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‘PokéTsume’: release date, cast, and how to watch the new live action ‘Pokémon’ series

What exactly do we know so far?

Ash and Pikachu
Image via Netflix

Few pop culture phenomenons have swept across the globe like Pokémon. The Japanese media franchise began with games in the nineties, before exploding in popularity when they moved onto producing Manga, trading cards, and television shows.

Nowadays, every Pokémon release is met with a worldwide wave of anticipation — or at least they usually are. However, on Wednesday 30 August 2023, The Pokémon Company revealed that they will be releasing a new live-action series titled Pocket ni Bōken wo Tsumekonde (Fill Your Pocket with Adventure, or PokéTsume for short), and outside of Japan it’s getting very little attention.

So, what’s the deal with the upcoming PokéTsume series? It’s all a bit murky for now, but here’s everything we know about PokéTsume so far, including its release date, cast, and where you can watch it (or not, as the case may be).

What is PokéTsume?

'Pokétsume' title card
Image via TV-Tokyo

Before fans start pre-emptively complaining about low quality CGI and similar things, this isn’t going to be a Pokémon Go type live action show, where we’ll have a trainer looking for the creatures in the real world. PokéTsume seems like it will be more about the lead using the game as a way to navigate her life in modern Tokyo.

The show is a collaboration between TV-Tokyo and The Pokémon Company. Its main character is named Madoka, a young woman who like many people grew up playing Pokémon Red and Green. After getting bored of working at a factory in her local town, and with big dreams of becoming a creative, she begins working at an ad agency in Tokyo named ADventure. However, life in Tokyo isn’t as easy as she imagined it might be, and she soon begins to wonder if she’s made the correct choice.

As she’s wavering in her decision to come to the Japanese capital, she receives a package from her mother. In it is her old Gameboy and a copy of Pokémon. Although it’s been twenty years since she last turned it on, she’s soon playing daily, and not just as an escape, but because she finds more and more facets of the game are still relevant to her today, and might even help her to become the person she wants to be.

Although there aren’t any real creatures in the series, many of Madoka’s workmates at ADventure are based on pokémon, and there are plenty of other Easter Eggs that will keep avid fans happy. Series producer Koichi Urushima described the show in the following way:

“It is a human story in which the main character, Madoka Akagi, played by Nanase Nishino,
changes her work and her surroundings little by little when she touches Pokemon for the first time in a while…Even if you haven’t touched Red or Green, you’ll understand if you’ve experienced other series, and of course, we’re aiming for content that even those who have never played the game can enjoy as a human drama!”

Who are the cast of PokéTsume?

Nanase Nishino of Nogizaka46 attends PR event of her second solo photo book on October 4, 2016 in Tokyo, Japan.
Photo by Sports Nippon/Getty Images

So far we only know of one character in the show: Madoka. She’s being played by a former member of girlband Nogizaka46 named Nanase Nishino. Nishino is a dedicated fan of the franchise as well as a well regarded actor in her native land, having been nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Award and winning the Best New Actor Award at the 45th Japan Academy Awards for her performance in the crime film Last of the Wolves.

Talking about the series on TV-Tokyo’s website, Nishino discussed her excitement at being involved in the world she grew up loving:

“I was talking with my friends one day about how ‘Someday, I wanna work on something to do with Pokémon’ and so imagine my shock when I heard about this show just a few days later. I’ve played most of the games from the first generation all the way to the newest games, and so as one of the members of the generation of adults who’ve grown up with Pokémon I was just ecstatic.”

She also discussed her take on her character, Madoka:

The character I play, Madoka Akagi, is someone who mobilizes into action and who can take shocking developments and grow from them. The first time I talked with the producers they told me that they ‘want to stress that you’re not the “star” of the show, you’re its ‘main character,’ and I thought that was so interesting. I made sure to keep that in mind whenever I stepped onto set… during this adventure those of you who’ve played Pokémon before will be able to see Madoka and her friends evolve while also saying things like ‘that takes me back'”

When will PokéTsume be released?

Nanase Nishino as Madoka Akagi
Image via “Put adventure in your pocket” Production Committee

Although it was only officially announced a day ago, the series is set to air on October 19 2023. It will take the time slot of Thursday between 00.30 and 01.00, on TV Tokyo, TV Osaka, TV Aichi, TV Setouchi, TV Hokkaido and TVQ Kyushu Broadcasting.

Where can I watch PokéTsume?

Nanase Nishino as Madoka Akagi in "PokeTsume"
Image via “Put adventure in your pocket” Production Committee

Sadly, the series won’t be available to stream on any U.S based streaming or cable services for the time being. However, if you’re willing to use a VPN then it will be available to stream on U-NEXT, TV Tokyo HP, and TVer.

There is no public information about the show being available outside of Japan at any time in the future.

About the author

Sandeep Sandhu

Sandeep is a writer at We Got This Covered and is originally from London, England. His work on film, TV, and books has appeared in a number of publications in the UK and US over the past five or so years, and he's also published several short stories and poems. He thinks people need to talk about the Kafkaesque nature of The Sopranos more, and that The Simpsons seasons 2-9 is the best television ever produced. He is still unsure if he loves David Lynch, or is just trying to seem cool and artsy.