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Pokémon

Pokémon (ポケモン Pokemon?, English pronunciation: /ˈpoʊkeɪmɑːn/, POH-kay-mahn) is a media franchise published and owned by the video game company Nintendo and created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1996. Originally released as a pair of interlinkable Game Boy role-playing video games, Pokémon has since become the second most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world, behind only Nintendo's own Mario series Pokémon properties have since been merchandised into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books, and other media. The franchise celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2006, and as of 28 May 2010 (2010 -05-28), cumulative sales of the video games (including home console versions, such as the "Pikachu" Nintendo 64) have reached more than 200 million copies The name Pokémon is the romanized contraction of the Japanese brand Pocket Monsters (ポケットモンスター Poketto Monsutā?), as such contractions are quite common in Japan. The term "Pokémon", in addition to referring to the Pokémon franchise itself, also collectively refers to the 649 fictional species that have made appearances in Pokémon media as of the release of the Pokémon role-playing game (RPG) for the Nintendo DS, Pokémon Black and White. Like the words deer and sheep, the word "Pokémon" is identical in both the singular and plural, as is each individual species name; in short, it is grammatically correct to say both "one Pokémon" and "many Pokémon" as well as "one Pikachu" and "many Pikachu". In November 2005, 4Kids Entertainment, which had managed the non-game related licensing of Pokémon, announced that it had agreed not to renew the Pokémon representation agreement. Pokémon USA Inc. (now The Pokémon Company International), a subsidiary of Japan's Pokémon Co., now oversees all Pokémon licensing outside of Asia.


The Pokémon anime series and films are a meta-series of adventures separate from the canon that most of the Pokémon video games follow (with the exception of Pokémon Yellow, a game based loosely on the anime storyline). The anime follows the quest of the main character, Ash Ketchum[22] (known as Satoshi in Japan) a Pokémon Master in training, as he and a small group of friends[22] travel around the fictitious world of Pokémon along with their Pokémon partners. The original series, titled Pocket Monsters, or simply Pokémon in western countries (often referred to as Pokémon: Gotta Catch 'Em All to distinguish it from the later series), begins with Ash's first day as a Pokémon trainer. His first (and signature) Pokémon is a Pikachu, differing from the games, where only Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle could be chosen. The series follows the storyline of the original games, Pokémon Red and Blue, in the region of Kanto. Accompanying Ash on his journeys are Brock, the Pewter City Gym Leader, and Misty, the youngest of the Gym Leader sisters from Cerulean City. Pokémon: Adventures in the Orange Islands follows Ash's adventures in the Orange Islands, a place unique to the anime, and replaces Brock with Tracey Sketchit, an artist and "Pokémon watcher". The next series, based on the second generation of games, include Pokémon: Johto Journeys, Pokémon: Johto League Champions, and Pokémon: Master Quest, following the original trio of Ash, Brock, and Misty in the western Johto region.

The saga continues in Pokémon: Advanced Battle, based on the third generation games. Ash and company travel to Hoenn, a southern region in the Pokémon World. Ash takes on the role of a teacher and mentor for a novice Pokémon trainer named May. Her brother Max accompanies them, and though he isn't a trainer, he knows large amounts of handy information. Brock (from the original series) soon catches up with Ash, but Misty has returned to Cerulean City to tend to her duties as a gym leader (Misty, along with other recurring characters, appears in the spin-off series Pokémon Chronicles). The Advanced Battle series concludes with the Battle Frontier saga, based on the Emerald version and including aspects of FireRed and LeafGreen. The Advanced Generation series ended with Max leaving to pick his starter Pokémon, and May going to the Grand Festival in Johto.

In the Diamond and Pearl series, baded on the fourth generation games, Ash, Brock, and a new companion, an aspiring Pokémon coordinator named Dawn traveled through the region of Sinnoh. In the end of the series, Ash and Brock returned to their home region where Brock started to follow his newfound dream of becoming a Pokémon doctor himself.

Pokémon: Best Wishes!, based on the fifth generation games, Pokémon Black and White, is the newest installment of the Pokémon anime series currently being broadcast only in Japan. It features Ash and Pikachu traveling through the region of Isshu along two new companions, Iris and Dent. Both characters appear in the games as gym leaders, but so far, only Dent has been shown as one in the anime series.

In addition to the TV series, thirteen Pokémon films have been made, with a fourteenth film in the making. Collectible bonuses, such as promotional trading cards, have been available with some of the films.

Films

Given release dates are the original Japanese release dates.

