This past Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise. Pokemon Red and Green were officially released in Japan on February 27th, 1996. Those kids who started playing Pokemon 20 years ago are 20 years older and still playing Pokemon. 20th anniversary festivities happened all over the world on the 27th, and Japan was no exception. Although the Pokemon Centers were not giving anything away for free, a bunch of nostalgic Red/Green themed merch was released on Saturday.
I had a feeling even with the 20th anniversary happening, there would not be as many people at the Center compared to last weekend with the Splatoon shirt sales…and I was right. While there was a medium sized line in the morning before opening, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the 20th. The main promotion for the 27th was the Red/Green dot sprite promotion, featuring items based on sprites from the original games.
There were a couple highlights to the Red/Green dot sprite promotion, with one being these three cushions.
The die-cut cushions are available in Pikachu
and Charizard designs
and each cushion also features this neat sprite pattern on the back.
Along with cushions, we also got free size blind packaged shirts. The blind packaged shirts sold so well during the Pokemon Time promotion over the summer, I guess the Center decided to bring them back (meanwhile, hordes of collectors are crying in the background).
The packaging for the shirts is almost as cool as the shirts themselves! There are 10 possible designs for these shirts, with all the designs looking similar to the example in the last photo (black shirt with a game screenshot in the middle).
More cool stuff: dot sprite bags! There were two different types of bags available: boston bag and backpack style.
The Pikachu plush resting on the mannequin’s shoulder was another new item that came out today, along with…
Hats! There were two designs that came out along with the dot sprite promotion – one with Pikachu
and one with the general dot sprite pattern.
One item that is always popular: blind packaged acrylic charms!
There are 11 possible designs from this collection, and no secret or surprise sprites.
Along with the items people were super excited about, there were also a couple other less exciting (but equally as cute) items, including two sizes of towels, clearfiles
stickers, and die-cut memo pads
Moving on from the dot sprite promotion, the virtual console versions of Yellow, Red, Green, and Blue were also officially released on the 27th. The games were available in a physical package form as well as a download card. Limited 2DS bundles for these games were also released on the 27th, but these were shipped directly to people’s homes and were not available for purchase on Saturday.
For TCG fans, these 20th anniversary card packs were released on the 27th. Each pack contains:
- A full deck of 60 random cards
32 damage counters, 2 markers, 1 sheet of stickers
1 guide book
As well as 1 set of EX/Mega EX cards (either Charizard or Venusaur)
What better way to showcase your new deck of cards than in these 20th anniversary card sleeves?
But that’s not all – 20 inch starter plush were also released on Saturday!
These large plush are incredibly soft and cuddly and feature Charmander
and Bulbasaur! Bulbasaur was not only the biggest out of the three but also the most popular. Even with the roughly $20 price difference, I noticed quite a lot of people roaming the store with huge Bulbasaurs cradled in their arms (and even some extra adventurous souls with all three!)
Another new item: another addition to the Tenohira (palm top) figure series, this time mini-version.
Last but not least, Splatoon shirt update! The shirts had sold out of everything but children sizes by Sunday, however, as of Thursday, the Tokyo Center had restocked all sizes, and they were still in stock on Saturday. Who knows how long this new restock will last, so get them while you can!
On a personal note: I started playing Pokemon when it first came out 20 years ago. I’ve always been a fire sort of person, so it should be no surprise my first game was red and my first starter was Charmander (although Pikachu was definitely my first favorite Pokemon). Pokemon Red got me through a difficult time of my life back when it came out, and the Pokemon games and merchandise continue to get me through difficult times even today. Even when I’ve been on my own, Pokemon has always been there for me, and I’m sure it will continue to be there for me in the years to come.
Very excited for Pokemon Moon and Sun! Give me my new games!