spoon.2Di Issue 63
Interview with
Tomoya Negishi

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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | spoon.2Di Issue 063

The 63rd issue of spoon.2Di, a Japanese magazine focused on animation, contained a two-page feature on the Pocket Monsters (2019) TV series that included an interview with (and other assorted comments from) the series' producer Tomoya Negishi (根 岸智也). For context, the issue went on-sale June 30th, 2020, the week after the debut of Pocket Monsters (2019) Episode 026, the two-in-one episode "Splash, Koiking!" and "Put It on Your Head, Yadoking!" Episode 026 was the fourth episode to air after the six-week hiatus the show went on in Spring 2020 due to production being halted because of the novel coronavirus.

Below is an English translation of the original Japanese language feature.

spoon.2Di Issue 63's Pocket Monsters (2019) feature
| Interview with Tomoya Negishi | Episode 023 | Episode 024 | Episode 025 | Episode 026 | Future Episodes |

Producer Tomoya Negishi Interview

"We've been able to overcome the unique challenges that have come up during these difficult times because of the love our staff has for this "Pocket Monsters" cartoon and our desire to give back the love and support we've been receiving from our wonderful audience."

The animated TV series has finally returned, so we wanted to ask you to take a look back at the episodes that have aired up until now and tell us what you want us viewers to be on the lookout for, any behind-the-scenes secrets you might have, and so on.

"On May 31st we announced that new episodes would be starting up again, and the warm messages of encouragement we got from you all made us so happy and really gave us the energy we needed to keep going. There's so much variety between Episodes 23 and 26, you know. Episode 23 is centered around a bunch of Pokémon, Episode 24 has the Rocket trio as the main characters, Episode 25 is the red-hot return of Corni and is for those of you who used to watch the XY series, and Episode 26 is the first (?) two-in-one episode of AniPoké ("Anime Pokémon"); it really is an amazing lineup! The amount of variety in this series is one of its trademarks and so we're always striving to provide you with a wide range of content. I think that comes across to the audience, regardless of whether they've been with us ever since the first episode or if they're just getting into Pocket Monsters by watching the reruns on TV or the free uploads that were posted online up until the end of May. I personally had a lot of fun with these episodes."

Satoshi and Gou are traveling around to each region as research fellows, and as they come across all sorts of Pokémon the boys are getting closer and closer to their own individual goals - "My goal is to battle Dande to get one step closer to becoming a Pokémon Master" and "My goal is to get all the Pokémon and then reach Mew," respectively - and so I wanted to ask how you're planning to depict them making progress toward these goals from here on out. And can you think of what the turning points for the two have been in terms of their growth?

"Satoshi and Gou are both on a roll right now, heading full steam ahead toward each of their goals, but I think that along the way they're going to hit up against some huge walls or other disappointments that they won't be able to overcome. So we want to tell the stories of those experiences and show how their bonds with both people and Pokémon are growing. Satoshi's turning points are when he stumbles across a powerful rival whose presence is basically like this giant wall in front of him. For Gou, it's how he's coming across more and more Pokémon whom he has to actually face off against in battle instead of just chucking Monster Balls at them and calling it a day. This is a challenge for us on the production side as well; since we set it up so that Gou wants to get all the Pokémon then that means we're eventually have to figure out what to do with the legendary and mythical Pokémon, you know? These aren't things we're going to be something we'll be able to wrap up in a single episode so we're going to have to take our time and come up with the answers during the course of this series."

We always hear about the "Love of Pokémon" the staff and cast feels because of this show, but do you, Mr. Negishi, have any recent stories where you really felt this "Love of Pokémon"?

"I think it probably goes without saying that because of the novel coronavirus we haven't been able to continue production the same as always. Those large script meetings we used to have all together under the same roof are now being done online, we've been working with the sound director Mr. Mima as well as the sound production company to figure out a more safe way to record the show that makes the actors feel like they're being taken care of, and so on and so on. The cast has been really great during all this. We've had to rethink every part of this show's production and change the ways we do things and yet we've somehow been able to overcome the unique challenges that have come up, and I think that's all because of the love our staff has for this "Pocket Monsters" cartoon and our desire to give back the love and support we've been receiving from our wonderful audience. We've heard fans' disappointment that the show had to go into reruns during these hard times, sure, but at the same time we've also been getting a lot of comments from people voicing concern for our well-being, and that has given us so much power going into these new episodes. We want to bring together everyone who feels this "Love of Pokémon" and will continue to put everything we've got into making this show. Please continue to watch."


The next portion of the magazine includes a summaries of Episodes 23 - 26 and then also comments from Mr. Negishi on about half of them. Mr. Negishi's comments are in the black boxes with white text.

Episode 23 "A Big Panic! The Sakuragi Park"

It's havoc at the Sakuragi Park! The food that's being left out for the Pokémon keeps going missing and so the hungry Pokémon have started to fight amongst themselves. Satoshi and Gou decide to spend the night inside the Sakuragi Park to catch the culprit. As the fighting between the Pokémon worsens it looks like the Mayuld are showing signs that they're about to evolve...! Golorg goes over to protect the Mayuld from all the fighting when the seal on its chest comes off, causing it to go into a rampage! A rainstorm blows through the Sakuragi Park as the Pokémon end up all working together to protect the Mayuld's evolution.

