During my first round at the Worlds Grinders today, I spotted Junichi Masuda (director of D/P games, composer for original Pokemon music) standing by the Masters pairings. By the time I was finished with my match, he had already left, so I ran around trying to find him so I could ask him about the new Pokemon silhouettes. I could not locate him, but luckily I stumbled across Takumi Akabane instead. He’s the “creative director” of the video games and is heavily involved in the TCG, so I figured he would also be the right person to ask about the silhouettes.
I walked up to him, introduced myself, and then popped open my laptop to the CoroCoro page of the silhouettes. He did not know very much English, but he seemed to understand what I was trying to ask since he responded with a slightly nervous smile and “Mmmmm….” I simply asked, “Are these new Pokemon, or new Pokemon forms?” He wasn’t quite understanding what I meant, which is understandable because of our language barrier, so I said, “Giratina has an Origin Forme… Sheimi has a Sky Forme (pointing up)… Deoxys has three forms.” He was still confused, so I pointed to the scan and said, “Everyone is interested in knowing about the identities of these Pokemon and we’ve all been speculating about them for the past few weeks. Can you give us just a little hint? It’s okay if you can’t.” He replied, “Speculation is good. It keeps people excited.” I didn’t quite think he was understanding my original question from other things we were talking about, such as the Torn World (which he called “the other dimension”), so I repeated my original question a little clearer and slower. He said, “Ohhhh! Yes. New forms.” I showed him a Rotom card scan and pointed to the silhouette with the bolt-shaped arms, and he again sounded nervous. I asked, “Are these forms or Rotom?” He just said, “Hmm… I’m not sure.” He obviously was not allowed to tell, and so I did not want to pressure him into revealing anything he wasn’t supposed to. We talked a bit more about the TCG, he signed some energy cards, and then I thanked him and went to my next match. He was extremely nice, though I don’t think he understood me half the time we were talking (probably because I talk so fast and didn’t give him a chance to process it). I saw him again later in the day and asked if he knew where Mr. Masuda was, and he said he’ll be at the Worlds invitees party at 2:00.
Around 2:00, I walked out to the pool area where the party was and immediately saw Mr. Masuda standing by himself. I yanked out my laptop and asked if I could ask him a question, he said yes, and then I showed him the CoroCoro scan. He flat out said he couldn’t say anything about them, though he seemed a little surprised I had the scan in the first place (as in, “What? Americans know about it?!). I told him that they had been revealed in CoroCoro, and he replied by saying we would find out what they were in September and that it’s a surprise for “Platina.” His mind seemed preoccupied with something else, so I just thanked him and left without continuing the conversation. I remember he said something hinting about the silhouettes being forms, but I can’t remember for the life of me what it was. He was a bit quiet and serious, though I think it was just because of the language barrier again.
Toward the end of Grinders, I asked Dave Schwimmer (one of the directors of Pokemon Organized Play) if I could schedule an interview with one of the Japanese officials and a translator, but he said that it was too late. Their schedules were already full for this trip, so I missed my chance. In the future, I’ll know to contact PUSA about scheduling interviews at Worlds, though I am sure it will be up to the Japanese people if they want to do it and the translators who are attending the tournament.
As a bonus, later at 10:00 PM, we went to the fancy Hilton restaurant where cheeseburgers cost a ridiculous $12.00, and about 30 minutes later Mr. Masuda and a whole bunch of other Japanese officials sat down right near us. We could hear them talking about Pokemon, but couldn’t make much out. When we got up to leave, we said hi to them, they smiled, and then I scootered a mile back to my hotel room to post this update. :)