It's only taken 27 years, but I might finally be ready to get into the Pokemon series. I've dabbled in the Nintendo franchise before but have struggled to get into it as much as it seems like everyone else has. If there's anything to break through to me after all this time though, it's got to be the upcoming Netflix series Pokemon Concierge.
In February, The Pokemon Company hosted a Pokemon Presents where it announced new DLC for Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, details about Pokemon Sleep, and more. The main attraction for me though was the teaser trailer for a new Pokemon stop motion animated series. The premise of the show sees Haru, a concierge at the 'Pokemon Resort', welcome a number of familiar guests into the retreat (including Psyduck - who is the only Pokemon to make an appearance in the teaser trailer) but that's all we know about it right now - we haven't even got a release date yet.
Better late than never
My introduction to Pokemon could have been around the early 2000s when I was about three or four years old. I was too young to understand the games or to see the trading card game as anything more than a deck of sparkly pieces of paper, so naturally, my way into Pokemon was through the early seasons of the anime. I remember being a fan of Jigglypuff, Togepi, and of course Pikachu, but I can't say I really knew anything about how Pokemon actually worked or the bigger story behind these cute creatures on my screen.
Nowadays, I'm not a huge fan of RPGs so don't find a lot of enjoyment out of the Pokemon games, however shocking it might be to hear a 90s baby say that. That doesn't mean that I don't love a good life-sized Pokemon plush or just the little critters in general. In fact, I wish there were more ways for me to enjoy The Pokemon Company's creations outside of the games and long-running anime series, which is where I'm hoping Pokemon Concierge comes in.
Upon seeing the teaser trailer, I was instantly reminded of Netflix's other stop-motion animation series Rilakkuma and Kaoru, and its follow-up series Rilakkuma's Theme Park Adventure, and for good reason. As revealed during the Pokemon Presents stream, the studio behind Rilakkuma and his various adventures, Dwarf Studios, will be working with Netflix once again for Pokemon Concierge. So I'm basically guaranteed to like it.
Both of the Rilakkuma shows follow office worker Kaoru and her bear-y cute roommates and human-sized teddy bears Rilakkuma, Korilakkuma, and her pet bird Kiiroitori. As you'd expect from Dwarf Studios, the series is a very sweet stop-motion animation production where the episodes are all under 20 minutes long and literally just show the group as they get into a range of harmless shenanigans. This is exactly what I'm hoping we're going to get from Pokemon Concierge, which if accurate, might just be enough to make me a fan of the wider Pokemon universe.
I can totally see main character Haru having to juggle the goings on at the resort and dealing with all the Pokemon that try to disturb it. If it's anything like Rilakkuma's show, I'm imagining things like Lapras taking up too much space in the pool, Snorlax sleeping across several sunbeds, Exeggutor shading guests around the resort, Fidough sleeping on the buffet table, and anything else you can think of from the 1,000+ Pokemon that have been designed.
Getting the gang back together
Since information about Pokemon Concierge is so scarce right now, there's no way of telling what kind of show we're in for. I do have another idea as to who we could see in the upcoming anime though. As revealed by Netflix (opens in new tab), Pokemon won't be the only guests to visit Haru and the Pokemon Resort. The various 'mons will also be accompanied by "their owners" which would open the door to not only new original trainers to be introduced to the Pokemon series but also some returning ones too.
Although nothing's guaranteed, it would be so exciting to see a stop-motion puppet version of Ash with his Pikachu visiting the resort, especially now that their time as the lead characters of the Pokemon anime is coming to an end. It doesn't even need to be limited to just Ash either, it would also be fun to see the likes of Brock, Misty, Professor Oak, Nurse Joy, or maybe even the new Pokemon anime protagonists checking into the spa - knowing how long it takes to create stop motion films though, it's probably less likely that we'll see such new characters in Pokemon Concierge.
I just really want another feel-good series that doesn't take a lot of brain power, or even much knowledge of the Pokemon series, to be enjoyed. Getting into a series almost 30 years after it began is a daunting task, but being welcomed in with miniature fuzzy arms feels a heck of a lot less intimidating than starting from square one. Thanks to its work on Rilakkuma and Kaoru, I trust that Netflix has the potential to do something really great with Pokemon Concierge, and I can't wait to see what it - along with Dwarf Studios - come up with.
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