The phrase “Must catch them all” was developed for marketing purposes, but the idea of catching all the Pokémon has never been a big part of the anime. The anime focuses on friendship and building relationships with Pokémon, treating them as characters with flaws and growth processes. The anime emphasizes respect for nature and the importance of not disrupting the ecosystem, leading Ash to help wild Pokémon without always catching them.
Until today, Pokémon anime is intrinsically associated with the phrase “Must catch them all” around the world, but the reality of the series is that Ash has never actually caught that many Pokémon. However, contrary to popular belief, that’s actually a good thing, and if the series focused on capturing as many people as possible it wouldn’t be nearly as good.
“Must catch them all!” is a phrase developed for marketing purposes by English-speaking groups marketing the original Game Boy games, Pokémon Red and Blue. It was later applied to all Pokémon media and featured prominently in the anime’s original English opening theme. In the early episodes of the anime, Ash even displays this mindset and it definitely comes into play when he catches his Caterpie. However, the Japanese marketing slogan is simply “Get Pokémon!”, without any hint of trying to catch them all. As it turns out, the idea of catching ’em all was never really a big part of the anime in the first place.
Why catching them all is the wrong way to go for a Pokémon anime
While the sentence “Must catch them all!” motto is great for games with the goal of completing the Pokédex, but that approach simply doesn’t work for anime. Pokémon in games are characters in the sense that they can be controlled and manipulated by the player, but Pokémon generally do not have much personality, beyond what their appearance suggests. However, in the anime, Pokémon are more than just fighting tools; The series almost immediately placed an emphasis on Pokémon friendships and relationship building, a common theme for Shonen (boy) anime.
However, being friends with a Pokémon means treating it as a character in a narrative sense, full of flaws and a roadmap for growth. Ash’s Pikachu is obviously a great example: Ash and Pikachu initially don’t get along, but Ash is truly dedicated to his ideals and is willing to risk his life to protect Pikachu, causing Pikachu to do the same. By the end of the first episode, Pikachu has had several minor and more mature characters. Ash’s Charmander/Charizard makes another convincing case, with his newfound power leading to arrogance and unwillingness to obey Ash, only to eventually remember all that Ash has done for it and realized that Ash deserved respect.
Pokémon always respects nature
One of the greatest things about Pokémon, almost from the beginning, is that Pokémon are seen as part of nature and that they too deserve respect, wild or not. As the story progresses and Ash meets more wild Pokémon, he begins to appreciate how they live in the wild and that he doesn’t necessarily need to catch them to get to know them. Many of Ash’s conflicts with Team Rocket have nothing to do with Pikachu, instead he stands up to protect wild Pokémon populations from being taken from their homes. While there’s nothing legally wrong with Team Rocket capturing wild Pokémon, destroying the ecosystem is their real crime.
Finally, Ash got to the point where he found wild Pokémon that needed help on his journey, and he took time out of his life to help them without the expectation that he would then catch them. . Occasionally, these Pokémon require Ash to catch them and take them with him on his adventures—and after a certain point, that’s pretty much the only way for Ash to get new Pokémon. Ash begins by befriending a Pokémon before considering whether or not he can catch it, and there are many Pokémon, from Larvitar to Beartic in his final episodes, who he becomes close but never caught.
This theme reaches its peak in Alola, when Ash is brought into the Ultra Guardians, tasked with protecting the Alola region by capturing Ultra Beasts before they can cause trouble. However, sent on this mission, Ash soon realized that the Ultra Beasts were just scared and confused Pokémon, and he captured them for the sole purpose of releasing them back to the home where they belonged. about. Ultra Beasts are powerful Pokémon that would certainly aid him in his championship ambitions, but Ash has never considered using them in battle (other than Poipole, who requested it).
Ash’s final episode perfectly captures the theme of the series
In the final episode of Ash’s journey, “The Rainbow and the Pokémon Master,” Gary asks Ash if becoming a champion brings him closer to becoming a Pokémon Master, a goal always a bit unrealistic. This question stunned Ash for a moment and he spent the rest of the episode thinking about it. Ash finally tells Pikachu that for him, being a Pokémon Master means making friends with any and every Pokémon he meets. Looking back at his last batch of episodes, it certainly fits his behavior, such as with Beartic and even Latias. For Ash, at this stage, catching them is almost unimportant; Just knowing them is enough.
By treating Pokémon as characters, the series is able to focus on a few Pokémon (usually Ash’s team and those of his friends) and get the most out of them, while taking a “Catch ’em all” approach. will reduce Pokémon to boxes per category. This also allows it to draw a firm line between what Ash is doing and what Team Rocket intends; Ash almost always captures Pokémon with its consent in later seasons, while Team Rocket acts selfishly without regard for the impact of their actions. This is also why Ash never caught the Legendary Pokémon–they were smart, they had jobs to do, and catching them could have a negative impact on the world.
By avoiding the idea of “Gotta catch them all,” the anime was able to establish strong themes of friendship with Pokémon and respect for nature, both of which are very important lessons for children watching. to learn. After all, Pokémon may not be real, but wild animals are, and they deserve respect too. The Pokémon The anime’s story would be better if it implemented this strategy, and it’s what has allowed it to create iconic and beloved characters from monsters that, before the anime, were little more than a bunch of pixels on the screen. Game Boy figure.