Anime and Manga started out humbly as a Japanese mimic of American Comic strips, which thus became the books we know as Manga. Pretty soon, technology evolved, anime followed, evolving from short graphic novels to serialized TV shows, movies, games, and music. As anime caught on in the rest of the world people began to notice a little more, about this silent genre from the land of the rising sun. Over the years there have been exceptional Anime that have caught the attention of everybody, fan or not.
MARKET SHAKERS PART 1:
Pokemon, for better of for worse has become a household name.
The franchise started out as a humble video game based on the hobbyist pleasures of game designer Satoshi Tajiri. Tajiri liked to collect insects as a kid and he applied that into a game. With the help of renowned game creator Shigeru Miyamoto the mind behind such hits as Mario and Zelda. By 1998 American children were head over heals with Pokemon Red and Blue (or in Japan Red and Green) which allowed players to collect and train different verities of creatures known as Pocket Monsters. Since then, the game was adapted into a series, which became a smash hit in American markets. Soon kids all over the country we’re collecting not only games, but toys, trading and battle cards, and books. Card tournaments were big and the rules were simple to understand. Kids would battle officially or simply at home.
When the The TV series was launched in 1997 it quickly became extremely popular, kids loved it! Nintendo’s stock was soaring off the charts but soon the series would find it self in hot water. Originally created as a one shot series which would conclude with the main character Ash Ketchum (Satoshi in Japan) triumphing at the Pokemon League. However the runaway success
On December 16, 1997 around 6:00 P.M. (18:30) Japanese time the episode known roughly as Electric Soldier Porygon aired in Japan with startling consequences. Nearly 685 children we’re rushed to the hospital suffering from epileptic seizures, convulsions, dizziness and even blindness. Though hindsight shows there was much hysteria associated with the events, the incident remains engrained. The seizures caused from this episode were parodied by The Simpsons in the episode “Thirty Minutes over Tokyo” and South Park in the episode “Chinpokomon” Following the episode the series went into four-month hiatus for retooling. In addition further efforts were made by broadcasters to ensure something like this would not happen again. While Electric Soldier Porygon remains the most infamous of the banned episodes, it would not be the last.
The episode Beauty and the Beach (Holiday at Archipelago), was originally banned due to the idea of a bathing suite contest, and the character James, cross-dressing in an inflatable bikini with exaggerated sized breasts, as well as an offensive song known as “The Best At Being the Worst.” The Legend of Dratini was banned due to its heavy gun-violence and gun related peril. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 Tentacool and Tentacruel, along with The Tower of Terror we’re pulled from rotation. The episode “a Scare in the Air” was changed to “Spirits in the Sky” (Though it should be noted that all episodes were animated well before 9/11).
Holiday Hi-Jynx was pulled due to accusations of racism associated with the character Jynx. The Bicker the Better is banned in Aruba, Greece, Italy, France, and United Kingdom, probably due to some mature content of the episode.
Despite the controversy it has faced over the years you can’t keep a show down. Today it has lasted for over 500 episodes and has spawn 14 feature films and shorts, making it the longest running animated series based on a video game ever. If you need any further proof that the series remains a global phenomenon consider the fact Pokemon Black & White sold 1 Million Units in 1 Day.
Through the late 90s Pokemon broke ground for a number of other series like Digimon, Monster Rancher and Medabots; shows still remembered fondly among their fans today. The games continue to enchant new and old players alike, regardless of age. Through controversy through criticism the series remains on top of the world. Today Pikachu has become the most recognized and iconic figures in video games. In the 90s anime still remained a niche market where buying was limited to costly imports. For many anime watchers today, Pokemon is fondly remembered as a gateway series and arguably began the process of growing the Japanese media in the Western market.
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