In April 1 1997, was released one iconic cartoon of all time, ‘Pokémon’. The cartoon is about the ten-year-old boy, called Ash, who aspires to be the greatest Pokémon (pocket monster) trainer in the world. To do this, he enlists the help of two friends, Misty and Brock, and his own Pokémon, Pikachu. Together, they must search their world for all 150 Pokémon, while avoiding the likes of Team Rocket and their Pokémon, Meowth.
Stars: Veronica Taylor, Rachael Lillis, Eric Stuart
Creators: Satoshi Tajiri, Junichi Masuda, Ken Sugimori
To celebrate the 20th anniversary, here are some of the curiosities about this cartoon.
- Ash’s starter Pokemon was going to be Clefairy but was swapped for Pikachu to make it appealing for boys and girls alike.
- Two Pokemon, Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan, were named after two famous martial artists, ‘Bruce Lee’ and ‘Jackie Chan’.
- In December 1997, more than 700 Japanese children suffered seizures, vomiting, irritated eyes and other symptoms after viewing a flashing red background in the episode “Electric Soldier Porygon” from the Japanese version of the show. The show was pulled for retooling until April of 1998.
- The names of the Team Rocket members were obviously taken from two notorious Western outlaws – Jessie & James from Jesse James, and Cassidy & Butch from Robert “Butch Cassidy” Parker.
- The name ‘Pikachu’ is a combination of two Japanese onomatopoeic words: pika, the noise an electric spark makes and chu, the noise a mouse makes.
- The word Pokémon is derived from the Japanese words Pokétto monsutaa, i.e. Pocket Monsters.
- In America, the television series debuted roughly a month before the games were released.
- Ash’s last name, Ketchum, is a play on the words “catch ’em,” as in “Gotta catch ’em all!”
- The names of Jessie and James of Team Rocket were changed from their original Japanese names due to cultural reasons. In Japan, they are known as Musashi (Jessie) and Kojiro (James), which is a literary reference to two rival Samurai.
- Following the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001, the episode ‘A Scare in the Air’ had its title changed to ‘Spirits in the Sky’ out of respect for the United States fans.