Pokémon

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Official logo.

Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon?, how to say: /ˈpoʊkeɪmɒn, ˈpɒkimɒn/; often spelled wrongly as "Pokemon") is a media franchise that is owned by Nintendo. The franchise is based on the concept of catching, collecting, raising, trading, and battling with hundreds of different creatures. This concept was thought of by Satoshi Tajiri, Pokémon's creator. It is represented in many types of media, most famously video games, a still-running anime series, manga, and a trading card game. Although there are 719 different types of Pokémon, the most famous is Pikachu. Other popular ones are Gyarados, Charizard, Mew, Meowth, Yveltal, and Lucario.

The video games have sold more copies than every other series except Nintendo's Mario series.[1]

Video games[change | change source]

A number of Pokémon games have been released, all on Nintendo systems, as The Pokémon Company is owned by Nintendo.

Most of the Pokémon games are based on catching, training and battling Pokémon, and the player is a Pokémon trainer who does all these things. There are a number of aspects to the games.

In the Pokémon games, Pokémon are creatures that trainers catch (using Poké Balls), train, battle, collect, and trade with each other. As of the sixth generation, there are 721 of them.

Gameplay[change | change source]

The gameplay of the Pokémon series of role-playing video games involves the capture and training of many of fictional creatures called "Pokémon" and using them to battle other trainers. Each generation of games builds upon this idea by introducing new Pokémon, items, and gameplay concepts. Some of the general ideas were featured elsewhere before being introduced in the games; double battles appeared in the anime long before appearing in the games, and Pokémon abilities are a lot like to the Pokémon Powers first seen in the Pokémon Trading Card Game.

Anime[change | change source]

Not long after Pokémon Red and Blue (the first Pokémon video games) were released, a Pokémon anime was created. It was first shown in Japan in late 1997, and in the United States in late 1998. The anime started what has been called "Pokémania", which meant that after the anime came out, it became very popular among children, and many parents assumed it was a fad and no one would care about it in a couple years. However, it was never cancelled, and it is still running, although it is not as popular as in 1998 and 1999.

The anime shows the adventures of Ash Ketchum, a ten-year-old Pokémon trainer who has many adventures, meeting many new people and Pokémon. His most famous Pokémon, and probably the most famous Pokémon, is Pikachu.

A number of Pokémon films have also been made that relate to the anime. The first one was Pokémon: The First Movie (released in 1998 in Japan and 1999 in United States). They are more movies still being made. There have now been sixteen films released.

Trading card game[change | change source]

A Pokémon trading card game also exists. Players use Pokémon cards to battle each other. There are also live tournaments hosted by Nintendo. Pokémon's damage is counted by "damage counters" or objects which are placed on the cards to keep track of damage. After you add up all of the numbers on the damage counters, you subtract it from the card's HP (health points) to find out how much HP is left. Only 60 cards are used in a player's deck, and six of these are set aside in a pile called "prize cards." After one player knocks out an opponent's card, the defeater takes just one face-down prize card for non-EX Pokémon. Meanwhile, when someone makes an EX Pokémon faint, he or she gets two prize cards. There is one discard pile for each player, where fainted Pokémon go. Some ways to win are taking all of your prize cards, and/or making your opponent draw all of his or her cards.

There are cards designed as various Pokémon, which usually need "Energy" cards to use attacks. There are also "Trainer" cards, which are used for additional things other than direct Pokémon attacks, like giving Pokemon more HP. Most fans of the series agree that a good deck is made of about twenty "Pokémon" cards, twenty "Energy" cards, and twenty "Trainer" cards.

Players can evolve their Benched or Active Pokémon. The Bench is a spot that can hold Pokémon, and these Pokémon can be evolved with its evolution card. Active Pokémon can evolve too, but can also use attacks. To evolve a Pokémon, you can just put its evolution card on top of it.

All Pokémon cards have types. The type affects how effective an attack is. For example, a certain Lightning-type Pikachu card can use an attack that normally deals 80 damage. If the Pikachu uses it against a Pokémon with a Weakness of +20 to Lighting, you add 20 more damage to the normal damage to make it 100. Types can also make things less effective.

There is also a special kind of Pokémon in the trading card game called "EX" Pokémon. EX Pokémon are stronger than regular ones, but when they are knocked out, the player's opponent draws two of their prize cards (with regular Pokémon it is just one.) Also, there is another special type of Pokémon in the trading card game called "Delta Species" Pokémon, which have types that are different than typical cards, like an Electric-type Charmander, who is usually Fire-type. In the "Diamond & Pearl" trading card game expansion, "LV.X" cards were introduced. These are a little like evolution cards, but they can only be used on Active Pokémon. In the "HeartGold & SoulSilver" expansion, The Pokémon Company released new cards, called LEGEND cards. LEGEND cards are two cards sold separately that when put together make one picture. They can be used only when the two cards they're made of are put together; they can't work separately.

This ANA Boeing 747-400 airplane has a painting of various Pokémon on it.

Criticism[change | change source]

The Pokémon media franchise, especially the anime, has been often criticized by organizations such as PETA.

Dennō Senshi Porygon[change | change source]

An episode of the anime called "Dennō Senshi Porygon" ("Electric Soldier Porygon" in the United States) was first shown in Japan on December 16, 1997. One part of the episode showed quickly flashing red and blue lights. This caused 685 Japanese children to have epileptic seizures.[2] Because of this, the anime went on a four-month break, and several laws were put in place regarding the flashing lights.

Porygon, one of the main characters in the episode, has not appeared again in the anime ever since "Dennō Senshi Porygon". It has two evolved forms, Porygon2 and Porygon-Z, and neither of them have appeared in the anime at all.

An episode of The Simpsons called "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" made fun of "Dennō Senshi Porygon". So did an episode of South Park called "Chinpokomon".

Jynx[change | change source]

Jynx, a species of Pokémon, was criticized because it looked like it was using blackface (an old film-making technique that makes white actors look African-American).[3] It was also criticized because it looked like a drag queen (a man who dresses as a woman). This was not an issue in Japan, but it caused a lot of argument in the United States because of the United States' history of racism. Ever since then, Jynx has purple skin instead of black skin, and anime episodes featuring it were banned due to argument. African American people made a huge deal over this.

References[change | change source]

  1. Boyes, Emma (January 10, 2007). "UK paper names top game franchises". GameSpot. GameSpot UK. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6164012.html. Retrieved April 13, 2009.
  2. Radford, Benjamin. "The Pokémon Panic of 1997". Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on January 25, 2002. http://web.archive.org/web/20020125093204/http://www.csicop.org/si/2001-05/pokemon.html. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
  3. Buffa, Chris. Top 10 Weirdest Looking Pokemon. GameDaily.com. Retrieved on June 13, 2009.