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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | Interview with Chouji Yoshikawa
The Japanese guide book This is Animation Pocket Monsters Orange Islands Arc Super Anime Guide features a two page interview with then-associate producer of the Pocket Monsters TV series, Chouji Yoshikawa (吉川兆二). Below is a translation of that interview.
A Special Interview with the Associate Producer of the Pocket Monsters animated series,
Mr. Chouji Yoshikawa
Let's Talk About the Orange Islands Arc!!
"When the environment changes, the pokemon change too. Those are the kind of unique differences we wanted to show you."
When you think of summer, you think of the beach. And of the setting of the movie Revelation Lugia, the Orange Islands. These islands with a tropical flair have also become the setting of the story in the animated Pocket Monsters series.
Today, we're going to be talking about all sorts of things with someone who knows more secrets about the Pokemon animated series than anybody else around, Mr. Chouji Yoshikawa. The first thing we talked about is what Mr. Yoshikawa and the rest of the staff of the animated series were hoping would stand out about the Orange Islands arc. "What we wanted to express with the Orange Islands arc are the unique differences between pokemon. I think we were able to show this the best with the Crystal Iwark from the episode "Search for the Crystal Iwark!"  We thought everyone would be so surprised that they'd say "I didn't know that kind of Iwark exists!" Next, the pokemon who live on Pinkan Island in the episode "The Island of Pink Pokemon." All the pokemon there were pink, remember? And they all turned this pink color because they ate some Pinkan Berries. The environment in which they live is different and so their appearances change too. These southern islands have an abundance of food and so the episode "Pikachu vs. Nyarth!?" features pokemon much bigger than the ones seen in other regions."
"Since the setting is the Orange Islands, which is isolated from the other regions by the ocean, we wanted to show off these kinds of differences and how even pokemon of the same species can have things that make them unique."
If you think about it, it's true that the Orange Islands have a lot of pokemon who don't look anything like the ones we've seen before. Like the pink Saihorn or that very large Pigeot. And how Kamonegi, who are ordinarily quite rare, go out and do things like form flocks.
"And with the introduction of the Pokemon Watcher Kenji, we really wanted everyone to know more about pokemon. In the episode "Koiking! The Secrets of Evolution!!" there are a lot of Pokemon Watchers like Mr. Midorikawa all over the Pokemon World whose observations help discover new sides to pokemon. And so through Satoshi, who aims to be a Pokemon Master; Takeshi, who aims to be a Pokemon Breeder; and Kenji, who aims to be a Watcher, we wanted to show the relationships between humans and pokemon. Of course, it's important for us to continue to also show the friendships between people and pokemon as well."
Mr. Yoshikawa talked very passionately with us about Pokemon. Does he have any episodes that are his personal favorites?
"If we're talking about the Orange Islands arc...I'd probably have to say "Lord Nyarth's Island!?" and "Pikachu vs. Nyarth!?" because the character of Nyarth is interesting to me. The key animation in those episodes was great and we always get a big reaction whenever we have episodes focusing on the Rocket-Dan's friendship. This would have been unthinkable in the past but these days there are a lot of people, usually from around the fourth grade or so, who become fans of what are supposed to be the show's villains, the Rocket-Dan. I think it's maybe because we've cultivated Nyarth, Musashi, and Kojirou into being these good bad guys. And that's why, looking ahead, we'd like to continue making the Rocket-Dan the focus of one out of every ten episodes or so."
By the way, Mr. Yoshikawa says his favorite pokemon is Gangar. The reason? "It's that smile. You can see that it's both a little sly but also sad" he explains.
This October a new Gold & Silver series of the animated Pocket Monsters TV show will begin. What kind of things will Satoshi, who fantastically overcame the Orange League, get into this time around? Mr. Yoshikawa shares a few secrets about Gold & Silver to end things with. "For starters, we're returning to the trio of Satoshi, Kasumi, and Takeshi. The highlight of Gold & Silver will be the new pokemon. And of course a lot of Pikachu's pre-evolved form will also show up. On top of that, we're planning to depict the differences between pokemon that we showed you in the Orange Islands arc even more clearly. We have a lot of ideas for what's in store so please look forward to them."
What kind of adventures will unfold before us? Stay tuned to find out!
 Mr. Yoshikawa refers to the episode "The Crystal Iwark" as "Search for the Crystal Iwark" (クリスタルのイワークをさがせ！) by mistake.
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