Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!
|Pokémon the Movie:|
I Choose You!
Japanese release poster, designed and illustrated by Yoshitoshi Shinomiya
|Hepburn||Gekijō-ban Poketto Monsutā Kimi ni kimeta!|
|Literally||Pocket Monsters the Movie: I Choose You!|
|Directed by||Kunihiko Yuyama|
|Screenplay by||Shōji Yonemura|
Pokémon: Indigo League|
|Narrated by||Unshō Ishizuka|
|Music by||Shinji Miyazaki|
|Edited by||Toshio Henmi|
￥3.31 billion (Japan)|
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You![a] is a 2017 Japanese animated adventure film directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, written by Shōji Yonemura, and produced by OLM. Released as the twentieth Pokémon movie, the first film in the Sun and Moon generation and the first reboot film in the anime film series. It sets up an alternate continuity to the main series and acts as a loose retelling of the original Kanto League saga of the series/show, released to commemorate the anime's twentieth anniversary. It premiered at Japan Expo in France on July 6, 2017 and was released in Japan on July 15, 2017. The Pokémon Company International and Fathom Events released the film on a limited theatrical run in the rest of the world on November 5, 2017, and this was followed by television airings on Disney XD in the United States on November 25, 2017, on CITV in the UK on December 8, 2017, 9Go! in Australia on December 10, 2017 and on Gulli in France on December 25, 2017.
Ash Ketchum wakes up late one morning after having broken his alarm clock in his sleep. He eventually makes it to Professor Oak's lab, but is told that the three starter Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander) have already been taken by Trainers who were on time. However, Oak reveals that he has one more Pokémon, an Electric-type named Pikachu. Despite its volatile and feisty personality, as well as its refusal to get inside a Poké Ball, Ash happily takes Pikachu for his journey.
Outside of Pallet Town, Ash encounters a Pidgey. When Pikachu refuses to fight it, Ash tosses a rock at it, but it hits a Spearow that mistakes Pikachu as the culprit. Soon, more Spearow show up forcing Ash and Pikachu to run. Injured and tired, Ash tells Pikachu to get inside its Ball, but it once again refuses. Instead, Pikachu defends Ash from the Spearow by summoning a large Thunderbolt that scares them away. As the storm ceases, a Ho-Oh flies above and drops a feather called a Rainbow Wing. Ash and Pikachu decide to go and find the Legendary Pokémon.
During their travels, Ash catches a Caterpie and the group eventually settle at a Pokémon Center. A Trainer bursts in claiming that they encountered an Entei, a Legendary Fire-type Pokémon, causing Ash, as well as several other Trainers, to rush into the woods to look for it. Ash finds the Entei, but ends up fighting over it with a Trainer with a Piplup named Verity. They are also joined by an aspiring young Pokémon Professor named Sorrel who uses a Lucario in battle. When Entei escapes, Ash and Verity get into an argument and Sorrel leaves, telling them that they need to find shelter soon. As Ash and Verity fight, they accidentally disturb an Onix that starts chasing them. They manage to get it to leave just as it begins to rain. As they look to find shelter, they find a Charmander that has been left out. They quickly learn that it belongs to a ruthless trainer named Cross who, along with his Midnight form Lycanroc, left it out in the rain. He carelessly refuses to take it back, calling it weak, and Ash and Verity are forced to find it shelter.
They come across a cave where Sorrel and Lucario happen to be and help Charmander back to health. Entei and several other Pokémon arrive to sleep for the night and Ash reveals the Rainbow Wing. Sorrel reveals that Ho-Oh only gives the Wing to the "rainbow hero" who is destined to fight it, as a shadow Pokémon named Marshadow watches. The next morning, Ash convinces Charmander to join them. The group venture on with Caterpie evolving into a Metapod, and Charmander evolving into Charmeleon. Sorrel studies more about Ho-Oh and the Legendary Pokémon while Verity spots a Suicune. Eventually, while battling other Trainers in town, Cross returns and challenges Ash's Charmeleon with his Incineroar. Charmeleon is savagely defeated, causing Ash much grief.
