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Welcome to Dogasu's Backpack, a fansite for the Japanese franchise Pocket Monsters! For eighteen years this website has been your guide for the Japanese version of Pokémon and contains content you can't find anywhere else. Stuff like detailed comparisons between the Japanese version and the English version of the animated series, English-Japanese lists for all pokemon, information on the various manga, a lyrics database, a DVD Guide, and much more! So whether you're a seasoned veteran or a newbie just getting into Pocket Monsters, this site has something for every fan to enjoy.

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Kinryu Arimoto, 1941 - 2019
February 11th, 2019

Dogasu @ 23:40 JST -- Japan's Daily Sports newspaper announced this past Friday that film and animation voice actor Kinryu Arimoto (有本欽隆) passed away on Friday, February 1st from esophageal cancer. The Tottori Prefecture native was 77 years old.

Kinryu Arimoto

Mr. Arimoto got his start way back in 1966 when he was cast as a bank employee in an episode of Osomatsu-kun. These days he's
most well known among anime fans as being the voice of Whitebeard in One Piece, Seigou Hibiki in Inazuma Eleven, and Tomomi Masaoka in Psycho-Pass. He's also known in Japan for acting in the Japanese dubs of Hollywood films, particularly for roles portrayed by actors Christopher Walken and Jeremy Irons.

In Pocket Monsters, Mr. Arimoto provided the voice of Ford in the Orange Islands episode "The Coil of the Great Plains!" and Denjirou in the Jouto episode "The Poppo Fancier's Carrier Poppo!"


A private funeral was recently held with his family and close friends while a (presumably more public) farewell event is planned to take place sometime in the near future.

Condolences to Mr. Arimoto’s family and friends.  May he rest in peace.

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Dogasu's Backpack Turns 19 Years Old
February 1st, 2019

Dogasu @ 00:26 JST -- It's January 31st (in America, still) and so it's time to celebrate this website's birthday! Dogasu's Backpack turns19 years old today and so I've done the usual write-up looking back on 2018 and looking ahead on the new year.

Dogasu's Backpack is 19 Years Old

The essay also has my predictions for what will happen with the franchise this year so be sure to check those out as well! What do you think this year has in store for us? Let me know via one of the links below!

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"Pocket Monsters Ball Collection - Mewtwo" coming in May 2019
January 21st, 2019

Dogasu @ 23:05 JST -- Earlier today Bandai announced the "Pocket Monsters Ball Collection - Mewtwo" (ポケットモンスターボールコレクション MEWTWO) and in doing so included an interesting bit of information about Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution that hadn't been revealed before.
Mewtwo Ball
Let's start with the product description, courtesy of Bandai's promotional site:

2019年7月12日(金)に劇場公開予定の 「ミュウツーの逆襲 EVOLUTION」に登場するミュウツーボールを、
The Mewtwo Ball that appears in Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution, in theaters July 12th, will be sold as a part of the "Ball Collection" series of pokemon balls that have been made into tablet cases! Monster Balls, Super Balls, Hyper Balls, and Master Balls will also be a part of the lineup.

"The Mewtwo Ball that appears in Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution" part here suggests that the scenes from 1998's Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back" featuring the Mewtwo Balls are going to be recreated, in some form or another, in 2019's Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution.

The "Mewtwo Ball" (ミュウツーボール) is the name of the special Monster Ball conjured up by Mewtwo in the original movie to get the Trainers' pokemon as punishment for being defeated by its clones. After getting all our heroes' pokemon, including Satoshi's Pikachu, they're brought to the nautilus shaped cloning machine in the castle's basement to start the cloning process. Satoshi breaks the machine and the Mewtwo Balls release their prisoners.

Mewtwo Strikes Back! (1998)

For years the term "Mewtwo Ball" has been used in various Japanese guide books to refer to these special black Monster Balls. In the book This is Animation: Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation," released on September 20th, 1998, for example, the Mewtwo Balls are given this description:

This is Animation

▼ミュウツーが、自分で作ったモンスターボール。このボールは、ほかのトレーナーのポケモンを奪い取り、さらにモンスターボールに入っているポケモンま で、ボールごとゲットしてしまう。最強のモンスターボールだ!
Mewtwo Balls
The Monster Ball that Mewtwo makes itself. This Ball can steal other Trainers' pokemon and can even get pokemon who are already in their own Monster Ball, ball and all! It really is the ultimate Monster Ball!

