|| The reason the
Pokemon shorts "took
a break" this year
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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna
"Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna" was the first Pocket Monsters movie to not come with a Pikachu short since 2011's Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! The Movie "Victini and the Black Hero, Zekrom / Victini and the White Hero, Reshiram." Naturally, fans want to know why.
Luckily for us, the Japanese entertainment site Cinema Today posted an interview with Okamoto Junya, one of the film's executive producers, and asked him that very question. The following is a translation of the article as it appeared on the Cinema Today website.
The reason the Pokemon shorts "took a break" this year
Posted June 27th, 2016
Everyone is getting excited about Pokémon the movie XY&Z "Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna" thanks to pre-release promotions like "The Pokemon General Election" popularity contest, but have you noticed that it's not being released with one of the short movies that this series is known for? We spoke with one of the executive producers of this year's film, Okamoto Junya, and talked about why the short movies are "taking a break" this year.
There was a time in the past when Pokemon movies would be packaged together with a short film, like how the first movie, Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back," was released alongside "Pikachu's Summer Vacation." But after 2003's The Dancing Pokemon Secret Base," which came out with Pocket Monsters Advanced Generation The Movie "The Seven Night Wishing Star, Jirachi," these short movies went away for a while. They made a comeback in 2012 when the 15th anniversary movie, Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! The Movie "Kyurem and the Sacred Swordsman Keldeo" was released with "Meloetta's Dazzling Recital."
You might think there'd be some consequence to not having these yearly shorts but Okamoto Junya explained that "When we were making the 19th film, there had already been eight films that hadn't come packaged with a short and so it's not like there's any sort of rule or anything that says they have to come with one." He continues, "But looking back, a lot of the shorts that came out the year right before we stopped including them were a bit avant-garde, don't you think? (The Dancing Pokemon Secret Base had dance, and Pikachu and the Pokemon Band had singing)." But still, why didn't this year's movie come with a short?
Mr. Okamoto explains "During one of the pre-production meetings last year we talked with the director and then with the rest of the staff about how the previous short was both so experimental and so challenging and we ended up getting the sense that the staff was bit burned out from it. So we decided to give the shorts a break for a little while." It seems like the short movies require the staff to dig deep and really tap into their creative spirit! But even though the shorts are going on a break this doesn't mean that the staff won't have as much to look back on years from now.
Mr. Okamoto also explained how if they only have one longer feature film then "it's important to make that movie tight and have it move quickly from one scene to the next" in order to keep the attention of the small kids to whom this movie is mainly targeted. Of course there are also advantages to only having one film, such as the extra 20 minutes or so that get added to the runtime that allow them to pack in more drama and more pokemon.
Mr. Okamoto is confident that "this year's movie moves at a good pace and is filled with expressive animation, and that the second half really sucks you in unlike any other Pokemon movie in history." He calls out to not only children but to their parents and those who played the first generation games by saying "We also want the adults who aren't familiar with Pokemon to see this film!! And if you don't watch out this movie might even catch you off guard and move you to tears so be careful! (laughs)"
Pokémon the movie XY&Z "Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna" hits theaters July 16th.
The previous short being "so experimental and so challenging" is likely a reference to how much extra work went into Pikachu and the Pokemon Band in order to make the lip syncing work just right. Director Yuyama Kunihiko explained back in 2015:
The previous year's short does seem like it took a lot of effort so the idea that the staff got burned out by it is entirely plausible.
There's no word on whether or not the shorts will come back for the 20th movie at this time.
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