Can’t resist taking a sneak peek? OK, but don’t say we didn’t warn you.

In the modern, online age, a certain amount of digital piracy is inevitable. Some people might even take the stance that it’s beneficial to have pirated movies and TV shows posted online, under the rationale that they get people excited about future installments of the franchise or encourage them to buy related merchandise.

But I think we can all agree that’s it’s pretty rotten when an entire film gets illegally leaked online before it’s even debuted in theaters. That sort of thing can absolutely ruin its chances of financial success, and is a heartbreaking insult to all the artists and businesspeople who worked so hard to create it.

And yet, three days before Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, the first-ever live-action Pokémon movie, releases in U.S. theaters, look what you can find on YouTube.

The video is the only one on the channel “Inspector Pikachu,” which follows the time-tested piracy strategy of picking a name that sounds enough like the copyrighted name to let people know what you’re offering, while still being different enough to help keep the official rights holders from finding you.

Sure enough, the video, with a feature-length runtime of 1 hour, 42 minutes, and 53 seconds, has already racked up over four million views in less than a day. But we understand. If you’re a fan, the temptation of getting to see new content ASAP is too strong to resist, so here’s the video.

Do what you will.

Sure enough, as soon as you click on the video, you’ll see the logos for Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures, and the Pokémon Company, which transition to human lead Tim (played by Justice Gooman) walking the streets of Ryme City…but wait. We’ve already seen the Detective Pikachu movie (legitimately, since it had its world premiere a week early in Japan), and this isn’t the scene the movie is supposed to open with. Oh well, maybe the bootlegger just wanted to cut out some of the early part to get to the meat of the story…

…except, as we see a close-up of Tim, we don’t remember this upbeat background music that’s starting up, and we definitely don’t remember…

Pikachu dancing up a storm in a club decorated with ‘80s-style neon!

▼ We haven’t seen this much Pika-dancing since the Pikachu Outbreak dance party in Yokohama.

But again, pirates often make some changes to the visuals to keep from getting caught in automated searches. The video will cut back to the movie soon right?

Nope. Pikachu starts dancing at the video’s one-minute, nine-second mark, and he keeps going, without ever taking a break, until the video cuts off and abruptly ends over one hour and 40 minutes later.

▼ Even though the exact same visuals loop over and over, somewhere along the way the meaning behind his smile seems to change from “I like dancing!” to “Hahaha you thought you were going to pirate my movie? THINK AGAIN!”

So, can we crack this caper? Let’s look at the clues,

1. The clip of Pikachu dancing is of professional quality, using the exact same CG model for the character as the Detective Pikachu movie does.

2. However, the dancing clip doesn’t appear anywhere in the film itself.

3. After the video appeared, Detective Pikachu voice actor Ryan Reynolds sent the link to the movie’s official Twitter account, which has changed its name to Detective Leakachu, and seemed a little too calm about the whole thing.

Deduction: The Detective Pikachu marketing team just pulled off arguably the greatest bait-and-switch troll job in recent memory, and even went to the trouble of creating a new piece of animation to do it.

And yes, there are plenty of other clever laughs to be found inside the actual Detective Pikachu movie, laughs that are worth waiting for the official release for.

Source: YouTube/Inspector Pikachu via Kai-You
Top image: YouTube/Inspector Pikachu
Insert images: YouTube/Inspector Pikachu (1, 2)
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