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,

HWM (Malaysia) - - GAX - FEATURE - Red Green Blue Blue Poké­mon Poké­mon Red Poké­mon Red Poké­mon Trad­ing Card Game Poké­mon Trad­ing Card Game. Poké­mon: The First Movie.

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.

APRIL 2016

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HWM

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Poké­mon X & Y

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