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Dogasu's Backpack | Rants | Happy Anniversary! (Year Seven)
Wow, 2006 was such an uneventful year. Day after day, we all waited for something, anything to come along to let us know that the franchise has some life left.
Of course, I'm being facetious here. This year was probably the biggest year the franchise has since it got out of its fad stage, and the overwhelming amount of news that came pouring in was simply insane.
Where to start? Well, since it was the 10th anniversary of the video games, I guess it would be fitting to mention them first. We saw the releases of Pokemon Ranger in both Japan and the US, the release of Mystery Dungeon in the US, and the release of the highly-anticpated Diamond & Pearl in Japan. The Wii (in Japan, at least) also got its first online game with Pokemon Battle Revolution. With these new games, we got new pokemon revealed, WiFi codes being swapped among fans, and a mix of satisfaction and disappointment with the fourth generation games.
In other video game news, American fans got the chance to obtain both Celebi (through the Journey Across America tour) and Mew (through the Toys R Us giveaway).
The anime saw its fair share of new material as well. In Japan, viewers saw the end of Advanced Generation and the start of Diamond & Pearl. The third anime series follows the plot of the Diamond & Pearl games and is seen by many fans as being one of the best seasons yet. The Manaphy movie was released in Japan and was the second lowest-earning Pocket Monsters film ever with a measly 3.4 billion yen (approximately US $29 million). The half-hour variety show Pokemon Sunday expanded to an hour with the extra 30 minutes being used as a rerun slot (a rarity in Japanese network TV). Meanwhile, the UK finally gets the Jirachi movie.
The news that dominated the anime side of things, though, concerned what was going on with the English language dub. 4Kids' rights to the anime expired and were bought up by Pokémon USA, and a new pool of voice actors were brought in to replace the old ones. This was met with a mixed reaction, with the more resistant fans forming the group SOVA (Save Our Voice Actors) in the hopes of bringing the old voices back. So far, they haven't had much to celebrate about. The show left Kids' WB!, where it had been for nearly seven years, and was moved to Cartoon Network, which proceeded to premiere the majority of the new season's 52 episodes. The network also, at long last, picked up the Pokémon Chronicles series a year after it had appeared on UK television. Fans also got some brand new animated specials (two dubs of The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon - Team Go-Getters Out of the Gate) as well as the dub to the Lucario movie.
In DVD news, Viz finished out Advanced Challenge, released a couple of Advanced Battle volumes, released a Season One boxset, and released some throw-away tenth anniversary DVD's.
Even the manga, an aspect of the fandom that's often overlooked, got a resurgence of life in the U.S. Viz released two "best of" volumes of Pokémon Adventures (presumably to test the market) and also translated the series Pokémon Mystery Dungeon - Ginji's Rescue Team into English, leaving it in its original right-to-left format (a first for Pokémon manga).
The news wasn't all good, though. On August 6th, we lost Hirotaka Suzuoki. The Japanese voice actor who voiced Sakaki (among other anime roles) passed away at the age of 56, and his death launched speculation that the Rocket-Dan would be dropped from the show. On the flip side, Ohtani Ikue, the voice of Pikachu, gave birth to a baby after taking a maternity leave from the series.
During all this, my site has been right here, blissfully ignorant of all this big news. Because face it - this isn't a news site. I just never really saw the appeal of being the "first" to post a particular news item. I mean sure, you feel good for the day or so that the news remains exclusive to your site, but then what? You have to keep looking for the next piece of news to post, and the next, and the next, and so on and so on. It's an endless cycle that, quite frankly, I don't want to be a part of. Is my site any worse off because I haven't posted movesets for any of the D/P pokemon? I don't think so.
I think my refusal to go after the flavor of the week news item has helped me keep my desire to continue doing this website. My section on, say, Recycled Characters is something I can look back at a year from now and be proud of. I couldn't do that with, say, "OMG ny0O Engilsh poKEmonZ neaMe rEveeLeD!!11!_11!" So while all the other sites get their advanced copies of CoroCoro sent to them from Hong Kong or whatever, I'll still be here, slowly but surely putting up stuff that no other site can be bothered with.
This year will continue all that. I'll keep updating with new comparisons and new manga stuff, of course, but I'll also be revising some of the stuff that's already up now. I'll continue releasing manga synopses, and I'll start doing comparisons for the older, pre-AG stuff. And maybe I'll actually get around to getting rid of that Humans' Bios link I was supposed to get rid of in 2006. This year is going to be another great one, and I hope you guys enjoy the stuff that I put out there for 2007.
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