Published on Jan 11, 2020

Pikachu Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two decades, you must have already heard of the global phenomenon, Pokeman. Pokeman, a brand owned by Nintendo (the makers of Wii, and another famous video game brand – Mario), was launched in 1996. It was originally a set of role playing games for GameBoy, but soon morphed into an entire industry of video games, playing cards, collectibles, toys and other merchandize. Today, it is arguably one of the most recognizable brands in the world with followers in every country of every age group. From six year olds in Sweden to thirty somethings in Turkey, Pokeman is known and loved the world over.

The name Pokeman is derived from the Japanese ‘Poketto Monsuta’, which means “pocket monsters”. Pocket monsters, of course, refers to the wide variety of ‘monster’ species that populate the Pokeman world. Originally, there were 649 such species and the list has been growing longer every year.

Pokeman is based around collecting, training and battling your own monster species. In this Universe, the trainer can collect monster species by using a specially designed ball called the ‘Poke Ball’. Maybe you’ve even see this ‘Poke Ball’ – a red, white and black contraption that is a common sight around the world. Once collected, the monster species are trained and battled against each other. Each monster has special attacks and defenses, and winning a battle allows them to ‘level up’ to gain even more power.


Initially released as a role playing game, Pokeman soon evolved to include a very popular anime series. This series followed a trainer called Ash Ketchum collecting and battling monsters in a fictional world. Ash’s first Pokeman is called ‘Pikachu’ – a furry, yellow creature that soon became the symbol of the Pokeman brand. Even today, most people associate Pokeman with Pikachu.

Besides anime, a number of full length feature films have also been made on the Pokeman Universe. A set of trading cards and manga comics further strengthened the brand’s appeal. The cute, cuddly monsters appeal a lot to kids, who are the primary consumers of toys and merchandize related to this brand.

The popularity of Pokeman has been declining over the past few years. Nevertheless, many of the monsters – especially Pikachu – remain cultural icons throughout the world. In Japan, for instance, you can find everything from airplanes to theme parks dedicated to this brand.

Pokeman as a global phenomenon has left a significant impact on pop culture. It has been featured in everything from South Park and The Simpsons to VH1 and even a live action show (“Pokeman Live!”) in the US. Despite controversies over the brand glorifying occult and violent themes, Pokeman continues to remain well loved throughout the world.

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