Pikachu Outbreak 2018: World’s first Eevee march to join Pokémon summer celebrations in Japan!

Because the only thing better than seeing 1,500-plus Pikachus is seeing a squad of Eevees at the same time.

Ever since 2014, Japan’s second-largest city of Yokohama has been coming to life every August as hundreds of Pikachus overrun the area in an annual celebration called the Pikachu Outbreak.

▼ Each year’s “Outbreak” runs under a different theme, and this year’s theme is “Science is Amazing“.

One of the highlights of the roughly week-long festivities is the chance to see daily Pikachu parades around the Minato Mirai harbour district, where over 1,500 Pikachu mascots strut through the streets, get wet and wild, and bust out dance moves amongst crowds of adoring fans who come from around the country to catch a glimpse of them.

Now in its fifth year, the organisers have decided to add some extra excitement to the Pokémon festivities by introducing a world-first to this summer’s instalment: an Eevee march!

While the exact number of Eevee mascots in the parade is being kept under wraps for now, the organisers are describing it as “the world’s first big Eevee march“, which means we can expect to see a large group of cute and cuddly brown-furred creatures on display.

Given that Eevee’s been hard at work recently, visiting offices around Japan as part of the Eevee Company Visit project, we’ve got a bit of an idea of what she’ll look like on the day.

While the Pikachu parade route runs from Queen’s Square Yokohama to the Grand Mall park area, those looking to get a wave from Eevee should head to the Shinko Central Plaza in the Red Brick Warehouse district during the festivities.

▼ The Red Brick Warehouse district will also be the site for the Soaking Wet Splash Show, where visitors can cool down with Pikachu.

While the Eevee parade will only be held during the day, for the first time this year, the Pikachu parade will also be held after sundown as well, when a procession of electric Pokémon will appear in flashing-light costumes.

▼ And there’ll also be a Pikachu parade on the sea, with a digital splash show featuring other Pokémon as well!

This year’s Pikachu Outbreak event will run from 10-16 August, so don’t forget to don your Pikachu glasses and pack your Pokémon soda because this event looks set to be their biggest one yet!

Source: @Press
Featured image: @Press
Insert images: @PressPR Times

Little-known Pokémon fact: Pikachu originally planned to become more adept at human speech

The most famous Pokémon was supposed to become disturbingly eloquent.

When Pikachu broke tradition and actually uttered a line of intelligible dialogue during a defining moment in the Pokémon movie I Choose You! it certainly took the world by surprise. And with the new Pokémon Switch game confirmed to be released this year, the chubby rodent’s linguistic ability has once again become the talk of the town.

But according to Japanese Twitter user @MOROMORO315 not many people know that Pikachu’s creators originally intended for it to slowly become more capable of speech.

▼ Pikachu blew our minds back then, but that was its original intent.
(Translation below)

“Traveling with Ash, Pikachu was initially planned to slowly gain the ability to speak like Meowth, but Ikue Otani (Pikachu’s voice actress) did such a stellar job that they abandoned the idea. I didn’t think they would implement it in the movie after 20 years. *cries*”

This little-known fact was confirmed in a reply referencing a 2011 special two-hour TV segment by the name of Onegai! Ranking Gold where the most respectable voice actors in the industry were ranked.

The TV program revealed that Otani was so good at expressing a myriad of emotions with Pikachu’s trademark “pika” that plans for speech were promptly scrapped.

▼ She was ranked the sixth most respected voice actress of all time.
(Translation below)

“People are now discussing about Pikachu speaking in I Choose You! but as a matter of fact, the producers actually intended for it to talk in the anime TV series.”

The fact that our cute yellow buddy still runs around uttering “pika” or “pikachu,” and doesn’t have awkward discussions about the weather with Ash, is actually a testament of Otani’s remarkable talent.

And if you think that saying the same lines over and over again would be a walk in the park for a professional voice actor, it’s surprisingly challenging considering the wide range of emotions Otani has to produce off of two words.

Source: Twitter/@MOROMORO315, Twitter/@RomancedawnBono via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso

Japanese netizens divided over new hair customization options in Pokémon RPG for Nintendo Switch

Bowl haircuts for Pikachu and Eevee are not be everyone’s cup of tea.

