A while back fans were abuzz over hearing the news that several studios were bidding over the film rights to a live action Pokemon film, and eventually Legendary won the bid. It seems to be nearly official that the live action story we'll see is not of Ash Ketchum, but Detective Pikachu instead.
There's no doubt about it, this seems like a very odd decision on story telling! Most Pokemon fans, and even casual viewers, are very familiar with Pikachu and Ash Ketchum, so it seems strange to base a live action film on the Japanese video game Detective Pikachu.
The game follows a peculiar talking Pikachu who, despite not being as powerful and nimble as other Pikachu of his kind, is rather intelligent and claims to be a great detective. One day, Pikachu encounters a boy named Tim Goodman, who is able to understand what he is saying. Thus, the two begin working together to solve various mysteries revolving around Pokémon in the city.
Unfortunately, longtime Pokemon fans who were hoping to see live action versions of Ash, Misty, Brock, and Team Rocket will have to wait. We can only hope that Detective Pikachu does well and we get a Pokemon Cinematic Universe that expands to include Ash and his friends. After all this is what the fans really want.
If we do get a live action Pokemon film starring Ash, Misty, Brock, Jessie and James here are my top stories straight out of the anime that fans would love to see.
1. Pokémon, I Choose You!
Obviously you can't start out Ash Ketchum's arc without incorporating aspects from the original anime that started it all. In the anime, Ash went to sleep excited to start his Pokemon journey the next morning, but he slept in and missed out on the original three starter Pokemon: Bulbasour, Charmander and Squirtle. He arrived late and begged for any Pokemon Professor Oak would give him. Reluctantly Oak gave him a Pikachu, who was not fond of Ash right away, Ash had to prove himself through the episode that he cared for Pikachu in protecting him from a vicious flock of Spearow.
2. Bulbasaur, Charmander, And Squirtle
Episodes 10, 11 and 12 are huge because they introduce Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle into Ash's team. These three become "core" Pokemon, along with Pikachu. These episodes are so important to the rest of the anime, and must be included in any live action story that's told.
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While the stories of how Ash finds and catches them aren't important, or interesting, my hope would be that all of these episodes would be mashed into a montage, maybe even in opening credits sequence after the initial action of Ash receiving and protecting Pikachu. We could witness Ash finding the trio, but not clutter the film up with their small stories. It would avoid the problem we witnessed in The Last Airbender live action where they attempted to cram an entire season into a two-hour film.
These three starters are a huge part of Pokemon mythology, and have to be included in any live action film's story! Ash would need these three to be a part of his Pokemon roster.
3. An Evil Team Rocket
The anime introduced us to the villainous Team Rocket terrorist organization attempting to gain world domination through means of Pokemon. In the original game, a large part of the story line revolves around thwarting Team Rocket's attempt at taking over the world through Pokemon training. The final of eight gym leaders in the Kanto region is Team Rocket leader Giovanni. Giovanni is also the scientist responsible for cloning Mewtwo from DNA of the ancient Pokemon, Mew.
If we really did get a Pokemon Cinematic Universe, Team Rocket would be awesome as ongoing villains! Sure, fans mostly associate Team Rocket with the trio from the anime, Jesse, James and Meowth, who were only used as comic relief. These three represented Team Rocket in each episode, but never could accomplish any of the goals they set to capture any Pokemon for their boss. As much as I love the trio, hopefully they lose a little of the humor and gain more substance, depth and competence if they appear in a live action movie.
4. A Wide Variety of Pokemon
One thing the anime did a great job at was slowly introducing us to each of the different 150 Pokemon in Generation I. Each episode of the show would be centered around our characters learning, and becoming familiar with one, or sometimes two, Pokemon. However, now that a fanbase is built, and fans are very familiar with Pokemon (especially Generations I and II), let's make sure to include a large variety of Pokemon in a large action film.
In the anime, Pokemon trainers are allowed to carry six Pokemon with them at a time, any more that are captured are transferred to a holding facility. Ash Ketchum had several lineups of Pokemon over the seasons, as did his companions Misty and Brock. If we ever got another live action movie my hope would be that we could see a wide variety of Pokemon and their evolutionaries. Obviously everyone wants to see Charizard, but I think keeping it simple and narrowed down to Generation I, maybe even II, would be best.
One episode that stands out from season one is "Attack of the Prehistoric Pokemon." This could be a very fun film premise as the episode put Ash directly into competition with his rival, Gary Oak, as they came across a cave full of Pokemon previously believed to be extinct. It ended with a pretty epic fight between Charizard and Aerodactyl.
5. Awesome Pokemon Battles
Obviously what every fan wants from any live action Pokemon movie is to see some epic Pokemon battles. Ash and Pikachu have had their share of thrilling Pokemon fights with Gym Leaders, Team Rocket, and other trainers. Even Misty and Brock's Pokemon have had some pretty epic fights with their own Pokemon — even fighting each other upon occasion!
Who doesn't want to see Ash's iconic fight with Sabrina, the psychic trainer, and her Kadabra? Or the visual of the gigantic Onix when Ash first meets and fights Brock? Raichu fighting Pikachu has always been a fan favorite as well, and to see these two together on screen would be amazing. For me, though, the single fight that makes the top of the list would be Ash's Charizard against Cinnabar Island Gym Leader Blaine and his Magmar.
Until the announced Detective Pikachu is released, and performs well, it's unlikely a live action Pokemon movie starring Ash, Pikachu and the rest will be announced. This fan hopes that it's sooner than later, but above all else that it's fun and well done.