Episode 24 "Take a Break, Rocket-Dan!!"

The Rocket-Dan's Boss, Sakaki, has ordered the trio to take some time off. They go to the Resort Area in the Sinnoh Region to relax when Satoshi and Gou just happen to bump into them while in the area for research. The trio's super excited at this perfect chance to get Pikachu but realize that if they go to work then they'll be going against their Boss' orders. So, the trio grits their teeth and reluctantly returns to their vacation. Just then, the Rocket-Dan's special corps, led by Sakaki's secretary Matori, arrives to steal each and every Pokémon inside the resort! The Rocket trio, after making sure their identities are kept a secret, decide to team up with Satoshi and the others!

Episode 25 "A Battle Festival Exploding with Life! We're Up Against Mega Lucario!!"

Satoshi has decided to join the "Battle Fes," a battle tournament being held in the Kalos Region. A lot of World Pokémon Championships participants have gathered to compete in this tournament so it's a perfect opportunity for everybody to raise their rankings. Satoshi, who's been on a bit of a winning streak lately, is taking his chance to go up a rank on a battle against Corni, the Gym Leader he once fought in the Kalos Region. Corni's Mega Lucario overwhelms its opponent but Satoshi is able to successfully implement a strategy to use the rocks scattered around the battlefield to deal some damage to Mega Lucario. At the end of the fierce match, Satoshi's Kairyu wins a hard-fought victory! Satoshi's moved up to the Super Class!

”Episode 25 is an episode we made because we thought it'd be exciting for fans who have been supporting AniPoké for such a long time. There are a lot of characters who have crossed paths with Satoshi, from 1997's Pocket Monsters all the way up to the more recent Sun & Moon series, so we wondered which one of the characters from the show's past we should pick to be his first opponent here in this new series. We know expectations were high (laughs) and it was something we stressed out about a lot but I think we absolutely made the right choice with Corni. With this episode, we had made a vow that "in this series, memorable and familiar faces will also appear," and so the fact that Corni wasn't just a Gym Leader but had also actually traveled around with Satoshi (even if it was only for a little bit), and the fact that she's a Lucario Trainer just sort of helped everything fall into place wonderfully. We hope you'll look forward to more past characters in the future as well!" (Negishi)


Episode 26 "a) Splash, Koiking! b) Put It on Your Head, Yadoking!"

Gou has entered himself into the "Koiking High Jump Competition," a contest where Koiking compete to see who can jump the highest. But Gou's Koiking has put on a few pounds lately and is in no shape to win! Gou has his Koiking undergo special training using exercise videos featuring Kasuking, the presumptive king of the competition. Thanks to their training, Koiking is able to get itself into tip-top fighting shape! Satoshi and the others get rock-hard abs as well, and the group heads off to face this competition.

Satoshi and Gou have come to Yadon Isle. Although the boys are initially moved by the sight of Yadon as far as the eye can see, Satoshi still takes the time to relax and enjoy some instant cup noodles. He ends up sharing his noodles with a Yadoking who wanders into the area, and the shock the Pokémon receives from the noodles' wonderful taste is so great that the Shellder on the top of its head comes right off and is replaced by the cup of noodles! The Shellder crown, meanwhile, shoots straight up into the air before landing right on Satoshi's head. When that happens, Satoshi becomes a good-looking young man who starts saying weird and thoughtful statements!

"We were able to get Toshiaki Kasuga from the Japanese comedy group "Audrey" to play the role of Kasuking, the Koiking Trainer in Episode 26. We didn't have Mr. Kasuga in mind for this part originally, but as we were designing the king character based on the script we thought Mr. Kasuga would be a perfect fit and so we offered him the role, he accepted, and we got to borrow both his voice and his appearance for the episode. A spontaneous collaboration was born and I think it was a match made in heaven. The two-in-one format was my idea, and at first I got a lot of sullen faces because of how much extra work it was going to be and everything (laughs) but in the end the staff really got into it and people like Mr. Yuyama, the creative supervisor, and Mr. Tomiyasu, the series director, came in to this episode to draw their first storyboards of the new series. I hope we can do this two-in-one type of episode again." (Negishi)


Future Story

"Episode 27, which will air right after this magazine goes on sale, will finally feature the debut of the popular character Kibana and will show his battle with the absolute king, Dande. Thanks to that stretch of reruns we had because of the novel coronavirus the fans have been waiting for this moment a long, long time. We hope you definitely check out the episode on TV in real time. After that, Episode 28 will feature Messon, one of the Pokémon you can pick before starting your adventure in Pocket Monsters Sword & Shield alongside Pokémon like Hibanny, who has been on the show and has since become a Rabbifoot, and so I wonder what kind of encounter they'll all have? And will Satoshi and Gou be able to get it? Don't miss it! Other than that, the episodes will continue to be filled with variety. This is getting a little ahead of myself but a certain Galar Gym Leader will also...well, that's a story for another time (laughs)" (Negishi)

spoon.2Di Issue 63's Pocket Monsters (2019) feature
| Interview with Tomoya Negishi | Episode 023 | Episode 024 | Episode 025 | Episode 026 | Future Episodes |

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