– Gameness til the End
Pokémon is a series of video games developed by Game Freak and Creatures Inc. and published by Nintendo as part of the Pokémon media franchise. First released in 1996 in Japan for the Game Boy, the main series of role-playing video games (RPGs) has continued on each generation of Nintendo’s handhelds. Games are commonly released in pairs—each with slight variations—and then an enhanced remake of the games is released a few years after the original releases. While the main series consists of role-playing games, spinoffs encompass other genres, such as action role-playing, puzzle, and digital pet games. As of February 2016, more than 279 million units have been sold worldwide, more than 200 million of which from the main series, making it the second best-selling video game franchise, behind only Nintendo’s own Mario franchise. The franchise’s mascot is Pikachu.
Pokémon Go (stylized as Pokémon GO) is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. It was initially released in selected countries in July 2016. In the game, players use a mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. The game supports in-app purchases for additional in-game items.
Pokémon Go was released to mixed reviews, with critics praising the game’s concept and the incentive to be more active in the real world, while criticizing frequent technical issues apparent at launch. Despite such reviews, it quickly became a global phenomenon and was one of the most used mobile apps, having been downloaded by more than 130 million people worldwide. It was credited with popularizing location-based and augmented reality gaming, as well as for promoting physical activity and helping local business grow. However, it has also attracted controversy for contributing to accidents and becoming a public nuisance at some locations. Multiple governments expressed concerns over the game’s security, with legislation regarding it being passed in some countries as a result.
Since the debut of the anime adaptation of Satoshi Tajiri’s Pokémon Games, Toho has produced the theatrical films based on the franchise since 1998 in Japan: five based on the original series Pokémon anime, four based on the Advanced Generation series, four based on the Diamond and Pearl series, with the tenth film commemorating the tenth anniversary of the anime, three based on the Best Wishes series, and three based on the XY series, beginning with Pokémon the Movie: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction. There are also two television specials that were broadcast on TV Tokyo and ten short films.
- Theatrical releases
- Television specials
- Pikachu shorts
Theatrical films, with little exception, center on and feature Pokémon (typically legendary ones) that have yet to officially debut in the games, often with the Pokémon causing some sort of disaster with its powers or being pursued by someone with less-than-noble tendencies. Ash and his friends will often befriend a Pokémon during the movie and must, at the end, say goodbye to their new friend.
The locations in which the movies take place have been, since Pokémon Heroes, based on a real-world location outside Japan. Topics explored are typically deeper than those explored in the episodes aired on TV, with the battle between greedy people who would use Pokémon for evil and those like Ash who are friends and partners to their Pokémon being a central issue in several movies.
As with the franchise’s TV anime series, the theatrical films and the first two TV specials were all licensed in North America by Warner Bros. with first three films, Miramax Films with four films and Viz Media since Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew.
Films from the original series were met with unfavorable reviews in terms of U.S.A. dubbing.
August 18, 2016 at 08:46AM
Posted by Angelo Delos Trinos
Known under the penname AD3, the author is currently a freelance graphic designer who has no life beyond collecting DVDs
After seven generations’ worth of games across multiple platforms, 19 animated features and 19 television seasons with over 800 animated episodes, Pokemon has been going strong for the better part of the 21st century. Nothing can stop it from getting bigger. With the overnight success of Pokemon GO, the long-running franchise has seen a spike in popularity and relevance. Now, Hollywood is looking (again) to capitalize on the revived Pokemon craze with the first live-action Pokemon adaptation.
Pokemon’s second life
After long and drawn out bidding war held by the Pokemon Company, Legendary Pictures beat the likes of Sony and Warner Brothers to acquire the vaunted rights for the live-action Pokemon movie. Based on the games made by Game Freak and Nintendo, Pokemon has long been one of hottest potential movie franchises but it was only now that major studios actively fought for its film rights.
The Pokemon games were predominantly Japanese titles that were translated into multiple languages. The job of retooling the story for a global movie audience should fall into the hands of a capable studio, and the Pokemon Company knows this. With Legendary producing movies like the mecha-vs-kaiju spectacular Pacific Rim and the rebooted Godzilla that went on to inspire Toho to revive their radioactive behemoth in Godzilla: Resurgence, it’s easy to see why the Pokemon Company would entrust the chosen studio to bring a new Pokemon story to the big screen while keeping its Japanese roots intact.
With the legal stuff all but said and done, Legendary can now concentrate on the creative process for their upcoming Pokemon movie. To realize their vision of a movie about a kid traveling across the land to capture wild creatures, Legendary has reportedly been in negotiations with the writers of two of the biggest pop culture phenomena this decade: the critically acclaimed animated series Gravity Falls and Marvel’s record breaking Guardians of the Galaxy.
Grunkle Stan, Alex Hirsch and Nicole Perlman
According to Variety, Legendary is keen on getting Alex Hirsch and Nicole Perlman to pen the Pokemon adaptation before the studio moves on to picking actors and directors for their upcoming movie. Alex Hirsch is the creator of the cult DisneyXD show Gravity Falls. Nicole Perlman was the writer of Guardians of the Galaxy before James Gunn added his own flavor to the story, but it should be noted that it was her pitch that convinced Marvel to take a shot with a movie that starred a space-faring talking tree.
Pocket Monster Story
The Pokemon franchise follows a core story: a kid with a super-powered pet wants to be the best, so they join a cockfighting tournament featuring other super powered pets. The animated movies spiced things up a bit by adding a legendary Pokemon every now and then, but it was essentially still the same story about cockfighting and blasting the nuisance characters into the sky.
To change the approach, Legendary is reportedly messing with the idea of basing their Pokemon movie on the spin-off game Great Detective Pikachu: The Birth of A New Duo, which features a crime-busting talking Pikachu with a deep voice. The game also focuses on solving mysteries instead of the staple game mechanic of fighting other creatures in a competition.
In-universe, the Pokemon already talk by repeatedly saying their name out loud but few of them can use complete sentences and verbally communicate with humans. (Team Rocket’s Meowth from the animated series is a popular exception to the rule.)
Team Rocket before blasting off again
It won’t be a surprise if Legendary’s Pokemon movie will feature a talking Pokemon since the addition of such a character is already a franchise mainstay at this point. If it does follow Great Detective Pikachu: The Birth of A New Duo’s footsteps as some reports suggest, long time fans and casual viewers alike will be in for something as jarring as fans petitioning for Danny DeVito to voice the Pokemon franchise’s mascot in his coming 3DS adventure.
Next Generation Pokemon Movie
The original crew
From a narrative perspective, the story of Pokemon has been beaten to death and changing the protagonist or gameplay mechanics can’t save its new seasons and installments from feeling repetitive. There’s no need to fix what’s not broken, but a live-action Pokemon movie will need a lot of fresh blood and ideas to resonate, not just with those who grew up loving the franchise but with newcomers as well.
As bad and disappointing as past video game and/or anime live-action adaptations from an American studio may have been, there is good reason to hope for a good Pokemon movie after looking at who may be involved in the project. Legendary Pictures has proven itself by making blockbuster movies based on niche interests that succeeded in appealing to a wide audience. The writers they want to join their quest are known for turning supposedly-cliched and lame ideas into massive hits on both a financial and emotional front, which is an amazing level of talent for the comingPokemon movie.
While we wait for more information, enjoy this nostalgia bomb featuring the Pokemon theme song being sung by its original singer, Jason Paige.
You know the lyrics, so sing along to your heart’s content.