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The fourth 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 30th, 2020.
You can listen to the podcast here, though do be aware that the episode is completely in Japanese.
Host: Mr. Hisanori Yoshida (吉田尚記)
Special Guest: The film's publicity producer, Mr. Michihiro Morita (森田道広)
Special Guest: Director of the film's trailers, Mr. Taichi Terahara (寺原泰地)
The podcast starts with Mr. Yoshida accepting the orange Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" promotional T-shirt given to him in the previous episode by Mr. Morita. Apparently this T-shirt he's being given is the last one they made! Mr. Yoshida thanks Mr. Morita but then repeats the point he made in the last episode about how it'll be too cold to wear a T-shirt like this when the movie actually comes out in late December. He also states, rather frankly, that it just looks like a T-shirt you'd only ever wear to a promotional event, y'know? Like, if you were wearing this on the street then people would be like oh, that guy must be on his way to some kind of big event or something.
Welcome to the Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" Supporters' Podcast - "The Movie Secrets We Want to Tell You"! The podcast's host, Mr. Hisanori Yoshida (吉田尚記), reminds listeners that this is a podcast aimed at the adult fans who maybe want to learn a little bit more about the making of the Pocket Monsters movies and that the word "supporters" in the podcast's title refers to anyone who's a fan of the Pokémon movies. Are you listening to this podcast? Then that makes you a supporter. Today they'll be talking all about the Pokémon movie trailers so they've brought in the publicity producer for the film, Mr. Michihiro Morita (森田道広) from Toho, as well the director of the film's trailers, Mr. Taichi Terahara (寺原泰地) from Gal Enterprises.
Mr. Yoshida starts things off by commenting on how young Mr. Terahara looks. The guest reveals that he just turned 32 this year, prompting Mr. Yoshida to comment that he looks even younger than that. Maybe otaku like him just tend to look young? Mr. Yoshida asks if Mr. Terahara's name appears in the credits of the movies he works on, and he confirms that it does. For Pocket Monsters films, he's usually credited as a "Promotion Director," though the job title is apparently different from franchise to franchise.
The conversation then turns to Mr. Terahara's experience. The 32-year-old's been working as a director of movie trailers for about five years three months and says he's personally put together about 68 trailers during that time, though he also adds that he's helped work on others as well. Mr. Morita adds that he's worked on so many trailers that regular movie audiences have probably seen a Terahara trailer at some point in their lives. The first trailer he ever worked on, Mr. Terahara reveals, was that long 90-second trailer for Hideaki Anno's Shin Godzilla! The podcast host is amazed; you got to work on a movie that huge, right off the bat!? Mr. Terahara proposed the idea for the trailer, Mr. Morita recalls, and his proposal was accepted by Mr. Anno himself.
But what about Pokémon trailers? Well, it seems that Mr. Terahara still gets nervous whenever he makes a proposal for a new Pokémon trailer, even now. He then tells the others that he didn't have any video games in his house growing up and so his exposure to Pokémon was basically just through the animated series. He's been watching it since the very first episode, went to see the first movie Mewtwo Strikes Back! on opening day, and so on. He didn't have a Game Boy himself but he did eventually get his hands on a Pocket Pikachu, he reveals. Mr. Yoshida asks Mr. Terahara if he ever thought he'd grow up to work in the movies and he said that while he did like movies growing up he never thought he'd actually be working with them. Movies were just something he enjoyed watching, you know? Pokémon's been with him this whole time, though, and he says its existence is as natural to him as the air he breathes.
Mr. Yoshida asks Mr. Morita if he saw that trailer for Shin Godzilla and thought "I've just gotta get that guy to come work on Pokémon!" but he says that no, that's not what happened. What actually happened is that Mr. Terahara was the assistant to Mr. Hideyuki Oe, the guy who had been doing the Pokémon trailers for those first 20 years or so, and Mr. Morita came into the office one day and saw this young assistant off in the back who seemed to know a lot about Pokémon. Some time later, Mr. Morita saw that 90-second Shin Godzilla trailer, asked who put it together, and recognized the name as the assistant he saw working with Mr. Oe. And so Mr. Terahara became the person in charge of the trailers for the Pocket Monsters movies from that point onwards.
