‘Pokemon: I Choose You!’ Movie 20 Summary!

With a huge thanks to Alex Aniel, we now have a summary for the 20th Pokemon movie! Alex was able to attend the world premiere screening at Japan Expo in France today. The movie will be released in Japanese theaters on July 15th.

The movie disregards all canon. It is loosely “inspired by” Ash’s adventures in Kanto but is a completely alternate storyline. The season one events in the film play out in different ways and some new characters replace the functionality of old ones. Brock and Misty are not in the film except for brief cameos in the end credits.

The Pokemon Company probably made an alternate storyline because their priority is to using Pokemon films to market whatever is currently going on in the franchise. This movie had to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the anime, promote the second generation (because of Pokemon GO and the upcoming G/S Virtual Console releases), appease old fans, and it also had to introduce Marshadow. With all these “marketing elements” in mind, it would not have been easy to make a film that is merely a retelling of Ash’s adventures in Kanto. So the film is its own thing!

Alex is a casual Pokemon fan who has seen all the original movies. As I was working with him on the summary, he stated that he thought the film was “lacking” and “underwhelming.” He thought the two movie characters were boring and that the story’s pacing was rushed. But he thought the bad guy, Cross, was an improvement on Damian (Charmander’s owner in the TV show who Cross takes the place of in this movie). He also really liked certain scenes, such as the ending when Ash gets separated from Pikachu.

However, that is just one person’s opinion, and everyone’s tastes differ. Who knows how you’ll like it when you see it! Also note that this summary is missing details, as it’s always hard to remember a whole movie after only one viewing. But this should give you an overall idea of the plot.

Update: Makoto is from Twinleaf Town, not Azalea Town. Future D/P remakes or sequels confirmed! :p

The 20th movie starts out just like the first episode. Ash is watching a battle on his TV in Pallet Town, but the battle is with Blastoise against Venusaur and Gengar. Ash wakes up the next morning and is late to picking his Starter Pokemon, so he’s unable to get the Squirtle he wanted from Professor Oak. Gary, who appears only for a split second, picks Squirtle, and the other two Pallet Town Trainers get the other two Starters. Ash ends up with Pikachu, who dislikes him at first, but eventually comes around when Ash protects him from the Spearow attack. After Pikachu repels the Spearow, Ho-Oh appears in the sky and drops the Rainbow Feather. This entire first part lasts about 15 minutes and is nearly the same as the first episode. Delia is also present, but not Misty or her bike. The movie’s logo and intro song then play.

Ash and Pikachu continue their journey. He catches Caterpie, and then challenges Erika at the Celadon Gym. He earns his third badge after beating her. (Yes, she is the third Gym Leader in this continuity.)

In a forest Pokemon Center, Ash encounters a trainer whose Vaporeon was defeated quickly and easily by Entei. Ash goes after Entei and meets a girl with a Piplup named Makoto (from Azalea Twinleaf Town) and a guy with a Lucario named Soji (from Veilstone City), who aspires to be a Pokemon Professor. The three encounter Entei together and try to capture it, but to no avail.


Ash and Makoto begin traveling together and avoid an Onix at one point. Marshadow appears, although the characters never see it. It can walk through walls and continues to make minor, stealthy appearances throughout the movie.

Ash encounters a Charmander in the rain. Charmander’s trainer, Cross, believes in power and has abandoned Charmander after deeming it too weak. Ash and Makoto take Charmander to a cave where they revive it. They re-encounter Soji in the cave, and here he explains his goal to meet the three Legendary Beasts Entei, Suicune, and Raikou, who were brought back to life by Ho-Oh. Ash talks of his goal to meet and capture Ho-Oh with the Rainbow Feather, and thanks to a book Soji has, the three learn that Ho-Oh lives at Mount Tensei. They decide to head there.


Ash’s Caterpie evolves into Metapod during a battle with a wild Pinsir. Charmander also evolves into Charmeleon. And then Ash encounters Cross again. They battle with Charmeleon vs. Cross’s Incineroar, but Cross wins. Ash is very hurt by the loss and gets into an argument with his friends, including Pikachu. Ash even tells Pikachu, “I should have chosen Squirtle or Bulbasaur instead!” Ash has a flashback dream that night where he is in a classroom and runs out to find that all his friends are gone. (Interestingly, Gary isn’t in the classroom flashback.) Ash realizes he was acting poorly and apologizes to Pikachu, giving him a big hug.