  1. Pokémon: The First Movie (1998)
  2. Pokémon: The Movie 2000 (1999)
  3. Pokémon 3: The Movie (2000)
  4. Pokémon 4Ever (2001)
  5. Pokémon Heroes (2002)
  6. Pokémon: Jirachi Wish Maker (2003)
  7. Pokémon: Destiny Deoxys (2004)
  8. Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew (2005)
  9. Pokémon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea (2006)
  10. Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai (2007)
  11. Pokémon: Giratina and the Sky Warrior (2008)
  12. Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life (2009)
  13. Pokémon: Zoroark: Master of Illusions (2010)
  14. Pocket Monsters Best Wishes: Victini and the Black Hero: Zekrom (2011)

Soundtracks

There have been several Pokémon CDs that have been released in North America, most of them in conjunction with the theatrical releases of the first three Pokémon films. These releases were commonplace until late 2001. On March 27, 2007, a tenth anniversary CD was released containing 18 tracks from the English dub; this was the first English-language release in over five years. Soundtracks of the Pokémon feature films have been released in Japan each year in conjunction with the theatrical releases.

Year Title
June 29, 1999 Pokémon 2.B.A. Master
November 9, 1999 Pokémon: The First Movie
February 8, 2000 Pokémon World
May 9, 2000 Pokémon: The First Movie Original Motion Picture Score
July 18, 2000 Pokémon: The Movie 2000
2000 Pokémon: The Movie 2000 Original Motion Picture Score
January 23, 2001 Totally Pokémon
April 3, 2001 Pokémon 3: The Ultimate Soundtrack
October 9, 2001 Pokémon Christmas Bash
March 27, 2007 Pokémon X

Pokémon Trading Card Game

Palkia, the Spacial Pokémon Trading Card Game card from Pokémon TCG Diamond and Pearl

The Pokémon Trading Card Game is a collectible card game with a goal similar to a Pokémon battle in the video game series. Players use Pokémon cards, with individual strengths and weaknesses, in an attempt to defeat their opponent by "knocking out" his or her Pokémon cards. The game was first published in North America by Wizards of the Coast in 1999. However, with the release of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire Game Boy Advance video games, The Pokémon Company took back the card game from Wizards of the Coast and started publishing the cards themselves. The Expedition expansion introduced the Pokémon-e Trading Card Game, where the cards (for the most part) were compatible with the Nintendo e-Reader. Nintendo discontinued its production of e-Reader compatible cards with the release of EX FireRed & LeafGreen. In 1998, Nintendo released a Game Boy Color version of the trading card game in Japan; Pokémon Trading Card Game was subsequently released to the US and Europe in 2000. The game included digital versions cards from the original set of cards and the first two expansions (Jungle and Fossil), as well as several cards exclusive to the game. A Japan-exclusive sequel was released in 2001.

Manga

There are various Pokémon manga series, four of which were released in English by Viz Media, and seven of them released in English by Chuang Yi. The manga differs greatly from the video games and cartoons in that the trainers, though frowned upon, were able to kill the opponent's Pokémon.

Manga released in English
Manga not released in English
  • Pokémon Card ni Natta Wake (How I Became a Pokémon Card) by Kagemaru Himeno, an artist for the TCG. There are six volumes and each includes a special promotional card. The stories tell the tales of the art behind some of Himeno’s cards.
  • Pokémon Get aa ze! by Miho Asada
  • Pocket Monsters Chamo-Chamo ★ Pretty ♪ by Yumi Tsukirino, who also made Magical Pokémon Journey.
  • Pokémon Card Master
  • Pocket Monsters Emerald Chōsen!! Battle Frontier by Ihara Shigekatsu
  • Pocket Monsters Zensho by Satomi Nakamura

Criticism and controversy

Morality

Pokémon has been criticized by some Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Christian concerns over Pokémon have primarily addressed perceived occult and violent themes as well as the concept of "Pokémon evolution" (which some relate to the theory of evolution), which is said to go against the Biblical creation account in Genesis, which the majority of Japanese, not adhering to Christianity, do not believe in. The Vatican, however, has countered that the Pokémon trading card game and video games are "full of inventive imagination" and have no "harmful moral side effects". In the United Kingdom, the "Christian Power Cards" game was introduced in 1999 by David Tate who stated, "Some people aren't happy with Pokémon and want an alternative, others just want Christian games." The game was similar to the Pokémon TCG but used Biblical figures. In 1999, Nintendo stopped manufacturing the Japanese version of the "Koga's Ninja Trick" trading card because it depicted a clockwise manji. The Jewish civil rights group Anti-Defamation League complained because the symbol is the reverse of a swastika, which is considered offensive to Jewish people. The cards were intended for sale in Japan, but the popularity of Pokémon led to importation in to the United States with approval from Nintendo. The Anti-Defamation League understood that the issue symbol was not intended to offend and acknowledged the sensitivity Nintendo that showed by removing the product. In 2001, Saudi Arabia banned Pokémon games and cards, alleging that the franchise promoted Zionism in violation of Muslim doctrine. Pokémon has been accused of promoting materialism. In 1999, two nine-year-old boys sued Nintendo because they claimed the Pokémon Trading Card Game caused their problematic gambling.

