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Bulbagraphic:Translating the Blog Entries of Mr. Shudo

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Translating the Blog Entries of Mr. Shudo
A look into the mind of one of the creators of the Anime
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  • Sunday, September 11, 2011

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From 2005 to 2010, Takeshi Shudo, former series constructor of the Pokémon anime, posted a series of blogs on his website. Some were entries were about personal matters and various shows he worked on, while others reflected on his time spent conceiving and writing the Pokemon anime. While Mr. Shudo completed his column as a whole before his death, only a few Pokémon entries have been translated so far. Those entries can be seen here.

A user on Bulbagarden who goes by jessierocketka stumbled upon his blogs one day. Being a huge Rocket-Dan fan, she was kind enough to translate all of his Rocket themed ones for her fellow Rocket fans. These entries ended up revealing some interesting information on how the show was run, as well as revealing Mr. Shudo's thoughts on parts of the anime.

The translated entries start off with Mr. Shudo talking about how he created the personalities for all the main characters. He wanted Pokémon to appeal to adults as well as children, so he made the rocket trio more complex so they would entertain the older viewers. He created the Rocket-Dan so Pokémon could be an anime the family could enjoy, not just a children's anime.

Jessie, James and Meowth in their white uniforms, one of Mr. Shudo's favorite aspects of the series.

Unfortunately, with television at the end of the day being a business, he was not able to completely convey the show he wanted. He refers to man called "Omae-sama" who he seemed to constantly have disagreements with on how the show should run, namely with the Rocket-Dan. It was easier for the writers to have the anime have a formulaic format with them "blasting off" at the end of the day, rather than come up with more original ideas.

While Mr. Shudo hated that he could never stand up for what he wanted the shout be, and didn't like what it became, there are some interesting pieces of information. Mr. Shudo revealed things such as the Rocket voice actors being the ones who wanted their motto in every episode. When the anime was going to change with the start of Advanced Generation, it was debated between Kasumi and the Rocket-Dan as to who would get the boot. While Shudo felt bad for Kasumi, he felt the Rocket-Dan were more important.

He also went into the detailed characterization on the Rockets. He observed how much self-respect they have, and how they are good-natured at heart. Shudo does not see them as hopeless characters, just people who because of personal circumstances stopped leading an honest life. He also views them as very independent people. Their white uniforms were self-made to retain their individuality, even though the Rocket-Dan belong to a huge criminal enterprise. Mr. Shudo notes that while it may appear they're kowtowing to their boss, when the boss isn't around, the Rocket-Dan do as they please.

This is only part of what these blogs reveal. Mr. Shudo goes into much more detail about the second movie, and how the movie's theme is coexistence. He also delves into his own philosophies on life. And while the blogs may seem to end on a sad note, I feel there's a resolution to his story. Shortly after Mr. Shudo's death, the man he referees to as "Omae-sama", reflected on Mr. Shudo's work in Pokémon, noting how he created the Rocket-Dan and their motto, and prayed for his happiness in the next world. To me, it felt as if he recognized how much Mr. Shudo cared for the Rockets, which puts a more positive spin on the negativity of him in the blogs.

These blog entries also caused a bit of controversy among the shipping community. In one the entries, Mr. Shudo talks about how Kasumi didn't follow Satoshi in his journey due to a crush. It was a "fake scene" to make her existence in the series stand out. Adding that Kasumi falling in love with Satoshi would make things too complicated.

He also went into a cut scene from the second movie where Kasumi was giving CPR to Satoshi. He was worried that people would misunderstand the scene, since she only wanted him to live so her existence wouldn't become weaker. In general, he didn't like what he did to the character and how her reason for being on the show wasn't very justified.

As an aspiring writer, I found all of the entries thus far to be a fascinating read. Not just because I'm a huge fan of the Rockets, but also for the insight into how the show was run, as well as other tips he gives out. If you haven't read them yet, I urge you to do so now. It may be a bit of a long read, but I feel all fans of the Pokémon anime can get something out of them.

As I said earlier, only a few of these blog entries have been fully translated thus far. If you're fluent in Japanese, I ask you to help out the fandom in translating the rest of these. (untranslated entries can be found here) Who knows what insights we'll discover next.