“I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was.”
And for many Pokemon fans, those words ring true. Happy Pokemon day, everyone! Today I made my rounds to a couple places celebrating Pokemon day. I scored big at Toys R Us, as they still had their Pokemon card exclusives of foils Pikachu and Magikarp.
I also got a nice laminated, double sided poster; one side with the original 151 Pokemon and the other with a release date timeline of other previous Pokemon games. I was really disappointed with both Gamestops I went to. While emails I received mentioned really cool offers and exclusives, both stores lacked in any product.
Anyhow, another reason for it officially being Pokemon Day is 20 years ago today, Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green were released in Japan for the Game Boy system. In 1998, we here state side received Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue. So today is also Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary!!! So Happy Anniversary Pokemon!!!
One may ask why I still love Pokemon. Another may ask, “But Renee, you’re 35 years old. Aren’t you a little too old for Pokemon?” First initial reaction would be, “hell no I’m not too old for Pokemon.” Plus one can say the same thing when asking me why I still love Sailor Moon, but that’s for another blog. While I could also give the excuse that I have other friends my age that still connect with Pokemon, here is my reason.
Junior Year, High School 1998:
In 1998, I was a junior in High School. I hung out in a group of friends who were just as geeky as me minus the stereotypical nerd attire (a la Revenge of the Nerds). Anime still hadn’t reached it’s peak yet, and the only way we had access to it was though my friend Dia. She would bring US Manga Corp video tapes she procured from some far away comic book shop (there were not as many then as there are now or maybe I just didn’t know about them).
Around this time, my youngest brother Paul was obsessed with a new Gameboy game. That game was called Pokemon Red. Most Gameboy games were very limited then, and as a whole, kind of sucked. There were the scant few that were good: Metroid, Super Mario, Legend of Zelda. I didn’t really take notice of this Pokemon game until one Saturday morning. That morning I was awaiting for Brad (my now husband) and his father to pick me up for a breakfast outing. Paul was playing his game and watching the show on TV. The episode playing was the first appearance of the Pokemon Jigglypuff. What appealed me in those 30 minutes was how insanely cute the Pokemon were (so KAWAII), and I had to have them. So it had that going for it.
As I watched, I posed questions to Paul about the show and game. Without even looking up from his game, he explained the plot and game basics. You were a trainer setting out into the world, with only a backpack and Pokeballs to catch your Pokemon. There were 150 to catch but in the meantime you battled other trainers and Gym Leaders to procure badges. Some Pokemon evolved into more powerful forms, and in order to get certain Pokemon, another person had to have the companion game so you can connect and trade. After a few more episodes of the show, and then finally procuring Pokemon Yellow, I was in so many ways, HOOKED.
Pokemon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back
So if one could say Pokemon is for kids and that adults may be too old for Pokemon, I direct them to the first Pokemon movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back. The movie deals with many issues, such as the circumstances of ones birth, and are we truly all that different from each other. The movie starts out with Mewtwo, Mew’s clone destroying a lab and making it burst into flames. So, it becomes obvious that Mewtwo is a murderer, considering no one in the lab seems to have escaped (unless you imagine they got on pure luck). But what made me love this movie wasn’t only the dark undertones, but as with most Pokemon movies and TV episodes, was the bond between Ash and Pikachu. You had seen their relationship evolve (pun intended) throughout the series, but in the movies end, you get the feeling that their relationship is more than that of pet and master, but of true friends. My mom and I were crying, bumbling fools during this scene in the theater, much to Pauls embarrassment. Let’s just say that yours truly still got teary eyed finding and watching this clip to put in this post.
Pokemon has been a source of bonding for Paul and I. Through Gameboy games, trading cards, and other various collectibles, Pokemon was something we could always relate to. Paul had even gotten jealous one time when Brad came over and brought me a huge Pikachu doll as present. I was so excited to have it and sat in my parents living room holding it in my lap while Paul kept looking with a jealous stink eye. It was as if he wished Brad had brought him one too. We both attended two years of Anime Expo, with one year of him dressing as Ash Katchem (which he also dressed as for a few Halloweens). While he doesn’t play Pokemon as much now as he did then, occasionally he does posts Pokemon news mostly for nostalgia purposes.
I have played every game up to the current release Alpha Sapphire. While I didn’t really like Pokemon Black or White that much, I managed to like its sequels better. Of course now it seems overwhelming as now the games boasts over 700 different kinds of Pokemon to catch, but for me the premise never gets old. I love how the trainers change and there are different regions to explore. I’m sure we’ll be getting 100 more different Pokemon to catch with Pokemon Sun and Moon, but I will be investing my time in those as well. Gotta catch them all, right?
All images copyright of Nintendo.