The Pokemon anime, once a beloved childhood favorite, has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years. With the launch of Pokemon Horizons, the focus has shifted from Ash Ketchum to dual protagonists liko and Roy, ushering in a new era for the series. However, despite the fresh direction, the anime is still grappling with some persistent issues that have plagued it in the past.
One of the long-standing criticisms has been the animation quality and filler content. During the latter part of Ash’s journey, fans voiced their concerns about these aspects, leading to recurring complaints. In an attempt to address these issues, Pokemon Horizons even took the drastic step of going off the air for two weeks, allowing the staff more time to improve the show. However, their return was marked by a still frame-heavy recap episode, which indicated that something more fundamental was amiss.
Previously, there had been speculation that the studio behind Pokemon, OLM, was understaffed. The senior director, Kurokazuchiaki, had publicly acknowledged on Twitter that production difficulties were due to a lack of manpower. While the current status of OLM’s staffing remains unclear, we can gain some insight by analyzing the episode credits of Pokemon Horizons.
Unusual Number of Supervisors and Outsourcing
Episode 12 of the latest series featured an unusual number of supervisors, more than double the industry norm. Additionally, outsourcing work to Studio Mascot and seeking assistance from another studio may suggest that OLM is still struggling to maintain a sufficient workforce. While it’s evident that they are making efforts to rectify this issue, the abundance of supervision implies that some newly hired staff members may not yet be up to the required standards for regular anime production.
Despite these challenges, Pokemon Horizons has had its moments of brilliance. Spectacular and beautifully animated scenes have delighted viewers, prompting cheers from fans. However, there have also been instances of rougher animation, creating a stark contrast in the overall visual experience. The presence of such varied animation styles, coupled with the need for extensive cleanup work, reinforces the notion that OLM is in a transitional phase, attempting to train and develop their newly acquired talent.
To mitigate the impact of staffing challenges and give the new team time to grow, the anime has employed measures like extended breaks and filler episodes. While this approach allows for much-needed breathing room behind the scenes, it’s not a sustainable long-term solution for a show as popular and iconic as Pokemon.
The Success of Studio Piero’s Approach
Studio Piero’s example serves as a reminder that taking a longer hiatus to prepare for a new season can result in a polished and outstanding final product. Black Clover season 2, following a well-deserved break, showcased remarkable improvement in animation and overall quality, winning the hearts of fans and critics alike.
Pokemon Horizons has the potential to follow a similar trajectory, given time and the right support. Fans remain hopeful that the show will continue to grow and overcome its current obstacles. A rejuvenated and well-staffed OLM, together with the passion and dedication of the production team, can elevate the anime to new heights and recapture the magic that made Pokemon a worldwide sensation.
In conclusion, Pokemon Horizons represents a significant shift in the anime’s narrative focus, but it also faces familiar challenges that have haunted the series in the past. While the show’s animation quality and staffing issues have drawn criticism, there is an underlying optimism that with time and nurturing, Pokemon Horizons can emerge stronger than ever. As fans eagerly await further developments, they hold onto the belief that the beloved franchise will continue to evolve and enchant audiences for generations to come.