A classic trainer finally gets animated in Pokémon Evolutions' eighth and final episode.
The last episode of the Pokémon anniversary series features a return to Kanto, the setting of the series' 1996 debut. The episode focuses on Leaf (also known as Green,) the oft-forgotten feminine avatar character from Pokémon Fire Red and Leaf Green, which were the 2004 Game Boy Advance remakes of the original black-and-white titles. Leaf journeys into the infamous Cerulean Cave to catch the final Pokémon she needs to complete her Pokédex, the powerful psychic Mewtwo. Unfortunately for Leaf, she also has to deal with competition from Chase and Elaine, the protagonist of the 2018 Pokémon Yellow remakes, Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! Leaf/Green appears in her redesigned costume from those remakes. The original games' other central characters, Red and Blue, are briefly glimpsed in the episode as well.
While Leaf/Green has made frequent appearances in the Pokémon manga, this marks her first major starring role in one of the series' anime adaptations. Previous animated adaptations of the original generation, such as 2013's Pokémon Origins, have mostly focused on Red, the series' original sole player character, and his rival, the arrogant Blue. The two video game characters would later serve as the basis for the anime series' Ash and Gary, though Leaf/Green never received an equivalent character in that continuity. Interestingly, Leaf, or a character closely resembling her, appears several times in the concept art for the original 1996 video games; according to artist Ken Sugimori, she was originally intended to be a second rival to the player character. The character also appeared in Nintendo's crossover fighter, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where players who pick the Pokémon Trainer fighter can choose between her or Red.
Pokémon Evolutions debuted in September and was produced by animation studio OLM, which has also animated all of the more than 1,000 episodes of the main Pokémon anime series, as well as its numerous movies and spinoffs. The series was produced as part of the celebration surrounding the 25th anniversary of the franchise's debut. The first episode adapted key scenes from the most recent game in the series, Sword and Shield, and has been working its way backwards through all eight generations of the video game series. All eight episodes are now available to watch for free on the official Pokémon YouTube channel.
While Pokémon's big anniversary year is drawing to a close, fans can still look forward to the impending release of Pokémon Legends Arceus, the latest game in the main series. The game features a more openly designed world and new battle mechanics. The game will be released for the Nintendo Switch on Jan. 28, 2022.