Atsuto Uchida, a defender on Japan’s national football team currently playing in Brazil, is making his voice acting debut in the latest Pokémon theatrical film set to premiere next month. 

The producers of the Pokémon movies are well-known for inviting celebrities to voice supporting characters in the annual films, but this year marks the first time that an athlete will lend his voice to the production. Uchida himself has been a fan of Pokémon since he was a child, and his involvement in the movie will hopefully add even more excitement to the World Cup fervor already taking over Japan.

Read on to learn more about Uchida’s role in the upcoming film!

Atsuto Uchida has taken on his first voice acting role in Pokémon the Movie XY: Diancie and the Cocoon of Destruction, which is slated for release on July 19 in theaters across Japan. This film is the 17th Pokémon theatrical movie of the franchise; films have been released every July since 1998’s Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (how’s that for nostalgia, anyone?). The 26-year-old has said that as a child, he always played soccer outside of the house and the beloved Pokémon games inside, making him a sensible addition to the cast.

Although Uchida plays football professionally for Germany’s FC Schalke 04, he faced a different sort of challenge in the studio than the one he’s used to on the field. In the film, Uchida plays a hotel porter/bellboy whose appearance is modeled on him as well. His name in the film is even his actual nickname in real life, “Usshii,” given to him by his teammates in Germany.

▼Uchida in the studio


In regards to his first voice acting stint, Uchida has the following to say:

“With my personality, I usually don’t show many emotions on my face and have a hard time expressing myself with words, so it was hard working as a voice actor who has to put a lot of feeling into his voice. I played the Pokémon games with my friends a lot in elementary school, so I’m very happy to be able to appear in the movie. It would be nice if children who don’t know me the athlete Atsuto Uchida would remember me as Usshii. Please look forward to seeing me somewhere in the upcoming film!”

The film’s executive producers are also enthusiastic about Uchida’s role in the film. They are hoping that the collaboration between Uchida and the Pokémon franchise in the midst of the World Cup will bring even more positive energy to Japan. One of them even compared voice recording to a soccer match, saying that both jobs require intense concentration and the ability to listen to orders from a coach in order to give a good performance.

Let’s look forward to seeing Uchida’s performance alongside fan favorites Satoshi (Ash) and Pikachu!

Source: Cinema Today
Images: Pokémon Movie