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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Pocket Monsters I Choose You!
Every July a new Pocket Monsters movie hits theaters in Japan. TV-Tokyo, the network that airs the Pocket Monsters TV series, traditionally airs the previous year's film during Pocket Monsters' timeslot the Thursday before the release of the new movie.
For the July 12th, 2018 TV-Tokyo premiere of Pocket Monsters The Movie "I Choose You!" a livestream was running on Twitter during which the film's director Kunihiko Yuyama, along with Shoko Nakagawa and other Pokemon-adjacent celebrities, provided live commentary on the film as it was airing. The director dropped some surprising information during the nearly two hour program and so this page is going to collect the more interesting tidbits.
Since, as of this writing, none of the home releases of any of the movies in Japan contain any sort of director's commentary this livestream is the closest we're going to get to hearing the director talk about one of his films as it's airing.
The livestream ran on Twitter on July 12th, 2018. The premise behind the program was that all these people came to Shoko Nakagawa's apartment (which is really a small set plastered with Pokemon merchandise) to watch "the first time this movie's aired anywhere in the universe."
The guests were:
Kunihiko Yuyama (湯山邦彦), an animation director who's been involved with the Pocket Monsters franchise ever since the very beginning. He directed the first 20 Pocket Monsters films, including I Choose You!
Shoko Nakagawa (中川翔子), a media personality, actress, voice actress, singer, and giant Pokemon nerd. She's appeared in every Pocket Monsters film since 2007's Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl The Movie "Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai" and is also a staple of the Sunday morning Pokemon variety shows like Pokemon Get ☆ TV and Pokénchi.
Hyadain (ヒャダイン), a music composer and co-host of Pokénchi. His main thing seems to be that he's a giant crybaby, apparently.
Okazaki Tai'iku (岡崎体育), a singer-songwriter. He's provided the two ending themes to the Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon TV series, Pose and Jari Boy, Jari Girl.
Throughout the program, Ms. Nakagawa would nudge viewers toward tweeting out certain pre-prepared hashtags to see if they could get them trending. These included words like #父み (chichimi), Shoko Nakagawa's nickname for the Movie 3 Entei, 目からハイドロパンプ (me kara hydro pump), or "crying a Hydro Pump river," and バイバイバッタ, or "Bye Bye Butterfree."
Oddly enough, Mr. Yuyama isn't actually there for the entire livestream; he only shows up to offer commentary after the Episode 1 retelling portion of the film is over.
What follows is the (admittedly cherry-picked) highlights of the commentary, starting from when Mr. Yuyama walks into the room up until the end credits. With this being a live commentary and all you inevitably have people mumbling, trailing off, or just flat out talking over each other so it was a real challenge to pick out what they were saying sometimes! I did my best and am confident that the information posted below is accurate but there's still a chance that something may have slipped through the cracks. So apologies in advance...hopefully everything's alright!
In the TV series the plan was to originally have the Rocket trio be in disguise the majority of the time but they quickly decided that this wasn't interesting enough and so they had them be in their uniforms all the time instead (最初ちゃんと変装したら面白くないってダメだなと思って).
According to Mr. Yuyama the average Pokemon Center's Joy is somewhere between 20 and 30 years old.
Not that this needed confirmation or anything but the Entei in Movie 20 is a different one from the Entei played by Naoto Takenaka in Movie 3.
The actual number of key animation frames varies from film to film but roughly 100,000 drawings are used in your typical Pocket Monsters movie. This doesn't include things like cut footage or retakes; 100,000 is the number of key frames that actually show up in the finished product.
When asked whey they included Potchama and Lucario in the film (このポケモンたちのチョイスって、何でポッチャマとルカリオだったんですか？), Mr. Yuyama says they looked back at the previous 19 movies and picked those two since they were some of the more popular stars (19作と今までやってきた中で割とこう人気なるというか、ちょっとスターポケモンをちょっとチョイスしたという).
Mr. Yuyama was asked if there were any pokemon he wanted to put into the film but he says he couldn't think of any.
Pretty much every commentator participating in the livestream wondered how Cross' hair worked, whether or not his bangs were two pieces of hair connected or if it was all just one unit, where in world he went to get his hair done, etc. Director Yuyama eventually admits that he doesn't know how it all works either. Back in July 2017 Ken Sugimori made similar comments on Twitter and drew what he thought to be the most likely scenario.
The Hitokage in Movie 20 is played by Shinichirou Miki, just like it was in the TV series.
Mr. Yuyama confirms that Cross comes from the Alola region (アローラから来た).
"Towel Lucario" (タオルルカリオ), the nickname given by Japanese fans to the scene where Lucario is just sort of hanging out in the back of the cave holding a towel like it's a butler or something, was thought up of during the animation phase.
The Entei, Suicune, and Raikou who appear throughout the film are all doing so to check up on Satoshi's progress.
The flashback scenes showing the birth of the legendary beast trio was planned to have the sumi-e (ink wash painting) aesthetic to it from the very beginning.
This isn't news or anything but Mr. Yuyama confirms that most pokemon understand human language, more or less.
