Thursday, March 2, 2017

Anime Milwaukee 2017: Lucien Dodge

In this excerpt from a press session at Anime Milwaukee 2017, Lucien Dodge (the voice of Blue in Pokemon Origins, Chili in the main series, and Silver in Pokemon Generations), explains how he got into voice acting and how the characters he voiced differ:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 5-Pokemon 4Ever/Anime Milwaukee 2017

For this fifth episode, we have two segments. In the first (0:46-39:24), Anne from Pikapi Podcast returns to discuss the English and Japanese ending themes of Pokémon 4Ever. We talk about the songs themselves, and which one we prefer.

Our second segment (39:32-46:57) is from Anime Milwaukee 2017, where I interviewed the winner of the Pokémon Sun & Moon Tournament, who just so happens to be a YouTube Manga reviewer. Find out about his team, and his channel.

Note: During the first segment, Anne incorrectly states that Russel Velazquez wrote "Two Perfect Girls" and "Biggest Part Of My Life" on Totally Pokemon. The only song from that album he wrote is "The Game".


Segment 1:
Pikapi Podcast

Segment 2:
MangaMan's Channel
Anime Milwaukee

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Pokémon TCG Sun & Moon Prerelease: Madison, WI

Zane Rego
The following is an interview with Zane Rego, a participant from a recent Pokémon TCG Sun & Moon Prerelease event in Madison, WI.

Where are you from, and how did you get into the Pokemon TCG?
I am from Stoughton, Wisconsin. I always collected Pokémon cards since I was young, so I had a lot of cards but no idea how to use them. Eventually (about a year ago), I decided to learn how to play the game through the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

What got you to come to this prerelease?
I really wanted to get my hands on some cool cards right away. I also thought that building your deck out of random cards was a fun idea. This prerelease was the closest to me so that made it convenient to go.

What are some cards you liked from the Sun & Moon set? What did you like about them? 
The three cards I liked the most were Professor Kukui, the Oranguru prerelease card, and Lapras GX full art. I liked the Professor Kukui card because it was interesting; it doesn’t have the same effect as past professor cards. I liked the Oranguru prerelease card because as a collector having something unique and limited is what I like. The Lapras GX full art looked super good to me-the way the card shines catches your eye with ease. Not knowing much about the meta of the game, I don’t know how well it would do in play but I really liked pulling a rare card.

What's your opinion on the new GX mechanic? How does it compare to EXes?
I think the new GX mechanic will add another layer of strategy to the game. Being able to time when you use your GX move could help you win the game or maybe flip it in your favor. Being able to shift the course of the game that way makes them more interesting than EXes to me.

What kinds of things would you like to see in future Sun & Moon sets?
Personally, I would like to see more amazing art on the cards. Being a collector, that’s what I love most about them. Cards don’t have to be an EX or full art-I like the cards that are hand-drawn or clay. In this newest set, I have a Poliwag card where the art on the card is made of yarn. I think that is super cool. I also want to keep seeing more full art trainer cards.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Discussion: Pokemon 3 Ending Theme Comparison

In this third entry, Anne from Pikipi Podcast returns to compare the Japanese and English ending themes of the third Pokemon movie. "The Day A Rainbow Was Born" and "To Know The Unknown" go head-to-head in this battle-which will come out on top?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Poke Press Digest Podcast: Episode 3-Eric Summerer/Neil Jason

For this episode, we have two segments. The first (0:55-26:00) is an interview with Eric Summerer, co-host of a board gaming podcast called “The Dice Tower”, regarding his experience with the Pokémon Trading Card Game. We discuss how he played the game in its early days, and how he got back into it.

Our second segment (26:06-37:53) is an archival interview with Neil Jason, who wrote and arranged a number of songs from the early seasons of the Pokémon dub. These include “Viridian City” and the movie versions of the first two season themes. We also talk about some of his work as a bass player, and some of his wife’s music as well.


Dice Tower Web Site
Dice Tower Season 13 Indiegogo
Board Game Geek Web Site
Flip the Table Podcast
Ludology Podcast

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Interview: London International Championship 2016 Seniors VGC Runner-Up

Murray McKenzie
The following is an interview with Murray McKenzie, runner-up in the Seniors Division of the VGC competition at the recent Pokémon International Championship in London, England.

Where are you from, and how did you get into Pokémon?
I'm a player from Fife, Scotland, however most of the tournaments I go to are in Glasgow. My first Pokémon game was Pokémon White, which I got for my ninth birthday. I started getting into competitive play just after 2014 Worlds, but I only considered myself a good player after 2015 Worlds, where I made a successful rain team.

What was the team you used for this event? 
-Tapu Koko
-Tapu Bulu

Full team information is available at

This tournament was likely to feature a wider-than-normal set of Pokémon due to the games being fairly new. How did that affect which Pokémon you chose?
To be honest, I only really thought about a few Pokémon whilst building this team, namely “Koko-Raichu”, “Maro-Dos” and I think Gastrodon. There was a light foundation of a metagame brewing on Showdown, so I based it off of that.

