Japanese animators and composer channel the traditions of American slapstick shorts.

With so many years of continuous adventures, it sometimes seems like the Pokémon anime has been around forever. In truth, though, it only stretches back to the spring of 1997

That makes the Pokémon team several generations of animators away from the artists who worked on Looney Tunes and other entries in the golden era of American animation slapstick shorts from the 1940s and ’50s. But what if Pokémon had been around in those days?

It’d probably have looked something like this.

Starring Scraggy and Mimikyu (or Zuruggu and Mimikkyu, to use their Japanese names), Chase the Beans is a new short produced by Yoshiyuki Koie, who also served as producer for the Pokémon: Twilight Wings net animation series. Dubbed a Pokétoon, the dialogue-free video takes clear inspiration from classic Looney Tunes and its contemporaries, from the smooth but cycling animation, stretching and squashing of character models, and even the soft brush-style backgrounds with a different color design than what’s used for the characters and foregrounds.

As alluded to in the title, the video opens with a hungry Scraggy following a trail of heart-shaped beans that have been dropped in the woods. This leads him to a train station, where hijinks ensue and the Dark/Fighting-Type gets railroaded onto a locomotive just as it departs.

Onboard, Scraggy run into one impactful problem after another before he meets his costar: the mysterious Mimikyu.

However, some mysteries are best left unsolved, as Scraggy learns when he tries to discover what’s under Mimikyu’s disguise, and in the process learns what true terror is.

Chase the Beans not only looks like an American production from 70-some-odd years ago, it sounds like one too, with a jazzy orchestral soundtrack. The entire credited staff is Japanese, however, and includes veteran Pokémon anime franchise animators Ryosuke Sembo, Shinichi Suzuki, and Shuya Yoshisato.

The video was posted not to the main Pokémon YouTube channel, but instead to the Pokémon Kids TV channel, which focuses on content for especially young viewers. That probably explains the lack of dialogue, but the reliance on visuals and music also makes Chase the Beans something that people from anywhere in the world can enjoy, and with the video drawing so much inspiration from Warner Bros. animation, maybe one day we’ll see a Pokétoon version of the Warner Bros.-distributed Detective Pikachu movie.

Source, images: YouTube/ポケモン Kids TV:Pokémon Kids TV
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he now wants to see a ’90s-anime-style Road Runner cartoon.