Before we get started on this review, I want to call something to your attention. Remember my Detective Pikachu Evidence Board Background? It has an extremely important piece of evidence on it that this entire episode was based around. Let’s take a look. (Click the image for a better view)
In the center of the board, there’s an image of two Pikachu. One is Detective Pikachu, and the other is an unknown Pikachu. But, as the red circles and lines imply, this Pikachu may in fact be Ash’s Pikachu. You see, this image was taken from a scene in the Detective Pikachu game. In this scene, Tim exits a building to find this Pikachu and mistakes it for Detective Pikachu. Detective Pikachu soon emerges to find Tim talking to the other Pikachu and corrects him on his mistake. Detective Pikachu then does some small talk with the Pikachu, and then says to it, “Tell your buddy to be the very best, like no one ever was.” The reference is just to obvious to overlook. Clearly it is being implied that this Pikachu is in fact none other than Ash’s Pikachu. In addition to this, while conversing with Detective Pikachu, the Pikachu says pikapi at one point, which tends to be the term Pikachu uses to say Ash’s name (as it sounds somewhat like his Japanese name, Satoshi), lending further evidence to the idea that they were talking about Ash. Ever since seeing this scene in the game, I knew I had to write a cross-over episode with Detective Pikachu. Once the Detective Pikachu movie was announced, I knew it would provide the perfect opportunity to just that. And if you still think it’s odd to have Ash and friends cross-over with a spin-off game, then allow me to remind you of the time that the show crossed-over with Pokémon Snap, or the multiple times it crossed-over with Pokémon Ranger.
***WARNING: Detective Pikachu Game and Movie Spoilers Below!***
In case it wasn’t already obvious from what I said above, this episode was meant to take place within the continuity of the Detective Pikachu game, not movie. While the movie had similar plot involving R and Mewtwo, it was different enough that it would not have worked alongside what I wrote. Because of this, it should be noted that I wrote Tim and Detective Pikachu to fit the game version of their characters, as there are some major differences, especially for Tim, who is much more quiet and reserved in the game. For those who don’t know the game, this episode essentially served as a sequel to its story. Unlike the movie, the game ends with Detective Pikachu still being a Pikachu, allowing for this story to exist. In addition, a major focus of the game’s story was how R was sold on black market, so even once the production of R is stopped, there would inevitably be some left on the streets. That was the central idea of this episode.
Beyond that, this episode was just written as a way to have the two different casts interact. I do think that Ash and Tim would make good friends, if they ever met. On the topic of those two, Ash suggesting that Tim can understand Detective Pikachu due to a close bond that they didn’t even know they had is a reference to one of the major plot points of the game, which was also in the movie. Neither version actually explains why Tim can understand Pikachu, but I think that it’s something close to what Ash suggested. Well, that and some Mewtwo shenanigans.