What worked well for the team in the tournament?
The most important change I made to the team was definitely passing the Life Orb from Nihilego to Koko and making Nihilego hold the Focus Sash-a change I made two days before the event. I have no idea how I would've dealt with rain if not for that Sash, as it came in handy so many games. Honourable mention goes to Electric Seed/Acrobatics Celesteela and Mudsdale. The Seed helped Celesteela to be extremely bulky in both sides and Acrobatics was nice as it let me hit things which resisted Heavy Slam, it even two-hit ko'd a Pelipper! Assault Vest Mudsdale (I didn't think any others would be running it and I didn't see any prior) was also extremely nice due to it having an extraordinary attack stat and a great Ability for a Vest user. I designed it to survive both a Marowak Flare Blitz or an Energy Ball from a +1 Life Orb Xurkitree-pretty much some of the most powerful attacks you'll see on either side.

What didn't work so well, and what kind of changes might you make to this team if you used it again?
To be honest, I think the team was as good as you could get with these six Pokémon; however I do want to use other teams for the Regionals in Sheffield and Liverpool. This team is utter rubbish in best-of-one though, so I wouldn't try it there. All of my losses (except one round in Swiss I lost 2-0 and the final match against Jan) were in the first game. This team is great for adapting to situations once you know certain things like is the Pelipper Sash or Scarf? To be honest, I should've paid closer attention to IVs and made sure my Mudsdale was faster than my Wishiwashi as those two and Tapu Bulu's speed IVs were unknown.

What did you think of this new level of event?
Initially, I was quite wary of this new structure, namely the opportunities for Americans, Japanese and the like to get CP which would've gone to Europeans. Also, the fact that the tournament was two weeks after the release scared me. However, whilst I still believe that they should've made it Europe exclusive, I had a blast and this is much better to me than having three smaller Nationals. The event was very well run, but they needed to be more transparent. All of us in the top eight expected (due to things on the Pokémon website and prior events) to play on Sunday, have a lunch break and have the finals be streamed. To our surprise (and crushing our dreams of being on stream) none of these things happened. So yeah, they should've just clarified the first and last ones and had a lunch break after I think round four of Swiss.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Poké Press Digest Podcast: Episode 2-London International Challenge TCG/Ralph Schuckett

In this episode, we have two segments. First (0:49-11:04), I interview Michael Pramawat, the winner of the Masters Division of the TCG competition at the recent International Championship in London, England. We talk about his deck, his time in London, and what he thinks of the upcoming Sun and Moon cards.

The second segment (11:10-43:15) is an archival interview with Ralph Schuckett, a musician who composed the scores for the dubs of the first three Pokémon movies. You’ll find out how he got started in music, as well as some behind-the-scenes details of those films.

Here's a transcript of the first segment:

Steven: Hi, I’m Steven Reich here at the Poke Press Studios in Madison, Wisconsin. I’m on the phone with Michael Pramawat, who is the winner in the Masters division of the recent Pokemon International Championship that was held in London, England. And Michael, we just have a few questions. First off, where are you from and how did you get into Pokemon, both the franchise and then to competitive TCG play?

Michael: Well, I live in Seattle, Washington now and I’m originally from the East coast, in Virginia. And I got started with the Red and Blue games from way back. And from there, I just kind of got into the trading card game because some of my friends had the cards. We didn’t even know there was a game with it. Then they got a theme deck, read the rules, and just started playing from there.

Steven: What would you say was the first major TCG tournament you went into?

Michael: The first major tournament I attended was the Super Trainer Showdown. This is back when Wizards or the Coast had the license for the trading card game. It was basically the equivalent of a-I think the closest equivalent now would be a Regionals, in terms of level, but in terms of like prestige, it was basically like a Nationals.

Steven: Yeah, the Super Trainer Showdown, that was sort of the initial big events they had, before Wizards ran their single Worlds, they had the Super Trainer Showdown, which there was an east coast and a west coast event each year for a couple years. And they would have qualifying events and bring people out there. Organized play was very different back then than it is now.

So moving on from there, for this particular tournament in London, you decided to play a Yveltal-Garbodor deck, which was very popular. Actually, based on some analysis I’ve heard, it was a little over 20% of the Masters metagame at the event. What made you choose that deck for this tournament?

Michael: Well I haven’t played too much since the World Championships, so I wanted play a deck that I knew I could run. I didn’t want to play anything that maybe you needed to know all the matchups in and out, like you would for Greninja. And I wasn’t a fan of Rainbow Road. And Volcanion seemed a little clunky at times. And I had seen the recent success of Yveltal-Garbodor, so I decided to go with that deck.

Steven: Do you think that that kind of reasoning partially explained why so many folks used it at this tournament?

