Pokémon’s latest movie pushes the importance of family

Pokemon

Fredrik Rubensson | Wikimedia Commons

Jahlil Rush

The Pokémon franchise has always had the ability to capture fans’ hearts with its heartwarming and sometimes melancholic moments, and its latest release achieves exactly that.

Netflix Inc. released the franchise’s 23rd movie,“Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle, worldwide on Oct. 8. The film was originally released in Japan in December of 2020.

The story centers around a young boy named Koko, who was raised in the jungle by a new mythical Pokémon named Zarude.

Koko is forced to confront his identity when he discovers that he is human and has to decide whether he wants to stick with the Pokémon culture that he has known all his life when an evil plot is discovered to threaten his home.

The simple yet immersive storyline may have a familiar tone to it, as fans compare it to the classic Disney film “Tarzan,” which was released in 1992. Koko’s character is an anime version of the King of the Jungle, but the latest Pokémon movie can be looked at as an homage to the Disney classic rather than a cheap copy.

“Secrets of the Jungle” teaches its young audience that it does not just take blood to be considered family, which is something Koko learns while having Ash and Pikachu right by his side.

Although Ash is considered the main protagonist in this film and the Pokémon franchise overall, he takes the backseat here, allowing Koko to flourish into his role as a central character.

The original Japanese version, known as “Pokémon the Movie: Coco,” was delayed due to the pandemic, which meant its English counterpart had to be delayed as well.

But, it kept fans speculating and anxious for its arrival.

Koko’s life is changed for the better when he crosses paths with Ash and Pikachu. Ash, who serves as Koko’s first human friend, gives the jungle boy a glimpse into the human world he has missed because he was raised by Pokémon. Koko is spooked when witnessing the use of the classic Pokémon item “the Poké ball” and tries ice cream for the first time.

Despite the movie being set in an alternate universe,, it keeps the Pokémon tradition alive by including fan-favorite villains such as Team Rocket in the plot. The comedic villains play a separate role in this movie universe as they don’t focus on chasing after Ash’s Pikachu,  and instead just try to cause trouble whenever they can. They are still the same entertaining and lively antagonists viewers have grown up loving.

The movie’s animation style, in particular, looked utterly amazing.  Anime fans could find that the animation styles “Secrets of the Jungle” could be tied for first place with fellow anime movies like Mokoto Shinkai’s hit movie “Your Name” or his 2019 film “Weathering with You, a movie that uses similar animation styles.

With its most recent movie, Pokémon continues to show that its warm presence will never fade away, and its themes are what makes the entire franchise continue 25 years later.