December 2016






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Dogasu's Backpack | Old Updates Archive | December 2016

The year 2016 in review
December 31st, 2016

Dogasu @ 23:15 JST -- So. How ya doin'?

It's been three months since the last official site update and all I can say is that I'm sorry. I could sit here and give you excuse after excuse about how I've been extremely busy with overtime at work and how difficult it's been to set aside time for site updates in general but none of that changes the fact that three months without a site update is a very long time. All I can do is say I'm sorry and try to do better in the future.

To kick that whole "doing better in the future" part off, I'd like to look back at the predictions I made for 2016 and check to see how I did when I made them back in January. It's something I love doing every year because it shows how even now, 20 years into the franchise, Pokemon still finds ways of surprising even someone who's been in the game as long as I have. So let's get started.

Predictions

First, some video game predictions:

Since it's the 20th anniversary I expect to see a lot of interviews where they pull Tajiri Satoshi out of hiding and have him tell stories about the games' development. I've already seen one such interview earlier this month and I expect to see a ton more as the year goes on.

Not really. There were a fair number of interviews (though far less than I would have expected) but as far as I know pretty much none of them featured Satoshi Tajiri.

The Virtual Console re-releases of Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow will be huge hits that break all kinds of 3DS eShop records. We'll also, unfortunately, see tons of message board threads popping up from newbies wondering how they can transfer their Mewtwo from their copy of Red to their Omega Ruby game or where you can find a Lucarionite in Kanto. Prepare to facepalm a lot is what I'm saying.

I haven't seen those nightmare discussions I described taking place but to be honest I haven't really been looking for them either. I guess I hang out in the right parts of the Internet? The first part about the games selling a gajillion copies was absolutely correct, though; it's been ten months since the games' release and both Yellow and Red are still in the Top 20 downloaded 3DS games in Japan.

So until last week I was going to make this big bold prediction that 2016 was going to be the year that we'd see Generation VII come out but then Magiana was leaked so I guess that prediction's not so bold anymore now is it? I mean the only Generation VI pokemon left to be distributed is Volcanion and we already know that it's coming out this summer so we've gotta have something ready for 2017's film. Yokai Watch 3 is coming out this summer and I'm pretty sure Game Freak's aware that releasing a rehash game like Pocket Monsters Z won't be enough to take back the reigns so I say they're going to unexpectedly skip a third version and head straight to Generation VII instead. I'm predicting a post-E3 announcement (but before the release of the Volcanion movie) and a November-ish release date.

A Pocket Monsters Z never happened and Sun & Moon
were eventually released on November 18th, 2016, just as predicted. However, Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon were announced to the public on February 26th, 2016, well before the E3 show in June. Still, two out of three ain't bad!

Pokémon Go isn't going to be even a little bit like the announcement commercial. There is absolutely no way Nintendo is going to let the Pokémon name be put on a product that basically encourages children to wander off into the woods / dark alleyways / God knows where else without adult supervision and the potential for even grown-ass men and women to be killed because of this app is just way too high. So instead I think it's going to be a very restricted, very controlled experience that tells players where to go in only the vaguest of terms ("inside building," "in Central Park," "near lake," "in Times Square") so users can get in and out without incident. Fans will be disappointed that the game doesn't meet their unrealistic expectations but it'll still be downloaded a gajillion times any damn way.

Pokémon GO wasn't really anything like that announcement commercial, sure, but it also wasn't nearly as restricted  as I thought it'd be either so I'll give myself half credit for that. The game was downloaded a gajillion times like I thought it would but I don't think anyone, anywhere, expected the game to bring the franchise back to its late-90s fad stage again. The game is barely a game at all and it still runs like hot garbage even now, six months after its release, but it's currently sitting at Number 2 in the iTunes charts so it's going to be sticking around long into 2017.


Pokkén Tournament will come out in March and will be a marginal hit. It won't do badly, by any means, but it won't be this huge mega seller that gives the Wii U a second life either. The arcade version will continue vanishing from Japanese arcades and will pretty much be gone by the end of the year.

Yeah, the game did alright. It didn't set the world on fire or anything but it seems to have been a financial success. The arcade version here in Japan got a bunch of support during the second half of the year in the form of new characters so I was wrong about the game vanishing from arcades.


I think the recently released in Japan Detective Pikachu game will see a Western release before the summer. I also don't think the game will feature Danny DeVito or any other big-name celebrities in its voice cast; they'll probably just use whoever TPCI has available at the time.

Detective Pikachu seems to have been all but forgotten, huh? There's been no announcement of a Western release and nothing about the Japanese release of the second episode, either.

Now, some predictions about the TV series.

This year Satoshi will get his eighth Gym Badge, Serena will get her third Princess Key, Eureka will cry over Puni-chan a lot, and Citron will continue doing nothing in the background.

More or less, yeah. Citron did a little more than I expected though, what with the whole Xerosicy rivalry and all, so that was nice.

Satoshi didn't get a Mega Evolved pokemon in 2013, or 2014, or 2015, and guess what? He's not getting one in 2016 either. He has his Satoshi Gekkouga now anyway so it's pretty obvious that his Kalos Water-Type is going to be playing that role.

