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Dogasu's Backpack | Movies & Specials Guide | Koko
The second 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 16th, 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 episode starts with a little pre-show chatter - the podcast's host, Mr. Hisanori Yoshida, tells his guests that he thinks he looks like the Pokémon Usokkie (Shoko Nakagawa agrees with this) but that his staff thinks he looks more like the Pokémon Madatsubomi. Oh, it's time to start? OK, let's get to it!
Welcome to the Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - "The Movie Secrets We Want to Tell You"! The host gets the introductions out of the way and then heads straight into Part Two of his talk with the director of the new movie, Mr. Tetsuo Yajima, and the special guest voice actor who will be playing the role of a researcher named Karen, Ms. Shoko Nakagawa. Both Mr. Yoshida and Ms. Nakagawa spend a little time marveling at the father/child speech Mr. Yajima gave at the end of the previous episode, with Ms. Nakagawa stating that it was such a pure, wholesome answer.
Mr. Yoshida then starts to talk about the special guest actors these films manage to get each year. Ms. Nakagawa's one of these guests, of course. She tells the host that she was surprised to get the offer for this movie because...well, actually she's never not surprised, it turns out! She was surprised her first year, she was surprised her second year, she was surprised her third year, her fourth year, her tenth year, etc. And then! Last year she did the theme song to the movie (Kaze to Issho ni, together with Ms. Sachiko Kobayashi) instead of voicing any of its characters and so she thought hey, maybe they're done with me as a voice actor. But then they went and offered her the role in this year's film after all! This year's film will be Ms. Nakagawa's 13th Pocket Monsters movie.
Another special guest is Mr. Kou'ichi Yamadera, an actor who's been in every single Pocket Monsters movie to date! This time around Mr. Yamadera is playing a character named Dr. Zed. Mr. Yoshida mentions that since Mr. Yamadera's done such a wide range of characters in the past - heroes, villains, Pokémon, etc. - that it's still too early to tell what kind of character Dr. Zed will be based on his voice actor alone. We'll just have to watch the movie to find out.
Rounding out the special guest voice actors this year is Ms. Moka Kamishiraishi as Koko and Mr. Kankuro Nakamura as Zarude.
Mr. Yoshida turns to the director, Mr. Yajima, and asks him what he was looking for when he cast all these voice actors. For Koko, he wanted someone who could reflect the character's "purity" since he's supposed to be someone who's been untainted by the outside world. He doesn't know the human world, only the jungle in which he lives, and so it's important that his voice actor be able to portray this innocence. Mr. Yoshida mentions that Ms. Kamishiraishi grew up in Mexico and so Ms. Nakagawa figures she's just like Koko (which...um...I'm not sure how we should interpret that statement dot dot dot). Shoko Nakagawa then moves on talk about how the movie's title, Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko," makes it clear that everything in this movie is going to center around this little boy Koko. Mr. Yajima adds that putting Koko's name right after the word Pocket Monsters (in Japanese, the movie's title is Gekijouban Pocket Monsters Koko) tells the audience that hey, Koko is a Pokémon! Koko's name in this movie's title is in the same spot that a legendary or mythical Pokémon's name would go if this was any other Pokémon movie, after all.
The conversation then moves to one such Mythical Pokémon, Zarude. After Ms. Nakagawa goes on a bit about how cute its tiny little butt is (and also, about how cute it is when the legendary Pokémon Terrakion - who's not in this movie, by the way - uses Close Combat in the games because the camera's focuses on its little tail) the podcast host talks about Zarude's voice actor, Mr. Kankuro Nakamura. He's someone who exists right in the middle of the world of kabuki and has this father-like quality to him and so Mr. Yajima thought he'd be a good fit for the character of Zarude. Mr. Yoshida adds that in the world of kabuki, the sons tend to follow in the footsteps of their fathers, even going so far as to take their names, and so he can imagine Mr. Nakamura really understanding his character's strong father/son bonds.
Mr. Yoshida then mentions the fact that the voices for the film have not actually been recorded yet*. They usually record the voices around April for a summer release, Mr. Yajima confirms, and Ms. Nakagawa goes on to add that everything's had to be pushed back this time around. No one ever mentions why the movie was postponed; they just state that it's coming out later than they had originally planned. But that's not a bad thing, per se; the delay's given them a bit of extra time to fine tune things here and there. This wasn't the case with Pocket Monsters The Movie "Everyone's Story" back in 2018; with that movie they just barely finished it before its scheduled release date. Just thinking about that time makes Mr. Yajima feel stressed out.
