Pokémon is Evolving! A look into Japan's famous franchise

Pokémon is Evolving! A look into Japan's famous franchise

Ash Pokemon

Ash (Satoshi in Japan) in the Original Pokémon anime series

Image: Bulbapedia

The rush to the TV on a Saturday morning, the push and tumble over the remote with family. You have your PJs on, and you sit cross-legged on the floor looking up at the big screen, excitement and anticipation running through your veins… suddenly the screen turns to black and in a big yellow and blue print - there it is POKÉMON! Whether you were born in the 90’s or not, Pokemon is a household name, and for a lot of us it was really our first intro in Japan. 

Pokemon Red coverPokemon Green cover

Nintendo/The Pokemon Company 

Pokémon (ポケモン) also known as Pocket Monsters, has been a *legendary* franchise that has spanned over two and a half decades. In February 1996 the first Pokémon games - Red and Green, were released on the Nintendo Game Boy system in Japan. The creator Satoshi Tajiri, came up with the idea of Pokémon as a way to give children happiness as he experienced when he was a child catching insects near his home in Tokyo. Satoshi joined Ken Sugimori and other friends and formed Game Freak and began designing the Pokémon game. Along with the help of Nintendo's new technology the Game Boy Link Cable - it created a world where you were able to trade and battle with other gamers. A fun fact is that Pokémon was originally called “Capsule Monster” but because of some trademarking issues they decided to change it to our beloved Pokémon.  

The Pokémon Game took a little bit of time to generate hype, but not long after it went on to sell millions of copies  It was later released in the United States in 1998, and a year later in the United Kingdom as a Red and Blue version, instead of Green like in Japan. From all of those years ago to now there have been eight more generations of Pokémon games released, and a new 9th generation announcement release due at the end of 2022. From Gold and Silver, Ruby and Sapphire, Diamond and Pearl, Black and White, X and Y, to Sun and Moon, Sword and Shield and soon to be new release Scarlet and Violet. The Pokémon world has grown so much in the original game there were 151 Pokémon to catch, but with each new cycled generation there are more and more Pokémon! Currently there are 898 Pokémon to catch… it’s really going to take a long time to Catch ‘Em All!

 Pokémon Trading Card Game

 Pokémon Trading Card Game

From the success of the game only a short three years in 1999, the release of Pokemon Trading Card Game (TGC) was introduced into the US, and not long after it spread to the rest of the world. Quickly Pokemon card tournaments started springing up, and became a place where you could battle friends, aquentencies and enemies, and even now there is a world champion tournament. So, if you’re thinking of training as a champion, one very important thing you need…cards! 

If you want to buy authentic Japanese Pokemon cards you can either go to a Pokemon Center, or go to Sugoimart.com.  But, what makes Japanese Pokemon cards different, besides the names there are actually a few differences. Firstly, the back of the card has different designs, boosters packs usually have 5 cards instead of 10 like English packs and the card material is different. The Japanese Pokemon Cards use a thinner quality card stock and have a sleek silver border compared to English Pokemon Cards that use a yellow banana border. That being said, one can argue that Japanese Pokemon cards are better than American Pokemon cards because of the material quality, color quality and the use of distinct holographic aspects and a more sturdy finish. If you’d like to check out the difference yourself and grow your collection, have a look at the Pokemon booster box, Grimmsnarl booster pack from Sword and Shield, the Pokemon Shiny Star V Booster Box, and the Pokemon Booster Box Full Metal Wall.

Pokémon Series - anime TV Series

Pokémon Series - anime TV Series 

In 1997 The first Pokemon anime TV series aired in Japan and it became an instant hit! To this day there are still episodes being aired and the series is shown worldwide in 183 countries with over 20 seasons with over 1000 episodes! The series made us fall in love with so many colorful Pokemon like Pikachu, Eevee and Charizard, who are all still so popular now. Some even argue that Charizard is the most popular Pokemon, and there are many reasons. Charizard evolved from Charmeleon and Charmander, who was one of three original starter Pokemon, and it seems like Charizard is spoken as the ‘mascot’ for the earlier games and series. Some say that they love him for his skills and abilities… but, mostly because he looks awesome- just check out this Charizard figure to understand! 

