Pikachu from the anime “Pokémon,” which was regretted by fans in Japan and overseas. Lincoln Geraghty, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Portsmouth, UK, looks back on the charm that cannot be dismissed as just a character and its history spanning a quarter of a century.
February 2023 As the anniversary “Pokemon Day” set on February 27, which coincides with the release date of the game software “Pocket Monsters Red/Green” (1996), is approaching, there is A small but significant piece of news has been reported.
A new Pokémon character named Captain Pikachu will be born. This Pikachu is the latest game software ” Pokemon Scarlet VioletIt is set as a partner of the new character “Dr. Freed” in the new anime series based on. However, this report preceded a shocking change in the Pokémon anime series. At the end of 2022, Satoshi, a young boy who was Pikachu’s longtime partner, finally became the Pokémon Battle World Champion.
The Pokémon Company has since confirmed that Satoshi is retiring from the anime series. In response, fans on the bulletin board site “Reddit” asked, “What will happen to Pikachu?” How can Pikachu continue his adventures without Satoshi? For over 25 years, Pokémon has played a key role in Nintendo’s global market strategy.
Nintendo is far from losing one of its key intellectual properties if Pikachu, the iconic Pokémon character, is gone. It loses the central element that has made the Pokémon series so enduring. So it’s no wonder Pikachu’s continuation in the anime, despite the different outfits. If you’re a Pokémon fan, you’re probably used to seeing Pikachu appear in various companies, such as the 2019 movie Detective Pikachu.
Why Pikachu Became so popular
Pikachu wasn’t destined to be a hugely popular character from the beginning. In the first Game Boy game, Red and Green, Pikachu wasn’t a particularly prominent Pokemon, just one of 151 children could choose from. Shortly after the release of the Game Boy software, ” Pokemon Card Game ” was released in October 1996. Players could battle and trade cards with friends.
However, since it was only sold in Japan, the early fans were all people living in Japan. So Nintendo hired Masakazu Kubo, a manga editor and manga maniac. Employ. Kubo was in charge of overseas market development for Pokemon, and he soon realized that a certain character was responsible for the possibility of expanding the series to the world and gaining fans. It was Pikachu.
Kubo will promote an animated TV series and a theatrical film project centered on the story of three young adventurers, Satoshi, Kasumi, and Takeshi. Each of these three had a partner Pokemon with a personality. Anne Allison, author of “Chrysanthemums and Pokémon: Globalizing Japanese Culture” (Shinchosha), believes this new entertainment empire, including games, trading cards, TV animation, and movies, is built on Kubo’s vision of harmony. It is said that it was established.
This is reflected in the relationship between humans and Pokemon, where they coexist and treat each other with compassion and love. The bond between Satoshi and Pikachu is at the heart of Pokémon’s global success.
Japan has profited by exporting the culture of kawaii. Pikachu is a character that embodies the success of kawaii. Pikachu’s charm lies in its character design, and what underpins it is the emotional expression of Pikachu that touches the heart, cultivated through the anime and movie series. Pikachu’s color and shape are instantly recognizable and can be redone to suit any style. The name “Pikachu” sounds catchy and easy to pronounce, even for non-native speakers of Japanese.
This small, cuddly character fosters feelings of love, affection, and familiarity in children who play with their toys. Pikachu’s personality and strength further emphasize these visual characteristics. He is loyal to Satoshi and bravely confronts many difficulties with his rich facial expressions, crackling sounds, and the cry of “Pika, Pika, Pikachu!” He will tell you.
A plurality of the character Pikachu
As is well known, Satoshi’s Pikachu in the anime series hates “evolution.” This Pikachu behavior defies the logic of a game series where players try to evolve their Pokémon to become stronger and learn new moves to win battles.
Therefore, Satoshi’s Pikachu strength stems from his identity as a “special Pikachu” rather than being one of the many Pikachu out there. “Satoshi’s Pikachu” is unique. Even if countless Pikachu appear in games and anime, they are different things from that Pikachu. More importantly, this unique, different Pikachu is also “our Pikachu.”
The fact that the Pikachu character has a plurality of characters is that it is the same as other Pikachu in the same Pokémon world, but at the same time is a different existence, makes the Pokémon series undermine the overall worldview and the essence of the character Pikachu. Instead, we can create new stories and scenarios. In this way, Pikachu became the image character of the global corporate brand of Pokemon while also being Satoshi’s only beloved companion on his journey.
The children who grew up watching Satoshi’s adventures are already adults, but the bond between them and Pikachu, cultivated through many games, anime, and movies, is still alive. Satoshi retired, and “our Pikachu” also retired from the stage. However, the memory will continue to stay in the hearts of fans beyond generations.
On the other hand, this “cute” character, which Nintendo continues with its export strategy, lives on through a successor with a familiar design and an entirely new personality. Here comes Captain Pikachu.