1 9 9 7 – Current (Japan)
The Japanese anime television series Pokémon – abbreviated from the original Japanese title of Poketto Monsutā (“Pocket Monsters”) and based on a video game created for Nintendo by game designer Satoshi Tajiri – was first broadcast in Japan in April 1997.
The series follows Ash Ketchum, a young trainer of fictional creatures called “Pokémon”. Joined by his partner Pokémon Pikachu and a rotating cast of human characters, Ash goes on a journey to become a “Pokémon Master”, travelling through the various regions of the Pokémon world and competing in various Pokémon-battling tournaments known as the Pokémon League.
When the series first aired, there were reports of hundreds of Japanese children being rushed to hospital with epilepsy-like seizures and suffering from spasms and nausea as a result of strobe and explosion effects in an episode of the animated show. Scheduled screenings of further episodes were cancelled until TV Tokyo investigated.
The series has spawned a number of spin-off shows and multiple films. The launch of the mobile game “Pokémon Go” in 2016 reignited mainstream interest in the Pokémon franchise in the Western market.