Pokemon: Paldean Winds – A Heartfelt Look at Paldea

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Thomas Richards
| December 27, 2023
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For the last few major game releases, Pokémon has released animated shorts focusing on the region in the new games. When Sword and Shield came out, we got Twilight Wings. With Legends: Arceus, we got Hisuian Snow. And now, with Scarlet and Violet, we have one of the best series of shorts they’ve made so far, Paldean Winds. This four-part mini-series is animated by Wit Studio (who made the first three seasons of Attack on Titan, amongst other things), and it’s one of my favourite things they’ve ever made. This look into students’ lives in the Paldea region is a blast from start to finish. The stories, the characters, and the animation are all amazing, and I’m going to tell you why.

Student Life

Ohara is holding Fuecoco. Both are smiling and laughing. A shelf full of books is on the wall behind them. A pinboard with some notices is on the wall as well.
Fuecoco cuddles = laughs. (The Pokémon Company)

Pokémon: Paldean Winds is the story of a group of students at Naranja Academy in the Paldea region. These three students initially seem to have nothing in common as they are thrust together to create a video to promote the academy to new students. The group includes Ohara and her Fuecoco, Aliquis and his Meowscarada, and Hohma and his Quaxly. Each of the first three episodes focuses on one of these three and explores what they each enjoy and their struggles in pursuit of it.

Ohara is struggling with finding her drive to play music and goes on a brief journey to work through some stuff (this episode made me cry). Aliquis is trying to defeat Nemona in a battle but keeps coming up short and has to learn to deal with his loss. Hohma is on the hunt for a news story and has to decide how far he’s willing to go. These three stories, while short, are some of the most heartfelt pieces of Pokémon animation you can watch right now. They touch on struggles that, while a bit basic, are universally dealt with, which allows the stories to resonate with everyone. The final episode is the final video the group created and is a perfect finale to these stories.

Character Growth

Aliquis and Meowscarada are standing together. Stadium lights are illuminating both of them. They both have serious expressions.
Cool or edgy? Why not both? (The Pokémon Company)

While we didn’t spend a long time with this new cast of characters, I would be disappointed if they didn’t show up again in one way or another. Ohara (Cat Protano) starts the series off unsure of herself and feels pressured by her father to pursue music. Her evolution throughout the episode is quick (but I can forgive it for being 10 minutes), but the emotional moment between her and Fuecoco made me tear up. Aliquis (Paul Castro Jr.), on the surface, is a stereotypical Pokémon trainer who wants to get stronger. He’s the only one of the trio to have a fully evolved starter, being Meowscarada. But as his episode continues, we see how he feels inferior to those he idolizes, such as his Brother and Nemona. I almost cried in this episode as well when he and Meowscarada had a fight (I think I just can’t deal with sad Pokémon).

Hohma’s (Caroline Spinola) episode was the only one I didn’t shed a tear to, but his was more about understanding not to judge a book by its cover, and that integrity is more important than the story. Characters from the Scarlet and Violet games also make brief appearances, like the aforementioned Nemona (Olivia Vidas) and Arven (Henry Mason). While they aren’t the main focus, it’s nice to finally hear these characters talk instead of just reading the text.

Paldea Has Never Looked Better

Hohma is looking at Quaxwell. The ocean is in the background. The Sun is setting and reflecting off the water.
Emotional chat by the ocean. (The Pokémon Company)

Being handled by Wit Studio, this series was always going to look magnificent. This studio also dealt with the previous animated short series Hisuian Snow, so it was a no-brainer that they would be in charge of Paldean Winds. The quality of the animation is outstanding, with everything being so vibrant and filled with emotion. One of my favourite parts was in the first episode, where we got an extended shot of a Tinkaton chasing down a Corviknight (if you know the PokéDex entries, you’ll find it hilarious). The characters all have unique designs that feel right at home in the world of Pokémon, and seeing characters I’d seen in the game come to life was a treat. The music was also excellent and definitely helped with those emotional scenes (I’m crying a bit thinking about them). My wish now is that Wit Studio can animate a proper season of Pokémon because I think that would be the most amazing piece of Pokémon media ever.

Hohma is holding a device in his left hand above his head. Aliquis and Ohara are surprised and are looking at Hohma. Quaxwell is in the background and Fuecoco is with Ohara with a blank look. A laptop is on the table alongside some books and a cable
I think he has something to show the group. (The Pokémon Company)

Pokémon: Paldean Winds was a joy to watch from start to finish. The engaging stories, captivating characters, and beautiful visuals make this series a must-watch for any Pokémon fan or fan of animation in general. I loved every moment, and I’ll be singing this series praises for years to come while hoping (and hoping) for some more Pokémon anime content from Studio Wit. You can watch all episodes now on the official Pokémon YouTube channel. Keep it locked to Couch Soup for all the Pokémon content to feed your hungry nerd soul.

Did you watch Pokémon: Paldean Winds? What did you think? Who’s your favourite character? Let us know in the comments where we can talk all about how Pokémon anime hits us in the feels every time.

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