Pokemon as a franchise is doing a lot just in this year to explore new possibilities in its massive universe, from big budget live-action movies like Detective Pikachu moving away from battles entirely, to the newly announced Pokemon: Twilight Wings webseries, which will focus on the people of the Galar region instead of long-time protagonist Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu partner.
Yeah, Ash and Pikachu still have their starring roles in the animated series airing now in Japan, but Pokemon: Twilight Wings is meant to capture the culture of the Galar Region, according to the Pokemon Company. The seven-episode animated series will debut in January on the Official Pokemon YouTube channel, with each episode lasting around five minutes. Studio Colorido is handling the animation, which is known most recently for its work on films Penguin Highway and Typhoon Noruda.
While there’s not a lot of concrete details about what the series will entail, the description The Pokemon Company has seems to imply it will be less about Pokemon battling and following a trainer and more about the wider culture of the Galar region.
“Pokémon: Twilight Wings, which is separate from Pokémon the Series, is set in the Galar region, where Pokémon battles have developed into a cultural sensation. Over the span of seven episodes, Pokémon: Twilight Wings will show in detail the dreams of Galar’s residents, the realities they face, the challenges they must overcome, and the conflicts they must resolve.”
Spoilers for Pokemon Sword and Shield follow:
If you’ve played Pokemon Sword and Shield, which are both set within the Galar region, you may have an idea of what some of these challenges and realities they might have to face are. While it’s unclear at this point if it will come up in Pokemon: Twilight Wings, Sword and Shield does involve attempts to prevent a cataclysmic event that could destroy the region in the final act, so it’s possible that could factor into whatever it is the citizens of Galar are dealing with in the webseries.
Spoilers end here.
The first episode of Twilight Wings will debut on January 15, 2020.
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While Pokemon: Twilight Wings has a dedicated focus on the Galar region, the on-going Pokemon anime that began airing in Japan last month to coincide with the launch of Sword and Shield takes a more granular approach, sending Ash Ketchum and his Pikachu to all regions of the Pokemon world. While this is Galar’s first appearance in the show, it’s not the focus like new regions typically are.
This won’t be the first time Pokemon has used YouTube to deliver original content outside of the games, anime, and trading card game, as the company has used the platform for things outside its usual scope before. Most recently it started a kid-oriented educational Pokemon channel, which also made way for some holiday-themed videos.