December 2015

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Dogasu's Backpack | Old Updates Archive | December 2015

Checking in on my predictions for 2015
December 31st, 2015

Dogasu @ 18:15 JST -- During my site's anniversary each year I like to make predictions for what I think the franchise has in store for us the next year. Since today is the last day of 2015 I wanted to take a look at those predictions and see how I did:

Like it or not Pocket Monsters is a yearly series now so I would be very surprised if we didn't get a new game in 2015 especially with Yokai Watch being the hottest thing right now.  One idea I've seen online and like and am therefore going to steal is that this year we'll get Pocket Monsters Z but that they'll split it up into two games like Black 2 and White 2 to help boost sales.  So that'll give us Pocket Monsters XZ and Pocket Monsters YZ, with the "Z" acting as both the number 2 and as a sign that Zygarde will be the games' mascots.

It certainly seemed that way, didn't it? Three games in three years sure does feel like the start of a new pattern, right? But I guess Game Freak felt it was OK to take a year off since Yokai Watch 3 isn't scheduled to come out until 2016? 

I hope whatever Game Freak has in store for 2016 is going to be worth the wait.

I think (hope) Pokkén Tournament will see a console release before the end of the year.  Also, Mewtwo's totally going to be in the game, how can it not?

No console release at the end of this year but we are getting one in March 2016. A new version of Mewtwo called "Dark Mewtwo" (whose name is getting changed to "Shadow Mewtwo" in the English version because reasons) showed up in the arcade version last month and is apparently going to be a playable character in the Wii U version.

Speaking of Mewtwo, I'm sure we'll get a Mewtwo Amiibo since all the other pokemon playable characters in Smash got one.  While on the subject I think the Mewtwo that appears in Smash will have a female voice (not Takashima Reiko but a sound-alike) and that fans will be pissed because no one will know until they've already downloaded it.

We did indeed get a Mewtwo amiibo in 2015!

Mewtwo amiibo

On the other hand, Mewtwo did not get a female voice in Smash; he was voiced by Fujiwara Keiji instead.

As far as the TV series goes we can guess from Getter Ban Ban that Satoshi will at least be getting badges 4-7 this year.  I'm pretty sure we've never had five Gym Badges in a single year so I don't think the Satoshi vs. Urup battle will take place in 2015.

Satoshi got badge number seven back in October and all signs are pointing to Satoshi vs. Urup taking place in 2016.

I think this will be the year that Alan from the Mega Evolution specials and Satoshi finally meet.

They "met" in that they passed each other on the road but a more formal meeting won't be taking place until 2016.

Satoshi vs. Alan

Can't wait!

While on the subject, I don't think Satoshi will be getting a Mega Evolution at all.  So many people just expect him to get one and excitedly speculate which one of his pokemon will be the first to Mega Evolve but I just don't see it happening.  The way the show's presented Mega Evolutions has been as something that's cool and awesome but they've also been presented as something for other Trainers to have.  Mega Evolutions are for Gym Leaders and members of the Four Heavenly Emperors and elderly veterans, not ten-year old kids with a team of cute pokemon and goals of beating the Pokemon League.  Satoshi's looked on in awe at how great they are because that's his job but he's never once expressed a desire to have a Mega Evolved pokemon for himself.  He doesn't have a Mega accessory and hasn't taken any steps to obtain one for himself.  So my prediction for 2015 (and beyond) is that Satoshi will continue to not have any Mega Evolved pokemon.

Ding ding ding! This turned out to be 100% true!

It's kind of interesting to see how many more people are onboard with me on this topic now compared to just a year ago. In 2014 the very idea of Satoshi not getting a Mega Evolution was seen as ridiculous and impossible - I mean, there's no way they're not going to give one to him, right? - but, as time went on and the prospects started to look not as good more and more people joined me on Team NoMega (I JUST INVENTED THAT, © AND ™ DOGASU, DO NOT STEAL) and as we head into 2016 very few people still see the idea as a feasible one.

Satoshi's got Satoshi-Gekkouga which a lot of people see as the closest Satoshi will ever get to having his own Mega Evolved pokemon so that's something I guess.

