Theatrical Pikachu
Short 03






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Dogasu's Backpack | Episode Comparisons | Movies

Pichu and Pikachu

Movie Stats:

Japanese Mini-Movie 3:  "
Pichu and Pikachu"
American Mini-Movie 3:  "Pikachu and Pichu"
Japanese Air Date:  July 8th, 2000
American Air Date:  April 6th, 2001
Important Places:  Millennium Town (no dub name)

Satoshi and his friends leave their pokemon on a rooftop garden in the big city of Millenium Town while they go set up a special surprise. Later, Pikachu is invited to come play with a pair of Pichu up on a building across the street. The mouse pokemon makes the precarious journey, dodging Yamikarasu and Hanecco along the way, and before it knows it Pikachu is separated from the others! Luckily the Pichu know the area well and offer to lead Pikachu back to its friends. Along the way they upset a Delvil by accidentally falling on top of it! Delvil chases the mice pokemon but eventually loses sight of them after an unfortunate run-in with a Kabigon. Later, our heroes discover that they're near a giant tire fortress used by the city's pokemon as a playground! Pikachu enjoys playing with a bunch of new friends but is forced to stop when the Delvil from before catches up with it! The Dark-Type pokemon runs toward our heroes, hitting the tire fortress in the process and causing the whole thing to start falling apart! The other pokemon in the area come together and everyone, including Delvil, uses teamwork to help restore the fortress to the way it was. Once everything's back to normal Pikachu rushes back to the building where Satoshi and his friends are waiting to find that Satoshi's thrown it a "Friendship Anniversary" party! Satoshi thanks Pikachu for being his friend and looks forward to what the future holds.


Thoughts
Pichu and Pikachu is a 23-minute short about a bunch of giant mice running around New York City while a ten-year-old boy spends hours setting up for a birthday party he's about to throw for himself. It's actually one of the grimmest stories in this franchise's history!

In all seriousness, though, I actually consider this Pikachu short to be one of the more memorable shorts in the movie franchise. While I'm not a huge fan of how pretty much every one of our heroes' pokemon who isn't Pikachu gets ignored for the overwhelming majority of the special, I can see how narrowing the focus of the story from a huge group of characters to a small group of three is beneficial. The plot isn't anything special - get from Point A to Point B within a certain time limit - so this short ends up relying almost entirely on the cast of characters and the big city setting. And while the Pichu Bros. are alright and the Delvil is adorable, the rest of the pokemon just seem to exist so the marketing department can say "look at all these never-before-seen-in-animation pokemon!"

Maybe it's the animation that makes things memorable? The second Pikachu short had some terrible animation but luckily that seems to have been a one-off thing because the animation in this short is quite good. Tamagawa Akihiro was the animation director for both episodes, though, so I'm not quite sure why the quality is so different between the two. Perhaps this short had a larger budget? Fewer special effects shots which then allowed Tamagawa to focus more on the character animation? Regardless of what it is, I find the Delvil in this short to be one of the most well-animated pokemon in the series (it really does invoke some Chuck Jones vibes!) and the CG work in this is perfect; just enough to help enhance the scenes it's used in but not so much that it becomes a distraction.

But I think the thing that does it for me in this special is the soundtrack. Tanaka Hirokazu, who worked on the music for the first two Pikachu shorts, is joined by Shima Ken (島健), a Japanese jazz pianist / arranger who studied music in Los Angeles and who has helped create literally thousands of songs for some of Japan's most well-known pop musicians. He was also celebrating his 30th year in the business the year Pichu and Pikachu came out and released. The two of them were also helped by the Black Bottom Brass Band as well as some group (or maybe it's just one person? Google's not being particularly helpful today) called MONKY. The music gets stuck in your head instantly (in a good way!) and makes you want to watch it over and over again just to hear it again and again. It's that good.

Unfortunately this short is sorta-kinda banned in Japan at the moment so that's a little bit harder than it was before.

As far as the dubbed version goes I guess the third time's the charm, huh? No weird narrator gimmick, (mostly) accurate translations, 100% of the Japanese music gets left intact...it's almost as if a different company snatched this short out of 4Kids' hands and showed them what a real dub looks like. But no, it seems to be the same group of people it's always been. I mean the biggest change I can think of, other than the narrator gender swap, is the fact that the short's name got changed from Pichu and Pikachu to Pikachu & Pichu. That's it! I kind of wonder if 4Kids saw this short as a test run; will kids still like Pokemon if we don't make a bunch of changes for the sake of change? Well, yeah, no shit Sherlock, of course they would. And the fact that every other Pikachu short 4Kids releases after this is dubbed well proves that maybe, just maybe, the Japanese version is just fine the way it is.

The Pichu Bros. and Delvil keep their Japanese voices.

Video Replacement
The Japanese version of this movie came out in the year 2000. Accordingly, a Pikachu the Movie 2000 logo airs before the Pikachu short. Makes sense, right?

The thing is, the English dub came out in 2001, not 2000. And if that's not enough, 4Kids already used the Pokémon the Movie 2000 title for their second movie back in - you guessed it - the year 2000. So when Japan uses the title of their version of the second movie for its third film, an awkward problem came up.

2000
2001

So what 4Kids ends up doing is snatch the Pikachu the Movie logo from the fourth Pikachu short, Pikachu's Hide-and-Seek, and repurposes it for this short instead. Subsequent Pikachu shorts will use logos that don't include the year they were released in to help avoid this problem.

