It took a lot of convincing to get to this moment. Not only with my rightfully nervous editors, but with a subject who wants nothing to do with the spotlight. But here I am, having traveled a great distance to the Four Seasons Ryme City. And it’s there, tucked away in a corner booth of the hotel bar that I find the elusive Detective Pikachu — or Sheldon Van Clue-Snatcher, as he asks that I call him.
From afar, I’ve long been an admirer of the legendary crime-solver, who has closed such impossible cases as the Voynich Manuscript and why Paul Rudd doesn’t age (“You’re welcome,” he tells me). Now, he’s taking on his most personal investigation: finding his missing partner, Harry Goodman. In Harry’s absence, his son Tim has teamed up with Pikachu, both for the case and this interview, considering that Tim is one of the few who can understand him. But, to all of our surprise, I also possess the special talent, allowing Tim to leave the two of us for an intimate chat. “Thankfully, we live in a time in which listening is one’s greatest virtue,” Pikachu wisely states as he slowly sips on his third cup of coffee.
As someone more accustomed to doing the interrogating, Pikachu is a Pokémon of few words, much preferring one-liners. When I try to broach the status of Harry’s case, he cracks, “I could kill you. But then I’d have to tell you.” The self-proclaimed “best cop” didn’t always want to be a world-famous detective. “I had other plans,” he reveals. “But there’s a height requirement for Olympic Ribbon Dancing. Of what are they so afraid?” It was in that dark hole of depression and rejection that he stumbled upon his new dream; spending his days holed up at home, doing nothing but watching TV. “I thought Jessica Fletcher had some moves,” he says of being inspired by Angela Lansbury’s character in CBS’ long-running crime drama Murder, She Wrote.
And from there, he was off. The next stop was the police academy, where he showed a knack for investigative work. Upon graduation, his talents were on full display on the crime-ridden streets of Ryme City. “It’s gangster’s paradise,” Pikachu says of his hometown. Eventually, he was the force’s go-to detective, proving to be a one-of-a-kind Pokémon. His advice to others hoping to break the mold? “Just do you,” he counsels.
It’s clear throughout our hourlong chat that there’s much more to Detective Pikachu than just what’s in the name. The season he most identifies with gives a hint about the Pokémon under the detective’s cap. “I’m a winter,” he reveals. “Most people go home, slip into something more comfortable. My entire life is soft, stroke-able fur.” Also evident as he talks is the feeling that his voice strongly resembles a certain A-list actor. “I get Penelope Cruz a lot,” he says with a squeak. “I don’t hear it.”
Editor’s Note: All of Pikachu’s answers were penned by Ryan Reynolds.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu opens in theaters on May 10.