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Dogasu's Backpack | Rants | Happy Anniversary! (Year Nineeen)

By Dogasu
Posted January 31st, 2019

Dogasu’s Backpack celebrates its nineteenth birthday today. Eighteen is a big number because you can make lame “your website is an adult” jokes (as I certainly did last year!) and twenty is two. whole. decades but nineteen is just this kind of awkward transition year. In other words, if my site's age was a Pocket Monsters movie number it'd be 2016’s Volcanion and the Tricky Magearna. So…hooray?


In my site’s 19th year I started a well-intentioned project I called Translation Tuesdays that produced some exciting content but unfortunately didn't end up lasting very long. It turns out that translating large walls of text is much more time consuming than I had initially calculated! I loved being able to work on things like the Masa’aki Iwane interview, dabbling in scanslation with that “Making Of” comic and the Animage feature on Satoshi Nakano, and translating (deep breath) The reason why he said “New Director, I Choose You!” The real story behind the “Baton Pass” from Director Yuyama to Director Yajima and so I am happy with what I was able to do.

One of the goals of this project, other than to make a dent in my gigantic translation backlog, was to help Western fans become just a little bit more familiar with the show's staff. With a Western show we can just read whatever interviews are posted and with many of the bigger Japanese cartoons we can read translations by that franchise's bilingual fans. But in the case of Pocket Monsters, there are, with very few exceptions, little to nothing out there in English. It's so easy to think of the people who create this franchise as this group of faceless names and so my thinking with all this was that bringing you the words of this show's prominent animators, character designers, etc.. we can all get one step closer to knowing who these people actually are. That's also why it was so important for me to post all those voice actor reactions in my Unshou Ishizuka tribute; these are real human beings, and they matter. Let's get to know them before it's too late.


And then aside from the movie stuff, which always takes up a good chunk of the updates in any given year, I also managed to post a review of the Sun & Moon planetarium special and create the Understanding “seasons” of the TV show page. The latter was something I had been kicking around in my head for a few years but just never sat down to write, something that’s unfortunately somewhat of a pattern here with Dogasu’s Backpack. The former is the kind of thing I love doing because things like these planetarium specials are so poorly documented, even among Japanese fans, and so writing out detailed summaries and reviews and all that is one way I can kind of give back to the fandom.


Anyway, enough of this patting myself on the back here. Every year I make a set of predictions about what’s going to happen with this franchise we all know and love and so let’s jump right in to what I think is going to happen in 2019:

Video Games:  Generation 8

  • Generation 8 will come out on the Nintendo Switch on November 1st in most markets worldwide. It will debut at least 100 new pokemon and include a number of cross-generation evolutions (and no, not just a new Eevee or three).

  • One of the new pokemon will be Mewthree. It’ll debut in Movie 22 first and then be made available as a Mystery Gift the first month or so after the Gen 8 games go on sale.

  • The game’s new region will be based on the U.K.

  • Pokemon Gyms will make a comeback but they will have some new gimmick to make them a weird mix of old school Pokemon Gyms and island challenges.
  • Gen 6’s in-battle gimmick was evolution based and Gen 7’s was attack based and so I think Gen 8’s in-battle gimmick will be something centered around trading. What I’m thinking is that you’d have a seventh pokemon on a bench somewhere that you can swap out with one of your unused party pokemon in case you get into a battle and realize you’ve brought the wrong type along. Of course there will be restrictions – you can’t teleport in a pokemon if it’s already been used in that particular battle, you can’t swap out a pokemon whose type doesn’t match whatever item Game Freak uses to facilitate the process, etc. – but it will still at least offer some relief to those who maybe didn't plan well enough in advance.

  • The new game will still have the (awful) motion controls of its predecessor but there will be an option to turn them off this time.

  • There will be another new Meltan-like pokemon that you’ll only be able to get by connecting your game to Pokemon GO.

  • Pokemon Bank for the Nintendo Switch will be announced in 2019 but won’t actually be released until early 2020.

  • A Pokemon Let's Go! Togepi / Let's Go! Marril will be announced on the 20th anniversary of Gold & Silver. The game will come out Q4 2020.
Video Games:  Generation 8

  • Generation V introduces the largest number of new pokemon and so I can see us getting maybe 75% of the new creatures in 2019. The Gen V rollout begins in September.

  • <>Mewtwo will return as a Raid Boss to celebrate the release of Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution. Shiny variants will be made available again.
Animation:  Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon, Gen 8 series

  • I see the TV series going like this:  

    • March – May: Guzma / Skull-Dan arc, with a generous number of fillers sprinkled throughout

    • June: Preparations for the Pokemon League

    • July – mid-August: Alola League

    • mid-August - September: Series wrap up
  • Satoshi will get one more new Alola pokemon before entering the League. I’m guessing it’ll be Tiny from that awfully boring Nagetsukesaru episode.

