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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Mewtwo Strikes Back!

Production of Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation" was officially announced to the public on November 13th, 1997 at a press conference held in Tokyo, Japan. The event was covered in various news sources at the time and so this page gathers everything I was able to find about the event announcing that Pokémon is finally hitting the big screen.

Event Report: Animedia magazine (January 1998 issue)

The January 1998 issue of Animedia magazine, which would have gone on sale December 10th, 1997, dedicated the majority of its monthly Pocket Monsters coverage to the newly announced movie. Below is a translation of the relevant coverage.

Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" & "Pikachu's Summer Vacation"
● Coming to Toho movie theaters across the country Summer Break 1998
Press Conference
The staff and cast sit on stage and the press conference announcing production of the new movie. Sitting in front of them is a crowd of hundreds of reporters and cameramen.
We all knew it! A Pocket Monsters movie is finally hitting the big screen! And on top of that, it seems the story will feature a popular Pokémon that players rarely come across in the video games, Mewtwo! We're super excited!

A "tough and pretty" double feature!!

The "Pokémon" movie was announced to the press on November 13th. Hundreds of reporters gathered in the big hall in the hotel where the press conference was held. Let's introduce you to what the conference's guests had to say! Kunihiko Yuyama (general director): "Of course, we want to do things with the big screen version we can't do with the weekly TV series. 'Pikachu's Summer Vacation' will depict a day in the life of a bunch of Pokémon in the summertime. "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" will meanwhile show the harder side of Pokémon. We want this double feature to show you just how big and varied the world of Pokémon really is.

Rica Matsumoto (Satoshi):  "The other day I went to a market out west and everywhere you looked there was Pikachu. I could tell just how much everyone loves Pokémon. If the fun we have in the recording studio can translate into the finished product then I think we'll have a great film on our hands."
In the upcoming double feature, the famous enka singer Ms. Sachiko Kobayashi and the TV drama and commercial star Ms. Aiko Satou will both be participating as special guest voice actors. The actors said "It's an honor to be able to take part in something as beloved as Pokémon." Ms. Sachiko Kobayashi will be in charge of the movie's ending theme and will also be appearing in "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" as a voice actor (she was actually in Pokémon once before, playing a guest role in the TV series' 34th episode). Ms. Aiko Satou, meanwhile, will be playing a role in "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" as well as providing the narration for "Pikachu's Summer Vacation." There will be no humans in "Summer Vacation" movie, only Pokémon, and so Ms. Satou's narration will be added in to help us understand what the Pokémon are thinking. Director Yuyama says "We thought Ms. Satou's public image of being transparent would be a good fit for this movie." We're sure these guests' first time doing voice-over work will turn out great!

The scripts for both movies are still being worked on and so further details about what the movies will be about haven't been made public yet. But according to Director Yuyama, "Pikachu's Summer Vacation" will be an approximately 20 minute film that shows a bunch of Pokémon spending time in a resort-like area one summer day. When it comes to the main feature, Mr. Yuyama said it'll feature Satoshi and Pikachu and that they want to have songs inserted in between different scenes to give the movie the fun energy of a movie musical. In other words, the movie will focus on showing the cute side of Pokémon. He says that "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" will have a runtime of about 60 minutes.
Special Guests
Commemorative photo of the movie's actors hugging life-sized Pikachu dolls in front of a giant Pikachu character costume. From left to right; Aiko Satou, Rica Matsumoto, and Sachiko Kobayashi.
Will the production team be able use Pokémon's science fiction elements to deliver animation and other detailed drawings beyond what can be done with the TV series to depict the fierce battle between Pikachu and Mewtwo? We're looking forward to seeing for ourselves next summer!

Satoshi Tajiri
Yoichi Kotabe
The father of the Pocket Monsters video games, Satoshi Tajiri, is also helping with the original concept for the movie. Will the movies feature links to the upcoming video games? Animation Supervisor Mr. Yoichi Kotabe looks happy while holding up the movie's pamphlet. "When we set out to create an exciting movie the staff all came together as one to do its best!"

Kunihiko Yuyama
Director Kunihiko Yuyama's working as the general director for the movie at the same time he's also working on the weekly TV series. He said helping to create the Pokémon world, where anything can happen, is really fun. We can expect a lot of excitement from Pikachu's and Mewtwo's arduous battle!

Meanwhile another news website, ZakZak, posted additional information about the press conference as part of a Pokémon news run-down. Here's a translation of their report:

And finally, the Pokémon movie

When something's popularity's about to reach the tipping point then that's when they usually release a movie version. So on November 13th, production on Pocket Monsters The Movie "Mewtwo Strikes Back!" was announced in a room with over 100 reporters in Shimbashi, Tokyo. The film's distributor Toho, who's been beating its competitors at the box office lately, had its senior managing director Mr. Fumio Nishino say this: "We've always wanted to make this happen. And we want it to cause a huge fervor next summer. Our box office performance for this summer far exceeded our expectations, and while I won't say what our box office goal is for Pokémon next year I will say we're hoping to have a repeat of this summer." It was also brought up that Princess Mononoke, which is also being distributed by Toho, is about to hit the 10 billion yen mark.

Pocket Monsters' general director Kunihiko Yuyama said "We've been given a generous production budget of 350 million yen and so we really want to deliver some amazing animation." On top of that, the famous enka singer Sachiko Kobayashi (43 years old), who will be both singing the film's ending theme and taking on voice acting in the feature, said "Next year will mark my 35th year in the business and yet I'm so excited for this new challenge (of voice acting). Of course I'll be giving it my all for the ending theme as well." Similarly, Ms. Aiko Satou (20 years old), who will also be voice acting in the movie for the first time, said "I'm so happy to be able to take part in something like Pokémon that so many kids are so crazy about."

Nobody knows if the Pokémon craze will keep going until the movie's release next summer and so the retail battle this Christmas and New Year's season is going to be crucial.

Total sales of Pokémon, including all related merchandise, have reached 200 billion yen, and we're hoping it'll work hard to reach 400 billion and help get Japan out of its economic recession...




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