"I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was..."
It was the rallying cry of a generation. The theme that opened a thousand sails and set many young men and women on a journey that would last a lifetime. It was... a really rad opening song in an anime that is still going today. And for anyone who remembers the fever pitch that was the Pokémon craze in the late '90s, it was a near constant staple in our pop culture diets.
That said, the classic Pokémon anime still leaves us with some questions, namely, what happened to all of those ridiculous side characters that Ash Ketchum and his pals kept running into? After Ash promised to see them again one day, where did their lives spiral off to? Well, SYFY WIRE readers and Pokémon fans, we're going to attempt to make a few educated guesses.
Samurai (no, he is never given a name other than that) is the first "character of the day" that Ash encounters, and it's a heck of a start. Dressed in a "samurai" outfit that looks like he bought it at Party City, Samurai only uses Bug Pokemon and lives in the Viridian Forest. There, he challenges trainers and probably does nothing else. Look, his name is "Samurai" and he dresses like a samurai. He doesn't have a lot of options when it comes to his free time.
Right now, though? Honestly, he probably goes by "Derek Edwards," works in Saffron City at Silph Co., and has done his best to delete every photo from his "samurai phase" off his Facebook account.
"Where do I know you from, man? Hey, didn't you used to dress up as a ninja or something and jump out at kids in Viridian Forest?"
"No," Derek Edwards, aka Samurai, says as he hurries out of the Starbucks. "I think you're confusing me with someone else."
Seymour the Scientist
Ash, Brock, Misty, and Pikachu encountered Seymour in Mt. Moon, where he was raving madly about the Clefairy and the Moon Stones. Almost completely incapable of taking care of himself in any situation, it was the Pokémon equivalent of an escort mission as Ash spent most of the episode ensuring that Seymour wasn't murdered by Team Rocket and/or Zubats.
At the very end, Seymour decided to live amongst the Clefairy in order to prove his conspiracy theory correct: That the Clefairy came from space in a rocket ship made of Moon Stone. And I think it's safe to assume that he's probably still there, getting more and more obsessed with his theories and falling further and further into madness.
I don't see a way that this ends well for Seymour, as I just imagine him shouting at anyone that enters Mt. Moon to help him finish his spaceship and then talking about how Zubat droppings are actually quite nutritious.
A.J. was the trainer that ran an unofficial gym and promised that he would only begin to challenge gym leaders when he attained 100 straight victories. His main Pokémon was a powerful Sandshrew, and at the end of the episode, he gained his 100th win and then set off into the sunset.
I don't think this ended well.
He had created his own gym, just so that he could win against weaker trainers. That kind of mindset doesn't lend itself to handling loss very well. As battle-hardened as A.J. was, his mantra of "I can only really get started when it's certain that I'll win, like, all the time" proves that he needed to level up in the emotional maturity department.
And so, he probably returned as a broken man to his self-made temple of victory. There he could barricade himself from the outside world and do nothing but celebrate the time that he got 100 wins.
Damian, a jerk with an accent that sounds like someone trying to strangle an Australian person ("HEH HEH! ME CHWAARRRRMEANDA'!"), abandoned his Charmander in the middle of nowhere when Charmander wasn't as strong as he'd hoped. Later, Ash found Charmander, unlocked Charmander's true potential, and together, they sent Damian packing.
And I can only imagine that, years later, they returned to the area to find Damian's remains in the forest.
There's no way that this doesn't end with Damian either being eaten by, or beaten to death, by his Pokemon. Because, as "weak" as a Pokemon can be, it's still way more powerful than a human. And the second that Damian tried to ditch or abuse any creature taller than six feet, it likely devoured him.
THAT GIANT DRAGONITE
As a little kid that was obsessed with Godzilla, so the episode in which Ash meets Bill at the lighthouse and then encounters a 300-hundred-foot-tall Dragonite was a revelation. It was a beautiful moment where, if only for 20 minutes, the world was perfect and everything was going to end up all right.
And then the episode ends with that monstrous Dragonite just kinda walking away. So what happened to it? Is it still lonely?
Or did the fact that Team Rocket bombarded it with rocket launchers make it resent humanity? Is it currently attacking and sinking ships? Is it, well, GODZILLA now? Please tell me that it's Godzilla. That would make my 9-year-old self very, very happy.
Nastina desperately wanted to build a hotel and theme park, regardless of how much it damaged the habitat of the Tentacool and Tentacruel that lived in the area. Then, when a giant Tentacruel attacked, she somehow managed to get ahold of a tank in order to fight off the huge jellyfish Pokémon. That's a lot of dedication to making sure you'll be able to plunder the environment.
I don't want to dive too deep into Pokémon economics, but I will here for a second: There's good reason to believe that most Pokémon industries are government-run or at least partially subsidized by the Pokémon world's government. Nearly every business, big or small, in that universe is based around Pokémon.
Basically, Nastina's purely capitalistic ventures probably wouldn't last very long in the Pokémon world. So, she's likely employed as a cashier at a PokéMart right now. And she's probably changed her name tag to say something like "Natalie," as "Nastina" would make customers feel too uncomfortable, and may remind them of the time that she attacked an animal with a tank.
Tommy is a feral boy who lives among the Kangaskhan in the Safari Zone. However, by the end of his episode, his actual parents return and they all decide to live in the Safari Zone together. This seems like a cute ending. It really does.
But Tommy was raised by a pack of large, punch-ey lizard things, and spent a bunch of formative years with them. He has no grasp of human customs. And have you read any stories about real-life feral children? They're fascinating and often remarkably depressing.So yeah, it's nice that they're all gonna live in the woods together, but is Tommy ever going to be able to truly connect with his human mother and father?
Man, Pokémon. Why do you gotta be like this?