And in the
Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation" Daizenshuu, released that same day, Mewtwo Balls get an even lengthier description:


ミュウツーがポケモンバトルのあとにポケモンをゲットするためにつかう特別なモンスターボールが、大きな目だまがついたミュウツーボール。ただし、ただの モンスターボールとはちがうんだ。ミュウツーの念力にしたがってじゆうにうごくし、よわっていないポケモンだってゲットできるし、モンスターボールごと ゲットすることもできちゃうんだ。ちなみにポケモンをゲットしたミュウツーボールは、自動的にポケモン城の地下にある大きなマシンにむかってとんでいく ぞ。
Question 2
What is the Mewtwo Ball?
The Mewtwo Ball is the special Monster Ball with a big eyeball that Mewtwo uses to get pokemon after its pokemon battle. However, these aren't your ordinary Monster Balls! These Mewtwo Balls are able to go anywhere thanks to Mewtwo's psychokinesis, get pokemon even if they haven't been weakened first, and get pokemon already in their Monster Balls, ball and all. By the way, once the Mewtwo Balls get their pokemon they automatically head straight for the large machine in the basement of Pokemon Castle.

Now, back to Bandai's new merchandise. Each ball is listed as having a height of 48mm (1.89 in) and a width of 49mm (1.93 in). Pre-orders started today, January 21st at 13:00 JST. The set of five, which also includes stands for the five balls as well as Ramune candies, retails for (a ridiculous) 4,320 yen (about US $39.40).

Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution (ミュウツーの逆襲 EVOLUTION) will be the 22nd Pocket Monsters movie. The film will be released on Friday, July 12th, 2019 in Japan and is part of a year-long campaign known as "The Year of Mewtwo."

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CoroCoro Comics - February 2019
January 18th, 2019

Dogasu @ 22:10 JST -- The February 2019 issue of CoroCoro Comics came this past Tuesday and featured a two page spread on this summer's new movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution.

The spread doesn't really feature anything new but it does re-confirm the fact that this movie will be all CG, something that Sayuri Ichi'ishi already told us back in mid-December.

Translation of the relevant text follows:

The Big Scoop on the 2019 Pokemon Movie!!
p 74  (right)
ポ スター&特報映像ぞくぞく解禁‼

The poster and teaser are being revealed, one after the other. Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution, in theaters July 12th!!

The star of the film is...Mewtwo!
p 75 (left)
今 年はミュウツーイヤー!夏のポケモン映画始動‼

ポケモン映画最新作のタイトル名は…「ミュウツーの逆襲 EVOLUTION」‼ただの映画ではなく、すべたが3DCGで描かれた超大作‼

This year is the Year of Mewtwo!
The Summer Pokemon Movie is Starting!!

This year's movie is going to be in full 3D CG!!
The title of the newest Pokemon movie is..."Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution"!! And it's not going to be your average movie either because this super big movie's going to be rendered in 3D CG!!

The footage that was released at the start of the year is full 3D CG as well. Mewtwo's flying scene is incredibly powerful!

The page also has a small ad for the Blu-ray and DVD release of last year's movie,
Pocket Monsters The Movie "Everyone's Story," as well as the titles and one sentence summaries of two upcoming episodes of Sun & Moon.

There was also a page all about being able to catch Mewtwo in Let's Go! Pikachu / Let's Go! Eevee since, you know, Mewtwo. The magazine tells its readers that they have to go to the cave outside Hanada City after entering the Hall of Fame and recommends using a Dark-Type pokemon to weaken it.

And that does it for this month's CoroCoro coverage! If future issues of the magazine contain any interesting news I'll be sure to post that as well.

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Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution tidbits
January 1st, 2019

Dogasu @ 17:50 JST -- About five days ago the official website for Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution teased that they would be showing new footage of the 22nd Pocket Monsters film on January 1st, 2019. The footage was going to be shown on the Japanese TV station TBS (and not TV-Tokyo, oddly enough) and then later posted online. The official site did a countdown clock and everything.

What we ended up getting ended up being much ado about nothing, but let's take a minute to pick at the bones we were given anyway.

First up, the official Twitter account posted the movie's first teaser poster, which is basically a CG remake of the first teaser poster for the very first movie from back in 1998. Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation" would go on and use a completely different poster so it'll be interesting if Movie 22's final poster is a remake of that or something new altogether.

