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Fandom History Files: 25 years of Pokemon

As of this year, Pokemon is 25 years old! Happy birthday! Welcome to All Ages Of Geek, I’m Monster Review Girl, and welcome to the Fandom History Files.

General Overview

Pokemon is a beloved franchise that knows no age limit. The premise of the game is simple enough. You play as a 10-year-old running around the countryside of a fantastical world catching the powerful creatures who live there. After that, you compete to prove yourself as a champion and earn the title of the most powerful in the land.

Spanning 122 games, 53 manga volumes, 1,139 anime episodes, 23 movies, and several animated shorts, Pokemon has taken pop culture by storm. Pikachu has his own Thanksgiving Day Parade float, for crying out loud. But things didn’t always start that way.

Check Out Pikachu's Balloon At The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade | NintendoSoup

Early Days

Satoshi Tajiri, the creator of Pokemon and founder of the company Game Freak, started it as a hobby to try and share the thrills he experienced as a child catching insects and tadpoles near his home in suburban Tokyo. 

With the help of Ken Sugimori and other friends, Tajiri formed Game Freak. Inspired by his childhood experiences and the fantasy show Ultra Seven, he got the idea for monsters contained within small capsules.

The initial project was named Capsule Monsters. After several attempts himself, Tajiri got his new friend Shigeru Miyamoto to make the pitch to Nintendo. His pitch was a success, and due to trademarking the project had to be renamed.

After 6 years in development, near bankruptcy, and untold numbers of unpaid hours, the first game was complete.

Generation 1

The first Pokemon games, Red and Green, debuted on February 27th, 1996. Initially, the game sold modestly. The discovery of the hidden pokemon Mew and a contest held by the magazine CoroCoro, however, caused sales to skyrocket. After this, Pokemon Blue – which had improved graphics and sound – came out.

The original Pokemon Green box art

Gen one also saw the debut of the wildly successful pokemon trading card game. The first generation featuring 102 cards when released in mid-October of 1996.

Generation one saw the debut of the manga and anime I mentioned earlier. The anime showed it’s pilot on April first of 1997. Featuring a young trainer named Satoshi (Ash in the English dub) and his rival Shigeru (Gary in the English dub) based on the video game characters Red and Blue respectively, the show followed a plot vaguely similar to the plotline of the games.

The anime soon became wildly popular, causing manga artists to jump on. The first volume of the manga The Electric Tale of Pikachu published on October 28th, 1997. However, the more famous Pokemon Adventures was published on August 8th of the same year. Since then, it has found status among the longest-running pokemon manga to date.

Pokémon Adventures - Wikipedia
Pokemon Adventures Volume 1 cover art

The mangas in general, interestingly enough, were a lot darker and more serious than the original media.

25-year celebration!

Seven generations, a plethora of games, a massive anime, a manga, and countless amounts of fan-content later, Pokemon is a pop-culture juggernaut. And just recently, they announced a special 25th-anniversary event lasting all of 2021! There’s going to be special merch coming out every month, a collaboration with Katy Perry, and more! So please, go check it out! 

See you all again soon, by for now!

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