Pokemon Shorties! (10) Pokemon Adventure Club Review

Pokemon Short 10 Pokemon Adventure Club

Plot: Things happen. Pokemon are involved.

Breakdown: I have watched nearly all of the Pokemon shorts so far. I am well aware of their intentions, how they work, their target demographic etc., so believe me when I say this with certainty – this is, by far, the worst Pokemon short I’ve ever seen.

Nothing. Happens. Which is to be expected of the shorts, really. I’ve mentioned a few times by now that a good chunk of the shorts don’t really care about having a good story or anything, they just want to show Pokemon being cute and funny. And that’s fine. Their target demographic with these shorts is even younger than with the normal show, and that’s also fine.

But my god, this short is just awful. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s actually pretty annoying. I can completely understand why this short never got an English release.

I’m pretty thankful for that, honestly, because the narrator is again providing the voices for the Pokemon, so they didn’t have to have Rodger Parsons do this. Like I said before, no bad blood with Rodger Parsons, but he made my experience with the last short incredibly frustrating because he made zero effort to have the voices sound different between the Pokemon. The Japanese narrator, Unsho Ishizuka, is making very distinct voices for each Pokemon, and it’s so much better and easier to follow, even if I’m using subtitles.

The reason it’s annoying isn’t because we have May’s Squirtle or anyone else who likes to joust my eardrums with their voice lances – it’s because the short is insanely repetitive.

Let’s take the Regis for instance. Meowth and the others accidentally run into a Registeel while wandering around in the woods. It attacks them. Haha.

Later, in a cave, they try to move a ‘giant rock’ which is so obviously Regirock that I can’t believe they even tried to pass off this trick. It’s not like mistaking a Geodude, Graveler or Golem for a rock or an Oddish for a radish or a Exeggcute for a pile of eggs. Regirock is very human-shaped, and it was standing up. If they could see there was a ‘giant rock’ from a fair distance away, they could see that it had a very human-like shape.

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But whatever, Regirock attacks them. Haha. So this is already repetitive, but now that they’ve done this shtick with two Regis, what do you KNOW for a fact is going to happen soon? If you guessed, “they’ll run into a Regice and it will attack them, haha” then you have electrical impulses coursing through your skull meat.

Believe it or not, that’s not the only repetitive ‘joke’ they have running through this short. There’s an even MORE repetitive joke involving a Marill – or as I like to refer to it here as Marillypuff.

Why the nickname? Because, for reasons beyond my scope of human understanding, they decided to have this Marill act exactly like our old friend, Jigglypuff. And I mean EXACTLY like it.

Here’s the exact same Marill joke they use three times.

Meowth and the other Team Rocket Pokemon are hungry, so they get some fruit from a tree. Marill walks in out of nowhere and starts singing Jigglypuff’s song to the group for no reason. And I don’t mean it starts singing like Jigglypuff would. I mean, it’s the exact same melody as Jigglypuff’s song only with the lyrics being ‘Marill’ because it can’t say ‘Jigglypuff.’

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Predictably, the group falls asleep, and they drop their fruit down a small hill. Marill gets upset and inflates itself like a balloon, like Jigglypuff always did, but since it doesn’t have the marker, it just bops the group with its ball-tail, which does nothing, they don’t even react or say their faces hurt when they wake up. Then the fruit is taken by one of the passing teams of other Pokemon, Meowth and the others wake up and then the exact same thing happens twice more in a row.

And I mean in a row.

At least with the Regi jokes they were spaced out a little, but nope. We get the exact same confusing Jigglypuff reference scene three times in a row. It’s torture. If you thought Jigglypuff randomly appearing in the show to do this shit once every few episodes was annoying, this will drive you up a wall.

I just don’t understand what they were trying to achieve with this. The Jigglypuff joke has been run into the ground so much I think it dug a hole to the other side of the globe. That’s why they stopped doing it. It’s so repetitive, and it leaves very little room for creativity. It’s like the running joke they have with the Pokemon who always pops out of their Pokeball when they’re not supposed to and their Trainer gets mad, or James having a Pokemon who shows affection through unintentionally hurting him, but at least those repetitive jokes are over with within five to ten seconds. The Jigglypuff shtick usually takes at least 20 seconds to over a full minute. Jigglypuff still pops up once in a blue moon, but even then it’s shtick is still old as hell and just something to boop the old nostalgia button.

