Pokémon 25 years old | The franchise that strengthened East’s ties with the West

Pokémon is one of the most popular oriental franchises in the world. It’s even estimated to be worth around US $ 100 billion, including video games, card games, animations, toys, and props. This phenomenon was idealized by Satoshi Tajiri between the late 1980s and early 1990s, when he realized that the fashion for video games was not temporary and decided to venture into the market. with friends. According to him, industrialization had greatly limited the sense of adventure of children, who no longer played outside. It would therefore be interesting to create a game that simulates your childhood hobbies for the virtual environment. It turned out that Satoshi had the frustration of being forbidden by his mother to have pets, and his favorite activity was exploring forests and rivers, as well as observing, cataloging and collecting. of insects in pots. This is where the concepts of the franchise were born, such as the coaches being children responding to the scientists, the pokédex, which is nothing more than a large catalog, the pokeballs and the appearance of the first monsters. generation, almost all very similar to real animals.

Satoshu Tajiri’s legacy has marked the lives of millions of children and young people around the world. Reading / Internet.

At the time, he had founded a video game company with friends, who would go on to become the idolatrous Game Freak, the official producer of the franchise. Working in the same building as Nintendo, he needed to make a new video game. This idea of ​​replicating childhood experiences was ruminating overhead, until one day he saw two young men playing Game Boy and using Cable Link – our “little cable” – to connect their two devices. He thought about how this could make a monster trading system possible and promote great interactivity between players. Satoshi pitched the project, got the green light, and spent around five years working on Pokémon Red & Green. The launch took place on February 27, 1996 and was a success, as it sold over 8 million copies in Japan without any advertising. A real phenomenon. The game was exported to the West in the Pokémon Red and Blue version, another explosive success. The “Blue Version” was so popular that it ended up being launched in the Japanese market as well.

The three versions that made the child not detach from the Game Boy. Reproduction / Internet.

As the games became instant classics, selling over 10 million copies from the west, the idea arose that allowed Pokémon to become what it is today: to make an anime. The cartoon was a way to get new direct collections, in addition to helping to expand and popularize video games even more around the world. After all, if the kid doesn’t have a Game Boy, they’ll likely have a TV at home and be able to consume Pokémon, live Pokémon, and dream of having a Pokémon thanks to the cartoon. It was a master stroke.

The start of a friendship that lasted nearly three decades. Disclosure / The Pokémon Company.

And so began one of the coolest East-West relationships of all time. The plot of the anime was very simple. It should replicate the RPG style of the video game, with each episode bringing a different quest. The protagonists would be Ash Ketchum (in the original, Ash is called Satoshi in honor of the creator of the franchise) and Pokémon Clefairy, which is said to have the ability to speak the language of humans. But they opted for Pikachu at the last minute. The friendliest face and shape of the chubby mouse looked nicer than the round, flat fairy. With the design drawing a legion of fans across the globe, Game Freak has prepared a new version of the Game Boy strip called Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition, with one detail that would change everything: the game’s Pikachu would accompany the trainer to the outside of the Poké Ball. , something very cute. This edition alone has sold over 5 million copies. Another thunderous blow. And the fact that the protagonist is a child living adventures in an adult world with his adorable “pet” ended up being one of the main keys to the success of the animation. Indeed, most cartoons until then were played by adults or young people acting with mentors. So having an independent child making decisions with his friends gave him a sense of freedom that no other children’s production could achieve. In this way, the original Pokémon season became the first major bridge between Eastern and Western culture free for all ages.

The first Pokémon movie was a global event that took millions of kids to theaters to see Ash and Pikachu take on the most powerful Pokémon of all: Mewtwo. Reproduction / The Pokémon Company.

The cultural exchange was so great and meaningful that Pokémon were growing bigger and bigger every day. Currently, the franchise is considered the highest grossing in the world, overtaking giants like Marvel, DC, and Star Wars. This broad front where games influence anime and vice versa has allowed complementary success, which has directly affected products such as card games, manga and, of course, the dolls and accessories so requested. Not even the controversies of the Porygon episode, which caused epileptic seizures in about 700 Japanese children, and that of the Dratini episode, in which an elderly man points a gun at Ash’s face, have could not prevent the growing success of the franchise. And in the late 1990s, Pokémon was so popular around the world that they came up with an almost pandemic term to define this phenomenon: “Pokémon Fever”.

