It is currently Pokémon Day, an all-out celebration of when Pocket Monsters were first unleashed into the world on Feb. 27, 1996. Since Red and Blue kicked off the gaming IP in Japan, the franchise has ballooned into a multimedia juggernaut.
Several major things happened for the brand today that we need to talk about. We catch em' all in this special Pokémon-themed edition of WIRE Buzz. Just note: We had to travel across the land, searching far and wide, for these developments.
Don't be scared, our courage will pull us through!
First up, we've got Zarude, a newly-discovered mythical Pokémon for Sword and Shield.
Described as a "Rogue Monkey" (weird, that was our nickname in high school), Zarude is a Dark/Grass type that "can grow vines from the back of its neck, its wrists, and the soles of its feet at will," according to the official gaming website. Used for grabbing Berries and swinging from tree-to-tree, "the vines also have a healing property. If the vines are wrapped around a wound, it will heal."
See Zarude in action below:
As for its place of origin, this beast "lives in a pack deep in the dense forests of Galar," continues the website description. "It treats anyone that isn’t part of its pack with immediate hostility. When fighting, Zarude swings around from tree branches, attacking relentlessly with its sharp claws. Its quick wit helps it excel in battles."
Per USA Today, this honor was decided by a poll held by Google. "To vote, fans of the series simply had to search Google for 'Pokémon of the Year.' The search giant then displayed a form that let people choose from 890 Pokémon from the show, movies and video games."
The poll reportedly stopped taking votes on Valentine's Day.
A Dark/Water type, Greninja is the final evolutionary form of Froakie, one of the starter Pokémon in X and Y. Froakie evolves into Frogadier before turning into Greninja, which has the ability to star stars of "compressed water." Thrown at a high enough speed, these stars can split metal.
Umbreon (67,062 votes), Charizard (93,968 votes), Mimikyu (99,077 votes), and Lucario (102,259 votes) round out the Top 5 Pokémon of the Year.
Today, Netflix made Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution available to stream for American audiences. Since this is a CG remake of the first-ever Pokémon feature film from 1999, we've been curious if the release lives up to the nostalgia of seeing the cartoon on the big screen for the first time.
Sadly, it doesn't sound like Evolution comes even close to the magic of the original.
"It’s not clear why the filmmakers switched from drawn animation to CG for the new film. Ash and his friends Brock and Misty have the disturbing, plastic look of badly rendered skin," writes Charles Solomon in his review for the L.A. Times. "As Pikachu and other Pokémon have been made into countless toys, it’s easier to accept three-dimensional versions of them. But the realistic fire burning at the tip of Charizard’s tail feels unnecessary, and the cartoony characters look out of place amid the hyper-real water, lightning, explosions and other special effects."
IGN published its own verdict of the film last summer, stating:
"Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back - Evolution works best as a battle spectacle. The 3DCG retelling of the first Pokémon movie makes the world of Pokémon seem more vibrant and rich, and the battles between Pokémon are explosive. But flashy Pokémon moves and Team Rocket’s goofiness aren’t enough to liven up the slow second half that’s filled with silly decisions from the human trainers and their flat expressions."