Takeshi Shudo's
Blog Entry
No. 161






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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | Pokémon Shock

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Below is an English translation of 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), a blog written by former Pocket Monsters series organizer and head writer Mr. Takeshi Shudo. The following are excerpts taken from Blog Post No. 161 "The Pokémon Incident: Day Two," a blog entry related to the Pokémon Shock incident.


Notes about the translation below
I have two notes about the translations you're about to read.

One, the Japanese version of the blog is written the way a lot of Japanese blogs are written in that the author only types out (roughly) one sentence per one line. To a native English speaker like me this makes the blogs seem weird and choppy but that's just the way a lot of Japanese blogs are written, for some reason. For simplicity's sake I've replicated this one-sentence-per-line writing style in my English translation.


Two, the following translation is a truncated version of a much, much longer blog entry. Mr. Shudo is an absolute treasure trove of behind-the-scenes information you can't get anywhere else but his blogs are, as far as your average Pokémon fan is concerned, about 80% filler. The writer had a tendency to trail off into some very off-topic tangents in his blog and so what I've decided to do is to pick out the parts that actually discuss the Pokémon Shock incident and present that to you on the page below. I hope you will find this abridged presentation a bit easier to read that it would have been otherwise. If you're someone who would prefer to read an unabridged translation, however, I've also got you covered; you can check those out here.




Blog Post No. 161 "The Pokémon Incident: Day Two"

Posted October 29th, 2008
Original Text (Japanese)
Unabridged Translation

A little over a month later Mr. Shudo resumes his blogs about the incident. He says he had some health issues and spent some time in the hospital but that he's better now so he's ready to pick up where he left off:

Where was I? On December 16th, 1997 people from all over Japan (mostly children) watched an episode of Pokémon that caused some of them to feel bad, with more than 700 of them going to the hospital and a few hundred of those even staying overnight.

Some people had serious symptoms but thankfully nobody died.

It was also reported that there were an additional 10,000 people who watched Pokémon who didn't go to the hospital but who nevertheless felt sick.

Children who watched a cartoon made for children collapsed.

The whole country was shaken.

The mainstream media was having a field day.

The sight of the mainstream media jumping on this story was like seeing a bunch of pirahna swarming a prey, leaving nothing behind.

There were a lot of victims of this incident but, somehow, I didn't hear about any of them myself.

The place where I do my writing is in this rural area by the sea and so this incident wasn't really talked about by the people around me. And as someone who could have possibly be seen as one of the people responsible I was scared to turn on the news. I didn't read the newspapers that were delivered to my house either.

This might sound like a pitiful thing to say but I had no idea what to do and so I just buried my head in the sand.

As a result, I don't have any knowledge of the full picture of the incident or what really happened outside of what had been reported to the public.

But now here I was, a year and a half later. I found myself admitted to the exact same hospital where a girl who was one of the victims of the Pokémon Incident had been taken. A sudden feeling of being chased by these very vivid memories started to wash over me.

Before I was admitted to that hospital I could have found out what had been reported to the public about this incident by doing an Internet search -- of course, you can search for that even now -- but other than what had been written I don't have anything to add.

I didn't want to even know the details.

It feels just like if I were to be in a car wreck, where even if it wasn't caused by me being careless because of traffic violations or drunk driving or anything like that I'd still feel really bad for the other person.

The victim was unlucky, but the perpretrator was unlucky too. That's what I wanted to tell myself.
But…is that really the way it was?

This might just be me, but I make sure to remember whenever I feel any sort of vague uneasiness about the work I do.

And it's now been over ten years since the incident known as the Pokémon Incident or the Pokémon Shock.

If I'm being honest, just thinking about that incident for the sake of this blog makes me feel really depressed and unable to write.

And since I was in the middle of writing about this incident when the blog went on break some of my readers apparently thought that was suspicious, assuming I'd been getting pressure from the Pokémon staff or whatever. Readers thought they were saying things like "Don't be drudging up these old things after all these years!" And so to all you out there I want to say, as plainly as I can, that I have not gotten a single complaint about this blog from anyone involved with Pokémon.

On the contrary, one of the producers actually thanked me, saying that it was thanks to this column he was able to figure out how I, the first series organizer for the Pokémon animated series, got involved with the show. He also told me he's waiting for each new update with baited breath, and that he wanted me to know he thought my blog was interesting and to keep up the good work.

Personally, I've made it a rule not to write a script that I felt guilty about, regardless if that script ever sees the light of day or not.

So I don't feel even a little bit bad about the work I'd done before.


He spends the next half of the blog talking about what it's like to be a writer before going back to Pokémon:



As TV series go, Pokémon is heads and shoulders above other series in terms of how good production goes.

The show's TV ratings aren't bad, either.

Kids seem to like it.

The games sell well.

The animated verison of the Pokémon video games was a success.

Anyone would think that, right?

So then why did something like this have to happen?

It's like we were running ahead, full sprint, and then suddenly trippe and fell into a pit…that's how it felt.

Two days after the incident the network decided to stop all broadcasts of anything and everything Pokémon.

They couldn't air the show until the cause of so many viewers falling ill was made clear and they could guarantee the safety of its viewers, and as a network that was probably the appropriate response.
And then came the day of the weekly writers' meeting.

Of course any and all work on any of our unfinished scripts was stopped. But we met anyway, face to face for the first time since the incident.

Nobody smiled and nobody cracked any jokes.





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