Pokémon: Indigo League follows Ash and his new friends Brock and Misty through their journey across the Kanto region to become the best Pokemon trainer and win the Indigo League. Here is our full Pokémon: Indigo League Review.
The season started airing in the Spring 1997 anime season and ended during the Winter 1999 anime season. Pokémon: Indigo League was animated by OLM, also known for Odd Taxi, Inazuma Eleven, and Komi Can’t Communicate.
Embark on Ash Ketchum’s thrilling 82-episode journey in the Kanto region with his trusty sidekicks, Misty and Brock, in the Pokémon: Indigo League anime. Relive the nostalgia of your childhood as you watch Ash win his first five badges, although not by defeating the gym leaders, too much of my annoyance. This bothers me A Lot, something the Pokemon games always do is have you battle the gym leaders and defeat them, it’s kinda dumb that the 1st season of Pokemon doesn’t work that way and basically gives the majority of badges away for free.
The series does suffer from some drawbacks. The significant gap between gyms 6 and 7 results in several dull filler episodes that could have been trimmed down. Additionally, Team Rocket’s presence becomes tedious at times, often lacking justification for their involvement, with the show’s best episodes being those with minimal Team Rocket interaction or the complete opposite with the ones that have the focus 100% on them like the Meowth episode in Holywood(?).
It’s nice to see the series slowly evolve, from Team Rocket when they get their more iconic tools like the hot air balloon to Ash with his Pokemon and the relationships he builds with them. Especially in the final few episodes where the creators of the anime have a better grasp on what Team Rocket is there for, comic relief. But in the end, the focus gets brought back on them again in a bad way after just cheering Ash on in the 1st round and then later they wanna stop him for some reason.
The episodes where they follow an arc over a few episodes are great to see, they feel like the story progresses much more than in normal episodes. The “character of the week” thing is fine, but having so many episodes like that feels like there is not much progression for Ash, while the episodes with a 2/3 or even more episode arc feel like we are actually going somewhere with Ash, just like the Gym episodes.
The gags can get repetitive, especially with the overuse of Psyduck. Additionally, there is an imbalance between the amount of screen time given to Team Rocket and the development of the overall story. More variety in opponents would be welcome to keep things fresh. While the Psyduck gag improves over time, with a better pace and less repetition, some beloved Pokémon don’t get enough attention, such as Horsea who remains at the gym, and Lickytung and Victorybell who are quickly forgotten after their introduction.
If you’re a fan of Charizard, you may be disappointed to know that after it evolves from Charmander, it doesn’t get much screen time until the end of the season. Squirtle and Bulbasaur, on the other hand, get more attention. While this might not have bothered you at first, it can be frustrating to go 10+ episodes without seeing Charizard, especially since it was one of the main characters in the beginning. It almost feels like the writers just forgot about it until they needed it again.
I noticed that the talking can be slow, particularly in the early episodes. While this issue does improve as the season progresses, it can be frustrating at times. You might find that a conversation that should only take a few minutes ends up dragging on for much longer because of the slow dialogue pace, often due to Team Rocket’s lengthy intro.
The visuals in the anime may seem outdated at times, but it adds to the nostalgic feeling of the show. Although some of the effects and Pokémon designs appeared slightly off in the early episodes, they improved as the series progressed, with Pikachu and Meowth adopting their iconic look. While there isn’t anything remarkable about the visuals, the quality still holds up well today.
The Banned episodes
The banned episodes of the Pokemon: Indigo League are memorable and unique in their own ways. Among them, the beach episode stands out as one of the best basic episodes. It features the introduction of Misty and Brock to Ash’s mom and Professor Oak, an interaction missed by the English audience after the episode was banned. Despite the ban, the edited version of the episode, without the James part that got it banned, seems harmless and enjoyable.
On the other hand, the safari park episode, where Ash catches a group of Tauros, is also one of the best episodes, but it’s not hard to see why it’s banned. It contains a scene where Meowth resembles a notorious WW2 figure, and a character pointing a gun at Ash’s face. However, with some editing or the use of a water gun, this episode could be made appropriate for viewers.
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