Pokémon is a franchise that needs no introduction. First created in 1996, it has since spawned countless games, TV shows, movies, and even tourist attractions. All told, it’s not surprising to see a new Pokémon movie dominating the Netflix charts.
According to Flixpatrol, Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle is currently dominating Netflix’s movie charts and is the 3rd most popular movie on the streaming service. Secrets of the Jungle is the 23rd Pokémon movie in the franchise and was directed by Tetsuo Yajima and produced by OLM. It was released in Japan on December 25th, 2020 after being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It only hit American Netflix on October 8th of this year, so its quick rise up the charts shows how popular the franchise still is and how excited fans are to finally see the movie.
Part of the hype is that this film returns to the 2D animation that the franchise has traditionally used rather than the CGI animation it has dabbled in with recent films, most notably in Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution.
Secrets of the Jungle sees regular series protagonist Ash Ketchum and his buddy Pikachu visit the Forest of Okoya to try and catch some Pokémon. However, while adventuring in the jungle, they stumble across Koko, a young child raised by the mythical Pokémon Zarude. Ash soon learns that the Forest of Okoya might be under threat by Team Rocket and another shadowy group, both of which wants to use the jungle’s treasures for their own ends.
Most of the regular show’s voice cast returns to voice their characters in this film, including Sarah Natochenny as Ash, a role she has performed since 2006, and Ikue Otani once again as Pikachu in both Japan and America. The film also introduces prolific voice actress Kimlinh Tran as Koko, the new character Ash and Pikachu meet.
The film was popular when it was first released in Japan, earning 2 billion yen at the box office despite the pandemic affecting its release. The American release has received equally enthusiastic praise from fans and currently has an 80% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes and 6.9 out of 10 on IMDb.
While no one expected Secrets of the Jungle to do poorly, seeing it shoot up the Netflix charts so quickly demonstrates how popular the franchise still is, even after all this time. Few franchises can remain continually engaging for 25 years straight, especially one that covers so many mediums. However, Pokémon the Movie: Secrets of the Jungle proves that Pikachu isn’t going anywhere any time soon.