The family hands over the lost wallet and receives surprise Pokémon anime cells in return

The Twitter user’s search for the mystery person behind the gift leads them to the original background artist 20 years later.

If you’re on the streets of Japan and come across a lost item, handing it over to the police at the nearest koban (police station) is always the right thing to do. That’s what Twitter user Chagashi said (Replying to @TeamGame) and his family did about 20 years ago, when they found a wallet while on a trip togetherand ended up rewarding them in ways they never could have imagined.

Although the family did not expect anything in return for their good deed, according to Japan’s “Lost Property Law”, owners are obliged to reward the finder with 5-20 percent of the value of the found object. Not everyone knows about this obligation, and it is not expected, so Chagashi’s family was surprised when they received two gifts from the mysterious owner of the wallet.

▼ The gifts received were two cels of the Pokemon anime series

After doing some research online, Chagashi discovered that the cells appear to come from Take me to the moonthe 211th episode of the series, as indicated by the number 211 in the upper left corner.

That places these scenes in the second episode of pokemon: Master Quest, pokemon Season Five, which first aired in Japan on August 16, 2001 and in the United States on September 21, 2002.

When Chagashi’s family received the cels, they would have been part of the most recent series, making them extremely valuable. That value has only increased over time, as Misty and Togepi’s cells alone, without any background art, have been known to sell overseas for over 155,000 yen (US$1,310).

▼ These cells, however, count not only misty and Togepibut your friend brock and series stars Ash and Pikachu.

▼ And there is also Team Rocket Trio jessie, James and meow

With so many famous people in these cells, all appearing from the waist up and with background art included for each one, these would fetch a high price at auction. For A Pokémon fan like Chagashi, however, money is not a consideration: these items have become prized family possessions.

▼ This piece comes with not one but three cels on the background art.

▼ This one includes Jessie’s open mouth on a separate layer, suggesting it was used to cheer her up as she spoke.

Chagashi has grown up appreciating hand-drawn images and says he has long admired the skill and technique involved in producing them, right down to the greenery of the trees in the background scenery.

When Chagashi shared the images of the cels on Twitter, along with the story of how they were received, they also asked the tantalizing question: “Who was it… who dropped his wallet?”

Chagashi says that all they could find out about the person who sent them the cells was that they were involved in the anime in some way. However, through the power of Twitter, Katsumi Takaoone of the artists who painted the background scenery for the Pokémon anime series during the 2000s and also for later movies, appeared in Chagashi’s thread, saying:

“That nostalgia! My niece informed me about this.
At that time, I was in charge of background art. As far as I can tell, I tweaked this one and checked it out.
Cells with background art can only be passed between people in very high positions, so it is likely that the person [who gave it to you] I was in a high level position.
Please take good care of it. I also have some at home.

This was an unexpected development that led to a long and warm exchange between Takao and Chagashi, who is also an artist, although his specialization is in graffiti-style paintings.

▼ Takao (bottom right) is always willing to help artists, often uploading drawing tutorials on his YouTube channel.

Their conversation went something like this:


“The person who drew the background!
Thank you for the very valuable information regarding those who were involved at the time.
I looked at how you used the color blue in the background and in the vegetation and also in the rocks on the cliff, and I thought it was very beautiful. I even smelled the paint supplies… Thank you for doing such a wonderful job.”


“Thank you. The painting materials used at that time were the colors of Nikka’s posters.
Tomorrow I will meet with the director, Mr. Yuyama, regarding another matter, so I will ask him about the wallet. LOL”

Kunihiko Yuyama has been in the director’s chair during the Pokémon franchise since 1997.


“I thought it smelled like the paint I used in art school! But they were the colors of the poster. It is really beautiful. Thanks for asking about the bag. I think it was about 20 or 21 years ago…”


“Yeah, it was about 21 years ago, right?
I started working from Episode 2, but I remember it well.
I was wondering how many years ago this was, so I’ll ask you.”

Several hours after posting the above message, Takao posted an update.


“I couldn’t chat at the meeting, so I asked Yuyama about the cels via email, but he said it wasn’t him.
It could be someone at Shopro. A Shopro producer who dealt with the Pokemon The movies dropped last year, so I haven’t had a chance to talk to him. However, if I get a chance to talk to him at a cast party, I will ask him about it.”

Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, or ShoPro as they are commonly known, produces and markets Pokémon anime, movies, and merchandise.

Takao went on to say:

“Given how life is these days, it may take some time [to talk to him]. There is another person who could have been, a director during the early days of Pokemonbut he died at the age of 60 last week, so I can’t ask him about it anymore.”

In this point, Takao seemed as curious as Chagashi to find out who the mysterious person behind the gift was.. Chagashi thanked him profusely for his time, at the same time that he asked about the process by which the staff were able to obtain cells, especially ones like these, with background scenery, which were hard to find.

Takao replied:

“Actually, I used to throw out a lot of cells and funds. Sometimes he would get a box of cells to divide among the staff, but only a few.”

He went on to say:

“A long time ago, when the president of a company I previously worked for was drawing black and white backgrounds for Astro Boy, the cell was cleaned after it was photographed and then reused several times before it was burned. He used to laugh at how well the cells burned.
It seems that things are not as well controlled as before.”

Returning to the subject of the Chagashi cells, Takao said:

Pokemon Cells like the ones you have are valuable because you couldn’t receive them unless you were a senior employee of the company.”

With that, the mystery of the owner of the lost wallet remains unsolved… for now. It’s encouraging to know that Pokémon insider information However, Takao is still on the case, and the story brought a ray of sunshine to anime fans, who left comments like:

“Wow, I envy you for having Pokemon cells!”
“This is truly an amazing story!”
“It’s a godsend!”
“I’m an animator, but even I can’t get cells from our work!”
“These two pieces contain all the main characters, so I think it would have to be a director, a producer or someone who is at the top of the production process.”
“This thank you gift is definitely worth more than 5 to 20 percent of anything they might have had in their wallet!”

The gift of not one but two originals Pokemon artwork with multiple cells. it’s an incredibly kind gesture that shows how happy the owner must have been to be reunited with his lost walletwhich, for many creatives, can be their “lifeline”.

Now we’ll have to wait and see if Chagashi and Takao can follow the clues and solve the mystery, maybe with a little help from Pokemon fans on the go. So feel free to spread the word and if you or someone you know has any leads for this adventure, be sure to let us know!

Source: Twitter/@tyag53 via Hachima Kikou
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Twitter/@tyag53 (1, two)

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