I imagine The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa will be a pretty good movie (then again I don't really consider any of the Pocket Monsters movies to be flat-out "bad") but despite that I think its ticket sales won't look as "good" as the ticket sales for last year's movie did.

Boy that was an understatement! The movie ended up being the worst performing film in the franchise's history and the DVD / Blu-ray sales were pretty shit too.

The movie itself was pretty alright, though.

CD-wise:  The February 18th release of Nakagawa Shouko's DreaDrea is the only thing we know for sure.  Getter Ban-Ban will get a release as will the theme song to this year's movie (let's say...four releases?) and a soundtrack to the XZ YZ games.  I think we'll get a least two more ending themes to the TV series before the end of the year (one for the summer that will double up as the ending theme to the Pikachu short and then another one around September - October), a remix of Getter Ban-Ban (Sako Tomohisa sorta-kinda hinted as much on Twitter), again for the summer, and then a brand new opening theme for the last part of the year.  We always get a wild card release each year so I think the random CD that'll come out in 2015 will be a Nakagawa Shouko Pokemon song collection.

Both DreaDrea and Getta Ban-Ban got three releases each while Tweedia, the theme song to The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa, got two releases. Since there were no new main series games this year we didn't get any soundtracks (and, on a side note, why don't we ever get soundtracks for the side games like Mystery Dungeon?) and Getta Ban-Ban never got a remix either. We got exactly two new ending themes this year: Gao Gao Monsters, which was indeed used as the ending theme to Pikachu and the Pokemon Band, and Puni-chan no Uta, which will get a CD release in like two weeks. 

DreaDrea Getta Ban-Ban Tweedia

There weren't any real wild card releases this year and in fact the second half of the year was pretty much dead music-wise so I was wrong on that as well.

Manga-wise:  Pocket Monsters Special will wrap up both the B2W2 and the ORAS story arcs this year.  I also see a new manga appearing around the time the third games come that promote Zygarde and whatever new Mega Evolutions those games give us.  It'll run for a few issues in CoroCoro Comics before being collected into a single graphic novel volume.

Somehow, nope! The B2W2 Chapter of Pocket Monsters Special still only has that one volume released and ORAS is still going on!  As far as non-Special manga goes there was a one-chapter Mystery Dungeon chapter that ran in CoroCoro a few months ago but other than that we've just been getting more of the same (Anakubo Kousaku's Pocket Monsters, that trading card manga, etc.)

(I've also fallen suuuuuuuuuuuper behind on my site's manga coverage and hope to at least make a dent in that before going back to work next week)

Not too terrible, huh? As always I'll be making new predictions for 2016 when I do my site's anniversary write-up on January 31st.

Happy New Year!

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The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa First Week DVD / Blu-ray sales
December 30th, 2015

Dogasu @ 12:15 JST -- Pokémon the movie XY "The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa" & "Pikachu and the Pokemon Band" came out on DVD and Blu-ray in Japan back on the 16th. How did it do?

DVD Blu-ray

According to Anime News Network, the DVD version was the third highest-selling animation DVD release in Japan (and 15th DVD overall) for the week of December 14th ~ 20th, selling 3,705 copies. The report lists Japanese entertainment site Oricon as their source but I'm not seeing that 3,705 number anywhere on the site; that number does appear, however, on various other sources such as
YaraonOther sites seem to be repeating these same numbers.  Oricon's reporting that the DVD dropped to 14th place in its second week.

That same Yaraon blog lists the Blu-ray release coming in at 42nd place overall with 1,266 copies sold in its first week.   For comparison's sake, the number one Blu-ray for that same time period was a special edition release of the Love Live! The School Idol Movie with 193,769 copies sold. 1,266 vs. 193,769...ouch.

The Blu-ray retails for 4,980 yen while the DVD retails for 3,980 yen.  The movie is currently available at the following retailers:

Amazon Japan Blu-ray 3,979 yen
CD Japan Blu-ray 4,980 yen
DVD 3,180 yen
DVD 3,980 yen

YesAsia Blu-ray US $47.02 Play-Asia Blu-ray US $49.99
DVD US $36.57 DVD US $39.99

Japanese DVDs are Region 2 and cannot be played in most standard DVD players in the U.S. (though it's the year 2015 so there are like a million workarounds out there) but Japanese Blu-rays share the same region as American discs and therefore can be played in American Blu-ray players.

