Dogasu's Backpack

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Welcome to Dogasu's Backpack, a fansite for the Japanese franchise Pocket Monsters! For 21 years this website has been your guide for the Japanese version of Pokémon and contains content you can't find anywhere else. Stuff like detailed comparisons between the Japanese version and the English version of the animated series, interview translations, information on Japan-only manga, a lyrics database, a home video guide, and much more! So whether you're a seasoned veteran or a newbie just getting into Pocket Monsters, this site has something for every fan to enjoy.

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation" to return to theaters
July 24th, 2021

Dogasu @ 17:14 JST -- The Jimbocho Theater in the Ochanomizu area of Tokyo is holding a special event early next month entitled "I Wanna See it on the Big Screen Again! Movies from Summer Vacations Past" (もう一度スクリーンで観たい―あの時代の夏休み映画) during which twelve classic Japanese summer blockbusters will be screened. One of those twelve films will be Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation."

Both the main film and the Pikachu short will be shown together as a double feature, something I don't think has happened since its original theatrical run back in 1998, maybe...? The screening schedule, as posted on the theater's website, is as follows:

Saturday, July 31st
Sunday, August 1st
11:00, 18:00
Monday, August 2nd
Tuesday, August 3rd
Wednesday, August 4th
12:00, 19:15
Thursday, August 5th
Friday, August 6th

The runtime listed on the site is 65 minutes for Mewtwo Strikes Back! and 23 minutes for Pikachu's Summer Vacation. That shorter runtime for the main feature, combined with the fact that the website is stating that each film will be projected from 35 mm film originals, heavily implies that what's going to be shown is the original theatrical version of the film and not the Kanzenban.

For those of you who don't know, "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" The Kanzenban is the "Special Edition" of the first movie created after the film was already released in Japan in preparation for the film's upcoming international debut. The two major differences between the original theatrical version and the Kanzenban is that 1) the Kanzenban has a ten-minute animated adaptation of The Birth of Mewtwo radio drama tacked onto the beginning of it, and 2) the Kanzenban replaces a lot of the animation from the theatrical run with newly redrawn scenes and/or CG animation. I actually posted side-by-side comparisons between the two versions years and years ago; check out my page in the Movies & Specials Guide on Mewtwo Strikes Back! The Kanzenban for more.

The theatrical version was only ever released twice in 1999 -- once on VHS, and once on LaserDisc -- before the Kanzenban swooped in and essentially became the version of the movie. It's essentially the Pokémon equivalent of the Star Wars Special Editions. Ever since the late 1990s, every single home video release, TV broadcast, theatrical re-release, or online stream of the first film has been of the Kanzenban. The fact that this one theater in Tokyo is showing the original theatrical version of the film really is something to celebrate.

Tickets are 1,300 yen for general admission, 1,110 yen for senior citizens, and 900 yen for students. You cannot reserve tickets in advance; you have to line up to buy tickets on the day of the showing you want to attend. Seating will be limited to 99 people per screening.

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Translation:  "Pokémon Pia" Interviews with Megumi Hayashibara, Shin-ichiro Miki, and Inuko Inuyama
July 12th, 2021

Dogasu @ 19:22 JST -- Sorry for the lack of updates the last *checks the date of the last post* month and some change. There were lots of real world stuff that got in the way but things have calmed down now so I should be able to post again fairly regularly.

Let's kick things off with a few new translations! This time I'm going back to Pokémon Pia -- you may remember that as being the special magazine that posted those interviews with Yuuji Ueda (Takeshi), Mayumi Iizuka (Kasumi), and Unshou Ishizuka (Dr. Ookido), among many others -- to take on the interviews it conducted with the Rocket trio! Megumi Hayashibara (Musashi), Shin-ichiro Miki (Kojirou), and Inuko Inuyama (Nyarth) were all interviewed individually and so for today's update I've translated all three of them.

