Pokemon Opening Songs
by, 4th February 2012 at 11:03 PM (441 Views)
With a new theme song for the dub coming in a few weeks I thought I'd mumble a bit about the various opening songs.
I'll start with the dub, as I'm more familiar with them. Broadly I have to say that nearly all the ones that got an extended version/different take for the movies sound terrible - I suppose the fact that was largely the result of late 90s rap makes it understandable. The later ones seem to be improved in that regard - Battle Cry (Stand Up!) seems quite natural in its longer form apart from expecting 'galactic battle' to be said, instead there's a false climax before the 'Pokemon!' part of the lines. The movie version of Black and White is also passable, just the early ones totally suck.
Another exception to this rule is the song that takes my number one spot - Unbeatable. "You think you'll win, but soon you'll see; You may beat some, but you can't beat me" and "Every move, each attack you choose; You think you can win, but you'll always lose", those are lines destined to be put into motivational speeches. Great stuff.
Number two for me is the short version of Born to be a Winner. I like the good job it does at being a call back to the original theme and I just find the tune really catchy for a reason I can't really figure out. Unfortunately the long version is terrible and ruins what was a fairly good song.
Number three is Battle Cry (Stand Up!) - it took a while for this one to grow on me, but it took quite a different tone from many of the other themes over the years (well apart from its immediate predecessor) and does a good job of it (unlike its immediate predecessor). The lyrics aren't quite as nice as Unbeatable, but the concept does do a reasonable job carrying across the themes of the episodes it was introducing (better than its immediate predecessor).
I Wanna be a Hero and Believe in Me are also good in my view, just not as good as the three above. Most of the others I'd consider as being passable - roughly in order, Diamond and Pearl, This Dream, We Will Be Heroes, Black and White, We Will Carry On and Pokemon World are okay at least, songs that I don't mind but aren't really stand-out.
The original Pokemon Theme probably gets most of its credit out of nostalgic value - it's not that great and I think all the above songs do a better job as an intro for the show. I do like some of the words out of it, which is why Born to be a Winner is so high up here - but Born to be a Winner did a far better job with those words tune wise than the original song did. I wish the second verse got played more often, as it is probably better lyrically.
Pokemon Johto is just outright bad - when you have to literally resort to 'do, do do, do do - do' as the second line, you're really stretching for content. It's not offensively bad, just not something I would consider good music.
But a special brand of hate has to be reserved for the dub 'Battle Frontier', which is terrible in every way, and certainly didn't do any good considering the already bad position PUSA were in trying to sell people on the new voice actors. Bad time to have a bad song.
The dub Battle Frontier being terrible is also bad because I now have to turn around and talk about the Japanese opening songs and say,
First place goes to Battle Frontier - specifically the version out of the 8th movie (the normal one is good too, just I prefer the arrangement of the movie version). I can't exactly comment extensively on the quality of the lyrics themselves - but the way it is sung and the music backing it makes it a great song.
Second place goes to the Band version of Saikou Everyday - I like the band arrangement considerably more than the original version of it. And third goes to High Touch 2009 - again, better than the original, as it is a bit deeper and less synthesised in sound.
I don't mind OK!, Best Wishes, Advance Adventure, Challenger!! and Spurt!. Mezase Pokemon Master is pretty good, one of the few which I prefer in the original arrangement (compared with the Whiteberry version at least). Rival!, Ready Go! and both arrangements of Together fall into a 'meh' category, and I don't like the Symphonic Medley (I'm sure bits of it are fine as BGM, but not as an opening).
Besides the ones I really like however - I haven't really listened to many of them extensively, but I really like Battle Frontier. I probably prefer Unbeatable to it, but it probably would sit in second on a combined list.
I have a feeling that I won't be here after hearing Rival Destinies and changing my top spot for the dub. But they've been inconsistent enough to have some hope it will be reasonable.
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