Nostalgia is a huge thing right now; I’m caught up in it, and many of my friends are as well. Little did I know that a little Blu-ray set would unleash upon me tons of great college memories. Yes, I’m a little older than the normal writer on this site and I was in college when Pokémon hit the States; I also worked at Kay-Bee Toys at that time. I remember fielding hundreds of questions about Pokémon cards, games and the little action figures, so much that I decided to watch the television show after class. Watching the show got me hooked to the series; sadly at the time, I didn’t have the funds for the sweet toys or the GameBoy Color games, but man I loved that show. And I still do. Viz Media locked up college nostalgia in a nice little package for me, and I’m sure lots of memories for others are tucked away in this set.
This set is massive. I forgot how huge children’s program seasons were. In this set alone, you get the first season’s 52 episodes on six glorious Blu-ray discs. There are eight to nine episodes on each disc, and man, did they do a great job with the HD upgrade. I didn’t get a chance to watch every episode for this review, but I went through a big chunk of them and the colors popped on screen. The episodes are still in the old box form, 4×3 aspect ratio, so they won’t fill up your entire screen unless you adjust your actual television for it. I didn’t mind that though; it added to the nostalgia of watching all these episodes on a small tubed television in my dorm room. You also get a special Manga edition Pokémon book to read and a recipe card for a Pokémon related dish. I got the Sweet Potato Pikachu recipe and am somewhat terrified of trying it out. Obviously the best thing that you get from this entire set is all 52 episodes remastered to look as beautiful as they possibly can in 1080P. I really don’t know what else could top that.
Did Ash’s never aging tale age well? Yes, absolutely yes. I’ve watched some cartoons from my past and realized the animation was poor, or the voice acting was just phoned in, but Pokémon was done well from the get go. The Pokémon look a bit different than they do today; Pikachu has been on Weight Watchers for awhile, but other than that, everything looks similar to how I remember it. Some of the episodes are endearingly cheesy, and Team Rocket’s antics are downright weird; now that I’m older, I understand some of their jokes a bit more. Pokémon was risky twenty years ago! Just watch Episode 18 when you get this set; they cut a lot from the episode for American audiences! You’ll get this episode’s joke when you watch it; just leave the kids out of the room.
The special features are pretty lame in this set. I was hoping for some concept art, interviews with creators or voice-actors, but we get none of that. The special features that are actually on this set are the complete PokéRap and a “Who’s that Pokémon? Gallery. Nothing to really write to mom about. This set could have had some amazing extras: a studio tour of GameFreak, the developer’s favorite Pokémon, interviews with people at Niantic; there was just so much they could have done and chose not to do. I’m hoping for the second season, they decide to beef up this aspect of the set; for some nerds it is a pretty important part of buying a show on Blu-ray.
I was very impressed with the packaging of this set, which is always a nice bonus once you put it onto your Blu-ray shelf. First, there is a sturdy plastic slip-case that features everyone’s favorite Pokémon, Pikachu. Then you get to a Pokedex of sorts that holds the clam-shell case of the Blu-rays, the Manga book and your recipe card. I enjoy the fact that it is bundled in a Pokedex; I mean what else should a first season set come in other than a Jigglypuff!? The discs are also emblazoned with Pokeballs on them; while this is a nice touch, I think it would have been way cooler had they used this opportunity to show off all the Generation 1 Pokémon. Six Pokémon could have been on the disc for each set and I think that would have been a bit more creative. I’d rather look at a Pokémon than a Pokeball, but perhaps that is just me.
This is a great set to buy if you’re a huge fan of the show, I’m going to say it straight here. If I wasn’t sent a copy of this set to review by Viz Media, I would have hunted it down for myself. This is a gorgeous, definitive set of one of the most timeless shows ever produced. There isn’t anyone on Earth who doesn’t know about Pokémon, and this set gives the first season a nice send off. I had a few nit picky things to complain about in the set, but none of those would have stopped me from purchasing this Blu-ray. They carefully transferred the first season to 1080P for this set, and Ash’s adventures have never looked better. If you are a Pokémon fan, or even if you aren’t and you’re looking to get into some of the older lore, this is a set you need to own. You can binge watch it all day and night and become a Pokémon Master for all to adore.
A review copy of the Pokemon: Indigo League Season 1 Blu-ray set was provided by Viz Media.