Star-Bulletin Features


Monday, April 26, 1999


POKEMON

AN ADULT'S GUIDE, FROM
A KID'S PERSPECTIVE

By Tiffany, Brandon, Maya, Dylan and Christopher
Leeward YMCA Waikele A-Plus
As Told To Betty Shimabukuro
Star-Bulletin

Tapa

This we know about Pokemon: It is a TV cartoon, a video game, trading cards, comic books and countless plastic toys. It is a multimillion-dollar industry that has captured the hearts and allowance money of kids from preschool to high school. And it comes from Japan, birthplace of Tamagotchi, Power Rangers and Hello Kitty.

But what the heck is it really about?

In capsule form: Pokemon (for Pocket Monsters) are creatures that roam free until captured by a Pokemon trainer, whose job it is to collect as many of the 150 Pokemon species as possible. Once captured, a Pokemon lives in a Pokeball and becomes fiercely loyal to its trainer. It goes to battle against other Pokemon in organized matches that are like a cross between professional wrestling and cockfighting.

But that's an adult perspective. To explain the finer points, we assembled a panel of experts in Pokemon. They range in age from 5 to 8 and gain their knowledge mostly from the TV show and the Nintendo game, a little from the trading cards. From here on, we'll let them speak.

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Pokemon images © Nintendo

THE GOOD GUYS

Bullet The main guy is Ash (bottom right). He's a Pokemon trainer and he's trying to get all the Pokemon -- with his friends, they're trying to help -- so he can get Mewtwo (the 150th Pokemon and the ultimate prize).

Bullet Misty is a water trainer (bottom left). She catches only Water Pokemon, like Staryu (evolves into Starmie). There are all kinds of Pokemon: Electric, Ground, Fire, Flying, Water, Rock, Grass, Poison, Psychic ...

Bullet Brock catches Ground and Fire Pokemon (top right). He's funny because he never opens his eyes. His Pokemon include Geodude (evolves into Graveler and Golem) and Vulpix (evolves into Ninetales).

Bullet Depleeka (top right) is the trainer of Ditto, a Pokemon who can transform into any other Pokemon.

Bullet Pikachu is Ash's first Pokemon (center). He's cute and funny and he has a cute voice. He says "Pika-pika," when he's happy, and "PI-KA-CHU!" when he's fighting. He has thundershock powers. This means when he gets in a fight he can shock the other Pokemon. Sometimes he shocks Ash.

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Pokemon images © Nintendo

THE BAD GUYS

Their names are Jesse (the girl) and James and their Pokemon is Meowf (evolves into Persian). They are called Team Rocket. They're crazy. They try to steal Ash's Pikachu because they can't find their own. They have two other Pokemon who fight for them and their names are Koffing (evolves into Weezing) and Ekans (evolves into Arbok). They're very bad guys and we don't like them, and Jesse, she always sticks her bellybutton out.

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Pokemon images © Nintendo
Charmander: Pre-evolution

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Pokemon images © Nintendo
Charmeleon: First evolution

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Pokemon images © Nintendo
Charizard: Final evolution

A LESSON IN EVOLUTION

Pokemon can grow levels. During their fights they get stronger all the time and they start evolving. Some can evolve two times. Most of them start out cute and evolve into something scarier -- a little bit, not that scary, though. It's not like you're going to get shot, not that kind of scary.

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Pokemon images © Nintendo
Arbok pursues Pidgeotto in a Pokemon match.

POKEMON MATCHES

They are held in the tall grass and sometimes in a gym. The trainers throw their Pokeballs, and they say, 'Charmander (or whoever), I choose you!' and the Pokemon comes out. They start fighting. Trainers tell the Pokemon what to do and then they do it. They use their attack powers. Every Pokemon has four attacks -- like Koffing's sludge attack and Pikachu's thunderbolt. If it gets hurt the trainer calls it back into the ball and he can throw out another Pokemon and then they fight until somebody wins and they get money to buy more Pokeballs. If your Pokemon gets hurt you can fix it up with a potion, or if you don't have potion you just have to run away.

POKEMON CENTER

It's like a hospital for Pokemon who get hurt in matches. They have doctors and nurses and computers to fix them up. There's a computer inside you could put back your Pokemon. If you want to put back your Vulpix and get a Wigglytuff you can.

FAVORITE POKEMON

Bullet Dragonite: He's strong, he's good, he's a little bit funny.

Bullet Bulbasaur: Because he has strings that whack (vine whip attack).

Bullet Mewtwo: He's the strongest Pokemon in the world.

WHY WE LOVE POKEMON

It's very famous. It's really funny. It's kind of good. Oh, I wish it was really real. We could play with them and we could help them.

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Pokemon images © Nintendo

OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS

From left: Maya Rohfeld, 8; Tiffany Abe, 8; Christopher Gianan, 5; Dylan Tolentino, 7. Not shown: Brandon Kuakini (he had to leave early). They are all students at Waikele Elementary, where Pokemon trading cards are banned, as they are in many schools, as disruptive. Also, younger children sometimes lose out unfairly in the trading.

TO LEARN MORE

Bullet On TV: 'The cartoon show airs weekdays at 4 p.m. on Channel 9; and on Saturdays at 8 a.m. on KFIVE.

Bullet On the Internet: Nintendo's official site is http://www.pokemon.com, where you can find news about Pokemon toys, games, and more. For card game strategies and collecting information, see http://www.wizards.com, homepage of Wizards of the Coast, makers of the trading cards. For pictures of all 150 Pokemon, see http://www.fantasyanime.com



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