Pokémon(JP), also known as Pocket Monsters(JP) in Japan, is a media franchise jointly owned by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures through The Pokémon Company. The franchise started from a set of video games created by Satoshi Tajiri. The original Game Boy video games have since been merchandised into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books and other media. The game’s catchphrase and slogan, in the English language versions of the franchise, used to be "Gotta catch ’em all!", although it is now no longer officially used (except by Hasbro and in the title sequence to Pokémon Chronicles).
Pokémon is also the collective name for all of the fictional species within the Pokémon universe. To date, the franchise has a grand total of 809 Pokémon that lie at the heart of the series, a figure which has grown substantially from the 150 monsters in the original Pokémon Red and Blue games. The word Pokémon remains unchanged whether referring to the singular or plural (as is the case with deer or sheep), and the same applies to each species name.
The Video Games
The Pokémon games have always been released in pairs, along with a third game typically released later. All the games between each main pair are considered part of the same generation Currently there are 8 generations each having several new Pokémon released each new generation. Each of the paired games generally differ with the Pokémon available and minor storyline changes such as the main legendary. Some games make larger changes such as Ruby and Sapphire with the different villainous teams and X and Y with exclusive Mega Stones. Usually in the year following the game's release, an expanded version is released that alters the storyline, changes the available Pokémon and adds many quality of life features like move tutors. Starting with Black and White, the third version became split into pairs. Since Platinum, the regional dex also expands. Additionally, there are remakes that release every so often starting with FireRed and LeafGreen. The games are updated to the most recent generation's standards though the initial available Pokémon remains the same as the original games.
On top of the main games, there are mainly spinoff series to the Pokémon franchise. Prior to the series 3D debut, they had the Pokémon Stadium series that released on consoles which were mainly battle simulators where the player can use their own Pokémon or use rental Pokémon to battle each other in 3D environments and high quality animation. The Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series is a Roguelike spinoff where the player becomes a Pokémon and has to navigate dungeons in a world with only Pokémon. They mostly release between mainline entries. The Pokémon Trozei series is a match puzzle series where the pieces are various Pokémon. Each type has their own abilities and affects the other pieces. The Pokémon Rumble series is a light action series using chibi Pokémon toys as their characters and has them beat horde of enemy Pokémon toys. The Pokken Tournament series are Pokémon fighting games.
Pokémon has also expanded to mobile with the marquee title being Pokémon Go. There have been smaller titles like Pokémon Duel and Pokémon Masters which are spins on the traditional turn-based combat as well as expansion of the smaller Pokémon series like Pokémon Shuffle and Poké Land.
Currently, the publishing of the mainline titles is being handled by The Pokémon Company, while distribution is handled by Nintendo in Japan. Publishing and distribution of mainline titles outside of Japan is handled solely by Nintendo.
The Trading Card Game
The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a collectible card game based on the Pokémon video game series. It made its debut in Japan on October 20, 1996. Cards were initially distributed by Media Factory in Japan and Wizards of the Coast in North America. Distribution is currently being handled globally by The Pokémon Company.
Animated TV series
The Pokémon TV series' has been on the air since April 1, 1997. It is being produced by OLM and its broadcaster, TV Tokyo. The series follows Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum and his quest to become a Pokémon Master. He has traveled through the Kanto Region, Orange Islands, Johto Region, Hoenn Region, Kanto Region (Battle Frontier), Sinnoh Region, Unova Region, Decolore Islands, Kalos Region and the Alola Region. The current season has Ash travel around the world across all the regions. Ash has had lots of traveling companions over the seasons. In order of Appearance they are: Misty, Brock, Tracey, May, Max, Dawn, Iris, Cilan, Clemont, Bonnie, Serena, Lana, Kiawe, Lillie, Sophocles, Mallow and Go. In addition, the series has had yearly movies since 1998.
On top of the main continuity, there have been two series of specials. The first was Pokémon Origins which is a series of episodes following Red on his journey in Kanto like the original games. The second was Pokémon Generations which were a set of 18 shorts that looked at big moments in each of the generations for the 20th anniversary of the original games and the release of Sun and Moon..