These interviews are really fascinating to me because when you read the answers the voice actors give you can't help but get the feeling they reeeeeally didn't want to even be doing them in the first place. These Pokémon Pia interviews were done back in 2017 as promotion for Pocket Monsters The Movie "I Choose You!", a film in which the trio barely appears, and so maybe that has something to do with it? Megumi Hayashibara gives it a nice effort, to her credit, but Inuko Inuyama and especially Shin-ichiro Miki give such short, curt answers to all the interviewer's questions that you can't help but get the feeling that they just wanted to hurry up and get it all over with. The interviews are fascinating, but they're also really, really bizarre.

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Episode Comparison "Shell Shock!"
June 6th, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:32 JST -- The next episode comparison I've got for you all is "Shell Shock!," an episode filled with cute little horsecrab Pokémon, ancient prophecies, and multiple scenes of our heroes almost getting crushed to death by giant boulders!

"Shell Shock!"

The rewrites in this episode were plentiful (just about everything the TV news reporter says is a rewrite, for example) so there's quite a lot to go through this time around. Hope you enjoy!

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Translation:  "Newtype Web" Interview with Yuko Kobayashi, Part Two
May 28th, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:26 JST -- Apparently I'm just translating article after article now on this website lol.

Monday morning the website Newtype Web posted the second part of its interview with Shigeru's voice actor Ms. Yuko Kobayashi. The translation of Part Two can be found here.

NewType Web Interview with Yuko Kobayashi

Part Two goes into how she feels Shigeru's grown over the years, what part of the episode gave her the most trouble in the recording booth, what her favorite Pokémon is, and more! It's all pretty fascinating stuff so be sure to take the five minutes or so needed to give it a read through!

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Translation:  "Newtype Web" Interview with Yuko Kobayashi, Part One
May 28th, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:01 JST -- Earlier this morning the website Newtype Web posted Part One of an interview with Shigeru's voice actor, Ms. Yuko Kobayashi, in advance of her character coming back in tonight's episode of Pocket Monsters (2019). I've translated the interview for you here:

NewType Web Interview with Yuko Kobayashi

The interview goes into what Ms. Kobayashi was thinking as she returned to the character for the first time in twelve years, the origin of the Sa~toshi-kun nickname Shigeru has for his rival, and what it was like recording for the show in this post-COVID world. Yuko Kobayashi, like Mayumi Iizuka, doesn't often get interviewed in regards to her role as Shigeru in Pocket Monsters so this is a real treat!

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Translation:  "Pokémon Pia" Interview with Mayumi Iizuka
May 26th, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:01 JST -- I continue to slowly chip away at my translation backlog by revisiting Pokémon Pia. For tonight's interview translation I've got their interview with the voice of Kasumi herself, Ms. Mayumi Iizuka!

In my new translation of this interview from 2017, we learn about how Ms. Iizuka feels about Kasumi as a character, how she looks at Satoshi, which one of her Pokémon is her favorite, and more! Interviews with Ms. Iizuka in regards to her work on Pocket Monsters are quite rare so you're in for a real treat here!

The magazine features eleven more voice actor interviews; which ones would you like to see me translate next?

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Manga: Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" ~ One More Beginning ~ Chapter Three
May 24th, 2021

Dogasu @ 11:59 JST -- You may have remembered me talking about Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" ~ One More Beginning ~, an original manga that takes place three years before the events of the 23rd Pokémon movie. The first two chapters debuted in CoroCoro Comics -- Chapter One in the December 2020 issue, Chapter Two in the January 2021 issue -- while a third chapter debuted in the graphic novel collection that came out December 25th.

Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" ~ One More Beginning ~

Today's update looks at that graphic novel exclusive third chapter. So, here's a full summary of the chapter! While I was at it I also went and translated the author's comment printed on the dust cover of the graphic novel collection.

And that's it for the Movie 23 manga! Viz will probably (maybe?) release the English version of this in the U.S. sometime later this year / early next year so hopefully it won't be too long before a lot of you are able to read this for yourself!

