Unlike the Pokémon anime and games set in the present day, where humans and Pokémon live in harmony as friends and competitors, Pokémon: Hisuian Snow — a new limited series of digital shorts based on Pokémon Legends: Arceus — takes place in the distant past at a point when people did not yet fully understand pocketable monsters.
Like Arceus, Hisuian Snow’s first episode, “Onto the Icy Blue” from writer Taku Kishimoto and director Ken Yamamoto, tells the story of a young person learning firsthand just how unforgiving the Hisui region can be. Rather than focusing on a time traveler who arrives in Hisui by way of a rift in the sky, Hisuian Snow details how its protagonist Alec (Lizzie Freeman) and his father (Steve Kramer) made lives for themselves by traveling to the remote region to harvest lumber. Though Hisui’s harsh climate makes carving out a life there particularly difficult, what Alec’s father is most concerned about is his son’s understanding of how dangerous wild Pokémon can be.
One of the major ways Arceus illustrates the danger Pokémon of the past posed to humanity is by giving wild Pokémon free rein to attack trainers directly, and much of the game’s story focuses on how people fear Pokémon because of their fantastical powers. But Hisuian Snow illustrates how humans’ own capacity for violence and brutality poses a pointed threat to Hisui’s Pokémon. Despite its short length, Hisuian Snow’s first episode absolutely nails the beauty and bleakness that defined Arceus’ take on the Pokémon world, and the short may be just the reminder you needed to go and finish up your Pokédex.
Pokémon: Hisuian Snow’s first episode is now streaming on YouTube, with the final two episodes of the series slated to debut sometime in the near future.