Pokémon is a franchise comprised of 20 movies, 12 anime series, 15 manga series
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Originally a popular video game for the Game Boy, Pokémon exploded into anime, manga, other video games and trading card games. The franchise is internationally popular, and has had several serious through its run.


Pokémon is a perfectly average TV anime tied into the huge marketing machine of a successful game and, consequently, immeasurably more successful than its contemporaries. Giving children an ongoing adventure, the chance to pit their monsters against each other, and a vast menagerie of creatures guaranteed to befuddle their parents, the game was an immense success, its cross-promotional anime and manga spin-offs reaching the West in record time, arguably creating the most important influence on the medium since Akira. Though the stars of Tamagotchi Video Adventures can claim to be the first "virtual pets," it was the interactive quality of Nintendo's Pokémon game that seized the high ground.

First broadcast in Japan in April 1997, the Pokémon phenomenon came to the notice of the West that December in a news item about strobe-like effects in one episode that caused seizures among the Japanese audience (see YAT Budget! Space Tours). Popular myth accords the effects of this as a form of mass hysterics, although subsequent examination of medical records has suggested that perhaps less than a tenth of the alleged "800 cases" required medical attention. Others appear to be viewers who may have felt slightly queasy, jumping on the bandwagon to be part of a national event, and whose experience made for entertaining tabloid journalism abroad, but may not have been quite the broadcasting disaster first reported. Despite this initial stumble, the Pokémon juggernaut descended on the Western world, with millions of dollars in advertising eventually generating billions of dollars in sales. Compare this investment with the desultory way Sailor Moon was dumped on the U.S. Though Pokémon was undoubtedly a hit, it was also something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. The transition was not completely smooth-several episodes were "lost," chiefly for content comprising the womanising antics of Ash's friend Brock, or cross-dressing by the zany Team Rocket.

Thanks to the runaway success of Pokémon in English, anime became relatively commonplace on American TV. After years of equating the medium with sex and violence, producers suddenly saw it as a cash cow in the children's market. Clone shows Digimon and Monster Rancher swiftly followed, along with unrelated serials such as CardCaptors, Gundam W, and Flint the Time Detective. Early attempts at selling anime for an older audience foundered, with Escaflowne flopping on American TV, but the early years of the 21st century could well be characterized by a rush to keep the Western Pokémon-boom generation watching anime as they grow up.

The TV series went through several name changes to reflect the exact brand of game being promoted. After the initial 82 episodes, it became the more U.S.-friendly Pokémon: Orange Island until episode 118, when it returned to previous form in Pokémon Gold & Silver. The franchise also reached theaters in several film outings. Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back (1998) gained Japan's second-largest domestic box office for an animated film, at least for a while, until it was beaten by Princess Mononoke and then Spirited Away. It featured a fight against an embittered mutant monster, crazily flipping from promising, cautionary SF in the style of Tezuka's Baghi, through cartoon comedy, to a patronizing moral ending that weakly argued against fighting all the time, even though such activities characterize the rest of the series! The 70-minute film was shown accompanied by the saccharine "let's cooperate" children's short, Pikachu's Summer Vacation(Pikachu no Natsuyasumi). Despite a slow decline of interest, the film series continued with Revelation Lugia (1999, aka Pokémon the Movie 2000: The Power of One), anime history's third-largest Japanese box-office draw, in which yet another very, very rare form of Pokémon is the object of the quest. This time, Lugia can only be called forth by bringing three sacred birds together in one spot. The show was accompanied by the short film Pikachu's Rescue Adventure (Pikachu Tankentai). A year later, the Pokémon movie was Emperor of the Crystal Tower (2000, translated in 2001 as Pokémon 3 the Movie- Spell of the Unown), a fairy-tale variant of Sleeping Beauty about an imprisoned princess accidentally kidnapping Ash's mother when she wishes for one of her own. The film was accompanied by another short for toddlers, this time Pichu and Pikachu, displaying "baby" versions of some of the lead Pokémon. A fourth film, Encounter Beyond Time (aka Pokémon 4Ever, 2001) features the very, very, very rare Pokémon Celebi from the GS game, accompanied by the short Pikachu's Hide and Seek (Pikachu no Doki-doki Kakurenbo). Pokémon Heroes Latias and Latios (Mizu no Miyako no Mamorigami, i.e. Guardian Spirits of the Water Capital) accompanied by the short Glittering Starlit Sky Camp (Pika Pika Hoshizora Camp, both 2002); Pokémon Jirachi Wish Maker (Nana-Yo no Negai Boshi Jiraachi) and the short The Dancing Pokémon Secret Base (Odoru Pokémon Himitsu Kichi, both 2003); Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (2004, Rekku no Homonsha Deokishisu, aka Visitor from Above, Deoxys), Pokémon: Mew and the Wave Hero (2005, Myu to Hado no Yusha), and Pokémon Rangers and the Sea King (2006, Pokémon Ranger to Umi no Oji) continue the franchise, while on television, the Pokémon GS season transformed into Pokémon Ranger and Pokémon Advanced Generation.

Often held in snooty disregard by a hard-core anime fandom that would prefer its hobby to be forever outside the mainstream, Pokémon is nevertheless the most commercially important anime of the 1990s in terms of brand recognition and the investment it attracted to the medium-many more obscure anime and manga translations were funded with Pikachu's profits. As befits a cultural icon, the series has been mercilessly lampooned in other media, most notably as the "Battling Seizure Robots" in an episode of the The Simpsons, and the brainwashing Chinpokomon in South Park.

General Information Edit
Name: Pokémon
Name: ポケモンカードゲー
Romaji: Poketto Monsutā
Aliases: Pokemon
Pocket Monsters
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