The origins of anime and Manga are simple enough, they are the Japanese versions of American comics. These books then got referred to as Manga. As soon as the technology improved enough Manga further evolved into into animated TV series, movies, video games and even music. Over the years people have appreciated some exceptional anime from Japan.
Pokemon has become one of the most famous anime franchises.
The franchise has it’s origins in a video game, in which players collect items. The inspiration for this came from the designer Satoshi Tajiri’s childhood hobby of collecting insects.
Assisted by well known game creator Shigeru Miyamato a linked card game was developed that was an international hit featuring blue and red cards (but green and red in Japan). The cards showed children to create Pokemon Pocket Monsters and the decision was made to turn the game into a TV series. Kids were soon buying the toys and the trading cards linked to the game. There were even tournaments, which became really popular, helped by the simplicity of the rules.
As soon as the TV series aired in 1997 it instantly became very popular although several of it’s episodes would go on to be highly controversial. It was meant to only run for a single series yet it’s success led to Satoshi and Nintendo deciding to carry on making the show.
On 16 December 1997 the episode Electric Soldier Porygon aired and it’s strobes affects caused 685 children to be rushed to hospital. The show’s producers decided to stop making episodes for four months. The episode was ridiculed in episodes of The Simpons and South Park.
It would not be the only episode to get banned. The Beauty and the Beach was banned because it had a swimsuit contest and one of the characters, James was cross dressing. Another episode, The Legend Dratini was banned due to being full of gun violence. Two episodes were pulled after the 9/11 attacks, namely Tower of Terror plus Tentacool and Tentacruel. A further episode was renamed from Scare in the Air to Spirits in the Sky.
The episode Holiday Hi-Jynx was later pulled due to accusations of racism from Jynx, Several countries including Britain, France, Italy and Saudi Arabia the episode The Bicker The Better due to the adult nature of it’s content.
However the controversy and the banned episodes have not detracted from the success of the Pokemon TV series. By virtue of over 500 episodes being broadcast and 14 films and shorts been based upon it, Pokemon is the longest running animated series based on a video game. It’s popularity highlighted by the fact that a million of the Black and White packs were sold in a single day.
Pokemon blazed the way for other anime franchises to do well, such as Digimon, Monster Ranchers and Megabots. These anime attracted their own fans though none were as big as Pokemon. It was Pokemon that turned anime a little known Japanese niche into a global hit.