“Pokémon Concierge” Season 1 Delivers a Perfect Take for Adult Pokémon Fans – Review

pokemon concierge animated series netflix
Haru and Psyduck in Pokémon Concierge (Image: Trailer)

The four-episode-long season one of Pokémon Concierge features a story that is perfect for adult fans of the iconic franchise. The only downside would be how criminally short it is!

I have been looking forward to watching Pokémon Concierge the moment I saw the trailer. Visualized through a refreshing stop-motion art style, the premise dealt with a young adult named Haru deciding to work as a Pokémon Concierge at an island resort after going through a whole lot of bad luck on the mainland.

Haru’s boyfriend of six years broke up with her via text (such a loser!). She’s not feeling appreciated at work. And she’s been stepping in gum. Yeah, our lead needed a change so off to the famous resort she went. Upon arriving at the lively island ready to get to work on her very first day, Haru’s boss Watanabe asked her to spend the day as a guest instead. Now, for someone like Haru, that’s easier said than done.

Kudos to the creative team for making me like Haru the instant she appeared onscreen. I do feel that many older viewers will be able to relate to her personality and inner thoughts. The narrative touched on a bunch of adult-centric themes through Haru as she came to realize the importance of allowing herself to relax and finding creative ways to help others. Depending on your circumstances, it’s never too late to try something new. And who said you had to be any good at the thing you want to try? All that should matter to you is whether or not you’re having fun while doing it.

Haru’s journey of self-discovery was aided by a Psyduck who went through an arc of his own as Haru helped him control his headache-induced psychic powers and encouraged him to try a variety of activities to have fun and relax.

Even though Haru was described at first as being a fan of the energetic Pikachu, I enjoyed seeing the bond that formed between her and Psyduck as the story progressed. They both helped each other become a better version of themselves, with Haru finding her true calling. I mean, it can’t be a Pokémon story without some kind of “Evolution” metaphor thrown in there for good measure.

The rest of the cast included Haru’s co-workers, Alisa (artist, rock climber, and more) and Tyler (personal trainer and cook). Now, I don’t know about you, but due to the animation team making Alisa wear a bracelet-like accessory with shades of pink, white, and blue, that particular accessory made me wonder if it was supposed to be a subtle nod to Alisa being part of the LGBTQ+ community.

I mean, that particular color combination didn’t appear on any other characters in the series. Said bracelet also stood out compared to the rest of her outfit’s color scheme. It also wasn’t a thin bracelet either. Like, you’re supposed to notice it! (possibly representing two distinct queer flag colors?)

Alisa in Pokémon Concierge
Alisa in Pokémon Concierge (Image: Trailer)

Alisa wouldn’t be the first time the Pokémon franchise included some kind of queer representation. The anime gave us Go from Sword and Shield, the memorable Harley, and Jessie and James from Team Rocket are widely considered to be queer characters. But anyway, as of right now, I can’t be sure about Alisa. I just felt like mentioning it though.

Both Tyler and Alisa supported Haru in a sensible manner instead of holding her hand when she’s faced with certain obstacles. Their style made sense because they were, more or less, kind of like Haru when they began working on the island. As far as they were concerned, the best thing for Haru was to find her own groove.

The art style perfectly complimented the type of story being told. Everything’s very bright and colorful. There’s a sense of calmness throughout the four episodes even when Haru and Psyduck get into a bit of trouble. I also really liked how the difference between certain Pokémon species was depicted through various skin textures. For example, certain Pokémon with fur seemed to be constructed from felt-like material.

With the mainline of Pokémon content focusing on little kids making their Pokémon partners battle it out against each other for a chance to become Champions, I’m glad that something like the Pokémon Concierge series was made for an audience that wanted to spend time in the fictional world of Pocket Monsters in a more laid back manner.

I can’t wait to return to that island!

Pokémon Concierge debuted on Netflix on December 28, 2023.

While enjoyable, this animated series was criminally short with only four freaking episodes and with each episode being less than 20 minutes.

The show has been wonderfully directed by Iku Ogawa from a screenplay by Harumi Doki. The awesome concept art and character design are by Tadahiro Uesugi with Dwarf Studios handling production.

The Japanese voice cast is Nōnen Rena as Haru, Ai Fairouz as Alisa, Eita Okuno as Tyler, and Yoshiko Takemura as Watanabe. The English voice cast is Karen Fukuhara as Haru, Imani Hakim as Alisa, Josh Keaton as Tyler, and Lori Alan as Watanabe.

Did you watch it? Do you want more?

Let us know.

@thegeekiary Is #Alisa from #PokemonConcierge #Pokemon a #lgbt #character ? #queer #lgbtq #queer #queertiktok ♬ original sound – The Geekiary

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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