Monday, July 4, 2016

My Top 10 Pokémon Girl Characters from the Anime TV series

I personally didn’t love Pokémon as a kid, but I did watch it. I’m by no means a fan, but the Anime series is not without some merits, and small nostalgia value. With the overnight success of the game “Pokémon Go”, and the current TV series “Pokémon XY” bringing back more fans sense its original inception, I couldn’t help but feel that the time has come to post something Pokémon related ... preferably a top 10 list. One thing that fans of the long running series love more then it’s marketable pocket monsters, is its equally colorful cast of human characters. The female characters for instants fill quiet the roster, especially sense the main girl character changes with every new series. Just for “laughs”, here’s my top 10 favorite female characters from the series.

(WARNING!This list will be a little different from what you’d expect.)

#10 Serena – The Stay at Home Girl Turned Explorer

Let’s get things started off right by acknowledging one of the more relatable characters from the “Pokémon” Anime series, which is something I don’t say lightly. Serena is the latest traveling companion to Satoshi’s main group of traveling hero’s, and was introduced in the new “Pokémon XY” series. Unlike the previous female leads, Serena’s first appearance was built up big time over the course to the first several episodes. She’s first established as a simple stay at home girl who really just doesn’t know what to do with herself, leaving her mother to give Serena all the directions ... all of which she’s not fond of. After watching Satoshi and the rest of the shows main hero’s on the news, Serena is inspired to finally leave the house, venture out into the world and just make a life. I found the character instantly likeable, and surprisingly relatable. Most young adults know from experience what it’s like to just leave home and find your own path. This is also a rare case in which our female lead actually sought out our traveling hero’s, was welcomed in with open arms, and didn’t latch herself to the group like a leach just because her bike was inconveniently ruined. 

#9 Serena from the Mire Universe

In the “Pokémon XY” episode titled “The Cave of Mirrors”, the shows main hero Satoshi finds himself sent to an AlterNet universe where everyone he’s come to know has their personalities and character traits reversed. This means that the once sweet, admittedly fragile but all around lovable Serena is now tough as nails and has the spirit of a dragon. It’s kind of a rare treat to see a characters opposite come to life in the form of a different character, but still very likable, just for different reasons. It’s also cool to think that for as lovable and pure as Serena is in the real world, there’s also a strong, hard core girl on the other side of the mire.  

#8 Serena – The Stage Performer

As Satoshi aims to be a Pokémon master, Serena discovers a love for the stage, the theater and this is when her character really shines. While on the road, Serena is usually the quiet, reserved member of the group, but when she gets on stage and performs ... it’s like she becomes a different person. This is when she gets creative, ambitious and it usually leads to some colorful dances on stage. There’s a great episode in which after a city is brought to ruins from a disaster, she contributes by putting on a show just to give the people a chance to feel joy and smile once again. She definitely has a big heart and conveys it through her music and dance. On a side note, the animation for the new “Pokémon XY” series is outstanding, and utilized very well during Serena’s dance numbers. Way back in the original Pokemon show I grew up with, the animation was colorful, but not special, and the characters never really stood out from the backgrounds, but in this series there’s a lot more dimension for the characters to move around in, and it looks great.  

#7 Serena from the Past

Distancing herself from any of the previous female characters once again is Serena, who even before the events of the very first episode of the series, first met Satoshi as a child. Arguably one of my favorite moments from the entire series is this one quick flash back to when we meet “Little Girl Serena”, and how she first got a crush on our shows main hero. While Satoshi didn’t remember Serena from child hood, it was a great way to plant the seeds for their relation to bloom. Somehow, with just that little bit of time seeing Serena’s flashback, it made her feel more dimensional then the shows previous girl characters.  

#6 Serena – The Mother Figure

The main group of travelers is always changing with each new Pokémon series, and personally I think this most recent cast from “Pokémon XY” is the best by far. While not every individual character is great, they do create a warm atmosphere when their all together, and feel like a closer family then any of the previous teams. The sergeant mother of the group is Serena, often acting like the moral compass that keeps everyone together, who gives them strength, and is always there for support. In fact, Serena has a real gift, she makes people smile, and knows when to treat her friends with some tough love. She also treats the team with her backing, mostly deserts ... why, because she’s just sweet like that.    

