tolerated since the end of the 20th century, figure out why? And by the way Donald Trump is no idiot richest guy, he might be the only one clever and smart enough to save this nation for the little jobless, gloryless, little underdog white Jewish-Russian guy like me and not because he’s Republican, I’ll never trust Hilary Clinton with her foreign policy (and even domestic policy), she might further isolate Mother Russia and use NATO to declare war on her and while sending all the remaining careers (industrial or otherwise in this country to People’s Republic of China while at the same time antagonizing it or also her. Please wake up Americans politically and protest to prevent World War III potentially. Anyway on the international news a lot of Russian millennials are being distracted by the poison of Nintendo’s Pokemon Go.

  21. I mean… to be fair to the use of ‘the first movie’, the second movie was already out in Japan by the time it came over to our shores…

    M01 (mewtwo strikes back AKA the first movie) came out in Japan in July of 1998, and in the U.S. in November of 1999. The M02 (The power of one/pokemon 2000) came out in Japan in July of 1999, and in the U.S. it was July 2000. They already KNEW there were going to be more movies to release REGARDLESS of whether the first movie was a commercial success or not BECAUSE THE NEXT ONE WAS ALREADY FINISHED.

    Typically the movies get announced in December and released in Japan in July the next year. And it’s only ever been since movie 12 that the U.S. release has been happening before the next movie has already been announced in Japan.

  22. Unpopular opinion: Pokemon Go is the worst Pokemon game ever.

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