A variety of Pokémon manga series have been published, primarily by Shogakukan. The best known Pokémon manga series is the Pokémon Adventures series, which is being. With more than 40 volumes following the Dexholders on their journeys around the Pokémon world. The main characters are named after the main games (e.g. Red, Gold, Sapphire, Black) The stories are set around all of the main series regions and areas. Each of the generations has their own separate manga series as well.
- The Pokémon series has been subject to controversy since its creation. Various religious (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) and activist (animal rights) groups have expressed concerns over the franchise due to prominent themes found in the games. These controversies have even caused the series to be banned in some countries.
- The Pokémon Jynx was highly controversial due to its resemblance to characters from The Little Black Sambo. Critics insisted that the species enforced a negative stereotype against African Americans due to its pitch-black skin. Because of this, Jynx's skin was changed to purple.
- One episode, Electric Soldier Porygon, was removed from television after it caused seizures to many children. After the incident, Japanese TV broadcasters voluntarily added on-screen warnings to shows targeted at young children encouraging viewers to watch them in a well-lit room and to sit far away from the television set. Another episode was postponed, and two were never released to the public.
- All products related to Pokémon have been banned from Saudi Arabia due to supposedly supporting other religions, which is strictly against Muslim doctrine.
- Kadabra had a slight controversy in that his Japanese name as well as some of his features referenced Uri Geller which caused Uri Geller to sue Nintendo. The case never got anywhere but, The Pokémon Company has since never featured Kadabra in the anime or official merchandise since the mid 2000s.
Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri first came up with the concept of what would become Pokémon around the time of the Game Boy's release. The concept stemmed from bug collecting, a hobby Tajiri enjoyed as a child. Tajiri thought the Game Boy was perfect for his idea especially because of the link cable; he envisioned that it would allow players to trade Pokémon with each other. The concept of trading information was new to the video gaming industry because connection cables were only being used for competition at that time.
Originally called Capsule Monsters, the franchise's title went through several transitions due to trademark issues, becoming CapuMon and KapuMon before eventually settling upon Pocket Monsters. The first Pocket Monsters trademark was filed on September 11, 1995 and development of the first two games finished the following October.
Pocket Monsters Red and Pocket Monsters Green were released in Japan on February 27, 1996. Nintendo's idea of producing two versions of the same game instead of a single title prompted consumers to buy both, which led to higher sales. Blue was released in October that same year as a mail-order-only special title.
The localization for the first two games was done by a team led by Hiro Nakamura. When altering the games' text from Japanese to English ended up being impossible; the games had to be entirely reprogrammed from scratch due to the fragile state of their source code. The games ended up being based on the mail-order-only Blue; modeling its programming and artwork, but keeping the same distribution of Pokémon found in the Japanese Red and Green cartridges, respectively.
As the finished Red and Blue versions were being prepared for release in the U.S., Nintendo allegedly spent over 50 million dollars to promote the games, fearing the series would not be appealing to American children. The localization team warned that the "cute monsters" may not be accepted by American audiences, and recommended they be redesigned and "beefed-up". Then-president of Nintendo Hiroshi Yamauchi refused and instead viewed the games' possible reception in America as a challenge to face. In addition to this, the Pocket Monsters name could not be used in the U.S. due to trademark issues. Despite the setbacks, the reprogrammed Red and Blue versions with their original creature designs were eventually released in North America in 1998. The games ended up being a success in North America.
Pokémon's first stop in the U.S. was Topeka, Kansas. The city changed the name of the city to ToPikachu in celebration of the Pokémon species. In March of 2010, Topeka, Kansas mayor Bill Bunten proclaimed that they city's name would be changed to Google, Kansas for that month in hopes that Google would experiment their fiber optics experiment there. Local TV station WIBW Jim Ogle stated that "if Topeka could change its name for a small doll that sounds like I sneezed, it could certainly do the same for Google."
- The first Pokémon designed and created was Rhydon.
- BBC News, (March 26, 2001) "Saudi Arabia bans Pokemon"
Published by: BBC News
- "A Salute to Japanese Game Designers"
- "The Ultimate Game Freak"
- Pocket Monsters trademark info
- "Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon" - Duke University Press (2004)
- "Pokemon Could Have Been Muscular Monsters" - Kotaku