#5 Serena as Satoshi

In a very funny episode titled “Battling at Full Volume”, Satoshi finds himself sick, and loosing conscious. While tending to his condition, Serena finds herself battling for Satoshi, but not just a replacement, she actually has to become Satoshi in order to fool another opponent. This marks another first, as no other female character adorned Satoshi’s iconic red cap and blue vest, and I’ll be honest ... I think Serena looks better in the classic attire. In fact, she should just be the franchises new mascot character. Just give her the outfit permanently, give her Pikachu, and just let her run the show instead of Satoshi.  

#4 Serena – The Dreamer

Just about every character from this series had a dream to follow when they began their journey, but Serena was an exception. Like many young adults, this is a person who had to discover her dream, and her passion, as she didn’t really have a clear goal. This is yet another character trait that I can relate to, because it took me a while to discover what my calling was, but once I found it, I just put my all into it, and my life just felt more complete. It’s a character arc that I always find touching when done well, and Serena’s journey was genuinely inspiring. I loved watching her discover a dream, how she committed herself to it, and how it reshaped her as a person ... oh, more on that latter. Bottom line, it’s these everyday life struggles and accomplishments that help make fictional characters feel more real, and this young dreamer felt surprisingly down-to-earth for a character from Pokémon of all things. 

#3 Serena – The Girl Friend

Well, had to talk about this eventually, and here it is. Satoshi has traveled with several female characters during his journey, but Serena is his first true girl friend, or the first girl to really fall in love with him. While their chemistry is a little rocky at times, Serena’s feelings toured him are very genuine, and honestly, she’s so likable that anyone from this universe could love her in return. This is also a great example of how the new series has humanized these characters, I didn’t even think real human relationships could exist in this world. On top of that, the two share some genuinely sweet scenes together, and even go out on dates ... yeah, there’s actually dating in the Pokémon universe now, that’s a nice touch.     

#2 Serena – The Reformed

As stated above, Serena had to discover what her dream is to live for, but in a stand out episode titled “A Showcase Debut”, she discovers just how challenging life can be, especially when following your dreams. It’s true that life has struggles, and things happen unexpectedly. But when they do happen, we need to pick ourselves up, learn from our experiences and move forward in new ways. Serena’s arc is a subtly beautiful example of how one re-shapes themselves after losing so much they strived for. Her story is about growing and moving forward with a new appreciation for what’s taken shape, even if it’s not the outcome you expected, and it’s honestly kind of inspiring. The stand out moment with Serena cutting her hair, while reflecting on her life is personally my favorite moment of the whole franchise, and a surprising example of just how beautiful this show can be, both visually and thematically. Her new re-design was also kind of an improvement, as she just looked more mature, and less like a little kid in a cute outfit.  

#1 Serena – Just Serena

So, as if it weren’t obvious enough, I’ve filled this list of my 10 favorite female characters with different aspects of just one person in-particular. Why did I do this ... well, because in my opinion, Serena is “the only good female character” to come from “Pokémon”. I was their back in the 90’s when this show first premiered, and sense then, I’ve never really liked any of the human characters from this show, it was always the Pokémon that brought us kids back. I stopped watching this show years ago, but when “Pokémon XY” premiered, I surprisingly found myself drawn back to it. Not because of the cute and marketable pocket monsters, but simply because of one genuinely likable human character. So I wanted to give credit where it’s do. Congratulations Pokémon, you’ve finally given me a protagonist that I really like. Serena is just a plain beautiful character, has a big heart, lots of personality, a somewhat relatable character arc, and theme’s that are woven with a fine lawyer of subtext, which are great for young viewers to be exposed to. While previous female characters from this series have either been painfully annoying or just plain forgettable, Serena manages to stand out as one of the precious few things that this franchise got right. 

        The End


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