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| Features | Pokemon Radio
Show! The Rocket-Dan's Secret Empire
Masafumi Mima (三間雅文) is
the sound director for the Pocket
Monsters TV series and is the mastermind behind Pokemon Radio Show! The Rocket-Dan's
Secret Empire. Every now and then he'll post
about the show on his Twitter
feed. This page is dedicated to translating those tweets into
English so you can enjoy the same wealth of information that his
Japanese followers do.
|December 2nd, 2014 -
On December 2nd,
2014, Mr. Masafumi started with this:
|"I'd now like to continue with some untold
Rocket-Dan stories. I wonder how far I'll be able to get..."
He follows this up with a series of fifteen tweets that detail
information about the beginnings of the radio show.
|"(after checking back over my own tweets)
That's right, that's how "The Rocket-Dan's Secret Empire" was
born. When we were making the pilot we had to
submit the script ahead of time but we couldn't hire writers or
anything like that and so I had to end up writing it myself!
Even though, of course, I had never done anything like that
before. I did ask the Rocket-Dan for help with the first draft,
I think it's fairly obvious that by "Rocket-Dan" he means their voice
actors (Hayashibara Megumi, Miki Shinichirou, and Inuyama Inuko).
|"After that we recorded what
would become the special feature on the CDs known as "The Rare Episode
1." The guest was Mr. Konishi. All of us at the show
decided that he would
be perfect to have on since he was an easy person for us to
tease. Since this was
radio, we wanted to use a pre-written drama to explain why the
Rocket-Dan is even
doing a radio show in the first place. And that's how the
mini-dramas came to be (which would later become hell to do)"
You can read more about that rare pilot episode here.
|"→We actually didn't have an appointment
called up director
Yuyama to ask him those questions directly. We knew there was
a chance that our call wouldn't go through and we'd get forwarded to
his voicemail and so that segment really could have bombed.
But luckily (?) Mr. Yuyama actually did pick up the phone. Even
though we had a
script and everything all of us at the program were still very nervous
during that recording
|"For the guest segment with Mr. Konishi,
it would have been boring if we just called him up and had him
talk to us normally, so we asked him to mess with the
Rocket-Dan and to stay in-character as someone who raises pokemon as
much as possible during his twelve minutes on the show. All in
all we ran a test
and got about 30 minutes of unusable audio but I still think we had a
satisfying show and were able to talk freely. And then, we
|"...the green light to go ahead with
production. We got an order for thirteen episodes, in stereo from
InterFM. So the first thing we had to do was to actually come up
thirteen episodes' worth of content! We didn't really know what
we were doing but
we worked our butts off and started recording after
finishing about six
episodes. Since we couldn't coordinate the actors' schedules and
since that first drama had already had music and sound effects added to
|"→we chose not to have it be a live show
but to pre-record everything instead. However, whenever we
show we tried to do it as if we were doing it live as much as
possible. The first
time we went into the booth we recorded two episodes' worth because we
felt like we were really on a roll. In other words, the first and
episodes were recorded on the same day. We had scripts for the
stuff other than the
mini-dramas as well and everyone had lines and all that
we didn't mind if they ad-libbed some as well. But, →"
|"if the Rocket trio was ad-libbing
something and they broke character then we'd have to go back and redo
it. Something like that happened during the rehearsal for the
first episode and so
we went back and tried adding it to the script. The guest
introduction was kind of
lame and so we thought having music that the guests would have to go
along with would catch them off-guard and be more interesting.
Things like that. But, you may ask, why didn't Mr. Konishi
or director Yuyama show up in the show's actual first episode?→"
|"After thinking about it for a bit, it was
because we thought we wouldn't be able to top what we had done
before. We had interesting segments whose outcomes weren't
obvious but we didn't want to just do the
same thing all over again. And asking Mr. Konishi to come in and
do what he did before, only better, would have been awkward. We
also wanted to have
other segments that hadn't been done on other radio shows before and so
we started thinking of other things that the Rocket-Dan would be
|"This wasn't easy since there are about as
radio programs out there as there are stars in the sky. You can't
see anything on the radio; you have to rely on your ears. You
listen to what's being said and then picture what's being described to
you...but what if we did it the other way around? What if we
could show what it is we're talking about it to people instead?
