Shigeru Miyamoto will direct a short film titled Pikmin Short Movie. The title, which will be a CG-animated work, will screen at next the Tokyo International Film Festival next month. In addition, Pikmin Short Movie will be shown free of charge at Toho Cinemas Nihonbashi to winners of a raffle.
The film will be split into three episodes: “Midnight Juice,” “the Treasure Inside the Bottle,” and “One Tough Day.” According to Cinra, the films will allow Miyamoto to explore things that he was unable to tackle in the Pikmin video games.
To be honest, I’m interested in seeing just how the film turns out. In the video game world, Shigeru Miyamoto is a legend. Through his career, he helped to revolutionize the games industry time and time again, with daring concepts, charming characters, and a general sense of whimsy that others strive to emulate. His games have defined genres, and inspired countless designers over the years.
To be honest, I don’t expect that out of this film.
Pikmon Short Movie will be, for all intents and purposes, a video game anime title. Like many titles before it, including Tekken, Chrono Trigger: Nuumamonjya, and Bayonetta: Bloody Fate, Pikmin will be a title that’s based on the lore of an existing video game franchise, with a heavy reliance on knowing the characters beforehand.
Outside of visual novels, game adaptations tend to suffer because of their baggage. Their need to adhere to a story that’s either nonsensical or nonexistent leads to a generally aimless feature that’s lacking in substance. On the flip side, titles that adapt overly wordy plots may come across as rushed, or under-developed as creators struggle to fit every major character and reference into the show. Titles given a lower budget due to licensing power will be (rightfully) seen as cheap or inferior in the eyes of fans.
And so on.
Over the years, Nintendo has proven that they can do a fantastic job of translating their game properties to anime. Pokémon has been a perennial favorite since its 1997 début, and F-Zero: GP Legend received a decent reception during its run.
Miyamoto’s taking the helm on the project is a powerful positive signal. It shows that there is at least some potential that this will be a title that side-steps the pitfalls of the regular adaptation. Hopefully, his input and ideas will ensure that Pikmin Short Movie will be an experience that stands on its own, and proves to be enjoyable to long-time fans and outsiders alike.
At this point, it’s difficult to really make a prediction on the matter. However, the buzz around the project shows that there is hope that this could be one of the few truly great video game adaptations to make it to market.