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Translation:  "Pokémon Pia" Interview with Yuuji Ueda
May 12th, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:58 JST -- It's been a while since I've done a long-form interview translation so for tonight's update I'm going to be doing just that! Here's a translation of an interview with Yuuji Ueda, the voice of Takeshi, from a special magazine called Pokémon Pia that came out back in 2017.

Pokémon Pia Takeshi

Mr. Ueda talks about how Takeshi changed as the series went on, shares some of his fondest memories of working on the show, what lets us know what it's like to voice dozens and dozens of Pokémon. It has a lot of stories and information I haven't seen anywhere else so it's definitely worth the read.

Pokémon Pia contains a whopping fourteen interviews (thirteen cast members and then Movie 20's director Kunihiko Yuyama) so it's something I'll be going back to over and over again.

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Episode Comparison "In The Pink"
May 3rd, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:35 JST -- Another month, another Season Two Episode Comparison! This time around I've got "In The Pink," an episode about a group of children being chased around by a bunch of pink rhinos for 22 minutes. Fun!

"In The Pink"

The episode was actually fairly light on the edits, as far as 4Kids episodes go, but there were still quite a few things to talk about throughout the write-up. Hope you enjoy!

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" heading to Blu-ray & DVD July 14th
April 28th, 2021

Dogasu @ 17:32 JST -- Details about the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD releases of Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko," were announced earlier today.

Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Blu-ray & DVD

There will be three separate releases of the film, which originally hit Japanese theaters on Christmas Day 2020: 1) a special edition Blu-ray, 2) a standard edition Blu-ray, and 3) a standard edition DVD. Both the standard edition Blu-ray and the DVD releases will contain the extras we always get with the Japanese home releases; textless opening and ending animation, production artwork galleries, and trailers for the film. The special edition Blu-ray, meanwhile, will have all that as well as physical extras that include a miniature copy of the film's script, a set of file folders, and a reproduction of the pamphlet that was put on sale in Japanese theaters when the movie was out. A special feature about the special guests' voice recording will also be included in the special edition.

Details about each release, including complete lists of all the extras, prices, and links to the stores selling them, can be found on the Home Video Release page.

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"Pocket Monsters," or "Pockemon" for Short
April 24th, 2021

Dogasu @ 12:55 JST -- We all know that "Pokémon" is short of "Pocket Monsters," right? Sure we do. But did you also know that, for a few years in Japan, at least, the most common way of writing out the abbreviated version of the word was actually "Pockemon," with a C in the middle?

For today's update I take a look at this alternate "Pockemon" spelling in an article I'm calling "Pocket Monsters," or "Pockemon" for Short. How widespread was this alternate spelling, and when did Japan stop using it? It's an idea for an article I've had rattling around in my head for literally years now at this point but am only now just getting around to writing. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I had writing it!

I've tried to include images of as many examples of Japan using the "Pockemon" spelling as I could but maybe you know of some others? If you do, please let me know via one of the links below!

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - Episode 10

April 19th, 2021

Dogasu @ 21:51 JST -- My write-up for the tenth and final episode of the official Movie 23 podcast -- The Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - "The Movie Secrets We Want to Tell You" -- is something I've been meaning to do for a few months now but just never got around to doing for one reason or another. Well today's the day! The write-up for Episode 10 is now up!

The Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - "The Movie Secrets We Want to Tell You"

The tenth episode of the podcast features two of the movie's special guest actors: Mr. Kankuro Nakamura (Zarude) and Ms. Moka Kamishiraishi (Koko). The episode has the actors talking about their histories with Pokémon, the differences between doing live action work and animation voice-over, how they got into their characters, and much more!

With this I have now done write-ups for every single episode of
The Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - "The Movie Secrets We Want to Tell You". I'm very proud of the work I've done on these. Most websites, whether they're Japanese or English or whatever else, don't even acknowledge the existence of this series much less provide detailed breakdowns of each and every episode, and yet Dogasu's Backpack did just that. The podcast ended up providing us with a treasure trove of fascinating behind-the-scenes info and I am so happy I was able to do my part to share that with all of you.

Now that my work on this podcast is over it may be time to dust off my reviews of some other Pokémon-related audio material, maybe...?

