I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Rika Matsumoto/Whiteberry -- Mezase Pokémon Master (めざせポケモンマスター)

Alright, I got 10 Antidotes which should be enough to cure any of my Pokémon's poisoned status. Koga has two Koffings at level 37 - they have a high defense stat so... Venusaur can take care of them with Razor Leaf. Then there's his level 39 Muk with high special defense... Growlithe can come in with Dig, hopefully not missing since Muk will most likely use the annoying Minimize move. Finally Koga's strongest team member Weezing. Urgh, it has Selfdestruct and it's at such a high level (43) with such a high defense stat... Well, Snorlax has Psychic now, hopefully it'll be able to take out the Weezing before it has a chance to blow up. In the event that it does explode, hopefully Snorlax's huge health stat can tank the attack. - Noelle's thought process while going to face the 5th Gym Leader in Pokémon Red, Koga, who uses poison-type Pokemon. Technical information courtesy of Bulbapedia.

Wow, I sound like a huge PokeNerd but to progress through the game with lesser difficulty, having to do some research is necessary. Though it seemed like I had a tough time against Koga, who's in no way similar to the showa era composer, Masao Koga, I actually breezed through the battle without much problem - Venusaur, being part poison-type itself, couldn't get poisoned by his team; puppy Growlithe had a close-call with the irritating Muk that indeed used Minimize; and the large, rotund Snorlax managed to sweep through the feared Weezing before it could use Selfdestruct. I guess I lucked out on this one.

Okay, you must be wondering why I'm chattering away about my escapades in the Kanto region. This year marks the 20th anniversary for one of Nintendo's most well-known franchises, Pokémon, where people catch the titular creatures to battle each other. So to commemorate the event, Nintendo re-released its first few games - Red and Blue (Green, if it's the Japanese one) versions from 1996, and Yellow from 1998 - in the 3DS e-shop on 27th February. I got myself the Red edition and have been spending a lot of time traversing though the 2D, black and white, 8-bit world with features that are actually very ahead of its time despite being primitive when compared to the new games.

Besides churning out console games, Pokémon also has an anime series that began in the late 90's and is still going strong in this day and age with its 5th series, "XY". Unlike the games, I can't say that I'm a big fan of the anime now as main character Ash Ketchum drives the current-me up the wall by not evolving his Pokemon and wasting their potential. But when me a decade ago couldn't be bothered with such trivial stuff as long as I got to see my favourite Pocket Monsters (what Pokémon stands for) on TV. As usual, each season has its own theme songs and today I shall be talking about the one from the "Original series" from 1997 (huh, it's as old as I am), "Mezase Pokémon Master" (Aim to Be a Pokémon Master)  since I am currently in the midst of the first game created.

English dubbed version. This thing, my friends, is a Sandshrew

Personally, I didn't watch much of the first series of Pokémon but I am familiar with the English dubbed version's theme song simply called "Pokémon theme", a rock-inspired opening with the revving of the electric guitar and it sounds a little like an 80's number. It does get the young ones all geared up and raring to go on adventures with Ash and his electric Pikachu. As for "Mezase Pokémon Master" in the Japanese version, I've never heard it together with the montage of Pokémon running across or toward the screen but I have heard a few seconds on it whenever I listen to J-Pop hit medleys from the 90's. From that sample I could understand why it did well on the Oricon charts as it was quite a jaunty tune that is more pop than rock. Hearing the full song, I was somewhat surprised that it began sounding quite R&B-like with voice-actress Rika Matsumoto (松本梨香) rapping about the places one can try to find Pokémon, like in the grass and in the clouds. While not as high-octane as "Pokémon theme", "Mezase Pokémon Master" is still quite a cool theme song for the show. By the way, Matsumoto is the voice of Ash, or Satoshi as he is known in the Japanese version, as well as the Persian owned by the big, bad Giovanni, leader of the evil Team Rocket.

Whiteberry version

"Mezase Pokémon Master" was written and composed by Akihito Toda (戸田昭吾) and Hirokazu Tanaka (たなかひろかず) respectively. As mentioned earlier the song did well on the charts, peaking at 7th on the Oricon weeklies and eventually becoming the 51st best-selling song by the end of 1997, selling almost 2 million copies. In 1998, it jumped up a few places to become 44th. Whiteberry did a cover of "Mezase Pokémon Master", which was used as the fourth opening theme to the "Original series" in 1999. It's quite similar to Matsumoto's version, but I prefer the original.

I always choose Bulbasaur for Gen I.
(Left most)

Well, time to go back to what the Charmander and Squirtle are doing - playing Pokémon on the DS.


  1. Hi, Noelle.

    As a huge Pokémon fan, I couldn't ignore your post about the anime's first opening theme "Mezase Pokémon Master".

    I grew up with a Brazilian version of the American opening, so when I heard the original Japanese version years later, I was shocked... and not in a good way. Rounding up, it took me years to like this song, but nowdays I'm a fan of it (especially of the synth melody from the intro and outro).

    I don't know if you have heard the other Japanese openings, but they're pretty good as well. My favorites are "Ready Go!" by Naomi Tamura (I think I wrote an article for this one in the past) and "Advance Adventure" by GARDEN.

    About the games, I heard they re-released the old titles, but, in all honesty, I can't play them nowadays. Not because of graphics or things like that, but just because of the limited move pool. Also, I consider the first games to be more difficult than the newer ones. It was tough to go through the gyms, the caves (Seafoam Islands and Victory Road were hard) and the original Elite Four. I'll continue playing my White 2 version, which I'm very happy with (can't play X/Y yet because I don't own a 3DS), haha.

    1. Hi Marcos.

      Oh, so you're a fan of Pokemon too.:)

      I haven't heard the other Japanese themes and "Mezase Pokemon Master" is the first Japanese theme I've heard from the show. I'll go check out the ones you've mentioned though.

      You're right about the original games having a limited move pool - the only fire-type move growlithe knows is ember until level 50... The places I had a hard time navigating were Silph Co where I absolutely no idea where I was going, and the Saffron City gym. The caves are also a pain to go through. Have fun with White 2 anyways, it's one of games I enjoy most. :)


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