Movie 01
Movie 22

A few hours later we got our first "teaser":

Here's a translation of all the on-screen text / narration:

Onscreen text:  1998
Narrator / onscreen text:  The impact that a single movie made throughout the world will, once again...
Onscreen text:  Newsflash
Japanese text: He's back
English text: The Legend is back
Mewtwo:  "Where am I? Who am I?"
Onscreen text: "2019: The Year of Mewtwo is Starting!
Narrator:  "Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution."
Onscreen text: July 12th

And that's it! We get about ten seconds of Mewtwo flying through the air and then confirmation that Mew will appear in a movie called Mewtwo Strikes Back! but that's really it as far as new material goes. I hate the whole CG direction the film's going for (I don't want to sit through an hour and a half of Pokkén Tournament cutscene looking CG) but I guess this teaser more or less confirms that this is the direction we're going in, whether we like it or not.

For a while I had this theory that Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution was a movie made with Western audiences in mind. In a post I made on Bulbagarden way back on July 16th I talked about how the fact that this movie is coming out on the 20th anniversary of the English dub (as opposed to the 20th anniversary of the Japanese release), this movie being all in CG as opposed to traditional 2D animation, and the bilingual text in the teaser all pointing to this movie being made with American, not necessarily Japanese, audiences in mind. This new teaser starting off touting how great the first film did overseas is right in line with that theory. And then! The Pokémon Company International goes and retweets the Japanese trailer!

TPCI retweets the Japanese trailer

This is significant for a number of reasons. 1) TPCI is admitting that the Pokémon cartoon is Japanese, something they've been trying to avoid the last few decades or so. 2) This is the first time that most dub-only fans have had a chance to hear (what is probably) Masachika Ichimura as Mewtwo, so that's pretty great. And 3) TPCI never ever talks about new Pokémon movies until they're about ready to put out their English dub. The fact that the company is promoting a Pocket Monsters film that's still in production in Japan tells me that something different's going to happen with this movie.
Will this film's marketing have a ton of money thrown at it, the way Pokémon The First Movie did? Will we get a near simultaneous (or near simultaneous) release? Only time will tell!

We don't know what "The Year of Mewtwo" mentioned in the teaser will actually entail either but I imagine part of it will mean us getting a bunch of re-releases of older material mixed in with new TV specials or something like that.

No new cast or staff information was revealed, unfortunately. Takeshi Shudo is still being credited as the sole writer of this film, making it seem like (at the moment, anyway) that it's going to be a straight-up remake. Voice actor wise, Mewtwo sounds like Masachika Ichimura and Mew sounds like Kouichi Yamadera but at this stage nothing's been officially announced yet.

The official site also announced that it's posting (a truncated version of) the movie pamphlet that went with the original Mewtwo Strikes Back! movie from 1998. The pages from the pamphlet they posted doesn't have anything interesting in it at all - it's just a basic story synopsis for a 20 year old film - so you're not really missing out on anything if you can't read Japanese. There are some pre-Kanzenban screenshots used, however, so that's pretty cool! Oddly enough, the pamphlet will only be kept online until January 3rd so if you want to check it out you only have three days left.

Movie 1 Pamphlet

And that's really it this time around. We don't know when the next info dump will occur but I'll be sure to report it here as soon as we know any new details.

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Dogasu's Backpack's predictions for the year 2018
December 31st, 2017

Dogasu @ 19:26 JST -- I have this tradition of making a bunch of predictions for Pocket Monsters franchise for the following year and then checking in on them in December. I made a bunch of predictions for 2018 back in January and today I'd like to go through them to see how I did.

First up, here are the predictions I made about the video games:

I don't think we'll see Generation 8 this year. I mean sure, Game Freak's been pretty unpredictable lately (I didn't think we'd get our Alola rehash game in 2017, after all), and it does seem that Game Freak is moving toward having shorter generations that what we had in the past. But I don't this year being the time for Generation 8 just yet.

here was a time when people were genuinely convinced that we were wrapping up Gen. 7 this year! That didn't end up happening, of course, and so far everything's still pointing toward a 2019 debut.

Instead, I predict...a third trip back to Alola on the Nintendo Switch. I dunno, Pocket Monsters Ultra Sun / Moon for Nintendo Switch or something like that? Game Freak has never done a sequel to a sequel before, but then again they've also never released a "third version" the year after the first two, nor have they ever released new pokemon in a main series game mid-Generation before. So sure, why the hell not? The new game will have enhanced graphics, new Alolan forms (hopefully to balance out the huge number of Dark-Types), and a few new Ultra Beasts, and a new post-game Battle Frontier-like area with a bunch of old Gym Leaders.

