It seems like half of the news that’s been coming out of the anime industry these past few weeks has only been about films and television series being delayed or postponed indefinitely. Upcoming television premieres, currently airing anime, and even theater debuts of exciting anime films have all been hit with unexpected delays due to the state of emergency Japan is currently experiencing as a result of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Even one of the biggest entertainment properties in the world, Pokémon, isn’t immune to the effects that COVID-19 has had on the anime industry. We already learned that the currently airing Pocket Monsters anime series has had production halted as new episodes have been delayed indefinitely. Now, the same fate has stricken the upcoming 23rd feature-length film in the franchise, as Gekijōban Pocket Monster Koko has been delayed.
Initially set to be released in theaters across the country on July 10th, the official website for the upcoming Pokémon film announced that they would no longer be able to meet that release date due to the spread of COVID-19. Once a new release date for the film has been decided, the official website and social media accounts for the movie will announce the changed debut date and advance ticket sale options.
The new Pokémon film takes place in Okoya Forest, a gorgeous natural paradise governed by incredibly strict rules that prevent any outsider from setting foot inside this untainted stretch of natural wonder. While Ash Ketchum and his trusty partner Pikachu return in the film, the story also focuses on a young boy named Coco who was raised by the Pokémon of Okoya Forest. He’s spent so much time with these creatures, in fact, that he considers himself one, and thinks of the Mythical Pokémon Zarude as his father.
Tetsuo Yajima, the writer of the 2018 film Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us, returns to co-write this new feature alongside series writer Atsuhiro Tomioka. Hiroyuki Kato is acting as animation producer, while character designs are being handled by Hirotaka Marufuji. Marufuji was previously the chief animation director and sub-character designer of Pokémon the Movie: The Power of Us. Marufuji is also the chief animation director of the film alongside Yasushi Nishitani. Masafumi Mima, meanwhile, is the sound director.
While there are usually yearly animated film entries in the long-running Pokémon anime series, in 2019 the franchise shook things up a bit and opted to go for other styles of film instead of their usual 2D-animated adventures. One such project was the Hollywood live-action film Pokémon Detective Pikachu, while the other was a 3D CG movie titled Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution that actually served as a remake of the classic 1998 movie Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back.
Source: Anime News Network