Health

On December 16, 1997, more than 635 Japanese children were admitted to hospitals with epileptic seizures. It was determined the seizures were caused by watching an episode of Pokémon "Dennō Senshi Porygon", (most commonly translated "Electric Soldier Porygon", season 1, episode 38); as a result, this episode has not been aired since. In this particular episode, there were bright explosions with rapidly alternating blue and red color patterns. It was determined in subsequent research that these strobing light effects cause some individuals to have epileptic seizures, even if the person had no previous history of epilepsy. This incident is the most common focus of Pokémon-related parodies in other media, and was lampooned by The Simpsons episode "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" and the South Park episode "Chinpokomon", among others.

Monster in My Pocket

In March 2000, Morrison Entertainment Group, a small toy developer based at Manhattan Beach, California, sued Nintendo over claims that Pokémon infringed on its own "Monster in My Pocket" characters. A judge ruled there was no infringement so Morrison appealed the ruling in November 2001.

Cultural influence

Pokémon, being a popular franchise, has undoubtedly left its mark on pop culture. The Pokémon characters themselves have become pop culture icons; examples include two different Pikachu balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Pokémon Jets operated by All Nippon Airways, thousands of merchandise items, and a theme park in Nagoya, Japan in 2005 and Taipei in 2006. Pokémon also appeared on the cover of the U.S. magazine Time in 1999. The Comedy Central show Drawn Together has a character named Ling-Ling which is a direct parody of Pikachu. Several other shows such as ReBoot, The Simpsons, South Park, The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Robot Chicken,All Grown Up! and Johnny Test have made references and spoofs of Pokémon, among other series. Pokémon was also featured on VH1's I Love the '90s: Part Deux. A live action show called Pokémon Live! toured the United States in late 2000. It was based on the popular Pokémon anime, but had some continuity errors relating to it. Jim Butcher cites Pokémon as one of the inspirations for the Codex Alera series of novels.

In November 2001, Nintendo opened a store called the Pokémon Center in New York, in New York's Rockefeller Center, modeled after the two other Pokémon Center stores in Tokyo and Osaka and named after a staple of the videogame series; Pokémon Centers are fictional buildings where Trainers take their injured Pokémon to be healed after combat. The store sold Pokémon merchandise on a total of two floors, with items ranging from collectible shirts to stuffed Pokémon plushies. The store also featured a Pokémon Distributing Machine in which players would place their game to receive an egg of a Pokémon that is being given out at that time. The store also had tables that were open for players of the Pokémon Trading Card Game to duel each other or an employee. The store was closed and replaced by the Nintendo World Store on May 14, 2005.

Joseph Jay Tobin theorizes that the success of the franchise was mainly due to the long list of names that could be learned by children and repeated in their peer groups. The rich fictional universe provided a lot of opportunities for discussion and demonstration of knowledge in front of their peers. In the French version Nintendo took care to translate the name of the creatures so that they reflected the French culture and language. In all cases the names of the creatures were linked to its characteristics, which converged with the children's belief that names have symbolic power. Children could pick their favourite Pokémon and affirm their individuality while at the same time affirming their conformance to the values of the group, and they could distinguish themselves from other kids by asserting what they liked and what they didn't like from every chapter. Pokémon gained popularity because it provided a sense of identity to a wide variety of children, and lost it quickly when many of those children found that the identity groups were too big and searched for identities that would distinguish them into smaller groups.

In December 2009, a "Pokémon profile picture month" on popular social networking website Facebook started, with over 100,000 (by some estimates) Facebook users changing the image displayed on their profile webpages to that of a favorite Pokémon. In 2010, more than 252,000 people replied as "attending", or taking part in, the event, at least double the previous year.

Pokémon's history has been marked at times by rivalry with the Digimon media franchise that debuted at a similar time. Described as "the other 'mon'" by IGN's Juan Castro, Digimon has not enjoyed Pokémon's level of international popularity or success, but has maintained a dedicated fanbase. IGN's Lucas M. Thomas stated that Pokémon is Digimon's "constant competition and comparison", attributing the former's relative success to the simplicity of its evolution mechanic as opposed to Digivolution. The two have been noted for conceptual and stylistic similarities by sources such as GameZone. A debate among fans exists over which of the two franchises came first. In actuality, the first Pokémon media, Pokémon Red and Green, were released initially on February 27, 1996; whereas the Digimon virtual pet was released on June 26, 1997.

