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The Movie "Koko"
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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Koko
The first episode of Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - "The Movie Secrets We Want to Tell You" (劇場版ポ ケットモンスター ココ －サポーターズPodcastーいま、君に伝えたい映画のヒミツ) was released on Friday, October 9th, 2020.
You can listen to the podcast here, though do be aware that the episode is completely in Japanese.
Special Guest: The film's director, Mr. Tetsuo Yajima (矢嶋哲生)
Special Guest: The voice of Karen, Ms. Shoko Nakagawa (中川翔子)
The podcast starts off with its host, Mr. Hisanori Yoshida, explaining what in the world the (deep breath) Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - "The Movie Secrets We Want to Tell You" is all about. He explains that it's a podcast whose main purpose is to share behind-the-scenes stories about Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko," saying that we haven't really been getting a lot of information about the production side of these movies up until now. The "supporters" part of the podcast's title, he explains, is being used to describe anyone who is involved in this movie in some way or another.
Mr Yoshida then goes on to introduce himself, saying "I bet there are a lot of people wondering who the hell I am." He explains that he's an announcer for the Nippon Broadcasting System radio station and that he's kind of well-known for being a really big anime fan. He's gotten the chance to emcee at various anime events over the years and has even been able to interview a bunch of anime directors and voice actors over the years. He's 44 years old but he says his love for anime and manga and video games has kept his mind the same as it was when he was only 14 years old. He thinks he got started with Pocket Monsters back in 1996 when he and his then-girlfriend would play the games together on their college campus. He played Green, he thinks.
Mr. Yoshida then introduces today's guests, Mr. Tetsuo Yajima and Ms. Shoko Nakagawa! Mr. Yoshida says this is the first time he's ever met the director and asks if maybe he was the model for Kabigon, the Sleeping Pokémon? Mr. Yajima laughs this off and says that no, that's not the case, though Ms. Nakagawa adds that the clothes the director is wearing right now just happen to be the same color as the large Pokémon. She then comments that Mr. Yajima played the Pocket Monsters video games back when Kabigon was first introduced, allowing the director to segue into a story about how he was ten-years-old when Pocket Monsters Red & Green came out and that he was going to go and buy them himself but he came down with a cold and so his mom went to the store and bought him a copy instead. Ms. Nakagawa says it's amazing that someone who only was ten-years-old when Red & Green came out could already be working as a director.
Note: Mr. Yajima was 28 years old when he took over as the director for XY
Ms. Nakagawa then goes on to tell her Pokémon origin story, saying that she had a lot of trouble deciding which one to get, Red or Green, but that she eventually settled on Green. She also repeats a story from her book Shoko Nakagawa "Pokemon Taught Me the Meaning of Life" where she states that she didn't have any friends or other siblings to play with and so she wasn't able to evolve any of the trade-exclusive Pokémon in the game like Yungeller.
She then tells a story about how she was brought in to work on a podcast for Pokémon about fifteen years ago and got the chance to meet Rica Matsumoto in person for the very first time. She got to hear Rica Matsumoto's Satoshi voice with her own ears and everything! She says she still feels the same excitement now that she did a decade and a half ago.
Note: Ms. Nakagawa is probably talking about Pikachu the Podcast (ピカチュウ・ザ・ポッドキャスト), a podcast released in 2006 to promote the ninth Pokémon movie Pokémon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea, Manaphy.
Mr. Yoshida then changes the subject to the fact that they're all here today to do an official podcast for Pocket Monsters. When they first started planning all this, he says, it wasn't going to be an official podcast at all but was instead just going to be a bunch of adults sitting around talking about Pokémon. But at some point it was decided to turn that idea into an official product. He also they want to get the people who work on Pocket Monsters come on the show to talk about what it's like to make it.
So, let's get started, shall we? Mr. Yajima is only 35 years old but has already directed a bunch of animation and that in and of itself is kind of amazing. The podcast host asks Mr. Yajima how he got involved in working on Pocket Monsters in the first place and he responds that he began as an animation director on Pocket Monsters Best Wishes! back when he would have been 24 or 25 years old. Mr. Yoshida figures that the ten-year-old whose mom bought him a copy of Green must have been so excited to go on to work for something as big as Pocket Monsters. Mr. Yajima confirms that yes, of course he was thrilled! He had been watching Pocket Monsters all this time, after all! The director is then asked what his favorite Pokémon is, and Mr. Yajima supposes it must be Nidoking since he's always using it when he plays the video games. It's strong, it has this cool dinosaur / monster look about it, and he can use it to spam Hyper Beam over and over. Ms. Nakagawa tells the others that she likes to use Onidrill in the games a lot; even when she got the legendary Kanto birds she would tend to put Fire in her PC and use Onidrill instead. She also loves the "dululululululu" noise it makes in the Game Boy games.