After months of agonizing over clues about a release date on the new highly-anticipated Pokémon game, fans all over the world rejoiced when an official trailer announced that it would be available on the Nintendo Switch on 16 November this year.

Called Pokémon Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon Let’s Go, Eevee!, players will be treated to a whole slew of new gameplay elements like co-op play and bonding with your captured critters.

▼ Here’s the trailer in case you missed it.

The game seems to hit all the right notes for players. Pikachu and Eevee, as partners that will accompany you on your travels, can be customized using a wide variety of fashion accessories and hairstyles. The official Pokémon Twitter account recently had netizens talking about how the two creatures looked with one of the new hairstyles.

▼ Are those… bowl haircuts?
(Translation below)

“We’ve never seen a Pikachu quite like this! Even the hairstyles of these buddy Pokémon can be changed. Eevee’s characteristic sprout-like ahoge (the lock of hair atop its head) is very cute.”

Twitter users thought they were far from cute, however, with one netizen comparing the style to Japanese actor Tsuyoshi Muro when he starred as an incompetent wizard in parody comedy Yusha Yoshihiko.

▼ What a striking resemblance.

Others were quick to express their disappointment:

“That’s quite creepy.”
“Do Pokémon need hairstyles in the first place?”
“Am I the only one who thinks that Pokémon don’t need those hairstyles?”
“What? That’s so ugly.”
“How did it come to this?”

Nevertheless, it bears mentioning that the bowl cut is just one style among a plethora, and is just one of many new features that players get.

▼ This puff of hair looks perfect on Eevee.

It’s hard to satisfy a tough crowd who have waited a long time for Nintendo’s newest flagship game, but if the trailer is anything to go by, we’ll soon see consumers rushing to stores for a chance to catch ’em all.

Source: YouTube/The Official Pokémon YouTube channel, Twitter/@poke_times via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@poke_times

Pikachu engagement and wedding rings let you tell the love of your life “I choose you”【Photos】

Wedding rings for men and women, plus an awesome Poké Ball box for when you pop the question.

As any fan will tell you, choosing which Pokémon to send into a battle is an extremely important decision. Choose poorly, and you’re on your way to strife and sadness, but make the right decision, and good things are sure to come.

Actually, those are things you could say about choosing a spouse as well, and so it’s fitting that Japanese accessory maker U-Treasure has a new line of Pikachu engagement and wedding rings.

When you’re ready to pop the question, U-Treasure’s Pikachu engagement ring (officially listed in its catalog as the Pikachu Electric Motif Ring) features the beloved series mascot holding a compact melee diamond in his paws. The wave-like line of the ring is designed to help make your fingers appear slender, and wrapping around the front of the band you’ll find a lightning bolt.

Five choices of material are available. Pictured above is a mix of platinum and 18-carat yellow gold, but you can also opt for two-toned white and yellow gold, or monochrome platinum, white gold, or yellow gold (shown clockwise from top left below).

It stands to reason that if your love is the kind of person who’d be thrilled by a Pikachu engagement ring, she also wants a Pikachu wedding ring (since Pokémon-themed wedding jewelry is really the sort of thing it’s hard to be indifferent about). U-Treasure has you covered on that base as well, with its women’s Pikachu wedding ring (listed as the Electric Motif Pair Ring-Women’s Version).

This more understated piece is also a wave-line ring, with a streak of lightning holding a melee diamond and Pikachu leaping for joy in celebration of your nuptials. Once again, it’s available in mixes of platinum and yellow gold or white and yellow gold, as well as solid-color platinum, white gold, or yellow gold.

Oh, and if you’re thinking you couldn’t bear to take your Pikachu engagement ring off, even after you’re officially married, worry not. U-Treasure has designed the rings to complement one another, so that you can have two Pikachus on your finger at once.

But U-Treasure doesn’t just have Pikachu wedding rings for the bride. There’s also a men’s wedding ring, with a subtle design of a lightning bolt and Pikachu’s tail, which lets the groom’s fandom fly under the radar, yet still be easily sensed by other Pokémon enthusiasts.

