Pokemon

Common Sense Media says

As much about marketing as it is imagination.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters are good sports, good friends, and value taking good care of their Pokemon (who they then call on to engage in battles on their behalf). Animation is Asian influenced, though as with most anime series, few characters look distinctly Asian. Goofy humor with kid appeal. The few female characters don't come off well (traits include being constantly fearful and whiny or conniving, demanding, and bossy). A main bad-guy character has internal struggles with his wholesome-but-overbearing upbringing, which led him to rebel and join a group that steals Pokemons in a quest for world domination. Although he knows his actions are wrong, he's not strong enough to break away.

Violence & scariness

Pokemon characters handle most of the fighting, which includes laser shots, explosive battles, and some punching and kicking. Lasting injuries are rare, and there's never bloodshed. Battles are treated as a sport with organized tournaments overseen by adults. Confrontations with the evil Team Rocket call for impromptu monster battles and always end in humorous explosions.

Sexy stuff

Some female characters wear short skirts and breast-enhancing tops.

Language

Occasional name-calling like "twerp" and "knucklehead."

Consumerism

The show often feels like a commercial for the line of Pokemon toys, video games, trading cards, and other paraphernalia. New Pokemon and new levels in the TV show encourage kids to acquire new cards and games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series has very simplistic dialogue and themes and is part of a gigantic licensing juggernaut. The often cute-and-cuddly Pokemon monsters appeal to kids as young as 4 or 5, but the subject matter -- pitting monsters against each other using a multitude of attacks -- may not be appropriate for them. The battles the monsters participate in can get fairly violent, with laser blasts and explosions. Characters strive to battle honorably, respect their elders, and care for their monsters, which partly balances the show's violent premise. That said, the fact that the characters have pet-like subordinates that they summon to do battle on their behalf is a bit disturbing.

Parents say

What's the story?

After the POKEMON invasion began in 1998, \"anime\" (Japanese animation) became a staple of children's television in the United States, complete with rail-thin bodies, cavernous eyes, and continuing stories about children on quests that take them to mysterious and foreign lands. Over the years, main Pokemon protagonist Ash has traveled with different pals and made great strides in his ongoing efforts to become a highly skilled Pokemon trainer. Ash and his friends constantly find their efforts for good rebuffed by the ruthless, cunning Team Rocket, whose mission is to steal Pokemon in a quest for global control. This ongoing conflict makes many of the episodes feel very similar -- good guys battle verbally with bad guys, and when things get heated, they call on their Pokemon to do their dirty work with loud, explosive fighting.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Pokemon has suffered a lot of criticism, as any product that inspires obsessions undoubtedly will. Like Harry Potter, Pokemon has even been called satanic -- and, indeed, sometime near the year 2000, it seemed poised to take over the world, with best-selling handheld games, record-breaking movie openings, and top ratings. To give it credit, the show/phenomenon did cut across cultural, gender, and age barriers to a remarkable degree, captivating a worldwide audience of girls and boys, preschoolers, grade-schoolers, and adolescents. And it does make an attempt to promote messages about choosing the right path in life and resolving differences peacefully (before the fighting starts, that is).

But brave parents who take a look at the show head-on may just conclude that marketing strategy fuels Pokemon's lasting success as much as imagination does. It would be hard not to, given the huge line of products spawned by what was once just a popular trading card game. And then there's the whole concept of the human characters summoning subordinates to battle in their place -- some kids may need a reminder that this type of relationship doesn't apply to the family pets.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the excitement when Pokemon first came to the United States. Why were the characters so popular? What kind of tie-in products were sold that were so unusual and alluring to kids (and collectors of all ages)? What do kids know about cross-promotion or using cartoons to sell goods? Which Pokemon is kids' favorite? The youngest viewers may have fun inventing and drawing their own kinds of Pokemon. Families can (and should) also talk about the differences between Pokemon characters and real-life pets. How do Ash and his friends care for their Pokemon? How about Team Rocket? Why will the Pokemon fight for the humans? How do we care for pets differently? Can we ever expect animals to fight on our behalf?

TV details

Cast:Eric Stuart, Rachael Lillis, Veronica Taylor
Networks:Cartoon Network, CW
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures
TV rating:TV-Y
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Pokemon was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written byKiro April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Cute and cuddly violence

Pokemon's the dumbest show, but it's cute. The characters are all total goodies. Even Team Rocket (I'm referring to Jessie and James) are really good guys deep down. The show might be "violent" as many people have dsaid, but the violence is milder than playing dodge ball is gym class! The pokemon never really get hurt too badly, and they don't die, they faint. The pokemon are loyal to their trainers when the trainers are nice, which is a good message to kids, "be nice to your animal friends." And the pokemon enjoy their battles, so it's not cruel or anything. It's a great, simple show for little kids.
Teen, 15 years old Written byCartoonaholic_C... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

POKEMON RULES!!!

Pokemon, Pokemon, PO-KEY-MON!!! Not only the games are good, the anime is, too. One of the most cutest (and vicious) shows ever (Franny's Feet is another cute show by the way). This show is so darn good in my opinion. I always do look forward to new Pokemon by the way. I found a great Pokemon-themed site (www.serebii.net) with a lot of Pokemon-themed information and more. ALL POKEMON RULE!!!
Teen, 14 years old Written byA Song or Hymn April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

I love Pokemon, that's all I can say.

I have been watching Pokemon since it came out. I loved it. Pokemon is a...nice show. Has lots interesting things about it, and a very imaginative plot. It's very appropriate, except for the violence part. But it's not THAT violent, just kind of. It has a lot more in the show that evens out the violence, and the other bad parts of Pokemon. Though, I have to admit, 6 seasons of Pokemon get old. Sometimes, the show gets too focused on friendship and all that...it becomes kinda boring. It's a not the perfect show, but it's definetely my favorite and I think all ages would enjoy it.

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