Ken Watanabe has been cast in the forthcoming Detective Pikachu movie. A spinoff of the primary Pokemon franchise, Detective Pikachu is based on a Nintendo 3DS video game of the same name and will focus on the exploits of a certain yellow mouse. The game sees an especially intelligent Pikachu meet a young boy who can understand what the creature says and, naturally, the duo team up to fight crime. Similarly, the movie adaptation begins when a teenager's father goes missing and Pikachu steps in to help solve the case.
Despite the unconventional premise, Detective Pikachu has already attracted an impressive cast. Ryan Reynolds will be voicing the titular Pokemon with Justice Smith (The Get Down) and Kathryn Newton (Supernatural, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) filling out the movie's human contingent. Goosebumps director Rob Letterman will be behind the camera and the script is penned by Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch. A release date of May 10, 2019 has been set.
Another name can now be added to that ever-growing cast list: Inception and Godzilla actor, Ken Watanabe. According to THR, Watanabe will be playing a character created specifically for the Detective Pikachu movie - Detective Yoshida. Details surrounding Yoshida's character and how he fits into the plot of Detective Pikachu remain scarce at present.
Hiring such an esteemed actor as Ken Watanabe is certainly another huge coup for Detective Pikachu. In terms of the story however, it seems odd that with a genuine, qualified investigator present, crime-solving would be left to a hyperactive yellow mouse dressed as Sherlock Holmes. This might suggest that Watanabe's character will be the antagonist of the movie, playing a corrupt cop sort of figure that forces Justice Smith's character to look elsewhere for help in finding his father.
It would be accurate to say that Pokemon fans have been intrigued by the possibility of a live-action movie for years but it was always assumed that such a project would, like the hugely popular anime, be based on the main series of video games rather than a spinoff. As such, Detective Pikachu will probably struggle to draw in the nostalgia crowd that might've bought a ticket to see a more recognizable live-action interpretation of the Pokemon franchise.
However, the concept of a talking Pikachu roaming around solving crimes (and reasonably serious ones at that) perhaps falls into the category of "so crazy it just might work." The Detective Pikachu video game certainly has its fans over in Japan and the casting of Ryan Reynolds could be an inspired decision. Unfortunately, anyone hoping that Reynolds would bring the famous potty-mouth of Deadpool into his Pikachu character is likely to be left disappointed.
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019