  • Satoshi will compete in the Alola League with his Alola team of five plus one of his Kanto reserves (for Let’s Go! Promotion) that he’ll rotate out every battle. He’ll eventually lose to Lillie’s butler James.

  • Kasumi and Takeshi watch the Alola League from Kanto in voiceless cameos.

  • I’m about 80% convinced that Sun & Moon will be the Rocket trio’s last series. I hate hate hate hate hate the idea but I also feel like the show’s been telegraphing it pretty hard this Gen, especially this last year or so. Their absences between appearances are starting to become longer and more frequent (as of this writing they’ve missed eight of the last ten episodes) and it honestly feels like the powers that be just don't want them around anymore. The only that really gives me pause with this theory is the fact that the Rocket trio continues to be some of the (if not the) most merchandised human characters in the franchise, but even then it’s not like they can’t just keep selling us products after they’re long gone.

  • <>The Generation 8 TV series will go back to being the traveling action adventure show it was from the original series up to XY&Z.
Animation:  Pocket Monsters Sun & Moon, Gen 8 series

  • The movie will be an adaptation of the first film but it won’t be a shot-for-shot remake because they’ll be forced to throw in some Generation 8 promotion. But to do that they’ll need to have another writer brought on board because at the moment the only person they have attached to it has been dead for nearly a decade. They’ll bring in someone else to write those Gen 8 pokemon segments and to also possibly tweak a few other things about the film.

  • Masachika Ichimura will be back as Mewtwo and Kouichi Yamadera will be back as Mew. Sweet will be played by Shoko Nakagawa and the other New Island Trainers (Sorao and Umio) will be played by whatever random celebrities they get to come in as special guests this year. Sachiko Kobayashi will come back to do Kaze to Issho ni 2019, a remix of the ending theme to the first movie.

  • Kasumi’s Togepi won’t be in the new movie, just because.

  • The movie will get a wide theatrical release in the U.S. on Friday November 8th. With the popularity of Pokemon GO, Gen 8 coming out at around the same time, and the fact that this is the 20th anniversary of the English dub of this movie will give TPCI more than enough justification to spend the money to give this film a wide release.

This year is also being advertised as “The Year of Mewtwo” in Japan and while we’ve been given absolutely no indication of what that means I have a few ideas:
  • A “Birth of Mewtwo” standalone TV special will air in Japan in June that adapts the entire radio drama, including the bits that were scrapped from the Kanzenban version of the first film.

  • Shogakukan will release a graphic novel that contains Toshihiro Ono’s 52-page Mewtwo Strikes Back “adaptation” which, up until now, has only ever been printed in that one CoroCoro Comics issue back in 1998. It’ll be paired with Momota Inoue’s 177-page manga adaptation of 2013’s The Extreme Speed Genosect and the Awakening of Mewtwo in a single book. An English version will be released in 2020, because Viz.

  • Movie 1 will finally get a standalone Blu-ray release in Japan.


Live Action: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

  • I think the live action movie will probably be very successful in the West. Hype for the movie is really high right now and even those who don’t necessarily love the idea of a live action Pokemon film in the first place (hi!) have a kind of morbid curiosity about the whole thing. The movie will debut at Number 2 behind Avengers: Endgame, which will come out in late April but will still be going strong, and then be knocked out of the Top 3 by the time the live action Aladdin movie comes out on May 24th.

  • The movie will have a joke or two that parents in the U.S. will complain about for being too "adult."
  • I don’t see Detective Pikachu doing better than Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution in the Japanese box office. Reaction to the Hollywood film has been kind of tepid over here (you don’t see people on Japanese Twitter going “OMG PIKACHU’S SOOOOOOO CUTE IN THIS!!!!!!” all that often) and the movie doesn’t have the big Hollywood stars that Japanese audiences know and love (nobody knows who the hell Justice Smith or Rita Ora are). Plus, there’s a certain (not at all undeserved) stigma attached to Hollywood adaptations of Japanese franchises. The movie will do fine in Japan but I don’t think it’ll be a huge hit.

  And that's about it! How much of what I said above will come true? I can't wait to find out.



  Dogasu's Backpack is a fan-created website  Pocket Monsters (Pokémon) is © 1995-2019 Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK, Inc. / Pokémon USA / 4Kids Entertainment Inc.  No infringement of copyrights is meant by the creation of the web site.

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