This month marks the Japanese release of a brand new Pokemon movie entitled I Choose You, which serves as a retelling of Ash Ketchum’s adventures in the Indigo League — the basis of the original anime series. However, it seems that the film makes some major changes to the plot.
As everyone who was around for the initial Pokemon craze knows, Ash was accompanied on his travels by two firm friends; Misty and Brock. However, those memorable characters are largely absent from I Choose You, being replaced by two brand new characters.
A pair of children known as Makoto and Souji take their place on the adventure, a deviation that hasn’t gone unnoticed by longtime fans of the franchise. Since I Choose You is meant to be a celebration of the series’ twentieth anniversary, the fact that two memorable characters are being snubbed in this way hasn’t gone down too well.
It’s worth noting that not all of the established characters from the Indigo League era have been replaced for the new movie. For instance, Pokecenter mainstay Nurse Joy appears, largely unchanged from her initial appearance — although it seems unlikely that Souji will make the same kind of advances toward the medical professional that Brock became known for.
Brock and Misty do make an appearance in I Choose You, although it’s really more of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo than any kind of prominent role. During the end credits, there’s a montage that features Ash’s companions from throughout the franchise, alongside the likes of Tracey, Dawn, and Cilan.
After twenty years, there are certainly plenty of characters and pocket monsters vying for screen time in a film like I Choose You — but it’s certainly a strange decision to omit two of the most popular characters in the whole franchise.
Pokemon: I Choose You is scheduled for a North American release later this year.