▼ Women’s wedding ring (top) and men’s wedding ring (bottom)

Finally, if you’re looking to propose in the most Pokémon-themed way possible, U-Treasure has a wooden Poké Ball Accessory Case, which you can use to reenact Professor Kukui’s marriage proposal from the anime’s Sun and Moon arc.

All items go on sale July 27, and can be ordered here through U-Treasure’s online store, Depending on your choice of material, the wedding rings are individually priced between 73,000 and 115,000 yen (US$650 and $1,030), while the engagement ring runs between 88,000 and 135,000 yen (with the central diamond purchased separately), and the Poké Ball Accessory Case is 12,960 yen.

Oh, and if you and your Pokémon-loving betrothed are more into Mew than Pikachu, don’t forget that U-Treasure has wedding rings based on that famous Pocket Monster too.

Source: U-Treasue, PR Times via Togech
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: U-Treasure (1, 2), PR Times, U-Treasure (3)

Your Name animator creates even more phenomenal art for upcoming Pokémon movie

You’ll want to zoom in on this picture to catch all the delicate details.

Yoshitoshi Shinomiya is a deservedly respected force in the Japanese animation industry, not in the least for overseeing and creating some of the most beautiful shots in Makoto Shinkai’s box office miracleYour Name“.

Shinomiya is a particularly prodigious talent in that he dual-wields skill sets – not only is he a capable and innovative animator and background artist, but a talented illustrative artist too. Being great at animation doesn’t always preclude that you can make a good illustration – conveying a story in one image is a wholly different challenge to a combination of moving ones, after all.

With the Pokémon franchise rolling out the second edition of its animated reboot movie line, Pokémon the Movie: Everyone’s Story, the PR machine is really gearing up into overdrive, and hiring Shinomiya to illustrate the movie’s posters is a super-effective decision. Check out Shinomiya’s gorgeous painting of the Everyone’s Story cast below.

This stunning, sunlight-dappled scene introduces us to the core cast of the movie – of course the eye instantly scouts out series protagonist Satoshi (or Ash, in English-speaking countries) along with his trusty Pikachu, who is gallantly catching Satoshi’s hat out of the air for him. The surrounding cast of quirky characters are less familiar: the reboot movies each have their own characters with matching mini-arcs, all brand new for each movie.

Much of the movie’s PR is centered around that cute blonde girl with an Eevee in front, Lisa, who is a total newbie to training Pokémon and is voiced by ex-AKB48 member Rina Kawaei. Walking in front of her we have the green-haired, recalcitrant scientist Trito, played by actor Gaku Hamada. Behind Lisa is another girl, Largo, who lives alone in a forest. Largo is played by Mana Ashida, a renowned child actress who you might recognize as baby Mako Mori from Pacific Rim!

Watching over the proceedings from a balcony is Kagachi, a horror fanatic who can’t stop telling tall tales – he’s portrayed by actor Kohji Okura. But the real star of the show in my opinion is that funny little old lady leading the procession – Pokémon-hating senior Hisui, who is played by none other than one of the greatest seiyuu of all time. That’s right – it’s the eternal voice of Goku, Masako Nozawa!

Shinomiya’s poster does a great job of giving all these new characters their own spotlight, using lighting and body language to tell us how things might play out in the movie itself. It goes without saying that the art is beautiful; the dreamy, misty color palette pairs with the obvious motion of wind in the picture and perfectly highlights the tagline in the center (“Let’s get going while the wind’s still blowing!”).

It’s unsurprising that he pulled off such a stunning visual, though. This is, after all, Shinomiya’s second time producing artwork for the Pokémon reboot movies. Here’s his gorgeous take on the first film, Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!.

▼ The tagline reads “Let’s walk side by side

No wonder even Makoto Shinkai himself dropped by to compliment the poster of a movie he had nothing to do with.

▼ “Oh, Mr. Shinomiya drew Pokémon…! It’s beautiful.

Make sure to get a good close-up look at the poster when you head out to see the new movie: it’s playing in theaters across Japan as of July 12, and we’re especially excited to see a certain Silver legendary entity that hasn’t had top billing since 2000.