If they really wanted to do this joke again, why not just bring back Jigglypuff? It would make about as much sense as a random singing Marill, who, like Azumarill in Pikachu’s Summer Festival, should really not know Sing naturally except on the off-chance it was bred by a Pokemon who knew Sing naturally – one of those breeding possibilities being, coincidentally enough, Jigglypuff.

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Wait a second, I say they did this joke three times? Oh silly me. I meant to say they technically do this FOUR TIMES. Later, when they’re wandering around a cave, Meowth and the others find a block of ice with a bunch of fruit in it. I had become conditioned to the image of fruit, so the hairs on the back of neck instantly stood up. They quickly look around for Marill, but when they see he’s not around, Meowth Fury Swipes the fruit free.

Golly.

Wonder what happens nex–

Marill pops up, Sings, sleep, inflate, tail bops, blah blah. I am in physical pain.

There’s no ‘Adventure Club’ here, by the way. You want to know everything that happens?

Pikachu and the other Pokemon, including Meowth and Team Rocket’s Pokemon, want to play in the river, but it’s dried up. So they go upriver to see what’s causing the stoppage. Meowth doesn’t want Pikachu and his group to solve the problem first…..for some reason….so he gets all competitive with them. They all hitch a ride on some Drifloom and Drifblim, but Meowth being an idiot makes them all fall, scattered in groups of two or more throughout the woods. They all encounter a bunch of random shenanigans, most of which I’ve already explained, and most of the shenanigans (and lines, quite frankly) are mirrored between the groups because it’s hard to write different things for each group (Ex: Buneary freaks out because she thinks someone’s tapping her shoulder, but Pikachu says it’s just a water drip and reassures her. Then we see Aipom getting nervous because he feels someone tapping him on the shoulder, but Piplup reveals that it’s just water dripping and reassures him. In another instance, they all get to four different caves and we have to hear them all explain to their groups that this is the proper way to go etc.), and then they reach the problem, it’s a dam built by Bidoof and Bibarel, they help them destroy the dam, and then they race in the river.

The end.

There’s no club, not even as a passing mention. There’s no story. There’s hardly any real instances of the Pokemon being particularly cute. There’s rarely a joke that works, and they repeat several of them to the point of frustration. There’s no real conflict either. It’s not like they’re concerned that the river being dry will have dire consequences for the area. They’re purely concerned with the fact that they can’t play in the river. And, in the end, they basically rip off the ending to the first short. It’s solved by the conflicting Pokemon groups working together and pulling on a rope to yank out something that’s stuck.

Even the animation seems subpar. Some parts look like the inbetweens are missing, and there’s this completely unnecessary bunch of CGI animated music notes that appear when Marill starts singing, which are so bad they reminded me of those music notes that they added to the DiC dub of Sailor Moon when Serena had the radio on.

The one thing I actually enjoyed about this short was Croagunk, who was being pretty funny just….existing, really. His unchanging expression as he floats around and inflates his cheeks was kinda funny, but even that wore thin and didn’t build up to anything.

Overall, you’re better off skipping this short. There’s really nothing worth your time here, even if you’re hard up for ‘Pokemon being cute.’


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Pokemon Shorties! (9) Pikachu’s Island Adventure Review

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Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Pikachu and the other Pokemon head to a fun island designated specifically as a Pokemon getaway. Before they arrive, they meet a group of Pokemon who have been bullied out of the island by Meowth and his gang of Pokemon thugs. Pikachu and the others train the island Pokemon to fight off Meowth and reclaim the island!

Breakdown: Dear god above…..this is ridiculously frustrating.

I’m not really talking about the short itself right now. We’ll talk about the short in a minute.

What I’m talking about is the narrator.

This is one of those shorts where the narrator is acting as a translator for the Pokemon, but this is the first time it’s been done so much in an English dubbed short…and I really hate it.

Maybe I’m more tolerant of the Japanese version doing this because I’m reading the subtitles anyway, but even then they really only tended to translate the important bits, and they usually changed up their voices quite a bit to act as the Pokemon. But oh no, not here.

