The upcoming 20th Pokémon movie, I Choose You, is a reimagining of the anime’s first season — but don’t expect everything to be the same. Among the biggest changes are new takes on classic moments and, for whatever reason, the replacement of Ash Ketchum’s best friends, Brock and Misty.
Brock and Misty left their posts as gym leaders early on in the anime to accompany Ash on his journey to becoming a Pokémon master. (He’s a charmer, that kid.) I Choose You forfeits these characters in favor of two new fellow trainers. There’s Souji, whose partner is a Lucario — a fourth-gen Pokémon, and thus another retcon — and Makoto, who buddies up with a Piplup.
Both are prominent in the film’s promotional material; check them out in the latest extended trailer for I Choose You. The jury’s still out on whether they’re as memorable as the lovelorn Brock and stubborn Misty, but we imagine it will be hard to get nostalgic fans to warm up to them.
Count us among the skeptics: It’s odd to replace Ash’s best friends with two newcomers, even if I Choose You isn’t a straight remake of the original Pokémon anime. A story this familiar and beloved may be able to withstand some tweaks, but dropping some of the most visible characters may not be one of them.
The good (?) news is that both characters, and some other fan favorites, make an appearance during the end credits. That’s … something, at least.
I Choose You premieres in Japan on July 15. A Western release date has not been announced — and don’t expect Brock and Misty’s return to be announced alongside it.