Source: Kai-You
Featured image: Twitter/@cagerow555

Pokémon anime TV episode will not air in U.S., blackface concerns assumed to be reason why

Episode featuring Ash disguising himself as a Passimian is missing from Disney broadcast lineup.

These days, thanks to online streaming services and improved translation coordination, it’s not unusual for new anime episodes to stream internationally on the same day they air in Japan. An exception to this trend, however, is the Pokémon franchise, for which U.S. TV broadcasts of the show’s current arc, Sun and Moon, lag about four months behind their Japanese dates.

That gap is about to get just a little shorter, though. Polygon reports that the episode Satoshi and Nagetsukesaru! Touchdown of Friendship!! (or Ash and Passimian! Touchdown of Friendship!!, if you’re going by the characters’ English-version names) will be skipped over in the U.S. TV broadcast. The episode, the 1005th for the Japanese series, was shown in Japan back in March, and would have appeared in the U.S. in early August.

The reason for its U.S. omission appears to be linked to the Pokémon Nagetsukesaru/Passimian, a Pocket Monster with a monkey-like design (aside from the obvious “simian” portion of Passimian, saru is the Japanese word for “monkey”).

The episode centers on Ash befriending a Passimian and assisting it in a contest to determine the leader of a Passimian pack. As part of the process, Ash dresses up like one of the creatures, including painting his face to match their black/dark gray facial coloring.

While no official statement has been put out from the U.S. broadcaster, the assumption is that concerns that Ash’s face-painting could be construed as a form of blackface, and thus offensive to viewers of African heritage, is the reason why the episode is being withheld from American television.

Pokémon Sun and Moon is broadcast on Disney XD, and it’s not surprising that the decidedly family-oriented organization would by extremely averse to anything that could be construed as remotely offensive or controversial.

At the same time, a number of vocal fans were quick to criticize the decision, calling it ridiculous to equate someone painting their face to resemble a Pokémon and someone painting their face to caricaturize a human ethnic group.

It’s currently unknown whether the episode will be scrubbed from Pokémon’s English continuity entirely, or whether it will be included at a later date in a visually edited form.

Sources: Polygon, Bulbapedia via Yuruku Yaru via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@TheRiolu

Pokémon Happy Meals from McDonlad’s Japan are the happiest meals of all【Videos】

Awesome Pikachu and Eevee box and goodies like a Poké Ball water pistol and Pikachu key ring have fans, adults and kids alike, craving the Golden Arches.

As the warm July sunshine streaming through our windows, we find ourselves taking a moment to reminisce about sweet summer memories of years past, such as the time we ate several Pikachu McFlurries at McDonald’s. But life is all about moving forward, and so it’s time for us to focus on the here and now…in the form of these awesome Pokémon Happy Meals which are just about to go on sale!

McDonald’s Japan has just unveiled its extensive lineup of Pokémon toys to be included with Happy Meal (or “Happy Set,” as it’s called in Japan) orders starting this week. Naturally, franchise mascot Pikachu is heavily represented, with goodies including a key chain that doubles as a tail-slapping disc shooter that lets you take down Team Rocket cutouts and a propeller toy.

▼ The disc shooter in action

Since the Pokémon Happy Meals are being offered through midsummer, it makes sense for one to be something to help you stay cool, which is the job of the Poké Ball water pistol, pictured below next to the Eevee spinning top.

▼ The Poké Ball water pistol is also billed as for target practice use, but it’s also a way to stealthily squirt your friends.

Pikachu gets one more moment in the spotlight with the Pikachu balance puzzle. The starting Pokémon of the Sun and Moon arc of the franchise are accounted for as well, with a Rowlet spinning top and disc shooters for Popplio and Litten.

▼ The adorable wobbling of the Pikachu balance puzzle

There’s even a special Pokémon-themed box, decked out with multiple Pikachus and Eevees, plus the Poké Ball motif in McDonald’s familiar red and gold, which you can fold into a flat tray (and perhaps use it as an arena for the Eevee and Rowlet spinning discs to battle one another).

The Pokémon Happy Meals go on sale July 6, and will be available for a limited, as-yet undetermined time.

Source: McDonald’s via Entabe
Images: McDonald’s