Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon, pronounced /'poʊ.kɛ.mɑn/, although frequently, and even intentionally mispronounced /poʊ.ki. more...
Masters of the Universe
'mæn/), is a video game franchise, created by Satoshi Tajiri and published by Nintendo for several of their systems, most importantly the Game Boy. It has been merchandised into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, and much more. The name Pokémon is a portmanteau of its Japanese name, "Pocket Monsters" (ポケットモンスター Poketto Monsutā).
Pokémon is also the collective name for the fictional creatures within the Pokémon universe. The franchise has 386 unique monsters that lie at the heart of the Pokémon series (391 including currently known Pokémon from future games). These figures have grown from the 151 monsters - including #151 Mew - from the original Pokémon Red/Blue games.
As of 2006, Pokémon USA Inc., a subsidiary of Japan's Pokémon Co., will oversee all Pokémon licensing outside of Asia.
The concept of Pokémon evolved from insect collecting, a simple pastime many Japanese children (including Pokémon's creator, Satoshi Tajiri, as a child) had enjoyed in the past. First introduced in Japan as a pair of Game Boy games—Pocket Monster Red and Green—in 1996, the franchise arrived in the west in 1998 as Pokémon Red and Blue. The Pokémon games allowed players to catch, collect, and train hundreds of cute and monstrous pets, known as Pokémon (short for Pocket Monsters), with various abilities, and battle them against each other to build their strength and evolve them into more powerful Pokémon. The Pokémon creatures never bleed or die, only faint. This was a very touchy subject to Tajiri, as he didn't want to further fill the gaming world with pointlessly violent games.
The game's catchphrase in the English versions of the franchise used to be "Gotta catch 'em all!", although it is now no longer officially used. Some still use the catchphrase.
All of the licensed Pokémon properties overseen by the Pokémon Company are divided roughly by generation. There have been four generations, defined by the Pokémon which appear therein. Each of these generations has been first introduced in a pair of Pokémon video games for the Game Boy or its successors (including the Nintendo DS), beginning with Pokémon Red and Blue. Each generation introduces a slew of new Pokémon and a handful of new general concepts, usually without replacing any old Pokémon or concepts.
These generations are roughly chronological divisions; a handful of Pokémon from a subsequent generation appear in the anime, manga, or trading card game before the main Game Boy games which demarcate the generation are released, but the anime, manga, and even (of late) the card game divides itself into sagas or generations by the same scheme as the games.
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