Here, not only is the narrator translating each and every word the Pokemon are saying, even when it’s entirely unnecessary, but he also doesn’t change his voice at all, making it seem like I’m watching a crazy person talk to himself for 20 minutes. I swear to god, they’ll have whole conversations as a group and I’ll need to actively search for which Pokemon is talking when because the narrator doesn’t change his voice at all. You can tell he’s trying just ever so slightly to kinda change his voice a little bit, but it really doesn’t work in the slightest.

That’s not even the worst part. He’s also doing regular narration in between him voicing the Pokemon, and he does this both while the Pokemon are talking/making noises and when they’re not. There’s one scene where Hariyama is chasing a few of the other Pokemon and he says “Uh oh, this could be serious trouble!” and I’m like “Wait, they’re making noise. Who’s saying that? And if the narrator’s just saying that, why is he saying that? It’s a completely unnecessary statement.”

Then there’s another scene where the Pichu brothers (not THE Pichu brothers…somehow) get Wobbuffet tangled in the jungle gym and he says “Sorry Wobbuffet, looks like you’re stuck there.” He’s addressing Wobbuffet, and the Pichu were making noise (they stopped) but it seems more like it’s narration again.

Another scene right after Eevee, Wynaut and Squirtle defeat Exploud has them cheering while the narrator says “Nice move! That worked perfectly!” while kinda sounding like he’s doing his little high-pitched Eevee voice, and Eevee is in the center of the shot, but then he follows it up by saying “When everyone works together, anything is possible!” which doesn’t seem like something any of them could be saying right now, so I’m forced to believe it’s narration, but I honestly can’t be sure.

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There’s one where Combusken is running from Hariyama and the narrator goes “Come on! This Way! This Way!” Which clearly sounds like it’s meant to be dialogue, but Combusken isn’t making ANY noise, and the narrator was addressing Wobbuffet earlier, so it’s possible he’s directly talking to Hariyama????????????????????

Sometimes his audio is so loud you can only barely notice the Pokemon talking, and there are some instances where the audio on the Pokemon is too loud so it sounds like the narrator and the Pokemon are talking over each other.

Other times he’s just summing up what a Pokemon is saying instead of doing their voice, so it’s really hard to discern when someone is talking in dialogue or when he’s narrating. It’s very confusing and frustrating trying to watch this. He does have a line or two here and there that is a little funny, but overall the experience is tainted because of it.

It’s like, you know how your parents would read a story to you when you were little and do goofy voices for each character? Hardly anyone’s parents are actually good at doing these voices, but they at least try to drastically change their voice. I wish he had done something like that instead of him just making his voice the teensiest tiniest bit higher when he voices cuter/smaller Pokemon and not change it at all when he’s doing the voice of literally every other Pokemon.

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I have absolutely nothing against Rodger Parsons. He’s been the narrator since day one, barring a stretch in which he was replaced temporarily, and I love his sometimes cheesy style and notable voice. Plus, you can tell he always cares about the work he’s doing, even here, and I appreciate that, I really do. He is a cornerstone of Pokemon….But it was an awful idea to make him do this.

He’s an awesome narrator – Look at his filmography, he’s almost always ‘the narrator’ – but when it comes to his regular voice acting skills, he’s just not very good, especially when it comes to him voicing characters in Pokemon itself. It doesn’t have much to do with his acting skills, those are basically fine (Except when he voiced Flint that one time. He was really phoning it in there), he just doesn’t have much range at all, so it just sounds like the narrator voicing a character.

I checked up on the few episodes in which he has voiced an actual human character, and, yeah, he just sounds like the narrator with the slightest inflection in his voice. When he was doing the voice of the Mayor in Diamond and Pearl, he sounded exactly like the narrator. When he was voicing Pop-Pop in Battle Frontier, he sounded like the narrator only with a sore throat sometimes. And when he voiced Flint in Battle Frontier, he sounded like the narrator half-doing a Meowth impression for some reason.

That’s probably the reason why they don’t give him character roles very often even though all of the other voice actors get reused so many times I’m surprised the entire cast for both dubs doesn’t have a ‘recycle’ logo tattooed on their foreheads. It’s just too confusing with him being the narrator in every single episode.

And it didn’t need to be done, either. Most of the shorts are almost completely void of any dialogue. We just follow along based on what we’re seeing, which usually isn’t that difficult considering it’s a Pokemon short, meaning it’s aimed towards an even younger audience than usual anyway. You can have the narrator chime in to fill us in on important points we may not have gotten through visuals, but otherwise it’s fine to just have the narrator do the bookends.

