Much to the delight of fans, Pokemon the Movie 20: I Choose You! was released earlier this month in Japan. The film is a retelling of the very first season of the anime series which debuted all the way back in 1997. But although it’s being regarded as a ‘remake,’ the film makes one very important (and controversial) change.
Spoilers Pokemon: the Movie 20: I Choose You! follow.
One of the biggest changes in the movie is that it features a speaking Pikachu. After Ash blocks an attack to protect his loyal Pokemon companion, the human protagonist appears to die, just leaving his hat behind. Pikachu fires a Thunderbolt at Marshadow while Ash is in the afterlife trying to reach out to the Pokemon. As the emotional scene unfolds, Pikachu then speaks to Ash, telling him in Japanese, telling him “I want to be with you forever.”
Those watching the movie are unlikely to close out the film without getting teary eyed. However, the scene is proving divisive among fans who do not think that it’s right that Pikachu spoke actual words. The Pokemon’s calls of ‘Pika’ and ‘Pikachu!’ are some of the most recognizable in the Pokemon franchise’s history and in two decades, Pikachu has never uttered a real word. The actress behind the voice, Ikue Otani, has managed to convey emotion with the Pokemon’s normal calls but fans argue that this is a step too far.
The team behind the movie may have felt that this was a natural progression for the franchise and for the fan favorite character, but fans are taking it personally as they have such a strong attachment to Ash and Pikachu’s bond. The special Ash Hat Pikachu in Pokemon GO, for example, was met with huge applause from fans who flocked to the mobile game to collect the limited edition character design.
The fact that this isn’t the only significant change in Pokemon the Movie 20: I Choose You! may also be why some are taking it so badly. It was previously revealed that the movie gets rids of Brock and Misty too; another decision that didn’t go down well.
What’s positive is that the huge popularity of the Pokemon series and its movies means that plenty more films are to be expected. Although some fans may be disappointed by this latest feature, there will surely be much more opportunity for the films to win them back over.