No matter what country they were in, Pokémon products were the most sought after and the first to sell, even though they had many varieties. Figures, dolls, clothes, shoes, chewing gum, watches, backpacks … There was everything, and it always finished in a few minutes. In Brazil, the anime debuted on Record on May 10, 1999, on the Eliana e Alegria show. The presenter even became something of an unofficial ambassador for the country’s monsters, even recording songs inspired by the animation. There was no way not to be successful, and so Pokémon ended up becoming something of a network asset for a while. The ‘Pokemon fever’ was something so intense here that the late Gugu Liberato even opened a franchise-inspired playground in a São Paulo mall, but it didn’t work out very well. Another proof of success is product piracy. It was impossible to go through a street vendor without finding hundreds of pirated Pokémon items, and it wasn’t exclusive to Brazil, no. Counterfeits have occurred all over the world, a factor that until today determines how difficult it is to assess the true value of the franchise, since the pirate collection does not reach the coffers of The Pokémon Company. And yet, Pokémon is the most valuable franchise on the planet.

The cards given out as gifts in the first Pokémon movie have become a collector’s item. Reproduction / Youtube.

The movies were just extensions of the animation and also won over legions of fans by presenting the playing cards as a gift. A marketing course, because they presented the children with a “gateway” for the consumption of another product of the company. The first two films are still in the top 10 highest grossing Japanese animation in history, not to mention that they have produced more than 20 sequels. On a comparative level, the Fast & Furious franchise has released nine so far, one of which is a spin-off from the main saga. Pokémon has more than twice as many movies released.

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The athletes of Cariocas and Rio 2016 put a lot of pressure on the arrival of Pokémon Go in Brazil. Reading / Internet.

The last big moment we had of this absurd Pokémon phenomenon could be seen in 2016, with the launch of the mobile app, Pokémon GO. The little game that would let you use your smartphone’s camera to capture little monsters from around the world was one of the most anticipated inventions in entertainment history. The ability to travel the planet to capture Pokémon like an authentic master was fascinating. It was released bit by bit across continents, while South America, specifically Brazil, still had no set date, which drove fans crazy. With the arrival of the Olympics, the Cariocas and some Olympic athletes who would come to Rio de Janeiro started to pressure Niantic to have the match arrive in Brazil before the start of the event. The campaign was so strong that even the mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes, posted on his social networks using images of monsters in the tourist spots of the wonderful city to give this famous accusation to the company.

After Olympic athletes and the mayor of Rio joined the campaign, Niantic rushed to launch Pokémon Go in Brazil in time for the Olympics. Reproduction / Facebook Eduardo Paes.

Thus, on August 3, 2016, the highly anticipated Pokémon Go arrived in Brazilian lands. Olympic Boulevard has become a real Pokémon safari, with people all over the world using their phones to pick up pocket monsters. However, the app caused some issues there. Starting with the falls and falls, which have become a routine for the players, who have always kept their eyes riveted on the screens. There have also been cases of Pokémon appearing in “inappropriate” places, such as a Koffing, a gas-releasing Pokémon, having been spotted at the Holocaust Museum in Germany, and Psychic Pokémon more often found near sanatoriums and health centers. In addition, of course, the attackers place the “decoys” at strategic points to attract players and facilitate thefts in real life.

The Jewish community has issued a note of condemnation against Niantic for appearing considered disrespectful at the Holocaust Museum.
Reading / Internet.

Anyway, in 25 years of existence, the Pokémon franchise has managed to dominate the world and contribute to the globalization of Eastern culture, since it carries in its stories several cultural objects and examples from Japan. Phenomenon virtually everywhere on the planet, Pokémon – which is an abbreviation of the American term “Pocket Monsters” – it is extremely expensive and has marked the lives of billions of people around the world, including mine. So, because of all this impact on our society, Happy # PokémonDay!

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