Pokemon: The Craze, The End, & Rebirth

Map of Kanto

The Pokemon craze snuck up on me. I remember seeing the ads when WB Kids started showing the anime; just a few clips from the intro with the series logo super imposed over it. I wasn't interested. While the visuals looked good I considered them girly; my sister had an anime version of Thumbilina. And yet, inspite of my trepedations, the show was a success. Everyone started watching it, & when I finally saw a few episodes I liked it too.

Pokemon exploded; toys, games, trading cards, comics, & videos, were everywhere...until they sold out. I remember seeing an asile at Walmart filled with life-size Pikachu & Meowth plush toys. The next time we went to the store the asile was empty. I remember a kid in class asking for Pokemon cards in our class's secreat Santa game at Christmas. My mom had to go all over town to find one pack; the stores had sold out.

But fads end. It began slowly; I remember one kid in my 4th grade class saying she was "kinda tired of Pokemon." In 5th grade everyone still bought the trading cards, but only "because they could make money selling them;" we'd invented our own ecconomic bubble. The 3rd movie, Spell of the Unown came out when I was in 5th grade, & it had a big promotional push, & a lot kids talked about it & the mysterious Unown, but it was a finnancial failure. Warner Bros. sold the rigjts to release the next Pokemon movies to Miramax; I didn't even hear about Pokemon 4Ever till I was in highschool. In 6th grade I still liked the series, but only one other person in my class did. Till late in highschool I was alone.

On the plus side, one could buy trading cards for pennies a piece. And gameboy carts for less than $10.

In my senior year things began to change. Most kids already admitted the games were pretty good, but a few anime fans began to admit the show wasn't that bad. I could talk about Pokemon without being shunned or made fun of. In college I met other kids who actually liked Pokemon; I even joined a Pokemon forum. But some things are funny; I was still alone. The series had changed a lot since 4th grade; & I was stuck on the 1st games, on the earliest 70 or 80 episodes of the TV show. I'd played a 2nd generation game, Crystal Version, & I'd bought some of the later movies on VHS, used. Both the game & the movies were fun. Still, my heart was tied to the earliest version of the franchize, on the characters & situations I'd grown up with. The folks on the internet were most interested in the new games; those who disliked newer characters were ostracized. I was still alone.

I do like some newer charaters; Glacion is quite beautiful, & Tokapie was part of the 1st series, as far as I'm concerned. But the series basic astetic has changed, & it's hard to get used to. Most of the 1st generation's characters were streamlined versions of animals, mythical creatures, or RPG standbys. Newer designs look like something from Gamera movie. I like Gamera, but not as a Pokemon. I feel like a tuatara; out of my time period & element.

I wonder if there's a tuatara Pokemon; that might be cute.

More About the Fad...

The Pokemon ControvercyA hard-to write but necessary article.

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