See also

References

Books
  • Tobin, Joseph, ed. Pikachu's Global Adventure: The Rise and Fall of Pokémon. Duke University Press., February, 2004. ISBN 0-8223-3287-6
Notes
  1. ^ Sora Ltd.. Super Smash Bros. Brawl. (Nintendo). Wii. (March 9, 2008) "(Announcer's dialog after the character Pokémon Trainer is selected (voice acted))"
  2. ^ Boyes, Emma (January 10, 2007). "UK paper names top game franchises". GameSpot. GameSpot UK. http://www.gamespot.com/news/6164012.html. Retrieved February 26, 2007.
  3. ^ "Pokemon 10-Year Retrospective". IGN. http://ds.ign.com/articles/735/735858p1.html. Retrieved August 19, 2009.
  4. ^ Nintendo (May 29, 2010). "Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version for Nintendo DS coming to Europe in Spring 2011". Press release. http://nintendo.co.uk/NOE/en_GB/news/2010/pokmon_black_version_and_pokmon_white_version_for_nintendo_ds_coming_to_europe_in_spring_2011_17844.html. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
  5. ^ Swider, Matt. "The Pokemon Series Pokedex @ Gaming Target". Gaming Target. Gaming Target. http://www.gamingtarget.com/article.php?artid=6531. Retrieved February 28, 2007.
  6. ^ "Pokemon USA Moves Licensing In-House", Gamasutra.
  7. ^ ""The Ultimate Game Freak: Interview with Satoshi Tajiri". Time. November 22, 1999. Archived from the original on March 14, 2005. http://web.archive.org/web/20050314021722/http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/99/1122/pokemon6.fullinterview1.html. Retrieved May 22, 2010. ", TimeAsia (Waybacked).
  8. ^ MacDonald, Mark; Brokaw, Brian; Arnold; J. Douglas; Elies, Mark. Pokémon Trainer's Guide. Sandwich Islands Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-439-15404-9. (pg73)
  9. ^ "Pokémon Green Info on GameFAQs" gamefaqs.com. Retrieved February 23, 2007.
  10. ^ Lucas M. Thomas (April 4, 2007). "The Countdown to Diamond and Pearl, Part 4". IGN. http://au.ds.ign.com/articles/778/778464p1.html. Retrieved June 29, 2008.
  11. ^ "Cubed3 Pokémon Battle Revolution Confirmed for Wii" and soon Pokémon Mystery Dungeon 2: Darkness Exploration Team, and Time Exploration Team Cubed3.com. Retrieved June 7, 2006.
  12. ^ "「ポケットモンスター」シリーズ最新作 2009年秋 ニンテンドーDSで発売決定!" (in Japanese). Nintendo. http://www.pokemon.co.jp/info/game/g090508_01.html. Retrieved May 8, 2009.
  13. ^ "『ポケットモンスターブラック・ホワイト』公式サイト | ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト" (in Japanese). http://www.pokemon.co.jp/bw/index.html. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
  14. ^ "『ポケットモンスター』シリーズ完全新作 2010年内発売に向けて開発中! | ゲーム関連 | ニュース | ポケットモンスターオフィシャルサイト" (in Japanese). January 29, 2010. http://www.pokemon.co.jp/info/game/g100129_02.html. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  15. ^ Brian Ashcraft (Jan 28, 2010). ""Entirely New" Pokemon Series Coming This Year – Japan – Kotaku". Kotaku. http://kotaku.com/5459349/entirely-new-pokemon-series-coming-this-year. Retrieved January 29, 2010.
  16. ^ "商品情報 | 『ポケットモンスターブラック・ホワイト』公式サイト". http://www.pokemon-sp.jp/series/bw/#/product. Retrieved June 27, 2010.
  17. ^ "Cギア | 『ポケットモンスターブラック・ホワイト』公式サイト" (in Japanese). Nintendo. http://www.pokemon-sp.jp/series/bw/#/connection/connection01.html. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  18. ^ "Webで広がる遊び | 『ポケットモンスターブラック・ホワイト』公式サイト" (in Japanese). Nintendo. http://www.pokemon-sp.jp/series/bw/#/connection/connection03.html. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  19. ^ Pokémon Ruby review (page 1) Gamespy.com. Retrieved May 30, 2006.
  20. ^ Pokémon Yellow Critical Review Ign.com. Retrieved March 27, 2006.
  21. ^ Official Pokémon Scenario Guide Diamond and Pearl version p. 30-31
  22. ^ a b Pokémon anime overview Psypokes.com. Retrieved May 25, 2006.
  23. ^ Pokémon 10th Anniversary, Vol. 1 – Pikachu, Viz Video., June 6, 2006. ASIN B000F4PDE4
  24. ^ "Pokémon 2.B.A. Master Soundtrack CD". http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1285647/a/2.B.A.+Master.htm. Retrieved July 18, 2008.
  25. ^ "Pokémon: The First Movie Soundtrack CD". http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/1097954/a/Pokemon:+The+First+Movie.htm. Retrieved July 18, 2008.
  26. ^ "Pokémon Trading Card Game "How to play" guide". Archived from the original on May 22, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070522120208/http://www.pokemon-tcg.com/p_strategy/rulebooks/book_68.jsp. Pokemon-tcg.com. Retrieved July 3, 2006.
  27. ^ a b Pokémon Trading Card Game News; "Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire TCG Releases" Wizards.com. Retrieved July 3, 2006.
