Everyone needs a hug sometimes.
I have been a Pokémon trainer since the original in 1999 and have constantly played the games and seen all the cartoons and comics. So when Pokémon Evolutions was announced, a unique anniversary series that will capture moments from eight generations of games, I was tagged to say the least! Although I must admit that I had mild expectations. Dismissed it as something like Ash-Ketchum-from-Pallet-town, and that would have been okay.
I never expected to get anything with the high production value that “The Champion” delivered! The detailed world captures everything that makes the Galar region so familiar, full of nods to characters and places we visit in Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. Above all, I did not expect a dark subject as anxiety and shame would be the central subject in the section. Leon, the role model and folk hero in Sword and Shield need to face his feelings – and oh my god how good it is!
It is so rare for characters to have time to process their emotions in games, perhaps least of all in Pokémon, which is a fairly fun game. Of course, both Ash and other characters have to overcome difficult challenges in the anime, the strongest are Serena’s difficult decisions in the series for X and Y. But in this episode you really zoom in on Leon and let his gestures show how the press as an icon affects him. And when Charizard embraces his partner, it’s so close that tears well up.