Mr. Terahara was invited to join the staff meetings for Pocket Monsters The Movie "I Choose You!" - this was about a year after he joined the company, he recalls - and he basically ended up just gushing about how great that first episode of the Pocket Monsters TV series that the movie was based on. Eventually, the producer was like "oh, so it seems like you already have an idea of how we should market this huh?" and then just like that Mr. Terahara got put in charge of the trailers. Mr. Morita adds that he has a lot of ideas, sure, but having a younger person like Mr. Terahara around to offer fresh insight is really, really helpful. Having a Pokémon maniac like Mr. Terahara on the job must be really great, Mr. Yoshida concludes.
Next, Mr. Terahara explains the various different types of trailers they put out. The usual release schedule is short "teasers" (特報) first, then the longer trailers (予告編) as the months go on, and then finally the TV ads (テレビCM) that air toward the end of a movie's promotional cycle. At that first I Choose You! meeting there were talks about having the first teaser be Satoshi and Pikachu looking back on the last 20 years - like a sort of digest video, I guess - but eventually the group decided that it'd be better to use that first teaser to show a fresh start. Mr. Terahara's idea for the teaser was to have it end with Satoshi opening the front door of his house, ready to embark on his adventure. Mr. Yoshida asks if Mr. Morita is the one who gets to approve teaser ideas like that, and he confirms that he is. Mr. Morita adds that he had really trouble with how to advertise that film as there's a bit of a generational gap between people his age (he's 40 years old) and the fans they're trying to reach with these movies. But anyway, they put together a rough version of the teaser, showed it to a bunch of young fans, and got really positive feedback and so they rethought their advertising approach to be more in line with that teaser.
Mr. Yoshida asks more about the differences between the three types of advertisements he mentioned earlier; teasers, trailers, and TV ads. Are teasers and trailers really all that different from each other? Mr. Terahara says that they are. Their releases in relation to the films' promotional cycle are different, first of all, with the teasers tending to be really short (30 seconds) and used at the very beginning of a promotional cycle. Teasers also tend to only offer very preliminary details, like the film's title and release date. The trailers, on the other hand, gives us a better look at the new characters - in this movie's case, Koko - and a rough idea of what the story's going to be. The second trailer adds to that, with the father/son love between Zarude and Koko taking center stage. More and more information is added each step of the way and so to him, Mr. Terahara says, the teasers and trailers serve very different purposes. Mr. Terahara reveals that he also puts together the TV ads, which are also crucial parts of the promotional process since each commercial ends up being seen by thousands and thousands of people.
Mr. Yoshida comments that you would think a film's director would be the one in charge of the various trailers and teasers and whatnot, but we're now in an era where that work is outsourced to people like Mr. Terahara. It used to be that the film's staff would be the ones to put together the trailers, he explains, but movie staffs' ideas of what's appealing about their movie and fans' ideas of what's appealing about that movie don't always match up. You need an outsider to look at the film from a fresh perspective and form his or her own opinions about what's great about it, you see. The company that Mr. Terahara works for, Gal Enterprises, was founded about 40 years ago and so that means they've been working on films since the 1970s. Movie studios feel comfortable using them, in other words.
When you're making a trailer, where do you start? asks the podcast host. Well, with Pokémon movies, they always start with the teasers, but when those teasers come out - about six months before the film's released - there really isn't much in the way of usable footage for them to work with. In fact, when the Pokémon teasers come out in December the production of the actual film itself has really only just started! So what do they do? Well, the promotional team looks through the film's script and list of characters, since that's all that's really available to them at the time, and learn as much about the movie as they can. In the case of this year's movie, they find out that there's a boy named Koko who's going to be the key to this story, and he was raised by this Pokémon named Zarude, and here's what they look like. And so Mr. Terahara has meetings with the movie staff to decide what elements to put in the teasers and what to save for the trailers. For live action films it's easy because they usually do have completed footage to work with when they start working on the trailers but for Pokémon they usually have to end up getting the animation staff to work with them to provide whatever footage they want to use for the teasers / trailers.
