As part of the franchise’s 20th anniversary, the Pokémon Company International is working to re-release and promote several of the original Pokémon video games, movies and even the original trading card game set. One major exception seems to be Pokémon 2.B.A. Master, the original soundtrack CD from 1999 — which is unfortunate because it’s incredible.
For those perhaps unfamiliar with the masterpiece that is 2.B.A. Master, the CD is the very first in a short series of soundtracks for the English version of the Pokémon anime. It comes with 13 different songs, all of which either feature directly in the anime or are inspired by it. That includes the eponymous “2.B.A. Master” track, which is far and away the best.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a small selection of the lyrics from the track:
I got 2 B the one, the only one who can
withstand the test 'n B the best.
I got 2 strive, keep up the drive,
B a Master.
It takes a different kind of skill
and I won't stop until
150 Pokémon are mine.
I must define the art of capture (of all Pokémon).
It’s not like the company’s completely forgotten about the CD after its initial release or anything. Back in 2007, a majority of the songs featured on a follow-up soundtrack celebrating 10 years of Pokémon. So, why no push for the 20th anniversary now?
Part of this is almost certainly related to the fact that a number of the bits of Pokémon getting promoted this year haven’t seen the light of day in some time. The first Pokémon movie, for example, has only just hit iTunes. Pokémon 2.B.A. Master, on the other hand, has been available on the service for some time.
Given that they’re essentially taking a whole year to celebrate everything related to pocket monsters, is it too much to ask for them to spare a little love for some of their original songs? For example, 2.B.A. Master’s silly Team Rocket-themed song “Double Trouble” — performed by the voice actors for the anime’s Jessie, James and Meowth at the time — is a fun little romp with a chorus that easily gets stuck in your head.
Even so, the CD isn’t all fun and games. There are several songs that are meaningful at worst and moving at best. “The Time Has Come (Pikachu’s Goodbye)” is taken from the time Ash Ketchum, the anime’s protagonist, tried to release Pikachu into the wild after the group ran into a bunch of wild Pikachu. It’s all about good memories and moving on, and has more than once made me shed a tear or two. Though the two would eventually end up not separating, the song itself remains intensely melancholic.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is this: please do not forget Pokémon 2.B.A. Master in your celebrations of the franchise’s 20th anniversary like everyone else seems to have done. If you’re going to go whole hog and embrace everything about Pokémon, that includes the music.