  28. ^ "Pokemon Card GB2 info on GameFAQs". Retrieved June 8, 2008.
  29. ^ Carder, Thomas A. Pokemon: The Movie (1999).ChildCare Action Project: 1999
  30. ^ "Japan's Religion and Philosophy (Shinto, Buddhism, Christianity, Religion in Japan Today)". Asianinfo.org. http://www.asianinfo.org/asianinfo/japan/religion.htm. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  31. ^ Religion in Japan
  32. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. Pokemon Gets Religion. People
  33. ^ Pokémon trumped by pocket saints. BBC: June 27, 2000.
  34. ^ "Koga's Ninja Trick". Bulbapedia. http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Koga%27s_Ninja_Trick_%28Gym_Challenge_115%29. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  35. ^ Fitzgerald, Jim. Fitzgerald, Jim (December 3, 1999). "'Swastika' Pokemon card dropped". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on December 11, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071211235110/http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4155/is_19991203/ai_n13847438.
  36. ^ "Saudi bans Pokemon". CNN. Archived from the original on January 18, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20080118135529/http://archives.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/03/26/saudi.pokemon/. [dead link]. March 26, 2001, CNN.com. Retrieved on July 22, 2007.
  37. ^ "Saudi Arabia bans Pokemon". BBC News. March 26, 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1243307.stm. Retrieved February 13, 2009.
  38. ^ Ramlow, Todd R. Pokemon, or rather, Pocket Money. Popmatters: 2000
  39. ^ Crowley, Kieran. "Lawsuit Slams Pokemon As Bad Bet for Addicted Kids". Archived from the original on October 22, 2000. http://web.archive.org/web/20001022030204/http://www.nypost.com/news/14579.htm. . New York Post: October 1999
  40. ^ Pokemon packs a punch. Retrieved January 7, 2007.
  41. ^ ""Color Changes in TV Cartoons Cause Seizures". Archived from the original on November 8, 2004. http://web.archive.org/web/20041108175456/http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/06/990601080722.htm. ", ScienceDaily (Waybacked).
  42. ^ "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo". The Simpsons Archive. http://www.snpp.com/episodes/AABF20. Retrieved July 16, 2008.
  43. ^ "South Park Goes Global: Reading Japan in Pokemon". University of Auckland. http://google.com/search?q=cache:wZfySARP7DMJ:www.arts.auckland.ac.nz/FileGet.cfm%3FID%3D1cff12f4-03a2-4126-b886-16b7669da213+south+park+pokemon+parody&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=6&gl=us&client=firefox-a. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  44. ^ Bronstad, Amanda (November 12, 2001). "Toy Firm Will Appeal 'Pocket Monster' Suit". Los Angeles Business Journal (FindArticles.com). Archived from the original on October 15, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20071015132351/http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m5072/is_46_23/ai_80165415. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
  45. ^ "Pokemon Sightings and Rip-offs". http://trsrockin.com/ripoffs.html. Retrieved June 29, 2008.
  46. ^ Opening Date of Store
  47. ^ Information on the Store
  48. ^ Tour Site Page
  49. ^ Manhattan Living Page On Store
  50. ^ Joseph Jay Tobin (2004). Pikachu's global adventure: the rise and fall of Pokémon. Duke University Press. ISBN 0822332876, 9780822332879. http://books.google.com/books?lr=&hl=ca&id=U7hthImoc5AC&q=naming&pa=193#v=snippet&q=naming&f=false.
  51. ^ Pokemon Profile Pic December (2009)
  52. ^ "Pokemon Profile Picture Month". Facebook. 2010. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=347947515181. Retrieved December 5, 2010.
  53. ^ Castro, Juan (May 20, 2005). "E3 2005: Digimon World 4". IGN. http://xbox.ign.com/articles/617/617917p1.html. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  54. ^ Thomas, Lucas M. (August 21, 2009). "Cheers & Tears: DS Fighting Games". IGN. http://ds.ign.com/articles/101/1015325p2.html. Retrieved April 4, 2010.
  55. ^ Bedigian, Louis (July 12, 2002). "Digimon World 3 Review". GameZone. http://psx.gamezone.com/gzreviews/r19874.htm. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  56. ^ DeVries, Jack (November 22, 2006). "Digimon World DS Review". IGN. http://ds.ign.com/articles/747/747449p1.html. Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  57. ^ "Related Games". GameSpot. http://www.gamespot.com/gameboy/rpg/pokemonred/similar.html?mode=versions. Retrieved May 8, 2010.