They continue their journey. Metapod evolves into Butterfree during a fight with a pack of Primeape. And then they encounter a pink Butterfree being harassed by a Fearow – Ash’s Butterfree saves the pink Buttefree and they begin a romance. Ash eventually lets Butterfree cross the sea with his lover and have babies, which makes Ash feel incredibly sad.

Makoto runs into Suicune, and eventually they all run into Raikou as well. They also encounter an old man, Bonji, a researcher who has been looking for Ho-oh for 20 years.

The three kids and Bonji arrive at Mount Tensei, where they encounter Cross again. Ash has Charmeleon battle Incineroar again, and wins easily after Charmeleon evolves into Charizard. Cross regrets the loss and steals the Rainbow Feather, which he uses to try to call Ho-Oh. Cross says he saw Ho-Oh as well, which is why he thinks it’s his right for him to summon it.

For reasons Alex can’t remember, Marshadow appears and possesses the feather and some wild Pokemon, and then begins attacking the humans. Marshadow even possesses Cross’s Lycanroc. It nearly kills Cross with an attack, but Charizard blocks the attack. Cross then has a change of heart and begins helping everyone. But they are all overwhelmed by the wild Pokemon, who attempt to attack Pikachu with a combined attack. In a move resembling the Spearow scene from episode 1, as well as the Mewtwo movie, Ash blocks the hit to protect Pikachu and appears to die.

Ash’s body vanishes, leaving just his hat. Pikachu fires a huge Thunderbolt at Marshadow and mourns for Ash, who in the meantime has appeared in an alternate reality (like the afterlife). Ash sees Pikachu back in their world and tries to run toward him, but to no avail. In a touching scene that moved the audience, Pikachu speaks directly to Ash in Japanese and tells him “I want to be with you forever.” Eventually, they reunite thanks to Ho-Oh and the Rainbow Feather, recreating the legend in which Ho-Oh grants life to the dead. Ho-Oh calms all the wild Pokemon, Marshadow calms down, and things go back to normal.

Ash challenges Ho-Oh to a battle using Pikachu. Pikachu loses very easily, but it’s a good battle. Ash takes Pikachu back to a Pokemon Center, while old man Bonji remains in the wilderness. Ash, Soji, Makoto, and Cross go their separate ways. Makoto goes home to her mom (she looked like Cynthia in the flashback but it’s probably not her) and Soji vows to find Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres. Ash continues his journey to be a Pokemon Master.

In the end credits we see brief shots of Ash’s old friends — Brock, Misty, Tracey, May, Max, Dawn, Iris, Cilan, Serena, Bonnie, and Clemont.

Team Rocket was also in the film, but had little interaction with the cast as usual.

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  1. BlitzSparkz Aspiring Trainer


    It seems like marshadow is the villain?
  2. Water Pokémon Master I like Pokemon more than you. :D
    Water Pokémon Master

    Webmaster News Head Activities Head Elite Member Advanced Member Member

    LordNickle likes this.
  3. Rindon Aspiring Trainer


    i hope the movie comes to A theatre near me in Ontario. I haven't been able to see a pokemon movie in theatre since Pokemon 4ever.
  4. Srmb Physics, that's what pokemon is all about!


    I just have to wait till it's on DVD. Not even such as a theater in my country
  5. crystal_pidgeot Bird Trainer *Vaporeon on PokeGym*


    I won't be seeing this movie. I grew up with Pokemon lore that makes the series mean something to me and I can't support what they are doing to the series I grew up with. They are changing the major events of the series into something else that didn't happen. I tolerated them adding Mega Evolutions to the Pokemon Generations series and even as a spinoff, it still kept to what it was at its roots but Ash never met a Marshadow in Kanto.

    I have no idea why they just couldn't make another movie about Marshadow without having to remake what season one of Pokemon was about but I guess I'm missing something.
    Ice Arceus likes this.
  6. Mr. Rhyperior The Drill Pokemon. An evolve form of Rhydon.
    Mr. Rhyperior


    We'll expect a trailer on Burning Shadows release day, an a Salazzle event which I expectedly Marshie because Marshie was in that set. That sucks.

