Sunday - November 16th, 2014 @ 11 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Pokemon in South Korea

To celebrate Se Jun Park’s victory as the Pokemon Video Game World Champion, South Korea held a “Pokemon Champion’s Day” this past weekend in Seoul. Several Pikachu visited and Junichi Masuda even made an appearance.

On the schedule was a series of eight Pokemon parades at Dongdaemun Design Plaza to celebrate Park’s victory. But according to the South Korean news website Star, things didn’t go quite as planned. Droves of people began showing up, quickly filling the plaza beyond capacity, and event organizers were forced to cancel the remaining parades due to safety concerns. Talk about PokeMania!

Eight parades to celebrate someone winning at Pokemon? In my day the 12 year olds would have crucified you where you stood for all the children on the playground to see. :p Glad South Korea has its priorities straight!

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Monday - March 31st, 2014 @ 9 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Google has announced a “Pokemon Challenge” for their Google Maps app. If you participate in the challenge, Pokemon will begin to appear all over the map: your goal is to find and capture all 150 of them. The Pokemon Trainers who capture all of them by April 2nd will be invited to Google HQ to battle other Pokemon Trainers for the job title of “Pokemon Master,” as explained in the video below.

To begin the challenge, open the Google Maps app and hit “Search,” where you’ll see a “Start” option with a Poke Ball icon. Pokemon sprites will begin to appear all over the map and you can begin to capture them. Like the real games, you can track your progress with a built-in Pokedex.

So who’s going to capture all of them, defeat all Trainers invited to Google HQ, and then score a “Pokemon Master” job at Google? Will it be you?! Unfortunately it won’t be anyone, as this is Google’s annual April Fools joke (the job part, that is). :p

Google Maps Pokemon Challenge Google Maps Pokemon Challenge Google Maps Pokemon Challenge
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Monday - October 1st, 2012 @ 10 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Never thought this would be a news title.

As most people know, when Electric Soldier Porygon aired in Japan during Pokemon’s first season, many children experienced seizure-like symptoms because of a quick succession of flashing red and blue explosions in the episode. This incident knocked Pokemon off the air for several months. In fact, Pikachu’s Goodbye was created in the interim and aired when the show came back to help brainwash remind children how much Pokemon meant to them. The animators also went back and lowered the frame rate of some scenes in previous episodes as a precaution (if you ever wondered why Pikachu’s lightning zaps at like one frame a second in the first episode, there you go).

Well, it seems the incident also inspired the army to come up with an idea for a weapon that could “blast [enemies] with electromagnetic energy until their brains overload and they start to convulse.” This according to a new Wired article that explains how the weapon would affect 100% of the population. It’s a rather interesting read, if not absolutely terrifying. Luckily such a weapon is only theoretical!

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Saturday - May 26th, 2012 @ 10 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

If you watched Cartoon Network between 1997 and 2008, you undoubtedly know what Toonami is. For those of you who don’t, it was a popular programming block on Cartoon Network that would show action-oriented Japanese anime like Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, Outlaw Star, The Big O, Rurouni Kenshin, Inuyasha, YuYu Hakusho, Naruto, and even Pokemon, as well as American cartoons like Justice League, Powerpuff Girls, and Teen Titans. It was an “anime hub” for Americans and one of the few places you could go to watch anime on television.

Unfortunately, in the mid-2000s, Cartoon Network decided that it wanted to move away from foreign-produced anime and focus more on its own original programming (more $$$ for them). There were also complaints from parents that Toonami’s shows were too “loud” (action-packed and violent). Thus, in 2004, Cartoon Network moved Toonami from weekdays to Saturday nights and refocused its target demographic to a much younger audience. However, its ratings slowly declined and it was ultimately cancelled in 2008.

On April Fools Day, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim revived Toonami for the night and showed many of the block’s past anime. Toonami’s CGI host, TOM 3.0, was re-rendered for HDTV and his original voice actor, Steven Blum, reprised the role. There was a huge online response to the event, and the following day, Adult Swim posted to its Twitter, “Want [Toonami] back? Let us know.” A few days later, they posted, “We’ve heard you. Thank you for your passion and interest – stay tuned.” Then on April 8th, Adult Swim aired a few bumpers stating “we’re listening” and “we’re looking into it.” Finally, on May 16th, Adult Swim announced on its Facebook that Toonami would be returning on May 26th (which is tonight!).

The schedule for Toonami is as follows. As when Toonami was last on Cartoon Network, it will only air on Saturday nights for now.

