Who doesn’t know Pokemon? If it is not from the many commercials, you will have surely seen its fans quietly standing together at the most random spots. How did this anime franchise from Japan develop? And what makes Pokemon so great?
The Start of It All
Pocket Monster, also known as Pokemon, was born in 1996 as a computer for the Game Boy. It was developed by Game Freak Inc. and sold by Nintendo, one of the world’s biggest game makers. The series was a great hit and spread among elementary students by word-of-mouth.
It includes important elements that make games popular, which are “collection, training, fighting, and exchange”. Because of its success, they made a TV anime, movies, manga (comic), character goods, card games, arcade games, and so on. The game software has been sold more than 300 million times including all countries. By the way, the number one game sales record is for Super Mario, which was sold more than 500 million times worldwide.
The TV anime already started in the following year in 1997, and it has been also a big hit all over the world. The Pokemon characters are a very important part of both the game and the anime. There were 151 species in the beginning, but they have increased to 898 species as of 2021.
Pokemon GO is a computer game that was released in 2016. It was developed by Pokemon Inc and American company Niantic Inc, and helped by Nintendo. To play it, you don’t have to buy special hardware, but you can install an app on your smartphone (Android and iOS). It uses AR (augmented reality) and your phone’s GPS function. If you choose AR mode, Pokemon seem to appear in the real world. The game uses famous places that exist in real life and 7/11 stores as Poke Stops, at which you can get tools such as monster balls.
It was listed in 5 categories in Guinness World Records. One of them is the most downloaded mobile game in the first month. Now, it is played in more than 150 countries. When it was first released in Japan, a lot of young people were wandering the streets of Japan to find Pokemons. It was good in some way, as many gamers always played games in their rooms. They never went out, which is not good for their health, but they finally started to walk outside.
It caused many problems, however; too many people gathered in particular places to catch special Pokemon. Also, many people played when they were driving. People who were playing in sacred places such as Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples caused annoyance. Now they changed some rules such as you cannot play when you move faster than at walking speed. Ever since there have been few problems.
The Story of Pokemon
The setting is a world where various Pokemons live, with the main character being a boy named Satoshi. He wants to be the best Pokemon trainer. When he started practicing to become a Pokemon trainer, he made Pikachu his main partner. Pikachu was mischievous and Satoshi couldn’t control him at first, but they have become good friends after fighting against big sparrows together.
He started an adventurous journey with Pikachu and catches other Pokemons and fights with other trainers on the way. When a trainer catches a Pokemon, they put it in a capsule called ‘monster ball’. There is a team of bad guys called Rocket-dan (Team Rocket) which consists of a man Musashi, a woman Kojiro, and a cat Pokemon Nyaasu (Meowth in English). Their boss is Sakaki, and they often appear to prevent Satoshi’s adventures.
Major Pocket Monsters
There are nearly 900 Pocket Monsters. Each individual has its own characteristics; size, weight, technic, HP (horsepower), CP (combat power), evolution ability. They are also a type such as water, earth, flying, poison, etc. Interestingly, the English names of many of the popular monsters are different from their Japanese ones, except for some monsters like Pikachu.
Pikachu: He is the most popular Pokemon among the 900, not only because he is the partner of Satoshi, but he is cute looking. Pikachu can only say “Pika pika”, but he can communicate with Satoshi. This yellow friend can generate a lightning bolt.
Three monsters appeared in the first monsters:
Fushigidane (Bulbasaur): This is a poisonous plant that evolutes from the seed to the grass Fushigiso (Ivysaur) and the flower Fushigidane (Venusaur).
Hitokage (Charmander): a fire-type lizard that evolutes to Rizard (Charmelon) and Rizardon (Charizard)
Zenigame (Squirtle): Ia water type turtle that evolutes to Kameru (Wartortle) and Kamekkusu (Blastoise)
Other Popular Pokemons
Eevee: this is a normal type that can evolute to 8 different monsters such as Showers (Vaporeon), Thunders (Jolteon) and Booster (Flareon).
Kairyu (Dragonite): a flying dragon who evolutes from Miniryu (Dratini) and Hakuryu (Dragonair).
Mewtwo: It is the main character in the movie ‘Pokemon: Mewtwo Strikes Back!’, the first Pokemon movie.
Pokemon Centers and Pokemon Stores
A Pokemon Center is an official shop that sells a variety of Pokemon goods such as character goods, game software, and card games. The Pokemon Store is more casual and smaller than the Pokemon Center. There are 29 shops all over Japan as of 2021, and here is a list of the locations of the shops.
Pokemon Centers in Northern Japan
*Pokemon Center Sapporo (Hokkaido)
*Pokemon Store Shin-Chitose Airport (Hokkaido)
*Pokemon Center Tohoku (Sendai City, Miyagi)
Pokemon Centers in Tokyo/Kanagawa/Chiba
*Pokemon Center Tokyo DX & Pokemon Café (Nihonbashi, Tokyo)
*Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo & Pikachu Sweets (Ikebukuro, Tokyo)
*Pokemon Center Shibuya (Tokyo)
*Pokemon Center Skytree Town (Tokyo)
*Pokemon Store Tokyo Station (Tokyo)
*Pokemon Center Yokohama (Kanagawa)
*Pokemon Center Tokyo Bay (Funabashi, Chiba)
*Pokemon Store Outlet (Kisarazu, Chiba)
*Pokemon Store Narita Airport (Chiba)
Pokemon Centers in Central Japan
*Pokemon Center Nagoya (Aichi)
*Pokemon Center Chubu International Aiport (Aichi)
*Pokemon Center Kanazawa (Ishikawa)
*Pokemon Center Gotenba (Shizuoka)
*Pokemon Center Kyoto (Kyoto)
*Pokemon Center Osaka DX & Pokemon Café (Shinsaibashi, Osaka)
*Pokemon Center Osaka (Umeda, Osaka)
*Pokemon Store Itami Airport (Osaka)
*Pokemon Store Kansai Airport (Osaka)
*Pokemon Center Hiroshima (Hiroshima)
*Pokemon Store Aeon Mall Okayama (Okayama)
*Pokemon Store Emiful Masaki (Iyogun, Ehime)
*Pokemon Center Fukuoka (Fukuoka)
*Pokemon Store Amu-Plaza Oita (Oita)
*Pokemon Store Amu-Plaza Kagoshima (Kagoshima)
*Pokemon Store Depart-Liubou (Naha, Okinawa)
*Pokemon Store Aeon Mall Okinawa Raikamu (Okinawa)
Your Japan Tour
As seasoned Japan experts, we can help you create your perfect Japan tour including guides. They can tell you all about Pokemon games, anime, and character goods. The guide can take you to Pokemon stores if you wish. Contact us to start planning your unforgettable holiday to this fascinating country. Japan is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, culture, history, nature, and delicious food!