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Episode Comparison "The Crystal Onix"
April 1st, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:38 JST -- Hey, why not take a break from all the April Fool's buffoonery going on today to sit down and read another one of my episode comparisons? This time I continue to make my way through the Orange Islands with a comparison between the Japanese and English versions of the episode "The Crystal Onix."

"The Crystal Onix"

What did you think about this episode and all the changes made to it? Let me know through any of the links below!

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"Koko" (English Version)
March 17th, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:29 JST -- Earlier today Beverly, the singer who provides the opening theme to Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko," released an English version remake of the song called, appropriately enough, Koko.

"Koko" (English Version)

The song's lyrics -- which are actually a really faithful translation of the Japanese original! -- have been transcribed and added to the Lyrics Archive.

One might reasonably expect The Pokémon Company International to use this version of the song for their upcoming English dub of the film but there's unfortunately a history of them actually not doing that. The ending theme to the Japanese version of 2007's Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl The Movie "Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai", famously, was an English language song called I Will Be With You ~Where the Lost Ones Go~ that ended up getting replaced in TPCi's version anyway. Other songs with English versions released in Japan -- Type: Wild, Just Like a Rainbow -- have also been passed over by the English dub. I hope Beverly's Koko is the song that breaks this trend but, at the same time, I'm not holding my breath.

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "Revelation Lugia" -- The Ending Theme Saga
March 8th, 2021

Dogasu @ 11:50 JST -- Today I'd like to stay in the year 1999 for a bit longer with an article about the second Pokémon film ever, Pocket Monsters The Movie "Revelation Lugia." We all know that the ending theme to that film is Namie Amuro's toi et moi, right? Well did you know that the song was not actually the filmmakers' first choice for the ending? And that they actually had a slower, much more gentle song planned instead?

"Revelation Lugia" The Ending Theme Saga

Today we're going to look at the "Revelation Lugia" The Ending Theme Saga. This article takes a look at how the filmmakers went from using the more soft, subdued melody they originally had in mind to them swapping it out with the latest single from one of Japan's biggest pop superstars at the last minute. We also get to hear comments from the movie's screenplay writer Mr. Takeshi Shudo about what he really feels about the song toi et moi. This article took a lot of research and a lot of work to put together but I hope it was all worth it!

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"Pikachu Re-Volts" Episode Comparison
March 3rd, 2021

Dogasu @ 23:26 JST -- Let's continue to make our way through the Orange Islands arc of the animated series by looking at the differences between the Japanese and English versions of the episode "Pikachu Re-Volts."

"Pikachu Re-Volts"

4Kids' tendency to just throw out the original Japanese script and make up their own dialogue, combined with a certain set of sound-related decisions toward the end of the episode, ensure that I had plenty to write about for this one. Hope you enjoy!

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Falls out of the Japanese Box Office Top Ten
February 23rd, 2021

Dogasu @ 11:44 JST -- It took nine weeks but it's finally happened; Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" has fallen out of the Japanese box office's Top Ten.

Based on information posted by Kogyo Tsushin it seems that the debuts of romantic comedy Liar x Liar  and the latest super sentai film Mashin Sentai Kiramager The Movie "Bebop Dream" pushed last week's Number 9 and Number 10 movies -- Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" and The Family -- out of the Top Ten.

Box office figures for films outside the Top Ten are rarely ever reported so the figure we got last week -- 1.5 billion yen -- is going to end up being the most up-to-date earnings report we're likely to get. The film's distributor may report a final tally at some point in the future but that is in no way guaranteed.

In any case, it's clear that Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" is now officially the lowest performing Pokémon movie in the film franchise's 23 year history. It'll be interesting to see how this affects the approach taken for future films in the franchise.

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Megumi Hayashibara's The Characters Taught Me Everything: Living Life One Episode at a Time
February 21st, 2021

Dogasu @ 16:05 JST -- So, this was unexpected; last night Megumi Hayashibara, known mostly to us Pocket Monsters fans as the voice of Musashi from the Rocket trio, dropped a surprise autobiography about her life as a voice actor. But that's not even the best part; an official English translation has also been made available, simultaneously, by Yen Press!