Thursday

Arlong "One Piece"


Arlong the Saw (ノコギリのアーロン Nokogiri no Āron?) is the pirate captain of the Fishman crew, the Arlong Pirates, and a former member of the Sunny Pirates. He is known for being the main villain in the Arlong arc.

Appearance

Arlong is a large, muscular, and bluish Sawshark Fishman whose most distinctive trait is his saw-nose. He has long, black hair sprouting on the back of his neck, reaching down to his shoulders, from what appears to be a brown Ushanka, covering his head. He has a fin on his nape, surrounded by his hair, and the gills are located on both the sides of his neck. His Sunny Pirates tattoo is on the left side of his chest, while his own Jolly Roger is on his lower left arm. Arlong's attire is composed by fashionable, light clothes, reflecting his rich status: he wears a sleeveless, unbuttoned yellow shirt decorated by many black lightning-like spots, bermudas which are brown in the manga and green in the anime, a purple sash around the waist and simple sandals. He also sports a lot of jewels: he has a golden chain bracelet around his left wrist and two golden circles around each ankle, with straw-like decorations hanging from them. On his hands are what appear to be rings, decorated by colorful gems. However, according to Oda in response to a fan about these rings, these aren't rings at all but more like piercings that go straight through Arlong's fingers, as his hands are webbed and are incapable of wearing rings.

During his first raid on Commi Island, he had a long, light green scarf hanging from his shoulders, and wore a dark green coat and a pair of beige bermudas with a chain-like pattern on them paired with a green sash around his waist. Also, instead of the Ushanka he currently wears, he had a simple, dark grey hat on his head.


Personality

Money is the best, you can trust it more than the human.

— Arlong Deals with Nezumi.

Arlong considers humans to be inferior beings and is very cruel to them. He thinks nothing of killing a town full of humans, although he seems to prefer controlling people with money and deals (like Nami and Nezumi.)[3] He is also rather easy to anger, going berserk after he was attacked by Usopp and having to be dragged back to his base by his crew to prevent him from destroying the whole town.

He does not seem frightened by anything, and his Fishman strength has made him extremely confident that he and his crew are virtually invincible. After Nezumi told Arlong he as a Marine wouldn't stay for fear of being seen in Arlong Park, at this point Arlong invited the Marine to a meal and offered to kill anyone who dared report him.[4] He also has an eye for spotting exploitable talent that he can use for his goals and is an excellent planner; he spent 8 years using Nami and her maps to plan his takeover of the East Blue. Nevertheless, any promise about money he makes, he keeps. The best example is when his crew urged him to keep Nami even if she brings the 100,000,000. However, even though Arlong states he can't go back on his word, he has no qualms about exploiting loopholes in his deals to unfairly get his way.

He is keen to separate his race from humans and constantly stuck by this mentality that his people are superior to humans in every way. During his fight with Luffy, the boy's constant fighting back made Arlong mad, to the point where it drove him into a deep anger. Arlong himself had expected Luffy to die quickly, but his anger made him become reckless and destructive, even seriously damaging his own HQ building while attacking Luffy.

Relationships

Crew

Do you know how upset I am? You will give up and die. I am so upset my beloved crew mates were beaten by a bunch of worthless insects!

— Arlong angry at Luffy and his followers.


He cares for his own crew (shown when he says he's sorry for accidentally biting them and becoming enraged at Luffy for using one as a Fishman shield), while many of his crew share his ideals. They would call him "Arlong-san" while Arlong would call his crew his "brethren". He can be very angry when someone hurts his crew rather similarly to Luffy's feelings towards his crew. However, this is exclusive to Fishmen.

Of humans, the only one he ever had respect for was Nami. However, this was simply because of her skill to draw maps and mistreated her constantly while she was on his crew. Despite his treatment, Arlong considered her as one of his brethren and always celebrated her return to Arlong Park. He would even have his crew celebrate when Nami 'came home' as greeting their returning sister. Nami was expected to act how he wanted her to. However, this led him to misjudge her character. This was mostly because of his own ideals based on materialistic values. He could not see how she wouldn't be happy unless she had clothes, money and a place to sleep. He also didn't see her betrayal happening until it was too late. Even at the final stages of his fight against Luffy, he still stated that he considered her a nakama. In particular as well, he cut away from his normal human discrimination to humans for her, since her navigation skills were superior to any Fishman's. After he mentioned Fishmen and their superiority over humans, Nami responded nothing how tired she was of hearing it, leading Arlong to acknowledge her skills and in a the only witnessed incident in his appearance, apologised saying that she simply couldn't help what species she was.

