A rather bizarre issue to be writing about, but recently the girlfriend and I where in a nostalgic mood, so we decided to visit a childhood classic, being ‘Pokemon: the first movie” and we watched it, and it dawned upon us: there is some social commentary in their, some serious stuff for a bunch of Japanese animated cartoon characters typically appealing to those aged about 14 and under and those over with no life…
The themes don’t seem to deal with (what you may assume they would) teenage alienation or feeling out of place, but instead sociopolitical issues with one character (a badguy, no less) stating ‘l see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life …that determines who you are.’ A powerful anti-racist message for a Childs film, stating to appreciate life in all forms, no matter how they are conceived, these tones run throughout the film, especially in the mushy latter half, though using cutsey looking creatures the film has anti-racist, anti-war themes, charecters say things like: ‘Only when they set aside their differences …did l see the true power they all share deep inside.’
Stupendously cheesey, yes, but it makes a bold statement, a bold message about reaching compromises and working together for the better of everything, this theme is taken much further and worked upon well in the following sentence: ‘do l know you’re not going to pull a fast one on me? You’re right; we do have a lot in common. The same earth, the same air, the same sky. Maybe if we started looking at what’s the same…instead of always looking at what’s different, who knows?’ the message works on the base level that it’s true, if you deny that we all share the same planet and all breathe the same air, you’re a moron, yet for some reason each and every person seems to be born with a sense of ‘mine!’, those that take this privilege to the extreme are called politicians.
The films ultimate message is that we unite, all of us, no matter what and no matter what our differences, a charming message that in an ideal world would simply be lovely and incredibly Ideal, though it’s a shame that we all know the world we live in, and we all know it too well to know that the message of pokemon: the movie is useless.
Of course its not without its ironies, trainers regurlalry force their pokemon to battle till they faint of exhaustion or their injuries, but that is sidelined, because ‘Even the best of friends will fight sometimes.’ Making it all ok in the long run, its when the creatures are forced to fight their mirror images to the death that it becomes a problem, the mirror image thing, the ‘clones’ Vs. the ‘originals’ has a certain underlying feel to it, no matter what a person looks like, what race they are from, ultimately, they are still a person.
The film could be used potentially, to create a generation of children that take it on board, you see the pokemon movie works well because though the themes are there (every film can be deemed to have a message to them) they are subtle enough for me to have never noticed them before, perhaps if more films got into this subtle style of throwing in anti racist and war messages we could raise a generation of content and accepting kids.