2016 has turned out to be a big year for the now two decades old Pokémon franchise, with two new main series games and Great Detective Pikachu hitting the Nintendo DS, a live-action movie being officially greenlit and Pokémon GO becoming the biggest mobile game of all time. Not bad for a onetime niche “bug”-collecting game that Nintendo initially doubted would find fans outside of its native Japan.
Now, Pokémon Generations, a new animated series exploring the deeper lore of the original games, is coming to YouTube starting September 16th.
In a trailer released online today, fans got their first look at how Generations aims to set itself apart from previous adaptations of the Pokémon brand, while still delivering on the action and excitement that generations (pun intended) of fans have come to expect from the monster-collecting megahit – with The Pokémon Company laying out their broader plans via press release:
Pokémon Generations looks back at each generation of the Pokémon video game series, diving into the stories of the games more deeply and getting to know characters and Pokémon better. Visit each region, from Kanto to Kalos, to relive the world of Pokémon like never before! Pokémon Generations consists of 18 episodes each running between 3 and 5 minutes in length, with the first two episodes launching September 16.
While Pokémon has been adapted for animation before – most notably the mega-popular still-ongoing anime TV series and its 19+ (and counting) feature-length movie spin offs – said adaptations have focused on original stories chiefly involving (human) characters original to the anime itself (hence how Pikachu became the “face” of the brand despite not being the central presence in the original GameBoy titles or most subsequent iterations). Generations, by contrast, will focus on retelling story-events from the actual Pokémon games and put a greater emphasis on action following the in-game mechanics.
The series was no doubt largely inspired by the success of Pokémon: Origins, a 2013 made-for-TV anime feature produced as a tie in for the then-upcoming release of Pokémon X/Y, which retold the story of the first game. A major hit with classic Pokemon fans, it marked the first time that a full-length Pokémon feature had been produced not based on the TV series – a trend set to continue with the upcoming live-action movie, which will be inspired by Great Detective Pikachu rather than the original games or the anime series.
You can check out concept art and character sketches from the new series below; including early drawings of video game characters N and Team Plasma Grunts from Pokémon Black, Pokémon White, Pokémon Black 2, and Pokémon White 2, and Professor Sycamore from Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, as well as scenes from the Kanto, Unova, and Kalos regions.:
Source: The Pokémon Company
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