Upset over his loss, Ash openly admits that he could have won with Pikachu and later states that he wished he had gotten Bulbasaur or Squirtle. Alone in the woods, Marshadow puts Ash in a sleep-like state as the Rainbow Wing turns dark. Ash has a dream where no Pokémon exist and he attends regular school with Verity and Sorrel. Realizing something is missing, he remembers Pikachu and wakes up to his friends, and the Wing regains its color. After escaping some angry Primeape, Metapod evolves into Butterfree. They rescue a pink Butterfree from a Fearow and realize that Ash's Butterfree needs to mate. Saddened but happy, Ash lets his Butterfree go. The group soon spot a Raikou and realize they are getting close when the Wing begins to glow in the direction of Mount Tensei.
The group make it there and meet Bonji, an old researcher who has been studying Ho-Oh. They make it to a crystal-like structure, but are interrupted by Cross who wants to fight Ho-Oh himself (he too saw Ho-oh, but it did not give him the Wing). Cross' Incineroar fights Ash's Charmeleon which quickly evolves into Charizard and defeats Incineroar. Cross, refusing to accept his loss, grabs the Wing and places it on the crystal, but it turns dark, causing Marshadow, an agent of Ho-oh's, to turn the local Pokémon (including Cross's midnight form Lycanroc) evil and attack Ash and his friends. The Trainers fight back, but are overwhelmed by the severity of the situation. Ash finally forces Pikachu to get in his Poké Ball as the Pokémon destroy Ash, turning him into pure energy as Marshadow notices the Wing has disintegrated.
Ash finds himself in a grey world, but is brought back, presumably through Ho-Oh's power when Ash protected Pikachu. Ash takes the newly formed Rainbow Wing and places it on the crystal structure. Ho-oh arrives and Ash challenges it with Pikachu to battle, but the outcome is never shown. The gang return to the Pokémon Center as Bonji states that Ho-oh will find a new trainer to leave its Wing to. Cross leaves on good terms with the group and eventually Verity and Sorrel leave to achieve their own dreams. Ash and Pikachu decide to continue their journey in the world of Pokémon.
During the credits, Ash's recurring friends from the main series (Brock, Misty, Tracey, May, Max, Dawn, Iris, Cilan, Clemont, Bonnie and Serena) are shown. Verity is seen returning home, presumably to amend her relationship with her mother, and Sorrel is seen traveling and spotting an Articuno that he wanted to study. Ash and Pikachu are seen traveling together while being tailed by Team Rocket who appeared throughout the film, unnoticed by the protagonists for comic relief.
Characters and cast
|Character||Voice Actor (Japanese)||Voice Actor (English)|
|Ash Ketchum (Satoshi)||Rica Matsumoto||Sarah Natochenny|
|Pikachu||Ikue Ōtani||Ikue Ōtani|
|Professor Samuel Oak (Professor Yukinari Okido)||Unshō Ishizuka||Carter Cathcart|
|Delia Ketchum (Hanako)||Masami Toyoshima||Sarah Natochenny|
|Jessie (Musashi)||Megumi Hayashibara||Michele Knotz|
|James (Kojiro)||Shin-ichiro Miki||Carter Cathcart|
|Meowth (Nyarth)||Inuko Inuyama|
|Nurse Joy||Shoko Nakagawa||Michele Knotz|
|Sorrel (Souji)||Kanata Hongō||David Oliver Nelson|
|Verity (Makoto)||Shiori Sato||Suzy Myers|
|Bonji||Arata Furuta||Mike Pollock|
|Cross||Ryōta Ōsaka||Billy Bob Thompson|
The film was officially revealed during the December 15 broadcast of TV Tokyo's Oha Suta program, revealing a teaser trailer and poster of the film. This early content revealed Ash and Pikachu alongside the Legendary Pokémon Ho-Oh, showing that the film would act as a retelling of the first season, exploring some of the important plot points of the series. Ho-Oh's appearance in the film was also detailed to be important to the film's storyline. A second trailer for the film was revealed at the March 1 broadcast of Oha Suta, revealing remade scenes from the first episode and its official English title. It was then posted on the official YouTube page the next day.
Later on, the film's second official trailer, which also featured a new version of the original Japanese opening theme, "Mesaze Pokémon Master", was previewed on April 7, 2017. The next day, the producers announced that the current last Pokémon in the Pokédex, Marshadow, would debut in the film alongside several other brand-new characters. As the film is not a direct remake, it diverts itself from the original season that it is based on, and features an original story. Two days before the film's release, Yoshitoshi Shinomiya, who draw background art for Kara no Kyoukai: Mirai Fukuin and Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works released a new poster for the film.
