Diamond, Pearl anime series has become unpredictable

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Fans should be grateful for surprises
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  • Saturday, January 26, 2008

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This editorial has been written by Argy. It expresses the views of the writer, not necessarily those of Bulbagarden networks.
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Argy is the former editor in chief of Bulbanews, a style editor at Bulbapedia, and an administrator at Bulbagarden forums.

Satoshi's Gliger
Shinji's Glion

With Satoshi's capture of Gliger this week, it has become apparent that Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl is no longer following the formulas of past series constructions. Fans who complain about the predictability of the series may no longer have the justification to do so. Pokémon have been traded, released and given vibrant, unique personalities. The main characters don't always win, and it often takes several tries to finally do so.

Before Diamond & Pearl began, Hikari was billed as a co-star to Satoshi. She has not quite taken the same proportion of screen-time, but her place in the series is greater than that of Haruka and certainly Kasumi. Both ending themes of the series, By Your Side ~Hikari's Theme~ and Message of the Wind, give substantial focus to Hikari and the institution of contests.

Hikari's Pochama is increasingly becoming more of a companion mascot to Pikachu. In DP064 it was never in its Poké Ball even when Hikari recalled her other Pokémon. A small, portable companion is understandably preferred to a 50-pound tank like Pottaishi, who is represented in the series by the one belonging to Kengo.

Kengo's Pottaishi and Hikari's Pochama

We are seeing more of the same evolution lines among principal characters. Hikari's other rival and friend, Nozomi, has a Nyarmar, just like Hikari's mother. Shinji has three Pokémon with counterparts in other characters. His Eleboo is a weaker version of Shigeru's Elekibull, perhaps serving as a symbol of Shinji's relative immaturity as a trainer when compared to Shigeru. Even more striking is Shinji's possession of evolutions of two of Satoshi's Pokémon, Glion and Dodaitose. Glion was captured in the same episode as Gliger. Satoshi has a long way to go with his Pokémon if he expects to win with them against Shinji.

Recent captures and evolutions have come in clusters of episodes. Since the 50th episode of DP, the following episodes featured a major capture, trade or evolution: DP052, DP054, DP055, DP060, DP064. Judging time passed between team changes is not an accurate way of predicting new catches. Satoshi could catch another new Pokémon within the next three episodes. It seems very unlikely, but the possibility cannot be eliminated.

The delay in changing the opening theme, Together, is curious, especially since the evolution of Eipam to Eteboth has not been reflected in the song's accompanying animation. An opening change is imminent, but for what are we waiting? Another major team alteration, it seems, since the captures of Gliger and Glion will not be enough to change the song in DP065.

Diamond & Pearl is more than a year in, and Satoshi will not even be challenging his third Sinnoh gym until late February. Hikari's twin losses leave her with one ribbon and her first gym match in DP067. The series will last for at least two more years, meaning Satoshi will either have the same six Pokémon for a long time, or he will be doing more swapping among his Pokémon in storage. However, the Pokémon currently in his possession have many evolutions to make, if they indeed go that far. Hikozaru in particular seems destined to fully evolve to challenge its former, abusive trainer.

The audience has been made to anticipate a DP series finale featuring a battle between Satoshi and the Sinnoh Elite Four and Shirona, whose title in the anime is "Champion Master." Should Satoshi win, it is logical to assume he will earn the same title. Is this the same as a "Pokémon Master"? Surely he will not turn down the title he has been seeking since EP001, unlike when he turned down the offer to be a Frontier Brain in Kanto. The fact that DP has been so unpredictable so much and so early is an indication that anything is possible, and predictions should be made prudently and without empiricism.