Hypothetically, let’s say this story absolutely needed to have dialogue – why not just have some of your in-house voice actors, even just a couple of them, do voices? That way you not only get more fitting voices for each Pokemon but you also more easily tell the dialogue apart from both the various characters and the narrator.

It’s not like they’re not already there – Rodger Parsons isn’t the only voice actor partaking in this short. Five others are – since they need to do the regular voices for some of the Pokemon, and then there’s Meowth and Chatot. Why is there a Chatot here? I don’t know. The audio wasn’t already annoying enough?

Granted, yeah, they might have just been following what the original version did, I’m not sure, I don’t have the Japanese copy, but even then it’s not like 4Kids is, in any way, averse to just doing their own thing and flipping off the original version. Remember, in the first Pokemon short the Japanese version had a nice lady narrating, but then 4Kids was like ‘Lol let’s have Dexter narrate instead because reasons.’

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Speaking of audio assaults on my ears, I was trying to get information on the voice cast as quickly as possible while watching the short, so I jumped to the credits, which meant I had to listen to the end credits song…..so…Who let 4Kids write ANOTHER rap song? The Hoenn Pokerap is their third Pokerap, and, somehow, this one is probably their worst. It absolutely reeks of late 90s cheesy rap, but it was made in 2007. How is it possible that this Pokerap actually sounds cheesier and more dated than the first one?

There are so many instances where it’s clear they’re sloppily jamming Pokemon names into places where they don’t fit in the line because there are too many syllables. They’ll still be rapping a line while the music for that section has clearly stopped/changed because they simply didn’t accommodate for the syllables. The chorus, honestly, is pretty catchy, but otherwise it’s very clear they didn’t give much of a crap about this song. According to the Wiki, the full version even leaves out two Pokemon, Zigzagoon and Relicanth, but they included Mew, who is Gen I and Celebi, who is Gen II, seemingly because they were left out of their Gens Pokeraps.

In summary….They fixed a mistake that they had made on their previous two Pokeraps…by repeating the same mistake twice on their last Pokerap.

So uhm…..how awkward is it to segue from all that ranting I just did to explaining that I actually really liked this short?

I’m not kidding. If you manage to work your way through the confusing as hell dialogue situation, this is a really good short. Sure, the plot is pretty much taken from Pikachu’s Summer Vacation, to an extent (Pretty much the Pokemon-exclusive park and the bullies, but nothing else), but there are quite a few funny moments, the pacing is good, the characters are fun, the conflict is realistic and it was resolved in a satisfying manner that didn’t really pull any BS. It even got me to enjoy Corphish, which is impressive because that thing usually annoys the hell out of me.

The art and animation were spot-on, though the backgrounds still have that weird chalk/white lineart thing that the shorts have going on, but that’s just a stylistic aspect.

It’s not a ‘cute Pokemon being cute’ short, barring the very ending where we just get to enjoy watching the Pokemon have fun in the playground, and that was a fitting part of the story and very adorable.

I do have some logistic questions. They understand that Wynaut is a purely defensive Pokemon, yet they’re teaching them how to attack? Why is it that Pichu can suddenly use Electric moves without shocking themselves anymore? Why is the only transportation option to this island a completely unsafe set of boats on a pulley system suspended in mid-air that needs to be manually propelled? Where did these other Pokemon on Meowth’s side come from? Why are Pokemon as powerful as a Hariyama and an Exploud following Meowth’s orders?

Those questions aren’t really that important, though, and I still had a lot of fun watching the short….when the aforementioned dialogue issue wasn’t driving me up a wall. The first half is much worse than the second half in that regard, but I can’t ignore how frustrating it is. If you can track down the Japanese version and it’s easier to watch, bump this up another .5 points.

Pokemon Shorties! (8) Pikachu’s Ghost Carnival Review

Pokemon Shorties Pikachu Ghost Carnival

Rating: 7.5/10

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 and Pikachu and the gang have to team up with the spooky group of the Ghost House to stop them 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 it 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 colors like purple to make it nicer to look at. 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 ever 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.

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.

Also, 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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Pokemon Shorties! (7) Pikachu’s Summer Festival

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Pikachu and a slue of other Pokemon are setting up for a summer festival. Their headline act that night is a singing Marilli/Azumarill, but she suddenly gets kidnapped by a Airmd/Skarmory. It’s up to Pikachu, Plusle, Minun, Nyasu/Meowth, Sonansu/Wobbuffet and friends to save her and the festival!