Dialogue Edit
Gotta get our yucks in somewhere:

Brock:  "Maybe I'll just stay and hang out too."
Misty:  "Oh no you don't! Come on!"
Brock:  "Hey take it easy on the vest... I only have one!"

Takeshi doesn't say anything as Kasumi pushes him off-screen in the Japanese version.

Ash:  "Now listen up...See that clock tower over there? We'll be back at six o'clock exactly. Till then you can do anything you want except get in trouble...Have fun!"

Originally Satoshi talked to his pokemon the way an adult might talk to a group of small children; "We'll all meet here when the long hand on that clock points straight up, OK?" He means 6:00pm, of course, but maybe there are some pokemon in his group who can't read analog clocks (Togepi? Koduck?) so he decided to say it in terms that he was sure everyone could understand.

Cut Footage - 1 minute 5 seconds
So the opening theme gets cut from the English dub. The first two shorts had them and so will the fourth, fifth, and sixth shorts so I'm not sure what was different about this one. But 4Kids decided not to, for whatever reason, and that led to a number of edits.

So the way they do this is they keep the zoom-out shot from the skyscraper with all the pokemon on it and show their big yellow and red "Pikachu & Pichu" logo. This is about eight seconds long.

They then cut out a full minute and five seconds worth of animation / song. The song is called Pichu Pika ♪ Swing and is sung by a group called the neo ★ Pockets.

So in order to help transition from the logo to the shot of Pikachu and Pichu, they sort of Power Rangers teleport the mice pokemon into the scene:

Japanese
English

Once the transportation effect is over...

English

...the rest of the opening animation (all 12 seconds of it) plays as the awkwardly colored Pikachu and Pichu logo hovers above our heroes.

Accordingly, there are no credits displayed during this short and they instead all get moved to the end of Spell of the Unown.

Dialogue Edit
We're introduced to the Pichu Bros.:

Narrator:  "Pichu's brother doesn't want him to get hurt...he's the smart brother."

Originally the narrator simply states that the two of them are brothers without commenting on their intelligence.


Side Note
So
4Kids has a Voltorb say "Electrode" during the establishing shot in the tire junkyard. It happens again in the shot inside the clock.

Voltorb

It's an easy enough mistake to make, I suppose, especially when the pokemon get swapped out with Electrode within the same musical sequence.

Electrode

(Click on the image above for a bigger version)

So I dunno, maybe let's give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they were looking at this one scene when making a list of all the voices they'll have to record for this thing and that's how they got Electrode instead of Voltorb?


Dialogue Edit
It's starting to get dark:

Narrator:  "It's starting to get late. Pikachu has to get back before Ash does, or there's going to be even more trouble!"

The Japanese narrator simply wonders if Pikachu will get back in time; the idea that there's going to be any kind of trouble isn't stated in the original.

Once Pikachu reunites with the others:

Misty:  "Ash planned this for weeks."

Originally Kasumi states that their preparations are finished. She never mentions how long it takes.

Ash:  "Don't you know what today is Pikachu?  This is the day we first met...the day we first became friends. I think that's pretty special, don't you?"

Satoshi says more or less the same thing in the Japanese version but also states that it's their tomodachi kinenbi (ともだち記念日), or "friendship anniversary." This admittedly odd-sounding phrase is actually the name of the short's ending theme, the instrumental version of which starts playing as soon as Pikachu jumps into his arms, and Satoshi using it here (and a few lines later) is a neat little way to tie everything together.

Brock:  "I whipped this up myself."

Takeshi tells the pokemon to eat up as he places the cake down in the Japanese version.

Ash:  "Thanks for being my friend, Pikachu."

In the original version Satoshi says kore kara mo yoroshiku na, Pikachuu (これからもよろしくなピカチュウ) which can translate to any number of things but in this case means "Please take care of me in the future, too" or "Let's stay like this forever."

Finally, the dub gives the narrator a closing line ("Though they may never know it, Ash and the Pichu brothers have something in common. None of them will ever forget the day they first met Pikachu") while in the Japanese version there's no closing narration at all.

Cut - 3 minutes 35 seconds
The short's ending theme, the aforementioned Tomodachi Kinenbi, is - surprise surprise! - removed from the English dub. The song is sung by Sakai Noriko (this short's narrator) and Takenaka Naoto (Entei / Sully) and is, like the two shorts before it, accompanied by a number of really lovely pastel drawings provided by artist Fukuyama Keiko.




The English dub removes the ending for the same reason it always does - to prevent people from leaving Pokémon 3 The Movie thinking they just paid $7 to see a 20 minute film - and so the end credits get moved to the end of The Spell of the Unown instead. What's interesting to me is that Ms. Fukuyama is still credited for doing the ending illustrations even though all of her stuff got cut from the English dub.

English

A full gallery of the ending illustrations will be made available later.

Final Thoughts
Well, 4Kids finally got their act together with this one produced a dub that's actually a dub instead of the weird re-imaginings for which they're so well-known. I know saying "if only the rest of the show could be dubbed this well" is a bit of a backhanded compliment to make but it's honestly the way I feel. 4Kids shows us that they can do a competent dub if they wanted to and the fact that they didn't bother 95% of the time is both extremely frustrating and disappointing.

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