The upcoming Pokémon movie, I Choose You!, will reimagine the first season of the popular anime show, but it is most likley going to leave out two of Ash Ketchum's best friends. And fans are not pleased. The Pokemon anime series had its U.S. debut in 1998, and followed Ash on a Pokemon journey in the first episode as he is introduced to the reluctant Pikachu and tells the tale of their quest to find more Pokemon for battle. During the adventure, Pikachu finally warms up to Ash and they forge a friendship after an intense battle. But they weren't the only ones becoming fast friends.

The first episode also introduces Ash to Misty, a Gym Leader who later travels along side Ash, Pikachu, and a new friend Brock, who is introduced later in the first season. Ash, Pikachu, Misty, and Brock became inseparable after both Misty and Brock left their Gym Leader positions to travel with their new found friends. But according to Kotaku, Pokemon the Movie 20: I Choose You has chosen to replace the two beloved characters with new stand-ins, in a move that is both puzzling and maddening to long-time fans of Pokemon.

Promotional material for the movie was released earlier this year, and many fans noticed the absence of Misty and Brock while also noticing two new, unknown characters in their place. The new characters featured on the official Pokemon website are Souji and Makoto, two apparently brand new characters who were prominently shown in all of the early promotional material, with no mention of Brock or Misty. This has left many fans to voice their displeasure over the choice to leave out two main characters from the storyline all across social media, many saying that they will boycott the movie while some fans are willing to boycott Pokemon all together over the decision.

In Pokémon the Movie 20: I Choose You, Ash spends the majority of the time traveling alongside Souji and Makoto who have, you guessed it, left their Gym Leader position to go on a Pokemon adventure with Ash and Pikachu. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's pretty much the same story as the anime series, but instead of Misty and Brock, we get some random new characters. Misty's pivotal scene including the Spearow has been altered to place Makoto in the new version of the scene. Again, it is not clear why producers decided to make this change, though one can speculate that money and merchandising may have a lot to with it, or maybe that the producers are trying to separate the movie from the anime series.

Misty and Brock do show up in the credits for a brief moment, following all of Ash's other traveling buddies throughout the years in a confusing parade. Pokemon the Movie 20: I Choose You has already opened in Japan and is set to open in North America sometime in the fall, though it's questionable at this time how many long-time fans are willing to watch it. However, the series is 20 years old and more than likely aiming at a whole new audience to rope into Pokemon madness with new merchandise and new characters.

Cinemark Movie Club
Kevin Burwick