I’ll try not to be too repetitive. Every year I write some big gushy post about how much I love Pokemon. This year is really no different, but the weight of this passion is even stronger as we celebrate such a large milestone. I can’t believe it’s been 25 years! Well, if we want to be technical, it hasn’t even been 23 yet for those of us that live in America, but that doesn’t change the fact that this franchise has been around in Japan for 25 long years.
I wish I could remember exactly WHEN I first learned about Pokemon. The internet was a fledgling at the time, so my first exposure to the franchise was most certainly through the pages of Nintendo Power. I can’t recall if the first images of Pokemon came from the “Pokemon Power” insert magazines, or in articles beforehand, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that I was hooked the first minute I laid my eyes on Pikachu (and most likely the other Kanto Starters that were shown off alongside them). I read as much as I could every month, started poking around the internet, learning everything I could about these fascinating little creatures. Then finally, the games launched, I popped Pokemon Blue into my Game Boy Pocket, and the rest is history.
To say that Pokemon has changed my life would be an absolute understatement. Every single person I am friends with today is in a direct result of Pokemon, even if they themselves don’t even enjoy the franchise. Without Pokemon I never would have met my friend Pam and her father Vince at the Toys R Us Pokemon League. Without them I never would have moved over to Wizards of the Coast at the mall, where I met my friend Jeff. Without Jeff’s influence I never would have gotten back into Power Rangers. Without Power Rangers I never would have gotten into tokusatsu, never started RRR, and never made all the amazing friends I’ve made in the tokusatsu community. Life really is a long stream of domino effects when you think about it. It’s incredible.
Through this game I developed a love of Trading Card Games, and through the Pokemon TCG I’ve met so many people I am so happy to call friends in our local community. I get to run so many cool events and met so many people that really makes my love for this franchise feel fulfilling. I really hope we can return to in-person events by next year. I miss my community, and I miss feeling attached to the game, even when I don’t play all that much. With covid hitting, tournaments shut down, and our community staying distant, it’s hard to be excited about new releases, especially when I already thought things were getting stagnant. Battle Styles is a step in the right direction and I’m eagerly awaiting the rotation into Sword & Shield onward later this year. Even with my interest in the TCG at an all time low, it’s a game I love and will always cherish and support. I can’t wait to run events again!
I’ll always remember Diamond and Pearl fondly. Platinum was the game I sunk the most hours into, and it’s the game where I learned about breeding, EVs, IVs, and all that competitive stuff. My favorite Pokemon (Munchlax) comes from this region, and a slew of my other favorites hail from Sinnoh as well. I love the lore, I love the region, and it’s pretty obvious that I’m super excited for both Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, as well as Pokemon Legends Arceus. Both games look great in their own right, and I can’t wait to dive into both and experience Sinnoh all over again. The 25th is not only sentimental, but it’s also giving me three wonderful games (New Pokemon Snap included) that cater to me so, so well.
I’ll try to keep this brief and cut myself off here. I could go on about Pokemon forever. Even when other franchises like Power Rangers (and other tokusatsu), Transformers, Digimon, and Vanguard consume my life, Pokemon is, and always will be, the franchise that has shaped my life and made me who I am. If I could only focus on one franchise for the rest of my life, this is the one that I would pick. While HOW I love this franchise will always change (a bouncing focus between merch, TCG, video games, the show, etc.), it will forever be the one that’s always on my mind in one way or another. The friends I’ve made along the way have made my life so much better, and the friends I’ve made because of those friends are just as loved and just as important. As I said before, nearly everyone in my life can be traced back to this franchise, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
I love you Pokemon. Thank you for making me who I am, and continuing to make my life just a little bit brighter each and every day. To all my friends (and fans!) reading this that I’ve met because of Pokemon, thanks for sharing this love with me.
Thank you all so, so much.