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Dogasu's Backpack | Features | "This Is Animation" Screenplay Writers' Comments

The guide book This Is Animation: Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation," released September 20th, 1998, is a book in the long-running "This Is Animation" series dedicated to the first Pocket Monsters double feature. The final page of the book provides us with exclusive comments from the screenplay writers of the films, Takeshi Shudo ("Mewtwo Strikes Back!") and Hideki Sonoda ("Pikachu's Summer Vacation").

English translations of those comments can be found below.

"Mewtwo Strikes Back!" Screenplay: Takeshi Shudo

Born in Hakata. Grew up in Tokyo, Sapporo, and Nara, among other cities. Currently lives in Odawara. His first screenplay was, incredibly, for the ultra popular TV period drama "Oedo Dragnet." His most important works include "Manga, The First Story," "Folk Tales from the World of Manga," "Toshishun," "Magical Princess Minky Momo," the stage musical "The Adventures of Pinnochio," and many others. In the summer of 1998 Mr. Shudo has been busy working on the science and technology science musical "Ah, Teplas."
Takeshi Shudo

"Where am I? Who am I?"

The (original theatrical cut of the) movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" abruptly starts with Mewtwo asking these questions. But I'm fully aware this isn't some Shakespearean tragedy or anything like that, and I also realize that a summer kids' movie isn't really the place to be asking difficult questions about one's own existence.

But still, what should I do if someone complains this movie's too much for its target audience? I know! What if I spin it to say this movie's also aimed at those of you accompanying your kids to the movie theater? That could work!

But that could also backfire, couldn't it? If those adults hear Mewtwo go "Where am I? Who am I?" and then reply with "Where am I? Well, I'm sitting in a movie theater I almost never go to. And who am I? I'm a parent here with my kid...ah, they sure are a drain on my wallet and energy, aren't they?"...well, then that wouldn't be any good, right?

So I thought...I want adults to also enjoy themselves at the movie too, even if just a little bit…

If you're making a movie for the whole family, then you can't just make a movie that just the kids will like, or a movie that just the adults who already love animation will like; it has to be a movie where people feel like they've gotta watch it because everyone else is watching it too.

But wait, that's not really it, either.

Well, um, I guess it should be a movie where people can watch it at least once and not feel like their time's been wasted. If we can make an animated movie where those of you with kids can feel that way then that'll be enough.

I have the feeling that questions about one's own existence are ones that every child asks themselves, all the way back from when they're old enough to start asking questions like "Why?"

If you watch this movie with your child and they ask questions like "What's going on?" and that then creates even the tiniest spark of a conversation between the two of you, then I feel like that will have given this film value as an animated film that parents can watch with their kids.

"Pikachu's Summer Vacation" Screenplay: Hideki Sonoda

Hideki Sonoda
Studied as an apprentice of the children's author Mr. Tadaaki Mori. Mr. Sonoda has not only lent his talents toward screenplays, novels, song lyrics, video games, and original comics, but he's also in charge of his own acting troupe Kien Fuujinsha and is currently working as one of its stage directors.

His most important works include "Matchless Raijin-Oh," "Reideen the Superior," and "The Detective of Time and Space DD," among many others too numerous to count. For the Pokémon TV series, Mr. Sonoda works as one of the show's head writers, working on episodes where new characters first appear and other important stories.

I'd like to thank you for watching the movie "Pikachu's Summer Vacation."

In the beginning there were 151 Pokémon, but then new ones like Bulu and Maril, and of course Togepy, all got added to the mix, making things even more interesting than before. The world of Pokémon's been a lot of fun lately, right? And while we do have characters like Nyarth, a special Pokémon who can speak human language, for the most part Pokémon are normally not able to have dialogues the way we can.

And so my assignment was to write a story that shows off how fun the world of Pokémon is while using a bunch of characters who can't actually talk.

Normally, my job involves me using clever dialogue to make my stories interesting, and so for this assignment, not being able to use human dialogue was like having one of the greatest weapons in my arsenal stolen from me.

To be honest, when I first got the assignment I was at a loss of what to do.

But in the end, I didn't have anything to worry about because this is Pikachu and its Pokémon friends we're talking about.

Once I got them moving around they were able to provide me with an exciting performance in spite of, or maybe even because of, their inability to speak.

I think that must be because Pokémon have this energy, a certain je ne sais quoi about them.

If we were dealing with any other types of monsters then I think this whole thing probably wouldn't have turned out quite so well.

So thank you, Pikachu and friends.



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