Pokemon anime nearly had more Pokemon that talk like humans
The Pokemon anime once experimented with more Pokemon who could speak the language of humans, but the idea was scrapped, leaving only Meowth and a few others.
The CEO of the Pokemon Company has revealed that there were plans for more Pokemon that could talk like humans to appear in the anime. Ultimately, the idea was scrapped but evolved into the Detective Pikachu project.
In the Pokemon anime, Team Rocket’s Meowth is one of the few Pokemon who can speak the language of humans and Pokemon. A few other Pokemon could do this feat, such as Gastly, who appeared in the first season, and Mewtwo from the original movie, but most Pokemon can only say their name.
Meowth learned human speech by mimicking their behavior, while other Pokemon can communicate with humans via telepathy. It’s generally believed that most Pokemon cannot learn the language of humanity, though it’s never explained why.
The Pokemon anime nearly had more talking Pokemon
The Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara recently spoke to Famitsu about Detective Pikachu Returns. He revealed in the interview that there were plans for more talking Pokemon in the anime, but the concept was refitted for the Detective Pikachu franchise.
According to Ishihara (via machine translation), “there was a time in the TV anime when we were exploring the possibility of a future where various Pokemon other than Meowth would be able to speak human language.”
He continued, “In the end, we decided not to do anything, but I continued to wonder if there was a way. I thought it was a far-fetched idea to have an “old man” on the inside, but at the same time I felt it had potential. After various experiments, I finally arrived at Detective Pikachu.”
The Pokemon anime recently underwent a huge shift, when Ash Ketchum stepped down as the series’s protagonist. This would have been the perfect time to introduce more talking Pokemon, but bigger issues are at play that extend beyond the anime.
Pokemon is a massive media franchise with many elements that work together simultaneously. If the new Pokemon anime series suddenly introduced lots of talking Pokemon, then that would have bled into other aspects of the series, such as the video games, and that would have been a major change to introduce so late into the franchise.
The concept of lots of Pokemon speaking human language has appeared more in spin-off media, such as the Mystery Dungeon games and Detective Pikachu, where it’s a key part of the narrative. Having lots of Pokemon suddenly start talking in the main aspects of the franchise would be disconcerting to see after so long, so it’s understandable why it was scrapped.