Michael: Yeah, I think so. It’s one of those that it’s pretty easy to pick up but has a lot of intricate plays, which is why you see such a large disparity between people who are very good at using it and people who are just kind of picking it up. There’s a very big difference in results that they get.

Steven: So you’d say it’s like maybe a decently easy to learn but difficult to master type of deck?

Michael: Yeah, yeah. It’s definitely one of those. You have to have very good fundamentals of the game in order to properly pilot the deck.

Steven: And even though it’s a very common deck, obviously there is some wiggle room. Your particular decklist does have a little bit of a twist on it. Can you sort of explain that?

Michael: Yeah, so typically what people had been using was the deck list that when I took first place at the Regionals at Florida and Fort Wayne, I believe. And those lists had things like Delinquent in it. But it had a running trend of running Trainers’ Mail. And people had been talking about, “How many Trainers’ Mail do you run? Do you run 2? 3?” Some people are going down as low as 1. And for me, once you go down to the realm of 2 Trainers’ Mail and below, the consistency boost that you get becomes so miniscule that I’d rather just have options with things like Escape Rope, Team Flare Grunt, Delinquent, Pokemon Center Lady, things like that.

Steven: So you went that route. You sort of went without it. Do you think that maybe helped you out in the tournament, and helped you eventually win it? If so, how?

Michael: Yeah, it definitely helped me win. Because the cards I put in instead of Trainers’ Mail was cards that let me have advantages in certain matchups. For example, Escape Rope was very good versus Greninja. If they put down a Bursting Balloon, you can get around it with Escape Rope. Delinquent was one of the MVPs of the deck. You only play 2 Parallel City, and sometimes your opponent will play down Parallel City in a direction that’s not favorable to you. So, you’re going to want to use Delinquent to replace their Parallel City so you can lay down your own in the direction that would be more favorable to you. So, there’s a lot of tricky plays that you can do. And it ended up being really good. I like the list a lot.

Steven: Anything you think you should have played differently in this tournament, or going forward you might play differently?

Michael: I definitely think that Yveltal, if it didn’t already have a target on its back, it definitely does have one now. So you really have to into consideration, can you deal with Zebstrika, which is a deck that got played, and fortunately for me, got 9th place. Which, made sure it was not in the top 8 for me to have to contend with. It can be a tricky matchup because Zebstrika can one-shot your Yveltal EX even if you have a Fighting Fury Belt. So, people who want to play Yveltal going forward are going to need to take that into consideration.

Steven: Yeah, that was definitely one of the surprises that came out. Didn’t quite make it into the top cut for the top 8, but definitely one of the surprises that we saw, and something I think players should keep an eye out for in the future to see if more people pick that up.

Now of course, one last thing about last weekend’s event. You did spend a couple extra days there. What did you check out in the city?

Michael: Went sightseeing around the city. I went to see Big Ben. I went on the London Eye. I saw the Abbey. And I also just went and see what kind of food London had to offer. There’s a very high Indian population in London, so I went and got some Indian food, and a bunch of places. The food was good. I liked it.

Steven: Yeah, it’s definitely a good food city. And hopefully we’ll have some more chances with that with the upcoming International Championships. We don’t know exactly when or where those will be. But I’m hoping to go to at least one of the ones outside of North America myself. Do you think you’ll be able to have a chance to go to some other ones besides the North America one?

Michael: I hope I can get to one. I’m not sure where exactly they’re going to be outside of North America, but I’ve been hearing Australia. So, we’ll see. It’s definitely easier for me to go to an English-speaking country than somewhere else. But even if it’s not in an English-speaking country, I think I’d strongly consider going anyways.

Steven: Yeah, definitely something that’s on my to-do list; very excited about the possible opportunity. Alright, well, you did very well at that tournament and we’re looking forward a little bit here. So, the next logical thing is that we are coming very close to the Sun and Moon generation of TCG. Of course, the games came out back in November. The first set doesn’t come out for a couple months. What are your thoughts on what we’ve seen so far of the Sun and Moon TCG?

Michael: The set looks pretty fun. It’s definitely a breath of fresh air. But because they’ll put in the new mechanic of Pokemon GX. They’re kind of like exes back-the original exes where they could have been stage ones, stage twos, basics. It’s all over the place. And it’s just whatever the Pokemon happens to be. And the cool thing about these cards is they have a once per game attack, which is really cool. And depending on how you use that, it can come out with some pretty cool strategies. I haven’t delved too deep into the Sun and Moon strategy, but I think it looks very promising.

Steven: Yeah, it definitely has some different dynamics than what we’ve seen in the 5th and 6th generation, which are relatively similar to each other. This is definitely a bit of a turn here. So, we’ll have to see what happens. Alright, well, thank you very much, Michael. This has been Steven Reich from the Poke Press Studios in Madison, Wisconsin on the phone with Michael, the winner in the Masters division of the TCG competition at the recent London Pokemon International Championship.

Transcript by