Historically, Ash Ketchum’s Pikachu, the lovable yellow Pokémon, has not spoken a human language.
Pikachu had always communicated with Ash, his beloved trainer, by saying his own name over and over again in different intonations.
So when “Pokémon the Movie: I Choose You!” debuted in the U.S. last week, the audience was understandably shocked when a particularly emotional scene featured Pikachu speaking to Ash in English.
In a (likely illegally filmed) video of the scene posted to Twitter, audience members gasp loudly when they hear Pikachu profess his devotion to Ash using English words. “What the fuck?” one moviegoer says. “No!” another yells.
Pokémon fans in Japan first heard Pikachu’s expanded vocabulary in July, when the Japanese-language version of the movie debuted there.
American audiences seemed particularly unsettled by the scene:
The most disrespected I’ve felt in 2017 is when I heard Pikachu speak English
— Jordynne Grace (@JordynneGrace) November 17, 2017
SO. UM. I GUESS PIKACHU SPEAKS ENGLISH IN THE NEW POKÉMON MOVIE? THIS IS AN ABOMINATION. GOTTA THROW THE WHOLE THEATER AWAY NOW.
— Grace Ragan (@grace_kathryn_) November 16, 2017