In the late 1990’s, Pokemon fever swept the world. Starting in Japan, the game was developed by Satoshi Tajiri.
As a child, Tajiri enjoyed capturing insects near his home in Tokyo. This hobby inspired him to develop a game that would give children the same experience. Originally, the game was called “Capsule Monsters” and was influenced by a TV show called “Ultra Seven.” In the show, the protagonist used large animals to battle and kept them in small containers between fights. Tajiri also imagined using the GameBoy link cable to transfer the small monsters from one console to the other.
Tajiri formed “Game Freak” (a game developing company that was named after a short lived magazine) and attempted to pitch the game to Nintendo but was unsuccessful. But when a famous developer named Shigero Miyamoto (Super Mario, Legend of Zelda) pitched it to Nintendo and got the funding they needed to develop the game. The name was changed to “Pocket Monsters” due to trademark issues. Six years later, the first Pokemon games were released.
On April 1st, 1997 the Pokemon anime premiered in Japan. The main character was named Satoshi (later changed to Ash for the Western release) after the creator and was based on a character Red, from the first Pokemon manga.
The show debuted in North America in the same month that the games were available; September 1998. The trading game (the bane of Robin and Marci’s existence in grade school) was made available to children in North America in January, 1999.
The first 4 seasons of the show used cel animation and the fifth season was digitally animated, starting with the episode “Here’s Lookin’ at You, Elekid”
There are 21 released movies with a 22nd one to release this year (Not including the movie Detective Pikachu).
Pokémon: the First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back
- Ash, Misty, Brock, and several other Pokémon trainers travel to an island, under the pretense that they will be battling a superior Pokémon trainer, only to discover the genetically engineered Pokémon Mewtwo, created by a scientist for Giovanni of Team Rocket, is there and is planning to take over the world with other cloned Pokémon.
Pokémon: the Movie 2000 – The Power of One
- Takes place on Shamouti Island where Ash is roped into a festival honoring Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, all of whom are being captured by Lawrence III, a Pokémon Collector who also wants to capture the legendary Pokémon Lugia.
Pokémon 3: The Movie – Spell of the Unown
- Ash, Misty, and Brock try to retrieve Ash’s mother from Molly Hale, a lonely little girl whose father has disappeared and is being taken care of by the Pokémon Unown who have created an illusion of the Legendary Pokémon Entei.
Pokémon 4ever: Celebi – Voice of the Forest
- Ash meets up with Sammy, a boy from 40 years in the past, and the Mythical Pokémon Celebi, who is being hunted down by the evil Iron-Masked Marauder of Team Rocket.
The Pokémon anime series was largely credited for allowing anime to become more popular and familiar around the world along with Dragon Ball Z. This is especially true in the United States, where the two highest-grossing anime films are both Pokémon films. (Number 6 and 10 worldwide).
Episodes Mentioned :
Charmander-The Stray Pokémon
Here Comes the Squirtle Squad
Island of Giant Pokémon
The Song of Jigglypuff
Dig those Diglett
Go West Young Meowth