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Oha Suta news
December 22nd, 2015

Dogasu @ 07:42 JST -- Two pieces of Oha Suta-related news today:

One, the teaser trailer that debuted on last Thursday morning's episode of Oha Suta has been posted online.  A translation of the narration text follows:

Pokémon the movie XY&Z 2016

It's the newest movie in the series! The hottest legend in the history of Pokemon is finally beginning! Pokémon the movie XY&Z!

There's not a whole lot to go off there but these early teasers never reveal anything good. We can probably expect more information when the movie's full title is revealed in February.

Looking ahead to this Thursday, Oha Suta is going to be airing...a new Hoopa short? As in, a different Hoopa short from the ones they aired back in April / May? The program's official website has the following:

Oha Suta

A special original cartoon related to this summer's blockbuster "The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa" will make its television debut!

▼今年夏の大ヒット映画!『光輪の超魔神 フーパ』の限 定オリジナルアニメをテレビ初公開!

Absolutely nothing else is known about this but chances are this will be another nothing little short that lasts less than a minute.  Yay...?

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Pokémon the movie XY&Z 2016
December 16th, 2015

Dogasu @ 23:15 JST -- Let's leave the Hoopa movie aside for a minute (I'll come back to it, though, I promise!) to talk about next summer's film, the first hints of which were just released yesterday.


The title currently being used is Pokémon the movie XY&Z with a full title likely to be revealed in early 2016. About all we know about the movie is that it's coming out July 16th and will feature the mythical pokemon Volcanion, though how big a role it'll play in the film or what other pokemon it'll have to share the stage with have yet to be announced. A poster for what is obviously meant to be the Pikachu short was also revealed that implies that Puni-chan is apparently still going to be around half a year from now. So I guess the Zygarde "arc" or whatever you want to call it won't be a short Episode N-sized storyline after all?

Pokémon the movie XY&Z 2016
Pokémon the movie XY&Z 2016

A teaser trailer will be shown on tomorrow morning's episode of Oha Suta! with footage that has a 99.99999% chance of not appearing in the actual movie itself in any way, shape, or form. Regardless, let the hype train begin!

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Dogasu's Backpack: The site that updates with content has had up for months
December 14th, 2015

Dogasu @ 23:27 JST -- The year's coming to a close and that means it's about time to start the hype train for next summer's Pocket Monsters movie.  Before that happens, however, let's wrap up a few things with The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa, shall we?

One of the things I wanted to be sure to do by year's end was to translate all the interviews / articles from the movie's official website before they go away forever. So, let's finish that up:

Location Scouting
I did the first eight Location Scouting Reports over the summer but there were still quite a few left so I've completed Episodes 9 - 14.  Due to the large number of images in these updates I decided to separate the blog entries by what day they took place on.

Episode 09
Episode 10
Episode 09 "To the Desert!"
Episode 10 "The Red Desert"
Episode 11
Episode 12
Episode 11 "Burj Khalifa and the World's Greatest"
Episode 12 "The Fjords of the Middle East"
Episode 13
Episode 14
Episode 13 "Palm Jumeirah and the Valley of Buildings"
Episode 14 "The End of the Location Scouting"

This year's movie didn't do that great at the box office (more on that later!) so I wonder if Mr. Yuyama and his crew was even given the budget to go on another one of these location scouting trips this year. I guess we'll know soon enough!

Production Artwork
Character model sheets for the Confinement Urn, Young Mary, Young Balza, and the Traveller have been added to the Production Artwork page.

Confinement Urn

Today's Hoopa
Entries nine through fourteen of that dumb "Today's Hoopa" thing from the official website have been added to the site.

Today's Hoopa


A Special Interview with Director Yuyama Right Before the Movie Comes Out
The third and fourth parts of the interview posted with Director Yuyama that was posted on the movie's official site has now been translated.
The third part talks about the themes of the movie and how Satoshi's and Hoopa's relationship is different from, say, Satoshi's and Keldeo's relationship from the second Best Wishes! movie while Part Four talks about the movie's setting.

