There is no doubt that, by now, the Pocket Monsters are one of the most famous symbols and image of contemporary Japanese animation, video-games and entertainment business sector. Pokemon, a creation and franchise owned by the Pokemon Company, was created in 1995 by Satoshi Tajiri and has become an authentic world-wide phenomenon among adults and children all over the globe.
Originally, the story is centred on fictional creatures called “Pokemon” (abbreviation of “pocket monsters”, “Poketto Monsutā” aka ポケットモンスター). These creatures are captured by humans who train them to fight each other for sport, to fight against other team owners and Trainers, or even win the fictional Pokemon League and other tournaments. In order to train these creatures and use them to fight, the Pokemon Trainers or masters (the humans who train them), have to begin by catching the wild Pokemon in its natural habitat.
After encountering a wild Pokemon, the Pokemon Trainer is able to capture that Pokemon by throwing a specially designed, mass-producible spherical tool called “Poke Ball” at it.
Once the Pokemon is captured inside this Poke Ball and is unable to escape the confines of the ball, the monster officially acquires the ownership of that Trainer. It is then added to his or her collection of creatures and the training begins. From that moment onwards, the Pokemon obeys whatever its new master commands, unless the Trainer shows lack of experience following which the Pokemon acts on its own accord. A Pokemon already owned by a Trainer cannot be re-captured, except under special circumstances in certain games or situations. During the fights, if a Pokemon defeats or knocks out one or more opponents in a battle, the winner gains experience points and may level up. When this happens, the Pokemon battling aptitude statistics, such as attack or speed, increases. Additionally, from time to time the Pokemon may also learn new moves and fighting techniques to be applied in future battles.
Many Pokemon species possess the ability of undergoing metamorphosis and transform into a similar but stronger species of Pokemon, leading to its evolution. Most of the Pokemon can experiment this process of evolution two times, evolving from its first form to two other stronger and more complex forms. However, it depends on the Generation of the monster. There are 6 different generations of Pokemon, with different forms and characteristics. Also, the evolution can occur not only by levelling up the creature, but also with the help of elemental stones, by trading, by happiness and exceptionally by other conditions. There are several methods of evolution, with more variations being added with each game (Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver and Crystal).
Counting all the creatures that appeared so far on the TV animation program and different seasons, games, video-games and others, there are around 721 known fictional species. An additional challenge of the story and the game is for the Pokemon Trainers, they should complete the Pokedex by collecting all of the available Pokemon species that can be found in the fictional regions where the game is set.
As expected, commercially, the Pokemon universe represents a highly profitable business, not only in Japan but also all around the world. For example, since the emergence of the first Pokemon ideas around 1989, the merchandising that has resulted includes video-games, anime and manga series, all kind of goods and toys and even the Pokemon Trading Card game.
A great example of this merchandising phenomenon can be found in the renowned neighbourhood of Ikebukuro, Tokyo. On the second floor of the Sunshine City alpa shopping mall is Japan's largest Pokemon Center: the Pokemon Center Mega Tokyo.
It was opened in early December, 2014 and it is a huge store dedicated exclusively to the Pokemon world. The store has giant Pokemon statues inside and has a prolific offer of merchandise to purchase, such as stuffed toys, clothes, stationery, games, video-games, trading cards, bathroom accessories, food, sweets and figures.
Definitely it will delight any Pokemon fan. So if you are one of them, or even just because you feel curious about it, do not doubt it and check it out. As a Pokemon Trainer might say: “Gotta Catch 'em All”!