One of my favorite memories as a child was the day I got my black Gameboy Pocket with a new game that was all the rage. The cover had a cool dragon with a fire tail. The rest was history.
This September marked the 17th anniversary of those loveable Pocket Monsters in the United States. It all started with the anime or cartoon as I called it. September 7th of 1998 after coming home from school there was this new show on UPN’s afternoon block of cartoons on. It featured a young boy around my age at the time with his companion Pikachu. What was this new show with unfamiliar beasts? Whatever they were I was in love so were all the rest of the children in the US and next the World.
Nintendo and Gamefreak did what Team Rocket and Pinky and the Brain couldn’t do which was taking over the world. By September 30th the games launch in America which was led by a flash flood of merchandise including the trading card game, clothes, toys, food, manga, and a stage show. Boys and girls alike traveled in the shoes of a Pokemon trainer named Red or in my case Ash like the show.
When I was 10 I owned Red version and eventually Blue, the cards except for Charizard because he was super rare. In 98 and the following years the craze grew and grew. Sequels were made and we went from Kanto to Johto. We all cried when Ash was turned into stone and we thought he was gone. Some lost their love for the franchise and others are 27 year olds writing about their love for Pokemon.
Was it the love for the series or the love for my mom that kept this franchise close to my heart? She introduced me to the Kanto region and all 151 Pokemon. It was rare like spotting a Mew in the wild that my mom would just buy one of her 3 sons a new videogame let alone a mini gaming system. I was surprised and shock to receive that gift, and it continued with taking me and my brother Michael to events. Mike and I were so in love with the franchise that we made our parents name his 1st basketball team the Pokemon. They even had a giant plush Pikachu as a mascot. 17 years and lots of tears and holes later that old tattered electric mouse is still in his room.
Many people who loved Pokemon may have left the franchise because they grew too old. But many have not they passed on their love for those monsters to the next generation of trainers. I have no kids of my own but my brother and I passed down our Pokedex and starters to our nieces. I still traveled through Kalos and made the return trip to Hoenn region with maybe another trip to Kalos for Pokemon Z. Plus who else cannot resist those new plush toys. Even the series is 19 in Japan it is 17 in the states and I was there since the start. I am 27 and still trying to catch em all.