Pokemon Go: The Perfect Hybrid of Japanese Anime and Video Games (I)

Pokemon Go: The Perfect Hybrid of Japanese Anime and Video Games (I)

Do you still play the killer app of 2016? The AR game, Pokemon Go, blew the market away once it was released. With millions of players and billions of dollars in revenue, it can be said to be one of the most famous video games in the world. Its success can be attributed to its established pop culture phenomenon. Pokemon is a multimedia franchise in a true sense of the concept of "multi-", because Pokemon includes video games, card games, TV series, movies, and TV shows. Originally, Pokemon was just a video game developed for the Game Boy in 1996. A year later, it was adapted into a televised anime. As of today, there are 90 Pokemon games and over a thousand episodes of the Pokemon anime. It can be said that Pokemon is the perfect hybrid of the two most famous of Japanese subcultures: anime and games.

Now, let's go over a brief introduction to Japanese anime!

History of Anime


The word “anime” is an abbreviation of “animation”. Anime refers to nearly all Japanese cartoons. Animation itself was first introduced to Japan in the early 20th century. In 1917, Japanese animation pioneers began to explore their own way of making animation by learning from the United States, Russia, Germany, and France. The first batch of professional and publicly displayed animation appeared in this period. Japanese animators in this period, such as Oten Shimokawa and Seitaro Kitayama, created many simple and short animated works. Many early works were lost because of the destruction of Shimokawa’s warehouse in 1923. Therefore, the creation and the release date of Japan's oldest anime, Katsudo Shashin, remains unknown, made by an anonymous creator.

It was not until 1945 that the first full-length anime, Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei, was released in Japan, the duration of which is 74 minutes. The 1960s saw the huge development and success of Japanese anime. Drawing on the experience of Disney cartoons, Osamu Tezuka improved the Japanese anime-making technique. He was regarded as a legend for his contribution to Japanese manga and anime. His Three Tales (1960) was the first anime film played on Japanese television and the influential Astro Boy earned love inside and outside of Japan.

In the 1980s, Japanese anime made a big leap, which can be credited to Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki. The classic genre, robot anime, was formed in this period by Osamu Tezuka. Gundam and Super Dimension Fortress Macross became popular worldwide. The famous Studio Ghibli was also founded in this period by Hayao Miyazaki, whose works include Spirited Away (the first anime movie to win an Oscar), Howl’s Moving Castle, and Ponyo.

Genre of Anime


There are two ways to categorize anime. One is based on age (click here to learn more). Another is according to content. The content of Japanese anime is so varied that there are dozens of genres. From cooking to magic, Japanese anime satisfies almost every taste! Therefore, this passage will introduce just a few genres.

Sports: Normally, it’s a story about a protagonist that has big dreams. He joins a team and fights for the gold with his/her comrades. A similar genre is games, in which the ambitious protagonist plays a specific kind of game, such as board games, card games, and video games, and wants to win it all.

Food/CookingCooking and adventure sound impossible. The story is about a group of master cooks coming together and competing with each other. The focus of this genre is food. The recipe, history, and flavor of each dish will be depicted in detail.


Isekai: It literally means “different world”. It’s one of the most popular genres in recent years. The protagonists will be transported to a fantasy world accidentally. The protagonists have to survive in the new world. Then, the protagonists will be responsible to save the new world and hopefully find their way back home.

Mecha: This genre typically consists of giant robots fighting (though sometimes they could be racing). In some anime, these fights are for sport, while in other anime, it's a matter of robots ravaging the world and usually the protagonists will get inside a robot themselves to help save the world.

There are also many common genres, such as romance, action, fantasy, and horror. But just because a genre is common doesn’t mean the anime is mediocre. Inversely, many of the greatest works belong to these more common genres.

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