Toonami Returns

  • 12:00 AM: Bleach
  • 12:30 AM: Deadman Wonderland
  • 1:00 AM: Casshern Sins
  • 1:30 AM: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  • 2:00 AM: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG
  • 2:30 AM: Cowboy Bebop
  • (schedule repeats from 3:00 to 6:00 AM)

This past week, Jason DeMarco, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim’s recently promoted vice president of strategic marketing and promotions and Toonami’s former producer, stated on his Twitter that “Something you should know about THIS Toonami: We have very, very little $$. This experiment will need ratings success to receive more funding for new shows, more Tom animation, etc. I’m thankful for the $$ we’ve gotten, but it isn’t a lot.” He also stated “We will not be showing Naruto, DBZ, etc for now. The rights to those shows are owned by our competition or are out of our price range.” He hinted that they are looking into bringing other anime to the block, such as Garterbelt, Fairy Tail, and Inuyasha: The Final Act, but this will of course depend on Toonami’s success. So if you love anime, you should support it by watching Toonami again!

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Thursday - December 15th, 2011 @ 2 AM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Been meaning to post this and some of the above TCG updates for over a week now, just been too busy until now.

After Presidential candidate Hermain Cain quoted Pokemon 2000 in his resignation speech earlier this month, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, as usual, commented on the hilarity on their popular Comedy Central shows. Stewart’s starts at 3:27 while Colbert’s starts at 0:55.

As a side note, the last bit of Stewart’s commentary, in which he says “Look it up,” seems to be a reference to Fox’s House referencing Pokemon in a November episode (in which House said Arceus created everything and responded to a colleague’s confusion by saying to “Look it up”). Perhaps one of the writers on Stewart’s show follows Pokemon news? :p

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Monday - December 5th, 2011 @ 10 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

During his closing arguments in a Republican debate last August, GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain quoted a line from Pokemon 2000‘s “Power of One” song, stating, “A poet once said, ‘life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.'” Unfortunately, he did not attribute the quote to its original source at the time, citing a nonexistent poet for the line.

On Saturday, after essentially resigning from the GOP Presidential Race, he finally acknowledged where the quote came from to the joy of Pokemon fans everywhere: “Let me leave you with this, and I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie. The media pointed that out. I’m not sure who the original author is, so don’t go writing an article about the poem. But it says a lot… ‘Life can be a challenge. Life can seem impossible. It’s never easy when there’s so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference.’ There’s a mission just for you and me.”

So there you go, Herman Cain knows what Pokemon is and Pokemon somehow made its way into American politics! Too bad he didn’t clear up some more pressing issues of his before resigning from the race…

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Thursday - August 4th, 2011 @ 11 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

Echo-chan, the Pikachu ripoff

What happens when a Japanese city tries to create a mascot to promote recycling and eco-friendliness but can’t think of its own original character concept? The answer is to recycle popular mascots already in existence!

Meet “Ecoha-chan,” the official mascot for the city of Ube in Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture. Look a little familiar? Ecoha-chan first debuted in costume last October upon the opening of the city’s new “Ginten Eco Plaza,” but when its photo was posted on the city’s official blog on Monday, visitors began to note the similarities between it and everyone’s favorite Pokemon, Pikachu. An unknown amount of the city’s own staff even expressed concern over the similarities between the two when Echo-chan’s costume was first drafted last year, but that apparently didn’t dissuade the city from using it and even copyrighting the character.

Though the photo was quickly removed from the blog on Monday, the city still remains adamant over its ownership of the character as well as its originality. Following Monday’s drama, a city representative stated, “[Our] original illustration [and the character of Pikachu] are different, and we consider copyright not to be a problem.” In response, the Pokemon Company stated, “We will gather more information about the situation, and then we will want to consider our options for how to respond.”

So what will happen to Pikaleaf? Will it be recycled into spare cloth? Will Pikachu get a green brother or new Forme in the sixth generation games? Will TPC allow the city to use Pikachu to promote their environmental agenda? Who knows! Thanks goes to Anime News Network for translating this story!

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Tuesday - March 29th, 2011 @ 11 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

This is not necessarily related to Pokemon anymore as 4Kids no longer dubs the show or manages the franchise’s international licensing, but it is still interesting nonetheless. According to an article by The Hollywood Reporter, 4Kids is being sued by the makers of Yu-Gi-Oh for essentially embezzling money. The entire article has been reproduced below. This follows their loss of the Pokemon license and their dubbing rights to One Piece.

‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ Creator Terminates U.S. Deal and Sues for Millions of Dollars (Exclusive)

According to the lawsuit, an audit turned up secret deals to defraud Japanese companies of anime profits

4Kids Entertainment has made quite a business out of taking Japanese anime programming like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! and dubbing it into English for the pleasure of U.S. children. Just how lucrative? The Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, including a popular TV show and various merchandising, is said to have earned 4Kids over $152 million in income between 2001 and 2009.

But now, the Japanese animation studio that first created the anime hits is attacking, claiming that 4Kids owes it millions of dollars for making secret agreements with TV networks and home video distributors as well as making improper royalty deductions, including for the cost of the actual dubbing. As the result of alleged contractual breaches, the Japanese companies behind the show reveal they have just terminated their licensing agreements with 4Kids. They now want past money owed too.