Enemies

As a pirate with a bounty, he is the enemy of the Marines and had the highest bounty in the East Blue until the Straw Hat Pirates were announced to the world. As he had been paying off the Marines to keep quiet, it's likely that his bounty did not fully reflect neither all of his crimes nor his true power/threat level. His cruelty against Nami and her village has assured him an enemy in all of them, as well as in the Straw Hats, who defeated him.

Other

It is unclear about any feelings between him and his former comrade Jinbe as of the current storyline. The precise circumstances that led to Jinbe's decision to leave and become a Shichibukai while Arlong took over islands in the East Blue are also unknown. It is possible to assume that earlier before he became a pirate, he might have been one of the many fishmen slaves that Fisher Tiger had set free from the Tenryuubito that later became part of the Sunny Pirates. However, while it's possible to confirm he was a Sunny Pirate due to the mark on his chest, it's unclear as of now if he was a slave or not as all members of the Sunny Pirates bore that mark regardless of their pasts. It is also possible that since his (former) captain, Fisher Tiger, also hated humans, that trait might have rubbed off on Arlong.

When dealing with Nezumi, Arlong tells him that he doesn't like humans, with the exceptions of Nami and those who understand how to do business like Nezumi.


Abilities and Powers

Arlong is one of the Fishmen, massive humanoids that are taller and stronger than any normal human. Arlong, however, is a giant even among Fishmen. His power was remarked to be greater then Don Krieg, the strong (military) force in the East Blue. He possesses amazing physical strength: he was seen lifting a house with his bare hands in pursuit of Usopp, and his powerful shark-like jaws are capable of rending metal, stone and flesh alike. He's also incredibly pain-enduring: during his fight with Luffy, he ripped off many sets of his rapidly re-growing teeth, and he put back in place his broken nose without a grimace. He was seen killing Bellemere with a flintlock, and in the last phases of his fight with Luffy he used a giant sawlike sword, the Kiribachi, with great proficiency, as he was able to cut even a building with it. Predictably, as formidable an opponent as Arlong is on land, in the water he is nearly invincible. Arlong also has some kind of beserk mode when he gets angry. This is shown by his eyes changing to eyes similar to a sea king.

AttacksEdit Attacks section

  • Shark on Darts (鮫・ON DARTS(シャーク・オン・ダーツ) Shāku On Dātsu?): Arlong shoots at his opponent like a torpedo with his apparently unbreakable nose. This attack is simply called Shark Darts in the Viz Manga and FUNimation dub and Shark and Awe in the 4Kids dub.
  • Tooth Gum (歯ガム(トゥースガム) Tūsu Gamu?): Arlong pulls out his own teeth and puts them in his hand to use them as a weapon, immediately growing another pair in his mouth. He usually uses one set of teeth in each hand. In the Viz Manga and FUNimation dub, this is called Tooth Attack.
  • Shark on Tooth (鮫・ON 歯車(シャーク・オン・トゥース) Shāku On Tūsu?): Arlong opens his mouth and starts spinning towards the opponent and bites down on them. The kanji used for Tooth is that of Haguruma which means "gear" in Japanese in the manga. This is called Shark Tooth Drill in the Viz Manga and FUNimation dub and Shark and Destroy in the 4Kids dub.

Weapons

Luffy using a set of Arlongs teeth.
Arlong's weapons are mostly natural features of his sawshark Fishman body. With his great strength, something as harmless as a handful of water can strike as hard as a bullet. Even his nose is a weapon. It is over a foot long and lined with razor-sharp points, and more than sturdy enough to use as a melee weapon. Swinging his head back and forth, Arlong defeated even Zoro (who was weakened by the massive wound given to him by Mihawk previously and his fight with Hatchan) in a swordfight with this natural blade. He is very proud of his nose and claims his nose is unbreakable. However, Luffy managed to twist his nose in another direction during the fight with pure physical strength. In addition, he can remove his massive, needle-like teeth and use them as hand-held weapons, snapping them at opponents like castanets. The teeth are replaced by a new set in mere moments, each regrown mouthful stronger than the one before. Luffy demonstrated, however, that these teeth can also be used against Arlong, either by holding them in his hands or as he chose, fitting them in his mouth and biting his opponent with them. However, Arlong states that only a Fishman can fully utilize the strength of the teeth as he possesses much stronger jaws than a human. Also, Fishmen are apparently ten times stronger than men from birth.

Near the end of his battle with Luffy, he uses a massive sawlike sword called the Kiribachi.

History

Past Story

In exchange for becoming one of the Shichibukai, Jinbe unleashed some monsters in the East Blue.


Yosaku talks about the Arlong Pirates.