*On October 19th, just three days after this episode came out, the film's sound director Mr. Masafumi Mima tweeted out that they started recording the film earlier that day.
They haven't recorded the movie yet but the actors have received their scripts and so Mr. Yoshida asks Ms. Nakagawa if she's read through hers yet. She confirms that she has but then quickly changes the subject by revealing how nervous she is to record this time around because it'll be the first time she'll be in the same recording booth as Mr. Kou'ichi Yamadera. She's played a bunch of different roles before - Pokémon, an android, little boys, - but each and every one of those times she was always alone in the studio, just her and the sound director Mr. Masafumi Mima. This time, however, she'll be joined in the booth by Mr. Yamadera himself! She's super nervous but, at the same time, she's really looking forward to it. Dr. Zed and Karen have this kind of superior / subordinate dynamic between them that kind of mirrors the relationship Shoko Nakagawa the Voice Actor has with Kou'ichi Yamadera the Voice Actor so she hopes they'll be able to play off each other well.
Mr. Yoshida decides to take this time to ask Mr. Yajima to tell them about the character of the research assistant Karen - or, at least, as much as he can tell them before the movie comes out. She's the right-hand woman to Dr. Zed, Mr. Yajima says...and that's all I can say! Ms. Nakagawa wonders if she can read a bit of the script on-air right now, but the director gets this nervous laugh that shows he doesn't really think that's a good idea. He says that Karen is mysterious and she...nope, can't say that either...sorry, that's all I'm allowed to say! Ms. Nakagawa asks the director what Karen's favorite food is; this never comes up in the movie, she reasons, so it should be alright for him to say this on the air? But the director never thought about that and so he doesn't have an answer. Alright then, what are Karen's hobbies? Well...he sees her as being the type of woman who lives for her job, so he supposes her hobby is "work." What's Karen's favorite Pokémon? She researches water - rivers, ponds, etc. - and so she probably likes Water-Types. OK, but which Water Pokémon? Ms. Nakagawa adds that this is basic information she needs before she can do a performance as Karen and Mr. Yoshida chimes in to agree. The director avoids this question and instead answers that Dr. Zed and Karen have come to the jungle because of an emergency job and reveals that the two of them have set up camp there. Karen lives for her work so this type of arrangement is actually right up her alley.
Mr. Yoshida decides to tell Mr. Yajima something that's just popped into his head about him: he sees Mr. Yajima as being one of those directors who thinks about the characters' lives outside the film, not just what's on the screen in front of him at any given moment. He thought this when watching Mr. Yajima's other Pocket Monsters film, Everyone's Story. Instead of zooming in on a scene to focus on a particular character or item in the background, he noticed, the director likes to instead pull the camera back to bring new elements into the foreground, like a Pokémon looking on everyone from afar. Doing this is a lot more work from an animation standpoint and so it's a pretty rare thing to see. Mr. Yoshida says that this shows that Mr. Yajima is always thinking about people and things that are just outside the borders of the movie screen, that there's this whole world that exists outside of what's going on right this second. Mr. Yajima adds that back when they were making Everyone's Story they had a lot of crowd scenes and so he had to figure out what every single character was doing, where they were headed, etc., all while taking care not to have any of the background characters pull too much focus.
Ms. Nakagawa then brings up the fact that Koko will have a lot of Pokémon who haven't appeared in the movies before and that a lot of them are from the Galar region. She wonders which one of them will get focus in the upcoming film. The movie's not just Galar Pokémon, though; there's going to be a wide variety of the titular creatures in this movie!
Mr. Yoshida brings up something else they should be able to talk about before opening day; the movie's theme songs! For this year's movie, the music producer Okazaki Physical Education is being brought in to provide songs for the movie for the first time in his career! The idea to use Mr. Physical Education was Mr. Yajima's. He figured that Okazaki's done songs for the TV series before and had also appeared on the Sunday morning variety program Pokénchi a bunch of times before so they already know he'd be a good fit for the movie. Ms. Nakagawa gushes about how the lyrics to the Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon songs Pose, Jaari Boy Jaari Girl, and Kokoro no Note are all so amazing and really capture the spirit of Pokémon. Mr. Yajima says that he told Mr. Physical Education about the film's whole parent / child theme at the very beginning and that they were working on the music even before they had the movie's story all figured out.