Box Office Performance
So here's where this update gets depressing.

The final, final numbers haven't been released yet but Japanese fansite PokePale seems pretty sure that Pokémon the movie XY "The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa" & "Pikachu and the Pokemon Band" ended up making 24,040,078,200 yen over its ten week run.
Up until this point the lowest grossing movie in the franchise's history was Latias and Latios, The Guardian Deities of the Water Capital, which ended its run with 49-day run with 26,070,000,000 yen back in 2002 (which translates to about 26,974,258,242.55 in today's yen). The Hoopa movie didn't even top that.

In other words,
Pokémon the movie XY "The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa" & "Pikachu and the Pokemon Band" is (pretty much officially) the worst-performing Pocket Monsters movie in the franchise's history.

An article on the entertainment site Bunka Tsuushin had an interview with Ichikawa Minami, one of the board directors for Toho Co., Ltd., the movie studio that puts out all the Pokemon films. The interview, which was about how Toho movies as a whole did in 2015, had a brief section on this year's Pokemon movie:

Interviewer: The box office earnings for the Pokemon series has been going down for a few years now. This year's film, Pokémon the movie XY "The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa," is expected to receive around 25 billion yen, which seems to be down from last year as well. How do you see what's happening?

Mr. Ichikawa:  In the past the movies have earned in the 25 billion yen range only to do a complete turnaround the following year so we're not all that worried. Especially since next year will be the 20th anniversary of the video games and TV series and the year after that will be the 20th anniversary of the movies. We're looking forward to the next couple of anniversary years. This series is this genuinely huge sensation that's been drawing in audiences every summer for nearly 20 years. If we didn't have Pokemon then we'd have 30, maybe even 40 billion yen less and it would be difficult for us to make other projects. It's a very important series to us and we won't we scared by little setbacks like this.

――『ポケモン』シリーズは、ここ数年は興収が減少傾向にあります。今年の『ポケモン ザ・ムービーXY 光輪の超魔神フーパ』も25億円前後の見込みで昨年を下回りそうですが、これはどう見てらっしゃいますか。

市川 過去にも、興収が20億円台だった翌年にV字回復したこともあるので、我々は心配していません。特に、来年はゲームとTVシリーズが20周年、そし て再来年には映画シリーズが20周年を迎えます。それらの記念イヤーの展開に期待しています。夏の興行を20年近く支えてくれて、このシリーズは本当に大 きいのです。もし『ポケモン』が無ければ、マイナス30億、40億円になるわけで、それを毎年探したり、作ることは大変なことです。我々にとって大事な作 品で、少々のことでは揺るぎません。

Interviewer:  So you're looking forward to the next couple of anniversary years.

Mr. Ichikawa:  If you look at the animated movies we distribute, Doraemon's been doing consistently well and both of this year's Crayon Shin-chan and Detective Conan movies have peformed the best of any movie in their respective series. And if you think about it, the elementary and preschool students who were watching Crayon Shin-chan twenty years ago are now parents who are repeating the cycle by taking their kids to the theaters. The same is happening with Pokemon...


市川 弊社配給の定番アニメシリーズでは、『ドラえもん』がここ数年ハイアベレージとなり、『クレヨンしんちゃん』と『名探偵コナン』は今年の新作がシ リーズ歴代1位になりました。例えば『クレヨンしんちゃん』は、20数年前に小学生や幼稚園児だった人が、今は親になって子供と一緒に観に行くという循環 に入っています。『ポケモン』も...

Well, one, Mr. Ichikawa's dates are a bit off. Next year is indeed the 20th anniversary of the video games, but the 20th anniversary of the animated series isn't until 2017. And the movies' anniversary won't be until 2018.

Two, I wish I could be as optimistic as Mr. Ichikawa here, but it's hard to ignore what I see as a very clear indication that people just aren't interested in watching new Pokemon movies every every single year anymore. Next year's movie has already been confirmed to be happening but after that? Will there be a movie in 2017? Is next year's movie going to suffer from heavy budget cutbacks to make up for the Hoopa movie's performance? Will the movie series continue to flail about helplessly, refusing to die with any shred of dignity?

Next year will be interesting to say the least.

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