Megumi Hayashibara's The Characters Taught Me Everything: Living Lie One Episode at a Time

The name of the book is Megumi Hayashibara's The Characters Taught Me Everything: Living Life One Episode at a Time (林原めぐみのぜんぶキャラから教わった 今を生き抜く力) and was written by Ms. Megumi Hayashibara herself. The book goes in chronological order, from the very first bit role she got in the 1980s to her more recent stuff in the 2010s, and reveals some life skill she learned from each and every role. She shares a bunch of anecdotes and behind-the-scenes information I haven't seen made available anywhere else.

About 10 pages of the 250+ page book are dedicated to Pocket Monsters. In them, she talks the sense of camaraderie she shares with her fellow partners-in-crime and reveals that a certain change her character underwent was brought about because she specifically requested it. There are also some nice illustrations included by the Pocket Monsters staff to congratulate her on the release of her book.

According to the blog post Ms. Hayashibara made about the book's release, the English version is only being made available digitally (for now...?) in order to ensure that it could come out the same day as the Japanese version.

A sample of the book, including the full table of contents, can be viewed on the Book Walker website. The Yen Press website's listing for the book includes links to retailers where you can purchase the US $9.99 book for yourself.

I haven't finished reading it yet but when I do I'm planning to post a full review of it on the site.

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Box Office Performance: Week Eight

February 15th, 2021

Dogasu @ 17:05 JST -- The Valentine's Day weekend saw Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" fall from seventh to ninth place in the Japanese box office.

We Had a Love Like a Bouquet of Flowers
Detective Conan: The Scarlet Alibi
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba The Movie: Mugen Train 

First, a look at the Top Ten:

Last Week
Weeks in Theaters
We Had a Love Like a Bouquet of Flowers
Tokyo Theatres, Little More
NEW Detective Conan: The Scarlet Alibi
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba The Movie: Mugen Train
Toho, Aniplex
NEW First Love
Suicide Forest Village
NEW Under the Open Sky
Gintama: The Final
Poupelle of Chimney Town
Toho, Yoshimoto
Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko"
The Family
Star Sands, Kadokawa

Source:  Kogyo Tsushin (posted February 15th, 2021)

The entertainment website Kogyo Tsushin is reporting that, to-date, Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" has been seen by 1,360,000 people and has passed the 1.5 billion yen mark. For comparison's sake, 2019's Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution managed to earn 1.7 billion yen in only three weeks, and 2018's Pocket Monsters The Movie "Everyone's Story" earned 1.6 billion yen in, again, only three weeks. Movie 23 taking almost three times as long to reach that same milestone is...not great.

This week the 23rd Pocket Monsters film was joined in the Top Ten by Detective Conan: The Scarlet Alibi, a compilation film being released to prepare audiences for the franchise's 24th film; First Love, aa suspense mystery about a university student accused of killing her own father; and Under the Open Sky, a sorta-kinda biopic about a real life serial killer. Conspicuously absent from the Top Ten this week is Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Eternal The Movie (Part Two), which hit Japanese theaters on Thursday the 11th.

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Full Staff List
February 13th, 2021

Dogasu @ 18:41 JST -- The first (official) update for my website's 22nd year on the Internet is a transcription of the entire staff list for Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko"!

This list of the more than 1200 people who worked on this film was taken from the Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" pamphlet that you can get at movie theaters here in Japan. I transcribed the entire list myself and did my best to romanize what I could but there are still quite a number of names that I just wasn't able to figure out how to write out in our alphabet. I'll have to take another pass at the list once the English dub comes out and provides us with the fully romanized credits.

It should be noted that a lot of the people who worked on this movie just simply didn't get credited. D'Art Shtajio animator Henry Thurlow, for example, apparently did some 2nd Key Animation on the movie and yet his name doesn't show up in the film's credits at all. So who knows how many people actually worked on this thing.

Anyway, I hope at least some of you find this list to be useful!

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