A strange caper is afoot as Germany’s Detective Pikachu is heard sounding nothing like the Pokémon species is supposed to.

It’s pretty clear that the Pikachu we’re getting in the upcoming live-action Pokémon movie is not the one we know and love from the anime franchise. Aside from his coat of fur being scruffier and shaggier, this Pikachu can speak, and does so with the voice of Ryan Reynolds, in a wise-cracking tone that’s far different from the sugary sweet pika-squeaks of Pikachu’s customary Japanese voice actress, Ikue Otani (or the mature manliness of the titular star of the Detective Pikachu video game).

But the live-action Pokémon Detective Pikachu, as the film is titled, isn’t completely jettisoning Otani from the cast. While Pikachu’s human friend Tim can understand Pikachu’s dialogue, other humans can’t, and so when the famous Pokémon is trying to talk to them his words are rendered as the familiar string of “pika pika,” with Otani once again doing the honors…except in the preview clip for one country, as posted here by Twitter user @Nirbion.

In quick succession, the video runs through the same sequence from the English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German versions of the movie’s trailer. The first four times, we hear Otani’s breathily cheerful voice, but when we get to the German dub, instead there’s what sounds like a man attempting a falsetto facsimile of Otani’s signature sounds.

It’s not such a terrible performance, but the gap in emotion is so huge it ends up feeling like a dad reading a Pokémon bedtime story to his kids, who insist he do the character voices despite only having seen the cartoon once or twice. However, a look at the movie’s official German trailer currently on YouTube, posted by the German division of distributor Warner Bros., has Pikachu speaking with Otani’s voice.

@Nirbion says that following his tweet, Warner Bros took down the German trailer with the non-Otani voice, replacing it with the above video which features the Japanese voice actress’ performance. The view count seems to back that up, as the current German trailer, posted to YouTube on November 14, has only about 24,000 views, as opposed to the roughly 31 million of the English trailer, which was released on November 12.

Adding yet another layer to the mystery is that Otani voices Pikachu in the German dub of the Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You! anime film, as shown in the local trailer here.

So why was Otani’s voice temporarily booted from the trailer? Odds are there was some sort of hiccup in clearing the rights to use her voice in the German version. Japan’s voice acting industry is extremely robust, and the international popularity of Japanese media franchises means that talent agents are extremely diligent about setting regional conditions in their clients’ contracts. Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is a joint project between U.S.-based Warner Bros., the Japan-based Pokémon Company, and Chinese-owned Legendary Entertainment, and with so many offices having to coordinate with one another, it wouldn’t be too shocking if someone forgot to cross a t or dot an i, meaning that the German trailer wasn’t legally allowed to use Otani’s voice at the time Warner Bros. Germany initially wanted the video to go up.

Now that she’s back, it’s likely that German moviegoers will hear the same original-source “pika pika” as the rest of the world (oddly enough, no Japanese-language version of the trailer has been made yet). Honestly, between the live-action Pikachu’s unusual hair and the terrifying Pikachu donuts that got pulled from the market in Japan, it’s good to at least have Pikachu sound a little more familiar.

Sources: Twitter/@Nirbion, CNET, Nintendo Life
Top image: YouTube/Warner Bros. DE