Breakdown: I often joked when I watched the other shorts that they were so one-note and ‘cute Pokemon being cute’ that I could watch them without any dialogue whatsoever and know exactly what’s going on.

So, of course, the first short that I’m forced to watch in Japanese raw is one that has an actual plot where the narrator is providing dialogue for all of the Pokemon….

Yes, the English dubbing of the Pokemon shorts has ended and now the only way I can review nearly any of the shorts beyond this point is by tracking down the raw versions.

Granted, there’s not a whole lot of plot to make this difficult to follow without help, but I was still thankful for the Wiki page to give a full detailed synopsis.

With that out of the way, this is a very enjoyable short. Pikachu wasn’t the main focus, in fact he didn’t really do much more than any other singular Pokemon. He might have even done less than a majority of them. The other Pokemon got plenty to do (Loved Wakasyamo/Combusken, Juptile/Grovyle and Fushigidane/Bulbasaur, even if the latter only got one very small part, it was so cute) the plot was pretty good and even Nyasu wasn’t annoying at all.

That old Madatsubomi/Bellsprout was really creepy, though.

The plot with the Bossgodora/Aggron was good but a tiny bit contrived. The Aggron and its….children (?) heard about Marilli performing at the summer festival, but they live on an island and can’t cross the water to see her. So, they did the next logical thing and kidnapped her so she could perform for them.

This isn’t too contrived for a Pokemon short, but Bossgodora is shown to have several Pokemon friends to help him with stuff, like Airmd, who kidnapped Marilli, Coil/Magnemite who chased Pikachu and the others away, and Samehader/Sharpedo who tried to stop them in the water. Why did he not think to ask if there was a big Water Pokemon around who could give them a ride? Like, oh I dunno, the Whaloh/Wailord who gives them a ride at the end because Ohsubame/Swellow heard the story from the old Madatsubomi and asked him to do it.

Also, why is a Pokemon who is not known for singing or its nice voice, and can’t even learn Sing (unless it’s bred by a Pokemon who can naturally learn it) being the headliner singer here? I wouldn’t be so bothered if not for the fact that the singing doesn’t sound like Marilli’s voice at all and there’s a frickin’ Purin/Jigglypuff singing backup! I’m not sure it’s the one we know and…tolerate, but it’s still a Pokemon known for its singing.

Despite these minor issues, this was still a very enjoyable short. It had plenty of action, comedy and nice moments all around. Even the music was great. Some of those tracks were bringing me right back into the games, and the festival song was pretty good. The ED was mediocre, though.

Recommended Audience: Why are you reading this section? You know the answer. You’re just looking for me to say something funny here, aren’t you? Well, not today, pal! I’m going to say boring stuff like taxes, congress and proofreading! Regret reading this now, huh? That’ll teach you!

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation Chronicles: Snorlax Snowman

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Rating: 8.5/10

Plot: Pikachu and some of the other Pokemon make a Snorlax out of snow. As night falls, they discover that the Snorlax Snowman has come to life and brings them on a winter adventure.

Breakdown: This is the epitome of ‘watch Pokemon be cute’ shorts….

And I kinda love it.

I mean, the ending was predictable with the ‘It was all a dream?…..But we all had the same dream?….So was it really a dream!?’ thing but it was just a really pleasant little adventure.

We got some funny scenes with the Pokemon, an absolutely gorgeous scene where we get to see tons of Water Pokemon underwater through ice, and a lot of the absurdities can be explained away if we really just say they were having the same dream. (Otherwise, they either floated to the North Pole and back overnight or there’s a Pokemon center close to the North Pole because we saw Aurora Borealis.)

We also got another song which was nice, but ultimately forgettable and not really Christmassy or wintery, And, shockingly, this is the first ever short I’ve seen that doesn’t include Meowth in any capacity, and the Narrator was barely there either. I’ll technically call those positives because the Meowth cameos almost always feel cheap and the narrator can sometimes be intrusive.

This was a very sweet, funny and, oddly pretty short that I would enjoy watching several times over. It’s certainly a good place to end off these Winter Vacation shorts.

