Pokémon Concierge, a Japanese stop-motion animated television series released on 28 December 2023, has taken the Internet by storm by presenting a new side of the beloved franchise away from the traditional tropes of captures and battles.
As a part of The Pokémon Company’s media franchise, the Netflix series also exists in the realm of the elemental monsters, but it shifts its focus from the action-adventure genre to a more cozy and comfortable side of the Pocket Monster universe.
The official synopsis for the 4-episode miniseries, as directed by Ogawa Iku, reads: “With the help of concierge Haru, Pokémon relax and have fun at the Pokémon Resort.”
Although such a simple premise and the felt fabric style animation by Dwarf Studios initially created skepticism about how enjoyable Pokémon Concierge is going to be, all doubts are now gone as fans celebrate their excitement and love for the show through various forms of social media.
The new series sits with a 100% critic rating and 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes as of date, with critic LaNeysha Campbell explaining how “Pokémon Concierge demonstrates that the franchise holds boundless storytelling potential.”
Another critic named Charles Pulliam-Moore from The Verge wrote, “Pokémon Concierge’s gorgeous production design and its heartwarming stories about the power of relaxation are what make it one of The Pokémon Company’s most inspired collaborations.”
Is Pokemon Concierge the best thing I’ve ever watched?
— Feer. (@recurringfear) December 28, 2023
The Playful Maturity of Pokémon Concierge
Through beautifully animated stop-motion panels depicting a tropical paradise, Pokémon Concierge follows the protagonist Haru who receives a new job in a Pokémon themed resort as a concierge, a hotel employee whose job is to assist guests by booking tours, making theater, reserving restaurants and fulfilling all their needs.
Haru’s journey begins when she understands that she needs to change things around after her boyfriend breaks up with her. She makes mistakes at work, and overall realizes that she just isn’t pleased with the direction in which her life is going.
The young lady, therefore, finds it easy to leave her previous job and relocate when she is offered the chance to become the Pokémon Resort’s newest concierge. Haru changes her lifestyle to become a unique type of Pokémon caregiver which allows her to find meaning in life while simultaneously enjoying taking breaks at the beach.
The all-too-real existential fear of the workplace that sets Haru on her route to the Pokémon Resort gives Pokémon Concierge a uniqueness that really speaks to the mature fans of the franchise who grew with the series.
On the other hand, the series also follows a bright, joyful theme that appeals to the younger viewers as well thanks to its charming production design, catchy story beats, and theme song by city pop icon Mariya Takeuchi.
Pokémon Concierge and Unique Plans
Pokémon Concierge, with its mere four episodes, is ideally big enough for an enjoyable and calming experience while also far too short due to how incredibly enjoyable the entire series is.
However, given that the most recent generation of mainstream games, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, has ended with The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero DLC, and that the Pokémon franchise may also be reaching an inflection point, it’s possible that we’ll eventually find ourselves back at the Pokémon Resort, perhaps even in a game format.
Pokémon that are considered classics, such as Pikachu, Psyduck, Dragonite, Mudkip, and Eevee, are explored in a new light, as Pokémon Concierge pays close attention to little details, such as the personality traits possessed by the pets and how they utilize their powers outside battles.
These are concepts that have rarely been explored in the games, except for spinoffs like Pokémon Snap, and therefore create a whole new dimension to the world-building of the Pokémon universe, complemented greatly by the new human characters designed by Tadahiro Uesugi.
The respective Japanese and English cast include Rena Nōnen and Karen Fukuhara voicing Haru, Fairouz Ai and Imani Hakim voicing Alisa, Okuno Eita and Josh Keaton voicing Tyler, along with Takemura Yoshiko and Lori Alan voicing Watanabe.
The four 20-minute episodes of Pokémon Concierge that are now streaming on Netflix are titled as:
Episode 1 – “I’m Haru, the New Concierge!”
Episode 2 – “What’s on Your Mind, Psyduck?”
Episode 3 – “I Hope I Can Evolve Too…”
Episode 4 – “Welcome to the Pokémon Resort!”.
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