Oh my God I got so much crap for making this prediction back in 2013. "There's no way they're not going to give him a Mega!" I was told. "It would be absolutely insane to go through all of Kalos without giving him at least one Mega." "Satoshi's going to get a Mega Lizardon, I just know it!" And yet, look what the eff happened. Guess Dogasu's not so crazy after all, huh?

I think Satoshi and Alan will battle a few more times before having their big showdown during the climax of the Zygarde arc. Satoshi Gekkouga will defeat Alan's Mega Lizardon and Alan will humbly accept his defeat before wishing Satoshi good luck at the Kalos League.

Satoshi not actually beating Alan (which is BS, but whatever) and the Zygarde climax taking place after the Kalos League kind of threw this one off. Whoops.

Satoshi will compete in the Kalos League and beat Shouta but will lose to some new Trainer none of us have met yet. I think he'll bring back a bunch of his older pokemon for the League but I don't see any of his Isshu pokemon getting a lot of screentime for some reason.

Well, he did beat Shouta at least...?XY(&Z) seemed to have this weird aversion to referencing anything from the past so I guess I should have seen the lack of reserves coming.

The Rocket trio are a little bit harder to pin down. It seems like they're trying to have Musashi, Kojirou, and Nyasu involved in the Flare-Dan plot and the amount of merchandise coming out this year suggests that they're still quite popular so I don't see them going anywhere for the time being. The trio also has yet to miss a single XY&Z episode and I suspect that trend of showing up in every episode will continue throughout the rest of the year. Oh, and Musashi will get her second and third Princess Keys but will lose the Master Class or whatever they're calling it.

They missed a few episodes of XY&Z but everything else was just as I predicted.

After the Hoopa movie's abysmal performance last year I expect there to be noticeable budget cuts with this year's movie. I don't think they'll get the money to go on any location scouting trip, for example, and I think the amount of promotion for the film will be way, way down from what it was last year.

This was absolutely the case, yes. There was no location scouting trip, as far as I know, and the amount of promotion was way, way less than what the Hoopa movie got. The marketing budget for the movie here in Japan was nothing compared to 2015's film.

I don't expect to see the TV series do much of anything for the games' 20th anniversary since the TV show's 20th isn't actually until 2017. I'm totally down for a remastered Blu-ray set of the original Pocket Monsters TV series for 2017, though.

The main TV series didn't do much, leaving the 20th anniversary celebrations up to the Pokémon Generations series of shorts. I'm still hoping for that 20th anniversary Blu-ray set next year though!!

Manga-wise...I actually haven't been following any of the manga much this year so I don't really know what kind of predictions to make. Pocket Monsters Special and Anakubo Kousaku's Pocket Monsters continuing and a Volcanion movie adaptation coming out are a given but other than that I've got nothing. I imagine a new Generation VII manga will come out by the end of the year that'll end up getting collected into a single graphic novel volume in 2017.

The manga adaptation of Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna was printed in CoroCoro Comics over the span of a few months before getting a graphic novel release in July. The Generation 7 manga is called Pokemon Horizons and Volume 1 is scheduled to come out February 28th, 2017.

I think Pocket Monsters Special Volume 53 will finally come out in 2016 and will be followed relatively shortly by 54 and 55.

It sure hasn't! Instead of continuing with the regular volume releases it's been doing for nearly two decades it seems like Pocket Monsters Special is focused more on releasing each arc as quickly as possible, restarting the volume numbering with each new Chapter instead of trying to fit everything into the old numbering system.

I think we'll see a re-release of the Pokérap in the U.S. Maybe TPCI will record a new version with all-new visuals? And then upload it to their YouTube channel / Pokemon.com?

This didn't happen at all but is absolutely should have. Maybe we'll see something this crop up in 2018 when the English dub celebrates its twentieth?

And finally,

"Nostalgia" is one of the few weapons Pocket Monsters has that Yokai Watch doesn't so I expect to see The Pokémon Company really strive to reach us older fans in 2016. Whether it's through merchandise that taps into that sense of nostalgia or special events aimed at us older fans I think there will be plenty of things coming out in 2016 that will make those of us who have been with the franchise from day one very happy.

I'd say so, right? Pokémon GO featured only Generation I creatures, Sun & Moon's advertisements in Japan focused on the Alola forms of the Kanto pokemon more than on the new faces, the G.E.M. series of figurines has been all Generation I based (so far), the TCG has been re-releasing old cards, etc. I'd say The Pokémon Company is finally tapping into the nostalgia that franchises like Yokai Watch are too young to have at their disposal.


And that's it for the predictions.

For what it's worth, 2016 was a great year for Pokémon. The rest of the year was a complete shitstorm but Pokemon, throughout all the nastiness that was 2016, remained a beacon of light that helped a lot of people get through the day. No matter what terrible act of violence erupted, no matter how nasty the U.S. presidential election got, no matter which beloved celebrity passed away, Pokemon was always there to take our minds off just how awful things have gotten. If there was ever a year when Pokemon was needed, 2016 was it. Here's hoping 2017 is just as generous.

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