Mr. Yoshida goes on a little sidebar to talk about the TV series and how the stories it tells are different from the video games on which it's based. The TV series is free to do its own thing! But, there are times when it's surprisingly faithful; Mr. Yoshida recalls that episode where Pikachu refused to evolve and how the show recreated the game mechanic of how if you rush and try to get Raichu as early as possible then you do so at the expense of being able to learn Quick Attack at a lower level. He thought that this animated series, which is always doing its own thing, could also have its moments where it's incredibly faithful to even the smallest details from the games.
Mr. Yajima responds to Mr. Yoshida's gushing by talking about how, when he was in charge during the Pocket Monsters XY days, he'd look through Pokémon Bestiary entries and players' guides and the like to get ideas to use in future episodes. What are the different ways a Numelgon can recover from status conditions like poison, for example? Maybe we can work that in somehow? Ms. Nakagawa takes this moment to praise XY for being such a wonderful series and how she especially liked Serena.
Mr. Yoshida then asks Mr. Yajima if there's anything he's really careful about or makes sure to always include whenever he's working on Pocket Monsters. He responds by saying that the children in the show "cannot ever tell lies" and must always act with sincerity. He says this is because he wants kids to watch Pokémon and come away from it feeling like "Alright, I'll gonna do my best now!" before they then go off to school or whatever.
Ms. Nakagawa piggybacks off this by talking about the made-up word Pokédachi, a word that's a combination of Pokémon and tomodachi ("friend"). It's a great word, she says, because it doesn't matter where you're from or how old you are because Pokédachi are all connected by this wonderful thing called Pokémon. It even surpasses language barriers! She then talks about how she's filming the weekly variety show Pokénchi remotely now but back when they used to travel around for the show they'd be like ah, we're all Pokédachi so even though we're in a new place we have nothing to worry about.
It's now time to talk about the main event; Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko." Mr. Yoshida comments on how short the title of the movie is this time around, with Ms. Nakagawa chiming in to say that she's used to the movie titles being filled with a bunch of Pokémon names, like Dialga vs. Palkia vs. Darkrai, or titles with unique kanji characters in them, like Revelation Lugia. But starting from "I Choose You!" and "Everyone's Story" the titles have been getting more and more simple, right? So why just "Koko"? Mr. Yajima says they thought up of a bunch of other titles for this movie, similar to the older movie titles, but they ended up settling on "Koko" because they thought having such a short and succinct title would actually make the movie stand out more.
Next, they talk about the theme to this year's movie, "Parents and Children." Around the time after he finished up Everyone's Story, Mr. Yajima says, he started to think about what kind of story he'd like to do for his next film. He has two children of his own - a six-year-old son and one two-year-old daughter - and so he thought maybe he'd like to do something with a parent and child theme to it? The movie production side liked this idea and decided to let him go for it. Ms. Nakagawa says that people his age - that is, those who were little kids right when Pocket Monsters was getting started - are starting to have kids of their own now and so this movie is coming at a perfect time in the lives of both these parents and their children.
But there are lots of different ways to do a "parent and child" story, right? How did they decide on the unique combination of a human child / Pokémon father? Mr. Yajima says he thought it'd be a unique setup and would provide them with a lot of different topics to tackle. What are the differences between humans and Pokémon? What does it mean to be a human, exactly? Ms. Nakagawa comments that this seems this'll be a story with a lot of meaning behind it and is going to make the audience think. Mr. Yajima replies by saying he wanted to tell a story that would resonate with all sorts of people.
Next, Mr. Yoshida asks if there are any specific scenes or characters that he couldn't wait to tackle in this film. He says that once he settled on the overall theme of the story he started to fill in the details with experiences from his own life as a parent. The starting and end points of the plot were decided fairly early on and so he spent most of his story development time figuring out which path(s) the film would take to get from Point A to Point B.
