While we are busy celebrating the PlayStation’s 20th anniversary this week, we have just a little more time to prepare for another major 20th anniversary occurring next year: Pokemon.
Oh man, someone fetch me my wheelchair. True, the series didn’t launch in North America until 1998, but in Japan, the series was firing on all fronts right out of the gate on Feb. 27, 1996. The first generation remains the best selling JRPG of all time, and Pokemon is just as popular as ever, even though Yo-Kai Watch is stealing a bit of its thunder in its home country.
This new found rivalry might not last in the coming year. Pokemon turning twenty-years-old is a huge deal all around the world, and you know that Nintendo and The Pokemon Company are going to go all out in advertising it. You think Pokemon taking a break in 2015 was an accident? Sorry, but it was a nicely timed sabbatical designed to create a bit of hunger for a huge return in 2016.
I feel a bit sorry for Yo-Kai Watch since it is finally trying to get its footing in the West at about the same time. Nintendo wants both to be a success, but it can’t have Pokemon totally stealing all the spotlight, can it? My guess is we’ll be getting a more proper 20th anniversary in North America in 2018, and it will be underplayed next year while Yo-Kai Watch does its thing.
The first big piece of merchandise for Japan has just been announced in the form of a Pikachu plush doll, and it has a very classic design to him. No modern-day anime cuteness, no overly designed body parts. It hearkens back to when Pokemon was much simpler and innocent and not the phenomenon it eventually became. Ah, I miss those days, and I want this plush!
One can only imagine the junk Japan is going to be buried under next year. Who knows? We might even get a game out of it!