Mr. Terahara is one of the first people in the world to read the completed script for a Pokémon movie even though he's sorta-kinda an outsider when it comes to being on the movie staff. Mr. Yoshida comments that Mr. Terahara's job must require an incredible amount of imagination since his job is to basically come up with trailer ideas based solely on the words written on a script page and little else. Mr. Terahara adds that the film's storyboards aren't even finished when he's working on a teaser so yes, he really does only have the script to work with. For that reason, he'll have meetings with the movie staff to make sure he's not misinterpreting anything.
And then sometimes, they'll even get the movie staff to draw them new, original footage just for the promotion! Otherwise, Mr. Terahara says, they just won't have the footage they need to properly advertise the film. Mr. Morita says it's great if there's completed footage that'll be in the film that they can just use in the trailers as-is but sometimes they'll want to use a line of dialogue a certain way that requires the animation staff to create new, original footage just for the promotion. All this is done while being careful not to draw anything that goes against anything in the actual film itself. Mr. Morita adds that these Pokémon films are the only ones he works on where they can actually order special footage be made just for the trailers. Mr. Yoshida asks if this special treatment is because Pokémon is very accommodating or if it's because Mr. Terahara is too gung-ho about his job, and Mr. Morita responds that maybe it's a mixture of both.
Mr. Yoshida says he saw a Pocket Monsters The Movie "Koko" trailer in theaters earlier today. He didn't expect to see it and so by the time he realized he was watching a Koko trailer he was like what's this...oh yeah, I have a podcast recording about this later today. He thinks that one line from that movie's theme song Fushigi na Fushigi na Ikimono - "I will always be...your dada" - was used really well in the trailer and wondered if that's something the promotional staff was excited to use. They confirm that it was. Mr. Yoshida continues to fanboy about the use of the lyrics in the trailer, saying the way the screen goes black and then all we hear is "your dada~~~~!" was done really, really well. Mr. Morita and Mr. Terahara thank him for his kind words. Mr. Yoshida then asks if them using the theme songs in the trailers like that is something that's decided from the very early planning stages. Mr. Terahara said they got to listen to Mr. Okazaki Physical Education's song when they were making that trailer and thought that whatever narration they'd come up with couldn't express the message of the film better than that song's lyrics and so they designed the trailer around the song. The basic idea was to make it so that the lyrics are the highlight and not just something audiences could ignore. They also think about which lines of dialogue from the script they can use - for example, Koko's "Dada...am I a hewmann?" - to act as the line that'll segue into the aforementioned theme song.
Sometimes Mr. Terahara's first drafts of the trailers are accepted as-is, but other times he'll get feedback to try to make things better. Mr. Terahara doesn't hate getting constructive criticism, he adds.
The topic then turns to the fact that the film's been delayed, giving the promotional staff a longer-than-usual amount of time to promote this movie. Mr. Morita says that normally, when the movie comes out in the summer, Mr. Terahara puts out a teaser at the end of the year, and then in March or April - sometime around spring break - they put out the 90-second Trailer #1 and Trailer #2. And then in July or so, right around the time the movie comes out, they start putting out the ads on TV. This time, however, Trailer #2 - the one they just talked about with the theme song in it - didn't come out until August. And, well, they still have a bit of time between now and when the movie comes out and so they've been having meetings about possibly doing something they've never done before and releasing a third trailer. Mr. Yoshida asks Mr. Terahara how he feels about this and wonders if maybe he feels like he put everything into those first two trailers and therefore doesn't have anything left for a third. Mr. Terahara replies by saying this movie really is jam packed with all sorts of great things and so he doesn't think they'll have any problems finding new things to share with everyone.
Mr. Yoshida states that he thinks the world of advertising can sometimes be a lot tougher than the world of movie production. There are some people who will go watch a movie based solely on who's directing it - oh, if ____'s directing it then it's a must-see - but literally nobody goes to see a movie because of who directed the film's trailers. So it really is up to the teasers and trailers and TV ads to speak for themselves. Mr. Morita agrees but adds that Mr. Terahara is such an invaluable member of the Pokémon movie team that he couldn't imagine them doing their work without him.
