▶ Currently Listening To: “Secret Garden” [from Pokémon Heroes]
Whether it’s an announcement for the much-anticipated Pokémon Diamond and Pearl remakes, a sequel to Sword and Shield, or the arrival of a new Pokémon core series game altogether, we are now two weeks shy from the big Pokémon 25th Anniversary reveal, which gives more than enough cause for celebration and speculation.
If you have ever watched “Pokémon Heroes,” you’ll recognize the name in the title, Altomare, and if you have yet to watch “Pokémon Heroes” and are sifting for ideas on how to celebrate the 25th Anniversary, it’s a Pokémon movie I highly recommend. You’ll meet Hoenn’s legendary duo, Latios and Latias in the Venetian-based city of Altomare, and each moment will surely leave you smiling, crying, wondering, and reminiscing for its entire runtime. Even if the movie ends up not being your preferred cup of tea, the soundtrack will surely tie together some bittersweet memories that make Altomare a place all trainers need to visit with their partner Pokémon at least once in their [virtual] lifetime.
So where is Altomare?
The setting in which “Pokémon Heroes” is based on mimics real-life Venice, Italy, and it is arguably the most beautiful setting the Pokémon world has seen to date. The DVD includes a two-minute featurette titled “Location Scouting in Venice” in which viewers follow director, Kunihiko Yuyama and his team as he photographs various parts of Venice to reimagine its PokéWorld counterpart. There’s even a first-person perspective of what it’s like to ride underneath the bridges in Italy’s renowned gondolas and a great snapshot of the city’s seemingly endless maze. The best part? You’re exploring real-world Italy while listening to snippets of the movie’s soundtrack, so the short does a great job of bringing together the best of both worlds. (It’s also a reminder for all creators out there that inspiration can be found anywhere!) While Altomare is movie-exclusive location and well over eighteen years old, it’s never too late to be able to revisit a place, here or otherwise, that holds warm childhood memories and inspires the present.
What Does This Have to Do with Pokémon’s 25th?
The Pokémon core games have allowed players to visit different parts of the world with their favorite partner Pokémon at their side, and with each release, there is the promise of a new (or old!) region waiting to be explored and revisited. Even if it’s [my] personal wish to be able to get lost in the streets of Altomare (after all, this movie is also what inspired seven-year old me to visit Venice, Italy one day), I’ve seen the comments other viewers have left in relation to this movie, including the memories and feelings it holds for them. Nostalgia is a key player for the Pokémon franchise, and as someone who relishes in nostalgia, bitter or sweet, having been able to return to earlier regions such as Kanto (in Let’s Go), Johto (in HGSS), and Hoenn (ORAS) has me feeling nostalgic for more. I could launch into an entire story about my Fire Red Charizard from 2004, but I’ll save that tale for another time; what I will say, however, is that I waited fourteen years to be able to bring my Charizard back home to the region where we began, and regardless of where the Pokémon world brings us to next, I can’t wait to see where in the PokéWorld we’ll end up tomorrow as well as fourteen years from now.
So, to Game Freak and the team who brought to us the Pokémon who have become our constants as well as the fans with each their own Pokémon journey and stories, thank you, and happy 25th anniversary!