Ms. Nakagawa mentions that the songs Okazaki produces, like Pose and Fushigi na Fushigi na Ikimono, all have these really simple yet eye-catching titles. In regards to Fushigi na Fushigi na Ikimono (”Strange and Wonderful Creatures"), Mr. Yajima says, most people probably see the song title as being a phrase humans use to refer to Pokémon but he points out that it can also be used by the Pokémon to describe a human like Koko. It really is a fantastic song title, he adds.
Mr. Yoshida then segues into a segment of the podcast he calls "Here is What We Want to Know About Koko! Koko Question!" (コ コのココが知りたい「ココ・クエスチョン」). It's the part of the podcast where they read some of the questions that were asked on Twitter using the hashtag #ココバナ earlier in September!
This time around, two listener questions are answered:
Question 1: "This is a question for Mr. Yajima: It seems like this year's movie is going to really make us think about the differences between Pokémon and humans. What do you think is the big difference between Pokémon and humans?"
Answer: That's a tough question! Mr. Yajima talks about how Koko is a human who was raised by a Pokémon, so does that make him a human or Pokémon? This movie wrestles with that very question. Mr. Yoshida thinks there isn't actually that big of a difference between humans and Pokémon, and Mr. Yajima agrees with this. Ms. Nakagawa adds that it's important to think about this topic not in a cold, scientific way, adding that everybody has the potential to be a Pokémon.
Question 2: "I have one question. Which country did you go to for location scouting to base this movie on? I'm interested in the areas the Pokémon movies are based!"
Answer: The team went to Cairns, Australia to get ideas for this movie since it's said to have the world's best jungle. The director goes on a bit about the plant life in these jungles, about how ferns don't usually grow so tall but the ones in Cairns can grow as high as trees. He then talks about how the parasitic plants in the jungle will latch onto other plants and ride on them as they grow higher and higher. If you can't get sunlight then you dry up and die, you see, so everything's clawing their way upwards to get more sunlight. Some plants will even have their seeds carried to higher ground inside bird droppings so they can bud at higher altitudes! It's like the plants have all these little tricks and schemes to stay alive, and Mr. Yajima says all that made him really feel the power of nature while he was there. Ms. Nakagawa then tells a story about how she went to Kenya last year and said the animals - not the humans - took center stage. There were some humans - poachers - who would come into the area to capture animals, and there would be other humans who would step in to stop them. She says it was kind of like protecting Pokémon from the Rocket-Dan!
Mr. Yajima also explains that Koko's father is the chief of a group of Zarude and that there are a set of laws - such as "no outsiders allowed" - that the other Zarude must follow to protect the tribe. This is touched upon in the song Okite no Uta. The story of the movie starts from Koko being raised according to those rules until one day, something happens and those rules are broken...
Mr. Yoshida comments that this podcast has been set up to talk about the movie before it comes out but that he would really like to get Mr. Yajima back to come talk about the film after it's been released so that they can talk about the film more freely. He thinks it would also be a good chance to capture what the director's feeling at this very moment so they can look back on that years from now as a neat little time capsule.
It's now time to wrap up this episode! After Shoko Nakagawa talks about the film's release date, the pre-order tickets, how amazing Zarude's move "Jungle Healing" is, and how great it is that Pokémon Home keeps the "Date Met" information intact so that you can go through your boxes and reminisce about your old captures, the podcast host asks his guests to send us off with some parting words:
Tetsuo Yajima: We've put a lot into this movie so make sure to go see it in theaters!
Shoko Nakagawa: Things that used to be normal aren't normal anymore, no matter where you look, but Pokémon will always be by our side, unwavering, and will continue to bring us great things, precious things, happy feelings, and memories that will last a lifetime. Pokémon will come out during this special, unforgettable winter. It will be a memory that parents and children will be able to share together. Parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, and single people...everyone can enjoy this! I've got lots of Pokédachi ("Pokémon Friends") who I go to the theater with every year to see these movies. So I'm really looking forward to it and hope you can all go to the theater to see this movie!
Thank you for listening! Until next time!
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