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 October. Today they only have time to read one question from a listener named mitty:
Question: "What kinds of fun things and/or challenges do you face while advertising these movies with Pokémon being a multi-media franchise and all? Also, how did the movie's release being delayed affect the advertising, and what kinds of new things did you find out about it because of it? Finally, please tell us what both of your favorite Pokémon are!!!"
Answer: Mr. Morita says that, of course, Pokémon isn't just a video game franchise but that there's also an animated series, trading card game, etc. and so in order for them to properly advertise the Pokémon movies they need to study everything. Mr. Morita, personally, studies the TV show and the video games while he's working on the movies, and while it can be tough for him to find the time to do all this extra homework he believes it's important to do it to be able to do his job. Mr. Yoshida asks if he ever checks out the trading card game. Mr. Morita's bought starter sets and read Wikipedia articles on the game but he doesn't really know many other adults who play the game so it's not like he's out there competing in matches or anything like that. He does, however, watch card game matches on YouTube. Mr. Yoshida wonders if the Pokémon movies are the only films they work on where they feel like they have to play a card game in order to understand it better, and both Mr. Morita and Mr. Terahara confirm that it is.
The same question about Pokémon multimedia is posed to Mr. Terahara. He says that when they start working on the first teasers, and posters, etc. he starts thinking about the different moving parts of the Pokémon franchise. This isn't something he's made to do during meetings or anything like this; he takes the initiative to think about this himself. He doesn't know how fans will accept his trailers until he releases them, of course, but he does spend a lot of time on the Internet thinking about what they should show, or what kinds of events they can have, and how the fans will react to all of that. Mr. Yoshida asks if Mr. Terahara ever goes to these events himself, and he says that he does. For example, he went to see Rica Matsumoto when she performed on the stage at the Sunshine City shopping center in Ikebukuro. He attended as a regular person, though, not as someone who works for Pokémon. Mr. Yoshida is touched by the fact that the director of the Pokémon movie trailers is that much of a fan of the franchise.
The second question in the tweet was covered in the previous episode so Mr. Yoshida says they can skip it.
So what about the "what's your favorite Pokémon?" part of the question? Mr. Morita says he has a doggie he loves very much so he likes Pokémon that remind him of his dog, like Eevee, for example. Lisa had an Eevee in the movie Everyone's Story and so maybe, subconsciously, that's why they used so many scenes between the two in the movie's trailers? The podcast host says he understands and adds that we can't feel similar ways about human-like Pokémon like Wanriky, probably. But, Mr. Morita adds, he finds Pokémon in every movie that he really, really likes. Mr. Terahara, on the other hand, is a fan of Lucario, like the Lucario that Souji had in the first Pokémon movie he worked on, I Choose You!. He's been a Lucario fan ever since then. Even now, he says, he has a shiny Lucario in Pokémon GO that he's set as his partner that he has walking around with him. Mr. Yoshida guesses that working on Pokémon movies makes you start to like the Pokémon that appear in them.
Well, it's time to wrap up the show! Mr. Yoshida tells listeners that they can ask their own questions using the hashtag #ココバナ on Twitter. The podcast hosts reminds everyone of the movie's December 25th release date and the special Pokémon you can get from your pre-order tickets before asking Mr. Terahara to leave us with a message:
Mr. Terahara: If there are people who watch the trailers and become interested in seeing the movies then I'll be relieved and will eagerly await you going to the theater. And if there are those of you listening who haven't seen the trailers then I hope this episode of the podcast will make you want to look them up. Either way, please look forward to the movie!
Mr. Yoshida thanks his guests before announcing his guests for the next episode of the podcast, to air November 13th: the top sound director in the world of Japanese animation, Mr. Masafumi Mima, and the man who's been making music for the Pokémon series for years, Mr. Shinji Miyazaki. Look forward to it!
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