The sawshark fishman was once a member of the Sunny Pirates, of which Fisher Tiger was captain. But following Tiger's death and the recruitment of Jinbe into the Shichibukai,[10] the group split into pieces and Arlong formed his own "Arlong Pirates", before leaving the Grand Line for easier targets.

Arlong set up his domain on one of the larger islands in East Blue, with a number of smaller villages in the vicinity under his control. Arlong dismantled his original galleon and used the materials to build Arlong Park, an eight-story building that served as his headquarters. From Arlong Park, Arlong hoped to conquer all of East Blue using superior underwater tactics through maps drawn by Nami that charted underwater terrain.

When Arlong and his crew (consisting of Hatchan, Chew, and Kuroobi), first arrived on the island that would someday become Arlong Park, the first village he encountered was Cocoyashi Village (Coco Village in the English version), the home of Nami. Arlong then proceeded to extort money out of the residents of Cocoyashi Village. Adults would have to pay 100,000, children would pay 50,000 or be executed by Arlong's men. Bellemere (Nami's adoptive mother) only had 100,000 so she decided to pay for Nami and Nojiko and sacrifice herself. Arlong shot her in front of her children as an example of disobedience and then kidnapped Nami.

He forced Nami to become a part of his crew as a map maker, and told her that if she brought him 100,000,000 he would free her village and everyone in it, including her adoptive sister Nojiko.

Destruction of Arlong Park

Years later, when Nami was about to fulfill her end of the bargain using money she stole from Monkey D. Luffy, Arlong arranged to have a corrupt Marine captain confiscate the money from her so she would be forever under his control.

Luffy, who followed Nami after being robbed by her, saw Nami brutally stabbing Arlong's tattoo on her arm in desperation. Angered by the obvious suffering Arlong had wrought against her, Luffy stopped her from hurting herself and unquestioningly accepted her plea for help. A long and arduous battle ensued between Luffy, Arlong, and the elites of their crews. While Zoro, Sanji and Usopp were able to defeat their opponents, in their tired and injured states they were absolutely no match for Arlong, although they helped save Luffy from a pool of water, enabling him to challenge Arlong.

By the end of the fight, only Luffy and Arlong were left standing and Luffy was taking a beating from Arlong's high-speed diving attack Shark On Darts and his sword Kiribachi (Saw Shaped Sword), which resembled a long steel saw with teeth shaped like a shark's. Luffy seemed to be on the verge of defeat until the battle moved into the top of Arlong Park, where Nami slavishly made her maps for Arlong as a child.

After feeling the turmoil and desperation that had seeped into the room over the years, Luffy became enraged and the tables turned dramatically.

Using the full power of his attack Gomu Gomu no Ono/Gum Gum Axe, Luffy managed to send the full force of Arlong's attack: "Shark On Haguruma (Gear)" attack through to the bottom of Arlong Park, destroying the building in the process.

Later, Arlong and the rest of his crew are arrested imprisoned by the Marines. Hachi was the only one to escape.

Fishman Island Arc

Arlong is often referred to when the Straw Hat Pirates arrive at Fishman Island. Hammond identifies Luffy as the one who put an end to Arlong's ambition, and it seems that Arlong is considered a hero among the New Fishman Pirates, who share his symbol and his hatred toward humans.

Major Battles

Translation and Dub Issues

rlong murders Bellemere in the original Japanese version.
Arlong's brutality was censored in the 4kids dub, as seen when threatened to imprison Bellemere instead of murdering her for not paying her tribute. He does not offer to spare everyone except the other Straw Hats if Nami rejoins, or threaten to kill everyone in Cocoyashi if she leaves. During the climax of the battle, scenes of him slamming Nami's head against a desk for drawing a picture of Bellemere instead of a map, and threatening to kill someone from Cocoyashi Village if she disobeyed him, as well as Luffy destroying the maps, are removed.

He was also given a gargly sound to his voice in the 4Kids dub, and he refers to humans as "Pew-mans".

In the FUNimation dub, Arlong's dialogue was made much more believable and accurate to the original translation. However, Arlong's unique laugh "Shahahaha" was dropped.

Trivia

  • Many of One Piece's characters are given an distinct laugh. Arlong starts his laughs with either "Sha" or "She" (i.e Shahahahaha!/Shehehehe!). At one point when fighting against Luffy, Luffy mocked Arlong using his own laugh. This is missing from the English dub.
  • In a panel containing a small flashback scene of Hatchan's, Arlong's silhouette is seen alongside Hatchan's, Kuroobi's, and Chew's as they look upon Sabaody Park in a distance from the water.[12]
  • Coincidentally "Ah-long", which has the same pronunciation as "Arlong", means Loan Shark in Singapore Chinese-Hokkien Dialect.
  • In the 4th Japanese fan poll, Arlong is ranked the 48th most popular character in One Piece.
  • In the fourth movie, Arlong was given a former rival: Willy.

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