The Pokémon Company is having quite a year. Hot off the trails of Warner Bros.’ successful live action adaption Detective Pikachu, the next animated Pokémon film, Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution, is headed straight to Japanese theaters next week. Though, no release date has been revealed stateside, fans at the 2019 Anime Expo were treated to a special screening last night, and reactions are slowly rolling in on social media.
The film, which is a nearly shot-for-shot CGI remake of Pokémon: The First Movie, finds Ash and his friends lured to a mysterious island, where the villainous Mewtwo has trapped them as a part of a larger villainous scheme. Updating the very first Pokémon movie, which broke box office records upon its 1998 release in the United States and is still beloved by ‘90s kids today, quickly drew the ire of many fans. After the first trailer debuted online, many of these feelings were worsened by the new digital animation style, with some claiming that the familiar designs of human characters like Brock and Misty now look too creepy and off model.
But according to last night’s reactions, those who were alarmed by the footage won’t have anything to worry about, as audiences will be treated to a nonstop joyride of nostalgia once the story kicks off:
I saw Pokémon Movie 22: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution! It's a beat by beat CGI remake of the first one. Everyone was worried about the animation but it looks great in motion. I really wish I saw this in 3D! #AX2019 pic.twitter.com/j6VhMHZ4iw
— 魔 @ #AX2019 (@TheOtakuKing) July 5, 2019
Pokemon: Mewtwo Stikes Back Evolution is a worthy adaptation of its original. It will hit you with all the nostalgia, and the 3DCG is hardly noticeable after awhile. Also, Pikachu could not be cuter, but it is Vaporeon who shines!!!
— Megan Peters 🔜 AX 2019 (@meganpeterscb) July 5, 2019
As far as Nostalgia goes, the Pokemon Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is a nice venture back in time with updated Graphics and music. #AnimeExpo2019
— Anime Diet (@animediet) July 5, 2019
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Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is like the movie version of a video game remake: better graphics, new audio, and some fun fan service. #AX2019
— Jason Rechtman (@jsr7) July 5, 2019
I also went to the Pokémon Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution screening and talk! It was so enjoyable!!! Takeshiiiii!!!! Pikachu!!!!!! Meeeew!!!! I cried!!!! And Rica Matsumoto was there—she was glam, beautiful, and just downright amazing!!!! OMG just WOW. What an afternoon!!!
— 🌸🦊Jan🦊🌸 (@raichub) July 5, 2019
Wow AX thanks for making me cry! Childhood nostalgia with Pokémon Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution! 😭🤧👍#AX2019
— marli4u🔜AX (@marli4u) July 5, 2019
If these early reactions are anything to go by, The Pokémon Company has another surefire hit on its hands. Add this to the box office success of Detective Pikachu, another new wave of popularity for Pokémon Go, and the highly anticipated release of Sword & Shield for the Nintendo Switch, and this is a pretty great year to be a Pokémon fan.
Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution is set to open July 12th in Japanese theaters, while an English language dub is set to release in the West later this year.