Pokémon Concierge is my Chicken Soup for the Soul

From the second Haru takes her first steps by way of the huge wood resort double doorways, Pokémon Concierge exudes a bubbly heat. The beautiful coastal locale she finds herself in serves as an oasis for Pokémon and people alike. A Hoppip gently floats by way of the foyer; a Rattata leans over to look at a map with folks; a Lampent floats together with baggage as a Charmander carrying leis hops with pleasure; a small baby performs with a towering Metagross on lush inexperienced grass.

These early moments set up that Pokémon Concierge gained’t be your typical Pokémon present. It doesn’t simply look totally different — Concierge was made in cease movement by the identical animation studio behind Rilakkuma and Kaoru — the whole vibe simply emanates a softness much less widespread in Pokémon video games, reveals, and flicks. For 25 years, the collection has largely targeted on catching as many Pokémon as doable and battling (with the notable exception of 1998’s Pikachu’s Trip and different Pikachu shorts). Now, we get to see them on trip once more, and the outcome is restorative.

Pokémon Concierge follows Haru, who takes a place working at a Pokémon resort following a string of private {and professional} mishaps. In her new function, her job is to maintain the Pokémon completely satisfied and ensure they’re having enjoyable. All through the present’s quick four-episode run, we get to know Haru as she learns tips on how to attune herself to the wants of the creatures round her.

Picture: dwarf studios/Netflix

The resort has an easygoing ambiance. We don’t see any trainers utilizing Poké Balls on the island, so these Pokémon aren’t portrayed as being captive or captured in any manner. Whereas some include their trainers, others dwell as wild Pokémon on the island and are available and go from the resort as they please. Battles don’t appear to be allowed at the resort: In a single temporary second, Haru tries to settle a “fight” between a Graveler and a Metagross, but it surely seems that the two had been taking part in.

Don’t get me unsuitable — I like a lot about conventional Pokémon, and I don’t discover the battling in mainline Pokémon video games to be all that violent. However I’m additionally the form of participant who feels unhealthy for disturbing Pokémon, or placing them in a field after catching them. I as an alternative gravitate towards Pokémon’s pet-sim components. I loved caring for Pikachu in video games like Hey You, Pikachu! and Pokémon Channel, and I additionally respect options in the mainline video games that enable me to work together with Pokémon — like happening a picnic in Scarlet and Violet. Nevertheless it’s nothing in comparison with the love and care we see in Pokémon Concierge.

A still from the stop-animation show Pokemon Concierge. It shows Haru and Pysduck sitting outside and decorating floaties. The Pysduck is closing its eyes and trying to listen to a sound in the shell.

Picture: dwarf studios/Netflix

What’s greatest about this specific collection — and why I really feel like this present is Chicken Soup for Pokémon Followers — is the way it reveals how dwelling a delicate life doesn’t simply assist the Pokémon, it additionally helps Haru. She involves the island as an anxious workplace employee who wakes up every morning with a jolt and experiences frequent anxiousness pangs about whether or not or not she’s doing her new duties appropriately. What pulls her out of her work-minded shell are the moments she shares with Pokémon — it’s taking an unintended dip in the river after a Pansage suggestions her over throughout yoga, or drawing an image of Psyduck. At first, she frets about doing her job appropriately, solely to understand that the act of doing it is sufficient.

Haru will get to completely be herself — weaknesses and all — and so do the Pokémon. It’s all endearing and a welcome change of tempo for the franchise. In the finish, I couldn’t assist however really feel like I used to be the one being taken care of, and never simply the Pokémon. It would sound glib, however typically it’s a must to develop to like your self earlier than you’ll be able to care for others.

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