    Anyways, as I expected.
  7. Just gotta hope it comes near me...
  8. Lostlorn Forest Sinnoh is the best region
    Lostlorn Forest


    Throughout the years ever since the premiere of the Diamond and Pearl anime, I thought it was a personal decision of Ash's original English VA to leave. I couldn't imagine that they would let go such an iconic voice, rooted so deeply in many peoples childhoods. Little did I know she (Veronica Taylor) has been lightly campaigning to return for this one movie and seems oblivious to why they sacked her in the first place. That's really my only hope for this movie. I'll probably go anyway but the newest voice has only ever resonated to me as the curves of the dollar signs in The Pokemon Company's eyes.
  9. silversalamence10 Top Hat Regulator


    On one hand, I think it's cool that they're doing this. On the other I'm probs gonna end up waiting for it to come out on DVD as I have an inkling that if there are screenings in the UK, it'll most likely be too far away from where I live, and I'm not holding my hopes up for the film to air on TV at some point in the future after the theatrical screening either.
  10. Shishigami Aspiring Trainer


    Main reason I'd like to hope it exists is because it is finally Ho_Oh's chance to maascot breakthrough that she has rightfully deserved and make a deus ex machina plot twist at the end to justify all of the surreal encounters that were just as daft as the first movie managed to contrive the whole time spent as a contradiction (2 actually, well at least in the English dub but thats another story...). If you think my last sentence was to mock your precious views of the original series, it wasn't my intention. ;)
  11. Snibachi Aspiring Trainer


    Hoping this comes to a theater near me. I was lucky enough that DBZ Resurrection of Frieza did.
    Not sure how I'll feel about all of the changes though, but it'll be fun to (hopefully) see it in theaters with my son. I was around his age when I saw the first Pokemon movies in theaters.

    As for the changes, I'm guessing they're canon? I don't know, the movies have always felt out of place to me. Like the DBZ films, the movies always seem like they could fit within the continuity, but at the same time, they feel like a side story or "what if" scenario. I know this is marketed as a retelling, but I don't think its meant to be a straight up retcon. I hope not anyway.
  12. Cottonmouth25 Flying-type Enthusiast


    I don't think it's meant to be a retcon either - I simply consider it to be an alternate way of telling the story of Ash's original adventures around Kanto. Your point about the movies feeling "out of place" is also something I can agree on. The impression I get is that the movies and TV show are supposed to remain separate, with the movies taking material from the anime but twisting it into their own separate continuity. The fact that the anime never mentions the events of the movies just strengthens this belief.
  13. minecraft7er Going to 2017 Nationals root for me!


    does anyone know how to find out where the movie is playing?
  14. Mezzo Aspiring Trainer


    I won't be seeing this but I sure love to see the Genwunners who will go see this movie for nostalgia thinking it's a retelling of the first few episodes in a grander movie scale only to be disappointed since they're gonna add some randos and a pokemon they don't even know about. Typical Genwunners, not keeping up with anything besides Generation 1 stuff.
  15. crystal_pidgeot Bird Trainer *Vaporeon on PokeGym*


    It's not this who "genwunner" thing for me. There are a lot of important things in the series I assume they will skip. Ash only has his Butterfree because he caught a Pidegeotto trying to eat his Caterpie. To me, Ash's important moments were when he got Pikachu, Saw Ho-Oh, got Pidgeotto and Charmander, leaving his Pidgeot and Butterfree and leaving Kanto and I have a feeling they are going to skip most of this.

    When they go an remake these things, they leave out things that were memories for a lot of people for the sake of a newer generation rather than just showing what was loved about it in the first place.
  16. theprp30 Aspiring Trainer

    Advanced Member Member

    I hope they give away special promo cards like they did back when the original Pokemon movie came out back in the day. I would actually go to the theater if they did.
  17. AverageAvenger Aspiring Trainer


    I'm ready to hear Mike Pollock when the movie comes out. He was great as Volcanion and now he says that he's going to be in the dub for I Choose You, so that makes me really excited.
  18. Water Pokémon Master I like Pokemon more than you. :D
    Water Pokémon Master

    Webmaster News Head Activities Head Elite Member Advanced Member Member

  19. Zeno The Wanderer


    I hope it is a preliminary list, because I'd be very surprised if the Alamo Draft house in Winchester, VA didn't host it. They've been big on hosting anime movies and limited releases over the past few years.
  20. jessalakasam Floette is love Floette is life


    There's only one in my state and it's 30 minutes away from me -_-