23rd Pokémon Film Delayed Due to COVID-19
posted on by Egan Loo
The official website for the Pokémon films announced on Wednesday that Gekijōban Pocket Monster Koko, the 23rd anime film in the franchise, has been delayed due to the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). TOHO had originally planned to open the film on July 10. The films' website and social media accounts will announce the new opening date and the release date for advance ticket passes as soon as they are decided.
The new Pocket Monsters television anime has also temporarily suspended part of its production of the series due to COVID-19. Netflix will begin exclusively streaming the new Pocket Monsters television anime under the title Pokémon Journeys: The Series in the United States on June 12.
The new film's story is set in Okoya Forest, a Pokémon paradise protected by strict rules that forbid outsiders from setting foot inside. The film centers on Koko, a boy who was raised by Pokémon and also considers himself as one, treating the Mythical Pokémon Zarude as his father. Ash and Pikachu encounter Koko during an adventure. The film focuses on the theme of a "human raised by Pokémon," instead of the previous films' focus of the "bond between a human trainer and their Pokémon."
Tetsuo Yajima returns from 2018's Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us film at OLM, and is co-writing the film's script with Pokémon series writer Atsuhiro Tomioka. TOHO is distributing the film. Hiroyuki Kato is the animation producer. Hirotaka Marufuji (Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us chief animation director, sub-character designer) is designing the characters, and is also the chief animation director alongside Yasushi Nishitani (Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us). Masafumi Mima is the sound director.
The film is the first all-new anime film in the franchise in two years, since the most recent films in the franchise include Pokémon Detective Pikachu (a live-action film) and Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution (a 3D CG remake of the 1998 film Pocket Monsters: Mewtwo no Gyakushū).
Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us, the 21st film in the franchise, opened in Japan in July 2018. Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution, the 22nd film in the Pokémon franchise, opened in Japan last July.