That's how I
thought of using Twitter to help the listeners follow along more
easily. That's kind of how the drawing segment came about.
|"That drawing segment took a surprising
turn!? We found out that Musashi was really, really bad at taking
what was in her
head and putting it down on paper. So of course we had to tease
her about that. We reworked the scripts for the episodes that had
be recorded to make them go after Musashi as much as we could.
Musashi laughing until she cried was real. Musashi discovered how
bad she was at drawing thanks to this show."
|"And then something happened! We
got picked up for an additional thirteen episodes! At first I
declined. This was because, in addition to me never being able to
get the hang of
writing the show even after thirteen episodes and having hellish
memories of the whole thing, I also had to do the writing, editing,
selection, and the sound effects for the mini-dramas all by
(we didn't have the budget to ask anyone else to do that, you see)→"
|"However, P (the producer) wouldn't give
up. They tried to bargain by saying things like "what if we got
rid of the mini-dramas?" But I still wouldn't budge... And
when they came up with the idea of a "Secret Live!" (I'm finally
getting around to talking about the reason I started tweeting about all
this in the first place). I got interested in writing scripts
with the goal being the final episode leading up to a live show...that
|"I started looking for a venue for the
live show at the same
time I was writing the new episodes. I even went and checked a
few places out myself. At first I visited Tokyo Skytree, which
really popular at the time. It had a hall called the Musashi
(634) Hall, you see. However, even though it was called a "hall"
have a stage or anything like that and so we couldn't use it. But
name was so perfect though...→"
This is a
common type of Japanese wordplay known as Goroawase (語呂合わせ)
values are substituted with numbers based on the numerous ways each
number can be pronounced in Japanese. So, for example, one of the
ways 634 can be pronounced is "Mu-Sa-Shi." More information can
The website for the Tokyo Skytree Sky Restaurant Musashi can be found here.
|"For the Secret Live we wanted to use
silhouettes. We wanted people in the audience to be able to see
their outlines clearly. We
wanted people to be able to tell that they were looking at the
Rocket-Dan whether they
were sitting far away or close up. So we really had trouble
a venue. It was OK if it wasn't that big as long as you
could see the silhouettes. And then, we received a cruel
announcement. The Secret Live was going to be canceled.
Once again, it came down to money."
|"Ack! The shop is closing!?
But I was just getting to the good part...but it's already
4:00am. I've got to be in the studio in the morning tomorrow
(well, today). I guess I should stop for today. I'll
continue these tweets another day and touch upon the truth behind the
Secret Live! I say, even though it's not really all that great a
"The shop is
closing!?" makes me think that Mr. Mima was typing all this out on a
computer at an Internet cafe.
December 21st, 2014 Mr. Mima picked up where he left off.
|December 21st, 2014 - The
21st, 3:47am JST
|"That's right, I was also in the middle of
the Rocket-Dan story. I tweeted up to the part where the plans
for the live event fizzled out, right? Well from there we
continued working on the remaining
episodes and decided to have the Rocket-Dan members out in the audience
sing together in a chorus for the final episode. But we had more
submissions than we
expected and the whole chorus thing was a huge success. I want to
use this opportunity to thank everyone for their cooperation!"
21st, 3:52am JST
about five episodes left to do, P (our producer) suddenly started
talking about bringing the Secret Live back?! But it was already
late...the fire I had for the event had already cooled
down. So I just handed over the proposal I had written up and
left everything else up
to him. Fast forward to the day of the event. I had wanted
to go as a regular audience member→"
I'm not sure whether or not the producer he's talking about is a man or
21st, 3:56am JST
|"but was asked if I could get there a
to help out instead. I got there a little after the Rocket-Dan
did and got in trouble for that... So to begin with, getting the
silhouettes just right for the live event was extremely difficult and
everyone scrambling around hectically. We wanted to be able to
see their hands but not their mouths, but we couldn't get it right and
had to give
up on that. I told them→"
21st, 4:03am JST
I had pictured in my head when I made the proposal but changed what
they needed to change. We adjusted the positions of the lights
locations of the props many, many times until we were finally able to
get a nice, clear look at the Rocket trio. Unfortunately this
to have to push back the start time and inconvenience all the people
As I note in my write-up for the Secret
Live, we were supposed to be let in at 1:30pm but didn't get to enter
until around 2:10pm.
