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Detective Pikachu is a 2016 Pokémon spin-off mystery-solving adventure game developed by The Pokémon Company and published by Nintendo for the 3DS portable game console. Following the release of the official teaser trailer in late January 2016, the project garnered much online attention from the fans, mainly due to the portrayal of its main character Pikachu as an articulate, hard-boiled detective in a clear departure from its traditional image as a cute, cuddly Pokemon creature.
The development of the game began in mid-2013 and the project was unofficially confirmed for the first time through NHK's TV show The Professionals in an October 2013 episode profiling Tsunekaz Ishihara, the CEO of The Pokemon Company (shown below). In November that year, Nintendo filed a trademark for the name of the game.
While several English-language gaming news outlets, including Kotaku, Polygon and Engadget, picked up on the details of the game revealed by NHK and the news of the trademark registration, the general interest surrounding the game saw its first spike following the release of the official teaser trailer on January 26th, 2016, a week before its official release date in Japan on February 3rd.
In December of 2017, it was announced that Ryan Reynolds would voice Detective Pikachu in the film version of the game, set to be released in 2019. The film will be directed by Rob Letterman, who directed Gulliver's Travels (2010) and Goosebumps (2015).
On November 12th, 2018, Warner Brothers released the first trailer for the live-action Detective Pikachu. It gained over 483,000 views within the first few hours of release.
Responses to the trailer were mixed. One of the most common complaints about the trailer was the design of the Pokémon Jigglypuff, who is given fur in the film. Fans were divided on the decision, as some fans thought it didn't look correct to the character, while others said the alternative would be to make Jigglypuff all-skin, which could look disturbing.
Ryan Reynold's performance of the title character also received mixed reactions. Twitter user @Tatiannanow tweeted their confusion at the choice, gaining over 25 retweets and 310 likes (shown below, left). Other users expressed similar bewilderment at Reynolds and the project as a whole. For example, writer Sarah Jeong included the casting as one of several bizarre happenings of 2018 (shown below, right).
On Reddit, major threads about the trailer's release include one in /r/movies that gained over 35,000 points, one in /r/Pokemon that gained over 16,000 points, and one in /r/Nintendo that gained over 7,100 points. Twitter user @akfamilyhomeak tweeted a comparison of a still from the trailer to the recently popular Surprised Pikachu meme, gaining over 4,100 retweets and 11,000 likes (shown below).
North American Release
On January 12th, 2018, the Pokémon YouTube channel uploaded the trailer for the North American version of the game, set to be released on March 23rd of that year (shown below).
Reaction to Pikachu's Voice
On February 22nd, 2018, Nintendo released a new trailer for the game. In the clip, Nintendo revealed the sound of Pikachu's speaking voice, which resembles that of an adult male human. On YouTube, the video (shown below) received more than 123,000 views in less than 24 hours.
People responded to the sound of Pikachu's voice with surprise. Twitter user @ministired tweeted, "i have so many conflicting emotions about detective pikachu… he's so cute with his little waddle and detective hat but then he opens his mouth and hes a 30 year old man and i feel my soul disassociate from this plane of existence at the voice-appearance dissonance." The tweet (shown below, right) received more than 615 retweets and 1,800 likes in 24 hours. Twitter user @sworceresss tweeted, "i’m annoyed because i absolutely WILL play detective pikachu even though pikachu’s deep ass human voice stresses me out." The tweet (shown below, center) received more than 50 retweets and 390 likes in 24 hours. Twitter user @RoPanuganti tweeted, "Theres something amazing and weird about Detective Pikachu having voice acting. I only wish it was rated M for more grisly mysteries to solve." The tweet (shown below, right) received more than 20 retweets and 195 likes.
On February 23rd, Twitter published a Moments page regarding the reaction to the voice. Several media outlets published articles about the reaction to Pikachu's voice, including The Verge, Nerdist, The Daily Dot and more.
After the trailer was posted online via Pokemon's official YouTube channel, the video garnered more than two million views within the first week. The trailer was subsequently posted to Reddit's r/pokemon subreddit, where it garnered over 1,300 upvotes.
Danny DeVito Petition
On January 27th, 2016, an anonymous user on 4chan's /v/ (video game) board started a thread with the question "Who should voice detective Pikachu in the English version?" Out of more than 135 responses to the thread, one user's nomination of American actor Danny DeVito instantly stood out as a front-running candidate on the site. Later that same day, an anonymous user submitted an online petition titled "Get Danny DeVito to Voice the English Version of Detective Pikachu" to Change.org, where it accrued more than 38,000 signatures (76% of total signatures required) within the first five days.
On January 29th, YouTuber Tealhollow1 uploaded a lipsynched mashup of the teaser trailer video featuring various soundbites of Danny DeVito as the character of Frank Reynolds in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
 Nintendo – Tantei Pika (Japanese)
 Kotaku – Sneak Peek at the New Pikachu Game Is Scary
 Kotaku – Pikachu Gets a Speaking Role in Upcoming Pokémon 'Detective' Game
 Polygon – Nintendo trademarks 'Great Detective Pikachu'
 Engadget – Report: Nintendo trademarks mysterious 'Great Detective Pikachu'
 Kotaku – First Look at the Talking Pikachu Detective Game in Action
 Polygon – Great Detective Pikachu talks up a storm in debut trailer
 Gematsu – Great Detective Pikachu announced for 3DS
 BuzzFeed – If This “Great Detective Pikachu” Game Doesn’t Come To America I Will Scream
 4chan – Who should voice Detective Pikachu in the English version?
 Change.org – Get Danny DeVito to Voice the English Version of Detective Pikachu
 Dorkly – Danny DeVito MUST Be The Voice of Pikachu, and This Video Proves It
 Destructoid – More evidence that Danny DeVito needs to be the voice of Detective Pikachu
 Variety – Film News Roundup: Live-Action ‘Detective Pikachu’ Gets 2019 Release
 YouTube – Detective Pikachu: Get Ready to Crack the Case! – Nintendo 3DS
 Twitter – @ministired's Tweet
 Twitter – @sworceresss' Tweet
 Twitter – @RoPanuganti's Tweet
 Twitter – Detective Pikachu's voice is freaking people out
 The Verge – Detective Pikachu still sounds like an adult man in this new clip
 Nerdist – Does DETECTIVE PIKACHU's New Voice Freak You Out?
 The Daily Dot – People are freaking out about Detective Pikachu's weird adult voice
 Reddit – /r/pokemon
 Reddit – /r/nintendo
 PC Magazine – More evidence that Danny DeVito needs to be the voice of Detective Pikachu
Nov 12, 2018 at 01:39PM EST
Jan 30, 2016 at 12:31PM EST
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