Oh, how time flies. It certainly does feel like it was only a couple of years ago when we were so hell-bent on memorizing the names of all 151 Pokémon just to be the envy of our friends, and now, 20 years on, that number has increased by almost fivefold,
This was then followed up with the debut of the animated Pokémon TV series in Japan in 1997. In similar vein to the games that precede it, the Pokémon TV series tells the story of 10-year old Ash Ketchum (Satoshi), who strives to become the best Pokémon Master there is, with the help of his newfound friends, Pokémon trainers-cumGym Leaders, Brock (Takeshi) and Misty (Kasumi). Safe to say that you’re going to have to spend quite a fair bit time catching up with the series if you have yet to begin, as it now spans slightly more than 900 episodes.
But it was only in 1998 that the Pokémon franchise really took off, as it was the year that
and – essentially the English version of and
– along with the animated Pokémon TV series landed in the U.S. Fun fact: and
were crowned the ‘Best-selling RPG on the Game Boy’ by the Guinness Book of Records in 2009, after collectively selling more than 23.64 million copies in the Japan, U.S., and U.K.
In the following year, the
was unveiled, which unsurprisingly became an overnight sensation, resulting in its first expansion pack, Jungle, being released a short six months afterwards. In 2004, the first-ever Pokémon Trading Card Game Championships was held in the Sunshine State of Florida, and it has since grown to become an annual event, drawing competitors from across the globe to battle it out for glory.
Even until today, more expansion packs are being introduced to the
As it stands, there are 67 different expansion packs that you can buy. What’s even more astounding is that more than 21.5 billion Pokémon trading cards have been printed as of September 2015, and in 11 different languages, no less.
Though the crowning glory of 1999 for the Pokémon franchise was no doubt the premiere of the first Pokémon feature film,
Sure, the movie didn’t go down well with critics due to its purportedly slow pacing – one critic even called it ‘abysmally bad’ – but their sentiments didn’t exactly deter fans from heading to the theatre in droves to watch it. It fact, the movie even managed to become one of the highest-grossing anime films to date, with a worldwide gross of US$163,644,662 (approx. RM671 million).
The Pokémon franchise grew exponentially in the subsequent couple of years, no thanks to the onslaught of new video games, TV series, and feature films. But words alone can’t describe just how successful and lucrative the whole Pokémon business is, which is why we’ve taken the liberty to provide you with some interesting numbers.
At the time of writing, the Pokémon franchise consists of 73 games (including spin-offs), 18 feature films, a 900 episode-long (and counting) TV series, and even a Super Bowl commercial (!). As far as sales figures are concerned, more than 277 million Pokémonrelated software have been sold worldwide, the aforementioned 18 films have generated more than 76.72 billion yen (approx. RM48.5 billion) in box-office revenue, while the total worldwide market size of the Pokémon franchise sits at 4.6 trillion yen (approx. RM165 billion). In this particular context, the phrase ‘a roaring success’ would be considered an understatement.
Pokémon X & Y