21st, 4:06am JST
|"This picture here ended up being used for
the CD liner notes but was originally taken with my cell phone camera
during the dress rehearsal to check on the Rocket-Dan's
silhouettes. I kept looking at this picture as reference when we
were doing the
multiple wardrobe checks to make sure we could see the Rocket-Dan's
21st, 4:09am JST
|"We did this over and over. We
attached rubber tape to the Rocket-Dan's uniforms many, many times
until we got the silhouettes we wanted just right. We didn't want
to disappoint the fans who had won the chance to see the show, after
all. And this goes without saying, but we really worked our butts
off on this. This picture is maybe the first time it's been
shared to the public? Here's what Nyasu looked like behind the
21st, 4:14am JST
|"This one's also never been shown
publicly before. I really wanted to show this one to you in
color but I made a promise with the Rocket trio that I wouldn't...you
can see the marks all over on the uniforms where the rubber tape was placed.
The event started more than 30 minutes late but the Rocket-Dan members
in the audience greeted us warmly regardless →"
21st, 4:17am JST
|"We could breathe a sigh of relief at that
However, as far as I'm concerned, the "Rocket-Dan's Secret Live" isn't
over yet. I want to have another event like this in the future
where we can
communicate directly with the Rocket-Dan members. I can't say
come back but I definitely want to make it happen someday!"
21st, 4:22am JST
|"I didn't have time to get on Twitter but
I did it anyway. Well, it looks like the shop is closing
soon This year is rapidly coming to an end! Thank you for
March 19th, 2015, Mr. Mima tweeted once again about the possibility of
the radio show making a comeback.
|March 19th, 2015 -
Reviving the Radio Show, Again
19th, 2015 11:11pm JST
|"Currently going over the sound effects
and music. That reminds me, I would like to announce that we've
had to go back to the drawing board in regards to the return of "The
Rocket-Dan's Secret Empire." However, we won't give up!
We'll do up another proposal and go from there! Why am I so
persistent when it comes to the Rocket-Dan? Well, of course it's
20th, 2015 12:04am JST
|"→I've been won over by the trio's
charm. It's because of the late writer Mr. Shudou Takeshi, the man who created...no, the man who
raised the Rocket-Dan, and I want to take good care of the treasures he
left behind for us. It's because he gave life to the
Rocket-Dan members from the games. It's because they help
Satoshi-tachi shine even more brightly by shining so brightly
It's not really anything new but it is nice for him to see
how much respect he has for Mr. Shudou even after all these
Mr. Mima received a lot of responses to these
tweets, and while a lot of them aren't interesting enough to include
here there are still some good ones worth bringing up. Here's one
from あっちょむ on March
19th, 2015 at 11:36pm:
|"@Sunma47 The Rocket-Dan have been really
amazing in XY. They put on this show of being these amazing bad
guys but they also have a deep camaraderie. I'm definitely
Satoshi-kun in the Pokemon League and want to see him make it to the
end ^^ I hope the Pokemon TV series continues for a long time."
And his response:
20th, 2015 4:04am JST
a response from しぃか on March
19th, 2015 at 11:15pm:
|"@xxxTAKAAKI_90 The Rocket trio have a
connection. I want to treat this connection that Mr. Shudou
embedded in Nyasu, Musashi, and Kojirou with great care. I
struggle to do right by them every time we're in the recording booth."
|"@Sunma47 I see...but I'm still going to
pray for the return of the Secret Empire! The Rocket-Dan
@Sunma47 そうなのですか…でもいつかひみつ帝国が再開されることを祈ってます！ ロケット団よ永遠に…!!
And his response:
20th, 2015 4:28am JST
|"@R_shiika51 It's because The Rocket-Dan's
Secret Empire is my baby!"
This last one's from Saty(さてぃ) on March
19th, 2015 at 11:13pm:
|"@Sunma47 I see...but I believe this is
still just a temporary setback! (TдT)"
And his response:
20th, 2015 4:27am JST
|"@flash_saty Yes! The Rocket-Dan
will definitely hijack the airwaves once again!"
Mr. Mima's and the fans' optimism that the show will come back is
certainly nice, isn't it? Let's hope we don't have to wait too
much longer for the show's return.