Pokemon has really stood against the test of time and has been able to stay so relevant to children, and to adults who grew up watching the series and playing their Game Boy. Pokemon is nostalgic, it allows so many people to dive into a world that is so familiar, but also still so surprising! Like in the new Pokémon Legends: Arceus Nintedo game where all of our wildest, exploring dreams have been met in a semi open-world game play. 

Nintendo Pokemon Arceus Trailer for Switch

The new Pokemon Arceus Nintendo has similar exploring capabilities to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, but is set in the ancient world of Sinnoh Region. The new game reinvented our ideas about the Pokemon games and impressed us, with improved Pokemon interactions, capturing and battling Pokemon and updated missions and side quests. Trainers are also tasked to seek out every Pokemon and this means finding the Legendary Pokemon.There are a total of 18 Legendary Pokemon to capture, Legendaries like Dialga, Thundurus, Manaphy and of course Arceus all appear in Pokemon Arceus. The overall game play has had a revamped system that is completely revolutionary to the Pokemon franchise! If this is the first step in the change of the Pokemon universe, it’s exciting to see what will come out next.  

The Pokemon Company - Tokyo DX

The Pokemon Company - Tokyo DX

If you want to experience Pokemon Arceus in real life, it’s worth checking out the Pokemon centers! There are 16 Pokemon Centers in the world, all of which are in Japan, - except for one at Changi Airport in Singapore. Each Pokemon Center location has a unique Pokemon mascot waiting to greet you - like the oversized Snorlax in the Tokyo DX (deluxe) Nihonbashi Takashimaya store. In each Pokemon center there are exclusive Japan items only, like the blind Pokemon forest box, seaweed chips, kids table sets, and cookie boxes. Now, with all of these amazing stores, which ones should you visit? Well, there are 5 Pokemon Centers in Tokyo all that boast signature Pokemon that can only be bought in those stores, and exclusive Japan only items. 

Pokemon Center Shibuya Tokyo - Just2good


The best Pokemon Center to visit in Tokyo is the iconic Shibuya store, with an interior that boasts a futuristic cyberstore. As you walk in you’ll find a lifesize animatronic Mewtwo hibernating in a tank! As you sneak past carefully trying not to wake the legendary Pokemon, you are greeted by black walls and floors, a huge contrast to the usually white and colorful starter Pokemon! The Shibuya Pokemon Center is seen as more of a “fashion” store as it has trendy art and music that liven up the atmosphere. They also sell a limited edition stylized Graffiti Pikachu plush that you can only find in the Shibuya Center. And one of the best things about the Shibuya Center,  they even hold Pokemon Game Gyms and Pokemon Card Battles, giving you a chance to pull out your limited edition Pocket Monsters Pikachu Card.

In Pokemon Centers you can find Japan exclusive items, so whether you are growing your plush collection or picking up some Japan-only souvenirs like the Scorbunny Candy Bottle, or the adorably cute Buneary shorts there’s something for everyone! 

Pokemon Latte from the Pokemon Cafe - The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Latte from the Pokemon Cafe - The Pokemon Company 

Another must visit Pokemon Center is the Nihonbashi Takashimaya store, besides having the enormously kawaii Snorlax, it also has the only Kanto region Pokemon Cafe. It’s a place where you can enjoy Pokemon themed drinks, sweets, full meals and deserts! It’s well worth a visit just for the Pokemon Lattes, where you can have 1 of 493 Pokemon available printed on your coffee! Even 9 of the new Pokémon Legends Arceus have joined the coffee ranks. 

Japan is truly the land of Pokemon, and in all honesty we are so grateful! Pokemon characters seem to bring in a sense of joyousness, so it’s really no wonder that Pokemon collectables are so popular! So, if you’re in love with Japan exclusive items - but you’re not in Japan that would usually pose a problem. But not today! Because you have access to the Sugoi Mart Deluxe Pokemon Lucky Bag! You can score 10 Pokemon collectible high value items like plushies, blind boxes, Pokemon figures, even Japan-only Collectible Pokemon Cards and oh so much more! Make sure you try your luck at Sugoi Mart with the Deluxe Pokemon Bag for a shot at winning larger prizes because we Gotta catch em’ all and what better way than in the Deluxe Pokemon Bag!      

Photo: Sugoi Mart

Sugoi Mart Deluxe Pokemon Lucky Bag

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