|| "Revelation Lugia"
The Ending Theme
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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Revelation Lugia
The ending theme to the film Pocket Monsters The Movie "Revelation Lugia" is a song called toi et moi, performed by the Japanese mega popstar Namie Amuro. But did you know the song actually wasn't the filmmakers' first choice? And that they were originally going to go with a much slower, much calmer song instead?
Let's start by looking at how toi et moi was announced to the world. The song that would eventually become the ending theme to the second Pocket Monsters movie was produced, composed, and arranged by Tetsuya Komuro (小室哲哉), one of the most prolific Japanese music producers of the 1990s. This guy was everywhere back in the day; the year that Pocket Monsters The Movie "Revelation Lugia" came out, for example, T.K. -- as we was often referred to at the time -- had produced twelve of the Top 100 pop songs in Japan.
According to this archived version of a Tetsuya Komuro fansite called [email protected], Mr. Komuro's involvement with the second Pokémon movie was first announced on March 5th, 1999:
An early version of the final Revelation Lugia poster credits Mr. Tetsuya Komuro with providing the ending theme since, presumably, Ms. Amuro's involvement with the film had not been finalized yet.
On June 17th, 1999 -- one month before the movie was set to be released -- [email protected] reports that Mr. Komuro had found his singer:
That "second single" being referred to is probably Something 'Bout The Kiss, which eventually ended up being released a few months later on September 1st, 1999.
The earliest mention of Ms. Amuro in CoroCoro Comics, meanwhile, is in their August 1999 issue. That would have gone on sale on July 15th, 1999.
So in summary, the song is reported as being in the works and then, a few months later, its artist, title, and release date are all announced. Ordinarily this is where the story would end but with toi et moi, however, things are a little bit more interesting!
Thanks to his superstar status in the music industry, probably, Mr. Tetsuya Komuro was given a monthly column in the pop culture magazine Nikkei Entertainment in which he was able to promote the projects he had coming out in any given month.
In the August 1999 issue's edition of his "T.K. report from Santa Monica" column, Mr. Komuro makes a passing reference to how Ms. Amuro's song actually wasn't the film makers' first choice for the movie's ending theme.
The overwhelming majority of the article has nothing to do with Pocket Monsters so I'll only be translating the relevant part. A quick bit of background information before we get started: Ms. Amuro spent the majority of 1998 on maternity leave and so 1999 was being set up as her big comeback year.
"And at first they hadn't decided to go with Namie-chan"...so toi et moi wasn't their first choice for the movie's theme song? Is there a way to know what was?
Thankfully, there is! The film's screenplay writer, Mr. Takeshi Shudo, provided us with more details about ten years after the fact in a blog post of his dated December 9th, 2009:
The "song based on the flute melody that the shrine maiden Fleura plays (the one that's on the soundtrack CD)" can't possibly be anything other than Track 6 on the film's original soundtrack, The Endless World (はてしない世界), performed by Fleura's voice actress Ms. Akiko Hiramatsu.
A fan edit of the end credits to the second movie where toi et moi is swapped out with The Endless World was made by P-Switch (ぴスイッチ) and posted on Twitter. This gives us a pretty decent idea of what the ending probably would've felt like if they hadn't swapped the songs out at the last minute. The video's embedded in the tweets and is divided into two parts:
It sure does give that ending animation a completely different feel, doesn't it?
The copyright scandal Mr. Shudo brings up is most likely a reference to Mr. Komuro's 2006 arrest for allegedly defrauding an investor out of 500 million yen by promising to sell them the rights to music he no longer had in his possession. The Osaka Regional Court found him guilty of the fraud charges a little over half a year before Mr. Shudo made his blog entry.
The singer half of the duo is also obviously meant to be Namie Amuro who, as he alludes, was still topping the charts even ten years later. She eventually retired from the music industry in 2018.
Takeshi Shudo's blog continues with him adding that he really, really hated this replacement song:
He certainly doesn't hold back, does he?
Now, a 60-year-old man going on the record as not liking a contemporary pop song isn't exactly shocking. It happens all the time! But to see Mr. Shudo be this blunt about his distaste of the song sure is a refreshing display of candor we rarely get with the people involved in this franchise.
Regardless of how Mr. Shudo feels, the song was -- and continues to be -- associated with the second Pocket Monsters movie. And last minute replacement or not, it still has a lot of fans who really, really like it.
Making movies is a long, arduous process with many moving parts, all working at the same time. A lot of the decisions and course corrections made during production are never really made public and so being able to point to a change as huge as a theme song swap in a Pocket Monsters movie really is something special. Just think, we could have lived in a timeline where The Endless World was the ending theme to the second film instead of toi et moi!
What do you think? Do you think the filmmakers made the right choice?
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