Etsuko KozakuraPokemonMayumi IizukaNoriko Sakai
Pikachu & Pichu
Medium: short film
Year: 2000
Director: Kunihiko Yuyama
Original creator: Satoshi Tajiri
Writer: Hideki Sonoda
Actor: Ikue Ohtani, Satomi Koorogi, Yumi Touma, Chinami Nishimura, Etsuko Kozakura, Inuko Inuyama, Kaori Tsuji, Katsuyuki Konishi, Koichi Sakaguchi, Mayumi Iizuka, Megumi Hayashibara, Mika Kanai, Mitsuru Ogata, Naoki Tatsuta, Noriko Sakai, Rica Matsumoto, Rikako Aikawa, Shinichiro Miki, Unshou Ishizuka, Yuji Ueda, Yukiji
Keywords: Pokemon, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Really short
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=4621
Website category: Anime early 00s
Review date: 27 February 2013
It's the third Pokemon animated short, released alongside the third Pokemon feature film, Spell of the Unown. The first two shorts had been Pikachu's Summer Vacation (with the first film) and Pikachu's Exploration Party (with the second one).
The shorts are getting better and the films are getting worse.
It's just throwaway fun, obviously, but it's also entertaining for adults as well as their sprogs. It plays a bit like a silent one-reeler, in fact, maybe Buster Keaton or the Keystone Cops. Pokemon can't use human language, except for Meowth. Pikachu just says "Pika", "Chu", "Pikachu", etc. Thus the dialogue for most of the film is just gibberish that might as well be music or sound effects, although we do have some bookending scenes with Satoshi, Kasumi and Kojirou. The humans are going off to do human things (probably kinky sex) and so they tell their Pokemon to chill out and have fun until they all meet again at six o'clock.
This isn't a human-free movie, but for the most part it is. Note the way that we never see a human face, for instance. They're parent analogues and the Pokemon are like kids who've been let out to play.
I'm sure I've said this before, but I love the idea of Pokemon-only films. They let us forget all the faintly disturbing aspects of human-Pokemon interactions, but more importantly they force the storytelling to be entirely visual and kinetic. This short film is just non-stop fun action that's far stronger for its visual immediacy, plus of course it has some of the most amazing creatures I've ever seen. Pokemon are freaky. Every time, I marvel at the imaginations of the designers who dream them up. They push the boundaries of what you'd imagine could be a living creature. There's a blue radish. There are daffodil and sunflower Pokemon... and these Bizarro world things can all play, fight, annoy each other and converse in gibberish!
The plot involves two mini-Pikachu brothers, called Pichu. They're a bit like Pikachu, but smaller and naughtier. They show up and misbehave, provoking Pikachu to get himself into trouble. The action sequences that ensue involve a flagpole, a rope, a river, a big dog Pokemon called Houndour, a flock of flying pigs (no, really), a pile of tyres and Meowth moonlighting as a window cleaner. You watch it. It's a laugh. What more do you want from a five-minute cartoon?
That said, though, I'm also a fan of the show's underlying philosophy. I love the way our heroes save that apparently evil dog. It hadn't even occurred to me that they'd do that, but they do and it feels natural and lovely. I also like the fact that Satoshi has been organising a banquet to celebrate the anniversary of the day when he and Pikachu first became friends, which is another celebration of childhood friendship and manages not to feel too syrupy. The food's implausibly magnificent, though. Does Satoshi own a catering firm?
The music's fun, too, with boogie-woogie, jazz and brassy big band stuff.
There's not much to say about this one, really. It's the nearest anime equivalent I've seen to Looney Tunes, but with gooey sentiment at its heart instead of anarchy. I thought it was great.