Oh and, it includes the best Bulbasaur face.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation Chronicles - Snowman Snorlax 1

Recommended Audience: Snowman+

Final Notes: Can I take the time out to say, holy snowballs, the credits for this episode are INSANELY fast? They are some of the fastest running credits I’ve ever seen. It was damn near comical. I know fast-running credits are the norm now, but this is next-level speed. Like, even pausing only grants you with barely legible blurs.

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation Chronicles: Delibird’s Dilemma

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation Chronicles - Delibird's Dilemma

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: Delibird is trying to get some presents to Santa before he leaves on his sleigh, but some shenanigans from Pikachu and pals knocks him out of the sky and causes him to lose all of the presents. It’s a scramble to find and retrieve all of the presents before midnight.

Breakdown: Santa really needs to get his shit together.

This is the technically the third time he’s needed Pikachu’s help to save Christmas if we count the non-short Christmas special. Why is Delibird bringing presents TO Santa anyway? Isn’t all that stuff at the North Pole? Don’t they manufacture the presents there? Or are some modern gifts caught in legal hell and can’t be reproduced at the factory so they have to send out a bunch of Delibird to some retail stores?

Anyhoo, this short is pretty cute and funny. Chikorita has reached its non-bitch stage (And teamed up with Bulbasaur so much I could feel my heart flutter whenever they did it) there were several adorable moments, nothing really stood out as being annoying or bad, and we even finally got a Christmas song in the dubbed version. It was short and really only made Christmassy because of the jingle bells, but I appreciate the effort.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation Chronicles - Delibird's Dilemma1
This is Cyndaquil tickling Delibird. It’s as adorable as it sounds.

The story is not that interesting, though. Santa can travel the entire world and deliver presents in one night – starting at midnight apparently. I’m quite certain he’s speedy enough to find and retrieve a handful of presents before he goes. Also, none of the presents are in a location where they’re particularly hard to get.

The narrator is interesting. He has some funny-ish moments, but he’s also kinda weird. It’s obvious that the narrator’s Santa, but he starts out the short explaining that something always go wrong right before Christmas as he’s narrating over the Pokemon playing bowling…..And he seems like he’s disappointed when things don’t start going wrong. It’s so weird, but kinda funny in a dark way. Santa loves him some schadenfreude, apparently.

Another weird line from the narrator, he says it’s five minutes to midnight when it’s clearly sundown…..This seems pointless to mention but…..I couldn’t not note this, it was CLEARLY sundown. You’re not fooling anyone, old man.

Same old, same old in regards to some notes. Like Meowth’s incredibly pointless cameo, though this time it was very very short. And, for some reason, he’s being harassed by a Skarmory in this episode again? Was that part of the series? Also, of course, not all of the group’s Pokemon are here. In fact, we don’t see Ash and co. at all in this short, which is very strange because it’s Christmas and they’re out past midnight.

In addition, despite having seen Santa before, again, they keep him hidden from view, and when Christmas comes all of the pine trees magically turn into decorated Christmas trees…..Okay.

Recommended Audience: Why do I keep including this section for these shorts?

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES! – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 2000: Stantler’s Little Helpers

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Stantler's Little Helpers

Rating: 7.5/10

Plot: On the night of Christmas Eve, Pikachu and the other Pokemon find an old man tending to his sick Stantler in the woods. He desperately needs some berries to lower its fever and make it feel better, but he can’t find anymore or leave Stantler’s side. Pikachu and the others offer to find some berries, and, with some teamwork, they manage to get a whole bunch.

After feeding the berries to Stantler, it starts feeling a lot better. The old man thanks the Pokemon sincerely and rides off on his sleigh. It begins to ascend into the sky.

Could it be…?

Breakdown: This was a very solid short, but nothing that great. It had some cute moments (melt my heart for picking up Togepi to see out the window, Bulbasaur) and some anger inducing moments (Screw off, Chikorita. You have no right to forcibly remove Pikachu from the bed while he’s sleeping so you can creepily cuddle with Ash. And, not anger inducing, but, Heracross, please, I beg you, stop sucking on Bulbasaur.) but I didn’t have any major issues with it. Plus, I was endlessly entertained by Pikachu walking around with a lit-up star tree-topper on his head for some reason.

Problem is, the short goes the same way you’d expect from the very instant you hear the ‘old man’ request the berries. They’ll get the berries, Stantler will get better, the old man was Santa. Sorry, spoiler alert, but they’re not good at hiding it.