Ms. Nakagawa then starts to reflect on the "parent and child" memories from her own life. Her grandfather taking her to see Mewtwo Strikes Back, her mother buying her Pocket Monsters Green, and so on. She talks about how Pokémon is connected to all these wonderful memories in so many peoples' lives and wonders if the kids who go to see this movie now might go on to work on the show themselves fifteen years from now. Mr. Yajima also wants to see what kinds of movies today's kids will make once they get older. She thinks this year's film will be even more memorable since it's being released in the winter, not in the middle of summer like every other film has been.
Mr. Yoshida then talks about how a lot of the adults who go see this movie with their kids are fans from when they themselves were kids, of course, and though it's important to make Pokémon films for the diehard fans it's also important to remember that there are going to be a lot of grandparents coming along who may not necessarily know anything about Pokémon. So how does Mr. Yajima account for this wide range of viewers? The director says that when he made Everyone's Story he worked to make a film for all ages, not just kids, and so he's taking that same approach with this film as well. He thinks different people will take away different things from this movie but that everyone will be able to get something out of it.
Next up is a brief sidebar about Mr. Yajima's other Pocket Monsters film, Everyone's Story. Ms. Nakagawa says there were a lot of characters in that movie and that it takes the time to delve into each and every one of them and so there was a lot in there for the adult fans to latch onto. But she does have one burning questions for the director: why did Mr. Yajima decide to put Usokkie in the movie as much as he did? He answers that, more than its ability to battle, and more than its cool design, he just thought it was a cute Pokémon and wanted to have it on-screen a lot. And that's all there is to it! The thought process for choosing the Pokémon that follow Hisui around was the same. Natio, for example...well, it's just kind of staring off into space the whole movie and so we can't really tell what it's thinking. Isn't that kind of charming, in its own way? He wanted to feature a bunch of Pokémon who become more interesting the more you think about them.
Ms. Nakagawa then reflects on how Pokémon are these strange and wonderful creatures who can express what they're feeling without any issues. The noise Usokkie makes is "uso uso!" (which, in Japanese, translates to "you're lying!" or "you can't be serious!") and so Ms. Nakagawa feels that this enables the Pokémon to be really, really expressive. When it comes to the animals in the real world, Mr. Yajima tells Ms. Nakagawa about how he has a pet cat who will curl up into his arms and fall asleep, which in turn makes him feel relaxed. Mr. Yajima is amazed at how a small creature like his cat can give him so much life and so much energy and thinks a lot of people can draw parallels between their pets and the Pokémon in his films. Ms. Nakagawa concurs, saying that whenever she gets home after watching a Pokémon movie she feels like she wants to run up to her pets and hug them tight. The podcast host says this kind of experience is universal.
Next, Mr. Yoshida asks what Mr. Yajima wants to tell his own children with this movie. Of course there are parts of the film that are made specifically with the director's kids in mind but it isn't like this movie's just for them. No, instead it's a movie that poses the question "just what does it mean to be a "parent and child" anyway?" During the making of the Pocket Monsters XY TV series (which, if you do the math, would have been around the time his son was born) Mr. Yajima was always very busy and so he never took the time to think about that very important question. But now that he's gathered his thoughts about this he wants to use this movie to show his kids the answer he came up with. This isn't a movie that tries to lecture parents on what they need to do to be a mommy or a daddy, it's a movie letting everyone know that we all have our own paths to take. He hopes Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" and the questions it raises will allow the families who see it to start a dialogue that they otherwise wouldn't have had.
Ms. Nakagawa feels that everyone, no matter where they're from, can find something within Pokémon that they relate to. She talks about this one time she went to Switzerland and asked a bunch of fans who their favorite Pokémon was and how she expected them to say the names of a bunch of legendaries but that instead they were like "we like (normal, ordinary Pokémon like) Tesseed." Everyone has their own idea of what a cool Pokémon is and, similarly, everyone has their own idea of what it means to be a parent and child.
It's time to wrap things up so Mr. Yoshida says that they'll continue their conversation in Part Two of this podcast. Do you have anything you want to plug? Mr. Yajima says that this movie is about a unique relationship between a parent and child and to make sure to go see it when it comes out on December 25th. Pre-order tickets are on sale now! Ms. Nakagawa adds that with that pre-order ticket you can get your very own Zarude and pink Celebi for your Pocket Monsters Sword & Shield games and that this is the first time you can get two Mythical Pokémon with a single ticket so it really is a great deal. The podcast host thanks everyone for listening and asks us to join them again next week for Episode 02.
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