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Pokémon fans in shock as Pikachu speaks English in latest movie

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Pokémon fans around the world have been left in shock by a controversial scene in the series’s latest animated movie in which Pikachu is seen to speak English.

The iconic Pokémon, who has functioned as the series mascot since the late 1990s, has traditionally been unable to speak human languages. Like most other Pokémon, he could only repeat his own name.

But in a surreal sequence from Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!, released in Japan in July and now in English, Pikachu tells his trainer and companion Ash Ketchum that he “always wants to be with you”.

During one screening of the movie posted to Twitter, viewers reacted with audible gasps and alarm.

One muttered “What the fuck?” while a man can be heard to shout “No!”.

Ryan Broderick (@broderick)

Hi, I am just learning that Pikachu speaks English in the new Pokemon movie and, yes, it is extremely fucking weird pic.twitter.com/k5hm5lyW7Y

November 13, 2017

The distressing scene is said to be made more unsettling by Pikachu’s high-pitched voice.

Kate Bristol, the film’s English languge voice actor for Pikachu, said in a statement that even other members of the cast found it “bizarre” and “super weird”.

The surprising dialogue has been widely interpreted as occurring during a dream sequence or hallucination inside the protagonist Ash Ketchum’s head.

“I think the literal circumstances under which Pikachu is ‘speaking’ are up to interpretation,” Bristol said. “I saw it as something in Ash’s mind. But it’s up to anyone. And it’s OK to think it’s super weird.

“I sat in the theatre with the rest of the cast while everyone shouted ‘what the fuck’ and I sat there laughing at how bizarre it all is, especially hearing my squeaky little voice come out of it.

“Personally, I did my best to mimic [Japanese voice actor] Ikue Otani as she is the master. This part in Japanese is adorable. At the end of the day Pokémon is a good time and I sure as hell enjoyed being a Pikachu for 0.5 seconds.”

The original Japanese release of the film contains a similar scene where Pikachu speaks Japanese, but has not prompted the same reaction.

The animated version of Pikachu first appeared in the Pokémon anime television series, which debuted in Japan on 1 April 1997, and has spawned numerous sequels and movies.

This all stemmed from the popularity of the original Pokémon video game, developed by Nintendo and Game Freak, released in 1996.

In North America, the game was released as Pokémon Red and Blue in 1998 and sparked a wave of Pokémon frenzy, becoming one of the world’s most popular gaming and television franchises.

In the animated series only one Pokémon – Meowth, a cat-like Pokémon who functions as an antagonist – has generally been acknowledged as being able to speak.

Other Pokémon, including a different Pikachu in the 3DS game Great Detective Pikachu, have been depicted as speaking English, but these are not considered consistent with the canon of the series.

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