Why are they hiding it anyway? Are they forgetting that Pokemon has had an episode where Ash and the others help Santa? Certainly not, considering they are consistent with the character design for Santa. Only now he uses a single Stantler instead of a team of Ponyta because Gen II came out.

He also ‘forgets’ that he is frequently assisted by numerous Jynx who would be useful in such emergency situations, but she’s purple and no one wants to see her now.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Stantler's Little Helpers1
Excuse me, need to die of cuteness for a second.

Speaking of forgetting things, I do have petty nitpicks like, why did all of the Pokemon, barring some because of course, escape from their Pokeballs in the middle of the night? It’s kinda understandable that Chikorita did, because it’s a creepy asshole, but why everyone else?

Who cares, though? Vulpix got to be useful TWICE in this special! Whoo!

Not to mention that the Japanese version gives us a very nice ending Christmas song with some great visuals of the Pokemon.

Recommended Audience: You should be privy to this by now.

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES! – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 2000: Winter Games

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Winter Games1

Rating: 3/10

Plot: Satoshi, Kasumi and Takeshi leave their Pokemon at a rented cabin while they go shopping. The Pokemon then discover an ice skating rink and play on the ice.

Breakdown: In this short, Chikorita is a bitch. It’s mostly about Chikorita being a bitch while everyone else has fun. They try to include Chikorita in their fun, but Chikorita is too much of a bitch. After a lot of slapstick, Chikorita finally joins in on the fun while trying to sabotage Meowth on the ice. And they all bonded over bullying, hooray.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 2000 - Winter Games
This is Chikorita laughing after nearly murdering Squirtle by dropping a huge icicle in front of his face….

Yup, that’s the short in nutshell, which is literally all that happens. I can’t even bring myself to do a breakdown of the story because I feel like it’d be repetitive.

It’s a weak story, the slapstick’s not funny half the time because most of it is caused by Chikorita being a bitch, Squirtle was kinda funny, but nothing really laugh-out-loud funny, and the animation is noticeably slightly better here. That’s about it.

Recommended Audience: Not even conceived yet+

Final Notes: I realize that this review is incredibly short, so have a treat! While I was looking for information on this short, I saw that someone uploaded the intro to the VHS on Youtube. Nummy nostalgia!

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 1: Kanga Games

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 1 - Kanga Games

Rating: 8/10

Plot: After having some fun in the cabin the night before, the Pokemon look outside to see a blanket of fresh snow covering the countryside. When they decide to play outside, Pikachu and Togepi bump into a Kangaskhan who wants her baby to play with them.

Breakdown: This is a really great short. I mean, obviously it’s not plot heavy or anything, but it’s pretty funny and cute for what it is. This is one of those rare times where we actually get to see a baby Kangaskhan out of its mother’s pouch, and it is just incredibly adorable even if it does have a moment where it’s just another ‘Togepi’ to take care of.

We get a couple of really funny moments, one of which involving Squirtle and Bulbasaur sledding that was just hilarious.

We do have one conflict to deal with in this short, but it’s just a rescue type deal.

Pokemon Shorties Winter Vacation 1 - Kanga Games2

I will say that Meowth’s incredibly small part was pretty pointless, like it almost always is. It was a tiny bit funny, but I could’ve done without it. I also liked the very ending where Ash and co. return and all the Pokemon cuddle up with them and hide in their jackets like the baby Kangaskhan. That was cute.

We have an ending theme specifically for this episode, and it’s….alright. I don’t see what the lyrics have to do with Christmas or winter, but it’s there and it’s fine.

Other than that, I have one final note – Remember how I mentioned in my episode reviews that Kangaskhan’s dub voice is kinda awful? It’s especially noticeable here. Kangaskhan’s adult form sounds really rough and the baby is fairly annoying. Considering the entire short is centered around baby Kangaskhan, this is a bit of an issue. Not a large one, but an issue nonetheless.

Recommended Audience
: E for everyone!

Pokemon Extravaganza SHORTIES – Pikachu’s Winter Vacation 1: Christmas Night

Rating: 8/10

Plot: Pikachu, Togepi, Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Vulpix are left in charge of protecting the cabin while Ash, Misty and Brock go off to get a Christmas cake. The Pokemon nearly destroy the cool Christmas decorations, but they band together to fix what they can before Ash and the others return.