TV Tokyo Corporation and Nihon Ad Systems filed the lawsuit last week in New York federal court.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs exercised their right to audit 4Kids’ financial books in 2010 to see whether they were getting paid 50% of gross income, minus pre-defined expenses, as agreed upon in the original licensing agreement.

The auditor allegedly turned up some questionable accounting concerning deals made by 4Kids with the Cartoon Network and other parties.

For example, 4Kids is said to have made an agreement with Funimation Productions, giving it the right to exploit the YGO series on home video. “4Kids conspired with Funimation to fraudulently hide from Plaintiffs more than 45% of the total income Funimation paid to 4Kids from the sale of the home videos,” the complaint states.

Allegedly, 4Kids not only licensed YGO, but also several other Japanese animation series it didn’t own. Under the terms of this supposedly secret deal, which allegedly included a strict confidentiality clause, 4Kids didn’t have to do much besides perform certain marketing services. It was Funimation’s job to produce and distribute the series, and for this right, Funimation paid a $1.3 million advance and gave over nearly $4 million in a service fee, which was allegedly then hidden from the plaintiffs.

4Kids is said to have made a similar “strictly confidential” deal with Majesco Sales Inc. to produce and distribute videos of the YGO episodes on Nintendo’s Gameboy Advanced game system, and allegedly never turned over any royalties.

The complaint also details some improper deductions, including more than $2.5 million worth of international withholding taxes, bank charges, insurance coverage, YGO style guide art, the cost of the audit itself, and even the cost of the dubbing. TV Tokyo says 4Kids “expressly agreed to bear [such costs] under the agreement.”

After the auditor’s report, the parties met in February to discuss the situation. The plaintiffs are said to have made an offer, which was rejected. After further discussions, on March 17, 4Kids wired $1 million as a “good faith” initial payment. The next day, reps for the Japanese companies flew to the U.S. for a final meeting to see if they could resolve the mess.

“4Kids abruptly terminated this meeting without a resolution to any of the outstanding issues,” says the complaint.

In response, TV Tokyo Corporation and Nihon Ad Systems have cancelled the agreement and filed a lawsuit, seeking more than $4 million in damages and other relief for breach of contract and fraud. The legal dispute also leaves the future of some of the most popular Japanese programming on U.S. television in some doubt.

Attempts to reach 4Kids for comment were unsuccessful.

To be honest, this behavior is not surprising – 4Kids has been employing questionable practices since before even Pokemon’s time. Roland Kelts, author of the book Japanamerica, spoke at the New York Anime Festival in 2008 where he revealed that 4Kids essentially took advantage of the Japanese when it bought the rights to Pokemon (described below). In retrospect, it is no wonder why TPCi (previously PUSA) took their licensing away when they had the chance in 2006. I still remember PUSA officials telling me then that 4Kids was asking for too much money when their renewal came up (on the franchise’s 10th anniversary); it seems like Pokemon learned from their previous mistake and acted on it by denying the company its licensing and dubbing rights and doing it themselves in-house. And it also seems like these other companies from Japan that are dealing with 4Kids are beginning to catch on as well.

Kelts began his discussions with the Pokemon phenomenon, when the game and cartoon exploded on the American consciousness in 1998. He also briefly digressed to relay the tale of how 4Kids’ Al Kahn managed to get the Japanese owners of Pokemon to sign over subsidiary rights in return for a paltry $10 million, mostly because Pokemon’s Japanese owners at Shogakukan had no legal team on staff to process the thick contract and didn’t understand what they were signing away. Kelts related that Shogakukan’s Masakazu Kubo told him, “That was our fault. If you do business with another country, you have to learn how that other country does business,” even though this simple mistake ultimately cost them millions of dollars.

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Saturday - March 12th, 2011 @ 6 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

As I am sure most people know, an 8.9 earthquake struck Japan on Friday, the fifth largest in recorded history. It was so monumental that the main body of Japan, Honshu, shifted 2.4 meters to the east (7 feet, 10 inches). While so far the folks over at Nintendo and Pokemon are A-okay, many Japanese are not; parts of the country have been flooded by a resulting tsunami, large aftershocks are still occurring, and many people are missing or dead.

If you can donate to the Japan relief effort, you can do so through the Red Cross or various other organizations. We at PokeBeach express our deepest sympathies and prayers for Japan and all of our hearts go out to them. In times like this everyone should help out in any little or big way they can.

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Saturday - March 12th, 2011 @ 6 PM PST -  By: Water Pokémon Master

The Speed Gamers are an organization that raises money for various noble causes by conducting video game marathons. Until March 14th, they are attempting to capture all Generation I and II Pokemon in order to raise money for the ALS Association (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). If you would like to donate to their cause, you can do so through their website; you can also watch a live video feed of their Pokemon marathon below.

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