Plot: Pikachu and the other Pokemon are traveling to a lakeside to have a picnic, but their journey is detoured when some nearby Ghost Pokemon (and others) who live in a Ghost House intervene. It’s their Ghost Carnival day – a day when they select one of their group to be scared by the other Pokemon who create a spooky experience in the house. After that, they have a feast and other festivities. However, their shtick has become stale doing it on each other every year, so they lure Pikachu and his pals into the house to scare them instead.
Meanwhile, Meowth, Wobbuffet and Cacnea are on a job to demolish the Ghost House to make room for a new restaurant. Pikachu and the gang have to team up with the spooky group of the Ghost House to stop Meowth from destroying their home.
Breakdown: I swear to God, I didn’t plan this. Check the list, this was next to be reviewed on the list of shorts, and I just happened to be lucky enough to have the Halloween-ish special fall in October.
Pikachu’s Ghost Carnival, which is an inaccurate name because it’s not his carnival, is definitely on the higher end of the spectrum for Pokemon Short quality. It doesn’t have Pokemon being flung all over with no plot (Look at that plot synopsis. I have TWO paragraphs. TWO.) It’s not just cute Pokemon being cute – it’s a funny and clever I-guess-I’ll-classify-it-as-Halloween-special-there’s-a-jack-o-lantern-in-the-title-card-it-counts short.
I liked how it was a collection of various Pokemon, not just Ghost Types, who inhabited the house and enjoyed making a scary haunted atmosphere. Plenty of people (and Pokemon) enjoy pranks and creating scares for other people in an innocent and fun-loving manner. We’ve had many episodes where Ghost types are purely the troublemakers, but here we also have a Golbat, a Cubone, a Lickitung, a Koffing and a Ditto.
I’m glad I was able to find a subbed version of this short, because this was another that actually needed a translation at points. I think I would’ve been able to get through without it, and the subs I have might kinda be messed up anyway, but it added to the experience immensely because the narrator acts as a translator here.
I also really loved the art and animation for this short. Like many shorts, the landscape art is very much simplified, but they also stylized it to make it pop. The lineart for the landscapes is done in white instead of black and they choose to use a large amount of pastel colors to make it look brighter and more appealing. I also really loved the shots when the Pokemon are scared and the outer shots of the windmill. They were nicely drawn without being overly detailed.
Even though it wasn’t the best song ever, I enjoyed the ending credits song quite a bit. It captured the tone of the short just fine, was pretty catchy and felt like a summer celebration song (Which is pretty much what the Ghost Carnival was. It’s pretty clear that, despite being based on Halloween, that the short is taking place in summer.)
I also enjoyed that Meowth and the other Team Rocket Pokemon actually had a role to play in this short, unlike nearly any other short where they pretty much remind you that they exist and nothing else. Although, I was confused as to why they had a crane with no wrecking ball…so they used Cacnea. That’s a new level of giving no shits about your friend.
That being said, I did have a couple of problems with the short. First and foremost, this is the most audibly annoying thing I’ve experienced in recent memory. Togepi, if I ever complained about your crying, I’m sorry. This short, for a good two minutes overall, was an audio assault on my ears all because of May’s Squirtle and random Pokemon encounter that served absolutely no point, Bonsly.
They cry…a lot. And their voices while doing so are unbearable. I almost muted the short several times.
But the pinnacle of audio homicide came in the middle of the scarefest when Pikachu and the others were being targeted. Squirtle gets so scared that it starts bawling, and all of the other Pokemon, every…single…one won’t shut the hell up as they attempt to get Squirtle to calm down.
Just when you think they’ll stop stabbing my ears with their voice forks, Bonsly starts crying and I nearly lost it. I swear.
Speaking of May’s Squirtle, I don’t remember watching enough to remember how obnoxious that thing was, but even though it’s noted as being younger than Ash’s Squirtle, it’s not like it’s a baby – why does it keep bawling and acting like a spoiled brat? It’s like someone decided to fuse Togepi and Chikorita together, and that’s something I don’t even think hell would create.
Also, this may be the subs, but this short is a teensy bit….sexist towards Squirtle? I couldn’t find anything about May’s Squirtle’s gender online, but this short clearly refers to it as a girl. The first instance of noting her gender was after she plopped down on the ground whining that she was tired and refused to go on. After Pikachu was coerced into carrying her, the narrator noted that Squirtle was a “willful girl.”
Later, when the Pokemon are getting scared at the Ghost House, Squirtle starts crying and one of the Ghost House Pokemon states that it’s bad to make a girl cry….So, if her age isn’t the reason she’s a crybaby and she’s not being babied because she’s a baby….is it because she’s a girl? That’s kinda the vibe I got during those brief spots.
I’m aware that she eventually evolves into a Wartortle, and even though I love Wartortle, I find it bunk that this little Togepi wannabe evolved but Ash’s Squirtle never did. Maybe I’ll feel different when I revisit those episodes, but I doubt it. It’s a similar level of salty as when I found out May eventually got her Bulbasaur to evolve all the way into Venusaur. Like, seriously, does Ash feed his Pokemon anti-evolving juice in earlier Gens?
One other final negative note was that the shtick that the Ghost House Pokemon put their visitors through got pretty stale, and we only saw it three times. I can understand if they’re sick of it if they just keep doing the same tricks in succession over and over.
All in all, this was a very fun short that I’m glad I was able to review during Animating Halloween. It’s a perfect Pokemon short to watch on both Halloween and over the summer. You obviously won’t get any scares from it, even if you’re a little kid, but it’s still a good short.
Recommended Audience: Err….I guess if your child is extremely terrified of even the slightest thing related to ghosts or horror…..2+?
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