The director didn't have time to include a cooking scene in the film and so he had shots of Souji cooking added into Makoto's phone as a way to squeeze that content in.
Director Yuyama states that Makoto's mother is in fact not the Champion Shirona! This shocks the other commentators who tell him that they (as well as fans all over the world) have been going around the last year or so thinking that Makoto's mother was the Shin'ou Champion.
Shoko Nakagawa pressed the director several times to tell them who Makoto's mother is but he insisted on being incredibly coy about the whole thing, for no reason:
Mr. Yuyama later says that Makoto's mother is famous but he doesn't give any other information than that.
The best part of the whole exchange, to me, is Shoko Nakagawa's "WTF are you talking about old man?" face during this whole exchange.
The Purin Trainer Satoshi fights later on is modeled after Japanese comedian Naomi Watanabe.
This was actually revealed by character designer Sayuri Ichi'ishi in a tweet back on July 18th, 2017;
The film's creators really wanted to add a Purin and a Kabigon into the film so they looked for ways to include them. Eventually, Purin got paired with the Naomi Watanabe Trainer while Kabigon got pitted against Pikachu later on.
The director wanted to have more scenes of our heroes traveling around, more scenes between Satoshi and Makoto, a Souji cooking scene, etc. but he had to end up not including them due to time restraints.
When asked why Takeshi and Kasumi didn't appear in this movie, Director Yuyama said it was because this movie takes place in a different time and dimension (「カスミ・タケシは出てこないっていう時空何ですか？」「これはそうです。別の時間時空です」).
The beatdown that Satoshi's Lizardo gets from Cross' Gaogaen was included to remind viewers that Satoshi is still very much a beginner by this point in his journey.
Back in the Movie 8 days, they played around with having Lucario running like a human, with its arms swinging to and fro and all that, but they decided it didn't really look right (ルカリオのときに…似合わないですよ) and so they decided to have him run like a ninja instead (忍者走りになります).
The sequence of Satoshi living in a world without pokemon was actually thought up of during production of Pocket Monsters Diamond & Pearl The Movie "Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai" but was never actually used. So you know how Darkrai makes Satoshi see that nightmare near the beginning of the tenth movie, the one where Pikachu's trapped in weird CG melting floor? Well, originally the idea was to make Satoshi see the thing that scares him the most and, at the time, the staff thought that would be Satoshi waking up in a world without pokemon (ダークライのと きに、悪夢を見るじゃないですか？あのときのサトシにとって一番悪夢という何だろうと考えたときにきっとポケモンのない世界に行ってしまう ことだろうと思って、考えたんですけど). This nightmare idea was never used in the tenth movie for a number of reasons (it was thought to be a bit too much for that particular film) (ちょっとダークライのときの重す ぎて使えなかったですかね) so they sat on it for nearly a decade before brushing it off for I Choose You! (中川 「何年も温存させてって」 湯山 「そうですね」).
Satoshi's teacher in the dream is indeed Kikuko of the Kanto Four Heavenly Kings. "He actually admitted it! It's Kikuko!" (これは名言しました！キクコだそりゃ！) Nakagawa responds, poking fun at how coy Mr. Yuyama was being before.
The Rentorar death scene was added to show yet another way Trainers can be separated from their pokemon.
The scene of the Okorizaru tossing the Rocket trio up into the air was originally longer, with the pokemon tossing them up a few more times than what we see in the finished film. It ended up having to get trimmed down because of time restraints.
Kouichi Yamadera's breathy performance as Marshadow was dictated not by Mr. Yuyama but by sound editor Masafumi Mima instead. Mr. Yamadera actually mentioned this in the Movie 20 pamphlet that went on sale when this film came out:
Assistant Director Tetsuo Yajima (矢 嶋哲生) was in charge of the battle between Satoshi's Lizardo and Cross' Gaogaen at the end of the movie.
Though Mr. Yuyama never answers this, at several points during the film Shoko Nakagawa wonders how Satoshi just magically knows what new attacks his pokemon can use the second they evolve (i.e. Butterfree's Sleep Powder, Lizardon's Seismic Toss). She concludes that Satoshi must really study a lot.
The Rocket trio's famous ya na kanji~! sign off was originally an ad-lib back in the day. Mr. Yuyama believes it may have been Musashi's voice actress Megumi Hayashibara who came up with it but he's not 100% sure.
Speaking of Ms. Hayashibara, she voices Joy's Lucky as well.
The colors of the sequence at the end of the film where Satoshi snaps out of it were chosen to represent the first generation games - Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue.
The commentators admit that the order should have probably been Red → Green → Blue → Yellow instead since that's the order those games came out but oh well.
The last scene of the movie that was written was the Pikachu vs. Hou'ou battle. This is because of time restraints and other issues.
The TV broadcast of the film cut out the ending theme and so we unfortunately don't get to hear Mr. Yuyama talk about the cameos of all the past companions.
And that's it! I really hope they decide to do this sort of thing again for future films because we get a lot of stuff out of these. If they ever do this for Everyone's Story or any other film I'll be sure to cover that as well.
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