With the film confirmed to be initially released at the French Japan Expo 2017, Western fans requested for the film to be released in theaters in the United States. This was eventually confirmed to be released by Fathom Events as a limited release across November 4 and 5, 2017. In Australia, the film was also confirmed to be released by Event Cinemas across November 11 and 12, 2017. Some fans also requested that voice actress Veronica Taylor should reprise her role as the English voice of Ash Ketchum for the film, but it was later confirmed that the current set of voice actors would stay on. The title of the film is also a reference to the first episode of the anime, "Pokémon, I Choose You!".
Regular series composer Shinji Miyazaki wrote the film's score for its original release. The film's opening song is titled Aim to Be a Pokémon Master -20th Anniversary- (めざせポケモンマスター -20th Anniversary- Mezase Pokemon Master -20th Anniversary-) by Rica Matsumoto while the ending is titled Oración's Theme ~Let's Walk Together~ (オラシオンのテーマ ～共に歩こう～ Orashion no Tēma ~Tomoni Arukou~) by Asuca Hayashi.
Ed Goldfarb, the composer for the North American adaptations of the anime beginning with Pokémon: XY, along with frequent collaborators Akhil Gopal and Kc Daugirdas, composed a new background score for the film's North American release.
Release and promotion
The movie premiered at Japan Expo in France on July 6, 2017, and officially released in Japanese theaters on July 15, 2017. Advanced pre-orders the movie tickets across limited time periods (from September 19 to October 30, 2017) allowed moviegoers to receive a serial code to obtain one of the six special Pikachu in Pokémon Sun and Moon, each wearing one of Ash's signature hats from each anime season. These Pikachu were holding an exclusive Pikashunium Z-Crystal. Also, both Marshadow and Ho-Oh were distributed during the film's release in Japan.
Merchandise coinciding with the film were also released. Bandai released official Poké Ball Breath Mint Cases in both regular and Premium-Bandai versions to coincide with the film's release. The first set was released in August 2017, and the second was released in September 2017, with pre-orders starting on April 23, 2017. Bandai also released S.H.Figuarts figures of Ash and the Team Rocket trio in July 2017, while Good Smile Company also announced they would release a Nendoroid of Ash in December 2017. For the film's worldwide release, The Pokémon Company announced special commemorative Pikachu Plush and Pokémon Trading Card Game Cards obtainable in US and Canadian retail sites.
The film topped Japanese box office records, earning first place and grossing more than 516 million yen (US$4.61 million) in the first two days, beating Gintama on its premiere. The movie earned ¥2.14 billion ($19.6 million) in its fourth week and remained at the sixth position. In its fifth week it grossed US$22 million and climbed up to the fourth position before being dethroned by Transformers: The Last Knight.
The film grossed $37,552,144 worldwide, including $30,024,522 in Japan, $3,559,886 in South Korea, and $2,401,722 in the United States.
Some older fans of the anime expressed negative criticism over the film on social media due to the exclusion of Misty and Brock in favor of two new companions, with one saying "It's almost like Brock and Misty never existed". Also, criticism was made at the point where Pikachu actually speaks the human language. As shown at the film's first screening at the 2017 Japan Expo, most of the main characters from the first six series were relegated to cameos, which also caused some harsh criticism from older fans.
The film received a mixed to negative reception. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes assigned the film a 43% approval rating based on 7 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. Callum May of Anime News Network called the film a "Pokémon movie for classic Pokémon fans" and "While it features new Pokémon from Sun and Moon like Lycanroc and Incineroar, many of the stories and references are from the series 20 years ago, repurposed into far more emotionally moving encounters". It was also praised for having a stronger narrative than the other movies in the franchise, but often criticized on Sorrel and Verity's personalities, calling them "more like bystanders of someone else's story, and the attempts at creating backstories for them aren't built up at all".
A second film in the alternate continuity, titled Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us, will be animated by OLM and Wit Studio, and it will be released in theaters in Japan on July 13, 2018.
- Known in Japan as Pocket Monsters the Movie: I Choose You! (劇場版 ポケットモンスター キミにきめた！ Gekijō-ban Poketto Monsutā Kimi ni kimeta!)
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