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Dogasu's Backpack | Old Updates Archive | January 2017

The state of Pocket Monsters streaming services in 2017
January 19th, 2017

Dogasu @ 23:08 JST -- Today I'd like to take some time to talk about the various streaming options fans in Japan have when it comes to watching Pocket Monsters because hey, nobody else will. What's it like over here for Pocket Monsters fans? What are our options?

The three video streaming services I'll be focusing on today are
Hulu Japan, Netflix Japan, and Amazon Prime Video. Please note that the Japanese versions of these sites are only available in Japan. While it is certainly possible to circumvent each site's region locking and set up an account using a Japanese credit card, for most people these sites, as I describe them, are only available to people living in Japan.

Hulu began streaming Pocket Monsters in 2012. They're also, as of this writing, the service with the least amount of Pocket Monsters content.

At the moment Hulu offers three series: Pocket Monsters, Pocket Monsters XY&Z, and Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon. Hulu is different from the other streaming services in that they don't post every episode of any given (Pocket Monsters) series; instead, they post a set number of episodes and then rotate them out.

Take the original Pocket Monsters series for example. Hulu only has 20 episodes of Pocket Monsters at any given time; ten of those episodes are the first ten Kanto episodes while the remaining ten episodes vary depending on what month it is. For example, this month the "other ten" episodes are Episodes 161 - 170. Next month, those ten episodes will be removed and replaced with Episodes 171 - 180. The month after that, 181 - 190. And so on and so on.


Hulu also only has the last 20 episodes of XY&Z.

It's not all bad, though. Hulu is the quickest to post new episodes of Sun & Moon, often having them online within minutes of them airing on TV-Tokyo.
The versions of the early Kanto episodes they post are also the version that aired before the Pokemon Shock incident, meaning that none of the edits made to those first 37 episodes (whenever they enter the rotation, that is) to dim certain scenes down are present on this site. Finally, it's the only site of the three I'm going over today that has the original, black-faced version of "Rougela's Christmas"; the other sites are using the 2012 purple edit.

Hulu Japan is 933 yen (about US $8.17) a month.

Netflix Japan, which is the most recent service to offer Pocket Monsters in Japan (it only just got the series last month!), does some things better than Hulu while doing other things worse.

For starters, they don't do the same episode rotation thing that Hulu does; once and episode is up, it seems to be up for good. At the moment they have the first 82 episodes of the original Pocket Monsters series (so basically all of Kanto), most episodes of Sun & Moon (more on that later), all the movies up to 2015's The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa and most of the Pikachu shorts (except Pichu and Pikachu because reasons).

While all the episodes are, of course, presented in their original uncut Japanese, the episode titles and summaries used on the site are all based on the English dub. I assume most of them are just copy and pasted from the American Netflix site but then even episodes that were never dubbed get summaries so I don't know.


Here's Netflix's summary of "The Legend of Miniryu," for example:

Episode 54
Ash and his friends meet the warden of the Safari Zone. While being briefed on the safari rules at the office, they spot an intriguing photograph.

(And no, I don't know why it says "Episode 54" there either)

They also have summaries for Sun & Moon as well that mix up dub terminology with the original Japanese names:


Netflix isn't without its faults, however. The eyecatches and next episode previews are missing from each episode, something Hulu never skips. There's also the fact that Netflix usually posts new episodes of Sun & Moon about two weeks late; I'm assuming Hulu's contract gives them first dibs on new episodes while everyone else has to wait.

Netflix Japan is 950 yen (about US $8.28) a month for the standard package.

Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is, hands down, the best way to watch Pocket Monsters in Japan.

Where do I start? Amazon Prime Video has every episode of every series (minus the banned-in-Japan episodes, obviously). That's nearly 1,000 episodes, you guys. They have every movie from Mewtwo Strikes Back up to
The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa and most of the Pikachu shorts (again, no Pichu & Pikachu) as well.


The cons of Amazon Video Prime? Um...as of this writing they're about two episodes behind on Sun & Moon and the early Kanto episodes are all the post-Porygon edits but other than that there's really not much to complain about.  Amazon Prime Video in Japan is pretty awesome.

Amazon Prime Video is 3,900 (US $34.17) yen a year.

What's the streaming situation like in your country? Let me know via one of the links below!!

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Pocket Monsters The Movie "I Choose You!"
January 1st, 2017

Dogasu @ 16:19 JST -- Let's catch up with news about this year's movie, shall we?

Pocket Monsters The Movie "I Choose You!"

This year's film will not be a Sun & Moon movie, as many of us probably expected, and will instead be a film called Pocket Monsters The Movie "I Choose You!"

As is usually the case this time of year, we know next to nothing about the new movie. Toho's site for the film reveals that it's being written by Shouji Yonemura, a writer who's been with the series since the Kanto days, and the teaser material all shows Satoshi in his Kanto clothes, but that's about it.

I've compiled everything we know about the movie so far into its own page over in the Movie Guide.

I think this is a good time to remind everyone that we actually know next to nothing about this new film. There are too many people going around absolutely convinced that this is going to be a reboot or a retelling of the first episode of the TV series and, while that is certainly one possibility, that's all it is. A possibility. And if the last 20 years is any indication then exactly zero percent of the footage we see in the teaser trailer is going to appear in the actual film, at best, and in fact may be an outright lie at worst.

The image on the left is from the teaser trailer for Lord of the Unknown Tower, ENTEI and features Mewtwo in some kind of cave. Now most fans in the West weren't keeping up with the Japanese version back in the year 2000 but can you imagine the stir that would have been caused if they had been? "Mewtwo's going to be in the third movie!" people would have shouted. "I mean, it's right the eff there!" The image on the right is from the first teaser for The Master of Illusions, Zoroark. By this point in the franchise, Western fans were keeping up with Japanese version and were super convinced that the movie was going to be about Satoshi fighting an evil version of himself.

The teaser posters have also been known to be completely misleading.

The Seven Night Wishing Star, Jirachi Pokemon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea Manaphy

Check out this first poster for 2003's The Seven Night Wishing Star, Jirachi, for example. You know, the movie where Absol was the star of the show! Or how about 2006's Pokemon Ranger and the Prince of the Sea, Manaphy a film that definitely featured Jackie "catching" the legendary pokemon Kyogre.

Or, if you want something more contemporary, let's look at
2013's The Cocoon of Destruction and Diancie, a movie that was all about Yveltal fighting off an army of Mega Evolved pokemon!! Or how about the teaser poster for 2014's The Archdjinn of the Rings, Hoopa which, as we can see, was an Omega Ruby Alpha Sapphire film featuring a showdown between the games' three legendaries.

Now I'm not saying that the teasers for this year's movie are nothing but lies; not every Pokemon film has misleading promotions. And I am, of course, cherry picking the most egregious examples of the kind of ridiculous "spoilers" we've been given over the past two decades. But I think it's also important to remember that the people behind the promotion of these films kind of have a track record for this kind of thing. Take what we know so far with a grain of salt is all I'm saying.

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