...I actually would have preferred this to Let's Go!, if I'm being honest. I mean, Sun & Moon seem like they were designed for a better hardware than what they ended up being released for and a Switch port didn't seem like it would have been all that hard. But I guess the gazillionth trip through Kanto was determined to be the better option?

Accordingly, I think we will see the Nintendo Switch version of Pokemon Bank. The idea here is that we, the consumers, will basically be used to beta test the compatibility between the Switch and the Nintendo 3DS to make sure that the two devices are ready to talk to each other by the time Generation 8 comes around. Nintendo will also release Pocket Monsters Ruby & Sapphire on the Nintendo Switch's upcoming Virtual Console.

Nope and nope! Pokemon Bank, as of this writing, has not made an appearance on the Nintendo Switch and there isn't even a Virtual Console on the new console for Ruby & Sapphire to make its debut.

Detective Pikachu will do alright but it won't set the world on fire or anything. A Nintendo Switch port will be announced later in 2018 for an early 2019 release.

Detective Pikachu reportedly sold 105,622 units its first week, which definitely fits with the "alright but isn't setting the world on fire or anything"
(Let's Go! Pikachu / Eevee, in comparison, sold 3 million units in its first week). And outside that week it went on sale it seems like everyone stopped talking about it...? No Switch port was announced which is a bit surprising what with the movie coming out next year and all but I suppose there's still time to squeeze in an announcement during January's Nintendo Direct if they really wanted to.

Generation 4 for Pokémon GO coming out in 2018 is a pretty safe bet so I'd start saving up your candies for all the new evos that will come with it. I also think we'll get either trading or battling this year, but not both.

Generation 4 started in October and has been having a steady rollout ever since. We happened to get both trading and PvP battling this year so I'll give myself half credit for that one.

Pokkén Tournament will get another Fire/Fighting starter as a playable character. My money's on Gaogaen even though I would much rather see Goukazaru take that spot instead.

Gaogaen ended up going to Smash and Pokkén didn't end up getting any new Fire-Types this year so I was completely off on this one.

Next up, some predictions related to Pocket Monsters animation!

For the TV series, we'll get the Ultra Guardian arc that will take us through the spring, followed by some light filler for during the summer, and then a Skull-Dan / rest of Alola for the autumn. I see the Alola League beginning in December.

Seems like I may have been a little more ambitious than the TV staff! Bevenom's arc ended in September (so, late summer / early autumn) and we got new Ultra Beasts as recent as this month so that's way off. No Skull-Dan arc or Pokemon League is anywhere in sight so I guess we'll have to wait until 2019 to see how that all turns out.

As much as I would love to see it I don't think we'll ever see a Rainbow Rocket-Dan arc in the TV series.

So far, nope! I would be really surprised if we had a Rainbow Rocket arc now that Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon are no longer the latest main series games.

I do, however, see Sun & Moon as being the final series to feature the Rocket trio and I think in 2018 more and more people will start to become convinced of that. I hate, hate, hate that idea but I'm kind of bracing for it.

This wasn't ever going to be a prediction that would be proven one way or the other in 2018 but I do still feel like we're on this track. Of the 46 new Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon episodes that premiered in 2018 the Rocket trio was absent in a whopping 19 episodes (20 if you count Episode 68, which only had Kojirou but no Musashi / Nyarth), which amounts to about 41% of the series. That's pretty much following the same trend they had in 2017; they were absent in 20 of the 48 episodes that debuted in 2017, which equals = 41%. At first I thought this was a monetary decision; Hayashibara and Miki can't be cheap these days! but then the actors still appear in episodes in which the Rocket trio don't appear so that can't be it. The decision to not have them appear at all during the month after the release of Pocket Monsters Let's Go! Pikachu / Eevee despite the fact that the trio actually does appear in the game also raises some red flags.

Then again, the trio's more or less remaining the most heavily merchandised human characters in the show so maybe their time isn't quite up yet...? 2019 will be an interesting year for sure.

The new movie will not feature Souji and Makoto from I Choose You! and will instead feature two brand new companions. The film will do alright in the box office but it won't bring in as much money as its predecessor.

