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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the long-running Pokémon series is based on characters from a popular video game, and is part of a giant licensing juggernaut. The Pokémon are kid-appealing, but the series features lots of fantasy violence, and pits the cute, monster-like characters against each other on behalf of their trainers. There are some positive messages (teamwork, sportsmanship, respecting elders), but it may be too intense for younger children.
What's the story?
The Japanese anime series POKÉMON follows the adventures of Ash, his friends, and their group of cute and highly skilled monster-like creatures that battle in tournaments on their behalf. Ash travels throughout remote, mysterious lands and works hard to become a highly skilled Pokémon trainer. Throughout his journey he meets old pals, makes new friends, and works with his Pokémon to help them use their different powers to fight when summoned. Ash and his friends must also face Team Rocket, whose mission is to steal all Pokémon in a quest for global domination.
Is it any good?
Over the years, the energetic, imagination-filled, Japanese-inspired fantasy series has cut across cultural, gender, and age barriers to captivate a global audience of girls, boys, and even adults. But like any product that inspires obsessions, it has received its share of criticism. Folks may also find the franchise's massive commercial appeal disturbing, especially since the show is mainly geared towards kids.
The whole concept of human characters summoning subordinates to battle on their behalf may be troubling to some. This can potentially send iffy messages to children with pets, too. But despite the endless fantasy violence, Pokémon attempts to promote messages about choosing the right path in life and resolving differences peacefully--before the fighting starts.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of Pokémon in the United States. Why do people of all ages find it appealing? What are the most popular Pokémon? Why?
What are the differences between Pokémon and real-life pets. How do Ash and his friends care for their Pokémon? How do we care for pets differently? Why are the Pokémon loyal to them and fight on their behalf? How about Team Rocket? Can we ever expect animals to fight on our behalf?
Find more TV shows that help kids build character.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.