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YumeTwins Kawaii Culture BlogWhat is Pokemon: Everything You Need to Know!

What is Pokemon: Everything You Need to Know!

By Thalia Harris
May 23, 2024

What is Pokemon? It’s an unparalleled global phenomenon. The video game started on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996 and quickly became one of the highest-grossing media franchises. Pokemon is a blend of the words “Pocket Monsters.” It has fascinated millions around the globe!

Was the Pokemon anime popular?

The Pokémon anime, which first aired from 1997 to 1999 with the Indigo League series, quickly captured viewers’ hearts globally. The first season introduced Ash Ketchum, who was on a quest to become a Pokémon Master. This marked the start of a series that spans 24 seasons over two decades. The Indigo League is especially nostalgic. It showcases the early days of Ash and Pikachu’s bond. His friends, Misty and Brock, are also a major part of the show!

Ash, Brock and Misty from Pokemon Indigo League hanging out in the forest.
Which episode of Pokemon was your favorite? Image via Starburst Magazine

This series became a staple of Japanese and American pop culture. They sparked the creation of a trading card game, over 20 movies, and a myriad of merchandise, establishing Pokémon as a multi-billion dollar franchise.

Are there any notable moments in the anime?

A standout moment in the Pokémon anime occurred in the Sun & Moon series, set in the Alola region. After over two decades of challenges, Ash Ketchum won the Pokémon League Championship for the first time at the Manalo Conference. This victory against his rival Gladion, after numerous near-wins in past tournaments, was a monumental achievement. It represented the fulfillment of Ash’s dream, offering a profoundly emotional moment for fans who had been with him since the start in 1997.

Ash holding the Pokemon League Championship trophy with Pikachu on his shoulder.
This amazing moment took over 25 years to happen! Image via Polygon

Ash’s triumph at the Manalo Conference was a testament to his evolution from a novice to a true Pokémon Master. This victory, long in the making, was not just a significant moment for Ash but also became one of the most iconic highlights in the history of the Pokémon anime.

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What Pokemon were inspired by real life?

Many Pokémon designs are inspired by everyday items. For example, Voltorb and Electrode resemble Poké Balls. The Vanillite family also appears as various ice cream treats!

A Vanilluxe, a Pokemon that resembles an ice cream cone.
Don’t try to eat these scrumptious Pokemon! Image via Screen Rant

Many Pokémon resemble animals or mythical creatures. However, the creators at Game Freak also find inspiration in everyday and man-made objects. These include household items like keys and ice cream and culturally significant objects like bells. Their creativity shines in crafting unique Pokémon from such items.

What about the locations?

The places in Pokémon games also reference real-world locations! For example, the Kanto region in the games is much like the actual Kanto area in Japan. Pallet Town resembles the game creator’s hometown, and the Indigo Plateau resembles the Izu Peninsula. The Johto region draws from Japan’s Kansai area. In contrast, Alola mimics the Hawaiian Islands, with each in-game island resembling a real Hawaiian one. Galar takes inspiration from the United Kingdom, capturing the essence of English towns and cities.

A house in the Paldea Region.
The architecture in Paldea is inspired by Spain and Portugal. Image via The Loadout

For instance, Motostoke evokes Manchester and Liverpool. Kalos reflects northern France’s charm, with Lumiose City mirroring Paris, including a Prism Tower akin to the Eiffel Tower. Although the Pokémon world is fictional, its settings perfectly mirror Earth’s diverse cultures, landscapes, and architecture. As a result, players can discover everything from quaint villages to sprawling cities, national parks, and factories. This careful design makes the Pokémon universe feel both fresh and familiar.

As for Pokémon influencing real life, yes, it has! The Pokémon series has had an enormous impact on popular culture around the world. It’s not just a game or a TV show; there are Pokémon cards, movies, toys, and even themed cafes. Pokémon Go, a mobile game, got people of all ages outside, exploring their neighborhoods to catch Pokémon. So, Pokémon has made its mark in the real world, too!

What are Poke Lids?

Since 2018, Japan has been getting a cool upgrade on its manhole covers, called Pokemon Lids, or “Poké Lids.” These are special manhole covers decked out with colorful Pokémon art. These aren’t just any pictures—they show off different Pokémon having adventures right on the streets!

The whole idea started with the “Pokémon Local Acts” project. It’s a team effort between The Pokémon Company and towns all over Japan. They wanted to make these unique manhole covers to get tourists excited about visiting places they might not know much about, all by following the trail of Pokémon.

A bunch of Pokemon manhole covers in front of a plane in Okinawa.
You can take a break from walking on the beach to see these Poke Lids! Image via Nintendo Wire

Now, over 240 of these Poké Lids spread from the north of Japan in Hokkaido down to Kyushu in the south. Each one is a little different, showing Pokémon that match up with the area, local sights, plants, and even bits of daily life. The artists really try to pack as much cool stuff as they can into the space of these manhole covers.

People have started making a game of finding and snapping pictures of as many Poké Lids as possible. To help out, there’s even a map and list of where to find them all. It’s turned these ordinary manhole covers into a mix of art, a treasure hunt, and a way to see new places, all thanks to the magic of Pokémon.

Why is Pokemon important?

Pokémon has been a massive part of many people’s lives worldwide because of its fun, creativity, and excitement. Additionally, Pokémon teaches us to keep trying, value friendships, respect nature, and treat animals kindly.

Because of its popularity, you can see Pokémon characters and hear their catchphrases everywhere, not just in games or shows but in everyday life across different countries and all ages! What do you like the most about Pokemon? Let us know in the comments below!

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Thalia Harris

Writer living in Tokyo who likes stories, music and video games. <3

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