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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Pocket Monsters The Movie "Everyone's Story"
On July 15th, 2018 the Mantan Web website posted the following article about Mr. Kunihiko Yuyama passing the director's chair over to Mr. Tetsuo Yajima for the film Pocket Monsters The Movie "Everyone's Story." What follows is an English translation of the original Japanese article.
The reason why he said “New Director, I Choose You!” The real story behind the “Baton Pass” from Director Yuyama to Director Yajima
Pocket Monsters The Movie: the animated films that were born from popular video games and have gone on to become staples of the summer. Pocket Monsters The Movie “Everyone's Story” (now in theaters) is the 21st Pocket Monsters film, if you start counting from 1998's Pocket Monsters The Movie “Mewtwo Strikes Back," and this time its directing duties have been passed on from Mr. Kunihiko Yuyama, who directed the first 20 films, to Mr. Tetsuo Yajima. We here at Mantan Web caught up with both Mr. Yuyama and Mr. Yajima to find out why the former said “I Choose You!” to be the new director to Mr. Yajima and what the latter had say about being picked.
“Everyone's Story” takes place in Fuura City, a town whose people live together in harmony with the wind. Satoshi and his partner Pikachu join the city's annual Wind Festival where the legendary pokemon Lugia is said to appear and make five new friends along the way. The five are in the middle of dealing with their own problems when an unexpected incident takes place that drags everyone who's in town for the Wind Festival along for the ride! That's the basic story of the film. Mr. Yajima is the movie's director and Mr. Yuyama is the animation supervisor.
If you count the time spent on production Mr. Yuyama spent more than twenty years, from “Mewtwo Strikes Back” to last year's “I Choose You!,” as the director. But it turns out he was already starting to think about hanging up his hat as he was nearing the ten year mark and was looking for a successor to whom he could “Baton Pass” (no, we're not talking about the pokemon move here) the director's role to, he said. In the end the person who accepted said baton was the director of the XY television series, Mr. Yajima. “When I saw XY I could see (that Mr. Yajima could do) both action and drama. XY was a series that served up a lot of substance and had a lot of moving parts to keep track of and you could really feel his involvement on the series as a whole,” adding “And on top of that he's so young! That was also a deciding factor” he laughs.
Mr. Yajima will turn 33 this year and is part of the “Pokemon Generation,” the name given to kids who grew up with the first generation of Pocket Monsters during elementary and junior high school. “The first one I bought was Green, you see. I really loved Nidoking. That first generation didn't have a lot of pokemon who looked like actual monsters and so Nidoking seemed really strong and impressive to me. My grandma also used to also play with me to make sure I wouldn't get rusty. Whenever I'd come home from school she'd have leveled up since the last time I saw her (laughs). When I think about it now,” he says as his eyes twinkle with memories of the past “I guess Pokemon really is a great communication tool.”
The tale this young new director came up with is the story of Satoshi and his five friends, “Everyone's Story.” Largo, the young girl wrapped up in the secret of the mythical pokemon Zeraora; Lisa, a high school student and novice at pokemon who's also dealing with her own trauma; Torito, a pokemon researcher without any confidence in himself; Kagachi, a middle aged man who can't stop telling lies; and Hisui, an old woman who hates pokemon. Each character has their own human issues and troubles, and Mr. Yajima says “I wanted to give viewers that feeling they had when they first discovered pokemon...I guess you can say that''ll be the communication experience we share with the audience."
Mr. Yajima, who says “Make what you want the way you want it and it'll show,” was surprised by his predecessor Mr. Yuyama. “He didn't know what Kagachi did for a living, for example, and he didn't bog himself down with other unimportant details either. But despite this he was still able to explain himself so well.” For the new director, who's more of a “pokemon native” than he is a “digital native,” there's no need to explain what “pokemon” are or other obvious things like that. It seems he used this familiarity to jump right in and provide the movie with a fresh feel and tempo to it.
Mr. Yajima will be 33 this year and weighs 140 kg (309 lbs) while Mr. Yuyama will be 66 and weighs 70 kg (154 lbs). One director is half the age of the other and their weights are worlds apart. And yet both the old and new directors light up when talking about their favorite characters and pokemon. It seems like the “Baton Pass” of this popular series has been a big success.
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