Breakdown: It’s well beyond Christmas, but winter is sticking around for a while, so I thought I’d take a break out to review all four of the Pikachu’s Winter Vacation shorties this winter. Gather around the fireplace and let’s hear the story of the first Pokemon Christmas special, Christmas Night.

Ash and the others, never showing their faces as per short ‘rules,’ have rented a cabin for Christmas, because they have that kind of money somehow and God forbid they go home for Christmas. Misty and Brock berate Ash for neglecting to get a cake so they leave Pikachu in charge of the place while they all leave to go get one.

I don’t know why their Pokemon aren’t going with them as they seem to take their Pokemon everywhere, nor do I know why all three of them are needed to go get a cake, but, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again until I’m proven otherwise, the shorts just seem to make the group into the parents from Rugrats in these shorts.

I will step back here a bit and say, while this is a very large and kinda nicely designed cabin, they add in little details like cracks and peeling paint to indicate that it’s not the best quality cabin so we won’t be flabbergasted at their sudden influx of money……..at least until Pikachu and Pichu where they seem to get rich for a day with that really beautiful hotel room and party.

They leave, and the smaller Pokemon wander the house and stumble upon the room that Ash and the others have decorated for Christmas. They’re in awe of everything because they have never celebrated Christmas before, and they mess around with some stuff.

Vulpix in a party hat. Best short ever.

Eventually, the Poke-group starts causing a ruckus. Squirtle accidentally eats Bulbasaur’s Pokemon-themed cookie, and in spite of having a full plate of them in front of him, he still chases Squirtle all over the house. Vulpix gets stuck in a stocking. Yes, you may have gifs.

And Psyduck shakes up a bottle of what I think is meant to be champagne, but considering their age I’ll just assume it’s sparkling cider.

All of the Pokemon nearly knock over the tree with Pikachu saving it in the nick of time. Here’s Vulpix wearing a party hat while in a Christmas tree.

So cute! ♥♥♥♥♥

Okay, I’ll try to stop, I promise.

Sadly, thanks to Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Psyduck and not Vulpix because Vulpix is awesome, the tree has its lights ripped off and topples over on Pikachu.

Squirtle and Bulbasaur laugh at him because they’re jerks, Vulpix doesn’t because it’s awesome, and Pikachu gets so pissed that he unleashes his electricity throughout the room. However, he does not hit Squirtle and Bulbasaur and instead knocks the power out. Good job.

In the darkness, Pikachu stumbles upon a Christmas music box, and the group stares in awe at the pretty little light up tree and the cute song that it plays as the sun sets. The song ends, the lights go out, and Pikachu and the others decide to band together to fix what they have messed up.

Later, Ash and the others return to the dark cabin and enter the room with all the Christmas stuff in it to find the tree looking great and even lit up by the power of Pikachu’s cheeks.

The group starts the party and we zoom out of the cabin to look up into the sky at the giant moon and see, of course, Santa with a Rapidash or Ponyta pulling the sleigh. Because Stantler haven’t been introduced yet.

The End.

Art: The art and animation seems a tiny bit better than it normally is early in Kanto, but it’s not that noticeable. It’s definitely not movie quality, which I didn’t expect anyway. I actually like some of the finer details like the cookies and the decorations.

Music: Just okay – average TV show fare. It’s biggest issue for me is that none of the songs are really that Christmas-y except the music box song, and that was over very quickly.

Bottomline: It’s a nice little Christmas short that really goes to show that it’s a bad idea to leave animals with elemental powers alone in a rented cabin with no supervision. I guess I can just be thankful Ash wasn’t stupid enough to let Charizard out for this.

Sadly, many of the Pokemon are missing, which kinda makes it a tiny bit sad as a Christmas special. Christmas is about being with those that you care about yet only Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Togepi, Vulpix and, of course, Pikachu get let out here. They could at least show the other Pokemon outside or something, but I guess they’re confined to their Pokeballs for Christmas.

I still would like a Christmas special that isn’t based fully on the Pokemon and actually has the kids going back to their families for the holidays. I think they could make for a really sweet special.

As it stands, though, it’s not a terribly memorable or creative short, but it’s nice and a sweet little watch for a Pokemon fan on Christmas time.

Recommended Audience: C for Christmas! And cookies! That’s good enough for me.