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SPOILERS for Pokemon: I Choose You!, obviously.
Pokemon fans that have seen the recent Pokemon: I Choose You! movie, or at least had been following rumors of it online had known for quite sometime that there is a seemingly out of character scene towards the film's end that features Pikachu directly speaking to Ash--not by simply repeating his name, but in a fully coherent Japanese sentence. The recent Northern American release, however, has come as a huge shock and caused an uproar among unspoiled fans.
During a climatic battle scene where both Ash and Pikachu are in danger, Ash begs Pikachu to run for cover and get into a Pokeball. Pokemon creators originally explained Pikachu's aversion to Pokeballs as a means of showing off the character visually at all times, but the following dialogue exchange in Pokemon: I Choose You! seems to reflect their intentions of making Ash and Pikachu intimate friends who stay together. In the scene, Ash asks Pikachu why he refuses to get in the Pokeball, to which the flagship Pokemon replies “It’s because I always want to be with you.”
All you have to do is listen to the shock, awe, and apparent disgust in the video to know that it was a quite jarring experience for the uninitiated. The Twitter thread itself also reveals that many fans hearing it for the first time seem to take it as an unwanted retcon and intrusion upon their childhood memories.
The scene itself, however, is a bit of a haze. Many have rationalized the surreal one time moment as the audience being allowed to hear what Ash normally understands Pikachu to be saying, or for it to even have a dream sequence quality to it. In Japan, although many were put off initially by the idea of a speaking Pikachu, the scene was somewhat heralded as a touching look at the special relationship between Ash and Pikachu.