I almost got this one right! No Souji / Makoto, but no new companions either. Box office wise, Everyone's Story started out strong but did indeed fail to make as much as its predecessor.

I think Lugia will be in the 21st movie but it won't be the same Lugia as the one from Revelation Lugia.

While this has never been 100% officially announced I don't think there's anyone around who believes that the Lugia in this summer's film is the same one from 1999.

This year will be the 20th anniversary of Mewtwo Strikes Back so I think Media Factory will finally release the movie on a standalone Blu-ray. Up until now the only way to get an HD version of the first twelve movies in Japan is to buy that massive 30,000 yen Blu-ray set that hasn't been in print since 2012.

This didn't happen at all, but with Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution coming up next year I might have to dust this one off for my 2019 predictions.

The English dub will celebrate its 20th year of existence in September but I don't see there being much celebration going on...there might be a marathon on Disney XD but that's probably about it. I would predict that TPCI will commission OLM to create a new TV special for them not unlike what was done for The Mastermind of Mirage Pokémon for the series' tenth anniversary but that seems more like a 4Kids move, really.

TPCI really didn't do that much, did they? I'm not tapped into what the English dub is doing these days anyway but from what I can see there was that Twitch marathon and that's maybe about it...? No Master of Mirage Pokémon-esque special either.

I think the Detective Pikachu movie will get pushed back from its current May 2019 release date to sometime later in the year (maybe September?), if not 2020 altogether. A teaser trailer will be shown at Comic Con and it will be polarizing as all hell.

Nope, this movie's still on track for its May 2019 release date. The trailer was released on Thanksgiving weekend, so not Comic Con at all, and for the most part people seemed to be pretty pleased with it. For me, personally, that first trailer exceeded my (abysmally low) expectations and looks like it might not be a complete dumpster fire after all!? And it might be somewhat watchable?

2018 has to be the year we get the coveted Best Wishes! ~ Sun & Moon OST we've been waiting for all these years for, right...?

I will continue to make this prediction every year until it magically comes true lol

I haven't read the manga in over a year (I keep buying the magazines / graphic novels but none of them have been touched...) so I'm not really in the position to make a prediction about it. So, as a personal prediction for me, 2018 will be the year I catch up with the Pocket Monsters Special manga.

I didn't "catch up" at all, but I did at least finish the Red & Green chapters for the first time, so that's something.

Finally, a note about that Translation Tuesdays project I started and then more or less dropped; I haven't actually abandoned it despite not posting any new translations for a long while. A new comparison every week (like I did back in 2017) was easy because there was a certain rhythm, a certain pattern to it all, but translations are a whole different beast altogether. While I didn't finish as much as I would have liked to have finished by this point I'm still planning to pick away at the massive backlog into 2019 and beyond to provide content that you absolutely cannot find anywhere else.

I'll be making my predictions for 2019 at the end of January.

Until next time, I hope you had a great 2018 and look forward to an even better 2019!!

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More Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution tidbits
December 19th, 2018

Dogasu @ 7:36 JST -- The day after I made my last site update we got two new tidbits of information about next summer's film Mewtwo Strikes Back! Evolution.

One, Sayuri Ichi'ishi, a longtime animator / character designer / etc. for this franchise, more or less confirmed that the entire movie's going to be "in 3D."

全 版3Dでの映画です。
The entire movie will be in 3D.
Well, I wonder how it's going to turn out~ ^_^
Sometimes I'm put in charge of kind of supervising Pikachu.
Ladies and gentlemen, Pika's really really hard to get right.

The tweet has since been deleted which tells me that she maybe got reprimanded by some higher ups who weren't ready for her to leak that information yet...?

The other reveal we got is that a teaser is coming out "in the next few days." Ever since this past Friday if you go to you see this teaser advertising that "the newest footage will come out in a few days!!" (最新映像、近日公開‼!).

Coming Soon

The CG bubbles you see floating up there are the exact same CG bubbles that appeared in the teaser trailer from July. Personally, I fully expect the "newest footage" to just be an upload of that July teaser with maybe one or two extra bits (i.e. confirmation that Masachika Ichimura is indeed returning to voice Mewtwo, or a vague Detective Pikachu-esque poster that doesn't show anything) but who knows!

If I was a betting man I'd say it's likely we'll see this during tomorrow's episode of Oha Suta since Thursdays are usually their Pokemon days but so far no exact date has been revealed.

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