2016 has been an unexpectedly rewarding year for the Pokémon brand in general, between the unanticipated mass success of the Pokémon Go mobile game, Nintendo's Pokémon Sun & Moon games becoming best-selling titles well ahead of their release, and Legendary Pictures picking up the rights to a live-action Pokémon movie (one that is now being actively scripted). Things are going well for the world of pocket monsters on the animated movie/television side of things too, what with the 20th season of the animated TV show Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon set to premiere in the U.S. soon.
Sun & Moon the cartoon series will, in fact, be debuting stateside on Disney XD, it turns out. The news is now public knowledge thanks to a larger announcement made by Disney and The Pokémon Company International, revealing that the pair have signed a multi-year animation distribution deal. That deal also means that the latest animated Pokémon film, Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel, will debut on the Disney XD network.
Disney XD will premiere Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon on December 5th this year and will eventually air most of the extensive Pokémon animated movie/TV collection (now encompassing 900 TV episodes and 15 feature-length films). Here is the official statement concerning the distribution deal, from Pokémon Company International senior vice president Emily Arons:
“During our 20-year celebration, fans’ appetite for Pokémon is at an all-time high, and The Pokémon Company International is thrilled to join forces with Disney XD as the new home for Pokémon animation in the U.S. Disney XD is the perfect way to deliver Pokémon animation to kids and fans across the country on its multiple platforms.”
The Sun & Moon TV series sees Ash Ketchum and his fellow Pokémon trainers "take their first steps into the Alola region," as part of their ongoing quest to (what else?) catch more Pokémon. Meanwhile, Volcanion and the Mechanical Marvel follows Ash and friends on their journey to "a city of cogs and gears," where they battle a corrupt minister who has stolen a powerful (and ancient) invention that is known as the Artificial Pokémon Magearna.
Disney XD is already home to multiple animated Marvel TV series (with more on the horizon) and the animated Star Wars Rebels TV series, meaning that this distribution deal with the Pokémon Company gives the Disney network yet another feather in its cap, as far as entertainment for different fandoms goes. This deal should also help the Pokémon brand to remain popular in the U.S., even after things (presumably) start to settle down a bit for the now twenty year-old franchise, following its standout performance in 2016. Then again, who knows; with the Mouse House now in its corner, this year may wind up going down as but the beginning of a resurgence in popularity for the greater Pokémon property.
Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon premieres on Disney XD on December 5th, 2016.
Source: Disney XD/The Pokémon Company International