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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | Pokémon Shock

Takeshi Shudo

Takeshi Shudo was the series organizer and one of the head writers of the original Pocket Monsters TV series when the Pokémon Shock incident took place on December 16th, 1997. Years later, Mr. Shudo started up a column / personal blog on the web animation magazine Web Anime Style (WEBアニメスタイル) called How to Craft a Story: Takeshi Shudo, How Anyone Can Become a Screenplay Writer (シナリオえーだば創作術 だれでもできる脚本家 首藤剛志). The blog, which was updated fairly regularly during the five years between June 2005 until June 2010, starts with his earliest works in the world of screenplay writing and then follows the rest of his career, more or less in chronological order

In August 2008, a little under ten years since the Pokémon Shock incident, he started to update his blog with his own recollections of what it was like before, during, and after the Pokémon Shock incident. For this feature, I've gone through the ten blog entries where he mentions the Pokémon Shock incident, picked out the parts I feel are most relevant to the discussion, and have translated them into English.

A note about the translations below
Mr. Shudo's blog is an absolute treasure trove of behind-the-scenes information you cannot find anywhere else. It is also, as far as your average Pokémon fan is concerned, about 80% filler. Mr. Shudo had a tendency to launch into some very off-topic tangents and so what I've decided to do is to translate the entire blog entries and then pick out only the parts that actually discuss the Pokémon Shock incident. I hope you find these abridged translations more readable. Those of you interested in reading unabridged translations, meanwhile, will also be able to do so by following the appropriate links on each page.

Below is a brief overview of each blog entry. Click on the blog title to be taken to the page with translations of what Mr. Shudo wrote.

Date Posted
"The Unexpected Pokémon Incident: A Few Months Before"
Aug 20th,
Japanese original
Series organizer for the original Pocket Monsters TV series, Takeshi Shudo, gives a brief overview of the so-called "Pokémon Shock" incident.
"The Pokémon Incident: It Started with "Serves you right! Ahaha""
Aug 27th,
Japanese original
On the night of December 16th, Takeshi Shudo was working in a satellite office in Odawara when, at around 10 o'clock at night, he gets an ominous phone call. Mr. Shudo's wife calls him an hour later to tell him that something bad's happened with Pokémon. Mr. Shudo decides to watch a recording of the episode he had made earlier that night.
"The Pokémon Incident: The Sleepless Night"
(ポケモン事件 その日の夜悶々)
Sep 3rd,
Japanese original
Mr. Shudo sits down and watches "Cyber Soldier Porygon." During a sleepless night, Mr. Shudo wonders if he, as the series organizer, could have put a stop to the episode while it was still in the scripting phase. He also recalls past experiences working on a different series and how they wanted to avoid having their "this week our heroes go inside the world of computers" type episode resemble the Disney movie Tron. A year and a half after the incident, Mr. Shudo finds out he goes to the same hospital that one of the Pokémon Shock victimes was taken to.
"The Pokémon Incident:  Meanwhile, at the Hospital..."
(ポケモン事件 当日の病院では……)
Sep 10th,
Japanese original
Nurses at the hospital in Odawara recount the stress and fear they felt on the night of December 16th. Mr. Shudo receives three phone calls the day after the incident; one from production telling staff not to speak to reporters, one from a friend warning Mr. Shudo not to accept the blame for what happened, and one from his doctor telling him to be careful not to try to drink these problems away. The doctors and nurses at the Odawara hospital struggle with how to treat their young patient.
"The Pokémon Incident: Day Two"
Oct 29th,
Japanese original
Mr. Shudo compares the media's reaction to the incident to pirahna circling around fresh prey. He actively avoids news reports on the incident in its first few days. Just talking about this incident dredges up unhappy memories for Mr. Shudo.
"The Pokémon Incident: How the Staff Reacted"
Nov 5th,
Japanese original
The writers have their first, very awkward writers' meeting after the incident. Tensions run high as doubts linger about the future of the show and whether or not any of the staff will face criminal charges. Mr. Shudo discusses the "Pokémon Bashing" campaign the media was engaged in during the first few days. Nintendo gives its two cents. Mr. Shudo isn't interested in hearing people's "what ifs." Mr. Shudo introduces readers to "That Person."
"The One Who Caused the "Pokémon" Animated Series' Dilemma"
Nov 12th,
Japanese original
We learn more about "That Person," an important producer for the show who Mr. Shudo refuses to name by name. Mr. Shudo criticizes the way the media talked about the incident.
"The Pokémon Incident:  NHK's Own Incident Comes to Light"
(ポケモン事件 NHKの事件発覚まで)
Nov 19th,
Japanese original
Things were looking bad for That Person until news that the same thing had happened with a different show months earlier changes the tone of the media's conversation.
"The Guidelines that Came About Because of the Pokémon Incident"
Nov 26th,
Japanese original
NHK's own "Pokémon Shock"-like incident is revealed to the public. The popular "Paka-Paka" animation technique is determined to the be root cause. Production on the show resumes, and Pocket Monsters eventually returns to the air in April 1998. Mr. Shudo goes over the broadcast guidelines provided by the JBA and wonders how many viewers actually still follow their suggestions.
"The Theme of Pokémon "Mewtwo Strikes Back!""
Dec 3rd,
Japanese original
Mr. Shudo reveals how the "Pokémon Shock" incident derailed the plans they had to tie the TV series in with that summer's movie, "Mewtwo Strikes Back!"

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