So, following the magazine’s scans about Lizardon/Charizard’s return, I thought it would be interesting to talk a bit about the scenes that will be remade in Episode N flashbacks.
- The screen with all the starters is a redone version of a scene from “Snow Way Out!” (Bulbapedia doesn’t give that episode any number because the initial order was messed up following the Porygon incident). It’s difficult to see because the picture is very small, but we can already know it won’t be extracted from the original because of Satoshi’s arms and posture: in the original episode’s angle, Hitokage/Charmander’s flame was much bigger when Satoshi/Ash was slightly bending down (and when the flame was its usual size, Satoshi was standing straight). Charmander’s head and eyes also seem bigger than in the original version.
- The screen with Lizardo/Charmeleon is a redone version of a scene from “The March of the Exeggutor Squad”, just after its evolution. There is no possible angle comparison even though the animators kept the details: Satoshi smiling, having his hat on backwards, his eyes closed and his arms around Charmeleon. However, Charmelon’s head is significantly smaller in the redone version (or Satoshi’s is bigger).
Note that seconds after the beginning of the embrace, Charmeleon begins his habit of Flamethrower-ing Satoshi. (And Lizardon will be doing it again in Episode N!)
- The most interesting screen so far is the one with Lizardon/Charizard, a redone version of “Charizard’s Burning Ambition”.
As you can observe by focusing on Satoshi’s clothes, extended arm and shadows, BW! is now much more detailed. Overall, Aspect Ratios have changed and colours are now lighter in BW! (new animation methods) – but Satoshi’s tan still is significantly darker in his Best Wishes! design, even in what is supposed to be a flashback (his skin has been getting darker and darker every series, which is a very nice touch highlighting how much time he spends out in the sun travelling). His sleeves were wider in older episodes (his shoulders are now thinner). Satoshi definitely seems skinnier now – not actually that much shorter, that’s mainly because his head has taken bigger proportion in BW!.
And there is already a big big colouring mistake which will probably be corrected by airing time: Satoshi’s left sleeve is blue instead of white! =D
Also, note that although animation director Masaaki Iwane wasn’t in charge of any of those old episodes, he worked on Cinnabar Island’s gym match (Lizardon played an important role in that one) and has also expressed many times on his blog how he “wanted to draw Lizardon again”, long before Best Wishes! Season 2 (Lizardon being in its new opening) or Episode N were announced (btw, he also answered “wait for the Dragonspiral Tower” in the first half of 2011 when asked whether we would still see Team Plasma one day. So, the anime teams knew A LOT at that time and trolled us hard).
Masaaki Iwane will be, in fact, the animation director of BW116 – “Burn, Lizardon! VS Kairyu!” in which Lizardon is set to return. Given that he tends to mostly work on “important episodes” (plot-wise and battle-wise: he did nearly half of the Sinnoh League, and “climax” episodes are now usually his), I think it means a lot that he isn’t animating Team Plasma for now but has been given the occasion to work on Lizardon’s return!