[Spoilers for Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!]
Fans who go see Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! will be in for quite a surprise - namely, a talking Pikachu. A new Pokémon movie is generally regarded with little fanfare, but this year's 20th movie is something a bit different. While previous films have continued Ash's adventures alongside the events of the TV series, Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! actually goes back to the very beginning of the story.
Using the pilot of the original animated series as its basis and namesake, the film retells Ash's initial outing as a Pokémon trainer with a much surlier version of Pikachu. Many of the episode's broad strokes are included, but things begin to change once Ash and Pikachu get an even better glimpse of the Legendary Ho-Oh than they did in the series. From there, they go off on an all-new adventure with Pokémon not in the show or game's first Generation and a different set of companions for Ash. While all this had already been revealed by the Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! trailer, one crucial element was left out.
YouTube user Demon Inu has added a pivotal scene from the climax of Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! In it, we see Ash about to be obliterated by a series of Hyper Beams. At the last minute, Pikachu jumps in front of him and is able to take the brunt of the attack. It's then that the Pokémon's usual repetition of the first part of his name turns into something rather unexpected.
Thanks to this being footage from one of the screenings of the film, we get the added bonus of hearing audiences react to the reveal in real-time. Immediately, you can here vocal confusion as Pikachu begins pouring out his heart to Ash. For anyone thinking this is merely some addition for the English version of the film, the original Japanese movie features a talking Pikachu as well.
The idea of a talking Pokémon certainly isn't new, but those able to speak in complete sentences have been incredibly rare. Meowth in the TV series is the prime example, but even he spent years learning how to do so. Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! doesn't seem to provide any such backstory for Pikachu, making the moment all the more unusual.
This film won't be the last time Pikachu speaks either, as the upcoming Detective Pikachu will give the character plenty to say as well. In fact, The Rock may voice Detective Pikachu in the film, proving just how surreal the first live-action Pokémon movie will be. In the meantime, Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! will remain one of the stranger entries in the franchise's canon.
Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! is in select theaters now.