Fans who have been waiting for Pokemon: I Choose You have just been thrown a wicked curveball. We had suspicions Misty and Brock would have minimal involvement in the movie at best, but have they been written out entirely? Even worse, have they been replaced?
That is what early screenings and promotional images would seem to suggest. Coming on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon anime, I Choose You is a feature-length retelling of several major events in the original season. The film was screened for the first time at Japan Expo last weekend, and tweets emerged from the showing complaining that two major characters had been written out of continuity.
If it was just an absence, fans could put up with it…but what’s really firing them up is that Ash still has companions in the movie, who could have easily been Brock and Misty yet aren’t. The classic characters have been replaced entirely with two unknown generic-looking trainers. Ash’s best friends are now Souji, a black-haired boy studying to become a Professor, and Makoto, described as “an enetrgetic and strong-minded trainer.” Worse yet, they didn’t even try to make it look like these kids came out of this era. Their eyes use the modern ovals instead of the classic slits, and their companion Pokemon are from later generations.
Is there some kind of weird rights issue going on? No, there isn’t. Misty and Brock technically APPEAR in the movie, but only during the end credits as images along with every other trainer Ash has walked with during his 20 years on the air. This was a conscious decision by the writers that will probably never be explained.
Pokemon: I Choose You opens in Japan July 15. A US release has not been announced yet.